Nigeria: National Assembly Suspends Plenary Over Members' Death

14 April 2021

The Senate and House of Representatives, which just resumed plenary yesterday after its 19-day Easter break, adjourned again over the recent death of two members, Hon. Haruna Maitala and Hon. Suleiman Lere, both of the House of Representatives.

Maitala, who represented Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State, died on April 2 in an auto crash on the Abuja/Jos highway, while Lere, who represented Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, died on April 6, after a brief illness.

While the Senate adjourned plenary till today, the House shifted its to April 20.

Moving the motion for adjournment, the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, said: "Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise in accordance with our tradition, to move two motions: One for the suspension of all other items scheduled for consideration on the Order Paper today; and also another motion for this distinguished chamber to observe one-minute silence in honour of the departed. I so move."

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, while putting the motion to a voice vote, which was unanimously supported by senators, described the demise of the two lawmakers as another sad development in the National Assembly.

The Senate held one-minute silence in honour of the deceased lawmakers.

At the House, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed sadness, saying that the death of the lawmakers was a painful one.

Gbajabiamila said: "Both deaths were shocking, Hon. Maitala from Plateau State, quiet gentleman. I saw his family last Sunday in Jos. As expected, the loss was very painful to his loved ones. The circumstances surrounding his death were very painful. The day he died, he had just come back from an official assignment on ECOWAS parliament and was going to Jos for his son's wedding when death confronted him. He died together with his son and Hon. Yusuf Gadgi's legislative aide. He tried to run for House of Representatives a couple of times and lost and eventually got it and then this. We commiserate with the family.

"Hon. Lere's death is also painful; we know how he struggled in law courts for his election petition case and he eventually won almost after two years; we swore him in two months ago, which was a very bitter fight. Only for us to hear he died few weeks after his swearing in. Both deaths are difficult to understand but God knows best."

The speaker added that upon resumption next week, valedictory session will be held for the late Hon.

Ossy Prestige who died in February, after a brief illness.

The lawmakers observed a minute silence in honour of their late colleagues, followed by a motion for adjournment moved by the House Leader Hon. Ado Doguwa, and seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

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