Senate Passes Bill To Tackle Kidnapping In Nigeria

Senate passes bill to tackle kidnapping in Nigeria

•The Senate during plenary
The Senate on Monday passed the Conferment bill which seeks to prescribe punishment for the offenses of abduction, wrongful restraint and wrongful conferment for ransom.
This bill which seeks to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria passed its third reading on the floor of the Senate after a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters Chaired by Senator David Umaru.
The bill which was sponsored by Senator Isa Misau representing Bauchi Central went for first reading on the 17th of May, 2016, second reading on the 5th of October, 2016 and was referred to the Senator Umaru-led Committee.
With the passage of the Conferment Bill, whoever, with intent to hold any person for ransom, abducts or wrongfully restraints or wrongfully confines such a person shall be guilty of an offense and shall be punished on conviction with imprisonment without an option of fine.
According to the Senate, whoever is guilty of the offense which resulted in serious injury to the abducted victim shall be punished on conviction with life imprisonment without an option of fine.
Also whoever is guilty of the offense which resulted in the death of the victim, shall be punished and on conviction be sentenced to death.
Similarly, whoever conspires to commit the offense is guilty of an offense and shall be punished on conviction with life imprisonment.

Serial Killer Who Allegedly Murdered 38 Persons Nabbed In Benin

Serial killer who allegedly murdered 38 persons nabbed in Benin

•Edo Police Commissioner Mohammed DanMallam

The Police in Edo said on Monday in Benin that it had arrested a man alleged to be a cultist and serial killer of 38 persons.

A statement signed by DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, spokesperson of the Police Command in the state, said that the suspect was arrested last Tuesday following the receipt of credible intelligence.

Nwabuzor said that the 37-year-old suspect was on a mission to kill a victim (names withheld) before his arrest.

He also said that on his arrest, the suspect was immediately searched during which two guns were found on him.

He further explained that the suspect was thereafter taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further interrogation where he made useful statements and confessed to the killing of 38 persons.

Nwabuzor said that a further search was carried out at the suspect’s residence, where a double barrel gun was recovered.

The spokesman, however, said that the state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed DanMallam, had directed further investigation into the case.

He appealed to law abiding citizens of the state to go about their normal businesses.

He quoted DanMallam as warning criminal elements in the state to submit themselves to the police or vacate the state or face the consequences.

According to Nwabuzor, the commissioner warned that under his watch, the command is ready to flush out criminals or bring them to justice through due process.

Nigeria’s Population Now 201 Million – UN

Nigeria’s population now 201 million –UN

The United Nations Population Fund has stated that Nigeria’s population has risen to 201 million people.

This was contained in the 2019 State of the World Population Report released on Monday.

From the World Population Dashboard released on the agency’s website, the UN stated that “Nigeria’s population is now 201 million, the largest in Africa, while its immediate neighbours – Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and Cameroon – are 11.8 million, 23.2 million, 15.8 million and 25.3 million people, respectively.”

The UN agency noted that “life expectancy at birth in Nigeria is now 55 years while the maternity mortality ratio is 814 deaths per 100,000 live births as of 2015.”

It said that Nigeria’s growth rate was at an average of 2.6 per cent from 2010 to 2019, while the fertility rate among Nigerian women had dropped from 6.4 per cent in 1969 to 5.3 per cent in 2019.

This can be interpreted to mean that an average Nigerian woman gives birth to at least five children.

UNFPA said 32 per cent of Nigeria’s 201 million population figure were aged between 10 and 24 years, while those aged between 10 and 14 years were 44 per cent.

Also, according to the report, Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 are 54 per cent while the population of those over 65 years is just three per cent.

The report said, “Reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women globally who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.

“Life expectancy in Nigeria at birth is now 55 years while the maternity mortality ratio is 814 deaths per 100,000 live births as of 2015.

“Ultimately, almost all of the 4.3 billion people of reproductive age around the world today will have had inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health services at some point.

“In 1969, the world population reached 3.6 billion, up about one billion from only 17 years earlier, leading to the establishment of UNFPA.”

Gov Dickson Rejects Life Pension For Lawmakers, Says It Is Illegal

Dickson rejects life pension for lawmakers, says it’s illegal

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has declined assent to the bill seeking life pension for former lawmakers from the state as proposed and passed by the state House of Assembly last week.

The controversial bill has attracted condemnation from Bayelsans, including civil society groups who were planning a showdown with the lawmakers.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who said this on Monday, added that the governor had conveyed his decision to decline assent to the bill in a letter to the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday.

He said the governor held consultations with the Assembly members in Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for rejecting the bill to the lawmakers.

Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor as having said that the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Dickson said he was of the view that the state Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pension.

He stressed that he had to withhold assent to the bill because the state, which was bedevilled with a lot of challenges in spite of its low Internally Generated Revenue base and unstable earnings from the oil economy, was the only state in Nigeria to come up with such a bill.

The governor stressed that he was guided in the decision by the principle that government should not be for a select privileged few in the society.

He said the lawmakers and indeed the Nigerian populace would attest to the fact that all the decisions of his administration were guided by the urge “to protect public interest and promote the general good.”

Dickson said, “The provisions of this bill granting pension to members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the extension of same to former members of the Assembly and Bayelsa indigenes who served in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, is inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“I am not convinced about the legality of this bill which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension. While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.

“Evidently, there is no record of any other state in this country that has expanded the categories of pensionable public officers to include lawmakers. I do not agree that Bayelsa, which is coping with all the myriads of issues and challenges, with our low Internally Generated Revenue base and the unpredictable oil economy, should be the first to initiate this.

“Honourable members of this Assembly, Bayelsans and other Nigerians following our progress as a government would clearly attest to the fact that my entire public service, actions and decisions are marked by what is in the public interest, particularly the interest of the vulnerable, ordinary people. It is in the service of this category of people that in the last seven years, I have, in an unprecedented manner, which only history will record and reward, extended the frontiers of the benefits of purposeful democratic governance.

“It is my philosophy that government should not be for a select few. In the last seven years, my actions and decisions, which have sometimes elicited opposition from the elite who have been feeding fat on the resources of our state, have been marked by this singular disposition of mine.

“And I do not intend at this point to abandon that. Rather, I intend to do more to consolidate on the policies and actions which have been taken to protect the vulnerable. Therefore, I am unable to assent to this bill which in my view aims to expand and consolidate the class interest of a privileged few.”

The governor said the quest to protect the vulnerable against the privileged few inspired the populist programmes of his administration.

These, he said, included the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme with over 150, 000 beneficiaries, the Education Trust Fund, local and foreign scholarship programmes, empowerment schemes, support for the aged, the most vulnerable, employment, public housing and a number of other social intervention programmes.

He commended the leadership of the House for the healthy relationship with the executive and the high level of productivity as shown by the high number of bills and motions passed during the period.

Dickson said notwithstanding his decision to decline assent to the bill, he still “holds the Assembly in very high esteem.”

The governor also noted that he had to set up a committee on the contributory pension scheme to make it workable so that interested assembly members and other appointees at the state and local government levels could take advantage of it.

NIS Commences Registration For Issuance Of 10 Years E- Passports

NIS commences registration for issuance of 10-year e-passports

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has begun registration for the issuance of the new 10-year electronic passports to Nigerians.

Sunday James, NIS public relations officer, disclosed this on Monday, when he took journalists around the data capture centre in the federal capital territory (FCT).

The new passport is expected to integrate details of enrollees as captured by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

James said about 720 applicants will be captured in a day.

In a statement, Muhammad Babandede, NIS comptroller-general, said that the new passport will only be issued by the service headquarters in Abuja.

He added that the service will continue to issue the old booklets in all passport offices at the state commands.

It will be recalled that the new e-passport was officially launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 16.

The public relations officer had previously said that the cost of 32-page five-year standard passport stood at N25,000, 64-page five-year standard passport at N 35,000, while 64-paged 10-year standard passport stood at N70,000.

Listing the advantages of the new passport, James said people can track their applications and there would be express centres for urgent application.

Other advantages he said included weather friendliness, compliance with the latest ICAO standard, polycarbonate technology that reduced incidences of damage.

“We urge Nigerians to take advantage of the reforms, avoid patronising third party or touts and utilise the online platforms provided by the service for their passport application,” he said.

KOGI: Bello Tackles APC Group Over Second Term Bid

Kogi: Bello tackles APC group over 2nd term bid

 

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has carpeted an APC stakeholders’ forum over its letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s national leadership that he (Bello) should not be given the party’s ticket for the November 2, 2019, governorship election.

The Kogi APC Stakeholders Forum, led by Sen. Alex Kadiri, had in the letter, alleged that the APC would lose Kogi if it fielded Bello for the election given his alleged poor performance.

But reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Bello, Mr. Onogwu Galacticus Muhammed, described the petitioners as “amorphous group” who had been “dislocated and sent on political wilderness” and were now resurfacing to seek some political relevance in the state. “For a start, let it be categorically made clear that the leader of the APC in Kogi State is his Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and any emergent group is nothing but a criminal assemblage out to hoodwink the good public.

“Sen. Alex Kadiri can, therefore, seek genuine forum by aligning himself with the purposeful direction of his Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello – the only and recognised leader of the APC in Kogi State.

“This group of elders led by Sen. Kadri have never been fair to our state and affairs of the people, but rather constitute themselves as a clog in the wheel of progress of our dear state.

“They are like the seasonal lizards that come out only when it rains. Always coming during election circle, forgetting that party politics is not about feasting, but building formidable structures – a feat his excellency has consumed himself in for the past three years,” he said in a statement.

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UNPAID ALLOWANCES: NASS Aides Begs Buhari To Intervene

Unpaid allowances: NASS aides beg Buhari to intervene

 

•National Assembly Complex

Legislative Aides of the 8th National Assembly have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the non-payment of their allowances over the months.

In an open letter to the President, the Aides under the aegis of Concerned Legislative Aides of the 8th National Assembly, begged Buhari to direct a probe into the non-payment of their allowance.

According to a statement jointly signed by Barr. Chinedu Nwokeukwu and Mr Sunday Chuba the aides particularly urged that SunTrust Bank, the micro-finance institution used in their payment be thoroughly probed.

They also sought that the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori be made to proceed on his pre-retirement leave which he was already due for.

The aides in a petition earlier sent to the Presidency, security agencies and the anti-graft agencies, alleged among other things that the leadership of the 8th National Assembly had connived to divert funds meant for their payment.

In its new open letter to the President, the group pleaded that the Buhari should direct the anti-graft agencies to look into the allegations of financial misappropriation contained in the petition.

According to the statement, the petition was duly copied to the Office of the President, and also to the Vice President, Inspector General of Police, Director General of State Security Service and Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The statement said it is their utmost belief that there should be no sacred cows in the act of ridding the country of the evil tentacles of corruption in its ramification.

“We are reliably informed, Your Excellency that the Presiding Officers of the 8th National Assembly are using the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Sani Omolori to cover the alleged diversion of our entitlements and allowances.

“The said clerk should have proceeded on pre-retirement leave on November, 2018 having attained the mandatory 60 years and 35 years of service.

“He was allegedly served a letter to that effect by the Office of Head of Service of the Federation.”

“There is a scheme to add an additional five years to the tenure of the clerk by adding a provision to the Report of the Conference Committee on the Reviewed Conditions of Service in the National Assembly Service before both chambers of the 8th National Assembly,” the group alleged.

It said such a scheme if successful will extend the retirement age of staff of National Assembly to either 65 years of age or 40 years of service.

The statement further alleged that the scheming is geared towards covering the diversion of their entitlements.

The aides, therefore, called on President Buhari as the father of the nation to look into complaints dispassionately and ensure that the EFCC conduct an excellent investigation.

“It may also interest Your Excellency to note the use of SunTrust Bank – a bank with only two branches in Nigeria and the unbridled employment of Special Assistants by Presiding Officers as tools used in siphoning our legitimate allowances and entitlements.

“The shareholding of SunTrust Bank should be thoroughly investigated while the exact numbers of special advisers, special assistants and legislative aides of the presiding officers of the 8th National Assembly examined for the possibility of fake and ghost names,” the statement said.