NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN THE PRESS, WEEK 37: 10TH – 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
National Assembly in the press in the week under review remains relatively moderate when compared with that of the previous week. Legislative activities spread across 11 sectors of the nation’s economy, out of which four featured most prominently. Among them were:
• Politics -84 times
• Legislature -16 times
• Executive -9 times
• Economy -4 times
Other sectors equally involved in the week’s legislative activities of the country’s apex legislature but on a low key note include: Agriculture, Defence, Education, Finance, Industry, Judiciary and Petroleum.
A total of 124 stories concerning the nation’s highest law-making body were recorded during the week. Only 16 of them projected the image of the National Assembly POSITIVELY. One of the heart-warming reports was titled “Senate Decries Delay in Release of Funds to Amnesty Office”.
According to the story, the Senate Committee on Niger Delta has expressed dismay over the delay in the release of funds to the Amnesty Office for the payment of stipends and other allowances to the beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The Committee members made the statement during a visit to the Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo in Abuja; described the funds so far released out of the 2018 budgetary allocation to the Amnesty Office as grossly inadequate.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, who led the law-makers, Sen. Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai said the Committee is aware that the Amnesty Office got only N5 billion twice from the N65 allocated the PAP in 2018 budget which stressed is grossly inadequate.
Meanwhile, 102 stories portrayed the image of the revered Parliament in the NEUTRAL direction. One of such reports reads “118 federal, state law-makers get ADC’s nod for 2019 polls. Accordingly, no fewer than 118 federal and state law-makers as well as some governors are in talk with the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to contest the 2019 general elections.
The story added that the party backed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has also secured the endorsement of two former Heads of State according to the National Chairman of the party, Prof. Ralph Nwosu while interacting with journalists in Lagos recently. He also disclosed that the ADC has a membership strength of over five million after President Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) adopted it as its platform for the 2019 general elections.
Nonetheless, six stories skewed the image of the apex legislature NEGATIVELY. One of the not too favorable reports was an editorial captioned “New varsities: Reps, bury the idea”. According to the editorial, the legislative process of creating nine new tertiary institutions has reached an advanced stage with the conclusion of Public Hearing on the Bills by the House of Representatives last week.
The paper’s position added that the move was predicated on the jaded blinkered argument that access to university and higher college education should be expanded to meet the quest for admission by the teeming applicant without a whiff of thought on the quality or standard.
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, who attended the hearing, dismissively responded saying “my heart is heavy that we want to establish new universities when nothing is being done about the existing ones”.
A law-maker, Rep Uzoma Nkem Abonta, who wanted one of the schools sited in his state, provincially argued that, with the Federal Character Principle, all states were entitled to have one institution of higher learning.
• National Assembly in the Press is a Publication of Information Unit, NILDS.