Bill seeking criminalization of sexual harassment suffers setback at House of Reps.

A bill seeking to prohibit and punish sex offenders in educational institutions suffered a setback in the house of representatives on Thursday.

The senate sent the bill to the lower legislative chamber for concurrence.

While moving the bill on the floor of the house on Thursday, Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader, expressed concern that it did not take care of the other spheres of the society.

Gbajabiamila said the bill ought to take care of work place, religious institutions, among others.

He said the house should take into cognisance some of these issues so as to have a more comprehensive law.

Contributing to the debate, Ayo Omideran, a lawmaker from Osun state, said sexual harassment in places of learning was an important issue, emphasising that men were also victims.

Omideran said there should be laws prohibiting and punishing sex offenders in other institutions not just places of learning.

Yakubu Dogara, the speaker, agreed with the submissions and stepped the bill down pending consultations between both chambers of the national assembly.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had kicked against the bill, describing it as a violation of the rights of its members.

Biodun Ogunyemi, president of the union, had said this at a public hearing on the bill, organised by the senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters.

The sexual harassment bill was sponsored by Ovie Omo-Agege, a Delta senator, and co-sponsored by 57 of his colleagues.

The bill seeks to criminalise sexual harassment in tertiary institutions and, among other things, proposes a five-year jail term for lecturers found guilty of sexually harassing of students.

Bill to abolish tribal marks passes second reading in Senate

A Bill for an Act to provide for the Prohibition of Facial Mutilation, Offences, Prosecution and Punishment of Offenders on Tuesday passed second reading in the Senate.

The Bill is also for the Protection of victims under threat of facial mutilation and other related Matters.

Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi), who sponsored the bill, said that there was no doubt that Africans of old used tribal marks as a means of proper identification.

Leading debate on the bill, Melaye said in those days, members of the same village, tribe or lineage had the same tribal marks.

Melaye said that the hometown and lineage of a child or anyone with tribal marks were immediately identified, while outsiders who did not have such marks were also spotted.

He further explained that parents also used tribal marks to lay credence to the legitimacy of their children.

However, the lawmaker said “all these reasons cannot be scientifically proven, and hence cannot enjoy the support for this harmful practice’’.

“The irony of these marks is that it makes victims subjects of mockery by friends. Imagine someone being called a tiger simply because of the thick cheeks resulting from facial marks.

“ These people have been subjected to different reactions. Some have lamented the marks that are bequeathed on them as generational inheritance.

“ Many have cursed the day which this dastardly act was performed on them.

“Many of the grown adults have confessed that the most terrific debacle of their lives is their tribal marks. Some have become eunuchs because of this stigma.

“Imagine a boy in the class of 25 pupils carrying a tribal mark. His mates will call him the boy with the railway line. They are emblems of disfiguration.

“Some of them have developed low self-esteem and most times treated with scorn and ridicule including rejection by the female folks.

“The reactions of people who interact with them say it dampens and lowers their spirit,’’ he said.

Melaye stated that besides the health implication of the practice, it was an infringement on the rights of children, adding that every Nigerian child deserved the right to live.

According to him, it is time a law is enacted to stop the dastardly act, as the popularity and acceptance of facial marks are waning.

“People now prefer that their identity cards remain in their pockets not faces anymore.

“Long before the awareness programme on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), many people, mostly children who were subjected to tribal marks had inadvertently been infected with infectious diseases.

“Sharp instruments used by locals were not sterilised leading to risk of AIDS, including Hepatitis B and C,” Malaye added.

Melaye said the bill, when passed into law would help to check the act, which was a sign of man’s inhumanity to man in a country as great as Nigeria.

He called on his colleagues to support the passage of the bill.

Contributing to the debate, the Chief Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye commended Melaye for coming up with such an important bill.

According to him, many children have suffered stigmatisation as a result of the practice.

Adeyeye described the act as evil, adding that if it was for the purpose of identification, there was no way any parent would not identify their children without tribal marks.

“In the 21st century, there is no need to argue that either because of religion or custom someone would use sharp object on their children just for identification.

“The Constitution provides that the primary function of government is protection of lives.

“It is disheartening to note that children who have not been tested to know if they are short of blood are being made to lose blood.

“In the 21st century, not only this chamber but every chamber in Africa should rise up to this occasion to stop the pains being inflicted on our children,” he said.

The Chief Whip called for stiff penalty to deter others, adding “our generation must permanently stop that reproach’’.

“ I pray no child will have the kind of mark I have on my hands. This should be banned and we will proscribe severe penalties for both the parents and the so called surgeons,” he added.

The Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio equally supported the bill, saying it was a welcome development.

“In those days, people wanted it because they were from royal homes, but these days it is no longer in vogue.

“The international community will be happy we rose to this occasion, so I support this with all my heart.

“It is a violation of the rights of children. The child has no option and can’t fight back. Outside the infection, pain can generate something else and lead to insanity.

“If we have a law already in existence, we should merge the bill with that of female genital mutilation because they are similar,’’ he said.

He also called for stiff penalties for offenders to serve as deterrent to others.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said the bill was commendable in view of what children from some parts of the country were being subjected to.

“I am aware that under our constitution, especially Section 34 (1) forbids torture in humans and degrading treatment.

“This is no doubt inhuman, and it is our responsibility as lawmakers to add flesh to the bones of our constitution.

“On a day like this, I am proud of the senate and I believe that when it goes through the second reading it will go to the committee and return as quickly as possible.

“This is so that we pass it and ensure that it is implemented as quickly as possible to save our children from this inhuman degrading treatment,’’ he said.

The bill was subsequently referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to be returned to senate in four weeks.

UK Parliament Passes Bill To Pave Way For Brexit

The British Parliament has passed the Brexit bill, paving the way for the government to trigger article 50, so that the UK can leave the European Union.

Peers backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, after their objections were overturned by lawmakers.

The bill is expected to receive royal assent and become law today.

The result comes as Scotland’s first Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced that she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence at a time when Brexit negotiations are expected to be reaching a conclusion.

Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.


Source: Channels TV

Delta State to criminalise discrimination against physically challenged persons

An executive bill that will criminalize abuse of and discrimination against the physically challenged persons will soon be forwarded to the State House of Assembly, the Attorney-General of Delta State and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpor, has disclosed.

Mrakpor who spoke recently in Asaba when he granted audience to Persons Living with Disability from Delta North Senatorial District assured persons living with disability in the state of government adequate protection of their fundamental rights and against all forms of molestation, discrimination and abuse.

He said that it was the responsibility of government to protect and promote human dignity and rights of all persons in society against torture, harassment, inhuman or degrading treatment, maintained that every individual is entitled to respect irrespective of status and abilities.

The Commissioner who accepted to be the patron of the Delta North Chapter of the association sought their contribution towards the enactment of a law that protects their rights.

While promising to look into a case of an alleged illegal arrest and detention of one of their members, a deaf and dumb by the police who could neither read nor write and cannot speak because of his condition, Mrakpor advised them to report any case of persons living with disability in prison custody for review.

The Coordinator of the group, Ojeme Monday, while presenting several issues that affect Persons Living with Disabilities in the state, thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his empowerment package and monthly stipends for some of their members across the state.


Source: Today

Ambode, don’t sign this bill – By Wale Fatade

A perfect definition of irony in the Nigerian context is when legislators break their recess to pass a bill. For the farce that passes for legislation in our part of the world, citizens should be wary of a hastily passed bill. When you then factor in the incestuous relationship between the executives and legislators in most states, the suspicion gets heightened.

Just last week, I mentioned in passing about the opacity surrounding the Lagos State budget not knowing that the state would be the focus this week. On February 20, the Lagos State House of Assembly broke its six weeks’ recess to pass a bill titled, “A Bill for a Law to consolidate all Laws relating to the Environment for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes.’ Forget the long winding title, the bill harmonises eight environmental laws in the State to one and two issues the bill seeks to address are major for this column.  The first concerns waste disposal in Lagos which feelers from the state government indicate that it is planning to contract it to foreign managers and privatization of water supply.

Funnily, the assembly took the first and second reading of the bill in one week and also its committee on environment held a public hearing where some activists picked holes in the bill but their voices were drowned in the cacophony of deafening government voices. Pronto, after it was passed, the assembly went on recess again. Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker, directed the Clerk to send a clean copy to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for assent. But the governor should have a rethink and refuse to sign the bill into law as it seeks to mortgage the future of Lagos State. The bill is divided into 10 parts: administration, integrated pollution control, solid waste management, statutory nuisance and litters, wastewater management, flood and erosion control, conservation and ecology management, citizen participation, establishment of environmental sanitation corps, general enforcement power and establishment of law enforcement institute.

Part of the bill criminalizes sinking of boreholes and imposes fines and sets prison terms for any Lagos citizen that sells or transports water, among others. Truly, we should all be concerned about the indiscriminate way we sink boreholes in Lagos but the right question is, what alternative do we have for the residents? As a Lagos resident since 1993 that had lived in five different areas from Egbeda to Mushin to Ilasamaja among others, I’ve never lived in a house with public water supply. Naturally, boreholes and wells supply a large proportion of the water residents use, why denying us this source without ensuring that access to public water is guaranteed before criminalization? A group comprising Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and African Women Water Sanitation and Hygiene Network among others is campaigning against this proposed law.

Let’s consider some figures in this year’s budget of Lagos State: total recurrent expenditure is N305. 2 billion, of which N30.07 billion is for debt charges; this is important as part of the bill guarantees payment for contractual services and concessions with an irrevocable service payment order as the first line charge on the state’s internally generated revenue. This indicates that private corporations will be involved in provision of essential services for residents of the State. Overheads in the budget are projected at N170.39billion and personnel cost will gulp N104.7billion while capital expenditure is N436.26billion. Our state expects total revenue of N642.84billion of internally generated revenue and federal transfers. As far back as 2014, the state government had constructed some waste transfer loading stations “where thousands of tonnes of waste would be processed” as the government claimed then, what happened to those stations that we now require “foreign experts” to manage our waste.

Another reason why the governor should withhold his assent is the blatant contravention of Schedule 4 of our Constitution as seen in parts of the bill. That part speaks about the functions of a local government council and with the array of lawyers at the state’s justice ministry, Ambode will surely get sound legal advice. Possibly it’s the blurring of lines between the state government and local councils that confused our legislators that they thought usurping local councils functions is no big deal. Wonderfully enough, the state’s electoral commission is planning to hold local government elections this year, maybe, just maybe, that would give a new lease of life to the councils.

The bill itself is secondary to the optics of Lagos State seeking to increase the burden of the state residents. With a planned increase of BRT bus fares and all manners of sundry taxes, why making life more difficult for people whose comfort should be paramount? Is it also true that a certain person’s business empire expansion is the raison d’état behind this bill?

The Cable: Gender equality bill does not seek to erode the rights of men

Contrary to the belief that the gender equality bill seeks to violate religious laws, the legislation just promotes fairness and justice for both sexes and adherents of all religions in Nigeria.

Biodun Olujimi, a senator from Ekiti state, first presented  the bill in March 2016, but it was shot down by a faction of senators led by Ahmed Yerima from Zamfara state.

Yerima had said the bill was against the tenets of sharia law because it proposed to erode men’s rights by eliminating discrimination in areas of marriage, divorce, education, employment opportunities, ownership of property and inheritance.

He was supported by senators like Adamu Aliero (Kebbi state) and Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba state).
Majority of the senators voted that the bill be trashed.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had assured Nigerians, who protested the non-passage of the bill, that it could be re-introduced after being reworked to pull out paragraphs that an all-male opposition described as offensive.

Olujimi reintroduced it to the senate five months later, precisely in September, rewording certain parts that were considered “offensive”.


Olujimi at the red chamber


This time, with watered down contents, it scaled through second reading. Yet some people received it with angst. Sa’ad Abubakar, the sultan of Sokoto, rejected the bill.

The sultan, who is the president-general of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs(NSCIA), had rejected the bill on the premise that it negates the principles of Islam.

But it wasn’t only the Sultan opposed the bill, Muslim women under the body of federation of Muslim women association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) aligned with the sentiments of the monarch.

“The share of a woman or girls is not necessarily equal to that of their female counterparts who are also partaking in the inheritance. There are situations that a woman takes more share than a man. See Quran 4:11-12”, the group had held.

But the bill, long titled “A bill for an Act to Incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa, and other matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB. 301)”, rather than violate Islamic laws, buttresses chapters 2 and 4 of the constitution, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa.


The sultan


The bill is also to give effect to the international convention on human right which affirms the principle of non-discrimination and that all human beings are born free, equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone is entitled to all the rights set out without distinction of any kind including distinction based on sex.


The bill is an act to incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the united nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the protocol to the African charter on human and people’s rights on the rights of women in Africa.

If passed, the bill will stop any person, public or private organisation from discriminating through words spoken, acts, inactions, omissions, laws, regulations, administrative procedures, policies, guidelines, rules, customs or practices discriminate against any person on the ground of gender, age or disability.

It seeks to void any law, custom or practice which constitutes discrimination. The bill will ensure that that no individual or institution rules or directive which is in violation of the bill shall be enforced against any person.

