A judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, has excused himself from the hearing of a suit filed by the Action Peoples Party challenging the proposed passage of the Infectious Disease Bill pending before the House of Representatives over what he describes as misrepresentation of facts in the matter.
After expressing his displeasure, he withdrew from the matter and returned the case file to the chief judge for re-assignment.
Following the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria, the lawmakers also asked the Inspector General of Police to immediately commence an investigation into the cases of Uwa Omozuwa, Tina Ezekwe, the reported rape of a minor in Jigawa state, as well as all other reported cases of violence against women.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, described the rise in these cases as sick, despicable and an ungodly act which cuts across all gender.
The House was reacting to a motion of urgent public importance by Representative Rotimi Agunsoye, on the need to condemn the rising cases of sexual violence and other social vices against women and police brutality.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to launch a more effective campaign against rape and other violence against women and girls.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has asked the House of Representatives not to suspend plenary over coronavirus.
Lawmakers on Tuesday, passed a resolution to suspend plenary for two weeks to enable the management of the National Assembly, put measures in place against the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The NCDC boss stressed that the time hasn’t come for such because it will create panic amongst Nigerians.
Dr Ihekweazu who was on Channels Television Sunrise Daily urged the lawmakers to support the efforts of experts by providing a budget that is sustainable in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“I have a lot of respect for the honourable members of the House of Representatives, but I think the time now hasn’t come, if they respond in a way like that by suspending session, everyone else will ask if they should close their businesses, office or schools and it is disproportionate at this time.
“They should support the work experts are doing; give us a sustainable budget so that we can develop the expertise.”
The House of Representatives has clarified the controversy on the planned suspension of plenary over coronavirus.
In a statement on Tuesday, the spokesman for the House, Benjamin Kalu, said the lawmakers have yet to proceed with the decision to suspend plenary.
He explained that the lawmakers, during plenary, considered a motion on the urgent need for emergency response and need to contain the deadly virus in the country.
According to Kalu, the motion was thoroughly debated and passed while some of the prayers included the need for the leadership of the National Assembly to set up an ad-hoc committee to liaise with the relevant health agencies to ensure efforts to combat the virus were intensified.
He said the House also called for a better orientation of the disease by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, through relevant media outfits to keep Nigerians abreast of the situation.
“An amendment to the prayers of the motion calling on the House to suspend plenary for two weeks to work and contribute its legislative efforts by helping to sensitise constituents on the coronavirus and how it is being handled was also adopted,” the lawmaker revealed.
He added, “The amendment also urged the management of the National Assembly to put measures in place to ensure the virus does not find a place to fester in the National Assembly.
“It is, however, necessary to clarify that the two weeks suspension of plenary has not commenced and is subject to reconsideration by the House.”
Kalu said the leadership of the House would meet and consider the arrangement necessary before a date would be fixed for the sensitisation of constituents by their respective lawmakers.
He noted that the business of law making would continue on Wednesday.
He also noted that the government is making efforts to ensure that all out-of-school children return to school, stressing that it is not a privilege but a right that the government owes them.
“These out-of-school children are our responsibility. We owe them, because it is not a privilege, it is their right to be in school. We shouldn’t allow them to continue to stray in the street.
“Whether we call them Almajiri or not, these are the leaders of tomorrow and there is going to be a widening gap if such people are left uneducated. They will also contribute security challenge to us if they have not already,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with Google global services to educate 56 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.
Also, as part of efforts to consolidate the free and compulsory primary and secondary school education policy, the Kano State Government has banned street begging by Almajiri children in the state.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje gave the order on Tuesday, February 25, during the launch of the Basic Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) and the Distribution of Offer of Appointment to 7,500 volunteer teachers, held at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata.
He also stressed that parents or guardians of children still found out-of-school, would be taken to court.
According to him, this exposes innocent civilians to the Boko Haram attacks.
Jaha added that the soldiers simply wait in the super camps to repel the attacks of the insurgents, instead of taking the battle to them.
The lawmaker insisted that the security chiefs must be sacked.
Members of the House of Representatives had earlier called on the service chiefs to resign their positions.
This was part of the resolutions reached on January 29, after the lawmakers had a debate on the nation’s security.
A member of the House, Abubakar Fulata, had informed his colleagues in the chamber that the service chiefs had outlived their usefulness.
According to him, it will be to the detriment of the country if these men keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result in tackling the security challenges Nigeria is grappling with.
According to the lawmakers, the airlines cited poor landing equipment at the nation’s airports as the reason for the diversions.
The House, therefore, mandated its Committee on Aviation to liaise with the relevant agencies to ensure that all the acquired landing equipment were installed at the designated airports without further delay.
The committee was also asked to ensure that compensation was paid to the passengers who were compelled to part with more money for accommodation and their flights back to their original destination.
The committee has been directed to report back within two weeks.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has asked the armed forces to take the battle to the criminals in their hideouts, in a bid to tackle the security challenges in the country.
He stated this on Wednesday when he met with the service chiefs and the joint House Committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Those present included Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The meeting comes one week after the House and the Senate dedicated a whole day to debate the issue of insecurity in the country, with the lawmakers calling for the resignation of the service chiefs.
According to the speaker, security is a priority of the 9th House of Representatives and will be addressed frontally.
