House Moves to Change How Federal Lawmakers Are Addressed

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives, yesterday, at the plenary passed through second reading, a Bill seeking an Act to change  how members of the National Assembly were addressed.

The proposed legislation sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno, proposed that members of the Green Chamber be addressed as Representatives’ and not Honorables while those of the Red Chamber be termed as ‘Senators’ and not ‘Distinguished’.

In his lead debate, Monguno said it seeks to amend the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act to clear the ambiguity that exists now and to be in tandem with what is obtainable internationally.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Segun Odebunmi, hailed the motive of the bill, saying it would distinguish members of the House from councillors and others at the state, who were also termed ‘Honourables’.

On his part, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase while supporting the bill, warned that its application should not make members look down on any other arm of government, as they were “all working together for the benefit of Nigerians.”
The House also passed for second reading, a bill for an act to establish Gum Arabic Research Institute; and for Related Matters to boost the country’s revenue base.

In his lead debate, sponsor of the bill, Monguno said the planned legislation was sponsored against the backdrop that Gum Arabic is a high source of revenue, as can be seen in other countries such as Sudan.
The lawmaker said this was important, especially, considering the dire need of the country for revenue from the export of such profitable commodities as gum arabic.

But Hon. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) kicked against the bill, saying the creation of the institute would bloat the cost of governance, and called for the institutes that dealt with crops to handle the harnessing of gum arabic, so as not to create duplication of institutes.

Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, praised the spirit of the bill but wondered why some other related institutes could not be used to harness the resource of gum arabic due to the economics of scale.
He called for a specialised department from an existing similar institute to be dedicated to harnessing gum arabic so that the aim of the bill was not lost, considering the cost of governance.

House leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, however, hailed the spirit of the bill as it sought to diversify the national source of foreign exchange for the country.
He expressed optimism in the benefits the proposed institute sought to achieve to benefit the Nigerian people and economy, urging members to support the bill.

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