Senators Condemn Killing Of Briton, Demand Inter-Agency Task Force To Tackle Banditry

Senators Condemn Killing Of Briton, Demand Inter-Agency Task Force To Tackle Banditry

 

The Senate has condemned the killing of a British national, Faye Mooney, by armed men in Kaduna State.

When the matter came up during Thursday’s plenary, members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly observed a minute’s silence in honour of Mooney and Mr Matthew Oguche who was also killed during the incident.

Some gunmen invaded the Kajuru Castle Resort in Kaduna on Friday last week, killed the two victims and kidnapped three other persons in the process.

Deliberating on the matter, the senators decried the rate of banditry and kidnappings in parts of the country.

READ ALSOFG Sends Security Operatives After Killers Of Nigerian, Briton

They, therefore, resolved to urge the security authorities to intensify the search for the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The lawmakers urged the Federal Government to set up an inter-agency task force to tackle cases of banditry and kidnapping in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger States.

They asked the security agencies to give special security cover to foreign workers and tourists, as well as deploy the use of drones and interceptors in tracking kidnappers asking for ransom.

The senators also urged community leaders, traditional rulers, and all stakeholders to cooperate with security agencies, and urged telecommunications companies to provide them with information in areas where cases of kidnappings were reported.

They further resolved to send a delegation to the British Embassy and condole with the government over the loss.

The lawmakers, thereafter, invited the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) to brief the Senate on the initiative put in place to curb the current security situation in the country.

They also asked the Senate Leader to ensure that the bills they passed on the Police Reform and Trust Fund be sent to their colleagues in the House of Representatives.

According to them, this is to can get concurrence and have the bills forwarded to the President for assent as quick as possible.

Earlier, Senator Shehu Sani raised a motion on the attack while the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, seconded it.

Senator Ekweremadu condoled with the families of the attack victims and called for “a national state of emergency” to enable the government put in place measures to end the security problems in the country.

On his part, Senator Joshua Lidani believes the challenges can only be tackled by “something unusual,” adding that it is already having an effect on investment and tourism.

“We need to mobilise the military to those areas, and we should not be shy of asking for help,” he said.

Senator Babba Kaita also said, “What have we done as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? We should marshal out a plan from the chambers of this Senate to secure this country.”

In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, decried what he described as the “series of killings,” saying the lawmakers must begin to look at the solutions.

On the way forward, he said there was a need to be frontal on what has led the nation to its present state and take the challenge as one for all, irrespective of the political difference.

”Where there is a fault, we must be bold enough to say where the fault is and where there are sanctions that need to be taken, we must be bold as well to say so,” Senate Saraki said.

“I mean, you have all been in this chamber for one year; we could not even communicate, converse or engage with the Nigeria Police.”

He added, “You were all here when the Head of Police refused to even come before us.

“How can we work together to move things forward because, at the end of the day, we must begin to sit down with those in charge and discuss what we need to do, how do we help you?”

The Senate President, who thanked the senators for their contribution on the matter, noted that hard and difficult decisions must be taken and with a more structural approach to the issue of security.

Zamfara Killings: Senators Demand Action As Ekweremadu Calls For State Of Emergency

Senate Confirms North-East Development Commission Chairman, Members
A file photo of the Senate during plenary at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on December 18, 2018. Photo: [email protected]

 

Senators are demanding an end to the Zamfara killings as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has called for the declaration of a State of Emergency.

A lawmaker, Senator Kabiru Marafa, during plenary on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to step up its efforts in solving the crisis in the state.

He presented a motion calling for its intervention, a situation where he said many lives have been lost and properties destroyed.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes Police Trust Fund Bill, Three Others

The Senator has on several occasion, drawn the attention of lawmakers to the killings in Zamfara state.

He has therefore asked for a Presidential Initiative in Zamfara with a ten-year life span to cater to the needs of displaced persons in the state.

Mr. Ekweremadu also called for the introduction of state police within the country’s security architecture.

