By Victor Effik
Almost four years into his first term in the Senate, the senator representing Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District and Leader, Akwa Ibom State Caucus in National Assembly, Sen. Bassey Albert ( OBA) has surpassed all expectations in performance as a first time senator.He is today considered the first eleven in the 8th Senate on account of his five star performanceWe bring you a blow by blow account of his stewardship in the Senate and why it behoves on the people of Uyo Senatorial District to return him to the Senate as a ranking senator to finish the good job he has started.MOTIONS SPONSORED BY SENATOR ALBERT 1. Motion on urgent need to halt the dilapidated and disintegrated state of Ikot Ekpene-Itu-Calabar Federal Highway.As a result of the motion, the Senate set up an ad-hoc committee to inspect all bad federal roads and made recommendations. The Senate also directed the Federal Government and the relevant ministries, agencies and departments to undertake an urgent intervention on the road. It was this directive that made the NDDC to undertake remedial measures on the road. 2. Motion on the need to curb the soaring rate of unemployment in NigeriaThe motion called on the government at all levels to take decisive steps to address the unemployment situation in the country. The motion generated intense debate in the Senate and eventually led the APC federal government to include in the 2016 Budget its election promise to pay the stipend of N5,000 to vulnerable groups in the country. 3. Motion on urgent need for effective implementation of the Joint Venture Cash Calls Obligations by NNPCThe motion was deliberated upon in the Senate on Wednesday, 13th April, 2016. The motion observed that although the National Assembly has been appropriating for the NNPC Joint Venture cash calls obligations in the past, it disclosed that the current outstanding cash call obligations in the oil and gas sector stands at over $6billion.The Senate adopted the motion and mandated its Committees on Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Finance and Appropriation chaired by Senator Albert to carry out a holistic investigation into the matter.The committee held its public hearing in November 2016 with major oil companies and the operator of NNPC Joint Venture stakeholders of the oil and gas industry and the general public in attendance. The report of the committee was submitted to the Senate by the Chairman, Senate Joint Committee on Joint Venture Cash Calls Obligations, Senator Bassey Albert on Thursday, April 27, 2017. 4. Motion on the urgent need to address the present economic state of the nationThe motion, which was presented on Wednesday, 25th May, 2016 drew the attention of the government to the nation’s economic scorecard, released by the National Bureau of Statistics which indicated that the economy had plunged into recession. Senators supported the motion that the Finance Minister and the CBN governor be invited to brief the Senate on the monetary and fiscal policies adopted to salvage the situation. 5. Motion on Urgent need to investigate the granting of concession of the western and Eastern rail lines to General Electric of USA.The motion presented by Senator Albert on Tuesday, 8th November, 2016 indicated that the Federal Ministry of Transport had violated the provisions of the Public Enterprises (privatization and Commercialisation) Act, 1999 by unilaterally engaging the General Electric for the concessioning of the western and Eastern rail lines. The Senate then mandated the committee on privatization, land transport, finance, anti-corruption and financial crimes, special duties, trade and investment and judiciary to investigate the procedure adopted in the engagement of General Electric for the concession of the rail lines. Consequently, the minister of transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was summoned by the committee to answer questions on the matter.6. Motion on the need to save the 215 megawatt Kaduna power plantThe motion presented on Thursday, June 15, 2017 sought action to be taken on the protracted power shortages in the northern part of the country leading to the shut down of the industrial sector in the region.MOTIONS CO-SPONSORED BY SENATOR ALBERT 1. Motion on the need to investigate pre-shipment inspection of Export Activities in NigeriaThe motion was presented by Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central) on 21st July 2016 with 13 other senators as co-sponsors among them Senator Albert. 2. Motion on Mounting Crisis in the North EastThe motion was presented on Tuesday, 4th October, 2016. It was sponsored by Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (Borno Central) with 17 other senators as co-sponsors, among them Senator Albert. 