…as lawmakers pass bill to establish gum Arabic research institute
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
A seeking for an act to provide compensation for victims of crime had passed for second reading at the House of Representatives.
Tilted “Bill for an Act to Establish Rights for Victims of Crime to Provide for the Rights, Welfare and Compensation of victims of Crime and provide for the strengthening of the Criminal Justice System; and for Related Matters (HB. 1861), it was sponsored by Hon. Henry Archibong.
According to the draft bill, victims of crimes are persons who have “suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of his or her fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of our criminal laws”.
The Bill was supported by the majority of the lawmakers when put to vote and referred to the House Committee on Justice for further legislative action.
Similarly, a Bill for an Act to Establish Gum Arabic Research Institute; and for Related Matters (HB.2168) sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno also scaled through second reading.
Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill, Mongunu said that the Bill was sponsored against the backdrop of the fact that gum arabic is a high source of revenue, as can be seen in other countries such as Sudan.
He underscored the importance of the bill, especially considering the dire need of the country for revenue from the export of such profitable commodities as gum arabic.
The lawmaker stated that the Institute will ensure the coordination of the exploitation, development and exportation of gum arabic products.
In his contribution to the debate, Hon. Nicholas Ossai who apoke against the Bill said the creation of the institute will bloat the cost of governance.
He called for the institutes that deal with crops to handle the harnessing of gum arabic so as not to create duplication of institutes.
Also speaking, the deputy minority leader of the House, Hon. Toby Okechukwu while praising the spirit of the Bill, wondered why some other related institutes cannot be used to harness the resource of gum arabic due to the economics of scale.
He called for a specialized department from an existing similar institute to be dedicated to harnessing gum arabic so that the aim of the Bill is not lost, while still considering the cost of governance.
In his intervention, Hon. Sada Soli stated that the creation of the institute was necessary due to the unique nature of the terrain where the gum arabic was obtained from.
He said that the Institute would best serve to be located in that belt or terrain.
On his part, the leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa said the bill seeks to diversify the national source of foreign exchange for the country.
He expressed optimism in the benefits the proposed institute, urging members to support the Bill to boost the Nigerian economy.
The Bill when put to a voice vote got the support of the majority of the members, approved for second reading and referred to the Committee of the Whole.
In a related development, the House received a report from the Committee on Human Rights on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, No. 4 of 2015 to include the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development in its Governing Board, review the mode of appointing the Director General of the Agency, to strengthen the Act by reviewing the offences and penalty provisions, laid laid by Hon. John Dyegh.
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