The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has promised to reposition the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (TAC) to boost Nigeria’s relations with the International community.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Yussuf Buba (APC-Adamawa) made the pledge when he led other members of the committee on an oversight function on the directorate in Abuja.
NAN reports that the directorate the corps is a federal government agency responsible for the sharing of Nigeria’s know-how and expertise with other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
The scheme is to give positive boost to the conduct of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially as it relates to efforts at enhancing both sub-regional and regional cooperation.
Buba said that the committee was out to ensure that the aim for which the directorate was established was achieved for the good of all Nigerians.
“Honourable colleagues and distinguished members of this Committee, today,therefore, we are here to pose the right questions, seek the right answers and elicit all the commitment necessary for the rejuvenation of the TAC.
“Our task here is to, through our impassionate interventions, return the Corps back to its former winning ways where it held the beacon of light and pointed the ways to go to strengthen our South- South co-operation in those years.
“I, therefore, invite you all to engage our host truthfully in all areas the esteemed members think can truly further the realisation of the core mandate of the Corps,” he said.
Buba said that one of the statutory duties of a lawmaker is to question the activities of those in Government and public institutions in order to ensure that they comply with the very reason for their establishment.
The chairman said that it is a power bestowed on legislators by the Constitution saying that that oversight which is ensuring that things are properly done is oftentimes misunderstood as a witch hunt on other Arms of Government.
Buba said that TAC was established in 1987 to provide a platform to further co-operation and friendship with some countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region.
According to him, the TAC has stood through the years and has midwifed bilateral relations that truly point out our country as a global giant.
“Instead of doling out money to other nations at a time we knew we had gone ahead of them in some areas of life, our people wisely chose to offer them knowledge, expertise and skills in some fields of life that would offer maximum benefits in the end.
“In spite of the noble intentions of those who had the vision and,indeed, put up the framework for the establishment and operations of the TAC, there is no doubt today that the scheme has known better days.
“For instance, the entire scheme was built to go through periodical assessments and reviews; what has happened to these reviews?
“What about the management of funds including donations from individuals and institutions? What about employment policy especially in relation to Federal Character and other ideals that speak to our diverse nature as a country.
“The committee will engage TAC on the many grey areas to fashion new ways forward,” he said.
The Director-General of TAC, Dr Pius Osunyikunmi, told the parliamentarians that the directorate lacked funds to continue the noble work it began in 1987.
He expressed dismay at the slashing of the overhead cost in the 2020 budget, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’ diplomatic shuttle across Africa and other parts of the world.
Osunyikunmi said it had m increased the scope of TAC duties, requesting the committee to do it’s best to keep the Corps alive and thriving.
The DG said that the noble mandate of TAC and what it had achieved in the past would be too precious to jettison in haste.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
UNSMIL expresses deep concerns over the recent increase in abductions and enforced disappearances in towns and cities across Libya conducted by armed groups with total impunity. The Mission renews its call for the full respect of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by parties to this conflict.
Since April 2019, UNSMIL received reports of hundreds of enforced disappearances, torture, killings and displacement of entire families in Tarhuna city by the 9th Brigade “al-Kaniyat” of a wide variety of persons, including private individuals, state officials, captured fighters and civil society activists. In particular UNSMIL verified numerous summary executions at Tarhuna prison on 13 September by the 9th Brigade. UNSMIL also received dozens of reports of enforced disappearances and torture of civilians, including, but not limited to, civil society activists, journalists, migrants, and state officials by the “Nawasi” and the Special Deterrence Force (SDF).
In addition, the Mission documented many other cases of enforced disappearances. On 12 June 2019, the 9th Brigade “al-Kaniyat” abducted the Mayor of Qasser Bin Ghasheir municipality from his office, reportedly for refusing to handover his post to an individual nominated for the same position by the Brigade. On 17 July, 2019 Siham Sergewa an elected member of the House of Representatives was abducted from her home in Benghazi by armed men. On 29 February this year, the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces abducted a lawyer from the Budizira area in Benghazi, reportedly for publishing an anti-LNA video on social media. He was detained at the military wing of al-Kuweifya prison, in the city.
The Afriqiyah airlines General Manager was abducted on 1 March in Tripoli by the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) and was released on 5 March but abducted again two days later by the SDF. On 2 March, armed men from the “Security Operations Room” of the LNA in Derna arrested the General Manager of al-Harish hospital from his home at al-Sahil al-Shargi, who was reportedly subsequently released. On 11 March an engineer, working on the Great Man Made River was abducted from work, in Brak al-Shati, by an armed group, believed to be the Combatting Terrorism Unit. He was transferred to the Internal Security Unit in Benghazi where he has been reportedly tortured. As of today, the whereabouts of the aforementioned missing abductees remain unknown.
