Senate passes Amnesty Programme Bill


Recommends four-year tenure for programme coordinator

The senate has passed a bill seeking to give legal and institutional framework for the implementation and management of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the country.

The Bill provides legal instrument to implement the Presidential Amnesty programme in the area of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, ensure an orderly and efficient completion of the mandate of the Programme as well as provide an exit date for the programme.

With the passage, different phases of the Programme commencing from the 2009 Presidential Amnesty proclamation can now be consolidated.

After taking the Bill for an Act to Establish the Presidential Programme on Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria and for Related Matters, 2018 (HB.482), the senators read it the third time and passed it.

According to the bill, the programme shall be structured into disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration.

It also says ex- agitators under the programme shall be paid monthly stipends as may be approved by the President, from time to time, take care of their basic necessities as part of the demobilisation and rehabilitation process, adding that only ex- agitators whose names are in the Stipends Roll shall be entitled to receive the monthly stipends or allowances.

The bill also specifies that there shall be a coordinator for the programme for a period of four years subject to re- appointment by the President for a further term of four years and no more.

Also yesterday, the senate approved $1 billion for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The cash would come from the federal government’s share of excess crude revenue.

The senate also said all monies that may from time to time be appropriated and authorised by any tier of government should be part of the funding for the completion of the project.

It said all loans or grants from time to time made to the country for the purpose of completing the Ajaokuta Steel Company should be accommodated.

This followed the adoption of the “Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, 2018 passed by the Senate.

The Bill slated for concurrence, was presented by senate leader, Senator Ahme Lawan.

The proposed legislation states that the monies in the fund shall be applied by the minister subject to appropriation by the national assembly only for the construction, improvement, extension, enlargement and replacement of infrastructure and works, including the provision, acquisition, improvement and replacement of other capital assets required in respect of or in connection with the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company project.

It added that the cash shall be used for the acquisition of land and of any right or interest in or over land and in respect of the use of any invention; the carrying on of any survey, research or investigation preparatory to the under taking of any such purpose as is referred to in paragraph a and b or the formation of any plan or scheme for the development, improvement, of Ajaokuta Steel Company project.

The deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, said the Bill, if signed into law, would go a long way to facilitate the quick completion of the Ajaokuta Steel complex.


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