Senate urges CBN to create enabling policies for Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA

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The Senate on Thursday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create an enabling monetary policy environment for Nigerians to take advantage of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

It also called on the Federal Government to develop and put in place a robust AfCFTA implementation plan of action and develop a national industrial policy and infrastructural development master plan.

These were part of the resolutions of the Senate after considering a motion by Barau Jibrin on Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA.

The upper legislative chamber also called on the government to create more economic zones to reduce the cost of production in the country and pay extra attention to the existing industrial hubs by creating necessary infrastructure within the areas to encourage investors.

The motion, co-sponsored by 44 other senators, also urged the Federal Government to enlighten the Nigerian business community to leverage on the immense benefits of the agreement.

Nigeria joined the AfCFTA after President Muhammadu signed the agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niamey, Niger Republic.

Also, the Senate urged the Federal Government to continue its policy of improving on infrastructure such as electricity, roads and other basic necessities.

It noted that the provision of infrastructure would reduce the cost of production while raising the competitiveness of local producers.

The upper chamber equally asked the Federal Government to be the main driving force for the success of Nigeria’s membership.

Specifically, it asked government to ensure that policies and programmes are a large part of the nation’s system for the vision and mission of the agreement.

In his remarks after the resolutions, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said: “This particular agreement is going to spur us into ensuring that we take the … Read More...

Murder: Senate asks FG to issue travel alert to Nigerians

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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to issue travel alert to Nigerians travelling to South Africa over the killing of Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, a Nigerian who was allegedly killed in a hotel in South Africa.

This comes as it charged the South African Government to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of the Nigerian citizen.

It also resolved to send a high powered delegation to the Parliament of South Africa to register its displeasure on the handling of the matter.

These resolutions were reached following a motion moved by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe on Wednesday.

The upper legislative chamber, however, rejected an additional prayer calling on the Federal Government to cut diplomatic ties with South Africa on the matter.

Recall that last month, Ndubuisi-Chukwu, a Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria who was in South Africa to attend the conference of the African Insurance Organisation was found dead in her hotel room in Johannesburg.

Although initial report indicated that she died of cardiac arrest, autopsy by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Health revealed that she was strangled.

In his lead debate, Abaribe said: “This is not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious and curious circumstances In South Africa”.

In their separate contributions, lawmakers called on the Nigerian government to redefine its foreign policy with the former apartheid country.

In his submission, Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu tasked the Federal Government to take measures to stop what he described as the endless killing of Nigerians doing legitimate businesses in the country.

He said: “The Federal Government needs to do something. The person killed was a Federal Government delegate. The hotel in question must provide the footage for investigation. Everywhere in South Africa, they … Read More...

Senate constitutes committee on Legislative Agenda

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday announced a 13-member adhoc committee to fashion out a Legislative Agenda for the Ninth Senate.
The Agenda is a policy document that contains the direction of the lawmaking body.
BusinessDay had earlier reported that the panel would be constituted today.
The 13-member committee which has a former governor of Kebbi State, Mohammed Adamu Aliero as Chairman, has two weeks to submit its report.
Other members of the committee include: Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano), Abdulfattah Buhari (APC, Oyo), Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC, Ekiti), Chimaronke Nnamani (PDP, Enugu), Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra), Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau) and Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara).
Others are: Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru (APC, Adamawa), Dauda Haliru Jika (APC, Bauchi), Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River),  Degi Eremienyo Biobaraku (APC, Bayelsa) and Ifeanyi Uba (YPP, Anambra).

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New Senate leadership will advance APC’s progressive agenda – Okumagba

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Former Delta state Commissioner for Finance and APC Chieftain, Bernard Okumagba, has said that the new leadership of the senate will help  advance the progressive agenda of the ruling All Progressive Party (APC).

Okumagba, who spoke to BusinessDay in a telephone chat, said the experience of the new team was needed at this time to support the president in implementing his Next Level development agenda for the nation.

“With the election of this new leadership of the National Assembly, it is time for a new beginning to be focused on service to the Nigerian people, especially in the areas of employment, security, and national cohesion,” Okumagba said.

The former Delta commissioner also congratulated Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for his victory as the Deputy Senate President saying that his victory was a well-deserved one.

He commended the leadership qualities of Senator Omo-Agege and his acceptance across a broad spectrum of the senators which ensured his overwhelming victory in the contest for the office of Deputy President of the Senate.

“Senator Omo-Agege’s pedigree as a forthright person, a dependable and loyal party-man, fighter for justice, equity and progress is reassuring.

While wishing the new Deputy Senate President well, Okumagba “prayed God to grant him good health, strength and wisdom in his new responsibility.”

The APC chieftain also congratulated the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, and other elected leaders of the Ninth National Assembly.


Francis Sadhere, Warri


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A Reporter’s diary of 9th Senate inauguration 

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As a parliamentary reporter at the national level, one of the major events one looks forward to is the inauguration of a new legislature. In Nigeria, it is a quadrennial session where the Clerk to the National Assembly literally climbs down from his exalted office to superintend over the inaugural sessions in both legislative chambers of the National Assembly.

Like a judge in a law court or headmaster, he wields so much power that he can order a recalcitrant senator-elect or member-elect to be removed from the chamber before he/she takes the oath of office.

The epoch-making event offers parliamentary reporters a front row seat to witness the live transformation of senators and members-elect to distinguished senators/honourable members as the case may be.

Having covered the inauguration of the Eighth Senate in 2015 and observed previous sessions as a political reporter, I can say with all certainty that this year’s exercise is the most expensive in the nation’s political history.

In the build up to the D-Day, contenders adopted unconventional means in soliciting votes from their colleagues.

Unlike previous contests where aspirants lobbied majorly lawmakers or the leadership of their political parties to zone the seats of Presiding Officers to their area, campaign for leadership seats in the National Assembly took the form of a general election.

For instance, besides sponsored protests, some streets of the nation’s capital were replete with campaign posters and banners to drum up support for aspirants, even as contenders visited headquarters of media organisations in Abuja and Lagos.

In the Senate, the two main contenders: Ahmad Lawan and Ali Ndume opened Facebook pages to create more awareness, just as they held several live press conferences on national televisions and placed advertisements in both print and online media platforms.

Having spent …