Roof Leakage: No Money Released For Renovation Of National Assembly – Senate

There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Tuesday morning, leading to leaking roofs and flood in some parts of the National Assembly Complex.

 

The National Assembly has explained that no money was released for the renovation of the National Assembly complex.

Also, the lawmakers said the National Assembly and its leadership is not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex and they have not received a sum of N37 billion or any amount for the renovation of the Complex.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Wednesday by Senate Spokesperson, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru following the leaking of its roof after a downpour on Tuesday.

 

See Full Statement Below…

 

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND RENOVATION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMPLEX

….NO MONEY RELEASED FOR THE RENOVATION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 

  1. Contrary to the widespread falsehood being peddled both in the mainstream and online media as a fall out of the reported incident of the leaking roof of the National Assembly Complex after a heavy downpour on Tuesday, 21 June 2021, it is pertinent to inform the General Public that the National Assembly and its leadership is not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex and they has not received a sum of 37 billion naira or any amount for the renovation of the Complex.
  2. While it is true that an initial appropriation of the above stated sum was made due to the decaying nature of the National Assembly Complex which has not witnessed any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, the said amount was reduced to 9 billion naira after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic. Even with this reduction, the sum of 9 billion or any amount is yet to be cash backed or released to the National Assembly. None of this amount is even appropriated for the National Assembly bureaucracy or its leadership.
  3. It must be reiterated that the National Assembly Complex is a National Monument which falls under the purview of control of the Federal Capital Development Agency. In essence, the FCDA is responsible for its maintenance as well as renovation and not the Leadership of the National Assembly as being falsely bandied about.
  4. The leakage witnessed at the foyer of the National Assembly yesterday justifies the apprehension of the leadership of the National Assembly and the FCDA and further underscores the need for an urgent intervention in revamping the dilapidated structures within the complex before it falls into further dilapidation with the attendant huge cost of a possible replacement.

 

Signed

Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru Ph.D.

Senate Spokesperson

Dated this 23rd day of June, 2021

Downpour: National Assembly Flooded As Roofs Leak

There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Tuesday morning, leading to leaking roofs and flood in some parts of the National Assembly Complex.

The National Assembly lobby which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers was flooded.

Some of the other areas affected were the Senate press center; the third and last gate to the premises; as well as the road linking the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the National Assembly.

Workers were seen struggling to salvage the situation as they swept and mopped the floor while it rained. They also placed buckets at the leaking spots.

Parents Of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest At National Assembly

 

Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State on Tuesday occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.

The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.

They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.

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“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly.

Parents and members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka during the protest. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The protesters joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to the National Assembly complex.

The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.

On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.

Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.

 

See photos from the protest below…

 

‘NASS Has Done Its Part,’ Senate Committee Backs Financial Autonomy For Judiciary

A file photo of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

 

The National Assembly has done its part by enacting laws to guarantee full autonomy for the judiciary at the Federal Level, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele has said.

Senator Bamidele, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, called on lawmakers in various State Houses of Assembly to pass similar laws to give full autonomy to the judiciary.

He made the remarks on Monday during an interview with reporters at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“For me, as a Nigerian, it is laughable that (at this point) we still need to be grappling with the need to grant judiciary independence at whatever level – either at the federal, state, and local government level; our laws are very clear on this,” Senator Bamidele said.

He added, “For the National Assembly, we have done the needful by making necessary laws that will guarantee the independence of the judiciary at the federal level. So for us, it is not an issue.”

The lawmaker stated that the independence of the judiciary was non-negotiable, adding that it was important for governors to implement full autonomy for the judiciary in their respective states.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele addressing reporters in Abuja on April 19, 2021.

 

His comments were in reaction to the protest at the National Assembly by members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

“For the record, the National Assembly does not make laws for the states; every state according to our Constitution has its own State House of Assembly.

“The only time that the National Assembly acts as a State House of Assembly is when it has to do with the Federal Capital Territory to which we are like the State House of Assembly,” the lawmaker said.

Although they were denied entry into the Assembly premises, the lawyers held the protest in solidarity with judiciary workers demanding financial autonomy for the judiciary in various states.

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) commenced a nationwide industrial action on April 6, leaving courts under lock and key as a result of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

On Friday last week, the NBA leadership directed its branch chairmen across the country to lead visits to Government Houses in their states over the purported unwillingness of the governors to implement the judiciary’s financial autonomy.

In the statement by NBA President, Olumide Akpata, the branch chairmen were directed to lead the visits, which were more like peaceful protests, on April 19 and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand was met.

The branch leaders were asked “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.

National Assembly Will Continue To Work For Nigerians – Lawan

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has assured Nigerians that the National Assembly will continue to Nigerians in their pursuit of peace and happiness.

