*Steps down electoral offences, entrepreneurship bank bills over sponsorship controversy
*Motion for review of judicial officers’ salaries stepped down
Udora Orizu and Juliet Akoje in Abuja
The House of Representatives has queried the $49 million contract awarded to Technimont to undertake integrity test for refineries across the country.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee investigating the state of the country’s refinery, Hon. Ganiyu Johnson, yesterday queried the company in Abuja.
The contract was awarded in 2019 at $49 million by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Technimont.
The contract was for the first phase of the refurbishment of refineries across the country.
He stated that the state of refineries in the country revealed that some infractions had been discovered during its investigation.
He further blamed the NNPC for failure in its duty to undertake regular turn around maintenance.
The lawmakers however asked both parties to submit all evidences of contract approved by the Federal Executive Council and payment proofs including the level of work done to the committee.
The committee had been engaging the NNPC and engineering company handling the contract for the $1.3 billion rehabilitation exercise of the refinery which they alleged had yielded no result.
House Steps Down Electoral Offences, Entrepreneurship Bank Bills over Sponsorship Controversy
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives at plenary yesterday stepped down two bills seeking investigation and prosecution of electoral offences and establishment of entrepreneurship development bank over sponsorship controversy.
The lawmakers also stepped down a motion seeking for an upward review of judicial officers’ salary.
The first bill titled, “Bill for an Act to Establish National Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal to Provide for the Legal Framework for Investigation and Prosecution of Electoral Offences for the general Improvement of the Electoral Process in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HBs.1589, 695, 1372 and 1472),” sponsored by Hon. Aishatu Dukku, Hon. Francis Uduyok, and Hon. Kingsley Chinda was presented for second reading.
The House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa whose name was also listed as a co-sponsor, when called upon by the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to lead the debate on its general principles, informed the Speaker that he could not because he wasn’t consulted by the sponsors of the Bill beforehand.
“When you have a bill of this nature the leader should be consulted, I was not consulted. And my name is included,” Doguwa said
Raising a point of order, another lawmaker, Hon. John Dyegh told the Speaker that he had sponsored the Bill severally in previous and present Assembly, wondering why his bill was not among those consolidated.
He said, “I sponsored this same bill in previous assembly, it went through all the readings and got to the point of it being signed by Mr. President and the President referred it back for it to be included in the electoral act, it came back and was included, unfortunately it wasn’t signed.
“I brought it up again in this assembly and it was cleaned up, only remaining for the report to be taken and it was deliberately stepped down and I don’t understand. Today so many bills are coming up on the same matter.”
Reacting, Gbajabiamila agreed that in fairness, the Dyegh’s bill should be consolidated and his name added to the list of sponsors, hence the Bill should be stepped down and presented again next week Tuesday.
“It’s a very important bill, if truly Hon. Dyegh has done so much work on it previously he deserves to be part of the process. Justice must not only be done it must be seen to be done.
“When you talk about equity, you talk about fairness, and I wonder where is the fairness when a man has put in so much work and for some inexplicable reason he finds his bills has been consolidated with three other members and his name is conspicuously absent. So I think we should consolidate or step it down till next week Tuesday,” the Speaker said
The second bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to Establish Entrepreneurship Development Bank of Nigeria to charge it with the Responsibility among other things, to provide Medium and Long Term Finance for Indigenous Small Businesses and to Provide for Establishment of Nigerian Entrepreneurship Development, Encourage Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Small Scale Enterprises in Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HBs.188 and 1386),” was listed in the order paper as sponsored by Hon. Olalekan Afolabi and Hon. Benjamin Kalu.
But, Kalu who’s also the House spokesman appealed to the Speaker that the bill should be stepped down due to an error.
According to him, he brought the bill first, not the other lawmaker, hence his name should have been listed first, not as a cosponsor.
Gbajabiamila in ruling agreed with Kalu that first in time prevails, adding that the Bill should be stepped down to reflect the names properly and then taken Tuesday next week.
Briefing journalists later, the House spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu assured that when both Bills are presented next Tuesday, it would receive overwhelming support.
In a related development, the lawmakers also stepped down a motion seeking for an upward review of judicial officers’ salary.
Presenting the motion, the sponsor Hon. Onofiok Luke made reference to the various news reports of the letter written by the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Chief Justice of Nigeria complaining about the poor welfare conditions and the operational challenges facing the apex court.
Luke, who’s the Chairman Committee on Judiciary said the House was aware that the remuneration of judicial officers was last reviewed in 2008 by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) when the official exchange rate was N117.74 to $1 whereas the naira has considerably depreciated.
He, therefore, prayed that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to upwardly review the remuneration of judicial officers in line with present economic realities.