COVID-19: NASS Shuts Down, Says No Lawmaker Tested Positive
The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday suspended legislative activities for two weeks following the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease. Senate President Ahmad Lawan announced the suspension after the Red Chamber emerged from an about one-hour executive session.
He, however, said the Red Chamber would be on hand to attend to emergency issues. He said, “The Senate further resolves to adjourn sitting for two weeks from today due to the pandemic of coronavirus ravaging the entire world. The Senate resumes on the 7th of April.” He urged the federal government to devote special fund to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has asked its members to remain in Abuja throughout the two weeks period. The Green Chamber’s resolution to suspend sitting followed a motion by its speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and nine others.
Similarly, the House also passed the Economic Stimulus Bill that called on the federal government to provide economic stimulus packages including tax suspension and other measures to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerians. Briefing newsmen after the resolution, House spokesman Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) said members were advised not to travel out of Abuja because there may be need to reconvene on emergencies.
No NASS member tested positive The two chambers also dismissed reports that some of its members who just returned to the country from foreign trips had tested positive for coronavirus.
“So far, there is no senator that has been tested positive,” Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, told reporters after the Red Chamber adjourned sitting. He also described as untrue reports that some lawmakers evaded screening at the airport, saying the Senate had not received any complaints from the airport officials regarding screening of federal lawmakers. Also, the House spokesman described the reports as “fake and unsubstantiated rumour”.
Speaking on the purported letter written to the House speaker by the Chief of Staff to the President, Kalu said it was the handiwork of fake news merchants.
N/Assembly orders staff to stay at home
Meanwhile, the management of the National Assembly yesterday ordered all staff, including legislative aides, to remain at home with effect from Wednesday, March 25, 2020, for a period of two weeks.
Clerk to the National Assembly Sani Omolori gave the directive in a circular, NASS/CNA/46/Vol. 1/415, dated March 24, 2020. He, however, directed all staff to remain within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as any of them needed would be summoned to the office. “Failure to heed to this directive will attract sanctions,” he added.
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