Categories
national

Buhari seeks passage of Money Laundering, Terrorism Prevention Bills


The Senate has received the Money Laundering Bill and Terrorism Prevention Bill transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration and passage.

The bills were accompanied by a letter read at plenary on Thursday by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Buhari, in the letter dated April,12, said the request for the passage of both bills was in pursuant to the provisions of Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He explained that the deficiencies in the country’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regime (AML/CFT), makes it imperative for the passage of both bills.

Buhari warned that the non-passage of both bills poses a risk that may lead to the eventual blacklisting of Nigeria by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Buhari in the letter said: “pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill, 2022 and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill, 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“During the recent Mutual Evaluation carried out by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GABA) there were observed deficiencies in Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regime (AML/CFT).

“Following the evaluation, the Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders reviewed said deficiencies and drafted the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill, 2022 and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill, 2022.

“Unless these deficiencies are addressed promptly by the National Assembly, to bring our legal regime in conformity with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, Nigeria will face the risk of a negative public statement blacklisting the country by FATF.

“This will lead to some negative consequences to our rapidly growing economy.

“In light of the above, Federal Ministry of Justice reviewed the Money

Laundering (Prohibition) Bill and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill before the National Assembly and have come up with revised versions of the Bills, incorporating the resolutions to the deficiencies pointed out in the Mutual Evaluation Report, thereby bringing Nigeria’s AML/CFT legal regime in conformity with the FATF recommendations.”

Categories
Politics

Osinbajo hosts APC senators in support for presidential race


Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, addresses APC senators at a dinner held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on April 12, 2022, seeking for support for his presidential bid.

He made the request on Tuesday hosted when he hosted the lawmakers to an iftar dinner at the Aguda House within the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.

The Senate President, who led the lawmakers to the villa, briefed State House correspondents after the dinner, saying the conversation with the Vice President was cordial.

He, however, gave no word on whether the APC senators would give Osinbajo the support he requested.

Lawan assured Nigerians of the Senate’s unwavering support of the growth and development of the country.

The dinner comes one day after the Vice President declared his intention to run for President in 2023.

The photos below capture the highlights of the dinner:

Categories
national

Senate passes Peace Corps Bill

SARS: Senate President commends Buhari for acceding to the demand of Nigerians
The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday passed the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, 2020.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Interior.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South).

Senator Sulieman Sadiq Umar (Kwara North), in a presentation on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Kashim Shettima, said the panel consolidated the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill and National Unity Corps Bill into one for “ease of advancing its work.”

He said the Nigerian Peace Corps bill seeks to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for the youths, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch and nation-building.

He explained that the Corps would have the responsibility of training the youths to advance the course of peace-building and conflict transformation through peace education, mediation and conflict resolution among warring groups and communities where there are crises in Nigeria.

According to the lawmaker, “the bill when given legislative support will be of great benefit to the Nigerian youths as many of them will be gainfully employed through the establishment of the Corps.”

In a related development, the Senate on Tuesday also passed the Nigerian Hunters Council Bill.

The bill’s passage was sequel to the consideration of another report by the Committee on Interior.

Senator Sulieman Sadiq Umar, in his presentation, said the Hunters Council when established would, among others, prevent and detect crimes and illegal activities going on in the country’s forests.

He stated that the body would work with the Police and Security Agencies by making available any relevant information on criminals’ encroachment, as well as partner with relevant stakeholders on Community policing.

Meanwhile, the chamber has also passed a bill to establish the Federal College of Education Akon, Kwara.

The bill was passed after the chamber considered a report by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund.

Senator Tolulope Odebiyi (Ogun West), in a presentation on behalf of the Committee Chairman, Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina North), said the institution would identify the educational needs of teachers and special persons, both physically and mentally challenged, with a view to finding a lasting solution to deficits in career teachers and special instructors while achieving the National Educational Development Plan.

Categories
Business & Economy

Buhari seeks Senate approval for adjustments to 2022 fiscal framework


The Senate, on Tuesday at plenary received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to approve adjustments to the 2022 fiscal framework.

The request was contained in a letter dated April 5, read at plenary by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

President Buhari, in the letter, explained that an adjustment to the 2022 became imperative in view of new developments in both the global and domestic economies.

Buhari said that the developments were occasioned by spikes in the market price of crude oil, which were a fallout of the Russian-Ukraine war.

“As you are aware, there have been new developments both in the global economy as well as in the domestic economy which have necessitated the revision of the 2022 Fiscal Framework on which the 2022 Budget was based.

“These developments include spikes in the market price of crude oil, aggravated by the Russian-Ukraine war, significantly lower oil production volume due principally to production shut-ins as a result of massive theft of crude oil between the production platforms and the terminals.

“The decision to suspend the removal of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy at a time when high crude oil prices have elevated the subsidy cost has significantly eroded government revenues”, Buhari said.

He, therefore, requested the upper chamber to approve an increase in the oil benchmark by 11 dollars per barrel, from 62 dollars per barrel to 73 dollars per barrel.

The President also sought a reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.600 million barrels per day.

He also sought the approval of Senate for an increase in the estimated provision for PMS subsidy for 2022 by N3.557 trillion, from N442.72 billion to N4.00 trillion.

Buhari, emphasised the need for a cut in the provision for Federally funded upstream projects being implemented by N200 billion, from N352.80 billion to N152.80 billion.

He proposed an increase in the projection for Federal Government Independent Revenue by N400 billion; and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigerian Police Force.

“Based on the above adjustments, the Federation Account (Main Pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2.418 trillion, while FGN’s share from the Account (net of transfer to the Federal Capital Territory and other statutory deductions) is projected to reduce by N1.173 trillion.”

He said that the amount available to fund the federal budget was projected to decline by N772.91 billion due to the increase in the projection for Independent Revenue (Operating Surplus Remittance) by N400 billion.

He explained further that Aggregate Expenditure is projected to increase by N192.52 billion, due to increase in personnel cost by N161.40 billion and other service wide votes by N21.05 billion (both for the Nigeria Police Force), additional domestic debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion.

Giving a breakdown, he said the net deductions would result in a cut by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion for NDDC.

NEDC, by 6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; UBEC, by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.

The President noted that the total budget deficit is projected to increase by N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99 per cent of GDP.

According to him, the incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.

Categories
latest news

National Security: Senate moves to establish commission on religious harmony


The Senate, at Wednesday plenary considered a bill seeking to establish the National Religious Harmony Commission (NRHC).

The National Religious Harmony Commission (Establishment) Bill 2022, sponsored by Sen. Suleiman Umar (APC Kwara), passed second reading during plenary.

Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Umar said the bill sought to establish the NRHC to promote religious tolerance, peace and harmony in Nigeria.

He said the United Nations (UN) Charter and several provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) were based on the principles of the dignity and equality of all human beings.

Umar explained that the UN charter sought the promotion and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction to race, sex, language or religion.

“Having realised the sensitive role religion plays in national security, peace and harmony, the Federal Government wishes to promote inter-religious harmony and understanding, Umar said.

He added that the move was due to the chequered history of religious intolerance in the Nigerian polity.

According to him, the bill seeks to create an enabling environment for the peaceful coexistence of different religious beliefs within the country as well as provide a forum for public enlightenment and dialogue.

This, he said, would limit controversy and confrontation over allegations of discriminations based on religious identities.

He said it would also check the insidious effects of religious bigotry, profiling, stereotyping, violence, discrimination, extremism and hate speech.

According to him, the commission will, among others, ensure protection of right to religious freedom, assist victims of religious discrimination or violations and investigate cases of religious extremism and hate speeches.

Umar added that the commission would also detect early warning signals of acts capable of triggering religious tension in the country and curtail them.

He said the NRHC would be charged with the responsibility to review safeguards provided in the constitution or any law for the protection of religious rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation and enforcement.

The bill, after consideration, was referred to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters for legislative inputs.

The committee was given four weeks to turn in its report.

In a related development, a bill seeking to amend the Federal Colleges of Education Act to establish the Federal College of Education Arochukwu, Abia, also scaled through second reading.

The bill seeks to convert the existing College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu, to a federal college of education.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia ), after its consideration, was referred to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund for further work.

The committee was also given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.

Categories
Education

Senate passes bill to re-enact National Commission for Colleges of Education


The Senate on Tuesday at plenary passed a bill to repeal and re-enact the National Commission for Colleges of Education Act of 1989.

Also passed was the bill to establish the Federal Polytechnic, Orozo.

