Reps Pass Electoral Act Amendment Bill After Opposition Lawmakers Walk Out

 

The House of Representatives has passed the Electoral Amendment Bill, moments after opposition lawmakers walked out of the heated session at the National Assembly chambers in Abuja on Friday. 

Nigeria’s lower chamber passed the bill after a clause-by-clause consideration.

The house passed the majority of the 158 clauses of the bill intact including Clause 52 (2), which had led to controversy and debate.

The clause provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shall determine the mode of voting/transmission of election results.

The retained Clause 52 (2) reads, “Voting at election and transmission of results in this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”

Attempts by some lawmakers to amend the clause were the cause of heated debate and rowdiness during plenary on Thursday.

On Friday, the situation was no different as the debate over the clause resulted in opposition lawmakers majorly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) walking out of the session as they insisted that the clause was never carried.

They threatened to disrupt the proceedings when the House resumes from break.

On Thursday, the Green Chamber failed to reach a consensus over the much-debated clause after the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wale ruled against the electronic transmission of election results in spite of a resounding vote in favour of the move.

Subsequently, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(2).

The NCC which later honoured the invitation of the House of Reps explained that it cannot guarantee a 100% percent safety of results for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system is completely free from hackers.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu admitted that no system can guarantee a 100 percent shield from hacking.

The NCC boss also stated that elections results can only be transmitted by a 3G network, noting that 50 percent of the country has 3G coverage.

READ ALSO: Reps In Disorder As Deputy Speaker Rules Against E-Transmission Of Electoral Results

Senators Vote

The Senate has given a conditional nod for the electronic transmission of election results.

 

Already, the Senate had voted for the conditional electronic transmission of election results.

At the end of voting, 28 Senators mostly from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) voted for the original amendment in the report while 52 Senators backed the amendment as proposed by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.

This means the majority of Senators voted that INEC may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by NCC and approved by the National Assembly.

Opposition Lawmakers Stage Walkout Over Electoral Act Amendment Bill

 

Opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives have staged a walk-out over clause 52 of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

They insist that the clause was never carried.

They also insist that they will disrupt the proceedings when the House resumes from recess.

The new amendment provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may consider electronic transmission so far as the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.

But as the debate over the passing of the bill intensifies, members of the House have yet to reach an agreement.

On Thursday, the representatives had also gone into a rowdy session after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against the electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.

Subsequently, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, adjourned the session and announced that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(3).

The Executive Commissioner of the NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, told the lawmakers that while concerns over the electronic transmission of results are genuine, no system can guarantee a 100 per cent shield from hacking.

The NCC boss also stated that elections results can only be transmitted by a 3G network, noting that 50 per cent of the country has 3G coverage.

He, however, explained that for areas without such coverage, poll results can be recorded and thereafter uploaded in places where there is a network. But Adeleke admitted that this cannot be compared with the real-time upload.

Another rowdy session broke out afterwards.

Reps Continue Debate Over Electoral Act Amendment Bill

 

The House of Representatives has continued its debate on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, following the inability of members to reach an agreement on Thursday.

The House had gone into a rowdy session after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against the electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.

Subsequently, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, announced that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(3).

The Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has now been admitted into the chamber.

More to follow.

Electronic Transmission: We Must Do That Which Is In Nigerians’ Best Interest – Gbajabiamila

 

Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, reminded his distinguished colleagues that their deliberations on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill come at a very special moment in the nation’s history, one which would require them to do all in the best interest of Nigerians.

Addressing other legislators during a heated plenary on the electronic transmission of poll results on Thursday, the House of Reps Speaker warned that whatever decision is taken must not be done out of selfish interest.

“The reason why I think we should get it right is that this is a moment in history and we should do whatever in our conscience that we believe is in the best interest of Nigeria,” the Speaker advised his colleagues.

While urging lawmakers to stop shouting each other down, Gbajabiamila stressed that no one can impose their own will over others, adding that the decision on the contentious bill must only be made when all democratic options have been explored.

