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Reps to take position on Yar’Adua’s prolonged absence on Tuesday

By Luka Binniyat,  Abuja

After foot-dragging for long, the House of Representatives has resolved to take a position on the prolonged absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua from work on its  resumption of session next Tuesday.
The Reps said, it would not make an issue of his health, but on his “indisposition” from work (since November 23rd, 2009).

The House also dismissed claims that the signature of President Umaru Yar’Adua assenting the  2009 Supplementary Bill into law last December was forged. The Green Chamber, said the signature has been confirmed as that of the President, with the original copy of the signed Act deposited with of the Supreme Court, Abuja.

These were some of the comments made by the Chairman of Rules and Business  of the House of Representatives, Ita Enang, while briefing House of Reps reporters on the agenda for of the House for the next two weeks.

“We will discus the indisposition of the President”, he said. “It is in a form of a motion sponsored by many members of the House”, he went on.

“I cannot tell you who the main sponsor is for now, but I know that many members are co-sponsors, and as I am speaking more are signing to the motion. “The sponsors of the motion will be published for you and the members before then”, he said.

“We are not going to talk about his Health, we are going to talking about his indisposition”, he  insist, “because  there are lots of measures that members want to take on it”, he added.

“We are not going to discuss the state_of_health of the President. We are not competent to that
“But I know that there are matters for us to discuss on the indisposition of the President for this long on Tuesday plenary session”, he said.

This is coming as a surprise, because a motion raised by hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (AC/Lagos) last month, calling on the House to look into the constitutional implication of the President leaving for treatment in Saudi Arabia  without properly handing over to his deputy, was ruled out of motion by Speaker Dimeji Bankole
Section 145 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, states:

“When ever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to then a written declaration to the contrary, such functions shall be discharged by the Vice President as acting President”.

But Yar’Adua has not written  to the heads of the two chambers of the National Assembly, thus causing what many Nigerians consider a power vacuum

On the 23rd of December, 2009, a former member of the Reps _ Farouk Adamu Aliyu – from Jigawa state and one Sani Garun Gabass went to  an Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order directing Vice_President Goodluck Jonathan to start performing the function of the president.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), a coalition of  57 Civil Society Organisations and individuals with  some opposition parties on the 31st December also   declared as illegal the absence of the President without proper handover to his Vice President. The NBA is also in court asking that the VP be made acting President in the absence of the President.

On whether the signature of the President was forged on the 2009 Supplementary Appropriation Act, Hon. Enang said that as far as the House of Representatives was concern, the signature on that Act, was that of President Yar’Adua.

“We are sure that the signature is that of Yar’Adua. It is left for those who think otherwise to prove their claims”, he said.

“But, as we know, the signature on the 2009 Supplementary Appropriation is that of Yar’Adu. The original is deposited with the Supreme Court, Abuja and two copies have been sent to the two chambers of the National Assembly

“It is his genuine signature, and we have no problem with that”, he said.


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