Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, July 12, 2018. The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presiding
After leading the opening prayer, the Speaker went on to examine and approve plenary votes and proceedings for Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Communication from the President on his decision of declining Presidential Assent to the:
Corporate Manslaughter Bill of 2018, the Provision of Section 39 which presumes an individual innocent until proven guilty in a competent Court of Law is contravened by the Bill, and it may be useful for the Bill to cover penalties to be imposed for the specific offenses.
He Also wished to communicate his decision to Decline Presidential Assent to the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Skill Fund Amendment Bill of 2018, the amount proposed in the the Fund size will not be effective due to the fact that it retains the original fund size.
Furthermore to decline President Assent to the N.C.P.E.A (Child Protection and Empowerment) Amendment Bill 2018 due to the fact that the proposed roles are being carried out by the Ministry of Women Affairs.
Finally He Also declined Assent to the Courts and Tribunals Standard Scale of Fines Bill of 2017 as the proposed fines seem to be ambiguous and does not specify scales of offenses and fines as the Naira has a dynamic characteristic and hence the fixed scale may later not be practical.
Hon. Adamu Shekarau brought the Petition on the Unfair treatment of a group of his constituents by the I.C.P.C, who without fair Hearing had their business accounts closed down. They begged the House for Legislative intervention.
Hon. Ahmed Abu brought a Petition from an individual who is protesting the non-payment of $3 Million which was legally transferred to his bank account.
MOTIONS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Hon. Aminu Shagari Moved the Motion bothering on the attack of a village in Sokoto State by Armed bandits who maimed and injured scores of people. The bandits had communicated a threat to the villagers to pay a huge sum of money or risk attack. He lamented the failure of the Government in its primary role of securing the safety of life and properties of Nigerian citizens. Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki stated that the 8th House has Debated 79 Motions of insecurity and still no serious security measure has been put in place to secure scores of innocent lives. He called for the collective unity of Nigerians against terrorism as the security apparatus seems to have failed Nigerians. Hon. Tahir Monguno stated that it is sad that while the Northeast have begun enjoying relative peace, violence has started rearing its head in hitherto peaceful regions. He advised for the engagement of the youth in tackling armed bandits as it helped those from the Northeast. Hon. Yakubu Barde stated that history would judge the Legislature harshly if it sits, folds its hands and fails to cry out against the failure of the security Agencies. The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara in cooling down the tensive mood of the debate stated that as leaders; it is right Members listen to both pleasant and unpleasant things even in criticism, Hon. Ahmed Baba lamented the low number of security operatives saddled with the responsibility to secure the lives of teeming Nigerians. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje in reeling out the statistics of mayhem nationwide pointed out the indices which show that Nigeria is exhibiting the features of a nation at war, and is being invaded by forces who are unknown. She charged the Speaker to go to the President and let him know that Nigerians can no longer sit and be patient while they are being killed. Hon. Sunday Adepoju sated that if the P.D.P when in power were criticized for doing wrong, he as an A.P.C Member cannot in good conscience keep quiet when things have clearly gone wrong now that his Political Party is at the helm of affairs. Hon. Betty Apiafi reminded the House how it had passed a vote of no confidence on security chiefs, she she wondered why if civilians had to be mobilized to aid in the fight against terrorism, no change has been effected in the leadership or the mode of operations of the Security Agencies. She stated that the unpopular State Police may be the only practical and viable option for now. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf Moved the Motion on the alleged invasion of the Government House of Eikiti State and spread of fear by men of the Nigeria Police in a bid to truncate the peaceful process leading to the upcoming Gubernatorial election. He pointed out that the Inspector General of Police would have been the best person to invite to explain the incident, he however has a track record of disregard for calls from the National Assembly. Hon. Gabriella Igbinedion lamented the lack of security prevalent in a political tool as fundamental and legal as a political rally. She feared for the scenario that may be played out during the 2019 general elections. Hon. Tahir Monguno called for the investigation of the true circumstances behind the incident as there seems to be too many versions of the line of events leading to the incident. Hon. Kingsley Chinda reminded the House that as Members of Parliament they should guard against any threat to democracy. He reminded Members that Political Parties have the right to campaign up to 24 hours before the election. Hon. Sunday Karimi stated that the Ekiti election is a test to the forthcoming elections and a mishandling of it is a premise to what may be obtainable in the forthcoming general elections in 2019. Hon. Aminu Suleiman stated that he does not believe the incident transpired the way the Governor of Ekiti State said it did. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
Nigerian Street Trading Regulation Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1517) (Hon. Linus Okorie) – First Reading.
Federal College of Veterinary Assistants, Onicha (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1518) (Hon. Linus Okorie) – First Reading.
Federal College of Education (Technical), Ako, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1519) (Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid) – First Reading.
Nigeria Para-Military Academy, Ijebu-Igbo (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1520) (Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid) – First Reading.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BILLS FOR THIRD READING
A Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Education, Nsugbe, to provide Training and Teaching Instruction in every aspect of Education and such other fields of applied Learning Relevant to the needs of the Development of Education in Nigeria, matters of Administration and Discipline of Students and for Related Matters, 2018 (HB. 1067) – Third Reading
Hon. Tahir Monguno Moved for the Third Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Orker Jev. It was voted on, Read the Third Time and Passed.
A Bill for Act to Authorise the Provision of Free Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Health Services to every Nigerian Woman Pregnant in Government Hospitals, and for Related Matters (HB. 717) – Third Reading
Hon. Tahir Monguno Moved for the Third Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Orker Jev. It was voted on, Read the Third Time and Passed.
A Bill For an Act to Establish the Dietitians Council of Nigeria to Regulate the Profession of Dietetics; and for Related Matters (HB.547) – Third Reading.
Hon. Tahir Monguno Moved for the Third Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Orker Jev. It was voted on, Read the Third time and Passed.
BILLS FOR SECOND READING
A Bill for An Act to Establish the Federal Polytechnic, Kwale, Delta State to Provide Full-Time Courses in Technology, Applied Science, Management and other Fields of Studies and to Make Provisions for General Administration of the Polytechnic; and for Related Matters (HB.1492) (Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai) – Second Reading.
Item Stepped down by leave of the House
A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Center for Child Development to, among other things, Advocate early Years Development, Promote Skills Acquisitions, Provide Assessment and Resources Centers, Drive Innovation, Design Developmental Programmes and activities for the Advancement of Children; and for Related Matters (HB. 1297) (Hon. Henry Ofongo) – Second Reading.
Hon. Henry Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and
It was Seconded by Hon. Raphael Igbokwe.
In leading the debate Hon. Henry stated that the Center would ensure children are self reliant even without white collar employment, he also pointed out to children that drop out of school for various reasons before they complete their education. The Center if established would focus on children between the ages of 6-18 who require specialized skills for thriving despite the challenges of life. He pointed out that such a Center would also be beneficial to children orphaned from insurgency. It would also discourage forced child labor and manipulation and promote entrepreneurial skill acquisition. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act, Cap. C52, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Increase the Block Grant of the Federal Government and reduce that of the States Governments; and for Related Matters (HB.1312) (Hon. Afe Olowookere) – Second Reading.
Hon. Afe Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Umar Jega.
Hon. Afe stated that with the importance of education in the life of human beings, the application of free basic education should not be negotiated. The Bill seeks to Amend Section 11 of the Principal Act due to the fact that most States are unable to provide the required 50% counterpart funds, the Federal portion lies unused in the Central Bank. He sought for the reduction of the counterpart funding of States from 50% to 25%. It is said that only 2 States (Borno and Rivers) have been able to fully meet these requirements and duly enjoy the benefits of the scheme, this is indeed worrisome. Hon. Aishatu Dukku in supporting the Bill said the clamor has been on for a long time. She pointed out that the inability of States to access these funds is responsible for why so many children go to school in dilapidated structures. Hon. Tahir Monguno wondered why States who see education as a priority fail to pay up their counterpart funding when an insecurity-ravaged State like Borno can meet up? He asked for more commitment from States. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and Referred to the Committee on Basic Education and Services.
Discharge of Committees from Referrals on Bills, Pursuant to Order Seventeen, Rule 3 (1) (g) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives:
Hon. E. Y. Orker Jev:
Notes that the following Bills were read a Second time and referred to the under listed Committees for legislative actions:
Cerebrospinal Meningitis (Prevention, Control and Management) Bill, 2016 (HB.785) 29/11/2016.
Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners (Establishment) Bill, 2017 (HB. 1258)
Women Affairs and Social Development, and Justice
Aware that the Committees are yet to present Reports on the Bills, contrary to the provisions of Order Seventeen, Rule 3 (1) (g) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, to wit:
“Any matter referred to any Committee shall be treated within 30 days otherwise the Committee shall stand discharged after 60 days and the matter committed to the Committee of the Whole for consideration”;
Discharge the Committees from the Bills and commit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
Hon. Bode Ayorinde Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Azodo Eucharia. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
Call for Audit of Facilities at the Benin Airport, Edo State:
Hon. Omosede G. Igbinedion:
Notes that the Benin Airport which was constructed in 1956, and located about 2km southwest of the ancient Benin Kingdom is one of the oldest Airports in Nigeria;
Also notes the importance of the Airport to the people of Edo and Delta States which currently does not render night services such as landing or taking off;
Aware that in 2013, a 13 year old Daniel Ohikhena stowed in the wheel of Arik flight W3544 to Lagos, among other incidences;
Also aware that in 2015, the Airport was shut down for weeks to allow for upgrading of the runway and the firefighting department;
Concerned about the gradual dilapidation of the Benin Airport runaway, absence of Perimeter fence which makes the Airport susceptible to trespass by both people and animals, and lack of capacity to operate flight travels beyond certain times in a day;
Recalls that when Mr. Saleh Dunomas, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria visited the Airport in 2017, he expressed the intention of the Authority to concession the Airport and to partner with the Edo State Government to operate 24 hours flight schedules daily;
Cognizant of the need to ensure security and safety in Nigeria’s aviation sector, hence the call to improve the situation of the Benin Airport;
Desirous of taking pro-active measures to ensure that the Benin Airport is upgraded to meet International standards;
(i) Urge the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to:
(a) Commence the repairs of the Benin Airport runaway and erect Perimeter fence at the Airport;
(b) Upgrade the Navigational, Communications and Surveillance Equipment at the Benin Airport Traffic Control Towers;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Aviation to visit the Benin Airport to inspect and take an audit of the Airport Air Traffic Control Towers and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Omosede Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Kayode Oladele.
As an infrastructure related Motion it was Voted on and Passed.
Need to Investigate the Annual Accounts and Application of Annual Profits of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the Last 10 years:
Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai:
Notes that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was established in 1958 to, among other things, issue currencies, maintain external reserves, maintain monetary stability and stable financial system, and function as banker to other banks and the Federal Government of Nigeria;
Also notes that the CBN Governor is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank and the Chairman of the Bank’s twelve-member Board of Directors amongst which five of them are Executive-Directors;
Concerned that the CBN Board appoints the Bank’s auditor, receives its audit report and act on its audit report in accordance with Sections 6 and 49 of the CBN Act without any input or surveillance of any other Agency of Government;
Also concerned that unlike other Nations in the world where Central Banks are subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, the CBN is not accountable to any Ministry, having been granted absolute independence by the parliament assented to by the President;
Worried that the only semblance of accountability in the CBN is the requirement of Section 50 of the CBN Act, which requires the Bank to lay its audited Annual Reports and Accounts before the parliament; a duty which the CBN has consistently refused to perform over the years;
Aware that other Central Banks in the world including that of UK, Canada, South Africa, USA pay tax out of their operating profit whereas the CBN by Sections 53, 54 and 55 is statutorily excluded from payment of tax, which raises a concern that the untaxed profit of the Bank is managed by the Bank without reporting to the Parliament as required by law;
Also aware that Central Banks all over the world remit some money to their governments out of their profits after tax, for example, the Federal Reserve of the USA remitted $98.7 billion dollars of its net income in 2014 to the US treasury; $117 billion was remitted in 2015 and $92 billion were similarly remitted in 2016. Similarly the South African Reserve Bank which is the Country’s Central Bank, jointly owned by the Government and some shareholders, after payment of tax remitted to the revenue pause of South Africa the sum of R45.0m, R79.8m, R72.6, and 73.3m in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively;
Further concerned that the CBN has been operating as an independent government within the Federal Republic of Nigeria, evading the oversight function of the parliament by flagrantly refusing to conform to its enabling statute on rendition of Annual returns;
Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the usage and application of the CBN profits and audited accounts in the last 10 years, and report back within (4) weeks for further legislative actions.
Item Stepped down by leave of the House.
Need to Investigate the Sales of Naira Mints and Sources of Black-Marketing of the Naira:
Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid:
Notes that the Naira is greatly losing its value in the international market, and facing a serious war within the country as it is being handled with no respect by citizens;
Concerned that the Naira now appears in inglorious forms and with odours that can be dangerous to human health;
Also notes that the Naira notes in circulation are badly torn, terribly squeezed, soiled, cello taped, dirty and mutilated, especially the 100 Naira note which carries the face of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo;
Further notes that except for 1000 and 500 naira notes, other notes are rarely paid to people in banks but are available in black markets;
Worried that bacteria naturally breed and live in dirty environments and objects, hence dirty naira notes could pose serious health risks as they have been found to contain pathogenic parasites and bacteria, and are therefore sources of infection as well as potential carriers of communicable diseases;
Also worried that diseases such as nosocomial infections, Human Influenza Virus, Hepatitis A virus and others have been found on some of these dirty notes;
Aware that as these notes stay longer in circulation, they gather dirt from one hand to the other, for example, money that has been held by a mechanic whose hands were stained with oil and grease is passed on to a farmer while selling his produce, then gets to the butcher at the abattoir and still goes back to a trader, and may even find its way to the custody of those who superstitiously pour blood of animals on money and the journey continues until it gathers enough microorganisms that can wreak havoc on human health;
(i) Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to commence the immediate withdrawal from all banks, such mutilated notes from circulation and replace them with new notes, especially the 100 Naira note;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the black-marketing of Naira on the streets while it is perpetually unavailable in banks;
(iii) Also mandate the Committees on Legislative Compliance, and Banking and Currency to ensure strict compliance.
Item Stepped down by Leave of the House
Need to Curb the Spate of Wanton Killings, Forceful Occupations, Proliferation of Firearms, Terrorism and Other Criminal Activities in the Country:
Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye:
Notes that there has been an unabated rise in the spate of killings and several other criminal vices across the country;
Also notes that different criminal groups now converge, plan and brazenly execute crimes against people in Nigeria without fear of being caught, as the security agencies seem to be doing little or nothing to bring the criminals to book;
Disturbed that if the trend is left unchecked, Nigeria may become a thriving ground for not only indigenous criminal gangs who may become so emboldened as to become full-blown terror groups, but also a target location for international terrorist groups;
Concerned that despite the various security formations of the Nigeria Police Force and their collaboration with other security outfits, insecurity still pervades the nation;
Cognizant that one of the viable tactics to achieving a reasonable reduction of crime in Nigeria is to employ community policing and grassroots intelligence gathering, which can be sustained through the establishment of State Police;
Also cognizant that right to life and peaceful cohabitation of persons living in Nigeria should not be compromised and the Federal Government has a constitutional duty to protect the people and ensure peace and safety across the country;
(i) Urge the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately deploy officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to trouble spots and flashpoints where crimes are prevalent, as a palliative means to curb the crimes;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Police Affairs and the Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to make provisions for a legislative framework for establishment of State Police in all States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Rotimi Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Raphael Igbokwe.
In leading the debate Hon. Rotimi stated that security challenges in Nigeria have reached a critical stage apparent for all to see. As Legislators he sought the National Assembly to sponsor tools for the safeguard of the people they represent. He stated that even though the State Police is a controversial issue, yet an Amendment of the Constitution to allow State Police seems to be a very practical option. Hon. Edward Pwajok concurred to the consensus for the creation of State Police as the merits of the adoption of State Police far outweigh the perceived demerits. Hon. Bode Ayorinde stated that the Motion is a god one, but he still has reservations for the establishment of State Police as it would look like having 36 Presidents, he however advocated that the need seems to have arisen to enforce Community Policing for Officers of the lower cadre to go and work in their States of origin. Hon. Tahir Monguno also queried the issue of State Police from the angle of the additional burden on the States to pay the salaries of State Police. Hon. Omosede Igbinedion advised that stable and strong counter terrorism squads should be established and visible, they should have the double impact of assuring citizens of efforts being enforced to protect them and deter those who would want to cause further mayhem. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
Call on the Government to Check the Prevalent Cases of Malaria Diseases in Nigeria:
Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub:
Notes that malaria is a life threatening disease caused by parasite that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes;
Also notes that malaria project was conceived by the Nigeria–China Parliamentary Friendship Group in the course of its working relation with a Chinese pharmaceutical firm (Guangdong new south group), with its production base in China which is credited with the research and development of the anti – malaria drugs (artequick);
Aware that the anti-malaria drug artequick was invented for the treatment of malaria especially for the drug resistance P. falciparum malaria, the developed project is an innovative method to eliminate malaria by eradicating the source of transmission through mass drug administration of artequick;
Also aware that the anti- malaria drug has with achievement featured in 38 countries and on sale in 18 malaria epidemic countries;
Further aware that the artequick was successfully launched as a pilot project in Cambodia and thereafter introduced into Comoros in 2006 where it recorded great success by changing the status of the area from a high epidemic to one with the lowest morbidity without any mortality in a short period of time;
Observes that Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa with highest burden of malaria, it account for 60% of out of patient visits to health facilities, 30% of childhood death, 25% of dead in infants ( child aged 1 year) and today one of the major causes of school absenteeism and low productivity;
Recalls that the Nigeria Medical Association and the World Health Organization warn that malaria parasites is one disease that has high multi- sectional and socio- economic effect on our national economy and health care services;
Concerned that lack of awareness of this deadly disease remain the main reason for its alarming rise coupled with inability of the populace to provide proper sanitation of their environment to control the wide spread of the malaria parasites;
Desirous of taking advantage of this method of malaria elimination because it has been tested in some countries and perfect result recorded;
Mandate the Committee on Health Care Services to ensure the realization of the project in Nigeria, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Item Stepped down by leave of the House.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE) Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding:
A Bill for an Act to make Comprehensive Provisions for the Confiscation, Forfeiture and Management of Properties Derived from unlawful activities; and for Related Matters (HB. 872) (Hon. Kayode Oladele) – Committee of the Whole: 18/1/2017.
Synopsis of the Report:
The Bill was Deliberated on in the Seventh Assembly but the process was not completed. Due to the sensitivity of the Bill, the Eight House also picked interest and saw the need to ensure its complete passage. It looked critically at the proper definition and scope of application of Section 20 of the E.F.C.C Act and the I.C.P.C Act. It sought to propose strict compliance to human rights and to ensure non-wastage, but popper conversion of Lawfully determined assets for the economic advantage of the Nigerian State.
Summary of Votes:
Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-164
That the House do resume consideration of the Report on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the National Housing Fund Act, Cap. N45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the National Housing Fund Bill to make Provisions for Additional Sources of Funding; and for Related Matters (HB 1077) and approve the recommendation therein” (Adjourned Consideration: 22/5/2018) (Hon. Babangida Ibrahim).
Synopsis of the Report:
The price of cement that was proposed to be pegged for affordability due to the large amount of bags utilized per building was then reviewed to fit the prevailing circumstances and to ensure practicability with current realities on ground.
Summary of Votes:
Clause Amended and Carried: 4.1
HOUSE IN PLENARY:
The House in Plenary Adopted the Voting of the House in the Committee of the Whole.
AdjournmentThe House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, July 17 by 11:00 Am