The Senate President said this on Thursday in his goodwill message to Christians, as they join the rest of the world in celebrating Easter.

He said, “the National Assembly will continue to work for the Nigerian people in their legitimate pursuit of peace, happiness, and prosperity.”

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Senator Lawan noted that Easter is one of the most important events in the Christian calendar which is to celebrate the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He urged Nigerians to use the occasion to preach religious tolerance, love for our neighbours and commit to our civic responsibilities.

The Senate President asked Nigerians to continue to support the Government in its efforts to provide security and an enabling environment for economic growth and prosperity.

 

Without National Law On Minimum Wage, There Will Be Anarchy – NLC

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it will not back down in its pursuit to ensure that the minimum wage bill is thrown out of the National Assembly.

A lawmaker, Garba Datti Datti had through a sponsored bill at the House of Representatives initiated a move to remove the powers to negotiate the minimum wage from the Federal Government.

The bill which has passed its second reading in the Green Chamber stirred organised labour against the national lawmakers in the country with the workers union threatening to embark on a nationwide protest if the bill is not discarded.

Speaking on the highly sensitive matter, the Deputy President of the NLC, Amaechi Asugwuni said the issue of wage is a prioritized scheme.

Comrade Asugwuni who on Thursday was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said not having a national law on the minimum wage will lead to anarchy.

He was of the opinion that the decentralization of the minimum wage bill “removes the rights of workers to collectively bargain”.

READ ALSO: Minimum Wage: Protesting Workers Force Their Way Into National Assembly

NLC’s deputy president says the union will not back down till the proposed minimum wage bill is thrown out of the National Assembly.

 

Asugwuni vowed that the NLC will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Nigerian workers are not deprived of their rights to a fair wage for their services.

The NLC deputy president boasted that the union has got a robust response from a majority of the House, noting that there is a long list of legislators who have promised to ensure that the bill does not see the light of day.

According to him, Labour will follow whatever engagement is required to enable the bill to be thrown out.

“Labour will be abiding by the rules but these engagements that will allow the bill to be knocked out will be held,” Asugwuni stated.

He further argued that the national minimum wage is a plus and an achievement of democracy as secured by the nation. Adding that nothing must be done to jeopardize an already achieved establishment that will better the welfare of Nigerians.

Lagos East: Tribunal Strikes Out APM’s Petition Against Senator Abiru

 

 

The National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ikeja, has struck out a suit filed by the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) challenging the victory of Senator Adetokunbo Abiru in the December 2020 Lagos East senatorial district poll.

In a ruling delivered on Tuesday, Justice Bassey Ikpeme who chaired the three-man panel struck out the petition after an application by the APM and its candidate, Olusola Babatope, to withdraw their petition.

The other two members of the panel were Justice Mohammed Abubakar and Justice M.M. Odanya.

Both petitioners had approached the Tribunal to nullify Abiru’s victory which was declared by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).

Apart from third defendant Abiru, his party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – and INEC, were listed as the first and second respondents in the petition.

The Tribunal had fixed February 23 to hear the APC and INEC’s objections to the petition by APM and Babatope.

However, the petitioners did not file any response to the respondent’s objections.

Rather, having appraised the respondents’ defence to their petition, they filed an application seeking to withdraw it.

Abiru’s counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Kemi Pinheiro, confirmed receipt of the petitioners’ application to withdraw the suit.

He also informed the Tribunal that under Paragraph 30 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended), Abiru had filed the affidavit required and would not be opposed to the application.

The APC’s counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, who is also a SAN, and INEC confirmed receipt of the petitioner’s application to withdraw.

The Tribunal heard and granted the APM and Babatope’s application to withdraw their petition and subsequently struck out the petition.

NASS Orders Ministry Of Health To Halt Spending N10bn On COVID-19 Vaccine Production

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Health has asked the Ministry of Health to suspend further action on the plans to utilize the N10 billion released to them by the Ministry of Finance, to fund the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

The committee took the decision on Wednesday, following its dissatisfaction with the explanation of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire on how the N10 billion will be utilised.

Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe said the committee is dissatisfied with the explanation of the Minister and has directed that the money should not be spent until the Ministry can state clearly, what the money will be used for.

National Assembly Joint Committee on Health during the meeting with the Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire and other leaders in the Health Ministry.

 

“This N10 billion is just given to you, with due respect, with what you have given to us, you don’t have a specific detailed plan for it. Our decision, for now, is that you can’t spend it (the money) until you provide us satisfactory answer. Once you provide us the details then we will invite all the necessary persons,” Oloriegbe said.

The Health Minister at the meeting said the money was part of an agreement between the Federal Government and a foreign partner, May and Baker PLC for the production of bio vaccines.

