El-Rufai Faults Dogara’s Pay Disclosure

El-Rufai Faults Dogara's Pay DisclosureIt appears the war of words between the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, is not about to end any time soon.

Governor El-Rufai has fired back at Honourable Dogara over the National Assembly budget controversy, alleging that he does not share Kaduna State money as the National Assembly handles public funds.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday criticised the Governor for challenging them to make their budget public, saying that what Governor El-Rufai declared was not his security votes, but Kaduna State Security Budget.

The lawmakers similarly made public, Honourable Dogara’s payslips from October 2016 to March 2017.

Governor El-Rufai, however, in a statement on Thursday explained that he does not have security votes, outside the published security budget of the state.

He also faulted the payslips released by Dogara, saying “the figures in the pay slips presented for the Honourable Speaker are in stark contrast to the declaration by the economist, regarding the earnings of NASS members. One of the claims cannot be right”.

Advancing Democratic Discourse

“The House of Representatives has responded with predictable tetchiness to a simple and clear demand that details of the National Assembly budget be made public.

“It is inconceivable that an important institution, vested by the Constitution with representation, lawmaking and oversight powers, has for at least seven years ignored the imperative to set an example of transparency, despite being severally urged to do so.

“Despite the rush to personal attacks on a matter of public policy, we cannot allow the enthronement of the republic of distraction. It is important that everyone who is interested in protecting and advancing democratic discourse should stay focused on the issue.

“It is strange that persons entrusted with high office will justify their abdication of the responsibility to be transparent in such cavalier fashion. We don’t believe that most of our esteemed legislators will construe a demand for transparency as aimed at undermining the National Assembly,” he added.

Dogara Receives President Buhari’s Resumption Letter

Dogara Receives President Buhari's Resumption LetterThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari informing the NASS of his official resumption.

The letter was handed over to the Speaker on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters for the House of Representatives, Honourable Kawu Sumaila.

Honourable Dogara said the letter would be read to the House in plenary on Tuesday.

President Buhari is writing to the lawmakers, following his return to Nigeria on March 10 after 49 days of medical vacation.

Buhari received by his wife, Aisha Buhari and well wishers

The President, who arrived at exactly 7.41am at the Air Force Base, Mando in Kaduna State, was well received by friends and family.

He left Nigeria on January 19, 2017 and was initially billed to spend 10 days and resume work on February 6, but later wrote to the National Assembly On February 5 to notify the lawmakers of his desire to extend his leave.

Buhari at his office

Before he left the country, the President had notified the National Assembly of temporarily transferring power to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who has been acting in that capacity since then.

Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa

On his arrival, he thanked Nigerians for their prayers while he was in the UK, saying he is well-rested and has got the best treatment available to be back home and continue with the job of governance.

Buhari smiling

State House Says 5.196b Naira Released From Its 2016 Budget

Jalal Arabi, State House, 2016 Budget
State House Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi

The State House says it has received a total of 5.196 billion naira as capital release from the 2016 budget amounting to 47.5% of its budget.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi, who said the released amount of 4.8 billion naira (93.1%) has so far been expended on the projects for which the funds were tied and released.

A balance of 5.745 billion naira representing 52.5% is yet to be released.

Mr Arabi also disclosed that for the 2017 budget, the State House had reprioritised projects in the medical centre and suspended most of its capital expenditure proposals at the moment.

However, he said that the State House would take advantage of the supplementary budget window when necessary.

The Permanent Secretary made the disclosure on Thursday at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties who were on an oversight visit to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The committee was inaugurated by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and has Representative Nasiru Daura as its chairman.

Mr Arabi said that the 2017 budget has been reviewed downwards to 13,567,979,278.72 naira for 2017 from 16,563,395,992.00 naira.

He noted that all allocations for the 2016 recurrent expenditure had been received up to and including the month of December 2016, adding that the capital releases were made for three out of five subheads in the State House budget.

Earlier, Representative Daura said that the lawmakers were at the State House to determine the level of implementation of the 2016 budget, and also on a fact finding mission to inspect completed and ongoing projects at the Presidential Villa.