He told the service chiefs that Nigerians were on the necks of their representatives in the House over the security situation in the country.
Gbajabiamila noted that although the service chiefs were doing a lot, the anxiety among Nigerians was enough reason for the military commanders to redouble their efforts.
He said, “I thought I should be here to encourage everybody that we’re all on the same page. We all know the situation in Nigeria today, we can’t hide from it; we can’t shy away from it, we cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist.
“We spent practically the whole day on Wednesday (last week) discussing the security situation in Nigeria as expected. Simultaneously, the Senate was doing the same thing without us comparing notes.”
The lawmaker decried that people were dying daily in such a way he said could only be found in countries without security forces.
He stressed, ”We must think outside the box; we must take the battle to these criminals whatever they are.
“As I said at the State House the other day, Nigerians are anxious, but I do understand the limitations of the Armed Forces.”
Gbajabiamila, however, commended the service chiefs, as well as men and women of the Armed Forces for doing their best and sacrificing their lives for the country.
He promised that the House would continue to engage the armed forces to find a lasting solution to the security challenges.
The speaker assured the service chiefs of improved support of the lawmakers, highlighting funding, equipment, and recruitment of personnel as some of the challenges they face.
“I believe the committee is well equipped to handle these issues. This is our priority. It’s the government’s priority, and it should also be our priority in the House.
“It’s major in our legislative agenda and we must address it frontally, squarely,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The President met with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday inside the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Mr Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly leaders discussed the nation’s in detail with President Buhari.
According to him, the President is equally worried about the recent upsurge of security challenges in the country.
The speaker revealed that the issue of the sacking of the nation’s service chiefs also formed part of the discussion at the meeting.
He, however, said opinions were still divided.
On his part, the Senate President said they were at the Villa to discuss with Mr President the way forward out of Nigeria’s security challenges.
He explained that the was important even as the Senate has set up an ad-hoc committee to come up with specific measures that should be taken.
“There is need for us as a government to ensure that we provide a way out to tackle the security challenges in the intermediate, and in the long term, we should be able to come up with some strategies; with roadmap to ensure that we secure the lives and properties of Nigerians,” he said.
Senator Lawan added, “We discussed everything that matters as far as the security of this country is concerned.
“We believe that it is imperative that we are able to provide those necessary equipment and welfare for the armed forces of this country and the police to ensure that they are able to perform efficiently and effectively.”
According to him, the President was forthcoming and as the leader of the country, he was more worried than anybody else about the situation.
The Senate President noted that they were on the same page with President Buhari that there was a need to do whatever it takes to improve the operations of the nation’s security agencies.
Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumini Jibrin Kofa, has lost his seat in the Parliament.
Jibrin who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress lost to the Peoples Democratic Party’s Alhaji Aliyu Datti Yako in Saturday’s rerun of Kiru/ Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State.
According to the results, as put forward by INEC, Jibrin polled 13,507 votes against the 48,601 votes polled by Aliyu Yako.
In reaction to his loss, Jibrin said constituents came out en mass to exercise their civic responsibility but were denied their franchise to vote the candidate and party of their choice through the application of maximum force in all the wards of the constituency except his home town of Kofa, Bebeji that proved impenetrable.
“We know we won the election fairy and squarely but our mandate was stolen,” Jibrin claimed.
Mr Jibrin also said that in many units, elections never took place, adding that the ballot boxes were diverted but scores were miraculously entered.
According to his statement titled: “KIRU/BEBEJI KANO RE-RUN ELECTIONS SO LONG, FAREWELL” Jibrin said the violence, thuggery, and rigging that took place have been carefully documented, at least for posterity.
Jibrin’s communique partly reads:
I have strong reservations about the outcome of the elections. However, INEC has announced my opponent as the winner of the election.
Police, other security agencies and voters can bear witness to the fact that the electoral umpire announced the result not because my opponent had scored the majority of lawful votes. Iam sure those of them saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a free and fair election but aided and abated this grave injustice against our people will be eternally trailed by the guilt of their conscience and await the ultimate judgement of God.
I have therefore accepted the outcome of the elections and wish to congratulate my opponent Aliyu Datti Ahmed who will continue from where I started about a decade ago and has now come to an end. I look forward to working closely with him and giving him whatever cooperation and assistance to settle down in his new role of representing our people. I do not intend to file petition against his declaration as winner. It is time to move on.
I wish to thank Mr President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, National Chairman of our party the APC, Governor and Government of Kano state, chairman of the Governors forum, my colleagues in the 7th, 8th, and 9th House and other leaders at the federal and state level for their intervention and support during this period. May I also specially and once again thank my Governor, our party leadership at the state level and members of our party in Kano for their support.
I thank my constituents who are still recovering from the trauma of what can best be described as a violent war against them, for giving me the opportunity to represent them on three occasions and the love and support they have showed me over the years.
I will continue to support the progress and development of my party, the APC both at the national and state levels and my constituency and constituents in my personal capacity as I have always done before I became an elected Representative nine years ago.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has described late Honourable Muhammad Adamu Fagen Gawo as a truly committed lawmaker who meant well for his constituents and the country as a whole.
Fagen Gawo, who represented Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State on the platform of APC, passed away on Tuesday in Dubai.