PROCEEDINGS OF THE NIGERIAN SENATE OF THURSDAY, 12TH DECEMBER, 2019.
Welcome to a new Legislative Day in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON led the Principal Officers into the Chambers; took the official prayers; and began the day’s proceedings at 11:35am. Senator Bassey Akpan moved for the approval of votes and proceedings of Wednesday, 11th December, 2019. Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe seconded. POINT OF ORDER Senator Chukwuka Utazi cited Orders 42 & 52 and moved a motion on the 2019 International Universal Health Coverage Day with the theme “Keep The Promise.” “I rise to second this that this Senate do support this motion by recognizing today as a day set aside to remind the world that health is a basic requirement of man but still not accessible. About 70% of people in this country pay from their pocket to seek health which means millions of people cannot access health in Nigeria as at when needed. We should use this day to passionately look at healthcare, I therefore support this motion.”- Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe. “I want to congratulate all the health workers and I support this motion because it will help in alleviating the suffering of the people.”- Senator Philip Aduda. Senate resolved to: 1. Urge the Federal Government to consider removing health and education from the yearly budgetary ceilings of the Budget and Planning Ministry if we are to cover appreciable mileage in the race to accomplishing universal health coverage by 2030; 2. Bear in mind that since the universal health coverage attainment by year 2030 is anchored on effective Primary Health Care delivery it presupposing that if we want quality health personnel to reside in the rural areas, that government on all levels must of necessity have in place basic infrastructure such as electricity, portable water, motor able roads, good schools, decent accommodation and security in rural areas; 3. Urge the private sector not to leave the funding of Nigeria’s health sector to the government alone if the attainment of the universal health coverage by 2030 would not be a pipe dream and doomed to failure; 4. Urge all states in the federation that have not yet enacted laws on national health insurance to do so without further delays and for those that have already done so but have not yet activated the law for the benefit of the citizens should go ahead and do it in line with this year’s theme of “Keeping the Promise” with the people in the actualization of Universal Health Coverage by 2030; 5. Urge all states that would be benefitting from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund to first of all lay out a comprehensive work plan for the utilization of the funds that will come to them ahead of anticipated releases; and 6. Urge the funds disbursing authorities, the National Health Insurance Scheme and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to ensure strict routine, monitoring and supervision of funds utilization by the recipient states and to sanction any defaulting state found wanting, since at the heart of making a success of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and the Universal Health Coverage is the availability of basic health care to all, wherever they live without suffering financial hardship. Senator Opeyemi Bamidele cited Order 43 and drew the attention of the Senate to the alleged unlawful invasion of the Court by alleged staff of the Department of State Security Service. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the point of order to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further investigation and to report in a week. PRESENTATION OF BILLS- First Reading 1. Institute of Rice Research and Development Bill, 2019 (SB. 228) by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah. Institute of Rice Research and Development Bill, 2019 (SB. 228) was read the First Time. 2. Federal Revenue Enforcement Corps of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 264) by Senator Adamu Aliero. Federal Revenue Enforcement Corps of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 264) was read the First Time. 3. University of Maritime Studies, Oron (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 265) by Senator Eyakenyi Akon. University of Maritime Studies, Oron (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 265) was read the First Time. 4. National Institute for Border Studies Imeko (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 266) by Senator Tolu Odebiyi. National Institute for Border Studies Imeko (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 266) was read the First Time. 5. National Sports Development Fund (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 268) by Senator Obinna Ogba. National Sports Development Fund (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 268) was read the First Time. CONSIDERATION OF BILLS- Second Reading 1. A Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration Statutory Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account, the total sum of N232, 875, 365, 947.00 (Two Hundred and Thirty Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy Five Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty Seven Naira) only, of which the sum of N53, 876, 241, 095.00 (Fifty Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Two Hundred and Forty One Thousand and Ninety Five Naira) only is for Personnel Costs and the sum of N57, 070, 343, 435.00 (Fifty Seven Billion and Seventy Million, Three Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty Five Naira) only is for Overhead Costs while the balance of N121, 928, 781, 417.00 (One Hundred and Twenty One Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty One Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventeen Naira) only is for Capital Projects for the service of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for the financial year commencing from 1st January and ending on 31st December, 2020 (SB. 270) by Senate Leader. “The FCT can enhance its revenue by going into area of tourism and agriculture. We have tourist potentials in Abuja and we need to develop them. We need to harness the tourism potential of Abuja, there are many untapped areas. The FCT Minister is now doing well and I want him to continue on this strategy. I commend them, let them do more to make sure they transform one of the symbols of our national sovereignty. I want to commend the Minister, let him do more.”- Senator Barau Jibrin. “I totally align with Senator Jibrin. 2019 was not a good time for all the MDAs so also the FCT, and in passing this Bill we will see more changes.”- Senator Aishatu Dahiru. “Let me start by commending the FCT Minister and this document has been able to provide us with the performance of 2019 budget. The FCT should do more in the area of revenue generation, they should put mechanism in place to ensure areas yet untapped in revenue generation should be plucked. Other critical sector as contained in this document, we want more funding to go into it. There are schools that need to be repaired and constructed across the length and breath of the FCT. A lot needs to be done in water supply as a result of shortfall. Attention should be paid to ensuring new satellite towns are built across the FCT.”- Senator Solomon Adeola. “This is the very first time in many years that this budget is coming so early. Mr. Senate President, we must see this as one of your achievements. This is a welcome and commendable development. Going forward Mr. Senate President, next time we need to have the fuller details of the budget so that we debate on it. We need to know the details of the budget so that they can go into a very aggressive revenue drive. Abuja is a model city because its comparable to any good city in the world and therefore we need all the good supply in FCT. This is a good one and I hope and pray the Committee will do a good job.”- Senator James Manager. “The Committee should look at this budget critically and look at areas that has been lying fallow. In my own opinion, this budget is as good as being passed to enable the Committee do their job.”- Senator Micheal Nnachi. “Nothing is done for satellite cities like Suleja which is very close to FCT and the pressure is on Niger State Government. The FCT budget should make some allocation no mater how little. The children are schooling in suleja, the workers are living there. I think the Committee will have to look at this and do the needful.”- Senator Sani Musa. A Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration Statutory Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account, the total sum of N232, 875, 365, 947 only was read the Second Time. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Federal Capital Territory to report on Wednesday, 18th December 2019. “The revenue generation drive of the FCT needs to be improved significantly. FCT can raise 20 times of what they are generating. They need to raise more funds and this is not likely to affect the poor. The performance of the previous year, I think the Committee, when they report to us they should be able to tell us what has happened. I want to also ask whether we have so much provisions in the National priority provision for security in the FCT. I believe that we need to look into that, the security situation needs some attention from us.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON. 2. A Bill for an Act to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, CAP N42 LFN 2004 and to enact the National Health Insurance Commission Bill, 2019 (SB. 65) by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe. “The importance of this Bill at this crucial moment can not be overemphasized. I urge my colleagues to all support this timely Bill.”- Senator Rochas Okorocha. “When this is put in place, citizens will have the assurance that the government is looking after them. In order for us to help all of us in Nigeria, all of us should support this very important Bill.”- Senator Ibikunle Amosun. “This Bill coincides with today’s Universal Health Coverage Day. For us to achieve Universal Health Coverage, we need to strengthen the Health Insurance scheme. I therefore urge that we allow this Bill to pass for second reading because this is what we need to take Nigeria to the Next level.”- Senator Sadiq Suleiman. A Bill for an Act to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, CAP N42 LFN 2004 and to enact the National Health Insurance Commission Bill, 2019 (SB. 65) was read the Second Time. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Health to report in four (4) weeks. 3. A Bill for an Act to amend the Police Act CAP P19 LFN 2004 and expunge the gender discriminatory provisions of regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 for other related matters, 2019 (SB. 87) by Senator Francis Onyewuchi. “We should amend this law so that we can give dignity to our female folks. It is very strange to find such provision in Police Act which is discriminatory to male counterparts who are not bound by this law. I fully support this Bill so that we can bring everyone to an equal range.”- Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. “This issue is not peculiar to police, but all law enforcement agencies. I strongly support this particular bill that all these horrible clauses should be explunged from the bill and urge all of us to give accelerated second reading to this Bill.”- Senator Stella Oduah. “I want to commend my brother for this Bill. There is more to the problem of Nigerian Police and this amendment should be seen as the first step towards preparing the police to meet the present reality of Nigeria. We must come out with a holistic approach to the problems of the Nigerian police.”- Senator Smart Adeyemi. “I am of the opinion that the law review commission should look into our statute books and expunge clauses that are Discriminatory against women.”- Senator Chukwuka Utazi. “This is a constitutional matter, it is not something that should sway this way or there. This is a law that predates before we got independence. It’s surprising that we have allowed it to linger on nearly sixty years on. We should have no problem taking it out of our constitution and other laws that are of this nature.”- Senator Oker-Jev Yisa. “There is need for us to support this Bill. We should review these premitive laws and should go for a constitutional review.”- Senator Rochas Okorocha. A Bill for an Act to amend the Police Act CAP P19 LFN 2004 and expunge the gender discriminatory provisions of regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 for other related matters, 2019 (SB. 87) was read the Second Time. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON referred the Bill to the Committee on Police Affairs to report in four (4) weeks. “This is a very important Bill. Maybe it took us this long to see this is not supposed to be part of our Laws. I will also encourage us to look at other institutions like immigration, customs and paramilitary bodies to look if these laws are there so that we can expunge them.”- Senate President, Ahmad Lawan PhD, CON. ADJOURNMENT Senate Leader moved that all items on the order paper be stood down to another legislative day. Minority Leader seconded. Plenary is adjourned to Tuesday, 17th December 2019. #GavelBangs Signed New Media Unit Office of the President of the Senate Federal Republic of Nigeria