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Senate passes bill to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day

The Senate has passed a bill seeking to make June 12 Democracy Day.

The bill seeking to amend the holiday act was passed at the upper legislative chamber after Ahmad Lawan, senate leader, presented a report to his colleagues on Thursday .

The bill, which has only three clauses, was passed after it was put to a voice vote by Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president.

Although, the house of representatives passed the bill in December, the legislation was only scheduled for concurrence on Thursday.

The clause which provides for May 29 as democracy day was amended to June 12.

In June, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that the Democracy Day will hold on June 12 of every year.

Buhari made the declaration after the federal government honoured the late Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election.

Abiola was conferred with Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) at a grand event at the Aso Rock posthumously.

Buhari also conferred on Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate, Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON) – the second highest honour of the country.

Senate panel endorses Emefiele for second term, dismisses ‘stolen’ N500bn allegation

The senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions has approved of a second term for Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

While screening Emefiele on Wednesday, members of the committee dismissed the allegations of stolen N500 billion at the apex bank.

Rafiu Ibrahim, its chairman, said the allegations were targeted at “bringing you (Emefiele) down because  you are  a good person”.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Emefiele for a second term.

During the screening, the committee expressed satisfaction over Emefiele’s first tenure at the CBN.

According to Ibrahim, “I do not have any question for the Governor. I am overwhelmed. I wish you well and pray for you. May God continue to guide you.

“Now, we know the reason why there are some videos on social media because in Nigeria, once you are a good person, some people will always try to bring you down. We will expeditiously take a report to the chamber for consideration. You can take a bow.”

Kurfi Umaru representing Katsina central also commended the CBN governor for “a job well done.”

“Let me start by congratulating the governor for his second term and also congratulate you for your article presentation. I commend you for a job well done,” he said.

Philip Aduda from FCT said: “Mine is to wish you well and to pray to God almighty to grant you wisdom so that you can put the economy of this county on a pedestal of hope and prosperity. Congratulations.”

In his remarks, the Emefiele said the apex bank will continue to do its best, admitting, however, that “the road ahead is still very tough.”

He said Nigeria has workable policies but “implementation has been neglected because we see sabotaged activities.

“CBN will ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria will be brought to book. Pray for us because the road ahead is tough,” he said.

“On Agriculture, the credit should go to the President. It was what he said ‘eat what we produce’, that birthed the anchor borrowers programme.

“We have started looking at palm oil. The price of a barrel of palm oil is more than a barrel of crude oil. We will grow that market again. After palm oil, we will focus on cocoa in the south-west.”

Senate threatens to order shutdown of Bet9ja over refusal to honour invitation

The Senate Committee on Youth and Sports, on Tuesday, threatened to order the shutdown of Bet9ja office if the company failed to honour its invitation for a second time.

Bet9ja is the biggest online sports betting company in Nigeria with revenues running into.the tens of billions.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Obinna Ogba, made the remark at the National Assembly, Abuja during the verification of loto companies with licence to operate in Nigeria.

Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) said it was unfortunate that Bet9ja refused to honour the committee’s invitation.

“Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour our invitation, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices,” he said.

According to him, the Senate is making efforts aimed at assisting the Lottery Commission to generate money for the Federal Government.

”We want to see bet9ja. They can’t run away,” he said.

The chairman explained that the verification followed series of complaints against the betting companies, adding that ”some don’t even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government.”

”Some got the licences but they are not operating. The new regulation only give them one year to start operations,” he noted.

Meanwhile, about 20 other betting companies appeared before the committee for the verification.

IGP appears before senate over insecurity

Mohammed Adamu, acting inspector-general of police (IGP), has appeared before the senate to brief lawmakers on insecurity in the country.

The upper legislative chamber of the national assembly summoned him last week.

At plenary on Tuesday, Ahmad Lawan, senate leader, moved a motion for the senators to usher the police chief into the chamber.