3. Motion on unidentifiable sooty particulate in Rivers State and its environsThe motion presented on Tuesday, 28th February 2017 drew government’s attention to droppings of unidentifiable sooty particulates in Rivers State, which is suspected to be after effects of oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities in the state by multi-national companies. The motion was sponsored by Senator George Thompson Sekibo (Rivers East) with 30 other senators as co-sponsors among them Senator Albert.4. Motion on a call for the proper resettlement and compensation of the Bakassi peopleThe motion, which was presented on Tuesday, 28th February 2017 was sponsored by Senator Gershom Bassey (Cross River South) with 13 other senators as co-sponsors among them Senator Albert.5. Motion on the excess crude account: an illegality and a drain pipeThe motion, which was presented on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 and sponsored by Senator by Sen. Rose Oko and 42 others among them Sen. Albert, expressed worry that the account is not in tandem with sections 80 (1-4) and 162 (1-3) of the 1999 constitution and accordingly asked the executive to suspend the operation of the account.6. Motion on the urgent need to investigate, regularise and amend conflicting, vague and unjust remedies which the CBN offers to victims of excess and arbitrary bank charges and illegal deductions by commercial banks.The motion presented on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 was sponsored by Sen. Magnus Abbé and 22 others, among them Senator Albert.BILLS SPONSORED BY SENATOR ALBERT 1. The National Youth Employment and Development Bill 2017The Bill seeks to repeal the National Directorate of Employment Act 2004, and in its place, establish the National Youth Employment and Development Agency Act to provide for the promotion, coordination and employment of youths in Nigeria. It also seeks to expand the scope of NDE to strengthen its operations for optimal performance. The Bill passed through second reading on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017. 2. The Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan BillThe Bill, which was read the first time on the 14th October, 2015 seeks to establish a legal and institutional framework for the implementation of the industrial revolution plan and the National Enterprise Development Programme of the Federal Government to provide for their implementation, continuity and sustainability. It also seeks to ensure ownership of the processes, initiate activities for the industrial plan and the programme by relevant ministries, departments and agencies for the overall realization and delivery of the industrial plan and programmes.The overall objective of the Bill is to accelerate the build up of industrial capacity within Nigeria; increase manufacturing contribution to Nigeria’s GDP; drive the process of intense industrialization based on sectors where Nigeria has comparative advantages. The Bill passed has already passed through second reading. 3. Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) BillSenator Albert made yet another history when on Tuesday, November 3, 2016 he presented a Bill for an Act to prohibit flaring of natural gas in Nigeria. The Bill seeks to ensure that natural gas shall not be flared or vented in any oil and gas production operation, block or field, onshore or offshore, or gas facility which shall commence operations after the commencement of the Act. The Bill also seeks to ensure that no operator shall establish an oil and gas facility in Nigeria without obtaining authorization from the Minister under this Act for the design phase, the commissioning and the production phases.The Senate referred the Bill to the Committee on Gas for further legislative action after it passed through the second reading . Based on this, the committee invited industry stakeholders, oil companies, governmental bodies and the general public to a public hearing on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.4. Petroleum Industry Administration BillThe Bill sponsored by Sen. Albert, is aimed at providing an administrative framework for the Nigerian Petroleum industry passed through second reading in the Senate.PETITIONS PRESENTED BY SENATOR ALBERT 1. Request for the re-instatement of dismissed police officer, Celestine Williams for undisclosed offence without trial in 1996, that is, about 21 years ago .The said officer was re-instated consequent upon a petition presented to the Senate by Senator Albert via a letter dated April 13, 2016. The petition was referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petition, which recommended his re-instatement, payment of his entitlements and promotion to the rank of ASP. Mr. Williams has since resumed duties. 2. The state of affairs in the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) Ltd, Oku Iboku. Senator Albert in a letter dated September 21, 2016 forwarded a petition on the state of affairs at NNMC, Oku Iboku in which NEGRIS, a company that won the bid to manage the company was alleged to be engaging in asset stripping. The petition was laid on Thursday, 29th September, 2016, and the matter referred to committee on ethics, privileges and public petition for legislative action. 3. Illegal conversion and diversion of salaries and allowances of Sgt. Peter John by the Nigerian Police and victimization of Mr. Aniekan Umoh by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. Senator Albert laid the two petitions on Tuesday, 21st June, 2016 and was accordingly referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions.4. Victimization of Mr. Aniekan Umoh by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. 