No Quorum! With Just 20 in Plenary, Nigerian Senate Adjourns Till Nov. 20

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By Harrison Arubu

The Senate has adjourned plenary till Nov. 20 after it failed to form a quorum on Tuesday.

Twenty senators were present at Tuesday’s sitting, which lasted for 10 minutes.
Section 54 (1) of Part 1 of Chapter 5 of the Constitution stipulates that a quorum of the Senate shall be one-third of all its members.

The Senate has 109 members, one-third of which is 37 senators.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lawmakers did not consider any item on the order paper before the adjournment.

The decision for adjournment followed a motion moved by the Minority Whip, Sen. Philip Aduda (PDP-FCT) immediately after the opening prayers were said.

Aduda’s motion was based on Order 10 (3) of the Senate Rules, which reproduces the constitutional requirement for quorum.

Aduda noted that the chamber was “empty today because the various committees are on oversight duties across the country to ensure the budget is performing”.

“On that note Mr. President, the Senate may wish to extend the time for oversight functions by another week so that they can resume on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018,” he said.

Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion before it was put to vote by the President, Sen. Bukola Saraki.

Saraki said, “Distinguished colleagues, before we finish today’s order paper I think it is important for us to communicate to our colleagues who are on oversight to finish whatever they have during the week.

“This is important so that we know we have finished with the area of oversight, which clearly has kept a lot of our members out of here.

“But as we all know, some of the findings emanating from the oversight are equally important, hence the need to ensure the exercise is done diligently.”

After Saraki’s remarks, Majority Leader of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, moved that consideration of all the items in the Order Paper be stood down till next.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, seconded the motion before it was passed by the lawmakers with a voice vote.

NAN recalls that it is the second time the Senate is adjourning plenary for oversight since it resumed from its annual recess on Oct. 9.

On Oct. 24, it suspended sitting for two weeks to “allow the various standing committees to embark on oversight of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)”. 


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