Lawan Meets Buhari Over Insecurity, Backs NDDC Forensic Audit

President Muhammadu Buhari greets Senate President, Ahmed Lawan during a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on February 22, 2021. Credit: State House

 

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan on Monday met behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja over the security challenges facing the country.

Lawan who spoke to State House reporters after the meeting assured Nigerians of advanced security in the next two months in rural areas to protect farmers and allow businesses to flourish.

He said the National Assembly is prepared to provide full support regarding the approved funds from the Excess Crude Account by the National Economic Council, to tackle insecurity across the country.

On the probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Senate President declared that the National Assembly is backing President Buhari’s position on the forensic audit.

While calling for the conclusion of the forensic audit, Lawan noted that the move would lead to the speedy prosecution of all those found culpable.

According to him, the National Assembly aligning with the President’s resolve to sanitize the NDDC’s operations because the commission has so far not achieved its mandate of developing the Niger Delta since it was created by a law of the National Assembly in 2000.

Recall that a forensic audit was set up by the President to look into the activities of NDDC from its inception 20 years ago.

Lead forensic consultants were appointed and 16 field forensic auditors procured to handle the process.

Lawan Condemns Borno Killings, Urges Security Agencies To Double Efforts

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan (File Photo)

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has condemned the killing on Saturday of rice farmers by terrorists in Zabarmari in Borno State.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on (Media), Ola Awoniyi, Lawan decried the incident as another act of babarism against innocent Nigerians minding their own business.

The Senate President condoled with the families of the victims, the government and people of Borno State over the senseless carnage.

“This incident is heart-rending and again demonstrates why we must all continue to support the security forces to thwart the criminals in their evil determination to impose a reign of terror on the North East of Nigeria,” he said.

“I commiserate with the families of the deceased, Governor Babagana Zulum and the entire people of Borno State and assure them of the sympathy and solidarity of the National Assembly.

“This heinous crime is particularly sad given the ongoing spirited efforts by the Federal Government at ensuring food security in Nigeria through the many programmes that have been put in place to support the agriculture sector”.

Read Also: UN Says At Least 110 Were Killed In Borno, Demands Immediate Release Of Kidnapped Victims

He also urged security agencies to double their efforts in seeing an end to violent crimes in the country.

“I urge the security agencies to redouble their efforts with a view to bringing an end to mindless violent crimes in our country,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said the National Assembly will continue to support the Executive in strengthening the security agencies towards improving the security of lives and property of Nigerians everywhere in the country.

Another #EndSARS Protest Looms If Unemployment Is Not Tackled, Lawan Warns Govt

Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Monday warned that Nigeria as a country, may not escape another citizens’ restiveness in the mode of #EndSARS protest if it failed to effectively address the issue of youth unemployment.

Lawan advised the government to make provision in its national budget to meaningfully engage the youths noting that there was the need to be more practical with budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Agriculture to create jobs for youths.

Senator Lawan gave the warning at the National Assembly during the budget defence session of the Ministry of Agriculture.

READ ALSO: How ASUU Has Prevented Public Universities From Extinction – Ogunyemi

He advised the Federal Government to take the Agriculture Sector more seriously in its efforts to diversify the economy from oil, stressing that the sector is able to finance the national budget.

Lawan, recounting the events of #EndSARS protests said the youths genuinely expressed their anger and successfully gained the government’s attention.

Watch full video below…

 

#EndSARS: Buhari Meets Lawan, Gbajabiamila At State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the leaders of the National Assembly over the ongoing protests regarding the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). 

Present at the meeting that held at the State House in Abuja were Senate President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Bashir Ahmad the President’s personal assistant on new media disclosed this via his official Twitter handle.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS Protest Resumes In Lagos, Abuja, Others

Following the meeting, the leadership of the National Assembly called for an end to the protest marches across the country.

According to NASS leadership stating the demands of the protesters have been met.

Speaking to State House correspondents the Senate President Ahmed Lawan urged the protesters to give the government time to work on their other demands.

He said the demonstrations that now involve blocking of roads will have an enormous economic impact on the country.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives also called for an end to the protests, arguing that policy matters cannot be met overnight.

He however congratulated the protesters for a job well done assuring them that they can continue with the protests if their demands are not met in two weeks.

PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 1A4B .: President Muhammadu Buhari receives President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for a meeting on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 2A4B . President Muhammadu Buhari receives President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for a meeting on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 0A .: President Muhammadu Buhari receives President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for a meeting on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 4B . President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila meeting on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 6A&7B . President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila speaking to the Press after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 7&7B . President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila speaking to the Press after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET DR AHMAD LAWAN AND GBAJABIAMILA 7&7B . President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila speaking to the Press after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the ongoing protests across the country, at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OCT 18 2020.