READ ALSO: Senate Approves Conditional Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

 

A rowdy session

Prior to the Speaker’s address, the House of Reps seemed a place where cats and mice were at each other’s heels.

Things fell apart on Thursday after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.

Plenary on Thursday continued its deliberations on the amendment of section 52(3) of the electoral act amendment bill, with Honourable Wase chairing the session instead of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who is on the floor of the House.

READ ALSO: Senators Vote Along Party Lines Over Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

The new amendment provides that INEC may consider electronic transmission so far the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Having taken quite a while to deliberate on the matter, the lawmakers voted orally, and the Deputy Speaker clanged the gavel ruling against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding chorus in support of E-Transmission.

READ ALSO: Senate Approves Conditional Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

After a while calm was restored in the House and deliberations continued with some congressmen calling for a proper division on the matter.

Another round of votes was called for and again the Deputy Speaker, despite a resounding vote in favour of an amendment for manual and electronic transmission of results, ruled against ayes, sending the House into yet another frenzy.

This time it proved almost impossible for the House to be called to order, but decorum returned after a while.

READ ALSO: House Of Reps Steps Down PIB

A motion to suspend consideration and revert to plenary was moved and seconded, but lawmakers voted against it, however, the house eventually reverted to plenary.

In reporting progress, the deputy speaker stated that the controversial clause 52 has been considered and approved but some lawmakers insisted that this is not the case; this leads to heated arguments with two lawmakers Ifeanyi Momah and Shehu Koko get involved in a heated exchange.

Another lawmaker Yusuf Gagdi went out of control and members took great effort to restrain him, forcing Speaker Gbajabiamila to take back his seat as chair of the House and moved that the session be adjourned.

Gbajabiamila Reveals Why Reps Did Not Adopt E-Voting For PIB

(File Photo) The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Fem Gbajabiamila.

 

 

Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has explained why the chamber did not adopt electronic voting for the clause-by-clause consideration and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.

Gbajabiamila on Thursday said it would be difficult to deploy e-voting for such huge legislations.

The Speaker, in his valedictory speech at the plenary, noted that the 9th House of Representatives has carried on its constitutional duty to make laws for the good government of the country.

“After multiple failed attempts over two decades, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has passed both House of the National Assembly and will shortly be transmitted to the President after proper harmonization with the Senate. 

“It has been mentioned to me that landmark legislation such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill ought to have been considered using the electronic voting system in the House. While I agree with this suggestion, e-voting usually in most parts of the world is meant for single item pieces of legislation not 400 clause considerations, except on reports that contain the limited number of clauses. As such, it is not ideal for this bill,” the Speaker stated.

READ ALSO: Reps In Disorder As Deputy Speaker Rules Against E-Transmission Of Electoral Results

Gbajabiamila however assured that the lawmakers will make sure that the system is fully deployed in advance of the House’s resumption, even as the legislative year comes to an end.

While stressing that the work of the legislature never ends, the Speaker said even though the legislators will not be in the chambers making laws and advocating for the people, still, their attention will be required in their constituencies on other engagements relating to their service in the House of Representatives.

He urged the congressmen to endeavour to use this recess to spend time with their families, as well as use them for deep reflection, to examine themselves and assess the quality of the service they have each provided in the year under review. as to determine those areas where improvements are needed, and where they need to do better than was done in the past year.

Fight Breaks Out At Reps As Lawmakers Debate Electronic Transmission Of Results

 

A fight broke out today at the House of Representatives, as lawmakers debated over the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, with a major focus on section 52(3) which deals with electronic transmission of poll results.

The new amendment provides that INEC may consider electronic transmission so far as the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.

All initially seemed well as plenary got underway with deliberations on the matter, however, things began to fall apart after lawmakers voted orally, and Deputy Speaker Idris Wase clanged the gavel ruling against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding chorus in support of E-Transmission.

The House became rowdy as many congressmen frowned at the Deputy Speaker’s action, with some asking that a clear line of demarcation be drawn.

READ ALSO: Senate Approves Conditional Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

When the House eventually came to order, deliberations continued on the subject and the lawmakers resolved to vote again regarding the matter.

