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Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, November 8, 2018. The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presiding. After leading the opening prayer, the Speaker went on to examine and approve plenary votes and proceedings for Wednesday November 7, 2018
1. Hon. Agbonayinma Johnson brought a petition from an individual who was wrongfully dismissed from the Nigeria police force. He asked for the intervention of the House. The Petition was referred to the Committee on Public Petitions
MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Hon. Benjamin Wayo Moved the Motion on the urgent need to urge the INEC to comply with a Court order and House Resolution to restore 2 State Constituencies in his constituency in Benue and conduct elections into the Constituencies within 90 days. He stated that since the Court Order and Resolution of the House which evolved from the House Committee on Public Petitions after investigating the matter, INEC has still refused to comply, instead it seems to be looking for parts of the Constitution to utilize to its favor.
He urged the House to compel INEC to comply with the directives. Failure to do this he pointed out would mean INEC will most likely not even conduct the said elections even in the 2019 general elections. Hon. Yussuff Lasun stated that in Osun State they have suffered the same thing in 8 Constituencies that have been compressed into 4, and he prayed the House should add those affected Constituencies to the Prayer of the Motion.
Hon. Orker Jev stated that his constituency in Benue State was also affected. He wondered why a Commission of Government would disobey a Court Judgement and the Resolution of the House, as it smacks of Lawlessness. He then threw his weight behind the Prayers of the Motion. Hon. Jones Onyererei stated that it is high time the House uses its power to do something about the trend as it seems to be widespread.
Hon. Yakubu Dogara drew the attention of Members to the Provision of Sections 91, 112 and 113 of the Constitution which stipulates the way and manner the State Constituencies shall be divided subject to their proportion in the National Constituencies. He stated that on that premise INEC should not continue to work in denial of the Law, he stated that the same problem is being experienced in his State of Bauchi. He proposed the constitution of a high powered Committee to invite INEC to explain why they are in contravention of the stipulated Laws. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
2. Hon. Chinda Kingsley Moved the Motion on an urgent call on NEMA to check the incessant flooding disaster which has led to the loss of the life of a promising young individual. He lamented the lackadaisical attitude of relevant Agencies of Government to act according to the warning given before the disasters occurred in several States nationwide. As a disaster related Motion it was Voted on and Passed.
3. Hon. Chika Abubakar Moved the Motion on the lack of internal democracy in the conduct of Party Primaries in the run-up to the General elections. He recalled how there has continued to be the widespread reports of gross irregularities in the conduct of political primaries nationwide. He also stated that it is known that some Political parties did not even conduct primaries but preferred candidates who were imposed by Governors which is in contravention of stipulated and guiding Laws.
He expressed worry that if the trend is allowed to continue, the National and State Assemblies would constitute only Governor’s stooges, pointing out also that this meant denying the people of their preferred candidates, taking away their mandate. He called for the constitution of an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate and resolve the irregularities. Hon. Akinlade Adekunle expressed disappointment at how this same situation was prevalent in his State of origin, he wondered why the will of a selected few will lord it over the will of the many. Hon. Musa-Soba Muhammed stated that he was also a victim of the tyranny of the few over the many.
He stated that the democratic process was in danger because it was run by people who did not believe in the law governing democracy and this casted doubt if the 2019 general elections would be free and fair. Hon. Hassan Saleh expressed sadness why democracy around the States was sold the way it was. He also expressed disappointment in INEC who stood idly by while the mandate and choices of the people were blindly stolen. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje stated that the Motion was aimed at strengthening democracy.
She expressed sadness where the process supposed to bring out Nigerian leaders is so flawed. She likened the Nigerian democracy to an airplane that took off in bad weather. She also likened the political primaries just concluded to a coup that wrestled away the wishes of the people through money and the barrel of a gun. Hon. Gbillah Terseer in his contribution called for the consideration of the concept of independent candidacy in order to tackle the flagrant lack of internal democracy experienced during party primaries who should have been platforms for people to express their political aspirations.
