Senate Recommends Life Imprisonment For Kidnappers, Removes Time Limit On Rape Cases

Lawmakers during plenary at the Senate chamber in Abuja February 12, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate has amended the Criminal Code Act which recommends life imprisonment for kidnappers and deletes the statute of limitations on cases of rape.

Section 218 of the Criminal Code Act (amended) removing the statute of limitations implies that the defilement cases can remain open for as long as possible against the earlier limitation of two months.

The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.02) was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central Senatorial District) on September 24, 2019.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes Criminal Code Bill, Seeks Protection Of Mentally Challenged Persons

The Senate on Tuesday also eliminated the gender restrictions in the offence of rape as Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act defines rape as an offence against women.

It acknowledged that the male gender can also be victims.

Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter, Opeyemi Bamidele in his presentation, explained that the aim of criminal law and criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders.

“And where the law fails to achieve any of these objectives, it becomes inherently defective, hence the need for the amendment/review of such law(s) to bring them into conformity with best practices.

“This amendment is a response to these anomalies and is also within the legislative powers of the National Assembly, to make laws that are responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people and to also amend obsolete laws that will enhance effective justice system and ensure good governance.

“Therefore, the amendment to the Criminal Code Act that is being proposed, is a welcome development to our criminal justice system”.

Senator Bamidele further noted that the proposition to delete statute of limitation on the prosecution of offences under section 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act, is a welcome development as the statute of limitation, placed on defilement and rape, negates the principles of natural law, equity and good conscience.

“There is no gainsaying the fact anyone who has carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen (13) or a girl being of or above the age of thirteen (13) and under the age of sixteen (16) or attempts to commit same offences, may not be punished, as the prosecution of such offence is barred after the expiration of two (2) months from the commission of the offence by virtue of the statute of limitation.

“Finally, they submitted that the frequency of kidnapping across the Federation and the resultant trauma, not to mention the number of lives lost to the crime, makes it imperative to review our laws with a view to ensuring appropriate punishment for perpetrators as well as serve as deterrence to would-be perpetrators.

“Thus, the passage of this Bill would proffer a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping as against the provisions of section 364 of the Act, which proffer the punishment of imprisonment for a term of ten (10) years, where the offence of kidnapping is established”.

He added that Nigerians at the public hearing expressed divergent views as regards the proposed amendments in the bill.

Read Details Of The Bill Below:

REPORT OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LEGAL MATTERS ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL CODE ACT CAP. C.38 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 TO DELETE THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION ON DEFILEMENT, INCREASE PUNISHMENT FOR THE OFFENCE OF KIDNAPPING, REMOVE GENDER RESTRICTIONS IN THE OFFENCE OF RAPE; AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.

1.0 BACKGROUND

The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.02) was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central Senatorial District). The Bill was read for the First Time on Tuesday, 24th September 2019. On Tuesday, 26th November 2019, the Senate deliberated on the general principles of the Bill. After extensive debates, it was read the Second Time and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, for further legislative action, (vide Order of Referral dated Tuesday 26th November, 2019), to report back with its recommendations.

2.0 METHOD OF WORK

After the referral, the Committee held a series of meetings and agreed on the following legislative framework:

(a) to consult widely and seek views of stakeholders on the justifications for the passage of the Bill; and
(b) to resort to any other matter incidental thereto, which would assist the Committee in the discharge of its assignment.

3.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, the objectives of the Bill, among others, are: to delete the statute of limitation on defilement in Sections 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C.38 LFN, 2004 and amend the definition of rape in Section 357, and provide stringent punishment for the offence of kidnapping in section 364 of the Criminal Code Act.

4.0 LEGISLATIVE ACTION

In furtherance of this assignment, the Committee relied on the legislative framework, earlier agreed upon as the way forward. Accordingly, in addition to the wide consultations that were made with relevant stakeholders in order to elicit their inputs on the proposed legislation, the Committee also considered divergent views expressed by Distinguished Senators on the merits of the Bill during the Second Reading stage.

Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, I wish to state here for the avoidance of doubt that, from views expressed on the Bill, there were opposing arguments on the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly. It will interest Distinguished Senators to note that the Committee subjected all the views canvassed for and against the passage of the Bill, taking into account, extant Laws on the subject matter. Below, are the highlights of the views expressed by stakeholders on the proposed legislation.

4.1 Highlights of Views

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, let me commend once again, the Sponsor of the Bill for this laudable piece of legislative proposal. It is apposite to state that an effective criminal justice system, is fundamental to the maintenance of law and order and since criminal justice addresses behavioural issues, it must be dynamic and proactive.

The aim of criminal law and the criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders. And where the law fails to achieve any of these objectives, it becomes inherently defective, hence the need for the amendment/review of such law(s) to bring them into conformity with best practices. This amendment is a response to these anomalies and is also within the legislative powers of the National Assembly, to make laws that are responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people and to also amend obsolete laws that will enhance effective justice system and ensure good governance. Therefore, the amendment to the Criminal Code Act that is being proposed, is a welcome development to our criminal justice system.

Firstly, it should be noted that the proposition to delete statute of limitation on the prosecution of offences under section 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act, is a welcome development as the statute of limitation, placed on defilement and rape, negates the principles of natural law, equity and good conscience. There is no gainsaying the fact anyone who has carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen (13) or a girl being of or above the age of thirteen (13) and under the age of sixteen (16) or attempts to commit same offences, may not be punished, as prosecution of such offence is barred after the expiration of two (2) months from the commission of the offence by virtue of statute of limitation.

Secondly, the stakeholders contended that the use of the words “idiot or imbecile” in Section 221 of the Act, has pejorative connotations, which have become derogatory and obsolete. As such, their usage should no longer exist in our laws, hence the need for this amendment. This is also a welcome development and a modern trend in legislative drafting and best practice world over.

Furthermore, section 357 of the Criminal Code Act, defines rape as an offence against women. However, in recent times, there are incidences of non-consensual sex, perpetrated against the male gender. Therefore, the passage of this Bill will ensure that our laws and jurisprudence evolve in tandem with the rest of the world.

Finally, they submitted that the frequency of kidnapping across the Federation and the resultant trauma, not to mention the number of lives lost to the crime, makes it imperative to review our laws with a view to ensuring appropriate punishment for perpetrators as well as serve as deterrence to would-be perpetrators. Thus, the passage of this Bill would proffer a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping as against the provisions of section 364 of the Act, which proffer the punishment of imprisonment for a term of ten (10) years, where the offence of kidnapping is established.

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, at this juncture, we wish to state that a cross-section of stakeholders opposed the passage of the Bill, based on the substantive and procedural laws on the subject matter, hence, they submitted as follows:

Firstly, they stated that the statute of limitation, regarding the prosecution of the offence of defilement that must commence within two (2) months from the date the offence was committed, which is the absurdity that this Bill seeks to address, has been cured by virtue of section 45 (1) and (2) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, as such, the amendment should be discountenanced. For the avoidance of doubt, the section provides as follows:

“(1) Any offence committed or proceedings instituted before the commencement of this Act under the provisions of the –
(a) Criminal Code, Cap. LFN, 2004
(b) Penal Code, LFN, 2004
(c) Criminal Procedure Code, Cap. LFN, 2004
(d) Any other law or regulation relating to any act of violence defined by this Act shall as the case may require to be enforced or continue to be enforced by the provisions of this Act.
(2) Any provision of the Act shall supersede any other provision on similar offences in the Criminal Code, Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code”.

Secondly, it was contended that since the Violence Against Persons Act, 2015, has addressed the gender neutrality issue on rape or defilement, as there is no longer distinction regarding the classification of all acts of sexual penetration of persons, such as rape or defilement in this Act, it is needless to amend the Criminal Code Act in that regard. Thus, section 1 (1) (a) of the Act, states as follows:

“1. (1) A person commits the offence of rape if –
(a) he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else”

From the standpoint of this provision, they argued that it is clear, gender neutrality introduced in the definition of rape in this Bill, has already been addressed, as such, the Criminal Code Act should not be amended.

Thirdly, they argued that the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, has, in no small measure, helped in the administration of justice generally in the Federal Capital Territory and Federal Courts, across the country, which is the uniform procedural law that applies in these Courts. Therefore, stakeholders unanimously emphasised the urgent need to comprehensively and holistically review all obsolete existing criminal laws, including the Criminal Code Act and the Penal Code Act to pave way for uniformity and suitability in our country instead of embarking on a piecemeal amendment, as is being sought by this Bill; and

Finally, it was posited that in as much as the National Assembly has the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation, it does not have the constitutional competence to legislate on crimes that do not fall within the contemplation of the Exclusive Legislative List. Hence, the National Assembly cannot amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code for the States.

5.0 OBSERVATIONS/FINDINGS

Flowing from the analysis of submissions made by the stakeholders on the Bill and based on our subsequent consideration of the Bill in our mark–up session, the Committee hereby makes the following observations and findings:

1. That the introduction of the Bill is laudable and commendable as its passage into law, will address the lingering issues of status of limitation in the prosecution of rape/defilement cases and the incessant kidnapping menace, which are on the rise, in recent times;

2. That even though the statute of limitation has been deliberately omitted from the VAPP Act, 2015, which is the prevailing law on the subject matter, intended to give room for the prosecution of offences of this nature, it is not of general application. As such, this proposed amendment is a welcome development;

3. That by virtue of Section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, dealing with savings and transitional provision, the National Assembly has the legislative competence to amend the Criminal Code Act as an Act of the National Assembly by its virtue of being in existing law;

4. That the National Assembly can amend the Criminal Code Act in line with the aforesaid provision, which gives it power to take over all existing laws, made prior to its existence, and subject such laws to necessary modifications in order to bring them into conformity with the Constitution;

5. That contrary to views canvassed by those opposing the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly, on the ground that its passage will usurp the powers of the States to legislate on the subject matter, it should be stated for the avoidance of doubt, that the proposed Bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act of 1916 and not Criminal Code Law of the States; and

6. That the Bill, when enacted, will be applied by the Federal High Court, in the southern part of the country, where the Criminal Code Act, is applicable and operational.

6.0 RECOMMENDATION

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to which this Bill, was referred, having considered same, recommends as follows:

“That the Senate does pass the Criminal Code Act Cap. C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2020”.

WE SO MOVE.

7.0 CONCLUSION

On behalf of members of the Committee, I wish to express our gratitude for this opportunity to serve you, our colleagues and our nation, Nigeria.

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
Chairman

Senate Asks FG To Commence Rehabilitation Of Eastern Rail Line

(File Photo)

 

The Senate has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, commence rehabilitation of the Eastern rail line.

This was even as the upper chamber mandated its Committee on Land Transport to interface with the relevant Ministry and agency.

These formed parts of resolutions reached during plenary on Tuesday sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC – Abia North).

In his presentation, Senator Kalu noted that one of the greatest challenges facing the nation as an emerging economy is poor infrastructural development, adding that, “the movement of goods and persons from one point to another is becoming very cumbersome, if not hazardous.”

According to him, the Federal Government in recognition of the fact that there is a dire need for transformation of the Nigerian Railway system into a more dynamic and functional one, encouraged the use of rail to reduce road traffic congestion problems and open up the sector to private sector investment.

“The Federal Government in 2017 entered into an agreement with General Electric, a Boston, United States-based company, under the Rehabilitation and the Concessioning of Western and Eastern Railway lines to connect Abia, Rivers, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Kaduna, Katsina, Enugu, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Borno, Yobe and Kano States.

“And while the Western lines of 1,126 km are from Lagos to Kano and to Nguru 230 km, Funtua, and Kaura Namoda 121 km. The Eastern lines are from Port Harcourt to Kaduna 915 km, Maiduguri 706 km, 105 35 km,” he said.

Kalu lamented that “the Federal Executive Council is yet to give approval for the commencement which leaves not just the government as losers but all host communities to the rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.”

He also expressed concerns that the non-existence of an airport or inland port in the whole of Abia State, with its high volume of commercial activities, poses a serious hindrance to the export and import of goods.

Reacting to Senator Kalu’s concerns, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance by the Federal Government and report back in three weeks for further legislative action.

Senate Asks Buhari To Send Soldiers After Bandits Taking Refuge In Jigawa

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate.

 

The Senate has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the immediate deployment of a Semi-Permanent Platoon of soldiers to uproot bandits and insurgents seeking refuge in Jigawa communities after fleeing the wrath of security agencies in some northern states.

The call was made by the upper chamber on Tuesday following consideration of motion on “the need for the establishment of a Military Unit in Jigawa State.”

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Hassan Hadejia (APC – Jigawa North East) bemoaned the invasion of communities in Jigawa state by insurgents and bandits fleeing mounting pressure of security agencies across other northern states.