Another round of votes held and again the Deputy Speaker, despite a resounding vote in favour of an amendment for manual and electronic transmission of results, ruled against the ayes, sending the House into yet another frenzy.

This time it proved almost impossible for the House to be called to order, but decorum returned after a long while.

All was far from over after the House was brought to decorum a second time, even as a motion to suspend consideration and revert to plenary was moved, seconded, but kicked against by members of the Green Chamber.

Honourable Wase, the Deputy Speaker on Thursday clanged his gavel twice in favour of the nays, despite a resounding vote by the ayes in the House who were in support of transmuting electoral results electronically.
Honourable Wase, the Deputy Speaker on Thursday clanged his gavel twice in favour of the nays, despite a resounding vote by the ayes in the House who were in support of transmuting electoral results electronically.

 

The house eventually reverted to plenary but in reporting progress, the deputy speaker stated that the controversial clause 52 has been considered and approved, but some lawmakers insisted that this is not the case;  it was at this time that yet another heated round of arguments rocked the floor of the hallowed chamber with two lawmakers Ifeanyi Momah and Shehu Koko getting involved in a heated exchange.

Other lawmakers joined the fray while some other honourable colleagues went a great length to restrain those gunning for each other’s necks. This forced the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila to take back his seat as chair of the House and moved that the session be adjourned.

With the Speaker’s notion seconded, the session was adjourned till Friday 10am to commence from clause 52, with the INEC Chairman and his NCC counterpart in attendance.

Reps In Disorder As Deputy Speaker Rules Against E-Transmission Of Electoral Results

 

The House of Representatives is in a rowdy session as lawmakers debate over the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. 

Things fell apart on Thursday after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.

Plenary on Thursday continued its deliberations on the amendment of section 52(3) of the electoral act amendment bill, with Honourable Wase chairing the session instead of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who is on the floor of the House.

READ ALSO: Senators Vote Along Party Lines Over Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

The new amendment provides that INEC may consider electronic transmission so far the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Having taken quite a while to deliberate on the matter, the lawmakers voted orally, and the Deputy Speaker clanged the gavel ruling against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding chorus in support of E-Transmission.

READ ALSO: Senate Approves Conditional Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

After a while calm was restored in the House and deliberations continued with some congressmen calling for a proper division on the matter.

Another round of votes was called for and again the Deputy Speaker, despite a resounding vote in favour of an amendment for manual and electronic transmission of results, ruled against ayes, sending the House into yet another frenzy.

This time it proved almost impossible for the House to be called to order, but decorum returned after a while.

READ ALSO: House Of Reps Steps Down PIB

A motion to suspend consideration and revert to plenary was moved and seconded, but lawmakers voted against it, however, the house eventually reverted to plenary.

In reporting progress, the deputy speaker stated that the controversial clause 52 has been considered and approved but some lawmakers insisted that this is not the case; this leads to heated arguments with two lawmakers Ifeanyi Momah and Shehu Koko get involved in a heated exchange.

Another lawmaker Yusuf Gagdi went out of control and members took great effort to restrain him, forcing Speaker Gbajabiamila to take back his seat as chair of the House and moved that the session be adjourned.

With the Speaker’s notion seconded, the House was adjourned till tomorrow 10am to commence from clause 52, with the INEC Chairman and his NCC counterpart in attendance.

South-South Lawmakers Chant ‘Five Per cent’ After PIB Allocation Is Pegged At Three Per cent

 

Members of the House of Representatives from the South-South have opposed the harmonised Petroleum Industry Bill allocation to host communities which has been pegged at three per cent.

The lawmakers were heard chanting “five per cent” as against the three pre cent at the floor of the House on Thursday.

The chants continued even as the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, walked in to commence plenary.

Shortly after, the House went into an executive session.

[Read Also] PIB: Nigerian Governors Fault Proposed Ownership Structure For NNPC

Bill To Allow Creation Of State Police Passes Second Reading

In this photo released by the House of Representatives, some lawmakers are seated during one of the plenaries in the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

A bill to alter the constitution to allow for the creation of state police and other state government security services has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives. 

