- FRC Has no Power to Fix Adeboye, Others’ Tenure
The House of Representatives has ordered a “detailed” public hearing on the activities of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, particularly the Council’s decision to fix the tenure of the leadership of religious organisations.
The House passed the resolution on Wednesday in Abuja at a session which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
It came after members debated and endorsed a motion moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor.
Lawmakers also clarified that no agency of the Federal Government was empowered by any law passed by the National Assembly to determine how many years a religious leader should serve in office.
They noted that the FRC Act 2011 did not make provision for the tenure of office of religious bodies or non-profit organisations.
While leading the debate, Ogor said he was amazed where the FRC got its powers.
He added that while the agency might have delegated legislative powers, being a product of the National Assembly, any legislation or code it formulated should have been mandatorily approved by the same National Assembly before it could be applied.
In the extant case of the controversial Good Governance Code formulated by the FRC for non-profit organisations, the lawmaker stated that the National Assembly had no knowledge of it.
The motion stated, “The House is concerned that the Governance Code, formulated by the Council, as it relates to heads of non-profit making organisations, is a clear usurpation of the powers of the National Assembly as stipulated in Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
“Also concerned that the National Assembly has not, in any way, approved the corporate governance code as it did with the Building Code.
“The House is convinced that codes of corporate governance must be in conformity with international best practices.
“Worried that an overzealous chief executive officer of a regulatory body can misinterpret or misapply the provisions of the code as can be clearly seen in the case of the FRC.”
In performing its duties, Ogor pointed out that the FRC was to restrict itself to accountability, transparency and probity in pursuing corporate governance principles in public and private organisations.
“No law, enacted by the National Assembly, empowers any agency to set the tenure of office for heads of non-profit organisations,” he added.
The Chairman, House Committee on Ethics/Privileges, Mr. Nicholas Ossai, took the same position as Ogor.
He told the House that though the FRC was empowered to function, the issue of fixing how long a religious leader should be in office was off its bounds.
Ossai added, “This is because we are talking about the things of God here.
“The tenure of religious leaders is determined by God, not man.
“Besides, delegated legislation like the FRC code should have been forwarded to the National Assembly for approval.
“The code in question was never forwarded to the National Assembly.”
Two other members, Mr. Istifanus Gyang, and Mr. Sunday Karimi, berated the former leadership of the FRC for its actions in implementing the code.
On his part, a former Deputy Minority Whip, Mr. Garba Mohammed-Dhatti, called for rigorous monitoring of the activities of agencies to prevent them from abusing their delegated powers.
“Overzealous heads of agencies can abuse delegated powers.
“They have to be properly monitored to save us from embarrassment,” he stated.
The controversial FRC code, among others, sets a 20-year tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organisations.
Such leaders are required to hand over the affairs of the organisations they head to successors in line with the corporate governance principles.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, had resigned as the head of the church in Nigeria on Saturday, reportedly in compliance with the code.
He named Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the overseer of the church in Nigeria and took on the new title of General Overseer, RCCG, Worldwide.
The development was greeted with interpretations, including insinuations that the Federal Government was attempting to meddle in the affairs of religious bodies, using the FRC.
President Muhammadu Buhari reacted on Monday by sacking the Executive Secretary of the FRC, Mr. Jim Obazee.
The President had, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, approved the sacking and the replacement of Obazee.
The statement also constituted a board for the Council with Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as chairman and Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as Obazee’s replacement.
The former FRC leadership was said to have disregarded an October 17, 2016 directive by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, asking for the suspension of the code.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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