“These migrant alien settlers are masquerading and mixing with herders trooping to the area because of the fertile flood plain and thick forest cover,” he said.

According to Hadejia, the zone which is bordered by Yobe and Bauchi States and the Niger Republic has faced challenges of insurgents sneaking in to take temporary refuge from army operations.

He added that “proactive measures by the security operatives in conjunction with a reporting mechanism using traditional institutions has ensured they are neutralized before they localize and take root.”

The lawmaker expressed worry that “most of these herders and other armed groups that mingle with them appear to be non-nationals and their activities in the last 12 months has assumed a dangerous dimension resulting in attacks and raiding of villages.”

“They have also adopted unwarranted destruction of farm produce to discourage farmers from planting in what appears to be an extension of the strategy in the far northwest to disrupt agricultural production and precipitate calamitous food insecurity in the country to aid in their strategy of creating instability through hunger and local economic devastation.

“The three local Governments affected form the flood plain of the Hadejia River Basin and are the most productive in the zone providing fertile land and abundant water to thousands of families who can achieve 3 harvests annually;

“The perpetrators have no fear or regard for the police and the local inhabitants are also losing confidence in the authorities as no one has yet been apprehended and successfully prosecuted”, the lawmaker said.

Hadejia lamented that “several lives have been lost as the marauders mercilessly hack down innocent villagers in a gruesome manner with the latest incident claiming almost 10 lives last week.”

“There is need to take preventive measures so as to avert the Zamfara and Katsina experience”, he added.

The Senate accordingly, called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to immediately arrange for distribution of relief materials and agricultural support to the affected communities to enable crop cultivation during the rainy season.

Senate Passes Criminal Code Bill, Seeks Protection Of Mentally Challenged Persons

 

The Senate has passed a bill to amend the Criminal Code Act 2004.

The passage of the bill followed consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters which was presented by its chairman, Opeyemi Bamdiele.

The piece of legislation, if assented into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, broadening the definition of rape and sexual offences.

Amendment to Section 357 of the principal Act, specifically substitutes the words ‘woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent’, with the words, ‘any person, without consent, or with consent.

READ ALSO: Senate Recommends Life Imprisonment For Kidnappers, Removes Time Limit On Rape Cases

The bill also seeks to protect mentally challenged persons from sexual defilement and rape through an amendment to section 221 of the principal Act.

During plenary on Tuesday, an attempt by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP – Anambra Central) to effect an amendment to section 357 to define persons susceptible to rape to accommodate “married and unmarried persons” was rejected by lawmakers during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

The upper chamber while retaining the provision of Section 364 of the principal Act, however, expunged the gender-specific term “him” and substituted the same with “such person” in defining the punishment for the offence of kidnapping.

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), in his lead debate on the bill, said the piece of legislation “will address the lingering issues of status of limitation in the prosecution of rape/defilement cases and the incessant kidnapping menace, which are on the rise, in recent times.”

The lawmaker stated that contrary to views by those opposing the passage of the bill by the National Assembly, on the ground that its passage will usurp the powers of the states to legislate on the subject matter, the bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act of 1916 and not Criminal Code of the States.

Why Senate Is Probing Alleged Financial Recklessness In NDDC – Lawan

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

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has explained why the Senate took the decision to investigate the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

He said the allegations of financial recklessness and misappropriation of funds levelled against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC were unacceptable.

Lawan gave the explanation on Thursday in his speech while declaring open an investigative public hearing by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee set up to probe the commission.

He stressed the need for the prudent application of public funds by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Government (MDAs), saying the same had become imperative in view of scarce income at the disposal of the Federal Government.

“Financial recklessness is not an attribute that anyone can afford, whether rich or poor. It is even worse with the poor, or for the organisation or a country with limited resources,” Lawan was quoted as saying in a statement by his aide, Ezrel Tabiowo.

He added, “This is the reason we have always highlighted the need for prudence in the application of public resources. The time when public resources are seen as nobody’s resources is long gone. We are in trying times when we all have to be concerned about the judicious use of scarce incomes.

“The NDDC is an important statutory agency that is supposed to improve the lot of the Niger Delta community. It is, therefore, unacceptable to hear about inappropriate use of resources or outright financial recklessness.”

 

A Responsive Senate

The Senate President, represented by the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, said the weighty allegations of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80 billion by the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC prompted the lawmakers to investigate the commission.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, represents the Senate President at a public hearing in Abuja on July 9, 2020.