The bill also seeks to accord women, children and other persons equality before the law. It guarantees women equal right to conclude contracts and administer property and seeks to treat women equally with men in all stages of court proceedings.

The bill also seeks to ensure that no legal contracts restricts or discriminates against anyone in terms of legal capacity and seeks to stop any individual, public or private organisation from denying women any benefits just because she is a woman.


The gender equality bill requires that pregnant women and mothers of children two years and below gets access to free medical care to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

The bill seeks to reserve a minimum of 35 percent of all offices or positions for women in political and public administration to encourage more women in positions and decision-making circles.


The bill seeks to ensure that the values, practices and forms of upbringing of children in the family or community is not discriminatory and promotes a proper understanding of maternity as social functions and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children.

It seeks to abolish unfair, humiliating and degrading treatment of widows and guarantees a widow’s right to guardianship and custody of her children after the death of her husband unless it is contrary to the best interest and welfare of the child.

The bill also seeks to protect the widow’s right to marry the person she wants, inherit her husband’s property and continue to live in her matrimonial home, and in the case of re-marriage, retain the house if it belongs to her.
The gender equality bill seeks to ensure that children, regardless of their sex, can equitably inherit property of their parents.


The bill seeks to ensure that every individual, public or private organisation takes all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life. This means that women and men have equal access to political activities, can vote and be voted for, participate in the formulation of policies and implementation.
The bill seeks equal conditions for women regarding educational career and vocational guidance. It seeks the elimination of stereotypes of roles of men and women at all level of education and encourage coeducation.


Rita Dominic, Nollywood actress, leading a protest


The bill seeks to ensure that organisations, private or public, uphold the right of both sexes to work and stop the discrimination of women in the employment occupation or profession. It seeks to protect the right of women to equal opportunities, including the same application criteria and the right to work commensurate with skill and competence.

The bill, if passed, will promote right to free choice of employment and equal treatment and consideration in the areas of promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of services. The right to equal remuneration of persons of equal skill, competence, expertises and knowledge.

The right to paid maternity leave or any such leave relating to her maternity need, right to sick leave or concession relating to her maternity needs. Be given equal opportunity to represent organs of organisations, public and private in any official capacity to represent Nigeria,

The bill seeks to empower the National Human Rights Commission to enforce and implement the provisions of the bill and stipulate consequences for the violation of the laws enshrined in the bill.


Source: The Cable

Senate resumes, begins work on bills to create 7.5m jobs

Eleven economic executive bills being considered by the Senate will create 7.5 million as recession-induced job losses persist, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki…
If the lawmakers successfully pass the bills and things work according to the promise, Nigeria’s surging unemployment rate would be reduced.

Number of Nigerians without jobs rose for the seventh straight quarter to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 13.3 percent in the previous period. It was the highest level since 2009, as the number of unemployed rose by 5.2 percent to 11.2 million.

Unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for job as a percentage of the labour force. Current efforts at the National Assembly, if successful, will have reduced the number of the unemployed by more than 65 percent.

Lack of jobs averaged 9.52 percent from 2006 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 19.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Saraki yesterday said the 11 economic bills now receiving accelerated consideration by the lawmakers would help to create 7.5 million jobs and reduce poverty by 16.4 per cent when they become laws.

In his welcome address to the senators on resumption from their Christmas and New Year recess, he urged the relevant committees to speed up work on the priority bills so that they could be passed and submitted to the executive alongside the 2017 budget.

By prioritising the creation of jobs, the Senate has identified a major challenge facing the nation. Most other challenges like insecurity; poor choices by the electorate during elections and even lack of educational opportunities are tied to the economic circumstances of the majority of citizens.

Saraki also stated that the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) would be debated and passed this week to pave the way for the consideration of the 2017 Appropriation Bill, which he said would be debated next week.

The Senate president urged all heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to ensure a prompt submission of their annual budgets within the current budget cycle or risk waiting for the next fiscal cycle.

According to Saraki, “The average annual growth in jobs is estimated at approximately 7.55 million additional employments as well as an average of 16.42 per cent reduction in Nigeria’s poverty rate.

“Over the projected five-year period, it is suggested that the reforms, which these bills will engender, may add an average of N3.76 trillion to national incomes, (National Disposable Income was N85.62 trillion in 2014), equivalent to 4.39 per cent of 2014 figures.

He condemned the killings in southern Kaduna and said that the Senate would carry out a thorough investigation to unravel the issues and advise the executive appropriately.

Saraki stressed the need for the National Assembly to pursue and conclude the ongoing constitutional amendment. He said the Senate would henceforth not spare any organisation that tramples on rights of consumers in the country, adding that the “current situation where consumers’ rights are violated and treated with indignity must stop.”

On the power sector, Saraki said: “There had been errors in the privatisation process and the model by which the power sector is being operated—whether at generation or distribution—will never take us where we need to be.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo West) and co-sponsored by five others, the Upper Legislative Chamber summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Muhammad Bello.

Others invited include the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, officials of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), as well as other stakeholders in the aviation sector.

Reps support bill seeking to establish Christian court.

The house of representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to alter the 1999 constitution to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical court of appeal in the country.


While speaking on the floor of the house on Tuesday, Gyang Dung, sponsor of the bill, explained that it would provide for functions, jurisdiction, qualifications and appointments in spiritual matters as regards the church.


He also said the amendment to the constitution was in accordance with Section 37 of the same, which provides for freedom of thought and religion.


“This will take care of the appointment of cardinals, the jurisdiction of this appellate court will supervise ecclesiastical matters in Christian law,” he said.


“This amendment will widen the scope of jurisdiction and adjudication in the country.”


The house passed the bill for the second time after it was put to a voice vote by Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.


Dogara further referred the bill to the special ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution.

Youth council appeals to Buhari to sign Peace Corps Bill

The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) on Thursday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the speedy assent of the bill seeking the establishment of the Nigeria Peace Corps.


The council made the appeal in Abuja at a news conference by the president of its interim committee, Murtala Garba.


The Senate recently passed the Bill last week, providing for the establishment of the Corps as an agency under the Ministry of Interior.


Mr. Garba said assenting to the bill would accelerate the implementation of President Buhari’s social safety net and youth empowerment programmes.


“We believe that President Buhari must have been eagerly praying and waiting for the passage of the bill by the National Assembly,” he said.


Mr. Garba commended the leadership of the National Assembly for its effort in ensuring the passage of the bill.


He described the passage of the bill as the biggest achievement of the National Youth Council.


Mr. Garba also applauded the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Solomon Dalung, for his tireless effort toward improving the living condition of the Nigerian youth.

NYCN begs Buhari to sign Peace Corps bill

A group of youths under the aegis of National Youth Council of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill into law.

The group made the request when they stormed the National Assembly complex to appreciate the lawmakers for passing the Bill.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Senate on Nov. 24. passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill into law.

The development gave approval for the establishment of the Nigerian Peace Corps as an agency under the Ministry of Interior.

The National Chairman of the group, Mr Murtala Garba, told newsmen that there was urgent need for the President’s accent to the bill in order to address the increasing rate of unemployment in the country.

“We are here to appreciate the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives for passing the Peace Corps bill and we so much believe this will give jobs to the teeming youths in the country.

“Thousands of youths will get jobs through this administration and we the Nigerian youths are calling on Mr President to ensure this bill becomes law.

“This is another opportunity for Mr President to demonstrate his sensitivity to the plights of the unemployed youths in the country.

“He should endorse it and we believe in his capacity as a man of the youths; we are calling on him, please we are jobless.

“So this is the opportunity just the way people are appreciating former President Ibrahim Babangida over Federal Road Safety Corps and Former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps,’’ Garba said.

The Nigerian Peace Corps Bill among others seeks to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for the youths, to facilitate Peace, Volunteerism, Community Services, Neighbourhood Watch and Nation-building.

Bill to establish National Fitness Day in Nigeria scales second reading

A bill that seeks to dedicate a whole day for health fitness exercise for Nigerians has scaled the second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which is being sponsored by Diri Douye, a lawmaker from Bayelsa State, got the approval of the House to proceed to the committee stage at Tuesday’s plenary.

While making case for the bill’s passage, Mr. Douye said a lack of physical activities often results in poor health or worse.

“Exercise has long been known to lower risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol which in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases and diabetics,” he said.

He said the bill would encourage the government and the private sector and all Nigerians to recognise fitness day and mark the day with local events and initiatives promoting the importance and use of recreational sport and fitness facilities.

Mr. said that the national fitness day would present an unparalled prospects to propagate the world about the benefits of keeping fit.

“If more Nigerians were physically active for just 30 minutes a day, the Nigerian health care system and the economy can save billions of Naira yearly, while creating a healthier community,” he said.

He further stated that it would also engage, educate and empower all Nigerians to adopt a healthy lifestyle that include regular, physical activities and good nutrition.

Mr. Douye it would promote programmes and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, background and abilities to live a healthy life,” he added.

Also contributing to the bill, Ayo Omidiran (APC-Osun) said that the bill if passed would be taken to the grass root to prevent diseases.

“We will use the day to advocate to the people to understand the benefits of staying healthy and eating well to live longer,” Mr. Omidiran said. “One major advantage is that we will use this National day of fitness as awareness creation.”

The bill was unanimously allowed to proceed after Speaker Yakubu Dogara put it up for a voice vote.

Governor Ganduje signs Anti-kidnapping Bill into law

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has signed the Anti-kidnapping, Abduction and Forced Labour Bill into law after its passage by the state’s House of Assembly.


Ganduje signed the bill? on Tuesday during the weekly State Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Kano.


He said that the signing of the bill into law would reduce rampant cases of kidnapping and abduction in some areas of the state.?


Ganduje said: “I am happy to assent to this anti-kidnapping bill as it will help the security agencies in the fight against kidnappers and their sponsors in the state.

“The law has been in existence since colonial era, but it did not provide serious punishment for kidnappers, therefore, the house has to amend it to suit the current situation.”


He explained that under the new law, any person found guilty of kidnapping would face life imprisonment without an option of fine.?


Ganduje also signed the 2016 supplementary appropriation bill of N20 billion into law.


The governor commended members of the state assembly for putting the interest of the state first in considering bills.?

National Assembly Tasked On Speedy Passage Of Competition & Consumer Protection Bill

The National Assembly has been urged to expedite action on the passage of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which is currently before it.

In a communique issued recently by the Private Sector Coalition on the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill at the end of a one-day meeting in Lagos, the group noted the Competition Bill is awaiting its third reading in the House of Representatives and has passed its second reading in the Senate.

It noted the consensus involving the public and private sector stakeholders on changes to the Bill and admitted that the amendments are consistent with the position of the Private Sector Coalition (PSC).

The communique observed that the PSC needs to update its position paper and renew its wider advocacy offensive in support of the Bill and that “as private sector stakeholders, we realise the Bill is not perfect but this is the time to rally around and improve the quality.”

While assuring that the Bill will enhance productivity, improve job creation and foster innovation, the PSC agreed that sector regulators need to be engaged and consulted for their input and agreement before the public hearing on the Bill by the Senate.

The communique urged NASSBER and other private sector organisations to support the efforts to pass the Bill and gain presidential assent.

It stressed the need for stakeholder engagement at all levels of government to drive the message, enhance understanding of the Bill, and gain the support of legislators to pass the Bill.

The coalition, which comprises the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), among others, in collaboration with the Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business Environment (ENABLE), urges business membership organisations to sensitise their members and officers in the states to support the ongoing campaign on the Bill.


Sexual Harassment Bill: Lecturers Fire Back At Lawmakers

Sexual harassment, as an act, is as old as man. But until recently, it was learnt, there was no law, in the country, specifically targeted at tackling the menace, which has remained a recurring decimal in virtually all universities’ campuses, without exception.o

Alarmed at the rate of the menace on campuses, the Senate recently, passed a Bill, which would in the thinking of the Senate, helped stem the tide of the menace.

But some lecturers think that the issue was being over-exaggerated, as such, they are asking the Nigerian lawmakers to concentrate their energies on other worthy ventures, and not mundane ones, like sexual harassment.

The Bill, known as the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Bill, prescribes a 5-year jail term for lecturers and educators convicted of sexual harassment of either their male or female students, just as it made provisions for a fine of N5 million, should the accused be convicted by a competent court of law.

And taking into cognisance, the fact that some students may just take advantage of the law, to raise false alarm, the Bill, it was further gathered, has also provided cover, for this category of lecturers, but not without a caveat. The caveat is that the lecturer, so falsely accused, must be acquitted by a competent court of law. Once that happens, the Student, who raised the false alarm “shall be expelled or suspended, as the University deems fit.”

According to the lecturer, Dr. Aniekan Brown, who is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Uyo, the law was a case of vendetta from the Senate, against the academic community, since the Senate has not told Nigerians what constitutes sexual harassment.

“As we speak, officially, I don’t think that we have up 150,000 people who lecture in the Nigerian universities. And out of about 181 million Nigerians, the Senate, in the myriad of laws available for them to evolve, will target academic staff, something tells me there is something vendetta about that.

“Granted,   it is their responsibility to make laws; but I wished they had started with themselves, by beginning to query how much of harassment they have offered to women as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria before getting to deal with some other Nigerians.

“I’m not saying that there may not be harassment here and there. It happens in banks; it happens everywhere.  But it shouldn’t be particularised to any sub-sector of the Nigerian economy; it should be full blown. But for them to zero in on the Nigerian lecturers, it means there is something personal about it. So, what happens if somebody doesn’t harass from the university, but begin to harass from the bank point of view, from church, from Senate, from mosque and every other place?

“So, when you sit back, you realise that it was myopic for them to want to close in on lecturers. In any case, I don’t expect any lecturer to fall prey to such a farce. And on the whole, I think the Senators would have thought of better things, instead of coming to deal with this minute issue,” Brown, said.

On her part, a female lecturer in the Communication Arts Department, Dr Nevelyn Bata, said there was need to be careful, because, some of the sexual harassment claims, students make, are spurious.

“But if the claims are verifiable, I think, there should be some restrictions to help bring down the incidences, if at all it exists. I’m saying if at all it exists because,  all the time I had stayed in the University  as a student,  I wasn’t  harassed.  So, when you hear of claims of lecturers harassing students, it sounds strange to those who never had the experience,” she added.

She said further that most of those who raise the alarm are those “who have issues, who don’t sit down to read; they have issues in their academics and when they fail they begin to cook up all stories. Well, for lecturers, who would condescend to harass students who they are old enough to be parents to, I think, the law should catch up with them.”

Like his colleague, Dr. Aniedi Ikpang, who is the Dean, Faculty of Law of the University of Uyo, also argued that there were more pressing things in the country that the National Assembly could have legislated on; since, by his own claim, he has never received any report or experienced any sexual harassment since becoming a lecturer more than 15 years ago.

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Anger in Turkey over bill to quash child sex convictions

A bill to quash the convictions of men for child sex assaults if they marry their victim being debated by Turkey’s parliament provoked fury on Friday with critics accusing it of encouraging child rape.

The government angrily lashed out at the criticism, saying it was a crude distortion of an attempt to grapple with the legal consequences of child marriage in the country.

The bill was approved in an initial reading on Thursday evening and will be voted on again in a second debate in the coming days.

If passed, the law would allow the quashing the convictions of men convicted of assaulting a minor if the act was committed without “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” and if the aggressor “marries the victim”.

The bill has been brought to parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) but sparked immediate alarm among the opposition.

“The AKP is pushing through a text which pardons those who marry the child that they raped,” said an MP for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ozgur Ozel.

On Twitter, the hashtag #TecavuzMesrulastirilamaz (Rape Cannot be Legitimised) became a top-trending topic as users took to social media to express their anger.

But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag denied that the bill had anything to do with legitimising rape, saying critics were “distorting” the issue on purpose.

He argued the bill is aimed at helping couples who fall foul of the law because they have underage but consensual sex and want to marry.

“When a child is then born from this non-official union, the doctor warns the prosecutor and the man is sent to prison, putting the child and mother into financial difficulties.”

He said marriages involving minors were “unfortunately a reality” in Turkey but the men involved “were not rapists or sexual aggressors.” He said the measure would affect some 3,000 families.

The latest controversy comes after Turkey’s constitutional court in July annulled a criminal code provision punishing as “sexual abuse” all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15.

Defenders of that law argued it made a distinction between cases of sexual acts involving a young teenager or a toddler.

The legal age of consent in Turkey is 18 but child marriage is widespread in parts of the country, especially the southeast.

Senate Passes Maritime University Bill, Shuns Amaechi

The bill for establishment of Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Delta State, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate, months after Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, announced scrapping of the project.

The bill sponsored by James Manager (PDP-Delta) was unanimously supported by the senators after the mover’s lead debate, making case for the establishment of the university.

The groundbreaking of the proposed school at Okerenkoko in Warri south-West local government area was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, physical asset were on site.

However, there has been no law backing the establishment of the university.

Addressing the senate committee on maritime on January 19, Mr. Amaechi had announced the scrapping of the project, which was to be financed by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency, a parastatal under his ministry.

Mr. Amaechi then cited insecurity in the area, and said the project was a “misplacement of priority” because there are transport institutes in Zaria (Kaduna), and Oron (Akwa Ibom), already.

Later on June 14 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Minister said the Federal Government lacked the funds to continue with school; and that unless the N13 billion spent on the procurement of the land for the project was retrieved, the project stood scrapped.

“Okerenkoko (Maritime University), I am not against,” he said. “My argument about Okerenkoko is that land alone is 13 billion(naira). If you give me 13 billion, I will buy the half of Lagos. That 13 billion has built the university already.”

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Nigerian parliament rejects bill to make history compulsory subject in schools.

Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday threw out a bill seeking to make history a core learning subject in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

The proposed legislation was rejected by the House of Representatives after members raised concerns about the implication of a language in it.

The bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Make History a Core School Subject in Nigeria’s Primary and Secondary Schools and for other Related Matters,” was proposed by Ayodeji Oladimeji from Oyo State.

Mr. Oladimeji said he crafted the bill to address widespread ignorance of Nigerian history – and even major historical events around the world – among Nigerians in primary and secondary schools.

“I have a secretary who did not even know anything about former Head of State, Murtala Muhammed,” Mr. Oladimeji, an APC member, said. “Colleagues, we need to do something about this situation because history is highly essential for nation building.”

But Mr. Oladimeji’s proposal quickly met an opposition, first in the person of Zakari Mohammed and later from other lawmakers.

Mr. Mohammed, an APC lawmaker from Kwara, said the word ‘core’ in the heading of the bill was problematic and blocked it from passing a second reading.

“I know it’s important for a people to know their history, but the word ‘core’ in the title of the bill is somehow,” Mr. Zakari said.

His position was later echoed by a few other lawmakers who demanded the bill be stepped down —even when they spoke highly of its importance.

The opposing lawmakers further stated that the parliament does not need to pass a bill strictly for the purpose of mandating history.

They said other key subjects such as English and mathematics are being taught in schools without special legislative backing.

But Mr. Oladimeji said he proposed the bill because he understood that history used to be in Nigeria’s early education curriculum but had since been removed.

The Nigerian government reportedly removed history from key subjects in schools in 2009.

Mr. Oladimeji said enacting the adoption of history into law should make it stringent for education administrators to expunge from the curriculum.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara, nonetheless, overruled Mr. Oladimeji’s prayers and urged him to go and rework the bill.

The defeated proposal came on the heels of relentless calls by academics for history to be restored into the curriculum for pupils.

In August, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, decried the removal of history which he believed would result in a lack of adequate education for teenagers.

“I learnt not so long ago that history has been taken off the curriculum in this country. Can you imagine that? History?” Mr. Soyinka, a professor, said. “What is wrong with history? Or maybe I should ask, what is wrong with some people’s head?”

Lawmakers Rejects Bill To Make History Compulsory Subject In Schools

Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday threw out a bill seeking to make history a core learning subject in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

The proposed legislation was rejected by the House of Representatives after members raised concerns about the implication of a language in it.

The bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Make History a Core School Subject in Nigeria’s Primary and Secondary Schools and for other Related Matters,” was proposed by Ayodeji Oladimeji from Oyo State.

Mr. Oladimeji said he crafted the bill to address widespread ignorance of Nigerian history – and even major historical events around the world – among Nigerians in primary and secondary schools.

“I have a secretary who did not even know anything about former Head of State, Murtala Muhammed,” Mr. Oladimeji, an APC member, said. “Colleagues, we need to do something about this situation because history is highly essential for nation building.”

But Mr. Oladimeji’s proposal quickly met an opposition, first in the person of Zakari Mohammed and later from other lawmakers.

Mr. Mohammed, an APC lawmaker from Kwara, said the word ‘core’ in the heading of the bill was problematic and blocked it from passing a second reading.

“I know it’s important for a people to know their history, but the word ‘core’ in the title of the bill is somehow,” Mr. Zakari said.

His position was later echoed by a few other lawmakers who demanded the bill be stepped down —even when they spoke highly of its importance.

The opposing lawmakers further stated that the parliament does not need to pass a bill strictly for the purpose of mandating history.

They said other key subjects such as English and mathematics are being taught in schools without special legislative backing.

But Mr. Oladimeji said he proposed the bill because he understood that history used to be in Nigeria’s early education curriculum but had since been removed.

The Nigerian government reportedly removed history from key subjects in schools in 2009.

Mr. Oladimeji said enacting the adoption of history into law should make it stringent for education administrators to expunge from the curriculum.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara, nonetheless, overruled Mr. Oladimeji’s prayers and urged him to go and rework the bill.

The defeated proposal came on the heels of relentless calls by academics for history to be restored into the curriculum for pupils.

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Senate approves bill to end business monopolies.

The Senate has approved a bill seeking to end all forms of business monopolies in Nigeria and promote trade competition in the 36 states of the federation.

The upper legislative chamber, therefore, approved scrapping of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and ratified its replacement with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Passing the bill sponsored by Senator Andy Uba (PDP, Anambra South), yesterday, through a second reading, the Senate directed its Committee on Trade and Investment to conclude all legislative work on the issue and report back within four weeks.

The Federal Government, meanwhile, is ecstatic that it’s reforms for instituting a vibrant business environment may have started yielding dividends, as Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business remains static, halting a falling trend in the past years.

A statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said the latest 2017 report released Tuesday, October 25, and which ranked Nigeria 169 out of 189 countries was good indication that the focus and tenacity of President Buhari to reposition the nation’s business and economic environment was working.

While Nigeria’s position remained the same last year on the index ranking, it has recorded confident outlooks in four critical areas namely: Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, Registering Property and Access to Credit.

The Senate believed promotion of business competition would be achieved by provisions of the bill, which would “control existing monopolies, discourage the abuse of dominant market position, and other restrictive trade and business practices.”

The proposal is part of Reform Bills, highlighted by the 8th Senate at the inaugural National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable in March 2016.

Leading the debate on principles of the bill, Uba said its essence was to promote: a balanced development of the Nigerian economy; welfare and interests of consumers, providing them with competitive price and product choices; competition and enhanced economic efficiency in production, trade and commerce; expansion of opportunities for domestic enterprises, to participate in world markets; ability of small and medium enterprises to compete effectively; and restriction of business practices which prevent or distort competition or constitute abuse of a dominant position of market power in Nigeria.”

Uba said the bill was initiated because “It is necessary to ensure through legislation that monopolistic enterprises in our country do not take undue advantage of and hurt consumers at will.”

The issue of resale price maintenance is critical in every market, and because it is well known that Nigeria is the largest market in Africa, it is crucial to ensure we do not allow our country to become a dumping ground for inferior products or be seen as promoting unfair trade practices.”

According to the bill, it is unlawful for any two or more enterprises that are suppliers of products to enter into or carry out any agreement where they “withhold supplies of products from dealers (whether parties to the agreement or not) who resell or have resold products in breach of any condition as to the price at which those goods may be resold; refuse to supply products to such dealers except on terms and conditions, which are less favourable than those applicable to other dealers carrying on business is similar circumstances.”

Sokoto initiates bill for right to education, employs science teachers.

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has initiated the Right to Education Bill 2016, in recognition, and protection of right to education for children between six and 18 years in the state.

This is the first time any state in Nigeria will seek to legally make education a fundamental human right of all children.

The bill is one of the major components of the policy on the state of emergency in education declared in the state in December 2015.

“Sokoto will be the first state in Nigeria to provide right to education, thereby bringing it in comformity with the status of fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy under Chapter Two of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” according to Justice Commissioner Suleiman Usman.

Usman, who spoke while fielding questions from reporters in Sokoto, stressed that this step, would consolidate the declaration of emergency in education by the administration in concrete terms.

He described the bill as one of the major achievements of the Tambuwal administration, adding that in view of the high premium the administration has given to rural transformation and delivery of social services to the people especially at the grassroots, the Social and Community Development Agency Bill 2016, has also been initiated by the Executive, and is before the state House of Assembly.

“This Bill seeks to create a Social and Community Development Agency ?for the execution of social and community development projects throughout Sokoto State,” he explained.

In a related development, Tambuwal has approved the recruitment of 96 new science and technology teachers 20 lawyers to serve as counsels in the state’s ministries of science and technology and justice respectively.

Senator Ashafa’s Bill Advocating Stiffer Penalty For Drug Offences Pass Second Reading.

The Senator Representing Lagos East in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Olugbenga Ashafa’s Bill seeking to Amend the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act CAP N30 Today, came up for second reading. The Act seeks firstly to curb the excesses of Judges who pass light, varied and discretionary sentences to convicts in clear disregard of the provisions of the NDLEA Act, which stipulates a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, or minimum sentence of fifteen years’ imprisonment for convicts.


While reading his lead debate, the Senator pointed out that the stiff punishment originally prescribed by the Act Is to deter people from engaging in drug related activities, but the actions of some judges in passing light sentences only makes a mockery of the deterrent nature of the Act thereby sending a wrong message to drug dealers and traffickers, their countries, our youths and the international community.


This light sentences being imposed by judges contrary to the provisions of the Act. The Bill seeks to amend Section 26 of the Act by including an additional Clause, which makes it mandatory for judges to impose the sentences stipulated in the Act for convicts, removing completely the discretion which the judges have arbitrarily exercised.


The said clause states that “The penalties provided for in this Act shall be adhered to, and notwithstanding any provision in any other law or rule of practice, a trial judge shall not have the power to vary such penalties either by imposing a lesser term of imprisonment or granting a convict an option of fine.” Secondly the Act seeks to correct a minor but significant error in the principal Act which mis-spelt the word “heroin” as “heroine”.


The final amendment seeks to increase the option of fine of N20, 000 imposed as penalty for obstructing the Agency or authorized officers of the Agency in the exercise of any of their powers to N100, 000.00. The Senator, pointed out to his Distinguished Colleagues that the economic-realty of Nigeria today has rendered the N20, 000.00 fine paltry and unrealistic which necessitates the increase to N100, 000.00.


While contributing to the well received debate on the Bill, Distinguished Senator, Shehu Sani from Kaduna Central, lent his support to the Bill by emphasissing on the need for the Drug Law to serve as a deterent and to be enforced as contemplated by the drafters of the Law. He commended the well detailed instances canvassed in the body of Ashafa’s lead debate and pointed out that drug dealers are making use of this lacuna in the Act, as it emboldens them to go about carrying out their drug activities. He noted that it is essential that the Bill be passed quickly to avoid our dear country being destroyed by drugs, as is the case in Guinea-Bissau.


The Senate president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki in closing the debate added that the NDLEA Amendment Bill is very important especially with the growing increase in drug use & trafficking and that the Nigerian Senate will support everything to bring down the illicit drug trade. The Bill was then forwarded to the Drugs and Narcotics Committee of the Senate for Consideration.

Muslim Cleric Warns Against New Gender Equality Bill

A prominent Muslim cleric in Nigeria has warned Muslim lawmakers that they will be condemned as “unbelievers” if they back a new gender equality bill.

The bill proposes that men and women inherit an equal share, violating the Koran, Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu said.

Gender activists have been pushing for the bill to end discrimination against women in a country with roughly the same number of Christians and Muslims.

Lawmakers say that public hearings will be held before the bill is passed.

Reverend Musa Asake, the secretary of the West African state’s main Christian group, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told the BBC’s Hausa service that he did not find anything wrong with the bill because in “Christianity inheritance is shared equally between male and female”.

The senate has already rejected an earlier version of the bill, saying in March that it was incompatible with Nigerian culture and religious beliefs.

The BBC’s Muhammad Kabir Muhammad in the capital, Abuja, says the new bill has been sponsored by a female senator, and is a watered-down version of the rejected Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill.

Nevertheless, it is still facing strong resistance from Muslim groups, including the influential Tijjaniya Brotherhood of which Sheikh Rabiu is a leader, our correspondent says.

Read More: bbc

Senate throws out bill on statutory grant for Lagos

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Bill seeking statutory grant and recognition of Lagos State for its `strategic socio-economic significance.’

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), was rejected by most of the lawmakers who argued that it contradicted certain constitutional provisions.

Tinubu had urged her colleagues to support the bill for Lagos to be granted one per cent of revenue from the Federation Account as statutory grant.

“Lagos is of strategic, social economic significance as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. Today, Lagos serves as the commercial capital of Nigeria.

“The strategic importance of Lagos State is inherent in several sectors of the economy.’’

She said statistics indicated that six out of 10 international passengers arrived in Lagos while eight out of 10 departed from Lagos.

“Lagos is home to the major ports that served Nigeria. It accounts for over 90 per cent of all maritime exports.

“The state delivers much of the funds and charges that go into the coffers of the Federal Government. It is incontrovertible that Lagos state generates much of Nigeria’s income outside its oil sector.

“According to FIRS report in 2008, 86.2 per cent company income taxes were collected in Lagos, including 56.7 per cent value added tax.

“As a city which caters for the welfare of residents and visitors, Lagos is placed under a huge strain that affects its infrastructure and has welfare implications for residents and transient citizens of other states in Nigeria.

“This grant will be utilised in meeting the public infrastructural need of Lagos state, including rail infrastructure to decongest the roads’’, she added

In the same vein, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos West), drew the attention of his colleagues to the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos.

He said if the grant was approved, it would not only benefit the state but the entire nation.

Sen. Fatima Rasaki, wife of former Lagos administrator representing PDP Ekiti Central, said the bill was overdue adding that the state deserved the grant as a former capital city.

However, many senators voted against the bill, arguing that one state could not be `so favoured’ over other states.

Sen. James Manager said that although he was in support of the bill, it would not be possible to pass it as it contravened certain sections of the constitution.

The argument in support took a complete turn when the Majority Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye spoke on the bill.

Adeyeye said Lagos State deserved 13 per cent like states in the Niger Delta.

He countered Sen. Philip Aduda’s plea that the Federal Capital Territory be considered also for a similar grant.

He further stated that the FCT had enjoyed so much attention from the federal government, describing the territory as a “rotten pampered child.”

His comment irked many senators and generated mild commotion in the chamber until he retracted the comment with the intervention of Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu who presided.

When the question was put, many senators in voice vote, voted against the bill.

In a related developement, the Senate passed for second reading a Bill seeking to protect Nigerians from lynching or extrajudicial killings.

The billed is titled: “A Bill for an Act for the Prohibition of and Protection of Persons from Lynching, Mob Action and Extrajudicial Execution and other Related Offences, 2016.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dino Melaye, received the nod of the Senate and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to be returned in four weeks.

Reactions Trail 9% Communication Tax Bill

More stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), have kicked against the nine per cent communication service tax bill, waitng for the public reading at the National Assembly (NASS).
This bill, when passed into law,  would add to more drain in the dwindling  financial strength of most telecoms users in the country and this may lead to stunt broadband growth in the country.
With the bill becoming law, each operators would have no choice than add the nine per  cent to services of the end users. Most Nigerians are barely surviving on one dollar per day and with this new introduction,  many Subscribers Identity Module (SIMs), may become inactive in the nearest future if this bill is imposed on the Nigerian telecom industry.
Telecoms users will cough out huge sum of money for SMS, MMS, voice calls, data,  watsapp and Pay TV, and that could be avoided because they already pay indirectly for VAT for every recharge they do on their mobile phone.
Although, stakeholders believe that taxation is one of the many ways through which governments all over the world generate income to be able to discharge their duties to the citizens. However, they caution the sponsor of the bill and NASS on passing the bill into law.
According to the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu,  the introduction of new taxes without harmonizing existing ones will put pressure on the Nigerian tax system, thereby making it unattractive to investors and may consequently be counter-productive in the long run for the nation’s targets on broadband penetration and end users.

