Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, December 13, 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 Wednesday, December 12, 2018
COMMUNICATION FROM THE PRESIDENT
1. Presentation of 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday, 19 December, 2018
Arising from the Communication from the President, Hon. Adamu Chika raised a Point of Order that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma had gone on air to say the Executive were waiting on the National Assembly to give them a date for the presentation of the budget, making it seem as if it was the National Assembly holding back the presentation of the budget, while the communication was just received on Wednesday, 19 December. Hon. Terseer Gbillah sought a formal apology from the Minister of Budget before the President is allowed to present the 2019 budget. Hon. Mike Adeniyi stated that this is a classic example of why Nigerians have the wrong notions that Legislators are irresponsible and insensitive to the pains of Nigerians. Hon. Musa-Soba Muhammad decried how the 2018 budget was poorly implemented and wondered why the Minister in charge of budget was not even being queried by Nigerians, instead of laying the blame at the door steps of the National Assembly. Hon. Tobi Okechukwu stated that this situation is just one more of the series of breaches perpetrated by the present administration. He queried how some comments that emanate from appointees of the President seem to always pit the President on a collision course with the Legislature. He called for the referral of the matter to the relevant Committee of the House to ascertain if the privilege of Members of the House has really been breached. Hon. Danburam Abubakar stated that it is high time that careless statements aimed at ridiculing the National Assembly should be taken seriously and not be allowed to go lightly. Hon. Onyenwife Gabriel stated that it is sad for the budget to come in December which is already late and for people to then turns around and now say it is the Legislators delaying the process. Hon. Agbonayinma Johnson reminded Members that until proven guilty, the Minister should be considered as innocent, which is in line with the Law. If it is then found that the Minister is guilty, then he should be made to face the full weight of the consequences. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila called for understanding and stated that the Minister of budget called him and said he was misquoted by the newspapers. Hon. Mohammed Monguno stated that the House is one of Rules and Laws, and to that effect the investigation should first be conducted before apportioning blame. Hon. Baballe Bashir reminded Members that the Honorable Minster was once a Legislator, and should be aware of the consequences of such allegations. He stated that his Committee Oversights the Minister and the Committee would do the needful. He also reminded Members that if they prevent the President from presenting the budget, the wrongful insinuation would then become true. He called for the separation of the President from the problem of the Minister. The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara stated that it is unfortunate for anyone to try to paint the National Assembly in bad light, but in view of the fact that the Minister had pledged a rejoinder, and if he really was misquoted, then there would be no need to press the matter any further. But if the rejoinder is not seen, then there is a real issue, and as a former Member of the Legislature, those statements are unfortunate and the National Assembly cannot allow anyone to rubbish its image.
1. Hon. Adamu Shekarau brought a petition from Mr. Ben Jones against a cooperative society for obtaining money amounting to over Two Hundred and Seventy Million Naira from members of the public through an apparently false publication, which has now constituted a breach of public trust.
The Petition was referred to the Committee on Public Petitions.
MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Hon. Ahmed Idris Moved the Motion on the issuance of license to an individual deemed to be an illegal miner in Wase, Plateau State and has been accused of fleeting away over a hundred Billion Naira illegally out of the country. It is unfortunate that even though the Minister of Solid Minerals lamented the way and manner in which the company had dilapidated the environment and resources of the area, the Attorney General has withdrawn the charges against the offender and his company and gone ahead to issue him a license to continue mining. As an investigative Motion, it was Voted and Passed.
2. Hon. Mohammed Monguno Moved the Motion on the urgent need to constitute the Governing Board of the North East Development Commission. He stated that since October 2017 that the Commission was approved to coordinate the reconstruction and development of the Northeast so that the victims support fund can also be properly managed for the repair of devastation caused by actions of the Boko Haram insurgents. He called for the quick constitution of the Board to coordinate the efforts and judiciously oversee the huge funds appropriated for the rehabilitation. Hon. Mohammed Sani stated that considering the important tasks the Commission is supposed to handle, the continued delay in the constitution of the board is most unfortunate. He also pointed out that most development partners ready to aid the Northeast, stressed they would only do so through a legally constituted body. Hon. Sani Zorro stated that as Chairman of the House on displaced individuals mostly from the Northeast, huge amounts of funds in aids from Multinationals and Agencies cannot be adequately monitored without the due Commission. He also stated that the National Assembly is unable to oversight Agencies who have accessed funds on behalf of the people of the Northeast. He called for the creation of a bank account in the name of the Commission so that all funds can be channeled there and not be illegally channeled elsewhere as is been done now. Hon. Goni Bukar asked the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara who is also the sponsor of the Bill to ascertain more effort is put in to ensure the Board is constituted without further delay, and liaise with the Executive to ensure the Commission comes to fruition. Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha in lending her voice to the Motion stated that it is sad that seeming illegalities without checks and balances are allowed to carry on by the Executive. She pointed out that after the Bill was Assented to, the constitution of the board was supposed to immediately follow. Hon. Mohammed Sherriff stated that as indigene of Bama which is at the heart of the devastation caused by the insurgents, he feels most pained by the negligence and insensitivity of government towards the people. He lamented how this Motion has been Sponsored before without any corresponding action by the Executive. He called on the Speaker to use all the privileges his exalted Office can muster to ensure the Law is obeyed. Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki raised a point of order that the Motion has already been debated on a previous legislative sitting with the same Prayer and the Executive should just be called on to do the needful and constitute the Board. The Motion was therefore Voted on and Passed.
3. Hon. Patrick Asadu Moved the Motion on the lingering and cyclical labor strikes embarked on by workers in the critical sectors of health and education amongst others. He noted that the development of the nation and wellbeing of citizens is hinged on these critical sectors which are crippled by these cyclical strikes. He urged the Executive to honor agreements entered into with these unions to ensure these actions are averted. He recalled sadly that the 2018 budget did not accommodate the implementation of the agreements entered into by the unions with government. He hoped the 2019 budget to be presented would accommodate the agreements. Hon. Yussuff Lasun wondered why it seemed Government had surrendered the education sector to private hands and completely hands-off the sector. The Motion was Voted on and Passed
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1. Adamu Sanda Federal College of Education (Technical) Ganye (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1589) (Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak S.) – First Reading.
2. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1590) (Hon. O. K Chinda and 70 Others) – First Reading.
3. Federal Housing Authority Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1591) (Hon. Mohammed Mahmud) – First Reading.
4. Federal Information Technology, University Odo-Oro-Ekiti, Bill, 2018 (HB. 1592) (Hon. Emmanuel Kehinde Agboola) – First Reading.
5. Nigerian Film Academy, Ikole-Ekiti, Bill, 2018 (HB. 1593) (Hon. Emmanuel Kehinde Agboola) – First Reading.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
1. Committees on Banking and Currency, Insurance and Actuarial Matters, and Maritime Safety, Education and Administration:
Hon. Jones Onyereri
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committees on Banking and Currency, Insurance and Actuarial Matters, and Maritime Safety, Education and Administration on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Marine Development Bank with Power, among other things, to carry on the Business of Marine Credit Insurance; and for Related Matters (HB. 572) “(Referred: 26/4/2017).
The Report was deferred until the House Committee of Banking and Currency settles its conflict with the Committees of Insurance and Actuarial Matters and that of Maritime Safety, Education and Administration who were supposed to handle the issue jointly.
2. Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways:
Hon. Pat Asadu:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria Act, Cap. C54, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for Related Matters (HB. 920) (Referred: 1/3/2018).
3. Committee on Commerce:
Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Commerce on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria to Provide Training for Persons serving as Directors in both Public and Private Sectors to ensure Professionalism, Promote Corporate Governance Values by the Directors, Efficient Service Delivery; and for Related Matters (HB. 1352) (Referred: 17/10/2018).
4. Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values
Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values on a Bill for an Act to Amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to strengthen the Commission and make it more effective for the Commission to Regulate Broadcasting in Nigeria and to ensure that all Television and Cable Services run Educational Programmes in line with School Curriculum and Syllabi; and for related Matters (HB. 1484 and 1514) (Referred:
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the Report needs to be in consultation with Hon. James Faleke as his own Bill was consolidated with this Bill and that consolidation seems to have watered down his own Bill. He asked for a few days for further consultation. The decision was made to let the presentation of the report go ahead, and to take the necessary amendments by Hon. Faleke during the consideration of the Report in the Committee of the Whole.
5. Committee on Tertiary Education and Services:
Hon. Aminu Suleiman:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services on a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration to provide, among other things, for its Functions and other Matters Relating to Educational Planning and Administration in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1030) (Referred: 13/7/2017).
6. Committee on Tertiary Education and Services:
Hon. Aminu Suleiman:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal Polytechnic, Shendam, Plateau State and to make Comprehensive Provisions for its due Management and Administration, Provide for the Establishment of Federal Polytechnic Dukku, Gombe State for the purpose of Providing Qualitative Education in Sciences, Arts and Other Technical Knowledge and Research and Training and to Establish Federal Polytechnic, Abiriba, Abia State to Provide for Equity and Access to Tertiary Education in the Country, make Comprehensive Provisions for its Due Management and Administration; and for Related Matters (HBs. 1050, 947 and 1263) (Referred: 26/9/2017, 31/1/2018) .
7. Committee on Tertiary Education and Services:
Hon. Aminu Suleiman:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services on a Bill for an Act to Establish Federal University of Agriculture, Jalingo; and for Related Matters (HB. 1374) (Referred: 11/7/2018).
8. Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management:
Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi:
“That the House do receive the Interim Report of the Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the Request for Establishment of a Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations, Pursuant to Order Eighteen Rule 2(C) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
9. Committee on Public Petitions:
Petition by God-Leads Chioma Motors Nigeria Limited:
Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Public Petitions on the Petition by God-Leads Chioma Motors Nigeria Limited against Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on the Non-payment of their outstanding amount” (referred: 23/1/2018).
ORDERS OF THE DAY
1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Law Reform Commission Act, Cap. N118, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Nigerian Law Reform Commission Act, 2018, to Facilitate the effective Implementation of the Commission’s Law Reform Proposals and Enhance its Performance; and for Related Matters (HB. 1577) (Senate) (Leader) – Second Reading.
Item stepped down for further consultation
2. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Postal Services Act, Cap. N127, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria , 2004 and Establish the Nigeria Postal Commission to make Comprehensive Provisions for the Development and Regulation of Postal Services; and for Related Matters (HB. 1563) (Senate) (Leader) – Second Reading.
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Idris Ahmed. In leading the debate, Hon. Gbajabiamila stated that the Bill is one seeking concurrence with the stand of the Senate, and is aimed at repealing the outdated postal Service Bill and enact this one which seems to ensure the postal service functions better. Hon. Edward Pwajok called the House to ensure there is proper scrutiny between the versions of the Senate and that of the House so that the House knows what there are Passing. Hon. Solomon Mahren pointed out that Members should have been given the opportunity to read it thoroughly. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee of the Whole.
3. A Bill for an Act to make Provisions of First Aid Kits Compulsory in Vehicles, Public Buildings and Schools in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1549) (Hon. Kehinde Agboola) – Second Reading.
