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Reps to develop modalities for overhaul of unity schools



The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Basic Education and Services to work out modalities towards the complete overhaul of Unity Schools in the country.

This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Valentine Ayika (APC-Anambra) at the plenary session presided by the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

The house recalls that 104 Unity schools were established by the Federal Government across the country to ensure national integration and nation building among Nigerian children.

The green chamber said the establishment was to give the children the opportunity, at a very tender age, to live and learn together in an ideal educational environment.

The legislature noted that the unity schools had fulfilled the objectives over the years, producing men and women with broad-mindset from various backgrounds and cultures with a common bond of unity.

The lawmakers, however, expressed concern that the nation’s desire to promote unity, harmony and a collective spirit of nation building would phase out if the general conditions of the schools were not improved.

The house directed the Committee to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Education and report back in six weeks for further legislative action. (NAN)


Edited by Isaac Aregbesola/Ismail Abdulaziz


Insecurity: House of Reps invites NSA, security chiefs, IGP, DSS



The House of Representatives have invited the National Security Adviser, all the security Chiefs, Director, Department of State Security and Inspector General of Police to brief the House on the state of insecurity in the country.

This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) which was unanimously adopted at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion earlier, Soli said that there was need for the security experts to brief the house on effort being made to ensure safety of lives and properties of citizens.

He said that there was need to know the way forward to bring an end to the killings, kidnapping and armed banditry at the next seating.

Soli said that that in recent time, the security situation in some parts of the country has degenerated.

The Rep said that cases of kidnapping, killings and armed banditry have become a daily occurrence across the country, especially in Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara Kaduna and Katsina.

He said that the Presidential directives had  not helped to drastically reduce cases of kidnaping, killings and banditry in the country.

According to him, “this is due to lack of sustained tempo in the intervention, these criminals have continued to regroup in different camps in the government reserve forests and surrounding villages across the country.

“The magnitude of the attacks on various communities have reached an alarming rate as these criminals have continued to perpetuate their criminal acts unabated.

“If this criminality is not urgently addressed, there will be an imminent present danger to our food security in the country.

“Any deferment by the security agencies to abridge the continuous horror and inhumanity will result to an enormous loss of lives, destruction of properties and immobilise the Socio-Economic and Educational activities of various communities,” he said.

Soli said that the country is battling to contain the dangerous community infection rate of COVID-19.

He added that with the persistent attacks by criminals on farming communities across the country, especially in the North-West and North Central, may result to serious food shortage.

According to him, about 500 Primary Schools and  2000 communities were completely destroyed across the country as a result of these incessant kidnappings, killings and armed banditry attacks.

He said that the criminals are armed to the teeth with weapons supplied by ‘ gun runners living in cosmopolitan cities across the country.

Rep. Gudaji Kazaure (APC-Jigawa) said that banditry had caused more havoc in the country than COVID-19

According to him, if government could give such attention to COVID-19, why have we not seen the same attention directed to banditry.

The lawmaker said the bandits come out in their hundreds and operate for hours without any intervention from security personnel.

He said if this is allowed to continue, there would be food shortages and people might resort to self help which would lead to a total breakdowns flaw and order.

Kazaure said that it was embarrassing for a sitting governor to be negotiating with bandits because security agencies had failed in their duties.

He said that the primary function of government is the protection of lives and properties and government must raise up to its responsibilities.

Rep. Victor Mela (APC-Gombe) threatened to resign from the House of Representatives if nothing would be done to address the security situation within the next two months.

Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, said that Rep. Victor Mela was very important and the house would not want to loose him.

He said that the leadership of the House would continue to engage all security agencies on a monthly basis on the progress being made until normalcy is restored.


