Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Wednesday, July 11, 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 Tuesday, July 10, 2018
MOTIONS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Hon. Ossy Prestige Moved the Motion on the need to update the accurate population record in Nigeria for proper socio-economic resource planning and projection determination. He pointed out that it is the international norm for countries to conduct a population census every ten years and why it is taking too long to do so in Nigeria. He stated that this exercise is also vital and critical in the security planning of the ratio of citizens to security personnel. He sought the House to compel the Federal Government to ensure a proper census is conducted before the first quarter of 2019. Hon. Pally Iriase stated that to be able to determine critical statistics like GDP, the accurate population figures must always be known. He also stated that it is necessary to determine if birth control is necessary where the available resources fall far short of the number of citizens they are to serve. Hon. Linus Okorie stated that this statistics is important for the proper planning and relief provision in case of disasters. The Motion was voted on and Passed.
Hon. Nicholas Ossai Moved the Motion on the urgent need for the constitutional compliance to all subsidiary Legislations by the Executive Arm of the Government through the instrument of Executive Orders. He described this as an abridgment of the Powers of the Legislature and the Judiciary. He pointed out that the American Democracy which Nigeria models Hers after does not recognize such Executive Orders outside the provisions of the Law. He called on the House to rise up against any attempt to usurp the legitimate Powers of both the Legislature and the Judiciary, he stated that history and posterity would be the judge of the action taken by the Legislature who is the defender of the people. Hon. Bode Ayorinde stated that it smacks of absolute power corrupting absolutely, for the Executive to use the Executive Orders on matters still under litigation, this he stated is undemocratic. Hon. Daniel Asuquo wondered how anyone voted into Parliament by Nigerians would contemplate supporting Executive Orders that aim to take away the very rights of Nigerians. Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu stated that Nigeria should be careful how corruption is fought because the tools used have begun to make corruption more visible, rather than less. He warned of the creation of fragile States out of intimidation, these fragile States he warned are the prelude to failed States. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje in contributing stated that these Executive Orders are in danger of eroding the gains of democracy and giving it the image of a dictatorship in Nigeria. She pointed out that the concept of Executive Order originates from the United States but the Executive Orders signed by the President always have Judicial backing and are always in line with the Laws and Constitution. Hon. Mojeed Alabi in speaking against the Motion stated that since the Constitution recognized the term Executive Order, it means the term and its application is Constitutional. Hon. Raphael Igbokwe stated that the Constitution gives the President the right to exercise his Executive orders. He suggested that the Motion should be stepped down as it seems to draw sentiments on wrong partisan grounds and not on competent ones. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
Nigerian Peace Keeping (Support and Participation) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1513) (Hon. Oluwole Oke) – First Reading.
National Broadcasting Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1514) (Hon. James Faleke) – First Reading.
Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1515) (Hon. Awaji-Inombek D. Abiante) – First Reading.
Federal College of Education (Technical), Gboko (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1516) (Hon. John Dyegh) – First Reading.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
Committee on Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and Ancillary Matters:
Hon. Jisalo B. Zephaniah:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and Ancillary Matters on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils Service Commission to Provide a Legal Framework for Regulation of the Employment and Working Conditions of the Area Councils Staff with a view to Professionalizing the FCT Area Councils Service and for Related Matters (HB. 975) (Referred: 1/6/2017)
Committee on Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and Ancillary Matters: Hon. Jisalo B. Zephaniah:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and Ancillary Matters on the Need to Investigate the failure of Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and the Accelerated Area Council and Sectional Titles Reissuance Scheme (AACSTRIS) to Process the backlog of Applications for issuance of Certificates of Occupancy in FCT Area Council” (HR. 210/2017).
ORDERS OF THE DAY
A Bill for an Act to Allocate the Returned Looted Nigerian Government Funds of $322.5 Million from Switzerland for Funding of Ajaokuta Steel Company and Railway Line (s) Projects in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 1510) (Hon. Ossai N. Ossai) – Second Reading.
Hon. Ossai Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Sunday Adepoju.
In leading the debate Hon. Ossai stated that he is compelled by the spirit of patriotism and the realization of the socio-economic importance the Ajaokuta Steel complex represents to Nigeria, to Move the Bill. He stressed on the number of jobs the complex could generate when running, the foreign exchange saved from steel import, the industrial revolution that can be attained by Nigeria through the Ajaokuta Steel Complex as a few, among many reasons why he prays the Bill Passes. He craved the support of Honourable Members to see this happens. Hon. Edward Pwajok raised a Point of Order on the premise that the funds belong to the 3 tiers of Government and the National Assembly cannot appropriate funds that should be shared between the National, States and Local Governments. Hon. Toby Okechukwu in supporting the spirit behind the Bill, advised that a Bill with a more comprehensive and practical approach that will ensure sustainable funding for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex be brought forward to the House, so that legality does not kill such a viable and noble cause. The Bill was stepped down for further consultations.
A Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Agriculture, Jalingo; and for Related Matters (HB. 1374) (Hon. Malle Aminu Ibrahim) – Second Reading.
Hon. Malle Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Akinlaja Joseph.
In leading the debate Hon. Malle stated that due to the increasing number of eligible students in the region, numbering over 1.2 Million and the stretching of the available Tertiary Institutes available to the region who can only accommodate about 500,000, he sees no other practical solution than to establish the proposed Institution. He also pointed to the fact that Agriculture is one of the principal ways the country seeks to go for economic diversification and there is the dire need to modernize the teaching and application of agricultural practice. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Tertiary Education Services
A Bill for an Act to Amend Section (1)(3) of the Federal Universities of Technology Act, Cap. F23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, by Providing for the Power of the Universities to Establish Technology Park for the Conduct of Invention and Innovation in Technology; and for Related Matters (HB. 1433) (Hon. Ayeola Abayomi Abdul-Kabir) – Second Reading.
Item Stepped down by leave of the House
Request for Extension of Time to enable the Ad-hoc Committee Set Up to Interface with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and other Stakeholders on Exorbitant Fares Proposed for the 2017 Hajj Exercise Conclude its Assignment:
Hon. Muhammad Umar Bago:
Recalls that on Wednesday, 15 June, 2017, an Ad-hoc Committee was constituted to interface with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and other stakeholders to determine the reasons for the increase in fares and find ways of reducing the 2017 Hajj Fares to an acceptable level;
Aware that Hajj is a yearly religious obligation, and to ascertain the level of increase or decrease in the Hajj Fares of the 2017 Operations there is need to make a comparative analysis of the 2017 Hajj Operation with the forthcoming 2018 Hajj Operation;
Desirous of undertaking a diligent approach to the assignment with a view to arriving at informed recommendations;
Grant additional time of four (4) weeks to the Ad-hoc Committee within which to conclude its assignment.
Hon. Bago Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Mohammed Sherriff.
In leading the debate Hon. Bago stated that the Committee in drawing a conclusion of the task found it difficult due to the absence of a basis of comparison with former Hajj operations and there is the need to get 4 more weeks for which to conclude. Hon. Chukwuka Onyema stated that if the delay is too long, it may affect those supposed to go on the next Hajj exercise. Hon. Abubakar Chika stated that if the Ad-Hoc Committee is rushed to wind up the work, problems experienced in the last exercise may be experienced again, and all that should be done to get it right once and for all, should be done. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
Need to Address the Effect of Carbon Emission on Climate Change in Nigeria:
Hon. Jimoh Abdulraheem Olajide:
Notes that climate change causes increasing temperature leading to desert encroachment, coastal degradation, variability in weather patterns to stress in agricultural and livestock sectors resulting in volatile food prices and more frequent and violent storms;
Worried that Green House Gas, such as carbon dioxide which exist naturally, trap heat in the atmosphere and regulate the climate, but humans activities such as the burning fossil for energy affects the climate;
Aware that scientists in the United States and the world have overwhelmingly agreed that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity;
Also aware of the remark by Mr. Niyi Yussuf, the Nigeria Country Manager of Accenture, that climate change is a momentous threat to development, peace and security, and to market stability;
Further aware that climate change poses fundamental threat to human, animal, and people’s livelihood;
Recalls that in order to address the effect of Carbon emission – world business leaders adopted low-carbon business models, while companies are realizing opportunities for growth and innovation in addressing the climate change;
Further worried that increase in global temperature is significantly altering our planet’s climate, resulting in more extreme and unpredictable weather;
(i) Urge the Federal government of Nigeria to, as a matter of urgency, join world leaders to address the current climate change caused by emissions and other catalysts;
(ii) also Urge the Oil and Natural Gas sector in Nigeria to advance policies aimed at addressing all issues on climate change;
(iii) Mandate the Committees on Climate Change, Environment and Habitat, Gas Resources, Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, to liaise with the Ministries of Environment, Petroleum Resources, and Information and Culture to figure out the best strategies to tackle climate change and adequately prepare for the consequences of global warming, which is being experienced in the world.
Hon. Olajide Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Kolawole Babatunde.
Hon. Olajide stated that the matter at hand adversely affects human lives in a strong degree in the areas of health, environmental degradation and socio-economic hazards. The Motion was Voted on and Passed.
