NLC Threaten To Protest At NASS, State Assemblies Over Minimum Wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress picketed the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja on February 24, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
A file photo of NLC members during a protest in Abuja on February 24, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday directed its members across the country to occupy legislative houses from Wednesday next week.

These include the National Assembly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as the Houses of Assembly in various states of the Federation.

According to the labour body, the directive is to protest against a bill seeking to take the national minimum wage from the exclusive list and allow state governments to fix minimum wages for workers.

READ ALSO: AITEO vs Shell: Court Fixes March 9 For Ruling

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, made the announcement at a news conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He noted that the bill if allowed to be passed into law, would enable authorities in the states to enslave their workers.

Wabba explained that the directive was part of the resolutions reached at an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the NLC.

He said, “The NEC decided that should the need arise; it has empowered the National Administration Council of the NLC to declare and enforce a national strike action, especially if the legislators continue on the ruinous path of moving the National Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.”

“The NEC warned that should the current artificial scarcity persist, that the various leadership structures of the NLC should picket petrol stations found to be inflicting pains on Nigerians,” the NLC president added.

Read the communique issued at the end of the labour union’s NEC meeting below:

Don’t Skew Electoral Act To Suit Personal Ambition, Wike Tells NASS

File photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike speaking at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

 

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says amendment of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly will be a mere charade if the card reader is not to be used to determine the validity of every vote cast.

The governor observed that several attempts to achieve a credible electoral reform had been mired by overriding personal ambition of persons with vested political interest within and outside the National Assembly.

Governor Wike, who made this assertion during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics in Port Harcourt, said because most National Assembly members are often preoccupied about the next election, they tend to skew the electoral amendment Act to benefit their interest and that of their political party.

“Why didn’t the President sign the last amendment Electoral Act, why? Because APC as a party had informed the president that if you sign this electoral amendment, you are likely to lose the election. Therefore, don’t sign it. And of course, the President did not sign the electoral amendment Act.

“I am not carried away by the antics of the National Assembly. They all know what will make the country to move forward. One, make the election to be transparent by ensuring that all votes are counted. You can achieve that by allowing the card reader to function. So that the figures recorded on the card reader should tally with the transmitted figures.”

READ ALSO: New Service Chiefs Must Not Confine Themselves To Politics – Wike

On the appointment of new Service Chiefs, the governor advised them to shun politics and concentrate on a strategy that will enable them to expeditiously end insurgency in the country.

Governor Wike noted that lots of Nigerians had lost confidence in the former Service Chiefs, thus, the clamour for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack them.

Wike who applauded President Buhari for eventually listening to the cry of the citizens, advised the new Service Chiefs to preoccupy themselves by mapping out a strategy that improves the security architecture of the country.

“They must understand that challenges are enormous and so they have a lot of work to do. They should not concern themselves with politics. Part of the problem we had with former Service Chiefs, was that they were involved in politics. Instead of concentrating on the security of the nation, they were very much involved in politics. Nobody can deny that fact. The moment you politicise security, then you are bound to have problems.”

Governor Wike accused former Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai of political bias. To buttress this, he cited the arrest and detention of recruits of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps who were undergoing training at the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp at Norwan in Rivers State by the Nigerian Army on the directive of the then Chief of Army Staff.

“So many States were setting up their own security outfit, the Chief of Army Staff, (General Buratai) allowed it. He never for one day said look we cannot allow this. But, he allowed it. When Rivers State by law set Neighbourhood Watch to give intelligence to security agencies, the former Chief of Staff, General Buratai came into politics. Even when we wrote to the Army, we wrote to the Police. The police and Department of States Services were the one training the people.”

He urged the new Service Chiefs to bear in mind that though they were appointed by the President, their oath of office and oath of allegiance is to obey the Constitution of Nigeria.

The governor described as erroneous President Buhari’s claim that the security situation in the country has improved far beyond what the situation was when he assumed office in 2015.

