19 of 35 Nigerian lawmakers absent as ECOWAS Parliament opens

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Nineteen out of the 35 Nigerian representatives were on Thursday, absent as the 2018 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened in Abuja.

Nigeria is the highest contributor to the ECOWAS and also has the highest number of Members of Parliament as against other countries who have between five and eight representatives to the Parliament.

However, when the roll call was taken at the opening of the Parliament on Thursday, 19 members of the parliament were not on ground to answer their names.

The Opening session which was scheduled to begin at 10 A.M only commenced at about 11:15 A.M. when the Speaker, Moustapha Cisse Lo walked in and the session began with the ECOWAS Anthem.

Top on the list of prominent Nigerian lawmakers who were absent when the roll call was taken include former senate leader Ali Ndume.

Others were Sen. Foster Ogola, Sen. Biodun Olujimi, Sen. Gershom Bassey, Hon. Ibrahim Danbaba, Sen. Yele Omogunwa and Sen. Isah Hamman Missau.

Other members of parliament who were also not on ground at the time of the roll call include: Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, Hon. Mani Ashiru, Hon. Shehu Garba Sarkin-Noma, Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim Hon. Olatunbosun Oladele among others.

A few of those that were present include: Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, Sen. Nelson Effiong, Hon. Tijjani Kaura, Hon. Mohhammed Shaaba Lafiagi, Sen. Joshua Dariye and Hon Asabe Vilita Bashir among others.

A similar low turnout of Nigerian representatives had been observed at the parliament’s session in November 2017 but journalists were refused access to the attendance lists for the session.

Many of the Nigerian representatives just come to make an appearance, sign the attendance and off they go.

A source at the Parliament who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that some member actually just come in, sign the attendance and walk right back to their waiting vehicles and leave.

At the last session in December, the Speaker one one occasion complained about the significantly low turn out of members and encouraged them to attend sessions and to be punctual.

Prior to the roll call, the Parliament on a sad note held a minute silence in honour of late Nigerian lawmaker and Member of Parliament, Sen. Mustapha Bukar.

Bukar died in April at the age of 63 and had since been buried according to Islamic rights.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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