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Constitution Review: Reps Oppose VAT On Exclusive List …NASS Approves Financial Autonomy For State Legislatures, Judiciary, LGs …Rejects Bill For Women’s Seat Twice Before VP’s Wife

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The majority of members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, voted against a bill seeking to put Value Added Tax (VAT) on the Exclusive Legislative List.
Bill 34 containing the proposal failed to meet the required two-thirds of the 360-member House.
Also, the Senate, yesterday, passed a bill to empower the National Assembly and State Assemblies to summon the President and State Governors to answer questions bothering on security or any other issues on which the National and State Houses of Assembly have powers to make laws.
The bill seeks alteration to Section 67 of the Principal Act by inserting after subsection (3), a new subsection (4).
The new subsection (4) provides: “Nothing in this section shall preclude the National Assembly from summoning the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend a joint session of the National Assembly to answer questions on national security or any issue whatsoever, over which the National Assembly has powers to make laws”.
The bill further seeks to alter Section 108 of the Principal Act to insert a new subsection (4) to provide: “Nothing in this section shall preclude the House of Assembly of the State from summoning the Governor of the State to attend a sitting of the House of Assembly to answer questions on security or on any issue whatsoever, over which the House of Assembly has powers to male laws.”
Out of a total of 93 registered Senators, 77 voted in favour of the bill to summon the President and Governors, 13 against and 1 lawmaker abstaining, bringing total votes to 91.
The chamber also approved a bill to include presiding officers on the membership of the National Security Council.
It also passed a bill to make it an offence, and to provide for the possible conviction of any person who refuses to honour the summons of the National Assembly or any of its committee.
The bill seeks to alter Section 129 of the Principal Act to insert after subsection (2), a new subsection (3).
The new section provides: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, any person who after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the Committee in question, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to such punishment as shall be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
The chamber, however, turned down a bill to provide for more seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly.
Also rejected were bills to alter Part I of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to include Value Added Tax on the Exclusive Legislative List; removal of transitional law-making powers of the Executive; to provide for Diaspora voting; to grant mayoralty status for the FCT; and appointment of minister from the FCT.
The Senate further approved financial autonomy for state legislatures, Judiciary and local governments in the country.
The approval came during voting on the report of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bills, 2022.
Senators during voting on the report rejected pension for presiding officers of the legislature.
Out of a total number of 88 Senators registered to vote on the bill, 34 voted in support, and 53 against the bill.
Also rejected were bills to override Presidential veto in Constitution Alteration; and to override Presidential veto in respect of ordinary money bills.
The rejected bills require the mandatory four-fifth (votes of 88 senators) and two-thirds majority (votes of 73 senators) to pass, respectively.
The bill on Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration seeks to provide for the procedure for passing a constitution alteration bill where the President withholds assent.
On the other hand, the bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution to provide the procedure for overriding executive veto in respect of money bills, seeks to provide for mode of exercising federal legislative power on money bills before the National Assembly.
While 94 Senators registered to vote on the bill to override presidential veto in constitutional alteration, 79 lawmakers of the chamber voted in support and 15 against it.
The bill fell short of the needed 88 votes (four-fifth requirement) to pass.
On the bill to override presidential veto in respect of money bills, out of a total of 84 registered Senators, 44 voted in support, and 39 against the bill.
The bill also fell short of the required two-thirds requirement (73 Senators) to pass.
In addition, the Senate also rejected bills to provide for the removal of presiding officers of the Legislature; and to change the name of Barikin Ladi Local Government Area in Plateau State to “Gwol” Local Government Area.
Similarly, the Senate also rejected two bills proposed to empower and to attach special recognition to women in Nigeria.
One of the bills is seeking the creation of one special seat for a woman at the Senate, House of Representatives and the Federal Capital Territory without prejudice to eligibility to contest.
The bill was rejected by senators who voted when it was considered.
It said: “The bill seeks to create a special seat for women in the Senate, House of Representatives and the State Houses of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory reserved solely for women without prejudice to their eligibility to contest in the existing Senatorial seats in each State and FCT.”
Also, the proposed 35percent affirmative action for women in political party administration was also voted against by senators.
It was earlier reported that the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo and her entourage were in the Chamber as observers of yesterday’s legislative proceedings that saw senators rejecting two bills that concerned the female gender.

