… Senate President inaugurates 69 standing committees

By Henry Umoru, Abuja

The PRESIDENT of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan,  said on Wednesday the upper legislative chamber would ensure the full passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of 2020.
He stressed that the Senate expects the total cooperation of the executive in the bid to push the PIB through the legislative hurdle.
President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan
Lawan yesterday inaugurated the Chairmanship, Deputies and members of the 69 Standing Committees of the Upper Chamber.
In his Inaugural Speech, President of the Senate said that the Senate expects Ministers and head of agencies of government to always honour Invitations whenever they are summoned to appear before Committees and at Plenary.
Lawan said, “Our petroleum industry is almost stagnant and for long needing profound reform. Our oil and gas-related committees are therefore expected to work hard to take the lead in our determination to reform this vital sector. It is the desire, indeed the design of this Senate that, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed before the end of 2020.”
The President of the Senate who reiterated that there was the urgent need to overhaul the security architecture of the country and structure of the nation’s security agencies towards improved efficiency, said, “The security architecture of our country has not achieved the desired results of providing the needed security to our citizens. Our security agencies need better funding and other resources for better performance. 
“As security is a fundamental responsibility of government, no amount of investment is too much. Our security-related committees are therefore challenged to assess and review both the architecture and structure of our security agencies towards improved efficiency.
“Our country is facing the challenges of insecurity, while our largely youthful population is affected by unemployment, among other problems. Fortunately, we are also blessed with abundant agricultural land.
“We are similarly endowed with abundant solid minerals in all parts of our country. The oil and gas resources have remained our major source of revenue.  Distinguished colleagues, our challenges can be appropriately addressed with our rich endowments. What we require therefore is the strategic deployment of those resources.
“We can plan and use our agricultural potentials to achieve not only national food security but also the process for exports. Again, our solid minerals sector is largely untapped and we can exploit those resources through the right policies and supportive legislations.
“We need to also focus on human capital development. It is inevitable that we have to improve government investments in education and health if we want to create the critical mass of workforce for the knowledge-based economy of present times.”
Lawan who inaugurated the Committees collectively as against the past said that the decision was taken to save cost, adding, “This occasion is a departure from previous ways of inaugurating the committees. We have resorted to this in order to save precious time.
“The Senate received the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), this morning( yesterday) As the preparations for the Appropriation 2020 is on top gear, and could be received soon, our committees need to be ready to perform their functions. Time, therefore, is of the essence.
“As I said in my speech on our resumption yesterday, the committees are the engine rooms of our activities. As a result, the effective and efficient performance by our committees is imperative for the success of this Senate.
“Distinguished colleagues, as we set to start our committee activities, the Senate expects the total cooperation of the executive arm of government. The Senate expects the Honourable Ministers and head of agencies of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement requests of our committees.
“Our committees will undertake regular oversights with a view to ensuring that government programmes and projects are properly executed for the benefit of our citizens. We will give the committees all the necessary support to function at the optimum, just as we enjoin them to leave no stone unturned in the bid to execute their mandates. Our target is to achieve the set goals of taking Nigeria to the next level.
“As the committees are the engine rooms of the legislature, so are the MDAs to the executive. This is why there is the need for cooperation, consultation, partnership and synergy between the two arms of government. The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are hereby called upon to harness the opportunity of the existence of the committees in the execution of their mandates. We must have a unity of purpose.
“Distinguished colleagues, as a bicameral legislature, we must work seamlessly and cordially with our counterparts in the House of Representatives. The committees of both chambers need to work together for better legislative outputs.
“The National Assembly has one objective-to make laws for the good governance of our dear country. Let us challenge ourselves to implement our all-important legislative agenda. This task is one of national service, towards progress and development.”

The President of the Senate had on the 30th of July, 2019 before the Senate embarked on long recess which ended on Tuesday, announced the composition of the committees where he named their Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen respectively.

Composition of Chairmanship of the 69 Standing committees as announced then, shows that while the North-West geo-political zone has 16 slots, South West has 13,  North East 11, North Central 10, South-South 10 and South East 9.

Chairmanship of  16  out of the 23 of the standing committees considered to be juicy, were given to APC Senators while their PDP counterparts got the remaining 7.

