Reps urge Buhari to appoint substantive INEC boss, pay contractors
The advice came against the backdrop of criticism of Buhari’s appointment Mrs. Amina Zakari, whose tenure may have expired, as the acting chairman of the electoral body.
Also yesterday, the House directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately direct telecommunications service providers in the country to put an end to unsolicited caller tunes and their charges.
Adopting the motion on INEC during deliberations at the plenary session presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the lawmakers urged President Buhari to set in motion machinery to fill top positions that are vacant in INEC, particularly that of the chairman.
They further urged the President to fill the vacancies of the national commissioners and the resident electoral commissioners in the 36 states.
Edward Gyang Pwajok (Jos South/Jos East: PDP: Plateau), while moving the motion, claimed that the tenures of the national commissioners of INEC had expired as at 10, August, 2015, with the exception of two of the commissioners.
He further claimed that the tenures of most of INEC resident commissioners had also expired, adding that as things stand, INEC would not be able to conduct governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states billed to hold on 21st November and 5th December this year on legal grounds.
Urging the President to do “the needful”, he said INEC might suffer the same fate as that of the Osun State REC which had its election nullified on grounds of non -adherence to provision of the constitution.
Before the motion was unanimously carried, Speaker Dogara, who intervened in an altercation between the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, on the veracity of the action by Mr. President to appoint the INEC chief in acting capacity, ruled that the decision was a stop gap measure in line with the doctrine of necessity.
Also, the Lower Chamber urged the authorities to settle the about N4 trillion debt owed contractors by ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government over the years.
Chike Okafor (Ehime Mbano/ Ihitte Uboma/Obowo: APC: Imo) who moved the motion said it was unfortunate that executed contracts duly awarded through budgetary process are yet to be paid for, adding that the development has engendered untold hardship on both his constituents and Nigerians involved.
On the caller tunes, the House also mandated the Committee on Communications (when constituted) to liaise with the NCC to halt all unholy practices by service providers and report back to the chamber within two months.
In a motion titled “Need to check cases of unsolicited caller tunes, text messages and the associated charges by the mobile telephone providers in Nigeria” introduced by Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC-Kano), the House noted that NCC Act of 2003 mandates the commission to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices, including matters relating to tariff and quality of communication services.