Thursday, May 30, 2024
Ignite the mind.


Nigeria Parliament: Plenary proceedings, House of Reps, Tues, Sept 26th, 2023.

With the Speaker of the House Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen presiding.


After leading the opening prayer and recitation of the national pledge, the Speaker approved the second votes and proceedings of Thursday, July 27th, 2023.


TIME TO WALK THE TALK:

WELCOME REMARKS BY THE RT. HON ABBAS TAJUDEEN, PH.D, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON THE RESUMPTION OF THE HOUSE ON TUESDAY, 26TH SEPTEMBER, 2023.

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, fellow Nigerians, I am happy to welcome you today to the Hallowed Chamber of the House of Representatives after our annual long recess. We must give Almighty God praise for bringing us back safely and in good health.

  1. It is with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication to the peoples’ work that I am excited to warmly welcome each and every one of you back to the Peoples’ House. I hope that each one of you had a rejuvenating time with your loved ones, and that you return to this esteemed chamber with renewed energy and determination to serve the people who have placed their trust in us. We must always remember the immense responsibility we hold as Representatives of the people and the compelling duty we have to serve our great nation.
  2. I understand that Members had expected to resume plenary in our main Chamber after the recess. However, the work has not been completed but there is progress and I can report that by the time we resume early next year, we should be resuming in the main Chamber. I plead with you to continue to endure the inconveniences of this ad-hoc arrangement as delivering service to our constituents is our utmost priority at this time.
  3. During our time away, I am certain that each one of you had the opportunity to engage with your constituents, listening to their concerns, hopes, and aspirations. It is through these interactions that we truly get to understand the impact of our decisions on the lives of those we represent. Let us never forget that our primary duty is not just to serve but to serve faithfully.
  4. In the course of our recess, our country has continued to face numerous challenges and presented with even greater opportunities and prospects. It is now our collective responsibility to address these issues with wisdom, integrity, and a commitment to the betterment of our society. The people have placed their trust in us, and it is our duty to honour that trust by working diligently towards their welfare. Thus, as we resume our legislative duties today, it is crucial that we prioritize the needs of our constituents. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to promoting good governance, ensuring social justice, and fostering economic growth. Our decisions should be guided by a deep understanding of the issues at hand and a genuine desire to improve the lives of those we represent.
  5. In this pursuit, the House had hit the ground running upon inauguration in June. To give proper focus and direction to the House in meeting the needs of our people, we set up a Legislative Agenda Committee under the able leadership of the House Leader, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere. This was borne out of our belief that agenda setting for parliament is a significant institutional framework available to shape policy outcomes that will benefit the vast majority of citizens.
  6. In carrying out this assignment, the committee convened a Stakeholders Forum which enabled Nigerians to make substantial input into the Agenda. This people’s driven approach is central to and reflects our belief that Citizens’ Engagement is the fulcrum of representative democracy. It is also the product of the “Open NASS” initiative which places high premium on regular, meaningful and productive engagement with the citizens. I am delighted to report that the Committee has completed its assignment and we are all enjoined to go through it to ensure that it embodies and meets our commitment to our people.
  7. Similarly, we set up several ad- hoc Committees to address matters of national importance. This was done before the constitution of our standing committees. The Ad-hoc Committees worked all through the recess in their different areas of mandate and I can report that they have made tremendous progress in the various tasks assigned to them. Let me use this opportunity to sincerely thank Members of these committees for the sacrifice, diligence, commitment and dedication that they brought to these important assignments. I am aware that most of the Ad-hoc Committees are yet to conclude their Reports. In the light of this development, all Ad-hoc Committees are required to conclude their assignments and submit their reports on or before 3rd of October, 2023.
  8. Accordingly, all Ad-hoc Committees shall cease to exist on October 3, 2023. However, in an event that any Ad-hoc Committee(s) is unable to conclude its assignment on this date, such tasks shall be yielded to the relevant Standing Committees.
  9. My dear Colleagues, permit me to express my displeasure at the failure of some state caucuses to send their nominations for membership of the Standing Committees. This is in spite of all the pleas made to us before our recess and assurances received from the State caucuses. As a result therefore, we are yet to fully populate the Standing Committees of the House. Consequently, the House leadership has resolved to make such nominations for States who fail to do so, by Thursday, 28th September, 2023. As you make these nominations, kindly be informed of the creation of three additional committees (State and Local Government, Traditional Institutions and Petroleum Resources (Training fund). This brings the total number of House Committees to 137. We equally created 13 more Parliamentary Friendship Groups to facilitate and deepen our capacity development and peer learning.
  10. The leadership of the House has considered that in order to strengthen the capacity of the House, only chairmen and Deputies of the Parliamentary Friendship Groups will constitute membership of the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora. This is done to allow the leaders of the Groups to gain some insight in the management of the Groups from the Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Committees.
  11. Honourable Colleagues, it is important to emphasize that for the first time in the House of Representatives, a committee on Monitoring and Evaluation was created to supervise the activities of the Standing Committees and advice the Leadership on the performance of the Committees. This is in line with our avowed commitment to service delivery. Committees that fail to meet the benchmarks would be reconstituted. In the same vein, the leadership has also for the first time created a committee on the implementation of the legislative agenda to ensure adherence and full compliance to the Agenda in our quest to serve Nigerians.
  12. In view of the premium this House has placed on capacity building, the leadership has concluded arrangement with the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILDS) to organise leadership programme for chairmen and Deputies of the Standing Communities of the House.
  13. In furtherance of our efforts to mitigate the capacity gaps of the House, I have met with Development Partners and Donor Agencies providing interventions for capacity building for Members and staff of the House of Representatives. The outcome of the meeting was the imperative to set up a Programmes Coordinating Unit (PCU) in the Speaker’s Office. This unit is expected to harmonise and coordinate the capacity development drive of the House. In setting about this task, all interventions and technical support from Donor Agencies, Development Partners and CSOs will now be centralized and channelled through the Unit. The essence is to track, monitor and coordinate these interventions to ensure that they meet the right standards, protect the image of the House and promote national security. Henceforth, Committees, Staff, Development Partners, Donor Agencies and CSOs in the House of Representatives would be mandatorily required to route such interventions through this unit.
  14. I need not remind you of the enormous challenges confronting our nation at this time. They are challenges that will engage our attention in the coming days and months. National Security remains precarious even in the face of numerous successes recorded by our gallant security personnel. Only a few days ago, the nation was rocked by the gruesome murder of a joint team of security personnel in Ehime Mbano of Imo State. A similar sad incident happened in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State when scores of soldiers were ambushed and gruesomely murdered by terrorists. Sadly, some female students of the Federal University, Gusau were abducted by terrorists while there were reports of travelers being kidnapped along the Opi-Enugu Road.
  15. Furthermore, Superintendent Okpolonwo Agbashim, Divisional Police Officer in Ahoada Local Government Area of Rivers State was brutally murdered by deadly cultists. In Zaria, Kaduna State, the Central Mosque collapsed, resulting in fatalities while residents of Trade More Estate in Abuja suffered extensive losses owing to a devastating perennial flood. There was equally distressing reports of attacks in communities in Plateau State. These are just a few examples of what happened as I believe some of you may have one experience or the other.
  16. While we mourn the loss of fellow citizens who had to pay the supreme price in the line of duty, we must condemn these attacks on the state and citizens in strongest terms. However, our best response will be the deployment of our legislative powers and instruments to ensure the security of life and property across the country.
  17. Honourable Colleagues, our economic challenges remain as daunting as they were before the recess. The country is challenged on several economic fronts: cost of living crisis occasioned by high cost of energy, cost of food is skyrocketing daily, lack of livable wages, the negative effects of the unpredictable and fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a disappearing middle class and a host of other issues. When people are hungry and despondent, what is needed is a leadership with a clear vision, a leadership that on daily basis, demonstrates its commitment and capacity to tackle the challenges at hand; a leadership that should be innovative in proffering short and long term solutions. That is what Nigerians need at this time and as Representatives of the people, we must rise up to the occasion.
  18. While the Executive Arm of government is engaging the citizens and trying to work out strategies to tackle the hardship in the country, our legislative actions must therefore be dictated by a clear robust vision aimed at supporting the Executive in restoring our citizens on the path of prosperity. We must deploy the necessary legislative instruments to create jobs, ensure payment of living wages in the civil service, pull Nigerians out of poverty, address the prevailing infrastructure deficit, rid the country of crippling insurgency; ensure the security of lives and property and affordable functional education so that no child is left behind.
  19. On account of these economic challenges, the organized labour under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seems to have lost patience with the painstaking effort of the government to plan and provide sustainable minimum wage and palliatives to citizens. The organized labour it appears would embark on a nationwide strike by this midnight following the expiration of a 21 days ultimatum issued to government. As the peoples’ representatives, we feel and equally share in the pains of our people at these very difficult times.
  20. However, I would like to appeal to the Nigerian Labour Congress to consider the various actions being taken by the Federal Government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians. As promised earlier, this House remains committed to getting a survival wage to all Nigerian workers. The 10th House had assured Nigerians that we would be interfacing between the organized labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage and such other palliatives to enable citizens cope with the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the downward fall of the naira to the dollar, skyrocketing cost of food and general high cost of living in the country.
  21. It is in our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation. I therefore urge the leadership of Labour Unions to give us the benefit of doubt and suspend any planned strike action while we engage the executive.
  22. Hon. Colleagues, it has not been entirely woes and gloom for our nation as we have been presented with opportunities and prospects to turn the tide around. Only recently, His Excellency President Ahmed Tinubu recorded a huge diplomatic and economic breakthrough with the United Arab Emirates which would see the resumption of issuance of visa to Nigerians by the UAE and the return of Emirates Airlines to Nigerian skies. We equally recorded some major economic agreements in India just as we had a productive outing at the recently concluded 78 General Assembly of the United Nations.
  23. In the coming days, the executive arm of government is expected to present a 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill as well as the 2024 Appropriation Bill to this Honourable House. It is expected that the time to consider these Bills will be short, but we must roll-up our sleeves and get to work immediately and ensure the speedy consideration of the Bills that will encapsulate the yearnings of the people. While we will maintain the tradition established by the 9th House in terms of speedy consideration of the appropriation bills, we must diligently consider the bills to ensure that they meet the needs of our constituents. We have to put in extra work hours to ensure that the budget is passed in good time to enable its implementation from the first day of the 2024.
  24. Our nation and indeed this 10th House of the People does not have the luxury of time in the face of profound national challenges. We must therefore do everything within our powers to champion causes towards addressing the yearnings of our people. On this score, our goals are clear, our determination unrivalled. We must key into the Legislative Agenda of this House as a roadmap towards navigating our numerous challenges. Our bills, motions, resolutions, actions and more should mirror the Legislative Agenda being a joint product between the House and citizens.
  25. Government has been fully formed with the inauguration of Ministers by Mr. President while Committees have been constituted in the two chambers of the National Assembly. We have no time to spare in delivering results to our people. Committees must actively engage MDAs to ensure optimum service delivery in accordance with legislations passed by the National Assembly. In the discharge of your committee assignment and oversight, you must be guided by established legislative ethics and standing orders of the House.
  26. Finally, Honourable Colleagues, let us approach this new session with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication. Our nation looks to us for leadership, and it is our duty to rise to the occasion. Together, let us work tirelessly towards building a better future for our people, guided by the principles of justice, equality, and progress. We have set legislative agenda which will act as the barometer to measure our legislative actions. It is time to walk the talk.
  27. Thank you, and may we have a productive and successful session ahead.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  1. Swearing in of Member-Elect:

