Bill To Decriminalise Homosexuality Makes Headway In Gabon


A bill to decriminalise homosexual activity is making headway in Gabon, where such contact has been banned for nearly a year.

The central African country’s National Assembly voted late Tuesday to adopt an amendment to criminal legislation to remove a paragraph which prohibits “sexual relations between persons of the same sex”, a source close to parliament confirmed to AFP on Wednesday.

The text had been introduced by the Senate, the upper house, into a draft law in July 2019.

It stipulated that having homosexual relations in Gabon was considered “an offence against morality”, punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of five million CFA francs ($8,600, 7,600 euros).

On Tuesday, “48 deputies voted in favour of decriminalisation, 24 against and 25 abstained,” the source told AFP.

For the bill to be passed, the text must still be adopted in the same terms by the Senate.

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The criminalisation of homosexuality had gone almost unnoticed in this country of less than two million inhabitants when it was adopted last year.

The amendment voted by the National Assembly on Tuesday, meanwhile, caused a stir in the local press and on social media networks on Wednesday.

Homosexuality is widely criminalised in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than half of its countries banning or repressing homosexual relations — in a few places, with the threat of the death penalty.


Police Reform Bill Will Instill Public Confidence In The Force, Says Ejiofor

Former Director of the State Security Service, Mike Ejiofor speaks on the Police Reform Bill on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on April 23, 2019.


A former Director of the State Security Service, Mr Mike Ejiofor, says the Police Reform Bill recently signed into law by the National Assembly will instill people’s confidence in the Force.

He stated this on Tuesday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“It will instill confidence because the police will become more professional and friendly. The citizens will now volunteer more information, cooperate with the police.

“At the zonal level, we have been advocating state police. But with this new bill they signed into law, it’s going to involve the people at the community, state and local government level,” he stated.

Ejiofor, having retired from the secret police agency also praised the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, for working hard to reform the agency since taking over from his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris in January.

He noted that the IGP’s visit to troubled parts of the country, engaging his officers on the rules of engagement among other things will strengthen personnel of the force on professionalism.

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When asked if he is optimistic of the bill, Ejiofor replied in the affirmative.

To him, the bill “secures the tenure of the Inspector General of Police for a start.”

The former SSS director explained that the Police Reform Bill that is awaiting presidential assent seeks to guarantee the IGP’s tenure.

“The police council makes a recommendation to the President and the President sends to the Senate for confirmation. That secures his (the IGP) tenure.

“He needs to plan. It is irrespective of the fact whether the IGP was to retire within a year and is appointed in a year, he has to serve his tenure. And it, therefore, means that some of the DIGs or AIGs who are his contemporaries may be retiring under him. That is a challenge,” he stated.

While recalling that the police law dates back to 1944 (precolonial era), Ejiofor explained that its amendment will stabilise the police tenure and enable them to perform effectively.

Buhari Declines Assent To Institute Of Biochemists, Molecular Biologists Bill

Buhari Declines Assent To Institute Of Biochemists, Molecular Biologists Bill
President Muhammadu Buhari (file)


President Muhammadu Buhari has declined his assent to the Institute of Chartered Biochemists and Molecular Biologists of Nigeria Bill, 2018.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, disclosed this at Tuesday’s plenary in Abuja.

According to him, the President informed the lawmakers of his decision in a letter addressed to the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

In the letter, President Buhari explained that the bill was an infringement on the responsibilities of the National University Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

He also cited drafting and administrative issues in the bill.

The President’s letter read: “Pursuant to Section 58 subsection 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, I hereby convey to the House of Representatives my decision on the 5th of November, 2018, to decline Presidential assent to the Institute of Chartered Biochemists and Molecular Biologists of Nigeria Bill, 2018, recently passed by the National Assembly for the following reasons;

“The provision of Section 13 subsection 3 to give the Chartered Biochemists and Molecular Biologists of Nigeria power to prove academic programmes, and even close down programmes in tertiary institutions would infringe on the mandates of the National University Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

There are certain drafting and administrative issues in the bill, including the following Sections 13 subsection 8, Section 14 subsection 22, to designate a chairman for both the practice and publicity committee and unspecific process for how a chairman will emerge for either of the education practice or publicity committees.

This can lead to confusion in the administration of the council.

Why We Didn’t Reduce Age Qualification for Senate, Governor – Ekweremadu

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File photo: Senator Ike Ekweremadu


The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has explained why the National Assembly did not reduce the age limit for aspirants vying for governorship and presidency.

In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy President of the Senate, Uche Anichukwu, on Saturday, Ekweremadu explained that the 35 years age qualification for the Senate was retained to correct the initial disparity between the age qualification for the Senate and that of the President.

“Section 146 (1) provides that the Vice-President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of the Constitution,” he said.

His explanation comes a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Not Too Young To Run bill, Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu, who is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, said that the Senate having deliberated on Section 146 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, decided on the tenure of the President.

He added, “Section 146 (2) further provides that where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in Sub-section 1 during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.”

According to him, the President of the Senate could act as President should the position become vacate, hence the need for the qualification for both offices to be the same.

On the non-reduction of the age qualification for the office of the Governor, Ekweremadu stated that the majority opinion was that 35 years should be ideal for now to enable the would-be governors to acquire the requisite experience to pilot the affairs of a State.

