Opposition to bills: Reps stand down budget debate

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 Contrary to its promise, the House of Representatives yesterday stood down debate on the 2014 Appropriation Bill.

This came as the rift  between the All Progressives Congress (APC)  lawmakers, their counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties in the chamber deepened.

Although the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, had said the House would begin second reading on the budget, it was deleted from the order paper at the last minute.

The House replaced it with consideration of report on the review of 1999 Constitution (amended).

It was gathered that the decision to stand down debate on the budget was informed by fears that the debate may escalate the face-off between PDP and APC lawmakers.

A principal officer, who pleaded for anonymity, said the leadership took the decision to avoid another open confrontation between the APC legislators and their colleagues in the PDP and the other parties.

 

 

 

On Monday some lawmakers PDP, Labour Party, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Accord Party under the aegis of National Unity Group of the House of Representatives said the directive by APC to its members is  to block executive bills was a call to anarchy and would be resisted .

Another group known as Joint Action Team equally tackled APC  stating that it has has rejected  the controversial directive .

APC legislators however replied their colleagues yesterday as they agreed to work together to checkmate PDP lawmakers on all fronts.

After a meeting which lasted for about  two hours , they resolved to frustrate any motion or bill that is not in their interest.

The move , a source at the meeting said is aimed at proving  that they are  in the majority.

He said “we are going to use wisdom to manage the directive our leaders gave to us , definitely  some executive bills will suffer.

 

“We are ready to face our PDP colleagues  in any form on the floor of the House , that I can assure you. “

 

True to thier vow, APC lawmakers made sure all contributions of PDP members on the floor of the House  were frustrated.

 

An attempt by Hon Friday Itulah (PDP Edo) to  amend a motion was unanimously rejected APC lawmakers  who eventually carried the day.

Another move  by PDP members to second motions and bills were  frustrated  by APC members who shouted them down.

The motion entitled: ‘Urgent need to assist the victims of a fire disaster in Rumuwoji market in Port Harcourt, Rivers, sponsored by Hon  Blessing Nsiegbe,APC, Rivers state however,scaled through.

Contacted on why the House shelved the debate on the budget contrary to its promise, Hon Mohammed declined comment on the issue.

Mohammed had on thursday last week  told newsmen  that the the chamber would commence a second reading of the 2014 budget on Tuesday(Yesterday).

 

Meanwhile , the House held a mock voting on the adhoc committee report  on amendment of the 1999 constitution.

The actual voting will commence on Thursday , indicating that debate on the budget may not commence soo

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