Democracy: Nigeria Has Made Substantial Progress In Twenty Years – Lawan

 

 

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said on Thursday that Nigeria has made significant progress over the last twenty years since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.

Lawan stated this in a speech delivered at the 17th Edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme “Twenty Years of Democracy in Nigeria: Strengths, Weaknesses and Opportunities”, which held in Abuja.

The Senate President, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, was represented by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North).

Lawan said, “Representation, appropriation and legislation are critical to good governance.”

According to him, “These virtues are enshrined in a democratic setup, which we (Nigerians) have experienced in the last twenty years.”

READ ALSO: NASS Will Sustain Synergy With Executive, Lawan Says In Christmas Message

In his assessment of Nigeria’s democratic journey so far, the Senate President said, “Nigeria has made substantial progress on all counts, in the evolution of our nation, via the democratic dispensation. We have been steady, determined and forward-looking.

“We have developed it to the point where we can look no other way, other than the democratic way. What we now have to do as we have been doing in the National Assembly are ways of perfecting the system.

“The point has been severally made that there is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world, but the hallmark of a good democracy is the ability to develop its processes and procedures.”

Identifying the tools of democracy as the Constitution, political parties and electioneering process, Lawan noted that “any democracy that seeks to grow must ensure that these sectors work seamlessly.”

He added, “The legislature is in tune with this realization and has set in motion machinery for the timely passage of the Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill and the Bill for the Amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

“We have proposed these Bills for amendments, based on the limitations we realized from implementing them.

“In reviewing them, therefore, the greater goal of service to fatherland, and the overall good of the people are our (National Assembly’s) guiding principles.”

The Senate President while harping on the need to strengthen the country’s economy, said the National Assembly passed legislations towards increasing Nigeria’s revenue base in addition to ensuring appropriate application.

He identified some of the bills as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act CAP D3 LFN 2004 (Amendment Bill, 2019), and the Finance Bill, 2019, which was passed on 21 November 2019, and amended seven (7) existing tax and fiscal policy laws.

Others, he said, are the Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) Bills, 2019 which, according to him, seeks to strengthen the operational capacity of the Procurement Act, as an important reform and anti-corruption initiative.

Among the dignitaries who attended the event is the former Vice President of Nigeria, Mohammed Namadi Sambo who Chaired the occasion; Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, and immediate Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun.

Others are: Senator Kashim Shettima, Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior and former Governor of Borno State, and Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration.

Declare State Of Emergency In Power Sector, Senate President Tells Buhari

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Monday called on the Executive to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the power sector to overcome the legion of problems stalling steady power supply in Nigeria.

Lawan stated this while declaring open a one-day round-table discussion with the theme: “Addressing Nigeria’s Power Problems” organized by the Senate Committee on Power.

The Senate President said the privatization of the power sector in 2005 and 2013 was a grand scheme conceived with the intention to defraud Nigeria.

He said, “For me if there’s any sector of our economy that is so important and yet so challenged, it is the power sector. I believe that this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency.

“This is an opportunity for us in this round-table to exhaustively discuss not only the problems of the power sector in Nigeria but the solutions and way forward.

“The truth is that we all know what is wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges generally.

READ ALSO: Lawan Urges Service Chiefs To Repel Attacks, Assault By Bandits

“From the electricity power reform of 2005 to the privatization of Gencos and Discos and to what is happening today, we know that everything is a fraud. If we play the ostrich, in the next ten years we will be talking about the same things.

“I think the time has come for us to have courage. I want to remind us, that we have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. What will give us an edge is to have a competitive environment.

“Our industries and businesses must be able to produce things that can compete favourably with products produced in other countries in Africa. We are not in that position today, and we all know the consequences of that.

“Even our citizens, who have capital, will rather relocate to Ghana, produce whatever they want and bring to Nigeria to sell. Where does that leave our country? No employment opportunities; Nigeria becomes a dumping ground.”

The Senate President, therefore, called for a review of the privatization exercise undertaken by the Goodluck Jonathan administration which led to a takeover of the power sector by private Generating Companies (Gencos) and Distribution Companies (Discos).

He added that the National Assembly would make a significant contribution to the reform of the power sector through enabling legislation required to turn around the fortunes of power generation and distribution in Nigeria.

“If we went wrong with our privatization of Gencos and Discos, the time has come to look into it.

“Whatever we have to do to review these things, we should do. We must do it in the interest of the people of this country. We must admit there was something done wrong.

“This round-table actually is an idea of the Senate, that we should come together to talk among ourselves. Ours is to provide legislative interventions, but we are also part of the government.

“Therefore, whatever that is required to support the executive arm of government to turn-around this sector, in fact we are more than prepared to do so through legislation.

“If we are going to amend the power sector reform, we are prepared to do that, and expeditiously. Tell us where the issues are, because we can’t afford to delay any action to make the power sector of this country perform.

“In the sixties, we were comparing ourselves with Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest, now we started comparing with Ghana, Togo. With all due respect, that tells us we are not making progress where other countries are.”

“This round-table is an opportunity to come up with measurable roadmaps because we are not going to leave the implementation to the executive alone. We want to participate in every inch of the way.

“Every bit of what is to be done; we want to be part of it, so that we can contribute meaningfully to take the power sector to the next level.

“It is really disheartening that we are still talking about 4,000 megawatts. I don’t understand this. Other countries within Africa are talking of so much, even Ghana is three times better than what we are doing.”

Lawan called on the federal government to deploy the political will towards revamping Nigeria’s failing power sector, saying, “We are yet the largest economy in Africa, for how long can we sustain that position?

“I believe that we have to declare a state of emergency on Power, and courageous decisions must be taken by the government”, the Senate President said.

Earlier, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, in his welcome address said the “interaction was arranged out of the concern of the Senate and National Assembly about the intractable problems that we have been facing in the power sector.”

According to Abdullahi, “a lot of resources and human effort have gone into finding solutions to problems that have put this country several decades backwards, particularly because of the issues that have been raised and have undermined the development of power.”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, said, “There’s no doubting the consequential role which electricity plays in the economic development of countries.

The lawmaker lamented that Nigeria currently holds the position of being the second country in the world after India, with the highest population in the world without access to electricity.

Suswam identified challenges in the power sector to include: institutional and governance; infrastructural; political; legislative and environmental.

“Most institutions of government saddled with the responsibility of managing the power sector lack the capability and capacity to function effectively”, he said.

The lawmaker added that there is serious infrastructural deficit in the entire value chain of the power sector, adding that “this more than any other challenge requires attention.”

Among representatives from the executive arm of government that attended the round-table organised by the Senate Committee on Power are the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman and Managing Director, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC, Marilyn Amobi.

Lawan Urges Service Chiefs To Repel Attacks, Assault By Bandits

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during a session in the Senate Chamber in Abuja.

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has called on the Service Chiefs and security agencies in the country to immediately swing into action by repelling the attacks and assaults by armed bandits on Nigerians across some states in the north.

Lawan made the call on Wednesday after consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger East).

He said, “The motion we have just taken is a very serious one and I would urge the security agencies to act as quickly and expeditiously as possible to repel the attacks and assaults by the bandits.

“The essence of any government is the protection of lives and properties, and this is what we have to do for our citizens as an administration and as a government.

“We hope that this situation will be brought to an end and we will do everything possible, working with the executive to ensure that we secure the lives of our citizens and their properties.”

READ ALSO: Why Senate Has Not Constituted Constitutional Review Committee – Lawan

Earlier, Senator Sani Musa, in his motion, said confirmed reports from Madaka ward, Burwaye, Tagina, Gaude, Ungwar Sarki Noma, Gyaramiya, Maganda, Samunaka, Kurmi villages of Alawa, all in Rafi and Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, have been under attack.

According to the lawmaker, “many people have been killed and abducted including the District Head of Madaka.”

He bemoaned that “these attacks continued without any presence of Security Personnel in the Communities leaving them in the hands of the bandits.”

He added that “the current criminal wreckage among other havoc on fire Victims, set many homes on fire and carted away many cattle and other valuable assets worth millions of naira.”

