Saraki Optimistic Onnoghen Would Revive Judiciary

sarakiPresident of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the newly sworn in Chief Justice of Nigeria Mr Walter Onnoghen has enough time on his hands to revive the judiciary.

Speaking to journalists after the swearing in ceremony, Saraki stated that the Senate had drilled the CJN when he appeared before the House for confirmation.

According to him, the Senate took him up on important issues such as the independence of the judiciary.

He then expressed optimism that Justice Onnoghen has all it takes to turn the judiciary around within four years.

“We want to see an independent Judiciary, we want to see a judiciary that would also co-operate with other arms of government, doing a lot of reforms.

“I am confident that with time on his side and with commitment to some of the issues he has talked about, he would deliver.

“A lot is expected of him, Usually, CJNs have a very short period of time, but he would have no excuse not to deliver on reforming the judiciary – we hope he does that and we wish him all the best.”

Other dignitaries that witnessed the swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Villa include: former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the Supreme Court, his family members, among others.

Let’s Redouble Efforts To Empower Youths -Saraki

youth empowerment, SarakiPresident of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that “government, the private sector and academia must redouble its effort to empower Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship and greater self-reliance.”

He was speaking in his National Assembly office about the upcoming technology and skills building training programme that will be launched in Kwara State on Saturday, November 12.

The Senate President said one of the greatest challenges the country has to grapple with, is the need to gainfully engage the country’s bulging youth population.

“According to the latest estimate from the National Population Commission, Nigeria’s population is now approximately 182 million people. More than half of the population is under 30 and another 40 percent of that are under the age of 14,” Saraki said.

He added that “national leaders like me have the responsibility to take heed to these numbers and develop future oriented technology, training and employment schemes to integrate the younger population into our new economy. We must make these young men and women entrepreneurs who can also be employers of labour instead of looking for non-existing jobs”.

Under the Skills Acquisition, Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP), 40,000 youths are expected to be trained over four years with advanced skills and technology training in areas such as computer engineering, software development, animation, cinematography, event management and many other areas where the participants can grow to be self-employed.

The goal of STEP according to Saraki, is to make participants globally competitive in the sectors for which they will be trained.

He believes such preparation is important for future employment, starting businesses, creating jobs and putting able bodied and motivated youths to work.

“I thought long and hard about how our society can bring youths off the margins of society for entrepreneurship or gainful employment.

“With the help of consultants and other experts, we were able to craft a programme whereby participants will be trained by Nigeria’s best and most successful business leaders, technology entrepreneurs and other industry practitioners.”

Saraki also noted that the future of Nigeria’s economic security rests with how we prepare today’s youth.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Nigeria’s economy will contract by 1.7 percent in 2017.

“We must ask ourselves, are we to plant the seeds for a prosperous and abundant Nigeria? Or do we ignore the danger signs about the current youth bulge?” the Senate President stated.

“I for one, believe it is a national imperative for us to promote the development and education of our young people today, so they may benefit from tomorrow’s global economy”.

Also in a meeting on held in Abia state on Friday, the Senate President encouraged the purchase of made in Nigeria goods.

Bukola Saraki displays made in Nigeria bag

While visiting some members of the Leather and Allied Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State, he decried huge revenue of the nation that goes into buying foreign goods.

He therefore warned that any Ministry, Department or Agencies (MDAs) of the government which violates the Public Procurement Law will be dealt with.

The law has been put in place to compel the MDAs to give preference to locally produced goods in Nigeria.

Anti-corruption Fight: FG Seeks More Support From Nigerians

yemi osinbajo on anti-corruption fight in NigeriaThe Federal Government is seeking more support from Nigerians for the anti-corruption fight aimed at recovering stolen funds from persons that looted the nation’s treasury. 

The government further assured law abiding Nigerians that they have nothing to fear, as the government’s fight against corruption is aimed at retrieving the commonwealth of Nigerians from persons who have illegally appropriated such wealth to themselves and their families.

Addressing participants at a national conference on Tuesday on the role of the legislature in the fight against corruption, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said “Nigeria stands the risk of perpetually remaining under-developed if nothing is done to stem the tide of corruption”.

Respect The Rule Of Law

He appealed to Nigerians to team up with the Federal Government in its effort to rid the nation of corrupt persons.

The issue of corruption again took centre stage, at the Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption and the National Assembly conference.

Participants had gathered to brainstorm on how to tackle corruption.

While the Vice President, who declared the conference open, lamented the state of corruption in Nigeria, a former Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Patrick Lumumba, in a keynote address recommended severe sanctions to deter corrupt persons.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, berated the legislature for its failure to fight corruption just as the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, advised the Federal Government to respect the rule of law.

The two-day conference will among other subjects examine the role of the legislature as the champion of anti-corruption reforms, reform of the anti-corruption legal framework and compliance with international standards.