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We Need President Who Believes In Unity Of Nigeria -Wike

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Rivers State Governor and presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians to take the opportunity that the 2023 general election would offer them to elect a Nigerian who believes in the unity of the country and its people.
Speaking to leaders and delegates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State, yesterday, Wike emphasised that Nigeria was more divided now under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government than ever.
Wike pointed to the need why the country requires a president that would be in charge of things, including issues of security and the economy.
He described as sad that Nigerian farmers cannot go to farm conveniently or go about their trading activities because of insecurity.
“We need a Nigerian who believes in the unity of this country. We have never been divided the way we are divided now. If God gives us (PDP) the opportunity, we will form a government of national unity where everybody will be involved.”
Wike told the delegates that he was the best PDP aspirant that has the capacity to secure electoral victory for the party and implement policies that will truly rescue Nigeria.
According to him, PDP and indeed, Nigerians need somebody who can face the APC squarely in the 2023 general election and give the country a new direction in which safety of life is guaranteed.
“There is a war you go and you know the kind of soldiers you send and the general that will be the commander. In this kind of fight now, it is me that can fight it.
“What PDP is looking for is who can make us win the election. If we don’t win this election, PDP is gone. I’m tired of this opposition. I am the only aspirant who has what it takes to win this election for PDP.
“And when we win the presidential election in February, 2023, we will win Kebbi in March. And I am going to give you all the support that you require.”
The Rivers State governor reminded the delegates that first of all, there has to be a party before anybody can run election, and most of those seeking to fly the party’s presidential flag had in the past abandoned it to die, but people like him stayed back to build the party and make it once again formidable.
“I was one of the people who stood firm, who made sure that this party didn’t die. There are those who fought this party in 2015 to make us lose the election. If we didn’t lose the election, will we not be in opposition now?
“We have worked hard and a labourer deserves his wages as it is in the holy book. I have worked for this party. So, nobody will say that I did not work for this party.”
In his remarks, Kebbi State PDP chieftain and Chairman of Forum of former PDP Ministers, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, noted the enormous burden of insecurity on Nigeria that requires a courageous leader to handle.
“Today in Nigeria, we have problem of insecurity. We have problem with the economy. We have poverty. We have hunger. We have restlessness. We have joblessness. There is problem of lack of justice. There is a problem of lack of fairness.
“In short, there is leadership failure and so when we talk of 2023, we should be talking of the survival of Nigeria as one united and indissoluble nation.
“We need a leader that has capacity to take very decisive decisions. Wike has that capacity. We need a leader that is capable of building the diverse and strong bridges of friendship across the divide, Wike has that capacity.
“We need a leader that is consummate and cosmopolitan, Wike is the person. We need a leader that is educated. Wike is educated.”

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ASUU Strike: Protests Rock South West, Edo

