Teenage Pregnancies In Prisons: Senate Summons Prisons Boss

The Senate Wednesday summoned the comptroller General of Prisons, Mr Ahmed Ja’afaru to explain the allegations of unwanted pregnancies and teenage confinement in prisons.

There are recent allegations of unwanted pregnancies and delivery of babies without legitimate parents across the prisons yards in the country.

Consequently, the upper chamber has also mandated its committee on interior to carry out discrete investigations on the matter.

This resolution followed a motion sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh representing Anambra Central senatorial district titled, “Illegal confinement of underage offenders / infants in the same Prison with adult prisoners.”

On his lead debate, Umeh said he was traumatized by the gory pictures of underage children languishing in various prisons.

He further explained that female prisoners give birth while in prison custody without adequate provisions and arrangements for the care and development of such children.

The lawmaker lamented that due to insensitivity and dereliction of duty, the Police prosecutors encourage these underage offenders to manipulate their ages during arraignments in courts in the false hope that they would later be released.

Umeh emphasized that the teenagers even opt to be in courts without any legal representation and based on the ill-advice by some over-zealous prosecutors, unaware of the dire consequences.

The lawmaker said keeping infants with their mothers under awaiting trials have numerous consequences ranging from lack of proper upbringing, health hazards and psychological damage to the larger society.

Nigerian Senate Investigates OAU Sex-For-Mark Scandal

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday resolved to probe a sex-for-mark case at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

The institution was enmeshed in a scandal in April after a leaked phone recording exposed a lecturer seeking sex from a female student to pass her in an examination.

In the audio, the lecturer, Richard Akindele, a professor, requested five days of sex from Monica Osagie, a masters student of the institution.

Even though OAU has investigated the case and placed the professor on indefinite suspension, the Senate said more needed to be done to stem the trend.

Presenting a motion on Wednesday, Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti-PDP) harped on the need to investigate the case and growing culture of sexual harassment in Nigerian institutions.

Mrs Olujimi said an investigation by the lawmakers will ensure that the issue is not swept under the carpet like others.

She expressed worry that the case is just one out of many sexual harassment bedevilling Nigerian higher institutions.

“The Senate is further worried that this is just one out of the many cases that have come to limelight within the past decade and it shows that the perversion is spreading across the country, with both the male and female genders as victims, especially in view of the poor prosecution and conviction numbers being turned out.”

She said, “The Senate further notes that on a nearly daily basis our newspapers are awash with reports of rape and other sexual violence; and we must, as the people’s parliament, bring them succour and safety.

“The Senate observes that these acts damage our children in very significant ways. That it also portrays our country in bad light and are alien to both our cultural and religious orientation as a people.”

The Senate mandated its committees on Tertiary Institutions and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to “carry-out a full scale investigation of the case of Monica Osagie and the OAU lecturer in order to ensure that there is transparency and accountability, and that satisfactory justice is done to the victim involved and our laws are further strengthened for effectiveness.”

It also urged the House of Representatives to move quickly to concur with the Senate bill on Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) bill, which has been transmitted to the House as this will provide succour and a window of solace for victims of this kind of atrocities across the country in higher institutions of learning.

The lawmakers rejected a prayer to invite the OAU authorities to explain the steps they had taken so far, on the argument that it would be handled by the committees.

Senate Dares Jega To Name Bribe Seeking Lawmakers

The Nigerian Senate has dared a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, to mention the names of committee chairmen who seek bribe at the National Assembly.

The call followed a point of order raised by Isa Misau (APC, Bauchi Central). He had stood up to express disappointment at the comments of the former INEC boss.

Mr Jega on Monday accused federal lawmakers of seeking bribes to carry out their constitutional duties.

He said chairmen of committees in the National Assembly were more notorious for bribe taking antics.

He made the accusation while delivering the year’s Democracy Day lecture at a gathering in Abuja.

Those at the event included President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Mr Jega said he had “spoken to quite a number of chief executives who complained of high demand for bribes from members of the National Assembly in the name of so-called oversight functions.

“Some chairmen of committees at the National Assembly are notorious for seeking for bribes,” he said.

Coming under order 43, Mr Misau described Mr Jega’s comments as unfortunate. He said the statement is very weighty because “the programme was televised live.”

“The thing they need to understand is that these live programmes are watched around the world. And at the time he made that statement, I am a member of ECOWAS parliament and I after the lecture, I went to the parliament. Most of the parliamentarians, this was the question they were asking me, that what the Professor said, is it true or not?

He further dared the former INEC boss to name the committee chairmen who sought bribes.

“I feel that not only Professor Jega but anybody that would make statements concerning the credibility of this Senate and the chairmen, I think you should be bold enough to mention the committee chairmen, especially when it is about fighting corruption in Nigeria.

“If we really want to fight corruption and want to help the government, he would not be making such statements without mentioning the committee chairmen and those who gave him that sort of information. I felt embarrassed. We need the professor to throw more light on what he made,” he said.

Reacting to this, Mr Saraki, said he was “highly embarrassed” by Mr Jega’s statement as he too was at the programme.

He said everyone is committed to fighting corruption and Mr Jega’s comment does not help the fight against corruption.

“It is a slight to the integrity of some of us, where such a statement is made. If he has those kinds of evidences, he should bring it forward. Because to say that, is to suggest that every member of the National Assembly is part of this; even those who are not part of this are condoling this action which is far from the truth.

“I think the professor who is respected should come out and mention these kinds of members he is aware of. If he can’t come out and name them then he should not make such branding statements.

“Going forward to all distinguished and respected Nigerians, in issues that have to do with the institutions and a parliament, if there are cases like this, we have always said that we are not going to cover up for anybody and future accusations, they should name them and see what the institution would do in trying to ensure that the necessary sanctions are taken,” Mr Saraki said.

Investigation Of Senate Mace Theft Might Take 10 Years – Police

The National Assembly panel, probing invasion of the Senate yesterday decried delay in completion of police investigation on the matter, over a month after the incident.

The joint committee of Senate and House co-chaired by Senator Bala Ibn Na-Allah (APC, Kebbi) and Rep Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) made the position known, when the commissioner of police in charge of IG monitoring unit, Abu Sani appeared before the panel.

Suspected thugs numbering five had on April 18, this year invaded the Senate and carted away with the Mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate.

Sani had told the committee that the investigation into the matter was inconclusive and assured the panel that they were working to get to the root of the matter.

He said the suspects arrested in connection with the matter have denied their involvement.

“The CCTV that was supposed to capture what happened from outside to inside the chamber was not functional. That would have assisted in puncturing the denial of the suspects,” he said.

He said the internal security of the hallowed chamber that was left in the hands of the Sergeant at arms compounded the matter.

He said the Sergeant at arms (National Assembly) relied on GSM to communicate rather than radio when the thugs struck.

The police commissioner said they were still trying to establish the link between the suspects in their custody and those that carted away with the Mace. He presented an interim report of the police to the panel.

Our correspondent reports that when Rep Apiafi expressed reservation over the delay in the completion of the investigation, Sani said it could take up to 10years. She replied by saying it could even be 30 years.

In his submission, Na’Allah said the police was not adhering to rule of law in their investigation, “Otherwise the suspects would have been charged to court through FIR (First Information Report).”

Daily Post 

Security Chiefs Appear Before Senate Over Arms Proliferation

Security chiefs on Wednesday appeared before the Senate over the proliferation of dangerous firearms and spate of killings by terrorists and hoodlums in Nigeria.

Their appearances followed a resolution last week by the Senate as a result of the mass killings across the country.

Heads of security agencies seen at the chambers by DAILY POST, as at the time of filing this report are those of Defense and the Department of State Services, DSS.

Again, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, was represented at the Senate.

Reports say immediately they were allowed into the chambers by the Clerk of the Senate, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki ordered for an executive session.

Senate Vs. IGP, By Dele Agekameh

A tug of war currently ensues between two disreputable ‘opponents’ on the national stage. On one end is the Senate, puffed by ego and shameless self-importance, and on the other end is the incompetent head of an under-performing police force haunted by the shadows of his many misadventures. The bone of contention is something as trifling as an invitation, a mere formality in today’s government. The casualties of this clash of egos have been the rule of law and simple logic, but there’s no telling what more may fall in this absurd wrangling.

Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), had earlier generated controversy late in 2017 when he reluctantly appeared before the Senate with his lawyer and a written statement, refusing to speak with the senators on that occasion. This time, he has sent a deputy and the Senate is not buying it. Even with all the cries within the Senate about the IGP’s flouting of the rule of law that has now led to him being labelled an “enemy of democracy”, the upper legislative house continues to expose the limits of its powers, thereby showcasing a characteristic lack of understanding of its own functions.

In the purely legal consideration of this issue, a key provision of the federal Constitution is vital. Section 88(1) of the Constitution grants both legislative houses the power to direct investigation into “(a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and (b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for – (i) executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly, and (ii) disbursing or administering monies appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly”.

A lone reading of this provision would give legitimacy to the decision of the Senate to issue indiscriminate invitations to any member or part of the government or civil service without qualification, so far as some Act of the National Assembly covers the duties and functions of that person or department. However, as is common with laws, there is an important caveat inputted in the Constitution which serves as a qualification of what would have ordinarily stood as wide powers of summons and investigation that the Senate now claims to have.

Section 88 (2) of the Constitution provides that the National Assembly’s powers under Section 88(1) are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to “(a) make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and (b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement and administration of funds appropriated by it”.

As far as is evident in this case, the lawmakers are interested in general queries about the security situation in the country and a very specific enquiry about a judicial matter concerning the prosecution of Mr. Melaye, a member of the house, which is beyond the purview of their powers and adds or removes nothing to any extant laws made by the National Assembly.

A joint reading of the two provisions provides clearer insight into the intention of the draftsmen of the Constitution. Section 88(2) effectively ties the National Assembly’s power of summons and investigation to matters relating to the creation, amendment or administration of laws, which is the primary objective of the legislative houses. No part of the provisions permits the National Assembly to roam from its primary duty. It stands to reason then that in extending an invitation to any person based on constitutionally provided power, as has been reproduced here, the lawmakers ought to properly tie that invitation to specific laws whose mal-administration or inadequacies have occasioned such an invitation. As far as is evident in this case, the lawmakers are interested in general queries about the security situation in the country and a very specific enquiry about a judicial matter concerning the prosecution of Mr. Melaye, a member of the house, which is beyond the purview of their powers and adds or removes nothing to any extant laws made by the National Assembly.

In the widest consideration of the power of the Senate to summon the IGP in this case, Section 88 (2) (b) may be argued as providing enough ground to summon the IGP, particularly to expose “inefficiency” in police duties across the country. However, this would be likened to a performance review by the Senate of an appointee of the president. In the most robust political systems, this will not be unheard of, especially when there are present problems facing the country. The problem here is that, an invitation coming after a somewhat vindictive arrest of one of the senators already suggests suspicious motives.

The fact that the IGP needs a performance appraisal and needs to answer queries about his handling of the police force since he took control is immutable. His watch has been spotted with incompetence and a similar lack of understanding of his role. The police force has made little to no input in fighting the myriad security concerns currently facing the country, choosing instead to dabble in local politics and pacifying its puppeteers. The IGP’s ego has increased too, in all the time he has been able to keep his job while delivering little – he has threatened to withdraw police protection of lawmakers and other VIPs in the past, no doubt for a selfish end.

In any case, the controversy about the IGP’s invitation by the Senate underscores the politics of ignorance and ego that has plagued the country in all these years. If government functionaries cannot separate matters of pure politics from logical and effective governance, then we are bound to go around in circles for the foreseeable future.

The police force is in serious need of reform or at least a shakedown of leadership, but the Senate is not exerting pressure where it ought to be exerted. The president alone has the power of removal of the IGP and this includes the power to launch any serious query of the IGP.