Need to Ensure Compliance with the Pension Reform Act, 2014 by all States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT):
Hon. Akinwunmi Nurudeen Olaitan:
Notes that only four states in the country have complied with the compulsory group life insurance policy, as stipulated in the Pension Reform Act, 2014;
Worried that the essence of the Pension Reform Act which is to ensure that every person who worked in either the public service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory or private sector services gets his retirement benefits as at when due, amongst other objectives is being defeated;
Concerned that group life insurance policy as stipulated by Pension Reform Act was created to protect families from financial hardship in the events of death or retirement of their bread winners;
Aware that the risks of not having group life insurance policy are often great and unimaginable, noting that Fourteen years after the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) instituted by the Pension Reform Act, 2014 which mandated employers to maintain group life insurance for employees, only Lagos, Niger, Osun and Rivers States have complied;
Also aware that in addition to the rates specified in Section 4 (5) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, Sub Section (1) stipulates that “Every employer shall maintain a group life insurance policy in favour of each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee and premium shall be paid not later than the date of commencement of the cover”;
Also aware that Subsection (6) of the same Section states that, “Where the employer failed, refused or omitted to make payment as and when due, the employer shall make arrangement to effect the payment of claims arising from the death of any staff in its employment during such period”;
Further aware that many workers died while in active service and no insurance compensation is paid to their beneficiaries;
(i) mandate the Committees on Insurance and Actuarial matters, Pensions and Finance to convene a stakeholders legislative forum on NAICOM, PENCOM and insurers in the country with a view to implementing the life group insurance policy;
(ii) also mandate the Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters to ensure compliance of the group life Insurance Policy in the remaining 32 states of the Federation and the FCT.
Hon. Olaiton Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Mahren Solomon.
Hon. Olaiton in leading the debate stated that the Protection Reform Act which Repelled the 2004 Act makes it compulsory for a worker and an Organization in a State of the Federation to engage in contributory form of pension. He expressed regret that firms in both the Public and Private Sectors of 32 States out of the 36 have refused to comply, the F.C.T inclusive. This he blamed as one of the chief reasons why Nigerians retire to penury and die on pension queues nationwide. The Motion was Voted on and referred to the Ad-Hoc Committee already setup by the House to look into the matter.
Urgent Need for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to Adjust its Time Table for the Conduct of Presidential and National Assembly Primary Elections:
Hon. Abdullahi Balarabe Salame:
Notes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recently announced Time Table for the 2019 General Elections and the schedule of its activities;
Further notes that according to the INEC Time Table, the Presidential and National Assembly primaries will begin on August 18, 2018;
Concerned that the Timetable scheduled by INEC for the commencement of Presidential and National Assembly primaries will be two days before Arafat which will begin in the evening of Monday, 20th August, 2018 and end in the evening of Tuesday, 21 August, 2018 subject to a little variation of dates;
Aware that observance of Arafat day is one of the major cardinals of hajj pilgrimage, the non-performance of which will make the pilgrimage an incomplete exercise;
Worried that the time scheduled by INEC for the conduct of such primaries will create a lot of inconvenience for Nigerian Muslim pilgrims participating in the primaries;
(i) Urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adjust its time table for the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly primaries to enable Nigerian Muslim politicians attend the hajj pilgrimage and later participate in the primaries.
Hon. Salame Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Suleiman Aminu.
Hon. Salame asked for the understanding and consideration of INEC to ensure everyone is accommodated in the Primaries exercise and ensuring that the exercise does not conflict with religious practices of any Nigerian. Hon. Akinlaja Joseph stated that the dates are not concrete, just a time frame, between August and October, the Political Parties have the responsibility to now ensure their Primaries do not clash with the dates of any religious rites. Hon. Aisha Dukku in a proposed Amendment urged the President of the Federation to expedite action of Assent on the Electoral Amendment Bill before him. The Motion was Voted on and Passed as Amended.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE) Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding:
A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, to Promote, Coordinate and Facilitate the Prevention, Detection and Control of Communicable Diseases in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1199) (House Leader) – (Committee of the Whole: 3/7/2018).
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Tahir Monguno stated that the Bill seeks legal backing to the Center, it has been in existence and wants it to be independent and not under the whims and caprices of the Executive Arm of Government.
Summary of Votes:
Clauses Voted on and Passed: 1-28
Clauses Amended and Passed: nil
Clauses Deleted: nil
A Bill for an Act to make Provision for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between Nigeria and other Foreign States; and for Related Matters (HB. 1060) (Leader) – (Committee of the Whole: 19/7/2017).
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Tahir Monguno stated that Bill came for concurrence from the Senate and seeks to ensure the Global village status of the world, so criminal acts cannot be committed in one country and refuge sought in other countries. It seeks to ease the repatriation of stolen funds and criminals for prosecution to the countries the crime was committed.
Summary of Votes:
Clauses Voted on and Passed: 1-88
Clauses Amended and Passed: nil
Clauses Deleted: nil
HOUSE IN PLENARY
The House in Plenary Adopted the Voting of the House in the Committee of the Whole.
The House adjourned Plenary till Thursday, July 12, by 11:00 Am.NTA