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Omo-Agege lauds UN support for Constitution Review

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Omo-Agege lauds UN support for Constitution Review


The Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has welcomed the promise made by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to offer technical support to the panel.
This was contained in a statement that was issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga.

He also called on states yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to do so.

Senator Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja when he hosted a delegation from the UN Women, led by the Deputy Country Representative, Mr Lansana Wonneh.
UN Women is the United Nations’ body dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment.

The Delta Central lawmaker assured women that their interests would be protected, but not to the detriment of the constitutional provisions against discrimination of whatever form.
He challenged the Executive arm of government to always engage the Legislature before signing treaties and agreements.

This, he explained, will enable accelerated domestication by the National Assembly.

He said: “We have had some form of disconnect between the Executive and Legislative arms of government. Frankly, we want to be carried along before entering into some of these treaties and agreements because Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution requires the involvement of the National Assembly for any of that to become effective. And, unfortunately, that was not done. That is why we have that drawback with respect to the Beijing Declaration.

“But having said that and taking into account the limitations arising therefrom, we decided that it might be best if we had approached this incrementally. And that is why some of us stood solidly behind Senator Biodun Olujimi in her Gender Equality and Opportunity Bill which, to a large extent, was actually seeking to domesticate the agreements in Beijing Protocol amongst others. But we ran into problem with Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution because the concern of some is that in seeking to remedy it, we should not create another set of discrimination against another.

“We have been looking for ways to address this. I have taken a special interest in the situation because I was part of the parliamentary delegation at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Uganda. And I sat down with the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament and got some form of education from her. I met with her again in Canada in January at the Presiding Officers Conference. I sat down with her again, all aimed at preparing me for the fight that is to come. I can assure you that we are looking into that”.
The panel, he added, is already understudying the Ugandan experience in the area of women political representation.
“Even the elections a couple of days ago in the United States, from the exit polls, about 55 percent of the voters were women. There is no doubt that you have more women than men in our country but we need to put them in a position where they can canvass their own views and not impose our own views on them. They should be in the best position to articulate their own views. We are working on that as part of the constitution review exercise.
“We are looking at the Ugandan model. I can assure you that there will be a significant movement in the direction of what is being canvassed on behalf of our women. But all I will ask of you is that you help to mobilise the electorate, opinion leaders as to why this is needed,” he stated. 
He also asked the organisation to help in mobilising the House of Representatives in concurring to the Sexual Harassment Bill passed by the Senate as well as the domestication of the VAPP Act in all the states of the Federation.

Earlier, the Deputy Country Representative, UN Women, Mr Lansana Wonneh, assured of the organisation’s readiness to offer technical support for the committee.
While applauding the Senate for making Gender Equality for Women and Girls one of the thematic areas of the exercise, he lauded the passing of the Sexual Harassment Bill by the Red Chamber.
Wonneh also highlighted the various ways the organisation has helped in promoting issues of gender equality in the country.
“We are here to commit our partnership. As the UN organisation particularly looking at gender equality and empowerment of women, we want to pledge our commitment to supporting the effort of the constitution review process; to work with your committee and every other stakeholder in promoting the issues of gender equality, which is a fundamental development building block that can put any country to wherever they aspire to go to,” he said.

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Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

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Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Special Duties to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently supply relief and rehabilitation materials to Olamaboro communities of Kogi affected by rainstorm.
This, the upper chamber said was with a view to mitigating the sufferings of the victims.
The resolution was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) during plenary
The motion was titled “Urgent need for rehabilitation of communities affected by rainstorm in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi”.
The upper chamber also mandated the Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programme (SIP), to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide minimal seed capitals for the victims in the affected communities.
This, the Senate said was to help in facilitating their various economic activities. 

