Speaker Dogara Commended On Local Government Financial Autonomy Push

Dogara, Kano KillingThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has been commended for leading a House that is prepared to pass a bill to ensure financial autonomy for local governments and State Assemblies.

In a media briefing recently, he was also quoted to have advocated the scrapping of States Independent Electoral Commissions [SIEC] all over Nigeria.

While addressing reporters on the issue, the national co-ordinator of Muslim Media Watch Group (MMWG) of Nigeria, Ibrahim Abdullah, expressed the belief that such steps would enhance the level of performance of the LGAs and reduce the hardship faced by them especially on payments of salaries and allowances of the workers.

He says the autonomy will also make the legislatures across the country function properly without hindrance.

“The MMWG also supports the scrapping of SIECS so that democracy could run its full course in Nigeria, as the bodies (SIECS) presently lack credibility and transparency.

“INEC should be made to conduct all elections in order to promote good electoral process in our democracy,” Mr Abdullah opined.

Commenting on the crisis in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps across Nigeria, the co-ordinator of the group said the perennial sufferings of the IDPs in various places including Abuja had been a source of concern and worry.

He said it was also worrisome to hear that the presidential initiative aimed at alleviating their hardship appeared not to have been able to make positive impact because of allegation of diversion of funds and relief materials.

“We therefore call on President Muhammad Buhari to design and implement an articulate and workable programme that would take proper care of IDPs for the next six months within which all of them should be made to return home in comfortable environment through the rehabilitation of their destroyed homes and construction of new ones for them,” he added.

Cattle Rustling: House Calls For Electronic Animal Identification System

House of Representatives on Cattle rustlingThe House of Representatives in Nigeria is urging the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to formulate a policy that would include Electronic Animal Identification System.

Lawmakers believe the identification system will eradicate the problem of cattle rustling.

This resolution followed a motion sponsored by Representative Ali Isa which noted that crimes related to cattle rustling had become more rampant across states.

The lawmaker said it was imperative for the government to consider adopting modern means of capturing, such as the Electronic Animal Identification System, to tackle the menace.

Cattle rustling has been on the increase in some states in the norther part of Nigeria, with troops of the Nigerian Army arresting some rustlers.

Troops-clear-hideouts
An armed bandit’s hideout set on fire

In September, troops of the Nigerian Army destroyed hideouts of livestock rustlers and armed bandits in operations military said were tremendously successful.

The feat was in continuation of a clearance operation against all suspected livestock rustlers and armed bandits’ and destruction of their camps and hideouts in Nigeria, especially in the northwest region.

Troops of 223 Battalion, One Brigade of One Division on September 24 raided suspected livestock rustlers and armed bandits’ camps at Tofa forest in Gusau Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State.

During the operation, an armed bandit was killed while few others sustained gunshot wounds.

The troops recovered a Dane gun, two locally made pistols and four motorcycles while the camps were destroyed in line with established procedure.

The four motorcycles recovered
The four motorcycles recovered

The Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, revealed in a statement on Saturday that the troops also went on a long-range patrol along Dumburum-Batsari forest axis in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State and part of Katsina State.

On October 1, troops of One Division, Nigerian Army conducted clearance operations within Kaduna and Katsina states in continuation with the operations against livestock rustlers, armed bandits and kidnappers within their area of operations.

In Katsina State, the troops carried out a joint patrol at Nashambe village near Karoki in which two suspected livestock rustlers, Lawali Nakaduna and Yahuza Suleiman were arrested in Jibia Local Government Area and handed over to the Police.

The troops also arrested a notorious livestock rustler and armed bandit, Gide Maikwasara, who was shot while attempting to escape.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Lawmaker Demands Justice

House of Representatives,Following days of media reports on allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, one of the lawmakers, Mark Gbillah, has called for a detailed public investigation into the matter.

The lawmaker stated that the allegations, made by the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, did not occur.

Mr Entwistle had lodged a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the issue.

But the lawmaker emphasised that he believed the allegations were meant to tarnish the image of the members involved and the legislative house.

He further demanded a detailed and open investigation into the matter.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who has ordered an investigation into the matter, said that the allegations were not conclusive enough to decide that anyone is guilty.

The allegations of sexual misconduct involving three members of the House of Representatives has continued to generate newspaper headlines.

In her contribution, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, appealed to Nigerians for caution on the matter.

As the matter was not up for the debate, the Speaker of the House, rounding up, made it clear that the matter was a serious one.

The House has mandated a joint Committee of ethics and Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter and report back to the House.

