Friday, April 19, 2024
Ignite the mind.


Plenary proceedings House of Reps, Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

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


After leading the opening prayer and recitation of the national pledge, the Speaker approved the votes and proceedings of Tuesday, February 27th, 2024.


ADMITTANCE INTO THE CHAMBER:

Admittance into the Chamber:

Hon. Julius Ihonvbere:

“That the House, pursuant to Order Six, Rule 4(1)(xi) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, do admit into the Chamber, Chairman and Members of the Bulgaria–Nigeria Parliamentary Friendship Group from the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria for the purpose of observing the House plenary”.

The leader of the House, Hon. Julius Ihonmbvere moved the motion for the admittance into the chamber of the Bulgaria-Nigeria friendship group and it was seconded by the Deputy Minority Whip. Hon. George Ozodinobi.

The leader of the delegation of Bulgarian Parliament commended the over 60 years of friendship between Nigeria and Bulgaria and wished that such mutually beneficial friendships in trade, investment, education and all other forms of mutually beneficial development will continue, improve and thrive.


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi announced that Honorable members of the Nigeria-South Korea friendship group are invited to the maiden meeting by 3:00 PM at suite 2.55.

Honourable Members of the North Central caucus are to attend a meeting at 60, Nelson Mandela street, Asokoro, in Abuja on Thursday, February 29th by 8:00PM.


PETITIONS:

Hon. Mansur Soro laid a petition on behalf of some complainants against a medical institution on the alleged none treatment of a victim wounded by armed robbers for not possessing a police report.

Hon. Ebikake Enenimiete laid a petition on behalf of a complainant against rhe Nigeria Police Force for alleged unlawful stoppage of his salary.

A petition was laid on behalf of a youth organization against the alleged unprovoked attacks of Nigerian youth in the Republic of Benin.

Hon. Peter Ifeanyi laid a petition on behalf of a complaint on the alleged brutal killing of her husband by an Inspector of the Nigerian police. She called on the House to ensure justice is done on behalf of the family.

Hon. Jesse Onuakalusi laid 3 petitions on behalf of different complainants on different issues pertaining to alleged breach of rights.

Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi laid a petition on behalf of complainants against the American International Training School, Lagos on the alleged breach of their rights.

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


MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:

Hon. Chike Okafor moved a motion on the urgent need for government to prevent food scarcity and shortage ahead of the next farming season and it was seconded by Hon. Unyime Idem. Hon. Okafor in leading the debate stated that it is necessary to take immediate action to ensure food security for Nigerians as indices show that if such steps are not taken in the current situation, it could become catastrophic. He commended all arms of government for their commitment, but called for more concerted efforts to achieve food security for Nigerians as reports show a dire figure of malnourished Nigerians which is evident in the protests nationwide due to hunger and hardship.

Hon. Okafor called on the Federal government to aid farmers to ensure price control for farmers and that an emergency food summit should be conveyed to address the issue and all relevant MDAs of government as well as key stakeholders should participate. He further called on the relevant Committees of the House to ensure compliance.

Hon. Awaji Abiante lamented the fact that Nigeria is still grappling with food shortage. He bemoaned the fact that insecurity is still hampering food sufficiency in Nigeria. Hon. Abiante called for seriousness in security for farmers and fishermen to work as they should.

Hon. Aliyu Bappa stated that farmers need serious aid in security and finance to procure the very expensive farming inputs to farm properly which will ensure affordable and quality food products. He called for the subsidization of these farm inputs for farmers.

Hon. Chinedu Ogah in his contribution called for the benefits of the prayers of the motion to be extended to all-round farming and that true farmers and agriculturalists nationwide should benefit from aid from government.

Hon. Saidu Abdullahi stated that food insecurity has become an unfortunate reality and Nigerians have become frustrated . He stressed the need for the government to take care of the spots of insecurity nationwide so that agriculturists can have confidence in going back to work. He called for more attention of government to the agricultural sector.

