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COVID-19: Reps Deny Suspending Sitting for Two Week

By Jude Opara, Abuja

Nigeria’s political scene was thrown into controversy yesterday when the House of Representatives allegedly suspended sitting for two weeks to recess on the dreaded Coronavirus disease.

Report had stated that the House took the decision based on a motion entitled: “Emergency response to the dreaded Coronavirus”, proposed by a member, Hon. Unyinye Idem and adopted by Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.

However, a statement signed by Spokesperson of the House, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, said though a motion was considered “on the urgent need for emergency response and need to contain the deadly coronavirus in Nigeria on the issue, plenary was not suspended.

“The House of Representatives, in plenary on Tuesday the 3rd of March, 2020,
considered a motion on the urgent need for emergency response and need to contain
the deadly coronavirus in Nigeria.

“The motion was thoroughly debated and passed. Some of the prayers include the need for the leadership of the National Assembly to set up an ad-hoc committee to liaise with the relevant health agencies to ensure efforts to combat the virus are intensified.

“The House also called for a better orientation of the disease by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture through relevant media outfits to keep Nigerians abreast of the situation.

“An amendment to the prayers of the motion calling on the House to suspend plenary
for two weeks to work and contribute its legislative efforts by helping to sensitize
constituents on the coronavirus and how it is being handled, was also adopted.

The amendment also urged the management of the National Assembly to put measures in
place to ensure the virus does not find a place to fester in the National Assembly.

It is, however, necessary to clarify that the two weeks suspension of plenary has not
commenced and is subject to reconsideration by the House.

The leadership of the House is to meet and consider the arrangement necessary before a date can be fixed for the sensitization of constituents by their respective lawmakers, therefore, the
business of lawmaking continues on Wednesday March 4, 2020.

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