Mohammed Adamu arriving at the Senate Chamber

Thereafter, Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that the meeting would hold “behind close-door because of the sensitivity of the issue”.

Adamu was summoned Adamu following the killing of Faye Mooney, an official of Mercy Corps Nigeria, and Matthew Oguche, her partner, at the Kajuru Castle in Kaduna state.

They both died after they were caught in a cross fire between police officers guarding the castle and suspected bandits.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, chatting with Mohammed Adamu, acting IGP.

Recently, kidnappers and bandits have wreaked havoc across the country, particularly in Zamfara and Kaduna.

During a sitting last week, Saraki had said “structural approach” was needed to address security challenge.

He had also urged the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

Ibrahim Idris, Adamu’s predecessor, had shunned summons of the senate repeatedly after falling out with the lawmakers.

Senate queries appointment of new NYSC boss

The Senate on Tuesday asked its Committee on Sports and Youth Development to investigate if the recent appointment of a new Director-General for the National Youth Service Corps by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, was in order.

Buratai had recently appointed Sani Ibrahim to replace Sule Kazaure as the NYSC boss.

The committee investigating the matter was asked to submit its report on Wednesday next week.

The committee members were saddled with the responsibility of finding out if any law was violated in the appointment of the new NYSC boss.

The decision to investigate the matter was based on a point of order raised by Senator Dino Melaye.

The senator had claimed that the appointment violated the Act that established the body.

He said, “The NYSC Act, Section 5, says there shall be a service to be headed by a person called the Director-General, to be appointed by the President.

“Surprisingly, the Chief of Army Staff removed the Director-General through a signal and, through another signal, appointed another one.

“The law doesn’t confer the power of appointing NYSC DG  on anybody, but the President. The last DG and all other past DGs were appointed by sitting Presidents.

“If we allow this, the announcement of the Senate President can come from the Federal Road Safety and replacement may come from the same institution.”

Senate issues ultimatum demanding solutions to Apapa gridlock

Towards finding lasting solution to gridlock in Apapa, Lagos State, the Senate Committee on Works on Friday advocated co-operation of various government agencies to make port operations easier.

The committee, during an emergency meeting with stakeholders in Lagos as part of its oversight functions, condemned extortion of truck drivers and asked law enforcement and traffic regulatory agencies to investigate and punish erring officers.

It called for a multi -sector approach between the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service, and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to give waivers to encourage use of other Eastern ports to de-congest Apapa.

The committee appealed to truck driver unions to come together and increase areas where they could park their trucks while calling on NPA to speed up processes aimed at restoring order.

The committee summoned the Managing Director of the APM Terminal to appear before the National Assembly on Wednesday to resolve various concerns raised by stakeholders against the firm perceived to be part of the problem.

The committee directed that the Apapa Truck Park under construction be completed and handed over to NPA for use latest May 2 or May 3 which is Thursday or Friday next week.

Sen. Kabiru Gaya, Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, who led the delegation, said that in spite of various government interventions, “it is a shame to all of us in Nigeria that this gridlock should continue.”

The other lawmakers in the team which included Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, Sen. Clifford Ordia and Sen. Barnabas Gemade, took turns to interact with various stakeholders on proffering final solutions to the Apapa gridlock.

After extensive deliberations, Gaya ruled that all forms of corruption causing the problems be nipped in the bud as the Buhari administration had zero tolerance for corrupt practices.

“We’ll set up a small committee within the next four days consisting of security agencies, customs, clearing agents and so on to give us a report within three days so that we can use that report and also implement that report.

“Because I know that the President, Vice President and everybody is concerned about how best we can get out of this national embarrassment,” he said.

He added that the Federal government was constructing and maintaining roads and addressing the problems of overstretched infrastructure and called for the support of the Lagos State Government in patching pot holes.

“The Federal Government is trying to get more temporary parking spaces for trailers (articulated vehicles), therefore, the Tincan trailer park is being completed and we have ordered them to commission that park within the next one week,” he said.

