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NASS Votes On Constitution Review Report, Oct 14

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The Senate and the House of Representatives are to vote on the final report on proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution after the Eid-el Kabirý celebrations.
The National Assembly proceeded on a combined two-week break for the country’s 54th independence anniversary and Eid-el Kabir yesterday.
The House of Representatives in particular, will reconvene on October 14.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha, who doubles as the Chairman, AdHoc Committee on Constitution Review, announced yesterday that the two chambers had harmonised their differences on the proposed amendments.
He said, “The harmonised conference report is ready and we shall begin voting after the Sallah break.
“We will take a date after resumption to vote to pass the report.
“Please, all members should be aware of this and come prepared for theý voting when we resume.”
The House had earlier passed 77 new clauses to the constitution, while the Senate passed its own recommendations as well.
Among the highlights of the recommendations passed by the House were the removal of immunity (against criminal prosecution) for the President and Governors, the rejection of state police and the approval of independent candidature during elections.
It also approved to split the offices of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, while the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation was placed on First Line Charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
However, theý Senate and the House had disagreed on granting financial autonomy to local government councils.
While the ýHouse endorsed autonomy for the councils by scrapping the controversial local government/state joint account, the Senate rejected autonomy for the councils.
Under Section 9 of the constitution, two-thirds of all members of each arm of the National Assembly will madatorily ý vote to endorse a proposal before it can pass an amendment to the constitution.
This implies that 240 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives must endorse every proposal before it can be included in the new constitution.
Similarly, 73 out of 109 senators must vote to endorse all new proposals to the constitution.
In addition, two-thirds (24) out of the 36 state Houses of Assembly must also approve the amendments passed by the National Assembly as the final phase of the amendment process.
Meanwhile, the House yesterday approved the power of the Independent National Electoral Commission to request security personnel, including the armed forces, for election purposes.
The proposal was contained in the fresh amendments to the Electoral Act, 2010.
Members began the consideration of the report a bill to amend the Act on Tuesday, passing the controversial power it conferred on INEC as the sole authority to request the deployment of security personnel whenever it deemed necessary.
The amendment passed after a heated argument between Peoples Democratic Party members and their All Progressives Congress colleagues.
The PDP members, led by the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, made efforts to dilute the recommendation, but the opposition party members ensured that the recommendation stayed the way the Committee on Electoral Matters proposed it.
It turned out that there were more APC members in the chambers while Ihedioha presided over the report, giving the opposition party members the upper hand when voting took place.
However, further consideration of the report was later deferred to allow the Committee on Electoral Matters, which is chaired by Mr. Jerry Manwe, some time to clean up observable errors in the report.
The House later adjourned sitting till October 14.

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IPPIS: FG, ASUU Meet, Today, As Fresh Strike Looms

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Delegations from the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are expected to meet, today, in a bid to avert a fresh strike.
The chairmen of ASUU branches had expressed readiness to commence a fresh strike over the non-implementation of their agreement with FG on IPPIS.
One of them, Chairman, ASUU, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Dr Ibrahim Inuwa, said the protracted strike, which was to press home the union members’ demands for the continued survival of the public university system in Nigeria, was suspended in December after the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the various issues and providing timelines for the implementation of each of the eight items in the agreement.
Inuwa said over seven months after the MoU was signed only two out of the eight issues had been addressed.
He listed some of the outstanding issues to include payment of the earned academic allowance, funding for revitalisation of public universities, salary shortfall, proliferation of state universities and setting up of visitation panels.
Others are renegotiation, replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, said the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, will be hosting the leadership of the ASUU to a meeting at the ministry’s Conference Room, Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
“The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be hosting a meeting with ASUU. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 2, 2021 at Minister’s Conference Room,” the letter read.
The National President, ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, had said that the union was invited by the Ministry of Labour to discuss issues surrounding the Memorandum of Action, which was signed with the Federal Government in December, 2020.
However, Osodeke, explained the last time the union met with the government was around March/April.
He said, “The Ministry of Education, which is our ministry, has not called us to any meeting since we signed the Memorandum of Action. But the Ministry of Labour, which is just an intervention ministry, around March/April called us to a meeting in which we discussed and they promised to implement all those things.”

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30 Of 65 Private Jets In Nigeria Owe Duties, Customs Insists

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says 30 out of 65 private airplanes verified owe duties to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, made the disclosure to newsmen, yesterday.
He said some of the airplanes came into the country by Temporary Importation Agreement which allows them in without payment because it was secured by bond.
The spokesman noted that many later fail to turn up to pay on the expiration of the agreement.
The customs explained that the verification was not meant to embarrass anyone but to collect payments due to the government.
The service has given another two-week extension which commenced from Monday, July 26, to Friday, August 6.
Attah said with the increasing economic challenge, every revenue is important.
“With this, you can now tie proper ownership to every aircraft or private jet that flies in and out of the country.
“The owners of private jets are highly placed Nigerians who should be respected and approached in a manner that provides convenience. That is what these extensions stand for,” he added.

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FBI Indictment: PSC, IGP Suspend Kyari, Name Inquiry Panel

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has suspended embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force, Abba Kyari, from the exercise of the powers and functions of his office.
Kyari’s suspension was contained in a press statement by the commission’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, made available to newsmen, yesterday.
The commission said Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31, 2021, and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.
The commission has also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.
The commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the commission for the commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave.
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari from the service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the report of the four-man investigative panel constituted to probe him.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Force, CP Frank MBA, last Saturday, the IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission (PSC), dated July 31, 2021, noted that the recommendation is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the force.
According to the IGP, the suspension would also create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel, to carry out its investigations into the allegations against Kyari without interference.
He explained that the suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, the statement said.
The four-man Special Investigation Panel (SIP), is headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), DIG Joseph Egbunike.
“The SIP is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force leadership on the matter,” Mba said.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the force to the rule of law, and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.

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