Gbajabiamila Sympathises With Senator Wamakko, Describes Daughter’s Death As Painful

A file photo of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has condoled with Senator Aliyu Wamakko over the demise of his daughter, Sadiya.

Gbajabiamila, who described the passing away of Sadiya as painful, said he shares in the grief of the Wamakko family.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker prayed for the repose of the soul of Wamakko’s daughter.

“My heart and prayers go to the family of Distinguished Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko.

“It is painful losing one’s daughter. I pray that Allah (SWT) will grant her soul Jannatul Firdaus and give the family the fortitude to bear this huge loss,” the Speaker said.

SERAP Files Suit Against Lawan, Gbajabiamila Over Failure To Publish Details Of Corruption Probes

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees
A logo of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over their failure to publish reports of all completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999.

SERAP is also suing the duo for their failure to disclose the number of probes that have resulted in the indictment of suspects and to name such suspects.

In a statement on Sunday by the Deputy Director of the commission, Kolawole Oluwadare said that the suit followed recent public hearings by the National Assembly on corruption allegations in ministries, departments, and agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

“Reports of several public hearings and corruption probes have remained secret, and the allegations unresolved”.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1065/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr. Lawal and Mr. Gbajabiamila to send all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel Dr. Lawal and Mr. Gbajabiamila to widely publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to disclose the number and names of any indicted suspects since 1999.”

The commission is asking the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by MDAs, and to ensure the proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions over corruption allegations including in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 25 July 2020, stating that: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts.”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel Dr. Lawal and Mr. Gbajabiamila to publish the reports of hearings and probes and to send the reports to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution. Granting the reliefs sought would bolster public trust and confidence in the lawmakers’ oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of the hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve a personal interest, rather than the general public interests”.

SERAP is further arguing that Nigerians have the right to information, as guaranteed under Section 39(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which the country has ratified and domesticated as part of its national laws.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “There is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made widely available to Nigerians, and why the prosecution of indicted suspects should not be pursued, where there is relevant admissible evidence.”

“Public officers are mere custodians of public records. There is a legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.

“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust. The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general.

“Both the Senate and House of Representatives have over the years conducted several public hearings and corruption probes to expose the pervasive problem of corruption in MDAs. Publishing the reports and pursuing prosecution would give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.

“Lack of transparency and accountability about the systemic and widespread corruption allegations in MDAs and among high-ranking public officials has continued to create a culture of impunity, and to have negative impacts on socio-economic development, as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water, and regular electricity supply.”

The commission however noted that no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Nigerian Business Group, Traders In Ghana Commend Gbajabiamila For Interfering In Dispute

Gbajabiamila Intervenes in Nigeria-Ghana dispute

 

The Nigeria-Ghana Business Council and the Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) have commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over his intervention in the trade disputes with the government of Ghana.

Members of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council said through their President, Omoba Bambo Ademiluyi, that Gbajabiamila’s visit to Ghana has made a positive impact and paved the way for an amicable resolution to the trade dispute.

In a letter of appreciation and commendation dated September 5 and addressed to the Speaker, Mr. Ademiluyi said: “It is on record that your trip brought about the highest involvement of both governments in this dispute that has been on since 2007.

“Your proposals and presentations have given rise to two very vital solutions to the problem: 1. The review of the GIPC Act demanding a $1,000,000 deposit for foreign investors in Ghana as it concerns Nigerians. 2. The promotion of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council backed by legislation to superintend on trade and business issues between the two countries.”

He said the formation of the business council as proposed by the Speaker was a welcome development.

“Our objectives and activities align with the proposal which is being introduced to superintend trade issues of the two countries.

“It is, therefore, our wish to express support for the formation of this council and request that we work with your team to see to a successful emergence of a government-backed Business Council.”

On their part, members of NUTAG said in another letter addressed to the Speaker dated September 6 that Gbajabiamila’s visit and engagement with the Ghanaian authorities were timely and the right step in the right direction.

