Tag Archives: bills

[Nigeria] Bill to establish Army Varsity passes Senate’s first hearing

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The Senate has passed a bill to give legal backing to the establishment of the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State.

The passage of the bill followed a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on the Nigerian Army during plenary on Tuesday.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South) said the Committee while undertaking legislative work on the bill, took into consideration “areas that are in conflict with other extant laws, those that have security implication and those that are ambiguous.”

According to the lawmaker, the University with the passage of the bill into law, “Would promote research and other means of advancement of knowledge and its application to military hardware and software, social, cultural, economical, scientific, and technological situations.”

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Senator Ndume noted that the institution would cater to the development of middle and high-level manpower in the area of technological empowerment for civilians, appreciation of military policies, logistics, and strategies.

In a similar development, the Senate also moved to address the issue of out-of-school children by calling on the Federal Ministry of Education to intensify its sensitization and advocacy programmes; and engagement of traditional and religious scholars on the plight of Almajiris, the need to enroll them into the universal basic education system.

The call was contained in the recommendations of the report by the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) on the need to integrate Almajiri Education into the Modern System of Education in Nigeria.

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Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Senator Akon Eyakenyi (PDP – Akwa-Ibom South), in her presentation observed that “the Almajiris, who are predominant in the North, constitute the larger number of out of school children roaming the streets begging for alms and food in Nigeria, and therefore are covered by the intervention policy and programmes of the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004.”

Senator Eyakenyi said, that “the implementation of the UBEC Act, 2004 requires maximum collaborations with the state governments and indeed the domestication of the Act through the State Legislatures.”

She explained that Nigeria had obtained $611 million dollars from the World Bank Financed Programme – Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), as a credit to specifically address the problem of Out of School Children.

The lawmaker, however, stressed that “optimal operation and implementation of the BESDA Programme as being anchored and implemented by UBEC in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and participation of key Education Agencies, require improved Federal-State-Local level Communication, coordination and collaboration to succeed.”

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Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed the nomination of Barrister Idahagbon Omoregie as a commissioner representing Edo, Ekiti and Ondo states in the Federal Civil Service Commission.

Also confirmed was the re-appointment of Engr. Umaru Danbatta as Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The confirmation of both nominees followed the consideration of the reports of the Senate Committees on Communications; and Establishment and Public Service.


#Newsworthy…

Storyline: Zamfara passes SDG bills

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The Zamfara State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill for the establishment and management of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)in the state.

N.Rs reports that the bill was passed after scaling through the third reading at the assembly’s plenary in Gusau.

This followed a report on the bill submitted by Alhaji Musa Bawa Musa, the Deputy Speaker of the House and Chairman House Committee on Special Duties.

Musa urged the lawmakers to allow the bill to scale through its third reading and passed for proper take off of the SDG in the state.

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The motion was seconded by Zaharadeen Sada (PDP Kaura-Namoda North)who urged the members to support the motion.

After deliberations and contributions by members, the legislators unanimously endorsed the bill through voice votes.

Speaker, Alhaji Nasiru Magarya, while announcing the passage of the bill, said the bill was vital for the development of the state.

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He directed the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Saidu Anka, to send the bill to the state governor for assent.

Meanwhile, two executive Bills also passed its second readings at plenary following a request by the Deputy Majority Leader Nasiru Bello-Lawal (PDP Bungudu West)p>

They were a bill to enact law for Directorate of Accelerated Cotton Development Board and a law for the establishment and management of State Directorate for Higher Education.

The two bills were referred to the committees of the assembly for scrutiny and report to the house in two weeks.


#Newsworthy…

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Infectious Diseases Bill: Gbajabiamila suffer setback at public hearing

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsor of the Infectious Disease Control Bill, suffered shocking setback at the first public hearing on the controversial bill on Wednesday. The speaker lost grounds to notable stakeholders who opposed the bill and rejected continuation of its legislation.

The controversial bill which passed second reading by fiat in the House of Representatives on April 28, was vehemently rejected by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the public hearing on Wednesday.

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), cited section 36 which he protested usurped the powers of governors to intervene in the control of infectious disease outbreak in their states.

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The NGF chairman also cited some other sections of the bill which constitute breaches of the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens. The governor said too much powers are concentrated on the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Fayemi pointed out that the coercive test and compelling the victim to bear the cost or sanctions will be imposed is highly autocratic. He also noted that the discretional powers to enter and confiscate property by the DG of NCDC on mere suspicion, or the arrest without warrant, constitute arbitrary powers.

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Fayemi had declared at the Wednesday public hearing in Abuja which proceedings were monitored from Lagos: “The public should have an opportunity to participate in the formulation of policies and laws and implementation should be open and clear to promote public trust which is crucial for preventing infection spread.

“Rights of individuals to contest an order or proceeding should be protected as much as possible.

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“In cases of considerable economic losses as a result of the imposition of such measures, international recommendations proffer that fair compensation be provided to those individuals.

“Any intervention seeking to provide a comprehensive legal and policy framework to ensure the effective management of cases involving infectious diseases…must be conducted within the context of the federation, carrying every stakeholder along and holding extensive consultations.

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“The NGF is concerned that the governors were not consulted in putting the Bill together, neither was any role created for them, in utter disregard for their constitutional functions.”

National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Wabba, identified 17 grey areas that are undemocratic and dictatorial.

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Wabba had declared inter alia: “Having read through the Bill, the only reinforcing and overwhelming voice is that of dictatorship.

Wabba had declared: “In presenting this memorandum, we choose to uphold our concern that the claim of commitment to the protection of public health and safety does not turn out to be an excuse for the provision of a tool in the hand of an autocrat, empowered to ride roughshod over the fundamental rights of the Nigerian People.”

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President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, condemned the powers for compulsory treatment or vaccination in the bill. He declared that it is against the ethics of medical profession, as well as infringes on the right to privacy and other freedoms.

Embattled Speaker Gbajabiamila in his desperation to enforce the passage of the controversial and unpopular bill had argued that the oppositions to the proposed bill are coming from the viewpoints that the legislation “has been ill-informed and outrightly malicious”. He is yet to show willingness to abide by the populist views which have pointed out overwhelming dangers of the legislation.

