Plenary proceedings at the House of Representatives for Wednesday, April 25, 2017

 

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presided. He said opening prayers and approved votes and proceedings for yesterday’s sitting.

Defection

Hon. Oni Johnson defected from PDP to SDP.

Point of Order/Motions of Urgent Public Importance

1.     Hon. Terseer Mark Gbillah raised a point of order on the alleged attack by Army personnel on innocent residents of Naka in Gwer-West LGA of Benue State and the inability of the Army and other security agencies to quell the incessant murder of indigenes of Benue state by armed herdsmen.

He also made reference to the recent attack on a Catholic church, in which priests and worshippers were murdered in cold blood. He decried a situation where 200 police officers can be deployed to arrest one person, while people in Benue remain unsecured. “This government has failed the people of Benue state”, he said.

Hon. Dickson Taghir said that 22 people in his constituency were killed in their sleep early this morning, and alleged that the attackers invade these communities from their hideouts in Nasarawa state.

Hon. Pwajok said that the House has adopted several motions on these attacks and must move beyond “lamenting”. “Beyond just lamenting, we must prove to Nigerians that we are capable of acting.”

Hon. Hassan Shekarau reminded the House of a motion he moved in 2016, alerting the House to impending security challenges in this country and how today, Taraba, Benue, Plateau, Kwara and other states are under siege. “Let us accept the truth that government has failed. Mr. Speaker, we have said enough. You, as the head of this Parliament, should go and tell Mr. President the truth”, he said.  Hon. Nur Sheriff said: “These are terrorists who have been invading this country; this is terrorism and we must fight them as terrorists. These people are terrorists and that’s how Boko Haram started.”

Hon. Magaji said that the Service chiefs and the IG must be replaced and although he is a member of APC and he respects President Muhammadu Buhari, the truth must be told as human life is essential.

Hon. Ossai N. Ossai said that if the Speaker would not lead Members to Benue state, then the Majority Leader or the Deputy Speaker should do so, as it was imperative to interact with the people.

“Somebody breached the Constitution and we’re not talking. Somebody also cannot manage security in this country and we are not talking. The Executive has failed and all security chiefs should resign. We have been elected to be watchdogs of the Executive and if they are not up to the task, then we should remove them”, he said.

Hon. Sunday Karimi also weighed in, saying that the Constitution says security is the primary responsibility of government. “When the President came in, he was given a strong mandate by Nigerians because they believed he could handle things. The Buhari of today is not the Buhari of 1985 and we need to take decisive action”, he said.

He added that the President promised that he would resuscitate the administration by changing some ministers and more than eight months later, he is yet to do so, and argued that it is time to invoke section 143 of the Constitution in order to begin to take the country back. “We cannot continue this way because the President has failed to move this nation forward. We need to invoke section 143 of the Constitution by starting impeachment proceedings”, he said.

Hon. Mbarakpo asked: “With what is happening in Nigeria today, who among us will boldly go to constituents to campaign for a second term? How will we get to 2019? We do not know who the sponsors or attackers are, we do not know who killed these priests. The DSS and Security Chiefs don’t seem to know, the Commander in Chief doesn’t seem to know. Nigerians are also criticising us for sitting here, observing one minute’s silence; those minutes have gone into hours. If there’s anything we need to do, this is the time to do it. Look at the number of police officers sent to arrest Dino and Sen. Nwaoboshi, yet in Benue state we have citizens without security.”

Hon. Kehinde Adunola (Agboola?) said that it is as if the security chiefs are misadvising Mr. President. “It is easy for Mr. President in haste to commit Nigerian funds that were not appropriated for security matters yet, every day, there have been killings. The President should immediately terminate the appointment of all the security chiefs. If the President will not do the needful, then Nigerians will rise up and demand for better, and Nigerians will change the change.”

Other Members who contributed to the debate include Hen. Henry Offongo, Hon. Orker-Jev, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, Hon. Omosede Igbinedion.

Following several amendments to the prayers, resolutions were as follows;

i.                   Observe a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives.

ii.                 All committees mandated to investigate all the attacks should turn in their reports (immediately) for further legislative action.

iii.              The President and Commander-in-Chief should be summoned to provide answers concerning what is being done regarding the widespread insecurity in the nation.

iv.               All herdsmen, known or unknown, should be declared terrorists and all cattle rearers should be duly registered.

v.                 That the House pass a vote of no confidence on all service chiefs and security advisers; they should be removed and new people be brought in.

vi.               That plenary be suspended for three consecutive legislative days to protest against the prolonged insecurity in the country.

 

2.     Hon. Ihama raised a point of order on the urgent need to halt disenfranchisement of voters as a result of splitting polling units across the nation. The motion was adopted and the House resolved to call on INEC to immediately discontinue their plan to split existing polling units to new ones in different locations or maintain existing PUs while only splitting in such a way that both remain within the same premises.

 

Orders of the day

1.     The following bills were consolidated;

a.      A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency with a view to Conducting Research in Areas of Ethno-Medical and Veterinary Surveys, so as to Develop Comprehensive Inventory of Medicinal, Aromatic and Pesticidal Plants, Animal Parts, Minerals and other Bio-Diversities used in Natural Medicine in Nigeria, and for related matters (HB 1219) (Executive)

b.     A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency to Provide Research, Develop, Promote, Collate, Document and Preserve Nigeria’s Indigenous (Traditional) Healthcare Systems, Medications and Non-Medications Healing Arts, Sciences, Technologies, Bio-Resources and Facilitate their Integration into the National Healthcare Delivery System; and for Related Matters (HB. 1383) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta)

The Speaker asked that the Committee on Rules and Business schedule a date for the commencement of debate.

2.     The House passed through third reading, A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Small and Medium Scale Industries Development Agency (Establishment) Act, 2003 and to Re-enact the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Bill; and for Related Matters (HBs 803 and 808) (Leader).

3.     The House passed through second reading, A Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Loan and Risk Management of Nigeria, to Provide for the Control of its Membership and Promote the Practice of Loan and Risk Management in Nigeria, and for Related Matters (HB. 78) (Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga). Bill referred to the Committee of the Whole.

4.     The House also passed through second reading, A Bill for an Act to Amend the Environmental Health Officers (Registration, etc) Act, No. 11 of 2002 to give the Council more Professional Outlook; and for Related Matters (HB 29) (Hon. Gideon Gwani). The Bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole.

5.     The House passed through second reading, a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Agriculture, Igbara, Odo-Ekiti to Provide a Specialised University of Agriculture; and for Related Matters (HB 1375) (Hon. Segun Alexander Adekola). The Bill was referred to the Committee on Tertiary Education Services.

Motions

1.     Hon. M.T Monguno moved a motion calling on the House to address the plight of victims of fire inferno at Gajiram town, headquarters of Nganzai LGA of Borno State.

The House:

Notes that in the first week of April 2018, a fire disaster ravaged Gajiram, the Headquarters of Nganzai Local government Area of Borno State;

Aware that the inferno burnt almost all the houses in Gajiram and consequently rendered the inhabitants homeless and destroyed food stuff and goods worth millions of Naira;

Also notes that the fire incident started from the Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Gajiram town, which has rendered the Camp unhabitable;

Worried that the effect of such incident could result into famine if not timeously addressed;

Also aware of the primary responsibility of government to provide shelter, suitable and adequate food for the citizenry.

The motion was adopted and the House resolved to;

i.     Urge NEMA to provide relief materials to victims of the fire incident in order to ameliorate their conditions;

ii.     Mandate the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to ensure compliance.

2.     Hon. Solomon Adaelu moved a motion on the need to regulate blockchain applications and Internet of Things technology.

The House:

 

Notes the excitement surrounding the Blockchain in technology which has the potency of eradicating poverty in many African Countries;

 

Also notes that Blockchain as a digital and decentralization ledger technology that records all transactions without the need for financial intermediary bank is new to humanity and can be a core payment facilitator for financial services Industry;

 

Aware that the world economic leaders at the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting have set a time frame of July 2018 as deadline for the first step towards a unified regulation of crypto currency;

 

Also aware that the United States of America is ahead of other countries in providing a legal framework for the regulations of this emerging technology, Countries like United Kingdom, Russia, Venezuela and Kenya are not left behind;

 

Further aware of the recommendations adopted at the extraordinary meeting on Blockchain Technology by the US Congress which require that:

 

•              Policy makers and the public should become more familiar with digital currency and other uses of Blockchain Technology, which has a wide range of applications in the future;

 

•              Regulators should continue to coordinate among each other to guarantee coherent policy frameworks, definitions and jurisdictions;

 

•              Government Agencies at all levels should consider and examine new uses for this technology that could make Government more efficient in performing its functions,

Equally aware of the warning issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to Nigerians not to trade in crypto currency, but there is need to put in place a legal framework for the regulation of this technology in order to check its negative effect in our society;

 

The House resolved to;

i.      mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency, Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Finance, Capital Market and Institutions and Science and Technology to invite the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to share with the committees their knowledge of Blockchain and Internet of Things Technology and report back to the House in six weeks for further legislative action;

ii.     Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to engage technological experts and crypto currency enthusiasts to educate the National Assembly on the benefits of Blockchain to enable it evolve appropriate legislation;

iii.     Also urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to establish desk officers on Blockchain technology in the CBN, NDIC, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science and Technology;

iv.     Mandate the Committee on ICT to interface with relevant establishments.

3.     Hon. Jimoh Olajide moved a motion on the need to reorganise private security guards in Nigeria.

 

The House:

Notes that Private Security Guard Companies compliment the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force and other security operatives towards ensuring security of lives and property including the maintenance of law and order in Nigeria;

Also notes that in Western countries Private Security Guards outnumber Police Officers as they employ more people as Private Security Guards thus leading to decrease in unemployment rate globally;

Worried that today in Nigeria, it is difficult to distinguish between the Federal Government security operatives from a private security outfit, as well as found it difficult to distinguish the registered Private Security Companies from the unregistered ones due to similitude of uniforms of the different bodies;

Aware that Section 16 (1) and (2) of the Private Guard Companies Act empowers the Minister of Interior to approve uniforms for Private Security Companies and the uniform must not resemble that of the Government security operatives;

Informed that the Inspector-General of Police of Ghana, David Asante-Apeatu, had launched three (3) approved uniforms for the Private security Companies operating in Ghana in order to distinguish them and address the Security threat the private guards uniforms pose in the country;

Convinced of the need to limit the number of uniforms often used by the Private Security Companies in Nigeria so as to address the security threat of fake security officers using different types of uniform and been apprehended on daily basis.

Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuff Lasun, raised a point of order, noting that what the motion seeks to achieve would be better conveyed in a bill proposing an amendment to the law which currently guides the activities of private security firms. Hon. Monguno, however, opined that the motion would be sufficient.

Hon. Orker Jev (Chairman, Rules & Business) said that as long as a motion does not compete with any existing law, then it can be taken.

The motion was then seconded and adopted.

The House resolved tomandate the Committees on Interior and Police Affairs to interface with the Nigeria Police Force and, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp for the purpose of fashioning out and possibly approving a standard uniform for the Private Security Companies in Nigeria to be distinguished through the badges and caps.

 

 

Consideration of Reports

The House resolved into the Committee of the Whole for the consideration of the following reports;

1.     Report of the Conference Committee on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Capital Market Registrars to Regulate and Control the Practice of Share Registration; and for Related Matters (HB. 79) (Laid 29/3/2018) (Hon. Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen)

2.     Report of the Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, No. 5, 2003; and for Related Matters (HB. 529)(Laid 14/11/2017) (Hon. Patrick Asadu)

The House reverted to plenary, adopted proceedings in the Committee of the Whole, and adjourned plenary until Thursday, April 26 at 11 a.m.

 

Courtesy:

 

Media Unit

 

Office of the Speaker

House of Representatives