Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, March 15, 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, March 14
Hon. Ogun Sergius brought a petition from a lawyer who complained about arbitrary billing by PHCN without uniformity, asked for the intervention of the House.
Hon. Goni Lawan Brought a Petition from a constituent who was terminated without due cause after his salaries had been reduced more than once, he urged the House to intervene.
Hon. Afe Akure brought a petition by a constituent who worked for NEPA to PHCN, then to the new Holding company and was then terminated without due cause, nor necessary settlements. He craved the House to use its Representative mandate to demand his redress.
MOTIONS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Hon. Istifanus Gyang moved the Motion on the incessant killings taking place in Plateau State despite the presence of Security Operatives. The attacks he said had spilled over to other neighborhood of Jos City and its environs. He urged for the disarmament of all suspected herdsmen who have no business carrying heavy weaponry. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara reminded Members that a Committee had been commissioned to look deeply into the remote causes of the violence and proffer solutions. The Motion was voted on, passed and referred to the House Committee on National Security for further Legislative actions.
Hon. Sunday Karimi moved the Motion bordering on the importation of fire arms by the Kogi State Government without the due investigation by the Officers and men of the Nigeria Customs. The increasing inflow of heavy and light weapons has thrown the lives of Kogi citizens at risk. He mentioned a Labour leader who was the spearhead of criticizing the Government for not paying worker’s salaries who was accosted after early morning prayers and murdered in cold blood at his home. Hon. Hassan Saleh in sounding his support stated that the Motion underscores the need for the Executive to take this proliferation of Arms and assassinations seriously and nip the matter in the bud nationwide, and also deal with insecurities of all kinds. He reminded the Members of the numerous caches of weapons recovered at entry points by the Customs, and yet the general public has not heard anyone being prosecuted. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje in supporting the Motion stated that insurance of lives and property is the principal responsibility of any Government. She stated that the problem was a time-bomb that will explode. She urged the House not to be quiet, but shout out until it is heard and corrected. Hon. Femi Adebanjo stated that Nigeria has too little Police Officials to take care of the teeming population of the nation. He also pointed out the porosity of the Nigerian borders which he stated needed to be properly manned.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
Conference Committee on Nigerians with Disability Bill:
Hon. E.Y. Orker-Jev
“That the House do receive the Report of the Conference Committee on a Bill for an Act to Ensure Full Integration of Persons with Disabilities into the Society and Establish a National Commission and vest it with Responsibilities for their Education, Health care, Social, Economic and Civil Rights; and for Related Matters
Committee on Constituency Outreach:
Hon. Abubakar Lawal Garba:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Constituency Outreach on a Bill for an Act to Establish Constituencies Development Funds for the Purpose of Even Development of the Constituencies in the Federation; and for Related Purpose (HB. 330) (Referred:2/6/2016 )
Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate Massive Deforestation and Corruption that has crippled the Environment and its Effect on Climate Change in Nigeria:
Hon. Bede Eke Uchenna:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate Massive Deforestation and Corruption that has crippled the Environment and its Effect on Climate Change in Nigeria” (Referred: (HR. 161/2016)
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Urgent Need to Investigate the Circumstances under which the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Engaged the Globally Discredited PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to Audit Ajaokuta Steel Complex for Purposes of Concessioning:
Hon Ahmed YerimaHon Ossai Nicholas Ossai Hon. Obinna Chidoka
Hon. Ezekiel A. AdajiHon. Bago Mohammed Umaru Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki
Hon. Razak Olatunde AtunwaHon. Nasiru Ali AhmedHon. Baballe Bashir
Hon. Toby OkechukwuHon. Musa Sarkin AdarHon. Gaza J. Gbewfi
Hon. Abubakar KannikeHon. Abdulrazak Namdas Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta
Hon. Pwajok Edward GyangHon. Zakari MohammedHon. Emeka Ujam
Hon. M. S. AbduHon. Sadiq IbrahimHon. Diri Douye
Hon. Abdulsamad DasukiHon. Abubakar Chika AdamuHon. Yinka Ajayi
Hon. Danburam Abubakar Nuhu
Aware that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi recently announced, and it was widely published, that Ajaokuta Steel Company will be concessioned after an ongoing audit.
