Proceedings of the Nigerian Senate of Thursday, 19th March, 2020

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Welcome to a new Legislative Day in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON led the Principal Officers into the chambers; took the official prayers; and began the day’s proceedings at 10:43am.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Senate moved into an Executive Session at 10:47am and resumed from its Executive Session at 11:46am.

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON reported that at the Executive Session the Senate deliberated on the issues bordering on workings of the Nigerian Senate in particular and the National Assembly in general.

Senate resolves;

  1. To suspend all public hearings till further notice as a result of the Coronavirus; and
  2. That the Senate gallery will remain closed to the public till further notice including excursions from schools and other organizations from Tuesday, 24th March, 2020.

Senator Akwashiki Godiya moved for the approval of votes and proceedings of Wednesday, 18th March 2020. Senator Kola Balogun seconded.‬

PRESENTATION OF BILLS- First Reading

  1. Federal College of Education Shagari (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 392) by Senator Ibrahim Danbaba.

Federal College of Education Shagari (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 392) was read the First Time.

  1. Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 404) by Senator Bassey Akpan.

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 404) was read the First Time.

  1. Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 394) by Senator Oloriegbe Yahaya.

Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 394) was read the First Time.

  1. University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards, etc) Act CAP U15 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 390) by Senator Alhaji Sahabi.

University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards, etc) Act CAP U15 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 390) was read the First Time.

  1. Fire Arm Control Act (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 402) by Senator Al-Makura Tanko.

Fire Arm Control Act (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 402) was read the First Time.

PRESENTATION OF A REPORT

  1. Report of the Committee on Power on addressing Nigeria’s power problems by Senator Gabriel Suswam.

Senator Abubakar Kyari seconded that the Senate do receive the report of the Committee on Power on addressing Nigeria’s power problems.

The report was LAID.

CONSIDERATION OF BILLS- Second Reading

  1. A Bill for an Act to amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria and for related matters, 2020 (SB. 118) by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

“The idea of forming a council started while I was working with the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria. This is significant today because our economy is in dire need for diversification. For us to situate the importance of this Bill, let us take a while to look at the challenges. We must work on increasing productivity.”- Senator Aliyu Sabi.

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“Agriculture occupies a strategic position generally.”- Senator Aishatu Dahiru.

“I think having a review of this act is a welcome development and I urge my colleagues to support this Bill for second reading.”- Senator Abdullahi Yahaya.

“This Bill is a very significant Bill. Having a research institute means that we will have significant increase in our research method. I urge my colleagues to support this Bill for better productivity in our agricultural sector.”- Senator Stella Oduah.

A Bill for an Act to amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria and for related matters, 2020 (SB. 118) was read the Second Time.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to report within four (4) weeks.

“We are doing very poory in the area of agricultural research and development. It is a very bad commentary that our farmers have to still drive tomatoes and pepper and trade them along the road. We are not making any serious progress. We should have technology that our farmers can use to enhance their performance and we know that the yields of most our crops are so low and this is because we have not been doing very well. We need to fund the agricultural sector especially those institutions that will help in yielding agricultural produce.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

  1. A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act CAP N96 LFN 2010 and to enact the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, to provide for its organization, control and operation and for related matters, 2020 (SB. 193) by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya.

“The aviation industry is very key to our development. What this Bill seeks to do is to reposition the aviation industry so that people can take up aviation as a career. When this college act is amended the aviation college will come as a university and will enable the college to have access to funding. This Bill is important and when passed into law, it will enhance the aviation sector.”- Senator Smart Adeyemi.

A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act CAP N96 LFN 2010 and to enact the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, to provide for its organization, control and operation and for related matters, 2020 (SB. 193) was read the Second Time.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Aviation to report within four (4) weeks.

  1. A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act, CAP E6 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to organize mandatory public debates for all candidates to the Office is Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President, President to help boost and strengthen the electoral process; and to provide for other matters relating thereto, 2020 (SB. 176) by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari.
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“I think it is very fundamental that we have this debate. We need an independent board to access the quality of people who will anchor the debate for all candidates.”- Senator Ibrahim Gobir.

“I rise to support this Bill. For people that will hold executive positions it is important for them to hold interview. The best way to test ones ability is for you to answer questions. It should not be one debate, it should be segmented to cover critics sectors of the economy. I want to support also that there should be an independent commission that consist of civil societies that will be able to discharge it well. Our passing this Bill will deepen our democracy and help us to have better performance.”- Senator Oloriegbe Yahaya.

“It is high time that whoever wants to govern must go through this process. Everybody wants to become something as far as this country is concerned but not everybody knows about the country itself. This is one Bill that will be popular among Nigerians.”- Senator Adeola Solomon.

“I support this Bill because this is an idea that has been tested and it is working. I support this Bill and I want everybody to support it.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“I rise to support this Bill because we need to know the persons we are voting for. This is a very timely Bill and I am sure it will get acceptance. The best thing to do is to allow independent body to conduct this debate and not give INEC this job.”- Senator Danjuma Goje.

“I support this Bill moved by Senator Abdulfatai. We must begin to question the integrity of people who want to be President and Governors. I support this Bill and I think it is a starting point for us. I agree that we should have debate and should be made compulsory with INEC’s supervision.”- Senator Matthew Urhoghide.

“We must have people who want to serve and think about Nigeria. I strongly agree with the content of this Bill that if passed it will showcase the capacity of those who are seeking to serve this country.”- Senator Christopher Ekpenyong.

“I wholeheartedly support this Bill. It is a Bill that should have come before this time. If this Bill is allowed, it will be Operation Know Your People and your people will know you.”- Senator Francis Fadahunsi.

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“This Bill will allow electorates know more about the candidates and make informed decisions. INEC should not be given the sole responsibility to handle such debate. National Orientation Agency is in a position to work hand in hand to carry out such debate.”- Senator Isah Jibrin.

“The responsibility of this debate should be given to the media.”- Senator Smart Adeyemi.

“This Bill is one that should be given support by everyone. This will enable those who are going for executive position to prepare before hand. This Bill will help the candidate to highlight his plans for the office . It will also go a long way to help the country.”- Senator Oriolowo Adeyemi.

“I align myself with the numerous contributions from my Distinguished colleagues. It is time for us to support the emergence of non state actors in the democratic space. I admit that we should find a way to see how the current efforts that is on ground can key into this. This must be clearly a non partisan process to bringing all the political actors to showcase themselves before the Nigerian electorates.”- Senator Aliyu Sabi.

A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act, CAP E6 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to organize mandatory public debates for all candidates to the Office is Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President, President to help boost and strengthen the electoral process; and to provide for other matters relating thereto, 2020 (SB. 176) was read the Second Time.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to report within four (4) weeks.

“I believe that INEC has enough responsibilities and to give INEC the responsibility to organize this debate will probably cause some difficulty especially in opposition participating in such debate. The way is to have non state actor, independent people and those people who choose to desire to be part of the debate. It is an opportunity for both the voters and candidates to present themselves to the people and for the voters to know who the candidates are and make their choice. It is an opportunity for the citizens to make good or bad judgment.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON.

ADJOURNMENT
Senate Leader moved that all items on the order paper be stood down to another legislative day. Minority Leader seconded.

Plenary is adjourned to Tuesday, 24th March 2020.

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