The Deputy Speaker of the House Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu in his contribution supported the motion as it is in line with the agenda of the current government for food security. He called on relevant MDAs of government to increase efforts for success to be achieved in areas like infrastructural development of feeder roads from farms to markets, strengthening of produce links to ensure the ready purchase of farmed produce for farmers etc.

Rt. Hon. Kalu called on state governors to also double up efforts to tap into the agricultural resources in their states and prioritize agriculture in states. He proposed an amendment to ensure the relevant agricultural Committees of the House should be incorporated into the prayers of the motion. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended and referred to the House Committee on Food Nutrition and Services, as well as the relevant Agricultural Committees of the House.

Hon. Zacharia Nyampa moved a motion on the need to investigate circumstances surrounding a contract cancelled by the Central Bank of Nigeria running into millions of Dollars and to avert the resultant total shut down of some Nigerian companies and it was seconded by Hon.Taofeek Ajlosoro.
Hon. Zacharia stated that the cancellation of the transaction will cause widespread collapse of the affected companies leading to mass loss of jobs and more resultant hardships for Nigerian entrepreneurs. He called on the House Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises and other relevant Committees to ensure compliance. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises.

Hon. Lilian moved a motion on the continuing banditry attacks on communities in Anambra state and it was seconded by Hon. Oriyomi Onanuga. Hon. Lilian in leading the debate stated that Oka North especially has been a hotspot for these attacks on farmers and traders and has left the victims in critical health conditions. She called on the relevant security apparatus of the nation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book and that the relevant security Committees of the House as well as that on Legislative Compliance should ensure compliance. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on National Security and Public Safety, Army as well as that on Police Affairs.


ORDERS OF THE DAY:

BILLS:

  1. Consolidation of Bills:

(a) A Bill for an Act to Establish Chartered Institute of Public Health Studies and Administration charged with Responsibility of Advancing the Study, Training and Practice of Public Health Management and Administration in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 161) (Hon. Ali Adeyemi Taofeek); and

(b) A Bill for an Act to Establish Chartered Institute of Public Health Studies and Administration charged with Responsibility of Advancing the Study, Training and Practice of Public Health Management and Administration in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 1041) (Hon. Shehu Sale Rijau).

Debate:

Hon. Francis Waive moved for the consolidation of the bills and it was seconded by Hon. Bello Ambarura. The bill was voted on, approved for consolidation and the House Committee on Rules and Business was asked to schedule a date for the debate of the general principles of the new bill.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria Act, 2007 to be in tandem with what obtains in the Procurement Professional Practice across the Globe and for Related Matters (HB.346) (Hon. Sani Aliyu Madaki) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Aliyu Madaki moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Shettima Ali. Hon. Madaki stated that the bill seeks to simply amend the phrase ‘purchasing and supply’ to ‘procurement and supply’ as is obtainable worldwide. This he stated is to adhere to the professional application of proper titles. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Public Procurement.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 by changing the System of simple Majority of electing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and State Governors where there are more than two candidates to ensure the winner scores more than half of the total votes cast and for Related Matters (HB.683) (Hon. Awaji–Inombek D. Abiante) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Mudashiru Lukman. The bill was voted on, but not approved for second reading.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Residency Training Act, 2018 to Establish National Residency Training Board for the Federation and for Related Matters (HB.725) (Hon. Adedayo Samuel Adesola) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Adedayo Adesola moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Jude Emeka. Hon. Adesola in leading the debate stated that the bill seeks the amendment of the Medical Residents Training Act to bring the structure, powers and composition of the Board to what is applicable internationally. He stated that the bill also seeks to reduce the brain drain of Nigerian medical practitioners to greener pastures and ensure they have a better environment to practice in Nigeria. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Health Services.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Banks and Others Financial Institution Act, Cap. B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to mandate Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria to State in writing, all charges and fees accruing to any transaction in the Bank and for Related Matters (HB. 854) (Hon. Aliyu Bappa Misau) – Second Reading.