The bill was sponsored by Onofiok Luke representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency.

READ ALSO: Group Demands Inquest Into Lady’s Death At Yoruba Nation Rally

In leading the debate on Tuesday, the lawmaker highlighted that the bill will enhance the security and preservation of lives and properties in Nigeria.

The bill seeks to move the legislation of policing from the house exclusive to the concurrent list.

 

 See the full content of the Bill below…

 

CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (FIFTH ALTERATION) BILL, 2020

Arrangement of Clauses
Clause:
1. Alteration of Cap. C23, LFN, 2004.
2. Alteration of section 197.
3. Alteration of the Second Schedule.
4. Alteration of the Third Schedule.
5. Citation.

CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (FIFTH ALTERATION) BILL, 2020
A Bill
For
An Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Cap. C23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for State Police and other state government security services to enhance security and preservation of lives and properties in Nigeria; and for related matters.

Sponsor: Hon. Onofiok Luke (Etinan/ Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium Federal
Constituency)

ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria─

1 The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Cap.C23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in this Bill.
Alteration of Cap. C23, LFN, 2004.
2 Section 197(1) of the Principal Act is altered by inserting after paragraph (d), new paragraphs “(e)” – “(f)” –

“(e) State Police Council; and
(f) State Police Service Commission.”

3. The Second Schedule to the Principal Act is altered–

(a) in Part I, by deleting item 45 from the Exclusive Legislative List; and

(b) in Part II, by inserting after item 30 on the Concurrent Legislative List, new items “31” – “32” –

“31. The National Assembly may make laws for the establishment of the Federal Police and other Federal government security services;

32. A House of Assembly may make laws for the establishment of State Police and other state government security services.”

4. The Third Schedule to the Principal Act is altered by inserting after paragraph (8), new paragraphs “9” – “12” – “E State Police Council

9. A State Police Council shall comprise the following members:

(a) the Governor, who shall be the Chairman;

(b) the Chairman of the State Police Service Commission; and

(c) State Commissioner of Police.

10. The functions of a State Police Council shall include –

(a) the organisation and administration of a State Police Force and all other matters relating thereto (not being matters relating to the use and operational control of the Force or the appointment, disciplinary control and dismissal of members of the Force);

(b) the general supervision of a State Police Force; and

(c) advising the Governor on the appointment of State Commissioner of Police.

F State Police Service Commission

11. A State Police Service Commission shall comprise the following members –

(a) a Chairman; and

(b) such number of other persons, not less than five but not more than seven, as may be prescribed by a Law made by the House of Assembly of a State.

12. The Commission shall have power to –

(a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the State Commissioner of Police) in the State Police Force; and

(b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in subparagraph (a).”5.This Bill may be cited as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020.

 

Reps Screen Chief Of Army Staff

A file photo of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya.

 

The House Of Representatives Joint Committees on Army and Defence has screened President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for the position of Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya.

The screening took place on Tuesday behind closed doors in the National Assembly chambers in Abuja.

Speaking earlier, Major General Farouk Yahaya in his introductory remarks, stated that contrary to public perception, there has been synergy among security agencies to tackle insurgency, especially since the emergence of the new service chiefs.

He also asked Nigerians to support the military in tackling the insecurity problem.

Read Also: Army Releases New Postings, Appointments Of Senior Officers

President Buhari appointed Major General Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff on May 27.

Prior to his appointment, he was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the incumbent Theatre Commander of the Counterterrorism, Counter-Insurgency military outfit in the North East code-named Operation Hadin Kai.

The appointment came days after the immediate past army chief, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru died in an air crash in Kaduna along with 10 other military officials.

‘They Are Taking Us For Granted,’ Lawmaker Fumes Over Refusal Of IGP, CBN Gov, NSA Others To Appear Before NASS

 

A member of the House of Representatives, Isiaka Ibrahim, on Monday lamented over the refusal of Heads of government to appear during the investigative hearing on recovered loots.

The House adhoc committee is investigating the management of recovered loots by government agencies.