He said the insecurity in the state has reached the point where the State of Emergency should be declared in Zamfara, to help stabilise the state.

President Buhari Hosts Dinner To Honour New APC Senators

File Photo

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently hosting a dinner in honour of the newly elected senators on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although the event is not open to the media, Channels TV gathered that the main purpose of the dinner is to have a discussion about the leadership of the National Assembly.

Those present at the event include the senators, the Chairman of the Party, Adams Oshiomhole, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and some governors.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Oshiomhole thanked Nigerians for voting members of the party in overwhelming majority in both chambers.

He, however, warned that the party must work together to avoid the mistake of 2015 where the Deputy Senate position was given to the opposition.

He believes the APC is in a better position to transform and institute the desired change as the president will now have the backing of the National Assembly.

Reps Challenge INEC On Inconclusive Elections, As Senators Reject Move To Debate Issue

Reps Challenge INEC On Inconclusive Elections, As Senators Reject Move To Debate Issue
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, with other officials at a briefing in the early hours of Saturday, just before the Commission announced the postponement of the general elections. Photo: ChannelsTV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have questioned the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare an election inconclusive.

The lawmakers who frowned on the number of the elections declared inconclusive by INEC in the 2019 general elections, unanimously agreed to immediately constitute a special committee to take another look at the Electoral Act for amendment.

The members of the House of Representatives had turned out in their numbers for the first proceedings since the elections.

READ ALSO2019 General Elections, ‘An Expensive Joke’ – Falana

However, as they got set for the first business of the day, a lawmaker, Sunday Karimi from Kogi State, raised the inconclusive elections as a matter of urgent public importance.

“Inconclusive election has become a demon haunting the Nigeria electoral system, eroding the confidence of the electorate in the electoral system and has become a tool for subverting the will of the people during elections in Nigeria,” he said.

His submission elicited reactions, with the lawmakers questioning the powers of the electoral umpire to declare elections inconclusive.

For the House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, there is an urgent need for an amendment of the Electoral Act.

He said, “Within a matter of weeks or one week, let us set up a crack team to amend the Electoral Law to limit the powers of INEC,”

Another lawmaker, Douye Diri, called for a change from manual to electronic voting which, he said, would not only be cheaper but also save lives.

He blamed lawmakers for not being proactive in addressing the challenges facing the electoral system in Nigeria. He said, “Mr. Speaker I repeat; the problem of this country is in the National Assembly.”

At the end of deliberations, the House resolved to quickly set up a committee to examine the Electoral Act with a view to amending the law.

Meanwhile, when the matter was raised in the upper legislative chamber, many of the senators opposed the idea of debating the matter but referred it to another legislative day.

Both chambers eventually adjourned sitting to Tuesday March 19, to allow re-elected members attend the presentation of certificates of return to them by INEC on Thursday March 14, 2019.

 

 

Senators Debate 2019 Budget Funding, As Others Seek Speedy Passage

Senators Debate 2019 Budget Funding, As Others Seek Speedy Passage
Lawmakers during plenary in the Senate on March 13, 2019. Photo: Twitter- @NGRSenate

 

The Senate has commenced the debate on the 2019 Budget with some lawmakers demanding its speedy passage while others asked the Federal Government to be cautious with its borrowing plans.

This followed a motion sponsored on Wednesday by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, for an act to authorise the issuance of N8,826,636,578,915 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

Some of the senators were worried about the nation’s debt profile and warned the government to ensure that the country’s debt to GDP ratio does not go beyond acceptable levels.

READ ALSO: At Least 24 Victims Rescued From Rubble Of Collapsed Building, Nine Dead

In his contrition, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, decried what he described as the late presentation of the budget by the executive, saying it often leads to little time for implementation.

“I will like to address the issue of our debt profile,” said the lawmaker. “It is important to address our infrastructural needs in the nation, but I believe there are other ways to fund this asides debt.”

He added, “Another issue is that the Executive usually presents the budget late in the year, giving the National Assembly little time to deliberate on the budget, thereby leaving very little time for implementation.

“It is important that we discipline ourselves and correct this in the future.”

On his part, Senator Ali Ndume, urged his colleagues not to delay the passage of the budget any longer as time was not on their side.

According to him, Nigerians are anxious about the budget and the Executive is waiting to implement it.

“I am appealing that we try our best to pass the budget before the end of this month.

“Let us set that target so that anything else comes up as a supplementary budget or an amendment to the already passed budget,” he said.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Nallah, was part of the members who gave a contrary view, saying that the country’s borrowing was still within acceptable limits.

He urged the National Assembly to fix a date to critically look at the funding of agriculture in the country as opposed to other sectors, stressing that providing food for the people was very important to any nation.

In their separate remarks, Senator Bassey Akpan agreed on the need for the expeditious passage of the budget while Senator Barnabas Gemade called for the blockage of government’s revenue leakages.

Senator Gemade further identified funding as an area that affects budget implementation the most and called for an end to fuel subsidy in the nation.

He said, “Every government that comes into power speaks of abolishing subsidy but does nothing about it for fear of not being re-elected and this has to stop.

“There should be a removal of the subsidy completely. Manufacturing of products within the country should be promoted as this is sure to create more jobs. It is also important that if we must move forward as a people, there should be no incentive given to criminals.”

Also worried about how the budget would be funded, Senator Dino Melaye said, “We have to look at the state of our economy vis-a-vis the allocations in the budget. There is a drop in the revenue of the Nigeria Customs and there are barely any foreign investments.”

“In the midst of the outrageous calamity in this nation, how do we fund the 2019 budget? Should we borrow again or fund it from daily contributions?” The lawmaker queried.

After listening to the debate on the budget, Senate President Bukola Saraki adjourned the matter till the next legislative day.

Senators Disagree Over Composition Of Defence, Security Councils

Senators Disagree Over Composition Of Defence, Security Councils
A file photo of lawmakers at the Senate chamber.

 

Some Senators disagreed on Tuesday over whether or not the South East region has adequate representation in the National Defence Council and National Security Council.

This followed a motion sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh who represents Anambra Central Senatorial district at the National Assembly.

Senator Umeh called for the urgent need to appoint a representative of the South East into both councils, for purposes of equal representation.

READ ALSO: PDP, APC Senators Disagree As Saraki Declines Akpabio’s Request To Speak

The action of the lawmaker was, however, criticised by his colleague from Kano North, Senator Jibrin Barau.

Barau who read the composition of the National Security Council to the hearing of the lawmakers accused Umeh of misleading the red chamber.

He pointed out that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, who is from the South East is a member of the National Security Council.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, then ruled that the matter be put on hold, to avoid further confusion.

The disagreement is the second in the upper chamber in one week.

Some senators had disagreed on Wednesday last week when Senate President Bukola Saraki declined the request of former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to make a contribution to a matter raised by Senator Bassey Akpan.

The dispute was between lawmakers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their colleagues of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The situation was eventually calmed after the Clerk made some clarifications.

Defections: Buhari Meets With APC Senators

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday evening, held a meeting with senators elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Although details of the meeting is not yet disclosed, the meeting is coming barely 24hours after the lawmaker’s defection hit the APC caucus in the two chambers of the National Assembly.

14 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday announced their defection from the ruling APC, to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

See more photos from the meeting below…

Senators Disagree Over Confirmation Of FERMA Board Nominees

Senators Disagree Over Confirmation Of FERMA Board Nominees
Senate Chamber (file)

 

Lawmakers in the Senate disagreed on Thursday over the confirmation of members of the Governing Board for the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

This occurred after Senate President Bukola Saraki read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari at the plenary in which he sought legislative approval for the appointments of the candidates.

READ ALSOGovt Not Losing Control Of Security Despite Challenges – Adesina

In the letter, President Buhari indicated that the six geopolitical zones of the country were represented in the board.

But the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, raised a constitutional point of order as he objected to the chairmanship of the board.

He cited nepotism and drew the attention of the Senate to previous appointments of the President where the leadership comprised of one section of the country, saying such is contrary to the Federal Character.

Police Begin Manhunt Of Bandits After Zamfara Village Attack

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, however, called on the lawmakers to see the larger picture where the six geopolitical zones were represented.

This sparked some dissenting reactions from some members, but calm was eventually restored when the Senate President ruled against further debate on the matter.

Senator Saraki consequently referred the matter to the Committee on Federal Character to guide the Senate appropriately on how to address the issue.

The committee was directed to report back to the House on Tuesday next week.

$496m Aircraft Purchase: Senators Call For Buhari’s Impeachment

U.S. Accuses FG Of Failing To Stop Human Rights Abuses, Impunity
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

Some Senators have called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over the purchase of the $496m super Tucano fighter jets.

The Senators during plenary on Thursday asked Senate President Bukola Saraki to invoke Section 143 of the constitution in view of President Buhari’s approval of the extra-budgetary spending of 496 million dollars to purchase the aircraft.

In a motion moved by the Chairman Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Mathew Urhogide, is of the opinion that “It’s a violation of Section 80 subsection 1, 2, 3, 4.

“The procedure of the expenditure is wrong. There ought to be an appropriation before such expenditure.

“I hereby request that the Senate President should invoke Section 18 of the Constitution.”

Mr Urhogide cites Orders 15, 42 & 52, says this matter should be forwarded to the appropriate committee.

“The President’s request is wrong, it’s a violation of our process, proceedings and the 1999 Constitution (as amended)”.

Senators Chukwuka Utazi and Sam Anyanwu also backed Senator Urhogide on the call for Buhari’s impeachment.

According to Senator Utazi “I rise to second this motion with Section 80 subsection 2 and 3. We are still on the appropriation bill, we have not finished it, Service chiefs were appointed without the approval of the Senate.”

”These Tucano helicopters are to be brought in 2020, why include it now in appropriation.

“This is an impeachable offence.”

Meanwhile, Senator Abu Ibrahim has disagreed with the call for the President’s impeachment arguing that since the establishment of the excess crude account, no government has ever sent a formal request to the National Assembly for approval for appropriation of funds.

But the other Senators are of the opinion that Section 143 deals with the impeachment of the President.

The purchase of the Tucano aircraft raised many concerns to Nigerians as the House of Representatives was in a rowdy session over the presidential request to include the $496million fund for the purchase in the 2018 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

To this move, the Senate has directed its Committee on Judiciary to find out if any infraction was committed by President Buhari in his approval and direction for the release of the funds for the purchase of the aircraft.

The Senate asked the committee to report back its findings on Wednesday, May 3rd.

Saraki Leads Senators To Visit Dino Melaye In National Hospital

Senate President Bukola Saraki and other Senators at the National Hospital during their visit to Senator Dino Melaye on Wednesday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki has led other Senators to the national hospital on a visit to their colleague, Dino Melaye, who is currently on admission at the hospital.

Melaye on Tuesday landed in the hospital after jumping out of a moving police vehicle which was conveying him to Lokoja, Kogi State where he is expected to be interrogated by the police in connection with the allegation that he armed some thugs and in relation to other criminal activities.

The lawmaker who is representing Kogi West sustained some injuries after the incident.

The senators arrived the hospital around 1:29 p.m. in three buses shortly after suspending plenary to visit Melaye.

They also shared the video of their arrival at the hospital in a video on the official Facebook page @NigerianSenate

Nine of the Senators including the Saraki were allowed to see Melaye who is now in the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital.

The embattled Senator Dino Melaye according to a statement by police authorities on Tuesday jumped from the moving vehicle allegedly in a bid to escape.

Melaye had earlier been interrogated by the police over his alleged involvement in the supply of arms to some political thugs arrested in Kogi State in January.

The lawmaker had earlier refused to honour the invitation of the police for questioning over his alleged involvement in that incident, claiming he does not feel safe in Lokoja.

Senator Melaye was detained and subsequently released at the International wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport on Monday by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

The lawmaker had also raised an alarm on the social media on Monday evening on how the police had laid siege to his home in Abuja.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and other Senators at the National Hospital during their visit to Senator Dino Melaye on Wednesday.

Senators Disagree As Abaribe Questions Buhari’s Competence

Senators Disagree As Abaribe Questions Buhari’s Competence
File photo

 

Some members of the Senate were in disagreement on Thursday after Senator Enyinaya Abaribe questioned the competence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the security situation in the country.

Senator Abaribe is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the lawmaker representing Abia Central at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Speaking on the floor of the Red Chamber, the lawmaker was concerned over the comments made by President Buhari recently in London, that the killer herdsmen were allegedly trained and armed by the late Former President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.

Reacting to the statement, Abaribe said the President was “implying that these people doing these killings in Nigeria are invaders from outside Nigeria.”

“When a Commander-in-Chief cannot take care of invaders invading Nigeria, why is he still a Commander-in-Chief; Why do we still continue to indulge this president that, everywhere, goes along to tell everyone outside this country that he is totally incompetent? He questioned.

Senator Abaribe’s comments, however, angered some of his colleagues in the All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan.

Condemning the lawmaker’s statement, Senator Lawan said, “I want to ask my colleague there to immediately withdraw his statement and apologise to this chamber.”

“I was once there as an opposition senator; there was never a time that we called the President at that time, who was a PDP president, an insult because this is our institution and if we don’t conduct ourselves with dignity and respect, nobody will respect us,” he added.

Senate President Bukola Saraki then waded into the disagreement and asked Senator Abaribe to be more cautious in his choice of words in the Senate.

He also stressed the need for the lawmakers to be guided on the language they use, noting that they could make their points without using offensive and unacceptable words.

Senator Abaribe consequently tendered his apology, saying “if any word I used is misunderstood, I apologise.”

Abdullahi Adamu Accuses Senators Of Sabotaging APC Govt

Abdullahi Adamu Accuses Senators Of Sabotaging APC Govt
File photo: Senator Abdullahi Adamu

 

Embattled Senator Abdullahi Adamu has accused the Senate of sabotaging the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The lawmaker who represents Nasarawa West Senatorial District made the allegation in a statement by him on Tuesday.

He is one of the lawmakers who opposed the amendment of the election sequence by members of the National Assembly, a development that has sparked mixed reactions in the country.

READ ALSO: Buhari Withholds Assent To Electoral Act Amendment

Advising his colleagues, Senator Adamu said: “I believe we need to retrace our steps and reconsider our stand as legislators on matters of public interest. Our party, APC, has the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, yet we hold the executive prisoner of politics that are unhealthy for the polity.”

“It is such a terrible irony that we sabotage our own government by refusing to do our part in support of the executive; appointments requiring Senate approval are held up. The consequence is that the public has nicknamed the president and his administration go-slow,” he added.

The senator reminded the lawmakers that Nigerians gave them the mandate to deliver, noting that the government has no reason why it cannot acquit itself and fulfil the yearnings of the people with APC’s control of the executive and the legislative.

He, however, alleged that the lawmakers are “consumed with sabotaging the administration and stabbing one another in the back.”

“We forget that in less than a year from now, we shall be required to seek the people’s revalidation of our mandate to sit in these hallowed chambers. What shall we tell them?” Adamu asked.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had agreed to change the sequence in which elections are conducted such that the National Assembly election will come first, followed by governorship and state Houses of Assembly, and finally the presidential poll.

President Muhammadu Buhari, however, wrote to the lawmakers to inform them that he has declined his assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

The letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, the President noted that amendment to the sequence of the election in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.