Top stories from Senate this week

Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.
Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.

Despite the political tension in the country, the Senate, this week carried out it’s legislative duties as usual.

As the lawmakers prepare to embark on their annual recess, they tackled issues ranging from consideration to confirmation of some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees.

Below are some of the major stories from the Senate.

Tuesday:

Mr Buhari transmitted the 2019 election budget to the Senate.

In a letter he sent, he said Nigeria will need N254 billion (N254,445,322,600) to prosecute the 2019 general election. The letter sought the approval of the sum which will be drawn from the 2018 and 2019 budgets.

President Buhari urged the lawmakers to remove projects earlier inserted into the budget and replace them with priority projects as contained in the original bill.

– The Senate approved the appointment of a chairman and six members of the Police Service Commission.

Musiliu Smith was confirmed as chairman of the commission while Clara Ogunbiyi, Lawal Bawa, and Muhammad Najatu as members.

Others are Braimoh Austin, Rommy Mom and Nkemka Oshimiri Jombo-Ofo.

Senate confirms Musiliu Smith as Police Service Commission chairman, six other members

President Buhari rejected four bills recently passed by the National Assembly.

The bills are the Corporate Manslaughter Bill, 2018; National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (NCPEA) Bill, 2018; Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund Amendment Bill, 2018; and the Courts and Tribunal Standard Scale of Fines Bill, 2018.

Mr Buhari’s decision to withhold assent to the bills was contained in separate letters.

President Buhari nominated Muiz Banire as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Bello Tukur as Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).

He also nominated 12 other commissioners into the FCSC.

The commissioners are: Moses Musa, Waziri Umaru, Ahmed Bello Mahmud, Ahmed Sama, Iyabode Odulate Yusuf and Shehu Umar Danyaya.

Others are, Fatai Lafaye, Michael Chukwuemeka, Joe Philip, Ibrahim Muhammed, Aminu Saidu and Simon Etim.

Wednesday:
– The Senate resolved to investigate the ongoing oil and gas lease renewal after a committee of the upper chamber reported alleged illegal rebates and discounts were denying government revenue in excess of N10 billion.

It mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream to investigate all issues relating to the lease renewal being undertaken by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Department of Petroleum Resources and to report to the Senate the anomalies in the process and identify appropriate measures to correct these.

– The Senate approved the payment of N348 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 74 petroleum marketers.

The Senate said the payment is to enable them update all outstanding liabilities and clear all debts, interest accrued and forex differential once and for all.

Thursday:
– The Senate plenary was thrown into a rowdy session over allegations of lopsidedness in appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The allegation was first raised by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who said Mr Buhari’s appointments of heads of agencies have recently been sourced from one geopolitical zone.

His observation followed a letter from the president seeking confirmation of chairman and members of the Federal Roads Maintenance Management Agency (FERMA).


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