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Obaseki, Senate on War Path Over Edo Assembly Crisis

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Mr Godwin Obaseki
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By Jude Opara, Abuja

The stage may have been set for the battle of supremacy between the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the Nigerian Senate over the crisis that has rocked the state House of Assembly since its inauguration on June 17.

This is because while the Senate yesterday at plenary gave Governor Obaseki a one-week ultimatum to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, the governor has said he will do no such thing because the senate was over reaching their mandate by such directive.

The senate had sequel to the recommendations of the Senate ad-hoc committee which was set up to look into the crisis which has rocked the Edo Assembly since its controversial inauguration, said the only way out was for a fresh proclamation within one week or they will take over the legislative duties of the state Assembly.

Chairman of the committee, Aliu Sabi while presenting his report said they interacted with all the relevant stakeholders involved in the Edo debacle including; Governor Godwin Obaseki, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, the clerk of the Edo Assembly as well as the Speaker.

He equally revealed that those on the other side of the crisis including the protesting members who have refused to take their seat, as well as the National chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

In their recommendation, the committee said that the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki should within three weeks issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo Assembly, failure of which the National Assembly will invoke Section 11(4) which mandates it to take over the running of the Assembly of any state where the Assembly cannot sit.

However, Senate Leader, Abdulahi Yahaya who moved a motion for the amendment of the recommendations suggested that the time frame for him to comply be reduced to one week because the matter has been in the public domain for a long time.

Interestingly, this motion was never seconded before the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan ruled it its favour.

Sabi further said that the observations of the committee showed that while the governor actually made the proclamation, the clerk did not extend proper invitation to all the members, a result of which they were unable to attend the inauguration.

He further said that the proclamation did not indicate the time for the inauguration and that it was not properly advertised in the mass media as required by law.

There were some contrary views as espoused by Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who cautioned against the move of the senate which he said suggests that it looks as if the National Assembly is in a hurry to take over the Edo Assembly.

According to Okorocha, the matter is an APC in house matter that ought to have been amicably resolved by the leadership of the party.

The former Imo State governor also wondered why the seeming haste to take a drastic action in the Edo matter while it has glossed over such issues in other states in the past.

Lawan endorsed the one-week amendment done by the Senate leader. An attempt by Orke Jerve to direct the Senate on the position of the Constitution on the proclamation was overruled by Lawan who said the time for him to do that has not come.

But in a statement issued yesterday in a sharp reaction to the position of the senate and made available to Daily Asset, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie on his behalf, the governor said he would not issue a fresh proclamation.

He equally described the action of the senate as an illegality that cannot stand, adding that he was not   entirely surprised that the senate could arrive at such a conclusion because of the enormous pressure being mounted on them by some highly placed individuals who are interested parties to the crisis.

 “As earlier mentioned, this move was not unexpected in the light of the enormous political pressure which had been brought to bear on the officers and members of the distinguished senate by the highly-placed and powerful persons who are intent on foisting their will and choices on the good people of Edo state.

“This is borne out by the recorded statements made by one Seid Oshiomhole (a member-elect and younger brother of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole) wherein he boasted that both the senate president, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the speaker of the house of representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have been instructed on what to do in this matter.”

The statement further stated that the ad-hoc committee was put in the know concerning the three courts pending on the matter.

“The government of Edo state wishes to observe that the chairman and members of ad-hoc committee of the senate which visited Edo state were made aware of the existence of at least three (3) suits pending before various courts wherein the factual and legal dispute regarding the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration have been submitted to the courts by both contending parties for resolution.

“It is unfortunate that the distinguished senate would act in flagrant breach of these various court orders and purport to come to factual and legal conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the courts and therefore sub-judice.

“The Edo state government maintains that there is nowhere in the constitution particularly Section 11(4) which enables the national assembly to take over any house of assembly or in this respect, the Edo state house of assembly.”

Analysts believe that the crisis rocking the Edo Assembly is fallout of the misunderstanding between the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and his estranged godson, Governor Obaseki.

Nine lawmakers loyal to Obaseki were inaugurated on June 17, as those loyal to Oshiomhole stayed away. However, three more are said to have joined those in support of Obaseki bringing their number to 12.

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Airports: Tinubu Seeks N24.6bn to Reimburse Nasarawa, Kebbi 

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By Lubem Myaornyi, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has written to the House of Representatives seeking the preparations and approval of a N24.6 billion Promissory Notes to reimburse Nasarawa and Kebbi States on the costs of their Airports taken over by the Federal Government.

Nasarawa is to be reimbursed N9.5 billion while Kebbi is to be reimbursed to the tune of N15.

1 billion.

In the letter read by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the Plenary on Thursday, the President said, the takeover of the airports was in line with Item 3 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which placed the ownership of Airports and other Aviation related infrastructure in the exclusive list.

Similarly, the President in a separate letter presented an Executive Bill, the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the House consideration.

The President said the bill seeks the creation of an agency for Nigeria to achieve world standards and codes on Doping by signatories to the international regulations.

He urged the House to give the Bill a speedy consideration before the commencement of the Olympic Games coming up later in July.

In another letter, the President sought the approval of a supplementary budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2023 fiscal year.

Tinubu Transmits Bill on Sports Performance Enhancement Drug to Senate

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has forwarded a bill to the Senate seeking to prohibit Nigerian athletes from consuming substances that enhance performance during or after competitions.

The president’s request was contained in a letter read by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary on Thursday.

The bill titled “National Anti-Doping Bill 2024”, if passed, will regulate substances that can be consumed by athletes during sporting events.

In the letter, Tinubu said the bill would provide a legal framework for the establishment of the National Anti-Doping Organisation to regulate sporting competitions.

He explained that the establishment of the agency was a requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonises anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sports organisations and among public authorities around the world.

Tinubu noted that the law will help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences and the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events.

“In accordance with the provisions of section 58 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, I forward herewith the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“The National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 seeks to create an administratively independent National Anti-Doping organisation, which is a cardinal requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the international standard for code compliance by signatures.

The enactment of this vital legislation will also help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences, the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events”, Mr Tinubu added.

The president, however, urged the lawmakers to consider the bill before the Olympic Games seminar scheduled to be held in Paris in July for Nigerians to be part of the competition.

 “It is my hope that this submission will receive the humankind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Nigeria for passage of the same to law before the Olympic Games seminar in Paris in July 2024.

“Please accept, distinguished president, the assurances of our highest consideration. Regards.”

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Medical Tourism: Senate Mulls Health Infrastructure Development Agency

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The Senate at the plenary on Thursday passed through second reading, a Bill seeking for an Act to establish the Health Infrastructure Development Agency to provide a comprehensive framework to guide the planning, financing, construction, maintenance, and regulation of healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.


The proposed legislation titled; “Bill for an Act to establish Health Infrastructure Development Agency,” was sponsored by the Minority Whip, Senator Osita Ngwu.

Leading the debate on its general principles, Ngwu who represents Enugu West senatorial district explained that the bill seeks to promote development and improvement of healthcare infrastructure so as to enhance healthcare access, quality, and delivery across the country.

