The Senate yesterday approved report of the Conference Committee on the Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2010 to improve the legal framework for elections in the country.
Presenting the report for approval during plenary in Abuja, the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said the amendment of the Electoral Act would ensure more transparency in the conduct of elections.
He also said the amendment would ensure a level playing field for all participants in the electoral process and also provide enough time to prepare voters for elections.
“This bill seeks to improve the legal framework for the electoral process by providing the tenure of office for the secretary of the commission.
“Increase the number of days for application for an issuance of duplicate voter cards, to determine voting procedure as well as addressing other related issues to facilitate electioneering in Nigeria.
“To ensure a level playing field for all participants in the electoral process, more transparent process of conducting elections and to gain time to prepare voters and candidates for election.“
Presiding over plenary, the President of the Senate, Sen. David Mark, said the amendment of the Electoral Act would help strengthen democracy in the country.
“This is very important particularly as we continue to amend our Electoral Act through practical experiences that we find in the field.
“All these will help to strengthen democracy in this country.“
Our correspondent reports that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed in the Senate and in the House of Representatives on July 3, 2014 and on January 16, 2015 respectively.
The Conference Committee was thereafter constituted to brainstorm and reach a consensus on the areas of differences in the Bill before approval by the Senate.
Meanwhile, report of the Conference Committee on the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (Amendment) Bill 2015 has been laid before the Senate.
The upper chamber also received the report of the Committee on National Identity Card and National Population Commission on the screening of Abimbola Hundeyin for appointment as a member of the population commission.
The Investment Committee’s report on the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (Fiscal Incentives, Assurances and guarantees) Bill 2015 was not considered as it was referred to relevant committees for more legislative action.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps
The House of Representatives has said that three out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.
Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death
Representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammed Bello.
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”
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