Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.
After leading the opening prayer and the National Pledge, the Speaker went on to examine and approve the votes and proceedings for Thursday, February 20th, 2020
1. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila informed members to ensure they meet under their state caucuses, sign and submit their nomination forms nominating one member per state who will represent the states at the constitution review exercise. He stated that the deadline has been moved forward for a single day to allow members to comply.
2. Honourable Members should submit the names of four members from their constituencies to the office of the chairman, House committee on poverty alleviation Rep. Abdullahi Salame to serve as N-Power supervisors.
MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1. Rep. Unyime Idem moved a motion calling on the federal government to appoint the required seven commissioners into the Federal Character Commission to ensure it functions optimally and it was seconded by Rep. Julius Ihonvbere.
Rep. Idem stated that the last remaining commissioner is the chairman who is in an acting capacity and is expected to retire by April 2020, hence the need to ensure the full constitution of the commissioners to reflect the interest of all zones of the country which is in line with the spirit of federal character.
Rep. Julius Ihonvbere stated that the proper constitution of the federal character commission is critical to promoting national unity, Justice, equity and fair play. Rep. Toby Okechukwu stated that the required components of a critical organization like the Federal Character Commission should never be neglected, and it is unfortunate for the case to be so.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
2. Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai moved a motion on the urgent need to address the illegal and forceful occupation of farmlands and incessant attacks on farmers by suspected herdsmen in Ndokwa and Ukwani community of Delta state and it was seconded by Rep. Ndudi Elumelu.
Rep. Ossai stated that the continued harassment has had the negative effect of deterring the farmers from carrying out their normal functions of providing food security for the nation. He called on the inspector general of police to draft more security personnel to ensure calm and normalcy in the region. He also called on the national emergency management agency to provide relief for the victims of these attacks and that the House committee on national emergency should ensure compliance to the prayers of the motion so that the victims can get succour.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
3. Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakub moved a motion on the recent attacks by suspected Boko Haram insurgents on diverse communities in the Northeast and it was seconded by Rep. Musa Sarkin Ada. Rep. Yakub expressed sadness that the morale and confidence of people of the region have waned tremendously due to the seeming inability of the security personnel to secure the populace. He called for the adoption of a specialized homegrown mechanism to overrun the insurgents if the norm has ceased to be efficient.
Rep. Yakub also called for fresh ideas from the head of the security units. He called for the engagement of more military personnel if the shortage is the cause of their inability to quell the insurgents. Rep. Yakub called on the Federal government to deploy more military personnel to the region and to restructure the security architecture to reflect the reality of the times, and to provide relief and socioeconomic empowerment tools for the affected.
Rep. Musa Sarkin Ada also expressed sadness that the security chiefs have not been able to quell the insurgency, especially as most of them are indigenes of the Northeastern region, this he said is especially sad as nothing is denied them in terms of funds and logistics for them to succeed. Rep. Sarkin Ada called for a thorough investigation into the failure of the security architecture and punish those found culpable.
Rep. Zakaria Nyampa decried the situation where numerous resolutions of the House towards improving the security of the nation are not acted upon by the security architecture. He called for a quick and final resolution to the insecurity situation in Nigeria.
Rep. Ahmed Jaha expressed sadness at the avoidable and unabated attacks that have continued to ravage the Northeast. He called on the government to take decisive action before the insecurity engulfs more regions in the nation.
Rep. Haruna Mshelia proposed an amendment to the prayers of the motion to ensure it covers all affected communities in the region.
Rep. Victor Mela called for a change form the norm and for the application of practical strategies to get rid of the insurgents.
The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1. Federal University of Agriculture, Wase (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.746) (Rep. Ahmed Idris) – First Reading.
2. Federal Polytechnic Kishi, Oyo State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.729) (Rep. Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde) – First Reading.
3. National Convict and Criminal Records (Registry) Bill, 2020 (HB.730) (Rep. Namdas Abdulrazak Sa’ad) – First Reading.
4. Chemical and Biological Weapons (Prohibition) Bill, 2020 (HB.731) (Rep. Namdas Abdulrazak Sa’ad) – First Reading.
5. Federal University of Agriculture, Igboho, Oyo State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.732) (Rep. Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde) – First Reading.
6. Federal Medical Centre, Igboho, Oyo State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.733) (Rep. Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde) – First Reading.
