President Muhammadu Buhari has submitted the 2019/2020 budget estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Senate for consideration and approval. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read the letter accompanying the budget estimates at the plenary.
The letter states: “In pursuant to Section 18 Sub Section (1) of the NDDC establishment Act, I forward herewith, the 2019/2020 budget estimates of NDDC for your kind consideration and passage by the senate’’. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia), however, raised a point of order 43 on the proposed NDDC budget.
He said what the presentation meant was that the budget would go to the relevant committees on Appropriation and NDDC, while some persons would come to defend the budget. Abaribe said that the Senate had confirmed members of the board of the NDDC but they had yet to assume office. He said there was the tendency for the budget to be delayed since nobody would come to defend it. “Having confirmed the board, the Senate should not entertain any illegal contraction coming to represent the NDDC. “If we act fast, we will prevent disaster from coming and prevent delayed budget for NDDC that is involved in the development of the Niger Delta region,’’ he said. Lawan, who sustained the order raised by Abaribe said that the Senate was receiving the 2020 budget of NDDC at the right time for the first time. He said that the next thing by law was for the appointment of the board members to take immediate effect, so that they could defend the budget. The senate also at the plenary considered the presentation and first reading of 12 bills. The bills are Protection of Personal Information Bill, 2019 sponsored by Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra), Erosion Control and Prevention Commission Establishment Bill, 2019 by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP Anambra). Others are Constitution of the Federal University of Nigeria 1999 Alteration Bill, 2019 sponsored by Sen. Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue), North West Development Commission Establishment Bill, 2019 sponsored by Sen. Barau Jibril (APC Kano) and Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, 2019, by Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti), among others. The senate also considered for second reading four bills, including Bill for an Act to establish Federal University of Gashua to make comprehensive provision for its due management and administration. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya (APC Kebbi), was later referred to the Committee on Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFund) and Tertiary Institution for further legislative input and report back in four weeks. Also considered was a bill for an act to establish a federal university in Wukari to make comprehensive provision for its due management and administration. The bill sponsored by Sen. Bwacha Emmanuel (PDP Taraba) was also referred to Committee on TETFUND and Tertiary Institution and to report back in four weeks. Others are bill to amend Criminal Code Act CAP C38 LFN 2004 to increase punishment for kidnapping and rape sponsored by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos) and Bill to address issues relating to Land Drainage and Flood Control by Sen. Musa Sani ( APC Niger). (NAN)