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Nigeria Parliament: Plenary proceedings, House of Reps, Thursday, February 8th, 2024

The Speaker of the House Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen presided.

By admin , in Inside stories , at February 8, 2024

.After leading the opening prayer and recitation of the national pledge, the Speaker approved the votes and proceedings of Wednesday, February 7th, 2024.


Administration of Oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of the Office of a Member of the House of Representatives on 12 Members-elect.


ANNOUNCEMENT:

  1. Announcement of Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of some Committees of the House to fill positions which were hitherto vacant.

PETITIONS:

  1. Hon. Mitema laid a petition on behalf of some host communities against the Nigerian Content and Monitoring Board for alleged refusal to honor agreements reached.
  2. Hon. Chris Nkwonta laid a petition on behalf of a complaining community in Rivers State against some Brewing and Oil companies for alleged environmental pollution as a result of their production activities.

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


MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:

  1. Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi moved a motion on the urgent need for the Federal government’s intervention in addressing the hazards of gully erosions in communities of Anambra State and it was seconded by Hon. Chinedu Ogah. Hon. Ezechi in leading the debate stated that the hazardous effects of the erosion is both life threatening and a hindrance to essential services, communication and power transmission components. He expressed concern on the resultant negative impact on the community. He identified the need for government to intervene and deploy resources to take measures to prevent further short and long term degradation.

Hon. Ezechi called on the Ministry of Power to ensure the safeguarding of its resources within the region and that the House Committee on Environment, Disaster Management, Environment as well as that on Ecology should ensure compliance. The motion was voted on and adopted.

  1. Hon. Patrick Umoh moved a motion on the urgent call on Law enforcement Agencies to stop the harassment of Lawyers in Nigeria and support them in the carrying out of their legitimate duties and it was seconded by Hon. Aliyu Bappa.
    Hon. Patrick in leading the debate stated that statutory provisions give lawyers the right to assure accused are properly prosecuted in line with their civil rights. He expressed worry that lawyers are harassed and arrested for carrying out these fundamental rights on behalf of their accused clients. He called on the House to condemn these acts and that Heads of the relevant security Agencies should direct their officials to accord lawyers assistance in carrying out their duties and adhere strictly to the provisions of Section 17(1a) of the criminal prosecution Act and that the relevant Committees of the House should ensure compliance. The motion was voted on and adopted.
  2. Hon. Umar Ajilo moved a motion on the urgent need to check the recall of Nigerian Head of Chanceries in foreign missions and it was seconded by Hon. Bello Ambarura.
    Hon. Ajilo in leading the debate stated that following the recent shake-up of these Nigerian Chanceries, the resultant void created will make it look to the International community like Nigeria is having a diplomatic crisis which is not good for her image. Hon. Ajilo called for a suspension of the decision to recall the Chanceries until due consultation is done. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

PERSONAL EXPLANATION:

  1. Hon. Julius Ihonvbere rose under Order 8(6) to address his concerns on an earlier motion moved on the floor of the House pertaining to activities within the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. The motion he stated made it look like the Ministry misappropriated its budget approvals. He clarified that the Minister had duly explained that the projects being queried were not solely that of the Ministry, but that Legislators made inputs for the benefits of their constituents. The declaration of the motion he stated is misleading and should not be taken out of context when being addressed by the House Committee on Public Petitions.

PRESENTATION OF BILLS:

  1. Social Security Bill, 2024 (HB.1077) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
  2. National Primary Education Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1078) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
  3. National Environmental Health and Sanitation Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1079) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading
  4. Federal University of Technology, Kaduna (Establishment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1080) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
  5. Federal University of Technology, Lagos (Establishment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1081) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
  6. Nigerian National Honours and Merit Award Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1082) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
  7. Harmonised Retirement Age for Officers of the Nigerian Police Force Bill, 2024 (HB.1083) (Hon. Wale Hammed) – First Reading.
  8. Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (SB.188) (Senate) – First Reading
  9. Fiscal Responsibility Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (HB.1097) (Hon. Oluwole Oke) – First Reading.
  10. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2024 (HB.1098) (Hon. Oluwole Oke) – First Reading.
  11. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 Bill, 2024 (HB.1084) (Hon. Wale Hammed) – First Reading.