Alleged Forgery: Ekweremadu Writes UN, US Congress, Others Says Nigeria’s Democracy Is Under Threat

Ike-Ekweremadu-Senate-Deputy-presidentNigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is seeking the intervention of the United Nations, United States’ Congress, United Kingdom, European Union Parliament and foreign missions in what he described as an attempt to rubbish the National Assembly.

Senator Ekweremadu write to the international community on Tuesday, barely 24 hours after his arraignment at a Federal High Court in Abuja with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and two others for alleged forgery of 2015 Senate Standing Rules.

He said a powerful institution as the National Assembly was being ridiculed and rubbished by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

“Judge For Yourself”

The Senator, in the two-page letter entitled: “Re: Trumped Up Charges Against the Presiding Officers of the 8th Senate: Nigerian Democracy is in Grave Danger,” claimed that the nation’s democracy was in grave danger and that their trial for forgery of Senate Standard Rules was an attempt to truncate Nigeria’s democracy and silence him as the leader and highest ranking member of the opposition party.

He attached copies of the court summons, and other relevant documents relating to the matter to the letter.

Senator Ekweremadu is also asking the international community to decide whether or not the trial was worth it, justifiable or one that was purely borne out of political vendetta.

He further stated that neither his name nor that of the President of the Senate featured either in the petition by aggrieved members of the Senate Unity Forum or during the investigation of the petition by the police, a position that their counsel had pointed out in court.

The letter read: “You may further wish to judge for yourself whether this unfolding scenario, coupled with the clampdown on the opposition, such as targeted arrests and indefinite detention of opposition figures and dissenting voices, in spite of court pronouncements and in clear violation of the Nigerian constitution, as well as the sustained marginalisation of the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of Nigeria, does not constitute a grave danger to the nation’s hard-won democracy.

“I wish to forward to you the court summons containing the trumped-up charges preferred against my person, the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, CON; and two others.

“I also wish to appeal to you to kindly find time to read through the annexures— petition by members of the Senate Unity Forum, statements by persons interrogated, and the police report— to see if our names appeared anywhere in these documents.

“You may, thereafter, judge for yourself whether the Federal Government, acting through the Attorney-General of the Federation, has any justification whatsoever to generate our names for trial”.

He further claimed that the list of the accused persons appeared to have been politically generated because, saying that, “you cannot by the documents attached, relate any of our names to the offence for which we are now being charged”.

“Moreover, the rules and principles of fair-hearing have not been adhered to because the police have not interacted with me or the President of the Senate as at the time of writing this letter.

“You may also wish to judge for yourself whether this trial orchestrated against me is not a political trial, calculated witch-hunt, barefaced intimidation, and a clear attempt to emasculate the parliament and silence me as the leader and highest ranking member of the opposition in Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, it could also be recalled that an attempt was made on my life on November 17, 2015. The Nigerian security agencies did nothing, even though the incident was duly reported”.

Meanwhile, the Presidency in a swift reaction, said it would not argue pointlessly with the Deputy Senate President.

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said it would not comment on the matter since it was in court.

Senate Begins Amendment Of Code Of Conduct Bureau Act

Senate-NigeriaThe Nigerian Senate has passed for second reading, a Bill seeking to amend the Act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and its tribunal.

The sponsor of the Bill, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said the amendment of Section Three of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act would allow every public officer who appears before the Bureau a fair hearing.

However another Federal Lawmaker, Senator Yahaya Abdulahi, voiced concerns over the timing of the amendment of the Bill.

His concerns were in view of ongoing trial of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the CCT.

He said that although the amendment was apt, the perception of Nigerians, especially with regard to the timing should be taken into consideration.
“What I am against is the time,” he stressed.

The amendment would redraft section 3(d) of the Act.

Senator Nwoboshi said that the procedural codes that were being employed by the bureau’s tribunal were not provided for in the nation’s Constitution.

“It is clear that the Act does not contemplate criminal trial. So, the usage of Criminal Procedure Act and the Criminal Procedure Code should not be used as a procedural template in the Tribunal.

“In due course, I will present to this distinguished Senate a comprehensive amendment of the Third Schedule to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Rules of procedure which should be distinct rules for proceedings in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT),” he said.

Senators, who contributed, threw their weight behind the amendment of the Act.

Senator Dino Melaye of the All Progressives Congress (APC), representing Kogi West, said that the amendment was very apt, as it had become clear that the CCT was delving into criminal trials.

Melaye urged all senators to support the amendment, stressing that it was justified.

Other senators who contributed were Jubrin Barau of the APC, representing Kano North, Sam Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party, representing Imo East and the Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi.

Olujimi said: “We are licenced as Senators to look at Acts and Laws to see how we can make them better. There is no doubt that this Act needs amendment.

“We do not want the Act to be used inconclusively. This is a straight forward thing, it should go to the committee and we conclude”.