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Reps Vow to Pass PIB, Others

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

The  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday, said the House would work assiduously to ensure that important legislations  like the Petroleum Industry  Bill (PIB) and the bill prohibiting estimated billing were passed before the end of the life of the 9th Assembly.

Gbajabiamila, who disclosed this at the resumption of plenary by the House of Representatives, also urged all adhoc committees to conclude their assignments and hand over to standing committees.

He revealed that before proceeding on recess, the House of Representatives considered 13 bills and received and debated 57 motions.

”Before we adjourned the House on July 25,  action through the consideration of 13 number of bills including Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill 2019, Physically Challenged (Empowerment) Bill 2019 and Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill 2019. We had also in that time received and debated 57 number of motions on a range of issues including the non Remittance of Contribution into the NSIFT by the Federal, States, Local Government and Some Public and Private Organisations.”Work on those Bills and those motions will continue, even as we continue to receive, debate and act on other new legislation.All ADHOC Committees to wind up and handover to standing committees by September 30th. I fully expect that in
this session, the House of Representatives will consider important legislation such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)I believe that we in this 9th Assembly are ideally suited to surmount the obstacles that have mitigated against passage of this essential reform legislation which is important if we are to properly address the structural, operational and policy challenges and inefficiencies in the Nigerian petroleum industry, and position the industry to best serve the interests of all the Nigerian people.”In addition to the Petroleum Industry Bill reintroduction of the of Bill prohibiting Estimated Billing in the power industry, intended to put a permanent end to the wastefulness and unfairness created by an unreliable and arbitrary system that imposes unforeseen costs on individuals
and businesses alike, the Education Bank Bill, designed to ensure that no child in this 21st century is unable to get a quality tertiary education in Nigeria dues to a lack of means and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Bill which will serve to broaden the Local Content Act and ensure the original intent of the Act is made real in the lives of our people,” he said.


POLITICS

Senate Pushes for Nigerian Medical Graduands from Ukraine, Sudan to Sit for July, Nov MDCN Exams

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The senate has called out the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to allow Nigerian medical graduates from Ukraine and Sudan to sit for the MDCN exams in July and Nov without any discrimination, particularly those that the wars in both countries did not affect their academic activities.

The upper chamber also urged MDCN to in no distant time, work toward the conduct of the MDCN exams in each geo-political zone of the country like the Law Schools, to reduce the cost on the students and their parents.

The senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion at plenary yesterday which was sponsored by Senator Oyewumi Olaler from Osun state titled: “Discrimination Against Medical Graduands from Ukraine by the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council.

In his lead debate, senator Olalere said that the issue of medical graduates from Ukraine universities has drawn attention of National Assembly since 2022, pointing out that in 2023, the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Health concluded with the Medical and Dental Council to allow the students that graduated from medical schools in Ukraine to participate in the qualifying exams like other students, or at best, organise a makeup programme for them before the exam.

The senator noted that MDCN has slated a referral programme for the 2022 graduates alone at Federal Medical Centre Gwagwalada at the cost of N1.5 million per student to be paid in one and half weeks.

He said the concerned parents of the affected students had visited the National Assembly complex to lodge their complaint during the vacation of the Senate for extension of the deadline for payment to one month from one and half week.

Olalere, who is the Senate Deputy Minority leader, said the war in Ukraine affected the eastern part of Ukraine and Kyiv, the capital, adding that the entire western Ukraine was not affected.

According to him, the students were on campus doing their programme unhindered as confirmed by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria.

He explained that since the war in Ukraine did not affect all the universities, especially, students in Western parts of Ukraine, students who graduated from those universities in 2023 should be allowed to sit for MDCN exams henceforth without any hindrance.

Other senators who supported the motion included Senators; Adamu Aliero, from Kebbi state Abdul Ningi from Bauchi state among others.

In a related development, the senate also urged the Committee of Nigerian Vice Chancellors to allow Nigerian students arriving from war torn countries to be admitted into Nigerian universities to complete their studies.

President of Senate Godswill Akpiabio in his remarks thanked the sponsor of the motion, saying that it was a popular motion and elicited comments from the lawmakers.