PRESENTATION OF REPORTS:

  1. Committee on Public Petitions:
    ​Report on the petition by Dr. Hilary Ibe against the Veterinary Council of Nigeria:
    ​Hon. Mike Etaba:

​“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the petition by Dr. Hilary Ibe against the Veterinary Council of Nigeria for reinstatement and payment of full benefits” (Referred: 5/7/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Mike Etaba.

  1. Committee on Public Petitions:
    ​Report on the petition by Joseph Andrew A. Against Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL):
    ​Hon. Mike Etaba:

​“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the petition by Joseph Andrew A. Against the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL): An Appeal for reinstatement back to Service” (Referred:10/10/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Mike Etaba.

  1. Committee on Public Petitions:
    ​Report on the petition by M.C Chambers against Multi-Choice Nigeria Limited, the National Broadcasting Commission and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission:

​Hon. Mike Etaba:

​“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the petition by M.C Chambers against Multi-Choice Nigeria Limited, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) over the persistent and unjustified increase in the Tariffs; a request to stop same and implement the Pay -As –You View -Scheme” (Referred: 7/11/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Mike Etaba.

  1. Committee on Public Petitions:
    ​Report on the petition by Engr. Adamu Suleiman against Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC):

​Hon. Mike Etaba:

​“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the petition by Engr. Adamu Suleiman against the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over none power supply for over seven (7) months despite being on prepaid meter” (Referred: 6/7/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Mike Etaba.

  1. Committee on Public Petitions:
    ​Report on the petition by Dr. Moemeke George Onyekanjinke against Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority:

​Hon. Mike Etaba:

​“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the petition by Dr. Moemeke George Onyekanjinke against the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority on a Complaint of Unfair Treatment and Handling of Service conditions, an appeal for Investigation and consideration of his petition brought before the 9th Assembly but was not concluded before the end of the 9th Assembly” (Referred:2/11/2023).

The report was laid following a motion by Hon. Mike Etaba.


ORDERS OF THE DAY:

BILLS:

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations Agency for the Promotion of Social Development Activities in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 941) (Hon. Sada Soli) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Sada Soli moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. David Agada. Hon. Sada in leading the debate stated that the bill seeks primarily to establish the Agency to ensure Non-Governmental Organizations as well as Civil Society Organizations live up to their full potentials of societal development, as well as coordinating private-public development partnership.

He stated that the Agency will also ensure that these NGOs and CSOs are well regulated and managed to ensure they do not abuse the room for their performance in favor of unwholesome practices. The Agency, Hon. Sada stated will ensure these organizations stick to stipulated policy guidelines, help government track erring organizations, ensure due regulations, differentiate between true organizations and fake ones amongst other critical regulations. He stressed that the bill does not seek to witch hunt any genuine NGO or CSO, but to ensure a civil, regulated and sane society.

Hon. Usman Kumo in supporting the bill stated that the activities of some of these NGOs and CSOs especially in the Northeastern part of Nigeria are less than professional and need to be checked. He however stated that some that are aligned with proper religious bodies should be protected.

Hon. Muktar Shagaya also while supporting the bill stated that the functions of CSOs and NGOs are critical to bridging the gap between government and the people, but they truly need regulation to ensure proper cohesion and avoidance of abuse.

Hon. Kingsley Chinda urged Honourable Members to move with caution in the applications and the bill, saying that the limits of these regulations should be well spelt out and on which organizations fall the regulatory process. He called for the stepping down of the bill so that Members can thoroughly read through the details to make informed decisions. The second reading of the bill was therefore stepped down by the leave of the House till another legislative day for Honourable Members to read through it and be more informed.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Medical Centres Act and Establish Federal Medical Centre, Toro, Bauchi State and for Related Matters (HB.746) (Hon. Dabo Ismaila Haruna) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Dabo Haruna moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Abdullahi Rasheed. Hon. Haruna in leading the debate stated that Toro local government in Bauchi State is the largest in Nigeria and is in dire need of the medical center to cater for people living in the vast land that has huge gaps of land mass between medical centers. He stated that the existing medical center is highly overstretched and a new center is highly needed. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Health Institutions.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2010 and Enact the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act to Establish Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board and provide for Legal Framework, Structures and Programmes for the Strengthening of Nigerian Content in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry and for Related Matters (HB. 1039) (Hon. Boma Goodhead, Hon. Olatunji Akinosi and thirty – four others) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Olatunji Akinosi moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Kafilat Ogbara. Hon. Akinosi in leading the debate stressed the need for the repeal of the Act that has been in force for over 14 years. He stated that some provisions of the Act have severe defects. Such defects he stated can be manipulated to engage in abuse and corruption, as they have ambiguous views on waivers, application of local content rules etc.

Hon. Akinosi stated that the implementation of the bill will promote regulations in the Oil and Gas Industry, provide jobs around the sector and ensure an attractive industry for foreign investment. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Nigerian Content and Monitoring.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Medical Centres Act and Establish Federal Medical Centre, Enugu, Enugu State and for Related Matters (HB.348) (Hon. Mark Obetta) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Mark Obeta moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Kelechi Nwogu. Hon. Obeta in leading the debate stated that Nsukka does not have such a tertiary facility except for Primary Healthcare centers. Considering the significance of the region, the people he said are in dire need of the tertiary medical facility to meet advanced health needs of people in the community and its environs. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Health Institutions.


MOTIONS:

  1. Outstanding Bills from Preceding Assembly:

Hon. Bello Isah Ambarura:

(i) Nigerian Institute of Chartered Foresters (HB 896);
(ii) Chartered Institute of Auctioneers (HB 1046);
(iii) Federal College of Agriculture Technology, Ekiti State (HB 875);
(iiii) Federal Medical Centres Act (Amendment) Bill,2023 (HB 834);
(v) FCT Customary Court (Amendment) Bill 2024(HB 361);
(vi) FCT Area Court Bill (HB 378);
(vii) National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (HB.472) and
(viii) Nigeria Police Force Pensions Board (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB 979).

The House:

Notes that pursuant to Order Twelve, Rule 17 of the Standing Orders of the House may, upon being re-gazetted or circulated, reconsider in the Committee of the Whole, without commencing denovo, the Bill(s)–

(a) whose report was presented by the Committee before consideration;
(b) passed by the House and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence was made or negative;
(c) passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence was made or negative; or;
(d) passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding therefore was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the preceding Assembly.

Also notes that the aforementioned Bills were passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the last Assembly;

Aware that the Bills were read for the first time as 896, 1046, 875, 834, 361, 378, 472 and 979 respectively;

Resolves to:

Re-commit the Bills to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

Debate:

Hon. Bello Ambarura moved the motion on outstanding bills from the preceding Assembly and it was seconded by Hon. Mukhtar Chawai. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

  1. Need to Immortalize Former Speaker, Late Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba by Naming the National Assembly Service Commission Building after Him:
    Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki:

The House:

Notes that the late Ghali Umar Na’Abba was born on September 27, 1958, to the family of Alhaji Umar Na’Abba, a businessman in Tudun Nufawa, Kano City, Kano Municipal Local Government, and died on September 27, 2023;

Recalls that the late Ghali Umar Na’Abba had his early education at Jakara Primary School, Kano, his secondary education at Rumfa College, Kano, and studied Political Science at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria;

Aware that the late Ghali Umar Na’Abba started his political career as a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he was elected as an Executive Committee Member of the ABU Chapter of the revolutionary People’s Redemption Party (PRP) established in the 2nd Republic by Mallam Aminu Kano;

Also aware that at the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1999, the late Ghali Umar Na’Abba was elected as a member of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Also notes that the late Na’Abba was praised as an influential Speaker of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 on account of his courageous, dynamic, outspoken pursuit of legislative independence and revolutionary approach to running the House as Speaker within the period;

Further notes note that the late Na’Abba, as Speaker, embarked on a number of measures to ensure the independence of the legislature, which included but were not limited to:

(a) profound scrutiny of the budget framework, making robust adjustments where necessary;
(b) strengthen House Committees;
(c) Fashioned out a cohesive, inclusive, mutual, thinking and participatory house; and
(d) regulate debate on the state of the nation.

