By Yemi Itodo
The House of Representatives, on Friday, clarified the ambiguity, supposedly emanating from the passage of the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill by the National Assembly.
Addressing members of the Reps Press Corp at the National Assembly, the Spokesman of the green chamber, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas denied passage of any bill in the name of National Unity and Peace Corps.
The Spokesman who jointly addressed the press with other ranking Lawmakers, also said the National Assembly did not merge any organisation with the Nigerian Peace Corps, during the conference committee.
“One thing I want to clarify, in the House, we don’t have any Bill known as National Unity and Peace Corps Bill, so, I want to say, we don’t have anything as National Unity and Peace Corps or anything said to be harmonised.
“A bill passed in the House of Representatives or Senate alone can not be a law, so a conference committee (Senate and House) was put in place on the 8th of December, 2016; this Conference Committee identified about 12 clauses that differ and, they sat down to harmonise the clauses”, Abdulrazak added.
Speaking further, the Spokesman said, “The National Assembly did not merge any organisation with the peace corps”.
He, however, explained that, the conference committee of both chambers recommended that, interesting party should obtain the enrolment form and undergo the stipulated mandatory orientation programme.
“However, there is a clause that provided that, people of great interest, common interest, should be accommodated, we will like to quote that particular clause.
“‘Groups, associations that have similar objectives and have shown or are interested, shall be absolved as members of the Nigerian Peace Corps, subject to the mandatory limited training structure and teaching programme as prescribed, from time to time, upon the commencement of this act'”.
The Lawmakeralso explained the achievements of the House of Reps in legislative business, for the past year.
He said “the House of Representatives has been working, out of the 18 Bills signed by Mr President – presented to the president by the National Assembly, 17 came from the House of Representatives, while one is from the senate.
“There are also 10 bills awaiting assent of the President and eight of these bills are from the House, while two are from the Senate.
“The National Assembly is working and the President is working too”.
On the 2017 budget, the Spokesman unveiled the plans of the Reps to have a holistic and clean Appropriation Bill.
He siad, “by Monday, between 13th to 15th of February, we are going to have what we call the ‘National Budget Hearing’ – a public hearing on the budget; the aim is to make the budget an all inclusive for all Nigerians.
“So far, we have written to 59 stakeholders, to submit their memoranda and it includes, the NLC, TUC, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Bar Association and several others.
“This is to keep to the promise that, for the first time, we are going to have a public hearing on the budget. People will be able to provide their opinions and at the end, we will have a clean budget”.
When asked if President Muhammadu Buhari actually spoke to the Speaker, the Reps spokesman said, “I just confirmed to you that the President spoke with the Speaker for about five minutes”.