In the letter, signed by the association’s President, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the Nigerian traders urged the Speaker not to despair in ensuring that resolutions reached during the interface are implemented by all concerned parties.

The traders noted that Gbajabiamila’s intervention was a testimony that President Muhammadu Buhari and the government of Nigeria have the interest of Nigerians at home and abroad at heart.

The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, please, allow me to seize this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association of Ghana (NUTAG), for your kind, responsible and timely intervention to quell the much travails we have been experiencing at the hands of Ghanaian authorities and our Ghanaian counterpart, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

“Sir, the leadership of NUTAG and all Nigerian traders in Ghana, as well as other Nigerians living in Ghana, deeply appreciate your recent visit to Ghana in order to try and resolve the lingering trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria; in unison, we hail this as the right step in the right direction.

“The move at once displays that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari has all Nigerian citizens very close at heart, both at home and abroad.

“We are indeed very grateful to you and the entire team who embarked on this journey, and we are optimistic that an end to our travails in Ghana is at hand.”

The president of the trade union, however, stated that a lot of Nigerian traders in Ghana are finding things difficult as their means of livelihood have been shut down.

The traders appealed to the Nigerian Government to engage with the Ghanaian Government to reopen the said shops pending an enduring solution to the impasse.

Trade Dispute: Nigeria, Ghana To Establish Business Council

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (2nd left) and the Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament, Rt. Hon. Mike Oquaye (2nd right) on their way out after meeting with the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Ado towards the resolution of some issues involving Nigeria and Ghana in Accra on Thursday, 3 September, 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit.

 

 

Nigeria and Ghana are considering the establishment of a business council, as well as a joint ministerial committee as part of efforts to address some of the disputes facing both countries.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Official Spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin O. Kalu on Friday.

According to the statement, the President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Addo assured the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, of the readiness of the Ghanaian government to consider the resolutions reached at the ‘Legislative Diplomacy Bilateral Meeting’ between senior legislators of both countries on September 2, 2020, at the Ghanaian Parliament House.

The Ghanaian President gave the assurance when the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, upon completion of the 2-day extensive dialogue, led his Nigerian counterpart on a courtesy visit to the President at the Jubilee House, Accra, Ghana on Thursday.

The legislative diplomacy dialogue became imperative as the parliaments of the two countries sought modalities to resolve challenges and provide an enabling business environment for foreign traders including Nigerians doing business in Ghana.

Several foreign businesses, many Nigerian-owned, in Ghana have been facing challenges in the demand for $1m capital base for foreign traders, as enshrined in the Ghana Investment Promotion Center GIPC Act (2013).

Responding to a request by Gbajabiamila for a review of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act to make certain concessions, President Akufo-Addo said the request was in order as it “makes a lot of sense”.

 

President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Ado and Nigeria’;s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila discuss at a meeting to resolve trade dispute between both countries.

 

The Ghanaian President, who expressed satisfaction with Gbajabiamila’s visit, endorsed his proposal for the establishment of a ‘Nigeria-Ghana Business Council’ established by law in both countries, and he additionally suggested the setting up of a joint ministerial committee between the two countries that will “shepherd” issues between Ghana and Nigeria.

He told Gbajabiamila he would also raise the issue with President Muhammadu Buhari when they meet at the ECOWAS Summit on Monday.

“I think the way forward, which is really what matters in situations like this, that is being suggested, one that I find very acceptable, the idea of legislation, a Nigeria-Ghana business council that will superintendent trade matters and investment matters between our two countries, may be long overdue,” Akufo Addo said.

“The time has come for us to take these worthwhile steps. I suggested to Mr. President that it will be a good idea to set up a joint ministerial committee of ministers from both sides who will be responsible for shepherding Ghana and Nigeria issues, reporting to both presidents at any one time, and that is how they should be resolved.”

“I am hoping when I see him on Monday for the ECOWAS summit, we can advance these discussions and come to a final conclusion.

