Saraki Fumes At IG As Police Continue Invasion Of Melaye’s Residence

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Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has lashed out at the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, accusing him of playing partisan politics with his position.

Saraki’s accusations come on the heels of the continued police invasion of a residence belonging to Senator Melaye, the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District.

Melaye had in a series of tweets on Friday raised an alarm that his residence was under siege.

The police on arrival barred individuals from going near the building, claiming that the Senator barricaded himself in an area of his residence in a bid to prevent his arrest.

Reacting to the ongoing siege on Melaye’s house, Saraki said the process is another instance of police being used to suppress the rights of the citizenry.

He said the siege is another ploy at silencing people with opposing views to the current administration.

“The general belief now is that the Police action against Senator @dino_melaye is aimed at keeping him out of circulation so that he would not participate in the general elections in February 2019,” Saraki said.

Saraki, in a series of tweets via his handle, aired his views about the police operation at Melaye’s residence, arguing that the police action does not follow due course.

Below are his tweets:

Operatives of the Nigerian Police for the second day have continued to keep watch at the home of the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, in Abuja.

The police on Friday vowed to remain at the premises until they arrest the Senator, who they believe had locked himself in a part of the house with the intention of evading arrest.

The police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, had explained in a statement that Senator Melaye is wanted to answer to the case of attempted culpable homicide in the shooting of a police officer, Sgt Danjuma Saliu, while on duty allegedly by Senator Melaye and armed thugs in Kogi State on July 19, 2018.

According to the police, the offence for which Senator Melaye is being investigated is capital in nature.

Melaye has promised to make himself available to the police next week.

The lawmaker representing Kogi West constituency, in a phone interview with Channels Television on Friday, said he is not a criminal and has no reason to run from the police.

He explained that the police invasion of his residence was unnecessary and that he will report himself to the police as soon as he returns to Abuja.

“I was informed that my house has been invaded. Over 40 policemen inside the compound and over 50 outside the gate. My staff were molested, beaten and handcuffed and taken away.

“Presently I’m outside Abuja. I’m a Senator of the Federal Republic of Abuja, I cannot run away. I will make myself available as soon as I’m back to town next week. I am not a criminal, I have not done anything wrong,” he said.

Melaye also accused the police of disobeying court order to release his international passport to him. According to him, a court order has said that his passport should be released by the police.

 

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate Confirmation

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate ConfirmationThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, has eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Some of the nominees are: Mr Mike Igini who earlier served as the REC in Edo and Cross Rivers states; Mr Halilu Pai who also served as the REC in Ondo State; Dr. Akeju, a former REC in Kogi and Ondo states; and Mr Sam Olumekun who served in Edo State.

The tenure of 33 RECs had expired weeks ago, leaving openings for the highest positions in the state leadership of INEC.

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino Melaye

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino MelayeThe Nigerian Senate is set to investigate the allegation against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, over the seizure of a bulletproof Sports Utility Vehicle by the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Customs was said to have seized the vehicle belonging to the Senate President for unpaid duties valued at 74 million Naira.

The Upper Chamber said it would also investigate the allegation that one of its members representing Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, did not obtain a degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as claimed in the document submitted to the Senate.

The lawmakers reached the decision to begin the investigations on Tuesday after the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, raised a point of order at plenary asking the Senate to look into the issues.

The matters have been referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigation.

Saraki Optimistic Onnoghen Would Revive Judiciary

sarakiPresident of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the newly sworn in Chief Justice of Nigeria Mr Walter Onnoghen has enough time on his hands to revive the judiciary.

Speaking to journalists after the swearing in ceremony, Saraki stated that the Senate had drilled the CJN when he appeared before the House for confirmation.

According to him, the Senate took him up on important issues such as the independence of the judiciary.

He then expressed optimism that Justice Onnoghen has all it takes to turn the judiciary around within four years.

“We want to see an independent Judiciary, we want to see a judiciary that would also co-operate with other arms of government, doing a lot of reforms.

“I am confident that with time on his side and with commitment to some of the issues he has talked about, he would deliver.

“A lot is expected of him, Usually, CJNs have a very short period of time, but he would have no excuse not to deliver on reforming the judiciary – we hope he does that and we wish him all the best.”

Other dignitaries that witnessed the swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Villa include: former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the Supreme Court, his family members, among others.

National Assembly Commits To Transport Sector Reforms – Saraki

National Assembly Commits To Transport Sector Reforms - SarakiThe Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the National Assembly is committed to repositioning the transport sector to improve the nation’s economy.

Senator Saraki inaugurated a technical committee on the transport sector reform to provide technical input for the transport sector bills before the Senate.

He explained that the Senate wants to encourage private sector investment in the transport sector and the bills are critical to achieving that.

Recently, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that negotiations were at advanced stage with General Electric, an American multinational conglomerate and the China Exim Bank on the revival of the rail system.

Mr Amaechi told reporters shortly after he visited the dry inland port in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that work would commence on the narrow and standard rail line gauge across Nigeria as soon as the negotiations were concluded.

He, however, stressed the need to develop facilities in the inland dry ports on a tripartite arrangement involving the Federal Government, the host state government and the private investor.

Senate Commences Screening Of Walter Onnoghen

Walter OnnoghenJustice Walter Onnoghen is currently facing the senate as hearing has commenced to confirm him as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had announced that the upper chamber will screen the Acting Chief Justice on Wednesday, March 1.

Senator Saraki made the announcement at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday morning.

Justice Onnoghen has been in acting capacity since November 10, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari okayed him for the position, following the retirement of Mahmud Mohammed.

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had sent his name to the senate for confirmation as Chief Justice Of Nigeria on February 8, just two days before the expiration of his three –month acting tenure.

Also, The National Judicial Council (NJC), had extended Mr Onnoghen’s tenure by another three months on the grounds that it may have been impossible for the Senate, which was on recess at the time, to reconvene and screen Onnoghen before the expiration date of his tenure.

The initial delay by President Buhari to send his name to the Senate had been trailed by criticism and condemnation, with some alleging ethnic bias as the reason for the president’s “seeming reluctance”.

The nomination was however contained in the presidency’s twitter handle saying: “Hon. Justice W.S. Onnoghen’s name has been sent to the Senate for confirmation as the next CJN.”

Justice Onnoghen has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2005.

If confirmed by the Upper Legislative Chamber, he would be the first CJN from the southern part of the country in about 30 years.

Buhari Has Not Contravened Constitution Over Trip – Reps

Muhammadu Buhari, Constitution, House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives says that President Muhammadu Buhari has not contravened the constitution by being away from Nigeria for health reasons.

The spokesman for the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, made the declaration during an interview with Channels Television in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Representative Namdas stated that the constitution does not specify how long the President can be away after handing over to the Vice President.

He said that the country is in the capable hands of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stressing that there was no need for Nigerians to worry for now.

President Buhari had in a letter to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, extended his vacation.

However, he did not specify in the letter how long he would be away.

FG Amends Charges Against Saraki

CCT, Bukola Saraki, Danladi Umar,The trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, over alleged false declaration of assets, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja has been stalled.

This is following the filing of a further amended charge against him by the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, the prosecutor announced the filing of the 18 count amended charge but the defence team raised objections to the continuation of the trial, on the ground that more time is needed by Dr Saraki and the defence team to prepare their defence.

In the amended charge, Dr. Saraki is alleged to have among other charges acquired properties at numbers 17a and 17b Mcdonald road, Ikoyi, Lagos on September 16, 2006, from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar commodities.

But his asset declaration form reveals that the said properties were bought through a five hundred and seven million naira loan obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank.

After listening to arguments for and against the continuation of the trial, the Chairman of the Tribunal adjourned the case to February 23, 2017 to enable Dr. Saraki take a fresh plea based on the further amended charge.

On September 22, 2015, Dr. Saraki was docked before the CCT on a 13-count charge and later re-arraigned on April 28, 2016, on an amended 16-count corruption charge.

The Federal Government alleged that he made false/anticipatory declaration of assets, operated foreign accounts while in office as Kwara State governor.

Recession: Kwara Commissioner Urges Nigerians To Remain United

kwara, labour leaders, salary paymentThe Commissioner for Energy, Kwara State, Abubakar Idris has called on Nigerians to work together, in order to get out of the socio-economic challenges.

The Commissioner said that the present economic difficulties could only be resolved through the collective responsibilities of all stakeholders, especially the leaders and followers.

According to him, “This is the best time to be our brothers keeper irrespective of our diverse ethno-religious, cultural and political background”.

The Commissioner disclosed that workers should continue to put the nation above their personal interest, urging them to discharge their responsibilities with utmost humility and dedication.

“I know there is going to be light at the end of the tunnel as regarding the nation’s present unpleasant economic realities”, he said.

He pointed out that the act of commitment and dedication exhibited by workers inspite of the nation’s economic recession which deserved appreciation from Nigerians.

He implored citizens of the state to always appreciate and support the leadership qualities of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Federal Government Launches Economic Recovery Plan

Yemi-OsinbajoThe Nigerian government has launched the economic recovery growth plan; an initiative which Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says is expected to lead to the growth of the nation’s economy by seven per cent between 2017 and 2020.

Professor Osinbajo says the all-inclusive economic policy document will help put the economy back on track, following the effects of the recession.

According to him, the focus will be on five broad areas namely: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion, employment and governance.

Tagged ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’, the 2017 budget is expected to help Nigeria come out of recession but many have questioned the capabilities of the document to do just that.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Senate has adjourned plenary till February 24, 2017, to allow the different committees work on the details of the 2017 budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, expressed optimism that the Federal Government is on the right track with its plans.

Senate Will Ensure Upgrade Of Minna Airport – Saraki

Minna Airport, Senate, Bukola SarakiThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, says the Upper Chamber will ensure that the Minna Airport is upgraded to serve its primary function as alternative to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Dr. Saraki explained that the proximity of the Minna airport to the Federal Capital Territory and its standard runway made it an alternative to the Abuja airport.

He noted that with the level of renovation work at the airport and its unique features, the Senate would not allow the facility to remain dormant.

“We have seen the airport and we have discussed it. With its standard and conducive runway and its closeness to Abuja, I don’t believe it should be in its present state; we cannot allow it to remain in this sorry state.

“The Senators from this state will table it on the floor of the Senate and we shall look into it. We shall ensure that we bring the airport to international standard,” Dr. Saraki said.

The Senate President made the remarks before departing Minna for Abuja through the airport, after paying condolence visits to Governor Abubakar Bello and the family of late Abdulkadir Kure, a former Governor of Niger State.

The Minna airport has been serving the airlifting of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for annual pilgrimage for over 10 years.

The renovation work on both the arrival and departure wings of the airport, which was initially built to serve as alternative port to the Abuja airport, was stopped by the previous administration due to lack of funds.

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Witness Testifies In Saraki’s Trial

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, False Asset DeclarationThe trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged false declaration of assets continued on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

At the resumed hearing of the case, a witness, Amazu Nwachuckwu, gave testimonies about how the Senate President allegedly transferred funds from Nigeria to service his mortgage obligation through an offshore account in the United Kingdom.

Nwachuckwu, who works as a Funds Transfer Officer in Guaranty Trust Bank, explained how Dr. Saraki purportedly transferred over $3 million between 2009 and 2012 from his domiciliary account with the bank to American Express Europe Services Limited.

The defence team, led by Mr Paul Usoro, however, argued that their client never maintained a foreign account as a public officer.

Mr Usoro added that Senator Saraki obtained a loan of 375 million Naira from the bank to acquire a property in London.

He maintained that it was not in breach of any law.

Further hearing in the case has been shifted to January 18, even though Mr Usoro has informed the Tribunal that he had more questions for the witness.

The CCT had earlier struck out an application filed by the Senate President against the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar.

Senator Saraki had accused Mr Umar of bias and asked him to disqualify himself from hearing the case.