Their report is expected to guide the House on the position it will take on the matter.

Reps To Fast Track Passage Of Northeast Development Commission Bill

imo-state-house-of-asemblyThe House of Representatives in Nigeria is looking to fast track the passage of the bill to set up a Northeast Development Commission.

Members of parliament believe an institutional framework is required to facilitate the coordination of all the support provided towards the reconstruction and development of the northeast ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who made this known at the public hearing on the bill, said the House recognised the need for a legal framework that would address the overall development challenges of the northeast.

He pointed out that the existing legal frameworks on refugees, emergency management and boundary disputes resolution had so far not addressed the plight of the people in the northeast.

According to him, the region lags behind in all major indices of human development, with the highest incidence of illiteracy in Nigeria, poor healthcare, lack of good roads and an exceptional poverty rate.

“These issues existed before the consequences of insurgency but are worse after the insurgency,” he told the House.

Following a formal presentation by the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, outlining her position on the Northeast Development Commission Bill to the lawmakers , the representative of the Yobe State Governor, Mohammed Lamin, advised that the headquarters of the commission be cited in Damaturu the Yobe State capital for centrality of administration.

Three northeast states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – have been ravaged by the over six years insurgency by the Boko Haram terrorists, pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and end to Western education in the region.

Lawmakers To Examine Supreme Court Verdict On Local Governments

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaThe House of Representatives has directed its Committees on Justice and Judiciary to examine the Supreme Court’s verdict on local governments.

Mandating the committee to carry out the assessment on Tuesday during plenary, the lawmakers said it would enable the House determine if revenue should be released to councils with non-democratically elected council administrations.

This resolution followed consideration of a motion on the need to sustain and promote democratic local government administration and good governance sponsored by Honourable Afe Olowookere.

The House further urged state governments without democratically elected local government councils to conduct elections without delay.

Nigeria @55: Do Not Lose Hope In Your Leaders, Dogara Urges

Yakubu-Dogara-Speaker-of-house-of-RepsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has felicitated with Nigerians on the 55th independence anniversary of the country.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said that although Nigeria is facing multifarious challenges, nonetheless the country has witnessed significant improvement in some areas.

Dogara said that Nigerians have every reason to celebrate the 55 years of independence and over 100 years of existence. “I will urge our people to use this period to give thanks to God for keeping the country one despite many upheavals and prophesies if doom,” he said.

The Speaker admitted that when compared with other developing countries, Nigeria is far left behind in many areas and is ranked among the lowest in the human development index, but expressed hope that “happy times will be here again.”

He said, rather than grieving over the problems and challenges facing the country, Nigerians must as a matter of necessity move away from lamentation and hopelessness to a new era of hope and positivity about the future of the country.

He noted that Nigerian leaders were not unaware of the task before them but they also require sacrifice by all Nigerians.

“We will plead with our people not to lose hope in their leaders as most nations have passed through similar challenges and emerged stronger. I have strong hope and conviction that Nigeria, will also overcome these challenges. This too, shall pass away and happy times be will here again.

“The new APC government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has not left anyone in doubt as to its readiness to restructure, and re-position the country on the path of socio-economic development.

“While it is the responsibility of government to provide the conducive atmosphere to all citizens to realise their potentials, we all, must work to make Nigeria work again because the era of waste and impunity has gone.

“The new leadership in the country under our great political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is determined to provide quality leadership and return Nigeria to its rightful place in the comity of nations.

“The 8th House of Representatives will continue to enact people-oriented legislation that would be targeted at solving the current socio-economic and security challenges in line with our legislative agenda.

“I commend efforts made by the military to recover large swath of territories from the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East region.

“I call on all citizens to support the fight against terrorism so that millions of our people who are internally displaced with some being refugees in other countries will return home and live in peace, freedom and happiness.

“This period calls for sober reflection and Nigerians should not relent in their prayers for the unity and indivisibility of the country.”

Lawmakers Query Finance Ministry On 2015 Budget Implementation

House of Representatives in Nigeria kick against removal of JegaThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has queried the presentation of some government agencies on the implementation of the 2015 budget.

The Ministry of Finance and other agencies had appeared before an ad-hoc committee which is looking into the non-implementation of the capital component of the 2015 budget.

At the Tuesday’s session, the lawmakers also questioned the sketchy nature of the presentation of the Ministry of Finance, directing the agency to return with harmonised figures next week.

Last week, the agencies were told to return with relevant submissions that would help the House of Representatives understand why the capital projects in the 2015 budget were not being implemented.

