National Assembly Raises Its Own Budget From N125bn To N128bn

 

 

The National Assembly has raised its budget allocation for 2020 from N125bn to N128bn.

Earlier, the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations made the recommendation in its report on the 2020 Appropriation Bill which was passed on Thursday, December 5th.

This increment forms part of the increase in the size of the national budget, which has been raised from the proposed N10.330,416,607 to N10.594,362,364.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes 2020 Budget

On October 8, 2019, N125bn was proposed for the Parliament under statutory transfers, this formed part of the appropriation bill laid by President Muhammadu Buhari before a joint session of the National Assembly.

In passing the budget, the representatives insisted that the 2020 budget will run from 1st January to 31st December 2020, thereby returning the country to the January to December budget cycle.

Also increased within the 2020 budget was the benchmark price of crude from 55$ to 57$. However, the exchange rate at N305 to 1$ was retained.

Senator Ibrahim Jibrin, the Senate chairman committee on appropriations explained that budget figures were increased to allow for interventions in critical areas of national security, road infrastructure, health, social needs, water as well as mines and steel development.

House Of Reps Increases 2020 Budget To N10.6tn

 

 

The House of Representatives has increased the 2020 Appropriation Bill from N10.33 trillion to about N10.6 trillion.

The new figure was proposed by the House Committee on Finance at plenary on Wednesday.

Below is the report breakdown as presented by the Senate Committee.

READ ALSO: Buhari Launches Revised National Security Strategy

A Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N10,594,362,364,830 (Ten Trillion, Five Hundred and Ninety-Four Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty – Two Million, Three Hundred and Sixty – Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Naira)only, of which N 560,470,827,235 (Five Hundred and Sixty Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty – Five Naira) only, is for Statutory Transfers, N 2,725,498,930,000 (Two Trillion, Seven Hundred and Twenty – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety-Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Naira) only, is for Debt Service, N 4,842,974,600,640 (Four Trillion, Eight Hundred and Forty – Two Billion, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Naira) only, is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N 2,465,418,006,955 (Two Trillion, Four Hundred and Six – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Eighteen Million, Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty – Five Naira) only, is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on 31 day of December, 2020 (Referred: 10/10/2019).

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8, 2019, presented the appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.

There are plans by the National Assembly to pass the bill before Christmas, as to reset the nation’s budget pattern.

Buhari Seeks Review, Approval Of 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan

President Buhari Signs NCDC Bill Into Law
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to review and approve the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan.

He made the request in letters forwarded to the Legislature and read on Thursday on the floors of both chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja.

In the letters, the President explained that the request was for specific outstanding projects under the 2016-2018 borrowing plan.

He explained that the Eighth National Assembly approved only a part of the External Borrowing request forwarded to it in September 2016.

READ ALSO: ‘You Can’t Muzzle Nigerians,’ IBB Condemns Hate Speech Bill

This, according to President Buhari, stalled the Federal Government’s implementation of critical projects spanning across the mining, power, health, agricultural, water and educational sectors.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, read the letter to lawmakers present in the Senate chamber.

The letter read: “Pursuant to Section 21 and 27 of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act, I hereby request for Resolutions of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan, as well as relevant projects under this plan.

“Specifically, the Senate is invited to note that: While I had transmitted the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan to the Eighth National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the Legislature, only the Federal Government’s Emergency projects for the North East, (Four (4) States’ projects and one (1) China Exam Bank Assisted Railway Modernisation Projects for Lagos – Ibadan Segment) we’re approved, out of a total of thirty-nine (39) projects.

“The Outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the Legislature are, nevertheless, critical to the delivery of the Government’s policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads, agriculture, health, water and educational sectors.

“These outstanding projects are well advanced in terms of their preparation, consistent with the 2016 Debt Sustainability Analysis undertaken by the Debt Management Office and were approved by the Federal Executive Council in August 2016 under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.