He said the ministry is acting on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and the foreign partner for the production of the bio vaccines.

The Senate Committee, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation of the Health Minister insisting the N10 billion should not be spent until a detailed plan is made available.

Ehanire was at the meeting with other representatives including the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Director-General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib.

The Health Minister had earlier during one of the briefings of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 that the N10 billion was released for local production of COVID-19 vaccines.

The outcome of the interaction further raises questions on the working relationship between the executive and legislature in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Assembly Postpones Resumption

 

The National Assembly has postponed its resumption initially scheduled for January 26, to February 9.

This was disclosed on Saturday in a statement by the clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde Amos.

“This is to inform all distinguished senators and honourable members of the National Assembly that the resumption of plenary sessions earlier scheduled for Tuesday, 26th January 2021 is hereby rescheduled for Tuesday, February 9, 2021,” the statement read.

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According to Amos, the postponement is to enable members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party to participate in the registration and revalidation of its membership, scheduled to commence on Monday, January 25.

Plenary sessions had been adjourned in December to allow the lawmakers observe the Christmas and new year holidays.

Before the break, the National Assembly had passed the 2021 budget raising the proposed estimate of N13.082 trillion to N13.588 trillion.

It is an increase of N505 billion from the proposed figures presented by the executive.

The 2021 budget is christened the budget of economic recovery and resilience aimed at accelerating the pace of Nigeria’ss economic recovery, promote diversification, enhance competitiveness, and ensure social inclusion.

National Assembly Passes 2021 Budget, Raises It By N505bn

File photo of the 2021 budget during the presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari on October.

 

The National Assembly has passed the 2021 budget raising the proposed estimate of N13.082 trillion to N13.588 trillion. 

This is an increase of N505 billion from the proposed figures presented by the executive.

This budget was passed on Monday by both the Senate and the House of Representatives during their special plenary held mainly to pass the budget ahead of the Christmas and New Year break.

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The lawmakers are sticking to the $40 per barrel benchmark price of crude but asked President Buhari to send a supplementary budget because of the increase in oil price in the international market which is hovering between 47-50 dollars per barrel.

This supplementary budget is expected to fund critical areas in the country.

Key assumptions in the 2021 budget include:

Statutory transfer- N496.528 billion

Recurrent expenditure- N5.641 trillion

Capital expenditure- N4.125 trillion

Debt servicing- N3.324 trillion

GDP growth rate – 3.00%

President Muhammadu Buhari had submitted a N13.082 trillion budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on October 8th, 2020.

The 2021 budget is christened the budget of economic recovery and resilience aimed at accelerating the pace of Nigerian economic recovery, promote diversification, enhance competitiveness, and ensure social inclusion.

Persons Living With Disability Protest At National Assembly Gate

A file photo of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

A number of people living with disabilities from the Niger Delta region on Thursday stormed the National Assembly Complex in Abuja to protest neglect by Federal Lawmakers representing them in the Federal Legislature.

The aggrieved protesters under the banner of Great Minds foundation of people living with deformities Niger Delta, forced themselves inside the assembly complex despite resistance by security operatives at the National Assembly gate.

The spokesperson of the group, Amos Etim, said they arrived at the National Assembly from various states of the Niger Delta to demand their rights from their representatives.

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Some of the persons living with disabilities were reported to have manhandled a National Assembly security man who was trying to prevent them from entering into the main building.

The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator  Aliyu Sabi, who lead other lawmakers to meet with the protesters appealed for calm and said their grievances will be addressed.

Senator Sabi asked the protesters to delegate a five-man team to meet the National Assembly leaders.

Senate Passes Finance Bill, 2020

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The Finance Bill, 2020 has been passed by members of the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

This followed the consideration of the report of the Joint Committee on Finance, Customs, Excise and Tariff, Trade and Investment, as well as Public Procurement by the lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday.

Senator Solomon Adeola, who represents Lagos West district, had moved that the Senate should receive and consider the report.

Thereafter, he laid and presented the report before the lawmakers, after which the Senate resolved into Committee of the Whole to consider the report.

After the Senate reported back to plenary, the Finance Bill, 2020 was read the third time and passed.

The bill proposes various amendments to existing tax laws and financial regulations in response to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

One of the objectives of the bill is to provide financial relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two consecutive years of assessment, as well as reforming the commencement and cessation rules for small businesses.

During Tuesday’s plenary, the Senate also adopted the recommendations of the Committee on Communications on the 2021 Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) budget proposal.

This followed the presentation of the report by Senator Oluremi Tinubu who represents Lagos Central senatorial.

Senator Tinubu also presented the report of the Senate Committee on Communications on the 2021 Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) budget proposal.

The recommendations of the committee were thereafter adopted by the lawmakers.