He expressed belief that the resolutions of the senate would be adhered to by MDCN and the Vice Chancellors to ameliorate the sufferings of concerned Nigerian medical graduates from the war affected nations.

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POLITICS

Edo Election: PDP Approves Delegates List

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the delegates list for the Edo State Governorship Election Primary to nominate a candidate for the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state.

It has also approved the conduct of the Edo State Governorship Election Primary for Thursday, Feb.

22 at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

The NWC in a statement by the PDP’s Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba yesterday charged all delegates, aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders, members of the party and the public to note the official date and venue and be guided accordingly.

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POLITICS

Benue Diaspora Lambasts Benue National Assembly Caucus, Enumerate Alia’s Achievements

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

A political group, under the umbrella of Divine Mandate Benue Diaspora (DMBD), on Sunday said Governor Hyacinth Alia has recorded remarkable achievements within seven months of his administration more than other governors that had ruled the State in the past.

The group further said it is regrettable that a surge of political manoeuvring had unfolded over the recent months, marked by numerous politicians vying for recognition and relevance thereby portraying the administration of Alia in bad light and unjustified criticisms.

The DMBD is an arm of governor Alia’s campaign group, who pulled human and material resources together to galvanized support for his victory during the 2023 governorship elections in the State

Speaking at a press conference in Makurdi, the State capital, the group Chairman and Lagos State coordinator, Mr.

Akpur Emmanuel, said the group have not just become a beacon for leadership recruitment in Benue State, but also presented a wonderful brand, in person of Alia and cannot fold arms to continue to watch the brand tossed about and distracted from delivering on his campaign promises and mandate.

Mr Akpur, while reacting to remarks by the Benue National Assembly Caucus who claimed that governor Alia had embezzled security votes of about N3 billion and  unlawfully dissolved the local government council chairmen, development they alleged were responsible for the insecurity in the state, said such accusations must be condemnable.

He explained that Alia’s administration had succeeded within seven months where past leaders who stayed longer years in office failed.

The group’s chairman stated that Alia has embarked on unprecedented projects including construction of 16 township roads and flyovers within Makurdi, purchased 300 metric tons of fertilizer and sold them to farmers at subsidized rate.

“Fr. Alia’s administration stands out as it is taking the bull by horns in exercising the hydra-headed demon of non-payment of salaries and uncanny reference to pensioners as dead people as it was the case in the previous administration.

“Our action governor has also wasted no time in domesticating the federal government approved new retirement age for primary and secondary school teachers, thereby retaining seasoned hands within the bedrock of our educational system.

“Knowing fully the financial challenges in the State, Governor Hyacinth Alia has taken the registration of WAEC and NECO examinations for SS3 students from government approved schools as responsibility of his administration. This is a step to enhance development in education.

“Contrary to the puerile remarks by the national assembly members concerning insecurity, Fr. Alia has continued to interface with various security agencies of the Federal Government to set the necessary security safeguards to guarantee the return of the IDPs to their ancestral homes and instituted a regime of fair and equitable distribution of both relief materials and palliatives to all.

“As they look to ingratiate their personal selfish agenda, we direct their attention to the fact that the Alia administration in collaboration with the Federal Government is currently constructing the dilapidated Otukpo-Enugu road.

“Alia cannot share money as it was done in the past. We urge this group of distractors to familiarize themselves with the nation’s constitution which clearly outlines the responsibilities of every office at each level of government.

“It is imperative that the national assembly members concentrate on their constitutionally mandated duty of representing their constituencies effectively at the national level.

“It is regrettable that, since 1999, the people of Benue have witnessed minimal impact from their representatives in the national assembly, whether in terms of employment opportunities or the execution of constituency projects contrary to what we observe in the States where we reside.

“We unequivocally implore our current representatives in the national assembly to refrain from becoming agents of mass distraction to the committed governor”, Akpur stated.

He however called on the people to emulate the governor’s focus and diligently work towards delivering the benefits of democracy to the constituents they are representing.

The group Chairman further enjoined every Benue indigene particularly those in leadership positions to come together and collaborate for the well-being of Benue populace.

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