The Senate, accordingly, urged the Service Chiefs and other Security Agencies to deploy immediately troops and materials to tackle the menace and to change the Security architecture of the area to forestall and bring back peace and order.

The upper chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently provide relief materials to the affected areas in view of the harsh harmattan weather experience across Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday swore in Smart Adeyemi as a Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.

The lawmaker was sworn-in immediately after the adoption of the votes and proceedings for Tuesday, December 3, 2019, moved by Jibrin Isah (APC, Kogi East) and seconded by Obinna Ogba (PDP, Ebonyi Central).

The oath was administered by the Clerk of Senate, Nelson Ayewoh.

Adeyemi was early this week declared winner of the Kogi West Senatorial election, having defeated Senator Dino Melaye after the court annulled an earlier victory awarded Melaye.

Melaye and Adeyemi had contested the November 16 Senatorial rerun election in the state to represent the people of Kogi West Senatorial district but the election was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

According to the results from the concluded elections last Saturday, Adeyemi polled 88,373 votes while Melaye recorded 62,133 votes, and was accordingly declared the winner by the Returning Officer, Olajide Lawal.

NASS Adjourns Plenary To Honour Late Member, Jafar Auna

 

The National Assembly on Tuesday adjourned plenary to honour a member, Jafar Auna, who died on Monday.

A minute of silence and prayers were held for him in both chambers of the National Assembly.

The adjournment was done after the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that plenary be adjourned to another legislative day.

Plenary was therefore adjourned to Wednesday, December 4.

READ ALSO: Lawan, Gbajabiamila Mourn Death Of Lawmaker, Jaafar Iliyasu Auna

Honourable Jafaru, who represented Rijau/Magama Federal Constituency of Niger State in the ninth National Assembly died on Monday morning in Abuja.

Lawan had earlier commiserated with the family of the deceased lawmaker and the government and people of Niger State and pray Almighty Allah to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Gbajabiamila also in condolence said he was “deeply shaken” by the demise of the Niger Rep, adding that he was a gentleman who showed great willingness and determination to work with his other colleagues to make good laws for the country.

Any Request From Buhari Will Make Nigeria Better, We’ll Act On It Expeditiously – Lawan

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday, said the Senate is yet to receive any formal request from President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

Lawan made the disclosure when a delegation of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption paid a courtesy visit to his office at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Senator Lawan said the Senate is willing to approve all requests that come from President Muhammadu Buhari because they are in the best interest of the people.

He, however, stressed that the request to confirm Magu was yet to make it to the floor of the hallowed chambers.

“The confirmation of acting chairman of EFCC – there is no request before this Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of EFCC.

“This is a new senate and therefore until there is a request to this senate, there is nothing the Senate can do.

“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr. President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place either in terms of appointments or legislation and the senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately,” Lawan said.

Chairman of the Presidential Committee and leader of the delegation, Prof. Itse Sagay, in his address, craved the cooperation of the upper chamber in ensuring the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, as well as the consideration of several Anti-corruption Bills introduced under the Eight National Assembly.

Sagay also informed the Senate leadership present at the meeting that the Committee had severally received complaints that members of the National Assembly, particularly Chairmen of Committees, solicit monetary compensation for undertaking oversight functions.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Congratulates Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello On His Re-Election

Responding to Sagay, the Senate President said:

“Going by our rules, any issue that was not concluded in the lifetime of the Eight National Assembly would have to start all over again.

“As far as we are concerned, those bills would have to come again and go through the process from the very beginning. We are prepared to begin work on them if the bills are ready.”

On the confirmation of Magu, Lawan said, “there’s no request before this Ninth Senate for the confirmation of the Chairman of the EFCC.

“This is a new Senate and therefore until there’s a request to this Senate, there’s nothing it can do.

“I want to assure you that if any of such requests come from the President, we will play our part in the confirmation and passing of legislation accordingly.

“On oversight, you mentioned that people complain that committees or members of the National Assembly demand monies from MDAs.

“As far as I know, I’m not in receipt of any complaint. If any committee asks for anything from any MDA that is not appropriate, the law is there to take its full course.

