***As sponsor alleges threats from property owners
The bill that will put an end to prepaid yearly rent in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday scaled second reading at the senate
This was just as the sponsor of the bill Senator Smart Adeyemi raised alarm that he has been receiving strange calls threatening him to drop the bill.
He said some Landlords have even vowed to ensure the bill is not passed
The proposed legislation is titled, ‘A bill for an Act to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office spaces, etc in the FCT and for other matters connected therewith.’
Senator Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), said it is aimed at ending the practice whereby landlords demand an upward yearly advance rent payment from tenants.
Adeyemi said the bill sought to replace the current annual advance rent payment with monthly payments in arrears, in order to make life meaningful for workers who are groaning in pains to pay their rents.
Senator Sabi Abdullahi supported the bill and explained that many residents of Abuja “are groaning in pains to pay house rents in advance”.
He said the Senate would be helping poor Nigerians working and residing in Abuja if the bill was signed into law.
He described it as a welfare-oriented programme that would enjoy the support of Abuja workers and residents.
Senators Ibrahim Gobir and Bala Ibn Na’Allah also lent their voices to support the bill, claiming that it would end corruption among the workers and immorality among the young ladies who engage in desperate activities to pay their rents.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the bill as “popular” owing to the number of Nigerians who have showed interest in it.
However, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East), a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator and the only lawmaker in the chamber who spoke against the bill, argued the issue of rent payment should be driven by market forces.
He said the payment of rent should be driven by market forces.
He insisted that the Senate should not dictate the rent payment modalities to the landlords when government was doing nothing to either regulate the cost of land and prices of building materials.
“The issue of rental payment, either in advance or installments is purely economical and should be driven by market forces.
“Such market forces as availability of land, cost of building materials and income.
“If government wants to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses, government can go into housing schemes, mortgage schemes, housing credit facilities, not control the business of private individuals in an emerging African democracy.
“I, therefore, oppose, and oppose vigorously this bill”, he said.
The lawmaker, in his lead debate on the general principles, said the bill seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office space, rooms and accommodation in the FCT.
According to him, the move by the chamber to regulate the payment of rents in the FCT stemmed from the obligation of its constitutional responsibilities, aimed at impacting the lives of residents.
“If passed, this Bill will improve the well- being and standard of living of residents and minimize corruption and immorality emanating from the oppressive tenancy system in the Federal Capital Territory.
“This Bill will make life less stressful and less painful for majority of the down-trodden and low income earners in the Federal Territory”, Adeyemi said.
He explained further that due to global economic recession, life has become very challenging and almost unbearable for the low income earners despite the huge palliative measures by the Federal Government through the N-POWER traders money.
He noted that in the FCT, Landlords demand between one to three years advanced rent, a situation which he pointed, “automatically adds a huge burden on the masses, subsequently giving rise to desperation and corruption.”
He lamented that the “tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians who are salaried employees that can only pay rent after haven received their first remuneration.”
“This tenancy system is unafrican, unislamic and indeed unbiblical”, the lawmaker added.
Adeyemi expressed concern that many residents of the FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payment, adding that, “many houses built within the city center for such purposes are empty.”
He said that yearly tenancy has continued to breed corruption, moral decadence and huge inequality as low income earners who cannot afford to continually pay their rent.
According to him, some tenants now engage in corrupt practices, immorality, and even criminal acts to meet the pressing need of shelter.
He underscored the need for Legislation aimed towards justice, fairness, equity and improved standard of living.
He noted that in the FCT, a single one room apartment ranges from one million (N1,000,000) Naira to two million (N2,000,000) Naira within the city.
According to the lawmaker, in the satellite towns such as Kubwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Lugbe, rents are still not affordable for the common man as it ranges from Three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000.00) to Five Hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00).
He stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed with the monthly payment scheme.
“It also seeks to protect low income earners from any form of oppression by homeowners.
“The bill also seeks to provide a window for legal action for any form of oppression.
“Importantly, it will also serve as a safety net for Landlords against erring tenants”, he added.
Senators, however, voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill when the Deputy Senate President put the question for it to be read a second time.
The bill was subsequently referred by Omo-Agege to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development for further inputs.
The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.
Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers
***CSOs ask non ranking senators to move against amendments in court
Not up to two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.
Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.
With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first term senators are now prohibited from contesting for the position of presiding officers of the Red Chambers.
Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended).”
Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the senate.
But the 1999 constitution as amended in its section 50(1) simply provided that “there shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”
The Senate also amended its rules and created additional nine Standing Committees, bringing the number of Senate committees to 83 from its previous 74.
It would be recalled that last June, the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, got the second highest votes of 46 against Godswill Akpabio’s 63 votes
The contest was the fiercest in the history of the election of President of the Senate.
Three weeks ago, the office of the Senate president raised an alarm about an alleged plot to remove Akpabio from the office.
The uproar generated by that alarm forced the Northern Senators Forum to condemn what they called an attempt by Akpabio to pitch Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Meanwhile, criticisms have started gathering against the amendment as many believe that the discrimination introduced has no place in the constitution.
“Although the constitution gave power to the senate to regulate it, such regulations or rules .ust not be in breach of the Constitution” a lawmaker.
Reacting to the amendment, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) said:
“The amendments are unconstitutional and ultra vires because section 42(1) of the Constitution states clearly that policies of government ought not to be made in such a way that a certain category of citizens will be disabled from participating or benefitting therefrom.”
In a statement by its president, comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said that “the idea of allowing only ranking members to be qualified to contest for offices within the Senate’s hierarchy is impracticable in Nigeria where the turn-over rate of legislators into the national assembly is not as robustly sustainable as the Americans or British experience about their parliamentarians.
“In Nigeria, virtually 40 to 45 percent of Senators don’t get reelected. Supposing those who get re-elected lack charisma and leadership qualities, will the Senate be led by never-do-wells? This law is an attempt to muzzle opposition to the decadent leadership of Sebator Akpabio leadership that is made up of stooges of the executive arm of government. We in the HURIWA are asking those senators so affected negatively from these destructive amendments to file litigation to get the amendments quashed because the amendments are self-serving, lack progressive ideals and are very primitive and unconstitutional”
Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has disclosed that the Parliament is working on a number of bills to effectively promote small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He also said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has already witnessed a series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning the nation on the
path to sustained economic growth.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu quoted Kalu to have made the disclosure at the ground breaking ceremony of the Abia Innovation Industrial Park in Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State on Saturday where he joined Governor Alex Otti to perform the ritual.
Initiated by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Otti, the project is expected to foster economic growth, create jobs, and position Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialization when completed.
He said: “The 10th National Assembly, under the dynamic leadership of the Speaker and myself as Deputy Speaker, has been working tirelessly to complement these reforms with legislative actions that
support economic growth and development.
“7We understand that a
conducive legislative framework is critical to the success of initiatives such
as the Abia Innovation Industrial Park.
“Our legislative agenda is centered around creating an environment that
encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.
“We are actively working on bills and policies aimed at promoting small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enhancing ease of doing business, and
attracting both local and foreign investments.
“It is not just the Abia State Government that is at work here. We are
fortunate to find ourselves in an era of remarkable leadership at the federal
level. Under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, Nigeria has witnessed a
series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning our nation on the
path to sustained economic growth. “
Kalu further said that the industrialization of Abia State is not only a dream but also a well-thought-out strategy, stressing that it aligns perfectly with the broader national goals of achieving self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.
“This groundbreaking ceremony not only marks the beginning of a new industrial park but also symbolizes our unwavering
commitment to honoring the giants of our past while forging ahead into a
“This is the beginning of a new era. An era where innovation, industry, and
opportunity will flourish. An era where the dreams and aspirations of our youth and entrepreneurs will find a home and where Abia State will shine as a beacon of progress in our great nation, ” Kalu said.
Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63
Senator Isah Jibrin ( APC Kogi East), has rejoiced with Nigerians on the occasion of 63rd Independence anniversary of the country.
In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Saturday, the senator urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in their believe in building a strong, united and prosperous country.
“Let us be driven forward by our zeal to strengthen our diversity, culture and beliefs as we remain one nation bound in freedom.
“To my dear constituents, I want to assure you that I will continue to be your voice in the Senate, fighting for your rights and interests with integrity and dedication.
“May this Independence day anniversary bring further positive turnaround, unimaginable fortune, unity of purpose, and breakthrough for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Once again, I felicitate with all the good people of Kogi East, Kogi State, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, and wish you all the merits of democracy”.
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