NASS Will Continue To Make Positive Impacts, Says Lawan

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has given assurance that the ninth National Assembly will continue to do everything possible to make positive impacts in the lives of Nigerians.

In a statement on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, he noted that the lawmakers would achieve this through appropriate legislations.

The Senate President felicitated with Muslim faithful on the commemoration of this year’s Eid-El-Maulud.

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In his goodwill message, he urged Muslims and Nigerians, in general, to imbibe the virtues of peace, tolerance, justice, and love for one another as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad.

Senator Lawan said the birthday of the holy prophet should be an occasion for the renewal of commitment to ideals that would enhance peace and prosperity in the country.

He also asked Muslims, in particular, to always emulate the virtues of Prophet Muhammad which include honesty, love for others, and peaceful co-existence.

The Senate President said, “Prophet Muhammad preached and lived for peace and that is the virtue expected of every Muslim, particularly in a diverse society such as ours.

“This year’s occasion is another opportunity to further thank the Almighty Allah for his continued guidance and intervention in the challenges in our society.”

How NASS, Executive Are Collaborating To Tackle Insecurity – Lawan

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly and the Executive are collaborating on the best ways to tackle the issue of kidnapping and insecurity in the country.

Lawan was quoted to have said this in a statement by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo on Wednesday, while giving his remarks on a motion titled: “Urgent need for Security Agencies to intervene in the increased rate of kidnapping in the riverine areas of Ogun East Senatorial District and Securing the Waterways.”

According to the statement, the motion was sponsored by Senator Lekan Mustapha (APC, Ogun East).

The Senate President explained that there is an ongoing collaboration between the National Assembly and security agencies to seek alternative ways of finding a permanent solution to the lingering situation of kidnapping and insecurity across the country.

Identifying funding as a major setback in the fight against insecurity, Lawan said the legislature with the support of the executive arm of government would explore the possibility of sourcing for funds separately from what was budgeted for security agencies in the 2020 budget.

He warned that relying solely on budgetary provisions for security agencies would make it impossible for the Federal Government to tackle the challenge of insecurity across parts of the country.

Lawan further disclosed that the National Assembly had requested the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, to come up with a proposal for the acquisition of drones that would be deployed across the country to facilitate the arrest of kidnappers.

He said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had also received the nod to devise a means of tracking kidnappers through active mobile numbers used in the course of negotiations.

The Senate President, who disclosed plans by the Federal Government to launch a National Emergency Call Centre, said an emergency phone number was already activated for the purpose of contacting the various security agencies in times of distress.

“In the last one month, I’ve been holding regular meetings with security agencies, including the Ministers of Communications and the Federal Capital Territory.
“What we are trying to do is to get a better and result-oriented approach to fighting kidnapping and insecurity.

“We have insisted that no amount of resources will be too much because we need to protect our people and secure the country.

“It will remain a pipe dream if we continue to ask investors to come to Nigeria; even those in Nigeria will not invest properly if the security situation remains very dicey.

“This is something that the National Assembly will have to do together with the executive arm of government. We have to look for something out of the ordinary for funding.

“We have to go out of our way to look for resources outside the national budget. If we can release seven billion naira to Distribution Companies (Discos) or Generation Companies (Gencos), nothing stops us from looking for such money to address the security situation of the country.

“We have already given a request for the NSA to come up with the different designs and models of drones. We hope there should be drones properly deployed to ensure kidnappers are arrested.

“We have to find a way to be able to track kidnappers through phones. We should have launched the National Emergency Call Centre with a specific number about two weeks ago.

“We have tried to reconcile all security agencies to have one specific number instead of separate and different ones. We want the emergency call centres to be established across the country. At the moment we have only two major ones”.

Earlier, the sponsor of the motion, Senator Mustapha bemoaned the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around riverine communities in Ogun East Senatorial District, particularly Ode-omi, Makun and Iwopin in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun state.

He said that the activities of these criminals have forced law-abiding residents of coastal and riverine communities of the affected communities to flee their communities and livelihood out of fear.

Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Government to direct the Inspector-General of Police to immediately instruct the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State, to beef-up the strength of his men to effectively secure all the affected creeks and communities.

The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to direct the Inspector-General of Police to immediately make available sufficient helicopters for aerial surveillance and gunboat to the Marine Police departments to enable the state command tackle the activities of militants.

The Senate also urged the Nigerian Navy to establish a Naval Base in Makun-omi because of its strategic location between Ondo and Lagos State and its accessibility to both road and water.

Why Nigeria Should Maintain Bicameral Legislature – Lawan

(L-R) Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, and Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, at the third University of Benin/National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) convocation ceremony held at the National Assembly in Abuja on October 28, 2019.

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has made a case for Nigeria to maintain a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives as presently constituted.

According to him, the adoption of a bicameral legislature is intended to address the country’s diversity and ethnic composition to ensure justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians irrespective of their background.

Senator Lawan stated this at the third University of Benin/National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) convocation ceremony which held on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

He noted that having a unicameral legislature may create problems of non-representation and exclusion from governance for minority ethnic groups in the country, as well as inefficient representation for groups in the majority.

“Nigeria has consciously adopted to have a bicameral National Assembly; it is because of who and what we are,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Assistant on Press, Ezrel Tabiowo.

He added, “The diversity of Nigeria and ethnic composition of the country requires that we have a system that provides justice, equity and fair play.

“It is a conscious decision and design to ensure that everybody is represented in the country. We need bicameral legislature in Nigeria.”

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Back To School

    The lawmaker explained that the quality of governance in Nigeria can only be improved by ensuring productivity on the part of lawmakers as against demanding for a unicameral legislature.

He said, “What we should insist on is productivity. Members of the National Assembly must justify the expenditure on us. That is what we should be concerned with.

“We must be productive and we are on the way. We are on the way to proving that we are going to be productive.

Senator Lawan recalled that only last week, the Senate passed an amendment to the Production Sharing Contracts Act of 1993, a development which would earn Nigeria $1.7 billion annually.

According to him, this is part of efforts by the National Assembly to shore-up the nation’s revenue and improve its economy in the overall interest of the people.

The Senate President, however, hoped that the House of Representatives would concur to the bill when it resumes plenary after which it would be forwarded to the President for assent.

“Nigeria from next year alone will get $1.7 billion – that is to say we are conscious of who we are representing. We will represent Nigeria truthfully and patriotically.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure that we take 10 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years. This requires that we work with the same passion and commitment,” Lawan said.

The Senate President also challenged the Federal Government to take the lead in returning about 14 million out-of-school-children back to school.

According to him, the National Assembly would complement the effort of the executive arm of government in this direction by ensuring the amendment of the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) Act.

 

Budget Passage

On oversight by the National Assembly, the lawmaker said, “This time in the 9th Senate, our oversight process and system will change. We want to have a situation where reports will be presented in plenary.

“We want to do our work as assiduously and patriotically as possible. That is not to say that we will have unnecessary confrontation and rancour with the executive arm of government.”

He added, “Our target for tomorrow, October 29, as the last day for budget defence remains. We hope that from this week, October 30 to November 5; we expect all our sub-committees of the appropriations committee to defend their budgets before the appropriation committees of the Senate and the House.

“We are desirous and determined to ensure that the budget is laid on the 28th of November this year. We want to ensure that we pass the budget before the end of this year by December when we will go for Christmas break.”

Lawan, while speaking about budget implementation, said the National Assembly through its oversight function would beam its searchlight on revenue-generating agencies that annually fail to remit revenues to the federation account.

According to him, the non-remittance of revenues by agencies has severally left the Federal Government to explore the alternative of borrowing to fund part of the budget.

AGF Malami Meets Lawan, Gbajabiamila Over Seamless Passage Of Bills

 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Thursday met with the leadership of the National Assembly on developing a working relationship that would ensure seamless passage of bills.

Malami, for about an hour at the National Assembly, met with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and some principal officers of the Senate.

Malami told his hosts that the major issue of interest to the Office of the Attorney General and the Government is having a harmonious working relationship that is targeted at advancing the interest of the nation.

He added that it was against this background that several bills were proposed during the 8th National Assembly, while additional ones will be presented during the 9th National Assembly.

Malami expressed concerns that several bills presented to the eighth National Assembly were never passed nor assented to because of certain inadequacies or constitutional issues.”

“Enormous resources, energy and cost have gone into legislative process of lawmaking, and I feel the time is now right for us to work together for the purpose of eliminating the associated bottlenecks that have constituted hindrances to the passage of the bills and assenting thereto.

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“My beneficial approach is to look at the possibility of working together between the executive and legislature; and where the need arises, the judiciary, in working on the bills before they proceed to the stages of public hearing.

