16 June 2017

Nigeria: National Assembly Has Powers to Alter Appropriation Bill - Dogara

Photo: Presidency Nigeria
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo with Bukola Saraki, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara and Garba Shehu.

Abuja — The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, yesterday said that the National Assembly has powers of appropriation. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was reported in the media to have said that the lawmakers lack such powers.

Reacting to a matter of privilege by Lawal Abubakar (APC, Adamawa), Dogara said the claim, which was widely reported by the media has no basis and should not be taken seriously by any right thinking citizen.

He said, not minding the opinion of any citizen or status, the constitution has conferred on the legislature powers to consider, review and allocate budget estimates as might be contained in appropriation bills.

He said those contesting these powers were merely acting on 'emotional intelligence' and would not be allowed to mislead citizens. Abubakar, who claimed that the media reports impugned on his privileges, cited sections 59, 80 and 82 of the constitution, where he maintained that the executive has no powers to rewrite the constitution, which does not make the legislature its surrogate.

Dogara said: "Having listened to your point of order on this matter of privilege, I will say that inasmuch as it's important, we will not be debating it, as we have several issues to attend to today.

"However, I don't want to believe that the Acting President made those statements as were reported in the publications that you have referred to. "You will agree with me that there is the principle of separation of powers. The legislature makes the law, the executive executes what the legislature has approved, such as the budget, while the judiciary interprets it. "

Dogara stressed that without legislative inputs into the country's law making process, Nigeria would deteriorate into a lawless and disorderly society.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to ensure the smooth debate on the general principles of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), members of the House committee on petroleum upstream attended a workshop organised by Toncia Energy Consultant. aimed at broadening their knowledge on the benefits inherent in the passage of the Bill.

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Victor Nwokolo, assured that the House would pass a much more comprehensive PIB as against that of the Senate wing which was restricted to issues relating to governance of the petroleum industry.

The lawmaker who represents Ika North/Ika South Federal Constituency of Delta State said the PIB, which had already scaled the second reading stage on the floor of the House will surely be given accelerated attention.

He said the PIB before the House would surely address issues relating to the protection of the interests of the host communities of oil producing states as well as non-oil producing communities in the country.

He assured that the House would thereafter convene a public hearing on the PIB bill so as to give stakeholders the opportunity to make input into the PIB bill before it is passed into law eventually.

Also, the House yesterday adjourned sittings for two weeks to enable members observe the end of Ramadan, which comes up on Monday, June 26.

Chairman, House committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas said the occasion would let lawmakers reflect on the tenets of Islam and seek the face of Allah in solving the numerous economic and security challenges in the country. The House resumes on July 4, 2017.

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