There is a looming crisis in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly as Senate President Godswill Akpabio reportedly amended the Senate standing rules but in flagrant violation of Order 109 of Senate Rules.
It was gathered that the Senate President in connivance with the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele amended the Standing Rules on Saturday night to include the creation of new committees without 72 members present, representing (2/3) majority in the chamber.
It was gathered that some Senators are threatening to take drastic actions over the issue, decrying the impunity of his flagrant violation of paragraphs 4 and 5 of Order 109 of Senate Rules.
An insider source said that Senate Leader, Bamidele, APC, from Ekiti State introduced the amendment to the Senate Rules on Saturday at about 7:30 pm in violation of the amendment rules.
According to the source, Senator Onawo Mohammed (from Nasarawa) moved the point of order at about 7.50 pm and informed the Senate that passing the amendment is a clear violation of order 109(1-5).
The Senate upheld the point of order moved by Senator Onawo and suspended passing it for now.
“Senate Leader (Sen Bamidele) presented it on Saturday night and it was passed the same night without 72 members present in the chamber (2/3) and also, it was meant to be passed on another date set up by the Senate,” a source disclosed.
Senator Onawo, when contacted on the telephone, confirmed the development and expressed worry about the urgency of the amendment that warranted it to come up on Saturday.
“But they later suspended the order to accommodate the error after their attention was drawn to the irregularities. The snag is that what’s the urgency that necessitated the amendments at that odd hour?” he asked.
Order 109 of Senate Standing Rules (2022 as amended) Mode of Amending the Senate Rules, states that:
“(1) any Senator desiring to amend any part of the rules or add any new clause shall give notice of such amendments in writing to the President of the Senate giving details of the proposed amendments.
“(2) the President of the Senate shall within seven working days of the receipt of the notice, cause the amendments to be printed and circulated to members. Thereafter, it shall be printed in the Order Paper of the Senate.
“(3) the mover or movers of the amendments shall be allowed to explain in detail the proposed amendments; thereafter the Senate shall decide by simple majority votes whether the amendments should be considered or rejected.
“(4) if the decision is to consider the amendments, then another date shall be set aside by the Rules and Business Committee whereby opportunity would be given to Senators to further propose amendments but must strictly be confined to the original amendments.
“(5) Two-thirds majority shall decide the amendments and such amendments shall form part of the Rule of Senate.”
The rules that were amended and the new committees created include: “Amendment of 96 (1): Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions. There shall be a Committee to be known as the Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.
“New 96(2): Committee on Agricultural Production, Services and Rural Development.
“There shall be a Committee to be known as Committee on Agricultural Production, Services, and Rural Development appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.
“New 96 (11): Committee on Constituency Outreach. There shall be a Committee to be known as the Committee on Constituency Outreach appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.
“New 96 (43): Committee on National Agency for Sciences and Engineering Infrastructure.
“There shall be a Committee to be known as Committee on National Agency for Sciences and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.”
“Amendment of 96(48): Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
“There shall be a Committee to be known as Committee on Niger Delta Affairs appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.
“New 96 (49): Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission.
“There shall be a Committee to be known as Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate.”
It was earlier on Tuesday reported the announcement of the leadership of the 10th Senate and 74 Senate standing committees by Akpabio.
The Senate committees and their leaders include Senate Committee on Agric Production Services and Rural Devt – Mustafa Saliu; Senate Committee on NDDC – Asukuo Ekpenyong; and Senate Committee on Agric. Colleges and Institutions – Adeniyi.
Others include: Senate Committee on Air Force, headed by Senator Akwashiki Godiya; Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and financial crimes, headed by Senator Udende Emmanuel; Senate Committee on Aviation, headed by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai; Senate Committee on capital market headed by Senator Osita Izunaso; Senate Committee on establishment and public services headed by Senator Cyril Fasuyi; Senate Committee on ecology and climate change headed by Senator Seriake Dickson.