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Benue Assembly Re-Elects Adaji As Deputy Speaker

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The Benue State House of Assembly on Wednesday re-elected member representing Ohimini State Constituency, Mr Chris Adaji, as its Deputy Speaker.
Our source reports that Adaji was first elected as deputy speaker on June 3, 2019, but his election was nullified on November 17, 2019, by the Appeal Court.
The court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct election into the two polling units that elections were not held during the 2019 general election.
INEC complied with the court’s decision and conducted election in the affected two polling units on January 25 and Adaji was declared the winner.
The Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, said that the house had been operating without the deputy speaker since the nullification of Adaji’s election, stressing that it was wise to elect someone to fill the vacant position.
Swiftly, Mr Peter Enemere (PDP/Ogbadibo) moved a motion for the nomination of Adaji to fill the vacant position.
Enemere said that Adaji had served in the capacity of the deputy speaker before, emphasising that while serving he performed creditably.
“In fact, while he was serving in that capacity before the nullification of his election, his performance was outstanding.
“If given another opportunity he will do better,” he said.
The motion for the nomination of Adaji was seconded by Mr William Ortyom (PDP/Guma).
The Clerk of the house, Dr Torese Agena, called for other nominations but members chorused no further nomination.
Agena then put a question to them and those in favour of the nomination of Adaji, and he was unanimously voted by members through a voice vote.
“Through this vote you have unanimously agreed that Adaji should fill the vacant position of the deputy speaker,” he announced.

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Reps Move To Confer Immunity On Senate President, Speaker …As Bill Scales Second Reading

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The bill to confer immunity on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has scaled second reading despite opposition.
The bill also seeks to confer immunity on presiding officers of the State House of Assembly to shield them from prosecution when they are occupying their offices
The bill sponsored by Segun Odebunmi was considered, yesterday and passed through second reading despite opposition from members.
The Presiding officer, Femi Gbajabimila initially expressed reservation on presiding over the debate to prevent conflict of interest.
He said the bill should be tweaked to state that the current presiding officers will not benefit from it.
He however, did not step aside as support for the bill came across party lines.
“If it’s on presiding officers, I cannot preside on this bill, there is a conflict of interest. If the bill is on subsequent presiding officers, you should put a futuristic commencement date,” he said.
Leading the debate on the bill, Odebunmi said that, “in spite of the uninterrupted concentration required for carrying out effective legislative duty, this institution has suffered serious distractions in the past.
“Either genuine or not, such distractions have had serious negative impact on quality of legislation, as well as discouraging presiding officers of the legislative institution’s at national and state levels from taking the bull by the horn or take certain critical decisions when necessary for fear of unknown.”
Sergious Ogun, in his contribution rejected the bill and called for the removal of the immunity clause preventing prosecution of the Executive.
Ogun said: “Where we are today in our democracy, many are asking that we remove the immunity of the president and governors. I don’t think we need such as a parliament. I think we need to lift the immunity of the president. If we have a judiciary that is working, there is no reason why we cannot have president or governor going to jail.”
The Minority leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu also opposed the bill that there are more pressing issues, such as insecurity which the House ought to pay more attention to.

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Lawmakers Query NIMASA Over Claims On Management Accounts

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has directed a status inquiry on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the agency’s claim of not having management accounts between 2012 and 2017.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Wole Oke gave the directive during an investigative hearing into the presentation of audit reports of ministries, departments and agencies, yesterday.
The committee is investigating the deliberate and reckless refusal by non-treasury and partially funded agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018 to Auditor-General of the Federation.
“You have management accounts and you have audited accounts. Are you saying you do not have management accounts for 2012 till 2017?
“DFA, get the two right. The management account is a document of NIMASA itself and that is the document and other primary accounts that you avail your auditors to vet and form their opinion.
“It will be very embarrassing for an agency such as NIMASA not to have management accounts from 2012. Then what are you doing there?’’, he asked.
The management of NIMASA was led by the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki.
Oke also queried the agency’s non-remittance of its audited reports between 2015 and 2018 to the Office of the Auditor-General.
He added that the non-compliance by the agency to remit its audited reports stifled the federal government efforts in nation building.
He also expressed disappointment in the failure of the Director-General, NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside, to appear before the committee.
“I will refer you to the provisions of our constitution; the constitution unambiguously placed this arm of government before other arms under Section 4.
“I got that letter and I replied him that he cannot put that engagement before the parliament because NIMASA has, on several occasions, disrespected this parliament.
“It is on that note that the committee resolved that the minister of state should cause appearance since, if he does not respect people, perhaps he will respect the minister.

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Kidnapping, Banditry: Nasarawa Assembly Passes Witness Protection Bill

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The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, yesterday passed the Witness Protection Bill to give witnesses the boldness, confidence and protection to testify in court.
Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, the speaker of the House, announced the passage of the bill at plenary after Alhaji Tanko Tunga (APC-Awe North), the Majority Leader, moved a motion for the passage.
Abdullahi said that the bill, if assented to by the governor, would go a long way in curtailing the rate of crime in the state and the country at large.
He added that the bill would also give witnesses the opportunity to present evidence, expose and report to the police and other security agencies without fear of molestation.
Abdullahi further explained that the bill would enhance criminal justice in the state and the country at large.
The speaker, thereafter, mandated the Clerk of the House to produce a clean copy of the bill for Gov. Abdullahi Sule’s assent.
Earlier, Tunga while moving the motion for the passage of the bill, urged his colleagues to support the bill to allow it scale through third reading.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the speaker.
Meanwhile, the sponsor of the bill, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali (APC-Lafia North) told newsmen that he was delighted with the passage of the bill.
Alkali said: “I am happy that the bill saw the light of the day.
“I want to urge the Ministry of Justice to sensitise the public on the importance of the bill as nobody will be afraid while testifying in court,” he said.

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