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Reps to amend Labour Act to strengthen NLC



The House of Representatives says it plans to amend the Labour Act to strengthen the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House
made the pledge on Wednesday in Abuja, while receiving the leadership of the NLC in his office in Abuja.
He said the NLC
represented vast majority of Nigerians and had a mandate to protect the interest of the common man just like the legislature.
“We will be looking forward to your inputs, we are ready to look at them and amend the Labour Act.
should do that on time because time is of the essence so that  we pass it very quickly,” Gbajabimila said.
The speaker urged the union to key into the motto of the 9th House of Representatives which was “Nation Building, a Joint Task”.
said that NLC should always conduct its activities free from political, religious or ethnic influences.
Earlier, NLC Chairman, Mr Ayuba Wabba said that the visit was aimed at seeking collaboration of the house towards building the union into a strong institution.
Wabba said that democracy can only thrive in the country through strong institutions like the NLC, legislature, judiciary among others.
He said that the NLC was made up of unions in the informal and formal sectors and that it represented the interest of the common man.
The chairman said the NLC was interested in sustaining cordial relationship with the green chamber for the protection of Nigerian people.
According to him, the United States, Germany, China and other developed countries have very strong labour unions and there is need to strengthen the NLC.
stressed the need to put an end to casualisation of workers through legislation, describing it as modern day slavery.
Wabba said that when amending the Labour Act, labour unions should be made more independent and that every Nigerian worker should be free to join any union of his choice.
He said there was  need for a social dialogue which should be made up of all stakeholders to address issues rather than strikes.
Wabba commended the house for its interventions in resolving labour related matters especially in the health, education and power sectors in the country.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Reps approve Buhari’s loan request



The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management,  had presented its report through the Chairman, Rep. Ahmed Safana (APC-Katsina) at the House Committee on Supply.

Safana observed that out of the total borrowing of $22,898,446,773 as contained in the October 2019 re-forwarded request of President Muhammadu Buhari, a sum of $17,065,496,773 is for funds proposed to be borrowed from China Eximbank Bank.

He said out of the $22.799 billion loan, China Eximbank is to provide larger chunk of the fund worth $17.066 billion at 20 years maturity, 7 years moratorium, 0.5 per cent management fee, 2.75 per cent interest rate, 0.3 per cent commitment fee and 3-7 years duration.

The lawmaker said that the World Bank is to provide $2.854 billion at average repayment maturity of between 20 – 25 years, 1.25 per cent interest rate, 0.25 per cent commitment charge, 0.25 per cent front-end fee and five years duration.

He said that the African Development Bank (AfDB), is to provide $1.889 billion at average repayment maturity of 20 years, 0.75 per cent service charge, 0.5 per cent commitment charge, 5 years grace period, 1.127 per cent interest rate and 5-8 years duration.

According to him, Agencie Francaise de Development (AFD) is to provide $480 million at 15-20 years maturity, 4-7 years grace period, 2.6 – 2.9 per cent rate in USD based on Libor floating market rates (1.3 per cent in Euros in Euribomarket rates) depending on loan maturity, 0.5 per cent commitment fee, 0.5 per cent appraisal fee and five years duration.

The Rep said that JICA is to provide $200 million at 30 years maturity, 10 years grace period and 1.4 per cent interest rate.

He said German Development Bank is to provide $200 million at 15 years maturity, 5 years grace period, 3.99 per cent interest rate, 0.25 per cent commitment fee of the undisturbed amount and 0.4 per cent management fee of the loan.

He also said that the Islamic Development Bank is to provide $110 million at average repayment maturity of between 25 years, Service Charge not exceeding 2 per cent, 2.5 per cent interest rate and four years duration.

The breakdown of the approved loans include, $350 million World Bank Development Policy Operation loan for Kaduna and $110 million Islamic Development Bank Health Systems Projects Loan for Katsina State.

Reacting to the adopted report, the Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu said that the approval does not meet the expectations of the people down south.

“First and foremost, there are certain strategic projects that ought to be there, one is the Western Corridor Rail line, which goes from Lagos to Kano and the Eastern Corridor Rail line that goes from Port Harcourt through Enugu to Makurdi, Plateau down to Maiduguri.

“They were established the same day, they commenced the same day, and they were completed the same day they were operating.

“So to take one in exclusion of the other is not appropriate,” he said.

According to him, it is an infrastructural sufficiency to give impetus to the eastern corridor passing through South South, South East, North Central and North East.

“If you check all these areas, what you will see is that we have trouble from Boko Haram to agitations to militancy; we have challenges in these areas and when you don’t undertake economic activities that will improve it, you are not helping.

