Buhari Has Signed More Bills Than Any Nigerian President – Senate Leader

 

Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan believes President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to more bills passed by the National Assembly than all his predecessors.

The lawmaker stated this during a briefing with State House Correspondents on Friday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He insisted that the President “has signed more bills than any previous president in this country.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari has raised an objection to certain provisions in many bills that eventually were sent back to the National Assembly to look into and return them after further legislative action for him to look at again.”

Senator Lawan further compared President Buhari’s administration with that of former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom

He accused the immediate past government of boycotting most of the bills sent to the then president by the legislative.

“Previous government of President (Goodluck) Jonathan didn’t sign much; they kept all the bills, or most of the bills sent by the National Assembly,” the Senate Leader alleged.

“So, I want to give kudos to the President for ensuring that he looks at the bills and it is a sign that he is concerned about every single bill that the National Assembly passes.”

Buhari Has Signed More Bills Than Any Nigerian President – Senate Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018,

The lawmaker made the remarks in reaction to the call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which asked President Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

He criticised the opposition party and argued that the bill was passed by the National Assembly and not the PDP.

Senator Lawan stated that it was within the constitutional right of the President to thoroughly scrutinise the document sent to him by the lawmakers before assenting to it.

“The electoral bill we are talking about has been sent back twice or thrice; that is to tell you that the President is willing to sign the bill provided it meets certain conditions that will make our electoral processes better and saner,” he said.

{Updated} Osinbajo, Senate Majority Leader Meet Behind Closed Doors

Yemi Osinbajo

 

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo and Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan on Monday met behind closed doors in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Lawan asked members of the National Assembly to reconvene in the next few days in order to pass the virement and supplementary budget of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He disclosed this to journalists after the meeting.

He said, “It is essential for the National Assembly to reconvene as the Government and other aspects of National Development is almost stalled.

“If the National Assembly does not reconvene, it would mean turning against the Country, stealing the government and fighting the people”.

The Majority Leader is hoping that the officers will listen and do the right thing.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President of National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, has also confirmed that the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio would be formally joining the APC in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, in Akwa Ibom state.

He says in that move, other minorities would be joining the APC.

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.

Senate Considers Magu’s Re-nomination As EFCC Chair

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe 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.

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Chairman
Mr Ibrahim Magu is currently the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

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.

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.

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.

A lawyer, Daniel Bwala had earlier said that he expected the Senate to confirm the acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, but stressed the need for the lawmakers to allow him respond to the allegations against him.

Saraki Denies Friction Between Legislature And Executive

Saraki Denies Friction Between Legislature And ExecutiveSenate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has dismissed insinuation in some quarters of a frosty relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government.

Dr. Saraki was speaking to State House correspondents shortly after holding a meeting with the President, following the Friday jumat prayers in the Presidential Villa.

He said that both arms of government are working to move Nigeria forward.

He asked Nigerians not to politicize the Senate’s rejection of the President’s request for foreign borrowing.

“Don’t let us politicize very important issues. As we said, this is work in progress,” he said.

The Senate has explained that it turned down the external borrowing request due to “lack of documents supporting the request as referenced in the letter” from the President.

President Buhari wrote to the National Assembly seeking its approval for an external borrowing of 29.9 billion dollars to ensure the prompt implementation of projects.

The Senate had also accused the Executive of submitting an incomplete Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly is required to pass the MTEF and FSP before working on the 2017 budget.

At Thursday’s legislative proceedings, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, drew the attention of the lawmakers to a statement credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, in a newspaper report.

Senator Ndume said that the Minister allegedly stated that the National Assembly was to be blamed for any delay in the presentation of the 2017 budget.

He also claimed that the MTEF, which the Executive submitted to the Senate was empty, adding that it has hindered work on the policy document.

The lawmaker alleged that attempts to get Mr Udoma to submit the necessary documents on the MTEF to the Senate have been unsuccessful.

He also purported that the Minister has not replied the letter or made himself available for scheduled meetings.

Senate Accuses Executive Of Submitting Incomplete MTEF

National Assembly, Senate, Executive, MTEF, FSPThe Nigerian Senate has accused the Executive of submitting an incomplete Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly is required to pass the MTEF and FSP before working on the 2017 budget.

At Thursday’s legislative proceedings, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, drew the attention of the lawmakers to a statement credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, in a newspaper report.

Senator Ndume said that the Minister allegedly stated that the National Assembly was to be blamed for any delay in the presentation of the 2017 budget.

He also claimed that the MTEF, which the Executive submitted to the Senate was empty, adding that it has hindered work on the policy document.

The lawmaker alleged that attempts to get Mr Udoma to submit the necessary documents on the MTEF to the Senate have been unsuccessful.

He also purported that the Minister has not replied the letter or made himself available for scheduled meetings.

On Tuesday, October 4, President ‎Muhammadu Buhari forwarded to the National Assembly, the MTEF which showed a proposal to spend 6.8 trillion Naira on the 2017 budget with the debt servicing of 1.6 trillion Naira.

The receipt of the document was acknowledged at plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Based on the MTEF, the oil benchmark price is put at $42.50 per barrel with 2.2 million barrels of oil production per day and an exchange rate of 290 Naira to a dollar.

The document also states that 65 billion Naira will be spent on the Amnesty Programme while 350 billion Naira will be spent on the special intervention programme in 2017.

Provide Administrative Framework Of Intervention Fund, Senate Tells Executives

senateThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday asked the Executive Arm of Government to provide the National Assembly with a clear framework that would allow for proper administration of the 500 billion Naira Special Intervention Fund, staying action on the executive’s requests for funds.

The request, according to the Senate, would enable the lawmakers ensure that the failure of the past social intervention schemes was avoided.

President Buhari on September 25 forwarded a request to the lawmakers, seeking the approval of the National Assembly for virement of funds appropriated for special intervention to be used to fund some recurrent and capital items.

He is seeking a total of 180 billion Naira to cover the shortfalls in recurrent and capital expenditures.

In the letter read on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives, President Buhari said the request is necessary because of the shortfalls in provisions for personnel costs and inadequate provision for the Amnesty Programme.

‘Discriminates Against Rural Dwellers’

Deliberations on the request opened on Tuesday with Senator Ndume pointing out some flaws in the initiative.

He insisted that the directive that all the beneficiaries should register online had the tendency of excluding and marginalising the targeted population.

Pointing out that the request by the Senate was not targeted at stopping the initiative, Senator Ndume stated that the Senate fully approved the request of the executive in the 2016 Budget to facilitate the 500 billion Naira fund.

Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who opened the debate on the motion he raised on the need to avoid the mismanagement of the 500 billion Naira intervention funds, further observed that current economic situation and the need to have a social intervention scheme that could lift people out of poverty, was the overriding concern of the National Assembly when it did not insist on having a proper framework before approval.

“But I expect the social intervention fund to get to all the 9,572 Wards of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he says.

He further highlighted a variable in the initiative – MPOWER – which he said required people to register online, saying “it is faulty and discriminates against rural dwellers”.

buhari, Anti-Corruption
The intervention fund will handle reconstruction of the northeast ravaged by over six years of Boko Haram insurgency, Muhammadu Buhari says

Giving his opinion on the issue, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said he could not find any beneficiary of the programmes of the Social Intervention Funds in his LG.

On his part, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the aspects of the implementation of the Social Intervention Funds run afoul of the Constitution.

Senator Na’Allah questioned how the people in the hinterland and localities without internet services that are supposed to get online to register on the website.

Before the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, asked Senator Ali Wakili to shed light on some of these concerns, Senators Hope Uzodinma and Biodun Olujimi condemned the implementation plan, saying it was not far-reaching to all nooks and corners of Nigeria.

Explaining the Social Intervention Plans of the Executive Arm of Government Senator Wakili said the fund was not domiciled in any ministry but managed in Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office through consultants.

Senator Wakili told the Senate that he expected that the National Assembly, as the representative of the people, ought to be carried along “but this isn’t the case”.

Push For Manual Registration

Another issue that Senator Dino Melaye raised was that Nigeriens, Beninoise and Camerounians could as well claim being Nigerians and apply since it was online.

He concluded that a programme of action on the implementation of the Intervention Fund had to be brought to the Senate.

Insurance Fraud
The House of Representatives had in June also requested for the framework of the intervention fund

After the deliberations, the Senate resolved that manual registration of beneficiary from all Wards & LGs in Nigeria be incorporated in the 500 billion Naira Intervention Programme.

The Senate also resolved that a clear accountability channel must be created, continuously audited and submitted to the National Assembly.

Giving his final words on the issue, the Senate President said that despite the good intentions, the 500 billion Naira might not achieve what it was supposed to achieve with the current implementation.

Dr. Saraki further asked the appropriate committee to work with the executive to ensure the success of the Social Intervention Fund.

This Senate decision is coming months after the House of Representatives demanded for the framework and details of the 500 billion naira Special Intervention Fund.

The lower chamber had directed a joint committee to ensure that the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Social Protection Programmes made available the framework.

Senate Leader Meets With Buhari Over 2016 Budget

BudgetSenate Leader, Ali Ndume, on Monday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Senator Ndume told reporters shortly after the meeting that he was in the Presidential Villa to consult with the President ahead of the Tuesday’s resumption of the Senate.

He said that it was wrong to say that the executive and the legislature were at loggerhead over the 2016 Budget.

According to the Senate Leader, “what is happening is good for the country”.

Senator Nduma stressed that it was the first time the two arms of government were working together to iron out a budget that would be in the interest of the common man.

The budget was submitted to the National Assembly by President Buhari in December last year, but during the ongoing budget defence the lawmakers observed that government ministries had padded their budgets.

The lawmakers further shifted an earlier plan to pass the budget in February, saying it was no longer feasible.

On Monday, the House of Representative said it would pass the budget in March.

Senate Asks Military, Police To Relocate IDPs

SenateThe Nigerian Senate has asked the military and police authorities to  begin the  process of relocating all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) scattered across the country.

The Senate also asked the military and other security agencies to re-open all the closed highways in the north-east.

Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, made the request on behalf of the Senate, during a meeting with the Service Chiefs and the Inspector- General of Police, Solomon Arase, on Tuesday.

The Service Chiefs were represented by senior military officers at the meeting that was held behind closed doors.

Senator Ndume said the meeting was an opportunity for the Senate to hold talks with the Service Chiefs about the specific steps to take to complete the process of relocating the IDPs this year, following containment of the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east.

He urged the Service Chiefs to offer suggestions on what they needed to facilitate the relocation of the IDP’s, as that would allow the lawmakers use their powers of appropriation to render necessary support.

 

Senate Accepts, Adopts Alterations To 2016 Budget

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-President-in-NigeriaThe Senate has accepted and adopted the alterations in the 2016 Appropriation Bill made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari sent a letter to the Senate President notifying federal lawmakers of some corrected versions in the 2016 budget.

In the letter read on the floor by Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari stated that although there are some alterations in the budget, the figures remain the same.

‪“It will be recalled that on Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, I presented my 2016 budget proposals to the joint sitting of the national assembly. I submitted a draft bill accompanied by a schedule of details.

“At the time of submission, we indicated that because the details had just been produced, we would have had to check to ensure that there were no errors in the detailed breakdown contained in the schedule.

“That has since been completed and I understand that the corrections have been submitted.

“The National Assembly would therefore have the details as submitted on the 22nd and a copy containing the corrections submitted last week. It appears that this has led to some confusion.

“In this regard, please find attached the corrected version. This is the version the National Assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates. The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures.”

The Senate consequently directed the Senate Leader, Mr Ali Ndume, to distribute the budget with the alterations.

Debate on the budget is to begin on Wednesday, January 20, 2015.

Senate To Pass 2016 Budget By February

SenateThe Nigerian Senate has said it plans to pass the 2016 budget at the end of February.

The Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, disclosed the plans to reporters at a press briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Monday.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the 2016 budget, Senator Ndume explained that an integrity check was conducted on the first 2016 budget which President Muhammadu Buhari laid in the National Assembly and the check made it necessary for minor adjustments.

Senator Ndume, claimed that although, the integrity check made the changes necessary, the total budget sum was not affected.

Last week, there were reports that the budget was missing, but some lawmakers dismissed the claims, saying there were limited copies of the budget.

To lay the issue to rest, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on January 14 said that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Senate, Senator Ita Enag, reproduced a budget document different from what President Buhari originally submitted to the National Assembly.

He said that the Senate had resolved to consider only the version presented by the President.

 

Senate Delegation Pays Condolence Visit To Adamawa

Senate Delegation Pays Condolence Visit To AdamawaA delegation set up by the Senate has visited Yola to commiserate and condole with the government and people of Adamawa State in north-east Nigeria over the recent suicide bomb blast in Jambutu.

The delegation of seven persons was led by the Senate Leader, Senator Aliyu Ndume, in company of Senator Binta Garba and Senator Abdulazeez Nyako from Adamawa State among four others.

On arrival at the state’s capital, the Senators visited the palace of the Lamido of Adamawa, His Royal Highness, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa.

They then proceeded to the Federal Medical Centre and the Specialist Hospital in Yola where they sympathised with victims of the recent bomb blast and donated some amounts to both hospitals for the continuous treatment of the bomb blast victims.

The Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Engineer Martins Babale, received the Senate delegation on behalf of Governor Mohammed Jibrilla at the Government House.

He expressed delight with the Senators’ visit, praying that God would reward them for the love and concern exhibited.

The last bomb blast, which occurred in Yola, claimed many lives, while some of those who survived were still receiving medical attention.