The bills were passed following the consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund.

Sen. Nora Ladi Daduut (APC-Plateau), presented the report on behalf of the Committee Chairman, Ahmad Babba Kaita.

Daduut said the National Commission for Colleges of Education bill, among others, seeks to empower the commission to attract highly qualified personnel from the Federal Colleges of Education.

She said the bill also seeks to make 65 years the official retirement age from service.

Daduut said it also provides the commission with the powers to appoint, second or transfer an employee of other colleges or appoint a new officer to deputize the Executive Secretary of the Commission.

She explained further that when passed and assented into law, the Commission would be empowered to determine the tenure and remunerations of the Deputy Executive Secretary of the commission.

This, she said, will be in consultation with the Minister of Education and/or any other Minister responsible.

On the bill to establish the Federal Polytechnic, Orozo, Daduut said the institution, when established, would develop and offer full-time academic and professional programmes in Technology, Applied Sciences, Management and Administration.

Daduut added that the programmes would lead to the award of Higher National Diploma, Ordinary National Diploma and other levels of study.

Categories
national

Sen. Balogun reiterates support for gender bill


Senator Kola Balogun, representing Oyo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, on Sunday, reiterated his support for the gender bill which recently suffered defeat at the National Assembly.

Balogun, who is the younger brother of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, reiterated his support for the gender bill while responding to a request made by Dupe Sobukola, the Chairperson of National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Ogun State chapter, at the Alarere residence of the new Olubadan.

FELLOW PRESS reports that Sobukola had accompanied the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Alaba Lawson, and other female chiefs across Yorubaland on a courtesy visit to the new Olubadan.

The NAWOJ boss used the opportunity of the visit to request the lawmaker to prevail on his colleagues to revisit the gender bill.

She described the gender bill as a product of intensive research on how there could be growth and development through women participation in politics.

Sen. Balogun urged the women folk to remain focused and use their numerical strength to bring about whatever change they desire in the polity.

The Senator said he believed in women and support whatever that would give them their dues in the polity.

“Some of us appreciate your roles in the polity and what your dues should be, but, we need the number to push through and that’s where the job comes back to you to scrutinize and push forward those that share your vision and mission.

Earlier, the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Lawson, said the purpose of the visit was to felicitate the new Olubadan, whose emergence at this particular point in time is significant in the history of Ibadanland and Yorubaland in general.

She stressed that unity among the traditional rulers in Yorubaland should be encouraged.

Lawson, who doubles as the Iyalode of Egbaland, maintained that the team she led to the Olubadan was to show the oneness of all the women in Yorubaland.

Responding on behalf of Olubadan, Chief Amidu Ajibola commended the Iyalodes for the visit and promised that the Olubadan palace would be ever ready to respond to whatever request the women folk may bring towards the growth and development of the country.

Categories
Education

Senate approves establishment of Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo


The Senate, on Wednesday at plenary, gave approval to the establishment of Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo, Osun.

FELLOW PRESS reports that the approval followed the presentation and consideration of a report on a bill to establish the institute by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security.

The report was laid by Chairman of the committee, Sen. Oseni Yakubu (APC-Kogi).

According to Yakubu, the bill, consisting of 25 Clauses and 1 Schedule, seeks to establish the institute to provide full-time and part-time courses of instruction and training in ICT and other related fields of study.

He also said that the bill sought to make provisions for the general administration of the institute.

The senator disclosed that out of all submissions received from stakeholders on the bill, only two were opposed to it.

He mentioned the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as vehemently opposing the bill.

Yakubu added that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy also objected to the bill on one hand, adding, however, that it conceded that should it be passed and assented to, the institute should be domiciled under its supervisory authority.

“However, all other stakeholders supported the bill, saying that the establishment of the institute would be of immense economic advantage to Nigeria.

“They were also of the opinion that the establishment of the institute will alleviate the challenge of inadequate manpower in the ICT sector, thereby making room for improved job opportunities and employment generation”, he added.

NAN reports that the bill was passed after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

In a related development, the senate re-considered and passed a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Education, Aguleri in Anambra.

This followed a motion for the bill’s re-committal moved by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi).

Abdullahi recalled that the Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra State (Establishment) Bill, 2022 was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the president for assent.

He observed that some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action by both chambers of the national assembly emerged after a critical analysis of the bill.

The senator stated that a technical committee of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as Directorate of Legal Services met and worked on the bill.

Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the bill as passed and re-committed same to the committee of the whole for reconsideration and passage.

Meanwhile, a total of five bills scaled second reading on Wednesday.

The bills sought to establish Federal Polytechnic Dange, Sokoto State and National Agency for Ethics, Values and Integrity Compliance.

They also provided legislative framework for the establishment of Nigerian Television Authority College, Jos; Federal School of Nursing and Midwifery, Igbeagu and Federal College of Agriculture, Obot Akara, Akwa-Ibom.

The bills were sponsored by five senators: Danbaba Ibrahim, Patrick Akinyelure, Istifanus Gyang, Samuel Egwu and Stephen Ekpenyong.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund; Establishment and Public Service Matters, Information and National Orientation, Health (Secondary and Tertiary) and Tertiary Institutions and TetFund.

The committees were all given four weeks to report back to the senate in plenary.

Categories
latest news

List of INEC Commissioners, REC confirmed by Senate

SARS: Senate President commends Buhari for acceding to the demand of Nigerians
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of six persons as National Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Also confirmed is the nomination of one person as a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the electoral umpire.

Naija News reports the confirmation follows the nomination of the persons by President Muhammadu Buhari who forwarded their names to the National Assembly for confirmation in a letter dated December 10, 2021.

The confirmed nominees are:
Mal. Mohammed Haruna, National Commissioner (Niger – North Central)
Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta – South-South)
Ukeagu Kenneth Nnamdi (Abia – South East)
Major General A. B. Alkali (rtd) – Adamawa, (North East)

Others are Engr. (Prof.) Rhoda H. Gumus (Bayelsa – South-South), and Mr. Sam Olumekan (Ondo – South West).

Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo – South West), was confirmed as a Resident Electoral Commissioner.

The confirmations follow the presentation of a report by the Senate Committee on INEC, chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya.

Senator Gaya, in his report, said all the nominees are non-card-carrying members of any political party in the country and have been found worthy by the committee for the appointment.

In his remarks, Senate President Ahmad Lawan charged the confirmed nominees to see their appointment as a call to duty particularly as the 2023 general elections in Nigeria approach.

Categories
headline News

Senate condoles with 23 travellers burnt to death by bandits

Nigerian Senate on Wednesday mourned the deaths of travellers burnt to ashes on Monday by suspected bandits on their way to Gayan in Kaduna State.

The travellers numbering twenty-three, according to reports, were on Tuesday attacked in Angwan Bawa, Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

The victims were said to be on their way to the southern part of the country when they were intercepted and killed by the bandits.

Coming under order 43 of the Senate rules, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), drew the attention of his colleagues to the gruesome murder of the travellers.

He lamented the spate of killings, which, he warned were alarming and on the increase.

He called on the military and security agencies to immediately intervene by deploying personnel to secure the lives of residents in states affected by the activities of bandits.

The Senate, thereafter, observed a minute silence to mourn the victims of Monday’s attack by bandits.

Categories
Politics

Senate confirms Amaechi Nwoha as Commissioner, National Assembly Commission

SARS: Senate President commends Buhari for acceding to the demand of Nigerians
The Senate has confirmed Mr Amaechi Nwoha, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for appointment as Commissioner representing South- East in the National Assembly Commission.

His confirmation was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service at plenary on Wednesday.

The report was presented by Sen. Smart Adeyemi,(APC-Kogi), on behalf of the Chairman, Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau (APC-Kano).

Adeyemi said the nominee was a seasoned legislator with the Imo State House of Assembly.

He said that there was no petition against the nominee before the committee.

He said, ” the committee having screened the nominee do hereby recommend him for confirmation of Senate as Commissioner representing the South-East in the National Assembly Commission.”

Senate thereafter after a voice vote confirmed his nomination.

Senate also at plenary considered for first reading five bills.

The bills are : Federal Medical Centre Hong, Adamawa State Establishment Bill, 2021 sponsored by Sen.Abdullahi Yayaha(APC-Kebbi) and Federal Medical Centre, Kabba, Kogi State Establishment Bill ,2021 by Sen.Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi).