“So it is our considered opinion that they should have been a priority; we appreciate the effort of Mr. Speaker in terms of trying by all means for the past 4 months to accommodate these Lines but of course there was no initiation for it.

“This is where you find out that the budget or loan approval is as good, but we need to think globally,” he said.

Okechukwu, however, appreciated the provision that says that the South East should be prioritised in the next borrowing plan.

He said that loan approval should have waited until the feasibility study is completed so that the South East and North East are sufficiently accommodated.

The Rep said that the North East and South East in the budgetary appropriation always come last, saying that the house should have considered the region.


Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide (NAN)



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DSTV: Reps C’ttee vows to implement pay-as-you-go package



The House of Representatives ad hoc Committee investigating  non implementation of  pay-as-you-go package by DSTV and other satellite providers in the country  has assured Nigerians of justice.

Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Unyime Idem, gave the assurance while addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja  after the inauguration of the committee by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Idem, also Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Communication, representing Ukanafun/Orukanam Constituency of Akwa-Ibom, said the matter before the committee affected vast majority of Nigerians.

“As chairman of this ad hoc committee, I want to assure Nigerians that their interest will be protected.

When I moved the motion on the floor of the house, I stated that business of this nature, the customers should be given the right to choose what they want.

“We have interacted with Nigerians and what they want is pay-as-you-go so that when they are out in their respective locations, their subscriptions can be there and they will make use of it when they return.

“We are here to defend our constituents who happen to be the consumers; based on the inauguration today, I can tell Nigerians that justice will be done at the end of the day,” he said.

Edem said the committee was ready to step on toes, saying that constituents elected reps based on courage and boldness and that would be brought to play.

The lawmaker said all stakeholders including the regulators and service providers would be invited  to deliberate on ways to open up the sector.

He said that all bottle necks would be critically looked into with the view to liberalising it for more interested Nigerians to benefit.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Reps urge AFDB Board to stop further harassment of Dr Adesina



The House of Representatives has urged the Board of African Development Bank (AfDB) to halt further harassment of the bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

The call was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matter of Public Urgent Importance by the Minority Leader of the house, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) at plenary on Tuesday.

Earlier, Elumelu recalled that at a conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Khartoum, Sudan, in August ,1963, an agreement was reached for the establishment of AfDB.

He said the agreement was co-signed by 23 African Governments, including Nigeria which birthed the bank.

Elumelu said that in 1964 the agreement came into force with a mission of fighting poverty and improving standard of living on the African continent.

He said the bank was also saddled with the responsibility of promoting the investment of public and private capital, through the implementation of projects and programmes that contributed to the economic and social development of Africa.

According to the lawmaker, on May 8, 2015, a distinguished Nigerian and one time Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, was elected the presumptive President of the bank, being the first Nigeria to hold the office.

Elumelu said that the AfDB under the leadership of Adesina had been very remarkable in steering the organisation as its presence was highly visible and that it impacted much in less than five years.

“Recently a group of whistleblowers petitioned Dr Adesina, accusing him of 16 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, some of which include private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities, which he has continued to deny.

“On investigation by the ethics committee of the board of directors, the allegations were found to be frivolous, unsubstantiated, lacking merit and Dr Adesina was exonerated of all the 16 allegations.

“The chairman of board of governors being satisfied that the committee had done a thorough job,  haven followed all known rules and procedures of the bank in handling such cases, declared Adesina exonerated,” he said.

Elumelu, however, expressed worry that though the ethics committee had cleared Adesina, the United States Treasury Secretary, Mr Steven Mnuchin, rejected the verdict.

The lawmaker said Mnuchin called for an independent investigation into the allegations against Adesina, whose tenure was due for renewal, given the fact that he was the only contender to the office.

According to Elumelu, the interference portends a grave danger to the independence and laws governing the establishment of the bank and if not addressed, will be tantamount to undermining its hard earned reputation.

Elumelu said the action may be an attempt to discredit Adesina and prevent him from seeking another term at the helm of Africa’s largest multilateral lender.

He said that 11 former African Heads of State led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in their wisdom, issued a statement showing the grave danger it portended to disregard the laws governing an institution such as the AFDB.

