The Chairman of Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume last week charged President Muhammadu Buhari to up the ante against corruption in the country.
The lawmaker’s remark has elicited reactions from Nigerians who are waiting on the President to finally fulfill his promise of ridding the country of corruption.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS) for your reading pleasure.
1. Campaign against unexplained wealth
The Borno State-born Senator on November 6 urged President Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, issue and sign an Executive Order on Unexplained Wealth into law in order to tackle corruption in the country.
Ndume, who made the call in Ibadan, said: “The fight against corruption is a fight for the nation.
“Our crusade against this monster should start from politicians, top politicians, top public servants, civil servants, down to local government staff. For the perpetrators, it is not difficult to identify the tendencies exhibited by the officers, acquiring landed property in and outside the country, having fat bank deposits, buying expensive cars, or marrying so many wives.”
Ndume’s calls is certainly not unconnected with the growing discontent among Nigerians over the pervasive corruption by government officials despite the President’s much-vaunted anti-graft campaign.
Significantly, it reinforces what most Nigerians already know; that there are several public officials enjoying their loot without standing the risk of receiving the treatment meted out to the likes of former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was recently convicted for money laundering.
Indeed, Ndume’s latest position is a call for moral re-orientation that addresses lopsided values which celebrate ill-gotten wealth, and encourage impunity in the face of mass poverty and resort to brigandage.
If President Buhari accepts the challenge, he would be reminded of the fact that his anti-corruption war has been largely perceived as selective, and this is where he must rise to the occasion and ensure transparency.
It remains to be seen if the President will heed the lawmaker’s specific call for an Executive Order to call out certain Nigerians for their unexplained wealth.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“This is unacceptable. We should be able to put our feet down when dealing with these donor agencies or creditors as regards loans to be taken and what it should be expended on. Don’t we have local manufacturers of mosquito nets and malaria drugs in Nigeria to patronise with the loan even if approved?
“This is a clear case of money and jobs for the boys by creditors luring you for loans and railroading you on what it should be spent on.
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Reps position on Cannabis
The House of Representatives on November 3 restated its opposition to the bill on legalisation of Cannabis in Nigeria. The Chairman of the House Committee on Narcotics, Francis Agbo, reaffirmed the lawmakers’ position on the issue when the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, appeared before the committee for the 2022 budget defence.
Agbo said: “We are not supporting the so-called legitimisation of cannabis. If there is so much madness, killings and so in the country now, if we legitimise Cannabis, the madness would quadruple.”
The committee’s position which appears to sit well with a lot of people, despite the plant’s medicinal efficacy, is founded on the legitimate concerns that its use could spell doom for the country which is currently convulsing from activities of criminals, most of whom have found cannabis a potent motivator.
Beyond sentiments, however, it would seem that the lawmakers are simply opting for the easy way out instead of challenging the country’s various research institutes to harness the useful properties of the plant, and tap from its value chain.
The National Assembly must, therefore, think futuristic or continue to wallow in ignorance while the world moves on and Nigeria remains a net importer of finished products manufactured from same cannabis.
Nothing wrong in a two-pronged attack to check the menace and reap maximally from its benefits.
3. Gbajabiamila on Electoral Act
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on November 3, affirmed that the Ninth House was determined to make the Electoral Act perfect and acceptable to Nigerians.
The Speaker, who made the promise when he hosted a team of the European Union (EU) delegation in Nigeria led by the Head of Mission, Amb. Samuela Isopi, said: “Our electoral law is not perfect, just like your own is not perfect. But our goal is to make it perfect. That’s why in the 9th Assembly, we try to see that we make our Electoral Act to be perfect.
“Today, we’re at the threshold of history. We want to have an Electoral Act that is acceptable to the majority of Nigerians.”
Gbajabiamila’s remarks confirms the readiness of the National Assembly to strengthen the country’s electoral process in the years ahead.
Prior to the 2019 general election, President Buhari had declined assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, passed by the National Assembly.
It would be interesting to see if Gbajabiamila and his colleagues succeed this time. The apprehension rests on the rumours that some members of the ruling party are trying to cajole the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to convince the President not to sign the document.
Answer: Senator Clifford Ordia
Ordia made the statement during the Senate plenary on October 26. He was reacting to a fresh loan request brought to the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Loans by the Ministry of Health.
The ministry had requested the committee’s approval for a $200 million loan for the purchase of mosquito nets in 13 out of the 36 states in the country.
He represents Edo Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly.