2023 Presidency: I See Hope In You, Uzodimma Tells Lawan

 

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma told the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday that he sees hope in him.

Governor Uzodimma made the remarks after Lawan addressed the All Progressives Congress(APC) leaders and delegates from the five Southeast states of Imo, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu who converged at the party Secretariat in Owerri.

Uzodimma said it was clear that President Muhammadu Buhari would have to give recommendations and guidance on the succession plans but prayed that the President would see what some of them had seen.

READ ALSO: ASUU, Polytechnic Lecturers, Others To Get N34b Minimum Wage Adjustment Arrears – FG

Governor Uzodimma said: “The party is aware that it is only our President, President Muhammadu Buhari who understands the demography and the character of the current national politics vis-a-vis the insecurity, economy and the public welfare and the party will also be guided by his recommendations in managing the succession plans.

“These delegates are still here. They have cried for a very long time against not given sufficient recognition and relevance to the people of Southeast.

“That is why I’m almost certain that they will not be influenced by money nor by any material influence. They will do that which will attract to our people the relevance and recognition nationally that we have been looking for, for a very long time.

“I have listened to you. Very brilliant ideology. I have also seen that you are highly detribalised and nationalistic. I think, in you, I can see hope.

“Therefore, I will recommend very highly that Mr President in his wisdom, guided by the spirit of God, will also see what some of us have seen.

“One assurance that you should take home is that, Northeast and Southeast are related by blood. Getting no-objection certificate from Mr President, we will not be stopped by anybody.

“So when you go home, greet our brothers and sisters. Before you came, our own brother, the Governor of Ebonyi came to address the delegates.

“And in doing so, he also recognised copiously the relationship between Northeast and Southeast to the extent that he even re-echoed that the two geo-political zones are the most marginalised in Nigeria.

“Therefore, whatever comes to Southeast is as good as it has gone to Northeast. And whatever goes to Northeast is as good as it has come to Southeast. We are with you.

“You are completely loyal to the leadership of our great Party, APC, under the command of President Muhammadu Buhari and I’m almost certain that our decision may likely be guided by his recommendations and counsel.”

Earlier, Lawan who described Uzodimma as the “Lion of the Southeast” said he had been a “major pillar in all my political journey since we started.

“He was at the forefront in 2015, you know he was a Senator, he wanted me to be Senate President. He worked so hard tirelessly.

“But today, to the Glory of God, this our brother, the Governor of Imo state, has worked so hard to also keep this campaign going. Actually, he presented my completed nomination form.”

 

The Senate President outlined his plans to the delegates if given the chance to fly the flag of his party the APC and if elected as President:

“For me, it is security first. Because you need to secure the people. Even for them to go to their farms or to go to their markets or to go about their local businesses, they need to be secured.

“This is a challenge that this administration has been working so hard to ensure that every citizen is secured.

“I am coming from the Northeast. Coming from Yobe State. We were under the domination of Boko Haram between 2014 and 2015, before President Muhammadu Buhari took office.

“Today we are far safer. Most of the insurgents are coming out to surrender with their families. Their leaders have been killed.

“Of course, before President Muhammadu Buhari took over, about 15 or 16 of our Local Governments in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa were under the full control of Boko Haram. But we still have challenges.

“That is a success story for our administration. That is the kind of story we want repeated in all parts of Nigeria. We are battling so hard in the Northwest and some parts of the Northcentral with the bandits and kidnappers and of course in the south particularly the Southeast which is a recent development.

“The Southeast is supposed to be our South Korea. It’s supposed to be our Japan. It’s supposed to be our America in Nigeria. Very ingenious people. Very enterprising people.

“And therefore, we must never allow our past history, history told by colonialists….we are the same people because whether you are coming from the North or From the South or the East or the West, you are a Nigerian.

“And as a Nigerian, you will pray and work that every Nigerian in every part of Nigeria succeeds and be in peace because what happens here in Owerri affects me in Yobe and what happens in Yobe affects you here.

“So I believe that given the opportunity, and we are already doing something, we must have a national integration policy. National cohesion.

“What does that mean? It is for us to ensure that there is fairness and access to social, economic and political opportunities. This is one way to go because most of the time, the crisis, the conflict is about the resource distribution, opportunity that is available to everyone.

“But I believe that we must continue to work for national integration to give everyone a sense of belonging. If you are a business man you should excel in any part of Nigeria you chose to be.

“Secondly, having secured our nation, we must continue to work for the improvement in our economy. Our economy is already the largest in Africa and that is a feat. We have been able to succeed to maintain the number one position despite two years of COVID 19 that we suffered.

“One thing is that we need to improve to make this economy more productive and more inclusive. That is to say that those at the highest level should not enjoy at the expense of those at the lowest part of the ladder.

“That is to say if you are a small trader, you should have some support. You already have some support, the empowerment programmes by the present administration.

“But what we need to do is to ensure that in areas like the Southeast, where majority of people are business oriented, the Small and Medium Scales Enterprises, will have to be supported. Once everybody has something to do, nobody will like to call for any trouble.

“So I want to make that my mission, that employment opportunities must come through support to SMEs.

“I want to see a situation where our women will continue to play a dominant role but I’m particularly also concerned about our youth, I believe to transform Nigeria, you have to transform our youth. Take them off the streets. Take them to schools.

“We must invest in our education. We have to introduce entrepreneurship development courses so that those who are not able to go to tertiary Institutions should be useful in one trade or the other.

“I want to assure you that a vote for me is a vote for progress in Nigeria, for stability in Nigeria, for prosperity in our country.”

 

A day earlier, the Senate President told APC delegates from Niger State that he has all it takes to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari whose tenure comes to an end in May 2023.

“I am equipped. I have experience enough, I have what it takes to be Nigerian President after President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office,” Lawan stated at Minna in Niger state.

Lawan and his campaign team met the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, the delegates to the upcoming APC Presidential primaries and later paid homage to the Emir of Minna, Dr Umar Farouq Bahago.

The lawmaker solicited the votes of the delegates against the background of what he has to offer, his vast experience in governance and the stability that he brought to the parliament.

“For the last three years, I have been the Senate President. I have been able to work very well with all my colleagues regardless of their political parties.

“We have been able to make the Senate very stable, peaceful and very productive and today, we have been able to make so many laws because we are at peace.
“It is that type of stability, that type of peace, that kind of unity that I want to bring into the Villa by the Grace of God next year.

“I am running for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because of what I believe in. For me, mandate is service.

“Having served in the Legislature and having been working with Mr President as the Senate President, I therefore get close to governance, a very good participant in governance at the national level.

“I am equipped. I have experience enough, I have what it takes to be Nigerian President after President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office.

“At my age, and I’m a very young man. I’m only 63 years, in between the old and the new. I believe that I can carry the young. And the young is the centre piece of my policy.

“But first let me tell you what I want to do for us. Security. We all know that Niger state has been at the receiving end of insecurity and I know how hard our friend, our Governor has been working to secure the lives of the people of this state.

“The Federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing a lot. We have conquered the Boko Haram in the north east. But we still have challenges in the northwest, in this part of north central.

“It is my intention to continue to work with our President to fight insecurity in every part of Nigeria until he finishes his tenure by the Grace of God on the 29th May, 2023.

“It is my intention to start to serve as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to build on the succeses that our President would achieve when he will leave office.

“I believe that we need to consider the architecture of our security system. I believe in citizens participation in security. You and I, report what you see to the relevant authourities.They say if you see something, say something. If you see bandits, inform the appropriate authourities.

“I want to see a situation where citizens who volunteer information are protected. I want to see a situation where our traditional rulers, the traditional Institutions play a role in securing our communities. They use to do it before. We can bring them back to do it. There is nothing more important to us today in Nigeria than security. That will be my priority.

“I also want to build on the successes of President Muhammadu Buhari on the economy of Nigeria. I believe that it is still not yet what we want but we are better than many countries.

“Finally, Niger state is an Agricultural state. I want a situation where at least every geo-political zone will have one crop that will be nurtured for production, for processing and for marketing.

“That is to say that it is not enough for us in Niger state to produce yam only. We should produce the yam, process the yam and sell with a higher value.I believe that this is one way to deal with the youth unemployment,” Lawan said.

In his response, Governor Sani Bello thanked the Senate President and his team for the visit.

“I think he has laid out his plans for Niger state for you delegates to consider. So that you give him your mandate to represent our party at the next presidential election.

“I don’t need to say much. You all heard when he started. He has been in the National Assembly since 1999. I don’t think anyone has broken that record yet in Nigeria,” Governor Bello said.

The Senate President was accompanied on the trip from Abuja by former Governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Ambassador Sam Nkire, Navy Commodore Mohammed Barau, mni and Engineer Isa Ahmed.

2023: Ganduje Assures Lawan Of ‘Full Cooperation’ Over Presidential Bid

 

The Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje has assured the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan of “full cooperation” over his ambition to stand as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the 2023 Presidential election.

According to a statement by Senator Lawan’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ganduje gave the assurance on Saturday night while the Senate President was on a visit to see the party delegates in Kano ahead of the upcoming Presidential primaries of the APC scheduled for end of this month.

The governor described Kano state as a swing state in party primaries and even in presidential elections and declared that Kano State would swing when it is ready to swing.

READ ALSO: 2023 Presidency: Wike Woos Abia PDP Delegates, Pledges To Protect Interest Of Igbos

Earlier, Lawan and his campaign team were received at the Aminu Kano International Airport by Ganduje himself amidst a mammoth crowd of party supporters who thronged the airport and routes with funfair to welcome them to the ancient city.

In his welcome remarks, Governor Ganduje said the people of Kano were aware of Lawan’s sterling qualities and his contributions to the stability of politics and governance in the country.

The Governor said, from Lawan’s antecedents, if he won the Presidency of Nigeria, there would be peace and stability both in politics and in governance.

Ganduje told Lawan: “Your Excellency, I want to inform you that we are fully aware of your capacity. We are fully aware, the way you handle the National Assembly, the House of Representatives and the Senate, which you are the chairman.

“If we can recall with nostalgia what happened between 2015 and 2019, we are all living witnesses that we had a lot of instability, poor relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.

“In fact, we had a situation where, in one day, 15 Senators from APC defected to PDP from the Senate Chamber. Your Excellency, I’m saying all these things in order to show your political dexterity in managing the National Assembly, in managing the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.

“Today there is peace, cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature and we believe if you become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we can expect peace and stability between the Legislature and the Executive, with the Institutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the sub-national government in the states, with the Local Governments.

“So Your Excellency we assure you of our full cooperation. Kano state is a swing state in the Presidential primaries, even in the Presidential election and Kano state will swing when it is time to swing.”

Ganduje dwelled in what made Kano so important in the political calculations of Nigeria.

He said: “Kano state has the largest number of delegates in the country. There is no gainsaying about that. This follows from the fact that we have the largest population in the country.

“So Your Excellency, this state is a very important state when issues of elections are concerned.

“We have 44 Local Governments, 484 wards. All our local government council chairmen are elected local government chairmen. Therefore, they are part of the statutory delegates in Kano state and in Nigeria.

“We have over 4,000 elected councillors in Kano state. And most of our 400 legislators especially House of Representatives, Senators, former Senators, principal officers of the state Assembly and National Assembly, Your Excellency, both of them, we are together and we are intact.

“So you can see the composition of our delegation, not only in terms of number but in terms of quality, in terms of capacity, in terms of capability and in terms of political dexterity.”

Speaking at the forum which held at the Coronation Hall of the Kano state government House, Lawan said his mission was to interact with the party delegates on his presidential bid ahead of the primaries.

“I’m here to see and interact with all the 500 delegates from Kano state and I cannot agree more with my leader when he said this is the largest sub-national democracy in Nigeria. I imagine that it could also be the largest sub-national democracy in Africa.

“When His Excellency, our Governor was rounding up his speech, he said Kano is a swing state and it can determine not only the Primaries, with 500 delegates, but also the general elections. Your Excellency, it will swing to my side by the Grace of God.

“I want all the 500 delegates. In fact, I need all the 500 delegates Your Excellency. If I can’t have the 500, please let me have at least 400.

“My brothers and sisters, distinguished delegates, I promise you that, when eventually we discuss and find common ground with His Excellency and vote for me, you will for ever be pleased with the way and manner I will lead this country because it is not possible for anyone to lead the country like Nigeria without the presence and contributions of people like Governor Abdullahi Ganduje,” Lawan said.

The Senate President thanked Governor Ganduje for the warmth reception and commended him for his achievements in Kano both in security, governance and party politics.

“I want to commend His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for the infrastructural miracle in Kano state. You have done so much Your Excellency. You have secured Kano state from banditry, from insurgency and so on. You are indeed a leader, a very successful one at that.

“No amount of propaganda will convince or confuse anyone that Kano is shaking at all. APC in Kano is steady, solid like a rock.

“Come 2023, by the Grace of God, we will have an APC governor and his deputy, all our three Senators will be APC, all the 24 members of the House of Representatives will be APC, all the 40 members of the state House of Assembly will be voted in by the Grace of God. They(opposition parties) will not have anything,” Lawan stated.

Uzodimma, Buni Submit APC Presidential Forms For Senate President Lawan

Senate President Ahmad Lawan displays APC presidential forms purchased on his behalf on May 9, 2022. Credit: Tope Brown
Senate President Ahmad Lawan displays APC presidential forms purchased on his behalf on May 9, 2022. Credit: Tope Brown

 

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni on Friday submitted the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade also submitted his presidential forms at the APC secretariat in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Don’t Take High Profile Defections To NNPP For Granted – Kalu Warns APC

A group called the National Stability Project purchased and presented the presidential forms to the Senate President on Monday, which he accepted.

The forms, which cost N100m, has also been purchased by several other top APC bigwigs, including Vice President Yemi Osibajo and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Senate To Intervene In ASUU Strike, Faults 2009 Agreement

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday said the upper chamber will wade into the ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Speaking with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Lawan faulted the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU.

He said the agreement should not have been signed by both sides because there’s no way government will provide the kind of resources agreed to in the document.

READ ALSO: NANS Directs Students To Block Airport Roads, Others Daily For Three Hours

Senator Lawan appealed to the students to avoid confrontation and not disrupt political activities.

NANS has threatened to shut down all federal roads in protest against the strike.

ASUU on Monday said it was extending its strike for another three months.

ASUU’s demands

ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.

On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The agreement was reportedly struck in 2009.

Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

Group Purchases APC Presidential Forms For Senate President Lawan

Senate President Ahmad Lawan displays APC presidential forms purchased on his behalf on May 9, 2022. Credit: Tope Brown
Senate President Ahmad Lawan displays APC presidential forms purchased on his behalf on May 9, 2022. Credit: Tope Brown

 

The All Progressives Congress’ Presidential nomination and expression of interest forms have been purchased for Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

A group called the National Stability Project purchased and presented the forms to the Senate President on Monday.

He joins a growing list of APC members who have purchased the N100m forms.

READ ALSO: Groups Present APC Presidential Forms To Ayade, Sylva

The Senate President has not publicly signaled his intention to run for President.

Chairman, National Stability Project, Chief Sam Nkire, presenting the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on May 9, 2022.  Credit: Tope Brown
Chairman, National Stability Project, Chief Sam Nkire, presenting the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on May 9, 2022. Credit: Tope Brown

Cost of forms

The N100m cost of the APC presidential forms has attracted scrutiny from many Nigerians.

However, the relatively high cost has not slowed sales as the trend of supporters picking up the forms for their preferred candidates continue.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is one of the high-profile candidates in the race who have purchased the forms.

Others include APC Chieftain, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, has said the revenues garnered from the sale of forms will help the party campaign effectively after it eventually settles for a candidate.

Labour Day: Lawan Seeks ‘Speedy’ End To ASUU Strike

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Saturday called for a speedy and amicable resolution to the months-old Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) strike.

He made the call in a statement celebrating Nigerian workers on the occasion of this year’s May Day.

The statement was signed by his spokesperson Ola Awoniyi.

“Nigerian workers deserve our appreciations and respects for their contributions to the development of our country,” Lawan said.

READ ALSO: Sanwo-Olu Urges Workers To Remain Productive

“I also salute them for their patriotic cooperation with the government and and other institutions in the collective efforts to address societal challenges.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that Labour creates wealth for the nation, the more reason that the welfare of the Nigerian workers should always be accorded priority.

“As Parliament, the National Assembly will continue to partner with the Organised Labour in addressing issues that affect workers and the generality of the Nigerian people.

“Despite the prevailing challenges, the relationship between Labour and the Government should be cooperative in the overall interest of the country.

“In the spirit of May Day, I appeal for a speedy and amicable resolution of the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) to ensure that our universities reopen for learning and research.

“We should always be mindful that no society can make meaningful progress without industrial peace and harmony.

“Once again, I say congratulations to all Nigerian workers and wish them a happy May Day.”

ASUU’s demands

ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.

On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The agreement was reportedly struck in 2009.

Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

Lawan, Gbajabiamila Ask Nigerians To Pray For Security As Ramadan Fast Begins

An official uses a theodolite to perform "rukyah", the sighting of the new moon for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Putrajaya on April 1, 2022. Mohd RASFAN / AFP
A file photo of an official using a theodolite to perform “rukyah”, the sighting of the new moon for the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have asked Nigerians to pray for the security of the country.

In separate statements, the lawmakers congratulated Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful on the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan.

“I felicitate all Nigerians, particularly the Muslim Ummah, as we enter the Holy Month of Ramadan,” said Lawan. “Ramadan is the month when Muslims across the world observe one of the five pillars of their faith, share with their neighbours and show love to all people around them.

“It is a period of spiritual reflection, abstinence, sacrifice, and supplications to the Almighty Allah. The holy month of Ramadan thus provides the faithful the opportunity to commune with Allah and live as His Prophets enjoin us to do as we seek His blessings and mercies … For our Muslim compatriots, let us use the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for Nigeria, knowing that Allah answers the prayers of the faithful.”

READ ALSO: Ramadan Fast Starts On Saturday In Nigeria, Says Sultan

For the Senate President, the essence of the period is even more significant for the people as they seek solutions and divine guidance out of the challenges facing the country.

He gave the assurance that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ameliorate the situation, stressing that much more has to be done.

Lawan said the National Assembly, on its part, would not relent in its efforts at promoting good governance for the security, peace, and progress of Nigeria.

While also rejoicing with the Muslims on the commencement of this year’s Ramadan fasting, Gbajabiamila said the holy month comes with a lot of blessings and urged the faithful to use the period to pray for peace and unity in the country.

He believes Ramadan fasting also entails a lot of sacrifices, including total abstinence from food and other indulgences, and called on Muslims to observe the fast in accordance with Islamic injunctions.

The speaker wished the Muslims a successful month of Ramadan while he stressed the need to unite against the insecurity and other challenges in the country.

Court Stops Buhari, Malami, Lawan From Tampering With Electoral Act

File photo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday stopped President Muhammad Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, from tampering with the newly signed amended Electoral Act 2022.

Ruling on an ex-parte application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Justice Ekwo agreed with the counsel to the party, James Onoja, that the Electoral Act has become a valid law and cannot be tampered with without following due process of law.

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari Remanded In NDLEA Custody As Judge Postpones Bail Hearing

Specifically, the court restrained the defendants from removing Section 84, Subsection 12 of the Electoral Act or preventing it from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.

The PDP had dragged President Buhari before the court, challenging the fresh move to tamper with the newly amended Electoral Act signed into law some days ago.

The main opposition party had prayed the Federal High Court for an order of interim injunction restraining Buhari and other defendants from refusing to implement the duly signed Electoral Act.

Lawan Meets With Finance, Petroleum Ministers Over Fuel Subsidy

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday met with the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Senator Lawan met with the ministers and representatives of oil companies at the National Assembly complex in Abuja over the controversy on fuel subsidy removal.

In her remarks, the finance minister explained that the government had to reconsider its decision on the planned removal of fuel subsidy after the 2022 budget was passed by the National Assembly.

She stated that fuel subsidy was provided for in the 2022 budget to run from January till June, but after consultations with stakeholders and in view of the high inflation and economic hardship, additional provisions would be made beyond the initial period.

READ ALSOGunmen Kill Two Officers, Abduct Policeman In Jigawa

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at a meeting with the two ministers and others in Abuja on January 24, 2022.

 

According to Ahmed, it has become clear that the timing for the removal of fuel subsidy will be problematic as the country still experiences high inflation.

She admitted that removing fuel subsidy at this period would ultimately worsen the condition of Nigerians, especially those struggling to make ends meet.

Sylva, on his part, aligned himself with the position of the finance minister, stressing that removing fuel subsidy this period was bad timing, politically and economically.

In his response, the Senate President appealed to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned industrial action over subsidy removal as it has become unnecessary.

Lawan Calls For Probe Over Killing Of Driver In Yobe

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, has expressed sadness over the incident at Garin Alkali in Bursari Local Government of Yobe State where a military personnel allegedly shot and killed a driver who was identified as Mohammed Musa.

The incident ignited violent protests on Saturday in Gashua, the headquarters of Bade Local Government.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser on media to the President of the Senate Ola Awoniyi, Senator Lawan sympathised with the family of the victim and called for a thorough investigation into the incident, as well as appropriate sanctions.

Read Also: Yobe Govt To Investigate Killing Of Driver By Military, Says Buni

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic news at Garin Alkali on Saturday and the violent reactions that followed it. The killing of the innocent driver is wicked and reprehensible. It should not be condoned for whatever reason.

“My heart goes out to the family of the victim. May Allah console them over their bereavement.

“I urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident with a view to establishing why and how it happened and applying appropriate sanctions to deter future reoccurrence.

“I also appeal for calm and assure the peace-loving members of the community that justice will be served in this matter.

“I urge members of the community never to take the law into their hands whatever the provocation as such reactions often lead to further tragedies,” Lawan said.

The incident occurred on Saturday when military personnel who were on patrol arrived at a filling station to enforce the ban on the sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in jerrycans.

But according to eyewitnesses, the sudden arrival of the soldiers reportedly caused panic among the people who were at the facility, as the security operatives came on motorcycles and other military vehicles with their heads covered.

On sighting the soldiers, the people at the station were said to have fled to safety but they were asked to remain calm.

While attempting to escape the scene, Musa got shot.

The incident, thereafter, prompted angry youths to block the road as they began to protest the killing.

Buhari Never Directed Removal Of Petrol Subsidy, Says Lawan

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan on Tuesday said that President Muhammadu Buhari has not directed anyone in his administration to implement the removal of petroleum subsidy.

He stated this after meeting with the President in his office, disclosing that he met Buhari to convey the concerns of his constituents on various issues including the proposed removal of subsidy.

Briefing State House correspondents in Abuja, the Senate President said that lawmakers are worried about the agitations and protests across the country on the matter, which prompted the discussion with the President.

READ ALSO: Work Ongoing On Review Of 1999 Constitution – Lawan

“He didn’t tell anybody that we should go remove petroleum subsidy. And those of us who represent the people know how people are already stressed over and again . . . it is going to be too much for them,” Lawan said.

Lawan further questioned the claim that Nigerians consume a hundred million litres of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) daily.

The Senate President explained that while it is impossible to consume that much within the boundaries of the country alone, there is a need to critically investigate to discover the truth.

Speaking further, he blamed the smuggling of petroleum products on the failure of the government to contain the menace, a situation that has pushed the burden of payment on the ordinary citizen.

He said, “I know and I agree that the subsidy is very heavy. But I think we must never transfer the burden to the citizens. I believe that we need to look at the quoted figure of maybe 100 million liters that people claim we’re consuming.

“Is it real? I mean is it either under-recoveries of subsidy? Is it really 100 million liters per day? How on earth are we consuming that? We need to look at this critically and see how we can find the truth.

“I am not convinced that within the boundaries of Nigeria we are consuming 100 million liters, probably neighbouring countries may be benefiting from this. Can’t we do something about it? It is a failure on us if we are not able to control it.”

Work Ongoing On Review Of 1999 Constitution – Lawan

File photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan

 

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, said work is ongoing on the review of the 1999 Constitution and the report would be considered soon.

Last year, the National Assembly had opened a two-day National Public Hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

Several interest groups including the Abuja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, and individuals like Chief Tom Ikimi and Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had stormed the venue on Friday to insist on the production of a brand new constitution.

Speaking at the Senate Chamber upon the resumption of the lawmakers from recess, Lawan said the upper chamber is collaborating with the House of Representatives and would communicate to the State Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year.

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“The review of the 1999 Constitution is a major plank of our Legislature Agenda. Our Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution has done so much work so far,” the Senate President said.

“Working with their counterparts in the House of Representatives, the report of the Committee will be presented to the Senate for consideration soon.”

While acknowledging that political activities leading to the 2023 general elections have begun, he reiterated the Senate’s commitment to supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the successful conduct of polls across the country.

He equally wished federal lawmakers success at the polls, especially those running for various political offices next year.

The Senate President also spoke about the electoral bill, assuring that the red chamber would expedite action on the document, having concluded all consultations on the President’s observations.

He recalled that the Senate postponed discussions on the consideration of the response of President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2021 in December last year.

According to him, the move is necessary to enable the Senate to consult with the House of Representatives and their constituents respectively.

“As we all know, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill. Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issue,” he said.

“Distinguished Colleagues, Political activities leading to 2023 general elections have already started. This Senate should continue to provide the support that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs for successful elections across the country.”