“The way you yourselves have come about this matter is very satisfactory, and it requires our support. The review that you are asking for, why not? if it works in our mutual perspectives, we can take it for granted that your request will be taken seriously. We will have a look at it.”

“So, the request for the review makes a lot of sense,” the Ghanaian President added.

Earlier, Gbajabiamila, who was in the company of some of his colleagues in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, which included the Chairmen of House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Media and Public Affairs, Deputy chairmen of committee on Diaspora, Federal road safety and a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, told the Ghanaian President at the Jubilee House, that they were in Ghana to make efforts through parliamentary diplomacy to resolve the issues at stake.

 

President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Ado meets with Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila nd other officials to discuss ways to resolve trade dispute between both countries.

 

“We have appealed to the (Ghanaian) Parliament that if it’s possible at all to look again at the issues, as far as the Ghana Investment Promotion Center Act is concerned, they should please do so.

“If it is not possible, then let us look at ways the pain can be reduced, like those expectations required in the law.

“We’ve proffered a few suggestions one of which is the establishment of Ghana Nigeria Business Council backed by legislation on both sides,” Gbajabiamila said.

Meanwhile, in a communique issued jointly at the end of the bilateral meeting between members of the two Parliaments led by their respective Speakers, Gbajabiamila and Prof. Mike Oquaye, it was resolved that “measures will be adopted to support law-abiding traders to properly regularise their business operations to alleviate the trade challenges occasioned by the alleged closure of the retail stores, in view of the ravaging impact of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and families in both countries.”

They acknowledged that many stakeholders in the retail sector have limited appreciation of the trade laws of Ghana, in particular, Section 28 of the GIPC Act, which provides for the conditions under which non-Ghanaians can engage in trading activities and urged the relevant regulatory authorities including the GIPC and Trade Attaches of foreign missions to educate their citizens on the trade laws.

They equally emphasized the need to respect the sovereignty of Member States of ECOWAS and their laws but, in doing so, efforts must be made to ensure that the ECOWAS Agenda for free movement of people and goods in furtherance of a shared and prosperous future of citizens of the sub-region is not compromised.

“A meeting will be held between the Trade and Foreign Affairs Committees of both Legislatures to deliberate on applications of Trade Laws, in particular, the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865) and make recommendations for appropriate solutions; and a Joint Committee will be established composed of Members of both Legislatures to explore the possible passage of reciprocal legislation, which could be potentially called the “Ghana-Nigeria Friendship Act” which shall propose “Ghana-Nigeria Business Council” to provide a framework to sustain the friendship and benefits to citizens of the two nations.”

On departure from Ghana on Thursday, Gbajabiamila expressed his gratitude to his counterpart for his statesmanship, leadership and hospitality, which made it possible for both countries to resolve thorny issues through legislative diplomacy.

Alleged Corruption: PDP Criticises Gbajabiamila For Shutting Down Investigation

The Peoples Democratic Party is one of the major political parties in Nigeria.
The Peoples Democratic Party is one of the major political parties in Nigeria

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the leadership of the House of Representatives for frustrating the ongoing investigation of some government officials.

The party in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the shut down of the sitting of various committees carrying out investigation on the executive is a deliberate design to cover the stench of corruption oozing out of the APC administration.

The party asked the Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, to continue with the investigation, noting that the lawmakers are only answerable to Nigerians.

Read Full Statement Below:

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asserts that the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership of the House of Representatives to shut down the sitting of various committees carrying out investigation on the executive is a deliberate design to cover the stench of corruption oozing out of the APC administration.

The party charges the Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, to stop circumventing the statutory duties of the House of Representative and placing of wedges in the way of the fight against corruption by the legislature.

The PDP describes the shutdown order by the APC leadership of the House of Representatives as a clear example of corruption fighting back from within the government circle, which must be condemned by all Nigerians.

The party notes that such incursion into the activities of the committees is to quench the fight against corruption as well as to frustrate whistle blowers just because APC has become an ocean of corruption where the members are swimming.

