NAFDAC Laboratory Gets International Accreditation

NAFDAC, Drug MonitoringThe National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has received accreditation for the testing of raw materials at its Southeast Zonal Laboratory in Anambra State.

The accreditation certificates were presented to the agency by the International Organisation for Standards (ISO) and the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC).

Speaking during the auspicious event, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, congratulated NAFDAC for the feat, but reminded the agency that the major challenge ahead was in maintaining the accreditation,

“It will be a major shame to lose it,” he warned.

Professor Adewole responded to issues concerning tariff paid on raw materials in the pharmaceutical sub-sector and maintained that he had taken up the issue to the Federal Government for immediate reappraisal to save the local industry.

The usually quiet premises of the South-east Zonal office of NAFDAC in Agulu, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State came alive with sounds of music and presence of dignitaries from far and near including the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Nkem Okeke, the Minister of Health and the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Mrs. Yetunde Oni, among other important personalities.

They had gathered to witness the presentation of the certificates of accreditation for testing of raw materials in respect of 17025/2005 of the South-east Zonal NAFDAC Laboratory by the ANSI-ASQ International Accreditation Board.

The Acting Director General of NAFDAC told the gathering that the accreditation from the two bodies that promote standards globally would not only enable the laboratory to undertake multiple pharmaceutical testing tasks but stressed that it depicted that the South-east Zonal laboratory was competent and internationally recognised to produce valid and accurate results.

The representative of the Accreditation body, Dr. Jude Nwokike, pointed out that the feat achieved by NAFDAC was indicative of its competence in the pharmaceutical analytical process.

Rounding off the speeches, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State commended NAFDAC for efficient services, but decried the activities of fake drugs dealers and distributors in the state.

He highlighted the efforts of the state government in checking the menace.

The event is wrapped up with the presentation of the certificates to the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, an inspection tour of the Laboratory facility and a group photograph as a memoir of the special occasion.

Crime Rate: 104 Cases Prosecuted By Police In Kwara In Six Months

Nigeria_Police_Armoured_Personnel_CarrierThe Kwara State Police Command says it has prosecuted 104 criminal cases in the last six months.

The State Commissioner of Police, Olushola Amore, gave the breakdown while giving a statistics of crime rate in the state to reporters in Ilorin.

He said the six months covered from July, 2016, when he assumed office as the Kwara Police Commissioner, to December 2016.

Amore said that the command prosecuted six cases of kidnap, 42 armed robbery cases, 10 homicide cases, 38 cultists and eight rape cases during the period under review.

He added that 23 different categories of firearms and a large number of ammunition as well as 12 stolen vehicles and 10 motorcycles were also recovered within the period.

The Commissioner of Police commended the men and officers of his command for a job well done in the areas of crime prevention and detection in the state.

He vowed that the state command would continue to work tirelessly until the state was rid of crimes and criminal elements.

“The command promises not to relent in ensuring that criminals are driven out of the state.

“We are also seeking more cooperation from the members of the public so that, jointly, we can make Kwara a completely-crime-free state,” he added.

Buhari’s Letter On Babachir Has Raised More Questions Than Answers – Ismael Ahmed

Ismael Ahmed APC member on Lawal BabchirA member of the All Progressives Congress’ Board of Trustees, Ismael Ahmed, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest letters to the Senate have whipped up more questions than answers.

The letters were for the confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and another written in response to a request that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Lawal Babachir.

Mr Ahmed was particular about the letter focusing on the SGF, which critics said was a defense for the SGF by the President, but on the renomination of Mr Magu, he said: “The president is within his right to renominate the rejected acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr Magu.

“Some of the concerns that were raised as impediments for not going ahead with the confirmation by the Senate initially, have been taken care of and it is left for the Senate to begin the legislative process, get to the confirmation hearing and determine whether the EFCC acting chairman is fit to be confirmed or not”.

On the issue of the SGF, he pointed out that “the issue of corruption is a very sensitive issue to Nigerians and incredibly so for this government because it is an anchor upon which we were elected into office.

“The President, I think in his own wisdom, thought it was necessary to write back a response on the reasons he could not carry out some of the things that they (the Senators) decided that he should. He felt that that was necessary, but as a politician, I will tell you that I do not think that the Senate were expecting a response from the President.

