Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, January 25, 2018, The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presiding
After the Speaker led the opening prayer, he went on to examine and adopt plenary votes and proceedings for Wednesday, January 24, 2018
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1. Federal University of Agriculture, Kabba (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1259) (Senate) – First Reading.
2. Federal Colleges of Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1260) (Senate) – First Reading.
3. Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2018 (HB. 1296) (Hon. Kayode Oladele) – First Reading.
4. National Center for Child Development (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1297) (Hon. Henry Daniel Ofongo) – First Reading.
5. National Emergency Management Agency Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1298) (Hon. Azubogu Chris Emeka) – Frist Reading
6. Federal Polytechnic, Ile-Oluji (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1299) (Hon. Afe Olowookere) – First Reading.
7. National Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulatory Commission Bill, 2018 (HB. 1300) (Hon. Jones Chukwudi Onyereri) – First Reading.
8. Maritime Academy of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1301) (Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok) – First Reading.
9. Central Bank Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1302) (Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok) – First Reading.
10. Federal University of Technology, Auchi (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1303) (Hon. Johnson E. Oghuma) – First Reading.
11. Federal College of Education (Technical) Onna (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1304) (Hon. Ekpoattai Owoidighe) – First Reading.
12. Pension Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1305) (Hon. Garba D. Muhammed) – First Reading.
13. Donkey Export and Killing (Prohibition) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1306)
ORDERS OF THE DAY
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act, 2017 in order to extend the implementation year of the Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act, 2017 from 31 December, 2017 to 31 March, 2018 or until the coming into Force of the 2018 Appropriation Act, whichever occurs earlier; and for Related Matters (HB. 1294) – Third Reading.
Hon. Monguno Tahir moved for the Third Reading, Hon. Orker Jev seconded it.
A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and for Related Matters (HBs. 477, 878 and 1053) – Third Reading.
Hon. Monguno Tahir moved for the Third Reading, Hon. Orker Jev seconded it.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Research Institutes Act, Cap. N132, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to include the Establishment of the Shea Butter Research Institute; and for Related Matters (HB. 1271) (Hon. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike G.) – Second Reading.
Hon. Abubakar moved for the Second Reading of the Amendment Bill and stressed the need for Nigeria to develop the hitherto untapped abundant resources Shea butter has and is in abundant deposit in Nigeria. He stressed that Nigeria’s Shea butter quality was one of the best worldwide as it comes highly recommended in America and Europe. The current production capacity and patronage is encouraging, but can be improved upon for more revenue generation to Nigeria and its citizens. Hon. Tahir Monguno also pointed out the vast economic benefits to teeming youth in the shea butter business. He pointed out that if these youth had been gainfully engaged, they would not be cajoled into becoming insurgents, militants, kidnappers, miscreants and a general menace to themselves and society. It was voted on, passed for Second Reading, the Clerk read the Long Title and was referred to the Committee on Agric Institutions and Services.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Police Act, Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the Police Regulations, 1968 respectively to prevent continued infraction of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) by the requirement of Female Police Officers to request prior permission of their Commissioners of Police before undertaking Marriage; and for Related Matters (HB. 1233) (Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa) – Second Reading.
Hon. Bassey moved the for the Second Reading of the Bill, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje seconded it.
Hon. Bassey stated that the practice of controlling the marriage rights of female Police Officers is wrong, as it can only be controlled by the Courts, Churches or Mosques depending on the Faith practiced by the person. He also termed as wrong practice the deployment of junior cadre Officers to parts of the country where they have no former knowledge of the people and their practices, as these Officers are principally supposed to carry out investigations, which is hard when they are perceived as strangers. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje in contributing stated that records abound to prove that the Nigeria Police is the most discriminatory Organ of Government in Nigeria. She proposed that the Amendment should not just look to deal with the area of marriage, but it should cover every area of discrimination. Hon. Yussuf Lasun in contributing stated that the prayer of the Amendment Bill that deals with posting junior Officers to only areas of the country where they are comfortable is tantamount to State Policing and should be clarified. Hon. Ayo Omidiran stated that as a woman and a Member of the Police Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, she feels ashamed that this happens, she prayed the House to extend its search light on all Agencies, Organizations or Government Organs where these practices may still occur and put a stop to it. It was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Police Affairs.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Children Trust Fund Act, Cap. N93, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to harmonize the Functions of the Nigerian Children Trust Fund; and for Related Matters (HB. 1273) (Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok) – Second Reading.
Hon. Francis Moved for the second Reading of the Bill, Hon. Henry Archibong Seconded it.
Hon. Francis stated that the welfare which was established for the catering of the Nigerian child, but looking at the Act setting it up, Section 3c contradicts Section 1 and an Amendment is needed in order to ensure it does not excludes children in the Primary School age bracket. It was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee of Women Affairs.
Amendment of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, Pursuant to Order Nineteen, Rule 7 to create a new Standing Committee:
Rt. Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff:
Notes the spate of violence and other security challenges in Nigeria, ranging from kidnapping to armed robbery and deadly attacks by suspected herdsmen, etc.;
Also notes that apart from the economic losses, there are other consequences of these crises ranging from people, losing their homes, children missing out education as well as continuously contributing to ever increasing number of refugees in IDP camps with its own attendant challenges;
Further notes that the Nigerian Security Agencies have not been proactive enough to curtail or address the challenges;
Aware of the incessant ethno-religious, communal, boundary and other crisis bedeviling our country suggesting that the country stands to gain up to $1.0 billion annually in total macroeconomic progress in a scenario of peace between farmers and pastoralists in Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau States alone;
Also aware of the grave economic losses associated with the Niger-Delta crisis as well as the psychopathic killings by cultist in Lagos, Edo, Kogi and other parts of the country, including the on-going kidnappings in the country;
Concerned that no country can attain meaningful development when it is constantly faced by crisis and conflicts which discourage investments;
Further aware that previous Resolutions of the House on the matter have not been complied with by the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government;
Cognizant of our responsibility as an arm of Government to ensure the security of Nigerians as encapsulated by Section 13 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended);
Desirous of the need to take proactive steps to prevent further conflicts with the attendant loss of lives and destruction of properties;
Create a new Standing Committee thus:
(1) “There shall be a Committee to be known as Committee on Conflict Detection, Engagement and Resolution, consisting of not more than 15 members constituted at the commencement of the life of the House.
(2) The Committee’s jurisdiction shall cover:
(a) engaging warring parties in conflict situations to achieve amicable settlement;
(b) alerting Security Agencies on the likelihood of a conflict arising in any community in Nigeria;
(c) liaising with relevant Committees of the House on Conflict Management;
(d) Oversight of all matters relating to Peace and Conflict Resolution;
(e) oversight of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution;
(f) annual budget estimates.
Hon. Lasun moved the Motion, Hon. Hassan Isa seconded it.
Hon. Lasun stated that though the 8th Assembly is about winding up, but the lack of an organized system within which to channel grievances and proffer solutions necessitates the need to have such a House Committee in place. Hon. Gyang Istifanus stated that the Standing Committee if constituted would be a good tool in tackling the consistent outbreaks of pockets of violence nationwide and ensure resolution, peace and progress in Nigerian communities. Hon. Betty Apiafi stated that the insecurity challenges the nation is facing needs the Committee, she however proposed a constitution of at least one Member from every State of the nation including the F.C.T so that information of conflicts can get to the Committee immediately they occur. Hon. Orker Jev opposed the Motion on the ground that the functions of the Committee would undoubtedly interfere with those of other Committees, especially Police Affairs, Internal Security and Public Security. Hon. Zakari Mohammed stated the scope of the existing Committees of the House can be expanded to suit the functions needed. The Motion was voted on, passed and the Committee on Rules and Business was asked to fix a conducive date for consideration.
Incessant Attacks at Demsa/Lamurde/Numan Federal Constituency of Adamawa State by Unknown Gunmen:
Hon. Talatu Yohanna.
