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Tuesday, 1st November 2011 - Wednesday 22 January 2012 Lead Debates

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Tuesday, 1st November, 2011

LEAD DEBATES


Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2011

A Bill for an Act to amend the Acts Authentication Act Cap A2 LFN 2004 Bill, 2011 (SB.51)-

Senator Paulinus Nwagu Igwe (Ebonyi Central):

Mr. President, Distinguished Senators, I feel highly delighted to lead the debate on the general principles of this important Acts Authentication Bill sponsored by me with support from several other Distinguished Colleagues. The proposed amendment was read for the First Time on 28th September, 2011 in this Chamber.

Essentially, the Bill seeks to amend the Acts Authentication Act, Cap A2 Laws of the Federation, Nigeria, 2004 ostensibly to prohibit illegal publication, distribution and sales of laws passed by the National Assembly on the streets of Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.

Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, we are all aware that by the provisions of the existing Acts publishing government papers especially laws passed by the National Assembly.

Before any Act of the National Assembly is made public, it would have been fully gazette which shows proof of its true copy and sections 5 and 6 of the Acts Authentication Act Cap A2 LFN, 2004 are clear on the publication of such gazette laws.

While section 5 of the Act stipulates that the printing of any law of the National Assembly shall be done by the government printer who shall endorse on the black that it is publish by the Authority, Section 6 holds that every Act of the National Assembly published by the authority shall be received in a court and by all persons as sufficient evidence that it has been assented to in the President’s name.

Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, you will agree with me today that these provisions of the law are grossly violated by unauthorized publishers. What we have seen in recent times is that as soon as National Assembly passes a Bill and it is assented to by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the next day, different versions of such Acts begin to circulate and they are hawked in our major cities across the country especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. These anonymous publications and fake copies of laws passed by the National Assembly, which includes the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Election Act 2010, and others, to mention a few, are purchased by unsuspecting Nigerians and used as reference materials in research and even in Court processes.

 

Many Nigerians today relies on the contents of these fake documents as a reflection of the activities in law making body in the Federation and the only democratic institution that represents the interest of all Nigerians at all levels. The implication is that whatever is believed to have come from the National Assembly will be seen as a true reflection of the representation of the people.

It is on this note that it has become imperative for the Senate to look into the issue of fake publication of National Assembly laws and amend the existing Acts Authentication Acts, 2004 to prohibit the illegal publications.

The highlights of the amendment is the provisions of two new subsections to section 5 (4) and (5) to prohibit the publications, distribution and sales of the Acts of the National Assembly except with the prior approval of the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) while the new section 7 provides penalties for the contravention of section 5 (4) and (5) respectively. This Bill is a very straightforward Bill that deserves special attention having debated this issue vides a motion in this Chamber on 28th July, 2011.

I urge you to support this amendment and refer it to the relevant Committee for further legislative action.

 

Tuesday, 1st November, 2011

LEAD DEBATES


Prisons Acts Cap. P29 LFN, 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2011

A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Prisons Act Cap. P29 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to make Comprehensive Provisions for the Administration of Prisons in Nigeria and for Related Purposes Bill, 2011.

Senator Victor Ndoma – Egba Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, I thank you all for the opportunity to lead the debate on the general principles of a Bill for an Act to repeal the prison and to make comprehensive provisions for the Administration of Prisons in Nigeria and for Matters Connected Therewith; 2011.

If you recall, this Bill was read the First Time in this hallowed Chamber on 20th September, 2011 and it seeks to address fundamental lapses that are inherent in the extant Act. This existing Act makes no provision for reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners during incarceration.

The Bill addresses this lapse and also makes provision for counseling services for prisoners. Although imprisonment is generally punitive in nature, it is universally accepted and its objective is to reform and rehabilitate people who pass through it. The absence of this provision in the existing Prisons Act has a negative effect on prisoners who, after serving their terms, get back into society not being transformed; they end up committing the same crimes again or even graver ones and are re-sentenced. This accounts for the overcrowding of most of our prisons and the resultant increase in the cost of feeding and sustaining inmates on government.

Another issue which the Bill seeks to address is the inadequate funding of Nigerian Prisons. Our Prisons today rely exclusively on public funding for sustenance and maintenance. The Bill, through its administrative reshuffling, seeks to generate revenue through prisons farms and industries. The prisons Service’s current dependence on public fund for its operation is responsible for the pitiable state of our prisons today. The Bill suggests this alternative means of generating funds for the maintenance of prisons.

