The Nigerian Senate has called for the resignation of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), saying he is unfit to hold any public office.
The Senate made this declaration after the Customs CG failed to appear before the Senate on Wednesday.
The clerk of the Senate read a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), advising the Senate to step down the matter of the invitation of the Customs CG, as the matter is in court and deliberating on it would be subjudice.
The letter elicited strong reactions from lawmakers who accused the AGF of incompetence and flaming division between the National Assembly and the Presidency.
The Senate is also asking the Customs CG to cancel the retrospective policy on duties for vehicles.
The development, followed a suit filed by an Abuja based lawyer, Mohammed Ibrahim, seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the National Assembly from compelling the CG to wear uniform in performance of his duties.
Mr Ali, who acknowledged receipt of the court summons, told a news conference that the Attorney General who is a co-defendant in the suit, has written to the National Assembly advising lawmakers to maintain the status quo, pending the outcome of the suit.
“Based on the summons before the court, all matters relating to the issue are now subjudice so status quo is “anti” which means I will not appear until the court makes a pronouncement therefore the situation remains as it is”.
The CG had been summoned to defend the payment of retroactive duties by motorists whose vehicles have no genuine import duties.
Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on March 16, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.
The House, however, refused to engage him and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.
Meanwhile, more reactions have continued to trail the issue.
The Niger state Government has directed the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) to distributed relief materials and cash about 40 million Naira, to the affected flood victims in Lapai Local Government Area of the state.
The Director General of the agency Ibrahim Inga stated that this was a relief from the state government to provide succor to the affected individuals and communities.
Inga who assured of the government’s sympathy to its citizens despite the current recession was optimistic in putting up measures to avoid disaster, rather than engaging in consistent relief material distributions.
He urged them to make judicious use of the funds and materials given to them so as to reduce the plights they suffered from the disaster.
He added that 256 people from 19 communities were affected from the 2016 flood in the area with two deaths recorded.
The DG disclosed that the stated recorded flood in 16 Local Governments of the state in 2016, he appealed to all the Dams to as a matter of necessity to be put in place, before they release excess water to avoid disaster.
The council chairman of Lapai, Hon. Usman Mohammed in an interview appreciated the kind gesture of the state governor Abubakar Sani Bello towards the victims and charged them to make use of the materials for what it was meant for.
The items distributed includes: 250 bundles of zinc, 280 nails, salt 100 bags, maize 180 bags, rice 180 bags, red 140 and groundnut oil 140 of 20 litres cement 1500 bags, rapper 500 pieces and super print 500 pieces with a cash of 7.7million Naira, while logistics cost 2million Naira.
A beneficiary from Cheku, Mahmud Abubakar stated that they started experiencing this kind of flood in 1986 when the road was constructed, therefore appealed to Governor Abubakar Bello to construct a bridge for them rather than the culvert which when flooded affects the community annually.
Another victim who lost his child during the flood Gimba Idris from Kuchi in tears stated that “I am happy and grateful to the Niger state governor Abubakar Bello and may God reward him for the gesture”.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has appealed to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to be anxious over the appeal court ruling, favouring the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party.
Senator Ekweremadu, says there is no cause for alarm as the party leadership will meet as soon as possible, to take a decision on the best way forward.
He said the PDP will emerge stronger from its present challenges.
Appeal Court Declares Sheriff As PDP National Chairman
The judgement, read by two of the three judges on the appeal panel, set aside the judgement by the High court in favour of Ali Modu Sheriff.
The lead Judge, B. A. Sanga, in his judgement said that due process was not followed in the decision by the PDP convention to dissolve the Ali- modu sherrif’s led chairmanship and hence should be disregarded.
Meanwhile a dissenting judgement was given by a third judge, Theresa Orji-Abadua, who upheld the decision of the trial court in favour of the Ahmed Markarfi leadership of the party
The Ali-Modu Sheriff faction, was dissolved by some leaders of the party at a national convention held in Port Harcourt in 2016.
It was the outcome of the convention that led to the intense legal battle.
The party has been thrown into series of court cases in several courts in the country raising concerns over the possibility of two factions.
Friday’s judgement may however, be putting a temporary rest to the crisis rocking the party until a redress is sought in the highest court.
The Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has signed the 2017 budget estimated at 105.72 billion Naira, themed budget of Economic Recovery and Inclusive Development into law.
Governor Ugwuanyi commended the Enugu State House of Assembly members for a speedy passage of the budget and promised to fully implement it for the development of the state.
“I wish to express appreciation to the good people of the state for the opportunity to serve and reassure that our promise to deliver good governance and selfless service remain non-negotiable.
“I wish to assure you of our commitments to fully implement this budget so that we can achieve the objectives we have set out for rapid growth of the state.
However, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi, said that there was no alteration to the budget as it was the size presented by the governor on December 23, 2016.
Mr Ubosi, however, said that the lawmakers juggled some of the entries where they found necessary to make the document more responsive to the yearnings of the state. He said that some ministries and government had unnecessary allocations to themselves but such were moved to other more pressing areas.
“In the course of looking at the budget we made some adjustments in areas we deemed necessary,” for instance the Ministry of Works was allocated two hilux vans, one of such vans was for five million Naira, the other was for 10 million Naira.
He said that the office of the Secretary to the State Government had allocated some money to rent a house “but we found it unnecessary and put the fund to another ministry.
Mr Ubosi appealed to the governor to ensure the full implementation of the budget, adding “the budget is a social contract between you and the people”.
The Federal Government says it has made multiple recoveries of looted funds totaling 151 million dollars and eight billion naira through the ‘Whistle-Blower Policy’.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Sunday, said the recovered funds does not include the 9.2 million Dollar found with the former GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, adding that it was a recovery made through whistle blowing.
Giving the break down, the Minister said the biggest money recovered is 136, 676, 600.51 million Dollars from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was allegedly kept under a fake account name.
According to the Minister, another 7 billion Naira and 15 million dollars were recovered from a second person, while yet another 1 billion Naira was gotten from a third suspect.
Although the Minister did not mention the actual persons involved, he said the government is making tremendous progress through the Whistle-Blower Policy.
The Minister in his words said, “When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the National Treasury under the last administration, some people called us liars.
“Well, the Whistle-Blower Policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact”.
The Minister insists that whatever has been recovered including the 9.2 million Dollars from the former NNPC GMD by the EFCC is just a tip of the iceberg
He appealed to Nigerians to give useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
Mr Mohammed also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy, saying ”If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle blower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5% (minimum) and 5.0% (maximum) of the total amount recovered”.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, gave a hint of the move while meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr Mohammed Chambas.
Mr Mohammed also called for the support of the UN in fighting corruption, which he said was as dangerous and devastating as the fight against insecurity.
He disclosed that the PCAR, which was set up on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, will over-sight the anti-corruption agenda and coordinate asset recovery process.
Mr Mohammed said the PCAR, which is headed by the Vice President, was coordinating the collation and categorisation of recovered assets from 2015-2016; verifying the records and status of physical assets such as buildings recovered under previous administration and setting up the framework for Management of Recovered Stolen Asset.
He stated that the move was to avoid re-looting and mismanagement of asset as was experienced in the past.
The minister further announced that an asset register for recovered stolen assets and other government assets has been created to avoid a situation where former or even serving public officers carry away government assets like vehicles and computers among others.
He said that part of the mandate of the committee was to prevent the stealing of assets which sometimes occur in multiples.
Farmers participating in the 2017 dry season farming in Benue state, are appealing to the Federal Government to dredge the River Benue and Katsina, to enable them increase access to water and cultivate the 2000 hecters farm land.
The farmers made the appeal at the official flag off ceremony by governor Samuel Ortom at the Agasha Fadama III Coastal Land on the Banks of River Benue, which is fast drying up.
Hon. Abraham, while explaining the production capacity of the land said, without access to water resources, cultivation of the 2000 hecters will constitute a challenge to increase food production target nationwide.
“A substantial portion of the River Benue has dried up, leaving a shallow dept of flowing water in one of Nigerians’ major rivers.
“The effect of global warming and climate change, is become clear by the day, with the abundant sharp sand taking over large portion of the big River Benue.
“The implication on dry season farming, a long standing tradition in Benue state, is a threat to increase food production nationwide and curb food crisis across the country”.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom while promising to help in local irrigation project says, the dredging work is beyond the state government’s capacity.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has asked the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Amba Asuquo not to relent in his assignment of fighting crime and criminality.
The governor gave the charge while receiving the new CP who was accompanied by other senior police officers of the state command at the Government House in Yenagoa.
He explained that his administration’s vision of making the state the safest in the country can be realized, if the Police effectively collaborates with other security agents, while expressing the willingness to always support and partner with the police.
According to him the new police commissioner has shown the seriousness to fight crime, as his achievement so far since he resumed duty clearly supports the assertion.
He urged him to continue in that direction, as well as not to politicize crime.
“We want people to feel free to come spend time, live here, do businesses. We don’t want to hear of any kidnapping. Even one case of kidnapping is too much for us to hear because we know the negative consequences”.
Gov. Dickson also asked the new CP to go after those who destroy the national assets and also flush out cultists and their sponsors, including all those who are killing innocent people in the state.
In his remark earlier, the new CP, Amba Asuquo appreciated the governor for his support and encouragement while assuring him of the command’s readiness to reciprocate by bringing good results from its operations.
The Nigerian Navy has vowed to intensify its ‘Operation River Sweep’ in the Niger Delta, in order to rid the region of criminal elements within the maritime environment.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, stated this during the command’s medical outreach to Okunbiri community in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
Garba said, ”The Operation River Sweep taking place in the region has been a success. The idea of introducing the ORS 1 and 2; one in the Eastern Naval Command and another in the Central Naval Command, is to keep pressure on the criminal elements within the maritime environment.
”Through this operation, the Nigerian Navy will be able to contain the nefarious activities of criminals in the area adequately.”
On sea piracy, the FOC said that apart from few isolated cases, the Navy and other sister security organisations had successfully minimised their criminal activities.
”Sea piracy has never been rampant. I will say we are doing our best to ensure that we keep the waterways safe for legitimate activities to take place,” he stated.
Declaring the medical exercise open at Okunbiri, Garba said the programme is part of the command’s corporate social responsibility to her host communities, which is the nineth edition.
He said the focus of the programme had been shifted to riverine communities and non-motorable villages who did not have access to good medical services.
The FOC called on the rural dwellers to reciprocate the Navy’s gesture by providing useful information that could help security operatives combat crimes, especially in the maritime domains. Commenting on the gesture, an indigene of the community and former Acting Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Nestor Binabo, commended the Navy for its gesture.
He confessed that the free medical outreach was the first of its kind in the community, saying that the command came at the right time when many residents found it difficult to access medical care because of poverty.
The former acting governor commended the establishment of the command and the Navy as a whole.