The new Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, last week, decried the whopping amount of money the South-East region lost to sit-at-home orders in the last 2 years.
Two other stories from the National Assembly were analysed within the week under review.
1. Costs of sit-at-home orders
On July 14, Hon. Kalu stated that the South-East region had lost about N4 trillion to sit-at-home orders issued by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), since August 2021.
He said this at a conference organised by Ndigboamaka Progressive Marketers Association held in Lagos. He disclosed that he and 45 other legislators had met to discuss strategies on ending the sit-at-home order in the South-East.
Kalu’s exposure, if indeed correct, highlights the extensive damage that has been done to South-eastern economy over time.
While arguments over how much of these damages have affected the rest of the country, it is clear that the economic injuries have been self-inflicted, and that the so-called agitators are visiting mayhem on their kits and kin.
Will the Tinubu administration sit idly-by and watch the South-East self-destruct or seek a political solution? Only time will tell.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“`In Africa, we have over 50 million out-of-school children and Nigeria has 13.5 million out of this figure; if we have one million people who can actually teach or sponsor a child, we will be better for it.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Granting constitutional role to traditional rulers
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbass, on July 15, assured that the 10th National Assembly will create a constitutional role for traditional rulers in the country.
The Speaker gave the assurance when he paid homage to the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamali, in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“I want to assure you today that my colleagues and I who are from traditional ruling houses and others who share similar sentiment will go back and look at the position paper written by the traditional leaders in order to ensure that the traditional institution has a place in this current political dispensation,” he assured the Emir.
Abbass’ assurance, once again, points to the long yearning for constitutional restructuring, and power sharing in the country.
His remark brings back memories of the Local Government reforms of 1976 under Olusegun Obasanjo that saw traditional rulers relegated to the background, with no defined constitutional role.
It would be nice to see how future debates on the role of traditional rulers progress in the National Assembly.
3. Extending UTME validity to three years
On July 12, the House of Representatives charged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to extend the validity of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results to three years.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion presented by the lawmaker representing Ekiti North 1 Federal Constituency, Hon. Akin Rotimi, at the plenary.
The lawmaker argued that nothing in the act establishing JAMB stops it from extending the validity of the UTME results.
Though the submissions call attention to a global educational practice, it is doubtful that the examination body would do the needful, as the move could stifle the cash flow it gets from conducting the exams each year.
It would be interesting to see how high Rotimi’s motion would fly.
Answer: Senator Rochas Okorocha
Okorocha made the statement on January 25, 2023, while launching Teach a Child/Sponsor a Child Project in Abuja. He is a former governor of Imo State, and represented Imo West Senatorial District in the immediate past 9th National Assembly.
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