“Upon a petition received by the APC executive committee of Bebeji Local Government, a seven-man committee was inaugurated to investigate all the issues raised by the petitioner, the statement read in part.
“After a thorough investigation, the committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Local Government executive which subsequently met and adopt as follows:
“That having confirmed various anti-party activities by Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin Kofa which was found contrary to some provisions of the party’s constitution, ranging from article 21, paragraph A (ii) (V) and (Vii) the executive committee adopted the report and hereby suspended Hon. Kofa with immediate effect for 12 months.
“That the executive committee also adopted the committee’s recommendation urging the state Executive committee to recommend to the national executive the immediate expulsion of Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin Kofa from the party for various offenses which was also found to be contrary to article 21, paragraph A (ii) and (xi) of the party constitution.
The local government committee, therefore, urged all APC members to remain calm and committed to the party.
The Director-General for the Gbajabiamila/Wase Campaign, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has said that contrary to claims and reports making the rounds Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has not been accused nor convicted of any corruption case.
Jibrin made the clarification on Wednesday, in a press briefing at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
At the briefing, Jibrin described the accusations against Hon Gbajabiamila as fabrications aimed at tarnishing the lawmaker’s image.
He said, “In the last few weeks, the media has been awashed by a reoccurring fabrication of false accusations and outright lies against Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The latest was a live press conference addressed yesterday by someone claiming to be speaking on behalf of the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP).
“For the benefit of the doubt, we wish to state once again that Hon Gbajabiamila has never been convicted for any crime in the USA, Nigeria or any other country around the world for that matter.
“He has never been accused of corruption and has no case hanging on his neck in Nigeria or anywhere around the world, he has never been accused, committed perjury in Nigeria or any country of the world.
“He was eligible to contest in all previous elections he won and indeed eligible to contest for the office of speaker of the house of representatives of the ninth assembly.
“Honourable Femi has severally responded to these allegations, provided clarifications and set records straight.
“The allegations have also been tested and struck out in courts of law in Nigeria, the state bar of Georgia has also written and categorically stated that there is no criminal conviction in the matter relating to Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and he is currently an active member in good standing of the state bar of Georgia. All these facts are in the public domain”.
“Hon Femi has not been served any summon by an area court neither has he been notified by the clerk of the national assembly. We are worried that those behind these antics are trying to drag the judiciary and our judges to what is clearly a hatchet job.
“We urge the general public to disregard the falsehood being peddled around. Hon Femi has instructed his lawyers to take every necessary legal step against all those involved and the parliamentary conspirators and sponsors to seek redress and sue for defamation with immediate effect”.
A member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has asked the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to act fast in choosing the leadership of the 9th National Assembly.
Jibrin, an APC member who was re-elected for the third time to represent Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, expressed concern that the delay would cause a repeat of the 8th Assembly crisis in 2015, when Dr Bukola Saraki, and Yakubu Dogara were elected by members of the National Assembly as Senate President and Speaker respectively.
According to Jibrin, who spoke when he appeared on Channels TV programme, Sunday Politics, the majority seat won by the APC should be properly utilised by the party and government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “I had expected that with the experience of 2015, the party must have given direction. It is getting late because lawmakers are not the kind of people you tell to seat and they seat.
“In the 9th Assembly, I believe that the party should come out to give a direction on what we should do. Most of us believe that we should go with party supremacy, and that is, what the President wants.”
“So if what the party wants tallies with what the President wants, that’s fine, but if it does not tally, we are going to do precisely what the President wants us to do because, at the end of the day, everything stops on his desk,” he added.
The lawmaker also expressed concern that the delay has prompted some lawmakers with diverse opinions to begin holding meetings with regard to the leadership of NASS.
“Meetings are holding as we speak in different locations in Abuja. It is a serious issue because we would love to see a situation where when the party gives instruction, it becomes the end of the matter and not the end of another beginning in term of the politics of the National Assembly,” he said.