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The public hearing on the controversial Infectious Diseases Control Bill which is being initiated to repeal the Quarantine Act of 1926, the Nigeria National Health Act (2004), National Programme on Immunisation Act (2004) and the Environmental Health Officers (Registration ETC) of 2002, continues on Tuesday.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, may make an appearance on Thursday to make a presentation on the Bill.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: CUPP set public hearings on Infectious Diseases Bill

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The Conference of United Political Parties (CUPP) has boycotted the public hearing on the controversial Infectious Diseases Control Bill holding this Wednesday, which the organized opposition and other stakeholders in Nigeria referred to as plagiarized legislation by the Nigerian National Assembly.

Spokesperson of the Opposition Coalition (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, disclosing the boycott, said that attending the public hearing is a waste of precious time, describing the event as media show and Owambe gathering [not official state function] organized by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, under the guise of public hearing for the questionable Infectious Diseases Bill he is fronting as sponsor.

The CUPP spokesperson ridiculed the Nigerian National Assembly over what he considered as “a plagiarized legislative work that has brought global shame and ridicule to our lawmakers in international press with suspicious provisions against Nigerian people for which the promoters were about secretly passing without public input before Nigerians and opposition exposed them.” He advocated that “the only thing for the parliament to do is to force the Bill promoter to completely withdraw his copy and paste controversial Bill pending the time a clean work is done with the support of all stakeholders, especially, NCDC.”

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He maintained: “The best thing the parliament can do is to start cleaning the image of the House by forcing the Speaker to resign for disgraceful act of plagiarism and past dishonest act which have tainted the image and integrity of the House and will continue to haunt the present House.”

Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, accordingly, declared: “We will not be part of a process led by a tainted man to use an afterthought/stage managed so-called public hearing to stamp into law a suspicious anti people legislation. Total withdrawal of the suspicious bill and reintroduction of a non-plagiarized version by a lawmaker without a dirty past is the only condition that can give Nigerians and the Opposition the confidence to attend and make contributions.”

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He started that “this is a House that have a Speaker that has brought so much disgrace to the Institution of lawmaking, especially, with the legendary passing of a wicked and frivolous 22.7 billion and 5.5 billion dollars borrowing plan in a day and in less than one hour despite experts and Public outcry against approving a lopsided borrowing plan that contains owambe projects that will plunge generations unborn into debts.”

Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere admonished that “If courageous lawmakers do not rise up now and flush Gbajabiamila and his cabal out of Office, his actions will continue to bring shame and public anger against the House that still has men and women with honour.”


#Newsworthy…

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Shocker: Hidden truths about Gbajabiamila’s Bill

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After WWII, the world became aware of the holocaust which was the genocide against Jews. This mass extermination, preceded by lockdown, arrests and deportation to Concentration camps, of Jews was an organised quarantine carried out by civil servants obeying official instructions.
In order to forestall the reoccurring of such actions and activities by governments and citizens, the United Nations Charter of Human Rights was set up. This charter protects the universal natural rights of all human beings bestowed on them by the Creator of life. These rights are inalienable and unnegotiable and they must be recognised and protected by all nations and governments.

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These Rights include:
The Right to Life
The Right to Personal Liberty
The Freedom from Degrading and Inhumane Treatment
The Right to Personal and Family Life
The Right to Privacy
The Right to Acquire and Own Property
The Freedom of Movement
The Freedom of Religion
These Rights are held sacred and inviolable.
Thus courts in Nigeria, on numerous occasions have struck down Acts of Parliament and other legislation (including executive orders of government) which do violence to any of these fundamental rights as provided in Chapter IV of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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With the above understanding, and looking at the contents and provisions of this proposed bill, one wonders whether our law makers who swore to protect and uphold the constitution of our Federal Republic are committed to keeping the pledge they made.
Reading through this law and looking at the timing, the true intention of the promoters of this bill is questionable. We can dare say that the promoters of this bill are not interested in any sincere control or prohibition of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The world is presently battling a virus that has affected several nations with no officially announced cure as yet. Fear and dread has been stirred up in people across the world by the media, most unfortunately, about the effects of this disease. It is this fear that some agents, who are behind this bill, want to ride on to rush this law through.

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A LOOK AT SOME OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL.
Firstly, aside the first 3 sections of the bill which make mention of the declaration by the President of the Federal Republic of a public health emergency such as Covid-19, all remaining (over) 77 sections of the law talks about matters and/or issues that are not of any urgent importance now, to warrant the National Assembly (breaking the lockdown order and attendant risks to themselves) to gather in Abuja to pass the law without any input by public health workers and other very relevant stake holders in Nigeria.

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SOME ODD PROVISIONS OF THE BILL

