By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to re-gazette and reconsider the controversial National Water Resources Bill.
This came after a member, Rep. Benjamin Mzondu raised a matter of priviledge stating that the process which led to the passage of the bill earlier by the House in July 2020 was not duely followed.
Mzondu who drew attention of the House to the breach of procedure on the Bill cited relevant sections of the House’s Standing Orders,
which states that where a Bill on a particular subject matter failed to pass in the preceding assembly, it has to be re-gazetted or fresh clean copies transmitted to members for consideration.
He argued further that the Bill was not re-gazetted, neither clean copies made available for members, stressing that his privileges were breached, as he was ignorant of the content, as well as not in a position to educate his constituents on it. His position was supported by several other members.
After listening to the submissions, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila ruled that the lawmaker was in order, directing that the Bill be expunged from the business of the House and be regazetted.
“Recall that I brought the infectious diseases Bill, and when I was informed that the procedures was wrong, we have to send it for public hearing. On the issue raised by Mzondu, any such Bill must be re-gazzetted. It is good to err on the side of caution”, Gbajabiamila stated as he directed the Rules and Business committee to send it back for that purpose.
Addressing journalists later, spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, explained that “the basis of the withdrawal wasn’t the content, it was the procedure. We are waiting for that process to be followed, and we will take it from there”.
Recall that the Bill was passed by the 8th assembly of the House of Representatives, but was rejected by the then Senate.
Meanwhile, the House has confirmed receipt of the reviewed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). This was contained in a letter by President Muhammadu Buhari, which Speaker Gbajabiamila read out to his colleagues during plenary.