He stressed the need for LASTMA to join hands with other members of the taskforce to restore order in Apapa.

The committee chairman assured that within two weeks the committee was going to take action if its orders were not enforced to restore sanity in Apapa.

Earlier, Mr Funsho Adebiyi, Director, Highways, South West, lamented indiscriminate parking of trucks on the bridges in Lagos which he said were not designed for static loads.

Adebiyi said that the bridges were endangered while lamenting other forms of abuses of bridges which included building under them and other activities that had caused fire that damaged some bridges.

He said that there was need for attitudinal change among Nigerians toward protection of the nation’s road infrastructure.

Stakeholders at the event included the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Roads Safety Corps, Mr Hyginus Omeje, General Manager, LASTMA, Mr Wale Musa, the NPA General Manager, Security, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, truck drivers unions, truck owners unions, shipping companies and terminal operators.

Senate passes PIGB after addressing Buhari’s concerns

The senate has passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

The upper legislative chamber also passed the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism bill 2019, National Research and Innovation Council bill 2019, Stamp Duties act (amendment) bill 2019 and National Agricultural Seed Council bill 2019.

Others are Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (amendment) bill 2019 and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) act 2010 (amendment) bill 2019.

The bills were passed after Ahmad Lawan, senate leader, moved a motion and referred for the committee of the whole for consideration.

Buhari had initially rejected the bills after which the senate set up a technical committee to review the bills.

After the technical committee effected corrections, the senators considered the clauses of each of the bills and passed them on Wednesday.

The president had cited legal, constitutional and drafting issues as reasons for rejecting the bills.

In the case of the PIGB, the president raised “legal and constitutional reasons” as reasons he had withheld assent.

“That the provision of the Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory commission to retain as much as 10 percent of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the Petroleum Regulatory commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States, Federal capital Territory and Local governments in the country,” Ita Enang, Buhari’s legislative aide, had said.

“Expanding the scope of petroleum equalisation fund and some provisions in divergence from this administration’s policy and indeed conflicting provisions on independent petroleum equalisation fund.

“Some legislative drafting concerns which, if assented to in the form presented will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation.”

The PIGB seeks to establish the Nigerian petroleum regulatory commission as a one-stop regulator that will be responsible for licensing, monitoring, supervising petroleum operations, as well as enforcing industry laws, regulations and standards.

The bills will have to also be passed by the house of representatives before they are sent to Buhari for assent.

Insecurity: Senate slams FG, insists only state police can stop banditry

The Senate on Wednesday berated the Federal Government over its inability to tackle the alarming rate of insecurity in the country, particularly banditry in the North-West geopolitical zone. It  stressed that introduction of  state police remained the only solution to the menace.

The Senate took the position following separate motions moved by senators Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba State and his colleague from Zamfara State, Kabir Marafa.

While Bwacha drew the attention of the red chamber to the inability of the security agencies to tackle the rising cases of kidnapping in Taraba, Marafa lamented the unabated killings of his people by bandits.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said apart from the establishment of community or state police, the funding of the Nigeria Police Force was essential to tackle the menace.

He said, “From the contributions we have had, I think it is key that we begin to look at the problem and look for long-term solutions. I think that what we did yesterday (Tuesday) in trying to strengthen the funding of the police through the Police Reform Bill is right.

“The sooner that we can pass that bill will also help us in addressing the insecurity challenges.

“But more importantly is that we must go back to what a lot of us had been advocating here that there is the need for us to have state or community police. It is the way forward. Otherwise, we will continue to run into these problems.

“On the area of oversight, there is a lot also that we need to do to ensure that we hold the security agencies accountable. And we need to move very fast in this area.”

The Senate in its resolution commended Nigerians irrespective of cultural, religious and ethnic differences for coming out in large numbers to show solidarity to the plight of their brothers and sisters in Zamfara.