He observed that the visit would help to correct the ongoing misinformation about State House, as well as curb corruption and ensure that Nigeria comes out of recession.

Nigeria’s Economy Must Be Our Central Focus, Dogara Tells Lawmakers

house-of-representativesThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has stressed the need for lawmakers to see the nation’s economy as a critical and urgent task before the legislature that must be addressed.

His demand is coming at a time the nation’s economy is in recession, with the Naira losing value against the Nigeria, but the Executive Arm of government, submitting this year’s budget in December, said reflating the economy wat its focus.

Honourable Dogara made the remark on Tuesday in a speech at the resumption of plenary after the yuletide break.

Our Central Focus

The lawmaker told the House that “as 2017 rolls by, we should expect great challenges once again but with renewed determination and faith that things shall surely get better with God on our side”.

He called the attention of the House to what he called the most critical and urgent task before them, saying “it is the pending 2017 Appropriation Bill”.

“My Honourable colleagues, the economy must be our central focus in 2017.

“Measures to exit Nigeria out of recession must be the critical aspect of our legislative activities.

“The 2017 Budget remains the major tool to rejig our economy. This is in addition to other fiscal and monetary policies.

“The recent fiscal measures including import prohibition of certain items and the increase or decrease of tariff on some items should receive appropriate legislative scrutiny to ensure that the economy and the interests of our people are protected.

“We must ensure that we take no prisoners in accomplishing this task,” he stressed.

Grievous Social Stress

Honourable Dogara stated that the year 2016 presented Nigeria with its peculiar challenges especially in the area of security and the economy.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016, a situation that the Speaker described as a period of grievous social stress for the citizenry.

He said: “It was also the year in which terrorism in the North East, militancy in the South-South, the despicable phenomenon of kidnapping as well as the flash of agitations bared their murderous fangs – visiting death, pain and anguish on the populace.

“In all these, it is gratifying to note that the fundamentals of nationhood remain strong, robust and promising.

“We commend the gallantry, ingenuity and professionalism of our armed forces and security agencies, the political will of the Buhari-led government and the unbending resilience of the Nigerian people.

“Many developments in the polity require legislative and executive responses.

“It was during this break that our citizens woke up to heart-warming and cheering news when the military authorities declared they had captured the most strategic major stronghold held by Boko Haram terrorists”.

While commending the military for their sacrifices and commitment that resulted in the triumph, Honourable Dogara pointed out that the war against terrorism was still on and urged Nigerians to remain vigilant against targeting of soft targets by fleeing terrorists, as they attempt to terrorise the populace.

The lawmaker also touched issues of herdsmen attack in some states, highlighting the outbreak of violence resulting in wanton killings and destruction of property in Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwani, parts of Zamfara State.

Situation In Gambia

On the external front, particularly within the ECOWAS sub-region, the lawmaker stated that recent events call for both joy and concern.

“There have been peaceful elections and transition of power in Ghana to the delight and pride of all Africans.

“However, in Gambia, even though peaceful elections took place, the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh, has recanted his pledge to hand over power peacefully after losing the elections. The situation in Gambia constitutes a serious dent on the rising profile of the development of democracy on the African continent,” he added.

Plateau: PDP Reconciles Mantu, Jang As APC Receives Defectors

Ibrahim Mantu, Jonah Jang, PDP, APC, Plateau
Ibrahim Mantu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State seem to be achieving success with efforts to rebuild its structure in the state.

This is because the state’s former governor, Jonah Jang and a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu have settled their lingering feud and agreed to work together for the good of the party.

The PDP reconciliation committee set up to end the dispute was able to reconcile the duo and their teeming followers during a stakeholders meeting held in Jos, the state capital in north-central Nigeria.

Jonah Jang
Jonah Jang

Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has also received many defectors from other political parties into its fold.

The APC, through its National Chairman, John Oyegun, formally received former governor, Joshua Dariye and some members of the PDP into the ruling party.

APC, Petroleum

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and other chieftains were also present to receive the new members into the party.

The PDP and APC have been putting their various houses in order and strategising for the forthcoming local government elections in Plateau State.

Political activities are on the increase with the two major political parties engaging in high level politicking towards gaining the confidence and respect of voters in the state.

Osinbajo Meets With National Assembly Leaders And Governors

Yemi OsinbajoNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday met with leaders of the National Assembly and some Governors.

At the closed door meeting held at the Presidential Villa were Dr. Bukola Saraki, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yari, the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and the governors of Ogun, and Osun States.

Details of the meeting were not disclosed to journalists but feelers have it that the meeting may be in connection with 30 billion dollar loan request made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The meeting started at about 3:00p.m. local time and ended at about 5:00p.m.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Abdullaziz Yari

After the meeting, the Senate President told reporters that the meeting was held to discuss issues that would move the nation forward.

“All for good governance, inclusion and great collaboration with all arms.

“The states are here, the National Assembly executive is here to just come up with ideas about how to make things work even better,” Dr. Saraki told reporters.

Bukola Saraki told reporters issues of interest were discussed

The meeting came a day after Mr Femi Addesina, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, told Channels Television that the president would be re-presenting the returned loan request to the National Assembly with the required details.

The Senate had returned the loan approval request to the executive arm of government, demanding for more details to be provided.

House Challenges Jibrin To Present Proof Of Alleged Budget Padding

budget padding, HouseThe House of Representatives has come out to refute allegations made by the former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Addressing journalists in the National Assembly, the chairman of the House Committee on Media, Abdulrakas Namdas said that the lawmaker has by his actions gone ahead to confirm why he was relieved of his position.

Hon. Jibrin had accused the House of representatives’ Speaker and other principal officers of playing major roles in the controversial 2016 budget padding

The House has challenged the former chairman to present credible and authentic documents to back up his allegations of wrongdoing against principal officers in the House.

When the House of Representatives adjourned plenary on Thursday for their annual recess, no one had an idea of what was to follow.

Since then, the former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation has demanded that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House resign having made several allegations against them.

The Spokesman of the House has now come out to address some of the allegations made by the former chairman.

Reasons For Jibrin’s Removal

He started by giving reasons why the lawmaker was removed as committee chairman.

“His removal was based on sundry acts of misconduct, incompetence, total disregard for his colleagues and abuse of the budgetary process, among others.

He went on to accuse Jibrin of the following:

i. Immaturity and lack of capacity to handle the Office of Chairman, Appropriations
ii. Tendency and proclivity to blackmail colleagues and high government officials and misuse and mishandle sensitive government information
iii. Unacceptable Mismanagement Of The 2016 Budgetary Process.

Budget Padding, House
Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin

And to the allegations of budget padding, the House spokesman said that the 8th House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, has not deviated from established practices, precedents and traditions.

“The powers of the National Assembly on appropriation are clearly spelt out in Sections 4, 59 and 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.

“Section 4, empowers the National Assembly to make laws for good governance of the federation while Section 59 confers on the Legislature final say on the budget.

“When therefore, the National Assembly appropriates funds in the budget, it can never under any circumstances or guise be deemed or regarded as tinkering or padding.”

The House says the whole saga is an internal matter and in accordance with its rules, the House Committee On Ethics and Privileges will investigate the allegations made by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin and he will be afforded the opportunity of fair hearing.

House Replaces Jibrin As Appropriation Committee Chairman

Abdulmumin Jibrin, House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives has announced a replacement for its Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, made the announcement during plenary on Wednesday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Jibrin has been replaced with Representative Mustapha Dawaki, who is representing Kudu/Warawa Federal Constituency of Kano State.

Speaker Dogara informed his colleagues that the House leadership had taken the decision to replace Mr Jibrin as the Appropriation Committee Chairman.

He said that the lawmaker had coincidentally approached him, saying he does not want to continue as the Chairman of the Committee.

