The first legislative week was filled with mixed emotions from lawmakers.
The senators had resumed from a five-week break with many promises and utmost zeal to tackle issues of urgent national importance.
Prior to its resumption on Tuesday, the Senate President met with journalists and disclosed some issues which he said will be prioritised in the upper chamber. Top among the issues are insecurity, Electoral Amendment Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, among others.
Below are highlights of the Senate’s activities last week.
– The lawmakers resumed plenary on a sober note as they had to adjourn to mourn a member of the House of Representatives, Muhammadu Gawo, who died on December 31. The adjournment was sequel to an executive session which lasted for about an hour – where lawmakers discussed plans for 2020.
– Prior to the adjournment also, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read out a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari [Photo: Presidency]
The President informed the Senate that he will recompose the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and send to the Senate for confirmation.
Mr Buhari also sought the confirmation of the appointment of Kingsley Obiora as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other nominees.
They were confirmed on Thursday.
– The Senate Spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, told journalists that the alleged conviction of the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, by a U.S court, is not an issue of the Senate.
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He said the Senate will only talk about it if there is a petition to it.
– Senate decided to dedicate the whole of the day to discuss insecurity across the country and the need to reconstruct the security architecture. Shortly after the motion was read, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, faulted the Buhari-led administration and called on the president to resign.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe
After a lengthy deliberation, the lawmakers urged the president to dismiss all the service chiefs and appoint new ones.
– The Senate urged the federal government to allocate more funds to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The funds, the lawmakers said, will be used to acquire “the latest and most recent equipment that there is for research and diagnosis of tropical diseases disrupting human existence.”
– The Senate asked the executive to appoint a minister among indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory as ruled by a court. This was based on a petition written to the Senate on the matter.
– Shortly after his second swearing-in, Chris Ekpenyong bragged about his victory over NDDC minister, Godswill Akpabio. He called the latter an uncommon failure and said he caused mayhem on his people.
– The Senate mandated its Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector to carry out a holistic investigation on the turnaround maintenance expenditure and current state of the refineries in the country.
It also urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to completely evaluate the dilapidated state of the refineries or total overhauling and rehabilitation to international standard.