Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Tuesday, May 4th 2021

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The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.

After leading the opening prayer and the National Pledge, the Speaker examined and approved the votes and proceedings for Thursday, April 29th 2021
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ANNOUNCEMENT

Notice of meeting of the minority caucus holding at Hearing Committee room 01 (White House) on Tuesday, May 2nd by 2 pm

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1. Rep. Nicholas Ossai Rose under personal explanation that his office was burgled and his computer carted away. He called for a thorough investigation. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the leadership of the House is scheduled to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly security apparatus to discuss the degrading level of security within the National Assembly complex.

2. From the directive of the Speaker, Rep. Babajimi Benson led Chairmen of Security-related Committees to address grieving protesting parents of the kidnapped students from the School of Forestry in Kaduna State.

In his feedback, while addressing the floor, Rep. Benson explained that the protesting parents had left the gate of the National Assembly to Unity Fountain square. The grieving parents who looked abandoned by the Nigerian government called on parliament to ensure that the plight of their missing children is addressed. The parents also called for improved security in the State.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila expressed deep sympathy for the abducted children and their relatives while promising that the House would not abandon them. According to him, the House will also do all it can to resolve the matter and ensure an end to the sad development.

The Speaker referred the issue to the newly inaugurated Special Committee on Security to liaise with all relevant authorities including the Kaduna State government to speedily resolve the issue.
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PETITIONS
1. Rep. Rotimi Agunsonye laid a petition from Falana chambers calling for the intervention of the House on behalf of a client who was arrested by officers of the Department of Security Services on April 2nd, 2021 and all efforts to lawfully resolve the issue have proved abortive. He called on the House to use its legislative tools to resolve the issue.

2. Rep. Etan laid a petition on behalf of a complainant who has been suspended for a while from the University of Calabar, he is seeking the intervention of the House to resolve the issue.

Both petitions were referred to the committee on public petitions.

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MOTIONS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Rep. Idem Unyime moved a motion on the call for a comprehensive investigation and prosecution of the kidnapping, sexual assault and killing of Ms. Ephraim and it was seconded by Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka. The victim was a graduate from the University of Uyo looking for employment. The victim was fraudulently contacted to come for a false interview by her assailants who kidnapped her and violently abused and killed her. Rep. Unyime expressed worry at the information that the assailant when arrested boasted to be well connected and will soon be released. He also expressed disgust at the calls threatening the family to withdraw the case or face the consequences. He condemned the rising rate of gender-based violence in the region and called on the office of the Inspector General of Police to take over the investigation of the case to speedily resolve the issue and that the House committee on women affairs should ensure compliance. The motion was voted on and adopted.

2. Rep. Ugonna Ozurigbo moved a motion on the need for the construction and widening of a critical federal road that runs through his community and it was seconded by Rep. Adewunmi Onanuga. Rep. Ozurigbo expressed sadness at the lingering dilapidating state of the road that has continued to cause accidents and loss of lives and properties daily. He stated that though approval has since been given by the Executive to undertake the rehabilitation of the road, till now nothing has been accomplished. He called on the Federal Ministry of Works and Finance, Budget and National Planning to come together to ensure all is done to speedily rehabilitate the road. He also called on the House committees on Works and Finance to ensure compliance to the prayers of the motion. The motion was voted on and adopted.
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1. Rep. Shehu Saleh (Niger state) complained of continuous attacks on his constituents by bandits. He called on the security forces to increase security presence in the area and that the National Emergency Management Agency should provide assistance to the affected victims.

2. Rep. Leke Abejide urged the House to address the killing of a commissioner in Kogi state and the abduction of a local government chairman in the same incident. He called for better security presence along the hot spot.

Both matters were referred to the special House Committee on Security Matters.
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PRESENTATION OF REPORT

​Committee on Health Institutions:
Rep. Paschal Obi:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committee on Health Institutions on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act, Cap. O10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for Establishment of Orthopedic Hospitals, Benin, Edo State and Jalingo, Taraba State; and for Related Matters, 2020 (HB. 1284) (Referred: 25/3/2021).

