By Aaron Ossai
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Akin Rotimi Jnr has said that the House has considered over 300 motions while 1,800 Bills scaled first reading since its inception in June this year.
Speaking during the House maiden weekly press briefing on Thursday, Hon. Rotimi said that the House Committee on Public Petitions considered 100 petitions submitted by distressed citizens within the period under review.
The briefing featured presentations from Chairmen of the House Committees on Rules and Business, as well as Public Petitions respectively.
In his welcome remarks, Hon Rotimi who doubles as Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs thanked the House of Representatives Press Corps for their support since he assumed office and expressed his vision to anchor communications of the Chamber on the pillars of transparency, engagement and accessibility (TEA).
Hon. Rotimi further highlighted key developments from the Chamber in the outgoing week, to include presentation of two key reports on the Legislative Agenda and Amendment of the House Standing Orders by Chairmen of the two respective Ad hoc Committees that were saddled with the responsibilities.
He also added that two new members; Zango Baba Abubakar (Yola North/Yola South/Girei Federal Constituency) and Magaji Jaafar Abubakar (Maiha/Mubi North/Mubi South Federal Constituency) subscribed to the Oaths of Allegiance and Membership respectively, following recent judgements by the Court of Appeal on their election petitions.
Giving an overview of bills that are currently under consideration by the House since its inauguration in June 2023, Chairman of the Rules and Business Committee, Hon. Francis Waive, revealed that over 1,800 bills have scaled first reading while ten ten pieces of legislation have so far been passed by the House.
Hon. Waive described the passage of the Nigeria Audit Service Bill which repealed the Audit Ordinance of 1956 as one of such landmark bills, just as he listed a key achievement of his Committee to include innovations in the areas of the Notice and Order Papers in order to enable a seamless distribution process and allow effective contributions by Members during plenary.
The Delta federal lawmaker further praised the 10th Assembly for its unprecedented feat in the area of motions, noting that over 300 motions sponsored by no fewer than 200 Members have so far been sponsored despite the fact that 80% of the lawmakers are newbies in the federal parliament.
This he attributed to the vibrancy among the present crop of Members and the inclusive approach adopted by the House Leadership.
In the area of public petitions, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Michael Etaba, disclosed that over 100 petitions have been received by his Committee since inauguration and are currently being considered.
He highlighted about ten petitions that were under consideration in the outgoing week. These petitions, he noted, bother on allegations of fraudulent practices by public institutions amounting to billions of dollars and one lodged by the Apo Market Traders Association against the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA).
Fielding questions from journalists, the House Spokesman debunked the narrative that the ‘traditional Standing Committees’ were ‘balkanised’ by the Speaker on the basis of political patronage.
He clarified that the current Committees which have largely been inaugurated this week, were constituted in line with present realities in the polity to create the right structure for its envisioned strengthening of oversight functions and to ensure seamless engagement.
This position was further corroborated by Hon Waive who noted that the House Leadership should be commended for taking a bold step towards carrying Members of such a politically diverse parliament along, while dismissing the claim that the newly-reformed 70 Parliamentary Friendship Groups were a duplication of both the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and that on Diaspora.
Earlier, Hon Rotimi disclosed that the House passed a couple of motions of urgent public importance in the outgoing week, pointing especially to a motion sponsored by Hon. Blessing Onyeche Onuh, bothering on a Robbery Attack and gruesome killing of Police Officers and Citizens in Otukpo, Benue State on Friday, 20th October 2023. The Ekiti federal lawmaker noted that the House condemned the killings and urged security agencies to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the heinous act.
The trio of lawmakers noted that details of the Amended House Standing Orders and the Legislative Agenda which is a product of extensive consultations including engagement with citizens, key civil society actors and other stakeholders,will be considered and adopted by the House next week