It is clear that the shutdown directive is targeted at frustrating revelations from ongoing investigations on the $500 billion foreign loan from China, particularly as it relates to the mortgaging of our nation’s sovereignty to China.

This is in addition to the investigations into the humongous corruption in government agencies including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) the N300 billion unremitted revenue to the federation account as well as allegations of corruption in government earnings and the expenditure in Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA’s) under the APC.

It is therefore unfortunate that under the Gbajabiamila-led leadership, the basic responsibility of the House of Representatives, which is its oversight on the executive, has just been maimed through a forced holiday on the members of the respective committees and their Chairmen.

It is equally distressing that the APC leadership of the House of Representatives is breaching parliamentary rules, practices and procedures to shield APC leaders and their cronies who have been fleecing our nation.

Our party therefore holds that any parliament that deliberately frustrates its statutory responsibility to call the activities of the executive to question has lost the essence of its own existence. The leadership that led it into such constitutional suicide must be held culpable.

Indeed, never in our parliamentary history has committee activities been suspended or shut down on the ground of holiday or suspension of plenary.

For us in the PDP, it is shocking that the APC leadership of the House of Representatives could  by any consideration shut down, its legislative investigation, which is exclusively vested on it under sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), on the guise of being on break.

Such an action is calamitous to our democracy.

The PDP however commends the members  of its caucus and other minorities in the National Assembly for standing against corruption and striving to ensure that the APC does not sell Nigerians into slavery with its reckless foreign borrowings.

Our  party urges the lawmakers not to be deterred but continue in their assignments, as they are only answerable to the Nigerian people.

The PDP therefore charges the Hon. Gbajabiamila-led APC leadership of the House of Representatives to immediately reverse itself as Nigerians expect nothing but seamless investigations without unnecessary interferences and incursions.

If the Honoruable Speaker is inclined towards allowing the covering of corruption, against the purpose for which he was elected to lead the House, then, he should take a bow and step aside.

Signed

Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretar

Gbajabiamila, African Speakers Of Parliaments Call For Debt Cancellation

A file photo of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and some African Speakers of Parliaments have called for debt cancellation from their multilateral and bilateral partners.

Gbajabiamila said the initiative is to establish the Conference of African Speakers and Heads of Parliament (CoSAP), a body that will facilitate increased collaboration between Speakers, Heads of Parliament and National Assemblies across Africa to get a boost.

In a statement by the spokesman to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, the African Speakers will also seek to advance the African development agenda within and outside the continent in conjunction with both the executive arms of government as well as African regional institutions.

These emerged following a virtual meeting conveyed by Gbajabiamila on Monday with Hon. Tagesse Chafo, Speaker, House of Peoples Representatives, Ethiopia; Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, PhD, Speaker of Parliament, Ghana; Hon. Justin Bedan Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly, Republic of Kenya; Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker, Chamber of Deputies, Rwanda; and President Moustapha Niasse, AFP, President, National Assembly, Senegal.

Read Full Statement Below:

Press Statement from the Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives
August 17, 2020

Gbajabiamila spearheads African Speakers’ push for debts cancellation

…Nigeria to host maiden Conference of African Speakers and Heads of Parliament

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday convened a meeting of some African Speakers of Parliaments where it was agreed that there is an urgent need to push for debt cancellation for the continent from their multilateral and bilateral partners.

This is as Gbajabiamila’s initiative to establish the Conference of African Speakers and Heads of Parliament (CoSAP), a body that will facilitate increased collaboration between Speakers, Heads of Parliament and National Assemblies across Africa got a boost.

The African Speakers will also seek to advance the African development agenda within and outside the continent in conjunction with both the executive arms of government as well as African regional institutions.

These emerged following a virtual meeting conveyed by Gbajabiamila on Monday with Hon. Tagesse Chafo, Speaker, House of Peoples Representatives, Ethiopia; Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, PhD, Speaker of Parliament, Ghana; Hon. Justin Bedan Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly, Republic of Kenya; Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker, Chamber of Deputies, Rwanda; and President Moustapha Niasse, AFP, President, National Assembly, Senegal.

In his opening remarks, Gbajabiamila said there was an urgent need to join local and global efforts to push for the cancellation of the external debt owed by various countries on the continent.

Saying that development across the continent has become stunted due to the heavy burden of the debts, Gbajabiamila noted that the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has compounded the issue for the continent, considering the socio-political and economic consequences of the disease.

“We all agree that Africa’s debt burden has become an existential threat to our societies, our economies and the future; we leave to posterity, and we need to do something about this and treat it as a continent-wide priority.

“It is safe to say that the burden of debt servicing, vis-à-vis spending on education and health care for example, is a threat to our continent’s stability and development, especially in the era of Covid-19.

“When we find ourselves having to make policy choices between paying debts or saving lives, we know something is not morally right. And as democratically elected representatives of our people, we cannot be silent. We must speak up and we must act. And the time to act is now.

“Furthermore, is the need for us to reflect on, the processes that led to Africa’s heavy indebtedness in the first place, the role parliamentarians can play to address this going forward and what assurances we as parliamentarians can give our borrowers that if our debt is cancelled, the freed-up resources will be invested in social and economic development of our citizens.

“If we want debt cancellation, we must be able to build the confidence of the borrowers that the cancellation will indeed save lives and livelihoods across the continent, and we, as Speakers and Heads of our parliaments, will ensure that is indeed the case”.

On the need for the establishment of the Pan-African Speaker’s Conference, Gbajabiamila noted that collective efforts at tackling challenges facing the continent have become expedient.

He said: “The motive behind this initiative is that each year we identify a theme, issue, or challenge that is pan-African in scope and we meet to deliberate on how we can work together across parliaments in Africa to tackle these continental issues and challenges.

“As heads of our respective parliamentary entities, it will also be a good platform to share experiences and expertise in different aspects of our legislative duties pertinent to the growth, development and sustenance of our economies and our societies; and on ways to enhance the capacity and impact of our parliaments on our democracies and the lives of the peoples we all represent.

“We have spent decades learning from the rest of the world, now we must begin to learn from one another”.

Throwing his weight behind the two initiatives, Hon. Tagesse Chafo, Speaker, House of Peoples Representatives, Ethiopia, noted that though almost every government on the continent has been trying to seek debt forgiveness, this should not, however, stop the parliaments from contributing to the efforts through a platform such as this.

“As representatives of our people, we are to come together, advise and campaign about the issue, we don’t have to keep quiet because debt cancellation would be good for the resuscitation of our economies that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

In the same vein, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, Ghana noted that the debt burden is essentially a common challenge on the continent, as most African countries have to depend on foreign loans to execute their national budgets.

He, however, noted that the Speaker’s group, in its efforts to push for debt cancellation must be able to convince the creditors about accountability if they hope to succeed.

He said: “Donor agencies are interested in accountability because they are confounded about the issue of corruption, and we must be able to give the assurance and that is why the Speakers Conference is critical. And if nothing is done, there may be no economy to service the loans”

Hon. Justin Bedan Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly, Republic of Kenya also emphasised the need for the initiative, adding that, the coronavirus pandemic has undermined most African economies because conditions attached to most of the loans have been eroded by the consequences of the novel pandemic.

On her part, Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker, Chamber of Deputies, Rwanda, while noting that African countries depend on and heavily burdened by loans even before the pandemic, however, added that the group must be clear about the kind of debt it is seeking to address and from which partners.

While President Moustapha Niasse, AFP, President, National Assembly, Senegal also regretted that the pandemic has affected all economies on the continent negatively, he, however, suggested that opinions of members of the forum must be sought on how to solve the issues between suspension or cancellation of debt
“We must be convinced that we have a job to do at the level of parliament,” he added.

