Controversies that rocked tenth N/Meeting in a single yr


By Saawua Terzungwe, Itodo Daniel Sule & Balarabe Alkassim


The tenth Nationwide Meeting clocked one yr final month, however not with out its justifiable share of controversies.

Since its inauguration on June 13, 2023, the tenth Meeting led by the Senate President Godswill Akpabio and the Speaker of the Home of Representatives, Hon. Tajuddeen Abbas, has recorded some controversies. Weekend Belief examines a few of them.


Hasty passage of Nationwide Anthem Invoice

The hasty passage of a invoice by the Nationwide Meeting to return Nigeria to the colonial nationwide anthem, ‘Nigeria we Hail Thee’, was one of many points that triggered controversies and backlash within the nation.

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, composed by the Britons, was Nigeria’s nationwide anthem from independence in 1960 till 1978, when it was changed by a brand new anthem, ‘Come up, O Compatriots.’

The invoice to vary the anthem, which was concurrently launched within the Senate and the Home of Representatives, on Might 23, obtained accelerated consideration and passage.

Whereas the invoice handed for second studying on the Senate, the identical invoice handed by means of first, second and third studying on the ground of the Home of Representatives.

The velocity at which each chambers of the Nationwide Meeting thought-about and handed the invoice at a time Nigerians are going through challenges of rising inflation and insecurity amongst others has continued to generate backlash.

Nigerians are questioning the rationale behind the hasty passage of the invoice, with out subjecting it to public listening to, throughout which numerous stakeholders ought to have made their inputs.


Multi-billion naira SUVs for lawmakers

One other challenge that introduced the tenth Meeting beneath public scrutiny was the alleged buy of multi-billion naira price of automobiles for the lawmakers amidst the {economic} hardship bedeviling Nigerians. It was reported that the SUVs bought for the lawmakers had been valued at N57.6 billion. However like up to now, the tenth Meeting defended its motion, justifying it with the calls for of their oversight capabilities which they stated require rugged automobiles to traverse tough terrains.


Ranches invoice

The Nationwide Ranches Fee Institution Invoice 2024 additionally stirred controversy from totally different quarters with the herders rejecting the invoice.

The invoice, sponsored by Senator Titus Tartenger Zam (APC, Benue North West), is geared toward establishing ranches for herders of their states of origin. It recommends that herders must be relocated to their states of origin. It additionally proposed a five-year jail time period and N50, 000 superb for defaulters. Although the invoice scaled second studying on June 5, 2024, it confronted stiff opposition from Northern senators, together with the Deputy Senate President, Barau  Jibrin, throughout its debate on the ground of the Senate.

Whereas many have seen the invoice as a transfer towards the pastoralists, others together with the sponsor, Senator Zam, are of the view that it will tackle the problem of herders-farmers clashes within the nation. Senator Zam had argued that if enacted, the Nationwide Ranches Fee would oversee the administration, preservation and management of ranches nationwide.


N3.7trn funds padding allegation/Ningi’s suspension

One other controversy that trailed the tenth Nationwide Meeting and significantly, the Senate inside the interval beneath evaluate was the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central) in March, 2024, for a interval of three months.

Senator Ningi had granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Providers, throughout which he alleged that N3.7 trillion within the nationwide funds for the 2024 fiscal yr was not tied to any challenge or location.

The allegation sparked anger amongst a few of the senators and the principal officers of the Senate. Ningi was given the chance to defend his declare on the ground of the Senate, however the law-making physique consequently suspended him for failing to show his allegation.

Many Nigerians expressed displeasure over the scheme of issues on the Nationwide Meeting and referred to as for a probe into the matter. Ningi was, nevertheless, recalled from the suspension earlier than the termination of the three months interval.


Prayers to senators’ mailboxes’

Additionally, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, goofed throughout plenary in August final yr, when he mistakenly revealed that cash had been despatched to senators’ accounts to get pleasure from their recess, forgetting that the continuing was being streamed stay.He began addressing his colleagues earlier than adjournment movement was moved on the finish of the Senate’s ministerial screening.

The Senate president stated, “With a view to allow all of us to get pleasure from our holidays, a token has been despatched to our numerous accounts by the Clerk of the Nationwide Meeting.”

He, nevertheless, withdrew the assertion swiftly, when his colleagues drew his consideration to the truth that he was talking on a stay tv programme.

In his second model of the assertion, Akpabio stated, “With a view to help you get pleasure from your vacation, the senate president has despatched prayers to your mailboxes to help you to go on a secure journey and return.”

There was outrage over Akpabio’s revelation, given the {economic} hardship within the nation. Many additionally thought-about it a humiliation, together with the lawmakers. It was learnt that every of the 109 senators obtained N2 million as vacation allowance.


Job racketeering probe scandal

One other controversy that caught the eye of Nigerians was the allegation towards the Rep. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi-led committee that investigated the Federal Character Fee (FCC), tertiary establishments and different organisations over alleged ‘job racketeering.’

Nonetheless, members of the committee vehemently denied involvement within the act and threatened authorized motion.

Members of the committee had been accused of taking bribe from some establishments, together with vice chancellors of some universities being investigated.

Following this, the committee’s investigation was later taken over by the Home Committee on Federal Character headed by the previous deputy speaker, Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase. The findings of the investigation are nonetheless unknown.


Binance’ $150m bribery allegation

Binance CEO, Richard Teng, had in Might 2024, revealed in a weblog put up revealed by the New York Occasions, that some members of the Home of Representatives investigating their actions within the nation demanded crypto foreign money as bribe from Binance executives previous to their detention  by the Nigerian authorities.

In response to the put up, Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer with the change, claimed to have obtained an unsettling message on a visit to Nigeria in January.

“On a visit to Nigeria in January, Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer for the large crypto foreign money change, Binance, obtained an unsettling message: The corporate had 48 hours to make a fee of roughly $150 million in crypto,” the report stated.Nonetheless, the Home of Representatives denied demanding bribe from Binance. The federal authorities additionally, in its response refuted the allegations of bribery towards the lawmakers, describing it as diversionary.


Push for return to parliamentary system

The transfer by a gaggle of 60 members of the Home of Representatives in February to return Nigeria to a parliamentary system by 2031 triggered debates.

The spokesperson for the group, Abdulsamad Dasuki, at a press convention on the Nationwide Meeting advanced in Abuja, stated the proposed modification of the 1999 Structure would considerably influence the nation’s political panorama.


6-year single time period presidency/ rotational presidency

Equally, the invoice sponsored by a gaggle of 35 members in search of a single time period of six years for the president and state governors’ ignited controversy.

The invoice additionally canvassed the rotation of the presidency among the many six geopolitical zones within the nation. The 35 legislators, beneath the auspices of Reformed-minded Legislators, stated the proposition would result in a discount in the price of governance. Debate on that’s nonetheless ongoing amongst Nigerians.


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