Reps accuse AGF Malami of frustrating National Assembly

The House of Representatives on Friday criticised the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, for some of his actions in the last one year, which it said frustrated the National Assembly’s efforts to discharge its constitutional duties.

It noted that Malami’s utterances and actions at times created the impression that the country was not under a democratic dispensation.

The Chairman, House Committee on Rules/Business, Mr. Orker Jev, while giving an update on the bills/resolutions’ chart of the 8th House under one year, cited the case of the Kogi State House of Assembly crisis.

Jev stated that the House in March initiated a joint resolution of the Senate and the House to assume control of the state assembly in the wake of the purported impeachment of the Speaker, Mr. Momoh Jimoh-Lawal, in its bid to restore peace to the assembly.

He said the National Assembly acted in compliance with Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.

However, he noted that the AGF’s interpretation of the action of the National Assembly based on his own understanding, had the intention to frustrate the resolution from coming into effect.

Jev observed that if President Muhammadu Buhari, who was once a military ruler, could embrace democratic principles, he wondered why the AGF, a lawyer, would act in a contrary direction.

He said, “This is a democracy. The President himself has become a democrat, who follows the law.

“So, it is surprising how the AGF has chosen to act the way he has been doing, especially regarding the resolution on Kogi State House of Assembly.”

The lawmaker, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress from Benue State, said the House introduced 685 bills since June 9, 2015.

According to him, 10 of the bills came from the Executive, while 675 were sponsored by members.

Jev, explained further, “There are 416 bills awaiting second reading, 130 pending in committees, while three bills are awaiting consideration in Committee of the Whole. 85 bills have been passed while 12 were withdrawn/negated.”

For motions, Jev said the House introduced 530, passed 63 resolutions, referred 446 motions to committees, withdrew 20 and deferred one.

In the period under review, “Over 300 petitions were received by the House, out of which 27 were considered.

The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, had said that more than 200 of the bills were drawn by a team of members to amend obsolete laws in the country.

Dogara recalled instances when the House introduced 130 bills for first reading in one day and another 100 bills in one day as recently as June 8.

Some of the bills were Elderly Persons (Protection Bill); National Commission for Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Migrants; National Gas Resources Development Agency Bill and Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016.”