- Mark laments high turnover
- Extols 2015 general elections
- Senators-elect self agenda
The president of the senate and chairman of the National Assembly David Mark has lamented the high turnover of senators to the National Assembly and said it was almost as good as starting afresh as senators lost their seats considerably in the last general elections.
Mark made this known during the opening ceremony of the induction and training session for the members and senators-elect of the 8th National Assembly organized by the National Institute of legislative studies [NILS] holding at the International Conference Center, Abuja.
He said the turnover is too high with an average of 30% which impacts on deliberations. He urged the members –elect to live exemplary lives in their conduct. The senate president congratulated the independent National commission [INEC] and extolled Nigerians for not conforming to doomsday prophets who prophesied that Nigerian will disintegrate by 2015 as he urged the parliament to salvage the system from imminent collapse by being on the side of the people through the evolution of symbiotic relationship to deal with issues confronting the nation through proactive collaboration from all sectors.
He urged the legislators to make the citizens, centerpiece of the democratization process by initiating people oriented budget and reminded them of the need to promote what unites the nation instead of dwelling on our fault lines.
Meanwhile, a few senators-elect have spoken out on their personal and collective agenda in the 8th senate while scoring the out going senate.
For senator-elect Abudlazeez Nyako- Adamawa central, stemming insurgency, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Adamawa state, youth empowerment would mark his achievement in the 8th senate. Hear him; I want to come out strongly in two areas; one is against insurgency and the secondly, youth empowerment . Having a navy background puts me in good position.
Senator-elect Peter Nwaoboshi- Delta north, the interest of his Delta north senatorial District is upper most on his mind. He says: my aim is to make my people have an effective representation in the affairs of this country and to attract within the limits of my power and competence, project to the benefit of my people through effective representation. The voice of my people must be heard at the National level.’
- NAITES ALSO
The Senate today has debated the Bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies (NAITES) and for matters connected there with 2015, standing in the name of Senator Kabiru Marafa.
Also, the Senate considered a Bill for an Act of Establishing an Independent National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) , which shall provide the National Assembly with Objectives, Timely and Non-partisan Analysis Needed for Economic & Budget Decisions and other related matters, 2015.
NABRO Bill seeks to provide Independent, unbiased and Non-partisan analysis of the National Budget estimates; Provide Independent unbiased analysis of the budget of the National Assembly and assist all the Committees of the National Assembly in developing their annual budgets; provide independent and Continuous review of the budget of the Federal Government including monitoring of existing and proposed program e and budgets; provide assistance to all Committees in both chambers of the National Assembly, Including- information with respect to budget and all bills relating to new budget heads information with respect to estimated future revenue and changing revenue condition aggregate of all current liabilities and existing financial commitments and any related information as committees may request.
- Passes bill to eliminate violence in public life and prohibitions against rape.
The Nigerian Senate today has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to temper justice with mercy regarding the recall of the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa and subsequent suspension of the permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the mishandling of xenophobic attack incidences in South Africa.
Rising on rule 43 of the Senate, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central), drew the attention of the Senate to its earlier resolution of Wednesday, April 22, 2015 titled “Rising incidence of xenophobic attacks in South Africa”, wherein the Senate recalled the high Commissioner and suspended the permanent Secretary over poor handling of diplomacy without recourse to Mr. President and called on the President to tamper justice with mercy on the matter.
This is just as the resurgence of killing spree on the plateau was heard on the floor of the Senate.
Rising on rule 43, Senator Victor Rampyal Lar- Plateau South draw the attention of the Senate to the killing of innocent people by armed military men on Saturday, 2nd May, 2015 in kadarko district, Wase local government area of Plateau State and urged the Senate to look into the matter with a view to identifying the perpetrators.
Subsequently, the Senate resumed constitution of a bill for an act to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence, against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders 2015 and passed it into law.
The Bill which defines rape as an offence punishable by law when a man or woman intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of another person with any other part of his /her body or anything else when the other person does not consent to the penetration or the consent is obtained by force or means of threat or intimidation of any kind or by fear of harm or by means of fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act or the use of any substance or addictive capable of taking away the will of such person or in the case of a married person by his or her spouse.
