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NASS committed to passing priority bills despite campaigns -Saraki

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Bukola Saraki

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Monday assured Nigerians that legislative duties in the National Assembly would not be relegated to the background in view of the commencement of the 2019 electioneering campaigns.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, in Abuja, made the assertion while responding to comments by the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who visited him at the National Assembly.

Saraki said, “It is very important to emphasise that as far as we are concerned, we will follow through on the key Bills. We will continue to work on these Bills, because they are priorities to the 8th National Assembly — these are Bills that were initiated by the legislative arm of government.

“For example, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has never gotten this far in its history. However, both Chambers of the National Assembly worked very hard to come up with a unified position and sent it to the Executive. Unfortunately, it came back with some minor issues that we feel should not have affected the progress of the Bill. These were issues that could have been easily addressed.

“The two arms of government must see that the most important thing is for us to get the PIGB going because it has a lot of impact on the industry in terms of transparency, accountability and ensuring that the revenues of the petroleum sector are well managed.

“As you know, we have also gone far with the fiscal and host community components of the Bill, because it came about as a result of constant engagement with stakeholders in the industry. However, with this setback by the Executive, this has slowed down the process a little,” the Senate President said.

Speaking on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the Police Reform Bill, Saraki said that the CAMA Bill was only waiting for the Concurrence Committee of both Houses of the National Assembly to finish its work, while the Police Reform Bill would soon be subjected to Public Hearing.

“I am hopeful that the CAMA will soon pass in the House of Representatives too. On the Police Reform Bill, we are hoping to have a public hearing very soon. As you know, this reform Bill came about as an immediate response by parliament to the increased reports of insecurity across the country.

“We took the decision to evaluate the security situation in the country, particularly the police, to see how best we could make the institution more effective and efficient. Unfortunately, as we work towards these reforms of the police, I must be honest, many of the actions of the police are seen to be quite partisan.

“We are hoping that the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs will set the ball rolling on this immediately. It is important that the Executive too must see the importance of this Bill so that we can work together and improve the efficiency and the level of Police performance,” Saraki said.

On the Discrimination Against persons with Disabilities Bill, Saraki stated that the Bill would soon be on its way to the President for assent; while emphasising that he was still hopeful that the Gender Bill would be passed before the end of the 8th Assembly.

“On the Electoral Bill, we have passed that and sent it to the Executive. We have addressed all the concerns raised by Mr. President because we believe that that Bill is important to improve the quality of our elections and our electoral process. We want an electoral process that will make our elections more credible. Therefore, I hope that the interest of the country should be the determining factor in the decision to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“Despite the fact that campaigns have started, all these important Bills will still receive the desired attention from us to ensure that governance does not suffer and we can still make the lives of all Nigerians better,” the President of the Senate stated.

Earlier, the Acting British High Commissioner had advised against relegating legislative duties to the background with the onset of campaigns for the 2019 general elections in the country.

“There are quite a number of Bills in which we have key interests because we firmly believe that these Bills are in the interest of the Nigerian people both in terms of their rights and in terms of their opportunities for economic development”, Thompson said.

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FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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