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Diaspora voting bill passes second reading in House of Reps

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Diaspora voting

ask FG to upgrade facilities at teaching hospitals, investigate infrastructural decay at LUTH

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

A bill seeking to accommodate Nigerians living abroad in the electoral and voting processes yesterday passed for a second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill sponsored by the Chairperson of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, and 15 other lawmakers also seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Cap. 23 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The bill seeks to amend section 77 Subsection (2) of the Principal Act to now read ” Every citizen of Nigeria, who has attained the age of eighteen years residing within or outside Nigeria at the time of registration of voters for purposes of election to a Legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.”

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Also, a new Subsection 3 will also be added to read thus “(3) To be eligible to vote in accordance with Subsection 2 above, the citizen of Nigeria must fulfill the following conditions:
i) be at least 18 years old; ii) hold a valid Nigerian International Passport;
(ii) must have lived in Nigeria for a period of at least five (5) years from a minimum age of ten (10) years old”.

Also, the person must be legally resident in the Country of residence for at least 12 months.

Similarly, Section 117 Subsection (2) of the Principal Act will be amended to read “Every citizen of Nigeria, who has attained the age of eighteen years residing within or outside Nigeria at the time of registration of voters for purposes of election to a Legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.”

A new Subsection 3 will also be added to allow citizens to be eligible to vote in accordance with Subsection 2 above, but they must fulfill the following conditions be at least 18 years old and hold a valid Nigerian International Passport.

They must have also lived in Nigeria for a period of at least 5 years from a minimum age of 10 years old, and be legally resident in the Country of residence for at least 12 months.

The bill now awaits public hearing at a date yet to be determined by the relevant Committee of the House.

In a related development, the House urged the federal ministry of health to upgrade all federal university teaching hospitals to international standards.

It also mandated its Committee on Health Institutions to investigate the condition of the facilities and amenities at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and all Federal University Teaching Hospitals in the country, including their budgetary provisions as well as their disbursement.

The resolutions followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Deteriorating Infrastructure, Lack of Basic Amenities and Inhuman Treatment of Patients at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)”, moved by Rep. Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro.

Presenting the motion earlier, Obaniko noted that Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) was established with the sole objective of improving the experience and training of medical staff and to raise the standard of the medical industry in Nigeria

He also noted that in September 2018, the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) a Non–Governmental Organisation drew the attention of the government to the deteriorating conditions of LUTH and other Federal Teaching Hospitals across the country, which include lack of capacity, infrastructure, and basic amenities.

He however expressed worry that the deplorable conditions of federal teaching hospitals across the country could lead to loss of lives and erode the confidence of the people in Nigeria’s healthcare system, thereby instigating Medical tourism and brain drain.

He also alleged that the funds appropriated for the teaching hospitals were not properly monitored, saying they may be directed to other purposes thereby contributing to decay in the health sector.

The motion when put to voice vote was overwhelmingly supported and adopted.

 

Vanguard News Nigeria

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