“We believe that no committee or no member of the National Assembly will go out of their way to ask for anything from anybody before that committee undertakes any oversight.

“The ninth Senate has decided that we will take our oversight very seriously. We believe that it is the best thing to do after we pass the budget in a good time.

“Therefore, we are going to hold those charged or entrusted with public funds for the implementation and provision of infrastructure and services accountable.

“We believe that there is a need to apply the resources efficiently and prudently.

“Also, the cost of governance in Nigeria is too high. Today, we have over seven hundred agencies of government. Many of them are not adding any value to governance.

“We believe that the time has come to review the functions of these agencies to determine their relevance.

“We need to look at how we are going to streamline these agencies to ensure we free our resources in order to add to our capital.

“The appropriation of seventy percent of our budget to recurrent is not desirable. We have to work with the executive arm of government to reduce it.

“Reducing them will not happen overnight because we have to get rid of many agencies first without having to throw people out into the labour market.”

Senators present during the visit are: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda; Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u; Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Bamidele Opeyemi, and Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.

Other senators at the meeting are: Senators Tolulope Odebiyi (APC, Ogun West); Oseni Yakubu (APC, Kogi Central); Chairman, Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Abubakar Kyari; Chairman, Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdul Kwari; Chairman, Committee on Water Resources, Bello Mandiya; Vice Chairman, Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Francis Fadahunsi, and Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, Suleiman Umar.

Kogi/Bayelsa Elections: Lawan, Gbajabiamila Congratulate Bello, Lyon

File Photo: Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Reps Femi Gbajabiamila

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates on their victory in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

Lawan particularly rejoiced with the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello on his reelection and David Lyon for making history as the first governor Bayelsa has elected on a platform different from the outgoing ruling party in the state.

The Senate President praised President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a level playing field that enabled the people to assert their sovereignty and choose their leaders.

“The impressive turnout of voters in the two states is a ringing endorsement of democracy by Nigerians as their preferred system, notwithstanding its current challenges,” Lawan said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi.

Lawan also thanked the security personnel for their sacrifices for peace and order in the face of great difficulties.

The Senate President enjoined the winners to be magnanimous in victory by accommodating all sections of the state in their governments and development agenda.

Read Also: Senator Vows To Go Ahead With Bill To Establish Prohibition Of Hate Speech

Lawan also admonished the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, to learn from the challenges experienced in the two states with a view to constantly improving its institutional performance and the electoral process.

The Senate President called on the relevant agencies to ensure thorough prosecution of the electoral offenders in the two states to serve as deterrence to others.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has also congratulated the winners.

In a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said the victory recorded by the APC candidates in the two states was an indication of the wide acceptance that the party enjoys.

Read Also: INEC Declares APC’s David Lyon Winner Of Bayelsa Governorship Election

The Speaker said Bayelsa State, in particular, has now joined the Next Level train, having seen the massive change driven by the APC-led government at the federal level.

“It is gladdening to know that our party, the APC, came out victorious in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. This is a testimony that Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country are beginning to realise what the APC means for the country.

“This victory is not for the party or its members alone, but for the entirety of Nigerians.

“May I call on the two governors-elect to be magnanimous in victory. The APC stands for the good of Nigerians, and I know the two governors-elect are part of the journey to make Nigeria better,” the Speaker said.

He called on the people of the two states, including members of the opposition parties, to join hands with the governors-elect to make their states great.

NASS Working To Pass 2020 Budget November 28, Says Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan,

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said on Tuesday that the National Assembly is working towards the passage of the 2020 Appropriation bill on November 28, 2019.

To achieve this target date, Lawan directed the Senate Committee on Appropriations to submit its report on the 2020 budget proposals on November 26, 2019.

Lawan gave the directive on the floor of the Senate during plenary.

The Senate President stated that the committee’s compliance to lay its report on November 26 would facilitate the passage of the 2020 budget on November 28, before the National Assembly proceeds on Christmas break.

He said: “On the Budget 2020 we are working on, the ball is now in the court of Senate Committee on Appropriations, the last committee standing.

