The past weeks have been filled with lots of activities in the Red Chamber. These activities ranged from the recently concluded Ministerial Screening and Confirmation to lots of other Legislative matters.
Despite all the happenings and long hours of plenary activities, the Senate still had the interests of Nigerians at heart. They attended to other Legislative Businesses, which saw the Presentation of Bills and Motions and other matters that affects the everyday Nigerian.
Some of the Bills presented to the house in October 2015 are:
1. The Disabled in the Society
Over 10 percent of Nigeria’s population is believed to be disabled, either by sheer providence, accident or other causes. These people are daily confronted with several challenges.
Senator Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) presented a Bill on the “Discriminations Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2015 (SB. 22)”.
One of the challenges among the disabled in the society is gross marginalization and discrimination by reason of their incapacity.
This bill seeks to integrate these persons into the society and establish a commission for persons with disability.
Therefore, one would agree that without necessary legislation, the challenges that the physically challenged people encounter would be difficult to overcome.
2. Poverty Eradication
Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) presented a bill on “National Poverty Eradication Commission (Establishment, etc) Bill 2015 (SB. 23)”
The aim of this bill is for the establishment of a body to be known as the National Poverty Eradication Commission
The functions of the Commission shall be to coordinate and monitor all poverty eradication activities; assist in formulating and reviewing policies on poverty eradication, provide technical expertise and sensitize all levels of government and organizations on poverty eradication, evaluate and monitor the level of social amenities throughout the country with direct impact on the poor.
3. Insurgency in the North East
Due to the level of destruction by Boko Haram in the North East geo-political zone, Senator Kabiru Gaya (Kano South) presented a bill titled “North East Development Commission (NEDC) (Establishment, etc) Bill 2015 (SB. 31)”.
This bill, when passed, will facilitate the creation of a North-East Development Commission, which is to be saddled with the responsibility of rebuilding the region and fast tracking the re-settlement of indigenes of the affected region which has witnessed large-scale devastation from Boko Haram.
The Commission will seek to rehabilitate and repatriate the surviving people and also move for the reconstruction of the economy of the region.
4. Food Security
Despite its considerable arable land resources, Nigeria is a large importer of food. The country spends more than USD 3 billion annually on food importation, even though at one point, agriculture was the nation’s biggest source of foreign exchange. In this regard, Senator Theodore A. Orji (Abia Central) presented a bill titled “Food Security Bill 2015 (SB. 71)”
This bill, when passed, will aim at working on programmes to guarantee the nation’s food security for the coming years, bring about sustainable access to affordable and high-quality food for all Nigerians, promotes the involvement of the private sector in agriculture and facilitates farmers’ access to agricultural machinery and feedstock.
5. Parole and Probation in Prisons
Senator Isiaka Adeleke (Osun West) presented a bill titled “National Parole and Probation Bill, 2015 (SB. 87)”. This bill, when passed, seeks to establish a national parole system in Nigeria prisons.
This board will consider parole application by a convict before the expiration of the prison term, form an opinion as to whether the prisoner has shown sign of remorse to be granted a parole, consider whether the convict is a first offender or has been previously convicted, fix the condition to be fulfilled before a parole is granted, review sentences passed on convict, and for such other matters in connecting with one or more of the foregoing as the board may deem fit.
The exercise of the parole system will benefit; first offenders, aged people, female offenders with minor offences, pregnant women, and those who may have been victims of possible miscarriage of justice.
Senator Tijani Y. Kaura (Zamfara North) presented this bill titled “Employment Services Bill 2015 (SB. 60)”.
The bill, when passed, aims to promote employment, improve access to the labour market for job seekers, provide opportunities for new entrants into the labour market to gain work experience, improve the employment prospects of job seekers – particularly the vulnerable ones, improve the employment and re-employment prospects of employees facing retrenchments, facilitate access to training job seekers, promote employment, growth and workplace productivity.
7. The Local Economy
Senator Mohammed S. Lafiagi (Kwara North) presented this bill titled “Local Industry Patronage Bill 2915 (SB. 67)”.
The proposed law would boost the local economy and reduce the amount of imported products and ensure that goods made in Nigeria enjoy patronage locally.
It could also make a positive impact on re-industrialization efforts of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, revive distressed industries, increase capacity utilization and above all create mass employment for the millions of the unemployed youths.
This bill will address the issue of poor infrastructure, notably poor electricity supply, high costs as well as short tenure of funding, policy summersaults, addictive waivers, raw material crisis and complete lack of local patronage of locally manufactured goods, which had forced many local industries to close and increase in cost of local production.
8. Students Aide
Senator Isah Hamman Misau (Bauchi Central) presented this bill titled “Students Financial Aid Scheme (Establishment, etc.) Bill 2015 (114)”.
This bill seeks to create a scheme to provide for the granting of Loans to Eligible Students at Higher Institutions.
This scheme will aid in allocating funds for loans and bursaries to eligible students, develop criteria and conditions for the granting of loans and bursaries to eligible students in consultation with the Minister, raise funds and recover loans, maintain and analyse a database and undertake research for the better utilisation of financial resources, advise the Minister on matters relating to student financial aid, and perform other functions assigned to it by this Act or by the Minister.
Abang Dove writes from Abuja and she tweets @abangdove