Hon. Edward Pwajok in supporting the Motion stated that the Laws in the Electoral Act seem not strong enough to sanction offenders or even deter the lack of internal democracy exhibited by political parties. He called on Nigerians to rise up to the occasion and use their voter’s cards wisely. He called for the probe of the huge amounts realized from the sale of nomination forms and other financial gratifications exchanged during the primaries.
He also called for the strengthening of the electoral Act. Hon. Mojeed Alabi in speaking against the Motion stated that even though he is not happy the way political parties conducted their primaries without shame or decorum, democracy normally is inter-party and not intra-party, they are political parties and not democratic parties. He decried the way and manner in which platforms of political parties have been exalted over the status that they should have. An Ad-Hoc Committee was constituted to discuss the situation and proffer a workable solution. The Motion was then Voted on and Passed.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1. Federal University of Agriculture, Dambatta (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1566) (Hon. Badamasi Ayuba) – First Reading
2. Nigerian Red Cross Society Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1564) (Hon. Samuel Ikon) – First Reading.
3. Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1565) (Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu) – First Reading.
PRESENTATIION OF REPORTS
1. Committee on Army:
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum: ‘That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Army on Call for Evacuation of the Military Dump besides the 1st Division of the Nigerian army, at Kawo Area in Kaduna State (HR. 94/2016).
2. Committee on Army:
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum: ‘That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Army on Need to Avert possible Breakdown of Law and Order in Oke-Kura, Ilorin, Kwara State due to the Incessant Harassment of Indigenes by Soldiers and Prisons Officials Protecting the Oke-kura Prisons (HR. 18/2016) (Referred:21/6/2016).
3. Committee on Army:
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum: ‘That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Army on Investigation of Crisis in Ogoni Land, River State (Referred: 3/3/2018)
ORDERS OF THE DAY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE): Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding
1. Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness:
Hon. Ali Isa J. C:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on Need to Investigate the Violation of Public Trust in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and approve the recommendations therein” (HR. 52/2018) (Laid:24/7/2018).
(i) On the issue of donation of 6,779 metric tons of rice by Chinese Government for IDP’s in the North East, the Committee recommends as follows:
(a) that the House condemns in strong terms the negligence and inefficiency of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the long delay in collection of the donated rice from the Port Terminal;
(b) that NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Budget and National Planning should account for the 6,779 Metric tons of Rice donated to Nigeria Government for the benefit of IDP’s in the 6 States of the North East by the Chinese Government but was never received by the beneficiaries. The ICPC, EFCC and Nigeria Police Force (Police) should conduct further investigation and prosecute where necessary;
(c) that the ICPC, EFCC and Police should ensure recovery of the payment of about N800m demurrage from the concerned officers of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and NEMA. They should further investigate the conflicting testimonies of the above agencies and determine whether there was multiple payment transaction for the demurrage;
(d) that the suspension of six staff of NEMA by its management is an abuse of power, against the extant public service rules and a gross violation of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It is also a privileged communication under the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, any person that obstructs a witness before a legislative House is also guilty of contempt of parliament;
(e) that the affected staff below be immediately re-instated by NEMA and the appropriate authorities and all their arrears of entitlements paid:
1. Mr. Akinbola Hakeem -Director, Finance and Accounts
2. Alhassan Nuhu -Director Disaster & Risk Reduction
3. Mr. Emenike Umesi -Ag. Director, Special Duties
4. Mohammed Kanar -Deputy Director Welfare
5. Mr. Mamman Ibrahim – DD Captain of the Air Ambulance
6. Yunusa Deji Ganiyu -Asst. Chief Administrative Officer
(ii) On the issue of receipt and utilization of N1.6 billion for flood victims in 16 states, the Committee recommends;
(a) that the House condemns in its entirety the display of insensitivity to the plight of flood victims showed by NEMA management in the handling of the relief materials;
(b) that the ICPC and EFCC should further investigate the matter and recover the sum of N700m from the Director-General of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, who is the Accounting Officer of the Agency.