Notes that on Sunday, 20 January, 2018, unknown gunmen attacked Kikan village in Numan Local Government Area of Demsa/Lamurde/Numan Federal constituency of Adamawa State killing 4 persons and destroying property and farmlands worth millions of Naira;
Aware that those attacks have continued sporadically despite the presence of Security personnel in the communities;
Concerned that the people of those communities have been rendered homeless, and are without food and clothing, and desirous of putting an end to those unwarranted attacks in order to restore harmony in those communities;
(i) Observe a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in the attack;
(ii) Urge the Inspector–General of Police to beef up security in those communities to stem the tide of attacks;
(iii) Also urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the affected communities to ameliorate their sufferings;
(iiii) Mandate the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to ensure implementation.
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Hon. Talatu moved the Motion, Hon. Bamgbose Joseph seconded it. As an infrastructure related Motion, it was voted on and passed.
Need to Renovate the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna and National Stadium, Abuja:
Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan:
Notes that the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna and National Stadium, Abuja were constructed at different times in 1958, 1964 and 2004 respectively to promote sporting activities and are among the major Stadia in Nigeria;
Also notes that those three Stadia were built with various capacities according to the needs and the exigencies of the period they were constructed and while the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium was constructed by the then Western Regional Government in 1958 with a seating capacity of 20,000, Ahmadu Bello Stadium was constructed by the Government of the then Northern Region in 1964 with a seating capacity of 22,000 and the National Stadium, Abuja was constructed by the Federal Government in 2003 with 60,000 seating capacity, covering the main bowl for football as well as velodrome for professional cycling and other complimentary facilities;
Further notes that Obafemi Awolowo Stadium and Ahmadu Bello Stadium were renovated in 1995 during the aborted FIFA Youth Championship and during the 2009 Under 17 Junior Football World Cup;
Aware that after the completion of the National Stadium, Abuja in 2003, M/S Julius Berger Plc. was engaged for the maintenance of Package A, while M/S Bouygues Limited was engaged for the maintenance of Package B, but due to lack of funds, the maintenance contracts could neither be sustained nor extended beyond one year, hence, the National Stadium Complex (Packages A and B) has not undergone any major renovation/rehabilitation, thereby leaving the facilities in both packages at various stages of dilapidation;
Informed that the dilapidated condition of those Stadia is adversely affecting every facet of sporting activities in the country, little wonder that our athletes have been performing poorly in various international sporting events as they have not won tangible medals in major events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Regional and even Sub-regional tournaments in the recent time;
(i) Call on the Federal Government to urgently consider the renovation of the Stadia through enhanced budgetary allocations bearing in mind the role Sports could play in curbing youth restiveness, terrorism, kidnapping and a host of other vices dominating the social sphere of Nigeria today;
(ii) also urge the Federal Government to consider setting up of a maintenance team that will ensure that the various facilities and other state of the art
(iii) Mandate the Committee on Sports to ensure implementation.
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Hon. Goni moved the Motion, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas seconded it. It was voted on and passed as amended to allow partnership between Government and interested parties to maintain and run the stadia to generate the needed funds for the Government.
Need to Investigate the Huge Debts Owed Indigenous Companies by International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCS)
Hon. O.K. Chinda.
Notes that several Indigenous Companies that had rendered services, executed contracts and/or supplied items to International Oil and Gas Companies (IOC’s) operating in the country are being owed huge sums of money by those IOC’s, as a result of which those Companies are going through difficult times;
Aware of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, Cap. N124A, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which, among other things, provides for the development of Nigerian content, as well as supervision, co-ordination, monitoring and implementation of Nigerian content in the Oil and Gas industry in the country;
Also aware that those contracts, which run into millions of Naira or Dollars and can span over short or long durations, are very significant to and serve as the life wire to several of those companies and the main source of livelihood for the contractors;
Cognizant of the urgent need to save those indigenous firms and contractors from likely bankruptcy and liquidation by reason of the huge debts being owed them, a development that would lead to job losses with the attendant hardship it will bring in its wake;
Mandate the Committee on Local Content to investigate the huge debts being owed local companies and indigenous contractors by International Oil and Gas Companies with a view to ensuring that such debts are paid promptly, and report back in four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Chinda moved the Morion, Hon. Yakubu Barde seconded it.
