Shehu Sani Said Nothing New About Senators’ Salaries – Senate

 

Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, says the statements made by Senator Shehu Sani, on the salaries and funds for the running of offices of Senators is nothing new.

In a statement on Sunday, Abdullahi said the figure given out by Sani about the running cost of the offices of Senators are contained in various line items and expenditure heads of the budget of the National Assembly which has been made public.

He maintained that if people had looked critically at the budget of the National Assembly which has since been made public, they would have seen that various line items like travelling, medicals, consultancy and the rest were captured in the budget and they were the funds divided for each Senator’s use.

Senator Sani in an interview with a magazine recently revealed that Senators receive N13.5 million monthly as running cost and this does not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowance which they also receive.

He further explained in the interview that though there is no specification on what the funds were meant for, each lawmaker is mandated to provide receipts to back up their expenses.

Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mr Femi Falana has praised Sani for the disclosure.

Falana said in a statement on Sunday that the lawmaker “blew the lid off federal legislators’ salary secrecy.”

He also noted that the revelation has serious implications for public accountability in the country, describing the figures revealed as “jumbo emoluments” of the senators.

Furthermore, he condemned the purported moves to place Senator Sani on indefinite suspension for spilling the beans and therefore, called on Nigerians to support the lawmaker and ensure he is not harassed for exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Read Falana’s Full Statement here.

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Chairman

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

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

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

They cited security report by the Department of Security Services (DSS) which the Senate claimed indicted Mr Magu.

The decision by the Senate had been a subject of controversy as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, had insisted that Mr Magu was not rejected by the lawmakers but his confirmation was only stepped down for further consultation with the Presidency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Insists Magu Cannot Be EFCC Chairman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impeachment: APC Reacted to Mere Rumours, Says Senate

senateThe Senate has expressed surprise that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made comments on mere speculation and fabrication by an online publication on a purported plan to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by the Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, he stated that the APC had the opportunity to cross-check what actually happened at the executive session, which held on Tuesday from its members in attendance.

He said the comments credited to the National Secretary of the Party, Mai Bala Buni, on the falsehood being spread by an online news report will merely give credibility to a news item which members of the public had disregarded, knowing the reputation of the source.

Senator Abdullahi further stated that the Senate expected the party to at least explore all the options open to it to verify “that piece of fabrication” saying that it should be clear to the APC leadership that if there is any truth to that story, it should have been credited to a particular Senator who was at the executive session.

He assured the APC that the Senate as an institution values the present democracy in Nigeria and will not do anything to undermine or weaken the system

The National Secretariat of the APC had dismissed the purported plan describing it as “a huge joke”.

In a press statement by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the party advised the senators in question to “stop the ‘huge joke’ and concentrate on their primary constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking and discharging legislative mandates to their constituents at the National Assembly”, urging them not to “allow political shenanigans becloud overall national interest.

“The Party will not to join issues on the Senate forgery suit and other court cases concerning some members of the 8th Senate because it will be subjudice.

“We advice the Senators in question to tow the same line and allow judicial processes run it normal and legitimate course.

“Repeated allegations that the court cases are politically-motivated by the President and the APC are baseless”, the APC said.

Senate Accuses Executive Of Attempts To Silence Legislature

Senate, Legislature, Aliyu Abdullahi,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi

The Senate is alleging that there is an attempt by the executive arm of government to muzzle the legislature and criminalize legislative processes in order to cause leadership change in the National Assembly.

A statement issued by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, alleges that this is being done by the executive to cause leadership change in the National Assembly and in the process bring about a return to the era of impunity and lack of respect for due process.

While appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to order, the statement says that Nigerians have had enough economic hardship at this time requiring the full attention and cooperation of the three arms of government, instead of these attempts to distract and politicize governance.

“It is clear that the Attorney General and party leaders behind this action either lack the understanding of the underlining principles of constitutional democracy, the concept of separation of powers, checks and balances and parliamentary convention or they just simply do not care if the present democracy in the country survives or collapses in their blinded determination to get Saraki and Ekweremadu by all means necessary, including abuse of office and sacking the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are in a state of economic emergency such that what the National Assembly needs at this time are executive bills and proposals aimed at resolving the crises of unemployment, currency depreciation, inflation, crime and insecurity.

“What the National Assembly needs now are executive bills to build and strengthen institutions to earn revenues, fight corruption and eliminate waste.

“Instead, we are getting hostile actions aimed at destabilizing the National Assembly, distracting senators from their oversight functions and ensuring good and accountable governance.”

Senator Abdullahi said that if the legislative branch falls, democracy fails as there will be no other institution empowered by the constitution to check and balance the enormous powers of the executive branch.

