National Assembly’s Leadership Cautions Members Against Provocative Utterances

The leadership of the National Assembly in Nigeria has cautioned members against heating up the polity with provocative utterances.

At the resumption of plenary in January 2014, the Nigerian Senate President, David Mark, expressed worries over persuasive political tension rising from fostering political disputes.

He said that the political class had been blinded by naked ambition.

Senator Mark said: “The political class has so painfully forgotten the lessons of our national history and has once again allowed the collision of certain personal ambitions to overheat the polity and undermine governance, coming at a time when our nation is still transiting amid tremendous trends and enormous social and economic challenges”.

He laid emphasis on what he called primordial politics at the expense of governance, saying that it is irresponsible and even dangerous.

“I have said this several times and even at the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again caution against provocative utterances.

“Here in the Senate, how we ride the challenge and not let it deflect our focus from our constitutional responsibilities and our duties to the nation would be a measure of our maturity as elder statesmen and women as democrats and as patriots,” Senator Mark cautioned.

Matter Of Serious Concern

The Speaker of the House of Representative, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, reminded the members of the House that the Legislature cannot afford to lose time as the House had a loaded schedule ahead.

He said that the reminder had become urgent given that the entire political space was already saturated with politics and politicking.

“However, as we have always maintained, now, more than ever before, is the time to remain focused on our legislative functions.

“I am aware that the time to spice our routine functions with politicking may indeed not be too far away, until then, however, let us remain totally committed to the execution of our mandate as the people representatives,” he also emphasised.

Honourable Tambuwal maintained that recent developments in some parts of the country, concerning civil liberties and the safety of lives and property of citizens had become a matter of serious concern.

He stated that the three incidences in Rivers State bore all the trappings of impunity which must be eschewed at all cost if Nigeria must continue to deepen its democracy.

The lawmakers had called for the redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, who they said was contributing to the crisis in the state.

Two Rallies of the Save Rivers Movement had been disrupted by the Nigerian Police Force and hoodlums at different occasions, one of which resulted in the hospitalisation of Senator Magus Abeh, who claimed he was shot by the police with a rubber bullet.

The crisis had heightened after the defection of the Rivers State governor to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Thirty-six lawmakers of the PDP, in the National Assembly, had also defected to the APC, a situation that has led to dispute over who the majority leader of the house will be.

The increasing number of defections in the National Assembly led to the call for caution by the leadership.

Nigerians Can Now Sue Power Sector Investors – Lawyer

A legal Practitioner, Emmanuel Umoren, on Friday warned the new private investors and owners of Nigeria’s power sector of breaching their contract with the people, insisting that consumers now have the power to sue them to court.

“Every transaction is a contract and if there’s any breach whatsoever they can be sued,” he said.

Mr Umoren who was a guest on Sunrise Daily, commended the government’s decision to privatise the power sector, making it a business which is liable to be sued if consumers discover a breach in the contract.

“It is business now. It’s no more government money. Let these DISCOs know that (now) we can take them to court. That’s a very important part. We can now take them to court because they are business men,” he said.

He highlighted some circumstances in which consumers can sue the power companies, including power surge (which leads to damages). On cases of in availability of electricity, Umoren said “it is going to be very difficult to sue them for not providing you light,” but added that the position may change as time goes on and with the intellectual improvement in the judiciary system.

On complains of power shortage in some areas, Umoren said “my major problem is that we do not think these things through because you are creating monopolies in areas.” He explained that the issue of metering lies with the distribution companies (DISCOs) and added that efforts are being made by investors to check cases of power theft by citizens as such usages are unaccounted for.

He however complained about the unavailability of options for end users leading to monopoly which does not benefit Nigerians. He said there should be options in case consumers are not satisfied with the services of a certain distribution company and added that consumers should be able to switch to any DISCO of choice as such is obtainable in other climes.

On the increase in service charge(s) raised twice within the last year, Umoren questioned the activities of the new investors. “How did we arrive at the first price, if you did not do a thorough analysis of doing the business?” he asked.

On nationwide complains regarding fixed service charge of N750 which may be increased as well as payment of meter maintenance without getting the required maintenance services, Umoren warned the private investors that they are liable to court charges by citizens.

He also faulted the dominance of political cases at the Supreme Court which does not allow for the prominence of other issues, including business, which affect the citizens.

“The decisions that come from the Supreme Court and Appeal Court(s) are mostly political issues because they (politicians) have the money,” Umoren said.