The House of Representatives has suspended the passage of the N271 billion 2014 Appropriation Bill of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) as lawmakers protested against its second reading.
House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal announced the suspension in deference to the protest which came shortly after the House leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, presented the bill.
According to the speaker, it became necessary to halt further debate on the bill since no lawmaker had submitted his name to him to contribute to debate on the bill. He cited Rule 97 (4) of the House Standing Rules, which states that during debate on money bills, members should submit their names that will be arranged alphabetically and they will be allotted five minutes each to make contributions.
Trouble however started shortly after House leader had finished presenting the lead debate on bill when the supporting contribution from the Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor, was intermittently interrupted by other members who said they did not have details of the proposed budget and could not contribute to the debate. Ogor ignored the shouts from his colleagues and insisted on going on until he was overwhelmed by the disorderliness forcing the speaker to call for restraint.
Out of the N271.125 billion proposed for the 2014 fiscal year, N49.200 billion is for personnel cost, N62.891 billion for overhead cost while the balance of N159 billion is for capital projects. The House also could not conclude debate on the proposed amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act, sponsored by Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Delta).
Debate on the bill continues next Tuesday. The proposed amendment is entitled “a bill for an Act to further amend the Electoral Act, N0. 6, 2010 to ensure a level playing field for all participants in the electoral process and institute more transparent process of conducting elections in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith.”
Giving details of the proposed amendment, Reyenieju said the bill sought to amend section 2 of the principal Act that fixed the tenure of the secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at four years, renewable only once. The amendment also seeks to empower INEC to accredit observers and monitors during election.
It also seeks to vest the power to request the president to deploy soldiers during election in the INEC only.