7. Federal College of Education, Igbeti, Oyo State (HB.734) (Rep. Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde) – First Reading.
8. Federal College of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Mubi, Adamawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.735) (Rep. Ja’afar Abubakar Magaji) – First Reading.
9. Nigerian Electric Power University, Gantsa, Jigawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.736) (Rep. Magaji Da’u Aliyu) – First Reading.
10. Nigeria French Language Village (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.737) (Rep. Magaji Da’u Aliyu) – First Reading.
11. Nigeria Arabic Language Village (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.738) (Rep. Magaji Da’u Aliyu) – First Reading.
12. Regulation of Ecological Funds (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.739) (Rep. Ibrahim A. Isiaka) – First Reading.
13. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB.740) (Rep. Babajimi Benson) – First Reading.
14. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB.741) (Rep. Babajimi Benson) – First Reading.
15. Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.742) (Rep. Babajimi Benson and 6 Others) – First Reading.
16. Tertiary Hospitals Development Tax Fund (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2020 (HB.743) (Rep. Ogunlola Omowumi Olubumi) – First Reading.
17. Akanu Ibiam Federal University of Technology, Unwana (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.744) (Rep. Igariwey Iduma Enwo) – First Reading.
18. National Infrastructure Management and Maintenance Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.745) (Rep. Ben Rolland Igbakpa) – First Reading.
19. Federal College of Education (Technical) Lafiagi (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.747) (Rep. Ahmed Abubakar Ndakene) – First Reading.
20. Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB.748) (Rep. Mansur Manu Soro) – First Reading.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
1. A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal College of Education (Special), Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State, to Provide full-time Courses Teaching, Instruction and Training in Technology, Applied Science, Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities and Management; and for Related Matters(HB. 169) – Third Reading.
Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa moved for the third reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata.
The Bill was voted on, approved for third reading, the Clerk read its long title and it was passed.
2. A Bill for an Act to Alter Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to extend Immunity to cover Presiding Officers of Legislative Institutions; and for Related Matters (HB. 325) (Rep. Odebunmi Olusegun) – Second Reading.
Rep. Olusegun moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Akin Alabi.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila stated clearly that if the timing of the Bill seeks to commence immediately, it would look like a conflict of interest for him to preside over the debate unless it will commence from the 10th Assembly.
Rep. Olusegun in leading the debate stated that the legislature is the cradle and express definition of a democratic type of government hence the need to guard the presiding officers against being hindered via any guise from discharging their due duties when elected to do so. Rep. Sergius Ogun in speaking against the Bill stated that if the judiciary works effectively, the law should be a bridge and not a barrier, and hence there is no need for immunity. Rep. Solomon Bob also speaking against the Bill stated that Nigerians are already uncomfortable with the immunity enjoyed by the executive and he is of the opinion that all forms of immunity cover for any office should be thrown out. Rep. Dan Asuquo called for the support of the Bill so that Nigerians can give their view at the public hearing stage so that the decision would be ultimately theirs.
Rep. Luke Onofiok stated that since this is part of the constitution amendment and not a stand-alone Bill, it will be binding on the Speaker once the President assents to it and it would not be the Speaker’s fault should this happen.
Rep. Ndudi Elumelu stated that the timing of the Bill looks like being insensitive to the sensitivity and plight of Nigerians who do not enjoy the national safety they deserve in recent times.
Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa stated that the Bill should be judged on its relevance and merits, even if it deals with issues surrounding the parliament. He praised the Speaker for being transparent but called for the merits of the Bill to be addressed and applied if it is found to be necessary.
Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakub praised the spirit of the Bill as it seeks to shield and protect the leadership of the legislature from undue persecution, within the ambit of the law.
Rep. Abubakar Fulata stated that the essence of the Bill is to guard against unnecessary distraction and undue intimidation of the presiding officers of the institution of the National Assembly, and not geared at shielding any individual and should be supported.
Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno stated that the Bill will protect the offices of the presiding officers despite who occupy them, so it is not based on sentiments, but on principles, so the Speaker should not feel guilty in presiding over the Bill. He stated that the fact that only the legislature doesn’t enjoy the functioning immunity is unfair.
Rep. Toby Okechukwu stated that the peculiar means by which African Presidents wield enormous dictatorial powers against any perceived adversary should be guarded against, so the need to ensure the powers and privileges of the legislature is not only secure but should be seen to be secure. He called for the passage of the Bill to the public hearing stage so that Nigerians can have their input.