“I thought the letter would have raised more questions than answers, from the side that the president was trying hard to protect some of his appointees.

“I wouldn’t have written the letter,” he emphasised.

The member of Board of Trustees of the APC, however, pointed out that the letter was not a defense for the SGF, but written to give the Senate a leeway to continue with its investigation.

Babachir Lawal
There are allegations that border on conflict of interest against Mr Lawal Babachir

A lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, who doubted that the letter was from Mr Buhari, had described the letter as a funeral for the anti-corruption crusade of the President.

Critics have also said that the letter did not show the moral standard of the current government that had in the pinnacle of its campaign manifesto, a glaring desire to fight corruption.

Conflict Of Interest

Mr Ahmed, however, said that it was too early to judge that the apc-led administration had lowered the moral standard of fighting corruption, but insisted that writing such a letter comes with such a political implication.

“The moral standard is high for the administration to deal with anyone involved in corrupt practices.

“I am sure that if we were in the stock market, our shares would have fallen since that letter was written,” he said.

The APC member insisted that the Mr Babachir’s being in office will not affect investigations into allegations that he awarded contracts to a company that he had a stake in.

Highlighting the All Progressives Congress’ commitment to fighting corruption, he emphasised that awarding a contract to a company he had a stake in was inimical to the office he occupies and tantamount to conflict of interest.

He also insisted that if investigations showed the SGF was culpable, he should be sacked and prosecuted.

Suspected Criminal Gang Attacks Court In Imo, Sets Accused ‘Vampire’ Free

Justice Ademola's Trial OpensA suspect standing trial for crimes that include kidnapping, Henry Chibueze, also known as Vampire has escaped from Imo High Court premises following a shootout between gunmen and security operatives.

The attack left several persons wounded. No death has been reported so far.

Men suspected to be members of a gang attacked the operatives when the suspected criminal and other inmates arrived at the premises of the Imo High Court in Owerri, the capital of the southeastern state.

Eight other inmates were also said to have escaped.

Eyewitness said the gunmen, over six of them, found their way into the court premises shortly after over 50 inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.

The gunmen opened fire on the security operatives and inmates at the court premises shooting sporadically into the air for over 10 minutes leaving several people wounded,.

According to the eyewitness, the gunmen were able to whisk away Henry Chibueze, whom was described as a “notorious criminal and kidnapper” who has been in prison since July 2015.

“We were here in the court premises when a lawyer came to call us to enter room three for hearing. Shortly after that we started hearing sporadic gunshots. About six gunmen entered the court and started shooting. Some people were even wounded. They came with a Jeep and eventually they whisked away one of the inmates who the prisons officials brought to the court for hearing. The gunshot lasted over 10 minutes,” the eyewitness, who pleaded anonimity, told reporters.

“We Thought They Were DSS”

Confirming the incident to reporters, the spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force in Imo State, Maduba James, said the suspect, Chibueze, also known as Vampire was presently at large and that over five persons were critically injured due to the sporadic gun shots by the gunmen.

He told reporters that security operatives were on top of the situation to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in the state.

Mr James said: “We were in the office this morning when we got a call that some gunmen were in the court premises. We thought they were DSS officials because by then we were conveying over 50 inmates to the state High Court for hearing.

“However, the gunmen attacked some of our men and some of the inmates. They are critically injured now and have been taken to a hospital.

“Meanwhile, one of the inmates, who we know as Vampire, is at large presently but my controller and other security operatives are on top of the situation”.

At the moment, there is heavy presence of security operatives in the court premises and several clusters of people discussing the sad incident.

Delta State Begins Water Test And Analysis

water scarcityThe Delta State government through its Ministry of Water Resources has begun a state-wide testing and data analysis of all water production sources in the state.

According to the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Fidelis Tilije, the test and analysis are intended primarily to wage war against water borne diseases in the state through preventive mechanism thereby abiding by the principle of “Prevention is Better Than Cure”.

Over 60% of Deltans depend on groundwater (boreholes) whose quality may not be quite safe for domestic, industrial or agricultural uses.

Experts say , unfortunately today, groundwater contrary to earlier belief is no longer safe as water pollution and microbial water-bound contaminants such as Salmonella Typhi ( typhoid) Amoebiasis (Amoeba) Hepatitis B Virus Vibrio (cholera) and other micro-organisms can dissolve under favourable conditions in water.

