Ninth Senate The Most Productive Since 1999, Says Lawan

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advanced copious reasons to justify the current dispensation of collaboration between the National Assembly and the Executive.

Lawan said the prevailing harmonious relationship between the arms of government made the ninth National Assembly the most productive since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had so far signed into law 84 bills passed by the ninth Assembly, the largest by any Nigerian President.
The Senate President made the disclosure in a paper which he delivered at the just concluded 3rd Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the State House, Abuja.


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His paper was titled: “Collaboration to deliver: Fostering Executive/Legislative relationship and opportunities for legacy legislation.”

Lawan stated that his presentation was “best understood within the context of our presidential system of government and the doctrine of the separation of powers.

“The three arms of government are separate but interdependent, and the ultimate goal of each is to deliver good governance and meet the aspirations of all Nigerians.

“Many Nigerians have come to construe harmonious executive-legislative relations as a sign of weakness or subservience to the executive.

“Nothing can be further from the truth than this misperception, which we must painstakingly work to correct.

“It is not uncommon for some to view the three arms of government as occupying separate and identifiable domains of power and responsibility, with little opportunity or need for interaction.

“However, this kind of dualism is not only untenable but damaging. It is now widely recognised that good national governance depends on core state institutions working cooperatively.

“A constructive relationship between the three arms of government, i.e., legislature, the executive and the judiciary, is essential to effectively maintaining the constitution and promoting the rule of law.

“Timely consultations between all stakeholders can play a significant role in avoiding gridlocks, improving understanding and delivering development to the people on whose behalf we govern.

“The legislature is constituted by the people’s direct representatives and is responsible for reflecting the voices of ordinary Nigerians.

“This cannot be achieved through unnecessary grandstanding, conflict and war of egos. As the cliché rightly states, ‘where two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’.

“As one of the longest-serving legislators in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, I am well aware of the dangers of adopting a confrontational approach to governance issues.

“A lot of energy and resources (time and money) are dissipated over inconsequential issues rather than on dealing with substantive and livelihood-based issues that confront the average Nigerian.

“At the beginning of the 9th Assembly, we took a deliberate position to collaborate with the executive to ensure that the cardinal objective of government (welfare and security of citizens) is met.

“Hence, despite the media bashing and name-calling, I am proud to say that this National Assembly has been the most productive since 1999.

“The achievements recorded are mainly due to a harmonious executive relation and heightened engagement with the executive on proposed policies and laws long before they are formally presented to Assembly for legislative action.

“This strategy has enabled us to surmount many of the traditional obstacles and bottlenecks that confronted previous Assemblies.

“The synergy between the legislature and the executive has resulted in reforming our budgetary process to entrench transparency and accountability, professionalism, greater citizen participation, and strict guidelines and timelines (January-December).

“In addition, we worked with President Muhammadu Buhari to support the establishment of the Executive, Legislative, and Party Consultative Forum headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to promote harmony in governance towards enhancing service delivery to the Nigerian people.

“In the last few years, the National Assembly provided legislative support and approval towards the realisation of this administration’s unwavering commitment to improving security, transforming the nation’s economy and modernising infrastructure, specifically, railway system, roads and power, across the length and breadth of this country.

“The results of our collaboration are clear for all to see. President Muhammadu Buhari has granted assent to eighty four(84) bills so far, the largest by any Nigerian president.

“Many of the Acts enacted have immediate and long-term impacts on all aspects of our national life, including the economy, security, and democratic institutions.

“These include the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, Electoral Act 2022, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2020.

“Other impactful legislations are the Finance Act, 2020, Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020; Police Act, 2020; and the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (Amendment) Act 2019, etc.

“The impact of the enactment of these landmark legislations will continue to be felt for generations to come. Indeed, a clear benefit of harmonious legislative-executive relations is the successes recorded by the 9th Assembly in passing laws that have consistently failed to scale through since 1999.

“Other areas of achievements that are hinged on effective collaboration with the executive include the adoption of legislative measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians, mitigate its consequences, limit its spread and improve the efficiency of Nigeria’s health system to cope with the unprecedented challenges occasioned by the pandemic.”