He added, “The fear is that by the time the party comes to give instruction on what they want us to do, will the government or the party have the capacity to manage the interest of those who have already indicated interest to contest for various offices?
“If anybody at this point in time is coming out to say he is contesting, the party can say such move is against the party’s interest, but they have not done that and every minute matters when it comes to the issue of the National Assembly leadership.”
Jirin also expressed worry that the APC is not doing enough to address the threats it faces from the current leadership, because of their interests in who takes over from them in the 9th Assembly.
A member of the House of Representatives from Kano State, Abdulmumin Jibrin, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been arrested by the police in Kano over his alleged involvement in Thursday’s violence which resulted in the death of at least two people in Kofa town in Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State.
Public Relations Officer of the Kano Police Command, Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed the arrest.
The arrest follows the visit of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 1, Dan Bature, to Kofa, where the violence occurred between APC supporters and those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The party supporters were said to be those backing Jibrin and Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso, a PDP leader in the state.
It was gathered that Mr. Kwankwaso was heading to a campaign rally in Kofa, along with the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Abba Yusuf, when the supporters of Mr. Jibrin tried to stop them from entering the area.
The fracas that ensured later escalated, resulting in the deaths and leaving many others injured.
Investigations by the police are said to be ongoing to ascertain the involvement of Kwankwaso in the incident.
Kano State is considered a battleground state in the coming elections, following the defection to the PDP from the APC of Kwankaso, who is said to boast of a large following in the state.
APC is also believed to command a huge support base there with many of the people backing Buhari’s re-election bid.
In this exclusive interview, a member of the House of Representatives from Kano State and former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, speaks to Channels Television’s Ladi Akeredolu-Ale about the forthcoming general elections and the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) among other issues.
Read the excerpt below;
Do you agree with the APC National Chairman when he said ‘all these people who are defecting, they are either machinery, they have very little electoral value, or that they were not fully in the APC anyway and, therefore, they won’t be missed’?
I will not say they do not have either electoral value or political value. There are two values of politics; you have somebody who has electoral value – somebody like President Muhammadu Buhari, and you can also have those who have political value, somebody who has the capacity to mobilise people, reach out, network, mobilise resources, reach out to the media, and the rest. So, everybody in politics has his own value.
I don’t want to particularly say they do not have value, but the point that I have made consistently, and I will continue to make, and I know that by the grace of God that is what will turn out to be the reality is that whatever value they carry, whatever value they have, whether political value or electoral value, it’s not going to affect the chances of Mr President and the chances of APC in the next coming election. President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 presidential election.
If we take the anti-corruption fight, there have been some notable milestones but there are those who are saying it has also been used as a tool of political witch-hunt. What’s your view?
I don’t have any doubt at the back of my mind and even in this interview, I’ve said it repeatedly that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to win the election in 2019. It’s going to be a tough election, and it is good for our democracy. When I have conversations with some of my colleagues, I used to tell them that I even want the election to be very tight; when you go to Europe and America, that is what you see. You see a margin of one per cent, two per cent victory. The system in itself ultimately is a beneficiary of that kind of tight democracy. It makes the opposition strong, it puts everybody on his toes, increases the value of every member of the society. But when you have that kind of large margin of victory, it makes even the ruling party too relaxed.
Secondly, my conviction that Buhari is going to win the next election, you can categorise it into two aspects. There is a political consideration and, of course, the aspect of governance – that is where it deals with the various things that he achieved, particularly in these three aspects of security, economy, and anti-corruption; but first let’s take the political aspect. One of the major key selling points of Buhari is that he naturally appeals to the masses, to people in the grassroots. When I have conversation with people in Abuja, I used to tell them that let me take you to some of the strongholds of Buhari’s states like Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa; you need to see how the people at the grassroots love Buhari, it is an unconditional love. It will scare you, it is an unconditional love over their conviction that Buhari is a man of integrity. Buhari has not been dented, no stain on his body and that is counting for him.