It was also agreed that a Communique would be released in the first week of September 2020, while the campaign for implementations of the plan of action would begin in the second week of September 2020 as well.

According to the forum, the third week of September would be devoted to the planning for the 2021 conference by the Secretariat.

While it was decided that Nigeria would host the maiden edition of CoSAP chaired by Nigerian Speaker the Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the new body is expected to meet again in the first week of September to approve the plans and swing into action.

Signed:
Lanre Lasisi,
Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal republic of Nigeria.

‘Your Contributions Will Be Greatly Missed’, Gbajabiamila Mourns Kashamu

Buruji Kashamu, Court, Police, DSS
Late Senator Buruji Kashamu

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has expressed shock over the death of Senator Buruji Kashamu.

The Speaker, in a condolence message to Ogun State Government and the family of the deceased, said Kashamu’s contributions to the development of his community and the country would be greatly missed.

“It is with great shock that I received the news of the death of Senator Buruji Kashamu, who served as a Senator representing Ogun East in the 8th National Assembly.

“A politician reputed for his large-heartedness and love for his constituents and his State, Kashamu’s determination to impact people’s lives and contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian state saw him move to the National Assembly as a Senator.

“His contributions would be greatly missed by his constituents and the country as a whole.

“My thoughts are with the family and other loved ones he left behind at this trying times as I pray for the repose of his soul”, Gbajabiamila added.

Eid-el- Kabir: Pray For Nigeria, Gbajabiamila Tells Muslims

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has urged Muslims to rededicate themselves to their Creator and pray for the country during this period of Eid-el-Kabir.

Gbajabiamila said the need for prayers became more pressing at this time that the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the world, including Nigeria.

The Speaker said with fervent prayers, Nigeria would be able to surmount the numerous challenges bedeviling the country, including insecurity.

In a Sallah message by his spokesman Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker also urged Nigerians, irrespective of their differences, to embrace one another and be united for the progress of the country.

He called on religious leaders to preach unity and peaceful coexistence among the citizens at this time and always.

He further urged Muslims to imbibe the virtues of selflessness, generosity, brotherliness and accommodating nature of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Gbajabiamila used the opportunity to call on leaders to keep their contracts with the Nigerian people as that is the only way they can make meaningful impact in the lives of the citizens.

House Will Provide Funding For Fight Against Gender-Based Violence – Gbajabiamila

A file photo of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House would provide funds for the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the 2021 budget to be presented to the National Assembly in September.

Gbajabiamila said apart from budget funds, the House would also provide all necessary support as well as partner with relevant stakeholders for the fight against GBV to succeed.

The Speaker stated this on Wednesday in response to a request by the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria, Ulla Elisabeth Mueller, who led a delegation of United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) Spotlight Initiative on a courtesy call to his office in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila said the issue of gender-based violence in the country has become disturbing hence the need for all stakeholders to come together to nip it in the bud.

He assured the delegation that the House would work on the Sexual Harassment Bill forwarded to it by the Senate as soon as members return from their annual recess.

“You talked about the Senate Bill, though we’re going on a long vacation, I can assure you that as soon as we come back, the House will work on the bill,” he said, noting that after due diligence, the Green Chamber will speedily concur with the Senate.

“On the issue of funding, as I said, it’s like a pandemic. There’s no way you can confront a pandemic without funding. The budget is coming in September, and once it comes, we’ll make sure adequate funding is provided for this issue.

“On the issue of domestication of the VAPP 2015 and the Child’s Rights Act, my office has done a lot. We had a conference with the Speakers of the State Assemblies. The Chairman of the Conference of Speakers promised that they would domesticate it in Bauchi, and I’m glad to say that it has been done.

“We’ll continue to engage with others to see that they domesticate the laws. This is something we’re championing, and we’ll continue to do that. For us in the House of Representatives, we’re giving this issue all the seriousness it deserves.”

Gbajabiamila said the issue of gender is prominently featured in the Legislative Agenda of the House, a new version of which would be launched on Saturday.

