The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Presiding.
After leading the opening prayer and the recitation of national Pledge, the Speaker went on to examine and approve the Plenary Votes and Proceedings for Thursday, July 25th, 2019.
Administration of the Oath of allegiance and that of membership of the House of Representatives on Hon. Chike Okafor
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila went ahead to welcome Honourable Members back form the annual recess. He hoped members used the period to rest for the task at hand. He also refreshed the memory of members on some critical issues that they had handled before the recess. The Speaker also directed that all Ad-Hoc Committees wind down their activities and handover to standing committees on or before September 30th. He commended committees for the efforts put in even before the House went on recess.
Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila also hoped that the 9th Assembly would seize the opportunity to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and reintroduce the Bill seeking to abolish estimated billing in the power sector. He also wished for the Bill that would ensure all Nigerian children get quality education up till tertiary level be passed into law.
The Speaker informed Members that the leadership had 2 round table discussions with members of heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) during the recess on the need to improve the budget process and also on status of the recovered national assets and funds.
These, he said are aimed at helping generate funds for the budget of the government. The leadership of the House also had cause to address the xenophobic attacks of Nigerians in South Africa, condemning the attacks and demanding action from the South African government.
Hon. Gbajabiamila reminded members that the task of nation building is a joint task and members should not be deterred by personal or political differences and focus on the all-important task. He stated that the recitation of the National Pledge would also be a continuous feature during plenary henceforth.
1. Hon. Ben Roland Igbakpa presented a petition from a constituent who was wrongfully dismissed form the Ministry of Commerce seeking to be recalled with all his entitlements restored.
2. Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye presented a petition from an association that alleged unlawful arrest and harassment of innocent citizens by NAPTIP.
3. Hon. Abdullahi Abdulkadir presented a petition from Mr. Murtala Ibrahim against the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for not letting him carry out his legitimate functions like annual leave and transfer of service, as well as the settlement of all his outstanding benefits.
He asked for the intervention of the House on the matter.
4. Hon. Oluwole Oke presented a petition from Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) regarding the irregularities in its leadership structure.
5. Hon. Valentine Ayika presented a petition from concerned citizens about a highly brilliant citizen whose excellent result is being withheld by JAMB, he called for the result to be released in order to enable the aggrieved pursue his course of study.
6. Hon. Johnson Oghuma presented a petition from an individual who was wrongfully dismissed, he had earlier brought the matter to the House, the House had ruled in his favor but the organization refused to comply with the resolution of the House to reinstate him. He called for the intervention of the House.
7. Hon. Anieken Umanah presented a petition from a community in his constituency about a road that had been approved for rehabilitation, which has not witnessed any measure of progress. He also informed the House of the unwillingness of the contractor to engage community residents in carrying out the work by way of corporate social responsibility to the community.
All petitions referred to the Committee on Public Petitions
MOTION OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Hon. Danchung Bagos moved a motion on the plight of Nigerians living in South Africa and some other nations. The motion was seconded by Hon. Mohammed Gololo. Leading the debate Hon. Bagos bemoaned the death toll of Nigerians in South Africa especially and other countries. He called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the welfare of Nigerians worldwide and ensure stringent actions against countries which turn out to be uncharitable. Hon. Bagos wondered why Nigerians are suddenly becoming targets of violence especially considering the aids and support Nigeria has given to other countries in their times of need. He called for a review Nigeria's bilateral relationship with some of these nations.
2. Hon. Oluwole Oke in contributing to the debate commended the Speaker and the leadership of the House on taking a definite stand against the ill treatment of Nigerians in South Africa.
He bemoaned the ill treatment of Nigerians in countries which Nigeria has stood solidly behind in their times of need.
3. Hon. Khadija Ibrahim termed the attack as one too many and commended the Presidency on the recent actions taken to ensure these attacks never happen again.
4. Hon. Olumide Osoba re-echoed the need for consequences for the attacks against Nigerians and due compensation for the Nigerian victims.