They returned on Tuesday, with their new submission on the capital component of the budget, but the lawmakers were still not satisfied.

The Ministry of Finance team was led by the Director General of the budget office, Aliyu Gusau, who also gave the lawmakers the current status of the nation’s economy.

But the lawmakers were displeased with their presentation, with the Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Non-implementation of 2015 Budget, Aliyu Pategi, raising further issues about their presentation.

Once again the officials were sent away.

They are to return in one week, hopefully with submissions that will address the concerns of this committee once and for all.

House Of Representatives Asks FG To Address Unemployment

house-of-reps-to-reveal-lawmakers'-allowancesThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has asked the Federal Government to declare an emergency in the labour sector specifically on employment generation and convoke a national summit on employment.

At Wednesday’s plenary, a member of the House, Honourable Kingsley Chinda, raised a motion on the rising rate of unemployment which he warned was likely to reach 70% over the next six months.

Honourable Chinda warned that increase in unemployment would lead to increase in crime, unrest and breakdown of the social and economic order.

After deliberations on the issue, the House agreed that its Committee on Labour and Productivity, once constituted, would review the Federal Government’s blueprint on generation of three million jobs annually, analyse it and report back to the House in one month.

During campaigns the ruling All Progressives Congress had promised to tackle unemployment by creating more jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youth if given the opportunity to hold power in the centre.

It is the second day of plenary after a one month recess. Activities have picked up, since the House had resolved the rift over the choice of principal officers.

On Tuesday, the leadership tussle came to an end after the House members unanimously chose Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader.

Dogara Inaugurates Committee On Legal Reforms

Yakubu-Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives inaugurates committee on law reformsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria has inaugurated a committee that will oversee legal reforms for various sectors of the Economy.

While briefing the 22-man committee on their duties, Honourable Yakubu Dogara said most of the laws in Nigeria were outdated and do not align with current realities.

“The major reason that informed the setting up of this committee is the urgent need to review the various laws in the statutes book, some which have become obsolete and outdated.

“Your committee is being inaugurated today (Thursday) to assist us in cleaning up our statutes book and bringing all our laws up to date in order to meet the social, political and developmental needs of our country,” Honourable Dogara said.

Committee-on-law-reforms
Some members of the committee being briefed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Besides reviewing the old laws, the Committee will suggest new laws and reforms that will help the anti-corruption campaign amongst other issues within 60 days.

The Speaker urged the committee members to engage their individual and undivided attention to the law reforms.

“Law reforms put laws in place that will aid the anti-corruption struggle, infrastructure renewal, efficient and optimal utilisation of our petroleum resources, solid minerals, education and social services, agriculture, diversification of our economy and massive employment of our teeming youthful population,” he said.

Group Calls For Verification Of Military Operations

Bring-Back-Our-girlsThe Bring Back Our Girls Campaign group in Nigeria has asked the military to designate independent journalists as part of its contingents within the Multi-national Joint Task Force, to ensure third party independently verified accounts of the war against insurgency and terrorism in the nation’s north-east.

This call formed part of the group’s second week brief on the monitoring initiative, which they said was set to help entrench accountability and improved performance in the on-going counter insurgency operations.

The campaigners, who said they fully support the on-going offensive which is expected to quell insurgency in Nigeria, also requested that the military publish the list of towns and communities still under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents, to enhance Nigerians’ appreciation of the reclamation victories made by the soldiers.

They had earlier expressed hopes that the heightened counter-terrorism offensive by the military against the terrorist group in Nigeria’s north-east, would lead to the rescue of the over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped last year in Chibok in Borno State.

They observed that the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh had, not long after the girls were kidnapped, said that the military knew where the girls were.

The House of Representatives in Nigeria, on the other hand, had also commended the military on its recent victories that led to reclaiming of some communities in the north-east region previously under the control of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Lawmakers, who spoke on the matter, encouraged the troops to sustain the offensive and help ensure that other areas under the control of the insurgents would also be reclaimed.

The Director, Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that the Nigerian military backed by air strikes, recaptured the town of Baga in Borno State, north-east Nigeria from the Islamist group Boko Haram.

He also noted that Apart from the 5 anti aircraft guns and the rifles captured from the terrorists, over 34 motorcycles and 5 vehicles including trucks being used for operations by the terrorists were destroyed in the course of the fighting as troops headed for Baga.

The Defence Spokesperson further noted that “similar exercise is being carried out in over 15 locations namely Gajigana, Ngaze, Ngenzai, Marte Junction, Mile 90, Yoyo, Kekeno, Kukawa, Cross Kauwa, Kangarwa, Amirari, Kichimatari, Borokari Barati, Kauwa and other localities where troops have flushed out the terrorists in the operations preceding the entry to Baga.