Cognizant of the need to immortalize him by naming the National Assembly Commission building after him in honour of his legacy;

Resolves to:

(i) observe a minute of silence in honour of the late Hon. Ghali Umar Na’abba;

(ii) commemorate former Speaker, the late Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba, by naming the National Assembly Service Commission Building after him to honor his legacy.

Debate:

Hon. Aliyu Madaki moved the motion on the need to immortalise former Speaker, late Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba by naming the National Assembly Service Commission building after him and it was seconded by Hon. Abdullahi Halims.

Hon. Kelechi Nwogu proposed an amendment to ensure the resolution is duly transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.

Hon. Salisu Majigiri raised an observation that the House has already observed a minute silence in honor of late Rt. Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba so prayer 1 was not necessary. The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.

  1. Need to Rehabilitate Bakolori Dam at Talata–Mafara and Maradun Local Government Areas of Zamfara State:

Hon. Isa Muhammad Anka:

The House:

Notes that Bakolori Dam was completed in 1978 and was commissioned in 1982, had its reservoir filled in 1981, with 5.5-kilometer earth-fill concrete embankments;

Also notes that the Dam is a major reservoir on the Sokoto River, a tributary of the Rima River, which in turn feeds the Niger River;

Aware that the primary purposes of the Dam are to water supply, irrigation, fishing, flood control, and small hydropower;

Worried that Dam’s potential hydropower has been underutilized due to its abandoned status, similarly, the public-private partnership (PPP) on the rehabilitation of the hydropower potentials of the dam, initiated in 2017, has been stultified;

Aware that the rehabilitation of the Dam and maximizing its huge potential will enhance irrigation farming activities, water supply, fishing, and flood control in Zamfara State;

Cognizant that the revival, actualization, and full implementation of the PPP arrangements on Bakori Dam’s hydropower potentials would greatly enhance power supply to the Dam and its neighbouring beneficiaries.

Resolves to:

(i) mandate the Committee on Water Resources to liaise with the management of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Sokoto Rima River Basin, and Bakolori Dam to access the rehabilitation needs with a view to rehabilitating it for optimum utilization.

(ii) also mandate the Committee on Power to collaborate with the management of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Sokoto Rima River Basin, and Bakolori Dam to investigate and revive hydropower potentials;

(iii) further mandate the Committees on Water Resources and Power to ensure securitization arrangements for all power and water projects slated for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in line with gas sector procurement.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Need to Reconstruct the Mmam Bridge in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State:

Hon. Amobi Godwin Ogah:

The House:

Notes that the Mmam Bridge in Abia State was destroyed by national troops during the Nigerian Civil War on September 15, 1968, to aid their advance towards Okigwe;

Also notes that the Mmam Bridge was abandoned for 51 years without rehabilitation, disrupting smooth inter-community trading between the Isuochi and Oji Rivers and other parts of the country;

Further notes that the Mmam Bridge, a 10 by 50-meter abandoned structure, serves as a reminder of the negative impacts of the 51-year civil war and needs to be completely erased from public consciousness;

Disturbed that the Mmam Bridge, despite its economic and social significance, has been neglected by previous governments, highlighting the negative impacts of the civil war on the community and its potential for social activity;

Aware that the Bridge served as a vital gateway for motorists and commuters traveling to Enugu, Onitsha, and the Northern Parts of the country, promoting free market trading between large communities and social economic activities;

Also aware that Isuochi residents in cities like Enugu, Onitsha, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Zaria, and other parts of the western and northern parts of the country frequently ply the Achi-Awlaw-Mmam Bridge route;

Worried that the isolation of Mbala people from neighbouring states and access to their agricultural land has disrupted economic activity in the town;

Cognizant that the Mbala Cashew plantation in Abia State produces about 45,000 metric tons annually, which contributes to the region’s economic development and job creation. However, the bridge to this vital agricultural “cash cow” has been neglected;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to rehabilitate the Mman Bridge in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State; and

(ii) mandate the Committees on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Debate:

Hon. Amobi Ogah moved the motion on the need to reconstruct the Mmam bridge in Umunneochi local government area of Abia state and was seconded by Hon. Famous Osawaru. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission as well as that on Legislative Compliance.

