To accord the necessary legislative approval for the implementation of government policies and programmes in the Federal Capital Territory in the year 2017, the Senate has considered and passed into law the 2017 FCT Appropriation Bill (S.B.550), sponsored by Sen. Dino Melaye (Kogi West). The passage of the legislation followed the presentation of the Bill’s report before the Chamber for consideration by the Senate Committee on FCT.
Accordingly, the Chamber resolved into the Committee of Supply for clause by clause consideration of the Bill. Clauses 1 – 7, short and long titles, schedules and memorandum of understanding of the legislation were approved as recommended or amended. Thereafter, the total sum of N222.360 billion was passed into law as 2017 FCT Budget, out of which N52.574 billion is for personnel cost, N41. 294 billion is for overhead cost and N128. 491 billion is for capital project.
Similarly, the Senate has also considered and approved the $350 million external loan request of Ogun State. The approval was sequel to the presentation of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt’s Report on the request led by Sen. Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central). Afterwards, the loan request was subjected to a voice vote on the floor of the Chamber and it ultimately scaled through and approved. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session urged Ogun State government to make judicious use of the loan for counterpart funding of some selected World Bank projects in the State.
Meanwhile, members of the red chamber have intervened through a Motion titled “The alarming increase in the rate of victims of snake bites due to scarcity of anti-snake venom vaccines”, sponsored by Sen. Joshua Lidani (Gombe South). The law-maker decried the alarming rate of deaths of victims of snake bites especially in the snake belt States of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Plateau due to unavailability of anti-snake venom vaccines.
Sen. Lidani disclosed that within the past three weeks alone, 91 victims have died as a result of inability to get treatment. He added that there are only three snake bite treatment centres established by the Federal Government in the North, namely Kaltungo in Gombe State, Zanko Langtang in Plateau State and Bambur in Taraba State, catering for the numerous victims of snake bites which are highly prevalent in the area. He expressed worry that the Federal Ministry of Health which used to supply the anti-venom vaccines to the three centres has stopped doing so since last year. The Motion sailed through with three prayers below:
i) Urge the Federal Ministry of Health to as a matter of urgency procure sufficient quantity of anti-snake venom vaccines and supply them to the treatment centres at Kaltungo, Langtang and Bambur.
ii) Mandate the Senate Committee on Health to investigate the failure of the Ministry of Health to supply anti-snake venom vaccines to the treatment centres.
iii) Urge the Federal Ministry of Health to initiate step towards the establishment of local production of the anti-snake venom vaccines.
Also, the Senate has equally expressed concern over the death of 26 young Nigerian Migrants recently. The Chamber’s concern was expressed through a Motion titled “The Death of 26 Young Nigerian Girls en-route Italy”, sponsored by Sen. Rose Okoh (Cross River North).
According to Sen. Okoh, the mass exodus of young boys and girls illegally attempting to immigrate to Europe especially to Italy and Spain exposes them to journey through the perilous and hazardous Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea which has led to the death of several of them almost every week. She added that as at May, 2017 it was reported that about 10, 000 Nigerians had perished along the Sahara Desert – Libya – Mediterranean Sea route.
The Senate is horrified that on Monday, November 6, 2017, the international and national media reported the gruesome story of the dead bodies of twenty six (26) young Nigerians Girls of ages 14 – 18 discovered in a Spanish war ship “CANTABRIA” carrying 375 migrants; twenty three (23) of them had been on rubber boat and sixty four (64) others. The Chamber is further horrified by the suspicion that the girls had been sexually abused and murdered. The Motion scaled through with three prayers below:
i) Condemn in the strongest terms the murder of 26 young Nigerian girls in the Mediterranean Sea en-route Italy.
ii) Mandate the Committees on Diaspora, Foreign Affairs and Special Duties to investigate the unfortunate incident and report back to the Senate within four weeks.
iii) Observe a minute silence for the repose of the souls of the 26 young Nigerian Girls murdered in the Mediterranean Sea.