“Accordingly, I have attached, for your kind consideration, relevant information from the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning the specific outstanding projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan for which legislative approval is currently sought.

“I have also directed the Minister to make herself available to provide any additional information or clarification which you may require to facilitate prompt approval of the outstanding projects under this plan.

In a related development, President Buhari in another letter addressed to the Senate President transmitted the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.

The letter read: “Pursuant to Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby forward the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage into law.

“The Senate may wish to note that, in this Bill, Section 26(5) of the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act has been amended to: Preserve the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation to approve the registration of Companies Limited by Guarantee: and Reflect the Ease of Doing Business principles in Executive Order No. 1 of 2017 on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment.”

Meanwhile, 10 bills sponsored by various members of the Senate were read for the first time.

Some of them are Marriage Act CAP M6 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, Federal Co-operative Colleges (Est, etc) Bill, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, Project Continuity Bill, and Federal Character Commission Act CAP F7 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill.

Others include Animal Disease Control Act CAP A17 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, Federal College of Education Toro, Bauchi State (Est, etc) Bill, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act 2003 (Amendment) Bill.

8th National Assembly Sometimes Keeps Budget For Seven Months – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with the Conference of Speakers at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on November 21, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the leadership of the 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for months after presentation before passing it.

He disclosed this to the Conference of Speakers who visited him on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“The 8th National Assembly sometimes kept the budget for seven months and I had to call the Senate President and the Speaker then.

“I told them by delaying passage of the budget, you are not hurting Buhari, but the people” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

He decried that the delay persisted in spite of his efforts to seek more understanding from the former leaders of the Assembly.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes Finance Bill Proposing VAT Increase, Others

President Buhari urged lawmakers in the country to always place the interest of the people first in all deliberations and negotiations.

He said the autonomy of state legislatures has been constrained by the Constitution, adding that the laws of the land have upheld the standard for all public officers and institutional operations.

According to the President, the Constitution must be adhered to or altered to reflect some dynamics and realities of the country.

“I try as much as I can to always be loyal and obedient to the Constitution so long as it is humanly possible,” he said.

President Buhari also gave assurance that his administration would keep pursuing the prosperity of all Nigerians by creating more jobs for the people, and plugging the weaknesses exploited by many to make quick money.

He added that he would ensure equity and fairness that put the ordinary Nigerian on top priority, as well as continue to focus on health, education, infrastructure and improving lives through social intervention programmes.

The President said, “We have in the last four years dedicated significant resources to key social services sectors especially in health, education, as well as our massive social investment programmes.

“We have also started restoring our infrastructure to levels that this country expects. I also want to assure you that we remain committed to ensuring that equity and fairness prevail in governance.”

“I will ensure that we consult your conference to further enhance the positive impact of our interventions across the country,” he told the Speakers.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers and Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, commended the President for the fight against corruption and insurgency, and efforts to ensure financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary.

He, however, said the legislatures would be further pleased if the President issues an executive order directing the Accountant General of the Federation to separate funds for the state legislature and judiciary at the source.

Obasa also urged the President to consider supporting the devolution of powers to states on some issues on the exclusive list, such as railway and the police for more effective governance.

Nigerians Yet To Benefit From N1trn Constituency Projects, Says Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots are yet to benefit from the constituency projects by members of the National Assembly.

He noted that despite spending huge sums of money running into hundreds of billions of naira on such projects, the people were yet to feel the impact.

The President made the remarks in his speech at the national summit on ‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’ which held on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

 

The Worst Fears

“It is on record that in the past 10 years, N1trillion has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.

The President added, “The first phase report of tracking these projects by ICPC confirms our worst fears that people at the grassroots have not benefited in terms commensurate with the huge sums appropriated for constituency projects since inception.

“I am, therefore, delighted that through the effort of ICPC, some contractors are returning to the site to execute projects hitherto abandoned and that project sponsors are being held to account.”

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President Buhari commended the new Board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for major enforcement and preventive initiatives in this regard.

According to him, steps taken by the anti-graft agency include the System Study Review, tracking of zonal intervention projects (constituency projects), and collaboration with the National Social Investment Office.

“The ICPC has my full support and the support of this government to hold fully to account contractors, complicit public servants and project sponsors who divert funds meant for constituencies or other people-oriented welfare projects of our government or who by other means reduce the quality and value of such projects meant for our people,” the President assured.

On assets recovery, he reaffirmed that his administration would continue to support anti-corruption agencies to recover all ill-gotten wealth and prosecute offenders.

President Buhari insisted that all fully recovered physical assets would be sold and the proceeds remitted to the nation’s treasury.

Enforcement activities by anti-corruption agencies, according to him, have continued to reveal that some public officers possess properties and assets way beyond their legitimate sources of income.

He stated that asset recovery cases in court also revealed that some “criminally-minded” public officials were quick to disown such properties during investigations and in court.

“Recovered assets will continue to be deployed in the provision of needed infrastructure and social welfare programmes. The National Social Investment Programme is already utilising recovered funds to touch the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.

“I, therefore, commend the partnership between the ICPC and the National Social Investment Office to ensure that beneficiaries of government social intervention programmes are not short-changed along the line by unpatriotic officials,” the President said.

 

A Catalyst For Insecurity

He described corruption as the cause of many major problems facing Nigeria and reiterated his administration’s commitment to tackling it.

President Buhari believes corruption is a catalyst for poverty, insecurity, weak educational system, poor health facilities and services, among many other ills of the society.

He, however, gave assurance that his administration was working hard to overcome corruption which he said has inhibited the ability of the government to deliver infrastructure and basic services to the people.

“That is why I have reiterated on many occasions that corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria.

‘‘Corruption is furthermore, a major threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the socio-economic transformation we are all working hard to bring about in Nigeria,” the President told the gathering at the summit.

A highpoint of the event was the presentation of integrity award to an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Abubakar, and Mrs Josephine Ugwu of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), by the President.

Abubakar was awarded for rejecting $412,000 (N150 million) per container bribe offered to him by drug traffickers to import 40 containers laden with tramadol.

On the other hand, Ugwu is a former cleaner at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos who had on different occasions returned millions of naira found in the course of her duty, including the sum of $12 million forgotten in the toilet by an airport user.

NASS Will Continue To Make Positive Impacts, Says Lawan

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has given assurance that the ninth National Assembly will continue to do everything possible to make positive impacts in the lives of Nigerians.

In a statement on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, he noted that the lawmakers would achieve this through appropriate legislations.

The Senate President felicitated with Muslim faithful on the commemoration of this year’s Eid-El-Maulud.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Affirms Sanwo-Olu’s Election, Fines Appellants N2.4m

In his goodwill message, he urged Muslims and Nigerians, in general, to imbibe the virtues of peace, tolerance, justice, and love for one another as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad.

Senator Lawan said the birthday of the holy prophet should be an occasion for the renewal of commitment to ideals that would enhance peace and prosperity in the country.

He also asked Muslims, in particular, to always emulate the virtues of Prophet Muhammad which include honesty, love for others, and peaceful co-existence.

The Senate President said, “Prophet Muhammad preached and lived for peace and that is the virtue expected of every Muslim, particularly in a diverse society such as ours.

“This year’s occasion is another opportunity to further thank the Almighty Allah for his continued guidance and intervention in the challenges in our society.”

Senate President Opens Public Hearing On 2020 Budget Proposals

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during a session in the Senate Chamber in Abuja.

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has declared open a two-day public hearing on the 2020 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly early in October.

The National Budget Hearing on the 2020 budget is jointly convened by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriation.

Declaring the public hearing open on Wednesday, Senate President Lawan explained that the public hearing was aimed at accommodating the suggestions and inputs of critical stakeholders with a view to adding value to legislation through the channels of inclusion and public engagement.

