Prohibition of same sex bill passes second reading in House of Reps

A bill for an Act to prohibit marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex and solemnisation of same on Tuesday passed through the second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which passed without a dissenting voice, had previously been passed by the senate.

Speaking on the bill, lawmakers said the notion of same sex marriage is an alien culture that must be preventing from taking root in Nigeria.

Leading the debate on the bill, Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP-Oyo), said the proposed legislation would ensure that the institution of marriage is respected.

Ms Akande-Adeola, who is the Leader of the House, said that the bill would also protect and preserve the Nigerian culture.

She said: “This same sex marriage is alien to our culture and not ordained by God; same sex or gender marriage is completely alien to our society and culture.

“This practice has no place in our culture, religion, Nigeria or anywhere in Africa, it is immorality and debasement of our culture, we condemn it in totality.”

Adams Jagaba (PDP-Kaduna) aligned himself with the submission of the Majority Leader and said no religion supports gay marriage.
“We are a cultured people; we cannot carry everything from other culture,” he declared.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa (ACN-Lagos), who also supported the bill, said the solemnisation of same sex marriage had no place in Nigerian culture.
Nnenna Ukeje (PDP-Abia) condemned gay marriage.

According to her, marriage is a union that should be blessed by God.

She said that marriage between same sex “diminishes the symbol of what we are and procreation.”

Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN-Lagos), who also spoke against marriage between the same sex, described the act as immoral.

“In this marriage, the third party is affected, these people go ahead and adopt children, thereby affecting the child, and in the process the child becomes dysfunctional.

“We are not seeking to promote a dysfunctional society,” he said.

Aminu Suleiman (PDP-Kano) praised the Senate for taking the initiative in rejecting gay marriage in Nigeria.

There was no dissenting voice and the bill passed through second reading after being put to vote by the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal.
Mr Tambuwal subsequently referred it to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration.

The Senate had in November 2011 passed a bill banning same sex marriages in the country.

Otedola sues Tambuwal, Lawan for N250 billion damages

The chairman, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Mr  Femi Otedola has filed  a N250 billion suit against  the Speaker of the  House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal,  and former chairman of the House ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy probe, Honorable Farouk Lawan.

The oil mogul dragged the two legislators before an Abuja High Court, where he is claiming the sum of N250 billion as compensation for business losses he suffered by the action of the two defendants.

The suit filed by Babajide Koku (SAN), is seeking N100 billion as  general damages on behalf of Mr Otedola, for acts of intimidation, loss of good-will and patronages occasioned by the acts of the Speaker and Farouk.

Joining in the suit, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company, a company owned by Mr Otedola, sought another N150 billion against the defendants as exemplary damages for their alleged oppressive and arbitrary actions against him and  his company.

Reps to deliberate on Farouk next week

The plaintiff is also challenging an alleged move by the legislators to re-list his company among the oil firms already indicted for allegedly defrauding the federal government with the fuel subsidy scandal.

The House of Representative is expected to deliberate on a report by a committee that was set up to investigate the bribery scandal.

In his 28-point statement of claim, Otedola averred that by resolution of January 8, this year, the lower arm of the legislature, set up an adhoc Committee to verify and determine the actual subsidy amount made to oil companies and to also monitor the implementation of the subsidy in the country.

He claimed that Honourable Farouk later allegedly contacted and informed that his company was going to be indicted for purchasing foreign exchange from Central Bank of Nigeria without importing fuel.

The business man explained that in spite of his explanations, Farouk allegedly demanded $3million bribe to enable Zenon Oil get a clean bill of health.

He contended that Farouk resorted to persistent phone calls threatening him that his company would be included in the list of indicted oil importers and that the image and reputations of Zenon Oil would be greatly affected unless he pays the $3million.

Faced with the unrelenting barrage of intimidating phone calls, the plaintiff claimed that he became distressed and reported the unlawful demands to the security agencies.

He claimed that he secured the advice of security agents to play along by giving marked money to Farouk with a view to gather evidence for the nefarious activities.

Otedola alleged that the situation got to the peak on April 18 when the fuel subsidy probe report was submitted indicting his company.

He further claimed that Farouk called had  assured him that Zenon Oil can be delisted from the list of the indicted ones prompting him to give $620,000 marked money in two installments with $500,000 to Farouk and another $120,000 to one Boniface Emenalo on the instruction of Farouk.

With the bribe paid, the plaintiff stated that Farouk on April 24, moved a motion in the House of Representatives to delist the name of Zenon Oil from the indicted company but was still persistent in demanding for balance of $2,380,000 prompting him to report the incident to Police.

The plaintiff asserted that in spite of the on-going police investigation, the Speaker and Honourable Farouk have allegedly conspired to re-list his company among the indicted companies to embarrass him and his business corporate image.

He claimed that the purpose of re-listing Zenon Oil was to force and intimidate him to drop his complaints against Farouk.

Otedola therefore asked the court to award him N250 billion for the grave injuries done to his reputation and business image resulting in the substantial loss of goodwill and patronage of the business built over the years.

However, the Speaker and Farouk have filed an objection to hearing of the suit by an Abuja High Court claiming that it is only the Federal High Court that can adjudicate over such a matter.

Justice Peter Kekemeke of the Abuja high Court has however adjourned the case till November 23 for a substantive hearing.

Tambuwal condemns St. Rita’s Catholic Church blast

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has strongly condemned the outrageous and senseless attack on St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Kaduna which took place today; Sunday during the morning mass.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mallam Imam Imam, Tambuwal added that the attack on said innocent worshippers and other bystanders is both callous and senseless.

He urged Nigerians to remain resolute and not to despair, saying it is gladdening that security agents made commendable strides in handling the menace of terrorism in the country in recent months.

He however urged them to do more to destroy the ability of the terrorists to unleash mayhem on innocent, peaceful and law-abiding Nigerians.

While condoling with the families of the victims of the attack, the Speaker said the House of Representatives will continue to support all efforts aimed at securing lives and properties of Nigerians in all parts of the country.

Jonathan sets up committee on Bakassi to review ICJ judgement

President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a committee to look at the options for a review of the judgement that ceded the Bakassi peninsular to the Cameroons and how to take care of the people there.

The President’s decision which is coming a few days to the expiration of the appeal period on the case is following a long drawn-out meeting the president held with the leadership of the National Assembly over the matter in the presidential villa.

The meeting which lasted for about three and half hours had in attendance the Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and other key principal officers of the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation, the governors of Cross River and Akwa Ibom, Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as some select groups from Bakassi.

Prince Bola Ajibola who was also in attendance spoke to Channels Television after the meeting said by virtue of convening meeting, the Federal Government has shown a candid concern for its people in Bakassi and that according to him, it is the most important thing for now.

He commended the move to follow the rule of law, dialogue and diplomacy in ensuring that the people are not wrongly dealt with.

He expressed optimism that the committee set up will handle it in a record time.

Liyel Imoke the Cross River state governor said that the president has shown great leadership quality by convening the meeting and standing firm on some of the decisions taken.

On his part, the Senate President; David Mark said that the Executive and the law makers are on the same frequency on the Bakassi issue and will work in the same direction to achieve results.

 

Jonathan sets up committee to review judgment on Bakassi Peninuslar

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday set up a committee to review the appealing judgment on Bakassi Peninsular to the neighbouring country Cameroun and how to take care of the people there.

The president’s decision which is coming a few days to the expiration of the appeal period on the case is following a long drawn out meeting, in which the president held with the leadership of the National Assembly over the matter in the presidential villa.

The meeting which lasted for about three and half hours had in attendance the vice president Namadi Sambo, the senate president David Mark, Speaker of the house of representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and other key principal officers of the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the federation, the governors of Cross- River, Akwa Ibom, Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as some select groups from Bakassi state.

Other technocrats like prince Bola Ajibola who spoke to Channels Television after the meeting said that by the meeting the federal government has shown a candid concern for its people in Bakassi .

That according to him is the most important thing now. He commended the move to follow the rule of law, dialogue, and diplomacy in ensuring that the people are not wrongly dealt with.

Mr Ajibola expressed optimism that the committee set up will handle it in a record time.

Also speaking the Cross- River state governor, Liyel Imoke said that the president has shown great leadership quality by convening the meeting and standing firm on some of the decisions taken.

On his part, the senate president David Mark said that the executive and the law makers are on the same frequency on the Bakassi issue and will work in the same direction to achieve results.

You must respect the dignity of our women FG warns Saudi Arabia

The Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to interface with the Saudi Arabian authorities over the detention and subsequent deportation of Nigerian female pilgrims to this year’s Hajj, met yesterday, Friday, September 28, 2012.

The committee stated that whatever further action the Saudi government wishes to take must respect the dignity of the female pilgrims as enshrined in international conventions which the two countries are signatories to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mallam Imam Imam said.

The meeting was chaired by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and attended by other members of the committee, which include the Emir of Zuru, HRH Alhaji Sani Sami, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi who represented the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Shehu Galadanchi, Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Muhammed Bello, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon Nnenna Ukeje and Hon Bashir Adamu Kazaure.

The Committee reviewed the correspondence, discussions and actions taken by the Nigerian government and the Saudi authorities in the last three days.

In furtherance of the discussions going on between the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian government, members of the committee will undertake a trip to Saudi Arabia as soon as they receive the go ahead from the Saudi authorities with a view to resolving the issue once and for all.

The committee wish to assure pilgrims and Nigerians that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is on top of the situation.

FG summons Saudi envoy over arrested Nigerian female pilgrims

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Khaled Abdrabuh is optimistic that the detention of female Nigerian pilgrims will be resolved sooner rather than later.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, who is the head of federal government delegation to Saudi Arabia to resolve the impasse, met with the Saudi Arabia envoy behind closed doors.

Hounourable Tambuwal also added that the Nigerian mission in Riyadh is meeting with Saudi authorities to resolve the situation.

However, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Representative Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje added that Nigeria will not hesitate to bring back her people if the issue is not resolved today.

According to the National Hajj Commission, 908 female Nigerian pilgrims were refused entry into Saudi Arabia breaching the escort rules for female pilgrims under Saudi Law.

The female pilgrims need to be accompanied by a male who should either be her husband, brother or father.

Reps threaten to withhold fund from undemocratic Local council administrators

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal on Wednesday cautioned the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and other state governors on their handling of the country’s local government system.

The speaker warned that the National Assembly will move to discourage illegal local government councils by stopping their funding.

Mr Tambuwal sounded this warning against the background of the recent incidence in Imo State.

The Imo State governor had in August sacked the 27 reinstated Local government chairmen from office summarily dissolving the third-tier administration in Imo State and replacing the chairmen with Directors of Administration and General Services (DAGS).

The Speaker while in a meeting with the leaders and members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALCON) at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, said most of the states in the country have been paying lip service to the section of the constitution that guarantee the autonomy of the Local government council.

“What we are thinking of doing in the House of Representatives and I’m sure, by and large the National Assembly is to tie that particular provision with the release of funds to undemocratically installed caretaker committee,” the speaker said.

“I will use this medium to call on the governor of Imo State to please respect the rule of law. If it is about might and power, I’m sure he is not the strongest personality, in terms of physique, that is in Imo state. But God in His infinite wisdom has made him to be the governor of Imo State, through an electoral process put in place by law. He should therefore also respect the law and do the right thing.

“What is happening there in Imo State is actually unacceptable and please; I am pleading; I am joining other Nigerians to plead with him to respect the laws of the land and do the right thing,” Mr Tambuwal said.

The National President of ALGON, Nwabueze Okafor, had appealed to the lawmakers to save the local government so that it can work for the country.

“The time has come for us to decide whether we want the Local government system to operate or whether we want to remove it entirely,” he said.

Mr Okafor said the ready vehicle through which the government can convey the dividend of democracy to all Nigerians is the local government councils. He therefore pleaded with the National Assembly to intervene in saving the councils from the powers of the state governors.

AUDIO:The $3 million conversation between Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola

More evidence are forthcoming in the alleged bribery scandal involving Honourable Farouk Lawan and the MD/CEO Zenon Oil and Gas over the alleged payment of $620,000 out of the $3million bribe demanded.

The Chairman, House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, is alleged to have collected $620,000 as part payment for a $3million bribe, which he demanded from billionaire and oil magnate, in a bid to exonerate his companies from the fuel subsidy probe.