The Committees are Appropriations to be Chaired by Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North), Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu ( APC Nasarawa West), Interior, Kashim Shetima ( APC Borno Central), Finance, Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West) and Communication, Oluremi Tinubu ( APC Lagos Central).
Others are Petroleum (Downstream) Sabo  Mohammed ( APC Jigawa North West), Marine Transport , Danjuma Goje ( APC Gombe Central), Customs, Excise and Tariff , Francis Alimikhena ( APC,  Edo North), Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters , Bamidele Opeyemi ( APC Ekiti Central ) , Federal Capital Territory , Abubakar Kyari ( APC Borno North ) and Health ( Secondary and Tertiary ) , Ibrahim  Yahaya Oloriegbe ( APC Kwara Central) .
The seven juicy out of the 20 committees allocated to PDP Senators as Chairmen are Petroleum ( Upstream ) to be chaired by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan( Akwa Ibom North-East), Public Accounts , Mathew Urhoghide ( Edo South), Gas Resources , James Manager ( Delta South), Power, Steel and Metallurgy, Gabriel Suswam ( Benue North East), Aviation , Dino Melaye ( Kogi West) , Local and Foreign Debts , Clifford Ordia ( Edo Central) and Sports , Youths and Development , Obinna Ogba ( Ebonyi Central).
Other Chairmen of the committees across party lines are Army, Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South), Airforce , Bala Ibn Na’Allah ( APC Kebbi South), Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes ,  Suleiman Kwari ( APC Kaduna North), Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions,  Uba Sani ( APC Kaduna Central), Capital Market ,  Ibikunle Amosun ( APC Ogun Central ) and Corporation and Integration in Africa and NEPAD ,  Chimaroke Nnamani ( PDP Enugu East ).
Others are , Culture and Tourism ,  Rochas Okorocha ( APC Imo  West),  Defence ,  Aliyu Wamakko ( APC Sokoto North),   Diaspora and NGOs,  Bashiru Ajibola ( APC Osun Central), Drugs and Narcotics ,  Hezekiah Dimka ( APC Plateau Central), Ecology Climate Change ,  Mohammad Gusau ( PDP Zamfara Central), Education (Basic and Secondary) , Ibrahim Geidam ( APC Yobe East),  Employment, Labour and Productivity – Ben Umajumogwu ( APC Imo North), Environment,  Ike Ekweremadu ( PDP Enugu West) and Establishment and Public Service ,  Ibrahim Shekarau ( APC Kano Central).
Others are ,  Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions,  Patrick Akinyelure ( PDP Ondo Central), Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs,   Danjuma Laah ( PDP Kaduna South ),  FERMA , Gershom Bassey ( PDP Cross River South), Foreign Affairs , Mohammed Bulkachuwa ( APC Bauchi North),   Housing , Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North), ICT and Cybercrime,  Yakubu Useni ( APC Kogi Central),  INEC , Kabiru Gaya ( APC Kano South),  Industries,  Adebayo Osinowo ( APC Lagos East), Information and National Communication,  Danladi Sankara ( APC Jigawa North East), Interparliamentary Affairs,  Godiya Akwashiki ( APC Nasarawa South), Land Transport , Abdulfatai Buhari, ( APC Oyo North),  Legislative Compliance , Oriolowo Adeyemi ( APC West), Local Content,  Teslim Folarin ( APC Oyo Central),Media and Public Affairs,  Adedayo Adeyeye ( APC Ekiti South),  National Identity and National Population , Sa’idu Alkali ( APC Gombe North).
Others are ,  National Planning,  Olubunmi Adetunmbi ( APC Ekiti North),  National Security and Intelligence ,  Abdullahi Gobir ( APC Sokoto East),   Navy , George Sekibo ( PDP Rivers East), Niger Delta,  Peter Nwabaoshi ( PDP Delta North), Police affairs,  Dauda Jika ( APC Bauchi Central), Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Program , Lawal Gumau ( APC Bauchi South ) and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases – Chuwkuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North).
Others are , Privatisation , Theodore Orji ( PDP Abia Central), Public Procurement , Shuaibu Lau ( PDP Taraba North), Rules and business , Sadiq Umar ( APC Kwara North),  Science and Technology , Uche Ekwunife ( PDP Anambra Central), Senate Services , Sani Musa ( APC Niger East),  Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy ,  Tanko Almakura ( APC North), State and Local Government ,  Lekan Mustapha,( APC Ogun East),  Special duties ,Yusuf A  Yusuf ( APC Taraba Central), SDGs – Aisha Dahiru ( APC Adamawa Central), Tertiary Institution and TETFUND ,  Ahmed Baba Kaita ( APC Katsina North), Trade and Investment , Rose Oko ( PDP Cross River North) Water Resources – Bello Mandiya ( APC Katsina Central) , Women Affairs and Youth Development,  Betty Apiafi ( PDP Rivers South )  and  Works , Adamu Aliero ( APC Kebbi Central).

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