Reps Adjourn Plenary Over Power Failure

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

 

The House of Representatives adjourned plenary on Tuesday over an interruption of power in the lower chamber.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was compelled to call for an adjournment after the power went out.

The situation forced the lawmakers to exit the chamber in darkness, using their phone torchlights.

This is coming a day after major cities in Nigeria including the commercial nerve centre Lagos and the nation’s political capital Abuja were thrown into a blackout as the national grid collapsed for the umpteenth time in 2022.

Various electricity distribution companies confirmed the development in statements directed to their customers.

Ikeja Electric said the national grid collapsed at 10:50 am on Monday, noting that “this has affected the transmission stations within our network and resulted in the loss of power supply to our customers.”

READ ALSO: TCN Restores National Grid Hours After Collapse

Also, the Eko Electricity Distribution Company said, it regrets to “inform you of a system collapse on the national grid at precisely 10:52 am. Presently, all our injection substations are out of supply.

“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc equally released a similar statement but said the grid collapsed in the nation’s political capital at 10:55 am.

In the southern part of Nigeria, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company said the development took place at 10:51 am, causing disruption to the power supply in the coverage area which includes Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo.

Also, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc said the system collapse caused an outage in the South-East states of Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Imo, and Ebonyi.

Reps To Meet ASUU, Stakeholders Over Seven-Month Strike

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, presides over plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

The House of Representatives is scheduled to meet with the Academic Staff Union of the University and other stakeholders in a bid to end the lingering strike embarked upon by the varsity lecturers.

Mr Yahaya Danzaria, the Clerk of the House of Representatives disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

The meeting, Danzaria said, would take place on Tuesday at the National Assembly, the House of Representatives wing.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike: Gridlock As Protesting Students Block Lagos Airport Road

“The House of Representatives is deeply concerned about the renewed strike which seems to have defied all efforts made to find a solution or reach an agreement between the Federal Government and the striking University lecturers,” the statement read.

“The House is more worried about the negative consequences of the strike on the future and quality of education of our teeming youths who have been kept at home for the past six months despite the intervention of the House and several well-meaning Nigerians overtime to see that the matter was resolved.”

According to him, the planned meeting with ASUU and other critical stakeholders is geared toward finding a lasting solution to the lingering strike embarked upon by ASUU.

Noting that the House was more worried about the negative consequences of the strike on the future and quality of education of the teeming youths, the clerk lamented that the youth had been kept at home for the past seven months despite the intervention of the House and several well-meaning Nigerians over time to see that the matter was resolved.

ASUU had on February 14 declared a nationwide strike pressing home their demands for revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

The situation has forced many Nigerian students to be out of school for over seven months, prompting them to block the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and Lagos airport to register their displeasure.

Reps Step Down Motion To Halt Proposed Ban On Motorcycles

A file photo of scores of motorcycles seized by the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency (Taskforce).

 

The House of Representatives has stepped down a motion to call on the Federal Government to halt the proposed ban on motorcycles.

A member from Jigawa State, Abubakar Yalleman, had moved the motion on Tuesday during the plenary at the green chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He prayed the House to urge the Federal Government to restrict the ban to local governments where banditry and terrorism were rife.

The lawmaker believes a total ban will negatively affect the well-being and welfare of the common Nigerians if palliative measures are not put in place to ease its effect.

After making his case, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase, who presided over the plenary, however, prevailed upon Yalleman to step it down.

He said he appreciated the motion but appealed to the lawmakers to cooperate with the executive arm of government in the fight against insecurity.

On Thursday last week, the National Security Council said it was considering a nationwide ban on motorcycles and mining activities as part of a strategy to curb terrorist activities, checkmate loopholes, and cut off their sources of funding.

According to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, investigations are ongoing, especially to establish the correlation between mining and motorcycles which the government suspects provide funding for the supply of arms to terrorists.

He stated that the criminals had moved from the conventional ways of funding their activities to mining and ransom taking, adding that the government was not unaware of the economic consequences of the proposed resolutions which he said have become imperative to guarantee the nation’s security.

Terrorist groups, especially in Nigeria, are increasingly interested in controlling areas of production of gold.

The opportunistic nature of these activities ties strongly to the fact that gold is often the favoured mineral of the terrorist groups as many of them use it to secure a source of funding for future operations.

Reps Summon Sylva, Kyari, Others Over Fuel Consumption Probe

A photo combination of NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

 

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, Mele Kyari.

Channels Television gathered that the House Committee on Fuel Consumption is summoning the officials for being absent at the public hearing of the committee.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria Can’t Remove Fuel Subsidies Now – Lai Mohammed

Also to appear before the lawmakers are the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, the Managing Director of the Pipelines Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mallam Isiyaku Abdullahi as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Peter Akpatason, represented the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the hearing.

He said the committee members were disappointed that such critical stakeholders would choose to be absent, considering how important it is to ascertain the daily consumption to see if it corresponds with the subsidy payments.

The Speaker also expressed his worry that their absence could be seen as an attempt to frustrate the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has explained why it cannot remove subsidies on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, at this time.