In an open address, Mr Tilije enumerated the dangers associated with bad water and also explained that the programme would enable the gathering of water data, enumerating the location of all water sources in the state including riverine areas.

“Most killer diseases are either waterborne or airborne. Most water sources in the states are affected by pollution which brings about Cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, cancer. This dangers, which could have been more in our rural areas, are even more serious in our cities because boreholes are located near household grave yards, septic tanks and filling stations,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Emani Global Network Limited, Mr Emmanuel Osiegbu, stressed that the need to test water was critical in order to help reduce the rate of water borne diseases among our people

“l believe that a healthy nation is a productive nation and Delta State is one of the states in this nation that has embarked on this policy.”

Represented by the Chief of Staff of the government, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing sustainable water scheme for Deltans to ensure a healthy living for all.

“The state government could not afford to ignore the obvious health implications of the consumption of unwholesome water by its people and the resultant bills our citizens spend on water borne diseases, hence the state-wide water testing and analysis programme will help to determine the status of the quality of our water sources, particularly of boreholes which most of us now depend on” he said.

He added that the programme would assist in the reduction of incidents of waterborne diseases stressing; “our water needs to be regularly tested whether for domestic or industrial use and if found wanting, it would be treated to the required quality for drinking water. Indeed, water experts recommend that all water boreholes must be serviced at least once a year”.

Water they say is Life! And so for the experts, the only way to ensure a safe water supply is to have a periodic laboratory water test and data analysis from all sources of water preferably once a year.

Ogun Govt Begins Harmonisation Of Various Taxes

Naira, dollar, Market FX marketThe Ogun State government has appointed 12 consultants for the collection of taxes to eliminate activities of touts and illegal collectors. 

It is part of the process of harmonising the various taxes payable in the state, the government says.

At the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State government and the tax consultants, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, said the decision is also targeted at increasing the Internally Generated Revenue for more development.

With this development, the State government is shifting focus from revenue and receipt from the Federation Account to finance the 2017 budget in the state, the Commissioner stated.

According to him, the implementation was necessary to harmonise taxes usually paid by the owners and operators of trucks involved in haulage of goods in the state.

He said: “When we came in, we just found out that different people are just collecting different taxes and putting spikes on the roads, and decided that this is ridiculous. This is not fashionable anymore. We decided that the only thing we can do is to harmonise the taxes.

“There are so many corporate organisations in the state, this is the industrial hub of the country today. We have over 400 factories and so many are still coming up. The only thing we can do is to have Corporate Haulage Team and give them revenue stickers and compile the list of all the trucks that we have in the state. For example, we have Corporate organisations that have as much as 1,000 trucks.

“So, they are going to be the ones (tax consultants) to get the tax, they are corporate collectors. We are looking at almost one billion Naira and they are all segregated and all we are doing is being backed by Law, it was passed in the State House Assembly.”

The Chairman of Ogun State Internal Revenue Service (OGIRS), Mr Adekunle Adeosun, told reporters that the harmonisation of taxes in haulage sub-sector and the appointment of tax consultants by the government would open several windows of taxation-based revenue for the State government.

He pointed out that although tax would be collected by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, consultants would also pay Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) as soon as they start operation.

“We are very sure that the tax scheme is going to be successful. On their own part (Ministry of Commerce and Industry), theirs will be haulage tax, but the tax consultants will be paying us (Ogun State Internal Revenue Service) soon, your Personal Income Tax and PAYE for your workers since the scheme will create wealth and employment,” he stated.

Earlier, the Managing Director, Daaz Global Freight Limited, Kayode Sijuade, who spoke on behalf of the appointed consultants, noted that the struggle to harmonise haulage tax started in 2014 and was envisaged to create wealth for government and the appointed consultants and to create employment opportunities for teeming youths.

He told reporters that the selling of revenue stickers, ranging from 500 Naira to 2,000 Naira would also provide employment for would-be vendors.

The appointment of 12 haulage tax collectors was implemented by the government following legislation on the ‎harmonisation of various taxes, especially as regards haulage of goods across the state, as jointly handled and supervised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Internal Revenue Service, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice with a view to boosting revenue.