Reps Meet With ASUU In Bid To End Seven-Month Strike

ASUU members met with the House of Representatives in Abuja on September 29, 2022.
ASUU members met with the House of Representatives in Abuja on September 29, 2022.

 

The House of Representatives led by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila met with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday.

The meeting is geared towards ending the union’s seven-month-long strike.

Also in attendance were the Minister of Labour, Head of Service and the Director-General of the Budget Office, among others.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14.

 

In August, the union declared a “total and indefinite” extension of its industrial action, noting that the government has failed to satisfactorily meets its demands.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Reps Call For Sack Of FCCPC Finance Director Over Extra-Budgetary Spending

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives attend a plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Tuesday called for the sack of the Director of Finance of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC), Mr Akinyogbon Ojo.

Committee Chairman, Mr James Faleke, echoed the call at hearing in Abuja, part of its interaction with government agencies and ministries to arrive at suitable parameters for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (2023-2025)

The Finance Director was alleged to have engaged in extra-budgetary spending.

The Committee also asked the Accountant-General of the Federation to block the FCCPC’s account.

VIDEO: Reps Query $33m Monthly Payment For Electricity

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Friday queried a contract between the Federal Government and an investor, leading to the payment of $33 million monthly to the Azura power station located in Edo State.

The lawmakers were concerned that the details of the agreement are shady and questioned why the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company would sign such an agreement without the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

Subsidy: Reps Give Finance Minister A Week To Honour Invitation

A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

 

The House of Representatives’ adhoc committee on subsidy regime has issued a one-week ultimatum to the Minister of Finance

The committee gave the ultimatum after the minister failed to honour its invitation but instead sent a representative.

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The lawmakers are, among other things, investigating the total amount released from other accounts for subsidy other than the consolidated revenue account.

The committee is also requesting for a list of the beneficiaries of the subsidy payments.

This was stated by the Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Aliyu.

Insecurity: Reps Join Senators To Hand Buhari Six-Week Ultimatum, Threaten Impeachment

 

The minority caucus of the House of Representatives has joined its Senate counterpart to hand President Muhammadu Buhari a six-week ultimatum to fix insecurity or face impeachment in the National Assembly.

Minority leader of the House of Reps, Ndudi Elumelu, revealed this after a closed door meeting of the joint minority caucus of the National Assembly on Thursday.

Elumelu said the signatures will be gathered to impeach the President if the security situation is not addressed.

READ ALSO: Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

He also drew attention to the general state of the nation, including the exchange rate and aviation crisis.

On Wednesday, Senators, mostly drawn from the minority caucus, had staged a walkout on the floor of the red chambers.

Minority Leader of the Senate, Philip Aduda had raised a point of order asking the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to discuss the security situation in the country and the impeachment of President Buhari.

But Lawan, who presided over the plenary, declined the request of the minority leader, saying the point of order raised fell flat on its face.

At a briefing after the walkout, the Senators issued a six-week ultimatum to the President to tackle insecurity across the country or face impeachment.

Reps To Investigate Quality of Toilet Disinfectants In Nigeria

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives attend a plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to appear before it over the poor quality of toilet clean disinfectants used in Nigeria.

The motion was raised by Hon. Sergius Ose Ogun.

The House noted that Sections 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers the National Assembly to investigate the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: I Receive N697,911 Monthly Salary, Federal Lawmaker Shows Credit Alert

It also said it was aware that Section 17(e) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Act, 2018 empowers the Commission to carry out investigations considered necessary or desirable in connection with
matters within the purview of the Act.

The House said it was concerned that toilet cleaning disinfectants such as haptic and hypo used in most households in Nigeria are ineffective, poor quality and leave much to be desired.

It said that despite the poor quality of these toilet cleaning disinfectants, there are several television-sponsored advertisements that are misleading unsuspecting members of the public who rely on such adverts
product information to make purchases.

Alarmed that most Nigerians utilize these disinfectants in cleaning their homes, offices, hospitals, churches and mosques without getting the value for money spent in purchasing such products, the House urged the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission to appear before the Committee on Commerce to justify the presence of Harpic and Hypo, and other non-effective cleaning disinfectants in the market or otherwise.

