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#NigerianSenateReview 101: Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment

#NigerianSenateReview 101 - Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment

#NigerianSenateReview 101 - Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment

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This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series NigerianSenateReviews S01
  • #NigerianSenateReview 101: Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment

Nigerian Senate declared emergency on unemployment in a motion moved by former DSP Senator Ike Ekweremadu, among other issues considered

Nigerian Senate at its plenary of Wednesday December 11, 2019 presided over by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, urged governments at all levels to declare emergency on unemployment. This was as a result of the motion moved by the former Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Senate President Ahmad Lawan. Photograph - Nigerian Senate facebook page
Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Senate President Ahmad Lawan. Photograph – Nigerian Senate facebook page

Senator Ekweremadu cited Orders 42 & 52 in moving the motion that borders on the escalating rate of unemployment in the country which was supported by Senators Smart Adeyemi, Istifanus Gyang, Francis Ezenwa, Biodun Olujimi, Benjamin Uwajumogu and Olubunmi Adetunmbi.

In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang remarked that “The situation of unemployment has brought upon a trauma of helplessness. Many of our youths are well read, have multiple certificates and still unemployed.” He therefore urged the government of Nigeria to “declare a state of emergency on unemployment in this country so that all hands will be on deck and deliberate steps must be taken to ensure we rescue Nigerian youths that are in the state of trauma.”

On his part, newly elected Senator Smart Adeyemi remarked that banks should be held culpable in the spate of unemployment bedeviling the nation. He said, “Unemployment affects everyone here directly or indirectly. This is an issue that we should take very seriously. Banks in Nigeria contributed in no small measure to unemployment in Nigeria. They do not give credit facility to young Nigerians to run business. This is a complex problem. Let us look at the banking sector. In addressing unemployment, we must look at funding, which is important.”

As a result of the motion, the senate resolved among other resolutions to “Urge the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment to the youths of Nigeria.”

The Senate also urged the governments at all tiers “to revitalize existing industries, build new ones and provide a conducive and enabling environment for the private sector to build more industries…”

Bills that passed first reading

The following bills passed the first reading at the Nigerian Senate:

  • Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 74) by Senator Istifanus Gyang
  • Federal University of Technology Oko (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 256) by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.
  • Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 259) by Senator Bamidele Opeyemi.
  • Federal University of Technology Kabwir, Plateau State (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 262) by Senator Hezekiah Dimka.
  • Federal College of Agriculture Bambam, Gombe State (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 263) by Senator Bulus Amos.
  • Education (Minimum Standards) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 264) by Senator Barau Jibrin.
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Consideration of bills (Second reading)

The following bills were read for the second time and referred to respective committees:

1) A Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to designate a definite and certain day for convening the first session and inauguration of elected members of National Assembly and State House of Assembly following their dissolution by the President and Governor pursuant to Sections 64(3) and Section 105(3), provide saving provisions regarding the Standing Orders of the Legislative Houses dissolved by the President and Governor in exercise of their powers under Sections 64(3) and 105(3) of the Constitution respectively and for other matters, 2019 (SB. 204) by Senator Gabriel Suswam.

The Senate President referred the bill to the Committee on Constitutional Review.

Senator Gabriel Suswam explaining a point. Photograph - Nigerian Senate facebook page
Senator Gabriel Suswam explaining a point. Photograph – Nigerian Senate facebook page

2) A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Oke-Ogun and for other related matters thereof, 2019 (SB. 159) by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai.

In his contribution to the bill, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said the nation should look for ways and means to increase her internally generated revenue, saying “when we do that we would have enough resources to execute projects. Agriculture today is playing a huge role in creating employment for our younger ones.”

But on his part, Senator James Manager advised against creating institutions which duplicate services of existing ones. He said “I am aware that there is a functioning faculty of agriculture in University of Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola University. I am not against this Bill but I want to emphasize, we must also be conscious of productivity and the people we introduce as graduates. Having universities everywhere may not serve the purpose we are aspiring in this country.”

Senators Aliyu Sabi, Adamu Aliero, Ibikunle Amosun and James Manager also made contributions to the bill.

The Senate President referred the Bill to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report in four (4) weeks

3) A Bill for an Act to repeal the Federal Road Maintenance Agency Act 2002 (as amended) the Federal Highways Act 1971 and the Control of Advertisement Act 1986 and to establish the Federal Road Authority to provide for the Ownership, Regulation, Management and Development of the Federal Roads Network and for other matters connected there with, 2019 (SB. 89) by Senator Gershom Bassey.

Senator Basiru Ajibola explained that bill which is focused on alternative funding for infrastructure “should have a framework that alternatively finances the road infrastructure. The Bill is commendable because it is thinking out of the box. I commend the sponsor of the Bill and urge my colleagues to allow the Bill progress for next legislative action.”

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But on his part, Senator Bala Na’allah said nowhere in the world are roads established and maintained with budgetary allocation. “Road is entirely left to revolving funds accruing from different sectors in the economy.”

Senator Sadiq Suleiman narrated how bad roads in his senatorial district rob farmers of their productivities and road farers of their valuables. “All the roads in my senatorial district,” Senator Suleiman remarked, “are bad. Our farmers cannot transport their produce to get value because the roads are bad. Armed robbers take advantage of bad roads to torture and rob commuters. Our roads cannot get better until we think creatively and out of the box.”

On her part, Senator Stella Oduah said it is high time to take “roads away from the federal budget and allow private enterprises into the sector.” Adding that the “only way we can have roads that are passable is to have a coordinated agency.”

Other contributors to bill included Senators Clifford Ordia and Sani Musa.

After reading the bill for the second time, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Works to report in four (4) weeks.

#NigerianSenateReview 101 - Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment
#NigerianSenateReview 101 – Nigerian Senate declares emergency on unemployment

4) A Bill for an Act to provide for Constituency Projects in the annual Budget of the Federation and for other matters connected there with, 2019 (SB. 170) by Senator Stella Oduah.

This bill which was supported by Senator Aliyu Sabi was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON to the Committee on Finance to report in four (4) weeks.

Nigerian Senate to investigate influx of foreign vessels in the coastal region

In a motion on the “need to investigate the breach of Nigerian laws by foreign vessels in coastal shipping of petroleum products in downstream sector of the Nigerian Maritime University,” by Senator Ramoni Mustapha, which was seconded by Senator Basiru Ajibola, the Nigerian Senate mandated the Committees on Local Content and Petroleum Downstream among other resolutions “to carry out an investigation with a view to unraveling the influx of foreign vessels in the coastal region and the level of patronage of Nigerian shipping companies.”

The Nigerian Senate also mandated the Committees on Local Content and Compliance to “Investigate the actions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company in ensuring participation of indigenous companies in the freight of petroleum products, in line with the provisions of Presidential Executive Order 5(2018).”

Executive communications

In a letter to the Nigerian Senate, President Muhammadu Buhari sought the approval of the red chambers to consider and pass the 2020 Statutory Budget Proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration

In another communication, the Nigerian President sought the consideration and confirmation of the chairman and members of the Federal Inland Revenue Service in accordance with Section 3(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.

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The nominees include Muhammed Mamman Nami, Executive Chairman (north-central), James Yakwen Ayuba, Member (north-central), Ado Danjuma, Member (north-west), Adam Baba Mohammed, Member (north-east), A. Ikeme Osakwe, Member (south-east), Adewale Ogunyomade, Member (south-west), Ehile Adetola Aibangbee, Member (south-south) and representatives from MDAs.

Lastly, the Nigerian president sought the approval of the Senate on the Confirmation of Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu for appointment as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010.

After the letters were read on the floor and seconded, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the executive communications to respective committee for further considerations.

Other matters

  • The Conference Committee report on the Finance Bill, 2019 (SB. 140) which was laid and presented by Senator Solomon Adeola was seconded by Senator James Manager and APPROVED by the Senate.
  • Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege raised a petition on behalf of a constituency member against the Nigerian Army on his dismissal without due process and Senator Ayo Akinyelure also raised petitions on behalf of his constituency members. The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the petitions raised to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to report in four (4) weeks.

Adjournment

The Senate Leader moved that all items on the order paper be stood down to another legislative day and was seconded by the Senate Minority Leader. Henceforth, plenary was adjourned to Thursday, 12th December 2019.

Vox Pox

In their reactions to the Senate Plenary of Wednesday December 11, 2019, some Nigerians made the following remarks on Nigerian Senate Facebook Page.

Sesughter San wrote that “The issue of declaration of state of emergency on unemployment should pilot the Federal Govt to look deep into Npower to see where to place those whose time of service has elapsed.”

But on his part, Ismail Alani asked if the Nigerian Senators are ready to let go of part of their salaries to help remove unemployed Nigerians from the street. “These people and their shallow minds and brains,” Alani wrote. “Did they know the number of unemployed people? Are they with their senses? How ready are they to let go part of their own salaries and allowances? Are we still together? Something is missing somewhere. Now that government borrows to pay salaries.”


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