He added that the successful implementation of a nation’s annual budget depends on increased participation by stakeholders, and awareness and education of citizens.

READ ALSO: Buhari Congratulates Canadian PM Trudeau On Re-Election

The lawmaker noted that the importance of the budget proposal in national development cannot be overemphasised, stressing that was the reason why inputs have to be all-inclusive.

“We understand that the budget proposal is about fiscal targets, resource allocation, public expenditure policy, productivity, and efficiency. We also understand that the process is one of passage, mobilisation, and execution.

“For them to work well, however, we have to have increased participation, which also amounts to empowerment in the realm of information, awareness, and education,” Lawan said.

He added, “An improved understanding most times comes through the exchange of ideas. It comes in a process of agreement and disagreement. Better awareness or expansion of thoughts could also come through purposeful interactions.

“Other than this is the fact that public hearing is a legislative tool of participation. Through it, we engage with critical stakeholders and the public, either separately or collectively. The overall essence is not just engagement or consultation, but also for the greater good of the people.”

The Senate President stated that the collective decision of the ninth Assembly to revert to the January-December budget cycle as provided in the 1999 Constitution as amended stemmed from the need to achieve a predictable economic framework for Nigeria.

He said the present budget cycle in operation created problems of planning and implementation in the nation’s economic framework.

We Did Not Shut Out The Press From Legislative Business – Lawan

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said on Monday that it was share misrepresentation of fact to say that journalists were not allowed to cover the budget defence sessions going on at the National Assembly.

Lawan was reacting to report published in some dailies last week that the media were shut out of the coverage of the budget defence at the various Senate committees.

“There is no shut out of the press from what we do,” Lawan told reporters.

“We need the press to tell Nigerians what we are doing. You (journalists) are our friends. That was a misunderstanding (of what happened),” Lawan said.

The Senate President said it should be expected that journalists, at some point, may be excused from such meetings when sensitive issues that bother on national security are being discussed.

“I want to assure Nigerians that whatever we do in this Senate and indeed in this National Assembly is in the best interest of Nigeria. We will not compromise on anything as far as the national interest is concerned,” Lawan said.

Outstanding Royalties And Funds Diverted From Federation Account Not Less Than $103.7bn – Falana

Withdraw Charges Against CJN, Falana Tells FG
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to collaborate with anti-graft agencies for the recovery of oil sale funds lost from the federation’s account. 

According to a letter sent to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Mr Falana claimed that about “$103.7 billion” generated from oil sale have been withheld or diverted from the nation’s coffers.

Mr Falana in his letter argued that if the nation can recover the money lost to oil sale, there would be no need to seek foreign loans.

Falana’s letter comes on heels of an announcement by the Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, stating that Nigeria has secured a $3 billion loan from the World Bank in April.

This fund according to Mrs Ahmed, would be used for reforming the nation’s power sector.

However, Mr Falana is of the opinion that the nation would not need to get into debt if the National Assembly can work with the anti-graft agencies to locate and recover the funds he alleges are missing from the country’s purse.

But Falana said Nigeria lost a larger part of the proceeds from oil as a result of the non-implementation of the deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act.

In his letter dated October 18, the Senior Advocate said he drew the attention of the Federal Government to the loss of billions of dollars arising from the non implementation of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act.

Falana further stated that based on the provisions of the law the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies entered into Production Sharing Contracts which provided for an upward review of the loyalties whenever crude oil was sold beyond $20 per barrel in the international market.

He stressed that even though the price of crude was beyond $100 per barrel in the recent past both parties ignored the provisions of the law to the detriment of the national economy.

The human rights activist alleged that in the course of his work on leakages in the national economy, he and his team have also discovered that sometime in 2006, the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) illegally withdrew $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks.

He said Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, had also ignored their demand for the recovery of the $7 billion and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.

Mr Falana further stated that apart from the expected revenue of $1.5 billion from the implementation of the amended deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act, the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the federation account are not less than $103.7 billion.

Below is the Senior Advocate’s letter to the Senate President in which he urges the National Assembly to look into recovering the funds which he argues will keep the country from having to borrow.

READ ALSO: Power Sector: FG Secures $3bn World Bank Loan

October 18, 2019

Dr. Ahmed Lawan,

The Senate President,

National Assembly Complex,

Third Arms Zone,

Abuja, FCT.

Request to ensure the recovery of $105 billion by the Federal Government

In November 2015, we drew the attention of the Federal Government to the loss of billions of dollars arising from the non implementation of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act. Based on the provisions of the law the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies entered into Production Sharing Contracts which provided for an upward review of the loyalties whenever crude oil was sold beyond $20 per barrel in the international market. Even though the price of crude was beyond $100 per barrel in the recent past both parties ignored the provisions of the law to the detriment of the national economy.

We were equally compelled to call on the national assembly to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act in favour of the Nigerian people. Although the call was ignored but we kept up the pressure on the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to do the needful.

However, we are delighted to know that the national assembly has belatedly resolved to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act. In fact, the Senate has passed the Amendment Bill. Upon the passage of the the said bill last week you had this to say:

“The Bill must be passed and concurred to by the House of Representatives and of course, assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari who is on the same page with us.

As a patriotic Senate, there is no way, we would have yielded to pressures and deny our dear country $1.5 billion that will be accruing into her account on yearly basis based on contractual sharing agreements put in place by the new provisions which become law when finally assented to by the President.”

Mr. Senate President, we fully agree with you that the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Bill ought to be speedily passed by the House of Representatives and assented to by the President since the law will fetch the country the sum of $1.5 billion per annum. While we commend the Senate for the initiative in passing the Bill we urge the national assembly to ensure the recovery of the funds listed below:

1. In his reaction to our allegation of economic sabotage by the public officers who deliberately refused to implement the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act the immediate past Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu admitted that the non implementation of the law by some unnamed public officers had led to a loss of oil revenue of over $60 billion. But due to the reluctance of the federal government to enforce the law the governments of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States instituted an action at the Supreme Court in 2016 to compel the Federal government to recover the accrued royalties.

In the judgment delivered in the case on October 18, 2018 the Supreme Court directed the Federal government to recover the royalties that had not been collected from the International Oil Companies for the past 18 years. Based on the judgment of the apex court the Federal government has demanded for the immediate payment of the sum of the sum of $62 billion by the defaulting oil companies. But the affected oil companies have filed fresh suits in the federal high court challenging the claim of the federal government. It is hoped that the federal high court will speed up the hearing of the new cases in view of the categorical pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the right of the federal government to recover the outstanding royalties.

2. The National Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that sum of $22 billion and N481 billion has been withheld from the Federation Account by the NNPC and some oil companies. Without any justification whatsoever the federal government has ignored the findings of the NEITI. Convinced that the Federal Government has violated the provisions of the NEITI Act we have instituted an action at the federal high court seeking for the implementation of the findings of the NEITI.

3. A group of Nigerian lawyers engaged by the NIMASA found that the crude oil stolen from Nigeria by well known oil and shipping companies between 2011 and 2014 and discharged at the Philadelphia Port in the United States was 60.2 barrels. The said stolen oil has been valued at $12.7 billion. Curiously, all efforts to persuade the federal government to recover the fund have fallen on deaf ears. Out of sheer frustration the lawyers who indicted the oil and shipping companies have instituted civil suits in the federal high court for the recovery of the said sum of $12.7 billion.

4. In the course of our work on leakages in the national economy, we discovered that sometime in 2006 the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria illegally withdrew the sum of $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks. For reasons best known to him, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefile has ignored our persistent demand for the recovery of the principal sum of $7 billion and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.

In the light of the foregoing, it is clear that apart from the expected revenue of $1.5 billion from the implementation of the amended Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the Federation Account are not less than $103.7 billion.

If the National Assembly, under your able leadership, is prepared to resist pressures from vested interests and muster the political will to recover the said fund Nigeria will have no business begging for foreign loans from China, African Development Bank and the World Bank. Therefore, the National Assembly may wish to collaborate with the anti graft agencies in the recovery of the said sum of $103.7 billion without any delay.

Please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.

Yours sincerely,

FEMI FALANA, SAN FCI Arb.

CC: Femi Gbajabiamila Esq.

The Speaker,

House of Representatives,

National Assembly Complex,

Third Arms Zone,

Abuja, FCT.

Kogi West: Melaye Loses Appeal As Court Orders Fresh Election

 

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an application filed by Senator Dino Melaye, the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly.

Senator Melaye in the suit challenged the judgment of the Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which nullified his election and ordered a fresh election.

However, a three-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice Datti Yahaya dismissed the application in a unanimous judgment on Friday.

READ ALSO: ‘No Tension, No Pains’, Melaye Reacts To Defeat (Full Statement)

The court held that the lawmaker could not prove the allegations that he was not given a fair hearing by the lower Tribunal.

It, therefore, upheld the majority judgment of the Tribunal that the petitioner, Senator Smart Adeyemi, proved the allegations of malpractices, mutilation of result sheet, and over-voting.

As such, it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the district within 90 days from October 11, 2019.
Senator Melaye contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Senator Adeyemi was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court had reserved judgments in three separate appeals brought before it on the Kogi West Senatorial District election.

The appeals were filed by the PDP, INEC, and Senator Melaye, with the three of them praying the appellate court to set aside the majority decision of the Tribunal which voided the election of the lawmaker.

In his final argument, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Jubrin Okutepa, who represented the PDP, prayed the appellate court to set aside the majority decision of the Tribunal against Melaye on the ground of denial of fair hearing and refusal to evaluate the evidence adduced during the hearing.

Hope For Workers As Buhari Reflects New Minimum Wage In 2020 Budget

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has captured the new N30,000 minimum wage in the 2020 appropriation bill presented before a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

This comes as a sigh of relief for workers and labour unions in the country, who had threatened to go on an industrial strike over delay in the implementation of the new wage.

President Buhari stated at the budget presentation, that the increase of N620.28 billion in non-debt recurrent expenditure is a reflection of the new minimum wage.

“The non-debt recurrent expenditure includes N3.6 trillion for personnel and pension costs, an increase of N620.28 billion over 2019.

“This increase reflects the new minimum wage as well as our proposals to improve remuneration and welfare of our Police and Armed Forces.”

READ ALSO: #Budget2020: I Have A Cold Because I Am Working Hard, Buhari Tells Lawmakers

In a reaction, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed that the Federal Government plans to reconstitute a new committee to begin fresh negotiations for the full implementation new national minimum wage.

Senator Ngige, however, warned that the delay in agreement for the full implementation of the new minimum wage may put the Federal and State governments in a difficult position to pay because of the backlog that would arise.

National Assembly Set For 2020 Budget Presentation

An image of the National Assembly premises on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. The lawmakers await the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2020 budget presentation. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

All is set at the National Assembly for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the year 2020 appropriation bill.

The President is set to present the appropriation bill before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Security is beefed up at the National Assembly Complex in anticipation of the President’s arrival with journalists, and workers at the complex screened before entry into the premises.

The budget presentation is set for 2:00 pm and will be done in the chamber of the House of Representatives.

Senators are expected to move into the green chamber for the joint session.

President Buhari and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had earlier held an extraordinary meeting at the State House in Abuja on Monday.

Members of the council at the meeting put touches on the fiscal document to tighten loose ends before the final presentation to the lawmakers.

This will be the first time the new leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly, Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, will host the president in the parliament.

Lawan and Gbajabiamila were, in June, elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.