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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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Bauchi Declares 14-Day Lockdown, Closes Borders

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The Bauchi State government has ordered a 14-day lockdown and closure of all the state borders with effect from 6 pm. on April 2, as part of efforts to control the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mohammad Baba, and made available to newsmen in Bauchi yesterday.
“In an effort to control the
spread of COVID-19, the Bauchi State government has imposed a lockdown throughout the state for a period of 14 days, with effect from 6 pm. on April 2.
“Consequently, all borders to Bauchi State will be closed.
“Governor Bala Mohammed appreciates the sacrifice of members of the public in these agonising times.
“He has subsequently to secure food items, movement will be allowed between 10 am. and 4 pm. on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he said.
directed that in order for the public to secure food items, movement will be allowed between 10 am. and 4 pm. on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he said.
Baba, however, added that the ban would not affect essential services.

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Fayemi Names Committee For COVID-19 Support Account

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Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday, named an eight-man management committee for the COVID-19 Pandemic Support Account recently set up by the state government.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode, in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, said this was part of the efforts at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
He said that the account was opened specifically to receive donations from corporate bodies, philanthropists and well-meaning members of the society, who were willing to support government’s efforts at combating COVID-19.
According to him, the funds will be targeted at providing palliatives for the vulnerable persons in the state.
Oyebode added that the committee was set up in line with the governor’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
He listed members of the committee to include the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, who would serve as the Chairman, with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Development Partnerships, Mrs Margaret Fagboyo as Secretary.
Other members were the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayoola Owolabi, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, Commissioner for Health and Human Services Dr Moji Yaya-Kolade, as well as Commissioner for Special Duties, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu.
The committee also has Prof. Bolaji Aluko, Special Adviser/Director-General, Office of Transformation and Strategic Development and Dr Hakeem Bakare, Director, Directorate of Inter-Communication Technology as members.

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Coronavirus: UN, AU, Others Must Do More – Obasanjo, Ex-Presidents

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other former leaders have appealed to governments in Africa to do more in the fight against coronavirus.
They also advised international organisations to draw up a concrete, effective and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 outbreak in the continent.
The ex-Presidents/Prime Ministers warned that “with porous borders all over Africa, national efforts will not be enough but regional and continental were required”.
Their position was contained in a joint statement yesterday titled: “Appeal for preparation for Africa to confront the onslaught of COVID-19”.
It reads: “We have seen the mitigation effect or otherwise by the preparatory and preventive actions made by different nations and international organisations to combat the killer virus.
“The results have been related to seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken including the level of healthcare measures and delivery. The epidemiological progression in already affected areas has indicated that the worst case is yet to occur in Africa.
“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation, and the communal living of our people particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster.
“We, as concerned African leaders, note the efforts that African governments are making within their limited resources to deal with this global challenge.”
The statesmen urged the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and G-20, to urgently come up with a plan to alleviate social and economic effects of the disease.
The call for action was co-signed by Obasanjo, Festus Mogae (Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia), John Kufour (Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Joyce Banda (Malawi) and Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique).
Others are Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (South Africa) Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia).

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