Rep. Nkem Abonta stated that the general image of the National Assembly would be demoralized if the principal officers are being barraged with frivolous accusations while in office, this he stated would be detrimental to legislative deliberations and business.
The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the special Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Nigerian Constitution.
3. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal University, Oye–Ekiti Act 2015 to make Provision for a Change of Name of the Federal University, Oye–Ekiti to Adeyinka Adebayo Federal University, Oye–Ekiti; and for Related Matters (HB. 212) (Rep. Adeyemi Adaramola) – Second Reading.
Rep. Adaramola moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Bunmi Ojo.
In leading the debate Rep. Adaramola stated that the Bill seeks to amend the Act so that it reflects current realities surrounding the identity of the institution.
Rep. Olanrewaju Ibrahim stated that the renaming of the institution was in celebration of a late hero of the region, in commemoration of all he did for people in the region.
The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on tertiary Education.
4. A Bill for an Act to Establish Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria to enhance and promote Indigenous participation in the Nigerian Maritime Sector, Accelerate Capacity Building in the Maritime Sector; and for Related Matters (HB. 531) (Rep. Mansur Manu Soro) – Second Reading.
Rep. Mansur Soro moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Anthony Afe.
Rep. Soro in leading the debate state that the Bill seeks to enforce the cabotage Law to ensure the effectiveness of the maritime sector and its resources to ensure the prosperity of the nation from the maritime sector and discourage any form of sabotage that is prevailing in the sector as these have the negative effect of draining and denying the government of scarce resources that should be derived for the maritime sector.
Rep. Abiante Dagomie stated that he is not convinced that the maritime sector needs a designated bank to it, as part of the maritime industry of Nigeria; the industry bank should suffice for incorporating its needs. He stated that giving the maritime sector a designated bank may make financial supervision harder.
Rep. Olajide Olatunbosun stated that there is the need to run away from the practice of setting up new institutions to correct things that go wrong in different sectors. He called for the correcting of the lacuna in the Act instead of looking to set up a whole new institution.
Rep. Uzoma Abonta called for expert participation in the need or lack of, for setting up of the financial institution to administer the funds. He understood the concerns for duplication, but if the dedicated bank would promote the due exploitation of the resources of the maritime sector for the good of Nigerians, it should be encouraged he stated. The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration.
5. Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly:
Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata:
(i) Age Discrimination (Eradication) Bill, 2019 (HB.495); and
(ii) Plastic Bags (Prohibition) Bill, 2020 (HB. 496)
Notes that pursuant to Order Twelve (12), Rule 16 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, Bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence was made or negatived or passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence was made or negatived or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the Assembly, the House may resolve that such Bills, upon being re-gazetted or clean copies circulated, be re-considered in the Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo;
Also notes that the aforementioned Bills were passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the last Assembly;
Aware that the Bills were re-gazetted as HBs. 495 and 496 respectively and read the first time;
Commit the Bills to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
Rep. Abubakar Fulata moved the motion on the reconsideration of outstanding Bills of the preceding Assembly and it was seconded by Rep. Onofiok Luke.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
6. Need to Reinforce the Security Personnel to Safeguard Road Users from Incessant Robberies and Kidnappings at Ohukabi-Ndai-Ijibi Axis of ABSU-Ahaba Road and Ugwe-Ogwe Axis of Uturu–Afikpo Road in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State:
Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.
Notes that the primary purpose of government is to provide for the security and welfare of the citizens despite the efforts of government, insecurity has been on the rise in many parts of the country;
Informed that in Ohukabi -Ndi-Ijibi axis of ABSU- Ahaba Road and Ugwu Ogwe Axis of Uturu-Afikpo Road in Isuikwuato Local Government Area, the situation is almost out of control as armed robberies and kidnappings have become the order of the day in the last few weeks;
Also informed that no fewer than 10 cases of kidnappings and armed robbery attacks occur on that axis weekly, putting the lives and properties of indigenes, residents and even travellers in danger, thus making them live in perpetual fear;
Worried that if nothing is done to bring the situation under control, it would continue to worsen thereby becoming ticking time bomb as criminal elements hold sway along those routes causing law-abiding Nigerians to recoil in apprehension;
Cognizant of the need for the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to contain the tide and wave of those criminal elements in their reign of terror in those areas;
(i) Urge that the Inspector General of Police, Mr Abubakar Mohammed Adamu, as a matter of urgency, to deploy more policemen to man those areas with the view of preventing the incidences of kidnappings and armed robberies in those areas and also bring the criminals to justice;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Police Affairs to ensure implementation.
