The House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday ordered all committees still carrying out investigations that have not been concluded to discontinue same forthwith and turn over such mandates to the Committee of the Whole House immediately.
The Speaker’s declaration is a fulfilment of a threat he issued over a month ago when he gave all ad hoc and standing committees yet to conclude their assignments to do so within one week or forfeit their mandates to the whole House.
Apparently disturbed by the deliberate refusal to his directive after five weeks, Dogara, was during Wednesday plenary, reminded of the need to see his threat through.
This development followed a point of order raised by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, (PDP, Delta) who cited Order 17 Rule 3 and Order 10 that the issue should be re-visited as it affects the tenets of the 8th Assembly’s Legislative Agenda.
Ossai, in his submission, reminded the Dogara of his previous directive saying: “Five weeks ago Mr Speaker, you ordered that committees that had not submitted their reports in the last one year should submit their reports or forfeit their rights to such bills or probes
“Mr Speaker, five weeks after, nothing has happened and this runs contrary to the legislative agenda of this 8th House which you have been championing.
“These committees were mandated to submit their reports within 30 days according to our House Rules but six months and even one year after, they are yet to submit reports,” Ossai noted.
He explained that some of the bills and investigations are more than a year old, adding that “some are even two years old and we’ll be failing in our duties if nothing is done.”
At this point, the Speaker called on the Chairman Rules and Business, Rep Orker Jev, APC, Benue, to give a narrative to the House on the directive he gave five weeks ago.
The House Rules and Business Committee Chairman, Hon. Oker Jev (APC, Benuey), who moved the motion leading to the Speaker’s ultimatum told the House that “we committee complied with the directive and letters were sent to all the affected committees but they complained of spending money to conduct public hearings so we gave them sometime.
”We gave them time because if we don’t, the House will be losing money and if you remember, I was the one that brought it to the knowledge of the House,”Jev said.
In his ruling, Dogara ordered that his earlier directive five weeks ago be immediately effected.
On October 11, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep Emmanuel Oker-Jev had informed the House that a total of 162 committees’ investigative reports were yet to be laid before the House, with some taking more than two years after they were constituted.
INDEPENDENT gathered that the ad hoc committees, which had the maximum time line of eight weeks to conclude their assignments, were major culprits.
INDEPENDENT had exclusively reported that despite the one-week ultimatum given to the affected committees, various investigations hitherto abandoned by the members suddenly resurfaced with some of the ad hoc panels travelling outside Nigeria for comparative analysis as well holding summits.
The House Special Committee on Economic Recession headed by Hon. Bode Ayorinde is one of those panels rushing to conclude their assignments almost 10 months after despite the speaker’s ultimatum, using oversea travels and national summit to retire allocated funds.