Senator Jibrin while moving the motion expressed worry that with the commencement of the rains, over 200 residential buildings had been destroyed across many communities in the LGA in a rainstorm, following a heavy downpour on April 9.
“Apart from destruction of residential buildings, the devastating rainstorm also ravaged crops, farmlands, schools, worship houses, clinics and businesses in several communities in the LGA.He expressed the concern that many victims of the disaster sustained varying degrees of injury and are receiving medical attention at various health centres within the LGA and neighbouring LGAs.Hence he said, the disaster has created a serious humanitarian crisis as families are rendered homeless and their means of livelihood and properties woxth millions of naira destroyed by the rainstorm, thereby creating a situation of internal displacement.
He listed the major affected communities to inlude Ogugu Central, Ogane~0forachi, Emodida, Iyono, Emagaba No.1, Emenega, Emonoja-Aludu, Eegahimotu and Adupi Emoriko in Ogugu Dtstrict. In addition to many others within Okpo and Imane communities.

Contributing, Sen. Yakubu Oseni called on the Federal Government to provide succor to the  affected communities by coming to their aid

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Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

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Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

By Joseph Sunday

The chairman Joint committee on Justice and Human Rights said the committee is trying to amend the act in a way that Nigeria can have a one stop shop in the maritime sector.

Senator Opeyemi stated this during the presentation of the Exclusive Economic zone Act amendment Bill and the Fire Arms amendment Bill by stakeholders.

The chairman told journalists that Nigeria cannot pretend, it has arms and ammunition in wrong hands.
“Stiffer punishment should be served as sanction to anyone in possession of fire arms without license.”

He said section 33(4) can take care of any lacuna in the act that has to do with management and ownership of our mineral resources. He posited that an amendment Bill can alter the constitution to provide for any additional property or minerals not covered by the constitution.

In another development, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele called on state Governors and other stakeholders to do the needful in the interest of the public by granting independence to the judiciary in their states. He said “no body stands to lose anything “
The national assembly has granted the judiciary independence at the Federal level through the passage of necessary laws.

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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

The Senate has raised the alarm that Nigeria is presently under siege from murderous non – state actors, whose activities are threatening the cooperate existence of the country.

To make the matter more scary records from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), indicated that out of 500 million Illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70%, are domiciled in Nigeria for evil activities of criminally minded people .

Senator Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Made the frightening submissions at the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Navy and Marine Transport on Firearms Act 2004 ( Amendment) Bill 2021 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010 ( Repeal and Re – Enactment) Bill 2021.

He said the country needs to urgently address the worrisome situation.

Sani the sponsor of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill lamented that proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country with little or no control by relevant authorities has profound implications for collective survival of Nigerians and Nigeria.

He said, “We are gathered here to deal with a matter that has profound implications for our collective survival.

“We are under siege from murderous non – state actors. They have been acquiring arms illegally, maiming our people and threatening the continued existence of our dear Nation. 

“We either take measures to deny them of the oxygen that sustains their nefarious activities, or we watch helplessly as they overrun us and our country.”

The main aim of the proposed amendments to the Firearms Act, he explained, is to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms and bring the existing law in line with global best practices.

He lamented that “The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), recently reported that the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) in Nigeria, has reached an alarming proportion.

“Analysts estimate that out of the 500 million weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70% of such weapons, can be found in Nigeria.

“A pointer to this effect can be cited with the incidence of January 31st , 2017, when the Nigeria Customs Service confirmed the interception and seizure of 661 Pump Action Riffles imported from China into our country.

“More recently in Benue State, a local militia had the temerity to kill an Army Captain and 11 Soldiers not to talk of reign of terror in Owerri, Imo State by Gunmen who launched coordinated attacks on the Police headquarters and Correctional Centre .

“Something must be done urgently to curtail arms proliferation, the very reason for the proposed amendment bill on  the existing Firearms Act”, he said .

He listed the five major objectives of the amendment bill to include imposition of stiffer penalties for offences under the Act .

One of such penalties is the one under section 27 (sub section 1c), which proposed increase of fine from N1,000 to N1million .

Representative of Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Oladayo Amao, in his submission, objected to the N1million proposed fine on illegal possession of firearms arguing for its upward review to N2million.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the joint Commitee, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central), said the purpose of the two bills were to further strengthen the Nigerian extant laws against illegal firearms possession and proliferation as well as making provisions of the Act on Exclusive Economic Zone to be in line with global practices as far as protection of the Nation’s territorial sea or waters are concerned.

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