Administration of the Oath of Allegiance and that of the Office of a Member-elect of the House of Representatives, on Hon. Salisu Yusuf Majigiri from Katsina (PDP).

  1. Declaration of vacancy of the seats of Hon. Olubunmi Tunji Ojo and Hon. Tanko Sununu due to their appointments into the Offices of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  2. The Selection Committee is to meet at Room 301 by 3:00 Pm.

PETITIONS:

  1. Hon. Adeasuwa Philip laid a petition on behalf of The United Patriot Assembly of Nigeria to stop the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to foster food insecurity by a decision in favor of another Organization.
  2. Hon. Julius Ihonvbere laid a petition on behalf of a complainant against the Nigerian Police, Kano state for injustice meted against him.
  3. Hon. Yinka Aluku laid a petition against the National Examinations Council (NECO) on the unlawful dismissal of one of his constituents.
  4. Hon. Patrick Umoh laid a petition on behalf of some complainants bordering on the illegitimate use of police powers and threat to their lives.
  5. Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi laid a petition on behalf of Mr. Victor Ezechi against a Supredent of Police on his constant brutalization and intimidation
  6. Hon. Clement Jim laid a petition on behalf 14 complainants against the Nigerian Army Cantonment in their region in Akwa Ibom state over the illegal confiscation of community land without adequate compensation.

All petitions were referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions.


MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:

  1. Hon. Babajimi Benson moved a motion on the need for justice and safeguarding the legacy of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad who passed away under questionable circumstances in Lagos, and it was seconded by Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi.

Hon. Benson in leading the debate stated that the Nigerian youth and entertainment industry mourns the circumstantial passing away of Mohbad. He stated that on leaving his record label; Marlian Records owned by Naira Marley, events led to exposed bullying and this is a trend of unfavorable contractual agreements suffered by so many upcoming artistes. This, he stressed frustrates the talent and expression of such artistes.

Hon. Benson bemoaned the lack of protection for artistes who are coerced and frustrated by these forms of unscrupulous agreements. He called on the House to monitor the allegations and investigation around the circumstances of the death, review contract laws in the entertainment industry for the good of the wider public and ensure the relevant committees of the House ensures compliance. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the relevant committees of the House.


PRESENTATION OF BILLS:

  1. Nigerian Medical Research Council (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB.470) (Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive) – First Reading.
  2. Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2023 (HB.471) (Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive) – First Reading.
  3. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (HB.472) (Hon. Abass Adekunle Adeogun) – First Reading.
  4. Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine Council of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB.473) (Hon. Alex Egbona) – First Reading.
  5. Federal College of Agriculture, Urhonigbe, Edo State (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB.474) (Hon. Billy Osawaru) – First Reading.
  6. Federal College of Fisheries and Aqua-culture, Ikang, Cross Rivers State (Establishment) Bill, 2023(HB.475) (Hon. Joseph Bassey) – First Reading.
  7. Federal University of Sports, Afuze, Edo State (Establishment) Bill, 2023(HB.476) (Hon. Julius Ihonvbere) – First Reading.
  8. Federal School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sobe, Edo State (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB.477) (Hon. Julius Ihonvbere) – First Reading.
  9. Federal Medical Centre, Sabongida-Ora, Edo State (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB.478) (Hon. Julius Ihonvbere) – First Reading.
  10. National Institute of Graphic Arts Designs and Printing Technology, Shomolu, Lagos State (Establishment) Bill, 2023(HB.479) (Hon. Ademorin A. Kuye) – First Reading.

