Lawmakers clash as Reps remove water bill
Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday clashed over the controversial National Water Resources Bill.
Recall that a Water Resources bill was passed not too long ago by the lawmakers .
The PDP said the bill was introduced through back door and didn’t follow due procedures.
Most members of the southern part of the country and the PDP opposed the bill raising various legal and procedural issues with the bill even as their northern colleagues tried to oppose them.
The clash began when a first-time memeber from Benue State,Mr Bem Mzondu, raised a point of order, under Order 6 Rule 1(2) and (3), alleging that his legislative privilege was breached as the bill did not follow the due process and that a copy of the bill was not made available to him.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata had earlier on said, “The bill can’t be stepped down because the House has passed it already. The lawmakers that are saying that they will step it down or that it was introduced illegally is because, may be, they were not there on the floor of the House when the members were given the opportunity to look at the bill not once or twice. Remember it was passed by the eighth Assembly.”
However, on Tuesday, a PDP member Mzondu said, “I was deprived of my legislative privileges of sighting a gazetted copy of the National Water Resources Bill,”
According to him, the rules of the house had been misapplied on the bill. He said the bill didn’t go through the first, second and third readings.
He cited Order 12 rules 16, 17 and 18 stating the bill had no life until it is treated as an old bill. He further said, “My rights have been infringed upon and as I stand, I cannot go to my constituency because I need to show them copies of this bill, and I have gone through all our journals but it is not there. I, therefore, move that this bill be rescinded, expunged or begin its journey from the start.”
A group, Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) said the bill was meant to further impoverish people who live in coastal communities of the Niger Delta.
After a lot of propositions from different sides, the speaker said, “On the issue raised by Hon Mzondu, he has backed it up with clear language of provisions of our rules, which state that any such bill must be re-gazetted. The Chairman (of the Committee on) Business and Rules sought to rely on Rule 16, which gives a window of either re-gazette or clean copy. Unfortunately, it appears some people have done their homework.
“I think we should err on the side of caution. I think the bill should be sent back to be re-gazetted and brought back to the floor, so that we can reconsider it and nobody will have any issues at that point; right thing would have been done. Chairman Business and Rules, please, send the bill for re-gazetting and bring it back to the floor.”
And so the bill was withdrawn with a lot of positive/happy feelings from many lawmakers.
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