The Federal Government has approved the extension of the ongoing National Conference by four weeks, the Conference Chairman retired Justice Idris Kutigi has announced.
Kutigi, who made this known at the Thursday’s plenary, said that the leadership of the conference had requested for six weeks extension but an approval of four weeks was granted.
“After our sitting yesterday (Wednesday), we visited the Secretary to the Government of Federation and we were informed that the government only granted us four weeks extension. We have asked for six but we were given only four weeks.
“In that regard we have to get our programmes tight up because I think the conference will now end on July 31.
“Due to the time factor, the conference management feels we should request from the delegates whether you are prepared to put in extra sitting hours on Fridays and Saturdays?
“I know you did a lot during the committee stage, now is the final stage we also need the same sacrifices from you. We are requesting for additional sittings on Fridays and Saturdays,” Idris said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the request was unanimously rejected by the delegates with some suggesting other ways to fast track the conference decisions and gain more time for deliberations.
Dr Bello Muhammed, representing Kebbi State, said there was no need for an extension in the sitting time if the conference could come up with a right procedure in deliberating and adopting various committees’ recommendations.
Mrs Esther Gonda, representing Plateau State, suggested that the two hours alloted for lunch should be reduced to one, “because I have observed that some of us finish eating by 3pm.”
Chief Mike Ozekhome, an addendum delegate, who also agreed that the time for lunch should be reduced, suggested that the time allotted to each delegate to speak on a matter should be reduced to three minutes.
“We should also sit by 9am instead of 10am which is the normal time parliamentarians and courts sit across the world,” Ozekomeh said.
NAN reports that after various suggestions by the delegates the conference agreed to be resuming sitting by 9am from Mondays to Thursdays.
Idris, however, said that the 9 a.m. sitting agreement would commence on Monday.