Friday, April 19, 2024
Ignite the mind.


Plenary proceedings House of Reps Thursday, March 7th, 2024

he Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu presided.


After leading the opening prayer and recitation of the national pledge, the Deputy Speaker approved the votes and proceedings of Wednesday, March 6th, 2024


ANNOUNCEMENT:

Honorable Members with pending Bills should forward the soft copy of the Bills to the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives to enable them expedite the processing of the Bills.


PETITIONS :

Hon. Marie Enenimiete laid a petition on behalf of a family in Nembe local government area of Bayelsa state against Nigeria AGIP Oil company on a matter that has allegedly lingered since the 9th Assembly and needs to be urgently addressed.

Hon. Jesse Onuakalusi laid a petition on behalf of Prof. Monday Igwe against the alleged unlawful suspension of his appointment by the medical hospital he works in. He stated that a proper investigation on the matter was conducted and he had been exonerated but still not reinstated. He craved the intervention of the House for him to get justice on the issue.

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


MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:

Hon. Bello Isa Ambarura moved a motion on the urgent need to identify with the House committee on Women Affairs in line with the celebration of the International Women’s Day with the theme: “Investing in the Woman for accelerated progress” and it was seconded by Hon. Aliyu Gusau. Hon. Ambarura in leading the debate stated that the International Women’s day theme for this year affirms and celebrates the achievements of women worldwide. He stressed the need to take advantage, harness and access the many resourcefulness of women, especially the African woman. He called on government organizations and individuals to remain gender friendly and ensure balanced chances for women to achieve their optimal potentials. He called on the House to back the endorsement of promoting women rights and revisit the hindrances to women participation in politics and acts against women’s rights nationwide.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu commended the spirit of the motion and enjoined for the practice of protecting the rights of women for National development. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Women Affairs as well as that on Social Development.

Hon. Kafilat Ogbara moved a motion on the urgent need to evaluate the implications of the current exchange rate of the 2024 budget implementation to ensure a balanced budget and ensure comfortable living for Nigerians and it was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Shehu. Hon. Kafilat stated that the change of exchange rates, rise in interest rates and inflation has caused the resultant hardship to Nigerians. She expressed worry at the impact of the foreign exchange volatility on the Nigerian economy that is heavily import-dependent. She called on the National Assembly to review the FSP, External Borrowing Plan and all other such parameters to ensure conformity with realities of the times. Hon. Kafilat also called on the House committee on Appropriations, Finance and other relevant committees of the House to work with Federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to review the outlined spending plans, overview financial functions and ensure the protection of the Nigerian economy through the application of realistic policies and report back to the House within 6 weeks. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on National Planning and Economic Development, Appropriations as well as that on Finance.

Hon. Zainab Gimba moved a motion on the urgent need to rescue over 300 ladies who were abducted by unknown gun men, allegedly from the Boko Haram in IDP camps in Borno state and it was seconded by Hon. Abubakar Nalaraba. Hon. Gimba in leading the debate stated that the young ladies were abducted while looking for firewood for sale and domestic purposes on Sunday. Hon. Gimba called on government to call for a state of emergency to ensure the release of the abducted young women by any means possible. She stated that some of the older women were freed, but the younger ones were taken away. Hon. Gimba stated that 3 girls escaped and said they were taken to a place near the border of Borno state. She taxed the security forces to ensure the release of the young ladies. She further called on the National Emergency Management Agency to ensure the provision of succor for those in the IDP camps and that the relevant committees of the House should ensure compliance. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Defense, Disaster Preparedness, Internally Displaced Persons as well as that on National Emergency Management Agency.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu called on the relevant security agencies of government to ensure the swift return of the young ladies especially in the spirit of the approaching Women’s Day celebration.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

BILLS

  1. A Bill for an Act to Introduce Preventive Measure and Teaching of Breast and Cervical Cancers into the Curriculum of a Compulsory Subject (Civic Education) for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 501) –Third Reading.

Debate

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

  1. A Bill for an Act to Introduce Preventive Measures and Teachings of Sexual Gender Based Violence into the Curriculum of a Compulsory Subject (Civil Education) for all Secondary Schools in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 502) –Third Reading.

Debate

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

  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Medical Centres Act and Establish Federal Medical Centre Alkaleri, Bauchi State and for Related Matters (HB. 550) (Hon. Kabiru Yusuf Alhaji) – Second Reading.

Debate

Hon. Kabiru Yusuf moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. James Barka. Hon. Kabiru in leading the debate stated that the location where the proposed medical center is to be sited is in the state capital and has a strategic central location for easy access for all residents in the region to access the medical center in order to cater for their healthcare needs. He urged Honorable members to support the passage of the Bill for the good of Nigerians in the region. 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 Establish Gifted and Talented Centre in Trans -Ekulu, Enugu State and for Related Matters (HB. 1086) (Hon. Paul Nnamchi) – Second Reading.

