Lawmakers ask JAMB to extend 2017 UTME registration deadline

The House of Representatives has urged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB to extend the one month deadline given to applicants for the 2017 UTME exercise by at least another month to create more space for prospective applicants.

The call was contained in a motion on Tuesday raised by Danburan Nuhu (Kano-APC)

Mr. Nuhu said during the 2016 UTME exercise, about 1.6 million applicants registered out of which about one million passed while the 2017 exercise might reach 2million across the country given the growing number of applicants.

“Some of the approved centres are registering 250 applicants at a time and most of them are not spacious, do not have adequate number of computers,” he said.

He urged the examination body to specify the requirements including safety measures, which qualify any centre to participate in the conduct of UTME Computer Based Test.

He also urged JAMB to deploy safety equipment to each centre to forestall any incidence of stampede due to overcrowding.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the House and the committee on basic education was mandated to direct JAMB to comply with the resolutions.

The JAMB has repeatedly said it has no plans of extending the April 19 registration deadline for the UTME.

On Monday, the agency said it had registered about 600,000 applicants already.


Source: Premium Times

Lawmakers Express Mixed Reactions Over Electoral Act Amendment

Some members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the Senate’s approval of electronic voting and the use of the card reader in future elections under the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2010. The mixed opinion of the lawmakers was across party lines in the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dominated chamber.
House of Representatives The House is expected to give its concurrence or otherwise to the amendments before they can be forwarded to the president for assent before the amendments can have the force of law.
Leading in the opposition of the introduction of Card Reader is the Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, who described it as a fraud, although he was supportive of the introduction of electronic voting.
“The card reader is a fraud, but I support electronic voting,” Ogor said as he described the amendment carried out in the senate as a welcome development but tagged the card reader as an instrument of rigging as according to him it disenfranchised many Nigerians during the 2015 general polls.
He explained that “we must sit down to perfect the electronic voting in our electoral process but I’m totally against the card reader because it’s a clear instrument of rigging. “The card reader is not in the best interest of Nigerians and should be thrown over board and electronic voting should mount the centre stage as it ‘ll benefit all and sundry.”
There is nothing with Card Reader — Gogo, PDP Rep But Rep. Bright Gogo, representing Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency of Rivers State on the platform of the PDP on his part said there was nothing wrong with the new amendments as they would reduce fraud and introduce transparency. Gogo said, “what we are all looking at is a credible election and if we must have a credible election, then we must have to change from this traditional methods of manually doing things. The world is going digital.
“Though human beings will still have to operate the machines, but electronic voting will to an extent, eliminate some of the ills we cry about, those collation fraud and all that.” He, however, expressed concern about the level of literacy and power infrastructure needed to push through electronic voting. “If these things are strengthened, all these issues of power, issues of proper education of voters, it will be a good development.
I see nothing about it, especially the collation because most times, rigging or electoral fraud is perpetuated at the point of collation at the LGA level, at the state level. If these things are electronically done, there will be a degree of assurance.” On the fears expressed by some members of the PDP, he said, “I am of the PDP and I am not kicking against it.
Elections are local, provided you know where you are coming from and you have your electorate behind you and with one man one vote, there will be nothing strange to you. Nigeria not matured for electronic voting, card reader —Maren In his own reaction, the member representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Rep Solomon Bulus Maren said Nigeria with epileptic power supply was not ripe for electronic voting. Maren said, “The issue of electronic voting is even constitutional.
So there is the need for us to first do the amendment of the constitution before we can further go ahead to talk of electronic voting. “In the first place, the use of card reader is another illegal way of voting even though some people are arguing that it is not used for voting, it is only used for the accreditation of voters, but voting is not only one activity, it is a process. “It starts from the verification of voters list up to the thumb printing, counting and even declaring of results.
All these are parts of voting. We need to understand it in that manner before we can now begin to say that yes, we can actually allow the issue of electronic voting.”

2017 Budget: We will give maximum support to President Buhari – Dogara

Nigerian lawmakers will give maximum support to President Muhammadu Buhari and ensure that his government is not humiliated in the ongoing deliberations over the 2017 proposed budget, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said Monday.

Mr. Dogara said the National Assembly took this decision because most of its members and Mr. Buhari all belong to the same political party, the All Progressives Congress.

“I must say that the APC as the party with majority in the National Assembly will not allow Mr. President and the APC as the ruling political party to be humiliated or defeated on its budget priorities as we are all part of the same government,” Mr. Dogara said.

He made the comments when he addressed a round-table on the N7.29 trillion budget proposal organised by governors on the platform of the APC in Abuja Monday morning.

The Speaker also noted that lawmakers across political aisles believe that constituency matters are very crucial to their activities as lawmakers.

“It is however, important to stress that on budget matters members of the National Assembly tend to be very sensitive to their constituency representational functions, irrespective of party,” Mr. Dogara said in an apparent reference to the controversial culture of earmarking funds for lawmakers to carry out projects in their respective constituency.

The practice has come under heavy criticism in recent years, and the call for its abolition peaked in the wake of the budget padding scandal that broke out in 2016.

Critics say the so-called constituency projects line items mostly serve as a conduit for lawmakers to syphon public funds into their pockets because they are often poorly executed or, in most cases, never carried out.

Mr. Dogara updated the governors on the progress so far made by the National Assembly in the ongoing debates about the 2017 budget and promised better transparency and accountability in its passage and implementation.

PDP loses 6 lawmakers to APC in Lagos State.

Six of the eight Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the Lagos state house of assembly have announced their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Azeez Sanni, acting clerk of the house, read a letter dated February 16, and signed by the defectors, indicating that they had decided to join the APC.

In the letter, the lawmakers said they were taking the step due to the division and infighting which had factionalised their party.

The lawmakers are Akeem Bello (Amuwo Odofin II), Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere II), Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/Isolo II), Dayo Famakinwa (Ajeromi Ifelodun II), Oluwa Fatai (Ajeromi/Ifelodun I) and Olusola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo I).

Speaking at plenary, Famakinwa said the achievements of Akinwunmu Ambode, governor of the state, inspired him to join APC.

On his part, Oluwa said he joined the ruling party in Lagos because of the feud between Ali-Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi factions of PDP.

Idimogu said: “APC is better. I don’t know how to appreciate the good work of the governor than to join his party to move the state forward.”

Sokunle said the decision to align with the ruling party was borne out of his desire to move his constituency forward.

Sangodara, the only woman among the defectors, said she took the step to serve her constituents better.

“We are all aware of what is happening in PDP,” she said.

Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker, welcomed the the lawmakers to APC and commended them for their decision.

Other APC lawmakers also received the defectors into the party.

PDP lawmakers criticise non-inclusion of their member to meet Buhari in London

Some opposition lawmakers on Thursday questioned the non-inclusion of one of them in the National Assembly delegation that recently visited President Muhammadu Buhari.

The lawmakers, including House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, suggested there was a decision to exclude members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the visit even though one of them – Ike Ekweremadu – is the Deputy Senate President.

Notwithstanding, the PDP lawmakers —exactly a half dozen in total— who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in separate telephone interviews ,Thursday evening, said they were happy to learn from the media that the visit was productive and the president was in good health.

The reactions came a day after Senate President Bukola Saraki travelled to the United Kingdom with Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, to see Mr. Buhari in London.

The trio arrived in London around Wednesday evening and met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Buhari left Nigeria for London on annual vacation January 19, with a promise to return on February 6. He also noted that he would see his doctors while there and handed over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

But on February 5th, a day before he was due to return, the president sent another letter to the National Assembly, informing lawmakers of his intention to extend the trip until his doctors complete ‘a cycle’ of medical examination on him.

The prolonged absence, which came amidst raging economic crisis, got many Nigerians worried.

Although he had telephone conversations spread over several days with individuals, including Messrs. Saraki and  Dogara as well U.S. President Donald Trump, startling rumours about his health persisted.

But the visit by the National Assembly leaders on Wednesday helped convince many Nigerians that the president was not dead or bedridden.

Mr. Saraki declared in a Twitter update shortly after seeing the president that there was “no cause for alarm.”

Mr. Dogara reported Mr. Buhari was “fit as a fiddle.”

But some PDP lawmakers said Messrs. Saraki and Dogara should have included at least one member of the opposition on the trip.

Even though the lawmakers did not allege foul play or cover up during the visit, they raised concerns about absence of one of them.

Mr. Ogor likened the visit to a similar one paid by APC leaders, Bola Tinubu and Bisi Akande.

“You’re aware that the first visit was done by Tinubu and Akande,” Mr. Ogor told PREMIUM TIMES. “There was no PDP member that participated in that visit, so you can clearly see that it is more of a political party thing.”

Mr. Ogor, from Delta State, said he got wind of the visit early enough and was elated to see the president in good spirit.

“I have a hint of the visit much earlier. I saw the president smiling. I saw the Senate President smiling. I saw the Speaker smiling. And when I saw that picture, I also smiled.

“We thank God for his live. We wish him well,” Mr. Ogor said.

But he insisted that those who made the journey did so in their own personal capacity because there was no consensus amongst lawmakers delegating any group of persons for the journey.

“But I am convinced that that visit was purely based on political colouration. So, it is totally inconsequential because we were not invited.

“It is at the discretion of the president to invite whoever he wants to see him.

“It is not a National Assembly delegation. It is like a private visit to see the president. First, you know we’re not in session. Neither was there any resolution of the House or that of the Senate to go and see the president,” he said.

Mr. Ogor’s position was echoed by another lawmaker from Kogi State.

“I did not hear about this visit before,” the lawmaker said. “I read it last night on PREMIUM TIMES and I was initially shocked, but then said to myself: ‘no need to be surprised about anything these people do.”

“Since we weren’t told ahead, I think it’s very clear that they weren’t making the trip on our behalf,” the PDP lawmaker, who sought anonymity so as not to be seen criticising the House leadership, said. “And they’ve clearly expressed that in the manner they picked those who went on the trip.”

A source in Mr. Ekweremadu’s office claimed the Deputy Senate President was not informed about the trip.

“They didn’t invite the Deputy Senate President on the trip,” the source said, refusing to be quoted. “They bypassed him down to the Senate Leader for reasons we still don’t know.”

The source’s claim could not be independently verified.

