OrderPaperToday– Beni Lar is one of the few ranking women in the House of Representatives, having survived numerous tsunamis that consistently reduced the number of women in the National Assembly.

The daughter of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman and former governor of Plateau State, the late Solomon Lar and Professor Mary Lar, she has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2007 and was re-elected in 2011, 2015 and 2019. She represents Langtang North, Langtang South federal Constituency of Plateau State.

Lar was born on the 12th of August, 1967 and attended Baptist High School and Federal Government College, Jos, where she obtained her Senior School Leaving Certificate in 1983, then proceeded to the University of Jos and graduated with a degree in Law in 1991. She moved on to Nigeria Law School and passed out in 1992.

The lawmaker worked as a private legal practitioner before her sojourn into politics.

8th Assembly appraisal

Motions

Lar moved a total of 7 motions in the 8th Assembly.  Her first motion was on the urgent need to pay Nigeria’s contribution to the global BIRDS CUBESAT Project, to teach countries how to build their first satellite at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan.

The motion was adopted and the House urged TETFUND to intervene and pay off S100,000 counterpart funding immediately to enable Nigeria continue its participation in the programme.

Also, the House directed the federal government to increase funding to all research institutes and joint research programmes around the world to enable Nigeria participate fully in emerging trends in science and technology.

Her second motion was on need to check the incidence of drug abuse among the youth. The motion moved on the 17th of March, 2016 was adopted with the following resolutions:

“Urge the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to intensify the campaign against drug abuse and step up efforts to arrest and prosecute drug offenders.

“Also urge the NDLEA to maintain a presence in tertiary institutions in Nigeria to ensure drug free campuses.

“Further urge the Federal Ministry of Education to provide guidance counselors in secondary schools, trained by the NDLEA, to educate students on the dangers of drug consumption.

“Equally urge the NDLEA to establish more drug rehabilitation centres in the country for rehabilitation of drug addicts.

“Urge the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, recruit more staff and train them to cover all local government areas and borders of Nigeria.”

The motion was referred to the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics.

The most controversial motion moved by Lar was on removing religious studies as compulsory in Civic Education for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE).

Following the consideration of the motion, the House asked the Federal Ministry of Education to allow Civic education remain a compulsory subject for SSCE Examination while religious education should be taught in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

Also, the House called for the removal of the religious component from Civic Education as a subject and separate our national values from religious values and each should be taught independently.

Bills

Lar sponsored 6 bills which were focused on education related issues. Only one of the bills was passed by the House, while others stalled at different stages.

Her first bill was Compulsory and Free Universal Basic Education (Amendment) Bill, 2015. However, the bill stalled as the committee laid the report but no further action was taken on it.

Lar’s bill to amend the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructural Act (Amendment), 2015, however, passed in the House and was sent to the Senate for concurrence.

Other bills such as Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill, 2017; Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute Bill, 2018; Raw Materials Research and Development Council Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2018 and Federal University of Agriculture, Sabon Gida (Establishment) Bill, 2018 did not go beyond the House.

Committee work

In terms of committee, Lar was the chairman of the House committee on Science and Technology and served as member of Committees on Women Affairs, Works and Rules and Business.

Her committee activities got her to a head collusion with the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Amina Muhammed Shamaki, who ordered the director of her ministry to walk out of a public hearing organised by the House committee on Science and Technology.

In reaction, the lawmaker, on the 7th of June, 2018, moved a motion on breach of privileges, with a resolution that the House Committee on Justice should investigate the issue.

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