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Reps in rowdy session as speaker withdraws controversial water bill

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The House of Representatives has withdrawn its controversial National Water Resources Bill, 2020.

The House was thrown into a turmoil on Tuesday, while considering a Matter of Privilege, raised by Rep. Benjamin Mzondu(PDP-Benue) to be heard on the contentious National Water Resources Bill, 2020.

Mzondu’s motion sought the withdrawal of the Bill, owing to the public outcry against it and its breach of House’ Rules.

In presenting his Matter of Privilege, Rep. Mzondu cited Order 6, Rule 1(1), 2 and 3, as he argued forcefully, against the transmission of the Bill to the Senate and its finally becoming law.

He said, “I wish to refer to Order 6, Rule 1(1), 2 and 3 and Order 12, Rule 18 to state that I was deprived of my legislative Privilege of sighting a gazetted copy of the National Water Resources BillHB 921, and such could not participate in the consideration of the report by the Committee of the Whole, which also deprived me of my rights and privilege of representation to my people.

“Mr. Speaker, Hon. Colleagues, it is in the effort to eliminate the “Element of Surprise”, that the House in its wisdom, included in its Standing Rule, that every Bill, must be gazetted or clean copies circulated. It is important to note that the word emphasized here, is “gazette”, which means appearing in the Bills Journal of the House.

“The words used are clear and unambiguous, they ought to be given their ordinary meaning, as stated.

“Mr. Speaker, Hon. Colleagues, I was misled by the use of order 12, Rule 18 of our Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Colleagues, it is an issue of law and procedure, and Hon. Speaker, the onus of interpretation, lies with you. Where the Bill was labeled as Bill 2020, it was not considered as such.

“The laws lay, on your shoulder to interpret these rules as stated in Order 7 Rule 1(7). It is important to emphasize that I have painstakingly searched through all the journals of the House, and cannot find where the Bill is gazetted and I stand to be challenged or corrected.

“The next question for your consideration, Hon. Speaker, deals with jurisdiction, whether the House such powers to entertain a bill, such proceedings become a nullity, ab initio no matter how conducted and decided”.

” So having not met this condition, I wish to move, relying on Order8 Rule 8 and the above-stated rules, that “The House do rescind/expunge its decision of 23rd July 2020, which adopted the National Water Resources Bill, 2020 HB921 to have been read the Third time from our records”.

His latter prayers were granted, after a prolonged debate from both sides of the legislative divide, as the Speaker ordered for the withdrawal of Bill.

“Fundamental issues have been raised by Hon. Mzondu. He has backed them up, with a clear language, that such bills, must be re-gazetted”, Gbajabiamila said.

While the Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase, who argued against Mzondu’s position, stressed that the bill followed due process in its passage.

Wase’s argument was buttressed by the sponsor of the bill, Sada Soli(APC-Katsina), and the Chairman of the Rules and Business Committee, Hassan Fulata(APC-Jigawa).

Lawmakers, led by Kingsley Chinda(PDP-Rivers), however, put up a strong defense for Mzondu’s submission, leading to the decision of the speaker to order for the withdrawal of the Bill, for a fresh gazetting.

The bill which was earlier introduced as Executive Bill was killed in the Senate, but passed in the House.
The instrument, however, couldn’t be retransmitted to the Senate for Senate’s concurrence before the 8th Assembly lapsed.

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Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

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Surrender and seek forgiveness, Army tells B’Haram insurgents

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The Nigerian army has called on Boko Haram insurgents to drop their arms, “seek forgiveness and reconciliation”.

General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Nigerian Army, AA Eyitayo, made the call on Sunday at an event organised for journalists by the army in Maiduguri, Borno state capital.

Eyitayo said Boko Haram insurgents are in a state of disarray, following the recent military onslaught against them.

He asked the insurgents to surrender and take advantage of the opportunity to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

The brigadier-general, who is also the commander sector 1, operation Hadin Kai, asked the media to enlighten the insurgents about the call for them to “shun violence”.

“We are not here for bloodletting, nobody is happy that people are dying,” the GOC said.

“Some of them (insurgents) are listening to the media so it is good for us to appeal to them through the media to shun violence, turn up to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.”

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BREAKING: Bennett replaces Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister

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Israel has elected Naftali Bennett its new prime minister after its parliament narrowly voted in favour of a new coalition government, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule.
Sunday’s vote, passed by a 60-59 margin, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four elections.
Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned bitter rival, will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprising eight parties with deep ideological differences.
Netanyahu remains head of the Likud party and will hold the post of opposition leader, according to a report obtained Sunday evening.

Netanyahu reportedly sat silently during the vote.
And after it was approved, he was said to have stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking hands with Bennett.
Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then sat down in the opposition leader’s chair.
Minutes later, Bennett was sworn into office, followed by members of the new cabinet.

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