On the one hand, the Senate could have received the IGP’s representative if their true motive was to gather information about the security situation in the country. On the other hand, the IGP need not have been so dismissive of the Senate invitation, if for nothing else, but to show respect for the Nigerian people and his duty to them. That we have to witness this back and forth by the Senate and the IGP while the country is burning is unacceptable. The IGP clearly is in the wrong job, but sadly, the members of the Senate may be too.

Right now, there is no right side in the ensuing duel. Both parties are wrong in their decision-making on this issue, and they have been wrong about a great number of things even before this present drama. What is more, the only authority that may perhaps have the power to end the useless debacle and restore some sanity has been characteristically silent. Such silence emboldens the likes of IGP Idris in their wrongdoing and almost legitimises every misstep made.

The police force is in serious need of reform or at least a shakedown of leadership, but the Senate is not exerting pressure where it ought to be exerted. The president alone has the power of removal of the IGP and this includes the power to launch any serious query of the IGP. The senators ought instead to contemplate laws that will make it easier to exert this pressure rather than chasing shadows by inviting every government appointee that crosses them the wrong way. The poor politics of the National Assembly members has led to continued humiliation of the house through the continuance of people like Ibrahim Magu in their positions. It appears that the lawmakers are yet to learn any lessons from past occurrences.

For lawmakers, Nigeria’s legislators are very ignorant of the law and its purposes. Perhaps the people should think of electing more legally astute lawmakers and less of career politicians, whose self-interest is their major driving force. The Senate is presently populated by ex-governors and indeed is headed by one. This may be why the Senate tends to step out of its core function of law-making. As for the IGP, his lack of respect for his duty as the top police officer in the country may best be handled by relieving him of the burden of that duty. Either ways, there is food for thought for the president and the electorate in the ensuing drama

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Senate Appeals Omo-Agege’s Suspension Nullification

The Senate has appealed the nullification of the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Senate and the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki who is the second defendant in the case also filed for a stay of execution of the nullification of the suspension.

According to the upper legislative chamber, the Senate and the Senate President have promptly filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for Stay of Execution of the same Judgement on the 10th of May 2018.

Earlier on Thursday, the Federal High Court in Abuja nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and declared it illegal. The court however also ruled that the Senate had the power to punish its members.

The senator representing All Progressives Congress in Delta State was suspended by the Senate because he openly criticised the amendment of election sequence carried out by the Senate.

Omo-Agege had accused the Senate of targetting President Muhammadu Buhari with the Electoral Act Amendment, especially that aspect that deals with the modification of election sequence.

Omo-Agege who was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions fr investigations of comments attributed to him, sued the Senate asking the court to stop the committee from investigating him.

Following the suit, the committee recommended that the senator be suspended and he was therefore suspended for 90 legislative days.


Senate Can’t Summon IG, Says Falana

Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has said the Senate got it wrong when it asked the President, or the Inspector General of Police to appear before it.

He said this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday.

Falana quoted sections of the Constitution to explain that the President or the governor of a state cannot be summoned by the National Assembly.

He said, “There is no such power given to NASS by the Constitution to summon everybody.

“It has given the President the discretion to address the National Assembly either jointly or separately on any matter of national importance.”

“The Senate didn’t get it right this time around. By virtue of Section 67 of the Constitution, the National Assembly or either chamber can summon a Minister when the affairs of his or her ministries are under consideration.

“The only other occasion where a public officer can be summoned by the National Assembly is when proceedings are ongoing to expose corruption (Section 88) and when a law is being debated either with a view to amending it or to have a new law entirely.”

However, the senior advocate stated that the lawmakers can fix areas of the Constitution perceived as weak, rather than going beyond its limits as such actions can subject the institution to ridicule.

Credit: Channels tv

You Are An Enemy Of Democracy – Senate Tells IGP

The Nigerian Senate has declared Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, an ‘enemy of democracy,’ who is not fit to hold public office in Nigeria and abroad.