Why NASS Is Committed To Passing 2021 Budget Before Year-End – Lawan

 

Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Thursday said the National Assembly is determined to pass the 2021 budget before the year runs out.

Lawan spoke just before President Muhammadu Buhari’s presented the budget proposal to the lawmakers at a joint session in Abuja.

“The National Assembly is again ready to pass the 2021 budget before the end of the year by the grace of God,” the Senate President said.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Presents Proposed 2021 Budget Of N13tn

“This will continue to enable planning and enhanced productivity and efficiency in the management and application of our resources.”

The Federal Government is proposing a budget estimate of N13.08 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.

The proposed budget pegged capital expenditure at 29 percent and is based on a deficit of N4.48 trillion.

National Assembly Won’t Tolerate Disrespect Anymore, Lawan Warns Buhari’s Appointees

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

 

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, has warned appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari against disrespecting the National Assembly.

He gave the warning on Monday while reacting to the series of disagreements between some lawmakers and presidential appointees, including some ministers and heads of Federal Government agencies.

Senator Lawan was responding to questions from State House correspondents in Abuja shortly after President Buhari inaugurated the Executive, Legislative Party Consultative Council at the Presidential Villa.

“Coming to your second-leg of the question that recently we had some appointees on the executive side walking out or maybe saying things, I believe that that should be the end of it; we believe that we should work together,” the lawmaker stated.

He added, “For us in the National Assembly, I think what has happened has happened and I pray that nobody goes to the National Assembly to do the kind of things that some people did before because that will be disrespecting the President and, of course, abuse of the National Assembly and we are not going to tolerate that.”

 

According to Lawan, even the President made it very clear that he will not accept or tolerate any of his appointees doing things that are not respectable and have no dignity to the National Assembly.

He stressed the need for political officers to ensure the Council produces the desired results and outcomes, that would make Nigeria better in terms of governance.

 

Meeting Nigerians’ Expectations

In his remarks at the inauguration which held earlier as the Council Chamber of the Villa, the Senate President described the event as historic for the APC administration.

He noted that the legislature, executive, and the ruling party have seen the need to bring everybody on board for thorough consultations before major issues were tabled before the citizens of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari with the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on August 31, 2020.

 

Senator Lawan explained that the purpose of the inauguration of the Council was to improve the quality of governance and service delivery to Nigerians.

“We have promised Nigerians and Nigerians voted for the All Progressives Congress at all the levels, so it is incumbent upon us at all levels and as a party to ensure we meet the expectations and aspirations of Nigerians.

“Just like Mr President expressed, we believe that the constitution rightly provides for the separation of powers and we believe in that,” he said.

The lawmaker added, “The legislature will always on its own ensure we oversight and we check possible excesses of the executive arm of government.”

SERAP Asks Lawan, Gbajabiamila To Publish Reports On Corruption Probes, Seeks Special Counsel Bill

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, urging them to use their “good offices and leadership positions to urgently publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”

The organization also urged them to “disclose the number and details of public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects. The reports should be sent to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”

In the FoI requests dated 25 July, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Publishing the reports of hearings and probes would bolster public trust and confidence in the oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of these hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve personal interest, rather than the general public interests.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Support Nigeria’s Economic Recovery, Buhari Tells Citizens In Diaspora

SERAP said: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts. Doing so would also give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.”

The FoI requests, read in part: “We urge you to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ensure the proper and effective exercise of oversight functions, including investigations of corruption allegations, such as those involving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”

“We also urge you to urgently use the opportunity of the ongoing public hearings and corruption probes to influence Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda, including by immediately amending section 52 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act on independent counsel for corruption.”

“Section 52 requires the Chief Justice of Nigeria to authorise an independent counsel to investigate any allegation of corruption against high level public officials, and to report his/her findings to the National Assembly or appropriate house of assembly.”

“The proposed amendment should include additional requirements beyond merely reporting to lawmakers, that would allow the independent counsel to use the findings of any investigation as a basis to pursue effective prosecution of corruption cases without any authorisation by the executive or the National Assembly.”

“SERAP notes that both the Senate and House of Representatives have over the years conducted several public hearings and corruption probes to expose pervasive problem of corruption in MDAs.”

“SERAP is concerned about the systemic and widespread corruption allegations in MDAs and among high-ranking public officials, and the negative impacts on socio-economic development, as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water and regular electricity supply.”

“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the FoI requests. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our requests.”

“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust.”

