The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.
After leading the opening prayer and the National Pledge, the Speaker approved the votes and proceedings for Wednesday, January 19th, 2022________________________________________________________________________________________
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila expressed his disappointment, how some members of the National Assembly went on national television misleading the public on issues surrounding the Electoral Act Amendment Bill with false information. While recognizing the right of freedom of expression by all, the Speaker stressed that those expressions should remain truthful and factual, and not misleading.
Rep. Nkem Abonta stated that he was in the interview, but he never intended to insult the person of the Speaker or the image of the National Assembly as an institution. He stated that he was only trying to argue for a lasting Electoral Act, for the good of Nigerians. He apologized if his remarks caused any rift in the spirit and mood of the House of Representatives. ________________________________________________________________________________________
1. Rep Ikong Okon laid a petition from a constituent from Ikotekpene in Akwa Ibom State who was wrongly dismissed from service in the Nigeria Police Force. He sought the leave of the House to look into the matter for his reinstatement.
The petition was referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions.________________________________________________________________________________________
MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Rep. Toby Okechukwu moved a motion on the need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the report of alleged missing firearms and ammunitions from the Nigeria Police and it was seconded by Rep. Wole Oke.
Rep. Okechukwu in leading the debate stated that the 2019 report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation alleged the disappearance of several Ak-47 rifles, pistols and other assorted rifles across different police formations. He expressed worry at the poor compliance within the internal control system of the Police Force that has led to the prevailing state of unaccountability of dangerous weapons in the possession of unknown elements. Rep. Okechukwu further expressed dismay that the police did not report a single case of missing firearms despite the evidence of the loss of the huge cache of these firearms. He expressed concern that such firearms unaccounted for could be responsible for the increase in the diverse cases of insecurity and banditry bedevilling the nation. Rep. Okechukwu called on the House Committee on Public Accounts to conduct an audit and report back to the House within 4 weeks for further legislative action. He also called on the Inspector General of Police to take due action to apprehend those behind the incidents. He further called on the House Committee on Police to ensure compliance.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Ahmed Wase proposed an amendment to the prayer of the motion clarifying that an Ad-Hoc Committee already chaired by Rep. Abubakar Fulata was recently constituted by the House with the mandate of handling a strikingly similar case. He advocated that the motion should be consolidated with that referral and the Ad-Hoc Committee should be allowed to take this motion under its purview, as there is a high sense of culpability by officers of the security apparatus in this case.
Rep. Wole Oke responded that since the report originated from the office of the Auditor General’s office, it is right for the Public Accounts Committee of the House to be involved in the investigation.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila while acknowledging Rep. Wole Oke’s view; acknowledged that the Ad-Hoc Committee was constituted to handle a similar issue, and it would be foolhardy not to let them undertake this mandate, pending of course; a vote by the House to rescind the earlier resolution that constituted the Ad hoc Committee.
The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.________________________________________________________________________________________
PRESENTATION OF BILLS 1. National Sports Commission (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB.1798) (Senate) – First Reading 2. Federal University of Education, Numan (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1799) (Senate) – First Reading 3. Federal Polytechnic, Ayede (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1800) (Rep. Odebummi Olusegun) – First Reading. 4. Administration of Criminal Justice Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1802) (Rep. Francis Ejiroghene Waive) – First Reading. 5. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1803) (Rep. Adelegbe Oluwatimehin) – First Reading. 6. Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1804) (Rep. Sergius Ogun) – First Reading
7. Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1805) (Rep. Tasir Olawale Raji) – First Reading. 8. Federal Cancer Centre, Toro, Bauchi State (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB.1806) (Rep. Muda Lawal Umar) – First Reading. 9. Niger Delta Institute of Technology and Skills Acquisition (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1807) (Rep. Dekor Dumnamene) – First Reading. 10. National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1808) (Rep. Sergius Ogun) – First Reading. 11. Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1810) (Rep. Francis Ejiroghene Waive) – First Reading. 12. Child’s Right Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1811) (Rep. Francis Ejiroghene Waive) – First Reading. 13. Federal Medical Centre, Akpugo (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2022 (HB. 1098) (Rep. Nnolim Nnaji) – First Reading. ________________________________________________________________________________________
ORDERS OF THE DAY BILLS 1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act, No. 6, 2010 and Enact the Electoral Bill, 2021 to Regulate the Conduct of Elections in the Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory; and for Related Matters (HB. 981) – Third Reading.
