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Senate approves Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo 



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The Senate has given approval to the establishment of the Institute of Information and Communication Technology Iwo, Osun State.

The endorsement came following the presentation and consideration of a report on a bill to establish the Institute by the Committee on ICT and Cyber Security.

The Chairman of the Committee of, Senator Oseni Yakubu (Kogi Central) laid the report after presentation.

Senator Yakubu in his presentation, said the bill which consists of 25 Clauses and 1 Schedule, seeks to establish the Institute to provide full-time and part-time courses of instruction and training in Information and Communication Technology and other related fields of study, and to make provisions for the general administration of the Institute.

He disclosed that out of all submissions received from stakeholders on the bill, only two were opposed to it. 

According to the lawmaker, “while the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) vehemently opposed the bill, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy opposed it on one hand, but conceded that should the bill be passed and assented to, the institute should be domiciled under its supervisory authority.”

“However, all other stakeholders supported the bill, opining that the establishment of the Institute would not only be of immense economic advantage to Nigeria, but also alleviate the challenge of inadequate manpower in the ICT sector, and thereby make room for improved job opportunities and employment generation”, he added.

The bill was thereafter passed after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

In a related development, the Senate during plenary re-considered and passed a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra State.

This followed a motion for the bill’s re-commital moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

The Senate Leader recalled that the Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra State (Establishment) Bill, 2022 was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent.

He observed that, “some fundamental issues which require fresh legislative action by both chambers of the National Assembly emerged after a critical analysis of the Bill by Mr. President C – in – C.”

He stated that a Technical Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives and Directorate of Legal Services met and worked on the Bill.

Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the bill as passed and re-committed same to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration and passage.

Meanwhile, a total of five bills scaled second reading on Wednesday.

The bills seek to establish the Federal Polytechnic Dange, Sokoto State; the National Agency for Ethics, Values and Integrity Compliance; to provide legislative framework for the establishment of the Nigerian Television Authority College, Jos; to establish the Federal School of Nursing and Midwifery Igbeagu; and the Federal College of Agriculture, Obot Akara, Akwa-Ibom State. 

The bills were sponsored by Senators Danbaba Ibrahim, Patrick Akinyelure, Istifanus Gyang, Samuel Egwu and Stephen Ekpenyong, respectively.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund; Establishment and Public Service Matters; Information and National Orientation; Health (Secondary and Tertiary); and Tertiary Institutions and TetFund.

The Committees were all given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary. 

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Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials




Moro, Abba Patrick
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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria

It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,

According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.

He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.

He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils

He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law

Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.

The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls

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Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt 




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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.  

The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development. 

The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.

“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023. 

“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms. 

“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.

“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.

“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”

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Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic




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***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger

The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings

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