The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said those in charge of the funds provided for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines must ensure judicious utilisation of the money.
The Head National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, had said Nigeria would take delivery of its first coronavirus vaccine doses in February.
Lawan, while welcoming back his colleagues from the Christmas/New Year break on Tuesday, said, “The National Assembly made special provisions in the 2020 budget, which runs up to 31st March, 2021, and the 2021 budget as well. We need to ensure that the funds are properly utilised for the prevention and management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is equally important for the Senate to engage with the executive arm of government on the selection, procurement, distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.”
Lawan also called on the Nigerian leaders to unite against criminality stemming from the activities of bandits and kidnappers.
“Leaders must also unite to fight any divisive and centrifugal sentiments, and tendencies,” he said.
Lawan also emphasised the need for legislative interventions to douse the heightening inter-ethnic tension in the country.
N’Assembly to reactivate safety protocols
Meanwhile, the National Assembly will from Wednesday (today) reintroduce its safety protocols against COVID-19.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his opening remarks at the opening of plenary on Tuesday, said the lawmakers would have an executive (closed-door) session on Wednesday after which new safety measures would be announced.
Gbajabiamila said, “From tomorrow, we will introduce a new regulation and protocol just to keep each other safe. We are all aware that there is a new wave and a new strain, and we will need to take some necessary actions just to see to the wellbeing of everybody.”
Later at a press conference, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, disclosed that the number of journalists to be allowed into the chamber and the gallery would be drastically reduced.
Kalu added, “We are hoping that with the new idea that the leadership is talking about – technology; we will use that to achieve more this year.”
Ex-service chiefs’ appointment as ambassadors announced
Earlier at the Senate, Lawan read a letter from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) to the lawmakers. He urged the red chamber to confirm the immediate former chief of defence staff, and other service chiefs as career ambassadors.
The nominees are General Abayomi Olonisakin, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The President in the letter also sought the confirmation of Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (retd.) as a non-career ambassador-designate.
The request was contained in a letter dated 4th February, 2021.
‘Confirm CDS, service chiefs’ appointment’
Lawan also read a formal request from Buhari for the confirmation of the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs.
The request was contained in a letter dated 27th January, 2021,
The letter reads partly, “The appointees for confirmation are Maj. Gen. Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea lrabor – Chief of Defence Staff; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru – Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo – Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka O. Amao – Chief of Air staff.”
Buhari in a separate request to the Upper Chamber, sought the confirmation of Victor Chinemerem Muruako as Chairman for the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
Similarly, Lawan read a communication from the President for the confirmation of Mr. Aghughu Arhotomhenla Adolphus as Auditor-General of the Federation.