“All the committees have done their work so well within the defined parameters and we, therefore, expect the Appropriations Committee to produce the report and lay it here by the 26th of November, next two weeks.

“I believe that the same thing will be done in our sister chamber, the House of Representatives, so that we are able to pass the Appropriation Bill 2020 on November 28, by the Grace of God.”

Meanwhile, a total of twelve bills scaled first reading on the floor on Tuesday.

The bills are: National Religious Equity Commission (Est.) bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah; Constituency Development Fund (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Ali Ndume; National Agency for Technology Incubation (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Ajayi Boroffice; National War College Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, by Senator Aliyu Wamakko; Compulsory Free Universal Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, by Senator Rose Oko, and Private Security and Forensic Investigation Bureau of Nigeria (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Barinanda Mpigi.

Others are: Police Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, by Senator Betty Apiafi; Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Funtua (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Bello Mandiya; Federal College of Education (Technical) Kaima, Kwara State (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Sadiq Umar; Federal University of Gashua (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Federal Medical Centre Dekina, by Senator Jibrin Isah, and National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Est.) bill, 2019, by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

We Should Track Phone Conversations Between Kidnappers And Victims’ Families – Lawan

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has asked security agents to come up with a plan on how to monitor conversations between kidnappers and families of victims. 

During plenary on Wednesday, Senator Lawan decried the increasing rate of Kidnappings in Nigeria, noting that security agencies must find a way to track phone conversations between kidnappers and the victims’ families.

The Senate President also stated that he thinks there should be drones properly deployed to various areas as to tackle kidnappings effectively.

 

READ ALSO: Senate Proposes 14-Year Jail Term For Sexual Predators In Tertiary Institutions

Mr Lawan said that in the last one month, he has been holding regular meetings with the security agencies including the Minister of Communications FCT and others to see that something is done about the security challenges besetting the country.

Lawan stated that what the Senate is trying to do is to get a result oriented approach to fighting insecurity as well as insist that no amount of funds is too much.

He noted that the job of securing the nation is a collective responsibility and as such, all arms of government must come together to find a lasting solution.

We will work hard to ensure that they are able to deal with this and there is willingness and commitment on the side of the executive to deal with this

Earlier on during plenary on Wednesday, Senator Lekan Mustapha cited Orders 42 & 52 and moved a motion on the urgent need for the increase of security agencies to intervene against kidnappings in the riverine area of Ogun Central District securing its waterways.

Joining his colleague on the issue, Senator Ibikunle Amosun urged the Upper House to move for a naval presence which will be extended to Sagamu, Ikorodu and all those areas where kidnapping cases have been recorded.

Senator Amosun said that the army has been within the Ogun Central District but their presence has not been enough to curb the kidnap menace within the region.

“In 2019, the issue of kidnapping has become huge so much that as we speak today majority of our people there are relocating,” Amosun stressed.

In a similar vein, Senator James Manager said kidnapping is everywhere in the country, stressing that whatever the prayers within the Senate were, then they should be for all parts of the country.

Mr Manager further stated that, “This is a motion for all Nigerians. Kidnapping takes place everywhere in Nigeria, no place is excluded. Kidnapping started as a way of protest and not the way as it today.”- Senator James Manager”.

Having heard all arguments on the matter, the Senate resolved to urge the Federal Government to direct the Inspector General of Police to immediately make sufficient helicopters and marine police to tackle the menace and urged the Nigerian navy to establish a naval presence within the areas in focus.

NASS Will Demand Accountability In Power Sector – Lawan

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the 9th National Assembly will insist on accountability and transparency in the power sector, particularly in the application of funds proposed for it in the 2020 budget.

According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, Lawan stated this on Monday when the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Joseph Chiedu Ugbo, led a delegation on a visit to the National Assembly.

Lawan said the Senate and House Committees through the instrument of oversight will ensure the prudent application of all funds channelled to the power sector.

He further explained that the Federal Government had severally been shortchanged in agreements entered into with generating and distribution companies in the past.

He, however, warned that those behind shortchanging the government through power deals will be held accountable for their actions.