The decision of the Senate was announced by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after a closed-door session on Wednesday.

The Senate had entered the closed-door session following Mr Idris’ refusal to honour an invitation to appear before the Senate a third time.

The closed session which started in at 12:24 p.m. lasted for about 50 minutes.

On return to plenary, Mr Saraki announced the decision of his colleagues.

“The Senate in a closed session deliberated on the non-appearance of the IGP to the senate to the plenary after a series of invitation. The Senate noted that this has been a gross disrespect to our constituted authority and to also know that his earlier refusal to appear before investigative committee was overruled by competent court of jurisdiction just in April this year.

“The Senate therefore views this persistent refusal is a great danger to our democracy and hence the Senate resolved to declare IGP as an enemy of democracy and not fit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria. The leader of the Senate would also mandate to look into the matter for further necessary action,” Mr Saraki said.

Mr Idris was summoned by the Senate to answer questions on the arrest of a lawmaker, Dino Melaye, and killings across the country.

Saraki Inaugurates Panel To Probe Invasion Of Chamber

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Tuesday inaugurated a joint Senate and House of Representatives committee to investigate the April 18 invasion of Senate Chamber.

Members of the committee, including Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senators Abu Ibrahim, John Owan Enoh, Shehu Sani, Samuel Anyanwu Suleiman Hunkuyi, Baba Kaka Garbai, and Binta Garba, will chaired by Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

Saraki said that the Senate Ad Hoc Committee was inaugurated to investigate the Incident of the Senate chamber invasion on Wednesday the 18th of April 2018.

He noted that the events of the 18th of April 2018 will go down as “one of the darkest days of our democracy.”

He said,” The precincts of the National Assembly is not just a place where the National Assembly meets, it is the symbol of our liberty and freedom from autocracy and the base of our democracy.

“This should not happen. It should never have happened. The violation of this solemn place, the symbol of our liberty to have a government by the representatives of our people for our people by a group of mobsters and criminals cannot simply be ignored. It has been inferred in many quarters that this group of thugs and urchins were led by a serving distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is most despicable and unspeakable.

“It is clear and remains the duty of the legislature when faced with behaviours that undermine its fundamental integrity like this one that the legislature acts to restore the integrity of the institution. We owe it as a duty not only to this present National Assembly but also those to precede it, that the legislative process is purged of this dirt and the legislature restored to its full place of dignity.

“This is a duty that must be achieved. We cannot let a precedence proceed from this. Everyone involved from conception to execution of this heinous crime must be brought to book.

“This committee, therefore must see its charge as pivotal to the restoration of the sanctity, the preservation of the dignity of the National Assembly and the restoration of the security, integrity and moral authority of the National Assembly.

“To the Committee, I make this charge to be thorough, fair and courageous in the discharge of this assignment.

“The Senate has deliberately considered your pedigree for this assignment, knowing fully well the enormity of the job ahead. You have been chosen also because we have a great task ahead, to think outside of the box to take lawmaking back to the people through creative interventions.

“This Senate looks up to you to do the nation proud. This Senate has confidence that you will discharge your duties with responsibility and probity.

“May I use this opportunity to commend the Clerk of the National Assembly, National Assembly Management and distinguished senators who have worked to ensure that this inauguration is achieved. I wish the committee success.”

Again, Senate Summons IG, Security Chiefs Over Insecurity

For the third time in two weeks, the Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police (IG) , Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to appear before it over the rising insecurity in different parts of the country.
The Senate also summoned security chiefs over the proliferation of arms, which it said is aiding criminality.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, while speaking on the security situation in the country at plenary Tuesday, said Idris is expected to appear on Wednesday.
Idris is also expected to brief the lawmakers on the maltreatment of Senator Dino Melaye, who was arrested and arraigned by the police at the Federal High Court Abuja, and at the Magistrate’s Court in Lokoja.
The IG on two occasions had shunned Senate’s summons, and sent the Deputy Inspector General of Operation, Mr. Habila Joshack, to represent him.
The senators had however refused to admit Joshack into the chambers.