Welcome to a new Legislative Day in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Senate President Ahmad Lawan led the Principal Officers into the Chambers, took the official prayers and began the day’s proceedings at 11:08am.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS
Senator Christopher Ekpeyong moved for the adoption of Votes and Proceedings for Thursday, 7th October, 2021.
The motion was seconded by Senator Adetokunbo Abiru.
1. Senator Ayo Akinyelure submitted five petitions from the Office of the President of the Senate:
i. Petition from Gabriel Oyebanji against the Nigerian Police Force on the request for adequate compensation for his compulsory retirement from the Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1995;
ii. Petition from Barr. Ayam Michael against Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited on inhumanity, Cruelty, Servitude/Fragrant disobedient to law of equity, social injustice, bad conscience and deliberate continuous refusal to adequately compensate Chief Ezekiel Eriaye and Chief Jame Wege over their life threatening, great bodily harm, injuries that rendered them completely and permanently incapacitated while rendering their surveillance/security services to AGIP and failure of the Company to fully implement resolution of the Senate, A call for Senate intervention for compliance;
iii. Petition from Danjuma Samuel Agbo against Zuma Steel West Africa Ltd on the passionate appeal and request for the Senate to come to his rescue regarding the blatant disregard for the rule of law and willful refusal to pay his legitimate emoluments and entitlements for 13 consecutive years after one of his re-engagement by Zuma Steel West Africa Ltd;
iv. Petition from Kenneth Yellowe against Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria on the request for the Senate intervention for an amicable resolution/settlement;
v. Petition from Inspector Sunday Audu against the Nigeria Police Force on Re: Letter of Compliant on botched upgrading exercise of Junior Police Officers.
Petitions were laid and referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to report back within four weeks.
2. Senator Rochas Okorocha submitted a petition from medical interns at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital against the Chief Medical Director, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, requesting Senate’s intervention on their unpaid intern salary having worked from September 2020 till date without receiving a dime.
Petition was laid and referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to report back within four weeks.
POINT OF ORDER
Senator Gershom Bassey cited Order 42 and 52 to seek the Leave of the Senate to present a Motion on Nigeria’s bad roads and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) impending nationwide strike.
Senator Uche Ekwunife seconded, said “Let me commend my brother for bringing up this motion at this point in time. This motion is a motion that concerns all of us. Mr. President, to say that our road network in Nigeria is a nightmare is an understatement. The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) remains one of the most important agency of Government but FERMA is not being funded to carry out their constitutional obligation – constant maintenance of our highways in Nigeria. It is the same everywhere from the North to South. We have to ensure Government live up to expectations by funding FERMA. What Nigerians are yearning for now is to maintain the existing roads. All the roads are not passable in Nigeria. This motion has come when it should come.”
Senate resolved to:
i. Call on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on federal roads and improve its funding;
ii. Urge the Federal Ministry of Finance to urgently as a matter of public importance release adequate funds to the FERMA for speedy and urgent intervention on all federal roads;
iii. Direct the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to immediately re-introduce weighbridges on relevant portions on our federal highways to check overloading of trucks and tankers beyond the engineered load-bearing capacity of our roads.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS FOR FIRST READING
1. Defence Research and Development Bureau Bill, 2021 (HB. 1176) by Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi
Defence Research and Development Bureau Bill, 2021 (HB. 1176) was read the First Time.
2. Federal University of Food Sciences and Technology, Agulu (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 368) by Senator Uche
Federal University of Food Sciences and Technology, Agulu (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 368) was read the First Time
3. National Vocational Centre Lanlin Mikang, Plateau State, (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 777) by Senator Nora, Ladi Daduut
National Vocational Centre Lanlin Mikang, Plateau State, (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 777) was read the First Time.
4. National Health Act 2014 (Amendment) bill, 2021 (SB. 830) by Senator Sadiq Umar
National Health Act 2014 (Amendment) bill, 2021 (SB. 830) was read the First Time.
5. National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, Ondo State Bill, 2021 (SB. 832) by Senator Ayo Akinyelure
National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, Ondo State Bill, 2021 (SB. 832) was read the First Time.
MOTION FOR RE-COMMITAL
1. Re-Committal of some Clauses of the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 122) to the Committee of the Whole by Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi
“I rise to second this very important motion ably moved by Leader of the Senate. In seconding this motion, first this is a move that will make the Electoral process very transparent and acceptable. This a move that will enthrone real democracy in Nigeria. It is a move that will make the electorate to select people of unquestionable character. It will make the electorates vote according to their conscience. This move will certainly make it possible for good politicians to come in as long as they are popular, they will get elected. I second this motion and I urge all my colleagues to support it.” – Senator Adamu Aliero
“Indirect primary is more applicable to us especially in our country. I hold the view that it is less cumbersome to have indirect primary election.” – Senator Smart Adeyemi
“I am in support of this motion and specifically, I want to say that what is being proposed in Clause 87 with respect to conduct of Primaries by way of ensuring that every card carrying member of a political party is able to participate is something that will advance the course of our democracy. It is a way of giving power back to the people who are members of the political party. Every card carrying member of all the parties will enjoy this right. If this our democracy will grow, it is time for us to adopt Direct Mode of primaries.” – Senator Opeyemi Bamidele
“Mr. President, if we say we are practicing democracy and we try every time to copy the developed world, let’s do it the way it is done over there. When you are doing a direct primary in any party, by the time the results come out, with whatever you get, you can still sleep and snore against the main election. So, it has already solved some of the problems for your own candidate to win the main election. I don’t see any reason why anybody should be afraid of direct primary.” -Senator Abdulfatai Buhari
“I think that what is going on is that we are focusing on some aspect and leaving the most critical one. I want to thank the Senate Leader for amending Clause 43 because it now makes provision for acceptance of electronic voting machine and electronic transfer of results. On the Primaries, parties are left to determine which method suit them. Not every party has the capacity to be able to organize direct primary. I think we may still have to leave it the way it is so that the party that has the capacity can do direct primary. Those are my views and with those views I rest my case. ” – Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe
“I disagree with Clause 87 which has to do with party primaries. We are all democrats here and we must imbibe the culture of democracy. We all agree that some of us have problems with our Governors but that should not tie the party to only one choice; democracy is all about choice. If we tie the party to only direct primaries that means we are not giving the political parties choices to practice democracy.” – Senator Isa Shuaibu Lau
Senate resolved to:
Rescind the decision on the affected Clauses of the Bill as passed and re-commit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.
Senate resolved into Committee of the Whole to consider the report Clause by Clause
Senate reverted to Plenary to report progress.
The Senate in the Committee of the Whole and Plenary considered and approved Clause 43 (as recommended), Clause 52 (as amended), Clause 63 (as recommended) and Clause 87 (as amended).
Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 122) was read the Third Time and PASSED.
PRESENTATION AND CONSIDERATION OF A REPORT
1. Report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters
Confirmation of the Nomination of Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for Appointment as Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele moved that the Senate do receive and consider the Report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the Confirmation of the Nomination of Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for Appointment as Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The motion was seconded.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele laid and presented the report.
Senate resolved into Committee of the Whole to consider the report.
Senate reverted to plenary to report progress.
Senate in the Committee of the Whole and Plenary considered and approved the nomination of Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf as the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The nomination of Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf was CONFIRMED as the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
and we wish you the best of tenure.” – Senate President Ahmad Lawan
CONSIDERATION OF A BILL FOR SECOND READING
1. A Bill for an Act to authorise the issuance from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N16,391,023,917,692 (Sixteen Trillion, Three Hundred and Ninety-One Billion, Twenty Three Million, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two Naira) Only, of which N768, 276,616,043 (Seven Hundred and Sixty-Eight Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy-Six Million, Six Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Forty-Three Naira) Only, is for Statutory Transfers, N3,901,952,981,550 (Three Trillion, Nine Hundred and One Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Two Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Naira) Only, is for Debt Service, N6,829,015,483,446, (Six Trillion, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Nine Billion, Fifteen Million, Four Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-Six Naira) Only, is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N4,891,778,836,654, (Four Trillion, Eight Hundred and Ninety-One Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Naira) Only, for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2022 and for other matters connected thereto, 2021 (SB. 828) – Second Reading (1st Allotted Day) by Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi
Leading the debate on the general principles of the Bill, Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi said that the country’s economic policy makers must make attempt to reduce budget deficit and public debt. He further urged his colleagues to approve the second reading of the Bill.
“I agree with the Senate Leader that the taxes should not be on our poor citizens but we can widen the tax net and that is what we ought to do. I think 40% of what we spend today on overhead can be cut. We should be creative in cutting expenditure. How do we borrow everything that we earn because the economic team of the President has said we borrow 97.7% of what we earn, that means it leaves us with just 2% of every other thing so we must have to think through this borrowing spree and see how we can reduce it as we go ahead. The Central Bank should focus on its core mandate which is managing our monetary policy.” – Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe
“Let me comment on some of the issues being commented on by the Leader. Yes, we are worried about deficit but as long as the deficit is meant to finance critical infrastructure, there is no problem. It will steer a lot of activities within the economy and people will get employed. Let Nigerians understand that borrowing stimulates the economy. We borrow money to finance critical infrastructures like roads, railway and water view. Borrowing like we have today is critical and important.” – Senator Adamu Aliero
“Let me join earlier speakers in commending Mr. President in presenting the 2022 Budget for consideration and passage. I want to state that the budget has addressed broad and national issues in a very matured way as much as possible.” – Senator Aliyu Wamakko
“My area of interest is poverty, inequality, unemployment and social protection. I believe that rather than intermittent poverty eradication programme, my interest will be providing free maternity care, early childhood care, free compulsory qualitative education with a school meal programme that will provide annual health checkup. Extend this programme to age 12-18 in addition to emphasis on technical education. Another area of interest is on youth development. If we provide education, health, food, skill acquisition and training, this youth explosion will result in growth.” – Senator Chimaroke Nnamani
“Let me say that all the underlining assumptions of this budget from the oil benchmark of 57 to the GDP and exchange rate, is alI I want to agree with except for the exchange rate which I think the gap between the official N410 that we have adopted and the reality will encourage our people to just be trench seekers. A lot of people have talked about the debt that the Federal Government is going for to fund this budget. For me, the solution and the problem that I foresee in this budget is just revenue. Once we are able to improve on our revenue, even the intended borrowing that we want to go for, we will find out that we don’t need that amount if we improve on our revenue. Without infrastructure, we cannot develop. I want to say that these borrowing may look very high but I don’t think there are other ways we can go. I believe that the deficit is high, but as we speak now there is really nothing we can do to avoid that. What we need to do is to develop our rail sector, our MSMEs. We should make them work and they won’t work without the necessary infrastructure being in place. I want to say that the National Assembly as a whole should do our bit to ensure that all these our MDAs will increase our revenue.” – Senator Ibikunle Amosun
“I want to say that the growth of the economy would base largely on the development of infrastructure. In this Senate three years ago, I rose to commend the Government in consideration of the Ibbi River. The bridge across River Ibbi, which is a connecting point between the North to the South East and the North East was approved for construction because of the economic importance it portends to the people. Since the approval, there is no significant appropriation for the project to take off. And this project is going to play key role in connecting adjourning states. I will crave the indulgence of my colleagues to look into this matter because the project has been on for a while now. I pray that this budget will yield the needed results – economic growth and sustainability.” – Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha
Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi moved that the Senate do adjourn for the consideration of the debate on the Bill till Wednesday, October 13th, 2021.
Senator Eyinnaya H. Abaribe -minority Leader
Senate President Ahmad Lawan ruled that Plenary be adjourned till another legislative day.
Plenary was adjourned to Wednesday, 13th October, 2021.
New Media Unit
Office of the President of the Senate
Federal Republic of Nigerians