The Senate’s rejection of the bill effectively ended the debate among Southern governors and federal lawmakers.
When the bill was read for concurrence on the Senate floor, Senator Gabriel Suswan (Benue North West) cited Order 85 of the Senate Rules, which states that Senators must be provided with full details of any bill coming up for concurrence.
Senator James Manager of Delta South, who seconded Suswam’s motion, stated that there was a need for more details on the bill because only the title was reflected on the Order Paper.
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The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in 2020 amid widespread scepticism among members and the general public.
Prior to the bill’s passage, Sada Soli, Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, stated that the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as commissioners for Justice and Attorneys-General of the Federation’s 36 states, had been consulted, and that the opinions received would be attached to the bill and distributed to all members.
Mark Gbillah, a Benue State member of the House, had raised the alarm when the bill was scheduled for its first reading.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan later upheld the senators’ objection and adjourned plenary for the day.