MUSA BABA AHMED, Abuja
As the 7th House of Representatives winds down on Thursday this week, only 123 Bills out the 755 introduced to the House in four years have been passed.
Of the 755 bills which passed include 70 Executive sponsored legislation, 679 private members Bills and 6 Senate Bills.
Out of the total, 348 of them are still awaiting second reading and referrals to relevant committees on the floor with barely three legislative days to the end of the 7th Assembly.
Of those which succeeded in making it to committee stage for further legislative action, 140 of them are left pending with no hope of them seeing the light of day before Thursday.
The legislative laxity did not end with abandonment of bills after first reading, but also spanned to committees’ reports as a total of 43 are still awaiting consideration.
In the area of motions, a total of 819 motions were introduced and debated in the last four years with 555 of them emanating from members either on order of notice or as Matters of Urgent Public Importance (MUPI).
Of the whole, only 226 were passed and either referred to standing committees or Ad-hoc committee upon passage of which many reports are still being awaited.
While a total of 23 Bills were negatived and withdrawn, 26 motions were negatived while 18 were withdrawn in the period under consideration.
Notable among committees’ reports which have failed to see the light as the House down in three days time includes:
Public Accounts Committee panel on the alleged N10bn chartered aircraft by former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
While the committee could not seat to probe the allegation due to a court order barring it from doing such, it did not officially report back to the House explaining the circumstances surrounding its inability to do so as a matter of procedure.
Other reports still being awaited are:
- Ad-hoc committee on the evasion of Tax and Duties by Rice importers headed by outgoing Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor.
- The report of the committee on MDGs which probed the level of utilisation of MDGs funds by beneficiary agencies headed by Hon. Hassan Ado Garba from Kano.
- Ethics and privileges committee reports on bribery allegation involving the then chairman, House committee on Education and Ad-hoc committee chairman on the probe of Fuel subsidy, Hon. Farouk Lawan levelled against him by businessman, Femi Otedola.
Another report which the Hon. Gambo Dan-Musa-led committee popularly referred to as “burial ground” is seating on is the allegation that former President Jonathan bribed some selected members of the House with the sum of $50,000 (US Dollars) each to make them move for the impeachment of former Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal following his defection from the PDP to the APC as alleged by Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki, from kano.
Also being awaited is the report of the committee on the investigation into a media report alleging that PDP Reps were being torn apart due to conflict of interest in the sharing of largesse from former President Jonathan following an altercation between the out House Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola and Irona Alphonsus Gerald on the floor of the House.
While many may view the number of Bills and resolutions passed as inadequate and unimpressive, it is also instructive to note the various face-offs between the 7th House and the Jonathan-led Executive which served as sources of distraction hampering smooth legislative activities in areas of probe, oversight duties as well as MDAs responsiveness to legislative summons.