Second Quarter Assessment of Akpabio’s 10th Senate (part 2) By Mon-Charles Egbo

Put differently, until there is a government that is deliberate in recognizing legislative resolutions, good governance will remain in short supply.


However, the Senate, during the period under review, was consistent in demonstrating that the ultimate role of the legislature is to guarantee good governance. Among others, it courageously commenced “the process of revising the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria” which have largely become weak and obsolete. In this regard, twelve bills were introduced exclusively on the alteration of the 1999 Constitution.


Similarly, efforts at deepening democracy were accorded unusual attention. Apart from expeditiously confirming the nominations of ten resident electoral commissioners and urging the federal government to withhold the statutory allocation to the local government councils not democratically elected”; the Electoral Act Amendment bill was slated for public hearing while the one for the establishment of the National Electoral Institute was initiated.


Also towards a viable judiciary, while extensive legislative works commenced in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Retirement Age of Magistrates bills, the nominations of eleven Supreme Court justices including as well Prof. Gaji F. Dantata and Saka Bolaji Suleiman as members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, were confirmed.


Then by way of entrenching transparency in public service and governance, there were introduced, two separate amendment bills on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and also one each on the Code of Conduct Bureau, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Public Complaints Commission Acts. Others were on Whistle Blowers, Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food (Miscellaneous Provisions), Investment and Security, Internal Audit Agency, Audit Service as well as the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission bills. Meanwhile, the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act and the Electronic Transaction bills were referred to the concerned committees for necessary actions.


Again during the period, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Mr. Musa Adamu Aliyu as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Mr. Shaakaa K. Chira as Auditor-General for the Federation, Desmond Akawor as Member representing Rivers State in the RMFAC and then Mr Olanipekun Olukoyede and Mr Muhammad Hassan Hammajoda as Chairman and Secretary of EFCC, respectively.


Also, the Senate confirmed the nominations of the chairman and members of the Federal Civil Service Commission and investigated the reported “abuse of federal character principle, lop-sidedness and several infractions in the Federal Civil Service Commission and Related Agencies recruitments” aimed at guaranteeing equal opportunities for all towards national inclusion. It equally intervened on “the travails of Pensioners, their Next-of-Kin and deceased relatives over unpaid pensions, gratuities and other entitlements”.


Instructively, the oil and gas sector as the current major source of national income has continued to receive the deliberate attention of the Senate, amidst the efforts at diversifying the economy. During the period, it launched investigations into “all contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of all the State-owned refineries between 2010 and 2023” in addition to “the various Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) Projects of Nigerian Refineries in order to uncover waste and forestall further waste of scarce public resources”. The same intervention was deployed concerning the “Incessant and Nefarious Acts of Crude Oil Thefts in the Niger Delta” as well as the “implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) with regards to potential exits of international oil companies (IOCs) from Nigeria”. Then again, the Senate requested the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas to offer urgent explanation on “the nation’s preparation for Green Energy Sources in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”.


And towards consolidating these interventions, the Senate initiated amendments to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act and the Niger-Delta Development Commission Act in addition to confirming the nominations of Bashari Alka Indabawa, Engr. Enorense Amadasu and Mr. Babajide Oluwole as NUPRC executive commissioners.


In the mining sector, amendments to the National Institute of Mining and Geosciences Act and the National Mining Act and also the bills to establish the


Solid Mineral Producing Area Development Commission as well as the Mineral and National Mines Ranger Service received rapid attention. Before that, the Senate, through a motion, had urged “the federal government to provide stringent measures to safeguard the country’s solid mineral resources from all illegal miners (local and foreign nationals)”.


Still on its interventions towards peace and good governance, the Senate worked on “the National Roadmap as highlighted in the Orange Nigeria Initiative” in tackling the growing menace of gender-based violence; called on the federal government “to immortalize the memory of Mr. Taiwo Akinkumi, OFR,” the designer of the Nigerian National Flag, by “establishing a fitting and enduring tribute in his honour”, Meanwhile, the senate urged the federal government “to begin the process of upgrading the Muhammadu Buhari International Airport, Maiduguri, for international operations” and then played a major role leading to the suspension of the strike action declared by the organized labour following the “assault and police brutality on the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero”.


Equally reassuring is the Senate’s expressed convictions that qualitative education driven by qualified teachers is a panacea for lasting economic empowerment, poverty reduction and national development. Hence and towards enhancing access to robust teacher education, the following establishment bills were considered in favour of the Federal University of Information and Communication Technology Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Wushishi, Niger State, Federal University of Education (Technical) Potiskum, Federal College of Education (Special) Karaye, Federal University of Education, Gumel, Jigawa State, Federal College of Education Igbekebo, Ondo State, Federal University of Education Illa-Oragun, Osun State, Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education, Owerri, Federal University of Education, Nsugbe, Federal University of Education Hong, Federal University of Education Bichi, Federal University of Education, Ja’amare, Federal University of Education, Numan, Adamawa State, Federal College of Education Illo, Federal University of Education, Isiokolo, Delta State and the Federal University of Education (Technical)Gombe.


