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HIGHLIGHTS:

I Pray For The Peace Of Nigeria, Pope Francis Tells Speaker Dogara
Speaker Dogara Bags Leadership In Public Service Award
Speaker Dogara Meets With Italian MPs On Ways To Check Human Trafficking.
Reps Approve 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and
Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Speaker Dogara Meets With
Italian MPs On Ways To Check
Human Trafficking.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.


Hon Yakubu Dogara, has called on the international
community to take drastic measures to combat the
rising spate of human trafficking, especially from Af-
rica to Europe.

I Pray For The Peace Of Nigeria, Speaking at an international conference on "Women


Empowerment and the Fight Against Trafficking in
Pope Francis Tells Speaker Dogara Persons: Partnership Between Nigeria and Italy", or-
His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said that he has been ganised by the President of Italian Chamber of Dep-
praying for the peace and stability of Nigeria. uties, Ms Laura Boldrini, in Rome, Italy, Hon. Dogara
lamented that the Mediterranean Sea has now be-
The Pope made this known when he met with the
come a cemetery that has left deep wounds on hu-
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.
Hon Yakubu Dogara, in Saint Peters Square, Vatican
manity's conscience.
City.
The Speaker argued that to check and combat hu-
The Speaker had led Nigerian delegation to the Holy man trafficking, all hands must be on deck to ad-
See for a morning mass where nationals and leaders dress the root cause which includes hopelessness,
from different countries of the world gathered to join extreme poverty and greed.
His Holiness for the devotion and receive blessings
from the Pontiff. He noted that while Nigerian authorities at both
state and federal levels are committed to combating
Dogara, who described the meeting with Pope Francis the manace, there was the urgent need for the Ital-
as "awesome", stated that he was pleasantly sur-
ian government on its part to arrest and prosecute
prised and delighted to know that the pontiff is well
its citizens who are involved because it takes two to
informed about the happenings in Nigeria.
tango.
Pope Francis then told the Speaker that he always
prays for the peace of Nigeria saying, "I pray for the
peace of Nigeria and pray for me also".

The Speaker was accompanied by the Nigerian Am-


bassador to the Holy See, General Goerge Godwin
Umo (rtd) who disclosed that the Pope has been hold-
ing mass in honour of the 26 Nigerian girls that died
in the Mediterranean sea while trying to enter Italy
few weeks ago.

Hon Dogara is in Italy on the invitation of the Presi-


dent of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Ms Laura Bol-
drini, for an international conference on "Human Traf-
ficking and women empowerment: The Partnership
between Nigeria and Italy."
Dogaras visit, proof that Nige-
ria is committed to combating
illegal migration Laura Bol-
drini, President of Italian
Chamber of Deputies

