ABUJA, Nigeria – The Nigerian Senate resolved on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, to reinstate its original schedule of holding plenary sessions three times a week.
This decision supersedes the biweekly arrangement that was instituted by the Ninth Senate as a precautionary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
Consequently, the Senate will conduct its plenary sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week, in compliance with the legislature’s rules, which were temporarily shelved by the Ninth Assembly.
This move is instrumental in aligning with Section 63 of the Nigerian Constitution, which mandates that the Senate and the House of Representatives must each convene for a minimum of 181 days annually.
Additionally, Section 68 stipulates that any legislator who fails to partake in proceedings for less than one-third of the required number of days will be automatically unseated.
The reduction in sitting days to two per week had rendered it impossible for the two chambers of the National Assembly to meet the constitutional prerequisite of 181 sittings per year.
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South) brought attention to the issue during the plenary by invoking a Point of Order.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who was presiding over the session, concurred with Senator Abaribe’s point and approved the motion to revert to the original schedule.
It’s noteworthy that while the Senate had, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, restricted its sittings to Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the House of Representatives maintained its schedule of three plenary sessions per week until the commencement of the Tenth Assembly.
This development is indicative of the gradual return to normalcy as the nation continues to grapple with the post-pandemic phase, and underscores the importance of upholding constitutional responsibilities even amid global challenges.
The resumption of thrice-weekly sittings is expected to expedite legislative processes and bolster governance.