By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate, Tuesday adjourned plenary for lack of quorum, as only 10 Senators were present, and fixed the next legislative day for Wednesday, January 23.
The adjournment came barely five minutes into the session that began at about 10.30am.
This came shortly after Senator Andrew Uchendu, APC, Rivers East moved for the approval of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, January 17th and was seconded by the Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, PDP FCT.
At this point, the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, APC, Osun Central raised a point of Order to draw the attention of the Senators to lack of quorum and the need for the adjournment, as he then moved for adjournment of Plenary.
Senator Adeyeye was seconded by the deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South.
The Senate thereafter adjourned till Wednesday at 10.35am as thirty seven Senators out of the 109 were required to form a quorum for plenary session to take place.
According to Order 10(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 As Amended, “The quorum of the Senate shall be one third of the members of the Senate.
“(2) If, at any time during the daily sessions of the Senate, a question is raised by any Senator as to the presence of a quorum, the presiding officer shall within fifteen minutes forthwith, direct the Clerk to can the roll and announce the result, and these proceedings shall be without debate.
“(3)Whenever after such roll call, it shall be ascertained that a quorum is not present, the President of the Senate may direct Sergeant-At Arms to request and, when necessary, to compel the attendance of the absent Senators, which order shall be determined without debate; and pending its execution, and until a quorum shalt be present, no debate nor motion, except to adjourn or to suspend sitting shalt be in order.”
Those present, Tuesday, at Plenary were the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, APC, Osun Central; Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North; Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South; Senator Philip Aduda, PDP, FCT; Senator Shaaba Lafiagi, PDP, Kwara North; Senator Olugbenga Ashafa, APC, Lagos East; Senator Suleiman Adokwe, PDP, Nasarawa South; Senator Andrew Uchendu, APC, Rivers East and Senator Gbolahan, APC, Ogun West.
Debate on the general principles of 2019 Appropriation Bill was however not slated in yesterday’s Order Paper.
Items that were slated in the Order Paper that were not considered yesterday were Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill, 2019(SB) that would have been read the first time, Executive communication for the confirmation of Christopher Chejina, Delta; Bukar Kolo, Yobe and M.A. Mabdul, Benue as Career Ambassadors- Designate.
Other items were Conference Report Conference Committee Report on the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill, 2019 (SB. 242) ; Conference Committee Report
Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations; and Conference Committee Report National Inland Water Ways Authority Act CAP N47 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 240)
Others were Conference Committee Report on the Agency for National Ethics and Values (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (HB. 519) and Report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development National Fertilizer Quality (Control) Act Bill, 2019 (SB. 338).