The green chamber of the National Assembly otherwise known as the lower chamber yesterday debated a bill seeking immunity for presiding legislative officers of the National Assembly
The Bill specifically is proposing to amend the 1999 constitution in order to extend immunity to the presiding officers of the National Assembly which has something to do with president and deputy president of the Senate, speaker and Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by Odebunmi Olusegun is 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. The bill scaled through second reading after several debates.
Olusegun (APC, Lagos) stated that the bill was intended to protect the institution of the legislature from the distraction caused by unnecessary legal actions against the presiding officers.
The Majority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, who kicked against it, noted that it came at a wrong time as the issue of insecurity should be the matter on the front burner of the legislature. He called for the annulment of the motion. “There’s nothing the presiding leaders are doing for them to deserve immunity,” he said.
The House Leader, Ado oguwa, who supported the bill said that the prevention of distraction “which is the reason for the immunity adoption by the executive” should be extended to the legislative arm whom he said deserved similar support to help avoid harassment during the discharge of their duties while in power.
The house also passed for a second reading, a Bill for an Act to establish a Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria to enhance and promote indigenous participation and accelerate capacity building in the maritime sector.
The bill which was sponsored by Mansur Soro (APC, Bauchi), seeks the establishment of the bank that will focus on promoting accelerated participation of indigenous entities in the Nigerian maritime sector through targeted industry-focused banking products that will enhance local capacity and contribute to the prosperity and development of the country.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Finance has asked the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide evidence of remittances into the Consolidated Federation Account from 2006 to 2018 before March 3.
The chairman of the committee, James Faleke (APC-Lagos), at an investigative hearing yesterday demanded that the management of SEC reappears to reconcile the commission’s remittances with the report of the accountant general of the federation.
SEC allegedly failed to make remittances during the period under review running into billions of naira.
“Furnish this committee with SEC’s surplus account details, evidence of remittances if any, all account statements of special funds.
“Give us the list of trustees of the funds, names of the members of the secretariat to date, sources of the funds used to finance deficit budget and a letter authorizing SEC to borrow money, if any,” Faleke said.
According to him, the committee is not to hunt anybody but to ensure there are enough funds to implement 2020 budget.
The Acting Director-General of SEC, Mary Uduk, told the committee that they were ready to furnish it with all relevant documents.
The house also passed a vote of no confidence in the nation’s service chiefs, asking them to resign their appointments with immediate effect.
Also, the lawmakers urged the executive arm of government to, as a matter of urgency, reorganize the entire security architecture of the country to reflect the existing realities.
The house had, about a month ago, reached a resolution, asking the top military brass to either resign or be sacked by President Mohammadu Buhari who appointed them.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Yusuf Buba from Adamawa State under matters of urgent public importance on the need for the Federal Government to provide adequate security and relief materials to parts of his constituency attacked by insurgents, and for the military to review its strategy in its campaign against terrorism.
Buba’s motion came on the heels of the recent attacks, including the burning of churches, in Garkida community in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State. He decried the rising insecurity that has continued to claim innocent lives and property of the people.
He said: “It is easy to recall that in the last few weeks, the Auno in Borno State and Garkida in Adamawa State suffered attacks, including others that were not reported, which have left the world asking questions that remain unanswered.
“These attacks coming ferociously after a time the insurgents were said to have been highly degraded, to say the least, have left our people in even more grave danger and have left our homes, business premises, places of worship, farms and, above all, lives at the mercy of the insurgents.
“If nothing urgent is done to increase the number of our soldiers by way of massive recruitment, the number of our men in the theatres of conflict, sadly, will continue to decrease and their morale will drop considerably while our nation may have a sad recourse to pre-2015. God forbid.”
Sarki Ader from Sokoto State, who contributed to the motion, said that the sorry situation should naturally invoke shame to the service chiefs and the NSA who could not stop the attacks.
Nyampa Zakaria from Michika Federal Constituency, Adamawa State said that more drastic action needed to be taken to arrest the attacks.
“This country is in danger. We know that there is insecurity, and nothing has been done by the Nigerian army. If there is no security of lives and property, we cannot be comfortable here. Mr. Speaker, we must find a way of solving this problem. Let’s do something and let’s do it urgently,” he said.
“Even though Nigeria walks through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil. Mr. Speaker, these people burn churches, mosques, kill everyone, we are fighting the devil. We need a strategy that will tackle these terrorists. It is time to bring new ideas in security.
“I join others to call for the resignation of all service chiefs. They have tried their best but we need new hands. People are dying. It will get to a time we will stand here and cry. These people are not producing results. We need other hands. We need a new strategy,” he said.