The National Assembly is currently meeting with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Channels Television learned that the meeting is to discuss the essence and focus of the PIB sent to the National Assembly.
Lawan said President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter containing the PIB will be read on the floor of both chambers when the National Assembly resumes plenary session tomorrow.
According to him, the National Assembly wants to see an oil industry that will be regulated, beneficial to Nigerians and attract investment.
The Senate President also gave the assurance that the National Assembly will pass the PIB as soon as possible.
On his part, Gbajabiamila reiterated the lawmakers’ commitment in the passage of the bill, noting that they will not sacrifice thoroughness at the alter of speed.
He also said the House has assembled a team of legislators who are knowledgeable about the industry to work on the PIB.
In attendance at the meeting is the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the NNPC boss, Mele Kyari
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has dismissed nursing a 2023 presidential ambition at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
In a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President described as puerile some media reports of him seeking to run for Nigeria’s presidency in three years’ time.
According to him, the reports reflects the “lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”
Lawan’s reaction comes two days after he and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting is said to have centered on the recent controversy that arose between the National Assembly and the Minister of State, Labour, and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the proposed 774,000 jobs.
The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to a rather puerile media report that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is making plans to run for president in 2023. The report was first published by the Daily Independent newspaper of Friday, 17th July 2020 and reproduced later by the Sahara Reporters.
It is easy to see that the report emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.
The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.
It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).
But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party. It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.
We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.
The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference. He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.
We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.
President Muhammadu Buhari has read the riot act to ministers and heads of the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) on the relationship with the National Assembly.
This followed a meeting between the President and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, which held on Thursday at the Aso Villa in Abuja.
In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, highlighted the details of the meeting which lasted almost an hour.
He explained that it was characterised by an engaging discussion on a range of key issues of national importance, particularly the role of the Legislature as a critical component in supporting their common goal and commitment towards improving the lives of the people of Nigeria.
In the course of their conversation, Shehu revealed that the recent events at the National Assembly were highlighted.
He stated that the President re-emphasised his utmost respect for the National Assembly, adding that any disrespect to the institution by any member of the executive branch would not be accepted.
“Ministers and all heads of Departments and Agencies should at all times conduct themselves in ways that will not undermine the National Assembly as an institution, its leadership and members.
“The President and the leaders of the National Assembly recognised and acknowledged that the Executive and Legislative arms of government are essential partners in the fulfillment of their mutually aligned goal of improving the lives of the Nigerian people,” the statement said.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has expressed shock and sadness at the tragic news of the death of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile.
Lawan said despite her brief service, the deceased flying officer, 24, left indelible footprints as a dedicated officer and Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
The Senate President noted the attestation of the Nigeria Airforce that Arotile flew several combat missions and made remarkable contributions to the military efforts against banditry and other criminal activities, particularly in the North Central states.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has explained why the Senate took the decision to investigate the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He said the allegations of financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds levelled against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC were unacceptable.
Lawan gave the explanation on Thursday in his speech while declaring open an investigative public hearing by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee set up to probe the commission.
He stressed the need for the prudent application of public funds by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Government (MDAs), saying the same had become imperative in view of scarce income at the disposal of the Federal Government.
“Financial recklessness is not an attribute that anyone can afford, whether rich or poor. It is even worse with the poor, or for the organisation or a country with limited resources,” Lawan was quoted as saying in a statement by his aide, Ezrel Tabiowo.
He added, “This is the reason we have always highlighted the need for prudence in the application of public resources. The time when public resources are seen as nobody’s resources is long gone. We are in trying times when we all have to be concerned about the judicious use of scarce incomes.
“The NDDC is an important statutory agency that is supposed to improve the lot of the Niger Delta community. It is, therefore, unacceptable to hear about inappropriate use of resources or outright financial recklessness.”
A Responsive Senate
The Senate President, represented by the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, said the weighty allegations of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80 billion by the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC prompted the lawmakers to investigate the commission.
He urged the stakeholders at the hearing to cooperate with the ad-hoc committee and gave the assurance of the Senate’s commitment to fairness and transparency in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility.
“This Senate is a responsive Senate, and it was partly the reason we made up this all-important committee in our sitting on Tuesday, 5th May 2020 to investigate the Alleged Financial Recklessness at the NDDC.
“I am happy the ad hoc committee has made excellent progress by requesting and receiving vital information from identified stakeholders,” Lawan explained.
He believes the public hearing will further help the committee get more information to enable it come to a pleasant conclusion on the facts on the ground, before reporting back to the Senate.
Repositioning The NDDC
The Senate President stated, “The Senate will be fair to all. Our aim is to get all evidence, to make excellent decisions, to benefit the citizens. Your cooperation is, therefore, very important.”
In his welcome address, the Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, outlined the purpose of the gathering.
According to him, the panel seeks “to holistically investigate all financially related allegations, mismanagement and misappropriation, and the breach of the extant procurement processes as enshrined in the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
“The exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting any individual, groups, persons or institutions, but to rather get at the root of the matter, that will aid in repositioning the NDDC to effectively deliver on the mandate on which it was established, to block leakages of financial mismanagement as well as promote the effective utilisation of its resources for the overall development of the people of the Niger Delta region,” the lawmaker added.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has revealed why the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly refused to yield to pressure to declare Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat and position vacant during the period of his incarceration.
He stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of the leaders of thought from Abia State at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Lawan explained that what the Senate did by preserving Kalu’s seat and his position was not extra-ordinary but the right and just thing to do.
“He (Kalu) was on several appeals and until he exhausted all the opportunities available to him, that seat remained his seat. Similarly, the position of the Chief Whip, we didn’t even appoint an acting Chief Whip.
“The Deputy Chief Whip continued to play that role until he was released,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.
He added, “We came under pressure, of course, but we thought the right thing to do was to keep that seat, that position until he was able to get his judgement.
“It would have been premature, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.
“So, we didn’t do anything extra-ordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”
Senator Kalu was the Senate Chief Whip when a court in Lagos sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in December 2019 for a fraud he was said to have committed while he was the Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007.
He spent six months at the correctional facility before he eventually regained his freedom and returned to the Senate, following the Supreme Court judgement which nullified his conviction on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the trial judge.
Addressing his guests, Lawan said there was no way anybody could convince the members of the Senate that someone else should take the Abia North Seat, stressing that it was not vacant.
He commended the leaders for unity and understanding among them and their followers in the state.
“Our people need us to give them leadership. They need us to give them good governance. They want to have a better life and particularly in Abia State, you have a lot of businesspeople.
“They would like to see their businesses grow and do well. Once the leaders are united, it makes it much easier for the followership to remain united and supportive so that reaching the promise land can be quite easy,” the Senate President added.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Senator Chris Adighije said the visit was to appreciate the Senate for their concerns for the former governor.
He said, “We want to thank the Senate. It’s something that the entire Abia State and indeed the South East appreciate very much.”
The leadership of the National Assembly has convinced the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in the country to defer the hike in electricity tariffs scheduled to take effect from July 1, 2020.
This is according to a statement on Monday by the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Ola Awoniyi.
He revealed that the lawmakers met with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the DISCOs and succeeded in persuading them to postpone the planned increase of tariffs until the first quarter of 2021.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as other principal officers and chairmen of the Committees on Power of the two chambers, attended the meeting.
Awoniyi said the National Assembly leaders were emphatic that the timing of the planned hike was wrong, although they do not have issues with the need to introduce cost-reflective tariffs for the power sector to attract the much-needed investment.
He added that the DISCOs, on their part, admitted that they were not well prepared for the planned hike in tariffs despite the so much desire for the increase.
The Wrong Time
The meeting, according to the Senate President’s aide, agreed to defer the planned hike until the first quarter of next year while the leadership of the National Assembly promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
“The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in the tariffs on July 1st,” Lawan was quoted as saying at the end of the meeting.
He added, “The Speaker and I; we are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President. We are in agreement here that there is no question on the justification of the increase, but the time is simply not right and appropriate measures need to be put in place
“So, between now and the first quarter of next year, our task will be to work together with you to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs.”
The Senate President stated that the Federal Government has been doing a lot as part of its obligations to provide some form of intervention.
He noted that over N600 billion was earmarked to improve the power sector, stressing that the potential increase in the tariffs would be of concern to the National Assembly.
“There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians today, and indeed, across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic and even before then, we had issues that would always make it tough for our people to effectively pay the tariffs.
“One way or the other, for this business to flourish, for this sector to be appropriately fixed, for it to attract investment; something has to give way, there is no doubt about that but it is also crucial that we look at the timing for any of our actions,” the lawmaker pleaded.
Do The Right Thing
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly was on the same page with the DISCOs on the issue of cost-reflective tariffs.
He, however, stated that there was time for everything, and a well-intended programme or policy of government could fall flat on the face and never recover if such was implemented at the wrong time.
“There cannot be a time as bad as this for us to increase anything. Forget about electricity, anything. Whereas, even in time of decreasing revenue, we are even reducing the pump price. I don’t know how we can justify an increase in the cost of electricity at this time in Nigeria,” the Speaker said.
He asked the DISCOs and NERC how they arrived at the tariffs, the role of the National Assembly, and if the President was aware of their decision.
Gbajabiamila added, “Whatever will affect his (Buhari’s) government is something that should concern all of us. I think this will affect his government.
“This timing, not the increase; the timing. I think it will affect his government and if it is going to affect his government, we should all rally around our people, our President, and the government to make sure we do the right thing.”
On their part, the DISCOs representatives told the lawmakers that if the planned hike was eventually deferred till next year, the government should continue to bear the difference in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff.
Those in attendance included representatives of NERC, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, and Eko Electricity Distribution Company.
The leadership of the National Assembly has mourned the former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 complications.
In a statement on Friday by his media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said Ajimobi, who once represented Oyo South Senatorial District before he was elected to two consecutive terms as governor, would be missed by the people of his state and the progressives political family across the country.
According to him, the people of Oyo will always remember Ajimobi for his numerous achievements over which the people rewarded him as the first governor to be re-elected in the history of the state.
Lawan added that the former governor’s death would also be felt by the All Progressives Congress (APC), especially at a time the party has called all hands to the deck to steady its sail.
“We, at the Senate, mourn Senator Ajimobi who also served with merit at the upper legislative chamber between 2003 and 2007 during which time he was the Deputy Senate Minority Leader,” he said.
The Senate President condoled with the family, friends, and political associates of the late former governor and prayed for the repose of Ajimobi’s soul.
In his tribute, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described the demise of the former governor as a painful loss.
He added that Ajimobi was a peace-loving man that promoted same among his people and beyond, saying Oyo State and Nigeria have lost a patriotic leader.
In a statement by his media adviser, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker stated that Ajimobi lived a fulfilled life and had served the people of Oyo State diligently and patriotically.
He said he was personally touched and deeply saddened by the death, saying the former governor was the architect of modern Oyo whose legacy would last long in the heart of many Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila said, “My thoughts and prayers are with his family, the people and government of Oyo State, and the country as a whole, especially the larger APC family.
“Late Abiola Ajimobi was a strong pillar in the APC fold. Not only that, he was a dedicated leader that left his footprints in the sand of time in Oyo State when he served as governor for eight years, making him the longest-serving governor of the state to date.”
“I pray that God Almighty will grant him a peaceful resting place and give his family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Sunday, met behind closed door at the State House in Abuja.
The Senate President revealed this in a tweet on his official handle where he noted that they discussed the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as national security among other issues.
According to Senator Lawan, the party will take certain actions to see that the crisis within the APC is resolved.
Senator Lawan called on the country’s security chiefs to sit up but admitted that the security agencies need more funding as well as manpower to tackle the challenges facing Nigeria.
“The current situation (in APC) should not and must not be allowed to further degenerate than it has,” the Senate President said.
He added that “we (APC) must go into the constitution of our party and see how we are to address the issues, but while we do this, we must not allow the situation to continue as it is today.”
Earlier today, I was at the Presidential Villa on a visit to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari where we amongst other things discussed the crisis in our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). pic.twitter.com/B1GXNWVIWd
I want to assure all members of the party that by the grace of God, in the next few days, we’ll see certain actions that would be taken to resolve the crisis. The current situation should not and must not be allowed to further degenerate than it has.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has congratulated Nigerians, especially the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of the Eid-El-Fitr.
In his Sallah message, the Senate President noted that the celebration marked the breaking of fast and the end of the Holy month of Ramadan.
He also commended the frontline workers in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
Lawan said, “I congratulate the Muslim faithful on the successful completion of the fasting period despite the formidable challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic which stood between us and total observance of key rituals of the period.”
“I wish to specially commend all our healthcare and other essential services providers who are at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 and assure them of the full support of their lawmakers and representatives for victory against the vicious enemy,” he added.
The lawmaker called on Nigerians to continue to observe the health precautions and sustain the acts of purity, charity, perseverance, and tolerance in their daily lives and general conduct, even as the holy month has ended.
He also asked them to keep praying for Nigeria and for God’s intervention against all the challenges confronting the nation and the world in general.
The Senate President assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would continue to provide the initiatives and responses expected of a responsible Legislature in a vibrant democracy, and as an arm of a caring government.
He also urged the Muslims to celebrate with restraint as recommended by the spiritual leaders and relevant authorities.
“The planned intervention by the state government is to determine whether the deaths were of natural cause or causes and to enable the authorities to come up with the appropriate response to prevent any such future occurrences that are preventable.
“The Intervention of the state government is most relevant now but for it to have a positive impact, the affected communities must give their unalloyed cooperation to the investigating authorities,” Lawan said.
The Senate President condoled with the families of those who have lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of the departed.
Lawan also appealed for calm and cautioned the people of the State not to panic over the incidents but to wait patiently for the state authorities to conclude their investigation and come up with an appropriate response.