The red chamber urged the National Assembly to make provision for N10bn in the 2019 appropriation bill as intervention fund to cater for the Internally Displaced Persons and other persons affected by the activities of bandits in Zamfara State.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to set up an ad hoc committee to be known as presidential initiative on Zamfara with a 10-year lifespan to manage the said funds and subsequent allocations and donations.

Marafa, who rose through orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules to move his motion, said the problem of insecurity in Zamfara State was deteriorating daily, adding that this called for urgent legislative intervention.

Marafa said, “Since 2011, as a result of the unabating activities of the criminals in the state, roughly estimated 11,000 males have been killed leaving behind an average of 22,000 widows and by extension, 44,000 orphans.

“These figures are just by conservative estimates because the figures are higher. Bandits and heavily armed kidnappers operate with little or no resistance in Gusau, the state capital, making less than 75 per cent of the people in Zamfara not to be sleeping in their houses.

“The situation has nothing to do with politics because my own blood sister was brutally murdered in her matrimonial home in February this year and even two of my cousins were killed outside the state capital few weeks back.”

Bwacha, on his own part, alerted the chamber on the series of kidnappings in his state and suggested that there should be legislative backing for individuals who wanted to carry arms for self- defence.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, commended Marafa for always bringing the deteriorating security situation in Zamfara to the front burner of discourse in the Senate .

He said, “For government to tackle the security problem headlong, the abnormality of Nigeria being the only federation with centralised police, must be addressed.”

The Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, said the problem of the country was the constitution itself, which he noted, provided for an “over- centralised federation or better put, unitary system as against a federal system of government.”

According to him, as long as the problematic constitution is not amended by way of removing policing from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to pave the way for state police, criminality at local levels will continue unabated.

 

JUST IN: Senate will pass Budget 2019 on April 16, says Saraki

The Senate says it will pass the 2019 appropriation bill on April 16.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who made the announcement at plenary on Tuesday, mandated the appropriation committee to submit its report between April 9 and 11.

He also urged various appropriation sub-committees to submit their budget reports by Friday.

More to follow…

Buhari supporting Lawan, Gbaja to lead 9th national assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari has given the nod to Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the house of representatives in the in-coming National Assembly, according to a report.by The Cable

The national working committee (NWC) of the ruling party was in a meeting with the newly elected APC members in the house of representatives on Monday when this report was filed.

Lawan and Gbajabiamila, who are currently the leaders of the APC caucus in the upper and lower chambers of the national assembly, enjoyed the support of the president in 2015 but Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of reps, teamed up with some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers to edge them out.

While Lawan did not get the opportunity to go head-to-head with Saraki, Gbajabiamila lost to Dogara by eight votes.

However, Saraki is out of the way, having left the APC for the PDP and lost his re-election bid.

Dogara is also not expected to put a fight as PDP, his new party, does not have enough numbers in the house of reps.

APC has a 25 seat majority in Senate and a 100 seat.majority on the House of Representatives.

Last week when he announced his ambition to lead the senate, Lawan, who represents Yobe north, said the ruling party will do things differently in choosing the leadership of the 9th national assembly because it had learnt its lessons in 2015.

Buhari never forgave Saraki for upstaging Lawan in 2015

“We are not in any way thinking that we will have crises; it is not what we are envisaging at all. But let me say that our party, the APC, must have learnt its lessons, and therefore, the party leadership will do something differently this time,” he had said at a press conference in Abuja.

Lawan was elected into the house of representatives in 1999 and got into the senate in 2007. The 60-year-old is a graduate of the University of Maiduguri where he read geography. He also has a postgraduate diploma in land survey, an MSc and PhD in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS), all from the University of Cranfield, United Kingdom.

On his part, Gbajabiamila, who represents Surulere 1 federal constituency of Lagos state, is an ally of Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC. He was first elected into the green chamber in 2003.