Debate:

Hon. Aliyu Misau moved for the second reading of the bill and it was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Shehu. Hon. Misau in leading the debate stated that the bill seeks to amend the principal Act to mandate financial institutions to state in writing all accrued charges and fees for financial transactions of their customers as Nigerians need to make informed decisions on transactions to be taken. He noted how customers of banks keep complaining of unwarranted monthly charges that they have not subscribed to. The bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Banking and other Auxiliary Institutions as well as that on Regulatory Banking.


MOTIONS:

  1. Need to Investigate the Alleged Unremitted N1.8 Trillion and $342 Million Tax Revenues owed the Federation by Multichoice Group:

Hon. Saidu Abdullahi:

The House:

Notes that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was established in 2007 as one of the revenue collection Agencies, and is expected to collect revenues on behalf of the Federation and remit same to the Government’s Treasury;

Also notes that the oversight functions of the National Assembly as provided in Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) are to enable the Legislature to carry out investigation within its legislative competence to prevent and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws;

Aware that Multichoice, a prominent multinational corporation operating in Nigeria, has been accused of non-remittance of tax revenues due to the Federation, as evidenced by the suppression of information discovered from the submissions in their home country;

Also aware that Nigeria economy is currently facing significant challenges, with dwindling revenues posing a threat to the overall fiscal stability and development of the Country;

Cognizant that the Federal Inland Revenue Service had engaged a consultant in 2021 under a Whistle blowing contract to carry out an audit of the tax obligations of Multichoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa with a view to ascertaining the Company’s tax indebtedness to the country, their findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020;

Also cognizant of the previous attempts by FIRS to recover the unpaid taxes through legal means; including court proceedings and the subsequent resolution to settle out of the court by both parties has not yielded the desired result;

Observes that the systems audit and investigation revealed enormous indebtedness to the tune of over N1.8 trillion in back total taxes for MultiChoice Nigeria, and $342 million in Value-added tax, for MultiChoice Africa that had never paid any taxes since they started business operations in Nigeria. Both amounts were levied upon the Multichoice Group by the FIRS;

Concerned that there are ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and other Multichoice Group Subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign Interest, while tax indebtedness is outstanding;

Worried that if urgent actions are not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria may lose huge revenue that can inject life into the economy;

Acknowledges the responsibility of the House to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability and the rule of law in matters pertaining to public finance and taxation

Further cognizant of the need to thoroughly investigate the non-remittance of tax revenues by Multichoice to the Federation to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take appropriate action to safeguard the interests of the Nigerians;

Resolves to:

(i) caution the potential buyers of Multichoice Nigeria, Multichoice Africa or any other Subsidiaries of the Multichoice Group operating in Nigeria to be aware of the alleged outstanding indebtedness which may have been covered in their papers; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Finance to investigate the non-remittance of tax revenues by Multichoice to the Federation with focus on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Saidu Abdullahi moved the motion on the need to investigate the alleged unremitted N1.8 Trillion and $342 Million tax revenues owed the Federation by Multichoice Group and it was seconded by Hon. Dickson. Hon. Garba Inuwa proposed an amendment to add an additional prayer to the motion that the House committee on Communication should join the investigation and to find out why Nigerians are not also charged on the ‘pay as you go’ package by Multichoice as is obtainable in other countries.

Hon. Fatoba Olusola also proposed an amendment to prayer 2 of the motion to incorporate the House Committee on Information and National Orientation to the investigation.

An additional amendment was made to include the House Committee on Justice to the investigation. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended and referred to the House Committee on Finance, Information as well as that on Justice.