“The troops are now dominating and conducting aggressive patrols in the locations”, he added, insisting that the “morale of troops remain high”.

The Nigerian Military also said it was updating tactics against the Boko Haram Sect, with the addition of 260 Aerospace Engineers that graduated from the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Kaduna State to the Air Force.

Reps Commend Military For ‘Gallant Performance’ In Nigeria’s North-east

war against Boko HaramThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has commended the military on its recent victories that have led to reclaiming of some communities in the north-east region previously under the control of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

A member of the House, Honourable Muhammad Monguno, of the All Progressive Congress, in a motion of urgent national importance on Tuesday, praised the military for its bravery and steadfastness in what he described as “the gallant performance of the Nigerian Armed Forces”.

Lawmakers, who spoke on the matter, encouraged the troops to sustain the offensive and help ensure that other areas under the control of the insurgents would also be reclaimed.

Nigerian Army Reclaim Baga

Terrorist Vehicle
A terrorists vehicle set ablaze by troops

One of the major recent victories recorded by the Nigerian Armed Forces was the reclaiming of Baga town in Borno State in Nigeria’s north-east from the Boko Haram.

The reclaiming of the town was a fallout of the the Nigerian military counter-terrorism operation, backed by air strikes.

According to the spokesman for the military, Major General Chris Olukolade, the town was reclaimed on Saturday.

He also noted that Apart from the five anti aircraft guns and the rifles captured from the terrorists, over 34 motorcycles and five vehicles including trucks being used for operations by the terrorists were destroyed in the course of the fighting as troops headed for Baga.

“A large number of terrorists have drowned in the Lake Chad as they fled the heavy bombardment by Nigerian Air force heralding the advance of Nigerian troops on mission to flush them out of Baga.

“All the landmines were skillfully cleared one after the other. Eventually, the resistance of the terrorists collapsed and the land forces finally stormed the town in the early hours of Friday.

“Many of the terrorists died while an unknown but substantial number of them fled with various degrees of injury, in the series of encounter along the routes of advance, as troops headed for Baga”, he maintained.

Major-General Chris Olukolade- military
Major-General Chris Olukolade

The Defence Spokesperson further noted that “similar exercise is being carried out in over 15 locations namely Gajigana, Ngaze, Ngenzai, Marte Junction, Mile 90, Yoyo, Kekeno, Kukawa, Cross Kauwa, Kangarwa, Amirari, Kichimatari, Borokari Barati, Kauwa and other localities where troops have flushed out the terrorists in the operations preceding the entry to Baga.

“The troops are now dominating and conducting aggressive patrols in the locations”, he added, insisting that the “morale of troops remain high”.

The Nigerian Military also said it was updating tactics against the Boko Haram Sect, with the addition of 260 Aerospace Engineers that graduated from the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Kaduna State to the Air Force.

House Of Reps Set To Conclude Deliberations On Budget

House of RepsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria says it will conclude deliberations on the 2014 budget in the first week of April.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Victor Ogene, told reports in Abuja on Thursday that the delay in the budget passage was occasioned by Ministries Departments and Agencies who have delayed in their budget defence, a matter, he said, the National Assembly could not control.

The budget was presented to the National Assembly on 19 December 2013.

An opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), gaining more number of lawmakers after several of them defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, gave a directive to the lawmakers to block the budget, a move aimed at coercing the President, Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis in Rivers State.

The party raised an alarm after a rally by the Save Rivers Movement was disrupted by the Nigeria Police Force, calling for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police in the state.

Many Nigerians had expected that the delay in budget passage that had become become the fate of the country’s budget yearly would be corrected with expectation of early presentation.

But the presentation of the budget was, however, delayed when both the Senate and the House of Representatives were unable to reach an early agreement on the crude oil price benchmark.

Presenting the budget, after initial postponement by President Goodluck Jonathan,  the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the 2014 budget envisaged net collectible revenue of 7.50 trillion Naira.

She said that 3.73 trillion Naira of the expected collectible revenue would be used to fund the 2014 budget, which focuses on boosting job creation and inclusive growth.

“The budget has been underpinned by the parameter of oil benchmark of 2.39 million barrels per day compared to 2.53 million barrels per day in 2013,” she said.

The budget is also underpinned by a benchmark oil price of $77.5 per barrel, projected real GDP growth of 6.75 per cent and average exchange rate of 160 Naira per dollar.