Worried by the incessant cases of child rape across the country, the Senate, yesterday, moved to frame laws that would make perpetrators face capital punishment.
Moving the motion on Order 42 and 52 of Senate Rules, Senator Rose Oko, representing Cross River North Senatorial District explained that victims of child rape have been on the increase, a situation she said was worrisome, urging the upper chamber to intervene.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise on Order 42 and 52 of Senate Rules to explain a very disturbing issue of child rape. Mr. President, I want to say that this matter is alarming and we need to deal with it”, Oko said.
Reacting, Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu said those indulging in child abuse deserve death penalty.
Tinubu wondered what perpetrators stand to benefit from such heinous acts, adding that, “raping a child is synonymous to killing that child.
“Imagine a child who doesn’t know anything and was raped. If you ask the child victim to stand in law court, what would she tell the judge?”
Corroborating, Senator Sabi Abdulahi, representing Niger North, argued that the Senate must intervene by putting stiffer penalties for perpetrators.
Also speaking, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege stated that there were enough rape laws, stating that the challenges were those of enforcement and implementation.
According to him, court judges, perhaps, have too much discretion; saying that Senate should review these laws with a view geared towards tying their hands in a manner that they would be forced to pass judgement without deciding otherwise.
“Judges have too much discretion. Even governors too have prerogative of mercy where they visit prison yards and set inmates free.”
In his contribution, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial District, called for psychiatric test on perpetrators of child abuse.
The lawmaker added that the school curriculum should also capture sex education from elementary level to higher institutions.
Adopting the motion, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan upheld the prayers, as well as the review of all relevant laws that would ensure capital punishment for offenders of child abuse.
Part of the payers sustained too was the training of the police and other security agents handling rape cases, while they also urged the public to serve as watchdogs against rape.
However, the Senate, yesterday, said that it was prepared to receive the list of ministerial nominees from the Presidency any time it was submitted.
The upper chamber also said that the apparent delay in the submission of the ministerial list by President Muhammadu Buhari would not prevent senators from embarking on their scheduled annual vacation.
The National Assembly is scheduled to commence its annual vacation at the end of July, 2019.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, who addressed reporters in Abuja, yesterday, said that it was not the duty of the Senate to determine when the ministerial list would be submitted to it.
Adeyeye also said that the Senate was not constitutionally empowered to request for the list from the Presidency.
The Senate, he said, would wait until the president decides to send the list to it.
Adeyeye said: “That is the prerogative of the Executive. We are not going to help them to do their job. The Senate cannot generate the list of ministers on its own.
“It is the prerogative of the president to send his ministerial nominee list to the Senate and when he does that we will consider it.
“That is our constitutional mandate. It is not even within our powers to even advise. We will wait until the matter is transmitted to us.
“The executive are aware of the timetable of the Senate. There is a particular time the Senate will go on recess. That being in mind they should be mindful of when they will carry out this constitutional responsibility.
“That is our constitutional mandate but it is not within our power to even advise or anything, so we will wait until the list is submitted. I will not say anything more than that.
“I don’t think this matter should worry any Nigerian. We are supposed to receive the letter with the list of ministerial nominee transmitted to the Senate.
“If a thing is not my job, why should it worry me? When the list comes to us, Nigerians will look at the time the list arrives here and the time the list is approved.
“Let me tell you one thing, the executive are aware and most Nigerians are aware of the timetable of the Senate.
“There is a particular time of the year when the Senate will go on recess that being in mind, they should be mindful of when to carry out this constitutional responsibility because the Senate itself has its own timetable.
“Like the judiciary is right now on recess, a lot of judges have travelled out except those handling election matters.
“So, in the same way, there will be a time, very soon when the Senate will go in recess.
“I think the Executive are mindful of this to know the timetable of the Senate and it is left to them to adjust to that timetable or not.
“When the matter comes before us, we will look at it and carry out our constitutional responsibility.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the confirmation of the Senate for the appointment of Prof Habu Galadima as the substantive Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan read the letter from the President to his colleagues at the plenary, yesterday.
Buhari said his correspondence dated July 9, was backed by Section 8 (5) of the NIPSS Act, which empowers him to forward the name of nominees for the office to Senate for confirmation.
