On Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate resumed its legislative activities.
In the course of the week, the senators deliberated on matters ranging from the plight of retired judges of the state high courts, the need to harmonise the process of paying the retirement benefits of judges, to the rejection of President Buhari’s Residential Electoral Commissioner, REC nominee.
Below are nine major activities that took place at the senate this week:
1. The Senate on Tuesday called on the federal government to immortalise the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, by naming the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, or other key federal institution or asset after him.
This was sequel to a motion on “The Passing on of Former Vice President, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (1932-2017)’’, sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, at plenary.
2. The Senate announced a new date for its planned deliberations on the proposed 2018 budget submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday announced that the discussions will now start on November 28.
3. Following a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu), the Senate on Tuesday resolved to probe the failure by state governments to pay as and when due the severance gratuity, pensions and arrears of other entitlements to retired judicial officers.
It also wants the National Judicial Council, NJC, to take over the payment so as to ensure that they are done promptly.
4. The Senate urged the Nigerian Army to reinstate Chidi Ukoha, a colonel, who was wrongfully dismissed alongside 38 other officers in June 2016 as well as cautioned the Army authorities against arbitrary disengagement of officers.
The lawmakers unanimously took these decisions after adopting a report by the Ethics and Privileges Committee.
5. The Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organizations as well as that on Foreign Affairs and Special Duties on Tuesday explained why they were yet to call for a public hearing over the 26 Nigerians who died on a Spanish warship on their way to Italy.
At a joint committee meeting held at the National Assembly, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organizations, Rose Okoh (PDP, Cross River) said both committees will need to partner with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, NAPTIP, as well as the Ministry of Information to get more details about the victims.
6. The Senate resolved to review the security infrastructure of Nigeria, with a view to coming up with new ways to address insecurity in the country.
The resolution followed a lengthy debate on the strength and drawbacks of establishing state police in Nigeria.
7. The senate on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the clash involving the State Security Services (SSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the arrest of two former security bosses, Messrs. Ayodele Oke and Ita Ekpeyong and to report its findings in two weeks.
The resolution was made after the senate was thrown into a rowdy session when a lawmaker, Biodun Olujimi, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of ”losing authority” on his administration, while responding to a motion on the face-off raised by Dino Melaye, Kogi-APC.
8. The Senate on Thursday rejected the nomination of Ahmad Mahmud as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Zamfara State but confirmed the nomination of Rufus Akeju and Mahmuda Isah of Lagos and Kebbi states respectively.
These decisions followed a report by the Senate committee on INEC on the screening of the nominees.
9. The Senate committee investigating the controversial reinstatement of fugitive ex-pension reform task force boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the federal civil service on Thursday reported that the task force headed by Mr. Maina recovered about 222 houses and investments from pension suspects in Abuja and other major cities across the country, and asked for more time to complete its probe.