“However, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run amendment is just one giant step forward. It is not the end of the road, but just the beginning of the road. It is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.

“I believe that anyone, who is 18 years old and qualified to vote should also be qualified to stand for an election. This is our ultimate target and I believe we will get there. So, it is work in progress because constitution amendment is a continuum,” he added.

Bill On Free Maternal Care Passes Second Reading

House Asks Buhari To Constitute Herdsmen Disarmament TeamA bill which seeks to make antenatal, prenatal and post-natal care free and mandatory for every Nigerian woman has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Tony Nwoye, seeks to ensure that these women are treated in government hospitals during this critical part of their lives.

The bill enjoyed the support of most lawmakers who say it will not only save lives but will also ensure that the basic minimum package of health services as provided in the National Health Act and covered under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund are provided.



Bill To Cater For Inmates’ Babies Scales Second Reading At Senate

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe Senate has passed for second reading, a bill which seeks to protect babies born while their mothers are serving jail terms in prisons across Nigeria.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, enlightened lawmakers at the Upper House on the benefits of the proposal.

Senator Tinubu explained that if passed into law, the bill would ensure that prison authorities provide special accommodation to meet prenatal and postnatal needs of pregnant inmates.

She told her colleagues on Wednesday that the condition of babies and mothers serving jail terms in Nigerian prisons was disheartening and should be of serious concern to the parliament.

“There is need for a Crèche, Nursery and a separate facility to improve conditions of Nursing Mothers and Children in Prison,” Senator Tinubu stressed.

Appalling Condition Of Prisons

The lawmaker further expressed displeasure with the condition of most of the prisons, saying they do not provide for nursing mothers serving their jail terms.

In a similar development, the Senate decried the situation in Nigeria’s major prisons, describing it as appalling.

It pointed out that the prisons needed improvement, something that a bill for an act to repeal and re-enact the Prison Act may be addressing at the completion of the process.

The bill was also brought before the Senate for its second reading on Wednesday.

It was sponsored by Senator Shaba Lafiagi who also led the debate on the bill.

APC Governors Warn National Assembly Against LG Autonomy

State governors on the platform of the newly registered mega party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday cautioned the National Assembly against legislating on any aspect of the local government administration in the country; saying that such an action will tilt the country towards a unitary state.

This was part of the resolutions of the APC governors at their maiden meeting held in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital on Wednesday.

In attendance at the meeting were Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa State), Governor Kashim Shettima (Borno ); Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti ); Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos); Senator  Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Governor Abdulazeez Yari ( Zamfara),and  Senator Ibikunle  Amosun ( Ogun State); Comrade Adams Oshiomhole ( Edo) and Governor Rochas Okorocha ( Imo State, represented by his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere). Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State could not attend following his trip to the lesser Hajj.

Reading the communiqué after  the 4-hour long meeting, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the governors extensively discussed constitutional amendment and resolved that the issue of local government administration is a matter within the purview of the federating unit and that federalism is the basis of the nation’s  sovereignty.

The Governors added that any attempt by the National Assembly to legislate on any aspect of council administration will undermine and weaken the fundamental principles of the Nigerian federalism.

Fayemi also said that the Forum deliberated on revenue allocation and noted that in spite of recommendations made to the Presidency, no effect has been given to the extant proposals on the need to give more funds to the states and local governments because that is where the citizens reside.

Senate Moves To Stop Excessive Rent Collection In Abuja

In a bid to arrest the incessant rent collection in the Federal Capital Territory; Abuja where it has becomes a trend for the Abuja landlords, the Senate have decided to come to the aid of tenants by way of bringing up a bill which move into an act that will protect the tenants from this unnecessary exploitation by these landlords.

The bill is seeking to stop these landlords from taking an advance collection of two years, to ameliorate the increasing hardships faced by tenants and to make housing affordable and rents sustainable especially for low income earners, who constitute the majority of FCT residents.

The bill which was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi had most of the lawmakers in support that the housing sector be rationalized by an act of parliament, that government on its own part must embark on mass housing if it must successfully clamp down on excessive rent collection in the FCT.

Bill to curtail state flags and anthem passes second reading

A bill which seeks to curtail the manner by which state governments in the country come up with flags and anthems has passed second reading amidst a shouting match between two principal officers on the floor of the House of Representatives as more points of order came up from different parts of the chamber.

The bill entitled: “A bill to repeal the Flags and Coat of Arms Act Cap. F30 LFN, 2004 and to enact the National Symbols Act, and for Matters Connected Therewith”, was sponsored by Kareem Steve Sunday (Kogi).

The lawmaker, in his lead debate, said there was flagrant disregard for the national flag as many states in the country now have their own flags.

According to him, some states display only their flags while others have their own anthems. When the bill becomes law, no state will be allowed to have a state anthem and state flags, if allowed to exist, will be not more than “one quarter of the national flag,” Sunday said.

Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila and Deputy Leader Leo Ogor got into a heated shouting match as they vehemently maintained opposing positions.

After the ruling of Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the plenary with supporters of the bill carrying the day, he referred the bill to the committee on Justice for further legislative input but many members were of the opinion that he erred by ruling for the consideration of the bill when it was apparent that the “nays” were in the majority.