The leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday says it has made significant progress in the consideration of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which passed the second reading after a thorough debate in November 2020.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu made the observation in an 8-page report titled: ‘The journey of the 9th House of Representatives at Two (an up-to-date report on the activities of the House by the Spokesperson)’ obtained by Nigerian Tribune.
Hon. Kalu also assured Nigerians on the House resolve towards the passage of the Electoral Act (amendment) bill on resumption from the two-week recess.
“Presently, the House is set to receive the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on PIB after which the bill will proceed to passage in line with the commitments of the House,” Kalu said.
While reiterating the House commitment towards electoral reforms, the House spokesman assured that “substantial progress has also been made in the consideration of the much-anticipated Electoral Act (amendment) Bill which addresses reform issues like electronic voting and funding of political parties.
“The report of the relevant committee is currently before the House as the bill awaits passage,” Kalu added.
While reflecting on the achievements of the 9th Assembly, on the ‘Appropriation and budget reforms’, he said: “Further to its promise on national budget reforms, the Appropriation Bill was passed in time to return the national budget to a January-December budget cycle. The House has since then, maintained this as a standard in budget consideration.”
On the legislative intervention on insecurity, Hon. Kalu said: “Given the current security challenges faced by our nation, insecurity remains a key metric to analysing our performance as a legislative assembly, and one which we take with all seriousness.
“Whereas banditry, herdsmen crises, kidnapping, and killings have spread through all geopolitical zones in Nigeria in the last two years, we have continued to support the executive and security agencies in the fight against insecurity.
“We have also held them accountable to the Nigerian people where necessary, ensuring that they are constantly challenged to the highest standards of delivery.
“From 2019 till date, a total of 98 resolutions have been passed by the House on insecurity in Nigeria. Beyond this, the leadership of the House as well as various standing and special committees have undertaken on-the-spot assessments of crises areas around the country including the hotspots of Borno, Katsina, and Zamfara.
“In a culmination of concern about killings and other criminal activities in the country in 2020, the House invited the President to address members on the security situation in Nigeria.
“While the President’s willingness to address the members was thwarted at the last minute, the concerns of the House prevailed on the Executive to change the Service Chiefs as an added strategy in the fight against insecurity.
“The House has also severally engaged the National Security Adviser (NSA); the Service Chiefs; Paramilitary Chiefs; the Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service; and the Managing Director of Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) in sessions to address insecurity.
“In a ‘Special Summit on National Security’ organized by the House from May 26 to 29, 2021, the House engaged stakeholders in a deep dive into Nigeria’s security situation. This interaction produced strong recommendations that were forwarded to the President for implementation. Beyond motions, the House has also taken concrete steps to legislate on security issues.”
According to him, the House had on the 9th June, 2021 introduced nine new security bills to the floor, namely: Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Police Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act, 2003 (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act, 2007 (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Customs and Excise Management Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms, Light Weapons and Ammunition (Ratification and Enforcement) Bill, 2021; and National Security Agencies Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“Finally, in a series of actions to promote police reform, the House passed the revised Police Act 2020 and the Police Service Commission Reform Bill, 2020.”
On the Twitter ban, Hon. Kalu who re-affirmed the House position said: “Recently, the Federal Government’s controversial decision to ban microblogging site, Twitter for alleged plans to disintegrate the country caused an uproar that moved the House to immediately mandate a joint committee to investigate the circumstances of the government’s decision.”
While giving an update on the legislations before the House, he said: “As of June 10, 2021, the House had considered 853 bills, out of which 41 were passed, 66 were awaiting action by the Committee of the Whole, and 105 had passed second reading. Some of the notable bills passed so far include the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill; the Physically Challenged (Empowerment) Bill; National Orientation Agency Act (Amendment) Bill; Labour Act (Amendment) Bill; Finance Bill; Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill; Federal Roads Bill, 2019; Public Procurement Act (Amendment) Bill; the Company and Allied Matters Bill assented to by the President; the Finance Bill, 2020; the Deep Offshore Bill; and the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020.
“So far, the House has considered a total of 730 motions. 484 were taken in the first session and 246 considered in the second session. Several of the motions considered by the House, were products of diligently conducted needs analysis to reflect the will of the people, exercise its oversight responsibilities as stipulated in Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, and address front-burner issues in the nation.
“98 of the resolutions have addressed various challenges in insecurity while others have addressed other socio-economic issues and performance issues by the executive.
“The House has received a total of 163 petitions all of which were referred to the Committee on Public Petitions for consideration. COVID-19.”
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