Minister of Communication and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke during an exclusive interview with Reuters in London, said many other nations were introducing measures to help citizens cope with high oil energy prices, hence Africa’s most populous country could not be an exception.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter but still has to import almost all its fuel needs due to a lack of refining capacity. The Federal Government shelved plans to abolish fuel subsidies earlier this year, a move that raised concerns with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Reps Probe Alleged Non-Payment Of Pension Arrears To FG Retirees

A file photo of lawmakers during a plenary in the House of Representatives chamber in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has called for an investigation into the alleged non-payment of pension to Federal Civil Service retirees by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

Lawmakers passed a resolution in Abuja on Tuesday, ordering the investigation after a member from Edo State, Sergius Ose-Ogun, moved a motion on the matter, a statement from the green chamber said.

In their resolution, they decided to invite the Head of Service of the Federation, Accountant-General of the Federation, Director-General of the National Pension Commission (NPC), and the Executive Secretary of PTAD.

The lawmakers asked the individuals to appear before the House Committees on Pension and Public Service Matters to “provide explanations for the non-payment of pensions and gratuities to retired federal civil servants for nine months.”

According to them, the investigation will last four weeks, following which a report will be laid before the House for consideration.

Ose-Ogun’s motion read, “The House notes that Section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly;

“Aware that Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria shall be the primary purpose of government;

“Also aware that Section 32(b) of the Pension Reform Act Cap P4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 saddles the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) with the responsibility of carrying out functions aimed at ensuring the welfare of pensioners;

“Informed that pensioners under the defined benefits scheme of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) are reportedly owed monthly pensions and gratuities for a cumulative period of nine (9) months;

“Disturbed by the claim that the failure of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to pay pensioners under the Defined Benefits Scheme for the said period of nine (9) months is as a result of technological glitches;

“Cognisant that the failure of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to pay pensioners’ monthly pensions and gratuities based on technological glitches amount to gross incompetence and ineffectiveness on the part of PTAD;

“Also cognisant that the claim by PTAD that the technological glitches which caused it to be in arrears of pension and gratuities are in the domain of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) is unacceptable.”

INEC Has Agreed To Extend Voters’ Registration – Reps

A man displays his voter's card on September 19, 2020. Photo credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
In this file photo, a man displays his voter’s card on September 19, 2020. Photo credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The Chairman of the House Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Aishatu Dukku has informed lawmakers that the electoral body will extend the continuous voters’ registration exercise.

She stated this on Wednesday while reporting back to the House after being directed last week by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to interact with the electoral umpire over the need to extend the exercise.

The Speaker’s directive followed a motion on the need for INEC to extend the exercise and not disenfranchise willing Nigerians.

On Monday, INEC said it will give effect to the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Although he did not specifically state whether or not the electoral umpire would go ahead with its initial plan to stop the exercise, the INEC official said the commission would continue to obey the orders of the court.

Reps To Invite Army Chief Over Number Of Personnel Trained, Recruited In Five Years

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

 

The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Army to invite the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya to provide details of the total number of personnel trained and recruited by the Nigerian Army in the past five years.

This resolution was reached after the consideration of a motion by Honourable Sergius Ogun on the need to ascertain the current numerical strength of the Nigerian army.

The House acknowledged that the Nigerian Army and the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been overstretched by the fight against insecurity in some parts of the country which poses a threat to the peace and unity of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the House is urging to police to fish out the perpetrators of the Owo massacre and bring them to book.

The House further observed a minute of silence in honour of the victims

Reps Ask INEC To Extend Voters Registration By 60 Days

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives

 

The House of Representatives is asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the voters’ registration deadline by 60 days and deploy additional staff and registration machines across the country.

This follows a Motion by representative Benjamin Kalu on Wednesday.

The House is concerned that there have been reports of a shortage of manpower and machines across the country which may result in unrest if Nigerians are not captured.

Lawmakers however rejected an amendment calling for decentralisation of the registration process to include social centres and religious centres.

Their appeal comes a few days after the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room), a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to extend the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.

The current CVR exercise is scheduled to end on June 30.

But the CSOs believe “citizens have now intensified their efforts in registering for their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).

“There have also been several appeals by Nigerians to INEC to extend the registration exercise to enable them to register to obtain a PVC. Situation Room has received reports of large crowds at the INEC offices across the country.

“There were lots of complaints while the pre-registrations were open on the online voters’ portal, that confirmed scheduling was not observed by officers at many INEC offices leading to people being treated as walk-in registrants and asked to queue to supply the same details already provided online.

“While we note some registrants wait for last minute to meet deadlines for registration, it is also worthy to note that there have been several complaints of inadequate manpower and equipment in INEC offices, thus making it difficult to have a seamless registration process. This has led to delays and restiveness of citizens waiting to register in long queues.”

Electoral Act: Reps Consider Overriding President Buhari On Statutory Delegates

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

The House of Representatives is likely to commence the process of overriding President Muhammadu Buhari on the amended Electoral Act.

This followed a deliberation on Wednesday by the lawmakers during a plenary in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, on the inability of statutory delegates to participate in the various exercise of the respective political parties.