“Things have gone very bad. Everybody knows that insecurity has reached the level where everybody was saying change the service chiefs. If it was good, nobody will call for their sack. Even in his party, the APC said the insecurity has gotten to a level we cannot bear again.”

Governor Wike pointed out that despite the withdrawal of $1 Billion, estimated to be above N450 Billion from the Excess Crude Account to procure armament to fight the insurgents, security has continued to deteriorate.

Speaking on the issue of community policing, the governor noted that both the federal government and the police high command are playing politics with the scheme.

“If you want this country to move forward, it is important that the States must take control of security apparatus of their state. I know the local governments, I know the communities, I know the families. So I should be able to say this is what we should do in policing these areas. Therefore, the need for community policing is necessary, but what is the problem is that the federal government comes up to say, they will support community policing, but where have they supported it.”

“The police itself will say, oh we are interested in community policing. Let me tell you what happened in my State. They said they want to do community policing and they called traditional rulers to seek their cooperation.

“Do you know every name submitted by traditional rulers, local government, the police changed everything It became political.”

Governor Wike disclosed that a committee has been set up to work out a possible framework for the establishment of a South-South security outfit. According to him, when the committee is done, the chairman of the South-South Governors Forum will announce the outcome.

On the rumour that he intends to run for the office of the president in 2023, the governor said his political detractors were behind the recent circulation of his posters in Abuja.

“Since December last year to this period, we are commissioning projects. So people are now believing that with the commissioning of projects, he may have intention to run for president.

“They have money to print posters for me. I thank them for telling Nigerians that they want me to run for president. No Nigerian can say I have ever met him, discussed with him that I want to run for President. That does not mean I am not a qualified person, but I have never come out to say I want to run.”

The governor said though it is his constitutional right to aspire for the office of the president, but his present interest is delivery of dividends of democracy to Rivers people.

SERAP Urges Lawan, Gbajabiamila To Probe Missing ₦4.4bn NASS Funds

L-R (Femi Gbajabiamila and Ahmed Lawan)

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila to urgently probe allegations that N4.4 billion of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated, diverted or stolen, as documented in three audited reports by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.

In an open letter dated January 30 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “By exercising strong and effective leadership in this matter, the National Assembly can show Nigerians that the legislative body is a proper and accountable watchdog that represents and protects the public interest, and is able to hold both itself and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to account in the management of public resources.”

The agency believes that if the matter is not satisfactorily addressed, the allegations would undermine public confidence in the ability of the National Assembly to exercise its constitutional and oversight responsibilities to prevent and combat corruption, and to ensure the public interest, transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.

SERAP also expressed concerns that the allegations of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds amount to fundamental breaches of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international obligations, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

The letter, read in part: “Any failure to promptly, thoroughly and independently investigate these serious allegations, prosecute suspected perpetrators, and recover missing public funds and assets would undermine public trust in the ability of the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.”

“The Auditor-General noted in his 2015 report that the National Assembly account was spent N8,800,000.00 as unauthorised overdraft, contrary to Financial Regulations 710. The National Assembly also reportedly spent N115,947,016.00 without any documents. Another N158,193,066.00 spent as cash advances to 17 staff between January and June 2015 is yet to be retired.”

“The Senate reportedly spent N186,866,183.42 to organise Senate Retreat and Pre-Valedictory Session for the 7th Senate, although the money was meant to pay vehicle loan. The Senate also reportedly spent N15,964,193.63 as bank charges between July and December, 2015, contrary to Financial Regulations 734.”

“The House of Representatives also reportedly spent N624,377,503.30 to buy 48 Utility Vehicles. However, 14 vehicles were not supplied. The House also failed to make the 34 vehicles supplied available for verification. Similarly, the House spent N499,666,666.00 as cash advances to staff to carry out various assignments but has failed to retire the money.”

“The House of Representatives also reportedly paid N70,560,000.00 as overtime and ‘special’ allowances to officials who are not legislative aides between November and December 2015 without any authority.”

“The National Assembly Service Commission reportedly failed to remit N30,130,794.10 deducted from the salaries of the Executive Chairman and the Commissioners as car loan.”

