LIFE This Week: Samoa, return of fuel queues to engage NASS 

Elizabeth AtimeJuly 9, 20247 min

It’s a new plenary week at the National Assembly, and our Legislative Intelligence Forecast Entry (LİFE) highlights pivotal issues citizens expect the parliament to address.

This week, the National Assembly is set to embark on deliberations concerning several pressing national issues that mirror the nation’s diverse political, cultural, and socio-economic landscape. As citizens’ representatives at the national level, lawmakers are expected to tackle issues ranging from insecurity to national grid collapse, LGBTQ controversies, and alleged corruption in the ministry of women affairs, and the lingering fuel queues, which have continued to pop up in parliamentary debates under the current government.

Return of fuel queues… 

Fresh fuel queues have emerged in Abuja and other parts of the country, including Nasarawa, Niger, and Lagos states, thereby causing panic buying. This situation will further subject Nigerians to hardship. Independent market dealers have disclosed that their retail outlets have been unable to access petrol due to the hike in the ex-depot price of the commodity to N710/litre by private depot owners. It is expected that the National Assembly will delve into this issue and bring an end to this lingering challenge. 

Fourth national power grid collapse in 2024…

The national grid collapsed for the fourth time in 2024, leading to widespread power outages nationwide. Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) spokesperson, Ndidi Mbah, described the collapse as partial and was suspected to have been triggered by the unexpected tripping of three units of a power-generating station. She said the tripping suddenly removed 313MW from the grid, causing system instability that led to the loss of bulk supply to a section of the national grid. These continuous collapses have not only disrupted daily life and economic activities but have also highlighted the fragility of Nigeria’s power infrastructure. At plenary this week, the lawmakers will be expected to repeat their call for a comprehensive overhaul of the power infrastructure, demand increased investment in renewable energy sources, and more robust regulatory oversight to prevent future occurrences.

Lingering insecurity situation… 

The lingering security crisis in the country will continue to come up for debate in the National Assembly as far as banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other forms of insecurity have not been nipped. Over the weekend, a former leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Takai Shamang, was abducted in his hometown, Biniki, in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna state. In a related development, the Kaduna State Police Command also confirmed the abduction of two journalists and their family members. Just last week, two suicide bombers exploded themselves in Ghewas in a case of a suicide bomb in Borno State that left over 20 people dead and several others injured. 

Ripples of the Samoa agreement and Nigeria’s anti-same-sex marriage law…

Enforcement of Anti LGBTQ+ Laws Across Africa

The simmering controversy over the Samoa Agreement may come up in the National Assembly this week as there is widespread conversations that the pact may have controverted the country’s Same-Sex Marriage Act 2014. The Samoa Agreement is focused on economic development, security, environment, migration, mobility, human rights, inclusion, sexual reproductive rights, and climate change. Other areas included investment opportunities, sustainable development and mutually beneficial cooperation. Although the federal government has clarified that the agreemnet does not contradict the law and the media outfit that raised the alarm has retracted, the confusion caused by the issues especially among religious circles, may prompt the National Assembly to wade into the matter.

President Tinubu’s re-election as chairman of ECOWAS…

In its usual manner, the National Assembly is expected to congratulate President Bola Tinubu, who has been re-elected for another one-year tenure as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of States and Government. Tinubu, whose first tenure is to expire on July 9, 2024, was elected by a unanimous decision of fellow Heads of Government at the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority held at the State House, Abuja, on Sunday for another year.

Minister of women affairs to defend N1.5bn alleged diversion…  

Last week, the House of Representatives summoned the women affairs minister to appear unfailingly on Tuesday to provide detailed expenditure reports on N1.5 bn for the payment of contractors in the ministry. The summon followed a petition by ministry contractors to the House of Representatives over the non-payment of contracts executed.  The unabating rate of corruption in public finance demands the urgent attention of the parliament, thus this probe will be of keen interest to the nation. 

Food scarcity and hike in commodity prices… 

It is also expected that food scarcity will continue to stir up debate in the parliament, considering that not much has been done to boost agriculture in the country and the issue of herdsmen/farmers clashes has yet to be tackled. While the First Lady has tried to encourage home gardening, the public reaction has been that the move needs to address the hike in food and commodities. This is because the federal government’s removal of furel subsidies and commodity prices has risen dramatically, and lawmakers are likely to introduce motions that will alleviate the hardships experienced by Nigerians. 

Another supplementary budget…

President Tinubu is likely to transmit the 2024 Supplementary Appropriation Act to the National Assembly as has become the norm. New labour wages, continued inflation, the rise and fall of foreign exchange rates, emergency disasters (floods), and low revenue generation are likely reasons for the anticipated supplementary budget. This is following the Senate and House of Representatives’ decision to extend the life cycle of the 2023 supplementary budget from June 30 to December 31, 2024.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: OrderPaper’s Legislative Intelligence Forecast Entry (LIFE) is an exclusive weekly service that is speially curated to advise decision-making by public and private entities with respect to the legal-regulatory environment of Nigeria. Contact us on editor@orderpaper.ng for more information and how to request tailor-made and sector-specific legislative intelligence for your business or other public-related activity.

Elizabeth Atime

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