“One of the challenges Nigeria is faced with today and for a very long time in the area of development is power. Until we are able to fix the power situation, development will continue to be difficult to achieve,” he said.

“This is one area we will continue to give priority to ensure we are able to meet the targets. It’s not going to be easy, but the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown clear determination in ensuring we get power fixed.

“The power sector has been surrounded with controversies for a long time. When the NIPP started, so many things were said; some of which are true.

“Expenditures were made in the past, and we did not see commensurate results from the expenditures. It is something to worry about.

“Some persons also have the tendencies to sign agreements that sometimes are clearly against the national interest. Time has come for people to stop doing this.

“In most cases, the Federal Government was shortchanged in some of the agreements signed by the people. I really don’t know what they were thinking.

“We need to be very careful. Time will come when people will be held responsible for their actions.

“Billions of dollars will just disappear like that, and there still won’t be power. This National Assembly will not close its eyes or not take any action if our nation is shortchanged.

“We are very concerned with what is happening in the power sector because personally we have not realised the best deal at all.

“In most cases, the deals were against the national interest, against the people and against the country.

“What we have are a few companies that are milking this country dry. I think we must insist on getting value for money.

“The kind of money sunk into the power sector will not only provide light for Nigeria but also the neighbouring countries.

“The Senate and House Committees on Power will look to see how we can make a difference this time around because we intend to monitor closely any money put in the budget. We want to see such money prudently applied,” Lawan said.

Earlier, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Chiedu Ugbo, said the NPDC was set up in 2005 to bridge the infrastructure gap in electric power supply industry.

“We started with ten generation plants, and then moved on to transmission to ensure power distribution gets to the end users,” he said.

Among the delegation of the NDPHC were, the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Babayo Shehu; Executive Director, Engineering/Technical, Ifeoluwa Oyedele; Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Mahmud Mohammed; General Manager, Procurement, Nkechi Mba and General Manager, Communications and Public Relations, Mohammed Bunza.

Senators present included: the Leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Majority Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Suswam Gabriel.

Others were: Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Crime, Yakubu Oseni; Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Benjamin Uwajumogu, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Youth Development, Kola Balogun.

Nigeria Has A Lot To Learn From Egypt In The Fight Against Terrorism

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday called for more engagement between Nigeria’s National Assembly and the Egyptian parliament, with a view to sharing ideas that will address the challenges common to the two countries.

“We have opportunity to share ideas. Of course, the challenges are common,” Lawan said while receiving in audience the visiting Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament, Dr. Ali Abdellah.

“So the two parliaments – the Egyptian Parliament and Nigeria’s National Assembly should engage more to enable us support our governments with legislations that will help create sustained job opportunities for our youths,” Lawan said.

Lawan said African problems can better be resolved by Africans, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is one agreement that will enhance the economy of African countries.

“Presently, trade volume between Egypt and Nigeria is not too high; we need to work harder to make the trade between the two countries better.

“I believe with the signing of the AfCFTA, there is room for us to increase trading activities between the two countries and also with other African countries,” Lawan said.

Lawan said Nigeria has a lot to learn from Egypt in the fight against terrorism, adding “Egypt has for long been fighting terrorism even before we started having terrorism in Nigeria”.

“So, we have a lot to learn from your experience in fighting terrorism. Our terrorism started like it was domestic, but now it is no more domestic, it is international.

“So, we will continue to have bilateral and multilateral engagements to find the best way to overcome terrorism in our countries, and we have a lot to learn from your experiences,” Lawan said.

Lawan expressed appreciation to the Egyptian Government for the training of some Nigerian security personnel in the art of fighting terrorism but lamented that “we still have a lot of challenges of weapons and ammunition coming into Nigeria through North Africa because of the fall of Libyan Government of Muammar Gaddafi.”

While describing the situation as a “big problem to us,” the Senate President said “this international dimension means that Nigeria must continue to talk to its friends like Egypt, and our neighbours, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, so that we can work together to overcome the challenge.”

Earlier, Abdellah, who was accompanied on the visit by Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Assem Hanafi called for collective efforts in fighting terrorism in Africa.

He said, as international phenomenon, terrorism could not successfully be tackled locally and called for a common position by African Parliaments for presentation to International Parliamentary Union (IPU) for adoption.

Senate Will Deepen Women Participation In Politics – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during plenary in the Senate Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the Senate will support initiatives and efforts aimed at widening the scope of women participation in politics and governance.

Lawan stated this on Wednesday when playing host to a delegation of United Nations Women at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to Lawan, “there’s a need to do more for women participation in politics and governance in Nigeria.”

“We are looking forward to improving the number of women at the National Assembly by widening and deepening the scope of participation by women in Nigerian politics,” Lawan said.

The Senate President recalled that the introduction and passage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act by the 8th National Assembly facilitated the participation of young persons in politics during the last general elections.

He said the National Assembly, in a bid to extend the gesture to Nigerian women, “will be openly disposed to support everything that will widen the political space for them.”

“I believe that with the percentage of the population that our women in Nigeria have, they deserve to be there on the table when decisions will be taken.

“I believe that the support will be total, whole and complete when we are able to capture every possible interest or sphere of participation that women are supposed to be involved in,” Lawan said.

READ ALSO: FEC Approves Change Of Name For Ministry Of Communications

Earlier, the Deputy Executive Director and leader of the UN Women delegation, Ms. Asa Regner, called on the National Assembly to support efforts that will ensure the inclusion of women in governance.

According to Regner, Nigeria blazing the trail would encourage other countries within the African continent to widen the space for women participation in politics.

“Whatever happens in Nigeria plays a very important role in the region and the rest of the world,” Regner stressed.

On the visiting delegation are: Ms. Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director, West and Central Africa and Ms. Comfort Lamptey, Country Representative.

Senators present during the courtesy visit include: the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Deputy Minority Leader, Sahabi Y’au.

Others are: Senators Rose Okoh, Chairman, Committee on Trade and Investments; Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman, Committee on Communications; Betty Apiafi, Chairman, Committee on Women Affairs; Ibrahim Gobir, Chairman, Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Michael Nnachi, Vice Chairman, Committee on Surface, and Sadiq Umar (APC, Kwara North).

NASS Will Continue To Support Anti-Corruption Fight, Says Lawan

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said on Tuesday that the National Assembly will provide the necessary support to the anti-corruption agencies in the fight against corruption.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are the leading government agencies in the anti-corruption war.

“The 9th Senate and indeed the National Assembly is set to support the anti-corruption agencies to the best of its ability, to enable us to eradicate the malaise,” Lawan said.

The Senate President gave the assurance in Abuja while declaring open the third EFCC National Capacity Building Workshop for Justices and Judges in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).

“What we face today in the area of corruption requires that all hands must be on deck to fight it. And we are determined to work with other arms of government to fight it.

“It is a fight that should be fought by all and we are ready to initiate moves that will help in ensuring we succeed in the fight.

“We are also continuously prepared to support agencies like the EFCC and professionals like the Justices and Judges always,” Lawan said.

The Senate President noted that corruption has eaten deep into the very fabric of “our society” and has literarily become endemic.

He acknowledged that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has done a lot in the last couple of years in fighting corruption but added that the fight has surely not been an easy one.

“Dealing with corruption is surely a task we must undertake very well. The consistency of the EFCC on its mandate is quite commendable.

“The best we can continue to do in our circumstance is to encourage anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC and the ICPC discharge their mandate very well.

“The police are also inclusive because of their statutory responsibility of enforcing law and order, by preventing and detecting crime,” Lawan added.

He said the Justices and Judges need all the ethical, moral and institutional support to be exemplary in the discharge of their duties.

The Senate President advocated for a review of the basic school curricula to include the teaching of anti-corruption tenets.

“I believe that we should look at our civic education. We shouldn’t wait until people commit corruption before we start chasing them.

“We should start educating our children in schools, basic education secondary level, and even tertiary level, on the ills of corruption in any society.

“Therefore, it is a task that requires that we review the current curricula of our basic education particularly to include something like what corruption means, the ills and the responsibility on every citizen to be part and parcel of the fight against this scourge,” Lawan said.