5. Wrongful dismissal of Debongs Ndem Anietum from the services of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Port Harcourt. Senator Albert laid the petition on Wednesday, 19 October, 2016. 6. Victimization and premature retirement of Ntia Thompson from the service of Directorate of Technical Cooperation Africa (DTCA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs for exposing corruption. Senator Albert’s petition to the Senate is dated March 13, 2017. The committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions investigated the matter, and thereafter recommended his reinstatement. Mr. Thompson has since been reinstated..7. Wrongful dismissal of an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Peter Solomon Archibong by the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and dismissal of Ex Cpl Imo Sunday by the Nigerian Police Force. According to the petitioners, their dismissals were mala fide and without due process.OTHER LEGISLATIVE DUTIES 1. Member, Ad-hoc committee on Works 2. Member, Ad-hoc committee on the 2013 Audit Report of the Nigerian Extractive Industry 3. Member, Joint Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Gas to investigate the utilization of the Nigerian Content Development Fund. 4. Member, Committee on Legislative Compliance 5. Member, Ad-hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Concessions and Grants 6. Member, Joint Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Petroleum Upstream and Gas on the 2016 Nudget of NNPC. 7. Member, Joint Committee on Health, Agriculture and Rural Development in respect of a motion on the ban on Nigerian Agricultural products by European Union8. Member, Ad hoc committee on petition from Dr. George Uboh of Panic Alert Security System (PASS) against Chevron Nig. Limited for fraud of over 4 billion naira.9. Member, Joint Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Petroleum Downstream and Gas on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).10. Chairman, Joint Committee on Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Finance and Appropriation on the implementation of Joint Cash Calls Obligation by NNPC from 2011-201511. Delegate to the 133rd and 137th interparliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland and St. Petersburg, Russia respectively.CONSTITUENCY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMMES 1. OBA Under 20 Unity CupThe constituency empowerment programme of Senator Bassey Albert commenced in December 2015 with the Under 20 Unity Cup involving the nine local government areas that make up the senatorial district. The winner of the competition received the sum of N1 million; the runners up N750, 000; the third place team got N500, 000. All the participating teams received the sum of N200, 000 each as participating fees. The Most Valuable Player (MVP), Highest Goal Scorer, Best Behaved Team, Best Goalkeeper and the Best Defender all received financial rewards. 2. Annual OBA Undergraduate Scholarship SchemeOver 100 undergraduates from Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District studying in various institutions of higher learning across the country have so far benefitted from the Annual OBA Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme. The scheme is to run in the next four years. The beneficiaries were selected after a transparent and rigorous process. The cost of the scholarship scheme is put at over N10 million. 3. Skills and Human Capacity DevelopmentOver 3,000 constituents have benefitted from the following skill development programmes facilitated by Senator Albert:* Post seasonal intervention training facilitated by Senator Albert in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). The training, which took place in Uyo from 22-25 March 2017 give capacity to those who received training in various skills to assist them become better entrepreneurs. The training offered were in the areas of agriculture branding and packaging of agricultural products. The trainees were given start-up capital to start their businesses.* Workshop on Poultry production, processing and marketing at Institute of Agricultural Research and Marketing (IAR & T), Moor Plantation in Ibadan (an affiliate of University of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) organized in collaboration with Senate Committee on Agriculture and hosted by Prof. J. A. Adediran. Participants from Akwa Ibom State were nominated by Sen. Albert who is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.* Vocational training and empowerment of women and youths in partnership with Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA).* Skills acquisition training for women and youths in cosmetology, fashion design, generator maintenance, computer appreciation, photography/video and catering in partnership with National Directorate of Employment (NDE) 4. Distribution of cooking gas to constituentsOn 24th December 2015, as part of his Christmas gift to his constituents, Senator Albert brought large quantities of cooking gas to be distributed free to thousands of Akwa Ibom people irrespective of their political leanings. The senator went on air in planet 101.1 FM to invite people to be part of this largesse. 