APC reps at Yar’Adua Center for the strategic meeting

A law graduate from the University of Lagos, he started his career with the Bentley, Edu and Co law firm in Lagos before he established his own firm, Femi Gbaja and Co. where he was principal partner. Gbajabiamila later returned to John Marshall Law School in the US and was said to have graduated top of his class, earning himself a juris doctorate. He set up a law firm and had a brief stint of practice in the US after he passed his Georgia bar exams in 2001. Later, he returned to Nigeria to join politics.

Speaking at the Yar’Adua Center, Abuja, where the politicians gathered on Monday, Adams Oshiomole, national chairman of the APC, made it clear that the purpose of the meeting is to ensure that the party produce the leadership of the lower chamber.

“We will ensure that we have a leadership of the national assembly that share the vision of the executive . Although we stick to separation of power and unless the various arms  pursue the same agenda it is difficult for the executive to fulfil its promises and legislative backing is often require for most of the executive actions,” Oshiomhole said.

At last, Saraki swears in Alfa as Kogi East senator

Issac Alfa has been sworn in as the senator representing Kogi east.

The oath of office was administered on him at the upper legislative chamber on Wednesday.

Until the presidential and national assembly elections held on February 23, Atai Aidoko was the senator representing the constituency in the upper legislative chamber.

The Kogi east seat has been subjected to contention by Alfa and Aidoko who have both claimed to be authentic person representing the district.

Both of them claimed to be winner of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary poll that held in 2014.

Alfa, retired air marshal, was first sworn in as the lawmaker in June 2015 before a court sacked him and put Aidoko in his place.

Ever since the matter has been the subject of litigation.

However in January, the supreme court struck out the appeal of Aidoko who had challenged the decision of the appeal court.

The appeal court had upheld the decision of the trial court which declared Alfa as the lawful candidate that won the PDP primary election.

Recently, Alfa asked Senate President Bukola Saraki to obey the court order which affirmed him as the senator representing the district.

“I want to be sworn in on the 19th of February when the senate resumes. By swearing me in that will be the beginning of the senate showing the world that yes we are ready to obey court orders,” Alfa had said.

The eight assembly winds up in June.

Official: Akpabio loses senatorial return bid

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday in Uyo declared Mr Chris Ekpenyong of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district election.

Announcing the results , the INEC Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Peter Ogban, said Ekpenyong polled 118,215 votes to defeat Sen. Godswill Akpabio of All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 83,158 votes.

Akpabio was the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom.

The returning officer added that the total number of registered voters in the senatorial district were 655,525, accredited
votes – 218,493, valid votes – 202,387 votes and void votes – 7,307.

Also declared was the federal constituency of Ikot Ekpene – Obot Akara – Essien Udim.

Announcing the result, the returning officer for the Federal Constituency, Dr Daniel Udo, said Nsikak Ekong of
PDP scored 29,849 to defeat the incumbent Mr Emmanuel Akpan who scored 22,052 votes.

The returning officer said total votes cast was 52,237, while valid votes — 52,036 and 201 void votes.

Onnoghen: Senate heads to court, suspends plan to reconvene

 

The Senate has filed a case in the Supreme Court, seeking its interpretation on whether President Muhammadu Buhari acted within the provision of the constitution in his suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Nkannu Onnoghen or whether the action of the President does amount to usurpation of the powers of the Senate as provided for in Section 292 of the constitution.

Following the filing of the case, the matter of the suspension of the CJN which is the main issue for which the Senate had planned to reconvene tomorrow, has become subjudice, according to a statement by spokesmanof the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

“Therefore, in line with the standing rules of the Senate not to debate issues that are already pending before the court, the reconvening of the Senate tomorrow has been put off. The previous adjournment of the Senate till February 19, 2019 stay,” the statement added.

Rowdy session as senate suspends confirmation of EFCC nominees

There was a rowdy session at the senate on Tuesday, making the upper legislative chamber to postpone the confirmation of some nominees of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Chukwuka Utazi, chairman of the senate committee on anti-corruption, had presented a report on the screening of the nominees by his committee..

The committee had recommended that the senate confirm Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Najib and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the EFCC.

But senators from the southern part of the country protested.

Speaking after the anti-corruption chairman presented his report, Victor Umeh, senator representing Anambra central, said the nominees should not be confirmed because the south-east and south-south were excluded.

“The south-south and south-east are not accommodated in the commission. On the issue of the fight against corruption – it involves all parts of Nigeria,” Umeh said.

“If you look at the composition, Mr President some people will think that the fight against corruption is instituted against them. There is need to take people from other geo-political zones.”

He noted that Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the commission; and Olanipkekun Olukoyede, secretary of the commission, are from the north-east and south-west respectively.

The senator said the four nominees to be confirmed are neither from the south-south or south-east.

Responding, Utazi said a committee set up to look at the president’s alleged lopsided appointments had “gone underground and refused to present a report”.

Also, Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia south, said the consideration of the nominees should be stepped down until it is amended.

Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, said Utazi should have drawn the attention of the senate leadership to the matter instead of bringing a report urging them to confirm the nominees.

At this point, both Utazi and Isah Misau, senator representing Bauchi central, interrupted Ndume.

“We must not divide Nigeria,” Misau said. While Utazi was heard saying: “I have the floor, go and sit down.”

“You have a rowdy floor,” another senator said.

The disorderliness went on for about 10 minutes before and this prompted the lawmakers to go into a closed-door session abruptly.

When they emerged from the closed-door session, Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that it had been agreed that the confirmation of the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) nominees should be suspended for further legislative input.

Senate suspends Olukoyede’s confirmation as EFCC Secretary

The Senate has suspended the confirmation of Olanipekun Olukoyede as secretary to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The suspension followed Senator Isah Misau’s objection to the report of the Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes on the screening at plenary.

Misau, who is a member of the committee, stated that he did not append his signature to clear the nominee for confirmation. He claimed he was not invited to the screening exercise; hence it was wrong for the clerk of the committee to release a report not consented to by all committee members.

“I am a member of this committee and I was not invited to the screening. I am calling on you, Mr. President, to step down this confirmation because I remember I raised objection in one of the meetings and this one is very sensitive,” he said.

Senator Chukwuka Utazi, the Chairman of the Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, had while presenting the committee’s report, said Misau was invited to the screening. He noted that the nominee appeared for screening on October 27 and met all requirements for confirmation.

Utazi said the nominee had the required educational qualification and other requirements, stressing that there was no objection to his nomination from any quarter.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, suggested that the confirmation be suspended till Wednesday to enable all members of the committee to meet on the matter again.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in an executive communication, dated Sept. 10, forwarded the name of the nominee, who hails from Ekiti State, for confirmation.

The request was made in compliance with the provisions of Section 2 (3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act 2010.

Olukoyede is a trained lawyer and currently the Chief of Staff to the Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. (NAN)

Senate halts plenary in honour 44 soldiers killed by Boko Haram

The Senate on Thursday halted plenary session in honour of 44 soldiers killed by members of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram.

This came amid the decision of the Senate to investigate the immediate cause of the success recorded by the terrorists, which led to the death of the 44 soldiers in Borno State.

Boko Haram had killed 44 soldiers and nine farmers in three days of attacks on some villages in Borno State.

According to the report, which quoted security sources, the Islamic State West Africa Province, a Boko Haram splinter group, killed at least 44 soldiers in attacks on three military bases at the weekend.

The Senate resolution came through a contribution by the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on the point of order raised by Senator Ibrahim Danbaba alleging that there is disconnection between the Senate Committee on Army and the Nigerian Army.

The lawmakers also observed one minute silence in hour of the slain soldiers.

In addition, the Senate implored the Military hierarchy to be visiting the soldiers on the war front from time to time.