In order to actualize its set objectives, the Bill establishes Prisons Services Board with the aim of identifying the causes of anti-social behavior of convicted prisoners, reforming and rehabilitating prisoners towards their re-integration into society; providing medical, psychological and counseling help in generating revenue through prisons farms, industries and other sources.

The Bill, in its move to enhance the administration of the country’s Prison Service, apart from the Comptroller-General and such other subordinates to the administration of prison service, also empowers the Comptroller-General to establish Zonal Headquarters of the Service and State Commands.

The crime rate in the country has become worrisome. For this reason, the importance of a Bill which seeks to address this issue cannot be over emphasized. The objectives of this Bill would be fully realized if convicted prisoners pass through our prisons totally rehabilitated and reformed. This will largely reduce the crime rate in our country and further guarantee the safety of Nigerian citizens.

The Bill does not introduce any further cost for the maintenance of Nigerian prisons other than what is currently being used to run the prison system as appropriately by this Senate and the National Assembly.

Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, I urge you all to support this Bill and ensure that it is given speedy passage.

 

Wednesday 7th December, 2011

LEAD DEBATES


 

CONSIDERATION OF BILL

Maritime Security Agency (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2011

A Bill for an Act to Establish the Maritime Security Agency to promote Maritime Security and for Other Related purposes, 2011 (SB.31)-

Senator Victor Ndoma Egba: Mr. President, I thank you for this opportunity but before I go to the body of the lead debate, let me appeal for patience and understanding because this is a very important Bill and I am going to be very detailed in the presentation.

Secondly, the Committee on Marine Transport has asked me to put on record that they are right now in Lagos on oversight duties.

This Bill is momentous and historic as if passed will significantly alter our maritime security domain.

The Bill was first presented in the 6th Senate and read the First time on 3rd December, 2009. The second reading was taken on 8th December 2010, and referred to the Committees on Defense and National Security and Intelligence jointly for further legislative action.

This Bill lapsed with the 6th Senate and was read the First time in the 7th Senate on 26th July, 2011.

 

Background

It will be recalled that in the wake of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack in the United States of America, an event that completely changed the global challenge to security, it was discovered that there was no synergy amongst security agencies, a situation that was virtually the pattern everywhere.

A consensus emerged among security experts that an effective solution for securing maritime trade was the creation of an International Maritime Security Regime. That regime was not to rely on a single solution such as increasing the number of container inspections, but rather a layered approach with multiple lines of security from the beginning to the final destination of shipment.

The first security perimeter in this defense in depth strategy would be the overseas point of origin as all security assessments indicated that the maritime environment was porous and open to terrorists and other forms of criminal attacks.

The argument therefore was that an effective solution must start with preventing undesired items from entering the maritime transportation network because if some of these items-such as weapons or dirty bombs-reach the seaports, they could be cleared or detonated before they could be found. Consequently, the strategy was to raise standards by working within International Maritime Organization (IMO) taking into consideration the strong link between maritime security, ports and International Trade.

The foregoing led to the introduction of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code effective 1st July 2004 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Code established an International minimum security standard to enhance merchant shipping. The IMO expected nations to identify or establish bodies as Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of the Code. The body to be established, the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime and Safety and Security (PICOMSS) in Nigeria’s case is expected to do the following:

  1. a)Establish an International framework involving cooperation between contracting Government Agencies, Local Administration, the shipping and port industries to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidence affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade;
  1. b)Establish the respective roles and responsibilities of the contracting Governments, Government Agencies, Local Administrations and shipping and port industries at national and international levels for ensuring maritime security;
  1. c)Ensure the early and efficient collection and exchange of security-related information;
  1. d)Provide methodology for security assessments so as to put in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels;
  2. e)Ensure confidence that adequate and proportionate maritime security measures are in place;
  1. f)Gather and access information with respect to security threats and exchange such information with other governments;
  1. g)Prevent unauthorized access to ship, ports port facilities and their restricted areas;
  1. h)Prevent the introduction of unauthorized weapons, incendiary devices or explosives through or to ships or port facilities;
  1. i)Develop ship and port security plans based upon security assessments.

Deployment of Maritime Domain Awareness Strategy

The development of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDAS) tool is one of the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to enable designated authorities keep tab on the activities in the maritime environment with a view to meeting the expectations listed above. The MDAS is all about generating actionable intelligence, which is a necessary condition for successful maritime counter-terrorist and maritime law enforcement task.

Modern security is built on network and architecture of technologies as well as maintenance of over lapping security arrangements. Regrettably, but though a welcome development, it is based on the International Maritime Organization’s prompting and the importance of the application of technology to modern day security that the Federal Executive Council on 23rd September 2003 approved that PICOMSS implement a world-class Maritime Domain Awareness Monitoring tool among our coast to address these challenges. The tool includes development of the following integrated systems:

  1. i.Radar
  2. ii.CCTV
  3. iii.Automatic Identification System (AIS);
  4. iv.Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV);
  5. v.Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).

The Lagos zone maritime Centre has been completed and working by PICOMSS and it is working. Work is on-going in the other centers in Bonny, Escravos, Brass and James Town. It is expected that by the end of the year these centers will be completed. This system is expected to make the maritime environment more transparent with a view to addressing most of our maritime security challenges.

 

Our Challenges

Some of the challenges in our maritime environment include:

  1. a)Poaching-$800m per annum. We are quoting Mrs. Margret Orakwusi, President Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association, 2008;
  2. b)Criminal/Piracy attacks- $9 billion per annum. The source for this information is the International Maritime Bureau in its report of 2009;
  3. c)Bunkering - $15.5 billion per annum. Our source is the NNPC and the Nigerian Navy Annual Conference of 2009;
  4. d)Mid-Sea Cargo transshipment with its negative security implication;
  5. e)Drug Trafficking;
  6. f)Human Trafficking;
  7. g)Problems of under declaration of cargoes leading to revenue losses;
  8. h)Unreported exports;
  9. i)Under/non-declaration of imports;
  10. j)Existence of unregistered jetties. PICOMSS has just concluded our maritime channel audit the first of its kind for this purpose;
  11. k)Issuance of Outward Clearance Certificate to ships without due diligence;
  12. l)Ships anchoring on prohibited areas, that is, maritime cable areas, will be identified and sanctioned;
  13. m)Ballast and other forms of waste disposal activities within our maritime domain;
  14. n)Unreported pollution.

Establishment of Dedicated Maritime Security Agency

It is now standard International practice to have dedicated agencies to address challenges of maritime insecurity. Nigeria stands to lose nothing by the legislation of the Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) as initially envisaged by the government to take over the role as currently performed by PICOMSS. Rather, it will provide for the full implementation of maritime security regimes as required by International bodies as well as address our other national maritime security and economic challenges.

Examples of countries that have maritime security outfits for this purpose abound; United Kingdom (Transport Security Department), Russia (Maritime Security Service), Ghana (Maritime Security Council), Argentina (Directorate of Maritime Protection), Chile (Department of Maritime Security Operators), Iceland (Maritime Security Administration), etc. this is irrespective of the fact that these countries have well establish national navies and regular forces. For instance, the united states have several agencies that are involved in maritime security. The most visible among them are:

  1. i.United States Coast Guard (USCG);
  2. ii.Bureau of Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP);
  3. iii.Transport Security Administration (TSA);
  4. iv.Maritime Administration (MARAD). This is akin to NIMASA.

If legislated, the financial losses through the following will be checked as I had earlier outlined. So I will not want to bore you with it.

The Bill, therefore, is a deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to establish a Maritime Security Agency which will be charged with the responsibility of providing security and safety information and communication facilities for all categories of users of the Nigerian maritime industry.

There are numerous other legislations regulating the Nigerian maritime industry, some of which are:

  1. i.Merchant Shipping Act which regulates shipping activities on the Nigerian maritime boundaries;
  2. ii.Maritime Operation Coordinating Board Act which is responsible for the formulation of policies for the effective control of all maritime operations in Nigeria;
  3. iii.Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Act (NIMASA) which established the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency and seeks to regulate and promote maritime safety by protecting the environmental from pollution from ships and other environmental damages caused by shipping activities.

However, this particular legislation is different from the other legislations listed above. This Bill is specifically fashioned to deal with issues of security and safety for all categories of users of the Nigerian maritime industry. It shall apply to any person, ship, aircraft or any other craft or object in the internal and territorial waters of Nigeria. It should, however, be noted that this Bill does not contemplate or apply to warships or military patrol ships.

The structure of the agency is to be based on four maritime zones in Lagos, Delta, Rivers and Calabar. There will also be an Air Wing in Benin and a National Coordinating Centre (NCC) in Abuja which will control the activities of the other zones.

This maritime security zones are four major zones where most maritime economic activities are conducted in the country. These zones are also where most maritime crimes are committed, which consequently results in loss of substantial revenue that would have accrued to the Federal Government.

The agency, when established, shall be vested with the following objectives:

  1. i.Provide clear direction and leadership in the establishment of a platform for national maritime security;
  2. ii.Encourage the development of expertise in local and global maritime security and awareness of maritime information and communication technologies for the Nigerian maritime industry;
  3. iii.Provide security information and mechanism to produce all national maritime and maritime related infrastructure within the Nigerian territorial waters; and
  4. iv.Regulate corporate bodies or persons engaged in the provision of maritime security services within the Nigerian territorial waters.

It is my belief that the establishment of this agency will revolutionize our maritime industry in the following areas:

  1. i.The provision of adequate and relevant infrastructure will make maritime transport a pleasurable experiences;
  2. ii.The provision of modern security in the industry will ensure safety of both personnel and equipment on the nation’s territorial waters;
  3. iii.The high rate of maritime crimes will be curtailed;
  4. iv.It will boost the country’s revenue profile. Nigerian stands to receive as much as $25.9billion in revenue annually.

It is a fact that Nigeria stands to gain immensely from this Bill. I urge you to give it accelerated passage into law.

PICOMSS, which is the precursor of this agency that we seek to establish by this Bill, has been in existence since 2004 and it is already being funded by this National Assembly. Initially, it was funded through NIMASA (10%), NPA (10%) and NNPC (80%).

In the 2011 Appropriation Act, PICOMSS/MASECA had an appropriation of N30.2B. This Bill will therefore, be legalizing MASECA and giving legal teeth to this much needed intervention in our national security architecture.

A compendium of the cost implications as required by our Rules is attached.

I thank you, Mr. President, distinguished Colleagues, once again for this opportunity and for your patience.

 

 Wednesday 14th December 2011

LEAD DEBATE


CONSIDERATION OF BILLS

A Bill for an Act to harmonize Retirement Age of Academic Staff of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education

Senator Uche Chukwumerije: Mr. President, permit me to lead the debate on the Bill for an Act to Amend the Retirement Age of Academic Staff of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education and for Matters Incidental Thereto, 2011 (SB.451)

I thank you for the privilege of the Bill for an Act further amend the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 to provide for the Harmonization of the retirement age for Academic Staff of Tertiary Institutions and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2011.

This Bill was read for the First Time in this Chambers on December, 8th 2011.

This Bill seeks to amend the universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act N0.11 of 1993 to increase the retiring age of Staff of Tertiary Institutions to 65 and that of academics in the professorial Cadre in the Universities to 70 years

The amendment to the Principal Act is on Section 8 which is amended to harmonize the retirement age of academic staff of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. The Amendments made the compulsory retiring age of Academic Staff in the Professorial Cadre to be Seventy (70) years and that of other Academic Staff to be Sixty-Five (650 years. The citation shall change from Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to a Bill to Amend the Retirement Age of Academic Staff of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education and for Matters Incidental Thereto, 2011 (SB.4510.

The Background:

The amendments constitute a fulfillment of a part of the agreements reached by the Federal Government and the Central Trade Unions of the tertiary institutions, particularly ASUU in 1990. The Bill had in fact been passed by the 6th Senate and House of Representatives but it was withdrawn for a correction because of the need to separate the amendments in two categories (Universities and other tertiary institutions) since separate Act govern each category. The present amendments made the retirement ages distinct but still keep the amended clauses in one Act.

In accordance with the Rules of the Senate, this finally amended version of the Bill has to be presented anew to this 7th Senate.

Reasons for the Bill:

The amendment will definitely raise staff morale and improve the quality of academic work in our tertiary institutions. The amendments will among other advantages:

  1. i.Reduce the avoidable waste of talents that tertiary institutions encounter with the early retirement of their academic staff;
  2. ii.Remove the depression and feeling of alienation on the part of the professors and other related staff who retire too early, especially when their full time services are still needed by the Universities.
  3. iii.Contribute to harmony in relations between tertiary institutions and Government through implementation of mutually agreed decisions.

For the above reasons, I humbly implore my Colleagues to give this Bill an accelerated passage into Law. I thank you for your attention but please may I add a little rider?

The essence of this Bill in which the retirement age is being presented as the Senate Leader said, in two separate Bills instead of one like this by the Executive. The mode of presenting the two separate Bill is what the tertiary institutions wants and as Mr. President has said, these Bills really should be emerged into those two Executive Bills in order to give us industrial harmony. That is what the institutions want.

The President: As Senator Uche Chukwumerije said in his presentation, the two Bills are the same and the 6th Senate actually took it but I think just minor correction that we needed. I will take few comments and let me start with Senator Adeyeye.

Senator Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central): Thank you very much Mr. President, my dear colleague from Enugu West was corrected in saying that I am an interested party not because I come from University Constituency immediately but because it is a matter that affects Nigerian children and my highest goal in this tenure of the Nigerian Senate is that God may use us to solve those Nigerian schools that they can become so competitive that Nigerian children will be able to compete with children from anywhere in the world.

Professors are like wine they get better with age and I therefore totally support the idea of any professor who is in good health and who is productive and who has broken no law of his or her service especially as we know that a lot of the younger ones these days do leave the shores of Nigeria in search for greener pastures.

One of the items that give us pride mixed with sorrows as we travel around the world is that there is hardly any University on this planet you will go to that you will not only find a Nigerian student but you will also find a Nigerian faculty doing very well.

When I was in Bristol, few of the endowed chairs there belongs to Nigerians including the man who is now our Minister for Power, Professor Nnaji and the Head of Thoracic surgery there is also a Nigerian. If we are going to save our Universities somehow we must find a way to retain able minds that are still willing to serve. In the days of old when retirement was kept at 55, it was because the actual rate tables at that time dictates that most Nigerians will die in their late fifties. Things are not the same any longer, people now live longer if you did not succumb to accidents of the road.

I would plead that this needs very little controversy if we are trying to minimize braid-drain, especially local brain-drain because we do not only lose minds when they are prematurely retired because of the rules that are currently being obeyed. A man at 65 may not be able to run hundred yards any longer but when it comes to philosophy or zoology or perhaps Calculus, he might be able to do a marathon and for that reason it will be a loss to the University and the country at large if such people are retired too soon.

Indeed, in the USA right now, some Universities have moved to a point where there is no retirement age any longer for academics. Those that do enforce retirement age have kept it at 70 and so I will pray that we also join this global trend.

Senator Boroffice Robert (Ondo North): Mr. President, I just want to identify myself with the comments of my Distinguished Colleagues that this Bill be favorably considered. As said, professors are like wine, the older they are the better they are. We have seen professors who, because of the retirement age in Nigeria when it was 55 or 60 migrated out of this country to other countries and continued to contribute to the academic development of those countries.

I think this Bill if passed, will help us to retain our brilliant professors who are still willing to teach and to carry out research in our Nigerian Institutions.

In fact, this is the age (between the age of 60 and 70) when professors actually mature and saturated and are able to guide the young ones to help them to reach that level or age at which they can begin to profess. I think this is a very good thing for the Nigerian Academics and I hope it will not be difficult for this hallowed Chamber to consider this Bill and pass it.

Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012

LEAD DEBATES


 Electronic Fraud and Electronic Transfer of Frauds Crime Bill 2012

A Bill for an Act to Provide for Prohibition and Punishment for Electronic Fraud and Electronic Transfer of Frauds Crime in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters 2012 (SB.69)-

Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka (Ogun East): Mr. President, you would recall that I presented the Bill on the Electronic Transfer of Frauds Crime for second Reading which was extensively debated by this Senate on 6th October, 2011.

After the debate, it was the decision of the Senate that the Bill be harmonized with the Electronic Fraud Bill sponsored by Senator Ayo Arise in the 6th Senate.

The Bill on the Order Paper for Reading today is the harmonized Bill, which I am presenting not only on behalf of my co-sponsors but on behalf of the entire Senate.

The harmonized Bill was read for the First Time on 11th November, 2011 and having gone through an extensive debate before; I strongly move that the Bill be committed to the relevant Committee for further Legislative action.

Thank you for the privilege.

 Wednesday 22nd February, 2012

LEAD DEBATES


National Youth Service Corps Act N84 LFN 2004

A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Youth Service Corps Act Cap N84 LFN 2004 and for Other Matters Connected therewith 2012 (SB.70)-

Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi (Ekiti North): Mr. President, this is a lead debate on a Bill for an Act to Amend the National Youth Service Corps Act Cap N84 LFN 2004 (SB.70).

I am honored and privileged to present to you a lead de bate on a Bill for an Act to Amend the National Youth Service Corps Act Cap N84 LFN 2004. The Bill was read for the First Time on Thursday, 17th November, 2011.

The NYSC Scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war.

Decree No 24 of 22nd May, 1973 which established the scheme stated that the NYSC is being established with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of National Unity.

The purpose of the scheme is therefore primarily to inculcate in Nigerian youths the spirit of selfless service to the community and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of Nigerians, irrespective of cultural and social background.

Plenary Reports

NEITI Audit Report: Senate Tasks Executive to Recover Unremitted Funds…

13 Bills to be Reviewed as Senate Commences Constitutional Amendment…

Environmental Health Officers Bill Passed…

Senate Intervenes to save Local Governments…

Senate Mourns Late Oba of Benin, Deceased Ekiti Medical Doctors…

Senate Seeks to Revamp Rail Transport by NRC Amendment Bill…

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