Senate Mandates Finance Committee To Scrutinise MTEF, FSP

 

The Senate has mandated its committee on Finance to scrutinise the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work (MTEF) and the Fiscal Responsibility Paper (FSP) and present its report to plenary next week.

The committee is chaired by All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator, Solomon Olamilekan, representing Lagos West Senatorial district.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Loses Five Trillion Yearly To Oil Theft, Reps Lament

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan directed the committee to work on the documents after the Leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yahaya, implored the upper legislative house on the need for the Senate to consider the request by the President to the Senate on the documents.

INEC To Present Certificates Of Return To NASS Members-Elect On March 14

National Assembly Must Reconvene Immediately – APC
National Assembly Complex (file)

 

INEC has set Thursday, March 14 as the day for presentation of Certificates of Return to the newly elected members of the National Assembly. 

According to a statement by the electoral umpire, the event will take place at Africa Hall of the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja.

For the newly elected Senators, the presentation will take place at 10am while for the newly elected House of Representatives members, the presentation will hold at 2pm on the same day.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares Benue Governorship Election Inconclusive

 

Senate Suspends Screening Of INEC RECs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This appears to be the Senate’s way of expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged refusal to sack Mr Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however, urged the lawmakers to apply some moderation to allow the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, convey their feelings to President Buhari on the issue of the appointment.

He also advised the Upper Chamber to stand down the confirmation of REC nominees for about two weeks.

“Those who drafted this constitution are not stupid, we didn’t draft it ourselves. We are here to protect the law which we all swore to.

“We said we are going to defend our constitution and defend the laws of this country and we must be seen to be doing that.

“But in doing this, I want to appeal that we apply some moderation to allow Mr President (Senator Saraki) to convey our feelings to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this issue of appointment.

“I just want to appeal that we leave it for one week or at most by two weeks,” the Deputy Senate President said.

The Senators also accused some appointees of the President of disrespecting the National Assembly.

This comes barely a week after Dr. Saraki read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of RECs in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, had eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino Melaye

Senate To Probe Allegations Against Saraki, Dino MelayeThe Nigerian Senate is set to investigate the allegation against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, over the seizure of a bulletproof Sports Utility Vehicle by the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Customs was said to have seized the vehicle belonging to the Senate President for unpaid duties valued at 74 million Naira.

The Upper Chamber said it would also investigate the allegation that one of its members representing Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, did not obtain a degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as claimed in the document submitted to the Senate.

The lawmakers reached the decision to begin the investigations on Tuesday after the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, raised a point of order at plenary asking the Senate to look into the issues.

The matters have been referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigation.

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs Directives

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs DirectivesThe Nigerian Senate has asked the Nigeria Customs Service to stop its proposed clampdown on motorists in the country which the agency said have failed to pay customs duties.

The directive followed a motion of national importance moved by Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah at the floor of the Senate in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Service recently issued a statement signed on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, granting an extension till April 12 for all vehicle owners in the country whose customs duty has not been paid to do so.

The Senate, at its plenary on Tuesday, said the policy was undesirable and would only worsen the hardship Nigerians were going through.

Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Philip Aduda also condemned what they describe as “anti-people policy” at a time Nigerians are groaning under a recession.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, added his voice to the debate and wasted no time in confirming the stand of the Senate.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker representing Delta Central at the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, informed his colleagues at the beginning of the plenary that he has left the Labour Party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Omo-Agege’s defection has increased the number of APC Senators to 66.

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Chairman

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC ChairmanPresident Muhammadu Buhari appears to have re-nominated Ibrahim Magu to be confirmed by the Senate as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

It was gathered that the President’s letter to that effect has been received by the Senate and may be read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday.

The federal lawmakers had in 2016 turned down the President’s request for the confirmation of Mr. Magu who is currently the acting chairman of the anti-corruption body.

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.

The position was swiftly countered by Senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, who insisted that the acting EFCC boss had been rejected.

He insisted that the official position of the Senate remained that the lawmakers cannot confirm Mr Magu because of security reports which showed that he was not fit to be EFCC Chairman.

In July 2016, the Senate received the letter from the Presidency for the confirmation of the appointment of Magu.

The letter also sought the confirmation of Mr Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.

Consequently, the Upper House sent back the nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on December 15, refusing to confirm Mr Magu’s appointment.

Mr Magu has been acting as the chairman of the anti-graft agency since November 2015, after President Buhari removed Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

Senate Insists Magu Cannot Be EFCC Chairman

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, SenateThe Nigerian Senate has maintained its position that it has rejected the confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The spokesman for the Upper House, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, made the disclosure to reporters on Tuesday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Abdullahi said Nigerians should disregard comments made by any Senator or member of the public to the contrary.

He insisted that the official position of the Senate remained that the lawmakers cannot confirm Mr Magu because of security reports which showed that he was not fit to be EFCC Chairman.

In July 2016, the Senate had received the letter from the Presidency for the confirmation of the appointment of Magu.

The letter also sought the confirmation of Mr Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.

Consequently, the Upper House sent back the nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on December 15, refusing to confirm Mr Magu’s appointment.

Mr Magu has been acting as the chairman of the anti-graft agency since November 2015, after President Buhari removed Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

FG Should Be Blamed For EFCC Appointment Saga – Robert Clarke

FG Should Be Blamed For EFCC Appointment Saga - Robert ClarkeVeteran lawyer, Mr Robert Clarke, believes the federal government and not the Senate or the DSS should be blamed for the non-confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Clarke opined that the allegations against Mr Magu, upon which the Senate based its refusal of his nomination must have been known to the executive.

“There is no way DSS will just send a report directly to the Senate” he said, arguing that this information “passed through a conduit pipe created by the executive”.

He wondered why the Executive still went ahead to forward Magu’s name as nominee for the position when it must have received information that put his integrity under questioning.

“At that stage, why did they not hold on, call a meeting and call Magu himself and say ‘look we are going to withdraw your name’?

The Senate’s decision to reject Magu has generated controversy and Clarke believes that the embarrassment could have been avoided if the government had acted on the information and consequently prevented it from reaching the Senate.

He, however, believes that the revelation might not be a valid basis upon which corruption cases handled under Mr Magu’s leadership of the EFCC should be brought into disrepute.

The Senate has come out to say that it has not totally rejected Mr Ibrahim Magu but has only sent documents back to the executive. This Mr Clarke described as a case of “half a dozen and six”.

“Whichever language you use, it amounts to rejection. If I send a paper to you for approval and you say ‘I’m not rejecting your paper but I am not going to approve it. I will send it back to you’, what does that mean?

“It’s just the same thing. They have rejected him; let us be honest about it,” he said.

 

Magu’s Confirmation: Conspiracy Between DSS And Senate Is Appalling – CACOL

Magu's Confirmation: Conspiracy Between DSS And Senate Is Appalling - CACOLThe Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has described the Senate’s non-conformation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive EFCC Chairman, based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) as appalling and ridiculous.

CACOL reiterated its position on the lingering debacle in a statement by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran on Saturday.

Media reports have listed the ‘infringements’ purportedly committed by the EFCC boss to include; Magu’s arrest, detention and suspension by the Police, that the sum of N40m was paid for renting an apartment, which costs N20m per annum; possession of official EFCC documents in his private residence during the period Farida Waziri was the EFCC boss amongst others.

The group, however, believes that there is more to this than meets the eye.

The statement reads: “Without prejudice to the veracity or otherwise of these “infringements”, we insist that what is really at the background of the debacle is the reality that the Senate knows Magu’s salts and the fact that he is worth it!

“The Senate as presently constituted from the leadership to the rank and file members, is peopled by deeply corrupt elements that deserve no space in such a quintessential Arm of government in a democracy that it is fledging.

“We find it utterly ridiculous that it is at this point that the DSS is just coming up with so-called infringements after about a year of Magu superintending over an Agency of government that is so central to the anti-corruption drive of our country.

“Clearly, there is the auspicious need for Nigerians to really take back their country from a political class that is hell-bent on imposing and spreading the virus called corruption in the polity. Their effrontery in fighting back given the ‘anti-corruption mode of the people’ now knows no limits.

“Our take is that, we, collectively and urgently need to rescue our country; regain our respect within the comity nations to a large extent. A fundamental thing we must realize is that the fight against corruption is actually about sustaining a national consensus that will focus on our strong desire to sanitize our country.

“The point is that, at some time as people, we forget our goals and focus on frivolities at the expense whatever gains of what we consciously describe as ‘anti-corruption mode of the people’ that has recently activated in the country.

“Let’s get serious, we must recognize the inevitable need to own the anti-corruption drive and raising the bars regardless of the occupiers of power at any point, we cannot afford let down the guard. The consequences of corruption need not be over-emphasized, for our socio-economic reality says it all.

The DSS and Senate’s current connivance over Magu betrays conscious mischief and conspiracy if the last time the DSS carried out a ‘sting operation on corrupt judges and the fire and brimstones that came from the Senate were anything to take serious at all.

“It is important to state that we understand perfectly the imperatives of holding ‘principle of separation of powers’ in constitutional democracy as sacred! But won’t we be engaging in national tomfoolery if we pretend not understand what is at stake on this issue?

“We must always be circumspective and objective when some of these ‘conflicts’ within a ruling class that has overtime established themselves as incurably greedy props up. What actually, constitute our priorities if we indeed profess to anti-corruption and the effort to rid our country of the virus of corruption that is so deeply seated in our system as whole?

“The truth is, if mischief was not involved, why would the DSS submit the so-called damning report to the Senate, rather than begin where they should have begun? For crying out loud, the head of the DSS sits on the Board of the Commission of EFCC as constitutionally required by the Act that established the agency i.e. EFCC Establishment Act 2004!

“Again, why would such a sensitive report on someone who has occupied such a sensitive position for about one year be delayed till this time? What sort of security apparatus will so wickedly wait till now while our country was at such ‘grievous’ risk before releasing these apparently manufactured allegations against Magu?

“If the allegations were true, it only tells a lot about the kind of people who the country has put its security in charge of. We need serious introspection on this disgraceful attitude which we consider as punishable under the code of conduct of intelligence and security agencies and personnel.

“Magu, who chairs the board and other members were obviously open to scrutiny and must have been subjected to same logically given the sensitivity of their designated roles as security and intelligence agents.

“The open rivalry amongst the security agencies has once again reared its ugly and embarrassing head in the present debacle which we need to take serious note of. It’s truism that even the DSS is required to report to a higher hierarchy in our security system, making it compulsory for the Service to report to the office of the National Security Adviser.

“The Service and all other security agencies must not be seen to be partakers in the self-serving ways of the political class.

1 By the Act that established the EFCC, the board of the commission consists of the following members,

(A)          A chairman, who shall-

(1)      Be the Chief Executive and Accounting officers of the Commission

(2)   Be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistance Commissioner of police or equivalent, and

(3)   Posses not less than 15years cognate experience

(B)       The Governor of the Central Bank or his representative, and

(C)       A representative each of the following federal Ministries

                (1) Foreign Affairs,

                (2) Finance,

                (3) Justice,

(D) The Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency or his representative,

(E) The Director General of-

(1) The National Intelligence Agency

(2) The Department of State Security Services or his representative,

(F) The Registrar- General of the corporate Affairs Commission or his Representative

(G) The director general, Securities and Exchange Commission or his representative,

(H) The Managing Director, Nigeria-Deposit Insurance Corporation or his representative

(I) The Commissioner for Insurance or his representative,

(J) The Postmaster-General of the Nigerian Postal services or his representative,

(K)  The Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission or his representative

(L) The Comptroller –General, Nigerian Customs Services or his representative,

(M) The Comptroller-General Nigeria, Immigration Services or his representative

(N) A inspector General of Police or his representative,

(O) Four eminent Nigerians with cognate experience in any of the following that is finance, banking and accounting, and

(P) The secretary to the commission who shall be the head of administration

  1. The members of the Commission, other than the Chairman and the Secretary shall be part times members
  2. The chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the President and appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the senate.

“The above should be instructive enough to expose the present mischief for the undiscerning to see and for the need for us all to remain vigilant as corruption fight backs.

“We once again, call for the resignation of Mr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President given the plethora of corruption cases he is indicted for. He lacks the moral grounds and integrity to occupy such a national space which should be sacredly reserved for leaders who are men of honour.

“We hasten to remind us not to quickly forget the melodramatics that has been orchestrated by the present Senate; these includes how they mobilized themselves in embarrassingly large numbers to queue behind an individual that till the moment has not proven his innocence at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over the corruption charges hanging around his neck.

“The strange term ‘budget-padding’ also came into our national lexicon within the life span of the present NASS so far with the manner the budget 2016 was handled.

“And it is the same Senate that have brazenly utilized different crooked means of causing confusion to achieve the bid to shield themselves from scrutiny while tactically escaping the jaws of justice. It is the same attitude that is responsible for the several attempts to strip the people of their fundamental human right to expression via their yet-to-be discarded idea to shut down the social media.

“Oppressors and corrupt elements are never comfortable with transparency, public accountability and probity and that is what is fundamental about this unnecessary ‘confusion’.

“We must collectively demand that the Senate fulfils its duty as dictated by the constitution. We must look beyond the parochial lens of the so-called friction said to be existing within the different arms of government.

“We do not need to pander to obviously corrupt ways of the ruling class to guarantee that independence of each arm of government is not abused and for checks and balances in governance not be jeopardized.

“It is about our country, we dare say that, it is much more beyond the antics of the present occupiers of the corridors of power including President Muhammadu Buhari, his party, the APC and others.

“Let us take back Nigeria now, it is our country!”

Senate Rejects Nomination Of Magu As EFCC Chairman

EFCC, Senate, MaguThe Nigerian Senate has refused to grant confirmation to the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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.

In this regard, the lawmakers have sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Addressing journalists at the National Assembly, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.

“Based on security reports available to the Senate, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm Mr Magu, consequently, the Senate rejects the nomination and returns the nomination to President Buhari,” he said.

Shortly after the Senate spokesman briefed journalists, the acting EFCC Chairman was seen hurriedly leaving the National Assembly complex.

With the Senate throwing back the nomination of the Mr Magu back to President Buhari, it is not clear at this point what the President’s action would be.

Nevertheless, the Senate President went ahead to welcome and swear in three lawmakers from Rivers state; Senators Magnus Abe, George Sekibo and Osinakachukwu Ideozu who emerged winners in a highly contested and violent senatorial election.

The body language from the Senate had suggested that the confirmation of Mr Magu is not as straightforward as it would seem as the confirmation was postponed twice.

In July 2016, the Senate had received the letter from the Presidency for the confirmation of the appointment of Magu.

The letter also sought the confirmation of Mr Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.

Mr Magu replaced former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Lamorde in Acting capacity in November 2015, after the former Chairman was removed by President Buhari.

He is an Assistant Commissioner of Police and was also one of the deputies of the former EFCC boss.

Senate To Publish Names Of Persons Who Misappropriated IDPs Funds

senate on Misappropriation of IDPs fundsThe Nigerian Senate says it will publish the names of individuals found culpable in the alleged misappropriation of funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast.

The Senate’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the Northeast, headed by Senator Shehu Sani, announced the plan on Friday after a visit to some IDPs’ camps in the region that has seen over seven yeas of insurgency.

Members of the committee, including Senators Ben Murray Bruce and Ali Wakili, are investigating how the nine billion Naira released by the Nigerian government for the welfare of IDPs was used. There have been reports that the funds have been misappropriated.

The Senate had talks with the IDPs in Dalori IDPs Camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, to access their welfare vis-a-vis allocations from government’s coffers.

‘A Cash Cow’

For the IDPs, it was an opportunity to voice their grievances on the shortcomings of their care givers.

One of the IDPs, Abba Jime, said: “They share bags of rice among 30 of us and expect us to feed on that for two weeks until the next time they share again”.

After preliminary assessment and engagement, the Committee expressed disappointment with the way the camp was handled, saying what they have seen on ground was not commensurate to the over nine billion Naira allocated by the Federal Government.

“It is still surprising to us that despite billions of Naira sent it by the Federal Government to cater for this people at the camps, there ought not to be anything that is lacking.

“From all indications camps have turned into a cash cow for some persons to amass wealth for themselves. It is very clear to us that if this money sent in is given to those directly on ground, things could have been better.

“Look at the children here they don’t have clothes shoes, no uniforms the school is still lacking and the hospitals look at how it is with all the billions being spent by the Federal Government.

“Look at the quality of goods been given to them. It is simply not commensurate with the amount of money the Federal Government is giving in the name of catering for people in northeast Nigeria,” Senator Shehu Sani said.

The committee also had talks with he Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who decried the large number of humanitarian organisations in the state making no impact on the survivors.

He said: “I find it intriguing and sometimes irritating to hear billions of Naira being expended in he northeast and Borno because 90% of the IDPs are from Borno even the ones in Adamawa are indigenes of Borno. Unfortunately a lot of people are smiling to the bank on the agonies of our people.

“We have over 200 NGOs in Maiduguri alone some of them doing nothing”.

The committee condemned the NGOs making money off the misfortune of citizens and vowed to include their findings in their recommendation.

“There are two types of NGOs – the good ones and the bad ones. The good ones are those doing these good jobs that we have been seeing while the bad ones are the ones feeding fat on the plight of IDPs,” Senator Sani stated.

The Committee has vowed to also invite all the agencies concerned to the Senate to justify their continued presence in Borno state.

Over two million persons have been displaced since the Boko Haram insurgency began seven years ago, a situation that has caused humanitarian crisis in the region.

The terrorist group is pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.

A United Nations’ agency, UNICEF has called for more aid in form of nutritious food for IDPs in the region to help save the over 75,000 children, nursing mothers and pregnant women at risk of death due to severe malnutrition.

The agency says activities of the terrorists group and other counter-terrorism operations in the region had hindered access to areas where locals that need help most are.