Reps Divided Over Deregistration Of Political Parties

Terry Ikumi and Akinola Ajibola  
Updated September 27, 2019
A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.



There was division among members of the House of Representatives on Thursday over a bill seeking to urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties in the country.

Those listed for deregistration are political parties who failed to win at least one seat in the National Assembly or a State House of Assembly in the last general elections.

While some of the lawmakers questioned the powers of INEC to deregister the political parties, others were of the opinion that it was necessary to investigate whether or not such powers existed.

They also stressed the need to ascertain why the electoral body has yet to deregister the political parties in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

Mr Francis Uduyok from Akwa Ibom moved the motion calling on INEC to implement Section 78(7, ii) of the Electoral Act.

In the absence of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, presided over the final plenary for the week.

After the motion was moved, the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, raised a point of order on the powers of the electoral body to which the deputy speaker agreed.

However, another lawmaker Mr Toby Okechukwu (Enugu) raised a counter-point of order, but Mr Wase disagreed him.

This led to the division among members of House while the motion was eventually stepped down.


Reps Probe Crude Oil Theft

Meanwhile, the lawmakers have set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the quantity of crude oil stolen on a daily basis and those accountable for the theft.

They took the decision after Mr Chukwuma Umeoji from Anambra State raised concerns over the economic loss suffered in the country due to the crime.

The House noted that Nigeria loses about N5 trillion annually as a result of the crime, adding that N1.3 trillion worth of crude oil was stolen in the Niger Delta region since the beginning of 2019.

It directed the ad-hoc committee to determine the volume of oil extracted and the quantity of oil sold in the country and report back to the House in eight weeks.


House Moves To Rename Fire Service

In another development, a bill for an act to repeal the Fire Service Act of 2004 scaled through second reading in the House during Thursday’s plenary.

The bill was sponsored by Mr Dachung Bagos from Plateau State.

It seeks to change the name of the agency from Fire Service to Fire and Rescue Service, to enable the service to carry out rescue services and not just firefighting.

The bill enjoyed the support of the lawmakers who agreed that in keeping with changing trends, it was necessary to upgrade the fire service to save not only property but lives as well.

It was, thereafter, referred to the Committee on Interior for a public hearing.

The House has adjourned till Wednesday next week, October 1 for the commemoration of the Independence Day billed to hold on October 1.