Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Worldwide (NIDOWW) says Nigeria can achieve more meaningful national growth through constitutional amendment in the country.
The Chairman of NIDO-Americas, Mr Obed Monago made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Monago, who spoke on the backdrop of collective view points by NIDOWW marking Nigeria Democracy Day across various continents, said that Nigeria needed to restore its lost glory.
“I remember when Nigeria was member of non-allied nations Brazil, South Korea, among others but where are we now? we can achieve what we want to achieve through constitutional amendment.
“The 1999 Constitution can be amended; we can go to unlimited number of amendments to get what we deserve and at the end, discard what do not apply.
“It is the will to practice democracy that is important, it is not what is written on the pages of paper, but the will to change that is imperative.
“Constitutional amendment as it pertains diaspora, we support it, Section 77, subsection 2 should be amended to allow diasporas organise themselves into political apparatus or organisation and vote for themselves.
“When we vote for ourselves and have representatives, it makes diaspora voting rights more credible, but voting same political elites from here to rule us in National Assembly will make less impact,” he said.
He also said that Section 315, subsection 5(a) on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) should also be amended or omitted from the Constitution, to stand alone as an Act.
According to him, constitutional amendment is carried out in countries like the U.S. where Nigeria borrowed its leaf from, saying Nigeria’s political landscape will improve if that is done.
“We adopted three tiers of government, but it is very weak, if we can strengthen them to become independent of one another, it will give them autonomy to have checks and balances.
“It will also promote respect for the Rule of Law and help to overhaul adherence to rules and regulations that will guide against offenses,” he said.
He explained that it had become necessary for Nigerians in the Diaspora to organise themselves and vote their representatives during election, to represent their interests at the green chamber.
He noted that doing so would also boost Nigeria’s economic growth and Foreign Direct Investments.
“The concept of Diasporas staying abroad and there is no structure in place to vote and be voted for, will be subsumed and basically have no impact.
“I do not support that, but if that is what we get, then let us get it and build on it to be in a right position to vote as Nigerians in the Diaspora,” Monago said.
NIDOWW comprised Nigerians in Diaspora organisations chapter in Europe, Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa, which harnessed and galvanised professional and financial resources of Nigerian citizens across continents to promote their fatherland. (NAN)
Update: 2024 Appropriation Bill Passes Second Reading At House Of Reps
The House of Representatives has passed the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget for a second reading.
The House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, on Thursday, November 30, while leading the debate on the general principles of the budget, commended President Bola Tinubu.
Ihonvbere noted that national security and education which got significant allocations will be enhanced if implemented.
He said, “Nigeria will be more secure with the allocation to defence and security. As a teacher, I am impressed by the emphasis on basic education. I am sure that education will be better off this time.”
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.
This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.
Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.
According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.
He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.
Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market
…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill for second reading
The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission .
Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .
He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .
But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .
Therefore according to him, ” the objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria; to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.
“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.
He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .
Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos and Akwa- Ibom States .
” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .
” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .
” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the proposed commission” he said .
Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .
Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .
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