Others for specialized bodies of knowledge and skill include the Federal University of History and Archelogy, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Nigerian Aviation and Aerospace University, Federal College of Aviation Technology, Federal College of Geological and Cement Studies Iselu, Yelwa-North Ogun State, Federal College of Forestry, Wawa Zange, Dukku, Gombe State, Federal University of Transportation, Daura, Katsina State, Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Auctioneers.


Also, bills to establish the Federal University Birnin-Kebbi and the Federal Polytechnic Kabo as well as those to amend the National War College, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria Acts in addition to two on the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act were presented.


Meanwhile, the Senate had intervened on “the travails of one Miss Chinyere Ekwe and 290 other students who were admitted to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, but had their admission truncated on the order of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, JAMB, for no plausible reasons, after they had completed the admission processes and resumed lectures”. Consequently, amendments to the JAMB Act have since commenced.


And by way of accelerating actions against the prevailing threats to food security, the Senate, in its second quarter, vigorously pursued the compelling goal of elevating agriculture as a valid option for oil and gas in national income earning. As boosts, several bills were introduced in favour of the National Food Reserve Agency, National Food Safety and Management Council and Nigeria Tea Development Authority, Donkey Slaughter Regulation and Export Certification, National Agricultural Land Development Authority Act and Cassava Flour (Mandatory Inclusion into Flour Production) in addition to 9 separate bills on Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act.


Others included the Federal University of Agriculture, Dambatta, Federal College of Crop Science and Food Technology, Lere, Kaduna State, Federal College of Agriculture and Tropical Studies Efon Alaye, Ekiti State, Federal University of Agriculture and Entrepreneur, Bama and Federal University of Horticulture, Dadin-Kowa, Gombe State.


And again, through a motion on “the Outbreak of a Deadly Disease Affecting Ginger Production in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State”, the Senate collaborated with the National Agricultural Quarantine Services, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the National Emergency Management Agency for urgent solutions.


Then conscious of the place of health in national development, the Senate commenced thirteen separate amendments to the Federal Medical Centre Act, two to the Federal Orthopaedic Hospitals Act and one to the Nigerian Medical Research Council Act.


Also, it initiated bills for the establishment of the Tertiary Hospital Trust Fund, Federal College of Health Technology, Song, Adamawa State, Waste Management and Malaria Eradication Agency, National Eye Centre, Doma, Federal University of Health Sciences and Technology, Kankia, Health Infrastructure Development Agency, Terminal Illness Trust Fund, Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Kaduna, Federal Paediatric Centre, Maiduguri, Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital, David Umahi University of Health Sciences, Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Egbe, Kogi State and Medical Physics Regulatory Council of Nigeria.


Again and conscious that a productive youth populace is the heartbeat of any nation, the Senate, through a motion on “the Menace of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, proffered “solutions to drug abuse and associated problems” with a call on “the federal government to declare a national emergency on drugs and narcotic and substance abuse in Nigeria”.


Cumulatively, bills to amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Act and the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) Act as well as those for establishing the National Youth Development Agency and the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund were presented.


Further to its commitment to facilitating governance, the Senate during the second quarter screened and confirmed other presidential nominees added to those mentioned earlier. They included Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim (Kwara), Balarabe Abbas Lawal (Kaduna) and Mr Ayodele Olawande (Ondo) as ministers-designate, Chairman and Members of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Aminu Maidu as Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Zacch Adedeji as Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, 20 Commissioners for the National Population Commission, Mrs. Delu Bulus Yakubu as National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency. She was later replaced by Mrs. Halima Shehu upon another round of screening and confirmation.


The Senate approved the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) culminating in the timely passage of the 2024 budget (after increasing it from N27.5 to N28.7 trillion) and yet another 2023 supplementary budget before extending the lives of the 2023 statutory and supplementary budgets to March 31, 2024. Also, it approved the presidential request for the securitization of outstanding N7.3 trillion ways and means debt balance on the Consolidated Revenue Fund and then passed the budget of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund. Other legislation passed during the period included the Federal University of Technology and Environmental Sciences, Iyin-Ekiti (Establishment), the Cybercrime (Prohibition and Prevention) Amendment Act, as well as the


Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria Act (repeal and re-enactment) and two separate Electricity Act amendments which were for concurrence having been passed by the House of Representatives.


Those at the committee stages respectively are the Constituency and Other Special Projects (Establishment),


Environmental Impact Assessment Act (Repeal and Enactment), Federal College of Aviation Technology, Ilara-Remo, Ogun State (Establishment), Federal University of Health Sciences and Technology, Tsafe, Zamfara, (Establishment) and the Federal College of Geological and Cement Studies, Iselu, Yewa-North, Ogun State (Establishment).


Then added to the variously highlighted bills, others considered during the period included the National Biomedical and Hazardous Waste Management Agency, (Establishment), Environmental Restoration Agency (Establishment), National Broadcasting Commission Act (Repeal and Amendment), National Population Commission Act, Federal Housing Authority Act, Federal Lands Registry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and the Nigerian Real Estate Industry (Regulation and Development).


From the foregoing, it bears repeating that if only the executive could objectively evaluate legislative interventions, integrated and sustainable developments would be guaranteed in Nigeria.



Egbo is a parliamentary affairs analyst















Related posts