Rep. Nkeriruka Onyejeocha moved the motion on the need to reinforce the security personnel to safeguard road users from incessant robberies and kidnappings at Ohukabi-Ndai-Ijibi axis of ABSU-Ahaba Road and Ugwe-Ogwe axis of Uturu–Afikpo road in Isuikwuato local government area of Abia State and it was seconded, Rep. Beni Lar.
Rep. Onyejeocha in shedding light on the motion stated that the rising spate of acts of banditry and kidnapping has risen to daily occurrences. She stated that the road had been destroyed by erosion and the hoodlums take advantage of the impassable road to wreak havoc on road users. She called for better security presence for travellers and communities of the region. She also called for security cover for contractors that will be employed to rehabilitate the road so that the problem can be resolved.
7. Need to Restore Sapele Inland Port and Relocate the Nigerian Navy College from Sapele Seaport:
Rep. Oberuokpefe Anthony:
Notes that Delta State is endowed with the highest concentration of seaports in the country which include the as old and new Warri Ports, Forcardos koto, Burutu and Sapele Ports which has one of the best complexes in Nigeria;
Concerned that the endless promises by the Federal Government to dredge the Escravos channel and Warri Ports that will lead to full operation of those ports have remained unfulfilled even after proclamation that the Nigeria Ports Authority has approved the sum of thirteen billion naira (N13,000,000.00) for Award of contract for the dredging;
Aware that the Ports were the earliest employers of labour in the old Mid-Western Region, that boosted economic activities of the areas;
Also aware that the pitiable state of the ports have diminished the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians who obtained various degrees in marine and related fields and had hoped to be employed in that sector;
Further aware of a resolution passed by the 6th House Representatives which mandated the Nigeria Navy to relocate, within 15 months, its Engineering Training College from Sapele Port to the Naval Logistics Centre in Oghara, Delta State which has not been complied with;
Convinced that reviving the Ports in Delta is the only solution to the current congestion of Lagos Ports where demurrage as high as $10,000 are being paid daily per vessel waiting to berth, thereby increasing the cost of imported goods and raw materials for industries.
Mandate the Committee on Ports and Harbours to investigate the failure of the Nigeria Navy to comply with the House Resolution and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Rep. Anthony moved the motion on the need to restore Sapele inland port and relocate the Nigeria navy college from the Sapele seaport and it was seconded by Rep. Luke Onofiok.
As an infrastructure-related motion, it was voted on and adopted.
8. Lingering Disputes between Ikot-Udo Village in Ika and Akirika Obu in Ukwa East Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom and Abia States:
Rep. Aniekan Umanah:
Notes that the protracted boundary dispute arising from the change of the name “Ikot Udo Ika” to “Akirika Obu” between Ikot Udo Village in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and Akirika Obu in Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State has been a source of lingering communal clashes which have claimed many lives and properties for decades;
Also notes Ikot Udo Village in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has a border with Abiaka Village in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, with no proximity or close boundary with Akirika Obu in Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State;
Recalls that since 1927, Ikot Udo village in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State had settled the boundary dispute between Abiaka Village in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State;
Also recalls that Abiaka people instituted a suit against Ikot Udo People in 1927 on the same land in dispute in Provincial Court and the case was resolved in favour of Ikot Udo people and since then, the Abiaka people have not challenged the judgement;
Aware that the National Boundary Commission had intervened in the demarcation of the boundary in order to ensure peace in the affected village in Ika Local Government Area, but their Commission is yet to implement its findings;
Cognizant that Decree No. 23 of 1985 erroneously carved part of Ikot Udo Village in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State to Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State, whereas Ikot Udo Village has no link or common boundary with Ukwa East Local Government Area and erroneously changed the name of “IKOT UDO IKA” to “AKIRIKA OBU”;
Concerned that the boundary dispute has caused several clashes leading to loss of lives and destruction properties thereby affecting the peaceful co-existence of the people of Ikot Udo.
(i) Urge the National Boundary Commission to release the results of the field tracing exercise, physical survey and demarcation which were carried out along the axis in September 1995;
(ii) Also urge the National Boundary Commission to release the White Paper on the last Boundary Demarcation exercise of 1997 headed by Hon. Justice R. D. Mohammed and to settle the dispute once and for all;
(iii) Further urge the National Boundary Commission to return all Ika Villages, venerated places and farmlands erroneously carved by the Decree into Abia State back to Akwa Ibom State where they rightful belong;
(iv) Again urge the National Boundary Commission to release, without further delay, the results of the ethnographic survey of border Communities along Akwa Ibom/Abia Interstate Boundary which it carried out on November, 2016.
Rep. Umanah moved a motion on the lingering dispute between Ikot-Udo village in Ika and Akirika Obu in Ukwa East local government areas of Akwa Ibom and Abia States and it was seconded by Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
9. Need to Investigate the Destruction of Homes and Properties by Naval Officers in Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency of Lagos State:
Rep. Oghene Emma Egoh;
Notes that the people of Abule Glass, Abule Elekpa, Bobukoji, Idimangoro, Babakati, Kopime, Akaraba, Inagbe, Abule Kamoru, Abule Alfa, Sokoto, Laje, Sopo beach, Kobena beach and lishe beach are indigenous communities and residents of the area in Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency, Lagos State who have lived together for over three hundred years;
Also notes that on 15 January 2020, there were unprecedented attacks which led to the destruction properties that where orchestrated by unknown persons wearing Naval uniform on in the above areas;
Informed that resident of those communities in the riverine areas of Amuwo Odofin, Lagos State woke up to see bulldozers and caterpillars, fully protected by people in Navy uniform, storming the areas and destroyed houses and properties of those indigenous communities that have Traditional Rulers and Baales;
Worried that no notice whatsoever was given to them, as they were taken unawares, and could not salvage any of their properties before they were crushed into rubbles and were then sent out of their lands;
Concerned that the displaced persons of the communities numbering over ten thousand women, children, men, Obas and Baales are stranded without being paid any compensation;
Aware that the people that carried out the ejection and the destruction of the properties claimed that it was due to illegal oil bunkering activities being carried out in the affected communities;
Observes that even if there was illegal oil bunkering in the areas, it was not everybody in the communities that was involved and therefore it was not fair that the whole communities were punished for the offences of a few unruly hoodlums in the areas;
(i) Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to find out the remote and immediate causes of the mayhem in order to provide a remedy to the problems and compensate thousands of people who were displaced;
(ii) Mandate the Ad-hoc Committee to identify the perpetrators of the illegal oil bunkering for sanctions to be meted out to them to avoid a repeat of such a dastardly behaviour.
Motion stepped down by leave of the House due to the absence of its mover.
10. Need to Boost Ginger Production and Exportation:
Rep. Gabriel Saleh Zock.
Notes that revenue drive is an important scheme necessary to finance the budget and enhance the government execute its programs and projects including financing of the budget, and for diversification of the economy;
Also notes that exports are a crucial component of a country’s economy as they facilitate international trade and stimulate domestic economic activities by creating production, revenue and employment opportunities for the Nigerian masses;
Further notes that ginger cannot be produced in Europe, thereby making its countries the highest importers of ginger in the world as since 2013, the import volume of ginger by countries of the European Union has increased by 12% annually. In 2017 alone, more than 70% of their total imports were sourced directly from developing countries;
Aware that on February 19, 2019, the Transparency Market Research a globally recognized Market Research, Analysis and Intelligence Firm predicted that the global ginger market is expected to gain revenue worth US$4.18 billion by the end of 2022;
Also aware that the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Prof. Adewumi Adeshina had posited on Thursday December 20, 2018 at the Africa International Investment Summit and Expo (Africinvest, 2018) that Nigeria has the best quality of ginger in the world, therefore making it next to crude oil;
Further aware that ginger is heavily produced in Kachia, Kagarko, Jaba and Zango Kataf Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, accounting for more than 80% of the total ginger produce in Nigeria and is the finest in the world, and the fact that ginger finds wide range application in culinary, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as pharmacology makes it an indispensable Community;
Worried that despite these statistics, there is no significant value to the Gross Domestic Product of the country, principally due to neglect by the government as there is little or no support from the government in terms of access to finance and promotion of the product by relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.