The source said Mr. Ekweremadu just returned from a trip abroad but would have followed them to London if invited.

“Yes, he just returned from abroad, but that could not have hindered him from being part of the delegation if they had extended him the courtesy,” he said. “If only to make him be the representative of the southern part of the country instead of all the northern politicians that made the trip.”

The House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, and his Senate counterpart, Sabi Abdullahi, did not respond to requests for comments Thursday evening.

The spokespersons for Messrs. Saraki and Dogara also declined comments.

But Nicholas Ossai, a PDP lawmaker from Delta State, said he had no reservations about the makeup of the delegation.

Mr. Ossai said even though adding a PDP member would have been good, it would not make much difference since the delegates were duly elected by all lawmakers to represent the National Assembly as an institution.

“We believe in the Speaker and the Senate President,” Mr. Ossai said. “We have confidence in them that they’ll tell us the true position of things.”

“We didn’t elect them as APC Speaker or Senate President of the APC. We elected them on the basis that we have confidence in them and we believe in them to tell us the truth.”

“This is a leadership of complete explanation and transparency. Probably taking an opposition along would have been a boost, but, all the same, we believe in our leadership,” Mr. Ossai said.

Magnus Abe: Wike bought cars for PDP lawmakers but those in APC use taxis.

Magnus Abe, senator representing Rivers south-east senatorial district, has alleged that lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Rivers state house of assembly take taxis to work.

Abe said while the state government bought vehicles for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators, no provision was made for the six lawmakers of the APC.

He accused the administration of Nyesom Wike, the governor, of divisiveness, saying the action of the governor could lead to disunity in parliament.

Abe was speaking in Port Harcourt during a stakeholders’ meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

“Mr. President Sir, the Rivers state house of assembly has 32 members. Out of the 32 members, six are of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Only these six people take taxis to the assembly,” he said.

“All other members drive cars that were bought by the Rivers state government, and the governor tells us it is his personal contribution to the house and these other six people are not entitled.

“In an atmosphere of that nature, it is clear that there can be no unity because it is not the words that we say in the front of television cameras that will bring unity. It is the actions that we take when nobody is watching.”

Efforts made to reach Simeon Nwakaudu, spokesman of the governor, did not yield the desired result. He neither answered his call nor responded to a text message sent.

However, Abe also alleged that there was a “deliberate scheme” by the state authorities to prevent APC stakeholders from attending the meeting.

Abe, who is the chairman, senate committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), said the publicity materials which the APC mounted in strategic places to welcome Osinbajo, were destroyed by PDP members.

“At the forum, people talked so much about unity. How we all are united and how what was happening in government house is the united position of all Rivers people,’ he said.

“But, Mr President Sir, let me say that unity is not what we say or do when the acting president of Nigeria is seated and all the television stations are tuned in to what we are doing, unity is what we do when the acting president is not there; when the cameras are not there.

“As a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, I did not receive an invitation to the meeting. It was at the airport your own staff tried to give us invitation. That is not an act that will promote unity.

“We put up our banners to welcome you to this state, a leading member of PDP had the boldness to go and pull them down. We have reported the matter to the Police. We believe that action must be taken so that the impunity that existed before can no longer exist under this administration.

“I want to thank you for coming here today because if you did not come here, you will not have known that these numbers of Rivers people were shamelessly excluded from the forum.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on the federal government to take a very clear and decisive step to try to bring peace in Rivers State.”

Kogi lawmakers condemn kidnap of four council workers

The Kogi House of Assembly has condemned the abduction of four workers of Mopa-Muro Local Government Council on their way to Lokoja for staff audit.

The House condemned the incident in a resolution to the state government on Wednesday in Lokoja.

It called for a quick intervention in the deteriorating security situation in the state.

A member of the house, Obaro Pedro (APC-Mopa-Muro) had in a motion said that unknown gunmen abducted four of the council workers among those declared as ghost workers by the Staff Verification Committee in its final report.

According to him, in two separate incidents between Tuesday and Wednesday, Olu Abraham, Fehintola Osho and Balogun Blessing, all workers of Mopa-Muro Local Government Council and its Head of Department, Works, were abducted by the gunmen.

Mr. Pedro stated that the problems of insecurity in the state had escalated in spite of the huge investment of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration in security.

He said that the Obajana-Kabba road had become a hideout for kidnappers and armed robbers because of its dilapidated state as it provided escape routes for criminals after their operations.

“Just yesterday in broad day light, the HOD Works of Mopa-Muro Local Government Council, while on her way to Lokoja to collect her statement of account with Access Bank over the ongoing screening exercise fell into the hand of kidnappers.

“Her destination is presently not known.

“This morning, around 9.45 a.m. on the same Kabba-Obajana, I was informed that three staff members of Mopa-Muro Local Government Council were kidnapped.

“The driver of the vehicles the victims were travelling in and my Personal Assistant who were eye witnesses narrowly escaped,” Pedro said.

Members in their contributions condemned the security situation and resolved that the state government should deploy sufficient security personnel to the affected roads.

The house further urged the government to ensure the provision of 24-hour security patrol on other roads in the state, especially during the workers’ screening.

In his remarks, speaker of the house, Umar Imam, directed the House Committees on Security and Judiciary to liaise with the Commissioner of Police to work out proactive measures to tackle the situation.


Source: NAN

Nigerian lawmakers propose bill to jail Ministers, others who defy them.

A bill that could see officials of the executive arm of government thrown into prison if they fail to honour a summon by the legislature has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.


The bill also recommended an alternative fine of up to N1 million for any official found guilty of contempt of the National Assembly.


The sponsor of the bill, Sunday Karim, said during plenary on Thursday that lawmakers were frustrated by frequent refusal of members of the executive arm of government, especially ministers and directors-general, to honour invitations of investigative committees in both the Senate and the House.


Mr. Karim said his bill seeks to bolster the provisions of the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act of 2004 which he said he been repeatedly desecrated by government officials.


“This bill is meant to assist our oversight functions,” Mr. Karim said.


Two lawmakers, Mohammed Soba and Iduma Igariwey, who raised a point of order to oppose the bill were ruled out by the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, who presided over legislative activities for the day.


Source: Premium Times

Jigawa Assembly Impeaches Speaker, Immediately Elects New One

The Jigawa House of Assembly today impeached its Speaker, Alhaji Idris Garba and elected Alhaji Isa Idris of Gwaram Constituency as the new Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Ahmed Garba presided over the sitting attended by 23 members.

The Clerk of the house, Alhaji Hussaini Ali earlier announced that he received an impeachment notice signed by 25 of the 30 assembly members, and which he read on the floor of the house.

Ali disclosed that members of the assembly impeached the speaker due to alleged high-handedness and abuse of power.

The Deputy Speaker read the impeachment notice on the floor of the house and confirmed the number of members that signed the notice.

Garba said that 25 of the 30-member assembly that endorsed the impeachment notice showed that it met the constitutional requirement of two third to impeach any of its principal officers.

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“With this development, I hereby declare the seat of the Speaker vacant and a fresh election should be conducted to elect the new speaker,” he said.

Two members– Alhaji Isa Dutse of Dutse Municipal constituency and Isa Idris of Gwaram constituency– were nominated for the election to replace the impeached Speaker.

Isa Idris, however, defeated Isa Dutse with 12 to six votes, while five members were indifferent.

In his acceptance Speech, the new Speaker promised to run an open door policy and solicited members support and cooperation.

Gbajabiamila promises speedy passage of 2017 Budget

Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, on Sunday said that the nation’s lawmakers would work toward speedy passage of the 2017 budget, but would not sacrifice thoroughness in doing so.

Gbajabiamila spoke with newsmen in Lagos on the occasion of his constituency’s celebration of the New Year baby at the Maternal and Child Care Hospital, Surulere.

He also donated gift items to children with health challenges at the Heart of Gold Children’s Hospice, also in Surulere, to mark the New Year.

”It’s unfortunate that the budget was presented late. I have always been an advocate that budget be presented in September or first week in October as done in advanced democracy.

”You don’t present the budget late in December and expect quick passage. The financial year is supposed to start by Dec. 31 or Jan.1.

”We cannot sacrifice thoroughness and good work on the altar of time, we still need to do our work; we will ensure we fast track the passage in the shortest possible time.

”When we go back to the house, we will double and triple all efforts and make sure that this budget is passed on time,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said that hopefully, the budget would revive the country’s economy and make life better for Nigerians.

”The good thing is that the budget year has been extended to March and there are safeguards in the constitution that provide that when the budget has not been passed during a certain period, there are certain things that can be done to keep the government running.

”But the budget will be passed soon and like it has been tagged -‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’, hopefully, that is what we will see in 2017,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Dec. 14, 2016 in Abuja, presented a budget proposal of N7.30 trillion for 2017 before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Senate seeks to amend Constitution to protect federal, state lawmakers from all criminal, civil cases

Nigeria’s battle to exit the league of corrupt nations will suffer a setback as the Senate plans to amend the 1999 Constitution to protect lawmakers from all criminal and civil cases.

Civil society organisations yesterday warned that the proposal could erode confidence in the law, especially in the eyes of the global community that sees Nigeria’s political class as being ‘fantastically corrupt.’

They expressed the concern that with such immunity for all lawmakers at national and state levels, legislators will now be able to blatantly ask for bribes with impunity.

Immunity for Nigeria’s more than 1200 lawmakers at federal and state levels of government means they will escape criminal and civil prosecution for at least four years if the Senate succeeds in altering any part of the constitution for this purpose.

The Guardian obtained the Senate Bill number 342 yesterday and found that it has already been gazzetted and being given accelerated legislative processing.

The main objective of the amendment is to ensure that leaders and members of the legislature — particularly National and State Assemblies — are not subjected to any form of prosecution or legal persecution on account of their actions or statements in the course of carrying out their legislative functions.

Those opposed to the amendment, however, expressed the fear that it could be misconstrued to mean, “The Bill is simply seeking to give the presiding officers of the Senate protection against being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the Senate rules forgery case.”

It was learnt that the body of Principal Officers of the National Assembly was able to clear the way for the amendment following the withdrawal of the Senate forgery suit by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation last October.

In withdrawing the suit against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu last October, the Ministry of Justice filed an application to amend the charges and attached the amended charges. In the new charges, only the former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Salisu Maikasuwa, and a former deputy clerk, Mr. Ben Efeturi, were listed as accused persons.

Sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the Senate, the constitution amendment bill is aimed at strengthening “our democratic institutions (The Legislature) by guaranteeing the freedom of speech and protection of members of Parliament over words spoken and actions taken in the normal course of legislative business.”

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend Section 56 of the Constitution by adding new Sub-Sections which read: “No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of the Senate or the House of Representatives in respect or words spoken before that House or a Committee thereof or in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any Committee thereof or in any petition, bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein.”

According to Olamilekan’s Bill, the Constitution will be further amended by adding new Subsections (4) and (5) in Section 98 to read:

“No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of a State House of Assembly in respect of words spoken before that House or a committee thereof; or in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any committee thereof or in any petition bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein.”

It was learnt that the earlier disagreement generated within the National Assembly on the matter has been resolved at regular meetings of the body of National Assembly principal officers where it was stated that the amendment was not just to benefit presiding officers but to protect all lawmakers from frivolous political machinations that could manifest through litigations.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) described the proposed amendment as self-serving and an attempt to frustrate democracy in the country.

Revealed: 40 Reps, 5 Senators Parade O’ Level certificates

A peek into the qualification details of the members of the National Assembly by Daily Trust on Sunday reveals that a staggering number of the parliamentarians got elected with Ordinary Level certificates during the 2015 general elections, a development that leaves doubts on the capacity and quality of legislation in the 8th National Assembly.

A total of 45 federal lawmakers who got elected into the Nigerian parliament during the 2015 general elections to represent their various constituencies across the country were inaugurated into both chambers of the National Assembly with either Secondary School Certificates or Grade-II Teachers’ Certificates as their highest educational qualification, investigations by Daily Trust on Sunday has revealed.

Details of this, which was obtained after a scrutiny of the list of elected National Assembly members in the 2015 general elections as contained on the official website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has left analysts expressing fears over the impact of such on the quality of legislation, especially in view of the fact that most of them are first-timers with little or no experience as it relates to debates, initiation of bills and motions.

Nigeria’s National Assembly comprises 109 senators in the Upper Chamber (Senate) and 306 representatives in the Lower Chamber (House of Representatives), but observers say most of them in the current Eighth Assembly are hardly seen taking an active part in proceedings. A check of the list from INEC website showed that 40 of the affected federal lawmakers, representing 11 per cent of the members, were elected to the House of Representatives while five got elected into the Senate.

The lists are separately titled: “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Reps” and “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Senators.” They are displayed on Microsoft spreadsheet in different columns indicating:  state, constituency, name of candidate, sex, party, age and qualification of each member as at the time of the election.

While 28 of them were elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), 21 others got elected on the tickets of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with their qualification details indicating that they either possessed the West African School Certificate (WASC), Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), West African Examination Certificate (WAEC), General Certificate of Education (GCE) or Teachers’ Grade-II Certificate.

Although the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the possession of a School Certificate or its equivalent as the minimum requirement for election into the Senate and the House of Representatives, many critics have called for an upward review, saying the business of lawmaking, especially at the federal level, was a serious one that requires not only experience but a higher level of educational attainment.

Going by the 2015 elected National Assembly members list on the INEC website, an average of two representatives from each of the federal constituency in the country from the various zones got elected with Ordinary Level certificates.

Low qualification by zones

The list shows that the North-West zone comprising Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina and Jigawa states, has the highest number of Rep members with low academic qualifications, totaling 11. Three representatives from the zone with the lowest qualifications are from Jigawa State, namely: the member representing Hadeja/Kafin Hausa/Auyo in Jigawa State, Usman Ibrahim Auyo (Grade II), member representing Kazaure federal constituency, Muhammed Gudaji Kazaure (SSCE) and the member representing Miga/Jahun, Hon. Saidu Yusuf Miga (Grade-II).

Three other representatives from the North-West with similar qualifications are from Kaduna State, namely: the member representing Kachia/Kagarko, Jagaba Adams Jagaba (WASC), member representing Kaduna South, Rufai Ahmed Chanchangi (WASC), and the member representing Ikara/Kubau, Yusuf Bala (WAEC).

Also from the North-West are three reps from Sokoto State and one from Kebbi. Those from Sokoto include the member representing Kware/Wammako, Abdullahi M. Wammako (Grade-II), member representing D-Shuni/Bodinga/Tureta, Aliyu Shehu A.A. (WASC) and the member representing Binji Silame, Saadu M. Nabunkari (WASC), while the only member from Kebbi State is Salisu Garba Koko, representing Koko/Besse/Maiyama (Grade-II).

The North-Central has the second highest number, with nine representatives who were elected with lower qualifications during the 2015 elections. Out of this number, three are from Niger State, namely: the member representing Wushishi/Mashe/Gukgora/Miriga, Garba Abdullahi (WAEC), member representing Gbako/Bida/Katcha, Muhammadu Bida Faruq (GCE) and the member representing Mokwa/Lavun/ Edati, Ahmed Abu (SSCE). Two are from Benue State while one each represents Kwara and Plateau states, respectively. Those from Benue include the member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo, Christian Adaba Abah (GCE) and the member representing Makurdi/Guma, Dickson Dominic T. (GCE), while Plateau and Kwara have the member representing Jos North, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande (WASC), as well as the one representing Ifelodun/Ifa, Olayonu Olarinoye Tope (Grade-II).

The North-East has representatives in this category from Borno, Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe states. The only member from Borno is the one representing Maiduguri Metropolitan, Abdulkadiri Rahis (SSCE). In Bauchi, the member representing Torro federal constituency, Lawal Yahaya Gamau (WASC) also falls in the list. The same is the case of the member representing Darazo/Ganjuwa, Haliru Dauda Jika who has a WASC, while Taraba has the member representing Ardo Kola/Lau/Karim Lamido, Baido Danladi Tijos parading WASC and the member representing Bali/Gassol, Garba Hamman-Julde Chede having a Grade-II. Yobe State has the member representing Nangere/Potiskum, Alhaji Sabo Garba with WASC.

The South-West and South-South zones also have five federal lawmakers each that were elected during the 2015 elections with the minimum qualification requirement. Lagos State has five federal lawmakers who make the list in the South-West, namely: the member representing Shomolu, Diya Oyewole (WAEC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-I, Shadimu Mutiu A. (WASC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-II, Nwulu Tony Chinelu (WASC) and the member representing Agege, Adaranijo Taofeek Abiodun (WAEC).

The South-South has one member each from Rivers, Edo and Cross Rivers states while two are from Delta State. Rivers State has the member representing Akoku-Toru, Boma Godhead (SSCE), Edo has the member representing Egor Ikpoba, Johnson E. Agbonayinma (SSCE), while Dalta has the member representing Bomadi/Pantani, Nicholas Mutu Egbomo (WAEC), and the member representing Isoko North/Isoko South, Leonard O. Ogor (WAEC).

The South-East has the least in this category with one representative each from Imo and Ebonyi states, namely: the member representing Ahiazu/Mbaise, Raphael Uzodi Igbokwe (WAEC) and the member representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu, Nwazunku Chukuma (WASC).

The senators found in this category are: the senator representing Adamawa North, Binta Masi Garba (GCE); Adamawa Central, Abdulazeez Murtala Nyako (GCE); Bayelsa West, Ogola Foster (TC-II) and the senator representing Imo West, Uzodinma Good Hope (WAEC).

The flip side

On the flip side, however, Daily Trust on Sunday discovered that about 24 of the federal lawmakers were elected with the highest academic qualification of doctorate degrees (PhD). They are made up of 14 members of the House of Representatives and 10 Senators. Out of this number, 15 were elected on the platform of the ruling APC, while nine came through the PDP.

The representatives with PhDs are: the member representing Uyouram/Nsit/ Ebesikpo Usutan in  Akwa Ibom State, Michael Okon; the member representing Ihiala/Anhonu in Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Reginald; the member representing Alkaleri-Kirfi of Bauchi State, Mohammed Sani Abdu; the member representing Gboko/Tarka of Benue State, John Dyeh; the member representing Nkanu East-West, Chukwuemeka Ujam; the member representing Uzo/Uwani/Igbo/Etiti of Enugu State, Stella Uchenna Obiagheli Ngwu; the member representing Zaria in Kaduna State, Abbas Tajudeen and the member representing Kiru Bebeji in Kano State, Abdulmumin Jibrin (currently under suspension).

Others are the member representing Lagos Island-I, Enitan Dolapo Bau; the member representing Ede North/Ede South/Ejigbo in Osun State, Moyeed Olujinmi; the member representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke in Plateau State, Golu Timothy; the member representing Tai/Eleme/Oyigbo in Rivers State, Jonathan B. Nbina; the member representing Ilela/ Gwadabawa in Sokoto State, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame and the member representing Jalingo/Yorro/Zing from Taraba State, Aminu Ibrahim Malle.

The senators in this category are Stella Oduah (Anambra North); Samuel Ominyi Egwu (Ebonyi North); Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West); Yahaya A. Abdullahi (Kebbi North); Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim (Kwara South); Robert Ajayi Borofice (Ondo North); Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central); Buhari Abdul Fatai (Oyo North); Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (Sokoto East) and Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan (Yobe North).


For Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the possession of only Ordinary Level certificates by a large number of legislators in the current National Assembly is a matter of serious concern, given what he called the character of the current legislature.

“It explains why there is poor legislative experience in terms of procedures and proceedings because if you have this kind of people, it affects not only the quality but individual contributions to legislative business. Although some of them hire competent legislative aides due to their lack of capacity and knowledge, we cannot expect quality from them due to the way and manner they came in,” Rafsanjani said.

Stressing that it was important for voters to know the kind of people they vote for to represent them, especially in the parliament, Rafsanjani, who is also the acting secretary-general, West African Civil Society Forum (WASCOF), said: “If you are elected with only WASC in the legislature, there is a huge gap compared with those in the executive, some of whom have 25 years’ experience.”

While advocating that whoever wants to serve in the National Assembly should have a requisite capacity and knowledge, Rafsanjani said there was low capacity in the current parliament due to the way and manner the elections threw up the candidates.

“About 70 percent of them are new members who are learning; some are not even interested in the legislative business but seeking for opportunities and privileges,” he said, adding that the best way is to upgrade the minimum requirement for election into the National Assembly to diploma, with at least 10 years working experience.

He said political parties should also help in fielding qualitative candidates with capacity and experience to deliver, as it is by so doing that there could be quality deliberations and debates.

Speaking in the same vein, a former speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Josiah Sabo Kente, said the quality of performance in the current legislature, both at the states and the federal levels, has dwindled, due largely to the low level of education of the lawmakers.

“In modern day democracy, you don’t just stop at School Certificate. This is why we are having low level of participation in the legislature because only a few attend sittings; some do not attend sittings because of their low level of education while some are coming there just to make money. I can even mention names of non-contributors in the National Assembly,” Kente said.

He called for a constitutional amendment that would raise the qualification requirement for election into the legislature.

But for Senator Dansadau, educational qualification is not the issue but voter preference as, according to him, the voters know their people very well. “Someone may have a PhD but may be weak in debates, so only the voter knows who are capable. But so long as the voter is taking money you will continue to have this problem. So, the key issue is to avoid money politics,” he said.

While calling on voters to jettison money and go for credibility, Dansadau said there could be many PhD members who do not have money to dish out. He said the current National Assembly has failed to perform optimally because it is bedeviled with political crisis, especially in the Senate.

Dansadau’s view is corroborated by a member of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Mark Useni, who said there should be a balance between capacity and educational qualification. “Some people have school certificates but do well, and I have come across some of them who speak and deliver well. Those that flaunt academic degrees have a questionable capacity to deliver well,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, capacity building is essential in terms of the qualification a lawmaker possesses, while agreeing that it is good to raise the current minimum qualification requirement for election into the legislature.

Umar Ardo, a politician, said what is critical is intellect and wisdom, which he said are lacking in the current National Assembly. “Most of them have low level of exposure and intellectual capacity; most of them go there for a job – something to survive without understanding the basic rudiments. Even for governors, there are those who know next to nothing. So what matters most is not qualification but intellect and wisdom,” he said.

‘No cause for alarm’

But the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, allayed such fears, saying the 8th National Assembly is vibrant and capable of performing its statutory functions.

Namdas said: “Forty out of 360 shows that the 8th House of Representatives is a vibrant one. We have several lawyers, one of whom was only recently awarded the prestigious title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). We also have professors and many PhD holders.

“Among all those that ruled Nigeria, only two are graduates (Yar’Adua and Jonathan), yet they performed. The act of lawmaking is not for lawmakers alone; we often conduct public hearings to collate views.”

On whether the current qualification requirement for election into the National Assembly should be reviewed upward, Namdas said it would depend on the views of Nigerians to that effect. “If Nigerians want it that way, so be it,” he said.

Lawmakers Blame Poor Policy, Coordination for IDPs Crisis.

The Chairman, House Committee on IDPs Refugees and Initiatives on the Northeast, Rep Sani Zorro, said this while speaking with journalists in Osogbo, the Osun state capital.

Zorro said that proper coordination has been discovered to be missing in the operations and management of the IDP camps which has opened doors for an all-comers affairs in the sector.

This, he said, has resulted to negative activities which has placed the country in bad perception globally.

According to Zoro “if policies were to be available, that policy would have clearly spelled out the roles, responsibilities and obligations of state institutions, nongovernmental organisations and so on.

“That will make it easier for everybody to operate within the space available; but now it is free for all, there is no coordination, and there is no communication among all the actors in the humanitarian Sector.”

He believes “there is also no effective collaboration among agencies of government and that is why you hear about abuses in the camp, you hear about corruption like diversion of food items meant for IDPs”.

“We have investigated and visited camps to ascertain the extent of this unfortunate situation.

“The recent report by Human Rights Watch which says there are cases of rape, unwanted pregnancies and general abuses of displaced persons, especially women, now I have read the report very carefully and I endorsed it but there are some explanations that need to be tendered, which probably the Human Rights Watch didn’t consider.?

“Peculiarities in terms of culture and tradition need to be taken into account. What can constitute an abuse in one country may not be considered so in some other environment because of the tradition,” he said.

He, however, affirmed that steps would be taken on revising the security and operational setups across the IDP camps.

“They have taken their time to investigate. We have not only recognised the content of the report, we are working hard to address them,?” he said.

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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“Buy us Prado Jeeps so we can support your reelection”, Anambra lawmakers tell Obiano

Some members of the Anambra State House of Assembly have reportedly demanded that the governor, Willie Obiano provides Prado Jeeps for them as a condition to support his second term bid, Punch reports.

It was gathered that the Minority Leader in the House, Onyebuchi Offor is spearheading the request.

He alleged that the governor has been receiving N1.2bn monthly as security votes, while touring radio stations to crusade against the governor.

One of them said, “We can’t continue this way. This is a man (governor) who does not listen to advice and he has continued to fail to recognise the lawmakers in terms of bettering their condition of service.

“Our colleagues in other states move in jeeps but what we use here is Escape car which is ridiculous. What is the governor doing with N1.2bn every month as security vote; we are not going to allow him to continue like that.

“He has to provide us with Prado Jeeps and improve our condition of service, otherwise we will wait for him during the election,” the lawmaker stated.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Tony Nnacheta, however said the request was baseless.

He said, “We are not merchants that if you say you need Prado Jeep, we give you. Are they saying we should give them Prado Jeeps because our economy has improved or what?

“Are they saying that we should abandon our responsibility of paying workers and pensioners and buy jeeps for them?”

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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Jibrin Gives Lawmakers 3 Days To Return Illegal Allowances

Suspended lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Thursday gave his colleagues in the House of Representatives three days to return all questionable allowances they paid themselves.

Mr. Jibrin said any lawmaker who fails to heed his call should be prepared for the backlash that would follow when he publishes details of how such official perpetrated the fraud.

Mr. Jibrin’s statement came a day after he was suspended by the House for 180 legislative days —approximately a full calendar year as the House sits three times a week— after being found guilty of violating House ethics and lawmakers’ privileges.

It also came a month after Mr. Jibrin accused his colleagues of raking in millions in illegal allowances, and after he indicted himself as having received N650 million illegally.

To return their loot, Mr. Jibrin advised his colleagues to individually approach the appropriate authority and make arrangement on how to pay everything back into the federal purse.

“I have written to the Clerk of the National Assembly to stand by in anticipation,” Mr. Jibrin said.  “In the face of the revenue challenges and biting hardship the country is currently facing, there is no better time the country needs such money than now.”

Mr. Jibrin said he resolved to take this action after receiving numerous enquiries from different corners on the need for him to back his allegations against the House leadership and other lawmakers with evidence.

“I have come under intense public scrutiny and pressure to prove that there exists systemic corruption in the House,” Mr. Jibrin said.

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Hoodlums set Chidi Lloyd’s house ablaze in Rivers State

Hoodlums on Wednesday night burnt down the house of a former lawmaker, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, in Akpabu community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

It was learned that the development had caused panic in the community, as the incident was said to have happened less than 24 hours before an Appeal Court upheld the election of Sam Ogeh, the former lawmaker’s opponent in the March 19, 2016 State House of Assembly rerun election.

While Lloyd, who was the former Leader of the State House of Assembly contested on the platform of the All Progressives Alliance, Ogeh vied for the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

It was learnt that the hoodlums, who wore military camouflage, invaded Lloyd’s home at 8pm and set ablaze some aspects of his building.

A community source, Mr. Chijioke (surname withheld), disclosed that the arsonists invaded the community and caused anxiety with heavy gunfire.

Chijioke noted that the security quarters and the visitors’ lodge were burnt by the hoodlums, whose identity are yet unknown.

He said that property worth millions of naira at the guest house and in the security building were burnt.

The source further said it was the swift intervention of security operatives in the area that prevented the arsonists from attacking the main building.

The source said, “The building of former leader of Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, has been burnt by unknown persons. The security room and the boys’ quarters were burnt. They did not touch the main building.”

Meanwhile, Lloyd has confirmed the attack on his house. He said that a group of men in military camouflage invaded his house and set it ablaze.

He explained that he had earlier received a threat message by a person suspected to be a cult member before the arson.

Speaking on the matter, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Odesanya, said the incident was caused by fire, adding that the main building was not burnt.

Imo lawmakers set to outlaw female circumcision

The Imo State House of Assembly has described female genital mutilation/cutting as obnoxious traditional practice, saying it is opposed to it and set to pass into law a bill “to eliminate violence in private and public life.”

It also said that it was hazardous to the health of girl children and women due to its attendant physical and mental consequences.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony organised by the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, the Speaker of the state Assembly, Acho Ihim, noted that the practice was in utter violation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Girl Child.

He also said that it violated the African ethical principle of “Do no harm to anybody.”

While saying that the House of Assembly was opposed to FGM/C in all its ramifications, the Speaker maintained that the circumcision of the girl child was a violation of female fundamental human rights to life, physical integrity and health.

He said, “Under medical prerogatives, the practice subjects its victims to life-threatening hazards. We in the House therefore stand in unity with the wife of the governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, as well as UNFPA, UNICEF and other international organisations, to uphold the stance that there is no justification whatsoever for FGM.

“And to ensure the speedy implementation of eradication of this detestable traditional practice, the House of Assembly hereby promises to hasten all efforts aimed at passing into law the bill to eliminate violence in private and public life, to prohibit all forms of violence including physical, sexual, psychological and all domestic harmful traditional practices, discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment for offenders.”

Earlier, Mrs. Okorocha had said that the intervention by the United Nations’ Population Fund Agency through the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development had focused on four council areas such as Ikeduru, Ohaji/Egbema, Ngor Okpala and Oguta.

Mrs. Okorocha said her pet project, Women of Divine Destiny Initiative, was partnering with UNFPA to fully address the problem.

Nigeria Can No Longer Afford Paying Full-Time Lawmakers – Junaid Mohammed

Dr. Junaid Mohammed, a second republic politician, has advised the country to consider electing legislators on full time because the country cannot afford to pay them.

The idea of electing legislators on part time basis was brought into the front burner some years ago when it was discovered that Nigeria is among few countries that spend huge amount of money to maintain its lawmakers.

However, Mohammed said that it is longer feasible for the country to continue engaging members of the National Assembly on full time.

He said, “I have said it before and I will continue to say it that Nigeria cannot afford the luxury of electing legislators on full time basis.”

Mohammed, who stated that the National Assembly in the Second Republic is different from what we have today, described the allegation of corruption by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as a manifestation of the level of indiscipline among lawmakers.

“I am proud to be associated with the National Assembly in the second republic because throughout our time between 1979 to December 1983, no serious allegation of corruption was leveled against any member.

“The only case we had that time was the one that involved one Ibrahim Barau which we later discovered to be a political vendetta.

“I don’t know what Jibrin has against Dogara but the important thing is that members should emulate Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila and subject themselves for investigation.”

Mohammed stressed that the allegation of corruption in the National Assembly can only be referred to the present members.

“When I heard of several allegation of corruption going on in the National Assembly, I expressed gratitude to God that I am no longer there.”

Benue Lawmakers Refunding N317m Car Loan To EFCC – Ortom

Gov. Samuel Ortom has said that 22 state legislators have started refunding car loans they collected for personal vehicles to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) .

Ortom, who said this when he received youths of Turan in Kwande Local Government, said they were expected to refund N317million to the anti-graft agency in Abuja.

He said the refund was necessitated by the shoddy manner in which the loans were disbursed to the lawmakers.

The governor said that the process fell short of best practices required in such financial transactions.

Ortom explained that out of the number, 12 legislators were from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while 10 were from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He expressed regrets that due process was jettisoned, which led to the lodgments of cash into the accounts of the legislators for the purchase of the cars.

“After the Executive Council approved the contract for the procurement of Prado Jeeps for the assembly members, only eight were procured.”

He said the contractor blamed his inability to purchase the remaining 22 vehicles on the high cost of the dollar.

“Instead of the contractor to get back to the government, he decided to meet the members directly, who opted for cash.

“The EFCC after studying the contract document ordered the 22 members, who collected cash to refund the money to the commission as due process was not followed”.

The EFCC had over the past one month, played host to Benue legislators, including its leadership, in their role in the loan disbursement saga.

Ortom also assured that his former amnesty boss, Terwase Akwaza, who was fleeing from arrest over his alleged role in the killing of his security aide would be arrested and brought to book.

He said more than 60 of his gang members had been arrested for various crimes in the state.

Nigerians Reject Immunity For Lawmakers

No fewer than 1,236 respondents, representing 59.6 per cent, in the six geopolitical zones have rejected extending immunity for leaders of the National and State Assemblies.

A total of 2,073 adults both male and female, cutting across various professions, rejected the idea in a nationwide survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The result of the random sampling, showed that only 293 people or 14 per cent approximately supported the proposal to extend immunity to the lawmakers while 76 people were undecided. Of the 18 respondents in Abuja, 15 opposed the suggestion to extend immunity to leaders of the legislative houses in the country.

NAN reports that only three persons reasoned that immunity should be extended to legislators to protect them from distraction.

Similarly, 12 people also opposed maintaining the status quo on immunity for governors, while six respondents said it should be maintained.

The survey, however, showed that 12 respondents advocated that immunity clause should be expunged from the constitution, while six people wanted it retained.

In the South-West, comprising Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, and Ekiti, 600 respondents were recorded.

Three hundred and sixty-six of that number, representing 61 per cent, opposed the inclusion of the leaders of Nation Assembly and their state counterparts in the immunity clause.

However, 36 per cent wanted them to be included in the immunity clause as provided by the Nigerian Constitution.

On immunity for governors, 419 people representing 69.8 per cent of the 600 respondents, opposed it while 165 people or 27.5 per cent supported the idea and the remaining were undecided.

In the North-East comprising Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Yobe, the respondents overwhelmingly rejected extending immunity to leaders of the legislature.

NAN reports that of the 600 people sampled, 506 respondents or 84.3 per cent, said ‘No’, 32 people or 5.3 per cent voted ‘Yes’, while 62 others or 10.3 per cent were undecided.

On immunity for governors, 354 people or 59 per cent, voted ‘No’, 209 people or 34.8 per cent, supported it, while 37 people or 6.2 per cent declined comments.

Also, 339 people or 56.5 per cent, said immunity should be expunged from the constitution, 219 people or 36.5 per cent voted against, while 42 people or seven per cent were undecided.

In the South-East made up of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, and Enugu, the respondents also rejected any form of immunity for leaders of National Assembly and Houses of Assembly in a poll conducted among 100 respondents.

Twenty respondents in each of the states approved the current immunity being enjoyed by state governors.

However, 77 respondents voted against immunity for legislators, while 15 respondents voted in its favour and eight respondents undecided.

Fifty three respondents supported immunity for governors while 42 people said no and five were undecided.

Similarly, 47 respondents voted that Section 308 of the constitution which provides for immunity for governors should not be expunged while 41 want it expunged with eight undecided.

In North-West, 155 people or 56.7 per cent voted that governors should continue to enjoy immunity, while 65 others voted against it in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara and Katsina states.

NAN reports that of the 273 questionnaires administered in Kano, Kebbi and Sokoto, 165 respondents or 60.4 per cent, said that immunity clause should not be expunged.

Ninety-four people from the three states in the zone voted against the inclusion of leaders of the legislative houses in the clause.

In North-Central, comprising Plateau, Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger, all respondents unanimously rejected the extension of immunity to leaders of the legislative houses.

Also, 98 respondents supported immunity for governors to protect them from distractions while in office, while only two persons were undecided on the issue.

In the South-South states of Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo and Delta, majority of the respondents opposed any form of immunity for legislators.

Credit: Guardian

Melaye: Lagos Lawmakers Besiege APC Secretariat

Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday besieged the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, to protest against Senator Dino Melaye.

The group of peaceful protesters, who were led by the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Wasiu Sani, said they were at the party headquarters to register their displeasure over Dino’s alleged verbal assault on Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

According to the protesters, Senator Tinubu is a woman who respects all the political sons and daughters of her husband but does not suffer fools gladly.

They also alleged that there appeared to be a conspiracy of silence by the leadership of the Senate over the incident noting that as loyal party members, they could not fold their hands and watch the party’s cherished values of loyalty and respect for leaders being denigrated.

Sani who later addressed newsmen after the closed door meeting with the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said, “We are here to pay solidarity visit to Senator Oluremi Tinubu, that we condemn the act, she should not be intimidated and she should not yield to verbal assault.”

“But let me say this, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, that we know who incidentally was the First Lady of Lagos state between 1999 to 2007 some of us are like sons or brothers to her husband, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“In Yoruba land, if you are a son to a woman’s husband, you are supposed to be her son. She respects us and always addresses us as sirs. So, she is a woman that is cautious but she does not take nonsense.”

Credit: Punch

Sex Scandal: Accused Lawmakers Deny Allegation, Insist On Proof

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, mandated its committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs to investigate alleged sexual misconduct against three of its members.

This followed a motion brought under Order six, Rules two and 22 of the House Standing Orders by one of the accused, Rep. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue).

In the motion, Gbillah described the action of the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwhistle, in petitioning the house, as a move to tarnish the image of the lawmakers and the hallowed chamber. He said that no such incident occurred as reported by the ambassador, and insisted that the envoy should provide proof to support his allegation.

Gbillah, who was accused with Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) of the crime, said that none of them was interrogated by U.S. authorities over the allegation.

He said that there was, therefore, the need not to draw conclusion on the matter until it had been properly investigated.

The motion was unanimously adopted through a voice vote.

However, Rep. Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, cautioned that the matter should be taken with utmost seriousness so as not to jeopardise Nigeria-U.S. relationship.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians to tread with caution on the matter until the persons involved were proven guilty.

He therefore referred the matter to the relevant committees “to be handled in line with international best practice’’.

Credit: Guardian

Nigerian Lawmakers’ Immunity Proposal Satanic– Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has criticized a proposed life pension and immunity from prosecution for Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, and other presiding officers of the National Assembly.

In a statement Sunday, Mr. Falana described the proposal as insensitive, irrational, and immoral.

“Indeed, it is the height of insensitivity for legislators to propose life pension for their leaders at a time that workers are owed arrears of salaries in many states of the federation,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

The lawmakers, at the end of a two-day retreat on constitution review on Saturday, took the decision to shield its presiding officers, as well as those of state Houses of Assemblies, from prosecution.

They argued that since the other two arms of government – executive and judiciary – are enjoying immunity, the third arm ought to follow suit.

Mr. Saraki is currently facing prosecution for forgery and false and anticipatory assets declaration, while Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy, is being tried for forgery.

The proposal came amidst allegations of sexual misconduct against three Nigerian lawmakers by the United States government during the lawmakers’ visit to Cleveland for the International Visitor Leadership Programme.

Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) was accused of grabbing a hotel maid and soliciting sex, while Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa-Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) allegedly requested a car park attendant to help them secure the services of prostitutes.

Mr. Falana said the lawmakers’ proposal to shield their presiding officers from prosecution is “provocative.”

“No serious nation can grant immunity to legislators who have been linked with criminal diversion of public funds, forgery and rape,” he said.

“We can assure the concerned members of the public that the satanic proposals of the legislators will not succeed.

“It is pertinent to inform the legislators that the members of the human rights community have resolved to mobilize the Nigerian people to reject both proposals.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Nigerian Lawmakers Accused Of Sex Scandal. Who Should We Believe?

Mr. James Entwistle, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, has accused some members of the House of Representatives of improper conduct. In a petition he wrote to Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker, House of Representatives, he alleged that three members of the house – Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (Bauchi, APC), Hon. Mark Gbillah (Benue, APC) and Hon. Samuel Ikon (Akwa Ibom, PDP) requested for prostitutes and attempted to rape a hotel housekeeper.

Between April 7 and 13, 2016, ten Nigerian lawmakers were invited by the US government for the International Visitor Leadership Program, which took place in Ohio. The US claimed that they received misconduct reports from the employees of the Cleveland hotel, where the lawmakers were lodged. “Mohammed Garba allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited sex from her. Two others [Mark Gbillah and Samuel Ikon], allegedly requested hotel parking attendants assist them to solicit prostitutes,” Entwistle said.

The Ambassador claimed that “the U.S. Mission took pains to confirm these allegations and the identities of the individuals with the employees of the hotel in Cleveland,” and this incidence may hamper the acceptance of Nigerians for such programmes in the future. While Entwistle has expressed his displeasure with the negative reaction of the lawmakers, the accused reps have denied the allegations.

Mark Gbillah has responded to the Ambassador’s letter claiming that the allegation is a calculated attempt to tarnish their images. “This is an affront on the National Assembly and Nigeria, it appears they have ulterior motives. We are not going to take this lightly; we will take legal actions against the US government. It is a dent on our image,” Gbillah said. Gbillah noted that the incidence was brought to their notice about a month after their trip, when he met Entwistle at a dinner.

He further explained that there was a basketball match going on around the hotel area, and as such, many of the spectators were lodged at the same hotel; some of whom were Black. He also questioned the basis of the accusation. “It was after this encounter that they called us to their premises and said they were identified by their accusers in a group picture. This is curious. No video footage. They didn’t accost us while we were in the US. We suspect this is a calculated attempt to rubbish the National Assembly. Is this how they would have investigated their congressmen? Do they know that there were other black people who came to watch the match? How could they have identified us in a picture without our knowledge?”

Gololo also corroborated Gbillah’s claim by stating that the hotel house keeper may have pointed to the wrong person, since they were all Black. Who then should be believed? Is this another example of racism in America or could it be that the Nigerian lawmakers are guilty and only hiding behind their racial identity?


Nigerian lawmakers accused of sex scandal. Who should we believe?

Rowdy Session At House Of Reps As lawmakers Block Kachikwu From Chamber

The scheduled appearance of Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, at the House of Representatives on Monday has left the lower chamber bitterly divided, as lawmakers bicker over whether the minister should be allowed to enter into the chamber or not.

Mr. Kachikwu was invited to brief lawmakers on the recent increase in the price of petrol.

But when Mr. Kachikwu arrived to honour the invitation, he was met with echoes of anger from lawmakers who started shouting “No! No! No!”

Shortly after noon, House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, moved a motion to let Mr. Kachikwu in, but many lawmakers shouted him down.

This prompted the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, to put the matter up for voice vote.

When Mr. Dogara asked if the lawmakers should allow Mr. Kachikwu to come him, majority of them thundered: “No! No!”

But Mr. Dogara said the “ayes” have it, nonetheless.

But the lawmakers refused to be intimidated, continuing with their chants.

After a few minutes into the commotion, the House demanded that journalists and other observers should excuse them, leaving only members in the plenary to continue what they described as “executive session.”

Why the lawmakers invited Mr. Kachikwu and still declined to give him audience to explain himself has left many in the chambers befuddled.

As at 1:00 p.m., the House has not reopened the plenary to reporters and Mr. Kachikwu’s whereabouts is unknown.

Credit: PremiumTimes

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

No Plan To Impeach Gov. Bello – Kogi PDP Lawmakers

The members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi State House of Assembly said they had no agenda to impeach the Governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.


The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Matthew Kolawole, said this during interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
Kolawole said the concern of the members was to resolve the leadership crisis rocking the state assembly.


“The state governor is just like new born baby without sin. For what reason will anybody want to kill the baby.

“To me, the governor has not done anything wrong to us and none of us here is talking about impeachment of the governor at all”, he said.


Kolawole said it was baseless to say Mr James Faleke, the running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu in the Nov. 21 was sponsoring the crisis rocking the House.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that Audu, who contested the election on the platform of APC, died on Nov.22 before the result of the election was announced.


“If anybody is saying that Faleke is sponsoring us, he is misleading the public. Faleke is not part of this struggle.

“The struggle we have today is that we want to stabilise Kogi State House of Assembly as an independent arm of government”, he said.


On outcome of members’ meeting with the National Chairman of PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, he said they agreed with the party’s directive that the status quo should remain.


“We have passed another vote of confidence on the leadership of the House under Speaker Momoh Jimoh-Lawal and all of us have signed.”


He added that Mr John Aba, one of the five members who had the intention to impeach Jimoh-Lawal was also present at the meeting.


He, however, said that Aba was yet to sign the resolution of the meeting adding that he stepped out after the meeting.


“So far so good, eleven of us here have signed. We are waiting for him to come back because the party has directed that we sign and he agreed.”


The majority leader said that maintaining status quo under the leadership of Jimoh-Lawal was temporary in order to resolve the crisis on ground.


He was optimistic that the House could not be rubber-stamped for allowing the Speaker and governor to come from the same zone of the state pending the time a new speaker would be elected.
According to Kolawole, even if Jimoh-Lawal resigns, the onus lies on the House to unanimously agree on the new speaker that will pilot the affairs of the House.



Lawmakers To Investigate Removal Of Kogi Speaker

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has mandated an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged removal of the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

In a motion moved by a lawmaker from Kogi, Honourable Sunday Karimi on Tuesday, the House described the alleged removal as illegal and unconstitutional.

During the extensive debate that followed, members encouraged the House of Representatives to intervene in the matter to help safeguard democracy in the country.

Five lawmakers in a 20-member House sat on Tuesday, February 16, and purportedly removed the Speaker, Honourable Momoh Jimoh.

The lawmakers also chose Umar Imam as the new Speaker of the House.

Mr Friday Sanni, who briefed reporters about the impeachment, said the Speaker was impeached for not carrying other members of the House along in the affairs of the House.

He also claimed that since the new Governor, Yahaya Bello and the Speaker are both from the same senatorial district, the Speaker should vacate the seat.

Credit: Channeltv

Lawmakers Seek Investment Of Pension Funds In Infrastructure Development

The Nigerian House of Representatives has asked its Committees on Pension, Finance and Capital Market to look at the viability of investing over five trillion Naira pension funds in infrastructure development.

In a motion sponsored by a member representing Kabba Federal Constituency, Mr Tajudeen Yusuf on Wednesday, the lawmakers lamented the growing decay in infrastructure across Nigeria.

They agreed that the consequences of taking foreign loans and facilities to address infrastructure demands would, in the long run, have a damaging impact on the economy.

The lawmakers, therefore, advised that the pension funds be used to finance infrastructure.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Lawmakers Slam 2016 Budget As Debate Continues

For the third day running, federal lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives continued the debate on the 2016 Budget.

Unlike previous days, lawmakers set aside party sentiments to dissect and debate the 2016 budget.

There were criticisms and mixed reactions as lawmakers expressed their views on the budget.

Some Senators slammed the budget for not adequately taking into account, development projects in the Ministry of Women Affairs meant to ameliorate the sufferings of women in the country.

Some other Senators who agreed that there was the need to limit the expenditure of monies borrowed to fund capital projects, also stressed the need to diversify the economy, following the dwindling price of oil in the international market.

The lawmakers said that the funds appropriated to the ministries of Agriculture and Solid Minerals does not show government’s seriousness in trying to diversify the economy.

The budget debate was expected to end on Tuesday but was shifted to Wednesday, January 26.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Lawmakers Investigate Fresh Hostilities In Niger Delta

The House of Representatives Committee on Defence is to investigate the immediate causes of fresh hostilities in the Niger delta region of Nigeria.

The decision was taken on Thursday after lawmakers deliberated on a motion moved by Honourable Julius Pondi, regarding the recent destruction of petroleum facilities in the Niger delta.

Nigeria Gas Company’s pipeline connected to Chevron Nigeria Limited’s facility at Escravos in Delta State was attacked last week and its impact is beginning to reflect on other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The House of Representatives is also urging the military high command to search for the perpetrators and also protect the innocent citizens in the area.

After the attack, the Ministry Power, Works and Housing said it would impact negatively on the Olorunsogo NIPP plant, with 600 megawatts capacity and other Power Plants.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Lawmakers Seek Media Support In Correcting Negative Perception

The House of Representatives says the media must help correct the negative perception Nigerians have of the role of the legislature.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Honourable Abdulrasak Namdas, made this appeal on Monday in a meeting with the Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh and the management team of the media house in Abuja.

Stressing the need for the media support in correcting the negative perception, Mr Namdas said that the public do not get the right information about most issues in the National Assembly.

He said: “They still hold us to all prejudices about the National Assembly.

“For example the issue of vehicles. Since time, the civil service is known for buying vehicles. They buy vehicles for directors,  commissioners, ministers at the federal level and when you say you want to buy vehicle for lawmakers at the National Assembly, people give us a serious misinterpretation.

“The reason is because the National Assembly is the only chamber that houses 360 people and 109 at a time, that is the House of Representatives and the Senate”.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Kogi APC Lawmakers Insist On Audu’s Son, Threaten To Impeach Any Other Candidate

Lawmakers on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Kogi, on Friday threatened to impeach any candidate chosen to replace the late flag bearer, Prince Abubakar Audu.


Some of the lawmakers, who were at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, told newsmen that their wish was that Mohammed Audu be given the mandate of his late father.


Mr Momoh Rabiu, who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers, said: “Based on our discussion, we have taken a decision and taken our resolution to the national chairman.


“We are overwhelmed by the response from them, but we are still waiting for a safe landing so that Kogi will not be doomed.


“We told the national chairman that on no account should anybody be smuggled in to occupy that position which we worked for in conjunction with the late Audu, without who there would be no APC in Kogi state today.


“We presented to the national leadership, Prince Mohammed Audu to replace his late father.


“It is not because he is the first son, but try him, he is very intelligent and equal to the task. With him, we will have the Kogi of our dream.”


Rabiu said the decision to replace the late Audu with his son was taken because of the commitment of the late flag-bearer and because the lawmakers do not Kogi to continue to be ruled by the PDP.


Insisting that their threat to remove any candidate that emerged from the proposed primary was no threat but a fact, Rabiu appealed to the APC leadership to respect their wish.


“We are the legislators and have told the national chairman our position that in any case anybody emerges contrary to what we present to them, we know the best way to remove him.


“It is not a threat, but we told them that we have no intention of washing our dirty linen in public.


“Removing somebody is just a two minutes job for us as lawmakers in the state. We want the change we worked for and we want Kogi to be part of the moving train.


“We are not asking Faleke to stay away from the ticket. We equally worked with him during the campaigns.


“What we are saying is that it should be Mohammed Audu/Faleke ticket. The two of them must work together,” he said.


The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has however chosen Alhaji Yahaya Bello (Fair Plus) as the party’s new candidate for Kogi State governorship supplementary election slated for next week Saturday.


Bello, who came second in the August 29, 2015 party primaries, will replace the late Prince Abubakar Audu on the APC ticket after the demise of the latter on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at the peak of the collation of the election results.


While the late Audu polled 1,109 votes to defeat 26 other aspirants who contested with him, Bello polled 702 votes to become Audu’s closest challenger in the keenly contested governorship primary election which was adjudged free and fair.


Delta Assembly Suspends Two Lawmakers For Desecrating The Chamber

Two members of Delta House of Assembly, have been suspended for alleged desecration of the hallow chamber.

The members, who were suspended during plenary on Tuesday are: Mrs Pat Ajudua, Chief Whip and Mr Johnson Erijo, member representing Isoko South II constituency.

The suspension of the two legislators followed a motion moved by Majority Leader Mr Tim Owhefere.

Moving the motion, Owhefere said that the sanctity of the House must be respected at all times.

He said that Ajudua and Erijo erred in this direction.

The motion, which was unanimously adopted by the House was seconded by Minority Leader Mr Festus Okoh.

Also during Tuesday’s plenary, the Speaker, Mr Monday Igbuya, called on members to re-double their efforts in the business of lawmaking for peace and good governance of the state.



More Lawmakers Reject House Committees’ Leadership

Five more lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives are said to have rejected the chairman and deputy chairman positions offered them by the Speaker of the House.

This will bring to seven the number of members who have rejected the positions given to them, as two members had rejected their positions last week.

Speaking in the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Monday, some of the members of the loyalist group accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara of working against the interest of the ruling party.

The members are demanding that the Speaker should reverse the current order and reconstitute the committees in favour of the All Progressives Congress.

Credit: ChannalsTV

Investigate Invasion Of Govt. House, Akwa Ibom Lawmakers Task Buhari

Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Sunday asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly to investigate Thursday’s raid of the state’s Government House by operatives of the State Security Services.

In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Thursday and signed by all members of the Assembly, the lawmakers said the raid on the governor’s official residence was an attack on the entire people of Akwa Ibom state.

Read More: premiumtimesng

We Will Reduce Lawmakers’ Salaries, Allowances- Senate

The Senate has disclosed that the salaries and allowances of lawmakers will be reduced in line with the existing economic realities facing the country.

The chairman, Senate adhoc committee on information, Senator Dino Melaye, who made this disclosure yesterday when addressing newsmen, ?said the committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the salaries of lawmakers had submitted its report.

According him, there was the need to reduce the allowances of lawmakers in response to the directives of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, who had set up a finance committee to review the allowance of Senators.

He said the senators had made a progressive reduction in their salaries as the Senate president had insisted they must all make sacrifices for the nation.

“The Senate president said we must sacrifice, as we cannot carry out proper oversight of the MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) if we have not made proper sacrifice,” he said, asserting that the 8th Senate would be a responsible one.

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We Will Resume Hostilities If Lawmakers Don’t Adjust Jumbo Pay, MEND Threatens

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has warned that it could resume hostilities should the 8th National Assembly fail to check the ridiculous salaries/ allowances of lawmakers at the detriment of other Nigerians.

The spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo,  in  a statement, said, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has observed with disgust, the brazing disregard for the feelings of the change-seeking masses by very selfish members of the Eight National Assembly.”

Its words, “If the lawmakers refuse to make the necessary adjustments needed to accompany the needs of the masses and the Niger Delta region, it may lead to the resumption of hostilities and Nigerians should hold the Eight National Assembly responsible should that happen. Enough is enough.”

“These wicked individuals appropriate to themselves huge and absurd salaries/Allowances at the expense of the millions of hapless Nigerians, who have not been paid for months their salaries, pensions and other due benefits they deserve.”

“The Niger Delta region where the bulk of revenue that sustains the nation continues to suffer neglect, environmental degradation and lack, made worse by the very corrupt and visionless past government of Goodluck Jonathan and his cronies, some of who still shamelessly parade themselves on national television and other media platforms as Niger Delta activists,” the group asserted.

Read Morevanguardngr

Boko Haram: North East Lawmakers Seek Development Commission

Senators from the North-East states are clamouring for the creation of a North-East Development Commission to rebuild the region following destruction by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

The senators vowed to sponsor a joint bill as they lamented the level of destruction by Boko Haram in the geo-political zone.

Speaking in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State capital also badly hit by activities of Boko Haram, the Senator representing Adamawa Central Senatorial district, Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako, said the move was to hasten rapid infrastructural development in the affected states.

“Everybody can clearly see that the North East zone of Nigeria is in serious crisis particularly as it relates to Boko Haram crisis that we have undergone in the recent years and a lot of infrastructure is down.

“Virtually, we have to revamp the entire system and because of this we have decided to come up with the commission almost in tune with the Niger-Delta Development Commission that will lead to rebuilding the region and better its security,” he said…


National Assembly Broke, Borrows To Pay Lawmakers

The stark reality of the sharp drop in the nation’s revenue following crude oil price slump at the international market now stares Nigerians, including federal lawmakers in the face.

Now, the National Assembly Service Commission which is on first line charge and used to get about N150 billion yearly to run its affairs, has come out to say it is cash-strapped and cannot pay salaries of its legislators most of whom have completed their tour of duty and were either voted out or did not seek re-election.

Also unable to pay salaries in their states, governors will consult with President Muhammadu Buhari next week to discuss the way out of the quagmire.

They will meet him under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) that has also congratulated and pledged to work with the leadership of the National Assembly.

A top management official of the commission with knowledge of the financial state of the National Assembly told The Guardian: “Our account is in the red. We can’t even pay our staff salaries. In fact, I can confirm to you that we are yet to complete the payment of salaries of the Seventh Legislators that wound up their activities last June 9. We have to obtain loans from banks to be able to pay them. So nobody is talking about the allowances of this Eighth Assembly now. We don’t know how we are going to handle it.”

“I don’t know where the information came from that we are going to pay wardrobe allowance amounting to almost N9 billion.

“Whoever is peddling that rumour is really doing a disservice to the new presiding officers and members of the Eighth National Assembly who may unduly come under pressure from their constituents. I can assure you that nobody knows when the Eighth Assembly members are going to get any kobo here.

“In fact, our financial situation is compounded by the inability of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) to meet last Tuesday or yesterday as is normally the case, because even after the meeting, it takes more than two months before the Federal Government would source for money to its agencies. That is why you see that salaries of some agencies too are in arrears.

“What the Federal Government does after every FAAC is that it manages to settle the states and local government counterparts of the allocation while it begins to source for its share of the allocation which is just on paper.

“The implication of this is that even if FAAC meets today or next month, we don’t expect to get our own share of the allocation released to us immediately until the next two months except President Muhammadu Buhari is going to reverse the trend.”

“What is most disturbing to us as management at this time is how to even arrange for residential and office accommodation for the new presiding officers as the residences of both the Speaker and the Senate President were sold to former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole and immediate past Senate President, David Mark.”

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Atiku, Tambuwal, Owie, Others Hail Lawmakers

Mixed reactions, yesterday, trailed the emergence of the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

Reacting to the development, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State commended the lawmakers for exhibiting maturity and for the defence of legislative ethos in the choice of their leaders.

He said the outcome of the elections indicated that democracy had come of age in Nigeria, adding that the doctrine of the independence of the legislature was gradually taking firm root.

Tambuwal admonished those who were unsuccessful in the contests to regard their actions as positive contributions to democratic process and accept their defeat in good faith.

He urged Nigerians to rally round the new leadership for them to execute their mandates.

Similarly, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, congratulated the newly-elected leaders, admonishing them to see their elections beyond the interests of their respective political parties.

Atiku, in a statement, noted that with the elections of its presiding officers, the eight assembly should swing to work and put the overall national interest beyond the personal political interests of its members.

He said: “The Nigerian people look up to the new National Assembly to work with the executive arm in finding solutions to the problems of insecurity, poverty, illiteracy and joblessness in the country.

“Their election is indeed a call to duty, and it is a call for which they cannot afford to fail the nation.”

Credit:  vanguardngr

Fani-Kayode Begs PDP Lawmakers To Vote Gbajabiamila For Speaker

 Former Director of Media and Publicity of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2015 general elections, Femi Fani- Kayode has urged the PDP members in the House of Representative to vote for Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House.

Gbajabiamila is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position. Fani- Kayode described Gbajabiamila’s emergence as  the APC consensus candidate for the post as a welcome development.

Gbajabiamila polled 154 votes out of 182 votes to beat Yakubu Dogara in a primary conducted by the APC in Abuja on Saturday.

Read More: DailyPost

Tension In Ekiti As APC Lawmakers Move To Resume, Impeach Fayose

A fresh crisis is brewing between Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, and the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers, following fears that the lawmakers may forcefully regain entrance into the State House of Assembly and commence legislative business on Monday.

The lawmakers, emboldened by the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as President, threatened to resume sitting, prompting panic within government circles in the state.

People close to the two camps told PREMIUM TIMES the lawmakers planned to gain access to the house on Monday, and then make the impeachment of the governor their main business of the day.

Although security agencies had since sealed the Assembly complex, residents say trucks-full of security operatives were were Monday drafted around the building, with some mounting checks at strategic places in the tension-soaked state capital.

There are also reports that supporters of Governor Fayose have blocked some major entry point to the state – including the Iitawure-Efon-Ado Road – to stop the APC lawmakers and their supporters from gaining access to the state capital.

There were also claims that some thugs, believed to have sympathy for Mr. Fayose, invaded the residence of Senator Babafemi Ojudu (APC- Ekiti Central), Sunday night, threatening to burn the place down.

A resident who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES the movement of security personnel around the city portends danger to the fragile peace within the city.

Governor Fayose had earlier promised to pay all the entitlements of the lawmakers up to date, debunking claims by the lawmakers that they were still being owed by the administration.

The Chief Press Secretary to Fayose, Idowu Adelusi, told PREMIUM TIMES Monday that the security men deployed around the Assembly complex were drafted to enforce a court order barring the APC lawmakers from carrying out any impeachment.

“There is a subsisting court order which says status quo should be maintained and that court order has not been vacated,” Mr. Adelusi said.
“It is the duty of security operatives to ensure law and order and that is what they are doing. ”

Although the lawmakers were yet to make good their threat at the time of filing this report, Mr. Adelusi said “the people” were prepared to protect the government they enthroned.

“We hear that they are coming to impeach the governor, but the people that voted him into office say they are waiting for then, ” he said.

The spokesperson of the Ekiti state Police Command could not be reached for comments at this time.


Lawmakers Split Over Tambuwal’s Endorsement Of Dogara As Speaker

The alleged endorsement of Yakubu Dogara as the next Speaker by Aminu Tambuwal, the outgoing Speaker, has divided the House of Representatives.

Some federal lawmakers from Kano State have condemned Tambuwal for endorsing Dogara. The lawmakers accused Tambuwal of backing Dogara for selfish interests.

They accused Tambuwal of instigating members to snub the yet-to-be announced All Progressive Congress (APC) zoning formula if it does not favour Dogara.

Some other lawmakers from Kano have, however, threw the weights behind Tambuwal’s choice.

Read More: Leadership

Lagos Lawmakers Fight Tinubu Over Speakership

Elected members of the Lagos State House of Assembly under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are set to clash with the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu over  who succeeds Adeyemi Ikuforiji as Speaker of the House. The lawmakers have rejected Tinubu’s anointed candidate for the post, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni.

Tinubu’s attempts to force the other candidates to step down for Sanni have been rebuffed. The candidates have insisted that they are going ahead with their aspirations.

The other contenders for the speakership race are Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, Mudasiru Obasa, Lanre Osun, Rotimi Abiru and Lanre Ogunyemi.

Tinubu is also facing resistance from Ikuforiji, who prefers to give the position to his stooge and ally, Abiru, in order to fully cover his tracks after leaving office.

Read More: Vanguard

Fintiri Suspends Lawmakers That “Impeached” Him

The Adamawa state House of Assembly under the leadership of Speaker, Umaru Fintiri, has suspended five of the nine lawmakers that contrived his impeachment ?at? a parallel sitting last Tuesday.

Members affected by the suspension were Abuzarri Ribadu (Yola South constituency), Jerry Kumdisi (Gombi constituency), Wale Fwa (Demsa constituency), Simon Issa (Song Constituency) and Salihu Kabillo (Verre constituency).

Sequel to the suspension, Mr. Fintiri, last week, constituted a committee to investigate his purported impeachment by the nine lawmakers at the Government House, Yola.

Following the submission of the report by the chairman of the committee and member representing Guyuk constituency, Wilbina Jackson, the house adopted the suspension of five lawmakers that participated in the impeachment.

The members have been suspended till June 8 when the tenure of the 7th assembly will elapse.

Mr. Fintiri also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a by-election in Nassarawo Binyeri, Toungo and Jada Mbulo constituencies as a result of a resolution of the house to declare their seats vacant following their cross carpeting to other political parties.

The speaker also constituted a five man investigation committee, chaired by the member representing Uba Gaya constituency, to investigate a N2billion agric loan collected by the state government on behalf of Adamawa farmers.

The loan was allegedly diverted to other uses.

Mr. Fintiri adjourned the sitting till May 18 with a call on the security personnel to protect the house and all properties of the assembly while they are on recess


Reps Elect Demands 50% Pay Cut For Buhari, Lawmakers, Others

A House of Representatives member-elect, Abdullahi Gaya, from Kano State, on Monday asked the in-coming administration of Muhammadu Buhari to slash the wages and allowances of the Presidency and National Assembly by 50 per cent.

Mr. Gaya, who spoke to journalists at his residence in Kano, said the reduction in salaries would cater for the nation’s capital expenditure.

Until his election as a legislator, Mr. Gaya was the Commissioner of Finance in Kano state.

“In my opinion I think it will be better for all the elected representatives, beginning from Mr. President to members of parliament, to Ministers, to other Advisors and special assistants, to agree that what we will be receiving is slashed to 50 per cent,” he said.

Mr. Gaya, who will represent Gaya/Ajing/Albasu federal constituency, said Nigerian leaders need to reduce their expenses for the country to have positive changes.

“Since we believe the country needs positive change we should therefore accept it as such. The slash in the expenses should continue till when our dear nation gets to execute capital projects. May be from the time we were inaugurated to another two years,” he said.

His call came days after a Senator-elect, Dino Melaye, pledged to lead a campaign for the reduction of Nigeria’s federal lawmakers, who are ranked the highest paid legislators in the world.

Mr. Melaye also said the government should use the funds realized from pay cut to develop the nation.


Senators Elect Advocate For Drastic Reduction Of Top Govt. Functionaries, Lawmakers’ Allowances

Some senators-elect have described as unacceptable the high cost of running government in the country, demanding immediate review so that the incoming administration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, can achieve meaningful development.

Specifically, the senators-elect, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Abuja, advocated a drastic reduction in the allowances accruable to top government functionaries and the lawmakers.

Ben Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa East), described as unjustifiable the fact that the National Assembly consumed three percent of the national budget.

He said, “If a company’s management spends 88 percent of its income to run the organisation, it will collapse. So, government in Nigeria at the moment is inefficient. It is now time to talk about how to reduce the cost of running the government.

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Better Days Ahead For Lagosians —Lawmakers

Lawmakers-elect for the Lagos State House of Assembly, western Nigeria, have pledged to make life better for the residents of the state when the eighth session of the Assembly commences in June.

Some of the lawmakers said they are grounded enough to continue to lift the state above the common standard of excellence when the session begins.

Speaking with Assembly correspondents shortly after receiving his certificate of return on Wednesday, Moshood Olanrewaju Oshun, a ranking member of the House returning to represent the people of Lagos Mainland Constituency 2 for a third term, thanked God for the victory at the polls and added that the Assembly would consolidate on previous achievements in order to make Lagos the envy of Nigeria.

“If you know the Lagos State House of Assembly, we always perform beyond common standard of excellence.

“It is about standard, it is about bringing development to the people. Even when we were 40 members of the same party, there were still disagreements, but it is all about moving the state forward. We sometimes disagree to agree,” he said while promising that the House would continue to cooperate with the government of Akinwunmi Ambode for successful governance in the state.

On whether he was still running for the post of the Speaker of the Assembly, Oshun said that God is in charge of everything, and that he is qualified to vie for the position as a ranking member of the House.

Moshood Oshun

He said that to be the Speaker, one must consider three basic things, which he said include God, one’s political party and the support of one’s colleagues in the House.

Oshun emphasised his commitment to his constituents and Lagos residents, adding that as usual, he would continue to operate an open door policy.

Another member of the House representing Epe Constituency 1, Tobun Abiodun, thanked his constituents for the opportunity to serve again.

“I expect that we would have a more robust Assembly with new ideas. The people should be expecting greater things to come,” he said.

Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Publicity and Strategy, Segun Olulade, said the House needed an experienced lawmaker to continue from where Adeyemi Ikuforiji would stop as Speaker.

On his part, Deputy Chief Whip of the Assembly, who has been re-elected to represent Shomolu Constituency 2, Rotimi Abiru, condemned the violence that almost marred the election in some parts of the state and commiserated with the families of those that lost their lives.

Gbolahan Yishawu from Eti Osa Constituency 2 while speaking on the position of the Speaker that is allegedly zoned to Lagos Central and his interest, said that everything depended on his colleagues in the House.

He disclosed that he had some to initiate in the eighth Assembly while calling for support from residents for the lawmakers.

Immediate past council chairman elected to represent Lagos Mainland Constituency 1, Adekanye Oladele, said though a new comer, he would ensure he contributes his best to lawmaking, assist in eradicating unemployment, and eliminate poverty among his people.

Thirty-two lawmakers-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and eight on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, got their certificates.

INEC To Issue Certificates Of Return To Elected Lagos State Lawmakers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos on Tuesday said it would issue certificates of return to elected members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Femi Akinbiyi, the Head ,Public Affairs, INEC Lagos, said the event would hold at the commission’s office in Yaba. “We will issue certificates of return to all the 40 elected members of the House of Assembly in Lagos.We have put everything in place to ensure that the event is successful.

We want to urge supporters of elected officers to stay away from the venue as the exercise is not meant for them,’’ he said. The commission had on April 16 presented certificates of return to the governor-elect and the deputy-governor-elect alongside elected senators and house of representatives members of the incoming 8th National Assembly from Lagos State.

Credit: NAN

Ekiti APC Lawmakers Vow to Go Ahead with Fayose’s Impeachment

The 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers in Ekiti State House of Assembly have vowed to go ahead with the impeachment proceedings against Governor Ayodele Fayose.

The embattled Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, has forwarded a notice of gross misconduct to the governor and his deputy, Dr. Olusola Eleka.

Omirin has also requested the Chief Judge of Ekiti, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to raise a seven-man panel to investigate the two over allegations of impunity, violence and stalking, among other
constitutional breaches levelled against them.

Omirin confirmed to The PUNCH on Wednesday that the impeachment plot was still in top gear and
would be followed to the end.

But the governor has warned the lawmakers against continuing with the plot, saying their action will boomerang as the people of the state will resist it.

The labour unions comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council also planned to host a solidarity forum for the governor on Thursday (today) and Friday.

Omirin, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Wole Olujobi, said:

“The impeachment process will proceed; we are expecting the Chief Judge to act soon on our letter asking him to set up a seven-member panel. There is no going back on the process. The matter is set for the next stage.

It is about the governor breaching the Constitution. We are guided by the Constitution. There are laid down rules and regulations that guide the conduct of public office holders. Once you commit an infraction, you have to face the consequence.

The governor has to answer the allegations; the Assembly will give him a fair hearing. We will follow every step.”

Omirin countered claims that the governor had not been served the impeachment notice.

“If he was not aware, why did he go to court to try to stop the impeachment plot? What is the basis if he was not served? As far as we are concerned, he has been served. We’ll resume very soon. At the appropriate time, the Speaker will reconvene the Assembly.”

But reacting, Fayose, who said he was not shocked by the decision of the APC lawmakers to continue with the impeachment plot, described their action “as an idea that is distant to common sense.”

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, the governor said that the plot was not a war against him but war against the people of Ekiti State and God.