PRESENTATION OF REPORTS:

  1. ​Ad–hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Abuse of 2.3 Trillion Naira from the Tertiary Education Tax by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND):

Hon. Oluwole Oke:

“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad–hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Abuse of 2.3 Trillion Naira from the Tertiary Education Tax by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND)from 2011 to date” (HR. 14/7/2023) (Referred:4/7/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Unyime Idem and seconded by Hon. Mohammed Katsina.

  1. Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the decision of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Hon. Emil Inyang:

“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad–hoc Committee to investigate the decision of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) on Medical and Dental Students studying in Ukraine (HR. 146/07/2023). (Referred: 25/7/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Emil Iyang and seconded by Hon. Chijoke Okereke.


ORDERS OF THE DAY:

BILLS:

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Medical Centres Act to Establish Federal Medical Center, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State and for Related Matters (HB. 160) – Third Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Julius Ihonvbere moved for the third reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. Abdullahi Halims. The Bill was voted on, approved for third reading and passed.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish National Youths Welfare Scheme Fund to Manage and Coordinate Youths Welfare Services to reduce challenges in Governance and Security in the Country and for Related Matters (HB. 04) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – Second Reading.

Second reading of the Bill stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Acts Authentication Act, Cap A2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide the Timeframe for the Performance of the Functions of the Clerks of the National Assembly and for Related Matters (HB. 06) (Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu and six others) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Benjamin Kalu moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. Chinedu Ogah. Hon. Patrick Umoh in leading the debate stated that the Amendment and Authentication Bill is predicated on the need to ensure the proper implementation of the Act and ensure the functions of the Clerk to the National Assembly does not suffer any vague circumstances.

He further clarified that the original Act contains certain vague and unspecified provisions that hinders the timely transmission of Bills passed by the National Assembly to the President for assent without specifying a strict timeline, causing undue delays.

Hon. Umoh expressed optimism that the implementation of the Bill will make such transmissions by the Clerk, other communications and such assents to be done within the proposed 30-day period. The Bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House committee on Justice.


MOTIONS:

  1. Need to Curb the Unethical Practices and Abuse Associated with Assisted Reproductive Health Technology in Nigeria.

Hon. Babajimi Benson:

The House:

Notes that the utilization of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) and referrals to fertility centres has witnessed a notable surge in Nigeria, especially since the advent of the new millennium;

Also notes that the fertility industry has emerged as a thriving industry estimated to be worth one billion dollars, with private and public hospitals across the country engaged in the practice;

Recognize that the practice is providing an alternative avenue for establishing pregnancies and parenthood;

Also recognize that the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures entails surgical extraction of eggs from a woman’s ovaries fusion with sperm in laboratory settings and subsequent reintegration into the donor’s body or transfer to a woman or storage in an egg bank;

Worried that women undergo surgical egg retrieval, relinquishing control over the eggs obtained between N100,000 to N150,000 per retrieval, with five to six eggs extracted per month;

Also worried about the widespread practice of terming this process as “donation,” while in reality, desperate women of childbearing age are coerced through targeted marketing to sell their eggs with potentially adverse effects on their future reproductive health and overall well-being;

Alarmed by the fact that fertility centres have capitalized on the absence of a suitable regulatory framework to exploit providers/donors and potentially engage in the trade of donated eggs; and

Cognizant that if this trend is not urgently checked, it will lead to an increase in cases of infertility and cancer infections among young donors and surrogates as well as promoting exploitative practices;

Resolves to:

(i) mandate the Committee on Health Institutions to produce a comprehensive framework for regulating egg procurement and transfer services in Nigeria, including ensuring informed consent, appropriate compensation and safeguarding the well-being of providers/donors;

(ii) also mandate the Committee on Health Institutions to investigate cases of unethical and exploitative practices in egg procurement and surrogacy by fertility hospitals and clinics and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Babajimi Benson moved the motion on the need to curb the unethical practices and abuse associated with Assisted Reproductive Health Technology in Nigeria, and it was seconded by Hon. Ayodeji Alaoakala.

Hon. Ashiru Dawodu proposed amendments to prayer 1 to incorporate all Health Committees of the House into the investigation, also to ensure a comprehensive framework safeguarding the practice is strictly complied to, in order to protect the women involved and ensure the relevant MDAs of government ensure proper scrutiny.

Hon. Beni Lar while commending the spirit of the motion also proposed an amendment to prayer 1 to incorporate the House Committee on Human Rights to handle the issue.

Hon. Kingsley Chinda, called for the complete deleting of prayer 1 as the House lacks the power to draft such framework for agencies of government under Section 4 from which the House draws its powers. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended and referred to the relevant Committees of the House.

