By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
As the plenary session at the National conference resumes today, delegates will deliberate on the reports submitted by the committees on religion; citizenship, immigration and related matters; land tenure and boundary matters, and that of environment.
The plenary was adjourned on Monday for resumption at 10:00 am today to give delegates some time to study the reports of the four committees and decide whether to argue for or against the proposals the committees have recommended.
There was however disagreement among delegates on Monday over the procedure to be followed if a delegate wanted to argue for or against a committee recommendation on the floor of the conference.
While the leadership of the conference ruled that a register would be opened whereby delegates willing to debate on committee provisions would indicate so by writing their names, some delegates opposed this idea suggesting that it would lead to censorship and delegates who didn’t get to speak complaining of discrimination.
A delegate representing the North-West geo-political zone, Professor Auwalu Yadudu argued that opening a register for interested speakers was contrary to order 9, rule 9 under the conference’s guidelines which says each representative body shall speak through a representative.
He described the ruling by the secretariat “totally disorderly and chaotic the method of asking members to submit their names and pick speakers in the form of a lottery”, adding that “rules should be followed”.
In defence of the leadership’s decision, the conferences chairman Justice Idris Kutigi noted that there wasn’t enough time for each and every one of the representative bodies to speak as there time would not permit this.
“We shall open a register. Time will not allow us to take everybody, we the table will be free to call people along the zones” the Chairman said.
The committee on religion whose report will be deliberated upon today came up with three main recommendations. Firstly, the committee recommended a religious equity commission to handle religious rights abuses. Secondly, it proposed that the Federal Government should stop sponsoring religious pilgrimages, and thirdly it gave a proposal on the restoration of ethical values.