The House of Representatives on Thursday, December 8, 2016 dumped a bill seeking to give more powers to Sharia Courts of Appeal in the FCT, designed primarily to expand its scope of jurisprudence.
The Bill, which sought to alter relevant sections of the constitution dealing with Sharia and Customary laws in Nigeria, was listed for debate, having been read for the first time in October, but was surprisingly stepped down without any genuine reason.
Announcing the bill for debate during Thursday’s plenary, Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker Jev, APC, Benue, stood it down, despite clear warnings by the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara, emphasising the implication of his action.
Oker Jev, after introducing the bill, was interrupted by Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe, PDP, Imo, with a point of order on Matters of Personal Explanation, saying, “According to the rule of the House, a bill, having been listed for debate, must have copies circulated to members to study and prepare for the debate during which they are expected to make informed contributions.
“Moreso, when it relates to very sensitive issues such as the subject matter so listed. So I suggest that the Bill be stood down for members to be supplied copies before coming to debate it.”
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, however, observed: “Honourable Nnanna, as an experienced member of this House, I don’t see why you should express fears on a bill that specifically wants to amend sections of the constitution for which there is a Special Adhoc Committee.”