9th House passed 510 bills, 2000 motions in four years

House, Rep Abbas Tajudeen

…adjourns indefinitely, preparatory to 10th HoR

By Tom Okpe

Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata disclosed at the valedictory session of the 9th House that the outgoing members processed 2232 bills, out of which 52 are from the executive.

He said 163 of these Bills were from the Senate and 2017 by members.

The House also, adjourned, indefinitely, preparatory for proclamation and inauguration of the 10th House, where its leaders will be elected on the 13th of June, 2023.

Fulata at the floor of the House on Wednesday during the session said: “Out of these figures, bills awaiting second reading are 1197. Bills referred to committees, 581 while Bills reported by the Committees are 275.

“Bills pending in the committee are 308. Bills within the Committee of the Whole, 106. Bills laid on table awaiting consideration, 64. Bill so far passed, remains at 510. Bills killed, negatived, 13 and bills withdrawn by their sponsors, 5.

“The House also passed 2000 motions. Mr Speaker, all these could not have been achieved without your able leadership and that of your Deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase who is also Chairman, Committee of the Whole.”

Earlier in his speech, Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said prominent achievements of the House in the last four years were the Petroleum Industry Act, (PIA) Electoral Act, 2022 and Police Reforms Acts.

He said while strategic importance of the oil and gas sector to Nigeria’s socioeconomic well-being has long been apparent, successive administrations failed to put in place, functional statutory regime to allow the sector function optimally.

He said the 9th Assembly ended that legacy of lethargy with passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act which further put the sector on the right footing.

“These statutory reforms rightfully ought to have happened a long time ago. Now, we must ensure that the reforms contained in these Acts, dutifully implemented as part of a broader energy policy suited to the realities of technological advancements and evolving demands of global energy market,” Gbajabiamila said.

He also, noted that the House passed the Police Act to change the nature of relations between the police and citizens in the country and ensure that police officers who fall short of their responsibilities can be quickly held accountable.

“The Act expressly prohibits police officers from arresting citizens for civil wrongs, imposes obligation on the police to inform citizens of their rights at the point of arrest, and mandates the police to ensure that persons arrested have access to their families and legal representation.

“In addition, the Act established the Police Complaints Units as a statutory organ accessible to the public to report police misconduct and empowered to initiate action when such reports are received,” he said.

The Speaker also said the 9th Assembly appropriated the sum of N500 million through the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) to compensate victims of police brutality, nationwide.

“The House provided timely intervention to curb adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic through passage of Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill to grant companies a rebate on Companies Income Tax, suspend import duties on medicines; and Emergency Relief and Assistance Bill to provide limited salary guarantee for low-income permanent employees of companies registered and operating in Nigeria.

“While these legislations did not pass in the Senate and never became law, they provided the framework for the federal government’s policy response to the pandemic, as the policy ideas contained therein were adopted and variously implemented through executive orders and subsequent legislations.”

The Speaker stated that the House also worked to establish, under emergency conditions, functioning care facility in the Federal Capital Territory under management of the National Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) intervened to prevent potentially devastating strike action by doctors.

He said the legislative legacy of the 9th House includes the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the Nigeria Start-Up Act, two critical legislations aimed at changing the way business is doing in Nigeria by streamlining regulations, reducing red tape, and setting the conditions for the private sector to innovate, thrive and grow.

“Our legacy also includes comprehensive electoral reforms in the Electoral Act that have changed forever for good the way we conduct elections in Nigeria.

“While we recognise the need to continue working to improve election management in Nigeria, we must acknowledge the vast improvements that have happened since the return to democracy. And we take pride in our contribution to these improvements over the last four years.

“We made an audacious attempt to create a constitution that addresses once and for all, fundamental issues that distract from nation-building.

“The constitutional amendments we enacted devolved power and responsibilities over critical areas of our national life in an effort to spur innovation and healthy competition at the subnational level.

“Through constitutional review process, the House of Representatives sought to restructure our government to make it more effective, reorganise our politics to make it more inclusive, enshrine efficient mechanisms for holding the institutions of state to account and put an end to the debilitating conflicts that even now, continue to tear our nation apart.

“By our joint effort, we achieved financial independence for state Houses of Assembly and state judiciary, granting greater autonomy to these arms of government in line with democratic best practice,” Gbajabiamila stated.

He regretted that the 9th Assembly did not succeed in removing some of the constitutional barriers that have long stood in the way of women’s full and unhindered participation in the politics, governance and economy of the nation, urging the 10th House to take up the mantle and do better.

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Gbajabiamila noted that the 9th House, with unwavering courage and determination, defended the rights and dignity of the Nigerian people abroad from every attempt to dehumanise and victimise them saying; “Our interventions on behalf of Nigerians in China during the pandemic put an end to recurrent incidents of abuse, just as our efforts on behalf of Nigerians in South Africa and Ghana caused the governments of those nations to step up action to protect lives and property of our citizens in those countries.

“From Ghana to South Africa, from China to the United States of America, we made it clear that this parliament will defend rights of our citizens to conduct their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation, and that, the wellbeing of Nigerians remains our business whether home or abroad.”

He lamented that too many young Nigerians have lost faith and are choosing in droves to seek their fortunes and future in other lands, adding that the country was losing some of its best and brightest future leaders, and if “we do not act now, the consequences of this loss will shortly become painfully evident.”

Gbajabiamila formally informed his colleagues of his appointment by President Bola Tinubu as Chief of Staff and pledged to work in collaboration with the legislature which he also said, “he is a product of.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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