Report Of House Of Reps Proceedings For Tuesday February 23
By Rinsola Abiola, SA (New Media) to the Rt. Hon. Speaker
Highlights: House mandates high-powered delegation to look into and resolve the crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The sitting commenced around 11 a.m.
Matters of Urgent Public Importance
- Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano state) moved a motion regarding the recent fire outbreaks at markets in Kano state, stating that over 200 shops were burnt and goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed. He then prayed that the House constitute a committee to visit and condole with the people. This motion was adopted and the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, announced the constitution of the committee. Members include all members from Kano, among others.
- Following the adoption of the motion quoted above, Karim Sunday (Kogi state) raised a motion seeking that the House consider the crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly as a matter of national importance, and prayed that the House intervene and resolve the situation. This motion was co-sponsored by all members of the Kogi caucus, and was seconded by Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje. Hon. Karim Sunday further explained that on 16th February, five members of the Kogi State House of Assembly – out of 20 – illegally and purportedly impeached the Speaker. This motion garnered considerable debate as most were in support and opined that the House ought to send a strong signal that it will not condone impunity by intervening, but others pointed out that the Speaker who was illegally dismissed previously benefitted from the same thing, as he also spearheaded the illegal impeachment of his predecessor. The debate eventually ended when the Majority Leader (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) addressed the issue, stating that he and the Minority Leader had previously received 15 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, and this proved that there was no dispute regarding the fact that 5 members had indeed illegally impeached the Speaker. He also went on to state that the matter at hand is one about establishing a clear penalty for undermining the rule of law, and is really not about defending any individual. He also said that illegal impeachments had become a norm, with occurrences in states like Oyo, Rivers and Ekiti, and that “this is the time to put this ugly issue to rest, so that it never rears its ugly head again.” He also quoted the Constitution, saying that there are clear guidelines regarding impeachment, and that the punishment for treason must be evoked for such acts which undermine the constitution. He ended his submission by saying that: “this government must not tolerate the impunity that it condemned.” The Speaker then called for a vote on the motion and it was adopted by the House. He subsequently constituted a high powered delegation to investigate and resolve the issue, consisting of 10 members and led by the Deputy Whip, Hon. Pally Iriase.
The following bills were debated and passed second reading;
- A bill for an act to authorize issue for the FCT Statutory Revenue Fund of the FCT Administration Account the total sum of N193,864,591,470 (one hundred and ninety-three billion, eight hundred and sixty-four million, five hundred and ninety-one thousand, four hundred and seventy Naira) only, of which the sum of N45,961,784,503 only is for personnel costs and the sum of N33,834,186,423 only, is for overhead costs whilst the balance of N114,068,620,544 only, is for capital projects for the service of the FCT, Abuja, for the financial year commencing from 1st January 2015 and ending on 31st March, 2016 (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) – Referred to House Committee on Supply.
- A bill for an act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to among others, provide tenure for the Board, condition of assumption of jurisdiction, etc.; and for other matters connected therewith (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok), and a bill for an act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai) – Referred to the House Committee on Anti-Corruption.
- A bill for an act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to provide for the Office of a Mayor for the FCT, Abuja, and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo).
- A bill for an act to alter section 24 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide a time frame of ten years or less for population census; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Abiodun Dada Awoleye)
- A bill for an act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to establish more Code of Conduct Tribunals and make it mandatory for all public officers to subscribe to the Code of Conduct before taking oath of office; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok) – Referred to Committee on review of 1999 Constitution.
- Business continued from Assembly to Assembly:
Capital Expenditure Budget Roll-Over Bill, 2015
Hon. Sunday Steve Karimi
Notes that pursuant to Order XII Rule 96 of the standing orders of the House, the Legislative Business of the House which, though completed and laid in the House by a Committee of the House which remain undetermined at the end of the Assembly shall be resumed and proceeded within the next Assembly in the same manner as if the tenure of the Assembly had not come to an end, if the House resolves in the affirmative that such bills, upon being re-gazetted, be reconsidered in the Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo;
Also notes that the Capital Expenditure Roll-Over Bill, 2015 was awaiting consideration in the Committee of the Whole before the last Assembly;
Aware that the Bill was re-gazetted as HB. 164 and read for the first time on 1st December 2015;
Commit the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
- Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly:
(a) Witness Protection Programme Bill 2015
(b) Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, 2015
Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha
Notes that pursuant to Order XII, Rule 94 of the Standing Orders of the House, Bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence were made or negative, or passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence were made or negative or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or witholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the Assembly, the House may resolve that such Bills, upon being re-gazetted or clean copies circulated, be re-considered in Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo;
Also notes that the aforementioned Bills were 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 Bills have been re-gazetted as HB 132 and HB 119 respectively, and read the first time;
Commit the Bills to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
- Call for construction of a bridge across River Bunga to link Ningi and Warji Local Government Areas of Bauchi State:
Hon. Salisu Zakari Ningi
Notes that the people of Ningi and Warji Local Government Areas share the same culture and emirate council, and are about 30 kilometres apart, separated by River Bunga;
Concerned that owing to the absence of a bridge across River Bunga, the people of the two Local Government Areas now travel through Ganjuwa and Darazo, a distance of 120 km to access their respective LGAs, which results in colossal loss of valuable time;
- Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to ensure that money for the construction of a bridge over River Bunga is appropriated for in the 2016 budget; and
- Also mandate the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation.
- Call on the Executive Arm of Government to Prepare Adequately for the Forthcoming Census:
Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mahmud:
Notes that section 153 (1) and part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers the National Population Commission to undertake the production of demographic, socio-economic and health data through the conduct of census, surveys, vital statistics (registration of births, deaths, migration, etc) and other related researches;
Also notes that the United Nations Organisation (UNO) recommended that census be conducted every ten years owing to its significance in providing useful data for socio-economic planning, allocation of resources and opportunities, and for uncovering the housing and social needs of a given society;
Aware that the conduct of a modern population census is a very complex exercise, requiring sophisticated arrangements involving a whole range of scientifically tested and technically efficient methods as well as a robust planning that could span a maximum period of four years and a minimum of 17 months, just for the mapping of the entire country, identifying what technology to utilize, mobilizing and training legions of enumerators conducting campaigns, canvassing households, collecting individual information, compiling millions of completed questionnaires, monitoring procedures and results, analyzing and disseminating data and responding promptly to emerging challenges.
Also aware that the proposed 2016 population and housing census is no longer feasible owing largely to challenges of funding and lack of political will which scuttled the proper implementation of the earlier scheduled pre-census activities;
Worried that only 15% of the funds required for preparation for the 2016 census was appropriated by the National Assembly between 2012 and 2015, thus giving vent to the feeling that genuine quest for a census that will help ensure that policy decisions and monitoring efforts, which are rooted in sound information, will still be marred in view of the complexity and cost of census and their high political profile which put them in a different league from other exercises being carried out by any country;
Conscious that the renewed regional and global concerns to reinvigorate the system of civic registration are the building blocks for establishing sustainable demographic databases that help in monitoring developments;
Also conscious that international donor agencies can only offer assistance when there is a Presidential proclamation for the take-off of the Census:
- Call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to issue a proclamation for the holding of a census in 2017; and
- Urge the National Population Commission to continue its exploits in technology utilization to reduce cases of irregularities and controversies to the barest minimum.
The motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Population.