Debate Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa moved for the third reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Peter Akpatason.
The Bill was voted on, approved for third reading, the Clerk read the long title and it was passed.
2. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Investments and Securities Act, 2007 and Enact the Investments and Securities Bill to Establish Securities and Exchange Commission as the Apex Regulatory Authority for the Nigerian Capital Market as well as Regulation of the Market to ensure Capital Formation, the Protection of the Market to ensure Capital Formation, the Protection of Investors, Maintain Fair, Efficient and Transparent Market and Reduction of Systematic Risk; and for Related Matters (HB. 1787) (Rep. Babangida Ibrahim) – Second Reading.
Debate Rep. Babangida Ibrahim moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Lawan Shettima.
The Bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions.
3. A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Institute for Cultural Orientation Act, Cap. N48, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for Related Matters (HB. 947) (Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai) – Second Reading.
Bill stepped down by leave of the House.
4. A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal College of Education, Idere to Provide Full-Time Courses, Teaching, Instruction and Training in Technology, Applied Science, Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Management and to Provide for the Appointment of Provost and other Officers of the College to carry out the Administration and Discipline of Students of the College; and for Related Matters (HB. 309) (Rep. Ajibola Muraina) – Second Reading.
Debate Rep. Ajibola Muraina moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Taiwo Adeyemi.
The Bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Tertiary Education.
5. A Bill for an Act to Establish National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund (NYSCTF) to provide a sustainable source of Funds for National Youth Service Corps, Skill Acquisition, Training and Empowerment of Corps Members, Training and Retraining of the Personnel of National Youth Service Corps, Development of Camps and NYSC formations and facilities therein; and for Related Matters (HB. 1795) (Rep. Akinfolarin Mayowa Samuel) – Second Reading.
Debate Rep. Akinfolarin Samuel moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Ahmad Badau.
The Bill was voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Youth Development.________________________________________________________________________________________
MOTIONS6. Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria:Rep. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi:The House: Notes that the World Health Organization considers Mental Health as a state of wellbeing in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community; Also notes that mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning; Further notes that according to the World Health Organization statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care; Observed that 3 out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatization against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalized standards for Psychiatric practice; Concerned that the increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention; Also concerned that Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20 million citizens suffering from mental disorders; Worried that with the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health Practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria; Also worried that the statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the Country will simply cause the situation to degenerate; Resolves to: (i) Mandate the Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving Mental Health Facilities around the Country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue; (ii) also mandate the Committee on Health Institution explore the modalities of liaising with Stakeholders in the Health Sector to promote, educate and sensitize Nigerians on mental health and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Debate Rep. Nnam-Obi moved the motion on the need to address the rising cases of mental health in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. Shehu Ahmed.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
7. Need to Adopt a Policy to Discourage Deforestation in Nigeria:Rep. Mohammed Auwal Jatau: The House: Notes that Rural Areas often suffer neglect as a result of lack of social basic amenities which include a right to shelter, food, clothing and access to modern cooking facilities which enhances healthy living;
Also notes that due to the exorbitant price of cooking gas and kerosene, rural dwellers are often left with no other option than to cut down trees for firewood, which are used to prepare food;
Aware of the report in the Blueprint Newspaper of September 2, 2019, on the need for the Federal Government to embark on public enlightenment program at the grassroots level, on the importance of using cooking gas and kerosene instead of firewood to improve the living conditions of rural dwellers;
Concerned that felling of trees for firewood and bush burning will cause deforestation and desert encroachment, and consequently restrict food production which is a major factor in sustaining the country’s economy;
Also concerned that bush burning and cutting down of trees as an alternative means of cooking adversely affects not only the degradation the environment, but also endanger the health of people exposed to smoke;
Cognizant of the need to formulate policies or guidelines to regulate gas production and distribution to make it affordable to Nigerians, especially in the rural areas; Resolves to:(i) Urge the Federal Government to embark on public enlightenment, especially in the rural areas on the importance of the use of cooking gas and kerosene as well as the dangers of bush burning and tree cutting; (ii) also urge the Federal Government to formulate and implement policies to make cooking gas affordable, especially in the rural areas; (iii) mandate the committee on Gas Resources to ensure compliance.