Human Trafficking: We must strengthen the part-


nership between Italy and Nigeria Laura Boldrini

The President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies,


Laura Boldrini, has commended Nigerias commit-
Nigeria Now Investor Friendly, ment to tackling illegal migration and called for
stronger partnership between Italy and Nigeria in
Dogara Tells Italian Business- order to effectively combat human trafficking.
Boldrini, who lamented the high rate of illegal mi-
men gration and the enormous cost to female victims,
called for cooperation between the two nations at
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Ya- the international conference on female empower-
kubu Dogara, has urged Italian business community ment and human trafficking which took place in
to consider setting up businesses in Nigeria as the Rome on Tuesday.
country's business environment has been made more
friendly by ongoing reforms by the Muhammadu Giving a background into the root causes of ille-
Buhari's administration. gal migration, she highlighted factors such as
poverty, unequal distribution of wealth and high
Dogara spoke in Rome, Italy, when he met with lead- unemployment rates, and decried the high num-
ers of Nigerian community in Italy and some Italian ber of Nigerians embarking on the dangerous
businessmen at a meeting organised by the Nigerian journey, with Nigerians accounting for 37,000 ille-
ambassador to Italy, Yusuf Jonga Hinna. gal immigrants in 2016 alone. She also highlight-
ed the fact that the proportion of women among
He also informed them and friends of Nigeria that the migrants increased by 800 percent between 2014
National Assembly has passed a number of laws and 2016, and revealed that Italy has adopted a
seeking to promote ease of doing business in the plan to counter human trafficking and exploita-
country, in addition to other executive measures tak- tion.
en by the President.
Italy has robust anti-trafficking laws and, in 2016,
The Speaker further disclosed that the government adopted a national plan to counter human trafficking
had also constituted a presidential committee on and exploitation. The plan provides for coordinated
ease of doing business in which he is a member; even preventive action, which includes gathering adequate
though he is a legislator. information about potential victims of trafficking. It is
now time to put all the elements of the plan into effect,
which will require allocating adequate financial re-
He also assured the Italian business community that
sources to it. Otherwise, as sometimes happens, the
alot of progress has been achieved in providing secu-
potential of this good piece of legislation will be lost.
rity and that much has been done and progress The task now facing us is to translate what we have
achieved in dislodging terrorists, especially in the achieved in Parliament into practical action.
North East.
She further stated that the solution to illegal mi-
gration is not to seal off borders, but to imple- Lawmakers Ask FG To Pay Sala-
ment effective policies and tackle the root causes ries Of Staff Offering Out-
of emigration at their source, and called specifi-
cally for the economic and educational empow- sourced Services To Health In-
erment of women.
stitutions
Dear friends, sealing off borders is not an effec-
The House of Representatives has urged the Fed-
tive way of managing migratory flows. Nor is it
eral Ministry of Finance to urgently release the
effective to delegate to third countries the task
funds budgeted in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the
of stopping migrants in the absence of an ac-
payment of salaries of staff of Tertiary Health Insti-
ceptable legal framework, or to reject migrants
tutions whose services were outsourced.
without even hearing their asylum applications.
This is not the way forward. What we need in-
The lawmakers also mandated the Committee on
stead are combined and effective policies to
Health Institutions to interface with the Federal
neutralise human trafficking organizations and
Ministry of Finance and the Director-General,
create the conditions for lawful and regular mi-
gratory flows. Crime can be beaten if legal alter- Budget Office of the Federation, to ensure that
natives exist. We must also offer support in the funds are provided in the 2018 Appropriation pro-
form of local employment opportunities and posal for the payment of those outsourced ser-
thus tackle the causes of emigration at their vices and are to be domiciled in the accounts of
source. the various Teaching Hospitals/Federal Medical
Centres.
We must free women from all forms of violence.
Employment is key to the achievement of this
goal. No matter what the part of the world, the The Federal Government had, in 2017, outsourced
best antidote to violence is employment for the services of cleaners, security staff, laundry,
women. maintenance and environmental staff in tertiary
health institutions, and in 2015, about 40% of the
She expressed hope that Italy and Nigeria would outsourced funds was released to the institutions.
be able to make a decisive contribution to the However, in 2016 and 2017, no release of funds
UN World Conference set to hold next year. It is was made for the payment of the staff whose ser-
expected that the conference will lead to the vices were outsourced.
signing of a global migration compact.
The House also said it was concerned that the fail-
ure to release the funds that were budgeted for
the payment of those staff has led to crisis at the
Health Institutions, resulting in dirty environments,
unhealthy living conditions for patients and staff
and frequent cases of industrial actions that have
led to closure of some of the Institutions.

The motion which led to the resolution of the


House was referred to the House Committees on
Health Institutions and Legislative Compliance for
further Legislative action. It was sponsored by Hon
Betty Apiafi.
Legislators To Probe Companies Parliament To Open Enquiry Into
That Flouted Terms And Condi-
Etisalat Nigeria's Takeover
tions Of 3-year Billion Naira Rice
Concessionary Tariff In a bid to protect the interests of Nigerian subscrib-
ers and other stakeholders, the House of Representa-
Concerned that companies that were granted low tives has directed its Committee on Telecommunica-
concessionary tariffs running into hundreds of bil- tions to conduct an inquiry with a view to ascertain-
lions of naira by the Federal Ministry of Industry, ing what led to the collapse of Etisalat Nigeria
Trade and Investment for sugar importation into (9mobile).
the country have nothing to show for the grants in
their farm sites over the three years time frame they This decision was reached after debating a motion
were given, the House of Representatives has re- raised by Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabiwhich noted
solved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investi- that Etisalat Nigeria (now 9 mobile) was Nigeria's 4th
gate the companies. largest communications network operator with over
21 million subscribers and controlling about 12.9 per
Adopting the resolutions of a motion sponsored by cent of the country's telecom market share.
Hon E.J Agbonayinma on the matter, the legislators
noted that in 2013, the Federal Government ap- The lawmakers said they were aware that Etisalat Ni-
proved low concessionary tariffs of 5 percent duty geria obtained a loan of $1.2billion (377.4 billion Nai-
and 5 percent levy to companies for importation of ra) in 2013 from thirteen (13) Nigerian banks which
raw sugar as against the 5 percent duty and 70 per- involved a foreign-backed guaranteed bond to fi-
cent levy contained in the National Sugar Policy. nance a major network rehabilitation, upgrade and
expansion of its operational base in Nigeria but failed
They also disclosed that the National Sugar Devel- to repay the loans fully.
opment Council (NSDC) had revealed that some
companies had flouted the terms and conditions for
obtaining a three year low tariff running into hun- The House queried the take-over of Etisalat Nigeria
dreds of billions of Naira for sugar importation into
which was renamed 9mobile by the banks after its
the country.
failure to settle its debts accruing from loans, saying
it is a clear violation of Section 38 (1) of the Nigerian
The members of parliament observed0 that the
Communications Act, 2003 which provides that "the
grant of low tariffs to those companies was for
grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee
them to put the savings from the concession into
and the license shall not be operated by, assigned,
the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) Agricul-
sub-licensed or transferred to any other party unless
tural farm sites, a move that should have helped the
the prior written approval of the Commission has
country achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production
been granted."
for both domestic consumption and export.
House To Ascertain State, Mainte-
nance Level Of Refineries And Uti-
lisation Of Licenses Issued To Pri-
vate Corporations To Build New
Ones.
In order to be able to ascertain the viability of con-
tinuing investments of public funds on the nation's
four (4) refineries and allocation 445,000bpd crude
utilisation for the same purpose, the House of
Representatives has resolved up an Ad-hoc Com-
mittee to determine the current utilisation level of
Warri, Kaduna and Port-Harcourt Refineries.

Reps To Investigate Sale Of The committee is to also to carry out a compre-


hensive investigation on the Turn Around Mainte-
PHCN Non-Core Assets Over nance (TAM) carried out to date on the refineries
and identify the private and corporate individuals
Alleged Public Procurement In- that have refused to utilise the licences (Regular
fractions. and Modular), as well as the readiness and status
of all current holders.

The House of Representatives is set to scruti- This followed a motion moved by Hon. Ibrahim
nise the sale of non-core assets of the defunct Ayokunle Isiaka on the need to investigate the sta-
Power Holdings Company of Nigeria for non- tus of the nations four refineries, turn around
compliance to public procurement rules, as maintenance (TAM) to date and regular/modular
well as other infractions. licensed refineries.

The House noted that despite the more than $20b


This was after the House debated and adopted
that had been spent on the Turn Around Mainte-
the resolution of a motion moved by Hon. Rita
nance of the refineries built to refine 445,000 bar-
Orji on the matter. rels of crude per day, the refineries, have, over the
years, fallen into disrepair with their average ca-
She said, while debating the motion, that re- pacity utilisation standing at an abysmal 11 per-
ports have emanated to show that while over cent, which is the worst performance record in Af-
N207 billion has been realised from the sale of rica, compared to 81 per cent and 85 per cent re-
non-core assets, only N1.8 billion was de- spectively for Egypt and South Africa.
clared.
It also expressed concern that despite major para-
digm shift and consideration of different reliefs,
She also noted that the whole bidding process including reduction of licensing fee for new refin-
was lop-sided and riddled with irregularities eries from $1 million to $50,000 to make domestic
that showed non-compliance to transparency, refining attractive and reduce the huge capital
rejection of competent companies qualified for flight to fuel importation, meet local demand and
bidding, while companies of cronies were se- possible exports, only Aliko Dangote has put the
lected in the place of a transparent bidding license to use and no efforts have been made to
process. revoke the licenses given to individuals and corpo-
rate organisations to build refineries which have
not yet been utilised.
Reps Approve 2018-2020 Medium
Term Expenditure Framework
(MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper
(FSP).
The House of Representatives has passed the
2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework
(MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and re-
ferred it to the Committees on Finance, Appropri-
ations, National Planning and Economic Develop-
ment, Legislative Budget and Research and, Aids,
Loans and Debt Management to scrutinise and
make recommendations to the House. Lawmakers Want Condition of Ser-
vice of Medical Personnel and
This was after it set aside its earlier referral of the
document to relevant committees of the House Health Institutions in Nigeria Im-
without debate by the House in plenary. proved To Curb Exodus Of Doctors
Moving for debate on the MTEF/FSP, House Worried about the mass exodus of Nigerian medical doc-
Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the tors to other countries due to poor conditions of service
motion is to correct the anomaly which saw the and poor state of health institutions, the Legislature has
MTEF referred to the Committees without first mandated its committees on Health Institutions and
debating. Healthcare Services to engage stakeholders in the health
sector on the precarious situation of health care delivery
The motion was put to a vote after intense de- in the country.
bate by lawmakers, passed and referred to the
In a motion raised by Hon. Bode Ayorinde, the House not-
relevant committees for further legislative action.
ed that access to medical care for a larger percentage of
the citizens of any nation is a major determinant of the
welfare level of the citizens but a situation where the na-
tion's hospitals operate without the required number of
doctors cannot be regarded as commensurate with the
provision of welfare for the citizens by the government.

The lawmakers noted that the Chairman, Nigerian Medical


Association, Lagos State Chapter, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote,
had painted a pathetic picture of the state of health care
delivery in the country which has precipitated an exodus
of medical doctors from Nigeria that has reached an
alarming proportion.

They expressed great concern that the nation has been


classified as needing 303,333 medical doctors at the mo-
ment and also requiring another 10,605 new doctors an-
nually to meet the demand of providing good and quality
patient care to the citizenry; in addition to the consistent
underfunding and neglect of the nation's health care sys-
tem over the years which has led to its moribund state
that is characterised by.
Speaker of the House of Represent- House of Representatives who are always in sup-
port of the Speaker in all his efforts aimed at
atives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has maintaining stability in the House.
received the Award for the Leader-
After apologising for the Speaker's absence due
ship In Public Service Award from to official engagement, he said while receiving the
the New Telegraph Newspapers. award, "I receive this award on behalf of the 359
members of the House, who without which he will
The Speaker, who is in Rome, Italy, was represent- not be receiving this award. They have supported
ed by the Leader of the House of Representatives, him and he has stabilised the House and we are
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, at the award ceremony happy to receive this award on his behalf."
which held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.
The Speaker, who had earlier spoken on the
The Speaker was recognised for his outstanding award in an interview with New Telegraph News-
contribution to the stability of the House of Rep- paper, said he and members of the House of Rep-
resentatives and service to the whole country in resentatives will be motivated to do more by the
general. recognition, adding that "when appreciation
comes from people who are keen observers of
what we do in parliament, it spurs us to do more,
Receiving the award, Hon Gbajabiamila said he knowing very well that we are on the right trajec-
was doing so on behalf of 359 members of the tory."