What Nigerian senators discussed last week

SENATORS: Nigeria Senate plenary
Nigeria Senate plenary

After spending two of three days in the previous week to mourn their late colleagues, the Senate resumed last week.

Besides discussing security, which is a recurring debate in the upper chamber, lawmakers discussed other issues in the economy, the education sector and fraudulent activities in agencies.

Below are some major highlights from the Senate last week:

Monday

– The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights Matters held a public hearing on the anti-sexual harassment bill for higher institutions .

Academic experts, students and civic groups were invited to give their opinion on the bill as well as suggest other amendments to be made to the bill.

It was at this hearing that the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, described as biased, the proposed bill. He said the bill will stigmatise lecturers in universities.

Tuesday

– Inscriptions like “Free Zakzaky” were seen on the door and wall of a female toilet on the New Wing of the legislative complex.

The caption is believed to be have been written by suspected members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in a bid to take their protests against the Nigerian government into the National Assembly.

El-Zakzaky's supporters take protest to National Assembly's toilets
El-Zakzaky’s supporters take protest to National Assembly’s toilets

– The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, tasked top security officials to beef up security measures at the legislative complex amidst reports that the National Assembly was under potential security threat.

El-Zakzaky's supporters take protest to National Assembly's toilets
El-Zakzaky’s supporters take protest to National Assembly’s toilets

The directive, he said, follows an intel he got about security breach in the country. The leadership of the parliament will devise temporary solutions pending when the existing security structure is remodelled, he said.

– Mr Lawan disclosed that the Senate will fast-track the passage of bills passed in the eight Senate but not signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Many of these bills have been reintroduced in the ninth Senate.

Mr Lawan directed the majority and minority leaders to make a list of such bills.

Wednesday

– The bill for the establishment of the national commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons passed second reading.

Guns used to illustrate arms in the story. [Photo credit: NPR]
Guns used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: NPR]
The bill seeks to empower the commission to coordinate and implement activities to combat the problems of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

Thursday

– A senator, Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe East, introduced a bill to create an agency for repentant Boko Haram members.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram terrorists
Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram terrorists

The bill which seeks to establish an agency that would see to the rehabilitation, deradicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in the country, was read for the first time.

– The senators complained of poor national planning in Nigeria. They also complained of wastage in Nigeria’s annual budget.

This was sequel to a motion on ‘the need to establish a visionary budget-driven national planning framework for Nigeria.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

– After several summons and several snubs, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

Mr Ali appeared before the committee to respond to queries in an auditor-general’s report, including an indictment of the Customs on the non-remmittance of five per cent contributory pension to the Pension Commission.


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