“We cannot afford to expend resources, time and energy in formulating and drafting bills that will eventually not be passed or assented,” Malami said.

Malami suggested, as a way forward, sending advance legislative proposals for possible review and inputs of the lawmakers even before the final consideration of the draft bill by the executive.

In his response, the Senate President described the meeting as an “historic engagement” and commended the approach of the Executive.

Lawan said the present cordial relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly should be one driven by mutual respect and consultation between both arms of government.

“Our relationship should be based on mutual respect and consultation. This is a clear demonstration of the kind of consultation we have been talking about.

“We shouldn’t work at cross purposes; and beyond bills, we need to extend the consultation to other spheres of engagements for us to achieve optimal performance,” Lawan said.

According to him, the meeting was an important and historic engagement between the Office of the AGF and the current leadership of the National Assembly towards achieving a working relationship that would facilitate the seamless passage of bills and their assent by the President.

“This shows the kind of relationship that characterise the ninth National Assembly and the Executive arm of government, which essentially is for the benefit of Nigerians, the people we represent,” Lawan added.

“There are three major functions of the legislature; the oversight, representation and legislation.

“Legislation is a fundamental pillar of what we do here. Your office is in charge of executive bills that find their way to the National Assembly and therefore, this is an effort by the executive arm of government to ensure legislative processes that will start from the executive to the legislature or vice versa, should be seamless, speedy passage and effective implementation for good governance.

“When we process a bill, so much resources, effort and commitment are put into it; so we have to do everything possible to ensure that the processes are such that the outcomes justify the enormous resources put into the processing of the bills.”

To ensure a hitch-free passage of bills, the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives along with the Attorney-General of the Federation at the meeting underscored the need for committees to be constituted on both sides of government for the purpose of engagement.

“If there’s anything we identify that will cause us not to pass a bill, we will draw the attention of the executive to it and mandate our relevant committees to engage with the concerned agency and the AGF’s office so that all such issues are sorted out.

“We should have our bills assented to, whether they are executive bills or private members’ bills.

“This relationship is productive so far, it is working and helping this country and we will continue with it. However, that is not to say that we will compromise on things that are our mandate,” Lawan said.

The Senate President also called on the AGF to ensure that heads of agencies are carried along in the process of drafting executive bills to avoid sabotage from any quarter.

“I want to advise, that when an executive bill emanates from you, exhaust all opportunities for heads of agencies that will be affected by the eventual passage of the Bill into law to participate.

“Let them put in their ideas before you roundup work on the draft that will be sent to the National Assembly for consideration.

“Often times, heads of agencies deliberately refuse to attend public hearings, and when the bills are passed and sent to the president to sign, then they go around saying things about the bill stopping government from working and so on.

“The National Assembly would do everything to ensure optimal productivity, but those civil servants who sometimes feel they would lose power and authority would attempt to jeopardize the assent of the President.

“This is something that we have to address. When there’s a public hearing on a bill, we will make it mandatory for heads of agencies that are supposed to participate to attend. If they don’t attend, they shouldn’t go back to the President to advise against the assent to such bills.

“The government put in a lot of effort and resources, and we do the same. But one individual, like a Managing Director or Executive Secretary, who feels he or she may lose part of his mandate to another agency, may go ahead to sabotage the whole process. We need to guard against that.”

Senators in attendance are: the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Minority Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha; Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Ya’u Alhaji; Senator Albert Bassey (PDP, Akwa-Ibom North), and Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South).

Senate President Opens Public Hearing On 2020 Budget Proposals

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during a session in the Senate Chamber in Abuja.

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has declared open a two-day public hearing on the 2020 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly early in October.

The National Budget Hearing on the 2020 budget is jointly convened by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriation.

Declaring the public hearing open on Wednesday, Senate President Lawan explained that the public hearing was aimed at accommodating the suggestions and inputs of critical stakeholders with a view to adding value to legislation through the channels of inclusion and public engagement.

He added that the successful implementation of a nation’s annual budget depends on increased participation by stakeholders, and awareness and education of citizens.

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The lawmaker noted that the importance of the budget proposal in national development cannot be overemphasised, stressing that was the reason why inputs have to be all-inclusive.

“We understand that the budget proposal is about fiscal targets, resource allocation, public expenditure policy, productivity, and efficiency. We also understand that the process is one of passage, mobilisation, and execution.