Debate

Hon. Paul Nnamchi moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. Anayo. Hon. Nnamchi in leading the debate stated that the Bill seeks to establish the center in response to the pressing need to harness the resources in the talented and gifted individuals in the region and Nigeria at large. He stated that such centers if established in different states and regions nationwide will boost the potentials of these gifted individuals and promote excellence so the leaders of the future can thrive and meet up with other geniuses and peers worldwide. The Bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House committee on Basic Education and Services.


MOTIONS

  1. Deplorable state of Ulkwo–Imerienwe Umuekwune–Etche and Ulakwo–Umuneke Ngor–Eziama–Igiirita, Road Rivers States:

Hon. Attorney Matthew Nwogu:

The House:

Also notes that the Ulakwo-Imerienwe-Umuekwune-Etche and Ulakwo-Umuneke Ngor-Eziama-lgirita Rivers State Roads, which cuts across Owerri North and Ngor Okpala Local Government Areas of Imo State and links Etche Local Government Area in Rivers State, are designated as Federal Roads, which been abandoned for over thirty (30) years, leading to a deplorable condition;

Observes that the deplorable road condition in the State has led to increased criminal activities, particularly during market days, resulting in the destruction of perishable and nonperishable goods worth billions of Naira;

Disturbed that the roads are obstructed by Potholes and Ravines, causing accidents and hindering driver maneuverability;

Worried that the situation is escalating daily, causing financial hardship for those using roads for agricultural products, and making Living in Local Government Areas unpleasant and boring;

Aware that the non-disbursement of funds earmarked to the consortium of contractors by the Federal Government through the relevant ministry/agency is the reason for the abandonment of work on the roads;

Recognizes that a reliable road network is crucial for minimizing accidents and promoting economic development globally, as it facilitates the movement of goods and services;

Cognizant of the potential ruin of the social and economic lives of its inhabitants, if immediate steps are not taken to construct the Ulakwo-Imerienwe-Umuekwune-Etche and Ulakwo-Umuneke Ngor-Eziama-lgirita Rivers State Roads;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Rood Maintenance Agency FERMA, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Federal Ministry of Works to commence construction the Ulgcwo-Meienne-Urmuecune- Etche and Uliakwo-Ngor-Eziarno-igiria Rivers State Roods to ease the difficulties encountered by the annuitants and road users;

(ii) mandate the Committees on Works, Federal Roods Maintenance Agency, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House

  1. Acute Water shortage in Fika and Ngelzarma Community of Fika/Fune Local Government Area:

Hon. Muhammed Buba Jajere:

The House:

Notes that the Populations of the Fika and Ngelzarma Towns, which are part of the Fika/Fune Federal Constituency, are densely populated;

Also notes that the topography of Fika and Ngelzarma Towns, which consists of mountainous terrain, has led to water scarcity, making life extremely difficult for inhabitants;

Aware that the Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the importance of providing and managing clean water and sanitation for all, thus requiring government policies that ensure accessible access;

Observes that drastic measures must be implemented in collaboration with the Local, State and Federal Governments to address water scarcity in the Towns and prevent the spread of disease in these areas;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to provisions for boreholes, boosting stations and reticulation distribution channels in Fika and Ngelzarma towns;

(ii) also urge the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to participate in providing water to these towns and also to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, in finding a lasting solution to this menace in both towns;

(iii) mandate the Committees on Water Resources and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to monitor compliance.

Debate

Hon. Mohammed Jajere moved the motion on the acute water shortage in Fika and Ngelzarma community of Fika/Fune local government area and it was seconded by Hon. Markus. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Water Resources as well as that on Northeast Development Commission.

  1. Reconstruction of Roads Linking Imo and Anambra State via Umuowa Junction Orlu to Akwa

Ihedi in Nnewi South Local Government Areas:

Hon. Canice Moore Chukwugozie Nwachukwu:

The House:

Notes that Road infrastructures can be learned from man’s initial quest in search of sustenance, water, or sheer adventure. In modern world, roads have proved to yield profound economic and social significance;

Aware that the restoration of the Orlu-Owerri road will close the gap between the following communities: Nkwume, Umuowa, Umuna, Amaifeke Okwabala, Ezimba Ogbaeruru, Ogbaeruru, Obibi Ochasi, Nneato Obibi, Isiala Obibi, Ihiteowerri, Ihiteowerri, and Isiala Ihiteowerri, crossing the Urasi/Akwa Bridge and continuing into Akwaihedi, Orsumenyi, Amichi, lchida, lgboukwu, and Awka; improving the dissemination of education, fostering a general sense of social awakening, supports health care and various other interstate social services;

Observes that road connectivity in the rural areas will give residents of those places access to markets, allowing them to form economic relationships with other villages and diversify their sources of income;

Worried that the road has been in such awful condition for decades, resulting in accidents, deaths, and high transportation costs for commuters, due to the mountainous nature of the terrain, added to deep potholes and gullies; Motorists lose control of their vehicles, and the resultant effects are always accidents;

Disturbed that during the rainy season, the road becomes a nightmare for the inhabitants of the communities, who are trying to access their farms, schools, and marketplaces.