UNSMIL recalls that torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are a violation of international law, the Constitutional Declaration of 2011, domestic applicable law and, depending on the precise circumstances, may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. UNSMIL also calls for the establishment of an investigative mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council, as the simplest and strongest basis for promoting accountability in Libya.
UNSMIL will continue to monitor and document on human rights violations committed across Libya and report them to relevant international entities.
The House Committee on Housing and Habitat, Federal House of Representatives have lauded the Federal Housing Authority for its Housing Estate in Zuba, Federal Capital Territory.
Mr Mustapha Dawaki, Chairman of the committee who spoke on behalf of the committee during their oversight function at Abuja Mass Housing Project handled by the Authority on Wednesday in Abuja said,“the houses had integrity, and will stand the test of time”.
“We are very impressed with the kind of structures we have seen here, even my colleagues that are engineers and architects are well pleased.
“ From their comments there is no cause for alarm these buildings are buildings that have integrity and are affordable to civil servants, even people from the informal sectors can come here and buy houses.
“In the structures here, there are one bedroom, two bedrooms, three bedrooms flats and terraces, it is affordable to each and every person that wants to buy; depending on their income’’, Dawaki said.
Dawaki however said the committee observed that in areas of sites and services much work needed to be done and urged the authority to do something about it before rain sets in to prevent stagnant water.
“ My advice especially to the civil servants, that have served the country for many years is that they should also be able to get shelter for themselves, these are the kinds of opportunities they should have to get a house.
“They should have to get a house because we have Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria if you are a contributor of National Housing Fund, you can take this house and can get mortgage from FMBN not more than N15 million.
“Even the biggest, the three bedroom terraces is 15 million so which means that with your equity contribution, what you get from FMBN you can be able to buy this as a civil servant and at the same time.
“Because when you look at the year of retirement, you look at what you are going to contribute, the contribution you have in the FMBN with whatever is going to be augmented for you to buy then you can afford this house.
“Even people in the informal sector they can also buy these houses because it is not only the civil servants you have other sectors, you have cooperatives in different places, they can also come and buy they can buy as a cooperative and give to their people.
This is the kind of opportunity that is open to Nigerians to come and subscribe.
On if more funds would be allocated to the FHA for providing affordable houses for citizens, he said that the organisation generates funds by itself by building and selling off to off-takers and the money ploughed back into the pool to build more houses.
“They can also seek for amendment of the act and also do a kind of funding from private sector so that they can come and do all these things.
He added that the organisation could go into partnership with other organisations in a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
While speaking on reduction of the housing deficit in Nigeria, he said it was not only FHA that provides social housing.
He said Family Homes and the National Housing Programme in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were all meant to provide affordable housing for citizens.
NAN reports that a total of 764 units of houses are in the estate and would soon be ready for off-takers.
Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Isaac Aregbesola
The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to work towards uncovering the cause of the gas explosion in Lagos, with a view to preventing a re-occurrence.
This was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion of Matters of Public Importance by the Leader of Lagos Caucus, Rep. Dolapo Enitan (APC), at plenary on Wednesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Enitan recalled that on Sunday, March 5, 2020, Ado Soba of Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, was rocked by a catastrophic gas explosion.
He said that the magnitude of the explosion made it a national disaster following the unprecedented destruction, orchestrated by the gas plant explosion, which killed more than 30 people.
The Rep further recalled that many people, including the Principal of Bethlehem College, Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha; Mr Obi lyio, his wife and two children, Tochukwu and Kachi, all lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
“The explosion was so horrific that the epicenter of the blast created a gory cave and sent tremor into its immediate and far surroundings, which resulted in a lot of destruction of lives and properties.
“About 500 buildings that housed more than five thousand people were destroyed in the blast and thousands of people have been rendered homeless.
“More than two hundred people are receiving treatment in different hospitals, while many people are still trapped underneath the wreckage of collapsed buildings,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the Lagos State Government, following the incident, set up a relief fund of N2 billion, and made an initial deposit of N250 million into the account.
Rep. James Faleke (APC-Lagos), said that no amount of compensation could replace the lives lost in the explosion.
He attributed such avoidable incidences to siting of gas plants and fuel stations in residential areas.
According to him, having gas stations in residential areas is like sitting on a gun powder; it will surely explode.
He said he expected gas pipelines to be buried 300 meters in the ground, noting that they were however, laid on ground surface.
The House urged the Federal Government to assist victims of the explosion by supporting the relief fund set up by the Lagos State Government.