He appealed to the lawmakers to give necessary support that would ensure smooth screening and confirmation of Galadima.
The President noted that he attached a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae to the letter to further enable the Senate to have more information about him.
It would be recalled that Galadima was born in 1963 at Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
In a similar letter read by the President of the Senate, Buhari also requested the Senate to confirm the appointment of Mr Uba Maska as Executive Director of the National Communication Commission (NCC).
INEC Vows To Prosecute Kogi Gov For Double Registration
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says its allegation of double registration against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State still stands.
“The allegation of double registration has not been swept under the carpet; we cannot prosecute Bello now because he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor.
“He has committed an offence and we shall prosecute him when he is out office,” INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Prof. James Apam, said in Lokoja.
He said that the recent issuance of a temporary voter card to the governor did not mean that the issue of double registration had been swept under the carpet.
The INEC had, on February 26, issued a temporary voter card to the governor after applying for the transfer of his permanent card from Abuja to Okene.
INEC, had last year, declared the second registration done by Bello, on May 23 at the Government House, Lokoja as illegal and contrary to the Electoral Act.
The electoral body, through one of its National Electoral Commissioners, Mr. Emmanuel Shoyebi, said that the registration, which was done outside the designated registration centre, also amounted to double registration which is a criminal offence.
Shoyebi said that Bello did his first registration at Wuse Zone 11 in Abuja, on January 30, 2011.
For their involvement in the double registration saga, a senior official of INEC was compulsorily retired from service while two others were summarily dismissed last month.
RSG, Julius Berger Sign Pact For N21bn Flyovers …Flags Off Construction Work, ‘Morrow
The Rivers State Government and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, last Friday, signed an agreement for the construction of three flyover bridges to develop the landscape of Port Harcourt and resolve traffic congestion in the city.
The three flyover bridges are worth an estimated N21billion.
The Attorney-General of Rivers State, Dr Zaccheus Adango led officials of the Rivers State Government during the signing process, while the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter led the Julius Berger team.
The length of the flyover bridges include: Artillery 1 and 2, measuring 517.5metres; Rumuokoro, measuring 360metres; and Garrison, measuring 360metres.
Speaking after the agreement signing ceremony, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike assured that the flyover bridges would be completed within 16months and in line with approved specifications.
He said that the Rivers State Government would pay 70 per cent of the contract sum to ensure that the contractor execute the three flyover bridges on schedule.
The governor said: “These three flyover bridges will be completed within 16months as agreed with the contractor. This contract will cost about N21billion.
“We are going to pay 70 per cent of the contract sum upfront. After payment, we expect Julius Berger to give us the required quality and on schedule”.
Wike said there will be no excuse for variation or extension of the time of project completion.
“There should be no excuse. This contract should be completed within schedule. When the government pays Julius Berger the 70 per cent upfront, there will be no variation.
“Everything has been done. What is left is compensation. The money for compensation has been set aside”, he said.
Wike said that the simultaneous construction of the three flyover bridges would generate thousands of jobs for Rivers people within the period of construction.
The governor charged the management of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to ensure that Rivers people were given priority in the employment of construction workers, insisting that Rivers people would always benefit from Rivers resources.
Aside the construction of the flyover bridges, Wike said that his administration has awarded contracts for the reconstruction and expansion of key roads in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
He said: “Most of the roads have been awarded for construction. We have the New GRA, the Old GRA, Ikwerre Road and other key roads. They will be handled by major contractors.
“Our second term will be like the first term. I appreciate the opportunity that Rivers people gave to me, and I will repay them with quality service and projects’ delivery”.
He called on host communities of the flyover bridges to cooperate with the contractor to ensure speedy delivery of the contract.
“Our people should make sacrifices for us to achieve success. We want to change the landscape of Port Harcourt. The flag off will take place next week Tuesday” (tomorrow), he said.
Wike said that he would continue to place the interest of Rivers State above other considerations
He said: “The only political party that I belong to is Rivers State. Anything that is against the interest of Rivers State, count me out.
“For this project, I am directly responsible for community relations. I will liaise with the communities to ensure that nobody stops the development process”.
He stated that the Rivers State Government chose Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to execute the project because of the administration’s commitment to quality.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, assured that the company would deliver the three flyover bridges within the approved 16months period.
