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Senate sets aside constitutional point of order for donkey business bill

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[FILES] President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan (left), and Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege. Photo/facebook/NgrSenate/

Okays establishment of French-language village, others

A constitutional point of order during consideration of a bill to regulate donkey business in Nigeria was set aside yesterday following disagreement among senators.

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The bill was passed despite disapproval from Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senate Spokesman Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central).

The bill tagged: ‘An Act to regulate the slaughter of donkeys and establish the breeding and ranching of donkey’s through the export certification value chain to mitigate the extinction of donkey’s and related matters, 2021’, was sponsored by Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi State).

Basiru, a lawyer, reminded the chamber that no portion of the exclusive and concurrent components of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gave the National Assembly powers to legislate on livestock.

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He clarified that only state Houses of Assembly were lawfully empowered to handle the issue, stressing that further deliberation on the legislation was unconstitutional

As soon as the bill came up for consideration, Abaribe, relying on Section 4, 17-20, said the Senate lacked the powers to legislate on livestock and animal husbandry.

But Senate Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi failed to quote any section of the constitution to back his claims, insisting that the passage was necessary, despite the clear provisions of the law.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan however ruled in favour, saying: “If we are looking at the economic value of the donkey, not in terms of selling it, but in terms of keeping the environment balanced, I believe we have the jurisdiction to legislate on that.

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“And based on our Standing Order 25, which gives me the chance donated by you to interpret the rules, I rule that we can go ahead and take this bill.”

Lawan, thereafter, referred the bill to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to report back in two weeks.

Also, the Senate yesterday passed a bill to establish the Nigeria French Language Village, Badagry, Lagos State, as an inter-university centre for French studies.

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The passage followed the presentation and consideration of a report by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The upper chamber further passed the Chartered Institute of Directors Bill, 2021. It also passed five bills for concurrence from the House of Representatives.

The bills are: Federal College of Agriculture Kirikasamma, Jigawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2021; Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; and Chartered Institute of Public Administration of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2021; Nigerian Film Commission Bill, 2021; and Federal College of Education (Special) Birnin-Kudu (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

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