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Saraki launches Senate President's suggestion box

ideations senate

Concretely backing its verbal assertions made over the last few months about being a people-friendly parliament, the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olubukola Saraki, today made history by unveiling a suggestion box for the Office of the Senate President.

Senator Saraki who had always promised that Nigeria’s 8th Senate would seek to do things differently also noted while media information is an important source of feedback, hearing directly from Nigerian citizens is more direct and undiluted.

It would be recalled that a few weeks ago, the 8th Senate began engaging Nigerian citizens at home and in the diaspora on various social media platforms.

See Senator Saraki’s full speech below:

PROTOCOL,

Today, the 8th Senate marks another watershed moment in our vision to take lawmaking back to the people with the symbolic launching of the Senate President’s Suggestion Box. Many may ask what we seek to achieve with this launch and wonder the correlation between the suggestion box and making laws. For the 8th Assembly, this event ticks all the boxes in terms of our vision which is to ensure that laws we make impact on our peoples’ lives.

Again, we promised the Nigerian people that this 8th Senate will be different. That we will do things differently. Some thought we were playing rhetoric but our footprints are everywhere clearly showing we mean what we are saying. We have adopted our legislative agenda, we are retooling our policy formulation process through closer engagement with key government agents, meeting with industry leaders, using courtesy call opportunities, to help us fully understand the state of things as we put together legislative interventions to help deal with the problems.

This Senate promised that we will be open to all Nigerians and engage them more robustly as we deliver laws with far reaching impact on their lives. For us this means having a strong feedback mechanism that is non-discriminatory, direct, open, uninhibited and continuous is equally as important.

With this launch today, we are saying that we are ready to hear and listen to all Nigerians of goodwill. With the Suggestion Box, which is both physical and virtual, we are saying we are interested in your opinion irrespective of your background, political orientation, social status, gender, religious or ethnic orientation. Be sure that this, your suggestions, opinions and ideas will not go unnoticed. The media is an important source of our feedback but hearing from you directly is for us much more enriching and unadulterated.

The 8th Senate is by this launch, inviting you to come share your experience with us. Whether you are an elected member, worker, tourists, government official, NGO, media or a co-citizen of this great country visiting the National Assembly, we invite you to come change Nigeria with us.

It is my hope that as we use this suggestion boxes and engage much more closely with you our constituents we are able to build a much closer relationship and a much better National Assembly.

Ladies and Gentlemen: it is my great honour to formally launch, the Senate President Suggestion Box for the good of our people and to the glory of God.

SENATE TO PROBE FUEL SCARCITY; REFUSES TO SUMMON BUHARI

The biting fuel scarcity across the length and breadth of Nigeria came to the fore at the Senate today as it directed its Committee on Petroleum Downstream resources to investigate the current predicament and report back in a fortnight.

This directive came after a motion co-sponsored by Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North) and 28 others lamenting the undue sufferings Nigerians continually have to endure with the recurring trend of fuel scarcity adding that it was time to partner with the executive arm of government through a workable legislative framework aimed at putting a stop to this major economic drawback that is fast becoming a periodic occurrence.

In many parts of Nigeria, the pump price of petrol goes for as much as 200 naira per litre as against the official approved 87 naira.

The Senate also urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector to maintain their current effort to stem the tide of fuel scarcity while the legislative and executive arms of government would continue their collaboration to find a lasting solution to the problem.

This engendered a heated debate on the N465 billion supplementary budget approval sought by the Presidency from Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Fund part of which was to provide for the payment of subsidy claims of oil marketers.

Interestingly, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe of the PDP called on the Senate to summon President Muhammadu Buhari, who also serves as the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources to make explanations over the fuel scarcity crisis.

Senator Abaribe criticised the spending of billions of naira on fuel subsidy by President Buhari’s ruling government, accusing it of taking a similarly fruitless approach and warning against the passing of the N465 billion supplementary budget as it would lead to the spending of N600 billion on fuel subsidy in only six months of the current administration. He also criticised the APC’s ‘Change’ campaign slogan by saying, ‘Change has come but there is no change.’

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, however overruled the prayer, cautioning his colleagues against introducing partisan politics into sensitive issues of national concern.

Speaking at a news conference shortly after the plenary session, Senate spokesman, Saabi Abdullahi explained why it was unnecessary to invite the President:

That Mr President chose to oversee the Petroleum Ministry does not make him cede his authority of being the Commander-in-Chief. If we have explanation to be made by a minister and in this case petroleum, the Minister of State (Petroleum), is the person that will definitely come forward to make this explanation’.

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