Lagos Assembly summons Attorney-General over pending bills

Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa

Eromosele Ebhomele

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa

Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, on Monday ordered the Clerk of the House, Mr. Ganiyu Segun Abiru to summon the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, to meet with principal officers of the House over bills inherited from previous sessions of the House of Assembly.

The decision followed the confusion that arose from a request by Mr. Kazeem asking the Assembly to stop legislative activities on outstanding bills inherited from previous sessions of the House.

Read on the floor of the House by the Clerk of House, the letter from the commissioner listed 15 bills, which he said the House should suspend.

The Speaker said that it was important to have a meeting with the Attorney-General since he was new on the seat.

The commissioner’s request was faulted by the Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, who said that he had earlier received a letter from the Commissioner for Justice through the Clerk of the House calling on the Assembly to revive the pending bills from the executive arm of government.

He said that the latest letter had contradicted the first one and that it was wrong for the commissioner to have called for the suspension of the bills.

“The call was unnecessary because there is room for the executive to make amendments during public hearings that would be called by the House on the bills.

“We cannot stop work on the bills as against the request of the Attorney General. So I will suggest that we should continue working on them,” he said.

This opinion was supported by Bisi Yusuf, who represents Alimosho Constituency 1. Yusuf said that the suggestion of the Attorney-General was wrong and that the lawmakers should be allowed to do their job.

Another lawmaker, Gbolahan Yishawu, said the executive arm could send any additions to the bills to the House rather than calling for the suspension of work on them.

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The Chief Whip of the House, Rotimi Abiru, noted that each arm of the government has its own responsibilities, emphasising further that making a law was a process and that if the executive arm wanted to make any amendment, the latter could send it to the House during public hearings.

On his part, Lanre Ogunyemi representing Ojo Constituency 2, said that Ibile Oil and Gas bill was already a law and that it should not have been part of the bills suggested for suspension by the commissioner.

He said that the Attorney-General did not have the power to ask the Assembly to suspend the bills, as according to him, the fact that he had requested for the revival of the bills made the latest request unnecessary.

Tunde Braimoh of Kosofe Constituency 2, said the commissioner might want to substitute the bills with other ones and that the matter should be critically considered.

Moshood Oshun representing Lagos Mainland Constituency 2 noted that the letters were contradictory even though government was a continuum.

“We should continue work on the bills. He does not have the power to write us such a letter.

“The Governor ought to sign such a letter, and the executive arm should wait for public hearings on the bills and come up with any amendments,” he said.

Tobun Abiodun, another lawmaker stressed that it was the duty of the Assembly to tell the executive arm that it was elected by the people to do some jobs and that the executive could bring their additions to the bills during public hearings rather than an outright instruction to stop.

In his contribution, Sola Giwa, a lawmaker, stated that the second letter nullified the one earlier sent, but that the Majority Leader ought to have corrected the Attorney-General that he did not have the power to make such requests, when he wrote the first letter.

He then suggested that the Speaker could facilitate a parley between the executive arm and the legislature on the issue and other matters of interest.