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Students of different universities in Ondo State on Monday staged a protest to register their displeasure over the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The protesting students blocked the Ilesha-Akure Expressway in Akure, chanting different solidarity songs.
They wielded placards with different inscriptions such as ‘ End ASUU strike,’ ‘Save our future,’ and FG, we’ve had enough,’ among others.
The protesters included students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko; Olusegun Agagu University of Technology, Okitipupa; and the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
The protest caused traffic gridlock on the highway with many travellers and motorists stranded while some motorists had to take alternative routes to their destinations.
Speaking on the protest, the Vice Chairman, National Association of University Students, Ondo Chapter, Shittu Afolarin, stated that the move became imperative after it was discovered that the Federal Government was not concerned about the plight of students.
Meanwhile, in  Osun State, protest by some students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, organised by Great Ife Concerned Students in collaboration with Fund Education Coalition against strike, resumed on Monday as the protesters blocked some major roads in the state.
The protesters had initially blocked Ife-Ede Road, and later moved to Ipetumodu and blocked Ife-Ibadan, Ilesa-Akure roads in front of Oduduwa University, thereby preventing vehicular movement.
The leader of the protesters, Omowumi Abraham, popularly known as Ewatee, said a vehicle conveying two soldiers heading towards Gbongan-Ibadan end from Ipetumodu, had forced its way through their barricade.
She said two other vehicles also conveying soldiers heading towards same direction were however prevented from going through and were forced to make a detour.
Students in Ogun State also on Monday blocked the Sagamu-Benin Expressway in protest against the ongoing strike.
The joint protest had in attendance students from OOU, Ago-Iwoye; Tai Solarin University of Education, Science and Technology, Ijagun and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
The students reportedly stormed the TASUED axis and blocked the expressway, leaving many motorists stranded and travellers trapped.
Speaking at the protest ground, the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students in the state, Damilola Simeon, appealed to the Federal Government to respond urgently to the yearnings of ASUU.
The President, Student Union Government of TASUED, Don Ayomide, also said the protest was necessary to let the Federal Government and ASUU be aware of the plight of Nigerian students.
Reacting to the students’ protest, ASUU Chairman, FUNAAB, , Dr Gbenga Adeleye, told newsmen that the students had a right to quality education, saying that they were not happy with the ongoing strike.

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WASSCE 2022: WAEC Advises Principals, Supervisors To Shun Exam Malpractice

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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have advised principals and supervisors to shun any act capable of undermining the integrity of the ongoing May/June 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Specifically, the principals and supervisors, who are in charge of the conduct of WASSCE 2022, were warned to eschew any form of examination malpractice.
The advise was given by the Deputy Registrar/Zonal Coordinator of WAEC, Abuja, Mr. Ambrose Okelezo, during the briefing of principals and supervisors on the conduct of WASSCE for school candidates.
The principals of recognized secondary schools and nominated senior teachers, who would serve as supervisors were briefed in the Federal Capital Territory FCT) in two locations ahead of the school exam at Gwagwalada and Maitama.
Okelezo informed the principals of their expected roles and warned them to eschew any form of examination malpractice.
He also advised them to educate their students on the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the school exam and teachers (invigilators) not to bring in GSM phones into the exam hall and to stay within the rules guiding invigilation of the examination.
Okelezo also pleaded with the principals and supervisors to be always available in their schools and provide sanitisers, nose masks and ensure strict compliance with all COVID- 19 protocols.
The WAEC zonal coordinator urged them to use the CIVAPEMS devices for the capturing of attendance of candidates.
He briefed the supervisors on their roles, which is the conduct of examination on behalf of the council, following certain guidelines as stipulated by WAEC.
The principals and supervisors were trained on the usage of CIVAPEMS, a device used in the verification of candidates Identities, capturing of attendance.
The deputy registrar also advised the supervisors to shun any act capable of undermining the integrity of the examination.
Various speakers at the workshop such the Director, Education Resource Centre (ERC) in the FCT, Hajia Neemart Abdulraham, ANCOPSS Chairman in the FCT, Adam Bello Gupa, thanked WAEC for organising the workshop and they took turns to admonish participants on the need to follow the rules and regulations as rolled out by WAEC and conduct a malpractice-free examination in the FCT.
A total of 777 participants, made up of 377 principals and 407 supervisors participated in the workshop.
The workshop was concluded with the information on some innovations rolled out by the council such WAEC Chatbox, the platform for gaining access to WAEC services online real-time through www.request.waec.org.
WAEC verify- which provides online access to tertiary institutions and other establishments to WAEC database for the verification of prospective students/applicants results.
Others include EDUSTAT- which enables interested stakeholders to access WAEC statistics online, Computer-Based Test Series- which offers a reliable and robust CBT and Aptitude Test Services.
The participants resolved to work together to ensure a successful conduct of the school exam in FCT.

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