“The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance transparency and accountability, as well as the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general, including by publishing widely the reports of all corruption-related public hearings since 1999.”

“There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.”

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on reports of all public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999.”

“By Section 4 (a) of the FoI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

Bill To Protect Rape Victims Passes Second Reading At Senate

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

 

The Senate is enacting critical legislation to protect victims of rape against any form of stigmatization in the country.

The bill, titled ‘Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatization (Prohibition) Bill 2019’, scaled second reading during Wednesday’s plenary session.

The bill provides for the prosecution and punishment of any person or group of persons who stigmatizes such victims.

Leading the debate on the bill, the Sponsor of the legislation, Senator Mohammed Musa, said if passed into law, the bill will encourage victims of rape to testify in court and also ensure the re-integration of victims of insurgency into the community of their choice.

Senator Musa said the conditions most victims of rape are exposed to are traumatic and blames this on what he describes as the ineptitude of the Nigerian justice system.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has referred the bill to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work.

The Committee, which is chaired by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), is expected to submit its report back to the Senate in four weeks.

“Presently, rape is now a common phenomenon and occurs worldwide. In fact, available data suggests that in some countries one in five women report sexual violence or being raped by an intimate partner and up to a third of girls report forced sexual initiation. This also cuts across diverse age range of victims ranging from young toddlers and children to even older victims aged 70 years old, with over seventy percent of the victims under 19.

“The bill is to provide for the legal and institutional framework for the protocol for re-integration of victims of rape and insurgency in Nigeria. If this bill is passed into law, it would certainly provide a new lease of life for victims of rape and insurgency in the country”, Musa said.

The lawmaker who bemoaned the trauma which most victims of rape suffer and are exposed to in the country, blamed the development on what he described as the “ineptitude” of the Nigerian justice system.

“The justice system in Nigeria is incredibly inept and for rape cases, this is even more traumatic,” Musa said. “A rape victims goes to the police to report and the policeman or woman tells the victim to go and sort it out at home as it is a domestic case. And the consequences of such act is that the victim is left at the mercy of the society without any protection.

“This sort of stigma has prevented many survivors from reporting abuse and seeking justice. Victims of insurgency and other violent acts needs this kind of laws that will not only promote gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls as fundamental to all efforts to prevent and address sexual violence, but also progressively uplift such victims.”

He added: “We are all living witnesses to the upsurge of the criminality of rape and the destruction of lives been perpetrated by those coward criminals in our communities, coupled with the fact that our country has an extremely low conviction rate for rape and sexual abuses despite the increase in violence against women in recent years”, he added.

Let’s Find A Way To Tackle Hate Speech, Fake News – Lawan

 

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan has said it is important to come to an understanding of the best approach in finding a way to address the challenge of hate speech and fake news.

According to him, as a democratic nation, where dialogue is characterized by ceaseless conflict, there can be no progress.

Lawan who was speaking during a town hall forum on Media, Regulation, Society and Governance in Abuja on Monday, asked if the country should rely on existing laws to deal with supposed infractions such as fake news and hate speech, or if there are even enough laws to deal with them.

“We are a democratic nation where dialogue, conversation, disagreement and agreement are central to how we resolve our issues.

“Where do we go from here as a nation, can we really say we have enough laws to deal with infractions and if so, are we implementing them enough? He asked.

READ ALSO: Okada Ban: Lagos Deploys 65 Buses Across Major Routes

He called on stakeholders to be dispassionate in addressing the issues, stating that the conclusion drawn from the town hall meeting will help the National Assembly and the Federal Government in addressing the challenges.

“As stakeholders in civil society, we should be dispassionate and be able to examine all matters critically.

“Emotions and sentiments hardly help in a gathering like this one, if our minds are open to all lines of thought; we’ll then develop a sense of perspective.

“Our conclusions will be subsequently helpful to the National Assembly and the government at large,” he added.

Security In Nigeria Has Deteriorated, Loss Of Lives Unacceptable – Senate President

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, has raised an alarm over the security challenges in various parts of the country.

Lawan, who spoke during Tuesday’s plenary at the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, decried that the recent loss of lives recorded in the country was worrisome.

“My distinguished colleagues, the security situation in our country requires serious attention and due consideration by the Senate and indeed the National Assembly,” he told the senators in his welcome speech after the lawmakers resumed from their six-week recess.

The Senate President added, “Recently, the security in the country has deteriorated and the attendant loss of lives is not acceptable.

“We need to secure the lives and property of our citizens, as enshrined in our Constitution. We all are witnesses to how our economy is also affected by the inclement security situation.”

READ ALSO: In Akwa Ibom, They Don’t Hold Elections But Write Results – Mike Igini

Senator Lawan believes there is a need to speedily seek for solutions to fix the security problems the country is grappling with.

He also hinted that lawmakers in the Senate chambers were working to engage the Federal Government on the implementation of the nation’s security strategy.

The Senate President said, “There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift and reform of the architecture and structure of our security systems. Equally important is citizen participation, and collaboration in providing security.”

“In this regard, the Senate will engage the Executive arm of government to discuss the implementation of the recently launched National Security Strategy (NSS) 2019.”

According to Lawan, major stakeholders in the nation’s security and police authorities appear to achieve consensus on the necessity of the introduction of community policing.

He, therefore, gave the assurance that the Senate was in support of the initiative to ensure the adequate security of Nigerians and their properties at the grassroots.

The Senate President promised that the lawmakers would pursue the implementation of community policing vigorously and invite police authorities to give an update on the progress made so far.

On power, he said, “My distinguished colleagues, it is an incontrovertible fact that the power sector cannot function optimally and thrive under the current circumstances.

“The anticipated outcome of improvement in effectiveness and efficiency of the privatisation process has not been achieved and doesn’t look feasible. Therefore, we have to take all the necessary steps to salvage this indispensable sector.

“The ensuing debate on the report of the Roundtable Discussions will no doubt reveal the actions that the Federal Government will need to take,” Lawan stated.

NASS Will Sustain Synergy With Executive, Lawan Says In Christmas Message

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, pledged to ensure that the National Assembly sustains its cooperation with the Executive arm of government next year and beyond.

He made the promise in his Christmas message to the nation on Tuesday.

“I assure you that this synergy at the highest level of governance will be sustained in the year 2020 and beyond,” the Senate President said.

He added, “The modest achievements of the Assembly within the short period were made possible by the bi-partisan approach to national issues by the Federal lawmakers, the collaboration and harmonious relationship with other arms of government.”

Senator Lawan congratulated Nigerians, particularly Christians on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year.

According to him, Nigerians must not forget the essence of the season which is a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ and the ideals for which he lived.

He described the birth of Jesus Christ as a great example of humility, noting that he lived and preached peace, love, tolerance and self-sacrifice, as well as left mankind with the hope of eternal joy.

The lawmaker said, “These virtues transcend religion and deserve to be embraced by all Nigerians especially as we go through the challenges of nation-building and development.

“In the spirit of the season, we as a people and government must remember the weak and the most vulnerable in our midst and do the best we can to bring them succour and help them to also feel the joy of the season.”

He also wished the people journey mercies as they travel to share the season with family and loved ones and urged them to celebrate with moderation.

On its legislative agenda, Lawan said the ninth National Assembly has resolved to work for Nigeria by enacting legislations that serve the generality of Nigerians.

He explained that the members of the Assembly have devoted themselves to facilitating good governance and stimulating the economy to raise the standard of living of Nigerians, since their inauguration six months ago.

The Senate President added that their decisions on critical sectors of the economy, before they adjourned for the Christmas and New year, were essentially to make year 2020 and beyond prosperous for all.

He stressed that the amendment to the Deep Off-Shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, the Fiscal Policy laws, Procurement Act and the timely passage of the 2020 Budget, have proven the determination of the lawmakers to work for Nigerians.

He, therefore, wished Nigerians a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

9th Senate Is Prepared To Change Nigeria For The Better – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during a session in the Senate Chamber in Abuja.

 

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, says the 9th Senate is committed to making the country better for the benefit of its people.

He stated this during plenary on Friday shortly after the lawmakers passed a N278.3 billion budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2020 fiscal year.

“This ninth Senate is prepared to change Nigeria for the better,” said Senator Lawan.

He added, “For passing the budget before the end of December, for the President to sign the budget before the end of December; definitely the Nigerian economy will see significant changes.”

READ ALSO: National Assembly Increases, Passes N278.78bn 2020 FCT Budget

According to the Senate President, the passage of the 2020 Budget by the National Assembly and its prompt assent by President Muhammadu Buhari would have a significant impact on the nation from January next year.

He also noted that the inflow of disbursed funds as a result of Nigeria’s return to the January – December budget cycle would see to the injection of resources by the government.

“This is something that was not available previously. We believe that the executive has a role to ensure that the 2020 budget is implemented fully as much as our resources can accommodate,” Lawan said.

On the FCT budget passed by the National Assembly, he stressed, “As the State Assembly of the FCT, we have discharged our responsibility. The next thing is for FCT to ensure that it implements the budget.”

The Senate President commended the Senate Committee on FCT for a job well done and urged it to be steadfast and ensure the implementation of the budget.