The importance of research in any human endeavour cannot be under estimated in the development of humans, nations and the environment. Research as a viable development tool has equally been accorded prominence by the Senate on Thursday, May 9, 2019 as the Chamber considered and passed into law four legislation aimed at boosting research and the economy. The Research related Institutions Bills and the 2019 Niger Delta Development Commission budget estimates that were read the Third Time and passed include:
1) Raw Materials Research and Development Council (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (S.B. 593), sponsored by Sen. Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North).
2) Federal Institute of Industrial Research Bill, 2019 (S.B. 586), sponsored by Sen. Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North).
3) Nigerian Council for Food Science and Technology (Establishment, etc.) Bill, 2019 (S.B. 92), sponsored by Sen. Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North).
4) The 2019 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Appropriation Bill of Total Sum of N346.513 billion. The breakdown of the estimates include Personnel Cost – N19.5 billion, Overhead Cost – N12.7 billion, Capital Expenditure – N283 billion.
Similarly, three Harmonization Bills Report were also adopted following the approval of the recommendations of the three Conference Committees that harmonized the legislation by the Senate. The Harmonized Bills that got the ultimate legislative nod include:
1) National Fertilizer Quality (Control) Bill, 2019 (S.B. 338) standing in the name of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West).
2) Proceed of Crimes Bill, 2019 (S.B. 376), standing in the name of Sen. David Umaru (Niger East).
3) Federal Capital Territory Hospital Management Board (Establishment, etc.) Bill, 2019 (S.B. 69), standing in the name of Sen. Dino Mealye (Kogi West).
Meanwhile, Two Reports were considered and approved by the Red Chamber, they include:
a) Report of the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development on the Investigation of the alleged Appointment of Major Gen. S. Ibrahim as the new Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai. The Investigation originated from a Motion sponsored by Sen. Dino Melaye recently. The Report was presented by Sen. Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central).
The Report established that the NYSC Act was not breached at all in the appointment of the new Director General and that Due Process was strictly adhered to in the appointing the Director General.
b) Report of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organizations on the screening and confirmation of Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa for appointment as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Diaspora Commission. The Report’s recommendations on the exercise were approved by the Senate which ultimately paved way for the confirmation of the nominee for appointment.
On the contrary, one of the Bills considered for Second Reading on the floor of the Senate was not that successful as it could not scale through Second Reading after the debate on the general principles of the Bill. The Negative legislation is “A Bill for an Act to Establish the Maritime University of Nigeria Lokoja to make provisions for its due management and administration and for related matters, 2019 (S.B. 725)”, sponsored by Sen. Isaac M. Alfa (Kogi East).
While, “A Bill for an Act to provide for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Motor Vehicles, Houses, Dwelling Places, Offices, Workshops and Factories and for other related matters, 2019 (S.B.739), sponsored Sen. Joseph Gbolahan Dada (Ogun West) was technically withdrawn midway into its debate for Second Reading.