• Passes bill to criminalise electoral offences
• Reps order resumption of work at P’Harcourt airport
The Senate yesterday resolved to probe the activities of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), following allegation of gross abuses. Senate President Bukola Saraki said the lawmakers were worried about the findings by the committee on interior, which considered its 2017 budget.
“We cannot continue with this kind of nonsense. How can this be going on in a government of change? The report of the committee on interior would not be approved until they resolve the issues raised,” he said.
The committee findings indicated that service providers at the NIS take away over 70 per cent of the revenues generated through its facilities.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Andy Uba told the Senate that the committee also discovered that some public-private partnership contracts entered by the NIS did not indicate when the contracts would terminate.
Also, the Vice Chairman, Usman Bayero Nafada, said the contractors claimed that they had no business with the Senate since they did not enter into contract with it.
It resolved that a panel be established to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks. Also, a bill seeking to criminalise electoral offences in the country has passed the second reading at the Senate.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Abubakar Kyari sponsored the bill.
He said electoral offences were discrediting the country’s democratic values, adding that the bill would mitigate the incidents of such crimes committed with impunity.
It was titled: “A bill for an Act to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission and for other matters connected thereof’.”
According to Kyari: “Section 149, 150 of the Electoral Act permits the INEC to punish electoral offenders. Unfortunately, t it has not prosecuted one per cent of offenders.”
“Far away in Malaysia, they established their own electoral offences commission in 1954, including Canada and other places. Also, Kenya established itS own last year. If the commission is established, it would work with other security agencies.”
A panel was constituted to investigate the matter and report back in four weeks. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday directed the authorities to ensure the resumption of work at the Port Harcourt International Airport. This followed the adoption of a motion by Kingsley Chinda at a plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara. The House mandated its Committees on Aviation, Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts to investigate the expenditure for the upgradE and maintenance of the airport from 2011 to date. The House also resolved to investigate the alleged importation of genetically modified maize into the country, without clearance from the National Biosafety Management Agency.