Debate Rep. Mohammed Jatau moved the motion on the need to adopt a policy to discourage deforestation in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. John Dyegh.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
8. Need to Investigate Unclaimed Funds and Dividends in Commercial Banks and Capital Markets, and the Infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria:Rep. Dachung Bogos:The House:Notes that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a way of checking and combating money laundering, illicit financing and duplications in the ownership of bank accounts used for fraud;
Concerned that seven years after the introduction of the BVN, about 45.85 million bank accounts are yet to be linked to BVNs as reports by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) of June 23, 2021 have shown that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria as at May 2019 was 122.071 million while active accounts as at May 2020 stood at 72.936 million;
Also concerned that after the adoption of the BVN, financial experts have alleged that suspicious monies running into trillions of Naira were left unclaimed in various banks across the country because their owners had failed to register for the BVN or link to existing ones where appropriate;
Disturbed that commercial banks have flagrantly continued to hold on to the unclaimed monies longer than necessary against the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria;
Also disturbed that according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unclaimed dividends in the country are larger than the country’s combined capital expenditure for 4 major sectors in the annual budget and that as of August 16, 2021, the value of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian Capital Market had grown to about N170 billion;
Aware that the rise in unclaimed dividends in the country is majorly linked with the process of mandatory identity management issue which the BVN system introduced as some investors bought shares with false names and ill-gotten funds, making it difficult to match with their actual names as they appear on the BVN or bank accounts;
Worried that despite the introduction of BVN to curb misappropriation of funds in the financial sector, about 71 million customers still use their accounts without the compulsory requirement from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS);
Also worried of the recent disclosure of about thirty-two Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) which are owing to the Federal Government to the tune of over N1.2 trillion in generated revenues but failed to remit to the Federation Account as required by the Law;
Further worried that some commercial banks have refused to remit to the Government, fees and levies collected on behalf of Government Agencies and Departments in the last 10 years;
Cognizant that the Central Bank of Nigeria has not been transparent in the implementation of its intervention programs and projects, and have shown an abysmal level of accountability and transparency in respect of funds generated both locally and internationally;
Resolves to:Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to:(i) Investigate suspicious and unclaimed funds in Commercial banks, unclaimed dividends from the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as unremitted funds collected by commercial banks on behalf of Agencies and Departments of the Federal Government; (ii) also investigate alleged infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria against the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as regards intervention projects and programs and report back to the House within eight (8) weeks for further legislative action.
Debate Rep. Babangida Ibrahim who is the chairman, House Committee on Capital Market rose to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Committee is already investigating the cases of “unclaimed dividends” in the capital market, so that part of the motion is unnecessary.
In light of this; Rep. Dachung Bagos stepped down the motion to rework it to only reflect the portion of “unclaimed funds” and “infraction of the Central Bank of Nigeria”, and bring it before the House on a later legislative date.
