Reps In Rowdy Session Over Bill To Grant Immunity For Legislators



The House of Representatives on Tuesday went into a rowdy session over an amendment to alter section 308 of the Nigerian constitution.The move by the legislators is to give room for immunity of the national assembly leadership.

Sponsor of the bill, Leo Ogor, the minority leader of the house, said by providing immunity for the leadership of the national assembly, the independence of the legislature will be guaranteed.

“The amendment is straight forward but it needs some clear explanation,” Ogor said. “The amendment seeks to strengthen the national assembly, they (leadership) should be protected in the period they are in office.”

But kicking against the amendment, Femi Gbajabiamila, the majority leader, said the timing of the legislation is not right.

“We must feel the pulse of the people; there is something about timing, timing in any piece of legislation is important,” he said. “There are issues in the senate and I pray it’s resolved.”

At this point the house went rowdy for about 15 minutes, as the lawmakers all spoke on top of their voices and it was impossible to hear anyone.

While some of the members were calling for the speaker to rule on the amendment, others wanted it to be thrown out.

When calm was finally restored, Yakubu Dogara, the speaker, said according to the house rules, the bill would be sent to the special committee on constitutional review.

“The bill can die even at the committee, “he said.

Guiding the house, Ayorinde Olabode, the deputy chairman rules and business, cited order 8 rule 98 of the house rules, which states that any bill that seeks to alter the constitution be sent to the special committee.

In his ruling, the speaker passed the bill for second reading and referred it to the special committee on constitutional review.      The Sun

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