…says Bill on alternative funding for security agencies underway
By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that constitutional and electoral reforms are currently top on the table of the Green Chamber.
Gbajabiamila said as soon as the House reconvenes from its ongoing recess on September 15, the Special Ad-hoc Committee on constitution amendment would hit the ground running.
Speaking on the topic ‘State of the Nation’ at the ongoing 2020 Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) virtual conference, Gbajabiamila said while government plays its part, the citizens should also do their part in making the country a better place.
Responding to a question on the actions taken by the House to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Speaker said the first thing the House did was to pass the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill which grants moratorium on mortgages and lifts duties on medical equipment.
Other actions taken by the House on COVID-19, the Speaker said, were the donation of two months salary by the 360 members to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the introduction of the Infectious Diseases Bill as well as updating the Legislative Agenda of the House to accommodate current realities.
“The issue of reform or constitutional amendment is on the table of the House of Representatives. We already have a committee in place, and they will start work as soon as we return from our recess on September 15.
“But before then, we have the Police Reform Act amendment Bill. I think it’s now before the president. That will address a lot of issues such as community policing among others.
“For me, the constitutional reform and the electoral reforms are issues we take seriously”, he said.
On funding for security agencies, Gbajabiamila said: “The issue of security is perhaps the most important leg of the three legs that this government came into power. If you look at it, a lot has been done, but that’s not to say that it’s Uhuru, it’s not yet.
“If you look at it, what’s being proposed by the Executive isn’t touched. The defence budget has been what it has been.
“But all over the world, what happens is that you need to look out of the budget to fund the security.
“We have a Bill that will address the issue of defence. It will be given speedy passage and will go to the President for assent. The only way you can fight the Boko Haram is through technology.”
Gbajabiamila also said that those making insinuations about the probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the House were only doing so to distract attention from the main issues, saying Nigerians should be concerned about getting value for the money pumped into the commission.
He said: “Nigeria is great, but unfortunately we haven’t tapped into the greatness. We should use what we have to our advantage. We can achieve our aspirations.
“We need to come together, put our hands, our heads and our minds together to achieve more greatness as a country.”