Senate probes NNPC’s alleged diversion of $1bn from NLNG dividend

Senate passes Electoral Act Amendment Bill

The Senate on Tuesday passed the fourth version of the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the bill three times, citing some constitutional and drafting issues.

During the just-ended annual recess of the National Assembly, its Joint Committee on INEC met to work on the document based on the issues raised by the president.

Tuesday’s passage of the bill followed the adoption of the report of the committee presented by its Chairman, Senator Suleiman Nazif.

Nazif had said that the committee addressed all the issues raised by the president in withdrawing assent to the bill.

Speaking on the development, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said he hoped the president would now assent to the proposed law.
“Let me congratulate all of us, particularly the Committee on Electoral Matters for the hard work they put in.
“We were able to achieve this that looked almost impossible at a time, and I want to commend everybody for making this happen.

“This will go a long way in improving our electoral process and further strengthen our governance.

“I am sure with this now, Mr President will of course give his assent, and we can now finally have an Electoral Act that we would all be proud of,” Saraki said.

The amendment seeks to provide the use of Card Readers and any other similar technological devices for the election, among others, according to Nazif.

Senate withholds confirmation of three nominees for CCB board

The senate has confirmed the nomination of seven appointees to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) board.

The upper legislative chamber confirmed the seven individuals after Sam Anyanwu, chairman of the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, presented a report for the consideration of the senators.

In November, President Muhammadu Buhari had written the senate, asking for the confirmation of 10 members of the board.

But while presenting the report on Wednesday, Anyanwu said Vincent Nwanne (Ebonyi) and Ganiyu Hamzat (Ogun) failed to make their certificates available while Danjuma Sado (Edo) did not meet the age requirement of 50.

“Hon. Ganiyu Hamzat and Dr. Vincent Nwanli failed to show up and present their credentials for the screening,” Anyanwu said.

On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki wished those confirmed a successful tenure.

“We hope that they will continue to play key roles in the Bureau and I wish them all a successful tenure,” Saraki said.

Here are the confirmed nominees.

Muhammed Isa – chairman, Jigawa, north-west

Murtala Kankia – member, Katsina, north-west

Emmanuel Attah – member, Cross River, south-south

Obolo Opanachi – member, Kogi, north-central

Ken Madaki Alkali – member Nasarawa, north-central

S. F Ogundare – member, Oyo, south-west

Sahad Abubakar – member, Gombe north-east

Senate asks CBN to increase maximum ATM withdrawal to N40,000 per transaction

The Senate has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks to increase the maximum amount customers can withdraw from automated teller machines (ATMs) to N40,000 per transaction.

The maximum is currently N20,000. The senate also asked the apex bank to suspend ATM card maintenance fees.

The upper legislative chamber directed its committees on banking and finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges and to also invite Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, to explain why the charges are allegedly skewed in favour of the banks.

The resolution of the senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa, senator representing Lagos east.

While moving the motion, Ashafa said the CBN is becoming “insensitive” to the plight of Nigerians.

Contributing to the debate on the motion, Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, said the numerous charges by the banks are unacceptable.

“If we have institutions in Nigeria, they should make sure to do their jobs to protect Nigerians,” Ekweremadu said.

“Banks should have recognisable charges to let customers know what they are up against.”

On his part, Adeola Olamilekan, senator representing Lagos west, said the banks should stop cheating Nigerians of their hard-earned money.

“I have stopped using ATM for transactions,” Olamilekan said.

On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the lawmakers must always protect the interest of the people.

“This is a motion that touches on the lives of every Nigerian irrespective of what party you belong to or political affiliation you might have and that is why we are here, to always defend and protect the interest of our people,” he said.

“We need to look at ways to ensure that our resolutions go beyond just the debates — so that whatever action we take will come into effect.”

The motion was adopted by the senate after it was put to a voice vote by Saraki.