The House of Representatives, on August 19, suspended all investigations, public hearings, and committee meetings as well as activities of standing and ad hoc committees until September in order to observe its annual recess.
However, Hon. Gbillah said the suspension of committee meetings would negatively impact on the work of Committees, especially those investigating corruption and impropriety within the Executive.
“It will impair the investigations significantly,” he said. “We are still in the realm of allegations and speculations, but when a three-week break has been allowed, compromises can be made; people can be appealed to, offers, overtures can be made to those carrying out those investigations. This is Nigeria.”
However, federal lawmaker, Akin Alabi, who also appeared on Sunrise Daily, rubbished Gbillah’s allegations as “purely politics.”
While Gbillah is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alabi Egbeda/Ona-Ara Federal Constituency under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress.
On Saturday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticised the leadership of the House of Representatives for frustrating the ongoing investigation of some government officials by going on a recess.
Powers of the Speaker
Hon. Gbillah started his faulting of the recess on Monday by saying the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has no power to suspend the work of a House Committee.
“There are no provisions in our law that give the Speaker that power to suspend the work of a committee,” he said.
“People have complied with it in the spirit of oneness and progress, but it is not out of place for those who espouse the rule of law to question that decision.
“The Speaker is given the power, in consultation with the principal officers, to remove Chairmen. Obviously, some Chairmen will be cautious in going against the order.”
Hon. Alabi disagreed with his colleague’s remarks.
“That’s false,” he said. “It is the tradition of the house not to have Committee meetings during the recess. And that is what’s obtainable in Congresses all over the world.
“The wisest thing is to pause. We will get back to the House in a couple of weeks, in September. Everybody knew the day of recess for about a month before we went on recess.
However, Hon. Gbillah maintained there was no law giving such powers to the Speaker.
“It is the first time in the history of the National Assembly that I am aware of as a ranking member that, by fiat, the leadership of the House is stopping the statutory activities of Committees,” Gbillah said. “And these activities are backed by a resolution of the House.
“And I personally believe that for any action to rescind the activities of those committees to be tenable, it should come by a resolution of the same House, not by fiat.”
Hon. Alabi noted that there was no need for a special law for the Speaker to be able to suspend a Committee.
“If the Committee Chairman has the power to put a committee on recess, the Speaker, who is the Chairman of all Committees in the House definitely has the power to order all committees on recess.”
House Committees have been at the centre of recent open questioning of public officials, including Federal Ministers.
Last week, in a televised public hearing, Minister of Transporation, Rotimi Amaechi, engaged in heated conversations over details of Nigeria’s financial engagements with the Chinese government.
A House Committee has also been in the middle of investigating financial misappropriation at the Niger-Delta Development Commission.
Hon. Gbillah on Monday suggested that suspending the work of committees could have been motivated by ulterior motives.
“This is a defining moment in the history of this ninth assembly, considering the altercations that the committees, especially of the House of Representatives, have been having with the Executive,” he said.
“This obviously has given credence to the allusions by Nigerians that this is a lame-duck legislature. It now behooves on the leadership to show that it is not a lame-duck leadership.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Alabi insisted that the Speaker has the power to set up committees, dissolve them, or pause their activities.
“There is no need for a special law to say that the Speaker has the power to pause their activities,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be stated in toto.
“This is pure politics. People are trying to destabilise the sanity of the House.
BREAKING: IGP Recommends Suspension of DCP Abba Kyari Over FBI Indictment
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari, the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), from the Service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the outcome of an ongoing internal investigations touching on him.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer on Saturday.
According to Mba, the IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission, dated 31st July, 2021, noted that the recommendation for the suspension of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force.
The IGP further noted that the suspension is also expected to create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel to carry out its investigations into the weighty allegations against DCP Abba Kyari without interference. The suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, the statement said.
The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four (4) Senior Police Officers, is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID).
The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force Leadership on the matter.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the Force to the rule of law and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.
Rice : WACOT Announces Major Investment in Kebbi State
The West African Cotton Company (WACOT), on Friday unfolded new investments in Kebbi State, just as the firm has been given a pat on the back for being part of the socio – economic development drive of the state and Nigeria in general .
This is according to a press statement signed by Sarki Yahaya, Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State Governor
The new investments include the second phase of the mega rice mill at Argungu, where the first phase of the large scale rice mill was established five years ago .
The second phase of the rice mill, is a multi million dollars new investment by WACOT in Kebbi State, which according to the Chairman, the current installed capacity is 120,000 metric tonnes and they are operating at 95 percent of capacity. The new investment shall double the capacity to 240,000 metric tonnes making it about the largest in Africa.
The Chairman of the firm, Alhaji Farouk Gumel disclosed this in Argungu , when the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Managing Director of First Bank Nig Plc, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun visited the company .
According to the Chairman, the firm will continue to invest and expand as they strongly believe in the robust economic policies of the state and federal governments.
He said that , the funding for the second phase of the rice mill has been secured from First Bank.
The WACOT Boss described the bank as an active partner of the company , saying ,” this is beneficial to us , Kebbi and Nigeria .”
He said that the delegation of the bank was visiting to see for themselves the dividends of hard work performed by the company.
” They are also here to appreciate the strategic importance they have given to agriculture, ” he explained .
The Chairman further acknowledged the tremendous support the firm was getting from the administration of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu since its inception.
Also while answering Reporters’ questions, Bagudu expressed delight that Nigeria was now an investments hub and investments destination of choice globally.
According to the Kebbi State Governor, the plausible and beautiful policies of the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari were handsomely yielding fruits .
Bagudu added that , sequel to this happy development, no fewer than fourty seven new large scale rice mills had sprang up across Nigeria .
The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum further noted that , the good omen had positively impacted the state .
According to him, rice yields in the State and the nation had been bolstered , while rice production also shored up.
Bagudu expressed happiness that , more Nigerians were believing in Buhari by engaging in agriculture, especially rice production and eating what they produced.
‘ The mantra of President Muhammad Buhari, let us grow what we eat is working’, he averred.
Similarly, Bagudu stated that , other neighbouring African countries like Benin and Niger republics were now keying into Nigeria’s rice revolution .
Bagudu averred that, history will not forget the enormous contributions of the WACOT Rice Mill to Kebbi and NIgeria,especially the execution of Corporate Social Responsibility projects .
He said ,” the key to national emancipation is in more production and this is part of the laudable federal government policies aim to achieve .”
He also commended the CBN for its financial response to the Agriculture sector as well as the First Bank for supporting WACOT to expand its capacity.
The Managing Director of First Bank, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun expressed delight that , their partnership with WACOT was paying off as the firm has progressed steadily.
He noted that Nigeria was now happily a major rice producer as against her previous position of being a major rice importer .
According to him, Nigerians should give themselves enough credit as a country , noting that , great strides had been achieved in spite of the initial pessimism.
He assured that , first bank will remain very close to the company and Kebbi State.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu who is also the Chairman Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production in Nigeria is the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council has earlier held a meeting with officials of WACOT Rice led by the Chairman of the company, Alhaji Farouk Gumel and the officials of First Bank,led by the Managing Director of the Bank, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun.
The governor accompanied by the officials of WACOT and First Bank Nigeria Limited went round to inspect the edifice.
Tension as Benin Republic Plots Igboho’s Deportation to Nigeria
There are strong indications that Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, may be deported to Nigeria.
Upon his deportation, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force would arrest him, a security source disclosed.
However, the activist’s lawyers have kicked against the move, saying that it was against international law.
Sources in Benin Republic disclosed on Thursday that Benin Republic was not ready to engage in a diplomatic crisis with Nigeria.
One of the sources, who works with Benin’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau, confirmed that charges against Igboho were punishable by deportation, fines, or imprisonment.
The security official revealed that “Our intelligence gathering showed that it is unhealthy to jail Igboho here (Benin Republic).”
The senior NCB officer added, “Yes, he was detained for fresh charges. While he was initially in the Brigade Criminelle facility, he made useful confessions. His lawyers also know that he is guilty of irregular migration.”
Another official said, “The least punishment Igboho can be given is to be deported to the country he came from (Nigeria) if found guilty. The Nigerian authorities can take over from there if they wish.”
An official of the Department of State Services confirmed to our correspondent that “Yes, he is wanted. We have the mandate to arrest him if he steps into Nigeria. That is not hidden.”
When contacted, counsels for Igboho warned Benin Republic against deporting the activist, stating that was dangerous and against international law.
One of the activist’s lawyers said he was aware that the FG is putting pressure on Benin Republic “through the backdoor to deport Igboho at a time that will only be known between the security operatives of the two countries.”
However, Pelumi Olajengbesi, a Nigerian-based counsel for Igboho, said the plan would fail.
He said, “I am aware that the Federal Government through the former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai is making effort to get him deported. We can say that clearly.
“So far, the facts available before the court have nothing to do with the Nigerian government.
“We have nothing to worry about because the Benin Republic government has shown that it will operate within the precinct of the law. For us, we believe that Igboho is a criminal of conscience who has taken an effort to liberate his people.”
Also, Olasupo Ojo, the Coordinating counsel for Igboho, warned that deporting Igboho for Nigeria to arrest him was against international law.
“It is illegal under international law to send back somebody who escaped to save his life. You cannot send him to a country where there is ample evidence that his life is at stake, endangered. It will bounce back heavily on Benin Republic if they do that,” he said.
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