The lawmaker said that the African leaders stated in clear terms that no nation no matter how powerful had a veto power over the AfDB.

“If this sort of witch hunt and unnecessary harassment is not put to check and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal thereby destabilising the stability the bank has enjoyed for decades and the intended results on a steady decrease,” he said.

Rep. Olufemi Fakeye (APC-Osun) said that he was at the first inauguration of Adesina as AfDB president and that he had not lost sight and focus on his mandate.

The lawmaker said that Adesina had remained Afrocentric and had insisted on the independence of the bank.

He said that the bank’s president had repositioned the bank to move Africa to the next level as he had set the continent on the path of industrialisation.

According to him, soon, Africa will begin to produce locally most of all she imports and this is not going down well with many Western powers.

Fakeye said that under Adesina’s watch, 10 billion dollars was made available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) said that there was no true African that did not support how Adesina had run the bank in the last four years.

He, however, cautioned the house to get more facts before making recommendations so that its position would be fact-based.

Ossai described the ongoing call for investigation into the bank as “international politics,” saying that there was need for the house to be more careful.

The lawmaker said that he was part of the committee that cleared Adesina for the office of the Minister of Agriculture and that he had no doubt about the integrity of the AfDB president.

The house urged the Federal Government to call on all African leaders to intervene in the matter with a view to protecting the independence of the bank.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committees on ECOWAS Parliament and Pan African Parliament to investigate, resolve the matter and report to the house within reasonable time.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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COVID-19: Plateau Reps,NNPC, donate money, ambulance to Plateau Govt.



The Plateau Caucus at the National Assembly has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Plateau Government as its contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of  Representatives, Ahmed Wase ,led the delegation that made the presentation on Monday at Government House, Jos.

Wase commended Gov. Simon Lalong for being the first to install  CCTVs at the state’s borders.

He also commended the efforts of Gov. Lalong toward curbing the scourge of the Coronavirus pandemic in the  state.

He prayed for more wisdom and guidance for the governor to steer the affairs of Plateau toward fast tracking its development.

The deputy speaker said that even though they were giving individual and constitutional responsibilities in interventions to stem the disease, it was still imperative for them to contribute as a group representing the different interests of the state at the National Assembly.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that while  on the visit, the members also presented a Toyota Hiace ambulance bus to the governor under the initiative of the the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention on COVID-19 donated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Independent Petroleum Producers group.

NAN reports that the donation by the initiative also included two ventilators, 10,000 surgical face masks, 5,000 face masks and 2,000 hand gloves.

Lalong thanked all the members representing Plateau at the National Assembly for the gesture, describing it as laudable and worthy emulation.

He also acknowledged their contributions at their constitutional levels and their efforts to sensitise and enlighten their constituents on preventive measures against the disease.

He assured that their contribution to the Plateau government  COVID-19 trust fund would be put into good use, while appreciating their cooperation to ensure the well-being of Plateau people.

“We will also give you the necessary cooperation to discharge your duties at the National Assembly.

“We have inaugurated a research committee comprising of specialists in the field on alternative ways of addressing COVID-19 and other possible emergence of infectious diseases,” he said.

He said the state had  also established a palliative committee which was already distributing foodstuff  and other essentials to the indigents and vulnerable in the state.

The governor also said it had evacuated Quaranic Education Students (Almajiri),from Plateau to their home states as agreed by Northern Governors in order to protect them from the pandemic, saying they are being tested for the disease before taking to their homes.

He thanked the Members for ensuring Plateau benefited from the intervention of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention, saying he was optimistic that the state through their influence would benefit from more Federal Government interventions.

He said business Mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote through his foundation was establishing a 100 bed capacity isolation center in Shendam Local Government Area.

NAN reports that other members of the delegation were Sen. Hezekiah Dimka representing Plateau Central, Sen Istifanus Gyang representing Plateau North, while the representatives in attendance were Mr Haruna Maitala representing Jos North and Komsol Longgap representing Mikang/Qu’anpan/Shendam constituency among others.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Don’t use foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians- Reps Committee



Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, has advised the Federal Government against using foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians from Canada.