(i) Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to set aside a special intervention fund for ginger farming and processing for value addition and production of useful by-products;
(ii) Also urge the Federal Government to ensure that the loan mirror initiatives like the anchor borrowing for rice that was largely successful should be in selected States that produce ginger;
(iii) Further urge the Federal Government to also consider setting up a large-scale processing facility to enable farmers to clean the ginger and process them into many other by-products across the value chain;
(iv) Again urge the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide more processing facilities, and also secure all the necessary certifications like Good Agricultural Practices(GAP), Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and United State Department of Agriculture USDA to ensure immediate export;
(v) Call on the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to immediately designate ginger as a priority crop and give it the necessary attention it deserves;
(vi) Also call on the Federal Government to use the return from exports by of the product to finance government policies and programs in the ginger producing areas;
(vii) Mandate the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services, Commerce and Industry to collaborate with the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that ginger production is given due attention.
Rep. Gabriel Zock moved the motion on the need to boost ginger production and exportation and it was seconded by Rep. Abiola Makinde.
The motion was voted on and adopted.
11. Call on the Federal Government to make Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria Functional:
Rep. Onofiok Akpan Luke.
Notes that the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), before its privatisation, had the Federal Government of Nigeria, Forrestal of Germany and Reynolds Incorporated of America as major shareholders on an equity holding of 70 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent respectively;
Also notes that ALSCON, located in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, was an aluminium-producing plant that serviced Nigerian markets with aluminium products and provided jobs for thousands of Nigerians;
Further notes that the objectives of establishing the company were to utilize and enhance the country’s gas reserve and to discourage gas flaring in the Niger Delta, to establish a self-reliant aluminium factory, provide employment for Nigerians, impact technical/develop trained technical manpower, conserve and earn foreign exchange by meeting local aluminium demands and to aid the development of aluminium downstream industries.
Aware that between 1997 and 1999 when ALSCON was operational, the company provided employment for about 1,820 permanent workers and over 4, 000 casual workers, and the number of people employed was expected to increase with the expansion of the production capacity of the company;
Also aware that the company stopped operation on 6 June 1999 due to irreconcilable differences between some shareholders, coupled with other associated problems of lack of working capital, insufficient gas supply and non-dredging of Imo River, among others;
Further aware that those problems necessitated the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to privatise the company in 2004 for smooth operation and efficient service delivery;
Cognizant that by privatising ALSCON, it was expected that there would be improved management of assets of the company, job retention, job creation, technological advancement, empowerment of local communities, improved tax revenues and execution of corporate social responsibility projects for the communities;
Worried that since the privatization of ALSCON, there has not been any significant improvement in the operations of the company which is not producing any aluminium at the moment;
Also worried that the former staff of ALSCON and their families are facing hardship due to Federal Government’s failure to pay the retrenched staff their terminal benefits of N2.3billion, having only paid N4million to them;
Concerned that the assets of the company are deteriorating as they are not being put into use, serviced or maintained and with the level of unemployment in the country, ALSCON would have provided thousands of job opportunities for the teeming population;
(i) Urge the Federal Government to ensure the resumption of operations by the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) and to pay all the former staff of the Company the remaining terminal benefits of N2.3 billion; and
(ii) Invite the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to brief the Committee on Steel Development on the current state of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON).
Rep. Onofiok Luke moved the motion on the call on the federal government to make the aluminum smelter company of Nigeria functional and it was seconded by Rep. Jafar Mohammed.
Rep. Nkem Abonta proposed an amendment to ensure the Supreme Court’s judgement on the issue should be adhered to which should make the ALSCON functioning again and it was seconded by Rep. Dagomie Abiante.
The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.
12. Call on the Armed Forces to halt Incessant Attacks on Avwon, Agadama, Ohoror and Other Communities in Uwheru Kingdom of Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State:
Rep. Francis Ejiroghene Waive.
