Shiites protest, Elisha Abbo’s investigation, others top Senate’s activities last week

Senator Elisha Abbo
Senator Elisha Abbo facing the Senate investigative panel

The Senate was, as usual, abuzz with many legislative activities last week.

However, events like the appearance of a senator before a committee investigating the assault on a woman and the invasion of the National Assembly by Shiite protesters topped major activities of the Senate last week.

Below are some of the events:

Tuesday:

-The lawmakers began by calling for death penalty for rape. The call was made as senators deliberated a motion on “Sexual abuse in Nigeria: a growing scourge”, sponsored by Rose Oko and 10 other senators.

It came weeks after allegations of sexual assault against senior religious clerics sparked nationwide uproar, amidst concerns over rising cases of sexual abuse.

-Former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, asked the federal government to create a Federal Ministry of Happiness to curtail the rising rate of suicide in Nigeria.

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While the lawmakers deliberated a motion on the subject, he said every case of suicide could be traced to unhappiness among the people.

-Members of the Shiite group protested at the main entrance of the National Assembly. The protest later turned violent.

Two Shiites were killed, two police officers shot and 40 members of the group were arrested.

The Senate Ad-Hoc committee on Media and Publicity later told journalists that the demand of the Islamic group is beyond the National Assembly.

– The Senate has urged the federal government to ban the production, importation and circulation of Sniper insecticide in the country.

This was part of the resolutions the lawmakers adopted after deliberating on a motion on the rising cases of suicide in Nigeria.

– Senator, Elisha Abbo, caught on camera assaulting a woman, appeared before a Senate committee set up to investigate the incident.

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He, however, refused to take an oath before the panel and speak in front of journalists. He was involved in a heated argument with Oluremi Tinubu who is a member of the committee.

Wednesday:

– The Senate called on the South African government to investigate the death of Elizabeth Ndibuisi-Chukwu and other Nigerian citizens who have died in suspicious circumstances in South Africa. She was killed in a hotel in South Africa.

The Senate also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians travelling to South Africa after the lawmakers debated the circumstances surrounding her death.

– The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said President Muhammadu Buhari might send the ministerial list to the upper chamber last week. The list was, however, not transmitted. Mr Buhari was sworn-in for a second term on May 29 after winning re-election in February.

-Some senators advocated for the protection of Nigerian airlines from what they described as unfair competition from their foreign counterparts.

As one of the measures to surmount this challenge, the lawmakers directed foreign airlines to provide statistics of Nigerians in their employment.

-The lawmakers expressed worry over the recent pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Lagos State as they discussed a motion on the subject.

The lawmakers tasked one of the Senate ad-hoc committees to investigate the incident which occurred on July 4 and claimed many lives in Ijegun, Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area, Lagos State.

Thursday:

– The Senate summoned the management of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) over the high rate of dropped calls and improper regulation of sim cards.

It also urged the commission to direct network providers to expand network infrastructures and monitor compliance to reduce the rate of dropped calls experienced by users.

– The lawmakers asked the federal government to enlighten the Nigerian business community on how to leverage the immense benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The AfCFTA was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 7.

– President Muhammadu Buhari requested the confirmation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Mr Buhari’s request was contained in a letter read at the start of Senate plenary on Thursday.

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