Why crises persist in the Niger Delta region – Lawmaker explains

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It is over one year since the eighth National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was inaugurated. It has since then been hard at work at effective legislative activities.

Assessing the activities of the House since its inauguration, Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai in an interview with NAIJ.com examined some of the House’s legislation and spoke on other national issues.

Responding to a question about the bills passed by the House over the past year, he said that the duty of the House to make laws has been effectively performed since the beginning of the assembly.

“In the area of laws, we have been doing great. In that regard we have been making laws to good governance as enshrined in the constitution. We have also updated a lot of them in terms of amendment. We have gone as far as bringing in new laws in the area that needed to and I think that is what the National Assembly is doing.

“So far, we have been intervening through some motion during our oversight functions in terms of looking at the performance of agency that we are empowered to make law for. In that regards, the eighth assembly has been wonderful.”

Speaking on the relationship between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government as it relates to bills, Ossai said that the executive has so far been passing their bills and proposals, adding that the green chamber had always attended to them.

“Both arm of government has their role clearly defined in the constitution to that extent; we have been working cordially with the executives. The most important thing for us now is to implement those needs of Nigerians which are very vital us as a government. 

“We might not be able to count the bills; they are very wide and we are making sure we update our laws that are obsolete, introducing new ones that are vital and important,” he added.

Rep. Ossai further said that the responsibility of the National Assembly in bringing in bills is very important and critical.

He said that the corporate social responsibility bill and warehouse proceedings bill are currently some of the critical bills that are expected to be passed into law soon.

“Bills of secure and collateral collection are waiting to be attended to and a lot of bills have gone through third reading. I think we are happy following these process that in every stage we monitor them making sure that whatever we have proposed comes into life and I think that is what we have been doing and it has been wonderful,” he said.

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Ossai Nicholas Ossai

Honourable Ossai Nicholas Ossai

Responding to the Niger Delta crisis, the lawmaker said that the crisis in the region started a long time ago but was ignored, which is the reason why conflict has remained in the region.

“The issue of Niger Delta started in the 1960s because that area is a very critical area where oil is produced and Nigerians has not attended to the issues surrounding the region.

“When you compare Abuja, Lagos and other cities that are looking modern with the Niger Delta which is looking horrible, you will know the extent at which these people are suffering.

Niger Delta is a place where Nigerians have gotten a lot of money from to address critical infrastructure in many cities and then today, Niger Delta lie fallow and unattended to and then you say we should celebrate you because of Ogoni cleansing.

“It is not the first time we are hearing about it? Ogoni land is not the only existing land that is affected in the Niger Delta. What about my town? What about lots of oil exploitation that has been done? What of the pipeline explosion that has occurred on the environment which has made the place uninhabitable. 

“It is so bad that no one can even plant crops in them, exposing the indigenes to hunger, and the government expects us to clap and shout Hallelujah because they have started cleaning Ogoni land, and then ignoring some basic issues that should be looked into. We cannot clap for you that Niger Delta are in deplorable condition,” he said.

Rep. Ossai further called on the militants to be cautious even as they agitate for solutions to the problems faced in the region. He said proper channels for addressing the issue should be explored instead of causing more harm to the environment.

“Even though the condition of the Niger Delta is pitiful and will make the Avengers to continue to agitate, I would like to say that the procedure through which they agitate should not be violence. They should speak to people like us who are their representative in the National Assembly to raise their voice, because we are the voices of the oppressed.

“We have continued to raise it anywhere we have been, the chamber and outside the chamber; we have always raised the issue. 

“I urge them to believe in the people they have sent, they should have dialogue not to destroy more pipeline because this will expose the Niger Delta into danger and more problems. I think this are the areas that needs cares.

Rep. Ossai therefore called on the president to look wisely into the issue, adding that the Niger Delta has been calling for solutions but has not been attended to.

“These people are determined; nothing can stop them. If they have made up their mind they are ready to die for it.”

Ossai also said that the issue of the Niger Delta is not limited to one constituent. He said the government eliminating the Niger Delta militants was the wrong approach.

“Though I commend the federal government’s new approach to the issue of setting up a committee to inter-phase and negotiate with the people that are agitators. I think it is in the right direction and that approach ought to have started negotiating and able to draw a map toward making Niger Delta look more modern as it is obtainable in Abuja.

“This direction should gear a lot of result in the area of crop production and then Nigeria will be peaceful,” he said.

Speaking on constituency projects, Rep. Ossai said that it has always been a successful programme for lawmakers.

“We have always delivered our budget consensus at all time and you know what is in the budget; every constituent got thirty million, some got 100 million depending on the state.

“In state like Lagos and Kano, you have something like thirty million, some twenty million and some forty million depending on the consensus project.

“For my state, I think every House of Representatives member has hundred million and every year in the budget. 

“We try to precede the budget with the constitution of Nigeria and you see as usual, the executive imperialism against the legislature has occurred to the extent that the executive was insinuating and castigating the legislature of passing the budget. 

He said legislatures do not pass the budget because they are empowered to do so. “It is what we put that the executive implement, so it is not right to say that the legislative pad the budget. We don’t pass the budget. 

“The executive can pass the budget because they own the power of the purse, so what they put is the final issue which means we cannot call that padding.

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Hon. Ossai“Reflecting the voice of the people in money term is the appropriation act. It is clearly written that the power of the purse given to us by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It cannot be taken away. It is not something that the executive can steal. They have their own function also, and their function is to implement what we have done. 

“If they have extra function, I think they can look at the constitution that gives them that power.

“Is it possible to raise the government under one year? To me they don’t have a good blueprint to direct Nigeria to the direction they ought to go. They should use some good hands in the Peoples Democratic Party who have been in the government to redirect the ship of Nigeria,” he added.

The post Why crises persist in the Niger Delta region – Lawmaker explains appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Nigerian newspapers.

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