Senate Analyses President Buhari’s Borrowing Plan

Nigerian-SenateThe Senate has analyzed the various issues contained in President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter in which he had requested to borrow $29.960 billion for different projects.

The senate took a deep look at the Consumer Protection Bill, Hydro-electric Power Bill, and Prison Bill among others.

This took place on Wednesday at a plenary session in which the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, read out the letter sent by President Buhari, requesting approval of the Federal Government’s 2016-2018 borrowing plan.

This according to the letter, is to cover all sectors which include agriculture, health, water, employment creation, poverty eradication among others, across the country.

“Considering the huge infrastructural deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budget to bridge the infrastructure deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects namely power, railway and road project amongst others,” the letter read.

As the various bills were being considered, Senator Gbenga Ashafa in support of the Prison Bill said that he is particular about the improvement and attitudinal change of inmates.

While Senator Utazi Chukwuka explained the deplorable state of Enugu Prisons, Senator Musa Kwankwaso also affirmed that modern prisons should be built to accommodate prisoners, identifying that there are so many challenges with the operators too.

Mr. Ekweremadu expressed appreciation to the sponsors of the Prison Bill adding that it would help improve conditions of prisoners in Nigeria.

The sitting was adjourned to Thursday 27th October, 2016 when further deliberations into the President’s letter will continue.

FG Fails To Arraign Saraki, Ekwerenmadu, Two Others

Saraki, EkwerenmaduThe Federal Government has failed to arraign the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu before an Abuja High Court on charges of forgery of the Senate Standing Rules used to conduct the election that brought them into office, as principal officers.

Contrary to media report on the arraignment, the federal government has not served the four defendants with the criminal charge as required by law.

The court bailiff was said to have taken the charge to the National Assembly complex on Friday evening, but did not meet the defendants in their offices.

Similar attempt was also said to have been made to serve them on Monday, but it also failed, because he was told that the lawmakers do not sit on Fridays and Mondays.

At the time of filing this report, a source in the FCT High Court told journalists that the bailiff had been sent out with the charge to serve the four defendants personally as required by law.

The court said that until they have been personally served, the arraignment cannot hold.

The charges filed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation by the Federal Government, against the senators reads:

“That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.”

It also accused them of fraudulently forging the Senate Standing Order 2011 (as amended), causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when they knew that the said Order was not made in compliance with the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order.

Some lawmakers, on behalf of the Senate, petitioned the Police, alleging forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that produced Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu, following election of principal officers for the Senate.

NLC Strike: Senate To Interface With FG, Labour Unions

Petroleum Industry BillThe Senate has directed its Committee on Labour to immediately interface with the Federal Government and Labour Unions to find immediate solutions to the impasse between both sides.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) began a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest the Federal government’s new fuel price regime.

The Senate is, however, backing the Federal government’s introduction of the new fuel price regime.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, said the Senate had resolved to engage with the Federal Government to find out sustainable ways of improving the welfare of Nigerians.

The Deputy Senate President, who presided over plenary on Wednesday disclosed that the Senate reached the decision to meet with organized labour during a closed door meeting.

Sen. Ekweremadu said the Senate is interested in ensuring that Nigerians do not suffer hardship resulting from the strike.

Enugu Massacre: IGP Visits Nimbo Community, Orders Policeman’s Arrest

Enugu MassacreThe Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has ordered the detention of a policeman, identified as Corporal Chukwu, who allegedly collaborated with herdsmen during the killing of residents in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Mr Arase has also directed that the policeman be detained and properly investigated.

He gave the assurance that once the allegations against him in the Enugu massacre were confirmed, he would not only leave the Police but would be prosecuted.

Mr Arase, who visited the community to commiserate with victims of the attack, said that his visit was aimed at assessing the situation and subsequently plan on how to find a permanent solution to the scourge.

He pledged the readiness of the Police to do all in its powers to ensure that those involved in the gruesome murder of the villagers were arrested and prosecuted.

He assured the villagers that the Police was on top of the situation adding that no policeman who collaborates with criminal elements to perpetrate crime would go unpunished.

“I am not happy about what has happened and that is why I have decided to come and have an on the spot assessment of the situation.

“I have been discussing with the senator from the area and others to enable us find lasting solution to the problem. I have been able to see what happened and we should be able to find solutions.

“I can assure Nigerians that nobody has the right to take the life of any other Nigerian and goes free with it. We are going to make sure that we catch them and prosecute them and we will create the enabling environment for peace. On our way here, we saw where we are trying to put a police station to increase Police visibility in this area,” he said.

The Police boss, who also visited the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, John Akor, advised the community to remain law abiding and vigilant, while commending their partnership with the Police that actually aborted the devastation of the environment.

Mr Arase was accompanied by the senator representing Enugu North senatorial zone, Chukwuka Utazi, state Commissioner of Police, Mr Nwodibo Ekechukwu and other top Police officers.

The Enugu Massacre left at least 20 people dead.

Senate Condemns Alleged Fulani Herdsmen Attack In Enugu

Petroleum Industry BillThe Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, has condemned the killing of more than 50 people in Enugu State by suspected herdsmen.

Senator Ekwerenmadu reminded lawmakers that the Senate had asked the Committees on Agriculture and National Intelligence to hold a public hearing to find solutions to the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in several communities in the country.

A similar motion was considered in the House of Representatives. Rep Chukwuemeka Ujam, who raised the motion warned that if drastic measures are not taken, the incident is likely to reoccur.

The House of Representatives subsequently mandated the Inspector General of Police to immediately conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on a community and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The House has also invited the Director General of the Department of State Security to explain the rising cases of unidentified herdsmen causing mayhem in the country.

At least 20 persons were allegedly killed in Ukpabi Nimbo, an agrarian community in the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State while property worth millions of Naira were destroyed.

Senate Leadership: A Democratic Revolution Against Imposition – APC Member

(L-R) Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

A member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki, as the President of the upper chamber, was a democratic revolution against the imposition of candidates on party members.

Senator Saraki emerged the President of the Senate, contrary to the choice of the party in a straw election.

On Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme, Mr Oladimeji Fabiyi, commended Senator Saraki for his intervention and for standing his ground to ensure that the planned imposition of a candidate on the members of the party did not succeed.

He claimed that there was a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Clerk of the National Assembly, urging the Senate to hold the inauguration as scheduled.

Oladimeji Fabiyi, a member of the All progressives Congress, believes the Senate President’s election followed laid down rules.

His claims contradict earlier claims by some Senators of the APC, who did not take part in the election that brought in Senator Saraki, that the President had requested that the time for the election should be shifted, as he had called a meeting of the Senators to discuss the election.

But since the number of Senators present at the Assembly Complex as at 10:00am scheduled time was enough to form a quorum, the Senators carried on with the election.

Revolution Against Imposition

The party and some Senators absent expressed displeasure with the process, saying it was treacherous and that they will challenge the outcome in court.

“I do not think there is going to be any issue. What happened at the National Assembly was a democratic revolution against imposition and we accept it at this very time.

“We will stand by that. We should be busy with the challenges we have as a nation.

“The President knew he may not be around at the time the inauguration will hold, so he sent a proclamation, asking the Clerk to go ahead with the inauguration, as scheduled.

“It is democracy in progress. In any democratic process, we are bound to see this kind of a thing. It is not an issue of minority having its way. At the inauguration, 58 Senators were there, more than the number required to form a quorum,” Mr Fabiyi stressed.

Also giving his opinion about the outcome of the election held on Tuesday, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party and the House of Representatives, Tijani Yusuf, said his party showed magnanimity by allowing the APC to get the position of the Senate President, emphasising that his party would have taken advantage of the division in the ruling party and usurp the Senate leadership.

“The PDP has the number and should have taken it because of the division in the APC over the candidate to present.

“Requirement for a quorum in the Senate is 37. We are presently 107 Senators and PDP has 48 Senators APC has 59. Even with the whole senators on ground, the DPD will contest and still win, since the APC will have divided votes,” he claimed.

Senator Yusuf said the election was legitimate, explaining that some of the Senators claiming no election was held signed the attendance register before the left for the supposed meeting with the President.

He, however, urged the APC to focus on governance, as Nigerians are looking up to them to fulfil their promises.