Further aware that the audit of Ajaokuta Steel Company is being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers – a globally discredited firm having been sanctioned in India, with a 2 year audit ban for infractions of over $1 billion USD; sanctioned in Brazil for which it paid $50million USD as fine; Fined in the United Kingdom for £5.1m, the largest ever sanction imposed by the UK Regulator; Paid $225 million USD and $25 million USD respectively as fines to TYCO shareholders in the U.S and Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi, where it was implicated for money laundering for Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar, blacklisted for roles in terrorism and human rights abuses; among other infractions and irregularities in their operations, which has left its reputation in tatters;
Concerned by the allegation that PricewaterhouseCoopers was informally engaged by Global Steel to assist and advise them on how to recover Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Company, (NIOMCO) Itakpe from the federal Government of Nigeria in 2012 at the onset of negotiations;
Worried by the apparent actions of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development in engaging a company whose antecedents may suggest that they are being engaged to audit and prepare reports which may skew the outcome thereof in a preconceived manner in favour of parties which the Minister may have lined up or which may represent the interests of their former clients (GINL);
Also concerned that the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission both mandated by law under the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act, 2005 and the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 2004, respectively has not been involved or engaged in the audit and concessioning process adopted by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development;
Outraged that the Hon Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, also appointed as Ajaokuta transaction Adviser, Greenwich Trust Ltd, headed by the wife of his political mentor, without the input of BPE and ICRC, and turned around to discard other options suggested by the company other than concessioning;
Disturbed by the insistence and presumptive posture of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon Kayode Fayemi, to concession Ajaokuta Steel Company to an apparently pre-determined Company, because of his claim that reputable Companies have lined up as Concessionnaires, despite the failure of two previous concession attempts in 2003 to SOCE Energy, of USA and in 2004 to Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd (GINL), an Indian Company;
Alarmed that the Hon. Minister, Mines and Steel claimed that government cannot spend a kobo more on Ajaokuta Steel Complex when he is already spending N2billion for the Concessioning process and in the context of a situation where Nigeria spends over $3.5bn USD on importation of steel related products annually;
Also Worried that almost two years since NIOMCO, Itakpe was again handed over to Global Steel in the so called modified concession agreement for a 7 year period with an option of a further 10 years, the plant which is integrated with AJAOKUTA steel complex has remained moribund which signposts the likely failure of yet another Concession;
(i) Expand the mandate of the Ad-hoc Committee on Ajaokuta Steel Complex to include the urgent consideration of the possibility of a Bill for an Act to Provide for the Completion of Ajaokuta steel Company and Prohibit the Concessioning thereof prior to its Completion;
(ii) Also expand the mandate of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Ajaokuta Steel Complex to further inquire into why Mr. Kayode Fayemi engaged a globally discredited firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in auditing Ajaokuta Steel Complex, without due process inspite of the fact that the firm is neck deep in promoting corruption and has been so indicted and punished in many jurisdictions;
(iii) Further Expand the mandate of the Ad-hoc Committee to inquire into the nature of the conflict of interest that may have arisen on account of Mr. Kayode Fayemi appointing a firm, Greenwhich Trust Ltd headed by wife of his political mentor to serve as Transaction Adviser for Ajaokuta, without due process; and
(iiii) Request the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to stop the Hon Minister of Mines and Steel, Hon Kayode Fayemi, from proceeding further with concessioning processes of Ajaokuta Steel Complex pending a Review ordered by the House of Representatives, in the interest of the national economy and the anti- corruption fight of the Buhari Government.
Hon. Ahmed Yerima stated that the socio-economic and political interests of Nigerians have been violated. The Act establishing Ajaokuta Steel Complex has been jettisoned and the process being followed by even the current Minister is in violation of the Act. As a responsible House, they cannot be seen to be complacent on this matter. Even though the Executive is in the habit of pitting The House against Nigerians to shield their illegalities. In supporting the Motion, Hon. Nicholas Ossai stated that various Sections of the Constitution have been violated in the manner that the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is being managed. Hon. Mohammed Sani stated that the support of the Motion was a patriotic one as the vision behind the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is the spine of industrialization which Nigeria aims to achieve. Hon. Shehu Shagari stated that there is no way Nigeria can be in the top 20 nations by 2020 if the steel sector of the economy is not fixed. Hon. Dasuki Abdussamad stated that there seems to be a chain of illegalities in operation in the case as the same discredited Organization used by the now Minister of solid minerals and steel development is the same one he patronized when he was the then Ekiti State Governor. He asked the House not to turn a blind eye to this. Hon. Abiodun Yakubu stated that the House does not have to go through a fresh Bill to delist the Ajaokuta Steel Complex from concessionary items, pointing out relevant Sections of the Privatization Act. The Motion was voted on and passed.
