What Senate’ll do on State Police –Adaramodu, Spokesman

Yemi Adaramodu is the senator representing Ekiti South in the National Assembly and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs. In this interview, he spoke on sundry national issues: agitation for State Police, poor state of the economy, the security challenges, among others.

What is the update on the renovation going on in the chambers? When is Senate likely going to relocate back into the chambers?

The chamber has been under renovation for sometimes now and just recently, the Senate still spoke about it that it’s time we moved into the chambers. You know the renovation is being handled by the FCDA, that is the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority under the FCT Administration.

We have mandated the FCT Committee in the Senate to meet with the FCDA to know when the place will be fit and available for our use. Yes, they are doing a very good job there and then we commend what they are doing there. We want to get the best there so that we don’t relapse into renovating year-in year-out. Despite that fact, we still feel the ramshackle arrangement of meeting in committee room by the two chambers is not seriously befitting and then we are very serious to move in and we anticipate that within a very short while, everything will be put in place there and then we can move in, take possession and then use the chambers. That’s our hope and we believe that we can get that our hope realized within a very short while.

Nigerians seem not to be very happy with the National Assembly because of the way their issues are being handled at the moment…

Well, the thing is this. We have to encourage them, we have to make sure that people that are in charge of our security whatever fears or apprehensions we have, after expressing that if they give us assurances that we will not be disappointed, and they gave us the milestones that they have covered and the timelines of what they need to do. We have to give them the chance and look up to them to deliver within the timeline that they have given us. They have told us that may be one or two grey areas are, that we need to come in and we have not come in and we are coming in especially at judicial area where they are talking about speedy prosecution of any culprit or suspect so apprehended in these nefarious activities of bandits, terrorists. I think we need to. When you send a child on an errand and when that child is going on that errand and before the child gets there and comes back to give you results, you have started chastising him. Definitely, it means that you don’t believe in the result that the child is bringing in. So, why do you have to send such a child on an errand?

So, we have sent them on an errand and what we did with them few days ago was the first time that we are meeting for so long and we are meeting all of them together because we have been hearing series of complaints – inter-agency, there is no mutual understanding, mutual engagement, then they don’t work together, there is no synergy, there is no this and that. Then we felt that for the first time, let’s bring all of them together: DSS, Police, Army, Navy, Airforce, then the supreme leader which is the National Security Adviser (NSA) who serves as the political head and the mitigator in their own professional area. Let’s bring them together, whoever has anything to accuse the other agent, let that person come in and now do that one. Then, when we brought all of them together and they spoke frankly with us not among themselves openly including the Ministry of Interior that is supposed to man our borders through the Immigration; including the Minister of Finance who is supposed to make releases so that nobody will just come to us and say when we asked for Kobo, it was not provided, we asked for N2, N1 was provided. So, we brought all of them together and so when they all spoke and like I said, that for the first time we are spending about 10 hours talking to them, interrogating where necessary, asking questions where necessary and then that’s why we said, yes, we believe that they can give us results because we believe what we have found out from them when all of them spoke together.

When the governors met with the President, they came up with the idea of State Police. We asked you after your meeting with the Service Chiefs that day but you said it was not part of the discussion. What is the parliament thinking about now? What should Nigerians expect from the Parliament?

Yes, the parliament is to make laws and the laws that the parliament made are laws that will be generated for the interest and aspirations of Nigerians. So, if either the Federal Government or the state governors or whoever wants State Police, and we are already now about to inaugurate a Constitution Amendment Committee and then when we now put them in place, they will now go out there and meet up with all the critical stakeholders in Nigeria within the sectors. That’s traditional rulers and so on and so forth. So, when they now meet and then we aggregate and we know that this is what Nigerians want, that is the law that we are going to make. We represent the people and the law must be the people’s law.

So, once it is going to be the people’s law, whatever kind of Police that Nigerians want, that is what the National Assembly will give to them. And another thing is that we want to ensure that because when we talk about Constitutional amendment or making of it, we need 24 states of the federation to concur with us. So, it does not start and end up with the National Assembly. It starts from the National Assembly and then another end comes to National Assembly for promulgation before it goes to the presidency for assent. So, it is not a one-way lawmaking. Once Nigerians are desirous through their governors and then the presidency that Nigerian policing must be rejigged, and we have to find something to do about it so that we can ensure that there is peace in our land. Definitely, we are going to follow suit by the time that our committee that the Senate President will be putting together and inaugurated very soon. By the time they come back to us, and this is their takeaway from their rapport with various sectors of the Nigerian populace, definitely, that is what we are going to follow.

The cost of fuel is N950 now as a result of removal of fuel subsidy and also the Power Minister addressed the press recently that because of the money the Federal Government and DisCOs are owning GenCOs, they consider scrapping subsidy for electricity and Nigerians are already facing hard times. If this comes, there will definitely be crisis and the NLC is also coming up with their threats to embark on strike. In all of these, what is the National Assembly doing?

The issue of the petroleum matter and power, especially the two, if you can just recall, the Senate instituted a committee probe of the activities of the NNPCL and even the oil sector generally. We are awaiting the report. The report will determine our approach to what they’re going to advise on what we are going to compel the Executive to do about this issue and that of power too. Yes, a minister can come out and say what he would like to say which is as it happens to his ministry and then the minister is not the last voice on such issues. The presidency is there, even our own side we have the committee solely responsible for power matters. And appropriately, those committees will swing into action and then they will brief the Senate accordingly and from their briefing and when this committee swing into action, it is not going to be the committee members alone that will be thinking and will be talking. They’re going to meet with very critical stakeholders and users of electricity which are Nigerians and users of petroleum products who are Nigerians. Then from there we will take it and what I want to assure Nigerians is that the 10th Senate will not abandon them because it will mean that we have abandoned ourselves. We’re not here on our own bill and ourselves. There is nothing that happens to one Nigerian that doesn’t happen to us. And because of that, we feel it even more than any other person because we are the people very close to our people. When they yawn, we feel the Malaria and when they take even Panadol, we feel the relief. So definitely, we are out here to ensure that the bad news that has been generated sometimes about insecurity and so on and so forth we bring them down.

And the issue of NLC strike, we learnt that the Federal Government has been meeting with them and yes, there is an analogy which I like to draw because when a child is crying for food and the father is going up and down to ensure that food is provided for the child, if the child cries too much by the time the food comes, the child will be so weak to eat the food. So, it is an analogy and I am very sure that is what is taking place now and NLC meeting with the Federal Government, they will reach an agreement and then whatever agreement they reach we expect that it will be expeditiously adhered to and then whatever is promised or pledged, is or are given to the Nigerian worker, not only to Nigerian workers but the Nigerian populace as a whole so that they can have a very good lease of life. And that life can go on peacefully, economically, manageably for our citizenry. That’s our own aim and then we have already said it for the umpteenth time that the National Assembly especially the 10th Senate that whatever legislation that is necessary to make life more abundant for our people, we are ready to do that. We are ready to even stake so many things including our own freedom and even our welfare to contribute to ensure that Nigerians get what they bargained for. And what are those things Nigerians bargained for? They bargained for good life and good living and peaceful environment and secure environment and economically viable polity.

The Bill for NYSC Trust fund passed second reading. How sure are we that it will not go the way of N-power?

This one will not go the way of N-power because N-power is just a branch of so many other interventions. And then it is not a wholesale intervention outfit. So, N-power is part of the conditional cash transfer within a Ministry, but the NYSC Trust fund is going to be a standalone. It will have a model of structure and the structure is going to be a pyramid. It is going to be supervised strictly from the presidency, the Ministry and then oversight function of both chambers of the National Assembly- the House of Representatives and that of the Senate. Then the structure of the fund does not give room for that kind of sleaze so to say. It can never give room for it because there are strata and apart from having that stratum, there is going to be checks and balances. This is a scheme for young adults of Nigeria. In fact, part of the young adults will be represented on the Board of Trustees that will be formed when it comes into practice. Procurement is not going to be solely done by even the DG. So, is not going to be something that several others will be part of. And then all the states of the federation will be part of and then all the strata of our governance will be part of – governors, local governments, CSOs will be part of it. So, when we put all these arrays of a college of interest, when we put them together like that, then you can just trust that is not going to go the way of whatever you call it. Well, I don’t know even the way N-power has gone because I am not a beneficiary of N-power and not one of the proponents of N-power, but all I know is that is not going to be in the structure of N-power. So, it is not going to be in that structure. N-power is just one of several platforms of may be poverty alleviation. So, it is just part of several platforms; you have Conditional Cash Transfer there, you have Tradermoni. So, this one isn’t one of them. This one is on its own.

Will the fund consider giving loans to Corps members after NYSC?

Yes, that’s part of the essentials of the fund because if you give loans to Corps members that have proven himself or herself that yes, he or she is qualified, they’ll get it. Then one very pertinent thing is that majority of the instructors of these Corps members on these camps, they were former beneficiaries of the programme of the NYSC and then they have gone places and so we believe that these Corps members, very innovative young Nigerians that they can be entrepreneurs. The people who will be hiring hands instead of giving their hands to be hired by whoever and wherever.


This parliamentary system of government. What is the body language of the Senate, do you think the Senate will consider it?

The Senate has no body language. We will look at the body language of Nigerians first because we represent them, because we are part of the body that will speak the language. So, it is for bills and motions to be subjected to the crucibles of legislation and then what are the crucibles of legislation? When you bring in your bill especially, then it comes to several readings – first and second, then it goes to public hearing where the Nigerian public will be invited to come and air their views, sector by sector, then we talk. Once they talk, we aggregate. So, the committees so concerned about holding such public hearing will now make a report to the National Assembly either in the Senate or House of Representatives and after that, it comes up for third reading where every legislator will sit down and consider clause by clause for whatever you might have found out. So, it is after it, then we now be talking about law or no law.

So for us, for whoever to come out and say we want oligarchy, we want aristocracy, we want plutocracy, we want parliamentary, we want presidential, it is normal and that is the duty of the legislature or legislators to come up with what they think can enhance the polity and how to represent their constituents too. Whatever their constituents are thinking, for them to aggregate same and bring before the National Assembly, either the House of Representatives or Senate in form of either motion or bill. Then a bill is not a law. A bill will become a law after it has gone through the crucibles of a legislative scrutiny. It has not started that legislative scrutiny, so we can’t be talking about body language. Like I said, the language of the Senate is the language of Nigerians because we are vital part of the body. So, we will speak the same language when that comes to us.

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