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Reps Okay State Police Bill For Second Reading

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By Gloria Ikibah
The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, “A bill for an to alter the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of State Police and for related matters. M
This is part of the efforts by the 10th National Assembly toward devolution of powers, which has gained momentum on the floor of the House.
Naijablitznews.com recalled that in the 7th and 8th Assembly the same bill seeking to establish State Police, was thrown out by the then legislature due to party interest by lawmakers; as many had feared that political opponents would use it in their favour.
The bill which is been reintroduce in the 10th Assembly is sponsored by Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, and 14 other lawmakers.
The proposed private members’ bill 18 clauses, seeking to alter Sections 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89, 129, 153, 197, 214, 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), to  transfer Police from the Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent Legislative List, with a view to effectively empower States to have State-controlled policing.
Leading the debate on general principles of the bill on Tuesday at plenary, Rep. Tolani Shagaya, representing IlotinWest/Asa Federal Constituency of Kwara state, decried that Nigeria, a federation of 36 States and Federal Capital Territory, with 774 LGAs, over 250 ethnic nationalities, more than 200 million citizens and a vast terrain spanning over 920,000 square kilometres, sadly still operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men.
“There is no gainsaying that the nation’s security architecture is under immense pressure and always overwhelmed”, he lamented.
According to him, “The bill emerges as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement. It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our States with the means to address issues unique to their localities.
“This proposed alteration represents not just a legal adjustment to our grundnorm, but a visionary leap towards a safer, more secure, and harmonious Nigeria.”
Shagaya explained that the proposed bill seeks to introduce a comprehensive framework to ensure cohesion as well as accountability and uniform standards between the Federal Police and State Police.
“The provision of prescribed rigorous safeguards preventing unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in State Police Affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.
“The establishment of State Police Service Commissions as distinct from the Federal Police Service Commission with clearly defined roles and jurisdictions.
“A re-calibration of the National Police Council to include the Chairmen of the State Police Service Commissions, emphasising the collaborative and consultative nature of policing in our federal system.
“A recognition of the possible financial challenges which may be faced by States Police, by empowering the Federal Government to provide grants or aids subject to the approval of the National Assembly, thus ensuring adequate resources for effective policing, etc”, the lawmaker added.
Contributing to the debate, Rep. Ahmed Jaha, lawmaker representing Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok Federal Constituency of Borno State, described the bill as timely, eve as he argued that security is the responsibility of all the Citizens.
Rep. Jaha stated that with community policing and Nigerian police working in tandem, they will rid our communities of all forms of crime.
Alss speaking in favour of the bill, Chairman House Committee on Defence, Rep. Babajimi Benson, underscored the need to empower the Nigeria Police to license any State that expressed intent and furthermore meet the requirements set by the Police Service Commission.
Rep. Benson also noted that the Nigeria Police may renew the license or otherwise if such a State abused the licence.
He therefore expressed optimism that when put in place, State Police license would reduce unemployment and reduce the burden on recurrent expenditure from the Federal Government.
On his part, Rep. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, lawmaker representing Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers State, supported the bill, even as he lamented that Nigeria has had enough of insecurity.
Rep. Abiante said that establishing State Police is a sure way of guaranteeing security of lives and property amidst current security challenges.
The lawmaker also expressed optimism that the proposed bill when passed into law will cure the tragedy of military decree of 1966, he therefore underscored the need for deliberate efforts toward ensuring that the law is well drafted to meet the security needs of the country.
Rep. Ali Madaki, lawmaker representing Dala Federal Constituency of Kano State, who was a member of the 7th Assembly, confessed to be part of the death of State Police bill in the seventh Assembly, and revealed that the fear was to avert a situation where State Governors will use the State Police for political opponents.
Madaki admitted that the whole country was on fire, and that the bill when passed into law will enable each State to deploy the State Police in such a manner to address their peculiarities.
Rep. Marie Ebikake, lawmaker representing Brass/Nembe Federal Constituency of Bayelsa state, supporting the bill, urged lawmakers not to entertain any fears when the bill is passed because the benefits are  overwhelmingly outweighs the disadvantages.
She explained that so many States have security outfits, that could be strengthened and incorporated into the State Police
Also speaking, Rep. Sada Soli, representing Jibia/Kaita Federal Constituency of Katsina State, said that about 21 States including Benue, Taraba States are caught up in the socio-political, ethno-religious crises across the country.
He noted that some of the States clamouring for the establishment of State Police are not economically viable, but he however, acknowledged that State Police is a noble idea, though capital intensive.
Rep. Soli, cited a situation where a State Governor who denied a political opponent from landing at the airport, hence argued that such a Governor is capable of using the State Police for coercion of the opposition.
To this end, he urged the lawmakers to put all issues into perspective before enacting the law.
Rep. Ademorin Kuye, representing Shomolu Federal Constituency of Lagos State, argued that with 400,000 Policemen to 200 million Nigerians, Nigeria is under-policed.
He noted that deployment of a Police officer to a State that he is not familiar with will make him inefficient and ineffective in the course of discharging his duties.
Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Usman Kumo, said there was the need to address some of the grey areas and concerns raised during previous Assemblies.
Rep. Kumo who lamented over the incessant killings across the country, berated Federal Government for failing to provide funding for the ongoing recruitment exercise into the Nigerian Police.
He stressed that the current 400,000 Police workforce is inadequate, and argued that the long stay of military has put Nigerian Police which has the sole responsibility of providing internal security across the country in the background.
He said that there is nothing that stops the Federal Government from declaring state of emergency in the Nigerians police with a view to recruit adequate number of youths into the security agencies.
Also speaking, Rep. Benedict Itanabene, representing Okpe/Saoele/Uvwie Federal Constituency of Delta state called for the establishment of a distinct police structure for over 20 years.
He further noted that mere use of State Police sends wrong signal that Governors will be in control of the State Police.
He therefore urged the House to delete the word ‘State’ from the bill, and called for decentralization of the Federal Police by using Police Command.
In his intervention, the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the plenary urged the lawmakers to put the nation above personal or sentimental gains.
The House unanimously passed the bill and the presiding officer refered the bill to the Special Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution amendment for further legislative action.
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Power Sector: FG To Establish 3 Gigawatts Of Solar Energy in 25 States – Minister

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Power Sector: FG To Establish 3 Gigawatts Of Solar Energy in 25 States – Minister
…say poor funding, insufficient gas supply responsible for power deficit
By Gloria Ikibah
Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, had said that the federal government is working towards the establishment of three gigawatts of solar energy sources across the 25 states in Northern and South Western parts of the country.
According to him, this is a novel approach that will go a long way to solve the power problems, even as he called on state governments to invest in power generation in their states.
The minister stated this at a two-day Power Sector Stakeholders Interactive Dialogue/Workshop organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Power with the theme “Confronting Nigeria’s Power Challenge as the Nation Migrates to a Multi-tier Electricity Market: A Legislative Intervention” on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adelabu who said that hydro energy would be deployed for the coastal cities, also lamented that the country has witnessed incessant collapse of transmission which is caused by lack of adequate infrastructure.
He admitted that most of the infrastructure in the power dates back to the 1960s, with no single backup for the national grid, and called for alternative sources in the situation where there is a collapse of the grid.
The Minister also disclosed that the major factors responsible for the power deficit currently faced by the country is as a result of inadequate financing and insufficient gas supply.
Adelabu who lamented the current state of power supply across the country, however, assured Nigerians of the determination of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to address the challenges and make Nigeria a suitable place for business.
He said “No sector can function optimally without the power sector. Over the years, poor financing, and inadequate gas supply have been responsible for the energy deficit we have in the country. But a lot of work is going on to address these challenges.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the
Chairman, House Committee on Power, Rep. Victor Nwokolo explained that the purpose of the interactive dialogue/workshop was to provide a dynamic platform for stakeholders to evaluate the progress so far in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) development.
He revealed that discussions will centre around the seamless transition to a Multi-Tier Electricity Market, as outlined in the Electricity Act of 2023.
According to him, “his transition, holds immense potential to enhance competition, efficiency, and reliability within the electricity market, ultimately benefitting consumers and driving economic growth”.
He said: “Through collaborative brainstorming and analysis, we aim to chart a clear roadmap for this transition, ensuring that it is smooth, inclusive, and conducive to sustainable development.
“Furthermore, this workshop will serve as a platform for stakeholders to explore innovative solutions to the persistent challenges plaguing the power sector. From infrastructure development and financing to regulatory frameworks and consumer engagement, we will examine a wide array of issues and propose actionable strategies for improvement.
“In addition to these objectives, we aspire for this workshop to foster enhanced collaboration and partnership among stakeholders. By bringing together legislators, representatives from government agencies, regulatory bodies, industry players, academia, and civil society, we aim to cultivate a culture of cooperation and collective action towards our shared goal of a vibrant and resilient power sector”.
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How Yahaya Bello withdrew $720,000 from Kogi account to pay child’s school fees -EFCC Chairman

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By Francesca Hangeior

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, transferred $720,000 from the government’s coffers to a bureau de change before leaving office to pay in advance for his child’s school fee.

Olukoyede revealed this during an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?”

Olukoyede further stated that he personally reached out to Bello, offering him a chance to clarify the situation in a respectful setting within the EFCC office but the ex-governor reportedly declined to cooperate, citing fears of harassment from an unnamed woman.

The EFCC boss added, “I didn’t initiate the case; I inherited the case file. I called for the file, and I said there are issues here.

“On my own, I called him, which I am not supposed to do, just to honour him as an immediate past governor. ‘Sir, there are issues. I’ve seen this case file. Can you just come let us clarify these issues?’

“He said, ‘Ha! Thank you, my brother. I know, but I can’t come. There’s one lady that has surrounded EFCC with over 100 people to come and embarrass me and intimitade me.’

Bello was said to have suggested that the EFCC come to his village rather than conduct an investigation at the agency’s quarters.

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Yahaya Bello Withdrew $720,000 From Kogi Account To Pay Child’s School Fees -EFCC Chairman

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, transferred $720,000 from the government’s coffers to a bureau de change before leaving office to pay in advance for his child’s school fee.

Olukoyede revealed this during an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?”

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