Six Kogi PDP Lawmakers Defect To APC

Six Kogi PDP Lawmakers Defect To APCSix Kogi State House of Assembly members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

The lawmakers cited disputes that have bedevilled the PDP in the recent time as their reasons for quitting the party for the APC.

In a letter sent and read at the plenary by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Umar Iman, the defectors formally notified the House of their decision to quit the party for the APC, the ruling party in Kogi State.

Meanwhile, security operatives were stationed at the complex, as there were rumours that the defection might lead to a change of leadership in the House.

After a closed door executive meeting which lasted several hours, the sitting started with Speaker Umar reading the letter written and signed by the six defectors.

“We the undersigned honourable members of the Kogi State House of Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP, wish to formerly notify you of our decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Our action and decisions predicted on the factionalisation squabbles both at the national and state level, basically with the party having two National Chairmen, in persons of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

“Instructively, the existence of such divisive factions within the party for over 10 months has left us uncomfortable politically and subsequently, rendered us neophyte for effective and people driven representation of our various constituents.

”In view of the unfortunate diversion and the accompanying negative implications, we have no option than to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), for us to be able to accomplish our campaign promises of bringing government closer to our people,” one of the defectors said.

Greatest Disappointment

However, the message did not go down well with the PDP members in the House as a member from Ogori-Magongo constituency, Godwin Osiyi, bade the six decamping members goodbye.

”These are people who are elected under the Peoples Democratic Party defecting, this is the greatest disappointment. We are in an executive meeting – Mr Speaker I expected that this letter you just read, copies would have been provided for members.

”These are overgrown adults who want to leave a party for party because of some squabbles they claim we have. I congratulate the APC for having more members but remember that anytime you have a problem, they will leave you.

“These are men of very low valour, so gird your loin very properly. Those of us remaining in the PDP are still very resilient”, Honourable Osiyi said.

Also reacting to the action, a PDP lawmaker, Friday Sanni, said the PDP will challenge there defection, noting that the members have to lose their seat.

”I know as a fact that the Peoples Democratic Party will take all necessary action against this abnormality because in the face of the law right now, there is no crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State.

“We don’t have any faction in the party, we have no faction in the PDP State Executive Committee. So describing State Executive Committee as divided, or national, I think it is an erroneous affection.

“Because in the face of the law right now, there is a National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and as I speak to you, Ali Modu Sheriff operates from the National Party Secretariat of the PDP, you are all aware,” he said.

State House Says 5.196b Naira Released From Its 2016 Budget

Jalal Arabi, State House, 2016 Budget
State House Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi

The State House says it has received a total of 5.196 billion naira as capital release from the 2016 budget amounting to 47.5% of its budget.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi, who said the released amount of 4.8 billion naira (93.1%) has so far been expended on the projects for which the funds were tied and released.

A balance of 5.745 billion naira representing 52.5% is yet to be released.

Mr Arabi also disclosed that for the 2017 budget, the State House had reprioritised projects in the medical centre and suspended most of its capital expenditure proposals at the moment.

However, he said that the State House would take advantage of the supplementary budget window when necessary.

The Permanent Secretary made the disclosure on Thursday at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties who were on an oversight visit to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The committee was inaugurated by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and has Representative Nasiru Daura as its chairman.

Mr Arabi said that the 2017 budget has been reviewed downwards to 13,567,979,278.72 naira for 2017 from 16,563,395,992.00 naira.

He noted that all allocations for the 2016 recurrent expenditure had been received up to and including the month of December 2016, adding that the capital releases were made for three out of five subheads in the State House budget.

Earlier, Representative Daura said that the lawmakers were at the State House to determine the level of implementation of the 2016 budget, and also on a fact finding mission to inspect completed and ongoing projects at the Presidential Villa.

He observed that the visit would help to correct the ongoing misinformation about State House, as well as curb corruption and ensure that Nigeria comes out of recession.

2017 Budget: Buhari Advises Implementation Be Based On Economic Recovery

2017 Budget: Buhari Advises Implementation Be Based On Economic RecoveryPresident Muhammadu Buhari has proposed that the implementation of the budget should be based on our economic recovery and growth strategy.

The President made the recommendation while he presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

“It is my pleasure to present the 2017 Budget proposal to this distinguished joint assembly. It is a budget of recovery and growth.”

He added that: “the plan which builds on our 2016 budget, provides a clear road-map for the policy actions and set design to bring the economy out of recession, to acquire a steady growth and prosperity.

Although Buhari admits to the challenging times, he also believes it is a time of opportunity for Nigerians.

“We continue to face the most challenging situation in the history of our nation.

“Nearly every home and nearly every business is affected one way or the other.- Yet I remain convinced that this is also a time of great opportunity”.

The 2016 budget presented in December 2015 was enmeshed in controversies before it was eventually signed into law by President Buhari five months after.

This time around, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, had earlier said the National Assembly would ensure timely passage of the 2017 budget once they receive the document.

Pollution: Agency Indicts Two Steel Companies In Osun At House Briefing

Climate-Change-polutionThe National Environmental Standard and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) says two iron and steel companies operating in Osun State have failed to comply substantially with environmental rules and regulations.

The Zonal Director of the Agency, Mr Adeleke Ajani, indicted the two companies on Tuesday, while addressing the Osun State House of Assembly, following complaints of environmental pollution levelled against the company by some residents of Ife North and Ifelodun Local Government Areas of the state.

Mr Adeleke, who revealed that his Agency had on several occasions written letters of concern to the companies over the harmful effects their operation is having on the environment and the people, said the steel companies had also failed in fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities.

“We are not satisfied with the operations of the two iron and steel companies at Ikirun and Ife. We have written not less than 15 letter of concern to both companies, stating our displeasure with their operations,” he told the lawmakers.

He said no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out before the establishment of the factories, an action which according to him violates the law.

“The companies were established at their present locations without any Environmental Impact Assessment, which is why they were not issued Environmental Impact Statement.

“NESREA as a regulatory body, is an anti-graft agency and everything we do, we have to take cognisance of the fact that every enforcement action will end in court and so we make sure that we give enough concern letters to the affected establishment,” he explained.

While reacting to the claims of the NESREA’s boss and the complaints of the host communities, the personnel managers of the Ife Steel and Iron Company, Oluwanisola Adeleke, maintained that the emissions coming out of the factory was within the permissible limit.

“We have the best emission control technology in Nigeria. So, I was surprised to see Channels TV crew three weeks ago, about the complaints of the people of the area.

“The technology we have in our facility today is capturing above 85% emission and the world standard is just around 70 to 75%”

They explained that they were mindful of the welfare of the people living in the areas and the environment, claims, which members of the House described as complete lies moulded to mislead the public.

At the end of the plenary, the Speaker of the House, Honourable Najeem Salaam, stated that the state might truly be looking for investors to boost its Internally Generated Revenue, but not at the expense of its citizens.

“In as much as we want industrialists to come to Osun and build industries, we value the lives and well-being of people and under no circumstances will we trade the lives of our people for industrial gains.

“We will deliberate on it and pass our resolution soon,” ‎Honourable Salaam added.

Ogun State Proposes 25-year Jail Term For Land Grabbers

ogun assembly
Speaker of the House, Suraju Adekunbi, says the spate of violent crimes in the state has become worrisome.

The Ogun State House of Assembly has passed a bill proposing 25 years imprisonment or death sentence for anyone found guilty of land grabbing.

The assembly in its deliberations on Tuesday also prescribed a death sentence if a life is lost during the “forceful takeover of land with the use of any fire arms, offensive weapon, obnoxious or chemical materials.”

The passage of the bill follows the presentation of the report of special joint committees on Lands and Housing as well as Justice, Ethics and Public Petitions.

The Deputy Speaker and sponsor of the bill, Honourable Olakunle Oluomo moved a motion for the adoption for the report of the committee. It motion was seconded by Honourable Adebiyi Adeleye and supported by the whole house.

The bill equally spelt out a N5m fine or 10 years imprisonment or both for anyone found guilty of contracting an agent for the purpose of forceful takeover of any land in the state.

Kidnappings, Abductions, Robberies

The new bill also spells out punishment for robbery.

According to it, ”any person who commits the offence of robbery shall upon trial and conviction under this law be liable to a sentence of imprisonment of a term not less than twenty-one years, while conviction for armed
robbery attracts death sentence.

The bill which also provides that in case of kidnappings, abductions, violent rituals resulting in death or bodily harm, forcible detention and related offence “where the person kidnapped, restrained detained, kept, abducted or seized dies in the course, the offender shall be liable on conviction to such punishment as provided for the offence of murder under Section 319 (1) Criminal Code Law of Ogun State, 2006 or such other law for the time being in force.”

The bill added that where “the person does no die in the course,
the offender shall be liable on conviction to punishment for life imprisonment with hard labour and without an option of fine”.

The Speaker of the House, Suraju Adekunbi ordered that a clean copy of the bill be sent to the State governor Ibikunle Amosun for his assent.

Alleged Budget Padding: House Refers Jibrin To Ethics Committee

Abdulmumuni-JibrinThe former chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, has been referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges to defend allegation of budget padding he made against Principal officers of the House.

The decision was reached on Wednesday, after a motion on the issue frayed nerves and made the plenary rowdy.

After the House was called to order, the motion suggesting that Honourable Jibrin’s allegation should be investigated by the committee was put forward for voting.

House of Representatives in Rowdy session over budget padding allegation
House of Representatives’ session became rowdy after the motion to investigate Honourable Jibrin’s allegation was raised

A lawmaker had told the House that “Honourable Jibrin embarked on a campaign of calumny and denigration by making false and scandalous statements and publication in print and electronic media against all members of the House of Representatives collectively”.

In another motion, a lawmaker sought the investigation of the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation,  Honourable Abdulmumuni Jibrin, for allegedly heaping corruption allegation on the entire House and the Speaker.

Announcing the motions of the House members again, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, a major name in Honourable Jibrin’s allegation, said that the House had agreed to refer the above matter and Honourable Jibrin to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges for proper investigations.

The Committee is to submit its finding to the House within one week and make appropriate recommendations, a motion that got massive support of the House members, with many cheering the Speaker up, chanting; ‘Dogara! Dogara!! Dogara!!!.

The issue began when Honourable Jibrin accused the Speaker of unlawfully using his position to divert monies meant for constituency projects, for personal use, an allegation the Speaker denies.

However, in a unanimous decision, the House agreed that the Ethics Committee should commence immediate investigation of Honourable Jibrin for “misconduct and heaping allegations of budget padding on the House”.

Jibrin had in July accused the House principal officers, including the Speaker, of having attempted to pad the 2016 budget with 40 billion Naira constituency projects.

After that allegation, he submitted enough documents to the anti-graft agencies, saying they were evidences to back his allegations on padding of the 2016 budget by the House of Representatives.

He told Channels Television in an exclusive interview that some of the documents would nail some of his colleagues he had mentioned in the padding saga.

The lawmaker said that he had called for the security of the appropriation office and his office at the National Assembly where more indicting documents were.

He expressed readiness to help fight corruption in the National Assembly.

Officials of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) had after his statements sealed the Office of the House Committee on Appropriation.

On August 1, he made true his threat to submit more documents to back his allegation of budget padding against some members of the House.

Honourable Jibrin submitted a petition at four Federal Government agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others.

The petition was submitted at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of Security Services (DSS) and the Police headquarters all in Abuja.

Speaking with reporters shortly after submitting his petition at the ICPC, Representative Jibrin said that if the accused could be prosecuted, found guilty and sent to jail, it would send out a powerful signal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption.

After he submitted the new documents he wrote on his Twitter account: “My lawyers have confirmed my appointments for today with security and anti-corruption agencies to personally provide insight on my petition”.

The Presidency had taken interest in the saga, inviting the lawmaker for talks with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption.

He was asked to brief members of the committee on the details of the allegations.

The meeting was held behind closed-doors on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and lasted for about four hours.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Honourable Jibrin said his allegations were not about settling scores with the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.

Heavy Presence Of Security Operatives At Edo House Of Assembly

Edo_House_of_Assembly-police-at-complexA day after the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly and his deputy were impeached, heavy presence of security operatives is seen around the complex.

Police officials and those of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen around the complex with arms, blocking access to the House of Assembly.

A five-day holiday had been declared by the State government, as a honour to the late Oba of Benin, the city where the House of Assembly complex is and the capital of the State.

Edo State House of Assembly
Police deployed official in the morning to forestall further fracas

Incompetence And Highhandednes

Activities are not expected so much at the complex due to the holiday, but the deployment is believed to be a precautionary move.

Efforts are still ongoing to resolve the crisis in the House.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Victor Edoror and the Deputy, Mr Bright Osayande, were impeached on Tuesday, with lawmakers alleging incompetence and highhandedness.

The former Speaker told Channels Television that the lawmakers’ allegations were baseless and that plenary could not have been held without him.

“I was not there when they started. Can you start a sitting without me.

“They never put an allegation before me. I have not heard from them and I think they are frivolous allegations if they are so started,” he said.

About two years ago, lawmakers of the Edo State House of Assembly had a crisis that resulted in a fight.

Ebonyi Impeachment: 9 Members’ Lives Allegedly Threatened

Ebonyi House of AssemblyFollowing the purported impeachment motion that was moved by 15 lawmakers in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to remove the incumbent Governor of the state Mr Martin Elechi, the remaining 9 members of the House have disclosed that their lives are now being threatened for not supporting the motion.

According to them, desperate attempts are being made through several means including death threats, financial inducement and intimidation to force them to append their names to the impeachment plot which they have failed to be part of.

While briefing journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Saturday, the nine members maintained that the Speaker of the House, Hon Chukwuma Nwazunku violated the section 188 sub section 4 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, in his proceedings on the impeachment move.

The said section states that a motion shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-third majority of all the members of the House.

The lawmakers maintained that they will not be a party or attempt to sign any document seeking to remove the Governor from office.

Having governed Ebonyi State for seven and a half years, less than two months to his handing over ceremony, the state Governor, Mr Martin Elechi is faced with an impeachment move by lawmakers in the state following an accusation on an 8 count charge including misappropriation of state funds, gross misconduct and embezzlement.

Since the motion was supported by just 15 members out of the 24 members of the house which constitutionally is not two third majority of the House, the other nine members gathered to brief journalists on the matter.

One of the lawmakers, Eni Chima maintained that they will not subject themselves to be used by any person or group to destabilise the peace in the state, as they would not be a party to or attempt to sign any document seeking to remove the Governor from office, even at gun point.

The lawmakers further accused the Speaker of the House of collaborating with some other politicians in the state to unlawfully impeach the Governor, who they said is a founding father of the state.

However, in an interview with Channels Television, one of the founding fathers of Ebonyi State and an elder-statesman, Chief Egwu Chima said the recent developments in the political scene were rather disappointing and unwarranted, considering the level of sacrifice and service the present state Governor had deposited in the state from its creation.

He added that the issue at stake is a matter of destructive obsession by some unscrupulous elements who are hellbent on ruling the state.

Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, the 15 lawmakers including the Speaker of House, Rt. Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku disclosed that they are far away in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, for a meeting.

As it stands now, the Governor is yet to be served with the impeachment notice.

Kwara State Budgets 119 Billion Naira For 2015

Abdulfatah-Ahmed-Kwara-SportThe Kwara State Governor, Abdul Fattah Ahmed, on Wednesday presented a budget proposal of 119 billion Naira to the State House of Assembly for the next fiscal year.

The Governor while presenting the budget proposal promised to ensure fiscal discipline and be proactive in spending.

He announced that the budget proposal tagged; ‘Budget of Introspection and Job Creation’ was prepared against the backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook and the need to ensure more self reliant in revenue generation, promote private sector driven job creation and entrepreneurship.

He said the proposed budget had an increase of over four billion Naira above the 2014 budget in order to complete ongoing projects and improve the quality of life of the people of the state.

The Governor stressed that Internally Generated Revenue drive would be intensified in order to reduce dependence on the Federation Account allocation without increasing tax burden on the people.

After the Governor’s presentation, the Speaker of the House, Rasak Atunwa, promised that the House would give accelerated hearing and prompt passage to the budget proposal while commending the executive arm for implementing the 2014 budget to the satisfaction of the people.

With the dwindling revenue from the Federal Allocation, all eyes are on the executives to see how it will generate and improve on the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

The drop in crude oil price has further deepened the reduction in revenue, with the government making concerted efforts to explore other sources of income and further diversify the Nigerian economy that hugely relies on crude oil sales.

Mayhem Breaks In Rivers Assembly

Mayhem broke out during a session in the Rivers State House of Assembly on Tuesday morning when hoodlums broke into the House and attempted to seize the mace.

The group also assaulted the Speaker of the House, Hon. Otelema Amachree. 5 members of the House led by Hon Evans Bipi had moved to impeach the Speaker.

Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, in a telephone interview with Channels Television revealed that commotion started when Mr Bipi walked up to the speaker and started ‘slapping’ him as members were still exchanging pleasantries.

“While that was going on, they didn’t know that some hoodlums had accessed the assembly. The governor (Rotimi Amaechi) was informed and therefore left the government house to go and ensure that people were protected

As the governor got there, some people began to shout ‘shoot him’ ‘shoot him’

They were standing in the gallery. These were policemen who are paid by tax payers

When somebody tried to rush to attack the governor, people had to protect the governor” she disclosed.

The leader of the house was injured and rushed to the Government House clinic for treatment.

Reps Want Nigeria Fenced

The House of Representatives has proposed the construction of a perimeter fence with sensors and cameras to check illegal influx of foreigners into the country.

The house at its proceedings on Thursday, directed its Committee on Immigration to work with the Ministry of Interior and Immigration service for the construction of the border fence.

The motion which was moved by  Hassan Saleh, was unanimously adopted following the spate of insecurity in some parts of the country.

The motion also proposed better working conditions for those posted to the nation’s borders.

The lawmakers are particularly concerned about the influx of foreigners through the nation’s borders and they resolved that urgent steps must be taken to check this trend.

Meanwhile, a bill for an act to amend the 2013 Appropriation Act to authorise the release of N4.9trillion from the consolidated revenue fund was put on hold.

The Speaker of the house, Aminu Tambuwal suggested that appropriate steps must be taken by the budget office so that the 2013 supplementary budget is not affected.

Another matter which came up for discussion by the lawmakers is the need to curtail the activities of piracy on the nation’s water ways.

The house mandated the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as well as other health agencies to provide relief materials for survivors of tanker collusion in Mokwa, Niger state.