Teddy Oscar, Abuja
A bill for the passage of the N271 billion 2014 Appropriation of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) suffered a hiccup at the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, following heavy protest from members.
The executive bill, which was presented for second reading by the House leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, was given due audience, while she went through her presentation.
Trouble, however, erupted when the deputy leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, began his contribution to support the bill.
Ogor was intermittently interrupted by other members, who complained that they did not have the details of the proposed budget, and as such could not contribute meaningfully to the debate.
He fought hard to ignore the shouts from his colleagues, and insisted on going on with his contributions.
But he was overwhelmed by the disorderliness on the floor, which forced the speaker, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to call for restraint.
The speaker observed that it became necessary for the debate on the bill to be put off since no member of the House had submitted his or her 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, which would be arranged alphabetically and allotted five minutes to each to make his or her contributions.
The proposed sum for the 2014 fiscal year is N271,125,103,635 billion.
Out of the above sum, N49,200,944,858 billion is for personnel cost, N62,891,521,857 billion is for overhead cost, while the balance of N159,032,636,920 billion is for capital projects for the service of the FCT.
In a related development, the House deferred till next Tuesday a bill for an act to amend the Electoral Act, No. 6, 2010.
This was because the House could not conclude debate on the proposed amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act, which was sponsored by Hon. Daniel Reyenieju.
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 more transparent process of conducting elections in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith”.
Giving details of the proposed items, Reyenieju said the bill seeks to amend Section 2 of the principal act fixing 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 vest the power to request the president to deploy soldiers during election in the INEC only.
The bill was supported by the deputy leader, Hon. Leo Ogor; minority leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; chairman, electoral matters, Hon. Jerimon Manwe; chairman judiciary, Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari; chairman Committee on Public Service, Hon. Andrew Uchendu, and chairman Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Hon. Dakuku Peterside.
Others, who spoke in favour of the amendment, were Hon. Ali Sani Madaki and Hon. Fort Dike.