  1. S.3(8) empowers the DG of NCDC, all by himself or any officer under him or a police officer on his direction, to enter into any premises or gathering of people in any area declared by the President as a public health restricted zone without a warrant. This is clearly in breach of the right of Nigerians to freedom of assembly, right to liberty, etc. This kind of power in the hands of over zealous police officer or NCDC official can cause serious civil unrest.
    A religious zealot in office as NCDC DG can close up a church crusade or church service or mosque gathering if he so chooses. He doesn’t require a warrant. He doesn’t require any scientific or medical proof to do it. It’s his prerogative. And he cannot be challenged in court.
  2. S.5(3). This section empowers the DG to compel you (or any person) if you are SUSPECTED by him of having an infectious disease or being in contact with anyone suspected, to undergo a medical examination or test that he (the DG) prescribes.
    This sub section also allows the DG to take the blood or any other sample from the person for purposes of public health surveillance.
    So God help you if your church or Muslim sect is in conflict with the DG or the government in power. You can become a suspect. You cannot appeal to any court or even apply for an interim injunction.
    This of course is in breach of the constitutional Right of every Nigerian to his privacy and Right to respect of his human person.
    Please note that this sub section, like the other provisions of this bill, has nothing to do with whether there is a public health emergency or not. It is a permanent provision of the law exercisable at any time at the delight of the DG.
    If you refuse to allow the DG take his samples or do the prescribed test, you are guilty of an offence.
    S.6 also has a similar provision.
  3. S.8 makes it obligatory for your personal doctor or lab scientist or nurse treating you to release to the DG, your medical details and records without any regard to the age long professional code of confidentiality between a doctor and his patient. But, alas, the bill renders this professional etiquette a crime to refuse to release the information requested. The DG can do this without recourse to getting a court warrant etc to procure these records which is the usual judicial practice.
    Of course, you cannot appeal or have recourse to the courts.
  4. S.13 empowers the DG upon only a MERE SUSPICION NOT MEDICAL INFORMATION that you are infected with an infectious disease and/or just recovered from an infectious disease, arrest you and detain you FOR AS LONG AS HE DEEMS NECESSARY WITHOUT A WARRANT OR COURT ORDER at any isolation center of his choice and it is an offence to resist him.
    Of course, you cannot challenge this order in court.
    We know Nigerians and our history. If the DG or his staff should have a private issue against you or your tribe or your religion, only God can help you.
  5. S.15 is the only section referring to the Federal Minister of Health in this part of the bill. He can declare any premises whether public or private as an isolation center and the moment this is announced, nobody will be allowed to enter or leave the premises without the authorisation of the Minister.
    Your church or your mosque or your school etc can be converted into an isolation center.
    Your right to enjoyment of your property is thereby taken away WITHOUT COMPENSATION as required by our Federal Constitution.
  6. S.16, the DG CAN DECLARE ANY BUILDING OR GATHERING (vigil, campmeeting, political rally, convention etc) as OVERCROWDED AND WITHOUT ANY COURT ORDER or WARRANT ENTER THE PREMISES USING SUCH FORCE AS HE DEEMS NECESSARY TO DISPERSE THE GATHERING AND MAY ALSO CLOSE THE BUILDING.
    A similar provision is in S.17.
    This is probably the most dangerous provision in this bill. It can be, and will be, very much abused.
    You or your church or mosque or political party etc cannot challenge this in court.
  7. S.23 authorises the DG or an enforcement officer of his agency or police to seize anyone walking on any street whom he SUSPECTS of having an infectious disease without any warrant or court order.
    You can say goodbye to your son or brother or husband etc in the morning and that would be the last time you see them for the foreseeable future.
    All that is required is a suspicion. Do you know that the bill empowers your neighbour to report you or your family members if he suspects you of having an infectious disease? If he suspected you but didn’t report it, he’s guilty of an offence.
    So egungun be careful before you reject an unwanted sexual advance.
  8. S.19 EMPOWERS THE DG TO CLOSE ANY MEETING OR PUBLIC GATHERING OR EVENT HE CONSIDERS TO LIKELY INCREASE THE SPREAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE WITHOUT ANY COURT ORDER.
    With this provision, mega churches, mega crusades, mega vigils, and anything mega: bye👋
  9. S.30 makes vaccination compulsory if you are leaving or arriving Nigeria. Whether you like it or not. Whether you want to or not. You must vaccinate.
  10. S.47 Empowers the DG to direct COMPULSORY VACCINATION in an outbreak or a SUSPECTED OUTBREAK.
    SOME SALIENT POINTS
  11. The bill sanctions any failure to comply with the directive of the DG of NCDC as an offence . THE ESSENCE OF THIS IS THAT THE BILL SEEKS TO TURN THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN into a Criminal on a sensitive issue of health.
    2.The bill gives so much power to the NCDC DG with the attendant risk of abuse by an occupier of the position and the rank and file officers of NCDC. The DG has more powers than the Federal Minister of Health in an area that is under the ambit of the Minister and his ministry.
  12. The Bill fails to take into consideration the Federalism status of Nigeria with the overreaching authority given to NCDC DIRECTOR -GENERAL and the Minister of Health on matters under the exclusive powers of the States.
  13. There are no specific provisions to check the potential abuse of powers of the DG and the MINISTER of HEALTH in the bill.( NO CHECKS AND BALANCES).
  14. The authority to take over the PRIVATE PROPERTY OF NIGERIANS and turn them into ISOLATION CENTERS in S.15 of the Bill at the instance of the DG and the Minister of Health in any part of the Federation is a potential abuse of the rights of Nigerians to own and enjoy property is in direct contravention of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  15. FINALLY, THE BILL OUSTS THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS. THE BILL SAYS THAT ANYONE WHO IS AGGRIEVED WITH ANY DECISION OF THE DG OR ANY OF HIS ORDERS CAN ONLY APPEAL TO THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SUCH DECISION IS FINAL.
  16. DOESN’T THIS REMIND YOU OF DECREE 4 OF 1984? THAT LAW WAS MADE IN AN ERA WHEN THE CONSTITUTION WAS SUSPENDED AND NIGERIA WAS UNDER THE MILITARY.
    ARE WE BACK THERE TODAY? IS DEMOCRACY GONE?

#Newsworthy…

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Ekweremadu: Infectious Diseases Bill harmful than COVID-19.


A former deputy president of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu has said that the controversial “Infectious Diseases Bill” might likely not be passed.

He said the bill, which is currently before the National Assembly was more dangerous than the Covid-19 that brought about it.

Noting that provisions of the bill were inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, the Enugu West senator said many lawmakers were prepared to oppose it.

A statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, said Ekweremadu stated this when he featured on a radio programme, Political Voices, in Enugu State on Friday.

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“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the bill as presently presented will likely not be passed by the National Assembly; a lot of parliamentarians have lined up to oppose it.

“Now, looking at that bill which is intended to deal with dangerous or other infectious diseases, it appears to me that the bill itself is more dangerous than even the infectious disease itself.

“If you look at some of the provisions, it says if you have any problem with the order or the action of the DG of the agency, then you have to appeal to the minister and whatever the minister says is final.

“That is not in tandem with the provisions of our Constitution, especially Section 4, 8 of our constitution. That is Section 4, subsection 8 that deals with the issue of courts and court jurisdictions. Section 4 sub-section 8 says that ‘no attempt should be made by either the National Assembly or any state Assembly to make a law that purports or in effect houses the jurisdiction of the court.

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“You must have access to go to court if you have any issue that demands that; so to that extent, that bill is null and void, it is unacceptable, it is unconstitutional,” Ekweremadu said.

He also faulted the Executive Order 10 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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The order, which Buhari issued last week, wants financial autonomy granted to state legislature and judiciary as already contained in the amendments to the constitution, carried out by the 8th National Assembly implemented.

“There has been a lot of misconception regarding that Executive Order. In the first place, it was quite unnecessary.

“We, the members of the 8th Assembly, passed the amendment to the constitution to grant financial autonomy to the state judiciary and legislature because we believed that for the sake of their independence, they should be on the First Line Charge of the states’ Consolidated Revenue Account.

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“When we passed them, the President dutifully signed them into law (over a year ago). That should have been the end of it because the amendments are self-executing.

“We expected that having done that, the states should go ahead to work out the modalities, but that didn’t happen.

“So, the President now set up a committee headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation to work out the modalities for implementation.

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“I think it was at that point that they deemed it necessary to come up with an Executive Order to strengthen the implementation. But regrettably, they have simply mutilated those provisions of the Constitution as amended,” Ekweremadu said.

He, therefore, called on the governors to reach out to the president, pinpoint those mistakes for withdrawal in the Executive Order.


#Newsworthy…

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Infectious diseases bill: Dino Melaye’s suit to no avail


The hearing of a suit filed by a former Senator representing Kogi West at the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, over the Infectious Diseases Bill has suffered a setback.

This was after a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected Melaye’s request to restrain the House of Representatives from continuing the consideration of the bill.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in her ruling, refused to grant the order because the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila who is the third defendant in the suit, had yet to be served with the court documents.

She adjourned the suit till June 1 for further hearing.

Dino, who instituted the suit on May 5, 2020, asked the court to declare that some sections of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, currently being debated on the floor of the House of Representatives are draconian, oppressive and authoritarian.

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The former lawmaker also wants the court to rule that the Bill is in breach of his fundamental rights as provided for in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The respondents to the bill are the Clerk of the National Assembly; the Clerk of the House of Representatives; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.

At the resumed hearing of the suit on Wednesday, lawyer to the House of Representatives, Kayode Ajulo informed the court that he is yet to be served with the processes as he insists that the service is key and fundamental to fair hearing.

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Also, clerks of both the National Assembly and the House of Representatives and the AGF were absent from court and not represented by their lawyers.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Okoro Nkemakolam, said the respondents had failed to file any processes to show cause why such restraining order should not be issued by the court.

He urged the court to order parties to maintain the status quo to protect the subject matter and prevent a situation of foisting a “fait accompli” on the court.

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The judge declined to grant the plaintiff’s request on the grounds that the May 13, 2020 summons for the defendants to appear in court on Tuesday to show cause why they should not be restrained concerning the bill, was predicated on the service of all the respondents with the required court documents.

She then ordered that the Speaker of the House of Reps be served through his lawyer, Ajulo and adjourned till June 1 for further hearing.


#Newsworthy…

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Infectious diseases bill: Gbajabiamila faces impeachment threat. [Nigeria]



As controversy continues to trail the Infectious Disease Control Bill before the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s seat seems to be hanging in the balance as forces not comfortable with his recent style of leadership are said to be moving against him.

NobleReporters gathered that the recent face-off between the leadership of the House led by Gbajabiamila, the state governors and former Speaker of the House and now governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal may cause Gbajabiamila his seat if not properly handled.

According to the source, the governors who are allegedly not happy with the way the House of Representatives responded to their advice that the Infectious Disease Control Bill be “stepped down” until proper consultations are made, are mobilising against the Speaker who is the lead sponsor of the Bill.

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The source further disclosed that the governors at a recent meeting in Abuja had “secretly” agreed to push for the Speaker’s impeachment through their various representatives at the green chamber.

He said some of the governors openly accused the Speaker of being “arrogant” in his approach to “national issues” a development they said should be checked to maintain the cordial relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.

Speaking further, the source stated the governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal’s loyalists who felt slighted that the governor was accused of misleading and misguiding other members of the Governors Forum are also “spoiling for war”.

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He said some members of the House already have grudges against the Speaker over allegation of overbearing especially in handling the donation to the fight against the coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

It was also alleged that the Speaker has been making frantic efforts to get his political godfather to rally the governors to shelve their plans and create an avenue for dialogue.

It would be recalled that the governors operating under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF had recently urged the National Assembly to step down the proposed Infectious Disease Control Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives until an appropriate consultative process is held.

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Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also the Governor of Ekiti state had in Communiqué at the end of the Forum’s eight teleconference meeting added that the consultation must include a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns on the proposed Bill.

However, responding to the advice by the Governor’s Forum, the House of Representatives said it does not legislate for the states and therefore should not be “cowed” from doing its Constitutional responsibility.

The spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu in a statement regretted that Hon. Aminu Tambuwal who is a former Speaker of the House stood a better position to rightly inform the Governors Forum but failed to do so.

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Hon. Kalu went ahead to call for the disqualification of Tambuwal who is also the Governor of Sokoto state from a proposed consultative meeting with the Nigeria Governors Forum accusing him of being biased towards the Infectious Disease Control Bill insisting that Tambuwal misled and misguided the Forum into asking the House to step down the Bill.

“We assume that his position was informed by his well-known personal and partisan opposition to the emergence of the current leadership of House led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila considering his obvious stance in 2015 and 2019,” he stated.

He said that the House of Representatives would proceed with the legislative work on the controversial Infectious Disease Control Bill because according to him, the House of Representatives and National Assembly in general are not under the control of any state governor.

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Also the House of Representatives has insisted on the consideration of the contentious Control of Infectious Diseases Bill explaining that it has not been stopped by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

In a statement yesterday, he House regretted that a section of the media had erroneously reported that the Federal High Court in its ruling on suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 last week had stopped the further consideration of the bill.

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The House spokesman explained that though the applicant, through a motion ex parts, had sought an order of the court suspending the consideration of the bill, the court declined to grant the reliefs sought by the applicant so as to allow the respondent to appear before it and enter a defence.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Lanre Lasisi asked for time to comment on the matter but never did at the time of going to press. Also the spokesperson of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrazaq Barkindo could not be reached.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19 Bill: 40 NGOs call for public hearing. [Nigeria]

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and 39 other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called for a Public Hearing on the proposed Control of Infectious Disease Bill by the National Assembly.

Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director of CISLAC, made the call in a statement co-signed by the 39 groups on Tuesday in Abuja.

Rafsanjani said that the civil society community was alarmed by the House of Representatives’ attempt to give accelerated passage to a critical legislation without consultation and inputs from relevant stakeholders and the public.

According to him, the bill has passed first and second reading at plenary under controversial circumstances and was slated for its third reading before it was resisted by some vigilant members of the House.

“We understand that the House is resolute to pass the bill and it has fixed Tuesday, May 5, for presentation of the report of the Committee of the Whole and clause by clause voting on the bill without public hearing or consultation with relevant stakeholders.

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“This runs contrary to the principles of effective and inclusive lawmaking and also threatens democratic participation, human rights and abuse of power,” he said.

Rafsanjani said the group was worried that the bill vested overbearing discretionary powers on Director-General of Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), while making no provision for reviewing and controlling the exercise of such powers.

He said that the bill empowers the NCDC to restrict fundamental rights and freedoms at will, and abuse constitutionally established institutions and processes without any form of accountability.

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“For instance, Section 10 (3) gives the Director-General express powers to use force to enter any premises without warrant; Section 19 confers the director-general with powers to prohibit or restrict meetings, gatherings and public entertainments.

“Section 15(3e) also gives powers to the director-general to authorise the destruction and disposal of any structure, goods, water supply, drainage and section 47(1) confers discretionary powers to order any person to undergo vaccination or other prophylaxis.

“All these powers can be abused for political and economic reasons if not properly checked,” he said.

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Rafsanjani said section 71 of the bill which absolves certain authorised persons of any liability when acting in good faith and with reasonable care is ambiguous and subject to misuse, manipulation, and misinterpretation for personal gain.

He said that while the threat of infectious diseases might be apparent, measures deployed for their prevention must be within the ambits of the law and must protect citizens from willful abuse of rights.

He said it was important to note that the legislative and policy measures currently being implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were inadequate to respond to and manage the challenge of infectious diseases with grave implications on the country.

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He however, said that any intervention seeking to provide a comprehensive legal and policy framework that would ensure the effective management of circumstances involving infectious diseases would be a positive development.

“Policies on streamlining of public health response and preparedness; involvement of all tiers of government; and transparency in the management of infectious diseases bill would be a positive development.

“However, the 1999 Constitution as amended, validating laws that may restrict the exercise of certain human rights requires that such laws must be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and also, must be subjected to judicial review.

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“But this bill in its proposed form, fails to meet this standard, as it is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic society,” he said.

He said that the bill violates key principles of simple, clear and unambiguous legislative drafting, leaving significant amount of discretion on the implementing authorities and limiting the rights of citizens and relevant institutions.


#Newsworthy…

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Operation Amotekun: Southwest AGs make conclusion on bills


The Attorneys-General and Justice Commissioners in the six states of the South West geo-political zone of Nigeria have concluded work on the draft bills for the region’s security outfit codenamed Amotekun.

Following the conclusion of the exercise, concerned states are expected to present the draft bill to their respective executive council for approval and then forward same to the house of assembly to be passed into law and subsequently signed by the six governors.


This disclosure was made after a meeting of the six Attorneys-General hosted by Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, a former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG), at Davies Hotel, Old Bodija, Ibadan, which lasted for about three hours on Friday.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Oyewo, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said: “The meeting of the Attorneys-General of the six south west states just concluded and we deliberated on the plan to evolve a collaborative security network or agency in the South West.

“We have been able to come up with a legal framework to back up such establishment of security network in each of the states. So, each of the states will have its own legislation and its own security network corps that will bear the name Amotekun.

“There will be standard operational procedure that will also be in common and there will be an avenue for collaboration between the states to work together. It must be stated that the security network will be working in collaboration and as a complementary network with the police and the security agencies and armed forces.


#Newsworthy…

Hate speech bill: Nigeria deserves nothing less – Senator Sabi ..


Senator Sabi Abdullahi says there is no better time to have an anti-hate speech bill in Nigeria than now.

Reacting to rumours that the Hate Speech bill has been set aside due to the controversy it generated late 2019, Abdullahi, who sponsored the bill, disclosed that it is still alive.

The Niger State lawmaker expressed optimism that the bill will gain more support in days to come.


He noted that the death sentence penalty would be relaxed.

“Because the baby is dirty, we can’t say the baby should be thrown away with the bathwater,” Abdullahi told journalists at the Villa on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.


“The death penalty was the main issue. I will ensure that the death penalty is put away from the bill.

“But Nigeria deserves to have a hate speech bill. There is so much hate speech in Nigeria. “


Abdullahi expressed fears that of there is no law to regulate hate speech, Nigeria runs the risk of becoming the next Rwanda.

The lawmaker who lamented the inciting speeches being made in Nigeria, added that they are capable of igniting religious, ethnic or communal crises.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi


“About 80-90 per cent of crises were incited through hate speech, be they religious, ethnic or communal crises,” he said.

The bill passed first reading on the floor of the Senate on November 12, 2019 amid criticisms.


#Newsworthy…

10 things you should know about new finance bill: VAT now 7.5% from 5%


Nigeria’s President Muhammodu Buhari on Monday signed into law Finance Bill 2019.

Revealing this on his Twitter page, the president said: “I am pleased to announce that this morning I signed into Law the Finance Bill, 2019.”

Since signing the bill, Nigerians do not really know what the Finance Bill entails.


Here are 10 things about the bill you need to know about as compiled by TheNews:

1. The bill was submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly October. 8th along with the 2020 Budget presentation by the president.


2. The Bill’s primary purpose is to make money available for the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

3. Although since the country’s return to democracy in 1999 no such Bill’s have been used, the practice is not entirely strange, as past military leaders from time to time used it to amend laws.


4. The Bill aims at curing the deficiencies of major primary tax legislation by amending obsolete and contentious provisions.

5. It emanated from the initiatives suggested by the President Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee.


6. It seeks to promote fiscal equity and align domestic laws with global best practices.

7. It Incentivize investments in infrastructure and capital markets; and raise Government revenues.

8. It increases VAT to 7.5% from 5%

9. The 2020 Budget presentation was the first time, since the return of democracy in 1999, that a Federal Budget was accompanied by passage of a Finance Bill specially designed to support its implementation, and to create a truly enabling environment for business and investment by the private sector.

10. It’s implementation takes immediate effect.


#Newsworthy…

Buhari announce signing finance bill into law (see tweet)


President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Finance Bill, 2019.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the assent follows its passage by the National Assembly and subsequent forwarding by the legislature to the President for assent.


President Buhari had while presenting the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly presented the Finance Bill and said: “This Finance Bill has five strategic objectives, in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws.

“These objectives are; Promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; Reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices; Introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; Supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and Raising Revenues for Government.


“The draft Finance Bill proposes an increase of the VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent, as such, the 2020 Appropriation Bill is based on this new VAT rate,” he had added.

“With the assent, there will be more revenue to finance key government projects especially in the areas of health, education and critical infrastructure,” Adesina said in the statement.


Original article follows

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Finance Bill, 2019. Buhari personally announced this through his verified Twitter handle, @MBuhari. The Finance Bill, 2019 (the Bill), presented by President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the 2020 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on 8 October 2019, was passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The law seeks to amend the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and the Capital Gains Tax.


With the Finance Law, Nigerians who want to open or maintain accounts with the Deposit Money Bank will not have to provide their Tax Identification Number to do so.

The Federal Government has also raised the threshold from which stamp duty will be charged for online transactions from the current N1,000 to N10,000.


#Newsworthy…

National Assembly set to give passage of vigilante bill over plateau attack – Reps


In a bid to secure various communities in the country, the member representing Mangu-Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State in the House of Representatives, Solomon Maren, has said that the National Assembly will give accelerated passage to the bill for establishment of Vigilante Group of Nigeria .

Maren disclosed this at the weekend during a visit to Kulben Village in Mangu Local Government Area of the state where 12 persons were last Wednesday night murdered by suspected herdsmen.

“The bill for the legalisation of the vigilante is before the National Assembly. The bill has already passed second reading and is currently at the committee level, which is the last stage of the legislative process.


“I will work in collaboration with my colleagues to ensure that the bill receives speedy passage for the protection of various communities in the country.”

While directing security agencies in the state to provide adequate security for the people, the lawmaker described the incident as tragic and unfortunate.

“This is most tragic and I lack the right words to describe it, seeing this hieves of sand under which our beloved brothers are laying. But what else can we say? First it’s to make them feel secured wherever they are’’he assured. And to also show them that we are with them.

“I know that what has happened to you has happened to all of us. It is also to assure you that we have not forgotten you. We are doing the needful to ensure that all of you are secured.”


#Newsworthy…

Femi Gbajabiamila react to increment of electricity tariff

…says should be increased after criminalising estimated billing

…rejected the proposed increment


The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has rejected the proposed increment of electricity tariff in the country.

His reaction came one week after Channels Television reported that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.


In a series of tweets on Friday, Gbajabiamila believes the right time to increase electricity rates is when the proposed amendment to the act criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

He promised to meet with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, as well as other stakeholders to ensure the proposed increase was made on a practical basis.


The Speaker said, “There is no guarantee that after any electricity tariff hike the DISCOs will not continue with the nefarious practice of bills estimation or provide uninterrupted power supply.

“I believe the National Assembly should ensure that any increase in electricity tariff if at all, should be cost-reflective and not just a whimsical increase with no empirical basis.”


“Also, any such increase should only be made after the proposed amendment to the law criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

“I intend to meet and discuss this sequence and other conditions with the Attorney General of the Federation and other relevant authorities,” he added.


In a series of documents dated December 31, 2019, NERC had announced the plan to increase electricity tariff effective January 1, 2020.

A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers shows an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.


Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.

The development affected customers captured in the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.


Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.

The decision, however, sparked an outcry in the country, forcing the electricity regulatory body to shift the implementation of the review until April.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila


NERC Chairman, Professor James Momoh, told reporters on Monday that the commission would engage the public on the planned review in the next three months, before deciding on any implementation.

He also said NERC would begin the regulation of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies who fail to provide meters for their customers.


#Newsworthy…

PDP frowns at plan to amend electoral bill

…lawmaker defend Buhari’s instinct


A member of the House of Representatives, Abdullahi Halim, has implored Nigerians to be confident in President Muhammadu Buhari’s willingness to ensure credible, free and fair elections come 2023.

He defended the refusal of the President to assent the electoral amendment bill transmitted by the National Assembly. NobleReporters learnt


On Tuesday, President Buhari met with the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakub and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, reaffirming his commitment to ensure non-violent, free and fair electoral processes.

For the fourth time in December 2018, Buhari did not assent the electoral amendment bill transmitted by the eighth National Assembly.


Halim however noted that the President’s latest meeting with electoral umpire chief and IGP is a proof of his (Buhari) commitment to deliver on credible polls before stepping out of office in 2023.

He said: “Maybe there are errors that the president wants the National Assembly to look into. I wasn’t in the NASS then.


‘Since the President has now made up his mind that whatever the error is, after due corrections, it should be brought back to him and he will sign the bill.

“I think we should take the President by his words when he has never told the nation a lie.


“After all, he has not signed that bill before and refused to act on the ingredients of the law.

“I’m very confident that after legislative amendments, the bill will scale through,” the Kogi lawmaker stressed.


But Segun Sowunmi, the spokesman for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, flayed the refusal of the President to approve the bill.

He stressed that his party will at its best ‘apply cautious optimism’ to the President’s recent commitment.


“He had time to assent to the bill since 2015 at a time significant improvements would have forced INEC and other electoral gladiators to act accordingly but didn’t.

“Now, our party bears the scars of the last election. We will only expect to see actions on his words of assurance and apply cautious optimism for now.

“We expect that the National Assembly will improve the electoral act while President Buhari appends his signature immediately.

“INEC must also begin to transmit results digitally like other countries abroad,” he ended.


#Newsworthy…

U.S vs Iran: U.S forces, Terrorists – Iraqi passed bill over soleimani’s death


Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday designating all US forces “terrorists” over the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US strike last week.

Qasem Soleimani, the popular head of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm, was killed in a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on Friday, ratcheting up tensions between the arch-foes.


#Newsworthy…

Lai Mohammed, Brain behind ‘Hate speech bill’ – Sen. Francis.


Senator Francis Fadahunsi has made fresh allegations concerning the controversial hate speech bill being considered for passage into law by the National Assembly.

Though the hate speech bill is being sponsored by Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, representing Niger North, Senator Fadahunsi alleged that the minister of information and culture, Lai Muhammed, is the mastermind behind it, Vanguard reports.


Senator Fadahunsi who is representing Osun East at the Red Chamber said the bill was aimed at crippling quality journalism. He called on journalists and media practitioners generally to rise up against the bill and ensure it is not passed into law.

Fadahunsi reiterated that the bill came from the executive, adding that Senator Abdullahi only “front for the bill”.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi


“Senator Sabi Abdullahi only front for the bill, it actually originated from the executive, specifically, Lai Muhammed and the sole motive is just to box the media into a corner, where it would no longer have the vibrancy to question those in public offices.

“Every lover of democracy and rule of law must ensure that the hate speech is crushed no matter how it is introduced and the number of times it resurfaces in the National Assembly,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Lai Mohammed denies supporting ‘Hate speech bill’

...says no cause for alarm over our rising $84bn debt profile


Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, says there is no cause for alarm over the country’s $84 billion debt profile.

The Minister said this at a press conference held today December 30th where he highlighted the administration’s major achievements in the year 2019.


There is currently a nationwide outrage over a $29.6 billion loan request President Buhari sent to the National Assembly. In his letter of request, President Buhari said the loan is “critical to the delivery of the government’s policies and programmes”.

Reacting to the outrage, Lai Mohammed at the press confrence said


“There have been concerns in certain circles about the country’s growing debt, both domestic and external. In the process, there have been some misrepresentations and scare mongering. We therefore believe it is important to put things in the right perspective, so our citizens will be well informed.

The public debt stock is actually a cumulative figure of borrowings by successive governments over many years. It is therefore not appropriate to attribute the public debt stock to one administration.


Nigeria’s total public debt stock in 2015 was $63.80 billion, comprising $10.31 billion of external debt and $53.49 billion domestic debt. By June 2019, the total debt stock was $83.883 billion, made up of $27.163 billion of external debt and $56.720 billion domestic debt. It is therefore not correct to say that Nigeria’s external debt alone is $81.274 billion.

There is yet no cause for alarm. This is because Nigeria has a debt ceiling of 25% in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (Debt/GDP), which it has operated within. The ratio for Dec. 31 2018 and June 30 2019 were 19.09% and 18.99% respectively.


The debt service to revenue ratio has however been higher than desirable, hence the push by the government to diversify the economy and increase oil and non-oil revenues significantly. The government is also widening the tax base to capture more tax-paying citizens.”

Lai Mohammed also denied claims made by a member of the Nigerian Senate, Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, that he is the sponsor of the controversial Hate Speech bill. Fadahunsi in a recent media chat, alleged that Mohammed is behind the bill aimed at crippling quality and vibrant journalism. Reacting to the allegation, Mohammed said

Minister for culture, Lai Mohammed


You must have read the fake news attributed to Sen. Fadahunsi that I am behind the hate speech bill at the National Assembly, and that the senator who is sponsoring the bill is fronting for me. This is a typical example of the fake news we are trying to fight.

I am not the sponsor of the hate speech bill at the National Assembly. However, I remain committed to sanitising the social media. I have said that all stakeholders will be involved in determining the modalities for regulating the social media”.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking – Obasanjo says Buhari will get Nigeria into bankrupt

…over its desire for loans.

…lack competence and consistency.


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned of an impending bankruptcy under the Buhari-led administration over its penchant for loans.

Speaking at the first edition of the Nigerian Story organised by the ‘Why I Am Alive’ campaign in Lagos on Friday December 27, Obasanjo warned that things might get worse in the country as 50% of its foreign earnings is allegedly being used to service debts. He added that Nigeria is closer to the prevalent situation in the 70’s and 80’s which plunged it alongside other African countries into unserviceable debts.


Though the former President admitted that it might not be totally wrong to take loans to finance growth and development, he however stated that such decisions ought to come with a high degree of discipline, responsibility and foresight.

Pointing out some projects including the Lagos light rail project which seem to have been abandoned after loans were taken to execute them, Obasanjo stated that the Nigerian government is notoriously deficient in serious and adequate discipline and most often lack competence and consistency.


He said;

“As at 2015, total external debt was about $10.32billion. In four years, our external debt grew to N24,947 trillion or $81.274 billion. To service this current level of indebtedness, we must commit at least 50 per cent of our foreign earnings, such a situation tells about an impending bankruptcy because no entity can survive while devoting 50 per cent of its revenue to debt servicing.

“In 2018, total debt servicing cost took over 60 per cent of government revenue. As if this is not bad enough, we are currently seeking to add another $29.6 billion loan to our already overburdened debt portfolio.

Olusegun Obasanjo & Moh’d Buhari


“Our current budget, out of which we are spending 25 per cent to service debt is not our total earnings, a lot of it is also borrowing. We are borrowing to service what we have borrowed and yet we are borrowing more.”

This is coming after President Buhari submitted a loan request of $29.6bn to the National Assembly. A similar request had been rejected by the 8th Senate under Bukola Saraki.


#Newsworthy…

Bill to stop former INEC staff from contesting elections passed.

…house of reps begin consideration

The House of Representatives is deliberating on a bill to restrict former high-ranking officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission from contesting elections in Nigeria.

The bill, if passed into law, will make it impossible for INEC national commissioners and resident electoral commissioners to seek elective positions for five years after retirement.

According to a report by The Nation, the proposal was contained in a bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act sponsored by lawmaker representing Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Olawale Raji.

The legislation has passed first reading already. The bill seeks to amend Section 146 of the Electoral Act by creating a new Subsection 2 that will read;

“Notwithstanding (1) above, and anything to the contrary in any enactment or law, a person who holds or has held office as a member of the commission appointed by the President by virtue of the Third Schedule, Part 1 (f) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Resident Electoral Commissioner appointed under the Act shall not, until after a period of five years immediately after retirement, resignation or official relief of duties, be qualified for any elective office in Nigeria.”

The REC in charge of Cross River State, Frankland Briyai, on August 8, 2019 resigned his appointment to enable him contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State. He announced his resignation at the state headquarters of INEC in Calabar, telling journalists that he had to resign to heed the call of the people of Bayelsa to contest the November 16 governorship election.

INEC sacked Briyai the next day, claiming they had yet to receive his resignation letter. In a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, INEC frowned at the use of its premises or facilities for any political purpose, describing the act as unlawful and a contravention of the Code of Conduct subscribed to by all officials of the commission.

The Senator Abdullahi Gumel panel said Briyai’s nomination did not meet the criteria of the party based on Section 3, Paragraph L of the guidelines for the nomination of candidates.

The section says that an aspirant must have been a financial member of the party for a period of not less than one year. Also, the Nigerian Senate on December 4 rejected the nomination of Mr Raheem Muideen as Osun State REC. While being screened by the Senate Committee on INEC, Muideen admitted that he remained a member of the APC.

#Newsworthy…

Nassarawa passes bill to curb kidnap come 2020.

…says it would henceforth be prohibited

Members of Nasarawa State House of Assembly have passed 2020 appropriation bill of N108.4billon into law, 19 days after the state governor, Abdullahi Sule submitted the proposal to them.

Speaker of the Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, announced the passage of the 2020 budget into law after the House Majority Leader, Tanko Tunga moved a motion for the passage of the bill.

The speaker said that the passage of the bill would allow the state government complete ongoing projects and execute new ones for the progress and development of the state.

According to him, the bill is “for the services of Nasarawa State government for the period of 12 months commencing from 1st January, 2020 and ending on 31st December 2020 has been read for the third time and passed into law, ” he said.

He further said the capital expenditure stands at N49,774, 676,004 while the recurrent expenditure stands at N58,670,129,710.

The speaker also disclosed that the House jerked up the budget by over N7billion to take care of some critical areas in the interest of development.

Balarabe-Abdullahi urged MDAs to adhere strictly to the budget provision if finally assented to by the governor.

Earlier, Tanko Tunga (APC-Awe North), the majority leader of the House while moving a motion for the passage of the budget into law urged his colleague to support his motion considering the importance of budget to societal development.

Danladi Jatau,(PDP- Kokona West), seconded the majority leader’s motion for the passage of the budget into law.

The House unanimously passed the budget into law

The House also passed into law a bill prohibiting kidnapping and other related offences.

The House further passed into law a bill for a law to amend the Nasarawa State Fiscal Responsibility Commission Law 2013.

It would be recalled that on Dec.4, 2019, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State presented the 2020 budget proposal of N100.52 billion only to the state House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

#Newsworthy…

Every president has cabal of advisers – Garba shehu.

…Insists plan to regulate social media not political

A media aide in the Presidency says that President Muhammadu having advisers around him is not unique to his administration, arguing that every President has a “cabal” of such advisers.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps at the weekend, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, said a lot of the people labelled as being part of a “cabal” in the Presidency’s “are successful people who are making extreme sacrifices to even be coming to serve government.

“Every President must have people who advise him. It is not a sin, it is not an offence to have people that you take into confidence,” Shehu said.

“What is the meaning of cabal? I just googled Thesaurus and among many other definitions, what they are saying is that cabal means “conspire, intrigues, mystique, occult, secret”. There is no government in this country that we have had that some people were not accused of being a cabal in that government, and it is because every administration, every President must have a secretariat.

“Elsewhere, they call it ‘Kitchen Cabinet’, but in our own country we are being derogatory and we term them the cabal so that it will tarnish their own good standing.

“In fact, for some of our elites, Buhari is a bad man because you cannot go to him and say give me oil well and he will sign paper and give you.

“So, we understand the game that is playing out and there is always a price, in any case, to pay for that kind of exposure. Even the President himself, the kind of things that are being said of him, if he did not offer himself to serve, some of those things, people would not even have the chance to say them against him. So, we will live with it, we will accept it because it goes with the territory,” he noted.

On the controversy about the plan to regulate social media, the President’s spokesman ruled out a political undertone, explained that “Social media has become a problem for many families because rights of women and children are being abused.

“There is a need to protect vulnerable members of the society. There is a need to protect minorities, whether tribal or religious, in our own country.

“So, it makes sense that you as media stakeholders come around the Minister of Information and Culture and formulate the kind of regulation you want so that it is not that there is top-bottom approach, so that government will not be accused of imposing a regulatory mechanism on the media.

“The Minister is saying come, sit down with me and let us talk about it. And I was told that the day he called on NUJ, they walked out on him. If that the report is true, I think it is very unfortunate. I think we need to come around him and offer media driven solutions so that at the end of it this, the country will have a vibrant and effective social media communication system.

“…It is the one that does not drive children to addiction and that also protects consumers of media content from harmful invasion either of our privacy of addiction for children of commercialism that are profit driven and are taking advantage of our own exposure to a mass communication system.

“I think I will be like to appeal that please give serious consideration to some of these elements and see how the media in the country can work together with government to find communication solutions to a purely communication problem.

“It is not political, the government has no reason to undermine or weaken the mass media… In a country where the mass media are being suppressed, where there is no freedom of expression and information, you find out that the media space tends to decline, it becomes smaller, media houses close down; but the Irony of what is happening in the country is that, while some civil society groups are crying here that freedom of expression is being threatened, we know why they were shouting because they are looking for donors abroad who will send in US dollars for the protection of Hate Speech. That basically it is a selfish thing,” he noted.

#Newsworthy…