Army Launches Operation Against Bandits In Kaduna

Army Launches Operation Against Bandits In KadunaThe Nigerian Army has launched a special military operation code named, Operation Harbin Kunama, aimed at flushing out armed bandits in the southern part of Kaduna State.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, launched the operation at an event attended by the State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

General Buratai said the operation, which lasts for one month, is being carried out in six states in Nigeria’s north-west and north-central regions.

He said the operation was part of the internal security responsibility of the military, bestowed on it by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to the Army chief, the operation will enable the troops to comb the nooks and crannies of Southern Kaduna, and flush out all the criminals from their hideouts.

He said that it would also help to restore peace and security to the area and other neighboring states where armed bandits have been carrying out series of attacks.

Commending the Army for the intervention, Governor El-Rufai expressed hope that the operation would restore confidence and enable the people to go about their normal businesses.

He, however, stressed the need for people of the area to tolerate each other, irrespective of their ethno-religious differences.

Bill To Create Christian Courts Passes Second Reading

House of Representatives on Christian CourtsA bill which seeks to create an equivalent of Sharia Court of Appeal for Christians has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and other 36 states.

The sponsor of the bill, Honourable Istifanus Gyang, said when established, the courts would complement the regular courts in adjudicating matters relating to the Christian faith, between individuals and groups that yield and submit to its jurisdiction.

According to him, the judges, who are to be called cardinals, are expected to be drawn from those learned in law, who would be required to administer justice in accordance with christian faith and the laws of the country.

My Loyalty Lies With Jonathan Not Amaechi – Wike

The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyisom Wike, has confirmed that his loyalty does not lie with the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, but to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan.

“First of all I owe loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I owe loyalty to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who appointed me” Mr Wike said while speaking on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday.

He noted that his loyalty further lies with the people of the state, whom he said were “certainly not” going to where the governor wants to go. “The governor only nominate me for the position of minister of State,” he insisted.

He argued that the president sent his name to the senate after which the “appointment came in”, adding that he stood out and worked tirelessly for him (Amaechi) to become governor.

Wike berated Governor Amaechi’s claim that he was made governor by “God”, saying that Amaechi will claim that he made him minister. “So it is not God that made us,” he said.

Responding to a question from a viewer via a social media channel, twitter, Wike maintained that his “political history was not connected to Amaechi. “I was a chairman of a local government (Obiakpor) when Amaechi was speaker,” he said, adding that he had never worked with him politically.

“We just met at PDP, I was chairman of the council and you can’t say that my political history is connected to him; it is not correct,” Mr Wike said.

He also urged Nigerians to forget about the creation of Bayelsa out of Rivers state, explaining that “if Jonathan is running for election today; Jonathan is from Rivers state.” 

The Supervising Minister of Education, however, admitted that the sentiment expressed would always be there.

He expressed optimism that the people of Rivers state would vote for “their son (Jonathan)” because “it will take you millions of years to convince them on why they should not vote for their son”.

Mr Wike further maintained that since the creation of Rivers in 1967, the state had been involved in mainstream politics in Nigeria.


Okonjo-Iweala Presents N4.6 Trillion 2014 Budget To NASS

The Federal Government has proposed a budget estimate of N4.6 Trillion for the 2014 fiscal year, one billion less than the 2013 figure.

The budget, which was laid before the two chambers of the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, also estimates that N268.4 billion will be spent on the Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).

According to the minister, the budget supports the federal government’s drive to diversify the economy and create jobs.

The National Assembly had deferred the presentation of the budget on a number of times which made President Goodluck Jonathan to direct the Finance Minister to submit the budget proposal to the National Assembly.

The aggregate expenditure for the budget is put at N4.642 trillion. This excludes the Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme, which is put at N268.37 billion for the Federal Government.

The expected revenue is N3.73 trillion. The capital budget is N1.1 trillion, which is about 27 percent of the budget and the recurrent is about 72 percent.

The fiscal deficit is 1.9 per cent of GDP and the oil benchmark is 77.5 dollar per barrel. The minister explained the reduction in the figure budget proposal from 2013.

The law makers are expected to begin work on the budget proposal, but that can only take place next year following the adjournment of legislative proceedings till January 14, 2014.

She said, “This budget is the budget for job creation and inclusive growth; meaning that it is a budget which will continue the president’s transformation agenda for several sectors of the economy.

“The budget is going to support the push in agriculture; it will kick-start the housing sector where we can create more jobs; it is designed to promote our policies that would support manufacturing because jobs would be created there.

“Industries will also be created in solid minerals. All these support will continued to be unleashed.  Job creation is the key to really solving the problems of the Nigerian economy.”

The former World Bank chief laid the document before the senators during their plenary, presided over by Senate President David Mark.
Mark said the action was in conformity with section 81 of the 1999 Constitution as amended,  which empowered the President to communicate the budget to the National Assembly.



Iweala Is Qualified To Present 2014 Budget To NASS – Expert

A Budget Expert, Tunji Ogunyemi, on Thursday said there should be no cause for alarm if the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is to present the 2014 budget to the National Assembly as the law does not stipulate that the President should carry out the task in person.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogunyemi explained that the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, does not need to present the budget  because section 80 to section 84 of the CFRN (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) provides that “the president shall cause (the budget) to be prepared and laid.”

Hence, he need not personally lay them; “he can delegate the duty to the Minister of Finance,” Ogunyemi said, adding that “our Minister of Finance can perfectly lay the budget before the National Assembly. No law prevents her.”

Mr Ogunyemi also addressed issues which have besieged the presentation and approval of the 2014 budget. Such delays he said lead to “a frustrated capital budget” and “investors get very (very) wrong impression that the managers of the economy are not serious,” he added.

Also, “investors tend to believe that the government cannot be trusted on its fiscal plans.”

He disclosed that the Medium Time Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which the budget must be predicated has not been agreed upon by both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“It is yet to be agreed upon by the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he said and added that although the Senate has passed its version of the Framework, it is important for both Houses to pass and agree on the expenditure limit, revenue setting as well as the oil benchmark.

The MTEF is passed every three years and another version needs to be passed for the next three years.

The MTEF also provides that there must be a fiscal strategy paper detailing how much Nigeria expects to earn in the next three years and how much she expects to spend, so that the National Assembly can be guided on the revenue profile of the country and set an expenditure limit to tally with the revenue profile.