 

He urged the stakeholders at the hearing to cooperate with the ad-hoc committee and gave the assurance of the Senate’s commitment to fairness and transparency in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility.

“This Senate is a responsive Senate, and it was partly the reason we made up this all-important committee in our sitting on Tuesday, 5th May 2020 to investigate the Alleged Financial Recklessness at the NDDC.

“I am happy the ad hoc committee has made excellent progress by requesting and receiving vital information from identified stakeholders,” Lawan explained.

He believes the public hearing will further help the committee get more information to enable it come to a pleasant conclusion on the facts on the ground, before reporting back to the Senate.

 

Repositioning The NDDC

The Senate President stated, “The Senate will be fair to all. Our aim is to get all evidence, to make excellent decisions, to benefit the citizens. Your cooperation is, therefore, very important.”

A file photo of the NDDC office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

 

In his welcome address, the Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, outlined the purpose of the gathering.

According to him, the panel seeks “to holistically investigate all financially related allegations, mismanagement and misappropriation, and the breach of the extant procurement processes as enshrined in the Public Procurement Act 2007.”

“The exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting any individual, groups, persons or institutions, but to rather get at the root of the matter, that will aid in repositioning the NDDC to effectively deliver on the mandate on which it was established, to block leakages of financial mismanagement as well as promote the effective utilisation of its resources for the overall development of the people of the Niger Delta region,” the lawmaker added.

Buhari Replaces Two Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate on Wednesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the replacement and confirmation of two non-career Ambassadors-designate.

The request was contained in a letter read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The President sought to replace the earlier nomination of Mr Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State, respectively.

The letter reads: “In accordance to Section 171(1)(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of Mr. John J. Usanga and Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) from Akwa-Ibom and Niger State respectively, as non-career Ambassadors-designate.

“The Senate is kindly requested to recall my earlier submission of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State respectively, vide letter dated 17th June 2020, I substitute Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga (Akwa-Ibom State). I replace Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar (Borno State) with Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (Niger State).”

But coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, the lawmaker representing FCT in the upper chamber, Senator Philip Aduda, protested the exclusion of a non-career Ambassador from the FCT.

According to him, the only FCT indigene presently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Hafiz Obada, was not re-appointed.

“For the ambassadorial nomination for the non-career, nothing has been said about the one for FCT. It has been silent and we have an Ambassador who is already sitting in Sierra Leone, his name is Ambassador Hafiz Obada. We don’t know what becomes of his fate because other states have been told to remain in their stations or they have been re-appointed.

“My issue is that is it at this time FCT will now lose an Ambassador. It is worrisome to me and the people of the FCT. Sitting here, names have been called for all other states except FCT and we have one.

“Now that particular non-career Ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us and is being killed, otherwise we are also entitled to have, and that is what I have consistently said since this list came out.

“So, Mr. President, I hope something can be done to this to help the people of the FCT. We don’t get Ministerial nomination, we don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have is about to be taken away which should not be so,” Aduda said.

In his remarks, the Senate President described the lawmaker’s complaint as valid, saying it is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career Ambassador by the President.

“I sympathize with the FCT but I know there were twelve non-career Ambassadors who were retained. I don’t know if you have an FCT indigene among those twelve, probably you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid.

“What I’m going to advise is maybe we need to take more political action, so that it doesn’t always come like it is an after-thought. The FCT is to be treated like a state, that’s what the Constitution states, so you deserve one like any other state deserves”, Lawan said.

Senate Holds Valedictory Session For Lagos Senator Who Died Of COVID-19

A file photo of late Senator Bayo Osiniwo. Photo: [email protected]

 

A valedictory session in honour of the late Adebayo Osinowo representing Lagos East took place on Wednesday in the Senate.

Family members and friends of the late Senator converged on the Senate chamber to pay their last respects even as lawmakers eulogised him.

Some also described him as a bridge-builder and a consummate politician.

Senator Osinowo died on June 15 in Lagos from coronavirus complications at the age of 64.

Read Also: Osinowo Died A Fulfilled Politician – Sanwo-Olu

He was a four-term member of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

The late lawmaker was elected into the Senate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 23, during the last general elections.

Until his death, he served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Investment.

Why Senate Didn’t Bow To Pressure To Declare Orji Kalu’s Seat Vacant – Lawan

A file photo of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu exchanging pleasantries after the former Abia State governor was released from the correctional centre.

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has revealed why the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly refused to yield to pressure to declare Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat and position vacant during the period of his incarceration.

He stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of the leaders of thought from Abia State at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Lawan explained that what the Senate did by preserving Kalu’s seat and his position was not extra-ordinary but the right and just thing to do.

“He (Kalu) was on several appeals and until he exhausted all the opportunities available to him, that seat remained his seat. Similarly, the position of the Chief Whip, we didn’t even appoint an acting Chief Whip.

“The Deputy Chief Whip continued to play that role until he was released,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.

He added, “We came under pressure, of course, but we thought the right thing to do was to keep that seat, that position until he was able to get his judgement.

“It would have been premature, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.

“So, we didn’t do anything extra-ordinary really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”

Senator Kalu was the Senate Chief Whip when a court in Lagos sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in December 2019 for a fraud he was said to have committed while he was the Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007.

He spent six months at the correctional facility before he eventually regained his freedom and returned to the Senate, following the Supreme Court judgement which nullified his conviction on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the trial judge.

Addressing his guests, Lawan said there was no way anybody could convince the members of the Senate that someone else should take the Abia North Seat, stressing that it was not vacant.

He commended the leaders for unity and understanding among them and their followers in the state.

“Our people need us to give them leadership. They need us to give them good governance. They want to have a better life and particularly in Abia State, you have a lot of businesspeople.

“They would like to see their businesses grow and do well. Once the leaders are united, it makes it much easier for the followership to remain united and supportive so that reaching the promise land can be quite easy,” the Senate President added.

In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Senator Chris Adighije said the visit was to appreciate the Senate for their concerns for the former governor.

He said, “We want to thank the Senate. It’s something that the entire Abia State and indeed the South East appreciate very much.”

Senate Passes Bill Against Sexual Harassment In Tertiary Institutions

 

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

 

The Senate has passed a bill against sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.

The bill was sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege prohibits the offense of sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions.

It also criminalizes the act of neglect or failure of administrative heads of tertiary educational institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period.

Similarly, the bill creates a strict liability offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions and maintain the fiduciary relationship that exists between educators and students.

READ ALSO: Senate Receives Buhari’s Request To Confirm 11 Judges For FCT High Court, Others

According to the bill, any person who commits the offences of sexual harassment of students shall in conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years or to a fine of N5million or both.

Recall that the bill was introduced by Omo-Agege during the 8th Senate.

Senate Receives Buhari’s Request To Confirm 11 Judges For FCT High Court, Others

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

 

The Senate on Tuesday received a formal request for the confirmation of 11 nominees as Judges of the Federal High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The request was contained in a letter read on the floor during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The letter read: “In accordance to Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed names of eleven (11) nominees as Judges of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja”.

The nominees are: Abubakar Husseini Musa (Adamawa State); Edward Okpe (Benue State); Babashani Abubakar (Borno State); Emuesiri Francis (Delta State); Jude Ogho (Delta State); Josephine Enobi (Edo State); Christopher Opeyemi Oba (Ekiti State); Mohammed Idris (Kano State); Hassan Maryam Aliyu (Kebbi State); Fashola Akeem Adebowale (Lagos State); and Hamza Muazu (Niger State).

The Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, while relying on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules objected to the absence of a nominee from the FCT.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC– Ekiti Central), while coming under the same point of order, explained to the contrary that the FCT already has Judges on the bench of the FCT High Court.

“What is being done by the National Judicial Council at the moment is to fill existing vacancies on the bench of the FCT Judiciary.

“What will become an issue is if you take list of the over 40 Judges of the FCT and any particular state is missing, that is when it becomes an issue.

“A major criterion is to ensure that states that do not have anybody on the bench are given priority. I just wanted to clarify that FCT has Judges on the bench of the FCT”, the lawmaker explained.

In a related development, the President also requested the upper chamber to confirm the appointment of three members of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

“In compliance with the provision of Section 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and pursuant to Section 1(2) and (3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act LFN 2004, I write to request for confirmation by the Senate, the following three nominees for appointment as members of the Code of Conduct Bureau. The curriculum vitae of the nominees are attached herewith.

They are: Barr. Ben Umeano (Anambra State – South East); Hon. Johnson Abonaema (Edo State – South South); Olayinka Babatunde Balogun (Ogun State – South West).

Also to be confirmed is the appointment of Umar Garba Danbatta, as Executive Vice Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a second term of five (5) years.

According to President Buhari, the nominee’s appointment is in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

Meanwhile, the confirmation of the nomination of Idahagbon Williams Omoregie for appointment as Commissioner of the Federal Civil Service Commission was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

The Senate President also referred the nominations of Usman Mahmud Hassan as Commissioner of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to the Committee on National Planning and Economic matters; Tella Adeniran Rahmon as Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission to the Committee on INEC; Suleiman Sani as Career Ambassador; and the appointment of 41 Non-Career Ambassadors to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The Committees are expected to submit their reports to the Senate in two weeks.

Senate Confirms 42 Ambassadors-Designate, Adjourns Till June 23

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate.

 

 

The Senate has confirmed the appointment of 42 Ambassadors-designate.

During plenary on Thursday, the Upper Chamber also confirmed the nomination of James Jiya John Kolo as Commissioner of the Federal Character Commission.

The confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of the reports of the Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs, and Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs.

In a letter dated May 6, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari said the appointment of the nominees was in accordance to section 171 (1),(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Ambassadors-designate confirmed by the Senate are C.O Nwachukwu, Abia; A. Kafas, Adamawa; R.U. Brown, Akwa-Ibom; G.A. Odudigbo, Anambra; O.C. Onowu, Anambra; Y.S. Suleiman, Bauchi; E.S. Agbana, Bayelsa; B.B.M. Okoyen, Bayelsa; G.M. Okoko, Benue; A.M. Garba, Borno; M.l. Bashir, Borno; M.O. Abam, Cross River; A.E. Allotey, Cross River; G.E. Edokpa, Edo; and A.N. Madubuike, Enugu.

Others are: Adamu Lamuwa, Gombe; Innocent lwejuo, lmo; M.S. Abubakar, Jigawa; Y.A. Ahmed, Jigawa; S.D. Umar, Kaduna; A. Sule, Kano; G.Y. Hamza, Kano; N. Rimi, Katsina; L.S. Ahmed-Remawa, Katsina; M. Manu, Kebbi; l.R. Ocheni, Kogi; l.A. Yusuf, Kogi; M. Abdulraheem, Kwara; W.A. Adedeji, Lagos; and A.U. Ogah, Nasarawa.

Also among career Ambassadors-designate confirmed include A.A. Musa, Niger; N.A. Kolo, Niger; S.O. Olaniyan, Ogun; A.R. Adejola, Ogun; E. Awe, Ondo; O. Aluko, Osun; I.A. Alatishe, Osun; V.A. Adeleke, Oyo; M.S. Adamu, Plateau; l.N. Charles, Rivers; Z.M. lfu, Taraba; and B.B. Hamman, Yobe.

Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned its plenary until June 23.

The announcement was made by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the adoption of the Votes and Proceedings for Thursday.

Borno Attacks: Senate Asks FG To Flush Out Boko Haram From Lake Chad

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

The Senate has asked the Federal Government to urgently deploy more military personnel and operatives of other security agencies to flush out Boko Haram insurgents from the Lake Chad region.

This request followed a ‘Point of Order’ raised by Senator Abubakar Kyari during plenary on Thursday in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Kyari, who represents Borno North senatorial district, drew the attention of his colleagues to fresh Boko Haram attacks that have led to the death of scores of people in his state.

The emotional lawmaker narrated how the insurgents recently invaded villages in Borno, saying over 90 people, including women and children, were killed.

In its resolutions, the Senate urged the Federal Government to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and North East Development Commission (NEDC) to immediately send relief materials to the victims of the attacks.

It also called on the government to immediately begin the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Senate Advocacy Committee on Security Challenges.

The lawmakers also resolved to observe a minute of silence in honour of those who lost their lives, adding that the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives should meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to work out new strategies to confront Boko Haram in the North East.

In his contribution, Senate President Ahmad Lawan decried that Boko Haram has metamorphosed from a group of “maybe religious zealots” into a full-fledged industry.

He added that the Senate had passed several resolutions on the insecurity in the country with all stakeholders carried along, but the issue has persisted.

Senator Ali Ndume, on his part, noted that the activities of Boko Haram have lingered for too long and it was about time to deal decisively with the menace.