“The National Assembly Budget and Research Office reportedly spent N66,303,411.70 as out-of-pocket expenses without any documents. The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies paid N246,256,060.51 by cheques, despite the prohibition of payments by cheque by the Federal Government, except in extreme cases, and contrary to Financial Regulation 631.”

“According to the Auditor-General Report for 2017, the House of Representatives reportedly spent ₦95,212,250.00 without due process and without any documents. The National Assembly Management Account also reveals that N673,081,242.14 was spent between April and October 2017 without any documents. The Auditor-General reported that the funds may have been misappropriated.”

“The Senate Account also reportedly shows that ₦1,364,816,397.95 was spent on store items without any documents to show for the spending. The Auditor-General stated that his office was denied access to the store and to the Senate’s records.”

“The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies also reportedly failed to remit ₦2,181,696.50 from contract of goods and services. The Institute also paid ₦67,296,478.00 without any payment vouchers.”

“We would be grateful if you would indicate the measures being taken to address the allegations and to implement the proposed recommendations, within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the leadership of the National Assembly to implement these recommendations in the public interest, and to promote transparency and accountability in the National Assembly.”

“The Auditor-General also noted in his 2018 report that the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies failed to remit N577,634,638,20 due from contracts and supplies, even though the deductions were made. However, the Institute claimed that it was the National Assembly that was required to remit the money, as it is the body that maintains the account on behalf of the Institute.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Nigeria has ratified both treaties.”

The letter is copied to Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); and Mr Mohammed Abba, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

2021 Budget: Deliver On Revenue Targets Or Get Sanctioned, Buhari Warns MDAs

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned ministries, departments and agencies of government saddled with generating revenue generation to work hard to meet their targets or be sanctioned.

Buhari issued the warning on Thursday after signing the  ₦13.588 trillion 2021 Appropriation Bill and the 2020 Finance Bill into law.

“Relevant agencies are to ensure the realization of our crude oil production and export targets.  Heads of defaulting Agencies are hereby warned that they will be severely sanctioned,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

“I also appeal to our fellow citizens and the business community, at large, to fulfil their tax obligations promptly.

“We are intensifying our domestic revenue mobilization efforts so that we can have adequate resources to fund the 2021 Budget.

“Revenue Generating Agencies, and indeed all Ministries, Departments and Government-Owned Enterprises must work very hard to achieve their revenue targets, control their cost-to-revenue ratios, as well as ensure prompt and full remittance of revenue collections.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs 2021 Budget, Finance Bill Into Law

The President noted that despite disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget implementation passed previous thresholds.

He also commended the National Assembly for completing “the important appropriation process in good time,” adding that “the passage of the 2021 Federal Budget before the commencement of the 2021 fiscal year is in confirmation of our resolve to maintain a predictable January-December fiscal year, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“In spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the nation’s economy and the Government’s revenues, we have made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

“As at December 2020, we had released about One-point-Seven-Four-Eight Trillion Naira (N1.748 trillion) out of a total of the One-Point-Nine-Six-Two Trillion Naira (N1.962 trillion) voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about Eight-Nine-Point-One Percent (89.1%).

“The overall performance of the 2020 Budget currently stands at an impressive rate of Ninety-Seven-point-Seven Percent (97.7%).  This commendable outcome underscores the importance of our efforts, together with the Legislature, to return to the discipline of a January-to-December fiscal year.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details on the 2020 Budget’s performance, in due course,” President Buhari added.

Challenge NASS To Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against Buhari, PDP Reps Tell Nigerians

A combination of photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

 

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives have again called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The leader of the PDP Caucus in the House, Mr Kingsley Chinda, made the call on behalf of the lawmakers on Thursday at a press conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He decried the disturbing rate of insecurity in the country, noting the recent abduction of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, a community in Katsina State, and the killing of over 40 farmers in Borno State.

Chinda asked Nigerians to shun their tribal, religious, and political differences and come together to challenge their representatives at the National Assembly to live up to their responsibilities.

