James Emejo in Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday finally swore in Mrs. Dorothy Mato, as member of the House representing, Vandikya/ Konshisha constituency of Benue State, ending weeks of speculations and controversy.
Also yesterday, all the bills which were passed at the recent constitution review exercise in the lower chamber were presented for third reading and subsequently passed during plenary.
The passage was a mere formality to satisfy legislative requirements as the bills had their fate determined before now.
The amendments would now proceed to the Senate for concurrence after which theyâ€™ll be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly for their inputs.
However, Mato was ushered into the chamber at about 11.55 a.m. and was immediately administered the oath of office by the clerk.
Thereafter, she proceeded to shake hands with Dogara who welcomed and asked her to proceed to her seat: there was rapturous applause from members of the House as the visibly happy lawmaker was ushered to her seat by the sergeant-at-arms after exchanging pleasantries with principal officers and members.
She replaces Herman Hembe, who was sacked by the Supreme Court which ordered that she be immediately sworn in. It further directed him to refund all monies received as salaries and entitlements while he occupied the seat albeit illegally.
However, the initial delay to swear her in caused the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to warn Dogara of the consequences of disobedience.
The House, thereafter clarified that Mato was yet to complete her documentation to enable the swearing in, adding that the delay wasnâ€™t the fault of the speaker.
Her formal admission appeared to have put paid to all controversies surrounding her matter.
Meanwhile, some of the bills passed by the House include a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to include former Heads of the National Assembly in the Council of State and for Related Matters; A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to reduce the period within which the president or the governor of a state may authorise the withdrawal of monies from the consolidated revenue fund in the absence of an Appropriation Act from six months to three months and for Related Matters, as well as a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for funding of the Houses of Assembly of states directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state and for Related Matters.
Other are; a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to abrogate the state joint local government accounts and empower each local government council to maintain its own special account and make provisions for savings in the federation account before distribution to other levels of government and for related matters and a bill for an act to establish the office of the accountant-general of the federal government separate from the office of the accountant-general of the federation and for related matters â€” third reading.