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Youth inclusion to take centre stage in new constitution says Omo-Agege

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Youth inclusion to take centre stage in new constitution says Omo-Agege


The National Assembly has vowed to expand the political space for youth and women in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has assured.
This was coming against the backdrop of the recent #EndSars protests when the youths held the country to ransome for two weeks demanding for the banning of that police outfit.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Deputy President of the Senate. Yomi Odunuga.
Omo-Agege gave the indication in Abuja when he hosted a delegation of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, led by Archbishop (Prof.) David Irefin.

Omo-Agege who is also the Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, called on religious leaders to continue to pray for the country.

While commending Nigerians for their resilience, the Delta Central lawmaker urged them to strive towards maintaining the oneness of the country.

He also explained the rationale for sponsoring a constitution alteration bill which seeks to reserve 30 percent of appointments for youth and women at the federal and state level.

Titled, “A Bill For An Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to specify the minimum number of youths and women appointed as Ministers, Ambassadors and State Commissioners”, the proposal has passed Second Reading and is currently before the Omo-Agege-led panel for further legislative work.

Specifically, it amends Sections 147 and 171 of the Constitution by mandating the President to appoint at least five ministers, ambassadors or high commissioners under the age of 40.

The proposed legislation alters Section 192 of the Constitution by providing that “There shall be such offices of Commissioners of the Government of the State as may be established by the Govemor of the State, of which (a) At least five Commissioners shall not be more than the age of forty years at the time of appointment; and (b) At least five shall be women.”

According to the legislator, if the bill is passed and signed into law, it will not only expand the political space for Nigerian youth but also give them a sense of belonging.

His words: “For us in the National Assembly who are members of the Constitution Review Committee, we are also looking at those areas that require constitution amendment to bring the youth on board into governance. Because we believe that it is best for them to be making the desired change from the inside and take decisions themselves as opposed to being on the streets and protesting.

“That is why I have proposed a bill for constitutional amendment to reserve 30 percent of seats in the Federal cabinet of every president, going forward, for the youth of this country. And we are also insisting that five of all cabinet seats at the state level be also reserved for youth.

“The youth, we are going to define in that bill, to include people from the age of 20 to 40.

“Make no mistake about it, there is nothing unique about what we are trying to do here except that we are trying to legislate”.

“That is why we are trying to codify this now in the law. Let them come on board. The challenges we have in this country are enormous. And we want them to participate. We want them sitting in the Federal Executive Council chambers in Aso Rock, helping our president to make these very hard and tough decisions. We will rather have them there than have them on the streets of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt or wherever”.

Omo-Agege also urged religious leaders to pray for the continued peace and unity of the country.

“I also ask you to pray for Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari. God has been good and kind to him. Let us pray for more goodness in his life so that he will continue to provide good leadership at all times. At any particular time in life, there is always a particular leadership that God enthrones. There is a leadership God enthrones where there is peace and in times of turbulence. And we saw all of that in God’s choice in enthroning David and his son Solomon. One was a king in times of turbulence and the other, Solomon his son, was a king in time of peace.

“At this particular time in our country, this country needs President Muhammadu Buhari to hold everybody together. I urge you to continue to pray to give him excellent health and grant him wisdom to handle the affairs of state.

“Not too long ago, we had challenges that threatened the very fabriic of our nationhood to its very foundation. That is talking about the #EndSARS protests. Speaking as a lawyer, I am aware that our constitution guarantees the right to protest. But that right is not an unfettered right. It is subject to being exercised in a peaceful and lawful manner. The Constitution does not guarantee right to commit crimes. That is why we supported those who lawfully protested and also condemned those who were not lawful protesters, highjacked the lawful protests and committed murders, arson and other sort of destructive activities. And most of those who also suffered from these acts are also Nigerians. They are also our brothers and sisters. So while condemning what those ones had done, we should also be protective of the innocent ones who had not committed any illegal activity. So we remain thankful to God that as a country, we survived this. And we pray for God to give us the wisdom as a government to quickly address the legitimate concerns raised by our younger ones. The government is working very hard on trying to address them,” he stated.

Earlier, leader of the delegation, Archbishop David Irefin applauded the legislative intervention of the senator, adding that members were impressed with his contributions on the floor of the Senate.

The lawmaker representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District and Secretary General of the body, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo also accompanied other leaders on the visit.

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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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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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