Dogara Felicitates With Muslims On Eid-El-Fitri Celebration

Yakubu Dogara, Muslims, Eid-el-FitirThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has congratulated the entire Muslim Ummah across Nigeria on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, in Abuja, the Speaker urged Muslims to use the period of Eid-el-Fitri to pray for Nigeria to overcome its present challenges.

Dogara also asked Muslims to allow the lessons of humility, sacrifice, love and selfless service garnered during the 30-day fast to guide their lives and activities.

He noted that the holy month of Ramadan afforded Muslims the opportunity to show compassion, mercy and kindness to their fellow men and also advised that they should continue to put smiles on the faces of others beyond the Ramadan period.

“May I use this opportunity to urge the faithful to use the occasion to reflect on the lessons of Ramadan and continue to imbibe its teachings which are primarily premised on selflessness, sacrifice, patience, modesty and spirituality”, Dogara admonished.

The Speaker also called for prayers for the success of the country’s leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari for God to continue to guide, protect and give him the wisdom to steer the affairs of the state and actualise the change agenda.

Affirming the National Assembly’s commitment to upholding the tenets of democracy and championing the cause of the electorates at all times, the Speaker promised that the House of Reps would continue to initiate laws and legislative interventions to support the change agenda and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

Resident Doctors Insist Strike Continues

Resident Doctors, NARDThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) insists its strike continues until congress takes decision on the outcome of the meeting with the House of Representatives.

The President of NARD, Dr. Muhammed Askira, made the statement while addressing reporters on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He was reacting to the statement made by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, that both parties had agreed to sheath their swords after Tuesday’s meeting with the lawmakers.

“If you interpret the statement of the Minister to mean that the strike is over, then you are wrong,” the medic said.

Dr. Askira commended the lawmakers for their intervention on the lingering issues between NARD and the government.

He explained that the organ of the association that declared the strike would have to meet on Friday before any decision on whether or not to call off the strike.

This comes just as the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Professor Oluwole Atoyebi, said the Nigerian government has not sacked any doctor from Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.Prof_Atoyebi

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Professor Atoyebi said: “while the resident doctors have been told to suspend the strike, the Ministry has been told by the Speaker ((of the House of Representatives) to rest the directive, for now, and that has been agreed by all parties”.

House Of Reps Hopeful Of Imminent End To Doctors Strike

Resident DoctorsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria is hopeful that the industrial action embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors will be called off in the next few days.

Lawmakers are intervening in the faceoff between the representatives of the Ministry of Health and the leaders of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Their intervention appears to have been productive, with the Chairman of the House Committee on Health Institutions, Betty Apiafi, seeing a possible resolution in coming days.

The lawmakers expressed their confidence on Tuesday after a five-hour meeting convened by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, with a Federal Government delegation and leaders of the NARD.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, told reporters that they had agreed to sheath their swords in the interest of Nigerians.

The President of the NARD, Muhammed Askira, however, said the strike had not been put off yet.

This is coming just as the Federal Government has asked heads of Government Tertiary Health Institutions to replace doctors that have abandoned their duties in protest of what they called poor welfare.

Residents doctors at the Federal Government’s institutions have downed tools after the association asked them to stay away from work in protest of poor welfare.

House Of Reps Seeks Unbiased Allocation Of Constituency Projects

Yakubu Dogara, Constituency ProjectsThe House of Representatives is seeking more liberal and equitable ways of distributing constituency projects across Nigeria.

The Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, made the call on Monday at the one-day Political Representation and Constituency Intervention Summit in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that legislators have been disadvantaged in the implementation of constituency projects.

The Speaker further stated that funding was often made available to projects sited at the constituencies of those in the executive arm of government at the expense of the legislators.

On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, condemned the manner at which funds meant for constituency projects were abused in the past.

In his reaction, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, urged the lawmakers to decide on a framework that would ensure that constituency projects were not viewed as individual lawmaker’s project.

It is a conference of both Federal and state lawmakers to brainstorm on the best ways to attract and implement constituency projects.

It is hoped that the resolutions from the conference would strengthen the legal and institutional framework for effective management of the projects.