National Conference Delegates Complain of Administrative Lapses
The delegates to the ongoing National Conference on Monday in Abuja queued for about two hours before gaining entrance into the Conference hall, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Some of the delegates who commented on the development, expressed displeasure over the discomfort they were subjected to and urged the Secretariat to intervene to prevent a reoccurrence.
Some of the delegates, including Mr. Isa Aremu, Mr. Dan Iwuanyuanwu and Chief Femi Falana (SAN), drew the attention of the Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (rtd), to the plight of the delegates.
“Mr. Chairman, what the delegates were subjected to this morning is a clear case of administrative lapse.
“Many delegates queued for hours outside before they could gain entrance into this hall.
“I think the Secretariat should do something about it,” Aremu, Vice-President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said.
Nwanyanwu, Chairman, Labour Party, complained that security operatives at the gate of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the Conference, wasted time in screening their vehicles.
“Some of us (delegates) got to the gate before 9.00 a.m. but could not leave there until after an hour.
“I hope this should not continue to be the situation; the security agencies should start controlling traffic early enough,” he advised.
Falana complained that after spending 30 minutes at the gate, the delegates spent another two hours before gaining entrance into the hall.
“We spent 15 minutes at the gate to register our cars, we spent another two hours queuing for papers and that is why many of the delegates are not here yet,” he said.
Falana suggested that papers for the proceedings should be shared to delegates inside the hall at plenary rather than queuing for them outside.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was unanimous adoption of all the observations raised by the three delegates with a call on the Secretariat to sit up.
The Chairman acknowledged the complaints and promised that the issues raised would be looked into with a view to addressing them.
The plenary which resumed at about 10.15 a.m. to debate the minutes of the inaugural meeting held on March 18, was adjourned shortly after the adoption of the minutes.
The National Conference Chairman, Kutigi said it was necessary to adjourn the plenary for 10 minutes to allow the delegates, some of whom were still struggling to enter, to come in.
The plenary later resumed at about 11.05 a.m.
The plenary is expected to debate and adopt the procedures and rules to conduct the business of the Conference. The delegates were discussing the rules that will guide the National Conference as at the time of filing in this report.
The rules when adopted will guide deliberations, conduct of delegates and organization of the Conference throughout the three months exercise.
The delegates are also expected to begin discussions on the Opening Speech of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan last Monday.
The Conference adjourned last Tuesday, a day after it was declared open, after delegates raised various questions on sitting arrangements, allowances, logistics, the mode of prayers to be adopted and similar matters.
In a press statement released Sunday, James Akpandem, Assistant Secretary, (media) said most of the contentious issues have been addressed ahead of today’s sitting.
According to him, faith-based prayers had been ruled out at the Conference.
“At the inaugural sitting presided over by the Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, delegates agreed that the second stanza of the National Anthem should be adopted as the opening and closing prayers for all sittings.”
He also said delegates were issued with and expected to study the various working documents supplied to them after the inaugural sitting, including the Draft Rules of Procedure for the Conference and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which were supplied to them on Thursday, 20 March, 2014.
Ahead of resumption of sitting today, delegates across the country have been meeting according to their geopolitical zones to solidify their positions on certain issues.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed surveillance equipment and monitoring vehicles in strategic locations of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as part of security measures for the National Conference.
The equipment which were recently provided by the Office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were for effective policing across the country.
While commending the effort of the Federal Government for the provision of the gargets, the Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin disclosed that his agency has already deployed over 2,000 security personnel as well as sniffer dogs to beef up security around the venue of the National Conference.
Briefing some of the commanders of various units of the agency at the weekend, Dr Abolurin added that apart from protecting the venue of the National Conference, the agency is also tackling the issue of vandalism of Critical Infrastructure and National Assets of Government in various parts of the country.
The NSCDC boss said: “So far we are committed to national security with the strengthening of our special units including Counter-Terrorism Unit, The Armed Squad, Special Force, Special Weapon and Tactics Units (SWAT), Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Weapon Unit and the Anti-Vandal Unit of the Corps.