  1. Need to Investigate the Delay in the Construction of the Share–Pategi Road in Kwara State:

Hon. Ahmed Adamu Saba:

The House:

Notes that the project for the construction of the Share-Pategi road in Kwara State was captured in the Appropriation Act, 2017 and ultimately awarded to Messrs. Drumo Intem Company Limited in October 9, 2017;

Also notes that the Share-Pategi road construction commenced from T-Junction along the old Ilorin-Jebba road, traversing through Share town, Tsaragi, Gida-Sani, Wodata village, Zambufu village, and Gbugbu, terminating at Pategi town;

Aware that the road, which is about 100 km long and consists of an asphalt concrete portion and a surface-dressed portion, is severely damaged, with pot holes, cracks, failed shoulders, washouts, and large gullies;

Also aware also that the poor condition of the road exposes the road users and motorists to accidents, loss of time, and an increase in the cost of vehicle maintenance;

Further aware that the road serves as a major means of transporting agricultural produce and commercial activities and completing it will bring huge social and economic activities, boost intra-state trade, enhance the evacuation of farm products from the farms and reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance;

Worried that after the award of the contract to Messrs Drumo Intem Company Limited in 2017, there has been an exceptionally low budgetary release from the Ministry of Finance to complete the project;

Also worried that out of the ten billion, two hundred and ninety-eight million, eighty hundred and thirty-three thousand, twenty thousand, Naira (N10, 298, 833, 020) including VAT, allocated for the project; and the sum of two billion, nine hundred and seventy-six million, one hundred and forty-seven thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven naira, ninety-five Kobo (N2,976, 147, 477:95) was authorized for release, only one billion, five hundred and forty-four million, eight hundred and twenty-four thousand, nine hundred and fifty-three Naira(N1,544,824, 953:00) only has been released to date;

Disturbed that due to the poor yearly budgetary provision, the contractors, as well as the site engineers, have vacated the site as the rent for the accommodation has since expired;

Acknowledges that though the project has been listed to be funded by Sukkuk intervention, the process is rather slow and the death toll on the road is on the increase;

Resolve to:

Mandate the Committee on Works to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure the speedy completion of the road and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Ahmed Saba moved the motion on the need to investigate the delay in the construction of the Share–Pategi road in Kwara state and it was seconded by Hon. Ahmed Yinka. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Works.

  1. Need to Investigate Non-Compliance to Health and Safety Standards and Regulations by various Public and Private Institutions as Enshrined in Employees’ Compensation Act, 2010 (ECA):

Hon. Ahmed Jaha Babawo:

The House:

Notes that the Employees Compensation Act, 2010 (ECA) was enacted with provisions which includes ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of workers in Nigeria by preventing workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities and enforcing compliance with safety and health standards and regulations in both public and private entities;

Aware that between July 2011 and June 2023 about 99,678 work-place hazard claims were received by the Trust Fund, in 2023 alone, from January to June, a total of 8,959 claims under the various contingencies of medical expenses refund, loss of productivity, death benefits, disability benefits such as provision of artificial body to over 100 disabled workers and medical treatment were also received by the Trust Fund;

Recalls that on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at the formal launch of the Committee’s Strategic Plan for the 10th Assembly, Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations, the Honourable Speaker’s Inaugural Speech specifically raised concerns over disregard and non-compliance to safety standards and regulations by some public and private institutions in the country;

Observes the noticeable increase in the rate of work-related hazards and lack of compensation to victims as a result of non-compliance to safety standards and regulations by public and private entities;

Disturbed that with non-adherence to health and safety standards and regulations which is crucial for preventing workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities, as well as promoting a conducive work environment for all employees across various sectors of the economy, the right of citizens to a safe and decent place of work, devoid of hazards seems not guaranteed in our country;

Resolves to:

mandate the Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations to investigate non-compliance to safety standards and regulations by public and private institutions as enshrined in the Employee Compensation Act (2010) and report back within four (4) weeks for legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Ahmed Jaha Babawo moved the motion on the need to investigate the non-compliance to health and safety standards and regulations by various public and private institutions as enshrined in Employees’ Compensation Act, 2010 (ECA) and it was seconded by Hon. Kalejaye Paul. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations.

