Senate To Investigate Actions Of NNPC Regarding Freight Of Petroleum Products

 

The Senate on Wednesday resolved to investigate the actions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company in ensuring participation of indigenous companies in the freight of petroleum products, in line with the provisions of Presidential Executive Order 5(2018).

This was predicated upon a call by Senator Ramoni Olalekan Mustapha seeking an investigation into the breach of Nigerian laws by foreign vessels in coastal shipping of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the Nigerian Maritime University.

Senator Olalekan Mustapaha (APC, Ogun East), noted that the National Content (NOGICD) Act 2010 was enacted to promote value addition to the National Economy by stimulating growth and industrial development in the Oil and Gas Sector of the Economy.

According to the lawmaker, “The influx of foreign vessels into the Nigerian downstream sector is alarming against the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 which clearly restricts vessels engaged in domestic coastal trade.”

He added, “Only wholly-owned, manned and registered Nigerian vessels can engage in the domestic coastal carriage of Petroleum products within the Territorial and Inland Waterways.”

Senator Mustapha said that over the last fifteen years, indigenous tonnage capacity and coastal shipping capabilities have grown exponentially with Nigerian operators owning multiple tanker vessels in their fleet.

The lawmaker stated that though NNPC is the largest employer of downstream shipping services in Africa, the corporation’s activities in terms of opportunities and indigenous capacities have not been enhanced.

He stated that the Capital freight spent by NNPC through Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Product (DSDP) is approximately USD$60 million monthly to about USD$720 million annually.

“The value of DSDP for 2019/2020 contract period is at the range of USD$9 billion, out of which foreign ship-owners amount for one hundred percent of freight associated with this downstream activity, most of which is repatriated overseas to the detriment of the Nigerian economy”, Senator Mustapha lamented.

READ ALSO: FIRS, AMCON: Senate To Receive Reports On Nami, Adamu Next Week

The lawmaker added that the lack of Contract of Carriage and the absence of guaranteed cargo tonnage in the Maritime Industry have led to significant loses and collapsed of domestic and indigenous shipping.

Consequently, the Senate, in its resolutions, mandated the Committees on Local Content & Compliance to investigate the reasons for the dominance of foreign vessels above locally owned, manned and registered vessels in the domestic carriage of petroleum products within the coastal territory and inland waterways of Nigeria.

The Upper Chamber further resolved to investigate foreign ship owners of freight associated with downstream activities repatriated overseas by NNPC to the detriment of the local economy or patronage.

Also to be investigated is the flagrant abuse of the NOGICD Act 2010 and Cabotage Act 2003 respectively, by the operators and stakeholders in the Maritime Industry, through a ship-ship transfer with the coastal foreign vessel.

In its motion on Wednesday, the Senate mandated the Committees on Local Content and Petroleum Downstream to carry out an investigation with a view to unraveling the influx of foreign vessels in the coastal region and the level of patronage of Nigerian shipping companies.

Meanwhile, members of the Senate on Wednesday considered a motion on the ‘escalating rate’ of unemployment in the country.

The motion was sponsored during plenary by the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

In their resolution, the lawmakers proffered solutions to the executive arm of the government for adoption and implementation.

One of these is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country.

The senators also called on the Federal Ministry of National Planning to put the necessary mechanism and programmes in place to achieve this.

Senate Asks FG, States, LGs To Declare Emergency On Unemployment

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate Chamber.

 

 

Members of the Senate on Wednesday considered a motion on the ‘escalating rate’ of unemployment in the country.

The motion was sponsored during plenary by the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

In their resolution, the lawmakers proferred solutions to the executive arm of the government for adoption and implementation.

READ ALSO: Apapa Gridlock Will Persist Without Alternatives For Trailers, Says Sanwo-Olu

One of these is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country.

The senators also called on the Federal Ministry of National Planning to put the necessary mechanism and programmes in place to achieve this.

They proposed the revitalisation of existing industries and urged the executive arm to initiate sustainable employment fund for the payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure employment.

 

A Time Bomb

Earlier, Senator Ekweremadu brought the motion to the floor through reliance on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules.

He decried that high institutions of learning in the country produce a large number of graduates yearly without jobs, describing such a situation as a “time bomb waiting to explode”.

Citing a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, Senator Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of the year.

He also raised an alarm that the nation’s unemployment rate would hit 33.5 per cent by 2020 while quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.

“Any nation with such a number of unemployed but employable youths is only sitting on a keg of gun powder.

“The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and application for employment from constituent Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.

He added, “A situation where every school graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector which is the major driver of world economies.”

Senator Ekweremadu stressed that unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents “lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles”.

According to him, the most active percentage of Nigeria’s population has been forced to keep away from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by unemployment.

The lawmaker also attributed the high level of crime in any society to the high rate of unemployment.

He said, “Unemployment is one of the major causes of upsurge in rural-urban migration which put pressure on facilities at the urban centres.

“Unemployment is one of the major reasons why insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, Cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.”

In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang described unemployment as a monster that could consume the nation if its people were not careful.

Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, on his part, decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.

The government on the other hand, according to him, lacks the capacity to create jobs as doing so would create an expansion in its fiscal responsibility.

FIRS, AMCON: Senate To Receive Reports On Nami, Adamu Next Week

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

 

 

The Senate is to receive the report on President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, and members of the agency on Wednesday next week.

Similarly, it would receive the report on the President’s request for the confirmation of Edward Adamu as Chairman of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

During plenary on Wednesday at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, the lawmakers referred the requests to the Senate Committee on Finance for further legislative action.


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The committee chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola was directed to submit its report on December 18 before the National Assembly adjourns for the Christmas break.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers have approved the report of the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on the Finance Bill passed by the National Assembly recently.

They also received the 2020 statutory budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

In a letter dated December 10, 2019, and addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, President Buhari requested the National Assembly to consider the 2020 budget proposal of the FCTA.

He explained that the request to the Senate was in compliance with Sections 121 and 299 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The letter read: “Pursuant to Sections 121 and 299 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith, the 2020 statutory budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate.

“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

Senate To Probe CBN, NIBSS Over N20trn Unremitted Stamp Duties

 

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its subsidiary, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) over an allegedly failure to remit N20 trillion revenue to  the Federation Account.

CBN reportedly collected the amount as stamp duty from banks and financial institutions in the country.

The resolution follows a motion by Senator representing Ondo central, Ayo Akinyelure.

READ ALSO: Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill Passes Second Reading In Senate

“The Central Bank of Nigeria and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government.

“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr President for the realisation of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the federation account to be shared among states of the federation for infrastructural and economic development.

“The Senate must consider whether the target N20 trillion fund is being recycled into private banks when federal government had directed its recovery,” he said.

The lawmakers expressed concerns that despite government decision to appoint a consultant to help it recovered the money; the CBN and NIBSS have technically refused to comply with the presidential directive for the recovery of the money into the Federation Account.

Senator Isah Jibrin in his contribution said, “I want to support this motion. The issue is a major problem with financial remittance. The issue is to unravel who is benefiting from the non-compliance of this directive from President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The Senate then resolved to Mandate the Committee on Finance to investigate this issue of over N20 trillion unremitted stamp duties revenue due to the Federal Government of Nigeria from banks and other financial institutions through (NIBSS) a subsidiary of CBN for 2013 – 2016 and financial accountability of stamp duty collections from 2016 when the CBN officially directed all banks to collect on behalf of the federal government to date.

In his concluding remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said, “I engaged the Ministry of Finance and CBN for an interaction, and I discovered that what we have been expecting to be available as stamp duty is not so.

“I was under the impression that we had over N20 trillion somewhere. It will interest you to know that we don’t even have N1 trillion. What has happened is because those that are supposed to collect the stamp duties were taking advantage of the non-electronic transaction.

“With the passage of the finance bill, this is an opportunity we have to start getting what ordinarily should go to the government.

“The banks and many private organizations have taken advantage of the way the stamp duties have been.

“I want to believe that from January 2020, when the Finance Bill will start being effective, the stamp duty collection will be significantly improved,” he said.

Lawan added that is for our Finance Committee to monitor closely what the collection should be.

“We would like to know in the first quarter how much they have collected, and if they have not met targets; if they have met targets, how do we do better than that? The idea is not to slow agencies to do whatever they want.”

 

Senate Considers Bill To Address Food Security Problem In Nigeria

 

The Senate has commenced legislative action to address the country’s food security problems by considering a bill to that effect.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the bill, which was sponsored by Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), is for an Act to make Provision For Freedom From Hunger and the Right to Adequate Food of Acceptable Quality.

Senator Orji, in his lead debate on the bill which scaled second reading on Tuesday, said the piece of legislation before the National Assembly seeks to create basic right to food of acceptable quality and the right of every child to basic nutrition.

The lawmaker pointed out that the passage of the Bill by the legislature and its eventual assent by the President will address issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

“It is important to point out that Food Security means far more than having sufficient food to meet human needs on a national basis,” Orji said.

“Other very important factors include access to safe drinking water, primary health care and environmental hygiene”.

According to the lawmaker, developing countries have been enacting laws aimed at food security after the World Food Crisis in 2008.

Citing Mauritius as an example, Senator Orji said that the country enacted a Food Security Fund to enhance local production of food by tackling all the problems militating against it.

He added that the bill, among other things, seeks “to provide a framework that promotes the elimination and prevention of discrimination of marginalized groups in the access and distribution of food.”

The bill also seeks to establish an Agency as well as stipulates provisions for Chairmanship, membership of the board, tenure of office, amongst others.

It also proposes the establishment of a Food Security Committee in each State of the Federation, whose functions shall include: implementing food security policy and programmes, participating in collection, preparation and dissemination of data on food security and nutrition in the State.

The Committee shall also be charged with identifying food-insecure areas, appropriating programmes and eligible beneficiaries in relation to food security.

Clause 35, Part VII of the Bill establishes a “Food Insecurity and Information Mapping System”, making it mandatory for the Agency to work in collaboration with Ministries of Finance, Disaster Management, Planning and National Security to provide the information needed to develop and strengthen the capacity to respond to food emergencies.

The bill also gives the President the power to declare a food emergency if in his opinion there is a major shortfall in the domestic production or availability of a designated Agricultural commodity.

In a related development, the Senate also on Tuesday considered the Rice Development Council Bill, 2019.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Enagi Bima, in his lead debate, said the proposed legislation seeks to establish a Council that will revolutionize the entire value chain on rice.

According to the lawmaker, the establishment of a National Rice Development Council will transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain in the country.

The two bills after consideration were referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for further legislative work.

Buhari Appoints CBN Deputy Gov, Edward Adamu, As AMCON Chairman

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Edward Adamu, as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The appointment was contained in a letter forwarded to the Senate and read by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, during Tuesday’s plenary.

In the letter dated December 9, President Buhari urged members of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly to confirm Adamu’s appointment.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm New FIRS Chairman, Members

It read, “In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010, I hereby present Mr Edward Lametek Adamu for confirmation as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria by the Distinguished Senate.

“While hoping that this request will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

Mr was appointed as CBN deputy governor on March 23, 2018, after working in the apex bank for 25 years before he retired.

He was appointed as the CBN Director of Strategy Management Department in 2012, after a rigorous selection process.

Four years later, he was deployed to the Human Resources Department of the bank as a director, a position he held until his retirement on February 14, 2018.

Meanwhile, the President also sought the confirmation of the appointment of the chairman and members of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

He made the request in another letter read by the Senate President during the plenary.

This comes a day after the Presidency announced the appointment of Muhammad Nami as the new Executive Chairman of the FIRS.

According to President Buhari, the request is pursuant to Section 3(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.

Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm New FIRS Chairman, Members

A file photo of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office in Abuja. Photo: Twitter- @firsNigeria

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of the chairman and members of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

His message was conveyed in a letter which was read out by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at the start of plenary on Tuesday in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

This comes a day after the Presidency announced the appointment of Muhammad Nami as the new Executive Chairman of the FIRS.

READ ALSO: Buhari Nominates Muhammad Nami To Replace Babatunde Fowler As FIRS Boss

The request, President Buhari said, was pursuant to Section 3(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.

The letter reads: “Pursuant to Section 3(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007, I am pleased to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the underlisted names of nominees as the Chairman and Members of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

Members and representatives of geopolitical zones appointed include James Ayuba – Member (North Central); Ado Danjuma – Member (North West), and Adam Mohammad – Member (North East).

Others are Ikeme Osakwe – Member (South East), Adewale Ogunyomade – Member (South West), and Ehile Aigbangbee – Member (South-South).

Representatives of MDAs also nominated are Ladidi Mohammad – Member, Attorney-General of the Federation; Godwin Emefiele – Member, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Fatima Hayatu – Member, Ministry of Finance, and Maagbe Adaa – Member, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Others are Umar Ajiya – Member, Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC); DCG T.M lsah – Member, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and Registrar General – Member Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Reps Pass N10.59tn 2020 Budget

 

 

The House of Representatives has passed the 2020 budget of 10,594,362,364,830 naira.

During plenary on Thursday, the lawmakers insisted that the budget will run from 1st January to 31st December 2020, thereby returning the country to the January to December budget cycle.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes 2020 Budget

In the budget, the ministry of works gets the highest capital allocation of 315,563,564,269 while education gets a capital budget of 84,728,529,572.

The health sector follows closely with a capital budget of 59,909,430,837.

The national assembly also increased its budget from 125 billion to 128 billion.

Senate Passes 2020 Budget

 

 

The Senate on Thursday passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill. 

In passing the budget, the lawmakers increased the total sum from N10.330,416,607 to N10.594,362,364.

The Senate also increased the benchmark price of crude from 55$ to 57$, however, the exchange rate at N305 to 1$ was retained.

Senator Ibrahim Jibrin, the chairman committee on appropriations explained that budget figure was increased to allow for interventions in critical areas of national security, road infrastructure, health, social needs, water as well as mines and steel development.

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

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan had announced on Wednesday that the 2020 Appropriation bill before the parliament will be passed today the 5th of December.

He informed lawmakers at plenary shortly after the Public Procurement Act 2007 amendment bills were passed, which he believes, will complement the 2020 budget.

According to Lawan, the Public Procurement bill passed by the upper chamber is the icing on the cake on the eventual passage of the 2020 budget.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Isah Lau (PDP, Taraba North), in his presentation, said: “certain amendments were made on the bills to encapsulate the ingredients of the varied views collated from experts and professionals, aimed at adding value to the Procurement Act.”

The Senate, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, adopted the recommendations of the committee with slight amendments made to Section 1 under the Establishment of National Council on Public Procurement.

The Senate also adopted the committee’s recommendation on the issuance of Certificate of No Objection which shall be issued by a Committee of Directors of the Bureau to the chaired by the Director-General of the Public Procurement Bureau.

“The public procurement process in Nigeria has been a big bottleneck for some time, probably since it was passed.

“I believe that with this amendment, the procurement process will be faster and better, as will be the budget implementation process.

“Surely, this bill will have to go to the House of Representatives for them to concur.

Similarly, the upper chamber considered the recommendation of the committee to review upwards the mobilization fee from 15 percent to 20 percent for local contractors as insufficient.

Accordingly, Section 35 of the Act was amended to provide for not more than thirty percent mobilization for local contractors.

The amendment for an upward review of thirty-five percent mobilization for local contractors was initially proposed by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North) and seconded by Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central).

The Senate, however, settled for a thirty-percent review moved by Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) and seconded by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North).

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.

Why Senate Has Not Constituted Constitutional Review Committee – Lawan

Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator George Thompson Sekibo; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan; European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen; Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, and Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, during a courtesy visit by the ambassador to the Senate President at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday explained why the upper legislative chamber has yet to set up a committee on the review of the Nigerian Constitution.

Lawan said the Constitutional Review Committee has not been set up because the Senate has been pre-occupied with other issues like the 2020 budget.

The Senate President spoke while receiving in audience the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen who paid him a courtesy visit.

He, however, assured the nation that the committee will soon be put in place.

“Very soon, we will constitute our Committee on Constitutional Review. We haven’t done so yet because we have been engaged so much more with other issues.

“We believe that by the time we passed the budget, then our committee on Constitutional Review will be put in place.

“By next year January, the committee will start some work because we already have some references that require some kind of constitutional review,” Lawan said.

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

The Senate President told his guest that the will and determination to carry out reforms is there.

Lawan expressed appreciation to the support the EU has been extending to Nigeria particularly in the areas of the electoral process and political development and cooperation.

“Our democracy since 1999 has received a lot of support from the EU and this is making a very positive impact.

“The relationship between the EU and the Nigerian government is not like it is with other organizations.

“We also have a relationship at the level of the legislature. We have the EU-ACPU joint parliamentary Assembly. We believe this is one area thru which we can continue to discuss issues that affect us in relation to the EU or what we think we can be doing together,” Lawan said.

Lawan asked of EU for more support in the area of capacity building particularly for the Senate Committees on INEC, National Planning, and Finance.

Earlier, Ambassador Karlsen said EU is for many years a very significant partner of Nigeria and expressed the hope that the current EU leadership will “be able to establish even deeper relationship with Nigeria.”

Senate Condemns Boki Killings, Calls For Better Security

 

 

The Senate has condemned the incessant spate of killings as a result of militancy, cult activities, boundary disputes and kidnappings in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State.

At plenary on Wednesday, the Upper Legislative Chamber urged the Inspector-General of Police to ensure better security of lives and property in the area.

According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, this formed part of resolutions reached by the Senate sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Sandy Onor (PDP, Cross River Central).

Onor, in his motion, lamented that “Boki Local Government Area had been plagued by incessant cult activities, land and boundary disputes and most recently, kidnapping, which have claimed a good number of lives and destroyed properties.”

According to the lawmaker, “On October 22, 2019, in Okundi Community, four young men were killed in what appeared to be a clash between these cultists and the community.

“More recently, on November 23, 2019, three non-indigenes who reside in Boje community were kidnapped,” the lawmaker said.

Onor said the kidnap of the farmers caused suspicion between Boje and two neighbouring communities, Nsadop and Isobendeghe.

“This heightened tension led to full-blown inter-community war and the resultant loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties,” he stated further.

In a bid to avert more killings, the Senate, therefore, urged the Cross-River State Government to take over the Boki oil palm estates and delineate the inter-community boundaries accordingly.

The upper chamber also held a minute silence in honour of all those killed from boundary disputes and cult activities in Boki local Government.

Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal government to fully implement the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, especially the composition of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.

While urging the Ministry of Information and National Orientation Agency to undertake an awareness campaign against all forms of discrimination, the Senate called on the Ministry of Works to be aware of their obligations to Persons with Disabilities.

The Chamber, accordingly, urged the Works and Housing Ministry and other MDAs involved in infrastructure and public buildings to adopt codes and standards that are user-friendly to Persons with Disabilities.

These were resolutions reached by the Senate after consideration of a motion to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau North), said the observance of the Day seeks “to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration and mainstreaming of disabilities in every aspect of human endeavour including political, social, economic, and cultural life of nations”.

According to the lawmaker, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWD) which took effect from May 3, 2008, affirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

He stated that though Nigeria ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities in 2007 and its optional Protocol in 2010, it was only in January 23, 2019, that President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

Senator Gyang added that while the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, it impossible fines, sanctions and prison sentences on those who contravene it.

Gyang stated that the law stipulates a five-year transitional period for the modification of public buildings and automobiles to make them user friendly for people with disabilities.

It also provides for the establishment of a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities that will be responsible for ensuring that Disabled person have access to housing, education and healthcare.