In a bid to ensure the smooth administration and dispensation of Justice especially at the level of Federal Capital Territory Sharia Court of Appeal, the Senate on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 received and considered the Report of its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the screening of Hon Justice Ibrahim Rufa’i Imam for appointment as the Grand Khadi of Sharia Court of Appeal, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The confirmation of the Grand Khadi of the FCT Sharia Court of Appeal was sequel to the presentation of the screening exercise report before the Upper Legislative Chamber by Sen. David Umaru. Accordingly, the Chamber resolved into the Committee of the Whole where the Committee’s recommendations on the screening exercise were approved. Thereafter, the Chamber revert to the plenary and ultimately confirmed the nominee.
Similarly, the Red Chamber has adopted the Conference Committee Report on Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency NFIA (Establishment, etc.) Bill, 2018 (S.B.535). The harmonized Bill report was presented before the Chamber for Consideration by the Sponsor of the Bill, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi. Consequently, all the recommendations of the Harmonization Committee were approved and adopted.
It would be recalled that Nigeria was suspended by the global body on Financial Intelligence Sharing Unit, the Egmont Group last six month over undue interference of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the affairs of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) which was hitherto under the EFCC and contravened one of the requirements for membership of the Group.
To avert Nigeria from being expelled from the Group, at the expiration of the six months suspension if the country fails to meet the requirements of the Egmont Group, the two Chambers of the National Assembly passed into law the NFIA Bill which sought to separate and give legal backing to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency but with differences that were later harmonized by the Conference Committee and ultimately adopted by both Chambers of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Senate has approved the Recommendations of the Report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the “Status of Compliance of Parastatals’ Submission of Audited Accounts”, sponsored by Sen. Mathew Urhoghide (Edo South). According to the Report, out of the 497 Parastatals in the country, only 47 of them submitted their Audited Account Report to the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, meaning, only 47 Parastatals complied with the requirement. Part of the recommendations adopted by the Senate include:
1) Senate to withhold monetary allocations to any Parastatal that failed to audit its account and submit same to the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
2) The Executive should properly reconstitute all Parastatals for efficient management and efficiency.
Nevertheless, the Senate has deliberated and passed a Motion that stemmed from a point of order 42 and 52 moved by Sen. Ahmed Ogembe (Kogi Central) which drew the attention of the Chamber to the incidence of violence unleashed on him and the people of Kogi Central Senatorial District by Officers of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) allegedly sponsored by the Kogi State Governor. The Motion scaled through with three resolutions below:
1) Senate condemn in totality the dastardly act of violence on Sen. Ogembe and the people of Kogi Central Senatorial District.
2) Senate to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the attack on the law-maker and the people of Kogi Central Senatorial District and determine the level of involvement of the Nigeria Police.
3) The Ad-hoc Committee has two weeks to report its findings on the matter to the Senate.
Nonetheless, the Senate has declined the second reading of “A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act CAP N84 LFN 2004 and for related matters , 2018 (S.B. 556)”, sponsored by Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South).
Debate on the general principles of the Bill were expeditiously conducted by the Chamber presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. At the end of the debate, the Bill was subjected to a voice vote and was negative.
The Bill’s second reading was rejected because the NYSC Act is listed in the Constitution and any amendment to the Act or any part of it must start with the Amendment of the Constitution which the sponsor of the Bill did not adhered to.