Senate, Reps Are United On 2016 Budget – Senator Abdullahi

2016 budgetThe Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, maintains that the Senate and House of Reps are united in their decisions on the 2016 budget and that there is no disagreement between the two chambers.

This is following the recent controversy on the passing of 2016 budget.

Speaking in an interview, the lawmaker said everybody agrees that the Lagos-Calabar rail line project is important and something must be done to address its omission in the budget.

“Overall, let me be very clear, we are very united on this subject matter, we are not averse to that project and we are in total support of that project.

“The question remains that yes its been omitted, what do we do? I think that is where we should begin to put our energy,” he said.

He gave the assurance that both the Senate and House of Reps are committed to ensuring good governance in the country.

“Nigerians shouldn’t think we are on different pages… We want to assure Nigerians that our successful working together within us first internally – within the chambers and between the two chambers, is key to the progress that can be achieved.

“Then the National Assembly and the Executive; our successful working relationship is key to the progress that can be made and I think Nigerians should help us to promote that, rather than trying to throw issues that will rather create disharmony and divisions.”

 

 

 

 

Lagos-Calabar Rail Project: Ministry Of Budget Clarifies 2016 Budget

2016 BudgetThe Ministry of Budget And Planning has come out with its position on the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget.

The ministry in a statement said the President is yet to take a position on the budget after receiving the budget details from the National Assembly on April 7.

On the controversial Calabar-Lagos rail project, the ministry confirmed that there were indeed some errors in the initial budget proposal sent to the National Assembly by the President in December.

The statement, however, added that the errors were corrected, submitted and subsequently accepted by the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

The statement read in part, “It must be emphasized that the two rail projects are part of those for which the President is currently negotiating funding with the Chinese government.

“The 60billion Naira provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects.

“These projects are part of the strategic implementation plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at The National Economic Council retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors.”

The statement added that it was the corrected version that was defended by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his team.

Mischief

It has been a tug of war between the executive and the legislature over the 2016 budget, as the National Assembly insists that the Lagos-Calabar rail project was excluded from the budget.

At a news conference in Abuja, spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, insisted that there was no project as to Lagos-Calabar rail in the 2016 appropriation bill presented by President Buhari to the National Assembly.

He criticised the late presentation of the project by Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi.

Also, in a strongly worded press statement, the spokesperson of the Senate, accused the Presidency of setting Nigerians against the National Assembly.

He accused the Minister of Transport of mischief and demanded an apology from him if he is not able to show evidence that the Lagos-Calabar rail project was included in the budget, otherwise he should resign forthwith.

In another development, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, confirmed that although the Lagos-Calabar rail project was not in the original document presented to the National Assembly by the executive, the Minister of Transport later informed the Transport Committee of the omission and sent a complimentary copy of the Ministry’s budget to the committee with the inclusion of the Lagos-Calabar rail project.

2016 Budget: Executive, NASS Row Over Calabar-Lagos Rail Project

Railway-NigeriaThe back and forth arguments between Nigeria’s Executive Arm of Government and the National Assembly over the 2016 budget appear to be intensifying, as the lawmakers insist that the Calabar-Lagos rail project was not included in the 2016 budget.

Nigeria’s 2016 budget is one of the most controversial bill in recent time, with issues of its late submission to reports of it being missing then found, then reports of appropriation being padded.

After several months of debate and scrutiny, the budget was passed by the National Assembly but the Executive Arm of Government seem not satisfied with the final product from the lawmakers.

There have been reports quoting the executive as saying that the budget was distorted, with the removal of certain items and addition of some others that were not initially in the budget.

One of such projects that the executive claims were removed is a rail project that will connect the south-south region and the south-west – Calabar-Lagos rail project.

Countering the widespread reports that the National Assembly removed the project from the 2016 budget, the spokesman for the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, told a news conference in Abuja on Monday that a late presentation of the project by the Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, was out of place.

He pointed out that the President was the only one constitutionally empowered to make budgetary proposals to the parliament.

Also, the Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, in a strongly worded press statement accused the presidency of setting Nigerians against the National Assembly.

He accused the Minister of Transport of mischief and demanded an apology from the Minister if he was not able to show evidence that the Calabar-Lagos rail project was included in the budget. He also requested that he should reign if he could not present the evidence.

In another development, however, the Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Asahafa, in a statement confirmed that although the Lagos-Calabar rail line project was not in the original document presented to the National Assembly by the executive, the Minister of Transport had later informed the Transport Committee of the omission and sent a supplementary copy of the ministry’s budget to the committee with the inclusion of the Calabar-Lagos rail project.

But the National Assembly apparently did not treat the proposal.

The National Assembly will resume plenary on Tuesday, April 12, and all eyes would be on the parliament to see what its next steps would be on the budget controversy.

Senate Receives 2016 Appropriation Bill

senateThe Senate has received the report of its Committee on Appropriation on the 2016 budget.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, laid the report at the resumption of legislative proceedings on Tuesday.

The National Assembly Committees on Appropriation postponed the submission of the budget till today (March 22) to give it more time to work on the budget.

The submission of the report puts an end to weeks of speculation on the 2016 budget report.

The Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, had explained to newsmen a week earlier that the National Assembly was unable to pass the budget as planned because the appropriation committees were trying to make sure that there are no errors in the budget.

The Senate is expected to pass the budget on Wednesday as Senator Abdullahi had given the assurance that the National Assembly would pass a budget which would meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

Senate Postpones Passage Of 2016 Budget To Next Week

SenateThe Senate spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, on Thursday said the National Assembly will pass the 2016 Budget next week.

“We are here to let you know that as of today, we are unable to lay the 2016 Appropriation Bill and thus, we are hoping next week that process will be completed.

“When I briefed you, I recalled you were asking if the passage will be completed by next week; and, we said ‘yes’ when you lay the budget the next thing is for you to discuss the budget and get it passed.

“The two activities will be carried out next week God willing”, he said.

Briefing journalists, the Senate spokesman explained that the National Assembly was unable to pass the 2016 Budget this week as planned because the appropriation committees are trying to make sure that there are no errors in the budget.

“As far as we are concerned, we have not failed. What is happening is the seriousness with which we take the 2016 Appropriation.

“It’s such that we cannot also afford to make errors that will become very costly to this nation.

“We have finished all necessary work within the context of the various committees. But remember, when you do the paper work, you have to also get people who will sit down and check.

“That is what we call data cleansing and integration; that is the two appropriation committees must integrate, that is the essence of what you call harmonization,” he maintained.

He added that the National Assembly was trying not to do the work in a haste and also make mistakes which was why the `data cleansing’ had to be done without haste.

“In everything you do, you must give freedom for degree of error. And, plus or minus, five is the basic standard that I’m aware of.

“Within this context, if next week we will be able to take this, then within that margin of error, the National Assembly is still on course.

“We call on Nigerians to understand that we are as eager as you to get this budget out but at the same time, we owe you a duty to ensure that the budget will be implementable,” Mr. Sabi said.

Senator Abdullahi assured that the national assembly would pass a budget which would meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

No Sentiments Attached To Gender Equality Bill, Senate Insists

SenateThe Nigerian Senate says there is no sentiment attached to the position of its members during the debate session of the Gender Equality Bill.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, made the clarification on Thursday while reacting to the debate on Sunrise Daily.

Senator Abdullahi insisted that the Senate had made it clear that they would be thorough in their activities, adding that the legislators would entrench efficiency and effectiveness.

“Let me make it very clear that the Senate is not averse in any form to the subject matter. We have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said while reacting to the bill in question.

The Senator explained that when the lawmakers at the Upper House see a bill that would suffer defeat in terms of rejection when it proceeds to the last stage, they prefer to do it early to enable the sponsors of such bill go back to address the various concerns raised at the floor of the Senate.

“If you look at the debate, you can see that it has no sentiments attached in terms of the positions people made.

“Part Two and Four (of the constitution) have made adequate provision for the subject that this bill sought (in order) to ensure that it is enforced,” he said.

Senate Says No Plans To Spend 50bn Naira On Cars

SenateThe Nigerian Senate has described as untrue claims that it plans to purchase cars worth 50 billion Naira.

The Senate’s statement is in response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement during his maiden media chat on Wednesday that he could not see the ‘National Assembly spending 45 billion Naira to buy cars on top of the transport allowance they collect’.

After the statement, different figures were posted on different platforms, as funds that the National Assembly plans to spend on cars.

“Not In My Time”

In a statement by its spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, the Senate said: “While it was contemplating purchasing cars, it did not intend to spend anything close to the various figures of 4.5 billion Naira, six billion Naira or 50 billion Naira, as being bandied around”.

He further said that shortly after getting the management team and the Senate services committee to commence the due process for the purchase, certain contractors who bid for the supply of the vehicles but felt their bid would not scale through began sponsoring media propaganda against the project and even leaked the recommendations of the body working on the proposed project.

Senator Abdullahi said the Senate had not taken any further action on the issue and was surprised that a proposed purchase had become a subject of controversy.

The Senate spokesman maintained that although Lawmakers needed vehicles to facilitate their work, the Senate would however follow due process when it chooses to take decisions on the purchase of the vehicles.

Commenting on the development on his Twitter handle, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said: “Not in my time will Nigeria Senate spend 50 billion Naira or 47 billion Naira or 4.7 billion Naira on cars for Senators”.

He further assured Nigerians that the Details of the 2016 Budget would be made available and open for public debate and scrutiny.