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Reps Reject Bill Seeking To Regulate CSOs

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A bill seeking to regulate Civil Society Organisations in the country failed to scale second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday as lawmakers vehemently opposed bill.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Abbas Tajudeen seeks to establish a commission to regulate civil society groups in the country for the purpose of “strengthening their capacity to promote democracy and development in the country.

Even though Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila fought to allow the bill scale second reading, majority members who spoke on the bill kicked against its passage, insisting that there are laws existing in the country which already regulate the civil society groups.

Rep. Bamidele Salam who led the opposition to the bill said if enacted into law, the bill will infringe on the fundamental human right of Nigerians as contained in section 40 of the Constitution especially the right to assemble.

He also said that the bill was an attempt to muzzle free speech and impede criticism of government, adding that there was also no need to have multiple agencies carrying out the same functions as the Corporate Affairs Commission is already empowered by law to register and regulate civil society groups.

He said there is already a general feeling by Nigerians that the House is trying to muzzle opposition against government adding that the bill is not one that should be allowed to pass second reading.

Rep Julius Ihonbvere said the democracy being enjoyed in the country today was fought for by civil society groups and that efforts at introducing new bodies to regulate them at this point in time will amount to doing great disservice to the nation.

He said one of the major highlight of the legislative agenda of the 9th House of Representatives was to help strengthen the capacity of CSOs and not to kill them which he said the bill seeks to do.

Also speaking against the bill, Rep. Uzoma Abonta said the content of the bill seeks to limit the right of Nigerians, pointing out that there are laws already regulating CSOs in the country.

Following serious objection to the bill by members, its sponsor, Abbas Tajudeen withdrew it to the admiration of members.

Tajudeen explained that the intention of the bill was not to muzzle CSOs but intended to strengthen their operations, stressing that as a result of the misconception about the bill, he was stepping it down.

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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Nigeria Needs $2.3tn To Address Infrastructure Deficit, Says FG

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the country need $2.3tn to address its national integrated infrastructure masterplan.

He said this in Abuja on Thursday at a town hall meeting themed: ‘Nigeria’s infrastructure revolution: Road to a new future’, organised by Business Hallmark.

According to him, the 23-year masterplan (2020-2043) is for the development of infrastructure including roads, railway network and maritime sector.

The event was chaired by a former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Mustapha said, “Conscious of the economic disruption caused by 2016 recession and COVID-19 as well as challenges of previous reforms, the Federal Government revised the 23 year (2020-2043) national integrated infrastructure masterplan that identified critical enablers.

“For the 23-year period, $2.3tn will be required, translating to about $150bn annually and the private sector and other partners have to provide 56 per cent, while Federal Government and state governments will provide 44 per cent of the share of the investment.

“The Federal Government has made important strides towards providing much of our infrastructure and has, in recent years, conducted several infrastructural reforms.

“Specifically, we are extending and upgrading the nation’s railway network and introducing more locomotive couches. The port sector has been converted to landlocked model and terminal.

“Similarly, Public Private Partnership style infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1tn envisaging to grow over time to N6tn in assets and capital has been established and will soon commence operation.

“It will be one of the premier finance entities in Africa and will be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

“The reduction in Nigeria’s infrastructural gap will also give the country a competitive advantage under the newly signed Africa Free Continental Area Trade Agreement.”

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, deplored the water crises in Nigeria saying no community in the country enjoyed water supply always.

He said, “In 1992, 30 per cent of the Nigerian population was enjoying pipe-borne water and as of 2015, it had dropped to seven per cent.

“In 2015, we were at 68 per cent national coverage for access to water and as of today, we are at 70 per cent and maybe by the time the result for 2021 comes out, we might be at 71 per cent to 72 per cent.

“As for water quality, 90 per cent of water consumed, including water from the boreholes, are contaminated and water is the basic necessity of life.”

Oyegun, in his contribution at the event, said six years going, the performance of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been mixed.

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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