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Senate asks INEC to make provision for eligible prison inmates to vote during elections

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The Senate has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make provisions for duly registered and eligible prison-electorates to exercise their franchise during all general elections in Nigeria.
This was as it also called on the Electoral umpire to determine the status of the inmates that are constitutionally and legally qualified to be registered as eligible voters and should vote at elections.
It also urged the Commission and relevant agencies to carry out voter’s enlightenment in all prisons in Nigeria, to educate the inmates of their rights and necessity to exercise their franchise in general elections.

It further called on INEC and all relevant agencies to update register of voters to take into account the prison population for the purpose of elections. 
The Senate also urged the Commission (INEC) in collaboration with the Nigeria Correctional Service to locate Voting Centres at Custodial Centres across the country to be used for voting. 
These were resolutions reached by the Senate following a motion sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro (Benue South). 
The motion was entitled, “The prerogative of Prison Inmates to vote in general elections in Nigeria: statutory, Inalienable and non-negotiable.”

Senator Abba Moro, in his presentation,  said, “The Senate Notes that certain human rights are inalienable and come naturally with the birth of the individual. One of such rights is that of citizenship. Incarceration though is one of the legal grounds of depriving a person or an offender in custody of certain rights, the right of citizenship cannot at any point be taken away;
“Notes further that Citizenship as encapsulated under the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) comes with many defined rights and civic responsibilities, one of which is the right to vote in general elections;
“Notes again that there are certain persons in prison custody awaiting trial, undergoing trial or awaiting conviction for one offence or the other whose right to vote and citizenship remain sacrosanct;
“Notes that being a Prison inmate is not impediment to the Prisoners’ registration and voting rights as enshrined under Section 24 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and denying prison inmates access to the electoral process constitutes an infringement of their rights as Citizens of Nigeria as provided under Section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which confirms the definition of who a Citizen is as well as Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) which spells out who qualifies to vote; and
“Considers that the number of inmates in various prisons nationwide which is put at over 68,000 and the Statistics of those awaiting trial who in the eyes of the law are presumed innocent until found guilty, it is forthright and just that such persons be allowed to exercise their franchise and any attempt by an individual or agency to deny inmates of their right to vote is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, null and void.”

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Legislature

Senate affirms Kogi’s status as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation

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The Senate on Thursday affirmed Kogi State as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation as stipulated for by section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The affirmation was sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Jibrin Isah, popularly known as Echocho (APC Kogi East).
Senator Isah’s motion came 24 hours after a heated debate between him and Senator Tony Nwoye on the status of Kogi as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation .
While Tony Nwoye in his presentation at Senate plenary on Wednesday, on a bill seeking for inclusion of Anambra State in the operational radius of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), argued that Kogi State is not receiving 13% derivation like Anambra State, Echocho countered him that Kogi State has been a receiving the 13% derivation since October 2022.

Coming on the strength of Order 42 of the Senate Standing rules, the Kogi Senator raised a motion for affirmation of Kogi as an oil producing State, benefitting from the 13% derivation .
The singular prayer of Senator Echocho’s motion urged the Senate to take the clarification that Kogi State is an oil producing state which has been receiving the constitutional 13% derivation since October 2022; and accord it the necessary recognition as an oil-producing state.
Senator Echocho prior to adoption of the prayer by the Senate submitted saying that oil has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy right from 1956 when it was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in the present Bayelsa State.

He explained further that after the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities in Oloibiri, other discoveries were made in other parts of the country, including the present Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, and Imo States.

“Informed that oil was later discovered in commercial quantities in Odeke, Echeno, Ihile, Anocha/Uchuchu, Omabo, Ikah, Iregwu and Ujeh all in Ibaji community of the present-day Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.

“Further Informed that after due assessments and consultations, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, officially listed Kogi State as an oil producing state in 2021.

“Aware of the peculiarities of the oil producing States, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under section 162(2), directs the constant reflection of the principle of derivation of not less than 13% in any approved revenue allocation formula.

“Recall that in a debate on a Bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act No.86 LFN 2004 (SB 271) before this distinguished Senate on Wednesday, 28th February 2024, the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Tony Nwoye, stated that Kogi State is yet to start receiving the constitutional 13% derivation as an oil producing state.

“Cognisant that upon the official recognition by the RMAFC in 2021, the Kogi State Government officially received the first 13% derivation in October 2022 and has continued to receive it till date.

“Further Cognisant that the receipt of the first 13% was officially acknowledged by the Kogi State Government in a state broadcast on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, which was widely published in national dailies which reported Kogi State as the first northern oil producing state to get 13% derivation. Copies of those publications are attached for ease of reference”.

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Legislature

Afeez Kilani declares to contest NASSLAF chairmanship

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***Says he is most experienced having gone through the ranks

Alhaji Prince Afeez Kilani, senior Legislative Aide to distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai has officially declared to contest for the chairmanship position of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF)
Kilani who hails from Shaki west in Oyo State, South west Nigeria said he would bring his wealth of experience to bare by improving on the welfare of Legislative Aids.
“I have been here since the year 2015. I got here as a legislative Assistant, that is LA2 and because of thr level of dedication my boss promoted me to LA1 in 2019.
“Now I am the SLA to the distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai, he is a third time Senator in the Nigerian senate.
“With this carrier progression, coupled with my experience in the National Assembly, at least I have run through the ranks of the aides of the National Assembly.
“I think I am in the best position to understand the yearnings and the needed welfare of the legislative aides because I have gone through the ranks of the legislative aids.
“We don’t want a situation whereby an aide or a chairman will be elected and he will not understand what other legislative aides are going through.
He said there is no need to elect a chairman that will not understand the pains, the feelings and yearnings of Legislative aides.
He said he is a reflection, a manifest example of a leader who has gone through the ranks of legislative aid because, “I started my carrier as an SL2 but now I am the SLA so there is nothing that any legislative aide is going through that I don’t understand.
“With that understanding, I am in the best position pilot the affairs of the national Assembly legislative aides. If you give me your support, I am going to serve you better.”
On how he would be able to use diplomacy to settle disagreement with the management of the National Assembly when it arises, he said, “We are in the 21st century, and as a lawyer there is what is called alternative dispute resolution. In labour law, it is very important that confrontation, protests should be the last thing, should be on the last burner.
‘The first thing is negotiation, good approach to issues, we are in a democratic era. It is when all that fails that we can adopt confrontation which we are not going to even adopt.
“I know with my skills as a lawyer for more than 11 years of experience, it is not going to be difficult for me to meet with management to convince them of the reason why they should take care of us.”

Chairman of the Southwest National Assembly Legislative Forum, Ogumawola Ebeneza, said, “As you can see the ovation is laud because we have gone through rigorous screening and Southwest as a leading zone when it comes to affairs of the NASSLAF we have then everything in to consideration and we decided one voice to queue behind our own Barr.Hafiz Kelani as our candidate
The DG said the aides need a new lease of life.
“We are tired of recirculation of warn out leaders. We don’t want people that have been circulating themselves since the 5th Assembly.
“You have heard the voice of the aides, the first timers, and the semi first timers and we have decided as the South West zone we have decided to put our own, some one who’s door will be opened, who will not stay in the office wanting people to come and meet him.
“He is someone that will go round to know the needs and yearnings of the aides. This is the man we are looking for. This is the reason we are doing to stand by him, He is not for South West but for all the zones.
Olusola Olugbami AKA maintain said they need Somebody that will do what others have not been able to do, you know in the South West, we don’t take the back seat.
“Whenever we said we have resolved to do something that is what we will do. This is our candidate and by the grace of God, he is going to emerge victorious.

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Legislature

Senate panel quizzes Bakari as NFIU Boss

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The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes has on Monday quizzed Hafsat Bakari as the Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU).

President Bola Tinubu last week appointed Bakari as the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, pending her confirmation by the Senate.

By the appointment Bakari is to replace Modibbo Tukur who was relieved of his job by President Tinubu in June 2023.
Bakari is a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing said she has “enough experience to discharge he duties”
Before her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the NFIU, she served as Deputy Director at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and was at different times the Head of the General Services Unit; Head of the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and Head of the Board Secretariat of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a chat with newsmen after the screening, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Emmanuel Menga Udende expresses that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to bare in the discharge of her mandate in this critical role, especially in view of the President Bola Tinubu’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets”
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) a creation of the National Assembly is the Nigerian federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing disclosures from reporting organizations, in order to produce financial intelligence to other agencies combating money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
The NFIU was established in 2004 as an autonomous unit within the central coordinating body for the country’s Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) framework of Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
It also operates as part of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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