He said: “Julius Berger will deliver the projects in the record time of 16months. Governor Wike, I assure you that Julius Berger will deliver”.
Richter said that Julius Berger would continue to partner with the Rivers State Government to deliver quality projects across the state.
He said that Julius Berger has also delivered quality projects under the Wike administration.
During his inauguration for a second term, Wike had promised Rivers people that he would construct three flyover bridges in Port Harcourt.
However, the official signing of contract for the construction of three flyover bridges in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has elicited reactions from residents of Port Harcourt City.
Some residents, who spoke to our correspondent in Port Harcourt, over the weekend, described the project as a crucial step that would redefined the socio-economic landscape of the city.
Hon Eric Ejigini said that the three flyover bridges would transform the transport situation in the city and its environ.
“Rumuokoro Flyover Bridge has been expected for a long time from the past administrations in the state and the Federal Government.
“This is the most significant project by any administration in the state. I commend Wike for this bold and pragmatic step”, he said.
Another respondent, Mr Chinedu Egbom hailed the governor for the projects, saying the step would check the traffic challenges in the city.
“Kudos to our hardworking governor, what we have been begging the Federal Government to do for us has been embarked upon by Mr Project”, he added.
Another resident, Mr Ibim Clifford, hailed the governor for the projects, saying, “What excites me most is the choice of Rumuokoro, Artillery and Garrison for the flyover projects. This is because of the traffic challenges residents of the city suffer daily at these places”.
Also speaking, Chief Tams David, a businessman and resident of the city, lauded the project, and said it would influence positively every sector of the economy in the state.
“They call Governor Wike ‘Mr Projects’ and by the day, he lives by the name. If all the state governors in Nigeria work like Nyesom Wike, Nigeria will be transformed”, David argued.
A commercial driver in Port Harcourt, Chima Madume, applauded the state governor for the huge project, and said it would enhance transport operations in the city.
“It is true that during the construction of the three flyover bridges, there would be obstruction of traffic particularly as the three flyover bridges would be done simultaneously. But by the time they are completed, we shall enjoy the projects”, he added.
Smith, IGP Fight Dirty Over New 10,000 Policemen
The Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, has written to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, explaining the reasons for the legal action taken by the PSC against the police at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The commission is seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, from going ahead with the recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
The processes filed before the Federal High Court 5 on September 27, 2019, by Kanu Agabi (SAN), will be heard on October 23.
Smith in his letter dated October 16, stated that the commission and the police were involved in the recruitment process, but the force, he said, subsequently took over the exercise by unilaterally releasing the list of candidates for medical screening.
The police authorities had insisted on conducting the recruitment, saying the commission had no mandate to recruit men for the force.
Despite the PSC’s opposition and legal challenge, the force had penultimate Sunday, released the final list of successful candidates who had been directed to resume at 18 police colleges and training schools nationwide for the commencement of training on October 21.
Smith drew the COS’ attention to previous legal opinions by four Attorneys-General on the long-drawn recruitment dispute with the police authorities, noting that Kalu Agabi (2002), Bayo Ojo (2007), Mohammed Adoke (2010) and lately, the current Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (2019) had taken different positions on the issue.
The letter read, “Since the return to civil rule on May 29,1999, four legal opinions listed here have been issued. When the copy of the opinion of 2019 was received and it was observed that the only earlier opinion considered was that of 2010, the attention of the Attorney-General was drawn to his oversight in a letter from the commission.
“Please, note that the legal advice of Kanu Agabi (SAN) and that of Bayo Ojo (SAN) expressly and exclusively vested the power of recruitment/appointment in the commission as against that of Mohammed Adoke and Abubakar Malami.”
“Because nothing was subsequently heard in the matter, the board of the commission met and decided to approach the Federal High Court, Abuja, for proper interpretation of section 30 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution, which, amongst others, gave the commission the power of appointment of policemen,” the retired IG explained.
Smith further pointed out that the commission’s attention was drawn to the release of the final list of candidates by the Force Headquarters on October 14 despite the pending court case.
The PSC stated that the failure of the police authorities to break down the candidates’ list local government by local government made it suspect “the injection of names that ought not to be in the final list.”
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