The audio conversation exclusively obtained by Channels Television, started with the MD/CEO Zenon Oil and Gas, Femi Otedola saying he does not want to take the money to his house. “I don’t want to take it to my house; it is a lot of money” he said.

Then the lawmaker replied that he is on his way out and by the time he returns, he will have to head to the chambers of the House of Representatives.

Mr Otedola then asked, if he should reschedule his planned trip to China, but the Honorable Farouk said no and offered to bring in a third person to collect the bribe.

The lawmaker gave the phone numbers 08036513355, naming the person as TJ.

Acknowledging the transaction, Mr Farouk responded affirmatively to Otedola’s remark that if he receives the initial payment, then there will be a balance of $2.5million, saying “that’s right” while he said, he will be calling the third person to ensure the collection of the initial payment.

Below is the purported audio recording:

The conversation verbatim

Otedola: How are you sir?  I don’t want to bring it to my house

Lawan: Oh, you would take it to your house

Otedola: No I don’t want to bring it to my house; it is a lot of money

Lawan: err… so where? Because I’m rushing to the… they are at the airport now?

Otedola:   Yes they are in the airport in the aircraft

Lawan: Well I can’t come over now and before they can come over now unless I send somebody to but I can’t because…by the time they come I should be…I have a lot of things to do myself

Otedola: Is there anybody you think I can give it to or maybe I should just postpone my trip to China till tomorrow?

Lawan: No, no it’s ok…I’ll arrange it with someone…let me give you his number 080

Otedola: hold on hold on

Lawan: 08036513355

Otedola: (Repeats number after him)What’s the name?

Lawan: TJ

Otedola: Sorry?

Lawan: aaarrh… TJ

Otedola: Ateezay?

Lawan: TJ!

Otedola: Teezay?

Lawan: No, Tj

Otedola: OK. So I will give him the balance; that is erm… 2.5 million dollars, yea?

Lawan: that’s right. Hold on. I’m calling him to be sure his phone is on…..

How Lawan exonerated Zenon

The Chairman, House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy probe, while presenting the 210-paged Fuel Subsidy report to a plenary session of the House of Representatives, on the 21st of April, moved a motion of recommedation that two companies should  be removed from the list of companies indicted by the committee for receiving forex from the Central Bank of Nigeria but failed to bring in the fuel.

See the video below:

 

Reps threaten to Impeach Jonathan over budget execution

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, threatened to commence impeachment move on President Goodluck Jonathan over what it described as poor implementation of the 2012 budget.

The lawmakers also cautioned the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the non-release of funds to ministries, departments and agencies of government to implement projects.

They further urged President Jonathan to direct the Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to stop forthwith her violation of the 2012 budget as passed by the National Assembly and release, accordingly, first and second quarters’ appropriation to the MDAs and implement the budget to the letter.

The House’s took made these resolution following a motion moved by Albert Sam-Tsokwa and 20 others entitled: “Poor implementation of the 2012 budget,” noting that, “while the recurrent expenditure has kept pace with expectations, capital budget implementation seriously lags behind and leaves much to be desired.”

According to Mr Sam-Tsokwa, “whereas the majority of MDAs have reached advanced stages in the implementation of the procurement process, they are unable to release contract award letters as a result of the release of insufficient funds or non-release of funds, which has further exacerbated the crushing burden of accumulated debts.”

He said that “the 2012 national budget was passed with aggregate expenditure figure of N4.887 trillion, including the N180 billion for the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P).”

Various chairmen of the House committees that contributed to the debate, which generated heated arguments and emotions, berated the executive for the poor implementation of the 2012 budget and equally frowned on the false alarm being raised by the Minister of Finance that the country was broke.

The lawmakers then submitted that from the data they obtained from various government revenue generating agencies, except the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country’s economy was not doing badly, as most of the agencies were said to have already surpassed their targets.

The Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamiala, said that “President Goodluck Jonathan promised Nigerians a budget of transformation, but what we have is a budget of abracadabra and a voodoo economy.”

Backing his impeachment call with Section 143, Mr Gbajabiamila said, “if by the time we resume in September 18, 2012, budget has not been implemented by 100 per cent, we shall begin the impeachment process on Mr President.”