  1. Investigation into the Collection and Disbursement of Stamp Duties Revenue in Nigeria.

Hon. Mansur Manu Soro:

The House:

Notes that Stamp Duties is a Tax Payable in respect of dutiable instruments such as contracts, agreements and receipts as provided under the Stamp Duties Act 2004;

Also notes that Stamp Duties Revenue is being collected by the duo of Central Bank of Nigeria through the Commercial Banks and the FIRS on behalf of the federation;

Aware that the new formula for distribution of stamp duties revenue allocates 15% to the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory and 85% to the States;

Also aware that Section 52 of the Finance Act, 2021 expanded the scope of the Stamp Duty Act to cover electronic transactions tagged “electronic money transfer levy” (EMTL);

Informed that the Central Bank of Nigeria through the then Governor, Godwin Emefiele in December 2022 admitted the collection of N370.68 billion as stamp duties revenue between 2016–2022;

Concerned about the past experience of disagreements between the States and Federal Government on the distribution of stamp duties revenue that resulted in litigation;

Cognizant of the fact that the Finance Act, 2021 has provided for the distribution of stamp duties revenue collected within thirty (30) days from the month of collection; and

Disturbed about the seeming lack of adequate information relating to the collection and distribution of the revenue and effective implementation of the provisions of the Finance Act;

Resolves to:

set up an Ad– hoc Committee to investigate the extent of the collection of stamp duties revenue and its distribution and to report back within four (4) weeks.

Debate:

Hon. Mansur Manu Soro moved the motion on the investigation into the collection and disbursement of stamp duties revenues in Nigeria, and it was seconded by Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka. The motion was however stepped down by leave of the House as the matter is currently under litigation between some State Governments and The Federal Inland Revenue Service.

  1. Call to End Incessant Dehumanization and Harassment of Road Travelers by Security Agents in South East.

Hon. Attorney Matthew Nwogu:

The House:

Notes the reports and growing instances of dehumanization, harassment, and extortion of citizens in the Southeast geopolitical zone by security agencies estimated to be in billions of Naira;

Disturbed by the incessant and continued dehumanization and harassment of road travellers in the Southeast Geopolitical zone of Nigeria by security agents, especially by some Police officers and Army personnel who have perfected the acts of extorting money forcefully from road travellers embarking on daily journey to earn their living;

Worried that the weapons given to the security agents to protect lives and property are now been used by some unscrupulous security agents to harass and dehumanize law-abiding travellers within the Southeast/South Geopolitical zone;

Alarmed at the brazen manner in which travellers within the Southeast are forcefully moved out from their travelling cars/vehicles by security agents and are ordered to walk some kilometres with their- hands raised above their heads thus dehumanizing and portraying them as common criminals or prisoners creating a feeling of discontentment, social unrest and creating the feeling of a conquered territory;

Aware that while a vast majority of the security personnel diligently professionally perform their duties, there have been regrettable cases of misconduct, abuse of power, and extortion perpetrated by a few individuals within these agencies, specifically, on 8 July 2023 some unscrupulous Police officers waylay and detained some travellers engage in legitimate business along Owerri-Onitsha express road and forcefully collect the sum of N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) from the travellers;

Concerned at the inability of some security personnel entrusted with the protection of lives and property to conduct themselves professionally in carrying out checks on road travellers except to subject and subjugate them to inhuman treatment thus causing disenchantment between the citizenry and the security agents this has further worsened the needed collaborative effort needed to checkmate crime and criminality within the South East Geopolitical zone;

Worried that regularly, travellers within South East are forced to open their phones and laptops and in some instances are forced to part with their hard-earned money and their belongings; and

Recognizing the urgent need to address these acts of dehumanization, harassment and extortion of road travellers within the Southeast geopolitical zone and to restore public confidence of citizens in the security agents;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Inspector General (IG) of Police to identify, discipline and call to order the police officers perpetuating these inhuman and degrading treatments on road travellers along the South East Geopolitical Zone to desist from such unprofessional conduct and to carry out their duties professionally;

(ii) ​ also urge the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to call on the military personnel manning roadblocks within the South East Geopolitical Zone to carry out their duties professionally and stop the incessant harassment of law-abiding citizenry in the South East; and

(iii) ​ set up an Ad–hoc Committee to investigate the forceful collection of N500,000.00 by some police officers on 8 July 2023 from travellers along Owerri-Onitsha express road using Moniepoint POS belonging to Divine

Debate:

Hon. Matthew Nwogu moved the motion on the call to end incessant dehumanization and harassment of road travelers by security agents in the South East, and it was seconded by Hon. Abdulmumin Ari. Hon. Bamidele Salam proposed an amendment to prayer 3, to call for the House Committee on Police Affairs and that on Human Rights to handle the matter. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended, and referred to the House Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Police Affairs, Army and that on Human Rights.

  1. Need to Complete the Shore Protection Project at Ibeno Local Government Area and other Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Projects Abandoned in Eket/Onna/Esit-Eket/Ibeno Federal Constituency.

Hon. Okpolupm Etteh:

The House:

Notes that the contract for Shore Protection works in Ibeno Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State was awarded since September 15, 2006, to a company called Smith Engineering Company Limited by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC);

Also notes that as part of the terms of the contract, the contractor was to be paid a 50% mobilization fee before the company moved to the site. The contract sum was N3, 287, 787, 000.00, for which N I, 643, 893, 500, being half of the contract sum, had been paid to the contractor before the company mobilized to the site;

Aware that the scope of the contract was to cover the shorelines along Upenekang, lwuoachang, Okorutip, Odoro-lkot, lwuo-0kpom, Mkpanak and Itak Abasi villages in Ibeno Local Government Area;

Informed that the Federal Ministry of Environment through its Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Central Hub has warned that; amongst others, Upenekang; a seashore coastal village covered by the abandoned project, may witness heavy rainfall that may lead to flooding. This could have been avoided had the project been completed as and when due;

Concerned that since many of the villages in Ibeno Local Government Area lie at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, to protect against the dangers and constant threat of ocean surge, it is recommended that setbacks like dykes and other control measures should be established around the communities most prone to ocean encroachment which is what the shore protection project was to achieve;

Worried that after receiving 50% of the contract sum, the contractor has only achieved 8% completion, and had since abandoned the project site, having mobilized only a few materials to the site at Upenekang. No one knows the whereabouts of the contractor at this moment; and

Alarmed that many of the projects embarked on by the Niger Delta Development Commission in the Federal Constituency, have suffered the same fate of abandonment by contractors who were mobilized and had moved to site only to disappear without completion of the projects;

Resolves to:

(i) urge Niger Delta Development Commission to assess the level of work executed by Smith Engineering Company Limited from 2006 to date and to carry out the same assessment in all abandoned projects across the Federal Constituency;

(ii) also urge the Niger Delta Development Commission to either compel the company which was given the contract, to immediately return to the site or take necessary action to recover the mobilization paid to the contractor and the contract re-awarded to another competent contractor;

(iii) mandate the Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission to demand a comprehensive list of abandoned projects across the Federal Constituency and ensure thorough investigation as to why most of the projects across the federal constituency are abandoned; and

(iv) also mandate the Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission to ensure that the project is completed, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative actions.

Debate:

Hon. Okpolumph Etteh moved the motion on the need to complete the shore protection at Ibeno local government area and other Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) projects abandoned in Eket/Onna/Esit-Eket/Ibeno federal constituency and it was seconded by Hon. Kabiru Rurum. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Niger Delta.

  1. Need to Rehabilitate the Benin–Warri Expressway.

Hon. Francis Ejirogene Waive:

The House:

Notes the importance of robust and well-maintained infrastructure in fostering economic development within Nigeria and the critical role played by the Benin–Warri Expressway in facilitating trade, transportation, and socioeconomic activities in the region;

Also notes that the Benin–Warri corridor is pivotal to the Nigerian economy linking Benin and Warri and serves as a conduit for the movement of goods and services from the Northern to Southern coastal regions with hundreds of petroleum-laden trucks plying the road daily;

Worried about the deplorable state of the Benin–Warri Expressway characterized by potholes and erosion which poses a threat to road users thus, increasing travel time, vehicle maintenance costs and transportation bottlenecks, ultimately hindering economic activities in the region;

Also worried that the deteriorating condition of the road poses severe safety risks to commuters resulting in fatal accidents as well as increased cases of kidnapping;

Concerned that the Benin Bye-pass the Ologbo and Sapele–Amukpe sections of the road are worst hit, as commuters sometimes spend up to seven hours on transit;

Also concerned that despite billions of naira meant for COVID–19 allocation were channel for the repairs of bad portions of the road, the road is still in deplorable conditions;

Cognizant that the Niger Delta Development Commission in line with the mandate, made budgetary provisions for emergency repairs of the road with nothing to show for it; and

Also cognizant of the call for the immediate rehabilitation of the Benin–Warri Expressway by various stakeholders, including community leaders, business associations, and civil society organizations, underscoring the urgent need for concerted action;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to expeditiously carry out maintenance on the failed portions of the road;

(ii) mandate the Committees on Works and Public Accounts to conduct a thorough investigation into the activities of FERMA on the utilization of the COVID–19 allocation for the road; and

(iii) also mandate the Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission to conduct a thorough investigation with regards to the budgetary allocations to this road from the Commission.

Debate:

Hon. Francis Waive moved the motion on the need to rehabilitate the Benin-Warri expressway, and it was seconded by Hon. Umar Ajillo. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Works, Public Accounts and that on Nigger Delta Development Commission.

  1. Need for Completion of the Okeigbo–Igbo Olodumare Power Project in Ile Oluji/ Okeigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Hon. Ayodele Festus Adefiranye:

The House:

Notes that the Federal Government embarked on a power project at Okeigbo–Ajejigi–Kajola Bolorunduro–Awopeju–Orisunmibare Camp–Okealafia–Igbo Olodumare in Ile Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State to light up the communities, against the backdrop of the persistent poor power supply in the area;

Also notes that the project was awarded to Elektrint Nigeria Limited in 2005, through the then Ministry of Power and Steel to connect the above-mentioned communities to the National grid;

Further notes that the project advanced with the installation of various equipment, including six 500kv transformers installed at different locations, installation of concrete electric poles across the communities as well as high tension wire in almost all the project locations;

Concerned that the project has become one of the abandoned projects in the country as no effort has been made to complete it in line with the laudable intentions of the government, eighteen years after initiating it;

Further concerned that if urgent steps are not taken to complete this laudable project, the dwellers of these affected communities will continually be in total blackout and all the national resources expended on this project thus far will completely become a waste;

Informed that the project is at 70% completion stage, and only requires minimal additional resources to make it functional; and

Convinced that completing the power project will boost production activities and facilitate economic development, as most companies and business outfits currently rely on generators with the attendant increase in the cost of production, leading to high prices of goods and services;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Federal ministry of Power to ensure to complete the project and include the Okeigbo–Ajejigi–Kajola–Bolorunduro–Awopeju–OrisunmibareCamp–Okealafia–Igbo Olodumare power project in the 2024 budget estimates and prioritize funding for the project; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Power to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Power to take necessary steps for immediate completion of the power project, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Ayodele Adefiranye moved the motion on the need for the completion of the Okeigbo–Igbo Olodumare power project in Ile Oluji/ Okeigbo local government area of Ondo state and it was seconded by Hon. Peter Aniekwe. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Power.

  1. Need to Address the Absence of Power Supply in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State.

Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi:

The House:

Notes that Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency is host to the 960 megawatts Okpai Independent Power Plant, which plays a significant role in supplying electricity to Anambra, Enugu and Abuja, making it a crucial asset for the nation’s power distribution system;

Concerned that despite its significant role in power supply as well as hosting several Oil Companies including the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Sterling Exploration and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO), Midwestern Oil and Gas limited, Energia limited, Pillar Oil limited, Chorus Energy limited, communities in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal constituency lack electricity supply, which is impeding socio-economic progress in the area;

Aware that in 2021, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) awarded the contract sum of about 4.2 billion naira for construction of a 132KV Double Circuit transmission line to address the electricity needs of the Ndokwa/Ukwuani communities;

Worried that the project has experienced significant delays and has been stalled for over a year due to price variations, and despite formal requests by the contractor for additional funding to complete the project, it still remains uncompleted as all efforts have proved futile; and

Cognizant of the need to prioritize the electrification project in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal constituency and ameliorate the untold hardship the people have faced despite their contribution to the power sector;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Power and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to urgently provide required funds to ensure completion of the Okpai–Kwale Transmission Line Project in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal constituency of Delta State; and

(ii)​mandates the Committee on Power to ensure that bottlenecks mitigating against the completion of the project are effectively addressed and the project is completed in due time.

Debate:

Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi moved the motion on the need to address the absence of power supply in Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State, and it was seconded by Hon. Abubakar Yalleman. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Power.

  1. Need to Implement Policy and Programmes for Sustainable Population Growth in Nigeria.

Hon. Marcus Onobun:

The House:

Notes that the governing council of the United Nations Development Program recommended that 11 July be observed by the International Community as World Population Day, a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues;

Also notes that the theme for World Population Day 2023 is ‘imagine a world where 8 Billion of us have a future bustling with promise and potential”;

Aware that the population growth in Nigeria which has reached an unsustainable level compared to the standard growth of the population in other countries is far from guaranteeing such a future bustling with promise and potential for Nigerians;

Concerned that by the end of this year, Nigeria’s total population will be 223.8 million people, according to various Independent estimates, including those of the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund and the National Population Commission. What this means is that Nigeria’s population will rise by 2.41 million per cent from last year’s population figure of 218.5 million, an increase of 5.3 million;

Worried that if the current growth rate is allowed to continue, Nigeria’s population will hit over 728 million by the end of this century. According to World Population Review, the US think tank, the population of Nigeria would have grown ten times from 45 million people in 1960 to the present 218.5 million;

Also worried that the present collective economic capacity and growth as measured by annual gross domestic product (GDP) is stagnated if not reversed, will result in unfavourable and unsustainable economic and population growth;

Cognizant that Nigeria presently has an average of 3.7% economic performance and with a population which has quadrupled from 45 million to 233 million people is not only economically unsustainable but, if not properly managed can lead to instability and further deepen the insecurity crisis in Nigeria;

Recognized that to have a concerted program and policy for population control and management, the immediate past administration of Mohammed Buhari GCFR, launched the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development last year, the policy emphasizes the urgency to address Nigeria’s sustained high fertility rate through expanding access to modern family planning, counselling and commodities as well as promoting birth spacing; and

Worried that the policy is presently not given urgent attention as it relates to implementation and sustainability.

