Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thursday, November 29, 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, November 28, 2018

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

DEFECTIONS:

1. Hon. Mohammed Kabir Ajanah from APC to PDP

2. Hon. Rabiu Garba from PDP to SDP

3. Hon. Salisu Garba from APC to SDP

4. Hon. Akinlade Adekunle from APC to APM

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PETITIONS

1. Hon. Johnson Agbonayinma presented a petition from a constituent appealing to the House to intervene in the matter of his wrongful dismissal from the Nigeria Police. He was transferred from Ebonyi State and was amongst others accused of falsifying the said transfer. They were then locked up for a month before before being dismissed.

2. Hon. Zephaniah Jisalo brought a petition from a family that lost 3 members of their family, they died as a result of fire form electricity malfunction and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) had at the time promised to pay compensation for the damage of properties and loss of lives as a result of the fire outbreak, a year on and no compensation has been paid. They pleaded with the House to as a matter of urgency intervene on the matter and grant them justice.

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MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE

1. Hon. Benjamin Wayo Moved the Motion on the violation of the PENCOM Act and the illegal appointment and misuse of public funds. He stated that 19 months after the constitution of the PENCOM Board by the President, the list has not been sent to the Senate for confirmation, hence the Board has not been able to commence duties. Hon. Benjamin pointed out that the President, Muhammadu Buhari had been ill-advised and appointed an individual who was the Managing Director of a Pension company as the Head of the Board, this is in contravention with a stipulation in the PENCOM Act. The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo then rectified the matter and appointed someone else. Till today, 19 months after, the Board is still yet to commence duties. He stated that the current Acting Director General had increased the Directors from 10 to 17 and jacked up their collective (hers inclusive) benefits and entitlements by 300% without due backing from any Law. He urged for a thorough investigation on the matter. Hon. Onyenwife Gabriel stated that as a democratic system of governance, the strict adherence to the rule of law cannot be overemphasized and the PENCOM Act stipulates the constitution of a Board for the running of the affairs of the Pension Office and any step in violation is an illegality, such acts of illegalities should be deemed void and of no consequence. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the Law recognizes presumption of regularity, and in this light it is a fact that the President had sent the said list to the Senate and it is indeed the Senate that has refused to consider and confirm the list. He pointed out that if all done since is illegalities, then does it mean the pensions also paid are illegal and the benefits of these Nigerians withdrawn? He asked for the balance of equity. As an investigative Motion, and to avoid all confusions, it was Voted on and Passed.

2. Hon. Randolph Brown Moved the Motion on the urgent need to investigate the non-performance of NIMASA to ensure the safety of lives and properties on the Bonny waterways. He decried the rising cases of piracy and robbery on the said waterway without visible efforts by NIMASA to prevent the reoccurrence of such attacks that have even claimed lives. He called for the House Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration to investigate the Matter and report back to the House. The Motion as an Investigative one was Voted on and Passed.

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PRESENTATION OF BILLS

 

1. Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, 2018 (HB. 1571) (Executive) – First Reading.

 

2. National Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha (Establishment) Bill, 2018(HB.1572) (Hon. Chukwuka Onyema) – First Reading.

 

3. Federal University of Education, Ikere Ekiti (Establishment) Bill, 2018 (HB.1573) (Hon. Segun A. Adekola) – First Reading.

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ORDERS OF THE DAY

BILLS

 

1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and Establish the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Commission; and for Related Matters (HB. 1313) (Leader) – Second Reading.

 