  1. Need to Investigate the Recent Frequent Collapse of the National Grid:

Hon. Billy Osawaru:

The House:

Notes that sustainable energy is essential to any modern economy, and Nigeria is no exception, as stable electricity supply ensures that industries remain viable, power homes, and facilitates significant economic growth and industrial progress;

Commend the plan of the Federal Government to increase power capacity to 20,000 megawatts (MW) from 12,522 MW projected within the next three years and the Electricity Act, 2023 is aimed at addressing the persistent challenges in the power sector, harnessing new opportunities, as well as propel Nigeria toward a future of reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity supply;

Aware that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in August 2023 stated that the Nigerian power grid recorded an unparallel period of stability in the history of the power sector by operating without major disruptions or systems collapse for over 400 consecutive days, a milestone that indicates an advancement in the nation’s efforts at strengthening its power infrastructure, ensuring a reliable and dependable electricity supply to distribution load centres for onward distribution to electricity customers nationwide;

Worried that in a space of one week in the month of August 2023, Nigeria recorded three national grid collapses, the national grid collapsed twice within 6hrs and on the 19 August 2023, another system collapse was recorded;

Also worried that frequent grid collapses this year have negatively impacted the economy, reducing industrial output and raising manufacturing expenses, Firms are forced to invest in alternate power sources, thus, raising operational costs and leaving end users with exorbitant prices, which citizens cannot afford, especially with subsidy removal effects;

Recalls that the nation is currently facing its worst form of insecurity, including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes, the collapse of the National grid will embolden criminal activities and security facilities such as the Vigiscope App, Police Situation room App, all Police Commands control rooms can be compromised during the dark hours, tracking devices that need power to reach telephone lines can be hampered;

Cognizant that if the frequent national grid collapses are thoroughly investigated and solutions proffered, it will end the continuous system collapse, boost the economy and reduce the suffering of the citizens;

Resolves to:

mandate the Committee on Power to liaise with critical stakeholders in the power sector to urgently investigate and proffer solutions to the embarrassing development and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Billy Osawaru moved the motion on the need to Investigate the recent frequent collapse of the national grid and it was seconded by Hon. Satome Ahmed. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Power.

  1. Need to Review the Digitalization program in the Nigerian Broadcasting Industry:

Hon. Taofeek Abimbola Ajilesoro:

The House:

Notes that Nigeria embarked on the journey towards Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcasting on June 17, 2006, following the deadline of June 15, 2015, set by the International Telecommunication Union (IT) for member countries to transition from analog to digital broadcasting;

Also notes that the late President Musa Yar’Adua directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to affect the transition; however, at a stakeholders meeting held on June 3, 2008, the Nigerian broadcasting industry leaders agreed to reschedule the initial international deadline;

Further notes that the plan of the administration of former President Muahmmed Buhari, as championed by the former Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muahmmed, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), was to complete the process by December 2022. However, the program was launched in eight (8) states, namely: Lagos, Kano, Plateau, Kwara, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Rivers, and the Federal Capital Territory, out of the 36 states of the Federation;

Aware that the transition from analog to digital is aimed at creating a more equitable, just, and people-centered information society that will connect underserved populations and remote communities;

Also aware that the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project, upon completion, will translate to increased digital television penetration, improved quality television services, adherence preference ratings, crystal clear sound, and visual sounds, in addition to other value-added services;

Concerned that, despite other African nations such as Cote d’Ivore, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Rwanda, Kenya, etc. having finished the transitioning process, the digital switchover program in Nigeria’s broadcasting industry has stagnated or slowed down. In spite of being almost ten years into the process, Nigeria, with the biggest economy, still lacks a strong foundation for the shift.

Also concerned that the platforms for Pay TV programs are dominated by foreigners, like DSTV, owned by Multichoice, a South African company, and Star Times, which is 70% owned by Chinese and 30% by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA);

Acknowledges that there was an agreement reached with Star Times for the utilization of their facilities spread across the country to fast-track the implementation of the process;

Worried that Nigeria has repeatedly missed the deadlines for switching to digital broadcasting due to a variety of issues, such as the enormous financial outlays needed to build the necessary infrastructure to guarantee that the digital television set won’t be interrupted by thunderstorms or heavy rain—a term used to euphemistically describe bad weather that distorts the quality of the shows;

Resolves to:

mandate the Committee on Digital and Information Technology to liaise with the Ministry of Information and National Orientation, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) to investigate the agreement between Government and Star Times to fast track the complete digitalization of the Nigerian broadcasting industry, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Taofeek Ajilesoro moved the motion on the need to review the digitalization program in the Nigerian Broadcasting Industry and it was seconded by Hon. Akeem Adeyemi. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Digital and Information Technology.

