Bill To Regulate Broadcast Practice Scales Second Reading At House Of Reps

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives chamber in Abuja .

 

A bill to regulate the broadcast profession in Nigeria has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Olaifa Aremu, seeks to establish a broadcasting practitioners’ council charged with the responsibility of formal admission, certification, and registration of persons seeking to become broadcasters.

The council shall also be responsible for regulating and controlling the conduct of the practice of broadcast journalism, as well as to conduct examinations in the profession and award certificates or diplomas to successful candidates.

According to the bill, a person shall be qualified to practice as a broadcaster or be identified as a broadcaster only if he or she has acquired or attained the prescribed academic or standard of training set by the council and he has been so certified and registered to practice as a broadcaster by the Council, or if prior to the commencement of the Act, he has acquired requisite practical knowledge, training or experience in a recognized academic institution or broadcasting station or organisation which shall entitle the Council upon verification to certify him as a broadcaster and register him to continue to practice as such.

Having tabled it at the floor of the House of Reps, the bill will now be subjected to a public hearing.

President Buhari Signs Climate Change, AMCON Bills Into Law

A photo released by the State House on August 16, 2021 showing President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law two important bills passed by the National Assembly thereby making them become part of the Laws of the Federation.

The Climate Change Act owes its origin to a bill sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo, and provides for, among other things, the mainstreaming of climate change actions and the establishment of a National Council on Climate Change.

It also paves the way for environmental and economic accounting and a push for a net-zero emission deadline plan in the country.

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act amends the AMCON Act No.4, 2010.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives US Secretary Of State Blinken

It provides for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund and grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020, which confers on the corporation the power “to take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise deal with the asset or property used as security for eligible bank assets and related matters.’’

This, in effect, will help AMCON make recoveries and for debtors to fulfil their commitments to banks.

The president’s assent to the bills on Wednesday comes just before he received the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken at the State House in Abuja.

Blinken arrived at the presidential complex in a motorcade on Thursday and is expected to have a meeting with Buhari in his office.

The Nigerian leader and US top diplomat are also expected to discuss security issues facing Nigeria especially terrorism in the northern region.

Blinken will, after the meeting, head to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office to sign some agreements between the US and Nigeria and also hold a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, before leaving the State House.

The US diplomat is on a three-nation tour of Africa and had first visited Kenya where he called for a ceasefire in Ethiopia’s troubled region.

While in Nigeria, the US Secretary of State is expected to broadly address the COVID-19 pandemic and build back to a more inclusive global economy, combating the climate crisis, revitalizing democracies, and advancing peace and security.

Katsina Assembly Passes Child Protection Bill Pending For 17 Years

 

The Katsina State House of Assembly has on Wednesday passed the Child Protection Bill which has been pending since 2003.

Sponsored by the State House of Assembly Special Committee on Child Protection Bill 2020, the executive bill was forwarded to the house by the executive governor of the state, Aminu Masari on March 3.

After intensive deliberations on the bill, a seven-member special committee was set up to study the bill and submit its report to the house.

The bill seeks to provide adequate care and protection of the children especially in the areas of providing basic education, protection against sexual harassment by the teachers in schools, adequate care for the less privileged, reduce the menace of drug abuse, underaged marriage, same-sex marriage, and other social vices rocking the society.

Similarly, the bill also provides enough avenues for the children to be safeguarded in order to have a just and equitable environment.

The Chairman of the committee and member representing Kaita Constituency, Honourable Musa Nuhu Gafia told Channels Television that all misconceptions attached to the bill have been taken care of as the committee had hitherto engaged in wider consultations with the religious, traditional and community leaders, Law experts, NGOs among others.

READ ALSO: Court To Begin Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial In Absentia

He observed that the passage of the bill will portend a better future for children especially of the less privileged citizens in the state.

This comes a year after the Children’s Parliament in Katsina appealed to the state government to assent into law, the Child Protection Bill in order to tackle issues of child abuse, rape and other related vices against children in the state.

The forum also pleaded the state government to take proactive measures in respect of the rising rape cases in the state and insecurity in some parts of the state so that Children can peacefully live, grow and achieve their full potentials.

President Buhari Signs Amended Companies And Allied Matters Bill Into Law

(File photo) President Muhammadu Buhari assents to a bill at the Aso Villa in Abuja on April 18, 2019.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly.

In a statement issued on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the presidential assent replaces the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, an act that lasted 30 years.

Adesina said the law will see to the reduction of the filing fee and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria.

The statement reads: “The President’s action on this important piece of legislation, therefore, repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, introducing after 30 years, several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.

“Such innovations include:

  1. Filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;
  2. Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way;
  3. Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  4. Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and
  5. Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.”

Senate Passes Bill Against Sexual Harassment In Tertiary Institutions

 

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The Senate has passed a bill against sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.

The bill was sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege prohibits the offense of sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions.

It also criminalizes the act of neglect or failure of administrative heads of tertiary educational institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period.

Similarly, the bill creates a strict liability offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions and maintain the fiduciary relationship that exists between educators and students.

READ ALSO: Senate Receives Buhari’s Request To Confirm 11 Judges For FCT High Court, Others

According to the bill, any person who commits the offences of sexual harassment of students shall in conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years or to a fine of N5million or both.

Recall that the bill was introduced by Omo-Agege during the 8th Senate.

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.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Crisis Sinks Global Economy In 2020, Collapsing GDP 4.9% – IMF

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.

AFP

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.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill 10 Bandits In Zamfara Forest

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

Killings: Pray For Divine Intervention, Ekweremadu Tells Nigerians At Easter
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.