Hon. Chinda stated that it is sad that local contractors owed especially by International companies seem not to be getting due Justice, he urged the House to take more proactive Legislative steps than receiving petitions. It was voted on and passed as amended to be handled by a special Ad-Hoc Committee to handle the investigation.
Need to Investigate the Award of $195m Contract by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for Coastal Maritime Security:
Hon. Diri Douye:
Notes that the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recently awarded a contract for security of the nation’s coastal waters to a foreign firm, MESSR HSLI SECURITY
LIMITED for a sum of $195 million dollars;
Also notes that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is mandated by law to ensure Merchant Maritime Security in Nigeria’s coastal waters;
Further notes that sometime in 2013, a similar arrangement was outsourced to an indigenous company amid outcries that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has the capacity to execute its mandate without its being ceded to a third party;
Aware that the present Administration terminated the contract while reaffirming the capacity of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to carry out its statutory mandate;
Concerned that the award of contract for the security of the nation’s coastal waters to a foreign firm amounts to outsourcing of the security of the country;
Mandate the Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration to investigate the matter and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Item stepped down by leave of the House
Need to Ascertain the State of Nigeria’s Rail Transport System:
Hon. Segun Alexander Adekola:
Notes that the importance of an efficient rail system is unquantifiable to an economy, as it would provide the means for movement of people and goods and keep off the roads many of those heavy duty vehicles causing havoc on the roads;
Also notes that at independence in 1960, Nigeria inherited about 3,000kms of rail tracks from the British colonialists, but had only succeeded in adding less than a thousand rail tracks since then;
Aware that in its bid to revive the sub-sector, the Military Government of Late General Sani Abacha awarded a $500 million contract to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to modernize the Lagos-Kano rail line;
Also aware that despite the loss the country incurred following the failure of CCECC to execute the contract, the Administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo re-awarded the contract to the company for the sum of $8.5 billion;
Informed that mid-way into its execution, the Administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua split the Lagos-Kano railway rehabilitation into two, awarding the 488km Lagos-Jebba rail track to CCECC for $81.3 million and the longer 827kms Jebba-Kano axis to Conslan West Africa at the same cost, while also signing a $180 million contract with General Electric for the manufacture of twenty five (25)
Further aware that the Administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had approved the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail double track with double formation under addendum No. 2, second segment of the modernization of Lagos-Kano railway project to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for $1,487,782,196.00 aside the over N104, 000, 000, 000 in budgetary allocations to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) during the same period;
Also informed that former President Jonathan also conveyed a change in the scope of work for the design and construction of Abuja rail project (lots 1 and 3) from the initial work plan of 60.67km to 45.245km and awarded it at the cost of $823,545.87;
Cognizant of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had, in April 2017, sought the approval of the National Assembly for the Federal Government to secure a loan from the China Exim Bank for the modernization of the Kano-Kaduna segment for $1.46 billion;
Also cognizant that a contract agreement worth $11.117 billion for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line has been concluded and awarded by the present Government to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to cover Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Uyo and Aba;
Concerned that in spite of the several billions of Naira expended by successive administrations for the revitalization of railway transportation, the sector has largely remained comatose;
Desirous of making the railway transport system a means of boosting job creation opportunities and reduction of accidents, as well as wear and tear on national roads network and also block all leakages that have occasioned previous disbursements of funds without commensurate results;
Constitute an Ad-hoc Committee to carry out a holistic and thorough investigation to ascertain the state of the railway transport system, level of contracts awarded and their execution for the modernization of railway projects across the country from 2007 till date and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Adekola moved the Motion, Hon. Fulata Hassan seconded it.