5. Construction and donation of a well furnished Event Hall to constituentsSenator Albert also constructed and donated a well furnished event hall at 7 E line, Ewet Housing Estate opposite Sun Centre to be at no cost by his constituents for events such as weddings and other social functions. 6. Construction of massive, multi-purpose event Centre at Ifa in UyoSenator Albert is presently constructing a massive, multi-purpose event Centre in Ifa in Uyo. When completed, the Centre will offer facilities like event hall, tutorial sections for UTME, WAEC, NECO as well as sports facilities and a relaxation Centre. 7. Donation of 15 units of desktop computers to UNIUYOSenator Albert has magnanimously donated 15 units of desktop computers to the University of Uyo to enhance learning in the university. 8. Donation of life enhancing drugs to nine (9) health centers in Akwa Inom North East Senatorial DistrictTo enhance provision of basic health care to his people, Senator Bassey Albert also donated life enhancing drugs to nine health Centre located in the nine local government areas that make up the senatorial district. The benefitting health Centre are: Primary Health Centre, Uyo Itam, Itu; Health Centre, Ikot Otoinye, Uruan; Primary Health Care Operational Base, Nsit Atai; Primary Health Centre, Oboetim, Nsit Ibom; Health Centre, Oko Ita, Ibiono Ibom; Cottage Hospital, Akai Ubium; Health Centre, Ikot Obio Inyang; Primary Health Centre, Uyo; and Primary Health Centre, Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo Asutan. 9. Christmas visits to ConstituentsLast December (2016), Senator Albert went round the nine local government areas that make up the senatorial district to meet with elders, women and youths of the district to rejoice with them in the spirit of the yuletide. He also distributed gifts and cash to the people worth over N10 million.CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS NOMINATED BY SENATOR ALBERT2016 Zonal Intervention ProjectsThe following Zonal Intervention Projects have been nominated by Senator Albert for execution in Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District. The projects are under the supervision of the following agencies of government: Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRDBA), National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Maritime Academy.Most of these projects have been completed and commissioned. 1. Flood and erosion control in Ibesikpo Asutan LGA (CRDBA) 2. Flood and erosion control in Nsit Atai LGA (CRDBA) 3. Flood and erosion control in Ibiono Ibom LGA (CRDBA) 4. Flood and erosion control in Nsit Ibom LGA (CRBDA) 5. Construction of village hall with fence and borehole plant in Ididep Usuk in Ibiono Ibom LGA (CRBDA) 6. Improvement of electricity in Mbiabong Ikot Udo Uwot in Uyo (CRBDA) 7. Construction of market stalls across 9 LGAs in Akwa Ibom North East (NDE) 8. Completion of comprehensive skills acquisition and recreation Centre for Akwa Ibom North East. (NDE) 9. Furnishing/equipping of skills acquisition and recreation Centre for Akwa Ibom North East (NDE) 10. Procurement of cassava/oil palm processing equipment for rural farmers in Ididep Usuk in Ibiono Ibom LGA (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) 11. Training on fish fingerlings, production and hatchery management, catfish, tilapia breeding hormones/hatching troughs for fingerlings production and empowerment of the rural farmers of Akwa Ibom North East (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) 12. Provision of motor cycles and tricycles (keke NAPEP) for rural farmers of Akwa Ibom North East. (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) 13. Training and development of youths of Akwa Ibom North East on maritime related experience (Maritime Academy).2017 Zonal Intervention Projects nominated by Senator AlbertSenator Albert has also nominated the following special intervention projects to be included in the 2017 Budget under the supervision of the following agencies – Broader Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), CRBDA and SMEDAN. 1. Flood and erosion control in Ibiono Ibom LGA (BCDA) 2. Construction/provision of recreational facility for Uyo Club (BCDA) 3. Improvement of electricity by providing 500 KVA transformer in Mbiabong Ikot Udo Uwot in Uyo LGA (SDG) 4. Provision of drugs to rural health centers across the 9 LGAs (BCDA) 5. Flood and erosion control in Nsit Atai LGA (CRBDA) 6. Provision of motorcycles to the rural communities in Akwa Ibom North East (BCDA) 7. Provision of school reading desks in schools across the Akwa Ibom North East (BCDA) 8. Provision of educational materials to College of Education, Afaha Nsit (BCDA) 9. Provision of educational materials to University of Uyo (BCDA) 10. Training and empowerment of women in Akwa Ibom North East in Agricultural skills (SMEDAN) 11. Training and empowerment of youths in Akwa Ibom North East in Agricultural skills (SMEDAN) 12. Provision of furniture and equipment for comprehensive skills acquisition and recreational Centre in Uyo (BCDA)13. Provision of rural borehole water facilities across Akwa Ibom North East (BCDA) 14. Supply of 2 nos 18 seater bus high roof to aid transportation across Akwa Ibom North East (SDG) 15. Provision of 10 nos incubators to rural health centres across Akwa Ibom North East (SDG).