Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
In the build up to the 2019 elections, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved that three bills on electoral reforms be forwarded to the a National Assembly to enhance quick passage into law.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House Correspondents, at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the bills are the Constitution Alteration BIll, (2018); the Electoral Act amendment BIll (2018); the Electoral Offences Commission BIll (2018).
Malami said the President remained committed to strengthening the electoral process in the country, hence the setting up of the Ken Nnamani Electoral Reforms Committee, whose report, among others have given rise to the bills as well as the need to have permanent institutions to drive the reforms.
The AGF also explained that the present administration intends to entrench accountability in the conduct of the elections and political parties affairs; ensure speedy resolution of pre-election matters and election disputes; impose stiffer penalties on electoral offenders; as well as enhance the independence of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) such that it is not subject to the directives or control of any authority.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, briefed newsmen on the state of the economy, and disclosed that government is worried about dwindling performance and revenues from of the oil and agriculture sectors.
Udoma said the economy grew by 1.5 percent in the second quarter.
He said, “The economy grew by 1.5 percent in the second quarter but what is encouraging to council is that non-oil has continued to grow.
“The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 percent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact this is consistent with the economic recovery and growth plan objectives.
“However, council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which has been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and some of the clashes which are now been contained.
“So, we expect agriculture to pick up again. We expect agriculture to go back to the three percent which we have been experiencing before.
Then in terms of crude oil production, we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over 2 million barrels a day.”
Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, on his part said the council has approved the setting up of a committee to investigate last week’s tremor in the Mpape, Jabi, Gwarinpa and other parts of Maitama District area of Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with a view to ascertaining what triggered it.
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He also said the suspension of all blasting activities in and around the areas affected by the earth tremor remains until the committee which comprises of scientists and geologists from the ministries of science and technology, power, works and housing, mines and solid minerals and FCT, submit full and comprehensive report of their findings.
The Minister did not, however, reveal the timeline for the submission of the report.
Bello who said scientists have already assured that the earth tremors were mild and no damages were recorded, said the council adopted the setting up of the committee to ascertain what actually happened.