SENATE THIS WEEK: Election sequence, state police, Benue killings

OrderPaperToday – There was a flurry of activities in the Senate this week and some of the highlights include: the endorsement of a State Police Force by the Federal Government, the adoption of a re-ordered sequence of elections, the jabs thrown at the security report of the Benue Killings and much more.

National Assembly agrees to re-order 2019 elections…

During the week, the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on INEC adopted the amendment to the Electoral Act seeking to re-order the sequence of elections. The amendment contained in clause 25 (1) of the Electoral Act states that the election would be held in the following order: National Assembly, State House of Assembly and Governorship, then Presidential Poll.

Benue killings and the untruth of ‘privileged’ visitors to Aso Villa 

The Sen. Abu Ibrahim report on the killings in Benue State was heavily criticised by senators who described it as jaundiced and reflective of the position of the Police. Senators called the Inspector General of Police’s statements on the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, untrue. Another critique of the report pointed out the fact that the governor of the afflicted State, was not invited to the Senate to speak on the matter and for these reasons, they threw out the report, tagging it incomplete. The joint committee was told to report back in a week’s time.

Similarly, Sen. Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) appealed to those privileged enough to visit President Muhammadu Buhari to remind him of the insecurity ravaging the country. Sen. Sani made this call in a motion about another spate of killings that took place in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of his State, which he said is under attack by suspected herdsmen.

IGP summoned again as FG gives nod to state police

The Senate summoned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris again, but this time on the issue of community policing. The IGP is to suggest ways of setting up a community police force that can collaborate with vigilante groups and traditional rulers in order to effectively curtail the increasing level of insecurity in the country. The motion was sponsored by Sen. Ademola Adeleke (PDP, Osun).

In the same vein, the Federal Government endorsed the need to create a State Police Command as a long-term solution to the nation’s security challenges. It equally said it would not force State governments to enforce ‘land for cattle colonies,’ even though 13 governors have already endorsed this. Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo made these statements when inaugurating the Security Summit organised by the Senate ad hoc committee to review the current security infrastructure in Nigeria.

Saraki returns to CCT, claims innocence

A few hours to his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki voiced his innocence on the three-count charges of false asset declaration filed against him by the Federal Government. He also raised alarm over a suspected move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar. After the trial, Saraki stated the closure of his case after calling on the first witness, Dr. Ademola Adebo, a former member of the CCB.

Fashola’s budget and Students’ exposure to tobacco

The Senate urged the Ministry of Health to start enforcing the ban on the sale of cigarettes within 100 metres of schools around the country. Senator Oluremi Tinubu brought this motion to the floor of the upper legislative chamber.

Additionally, the Senate has asked the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to roll over the 2017 allocations for roads and equally increase the 2018 provisions for same. The committee on Agriculture was also mandated to look into the construction of roads used to transport agricultural products. This motion was sponsored by Sen. Utazi Chukwuka (PDP, Enugu) over the socio-economic importance of rural roads and its impact on the national economy.

Innoson, EFCC and warrants of arrests

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) insisted that the commission has the power to make arrests without a warrant. The Director of the Legal and Prosecution Department of the EFCC, Chile Okoroma made this assertion while speaking on the arrest of the Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), last December.

Cameroonian invasion and Egina probe

Sen. John Enoh drew the attention of his colleagues to the invasion of Cross- River State by Cameroonian soldiers, who also abducted five indigenes of the State. The red chamber appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a timely intervention and also summoned the Minster of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali.

The Senate ad hoc committee on the investigation of Local Content on Total Upstream Nigeria’s $16 billion Egina Deep Sea Oil Project discovered unutilized $400 million made from the sale of gas resources. The discovery was made when the Group General Manager of NAPIMS, Roland Ebuware appeared before the committee.

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Author: Titilope Fadare