It also mandated the Committees on Commerce and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

I Receive N697,911 Monthly Salary, Federal Lawmaker Shows Credit Alert

 

The lawmaker representing Yagba East/West/Mopamuro constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Leke Abejide on Thursday had a screenshot of his monthly salary displayed on a Channels Television live program.

According to the screenshot, which was broadcast on Sunrise Daily, Abejide earns about N697,000 monthly.

But he did not provide evidence for allowances and constituency projects.

READ ALSO: Reps Ask INEC To Extend Voters Registration By 60 Days

Nigerian lawmakers are believed to be one of the highest paid parliamentarians in the world despite widespread poverty among the general population.

Too much demands

Abejide said being a lawmaker was not lucrative as his constituents expect him to provide for their special needs.

“The allowances you talk about – I have staff, then people in the constituency are also there waiting for me. In a month, I don’t think I have up to N1.5 million. And I have family to take care of.

Hon Leke Abejide appeared on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily on June 16, 2022.
Hon Leke Abejide appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on June 16, 2022.

 

“So if you are coming to this system and you are someone who has been working on your own and doing business, you will not like to continue. Because the demand that is coming from your constituency in a month is in the range of N30 to N40 million.

“Someone whose children wants to go to school, to hospital, somebody who wants to do marriage, it is only you they will be focusing on. They can’t get the Governor; you are the closest person to them. And if you don’t do for them, then you have not done anything. So that’s the danger in this assembly.

“If you are not a man of means and you come to this seat, in one year people will be stoning you.

“The only difference is constituency project. Mine is N113 million a year. And out of it, government will take 18.5 percent.”

Reps Secure 6m Litres Of Aviation Fuel For Airlines, Seek Permanent Solution

Leaders of the House of Representatives met with airline operators and key stakeholders to solve the problem of aviation fuel scarcity at the National Assembly on May 9, 2022.
Leaders of the House of Representatives met with airline operators and key stakeholders to solve the problem of aviation fuel scarcity at the National Assembly on May 9, 2022.

 

The House of Representatives on Monday secured the cooperation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to make available six million litres of JetA1 (aviation fuel) to aviation fuel marketers chosen by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON).

The deal was struck at a meeting with AON representatives at the National Assembly.

Stakeholders present at the meeting included the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Aviation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), NNPC, Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA), among others.

READ ALSO: Airline Operators Suspend Withdrawal Of Services Hours To Deadline

The AON had threatened to shutdown local airline services on Monday but withdrew the threat on Sunday under pressure from the Federal Government.

The airline operators say rising cost of key inputs such as aviation fuel necessitated the intended shutdown.

Part of the resolutions reached at Monday’s meeting, which lasted for over three hours, include that, as a long term solution, the airline operators must commence, as soon as possible, the process of securing a license for the importation of aviation fuel to avoid suspicion over the landing cost of the product and other associated logistic issues.

The Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority was also mandated to, as much as possible, grant waivers that do not touch on the security and safety of the country for importers of the products.

Rocky start

The meeting took off on a rocky note when Speaker Gbajabiamila asked the representative of the CBN governor to excuse himself from the meeting,

The Speaker emphasised that the importance and sensitivity of the meeting required the presence of the CBN governor.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who eventually walked into the meeting abput 15 minutes later, gave reasons why he had to be represented before his eventual arrival.

In his remarks, Speaker Gbajabiamila said the nation was at a crucial moment as the shutdown by the airline operators amounts to a potential shutting down of the country. “We cannot sit here and watch this happen.

“That is why the presence of the CBN governor is very important because his role is very critical to the resolution of this issue”

The Speaker recalled that certain resolutions that included the sale of aviation fuel at N500 per litre and the granting of aviation fuel import license to the operators was arrived at during the last meeting with the stakeholders while requesting an update on the implementation of the resolution.

The leadership of the House also inquired from the NNPC about the status of the 25,000 tons of ATK approved for the airlines as a palliative in addition to the availability of the product to the airlines for about three months.

Also, the leadership opined that functional refineries should be able to address some of the challenges being faced while asking for the status of the refineries undergoing renovation.

Lasting solution

Responding, NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari assured that the three months supply of Jet A1 to the chosen marketers by the AOAN is assured while emphasizing that the price of the product cannot be guaranteed because it is globally market-driven.

“We will make appropriate allocations to the three marketers chosen by the operators and the other,” Kyari said.