However, the House Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, cautioned the lawmakers on the impeachment threat, stressing that she believed that before the lawmakers resumed from their recess on September 18, 2012, things would have changed for the better.

Jonathan reacts

The Presidency have reacted to the impeachment threat by House of Representatives on President Goodluck Jonathan over budget implementation saying the President is equally worried by the concerns raised by the House.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that President Jonathan was on the same page with the House of Representatives on the need for efficient budget implementation.

He said there was no conflict between the two arms of government, noting that the President was also concerned about budget implementation.

Vanguard newspaper reported Mr Abati as saying “the House and the President are on the same page on budget implementation. Just as the House is concerned, Mr. President is concerned too. What happened today (yesterday) in the House was ironic and a big coincidence because two ministries: interior and police affairs, were in the Villa to make presentations on their key performance index.

“Each ministry came with all the parastatals under it and presented their KPI in relation to Budget 2012. They were required to state their mandates, the money they collected under Budget 2012, their level of performance and their challenges if any and then define their next steps. After each presentation, there was robust discussion.”

Farouk Lawan’s bribe money is not with me – Adams Jagaba

The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on drugs, narcotics and financial crimes, Adams Jagaba on Tuesday denied being in possession of the $620, 000 bribe money offered the former Chairman, House ad-hoc committee that probed the management of subsidy fund, Farouk Lawan.

The suspended Chairman of the Subsidy probe committee, Farouk Lawan

Mr Lawan, in his statement, claimed he formally wrote Mr Jagaba, informing him of moves by oil tycoon, Femi Otedola, to bribe the subsidy probe panel and attached the sum of $620,000 which Mr Otedola paid.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, titled “Re: investigation activities: request for handing over of exhibits in connection with the case of criminal conspiracy and taking gratification to prevent the course of justice”, Mr Jagaba wrote that, “I wish to categorically and unequivocally state that there was never a time I was in possession of the sum of $620,000 USD or any other exhibits (in my personal capacity or official capacity as chairman house committee on drugs, narcotics and financial crimes) relating to the subject matter of the above investigation.

“I hope this explanation lays to rest once and for all the claims that I or my committee is in possession of the sum of $620,000 USD purportedly given as bribe to the ad hoc committee on monitoring of fuel subsidy regime.”

On Monday, Mr Lawan had reportedly pleaded with the investigators handling the bribery allegations against him to allow him attend the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday so that he can retrieve the money from Mr Jagaba.

 

$3 million bribery: Jonathan denies plot to unseat Tambuwal

President Goodluck Jonathan has denied claims that the bribery scandal that has greeted the House of Representatives investigation into the management of the fuel subsidy is a plot by his office to unseat the leadership of the House.  

The Presidency in a statement signed by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, reaffirmed its commitment to the subsidy probe, stating that the president “has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership.”

It described as ‘lame and diversionary’, attempts by some national dailies to drag the person and office of the President into the bribery scandal.

The statement from the presidency alleged that some edition of Thursday’s newspapers claimed the whole bribery scandal was a plot cooked by the presidency to unseat the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“The mischievous insinuation in today’s editions of newspapers that the entire affair, in which the two key players (Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola) have publicly confessed their roles, is part of a plot by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the executive arm of government to unseat the leadership of the House of Representatives, is totally false and baseless” the statement said.

The Chairman, House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan is alleged to have collected $620,000 as part payment for a $3million bribe, which he demanded from billionaire and oil magnate, Femi Otedola in a bid to exonerate his companies from the fuel subsidy probe.

“Neither the President nor anyone acting on his request or order has anything to do with the scandal that has sadly engulfed the House ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy. The attempt to drag the Presidency into the matter is entirely speculative and without factual foundation” said the statement.

The president also expressed his avowed commitment to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption in Nigeria, and urged the media to allow members of the House and law enforcement agencies to conduct and conclude investigations without further unhelpful distractions.

The House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on it tomorrow.

The statement further confirmed that despite the bribery allegations and all that surrounds it, President Jonathan’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, as adopted by the House of Representatives, subsists.

Adding that the president expects all those indicted in the report, to be duly investigated and prosecuted, if a prima facie case is established against them.