Ibrahim who is a member of, House Adhoc Committee on recovered loots lamented that the repeated absence of the Head of Governments is disrespectful to the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: We Are In Talks With Twitter Over Suspension – FG

Those invited to the hearing and refused to show up include, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele; the Inspector General Of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

“These are those that have gone through the Senate for confirmation. So, I am worried, when they are invited and the National Assembly is taken for granted in a case like this.

“It calls for serious concern. I want to appeal that this should not end here. If it amounts to raising it on the floor of the House, we should shut down the National Assembly if the agencies of government are not going to respect us by our invitation then we don’t need to be here,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim added that the lawmakers have no business being in the parliament if agencies of government who are creations of the parliament refuse to respect the institution that created them.

The committee then resolved to evoke relevant sections of the constitution to exercise powers of the legislature if they fail to appear before Thursday, June 10.

Gbajabiamila Not Against Southern Governors’ Calls For Restructuring – Reps

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 House of Representatives has said that Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila is not opposed to the call by Southern Governors for the restructuring of the country.

Seventeen southern governors had convened on Tuesday in Asaba, the Delta State capital and had demanded for the nation’s restructuring, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation and to also convene a national dialogue.

But the House via a statement issued on Friday by its spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, said the Speaker and indeed the current leadership of the House has shown commitment to total review of the 1999 constitution to meet the yearning and aspiration of the Nigerian people.

“The attention of the House has been drawn to several publications on online and traditional media claiming that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, is opposed to the Southern Governors’ call for restructuring,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: Southern Governors Ban Open Grazing, Ask Buhari To Address Nigerians

“The House gathers that this allegation was attributed to statements made by the Speaker at a recent interview seeking his opinion on the issue. The House states clearly and unequivocally that the publications are false and misleading.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

The Speaker did not say He is opposed to the Southern Governors’ calls for restructuring

The attention of the House has been drawn to several publications on online and traditional media claiming that the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, is opposed to the Southern Governors’ call for restructuring. The House gathers that this allegation was attributed to statements made by the Speaker at a recent interview seeking his opinion on the issue. The House states clearly and unequivocally that the publications are false and misleading.

For the avoidance of doubt, below is an accurate reproduction of the statements made by the Speaker at that interview;

“This is not a time for name-calling or blaming one person or the other. If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame and whatever challenges we have, we all must come together. In the same way we all have equal shares, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve whatever issues there are. Like I said earlier, the greatest nations have gone through challenges worse than this and I believe that it is that spirit of oneness and that spirit of togetherness and unity and love that will take us through this. You know sometimes there are many things that people have said here and there and you never know where these things are coming from. Sometimes God even puts you through challenges so that you can come out of it stronger, bigger, better, bolder. That’s what I believe is gonna happen to Nigeria. We’re all put together in this one geographical space for a reason. It wasn’t by happenstance or coincidence or by chance. It was ordained by Almighty God and He doesn’t make mistakes, He doesn’t go wrong. What He decrees is what will be and I believe He put us all together. No matter your religion, no matter your ethnicity, talking about over 250 ethnic groups in one country, it is that diversity that God had foreseen that I believe we should tap into as Nigerians. I have belief in the Nigerian resilience and in the Nigerian spirit; and in the spirit of Ramadan, we must continue to pray.”

It is clear to objective reason that nothing in the above statement opposes the Southern Governors’ call for restructuring. Indeed, from the beginning of the 9th Assembly, the House under the leadership of Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has reiterated its commitment to a thorough review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as can be seen by the composition and activities of the Constitutional Review Committee of the House.

The media is hereby cautioned to be mindful of peddling false news in the bid to misinform the general public. This is misleading and detrimental to our democracy as a nation. Like the Speaker rightly said, this is not a time to apportion blames rather this is a time for us to come together and deliberate on issues that have birthed the problem we are facing as a nation and to find a suitable solution to it.

The House urges Nigerians to disregard this news and continue to pray for a peaceful Nigeria.

 

Signed,

Rep. Benjamin Okezie Kalu

Spokesperson

House of Representatives