Technical Hitches Mar Senate Plenary

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•Suspends plenary over House member’s death
•Buhari seeks Senate confirmation for 16-man NAHCON board

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate plenary was yesterday marred by malfunctioning of microphones at the chamber as the upper legislative assembly suspended sitting in honour of a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Jafa’aru Ilyasu, representing Rijau/Magama federal constituency in Niger State, who died in Abuja on Monday.

This is just as President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the names of a 16-man board for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to the Senate for approval.

The technical hitch that affected microphones and other sound systems in the Red Chamber was noticed when Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, came under Order 43 of the Senate Rules to move a motion that the plenary be suspended, over the death of Illyasu.

For about three minutes, he tried without success to use his accredited microphone while attempts by the technical unit of the Senate to fix the fault failed to yield any result.
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, apparently worried by the development asked the Senate leader to use any available microphone.

He said: “You are the leader of the Senate; you are free to use any microphone here, so please go ahead.”
This resulted in Abdullahi using the microphone of Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, despite the clear provisions of the Senate Standing Rules.

Section 11 (2) of the Senate Standing Rules states: “A senator may only speak from the seat allocated to him, provided that the President of the Senate may change the allocation from time to time.”
Abdullahi while moving the motion for the suspension of Senate plenary as a result of the death of Hon Illyasu, also called for the observation of a minute silence in his honour.

When it was the turn of the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to second the motion, he also left his accredited seat and opted for the same microphone used by the Senate leader.

He used the opportunity to stress the fact that the renovation of the Senate chamber was long overdue
“There is no better time to renovate the National Assembly than now. We need to put this facility in place and upgrade it as soon as possible,” Abaribe said while seconding the motion.

Worried by protest from lawmakers over the technical challenge, Lawan pleaded with them to understand the situation and adjust until something is done to remedy the problem.

Lawan thereafter led the senators to observe a minute silence while the Senate through a voice vote suspended plenary till today.
Meanwhile, Buhari has nominated Mallam Olakunle Hassan from Osun State as new Chairman of the National Hajj Commission ( NAHCON).

The appointment of Hassan along with 15 others into the commission, was forwarded to the Senate for confirmation via a letter dated November 28 and addressed to the Senate president, who read it to his colleagues at yesterday’s plenary.

The president in the letter titled: “Appointment of Chairman and members of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria ( NAHCON)”, anchored the appointments on section 3(2) of the Commission’s establishment Act 2006.

Other nominees as contained in the letter are Abdullahi Hardawa from Bauchi State as Executive Commissioner – Operation, Inspection and Licensing; Nura Yakasai from Kano State as Executive Commissioner – Policy, Personnel Management and Finance and Sheikh Momoh Suleman Imonikhe from Edo State as Executive Commissioner – Planning , Research, Statistics, Information and Library.

Other nominees to serve as part-time members are Halimat Jibril ( Mrs) from Niger State, Abba Jatto from Borno State, Garba Umar from Sokoto State and Ogbonnia Amah from Ebonyi State.

Others are Sadiq Musa from Delta State, Akintunde Olayinka (Mrs) from Ogun State, Shehu Dogo as representative of Ministry of Aviation and Nura Abba Rimi as representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rabi Bello Isa as representative of Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Zainab Sherrif as representative of Ministry of Health, Aminu Yarima as representative of Nigeria Immigration Service ( NIS) and Ibrahim Nuhu as representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN).

The president added that names of representatives of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, will be sent to the Senate for confirmation as soon as the ongoing consultations to that effect are concluded.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hassan will be replacing Abdullahi Muhammad from Kaduna State as chairman of the commission.