Alarmed that the majority of the residents in these areas are peasant farmers, who transport their farm produce to various marketplaces in both Imo and Anambra States, as part of their daily economic activities;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Works, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and other relevant Agencies to, as a matter of urgency, come to the aid of these communities by embarking on rehabilitation of the road to ease their hardship; and

(ii) mandate the Committees on Works, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and Legislative Compliance to monitor compliance.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

  1. Suspicious Practices of the Federal Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAS) Parastatals and Institutions in the Execution of Capital Projects in the Appropriation Act:

Hon. Kelechi Nwogu:

The House:

Notes that Section 81 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that “the President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each Houses of the National Assembly at any time in each financial year estimates of the revenue and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year.”

Also notes that Section 81(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that “the heads of expenditures contained in the estimates (other than expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation by this Constitution) shall be included in a Bill, to be known as Appropriation Bill, providing for the issue from the Consolidated Revenue of the sums necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified therein“;

Aware that Heads of all Federal Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Parastatal and Institutions are summoned to the National Assembly for Examination and Validation of their budgetary proposals before passage and Presidential Assent;

Also aware that no adjustment to the estimates contained in the Appropriation Act shall be made without recourse to the National Assembly, according to the law;

Observes that a majority of government ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Parastatal and Institutions allegedly award contracts that are below the amount provided for the execution of the Capital component of the Appropriation Act;

Disturbed that the National Assembly has not been provided with information on withheld funds from Federal Government Agencies, causing project procurement reductions to negatively impact on project completion and Contractors abandonment or requests for variation of the initial cost;

Alarmed that the National Assembly’s powers, as provided in Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), are being undermined by the actions of the Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Parastatals and Institutions;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Financial Crimes, Public Service Matters and Public Procurements to investigate the procurement of Capital Projects by Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Parastatal and Institutions of the Federal Governments to recover withheld sums from the execution and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate

Hon. Kelechi Nwogu moved the motion on suspicious practices of the Federal Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAS) Parastatals and Institutions in the execution of capital projects in the Appropriation Act and it was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Lateef. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Financial Crimes, Public Procurement as well as that on Public Service Matters.

  1. Call for Deployment of Additional Security Personnel to Kauru Local Government Area:

Hon. Mukhtar Zakari Chawai:

The House:

Notes that the presence and the remarkable efforts of Military Personnel (Operation Safe Haven), currently stationed at Chawai;

Also notes high rates of insecurity in Kumana Chiefdom and Kauru Emirate, ranging from banditry, terrorism and kidnapping;

Observes that the Insecurity in Kumana Chiefdom and Kauru Emirate has escalated, necessitating the swift deployment of additional personnel from Operation Safe Haven to address these issues;

Aware the host communities’ vigilantes are willing to collaborate with security officers in curbing the security situation in the Emirate;

Recognises that a detachment of these personnel to a location in Kumana Chiefdom and Kauru Emirate can aid in providing security to the troubled areas of Geshere, Bital, Kwassam, Dokan Karji, Kunkurai, and other areas within the radius;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to direct the deployment of personnel to these locations (Kumana Chiefdom and Kauru Emirate); and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Defense to ensure the military compliance.

Debate

Hon. Mukhtar Chawai moved the motion on the call for deployment of additional security personnel to Kauru local government area and it was seconded by Hon. Femi Bamisiile. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Defense.

  1. Alleged Non–Remittance and Under–Remittance of Tax by Ministries, Departments and Agencies

(MDAs) of Government, Oil Companies and Other Organisations:

Hon. Esosa Iyawe:

The House:

Notes that taxation is a veritable tool used by governments to regulate economic and commercial activities and ensure availability of funds for sustainable national development;

Also notes that the Federal Inland Revenue Service Act, 2004 established the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the core purpose of assessing, collecting, remitting and accounting for the Federation’s taxes;

Concerned that in 2021, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) revealed that the sum of (N17, 690,341,565) seventeen billion, six hundred and ninety million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, five hundred and sixty-five Naira, was owed in tax by some Companies, whose addresses were untraced till date, but no action was taken to locate or recover the funds;

Also concerned about audit reports from 2015 to 2019 which revealed government agencies owing hundreds of billions in FIRS taxes comprising underpayments and under recoveries and over 5,000 Companies and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government owing (N5.2 Trillion) (five trillion, two hundred billion, Naira in withholding taxes;

Disturbed that under-remittance and non-remittance of tax deprive the Federal Government of much needed funds to drive its policies for national development, and if the situation is not urgently addressed, the effect could be crippling on the country’s already dwindling economy;

Worried that while small-scale businesses in Nigeria are frustrated by multiple taxation by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, States and Local Government Authorities, multinational Companies and other corporate organisations are getting the kid-glove treatment;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to, as a matter of urgency, embark on immediate recovery of all taxes owed the Federal Government by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), oil companies, as well as other corporate organisations and individuals; and

(ii) mandate the Committees on Public Accounts and Finance to investigate the non-compliance on tax remittance by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government, Oil Companies and other organisations, with a view to ensuring that all debts in taxes owed the Federal Government are duly recovered, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate

Hon. Esosa Iyawe moved the motion on the alleged non-remittance and under-remittance of tax by by Ministries, Departments and Agencies

(MDAs) of Government, Oil Companies and other Organisations and it was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Jalo. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Public Accounts as well as that on Finance.

  1. Need to Investigate N200 Billion Spent on the Suspended 2023 Population and Housing Census:

The House:

Hon Clement Akanni:

The House:

Notes that census is a process of systematically collecting, compiling, and analyzing demographic, social, and economic data of a population within a specific region;

Also notes that Censuses are conducted by governments to gather accurate and comprehensive information such as age, sex, marital status, education, occupation, housing, and other relevant demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of a country;

Further notes that data collected are used for a wide range of purposes, including policy-making, resource allocation, urban planning, public health, education, and more;

Aware that the last census, that was conducted in 2006 by the National Population Commission, gave a population figure of 140 million;

Also aware that the immediate-past administration of former President, Muhammadu Buhari, planned to conduct another census in 2022, but the programme was later postponed to 2023;

Recalls that earlier in March, 2023 the former Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said a total of N869 Billion would be required for the exercise, this figure according to the Minister, includes Post-Census-Activities;

Also recalls that the National Population Commission (NPC) says, it has spent about 200 Billion to prepare for the 2023 population and housing census;

Disturbed that the exercise was, however, suspended indefinitely by former President Muhammadu Buhari a few days before leaving office;

Concerned that the need to provide the Nation with accurate and reliable demographic data for policy formulation and planning for sustainable development could not be overemphasized;

Resolves to:

mandate the Committee on Population to invite the Director- General of the National Population Commission to explain how the N200 billion meant for the suspended 2023 Population and Housing Census and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate

Hon. Clement Akanni moved the motion on the need to investigate N200 Billion spent on the suspended 2023 Population and Housing Census and it was seconded by Hon. David Lalu.

Hon. Kingsley Chinda proposed an amendment to the prayer of the motion calling for investigation into the use and management of the funds. The motion was voted on, adopted as amended and referred to the House committee on Population.

  1. Need to Incorporate Security Education as Core Subject in Nigeria’s Primary and Secondary School Curriculum:

Hon. Omirin Emmanuel Olusanyo:

The House:

Notes that Security Education is crucial for fostering knowledge and preparedness, enabling Individuals to understand potential threats and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their assets.

Also notes that security education prepares students for contemporary challenges in security; Ranging from economic, political, social and environmental threats;

Security Education equips students with the necessary skills to direct the various contemporary security challenges, including economic, political, social, and environmental threats;

Aware of the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report that since 2018, over 30 Schools have been attacked, resulting in at least 2,295 teacher deaths and over 1,000 child abductions;

Worried about the recurrent attacks and threats against Nigerian educational institutions, teachers, and pupils are causing a negative impact on educational quality, teacher turnover, and perpetuating a culture of impunity.

Aware that due to the escalating insecurity in the country, it has become imperative, for children to learn defend mechanisms, master first-aid-principles and emergency handling skills;

Cognizant that in an increasingly volatile society like Nigeria, investing in security education is essential to safeguard students, knowledge, skills and awareness in security education empowers them to take preventive action;

Resolves to:

(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that Security Education is incorporated as

a core subject in the Primary and Secondary Schools Curriculum; and

(ii) mandate the Committee on Basic Education and Services to ensure implementation.

Debate

Hon. Omirin Olusanya moved the motion on the need to incorporate security education as core subject in Nigeria’s Primary and Secondary School curriculum and it was seconded by Hon. Usman Banye. The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Basic Education and Services.


Adjournment:

The House at 12:44 PM adjourned plenary to Tuesday, March 12th, 2024 by 11:00 A.M following a motion for adjournment moved by the Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Abdullahi Halims and seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda.

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 *