He urged the people to awaken the members of both chambers of the Assembly to the realities of the moment and rescue the nation from what he described as the road to perdition.

According to the PDP Caucus leader, the lawmakers should be challenged to evoke their powers under Section 143 of the Constitution to commence impeachment proceedings against the President for gross incompetence.

He also advised Nigerians to call on members of the Federal Executive Council to resolve that the President was incapable of discharging the functions of the office.

Chinda took a swipe at the President over his failure to appear before the lawmakers after he had promised to brief them on the security situation in the country.

He also faulted the explanations given for the President’s action, as well as the handling of the nation’s security challenges.

Read the full text of the speech by the lawmaker at the briefing below:

Forlorn Wait For Presidential Seriousness 0n Worsening Insecurity Across Nigeria

With utmost concern about global anxiety caused by the wanton killing of some 43 Nigerian rice farmers in Borne State two weeks ago, and most recently, the kidnap of hundreds of schoolboys at Kankara in the President‘s home-state, Katsina, the nation, including members of the House of Representatives, waited with bated breath for an address of reassurance from President Muhammadu Buhari as he promised but without courtesy and in the characteristic manner of the present government, no comment is made.

It is very pathetic that the APC led Federal Government, in its avowed romance with lies and vile propaganda, continues to demonstrate gross disregard for genuine discourse and democratic ethos.

With due regard to the nation’s mournful mood and worsening anxieties, the House of Representatives led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had invited President Buhari over rising insecurity across the Federation, climaxed by the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State and the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolboys.

This contributes to the worsening profile of Nigeria in the comity of nations where she regrettably occupies the third most terrorised country in the world after Afghanistan and Iraq.

Only one gate separates the National Assembly Complex from the Presidential Villa, but it appears easier for a donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for President Buhari to pass through the gate and address us on extremely serious security issues daily consuming the lives of our people.

Less than 24 hours to the scheduled address over such weighty matters that involve lives of Nigerian citizens in the hands of all manners of forest bandits, international terrorists, unrestrained highway kidnapping gangs, and a host of other anarchists, it became apparent that the seriousness Nigerians attach to these issues is not shared by Nigeria‘s Presidency.

In the past, the sharing of mutual concerns over citizens‘ security by the Presidency and the National Assembly had yielded some positive impact, including huge budgetary allocations for the Presidency’s purported plans to put an end to insecurity.

Indeed, since 2015 when the APC administration assumed power, the National Assembly has conscientiously done all within its power to appropriate hundreds of billions of naira to facilitate the realisation of APC’s core promises focused on the economy, security, and curbing corruption.

We are witnesses to the master/servant relationship between both arms of government festered by the almost imposition of the leadership of both chambers by the same APC government which recently absurdly constituted a joint committee of both arms of government chaired by the Vice President under the guise of fostering a better relationship between the Legislature and the Executive which in itself is an indictment of a government unable to work harmoniously with a National Assembly whose leadership in both chambers and majority are APC members.

This kangaroo joint committee has obviously been ineffectual, yielding nothing positive to Nigerians to date while this APC government relentlessly continues its undemocratic attempts to gag, disregard, and denigrate the National Assembly which is the watchdog of the nation; the citadel of our democracy and the custodian of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which this government consistently observe more in breach.

Do 206 million Nigerians feel any safer today enough to justify the trillions of naira so far spent by this administration on curbing insecurity? Under the guise of enhancing security, this administration has spent hundreds of billions of naira on surveillance of her own citizens which is astronomically more than the entire sums spent by previous administrations in this regard from 1999 to 2015!

Discerning Nigerians and concerned members of the international community wonder whether spying on conversations and text messages of Nigerian citizens has become more important than enabling our gallant forces to curb the terrorism and banditry ravaging the nation today.

A recent report by Toronto’s Citizen Lab titled “Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyberespionage Firm Circles”, revealed that Nigerian Government agencies under this administration have been acquiring technology from Cyberespionage Firm Circles to illegally spy on Nigerian citizens, including media and other organisations.

Circles is affiliated with the Israeli NSO Group involved in the Pegasus Spyware scandal of 2019. Can a government that consistently seeks to crush dissent and criticism of any sort, employs the instruments of state to victimise and punish her protesting citizens, including media organisations, and shamelessly refuses to acknowledge, and even attempts to outrightly deny the unprecedented killing of her innocent youths for freely exercising their fundamental and constitutional human right to freedom of speech and expression and right to peaceful protest, be considered a democratic government or even remotely interested in the well-being of her Citizens’? Let the Almighty and Nigerians be the judge.

Under this administration, Nigeria’s economy is on a free fall, entering an unprecedented second recession within five years of the same administration.

Unemployment and inflation have reached the worst level ever in our history; the value of the naira has not just dropped, it has crashed like their management of the economy; security has equally been atrociously managed by this administration as families continue to lose gallant ones on the field of battle while other families daily lose members to bandits, highway robbers and kidnappers, rather than give Nigerians hope.

The Chief of Army Staff on the 4th of December, publicly pronounced that insecurity will continue in the country for another 20 years. It is an open secret that this administration rode into power on a plethora of lies; it’s “technically-defeated” partners are now even more brazen than ever, abducting about 333 innocent schoolboys in President Buhari‘s home-state of Katsina on Friday 11, December 2020 and traumatised for six days in the custody of their captors; ironically the same day the President commenced a private visit to his country home and a day after he did not a show up to address the parliament over the worsening insecurity in the country.

It is also reported that President Buhari who is in Katsina was able to make out time to visit his farm and inspect his cows but did not consider it important enough to visit Kankara to condole with the parents of the pupils and visit the scene of one of the worst abductions in the world which dwarfs even the abduction of the Chibok girls.

The necessity for a national clamour and focus on the restructuring of the nation’s security apparatus and infrastructure, including the declaration of a state of emergency in the security sector which both chambers of the National Assembly have canvassed for severally, cannot be overemphasised but this administration, contrary to its erroneous claims and misplaced accusations, has continued to play petty partisan politics with the issue of security which is the cardinal role of government as enshrined in Section 14 (2) (b) of Nigeria‘s 1999 Constitution, blaming its non-existent detractors and everyone else for its failure after over five years in office.

Unabashed about peddling more lies, the APC administration has commenced another round of dissemination of misinformation, claiming President Buhari stayed away from addressing a Joint Session of the National Assembly because of fears of serious embarrassment by PDP members which is a clear figment of their imagination.

It is unfortunate that at this inauspicious juncture in Nigeria’s history Mr President, his administration, and the APC as a party continue to pretend as if they do not realise they are already an embarrassment to Nigeria and her citizens and hence need not fear further embarrassment from imaginary sources.

It is the hallmark of a true leader to be able to patriotically rally and muster bipartisan support for his administration’s policies and strategies for the general good of all citizens, regardless of party inclination, and not abdicate his statutory responsibility to his nation on the premise of being afraid of being heckled by members of the opposition which several truly democratic leaders across the world have endured without losing stride or focus.

This President has clearly displayed a lack of capacity to do so and instead continues to panda only to party nuances. Members of the PDP Caucus are statesmen, and cannot set out to cause mischief as the President is a father to all.

However, the Caucus will not sacrifice the interest of the country on the altar of political loyalty or servitude.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, learned silk clearly erred in law and displayed this administrations disregard for the sanctity of our nations Constitution when he erroneously but deliberately opined that the National Assembly lacks the power to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to speak on cogent security matters dear to the hearts of over 200 million citizens, contrary to provisions of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which give the National Assembly the power after the passage of a resolution on the floor of either chamber to invite anyone in Nigeria to provide any information required for the investigation of any issue.

The Attorney General clearly implies the president who was elected under the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold is above the law. The Caucus shall seek judicial interpretation of same.

Malami’s reference to Section 218 (1) of the Constitution that security matters remain the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government because of the President’s power to determine the operational use of the armed forces dubiously chose to ignore subsection 4 of that same section which clearly states the National Assembly has the powers to make laws for the regulation of the powers exercisable by the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Do those who make the laws to regulate the powers exercisable by Mr President as Commander-in-Chief not have the statutory right to be briefed by the President on security issues regardless of the sensitivity to enable amend the laws where necessary?

Indeed, in a presidential system of government and constitutional democracy, the National Assembly or Legislature is the only arm of government entitled to classified information because of its constitutional role, it is only in Nigeria that Mr President prefers to liaise with his appointees instead of those elected by Nigerians to represent their interests.

Claiming the President has exclusive powers for operational use of the armed forces and that security is the exclusive preserve of the executive the Attorney-General inadvertently indicted the President and his administration.

So, it should therefore be understood by all Nigerians that the blame for the insecurity bedevilling the nation is exclusively that of the promise-and-fail executive and with an administration known for the most bare-faced lies and worst propaganda in the political history of Nigeria — an administration that used lies and propaganda to seize power only to declare lesser expressions as ‘hate speech‘ – Nigeria no doubt is facing two more years of forlorn wait for presidential seriousness on worsening insecurity across the federation except we take legitimate steps to terminate the wait, though the PDP is in the Minority, we are entitled to have our say and that is what we will continue to do and that is what we are here doing.

Let it be known that we are not interested in politicking with security, but we want the safety of all Nigerians to be given priority.

The joint resolution of the National Assembly encompassing all political parties calling for the removal of the secure Chief was as usual ignored by the President.

Hon Ben Kalu, the spokesperson for the House, disingenuously postulated last week after the issuance of our initial statement in this regard that our position was the personal opinion of the caucus leader and pre-emptive, considering the expected visit of Mr Presiden.

He should now learn from the unveiling events to stick to his line of duty and not be the mouthpiece of the executive or individual members of the House but that of the House as an institution.

By the opinion of Hon. Kalu, the spokesperson of the House, this is the right time for this call. The President has failed to keep to his promise to honour the invitation of the House.

We reinstate our call on Nigerians across all tribe, religion, and political party to awaken their representatives and senators to the realities of the moment and rescue Nigeria from this “road to perdition“ by evoking their Constitutional powers under Section 143 of the Constitution and;

Commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for gross incompetence and breach of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution.

Call on Members of the Executive Council to resolve under Section 144 of the Constitution that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of the office.

Rep. Kingsley O. Chinda

(Leader PDP Caucus)

17 December 2020

Insecurity: Service Chiefs Not Buhari Should Honour NASS Invitation, Says APC Chieftain

Former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Farouq Aliyu speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on December 9, 2020.

 

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Farouq Aliyu, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not bound to honour an invitation by the National Assembly over the security situation in the country.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today in Abuja, Aliyu said the security chiefs should rather appear before the lawmakers to address Nigerians on the steps taken to tackle the numerous challenges.

“If I were to advise Mr President, I will tell Mr President not to go. He should probably allow the service chiefs to go and explain because there are certain details that should probably be explained in the camera,” he said.

“As a former Minority leader in the House, I don’t think the President should appear. Not at this time at the moment where things are so difficult, the country is going through challenges. Is the President going to appear there to tell the National Assembly the strategies being taken by the government?

READ ALSO: National Assembly Has No Power To Summon Buhari – Malami

“Is he going there for an interactive session? Not even the Speaker can assure the President or his party that Mr President cannot or may not be embarrassed.”

Buhari Not An Orator

Justifying his demand for Buhari not to address the federal lawmakers on the security situation, the former minority leader in the House said the President is not an orator.

The APC chieftain believes that it is not in the President’s style to talk, adding that there are people blessed with oratory skills in the country.

“There are so many things that the President may divulge and people will say, ‘look, why did he even go? He shouldn’t have gone if he has the interest of the people at heart.

“Mr President, Buhari is not an orator. And that’s his gift. There are orators, people who can go and talk and talk. People are different,” he added.

Aliyu’s remark comes a week after the House of Representatives passed a resolution to invite President Buhari to brief the House on the true state of the security situation in the country.

The decision to summon President Buhari was taken during plenary on December 1 when the House considered a motion moved by members from Borno State on the recent massacre of 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.

The debate had earlier turned rowdy after the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila appealed that it would be inappropriate to invite the President to disclose the actions being taken towards handling the security situation in the country. The Speaker described it as counter-productive.

SERAP Threatens To Sue Northern Governors, NASS Over Social Media Bill

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees
A logo of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue the Northern Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly and the social media bill is passed

SERAP said this in a tweet on Tuesday while reacting to the call by the northern governors for more social media regulations in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

“We’ll sue the Northern Governors’ Forum and @nassnigeria if any Social Media bill is passed and signed by President Buhari. Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression online.

“We won’t accept any illegal attempts to interfere with that right #NoToSocialMediaBill,” the human rights group tweeted.

 

Northern governor’s had earlier on Monday after a meeting with northern traditional and political leaders called for censorship and control of social media.

Their decision was contained in a communique read by the Chairman of the forum who is the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.

The northern governors lamented over what they described as the devastating effect of uncontrolled social media in spreading of fake news and in turn, fuelling crisis.

The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, popularly known as the Social Media Bill was sponsored in 2019 by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan earlier in 2020 said that the National Assembly would not arrogate to itself the power of exclusively passing the social media bill into law without inputs from Nigerians.

Lawan stated this in an address delivered to declare open a Public Hearing on the Social Media Bill

Lawan said freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of man are issues that should not be compromised under any guise.

NASS Will Secure Justice For Police Brutality Victims, Ensure Five-Point Demands Are Implemented – Lawan

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan

 

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has assured Nigerian youths that the National Assembly will ensure that victims of police brutality will get justice.

Senator Lawan disclosed this in a statement signed by himself on Monday.

“I want to seize this opportunity to re-assure our youths that the National Assembly will collaborate with the Executive to ensure justice for victims of misconduct and rights abuses by personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police.

“In the same vein, to discourage impunity, we will insist that the perpetrators of the alleged abuses be prosecuted and sanctioned as appropriate”.

The Senate President also assured Nigerian youths that the National Assembly will work with the Executive arm of the government to ensure their five-point demands are implemented.

“We will also work with the Executive to ensure that the five-point demands of the #EndSARS protesters which the government has committed itself to be fully implemented.

“In spite of the unfortunate hijack of the protests against police brutality by hoodlums to unleash horrifying violence, arson, looting and wanton destruction of public and private property on the country, we will ensure that government fulfills the commitment it has made to the well-meaning agitators for police reform and good governance”.

Senator Lawan noted that the National Assembly is fully committed to putting the necessary legislation in place for comprehensive reform of the Police to enhance their institutional integrity and efficiency.

He condoled with the victims of the reprehensible violence and criminality witnessed in the last few days in many parts of the country.

“I send my condolences to the families of our security and law enforcement agents who have made the supreme sacrifices in the course of their service to their fatherland.

“I also call for a thorough investigation of every criminal act that we have witnessed in the past few weeks with a view to bringing to justice all those elements who have so callously destroyed public and private property”.

He urged the youths to join hands with the authorities in bringing an urgent cessation to the violence.

“I call on our patriotic youths to leave the streets as Government has heard their voices and is addressing their grievances. This is also necessary to avoid unwittingly continuing to provide covers for the criminals and fifth columnists in our midst”.

However, as regards those criminal elements unleashing terror on our cities under the guise of the protest, I urge the security agencies to forthwith but with utmost restraint, restore law and order across the country and bring the criminals to justice.

While still grappling with the havoc of COVID-19, the country can ill afford yet another epidemic that has now appeared in the form of the lawlessness that is going on.

“I thank all Nigerian leaders and other well-meaning Nigerians for their interventions towards restoring peace and order after the unfortunate degeneration of the protest into chaos and brigandage in many parts of the country.

“In particular, I thank all Nigerians for their patience and understanding in this trying moment in our dear country.

“I thank you all for your wise counsel to the protesting youths to embrace peace and for Government to be open and sincere in addressing the issues that the youths have raised so clearly”, he added.

 

Buhari Writes NASS, To Present 2021 Budget On Thursday

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

 

President Buhari has written to the National Assembly informing lawmakers that he will be presenting the 2021 budget at a joint sitting on Thursday, October 8, 2020, by 11 am.

In a letter read by Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Tuesday at the resumption of plenary, President Buhari is requesting the audience of lawmakers in both chambers for the presentation of the budget.

The Senate is expected to consider and pass the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper FSP before President Buhari submits the 2021 budget.

The Federal Executive Council had last Wednesday after its weekly meeting estimated the budget to be N13.08trn for the 2021 fiscal year.

READ ALSO: FEC Projects N13.08trn 2021 Budget

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to journalists at the Presidential Villa.

The breakdown of the proposed budget is N13.08 trillion total aggregate; expenditure (29% Capex), with a deficit of N4.48 trillion; FX: N379/$; and GDP growth targeted at 3%.

She further disclosed that the President was expected to present the budget to the National Assembly with a deficit of N4.48 trillion, while the oil production rate is pegged at 1.86 million barrel per day with the oil benchmark standing at $40 per barrel.

The Federal Government is also targeting the inflation rate at 11.96 per cent.

NASS Meets With NNPC Over Petroleum Industry Bill

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on September 28, 2020 meet with NNPC officials over the Petroleum Industry Bill in Abuja.

 

The National Assembly is currently meeting with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the Petroleum Industry Bill.

Channels Television learned that the meeting is to discuss the essence and focus of the PIB sent to the National Assembly.

Lawan said President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter containing the PIB will be read on the floor of both chambers when the National Assembly resumes plenary session tomorrow.

According to him, the National Assembly wants to see an oil industry that will be regulated, beneficial to Nigerians and attract investment.

The Senate President also gave the assurance that the National Assembly will pass the PIB as soon as possible.

On his part, Gbajabiamila reiterated the lawmakers’ commitment in the passage of the bill, noting that they will not sacrifice thoroughness at the alter of speed.

He also said the House has assembled a team of legislators who are knowledgeable about the industry to work on the PIB.

In attendance at the meeting is the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

Court Issues Arrest Of Former NASS Clerk, Omolori

Photograph of a court gavel

 

A Federal High Court sitting at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has issued an arrest warrant against the immediate past clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sani Omolori.

Ruling on an exparte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Justice Suleman Belgore gave the order following claims by the anti-graft agency that Mr. Omolori ignored its invitation to report at its office over an investigation of a petition.

The EFCC in its motion stated that it was investigating a petition, alleging diversion of 14 Toyota Hilux vehicles and 13 Peugeot 508 valued at over 400 million naira.

READ ALSO: Olatunde Replaces Omolori As NASS Clerk

It added that, as part of its investigation activities, it invited the secretary of the national assembly commission, Adamu Fika, Mr. Oluseye Ajakaye and others to its office.

The commission added that Mr. Fika and Mr. Ajakaye made revelations indicting Mr. Omolori, following which invitation letters were sent to him on November 4, 2019, which he allegedly ignored.

The anti-graft agency, further noted that it sent another letter to the former clerk on March 16, 2020, which he still ignored.

Groups Stage Protest At NASS Over NDDC Probe

 

Two groups have staged protests at the National Assembly concerning the recent happenings in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

One of the groups is championing the continuation of the forensic audit in the NDDC, describing the allegations of corruption against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as mere distractions to stop the cleansing in the commission.

The second group is, however, demanding that Akpabio and the commission’s Managing Director, Daniel Pondei should step aside pending the conclusion of the National Assembly probe of the NDDC.

These protests were taking place on the sidelines of a House of Representatives investigative hearing on allegations of financial mismanagement in the commission.