Hate speech bill, NNPC indictment report, others topped Senate agenda last week

Senate in plenary
Senate in plenary

The last one week came with some controversies on the floor of the Senate, particularly a bill that seeks to regulate the social media. There were other debates as well. Below are the major ones:

Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, said Senate committees have concluded their work on budget defence with Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He, therefore, assured that the National Assembly will pass the 2020 budget on November 28.

Between June and July this year, two deadly explosions occurred in Komkom, Rivers State and Ijegun, Lagos State. It killed 18 people. A Senate committee investigated the deaths for three months and reported that the explosions were avoidable but NNPC “chose to be negligent.”

A bill, the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, sponsored by the deputy chief whip of the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, was reintroduced. It seeks to seriously penalise persons found guilty of “hate speech.”

Wednesday

With the newly introduced social media bill still causing ripples, the Senate, through its spokesperson, assured Nigerians that the bill would not be passed if it would cause hardship to Nigerians.

The first business for the day was the Senate’s approval of N10.069 billion to Kogi State “as refund for projects executed on behalf of the federal government” — three days to a crucial election.

In another business of the day, the red chamber stood down a bill on the inauguration of the National Assembly which would ensure the smooth transfer of legislative power from the outgoing National Assembly to the incoming. It cited the constitution as its reason for doing so.

Following the recent suspension of fuel supply to border regions, the Senate also summoned the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali.

Debate on child trafficking also took place on the floor of the Senate.

Having been denied presidential assent by the 8th Senate, the bill seeking to establish the South East Development Commission (SEDC) was re-introduced by Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra) and read for the first time.

Clause 15 (2a) of the bill stipulates that the equivalent of 10 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocation due to the member states of the commission shall be from the federation account.

Thursday

A senator enmeshed in arms scandal, Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central), toed the path of Stella Oduah. He sought to establish South West Development Commission. He said the move was to ensure development of that region of the country.

Following the sack of the All Progressives Congress’ Adedayo Adeyeye by an Appeal Court, his replacement, Biodun Olujimi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), took her oath of office to represent Ekiti South in the Senate.

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