JUST IN: Nigerian lawmakers to investigate DSTV Nigeria

The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to investigate the ‘exorbitant charges’ and refusal of Multichoice Nigeria, owners of Dstv and Gotv, to adopt ‘Pay As You Go’ package option.

The resolution was due to a motion by Abbas Tajudeen (Kaduna-APC).

Mr. Tajudeen said it has been the company’s practice, to increase the prices of its packages almost on a yearly basis.

“For instance, in 2013, the monthly subscription increased by 7-10%, in 2014 by 10-15% and in 2015 by 10-22%,” he said.

“Just recently, the company sent a notification of another hike with effect from May 1st, 2017,” he added.

He said the increasing prices of the various bouquet offered by the company and its refusal to offer a ‘Pay as you Go’ package option is causing serious financial strain on its subscribers.

He said Dstv does not have a ‘Pay As You Go’ package like some of its counterparts across the world which makes its subscription plan expire at the end of the monthly subscription period, whether or not the subscriber uses the service.

The lawmaker added that the regular increase in the prices of various bouquet and refusal to adopt the ‘Pay As You Go’ package is against all known and fair business practices all over the world.

Mr. Tajudeen expressed his disappointment at the seeming inability of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Consumer Protection Council and other regulatory agencies to exercise their authority on the company.

There have been calls by Nigerians to compel Multichoice to introduce the ‘Pay As You Go’ package in Nigeria.

The House of Representatives had also in a bid to break the monopoly of Dstv, passed a bill meant to make broadcasting more competitive in the country.


Source: Premium Times

Reps urges Nigerian government to constitute Customs board

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to constitute the Nigerian Customs Service board.

This was sequel to a motion raised by Kingsley Chinda (Rivers-PDP).

He said since the powers exercised by the Customs, Immigration and Prison services Board to appoint, promote and exercise disciplinary control over staff of the Nigerian Customs Service, are vested in the Board, there is need to urgently constitute the board.

“Absence of the Nigerian Customs Service Board is a contravention of the provisions of the Act and thereby affecting the effective functioning of the Customs Service,” Mr. Chinda said.

He maintained that unless the anomaly in the non-composition of the board was urgently addressed, the essence of the Act would be defeated.

He expressed his displeasure over the continued failure by the Finance Minister to constitute the Board.

The house unanimously adopted the motion and resolved to forward the resolution to the Senate for concurrence and urge the finance minister to urgently constitute the Board of Customs.

The committee on Customs and Excise was mandated to ensure implementation and report back in four weeks for further legislative action.

President Buhari had at the inception of his administration, dissolved all Boards of Federal Government Parastatals leaving only those of tertiary institutions.

The president had in the past week constituted boards for some parastatals under the ministry of Information and Culture.


Source: Premium Times

House of Reps to investigate fuel subsidy from 2012.

The House of Representatives yesterday announced that it would begin a fresh investigation into the petroleum subsidy regime from 2012 to May 2016.The Chairman, House ad hoc committee on the review of petroleum pump price, Nnana Igbokwe, said the decision was necessitated by the conflicting documents submitted by various oil marketers.

He said the marketers were those involved in the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and Direct Purchase Direct Sale (DSDP)’s arrangements with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The oil marketers had alleged that the Federal Government owed them N300 billion, being the payment of subsidy to bridge the differential in the cost of importation and pump price.

Igbokwe, who decried the level of impunity in the oil industry, specifically queried the NNPC over the allegation of endless reconciliation of petroleum products’ imports worth over $1 billion.

The committee resolved that the activities surrounding forex allocation and Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) should be put on hold for further enquiry.The lawmakers summoned the Managing Director of Ramaniyah Oil Company over alleged withholding of 6.741 million litres of PMS since January 2013, as well as the lifting of crude, which could not be traced by the committee.

They also directed the Managing Director of Lubcon Nigeria Limited to appear in person to explain what the $2,337,500 he collected through Ecobank under the special intervention fund was used for.

Igbokwe promised to conduct a forensic audit on the documents submitted by the oil companies and recommend appropriate sanction against any one found culpable.Also, the House Committee on Public Accounts yesterday raised an ad hoc panel to investigate allegation of financial impropriety leveled against the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos.

The office of the Auditor General of the Federation, in a query to the lower legislative chamber, had alleged that 86 different types of drugs that expired in 2011 were not destroyed.

The query also included the controversial waiver of medical bills of over N638, 380 at the hospital.At an investigative hearing by the committee on the two allegations, the Chairman of the committee, Kingsley Chinda, said there was the need to inquire into the allegations against the hospital’s authorities, beyond the oral and written evidence that had been given.

But, the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Olurotimi Odunubi, confirmed that the expired drugs had already been destroyed.He said: “All expired drugs from 2007 to 2012 were boarded and buried in February 2013. These included the drugs under reference and the due process for boarding was also followed.”

On the bills for patients, Odunubi said medical bills for certain patients were actually written off as ‘bad debts.’He said beneficiaries of the decision were indigent patients and those without relatives who were brought by the police, as well as those abandoned in the hospital.

Odunubi further stated that before the action was extended to the patients, efforts were made to locate their relatives or those that could assist in paying their bills.

The next hearing was fixed for April, 18, 2017.


Source: The Guardian

JUST IN: Another PDP lawmaker decamps to APC

A member of the House of Representatives from Benue State, Hassan Anthony, has defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

Mr. Anthony’s defection was announced on the floor of the House at the start of Wednesday’s plenary.

The lawmaker who represents Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu constituency, cited division in the PDP as his reason for leaving.

Reacting to the defection, Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) raised a point of order, urging the speaker to declare Mr. Hassan’s seat vacant.

“The Court of Appeal has on 17th February declared Modu Sheriff the authentic Chairman of the PDP, therefore there is no faction in the PDP,” Mr. Ossai said

But his argument did not see the light of the day as he was ruled out by the Speaker, telling him to bring a copy of the Court of Appeal judgement.

The defection of Mr. Hassan to APC has brought the number of APC representatives to 226 and that of PDP to 124.


Source: Premium Times

Reps’ committee demands cancellation of Centenary City project

The House of Representatives Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday directed the immediate revocation of the Centenary City project due to lack of capacity of the firm that won the contract bid.

The panel asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to probe former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, over his role in the Centenary City project.

The lawmakers also demanded the probe of former Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed and Messrs Boma Ozobia and Paul Oki over their roles in the promotion and selection of the Centenary City Plc as the preferred investor for the project worth $18 billion.

The Herman Hembe-led House committee, which probed allegations of misdeeds in the project at the plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, made the recommendation yesterday in Abuja while presenting its report to the House.

It directed the FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, to withdraw the right of occupancy and certificate of occupancy purportedly granted to Centenary City Plc on April 10, 2014.

The committee also directed that all the statutory rights of occupancy purportedly revoked by Mohammed in respect of the over 1,267 hectares of land covered by the project should be restored to the original owners.

Furthermore, the committee directed the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) through the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments to revoke the certificate of free trade zone granted the Centenary City Plc as a free zone entity (FZE).

Meanwhile, Former Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Mr. Ahmed Rufai, is to appear before the House Committee on Public Accounts to explain controversies surrounding the award of N17.4 billion contract for a building plan.

The committee claimed that Ahmed authorised full payment of the sum to a firm five years ago for the design of a house for NIGCOMSAT Ltd even when the plan was not actually prepared.

Chairman of the committee, Kingsley Chinda, said that in spite of several efforts by lawmakers to sight the said drawings, officials of the company have been unable to provide them.

Also yesterday, the House urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks and other financial institutions to urgently address the several challenges confronting the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

In a motion by Hon. Joseph Edionwele, (PDP Edo), the lawmakers said the directive was necessary in ensuring that the machines were made functional to dispense cash accordingly.


Source: Today

Reps probe alleged payment of N19b to state governments account.

The House of Representatives is set to probe an alleged payment of N19 billion by the Ministry of Finance to the account of the 36 states rather than that of the 774 local governments.

The resolve was precipitated by a petition by a legal firm, Edwards and Partners to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, claiming that the N19 billion was the legal fee on the money recovered from the Paris Club.

The Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, confirmed the development and said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele would be summoned tomorrow to explain their role in the lodgment of the money.

The petition added: “Our brief was successfully concluded with judgment and garnishe order Absolute secured for ALGON and the consultant for its fees in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS//130/13 while we got our judgment and garnishe order for our legal fees in suit number FCT/HC/CV/1545/2015.

The firm stressed that despite notifying the Ministry of Finance and CBN of the order of court, both the ministry and the apex bank still went ahead to make several disbursements to state governments directly without the mandated first line deduction at source.

They also stated in the petition that “the minister of finance further directed the CBN to pay our legal fees to the Governors Forum, an entity unknown to us in the course of the entire transaction and her directive were dully effected by the CBN.

Members of the House also at the plenary resolved to summon the CBN and Finance Ministry over their alleged non-compliance with the presidential directive on recapitalization of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA).

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Femi Fakeye, who stressed the need to fully subscribe to the share capital of BoA for optimal contribution to Nigeria’s ailing economy.

The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee ? yesterday threatened to bar Conoil Plc from lifting petroleum products over its inability to pay up outstanding debt of N3.182 billion to the Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC).

The Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya-led committee probing the alleged debt of over N500 billion and sabotage by oil marketers in connivance with the PPMC, made the threat after it discovered that Conoil had been in default of the 15-day allowable credit circle without paying interest, even as it continued to lift oil products.

However, the Financial Controller of Conoil, Abdulateef Ijaiya, stated that the debt position of the company with government as at December 31 was N3. 3 billion, out of which N2.5billion is due to PPMC.


Source: The Guardian

House of reps members argue over Buhari’s health

The health status of President Muhammadu Buhari created disagreement among some members of the house of representatives on Tuesday.

Lawmakers were debating a motion on an alleged harassment by ‘Kwankwasia’, a political group loyal to Rabiu Kwankwaso, a senator from Kano state.

The motion was sponsored by Aliyu Madaki, a lawmaker from Kano and a staunch supporter of Femi Gbajabiamila, during the period he contested the position of the speaker with Yakubu Dogara.

The legislators disagreed on the word “sickness” to describe the health status of Buhari.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, chief whip of the house, had told the lower legislative chamber that the country was already under tension owing to the absence of Buhar, and that the Kwankwasia group was creating more tension by allegedly inciting people against the leadership of the state.

While describing Madaki’s motion as “baseless”, Ado-Doguwa, who sounded like a supporter of Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano governor, said: “Our beloved President is sick abroad.

“These partisan activities are completely unnecessary and baseless. The police must do their work of protecting lives and property anywhere in the country.”

At this point, Gbajabiamila countered Ado-Doguwa, and told him to stop saying Bhari was “sick.”

“The president is not sick. At best, he can say that the President is on medical vacation. There is a difference between being sick and going on a medical vacation,” he said.

The lawmakers kept on arguing over the issue, until Dogara restored normalcy.

Buhari has been away from the country since January 19.

He was expected back in the country on February 6, but extended his leave indefinitely, citing medical reasons.

Reps summon Emefiele over alleged $17 billion undeclared oil sales

The House of Representatives ad hoc Committee investigating the alleged stolen $17 billion oil and gas sales on Thursday ordered Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it within one week.

The money was allegedly stolen through undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas export.

The committee threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the governor if he failed to appear within the period.

The Chairman of the Committee, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the international oil companies allegedly involved in the deal had provided the committee documents required to commence the investigation.

Mr. Namdas expressed concern that full investigation could not begin because of the failure of CBN to give the required details.

He alleged that CBN provided conflicting responses to its inquiry on the matter and as such the governor must appear in person to clarify issues and provide necessary details needed to facilitate the probe.

“We have sent two different letters to the CBN and the bank has provided two conflicting responses to our inquiry.

“In response to the first letter, the apex bank pleaded for time due to the volume of documents required but in response to the second letter, CBN indicated that it has no record of undeclared crude,” Mr. Namdas said.

He expressed disappointment over Mr. Emefiele’s absence without representation at the investigative hearing.

The chairman warned that the committee would invoke the law against any individual or government agency delaying the investigation.

“We expected him to be here and he is not, we are disappointed.

“We will not allow any agency of government to delay the committee’s work.

“If in the next one week, the CBN Governor did not appear before this committee, we will not hesitate to exercise our powers in line with section 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution.”

According to Mr. Namdas, the required details from the CBN are vital as the investigation cannot commence without them.

“Most of the international oil companies have furnished us with the information needed but CBN is very vital and key to this investigation and we cannot jump the gun,’’ he said.

The assembly set up the committee in September 2016 to investigate 17 billion dollars allegedly stolen from undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas export between 2011 and 2014.


Source: NAN

FG budgets 60 million naira for North-east grass-cutting again

The Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative, PINE, again, budgeted 60 million Naira to cut grasses in the 2017 budget in communities ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Members of the House of Representatives expressed shock, on Tuesday, that the Presidency can budgeted huge amount despite controversies surrounding a similar contract worth over N200m, awarded by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, is yet to be settled.

The N60m in the 2017 budget of PCNI is to cover contracts to cut “shrubs, grasses and trees” along the Maiduguri-Mama Road alone.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Sani Zoro, and other members expressed shock over the allocation of N45bn budget were for “security” and procurement of equipment for military services as against providing shelter, food, hospitals and schools for displaced persons.

“You can’t travel this same way (awarding contracts on grasses) again; it is not acceptable.

“Why can’t you assign this duty to the military to do it for you? They can use their personnel to clear the grasses and you can drop this idea of awarding contracts with N60m,” Zoro said.

The Vice-Chairman of the PCNI, Mr. Tijjani Tumsah, however, explained that the budget was planned after due consultations with the military.



2017 Budget; Reps query Presidential Committee on IDPs, N60m budget for grass cutting

Reps reject ministry of communications budget.

The house of representatives committee on telecommunications has rejected the ministry of communications 2017 budget of N6.97 billion.

The rejection followed the ministry’s failure to provide satisfactory details of the 2016 budget expenditure.

The ministry proposed to spend N5.96 billion for capital projects, N742.88 million for personnel, while N216.88 million was proposed for overhead cost.

Saheed Fijabi, chairman of the committee, asked Adebayo Shittu, the minister, to provide documents on projects, project locations, third party contracts, and receipt vouchers for conferences, training and nominal roll for the ministry.

The committee said it would not consider the 2017 budget estimates of the ministry until it embarked on an on-the-spot assessment of the projects contained in the budget.

The minister, who appeared before the committee, refused to explain the details of the budget.

He explained that Sunday Echono, the permanent secretary, who is the accounting officer of the ministry, was in the best position to respond to the specifics of the document.

In his presentation, the minister said contrary to what was on record, the ministry only received N3.96 billion as against the N4.91 billion that was budgeted and recorded for the ministry on Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS).

The breakdown showed that out of the 48 new projects penciled down for execution, only one was on-going.

According to Echono, the ministry recorded 100 per cent performance on the N3.095 billion released for the ministry.

For the year under review, N216. 79 million was appropriated for overhead, while N138.90 million was released leaving a balance of N77.9 million.

While N600.240 million was also appropriated for personnel cost, out of which N695. 88 million was released.

The lawmakers, who were shocked about the finances of the ministry, requested for explanations why money released for personnel was higher than money appropriated.

The committee also asked why N8 million was spent on presentation at federal executive council (FEC) meeting, while seeking explanation on the procurement of computers for N12 million.

In addition, the committee expressed doubt over the capital expenditure item whereby N4. 9 million was spent on supervision of the unspecified work.

The construction of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centres in some parts of the country was also queried as the ministry failed to execute any of the projects, claiming lack of funds.

The committee also frowned at why projects that would benefit Nigerians directly were not prosecuted by the ministry.

“With the document before us, there is a need for this committee to oversight these projects because Nigerians have been blaming the legislature for not doing its job well,” Fijabi said.

“Going forward, we have to look at the procurement process and on-the-spot assessment of these projects has become inevitable.

“In addition, the ministry should furnish the committee with its nominal roll, indicating old and new workers. The provision of the details requested will determine how soon we will embark on the oversight visit and the consideration of the ministry’s 2017 budget estimates.”

Reps summon Emefiele over foreign exchange sales to oil marketers

The House of Representatives on Monday summoned Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, over alleged sale of foreign exchange to International Oil Companies (IOCs).

Mr. Emefiele’s invitation by the House’s Ad hoc Committee on the Review of Pump Price of Petrol followed the committee’s rejection of the records of the foreign exchange transactions presented to it.

The committee, which continued its public hearing on the issue in Abuja, ordered that the CBN governor should appear with details of all beneficiaries of the foreign exchange deals.

He is also expected to give insight into the banks used by the apex bank in the transaction with the oil marketers.

In the rejected record presented on behalf of Mr. Emefiele by Alvan Ikoku, Director, Financial Market Department of CBN, the CBN governor told the committee why the bank acted as third party to oil companies and importers of petroleum products.

He said the CBN took over the purchase of dollars from the IOCs and began to sell directly to petroleum marketers seeking foreign exchange to import products.

It was, however, not revealed in the records how much the apex bank sold the currencies to the companies even when it stated that Mr. Emefiele determined the rate the currencies were sold to oil marketers.

The committee Chairman, Raphael Igbokwe, directed that the CBN boss should prepare explanations on the legal grounds or provisions that allowed IOCs to operate as financial institutions selling foreign exchange to Nigerians.

According him, by so doing the IOCs acted as parallel financial clearing houses.

The committee demanded explanation on the criteria for the allocation of foreign exchange to dealers as well as necessary documents to show such allocations to the marketers.

It also ordered the appearance of Managing Director of Duke Oil and other oil marketers, who were invited.

Mr. Igbokwe explained that the order was important as the representatives of the oil marketers were not in the capacity to respond to some allegations levelled against the companies.

P.A. Efedue, a Commodore, who represented the Nigerian Navy, explained that multiple charges by government agencies operating at the ports were responsible for most oil importers avoiding Nigerian ports.

Mr. Efedue said the charges were part of the reasons why some of the oil marketers preferred to deliver their products through ports in neighbouring countries.

He said the development was in spite of security which had improved tremendously at Nigerian ports.

“The oil marketers come to my office every day and I ask why Lome, not Lagos port. They said the reason is that charges in Lagos are higher,’’ Mr. Efedue said.

He, therefore, advised that the charges at the ports should be addressed to attract oil vessels to Nigeria’s ports, saying that the rate of insecurity in the country’s waterways had reduced.

“Cases of piracy have reduced, so it is the charges that are the issue with the marketers.”

He also said that the navy did not charge any money to grant approval to marketers, adding that the collaboration between navy and NIMASA was helping in securing the water ways.

On his part, A.O. Bamidele, a Navy Commodore of the Operations Directorate, Naval Headquarters, also reiterated that insecurity was not the reason for marketers preferring neighbouring countries’ ports.

“It is not security; look at Lagos harbour and anchorage, we don’t have security challenges.

“It is only in Bayelsa and Rivers area but we are making efforts to put it in check,” Mr. Bamidele said.

Reps give SEC 7 days to correct employment irregularities.

The House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character has given the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, one week to correct alleged employment irregularities in the commission.


The commission was directed to report back to the committee after the deadline.


The Chairman of the committee, Ahmed Wase, gave the ultimatum at a public hearing at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Wednesday.


He said that the committee had gone through the nominal roll of the commission and had discovered some irregularities that contradicted the Federal Character Law.


Mr. Wase said that the committee observed that some states across the six geo-political zones were under-represented while others were over-represented.


In his response, the Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, explained that some states where the commission’s zonal offices were located were given consideration.


He said that the employment process took into consideration the comfort of members of staff who would work as drivers or clerks at the zonal offices to enable them function effectively.


According to the director general, members of staff at the zonal offices will only function effectively if they are familiar with the terrain.


The committee, however, said that it was not satisfied with the explanation and demanded that all irregularities be corrected within one week.


Source: NAN

Under Dogara, expenditures are ‘shrouded in mystery’, say reps.

Some members of the house of representatives have accused the leadership of the house under Yakubu Dogara, the speaker, of shrouding expenditures of the lower legislative chamber in mystery.

In an advertorial placed in Tuesday edition of PUNCH, the lawmakers said the green chamber ought to be the vanguard for transparency in the country, but the case under Dogara is different.

“In this period when Nigerians are yearning for change and better governance, we believe that the house under the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, should be at the vanguard of the drive for transparency in the country, but is this the situation now?” the lawmakers under the banner of ‘Concerned Members of the House of Representatives, asked.

“We have observed so far that the answer is a big no, as we have seen in the house that most expenditures under the leadership of Dogara are shrouded in mystery.”

They said that majority of the legislators do not know what is budgeted for running the house.

“Members do not receive the house of representatives internal budget from the speaker for their consideration and approval,” the legislators said.

“Members are also not briefed on the amount utilised for the administration of the house; like what is spent on facility maintenance, the number and the remuneration of SAs (special advisers)/SSAs senior special assistants), whereas members are also aware of the number of SAs/SSAs of the president when he presents their number of approval.

“Committee utility vehicles are only provided to a select few, while we know that at the beginning of this 8th house, the leadership had set aside N1.2bn towards the purchase of these vehicles and the same was provided for in 2016. Please where is the N2.4bn?

“Funding for committee assignments like public hearing is epileptic and haphazard.”

They also alleged that some standing committees were sidelined in favour of ad hoc committees.

When TheCable contacted Turaki Hassan, Dogara’s spokesman, to react to the allegations, he said had not seen them, but that he will do so when he sees the statement.

Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman of the appropriation committee of the house, who is currently on suspension, had alleged funds used in running of the house were diverted.


Source: The Cable

Reps to increase fuel price by N5 for roads maintenance.

If the House of Representatives signs the current National Roads Fund bill into law, Nigerians may pay additional N5 for petroleum products.

A technical committee set up by the House Committee on Works, chaired by Toby Okechukwu had made the recommendation.

The National Road Fund is aimed at generating revenue for routine and periodic maintenance works on Nigerian roads.

The committee recommended that “fuel levy of N5 chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nigeria and on locally refined petroleum products.”

It also recommended toll fees not exceeding 10 percent of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any federal road designated as a toll road; international vehicle transit charges; inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5 percent deductible from the fare paid by passengers as well as surcharge of 0.5 percent chargeable on the assessed value of any imported vehicle into the country.

The fund is to be managed by a governing board with a managing director as the head of the fund.

Reps grill police chiefs over loss of arms, officers’ deaths

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has grilled officers in the top echelon of the Nigeria Police over their handling of the deaths of policemen across the country. The deaths were reportedly caused by religious bigots, bandits, hoodlums and militants.

For hours, at the committee’s investigative hearing, members, led by their chairman, Kingsley Chinda wondered why the police authorities would delay reporting the deaths and taking necessary actions.

The investigation has shown the tardiness in the police authorities’ response to the welfare of their personnel. The delay in reporting the death of their personnel may partly be responsible for the delay in the payment of compensation for the families of dead police personnel .Through this deliberate delay, top police officers make money off the plight of those working under them . And by failing to produce timely and correct statistics of the arms and ammunition that are lost, they also enrich themselves .

The lawmakers observed that it was the interest shown by the AGF in the matter in 2013 that prompted the police to generate reports on some of the occurrences that took place between 2009 and 2012.

The AGF had urged the lawmakers in the report to recommend sanctions for the police for violating relevant provisions of the Financial Regulations for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), 2004, which require that the loss of arms should be reported promptly to the appropriate quarters not later than three days.

As at November last year, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had announced that 128 police officers lost their lives to activities of criminals in various parts of the country in the past three months.

Representing the IGP to defend the allegation against the police, Assistant Inspector General, Accounts and Budgets, Abdul Salami Iyaji blamed the delay in reporting the incidents on technology. “It occurs sometimes that equipment meant to transmit signals could fail us,” he said.

Iyaji admitted an occurrence in 2009 that was not reported promptly by the police until 2013. “On 1st of August, 2009, Sgt Augustine Nathaniel and Sgt Yakubu Musa were attacked by armed robbers, who invaded Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) headquarters in Lagos. Musa died in the process, while Nathaniel was rescued. We apologise for reporting the incident late,” Iyaji said.

On the loss of ammunition, Iyaji said the police normally mete out sanctions to officers found to be negligent in the handling of arms. He cited an instance on November 10, 2011 when one Inspector Victor Nwabueze, who claimed to have lost the arms in his possession, was found culpable and demoted. In June of the same year, he said, eight rounds of ammunition were also snatched away from another police officer while on duty, prompting the police to investigate the situation.

Chinda fixed 7th February, 2017 for the continuation of the hearings and urged the secretariat of the committee to compile all infractions by the police from 2010 to 2012. The compilation, he said, would guide members on the next line of action.


Source: Guardian

Reps suspend plenary for 3 weeks to ‘enable Nigerians contribute to budget’

Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the house of representatives, says for the first time, Nigerians will have a chance to contribute to the budget process.

Speaking with journalists on Thursday, Namdas said plenary would be adjourned for three weeks to enable legislators work extensively on the 2017 budget proposals.

He said during the three weeks, the house would create a special public hearing for Nigerians to give their input on the budget.

“We have adjourned the plenary to 21st of February to be specific and I should be quoted correctly. We are not going on recess. We are only adjourning plenary,” he said.

“So that it would give us the opportunity to work on the 2017 budget so that by the time we are back we should be able to hasten the completion of work on the budget.

“This time around, we have introduced for the first time a public hearing on the budget so that journalists, civil society organisations (CSOs), notable Nigerians will be here to see and also give their input as it will be a collective job.”

He said within the three-week period some lawmakers would embark on their oversight functions.

“Within this period we will also be going on oversight for those people who haven’t done their oversight along with the budget functions,” he said.

Both chambers of the national assembly would resume plenary on February 21.

2017 budget debate: Reps hail Buhari’s estimates, say it ’ll reboot economy.

MAJORITY of themembers of the House of Representatives, yesterday, hailed the 2017 N7.3 trillion budget estimate of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as the catalyst that will reboot the Nigerian economy.


Also the Senate has begun debate on the general principles of the 2017 Appropriations Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari. Majority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila (Surulere federal constituency, Lagos), who led the debate, conceded that the budget was an ambitious one, adding that the ambition is precursor to the success.


He presented the highlights of the budget to include oil production projection of 2.2 million barrels per day, with benchmark of $42.5 per barrel, and exchange rate of N305/US$1.


Buhari, Osinbajo and Adeosun Other key assumptions of the budget include a revenue projection of N4.94 trillion, with N1.98 trillion expected from oil revenue and N1.37 trillion non oil revenue, while expenditure include N419 billion for statutory transfers, N1.66 trillion for debt servicing, N177 billion to a sinking fund for retirement of maturing bonds, N2.98 trillion to non debt recurring expenditure and N2.24 trillion to capital expenditure . Gbajabiamila added that the budget deficit for the budget was N2.36 trillion and to finance the deficit, government proposes to borrow N1.06 trillion from external sources and N1.25 trillion domestic borrowing.


“Prior to this time, capital allocation in our yearly budget was way below 30 percent and now this administration has raised it to over 30 percent. Before now, budget performance has been about 30 percent but somehow with little resources available, this administration hovers around the mid 50s range in terms of budget performance,” he said.


He added that while the administration targets better budget performance, it has been able to achieve the current rate by blocking leakages, broadening tax base and collection, and eliminated ghost workers.


A few, however, criticised the non-release of fund to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, MDAs, hinging their argument on the fact that 2016 budget performance was rather poor. MrJerry Alagboso (PDP, Imo), had argued during the debate that “this 2017 budget is almost like that of last year which was associated with poor releases of funds to MDAs.”


He urged lawmakers to take oversight functions seriously as this will make the executive and “they should remember that we have the constitutional right to make inputs into the estimates which some people call padding.” Several lawmakers simply praised the budget proposal but a few argued against it. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) argued that the exchange rate of N305 to the dollar was unrealistic, going by MTEF.


Backed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Gbajabiamila raised a point of order to the effect that MTEF has already been passed. Mark Terseer Gbillah (APC, Benue) however, argued that the exact exchange rate remains undetermined. Senate begins debate on principles of 2017 budget THE Senate has begun debate on the general principles of the 2017 Appropriations Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.


The commencement of debate on the budget, yesterday, was sequel to the passage of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF and FSP last week by the National Assembly.


In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presided over the plenary explained to the Senators the procedure of debate on the bill where 30 senators have been selected to speak during the consideration of the bill. Also yesterday, the Senate referred President Buhari’s request on the confirmation of the nomination of Mr. Aghatise Erediauwa for re-appointment as Executive Director of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions for further legislative input.


Leading the debate on the principles of the budget, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan presented a Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation – Total sum of N7,298,507,709,937 with Statutory Transfers of N419,020,684,000, Debt Servicing of N1,663,885,430,499, Sinking Fund for Maturing Bonds: N177,460,296,707, Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure: N2,979,151,756,196 and Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure: N2,058,989,578,536.


Senator Lawan, who noted that the budget was designed to stimulate and attract private sector capital and spending, however, stressed that the 2017 budget was to take Nigeria out of recession, create sustainable, inclusive growth and prosperity for all Nigerians in line with the change agenda of this present administration.


Source: Vanguard

Reps probe alleged theft of CBN’s N100b fund to build ranches

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the N100 billion allegedly released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the construction of modern mini ranches in states.


Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Karimi Sunday at the plenary session presided by the Deputy Speaker Sulaimon Yussuff Lasun yesterday, the lawmakers resolved to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the disbursement and utilisation of the money released for the project.


Sunday, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Yagba federal constituency of Kogi State said the National Economic Council approved the release of the N100 billion naira to various states also to boost agricultural yields and end conflicts arising from the traditional method of grazing.


He remarked that the development was further compounded by the fact that there has not been any ranch constructed anywhere in the country to account for the expenditure of the money.


The House of Representatives may also be considering handing down one-year imprisonment to ministers and heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that fail to obey legislative summons.


Under the proposed bill, an option of N1 million fine would be imposed on any one found wanting of committing the offence. The bill said that the sergeant-at-arms would take the role of the police in the enforcement of arrest warrant issued by the National Assembly.


The deputy speaker who acknowledged concerns raised over the bill, referred it to relevant committees of the House for consideration.


The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has queried the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), over the seizure of goods worth millions of Naira belonging to D & K Golden Investment Company Limited without due process.

Budget Padding: Court fixes hearing for February 20

A Federal High Court in Kano on Wednesday fixed February 20 for hearing in the case against the Clerk and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, over the suspension of Abdulmumini Jibrin.

Some constituents of Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency sued the Clerk and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, challenging the legality of suspending their member, Mr. Jibrin.

The counsel to the plaintiff, Bashir Muqaddam, had earlier applied for a date to enable him respond to the issues raised in the preliminary objection filed by the defence counsel.

According to him, the defence counsel wanted the consolidation of the two suits – the one filed by the constituency in Kano and the other filed by Mr. Jibrin in Abuja.

The counsel to the defence, Kalu Onuha, said he had no objection to the application for adjournment.

The judge, Sulaiman Akoko, said in the absence of objection to the application for adjournment, the case would come up again for hearing on February 20.

Mr. Muqaddam, the counsel to the plaintiffs, told journalists after the sitting that “when the case resumes on February 20, we are going to argue on the issue of consolidation as raised by the defence counsel.”

Security was tight as hundreds of protesters thronged the court with placards shouting “bring back our member and compensate him.”

Mr. Jibrin was on September 28, 2016, suspended for 180 legislative days.

His suspension followed the adoption of the recommendations of the Nicholas Ossai-led Ethics and Privileges Committee.

The report of the committee was adopted on Wednesday after it was debated on the floor.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara did not preside on the matter because he was one of those alleged by Mr. Jibrin for padding the 2016 budget.

The four recommendations were adopted at the Committee of the Whole House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.

Mr. Jibrin had alleged that Messrs. Dogara and Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority leader Leo Ogor and nine committee chairmen illegally inserted fictitious projects into the 2016 Budget.

Mr. Jibrin was accused of bringing the House into disrepute with his utterances and action over the scandal.

The budget had been a subject of controversy with Executive accusing the National Assembly of tinkering with the original document submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Initially, both arms of the Assembly denied the allegation after the president rejected the approved appropriation bill.

He represented the bill to the National Assembly and in the process of cross checking, it was discovered that some items were removed.

The House of Representatives committee was found to have added constituency projects and alter some main projects of the executive.

Reps move to outlaw security orderlies for politicians

To check abuses, the House of Representatives yesterday sought the withdrawal of security orderlies from civilians.Adopting a motion by Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction at the manner officers were being used for undignified purposes.

He listed some of the misplaced activities to include assaulting, harassing and manhandling of innocent citizens, arguing unless they were withdrawn, the security personnel will keep constituting nuisance to the society.

Chinda named current political office holders, their predecessors and businessmen as categories of politicians perpetuating the abuses.The House, therefore, urged its committees on Army, Air force, Navy, Police and Interior to examine the concerns and report back in four weeks.

Also yesterday, the House honoured the military personnel fighting insurgency in the North East.Observing a minute silence for those killed as well as commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to restoration of normalcy in the region, the lower chamber of the National Assembly sought insurance cover and housing schemes for the military officers to compensate their gallantry.

Considering a motion by Mohammed Monguno and Abdussamad Dasuki, both APC representatives from Borno State, the lawmakers unanimously agreed on granting the incentives to the personnel through the Federal Ministry of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff for restoring the people’s confidence in the armed forces.

They also asked the House Committee on Defence to monitor developments in the rescued communities to avoid a relapse into the ugly scenarios of the past.They also urged the Federal Government to formulate policies aimed at safeguarding widows of fallen soldiers.

Reps threaten to order arrest of Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The House of Representatives on Thursday threatened to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, if he fails to appear before its Committee on Police Affairs on January 19.

This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Gabriel Onyenwife who condemned the continuous refusal of the I-G to honour invitations of the Committee.

The Committee is investigating alleged violation of the 2016 Appropriation Act by the Nigerian Police Force.

Moving the motion, Mr. Onyenwife noted that the police chief had failed to appear before the Committee to explain why the force diverted N1.2 billion approved for the purchase of 10 armoured personnel carriers.

He said that instead of using the approved sum to purchase the said carriers, the money was rather used for the purchase of 64 Toyota Hiace Commuter vehicles, without the approval of the National Assembly.

He also said that N6 billion was appropriated in the same act for rehabilitation of 102 police stations nationwide, but the amount was diverted for other uses.

“These infractions of the Appropriation Act 2016, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, and the Public Procurement Act 2007, are just two of the several infractions committed by the Nigeria Police Force in the course of implementation of the budget,” Mr. Onyenwife said.

According to him, the Committee on Police Affairs invited the police chief on December 6, 2016 and December 13, 2016 in his capacity as the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Force to explain or justify these perceived infractions.

“But he failed or refused to honour the invitations or justify his failure or refusal to attend,” Mr. Onyenwife stated.

The House, therefore, resolved to summon the I-G to appear before the Committee unfailingly on Thursday January 19. 2017, to justify the said infractions of the Appropriation Act 2016.

Reps to wade into FRCN edict on churches, mosques today

The House of Representatives is expected today to wade into the controversies arising from the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) law, which approves 20 years tenure in office for heads of churches and mosques.

The move to debate the development was brought to the floor of the House yesterday by its Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, who urged members to look into the law, which he said, was stirring up controversy and embarassment for the country.

He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to make the FRCN law clear to Nigerians, as it was not passed by the National Assembly.

Oke commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his quick action in stopping the impending crisis by sacking the FRCN boss and reconstituting the board.

He urged the government to face its duties of providing the needed social amenities for the people instead of dabbling in religious matters.

At a press conference yesterday in Ibadan, the cleric said that while government could regulate the finances of the church, it should not interfere in the tenure, activities or internal arrangements of the church.

He said: “The edict should be repealed. There is a separation between the church and the government, yet the government can regulate their finances but not to interfere in the tenure of the leaders of the church. The law should not just be suspended but be expunged totally.

“Even in the United Kingdom (UK), the government regulates the finances but does not regulate the tenure and internal arrangement. The internal arrangement should be governed by the constitutions of those religious houses. The constitution separates the religious bodies from the government.

Meanwhile, a group, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), has called on Pastor Enoch Adeboye to rescind his resignation as the General Overseer (G.O.) of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

A statement issued yesterday by the Executive Director of the Abuja-based human rights group, Mr. Frank Tietie, said CASER would seek a court order to compel Adeboye to reverse his decision should the “holy man of God” refuse to voluntarily do so.

He said the group was acting, not only in the interest of members of the RCCG, but also of the church generally.

Falcons: Reps Berate Dalung, NFF

Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday condemned the “unsavoury treatment” meted out  to the Super Falcons by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, and the Nigerian Football Federation by failing to pay their bonuses and allowances.

The team defeated hosts Cameroon 1-0 in the final of the 2016  African Women’s  Cup of Nations  in Yaounde on December 3 to win the title for the eighth  time.

However, the players  were not paid their allowances, a development which forced them to resort to  protests in Abuja.

The team also refused to vacate their hotel, insisting that they would not leave until they had been paid.

Only on Wednesday, they stormed the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly to protest against the non-payment of their entitlements.

This prompted the Presidency to direct that the allowances of the players should be paid without further delay.

At its sitting on Thursday, the House condemned Dalung and the NFF, saying that their actions  had brought shame upon Nigeria.

A former Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Sports, Mrs. Ayo Omidiran,  sponsored a motion on the burning issue.

Describing the players  as “patriotic”, she said they answered the national call on the belief that they would be paid after the championship, but were disappointed.

Omidiran, who is from Osun State, spoke more, “For the past two weeks, the space has been filled with the cries of these ladies.

“Has it become a crime to make your country proud? What makes it more painful is the fact that the Cameroonian girls, who came second, were celebrated by their President (Paul Biya).

“These girls are not asking for anything extraordinary, but the allowances owed them from the qualifiers till they won the trophy.”

Another member from Edo State, Mr. Sergius Ose-Ogun, noted that there was something wrong with the Nigerian attitude to things.

He said, “It is not only in sports, Mr. Speaker. Even in the civil service, workers retire after 35 years and they are not paid their dues.

“Why did they have to subject these girls to so much pain?There is an evil spirit in this country, which must die.”

The Deputy House Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyeama, told the House that Nigeria would have been saved from the disgrace by simply declining to participate in the championship.

“This is a major disgrace and I don’t know how to explain it,” Onyeama observed.

A member from Borno State, Mr. Mohammed Nur-Sheriff, revealed that there was more rot in the sports ministry than Nigerians knew.

Credit: punchng

#2017Budget: House of Reps Speaker Dogara’s remark


It is a great honour and privilege for me on behalf of our colleagues in the National Assembly to also welcome Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and his entourage to the National Assembly, on the occasion of the presentation of the 2017 Budget estimates.

2.     We give special thanks to all members of the National Assembly here present for according Mr President and his entourage a warm reception. To the management and staff of the National Assembly ably led by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, our sincere thanks for organising this ceremony. Our thanks also go to all other participants, especially the media for their support, cooperation and understanding.

3.     We thank Mr President for the lofty goals enshrined in the Budget document just presented which is designed to take Nigeria out of economic recession and achieve significant economic growth for our nation.

4.     Mr President, Commander in Chief and my colleagues, I seek your indulgence to make a few remarks on the budget process, procedure and practice in Nigeria.

5.     It is certainly frustrating that we go through the annual Budget cycle/process: of Budget presentation by Mr President, processing of same by the National Assembly, passage and signing into law every year, without unlocking the full potentials of such Budgets for our citizens. This is because implementation and execution of the agreed Budget is always a major challenge year in year out. Sometimes, implementation rate is as low as 30%, most times it is never higher than 50% at the best of times. This has led to unacceptably high rate of abandonment of projects and distortions in Nigeria’s economic planning. Of course, this is an inherited problem for Mr President as he has only effectively passed through one Budget cycle.

6.     As I counseled last year, an Appropriation Act must be allowed to run for an uninterrupted period of twelve months, for the Executive to have enough time to execute it. This means that both Mr. President and the National Assembly must find a way to continue the execution of the 2016 Budget especially the capital component till May 6, 2017, which is twelve months from the date Mr President signed the 2016 Appropriation Bill. This is also the clear intendment of the definition of a Financial Year in Section 318 of the Constitution. The problem is that most often the recurrent component of the Budget is implemented to an appreciable level, but the capital component execution is very low.  It is crystal clear that the capital component of the 2016 Budget cannot realistically be implemented for only six months period considering the time required for procurement processes and the raising of the revenue including loans by government. Except something is done, this will result in yet another failed budget. A vicious cycle repeated every year. We must therefore put on our thinking caps and ensure that the change promised Nigerians is reflected in our budget process, as we cannot really make appreciable progress as a nation without significant implementation of the Capital component of the Budget.

7.     Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, kindly join me in urging Mr President to add distorted budget cycle and abandoned capital projects /white elephant projects, to the list of things, in addition to corruption, that he must kill.  This calls for creativity which cannot be realised if we do not lose our fear of being wrong. By being creative in this area, Mr President will build a new order that makes the existing order obsolete. There is no better way by which real change is attained.

8.     The real challenge before us is to make our annual budgets work for all our citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerable. This is a task all of us must be supremely devoted to. It was President J.F Kennedy, who in his timeless and resonating admonishment to the rich and powerful reminded us that, “if the society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. Sadly, this is fast becoming true of our society right now.

9.     In conclusion, let me, on behalf of my colleagues reassure Mr President of our continued cooperation and partnership in all measures proposed to revamp our economy and put smiles on the faces of our people. As representatives of our people, history will judge us harshly if we act as a stumbling block on the part of progress for our dear nation.

10.     May I, once again, thank everyone here for the many sacrifices that culminated into this huge success which we have all witnessed today. Let me, in advance and in arrears, wish all December Babies (beginning from Mr President, the President of the Senate and my humble self) Happy Birthday. For those of us who are not fortunate to have been born in December, I wish us all Merry Christmas and Happy New year in advance.

11.     May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Reps Probe Oil Firms Over N500bn Debt To PPMC

The House of Representatives yesterday commenced the probe of Oando Oil and Total Oil over N500 billion debts the two companies and many others owe the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).

The probe also covers companies such as Forte Oil, Conoil, Mobil Oil, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, MRS Oil and Gas, Heyden Petroleum, Rahamaniyya Petroleum, Amicable Petroleum, Aiteo Petroleum, Honeywell Oil, Capital Oil, Felande Petroleum, Sharon Oil and Zamson Petroleum among others.

Inaugurating the ad-hoc panel on the probe in Abuja, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the committee was expected to make findings that would lead to plugging loopholes in existing laws and practices in the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy.

“We expect that in no distant future, the committee will be inviting some companies and individuals to provide answers to questions as to what happened to the downstream sector. We hope that this committee will conduct its affairs in a serious and corrupt-free manner as the house will not tolerate any evidence of undue influence or improper conduct,” the speaker said.

Chairman of the panel, Abdullahi Gaya (APC, Kano) said “The economy in the present time calls for our concerted efforts to move it forward in the right direction. In numerous ways, members of the present National Assembly have carefully thought out solutions to this challenge and have risen to the occasion.”

Credit: dailytrust

Reps to investigate GOTV licence

The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to investigate the licence status of GOTV in the provision of digital terrestrial television services in Nigeria.

The committee is also to engage the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to enforce the pay-per view scheme on the digital television broadcasting service providers for the benefit of Nigerians.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion titled “Call for Investigation of the License Status of GOTV in the Provision of Digital Terrestrial Television Services in Nigeria’’, sponsored by Jones Onyereri (PDP-Imo).

Moving the motion, Mr. Onyereri argued that GOTV does not possess the licence to provide digital terrestrial television services in Nigeria.

He said that “Details Nigeria Limited” was the company which obtained a Digital Mobile TV (DSTV MOBILE) for 10 Nigerian cities in 2007.

“However, the licence granted to Details Nigeria Limited was converted by GOTV to provide digital terrestrial television through a high-tech manoeuvre without due process and in violation of the provisions of the law,” Mr. Onyeriri said.

According to him, the National Broadcasting Commission is empowered to regulate the operations of Radio and Television stations, including Cable Television Services, direct broadcasting and any other medium of broadcasting in Nigeria.

“Section 2 (1) (g) of the Act empowers the Commission to receive processes and consider applications for the establishment, ownership or operations of radio and television stations in Nigeria.

“The section of the Act specifically empowers the Commission to control and regulate the operations as well as upholding the principles of equity and fairness in the broadcasting industry.

“In violation of the Act, GOTV, a subsidiary of Multi-Choice Nigeria, started operations of Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting in April 2012 at Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos without passing through the due process of bidding for the private signal distribution.

“Nigerians are made to pay for what they do not consume through the monthly subscription scheme presently obtainable in the service charges of major Digital Television Broadcasting service providers like DSTV, Star times and GOTV.

“This is as against the pay per view scheme obtainable in other countries like USA, UK, Brazil, France, and even South Africa,” Mr. Onyereri said.

The committee was given eight weeks to carry out the investigation and report back to the House for further legislative action.

Immunity clause is no go area in constitution review – Reps

The House of Representatives’ Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has said it would not recommend the removal of the immunity clause that shield the president and state governors from prosecution while in office.

The Chairman of the committee, Yusuff Lasun, at a press conference Saturday night in Abeokuta said his committee considered the provision “a no go area”.

?Mr. Lasun, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House, was in the Ogun State capital for a three-day retreat of the committee, entitled “The Imperatives of Constitution Review/Amendment in Nation Building.”

He said there was nothing wrong with the immunity clause as it does not shield the beneficiaries from prosecution after they leave office but only protects them from likely distractions of civil litigation.

Mr. Lasun said to remove the clause as being canvassed by some Nigerians could result in distracting the president and governors from proper administration of the country and states.

“There is nothing wrong in the immunity that is already in the Constitution because it doesn’t say that the person cannot be prosecuted after he has left the office,” he said.

“The maximum (number of) years a governor stays in office is eight years and whatever offence that he might have committed while in office will still be fresh.

“What people must do is to bring out such offences when the governor has left office. So it is about institutions and individuals being lazy, nothing is shielding anybody from being prosecuted after leaving office,” Mr. Lasun said.

He said the committee already looked at the report of the 2014 National Conference and picked recommendations it considered relevant to the current efforts at amending the constitution.

The deputy speaker disclosed that the novel thing about the ongoing amendments, which he referred to as “the fifth alteration,” is that it would not be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari as a single bill for his assent as was the case with the fourth amendment by the 7th National Assembly during the last administration, “where both the bad and good aspects of the amendments were rejected by the then President because all came in one single package”.

Mr. Lasun said presenting amendments as separate single bills would “save time, remove all forms of technicalities and help the President to know what to give assent or not, instead of the previous pattern of throwing away both the baby and the bath water”.

He listed 14 resolutions as basis for the amendment of the constitution, including areas already reviewed by the 7th Assembly.

Some of these included separation of the offices of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice; financial and administrative autonomy for local government councils; and establishment of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government.

Others are authorisation of expenditure, devolution of power/legislative lists, electoral matters, new states and boundary adjustment, among others.

Mr. Lasun lamented that state governors had rendered local governments redundant by starving them of funds meant for development.

“All over the world, the centre of development has been found to be at the grassroots because we are talking about people who form small components of the society, from the family to the compound, to the villages down to the towns.

“We have discovered that over time local governments are no longer existing, it is not even a question of whether elections are conducted or not, but we have considered that states will not be able to access local government money any longer if there are no elected officials at the local governments.

“That is part of the alteration that we are going to do. If you don’t have any elected local government officials, we will make sure that you don’t get the money of such local government.”

Mr. Lasun said he was confident that the amendment bills would be ready for the President’s assent before the end of his second year in office.

Reps seek suspension of ban on land border-imported cars

The House of Representatives yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the ban on the importation of new and used cars through Nigeria’s land borders.


According to the lawmakers, the policy is too harsh and will put more pressure on Nigerians who are already groaning under the prevailing recession.


The decision followed the adoption of a motion by Abdullahi Salame (APC, Sokoto) who said the percentage of Nigerians who could afford cars had declined drastically.

He explained that the decline in the value of the naira, inflation, unemployment and the high cost of living had also made things difficult for the people. 

He added that over 80 per cent of the population at present lives below $200 a day.


The ban, announced on December 5, 2016 by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), takes effect from January 1, 2017.


Salame said the Federal Government’s similar ban on rice through the land borders in April 2016, had led to untold hardship on the people.

Healthcare: Reps ask NHIS to halt payment to HMOs

The House of Representatives on Thursday called on the National Health Insurance, NHIS, to put on hold further quarterly release of funds to the Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, pending the outcome of investigation.

The House also mandated its Committee on Health Care Services to commence investigation into the activities of the HMOs and healthcare providers for the past eight years.

This is with a view to identifying their level of compliance with the relevant provisions of the Act and determine the reasons for the alleged poor state of services to the enrolees.

The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to investigate the compliance rate of funds by the healthcare providers and inhuman treatment of enrolees, moved by Chike Okafor (APC-Imo).

Leading the debate, Mr. Okafor noted that the NHIS was set up to provide health care for Nigerians at affordable cost through various pre-payment systems.

The lawmaker also noted that one of the cardinal responsibilities of the scheme was to maintain high health care standard to beneficiaries.

He expressed dismay that enrolees were being short changed and used as conduit pipes to raise money for the HMO’s and healthcare providers.

The lawmaker said, “Enrolees are treated like lepers while trying to access the services; many strategies have been adopted by healthcare providers and HMOs to deprive them their right to quality treatment and attention.”

Mr. Okafor claimed that the HMOs had received over N351 billion from the scheme since its inception in 2005.

“It is regrettable to realize that the service covers less than four per cent of Nigerians and there are reports of alleged diversion of contributions amounting to billions of naira.’’

He further revealed that the scheme paid HMOs three months upfront to enable them provide timely and qualitative health care services to enrolees.

The lawmaker, however, noted that ”the reverse is the case as enrolees are being short changed and the services remain poor.

The Committee on Health Care Services is expected to report its findings to the House within four weeks.

Suspend Ban On Vehicle Imports Through Land Borders, Reps Tell FG

The House of Representatives, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to suspend the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders in Nigeria.

Consequently, the lawmakers, at plenary, mandated the Committees on Governmental Affairs and Customs and Excise to ensure implementation and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative input.

This development was based on a motion, entitled ‘’Need to suspend The Ban On Importation of Vehicles Through Land Borders, promoted by Abdulahi Salame, APC, Sokoto. Meantime, stakeholders in the maritime industry were divided on the issue, yesterday.

While some supported the ban, others kicked against it. Salame, in his presentation, argued that those making these policies have failed to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods, especially Nigerian assembled vehicles, which are, in any case unaffordable for 80 percent of Nigerians.

He said: “The percentage of Nigerians who can afford cars has declined drastically, following the decline in the value of the Naira, rising inflation, unemployment and high cost of living that have bedeviled Nigeria where over 80 per cent of Nigerians live below $2 a day. “The Federal Government has powers under Section 18 of the Customs and Excise Management Act to restrict the movement of goods into and out of Nigeria by land or inland waters and to appoint customs stations.

‘’However, similar exercise of such powers on rice importation through the land borders in April 2016, has occasioned untold hardship on Nigerians, as a bag of rice now sells for between N20,000 and N23,000, against N8,000 a few months ago.

“As it is now, the government has not put in place alternative measures to ensure that Nigerians will have access to cars since it is cheaper to buy cars from neighbouring countries and still generate revenue by ensuring that our borders are secured to prevent smuggling, and also that there will be no job losses.’’
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Reps move to impose time limit on appointment of Ministers

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed for second reading a bill proposing that nomination for appointment of ministers should not be later than 30 days from when the president takes oath of office.

The bill also seeks to provide that nomination of commissioners shall be made not later than 30 days from the date a governor is sworn in.

Presenting the bill, Solomon Adaelu (PDP-Abia), said that the need to ensure improved efficiency in governance prompted the amendment bill which sought to alter sections 147 and 192.

According him, sections 147 and 192 of the Constitution are not explicit as to when the president or governors are to make the nominations for appointment of ministers and commissioners.

“Consequently, it is feasible and practically necessary to impose a constitutional time limit for a president to present nominated ministers and their portfolios to the Senate.

“Preferably, 30 days’ time limit after swearing in will be ideal as it provides sufficient time for the president to settle down into governance and carry out final vetting of his nominations.

“And also ensure that the running of governance is not necessarily delayed or held up by the absence of ministers to run the various government departments,’’ Mr. Adaelu said.

He emphasised that experience from other developed countries show that the president already had clear nomination list prior to swearing-in.

“And this is forwarded to the parliament within a short time of inauguration.

“This practice should be constitutionally mandated in Nigeria to improve the efficiency of governance upon a change in government.

“The experience of 2015 whereby it took almost four months after swearing in for the president to forward nominated names to the legislature resulted in a serious setback for governance.

“This adversely affected the serious handling of pressing national issues in the country; this must be prevented by constitutionally imposing time limit,’’ Mr. Adaelu said.

He said that attaching portfolios would facilitate effective screening and deliberation by the legislature on the competence of the nominated person for the particular role he would play in government.

“This will greatly reduce the fixing of round pegs in square holes which is the bane of governance in Nigeria.

“The discretion of the president to assign people to whatever department he deems fit after screening by the legislature is unhealthy as the legislature will not be able to adequately assess his suitability for that role,” Mr. Adaelu said.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, referred the bill to special ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review.

Reps set aside Jibrin’s suspension — just for one day

The house of representatives has passed a resolution allowing Abdulmumin Jibrin into the national assembly premises for the purpose of defending himself before the ethics and privileges committee, following fresh petitions against him.

Jibrin was suspended for 180 legislative days on September 24 over an alleged breach of legislators privileges arising from the budget padding allegations he levelled against Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.

But in a motion on Wednesday, Ossai Ossai, chairman of the ethics committee, said he was in receipt of two fresh petitions against Jibrin.

“The committee on ethics and privileges has commenced investigations into the petitions and seeks the indulgence of the house to invite Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, on grounds of fair hearing, to be allowed into the precincts of the house for the purpose of the defending the allegations contained in the petitions,” the legislator told the house.

He said the petitions received against Jibrin were on his absenteeism and poor representation of his constituency of Kiru/Bebeji in Kano state and for operating foreign accounts which was in violation of the 1999 constitution.

Contributing to the debate, Aliyu Madaki, a legislator from Kano, said since he had been suspended there was no need to consider the motion.

“Jibrin is not my friend but let us do the right thing. He has been suspended for one year; why are we considering this then? Let the court case take its course,” Madaki said.

Also speaking, Dogara said the matter in court did not have anything to do with absenteeism or the foreign accounts said to be operated by Jibrin.

“We don’t know of any case in court as regards operating of foreign accounts or absenteeism, but this is in line with fairing hearing and I think that is why the motion is here,” the speaker said.

The house adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by Dogara.

Reps move to separate AGF from Justice Minister

The House of Representatives on Tuesday moved to separate the office of Attorney-General of the Federal, AGF, from that of Minister of Justice.

The move followed the second reading of a Bill for an Act to alter the 1999 constitution to introduce the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation separate from the Minister of Justice.

Presenting the Bill, Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), said that if passed, it would emphasise the independence of the AGF’s office and ensure it was not subjected to political consideration.

Mr. Monguno said that separation of the AGF’s office would allow for effective separation of power, adding that the two offices would be given the necessary environment to function optimally.

Mr. Monguno said, “The Attorney-General of the Federation, being the Chief Law Officer is empowered in Section 150 and 195 respectively of the 1999 Constitution to enter nolle prosequi.”

Nolle prosequi is an entry on the record of a legal action that denotes that the prosecutor or plaintiff will proceed no further in an action of suit either as a whole or as to some count or as to one or more of several defendants.

The lawmaker added that, “The power can only be exercised if office is free from any political interference.

“The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is such an office that should be seen to be Independent and not be subjected to some political consideration,

“His appointment should be seen to meet some standard in legal profession.

“The fact (is) that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) performs some quasi judicial functions hence, the need for the office to be separated from the Minister of or Commissioner for Justice.”

According to him, the AGF is the chief law officer of the federation and advises the government whether at the federal or state levels on matters relating to law generally.

“Whereas, the office of the minister of or commissioner for justice is political in nature, if read alongside other ministers or commissioners.

Mr. Monguno further advised that the office of the AGF should be based on merit and competence and the National Judicial Council be involved.

“It should be shielded from the vicissitudes of political influence”.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, referred the bill to the special adhoc committee on constitutional review for further legislative action.

House of Reps to investigate death of NYSC member

The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the death of Rachael Oladepo, a corps member at the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Orientation Camp in Kano.

The resolution of the House followed a motion by Olufemi Fakeye (Osun), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.

Moving the motion, Mr. Fakeye expressed concern over the media reports, last week, on the demise of Ms. Oladepo while at the Kano orientation camp.

He noted that Ms. Oladepo, before her demise, was aged 26, a first class graduate in Aviation Transport Management of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho and a native of Osun.

Mr. Fakeye explained that Ms. Oladepo became sick few days after she reported at the orientation camp on November 25 and reported her condition to the camp authorities.

The lawmaker further informed the house that the late Ms. Oladepo was admitted at the camp clinic under the supervision of an NYSC doctor, supported by NYSC nurses.

Mr. Fakeye further expressed concern that the camp clinic might not have been adequately equipped adding that the late Ms. Oladepo was reportedly given “placebo”.

Placebo is a pill or substance given to patient like a drug but has no physical effect on the patient.

He explained that Ms. Oladepo was later injected with some substances which he said worsened her health condition.

Mr. Fakeye said that because Ms. Oladepo’s medical condition did not improve many hours after being admitted at the clinic, she was ‘’belatedly evacuated’’ to another hospital where she reportedly died.

Contributing to the motion, the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, described the death of Ms. Oladepo as “one death too many’’, a development he said should not be overlooked.

He said that all involved in ‘’the negligence of the act’’ should be made to appear before the Committees on Healthcare Services, Youths Development and Justice.

Mr. Gbajabiamila called on the management of NYSC to work with state governments for the provision of better health care services in all the NYSC camps in the country.

The House also resolved that health insurance be provided for all youth corps members in the country.

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, therefore, referred the motion to the committees concerned for compliance and report back to the House within four weeks.

The House observed a minute silence for the souls of the departed corps members.

Reps Summon NYSC Director General Over Death Of Corps Members

The House or Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brig. General Sule Zakari Kazaure, to appear before its ad-hoc committee investigating  the death of three corps members at the NYSC orientation camps.

Majority leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while contributing the a motion sponsored by the member representing Boluwaduro/Ifedayo/Illa federal constituency of the state of Osun, Olufemi Fakeye, suggested that the NYSC management should liaise with the 36 state governments to construct permanent orientation camps in the states with a fully equipped medical centre.

Gbajabiamila also stated that all youths Corps members should be enrolled under a health insurance scheme for the one year period of NYSC.

He stated that expenses towards the above improvement to the NYSC scheme should be captured in the 2017 budget.

Fakeye in his motion titled ‘Unfortunate and Avoidable Death of late Miss. Ifedolapo Racheal Oledepo, a Corps meber at the Kano state Orientation Camp,’  noted that the demise of the 26 years old first class graduate of Aviation and Transport Management of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology was avoidable.

He stated that the deceased was sick a few days after she reported to the Orientation Camp and promptly reported the condition to camp authorities.

He added that the authorities initially thought she feigned the sickness in order to dodge the routine strenuous exercises which is part of cap activities.

He stated further that although the deceased was eventually admitted to the camp clinic under the supervision of NYSC doctor supported by NYSC nurses, the camp clinic may not be adequate.

“The camp clinic may not have been adequately equipped, as the late Ifedayo was reportedly give some “Placebo” and later injected with some substance, following which a lot of rashes manifested all over her body and her tongue became twisted.

He however suggested that Corps members should be allowed to have adequate rest at the orientation camps and the rigours of camp exercise be relapsed.



Reps support bill seeking to establish Christian court.

The house of representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to alter the 1999 constitution to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical court of appeal in the country.


While speaking on the floor of the house on Tuesday, Gyang Dung, sponsor of the bill, explained that it would provide for functions, jurisdiction, qualifications and appointments in spiritual matters as regards the church.


He also said the amendment to the constitution was in accordance with Section 37 of the same, which provides for freedom of thought and religion.


“This will take care of the appointment of cardinals, the jurisdiction of this appellate court will supervise ecclesiastical matters in Christian law,” he said.


“This amendment will widen the scope of jurisdiction and adjudication in the country.”


The house passed the bill for the second time after it was put to a voice vote by Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.


Dogara further referred the bill to the special ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution.

Reps Moves To Bar Acting President, Governor From Second Term

A Bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution and limit the tenure of an acting president or governor to a single term, passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The amendment bill is sponsored by the deputy speaker and chairman, Special House Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Yussuff Lasun.

The bill provides that no person who had held office of president or governor of a state, or acted as president or governor of a state for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected president or governor, shall be elected to the office of president or governor of a state more than once.

The aim of the bill? is to give constitutional protection to the two term tradition as contemplated by virtue of the combined provisions of sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Constitution.

These sections provide that the president and governor of a state shall serve in those capacities for a maximum period of eight years.

“However, the Constitution equally envisaged circumstances where a person can be chosen to act as president or state governor, such as when the president or a governor resigns, dies or is impeached,” Mr. Lasun said.

If passed, an acting president or acting governor who served for more than two years in a four-year term, shall only be eligible to contest election to the same office only once.

Such law would have prevented former president Goodluck Jonathan from seeking a second term in 2015.

Mr. Jonathan took over as acting president in 2010 after serving as Vice President since 2007.

This proposed amendment, the deputy speaker said, was inspired by the 22nd amendment to the constitution of the United States of America.

It provides that “no person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice.

“And no person who has held the office of president or acted as president for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected president shall be elected to the office of president more than once,” Mr. Lasun added.

Credit: NAN

Reps want CJN empowered to pick election petition tribunal chairmen

The house of representatives on Wednesday passed for second reading a bill seeking to make the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) responsible for appointing chairman and members of election tribunals of the national and states houses of assembly in the country.


The bill, sponsored by Karimi Sunday and James Faleke, sought to alter Section 1 (3) of the sixth schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended.


Faleke told the house that the amendment was necessary to ensure checks and balances.


“The bill seeks to ensure that we have check and balances,” he said.


“The president of the court of appeal is in charge of setting up the election tribunals and at the same time constitutes appeal panels; this will ensure checks and balances.”


The house adopted the bill for second reading after it was put to a voice vote by Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.


Dogara further referred the bill to the special ad hoc committee reviewing the 1999 constitution.

Reps Want Fuel Sold At N70 Per Litre

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to review the current price template for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with a view to reducing the price to N70.

This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Abubaker Fulata titled “Urgent Need to Review the Petroleum Price Template”.

Moving the motion, Fulata expressed dismay over the circulating rumour of a possible hike in the price of petrol in the country. Although the rumour was denied by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Fulata said it was coming at a time when the nation is going through difficult times.

According to him, the hard times are occasioned by dwindling revenues, high inflation rate, unemployment and general fall in the standard of living of many Nigerians. The lawmaker noted that the current template for the price of PMS could be reviewed downwards without affecting the profit margin of marketers and transporters.

The review would also contribute to reducing the current inflationary trend in the economy. “I am aware that the current cost of freighting PMS stands at N109.1, Lightering expenses N4.56, Nigeria Ports Authority charges N0.84, NIMASA charges N0.22, Financing N2.51 and Jetty put charges at N0.60.

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You’re Grandfather Of Corruption, House of Reps Fires Back at Obasanjo.

Members of the House of Representatives have described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the grandfather and architect of corruption in the National Assembly when he was Nigeria’s president.
The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on media and publicity, Abdulrasak Namdas, offered the description when he addressed reporters at the National Assembly in Abuja in reaction to a statement credited to Mr. Obasanjo to the effect that the National Assembly was Nigeria’s most corrupt organ of government.

In addition to characterizing Mr. Obasanjo as the grandfather of corruption, the legislator stated that the former head of state was responsible for introducing corruption into the affairs of the National Assembly. Mr. Namdas also accused former President Obasanjo of constituting himself into a permanent opposition figure to every government, adding that the ex-president was out to pull down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Below is the full text of Mr. Namdas’ statement:

1. Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a lecture he delivered recently, wherein, in his characteristic manner, [he] accused everybody but himself of corruption.
2. He ventured to accuse the National Assembly of budget padding, accused the House of criminal activities of threatening the life of a “whistleblower”, lampooned constituency projects which he approved as President, ventured to discuss the budget of National Assembly which is highly underfunded.

3. The House of Representatives would ordinarily not join issues with the former President as he has held an office that deserves respect and reverence. However, because of the material misstatement of facts, outright lies and falsehoods, and mischievous innuendo introduced in his statement, we are left with no option but to correct him.

4. We have repeatedly maintained that there was no “padding” of the 2016 Appropriation Act, which is a legitimate document passed by the National Assembly, authenticated by the Clerkto the National Assembly as provided in the Acts Authentication Act and assented to by Mr. President. It is most unfortunate that a former President of Chief Obasanjo’s stature would allow himself to be hoodwinked and procured by a renegade member of the House, who embarked on massive propaganda and lies just because he was removed from office. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no crime that was committed by the National Assembly by exercising its constitutional function of appropriation. If Chief Obasanjo has an issue with the execution of the 2016 Budget or indeed other Appropriation Acts, he should direct his anger elsewhere.

5. He claimed that the National Assembly Budget is very high, when by all standards, the National Assembly is grossly underfunded and is hampered from effectively and legitimately carrying out its Constitutionally assigned functions. The National Assembly Budget funds a bureaucracy of about 5,000 civil servants. It has some other agencies under its preview such as the National Assembly Service Commission with its own staff of about 500, even the Public Complaints Commission is now a parastatal of the National Assembly. National Assembly Budget also funds the National Institute for Legislative Studies, which is a legislative think-tank and highly rated academic institution that serves both National and State Houses of Assembly and even international legislators. All these agencies also have their capital budget including development of their headquarters, procurement of office equipment, procurement of regular items for running their offices; the National Assembly maintain legislative aides of about 3,000 in number, that aid the work of the Assembly; it also conducts regular public hearings involving the media and stakeholders and oversight activities, involving huge sums of money. The cost implications of running the National Assembly is high because of the nature of our Presidential democracy.Then of course, there are 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives, that require proper equipment to function effectively. They require adequate travel and transport support to carry out legislative functions. The National Assembly also has buildings and offices to build and maintain. National Assembly staff and members attend conferences, trainings, seminars to keep abreast of legislative developments worldwide. The activities are very encompassing and expensive.

6. It is also unbecoming of a former President to quote figures of sums of money that are factually incorrect. No member of the House of Representatives receives N10m every month. The salaries and allowances of members of the House are as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).Of course further sums of money are spent as running costs, that is, the cost of running the office of a member. If a Minister, Chief Executive or Director in a Ministry travels on official duties, for instance, do you include the cost of his ticket and accommodation as part of his salary or allowances? Does the cost of stationeries and maintenance of equipment like computers used in their offices, form part of their salaries and allowances? These are some of the costs that must be taken care of by the National Assembly and the media calls these costs “jumbo pay”. For goodness sake, the National Assembly is an arm of government, not just an ordinary agency of government.

The Budget of many agencies in the Executive Branchare indeed higher than the current Budget of the National Assembly that is an arm of government. Examples abound, CBN, NNPC, NCC etc. Allowances paid to even junior staff of some of these government agencies cannot be compared to what members of National Assembly enjoy.

7. Undoubtedly, the former President Obasanjo is understandably angry with the National Assembly as an institution having foiled his ambition for athird-term in office even after trying to corrupt the members with a bribe of at least N50m each. Lest we forget, the person who introduced corruption to the National Assembly is Chief Olesugn Obasanjo. He birthed the 4th Republic National Assembly with corrupt practices from day one; indeed the first day of the Republic. He bribed both PDP, ANPP and AD legislators on their inauguration in 1999 to vote against the majority candidate of PDP, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. That was how Senator Evan Enwerem became Senate President.

Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some Honourable members to impeach Speaker,Rt. Hon. Ghali N’abba?

Have we forgotten that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo used his position as President to extort money from businessmen and contractors with his government to build his presidential library?
The list of his corrupt acts while in office is endless. Unquestionably, he is the greatest corrupt person ever to hold office in Nigeria. He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or indeed abuse of office in Nigeria as he remains the most corrupt Nigerian on record.

8. It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments. He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he did it to Gen. Buhari, he did same to Gen. Babangida, he attempted to bring down Gen. Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason; he made frantic efforts to derail the government of PresidentYa’ardua when he couldn’t use him. He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he refused to take dictation, he turned against him. He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government.

9. The way Chief Obasanjo talksgives the impression that he is a lifetime opposition leader who has never held any office. What did he do about the issues he raised in his 8 years as President?

10. This is a man with unlimited access to President Buhari. Or is it because he has not appointed all his cronies as requested? We may never know. Hisstuck in trade is blackmail, subversion and treachery.

11. We wish him well.

Reps orders FCT to stop demolishing small shops in Abuja

The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, to commence the review of Abuja master plan to reflect the current social, economic and demographic realities.

The House also urged the Minister to direct the FCT Development Control to stop the demolition of small and medium businesses within the capital city, pending the outcome of engagement with the House Committee on FCT.

The resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by Rep. Nnenna Ukeje (Abia- PDP).

Moving the motion, Mrs. Ukeje said UN report a said that between 2000 and 2010, Abuja experienced 139.7 per cent growth, making it the fastest growing city in the world at a population of 3 million people.

According to her, further annual growth of 35 per cent due in part to urban drift, migration due to insecurity, economic and social migration has left the population of Abuja hovering at about 6.5 million people, projected to hit 10 million in 2018.

She said “there have been repeated calls for review of the Abuja master plan as stipulated, to reflect present day realities as the present situation has ambushed the city’s dream.

“Certain deviations to the original plan such as NNPC plaza, military barracks, Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Asokoro express way, drainage infractions in Apo area have significantly altered the Abuja master plan.

“These remain unchecked as they have been explained to be expedient at the time.

“We watch with dismay as small and medium businesses become focus of demolition exercise,’’ Mrs. Ukeje said.

She expressed concern that figures released this week by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the country was moving from recession to depression following consecutive quarters of negative growth.

The lawmaker said that the Federal Government needed to create 30 million jobs to cater for the teeming population.

The House mandated its Committee on FCT to engage the Minister of FCT and relevant agencies of the ministry and report back to it in two weeks.

Reps hit back at “greatly corrupt” Obasanjo, say ex-president plotting to derail Buhari

The Nigerian House of Representatives on Thursday described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the “most corrupt” Nigerian on the record.

The lawmakers said the “greatly corrupt” and “morally bankrupt” former leader is effectively plotting to derail the government of Muhammadu Buhari in the same manner he allegedly did to successive presidents since 1979.

“It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments,” House spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas, said in a statement Thursday.

“He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He did it to Gen. Buhari. He did same to Gen. Babangida. He attempted to bring down Gen. Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason.

“He made frantic efforts to derail the government of President Ya’ardua when he couldn’t use him. He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he refused to take dictation, he turned against him.

“He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government,” the lawmakers said.

The House was responding to the former president’s stinging criticism of the level of corruption in the National Assembly.

At a forum on Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo said the National Assembly had become “a den of corruption” controlled by “a gang of unarmed robbers.”

The former president also backed the campaign of Abdulmumin Jibrin, a whistleblowing lawmaker who was suspended in September.

Mr. Obasanjo also called on President Buhari to end the corruption in the National Assembly with a clampdown similar to the one against senior judicial officers last month.

“If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary?” Mr. Obasanjo queried.

The House responded to the attacks on Thursday afternoon through its spokesman, Mr. Namdas.

Mr. Namdas said Mr. Obasanjo lacked the moral authority to speak against corruption, adding that his allegations were devoid of any credibility.

“He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or indeed abuse of office in Nigeria,” Mr. Namdas said in a statement.

Mr. Namdas said Nigerians would not forget in a hurry the loads of cash Mr. Obasanjo allegedly bribed members of the House of Representatives to impeach a former Speaker, Ghali Na’Abba.

“Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some honourable members to impeach Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ghali Na’Abba?” Mr. Namdas queried.

Touts have hijacked collection of taxes, levies in Abuja – Reps

Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday raised alarm over indiscriminate collection of taxes and levies by unscrupulous individuals across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, warning undiscerning residents not to fall prey to swindlers.


These dubious elements, the lawmakers said, have taken over the role of FCT Internal Revenue Service and now parade themselves as genuine staff of the tax collection office.


The awareness was contained in a motion of urgent national concern raised by Emmanuel Oker-Jev at the resumed plenary Thursday.


Mr. Oker-Jev, from Benue State, said fraudsters have been collecting revenues from Abuja residents for several months.


The lawmaker said the crooks have become so brazen in their rackets that they now write tax and levies invoices to residents. In some cases, those who fail to pay bills are being thrown out of their property by the touts.


Mr. Oker-Jev said the perpetrators of the brazen illegality are exploiting a 2015 approved list for tax collection around the nation’s capital to carry out their trade.


“The act pretends an affront on the FCT Inland Revenue Service Act and Tax Laws of the Federation,” Mr. Oker-Jev said in his prepared motion.


Other lawmakers who contributed to the motion blamed the FCT revenue office for failing to set up additional departments recommended by the House for collection of taxes and levies, giving the touts an opening to impersonate revenue officers.


Speaker Yakubu Dogara ruled that the motion was adopted and urged the House’s FCT Committee to find out why the city’s revenue office did not implement previous resolutions by the House on the matter.


The committee is expected to submit its report within four weeks.


In the interim, the House passed a resolution for residents around the FCT to disregard taxes and levies from the questionable individuals.

DSS raids: I didn’t move $2m from my house – Judge tells Reps

Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court Port-Harcourt Division has debunked claims that he moved $2 million from his official residence during a sting operation by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Liman said this at a public hearing conducted by the Hon. Garba Datti-led House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating cases of invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS, yesterday.

Liman said he was not the target of the raid.

Between October 7 and 8, DSS raided the homes of some senior judges, in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto states.

Justice Liman said his reputation degenerated by false reports emanating from the raid. This was even as he blamed a section of online media for reporting that he was the unnamed judge which the DSS said in its statement quickly moved money out of his home during its operation.

Liman also told the committee that it was Justice Uche Agomoh’s home that was the target of the Saturday, October 8 raid, which he said lasted from 1:00am to 4:00am.

“I must state categorically that the DSS did not come to my house, which is No. 33 but it was Justice Agomoh’s house they targeted. It was shocking and frightening when, on Saturday afternoon, the DSS released an official statement claiming to have attempted to search the house of an unnamed judge, who, when approached, resisted and mobilised thugs and with the assistance of Governor Nyesom Wike and the tacit support of a sister security organisation, removed $2 million which was stashed in his house to an unknown place…”

Another judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja who was arrested during the raid in Abuja, Nnamdi Dimgba who appeared at the hearing, however, said it would be prejudicial to speak on the matter.

Meanwhile, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who declared the hearing open stressed that the House was investigating the propriety, or otherwise, of operations conducted by the DSS, at the homes of judges and other alleged DSS invasion of Akwa Ibom State governor’s lodge and Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Dogara who was represented by the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, said the peobe will be useful should the National Assembly find reasons to amend the National Securities Agencies Act.

“It is critical that any investigation of this nature must have a legislative purpose as required by section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It is in this regard that I enjoin this committee to make relevant findings of fact that will enable the National Assembly initiate the necessary amendments to the National Security Agencies Act and even the Constitution, where necessary”.

But, a mild drama played out when chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, reversed his position that the DSS has the power to arrest judges over allegations of corruption as corrupt acts are a threat to national security.

Earlier, Saba cited section 2 sub section 3 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act Cap N74 which states that the DSS has powers of prevention, detention within Nigeria against the internal security of the country.

He further cited Section 4 and the provisions of subsection (1) (2) and (3) of the NSA Act, saying it shall have effect not withstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary or any other natter therein mentioned.

He also told the committee that the DSS didn’t need to give the National Judicial Council (NJC) prior notice before arresting the judges. He equally stated that the CCB has powers to investigate criminal allegations against judges, especially with regards to under-declaring or false declaration of assets.

But Saba chose to withdraw his statement when asked by committee members, Kingsley Chinda and Edward Pwajok to state categorically, if false declaration of assets by public officers threatened internal security of the country.

Explaining his role during the failed arrest of Justice Agomoh, Governor Wike blasted the DSS and described the episode as a “national tragedy,” adding that the DSS failed to observe the rule of law in conducting the Port-Harcourt raid.

According to the governor, the DSS operatives, one of who assaulted him, didn’t know where exactly they were headed to even as they conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner. The governor was represented by his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma.

Reps authorise Buhari to spend N208 billion on new projects

The House of Representatives has increased the N180 billion virement sought for by President Muhammadu Buhari to fund critical recurrent and capital items by N28 billion, taking it to N208.821 billion.

The president had written the National Assembly on October 26, seeking the approval of the legislature to vire N180.8 billion from the funds appropriated for special intervention in the 2019 budget.

Virement allows the government to transfer funds to new subheads different from what was approved.

The intervention is to fund critical recurrent and capital items.

The report of the House Committee on Appropriation was presented to the House on Wednesday by its Chairman, Mustapha Dawaki (APC- Kano).

The report showed that the request for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (foreign missions), increased from N14billion to N16.34 billion.

Also, increased was the request for statutory transfer (Public Complaints Commission), which was increased from N1.2 billion to N2.5 billion. All other items were retained as requested.

While presenting the report to on Thursday, Mr. Dawaki disclosed said the committee met with those relevant to the proposal.

“The committee observes that there are other areas of critical needs with potential for development and stimulating the economy and for which additional funds could be provided through virement from the Special Intervention Programme,” he said.

Details of the recommended proposal for approval showed that under Recurrent, the Service Wide Vote: Public Service Wage Adjustment (PSWA) takes N71.80billion, Service Wide Vote: Contingency N1.20billion.

Similarly, Service Wide Vote: Margin for increase in Cost (MIC) N2billion, Ministry of Interior: Cadet feeding-Police Academy, Wudil, Kano N932,40million, Service Wide Vote: Amnesty Programme N35billion.

Also,Service Wide Vote: Internal Operations of the Armed Forces N5.20billion, Service Wide Vote: Operation Lafiya Dole N13.93billion, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development: NYSCN19.79billion.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Foreign Missions N16.34billion, Federal Ministry of Education: Augmentation of Meal Subsidy/Direct Teaching & Laboratory Cost N900million.

Also recommended for approval under Statutory Transfer is Public Complaints Commission N2.5billion.

Under Capital items, the Ministry of Defence: Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is allocated N12.70billion, Capital Supplementation: Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) N1.50billion, Payment of local Contractors Debts/Other Liabilities N25billion.

The total amount of amount to be vired is now N208.82billion, which is N28 billion higher than the N180.8 billion requested for by the president.

The committee also recommended that the sum of N300 million appropriated in the 2016 budget under the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for the construction of 132 KVA Substation at Gwaram, Jigawa be vired for the Reconstruction of Fallen Towers, Replacement of Glass Insulators, for Gagarawa, Jigawa (TCN01B021775).

When the motion for the laying of the report, which was seconded by Saheed Fijabi (APC-Oyo) was tabled, it received unanimous approval from the plenary presided over by Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

DSS raids: I Didn’t Move $2m From My House – Judge Tells Reps

Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court Port-Harcourt Division has debunked claims that he moved $2 million from his official residence during a sting operation by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Liman said this at a public hearing conducted by the Hon. Garba Datti-led House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating cases of invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS, yesterday.

Liman said he was not the target of the raid.

Between October 7 and 8, DSS raided the homes of some senior judges, in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto states.

Justice Liman said his reputation degenerated by false reports emanating from the raid. This was even as he blamed a section of online media for reporting that he was the unnamed judge which the DSS said in its statement quickly moved money out of his home during its operation.

Liman also told the committee that it was Justice Uche Agomoh’s home that was the target of the Saturday, October 8 raid, which he said lasted from 1:00am to 4:00am.

“I must state categorically that the DSS did not come to my house, which is No. 33 but it was Justice Agomoh’s house they targeted. It was shocking and frightening when, on Saturday afternoon, the DSS released an official statement claiming to have attempted to search the house of an unnamed judge, who, when approached, resisted and mobilised thugs and with the assistance of Governor Nyesom Wike and the tacit support of a sister security organisation, removed $2 million which was stashed in his house to an unknown place…”

Another judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja who was arrested during the raid in Abuja, Nnamdi Dimgba who appeared at the hearing, however, said it would be prejudicial to speak on the matter.

Meanwhile, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who declared the hearing open stressed that the House was investigating the propriety, or otherwise, of operations conducted by the DSS, at the homes of judges and other alleged DSS invasion of Akwa Ibom State governor’s lodge and Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Dogara who was represented by the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, said the peobe will be useful should the National Assembly find reasons to amend the National Securities Agencies Act.

“It is critical that any investigation of this nature must have a legislative purpose as required by section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It is in this regard that I enjoin this committee to make relevant findings of fact that will enable the National Assembly initiate the necessary amendments to the National Security Agencies Act and even the Constitution, where necessary”.

But, a mild drama played out when chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, reversed his position that the DSS has the power to arrest judges over allegations of corruption as corrupt acts are a threat to national security.

Earlier, Saba cited section 2 sub section 3 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act Cap N74 which states that the DSS has powers of prevention, detention within Nigeria against the internal security of the country.

He further cited Section 4 and the provisions of subsection (1) (2) and (3) of the NSA Act, saying it shall have effect not withstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary or any other natter therein mentioned.

He also told the committee that the DSS didn’t need to give the National Judicial Council (NJC) prior notice before arresting the judges. He equally stated that the CCB has powers to investigate criminal allegations against judges, especially with regards to under-declaring or false declaration of assets.

But Saba chose to withdraw his statement when asked by committee members, Kingsley Chinda and Edward Pwajok to state categorically, if false declaration of assets by public officers threatened internal security of the country.

Explaining his role during the failed arrest of Justice Agomoh, Governor Wike blasted the DSS and described the episode as a “national tragedy,” adding that the DSS failed to observe the rule of law in conducting the Port-Harcourt raid.

According to the governor, the DSS operatives, one of who assaulted him, didn’t know where exactly they were headed to even as they conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner. The governor was represented by his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma.

Airports: Concessioning To Wait Until N120bn Fund Probe Over – Reps

The House of Representatives has called on the minister of state for aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, to suspend plans on the proposed concession of airports until he is able to brief the House as well as Nigerians, the benefits of the concession as well as how it will tackle the challenges the aviation sector faces.

It also called for the probe of the former minister of aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah, over the diversion of the N120 billion aviation intervention fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2012.

These were part of recommendations of the report of the House Committee on Aviation on the investigation into how to rescue the airline industry from imminent collapse, which was considered yesterday.

The House is also to invite Sen. Sirika to brief it on his plans and programmes for the aviation sector, including the current status of the ongoing remodelling of international airports, the reasons behind the scope and design of the remodelling. He is also to provide detailed drawings and specifications of current design in order to enable the ascertainment of the action cost of ongoing work compared to the loan received.

The report’s recommendations include: “Urge the minister of state, aviation, to stay action on the proposed concession of airports until the minister has been able to brief the House and Nigerians on how the proposed concession will remedy the challenges facing the sector and benefit consumer.

“Refrain from taking any action on the concession agreement between FAAN, and Bi-Courtney till the case is determined by the Supreme Court.

“Invite the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and airline operators (Domestic and International) to deliberate on the possibilities of CBN’s intervention in the crisis of foreign exchange for the airline industry.

“Call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the diversion of the N120 billion aviation intervention fund provided by the CBN in 2012.

“Meet with the management of Aviation Regulatory Agencies (FAAN, NCAA, NAMA, AIB, etc) to deliberate on the possibilities of denominating the aviation sector in local currency (Naira).

“Urge the management of Arik Air to reconcile its accounts with FAAN with a view to paying off its debts”.

The committee also recommended that the House invite Asset Management of Nigeria (AMCON) to appear before the it and fully brief the House of its plan of action to resuscitate the airline, Aero Contractors.

It further urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to, as a matter of urgency, make aviation fuel available regularly at affordable prices and make effort  to refine aviation fuel (Jet 1) locally.



Reps Authorise Buhari To Spend N208 Billion On New Projects

The House of Representatives has increased the N180 billion virement sought for by President Muhammadu Buhari to fund critical recurrent and capital items by N28 billion, taking it to N208.821 billion.

The president had written the National Assembly on October 26, seeking the approval of the legislature to vire N180.8 billion from the funds appropriated for special intervention in the 2019 budget.

Virement allows the government to transfer funds to new subheads different from what was approved.

The intervention is to fund critical recurrent and capital items.

The report of the House Committee on Appropriation was presented to the House on Wednesday by its Chairman, Mustapha Dawaki (APC- Kano).

The report showed that the request for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (foreign missions), increased from N14billion to N16.34 billion.

Also, increased was the request for statutory transfer (Public Complaints Commission), which was increased from N1.2 billion to N2.5 billion. All other items were retained as requested.

While presenting the report to on Thursday, Mr. Dawaki disclosed said the committee met with those relevant to the proposal.

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Dogara bribing lawmakers with N3.6 billion car purchase spree – Jibrin

Suspended lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, over the weekend advised Nigerians to be sceptical of reasons given by the House of Representatives for the purchase of new Peugeot cars.

Lawmakers started taking delivery of Peugeot 508 saloon cars —priced at N10 million each— about two weeks ago, eliciting a huge backlash from Nigerians who said the National Assembly has become a congregation of insensitive politicians.

All the 360 members of the House are expected to benefit from the welfare package at an estimated cost of N3.6 billion to taxpayers.

Nigerians were particularly infuriated about the latest spending spree by lawmakers because it came barely weeks after the country’s economy nosedived into recession.

The distribution, which the House said was needed for legislative functions, is on top of the humongous salaries, allowances and other welfare packages which everyday Nigerians had long groaned was amongst the highest in the world.

Writing from his self-imposed exile in London, Mr. Jibrin said the vehicle purchase binge marked the latest manifestation of the sharp practices that have become synonymous with the parliament under Yakubu Dogara’s leadership.

The Kano lawmaker, who was suspended on September 28 for highlighting possible budget fraud in the House, said Mr. Dogara approved the purchase as a quid pro quo for guaranteed loyalty from members.

“The hurried purchase of the cars is part of the carrot and stick approach deployed by Speaker Dogara to silent members and ensure that the allegations of massive budget fraud and corruption against him never sees the light of the day,” Mr. Jibrin said.

He said lawmakers hardly take a long ride on oversight functions, making the purchase of 360 new vehicles insensitive, reckless and unnecessary.

Mr. Jibrin said administrators of ministries, departments and agencies which lawmakers usually supervise for wrongdoings are usually responsible for logistics of all lawmakers.

“It is an outright lie that the cars are needed for oversight as over 80 per cent of oversight activities of the House of Representatives are carried out in Abuja,” Mr. Jibrin said. “And in almost all instances, it is the MDAs that arrange buses to convey members from the premises of the House to the respective MDAs.”

In the case of “areas that are far away from Abuja, members always use flights to the nearest location while the MDAs arrange vehicles and other logistics to complete the visit.

“In almost all instances the MDA’s provide accommodation and pay for the tickets and other logistics,” Mr. Jibrin said.

Mr. Dogara’s media aide, Turaki Hassan, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment Monday night.

But Abdulrazak Namdas, the spokesman for the House, confirmed Monday night that 28 lawmakers have so far benefitted from the scheme —with additional 22 more to collect before the end of the year.

“The vehicles are being distributed in batches of 50 vehicles per delivery,” Mr. Namdas said. “I can confirm that 28 lawmakers have collected and we plan to give additional 22 members from the first 50 vehicles that arrived.”

Mr. Namdas, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES from a gathering of West African parliamentarians in Ghana, said the lawmakers did, in fact, put Nigerians into consideration while deliberating on the purchase.

“Please, let Nigerians understand that these vehicles will not be paid for at once,” Mr. Namdas said. “We will pay on instalments from now until the end of this Assembly in 2019.”

“Also, note that we bought the vehicles from Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, this is because we understand the need to boost local production and keep people in their jobs at the company.

“We did all that because we knew Nigerians were going through a hard time as a result of the economic downturn,” Mr. Namdas said.

The lawmaker also suggested that the cost per unit of the vehicles may be seen as an uptick as a result of the lingering foreign exchange crisis.

“You know the dollar has gone up now and we’re already hearing that there may be a review of the prices that were quoted when we initially negotiated the deal,” Mr. Namdas said.

But he said the controversy over the purchase was only the latest misplaced outrage from the public.

“There shouldn’t be any controversy over this matter because we’ve been on it for over a year,” Mr. Namdas said.

The reps controversy came seven months after their counterparts in the Senate took delivery of exotic SUVs, which civic groups decried as “ungodly” and “criminal.”

Reps summon Prisons boss, perm sec over handling of funds

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Comptroller General of Prisons, Mr. Ja’ afaru Ahmed and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, to explain why their staff have failed to retire funds approved to them.

Also, the officers are to give reasons for failing to remit the Valued Added Tax (VAT) deductions to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) correctly and promptly as required by law.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Kingsley Chinda, who issued the summons at the weekend after a session with the officers and their staff said the committee would always ensure that every appropriated fund expended must is properly accounted for by agencies of government and their workers.

At the scheduled meeting, the Prisons boss is also expected to produce the latest assets register of the service and all store received vouchers for Owerri, Bauchi and Kuje prisons to ascertain the volume of receipts by the Nigeria Prisons Service.

He was directed to come along with the four officers who failed to retire the N6.6 million advanced payments made to them since December 30, 2011.

The committee’s concerns sprung from queries by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAGF) against the NPS between 2010 and 2013 and forwarded to the committee for investigations.

Chinda frowned at the non-remittance of 10 percent VAT deductions to the FIRS and called on Adesugba to appear before the panel to explain the action of the staff in her ministry.

She is to also explain the whereabouts of five vehicles belonging to the ministry, which were declared missing, with only two having been recovered so far.

The committee promised to embark on on-the-spot- inspection of the recovered vehicles today and carry out other findings as would be necessary.

Members said they expected to meet one Mr. Alabi during the visit. They said he was the project accountant for one of the many conferences on which huge sums of funds were spent but are yet to be retired five years after the event was hosted.

Similarly, the team from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will respond to about 21 other queries raised by the auditor general of the federation, particularly on monies expended on conferences and seminars since 2011, which have not been retired.

Meanwhile, a member of the House, Timothy Golu is seeking the intervention of the National Assembly to regulate all mortgage activities in the country and guarantee housing for all categories of workers.

Through a bill titled, “An Act to establish the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria to regulate the activities and ensure professionalism in the system and for related matters”, the lawmaker is seeking a legal framework to streamline mortgage operations in the country and end the chaos currently associated with land ownership, estate valuing and mortgage financing.

He said the players in the mortgage industry, such as surveyors, architects, engineers, estate valuers, developers and lawmakers were already in support of the bill and were looking forward to legislative action on the issue.

Why we bought N3.6bn exotic cars during recession – Reps

The House of Representatives on Thursday defended its decision to buy exotic cars for its 360 members at a period the country’s economy is in recession.

It said lawmakers must have a means of mobility while carrying out oversight duties over Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.

The House will spend at least N3.6bn across 24 months to complete payment for the luxury vehicles supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.

The PUNCH had reported exclusively on Monday that the firm had already delivered 28 units of Peugeot 508 series to members in the first batch of 50 cars.

A total of 360 units of the exotic automobile would have been delivered by January 2017.

The Deputy Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Jonathan Gaza, while defending the procurement of the cars on Thursday, said that recession would not stop lawmakers from performing their legislative duties.

He argued that in a recession, both the executive and legislative arms of government were expected to work even harder to find urgent solutions to challenges facing the country.

Gaza noted that while working during recession, members were not expected to trek to the premises of the MDAs for oversight duties.

He added, “In a recession, we will all put on our thinking caps. We are working; these are committees’ cars and they are not the personal property of members.

“When you came here today, how did you come? Did you walk down to this place (National Assembly) from your house?

“If a member is going to visit an agency, will he trek there?

“We need materials, computers, stationery, cars; these are all for work.”

Asked to comment on whether the National Assembly would approve Buhari’s bid to take a loan of $29.96bn, Gaza replied that discussions were ongoing between the two sides.

The lawmaker said no conclusions had been reached.

He also declined to speak categorically on whether the government had begun making releases for the constituency projects of lawmakers.

The constituency projects of senators and members are worth N100bn in the 2016 budget of N6.06tn.

The refusal of the government to fund the projects is reported to be one of the sore points in the relationship between Buhari and the National Assembly.

But, when asked a direct question on the issue, Gaza parried it.

“We don’t release money for constituency projects. Our work is to pass the budget and we passed the 2016 budget. It is the responsibility of the executive to release funds for projects.

“Also, the money is not paid into our pockets, we don’t touch it,” he replied.

Reps panel grills BPE chief on alleged N27bn fraud

The chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on Insurance, Mr. Adekunle Abdulkabir Akinlade, has justified its resolve to review the transactions between ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government and insurance firms saying it was borne out of the need to ensure a level playing field in the sector.

Speaking after members of the committee grilled the Acting Director-General (DG) of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Dr. Vincent Akpotaire, at the National Assembly complex Abuja, he maintained that there was more to the leverage enjoyed by a few insurance firms in their dealings with the MDAs than met the eye.

Abdulkabir whose committee is probing allegations of wrongdoings between MDA’s and insurance firms from 2013 to 2015, made reference to the resolve by the BPE to retain the patronage of Hogg Robinson Nigeria Limited since 2009 contrary to the provision of the public procurement Act (PPA) 2007.

The committee observed that BPE had been patronizing the aforementioned insurance firm since year 2000 without placing advertisment calling for bids as prescribed by the PPA.

Efforts by Akpotaire who assumed the helm of affairs of the BPE in February this year to clarify the issue was rejected by members of the committee who also questioned the BPE for paying the sum of N5.7 million to Heirs Insurance Brokers for motor cover within the period under review.

Akpotaire denied knowledge of the alleged EFCC investigation of an alleged N27 billion insurance-related fraud under his predecessor.

When asked by Akinlade if he was aware of the said investigation by the anti-graft agency relating to the bureau, he vehemently denied any knowledge in his official capacity even when he was reminded that he was under oath which will amount to perjury should his claim be proved to be false.

He joined the BPE as an Assistant Director in the Post-Privatization Monitoring (PPM) Department in 2007 and between 2008 and 2010, moved up to become the Deputy Director and Head of Council Secretariat, a unit responsible for all the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) secretarial activities.

In February 2010, he was appointed a director in charge of National Facilities and Agricultural Resources, a position he held until his new appointment as Acting DG.

Under further questioning, he disclosed that the last time the bureau advertised any insurance procurement was in 2009 which the committee cited as a breach of the extant provisions of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

The DG could not give any answer to other infractions identified by the committee. At one point, the DG had to apologize for omissions and misrepresentation of facts as contained in documents before the ad-hoc committee.

Akinlade further advised the DG to “step down” and cause reappearance on Monday November 21, 2016 with the relevant information relating to insurance covers procured within the years under review, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The Commissioner for Insurance (NAICOM) was also in attendance.

Akinlade also insisted that the comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs service (NCS), Col Hammeed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), to explain whether it allegedly paid N250 million to Fortis Insurance Brokers Limited or not.

He is also to clear the air over the committal of 57 other noticeable infractions relating to over-invoicing, and payment of hundreds of millions of naira to non-existent insurance firms during the period under review.

The managing director and chief executive officer of Fortis, Chief Lawrence Dafiode, had in a letter dated 1st November 2016, to the committee denied ever collecting such sum of monies from NCS.

Akinlade issued the directive after the Custom Assistant comptroller General (ACG), (Head Resource Development), Mr Austin Warikoru, who, alongside other officials of NCS appeared before the lawmakers pleaded for another date since his boss was attending an African customs summit in Zimbabwe which will on Friday, this week.

Also, the House Committee on Public Accounts yesterday commenced investigations into alleged theft of one 45KVA generator belonging to Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

According to Office of Auditor General of the Federation (OAGF), it was allegedly stolen in the ministry’s office in Calabar, Cross River State, shortly after it was procured for the office in 2011.

Dissatisfied with the explanations of the ministry on how it disappeared and the police report that originated from the incident, the OAGF petitioned the lower legislative chamber on the matter.

The office also in its annual report for the year ended 2011 petitioned the lawmakers over a payment voucher of N576, 400.00 allegedly raised by the ministry for Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) of four of its staff members to ascertain the alleged theft in Calabar.

According to the auditor-general, the staff did not embark on the trip, although they are said to have refunded the money in unclear circumstances.

The AGF wondered why the refund would be a day after the attention of the affected staff was drawn to their failure to go on the journey.

The claim for the refund, it said, has not been substantiated.

The AGF also alleged that upon its visit to the ministry for audit, the latter could not also explain the whereabouts of 21 vehicles it procured within the year for its activities in some states. He lamented that rather than distributing them among them, the records in the ministry show that the ambulance vehicles were received by politicians and corporate bodies in the targeted states.

In her defence, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Obiageli Phyllis Nwokedi, pleaded for another opportunity to enable her prepare her responses thoroughly.

She hinged the plea on her newness in the ministry, saying that she is only a year old in her current posting.

Before the committee granted her request, Nwokedi had earlier attempted to respond to all the queries, stating that the three transactions were duly carried out, without any iota of doubt.

The submissions of the ministry’s director of finance and accounts, who avoided being named, however, angered the committee, which accused him of attempting to conceal vital information and requested that he forwards his detailed academic qualifications and work experiences to the panel for assessment within one week.

The committee is also asking the ministry to turn up next week with more details on its defence concerning the three allegations, warning that failure to do so as required would lead to stringent sanctions.

Reps Seek Life Imprisonment For Terrorists, Sponsors

The House of Representatives moved on Tuesday to prescribe tougher penalties for terrorism, including “a maximum of life imprisonment.”
A person, who facilitates the escape of a suspect held for an act of terrorism also faces a life prison sentence.
Sponsors of terrorism face the penalty of life imprisonment as those who commit the act itself.
Under the new law in view, planning a terror act is punishable even when the act is not committed eventually.
The provisions were contained in two consolidated bills, which passed second reading at the House in Abuja.
They bills were a  “A Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for Offences Relating to Terrorism, Prohibit the Financing of Terrorism and Consolidate all Acts Relating to Terrorism and for Related Matters” and “A Bill for an Act to Amen the Terrorism Act 2011 for the Purpose of Applying Stringent Prison Terms for Offences of Terrorism, an Remove the Ambiguities in the Act and for Related Matters.”
The bills were sponsored by Mr. Mohammed Monguno and Mr. Ahmed Kaita.
While the first bill sought to repeal the existing terrorism (prohibition) law and make entirely new provisions for offences, the second bill sought to amend the extant law by strengthening it.
Section 19 of Monguno’s bill states, “A person who knowingly, directly or indirectly (a) aids and abets, (b) induces, instigates, instructs, (c) counsels or procures another person by means to commit an act of terrorism, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to life imprisonment. “
It adds, “Where the offence of terrorism is not committed, to an imprisonment for a term of 20 years.”
The bill defines terrorism broadly to mean any “deliberate” act of “malice”, which may cause harm/damage to a country, its government, economy, national assets, international organisations or result in loss of lives.
Kidnapping and the use of biological or chemical weapons, among others, are classified as terrorism under the bill.
It also includes “interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life.”
Credit: dailytimes

Despite recession, Reps take delivery of N3.6 Billion exotic cars.

The delivery of 360 exotic cars to members of the House of Representatives has begun amid the economic downturn in the country.

Investigations by The PUNCH revealed on Sunday that 28 units of the Peugeot 508 series had already been delivered to lawmakers in Abuja.

The 28 were among the first batch of 50 cars supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.

The House allocated a princely N3.6bn for the cars in the 2016 budget at a unit price of N10m.

A National Assembly top aide told The PUNCH on Sunday that the arrangement with Peugeot was that the company would supply the vehicles in batches because of the huge number of members involved.

“Fifty cars will be supplied in the first batch; 28 have already been delivered. That was last week.

“Twenty-two more in the first batch are expected to be delivered this week,” the source stated.

Findings indicated that the luxury cars would arrive in Abuja in batches till January, 2017 when all 360 members would have picked a unit.

About 223 of the members of the House are new, having come to the National Assembly for the first time in 2015.

But all 360 members will still benefit from the luxury cars, officially known as ‘utility’ or ‘committee’ vehicles.

Investigations showed that owing to paucity of funds, the lawmakers agreed with Peugeot to spread the payment of the N3.6bn across 24 months or “two years’ budget.”

The PUNCH gathered that the original plan was to start the delivery of the cars last June, but the delay in the passage of the 2016 budget stalled it.

“The House was not sure of the provisions in the budget owing to the general drop in the revenue available to the Federal Government this year.

“So, they delayed it till the budget was passed before they continued with the procurement processing.”

It was learnt that a lengthy disagreement among lawmakers preceded the choice of the Peugeot 508 series.

Investigations revealed that while the majority of the new members preferred the 2016 Toyota Camry, others argued in favour of Peugeot 508 on the grounds of patronising ‘Made-in-Nigeria products’.

“Eventually, the argument was sustained that Peugeot should be the choice to encourage local automotive industry; though it would also appear that there was a comparative cost analysis,” another legislative source added.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed that members had started taking delivery of the vehicles.

Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, Namdas stated that female lawmakers were the first in line to pick up their units, while the males would take their turn in subsequent batches.

Asked why the House would splash money on 360 exotic cars at a time the country was in recession, Namdas played down any reference to the cars as being “luxury.”

He said, “This issue of cars is long overdue. They are not for luxury but for committee and oversight duties.

“The 8th Assembly is nearing two years, yet members have no cars to carry out their duties.

“Ministers and other officials in the executive have long bought vehicles for official duties.

“At the state level, members of House of Assembly have cars to carry out basic functions.

“I think it is only fair that members of the National Assembly will have utility vehicles for their assignments.”

Namdas also told The PUNCH that the choice of Peugeot 508 was to “look inward such that Peugeot, which is locally-assembled, will benefit and grow.”

On paper, the cars are the property of the National Assembly, but the tradition over time is that lawmakers take them along with them on completion of their tenure after paying a fraction of the unit cost.

It was learnt that the management of the National Assembly would evaluate the cars after four years and deduct an agreed sum from the severance package of members.

Besides the utility vehicles, members also get a repayable loan to buy personal cars.

“There is no Sharia Bill in the House” – Reps

The House of Representatives has said there is no bill before it seeking to establish Sharia law in Nigeria through an amendment to the constitution.


The House said the clarafication was in reaction to reports that a Sharia bill had passed through second reading on October 27, 2016 with allegations that no member raised an objection to it.


The spokesperson of the House, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, while briefing journalists yesterday, said there was a proposal seeking to amend the provisions of Sharia law in the constitution.


He said the amendment seeks to expand the powers of the Sharia courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to hear criminal cases. It was referred to the constitutional review committee in May this year.


Namdas said the committee would refer the proposal back to the House if it is found worthy after its details are considered.


“The committee looks at all proposals sent to it, and the ones that survive are sent to the House for debate and deliberations,” he added.

No Sharia Bill Before Reps

House of Representatives  yesterday said there is no Sharia Bill before it and that contrary to the general uproar on the proposed legislation, no such bill has passed second reading on the floor of Green Chamber.

Speaking on the controversial issue yesterday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affair, Abdulrazak Namdas, said there was the need for him to clarify the issue because of the numerous enquiries from reporters and members of the public.

“On this issue of the proposal people are calling the Sharia Bill, a lot of people came to my office today. I want to make clarifications.

“We don’t have a bill in the House of Representatives called the Sharia Bill. What we have is that a member on the floor of the House made a proposal to amend the constitution and this was referred to the Special Committee on Constitution Review of which I’m a member.

“Now, it actually talks about trying to amend a certain section of the Sharia. As it is, it’s been referred to a committee. And if the committee decides that this is not worth a bill, it will not even come back to the House.”

Senators, Reps lament inability to recoup funds expended during campaigns.

Some members of the National Assembly are lamenting their inability to recoup the millions of naira they spent on electioneering campaign, 17 months after their inauguration, Daily Trust reports.

Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010 caps elections spending for Senate at N40 million and House of Representatives at N20 million. Violating the Act attracts a fine of N600, 000 or six months imprisonment or both, in the case of Senate, and a fine of N500, 000 or five months imprisonment or both, for the House of Representatives.

However, aspiring national lawmakers spend well above the spending limit.

While a senator from the South-South said he spent N1billion during his campaign for the Upper Chamber, one of his colleagues from the North-Central said he spent N300 million.

The expenditures were incurred before and during elections, excluding legal fees for those taken to court by their opponents after the election.

Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), who has been at the Senate since 2003, said senators were drained before, during and after the election by the public.

“Calls are coming from all over the places, bring this and bring that even after the election, we are still spending. In the Electoral Act, there is specific amount but in practical terms it is not possible. We borrowed and are still borrowing,” he said.

Manager was speaking during the screening of Professor Okechukwu Ibeano as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lamenting further, Manager recalled how a Senatorial candidate jumped into the lagoon after spending huge sum on election.

“A man who contested for one of three senatorial districts of Lagos in 2011 drove to his bank six months after the election. On his way back, he asked his driver to stop, he walked for few minutes and jumped into the lagoon.

“We are in trouble, Professor please how do we resolve this?” Manager asked Professor Ibeano.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), said the amount stipulated in the Electoral Act was not realistic.

“We have 120,000 polling units across the country and if a Presidential candidate pays N10, 000 to each agent at each of the polling units, he will spend N1.2billion just for agents on election day,” he said.

However, Professor Ibeano said: “I definitely feel your frustration but my profession is against borrowing for elections. The only way out is for political parties to go back to the 60s where volunteer party members assist without being paid. As long as you pay for everything, you will continue to spend.”

Times have changed
Daily Trust gathered that lawmakers, who served during previous assemblies, made money through deals with MDAs and other government officials. Those who failed to cooperate were frustrated.

At the peak of budget processes last year, heads of MDAs were warned against lobbying for increase in budgetary allocation at the National Assembly. A memo to this effect was issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir David Lawal.

A lawmaker said: “We are afraid to ask them (MDAs) now and they too are afraid to bring anything. Like now that we’re approaching the end of the year, MDAs would bring a lot of things to us, but last year was totally different, and I’m sure this year too will be the same.”

A senator who is into transportation business also expressed dismay. He said: “I should have concentrated on my business than coming here because now I don’t have enough time for my business, yet I’m not making anything here.”

Another lawmaker said: “Seriously, this is not what I expected. In fact, I can tell you that I was better off as a businessman than a legislator.

“The story was different before I came here, at least so I was told. Our predecessors enjoyed their stay at the National Assembly, but our own case is different.”

Some of the lawmakers said if things continued like this up to 2019, they might not seek re-election “because the business of legislature appears to be unprofitable.”

A former lawmaker, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, said: “It will not be fair to say every lawmaker comes to the National Assembly to make money. But it is true that many come with that thinking that it is a goldmine. It will certainly be good to make public office unattractive so that only the best and those ready to serve will stand in election.”

He however said that the get-rich-in-office syndrome was not limited to the lawmakers alone. “Even among the executive many see their position as a key to riches and easy money. So we need to get our priorities right,” he added.

Speaking at a seminar titled “The role of the legislature in the fight against corruption in Nigeria,” organized by the anti-corruption committees of the Senate and House of Representatives in Abuja, Kenya’s former anti-corruption chief, Prof Patrick Lumumba, said if a politician was willing to spend N1billion for a N30m job, then it should be clear he was not going there to serve but to make money.

Reps Want Adeosun, Emefiele To Resign

A House of Representatives panel yesterday called on Nigerians to demand for the resignation of the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, for mismanaging the country’s economy.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the N700 billion bail-out funds given to some state governments by the federal government, Rep Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa) made the call yesterday following failure of the duo to personally appear at the committee’s session.

The committee also called for the resignation of the Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Abraham Nwankwo.
Adeosun did not send any representative, but Emefiele delegated an executive director in the apex bank, Umar Abubakar, to represent him, while the DG of DMO was represented by Oladele Afolabi. But the lawmakers rejected the representatives.
“The attitudes of these top government officials show who is mismanaging the economy of the country. Nigerians should rise up and call for their resignation immediately,” the lawmaker said.
The lawmaker added that “If it is to bring virement, they would rush down, but now that they are to come and explain to Nigerians how the bail-out fund running into over N700bn was disbursed, they are sending representatives; they are only interested in borrowing. This has to stop.”
Other members of the committee who spoke at the session lamented the absence of the trio, describing it as unacceptable in view of the quantum of money given out to states as bail-out.
The committee therefore directed the three officials to physically appear before it and provide all relevant documents on the bailout funds.

Credit: dailytrust

Sharia Bill not passed by Reps – Namdas

The House of Representatives on Thursday said it did not pass a Bill for the implementation of Sharia law in the country.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, told newsmen in Abuja that “it is just a rumour”.

While clarifying that “the House has not passed any Sharia expansion Bill”, Namdas said: “It is just a rumour.

“You can check the House order paper and confirm.”

He explained that the House had not tabled any bill for deliberation and as such Nigerians should ignore the rumour.

On his part, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Chukwuka Onyeama, reaffirmed the position of their spokesman.

According to Onyeama, the bill is before the House ad hoc committee on the review of the constitution and for now it remains a working document until it is forwarded for debate.

Onyeama said: “When a bill for constitutional amendment is brought to the House, it is forwarded to the committee on the review of the constitution.

“The committee will review it and present it to the House for debate and it is only when it is tabled that we look at it.”

Onyeama said this at the briefing of the South East caucus of the House in Abuja.

He said: “You see those of us sitting here are not sleeping and you will see us on the floor when the bill comes.

“So, no Sharia bill has been passed.”

The Bill, titled: “A Bill to alter the 1999 Constitution to increase the jurisdiction of the Sharia Courts,” also known as the “Sharia expansion bill”, was sponsored by Abdullahi Salame.

The bill seeks to expand the jurisdiction or increase the existing powers of Sharia Courts to include criminal cases and is restricted to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

It said: “It is also restricted to the northern states where Sharia courts are already in existence.”

Salame seeks to amend sections 262 and 277 of the 1999 Constitution to add “criminal” to the existing provisions.

The House had referred the bill to its ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, headed by the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun, on May 28.

While referring the bill, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary, had explained that no debate was taken on the bill because of its “sensitive” nature.

The Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, had also allayed fears of Nigerians.

He explained that “the jurisdiction” of the court referred to in sections 262 and 277 of the constitution means the powers of the court in states where it already exists, not expanding Sharia to other parts of the country.

Ogor said: “The amendment sought to these sections is to add ‘criminal’ to the existing jurisdiction it has on ‘civil litigation’.

“That is the jurisdiction that is being expanded, not the expansion of Sharia Law itself.”

Explaining why the bill was not debated, the Minority Leader stated: “The matter was not debated because the amendment is a constitutional amendment.

“It is on a matter that could be better handled by the constitution review committee.

He said: “Debating it on the floor will not resolve it since the Ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review will still conduct a public hearing on it.

“Those concerned will be invited to come and give their opinions on how the added powers of the court will affect them and so on.

“Nobody is expanding Sharia to anywhere. Members of the public should not panic over this at all.”

House of Reps may revisit CCB/CCT Amendment Bill

Indications emerged yesterday that the House of Representatives may reconsider the Code of Conduct Amendment Bill 2016 recently passed into law, which whittled the powers of the President on the tribunal.

The bill, passed last week by the Senate but yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, sought among others, to transfer the powers of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the CCT from the Executive to the National Assembly.

However, the legislative initiative did not go down well with the House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who said there was need to look at it again in the interest of Nigerians.

Making a copious reference to constitutional provision on appointments into the board of the CCB, he said that the bill as passed by the Senate ran contrary to the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.

Gbajabiamila, who pushed for an immediate deliberation on the issue yesterday, further claimed that he was not aware of any of such infractions when the bill was considered on clause-by-clause basis in the lower legislative chamber recently.

But Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Obio/Akpor: Rivers) and Pwajok Edward Gyang (Jos: Plateau: PDP) said the House Leader should have raised the issue as a substantive motion.

Gyang asserted that it would be an aberration to revisit the bill, saying that it behooves the House to tarry awhile and see whether the President will assent to it or not.

Meanwhile, Speaker Dogara, who presided over the plenary session, ruled that Gbajabiamila should put the House members on notice to enable them have ample opportunity to reflect on the issue rather than laying an “ambush” for them on it.

The House had passed the amendment bill in May 2016 and sent it to the Senate for concurrence.The bill passed by the Senate allowed the President to maintain his appointment powers over the CCB.

But the appointment of the chairman and members of the bureau and the tribunal will be subject to Senate’s approval, limited to a tenure of five years, while the second term will be subject to legislative approval if the amendment is passed into law.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Samuel Anyanwu, while laying a report on the concurrence amendment bill on the floor of the chamber, had admitted a similar reworked one was introduced in the Senate earlier in the year, which generated political tension that forced the lawmakers to suspend the process.

In another development, Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has said the amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act was not to favour Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is on trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

Ndume, who made the clarifications yesterday while reacting to the debate on the amendment of the CCT Act during an interactive session with reporters in Maiduguri, said: “It is insulting on us to say that we are doing the bidding of Saraki because laws are not made in retrospect. If we make a law today, it cannot immediately invalidate the existing laws on the same issue.”Ndume said that the main concern of the National Assembly was to make the organisation more effective in its functions.

Reps Demand Details Of Buhari’s $26.96bn Loan Ahead Of Debate

There were indications on Sunday that Buhari’s $26.96bn loan request might not get a smooth passage in the House of Representatives

Findings by an eye witness showed that lawmakers were already querying the rationale for the “huge loan”, which they feared was a gradual return to the debt trap of yesteryears.

An official of the National Assembly said, “There will be serious legislative fireworks this week because we are not in ordinary times in Nigeria.

“Any loan that generations after today will continue to repay raises a lot of questions, and the person to provide the answers is Mr. President himself.”

It was gathered that some lawmakers in the House had, immediately the letter conveying the loan request to the House was read, queried the lack of details on how the government planned to spend the money.

A member stated, “$29.96bn is not N29bn. This is a huge amount of money. What do you want to do with it?

“It is not enough for you to write the parliament and say approve for agriculture and all that. Where are the details of the proposed expenditure? This loan request will not have an easy ride.”

House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, admitted that members were worried that the President opted for a foreign loan at a time his administration had yet to account for the recovery it made as looted funds.

Ogor spoke more, “We have not seen the details of the loan. We will have to see the details and compare the proposal with the provisions of the Debt Management Office Act.

“There is so much money recovered from looted funds, Treasury Single Account.  How have we utilised the money?

“We are not going to approve any loan without first seeing the details; make comparison with our DMO Act and our foreign liabilities.”

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Reps Uncover N640m Paid To 2 Unlicensed Brokers, Summon Customs CG

Barely a week after Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun accused the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) of fraud in under-remitting of revenue, the House of Representatives Committee at the weekend summoned the Comptroller-General.

It was over the payment of N250million commission paid to an unlicensed broker.

The House ad-hoc committee investigating return on premium paid to government officials by insurance companies at the weekend uncovered the N640 million paid as commissions to the two unlicensed brokers by  insurance companies which provided service for some Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs). The unlicensed brokers are Chrome Insurance  and Standard Insurance Consultant.

Speaking at the resumed hearing of the committee at the weekend, the Chairman, Hon Adekunle Akinlade,said documents presented to the committee revealed that Guinea Insurance, which provided cover for NCS paid N250 million as commission to Chrome between 2013 and 2015, while Staco Insurance, which provided cover to the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) paid N390million to Standard Insurance consultant as commission for 2014 and 2015.

When confronted, the Managing Director of Guinea Insurance, Isioma Okokuku, admitted that her company erred by doing business with Chrome Insurance, in contravention of the Insurance Act which bars insurance companies from engaging brokers that are not licensed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). She said her0 company was moved by desperation to keep the Customs’ account.

On his part,  the Managing Director of Staco Insurance, Sakiru Oyefeso, who claimed to be a seasoned professional, said it was the duty of the regulatory agency to bring to the knowledge of his company the fact that Standard Insurance was not licensed at the time the transaction took place.

After being grilled by the committee, Oyefeso admitted that his company may have committed an infraction and pleaded for leniency.



Jibrin opens fresh can of worms on Reps.

Suspended chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, yesterday, made fresh disclosures on alleged corruption in the House of Representatives.

Jibrin explained why members who had earlier supported his anti-corruption push suddenly became quiet, and how representatives allegedly help themselves to billions of naira under the guise of ‘running costs’.

The lawmaker, who confessed, “I took running cost,” said: “Members collect about N10 million every month. In the past, since I came into the National Assembly, till date, there has been a situation where N10 million has been collected. Sometimes it’s between N10 to about N20 million monthly.

“To make matters worse, there is a kind of arrangement, that ensures that the cumulative of that amount is paid to you upfront. That is why you see someone comes into the National Assembly with nothing, but after swearing-in, he is already buying a car of N20 million.
“There is a fraudulent arrangement. For instance, if what you take is N20 million per month, that brings it to about N900 billion in four years. There is an arrangement that ensures you could get even up to half of that money instantly. It is such a mess.”

According to Jibrin, the leadership of the House, at a meeting, had warned members that many heads could roll if the issue of running costs is revealed.He said: “So, he (Speaker) just said it straight. ‘I won’t go down alone. If you allow these issues to be investigated, of course, we have to open up the running cost issue’. From that meeting, people started backtracking. That was why you even had a peaceful session on the first day of sitting after resumption.

“Everybody was ready for a showdown. But that night, he struck. He put the fear of running cost in the hearts of lawmakers because the running cost issue will send hundreds of members to jail directly. You don’t need to investigate it. It’s a fraud. It’s a huge and massive fraud and I have never pretended or avoided saying it.”

But asked if he would still have challenged the Speaker had he not been removed as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin answered: “The issue is that my removal was just a trigger. It was just an immediate cause. There had been a remote crisis. I have reported in the media that I protested when I saw 2000 projects worth N284 billion in the budget. I confronted the Speaker on it and I said, ‘I cannot allow this to happen’.

“We fought internally when he wanted me to put projects worth N30 billion in the budget. I said this is ridiculous. It has never happened, and I am not going to do it. There has been lots of issues, and that is why I keep explaining to people that I have fought this battle extensively, internally, and they’ve not come out to say no, because I have given out documents to anti-graft agencies and to the Nigeria Police Force, to show that these are the battles I have been fighting internally before now.”

Suspension: Jibrin withdraws suit against House of Reps.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday struck out the suit of former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, challenging his suspension from the House.

The judge, Justice John Tsoho, struck out the matter after Jibrin’s Counsel, Mr. Chukuma Nwachukwu, told the court that his client had filed a notice of discontinuance.

Tsoho decline the request of the defendants for a N200, 000 cost, holding that the defendants were “strong institution and personality”.

At the hearing, Jibrin’s counsel, Nwachukwu, told the court that there was a notice of discontinuance filed on Oct. 11, urging the court to discontinue the matter.

The Counsel to the defendants, Mr. Kalu Onuoha, did not oppose the application, but asked for a cost of N200,000 for the processes filed by them.

He said the defendants filed many processes in this case before the court went on vacation in July 2016.

Nwachukwu, however, opposed the application with the fact that the defendants did not file any defence in the matter.

It will be recalled that Jibrin, a lawmaker from Kano State, was suspended by the House of Representatives for 180 legislative days .

However, the embattled legislator’s suit seeking stop the House is still pending in court.

Reps probe outrageous electricity bills.

The House of Representatives has directed relevant committees to investigate the sale of non-core assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which were transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) prior to the liquidation of PHCN.

The House also directed its Committee on Power to investigate the billing system of electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) across the country, following complaints of over-billing by the populace amidst poor power supply.

To this end, the representatives mandated its committees on Power and Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to ascertain the methodology deployed for the liquidation and whether such properties were well valued.

The two committees are expected to ensure full compliance in the case of PHCN’s non-core properties that had not been sold, and at the same time ensure that the proceeds from the sales are transferred to the federal government.

The committees are expected to conclude these assignments and report back to the House within four legislative weeks.

According to a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by the member representing Nkanu East/Nkanu West federal constituency of Enugu State, Hon Chukwuemeka Ujam, all non-core assets of the PHCN were transferred to NELMCO for disposal in line with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act.

Ujam noted that these non-core assets, worth several billion dollars and spread across the country and the world, were supposed to be valued and then transferred for sale or put to use in order to recoup the investments in the defunct PHCN.

According to Ujam, some of these non-core assets belonging to the defunct PHCN are either lying fallow or diverted.

“At a time when the country is facing economic recession, with calls for the sale of government assets, some of these properties have been leased at undervalued rates while some have been given away as gifts to electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs),” said, and called on the House investigate the development.”

In the same vein, the lawmakers decried outrageous electricity bills by DISCOs across the country.

The lawmakers, while deliberating on a motion sponsored by the member representing Ajeromi/ Ifelodun federal constituency, Hon. Rita Orji, on the disconnection of electricity supply to Amukoko Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), bemoaned the lack of transparency in the electricity billing system.

The LCDA was disconnected by the by Eko Electricity Distribution Company over alleged non-payment of electricity bills described by the council as outrageous.

The member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor federal constituency, Hon Fred Agbedi, noted that Bayelsa State residents have been burdened with outrageous electricity bill without regular power supply.

Agbedi added that his area had been suffering irregular supply of electricity since it joined the national grid.

Reps move to amend NDDC Act.

The House of Representatives, yesterday, lamented that most of the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region lack the commitment to develop the communities in which they operate.

Consequently, the House has directed its Committees on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and Local Content to engage all the major oil ventures operating in the Niger Delta region and government agencies concerned to agree on a common and workable partnership framework for the development of the region.

It also resolved to amend the NDDC Act to include the representatives of the oil ventures in the NDDC board and ensure effective participation and remittances for the development of the region.

The resolution was sequel to a motion on urgent national importance entitled, The Need for major oil ventures in the Niger Delta region to be encouraged to partner the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry to build roads, bridges and other major infrastructure in the region, sponsored by Ntufam Eta Mbora.

Ntufam Mbora, who represents Calabar Municipal Council/Odukpani federal constituency of Cross River State, said that the oil producing communities of Niger Delta region were overwhelmed by the non-committal tendencies of companies/ventures operating in the region in the discharge of their corporate social responsibilities that are commensurate with the impact of oil exploration in the region.

He noted what he described as, “the blunt refusal of major oil ventures in the Niger Delta region, e,g. Agip, Shell Development Corporation, Schlumberger, Samsung, Moni Pulo Petroleum Development, Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited, etc to partner with NDDC and Niger Delta Ministry in the development of the region.”

Reps summon CBN, NNPC over forex, aviation fuel.

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to appear before it today to explain its role in the challenges facing the aviation sector.

Meanwhile, a leading financial institution, Access Bank Plc, has successfully raised $300 million via a Eurobond from the international bond market.

The aviation sector is currently battling challenges associated with operations of foreign and local airlines in Nigeria.

According to the Chairman of the House committee, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who handed down the summons yesterday at the ongoing public hearing on the need to rescue the airline industry from collapse, the apex bank is to specifically explain the foreign exchange instability that is affecting the finances of airlines.

NNPC on its part, according to Onyejeocha, is to explain the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel, especially as some airlines-local and international- are cutting down on their operations.

Already Arik Air, Dana Air and Medview are incessantly cancelling and delaying flights due to the shortage of the product, also known as Jet A1. Emirates Airlines on Tuesday announced the suspension of its Abuja-Dubai operations due to challenges in foreign exchange, low patronage and other operational difficulties.

The committee was however dissatisfied with the assurances of CBN, through its Assistant Director, Infrastructure Finance, Mr. Boma Benebo, who was at the investigative hearing.

Benebo had assured that the apex bank was effecting downward reviews of operational expenses of airlines, such as landing and parking fees and passenger service charges.

The President and Chairman of Council, CIBN, Prof. Segun Ajibola, at the 16th national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for Judges, in Abuja, lamented that while there are existing laws to deal with these issues, they have continued to rear their ugly heads.

Meanwhile, a leading financial institution, Access Bank Plc has successfully raised $300 million via a Eurobond from the international bond market.

The bank recently assessed the international market to raise the bond with maturity date in October 2021, at a coupon of 10.5 per cent.

This makes Access Bank the first Nigerian bank to raise bond from the international market this year despite the country’s macro-economic headwinds. The successful outcome of the bond also demonstrates the strength, resilience and international endorsement of Access Bank Plc.

Industry analysts perceived the development as a show of support for the Federal Government’s efforts to attract foreign exchange into the country.

The bank currently has two series of Eurobonds in issue – the $350 million maturing in July2017 at a coupon of 7.25% and the $400 million (9.25%), June 2021 maturity date as part of a $1 billion global medium term note programme.

Commenting on the development, Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank, said, “the bond will be for working capital, for lending to investment-grade names, including Nigerian companies seeking to expand their exports.”

He emphasised that the process signifies a significant moment on the bank’s journey to entrench itself as one of Nigeria’s top three banks by 2017.

“It also ensures that we keep our promise of speed, service and security to our customers as we target Africa’s fastest-growing industrial sectors,” he added.

Reps Grill Peterside Over NIMASA’s $5bn Debt Recovery Contract

The House of Representatives Committee on Marine Safety on Tuesday grilled the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, over a controversial contract to recover NIMASA’s alleged $5bn debt.
A firm, SNECO Financial Services, which was incorporated on April 4, 2016, was awarded the contract.
The House committee, which is chaired by Mr. Umar Bago, is in possession of petitions, alleging the breach of due process and fraud in the award of the contract.
One of the petitions clearly stated that under the terms of the contract, SNECO would take 13 per cent of the recovered debts, a figure the committee queried for being “huge.”
Lawmakers observed that this would be about $65million profit for the firm.
Bago said, “We have the petitions here. The petitioners consider this a waste of public funds.
“Why will NIMASA engage another firm to perform its functions? Why do we have staff in NIMASA? What is their work?”
Another member of the committee, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Mr. Dan Asuquo, directed Peterside to produce the audited account of the firm.
“What is the pedigree of SNECO?
“Where is their audited account? We want to know their owners,” he added.
But, Peterside, a former member of the House, told the session that NIMASA complied with all due process requirements in awarding the contract.
He explained how the Bureau of Public Procurement awarded a certificate of no objection on the contract.
However, Peterside, denied that he ever mentioned that NIMASA’s debt was $5bn or $10bn as had been quoted by some persons.
According to him, the agency’s debts from 2004 to 2016 was $420.55m.
He wondered how the petitioners arrived at the $5bn that was quoted.
He spoke more, “I never said that NIMASA was owed $5bn. The entire volume of shipping trade in Nigeria in the last four years is nothing close to $10bn.
“We complied with every provision of the Public Procurement Act.”
But, lawmakers were not satisfied with his explanations and insisted on holding a full investigative hearing on the controversial contract.
“DG, there will be an investigative hearing. So, you can speak on those questions that you have answers to give now.
“On those questions that you are not ready to answer, please prepare fully and come during the investigative hearing,” he said.

Dogara Is Just A Thief – Jibrin

Abdumumin Jibrin suspended lawmaker has accused serving Speaker of the house Dogara of embezzling N500million from the house claiming it was to pay his house rent

The embattled Former Chairman made the accusation in a new statement he shared via social media.

Read below:

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. I want to be one of those madmen”- Thomas Sankara On day 88 of DogaraGate: At a time of recession when Members of House and ministers collect a paltry sum per annum for rent of official House Speaker Dogara and Lasun secretly collected 500m naira from multiple sources in the name of “we no get official house” for rent of Houses and guest houses.
It was in the process of delivering part of the illicit money that the criminal Herma Hembe stole part of the money that spark a fight between him and Lasun Billions has been stolen and wasted over the years by the House in name of providing official house and guest houses that are often used for parties with prostitutes.

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Reps amend law to strip corrupt Nigerians of National Awards.

House of Representatives has begun the amendment to the Nigerian National Merit Awards Act, with a view to stripping an awardee the honour, if found guilty of any crime by a competent law court, as a Bill to that effect was read a second time yesterday.

Leading debate on the Bill’s general principles, its sponsor, Ayodele Oladimeji, explained that the amendment proposed was in the bid to strengthen the anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said: “There is need for the law to be amended; this will strengthen the anti-corruption war of the government of the day. In view of the current development in our economic and political life, the law requires an amendment which will make the Act live up to the expectations of contemporary times.

“It is on this basis that this bill seeks to strengthen the federal government’s aims and objectives in fighting corruption in all fields of life.

“This would be through the introduction of Section 8 (2) to the Principal Act which provides that Any Awardee convicted of any criminal offence shall be stripped of the National Honour.”

He stressed that the awardee must be found guilty of any crime by a competent court of jurisdiction before the executive considers stripping him/her of such honour, adding that the proposal was also intended to remind recipients that as holders of such, they were like ambassadors of Nigeria and ought not to debase the honours.

Speaking in support of the proposed amendment, Adamu Kamale said it would make the recipients of such awards to live responsibly, as exemplary leaders.

Reps probe ‘extortion’ through N65 ATM charges

House of Representatives has begun moves to investigate the alleged extortion of customers through the N65 ATM charges by commercial banks in the country.

It, has therefore, directed its committee on Banking and Currency, to investigate same and other such related charges by the commercial banks.

The resolution followed a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by Hon. Tijani Yusuf, (PDP-Kogi), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice votes by members.

According to him, commercial banks across the country had been extorting customers with N65 deducted from every bank transaction, while the Central Bank of Nigeria failed to act.

He recalled that recently, banks in the United Kingdom (UK) were asked to pay customers monies considered to have been illegally deducted from customers’ accounts as charges.

Also, in his contribution, contribution, Hon. Aminu Suleiman accused the Central Bank of Nigeria of not discharging its responsibilities as regulator of the banking sector.

The motion has been referred to the concerned committee; Banking and Currency for further legislative action, and to report its findings back within four weeks.

Jibrin Advises Adeosun To To Halt The Payment Of Reps’ Running Cost

The former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Thursday, advised the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to halt the payment of running costs to members of the House.

Jibrin claimed that the money was not used for the services of the House but “diverted into private pockets.”

The federal lawmaker from Kano State, who was suspended last week by the House, also called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to shun further invitations by the House to appear for investigative hearings and other activities of the House.

But the House dismissed Jibrin’s call again.

The Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said the suspended legislator was speaking “rubbish.”

Jibrin stated, “I am also demanding that the Minister of Finance, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Clerk to the National Assembly, in exercising my right as a citizen of Nigeria, should stop with immediate effect, further payments of running cost allowances to members of the House of Representatives.

“As an insider, I know that most of such monies have been and are diverted into private pockets.

“There is no law in our country that is intended to protect corruption. So, the continuous payment of such money negates the spirit and genuine intention of establishing such laws in the first place.

“I am also calling on Nigerians, companies, ministries, departments and agencies to shun invitations from the House of Representatives until the House allows for a transparent investigation of individual and systemic corruption allegations in collaboration with ongoing external investigations by the police and anti-graft agencies.”

Jibrin alleged that the reason the attempt by the House to probe a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, failed was because a senior member of the House frustrated the investigation.

In keeping with his promise, Jibrin said he had begun to forward the names of members in batches to anti-graft agencies on how they allegedly misused the running costs.

The lawmaker said he was prepared to serve the “harshest punishment” if his allegations were proven to be wrong.

In his reaction, Ado-Doguwa, who argued that Jibrin’s suspension was in order, told The PUNCH that members expected that Jibrin would keep reeling out more allegations, in spite of being on suspension.

He stated, “Let him say whatever rubbish he wants to say.

“I am sure Nigerians are now realising the truth in Jibrin’s stupidity.

“His suspension serves him right. We could not have done anything less.”

Reps fault Federal Civil Service recruitment exercise

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal civil service commission to, without further delay, declare publicly, the number of vacancies available and distribute some according to States in accordance with the Federal character principles.

The call, made yesterday, follows a motion on the urgent need to investigate the unwholesome practices involving the Federal civil service commission with respect to the on going recruitment exercise announced by the commission, sponsored by Hon. Henry Archibong and Mustapha Bala Dawaki.

Hon. Archibong who expressed concern over the inability of Nigerians to access the recruitment portal, disclosed that the portal uploaded by the Commission is non functional as unemployed Nigerians have been unable to apply for various positions.

“Thousands of qualified Nigerians have over the past days been trying to apply for various positions advertised by the commission via the portal but are unable to due to an ineffective portal.

“By uploading a non functional recruitment portal, the commission is deliberately denying thousands of suitably qualified Nigerians who wish to contribute their quota to the service of their fatherland through gainful employment into the civil service, thereby subjecting them to hardship.

The non functional portal according to him, “is a ploy by the commission to come up with names of friend and the children of the high and mighty in the society as the only ones that applied for the employment thereby depriving the children of the poor and the Federal Government of willing and qualified hands to move the country forward”.

The lawmakers noted that the action of the commission is against the change agenda of the present administration, principle of equity, justice, fairness, transparency and above all, the principles of federal character as enshrined in Section 14(3) and (4) of the constitution.

The House also directed its Committee on Federal Character to investigate the practice of the commission and ensure a 24 hour accessibility of the recruitment portal for intending applicants and extend the deadline of the submission

JUST IN: President Buhari sends 2017 Budget Draft to Senate

President Muhammadu Buhari today, Tuesday, October 4 has sent a draft of the 2017 budget to the Nigerian Senate for approval. Part of the details of the budget reveals that the plan assumes an oil price of $42.5 per barrel and production of 2.2 million barrels a day, as well as an exchange rate of 290 Naira to the U.S. dollar. Earlier today, Tuesday, October 4, President Buhari submitted the 2017-2019 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Senate for consideration and approval.
This was disclosed after Senate president Bukola Saraki read out the letter on the floor of the Senate. President Buhari in the letter to the Senate noted that the submission of the MTEF and FSP was in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Buhari in his letter to the senate said in part: “I am pleased to submit the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly. Let me use this medium to express my gratitude for the enduring partnership between the legislative and the executive arms of government. “In particular, I note with appreciation the committment and support that distinguished senators have continued to demonstrate with respect to the preparation passage and implementation of the federal budget.”
It is important to note that the 2016 national budget was presented before a joint session of the National Assembly, comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives today on December 22, 2016. The National Assembly complex was locked down by presidential guards ahead of the presentation. Later, thesenator representing Osun central senatorial distict, Olusola Adeyeye on Thursday, January 21, 2016 faulted the late submission of 2016 budget stating that it gives shorter period of time for consideration.
President Buhari seems to have learned from that as this 2017 budget submission has come far earlier than that of 2016. Meanwhile, drama relating to the 2016 budget padding scandal continues to linger.
Suspended House of Representatives member, Honorable Abdulmumin Jibrin who accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara, and some other principal officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget to the tune of over N40bn has received encouragement from the Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP).
The suspended lawmaker yesterday, October 3, had threatened to reveal more alleged “systemic corruption among the leadership of the House of Representatives including in the House’s investigative hearings and oversight functions; as well as to disclose the internal budget of the House.”
Adetokunbo Mumuni who is the executive director of SERAP described Jibrin as a “whistleblower because of his public interest disclosures on alleged budget padding and fraud in the House of Representatives in the context of his work in the House as a member.”
SERAP encouraged Jibrin saying: “We encourage Mr Jibrin to tell Nigerians more about his allegations of systemic corruption in the House of Representatives. “Mr Jibrin will be doing a positive act of ‘good citizenship’ by revealing how exactly is the House profiting from its investigative hearings and oversight functions; and disclosing the House’s internal budget.”

Budget Padding Scandal: Jibrin vows to upturn suspension in court

Following his suspension by the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Wednesday night said he would seek redress in court.

The House on Wednesday afternoon slammed 180 legislative days —a full session— suspension on Mr. Jibrin after being found guilty of violating ethics and privileges of lawmakers.

Mr. Jibrin through his widely publicised allegations of budget fraud against the Speaker of the House and over a dozen other lawmakers had stirred controversies and subjected the House to public scrutiny since July.

But the lawmaker remained defiant, saying he had done nothing wrong and, as such, will not apologise.

“Let me say, I will never ever apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives,” Mr. Jibrin said in a statement. “I did not commit any offence.”

Mr. Jibrin’s allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others stemmed from his ouster as the chair of the much-coveted Committee on Appropriation.

Mr. Dogara announced Mr. Jibrin’s removal shortly before the House proceeded on an eight-week-long recess July 20, citing budget fraud and serial betrayal of trust.

On September 21, barely a day after resuming, Mr. Dogara’s loyalists moved a motion at the plenary seeking disciplinary actions against Mr. Jibrin.

Emmanuel Orker-Jev, a lawmaker from Benue, proposed tough sanctions against Mr. Jibrin for the damage his allegations had wrought on the House.

The image of the House has never been worse than this before. Hon. Jibrin was reckless and the allegations were false. He knew that the allegations were false and scandalous and he had no regards at all to whether the allegations were true or false,” Mr. Orker-Jev said.

The House subsequently assigned the matter to its Ethics and Privileges Committee for further investigation and to report back within a week with its findings and recommendations.

Nicholas Ossai, chairman of the committee, convened the first hearing on the matter September 23, during which Mr. Orker-Jev submitted his evidence against Mr. Jibrin.

Mr. Jibrin received an invitation to appear before the committee on Monday. But he decided to boycott the hearing, even though his demand that the sitting be thrown open to the public was met by Mr. Ossai.

Mr. Jibrin also asked his lawyer, Femi Falana, to seek discontinuation of the committee’s activities saying continuing  would amount to subjudice as the matter was in court.

Mr. Ossai said Mr. Jibrin’s failure to appear before his “properly and constitutionally constituted committee” was, in effect, a defence.

The report of the committee was laid before the House plenary at noon on Wednesday.

By 2:30 p.m., the House voted to adopt the recommendations of the committee as read out by Mr. Ossai on the floor.

The recommendations included a 180-day suspension, a formal letter of apology and a removal of rights to hold position of responsibility through the span of the current 8th National Assembly.

Although analysts said it was draconian and counterproductive, Mr. Jibrin’s, nonetheless, saw a bright spot in his suspension.

“At this point, I must say they freed me up to concentrate on the matter in court,” Mr. Jibrin said. “I know the suspension is not going to stand, secondly, I’m going into a massive alliance with civil society groups, NGOs and well meaning Nigerian to continue to press ahead.”

Analysts also said Mr. Jibrin’s suspension did not resolve the questions of what the House would do about the allegations of budget fraud confronting it.

House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment about this Wednesday night.

A top lawmaker in the House said the lawmakers will not consider Mr. Jibrin’s allegations since he didn’t present anything before them.

“I understand people want his allegations investigated,” the source told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night. “But don’t forget he didn’t present them before us.”

“He had an opportunity to do this last week when someone raised a motion for his suspension, but instead walked out in a show of arrogance.”

Mr. Jibrin is the first lawmaker to be suspended since 2010 when Dino Melaye and 10 others were found guilty of breaching House ethics and privileges.

West Idahosa, Austin Nwachukwu, Gbenga Onigbogi, Doris Uboh, Gbenga Oduaye, Independence Ogunewe, Solomon Achinawhi, Kayode Amusa, Anas Abass, and Bitmus Kaze received indefinite suspension alongside Mr. Melaye on June 22, 2010 under the speakership of Dimeji Bankole.

Mr. Melaye is now a senator representing Kogi West.

In the 4th National Assembly, 1999 -2003, two senators, Arthur Nzeribe and Joseph Waku, were suspended for ethical misconduct.

Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would see him barred from the premises of the National Assembly in the course of the disciplinary action. His office will be sealed and will not receive salaries or allowances.

Jibrin warns House against suspension

Erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Tuesday expressed deep apprehension over his imminent suspension from the House that may follow the outcome of the Ethics and Privileges Committee’s investigative hearing which he shunned.

Jibrin at a press briefing Tuesday, warned the House over his suspension on a matter, which he said was already in court.

The lawmaker who said slamming suspension on him would amount to contempt of court, said he refused to attend the
committee’s sessions as it never communicated to him in his letter of invitation the offences that he was accused of.

He further said the committee was not able to restore his confidence on it as he had severally complained of the meddlesomeness of its chairman, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, on the allegations he raised against Speaker Yakubu Dogara that led to his alleged misconduct.

“I was not served notice of the allegations by the Ethics Committee. I didn’t know what I was to defend myself of. They only told me in their invitation that the House referred a motion to them and that I should come with relevant documents,” Jibrin claimed.

He said he was interested in knowing how he breeched the privileges of members and those he breeched their privileges and not for the House to lump everything together.

Jibrin said he was giving the committee till the end of this week to investigate the allegations he raised against Dogara and others, otherwise, he would go out of his way to expose the shoddy deal of each member of the committee.

He said he was not ready to stop the anti-corruption struggle and would never lobby any member to join him if that is what they are waiting for, adding that he is ready to stand alone to the end.

He was however of the opinion that the support Dogara was enjoying presently was cosmetics, as he allegedly blackmailed members into it, assuring that he would expose the blackmail soon.

Hon. Jibrin Suspended From House of Reps

Whistle-blower lawmaker, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has been suspended by the House of Representatives.


The lawmaker from Kano at the centre of the unfolding budget padding scandal was on Wednesday suspended fron the house for 180 legislative days.


The House seats three days in a week and this consequently means that Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would last more than a year.


In a motion recommended by House Ethics Committee chairman, Nicholas Ossai, and adopted by the whole House, Jibrin will also not be able to hold any position of responsibility for the span of the current National Assembly.


On 21st July, the former Appropriations Committee Chairman raised the alarm about illegal insertions into the 2016 budget by the leadership of the House.


The scandal has been regarded by many as Africa’s biggest parliamentary scandals in recent memory.

Reps Decry Purchase of N4.9bn Military Uniforms From Foreign Markets

Between 2015 and 2016, the Federal Government spent N4.9 billion on the procurement of military and paramilitary uniforms and allied materials from foreign countries.

The procurement of the items including footwear, berets, belts, cardigans, head warmers and branded stockings, from foreign markets is now a source of concern to the House of Representatives.

A member of the House, Mr. Prestige Ossy (Aba: Abia: APGA) drew the attention of his colleagues to the development via a motion of urgent public importance at the plenary session presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

He said the rate of dependence on foreign markets for almost everything used in Nigeria had become alarming.
Shedding light on the expenditure, Ossy disclosed that the N4. 3 billion spent on the items in 2016, when converted to dollars at the current rate of N305, amounted to $14. 1 million while the N1. 6 billion earmarked in the 2015 budget at the benchmark rate of N197 per dollar amounted to $8. 1 million.

He expressed the fear that if patronising foreign markets and trading in foreign currency continued, there was no way the government policy of foreign currency conservation could be achieved.

According to Ossy, such uniforms and other items could be produced locally and procured from indigenous markets at far more reduced prices. He said it behoved the government to put in place palliative measures in the form of grants and loans to empower indigenous textile factories to meet local demand for such clothing and other material needs of Nigerians.

According to Ossy, if the items were manufactured locally, it would boost the economy by way of foreign exchange.

The lawmakers adopted the motion and mandated the Bank of Industry to assist producers of garments, shoes and other materials with soft loans to procure modern machines.

They also mandated the House Committee on Defence and Industries to ensure that uniforms and other materials of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Customs, Immigration, Police, Civil Defence, Nigerian Prison Service and Nigerian Fire Service as well as health workers were produced locally.

Also, yesterday, the House demanded a reversal of ongoing move to increase rates of access gate charges by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Rotimi Agunsoye (Kosofe: Lagos: APC), who described the move as insensitive to the plight of the average Nigerian, the House directed FAAN to immediately suspend the planned increase slated for October 1, 2016.

The lower chamber also mandated its committee on aviation to engage the management of FAAN to offer an explanation on the proposed increase.

Reps begin investigation into Jibrin’s budget padding allegations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Friday in Abuja, commenced public investigation into allegations of fraud made by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin against the House.

This followed Wednesday’s resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate the allegations, bordering on breach of privileges of members.

It would be recalled that the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, accused the leadership of the National Assembly of padding the 2016 budget.

In his allegation, Jibrin alluded that the corruption in the House of Representatives outweighed that of the Executive and Judiciary combined, and urged anti-graft agencies to investigate.

Testifying before Ethics and Privileges Committee, however, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev, described Jibrin’s action as sundry act of misconduct against the House.

Orker-Jev, who tendered newspaper copies and video materials as evidence, prayed the committee to apply necessary sanctions against any member guilty of misconduct in accordance with the House rules.

He said that the allegations made by Jibrin were false, scandalous and had impinged on the image of the National Assembly.

According to him, the allegations have lowered the National Assembly in the estimation of the public as Nigerians now express disgust at the lawmakers.

“There are internal mechanisms of addressing such grievances.

“We need to redeem our image against allegations that oversight and public hearings conducted in the House of Representatives are riddled with corruption,’’ Orker-Jev said.

While adopting Orker-Jev’s evidences, the Committee on Ethics and Privileges expressed commitment to be fair and objective in the investigation.

It adjourned sitting on the matter to Sept. 26, 201 when Jibrin is scheduled to appear before the committee.

The struggle has just begun – Jibrin tells Dogara

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has stated that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, used legislative tricks to save himself by not allowing the budget padding allegations to be debated by members.

Declaring that he would not appear before any House committee except its hearing is made public; he asserted that “the struggle has just begun”.

Recall that the House had on Wednesday descended into a rowdy session where it passed a motion to investigate the breach of members’ privileges as a result of recent allegations made by the ousted chairman.

The motion, moved by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, said the lower chamber had come under “heavy attack” following the allegations.

Jibrin is to appear before the Ethics and Privileges committee, which would investigate him and make recommendations to the House; if found guilty by the committee, the embattled lawmaker risks six months suspension.

He said in a statement, “Rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.

“In a move that smacks of abuse of process, Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the chairman of business and rules committee, who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege — a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the house rule.

“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed.

“But what happened on the floor of the House today is just the end of another beginning. I have never lived with the illusion that this matter will be a sprint, knowing the deeply-rooted corrupt interest of a few cabal in the House, headed by Speaker Dogara.

“I have all the stamina and agility to go the marathon and ensure justice is served. Despite all these and since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public and will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.

“Predictably, in his speech, Mr. Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth times that the allegations I raised are against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members — not the honourable house as an institution.

“The bad news for Nigerians is that in the face of such grievous allegations against the Speaker, which members are aware of, and his decision to sit tight, he has become a lame duck Speaker. But even more painfully is the fact that we will continue to call, though in the short run, such fraudulent and corrupt persons in Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor number 4 citizen and principal officers of the House respectively.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the struggle has just begun.”

Reps donate N18m to Nigeria Paralympics Team

The Members of House of Representatives Wednesday resolved to donate the sum of N50,000 each to the Nigeria Paralympics Team that represented the country at the just concluded Rio Paralympics Games in Brazil.

The House while in plenary adopted a motion by Rep Ayo Omidiran, APC, Osun, saying the team deserved the support of the Green Chamber in view of the unprecedented medals won by members of the team.

The lawmakers also resolved to host members of the team at a special plenary session.

Rep Omidiran said members of the team, though physically-challenged, did what has never been done in the history of Nigerian athletics, which was why she said they needed the support and encouragement of the House.

Contributing to the debate, Rep Herman Hembe, APC, Benue, said the House ought to celebrate members of the team.

For his part, the chairman of the House committee on sports, Goni Bukar ,APC, Bauchi said the performance of the Nigeria Para-lympics Team was outstanding and should be replicated by other Nigerian athletes.

We Are Elected To Pad Budget – Honourable Abiodun Olasupo

The Chairman House of Representative Committee on Legislative Compliance, Abiodun Olasupo, has insisted that ‘budget padding’ remains a constitutional responsibility of the legislative arm of government and as such the House of Representatives did not err in the current ‘budget padding’ controversy.


Olasupo, representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/ Iwajowa federal constituency, stated this during the inspection of some his zonal intervention projects and federal government projects within his constituency on Wednesday in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.


He said Sections 80 and 81 the Nigeria constitution,guarantees the lawmakers the Powers to alter the Budget Proposals?.


The lawmaker argued that budgets presented by the executive arm of government do not often reflect true federal character hence the need for ‘padding’?.


”If you look at the Nigeria Constitution, what Honourable AbdulMuminin Jibrin refer to as padding is tantamount to what the constitution defines as the function of a member of House of Representative because the constitution guarantees the three major function of making law, appropriation, and over sight.


“In appropriation it is either for us to add, subtract or change and what Hon Jibrin has been trying to say is that we are changing, inserting and adding, so if that is what he calls padding then that is what the constitution expects the house of representative to do.

“In my own opinion been an active member during the budget defence, I was involved in the budgeting system of up to six ministries, I participated in FERMA, NAVY, health institutions, governmental agencies and a whole lot of them. The entire budgeting system make it possible that if you are elected as a member of national assembly and you are not ready to do what Muminin Jibrin calls padding then you are a failure, because basically the budget that is been brought to the national assembly does not reflect the principle of federal character as guaranteed by the constitution,” he said


Olasupo said all projects and employments from the executive should be done in a way that it reflects all parts of Nigeria, adding that: ”but what do we get in the budget, you will see a disapprotionate distribution of projects and basically if you look at it reflects mostly on where the minister is coming from since it is the executive that brings in the budget.”


The lawmaker went further that: ”When the executive are bringing the budget they are not considering my constituency, so they will bring a budget to me and I am expected to approve it, and if it doesn’t have the interest of my constituency you want me to keep quite, no I won’t, what I will also do is to insert what will favour the people of my constituency which is what Jibrin calls padding.


“I am not saying somebody is wrong or right but I do not see what is bad in attracting projects to my constituency. For the first time in the history of this country a budget presented by the executive was reduced when a president personally presented the budget to the national assembly personally. It means that we are shifting away from impunity, and corruption that has characterised the government of the past.”


Olasupo noted that the legislature have only had an unhindered experience of 16 years when compared with the executive, appealing to Nigerians to be patient with the national assembly to get right all their lapses in no time.

Only Tailors Engage In Padding, Lawmakers Don’t – Ex-Rep Speaks On Budget Saga

The Spokesman of House of Representatives in the Sixth Assembly, Eseme Eyibo, has said that there is nothing like budget padding.

Eyibo told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that adjustments must be made in a budget before it could be passed into law.

He said that Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution empowers the national assembly to make necessary adjustments to budget proposals presented to by the executive.

“I know padding is associated with tailoring, fashion, but I am not conversant with it as associated to appropriation process.

“It becomes difficult for an average man in the street to understand that in the course of budget preparation and the input of the legislature, there will definitely be the issue of adjustment.

“The adjustment could be deleted or added and something could be allowed to serve as it were.

“The essence of the public procurement act was to enforce the principle of accountability and thin out possibility of corruption.

“But the challenge is, has there been the enforcement or compliance of the full principles of the public procurement act?

He added that the budget proposal as presented by the executive was intended to come through the legislature so that the issue of checks and balances, separation of powers would be strengthened.

According to him, when that is done, that does not take away the input and contributions of the legislature into that proposal.

“If that was so, they wouldn’t have been a pre-budget meeting or oversight,’’ Eyibo said.

He said that the integrity of the legislature as an institution must be protected and strengthened. (NAN)

Tension In House Of Reps Over Plot To Remove Speaker, Yakubu Dogara

Speaker, Yakubu Dogara might be in serious trouble as members of the House of Representatives have become divided over his involvement in the alleged budget padding.

There was obvious tension in the House of Representatives on Monday over an alleged plot to remove the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara for his involvement in the budget padding allegations made by a former Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin.

According to reporters, members on vacation were forced to rush from their vacation spots to meetings in Abuja where the alleged plot was discussed. Even after the Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila had urged members to calm down while urging members to have faith in the leadership of the House under Dogara, there is still palpable fear of the unknown.
Gbajabiamila had since maintained a sealed lips over the budget brouhaha since it started on July 21. Gbajabiamila had refused to speak openly in support of Jibrin or Dogara, and the three other principal officers whom Jibrin had accused of padding the 2016 Budget. The others are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.

It was learnt that some persons in the House in a text message that members of the House received on Monday accused Gbajabiamila of siding with Jibrin to remove Dogara because of his silence.

“This group circulated a text message among members, giving the impression that there would be a leadership change in the House. “They attempted to re-open the old Dogara-Gbajabiamila rivalry and create mayhem,”

a senior legislative official told us in Abuja on Monday.
It read, ?Quote

Plot to destabilise the leadership of the House of Reps has taken a new dimension as the Attorney-General of the Federation, working with Gbajabiamila, Jibrin and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has drafted charges to arraign and detain principal officers of the House so that the Transparency Group, who recently met with Tinubu’s wife, will effect a leadership change with Gbajabiamila as Speaker and Jibrin as the Deputy.

“This is why Jibrin did not mention Femi (Gbajabiamila) in his allegations. The 8th House won’t be anybody’s rubber stamp. We will resist them like the Senate resisted them,” the message read.

It was the message being circulated that prompted Gbajabiamila to write members to calm them, urging them to disregard the text. He also explained that he had kept silent to avoid his comments being mistaken for taking sides. Gbajabiamila told members that he chose to break his silence because the text message gave the wrong signal.

Gbajabiamila however sent a text message to other members.

It read in part,Quote

“Since the budget controversy that engulfed the House about a week ago, I have pointedly maintained a dignified silence. I did this for the sake of the institution that I represent and which I have laboured hard to grow and protect, knowing that whatever I say could be impactful both within the House and outside it.
“I was determined to keep in place the glue that holds an otherwise fragmented House, protect its integrity and at same time avoid eroding the little confidence and vestiges of hope Nigerians have in us.

“Unfortunately, the controversy has now taken a different turn following the rather strange text making the rounds among members about my complicity in this rather sordid matter. I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay out of for the good of the House.

“The speakership election has come and gone. The election was divisive and acrimonious, but I have worked hard to heal the wounds, some of which still fester among members on both sides. It is my responsibility to bring together all tendencies in the House and I have worked well with the Speaker and all other principal officers in the interest of the institution and the country.

“The text message, which desperately seeks to finger me in some macabre plot to destabilise the House, is a throwback and echoes our dark post-speakership election history. The resurfacing of the faceless text messengers will not help us as a House, and let me quickly add that it will fail.
“My strongest critics and biggest political adversaries in the House cannot deny the fact that my commitment has always been to strengthen the legislature and its processes and our democracy as a whole.
“I consider everyone a friend and colleague and urge that as we collectively work towards a stronger legislature and strive to deepen our democracy, we do not pull back the hands of the clock or lose sight of the enormous responsibility placed upon us by providence as members of a critical arm of government.”
On Jibrin’s budget padding allegations, Gbajabiamila noted that judgment could not be passed on any official based on mere allegations.

He stressed that before the law, an accused remained innocent until proven guilty.

“It is clear that our budget process needs radical reform. Allegations have been made, but I strongly believe that judgment should not be passed based on allegations. “We operate a constitutional democracy and we must at all times submit to its dictates and ethos. All parties are innocent until otherwise proven. “This should be our guide. I plead with all members; the mudslinging must stop,”

Gbajabiamila added.
As the crisis continues, Jibrin on Monday submitted copies of his petition against Dogara to the EFCC, ICPC and the DSS.

Reps Say No Need For External Probe Of Dogara, Others

Members of the House of Reps Committee on Appropriation said yesterday that there was no breach whatsoever in the 2016 budget process that would warrant the probe of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy Yussuf Suleimon Lasun, chief whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and minority leader, Leo Ogor. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, deputy chairman of the committee, Rep Chris Emeka Azubogu (PDP, Anambra), who was accompanied by eight other members of the committee, said the allegations levelled against the quartet by the former chairman of the committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, were all lies.
A new group in the House known as ‘Transparency Group’ comprising of over 100 members, had on Wednesday called for an external probe into the matter and that anybody found wanting should be punished. But the appropriation committee members insisted that there was no need for that.

Jibrin had following his sack last week alleged that Dogara and the other three leaders tried to force him to insert projects worth N40 billion for them in the budget, among other weighty allegations.
However, the lawmakers said they were dismayed and disappointed by Jibrin’s conduct and allegations since his removal, saying he was the one who perpetrated all the irregularities in the budget. They also alleged that Jibrin “hijacked” the budget process and single-handedly ran away from them only to return after weeks with a report on the budget. “We wish to state that we totally disassociate ourselves from all the calculated plot to pull down the integrity of the leadership and members of the 8th House of Representatives.”
They said following Jibrin’s action of “hijacking” the budget, they approached the Speaker with complaints and demanded the former chairman’s sack.
While calling on Jibrin to tow the path of honour and conduct himself in a manner befitting of a lawmaker, the legislators said they were “solidly in support of Mr Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of the House of Reps.”
Credit: DailyTrust

Sex Scandal: Reps Accuse US Ambassador Of Racial Bias

One of the three members of the House of Representatives accused of alleged sexual misconduct by the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, yesterday accused the envoy of racial bias stating that the allegations are premeditated.

Hon. Mark Gbillah who made the declaration yesterday while making his presentation at the investigative hearing on the allegations, insisted that he was wrongly accused and would do everything legally possible to clear his name.

He said: “The US Ambassador from the onset had a condescending attitude towards us as a group. He was scheduled to meet with us but never did.

“Even when I met him at a function, I walked up to him and introduced myself as one of the participants of the programme, he condemningly responded that I was one of the members who embarrassed him in his country. It was in that brief encounter that I learnt of the allegation and even advised him to make a formal report not aware that I was part of the supposed persons.

“Cleveland and Ohio as a state is known for racism. There have been cases where non-whites were accused for offences that turned out to be false. Recently, a man of Arabian extraction was accused of being a member of ISIS by a clerk of a hotel just because he was dressed in an Arabian attire and spoke Arabic. He was arrested but later found to be innocent”, he stated.

“The ambassador is not exempted from this racial prejudice given his background and he made this manifest in the way and manner he handled this issue.

Credit: Leadership

Reps Ask EFCC, ICPC To Probe Bala, Others Over Land Swap

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, to examine the likely abuse of financial regulations in the land swap policy he introduced while in office.
Also to be probed alongside Bala are the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr Adamu Ismaila and the coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment Center (AIIC), Mr Faruk Sani, to ascertain their culpability or otherwise in the abuse of financial regulations, due process and other regulations regarding the land swap program.

The House took the decision after adopting the report of its committee on the FCT chaired by Rep Herman Hembe (APC, Benue).
The committee, which investigated the matter earlier this month, laid its report on Tuesday, containing 10 recommendations.
The House also asked relevant security and law enforcement agencies to investigate and track all monies expended outside the laid down financial guidelines for the program, particularly, monies paid to the FCTA Land Swap Programme Account with the FCMB Plc, and the private personal account of Mustafa Usman Kaoje, the Accountant of AIIC and any other official of FCTA and AIIC.
Credit: Dailytrust

Reps To Investigate Alleged Herdsmen Attack In Ekiti

The House of Representatives has resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the remote causes of the recent attack by alleged herdsmen on Oke-Ako Community in Ekiti State.

The House during plenary on Wednesday directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase to deploy police personnel to the affected areas to avert likely reprisal atacks.

The House further urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the affected community.

These resolutions by the House followed a motion of urgent public importance entitled; “the fatal invasion of Oke Ako Ekiti community by suspected herdsmen” sponsored by Rep. Emmanuel Agboola (Ekiti-PDP).

Moving the motion, the lawmaker said that the attacks if not curbed, would lead to reprisal attacks and imminent guerilla warfare.

Agboola expressed concern that the ‘back to farm’ slogan of the current administration to diversify the economy may not see the light of day, as farms were being destroyed by “uncoordinated grazing” in the country.

“Lives are randomly lost in these incessant attacks and sometimes in a dimension that is similar to genocide, just like the one at Oke Ako in Ekiti state.

“Certain states have already taken steps to stem the tide in a manner that suggests that the Federal Government is seemingly insensitive to this very worrisome development,’’ the lawmaker said.

The House unanimously adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote.

The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara also urged the Police Service Commission to hasten the process of recruitment of more personnel into the force.

The ad hoc committee is to report its findings back to the House within six weeks for further legislative input.



Reps Order Halt Of Refineries Privatization

The House of Representatives Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop its planned privatization of the nation’s refineries or joint investment ventures with some multinationals.

The committee’s chairman, Hon. Ahmed Yerima (APC, Bauchi), who gave the order yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session with the managements of the NNPC and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the planned privatization of three  refineries in the country, said the process was in breach of relevant laws.

Earlier in his submission, the group executive director, Refineries, at the NNPC, Mr Anibor Kragba, had said the NNPC had no powers to privatize any of its refineries and that they were only seeking funds to get the refineries back to work.

Kragba, who represented the minister of state for petroleum resources and group managing director of the corporation, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said they decided to put up some publications in certain national dailies on the matter in an effort to have joint investment ventures with interested companies.

For his part, the acting director-general, BPE, Mr Vincent Akpotarie, said the refineries that were privatized had been reversed in 2007, but that there were moves towards the end of the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for fresh privatization of the refineries, which failed.

He added that the BPE was worried about joint venture agreements because of past experience where such ventures failed.

The committee chairman however said: “I think there’s a clear violation of the law in seeking investments based on what the BPE DG said.”

Credit: Leadership

Fuel Price Hike Protest: Reps Declare Support For FG, Pleads With NLC

The House of Representatives on Wednesday made a formal declaration of support for the decision of the Federal Government to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, better known as petrol.

A litre of petrol now sells for N145 instead of  N86.50k.

However, the government claimed that what it did was price increase and not the removal of subsidy or deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

On Wednesday, the House, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, backed the price hike.

The price hike had pitted the government against  organised labour, as a faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress led by Mr. Ayuba Wabba, vehemently opposed it.

The group had called for an indefinite nationwide strike on Wednesday, though other labour groups, including the Trade Union Congress pulled out.

The House had intervened in a bid to resolve the dispute by summoning the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to appear before it on Monday.

After Kachikwu’s appearance, where he said the government would not reverse the new price regime, the House also invited labour leaders to hear their own side of the story on Tuesday.

An ad hoc committee chaired by the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, was mandated to interface with labour leaders.

The committee presented an interim report to the House on Wednesday, which was adopted wholesale by lawmakers.

In adopting the report, the House said it was in support of the price hike.

It added that it “overwhelmingly expressed solidarity towards deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry in the greater interest of the Nigerian economy and posterity.”

While supporting the price regime, the House urged labour to continue to “show understanding of the situation, while engaging in dialogue in the interest of its teeming membership and Nigeria.”

The lawmakers advised the “executive arm to ensure full and speedy implementation of the Appropriations Act, 2016, as therein lies much of the palliatives that will help in calming the current situation.”

Members applauded the political will of the current administration to remove subsidy, noting that it would save the country trillions of naira hitherto spent in the name of subsidising PMS.

Earlier, Ado-Doguwa had informed the House that the committee had an engaging session with labour leaders.

He said, “During its interactive session with organised labour, the committee sought to extract a commitment from organised labour to put off the intended action, but the representatives of the labour unions stated that they would not be able to give any immediate final response until they secured the consent of their state chapters.

“They categorically reiterated the massive hardship inflicted on the Nigerian worker by the recent developments in the petroleum downstream sector, which included sky-rocketing prices in  markets  both within and outside the oil and gas sector. They insisted on an assurance of reliable palliative measures to assuage the sufferings of the Nigerian workers.

“The committee unequivocally stressed the support of the House in the present efforts of government in sanitising the petroleum sector, and noted that the palliatives already contained in the Appropriations Act 2016, would allay the fears of the general masses of our country, cushion the effect of the deregulation initiatives and create the necessary peaceful environment conducive for a more rapid growth and development.”

Meanwhile, the South-South Zone of the All Progressives Congress has declared support for the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry.

The APC chairmen from the six states of the zone said this after a meeting with the National Vice-Chairman in charge of the zone, Hilliard Eta, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The chairmen said their declaration became necessary in the light of the mixed reactions which greeted last Monday’s removal of petrol subsidy by government and the threat by organised labour to go on  strike.

Those who attended the meeting were Chief Davis Ikenya (Rivers), Chief Tiwei Orunimighe (Bayelsa), Jones Erue (Delta), Dr. Ahmadu Attai  (Akwa Ibom), John Ochalaag,  (Cross River),  and Ansekum Ojezua, (Edo).

Eta, while commending the chairmen for their thoughtfulness, said for all true lovers of Nigeria and democracy, supporting the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration was the best thing to do.


Credit: Punch

Reps To Investigate Activities Of NCAA, NAMA, FAAN

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, mandated it’s Committee on Aviation to investigate activities of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The committee is to ascertain the extent to which the three organisations complied with their responsibilities of ensuring the airworthiness of aircraft operating within the country’s airspace.

The House also urged NAMA to ensure that there was regular update of weather conditions for the departure of airlines.

NAMA would also ensure that airline operators did not schedule flights when the weather was unsafe.

The resolutions by the House followed a motion by Rep. Sergius Ogun (Edo-PDP) which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.

Moving the motion, Ogun said that with the regulatory agencies and the range of functions they were mandated to carry out, the frequency of air crashes in the country called to question the expertise and competence of these regulatory agencies.

He said “laws such as the Montreal Convention of 1999, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act 2006 and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation 2012 make ample provisions to compensate victims of air crashes for loss of lives and injuries, but such provisions are incapable of replacing the lost lives.

“If thorough investigation of the activities of airline operators is carried out to ascertain the airworthiness of aircraft operating in the country, it will help in no small measure to minimise the frequency of air crashes in the country.”

It would also improve the rating of the country’s aviation sector globally.



Fuel Price Hike: Reps Convene Special Session, Summon Kachikwu

The House of Representatives has convened a special session at which Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, will interact with the lawmakers over the new premium motor spirit price regime hiked to N145 lask week, some lawmakers, including Ahmed Kaita and Akeem Adeyemi.

The special session is slated for today, Monday, at noon – a shift from its regular schedule of plenary which holds Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting.

Last week, Mr. Kachikwu announced the new price regime capped at N145 from a subsidized rate of N86.50.

The Vice President and head of government’s economic team, Yemi Osinbajo, said the new policy became imperative following decline in foreign exchange earning.

“The NNPC exchanges crude from its joint venture share to provide about 50% of local fuel consumption. The remaining 50% is imported by major and independent marketers.

“These marketers up until three months ago sourced their foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria at the official rate. However, since late last year, independent marketers have brought in little or no fuel because they have been unable to get foreign exchange from the CBN. The CBN simply did not have enough. (In April, oil earnings dipped to $550 million. The amount required for fuel importation alone is about $225million!),” Mr. Osinbajo said, in Presidency’s “our story”.

The fuel price hike is expected to worsen Nigeria’s growing inflationary trend which has seen prices of goods, especially food items, skyrocket at a time some states of the federation have not paid workers’ salaries for months.

Ahead of Mr. Kachikwu’s meeting with the House, Mr. Kaita disclosed that “about 68” APC lawmakers had been meeting since Saturday to ensure support for the new policy from the National Assembly end.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Reps To Invite Army Over Ogoni Killings

The House of Representatives Committee on Army on Tuesday said it would invite the Nigerian Army to explain its roles in killings that took place in Ogoniland in February.

The committee stated this shortly after visiting communities affected by the army raid in Gokana and Khana local government areas of Rivers State.

The military had allegedly invaded some suspected criminal hideouts in Yeghe community in Gokana, leading to several deaths.

During the invasion, the soldiers searched the house of ex- militant leader, Mr. Solomon Ndigbara and later demolished several buildings including that of Ndigbara.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Rima Shawulu-Kwewun, said the army would be invited for questioning, pointing out that the invitation would enable the security agency to get fair hearing on the matter.

Credit: Nation

Anambra PDP Reps Candidates Protest At INEC

Aggrieved House of Representatives candidates of a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party have stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja to protest the continued delay to act on the Supreme Court judgment in respect of the rightful winners of the National Assembly seats in Anambra state in the 2015 general elections.

The protesters arrived INEC as early as 8am and took up positions at the entrance to the commission, chanting solidarity songs. Most of them displayed placards demanding that INEC issues their representatives certificates of return to resume at the National Assembly.

Speaking on behalf of other aggrieved candidates, Hon. Tony Office expressed dismay at the action of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in declining to grant them audience despite several letters seeking to meet with him. While alleging INEC bias, Office accused the former Acting Chairman of INEC, Amina Zakari, of being responsible for their plight.

He said the woman who is now a national commissioner led the affairs of INEC during the time when their names were struck out from the election list.

The protesters were prevented from gaining access to INEC premises and after about an hour, the leader of INEC security team asked their representative to come in and deliver their letter.

Credit: Thisday

Reps Probe Secret Recruitment Of 909 Employees By CBN

The House of Representatives on Thursday began an investigation into the alleged ‘secret’ recruitment of 909 employees by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The controversial recruitment was reportedly carried out by the apex bank on the directive of the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, with a reasonable number of the beneficiaries being children and relatives of highly-placed persons in the country.

At a session presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja, the House asked its Committees on Federal Character, Banking/Currency to complete the investigation within three weeks.

An All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, had drawn the attention of the House to the recruitment under ‘matters of urgent public importance’.

Madaki noted that there were no prior notifications on the recruitment through advertisements to give all Nigerians the opportunity to apply.

He recalled that in 2015, there were speculations that the apex bank conducted a secret recruitment, but that the bank quickly denied it.

Madaki added that the latest development only confirmed that the bank carried out the earlier recruitment.

He stated, “The recruitment by the CBN is in breach of the Federal Character Principle as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The recruitment breached section 14(1); 14(3); and Section 17(1) of the constitution.

“There was no fairness, no justice in this exercise conducted by the CBN.”

Lawmakers did not debate the motion before passing it in a unanimous voice vote.

Dogara had overruled any debate on the issue on the grounds that it could pre-judge the outcome of the investigation.

“This is an investigation; let us not allow any debate so that we won’t pre-empt the outcome,” he added.

Credit: Punch


Kogi House of Reps Members Take Over Kogi Assembly

Following the one month crisis that has rocked the Kogi state House of Assembly, members of the House of Reps today March 8th, resolved to take over the function of the state assembly. The Kogi state House of Assembly was thrown into crises after five members impeached the speaker Momoh Jimoh Lawal and elected Umar Imam as new speaker last month.

A panel set up by the House of Representatives to resolve the issue was shunned by the Assembly members. In taking the decision at plenary, the House of Rep members said its action was in line with the provision of Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, which says the National Assembly could
take over the functions of any state assembly that is enmeshed in crisis.

They urged the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase to immediately seal off the Kogi Assembly since the House has taken over its functions.

Reps Summon DSS Over Invasion Of Ekiti Assembly Complex

The House of Representatives has summoned the Director-General, Department of State Service (DSS) to appear before it within 48 hours to explain why the DSS invaded Ekiti House of Assembly.


The summon followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by House Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta) on Tuesday in Abuja.


Members and staff of the Assembly scampered for safety when armed operatives of the DSS invaded the Assembly complex last week Friday.


Presenting the motion, Ogor decried the action, stressing that such interference violated the principle of separation of powers.


He said: “It is a clear violation of the provisions of the constitution; it is unacceptable as it demonstrates interference with an arm of government.

“If somebody violates the law and nothing is done, it gives him the privilege to move forward.

“Therefore, it is important that we summon the Director-General of the DSS to explain where the agency derives its powers to invade and destabilise the activities of the House.

“It is important to respect the rule of law and the sanctity of this institution must remain sacrosanct.’’


The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara referred the matter to Committee on Public Safety and Intelligence for further legislative action.



Ese: Reps To Hear Petition On Victim’s Compensation, Family

The House of Representatives has admitted a petition seeking the payment of compensation for the 14-year-old Ese Oruru and her family over her abduction, conversion to another religion and forced marriage.


Ese was freed and re-united with her family last week after having been kidnapped from Bayelsa State in 2015 and held captive in Kano State for six months.


The abductor, one Yunusa, a.k.a. ‘Yellow’, is already in police custody.

Meanwhile, following the successful release of Ese Oruru, a human rights activist, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, has urged the Federal Government to effectively apply laws for the protection of children from exploiters hiding under religion.


The teenage girl, forced into converting to Islam and marriage to Yinusa, was released and reunited with her family last week after a massive media campaign.


According to a report by Punch, findings on Monday showed that the House Committee on Public Petitions would begin hearing on the petition “just days away.”


A National Assembly official also said that the Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, had referred the petition to the committee last week Thursday.


The petition was written by the Bayelsa State chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation in conjunction with the mother of the minor.


It was signed by the Chairman of the rights group, Chief Nengi James; the Legal Secretary, Mr. J.J. Mkbere; and Ese’s mother, Mrs. Rose Oruru.

It was gathered that a lawmaker from Bayelsa State, Mr. Duoye Diri, conveyed the petition to the speaker.


In addition, the petitioners called for a thorough investigation of Ese’s travails and the prosecution of the culprits to serve as a deterrent to to persons who might be planning such “criminal acts” in the future.


Part of the petition read, “In a country of plurality of ethnicities founded on secular tenets, the acts of certain adherents, no doubt, bespeak of reckless and crass invasion of other adherents’ rights to same, which in the instant saga, Ese Oruru’s own rights to movement, dignity of her human person, religion, education, family and private life, were subject of violations.

“Each of these entitles Ese and indeed, the Oruru family, to exemplary damages and the like on the one hand, while the investigation and prosecution of the culprits/masterminds of this obnoxious act will accord perfectly with the deterrent goal of the criminal justice system. “

The petitioners also demanded that a legal framework with stiffer penalties should be put in place by the Federal Government to penalise offenders.

“We trust that your handling of this subject matter will not betray people’s confidence in your (Reps’) legislative functions vis-a-vis the rights of Ese”, the document added.

Abayomi, also a lawyer, told our correspondent in an telephone interview that the restoration of Oruru’s mental health after eight months in captivity should be the priority of government and that Yinusa should be charged with kidnapping and sexual violation.

According to him, the act carried out by Yinusa should not be encouraged as the abduction violates the law, ethics and principles of human rights.


He added that the abductor should be punished according to his offence under the law.


“I think what the government needs to do is to have a standard, and apply the law effectively in order to protect children.

“Looking at some of the reports and the number of children essentially relating their experiences, it is clear that in many cases, these children have no choice and are forced into a condition they don’t want.”


Credit : Punch

Nigerian Miners Need Intervention To Boost Economy – Reps

The House of Representatives on Thursday said the Miners Association of Nigeria needed serious intervention for the country to benefit from other sectors of the economy apart from oil and gas.


Rep. Adams Jagaba (Kaduna-APC) who represented the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Rep. Datti Garba, said this while receiving members of the association in Abuja.


Jagaba advised the association to find out available funds in the relevant agencies and report back to the committee to enable it to do a follow up in accessing fund for its members.


“Do a little research and come for an interactive session for the committee to be well informed and assist the association in getting funds.

“If there is any legislation we are going to do to ease the accessibility of the fund or sponsor a bill, we will do that,” he said.


Rep. Henry Nwawuba (Imo-PDP) said that “we will be looking at you in developing the road map; maybe there is an existing road map.


“When next we sit with you, we should be able to know that we have stopped the importation of barite.

“As legislators we can give you legislative solutions, we can back it up law we can enforce during oversight.

“A lot unfortunately is still going to come from you,” he said.


According to him, “We need a serious intervention. You know there is N220 billion in Small Medium Enterprises fund.”

He also said that NEXIM bank had 450 million dollars and only two miners were able to access the loan to the point that they almost returned the fund.

He added that Nigeria had miners association who needed to access the fund.


“This is the time to really sit down and work and come up with a documentation; put up the processes and policies in place that can drive the sector.

“We are ready to work with you,” he said.


Alhaji Sani Shehu, President of the association, said the government should invest in mining for the economic benefit of the country.

“The government should fund this development and ensure we get it for the purpose of mining in Nigeria.

“The association is developing the miners mechanisation programme which will source machinery and we are talking with the NEXIM bank.

“We give these machinery to small scale miners to pay, maybe in 10 years and also hire to others,” he said.




Reps Want Killers Of Nigerian Boy In South Africa Prosecuted

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, said it would do everything to ensure that the murderers of a Nigerian, Timothy Chinedu, in South Africa, faced the law.


Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (Abia-PDP), disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, after a closed door meeting with members of Nigeria Union, South Africa, on Thursday.


The lawmaker said that due to the recent killings of Nigerians in that country, there was urgent need for Nigerian Parliament to meet with their South African counterpart on the issue.


“We spoke concerning the Nigerian boy who was killed and it is something the parliament will continue to put pressure until the killers are brought to book.

“In fact, we have had riots and a lot of extra-judicial killing of Nigerians, culminating in the very tragic murder of the Nigerian a month ago.

“We have seen that there is no institutionalised help coming from the government of South Africa in the same way that Nigeria offers institutional help.

“Aside from the violation of MTN, the Nigerian Government still overlooked some fines which the South African companies ought to have paid,” she said.

According to her, I think it is Nigeria’s commitment to building and growing Africa that informed the good will that Nigeria shows.

Elendu-Ukeje emphasised the fact that it was heart-breaking that Nigerians who live in South Africa constantly complain about institutional discrimination against them.

“We are very glad that the President of South Africa is going to visit Nigeria very soon. I think that underscores the closeness of both governments.

“Unfortunately, as our governments are getting closer, it will seem that the citizens are getting farther apart.
“I think this is the role the parliament can play, where our parliament engages the parliament of South Africa in a constructive way to show to them what Nigeria has done to promote brotherliness among African people.

“This is expected to be reciprocated,” she said.

The lawmaker also said that the Nigerian foreign policy was about taking care of the plight of Nigerians outside the country.

Also speaking to NAN, President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said that the meeting was a fruitful and that they hoped for more engagement with the committee.

“The President of South Africa is coming soon, which is one of the reasons why we are here so that the situation of affairs of our people will be presented through the platform.

“The Nigerians in South Africa are expecting a lot from us and from our government as they are going about their businesses peacefully, though everything is calm for now.

“I want the Nigerians in South Africa to continue to be law-abiding, to continue to be hard working as the challenges we are having would be sorted out soon, ” he said.



Reps Seek Military Participation In Reconstruction Of Northeast

The House Committee on Internally Displaces Persons (IDPs), has called on the Nigerian Army with its wealth of experienced personnel in engineering and infrastructure, to be part of the reconstruction of the Northeast.

The Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Sani Zoro, made the call during an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

Zoro said that the military had so far recorded considerable success in the fight against the insurgents, as they had defeated Boko Haram and captured several local government areas that were out of reach.

“The Nigerian Army have played a vital role so far in the fight against the insurgents, it will not only provide security but will rehabilitate, reconstruct and restore the Northeast region of the country affected by insurgency.

“The Engineering Corp of the Nigeria Army can also bid for the reconstruction of roads, bridges and housing in the troubled area,” he said.

The Committee chairman said that the present administration has set up a committee to oversee the reconstruction of the Northeast.

He said that the Nigerian legislature is actually the arm of government that has come up with an agenda, a legislative response to the IDPs situation in Nigeria by establishing a committee.

Zoro disclosed that the first official response from the National Assembly was the call to support various initiatives of the International Community, International Non-Governmental Organizations, and other humanitarian partners within Nigeria.

He urged the executive arm of government to bring all of their efforts under one legal framework so that they will be guided by the law.

Zoro said that their efforts would be unified under one legal frame work so that they can be guided by the law in carrying out their activities.

“After setting up of this committee, we went further to propose a bill for the establishment of the North East Development Commission.

“The committee will serve as the delivering mechanism for the amelioration, extension of litigation and protection for IDPs and refugees within the context of the newly sponsored bill.

“I particularly sponsored the bill that will amend the National Refuges Commission act to provide adequate assistance to the national commission for IDPs, refugees, stateless persons.

“With that, we would have grouped the entire categories of persons under one roof and reach the legal framework so that their different issues will be addressed within that same framework,’ he said.

He however urged the executive arm of government to urgently adopt a national policy on IDPs to enable them to exercise their rights and privileges.

“This is why the legislative arm of government is spear heading this agenda as a response more than any arm of government is, so that Nigerians can embrace the global policy process.

“In other words, it would clearly show who benefits from the experience of a nation like ours that has undergone this kind of experience.

“Except we as Nigerian, benefits from modern ways of doing things as far as this issue is concerned, we will never get it right, we will continue to be clueless and only be groping in the back,’’Zoro said.



2016 Budget Fraud: Reps Block Ministry’s Controversial N1 Billion Allocation

The budget defence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, ended in a stalemate over controversial allocations to the ministry.

There are proposals of N1.07 billion for “optic fibre and satellite space segment” and N50 million for “global communication network computer” in the ministry’s budget. The budget was presented by the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Thursday.

Both budget subheads are meant for a global communication project to connect Nigeria’s 119 diplomatic missions to the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

However, the chairman of the House Committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, insisted that appropriations had been made “many times” for the project in the previous budgets.

Mrs. Ukeje disclosed that a total of N9billion had been appropriated for the project in the past.

She questioned the non-completion of the project over the years and the need for over N1 billion naira for the project in the 2016 budget.

Interestingly, officials of the ministry, including the minister, the permanent secretary, director of finance and administration, spoke different times without responding to Mrs. Ukeje’s probe.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Police Intervention Fund : Reps Query Inclusion In Interior Ministry’s Budget

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, on Wednesday queried the inclusion of the Police Intervention Fund in Ministry of Interior’s budget.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Haliru Jika (Bauchi-APC) raised the query during the defence of the 2016 budget of the ministry before the committee in Abuja.

Jika said that it not proper for the intervention fund to the domiciled in the ministry.

Besides, the committee sought to know the necessity for the intervention fund, saying that the Police Force was in a position to know what it needed.

“We want to know the idea behind the intervention because the police know what they need. There is no need for such fund because of the economic situation of the country; that fund should be scrapped.
“The Police know the hot spots; the money should be appropriated to the Police directly. I think the appropriation should be to the Police, if Interior Ministry is undertaking infrastructure for the Police, it is another dimension,’’ Jonathan Gaza, a member of the committee, said.

In his explanation, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Bassey Eyong, said that the funds would not be used for routine expenses but for interventions that would enable the police work effectively.

He said that the ministry will work closely with the Inspector – General of Police to identify their infrastructural needs.
According to him, this will bring back law and order to the North-East as well as some parts of the South noted for kidnapping.

“We should not forget the need for checks and balances, the police can liaise with the ministry for that; somebody needs to oversight these monies,’’ he said.

In his remarks, chairman of the committee ruled that at an executive session would look into the matter and address it properly.




Alleged N1trn Rail Contracts Scam: Reps Invite Amaechi, NRC MD, Others

Members of the adhoc committee of the House of Representatives on failed rail contracts have summoned the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, Seyi Sijuwade; former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Mohammed Bello Haliru; and former Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, to explain their roles in the alleged N1 trillion rail contracts scam.

The adhoc committee is headed by Ehoizuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, PDP, Ikpoba/Oha Federal Constituency. They are expected to appear before the committee tomorrow  during the investigative hearing.

Chairman of the adhoc committee, Agbonayinma, confirmed that all the stakeholders had been duly informed and were expected to show up unfailingly tomorrow.

Asked why the Minister of Transport was invited, despite the fact that he is barely three months old in office, Agbonayinma said:  “The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, was also invited to tell us all he knows, though he just assumed office but you know government is a continuum.

“This 8th House is 100 per cent in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against any form of corruption.

“We are not out to witch-hunt anybody but anyone found wanting in the course of this investigative hearing will be adequately exposed although as you are aware, not until it is proven by a competent court that such persons are guilty you can’t say they are guilty.”

Credit: Vanguard

Reps To Summon Bala Mohammed Over Land Swap, Others

A House of Representatives panel has concluded plans to summon former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Bala Mohammed over the issue of land swap policy. The committee on FCT chaired by Rep Herman Hembe (APC, Benue) said yesterday that Mohammed would be summoned to explain his role in the land swap policy as head of the ministry of FCT.

The House had on December 15 mandated the committee to examine the land swap policy following a motion on the matter. Hembe told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the committee would determine the effectiveness and otherwise of the policy, level of infrastructural development in the designated districts as well as its benefits. The committee is also set to determine the status of allotted but undeveloped plots within Abuja city centre as well as abandoned capital projects within the territory and make appropriate recommendations to the House. Asked if their action would not be misinterpreted to mean witch-hunt of the past administration, Hembe said: “I was in the last House and I was also a member of PDP. But the bottom line is that what is wrong is wrong. We’re looking at what had been done wrongly.”  

 Credit: DailyTrust

11 APC Reps Drag Dogara To Court Over House Rules

Eleven members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the House of Representatives, have dragged the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, the House and its Clerk, Sani Omolori, before an Abuja High Court over the new standing orders of the Green Chamber.
However, the House has refused comments on the matter, saying the court be allowed to do its work.
The House had on October 8, 2015 adopted the report of its ad-hoc committee to review the House Standing Orders, 2011. In the new rules, the Speaker is vested with the enormous powers to suspend any member that approaches the mace with intents whatsoever.
The new Standing Order also provides that the Speaker can suspend a member for 30 plenary days for failing to obey the presiding officer’s directive for such a lawmaker to assume his seat during plenary.
In a summon through their lawyers, Ahmed Bello Mahmud dated December 14, 2015, the 11 lawmakers, led by Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano), sought the court to declare the new Standing Orders as null and void and unconstitutional.
Madaki is the lawmaker, who was notable for allegedly attempting to snatch the mace sometime in August 2015, when a fracas erupted on the floor of the House, following the insistence of the APC to have Femi Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader, which was opposed by the Dogara camp.
Madaki afterwards, refused to appropriately apologise on the floor, even after the issue was resolved, with his counterparts apologising and Gbajabiamila getting the Majority Leader position.
Consequently, the House in a bid to restore sanctity in the hallowed chamber and forestall such action in the future sought and inculcated it as an offence in its rules to interfere with the symbol of authority of the legislature. The lawmakers prayed the court to restrain Dogara, the House or any of its agents from exercising “the purported amendments” vested on them in the new rules pending the determination of the matter.
The other 10 APC lawmakers are Mohammed Musa Soba (Kaduna); Yusuf Bala Ikara (Kaduna); Abubakar Lado Suleja (Niger), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi); Rotimi Agunsoye (Lagos); Aminu Ibrahim Malle (Taraba); Sunday Adepoju (Oyo); Ahmed Babba Kaita (Katsina); Philip Shuaibu (Edo) and Abubakar Chika Adamu (Niger).
They prayed the court to declare as “repressive, susceptible to abuse and breaches” of their constitutional rights the powers granted Dogara to present any proposal for the suspension of any member.
When contacted, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said: “Although I have not seen the court papers, but since the matter is in court, it will amount to contempt for me to say anything.
“All I can say is that the court should be allowed to do its work and determine the matter.”
Credit: NationalMirror

Abuja Satellite Towns To Get Infrastructure As Reps Urge FCT Administration To Make Provision

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration to provide infrastructure in satellite towns and districts being developed around the capital city by private entrepreneurs.

The lawmakers made the request on Wednesday after a lawmaker raised the issue during plenary.

Mr Lovette Idisi said that the rate of infrastructural development in the FCT was not commensurate with the rapid growth in the city, as a result of business activities and massive influx of people into the city.

He said that residents at the areas were subjected to hardships from gridlocks, armed robbery and high rate of taxes, as a result of lack of requisite infrastructure.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Pres. Buhari Meets With Saraki At The State House

Amid reports that the hard and soft copy of the 2016 Budget has gone missing, President Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki met behind closed doors at the state house this afternoon. The meeting lasted for 30 minutes after which Saraki left the state house. Saraki refused to speak with state house correspondents after the meeting.

PDP Reps Give 48 Hours Ultimatum For Metuh’s Release

Members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives on Tuesday demanded the release of the party’s National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh.

Metuh has been under detention for more than a week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly collecting N400 million from the $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram, which the commission is investigating.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the PDP Reps led by their leader Leo Ogor said Metuh’s continued detention was a breach of the rule of law and demanded that the EFCC should either release him on administrative bail within the next 48 hours or take him to a “competent court of law.”

Ogor said failure to do so would leave them with no option than to follow all democratic processes on the matter, including going international if need be.

Credit: DailyTrust

N6tn Budget Not On Reps’ Agenda As House Resumes

The 2016 budget is not on the agenda of the House of Representatives as lawmakers reconvene this week in Abuja from their Christmas and New Year break, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.

The lawmakers will resume work on Tuesday (today), but contrary to expectations, the budget will not be on the table this week.

Rather, other bills (excluding the Appropriation Bill) will take priority today, Wednesday and Thursday.

Findings show that the House would start looking at the N6.08tn budget from next week.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed to The PUNCH in Abuja that debates on the budget would begin next week.

Namdas said, “The House is not treating the budget this week. It is going to be next week.

“The reason is that copies of the document will first be circulated to members this week. They need a couple of days to study the details of the provisions in the budget.

“If you recall, the House had already adjourned by the time Mr. President presented the budget estimates at a special joint session of the two chambers last month.

“Members still do not have copies. So, the decision is that, this week, the copies will be circulated and from next week, debates may start.”

He said the immediate priority of the House would be speeding up the passage of some of the 130 bills introduced in one day to the House late last year.

He added, “We want to use this week to start working quickly on the bills.

“We are looking at passing up to 20 bills daily, if possible, and pass at least 60 before next week.

“Because of this, we are also paying less attention to motions this week.”

The budget has a deficit of about N2tn. Its crude oil benchmark of $38 per barrel is already generating controversy amid dipping global oil prices.

Prices hovered around $33 over the weekend, a far cry from the budgeted figure.

The Senate, through its spokesman, Saabi Abdullahi, had hinted last week that the National Assembly was unlikely to retain the proposed $38.

Reps, NEMA Donate Relief Materials To IDPs, Call For End To Insurgency

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, restated Federal Government’s commitment to end insurgency before the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to the North-East.



Dogara said this when he visited the IDPs camps in the FCT alongside Mr Ishaya Chonoko, the Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Abuja operation Office.



The speaker, in collaboration with NEMA, who donated relief materials to be distributed among the IDPs in the FCT, said that the items were provided to meet the needs of the IDPs.



At the Wasa host community, Dogara said that the government was doing everything possible to ensure that the war against insurgency come to an end.



“We have come to see the condition under which you live. Even though we came with items that we want to give out to you, we know that merely handing out these items is not enough.


As a matter of fact there is nothing we can do here that will be enough because coming from the region where I come from; our hearts are always on our land.


I know that as long as you are not back to your communities where these crises forced you out, even if we give you the whole world you will not be happy.


I want to condole some of us who have lost husbands, sons, daughters and wives, the government will ensure the war is brought to an end,’’ he said.



The Speaker said that the House of Representatives had considered the plights of the IDPs and thought it critical to establish a dedicated committee that will find a lasting solution to the situation.



“The problems of the IDPs cannot be solved through an ad hoc measure that is why we are proposing by law that will establish a commission for the development of the North-East.


It is a bill that I am championing in the House and in the Senate and sooner or later, we should be able to pass that bill.


We are not going to leave it at the level of policy; we want to translate it into law so that we can make it more permanent,’’ he said.


Also speaking, Chonoko said the relief materials were provided by the Federal Government through NEMA and the House of Representatives to meet the needs of the IDPs and alleviate their sufferings.


He said that NEMA as the coordinating agency has played a very significant role in identifying the host communities in the FCT where IDPs are settled and coordinated effectively.


“We have put in place mechanisms to ensure that the relief items get to the real IDPs. We use this medium to commend Nigerians that have seen the needs to assist the IDPs and have responded to their needs’’, Chonoko said.


Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo-PDP) said the move by the Speaker to the IDPs camp was one of the signs of change, and it was not about partisan politics, but doing what was right for the people.


“I am happy that the Speaker saw this as important, his involvement and passion on getting it right shows there is better hope for tomorrow.


“What is also important is for all Nigerians to come together and make sure that we put an end to the issue of insurgency, so that these families can go back to their constituencies,” he said.


Mrs Alhasan Adamu, the Women Leader, Wasa IDPs Camp, said that she was glad to see people in government in the camp, saying it showed that they were not forgotten.


She urged the government to continue to help them and ensure their return home.


“I came to seek refuge in this camp because the terrorists killed my husband and we need more food and water to survive.


“We are thankful and also plead with the government to take us back to our village to continue our farming after the insurgency because we are all farmers,’ she said.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that items distributed include: Bags of rice, maize, Sugar, millets, Beans, vegetable oil, Wax, cartons of indomie noodles among others.





‘We Won’t Submit To Buhari’s Treasury Single Account’ – National Assembly

National Assembly yesterday said it would not be part of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) being implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce the level of corruption in governance.

President Buhari had during last Wednesday’s media chat, said he was having challenge with the National Assembly over the TSA.
“We are having problems with them (National Assembly) on TSA. We have to have a closed door session with them,” the president said during the media chat.

TSA was introduced by the federal government to reduce the level of corruption in governance.
Buhari shortly after assuming office directed all federal government agencies to key into the new system.

But both upper and lower chambers yesterday said they would not be part of the TSA, saying it amounted to, “surrendering of their autonomy to the executive.”
In an interview, the spokespersons of the senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said they were in total support of the TSA but that they would not be part of it.

“There is no any trouble on TSA, it is as an executive programme and we cannot surrender our autonomy to the executive. Submitting ourselves to the TSA, is surrendering our autonomy to the executive. We are on the first line charge as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Why should we give you our funds to put in the TSA and then we will be subjected to your own control, is that autonomy? That is just the issue; we’ve given our total support to the TSA programme. As far as we are concerned, we cannot subject ourselves to it because it amount to mortgaging our autonomy.

“Our autonomy is guaranteed by the constitution and how our money should be paid is also guaranteed by the constitution. Are we saying our autonomy should be jettisoned? Are we a revenue generating arm? Are we saying that the constitution should be jettisoned, because somebody wants to do TSA? Are we going to put the Constitution aside and follow somebody’s wish? What we are following is constitutional,” he said.
He said the senate would continue to follow due process in discharging their constitutional functions, saying “if you are following due process, you are promoting accountability and by so doing, you are promoting good governance.”

On the pledge by the Senate President Bukola Saraki to make the budget of the National Assembly public and transparent, he said, “when our budget is out, you will see the difference from previous ones.”
Also speaking, the spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas said TSA is an executive policy, and that National Assembly as an arm of government was yet to be part of it.

He said though TSA was a good way of ensuring transparency and accountability in handling public funds, they as an arm of government should be allowed to operate with some level of independence. He maintained that they were yet to decide whether to be part of TSA or not.
“You know every arm of government has its ways of operations. The issue of TSA is an executive matter, and in as much as we want to work together with the executive for good governance, we are not part of TSA for now,” he said.

Source: DailyTrust

N4.7bn Cars: Buhari Can’t Dictate to Us – National Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari might be heading for a head-on collision with the National Assembly, if he does anything to interfere with the plans by the legislative arm of government to purchase exotic cars for its members.

The Senate is in the process of awarding contracts for the purchase of various brands of exotic vehicles for use by its 109 members.

The vehicles, which would cost an estimated N4.7 billion, is expected to be distributed among the 109 Senators as utility vehicles to enhance their oversight operations.

Buhari had, during his maiden media chat on Wednesday, kicked against the arrangement by the

National Assembly to purchase the assorted cars for its members. The president argued that earlier in the life of his administration, he had cause to turn down a N400 million car purchase proposal for the Presidency and expected the legislators to do likewise.

“…I think I have to hold a closed-door meeting with the National Assembly regarding the cars they are trying to buy. I hope they haven’t bought them yet. They can’t buy cars for themselves and also take money in car loans. “I can’t see the National Assembly paying N4.7 billion to buy cars after collecting transport allowance. I will revisit that story. We have to live within our means,” he said.

But some federal legislators, who spoke to New Telegraph on the issue, described the president’s opposition to the car purchase and plan to halt it as an unwarranted interference in the affairs of the parliament.

Deputy Senate Minority Whip, (PDP, Ekiti), Senator Biodun Olujimi, posited that the constitution provided for separation of powers, which obviously removed the power from the president to control the affairs of the parliament. In her response to a text message, she simply stated,

 “he does not have the powers. There is separation of powers”.

Also reacting, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, representing Ebonyi South on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also echoed the position of Olujimi. He said:

“Affairs of parliament are determined by them, so says the constitution of the Federal Re-public of Nigeria. We will buy vehicles if our budget accommodates their procurement.”

However, efforts to get the official position of the Senate on the matter proved abortive as the spokesman of the Chamber, Senator Aliyu Sabi (APC), neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message by our correspondent.

Many other senators also refused to respond to the inquest into their views on the issue of vehicle purchase, as they did not reply to the sms sent to their mobile phones just as they did not pick calls put across to them. In the House of Representatives, lawmakers equally did not take the matter lying low.

They said that President Buhari may not have been properly briefed about the issue of purchase of vehicles by the parliament. The lawmakers declared that going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the president had no powers to stop lawmakers from buying vehicles.

The House also said it has autonomy to spend money within the confines of the constitution without recourse to the president.

In an interview with New Telegraph yesterday, Chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Budget, Hon. Timothy Golu, said the president had no powers to stop members from buying vehicles should they decide to do so.

“The president was not properly briefed by his handlers on the issue of cars. In the first place, the legislature is an independent arm of government, but most importantly, there is no way we can spend as much as N4.5 billion to buy vehicles.

The Senate can decide on what it wants to do and the House also has the right to decide on what it intends to do. This is democracy and the president cannot decide for the House. We have the right to spend money within the confines of the law. So, the president can’t stop the House from buying utility cars.

The loans he is talking about are repayable. But just like the president and ministers have utility cars, lawmakers also need utility cars for the legislative functions,” Golu told New Telegraph.

Senators, Reps To Get 496 Cars After Collecting Car Loans

The cars are being purchased four months after the senators were given N8m car loans each in August this year.
During the 7th Senate, the senators used Prado jeeps but this time around, they have opted for more expensive cars.
Senate spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said the cars are for committee use. However, it was exclusive gathered that the senators will get a car each.
Reports SA that the headship of the  65 standing committees are appointed  in such a way that each senator will chair a committee or serve as vice chairman.
It was gathered that during the 7th Senate, the cars acquired for the committees were sold to the senators at N1m.
“To the best of my knowledge the cars we used at the 7th Senate were monetised to us, I think, at N1m each and the money was deducted from our severance package,” a senator who benefitted said.
He also confirmed receipt of the vehicle loan in August, saying, “we were given three allowances in August and they are car loan, housing and furniture allowances, all amounting to N18m”.
At the House of Representatives, a source said that in line with the tradition of the House, vehicles would be bought for members to use for committee assignments.
Even during the immediate past 7th House, the 360 lawmakers got a Camry XL car each, which our source said was bought at the sum of about N12 million, including insurance.
A source said:  “yes, we learnt they want to do the same thing that was done during the last Assembly, where each member got a car, but they said it was for committee activities.”
The source said the Camry XL cars purchased for members during the last Assembly were monetized at the end of their tenure in June and the money was deducted from their severance packages, while few members opted not to buy the cars.
“Initially, they valued the cars at N1.750 million, but members protested, because most of the cars were not in good shape. In the end, they settled at N900, 000, so those of us who wanted to go with our own applied, and they deducted it from our severance, while a few members returned their own,” the source said.
But House spokesman Rep Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) said although leadership of the lower chamber plans to purchase cars to aid members during committees’ oversights, they were yet to reach a decision on the number and the brand of cars to buy.
“There’s no doubt that we’ll buy cars, but they will be for committee use. We haven’t decided on any brand or units to buy yet until we see our 2016 budget. We don’t want to do anything that cannot be realised at the end of the day,” he said.
Credit: DailyTrust

Minority Leader, Osun Assembly Dies On 48th Birthday

The Minority Leader of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Oladejo Makinde is dead.

Makinde who is popularly called Igwe, one of the two members of the Peoples Democratic Party at the House died on Sunday, the exact day he clocked 48. Makinde died after a brief illness.

He was also a former Chairman of Ife Central Local Government Area and House Committee Chairman on Integration and Special Duties, before getting into the house. May his soul rest in peace

Reps Walk Out NCC, NDDC Over Non-Remitance Of Non-Oil Revenue

Officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) were barred from a House of Representatives ad hoc committee hearing investigating alleged fraud in the remittance of generated non-oil revenue.

The officials of the two agencies were walked out due to the non-appearance of their chief executives.

The NCC was represented at the hearing by some officials led by the Director of Public Affairs, Anthony Ojobo, while the NDDC was represented by Executive Director of Finance, Henry Ogiri.

Other agencies at the public hearing included the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigerian Communications  Satelite (NigComSat)Ltd.

The action of the committee was coming on the heels of a challenge thrown to House committees by the Speaker Yakubu Dogara at a retreat earlier Monday that the House is set to drive the change agenda of the government.

Credit: Nation

Reps Pass Motion To Stop Refineries Operations

The House of Representatives has passed a motion urging the executive to stop the operations of all refineries in Nigeria due to the huge debts being incurred despite the fact that they are barely functioning.

The motion was passed on Wednesday.

It pointed out that the inability of the refineries to serve local consumption is responsible for the country’s dependence on imported refined products and resultant fuel scarcity across the country.

The House has also called for the issue of privatization of the refineries to be revisited and urgently considered.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Reps Summon Aviation Minister, Stakeholders Over Sack Of Staff By Virgin Atlantic

Following the recent retrenchment of staff of Virgin Atlantic Airline, the House of Representatives on Thursday summoned the Minister of State in charge of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and relevant stakeholders to appear before its Committees on Labour and Productivity and Aviation with the view of resolving the issue amicably.

The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of motion of urgent matter of public importance sponsored by the House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on the matter at plenary on Thursday.

While moving the motion on the floor of the House, He said that it will be recalled that a motion was brought before the House to stop the said retrenchment which was referred to the committee on Aviation.

“The laws of this country must be respected, I pray that the Minister of Aviation appears before the committee on Labour and Employment with the relevant stakeholders, “Gbajabiamila said.

Minority leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor said that the matter was already been attended to and should not be debated as the committee on Aviation is already looking into the matter.

Before putting the question, the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said that what the House feared to happen has already happened and that this motion has given the committee of Labour and Productivity a fresh mandate to look into the matter.

He said that the issue of unemployment should not be neglected adding that it has become a huge problem to the country.

The House adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

Credit: Leadership

“68% Of The Total IDPs Are Children” — Dogara

SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, yesterday, said 68 per cent of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Nigeria were children.

Speaking at the sensitisation workshop and launch of UNHCR hand book, “On Internal Displacement for Parliamentarians,” Dogara said statistics from the UNHCR showed that 68 per cent of IDPs in Nigeria were children, adding that there had been about 60,000 births in IDP camps so far.

*Displaced children scrambling for food at an IDPs camp in Maiduguri... How safe are they?

The speaker further stressed that today’s event offered the opportunity to restate the fact that there was no adequate legal framework for handling issues of internal displacement.

According to him, though Nigeria at the executive level has ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), it has not yet been domesticated by the legislature.

He said: “We need to further explore the theme of this handbook for parliamentarians, which is ‘Internal Displacement: Responsibility and Action’, in a nutshell, who and what is responsible for internal displacement and what action is being taken by relevant authorities to address the problem.

“For our purposes, I think we should adopt the description of IDPs as ‘persons or group of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.’ (Article 1(k) of the Kampala Convention).

“Large scale development and environmental projects can also generate IDPs. What is clear from the above definition is that IDPs are citizens of our country. They are not refugees from another country.

“They are our constituents, some of who voted us into office. As legislators, we have a duty and responsibility to care for them, protect them, assist them, provide for their needs, their welfare and to advocate on their behalf.”

“To be displaced or uprooted from one’s home is one of the most degrading and humiliating experiences that can befall any human being.

“They are very vulnerable and are exposed to all forms of exploitation and misery, women and female children are sometimes subjected to sexual abuse, and trafficking.

“IDPs lack appropriate shelter, food, water, sanitation, healthcare, child protection and educational opportunities.

“Access to money and work is severely limited or non-existent. Statistics from the UNHCR show that 68% of IDPs in Nigeria are children and there are so far about 60, 000 births in the IDP camps.

“The National Assembly has made its own contributions to the fight against terrorism and internal displacement, over the years.

“On the fight against Terrorism, we should recall that the National Assembly speedily passed both the Terrorism Prevention and the amendment Acts to aid the executive in its anti terrorism measures.

Reps Accuse Banks Of Promoting Prostitution

The House of Representatives yesterday accused banks of encouraging prostitution by setting unrealistic targets for their female marketers. It also decried casualisation in the industry, describing it as slavery.

Hon. Segun Alexander Adekola, who sponsored the motion entitled, “Urgent Need to Curb Unwholesome Practices of Banks in Nigeria,” said staffers who don’t meet the largely unrealistic targets are summarily dismissed.

Contributing to the motion which led to a long debate, Hon. Rita Orji said in some cases, bankers who failed to meet targets were sacked through text messages.

Adekola said: “A critical assessment of the targets being given to these employees to meet, show them to be unrealistic, unreasonable, ordinarily unattainable and irrational.

“But these banks resort to unethical means to ensure that these targets are met by either explicitly or impliedly encouraging their staff, especially the female ones to engage in illicit behaviour.”

House  Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, recalled that he made an attempt to stop the practice with his Corporate Prostitution Bill presented in the Sixth Assembly, saying that the bill got to the stage of a public hearing, but some bankers shot it down.”

Credit: Sun