Notes that there have been a series of attacks on Avwon, Agadama, Ohoror and other communities in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State in the recent time;
Also notes that on Friday, 14 February 2020 approximately 20 people were killed by unknown persons who were aided by people in Army uniforms, while over 10 corpses have been recovered from the farms, with searches still ongoing;
Concerned that despite the killings over the last few years, not a single prosecution of the culprits to serve as a deterrent, has been recorded;
Informed that apart from the numerous lives lost as a result of the incessant attacks, the hoodlums have continued to destroy farmlands, make away with valuables and on other occasions, raped married women and young girls of the community as well as killed husbands and youths who intervened;
Further notes that as a result of the continuous attacks, farmers in various communities have refused to go to their farms for fear of being attacked and the people of the communities are living in fear and starvation as they are unable to farm;
Observes that given the effects on food security and the inherent adverse economic effects on the people, the activities of the unknown gunmen, if not checked, could result to self-help by the local communities which should not be encouraged;
Also concerned that the nefarious activities of the unknown gunmen have continued unabated for over three (3) years with devastating consequences and despite the routine activities of security agencies to tackle the menace, there is an urgent need for a more pro-active and sustainable approach to solving the problem by all stakeholders;
Aware that section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the welfare and security of the people shall be the primary responsibility of the Government.
(i) Urge the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to, as a matter of urgency, call a meeting of stakeholders in Ughelli North Local Government Area and Leaders of the Herdsmen to find a lasting solution to these recurring security challenges;
(ii) Also urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to, as a matter of urgency, provide relief materials for the victims of the attacks;
(iii) Mandate Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to pay a fact-finding visit to the affected communities and report back within the next three weeks for further legislative action;
(iv) Mandate the Committees on Army, Police Affairs and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to ensure compliance.
Rep. Francis Waive moved the motion on the call on the Armed Forces to halt incessant attacks on Avwon, Agadama, Ohoror and other communities in Uwheru kingdom of Ughelli northern local government area, Delta State and it was seconded by Rep. Shehu Ahmed.
Rep. Waive stated that the attacks have continued yearly and seems to be on the increase in the number of casualties and urged members to support the prayers of the motion so that the sufferings of the people can be alleviated.
The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the relevant committees of the House.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE) Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase presiding
13. A Bill for an Act to Establish Fisheries Research Institute of Nigeria, Ngo-Andoni for Fishery Research, Education and Cooperative Training in Nigeria; and for Related Matters, (HB.417) (Rep. Awaji-Inombek D. Abiante) (Committee of the Whole: 21/11/2019).
Synopsis of the report:
Rep. Abiante stated that the Bill was passed in the 8th Assembly but did not receive presidential assent due to lack of adequate knowledge as the existing fisheries institute address just a single section of fishes, not covered by the species in the brackish water region where the institution is proposed to be sited. These species he stated have high economic advantages and should be developed and not neglected.
Summary of voting:
Clauses voted on and carried: 1, 2, 5, 7
Clauses amended and carried: 3, 4, 6
The consideration of further clauses was stood down for further legislative input
14. A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal Polytechnic, Koko, Delta State to Provide for equity and access to Tertiary Education in the Country, make Comprehensive Provisions for its Due Management and Administration; and for Related Matters (HB. 381) (Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi) (Committee of the Whole:).
Synopsis of the report:
Rep. Thomas stated that the Bill seeks the establishment of the polytechnic for the provision of skilled manpower for oil companies in the region to address the lack of skilled manpower currently being faced. He stated that the Bill was passed in the 8th House of Representatives but did not get the concurrence of the Senate. He urged members to support the Bill so that people in the region do not have to travel the long distances they do now to acquire the requisite knowledge.
Summary of voting:
Clauses voted on and carried: 1-4
Clauses amended and carried: 5
The consideration of further clauses was stood down for further legislative input
15. A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Ondo for the Promotion and Development of Teacher Education in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB. 426) (Rep. Makinde Abiola) (Committee of the Whole:21/11/2019).
Synopsis of the report:
Rep. Makinde stated that the Bill seeks to repeal the former Act and enact the proposed one for the promotion of the development of teacher education so that the university can award fellowship and the likes
The consideration of the clauses of the Bill was stepped down so that the original Bill to be repealed can be furnished so that it can be compared with what is to be enacted.
Summary of voting:
Clauses voted on and carried:
Clauses amended and carried:
HOUSE IN PLENARY
The House reverted to Plenary and adopted its decisions in the Committee of the Whole
The House at 16:06 PM adjourned plenary till Wednesday, 26th, February 2020 by 11:00 A.M following a motion for adjournment moved by the Deputy Leader of the House, Rep. Peter Akpatason and seconded by the Minority Leader Rep. Ndudi Elumelu
Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives