Plateau Assembly: Saleh Shehu Replaces Yusuf Gagdi As Deputy Speaker

Plateau Assembly: Saleh Shehu Replaces Yusuf Gagdi As Deputy Speaker The Plateau State House of Assembly on Tuesday, elected a new Deputy Speaker, Saleh Shehu, after the impeachment of the former Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Gagdi.

This follows a letter of no confidence in his leadership style, written and endorsed by 18 out of the 24 House members to the speaker and read on the floor of the House.

At the plenary, majority leader, Henry Yunkwap, presented the impeachment notice signed by the 18 members, which was confirmed and verified by the clerk of the Assembly.

Mr  Shehu, representing Dengi constituency was immediately sworn in to resume his functions as a principal officer of the Plateau State House Of Assembly.

Speaking on the impeachment, the former Deputy Speaker, explained that his removal had nothing to do with any indictment whatsoever, rather it was the wish of his colleagues.

“From the day I was elected, I saw it coming because I am one among equal, when I was elected I was not elected as the Deputy Speaker. I have no grudge against any member or members that signed the impeachment process. It is the decision of the House and I am most grateful that I was not removed for committing any fraud or mismanagement, I was removed simply because they don’t want me anymore.”

Mr Gagdi was elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to represent Kantana constituency in the state House of Assembly but defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress later in 2016.

According to him, the leadership tussle rocking the PDP was the reason for his defection to the APC.

Benue Lawmakers Push For North Central Development Commission

Benue State House of Assembly appeals to Samuel Ortom to facilitate North Central Development Commission The Benue State House of Assembly has appealed to Governor Samuel Ortom to help facilitate the establishment of the North Central Development Commission in a joint effort with other governors in the sub-region.

The lawmakers made the resolve as they resumed plenary on Thursday to debate key national issues, one of which is the insecurity issue relating to attacks by herdsmen.

A motion moved by the Majority Leader, Representative Benjamin Adanyi, prayed the House to also appeal to National Assembly lawmakers from the north-central region to pursue a bill in this direction.

Outlining the effects of herdsmen attacks in the region, Adanyi opined that such bill would help rebuild devastated communities in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states, as well as Southern Kaduna in Northwest Nigeria.

He likened the killings and destruction in the region to what the Boko Haram terrorists did in the northeast.

The lawmaker explained that the incidence warranted the Federal Government to establish the North East Development Commission, with proposed funding of 3% deductions from Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue collected nationwide.

He further questioned why such amount of VAT was collected from Benue State to fund the reconstruction of the northeast while excluding the state which he said was confronted with acute internal displacement challenges.

Following a few amendments of the motion by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange, the lawmakers unanimously passed the proposal.

Subsequently, the Benue South caucus of the assembly met to discuss the brutal killing of a soldier in Agatu Local Government Area of the state.

The Minority Leader of the House, Sule Audu, appealed to the Nigerian Army to halt the alleged destruction of Agatu villages in a retaliation move.

2017 Budget Will Fix Economy, Senate Leader Assures

2017 Budget Will Fix Economy, Senate Leader AssuresThe majority leader in Nigeria’s Senate, Mr Ahmed Lawan, says the 2017 budget will address most of the economic challenges bedeviling the country.

Answering questions from journalists in Damaturu, Yobe state, the lawmaker who represents Yobe North at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, said that the 2017 budget contains lots of provisions that will improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

“Let me tell you that bad economy is one of the development challenges we face as a developing nation and I can assure you that the 2017 budget was well planned to address some of these problems we face as a nation.

“The budget makes the economy better because so many provisions, suggestions and estimates that will make life better for ordinary Nigerians were reflected in it to bring relief to Nigerians,” the Majority Leader said.

Senator Ahmed Lawan also has cheering news for disadvantaged citizens, saying they are also well taken care of in the budget.

“I want to assure Nigerians that some social interventions are enclosed therein for those who are so disadvantaged, so that the most vulnerable in the society access some funds for agricultural purposes and employment opportunities for our teaming youths.”

Dr. Ahmed Lawan said that the Senate has no option to act differently than to support the President to actualise his transformation agenda.

“There is nothing the Senate will do differently than to make life better for the people.

“The Senate will ordinarily key into this laudable programme aimed at making life more meaningful for the people,” he stressed.

The lawmaker said that this can be done either by legislation or simply by enlightening Nigerians on the benefits of such policy which needs the support of all and sundry.

On his recent emergence as the majority leader of the Senate, the Senator said his appointment in that capacity “was the initial position of the party and it is done now to uphold the party supremacy as earlier agreed by the APC caucus”.

The appointment according to him would stabilize the party more and unify the APC caucus since that was their initial plan.

“This development will help us face real development challenges better and minority parties will have more focus and will work better, thereby making a more productive Senate.”

He described his appointment in that capacity as “an act of God” and will continue to work for the progress and development of the country.

While calling for the support of legislative arms to accord Mr. President the needed support in actualizing his dreams for the country, Dr Ahmed Lawan said that the act of legislation is very key and central in any administration.

He thanked his colleagues for the trust they have in him and promised to do the job to the best of his abilities.

Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan takes over the position of the majority leader of the Senate from Senator Ali Ndume who represents Borno South at the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Speaker’s Suspension: Ondo Assembly Shut

Speaker's Suspension: Ondo Assembly ShutThe crisis in the Ondo State House of Assembly is deepening as the assembly complex has been shut down by security operatives to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

This followed a tussle between two factions of the lawmakers over the leadership of the House.

The crisis started after the suspension of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Majority Leader on Friday.

At the resumption of plenary on Monday, the new leadership insisted that the former leadership led by Mrs Jumoke Akindele remained suspended over the 15 million naira found on the House paymaster in the assembly complex.

Mrs Akindele has insisted she has nothing to do with.

She said that the aggrieved members could not have removed her from office as the allegation of fraud levelled against her had not been proven to be true.

She denied the allegation of fraud by her leadership, saying it was all politics as the cash was not found on her or any member of the House but on the paymasters who is the custodian of monies belonging to the Assembly.

During interrogation, the Paymaster was said to have told the lawmakers that he was acting on the directive of the leadership of the House.

Members of the House who were aggrieved by this insisted it was unlawful and corrupt for the leadership of the House to withdraw such cash without the knowledge of the members.

To this end, the aggrieved members suspended the Speaker, Jumoke akindele and two other principal officers; the Deputy Speaker, Fatai Olotu as well as the Majority Leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu.

Suspended Ondo Speaker Insists She Is Still In Charge

Suspended Ondo Speaker Insists She Is Still In ChargeThe suspended Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Honourable Jumoke Akindele has reacted to her purported impeachment by some members of the Assembly on allegations of corruption.

She said that the aggrieved members could not have removed her from office as the allegation of fraud levelled against her had not been proven to be true.

She denied the allegation of fraud by her leadership, saying it was all politics as the cash was not found on her or any member of the House but on the paymasters who is the custodian of monies belonging to the Assembly.

Mrs Akindele called on her colleagues to quickly retrace their steps.

Meanwhile, the newly elected Majority Leader of the House, Olamide George representing Akure North Constituency insists that the new leadership has come to stay.

He assured the members and people of the state that the new leadership of the House would work with transparency.

He lamented that the staff of the House of Assembly had not received their salaries and announced that the new leadership had agreed to use the seized money for their welfare.

He assured the members of the House that the new Speaker would operate an open door policy.

Also speaking, a member representing Odigbo Constituency 1, Iroju Ogundeji said that the new leadership of the House has set up a panel that will investigate how the money was looted from the coffers of the House.

The crisis in the Ondo State House of Assembly started when a sum of 15 million Naira was discovered with the Paymaster of the House by some members at the premises of the House chamber.

During interrogation, the Paymaster was said to have told them that he was acting on the directive of the leadership of the House.

Members of the House who were aggrieved by this insisted it was unlawful and corrupt for the leadership of the House to withdraw such cash without the knowledge of the members.

To this end, the aggrieved members suspended the speaker, Jumoke akindele and two other principal officers; the Deputy Speaker, Fatai Olotu as well as the Majority Leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu.

An acting Speaker, Malachi Coker representing Ilaje Constituency 2 was elected, while Ayodeji Arowele, Owo Constituency 1, and Olamide George, Akure North Constituency were elected as Deputy Speaker and Majority Leader respectively.

The new governor belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would be inaugurated in less than one month.

Budget Padding: Gbajabiamila Distances Self, Calls For Calm 

GbajabiamilaThe majority leader of the House Of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has distanced himself from having a hand in the ongoing budget padding controversy that has engulfed the House.

In a statement on Monday, the lawmaker said that he has worked well with the Speaker and all other principal officers in a bi-partisan manner and in the interest of the institution and the country.

The statement reads:

“Since the budget controversy that engulfed the House about a week ago, I have pointedly maintained a dignified silence.

“I did this for the sake of the institution I represent and which I have labored hard to grow and protect, knowing that whatever I say could be impactful both within the House and outside it.

“I was determined to keep in place the glue that holds an otherwise fragmented House, protect its integrity and at same time avoid eroding the little confidence and vestiges of hope Nigerians have in us.

“Unfortunately, the controversy has now taken a different turn following the rather strange if not comical text making the rounds amongst members about my complicity in this rather sordid matter. I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay out of only for the good of the House.

“The Speakership election has come and gone. The election was divisive and acrimonious but I have since worked hard to heal the wounds some of which still fester amongst members on both sides.

“It is my responsibility to bring all tendencies in a House I lead together and I have worked well with the Speaker and all other Principal officers in a bi-partisan manner and in the interest of the institution and the country.

“This text message, which desperately seeks to finger me in some macabre plot to destabilize the House is a throwback and echoes our dark post Speakership election history. The resurfacing or resurgence of the faceless text messengers will not help us as a House and let me quickly add that it will fail.

“My strongest critics and biggest political adversaries in the House cannot deny the fact that my commitment has always been to strengthen the legislature and its processes and our democracy as a whole.

“I consider everyone a friend and colleague and urge that as we collectively work towards a stronger legislature and strive to deepen our democracy, we do not pull back the hands of the clock nor lose sight of the enormous responsibility placed upon us by providence as members of a critical arm of government.

“On the budget issue at hand, it is clear that our budget process needs radical reform and very quickly too.

“Yes, allegations have been made but I strongly believe judgment should not be passed based on allegations. We operate a constitutional democracy and we must at all times submit to its dictates and ethos.

“All parties are innocent until otherwise proven. This should be our guide. I plead with all members. The mudslinging must stop.”

House In Rowdy Session Over Immunity Clause

House-of-Representatives-in-Nigeria-fightMembers of the House of Representatives are divided over a bill seeking to alter Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.

This has caused a rowdy session at the first plenary after resumption from the Eid-el-Fitr break.

The motion was sponsored by the Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor but was vehemently opposed by the Majority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, who said that the timing of the bill is wrong, insisting that Nigerians will not support it.

He also noted that no legislation in the world provides immunity for its presiding officers.

In his verdict, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara explained that any bill(s) that seeks to amend the constitution are normally allowed to pass through the 2nd Reading, before being sent to the adhoc committee on the review of constitution.

This decision, however, attracted more rowdiness on the floor of the House.

Ogun Assembly Approve Amosun’s Bail-Out Fund Request

amosun2The Ogun State House of Assembly has granted approval to Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s request, to obtain 14.16 billion Naira from the Federal Government Budget Support Facility to States of the Federation.

The approval followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon. Mafe Adeyinka, backed by a member representing Yewa North II State Constituency, Hon. Rasaq Oduntan and supported by the House.

Opening debate on the motion, Hon. Mafe said that the facility which was for a ten year tenor with a single digit interest rate, would reduce the financial burden of the state, thereby creating an avenue for the government to expend the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state on capital projects.

Contributing to the debate, members including the Deputy Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, supported the motion and lauded the Federal Government for thinking ahead of time in finding a solution to the current economic recession in the nation.

Members of the House said the facility would help to stimulate economic growth, explaining that the nation needed to borrow to run the economy during the economic recession.

They condemned the havoc wrecked by the Niger Delta Avengers on the nation’s economy which had depleted the revenue from the sales of crude oil.

Passing the motion into resolution through a voice vote, the Speaker of the State of House of Assembly, Mr Suraj Adekunbi lauded the contributions of his colleagues to the debate, saying that the facility would be of great benefit to the state and serve as a means out of the current economic challenges.

The facility was meant to provide financial support to the states with a view to position them in navigating the present economic challenges and meet the obligations of staff, pensioners and other stakeholders.

Kogi House Of Assembly Gate Locked Against G15 Members

Kogi, House of assemblyThere was a mild drama at the main gate of Kogi State House Of Assembly complex, when the G15 members including the Speaker, Hon Momoh-Jimoh Lawal resumed at the state house of assembly after a protracted crisis which rocked the house in last few months.

The Speaker and his members, who were at the assembly gate for several hours had to cut off the chain to gain access to the assembly chamber.

As early as 7AM, security operatives armed with guns were at the Kogi State House of Assembly complex to ascertain who the real staff were before anyone could gain entrance. Non-staffs were disallowed access.

At about 10AM, the G15 members arrived the assembly complex to commence plenary session after being favoured by the court but found the gate under lock and key.

The security man demanded for a clearance from the Commissioner of Police before he could allow them.

After several minutes of argument, they decided to cut the key, which eventually gave them access to the assembly chamber,

Speaker Iman’s picture was removed and broken while Momoh-Jimoh Lawal took the seat.

The assembly complex was empty, as members of staff who came earlier were said to have been instructed to vacate the premises.

Nevertheless, the G15 members held their sitting despite the lack of electricity. Not even the Clerk of the House nor the Sergeant at Arms was available.

Settling down to the business of the day, the Speaker Momoh-Jimoh Lawal in his speech urged his colleagues to see the judicial pronouncement as the will of God.

The Majority Leader of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, also urged the other lawmakers to come and join hands with them.

Hon Shugaba was on his speech when rumours filtered in that the other faction were around so the Speaker was immediately asked to adjoin the seating.

At the premises of the assembly the DSS Director and the Commissioner of Police had arrived and an argument ensued between the members and the security operatives.

The Police Commissioner, Yakubu Usman, who spoke to the press said that their duty was to prevent thugs from coming to vandalize the assembly and not the members.

House Of Reps To Investigate Tax Waivers To Companies

House of Representatives Nigeria on Tax Waivers The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Finance and Public Accounts to investigate tax waivers that are currently being granted to multi-national companies in Nigeria.

The resolution made by the House on Tuesday was taken with a view to reducing tax waivers and achieving economic objectives.

Debating the motion, lawmakers agreed that the country could not afford such unproductive incentives.

It is not the first time members of the House of Representatives are deliberating on the issue of tax incentives given to companies at home and abroad.

In the motion moved by Honourable Kehinde Odenenye, the House once again considered the gains the country had made in its attempt to woo foreign investment.

The sponsor of the motion said there was little evidence that these tax incentives had increased investments.

The Majority Leader, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, suggested that the resolution to investigate the tax waivers should not be limited to foreign investors alone.

Some other lawmakers that made contributions – Mukhtar Ahmed, Herman Hembe and Nnenne Elendu-Ukeje – agreed that the policy on tax incentives had made little or no positive impact on the nation’s economy.

The house then directed its Committee on Finance and Public Accounts to investigate the matter, with the possibility of abolishing unproductive incentives.

The committee’s report is expected back in four weeks.

Reps Commence Hearing, Meet IGP Over Kogi Crisis

Kogi crisisThe Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has blamed communication gap for the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly despite a resolution of the National Assembly sealing it.

The Police chief put forward this position after appearing before the adhoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate comments made by the Attorney-General of the Federation that the National Assembly was wrong to have taken over the duties of the state assembly.

The House demanded to know why the IG ordered the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly after the National Assembly invoked Section 11 Subsection 4 of the constitution and ordered its closure.

“I think the area of disagreement is that we were not able to distinguish who were the members and who were the staff of the Assembly.

“We didn’t want to prevent the staff of the Assembly from coming into the Assembly and that day that they came in, I’m sure it was an oversight and we shouldn’t have allowed them to do that,” the IGP said.

The Inspector-General of Police further said that he only sought advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation.

At this point, journalists were excused and the meeting continued behind closed doors.

At the end of the closed-door meeting, the House of Representatives Majority leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, spoke to the newsmen.

“The hearing is a process; this is the first day and there are several sides to it. We have taken the position of the IG, the Attorney-General will be with us hopefully on Monday and we will now come to a decision,” he said.

The IG also reaffirmed his position to newsmen after the meeting, “We felt that there was a communication breakdown somewhere and I actually told them (lawmakers) that I would not do anything to abridge the constitution.

“I am a law officer and I have sworn on the constitution to obey the constitution at all times.”

Dogara, Gbajabiamila Meet To Resolve Standing Committees’ Crisis

Yakubu Dogara and Femi GbajabiamilaThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, and the Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, have met to ensure a smooth running of the House.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Gaza Gbefwi, said the crisis in the House over the composition of Standing Committees may have been resolved.

He said that the crisis topped the talks between both members of the House and the ruling All  Progressives Congress (APC).

The spokesman, however, made it clear that the Standing Committees, as presently constituted, could not be reversed.

On Tuesday, some lawmakers of the APC walked out of a caucus meeting, alleging that the Speaker and some other lawmakers had a plan to remove the Majority Leader from his position.

The action brought another twist to the crisis over the composition of committee chairmen in the House.

“We Have No Issues”

One of the lawmakers that left the meeting on Tuesday, Honourable Ahmed Kaita, also said that the Speaker had gone against the wishes of the ruling party.

“Yesterday [Monday] while we were having a meeting at the National headquarters of the party, texts messages were flying by the same group of people that do not want the APC to succeed in this House… that Gbajabiamila is going to be removed today and they actually planned it.

“We came and they could not do anything. We have the majority and as long as this House is going to be dictated by the Peoples Democratic Party, we will resist it,” Honourable Kaita said.

Addressing reporters on the issue, the Majority Leader, however, said there was no issues between him and the Speaker.

“The Speaker and I have no issues. We get along. If those that claim they are with the Speaker and those who claim they are with me have issues among themselves, it is for the speaker and I to resolve these issues for them and not for us because we have no issues,” Mr Gbajabiamila said.