Proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, February 22, 2018
The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yussuf Lasun presided.
He said opening prayers and approved votes and proceedings for Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
Notice of Defection
Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi defected to the All Progressives Congress. This, he said, was due to the existence of factions within the Labour Party.
Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai raised a point of order citing Section 68 (2), challenging the defection. He cited conditions which nullify a legislator’s membership of the House, but this was dismissed by Rt. Hon. Lasun, who said “you can’t approbate and reprobate at the same time.”
He further went on to say Hon. Ogunwuyi had stated his reason and that the point of order had been noted.
Hon. Johnbull Shekarau presented a petition from a constituent of his, whose appointment was unjustly terminated at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He prayed the House to intervene in the matter and address the injustice.
Hon. Ossy Prestige presented a petition from a law firm on behalf of Mr. Iyke Joy Uzor, who is alleging victimization, unfair treatment and breach of public service rules by the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board. He prayed that the House direct the Board to unconditionally reabsorb him, pay his outstanding salary and promote him accordingly.
Hon. Segun Alexander Adekola presented a petition from a former youth corps member calling on the Minister for FCT to revisit the case of Ms. Nelly Chinenye (who was promised automatic employment), since government is a continuum.
Hon. Tony Nwoye presented a petition from a constituent who went on annual leave in 2006, then was told that his file was missing upon his return. He prayed that INEC be directed to reinstate him and pay his accrued salaries.
Hon. Kingsley presented a petition from a constituent on unjust dismissal by the Nigerian Police. He appealed that the House review his case and direct the Nigerian Police to recall him.
Petitions were referred to the committee on public petitions.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
Twelve new bills were presented as follows;
Federal Colleges of Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1336) (Hon. Nasiru Sani Zangon Daura)
Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1337) (Hon. Nasiru Sani Zangon Daura)
Federal College of Education (Technical) Doma (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1338) (Hon. Onawo Mohammed Ogoshi)
Federal College of Education, Obot Akara (Establishment) Bill, 2018(HB. 1339) (Hon. Emmanuel Akpan)
Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1340) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta)
Federal College of Education, Efon-Alarye (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1341) (Hon. Oni Olamide Johnson)
Defence Research and Development Bureau Bill, 2018 (HB. 1342) (Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu)
Nigeria National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill, 2018 (HB. 1343) (Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje)
Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1344) (Hon. Ahmed Babba Kaita)
Certified Council of Allied Dental Health Professionals (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1345) (Hon. Ajibola Israel Famurewa)
Defence Industries Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1346) (Hon. Aminu Ashiru Mani)
Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology Bill, 2018 (HB.1347) (Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad)
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
Four reports were presented by the Committee of Housing (Hon. Babba Kaita);
Report of the Committee on Housing 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 Act to make Provisions for Additional Sources of Funding; and for Related Matters (HB 1077) (Referred:28/9/2017)
Report of the Committee on Housing on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Cap. F16, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to make Comprehensive Provisions for Establishment of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and its Board of Directors; and for Related Matters (HB. 911) (Referred:20/7/2017).
Report of the Committee on Housing on a Bill For an Act to Establish the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria to Regulate the Activities and Ensure Professionalism in the System; and for Related Matters, 2017 (HB. 465). (Referred: 15/11/2016).
Report of the Committee on Housing on Need to Ensure Full Compliance with the National Housing Fund Act for Effective Housing Delivery in Nigeria (HR.59/2017) (Referred:20/7/2017).
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Orker-Jev Emmanuel moved for the second reading of A Bill for an Act to Amend the Notaries Public Act, Cap. N141, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and for Related Matters (HB.1138)
Debate: Hon. Orker-Jev said that the bill is in line with the legislative agenda of the Eighth House, which highlights the need to reform archaic laws/provisions. He revealed that the proposed amendment serves three objectives; deleting archaic sections, empowering the CJN to not only appoint but allocate functions to the notaries public as appointed and update fines to bring these in tandem with current economic realities.
Highlighting specifics, he said that fines would be reviewed upwards to N50,000 instead of N100 currently stipulated, and that certain sections would have to be deleted.
The Bill was supported by Hon. M.T. Monguno and Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari, who stated that the Bill is one of those living up to the Eighth Assembly’s commitment to updating obsolete laws and that he’s proud to be a Member of this Assembly, which has passed more bills than the two previous Assemblies put together.
The Bill was put to a vote and the ayes had it. The Clerk read the long title of the Bill. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Judiciary for further legislative action.
Hon. Tasir Olawale Raji moved for the second reading of A Bill for an Act to Amend the Personal Income Tax Act, Cap. P8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to Provide that Personal Income Tax Deduction of a Worker should be Remitted to the Tax Authority of the State where he works; and for Related Matters (HB. 1280).
Hon. Raji said that the Bill seeks to make it so that tax is remitted where an individual works and not where they live. A point of order was raised by Hon. M.S. Abdu, under Order 12(3), stating that a compendium ought to have been delivered. In response, Hon. Raji said the compendium was submitted along with the brief and the Chairman Rules and Business said that he has always been a proponent of Members complying with the rule. He further stated that the brief is not same as the compendium and that he also has not received it.
Following Hon. Orker Jev’s submission, Hon. Lasun ruled that the Bill be stepped down until the compendium has been made available.
Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok moved for the second reading of A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Human Rights Commission Act, Cap. N46, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to create a Special Department to be known as Department of Religious Freedom in the Commission which shall be saddled with the Responsibility of Receiving and Handling Complaints bothering on Violation of Freedom of Religion as Enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution; and for Related Matters (HB. 1189).
Hon. Pwajok said that Section 38 Constitution gives every Nigerian citizen the right to freedom of religion. He added that the law is observed more in the breach than in compliance and people are usually helpless when there is violation of freedom of religion. He therefore argued for the creation of a department in the National Human Rights Commission, which would handle instances in which peoples’ rights are violated in this regard. Drawing comparisons, he said that a centre exists in the US which addresses issues of religious rights. He further stated that manipulation of religious sentiments is one of the factors contributing to tensions in the country.
Hon. Zakari Mohammed spoke against the Bill. He said: “Mr. Speaker, we are legislators and we are leaders in our own right. Things that tend to divide us more, we should lay less emphasis on them.” He added that within the existing laws, he doubts that there’s anywhere in the country where religious freedoms are trampled upon and that if this is done, we would be opening up another channel for some people to be making budgetary provisions that will not achieve anything. “We would be doing a great disservice to the people that we represent if we allow things of nature to pass through us.”
Hon. Aminu Suleiman aligned with Hon. Zakari. “I’m troubled that we are trying to emphasise something that continues to challenge our peace and unity as a nation”. He added that the law which establishes the NHRC does not prohibit it from addressing issues relating to the subject matter and so, a newly established department is not required.
While responding to issues raised, Hon. Pwajok said that the objective of the Bill is not to further divide Nigerians but if the intendment is not being understood, then certainly he would not be able to proceed with it. He said that his intention was not to engineer division or give any religion an edge over the other, but that there have been complaints from different quarters about religious rights being infringed upon.
The bill was stepped down by the leave of the House.
The House adopted the following motions;
Request for Extension of Referral Time to enable the Committee on Power conclude work on the Call for Caution and Clarification in the Calabar National Integrated Power Projects World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee/Investigate the Status/Condition of Power Projects Agreements (P.P.As) signed by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc with Electricity Generation Companies and their Liabilities effect to the Nigeria Government:
Hon. Daniel Asuquo:
Recalls that on Thursday 3 November, 2016, the House referred to the Committee on Power the Motion on Call for Caution and Clarification in the Calabar National Integrated Power Projects World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee/Investigate the Status/Condition of P.P.As signed by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc with Electricity Generation Companies and their Liabilities effect to the Nigerian Government;
Also recalls that the motion mandated the Committee to convene a Public Hearing of critical Stakeholders to clarify and evaluate the World Bank’s Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) as it relates to the Nigerian Integrated Power Projects and make recommendations to the House within four (4) weeks.
Aware that the Committee has since commenced work on the referral but has conclude work to enable it present its Report pursuant to Order Seventeen, Rule 3 (1) (g) of the Standing Orders of the House;
Grant the Committee on Power an extension of time of one (1) month to enable it conclude the assignment and present Report to the House for further legislative action
Call to Investigate the Lack of Prosecution of Vandals of Electricity Cables and Equipment in Nigeria:
Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok:
Notes several reports by Electricity Companies and the Nigeria Police Force of continuing vandalisation of various electrical equipment which is one of the major reasons for power failure all over the Federation;
Also notes the reports in the Media that the country loses about Five hundred million Naira (N500, 000,000) annually as a result of vandalisation of electrical equipment;
Aware that Section 1 (9) and (10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 prescribes punishment for vandalisation of power equipment but observes that there have hardly been any report of prosecution of any vandal in accordance with the provisions of the law;
Concerned by the situation where vandals had been left for too long to carry out their nefarious activities without any form of sanction being meted out to them, a development that has goaded them into becoming more daring in the sinister plots;
Mandate the Committees on Power, Police Affairs, Interior, National Security and Intelligence and Justice to critically examine the lack of prosecution of vandals of electricity cables and equipment and make recommendations within six (6) weeks on ways to put an end to the nefarious activities of the vandals.
Need to Investigate the Incidents of Examination Malpractices in Some Secondary Schools in Nigeria:
Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub:
Notes that apart from public schools that are owned by Governments at various levels, individuals, religious organisations and corporate bodies can establish and manage schools subject to the compliance with the regulations laid down by Ministries of Education at both the Federal and States levels;
Aware that during the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations, some secondary schools, particularly those that are commonly referred to as “Special Centres” routinely indulge in examination malpractices, most often, with the knowledge and connivance of the school authorities;
Cognizant that candidates who passed the examinations through malpractices would not be able to defend the certificates that have been awarded to them and could at best be referred to as half-baked graduates who are ill prepared for the challenges of the twenty first century;
(i) Urge the Federal and State Ministries of Education to strictly supervise the examination processes of secondary schools with a view to stamping out examination malpractices;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Basic Education and Services to interface with relevant stakeholders on the matter and report back in six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Need to Establish the Technical and Operational Status of Nigerian Registered Commercial/Private Aircrafts to Boost the Safety, Protection and Confidence of Passengers Flying the Nigerian Airspace
Hon. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike G.
Notes that compliance with safety standards in the Aviation subsector is sacrosanct, given its sensitivity as well as extremely low tolerance for margins of error;
Aware that Aviation Safety measures are rather proactive measures to mitigate against air mishaps as well as to enhance smooth operations and comfort of passengers;
Also aware that recently incidents in the aviation subsector are indicative that a holistic review and assessment of the level of compliance and adherence to safety standards are pertinent;
Also notes that ideally there must be periodic aircraft maintenance which includes overhaul, repair, inspection, or modification of an aircraft or aircraft component and maintenance which incorporates such tasks as ensuring compliance with airworthiness directives;
Again aware of the National regulations which are coordinated under international standards maintained by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
Disturbed that there exists a high degree of complicity between airline operators in Nigeria and the regulatory bodies charged with the safety of our airspace and passengers; particularly, the Directorate of Quality Assurance of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as well as the Accident Investigation Bureau; which has compromised the safety standards of our aviation sector;
Worried that non-compliance with applicable airworthiness requirements exposes consumers and equipment to high level risks, potential dangers and discomfort, which can easily be averted by carrying out appropriate due diligence periodically;
Mandate the Committees on Aviation and Commerce to investigate as well as carry out critical audit of all registered aircrafts with a view to ascertaining their airworthiness, compliance with applicable operational methods, set safety standards and procedures as well as evaluate the operational environment of the aviation subsector with a view to enhancing improved operational standards as well as convenience of users.
Need to include the Teaching of Leadership Principles in the Curriculum of Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions:
Hon. Olajide Olatunbosun.
Notes that education is the key that unlocks the development of personal and national potentials and equips every person with knowledge, skills, attitude and values to enable him or her contribute meaningfully towards national development.
Also notes that the goals of higher education as specified in the Nigeria’s National Policy on Education include acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society;
Aware that the education curriculum in Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria have been developed and continually changed to carter for the needs and growth of the society;
Also aware that those curricula have undergone constant changes, there are no provisions for subjects and courses that will equip students with requisite leadership skills and knowledge to make them future leaders and persons capable of engaging in global competitiveness;
Concerned that the absence of subjects or courses on leadership and development in the education curriculum in the Secondary schools and Tertiary institutions has left the youths ill equipped and with little or no capacity to assume leadership roles in the society;
Disturbed that the new additional subjects introduced by the National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and implemented are essential because they include subjects such as entrepreneurial studies, but did not include the teaching of leadership which is an essential subject for future leaders;
Mandate the Committees on Basic Education and Services and Tertiary Education and Services to liaise with relevant authorities to ensure the inclusion of the teaching of leadership principles and practice in the curriculum of Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria and to report within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
The House deferred the consideration of the following reports;
Committee on Industry:
Hon. Abubakar Husaini Moriki:
Report of the Committee on Industry on a Bill for an Act to make it Mandatory for Tyres to bear Manufacturing and Expiry Dates, and to Prohibit the Importation of Used, Substandard and Expired Tyres and for Other Related Matters (HB. 499) (Referred: 6/7/2017).
Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Parliamentary Friendship and Hajj Affairs:
Hon. Abdullahi Balarabe Salame:
Report of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Parliamentary Friendship and Hajj Affairs on the highlights of the 2017 Hajj and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 18/1/2018).
Plenary was adjourned until Tuesday, February 27, 2018.