PDP Blames House of Reps Fracas On Buhari

pdpIn reaction to the lingering leadership crisis rocking the National Assembly, the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has placed the blame on the President’s doorsteps.

The House of Representatives plenary session had on Thursday degenerated into a free-for-all fight as the lawmakers struggle for the principal positions in House.

The PDP feels President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for the ugly situation that played out in the lower chamber on Thursday as he lacks the democratic credentials to put a rein on his party.

The PDP claims that the disagreement and violent reactions is a subject of a script orchestrated and acted by some members of the APC.

The PDP also said “the continued confusion in the APC-led government is a confirmation … That the APC lacks the capacity and democratic discipline to effectively steer the ship of the nation and face the challenges of governance at the centre.”

The party shared these views in a statement by National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh.

“The barbaric attempt to physically assault a duly elected Speaker, seize the mace, the authority of the House, is a direct attack on the Nigerian parliament which embodies the supremacy of the people and our freedom as a democratic nation” the PDP said.

“We state unequivocally that the onus lies on President Buhari to ensure that all democratic institutions are harnessed for effectiveness, a responsibility he has apparently abdicated by allowing his personal interest to instigate division in the parliament, a tendency that poses great threat to the survival of our democracy and the stability of the nation.”

The PDP, however, singled out the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, for commendation.

They acknowledged his comportment and “statesman-like remarks” after the rowdy incident, urging him to continue to display maturity and not yield any ground in his duties to protect the independence of the legislature.

States’ Financial Crisis Will Soon Be History – Kwara Governor

States' Financial Crisis Will Soon Be History – Kwara GovernorThe Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, is hopeful that the financial crisis some Nigerian states are facing  will soon be over. 

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday at the Ilorin International Airport, on his arrival from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ahmed revealed that the President had promised to look into the issue.

At the meeting, State Governors and the President had considered ways of solving the crises that had led to the inability of some States to fulfil salary obligation to workers in the states.

The Federal Government promised to refund monies the state governments had expended on Federal projects in their various states to help offset some months of the salaries owed.

The State Governments were also asked to look inwards and increase their Internally Generated Revenue to ensure enough funds are generated for salary payment.

However, Governor Ahmed noted that various issues including the economy, differences at the National Assembly and States owing salaries were given in-depth attention.

He stated that the decision of the party, as it affects issues at the National Assembly, was supreme, expressing optimism that the challenges would make the ruling All Progressives Congress stronger in the long run.

In another development, the Osun State Government had assured its Civil servants and Pensioners that the state would pay their remunerations by the end of June.

The inability of the Osun State government to meet the payment of eight months salaries has been attributed to the drop in Federal Allocation.

 

Lagos Group Condemns Provisions Of Sexual Offences Bill

Lagos Group Condemns Provisions Of  Sexual Offences BillThe Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team has condemned certain provisions of the Sexual Offences Bill of 2014.

In a session with media on Wednesday, the team specifically condemned sections of the bill which sought to make a distinction in the ages of children.

They also censured sections that sought to give a statutory defence for sexual offences against a child on the grounds of purported deceit by the child, which causes an accused person to believe that the child is above 18, when the act of defiling the child is committed.

The Sexual Offences Bill was one of the 46 bills passed by the 7th Senate, a day before the last National Assembly in Nigeria was terminated.

The bill stipulated a punishment of life imprisonment for any individual found guilty of rape or sexual intercourse with a child, 14 years imprisonment for sexual abuse, among others.

Led by the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of Lagos State, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), the team identified certain sections it wants amended or canceled from the bill.

They noted that these provisions were inconsistent with the provisions of Section 1 of the Child Rights Act which provided that “in every action concerning a child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration”.

The group also requested for the ejection from the bill, the provisions of Section 9 which introduced the offence of gang rape, observing that prosecution under the Section may be problematic.

They also pointed out that the distinction in the ages of children made under Section 7 was unnecessary.

The team then noted that it would forward a communique of suggested amendments to President Muhammadu Buhari, advising that it should be considered before assent is given to the Sexual Offences Bill.

EFCC Urges Institutions Heads To Be Transparent In Spending

efccThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned Polytechnic Rectors and Provosts of Colleges of Education in the country to ensure prudent and transparent management of funds, especially Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the development of their institutions.   

At an interactive session on anti-corruption between the commission and Rectors of Polytechnics and Provosts of Specialised institutions organised by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in Kaduna, the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, represented by the Head of Public Enlightenment, Osita Nwajah, noted that there had been complaints of mismanagement of IGR by heads of some educational institutions.

He also warned them to desist from such corrupt practices or face arrest and prosecution.

