13 Key Issues House of Representatives Discussed Today
PRESENTATION OF BILL
National Lottery Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (HB. 487) (Hon. E. Y Orker-Jev) – First Reading
Hon. Abdul raised a matter of urgent public importance on the floods wreaking havoc in Lagos and Suleja, Niger State and the matter was debated deeply. The House urged NEMA to intervene and extend Government’s relief to the victims. The Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila urged for proper drainage in cities and for proper planning of Nigerian cities, also that individuals should desist from building houses on water ways. Hon. Okafor seconded. Other contributors to the extensive debate were Hon. Shagari, Hon. Sani, Hon. Leo Ogor and Hon. Benson.
Hon. Linda called the attention of the House to the lingering delay in the swearing-in and handing of portfolios to would-be Ministers of the Federal Republic confirmed by the Nigerian Senate that is casting the functionality of Government in bad light, and denying the States from where the pending Ministers come from representation in the Federal cabinet, Hon. Ali lent his voice and seconded to call on the Executive Arm of Government to do the needful and let the nation move forward.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
1.Consolidation of Bills:
(a)A Bill for an Act to Amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to provide for the Payment of all Monies received by the Commission into the Federation Account in Accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 963) (Hon. Gyang Istifanus Dung);
(b)A Bill for an Act to Amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to Increase the Penalties on Companies which fail to comply with the Provisions of the Act and for Related Matters (HB. 969) (Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakubu);and
(c)A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Re-Enact the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2017 to Provide for the Incorporation of Companies, Registration of Business Names together with Incorporation of Trustees of certain Communities, Bodies and Associations and for Related Matters (HB. 1064) (Hon. Gyang Istifanus Dung and Hon. Linus Okorie).
The Bill read, voted and passed.
2.A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Legion Act, Cap. N119, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Ensure Proper Welfare and Health Condition of Military Veterans, Expand the Operation and Functions of the Legion for National Development and to Establish and include Certain Functions of the Corps of Nigerian Commissionaires for the Proper Care, Good Health and Welfare of the Nigerian Legion and for Related Matters (HBs. 392 and 1036) (Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa and Hon. Abdulrahman Shuiabu Abubakar) – Second Reading.
The Bill was asked to be stepped down and was stepped down by the leave of the House.
3.A Bill for an Act to Amend the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act, Cap. P17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Prescribe Guidelines, including Standards, for the Registration of Premises where Members of the Profession and Authorized Corporate Entities engage in the Manufacture, Distribution, Sale and Dispensing of Drugs and Medicine, to update Monetary Fees and Fines contained in the Act to Reflect the Prevailing Currency Value of the Naira and for Related Matters (HB. 1002) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – Second Reading.
In the leading of the debate, Hon. Abbas pointed to the pharmacists Act and its need to be amended in order to ensure that over-the-counter drugs through prescription are not knowingly abused and get into the hands of drug addicts for financial benefits of some quack pharmacists. The Bill was read and passed to be read for the second reading.
4.A Bill for an Act to Amend the Currency Offences Act, Cap. C44, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for stiffer penalties to meet Contemporary Realities and for Related Matters (HB. 922) (Hon. Uchechuku G. Nnam –Obi) – Second Reading.
Hon. Obi moved the Bill and Hon. Gabriel seconded. In leading the debate, Hon. Obi spoke of the need of penalties to match offences committed, he decried the situation whereby steep penalties are meted to trivial offiences, while more harmful offences to the economy are slapped on the wrist due to the wealth of such offenders who can buy their way out of sticky situations. Hon. Mohammed also lent his voice on the matter. The Bill was put to a voice vote and passed to be read a second time.
5.A Bill for an Act to Amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, Cap. E12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to make it Responsive by Ensuring that Project Developers, Approving Authorities and Persons whose Livelihood will be Affected by Proposed Projects are involved in the decision making to Safeguard the Environment and ensure adequate Remediation of the Environment and for Related Matters (HB. 977) (Hon. Samuel Ikon) – Second Reading.
The Bill was asked to be stepped down by leave of the House.
6.Urgent Need for Rehabilitation of Billiri/Todi-Filiya/
Hon. Binta Bello.
Notes that Billiri/Todi-Filiya/Taraba Road has been in a deplorable state for sometime with the major bridge along it having been washed away by flood;
President Buhari, Saraki and Dogara
Aware that numerous complaints have been made to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on the condition of the Road but promises that were made for its reconstruction have not been fulfilled;
Also aware that the deplorable condition of the Road is causing immense suffering to the residents and commuters who have to endure long hours in the gridlock usually caused by the large number of articulated vehicles plying the route, as well as harassments from armed robbers;
Concerned that if urgent action is not taken to address the situation, the economic and social welfare of the communities along the route will continue to deteriorate and they may be cut off from other neighbouring communities;
(i)urge the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to rehabilitate the road as a matter of urgency, to ensure safety of commuters who ply the road on a daily basis;
(ii)also urge the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to include reconstruction of the Road in the 2018 budget
(iii)mandate the Committees on FERMA and Works to ensure implementation.
In leading the debate, Hon. Binta stressed the deplorable state of the road for lingering periods of time, and how spots of the road have become death traps and hideouts where criminals now terrorize users. She stressed that complains have continued to seemingly fall on deaf ears as Agencies of Road construction and security of the Federal Government seem to care less on the plight of the people. She called on FERMA to quickly do assessment tests and take care of bad spots on the road.
7.Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly (Order Twelve, Rule 16, Standing Orders of the House of Representatives):
(Community Service Bill, (HB. 1046):
Hon. Johnbull Shekarau.
Notes that pursuant to Order 12, Rule16 of the Standing Orders of the House, Bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence was made or negatived, or passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence was made or negatived or which was passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the Assembly, the House may resolve that such Bills, upon being re-gazetted or clean copies circulated, be re-considered in the Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo.
Also notes that the Community Service Bill was passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the last Assembly;
Aware that the Bill has been re-gazetted as HB. 1046 and read the first time on Wednesday, 31 May, 2017.
Commit the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
The Motion title was read and explained by Hon. Shekarau and seconded by Hon. Solomon and passed.
8.Devastating Flood at Evbuomore in Ovia North East Local Government Area in Edo State:
Hon. Omosede G. Igbenedion:
Notes that residents of Evbuomore Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area have been under serious threat following heavy flooding in the area, a situation that has led them to resort to self-help by erecting barricades to keep the flood from entering into their premises and destroying properties;
Also notes that the barricades have restricted the flood to the Benin/Lagos highway which is a major road that is now flooded, thereby making life difficult for motorists, travelers and community dwellers;
Determined to address the menace of flooding in the area in the overall interests of the residents and commuters;
(i) Urge the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to put machinery in place to address the flooding on the Benin/Lagos Highway opposite S and T Barracks;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Works to visit the erosion and flooding sites in the affected area and make recommendations on measures to be adopted to ensure a permanent solution.
Hon. Igbenedon read the title of the Motion and explained, Hon. Samuel then seconded on the issue and it was voted and passed.
9.Urgent Need to Resuscitate the 132/33 KVA Arochukwu Electricity Substation:
Hon. Nkole Uko Ndukwe.
Recalls that in 2000, the Federal Government conceived the 2×30 MVA 132/33 KVA Substation to be sited in Uburu–Ihechiowa and Amuvi Village, Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State with the aim of improving power supply to communities in Abia and the neighbouring Akwa Ibom and Cross River States;
Also recalls that the contract for the substation was awarded in May 2001 for the sum of $3.4 million with additional local currency component of N91 million naira which contract sum was later varied by additional sums of $350,000 and N21 million respectively that brought the total contract sums to $3.7 million and N111.8 million;
Aware that the scope of the project covered comprehensive electro– mechanical and civil works that would ensure that the substation provides adequate electricity to the communities, thereby boosting power generation;
Notes that this critical power generation project was abandoned over ten (10) years ago without explanation after attaining ninety percent (90%) completion, thereby leaving the Communities utterly frustrated and without immediate prospect for remedy;
Concerned that the Arochukwu power substation project was conspicuously omitted from the power privatization programme of the Federal Government without any explanation and determined that the laudable and beneficial project be resuscitated and urgently completed for the benefits of the expectant communities;
Mandate the Committee on Power to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the Arochukwu 2×30 MVA 132/33KVA Substation as well as establish the facts regarding the placement or otherwise of the project in the Federal Government’s power privatization programme and make recommendations within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Ndukwe read the Motion title and explained, it was put to a voice vote and passed.
