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Senate resumes, says insecurity remains Nigeria’s biggest challenge  

-Receives bills on gun control, importation of explosives   

The Senate resumed plenary on Tuesday after a long recess, with President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stressing that insecurity remains the biggest challenge facing the Nigerian government that must be prioritized and tackled headlong by constant engagement between the Executive and Legislature. 

Lawan in a speech delivered to welcome Senators back from the upper chamber’s two-month annual recess, said efforts must be made to sustain the fight against insecurity by ensuring adequate funding for security agencies in the 2022 budget to be submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari later this month to the National Assembly for consideration. 

He said: “Distinguished colleagues, let me applaud and commend our gallant Armed Forces for the recent success recorded in their fight against insurgency and banditry in our Country. I want to urge them to sustain the campaigns until the insurgents and bandits are rooted out in our Country. 

“Distinguished Colleagues, you would recall that we approved the Supplementary Budget request of the Executive in July this year, just before we proceeded for the annual summer recess. The National Assembly approved over N800 Billion for our Security and Intelligence Agencies.

“While that provision was appropriate and indeed necessary, we should sustain the trajectory of increase in funds and resources to the security sector. 

“Therefore, we should consider a ramp up of more resources for our security agencies in the 2022 Appropriation. This also requires that our Defence and Intelligence related Committees must step up their oversight on the Agencies.

“Distinguished Colleagues, the fight against the security challenges in our Country requires continued engagements between the National Assembly and the Executive arms of Government. 

“It also requires continues engagements with citizens, for the necessary and desired results to be achieved. We must therefore remain resolute and focused in achieving those. The National Assembly, indeed the Federal Government has no more serious challenges to tackle than insecurity today.”

The Senate President while giving a breakdown of landmark legislations passed by the Ninth Assembly, underscored the need for the Implementation Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the timely execution of the Petroleum Industry Act assented to by the President on August 16, 2021. 

Lawan charged the Senate Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Petroleum Upstream, and Gas to start oversight on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, with a view to ensuring that the Senate discharges its critical mandate of compliance with contents and dictates of the law. 

On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in July 2021, the Senate President announced that a Conference Committee would be set up to harmonise the two versions of the bill, so as to enable its eventual transmission to the President for assent.

He added that, “both Chambers had done a great and patriotic job to increase the integrity and transparency of our Electoral processes and procedures through these amendments.”

On efforts made by the Ninth Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution, Lawan disclosed that the Constitution Review Committee would be presenting its report soon to the upper chamber for consideration. 

According to him, the amendment exercise is intended to “make Nigeria a more united and stronger Federation.”

The Senate President disclosed further that the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, National Planning and Economic Matters, Petroleum Downstream, Petroleum Upstream and Committee on Banking would also be presenting its report soon on the 2022/2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), preparatory to the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill by the President. 

He added that the Standing Committees of the Senate are ready to receive Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for budget Defense. 

Meanwhile, the Senate has received two executive  bills transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to control the proliferation of arms and regulate the importation and exportation of explosives in the country. 

They are: the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill 2021; and Explosives Bill 2021.

The transmission of both bills was accompanied by two separate letters dated the 26th and 27th August, 2021, respectively. 

The letters were read during the commencement of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. 

President Buhari, in the letter which accompanied the Explosives Bill 2021, explained that request for the consideration and eventual passage of the bill was made pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). 

Written by ExpressDay

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