Delta-Ijaw Lawmakers Cry Out Over Landslide, Erosion

 

Federal lawmakers representing Delta-Ijaw have called for the attention of Federal Government and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over landslide and erosion in Tuomo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The Senators made this plea during an assessment of the situation in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

One of the Senators, James Manager representing Delta South Senatorial District, during the visit, described the effect of the erosion and landslide as devastating.

“Something urgent must be done to assuage the plight of the community and those affected. I hereby call on the NDDC, the Federal and State government to do the needful before it is too late,” he said.

The people of Tuomo, last week, woke up to the tragedy of a landslide which left their community on the brink of being swept away and submerged by water.

This situation got the attention of lawmakers from the Delta-Ijaw extraction who visited the affected areas and demanded a swift response from the government before lives and properties are lost.

Also speaking, a lawmaker at the Federal House of Representative, Julius Pondi, expressed shock at the level of the landslide.

“I have directed the NDDC and the contractor handling the Tuomo community shoreline protection project to give enough information regarding the project for proper assessment,” he said.

Sympathising with the people of Tuomo community over the natural disaster, he promised to raise the issue at the floor of the House.

“I will move a motion on the floor of the House to draw the attention of the Federal government to this community for immediate action by relevant authorities,” he promised.

The lawmakers, traditional rulers and other Niger Delta activists who witnessed the event also believe restiveness in the region can become a thing of the past if the government take more seriously, issues affecting the region and it’s development.

Nigeria’s Senate Discusses Troop Deployment To Gambia 

Nigeria's Senate Discusses Troop Deployment To Gambia Some federal lawmakers have said that in future, the President must obtain the approval of the Senate before deploying combat troops outside the country.

This came as some Nigerian troops are on their way to the Republic of The Gambia to help ensure that President Yahya Jammeh relinquishes power,

Raising the matter as a point of order, the Senator representing Enugu North senatorial district, Senator Chukwuma Utazi explained that the constitution provides that the President informs the Senate whenever the Nigerian military is being deployed for such operations.

He said that by deploying the troops, the President failed to obey section 4 of the 1999 constitution.

“Even when this Senate has been cooperating with the Executive, let it be on record that before anything of this nature happens next time in this country, the National Assembly has to be informed properly in writing,” he said.

The motion, which was taken as a matter of personal explanation which should not be open for debate, was duly acknowledged by the Senate President.

He explained that there is another provision in the constitution which supports the President’s action.

“Maybe you purposely decided not to read the whole part of the provision of the constitution.

“Otherwise, I cannot take debate but I think I can help to read the sections.

“You read Section 4 and 5 but the section then goes on to say ‘notwithstanding the position of subsection 4 of this section, the President in consultation with the National Defence Council may deploy members of the armed forces of the federation on limited combat duty outside Nigeria if he is satisfied that national security is under threat. More importantly, provided that the President shall within seven days of actual combat engagement seek the consent of the Senate. And the Senate thereafter gives or refuses the said consent’.

“If Senator Utazi had come under 42, I would have allowed contribution because I can see people raising their hands but I’m not going to allow contribution because he came under 43.”

Even though the Senate President said the matter would not be open for a debate, the Deputy Senate President was allowed to offer another perspective.

To put the matter to rest, the Senate President explained that the president still has a seven-day window to notify the Senate of the troops deployment to Gambia.

Niger Delta Development: Senate Faults Defaulting Oil Companies

Niger DeltaNigeria’s Senate has threatened to do whatever is necessary to ensure that oil companies remit the statutory 3% of their budget to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as contained in the NDDC Act.

Federal Lawmakers, at a meeting of the Committee on Niger Delta on Thursday with officials from several oil companies in Nigeria, expressed displeasure that some of the companies failed to remit the statutory contribution to the NDDC.

They also queried why they have also refused to disclose their budgets to the NDDC.

A member of the Committee, Senator Jubrin Barau, said the failure of the companies to obey the law was hampering the development of the region.

 

Lawmakers Slam 2016 Budget As Debate Continues

2016 BudgetFor the third day running, federal lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives continued the debate on the 2016 Budget.

Unlike previous days, lawmakers set aside party sentiments to dissect and debate the 2016 budget.

There were criticisms and mixed reactions as lawmakers expressed their views on the budget.

