The House of Representatives held plenary and performed other legislative duties throughout last week, even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to harass mankind. Below are some of the discussions in the lower chamber last week.
House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila at a two-day retreat on Monday urged the Nigerian military to be proactive and intensify their efforts by using swift surveillance to clamp down on attacks. He said the House was determined to improve budgetary allocation to the sector.
Also on Monday, at another forum with journalists, Farah Dagogo (PDP, Rivers) urged the House of Representatives to jettison the ₦37 billion fund for the renovation of the National Assembly complex as well as the ongoing purchase of vehicles for lawmakers.
He said instead it should be used for the education of the nation’s 10.5 million out-of-school children, the highest in any country in the world, according to UNICEF.
Moving on, at an investigative hearing on the same day, the counsel of the Nigerian Air Force told the House Committees on Justice and Air Force that they lacked the power to investigate the activities of NAF Holding and NAF Property Limited as they were not funded by public money.
The counsel, Uche Duruibe, also said the Chairman, Air Force House Committee, Shehu Koko (APC, Kebbi), “must excuse” himself from the investigation if it must go on because he was being investigated by the ICPC for wrongdoing. However, all the grounds of objections filed by Mr Duruibe were dismissed.
At the resumption of plenary proper on Tuesday, in a motion moved by Unyime Idem (PDP, Akwa Ibom), the House resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to interface with Multichoice Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) and other service providers to introduce the Pay as You Go Tariff (PAYG) plan. MultiChoice had in the past said it could not introduce a pay-as-you-view system because it was not viable.
On Wednesday, in a bid to stem the spread of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, the House moved to ban entry of visitors into the premises of the National Assembly. This was a sequel to a motion of urgent national importance moved by Mukhtar Chawai (Kaduna, APC).
Under the same motion, the green chamber also called for a ban on public gatherings especially at churches, mosques and other places of worship. Many state authorities, including the FCT, have banned gatherings of more than 50 people. Lagos has reduced its directive to 30 people.
During a House Public Accounts Committee meeting, the committee issued a summons to the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, and former managing directors of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC.
This is for their failure to submit an audit report in eight years and for not constituting the company’s board.
One of the bills that scaled second reading on Thursday was the forest guards agency bill. The bill seeks to establish an agency that would curb crimes and preserve law and order “strictly within all forests lying 100 metres adjacent to all federal roads and highways in Nigeria,” Usman Shiddi (APGA, Taraba), the sponsor of the bill, said.
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