He further explained that it seeks to strengthen the healthcare system by focusing on the modernization of healthcare facilities by leveraging public-private partnerships for sustainable infrastructure development.
The lawmaker lamented that the Nigerian healthcare industry faces challenges associated with outbound medical tourism, inadequate medical personnel and deteriorating medical infrastructure.
Making reference to a report by the International Trade Administration, which stated that Nigeria is still underdeveloped, lacks modern medical facilities and its healthcare indicators were some of the worst in Africa, Ngwu recalled that to reverse the trend, the government approved the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2018-2020).
He pointed out that part of the objective of the plan was to improve availability and functionality of health infrastructure required to optimize service delivery at all levels, saying that it’s against this background that this Bill is proposed.
The lawmaker added that the Bill was a bold attempt at not only reversing the medical tourism of Nigerians to other countries, but also seeks to make Nigeria a medical destination hub within the shortest possible time.
“Healthcare infrastructure constitutes a major component of the structural quality of a health system. It is a key pillar that supports the aim of promoting improved standard of medical care and wellbeing. The Bill outlines the responsibilities and powers of a Board, emphasizes collaboration and coordination among stakeholders, and provides for the issuance of regulations and guidelines to support effective implementation of its objectives.
“The Bill proposes the establishment of an Agency to administer the framework for policy direction, standards, guidelines, efficient construction processes, and quality control measures. The Agency would also ensure that healthcare facilities are designed, constructed, and maintained to meet the highest standards and support the delivery of quality healthcare services.
“The Bill emphasizes the importance of rural healthcare access and outlines strategies for addressing healthcare disparities in rural areas. By implementing these strategies, Nigeria can enhance healthcare access and delivery in rural communities, improving health outcomes and reducing disparities. Provision is also made to accommodate the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the types of PPP models that can be employed. By implementing these guidelines, Nigeria can effectively leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to improve healthcare access, affordability, and quality,” Ngwu said.
Thereafter the Bill was put to a voice vote by the President of the Senate; Godswill Akpabio who presided over the session and it was passed and referred to the Committee on Health Institutions.
Senate Passes North West Development Commission Establishment Bill
Similarly, the Senate on Thursday passed the North West Development Commission (NWDC) establishment bill, to address challenges facing the seven states in the zone.
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, on the NWDC (Establishment) at Thursday’s plenary.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Shehu Kaka from Borno State said the purpose of the bill was well structured and strategically streamlined, for the socio-economic development of the North West zone of the country.
He added that the commission’s establishment would bring the federal government closer to the north western states, and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Kaka, therefore, urged the Senate to pass the bill.
The lawmakers unanimously passed the bill when it was put to a voice vote by the deputy senate president, Barau Jibrin who presided over the plenary.
In his remarks, Barau commended his colleagues for supporting the bill’s passage.
He said the commission would address the challenges, facing the zone and, by extension, the country.
Describing the North West as the food basket of the country, he said the commission would also work toward the restoration of infrastructure, destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in the zone.
“So if we are serious about ensuring we have food, and for food security to be attained in this country, we must provide the necessary infrastructure for all our key sectors to thrive well.
“This commission is needed. I commend you all for supporting this; no one said no. Everybody supported this idea. So, now we are pushing the Bill to the House of Representatives for their approval and then, to Mr President for assent,” he said.

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Herdsmen Kill Pregnant Woman, 10 Others in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Suspected armed herdsmen again reportedly killed a pregnant woman, 10 other persons during attack on Akilo community in Usha council ward in Agatu West of Agatu Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

It was gathered that the victims were killed in their homes by the marauders who invaded  the community at about 3:30pm on Sunday.

The caretaker chairman of Agatu LGA, Mr.

Yakubu Ochepo, who confirmed the killings, said that “11 people  were killed.

Ochepo said of the number of  deaths recorded, seven corpses have been recovered.

According to him, A pregnant woman corpse, an elderly man and that of five youths have been recovered, adding  that the community members were able to achieve this through the  aid of soldiers and Air force personnel deployed to the area.

“Soldiers and Air Force went there yesterday (Sunday), to recover the corpses. There were gunshots and they were running away only to regroup again.

“I’m in Makurdi now to report to Operations Whirl Stroke. We need more hands. We hear they captured some alive and threw some into the river but we are still waiting for more reports from the area.

“We have not been able to recover the remaining four corpses yet,” he explained.

Ochepo appealed to both the state and Federal Governments to take drastic action towards ending the carnage by deploying more security personnel to Agatu to check the activities of the killer herdsmen in the LGA.

When contacted, the Benue State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene said she was yet to get information about the fresh attack in Agatu.

It would be recalled that three farmers were reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen at Ogbaulu community in Agatu LGA.

 The victims were working on their farms when the herders came to slaughter them.

Similarly, on April  9, 15 persons were killed after suspected herders attacked same Ogbaulu community.

It was gathered that the attackers conducted relentless attacks on the area for two weeks, invading  all the villages the area.

The Chairman of Agatu listed some of the communities currently  under siege by armed herders in Agatu LGA as: Olegomakwu, Onahe, Ocholonya, Okokolo, Ugboju, Olegobidu, Odugbeho, Odejo, Ogbaulu, Imwenyi, Adana, Ologba-Gishu, Iwarri, Ejima-gope, Ejima-gochi, Ikpele and Okpokpolo.

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