According to the NBTE, the regulatory body for polytechnics and specialised institutions, the number of petitions to the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on corruption against heads of such institutions had grown to an alarming proportion, and consequently affect the education sector.

This interactive session with EFCC officials was organised to sensitise the insitutions’ heads about the activities of the commission and how they can overcome

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr Macjohn Nwaobiala, stressed the need to strengthen and reform institutions Procurement and Financial Management Systems and capacity development for anti-corruption units in institutions.

Some of the Rectors pointed out that fighting corruption does not just end only on money or finances, stressing the need for the government to take adequate care of retired public servants in order to ensure they would not embezzl public fungs. They also recommended effectively fund technical and vocational education in Nigeria.

The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated its determination to effectively fight corruption and recover all stolen public funds from corrupt public officials.

One of such strategies is to first of all educate public officials on how to be transparent and prudent.

Division In National Assembly Poses Threat To Buhari’s Govt. – Senator Sani

SaniThe Senator representing Kaduna Central Zone on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Shehu Sani, says the division among APC members in the upper legislative chamber following the election of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President, if not resolved amicably and on time, could pose a great threat to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in delivering on its campaign promises to Nigerians.

This statement came as National Assembly members reconvene on Tuesday from their 2-week break after their inauguration on June 9.

Senator Sani was addressing journalists in Kaduna on Monday, and he lamented that the PDP members capitalized on the division within the APC caucus to bring in Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President even when the party is in the minority.

While stating that there was no plan by APC members to impeach Senator Ekweremadu, he expressed confidence that the APC caucus would find a way of overcoming the landmine.

While also admitting that there were some flaws in the emergence of Saraki as President of the Senate, Sani appealed to his colleagues to accept Saraki’s election for the interest of peace and harmony in the National Assembly.

Sani also expressed optimism that with the reconciliation process being initiated by the APC national leadership and some eminent Nigerians, the crisis within the party would be resolved in the overall interest of all Nigerians.

On the debate over the jumbo budgetary allocation for the federal lawmakers, Senator Sani admitted the need for them to cut down their budget, but noted that such sacrifices should not translate into impoverishing the legislators.

Buhari Seeks Complementary Regional Effort In War On Terror

Muhammadu-Buhari-In-South-Africa-for-AU-Summit-Peace-MeetingNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has sought complementary regional effort to end the activities of terrorists and tackle insecurity in Africa.

Addressing the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday, President Buhari said “the destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege”.

The Nigerian leader told the gathering that he had adopted an approach that would work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

“I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action. Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the members states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts,” he said.

“An Embarrassment To Us”

President Buhari acknowledge what it called a ‘positive role’ played by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in averting the feared post-election crisis and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power.

He expressed concerns over the images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe.

“It is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.”

President Buhari urged all African leaders to reverse the ‘ugly trend’.

“We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure.

“We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.

“In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations,” the Nigerian leader said.

He further assured the gathering of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years.

Benue Government Owes Workers Over 12bln Naira, Promises To Pay Soon

Benue-State-mapThe Benue State government says it is making effort to generate funds that could clear backlog of unpaid salaries to workers and pensioners in the state.

Workers in the State have been owed about five months Salaries while pensioners have not been paid since November 2014.

In a telephone interview on Monday, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Targema Takema, told Channels Television that the government owed about 12 billion Naira to the workers and pensioners.

Mr Takema said that the Governor had held discussions with his economic team to find a way of paying the workers.

“They have been doing some kind of negotiations with the bank. They are also discussing with President Muhammadu Buhari to see how the Federal Government could assist.

“There are plans to see how March salary could be paid,” he said.

Mr Takema said the State government would implement reforms that would help ensure improvement in its Internally Generated Revenue.

He also gave indications that the government could slash number of workers.

“The governor has put in place a group of experts and we are looking at implementing reforms along the lines of internally generated revenue. We have about 20,000 workers and we know that what the state may need will not be up to that number.

“We have a ridiculous position of about 250 million Naira a month. We are looking at raising up to one billion or 1.2 billion Naira in a month from the IGR. There is a lot of gaps in the collection and remittance of the IGR,” the State government official said.

The SSG stressed that the State government spends about 360 million Naira per month, as overhead cost, explaining that persons in charge of planning were not too careful.

He said corruption had also contributed to the rise in the amount of monies owed.

Primary school teachers in the state are also owed over nine months’ salary, but Mr Takema said the government was taking a holistic approach to ensure that the payment of the Salary arrears.

More than 16 states in Nigeria are owing workers salaries, after the Federal Government reduced their allocations due to drop in price of crude oil, which is the nation’s major source of revenue.

Aregbesola Blames ‘Economic Situation’ For Unpaid Workers’ Salaries

aregbesolaOsun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in reaction to the lingering crisis of unpaid workers’ salaries, has said that the economic situation in the country led to his administration’s inability to pay.

Governor Aregbesola made this disclosure while speaking to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed-doors at the Defence House in Abuja.

The governor likened himself to the head of a family who cannot meet the needs of his family members and said, it is disheartening to him that the Osun State of November 2010 when he assumed office is different from the Osun of today.

Aregbesola also said that people must give credit to the changes that his administration had brought about in the state.

He added that changes were not miracles but were occasioned by the application of resources, saying it was the unexpected and sharp decline in revenue.

Buhari Meets With Chibok Parents

ChibokEmotions ran high at the Defence House on Friday evening as President Muhammadu Buhari, his wife, Aisha, and the wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, met with two women whose daughters are among the over 200 missing Chibok girls.

The Vice President’s wife led the two women to a meeting with Hajia Buhari and her husband.

After the meeting, the two women broke down in tears while Mrs Buhari held them tightly.

The Vice President’s wife, while telling State House correspondents what transpired during the meeting, said that she was extremely overwhelmed that at this time when President Buhari is so busy, he had time to meet with the women from Chibok.

President Buhari had promised during his inaugural speech that his government would do all it can to rescue the missing Chibok girls alive.

While announcing the relocation of the military command centre to Maiduguri the Borno State capital, to facilitate better coordination of the fight against the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Buhari said, “We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.”

Nigerians have expressed hope that the President’s pro-activeness would yield more positive results in the coming weeks.

NASS Inauguration: Saraki Swears In 28 Absent Lawmakers

LawmakersNigeria’s newly elected Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has sworn in 28 lawmakers who were absent from the National Assembly inauguration.

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasua, administered the oath of office on the 28 Senators-elect on Wednesday.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, were elected on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday, contrary to the desire of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Despite the party’s displeasure with the election of Saraki, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his readiness to work with the elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

He noted that he did not have any preferred candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives, adding that he is willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected.

Treachery

The APC had, at a straw poll, chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s candidate for the Senate President’s position and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, as the Speaker of the 8th National Assembly. None of the choice candidates was elected for the position in the Tuesday election, a development that the APC described as treachery.

To further push the party’s displeasure with the process that brought Senator Saraki in, some APC Senators earlier on Wednesday threatened to take all necessary political and legal means to challenge Senate Presidents’s emergence.

Army Sends Advance Team To Maiduguri For Military Command

Military CommandThe Nigerian military has sent a reconnaissance and advance team to Maiduguri, Borno State for the establishment of the Military Command and Control Centre (MCCC) for ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’.

This is in compliance with the Presidential pronouncement and the Chief of Army Staff’s directive for the fight against terrorism and insurgency.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, said, “The team, which is led by a 2-Star General, has already commenced work in earnest and it is comprised of elements of the Office of the Chief of Army Staff, all the relevant Army Headquarters Departments and other combat support components.”

The Centre, according to Col. Usman, will serve as a forward command base for the Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chiefs.

He added that the Military Command Centre is essentially an elaboration of an already existing Army Headquarters Command and Control arrangement which will monitor, coordinate and control the fight against terrorism and insurgency would be coordinated and controlled from this centre.

He said that the MCCC would not create another layer of command structure but would add renewed vigour to the ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’.

He also said that an alternate command centre is also being established in Yola.

Security Tops Buhari’s ‘Wish List’ To G7

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-Germany for G7 meetings Nigeria’s security challenges will top the “wish list” that  President Muhammadu Buhari will present to the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries in meetings scheduled to hold between him and heads of governments attending a summit of the group in Germany.

The G7 had, before President Buhari was sworn in, asked him to prepare a shopping list and come with it for their consideration in what is seen as an excellent goodwill gesture towards the new leader and Nigeria.

A spokesman for President Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement from Munich on Sunday said top on the list of the requests President Buhari will tender before the G7 leaders is on the problem of security.

The President said he had used every opportunity at his disposal ahead of the meeting to discuss the country’s needs with specific reference to terrorism and development needs at person-to-person meetings and phone conversations with some of these leaders.

“We have a problem which they know.

“These development issues, many and varied as they are, touch on the economy, combating corruption, increased foreign direct investment, FDI; power and energy, infrastructure, environment, enhanced transparency in elections and good governance,” he said.

President Buhari announced that the leaders of the industrialised nations had shown a preparedness to work with Nigeria to help the oil-rich nation out of her problems.

President Buhari will hold meetings on the sidelines with the host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the French President, Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim.