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National Assembly Ignores outcry, extends recess by two weeks

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The federal lawmakers adjourned for their annual recess on July 23 and were expected to resume plenary on September 15.

However, in a notice to the lawmakers on Friday, Ojo Olatunde Amos, acting clerk of the national assembly, said plenary would resume on September 29.

No reason was given for the two-week extension.

“This is to inform all distinguished senators and honourable members of the national assembly that the resumption of plenary sessions earlier scheduled for Tuesday, 15th September, 2020, is hereby rescheduled for Tuesday, 29th September, 2020,” the acting clerk said in the notice.

“We regret any inconvenience caused by this change in date.”

The development is coming after a coalition of 39 civil society organisations (CSOs) kicked against the lawmakers’ decision to go on a break.

“The legislative year is June 2019 to July 2020; two months vacation, 56 days public holiday, 6-week Yuletide vacation – 42 days, 7-week coronavirus break – 49 days, in addition to 62 days for Saturdays and Sunday. This means 216 days out of 365 days in a year,” the CSOs had said.

“Therefore, the national assembly sat for only 149 days instead of the 181 days prescribed by the constitution.

“Many had thought that owing to the intermittent closure of the parliament in the wake of the pandemic and given the critical issues requiring legislative attention, that the lawmakers could have devised means of extending its plenary sittings and meeting the constitutionally-mandated 181 sitting days in a legislative year given the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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