Reps seek additional powers to compel President, Governors, Diplomats’ appearance
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed through second reading a bill which seeks to give additional powers to National Assembly and State House of Assembly to compel the appearance of the President and State Governors.
The bill seeks to amend the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017 with the view to prescribe the offence and punishment for contempt of Legislative Houses, provide punishment on the Police or any other Law Enforcement Agent that refuses to arrest any person as directed by a Legislative House, provide exception to the kind of person to be compelled by a Legislative House, such as President, the Executive Governor and the Deputy, Diplomats and their agents, Representatives of International Organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, ECOWAS and Commonwealth; and for related matters.
In his lead debate, Hon. Hassan Fulata who explained that the bill seeks to address the lacuna in the existing law, reminded members that even recent efforts by the House to resolve critical national issues have been frustrated by individuals through their non-appearance before Committees of the House.
According to him, the bill seeks to criminalize these non-appearances as is an international practice and ensure the punishment also serves as a deterrent to defaulters.
In his remarks, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that contempt for parliament is not just a Nigerian problem and should be punishable as it frustrates the functions of parliament.
To this end, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Justice.