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Senate moves to upgrade NIPOST through bill that seeks to unbundle the service

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Senate moves to upgrade NIPOST through bill that seeks to unbundle the service

By Joseph Sunday

The long expected reorganization and mordernization of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is being perfected by the Senate as it has commenced the process leading to unbundling the service.
This was being perfected with the consideration of a bill to repeal and re-enact the Nigerian Postal Service Act 2004.
 
The bill which scaled second reading on Tuesday was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central). 
 
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Tinubu said the piece of legislation seeks a reform of the Postal Industry and to make Comprehensive Provisions for the Development and Regulation of Postal Services in Nigeria. 
 
According to the lawmaker, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) which dates as far back as 1852, evolved from an exigency of the colonial administration to a Collection Office of the United Kingdom and eventually, to the NIPOST.
 
She recalled that as at 1st of October, 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from colonial rule, there existed one hundred and seventy-six (176) Post Offices, 10 Sub-Post Offices and 1000 Postal Agencies. 
 
Tinubu, however, noted that the agency presently has over nine hundred and fifty five (955) post offices and more than three thousand (3,000) Postal Agencies in the thirty-six States of the Federation. 
 
The lawmaker observed that in view of existing realities, it had become imperative for the NIPOST Act to be reviewed to guarantee improved efficiency and service.
 
“NIPOST has been touted as having so much potential not only for revenue generation but also for impacting the lives of ordinary Nigerians. 
 
“However, the Agency’s struggles are well known. With its apparent inefficiencies, advancement in technology and the introduction of electronic mail there has been a decline in demand for traditional postal services, thus necessitating a reform in the Agency mode of operation.
 
“The Global Postal Industry and indeed, every facet of human life has continued to evolve, thus requiring the Nigerian Postal Industry to rise to the demands of existing realities. 
 
“Consequently, the subsisting Act which has been in place since 2004 has been overtaken by events and is not reflective of the times we are in. 
 
“To set NIPOST back on track, we need innovation, integration and inclusion in keeping up with current trends, and introducing ICT to ensure quicker and more effective service delivery. 
 
“To do this however, it is important to take a look at, and reengineer the Agency’s establishment Act, its powers and its functions,” the lawmaker said. 
 
According to her, the Bill covers implementation of a National Postal Policy, encourages local and foreign investment in the postal industry, ensures the protection of rights and interests of service providers in the sector, makes provision for postal services to areas and towns that were erstwhile not sustainable, and promotes small and medium enterprises in the sector, amongst others. 
 
Tinubu disclosed that the Bill also provides for the establishment of the Nigerian Postal Service and designates it as Public Postal Operator (PPO), a corporate body with a common seal whose responsibility includes the provision of Universal Postal Services in Nigeria. 
 
“The clear delineation of roles will make NIPOST more commercially viable, while ensuring more efficient service delivery”, she said. 
 
“The Bill goes further to establish the Nigerian Postal Commission, another corporate body with its own common seal, which shall have the sole responsibility of regulating and supervising the Postal Sector. 
 
“This Bill, if passed will successfully unbundle the Nigerian Postal Service from the huge monstrosity that it currently is. 
 
“The Bill seeks to split up the roles of policy maker, independent regulator and industry Operator which NIPOST is currently saddled with. 
 
“In addition, as NIPOST is currently a dominant operator in the courier and logistics services market, it is imperative, in the interest of our anti-trust and competition laws, and in a bid to ensure an even playing field for all, to separate NIPOST the postal operator from the Regulator,” Tinubu said.
 
She further disclosed that the bill, while  providing for Administration and planning of a National Postcode System, in line with global addressing standards, for efficient mail delivery, seeks to establish a Universal Postal Service Fund to be funded through appropriation from the National Assembly.
 
“By passing this Bill, we will not only be ensuring that our Postal services are carried out in line with international best practices, we will also be sending a signal to would be investors that we are an investment haven. 
 
“This Bill will serve as catalyst for local and foreign postal investment while attracting skilled personnel in the field,” she said. 
 
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Communications. 
 
The Committee was given four (4) weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
  

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Legislature

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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Legislature

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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Legislature

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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