N’Assembly Suspends Plenary over Death of Members

By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu

The Senate and House of Representatives at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday from its 19 days Easter break, adjourned again over the recent death of two members — Hon. Haruna Maitala and Hon. Suleiman Lere.

Maitala, who was representing Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State, died on April 2 in an auto crash along the Abuja/Jos highway.

Lere, who was representing Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State died after a brief illness on April 6.

While the Upper Chamber adjourned plenary to Wednesday, 14th April, the Lower Chamber adjourned to Tuesday, 20th April, 2021.

Moving the motion for adjournment, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said: ”Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise in accordance with our tradition, to move two motions: one for the suspension on all other items scheduled for consideration on the order paper today; and also another motion for this distinguished chamber to observe one minute silence in honour of the departed, I so move.”

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while putting the motion to a voice vote, which was unanimously supported by senators, described the demise of the two lawmakers as another sad development in the National Assembly.

The upper chamber, thereafter, held a minute silence in honour of the deceased lawmakers.

At the House, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed sadness, saying that the death of the lawmakers is a painful one.

Gbajabiamila said: ”Both deaths were shocking, Hon. Maitala from Plateau State, quiet gentleman. I saw his family last Sunday in Jos. As expected, the loss was very painful to his loved ones. The circumstances surrounding his death is very painful. The day he died, he had just come back from an official assignment of the ECOWAS parliament and was going to Jos for his son’s wedding when death confronted him. He died together with his son and Hon. Yusuf Gadgi legislative aide. He tried to run for House of Representatives a couple of times and lost and eventually got it and then this. We commiserate with the family.

”Hon. Lere’s death is also painful, we know how he struggled in law courts for his election petition case and he eventually won almost after two years. We swore him in two months ago which was a very bitter fight, only for us to hear he died a few weeks after his swearing-in. Both deaths are difficult to understand but God knows best.”

The Speaker also disclosed that upon resumption next week, valedictory session will be held for the late Hon. Ossy Prestige who died in February after a brief illness.

Thereafter, the lawmakers observed a minute silence in honour of their late colleagues, followed by a motion for adjournment moved by the House Leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa, and seconded by the Minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

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