OrderPaperToday – This week in the Senate saw debates on national issues prominently on insecurity and the welfare of children, ahead of May 27th. There were also political issues too. Below are the highlights:
Oshiomhole visits, as senate sends El-rufai warning
Former governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole on Tuesday took his campaign for the APC National Chairmanship to the red chamber as he held a meeting with senators elected on the party’s platform.
While appealing for their support, Oshiomhole mentioned that although he fought with some Senators while they served as Governors during his time in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), it wasn’t personal.
On Wednesday, the Senate committee on Foreign and Local debts issued a stern warning to all commercial banks and finance houses in the country to desist from engaging in any loan transaction with the Kaduna state government. The committee said that the state governor, Nasir El-rufai has grown desperate after the senate denied his loan request of $350 million.
Service chiefs demand for more funds amidst fourth IGP snub
Service chiefs including the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Security, Lawal Daura and representatives of the Inspector General of Police, the Controller-General of Customs, and Controller General of Immigration held a close door meeting with Senators on Wednesday and cited insufficient funding as a major factor hindering performance of their duty of protecting lives and properties of citizens.
The Senate then mandated the security chiefs to come up with a suitable funding budget and present to the upper chamber within two weeks.
However, the absence of the IGP who had previously snubbed three summons of the red chamber became a topic of discussion. However, the Senate spokesperson refused to be drawn on the latest IGP snub.
He said: “We are not singling out any unit, today’s meeting is not about police or immigration and that is why we brought all of them together. So let’s not go back to talking about the component of the whole, we are talking about the whole.
“We said security chiefs combined, I don’t want us to go into pointing people, because at the end of the day, it will now become the same subject matter of yesterday.”
Mace investigation blues
The National Assembly panel investigating the invasion of the Senate and the theft of the mace, continued sitting this week as Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Senator Ali Ndume and a Commissioner of Police Sani Habu appeared before the committee.
Nevertheless, Omo-Agege refused to respond to allegations that he led thugs into the chamber, saying that the matter was in court but he clarified that he is not a coward.
According to him, “Because I am in court, I will not make any comment. I look forward to the day I will have such an opportunity.
“I am not a coward by any means, if I have anything to say or any explanation to give, I will give it any day, anywhere. I am not scared of anybody but because I am in court, that is the reason I will not respond to the allegations raised, it is not out of cowardice”
Also in the same meeting, Senator Ali Ndume denied that he stopped the mace bearer from protecting the mace.
Members of the committee present at the meeting expressed disappointment over what they described as slow rate of investigation into the invasion of the Senate. The CP however blamed poor security at the National Assembly especially faulty CCTV as a reason for the slow investigation. He further revealed that 6 suspects have been apprehended excluding the suspect who personally carted the mace away.
New boss for PSC and the water struggle
On Thursday, the Senate received a letter from President Buhari containing nominations for the Police Service Commission to be headed by ex-IGP, Musliu Smith.
In addition, the following persons were nominated as members of the Commission: Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (Full-time commissioner, North East); Lawal Bawa (Full-time commissioner, North West); Mohammed Najatu (Member, North West); Braimoh Austin (Member, South South); Rommy Mom (Member, North Central); and Nkemka Jombo-Ofo (Member, South East).
Also on Thursday, the Senate was divided along regional and ethnic lines during debate on the National Water Resources bill from President Muhammadu Buhari. While some senators moved for the bill to be passed, other senators mostly from riverine states in southern Nigeria argued over a controversial clause in the bill relating to federal government ownership of rivers.
The Senate then mandated its Chairman and Vice chairman on Water resources, the Chairman and Vice chairman of Judiciary as well as the Director of Legal “to go back and look at this especially where there are constitutional issues and report in one week.”
2018 Children’s day in focus
On Thursday, Senator Binta Marsi (APC, Adamawa) presented a motion on the forth coming children’s day slated for May 27th.
The motion generated various contributions from senators. While Senator Kabir Marafa called on female senators to stand with Zamfara women and children that have become victims of killings, kidnappings and rape, Senator Ben Bruce expressed worry over the rising cases of child rape in Nigeria’s ever increasing population.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu on her part urged Senators to pledge support in cash and kind for the victims of insecurity in Zamfara even as the Senate called for the release of Leah Sharibu (the only Dapchi Schoolgirl yet to be released), the remaining Chibok Schoolgirls and all others in Boko Haram’s clutches.