5. Hon. Benjamin Kalu blamed the xenophobic attack of other Africans on ignorance on the part of South Africans in looking at other Africans living in their country as criminals and parasites. He expressed disappointment at the presentations of the ministers of police and foreign relations in South Africa as showing support for the attacks.
6. Hon. Yusuf Gagdi called on the Nigerian Parliament not to let South Africa use compensation cover the atrocity done against humanity.
He called for a stronger diplomatic action against South Africa.
7. Hon. Nicholas Ossai called for restraint to respect the treaty signed by Nigeria and South Africa and tackle the issue within the confines of international law so as to have the higher moral ground to make adequate demands.
8. Hon. Akin Alabi while condemning the xenophobic attacks, blamed fake news on social media for the exaggerated gravity of the anger against the attacks. He called for caution and verification of all stories before they are posted.
9. Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo called on Nigerians to come together and build a better country through concrete investments which would ensure Nigerians can stay home and develop the nation to the giant it is meant to be.
10. Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas wondered why Nigerians and other Africans are being targeted shamelessly when the majority of the economy of South Africa is controlled by the white minority. He called for full compensation of all destroyed assets.
11. Hon. Akinfolarin Samuel called on the Nigerian government to be proactive and display the capacity to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians worldwide and stop reactive measures.
12. Hon. Haruna Dederi called for the conscious reawakening of Nigerians to look within the country and develop the national resources for their personal growth and in effect national development.
13. Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha called on Nigerians worldwide to be security conscious and compose themselves in ways that wouldn't put them in harms way.
14. Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno called for the foreign policy of Nigeria to be citizen-centered so Nigerians worldwide can be protected at all times from unlawful attacks.
15. Hon. Samuel Onuigbo called on Nigeria to take its place in the League of Nations that do not condone the ill treatment of their citizens worldwide.
16. Hon. Bamidele Salam recognized the fact this attack made Nigerians rally round their brothers and express love for the land form all over the world. He called for the implementation of all measures to make Nigeria attractive to the younger generation so they do not lose hope and go to other countries frustrated. Hon. Stanley Olajide called for the effective reintegration of returning Nigerians within the system so they do not regret returning home from South Africa.
17. Hon. Tolulope Sadipe bemoaned the plight of Nigerians, especially women and children in conflicts and called for more protection for Nigerians worldwide.
18. Hon. Onofiok Luke condemned the actions of the South African authorities who are trying to make it difficult for Nigerians to leave South Africa following the attacks. He also called for the creation of an enabling environment to make investment attractive for all Nigerians in Nigeria.
19. Hon. Julius Ihonvbere blamed the frustration that led to the xenophobic attacks on the abandonment of the poor and illiterate black South Africans by their own government. The frustration hence is misplaced. Hon. Victor Mela called for the rebranding of Nigeria to make it work for the citizenry and the South African government should be held responsible for the loss of lives and properties of Nigerians.
20. Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe decried the inhuman treatment of Nigerians worldwide, even in nations with which Nigeria is supposed to have a cordial relationship. He however called for restraint one the part of Nigerians not to return evil for evil.
21. Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa praised Members for their passionate and patriotic contribution on the life touching issue, he also praised the Speaker who cut short his trip to Tanzania to come home and address the matter. Such gestures he stated would boost the morale of Nigerians worldwide. He also commended the press for their professional coverage of the issue. He assured that the National Assembly is always ready to partner the Executive especially when it concerns the wellbeing of Nigerians.
22. Hon. Doguwa called for the compensation of those who lost their livelihood and the treaty between Nigeria and South Africa to be respected.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila used the medium to address the Minister of Foreign Affairs and asked that he honors the invitation of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Affairs for a full briefing of the issue that transpired in South Africa. He regretted the fact that the Minister failed to respond to the invitation. As members of one government it is pertinent not just to work together, but to be seen to be working in unity, the Speaker said while referring the Minister and other Ministers to sections 88 and 89 of the constitution for the harmonious working of all arms of government.
