The Senate has passed the 2022 Appropriation Bill of N607.9 billion for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This followed the adoption of the harmonised report of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on FCT at plenary, in Abuja, Wednesday.
Presenting the bill, the Chairman of the committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, said the budget was in the sum of N607,952,023,580.
He said that the budget had provisions for the creation of a new district- Maitama II in the FCT.
“Already, the Bureau for Procurement Procurement (BPP) has issued a c/Certificate of No Objection.
“One of the indigenous company is recommended to commence the construction of Maitama II.
“For the first time in recent times, indigenous companies are going to be more involved in construction of projects that are within their powers to do so that we can keep our economy moving.
“We propose that this budget should run concurrently with 2023 budget when passed till June.
“This is to ensure that money is expended on the projects that have been approved by the two Chambers because of the global economic recession.
“There is need to inject funds into the economy so that companies do not retrench,” he said.
Contributing, Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda, called for early passage of FCT budget.
“If we can pass the national budget, I don’t see any reason why the FCT budget should not be brought early and for passage for the people of the FCT to benefit from it.
“The whole shade of Nigeria is represented in the FCT and everybody is interested in what happens in FCT. So I urge my colleagues to ensure the passage of this budget,” he said.
Also, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP-Edo) said there were too many projects in the FCT that were moribund.
“The Apo-Asokoro Road has been under construction for over three years. This should be given adequate attention now that the capital budget of the FCT has been increased,” he said.
Senate Minority Whip, Chukwuka Utazi called for the development of the satellite towns in order to decongest the city centre.
Also, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Jubrin Barau, urged the committee to do more in guiding the ministry to make sure that the capital expenditure was well implemented.
UNICEF, NGO Train Youth Activists On FGM Elimination
A Non-Governmental organisation, Trailblazer Initiative Nigeria (TBI) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria, has commenced training of some youth activists to end rising cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria.
The three-day training which involved reporting on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM), Gender Based Violence(GBV), violence against women and children as well as child marriage was to further strengthen youth participation in policy advocacy.
The Executive Director, TBI, Dare Adaramoye, said that the pilot phase of the project, funded by UNICEF, would be implemented in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Oyo State due to high prevalence of FGM in the selected locations.
According to him, the LGAs selected included Ibarapa East, Ibarapa North and Kajola LGAs.
Adaramoye said that the selected youths from the LGAs were identified during community mapping and due also to their previous efforts in making changes in their localities.
“FGM brings complications such as intense pain, excessive bleeding, urinary inconvenience, difficulties during menstruation, clitoral neuroma and difficulties during sexual intercourse and childbirth, among others.
“We noticed that the state has many policies on FGM and other GBV, kept on the shelves, while many people are not aware of as their rights.
“We are engaging youths from different communities because of the peculiarities of each community.
“So, the youths residing in these communities would be trained to advocate for the policy makers, traditional leaders, religious leaders and other decisions maker in their localities on issues that concern FGM and other forms of GBV.
“They will also be documenting stories of change because we need to monitor events and see the effectiveness of UNICEF programmes in the state.
“This is to bring it to the awareness of the public, for people to know the changes, challenges, the lessons learned and the way forward,” he said.
The UNICEF facilitator noted that the 10 youths activists were picked from the three LGAs; including one participant from state level for the pilot phase of the project with the aim of extension to other LGAs of the state in subsequent phases.
He urged the people to always speak up and report whenever they noticed cases of FGM around them to build safer society for every girl child in the state.
Speaking, the Director, Child Welfare, Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social inclusion, Lateef Ariori, said that FGM was still on rise in the state and attributed it to issues such as traditional and religious beliefs as well as monetary gains of local circumcisers who sees FGM as their daily business.
Ariori stated that State Ministry of Women Affairs, in collaboration with UNICEF and TBI, would continue to organise sensitisation programmes with relevant stakeholders such as legal practitioners, security agencies and religious bodies among others.
He urged the selected youth activists to put in their best to the project to achieve the set goal of thesociety; with no cases of FGM and other forms of violence against women, children and girls.
2023 Polls: FG Deploys New Firefighting Trucks In Lagos, Kano, Others
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Federal Government has deployed eight new fire trucks to Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Oyo and Edo states.
Controller General of Fire, Engr. Abdulganiyu Jaji disclosed this at a one day session on, “Providing Fire Cover for the Forthcoming General Election” organized for top management, Heads of Departments and Commanding Officers at the Force Headquarters, Wednesday.
According to him, the recent fire attacks on offices and personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC nationwide have heightened the need for the meeting.
“It is essential that we come up with solutions to these problem in order to ensure the safety of INEC infrastructure, personnel and the integrity of the electoral process.
“This brainstorming session will provide an opportunity to have a robust engagement, drawing from your resources and experience, strategies and stratagem.
“By coming together to brainstorm, we can create a safe and more secure environment to forestall future attacks on INEC infrastructures, personnel and to safeguard the electoral process from political hoodlums and enemies of the state, who now use fire attacks as a tool to frustrate INEC in the discharge of her statutory mandate.
“We must ensure that our resources are properly allocated and be prepared to respond to any potential fire related issues that may arise.
“I am confident that with the hard work and dedication of my officers and men of the Federal Fire Service, we will be able to ensure the safety of polling units, ward, local government and state collation centres, as well as providing a secure environment for citizens to cast their votes”, he stated.
According to him, it is the duty of the Service to ensure fire cover for all and sundry, before, during and after the election.
Jaji said the recent attacks on INEC offices across the country places a burden on fire officers to ensure that the ugly situation is nipped in the bud.
On plans for the election, he said; “Fire personnel will be on standby to respond to any fire incident that may occur during and after the election.
“Fire safety education and awareness campaigns will also be conducted to ensure that citizens are well informed on fire safety measures and protocols.
“The Federal Fire Service will work closely with local fire departments and other emergency services to ensure that all fire incidents are dealt with swiftly and effectively.
“It is worthy to note that President Muhammadu Buhari led administration has extended unwavering support to the FFS. This was again demonstrated when the FFS received 8 no. of the state-of-the-art Fire Trucks, whilst expecting 15 no. of Rapid Intervention Vehicles in the coming days”.
Institute Challenges States On LG Autonomy Bill Passage
The National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has called for sustained activism for the passage of 1999 Constitutional alteration pending bills, especially bills on local government financial and administrative autonomy.
NILDS Director- General, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, made the call at the Capacity Building Workshop for Clerks, Deputy Clerks, and Legal Directors of State Houses of Assemblies, in Abuja, Wednesday.
He said the two related bills stood at the very core of Nigeria’s democracy, adding that Nigerians have a solemn patriotic duty to our country to ensure their passage.
“It is not flattering to us as a people that twenty-four years since the transition to democratic rule, we are still debating the merit or otherwise of such fundamental issues.
“We are all aware of the pressure from some governors to scuttle this significant reform.
“Still, I challenge us to rise above individualistic short-term interests and focus instead on our children’s future and those after them.
“The bill on local government financial autonomy seeks to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and provide for a special account into which shall be paid all allocations due to local government councils from the Federation Account and the government of the states and for related matters.
He said 15 states have considered and approved the bill, listing the states to include , Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun and Osun.
He, however, listed 10 states that rejected the bill, to include Benue, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Rivers and Yobe while two other states of Adamawa and Bayelsa, abstained.
According to him, nine states which included Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara were yet to transmit the bill.
“We must do everything to stop history from repeating itself all over.
“Recall when state houses of assembly voted against their own financial autonomy at the behest of their governors.
“Today, many of those lawmakers are living with the guilt of that poor choice. It is my contention that state assemblies are yet to recover from that initial setback.”
He said Nigeria has made tremendous progress in strengthening its democratic processes, as attested to by the Electoral Act, 2022, adding that states also have an obligation to continuously support efforts being made at the centre and contribute to nation-building.
Suleiman said the workshop was specifically targeted at providing refresher knowledge to clerks, their deputies and legal directors on some of the essential requirements of their work during a legislative transition.
“The responsibility of managing transition rests with you, and it is crucial that you understand the essentials of concluding one assembly and starting another. In addition, you will have to deal with issues of finalising legislative business, payment of severance, and inducting and inaugurating members-elect.
Suleiman lauded participants for their determination and commitment in facilitating consideration and passage of the Constitutional Alteration Bills which he said have been transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
The NILDS boss further encouraged the participants to pay close attention to the topics, given the expected high rate of legislative turnover in 2023.
He thanked NILDS partner, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and the Resident Representative, Marija Peran, for the sustained partnership with the Institute towards deepening democracy in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Peran said the workshop would be tasked with part of constituting the new state houses of assembly, stating that KAS and NILDS have once more teamed up to deliver a timely training that was designed to be practical.
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