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry Budget and National Planning to address the unsustainable rapid population growth in line with the policy and provide the required access to family planning, counselling and commodities;

(ii) also urge the National Orientation Agency, major media firms, and Traditional and Religious leaders to be involved in the campaign and enlightenment on the need to have sustainable population growth through family planning; and

(iii) mandate the Committee National Planning and Economic Development to ensure compliance.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Need to Control the Menace of Gully Erosion and Construct a Bridge at Yamadawa–Adaraye in Ungogo Local Government Area of Minjibir /Ungogo Federal Constituency of Kano State.

Hon. Sani Adamu Wakili:

The House:

Notes that the negative impacts of gully erosions in Nigeria result in loss of farmlands, properties, lives and basic sources of livelihoods, thus resulting in disconnecting families from Neighbouring villages as well as pothole traps and loss of soil;

Also notes the provisions of Section 2 (1) and (2) of the National Environmental (soil erosion and flood control) Regulations, 2011, on the objectives of the Regulations which protect human life and the environment;

Further notes that the inhabitants of the affected areas lost their farmlands, and plots of land, hence cannot access the markets and cities for the daily sales of farm produce, which is the only source of income;

Aware that the Communities of Dingim, Minjibir to Tsamiyar Kifi Ungogo, Zangon Marikita Ungogo to Dankunkuru Ungogo and Yan Masara to Tashar Bala in Gayawa Ungogo are affected by the menace of the gully erosion covering about 22 km and created wide gullies stretching in Ungogo Local Government Area causing tributaries in Minjibir/ Ungogo Federal Constituency;

Worried that the erosion has destroyed properties and rendered residents homeless, inhibiting people living in the urban areas from visiting their families in the villages, while some families and ancestral lands are annihilated because of the effect of the gully erosion;

Convinced that if the menace of this gully erosion is controlled, it shall bring succour and relief to the people of Minjibir/Ungogo Federal Constituency, especially families and communities directly affected by this gully erosion; and

Also worried that if nothing is done urgently to Construct a Bridge in Yamadawa–Adaraye in Ungogo Minjibir/Ungogo Federal Consistency of Kano State, the people will continue to suffer and may eventually wipe out some villages;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the ecological fund office to, immediately commence the control of the erosion in Yan Masara to Tashar Bala, to Dankunkuru Ikm, Inkyan Rangaza to Rummawa 3Km, Zangon Marikita to Dankunkuru to Koranci 3km all in Ungogo Local Government Area and gully erosions at Dingim village in Minjibir to Tsamiyar kifi in Ungogo which is about 15km connecting Minjibir/Ungogo Federal Constituency;

(ii) also urge the Federal Ministry of Works to construct the Yamadawa–Adaraye Bridge to prevent future loss of lives and properties;

(iii) further urge the Federal Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning to release funds for the control of gully erosions in the affected communities; and

(iv) mandate the Committee on Ecological Funds to ensure compliance.

Debate:

Hon. Sani. Wakili moved the motion on the need to control the menace of gully erosion and construct a bridge at Yamadawa–Adaraye in Ungogo local government area of Minjibir /Ungogo Federal Constituency of Kano State, and it was seconded by Hon. Abdul Aliyu. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Ecological Funds.

  1. Need to Investigate the Low Implementation Level of the Cabotage Act.

Hon. Awaji – Inombek D. Abiante:

The House:

Notes that the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 was enacted by the National Assembly to restrict the use of foreign vessels in domestic coastal trade, assist in promoting the development of indigenous tonnage and establish a vessel financing fund, thus the Act was introduced to stimulate, empower and reposition indigenous shipping companies for active participation in the Sub-Saharan shipping activities;

Also notes that the main objective of the Act was to protect indigenous shipping companies, create economic and employment opportunities for Nigerians in the Maritime sector;

Observes that after twenty (20) years of the enactment of the law, the shipping trade is still dominated by foreign-owned vessels;

Aware that on 25 June, 2023, at the International Maritime Organization Day of the Seafarers celebration, the Joint Body of the Seafarer’s Professional Groups (NSPG) said that the Nation’s maritime industry is losing $100 billion annually due to the inability of the Federal Government to implement the Cabotage Act;

Also aware that at the same event, the Secretary General of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Captain Alfred Oniye informed the audience that most of the jobs that are supposed to be handled by Nigerian Seafarers are being occupied by foreigners, thus rendering 80% of Nigerian Seafarers jobless. He said further that if the Cabotage, Act is fully implemented, it will create thousands of jobs for Nigerians because ships would be built locally and owned by Nigerians;

Worried that due to the very low implementation of the Cabotage, Act by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited and others that are involved in maritime activities, the nation economy and job creation are being seriously threatened;

Resolves to:

set up an Ad–hoc Committee to investigate the low implementation of the Cabotage Act and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante moved the motion on the need to investigate the low implementation level of the Cabotage Act, and it was seconded by Hon. Eze Nwachukwu. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Ports and Harbor, Shippers Council, as well as that on Maritime Services.


Adjournment:

The House at 14:05 PM adjourned plenary to Tuesday, October 3rd 2023 by 11:00 A.M following a motion for adjournment moved by the Leader of the House, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere and seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda.

Courtesy LightRay Media and
Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives.

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