Tag Archives: #National Assembly

National Assembly: Why we updated our Legislative Agenda – Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the current realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have necessitated the House to review its Legislative Agenda launched last October and come up with an updated version.

The Speaker said the House took into cognizance the fact that COVID-19 came with a lot of challenges that could not be addressed by the first Legislative Agenda, which was prepared long before the outbreak of the pandemic.

In a keynote address at the retreat for the leadership and members of the House on the updated Legislative Agenda on Saturday in Abuja, tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians,’ the Speaker said the House would ensure it follows the objectives of the updated Legislative Agenda logically so as to achieve success.

Gbajabiamila said though the House came up with the last Legislative Agenda a year ago, “However, in all our planning and imagining, we did not know that the world will soon change drastically, in ways we could not then conceive of, and with consequences beyond our wildest imagination.

“Before now, the extent of our difficulties was well known to us. We have population growth that far outpaces the rate of economic growth. Insecurity has made vast swathes of our country uninhabitable for citizens and unattractive to investment.

“We are at war, fighting insurgents in the North East who want to remake our world in the image of a medieval theocracy. Our education system is producing graduates who cannot compete in the 21st-century knowledge economy.

“At the same time, economic and social inequity exacerbates our age-old conflicts, making cooperation and progress difficult, and often impossible.

“As a consequence of the new realities imposed on us by the Covid-19 pandemic, the question then is, how do you achieve your ambitions in a world where the signposts of certainty have moved so far that we can barely even see them, or recognise where they used to be?

“This is the reality from which the Nigerian people are looking to us for lasting solutions. Are we able to rise to the challenges of our times? I believe that we are. This updated Legislative Agenda, and the implementation plan which we have tagged ‘Our Contract with Nigerians’ sets out the new priorities of this 9th House of Representatives and commits us to a plan of action over the next year, and for the rest of our tenure.

“We have called this document a contract because that is what it is: a written account of what we owe the people and how we intend to meet our obligations within the shortest possible time. These documents represent our intention to be held accountable based on what we have freely committed to achieving, and which I am confident we will realize, to the glory of God and the edification of our people.”

Gbajabiamila said the retreat was an opportunity to empower members “with the confidence to dare and the skills to deliver.

“I encourage all of us to use the time here today to learn from the speakers and each other, exchange ideas and develop individual roadmaps that would guide our interactions as we work together to deliver a House of Representatives that meets the highest expectations of its citizens.

“I want you to remember today as always what our mission is: to protect those who need us, to shield them, to empower through opportunity, to decide what future we want and then to build it.

“This is our mandate, and we will deliver because we must, because there is no alternative. I pray for God’s guidance on all our endeavours and I wish journey mercies to all those who will be travelling today and the days ahead.”

In a goodwill message, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Bar. Boss Mustapha, said the retreat could not have come at a better time “because our nation and indeed the entire world is facing the most important emergency of our generation in the form of COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said the impact of the pandemic has disrupted all global systems, including governance, economy, lawmaking, food production, transportation, education and health systems to mention, which was why the legislature needed to recalibrate and reposition itself on the delivery of the expected outcomes of its contract with Nigerians “because the next three years will be very critical to our nation.”

The SGF, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), said the mutual relationship that currently exists between the Executive and the Legislature has made governance more result-orientated and development driven.

“The list of examples of mutual respect and understanding range from the respect for the principle of separation of powers, constant consultations, promptness in dealing with requests from the Executive, thorough and timely passage of the budget and a host of other positives steps taken by the legislature.

“There is no doubt that we are laying a sound foundation for future generations of Nigerians to build upon in governance, accountability and behaviour, all pointing in the direction of convergence of our determination to develop a peaceful, strong and virile nation.”

The updated Legislative Agenda is divided into three components: immediate legislative action, intermediate legislative action and long term legislative action so that the lawmakers would have the opportunity to propose laws and take actions that would fit in the current realities.

Signed:
Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

National Assembly Directives Not Binding on me — Keyamo

Keyamo insists he won’t hand over program to members of the National Assembly despite Ngige’s apology

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), says members of the national assembly are trying to bypass him in the recruitment of 774,000 citizens.

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) is meant to recruit 774,000 people under a special works programme.

The junior minister had engaged in a shouting match with some federal lawmakers when he appeared before them over the recruitment process last week.

Subsequently, the lawmakers put the recruitment process on hold but Keyamo said they do not have such powers.

At a meeting, on Tuesday, Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, apologised to Senate President Ahmad Lawan over the outburst of Keyamo, who was also in attendance.

Responding, Lawan said the labour ministry would enjoy legislative support as long as it is involved in the process.

The joint committee of the national assembly chaired by Godiya Akwashiki, senator representing Nasarawa north, then directed the NDE to submit a work plan on the implementation of the programme.

The panel asked the directorate to submit the plan on Monday.

But speaking with journalists after leaving the meeting, the junior minister said he would go back to President Muhammadu Buhari for further directives.

He said the directives of the national assembly were not binding on him.

“You can see that the whole struggle today has been how to bypass me in the execution of this programme and I’m sure that you all saw that,” the lawyer said.

“Now with the provisions of the law, how they are going to do that, I don’t know, I have to go back to my principal which is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to give directives.

“By section 3 of the NDE act, I am the chairman of the board. The minister is the chairman of the board of the NDE. When you say go back and bring a plan, you are still coming back to me. Secondly, if you look at section 15 of the NDE act, it said the minister may give directives of a general nature to the NDE. In other words, you cannot have a work plan without coming back to the minister.

“The third point is that by virtue of my appointment as a minister, the president gave a directive in October last year saying that I should go and supervise generally the activity of the NDE. I don’t see how you will supervise an agency and they go ahead without approval, the bulk must stop at a table.

“The fourth one, beyond the general mandate the president gave, the president also specifically instructed me by memo in May this year for me to go and supervise the execution of this project. How can you supervise a project without your final approval. That approval lies on my table.

“Section 16(1) of the NDE act, by instruction of the president, an inter-ministerial committee has already been proposed – which we accepted – that the committee must drive the selection process. Section 16(1) said the minister shall constitute committees for the NDE. The director-general of the NDE has no such powers to constitute committees under the law.

“So when you say go back and bring a plan, are you asking the DG to go and break the law? Are you saying the DG should disobey the president? Are you saying the DG should disobey his immediate boss which is his minister?

“I will go back to the president for directives. The directives as to execution of a project is not binding on me. The directives of the national assembly are not binding on me.”

The minister said at the end of the day, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of federation (AGF), would have to interpret the relevant laws under contention.

Powers of The National Assembly (Legislature) To Summon Members of The Executive Arm Under The 1999 Constitution

Barr S. G Idress, PP S. G Idress & Co. (Al-Mufeed Law), Bauchi State, Nigeria.

The recent seeming show of shame by the National Assembly in its joint Committee seating where it invited the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) has exposed the National Assembly, especially when after raising some concern or allegation of corruption or wrong doing in public, they later while the Minister did not get the full opportunity to respond to the issues raised, called for Executive Session and the Minister in his wisdom refused the offer.

Let’s consider section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) which gives the National Assembly the power to summon any member of the Executive with the view of examining the extend of their power in that regard. Section 88 provide thus:

” (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, 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 investigation into –

(a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and

(b) 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 –

(i) executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly, and

(ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.

(2) The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to –

(a) make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and

(b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.”

It is obvious from the provision of section 89 of the Constitution that the only reason that enable the members of the National Assembly to invite the members of the Executive is for the purpose of law making or exposing corruption and in doing so it laid down the necessary procedures for so doing. The section provide thus:

“(1) For the purposes of any investigation under section 88 of this Constitution and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 62 of this Constitution shall have power to –

(a) procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject matter;

(b) require such evidence to be given on oath;

(c) summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and

(d) issue a warrant to compel the attendance of 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, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refused or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.

(2) A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.”

Having a community reading between section 88 and 89 of the Constitution will only suggest that the National Assembly power under section 88 (2)(b) allow them to expose corruption, but one can hardly understand how they can expose corruption by going behind closed doors.

By: Barr. Idrees Safiyanu Gambo

Selection Process of 774,000 Jobs is Not SUSPENDED – Keyamo

Mr. Festus Keyamo, the Honourable Minister of State Labour and Employment, in a Press Release made available on 30th June, 2020, said: “Purported suspension of selection PROCESS of 774,000 jobs by National Assembly Committees: All states’ selection committees should proceed with their work unhindered.”

The full statement is provided below:

Today, in obedience to their invitation, I appeared before the Joint Committees on Labour of both the Senate and the House. The Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members sought to be briefed on the implementation of the Special Public Works Programme so far.

However, there was a misunderstanding between us when they questioned why I did not privately submit the program to them for vetting before taking certain steps. They suggested that they ought to have an input on how the programme should be implemented. In other words, they sought to control the programme as to who gets what, where and how.

However, I insisted that I could not surrender the programme to their control since their powers under the constitution does not extend to that. They insisted on a closed door session.

At this point, I remarked that it was only fair for me to respond to their position before the press, since their own position was also made public. In any case, I remarked that the Nigerian people deserve to know the details of the execution of this all-important programme.

I was then asked to apologize for insisting on a public interaction and I said there was nothing to apologize about, because their powers to expose corruption provided for in section 88 of the Constitution cannot be exercised in private. As such, there was no need to apologize by insisting on a Constitutional provision. Even their Rules that may provide for private hearings on public matters cannot override the provisions of the Constitution. I was then permitted to leave. I took a bow and left. I NEVER walked out on the respected Committees as they may want to bend the narrative.

After I left, I understand that the Joint Committees purportedly suspended the work of the Selection Committees nationwide until they decide how the programme should be run and who should be in those Committees. My opinion is that it is tantamount to challenging the powers of Mr. President.

I regret to say that their powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is only limited to investigations, but NOT TO GIVE ANY DIRECTIVE TO THE EXECUTIVE.

A Committee or Committees of both Houses do not even have powers to pass binding Resolutions. They can only make recommendations to Plenary. In this case, even Plenary CANNOT give DIRECTIVES to the Executive.

All my life, I have fought for good governance and constitutional democracy. I will not come into government and be intimidated to abandon those principles. I will rather leave this assignment, if Mr. President so directs than compromise the jobs meant for ordinary Nigerians who have no Godfathers or who are not affiliated to any political party.

I therefore, respectfully further direct all the Committees set up nationwide made up of CAN, NSCIA, NURTW, Market Women, CSOS, Youth Organisations, respected traditional rulers, etc to proceed with their work unhindered. Only Mr. President can stop their work.

Thank you.

FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN, FCIArb(UK)
Hon. Minister of State.

DIALOGUE: Keyamo Versus The National Assembly

Recently, the Federal Government embarked in another social investment program through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in which the sum of N52 Billion is set aside for the engagement of youths from the 774 Local Government Areas of the Federation. And the aim of the program is to employ 1000 persons from each Local Government.

Its from the background of the program that the following Dialogue ensued between the State Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) and the National Assembly:

National Assembly: How come that a Federal Government programme expected to gulp N52 Billion is being shrouded in secrecy?

Hon. Minister Keyamo: It is not shrouded in secrecy. Representatives of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), youth groups and market women are all on the selection Committee.

National Assembly: We won’t accept this from you. You should have privately submitted the program to us for vetting before taking certain steps. That would have enabled us have an input on how the programme should be implemented.

Hon. Minister Keyamo: No! Your powers under the constitution do not extend to that. You cannot control the program as to who gets what. That’s the function of the executive arm of government. Anything to the contrary will be tantamount to challenging the executive powers of Mr. President.

National Assembly: You’re always speaking big grammar. Wetin! Okay, come let’s go behind closed doors and conclude the meeting.

Hon. Minister Keyamo: No, sorry! I’m not ready to do anything in secret. You’ve already publicly questioned my actions. Let me also defend myself publicly.

National Assembly: You are disrespecting the authority of the National Assembly. Are you to tell us how to conduct the business of the National Assembly? We insist you come with us to the secret room.

Hon. Minister Keyamo: I’m sorry I won’t go to any closed-door meeting with you. You have already raised some fundamental issues before the media. The media also needs to know how it is addressed. We are in a democracy.

National Assembly: Then you can leave our premises, if you are not ready to discuss in secret with us.

Hon. Minister Keyamo: Why are you asking me to leave? If we are truly fighting corruption, then all our actions should be open to public scrutiny.

National Assembly: What do you know about corruption? Are you to teach us about the war against corruption? Look, if you are not ready to go into a closed-door meeting with us, you can as well pack your things and leave.

Hon. Minister Keyamo: Yes, I’ll rather uphold the provisions of the constitution and leave your premises, than have a secret collusion with you. Goodbye.

National Assembly: Really? You think you’re smart, right? Okay, we shall see!

Hahaha! My people how una see this one? You castigate a man in public and the man wants to defend himself. But you suddenly say, no! His defense must be in secret. If you wanted a secret deal with him, why did you have to first impugn his capacity and integrity in public? Haba!

From anonymous source.

365 DAYS OF THE 9TH ASSEMBLY, PLATEAU CENTRAL SENATORIAL DISTRICT IN FOCUS

Senator Hezekiah Dimka, Plateau Central & President M. Buhari

Part 2 : The Journey So Far – Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka – Daily Watch Press

Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka was sworn-in on the 11th June, 2019. Since then, he commenced his legislative duties with utmost hard work and dedication. He is guided by the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

Being a trained administrator and icon of development, his performances in the act of legislation so far in spite of his brief stay in the red chambers further demonstrate his untiring resolve to not only improve but to transform the lives of the people of Central Plateau, Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole. The tempo of development, progress and constituency projects in Plateau Central Senatorial District under the Distinguished is steady and unprecedented.

However, may we at this moment for the purpose of constructive engagements and benefit of doubt recall the functions of a Senator as a member of the Red Chambers.

The Senate is one of the Chambers in Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, the National Assembly whose power to make laws is summarized in chapter one, precisely, section 4 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (As Amended). The Constitution has vested in the National Assembly the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation.

The Assembly also has broad oversight functions and is therefore empowered to establish committees of its members to scrutinize Bills and the conduct of government institutions and officials. The Constitution confers exclusive powers to the Senate among them; is the power to scrutinize and confirm major appointments of the Executive arm. It is, however, specific about the appointments to be confirmed. They are those of the Ministers, Special Advisers, Ambassadors, and top Judicial Officers heading specified levels of courts, the Auditor-General of the Federation, and the Chairmen and Members of the vital National Commissions.

Since commencement of legislative activities one year ago and in line with his Constitutional mandates, Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka has worked to push forth some initiatives/Bills that appealed to the middle and lower classes. His actions are refined in response to public sentiments aimed at improving the people’s values and specific welfare sectors manifesting his achievements which reflect his legislative interests as education, security, agriculture, women and youth development. These are briefly highlighted:

POLITICAL/LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS

As a Senator, he serves on a variety of committees and chairs the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics. Though, not given to frivolities, Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka is more on the quiet but visible side. Nonetheless, as an achiever, he is one of the few Senators, the 9th Assembly relies upon to push its agendas. His Bill sponsorship and voting records indicates that he is a loyalist to the Nigerian project. He is considered to be among the most active members of the Red Chambers. Some of the Bills he sponsored and presented on the floor of the Red chambers include:

  • Bill for the establishment of Federal University of Technology Kabwir (awaiting second reading)
  • Bill for the establishment of the institute of information and communication technology Kanam (a degree awarding institution)
  • Bill for the upgrade of NDLEA Training Institute Jos.

Driven by the zeal to give back to his constituency, he became the first among others to establish a constituency office in fulfilment of Constitutional requirements. This office is located at Pankshin. It is furnished and open to all members of the constituency. The office is maned by seven (7) staff drawn from the five (5) LGAs of Plateau Central Senatorial District.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE/RESPONSE

Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka is increasingly known as a trusted and stabilising force within the Plateau Central Senatorial District. This is because of his quick response to calls in events of celebrations and disasters be it man made or natural. He quickly responded when the news of attacks in Bokkos, Kanke and Mangu LGAs got to him. Being the first senior government official to visit the scenes, he donated relief materials worth millions of naira in order to reduce the impact of loses suffered. More important, he forwarded a memo to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for appropriate action. On a different occasion, he had course to visit Bokkos when there was a fire incidence in a market.

Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka donated money to those who lost valuables in the inferno. He has also visited and identified with families of who have lost their loved ones. The most recent was the Late Rinji Peter Bala who was murdered by an STF personnel.

A man whose ideologies are people centred, he is unassuming and target driven. His main focus is the wholistic development of the people. He had on different occasions distributed trailer load of food and gift items to the people during celebrations. In one of such occasions, he donated many bags of rice and cows to Christians during Christmas celebration and to the Muslim community, during Salah celebrations.

Currently, Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka is engaging with security agencies to ensure that all the necessary laws and funds needed to ensure the safety of lives and property in the Central zone and the State as a whole, are put in place in order to mitigate future occurrences of security bridges.

Early this year when the Covid-19 infection was declared a global health pandemic, most nations of the world quickly locked down in order to limit the spread of the virus. Nigeria was not left out in the adoption of this approach but this came with unintended consequences of economic hardship. Being a man who cares about the well-being of his people, he cheerfully donated relief materials worth millions of naira as palliatives to the State Government Committee on COVID-19 for onward distribution to the vulnerable people of the State. This gesture was immediately acknowledged by the state governor as he was the first within his political class to have made such significant contribution to the State.

Driven by practical love and concern for the welfare of his people, Distinguished Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka secured and distributed grains and other assorted food items and sanitizers worth over ten million naira (10,000,000.00) to the needy in his constituency.

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

In order to sustain his people cantered developmental strides across the central zone, he set in motion frameworks which continued to drive the process in fiscal prudence, transparency and strategic intelligence. In doing this, he appointed 117 special aids selected from the 5 LGAs of Plateau Central Senatorial District. This was a purposive action directed towards poverty/unemployment reduction among the youth of Plateau Central Senatorial District. He has established and maintained a vibrant yet, functional liaison offices across the five LGAs of Plateau Central Senatorial District in order to remain not only close to the people he represents but connected as well. This is the reason why most of his developmental approaches are people centred. The Distinguished Senator went on to lobby for permanent and pensionable appointments to some youths with Federal government agencies, ministries and parastatals including higher institutions with a promise and strong indication that more are on the way.

AGRICULTURE/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The people of Plateau Central Senatorial District are predominantly farmers who are known for their dedication, honesty and peaceful disposition. Perhaps, these qualities placed them in the fore as people who are thirsty for development. They vigorously eschew things that weaken their greatness and are guided by the believe that patriotism cannot be substituted for any form of divide. They do not doubt the power of collective ideals rather, the people trusted the Senator to be the great force for change and they do not despair but believed in the promise and greatness of Senator Dimka to provide the ideals of governance and quality representation. Distinguished Senator Dimka reciprocated this trust as he is the first among present and past representatives who donated 3 trailer load of assorted fertilizer to the good people of Plateau Central Senatorial District. He followed this up with other financial donations in support of community mobilization efforts and developments with a promise to do more

Indeed, the negative perception of non-performance of the National Assembly has changed remarkably due to the distinguished efforts as exemplified in his numerous achievements in one year in office as the Senator representing the dedicated people of Plateau Central Senatorial District.

The new and exciting leadership direction, enduring stability and credible performance level of the Senator stems in part from the maturity, high sense of responsibility and gravitas demonstrated by Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka in his first year in office.

As we roll into the second year, we are sure he will consolidate and improve upon this foundation to enhance Democracy and its dividents.

Source: Comrade N. D Shehu Kanam, Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Hezekiah Dimka.