It will look likely that the South-West looks more prepared to give more vote so that they can be able to stand stronger in the quest to take it over. The South-East is also coming stronger. I was having a conversation with some of our South-Eastern friends and they said ‘if we want to come out and grab this presidency, one of the shortcuts to it is to be able to support the Buhari presidency, then you prepare yourself and go for it’. So the zoning itself is very very important. To the younger generation, they are also beginning to realise that a Buhari second term is the easiest way that we can have a generational shift.
We’ve been talking about generational shift and now we have signed the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ into law, but I tell you for some of us who don’t have the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ and we have to work so hard to break into the system at a very young age, I am telling you that it doesn’t look likely that they are going to leave the stage. The easiest way is Buhari. When Buhari gets a second term, it goes to the Southern part of the country. It will spend an average of eight to 12 years and if you ask me, I want it to spend 12 years in the Southern part of the country.
I don’t consider myself as a young man but believe me, I am ready to join the Buhari, I don’t want to mention names, but let me also say the Aminu Tambuwal, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Abdullahi Ganduje, Abubakar Atiku, all of them. I am ready that my own generation should join them and go because younger people are coming. Now the point is that by the time it spends some eight to 12 years in the South and it comes to the North, naturally this particular generation is gone. Some of them might still be in their early 60s, but the point is that those people who are 30 today, who are in their late 20s and mid 30s will be the ones who will be senators, the ones in the House of Representatives, they will be the ones who are governors, and they will stand a better chance of aspiring to become president of the country.
Now, if after the four years it goes to the Southern part of the country, you could still have the generation of Yemi Osinbajo and the rest tussling to become the president; give them one term when it comes to the North before it goes back to the Southern part of the country, that generation is gone. A second term for Buhari; this country will have a new generation of leaders in the next 10 to 15 years and you know the interesting thing? A lot of young people are beginning to realise this and that is what is being discussed in every corner you go. This is going to work very very well for Buhari. So the next election is simply a battle between the elites and the masses.
The elites and the masses, you mean you versus the masses because you are not part of the masses?
Some part of the elites (Jibrin laughs), thank you for drawing my attention to that. The point I’m trying to make is that some group of the elites who are determined to see that Buhari does not win. So it’s going to be a battle between some of these elites that are enemies of the country, as against the people, the citizens of Nigeria.
On the planks on which the President campaigned – security, economy and anti-corruption war; what has happened on those three platforms that make you think that Nigerians should vote for him again next year?
I tell you this, President Buhari and the APC government have done excellently well if you ask me, indeed, in these three key areas – security, economy and anti-corruption. When you take the economy; when people say the economy has gone bad, I asked them ‘how do you measure an economy that you can say it’s a success?’ Now when you talked about the items, the commodities, all of that falls under inflation. Are you aware in the last 18 months that inflation has fallen from 18.7% to 12.5% as of today?
The lawmaker representing Bebeji/Kiru constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr Abdulmumin Jibrin, believes President Muhammadu Buhari will be re-elected in 2019.
Jibrin, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, was confident that the defection of some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not stop the President from winning the poll.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 presidential election,” he said in the interview which aired on Monday. “Everybody in politics has his own value.”
He added, “I don’t want to particularly say they (the defectors) do not have value, but the point that I’ve made consistently is that whatever value they carry, whatever value they have, whether political value or electoral value, it’s not going to affect the chances of Mr President and the chances of APC in the next coming election.”
Although the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, however, admitted that the election would be a tough one.
He noted that a tight poll was the best for the nation’s democracy, as a slight victory would make the opposition strong, increase the value of every member of the society, as well as make the ruling party not to be too relaxed.
Dr Jibrin also highlighted some of the things he considered before he got convinced that the President would win his re-election bid.
He categorised them into two namely the aspect of political consideration and that of governance which he said included the achievements of the President the areas of security, economy, and anti-corruption war.
The lawmaker said, “One of the major key selling points of Buhari is that he naturally appeals to the masses, to people in the grassroots. You need to see how the people at the grassroots love Buhari; it is an unconditional love.
“It will scare you. it is an unconditional love over their conviction that Buhari is a man of integrity. Buhari has not been dented, no stain on his body and that is counting for him.”
The former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation believed the younger generation had realised that the re-election of President Buhari was the easiest path to a generational shift in the country.
According to him, Nigerians in their late 20s and mid-30s will be the ones in the Senate and House of Representatives in the next few years.
On the performance of the government so far, Jibrin said, “President Buhari and the APC government have done excellently well if you ask me, indeed, in these three key areas – security, economy and anti-corruption.”
He was suspended in September 2016 after the Committee on Ethics and Privilege found him guilty of accusing the leadership of the House of padding the 2016 budget.
Jibrin, who resumed plenary in March, faulted the resolutions of the National Assembly after a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The lawmakers had convened the emergency session to address burning national issues that included insecurity and the economy.
In the resolutions read by Senate President Bukola Saraki, the lawmakers vowed to evoke their constitutional powers if nothing was done to address issues raised.
They had also warned President Muhammadu Buhari against the “systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents”.
In the face of the failure of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to appear before the Senate on three occasions, the National Assembly accused him of “outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative”.
They also noted that the President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those engaging in acts that can endanger the nation’s democracy.
Mr Jibrin consequently faulted the resolutions in a statement on behalf of some lawmakers under the aegis of the Parliamentary Support Group of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The group claimed the resolutions presented were opinions of a few lawmakers and asked the National Assembly leadership to remove the log in its own eyes before removing the speck in the eye of the President.
They further declared their support for President Buhari’s administration, especially in its fight against corruption and insecurity and its respect for the rule of law.
This prompted the House leadership to investigate Jibrin for allegedly accusing some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of planning to impeach the President.
The House Committee on Rights and Privileges would question Jibrin and another memebr, Muhammed Kazaure, who allegedly raised an alarm of some lawmakers collecting signatures to impeach the President.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has nullified the suspension of a former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
The House of Representatives had suspended Mr Jibrin for 180 legislative days on September 28, 2016. Mr Jibrin, who has served the suspension and rejoined his colleagues, had challenged the decision after his suspension.
But it wasn’t until Thursday that the court delivered judgement.
Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice John Tsoho, ruled that the suspension of the lawmaker is unconstitutional and ordered the House of Representatives to pay him all the salary due to him for the period he was unjustly suspended.
“The suspension was an interruption of his earning which will be automatically restored especially when it has been decided that the action was a nullity by virtue of granting prayers 1 and 3 of the originating summons,” he said.
“When an action is declared nullity it is deemed that it never happened.” Jibrin had been suspended after he repeatedly accused the Speaker, Yakubu
Dogara, and other principal officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget with billions of naira, a claim they all denied.
Starting from July 2016, Jibrin had called for the removal of the principal officers and sent petitions against them to law enforcement agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Justice Tsoho, however, saw things differently and agreed with Mr Jibrin’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) that his suspension was an attempt to gag him.
The judge said, “There is no better conclusion that the plaintiff was carrying out the mandate imposed on members by Chapter 7 (7.5) of the Code of Conduct for Honourable Members adopted on November 4, 2004.”
The week was accompanied by activities that triggered mixed reactions, including fresh attacks, the continuation of Senator Dino Melaye’s recall process, and the resumption of the suspended lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, among other issues.
Call For Military Takeover?
The death of several persons from the herdsmen-farmers crisis and other security issues in parts of the country has continued to trigger mixed reactions in the country. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, however, said although President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ending the killings, he would not have promised an absolute crime-free Nigeria while campaigning for Presidency in 2015. Meanwhile, the Presidency revealed in a statement that President Buhari has approved an amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco. The President also granted a grace period of 90 days to all manufacturers before the commencement of the new excise duty regime.
In another development, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, denied reports and statements insinuating that he called for a military intervention in the country. In a statement by his spokesman Uche Anichukwu, the lawmaker noted that his comments on the floor of the Senate were either being twisted or misconstrued by some persons. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mr Femi Falana, reacted to the recent disclosure by the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, that a member of the Senate receives more than N13million monthly as running cost. Mr Falana lauded the lawmaker, saying he “blew the lid off federal legislators’ salary secrecy.” However, the Red Chamber noted that there was nothing new in the statements made by Senator Sani. The spokesman for the Senate, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said the figures are contained in various line items and expenditure of the budget of the National Assembly which have since been made public.
In Anambra State, the marriage between two siblings in Ekwulobia community in Agwata Local Government Area has generated more reactions from the people of the community and other concerned parties. The 23-year-old groom, who seemed unperturbed by what he has done, noted that his decision to wed his 17-year-old sister followed an encounter their brother had with God.
Presidential Order Allegedly Flouted
On Monday, President Buhari continued his condolence visit to states affected by Boko Haram attacks and herdsmen-crisis. Addressing leaders of various groups in Benue State, the President appealed to them to convince their constituents that the Federal Government is doing its best to end the recurring attacks by armed herdsmen in various parts of the country. President Buhari also said he is not aware that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, left Benue for Nasarawa State after he had ordered him to relocate to the state. He told the Benue leaders that he was just learning of the alleged noncompliance with his directive by the police boss.
On his part, Governor Samuel Ortom urged the President to upgrade Exercise Cat Race to a full military operation in order to tackle the killings of innocent citizens in Benue. He noted said the attacks by armed herdsmen predated the current administration, adding that the recent attacks have displaced 170,000 people with children of school age constituting 60 per cent. The governor also called for compensation for victims of the attacks and rebuilding of destroyed houses and farms. Back in Abuja, President Buhari received the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, at State House in the Federal Capital Territory. During a meeting with his visitor, the Nigerian leader explained why the Federal Government opted for negotiation rather than the military option to secure the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls and the remaining Chibok girls in the custody of Boko Haram terrorists.
Elsewhere, Nigerians celebrated the emergence of Imo State-born Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji as President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Eboe-Osuji was elected president during a plenary session by the ICC judges and his tenure is expected to last for three years.
Amended Election Sequence Saga
On Tuesday morning, President Buhari finally reacted to the proposed change of election sequence by the National Assembly as he withheld assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act. He stated in a letter to the lawmakers that part of the reasons for his decision was that an amendment to the sequence of the election in section 25 of the Principal Act might infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.
In another development, the President summoned the Inspector General of Police over his reported failure to comply with his directive after the killings in Benue State. Channels Television gathered that the police boss was the first caller to the Presidential Villa on Tuesday and he met in private with President Buhari for about 30 minutes. In its reaction to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took a swipe at the President, describing his administration as incompetent, disorganised and uncoordinated. The opposition party alleged that President Buhari’s explanation was an admission that he has handed over power to a cabal that neither sought for votes nor were they elected by Nigerians.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said his principal is a leader who gives no room for incompetence. Contrary to reports that the President is slow to make decisions, he noted that President Buhari seeks justice diligently and doesn’t allow innocent people to be sacrificed unjustly. Despite the government’s effort to stop the killings of innocent people in the country, suspected herdsmen killed at least 25 persons in a fresh attack in Plateau State. Authorities confirmed that 19 men, three women and three children were murdered in the incident which occurred in Dundu village in Bassa Local Government Area of the state.
In Kaduna State, the Acting Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, decried the non-prosecution of perpetrators of hate speech and election violence in Nigeria. According to him, the non-prosecution of these perpetrators has largely encouraged the use of hate speech in election campaigns and other related social activities. Meanwhile, suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, was in the news again as he filed a fresh suit against the police at a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. Evans asked the court to compel the police to immediately and unconditionally release his two residential houses located in Magodo area of the state. He also urged the court to order the police and its leadership to severally and jointly tender an apology as well as pay him the sum of N1billion.
In the United States, President Donald Trump sacked U.S. Secretary of State Mr Rex Tillerson, barely 24 hours after he visited Nigeria. President Trump consequently appointed the Director of CIA, Mike Pompeo, as Tillerson’s successor. In the world of sports, it was a bad day for Manchester United fans as the Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League. Wissam Ben Yedder struck twice in four second-half minutes to send Sevilla into the quarter-finals for the first time in 60 years with a stunning 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
More Herdsmen Attacks
Two days after sympathising with the people of Benue, President Buhari continued his condolence visits as he met with parents of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe. He defended his administration’s response to the abduction of the girls, saying it was better than how the previous government responded to the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014. The President also assured Nigerians that the Federal Government will not rest until all the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls in the Boko Haram custody are released and reunited with their families.
Meanwhile, lawmakers at the lower chamber welcomed their suspended colleague, Abdulmumin Jibrin, as he resumed plenary. Jibrin, who had been on a 17-month suspension, was pardoned on March 13 after apologising to the House and having met all conditions given to him. Suspected herdsmen launched a fresh attack on Rafiki and Dong communities in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State. Although the number of deaths was not confirmed, Channels Television gathered that at least seven persons were injured and one person feared killed. Reacting to the incident, the state government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the local government Area in statement hours after the attack. Security agencies in the local government were mandated to enforce the curfew while citizens were advised to go about their lawful business.
On legal matters, a Federal High Court in Abuja barred the National Assembly from taking further action or proceeding with the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. Justice Ahmed Mohammed issued the restraining order following an oral application made in a suit filed by the Accord Party against the National Assembly and others. In another development, a former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to grant him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment. Metuh who arrived at the court in a wheelchair informed the court through his counsel that his health was fast failing and required a corrective surgery at a hospital in London.
On Thursday, President Buhari visited Niger State and commissioned the Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE). Addressing an audience during the inauguration ceremony, he said the policies of his administration towards improving Nigeria’s economy through diversification are on the right path. Back at the State House in Abuja, the President met with the leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, as part of efforts to ensure the speedy passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill. President Buhari ordered all ministers and heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to defend their budget estimates before the National Assembly.
Following the President’s veto of the Electoral Amendment Bill, the Senate faulted the order by a Federal High Court restraining the National Assembly from taking steps to pass the bill into law. The Upper House noted that the judiciary cannot stop the parliament from carrying out its constitutional duties. The lawmakers, however, during plenary directed the Senate Committee on Banking to screen some individuals for the appointment of members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as the nominee for the position of the CBN deputy governor. Ms Aisha Ahmad had been named the CBN deputy governor while Professor Adeola Adenikinju, Dr Aliyu Sanusi, Dr Robert Asogwa and Dr Asheikh Maidugu, were nominated as MPC members.
Elsewhere, Benue State was thrown into mourning as the state government held a mass burial for another set of victims of herdsmen killings in the state. Family, relatives, and friends of those killed wailed uncontrollably over the loss of their loved ones while Governor Ortom decried the rate of bloodshed in the state. The state government also said although they thanked President Buhari for his visit to Benue, the visit did not rekindle any hope in the people. Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr Tahaz Agerzua, stated this during his appearance on Sunrise Daily.
Condemning the spate of killings, Professor Wole Soyinka asked the Federal Government to declare the herdsmen responsible for attacks in states across the country as terrorists. The Nobel Laurette made the demand in Lagos while delivering a paper at the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue, an annual forum organised to broaden the conversation on issues troubling the nation. Also in Lagos, the state government announced a reduction its Land Use Charge after criticism from residents and concerned groups in the state. The government reduced commercial fee charge by 50 per cent while owner occupier third-party fee was reduced by 25 per cent. Months after the crisis that his the Abia State judiciary, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended the compulsory retirement of two judges to the state governor, Mr Okezie Ikpeazu. Those recommended by the judicial body are the Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, and Justice Obisike Oji of the Abia State High Court.
Melaye’s Recall Process Continues
On Friday, President Buhari approved the constitution of membership for the National Food Security Council, days after he announced the intention of the Federal Government to establish the council. The Council is to be chaired by the President while its members will include the governors of Kebbi, Taraba, Plateau, Lagos, Ebonyi and Delta states. Meanwhile, the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, also called for an end to killings in the country by suspected herdsmen. Pastor Adeboye condemned the bloodshed when he visited Benue State alongside his wife, Folu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has now gotten a nod to continue with the recall process of the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye. The Court of Appeal in Abuja gave the order in a lead judgement read by Justice Tunde Awotoye. Hours later, Senator Melaye rejected the judgement and vowed to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court. He noted that “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. Every lie has an expiry date. I shall overcome.” On its part, the electoral umpire vowed to proceed with the process for the recall of the lawmaker in line with the judgement of the Court of Appeal. INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said this in a telephone interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
On other legal issues, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of Olisa Metuh’s application seeking permission to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment. The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, noted that even though the application was filed as urgent, the cases cited by the parties have just been forwarded to him. Elsewhere, the EFCC arraigned the Managing Director of FirstNation Airways, Mr Kayode Odukoya, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja. The defendant was charged with four counts bordering on forgery, use of false information, perjury and stealing to the tune of N1,741,994,962.04.
On a lighter note, Daughter of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, Fatima, tied the knot with her soulmate, Jamil Abubakar, son of a former IGP Dikko Abubakar. Dignitaries who stormed Kano State for the event include President Buhari, Senate President Saraki, and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, among others.
Nigeria Mourns Ali Wakili
Once again, the Federal Government assured Nigerians that all the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists would regain their freedom soon. The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who gave the assurance during a Channels Television’s programme which aired on Saturday, revealed that the military is already closing in on them. In the meantime, the President’s rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has continued to generate more reactions. However, Senate President Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, vowed to jointly give an appropriate response to the development. Contrary to reports that both National Assembly leaders are divided over the President’s position to the amended bill, Saraki and Dogara noted that they are working “in agreement on what to do”.
On the flip side, the death of the senator representing Bauchi South, Senator Ali Wakili, threw the National Assembly into mourning mood on Saturday. The lawmaker died at the age of 58 after he reportedly slumped at his Gwarimpa residence in Abuja. In separate condolence messages, President Buhari described Senator Wakil’s death as “an incalculable loss to Nigeria’s democracy”, while the Senate President said the deceased was a vibrant lawmaker and a public servant who was very passionate about his assignment and engagement in the Senate. Similarly, the Bauchi Government declared three days to mourn the senator while flags would be flown at half-mast. Governor Mohammed Abubakar, who gave the order, described Wakili as a vibrant lawmaker whose contributions would be missed by his colleagues.
At the Presidential Villa, President Buhari and some state governors were present as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s daughter, Damilola, took Oluseun Bakare as her husband. The event brought together leaders from different political backgrounds.
The lead counsel for Kofa constituency, Bashir Muqaddam, told reporters at the court premises on Tuesday that Justice Koko had gone for the Judges’ Conference holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He noted that after returning from the conference, the judges would proceed for the Christmas and New Year vacations, adding that they are expected to resume on January 19, 2017.
Whistle Blowing Role
While the case had been fixed for January 18, 2017 for mentioning, the lawyer stated some of their requests in the suit.
“Our prayer seeks that the sum of two billion Naira be given to our client, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin Kofa, as payment for damages to his reputation.
“When we resume on January 18, 2017, the case will come up for mentioning.
“We want to know whether his whistle blowing role in exposing how the 2016 budget was padded was in contradiction of any stipulated law of the land,” he stated.
Mr Muqaddam said the people of the constituency wanted “an immediate reinstatement of the suspended member and the court to also order for the payment of all his entitlements for the suspension period”.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, “over failure to give account of the spending of 500 billion Naira as running cost between 2006 and 2016 and the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member”.
The suits filed last Friday at the Federal High Court Ikoyi followed two Freedom of Information requests dated November 25, 2016 sent to both Dr Saraki and Mr Dogara.
