Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, provided additional clarifications, stating that the House should err on the side of caution given how similar the subject matter appears to be.
On Wednesday, a bill attempting to legalize the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis, better known as marijuana, for business purposes, sparked a heated debate in the House of Representatives.
The new legislation, which was proposed by Benjamin Kalu and Olumide Osoba, two members of the House, aims to change the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act in order to give the anti-drug organization more authority to provide licenses for marijuana cultivation, sales, and usage.
“A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to confer additional Responsibility of the power to grant and revoke licenses for the cultivation of Cannabis (or any of its three species, namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indicia, and Cannabis Ruderalis) Plant for Medicinal purposes; and for Related Matters (HBs. 1190 & 1918)” was the title of the proposed legislation.
Rep. Benjamin Kalu moved for the second reading of the Bill but Rep while Miriam Onuoha raised a Point of Order that she had sponsored a similar Bill and hers should also have been consolidated and recognized.
Rep. Nkem Abonta called for understanding from Rep. Miriam Onuoha due to legislative time factor. He urged that the Bill should be taken and Rep. Onuoha should be incorporated.
Speaking on the matter, Rep. Abubakar Yalleman called for the stepping down of the Bill to accommodate Rep. Miriam Onuoha, however, Rep. Abubakar Fulata stated that the amendments of Onuoha’s Bill and the current Bill may differ.
Intervening, Rep. Sada Soli went on to point out that there are indeed some differences between the consolidated Bill and that of Rep. Miriam Onuoha.
Making further clarifications, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the subject matter seems similar enough and the House should err on the side of caution.
He also stated that thoroughness cannot be sacrificed on the altar of time-factor, though it is understandable that time really is of the essence as the House has tonnes to achieve in the short time available to it.
Before the following legislative day, Rep. Gbajabiamila urged all parties to come to consensus on their positions.
The Bill was then withdrawn in order to allow for additional parliamentary activity.