On his part, the CBN governor, Emefiele also noted that though the apex bank has no control over the flow of the dollar, he however assured that no operator would be denied facilities by the banks as long as they are creditworthy.

While appreciating all the stakeholders for the efforts put in at resolving the issue at stake, the Speaker said, “Rounding up on a positive note, I appreciate the airline operators for being nationalistic in calling off the strike as I hope that the outcome of this meeting will usher in a lasting solution to these challenges of Jet A1 bearing in mind that there is a laissez-faire economy of demand and supply”.

‘Airlines Shutdown Will Cripple Economy’, PDP Lawmakers Ask Buhari To Intervene

A file photo of Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu.

 

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and avert the imminent shutdown of airline services across the country.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had announced the shutdown of its member services on Friday due to the unbearable high cost of aviation fuel (JetA1) and other associated costs.

The shutdown, the AON said, will commence on Monday.

In a statement signed by House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the lawmakers said such a development will hurt millions of businesses and carry grave consequences.

READ ALSO: Reps To Hold Emergency Plenary On Monday

“This worrisome development in Nigeria, a major producer of oil, is another very sad commentary on the unpardonable failure, corruption, incompetence, negative policies and lack of capacity of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to effectively manage our national economy,” the statement said.

“As representatives of the people, the Minority Caucus is concerned because aviation is pivotal to the operation, sustenance and survival of other key sectors of the economy and any shutdown of flight operations will have devastating spiral effect and worsen the excruciating economic hardship and further escalate insecurity in the country.

“This is because apart from the direct disabling of thousands of aviation related jobs and ancillary businesses, a shutdown of the sector will also have grave negative impact on critical government and public sector activities which are sustained by air travelling.

“It is instructive to note that the aviation sector is no longer an exclusive reserve of the elite, but plays central role in the movement of personnel and equipment that drive and sustain services and operations which benefit the masses in healthcare, manufacturing, education, food production, telecommunication, retailing, banking and finance, hospitality, entertainment, power, security and other key sectors.

“A shutdown of the aviation sector will therefore cripple millions of businesses as well as economic and commercial activities thereby increasing unemployment, worsen the economic hardship, put pressure on our already ailing roads and exacerbate insecurity in our country.

“Moreover, the situation is a huge threat to our national integrity as it erodes the confidence of the International Community and foreign investors in our country thereby encouraging the movement of investments to neigbouring countries.

“The Minority Caucus therefore calls on President Buhari to wake up, note the grave import of the situation and save the aviation sector from imminent collapse by immediately addressing the fuel crisis and other challenges in the industry.

“Mr. President should critically address the crisis in the petroleum industry by reviewing the counter-productive policies and curbing the corruption in his administration so as to save our national economy from collapse under his watch.”

Reps To Hold Emergency Plenary On Monday

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

The House of Representatives has called for an emergency plenary session on Monday.

According to the House’s Clerk, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, the session, which is scheduled to commence at 2pm, is “particularly intended to discuss critical issues of national importance.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila Salutes Nigerian Workers, Promises Better Welfare

“The House regrets any inconvenience this short notice would have caused.”

The lawmakers last week had postponed plenary sessions indefinitely due to the ongoing renovation of the chambers of the National Assembly.

Before then, they had been on a one-week Easter break.

Labour Day: Gbajabiamila Salutes Nigerian Workers, Promises Better Welfare

Gbajabiamila is asking political appointees to resign before seeking elective posts in the next polls.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has joined millions of Nigerians to salute the country’s workers on the celebration of this year’s International Workers’ Day.

Speaker Gbajabiamila, who commended the resilience, commitment and dedication of the Nigerian workers, said their efforts would never go in vain.

Read Also: Labour Rights Critical To Inclusive Development – NHRC

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said he was glad that the Nigerian workers have lived up to expectations over the years, noting that they remain the backbone of the Nigerian working force.

The Speaker said every well-meaning Nigerian must identify with the workers because of their invaluable contributions to nation-building.

He urged Nigerian workers to keep hope alive stating that governments at all levels as well as the private sector are trying to make life better for them.

Gbajabiamila said he was proud of the Nigerian workers because of the way they have been conducting themselves over the years.