The green chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to give material assistance to all victims who suffered various degrees of injuries.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to declare State of Emergency on challenges facing youth development in Nigeria.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Reps Muda Umar, Kabir Tukur and Kari Elisha at plenary on Wednesday.
Moving the motion, Tukura said that the population of Nigeria, as reported by United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), has risen to about 201 million in 2019.
He said the report indicated that 60 per cent of the population was made up of youths aged between 15 and 35 years
He said that for Nigeria to attain meaningful economic development and for youths to be part of the global system, federal government must address the socio-economic factors bedeviling youths development in the country.
“If the current socio-economic challenges of unemployment, poverty, drug abuse, insecurity, access to quality educational and economic opportunities, corruption and greed in Nigeria are not addressed, they could undermine the stability and sustainable economic development of the country.
“The resultant effects of those challenges on youths are increasing crime rate such as kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, armed robbery, cyber crimes, prostitution and other vices,” he said.
The legislator expressed worry that some youths were being manipulated by politicians to either serve as thugs during elections or to engage in senseless anti-government protests as a result of their vulnerable conditions.
Tukura said that youths occupied strategic position in any country’s developmental process as their productive capacities and income generating activities contributed to economic development of any nation.
He said that declaring a state of emergency on challenges facing Nigerian youths have become imperative given the recent development in the country.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ali Baba-Inuwa
The House of Representatives Committee on Navy has lauded the Central Naval Command (CNC) of the Nigeria Navy, for its professionalism, discipline and prudent management of resources.
The committee Chairman, Rep. Yusuf Gagdi, who led other members as part of its oversight function to the CNC, with headquarters in Yenagoa, said the Navy has done well in spite of little resources available to it.
The committee members, who later inspected facilities at the youngest Command, decried the lack of infrastructure development in the command, saying the Navy need all the necessary tools to function optimally.
“Navy has done incredibly well, we don’t hide this and we say whenever we find ourselves. In term of the little resources made available to you, the quality of the projects is highly commendable.
“But, going round the Central Naval Command, particularly the headquarters, the base here, I am flabbergasted by the numbers of issues they have here, come up with the one I have seen physically.
“This is a command with the least number of facilities and the issue of accommodation has been coming up the last two years to this moment.
“The nature of the environment requires a lot of capital allocation to sand fill the environment before roads are constructed,” he said.
Gagbi said that it was mandatory to have a functional infrastructure in the command because of its location, huge economic potentials and also sharing boundary with other African countries.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Shehu Garba, said the CNC under his command has been able to slow down the level of criminality in the Niger Delta.
He said: “I wish to state that with the fluidity of the happenings in the nation’s maritime environment, the Central Naval Command, which was established in 2012, has continued to conduct rigorous routine naval operations and mounting dedicated operations to meet specific mandates.
“As the youngest Command with the youngest bases, much work has also been done to improve on the operational efficiency and welfare of naval personnel in the area.
“I have no doubt that the Nigerian Navy and indeed the armed forces of Nigeria will benefit immensely from your visit on oversight function to Navy formations in this area,” he stated.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ismail Abdulaziz
A Bill for an Act to amend the Births and Deaths Act, to eliminate requirement for payment of fees for registration of births and deaths in Nigeria has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Rep.
Sergius Ogun and Rep. Ademorin Kuye also seeks to
review upwards fine prescribed for violating provisions of the Act.
Leading the debate on Wednesday, Ogun said that bill had 11 clauses and that the objectives included removal of limitations on birth registration and to encourage citizens to register births of their children and that of dead persons.
The Rep said when passed into law, the bill will enable the National Population Commission to keep accurate data with regards to the nation’s population.
“It will give effect to the provisions of section 15 of the Act which provides that
the registrar shall upon registering a birth deliver to the informant,
free of charge, a certificate of birth
provided that no such certificate shall be issued in case of a stillborn birth,” he sai
Contributing to the debate, Kuye said that the bill, when passed will make it mandatory for parents, Pastors and Imams to register any child before naming ceremony was done.
The lawmaker said that there would be penalties for any one found violating the law to serve as deterrent to others.
Kuye said that the bill would help the country to have a better understanding of its population based on gender to make for more effective planning.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila referred the bill to the Committee on Population for further legislative action.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
The National Examinations Council (NECO), has vowed to sanction schools charging above the government-approved fee of N9,850 as registration fee for the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination.
Dr Abubakar Gana, Acting Registrar, NECO, said this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services paid an oversight visit to the Council’s liaison office in Abuja.
The committee had earlier made the observation that some schools were charging between N19,000 and N20,000 as registration fee for the examination.
Gana He said that the exam body had written to commissioners of education of the 36 states and the FCT, notifying them of the extortion going on in their schools against the directive of the Federal Government.