(iii) On the issue of funds released for emergency intervention of food security in the North-East, the Committee recommends;
(a) that all the government officials involved in the approval, processing, release and diversion of the sum of N5.8billion for the emergency intervention of food security in the North East, which contravened the provisions of S.80(2) and 80(4) of the Constitution, infraction of due process for procurement and loss of government revenue, flouting of the terms of the Eurobond loan are hereby indicted and the relevant Security Agencies should take steps to recover the money from them;
(b) that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) being a banker to the Federal Government should not be involved in giving loans to private companies. Consequently, the N2billion said to be given to four named companies is a fundamental infraction and should be further investigated.
(iv) On the issue of release of N3, 153,000,000.00 to NEMA for food intervention to the North-East, the Committee recommends;
(a) that ICPC and EFCC should recover N1,150,000,000.00 being subsidised cost of 5000 metric tons of rice from the present Director General of NEMA, Eng. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, who claimed to have donated same to World Food Programme (WFP) when they were ready to pay for it or import same;
(b) that in view of the fact that there is evidence that the balance of 5,000 metric tons claimed to have been supplied by Olam Nig. Ltd and 3 Brothers Nig. Ltd at the cost of about N1.5billion to NEMA was not received by the States of the North-East, the money should therefore be recovered from the Director-General, NEMA.
(v) On the matter concerning evacuation of Nigerians from Libya, the Committee recommends as follows:
(a) that Federal Government should make available adequate funds to the relevant agencies of government for the rehabilitation of those Nigerians evacuated from abroad, in order to prevent them from going back;
(b) that the process, procedure, method and cost of evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad is opaque and should be made more transparent in order to ensure better accountability;
(vi) On the question of unaccounted N17, 889,050,401 released from Ecological Fund to NEMA, the Committee recommends;
(a) that NEMA should submit through the appropriate authority all the Ecological funds accruing to it yearly to the National Assembly for Appropriation in order to meet the Constitutional requirements;
(b) that a comprehensive investigation into the receipt and utilization of 20% Ecological Fund to NEMA over the years be carried out by the House.
(vii) That based on the investigation conducted by the Committee, it has been established that the Federal Government of Nigeria lost a total sum of over N33 Billion Naira as a result of mismanagement or outright embezzlement of funds occasioned by the actions or inactions of the Managing Director of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja . It is consequently recommended that the Director General of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, be relieved of his duties by the President, Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria and be handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Ali Isa stated that the Committee sat and found concerning the way and manner the management of NEMA expended the finances and food/ materials in carrying out their duties. It found out that many intended beneficiaries of these gestures nationwide were either totally neglected or short-changed. This was even the manner it handled the rice donated by the Chinese government to IDPs in the Northeast to alleviate their suffering from activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Summary of Voting:
Recommendations Voted on and Carried: 1 (a-c, e), 2 (a & b), 3 (a & b), 4 (a & b), 5 (a & b), 5, 6 (a & b) and 7
Recommendation collapsed: 1(d).
2. A Bill for an Act to ensure full Integration of Nigerians with Disability into the Society and Establish a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Vest it with Responsibilities for their Education, Healthcare, Social, Economic and Civil Rights; and for Related Matters (HB. 476) (Committee of the Whole: 6/11/2018).
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Edward Pwajok stated that the Bill is as a result of the former one rescinded to be further worked on. The reworked Bill which is now presented promotes collaboration of all relevant Agencies to ensure they comply with the Act. It also seeks to correct the lacuna of ensuring the sources of funding is taken care of.
Summary of Voting:
Clauses Voted on and Approved: 3, 38, 45
HOUSE IN PLENARY: The House in Plenary approved and adopted the proceedings of the House in the Committee of the Whole.
3. A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education, Owerri; and for Matters Connected Therewith (HB. 1537) (Senate (Leader) – Second Reading.
Hon. Ahmed Idris Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and was Seconded by Hon. Edward Pwajok. Hon. Ahmed Idris stated that the Bill was from the Senate was seeking concurrence. It aims to continue the good work of the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure continuity in the educational sector. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee of the Whole.
4. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria or effective Regulation, Registration of Members and determination of what Knowledge and Skills that a Practitioner is required to attain in Order to Qualify to Practice as a Forensic and Investigative Auditor; and for Related Matters (HBs.1540, 1340 and 1455) (Senate (Leader), Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta and Hon. Kayode Oladele and Hon. Ekpoattai I. Owoidighe) – Second Reading.
Item stepped down by leave of the House.
5. A Bill for an Act to make provision for Retirement Age of Teachers in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1554) (Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid) – Second Reading.
Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Lawal Abubakar. In leading the debate Hon. Adesegun stated that the Bill seeks to ensure the economic emancipation of teachers of primary and secondary schools, especially as it has been done for teachers in Higher Institutions. He also pointed out that many people enter into the teaching profession looking for other greener pastures and once those opportunities come, they leave teaching, thereby depleting the pool of teachers, so the ones that stay should be allowed to stay longer. He also pointed out that teachers get better in impact with age and experience. Hon. Mohammed Monguno in supporting the Bill stated that it is purely due to lack of motivation in the sector that doesn’t attract the younger generation. He stated that longevity and security of service is a sure form of attracting the younger generation to the profession. He urged the training and retraining of teachers to be more adaptive to modern times. Hon. Edward Pwajok stated that even though he is above 50, he is able to teach his children who are in primary schools. He pointed out that the NTI ensures the refreshing of teacher’s knowledge base. He also reminded House Members that only the previous day (Wednesday, November 7, 2018), they Passed a Bill not to discriminate on age for job seekers, they should not now be seen as speaking from both sides of their mouths. Hon. Ahmed Idris in supporting the Bill stated that teachers need all the support as the older ones are more patient with young children just as grand parents as against parents. Hon. Betty Apiafi in opposing the Bill stated that there is a generation gap and the younger ones are so advanced that the generation of 60 years prior cannot meaningfully impact on them and their computerized demands, this she said continues as the years go on. She suggested the turnover of younger age teachers who are more compliant be given a chance to impact. Hon. Sunday Adepoju also opposed the Bill and called for the younger generation to be trained to make more impact especially as they are younger generation jobless teachers who can do it better. The Bill was Voted for, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the House Committee on Basic Education and Services as well as that on Public Services.
6. Need to Include the Reconstruction of the Ajaokuta-Itobe-Anyingba-Ankpa-Otukpa Road in the 2019 Budget:
Hon. Hassan A. Omale:
Notes that the Ajaokuta-Itobe-Anyingba-Ankpa-Otukpa Road, stretching from Kogi State to Benue State has become a death trap and a route for armed robbery attacks and other criminal activities;
Further notes that economic activities can only thrive in communities where there are good access roads to transport farm produce, goods and services from one point to another;
Recalls that the Ajaokuta-Itobe-Anyinga-Ankpa-Otukpa Road used to be the major link between the North and the Eastern part Nigeria for ease of business transactions in the sixties and seventies boosting the economy of the nation, until the recent deplorable situation of the road;
Concerned that due to the deplorable state of the road, the distance which would have been covered in less than one hour now takes almost a whole day, especially along the Ajaokouta-Itobe section of the road;
Worried that the neglect of the road by the Federal Government has slowed down economic activities in the surrounding communities;
Cognizant that reconstruction of the road will also reduce the rate of armed robbery and kidnapping activities which occur almost on a daily basis as well as improved transportation within the axis;
(i) Urge the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to include the reconstruction of Ajaokuta-Itobe-Anyingba-Ankpa-Otukpa Road in 2019 Budget Proposal ;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Works to ensure compliance.
Hon. Omale Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Sunday Adepoju. As an infrastructure related Motion it was Voted on and Passed.
The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, November 13, 2018 by 11:00 Am
Media Unit, Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives.
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