The group in that request asked the leaders of the National Assembly to “urgently provide information about alleged spending of 500 billion Naira as running cost between 2006 and 2016, and the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member of the House of Representatives”.
The originating summons, with suit numbers FHC/L/CS/1711/16 and FHC/L/CS/1710/16 respectively, were brought pursuant to section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni.
SERAP’s suits against Dr Saraki and Mr Dogara followed disclosure by Abdulmumin Jibrin that Nigerian Senators and House of Representatives members had pocketed N500 billion as ‘running cost’ out of the one trillion Naira provided for in the National Assembly budgets between 2006 and 2016 and by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that each Senator goes home with nothing less than 15 million Naira monthly while each member receives nothing less than 10 million Naira monthly.
SERAP is asking the court to determine the question “Whether by virtue of the provision of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under an obligation to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested for”.
The suits read: “By virtue of Section 1(1) of the FOI Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution. Under the FOI, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within seven days after the application is received.
“The information requested for by SERAP relates to information about spending of 500 billion Naira as running cost between 2006 and 2016, and the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member. The information requested by SERAP does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of National interest, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.
“The Defendants will not suffer any injury or prejudice if the information is released to the members of the public. It is in the interest of justice that the information be released. Unless the reliefs sought herein are granted, the Defendants will continue to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, and other statutory responsibilities.
“Up till the time of filing this action the Defendants/Respondents have failed, neglected and/or refused to make available the information requested by SERAP. The particulars of facts of the failure, negligence and refusal are contained in the verifying affidavit in support of the application and shall be relied upon at the hearing of this application. The Defendants/Respondents have no reason whatsoever to deny SERAP access to the information sought for.
“It is submitted that Section 4(a) of the FOI Act 2011 is a mandatory and absolute provision which imposes a binding legal duty or obligation on a public official, agency or institution to comply with a request for access to public information or records except where the FOI Act expressly permits an exemption or derogation from the duty to disclose. Nigerian courts have consistently held that the use of mandatory words such as “must” and “shall” in a statute is naturally prima facie imperative and admits of no discretion.
“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, this is meant to be a norm. It is an apostasy for government to ignore the provisions of the law and the necessary rules made to regulate matters”.
The suits are seeking a declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondents to disclose the spending of 500 billion Naira as running cost between 2006 and 2016, and the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member amounts to a breach of the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability and violates Articles 9, 21 and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
They are also seeking a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 1 (1) and Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants/Respondents are under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with up to date information on the spending allowances of each Senator and member including: Details of projects on which the N500 billion running cost between 2006 and 2016 were spent.
SERAP wants an order of mandamus directing and or compelling the Defendants/Respondents to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with up to date information on the spending of 500 billion Naira as running cost between 2006 and 2016, and the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member including: Details of projects on which the 500 billion Naira running cost between 2006 and 2016 were spent.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suits.
The House of Representatives in Nigeria has resolved to admit the former Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, into the National Assembly for questioning over two petitions against him.
During plenary on Wednesday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Representative Ossai Nicholas, in a motion said the committee was in possession of a petition against the suspended lawmaker.
According to him, the documents bear allegations of absenteeism and poor representation of Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State in the House of Representatives against the embattled lawmaker.
The second petition is from the anti-corruption unit of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. They are accusing Honourable Jibrin of maintaining foreign accounts in contravention of the constitution which bars public officials from operating foreign accounts.
Before Representative Jibrin was suspended, he had accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and some members of the House Leadership of budget fraud and abuse of office.
After the allegation, he was accused of allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives and was referred to the Committee on Ethic, but he refused to appear before the committee.
After his refusal, he was suspended on september 28for 180 sitting days.
According to the House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Representative Yusuf Lasun, Representative Jibrin required to tender a formal written apology to the House, before his future resumption of duties.
He is also barred from positions of authority in the House till the end of the 8th assembly.
The House of Representatives has three sitting days in a week and going by that the lawmaker will be away for 60 weeks.