He said respect should be reciprocal. The motion was voted on and passed.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Investment and Security Act, 2007 to Provide for a greater Transparency and Accountability in the Finances of Securities and Exchange Commission and to ensure greater Legislative Oversight; and for Related Matters (HB. 30) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta) – Second Reading.
Hon. Nkem Abonta moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. Onofiok Luke.
In leading the debate Hon. Abonta stated that the Bill seeks to amend the act to ensure the Commission generates, but only spends funds duly appropriated for it by the National Assembly. The Act as it is enables the Commission to spend generated funds which makes it hard for accountability. He called for the quick passages from the Bill and for it to be committed to the committee of the whole for fast tracking.
The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading.
The clerk read its long title and was referred to the Committee on Capital Market and Institutions.
2. A Bill for an Act to Establish Cancer Registry, to make Provision for Compilation of Statistics Record of the Incidence of Cancer, to Provide a basis for direction of Programmes for Research and for Cancer Prevention; and for Related Matters (HB. 110) (Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai) – Second Reading.
Hon. Nicholas Ossai moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye.
In leading the debate Hon. Ossai stated that the registry is a specialized registry which should keep all relevant records of cancer incidents, survival and deaths due to cancer. Sadly, this he said is not obtainable in Nigeria. Considering the importance given to the fight against cancer, those relevant statistics should not be neglected.
The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading.
The clerk read its long title and was referred to the committee on healthcare services.
3. Need to Address Erosion Menace in Aguata Federal Constituency:
Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji.
Notes that Aguata Local Government has 13 active erosion sites eating up Houses, farmlands and threatening roads in Umumeonye Umueze Uga, Umuchiana–Rkwulobia, Umuoru–Uga, Ezionye–Aku–Aguku Ezinifite, Umugama–Umuchu, Ogu Osete–Umuchu, Amaopkalanwa–Uwmueleke Achina, Umueeziyi Achina, Ifite–Aguluezechukwu, Umumono–Igboukwu, Uhuala–Agbaenu – Igweakwu Akpo, Ogbugwunaezi–Umuonyia Kkpologwu;
Aware that the damage been experienced this raining season require urgent steps to be addressed;
Concerned about the untold hardship due to the loss of houses, economic trees and farmlands in Aguata Federal Constituency;
(i) Urge National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the victims of the erosion;
(ii) Also urge the Ecological Fund Office to Intervene with a view to solving the erosion problems;
(iii) Again urged the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FARMA) to commence immediate palliative measures on Achina - One-Ogboji road already cut off by erosion;
(iv) Mandate the Committee on Environment to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Ministry of Environment to ensure the provisions of funds in the 2020 Budget Proposal to address the erosion menace.
Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji moved a motion on the need to urgently address the erosion issue in Aguata federal constituency which is causing untold economic and community hardship to the residents. The motion was seconded by Hon. Vincent Ofumelu. As an infrastructure related motion it was voted on and passed.
4. Need to Intervene and Curb the Lingering Rival Cult Groups Activities of Awka North/South Federal Constituency in Anambra State:
Hon. Samuel Chinedu Onwuaso:
Notes that Awka been a peaceful town is located between Onitsha and Enugu which is the Capital of Anambra State, with an estimated population of 301,657 in South-East Nigeria;
Aware that several cult groups activities is been perpetrated in the town over the years;
Worried that these cult groups are been used by politicians, godfathers and influential individuals to perpetuate corruption, intimidation, killings, kidnappings and robberies;
Disturbed that these cult members and other thugs are being mobilized and funded to rig, stuff ballot boxes, voter intimidation and chasing off legitimate voters during elections;
Also disturbed that Cultural and Festive activities are not left out as these cult groups come out in mass with all sorts of weapons and guns shooting sporadically into the air triggering fear on the people;
Also worried that as a result of these illegal activities of these rival cult groups, over 100 youths have been shot dead in the streets of Awka, and the violence had the effect of terrorizing local residents, economic activities been relegated while night life activities bedeviled as the youths, children and women continue to live in fear;
Informed that funds are channeled into the hands of members of various cult groups by politicians, godfathers and influential individuals to the exclusion of other rival cult groups in the town to gain dominance thus causing enormous rivalry amongst several cult groups as they display their grievances and reacted violently openly and the attendant effects on the residents;
Further worried that no arrests have been made as these groups perpetuate their activities and still move freely in Awka town, and it is spreading rapidly without any check due to lack of presence of uncompromised security personnel in the concerned areas, which further make these areas vulnerable to more attacks;
Concerned that if the perpetrators of these illegal activities are not brought to book urgently, it will continue to linger and thereby leading to uncontrollable lawlessness which can spread into Tertiary Institutions, Secondary and Primary Schools within the environment;
Acknowledges that it is the responsibility of Government to protect lives and property of its citizens in keeping with the social contract entered into between the government and the citizens;
(i) Urge the Inspector–General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Security Services (DSS) to deploy security personnel to Awka North / South Federal Constituency to intensify patrol, investigate, arrest the perpetrators and sponsors of these acts in order to restore normalcy;
(ii) Mandate the Committees on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence to liaise with the Inspector–General of Police and the Director-General, DSS to ensure implementation and report to back with four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Samuel Onwuaso moved a motion on the dangerous actions of rival cult gangs in the Awka district of Anambra state and it was seconded by Hon. Vincent Ofumelu.
In leading the debate Hon. Onwuaso stated that these violent acts of the cultists have negatively affected the business activities of the commercial city, especially in the evening period. He expressed sadness at the way political elites are using these hoodlums for the advancement of their selfish interests at the expense of law abiding citizens. He pleaded with the House to use all legislative tools at its disposal to correct the situation.
The motion was voted on and passed.
5. Need to Improve the Budget Process in Nigeria:
Hon. Mansur Manu Soro:
Notes that the annual the budget plays a crucial role in economic management and development policies of the nation, it is the main mechanism of fiscal policy and the tool through which government could stabilize and influence the economic direction of a country;
Notes that standard global public sector budgetary practice requires the implementation of a defined budgetary framework synchronized with timelines or a standardize budgetary calendar to reduce uncertainties, pro mote compliance and coordination;
Aware that the Federal Government's budget process perennially experiences delays despite the best efforts of all the relevant entities involved in the budgeting process;
Also aware that budget delay impacts negatively on economic growth, as 2018 study shows that a 100 days delay in the budget implementation tends to depress the economy by at least 2.5 percent;
Further aware that Nigeria's experience of prolonged budget process has imposed substantial economic costs on the public and private sectors of the economy;
Concerned that such delay leads to poor budget implementation which has a direct correlation to poor service delivery in public service;
Worried that delay introduces opacity into the budget process leading to induced diversion of public funds and resources, corruption, scourge of the society.
Also worried that foreign and domestic private sector investment is adversely affected due to uncertainty on the strategic direction of the government;
(i) Urge the Federal Executive Council to automate National Budget formulation, execution and reporting process;
(ii) Mandate the Committees on Finance, Appropriations and Justice to convene a legislative submit with relevant stakeholders to improve the budget process in Nigeria.
Hon. Mansur Soro moved a motion on the need to improve the budget process is in Nigeria and it was seconded by Hon. Usman Zannah. In leading the debate Hon. Soro stated that the budget is an important policy document that provides the roadmap and foundation plan for the successful delivery of government expenditure for a specified period. Failure to get this process right he stated has continued to be almost entirely responsible for the economic shortfall and stunted economic growth Nigeria has suffered over time. He called on the House to ensure the government seeks a way to return the country to the January-December financial budget timeline.
The motion was voted on and passed.
The House adjourned plenary till Wednesday, 18th September, 2019 following the motion for adjournment moved by the leader of the House Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
Office of the Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives.