House of Representatives Plenary Proceedings for Thursday, February 15, 2018
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presided. He said opening prayers and approved votes and proceedings for Wednesday, February 14, 2017.
The Speaker announced the death of 21 students of the Government Secondary School, Misau, their teachers and bus driver. The House observed a minute silence in their memory.
Hon. Shawulu Kwewum laid one petition before the House while Hon. Sunday Marshall Katung presented two petitions. All petitions were referred to the Committee on Public Petitions.
Matter(s) of Urgent Public Importance
There were two matters of urgent public importance, one raised by Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu and the other by Hon. Benjamin Wayo.
Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu’s motion was on the urgent need to address the flagrant abuse of the authority and resolution of the House by the Executive Secretary of the lake Chad Basin Commission. He said that the House, last year, mandated the Committee on Lake Chad to investigate the management of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and that an invitation was extended to the secretary, which he refused to honour. The prayed the House to adopt the motion calling for the suspension of the Executive Secretary forthwith until an investigation has been concluded, calling on the Ministry of Water Resources to direct that he hand over to the new Executive Secretary as his tenure has expired, and called for an audit of all financial transactions. He further stated that the Executive Secretary has exceeded the retirement age as stipulated by civil service rules and has since sent back legal officers and other officials allegedly in a bid to conceal the mismanagement of the Commission. The motion was adopted with an additional directive from the Speaker, stating that no funds should be appropriated for the Commission until they honour the invitation from the Committee.
Hon. Benjamin Wayo’s motion called for an investigation of the violation of public trust at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He said that despite NEMA’s core mandate of coordinating the management of disasters across the country, several cases have not been given the necessary attention, eg the hunger issue in IDP camps, farmers/herdsmen conflicts, fire disaster victims and others. He added that NEMA had received over N10 billion from the 20% National Ecological Fund in the last one year, N5bn for hunger intervention in the NE and about N2 billion for flood intervention across the country and alleged that these funds were illegally siphoned through dubious award of contracts without delivering relief materials to victims. He further alleged that the DG of NEMA awards contracts to interests in which he has personal interests and has violated his approval limits and awarded contracts without following due process. He cited an example with Olam Nigeria Ltd, which he said got a contract of N2.4 billion, an amount which exceeds the agency’s approval limit as stated in section 16 (1) of the NEMA Act (which pegs the approval limit at N30 million). He further stated that the agency’s air ambulance was being used for commercial purposes without remitting proceeds to government coffers and that NEMA could not account for assets.
The motion was adopted and the House mandated the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to investigate and report back to the House within six weeks.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
Two reports were laid before the House;
Report of the Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission on the issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Total Sum of ₦338,582,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Eighty Two Million Naira) only, of which the Sum of ₦17,797,000,000.00 (Seventeen Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Seven Million Naira) only, is for Personnel Costs, the Sum of ₦12,459,000,000 (Twelve Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty Nine Million Naira) only, is for Overhead Costs, the sum of N4,402,000,000 (Four Billion, Four Hundred and Two Million Naira) only, is for Capital Expenditure and the sum of ₦303,924,000,000 (Three Hundred and Three Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty Four Million Naira) only is for Development Projects for the Service of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), for the Financial Year Commencing from 1 January and Ending on 31 December, 2017, (Referred: 24/1/2018, presented by Hon. Nicolas Mutu).
Final Report of the Ad-hoc Committee to Interface with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the Review of the Price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) (HR. 218/2016) (Referred: 29/11/2016, laid by Hon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe).
The following Bills passed second reading;
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Orthopaedic Hospitals Management Board Act, Cap. O.10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and for Related Matters (HB 1157) (Hon. Betty Apiafi)
Notes: The amendment seeks to ensure that the Orthopaedic hospitals management board acts to reposition orthpaedic hospitals in line with global best practices. Specific areas targeted include fines/penalties and vital functions of the board, among others.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Evidence Act, 2011 to Accommodate Modern Developments Relating to Admissibility of Confessional Statement; to Render Illegally Obtained Evidence Inadmissible; Give Discretion to the Court with Regard to Certification of Electronically Generated Documents; Provide for Admissibility of Public Documents without Makers of such Documents being called as Witnesses; and Section 17 of the Act to Stipulate a Time Limit on the Presumption of Validity of Judicially Noticed Customs and to Impose a Duty on the Courts to Ensure that Customs that have been Judicially Noticed and not thereafter been Subjected to Proof by Evidence for an Inordinately Long Period of Time are Reviewed by the Courts to Ascertain that they are still Representative of the Customs as they are Currently Practiced in the Communities with Respect to which the Customs Relate; and for Related Matters (HBs. 1149, 1188 and 1193) (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok, Hon. Rita Orji and Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad)
The following motions were adopted;
Urgent Need to Widen the Scope of Investigation by the Committee on Constituency Outreach On the Execution of Constituency/Zonal Intervention Projects by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) from 2015 – 2017 To Include Other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs):
Hon. Chukwuka W. Onyema:
Notes that it’s Resolution No. HR193/2017 mandated the Committee on Constituency Outreach to investigate the alleged poor/non execution of constituency projects domiciled in the NPHCDA from 2015 – 2017;
Further notes that the Committee is set to commence its assignment;
Cognizant of the fact that there are other Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) culpable of same sharp practices;
Aware that the mandate given to the Committee to investigate the alleged poor/non execution of constituency projects domiciled in the NPHCDA excludes these other MDAs;
Mandate the Committee to widen the scope of its investigation to include MDAs identified in the sharp practice and report back to the House within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Request for Extension of Referral Time to enable the “Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the over $17 Billion Dollars Stolen from Undeclared Crude Oil and Liquefied Natural Gas Exports to Global Destinations” Conclude its Assignment (HR. 75/2016):
Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak Sa’ad:
Recalls that on Thursday 22 September, 2016, the House constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the over $17 Billion Dollars stolen from undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas exports to global destinations;
Aware of the expansive nature of the assignments, which includes investigation of over twenty (20) International Oil Companies (IOCs), government agencies including NNPC, CBN, FIRS, among others;
Desirous of the need to do a thorough job on the assignments with a view to getting all the material facts surrounding the matter;
Also aware that the Ad-hoc Committee has diligently and faithfully conducted its investigations and is now at the point of analysing data and information generated;
Cognizant of the sensitive and technicalities of the task, which involves inputs from professionals in the industry and considering the expected time to complete this aspect of the assignment;
Mindful of the extant provision of Order Seventeen, Rule 3 (1)(g) of the Standing Orders of the House;
Grant the Ad-Hoc Committee additional Six (6) weeks to enable it complete its work and submit Report for further legislative action.
Call on the Federal Government to Provide Infrastructure at Karu/Mararaba Area of Nasarawa State:
Hon. Abubakar Sarki Dahiru:
Notes that Karu/Mararaba, a densely populated area in Nasarawa State which borders Abuja, the nation’s Capital is home to many people working in the Capital City and also hosts offices and businesses associated with the capital city;
Also notes that Karu/Mararaba can arguably be described as the most neglected of all the areas that border the capital city as the absence of infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and power is monumental;
Aware that despite the efforts of the Government of Nasarawa State, the inadequacy of infrastructure in the area is majorly caused by the huge number of people residing in the area, majority of whom work or transact business in the capital city;
Also aware that the poor road network and absence of railway system makes commuting difficult, just as the near absence of electricity makes living and transaction of business in the area a nightmare given that lack of power impacts on the ability of people to spend as studies have shown that countries that have electrification rates of less than 80 percent consistently suffer from reduced Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita;
(i) Call on the Federal Government to provide infrastructures and facilities such as roads, healthcare centres, drainages, electricity etc. in the area to ameliorate the sufferings of the residents;
(ii) Urge the Inspector General of Police to provide more police stations and personnel in the area;
(iii) Mandate the Committees on Special Duties and Police Affairs to ensure implementation.
Need to Investigate the Power Recovery Programme in Nigeria:
Hon. Abubakar Yunusa Ahmed.
Notes the distress and inefficiency that has bedeviled the power sector in Nigeria despite the privatization of power sector in September 2013;
Concerned that in spite of the huge costs committed to implementing power sector projects throughout the federation, the sector has failed to deliver value as power supply has become erratic while many parts of the nation are without electricity supply;
Cognizant that without government intervention, the cumulative shortfall of about One Trillion Naira will put the sector at risk of insolvency, leading to loss of investors’ confidence;
Conscious that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in conjunction with the World Bank and other institutions has created a Power Sector Recovery Programme [PSRP] with a view to attaining financial viability for the sector and to rehabilitate the Nigeria electricity supply industry;
Also concerned that although the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) proposes solutions to address financial concerns, the PSRSP does not propose a solution for fixing the critical business, infrastructural and technical flaws resulting in the power sector performance failure and market shortfall being experienced;
Further concerned that the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) does not hold private companies accountable for their proportionate share of accountability;
Aware that the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) requires the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) to raise debt for funding the programme being the manager and administrator of the electricity pool in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI);
Worried that the implementation of the PSRP targeted at merely paying liabilities will create a platform for squandering scarce financial resources without effectively eliminating the root causes of power sector problems in Nigeria;
Mandate the Committee on Power to investigate the Power Sector Recovery Programme with a view to resolving the incongruities in the Draft Power Sector Recovery Programme and report back to the House within four (4) weeks.
Need to Prioritize the Procurement of Cars Manufactured or Assembled in Nigeria by Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs):
Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama:
Notes that the automobile market is a multi-Billion Naira venture in Nigeria, given its large population and huge reliance on road transport;
Aware that government at all levels being the highest spender in Nigeria is a major buyer of automobiles in Nigeria;
Worried that over 95% of the automobiles procured by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are neither manufactured nor assembled in Nigeria;
Recalls that a couple of years ago automobile manufacturing companies like
Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and Peugeot had functional assembling plants in Nigeria;
Informed that the automobile manufacturing companies outside Nigeria neither pay direct taxes in Nigeria nor are their activities beneficial to the economy of Nigeria;
Cognizant that the benefits of having automobile manufacturing companies operate manufacturing or assembling plants within Nigeria include; technology transfer, employment for Nigerians, revenue generation through taxes, reduction in balance of trade deficit, increased GDP, safety specification etc;
Concerned that Nigeria has been relegated to the role of a ready market for automobiles manufactured in more developed economies;
Convinced that the only way Nigeria can break off the shackles of being a perpetual market for other economies, is by pursuing a deliberate policy on automobiles which will restrict patronage of automobiles by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to automobile brands from companies which have their manufacturing or assembling plants within Nigeria;
(i) Mandate the Committee on Industry to investigate why the automobile industry in Nigeria collapsed and proffer solutions with a view to reinvigorating the industry.
Need to Stem the Tide of Heart Failure related Deaths in Nigeria due to Hypertension:
Hon. Joseph Eghoghon Edionwele.
Notes with grave concern the rising rate of sudden deaths as a result of cause (s) attributed to Hypertension and related diseases in the Country, and the high proportion of the Nigerian populace afflicted by this disease;
Also notes that one of the primary purpose of Government is to ensure the Security, Health and well-being of its Citizens as provided in section 17(3)(c) of the 1999 Constitution;
Informed by the latest medical survey on heart failure and hypertension in Nigeria which revealed that hypertension accounts for 44% of sudden deaths or in lesser cases paralysis of the victims;
Worried that lack of awareness on the silent killer diseases when not diagnosed and or untreated is the major cause of heart attack, stroke and related effects on Nigerians and the attributed increasing death rate;
Further aware that the problem which is said to occur in 30-45% of adult population over the age 40 in Nigeria is becoming so worrisome that if the trend is not checked on time it may become endemic. Considering the age bracket of persons at risk which constitutes the active population, this is a potential threat to National development, since the greatest resource of any Nation is its human resource;
Also worried that according to the survey, global mortality due to hypertension is highest in Africa where Nigeria is having a sizeable number thereof and that this condition is more prevalent in men who most often are the bread winners of their families. Patients died due to inability to buy their drugs and in other cases lack of awareness;
(i) urge the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies to include hypertension and related diseases in the existing programmes like HIV at the primary health care level by making the checking and record of vital signs of all patients compulsory to curtail these increasing deaths in Nigeria;
(ii) also urge the Ministry of Health and the National Orientation Agency to, as a matter of National public importance, carry out a sensitization campaign on the awareness of this silent killer disease;
(iii) Urge the Ministry of Health to develop a national programme on High Blood Pressure; (added as an amendment)
(iii) mandate the Committees on Healthcare Services, Health Institutions and Information and National Orientation, Ethics and Values to ensure compliance and report back to the House within eight (8) weeks.
Urgent Need to Provide Medical and Life Insurance Policy to Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in the North East:
Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub:
Notes that the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) was formed to assist the Nigerian Armed Forces in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the North East;
Further notes that members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) are not professionally trained but have contributed greatly in the fight against insurgency in the North East;
Concerned that the JTF is not under any government pay role as members of the Armed Forces but rather are volunteers who equally put their lives at risk alongside men of the Nigerian Armed Forces to ensure that Boko Haram insurgents are ousted from the country;
Worried that men of the Civilian Joint Task Force who have lost their lives in the fight to end insurgency are not recognized by the Federal Government and their families are left without any compensation;
(i) Urge the Federal government to direct the Chief of Defense Staff to take statistics of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in the North East with a view to providing them with medical and life insurance policy;
(ii) Also urge the Federal Government to compensate the families of men of Civilian Joint Task Force who died in the battle against the insurgents and formally recognize them as true Heroes of Nigeria.
Plenary was adjourned until Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 11 a.m.