Rep Members Reject Renovation Of National Assembly With N37bn

 

Reactions have continued to trail the proposed N37 billion meant for the renovation of the National Assembly.

This time, some members of the House of Representatives, through a series of tweets rejected the amount earmarked to embark on the project.

In their tweets, three lawmakers – Bamidele Salam, Akin Alabi, and Legor Idagbo – shared the opinion that the National Assembly does not need to spend as much as N37 billion for renovation.

According to them, only an upgrade in the audio and recording system of the chambers is needed and not the entire structure.

The lawmakers, however, proposed that instead of spending such an amount on the project, the money should be channeled into the upgrade of schools and hospitals across the country.

Read the tweets below:



SERAP, Others Ask Court To Stop Buhari, Others From Spending ‘N37bn NASS Renovation Budget’

SERAP Asks Buhari To Probe Bribery Allegation Against Ganduje

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT, Enough is Enough (EiE) and 583 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to “restrain and stop President Muhammadu Buhari and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning from releasing N37 billion allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly complex to the Federal Capital Development Agency and the National Assembly until an impact assessment of the spending is carried out.”

The groups are also seeking a court order to “restrain, prevent and stop the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Federal Capital Development Agency from demanding or collecting the N37 billion earmarked for the renovation of the National Assembly complex until an impact assessment of the spending on critical sectors and access to public goods and services, is carried out.”

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1633/2019 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs argued: “The National Assembly complex should be a safe and conducive environment for those who work there. But spending ₦37 billion to renovate the place is not commensurate with the constitutional commitments to public services and goods; decreasing public revenues and increasing level of debts as well as the poor economic and social realities in the country.”

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The plaintiffs also argued: “Spending N37 billion to renovate the National Assembly complex is self-serving, wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional expenditure of public funds, as it means less money for educating millions of out-of-school Nigerian children, providing access to clean water and healthcare to Nigerians including the elderly, or repairing the country’s roads and bridges.”

The 583 concerned Nigerians who joined the suit as co-plaintiffs include: Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) co-convener Aisha Yesufu; Nigerian singer and actor Banky Wellington; Mrs. Ayo Obe; Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, and Fisayo Soyombo.

The suit, filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “The defendants are public officers who have sworn the constitutional oaths of office to perform their respective duties in the interest of Nigerian citizens. The refusal of President Buhari to object to the Budget/Appropriation Bill containing a huge N37 billion on the renovation of the National Assembly complex is a gross violation of the constitution and existing laws in Nigeria.”

“The National Assembly complex was reportedly constructed at the cost of $35.18 Million USD in 1999 and ₦40.2 Billion Naira was budgeted in December 2013 for the construction of phase III of the National Assembly Complex and renovation of the first and second phases of the complex.”

“The 2020 Budget is in a deficit of ₦2.175 Trillion with anticipated revenue at ₦8.42 Trillion Naira and proposed expenditure of ₦10.594 Trillion.

“The present-day economic reality in Nigeria includes chronic poverty amongst a high percentage of citizens and the inability of many state governments to pay salaries of workers and pensions. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, the Defendants will take benefit of the allocated N37 billion at the expense of many Nigerians living in poverty.”

“The crux of the Plaintiffs’ argument is better expressed in the question: Why should the nation spend so much on a building when there are other important areas of national infrastructure that can be developed in order to affect a greater number of citizens?”

The plaintiffs want the court to determine: “Whether N37 billion proposed, voted and allocated for renovation of the National Assembly Complex in the 2020 Nigerian National Budget via Appropriation Act 2019 by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Buhari is not in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers [Fifth Schedule Part 1] of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and Oath of a Member of the National Assembly.”

The plaintiffs are seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining President Buhari and the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, or their agents from releasing the N37 billion allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly complex to the Federal Capital Development Agency and the National Assembly leadership pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for an Order of Interlocutory Injunction filed contemporaneously in this suit.”

The plaintiffs are also seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining the Senate President Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Federal Capital Development Agency from demanding or collecting the N37 billion proposed for the renovation of the National Assembly pending the hearing and determination of Motion on Notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.”

The plaintiffs are seeking the following substantive reliefs from the court:

1. A DECLARATION that the N37 billion proposed, prescribed, voted and allocated for renovation of National Assembly Complex in the 2020 Nigerian National Budget via Appropriation Bill/Act 2019 is a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers [Fifth Schedule Part 1] of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended] and Oath of a Member of the National Assembly

2. A DECLARATION that the N37 billion proposed, voted and allocated for renovation of National Assembly Complex in the 2020 Nigerian National Budget via Appropriation Bill/Act 2019 signed is a breach of the Defendants’ solemn constitutional obligations to know and follow constitutional oaths governing their conduct, including their duties of care to Nigerians to faithfully protect and defend the constitution and improve the well-being and welfare of Nigerians

3. AN ORDER OF THE COURT restraining, preventing and stopping President Buhari and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning from releasing the N37 billion allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly complex to the Federal Capital Development Agency and the National Assembly leadership until an assessment of the impact of the spending on critical sectors like education, health, clean water, and safe roads a revision to the allocation, is carried out

4. AN ORDER OF THE COURT restraining, preventing and stopping the National Assembly leadership from demanding or collecting the N37 billion proposed for the renovation of the National Assembly until an assessment of the impact of the spending on critical sectors like education, health, clean water, and safe roads a revision to the allocation, is carried out

5. ANY ORDER(S) that the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance of this suit.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

NASS Will Sustain Synergy With Executive, Lawan Says In Christmas Message

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

 

 

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, pledged to ensure that the National Assembly sustains its cooperation with the Executive arm of government next year and beyond.

He made the promise in his Christmas message to the nation on Tuesday.

“I assure you that this synergy at the highest level of governance will be sustained in the year 2020 and beyond,” the Senate President said.

He added, “The modest achievements of the Assembly within the short period were made possible by the bi-partisan approach to national issues by the Federal lawmakers, the collaboration and harmonious relationship with other arms of government.”

Senator Lawan congratulated Nigerians, particularly Christians on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year.

According to him, Nigerians must not forget the essence of the season which is a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ and the ideals for which he lived.

He described the birth of Jesus Christ as a great example of humility, noting that he lived and preached peace, love, tolerance and self-sacrifice, as well as left mankind with the hope of eternal joy.

The lawmaker said, “These virtues transcend religion and deserve to be embraced by all Nigerians especially as we go through the challenges of nation-building and development.

“In the spirit of the season, we as a people and government must remember the weak and the most vulnerable in our midst and do the best we can to bring them succour and help them to also feel the joy of the season.”

He also wished the people journey mercies as they travel to share the season with family and loved ones and urged them to celebrate with moderation.

On its legislative agenda, Lawan said the ninth National Assembly has resolved to work for Nigeria by enacting legislations that serve the generality of Nigerians.

He explained that the members of the Assembly have devoted themselves to facilitating good governance and stimulating the economy to raise the standard of living of Nigerians, since their inauguration six months ago.

The Senate President added that their decisions on critical sectors of the economy, before they adjourned for the Christmas and New year, were essentially to make year 2020 and beyond prosperous for all.

He stressed that the amendment to the Deep Off-Shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, the Fiscal Policy laws, Procurement Act and the timely passage of the 2020 Budget, have proven the determination of the lawmakers to work for Nigerians.

He, therefore, wished Nigerians a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

National Assembly Increases, Passes N278.78bn 2020 FCT Budget

 

 

The National Assembly has increased and passed the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Statutory Appropriation Bill of N278.78 billion for the 2020 fiscal year.

This is against the proposed amount of N232.88 billion, a difference of N46 billion.

The bill was passed following the consideration of a harmonised report of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on FCT Statutory Appropriation Bill.

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In the Senate, the chairman of the FCT Committee, Senator Abubakar Kyari, explained that the increase of N46 billion was aimed at addressing the challenges of security, road infrastructure, and development of satellite towns in the nation’s capital.

He gave a breakdown of expenditure to include N55,878,241,095 as personnel costs; and N62,343,723,435 as overhead costs; bringing recurrent expenditure to a total of N118,221,964,530.

According to Kyari, the sum budgeted for capital expenditure in the 2020 fiscal year for the FCT is N160, 133,401,417.

Earlier, lawmakers in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly made various contributions before the bill was read for the third time and passed.

Senator Ayo Akinyelure believes the FCT internal revenue services have the capacity to achieve the budget to provide security architecture in Abuja.

He added that the Senate was committed to ensuring that revenue leakages were blocked to provide infrastructure for FCT.

In his contribution, Senator Gabriel Suswam commended the committee and the FCT minister, saying it was the first time they had a budget that clearly spelled out higher expenditure as against the current expenditure.

“We want to encourage the oversight function of the Committee on FCT to make sure the issue of infrastructure and security is attended to,” he said.

For Senator Barau Jibrin, the Committee on FCT has done a good job.

In his remarks, Senate President Ahmed Lawan thanked the Senate Committee on FCT, stressing that it was the character of the Senate to work day and night to put the report together..

“For the Senate to convene today, Friday, which is not a sitting day by our standing orders shows the commitment and capacity of the Senate to stand and deal with any matter that is of national interest.

“This is to show that we are interested very much in any issue that will make life better for every Nigerians. As the State Assembly for FCT, we have discharged our responsibilities, the next thing for FCT is to implement the budget,” Senator Lawan said.

He added, “We need to ensure this FCT is safe and residents and visitors alike can come in here and do their business in a very secure environment.

 

“I believe that we have done our job and what is left is for the FCT to take up its responsibility and for our Committee on FCT to ensure this budget is implemented.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has adjourned plenary until January 28, 2020.

NASS Adjourns Plenary To Honour Late Member, Ben Uwajumogu

The Senator representing Imo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ben Uwajumogu. Credit: Office of the Senate President

 

The National Assembly on Thursday adjourned plenary to honour a member, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, who died on Wednesday morning in Abuja.

A minute of silence and prayers were held for him in both chambers of the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: NASS Adjourns Plenary To Honour Late Member, Jafar Auna

Plenary was therefore adjourned to Friday, December 20 which will be the last sitting for the year.

The lawmaker who represented Imo north senatorial district was 51 years old before he died.

In reaction to the news of his death, Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila described Uwajumogu as a man who was full of life.

Lawan in a series of tweets on Wednesday said the news of Senator Uwajumogu’s passage is more difficult to accept.

“Senator Uwajumogu was full of life at the Senate Chamber on Tuesday, which made the news of his death even more difficult to take.

“Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death is shocking and a painful loss to the ninth National Assembly where he always made robust contributions to the debates and other activities of the Upper legislative chamber,” Lawan said.

Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he was saddened by the incident.

He recalled that the deceased lived a selfless life while serving as a member of the Imo State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House and Senator.

He, therefore, called on other lawmakers to emulate the virtues of the departed lawmaker, stressing that Senator Uwajumogu was “kind to friends and strangers alike, and he gave of himself generously to those in need.”

“His public service, from his time in the Imo State House of Assembly as a member, and later as Speaker of the Assembly, through to his service in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was never about personal ambition for its own sake.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.