Bayelsa Governor Asks Ministries To Generate Payroll With Attendance Register

payroll of workers in BayelsaThe Bayelsa State government is taking a firm stand on its decision to implement a ‘No Work No Pay’ policy, insisting that only workers who sign attendance register will be paid. 

Making good the state government’s decision, the Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has directed all Permanent Secretaries in the state to henceforth, generate the payroll of their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), from workers’ duty attendance registers.

The Governor gave the directive in a closed-door meeting with permanent secretaries in Government House, Yenagoa.

To Check Payroll Fraud

At a press conference after the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Honourable Jonathan Obuebite, described the directive as well-intentioned and targeted at achieving total compliance with the new policy to check absenteeism and payroll fraud in the State Public Service.

According to Honourable Obuebite, the meeting emphasised the need for heads of MDAS to instil discipline in their various offices to promote productivity and efficiency.

He expressed optimism on the success of the current monitoring system, pointing out that, preliminary reports indicate that workers have started complying.

The Information Commissioner urged itinerant workers and those on secondment to only sign the attendance register at the outpost where they are assigned to avoid a situation where such workers would be shuttling between their parent MDAs and places of posting.

“On the contentious issue of those who are working in ministries that have outposts, for instance, in the Information Ministry where we have information officers that are posted to different MDAS, they are going to sign their own attendance there and not in the Ministry of Information.

“But it was made clear that every worker will sign the attendance register that is provided for the particular ministry, department or agency they are working. At the end of the period, they are going to do harmonisation of registers.

“The Governor also told them that going forward, payrolls would be generated by them (permanent secretaries), as they are already doing but this time through registers which they have now so that from the attendance, they are going to generate the payroll for payment of civil servants in the state,” he told reporters.

Agency Warns Of Health Hazards In Female Circumcision

female-circumcisionParents and guardians have been urged to desist from circumcising their female children, a practice known as genital mutilation to avoid health hazards inherent in the practice.

The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Imo State, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, gave the warning at a two-day training organised in Owerri, the capital of the state, in south-east Nigeria, for Community Advocates.

It focused on eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and cutting.

Mr Ekeocha noted that the practice was not only dehumanising but often lead to complications especially during childbirth.

The NOA state director told participants to see themselves as change agents in their communities by sensitising the people on the dangers of female circumcision.

“When you circumcise a girl Child, you are causing health and psychological damage to her. Whether you are cutting or using hand to rub, leave the genital organ of the girl the way God created her. We discovered that most of the women who undergo FGM find it difficult during labour or it may even affect the urethral,” he said.

In an interview some of the participants Mrs Edith Achodo and Mr Chibuzor Ndukwe, vowed to champion the crusade against the practice.

Mrs Achodo said: “I do practice it. I was circumcised and I do teach pregnant women during antenatal talks that they should press it hard so it could go inside, but today with what I have learnt, if I go back to the hospital, I will tell them that it is wrong and that they should stop it”.

On his part, Mr Ndukwe said: “Sometimes they say that it’s tradition, but it is wrong according to what we learnt here today. The practice is evil and when we go back, we will let them know that they should not allow such to happen again because it is not healthy.”

Participants were drawn from 25 communities of Ehime Mbano, Ideato North, Ihitte Uboma, Owerri municipal and Owerri west local government areas.

Female Genital Mutilation also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

There are several myths that have promoted the practice, including claims that women not circumcised have insatiable desire for sex.

Okorocha Asks Corps Members To Lead ‘Buy Made In Nigeria’ Campaign

NYSC to push Made In Nigeria campaignThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to join the campaign for patronage of Made in Nigeria goods in order to grow and develop locally made products to address present economic challenges.

The governor’s message was conveyed by the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, to the corps members during the official opening of the Orientation Course for the 2016 Batch ‘B’ Stream II Corps members deployed to Imo State.

Mr Madumere stressed that buying Made in Nigeria products would help galvanise Nigerian economy and put it on the part of growth and sustainable development.

The nation’s economy is currently in recession.

“The initiative will not only encourage Nigerian investors but will spur other Nigerians to put to work their ingenuity in bringing solutions to Nigerian myriad problems since there will be a guaranteed market thereby saving foreign exchange,” he stressed.

The deputy governor, however, urged the corps members to partner with the Imo State government in its Back to Land Policy, which is one of the State government’s effort to boosting agricultural activities and agro-allied business in the State.

He reminded the corps members deployed to Imo State of the essence of NYSC scheme, which remains unity, love, patriotism and spirit of brotherhood.

Mr Madumere further assured the corps members that the Okorocha-led administration in the state was committed to ensuring that the corps members were comfortable throughout their service year.

Earlier in his address, the State Coordinator of the NYSC scheme in Imo State, Mr Olugbodi James, averred that the scheme placed high premium on the orientation course since it was a prelude to other major programmes lined up for a given service year.

He highlighted that it was organised to promote discipline, encourage positive attitude and introduce them to available skills and ventures through noble skills acquisition, entrepreneurial development.

He also expressed gratitude to Governor Okorocha for numerous projects he had carried out for the scheme, informing the corps members that the governor had promised to build extra two structures as requested by the scheme.

Northeast Rebuilding: UN To Support One Million Displaced Nigerians

IDPs, Phillipo Grandi, Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, International Best PracticesThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it will support one million displaced persons in Nigeria’s northeast in the rebuilding process.

This is coming just as peace has returned to three most security threatened northeast states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

In a press conference in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, the Executive Director of the WFP, Ms Ertharin Cousin, said beneficiaries drawn from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States would use the support to improved agriculture and fight hunger and poverty in the region.

Towards Agricultural Productivity

In Yobe State alone, according to her, 350,000 people will benefit from the arrangement also geared towards checking poverty among the people.

“In January this year, WFP will support one million people across the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe state who are still in need of assistance.

“In Yobe state, 350,000 people will be assisted in the rebuilding process which is aimed at checking hunger and poverty among the people who suffered insurgency over the years,” Ms Ertharin said.

She appreciated the role played by the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) towards actualising the assistance for the less privileged.

Ms. Ertharin assured the people that the WFP would work hard towards returning the affected states to peace, growth and even development.

“We must return these states bedeviled by Boko Haram to the pre-conflict era and that requires us to work assiduously in partnership with other stakeholders to achieve the desired results,” she said.

Navy, Counter-terrorism, Lake chad
UNICEF said over 75,000 children were at risk of death due to malnutrition

The Executive Director told reporters that the WFP would work towards agricultural productivity of the returnees by ensuring they were provided with improved seedlings ahead of the 2017 cropping season so that, with the improved peace, they could engage themselves in gainful ventures that would check hunger and poverty.

She also said they were working in partnership with UNICEF among other stakeholders to address the problems of malnutrition suffered in September last year among the displaced children in the region.

“Our work is all about providing the humanitarian needs to ensure these families have not just the ability to return home but also rebuild their lives.”

The Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, whose speech was read by his deputy Abubakar Aliyu, said over 600,000 IDPs and other less privileged had so far benefited from cash transfer and food assistance by the WFP.

“While thanking you individually and collectively for your humanitarian role in ameliorating the plight of the IDPs and other vulnerable groups, I wish to stress that over 600,000 IDPs have so far benefited from cash and food assistance from your organisation.

“This development will go a long way in checking hunger, starvation and poverty among the displaced persons in the state and beyond,” he stressed.

The Governor also thanked the WFP for establishing a Center for Capacity Development on Humanitarian Studies at the Yobe State University, saying it will greatly enhance the capacity of operators of humanitarian activities within the northeast zone.

UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the insurgency had affected about five million people, including more than 2.2 million Nigerians who are internally displaced and almost 180,000 who have fled to neighbouring countries.

How Senators View Nigeria’s 2017 Budget

Senate on 2017 budgetAt least 30 Senators on Wednesday gave their views on areas they feel the Executive Arm of Government needs to focus on if the nation is to attain some level of socio-economic development.

It was the second plenary in the week presided over by Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President and the 2017 Budget was one major bill that deliberations focused on.

Some of the areas the senators want the government to prioritise are infrastructure and agriculture.

After the Senate President led the lawmakers into plenary, he demanded that Senators should make their individual contributions to the 2017 Budget.

Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso spoke on the need to have at least one per cent allocation of the budget to the Health Sector. The Senator also harped on the need for increased personnel provisions for salaries to avoid incessant strikes in the health sector in 2017.

Senator Nelson Effiong identified what he called the focus of the budget on local workforce and commended the five per cent VAT which he believes will build investor confidence.

He also commended the increase in budgetary allocations of the Amnesty Programme from 45 billion Naira in 2016 to 65 billion in 2017.

The low capital expenditure in the budget, was of concern to Senator George Sekibo, who warned that Nigeria was indeed broke and had no money.

He pointed out that there was an increase personnel cost in the 2017 Budget “even when we say we are saving costs” and demanded that contractors should be paid.

While Senator Bassey Akpan lamented the high budget deficit and the poor management of foreign exchange rates, fiscal and monetary policies, he also commended the increased budget allocation towards increasing agricultural production.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa commended the Executive for bringing the MTEF in good time as well as keying-into the revamp of railways.

“We must compare the 2016 Budget’s performance with the estimated allocations in the 2017 Budget,” he said, demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari should tell Nigerians how much funds they had recovered in order to ensure transparency.

Senator Shehu Sani expressed hopes that the allocation to Education in the budget would address the basic issues in the sector while Senator Yele Omogunwa spoke on the factual data and statistics of unemployed, widows and others for National Planning and budget implementation.

Senator Omogunwa further highlighted that Nigeria’s budgets do not have maximal impact due to corruption and mockingly called for the legalisation and liberalisation of corruption.

Senator Jide Omoworare spoke on the need to reduce recurrent and increase capital expenditure. “Government has to spend more.  The allocations for Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture should be increased as the nation moves move towards diversification, PPP and Concessioning.

“The Peace in the Niger Delta Region should be sustained and the time line on MTEF and Budgets be reviewed,” he requested.

The Senator further stressed that there was a need to look at developmental planning from the past and improve on it for the future.

On his part, Senator Dino Melaye told the Senate that “truth be told, the 2017 Budget is too ambitious” and that “we borrow to swagger”, harping on the need to develop Agriculture to liberate the economy.

Senator John Enoh, like a professional in developmental economics, focused on the need to increase salaries and wages; high personnel costs; deficit budget; borrowing and revenue projections towards the implementation of the budget.

Senator Biodun Olujimi questioned the success or otherwise of the Treasury Savings Account. She said the Federal Government was paying lip service to diversification.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide spoke on the non-implementation of the Abuja Declaration on allocations to the Health Sector.

Senator Urhoghide further told the 8th Senate that they owed Nigerians a duty to do the right thing by allocating for basic health infrastructures budget.

Senator Sola Adeyeye decried the allocation to the education sector, saying “Nigeria is a pathetically poor country with an entire education budget of 448 billion Naira being 20% of that of Harvard University”.

Senator Adeyeye further identified an increased debt servicing in the 2017 Budget and demanded that cost of government must be reduced.

He said: “We must strengthen our private sector. Power, Road, Railway and Refinery Infrastructure must be developed”.

Senator Abu Ibrahim appreciated President Buhari for plans towards stabilising the country, commending the Social Intervention Plans.

For Senator Ali Ndume, the budget passed annually by the Senate so far lacks details. He says Senators need to know the sub-heads.

Senator Ndume further stressed the need for the allocations towards the humanitarian crisis in the North East to be increased.

After several other Senators took turn to give their views on the budget, the Senate Leader moved that the plenary should be adjourned to the next legislative day, Thursday, to continue the debate on the budget.

Pastor Johnson Suleiman Reacts To Attempt To Arrest Him

sulieman1Pastor Johnson Suleiman of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide , has denied the security report leading to his attempted arrest on Tuesday.

He said there were claims that he instructed during a preaching that Christians should go after Muslims, describing the report as not only senseless but malicious.

A statement from Ekiti State Governor’s office said, Governor Ayodele Fayose, had prevented the man of God from being arrested in Ado Ekiti by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), when they made alleged spirited efforts to pick him up over a comment he made a couple of weeks ago, which the authorities branded as too ‘caustic’ and ‘inflammatory’.

The statement read: “More facts have emerged about how the DSS allegedly trailed the man of God to his hotel room in Ado Ekiti, as a Director in the hotel had confided in reporters that the DSS had tricked the staff that they had a message for the cleric from the presidency to gain access”.

“We didn’t have security lapses. But the operatives came and said they have a message for the man of God from the presidency. We called the Cleric’s ADC and Personal Assistant . The man of God later called the governor who came to drive the Cleric away,” he explained.

Speaking in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday on the contentious issue, Pastor Suleiman clarified that what his preaching centred on was the need for Christians to always defend themselves anytime the church was invaded by gunmen and not a direct incendiary comment that can make Christians and Muslims to confront one another.

The cleric added that it was sinful for anyone to order a fellow man to kill a creation of God, describing the alleged comment as a misrepresentation of facts.

Allegedly Instigating Christians Against Muslims

He said: “They said I preached in Auchi two weeks ago which they said implied that I was instigating Christians against Muslims . I have always been an advocate of peace and I can’t stay around and be saying such. There are widows, orphans for us to take care of just because of these senseless killings. No leader will see his shepherd being killed and be happy.

“Later, I got anonymous calls from Fulani Herdsmen about what I said. What I said was that, if gunmen came around church to attack churches, you must defend yourself, but if they come to pray, don’t attack. But they quoted me out of context. I am not stupid, I live among the crowd and I am not senseless. Time for self defence has come. Whether you are a Muslim or Christian, someone can’t just come to your house and killed your children and you will keep quiet.

“I said the Christians must not go after them, but if they come after us, then  defend yourself. This is what they twisted to mean that Muslims must be killed. I am hearing different versions of the story.

“I was in Abuja for three days why didn’t they come after me. But now that I am in Ekiti, they wanted to lump me up with a man they think was against them. It could have been easier to pick me up in Abuja, I don’t live here.

“If this will make them to clarify what I meant, I can present the video of my preaching. In Aviele in Edo State , Muslims rushed into the church and chased away all church members. I have always been preaching that youths must not kill . It was even wrong for the police or security agency to be coming around me and be saying I preached that Christians should kill Muslims without any verifiable facts.

“The only thing I am seeing is that we must learn how to investigate. I am not happy because of the way Christian community have been reacting. They are even saying they will protests abroad in all Nigerian embassies. I will never be alive and see Christians destroying property of Muslims because there will be problem.

“If they had called me and say I should tone down what I said, I would have gone back to do that. I have never been invited, but if I am invited I will come but that will be at my own time. I was not stopped from preaching.

“This Kaduna crisis confirmed that there was a deliberate attempt to frustrate Christians. The National Assembly must not fold their arms and see this happen. But I have no grudge against Buhari or DSS. They are only doing their job, but the DSS did it wrongly”.

“Hatred For Men Of God”

Governor Ayodele Fayose said he had gone to the hotel to take the pastor away to avoid security crisis that his arrest could trigger

Meanwhile, Governor Fayose has cautioned the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to be mindful on how it handles issues bordering on religion in the country so as not to throw the country into religious crisis, condemning attempt by armed men of the DSS to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleiman.

Governor Fayose, who challenged the security agencies, especially the DSS to tell Nigerians how many of the Fulani herdsmen that killed thousands of Nigerians across the country have been arrested, added that; “Nigerians, either Muslim or Christian deserve to be protected by the federal government, which controls all security apparatus in the country and the moment the federal government can no longer protect Nigerians from being killed by rampaging herdsmen, citizens of the country will have no option than to defend themselves.”

Fayose, in a statement by his spokesman, Lere Olayinka, said: “If the federal government had acted swiftly like it acted on Apostle Suleiman so-called inciting
comments when people were being killed by herdsmen across the country,
so many lives would have been saved”.

The governor described as strange, the All Progressives Congress’ hatred for men of God, especially those seen as not on the same page with the party, saying;
“It is on record that the APC in Ekiti State issued press statements and went on social media to disparage the Redeemed Christians Church of God (RCCG) Worldwide General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, just because he praised me when he came to Ekiti. And curiously, it was immediately Pastor Adeboye came to Ekiti State and praised me that he was forced to relinquish his position as the General Overseer of the RCCG.

“Apostle Johnson Suleiman openly condemned the killing of Nigerians across the country and went on to say that Christians should rise and defend themselves if the Federal Government, which controls all security apparatus will not defend them and the next thing that happened was the DSS moving swiftly to arrest him.

“Isn’t it ridiculous that instead of running after those herdsmen that have killed over 3,000 Nigerians in just one year, the DSS opted to arrest a man of God, who merely expressed his frustration on the inability of Nigeria to protect its citizens?”