Urgent Need to Investigate Non Remittance of N20 Trillion Stamp Duty Accruals from 1 April, 2013 to 31 March 2017 into the Consolidated Revenue Account by Banks and Other Financial Institutions through Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS):
Hon. D. C Hosea:
Notes that Stamp Duty is a major source of revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria, backed by the CBN Act of 2004 through embossment of the Stamp Duty on Bank instruments like cheques and dividend warrants;
Concerned that the revenue accruing to the Federal Government through the crude oil had continued to dwindle due to fall in the price of crude oil in the international market;
Worried that the Federal Government of Nigeria could not fund the capital projects from 2015 to date by 100% due to negligence by some government agencies to the live up to their expectations in terms of revenue generation and subsequent remittances to government coffers or Consolidated Revenue Account;
Also worried that the Federal Government of Nigeria had to resort to foreign borrowing with high interest rates to fund the capital budget leaving so much money lying fallow with (NIBSS), Banks and other Financial Institutions.
Further Notes that the Federal Government in its quest to move the country out of this quagmire has resorted to diversifying the economy by exploring all other revenue avenues to meet up with its responsibilities to the electorates;
Also Aware that Stamp Duty is another source of revenue accruing from commercial banks and other financial institutions transactions with the exception of money printing;
Disturbed that revenue accruing from this source remained unremitted to the federation consolidated accounts and TSA to the tune of #20 Trillion naira from 1st April, 2013 to 31 March, 2017 when CBN changed the policy vide CBN circular Ref. BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/04/001 of 21 February, 2017;
Further Disturbed that the Federal Government contracted the services of schools of Banking Honours and International Investment Law and Arbitration (LLC) as joint consultants to recover the N20 Trillion stamp duties unremitted by banks and financial institutions into Government coffers through (NIBSS);
Further Worried that despite the presidential directive to (CBN) to liaise with the consultants to ensure these unremitted funds are recovered into Government coffers, CBN remained recalcitrant;
Further aware that no nation that cannot fully fund its capital projects will go to sleep with such huge amount stuck in its financial institutions without concerted efforts to recover it;
Also Concerned that CBN through the circular Ref. FPR/DIR/GEN/03/002 of 27 March 2013 resurrected a 9 year old 2004 financial charge policy to replace a current 2012 financial inclusion policy in 2013, and allowed Banks and other financial institutions charging customers on transfers below #500,000 while Stamp Duty approved for Government on 3 December 2012 was blocked;
(i) Constitute an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the complicity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), NIBSS, Banks and other financial institutions in the non-remittance of Stamp Duty approved for Government on 3 December 2012, with a view to recovering same and bring all the culprits to book;
(ii) review the legality of the CBN circular Ref BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/04/001 of 21st February 2017 that made CBN to stop charges on transaction below N500,000 and commenced sharing the processing fees charged by banks in the ratio of 40:60 and determine its effect on the statutory Stamp Duty of Government as well as its impact on customers;
(iii) further investigate why the CBN has not mandated School of Banking Honours and International Investment Law Arbitration LLC to have unfettered access to data base of banks, the financial institutions and Nigeria Inter Banks Settlement System (NIBSS) with a view to recover all the unremitted Stamp Duty into the Federal Government account.
Item stepped down by leave of the House
Need to Consider Ceding Lagos, Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airports to the Various State Governments:
Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye:
Notes that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and all other International Airports in Nigeria are currently owned by the Federal Government and are being managed on its behalf by relevant Agencies;
Also notes that the current state of almost all the Airports fall short of ideal standards of International Airports owing to their poor and obsolete facilities, unprofessional handling procedures, delays, poor maintenance, as well as lack of aesthetics, recalling the recent outcry by passengers and foreign observers over the state of the Airports and the blame game between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other stakeholders;
Observes that the major causes of the gross infrastructural deficit and poor service delivery at the Airports are inadequate funding, lack of qualified/professional hands and absence of Government readiness to make the Airports transformation, expansion and development an immediate priority;
Cognizant that International Airports of any nation, being the gateway to that nation, ought to be places of excellence and pride to the nation, but in this case, Nigeria’s International Airports managed to make the bottom place in the ranking of top ten Airports in Africa;
Aware that the Governments of Lagos, Kano, Rivers and Enugu States are fully capable of taking over and managing the International Airports in their respective States, and transforming them into world-class standard Airports that will be the pride not only of Nigeria, but to Africa as a whole, and already Lagos State Government is presently constructing a massive road network linking the Murtala Muhammed International Airport with other parts of the State;
Also cognizant that the Federal Government would not be losing any revenues that ought to accrue to it, as agreed sums would be made on mutual terms, and the arrangement would bring about the transformation of the Airports to world-class standards;
(i) Urge the Federal Government to consider handing over Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport to Lagos State Government, Kano State Government, Enugu State Government and Rivers State Government, respectively to manage on mutually agreed terms;
(ii) Mandate the Committees on Aviation and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.