Hon. Adekoya stated that the Railway system is vital to any nation due to its cheap nature as a source of transportation and the fact that it reduces pressure on the highways, and should not be neglected. He urged for the thorough investigation of the contract awarded to the Chinese company who have defaulted in the past. Hon. Aminu Sani stated that he had served as a Member of an Ad-Hoc Committee that had investigated the Nigeria Railway. In light of that the Speaker asked that the Committee on Land Transport should conclude the work the former Ad-Hoc Committee did and present the Report, it was voted on and passed as amended.
Need to Decongest Nigerian Prisons to Promote the Fundamental Rights of Inmates, International Standards and Best Practices.
Hon. Olufemi Fakeye
Notes that the level of congestion in Nigerian Prisons has become so alarming that they no longer serve as correctional facilities for reformation of inmates;
Also notes the information from the Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action
(PRAWA), in partnership with the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), showing that only
21,354 inmates (comprising 21,009 males and 345 females) were convicted offenders, while the remaining 46,756 inmates (comprising 45,765 males and 991 females) were still awaiting trial;
Further notes that the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the UN Nelson Mandela Rules, provide in Rules 12(1) and (2) and 13 that where sleeping accommodation is in individual cells or rooms, each prisoner shall occupy by night, a cell or room by himself or herself; but that in special cases, such as temporary overcrowding, it is left to the given prison authority to vary this rule, provided that due regard would be paid to climate conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation, etc;
Aware that due to high congestion in virtually all the prisons, the inmates are exposed to risks of epidemics, jail breaks, lack of inmates reform, transmission of bad habits and crime techniques by hardened criminals, anti-social tendencies and moral decadence ranging from homosexualism, to other forms of human abuse through illicit relationships which have also become the common features of the prisons;
Concerned that congestion in the prisons has become so acute that many cells meant to accommodate about 50 inmates were found to be accommodating up to 150 inmates; a case in point being the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison in Lagos, which was built to accommodate 956 inmates, but is today occupied by over 2,600 inmates;
Also concerned that the courts have continued to send accused persons to the already overcrowded prisons, even when their offences could have been otherwise handled in line with provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015;
Further concerned that the objectives of the Criminal Justice System, the primary purpose of governance under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy in the 1999 Constitution as well as the fundamental rights of Nigerians and several treaties to which Nigeria is signatory would be negated if the poor state of the prisons is not urgently addressed;
Mandate the Committees on Interior, Human Rights, Federal Judiciary, FCT Judiciary and Police Affairs to conduct an investigative hearing on prison reforms in order to identify the specific challenges in terms of infrastructure, administration of criminal justice system and other factors that could facilitate the decongestion and reform of the prison system and report back in six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Item stepped down by leave of the House
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for Competition in Nigeria, to Promote Efficiency and Expand Opportunities for Nigerian’s Participation in World Markets while at the same time recognizing the Role of Foreign Competition in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB168) (Committee of the Whole18/1/2018).
Committee on Science and Technology:
Hon. Beni Lar:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Science and Technology on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Energy Commission of Nigeria Act, Cap. E10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the Establishment of Renewable and Alternative Energy Development and Utilization Fund, Grant Priority for the Promotion and Development of Renewable and Other Alternative Energy; and for Related Matters (HBs 72 and 612) and approve the recommendations therein”(Laid: 10/10/2017).
Committee on Science and Technology:
Hon. Beni Lar:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Science and Technology on a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Biotechnology Development Agency; and for Related Matters (HB. 33) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 28/9/2017).
Committee on Environment and Habitat:
Hon. Obinna Chidoka:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Environment and Habitat on a Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria to be charged with the Responsibility of Regulating and Managing Environmental Practices of Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1022) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 20/12/2017).
Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Refugees and Initiatives on North-East Zone:
Hon. Muhammed Sani Zorro:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Refugees and Initiatives on North-East Zone on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the National Commission for Refugees Act, Cap. N21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Re-enact the National Commission for Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, Stateless and other Persons of Concern, to Provide a Framework for Durable Solutions for Victims of Displacement; and for Related Matters (HB. 603) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 30/11/2017).
The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, 30 January 25 by 11:00 Am