The Speaker commended members of the delegation for the work they have been doing, saying he hoped there would be a sustained partnership between them and the House to end gender-based violence in Nigeria.

The leader of the delegation, Elisabeth Mueller in her remarks said everybody has the responsibility to say no to gender-based violence.

She said they would advocate for a budget line to be committed to the fight against gender-based violence, adding that the House should also ensure that the funds are released accordingly when appropriated.

As part of their work, she said they were working on a concept to organise engagements with different stakeholders including Speakers of State Assemblies.

While commending the Senate for passing the Sexual Harassment Bill, she called on the House to concur so that it will be assented to by the President.

Gbajabiamila Gives Akpabio 48 Hours To Publish Names Of Lawmakers Awarded Contracts By NDDC

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has given the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, 48 hours to publish the names of lawmakers who were awarded contracts by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as the details of the contracts.

Should the minister fail to publish the names, the speaker said the House will employ the full wrath of the law to ensure he does so.

The Speaker issued the ultimatum during plenary on Tuesday, a day after the minister claimed that most of the contracts awarded by the NDDC were awarded to lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Most NDDC Contracts Awarded To National Assembly Members – Akpabio

A bold claim

During a testy appearance before the House Committee on NDDC on Monday, Senator Akpabio claimed that the lawmakers were “the greatest beneficiaries” of NDDC contracts.

Asked how the lawmakers benefitted, he said, “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly”.


The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, made his bold claim when appeared before a House of Representatives committee on July 20, 2020.


The Speaker who accused Senator Akpabio of pulling the oldest trick in the book with the claims believes the minister owes it the country to publish the names in the interest of transparency.

On Thursday, Mr Gbajabiamila had to intervene in the sitting of the committee after the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Daniel Pondei, slumped while being grilled about spendings by the commission.

He had called for calm and assured all those invited to appear before the committee that the invites were in the interest of the country and not targetted at anyone.

Drama As NDDC MD, Pondei, ‘Slumps’ During Reps Committee Interrogation

Stressing that it was a fact-finding mission, the Speaker wished Pondei quick recovery and urged the committee to proceed quickly and wrap up its investigations, stressing that Pondei had already submitted documents to them.

While issuing an ultimatum to Senator Akpabio about his claims, Mr Gbajabiamila, however, said the committee had the right to invite Pondei again should it feel the need to do so.


Moment Pondei Slumped

Ghana To Rebuild Demolished Embassy Building, Cede Documents – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaks during a meeting in Abuja on February 5, 2020.

 

The government of Ghana will rebuild the demolished building belonging to the Nigerian embassy in Accra, Ghana, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said.

According to Gbajabiamila, the Ghanaian government has also promised to cede the property as well as all documents relating to it to the Nigerian embassy.

Gbajabiamila disclosed this on his official social media pages on Friday where he revealed that the promise was secured through a telephone discussion he had with the Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Rt. Hon. Aaron Mike Oquaye, on Thursday.

The Ghanaian Speaker had assured Speaker Gbajabiamila that the parliament will work with their Executive to ensure the matter is resolved diplomatically.

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In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker, who expressed sadness at the demolition of the embassy structure had promised to take the issue up with his Ghanaian counterpart.

His words on his Twitter page read, “Yesterday (Thursday) I had a good and constructive discussion with His Excellency Rt. Hon. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament. He reassured me of the respect and regard the people of Ghana have for Nigeria.

“He stated the Ghanaian government is taking the demolishment with all seriousness and has taken the following actions: 1) Perpetrators have been arrested and investigation is ongoing; 2) the Property will be ceded and all documents handed over to Nigeria under the Compulsory Acquisition Act of Ghana; 3) the destroyed High Commission quarters will be rebuilt by the government of Ghana”.

According to Gbajabiamila, his Ghanaian counterpart stated firmly that “Ghana will not allow anyone to peril the deep and long relationship between our two countries. Together, we will find sustainable ways to rebuild good relations btw our countries and unite our people in our collective interest as Africans”.