Item stepped down by leave of the House.
Need to Review Nigeria’s Foreign Policy to Conform to Current Realities:
Hon. Tajudeen Adekunle Obasa:
Notes that since Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain in 1960, it has always maintained a policy of Afro-centrism by having the African continent as the centre piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy;
Also notes that successive Governments, both military and civilian, have continued to adopt the same policy, with the exception of the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida under whom the policy was modified to include “economic diplomacy” as part of the policy of afro-centrism;
Aware that the Administrations of Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Jonathan sustained the policy with difference in style and method, however a review of the policy is long overdue for several reasons that will further enhance the development of the country;
Concerned by the hostile manner in which some African countries like South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc., that Nigeria had used its resources to assist at one time or the other, maltreat Nigerian
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citizens living in those countries in disregard of the enormous sacrifices the nation made at the times of their needs;
Also concerned that on numerous occasions, some of the supposedly brotherly African countries had found flimsy excuses to arbitrarily deport Nigerian citizens living in their countries;
Cognizant of the need for a review of the nation’s foreign policy from mere Afro-centrism to one that is based on the principle of reciprocity in line with the ever changing world of diplomacy where enlightened self-interest is the basis for relationship between nations of the world;
(i) Urge the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s foreign policy to be in tandem with modern trends where the economic and national interests of a nation are considered a serious factor in the conduct of foreign policy and the welfare and the protection of the country’s citizens all over the World come first and should be incorporated in the Afro-centric foreign policy of Nigeria;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Foreign Affairs to ensure implementation.
Hon. Adekunle Obasa in leading the debate stated that the importance of the Motion cannot be overemphasized, as the review of the country’s Foreign Policy so that it can conform with current realities is an issue that needs to be on the front burner in the new image the country is trying to paint Internationally. On this ground Nigeria cannot remain aloof. He mentioned that so many Sectors of the Economy as well as trade and investment agreements in the country are suffering due to a faulty Foreign Policy system being implemented. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje as the Chairperson, House Committee on Foreign Relations stated that Nigeria’s Foreign Policy is enshrined in the Constitution and is geared towards the promotion of the nation’s positive image and International interests in the World order. She stated that there had been attempts in the past to review the Policy but those efforts had yielded little results. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yussuf Lasun stated that Nigeria as a nation always struggles to offer what she does not have. He stated that the policies in large ways do not help economic growth. The Motion was put to a vote and passed.
The remaining items stepped down till Tuesday, March 20 by 11:00 Am
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act, 2011 to Provide for Additional Conditions for Accessing of Fund for Capital Projects by Beneficiary Institutions to embark on their own Capital Projects instead of relying solely on the Fund for Capital Development; to Review some Provisions to give the National Assembly certain Powers under the Act and Subject the Annual Budget of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to Approval of the National Assembly and for Related Matters (HBs. 967, 1057 and 1324) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Hon. Muhammad Sani Abdu and Hon. O. K. Chinda) – Second Reading.
A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (Guarantee) Act, Cap. N111, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Related Matters (HB. 1155) (Hon. Dozie Ferdinand Nwankwo) – Second Reading.
A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST); and for Related Matters (HB. 1347) (Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad) – Second Reading.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, Jos to Provide Courses of Instruction, Training and Research in Exploration and Exploitation of Minerals for National Development and for Related Matters (HB. 770) (Hon. Solomon Maren) (Committee of the Whole:20/12/2017).
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Finance on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act, Cap. R7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to make Provisions for erring Revenue Generating Agencies and enhance the Revenue Profile and Remittances into the Federation Account to Facilitate National Development; and for Related Matters and approve the recommendations therein” (HB. 542) (Hon. Babangida Ibrahim) (Committee of the Whole) (Laid:23/11/2017).
The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, March 20 by 11:00Am