A former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), has criticised members of the National Assembly, describing them as dishonourable and a bunch of clowns.
Mr Akinrinade, who was also the Chief of Defence Staff between 1980 and 1981 under former President Shehu Shagari, made this known to journalists at the launching of his book titled: “my dialogue with Nigeria”, which held on Wednesday.
He also expressed disgust at a video released by Senator Dino Melaye which had made the rounds on social media, weeks ago.
“All these clowns are there and we are saying that we should not talk about them, we should call them honourable. They are the most dishonourable people I know in the world,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the 77-year-old, also took time out to talk about restructuring Nigeria, the issue of poverty, as well as federal character.
National leaders in the public and private sectors, both past and present, attended the event, where it was agreed that patriotism is key to national development, especially in a pluralistic society such as Nigeria.
The Nigerian Senate has read a letter sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari re-nominating Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read the letter during plenary on Tuesday that began after a closed-door meeting that lasted for one hour 30 minutes.
It was earlier believed that the re-nomination of Mr Magu may have topped talks at the meeting, but the Senate President explained that the Senate simply discussed the issue of welfare of the Senate and National Assembly.
‘Satisfactorily Clarified Allegation’
When Plenary began, the Senate President then read the letter from the President, re-nominating Mr Magu for approval as the Chairman of the EFCC.
In the letter, which was sent to the Senate on Monday, President Buhari explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.
The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation over allegation of corruption.
However, the Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the Humanitarian Situation in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani, dismissed the president’s response, describing it as a distortion of facts.
They cited security report by the Department of Security Services (DSS) which the Senate claimed indicted Mr Magu.
The decision by the Senate had been a subject of controversy as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, had insisted that Mr Magu was not rejected by the lawmakers but his confirmation was only stepped down for further consultation with the Presidency.
Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.
Addressing journalists at the National Assembly after that decision was taken, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.
The former Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Appropriation in Nigeria, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has asked the Speaker to reconvene the House and step aside for investigation.
Mr Jibrin had last month alleged that the leadership of the House padded the 2016 budget of the nation, insisting that the act was fraudulent.
In a statement on Sunday, exactly one month after he made the allegation, Mr Jibrin insisted that the Speaker of the House was corrupt.
“It was a month of startling revelations, 30 days of threats and intimidations and 720 hours of fervent struggle to exterminate corruption in the House.
“Although it is a trite that corruption has eaten deep into the nation’s fabric, but the systemic corruption in the House, especially under the corrupt leadership of Yakubu Dogara, is second to none.
“My resolve to champion this cause was borne out of patriotism and desire to complement the present administration’s anti-corruption war from the legislative front,” he said.
Mr Jibrin further insisted that the principal officers must be investigated for what he called ‘monumental fraud’.
He said: “The truth remains that Speaker Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor and others committed monumental fraud in the 2016 budget which can be prosecuted under our laws. We will explore all legal avenues to ensure that justice is served.
“I have stated severally that Speaker Dogara and the other accused Principal Officers have completely lost the moral ground to continue in their various offices.
“They should, therefore, reconvene the House immediately and step aside to allow for investigation without interference. Speaker Dogara cannot be a judge in his own case, as the legal maxim, nemo judex in parte sua, provides.
“It will be the 10th wonder of the world if Speaker Dogara and the 3 other Principal Officers are allowed to continue in office. It will amount to having a corrupt man and fraudster as Speaker, as no 4 citizen under this dispensation which has zero tolerance for corruption”.
“Even If I Am Alone”
The former Appropriation Committee Chairman insisted that corruption under the leadership of Mr Dogara had gone nuclear.
“Obviously Speaker Dogara lacks the integrity to superintend over such reforms. That is why I keep emphasizing that this whole issue is beyond Speaker Dogara.
“Under Speaker Dogara, corruption in the House has gone nuclear.
“It is a known fact that legislative investigation is used as avenue to extort money in an organised crime aided and abetted by Mr Speaker.
“This situation has gone so bad that members named such investigations “commercial motions”.
“The fact is corruption has become the biggest business in the House under Speaker Dogara and his cohorts.
“I dare say corruption in the House of Representatives today is more than that of the Executive and Judiciary combined,” the statement read.
He further pledged to continue with the drive to expose corruption and corrupt persons in the House of Representatives, “even if I am alone”.
Federal lawmakers are considering strategies that the Federal Government plans to implement in solving the menace of militants attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.
Some prominent members of the National Assembly made some suggestions while addressing Channels Television on Friday at the sideline of a legislative event in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, observed that the activities of Niger Delta Avengers were not something to be tackled using the military approach.
He recommended that the brilliant idea of amnesty invented by the administration of late President Musa Yar’Adua should be properly considered.
Senator Ekweremadu said he figured out that government had relented on the amnesty programme, stressing that it should be taken seriously.
In another interview, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yusuf Lasun, said the 13% derivatives that were due to the Niger Delta, according to the constitution, were not well appropriated to the region.
He admitted that the southern region was thoroughly under-developed, urging the government to call peace to the region by dialoguing with the militants.
A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers have carried out series of attacks on oil installations in the region, demanding for independence.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is asking the National Assembly to consider and pass the statutory budgets of the Federal Capital Territory and the Niger Delta Development Commission before June 13.
He said that the passage of the budgets would enable them to execute their statutory mandate.
The President made the appeal at a Democracy Day Dinner in honour of the Federal lawmakers and held at the Presidential Villa on Monday.
“I am conscious that on June 9, 2016, the National Assembly will complete one legislative year.
“May I appeal to you to consider and pass these submitted bills particularly the statutory budget of the Federal Capital Territory and the Niger Delta Development Commission’s budget.
“These bodies cannot execute their statutory mandate nor incur expenditure unless their budgets are approved by the National Assembly,” he told the gathering.
“No Mean Feat”
President Buhari also reiterated the commitment of his administration to observing the Principles of Separation of Power, promising that the Executive Arm of Government, under his watch, will not interfere with the functions of the Legislature nor the Judiciary.
“I hereby reiterate the commitment of this administration to observing the Principles of Separation of Power which defines and delegates the functions and powers of each of the Arms of Government.
“Thurs far, we at the executive has restricted ourselves to our constitutional roles.
“Therefore, I as President and we, as Executive Arm of Government, will not interfere with the functions, functioning and process of the legislature, nor the judiciary,” he reassured the lawmakers.
The leader of the National Assembly and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his speech, congratulated Nigerians for undergoing 17 years of uninterrupted democracy, describing it as a no mean feat.
“It is not easy for a country to go through 17 years of uninterrupted democracy and also to be able, through electoral process, decide in changing one government to another.
“Our democracy is no longer at puberty, but our democracy has matured,” he stated.
The House of Representatives in Nigeria has urged the Federal and State governments concerned to compensate the families of Dr. Stella Adadevoh and other health workers who died of the Ebola Virus Disease.
In plenary on Tuesday, a lawmaker, Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the gallant and patriotic role played by late Dr. Adadevoh and her team in curbing the spread of the disease in Nigeria deserved to be rewarded.
The house also observed a moment of silence in their honour and urged that the Nigerian government immortalises the late doctor by naming a medical institution in her honour.
Lawmakers also commended the Federal and State governments for the effective action taken to halt the spread of the disease.
Late Dr. Adadevoh played a major role in ensuring that the index patient, a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, did not leave the hospital after he tested positive for Ebola virus.
The Nigerian president had dedicated Nigeria’s Ebola-free declaration by the World Health Organization on October 20 to health workers and to Nigerians.
A Former Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyiboh, on Wednesday said that those defecting from one party to another, particularly from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress are only doing so for selfish interests, as the move is not based on any ideological conviction.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Eyiboh complained that the main issues, including internal democracy and party management, had been abandoned for other matters.
He said that neglecting key issues of the management of political parties and internal democracy of the parties would lead to a “poor leadership recruitment process where you have wrong people in right places.”
He averred that the trend of defection was good for both the ruling and opposition parties but insisted that the trend was based on selfish interests and not the welfare of the people or on any ideological conviction.
“It is not all about the issue of the people. It’s about your heart being where your mouth is” he said, stressing that “none of these persons is doing it either out of ideological conviction or because of the mandate of that people,” he stressed.
On the possibility of the opposition party, APC, being a better party than the ruling PDP, Eyiboh said “APC, as a matter of fact is not a solution because APC is unable to provide an alternative to what they believe is wrong with the PDP controlled government.”
He further stated that the “APC shot itself in the foot by allowing PDP to reinvent itself” through the new party chairman, “a businessman who stoops low to conquer.”
Speaking on controversy and issues surrounding the defection of 11 senators to the APC, which the PDP opposed, although it had benefitted from similar defections in the past, Eyiboh said “the scenario is different in the sense that some members of the APC went to court (to stop their seats from being declared vacant) and PDP also went to court saying they should not defect from PDP.”
“We can’t deny the fact that there are other subsisting issues before the court of law and because it is so, it becomes unnecessary for you to begin to talk about it because the matter will be sub judice. In previous cases, there has never been such circumstance,” he said.
On the Senators’ insistence that their letter of defection be acknowledged and read on the floor of the House, Eyiboh said the Senate President was not under obligation to do it by their prompting.
He continued by saying, “it is a communication, it will definitely be done but he has to look at all the exigencies. In this case, he has to look at the matter before the court and other matters bordering on the roles of the Senate.
He further argued that “we must have a clear difference between politics and governance.”
The leadership of the National Assembly in Nigeria has cautioned members against heating up the polity with provocative utterances.
At the resumption of plenary in January 2014, the Nigerian Senate President, David Mark, expressed worries over persuasive political tension rising from fostering political disputes.
He said that the political class had been blinded by naked ambition.
Senator Mark said: “The political class has so painfully forgotten the lessons of our national history and has once again allowed the collision of certain personal ambitions to overheat the polity and undermine governance, coming at a time when our nation is still transiting amid tremendous trends and enormous social and economic challenges”.
He laid emphasis on what he called primordial politics at the expense of governance, saying that it is irresponsible and even dangerous.
“I have said this several times and even at the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again caution against provocative utterances.
“Here in the Senate, how we ride the challenge and not let it deflect our focus from our constitutional responsibilities and our duties to the nation would be a measure of our maturity as elder statesmen and women as democrats and as patriots,” Senator Mark cautioned.
Matter Of Serious Concern
The Speaker of the House of Representative, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, reminded the members of the House that the Legislature cannot afford to lose time as the House had a loaded schedule ahead.
He said that the reminder had become urgent given that the entire political space was already saturated with politics and politicking.
“However, as we have always maintained, now, more than ever before, is the time to remain focused on our legislative functions.
“I am aware that the time to spice our routine functions with politicking may indeed not be too far away, until then, however, let us remain totally committed to the execution of our mandate as the people representatives,” he also emphasised.
Honourable Tambuwal maintained that recent developments in some parts of the country, concerning civil liberties and the safety of lives and property of citizens had become a matter of serious concern.
He stated that the three incidences in Rivers State bore all the trappings of impunity which must be eschewed at all cost if Nigeria must continue to deepen its democracy.
The lawmakers had called for the redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, who they said was contributing to the crisis in the state.
Two Rallies of the Save Rivers Movement had been disrupted by the Nigerian Police Force and hoodlums at different occasions, one of which resulted in the hospitalisation of Senator Magus Abeh, who claimed he was shot by the police with a rubber bullet.
The crisis had heightened after the defection of the Rivers State governor to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Thirty-six lawmakers of the PDP, in the National Assembly, had also defected to the APC, a situation that has led to dispute over who the majority leader of the house will be.
The increasing number of defections in the National Assembly led to the call for caution by the leadership.
The House of Representatives yesterday returned from a long recess to a rowdy session today.
It all started when the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal revealed that a letter requesting a scheduled visit to meet with the leadership of the House and PDP Caucus written by the chairman of the PDP Bamanga Tukur was also received but withdrawn early yesterday morning.
The new PDP’s letter which was signed by Olagunsoye Oyinlola brought proceedings to an abrupt halt and set members off in a riotous shouting match for almost thirty minutes.
“There was a communication from our leader Bamanga Tukur to address the PDP caucus, but he withdrew his letter this morning and that was why I couldn’t read it,” Tambuwal said.
If Tukur had not withdrawn the letter, both factions would have been meeting with the lawmakers about the same time.
Members swirled around, screaming party slogans at the top of their voices and the chamber resonated with screams of no, yes, no yes.
Subsequently they milled around and discussed in loud tones and passionate gesticulations.
The Speaker’s chair was surrounded by scores of members giving various advice and suggestions simultaneously, while wary sergeants- at- arms formed a wall of protection around the mace.
Yesterday’s session to a large extent mirrored the polarity amongst members of the old and the new PDP as well as the expression of the tension that was a spill over of the fractionalisation of the PDP.
The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem has said that he has never visited his organisation’s website.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Shem said the website opened by impostors to defraud unsuspecting job seekers would be automatically closed.
Asked to mention the NSCDC’s web address, Mr Shem said “I cannot categorically tell you one now.” Probed further to name the organisation’s website, the commandant said the address is: www.nscdc.
A Channels Television’s reporter checked the web address and noticed that it was incorrect. Further search on the internet showed that the correct web address for the Civil Defence Corp is www.nscdc.gov.ng
The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem has said that the incidence of recruitment scam does not happen in his organisation.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Shem said he was surprised when the NSCDC’s name was mentioned among government agencies where employment racketeering take place.
“I can assure you that in Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp nothing like that is happening,” he said.