  1. Need to Equip Kakau, Birnin–Yero and Chiromawa Roadside Emergency Clinics along Abuja – Kaduna – Zaira – Kano Federal Road:

Hon. Chiroma Mohammed Garba:

The House:

Notes that Section 5(i) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Act, 2007 vested the Commission with the responsibility of establishing roadside clinics for the treatment of victims of road accidents;

Also notes that the 375.9 KM Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, a dual carriageway that connects the north west geopolitical zone with other parts of Nigeria, has consistently been recording a high number of road traffic accidents;

Aware that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) established three roadside clinics along the road in Kakau, Birnin Yero, and Chiromawa, implementing the provisions of its enabling Act of providing timely treatment for victims of road accidents along the road;

Also aware that the three clinics were not adequately equipped to enhance rapid and well-organized response to the medical needs of victims of road accidents as mandated by the provisions of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Act, 2007;

Concerned that the clinics do not have a standard ambulance, a well-equipped laboratory, first aid kits, or up-to-date drugs to efficiently manage the condition of road accident victims;

Also concerned that huge financial and human resources have been lost from the poor state of the clinics as well as the lack of standard ambulances, which hinders the Corps from performing its statutory duties of rescuing and treating victims of road traffic accidents;

Worried that if nothing decisive has been undertaken by the Commission to reduce road traffic accidents through the enforcement of road safety measures despite the FRSC statistical reports, showing that Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road produced the highest offenders of road traffic regulations in Nigeria from 2021 to 2022;

Alarmed that the majority of individuals killed or rendered incapacitated in road accidents along that route are in their prime working years, between the ages of 25 and 45, thereby diminishing the pool of human resources required for Nigeria’s socioeconomic development:

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to: –

(a) equip each of the three roadside clinics in Kakau, Birnin Yero and Chiromawa with standard ambulances, first aid kits, and up-to-date drugs for prompt treatment of victims of road traffic accidents;

(b) step up targeted awareness and sensitization campaigns to reduce accidents on the road;

(c) strengthen the enforcement of road traffic regulations on the road to reduce accidents to the barest minimum; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Road Safety Commission to monitor and ensure compliance.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Need to Access and Fix Abandoned Federal Government Projects Across the Country:

Hon. Joseph Adegbesan:

The House:

Notes that the abandonment of projects in Nigeria is disappointing and worrisome, negatively impacting infrastructural provisions and development;

Also notes that statistics has shown that over 60,000 projects are abandoned in Nigeria, thereby obstructing citizens from utilizing their tax proceeds and natural resources, with the total value of these projects reaching trillions of Naira;

Disturbed that these projects were initiated and designed to improve the standard of living of Nigerians through electrification, power improvement, provision of portable water, qualitative education, healthcare facilities, construction of roads and bridges;

Also disturbed that successive administrations have been ignoring these projects on the premise that it was not initiated by their government or not within their policy direction, disregarding their importance to Nigerians and taxpayers’ money spent.

Resolves to:

mandate the Committee on Works to review all abandoned Federal Government Projects across the country to include Scope of work, commencement date, contract value, amount spent, and stage of work through Ministries, Departments and Agencies with workable plan to effectively complete the projects and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate:

Hon. Joseph Adegbesan moved the motion on the need to access and fix abandoned Federal Government projects across the country and it was seconded by Hon. Adamu who also proposed an amendment to incorporate the House Committee on Public Assets as well as that on Intergovernmental Affairs to the prayers of the motion.

Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka also proposed an amendment to constitute an Ad-Hoc committee to do the comprehensive auditing of abandoned projects nationwide in a specialized manner.

Hon. Shettima Ali further proposed an amendment to clarify the scope of time of investigating the abandoned projects. He proposed a frame from 1999 to date. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended and referred to a soon to be constituted Ad-Hoc Committee.

  1. Need to Rehabilitate Igwuruta–Port Harcourt International Airport–Omagwa–Isiokpo–Elele–Omerelu Roads, Rivers State:

Hon. Blessing Chigeru Amadi Hon. Boniface Emerengwa:

The House:

Notes the importance of good roads towards the economic growth, regional development and inter connectivity between Local Government Areas, the State and the neighbouring States;

Also notes that a good road infrastructure is crucial for promoting Agriculture, Commercial activities, reducing road accidents, preserving motor vehicles and ensuring security;

Aware that the rehabilitation of the Federal road spanning through Igwuruta, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Isiokpo, Elele and Omnerelu, the border town between Rivers State and Imo state is the core mandate of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA);

Also aware that Section 7 of the FERMA Act, 2002 mandates the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency to ensure efficient maintenance and rehabilitation of all Federal Roads in Nigeria;

Worried that the lack of rehabilitation and maintenance of the failed portions of the road is causing high rate of accidents, armed robbery, kidnappings leading to insecurity and socio-economic hardship for residents and business operators in Rivers state;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to, urgently commence rehabilitation of the Igwuruta-Port Harcourt International Airport-Omagwa-Isiokpo-Elele-Omerelu Raid to save lives of the road users and promote the economic development of Rivers State and adjourning States; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Appropriation to include the rehabilitation of Igwuruta-Port Harcourt International Airport-Omagwa-Isiokpo-Elele-Omerelu Road of Rivers State in the 2025 budget estimates.

Debate:

Hon. Blessing Amadi moved the motion on the need to rehabilitate Igwuruta–Port Harcourt International Airport–Omagwa–Isiokpo–Elele–Omerelu roads, Rivers state and it was seconded by Hon. Ebikake Enenimiete. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.


CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS:

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act, Cap. A12 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (as amended) to make Provision for Establishment of Federal College of Agriculture, Geidam and for Related Matters (HB. 767) – Committee of the Whole:20/12/2023.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Julius Ihonbvere stated that the bill seeks the amendment of the Act to accommodate the proposed Federal college of Agriculture.

Summary of voting:

Clauses voted on and approved: 1-3.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Produce (Enforcement of Exports Standards) Act, Cap. P23, Laws of the Federal of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Federal Produce Inspection Service (Enforcement of Exports Standards) (Establishment) Bill, 2024 to Provide for the Inspection and Enforcement of Grades and Quality Standards of Produce and Commodity intended for Export from Nigeria at Ports of Shipment and for Related Matters (HB. HB.616) (Leader) – Committee of the Whole:9/11/2023.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Julius Ihonvbere stated that the bill seeks to promote and ensure quality of inspection to ensure standard enforcement of quality produce to be exported from Nigeria to avoid the embarrassment of having produce returned and trade agreements with other countries cancelled.

Summary of voting:

Clauses voted on and approved: 1-45.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Provide for Coordinating and Conduct of the Practice of Broadcasting Profession in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB.247) – Committee of the Whole:27/7/2023.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Julius Ihonbvere stated that the bill seeks to protect and ensure sanity and efficiency in the practice of broadcasting through due certification, registration and practice of broadcasters in Nigeria for sanity of practice.

Summary of voting:

Clauses voted on and approved: 1-24.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Federal Capital Territory Abuja Area Courts (Repeal and Enactment) Act, 2010 and Enact the Federal Capital Territory Abuja Area Courts Bill to, among other things, Expand the Jurisdiction of the Area Courts to Entertain both Civil and Criminal Matters and for Related Matters (HB. 378) (Leader) – Committee of the Whole:8/2/2024.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Julius Ihonbvere stated that the bill seeks to ensure balance of duties and administration of Courts within the FCT for speedy and efficient delivery of Justice.