  1. Need to Compel Uniformed Government Organisations to Patronise the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN):

Hon. Esosa Iyawe:

The House:

Notes that the textile sector represents a major hub of economic activity in most developing societies and has always been a major player in the manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy;

Also notes that the Nigerian textile industry used to be the largest employer of labour after government, with companies like Kaduna Textile Ltd. (KTL), United Nigerian Textile Plc., Supertex, Nortex Nigerian Ltd., Aswani Textiles, Gaskiya Textiles Mill, Kano Textile Ltd., Aba Textiles, Zamfara Textiles Ltd., Asaba Textiles Ltd., and several others that most countries in the east and west African sub-region depended on for their clothing needs;

Concerned that when the Federal Government lifted the ban on textile importation in 1997, the textile sector took a massive nosedive as companies began to close down one after the other, and even after efforts by subsequent governments to mitigate the adverse effects, the industry has continued to suffer due to low patronage from Nigerians as well as inadequate support from the government through effective policies to address the situation;

Recalls that in 2017, via Executive Order 003, the Federal Government compelled all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of government to grant preference to local manufacturers and service providers in their procurement of goods and services;

Worried that the non-compliance with 2017 Executive Order 003 and the low patronage of local textiles by Nigerians in favor of cheap imported fabrics will continue to under-price the textile products made in Nigeria, cripple Nigeria’s textile industry, and consequently hamper the country’s economic growth;

Cognizant that the economy of any nation grows rapidly when locally made goods are promoted through patronage, first by its people, then through export, as such patronage will stimulate the economy and provide several employment opportunities, thus the future of the Nigeria Textile Industry depends on the willpower of the government to protect it;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Government to ensure implementation of and enforce compliance with Executive Order 003 of 2017 as well as embark on awareness campaigns to sensitize Nigerians on the benefits of patronizing indigenous textile manufacturers;

(ii) also urge the Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Federal Fire Service, and other uniformed government organizations to patronize the National Union of Textile, Garment, and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) to purchase their fabrics;

(iii) further urge the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment to revive the textile industry in Nigeria and provide a conducive environment that will attract both indigenous and foreign investments in the sector for sustainable economic development; and

(iv) mandate the Committees on Industry and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Debate:

Hon. Esosa Iyawe moved the motion on the need to compel uniformed government organizations to patronize the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) and it was seconded by Hon. Muhammed Umar. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Industry as well as that on Legislative Compliance.

  1. Need to Ensure Standardization of the Uniform of the Nigerian Police Force:
    Hon. Awaji–Inombeke D. Abiante​​ Hon. Mike Etaba​​Hon. Patrick Umoh:

The House:

Notes that uniforms are a visual representation of authority, deterrence, and identification for security personnel, which creates a sense of unity among them and establishes their authority within a given environment, it stands as a national symbol of identity and pride, distinguishing Nigerian Police Force from other security organizations globally;

Aware that Regulation 187(e) of the Police Act gives the Force Supply Branch the authority to manufacture clothing for the Force;

Also aware that Regulation 339(d) of the Nigeria Police Act mandates Nigerian Police Officers to be properly dressed, while Regulation 333(xi)(a) mandates Charge Room Officers to ensure that the personnel are properly dressed before they leave the station for outside duties;

Concerned that some police officers wear uniforms that fail to meet the official specifications and standards;

Observes that the uniforms, which bear striking similarities with those used in other countries, suggest that they were sourced outside the country;

Worried that the officers’ uniform disparities stem from certain officers allegedly using private sources and tailors instead of official channels, which is an embarrassment to the government as well as the citizens of Nigeria, especially at this challenging period of insecurity;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Inspector General of Police to set up a special taskforce to ensure that police officers in Nigeria adhere strictly to the official dress code of the force;

(ii) mandate the Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the compliance of the Nigeria Police Force in the procurement of their uniforms; and

(iii) also mandate the Committees on Police Affairs and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Need to Beef up Security in Oron Local Government Area and its Environs:

Hon. Martins Esin:

The House:

Notes that the primary responsibility of government in a democratic society is to safeguard the lives and property of its citizens;

Also notes that Section 20 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that it is the duty of the government to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land, forest, and wildlife of the country;

Further notes that Oron Local Government Area and other parts of the Federal Constituency are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, which provides a gateway to the Republic of Cameroun, but the porosity of the national border has paved the way for hardened criminals operating from the high sea to carry out unabated violence in Oron town and the neighbouring areas in Oron/Mbo/Okobo/Udung Uko/Urueoffongoruko Federal Constituency;

Alarmed by the recent abduction of a High Court judge, Joy Unwana, and her driver who was later killed along Uyo-Okobo Road after the court sitting on December 18, 2023;

Concerned that the activities of Sea pirates and armed kidnappers who persistently steal and demand ransoms from residents in Oron/Mbo/Okobo/Udung Uko/UrueoffongOruko Federal Constituency causing economic hardship and underdevelopment in the area;

Worried that these criminal operations have continued unabated owing to the minimal presence of Nigerian security agencies and the lack of adequate equipment and morale among law enforcement agents in Oron and its environs in deterring the activities of the criminals who are emboldened by their recent successes in perpetuating heinous crimes;

Cognizant of the need to beef up security surveillance in Oron by establishing a military formation to mitigate kidnappings, sea piracy, armed robbery and wanton killings of innocent citizens;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Chief of Army Staff to establish a Military formation in Oron to checkmate the activities of the Armed Robbery in the area;

(ii) urge the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to expedite the presence of security personnel in Oron/Mbo/Okobo/Udung Uko/Urueo ffong Oruko Federal Constituency and its environs by increasing surveillance and manpower; and

(iii) mandate the Committees on Army and Police Affairs to ensure compliance.

Debate:

Hon. Martins Esin moved the motion on the need to beef up security in Oron local government area and its environs and it was seconded by Hon. Usman Zannah. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Army as well as that on Police Affairs.

  1. Need for Commodification and Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy through Agriculture:

Hon. Dennis Idahosa:

The House:

Notes that Nigeria’s economic stability and growth relies on crude oil exports since its discovery in 1956;

Recognizes the need for the transition from crude oil dependence as the primary source of revenue to a diversified and sustainable Agro-based economy for solid economic growth and development;

Also notes that every successful country must choose a niche for development, Dubai focused on tourism, Israel on technology, China on manufacturing, and Singapore on finance. Countries like Dubai and Chile saved in a stabilization/diversification fund money realized from sales of their largest export products such as oil and cars and diversified accumulated wealth into building, their chosen sector for economic prosperity, Nigeria, with its rich agricultural resources, as reiterated by the national symbols and colors should consider agriculture as its niche for a secure economic future;

Also recognizes the need for Nigeria to transform agricultural products like cassava, cocoa, rubber, corn, cotton, leather into marketable commodities to boost exports, revolutionize the economy and strengthen the naira;

Aware of the huge historical successes in agricultural diversification, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s pioneering efforts in cocoa and rubber, expanded Nigeria’s export base and introduced free education;

Also aware that rather than exporting raw materials, prioritizing value addition in agriculture, by refining products to high-value products and finished goods such as cassava for ethanol, millet, wheat, maize for cereals, flours, and animal feeds, cocoa for chocolate, beverages, and cosmetics, cotton and leather for textile and footwear production, fruits for drinks, syrups and beverages, rubbers for tires, refined crude oil, will enhance export in large quantities, yield substantial foreign exchange earnings, which will fortify the naira and mitigate the current inflation crisis, create employments, enhance economic development, and expand global competitiveness as a nation;

Cognizant of the need to develop an economic plan to facilitate the transition to an Agro-based economy, guided by principles of sustainability, inclusiveness, and social development for Nigerians;

Resolves to:

mandate the Committees on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Agricultural Production and Services to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and other relevant stakeholders to prepare an economic roadmap on how Nigeria can transition from oil as the primary source of revenue towards agricultural commodification for economic growth and stability and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action; and

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Need to Commence the Construction of the Approved Naval Base in Essene, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State:

Hon. Uduak Alphonsus Odudoh:

The House:

Notes that the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the establishment of a Naval Barrack in Essene Clan, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, in December 2009, following expert consultation to advance development and ensure the security of lives and property;

