Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Plenaries and other activities of the House of Representatives and the Senate were on Tuesday suspended, as both chambers of the National Assembly pay their respects to late Hon. Raphael Nomiye, whose sudden death was announced last Saturday in Abuja.
Two investigative hearings were earlier scheduled to hold on Tuesday at the House, but the House rule, which stipulates that plenaries and other activities be suspended in honour of the deceased, was observed as both hearings were also rescheduled for other dates.
Presiding over the plenary, which commenced at about 11:50 a.m., the speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, directed prayers to be said for the repose of the deceased in the Christian and Muslim orders.
After the prayers were said by two different members, one from each denomination, Tambuwal, who expressed sadness over the loss of his colleague, called on Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, leader of the House, to move a motion for adjournment.
“Honourable colleagues, it is with heavy heart that I announce the passage of our colleague, Honourable Raphael Oloye Nomiye, whose sad event occurred on Friday. In keeping with the rules of the House, the House will suspend plenary and all the activities in honour of the deceased.
“This morning, I also received a call from the Senate president (David Mark), who intimated me, and said that I should share with you their decision in the Senate to also suspend plenary in honour of the deceased. I’ll, therefore, at this point, call on the House leader to move for the adjournment for the House,” he said.
Having moved for adjournment, it was seconded by Hon. Leo Ogor, the deputy leader of the House.
After the plenary, Tambuwal, who addressed the press, described late Nomiye as a committed legislator, adding that members would surely miss him.
“Well, of course, he was a man of peace… a very humble, very gentle character. He has never approached me nor any member of the leadership with any form of complain, and he has been a very, very committed legislator… always attending to his duties and callings, be it at the plenary, or at the committee levels. We shall surely miss him. May his soul rest in peace,” he prayed.
Earlier, two hearings that were scheduled to hold simultaneously, were also put off in respect of the deceased.
In the Committee on Foreign Affairs’ hearing on ‘alleged plan to sell official residence of Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nation (UN) in Tarry Town, New York, USA’, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, chairman of the committee, deferred the hearing till Thursday.
She explained that the postponement was both to honour her colleague, as well as give the minister of foreign affairs the opportunity to attend.
“You meet us at a not happy circumstance. I don’t know, if you are aware that we lost a very dear colleague of ours. And so, it is customary, the House of Representatives ruled that when we lose a member, in reverence and out of respect for that member, that we suspend all businesses of the House, which include plenary and committee assignments. So, I am very, very sad today to say to you that we have lost our colleague.
“We are also sad because the much anticipated public hearing would have to be deferred by… I would have said 24 hours, but I would like to give the minister the opportunity to attend. I must apologise to everybody that it was due to circumstance beyond my control. I wish it wasn’t…, but we now stand adjourned until same time Thursday God willing,” she said.
In his ad hoc committee set up to investigate the alleged land racketeering in the FCT, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, chairman, said: “It is a very sad day for us here at the House. We had slated this hearing for today, but by the twist of fate, we lost one of our members. I’m sorry, the honourable minister, you know the way these things are done. So, I want to crave your indulgence and apologise to all our invitees. We will let you know in due course the comfortable date.”