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NASS crisis: Plots to remove Saraki, Dogara; top 3 issues as National Assembly resumes today

As the National Assembly resumes sitting on Tuesday (today), the lawmakers will be faced with major issues ranging from attempt by the ruling party All Progressives Congress, APC, to impeach the presiding officers, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, to the urgency needed to handle the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, budget.

Some lawmakers of the ruling party had on different occasions vowed to remove the Senate and House of Representatives Presiding Officers.

The threats were issued at the weekend by the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who had vowed that Saraki and Dogara must be removed.

Some critical issues the lawmakers would be attending to as they return to work today.

1. INEC budget

This stands top on the list of issues the lawmakers would be visiting today.

Experts are already suggesting that the delay already recorded in passing the budget may be hiccups to the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

The National Assembly Committee on INEC had during their recess, informed President Muhammadu Buhari that the sources of funding the 2019 elections budget should come from the Service Wide Vote.

The National Assembly had also during the holiday, overruled the President on the budget through its joint Committee on INEC, headed by Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), who has since dumped the ruling APC.

The Committee reduced the 2019 INEC budget by N200,272,500.

Nazif had revealed that the Committee slashed the first component of INEC budget from N143,512,529,455 to N143,312,256,955, signifying a reduction of N200,272,500.

He had said that the committee’s recommendations would be forwarded to the Appropriations Committee and the National Assembly leadership for further legislative action.

Recall that President Buhari in a letter dated July 11, 2018, urged the National Assembly to vire the sum of N228.8 billion, which included funds for the conduct of the election and other critical projects.

Buhari in the letter explained that out of the N228bn, N164bn would be for 2019 elections budget.

2. The Electoral Act Amendment Bill

This is another salient issue that may cause a stormy session on the floor of the Senate as they resume plenary on today.

For the third time, Buhari had refused to assent to the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 forwarded to him by the National Assembly.

The Bill’s constitutional duration expired last month.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, had explained that the President raised issues of drafting errors in his comment on the bill and communicated the National Assembly for needed correction.

3. State, Community police

The Bill entitled ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2018’ is sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and co-sponsored by 49 other Senators.

The Bill also seeks to: change the names of Nigeria Police Force to Federal Police Service; the Nigeria Police Service Commission to National Police Service Commission; the Nigeria Police Council to the National Police Council; and other related matters.

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