Recall that the Speaker had promised to take the issue up with the Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament while meeting with the Minister of Foreign of Affairs on Tuesday, June 24 at the National Assembly where he declared that the demolition of some part of the nation’s Embassy in Accra was an affront and insult on the sovereignty of the Nigerian nation.

Gbajabiamila expressed sadness at the demolition saying, “I think we should make it clear to the authorities in Ghana that Nigeria is not going to sit down and fold its arms.”

He made it clear at the meeting that Nigeria cannot continue to fold its hands while its citizens and assets in other countries are being attacked by citizens of their host country, while Nigeria looks the other way, playing the big brother.

“Attacks on Nigerians in other countries, especially in other African countries has become a recurring decimal in the nation’s foreign policy engagements, adding that many countries within Africa have taken the liberty of hurting Nigerians, while Nigeria looks the other way in the name of brotherhood.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure that we uphold the honour and integrity of the country that we serve. The Minister has explained what happened and what they have done or doing. But I think we should look at it from the premise that it was the Nigerian State that was attacked, not just a building.

“In terms of visibility and otherwise of the property, I want to say that it is trite to understand that all countries exist through their Embassies in other countries. So for that reason, Nigeria was attacked by Ghana because if anything happens in Ghana, it’s the Nigerian Embassy that Nigerians will run to and get protection due to the diplomatic immunity that it should enjoy”

Gbajabiamila Urges Resident Doctors To Reconsider Strike Action

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has expressed surprise over the news that members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are embarking on a nationwide strike today despite committed efforts to meet their demands.

Gbajabiamila had last Tuesday personally held a meeting of about three hours with the leadership of the resident doctors and the executive arm led by the two ministers manning the Federal Ministry of Health where their demands were addressed to the satisfaction of all.

He had said at the meeting that the leadership of the House would not fold its arms while resident doctors embark on strike at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was held sequel to a strike notice issued by NARD, demanding that issues such as the outstanding payments of hazard allowance, arbitrary disengagement of 23 doctors at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital, non-provision of life insurance despite the death of some doctors from COVID-19, non-provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs), reduction of doctors’ salary by the Kaduna State Government, doctors’ residency training, among others, must be addressed.

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In his intervention, the Speaker promised that the House would ensure that the hazard allowance was included in the revised 2020 Budget and this was done.

In keeping to his promise on residency funding, the Speaker raised the matter during consideration of the budget on Wednesday, and the sum of N4 billion was approved by the House from the Service Wide Votes for the commencement of funding of residency programme as provided for by the Medical Residency Training Act.

The Senate concurred with that position on Thursday when it passed its version of the budget.

The issue of a template for implementation was also raised by the doctors, and the Speaker directed that an emergency meeting with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission be held on Monday, June 15.

At the meeting, which held at the National Assembly, the Commission promised to produce the template in the next 48 hours. The leadership of NARD was also at the meeting.

At last week’s meeting, Gbajabiamila also hinted that if need be, the House would come up with a law that would not only back the payment of hazard allowance but would also define the same for clarity.

With all the positive steps taken in a bid to fulfill all promises, the Speaker had appealed to NARD to tarry a while as the government works assiduously to meet their entitlements since the revised 2020 budget was passed only last week and all processes for presidential assent and implementation are yet to kick-off in all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies including Health.

He also assured that the resident doctors’ training would be captured in the 2021 budget whether or not it is included by the Executive in the ministry’s budget.

On the issue of PPEs, it was revealed at the meeting that all Federal Government medical facilities were provided with that, while the sack of 23 doctors was also resolved.

However, Gbajabiamila said he could not believe that despite the steps taken by the National Assembly to intervene in the matter, the resident doctors could still embark on the strike.

Consequently, the Speaker appealed to them to call off the strike while all the resolutions reached at last week’s meeting are implemented one after the other.

He also called on them to consider the plight of average Nigerians as they consider shifting their position.