The rest are : Federal University of Agriculture Ogoja,Cross River State Establishment Bill,2021 by Sen.Jarigbe Agom(PDP-Cross River), Nigerian Oil Research Development Board Bill,2021 by Sen. Theodore Orji (PDP-Abia) and Weights and Measures Implementation Agency by Sen. Shettima Kashim (APC-Borno).

Categories
Politics

Senate allows INEC to determine mode of transmitting election results

The Senate has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results during elections.

This followed the reversal, on Tuesday, of the Senate’s earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”.

The move was part of decisions taken by the Senate when it passed a bill to re-commit some clauses in the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-Enactment bill which was earlier passed separately by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Presenting a motion for the changes before the Senate, Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said after a critical examination of the Bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, some fundamental issues were observed which required fresh legislative action. He listed the clauses that required action as 43,52,62,87.

Section 87 deals with the method of primaries to be adopted by political parties.

The Senate had earlier adopted during the amendment of the electoral act that parties should adopt either direct or indirect primaries.

However, based on the observation by its INEC Committee, the lawmakers supported direct primaries while some others did not.

Senator Adamu AlIero supported direct primaries arguing that it will strengthen and deepen democracy and will make the electoral process transparent. He said it will elongate a system where money bags will hijack the process.

However, based on the observation by its INEC Committee, the Senate opted for a repeal of the section to select a specific method of primaries. Some lawmakers support direct primaries while some others do not.

Senator Adamu AlIero argued in favour of direct primaries, saying that it will strengthen and deepen democracy and will make the electoral process transparent.

However, Senator Smart Adeyemi disagreed, throwing his support for indirect primaries.

According to Senator Adeyemi, indirect primaries is better for the country because the majority of party members are illiterate and they will need enlightenment if they are going to be asked to come out and vote. He added that indirect primaries are cheaper to conduct.

After the debate, the majority of lawmakers voted in favour of direct primaries and it was adopted by the Senate.

Categories
Politics

Senate confirms 39 career, non-career ambassadorial nominees

Following a satisfactory report by the Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, Senate on Wednesday confirmed 39 out 41 ambassadorial nominees with only one as Career nominee.

In a report which formed the basis for this Wednesday’s confirmation of nominees, the Committee sought for nominees from Niger and Yobe to be stood down, citing unresolved issues from their states. They are: Air Comodore Peter Ndabake Gana (Rtd) and Yusuf Mohammed.

Senator Bulkachuwa said, nominees were screened virtually and physically, and were found satisfactory.

He said: “All the 41 nominees exhibited a high level of diplomacy that warranted no objection from the Committee.

“They were drawn from academic, public and private sectors with high level of pedigree and exposure.

He added that the Committee stood down nominees from Niger and Yobe States pending the resolution of the mixed up surrounding their appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue Northeast), pointed out that two career Ambassadors from Benue went to the same zone, leaving the biggest zone he represents, hence, “the need to step down pending when it’s being sorted out.

Also, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central), and Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) complained of lopsidedness in the appointment of Ambassadorial nominee from Taraba, citing relevant Act of the Federal Character Commission, while urging the Senate to step down the nominee.

Reacting, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan pleaded for understanding, insisting that the business of the Senate was to confirm and to appoint.

The Chamber, thereafter, confirmed the following:

Suleiman Sani – Career ambassador
Umar Sulieman, Adamawa
Kevin Peter, Adamawa
John Usanga, Akwa Ibom
Elejah Onyeagba, Anambra
Abubakar Ibrahim, Bauchi
Philip Ikurusi, Bayelsa
Tarzoor Terhemen, Benue
Paul Adikwu, Benue
Al-Bishir Al-Hussain, Borno
Bwala Bukar, Borno
Monique Ekpong, Cross River
Oma Djebah, Delta
Ominyi Eze, Ebonyi
Yamah Musa, Edo
C. O Ugwu, Enugu
Hajara Salim, Gombe
Obiezu Chinyerem, Imo
Ali Magashi, Jigawa
M. A Markarfi, Kaduna
Hamisu Takalmawa, Kano
Jazuli Gadalanci, Kano
Sadiya Nuhu, Kano
Yahaya Lawal, Katsina
Dare Sunday Awoniyi, Kogi
Ibrahim Laaro, Kwara
Abioye Bello, Kwara
Zara Umar, Kwara
Ademola Seriki, Lagos
Henry Omaku, Nasarawa
Sarafa Isola, Ogun
Nimi Akinkube, Ondo
Adejaba Bello, Osun
Adeshina Alege, Oyo
Debo Adeshina, Oyo
Folakemi Akinyele, Oyo
Shehu Yibaikwal, Plateau
Maureen Tamuno, Rivers
Faruk Yabo, Sokoto
Adamu Hassan, Taraba
Abubakar Moriki, Zamfara

Categories
Metro

Senate passes bill prescribing life imprisonment for kidnappers, either male or female

The senate on Tuesday July 14, passed a bill prescribing life imprisonment for persons found guilty of kidnapping.

The upper legislative chamber also deleted the statute of limitation on defilement and also removed gender restrictions on offences of rape. The bill tagged “the Criminal Code Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020” sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central) had passed its second reading in the Senate on Tuesday, 26 November 2019.

Chairman, Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human and Legal Matters, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele, had noted that the aim of criminal law and criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders.

According to the senate, subsection (1) of the bill is amended to include a “Minor”, and the term “imbecile” and “idiot” in subsection (2) connotes a derogative remark and therefore is substituted with the word “mentally challenged”.

Section 357 which deals with sexual assaults on females is amended to indicate incidences of non-consensual sex perpetrated against a boy or man, whereas, Section 364 of the Principal Act is amended to proffer life sentences for persons found guilty of kidnapping.

Categories
Politics

Coronavirus: Senate suspends activities

The Senate on Thursday announced the partial closure of its activities to members of the public as part of measures to prevent the outbreak of Coronavirus in the National Assembly complex.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made the announcement at plenary after a one-hour closed session.

Lawan said all forms of public hearing and excursion of students to the Senate have been suspended till further notice.

The Senate President, in addition, announced the closure of its gallery where journalists and members of the public, usually converge to observe plenary proceedings.

Categories
Business & Economy Politics

Senate approves Buhari’s $22.7bn loan request

The Senate on Thursday approved the $22.7bn external borrowing plan of the federal government after an emergency closed-door session.

Buhari had requested for the loan to fund critical infrastructure projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.

The process of approving the loan by Senators, however, led to a debate in the upper chamber as some senators approved it while some opposed it and demanded the details of the projects to be funded with the money.

This disagreement forced the Red Chamber into a closed-door session, which lasted about 30 minutes. Afterwards, the lawmakers approved the two-item recommendation of the Committee on Local and Foreign Loans.

The controversy began when the Chairman of the Local and Foreign Loans Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia submitted the report to the plenary without the details of the projects to be funded with the loan.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, demanded the details of the projects to be implemented and that the lawmakers should critically scrutinise the panel’s recommendations before passing the report. He said the Senate needed to look at each item of the report and then determine which of the projects would help in growing the country’s economy.

Abaribe’s suggestion was turned down by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan who said the report cannot be scrutinised clause by clause because it is not a bill.

Lawan said, “What is here is what is to finance our capital budget and therefore it is important that we are conscious of that fact that we need to have the capital aspects of the budget funded.

“If we notice any lopsidedness, I think it may not just be for this Senate to just impede the progress but it is important that it takes note of areas that are left out and then, in the next phase, we consider them.”

He said Abaribe could decide to vote against all the recommendations or make amends.

He added: “What we want is to vote consciously on the projects and until it is approved, there won’t be implementation of the capital budget.”

The upper legislative chamber approved the loan request after the closed-door session and Lawan pledged that the loan would be used for projects that would improve the lives of Nigerians.

Categories
News

VAT rises from 5 to 7.5 percent as Senate passes bill

The Senate on Thursday passed the Finance Bill presented to it by President Muhammadu Buhari to raise the country’s Value Added Tax(VAT) from 5 to 7.5 percent.

The bill has five strategic objectives of promoting fiscal equity, reforming domestic tax laws and raising revenue.

The Bill is entitled, ”A Bill for an Act to Make for incremental changes to Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Law and for Other Related Matters therewith, 2019( SB 140).

The Amendments carried out were a total of fifty-six amendments of different existing Acts which include: Company Tax; Petroleum Profit Tax; Capital Gains Tax; Stamp Duty Tax; Personal Income tax and Customs and Excise Duty.

According to the Bill, a large sum of money realized from the taxation would go the states and local governments while fifteen percent will go the Federal Government.

The Finance Bill was read the third time and passed after the consideration of the report of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos West.

The report read in part , “The bill has five strategic objectives, the first one is to promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation. The second one is to reform domestic tax laws to align with global best practices. The third is to introduce tax incentives for investment in infrastructure. The fourth objective is to support ongoing ease of doing business reforms and the fifth objective is to raise revenues for government including proposal to increase the value-added tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5%.

“The 2020 appropriation bill is based on the provisions of this bill. The additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes.”

Categories
News

Multiple exchange rate: CBN gov Emiefele to summoned by Senate

Godwin Emefiele

The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it on Monday (today).

Emefiele is expected at the Senate panel with detailed explanations on the rationale behind the exchange rates the CBN used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

The multi-billion dollar projects are being funded with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

The PIDF was earmarked from dollar-denominated Sovereign Wealth Fund to partly fund the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Expressway, East-West Road and Mambilla Hydro Project.

The first three projects had already been funded to the tune of N163.8bn.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, announced the summons in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media, Chief Kayode Odunaro.

Adeola demanded the appearance of the CBN governor during an interactive session between the panel and the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji.

The statement explained that Orji and his management team had told the committee that the contracts for the projects were denominated in naira and that the CBN exchange rate for the disbursed fund was N325 to a dollar instead of the official rate of N305.

The Committee Chairman said, “This committee will like to see the contract documents for these projects and why the exchange rate for the dollar to naira was at N325 to a dollar instead of the official rate of N305 in a government to government transaction for these key infrastructure projects.

“We are not indicting the NSIA or conducting an investigation or probe of the CBN but we like to know the reason this different rate was used but we are inviting the CBN to appear together with the NSIA on Monday.”

Adeola commended the NSIA for what it has done so far in terms of funding healthcare, education, infrastructure and investment in fertiliser production.

He, however, called for caution in disbursement even as he sought more investment in diverse areas to grow the $1.5bn Sovereign Wealth for its contributors like the Federal Government, state governments, local governments and the FCT to reap the benefits of its establishment.

Senator Ayo Akinyelure, while supporting the need for clarifications from the CBN on the exchange rates in the affected transactions, stated that the NSIA might have been shortchanged.

He added that the rates might explain the seeming slow progress, delay and non completion of the key projects as some aspects would be based on import of materials which are denominated in dollars purchased at higher bureau de change rates.

Categories
Politics

Nigerian Senate names 69 committee chairpersons, deputies [Full list]

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, announced chairpersons and their deputies for senate standing committees.

The announcement followed conclusion of screening of 43 ministerial nominees submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari after a five-day exercise.

Former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was the last nominee screened.

Out of 43 individuals, 22 were asked to ‘take a bow and go’, without any serious questions by senators, while 21 others faced questions bothering on the economy.

Those who enjoyed the privilege of ‘bow and go’ were either former lawmakers or have been ‘outstanding in their previous political activities’.

The committees, their chairpersons and vice-chairpersons listed below:

1. Agriculture – Abdullahi Adamu, Bima Enagi.

2. Air Force – Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Michael Nnachi.

3. Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes – Suleiman Kwari, Aliyu Wamakko.

4. Appropriation – Barau Jibrin, Stella Oduah.

5. Army – Ali Ndume, Abba Moro.

6. Aviation – Dino Melaye, Bala Na’Allah.

7. Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions – Uba Sani, Orji Uzor Kalu.

8. Capital Market – Ibikunle Amosun, Binos Yero

9. Communications – Oluremi Tinubu, Ibrahim Bomai.

10. Corporation and Integration in Africa and NEPAD – Chimaroke Nnamani, Yusuf Yusuf.

11. Culture and Tourism – Rochas Okorocha, Ignatius Longjohn.

12. Customs, Excise and Tarrifs – Francis Alimekhena, Francis Fadahunsi.

13. Defence – Aliyu Wamakko, Istifanus Gyang.

14. Diaspora and NGOs – Bashiru Ajibola, Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

15. Downstream Petroleum Sector – Sabo Mohammed, Philip Aduda.

16. Drugs and Narcotics – Hezekaiah Dimka, Chimaroke Nnamani.

17. Ecology Climate Change – Mohammad Gusau, Olubunmi Adetunmbi.

18. Education (Basic and Secondary) – Ibrahim Geidam, Akon Eyakenyi

19. Employment, Labour and Productivity – Ben Umajumogwu, Kabiru Barkiya.

20. Environment – Ike Ekweremadu, Ibrahim Hadejia.

21. Establishment and Public Service – Ibrahim Shekarau, Barinadas Mpigi.

22. Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions – Patrick Akinyelure, Ahmed Babba-Kaita.

23. FCT – Abubakar Kyari, Tolu Odebiyi.

24. Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs – Danjuma Laah, Yahaya Gumau.

25. FERMA – Gershom Bassey, Kabir Barkiya.

26. Finance – Adeola Olamilekan, Isa Jibrin.

27. Foreign Affairs – Mohammed Bulkachuwa, Ignatius Longjohn.

28. Gas Resources – James Manager, Biobaraku Wangagra.

29. Health (Secondary and Tertiary) – Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Betty Apiafi.

30. Housing – Sam Egwu, Lola Ashiru.

31. ICT and Cybercrime – Yakubu Useni, Abdulfatai Buhari.

32. INEC – Kabiru Gaya, Sahabi Ya’u.

33. Industries – Adebayo Osinowo.

34. Information and National Communication – Danladi Sankara, Aishatu Ahmed.

35. Interior – Kashim Shettima, Diri Douye.

36. Interparliamentary Affairs – Godiya Akwashiki, Abba Moro.

37. Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – Michael Bamidele, Emmanuel Oker-Jev.

38. Land Transport – Abdulfatai Buhari, Nicholas Tofowomo.

39. Legislative Compliance – Oriolowo Adeyemi, Sabi Abdullahi.

40. Local Content – Teslim Folarin, Sabi Abdullahi.

41. Local and Foreign Debts – Clifford Ordia, Bima Enagi.

42. Marine Transport – Danjuma Goje, Adebayo Osinowo.

43. Media and Public Affairs – Adedayo Adeyeye, Akwashiki Godiya.

44. National Identity and National Population – Sa’idu Alkali, Suleiman Kwari.

45. National Planning – Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

46. National Security and Intelligence – Abdullahi Gobir, Chukwuka Utazi.

47. Navy – George Sekibo, Elisha Abbo.

48. Niger Delta – Peter Nwabaoshi, Bulus Amos.

49. Petroleum Upstream – Albert Akpan, Ifeanyi Ubah.

50. Police Affairs – Dauda Jika, Abubakar Tambuwal.

51. Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Program – Lawal Gumau, Michael Nnachi.

52. Power – Gabriel Suswam, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

53. Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases – Chuwkuka Utazi, Sadiq Umar.

54. Privatisation – Theodore Orji, Oriolowo Adeyemi.

55. Public Accounts – Mathew Urghohide, Ibrahim Hassan.

56. Public Procurement – Shuaibu Lau, Lola Ashiru.

57. Rules and business – Sadiq Umar, Yahaya Abdullahi.

58. Science and Technology – Uche Ekwunife, Robert Boroffice.

59. Senate Services – Sani Musa, Lawal Hassan.

60. Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy – Tanko Almakura, Oriolowo Adeyeye.

61. Sports and Social Development – Joseph Garba

62. State and Local Government – Lekan Mustapha, Francis Onyewuchi.

63. Special Duties – Yusuf Yusuf, Biobaraku Wangagra.

64. SDGs – Aisha Dahiru, Lekan Mustapha

65. Tertiary Institution and TETFUND – Ahmed Baba Kaita, Sandy Onor.

66. Trade and Investment – Rose Oko
Francis Fadahunsi.

67. Water Resources – Bello Mandiya, Christopher Ekpeyong.

68. Women Affairs and Youth Development – Betty Apiafi, Aishatu Dahiru.

69. Works – Adamu Aliero, Emmanuel Bwacha.

Categories
latest news Politics

Senate drills ministerial nominees today, cuts recess

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed today has the start for the screening of the 43 ministerial nominees forwarded yesterday by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation.

He said thus after reading the names of the nominees during plenary, said the Senate would suspend all other activities to ensure that the nominees were screened ahead of the annual vacation of the National Assembly, which was scheduled to begin on Friday.

To do a thorough screening, the Senate has also resolved to suspend its Rules, cut short its annual recess by one week, screen the nominees into late hours of the day as well as carry out the exercise on Fridays, which are not sitting periods.

According to the Senate, the annual recess which ought to begin this week, will no longer be possible as they will continue next week.

Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, while briefing journalists after plenary, said the Senate would suspend its rules and recess period for one week to enable it screen the 43 ministerial nominees.

According to him, the Senate has vowed to thoroughly screen all the ministerial nominees to ascertain their qualifications.

He also said lawmakers would not spare any of the nominees that falls bellow standard, adding that they would sit beyond 2pm and also on Friday and Monday.

He said nominees will not be accorded ‘’bow and go’’ status normally accorded to former senators or House of Representatives members.

Adeyeye said: “The Senate is very serious about going ahead with the ministerial screening and confirmation without delay. We have postponed our recess till end of next week. We have suspended a lot of our rules, we don’t hold plenary on Friday and Monday.

“We want to hold plenary everyday, we want to make a lot of sacrifices. We shall sit till very late to conclude the confirmation. We are ready to work at unusual hours, we want to do a thorough confirmation.

“We promised to work for Nigeria, we are going to work at unusual hours because we want the process to be thorough.

“We shall reject nominees, who in our opinion performed below expectations, we reserve the right to reject such nominee. It isn’t just a ritual, it is a serious Senate. If it wasn’t going to be serious, we can pass everybody in one day, but the Constitution doesn’t allow us to do that. “The Constitution doesn’t make it mandatory to attach portfolio. As at today, no rule, no law, mandates the President to attach nominees. We shall look at their qualifications and security reports.”

Categories
News

Senate issues Buhari 5 day ultimatum to submit ministerial nominees

The Senate has given President Muhammadu Buhari till Friday to submit the list of ministerial nominees for screening, failure of which the red chamber will proceed on its two-month annual recess.

In line with its annual calendar, the National Assembly is meant to go on its annual recess on July 26 and resume on September 26.

Buhari, who won election in February and was sworn in on May 29, has continued to delay the submission of the ministerial list, arguing that he will need to take his time to appoint the people he knows.

The Chairman, Senate ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, on Saturday night said the red chamber would proceed on its annual two-month recess this week if the Senate did not get the ministerial list by Friday.

He said, “If the list does not come before Friday, the Senate will proceed on its annual recess. We are not giving the president any ultimatum. The schedule of the Senate will go ahead if the Senate does not receive the list. The list is the only thing that can hold us back.”

Adeyeye said the President was at liberty to send the list whenever he pleased and that the Senate also had a duty to consider it in the overriding national interest.

He added, “However, any time they submit the list, we will consider it. It is not our responsibility to put pressure on the President. We can be recalled whenever the list is submitted even if we are already on recess, in the overriding national interest.’’

Corroborating this position, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said that the Senate would go on its annual recess on schedule.

Asked if the Senate would still postpone its annual recess despite the fact that the President had not submitted the ministerial nominees’ list.

Abaribe said, “The Senate will keep to its schedule.”

Categories
Breaking news Politics

Breaking news: Lawan elected senate president

The Senator representing Yobe North constituency, Ahmed Lawan, has won the leadership position of the ninth National Assembly.

Senator Lawan defeated his opponent Ali-Ndume with 79 votes from the lawmakers, thereby making him the Senate President.

His victory was announced by the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, who added that 107 senators cast their votes.

He was immediately sworn-in by the clerk of the National Assembly.

Senator Lawan who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1999, at different times Lawan chaired the House Committees on education and agriculture.

He later became a Senator in 2007 and in 2008, he became a member of the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Constitution Review.

In 2009, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Lawan initiated and sponsored the Desertification Control Commission Bill.

On June 6, 2019, another contender for the seat of the Senate President, Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down for Senator Lawan after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Categories
News

Buhari must sign electoral bill, lawmakers insist

Members of the National Assembly are mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill 2018 to justify the N143bn the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Electoral Matters has just recommended as the budget for the 2019 polls.

That the senators and members had discussed the matter across political parties, where they consistently questioned Buhari’s seeming unwillingness to sign the bill.

It was learnt that the lawmakers observed that if the bill was not signed, there was no way the Independent National Electoral Commission could spend the N143bn as the bulk of the budget was earmarked for the procurement of election equipment envisaged by the bill.

Findings indicated that much as the joint committee on electoral matters went ahead to approve the money for consideration by the Joint Committee on Appropriations and ultimately, the floors of the two chambers, the lawmakers reportedly continued to express doubts over how INEC would spend it in the absence of the electoral bill.

One top parliamentary source explained, “The budget of INEC, and I am talking about the N143bn, not the initial N189.2bn, is this big because of the items they will procure for the elections.

“There are innovations in the electoral bill like the mandatory use of the card reader for all accreditation. In other words, there will no longer be manual accreditation whatsoever.

“So, INEC came with this huge budget to cover the cost of the so many equipment, card readers, computers and other gadgets the commission will procure to bring the accreditation in line with the provision of the bill.

“The concern of senators and members is why the passing of the budget is more important than the signing of the bill? Which one should come first?”

Another senior official, who spoke on the issue, told The PUNCH that lawmakers feared that if the budget was eventually passed, but the bill was not signed, what would happen to the money?

The official stated, “It is true that this concern has been raised. Nigerians too are not helping matters because nobody is asking the President why he is keeping the bill. Everybody is shouting, pass the budget, pass the budget.

“If there is sincerity of purpose, the first thing is for Buhari to sign the bill in order to justify this INEC budget.

“You don’t build something on nothing.

“We are worried because we hear from presidency sources that the President does not want to sign the bill. He is likely to return it to the National Assembly.

“However, our committees had to continue working just to save the National Assembly the persistent blackmail that it was delaying the budget of the 2019 general elections.”

When contacted for comments, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, said he would rather speak on the “fact that so far, the National Assembly has kept to its promise to work on the INEC budget.”

Namdas told The PUNCH that if INEC proposed its budget for specific reasons, it was the expectation of the National Assembly that the money would be spent on those purposes.

“What I will say is that we are on the INEC budget.

“Mr President and INEC made specific requests, which have been adopted by our committees.

“So, we only hope that the money will indeed be judiciously used for the purposes the requests came to the National Assembly”, he added.

Categories
Metro

Libya slave trade is a slap on Nigeria– Senate

The Senate yesterday charged the Federal Government to save Nigerians from slave auctions in Libya.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, described the Libya slave trade reports as a slap in the face of Nigerians.

Saraki said this after Kaka Baba Bashir (Borno Central), had sponsored a motion on the urgent need to protect Nigerian citizens from being sold into slavery. The Senate President wondered why the country had not done anything about the situation.

He said:  “Libya slave trade is a slap on us all if a state like Cote D’Ivoire is taking step to address this act while we have not done so.’’

While moving the motion, Bashir had described the slave trade as a “sickening crime against humanity,” wondering why Nigeria was “indifferent”, despite being one of the most affected countries.

He said:  “This is a humiliation not just to Nigeria and Africa as a whole but also to human civilization and the fundamental principles of human rights under the United Nations Charter.

“Libyan government does not have the means nor the commitment to crack down on the perpetrators as their hands are full, hence these smuggling networks are killing, torturing, extorting and detaining migrants at will.

“Other African countries such as Ivory Coast, have taken active steps to protect their people from these despicable acts and bring them back to their home country.”

Categories
Business & Economy

Blame CBN, NBS, NNPC, others if 2018 budget is not passed by December— Senate

The Senate has exonerated itself aforehand in case the 2018 Appropriation Bill fail to meet the target of being passed by December, as promised by lawmakers.

 

The Senate asked Nigerians to hold responsible for the imminent delay in the 2018 budget passage on Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank Governor; Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Co. Hammed Ali (retd.), the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, and others.

The 2018 budget estimate of N8.62 trillion was presented to the joint session of the Senate and House of Representative by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 7, 2017 with promise to fulfil executive request to hasten the approval before year runs out, so that implementation can run from January to December 2018.

Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, the Senate Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, made it known to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

Sabi-Abdullahi also accused the Federal Government officials for not appearing at the public hearing on the 2018-2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper on Tuesday, saying it has slowed down the process.

“For the budget, what we are trying to say is that it is serious enough for all of these chief executives to honour the National Assembly with their presence so that we can look at these issues critically. In doing so, they will be honouring the request by their principal and our overall President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari,” he stated.

Sabi-Abdullahi said the non-cooperation with the legislature was getting from the executive forced the Senate to inform Nigerians of the looming crisis on the budget.

He stated, “We want to report that the Senate is disturbed by a new trend where heads or chief executives of critical institutions who should play a critical role in this budget process choose to ignore the invitation by the Senate to appear before it for deliberation.

“Specifically, yesterday, when we had a deliberation, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning was around. But based on the discussion we were supposed to have, to look at the revenue projections, which are the basis for the MTEF, I want to report here that the GMD of the NNPC refused to show up.

“The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to show up. The Comptroller General of Customs refused to show up. The Director-General of the National Bureau of Statistics refused to show up; and the Director of the DPR refused to show up.

“The question to ask here is this: if the national budget is very important and all of us depend on the resources of the country to run our business, what other business could be more important than looking at this very critical assignment for this country?”

Read more on FELLOW PRESS

Categories
Business & Economy

Senate approves Buhari’s request to borrow $5.5bn

Senate during 1999 Constitution amendment

Senate today approved the $5.5 billion external loan requested by President Muhammadu Buhari to finance Federal Government projects.

The move to borrow the borrowing was approved at the plenary after the adoption of report the report by Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts

Recall how the borrowing had generated controversy from some quarters who objected based on the fact that they could not see the impact of previous borrowings by the government and so this would not be an exemption.

READ: $5.5b loan: FG mortgaging our future, says Arewa Youths, Youths threaten mass protest over $5.5b loan

 

According to Buhari’s letter on October 4, 2017, the external borrowing was captured in the 2017 budget which has a deficit of N2.35 trillion out of which N2.321 trillion is to be borrowed.

The letter had read: “Accordingly, the Senate is requested to kindly approve the following external borrowings: Issuance of $2.5bn in International Capital Market through Eurobonds or a combination of Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds for the financing of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s 2017 Appropriation Act and capital expenditure projects in the Act.

“Issuance of Eurobond in the ICM and/or loans syndication by the banks in the sum of $3bn for refinancing of maturing domestic debts obligations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, while looking forward to the timely approval of the National Assembly to enable Nigerians to take advantage of this opportunities for funding.”

Meanwhile, the $5.5 billion external borrowing is a long term loan that will take between 5 and 30 for Nigerian Government to repay

 

Categories
Business & Economy

Nigeria to borrow $3bn, as Buhari seeks Senate approval

The consent of the Nigerian Senate has been requested by President Muhammadu Buhari for external loan of about $3 billion.

According to Premium Times, Mr. Buhari has also sought the lawmakers’ approval to issue a $2.5 billion Eurobond or Diaspora bond in the international market.

The requests are contained in a letter signed by the President and read by President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, stating that the bonds would be channelled towards funding of the 2017 budget while the loan would be used in refinancing of maturing domestic debts.

“The Senate may wish to know that in order to implement the external borrowings approved by National Assembly in the 2017 appropriation act, the FGN issued $300 million diaspora fund in the International Capital Market, ICM in June 2017,” the letter said.

“The balance of the 2017 external borrowing in the sum of $3.2 billion is planned to be partially sourced in the ICM of $2.5 billion through Eurobonds or a combination of Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds, while $700 billion is proposed to be raised from multilateral sources.

“It should be noted that intention is to issue the Eurobonds first with the objective of raising all the funds through Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds will only be issued when the full amount cannot be raised through Eurobonds.

“The Senate may wish to know that the proceeds of the proposed issuance of Eurobonds and and Diaspora bonds in the ICM will be used to finance the deficit of the 2017 appropriation act and provide funding for capital projects in the budget.

“The projects include the Mambilla hydro-power project, construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, counterpart funding of rail projects and construction of Bonny road with a bridge across Opobo channel.”
The President also seek the Senate’s approval to borrow $3 billion from external sources to finance the 2017 budget.

READ ALSO: Economy recession: US reveals things that are threatening Nigeria’s economy

“In order to reduce debt service levels, and letting tenure profile of debt stock, the FGN seeks to substitute maturing domestic debts with less expensive long term external debts. The FGN seeks to source $3 billion through issuance of Eurobonds to the ICM and or loan syndication by banks as approved by the Federal Executive Council.

“It is important to note that the proposed sourcing of $3billion from external sources to refinance maturing domestic debts will not lead to an increase in public debt profile because debt already exist, rather, the substitution of domestic debts with relatively cheaper and long term external debts will lead to a significant decrease in debt service cost. This will also achieve more stability in the debt stock while also creating more borrowing space in the domestic market for the private sector.

“The Senate will recall that in the 2017 appropriation act, debt service had 1.66 trillion representing 32.73% of the FGN’s total expenditure which makes it important to urgent steps to reduce debt service cost,” the letter read.

The president noted that the terms of issuance of the bonds will be determined by the current condition of the International Capital Market.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had last week told the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance that the inability to access foreign loans was a major impediment to funding of capital projects in the 2017 budget.

Read more on FELLOW PRESS

Categories
latest news

Senate tackles FG on 2017 budget implementation, says Nigerians will die

The Senate, yesterday, tackled the Executive arm of government over the poor implementation of the 2017 budget and the release of about 15 per cent of the N2.177 trillion voted for capital projects.

Worried by the huge gap in the capital budget and the actual amount released so far, the senators warned that the trend could cause serious injury to the economy and citizenry.

The Senate spoke while drilling the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and her Budget and National Planning counterpart, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, for over two hours, yesterday.

The duo appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriations where members of the Committee asked the ministers various questions ranging from revenue profile to what had been released so far to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government. For 2017, the Federal Government had a budget of N7.4 trillion of which  N2.177 trillion was voted for capital projects.

So far, Mrs Adeosun said N341 billion has been released for capital projects. Frowning at the poor implementation of the budget, the lawmakers warned that if not corrected and improved on, it could hurt the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the next election.

Senators at the meeting sharply disagreed with the Federal Government over plans to release only an insignificant fraction of the N2.177 trillion capital vote in the 2017 budget.

Answering questions during the meeting, Adeosun and Udoma who told the senators that the government lacked adequate funding for the budget, said the government intends to release over N100 billion this week, in addition to the N310 billion earlier released for capital projects.

Senator Danujma Goje, Chairman of the committee said: “If the trend of poor releases continues like this, Nigerians will die off. It’s not good to raise people’s hopes and dash them. In implementing the January-December fiscal system, we should be careful not to sacrifice half of the 2017 budget.”

Categories
News

‘Senate did not pass Peace Corps bill. We did not touch it’

The Senate has clarified the ambiguity emanating from the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill passed and adopted by the National Assembly.

Since the Senate adopted the report of its Committee on Tuesday, two different groups had laid claims to the Bill passed.

While Amb. Dr. Dickson Akoh, the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria had addressed the Press, thanking the National Assembly for “restoring hope to the Nigerian youths”, Dr. Chinedu Nneji, Commandant General of National Unity and Peace Corps had also addresed the media, thanking the National Assembly for passing his bill.

Reacting to the controversies surrounding the Bill, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said the Bill passed into law by the National Assembly was to give legal backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, under Dickson Akoh.

Senator Abdullahi who addressed the Senate Press Corp on Thursday, said it was necessary to explain the ambiguity, saying the report in some quarters that the National Assembly passed and adopted the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill was misleading.

According to the Spokesman, the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill did not pass through the House of Representatives and as such, the Senate could not force it on the them.

His words, “Let me say that, in the Senate, we had the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill and we also had the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill.

“When we were considering the Peace Corps Bill, an observation was raised that there was another Bill which has similar objectives, that was the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill.

“So, it was agreed that the Bill should be incorporated into the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill. That was done. When we did that, we then passed our own version”.

Senator Abdullahi added that it was during the conference committee to harmonise the two versions of the bill passed, that the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill was removed and the Reps version was adopted.

“The House of Reps maintained, that there was no bill called the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill. So, there was no basis for harmonisation.

“They maintained their stand that the only bill they passed was the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, for which we also considered.

“So, at that point of harmonisation, the conference committee adopted the position of the House of Reps.

“Effectively, what this means is that, the only agency which we considered its bill was the bill that said, the Peace Corps of Nigeria and, of course, dissolution within the context of that bill only referred to Peace Corps of Nigeria.

“What that means effectively is that, the Bill that says National Unity and Peace Corps Bill is still intact, there is no provision in our law where we have even touched it.

“We want to advise Nigerians to be guided by what we have done, there should be no ambiguity.

“We know there are people out there who are claiming that the Bill we passed affected them, I don’t think that is the correct picture.

“The bill we passed and adopted, was the one promoted by the Peace Corps of Nigeria under Mr Dickson Akoh”, the Senate spokesman explained.

He, however, said the Bill made provision for any group of youths that was peaceful and with similar objective, to approach the Nigerian Peace Corps and be incorporated.

Categories
Uncategorized

Senate OKs INEC to conduct local government elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission has now been empowered by the Senate to conduct elections across local governments in Nigeria, which until now were conducted by State Independent electoral Commissions.

Senate passed the resolution after Dino Melaye moved for the motion during the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Melaye argued that for the country to have free and fair local government elections, the INEC must oversee the process and not SIECs.

The federal lawmakers also gave 30 days ultimatum to the President and Governors to appoint Ministers and Commissioners after inauguration into ‎office.

The Senate adhoc Committee in its amendment of the Constitution has also eliminated the joint account between states and local governments.

Categories
Uncategorized

Nigerians slam Senate over plan to subsidize dollar for pilgrimage at N200

Nigeria Senate is undergoing serious backlash in the and hand of Nigerians over its request from the Central Bank of Nigeria to peg dollars for those going for pilgrimage to Israel and Saudi Arabia at N200.

Currently the naira exchange to dollar at the rate of N315 at the official rate, which means dollar will be subsidized at N356per cent for pilgrims.

However, a cross section of Nigerians have criticised the recommendation, as insensitive and thoughtless.

For Tope Fasua, an economist and Chief Executive Officer, Global Analytics Consulting Limited, conceding to such request would spell disaster to the economy.

“It will confirm that what happened last year was deliberate. It will definitely distort the market and create another confidence crisis.

“I hope it’s not true for it will show we are not serious as a country,” he said.

The lead director, Centre for Social Justice, CENSOJ, Eze Onyekpere, said from this development, it was very clear the National Assembly members have lost touch with reality of the Nigerian situation.

“They do not seem to understand the state of the country’s economy. It is unthinkable that those who are supposed to make laws for our country are making such ridiculous demands, which is selfish to the extreme.

“Giving concession to those going on pilgrimage and ignoring the proposals in the medium term expenditure framework and the budget benchmark in the Appropriation Act is a crazy proposition.

“Anybody who makes such sentimental and senseless request should not be taken seriously. Pilgrimage is a personal thing. Anyone going to seek one’s salvation should look for his private money to fund his trip.

“Asking government to subsidise such trips violates the right of other Nigerians not interested in such jamboree,” Mr. Onyekpere said.

For Chief executive, Pan Africa Development Corporation, Odilim Enwegbara, the request is laughable.

He said the only reason one can discern in this request is that the lawmakers may be looking for cheap funding for their forthcoming vacation. Otherwise, they should know they are not in charge of monetary policy, and cannot direct the CBN to do such a thing, he said.

“Even if they had such powers, the CBN is not in control of the exchange rate of the dollar. By virtue of the CBN floating exchange rate policy, the exchange rate is determined by market forces. Any intervention by the CBN is illegal.

“In any case, on what basis are they asking the CBN to allocate dollars for their private religious venture?

“If indeed it is true businesses are given dollars at N200, it is because they are adding value to the economy. What value is pilgrimage adding to the economy? The Senate should be called to order.”

“The National Chairman, Young Democratic, YDP, Ezekiel Nyaetok, said: “I think the tragedy of our nation is shortsightedness of our leaders and their penchant to go for cheap popularity, by emphasising what is clearly not sustainable.”

“Where the country is today, makes more sense to ensure that such spiritual exercises, if at all, should be local. This is a time for serious introspection and sober reflection.

“As much as possible, pilgrimage should be localised, at no cost whatsoever to government. Pilgrimage adds absolutely nothing to the solution to our present situation.

“Asking for subsidy for pilgrimage at a time government is looking for funds to revive our industries and create jobs for the people smacks of shallow thinking. This is the real tragedy I am talking about.”

Last year, the Central Bank was embroiled in a similar controversy that it approved the allocation of foreign exchange to those on pilgrimage at a rate lower than the prevailing rate.

Categories
Political news

Remove Magu when Saraki becomes Acting President– Falana

-Nasir el-Rufai calls Magu nightmare of corrupt people
-Magu remains Chairman once I’m still in office, says Osinbajo

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana has reacted to lingering issue on Senate removal of the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, saying the lawmaker should suspend the move.

Femi Falana
Femi Falana

Falana said the Senate could have their way to remove Magu when Senate President Bukola Saraki becomes the acting president. Magu had been rejected twice but the presidency refused to present replacement for him to the Senate.

Quoting relevant section of the constitution in his statement on Thursday, Falana said the consent of the Senate is not compulsory to launch acting EFCC chairman to his office.

Falana said: “The decision of the Senate not to approve of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman should be ignored by the presidency because of its clear illegality.

“But the distinguished senators who are bent on removing Magu because of the intention to institutionalize corruption could achieve their agenda when they successfully install the Senate President Bukola Saraki as the Acting President of Nigeria.”

 

 

Also reacting to the Magu’s removal, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said he (Magu) would remain EFCC chairman as long as he remains the acting president of Nigeria.

Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai also commended Mr. Magu, describing him as a “nightmare for corrupt people”

The governor also said that President Muhammadu Buhari and Osinbajo have confidence in Magu and the Commission, and have love for what he has been doing.

He said Magu remains EFCC Chairman as long as Buhari and Osinbajo are in office.

Recall that the choice of nominee in the person of Magu has also put on hold the approval of another appointee, namely Director pf Lottery Commission, as Senate vowed not to take any step until the issue of power legality is resolved.

Osinbajo was quoted as saying in April that the National Assembly does not have a prerogative to disapprove less important political appointees like heads of parastatal, EFCC inclusive. But could give consent on the appointment of ministers and ambassadors, the Acting President said.

Categories
latest news

Senate to Fashola: Resign if the ministry is too big for you

fashola_fellow press

Following the controversy bordering budget allocations funds to Babatunde Fashola’s ministry, the Senate has asked him to quit the job if the job is too much for him.

Fashola, the Minister of Power, Work and Housing, had incessantly been bashing the lawmakers of slashing 2017 budgetary allocation of his ministry and unilaterally increasing their own spending more than what was obtainable in 2016.

READ ALSO: 2017 budget: Fashola attacks National Assembly for reducing Lagos-Ibadan road, power project votes

Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman Senate committee on Appropriations, made the statement Wednesday while reacting to Mr. Fashola’s accusation, said the minister was misleading the public and falsely accusing the public by saying they had altered the 2017 budget.

Senator Goje added during plenary that Fashola was a minister and no more a governor and that should reflect in his speech.

“At the begining I don’t want to raise the motion before it was taken up by House of Representatives, meaning we are on the same page.

“Nevertheless, I will like to advise the Minister that he is no more a governor, but a minister. He is dealing with National Assembly and not Lagos State House of Assembly.

“And if the burden of the job is too much for him, the ministry that comprises of 3 ministries: Power, works and housing; if Fashola cannot cope with the work, then I will advise him to honorably resign. He should do the necessity.

The senator said no amount of blackmail will make the National Assembly sway and drop what is constitutionally required. “Our oath is to uphold what is contained in the constitution and we will stop doing just that”, Goje said.

He said he would cease fire and watch how the House of Representatives would treat the matter. “We will only interfere if they did not handle him well and pass him over to us”, he said.

Categories
Politics

Some California incumbents lagging in fundraising: report

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur.

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga.

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur.

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

“Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat”

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt.

Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus.

Nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

Categories
Politics

Senate to investigate Dino Melaye’s certificate scandal


Nigerian Senate will investigate Senator Dino Melaye’s Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria certificate scandal.

Former Senate leader, Ali Ndume raisesd a point of order on Tuesday based on the document which questions the authenticity of Senator Melaye’s certificate.

Details soon…

Categories
News

Buhari receives senate reports on Magu’s rejection

President Mohammadu Buhari has received a written communication believed to be the report of the Senate on the rejection of Ibrahim Magu as nominee for the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Ibrahim Magu

It was learnt that the communication was forwarded by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari, Senator Ita Enang confirmed the receipt to Sunday Vanguard last night but declined to reveal the content as he was not privy to it.

“Yes, there has been a communication between the President of the Senate and the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari. But the content thereof is privileged between them. I don’t know”, he said simply.

It will be recalled that the Senate on Wednesday rejected the nomination of Magu and subsequently declined to confirm him as the substantive chairman of EFCC.

The senate, amongst other reasons, relied on a security report by the Department of State Service, DSS that indicted Magu of corruption.

Wednesday rejection would be the second time since Magu’s name was sent to the Senate for confirmation.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina had last week on his twitter handle said that the Presidency would react to Magu’s rejection when the senate officially communicated to the President.

“The Presidency will respond to the non-clearance of Magu as EFCC boss, after it receives official communication in writing from the Senate,” Adesina twitted.

Categories
headline News

Again, Senate, DSS blocks Magu as EFCC Chairman

By Olakunle Adeniyi

After the rejection of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu by the Senate, the lawmakers has requested a new nomination on Wednesday.

The Senate also said Mr Magu’s capacity in Acting Chairman of EFCC has ended. This was based on report from Department of State Services about him.

 

But Magu has denied ever been invited by the DSS for interrogation, saying the legislators should disregard such report.

 

After all questions had been asked, President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, asked the Clerk to the Senate to confirm how many letters were received from the DSS.

He said, “Only one letter was received in my office on the 3rd of October, 2016, from the Department of State Services. Only one letter was received. The one of yesterday (Tuesday) was actually sent because a request was made again after the renomination. The one of yesterday, dated 14th March, 2017, was to reaffirm the content of the earlier letter.”

There were reports that the DSS issued two conflicting reports on Magu; one was addressed to the Clerk of the Senate, while the other was sent through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who had refused to comment on the second letter when he was asked by journalists.

The Senate President, thereafter, put Magu’s nomination to voice vote and the nays had it.

Angered by the rejection, former Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, raised a point of order, in which he accused the Senate of double standard.

He said, “Yesterday, we got a letter from Nigeria Customs Service, signed by an Assistant Comptroller General (and sent) to the Clerk. We said that was not the right thing to do.

“This letter or report should have been written and signed by the Director-General of the DSS. By the wish of God and nature of democracy, the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say. All I am saying is that there are two letters here.”

Categories
headline Metro

Xenophobia: Senate, Reps divided over South Africa trip

By Olakunle Adeniyi

The Senate has separated itself from the trip to South Africa by the Nigerian lawmakers over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners by South Africans.

The decision to withdral from the said trip was communicated by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, saying both upper and lower chambers of the parliament failed to reach an agreement on sending delegation down to South Africa.

 

Senator Ekweremadu during plenary yesterday, while reporting progress on the outcome of senate executive session prior to plenary said that the House of Representatives against the wish of the senate to send a joint delegation insisted on traveling separately without the Senate.

“But rather than traveling separately and embarrassing ourselves, we have decided to let the House of Representatives go. We wish them safe trip and a fruitful delegation, “ Ekweremadu announced.

It would be recalled that the senate had in the wake of the attacks on Nigerians and destruction and looting of their properties by South

Africans last month, urged the Deputy Senate President to lead a delegation of parliamentarians to South Africa to address the matter with the South African government, with the aim of ensuring safety and security of Nigerians in the country.

Categories
News

Ndume explains why he was removed as Senate Leader

ndume

Senator Ali Ndume has explained reason behind his removal as the Senate Majority Leader on Tuesday. Senate President had announced his removal prior the adjournment of upper legislative chamber today.

Mr. Saraki read a letter from the All Progressives Congress caucus asking for leadership change.

Mr. Ndume had stepped out of the chamber to observe his early afternoon prayer when Mr. Saraki read the letter.

The APC caucus, Mr. Saraki said, also chose Ahmed Lawan to replace Mr. Ndume.

Mr. Lawan was until his new role the chairman of the Senate committee on defence, a position he assumed after losing the June 2015 senate presidency election to Mr. Saraki.

In a chat with Premium Times, Mr. Ndume said he was removed for insisting that the Senate did not follow the proper procedure before declaring that it had rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Mr. Ndume said he insisted that in view of the Senate’s standard procedures and practice, Mr. Magu had not been rejected by the Senate because there was no confirmation hearing for the nominee to defend claims made against him.

 “What I said was that for us (Senate) to claim to have a rejected a nominee sent to us by the president, we have to follow the right procedure, and observe our rules,” the senator said.

“The nominee should have been called into the chamber and presented before senators who will then openly vote on whether to accept or reject his or her nomination.

“In the case of Magu, that was not done. We only had a closed-door session and when we emerged the Senate spokesperson claimed that he had been rejected. I had to set the record straight by saying we never rejected the nominee. This is because you don’t accept or reject a nominee at a closed session.

Öur votes and proceedings are there as evidence of my claims.”

Mr. Ndume said the clarification he made unsettled some of his colleagues, who immediately began to plot against him.

“Ï was surprised that such a simple and harmless clarification could rattle and anger some of my colleagues,” he said. I thought it wasn’t a big deal to disagree over issues. I didn’t realise that that simple matter would snowball into a plot to remove me.

“The other day, somebody mentioned to me that the Senate President had commissioned Dino Melaye to collect signatures to remove me. I didn’t pay much attention to the information because I actually thought it was a joke or a rumour.

“I didn’t feel that disagreeing with colleagues, and sharing my understanding of what transpired at our closed session was an offence, grievous enough to cause my removal.”

Messrs. Magu and Ndume hail from the same northeastern state of Borno.

Mr. Magu’s rejection followed a report sent to the Senate by the State Security Service which accused the acting EFCC chairman of corruption.

But there was also another report by the SSS which advised that Mr. Magu be confirmed in view of his sterling performance since he started working in acting capacity.

A senator familiar with the matter said Mr. Ndume especially angered Mr. Saraki when he asked why he guided members to act on the report advising against Mr. Magu’s confirmation, while ignoring the one which urged that he should be cleared for the office.

Mr. Ndume reportedly argued that what the Senate should have done was to call attention to the two security reports, and then ask the president whether to continue with the confirmation process or not.

Meanwhile, Kabiru Marafa, an ally of Mr. Lawan, the new majority leader, hailed the leadership change as “victory for APC”, saying the party had long wanted Mr. Lawan to serve as Senate Leader following the crisis sparked by Mr. Saraki’s emergence.

He further said that there was a caucus meeting on Monday during which the decision to remove Mr. Ndume was taken.

Asked when and where the meeting held, he said he was not present but that a letter said to have been generated there was brought to him to sign before plenary commenced on Tuesday.

Mr. Marafa, who said the APC caucus agreed to allow Bala Na’Allah continue as Deputy Leader, added that he was looking forward to Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, decamping to the ruling party.

“The more the merrier,” he said, adding, “Ekweremadu is my friend, brother, boss and leader and enjoy good working relationship with him.”

Categories
Politics

Senate to amend 58-year old budget law  

By Naomi Sharang

Plans by the National Assembly to amend the 58-year old Fiscal Responsibility Act had reached its final stages with the submission of the report upon which the amendment would be predicated.

The report, which was presented to the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, by the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, recommended that annual budget be presented in the first week of September.

Saraki
Saraki

The report, prepared by the Technical Committee on Budget Reforms, also recommended that the budget be considered within two months and passed on the  Nov. 30  at the latest.

The senate president had constituted the budget committee to produce a Budget Reform strategy paper and draft Budget Reform Bill.

The aim of the reform is to improve budget formulation, enactment, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation with a view to improving budget performance.

Presenting the report, Ndume, who commended the senate president for initiating the process, said the report would improve on the inconsistencies inherent in the budgeting system.

He also expressed the need to repeal and re-enact the 1958 Act to check the anomalies in relation to the fiscal year.

Part of the report included enlarging the list of stakeholders to be consulted during the budget preparation process, as well as pre-budget consultation between the National Assembly, the executive and the public.

Also recommended by the committee are a fixed and realistic budget calendar and a pre-budget statement.

The report equally recommended the strengthening of legislative oversight function in order to minimise the negative perception of the public on oversight performance.

In his remark, Saraki said that the report would be useful in preparing and considering the 2017 budget.

He said that all the aspects of the act recommended for review were in dire need of renewal.

He pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to be more transparent in budget processes.

Also speaking, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said that the success of any budget depended on the collaborations between the Executive and the Legislature.

He gave the assurance that elements of the proposed reforms would be immediately implemented.

He called for more collaboration between the Executive and the Legislature as the consideration of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework begins.

The Senate is now expected to sponsor a bill seeking to amend the Act in line with the recommendations in the report.

 NAN