9. Need to Investigate Unlawful Administrative Charges and Levies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Award of Contracts:Rep. Kpam Jimin Sokpo: The House: Notes that the National Assembly makes laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation to ensure the welfare and security of every Nigerian; Also notes that one of such very important legislations is the Appropriation Act which appropriates funds to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government for implementation of specific projects; Aware that the most critical component of the Annual Budget is the Capital and Recurrent Expenditure Estimates approved by the National Assembly for the provision of critical infrastructure and to cater for national priority projects; Also aware that various MDAs are mandated by the Appropriation Act of each year to execute such provisions on projects by awarding contracts to qualified and competent companies and entities in line with extant laws while maintaining fairness, reliability, transparency, accountability and ethical standards in the process; Acknowledges that the process of awarding contracts on projects mandates contractors to pay such taxes as Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax, and are the only charges required by law for such contractors to pay to the government for the award of the contracts; Disturbed by the alleged arbitrary, indiscriminate and unlawful administrative charges, levies and contract fees charged by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government ranging from 5% to 25% of contract sums to be paid by contractors to officials of the MDAs; Also disturbed that such charges by the MDAs are unlawful, fraudulent and clear cases of corrupt practices as such monies when collected, are not remitted to government coffers; Further aware that when contractors are compelled to pay such advance fees, there is the high tendency of not keeping to the terms of the contract as such projects are often abandoned or poorly executed; Cognizant of the provisions of Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed an investigation into any matter or thing concerning which it has the power to make laws, and the conduct of affairs of any person, Authority, Ministry or Government Department charged or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly and disbursing or administering money appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly and that such powers are exercisable only to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it; Resolves to: Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate alleged cases of indiscriminate and unlawful administrative charges on contracts and such percentage charges on project implementation by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government from 2010 to 2021 and report back within 12 weeks for further legislative action.
Debate Rep. Kpam Sokpo moved the motion on the need to investigate unlawful administrative charges and levies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in the award of contracts and it was seconded by Rep. Akin Alabi.
The motion was voted on and adopted. The membership of the constituted Ad-Hoc Committee was listed and it is to be chaired by Rep. Charles Uduyor. ________________________________________________________________________________________
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE) Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase presiding: 10. A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of National Institute for Border Studies, Imeko, Ogun State, to Provide for Teaching, Research, Instruction and Training of Students in Border Management; and for Related Matters (HB.1467) (Senate) – Committee of the Whole: 30/11/2021.
Synopsis of the report:Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa stated that it is an establishment Bill that is responding to the yearning and aspirations of Nigerians in the region and urged members to vote for the establishment of the institute to fulfill the development of education and research for interested Nigerians.
Summary of voting:Clauses voted on and approved: 1-32
11. Committee on Aviation:Rep. Nnoli Nnaji:“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Aviation on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Act, 2003 and Enact the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Bill to Provide for the Regulation of Meteorology; and for Related Matters (HBs. 19 and 464) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid:8/12/2021).
Synopsis of the report:Rep. Nnoli Nnaji stated that the Bill seeks to enact an Act that will ensure the Agency functions more effectively in the meteorological sector in Nigeria.
Summary of voting:Clauses voted on and approved: 1-47
12. Committee on Aviation:Rep. Nnoli Nnaji:“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Aviation on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, Cap. N96, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Bill to Provide for its Organisation, Council and Operations; and for Related Matters (HB. 463) and approve the recommendations therein” (Laid:7/12/2021).
Synopsis of the report:Rep. Nnoli Nnaji stated that the Bill seeks to regulate the constitution of the board of the College of Aviation Technology. This is so that it can function as a tertiary institution and make it more professional and efficient.
Summary of voting:Clauses voted on and approved: 1-48________________________________________________________________________________________________________ HOUSE IN PLENARY The House reverted to plenary and adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole following a motion by the Leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa and seconded by the Chief Whip, Rep. Mohammed Monguno.________________________________________________________________________________________
The House suspended its relevant rules so it can adopt the votes and proceedings of the day following a motion moved by Rep. Abubakar Fulata and seconded by Rep. Benjamin Kalu________________________________________________________________________________________
The House adopted the votes and proceedings of the day following a motion moved by the Leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa and seconded by the Chief Whip, Rep. Mohammed Monguno ________________________________________________________________________________________
Adjournment:The House at 13:57 adjourned plenary till Tuesday, January 25th, 2022 by 11:00 following a motion for adjournment moved by the leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa and seconded by the Chief Whip, Rep. Mohammed Monguno.