Nigeria: No Date for National Assembly Reconvening - Saraki, Dogara

Bukola Saraki

The National Assembly is yet to set a date to reconvene to consider the 2019 budget of the electoral commission, INEC, the leaders of the two chambers have said.

Following a meeting with INEC chairman last week, the Senate and House of Representatives were expected to reconvene for a special session this week.

The session is expected to consider among other things a N242 billion budget for the 2019 elections.

Some lawmakers told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the Clerk of the National Assembly is yet to communicate on such meeting.

A statement early Tuesday confirmed the positions of these lawmakers.

"The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have directed that we inform all Senators, Honorable members and the public that a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.

"The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday August 13, 2018."

The statement was signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, media aide to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.

The inability to reconvene, they noted, was due to committee works which is yet to kick start.

"The joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.

"However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.

"Until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj."

The National Assembly adjourned for annual recess on July 24, and is officially set to reconvene on September 25.

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