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Fayose Signs Bill To Try Herdsmen For Terrorism

Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose yesterday signed a bill to regulate grazing, into law, with a warning that any herdsman caught with arms will face charges of terrorism.

The governor said the law would curtail activities of suspected herdsmen, who move about with firearms, unleashing terror on citizens.

According to the new law, any offender arrested and convicted is liable to six months’ imprisonment without any option of fine.

Grazing activities in designated places would take place between 7 am and 6 pm daily in Ekiti State.

The governor vowed that his administration will enforce the law, noting that the law was not targeted at any particular group but to ensure that the state does not descend into anarchy and senseless bloodletting.

Fayose signed the bill into law, with traditional rulers, community leaders and interest groups present.

He promised to convoke such a meeting once in three months to review the security situation and other issues affecting the state.

The governor earlier meet with the monarchs and community leaders at the Osuntokun Lodge of the Government House before giving his assent to the law in the open.

He said the bill became expedient to prevent a recurrence of an attack by suspected herdsmen on Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government, where two people were killed and scores injured on May 20.

The governor noted that by working with rulers, he would get a feedback on those plundering state resources, such as trees, farmlands and others.

Fayose said: “My government took the bill to the House after what happened in Oke Ako some months ago. The House has passed the bill and I have to assent it. It becomes a law from today that if you do anything to the contrary you will be punished by the law.”

Any herdsman caught with firearms or any weapon while grazing in Ekiti now will be charged with terrorism. I solicit your support for this government to succeed.”

Read More: TheNation

Saraki’s Corruption Trial: Lawmakers Speed Up Controversial Bill To Amend Anti-corruption Law

A bill for an amendment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Bureau Act scaled second reading at the Nigerian Senate, Thursday, just 48 hours after it was first read.

In Nigeria’s lawmaking process, rarely do bills get such accelerated legislative action.

The bill, sponsored by Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP-Delta State), passed second reading and was subsequently referred to the committees on Judiciary and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

The committees is to report back in two weeks.


The bill seeks to amend Section 3 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act “to give every public officer appearing before the Bureau fair hearing as provided for under Section 36 (2)(a) of the CFRN 1999 which provides:

“For an opportunity for the person whose rights and obligations may be affected to make representations to the administering authority before that authority makes the decision affecting that person.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Gender Equality Bill: Saraki Bares His Mind

Senate President Bukola Saraki has advised Nigerian women to re-introduce the Gender Equality Bill, which was turned down by the National Assembly on Tuesday.
This is contained in a statement signed by Fatima Kakuri, Special Assistant on Gender and Equality to the President of the Senate and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The bill seeking gender equality, sponsored by the Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Biodun Olujimi, was rejected by the Senate over alleged constitutional violations.
Mr. Saraki said although the bill had suffered setback, it could still be amended and re-introduced.
“Unfortunately, the bill suffered a slight setback because there were some parts of the bill that some senators disagreed with along the lines of religion and tradition.
“The beauty of democracy is that it gives us the opportunity to consider different opinions and this bill can still be represented and reconsidered on the floor of the Senate.
“I have it on good authority that Sen. Biodun Olujimi, who introduced this bill, will reintroduce it after re-drafting it to address some of the reservations that were expressed on the floor of the Senate.

“As I said during the International Women’s Day last week, I am of the opinion that there are substantial parts of the bill that are crucial to the development of our nation.
“Such bills like the Equal Access to Education, Strengthening of the laws on Violence against Women, Ending Abduction of Girls, Sustenance and Promotion of Entrepreneurship Opportunities, Gender Mainstreaming and Gender equality are equally important,” he said.
NAN reports that this was the third time the Gender Equality Bill would be rejected by the National Assembly, and the recent rejection has generated a lot of reactions from women groups.

Credit: NAN

CAN Meets Kaduna Govt. Over Preaching Regulatory Bill

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State on Wednesday met with the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, over the proposed Religious Preaching Regulatory Bill that is presently before the State House of Assembly for passage.

The clergymen, led by their Chairman, Bishop George Dodo, met with the Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Bala Bantex, on Wednesday in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.

The Deputy Governor explained that the Religious Preaching Bill was only aimed to curb religious extremism and hate speeches that could trigger religious violence in the state.

He informed the Christian delegation that government has a duty to ensure that religious violence no longer threatens the relative peace being enjoyed by citizens of the state.

Mr Bantex added that the Kaduna State Government is committed to ensure that religious activities are practiced in a safe and secure climate.

He said that was the first time that the law is passing through a democratic process, stressing that the proposed amendment was a deliberate decision by the government to subject the law to public scrutiny, rather than to just enforce the provisions of the edict as passed since 1984.

The Deputy Governor also explained that there was nothing in the Bill that suggests any effort to abolish, stop or derogate the freedom of religion in the state.

Rather, he clarified that the Bill merely seeks to ensure that religious preaching and activities in Kaduna State were conducted in ways that do not threaten public order, public safety, and to protect the rights and freedom of other persons.

In his remark, Bishop Dodo commended Governor El-Rufai for conveying the meeting, saying that CAN would submit its position to the House of Assembly and the State Executive Council during the public hearing on the Bill.

A member of the delegation and Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Reverend Femi Ehimidu, raised an alarm that some people who parade themselves as government officials were already seeing out religious practice licence forms to some clergymen at the cost of N4,000.

He also identified some grey areas in the Bill, which he said infringed on the right of the people such as obtaining licence from government before preaching.

The meeting followed speculations from some sections of the public that the bill, if passed into law, would gauge the freedom of worship and association as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

Credit: ChannelsTV

How Senators Rejected Bill Seeking Gender Equality

Nigeria Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill seeking equal marital rights for women.
The bill, titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women”, was presented by Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south, during the senate’s plenary session.
According to Mrs. Olujimi, the bill would seek equal rights for women in marriage, education and job.
She said if the bill was passed, a widow in Nigeria would automatically become the custodian of her children in the event of the death of her husband, and would also inherit his property.
The deputy senate president, Ike Ekeremadu, supported the bill. He said Nigeria would develop if women were given the same rights men have.
“Only last night, I was going through a document prepared by George Bush of America. Those countries that are doing well are those who give women opportunities,” he said.
“Where I come from, women don’t eat egg and are restricted from touching the non-essential parts of animal. But now that has changed. What is needed is time and education, not necessarily legislation. We will continue to encourage our women. I support this bill”, he said.

The Senate Majority leader, Ali Ndume, criticised the bill, and urged Nigerians to stick with either religious or traditional marriage.
Sani Yerima, a senator from Zamfara state, condemned the bill, arguing that it was in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution.
He said the bill negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the Constitution recognises.
The bill was defeated when the senate president, Bukola Saraki, put it to vote.

Credit: PremiumTimes