Senate today resumed plenary after a festive break.Below are SENATE PROCEEDINGS FOR TUESDAY 10TH JANUARY, 2017.
Its the first legislative day for year 2017 in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Senate President Bukola Saraki leads the Senate leadership into plenary. He takes the official prayer as the chambers sets for the day’s proceedings.
POINT OF ORDER
1. Senator Sekibo comes under order 43 to thank all Senators for getting @inecnigeria to conduct rerun election held on December 10 in Rivers State. Senate President Bukola Saraki replied Senator Sekibo that it is good to see that INEC went ahead to conduct the election.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
1. Senator Andy Uba tables the report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the screening of a new Auditor General of the Federation.
2. Senator Nafiz, standing in for Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima lays report of the Committee on Marine Transport on the National Inland Water Ways Authority Act Cap N47 2004 (Repeal & ReEnactment) 2016 & the Nigerian Ports & Harbours Bill 2016.
CONFIRMATION OF NOMINEES
The Report of the Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy on the Screening of the Chairman & Commissioners for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is considered.
While Professor Akintunde has been rejected as nominee for Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for failure to attend the screening, Sanusi Garba, Nathan Rogers Shatti, Moses Arigu, Dafe C. Akpeneve, Professor Frank Okafor and Dr Musiliu O. Oseni all cleared into the NERC Board.
Sen. Mohammed Hassan raises an observation from the provisions of the Electric Power Reform act section 41 subsection 4 that the Senate cannot approve only five Commissioners and a Vice Chairman for the NERC without the Chairman of the board inclusive.
Deputy Senate Leader says it is a very straight forward report that since the Chairman did not appear it may be that he is not interested. Senate however resolves to clear those who are on ground and request that NGRPresident sends another name for the Chairman’s Position.
Senate President Bukola Saraki calls for Senate to go into committee of the whole for consideration of the Report on Nominees of NERC. Senate now in the Committee of the Whole confirms the nominees into the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Board.
Senate now votes to reject Professor Akinwande Akintunde as a nominee of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Senator Isah H. Misau says there is a standard and anyone who is inexperienced should not be confirmed. Senate President Bukola Saraki adds "I congratulate the nominees, we hope they will live up to the expectations of Nigerians & bring solutions to our power problem”.
Senate now moves to take the motions on the Order Paper.
1. Motion on the Planned Closure of the Abuja Airport sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma and five other Senators .
Senate notes with concern the decision of FAAN to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja for Six weeks from March 6, 2017 to carry out repairs. Senate is worried that a 6 weeks outright closure of a major airport and the only airport in the FCT can trigger untold hardships on air travelers. Senate is also aware of the logistics & security challenges the diversion of Abuja bound flights to Kaduna will throw up. Senate is determined to explore all other possible options that can avert the planned total closure of the strategic National Port for 6weeks.
Senator Anyanwu says "there was a repair on John F Kennedy Airport and people still traveled,we should invite the Aviation Minister and find solutions”.
DSP Ike Ekweremadu seconds the motion saying "many countries have repaired Airports without closure and many lives has been lost on Kaduna road. There is need to repair the runway but I don't agree with closure of the Airport".
"I am disappointed with the approval of the closure; we should make necessary consultations and find alternative solutions to it" says Senator Bala Ibn Na'Allah. Senator Barnabas Gemade agrees and says "I will suggest that we should take the shutdown in piece meal, we can do repairs 36hours in a week or on Saturdays".
"I lost my Police orderly last week in an accident because of the bad road,we should not divert people to ply that road" - Senator Akpan Bassey contributes as Senator Dino Melaye says “This will embarrass us as a country. It will affect us economically,politically and socially. Our Aviation intellectuals must think.
Senator Shehu Sani says “The elites are running away from the problems they created. They have created hell & want to live in paradise, if the road is bad they do not want to go there. Senator @shehusani also disagrees that Kaduna is ready to accommodate Nigerians.
Senate resolves to invite the Ministers of Transportation, State Aviation, Works, Power & Housing & FCT, Chief of Air staff & MD of FAAN & NAMA to meet with the Senate & provide details on the planned closure & explore other options that can avoid a total closure to meet with the Senate in few days.
Senate President Bukola Saraki thanks the sponsors of the motion saying that it is not done in that manner anywhere and he interest of the country stands.
2. The Motion on the Recent Killings in Southern Kaduna sponsored by Senator Danjuma La'ah
#SouthernKaduna district is a zone of peaceful communities that accommodates all Nigerians and oreigners alike and not hostile to any group. Senate is aware that communities such as Amban, Gaska, Dangoma,Tsonje, Pasankori,Gidan Waya & Farin Gada is under serious attack.
Senate is concerned that the killings of citizens of #SouthernKaduna amounts to serious violations of human rights. Senate is aware that 808 persons were killed in 53 villages across 4 local government areas while 57 were injured. Farm produce estimated at 5.5 billion Naira was destroyed & a total of 1,422 houses & 16 churches were burnt during the attack.
Senate observes one minute silence for the repose of the souls of the deceased victims of the #SouthernKaduna killings.
Senate calls on Federal Government to take urgent measures to secure the rights to life, security & dignity of citizens of #SouthernKaduna. Senate urged the FG to carry out an effective investigation & bring perpetrators to justice & rebuild the ravaged communities of the #SouthernKaduna District.
Senate also urged the Federal Government to establish a Joint Security Patrol of Military,Police,Civil Defence & Civilian JTF for constant Patrol & surveillance of the #SouthernKaduna district.
3. Motion on the Urgent need to halt the Incessant Flight Cancellations, Delays & ill Treatment of Passengers by Airline Operators sponsored by Sen Bala Ibn Na’Allah.
Senate notes with deep concern the rising level of flight delays and cancellations that have become prevalent in aviation industry lately.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce says "the problems in the Aviation sector is not money issues but corruption and undue interference of the government. We need to privatize the entire sector of economy". "The Government must look into the price hike of Airfares, we must protect the interest of the masses" Senator Matthew Urhoghide adds.
Senate President Bukola Saraki says the Senate must begin to stand in the gap between services rendered to the citizens & the service providers for quality service delivery. "I hereby mandate the Senate Committee on Aviation to do their findings and report back".
Deputy Leader moves that other items on the order paper be stepped down to another legislative day and Minority Leader seconds.
Senate President Bukola Saraki reads a letter from the APC caucus on the change in the Senate Leadership announcing Senator Ahmed Lawan as the new Caucus Leader.
Senate President Bukola Saraki puts the question and plenary is adjourned to Wednesday 11th January 2017.