Nnaji, representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday that the House would not condone it.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there was persistent refusal by the Canadian authorities to grant Air Peace airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada.

NAN reports that the Canadian Government was alleged to have given preference to Ethiopian Airline for evacuation of stranded Nigerians desiring to come home as against the Air Peace which the task force has already engaged for the evacuation.

Air Peace is charging 1,134 dollars per passenger as against the sum of 2,500 dollars charged by the Ethiopian Airline.

Nnaji, however, said that the position of the House of Representatives was very clear on the issue of evacuation flights.

The lawmaker explained that the House had on May 12 adopted the motion against the use of foreign airlines for evacuation of stranded Nigerians in other countries.

Nnaji said the House had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and relevant Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the motion.

He said the House had urged them to ensure that Nigerian Airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in all circumstances where Nigerians need to be evacuated from other countries.

“The House of Representatives had insisted that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and indeed the COVID-19 Task Force must explore all available diplomatic channels to ensure that a Nigerian airline operate the evacuation flight out of Canada.

“The aviation committee has also observed that Canadian authorities has no reason to deny Air Peace landing right.

“This is because available records had shown that the airline has the require certification and approvals to operate internationally.

“Our findings have shown that Air Peace is International Air Transport Association’s Safety Oversight Audit (IOSA) certified.

“This means that the airline has a major international parameter for measuring airlines’ safety standards,” he said.

Nnaji said that there was need for the Canadian Government to treat the flight as a special emergency occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic and immediately grant the necessary approvals to the Air Peace.

Similarly, the lawmaker said the committee had summoned the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and agencies to appear before it on Thursday.

Nnaji explained that the committee summoned those directly or indirectly involved in the earlier evacuation flights handled by the British Airways, Emirates and Ethopian Airlines from the UK, United Arab Emirates and America.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Eid-el Fitr: Reps minority caucus felicitates muslims, urges national rebirth.



The Minority Leader of the House of representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, (PDP-Delta) has urged Muslim faithfuls to use the Eid-el Fitr celebration to activate the much desired national rebirth.

In a congratulatory message on behalf of the minority caucus on Saturday in Abuja, Elumelu said that Eid-el Fitr presents a fresh opportunity for a national regeneration in all aspects of life.

The minority leader said that the national rebirth was particularly important as the citizens collectively fight to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a nation, we must use this period for deep introspection and rekindle the virtues of forgiveness, tolerance, love for one another and commitment to the stability and progress of our dear nation and humanity at large.

“Indeed, the successful completion of the Ramadan fast as well as our commitment to prayers and supplications during the period, strongly confirm our individual and collective trust in God in the determination to excel as a united people,” he said.

He called on Nigerians to spread the joy of the Eid-el Fitr by reaching out to one another at this critical time.

Elumelu added that with unity and trust in God, Nigeria will definitely overcome all her challenges and once again stand tall among the comity of nations.

He urged Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to all safety protocols on COVID-19 as they observe the Eid-el Fitr.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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COVID-19: Reps C’ttee cautions MDAs against tampering with 2020 budget



The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation  has cautioned  Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) against tampering with the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The Chairman of the committee,Rep. Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) ,issued the warning in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, no MDA has powers to tinker with the budget as only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass budget.

“There are  reports that  following the downward review of the budget from N10.59 trillion to N10.52 trillion due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As a result of the dwindling oil prices, some MDAs were already adjusting the budget proposal to suit their needs.

“Such acts will not be condoned by the National Assembly as any MDA or official found to be engaged in such illegal practice will be made to face the music.

“I want to warn that no other arm or department of government has any power over budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the process to review the budget was ongoing in line with the powers of the National Assembly.

He said that the Constitution confers appropriation powers on the parliament as well as its responsibilities over the national purse.

According to him, both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provide for no limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill. 

“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation,  except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“Therefore, we shall not shirk in our responsibilities and we will also not hesitate to wield the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he said.

Betara said that because of the importance the National Assembly attach  to the budget, members of the relevant committees would continue work on it during the two-week Sallah break.

He assured that the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation is committed to working with other relevant committees, the Senate and Executive to have workable and implementable budget to help the country overcome the negative economic effects of COVID-19. 

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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