23 January 2019

Nigeria: Against Its Rule, Senate Holds Plenary Without Quorum

The Senate is currently holding it's plenary with just 17 members present.

The session is against the Senate' standing order which stipulates that a one-third of its members is required to form a quorum.

To proceed with legislative business of the day, the Senate requires at least a quorum of 36 of the 109 senators.

As at 10:33a.m., the time the lawmakers adjourned to over inability to form quorum on Tuesday, none of the senators was present at the chamber.

The day's business was opened at 10:51 am, with just nine of them.

To wait for others apparently, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the 18th present, delayed reading of previous day's votes and proceedings for previous day till 11:11a.m.

This time, PREMIUM TIMES reporter counted 17 of them, a number far less than required to convene a plenary, but the lawmakers forged on.

Irrespective of this short, the Senators continued with items on the order paper.

The absence of the lawmakers can be attributed to political activities which has taken full gear in many states.

Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES can report that the senators have, in the past, been in the habit of conducting sittings without a quorum.

An investigation published by this newspaper December 2017 showed that for many days, plenary started with far lower number of lawmakers than 36.

A total of 18, 33 and 15 senators were present at the chamber on October 24, October 25 and October 26 respectively based on a count conducted after the Senate President had said the prayer.

The investigation revealed that for most of the days in the three weeks a time record was kept, the lawmakers started plenary without forming a quorum.

As at the time of filing this report, the Senate plenary was underway.

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