The NECO boss added that the exam body would continue to play an active role in ensuring that candidates were not defrauded while pursuing their education.
He said the council would engage members of the committee to monitor its examination and report any infraction to guide the council on appropriate actions to be taken.
“Not quite a month, we wrote to all the commissioners of education, highlighting that some schools, both public and private, are overcharging candidates.
“While the NECO fee itself is N9, 850, some are even charging N20, 000 in the name of administrative charges.
“Most of these schools are miracle centres, and what they do there is that they perpetrate malpractice.
“Candidates who are lazy and do not have confidence can go to the extent of paying N50, 000 to register so they can have their way.
“We are on it. You too have a very critical role to play.
“We will make sure that in all our activities, we would make you part of the monitoring team so you can see what is happening and at your own convenience, write a report to us,” he said.
Gana also appealed to the National Assembly for a review of NECO’s budget, lamenting that the exam body had not embarked on any capital project for the past three years.
He said apart from conducting examination, NECO was finding it difficult to execute any project due to low allocation to the agency.
He said in 2018, it was budgeted that the council would purchase 18 Hilux pickups, but only N7 million was released for that purpose; and which was not even sufficient to purchase one.
In his response, Prof Julius Ihovbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, said the committee had a lot of confidence in NECO and those managing the agency.
Ihovbere said feedback from his constituency suggested that NECO was doing exceptionally well.
“We believe you are playing a very great role; the only way to better appreciate it is to imagine a Nigeria without NECO,” he said.
According to him, the limitations NECO faces is not from the inability of the council to deliver, but it is because of the challenges confronting the exam body.
He expressed confidence that both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would approve a review of NECO’s budget to enable it execute its mandate effectively.
Edited By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
The House of Representatives says it has resolved to stop taking visitors in the National Assembly Complex until the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is curbed.
The recommendation was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matter of Urgent Public Importance by Chawai Mouktar, representing APC Kaduna at the plenary on Wednesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Mouktar said there was need to enforce all measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
He said that sanctions should be place on those who contravened the processes put in place to control the virus.
Herman Hembe (APGA-Benue) urged members in the habit of traveling abroad to desist from doing so.
According to him, such travels in the name of attending conferences or workshops were endangering the parliament.
The house called on the management of the National Assembly to immediately enforce temperature test for staff and legislators.
The lower chamber recommended the close down of worship places in the country as done in the Vatican, Saudi Arabia and Iran to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
The lawmakers urged the Ministry of Aviation to ban all foreign flights and clear all the ‘touts’ in and around the airports.
The green chambers recommended that temperature test should be conducted at all public structures in the country.
The parliament called on the federal government to sign an agreement with Singapore to produce and supply test kids to Nigeria.
The legislators called for the deployment of more manpower to all entry points to check and test people coming into the country.
The house also urged security agents at the borders to be at red alert and monitor entry and exits of people.
The lawmakers, however, voted against shutting down of all schools in the country for 14 days.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated all relevant committees of the house to ensure compliance.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that there so far eight confirmed cases of the virus in the country.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Sadiya Hamza
The House of Representatives resolved on Tuesday in Abuja to assess and audit the health facilities provided by the League Management Company (LMC) for league matches across the country.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion on need to investigate the cause of death of Chineme Martins, a player with Nasarawa United Football Club of Lafia.
While moving the motion at plenary, Rep. Dachung Bagos (PDP-Plateau)
Martins had on March 8 slumped on the football pitch during a match in Lafia and died.
He said the first aid manual and related healthcare issues for football which was the standard for international best practices was not adhered to.
The Rep said it provided guidelines for scene safety, safe environment, first aid, assessment of injuries and basic life support among others, but were all ignored in that case.
“Article 10, No. 3, Grade `A’, Players’ Welfare 6-9 of the Nigeria Football Federation Club Licensing Regulations which deal with annual medical examination provides regulation for examination which was also not adhered to.
“Article 11, No.101, Grade `A’ of the Football Federation Club licensing regulations give specific guidelines on first aid equipment and facilities that must be available. But there was no first aid or ambulance service on that day.
LMC has not taken necessary steps to ensure compliance by providing necessary medical equipment and ambulances,” he said.
Bagos said that if those facilities were present at the stadium, Martins would not have died that way.
The House then urged the NFF and LMC to ensure that first aid and emergency response with ambulance services were on standby at all match events in line with international best practices.
The members later
observed a one-minute of silence in honour of the late Martins.
In his ruling, the House’s Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila
mandated the Committee on Sports to investigate the cause of Martins’ death.
He mandated the Committee to also audit the health facilities provided by the LMC for league matches across the country and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Olawale Alabi)