The Nigerian Senate has implemented an amendment to its standing rule that bars first-time senators from contesting for the positions of President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate.

This decision was reached during a plenary session where Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Leader of the Senate, proposed the amendment to accommodate new standing committees. The motion was seconded by Senate Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkwon, and received unanimous support from senators across various political affiliations when put to a voice vote by Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

The Senate also undertook nine additional amendments aimed at accommodating new standing committees. Among these changes, the Senate established the Committee on Atomic and Nuclear Energy, tasked with overseeing the Nigeria Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, and their annual budget estimates.

Additionally, the Senate bifurcated the Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into two distinct standing committees: the Committee on FCT and the Committee on FCT Area Councils. The Committee on FCT will be responsible for matters concerning the FCT, planning and development of the new Federal Capital Territory, and control of development within the Federal Capital Territory and its annual budget.

Meanwhile, the Committee on FCT Area Councils will oversee Area Council Mandate, Area Council Service Commission, Area Council Staff Pension Board, Auditor-General for the Area Council, and other agencies or departments under the FCT.

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The Senate has also divided the Committee on Sports into two separate standing committees: the Committee on Sports Development and the Committee on Youth and Community Engagements. The former will have jurisdiction over the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, National Lottery Commission,
National Institute for Sports, Nigeria Football Federation, Sport Arena Development, national and international sporting activities, sports administration, and annual budget estimates. The latter will focus on the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, National Youth Service Corps, Citizens and Leadership Training Centre, Offices of the Senior Assistant to the President on Community Engagement in the six geo-political zones, youth movements’ activities and associations, and its annual budget estimates.

Lastly, the Committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development, and Metallurgy has been split into the Committee on Solid Mineral Development and the Committee on Mines and Steel Development. The former will oversee the Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Mining Cadastre Office, Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists, Nigerian Metallurgical Training Institute, Solid Minerals Development Fund, Nigeria Institute of Mining and Geoscience, National Metallurgical Development Centre, exploration of minerals extraction and quarry, geological survey, minerals investigation, as well as explosives.

The latter committee will have jurisdiction over the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, Ajaokuta Steel Development Company, National Iron Ore Mining Company, National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency, and their budgets.

These amendments reflect a significant restructuring of the Senate’s standing committees and bring about changes in the eligibility criteria for leadership positions within the Senate.