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ORDERS OF THE DAY

BILLS

1. A Bill for an Act to Provide a Legal Framework for Establishment of National Social Investment Programmes for the Assistance and Empowerment of the Poor and Vulnerable in Nigeria; and to Establish the National Social Investment Programmes Coordination Office within the Federal Ministry Responsible for Social Development to Manage the Implementation of the Programmes and National Social Investments Trust Fund to Alleviate Poverty among Vulnerable Nigerian Citizens through Targeted Programmes for the Aged, Infirm, Unemployed and Students; and for Related Matters (HBs. 1153 and 907) (Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Rep. Ahmed Idris, Rep. Mansur Manu Soro and 9 Others) – Second Reading.

Debate
Rep. Mansur Manu moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Lynda Ikpeazu. Rep. Mansur while leading the debate stated that the Bill seeks to provide a legal and institutional framework for the administration of social programmes and critical agricultural productivity output and ensure food security for Nigeria. He commended the drive of the present administration for the social investment programs for Nigerians, especially through agriculture, as the benefits of the outcome, especially in engaging rural dwellers cannot be over-emphasized. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics he stated show that if sustained; these interventions will continue to uplift Nigerians economically. Rep. Mansur called for the sustenance and improvement of such programs. He called on states and local government councils to emulate some of these programs for people in the states.

The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the Special House Committee on Legislative Agenda.

2. A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal Capital Territory Signage and Advertisement Agency as the Regulatory Body for Outdoor Structures used for Signage and Advertisement to Protect the Environment from Potential adverse impact that may arise from Signage and Outdoor Advertisement and Visual Blights; and for Related Matters (HB. 1232) (Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno and 10 Others) – Second Reading.

Debate
Rep. Mohammed Monguno moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

As an establishment Bill it was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

3. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Court of Appeal Act, Cap. C36, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Increase the Number of Justices of the Court and Provide for Appointment of a Minimum of Six Justices in every Judicial Division of the Court for Speedy and Efficient Justice Delivery and to Improve Citizens’ Access to Justice; and for Related Matters (HB. 809) (Rep. Onofiok Luke) – Second Reading.

Debate
Rep. Onofiok Luke moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Ademorin Kuye.

The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

 

4. A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal Medical Centre, Orerokpe, Delta State; and for Related Matters (HB. 1105) (Rep. Oberuakpefe Anthony Afe) – Second Reading.

Debate
Rep. Anthony Afe moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Sada Soli.

As an establishment Bill, it was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Health Institutions.

 

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MOTIONS

5. Extension of Time to enable the Ad-hoc Committee on Investigation of the Failure of the Federal Government’s 3.4 Billion Naira Powered Grid Projects in the Six Geopolitical Zones and the Federal Capital Territory to Conclude its Assignment:
Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata:

The House:

Notes that the Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Failure of the Federal Government’s 3.4 Billion Naira Powered Grid Projects in the Six Geopolitical Zones and the Federal Capital Territory was constituted on Tuesday 17 March 2020 and Hon. Ossy Prestige (now deceased) was appointed as its Chairman;

Also notes that the Committee couldn’t commence any action because of the protracted sickness of the late Chairman, Hon. Ossy Prestige;

Further notes that following the death of the former Chairman, Hon. Edun Olanrewaju was appointed as the new Chairman, and therefore the Committee will require more time to commence operations, hence the application.

Resolves to:

Grant the Committee additional four weeks to conclude its assignment.

Debate
Rep. Abubakar Fulata moved the motion on the extension of time to enable the Ad-hoc Committee on the investigation of the failure of the Federal Government’s 3.4 Billion Naira powered grid projects in the Six Geopolitical Zones and the Federal Capital Territory to conclude its assignment and it was seconded by Rep. Abubakar Sada.

The motion was voted on and adopted.

6. Devastating Fire Outbreak at the Araromi Auto Spare Parts Market, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State:
Rep. Ajibola Muraina ​​​​Rep. Abass Adigun
Rep. Adeyemi Akeem Adeniyi​​​ Rep. Odebunmi Olusegun A.
Rep. Shina Abiola A. Peeler​​​ Rep. Ojerinde Olumide Abiodun
Rep. Olatubosun Olajide​​​ Rep. Yemi Taiwo
Rep. Stanley Olajide​​​​ Rep. Musliudeen Oladide Akinremi
Rep. Akinola Oluokun George​​​ Rep. Tolupe Tiwalola Akande-Shadipe
Rep. Jacob Adejumo:

The House:

Notes that Araromi Auto Spare Parts Market, Agodi – Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State, the largest auto spare parts market in Oyo State, was engulfed by an inferno that consumed about 1222 locked-up shops at Midnight on Friday 2 April 2021;

Also notes that the unfortunate incident was allegedly triggered by high voltage when electricity supply was restored to the market after several years of blackout;

Concerned that the inferno, the first in 50 years in the market, left a trail of destruction as thousands of auto spare parts, tyres, cables, trailer engines and other auto accessories worth millions of Naira were burnt to ashes, and about 20,000 traders displaced;

Also concerned that the inferno has left thousands of people and their dependents, who directly or indirectly earn their means of livelihood jobless and in a state of despair thus impacting adversely on the economic wellbeing of Oyo State;

Worried that despite the quick response and attempts by the men of Oyo State Fire Service to douse the inferno, their efforts were hampered by the obstruction of the access roads to the epi-centre of the inferno by goods evacuated from the affected shops by some volunteers;

Also worried that the inferno is one incident too many of such fire incidents in major cities in different States in Nigeria in the past 3 months, considering that there were similar incidents in the central markets of the cities of Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, etc.;

Also disturbed that a market of that size and economic value, had no modern devices for detection, dousing or fighting of fire outbreak to stem it from spreading out of hand, as in the instant case;

Conscious that it is the primary responsibility of Government at all levels to formulate policies and adopt measures to protect lives and property of its citizens anywhere, including markets and other public places;

Resolves to:

(i) Sympathize with traders affected by the inferno at Araromi spare parts market, Agodi – Gate, Ibadan, and the Government of Oyo State;

(ii) urge the Federal Ministry of Interior to liaise with Oyo State Government to investigate the cause of the inferno at the Araromi Spare Parts Market, Ibadan, Oyo State, to ascertain the losses of the affected traders, rehabilitate them and prevent reoccurrence;

(iii) also urge the National Emergency Management Agency to immediately provide palliatives to the affected traders and persons to enable them to renovate their shops and restart their business, and

(iv) mandate the Committees on Interior and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

Debate
Rep. Muraina moved the motion on the devastating fire outbreak at the Araromi auto spare parts market, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State and it was seconded by Rep. Abass Adekunle.
Rep. Adekunle in contributing to the debate of the motion stated that the unfortunate incident occurred in his constituency and prays the motion is passed so that his constituents will feel the much-needed relief.

The motion was voted on and adopted.

7. Need to Investigate the Abuse of Expatriate Quota by Telecommunications Equipment Vendors and Service Providers in Nigeria:
Rep. Bello Shinkafi:

The House:

Notes that the Immigration Act, 2015 and the Immigration Service Regulations, 2017 are the principal laws governing the employment of expatriates in Nigeria, while the principal regulatory bodies are the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Federal Ministry of Interior;

Also notes that the law empowers the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to, from time to time, issue entry permits and expatriate quota to foreigners who intend to work in Nigeria for specifically approved jobs and for a specific period with a view to training Nigerians and transferring their requisite skills during their period of employment;

Further notes that the expatriate quota guides against the indiscriminate employment of expatriates where there are qualified Nigerians who can fit into those positions;

Aware that expatriate quota may be granted for an initial period of 3 years, and can be renewed further for a period of 2 years subject to a total life span of 10 years within which such relevant skills ought to have been transferred to Nigerians understudying such expatriates;

Also aware of a clause in the expatriate policy which provides for two Nigerians to understudy an expatriate, to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology, however, some of those foreign companies have taken advantage of this clause in active connivance with the Nigeria Immigration Service and other agencies to bring as many of their nationals as possible, sometimes illegally, in gross disregard for the law;

Worried that the abuse of expatriate quotas by those foreign companies is not deemed a national security issue by the Federal Government, particularly so at a time of record of youth unemployment and the age of terrorism;

Concerned that the practice of expatriate quota abuse was initially restricted to the Oil and Gas sector but has now been extended to the telecommunications sector in which there is a surfeit of local skills, many of the expatriates still retain their employments after their permits had expired and not been renewed as required by law;

Also concerned that the expatriates enjoy unimaginable pay and privileges while their Nigerian counterparts are paid less and treated with disdain in their own country and many competent Nigerians lose their jobs and the country loses multi-million dollars annually;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Telecommunications and Interior to investigate the alleged expatriate quota abuse in the Telecommunications Sector and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate
Rep. Bello Shinkafi moved the motion on the need to investigate the abuse of expatriate quota by telecommunications equipment vendors and service providers in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. Akinola Alabi.

The motion was voted on and adopted.

8. Need to Review, Regulate and Monitor Collateral and Interest Rates on Loans by Commercial Banks:
Rep. Uchechuku Nnam–Obi.

The House:

Notes that the Banking Industry is one of the thriving industries in the Nigerian economy and the Central Bank of Nigeria provides monetary guidelines for Commercial Banks and as at 2019, Nigeria has over twenty (20) Commercial Banks in operation which derive their sources of funds from customers’ savings;

Also notes that the Central Bank of Nigeria as the apex bank issues directives on cash reserves and fixes pool rate to Commercial Banks at 11%, the Commercial Banks, in turn, lend to their customers at 20%-25%, depending on the liquidity level of the bank involved while it gives customers an 8% interest rate on fixed deposit;

Aware of the roles commercial banks play in the development and promotion of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises by giving loans to SME’s for the economic prosperity of the nation, yet most SME’s have collapsed as a result of lack of funds;

Worried that commercial banks are potentially open to lending funds to customers who have physical collateral like landed property and in the process, making unconscionable profits from borrowers, borrowing from CBN at 11% and lending at the rate of 20%-25%, thereby making an unfair profit;

Concerned that the current lending rate and the unreasonable collateral demands from Commercial Banks will stifle business development due to the unreasonable terms which may hinder vibrant youths and entrepreneurs with quality business ideas from accessing funds to execute their businesses;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to prevail on commercial banks to set up standing business development units that will nurture and refine business ideas submitted to them by potential lenders to encourage entrepreneurship;

(ii) mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria to standardize commercial banks’ lending rates and terms to ensure the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.

Motion stepped down by leave of the House.

9. Need to Address the Humanitarian Crisis in Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State:
Rep. Nsikak Ekong.

The House:

Notes that on 22 February 2021, hoodlums attacked and killed two policemen at a popular Ikpe Junction in Essien/Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state and went away with their AK 47 Riffles;

Also notes that on 25 February 2021, another set of hoodlums attacked and killed two Customs Officers at Ikot Afang along Ikot Ekpene/Aba Road in Essien Udim, burnt down their vehicles and went away with their riffles;

Aware that the Joint Task Force Team comprising the Army, Police and other security agencies sent from Uyo to arrest the situation was equally attacked and decimated by the same hoodlums leading to the killing of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Benedict Okoh Ajide and 12 other members of the Task Force Team, burnt down a police station with fleets of cars parked at the premises as well as the residence of the village head;

Informed that the actions necessitated the deployment of the military by the Federal Government to the affected communities to enforce law and order and forestall further attacks from the hoodlums;

Concerned that the resultant effects of the hoodlums’ attacks and the military response are the displacement of the people of the areas from their ancestral homes and communities and the creation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp;

Also concerned that the people at the IDP Camp who abandoned their means of livelihood such as farming, trading and other works are currently faced with food shortage, poor medical supplies and lack of potable water supply;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons;

(ii) also urge the Federal Government to provide adequate security to the affected communities to ensure their eventual relocation back to their ancestral homes;

(iii) mandate the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Preparedness to ensure compliance.

Debate
Rep. Ikong Nsikak moved the motion on the need to address the humanitarian crisis in Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State: and it was seconded by Rep. Olododo Cook.

As a disaster-related motion, it was voted on and adopted.

10. Urgent Need to Address the Menace of Capital Flight in Nigeria:
Rep. Afolabi Rasheed Olalekan.

The House:

Notes that capital flight has been one of the unresolved and persistent macroeconomic problems plaguing the nation for over four decades;

Also notes that ironically, Nigeria is ranked among the highest producers of crude oil in the world and earns a huge amount of foreign exchange from its exports but still falls short of capital to develop, maintain and upgrade its infrastructure due to the magnitude of capital flight from Nigeria when compared to accumulated domestic investments;

Further notes that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimated that about 88.6billion dollars per year leave the continent through money laundry, tax evasion, diverted revenues, offshore investments and other forms of capital flights, with Nigeria accounting for an estimated 46% of the total capital flight or $40.7billion per year;

Aware of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Bulletin in 2015 which shows that the net flow of capital flight from Nigeria from 1986 to 2015 was quite worrisome, with Nigeria losing a colossal sum of over $8.8 trillion;

Worried at the alarming rate of foreign medical services being sought by Nigerians, both private individuals and government officials, which amounts to more than 6.5 billion dollars based on the statistics released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015, while expenses on foreign education amount to more than $3billion based on estimates released by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) in its 2014 annual report;

Cognizant of the recent series of pleas by successive governments to foreign banks and other international financial institutions to release and repatriate stolen and diverted funds in millions of dollars stockpiled abroad by corrupt leaders;

Concerned that capital flight exerts detrimental effects on both short and long term growth of the economy by reducing domestically available investible capital as it represents a foregone investment in manufacturing plants, infrastructure, social welfare, reduction of a country’s tax base and a contribution to the high debt profile, among others;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Federal Government to develop effective mechanism and strategy to prevent the persistent occurrence and address the menace of capital flight in Nigeria;

(ii) also urge the Federal Government to partner with private institutions to go into public-private partnership contractual agreements to build world-class medical facilities in major cities in Nigeria or upgrade and equip the existing ones with adequate facilities based on build, operate and transfer by private investors in a way that will allow the investors to manage same for an agreed period;

(iii) mandate the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation

Debate
Rep. Afolabi Rasheed moved the motion on the urgent need to address the Menace of capital flight in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. Boma Goodhead.

The motion was voted on and adopted.

11. Need to Review the Modular Refinery Licenses Issued to Indigenous Firms:
Rep. Alex Egbona.

The House:

Notes that sometime in 2018, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), issued 38 licenses to indigenous firms to set up modular refineries in different parts of the country;

Also notes that the decision to approve the setting up of the modular refineries was to prepare grounds for the full deregulation of the downstream sector and to checkmate the incessant cases of crude oil theft and piracy in the oil-producing communities and the high seas;

Further notes that approval for setting up of the modular refineries was in response to the outcry that government should intervene and address the perennial problems that were plaguing the oil and gas industry in the country;

Cognizant that the modular refineries, when operational, would be expected to close the gap of importation of petroleum products for local consumption;

Observes that of the 38 licenses issued, only two have been reported to be at advanced stages of completion preparatory for commencement of production;

Informed that the inability of the modular refineries to commence operations has continually forced the Federal Government to import petroleum products and sell to consumers at subsidized rates;

Concerned that with the deregulation of the downstream sector and final withdrawal of subsidy, Nigerians are being compelled to pay more on petroleum products;

Also concerned that COVID–19 pandemic was already having an effect on the citizens and the additional burden of paying more for petroleum products would make the already bad situation worse;

Cognizant that the essence of issuing the licenses have been defeated as the beneficiaries have not been able to put them to proper use which is to refine petroleum products for local consumption and export;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to review the status of each of the licences, revoke and re-issue them to competent and reliable operators;

(ii) also urge the NNPC to give technical assistance to those who have started construction work to enable them to commence operation to meet up the demands of Nigerians;

(iii) mandate the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) to ensure implementation.

Debate
Rep. Alex Egbopma moved the motion on the need to review the modular refinery licenses to indigenous firms and it was seconded by Rep. Darlington Nwokocha.
Rep. Onofiok Luke proposed an amendment to add an additional prayer to the motion calling on the House committee on petroleum downstream to interphase with the grieving party with a view to ensuring the maintenance of sanity in the petroleum sector for the economic benefit of Nigeria.

The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.

12. Need to Investigate the Automated E–Ticketing Process of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for Abuja-Kaduna Train Services:
Rep. Zayyad Ibrahim:

The House:

Notes that the Abuja-Kaduna train service was officially commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 to provide the much needed alternative means of transportation between Abuja and Kaduna;

Also notes that there has been a tremendous increase of passengers at Idu and Kubwa Train Stations in Abuja, as well as at Rigasa Station in Kaduna due to the increased security challenges on the Abuja and Kaduna Expressway;

Further notes that the increase in the number of passengers led to ticket-racketeering, an ugly practice that led to the arrest of five (5) suspected train ticket racketeers in 2019 by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and on 21 January 2021, the Minister of Transportation officially launched the Automated E-Ticketing System to address complaints of ticket racketeering;

Aware that the Project, which is operated by a private firm named Secured 18 Company Limited under Public-Private-Partnership with the Federal Government, is valued at Nine Hundred Million Naira (N900,000,000) and the Concessionaires are expected to be paid in ten (10) years;

Also aware that the E-Ticketing System for the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services enables commuters to book tickets online, thus curbing ticket racketeering and the stress of purchasing tickets at the Train Stations;

Concerned that ticket racketeering, which the E-Ticketing System sought to eradicate, is still going on unabated as tickets can no longer be adequately accessed online due to the mischievous activities of some people who racketeer the tickets and resell to passengers at exorbitant prices;

Cognizant that if the activities of racketeers are not curbed, passengers will continue to be denied the privilege of accessing the train services as, sometimes, a train may leave the station without carrying the required number of passengers, because the tickets are not accessible or affordable to majority of passengers;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and Secured 18 Company Limited to strengthen their internal mechanism with a view to eradicating ticket racketeering;

(ii) mandate the Committee on Land Transport to investigate the matter and report back within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.

Debate
Rep. Ibrahim Zayad moved the motion on the need to investigate the automated e-ticketing process of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for Abuja-Kaduna train services and it was seconded by Rep. Musa Umar.

The motion was voted on and adopted.

13. Need to Support Cocoa Processing Company, Ede and Other Cocoa Processing Firms in Nigeria:
Rep. Bamidele Salam:

The House:

Notes that the Cocoa Processing Company, Ede, Osun State was established in 1982 to process and refine cocoa from harvest to finished products of a high standard for exportation;

Also notes that from 200, Ede Cocoa Processing Company which was a model and one of the industrialization sectors of Osun State, but became moribund with equipment worth millions of naira abandoned;

Aware that in 2016, the Osun State Government, in partnership with Skyrun Cocoa Processing Company rejigged the industry for optimum performance, the partnership yielded positive results with a processing capacity of 20,000 tonnes of cocoa being processed to varieties of cocoa products;

Also aware that Ede Cocoa Processing Company, is one of the five cocoa processing industries that exports butter, cake, powder, and chocolate, it is one of the fastest-selling and most desirable agricultural commodities in the international market due to the rapid growth and expansion of chocolate confectioneries and other products;

Concerned that Ile Oluji Nigeria Limited, one of Nigeria’s oldest cocoa processing firm can only process 2,000 metric tons of cocoa, which is far below its capacity of 30,000 metric tons daily;

Also concerned that FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, a company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a 20,000MT processing capacity showed that it can only process 600MT between January and June 2018;

Worried that Multi-Trex Integrated Foods PLC, Nigeria’s largest cocoa processing factory with a production capacity of 65,000MT per annum, has since been shut down and taken over by the Asset Management Corporation Organisation of Nigeria (AMCON) over a N5 billion non-performing loan;

Also worried that Nigeria is currently one of the highest importers of cocoa products in the world and to stop this trend, there is a need to resuscitate the comatose cocoa industries which will, in turn, create more jobs and generate revenue for the country;

Cognizant that if nothing is done to encourage the Ede Cocoa Processing Company and resuscitate the Ile Oluji Nigeria Limited, FTN Cocoa Processors Plc and Multi-Trex Integrated Foods PLC, Nigeria might revert back to its status of a cocoa exporting country instead of cocoa processing country, a status that can reduce unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria;

Resolves to:

(i) Urge the Federal Government to Establish a National Cocoa Processing Intervention Fund and resuscitate the Nigerian Cocoa Processing Industry;

(ii) Mandate the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Industry to interface with Ede Cocoa Processing Company and other cocoa processing companies to collate basic challenges that are hindering the smooth operations of the Companies and report back within four (4) for further legislative action.

Debate
Rep. Bamidele Salam moved the motion on the need to support cocoa processing company, Ede and other cocoa processing firms in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. Mukhtar Ladan.

The motion was voted on and adopted.
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Adjournment
The House at 13:43 PM adjourned plenary till Wednesday, May 5th, 2021 by 11:00 AM following a motion for adjournment moved by Rep. Abubakar Fulata and seconded by Rep. Odebunmi Segun.

Courtesy Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives.

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