10.Call to make Civic Education an Optional instead of a Compulsory Subject for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE):
Hon. Beni Lar.
Notes that under the previous Secondary School Curriculum which brought a lot of discontentment, Civic Education was not a compulsory subject and Religious Education was taught as Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK), both of which were optional subjects;
Also notes that the Federal Ministry of Education introduced a revised curriculum without due consultation with parents and stakeholders and the new nine (9) year Basic Education Curriculum on Religion and National Values Consolidated Religious Education and Civic Education under National Values and made Civic Education a compulsory subject for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations;
Observes that the curriculum for primary one to three (1-3) which is the formative stage of a child does not provide for adequate teaching of the religious beliefs of the people but rather destructive half-truths which destroys the fundamentals of the religious beliefs and erodes the essence of such religion being taught the children;
Concerned that the new curriculum which is in conflict with certain religious beliefs also makes the teaching of those beliefs compulsory;
Recalls that section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 makes Nigeria a secular state, and therefore Religion should be separated from National Values;
(i)call on the Federal Ministry of Education to make Civic Education an optional instead of a compulsory subject for SSCE Examinations, and should rather be taught under the subject “Government” as was the case under the previous curriculum;
(ii)remove the religious component from Civic Education as a subject;
(iii)separate our national values from religious values and each should be taught independently;
(iv)suspend the implementation of the new curriculum pending the conclusion of investigation by the House;
(v)mandate the Committee on Basic Education and Services to conduct an investigative hearing on the matter and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
In leading the debate, Hon. Lar stated that the need for basic educational subjects from Junior secondary schools to the senior classes should not be politicized and should relate to what the values of the students home belief represent. She spoke on how the best interest of the students and what should make them better and more responsible citizens should be prioritized and not political wrangling. The motion was extensively debated with such Members as Hon. Gudaje, Hon. Benson, Hon. Gbajabiamila, Hon. Shagari, lending their voices. Hon. Rita Orji stated that children should not be forced to study what does not reflect their religious beliefs at home and the nation should be careful to make and not mar the leaders of tomorrow. Hon. Solomon proposed an amendment to prayers 3 and 4 of the motion.
11.Call on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Retail to Adjust the Cost Prices of Products to Independent Marketers:
Hon. Danlami Mohammed Kurfi:
Notes that in 2007, the NNPC Retail Ltd entered into an Agreement with Independent Marketers for the distribution and sales of petroleum products;
Also notes that the terms of the NNPC Retail-Independent Marketers’ Agreement required the Marketers to stock products from NNPC Retail sources only so they do not have to buy products from third parties;
Observes that while the cost prices of NNPC Retail products have increased over the years, the profit margin of N2:50K only has been maintained between the cost price of N142:50K for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the regulated pump price of N145:00K at which all Independent Marketers must sell the product to the public;
Convinced that the profit margin to the Independent Marketers is very slim considering the overhead costs of delivering service to the public, including but not limited to the costs of sales personnel, diesel for power generation, payable taxes and other administrative costs;
Concerned that if the prevailing circumstances do not change, it may lead to Independent Marketers resorting to reducing or cancelling the Agreement with NNPC Retail, thereby causing product scarcity with the attendant crisis in the distribution chain of petroleum products;
(i) Urge the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Managing Director of NNPC Retail in particular to urgently conduct a review of the situation with a view to recommending and approving a more profitable margin for Independent Marketers to forestall any crisis in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products;
(ii) Mandate the Committees on Petroleum Resources, (Downstream) and Legislative Compliance to monitor and ensure compliance.
The Motion was asked to be stepped down, it was stepped down by the leave of the House.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
12.A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Assembly Budget and Research Office which shall provide the National Assembly with Objective, Timely and Non-Partisan Analysis Needed for Economic and Budget Decisions and for Other Related Matters, (HB.377) (Committee of the Whole: 15/6/2017).
Standing in the name of Hon. Timothy and seconded by Hon. Chris.
13.Adhoc Committee on Development and Standardization of Manuals and Templates for the House of Representatives:
Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Adhoc Committee on Development and Standardization of Manuals and Templates for the House of Representatives, namely: (i) Public Hearing Manual; (ii) Oversight Manual; (iii) Reporting Manual and (iv) Committee Manual and approve the Recommendations therein” (Laid: 11/5/2017). In the name of Hon. Shagari and seconded by Hon. Simon.