**recommends regular executive, legislative parley for development agenda
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has challenged his colleagues to come up with creative legislative frameworks that will provide robust oversight support to guarantee the appreciation and stability of Naira.
Bamidele, also, recommended regular parleys between federal lawmakers and all members of the Federal Executive Council as one of the measures that should be adopted to integrate the eight-point agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the programmes of the 10th National Assembly.
He canvassed the positions at a two-day retreat for all senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State under the theme, fiscal policy and tax reforms in Nigeria.
Organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, the retreat was designed to build the capacity of the senators to enact pro-people legislations that could promote enduring peace; guarantee sustainable development and deepen peaceful co-existence, among Nigerians.
At the retreat were the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas; Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr. Wale Edun and other members of the Federal Executive Council.
Concerned about the weakening of Naira, the senate leader canvassed appropriate legislative frameworks and oversight support for the implementation of responsive fiscal and monetary policy with a view to rescuing the economy from regression.
He explained that both chambers of the National Assembly “are under obligations to stem the recurring decimal of Naira devaluation and promote economic stability. This entails appropriate legislative framework and oversight support for the implementation of responsive fiscal and monetary policy measures.
“Henceforth, developing appropriate legislative frameworks is central to ensuring macroeconomic stability with focus on managing inflation, addressing high interest rates as well as foreign exchange deficit,” the senate Leader observed in his paper presentation.
Bamidele equally highlighted diverse antidotes to socio-economic challenges currently confronting the federation, recommending first the urgent review of the Land Use Act, 1979 to redress the current land tenure system and give Nigerians more access to arable farmland nationwide.
He observed that ensuring more access to arable farmland would boost agricultural production exponentially and guarantee food security nationwide because most Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities, were predominantly farmers.
He emphasised the need to prioritise the Small Towns and Village Recovery and Development Bill in order to restore economic fairness to the rural communities in the scheme of national revenue allocations as well as the provision of rural infrastructure.
He added that the initiative would obviously stem the alarming rate of rural–urban drift and the attendant urban population explosion, urban criminality, environmental degradation and huge gap between available resources and demands in the cities.
He explained that effective implementation of the poverty alleviation programme “is fundamental to promoting peace, harmony and sustainable democracy in Nigeria where over 70 percent of the nation’s population is reportedly living below poverty line.
“To reduce the increasing inequality between the poor and rich, we urgently need to strengthen the National Directorate of Employment through the amendment of relevant legislations that will create limitless opportunities for our teeming jobless populations.
“We are also under obligations not just to overhaul our National Poverty Eradication Programme and National Economic Reform Plan, but also back them up with adequate funding to provide social safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable across the federation.”
Pointing out the alarming rate of corruption in the public space, Bamidele warned that the federation should prepare for mass action from the downtrodden, which might manifest in the form of protests.
As a matter of national security, the senate leader tasked the National Assembly to work out preventive measures to address corrupt practices rather than emphasising antidotes to cure them.
Bamidele also challenged the federal government to discourage selective treatment, executive lawlessness, high handedness, and political persecution of perceived enemies in the fight against corruption.
Also, at the retreat, Bamidele called for a joint retreat between the executive and legislature in order to work out modalities to integrate Tinubu’s eight-point agenda with the programmes of the National Assembly.
He explained that the proposed retreat would provide opportunity for all chairmen of standing committees in the Senate and House Committees to sit with ministers and their permanent secretaries to synergise on the approaches to implementing the eight-point agenda of the Tinubu administration.
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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