Also notes that the Federal Government and Akwa Ibom State Government, through the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Lands and Town Planning, initiated land acquisition for a Naval Barracks project, with reference number MLTP/TCP/S/274/VOL.1/19, addressed to the Clan Head of Essene on December 23, 2009, outlining the proposed construction of a Naval Base, Primary and Secondary Schools, as well as Quarters for Senior and Junior Officers;

Aware that the people of Essene in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area voluntarily donated 105 hectares of their private lands for the project, with documentation completed between 2010 and 2011;

Cognizant that the donated 105 hectares of land were utilized by the people for agricultural purposes with the aim to attract development and increase the community’s sources of income;

Also cognizant of the need for the government to fulfill its part of the bargain by constructing the approved Naval Base, primary and secondary schools, having acquired the necessary land from the community;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Chief of the Naval Staff to commence the construction of the approved Essene Naval Base, primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State, and include the project in the 2025 budget estimates; and

(ii) mandate the Committees on Navy and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Debate:

Hon. Uduak Odudoh moved the motion on the need to commence the construction of the approved Naval base in Essene, Ikot Abasi local government area of Akwa Ibom state and it was seconded by Hon. Chukwugozie Nwachukwu. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Navy as well as that on Legislative Compliance.

  1. Need to Implement Global Standards on National Policy on Education:

Hon. Moshood Olarewaju Oshun:

The House:

Notes that Special Education, also known as Special-Needs Education, aided education, alternative provision and exceptional student education, is the practice of educating students to cater for individual differences, disabilities, and special needs;

Also notes that the National Policy on Education (NPE) requires adhering to global standards for improving education for children with special needs, promoting inclusive access and less restrictive learning environment;

Aware that Section 18(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that “Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels”;

Concerned that the present practice of the NPE in public schools remains not consistent with existing global standards due to inadequacy of qualified staff, learning materials, software and equipment such as braille devices, audiometers, Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR), mobility devices, as well as specialised facilities for students with special needs, among others;

Worried that many individuals, including educators and parents, are unaware of special education laws and policies, leading to gaps in implementation and ineffective support for special needs students;

Cognizant of the need to ensure that all persons with special needs develop at a pace commensurate with their abilities and to contribute to the socio-economic and technological development of the nation;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Education to commence full implementation of the National Policy on Education with regards to Special Needs Education and ensure that adequate resources are made available to provide a conducive learning environment in public schools for pupils and students with special needs; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Disabilities to investigate the non-implementation of the National Policy on Special Needs Education to ensure speedy implementation and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Moshood Oshun moved the motion on the need to implement global standards on National Policy on Education and it was seconded by Hon. Nweke Felix. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Disabilities.

  1. Need to Investigate the Decline of Infrastructure in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT):

Hon. Oboku Abonsizibe Oforji:

The House:

Notes that Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, is located in the Federal Capital Territory in central Nigeria. The territory’s legislative powers are vested in the National Assembly, ensuring that its budget is presented to both chambers for consideration;
Also notes that the Federal Capital Territory was created in 1976, comprising of six Area Councils namely: Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Kwali, encompassing parts of old Kaduna, Kwara, Niger, and Plateaus States;

Aware that the Federal Capital Minister administers the entire FCT, while the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) focuses on construction and infrastructure development of the region;

Also aware that over 60% of FCT residents live outside Abuja Municipal Area Council, however, infrastructural development is poor in Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Kwali Area Councils, with Lugbe and Kubwa being popular for civil servants and businessmen;

Worried about the poor states of infrastructure such as bad roads, poor electricity supply, inadequate health centers, ill equipped hospitals, fire stations, poor water supply, insecurity, and inadequate commuter vehicles in certain regions;

Saddened that the sorry state of infrastructure in these areas affects productivity, as Civil Servants are regularly held in traffic gridlock hence getting to work late, the insecurity in these places cannot be over emphasized. This is evident by recurring incidences of armed robberies and kidnappings.
Resolves to:

(i) urge the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to rejig the Security Architecture of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Federal Capital Territory to investigate the budgetary allocation of the FCT from 2021-2013 and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Obuku Oforji moved the motion on the need to investigate the decline of infrastructure in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and it was seconded by Hon. Kabiru Makama. The motion was voted on and adopted.


Adjournment:

The House at 13:52 PM adjourned plenary to Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 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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