• As female lawmakers protest President’s comment on women

Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution urging President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a proclamation for holding of a population and housing census in 2018.
The Senate also called on the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the NPC, Ministry of Budget and National Planning and any supervising agencies to make adequate provision in the 2017 budget as a critical prerequisite to achieving the 2017/2018 population census.”
The upper legislative chamber also tasked the National Population Commission to ensure that it conducts and dispute-free census.
This is as female law makers expressed their dissatisfaction on comments made by President Muhammadu on women
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Tuesday session said that every Nigerian must be counted pointing out that that information technology should be deployed in order to produce acceptable results.
“I want to thank the sponsor of the motion. As we approach the next census, we must take advantage of the development in technology and make the results of the exercise acceptable. All the previous exercises have been disputed. We want this exercise to count. Every Nigerian must be counted and no one should be counted twice. If we do this, we will be able to plan,” Ekweremadu added.
According to the United Nations (UN), censuses should be conducted every ten years. The last census exercise was conducted in 2006 during the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The call by the Senate, followed a motion tagged “A call for the Federal Government to expedite action on the planned 2018 National Census,” sponsored by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi from Kaduna state and four others.
In the motion, Hunkuyi, noted that the delay in the issuance of a proclamation by President Buhari and the poor release of funds to the National Population Commission (NPC), were major setbacks.
He said in accordance with the best international practices, a well planned and executed census population should take a minimum of two years.
“It is only pertinent that subsequent population census should be carried out within an adequate timing and an objective of conducting an acceptable exercise,” he added.
The lawmaker argued that inadequate funds for the preparation process towards the 2016 population census was appropriated by the National Assembly in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 budgets. He said this was part of the reasons for the failure of the exercise in 2016.
Senator John Enoh, while contributing, urged the relevant government agencies to include the total cost of conducting the national census in the 2017 budget. He further maintained that going forward, the Federal Government should adhere to the United Nations (UN) position that censuses be conducted every 10 years.
On his part, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba state, said “if they tell us the number of people that have been killed in the North-East, some of us will faint. It is important for us to support this motion and ensure that funds are released for the conduct of the national census and call on President Buhari to make a proclamation.
Senator Robert Borofice, in his intervention, noted: “The resources we have now are now being used in the North-East and in the Niger Delta. I do not see the reason why monies should not be released to NPC for them to conduct the national census. The huge sum of money we will in getting data from abroad is expensive. Let us channel that money into NPC so that they can conduct the census.”
Senator Albert Akpan from Akwa Ibom state, urged NPC and the Federal Government to make early preparations and ensure that the outcome of the census exercise is credible. He warned that the mistakes of 2006 must be avoided, when Kano and Lagos states contested the outcome of the exercise.
Other lawmakers who contributed, agreed with the sponsor of the motion that adequate funds be made available to NPC in order to carry out the exercise in 2018 and in subsequent censuses.

Female senators kick against Buhari’s comment on women
Feud between President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife, Aisha, has extended to the floor of the Senate, as Senators Biodun Olujimi and her counterpart from Adamawa, Binta Garba, argue on the position of women.
The disagreement started when the Senate leader, Ali Ndume raised a point of order to draw the attention of his colleagues to the recent rescue of 21 adopted Chibok school girls.
Senator Olujimi, while making her contributions, quipped that “our women should not only be in the kitchen; they should be in the Senate too.”
Her remarks were rebuffed by Senator Garba who maintained: “I am proud to be in the kitchen and also in the Senate. I am first a woman before a senator and I am proud to be in the Senate too as a woman.”
Olujimi countered: “There are people who are still out there; we need to find them. Every day we hear that Boko Haram has been conquered and the next minute we hear of bomb blasts. There is confusion everywhere.
“As women, we are proud of our armed forces. We also want to appreciate the Red Cross and the federal government who were part of the negotiations. We appreciate all their efforts.”
Senator Garba on her part said “for the girls to have been found, it means there is still hope that the other girls will be found. It is a big joy to mothers, fathers and everyone.”
In his earlier remarks, Ndume recalled how he broke down in tears when he visited the rescued girls at the medical facility of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Ndume particularly called on the Nigeria Air Force to exercise caution whenever they carry out air bombardment in Sambisa forest in order not to killed the remaining adopted girls who maybe in the forest.
“When I went to see the released Chibok girls, I could not hold myself. I broke down in tears. The leader of the girls compelled me to make a promise that the other girls will be returned.
“I was moved to warn the Air Force to be careful when carrying out air raids in Sambisa forest. They should be careful so that they will not kill the remaining girls.”
In his concluding remarks, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided the plenary, hailed the efforts of the armed forces and other development partners who played roles in the rescue of the adopted school girls.

Release of Chibok girls
Meanwhile, Senate yesterday commended the federal government and other stakeholders in the series of activities that culminated in the release of 21 Chibok girls last week.
Adopting a resolution raised by the Senate majority leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, the Senate urged security agencies to intensify efforts towards ensuring the release of more.
Deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu while presiding over the plenary hailed the efforts of the armed forces and other development partners who played a role in the rescue of the adopted school girls.
He said: “On behalf of the Senate, I want to join others in appreciating God. I want to congratulate the Senate Leader. We are very proud to have these girls rescued. We have been asked several times whenever we have traveled when the girls will be rescued.
“We also want to appreciate the Armed Forces and everyone that contributed to the rescue of these girls. I know that they will bring this madness to an end. We need to do more to bring the other girls back home. We say congratulations to the families of the girls for all the trauma they have gone through. In no distant time, we will hear that other girls have been released.”