Summary of voting:

Clauses voted on and approved: 1-54.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund (NYSCTF) for the Purpose of Providing Sustainable Source of Funds for NYSC, Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment of Corps Members, Training and Retraining of the Personnel of the NYSC, Development of Camps and NYSC Formations and Facilities therein and for Related Matters (HB. 985) – Committee of the Whole:20/12/2023.

Consideration of the bill was deferred for some gray areas, especially areas to do with funding to be clarified.

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish Nigerian Peace Corps to facilitate Peace, Volunteerism, Community Services, Neighbourhood watch and Nation Building and for Related Matters (HB. 309 and HB. 482) (Leader) – Committee of the Whole: 22/11/2023.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Julius Ihonbvere stated that the bill had gone through the National Assembly to the Presidency and the concerns why it was not assented to, especially in terms of conflicts of responsibility with other security agencies has been taken care of, and hence it should be supported.

Summary of voting:

Clauses voted on and approved: 1-42.

  1. Ad–hoc Committee on the Need to Investigate the Circumstances Surrounding the Acquisition of OVH Energy by NNPC limited:

Hon. Hassan Abubakar Nalaraba:

“That the House do consider the Report of the Ad–hoc Committee on the Need to Investigate the Circumstances Surrounding the Acquisition of OVH Energy by NNPC Limited on the Need to Investigate the Irregularities and Alleged Corruption in the Nigeria Energy Security Provider, NNPC Retail Limited and the Acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing and approve the Recommendations therein” (HR. 171/07/2023) (Laid:4/10/2023).

(i) lift the suspension of the House of Representatives’ earlier directive to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) to halt the acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing;

(ii) urge the NNPCL to sustain its application of principle of corporate governance, which has given rise to the increase in profit of the NNPC Retail from 6.593 Billion naira in year 2021 to 18.4 Billion naira in the first quarter of the year 2023;

(iii) also urge the NNPCL to sustain provision of energy for security purposes as provided for in the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021;

(iv) further urge the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to act in accordance with its mandate by refusing and denying facilities to whose operating license no longer subsist from lifting products and the associated consequences that may apply; and

(v) again urge all facilities that operate within the Midstream and Downstream sector of the oil and gas sector, within the regulatory purview of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, to obtain and renew their operating licenses, including the NNPCL and it Companies, or face consequences as provided in the NMDPRA regulations.

Synopsis of the report:

Hon. Francis Waive stated that the report was a result of a thorough investigation by the Ad-Hoc committee and the recommendations therein is subject to the approval of the House in the Committee of the Whole.

Hon. Awaji Abiante stated that Honorable members do not have the report to consider, only recommendations. Honorable members he stated need to have the report to make informed decisions on the matter.

Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka stated that evidence shows that thorough work was not done by the Ad-Hoc committee as the timeframe was short for it to be thorough in its investigations. He proposed that the work be transferred to the House committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream for a more thorough job to be done.

Hon. Philip called for caution in adopting the report as it will be akin to the House either acting in ignorance or in coalition to cover up heinous acts and making the House look as an accomplice to this mega National fraud. He called for thorough investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime.

The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu sought to find out what the details of the takeover and management of the company was in relation to NNPCL. The reply was that the committee could not truly verify. Rt. Hon. Kalu also sought to find out if financial manipulations and fraud were truly uncovered by the Ad-Hoc committee, it was then revealed that the report was not signed or contributed to by any other member of the committee except the chairman.

The report by the Ad-Hoc committee was then stepped down and the motion by Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka to shift the responsibilities of the investigation to the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream was then voted on and adopted. The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu then called on the House committee on Petroleum Downstream while conducting its investigation to be mindful of the the real issues on irregularities, corruption, and integrate due process and report back to the House in 4 weeks.


HOUSE IN PLENARY:

The House reverted to plenary and adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole following a motion by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere and seconded by Hon. Aliyu Madaki.


Adjournment:

The House at 14:18 PM adjourned plenary to Thursday, February 29th, 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 Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Aliyu Madaki.

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

Comments


Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *