Senate Asks Executive To Issue South Africa Travel Alert

 

The Senate has asked the executive to issue a travel alert to Nigerians who intend to travel to South Africa.

The decision is as a result of the killing of Nigerians in South Africa as contained in a motion presented by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

READ ALSO: NJC Recommends Appointment Of Justice Muhammad As New CJN

Senator Abaribe drew the attention of members of the Senate to the recent killing of a Nigerian, Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu in that country, warning them of the xenophobic attacks in the country.

Court Orders Abaribe, Others To Pay N100m Over Nnamdi Kanu’s Absence

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and two other persons who stood as sureties for the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to deposit N100million each as bail bond into the court’s account. 

Justice Binta Nyako gave the order on Wednesday in a ruling in which she amended the conditions of the bail she had in April 2017 granted Kanu.

The judge explains that the order directing the sureties to pay the money was an order of interim forfeiture.

Kanu is being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony. The sureties had earlier on April 25, 2017, signed a bail bond of N100million each to secure the release of Kanu on bail.

He had earlier disappeared after an alleged military invasion of his home in, Umuahia, in Abia State on September 14th, 2017.

After several adjournments occasioned by the non-appearance of Kanu in court to face trial, Justice Nyako, in a ruling on an application by the prosecution counsel on March 28th, ordered the sureties to either produce the defendant in court, risk arrest or forfeit the bail bond.

Having failed to produce Mister Kanu in court as directed, Justice Nyako decided to make the interim order for the bond to be deposited in the account of the Federal High Court within two months.

The two other sureties are Ben Elshalom, a Jewish priest, and Tochukwu Uchendu.

They alongside Abaribe guaranteed his bail had been made to sign a bail bond of N100million each which was backed by their landed assets whose documents were deposited in court.

National Assembly Commences Debate On 2017 Budget

NASS, 2017 Budget, House of Representatives, SenateThe National Assembly has begun work on the budget proposal for year 2017 presented to the legislators by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Both chambers commenced debate on the general principles of the proposed 7.2 trillion naira budget with lawmakers highlighting their concerns.

While some lawmakers expressed their concern regarding some of the key assumptions of the budget, others were passionate as they declared that the budget was nothing to write home about.

At the floor of the House of Representatives, the debate was kicked off by the Majority Leader of the House, Representative Femi Gbajabiamila.

Reps
House Majority Leader, Representative Femi Gbajabiamila

A lawmaker from Adamawa State, Representative Abdulrazak Namdas, and his Delta State counterpart, Representative Nicholas Ossai, were among those who gave their opinions about the budget.

The debate followed the same pattern at the Senate with the Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, setting the pace.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia State and Senator Barnabas Gemade from Benue State also informed the lawmakers about their views on the proposal.

This debate is expected to continue on Wednesday as the budget consideration continues for the second allotted day.

It is coming almost six weeks after President Buhari presented a ‘budget of recovery and growth’ to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2017.

buhari
President Buhari Presents 2017 Budget To Lawmakers

The budget is based on a crude oil benchmark price of $42.50 per barrel, with an output of 2.2 million barrels per day.

Government’s expenditure is to be funded with the sum of 4.94 trillion Naira while oil is to contribute 1.98 trillion Naira of the amount.

This was according to a breakdown by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

Mr Udoma has assured Nigerians that the government had no plans to increase the Value Added Tax which is set at 5% in 2017.

Buhari Meets With Senate Southeast Caucus

Buhari Meets With Senate Southeast CaucusMembers of the south-east caucus in the senate have met with President Muhammadu Buhari on the challenges facing the southeast.

They were led into the Presidential Villa by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and the caucus’ chairman, Eyinnaya Abaribe.

After the meeting, Senator Ekeremadu told state house correspondents that they discussed issues of the indigenous people of Biafra, lopsided appointments and general infrastructure in the zone.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on his part said although, there were problems everywhere, the southeast remained the most shortchanged among the zones in the country.

Other senators on the delegation were Sam Egwu, Hope Uzodinma, Andy Uba and Chukwuka Utazi.

NERC Job: Professor Akinwande To Honour Screening After MIT Clearance

NERC, Professor Akintunde AkinwandeNominated Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor Akintunde Akinwande, says he will honour an invitation for screening by the Nigerian Senate after clearing with his current employer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed that Professor Akinwande had said he did not turn down the offer by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Adesina, the declaration is contained in a letter dated October 26, 2016, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and sent through the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang.

The letter reads in part: “News reports in Nigeria that I have rejected President Buhari’s nomination to be Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission have been brought to my attention.

“I have the greatest respect for President Buhari. I am fully behind the change he has brought and is bringing to the way government business is conducted in Nigeria.

“I am deeply honoured that Mr President and his team thought me worthy for this important national assignment and sought me out for it.

“I am a tenured professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“As such, I am contractually constrained to seek formally the consent of the university for a leave of absence before presenting myself to the Senate for screening and if confirmed take on the assignment.”

Professor Akinwande apologised to the Senate Committee for not showing up for the screening process scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, noting that it was not out of disrespect for the institution.

The academic said he would be available for the screening after clearance from the MIT.

Senate Cautious On Emergency Rule Extension – Senator Abaribe

PThe Nigerian Senate believes that a decision on the issue of State of Emergency extension in terror-ravaged states should not be made in isolation of service chiefs who have been in charge of security in the affected regions.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, was on Channels Television on Friday to discuss happenings in the Senate and their efforts as regards the fight against terror in Nigeria.

The House of Representatives had on Thursday thrown its weight behind the proposed Emergency Rule extension by President Goodluck Jonathan after a debate on the floor of the House, but the Senator believed that such matter for them at the Senate was of high importance to all Nigerians and careful deliberation must precede any decisions they would make as they were particular about protecting the interest of all Nigerians.

In view of this, the Senate on Thursday held a meeting with Service Chiefs in order to get first hand reports on the happenings in the affected Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Senator Abaribe revealed that their meeting with the military heads showed that the problem of insurgency in the country was surmountable, as there were indications that the security agencies were working hard at achieving this and there had been progress.

Abaribe agreed that the request for an extension was not out of place as there were constitutionally no limits to its extension, but also noted that it was still important to be sure about its justification. He declined comments on the Senators’ views and what could be their final decision but promised that the Senate was doing its best to reach a decision in good time.

Speaking about the closed door meeting with the security chiefs, he said that the emphasis of the Senate was on the milestones in their activities, what they have been able to achieve and the challenges they were facing.

Although Senator Abaribe admitted that there had been constraints facing the military in their fight against insurgency, which the Senate was working on addressing, he asked that Nigerians should drop the idea of condemning the military and criticizing them as being ill-equipped, less motivated or ill-trained to fight the terrorists.

One of the worrying occurrences identified by many Nigerians in the terror fight had been the flow of conflicting information and Abaribe said that the most important thing at the point was to focus on getting Nigerian citizens who were in danger back to safety first before trying to look at who was right or wrong.

He admitted that this was indeed an issue, as he condemned the release of too much detail about the military operations into the media. He also berated the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, for being too vocal, wondering why he would always inform the media every time he supports the military with information. According to him, “These people are also listening.”

Senator Abaribe acknowledged the agitation of Nigerians and their constant thirst for information about the progress of the fight against terror in Nigeria. He, however, believed that there was need for caution because the security architecture of the country requires all Nigerians to be careful in their support as “some of the things we used to take for granted can no longer be taken for granted.”

He also spoke about the Senate’s resolve to end the violent activities of herdsmen in recent times and their clashes with farming communities which have led to several killings in the North and Middle belt regions of Nigeria.

Senate Set To Receive Report On States Under Emergency Rule

The Senate is set to receive the security report from security chiefs on the state of emergency in the north eastern part of the country.

Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe told National Assembly correspondents that the security chiefs will brief the Senate behind closed doors in a plenary session.

The service chiefs were invited to the Senate on Tuesday, December 3 to brief lawmakers on the security situation in the country, but the upper legislative house rescheduled the meeting after the attack on military bases in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

After a brief closed door meeting with the service chiefs on December 5, Senate President, Senator David Mark said that the session was deferred due to the absence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.

Those present at the December 5 meeting include the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, the Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, the Director General of the Department of State Service, Mister Ekpenyong Ita and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh.
The lawmakers said that it is necessary that all heads of the security agencies are present at the meeting.

At the session, the service chiefs are expected to give a comprehensive account of the devastating attacks carried out by suspected members of Boko Haram in the north eastern part of the country.

Senate disowns IGP’s claim on anti-terror law

The Senate has disowned claims by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Abubakar, that the absence of an anti-terror law  on terrorism is the major reason why Boko Haram suspects in police custody have not been charged to courts.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe explained that the Terrorism Prevention Act was passed by both houses of the national assembly and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on June 3, 2011.

According to him, the law was also amended on the 17th of October, 2012 to further expand the scope of the bill.

Senator Abaribe said the Senate was surprised by comments made by the Police boss that there was no law to prosecute arrested suspected terrorists.

The IGP, while responding to questions over the inability of the police to prosecute terrorists on Tuesday, had alleged that there were no laws in the country to prosecute them.

“The Senate is surprised that the Inspector-General of Police will say there is no anti-terrorist law” Senator Abaribe stated, adding that “in fact, I have here a copy of the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011 signed by President Goodluck Jonathan.”

“The Act was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on June 1, 2011 and on June 2, 2011; it was forwarded by the Clerk to President Jonathan.

“The bill was so important to the President that he signed it into law on June 3, 2011.”

“The bill makes elaborate provisions for prosecuting persons who have committed terrorism acts.”

The Senate spokesperson further explained that there has been an amendment to the bill which was passed on October 17, 2012.

“The amendment was merely to expand the part of the provision in that bill, but everything that you need to fight the war against terrorism is already in the bill.”

“We will send a copy of this bill again to the I-G” Senator Abaribe declared as he expressed the Senate’s strong concerns saying “we find it difficult to believe that an arm of government will say we don’t have a law signed by the President.”

The Senator cautioned the police not to hold onto the claims of no laws as an excuse not to prosecute terrorists.