Nigerians remain disenchanted with the progress and the numerous challenges bedevilling Nigeria as it marked its 63rd Independence Anniversary. Nonetheless, the National Assembly commences its legislative activities for the first week of October, poised to address some of these issues.
In keeping up with its mandate of bridging the gap between the people and the parliament, this week’s Legislative Intelligence Forecast Entry (LIFE) Service by Kauthar Anumba Khaleel gives a forecast of actions to be taken this week by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
IN THE GREEN CHAMBER
Notable is insecurity, which remains one of the significant challenges the country faces. The House will, once again, put the safe release of seven abducted prospective Corps members in Zamfara State on the front burner.
Recall that eight members of the NYSC were on Saturday, August 19, abducted on a highway in Zamfara, and the House Committee on Youths met with the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General YD Ahmed, to find out what efforts are being made to secure the release of the Corps members.
During the meeting, the NYSC DG informed the lawmakers that the Scheme had been in contact with the abductors even as it was collaborating with other agencies to ensure a safe return. He also told the Rep. Martins Esin-led committee that three of the corps members had earlier escaped from their abductors.
Also, both chambers will weigh in on other cases of insecurity in parts of the country. These include the rising tension in Ondo Riverine Oil Belts, incessant kidnapping and killing in parts of Enugu, and the worsening insecurity in some areas of Katsina, Zamfara, as well as Nasarawa States, and incessant attacks and killings of security operatives and civilians in Ebonyi State.
Relatedly, the issue of citizen harassment by security personnel on the nation’s highway will be an area members of the House will be looking at again this week even as it considers the report on the Bill for an Act to establish a National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria.
Again, recall that last week’s plenary saw the lawmakers raise concerns over similar issues in the South East geo-political zone.
Mental health hugely impacts the overall quality of one’s life. Considering the current economic situation in the country therefore; how Nigerians navigate their daily lives and combat personal challenges, the attendant effect of these on their mental well-being as well as reports on suicide and attempted suicide, there is a need to bring more awareness to it.
To that end, the House will be seeking the prioritisation of sensitisation as well as implementation of provisions of the Mental Health law to tackle issues of suicide in Nigeria.
In the same vein, the Senate will be looking to address the prevalence of narcotic use and abuse of prescription drugs in the country, which has become a public health challenge.
In the area of employment, the House will again bring the issue of violation of the Federal Character principle in job recruitment by federal government agencies to the fore as it looks into alleged violations by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Federal Fire Service.
On the nation’s economy, particularly revenue remittances, the Senate will be examining the issue of revenue remittances in the oil and gas sector. Recall that a report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), released in September, highlighted critical gaps depriving the nation of significant value from its oil resources, which includes failed remittances, taxes and revenue management.
The report revealed that unremitted revenues by some companies and relevant government agencies in the oil and gas sector in the year 2021 rose to over $9.85 billion, while N200bn was unaccounted for between 2020 and 2021.
In the course of the week, climate change will also be an area before the House as it looks to beam its searchlight on fraudulent deforestation by unregistered foreign forest timber loggers in the country, environmental damages within oil-producing communities, and control issues of gully erosion in Edo State.
Both chambers will equally address other issues related to infrastructure, agriculture, and education in addition to other impromptu issues that may come under matters of public importance.