Some Senators slammed the budget for not adequately taking into account, development projects in the Ministry of Women Affairs meant to ameliorate the sufferings of women in the country.

Some other Senators who agreed that there was the need to limit the expenditure of monies borrowed to fund capital projects, also stressed the need to diversify the economy, following the dwindling price of oil in the international market.

The lawmakers said that the funds appropriated to the ministries of Agriculture and Solid Minerals does not show government’s seriousness in trying to diversify the economy.

The budget debate was expected to end on Tuesday but was shifted to Wednesday, January 26.

The debate started on Wednesday, January 20 at both the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja, with the lawmakers in the Senate sharing divided opinions on the financial plan.

Some opposition lawmakers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had questioned the financial capacity of the government to fund the budget, considering the fall in oil prices and the deficit in the budget with an initial oil price benchmark of $38 per barrel.

However, some legislators from the ruling All Progressives Congress hailed the budget while describing it as a ‘budget of the people’.

Controversies

Controversies over the budget started after rumours spread that the budget had disappeared.

Few days after that rumour, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, revealed that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Senate, Senator Ita Enag, reproduced a budget document different from what President Buhari originally submitted to the National Assembly.

He said that the Senate would only treat the document presented to the Senate by the President.

To end the controversy, the President wrote to the National Assembly making some alterations.

The President asked the lawmakers to work with the corrected version of the financial plan as his 2016 budget estimates.

Subsequently, the Senate accepted and adopted the alterations in the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

The total budgetary allocation for 2016 is 6.8 trillion Naira, an increase of one trillion Naira from the revised allocation of 5.9 trillion Naira for 2015.

In the breakdown, 2.648 trillion Naira was for recurrent expenditure while 1.85 trillion Naira was for capital expenditure and 1.475 trillion Naira for debt service.

National Assembly Begins Debate On 2016 Budget

BudgetThe federal lawmakers have commenced debate on Nigeria’s 2016 Appropriation Bill after putting behind the controversies surrounding the budget.

The debate session took place on Wednesday at both the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

‘Budget Of The People’

The lawmakers in the Senate had divided opinions on the financial plan, as some opposition lawmakers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) questioned the financial capacity of the government to fund the budget considering the fall in oil prices and the deficit in the budget with an initial oil price benchmark of $38 per barrel.

However, some legislators from the ruling All Progressives Congress hailed the budget while describing it as a ‘budget of the people’.

In the meantime, the budget debate in the House of Representatives was approached with less passion, as it was kick started by the House’s majority leader.

The debate is coming after weeks of back and forth over the status and whereabouts of the budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In its comments about the budget, the opposition PDP said that the federal budget was a ‘big fraud and a grand plan to mortgage the future of Nigeria‘.

Controversies over the budget started after rumours spread that the budget had disappeared.

Few days after that rumour, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, revealed that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Senate, Senator Ita Enag, reproduced a budget document different from what President Buhari originally submitted to the National Assembly.

He said that the Senate would only treat the document presented to the Senate by the President.

To end the controversy, the President wrote to the National Assembly making some alterations.

The President asked the lawmakers to work with the corrected version of the financial plan as his 2016 budget estimates.

Subsequently, the Senate accepted and adopted the alterations in the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

The total budgetary allocation for 2016 is 6.8 trillion Naira, an increase of one trillion Naira from the revised allocation of 5.9 trillion Naira for 2015.

In the breakdown, 2.648 trillion Naira was for recurrent expenditure while 1.85 trillion Naira was for capital expenditure and 1.475 trillion Naira for debt service.

The budget debate is expected to continue on Thursday January 21.

Seventh Assembly Did Not Amend Standing Rules – Enang

enangA former Federal Lawmaker in the Seventh Assembly, Senator Ita Enang says at no time did the Seventh Assembly amend its standing rules.

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television, Senator Enang, who chaired the Committee on Rules and Business in the Seventh Assembly, discredited reports that the Senate standing rules ended with the Assembly.

The Senate has been tangled in controversy as federal lawmakers in the Unity Forum wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, alleging that some sections of the 2015 Senate rules had been forged by certain Senators from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The contention was that the Senate standing rules for 2015 was secretly amended to replace the use of open ballot system with secret ballot system in the election of the principal officers in the Senate.

