A Bill for an Act to provide for the procedure and ceremony for transition and assumption of office for the President and Vice President- elect passed second reading at the House of Representatives, yesterday.
Rep. Kpam Sokpo (PDP-Benue), who sponsored the bill, said it was aimed at ensuring smooth transition from one administration to another.
He added that the bill would help to facilitate smooth handover between outgoing President and Vice President to the incoming President and Vice President.
Rep. Tobi Okechwukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader, while contributing, said the bill would tackle lack of precision on transition programme.
He said that the transition period was a time when cabinet members that would form the new government must have been selected to keep the country on the move.
He said that the period of transition should have afforded the President-elect to do some research that would help in the smooth running of the new administration.
The deputy minority leader stressed that the transition period should not be a time for watching the body language of the President on the direction of his administration.
“This bill is important, because we lost about six months in 2015 because the cabinet of the President was not constituted and the same thing happened in 2019.
“This should be a country of rules and law and the law must be seen to have been obeyed,” he said.
He said that the situation was the same at the state level, where state governors after winning election for six months failed to constitute their cabinets.
The lawmakers, thereafter voted unanimously in favour of the bill scaling second reading.
Similarly, a bill for an Act to repeal the Fire Service Act 2004 and enact the Fire and Emergency Service Act 2021 has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
This bill which sought to introduce stricter penalties for violation of building codes, fire regulations and other related matters was sponsored by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun (APC-Ondo) .
Leading the debate at plenary yesterday, Adeogun said the bill also seeks to provide the agency with additional powers for effective service delivery and for other related matters.
The lawmaker said that the bill also sought the expansion of responsibilities of the service to meet international best practices and the growing demands of citizens.
He recalled that the Fire Service Act (1963) saddled the service with the responsibility of mitigating fire disasters and combating fire emergencies.
According to him, this narrow scope of responsibility precludes non fire disasters such as flooding, building collapse, air and road accidents.
The lawmaker said that other natural disasters that might or might not be accompanied by fire but emergency rescue was required.
“This bill addresses this gap by expanding the scope of responsibilities of the fire service to include fire and non-fire related emergencies such as flooding, building collapse, construction site accidents, mining collapse and related land, sea and air accidents.
“This bill also seeks to introduce stricter penalties for violation of building codes, fire regulations, impersonation of fire service personnel and unlawful disclosure of privileged information obtained in the course of emergencies,’’ he said.
Adeogun who represents Akoko South East/South West Federal Constituency of Ondo State said the aim was to prevent and mitigate all fire disasters as well as other accidents.
He said the bill would encourage investment in fire and emergency equipment by states, local g areas and corporate organisations to improve response to emergencies.
The legislator said he bill would empower the fire and emergency service chief to mobilise resources for the training, equipping and deployment of fire and emergency personnel for prompt response to emergencies.
The rep said that the bill provided for the establishment of a Fire and Emergency Service Reward Fund to reward fire and emergency fire officers.
“The major achievements of this amendment bill if passed, will be to build the capacity of the fire and emergency service to respond to disasters with greater synergy and efficiency.
“It will also elevate the fire and emergency service from the back-end to the frontline of disaster management.
“The bill will also open new frontiers for the creation of jobs through engagement of able bodied youths into the fire and emergency service,’’ he said.
Adeogun said that Nigeria had in the past, lost lives and billion dollar assets to fire, flood and similar disasters.
He said the bill hoped to lay the foundation for mitigating of future disasters and saving the nation from avoidable loss of lives and resources.
The parliamentarian urged his colleagues to support the bill to go through second reading and its eventual passage into law.
In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Ahmed Wase (APC-Plateau) referred the bill to relevant committees of the house for further legislative actions.
APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request
The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn.
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law
Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System
Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed.
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
“Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat.
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc.
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