The bill stipulates that a person convicted of an offence by this law is liable to imprisonment for life except where the offender is less than 14 years of age, the offender shall be liable to a maximum 14 years imprisonment ; in all other cases to a minimum of 12 years imprisonment without an option of fine; and in case of rape by a group of persons, the offenders shall be liable jointly and severally to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without an option of fine and where the act described by this law is committed by a group of persons, the offence shall be known as gang rape and on conviction the persons shall be liable jointly and severally to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without any fine.
- Subsidy gets zero allocation.
The Nigerian Senate today finally passed a budget of N4.4trillion for the 2015 fiscal year after several months of consideration with no allocation for fuel subsidy in consonance with the version passed by the House of Representatives a few days ago.
The budget was passed with $53 as oil benchmark at 2.2782 million barrels per day (Mbpd) with an exchange rate of N190 per US dollar and 1.2 percent as deficit/ Gross Domestic product (GDP).
A breakdown of the budget indicates that the sum of N375,616,000,000 is for statutory transfer; N2, 607,132,491,708 is for recurrent expenditure; N953,620,000,000 is for local debt service out for domestic debt service while foreign debt retains N59.010.
This is as capital expenditure receives the sum of N556,995,465,449 with an aggregate expenditure of N4,493,363,957,158 with N21,030,000,000 approved for subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Moreover, fiscal deficit got an approved of N1, 075.3 trillion.
Sectoral breakdown shows that education with an approval of N392, 242,784,654 received the highest budgetary allocation followed by Defense with N338, 797,219,431 comprising Army, Air force and Navy and while the police got an allocation of N303, 822,224,611
Senate approved the sum of N13,965,664,092 for the Eight Federal Executive body out of which N5,293,800,054 shall be spent on National Population Commission; N493,656,088 for Code of Conduct Tribunal, N1,935,767,344 for Code of Conduct Bureau; N2,207,213,456 for Revenue Mobilization Allocation & Fiscal Commission and Federal Civil Service Commission N1,125,005,114 while Police Service Commission (PSC) got N740,477,185 as Federal Character Commission received N2,167,931,068.
The Health Sector got an allocation of N237,075,742,847; Youth Development, N69,423,427,479, Interior, N153,330,022,460;
National Security Adviser, N62,226,771,999; SGF, N48,389,942,264; Agriculture & Rural Development, N31,869,020,717; Petroleum Resource, N58,274,429,975; Communication Technology, N10,592,048,381; Trade and Investment, N10,941,859,480.
The approved budgetary figure however is higher than the Original budget by N134.5 billion.
- Mark Opposes Senators’ resolve to override president’s veto
- Resolves to obey Supreme Court Order
- Requests Supreme Court for earlier hearing date
In what appears a u -turn, the Nigerian Senate today has dropped its move to override Mr. President’s veto on the 4th amendment of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria by the 7th National Assembly through the gazzetting process of the Bill as it threatened to do today. This is as Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba has said the Senate would challenge the ex parte injunction by the Supreme Court asking the litigants (Senate/Executive) to maintain status quo.
Rising from a two hour Executive session where the senate President, Senator David Mark prevailed on his
Colleagues to suspend earlier decision to gazette the Bills the Senate President said as law makers, it was incumbent on them to obey the ruling of the highest Court of the land. He said, “I think it is proper for me because of the importance of the issue, to make a very simple but straight forward unambiguous statement. We are law makers and we will not be law breakers. We are not just law makers, we are very senior law makers and this is the apex of law making in this country. Therefore, on the issue of the current Constitution review that is before the Supreme Court, we want to assure Nigerians that we will not break any law of this country”.
Mark further said “, we will take appropriate action that will ensure that Democracy survives but I will also want to warn that we should not be taken for granted by the executive but once more, let me assure Nigerians that as law makers, we will not be law breakers”.
The Senate leader, Ndoma – Egba while addressing the press, wondered why the National Assembly having followed and adhered to the stipulated Constitutution amendment procedure in arriving at the Bill, was not put on notice.
As planned yesterday, the Bill to adopt the gazette of the
4th Amendment Bill which by implication is the first legislative step to override the President’s veto.
President Goodluck Jonathan it is recalled, addressed both leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly on APRIL 13, 2015,via a letter in which he cited the non-compliance with the constitutional provision of section 9, regarding four- fifth majority in both chambers in arriving at the changes or alteration as well as the Usurpations of Presidential Powers in signing a bill into law.
Jonathan also expressed reservation on the separation of the office of the minister Justice and Attorney General of the federation among others.
This development had generated executive legislative spat between both arms of Government before the Attorney general of the federation headed to the Supreme Court to quash and stagnate the process as the law makers vowed to override the President’s veto.
The Senate has requested the Supreme Court to grant an earlier date other than a June 2015 date to hear the suit by which time the life of the current National Assembly would have elapsed. This is to allow for legislative input by the current National Assembly.
- Oil Gas Export Free Zone Passed
- Asset Management Bill Passed
The bill for an act to amend the oil and gas export free zone authority act with a view to provide for the designation and establishment of oil and gas free zone in Nigeria has been passed into law.
This is just as the Bill for an act to amend the asset management corporation of Nigeria act, 2010 and for other related matters has also been passed into law.
In a resumed constitution having resolved into committee of the whole, the Senate approved clause 3 as recommended, 4 as amended, 5-10, deleted,12 as amended and 13 as recommended. The bill as amended shall act as one- stop shop for all government services for free zones and sub-zones, regulate activities and monitor the operations of free zones and sub-zones, enterprises as well as organization that provide services within and to the free zones and sub-zones; develop and monitor performance standards and indices relating to free zones and sub-zones and attract, facilitate and encourage the retention of investment leading to value addition, into free zones and sub-zones.
In passing the asset management corporation of Nigeria act 2010 (amendment) Bill 2015, the Senate approved clauses 1-36 as recommended.
The bill provides that subject to the provisions of the land use act and section 36 of the act, where the corporation acquires an eligible bank asset, such eligible bank assets shall become rested in the corporation and the corporation on shall exercise, all the rights and powers of the eligible financial institution from which the eligible bank asset was acquired in relation to the bank asset, the debtor concerned and any guarantor, surety or receiver, liquidator, examiner or any other person concerned and the eligible financial institution shall cease to have those rights.
The bill also provides in clause 5, that for the provisions of the limitation law of a state or the limitation Act of the Federal Capital Territory, with respect to any debt owed to the corporation by reason of its acquisition of an eligible bank asset, time shall begin to run, and the cause of action deemed to arise, from the date of the eligible bank asset and that where action has already been commenced by any eligible financial institution prior to acquisition of the eligible bank asset by the corporation, the corporation shall at any time after the acquisition of the eligible bank asset the subject of any such action be entitled to continue with the action in its name or a third party entitled to any judgment debt , but not any liability in respect of the claim or any associated counter claim or cross claim for which the assignor of the eligible bank asset shall be liable or discontinue any such pending action relating to the eligible bank asset instituted by the eligible financial institution prior to such acquisition; and such discontinued by the corporation shall be without prejudice to its right to commence or the cause to be commenced a new action in respect of the same subject matter s that discontinue. In amending section 48 of the Act it approved that for the avoidance of doubt, the power of a receiver acting in pursuance of the provision shall be exercisable over all the assets and entire undertaking of the debtor company not withstanding that only a part of the assets of debtor company was charged, mortgaged or pledged as security in relation of the eligible bank asset acquired by the corporation, provide that such exercise of power shall be without prejudice to the existing rights of secured creditors or third parties in such assets while a receiver under this section approved to manage the affairs of a debtor company or debtor entity, shall forth with upon the publication of the notice referred to in subsection (4) become entitled to take over the management of the affairs of the debtor company or debtor entity in the name, and on behalf of the debtor entity, for the benefit of the debtor company or debtor entity, the general body of creditors of the debtor company or debtor entity for the period specified in the said notice.