“For them to work well, however, we have to have increased participation, which also amounts to empowerment in the realm of information, awareness, and education,” Lawan said.

He added, “An improved understanding most times comes through the exchange of ideas. It comes in a process of agreement and disagreement. Better awareness or expansion of thoughts could also come through purposeful interactions.

“Other than this is the fact that public hearing is a legislative tool of participation. Through it, we engage with critical stakeholders and the public, either separately or collectively. The overall essence is not just engagement or consultation, but also for the greater good of the people.”

The Senate President stated that the collective decision of the ninth Assembly to revert to the January-December budget cycle as provided in the 1999 Constitution as amended stemmed from the need to achieve a predictable economic framework for Nigeria.

He said the present budget cycle in operation created problems of planning and implementation in the nation’s economic framework.

Senate Will Deepen Women Participation In Politics – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during plenary in the Senate Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the Senate will support initiatives and efforts aimed at widening the scope of women participation in politics and governance.

Lawan stated this on Wednesday when playing host to a delegation of United Nations Women at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to Lawan, “there’s a need to do more for women participation in politics and governance in Nigeria.”

“We are looking forward to improving the number of women at the National Assembly by widening and deepening the scope of participation by women in Nigerian politics,” Lawan said.

The Senate President recalled that the introduction and passage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act by the 8th National Assembly facilitated the participation of young persons in politics during the last general elections.

He said the National Assembly, in a bid to extend the gesture to Nigerian women, “will be openly disposed to support everything that will widen the political space for them.”

“I believe that with the percentage of the population that our women in Nigeria have, they deserve to be there on the table when decisions will be taken.

“I believe that the support will be total, whole and complete when we are able to capture every possible interest or sphere of participation that women are supposed to be involved in,” Lawan said.

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Earlier, the Deputy Executive Director and leader of the UN Women delegation, Ms. Asa Regner, called on the National Assembly to support efforts that will ensure the inclusion of women in governance.

According to Regner, Nigeria blazing the trail would encourage other countries within the African continent to widen the space for women participation in politics.

“Whatever happens in Nigeria plays a very important role in the region and the rest of the world,” Regner stressed.

On the visiting delegation are: Ms. Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director, West and Central Africa and Ms. Comfort Lamptey, Country Representative.

Senators present during the courtesy visit include: the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Deputy Minority Leader, Sahabi Y’au.

Others are: Senators Rose Okoh, Chairman, Committee on Trade and Investments; Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman, Committee on Communications; Betty Apiafi, Chairman, Committee on Women Affairs; Ibrahim Gobir, Chairman, Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Michael Nnachi, Vice Chairman, Committee on Surface, and Sadiq Umar (APC, Kwara North).

Outstanding Royalties And Funds Diverted From Federation Account Not Less Than $103.7bn – Falana

Withdraw Charges Against CJN, Falana Tells FG
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to collaborate with anti-graft agencies for the recovery of oil sale funds lost from the federation’s account. 

According to a letter sent to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Mr Falana claimed that about “$103.7 billion” generated from oil sale have been withheld or diverted from the nation’s coffers.

Mr Falana in his letter argued that if the nation can recover the money lost to oil sale, there would be no need to seek foreign loans.

Falana’s letter comes on heels of an announcement by the Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, stating that Nigeria has secured a $3 billion loan from the World Bank in April.

This fund according to Mrs Ahmed, would be used for reforming the nation’s power sector.

However, Mr Falana is of the opinion that the nation would not need to get into debt if the National Assembly can work with the anti-graft agencies to locate and recover the funds he alleges are missing from the country’s purse.

But Falana said Nigeria lost a larger part of the proceeds from oil as a result of the non-implementation of the deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act.

In his letter dated October 18, the Senior Advocate said he drew the attention of the Federal Government to the loss of billions of dollars arising from the non implementation of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act.

Falana further stated that based on the provisions of the law the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies entered into Production Sharing Contracts which provided for an upward review of the loyalties whenever crude oil was sold beyond $20 per barrel in the international market.

He stressed that even though the price of crude was beyond $100 per barrel in the recent past both parties ignored the provisions of the law to the detriment of the national economy.

The human rights activist alleged that in the course of his work on leakages in the national economy, he and his team have also discovered that sometime in 2006, the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) illegally withdrew $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks.

He said Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, had also ignored their demand for the recovery of the $7 billion and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.

Mr Falana further stated that apart from the expected revenue of $1.5 billion from the implementation of the amended deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act, the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the federation account are not less than $103.7 billion.

Below is the Senior Advocate’s letter to the Senate President in which he urges the National Assembly to look into recovering the funds which he argues will keep the country from having to borrow.

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October 18, 2019

Dr. Ahmed Lawan,

The Senate President,

National Assembly Complex,

Third Arms Zone,

Abuja, FCT.

Request to ensure the recovery of $105 billion by the Federal Government

In November 2015, we drew the attention of the Federal Government to the loss of billions of dollars arising from the non implementation of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act. Based on the provisions of the law the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies entered into Production Sharing Contracts which provided for an upward review of the loyalties whenever crude oil was sold beyond $20 per barrel in the international market. Even though the price of crude was beyond $100 per barrel in the recent past both parties ignored the provisions of the law to the detriment of the national economy.

We were equally compelled to call on the national assembly to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act in favour of the Nigerian people. Although the call was ignored but we kept up the pressure on the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to do the needful.

However, we are delighted to know that the national assembly has belatedly resolved to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act. In fact, the Senate has passed the Amendment Bill. Upon the passage of the the said bill last week you had this to say:

“The Bill must be passed and concurred to by the House of Representatives and of course, assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari who is on the same page with us.

As a patriotic Senate, there is no way, we would have yielded to pressures and deny our dear country $1.5 billion that will be accruing into her account on yearly basis based on contractual sharing agreements put in place by the new provisions which become law when finally assented to by the President.”

Mr. Senate President, we fully agree with you that the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Bill ought to be speedily passed by the House of Representatives and assented to by the President since the law will fetch the country the sum of $1.5 billion per annum. While we commend the Senate for the initiative in passing the Bill we urge the national assembly to ensure the recovery of the funds listed below:

1. In his reaction to our allegation of economic sabotage by the public officers who deliberately refused to implement the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act the immediate past Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu admitted that the non implementation of the law by some unnamed public officers had led to a loss of oil revenue of over $60 billion. But due to the reluctance of the federal government to enforce the law the governments of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States instituted an action at the Supreme Court in 2016 to compel the Federal government to recover the accrued royalties.

In the judgment delivered in the case on October 18, 2018 the Supreme Court directed the Federal government to recover the royalties that had not been collected from the International Oil Companies for the past 18 years. Based on the judgment of the apex court the Federal government has demanded for the immediate payment of the sum of the sum of $62 billion by the defaulting oil companies. But the affected oil companies have filed fresh suits in the federal high court challenging the claim of the federal government. It is hoped that the federal high court will speed up the hearing of the new cases in view of the categorical pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the right of the federal government to recover the outstanding royalties.

2. The National Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that sum of $22 billion and N481 billion has been withheld from the Federation Account by the NNPC and some oil companies. Without any justification whatsoever the federal government has ignored the findings of the NEITI. Convinced that the Federal Government has violated the provisions of the NEITI Act we have instituted an action at the federal high court seeking for the implementation of the findings of the NEITI.

3. A group of Nigerian lawyers engaged by the NIMASA found that the crude oil stolen from Nigeria by well known oil and shipping companies between 2011 and 2014 and discharged at the Philadelphia Port in the United States was 60.2 barrels. The said stolen oil has been valued at $12.7 billion. Curiously, all efforts to persuade the federal government to recover the fund have fallen on deaf ears. Out of sheer frustration the lawyers who indicted the oil and shipping companies have instituted civil suits in the federal high court for the recovery of the said sum of $12.7 billion.

4. In the course of our work on leakages in the national economy, we discovered that sometime in 2006 the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria illegally withdrew the sum of $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks. For reasons best known to him, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefile has ignored our persistent demand for the recovery of the principal sum of $7 billion and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.

In the light of the foregoing, it is clear that apart from the expected revenue of $1.5 billion from the implementation of the amended Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the Federation Account are not less than $103.7 billion.

If the National Assembly, under your able leadership, is prepared to resist pressures from vested interests and muster the political will to recover the said fund Nigeria will have no business begging for foreign loans from China, African Development Bank and the World Bank. Therefore, the National Assembly may wish to collaborate with the anti graft agencies in the recovery of the said sum of $103.7 billion without any delay.

Please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.

Yours sincerely,

FEMI FALANA, SAN FCI Arb.

CC: Femi Gbajabiamila Esq.

The Speaker,

House of Representatives,

National Assembly Complex,

Third Arms Zone,

Abuja, FCT.

Nigeria Needs Prayers To Overcome Challenges – Lawan

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, says Nigeria needs prayers to overcome its challenges.

Lawan was quoted to have this in a statement signed by the Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate, Ola Awoniyi, on Wednesday.

“Given the situation we are in today, the various challenges that Nigeria and its people face, we even need to pray more,” he said while receiving a delegation of the Christian Legislators’ Fellowship of the National Assembly.

The delegation was led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, was also in attendance at the meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to invite the Senate President to the 10th National Prayer Breakfast scheduled to hold on October 31, 2019 at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

Speaking further, Lawan noted that the Prayer Breakfast was timely and therefore, urged everyone to seek the face of God for answered prayers ahead of the programme.

“Today, we face serious security challenges. Where we have security agencies which are mandated to ensure that we are secured and protected, if nothing, we should pray for them that they are able to perform well.

“It is not only in empowering them with weapons; the power of God is beyond weapons. I’m sure that all people of faith will continue to pray for our security agencies to protect us,” Lawan said.

The Senate President, who also mentioned challenges in the economy, said as leaders, “we have the responsibility to ensure that we continue to provide leadership, to continue to seek the intervention of God in the way and manner that we lead our people.

“We have to do whatever we can to be as truthful, transparent and accountable to our people,” he added.

“I believe that this country needs prayers, and that this country needs unity amongst all faith. We all worship one God, and he is the only way through which we can have our country led properly”.

We Are Very Concerned About The Security Challenges In The FCT – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, speaks during plenary in the Senate Chamber in Abuja on September 27, 2019.

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday held a crucial security meeting with top officials who are directly charged with the security of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The meeting, which held at the Senate President’s office, was also attended by key officers of the Senate.

“We are very concerned, like all of you are, about the level of security challenges in the FCT,” Lawan said in his remarks before the meeting went into a closed door session

The Senate President said the meeting was to address the current security challenges in the FCT and chart the way forward.

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Lawan said the meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting held last week, adding that the idea was to engage those who are directly dealing with the security issues within the FCT

In attendance at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, and Director General of Department of State Service, Yusuf Magaji Bichi.

Others are the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Peter Ogunyanwo, who represented the Inspector General of Police; FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma and Permanent Secretary in the FCT Administration, Chinyeaka Ohaa.

Senators in attendance: Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Dep. Senate Leader, Senator Robert Boroffice; Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; Dep. Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Dep. Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, and Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda

Others are: the Chairman of Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Abdullahi Gobir; Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs,

Senator Haliru Jika; Chairman, Senate Committee on Airforce, Bala Ibn Na’allah, and Vice chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

2020 Budget: Defend Your Budget Estimates This October – Lawan Tells MDAs

 

The Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan has urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to appear before the committees for the defence of their budget estimate within October 2019.

Mr Lawan made the call at first joint session of the National Assembly which sat for the presentation of the 2020 budget proposal.

He stated that the National Assembly will work swiftly to see that the budget as processed in time.

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“The National Assembly, after the receipt of the budget estimate today will swing into swift action to start work, both chambers have constituted their committees we are therefore ready to start processing the budget estimate.

“In order for timely passage, all MDAs are expected to appear before the committees for the defence of their budget estimate within the month of October. We have earmarked the month of October to be the sole window for all budget defence activities in this year by all MDAs.

“Clearly, this effort is to enable the FG provides those laudable objectives of physical infrastructure and socio-economic services to our citizens,” he said.

The Senate President stressed the need for Nigeria to return to a January-December budget cycle, saying that the National Assembly would accelerate work on the 2020 Appropriation Bill being presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

We Must Reduce Out-Of-School Children – Senate President

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, on Thursday, said the upper chamber will work to reduce the number of out-of-school children across the country.

Lawan made the comment after the Legislative Agenda for the ninth Senate was adopted.

“Today, the education sector suffers a lot. The 11 million or 12 million children out of school, we owe them that responsibility to do something about them. And that is taking us back to the implementation of the basic education Act.

“How do we ensure that we reduce and eliminate the number of out-of-school children on our street? Whatever name we have to give that programme, we have to do something, and the government has to take responsibility,” Lawan said.

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The Senate President said the government, both at the federal and state levels, will have to create some funds to employ and train more teachers.

Lawan said the upper chamber will work assiduously to implement its legislative agenda.

“This legislative agenda is particularly ours. We represent the people, we know their feelings, and we imagine that the legislative perspectives we have here may be slightly different from the executive perspective.

“But at the same time, we are going to serve the same people, and that is where the need for us to come together and to reconcile our thinking on taking Nigeria to the next level will be,” Lawan said.

The Senate resolved that it will tackle youth unemployment, poverty, and reform of the educational sector, among other challenges facing the country.

The red chamber said it will channel its energy towards strengthening Basic and Technical Education by enhancing oversight on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Senate President Tasks Committees To Address Insecurity, Unemployment

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, charged standing committees of the upper chamber to ensure the discharge of their duties with a view to addressing major challenges facing the nation.

Lawan gave the charge in his remarks during the inauguration of the standing committees of the Senate.

He said, “Our country is facing the challenges of insecurity, while our largely youthful population is affected by unemployment, among other problems. Fortunately, we are also blessed with abundant agricultural land.

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“We are similarly endowed with abundant solid minerals in all parts of our country. The oil and gas resources have remained our major source of revenue. Our challenges can be appropriately addressed with our rich endowments. What we require therefore is the strategic deployment of those resources.

“We can plan and use our agricultural potentials to achieve not only national food security but also the process for exports. Again, our solid minerals sector is largely untapped and we can exploit those resources through the right policies and supportive legislations.”

He, therefore, called on relevant standing committees to look into the challenges such as insecurity and unemployment, as well as ensure reforms in the petroleum and agricultural sectors of the economy with a view to addressing them through the instrument of legislation.

Senate To Pass PIB Before End Of 2020

The Senate President called for deep reform of the petroleum industry.

He said, “Our petroleum industry is almost stagnant and for long needing profound reform. Our oil and gas-related committees are therefore expected to work hard to take the lead in our determination to reform this vital sector. It is the desire, indeed the design of this Senate that, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed before the end of 2020.

“The security architecture of our country has not achieved the desired results of providing the needed security to our citizens. Our security agencies need better funding and other resources for better performance.

“As security is a fundamental responsibility of government, no amount of investment is too much. Our security-related committees are therefore challenged to assess and review both the architecture and structure of our security agencies towards improved efficiency.”

Seeks The Cooperation Of Ministers, Heads Of MDAs

He urged Ministers and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to cooperate with the newly inaugurated committees where necessary, so as to deliver on the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

“As we set to start our committee activities, the Senate expects the total cooperation of the executive arm of government. The Senate expects the Honourable Ministers and head of agencies of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement requests of our committees.

“Our committees will undertake regular oversights with a view to ensuring that government programmes and projects are properly executed for the benefit of our citizens.

“As the committees are the engine rooms of the legislature, so are the MDAs to the executive. This is why there is the need for cooperation, consultation, partnership and synergy between the two arms of government.

“The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are hereby called upon to harness the opportunity of the existence of the committees in the execution of their mandates. We must have a unity of purpose.”

Senate Rolls Out Legislative Agenda

The Senate on Wednesday received a report of its ad-hoc committee on the 9th Senate Legislative Agenda. Chairman of the committee, Senator Adamu Mohammad Aliero (Kebbi Central) presented the report.

The consideration and adoption of the report are slated for Thursday. This is to enable Senators time to read and digest the report for effective contributions during its debate.

Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, at the election, had promised to fashion a legislative agenda to guide the effective performance of Senators.

Senator Aliero listed youth empowerment to curb the increasing number of youth unemployment, poverty alleviation to ensure that 100 million Nigerians are lifted out of poverty in the next four years as part of the plank of the agenda.

Aliero also listed legislative framework to tackle the phenomenon of out of school children in the country, creation of special health centres in the six geopolitical zones and reduction of acute housing deficit in the country.

The Kebbi Central senator also listed fashioning legislative measures to further enhance gender equality, infrastructure deficit, increase agricultural production, fast-tracking the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and holistic reform of the oil and gas sector as other parts of the agenda.

He said the Senate will also work to further block revenue leakages, back anti-corruption, make procurement processes less cumbersome.

He highlighted the Open NASS policy, where the budget of the National Assembly will be in the public glare.

By throwing open the budget of the National Assembly, Nigerians will know that we have nothing to hide, Aliero said.