Debate

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 the Bill aims to repeal the former Act and establish the Commission. This he said would aid in the drive for the diversification of the economic base of Nigeria. The proposed Commission would ensure competition, discourage diversion and sabotage prevalent in the mining sector, oversee foreign participation and investment and ensure quality regulation of the entire sector to enforce adequate penalties when due. Hon. Idris Ahmed in supporting the Bill stated that the effects of the proposed Commission would be more far reaching especially to rural regions like his. He stated that Ministries run by Ministers who are Politicians are highly liable to compromise along lines of personal gain and favoritism. Hon. Tahir Monguno reminded the House how the potentials of the mining sector had been earlier highlighted by the Minister at the beginning of the life of the present administration. He pointed out that little action had backed up those words, which has made most of those potentials of non-effect. Hon. Edward Pwajok reminded the House that with the dwindling of oil as a national resource, the proposed Commission would better regulate the activities of the mining sector to ensure the revenue from the sector gets to government. Hon. Kayode Oladele noted that the Bill had been Passed by the Senate and only sought concurrence in the House. He stated that the proposed Commission would ensure continuity and effectiveness in the regulatory and remission function of the mining industry despite any change in government. Hon. Mohammed Sani stated that the best time for mining in Nigeria was when the Nigeria Mining Corporation was in effect, when the Ministry of mining took over the functions, the vibrance of the mining sector died. Hon. Nnenna Ukeje stated that the setting up of the Commission would give credence to the Legislative Agenda of the House of Representatives and ensure the hope of wealth creation and economic diversification is felt by their constituents. This she said would boost the confidence of both local and international miners to practice in a well regulated, competitive and consequently profitable mining sector. She said on reading the tenets of the Bill, it has enormous benefits to the local mining communities and the country at large. Hon. Idisi Lovette supported the Bill on the ground that the proposed Commission would effectively streamline the activities of the mining industry and regulate the banking of the industry, the regulation of activities would be more efficient and the proposed Commission would also ensure the activities of the industry are in tandem with modern times. Hon. Lasun Yussuff stated that it is high time Bills are sensitive to the realities of the day. He queried that Nigeria already has a  Ministry overseeing mi I got activities, he queried if there really is a need for a Commission, especially with the dwindling finances of the current government? He advised that if the Ministry had lapses the Commission was proposed to cure, the Ministry should be encouraged to fix those lapses. He called for taking more practical steps than just making Laws, these he said would ensure practical solutions to expand in the mining sector would be achieved, steps like providing funds. Hon. Zakari Mohammed also in opposing the Bill called for the reduction of governance and discourage duplicity of functions. He stated that the necessary departments of the mining ministry should be otherwise strengthened. Hon. Ahmed Yerima asked for strengthening of the capacity of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies instead of establishing new ones draining scarce national funds. The Bill was Voted on, Passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Solid Minerals Development.

 

2. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, Cap. E12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria , 2004 and Enact the Environmental Impact Assessment Bill to set out General Principles, Procedures and Methods to enable prior Consideration of Environmental Impact Assessment on certain Public or Private Projects; and for Related Matters (HB 1550) – Second Reading

Bill stepped down for further consultation by leave of the House

 

3. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Raw Materials Research and Development Council Act, Cap. R3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Raw Materials Research and Development Council Bill to Provide for Reduction in the Membership of the Council and the Payment of all Monies Received by the Council into the Federation Account in Accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; and for Related Matters (HBs. 650, 948, 1220 and 1283) (Leader, Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso Hon. Gyang Istifanus Dung and Hon. Uchechuku G. Nnam-Obi) – Second Reading.

 

Bill stepped down for better collaboration by leave of the House

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MOTIONS

 

4.​ Need to Establish a Federal Polytechnic in Iseyin, Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State:

Hon. Sundav Adepoju:

 

The House:

 

Notes that the provision of quality education is a fundamental responsibility of Government in order to enable a country attain national growth and development;

 

Also notes that Polytechnic Education is one that does not only provide the students the opportunity to imbibe the culture of professionalism and self-employment, but also improves the overall wellbeing of the host environment and the entire nation;

 

Recalls that having realized the enormous importance of Polytechnic Education, the Federal Government established polytechnics in virtually all the States of the Federation with the exception of Oyo State;

 

Concerned that the absence of a Federal Polytechnic in Oyo State, particularly in the Northern part where Iseyin Local Government is located is depriving the huge youth population of the state opportunity to acquire polytechnic education;

 

Resolves to:

 

(i) Urge the Federal Ministry of Education to initiate the process of establishing a Federal Polytechnic in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State;

 

(ii) Mandate the Committees on Tertiary Education and Services and Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation and report back in four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate

Hon. Adepoju Moved the Motion and it was Seconded by Hon. James Faleke. In speaking to the Motion, Hon. Adepoju stated that technical education is tantamount to technological and manpower development and the provision of this development is the aim of the Motion. He hoped the spirit behind the Motion would be achieved as Oyo State, being one of the oldest States in Nigeria is deficient in the siting of the nation’s Federal Polytechnics. Even though he is not from the Local Government serving as the proposed site, it would be the best point to serve all concerned.

 

5.​ Need to Investigate the Abandonment and Non-utilization of 60, 000 Tractors worth N600 Billion Bought by the Federal Government for some States:

Hon. Abbas Tajudeen:

 

The House:

 

Notes the Federal Government’s desire to diversify the economy through agricultural production by promoting mechanized farming nationwide;

Also notes that the Federal Government, in order to realize this laudable goal, acquired about 60,000 tractors worth N600 Billion Naira for distribution to genuine farmers in some states, but has so far failed to distribute the tractors to the farmers as earlier planned;

Aware that apart from the tractors, the Federal Government, in conjunction with YTO China – Africa Machinery Corporation, a Chinese Company, plans to import 80, 000 tractors worth N960 billion for distribution in Sokoto, Zamfara, Adamawa, Katsina, Niger, Jigawa, Taraba and Ebonyi States;

Also aware that the Federal Government is in partnership with the Katsina State Government to purchase 225 tractors worth N1.6 billion for agricultural mechanization;

Further aware that the Federal Government, in the last 5 months, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization and Equipment Leasing Company and John Deere Tractor Manufacturing in Abuja to acquire 10,000 tractors every year for the next 15 years;

Cognizant of the intendment of the Federal Government to acquire 1 million tractors for delivery to farmers in the 774 Local Government Areas of the Federation through the 2,500 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise to be established in various locations;

Concerned that some States have in their custody about 40,000 tractors partly acquired by the previous and current Administrations, which have been abandoned or lying waste at the premises of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and some private farms located in those States;

Also concerned that the much touted Equipment Hiring Centres (EHCs) which were planned to take off in year 2016 for the purpose of promoting mechanized agriculture throughout the country, is yet to materialize about two years after the Federal Government made the pronouncement; consequently, giving room for all sorts of persons to serve as intermediaries between the Federal Government and genuine farmers in the distribution of the tractors;

Further concerned that while genuine farmers are deprived of access to those tractors, senior public servants and politicians are diverting and even stealing the tractors for use in their private farms to the detriment of the general public;

Informed that some of the farmers who have hired those tractors expressed doubt about the suitability of some of the tractors for use in Nigeria;

Determined to curb wastages and corruption in the management of public funds and assets.

Resolves to:

Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the allegations and any other related issue and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House due to the absence of its Sponsor.

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CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE) Rt. Hon. Yussuff Lasun Presiding

 

6.​ A Bill for an Act to Amend the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Act, Cap. P25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to Provide that a Person acting for a Body Corporate is equally guilty alongside the Body Corporate for an Offence Committed by it; and for Related Matters (HB. 363) (Hon. Abdullahi Umar Faruk) (Committee of the Whole: 10/3/2016).

Synopsis of the Report:

Hon. Abdullahi stated that the Bill seeks to Amend one Subsection in Section 3 of the Principal Act to correct the referral which made it hard to implement.

Summary of Voting:

Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-3

 

7.​ A Bill for an Act to Amend the Inland Fisheries Act, Cap. I10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to review upward the penalties and for Related Matters (HB. 357) (Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki) (Committee of the Whole: 1/3/2016).

Synopsis of the Report:

Hon. Edward Pwajok standing in for Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki stated that the Bill seeks to Amend Section 2, so as to review the penalties contained in the existing Legislation to make them in tandem with changing times and considering the financial inflation over the years.

Summary of Voting:

Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-11

 

 

8.​ A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian National Heroes Register Act, Cap. N121, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the Recognition and Registration of all Qualified Persons as National Heroes and for Related Matters (HB. 130) (Hon. Chukwuka Onyema) (Committee of the Whole:8/6/2016).

Synopsis of the Report:

Hon. Onyema stated that the Bill seeks to remove the restrictions on the persons and ensure they are qualified and duly registered.

Summary of Voting:

Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-5

 

 

9.​ A Bill for an Act to Amend the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration, Etc.) Act, Cap. F33, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to increase the fines and confer Jurisdiction on the High Court of a State to try Offences under the Act and for Related Matters (HB. 359) (Hon. Emmanuel M. Udende) (Committee of the Whole:3/3/2016).

Synopsis of the Report:

Hon. Edward Pwajok standing in for Hon. Udende stated that the Bill is an Amendment one and seeks to increase the fines to defaulters and confer powers to the Court.

Summary of Voting:

Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-6

 

 

10.​ Committee on Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and Ancillary Matters:

Hon. Jisalo B. Zephaniah:

“That the House do consider 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) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid: 11/7/2018).

Synopsis of the Report:

Hon. Zephaniah stated that the Bill has the aim of providing the adequate legal framework to improve working conditions and the welfare of the staff of the 6 Area Councils, it deals with the composition of the relevant Commission, source of funding for the Area Councils, ensure sustainable development in the region and all other relevant issues. The opinions of the stakeholders and general public was also considered in the Report.

Summary of Voting:

Clauses Voted on and Carried: 1-24

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HOUSE IN PLENARY:

House in Plenary adopted Votes and Proceedings in the Committee of the Whole.

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Adjournment

The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by 11:00 Am

Courtesy:

Media Unit, Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives.