The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has warned Multichoice Nigeria not to dare their host country by going ahead with the planned hike in tariffs of it’s products while the matter is yet being investigated.
Inaugurating a seven-member adhoc Committee of the Senate headed by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate President warned that no foreign operators in the country should take Nigeria for granted.
The committee was set up by the Senate on Wednesday, 30th April, 2022 against the backdrop of an announcement of tariff hike by the Multichoice pay TV service provider, DStv.
“No operator should take us for granted. We mean business. We want you to be here. Nigeria always provide the climate for you to do your businesses but don’t abuse the laws of our country.
“Our consumers here are people who are innocent and we are prepared to protect them.
“Meanwhile, stay action. No increase and that is to say don’t dare our country. No increase in tariffs,” the Senate President warned.
Explaining the rationale behind setting up of the committee Lawan said, “The reason for setting up this adhoc Committee is well known and this is in consistent with what we are supposed to do as members of parliament, as distinguished senators.
“When the legitimate interests of our people are threatened, we are supposed to ensure that we protect them.
“It has been the practice of many companies, especially foreign companies operating in Nigeria to treat the Nigerian consumers of their products in a different way and manner that is not consistent with global best practices.
“I’m not going to pre-empt the outcome of this investigation but one thing is clear, that the Senate is prepared to go all the way to unearth the exact situation that is happening with respect to how much Nigerian consumers of the DStv or Pay-TV tariffs are charged and how does that compare to other jurisdictions in other countries.
“DStv, one of the operators, has shown the tendency to increase the tariffs without due consultation with stakeholders and we feel this is not the right way to go about it and therefore we even need to find out whether or not what we are paying already is not out of the roof and different from what other countries are charged.
“So your task as a committee is to look at the issue very dispassionately with a very clear mind and focus on what we need to know.
“The Consumers Protection Council and other agencies of government and even NGOs and CSOs are supposed to attend this kind of investigation. We need to know what roles actually such government Institutions established for the purposes of protecting Nigerian consumers perform. What are their problems if they are not doing well.
“The report, at the end of the day, is supposed to be a report that will guide the Senate to take resolutions that will ensure that Nigerian consumers of the products, Pay-TV, are fully protected but at the same time that will not emasculate the businesses. We want to see a win-win situation for both consumers and operators.
“But let me be very clear at this point, we are going to take on any operators who decide to charge Nigerians tariffs that are not charged anywhere outside this country.
“I also want to add here that any operators, especially foreign, who do not want to respect and obey our laws should leave. Afterall, it is only in this country that most of these operators behave the way they do, whether they are telecoms or DStv or whatever.
“In other climes, they do better. They respect the consumers. They respect the laws of the countries where they operate. It is only in Nigeria where they don’t give us any respect and I think we will take them on.
“I pray that they do the right thing so that they will not run into any trouble of fighting the injustice. What happened in the past should provide us lessons and issues that we should look at.
“Infact if Nigerian consumers were extraordinarily cheated, they should be paid back. They do that in other countries. So I hope that all operators will cooperate with this committee. That when they are invited to appear before the committee they will appear.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said “the investigation into the activities of the Pay-TV service providers is long overdue as their activities, over time has reaped off Nigerians of their hard earned income.
“It is mind burgling that barely two years of the price hike by the Multichoice which was followed by a big uproar by Nigerians, comes another unexpected increment without proper consultation with critical stakeholders.
“This incessant hike in tariff without recourse to constituted authourities is a thing of great concern that calls for questioning.
“This investigation is an opportunity to right the wrongs and bring this service providers to operate within the confines of the law as obtainable outside the shores of the country.”
Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials
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
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
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.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***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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