A member of the House, Ben Ipkapa, had asked the lawmakers to gather signatures and override the President on the amendment made to the Electoral Act.

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his response, told Ipkapa that the matter could be brought on notice during plenary and would be considered.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila Questions Failure Of 170 Reps To Win Party Tickets For Re-Election

Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly had amended the Electoral Act, 2022 in May to allow statutory delegates to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties.

Statutory delegates include the President, Vice President, members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of councils, councillors, and national working committee of political parties, amongst others.

The amended Electoral Act was later transmitted to President Buhari on May 13, but no communication has been received from the President regarding the proposed legislation as of the time of this report.

According to the Constitution, the President has 30 days to decide whether to sign or withhold assent to a bill passed by the National Assembly.

Besides the debate over statutory delegates, Gbajabiamila had questioned the primaries of political parties held across the country when the House resumed plenary on Tuesday.

He was concerned that about 178 serving members of the house failed to secure the ticket of their various parties to return to the green chamber of the National Assembly.

According to the speaker, many members lost because of the process of primaries, using the delegate system which is what the House fought for by making direct primaries compulsory in the Electoral Act which the President has yet to sign.

2023: Gbajabiamila Questions Failure Of 170 Reps To Win Party Tickets For Re-Election

A file photo of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. Photo: Facebook/Gbajabiamila.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has questioned the primaries of political parties held across the country.

He was concerned that about 178 serving members of the house failed to secure the ticket of their various parties to return to the green chamber of the National Assembly.

Gbajabiamila made the remarks on Tuesday in his opening remarks to the lawmaker at the resumption of plenary after over one month of recess.

According to him, many members lost because of the process of primaries, using the delegate system which is what the House fought for by making direct primaries compulsory in the Electoral Act which the President has yet to sign.

That clause of the Electoral Act had to be expunged, allowing political parties to decide their mode of primaries to select their candidates for various elections.

 

Controversial Direct Primary 

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law on February 25, amid outcry over his delayed assent to the legislation.

He assented to the Act barely a week before the expiration of the window he had to take a decision on the legislation, as required by the Nigerian Constitution.

This followed unsuccessful attempts to amend the nation’s electoral laws during the 8th National Assembly led by former Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

But lawmakers in the 9th National Assembly successfully amended the act, although they also had an initial setback over the decision to make the direct mode of primary compulsory for political parties in 2021.

President Buhari had, however, withheld his assent, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.

Thereafter, the House re-amended the law to include the direct and indirect primary options while the Senate re-adjusted it to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

Both chambers later passed a harmonised version on January 25 – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 which included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes.

PDP Reps Primaries: Elumelu Emerges As Candidate For Aniocha/Oshimili Constituency

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

 

The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, has emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency.

Elumelu was declared the winner on Sunday in the delegates’ election which now makes him the PDP candidate for the 2023 general elections.

The Chairman of the Delta State Electoral Committee, Funkekeme Solomon, declared Elumelu the winner after the vote count.

READ ALSO: Umahi Absent As South-East APC Presidential Aspirants Meet

While giving a breakdown of the total 132 votes garnered, Funkekeme said Elumelu got 80 votes by way of affirmation, 17 by buying,  and 35 by other means.

In his remarks, an elated Elumelu attributed his victory to God and his family members for supporting him strongly for the past few months.

He also appreciated Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the roles he played in his emergence as the Aniocha/Oshimili constituency candidate.

“I feel very happy; I thank the Almighty God, only Him has done this. Most importantly, I thank my family, they have given me all the support. For few months, they have lost me because of this election. I give them thanks; I thank my mother for being a wonderful mother,” he said.

“I thank my brothers – Peter, Tony, all of them. Most importantly, I thank my governor, the Ekwueme of the universe. My federal constituency will always stand by you; whatever you ask us to do, we will do.

“Thank you so much for providing the enabling environment for me to come out victorious. Most importantly, let me thank the hierarchy of PDP in Abuja led by the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, for allowing transparency in all the processes that has happened today.”

Reps Ask Buhari To Sign 2022 Electoral Act Amendment

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the one-item amendment to the Electoral Act 2022.

The bill was transmitted to him by the National Assembly for assent last week so as to avert an imminent political crisis in the country.

The Caucus notes with grave concern that Mr. President’s delay in signing the single amendment to Section 84 (8) to the Electoral Act 2022 has thrown the nation into serious confusion and constitutes a huge threat to our democracy and the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.

In a statement by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the Caucus urged the President that any further delay in signing the amendment to the Electoral Act to give political parties a sense of direction in the conduct of primaries for the election of candidates for the 2023 general elections has the capacity to derail “our entire democratic process and destabilize our dear nation”.

“As representatives of the people, the Minority Caucus urges Mr. President to avert an imminent political crisis that has the capacity of exacerbating the security situation in the country by immediately signing the Amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 and leaving a legacy of a credible electoral process to the nation.

“Our caucus calls on all Nigerians, the Civil Society, the International Community and all lovers of democracy to prevail on President Buhari to immediately sign the amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 and save our nation from an avoidable crisis, the statement added.