By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja
Following last Friday’s suspension of factional Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) and other PDP chieftains by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for going against the party’s endorsement of Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) for the post, a caucus of minority political parties in the House of Representatives has called on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) to reverse the suspension.
Spokesman of the minority parties, Lego Idagbo (PDP, Cross River) told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that Elumelu’s emergence was in line with Order 7 Rule 8 of the House Standing Rules.
The caucus therefore passed a confidence vote on the Minority Leader and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“We are here this morning to address the recent happenings with the issue of minority leadership of the 9th House.
“According to the House Rules, Order 7 Rule 8, members of the minority in the House shall nominate their leaders, not political parties.
“We adhered to that rule in the selection of Ndudi Elumelu, Toby Okechukwu, Gideon Gwani and Adesegun Adekoya as Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip respectively.
“We, the minority parties hereby pass vote of confidence on the leadership of Ndudi Elumelu and speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, and also appeal to our party, the PDP to rescind its decision to suspend Elumelu and some of our colleagues,” Idagbo said.
Admitting that he was part of the meeting where Chinda was earlier endorsed, Idagbo, however added that “the endorsement by the PDP did not carry other minority political parties in the House of Representatives along.”
The lawmakers also denied allegation that they were induced with a bribe of N1 million before electing Elumelu, saying “allegation of N1 million bribe is an insult on any member of the National Assembly.”
Gov. Diri Queries Bayelsa Population Figures
From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has faulted the population figures attributed to the state by the National Population Commission (NPC), of which he described as “grossly under-estimated.”
Diri made this known on Tuesday, during a Stakeholder Summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census held at Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House Yenagoa.
Buttressing his claim, the governor stressed that the state had grown beyond the current structure of eight local government areas, and noted that “the projected population of Yenagoa, the state capital, points to the fact that the state’s population was misrepresented.
A statement by Diri’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that such faulty census figures were responsible for the under-representation of Bayelsa in the House of Representatives with only five members.
Diri said Bayelsa State’s recent growth and contributions to the national economy as a result of its oil resources should give her more representation in the federal government.
“By the 2006 census figures, Bayelsa had a population of 1,704,515. That figure was not correct; we are hopeful that the next exercise will give a more reliable and acceptable figure.
“Our government is convinced that the National Population Commission has the commitment and capacity to deliver to Nigerians and, indeed, to Bayelsa State very credible, reliable, valid, and acceptable population figures.
“As a government, we are deeply concerned that Bayelsa has grown beyond the current structure of eight local governments. Clearly, we are under-represented in the House of Representatives with only five members. The current projected population of Yenagoa points to these facts. With our exponential growth and contributions to the national economy from our oil resources, we deserve more federal presence.”
Diri said the NPC needed to realize that an accurate census was critical for the nation’s democracy and economy because it underpins fair representation in government and enables those in authority to make appropriate funding for healthcare, schools, roads, and other critical infrastructure.
The state’s helmsman added that population figure was one of the basic parameters in the sharing of revenue, particularly in Nigeria.
In her address, the Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission in charge of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Gloria Izonfuo, said that the 2023 census would be fully digitalized in line with United Nations principles and recommendations for the 2020 round of Population and Housing Censuses.
Mrs. Izonfuo, who was a former Head of Service in Bayelsa, said the Commission had deployed technology to conduct the exercise and enhance data quality.
She expressed the Commission’s commitment to deliver credible and reliable census as well as ensuring that the results of the exercise are acceptable to Nigerians and the quality of the data to be generated meets international standards for planning and developmental purposes.
Izonfuo added that the stakeholder’s summit was the first of several meetings to be held in the state and thanked the government and people of the state for the support to the Commission.
In their goodwill messages, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Ben Okolo, and Chairman, Bayelsa State Founding Fathers, Chief Benedict Gwembe, said population census was strategic to enable the government plan for every sector, including the creation of more voting centers in the country.
They also stressed the need for more census enumerators to be deployed in the rural areas as well as provided sensitization on the need for people to participate in the process.
They assured the Commission of their support to assist it to conduct ahitch-free and successful 2023 national population and housing census.
Flood Kills 23, Displaces 116,000 in Benue- BSEMA
The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA) says no fewer than 23 persons have died as a result of flooding in the state since the beginning of the rainy season.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Shior, announced this while kick-starting the distribution of relief materials to flood victims on Tuesday in Makurdi.
He said that 116,084 persons had also been displaced as a result of the flooding in some parts of the state.
Shior said that the 116,084 displaced persons cut across 12,856 households in 11 local government areas.
“74 persons are having different degrees of injuries. 14 out of the 23 deaths arose from boat mishap in Guma Local Government Area,” he said.
The executive secretary further stated that the flooding had so far affected 14,040 hectares of farmlands while 4,411 houses had been submerged.
“Schools and markets, companies, houses and farmlands located in 104 communities are affected,” he said.
He listed the affected local government areas as, Guma, Vandeikya, Otukpo, Katsina-ala, Makurdi, Apa, Agatu, Tarka, Gboko, Gwer-West and Logo.
”The victims are in need of immediate support. That is the reason for this exercise.
”We began with Makurdi and Agatu because they are the worst hit with 34 and 28 affected communities respectively.
”The victims in Agatu who are currently taking refuge along the Federal Highway will soon be relocated to Obagaji,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Mr John Digah, Principal Researcher and Rescue Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, said the agency had deployed water treatment machine to support the victims with potable water.
Digah said that the machine had the capacity to treat 2,000 litres of water within an hour.
”In the past two days, we have treated and distributed 140,000 litres of water to the victims,” he said.(NAN)
Senate Passes Bill to Increase Justices of Court Appeal from 90 to 110
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill amending the Court of Appeal Act, 2013 increasing the number of Justices of Court of Appeal from 90 to 110 .
This followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal Matters by Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Bamidele Opeyemi(APC-Ekiti).
Opeyemi in his lead debate said the bill sponsored by Sen.
According to him, the legislative intent of the amendment is to ensure that the court has the requisite manpower to allow cooperation of all the divisions of the court.
He said the bill was designed to bring justice closer to litigants in line with the current reality at expediting the administration of Justice.
“This is necessary in order to eliminate delay in the justice delivery systems, as it relates to the adjudicatory powers of the court
“This proposed amendments undoubtedly is targeted at increasing the work load of the court and enhance its effective performance,” he said.
He said that stakeholders were unanimous in their support of the passage of the bill, given its strategic relevance to the justice sector reform.
He said the amendment would ultimately stimulate quick dispensation of justice
“The one silent improvement of this bill is the aspect that seeks to integrate virtual court proceedings which have become an integral part of our court proceedings.
” This also is in line with the guildline, given to courts by the Chief Justice of the Federation, as justice will no longer be delayed,” he said.
The Senate also stood down a bill for an act to provide for the rotation of power in the country.
This followed a submission by senators Bala Ib’n Nala(APC-Kebbi) and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege that the bill was in conflict with the provision of 1999 Constitution.
The bill was sponsored by Sen.Abba Moro (PDP-Benue).
Presenting the bill,Moro said that it sought to enact a legislation to amend provisions of the constitution and provide for rotations of the presidency among the geo- political zones of the country.
The Senate also passed the National Health Act amendment Bill 2014 and the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Science Egbe, Kogi establishment bill.
This following the adoption of the reports of Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).(NAN)
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