Another amendment to the Senate standing rules which is sure to further deepen the crises is a new section which prescribes equal committee chairmanship positions for each of the six geopolitical zones.

PDP: Akwa-Ibom Federal Lawmakers Threaten To Defect

Akwa-IbomFederal lawmakers from Akwa-Ibom State in the National Assembly have threatened to dump the PDP for the opposition, if the national leadership of the party fails to address their petitions.

Addressing journalists in the National Assembly, the PDP lawmakers and 22 governorship aspirants said that the State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, abandoned democratic principles by selecting three senators, ten members of House of Representatives and 22 members of the House of Assembly.

A federal lawmaker, Senator Helen Esuene, said that party members have tried to get the leadership of the party to intervene in the matter but to no avail.

Also speaking, the immediate past Deputy Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr Nsima Ekere, said that party members in the state have been pushed to the wall by the attitude of the national leadership of the PDP.

Senate Confirms Chidoka, Suleiman As Ministers

Senate_ChamberThe Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, confirmed the Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr Osita Chidoka and a lecturer at the University of Abuja, Dr Abubakar Suleiman as ministers.

President Goodluck Jonathan had forwarded the names of the two nominees last week to the Senate for confirmation.

Federal lawmakers grilled the two nominees with questions on aviation, education and security.

The lawmakers also sought Suleiman’s views on the problem of incessant strikes by university lecturers.

After the screening, the Senate confirmed both Chidoka and Suleiman as ministers.

Ministerial screenings have dominated legislative proceedings in the Senate for the past two weeks.

Last week, the Senate screened and confirmed former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekerau and three others.

Few days after the screening, Shekerau was named the Minister of Education.

Senate President Cautions Lawmakers Against Provocative Statements

Senate President, David Mark, has cautioned lawmakers against being agents of factional and intra party politics.

The Senate President, who gave the advice in his welcome address to lawmakers who just returned from Christmas and New Year recess, bemoaned the current political tension caused by ‘naked ambition’ of the political class.

He warned lawmakers against making provocative statements that could overheat the polity.

After four weeks holiday, federal lawmakers have resumed for legislative activities, but both chambers are resuming in an atmosphere of political uncertainty and re-alignment, caused by defection from one political party to another.

This is further heightened by a court order which restrains lawmakers from effecting leadership change and maintenance of status quo.

Although, the Senate has not experienced the same event seen in the House of Representatives, whereby lawmakers publicly defected from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the main opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC, the Senate President cautioned lawmakers against engaging in what he called primordial politics.

The lawmakers’ resumption is expected to give a clearer picture of how the politics of defection would eventually play out in the Senate.

Senate President Endorses Clamour For National Conference

In what appears to be a twist, the senate president David Mark has welcomed the convocation of a national conference.

While welcoming federal lawmakers after a recess, Senator Mark said a conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities to foster frank and open discussions of the national question is welcomed.

The senate president also condemned the activities of those he termed as political jobbers who he said have seized the political space despite the fact that the 2015 general election is still two years away.

The lawmakers are now back to work after a recess which lasted seven weeks.

During the recess there were rumblings in the political scene including the internal crisis going on in the ruling party which has been attributed to the struggle by major players to position themselves for positions come the 2015 election.

The senate president expressed concern that the inordinate ambition by politicians could cause chaos in the country.

While welcoming his colleagues after the recess, the senate president in an unexpected move welcomed the convocation of a national conference but rejected the call for a conference with sovereign powers.

Senate Opposes Liquidation Of NITEL

The Senate Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has kicked against the proposed guided liquidation of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) saying that the plan is not in the best interest of the country.

Speaking in an interview with journalists at the National Assembly Complex, the Chairman Senate Committee on Privatization, Olugbenga Obadara said the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) is ignorant of the actual worth of NITEL.

He said instead of liquidating NITEL it should be allowed to pass through the process of concession.

The Senator said during discussions on the liquidation of Nitel, his committee was “confronted with facts that NITEL is owing Federal Government and other people N351 billion.

“But in the process, we asked the question who is owing NITEL? The people that are owing NITEL now we don’t know.

“We asked the question what is the worth of NITEL today? They cannot tell us the worth of NITEL. How do you now sell what you don’t know the worth,” Senator Obadara asked.