Hon. Agboola Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Chukwuka Onyema. In leading the debate, Hon. Agboola stated that the Bill seeks to make it compulsory for owners of Public buildings and cars to have fire extinguishers and first aid kits in them in order to ensure a substantial reduction in deaths that occur due to negligence or lack of treatment in accidents. Hon. Gaza Jonathan stated that the importance of the Bill cannot be overemphasized as it seeks to save lives. He also asked that the proposed penalties to offenders be upgraded. Hon. Solomon Mahren in supporting the Bill prayed that the tenets of the Bill be extended to private buildings and vehicles also. Hon. Mohammed Sani stated that the Bill is aimed at making the Nigerian societies in tandem with progressive ones and should be encouraged and that the Bill needs to cover private buildings also. Hon. Idris Ahmed called for caution in the application of the punishments in the Bill to correspond with various degrees of violation. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the Bill is commendable as it seeks to ascertain the safety and wellbeing of the citizenry. He however pointed out the disparity of making Laws for governing public from private spaces. He also clarified that the contravention labeled here is a civil offense and not a crime, so levies are efficient, and a jail term does not need to be enforced. Hon. Chukwuka Onyema in supporting the Bill stated that no amount of punishment is too steep when it is a contravention that leads to the loss of life. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Health Services.
4. A Bill for an Act to Regulate International Studies for Wards and Children of Nigerian Public Officers to Strengthen Indigenous Institutions to Provide Efficient Educational Services for National Development; and for Related Matters (HB. 1005) (Hon. Sergius Ose Ogun) – (Adjourned debate 5/12/2018 ) – Second Reading.
Hon. Sergius Ogun Moved for the Second Reading of the Bill and it was Seconded by Hon. Oladimeji Ayodele. In leading the debate, Hon. Ogun tated that the trend of public servants sending their children on foreign travels out to study makes the nation lose funds that should be channeled to the development of Nigerian schools. He stressed that the best brains who go abroad hardly return to also develop the Nigerian society. Hon. Oladimeji Ayodele in supporting the Bill stated that if passed, the Bill seeks to discourage corruption and undue pressure to embezzle funds due to peer pressure. Hon. Abubakar Hassan stated that the singling out of public servants is discriminatory, this he said is taking into cognizance that public servants can also run other businesses like large-scale farming legally and be prosperous, and then afford to send their children abroad if they so wish. Hon. Sani Zorro in supporting the Bill stated that the Bill was born out of patriotism and should be encouraged for the wellbeing of Nigerian educational institutions, conservation of public funds and prohibition of corruption. Hon. Edward Pwajok asked Members to see the Bill for the patriotic spirit as it aims solely to develop the educational sector of Nigeria and not to infringe on the freedom of movement of individuals. Hon. Idris Ahmed stated that despite not favoring the sending of children abroad to study, he however knows the value of the freedom of choice and is therefore careful of what kind of Law he supports. Any Law aimed at infringing on the rights of Nigerians cannot be right. In that light he stated that he could not in good faith support the Bill. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the preamble of the Constitution assures freedom and no Bill, no matter how well crafted that separates people into classes and seeks to discriminate on classes or against freedom should be encouraged, especially when considering that the dreams of children to get the best education available hang in the balance. Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi stated that as good as the intention of the Sponsor of the Bill, it seems to go against the Spirit of the Constitution of the country. He stated that relevant Sectors of the Constitution under the Code of Conduct for Public Officials does not restrict where their children can school. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committees on Tertiary Education, Public Service and Finance and Economic matters.
5. Need to Address the Erosion and Flood Disasters Threatening Lives and Properties at Galaxy Area, Calvary Road and Aso Pada in Mararaba, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State:
Hon. Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi.
Notes that the communities in Galaxy Area, Calvary Road and Aso Pada in Mararaba, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State have been suffering untold hardship from gully erosion and flood that is threatening hundreds of families living within the area;
Aware that as a result of the road construction which was carried out in Kabayi Community without provision of drainage facilities, water flooded the communities and destroyed houses and roads in the area which houses majority of the Federal Capital Territory work force;
Also aware that the erosion and flood were partly occasioned by unprofessional intervention of the people in a bid to divert flood from entering their communities;
Further aware of various attempts by the Communities to manage the erosion and control the flooding through self-help projects which have proved ineffective and coupled with the population growth and the gully erosion rapidly expanding, there might not be enough land to cater for the expanding population in the nearest future;
(i) Urge the Ecological Fund Office to carry-out an environmental impact assessment of the affected areas and also embark on erosion and flood control projects to alleviate the sufferings of the inhabitants of those communities;
(ii) Also urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the victims displaced by the erosion and flood disasters;
(iii) Mandate the Committee on Environment and Habitat to visit the erosion and flooding sites, and make recommendations to the House within eight (8) weeks on measures to be adopted to avert an impending disaster.
Hon. Gaza Gbwefi Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. Chukwuka Onyema. As a disaster/ infrastructure related Motion it was Voted on and Passed.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (House in the Committee of the Whole) Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding
6. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act to Prohibit and Criminalize Estimated Billing by Electric Distribution Companies and Provide for Compulsory Installation of Pre-paid Meters to all Power Consumers in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1384) (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) – Committee of the Whole: 6/11/2018).
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the Bill was exhaustively debated and the House saw the need to solve the problem that is an exception to the Nigerian society and contributes hardship to the citizenry. It compels the DISCOs to provide the prepaid meters and not disconnect power where they have not done so.
Summary of Voting:
Clauses Voted on and Carried:1-3, 5-7
Clauses Amended and Carried: 4
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (House in the Committee of Supply) Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding
7. A Bill on the Request for Establishment of a Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations, Pursuant to Order Eighteen Rule 2(C) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi. Committee of the Supply.
Synopsis of the Report:
Hon. Ajayi in speaking to the Report stated that the Bill is the third on the request of the President to get the funds to settle some pressing debts. The Committee had interactions with most of the companies and were able to verify their claims.
Summary of Voting: The Recommendation was Voted on and Approved.
HOUSE IN PLENARY
The House in Plenary adopted the Votes and Proceedings of the House in the Committees of the Whole and that of Supply.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun read a communication from the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma who sent the rejoinder expected by Members on the allegation that it was the National Assembly which was delaying the Budget 2019 presentation. The rejoinder was however signed by an aide to the Minister. The Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema stated that the House would not accept any rejoinder not directly credited to the Minister himself.
CONSIDERATION OF ALL OTHER REPORTS POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE.
8. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy Act, No. 8 of 2017 to Provide for amendment of the Interpretation Section to bring the Act in conformity with Other existing Laws in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 1496) (Hon. Gideon Gwani) – (Committee of the Whole: 24/10/2018).
9. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian National Merit Award Act, Cap. N122, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to require that any Awardee that is convicted of a Criminal Offence shall be stripped of the Honour; and for Related Matters (HB. 555) (Hon. Ayodele Oladimeji) (Committee of the Whole:27/11/2018).
10. A Bill for an Act to Establish a Correction, Reformation and Reintegration Centre to Provide Support Services for Persons in the Area of Reformation and Reintegration of Youthful Offenders; and for Related Matters (HB. 452) (Hon. Ochiglegor Idagbo) (Committee of the Whole: 27/11/2018).
11. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Council for the Regulation of Travel and Tour Management Companies of Nigeria; Provide for the Registration of Persons who by way of Business, Negotiate for or otherwise act in relation to selling of Travel and Tour Services on behalf of Transport Carriers to Facilitate carriage by Air, Rail or Road of Passengers and for the Control, Regulation and Orderly Development of Passenger Travel Distribution in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.1321) (Hon. Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha) (Committee of the Whole: 14/11/2018).
12. Committee on Special Duties:
Hon. Nasiru Sani Zango Daura:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Special Duties on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act, 2005 and Enact the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Bill to Strengthen and Enhance the Supervisory Role of the Commission and effectively position it in Regulating the Participation of the Public and Private Sectors in Financing of Construction, Development, Designing, Operation or Maintenance of Infrastructure or Development Projects of the Federal Government through Public Private Partnership Agreements; and for Related Matters (HB. 358) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 8/3/2018).
The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, December 18, 2018 by 11:00 Am
Media Unit, Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives.