Senators pick holes in 2017 budget, set to conclude scrutiny today.

The 2017 N7.29 trillion budget proposal was subjected to critical scrutiny at the Senate yesterday with senators picking holes in several sectorial allocations. Some lawmakers maintained that Federal Government’s plan to diversify the economy did not get the desired attention in the budget.

Many senators also observed that it might be impossible for government to get the projected borrowing to fund the budget, stating that similar 2016 projections were not realised.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who presided over the debate, disclosed that the budget scrutiny would be concluded today and it would be committed to the Appropriation Committee.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Lanre Tejuoso (APC, Ogun Central), lamented that 11 million Nigerian children have not been fully developed due to inadequate funds to the health sector.

Aliyu Wammako said the budget failed to adequately address the issue of diversification of the economy. “We have agriculture and solid mineral sectors. They have not been addressed well.”

Dino Melaye described Buhari’s government as visionless. “The government of Shehu Shagari built estates in all the states. Sani Abacha developed the Vision 2010. Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan all had their agenda. What is the agenda of this current government? We need to define one.”

John Enoh from Cross River State urged the president to sustain the ongoing peace efforts in the Niger Delta region if enough funds must be generated from oil to fund the budget.

Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi, said the budget failed to address how the country will be taken out of its current economic recession.

Solomon Adeola from Lagos State queried the non-disclosure of excess money realised from the sale of crude oil. He said since the 2016 budget was predicated on an oil benchmark of $38, the government needs to tell Nigerians how much it had realised from the excess money made.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Albert Bassey Akpan, decried the borrowing plan of the Federal Government and disclosed that the deficit in the budget is the same as the amount budgeted for capital projects.

Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos State) urged his colleagues to examine the performance of the 2016 budget before they give nod to the passage of the 2017 budget.

Senators Protest Removal Of Kano, Plateau From North-East Development Commission

National Assembly has removed Kano and Plateau states from the proposed North-East Development Commission, triggering protest from senators from North-West and North Central zones.
It will be recalled that the Senate, while passing the Bill for an Act to establish North-East Development Commission and other related matters, had included the two states as beneficiaries of the commission because they had also been negatively affected by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents. The removal of the two states was contained in the Conference Report presented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume.

Protesting the removal of Kano and Plateau states, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) contended that the Senate had earlier agreed to include the states, and asked why they should be dropped.

Also, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara), insisted that the recommendation be thrown away, arguing that the two states were affected by the activities of Boko Haram and should be included in the commission.

Senate Leader, Ndume, who explained why the two states were removed, said the commission was to coordinate the development and reconstruction of the area.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who appealed to his colleagues to accept the report, said the important thing was commitment to the development of the area.


Senators move to legalize insertion of constituency projects into budgets

The senate on Thursday resolved to pass a bill seeking to give legitimacy to the inclusion of constituency projects in the federal budget.


Constituency projects, which have been a subject of controversy owing allegations of corruption, are carried out by federal legislators across their constituencies.


Abdulmumin Jibrin, a suspended member of the house of representatives, had raised the alarm over alleged illegal insertions of constituency projects in the 2016 budget.


But the upper legislative chamber now wants to make such “insertions” legal.


The proposal entitled, ‘A bill for an Act to provide for constituency projects in the annual budget of the federation’, sponsored by Stella Oduah, a senator from Anambra state, passed second reading after a brief debate on it.


When a bill passes second reading, which is the critical stage, it is referred to a committee after which it would be passed.


Senate President Bukola Saraki referred the bill to the committee on states and local government areas.


“The framework for the implementation of constituency project bill ensures transparency, and there is no room for corruption,” he said.

APC Invites Other PDP Senators To Join Them

The All Progresive Party has said that the Peoples Democratic Party PDP will continue to cry and cry more. This was made in a tweet on the official twitter handle of the APC @APCNigeria.

The APC also invited other PDP senators to join the APC ‘We are calling on other PDP senators to join us in the APC’. See tweet below:


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.

Senate’s Rejection of $30 Billion Loan Should Challenge Buhari — Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has challenged the Nigerian government to take the rejection of the $30 billon (N9.61 trillion) loan request by the Senate as a challenge to review the recovery of the nation’s looted wealth.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Falana said the decision of the Senate to turn down the borrowing plan should spur investigation into the criminal diversion of billions of dollars from the Federation Account.

The Senate on Tuesday rejected Mr. Buhari’s request to borrow $29.9 billion as part of its external borrowing plan for 2016 to 2018, asking for all relevant documents to be submitted.

“A few months ago, I had urged the Minister of Finance to embark on an aggressive recovery policy,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“Apart from acknowledging the letter and assuring me that the letter was receiving attention no measure has been put in place to recover the looted wealth of the nation.
“In frustration I was compelled to submit a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to recover the fund and prosecute the indicted individuals and corporate organisations.”

Mr. Falana said his petition led to a former Central Bank governor demanding an apology for saying that he gave out a loan of $7 billion to 14 banks sometime in 2006.

“Since he admitted that the money was a ‘deposit’ and not a loan I rejected his demand for apology,” he said.

“More so that the $7 billion and the bailout of $4 billion given to the same banks in 2008 have not been refunded.

“Curiously, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has not demanded the repayment of the said sum of $11 billion from the banks.”
The Senate’s rejection came despite the support of Nigeria’s Debt Management Office for an approval of the loan to help address the huge infrastructure deficit across the country.

But Mr. Falana insisted that if efforts were intensified to recover the billions of dollars looted or diverted from the Federation Account, the government would not need to plunge the nation into “another toxic debt”.

“I have also just confirmed that one of telecommunication companies operating in the country recently engaged in money laundering and successfully but illegally transferred the sum of over $25 billion out of Nigeria,” Mr. Falana said.

“Since the Money Laundering Act, 2011, as amended, requires that the entire proceeds of the crime be forfeited to the Federal Government, it is hoped that the highly placed public individuals involved in the criminal enterprise will not compromise the interests of the nation this time around.”


Senators To Contribute N300,000 Each For IDPs

Nigeria’s Senators today agreed on a N300,000 contribution each to alleviate the plight of Internally Displaced Persons in all camps in the country.

The senators agreed to make the donations after deliberating on the Mounting Humanitarian crisis in the North East.

Read More:

Recession: Senators want TSA suspended

Barely 24 hours after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, advised the federal government to consider selling off some key national assets, including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Holdings, as way out of the current economic recess, some senators yesterday kicked against the proposal, describing it as unwise.

Similarly, they also noted that the Treasury Single Account currently being operated by the federal government has greatly contributed to the recess the nation presently passes through.

Saraki had, on Tuesday, suggested some measures to bring the nation’s economy out of doldrums. These, he listed to include; part sale of NLNG Holdings, sale of government’s stake in financial institutions and privatisation and concession of airports and refineries.

But the idea did not go down well with some lawmakers, who also called for the sack of Minister of Finance , Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and her Budget and National Planning counterpart, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, for allegedly lacking the required expertise and professional qualifications to manage the economy,

Specifically, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, said, selling assets from our oil investment for quick capital in tackling the recession will put the country in messier economic situation, just as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take a critical look at his cabinet and put square pegs in square holes.

According to him, Udoma, a lawyer by profession, would do better if posted to a ministry relevant to his profession, so also Adeosun, who he said is an accountant and not economist.

Ekweremadu, a strong advocate of restructuring of the federation, also reiterated the call, saying it should be done based on the template of fiscal federalism and diversification of the economy, for lasting solution against economic crisis of the present magnitude.

He said: “The president needs to look at his cabinet. He has to put square pegs in square holes. Your Excellency, distinguished colleagues, Udo Udoma is my friend, an accomplished lawyer for that matter. But in fairness to him, I believe he can do better in another ministry, especially like trade and investment, certainly not Budget and Planning.

“The minister for finance can do much better in another ministry. At this critical time, we need somebody who is more experienced to man the ministry of finance so that he can be able to coordinate the strategies for this recovery.”

On suggestion for assets said, the lawmaker said, “I have heard about the issue of selling of our assets. I need to caution that other countries are not doing the same. UAE does not even allow you to the oil wells talk less of selling them. And of course, a country like Saudi Arabia, their budget each year is run by investments from their oil revenue not even the air, while other countries are investing and with all the investments we have, and I am sure we will not be fair to the next generation.

“So, if we must sell, we have to sell the non-performing assets so that people can turn them around and create employment. We need to amend section 162, especially from 3,4,5,6 where money in the federation account is enjoined to be shared among the other levels of government.”

Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), who also called for a re-jig of the federal cabinet with the right people in the right positions, condemned the existing situation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not having a Board.

Senators Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), Samuel Anyanwu (PDP Imo East) and Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North), called for a re-think by the federal government on the implementation of the TSA as, according to them, it is one the factors that triggered the recession.

He said between August and November last year, as a result of the implementation of the policy, about N1.8 trillion was withdrawn from the banking system, which increased to N2.8 trillion in January this year and N3.4 trillion now , leading to drastic reduction in lending capacities of the commercial banks with attendant effect on the country’s economy.

Senators Reject Buhari’s Emergency Powers Bill, Say It’ll Turn Him Into A Tyrant

The move by President Muhammadu Buhari to secure emergency powers aimed at addressing the nation’s economic crisis may not see the light of the day, as senators yesterday rejected the proposed bill, saying Buhari was seeking to transform himself into a tyrant and would foist a dictatorship on the nation.

The bill entitled, “Emergency Economy Stabilisation Bill 2016”, will be sent to the National Assembly by the president upon resumption from its summer vacation and after the Eid el Kabir holidays.

However, given the reaction of some senators to the proposed emergency powers being sought by Buhari through the bill, the legislation may be thrown out.
Several senators, who spoke on Monday, vehemently kicked against it, adding that it was “dead on arrival”.

According to the senators, who did not want to be named, some of the provisions in the bill were unnecessary, describing it as nothing more than a subtle way of avoiding counterpart funding by the Buhari administration.

According to them, if the bill is passed as proposed, the president will gradually transform himself into a dictator and draw Nigeria back to the path of military rule, which it exited 17 years ago.

They said without the so-called emergency powers at his disposal, Buhari has continued to trample on the powers of the legislature, explaining that if given further powers, he would more or less reduce the National Assembly to a rubber stamp like the kinds of legislature that exist in China and Russia.

Read More: thisdaylive

Return Luxury Cars Or Face The Wrath Of Nigerians, NLC To Senators

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called on senators who benefited from a recent purchase of 108 brand new Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles by the Senate to immediately return same or face the wrath of the Nigerian people.

The union described the purchase, coming at a time the country is enduring excruciating financial crisis, as a crime against the people.

Reports said senators have started taking delivery of the new Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, since last week at the rate of N35.1 million per unit.

In a statement by the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, on Monday, Labour said it was “morally despicable and shameful” that the lawmakers embarked on such acquisition when they were supposed to occupy themselves with issues that would benefit the people.

“We consider appalling, insensitive and greedy the decision of the Senate to acquire 108 Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps (one for each member less the Senate President) after collecting car “loans” in August last year for the same purpose,” Mr. Wabba said.

“It is equally morally despicable and shameful that they are doing this after publicly admitting that the standing committees of the Senate are unable to perform their statutory functions due to paucity of funds.”

Mr. Wabba said the prices of the vehicles were grossly inflated and demanded that the lawmakers explain where they sourced the funds since the 2016 Appropriation Bill had not been signed into law.

Credit: PremiumTimes

How Senators Rejected Bill Seeking Gender Equality

Nigeria Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill seeking equal marital rights for women.
The bill, titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women”, was presented by Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south, during the senate’s plenary session.
According to Mrs. Olujimi, the bill would seek equal rights for women in marriage, education and job.
She said if the bill was passed, a widow in Nigeria would automatically become the custodian of her children in the event of the death of her husband, and would also inherit his property.
The deputy senate president, Ike Ekeremadu, supported the bill. He said Nigeria would develop if women were given the same rights men have.
“Only last night, I was going through a document prepared by George Bush of America. Those countries that are doing well are those who give women opportunities,” he said.
“Where I come from, women don’t eat egg and are restricted from touching the non-essential parts of animal. But now that has changed. What is needed is time and education, not necessarily legislation. We will continue to encourage our women. I support this bill”, he said.

The Senate Majority leader, Ali Ndume, criticised the bill, and urged Nigerians to stick with either religious or traditional marriage.
Sani Yerima, a senator from Zamfara state, condemned the bill, arguing that it was in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution.
He said the bill negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the Constitution recognises.
The bill was defeated when the senate president, Bukola Saraki, put it to vote.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Melaye Asks Senators To Patronise Made In Nigeria Girls

The debate on the motion on the need to patronise made in Nigeria goods took a new dimension when Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi Central) asked his colleagues to patronise made in Nigeria girls.

Melaye had while contributing to the motion sponsored by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) said the campaign should not be limited to goods alone.

He later said: “ With due apology to my Comrade Governor of Edo State, we must start to campaign for made in Nigeria girls. It is time for my colleagues to start patronising made in Nigeria women.”

It was after he stated this that the Senate President Bukola Saraki interrupted and said that motion was clear enough.

Earlier while moving the motion, Abaribe said until Nigeria adopted a “pro-made in Nigeria” procurement policy, made in Nigeria would continue to lag behind both in competition and acceptability.

Credit: dailytrust

CCT Trial: Senators Vow To Stand By Saraki, Say Calls For His Resignation Is Mischievous

Members of the Senate have vowed to stand by Senate President Bukola Saraki as he goes through his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal CCT. In a statement released through its spokesperson, Abdullahi Sabi, the Senators said they maintain that his trial is a political vendetta and that calls for his resignation is premature, mischievous and unwarranted. The statement reads:

“Following a meeting held in Abuja yesterday (Sunday) by some senators and the wide consultations with our colleagues in which we reviewed last Friday’s decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal on the preliminary matters filed by the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on the charges filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), we hereby resolve as follows: That from the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta. Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated. We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial. The trial proper is yet to begin. And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum. It is on this ground that we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate President to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted. We therefore reiterate our support for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate. We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence. We also call on members of the public to ignore the rantings of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate. We want members of the public to know that the Senate under Dr. Saraki has achieved stability in the legislative institution and we do not need any negative distraction at this point. The focus of the Senate is on the objective consideration and timely passage of the 2016 budget and we will want all Nigerians to support us as we concentrate on this important assignment. We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum.”

Buhari Can’t Dictate To N’ Assembly Over N4.6b Vehicles’ Vote- Senators

As the plan by members of the National Assembly to spend N4.6 billion on vehicles continues to generate a controversy, two senators have reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s position.

While the senator representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi cautioned that the Senate should not by any means be mistaken as an appendage to the executive arm of government, his counterpart , Senator Abdullahi Adamu of  All Progressives Congress (APC) Nasarawa State has urged critics to quote Buhari accurately on his position on the matter.

Nwaoboshi, who was the PDP chairman in Delta, said so far as purchase of the cars was within the budget of the National Assembly, it was unreasonable for other arms of government to dictate or decide for them on how to go about it.

“Although the resident had said during the media chat where the issue came up, that he was not sure about the plan and has promised to look into the issue, in any case, the said vehicles are still within our budget and if that be so, he cannot dictate to us what to do with it.”

Credit: Guardian

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

Nigerian Senators Divided Over Oil Benchmark For 2016 Budget

Members of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday commenced debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) presented to the upper legislative body by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Buhari had forwarded the MTEF to the Senate on Monday.

Under Nigerian public finance system, the MTEF is the precursor to budget, as well as Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), which details spending and revenue projections for three years.

At the Senate plenary Wednesday, lawmakers differed on the $38 per barrel benchmark projected as the price of crude of oil, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

Leading the debate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked the Senate to consider an upward review of the crude oil benchmark for the 2016 budget.

?In his opinion the $38 oil benchmark is “conservative”.

Mr. Ekweremadu therefore urged the senate to peg the oil benchmark for the 2016 budget at $40 per barrel.

“I have looked at the projection for the oil price,” he began, adding that “the benchmark of $38 per barrel appears to me to be conservative. From the projection of oil price for 2016 it is estimated? that it will hover between $40 and $45.

“I like to suggest that the senate consider an oil benchmark of $40. I’m sure that this will help cushion the problems we have in the states.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Senators, Aides Shun Saraki’s Facebook Training

None of the 109 Senators attended an online  training organised on Monday by the office of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Punch is reporting.

The workshop was organised for the senators and their aides and it was aimed at strengthening their use of Facebook and Social media for effective communication on issues relating to Public Policy and Good Governance.

A Punch correspondent also observed that, less than 10 percent of the aides of the senators attended the event. Majority of those in attendance were from the senate president’s office.

Findings revealed that just 25 out of about 500 senators’ aides, actually turned up for the programme.

The Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Isa Galaudu, had in a statement issued on Thursday, said the training  was in line with the promise of the senate president to bring about,  a more representative legislature through the use of technology and e-parliamentary tools.

He had said that the training, would be conducted by the Head of Policy at Facebook Africa and members of her team. But alas, nobody attended.

Anti-Saraki Senators Demand Cancellation Of Senate Committees

Two principal members of the Senate Unity Forum, senators Suleiman Hunkunyi and Kabiru Marafa, on Tuesday demanded the immediate cancellation of the additional eight committees created last week by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on the grounds of illegality.

They also sought the review of the entire process which led to the appointment of chairmen and vice chairmen of the whole committees, claiming that the Selection Committee, headed by Saraki, was not properly constituted.

The SUF is made up of All Progressives Congress senators who worked against the emergence of Saraki as the President of the upper chamber.

Hunkunyi, the Secretary of the group, and Marafa, the spokesperson, made the demand while raising different points of order on the floor of the Senate to protest the announcement of the committees by Saraki last Wednesday.

They argued that the Senate leadership erred by not seeking the approval of the entire senators before making the new committees public despite the fact that necessary sections of the nation’s constitution and the Senate Rules made adequate provisions for that.

Credit: Punch

PDP Senators Reject Amaechi’s Confirmation

There was a mild drama yesterday during Senate plenary when Senators from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) refused to support the approval of the votes and proceedings of last week Thursday.

PDP Senators had walked out of the Chamber when their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts subdued them to confirm a former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a minister.

Amaechi was accused by the state government of mismanagement of the resources when he was governor. On that basis, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions investigated the claim and recommended that the Senate should not confirm him (Amaechi) since the matter was still pending in court.

After intense dialogue, persuasion and disagreements, the ruling party confirmed him, demonstrating that in democracy, minority will always have their say and the majority will have their way.

Credit: Sunonline

Why PDP Senators Staged Walkout Over Amaechi

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi Aliyu, has given insight into the reason why the party’s senators walked out of the Senate in protest against the confirmation of former governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as minister designate.

The party chieftain, popularly known as AA Aliyu, said the PDP was still pained by the defection of the former governor to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013.

He said with his confirmation, Senate President Bukola Saraki had proved his critics wrong, stressing that the Senate president has shown that he places national interest above any other interest.

He said:  “The screening of former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and his subsequent confirmation has clearly shown that the era of impunity in over.

“There is no doubt that the case against Amaechi is politically motivated. He is not guilty of any act of corruption or wrongdoing. His offence stems from the fact that he decamped from the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections for lack of internal democracy and any clear agenda for the development of the country.

“Therefore, the decision of the PDP senators to walk out from the session, where Amaechi was confirmed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was an indication that Amaechi offended the PDP and not the nation.”

He added, “Amaechi’s case is not different from other PDP members who also defected to the APC for the same reason. A similar case was that of a former deputy governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, who left the PDP for the APC and worked very hard, using his resources and time to deliver Niger State for the APC.

“So, Amaechi like the APC National Leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, are real heroes of the Nigerian democracy. While Amaechi was the Director General of APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Tinubu ensured that the states in the South-West geo-political zone worked for the APC in the last general elections. Both Tinubu and Amaechi were persecuted by the PDP before the APC won the last general elections, becoming the key figures in the governing party in Nigeria.”

Credit: DailyTrust

Ministerial Nominee Upsets Senators

With five nominees to go, the Senate will today likely undertake the final lap of screening of would-be ministers.

Expected to be screened to day are Prof. Anthony Anwuka, Ms Aisha Abubakar, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Mr. Muhammadu Bello and Mr. Adamu Adamu.

Yesterday, six were screened, including Cross River State nominee, Pastor Usani Usani Uguru, who drew the ire of some senators with his statement.

Uguru and the senators started by exchanging banters at the introductory stage before he made what the lawmakers considered “an offensive statement”.

Uguru mentioned names of some senators with who he traversed the country during the last campaign.

Most of the senators he mentioned were of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Then, one of the senators asked Uguru: “Were you interacting with the PDP too?” to which he replied “God forbid”.

Minority Leader Senator Godswill Akpabio raised an objection to the nominee’s statement. Coming under a point of order, Akpabio described Uguru’s statement as derogatory to PDP members.

Other PDP senators joined him. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) declared that the nominee did not submit his assets declaration papers along with his documents in violation of one of the rules set for the nominees.

Credit: NationOnline

Sokoto Indigenes Threaten To Recall Its Senators Over Aisha

Sokoto Citizens Forum, has said that it may consider sensitizing the people of Sokoto State across the three senatorial districts on the likelihood of commencing the recall of Senators Aliyu Wammako, Ibrahim Gobir and Ibrahim Danbaba over their perceived indisposition to the choice of Mrs. Aisha Abubakar as minister. Briefing newsmen in Sokoto, Secretary General of the group, Malam Isah Suleiman noted that Aisha has the prerequisite public experience that would be useful to Nigeria at this period of financial crisis.

His words: ”We condemn in the strongest of terms the position of Senator Aliyu Wamakko, Senator Ibrahim Gobir and Senator Ibrahim Danbaba on our ministerial nominee. In few days to come, we shall initiate the process of recall from the National Assembly the trite of Senator Wamakko, Senator Gobir and Senator Danbaba whose action has been in our interest.

”Today, our government parade impeccable men and women of integrity and character whose moral standing in the society remain a model for the younger generation. A fitting example of such rare gems of leaders is Aisha Abubakar a princess from the caliphate, whose nomination attracted applause from the length and breadth of this great country.

”Aisha Abubakar is indeed a model of what our leaders should look like. She is a thorough breed of excellence having distinguished herself as public servant per excellence in her over 20 years in the financial and investment sector of the economy. In this era of dwindling oil revenue, Aisha will bring to bear her expertise as a financial guru in diversifying our economy. Aisha Abubakar’s conduct as an anti-corruption crusader will help President Buhari to clean up the Augean Stable of the last administration.”

Credit: Vanguard

Senators Give Terms For Confirming Ministers

As the Senate today, unveils the ministerial list it received from President Muhammadu Buhari last Thursday, some senators have provided insight into how the screening and confirmation of nominees would be done.

Some of them, who spoke on the terms and conditions that would guide the screening at the National Assembly yesterday hinted that the upper legislative chamber would adopt stringent measures in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

The senators made it clear that any list that does not cover the 36 states of the Federation will meet serious opposition on the floor.

A People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senator, representing Abia North, Mao Ohuabunwa, said the list of ministerial nominees is expected to be complete in line with the Constitution.

“The Constitution does not support appointment of ministers in batches. Every state must be represented but if the number is not complete, some of us may raise constitutional issues. If we have to wait for another three months for him to send another list comprising representatives of other states, it means those states would be non-functional,” he said.

Read More: ngrguardiannews

Senators Disagree With Saraki On EFCC Probe

A group of senators of the All Progressives Congress, under the aegis of Unity Forum, have risen against the decision of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, over alleged diversion of N1 trillion recovered by the commission.

In a statement jointly signed by Senators Ahmed Lawan, George Akume, Abu Ibrahim and Barnabas Gemade, the APC senators said on Wednesday that for a petition to be discussed in the Senate or House of Representatives, it must be channelled through a member of the House of Representatives or a senator.

“In standard parliamentary practice, a petition is routed through either a senator or member of the House of Representatives. Upon receipt of such petition, the representative will inform the presiding officer of the chamber and, thereafter, present the petition in the plenary.

“Thereafter the presiding officer will refer the matter to the appropriate committee upon which it will be returned to the Senate in plenary,” said the senators.”

Read More: premiumtimesng

Senators, Reps Want SAN Title

Senators, House of Representatives members and members of other legislative houses in the country who are lawyers, on Monday intensified their desire to be conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.

Besides claiming that they worked harder than judicial officers, the lawmakers argued that regular lawyers and other legal practitioners were not better qualified for the rank than the legislators.

The members pressed for the recognition during the inaugural meeting of “The Forum of Lawyers in the Nigerian Legislature”, held at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Read More: punchng

“These Present Nigerian Senators Have Nothing To Hide” – Bukola Saraki

SENATE President Bukola Saraki vowed yesterday that the present political environment would not allow for the use and dump syndrome as obtained in the past, just as he reiterated that the 8th Senate was committed to openness and transparency.

He said, “the present administration is committed to carrying the youths along as against the use and dump syndrome of the past.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he received the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Youth Forum (APYF) in his office as part of the celebration of this year’s International Youth Day, Saraki who noted that the Senate has nothing to hide, said that the e-parliament being planned by the Senate was designed to give voice to Nigerians who will want to contribute to discussions on issues concerning the upper chamber of the legislature.

The Senate President who urged the APC youth body to disregard negative insinuations and speculations concerning the Senate as the lawmakers were committed to making a difference, said: “I want to assure you, despite all what you read in the papers, be rest assured that we are here for serious business. We are all committed to make a difference and my doors are open. Very soon, from what I am being told from the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, we are trying to move fast about the e-parliament so that everybody here can know what we are doing and they can also contribute to some of the discussions.

Senator Saraki

“We want to make this place as open as possible. There is nothing here we are hiding. What is our great motivation? Nigerians spoke at the last elections and I don’t think they spoke for things to be the same and we must not let it be the same. We must ensure that it is positively different.”

He said the report on the proposed legislative agenda which will soon be debated on the floor of the Senate is meant to identify priority bills that will give the needed support to the executive.

He said: “For example, the issue of rebuilding the Northeast. We believe there are no schools. There are no hospitals. There are no homes. That cannot come from normal budgetary allocation or appropriations. As a country, we must make a special case for the rebuilding of the Northeast and again, that is going to come from the support of the National Assembly and that is an area of focus for us,” he said..

The National President of the APYF, Ismaeel Ahmed in his remarks commended the Senate President for being youth-friendly and for his immense contributions to the success of the APC in the 2015 elections.

He added that now that the APC is the governing party, it was time to ensure good governance which the nation lacked under the previous administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ahmed said: “We have seen an incredible move by you to include a lot of young people and give them the ladder of opportunities for them to grow in the political atmosphere and we hope that in your current position, that will continue as well. We are also here as concerned members of the APC.

“It will be disingenuous for us to leave this place without telling you as a member of this good party, that you have contributed in no small way to the success of the party. Young people, as you are quite aware, played incredible role in bringing about the success from their activities on the mainstream and social media to make sure that the information that was coming from the other side do not overwhelm us.

“What we lack in terms of resources and authoritarian manpower, we gained in the voice of a lot of young people that did not have the comfortability of either security or money or the wherewithal but we stood by and made sure that change happened in 2015. You are aware of that. You have helped us in so many respects in achieving that.

“Now, we are here, we have won the election, we have to win the country as well. Wining the country means governing it well, governing well means having a functional National Assembly and a very functional President. We have known your track records,” he said.

We Were Not Elected To Fight For Positions, Saraki To Senators

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, told his colleagues that the primary purpose of their election was not to fight for leadership positions but to pursue good governance and purposeful leadership.

Saraki made this remark while welcoming his colleagues back to the plenary after  a four-week recess which was dictated by fierce struggle for leadership positions.

Saraki said: “Nigerians did not give us our mandate to come and pursue leadership; their mandate was for us to pursue good governance and bring solutions to their burning issues. It is time we remind ourselves of the solemn promise to deliver to our people real change.

“Leadership is secondary; our primary responsibility is good governance. As senate president, you have given me the responsibility to ensure that our primary responsibility is placed on the table not under the table. Nigerians did not put their lives on the line for politics but for the delivery of good governance.”

He also challenged his colleagues on the need to settle down quickly to the business of legislation, insisting that Nigerians are tired of the crisis in the power sector and want to see a re-invigorated power sector capable of delivering enough energy to power the new Nigerian economy.

“They want to see a new legislative instrument that will help to open and stimulate private sector investment in infrastructure development and enhance the ease of doing business in the country.”

Read More: thisdaylive

“Don’t Blame Us For Not Funding Murderers And Rapists In The Nigerian Military” – American Senator Replies President Buhari

Patrick Leahy, the American Senator who sponsored the famed Leahy Law says President Muhammadu Buhari should not blame the United States for not supporting the Nigerian Army.

The Leahy amendment prohibits the US State Department and the Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights.

Nigeria’s military has been accused of alleged human rights crimes in its war against Boko Haram, hence the United States had refused to assist the country with weapons and training expertise.

Buhari had said on Wednesday at the United States Institute for Peace that the law “aided and abetted” the campaign of bloodletting by the Islamist sect.

In a response posted on his website, Leahy said he could not be blamed for the atrocities committed by the murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military.

In his words: “It is well-documented by the State Department and by respected human rights organisations that Nigerian army personnel have, for many years, engaged in a pattern and practice of gross violations of human rights against the Nigerian people and others, including summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, forced disappearances and rape. Rarely have the perpetrators been prosecuted or punished.”

“This abusive conduct not only violates the laws of war, it creates fear and loathing among the Nigerian people whose support is necessary to defeat a terrorist group like Boko Haram.

“President Buhari ignores the undisputed fact that most Nigerian army units have been approved, under the Leahy Law, for U.S. training and equipment. Only those particular units against which there is credible evidence of the most heinous crimes are ineligible for U.S. aid. And even those units can again become eligible if the Nigerian Government takes effective steps to bring the responsible individuals to justice.

“I strongly agree with President Buhari about the need to defeat Boko Haram, and I have supported tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Nigeria for that purpose. But rather than suggest that the United States is at fault for not funding murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military, he should face up to his own responsibility to effectively counter Boko Haram. He should direct his attention to the Nigerian military, and the Nigerian courts, and clean up the units implicated in such atrocities.”

Source –

Accept Party Supremacy, Buhari Tells Senators, Reps

President Muhammadu Buhari has told the All Progressives Congress lawmakers in the National Assembly to accept the party’s supremacy in the interest of democracy.

In his opening remarks at the ongoing meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja, Buhari charged members to put whatever interest they have in their “pockets” and accept the supremacy of the party in the overall interest of democracy.

He said: “What ever your personal interests, put them in your pocket. Let APC work. Let the system work. I appeal to you to accept the superiority of the party. I cannot confine myself in Sambisa forest and refuse to participate in the meeting because I respect the superiority of the party.”


Senators Will Return From Break To Screen Ministers On One Condition- Saraki

President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Tuesda, has promised that senators presently on break would rush back from their homes to screen ministers any time President Muhammadu Buhari sends his ministerial list to the upper Legislative chambers.

According to him, the 8th Senate was prepared to support President Buhari to effect the positive change expected from his administration by Nigerians, just as he also pledged the cooperation of the National Assembly with the executive arm of government in accomplishing the programmes of the administration.


Senators Earn Allowances Nine Times Higher Than Basic Salary, Find Out Total Sum

Nigerians that have expressed surprise that each senator receives N506,600 per annum as wardrobe allowance may be in for a shocker as the lawmakers receive far more allowances under different other categories.

Investigation showed that senators’ allowances totalled N18,642,880 on annual basis. In all, the allowance each senator receives is nine times more than his annual salary. A senator’s salary is pegged at N2,026,400 per annum.

Each senator or a member of the House of Representatives is entitled to 19 different allowances. These allowances are for vehicle maintenance and fuelling; domestic staff, entertainment, utilities, personal assistant, constituency, wardrobe, house maintenance, newspapers, recess, accommodation, furniture, severance, tour duty, estacode, special assistant, security, legislative aide and medical.

These allowances are specified in the Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders prepared by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

On an annual basis, the 107 senators receive   N1,994,788,160 as allowances. Only 107 senators are eligible for these allowances. The President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate receive fewer allowances because most of their needs are fully provided for by the state.

Read More: punchng

Watch Your Utterances, Senators Tell Kwankwaso

Senators under the aegis of the Like Minds have expressed shock over the verbal attack of the former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, on the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, asking him to exercise caution in his utterances.

Kwankwaso, had, in an interview, described the emergence Saraki as Senate president as a dangerous signal for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, while warning that the Senate president should not use his ambition to destroy the All Progressive Congress (APC).

But The Like Minds senators, in a reaction to the interview by the group’s coordinator and spokesman, Senator Dino Melaye, cautioned Kwankwaso of incendiary utterances capable of destabilising the National Assembly and rubbishing the prevailing political tranquility in the country. They accused the former governor, who is one of their colleagues, of suffering from defeat syndrome, hence his resort to hate campaign and vile language for just no cause and that his opinions are that of a selfish man whose ambition has beclouded his sense of reasoning.

The senators of Like Minds also queried when Senator Kwankwanso became a friend of President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that: “We are surprised at the emergent of Kwankwanso as a friend of the president.”Melaye categorically said that the Senate presidency of Saraki would not constitute any threat to President Buhari’s administration,   explaining that instead, the President is safer in the hands of Saraki as the president of the Senate.


Senators To Earn N506,600 Each Per Annum As Wardrobe Allowance- Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has cleared the air on the ward-robe allowance for the members of the National Assembly, saying each senator is entitled to N506,600 annually and not N8.64 billion as reported in the media.

“Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission was in my office to clarify wardrobe allowance,” Mr. Saraki wrote on twitter Wednesday. “Amount is N506,600 per Senator.”

Mr. Saraki, in response to the media reports that the N460 senators and members of the House of Representatives would receive a whopping N8.64 billion, quoted his interview with BBC in his tweeter handle that “a body responsible for setting up the salaries and allowances was looking into the matter and would publish details of the remuneration on its website.”

Stating that the legislature would be accountable to the people, the senate president said it was not true that each senator would be paid N8.64billion as reported by two Nigerian newspapers.

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Senators Deny Boycotting House Of Assembly Vote

A group of senators, under the platform of the Unity Forum, have rejected the election of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.

The legislators, while addressing journalists at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, also refuted reports they boycotted the poll to choose House leaders, as has been widely reported.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Banabas Gemade, said they were attending a meeting with President Mohammed Buhari at the International Conference Centre.

“We did not boycott the inauguration, we were invited to a meeting with President Mohammed Buhari at the International Conference Centre, Gemade said.

He said the members that voted did not constitute a quorum. “When 53 Senators are outside during the nomination it is totally wrong to close the nomination,” Gemade said.

In his reaction, George Akume said the election of Senate President through a ballot without 53 legislators was “wrong. Before we could rush from the venue of the meeting with the President, the election was over,” said Akume.

Credit: CAJ News

APC Leaders, Senators Peace Meeting Ends Abruptly, Buhari Absent

A scheduled meeting between leaders of the All Progressives Congress, President Mohammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly, elected on the party’s platform, ended abruptly on Tuesday.

This followed the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as President of the 8th Senate.

The party leaders and some elected Senators and members of the House of Representatives were at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, waiting for Buhari, when news filtered in that the Senate had been inaugurated and that Saraki had emerged unopposed.

As if this was not enough, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party defeated Senator Ali Ndume of the APC to clinch the slot of Deputy Senate President.

The emergency but belated meeting of the APC was slated for 9am while the inauguration was scheduled to hold at 10am. However, as of 10. 56am, the APC legislators at the ICC were still waiting for the President.

The notice of meeting, which was circulated, partly read, “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, will address all Senators and House of Representatives members-elect of the All Progressives Congress at 9am this morning Tuesday, the 9th of June, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. All concerned must endeavour to attend this meeting.”

Read Morepunchng

Saraki Dumps APC’s Plan, May Contest with Ekweremadu

Senator Bukola Saraki is not letting go easily.

But the initial plans to get Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators-elect and members of the House of Reps-elect to vote massively for certain principal officers during Tuesday’s inauguration of the Eighth National Assembly in Abuja has collapsed.This is because there is a split among some PDP governors on who to support between Senator Bukola Saraki and the APC preferred candidate, Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President.
According to The Nation, it was learnt that at a meeting of PDP Senators-elect in Abuja, 28 agreed to back the Saraki/Ike Ekweremadu ticket; 17 agreed to back Lawan/Akume ticket. That was after Saraki decided to work with PDP in a desperate move to win the race.

Some senators rejected suggestion by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose that they should vote Saraki.Lawan had emerged the choice candidate of the APC after a mock election by the party’s senators-elect. But the Saraki camp rejected the straw poll and vowed to contest for the position on the floor.The APC is the majority party in the Senate, with 59 senators-elect. The PDP has 49 senators.At a meeting held by the PDP caucus on Sunday night in former Senate President David Mark’s residence in Apo, Abuja, the divided PDP senators-elect and their governors were said to have threatened to draft one of them into the race if the APC failed to agree on a consensus candidate.
A source said: “The surprise of the night was that some of the governors who Goodluck Jonathan laboured to install were those at the vanguard of the Saraki project, a man who practically destroyed PDP.“Most senators at the meeting viewed supporting Saraki as robbing Peter to pay Paul. They contended that it will be bad politics to reward a man who took up arms against his party, destroyed it and moved to build another one.”The meeting ended without all the Senators agreeing on a final decision on backing Saraki.

APC Calls Off Meeting With Senators, Reps-Elect

The meeting of national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with its National Assembly members-elect scheduled for Thursday has been shifted to Saturday.

The meeting was called off as the various camps angling for the Senate Presidency and Speakership positions refused to agree on consensus candidates.

The party’s national working committee hurriedly called off the meeting after receiving intelligence report that the APC legislators-elect were spoiling for a showdown over the consensus arrangement.

The lawmakers are angry with the party’s leadership for meddling in the affairs of the incoming 8th National Assembly.

Lai Mohammed, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, however, said the shift was due to the valedictory session held for the senators on Thursday.

Credit News 24

I’ll Expose Anybody That Offers Bribe To Me, My Colleagues Says Senator-Elect, Ben Bruce

A ?Senator-elect from Bayelsa State, Ben Murray-Bruce, has vowed to expose anyone who offers him or any other Senators bribe.

Mr. Murray-Bruce is part of the eighth Senate due for inauguration early June.

He said as Senator, he will expose any offer of “Ghana-Must-Go” to him or his colleagues.

Ghana-Must-Go bags are commonly used to convey large sums of money in Nigeria.

“Not while I’m there!” he assured his over 15,000 followers. “I will expose ANYBODY that dares approach me or my colleagues with Ghana Must Go.”

The Senator-elect said the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari should patronise Made-in-Nigeria products and services.

Mr. Murray-Bruce, few days ago, was bashed by Nigerians on Twitter over his sudden anti-corruption crusade, following a series of tweets. He was criticised for being less vocal during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, believed to be characterised by corruption.

He currently uses the micro-blogging site to speak his mind and unveil some of his plans for the 8th National Assembly.

He said the incoming assembly ?”won’t be a rubber stamp”.?

Buhari’s Ministers, Lawmakers To Get N9bn Housing, Furniture Allowance

Senators and members of the House of Representatives that will constitute the 8th National Assembly and ministers to be appointed by President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will on assumption of office receive welcome perks amounting to N9bn.

The perks of office include the housing allowance which each of the incoming office holder is entitled to receive once a year, the furniture allowance which they are entitled to once in four years and motor vehicle loan which they are entitled to once in their tenure.

The perks are some of the non-regular allowances that the political office holders are entitled to as prescribed by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

There are other allowances, both regular and irregular ones, but housing, furniture and motor vehicle
are paid at the beginning of the tenure of the office holders to ensure that they settle down appropriately.

Housing allowance for the political office holders is 200 per cent of their annual salaries; furniture is 300 per cent and motor vehicle loan is 400 per cent.

The eighth National Assembly will be inaugurated by Buhari on June 5 after the expiration of the tenure and dissolution of the 7th National Assembly on the same date.

Membership of the eighth National Assembly include 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of different political parties from across the country.

Investigation by one of our correspondents showed that each of the senators would be paid N4, 052,800 on the assumption of office as housing allowance. They will also be paid the same amount every year because the housing allowance is on annual basis.

This means that 107 senators will be paid a total of N433, 649,600m as housing allowance annually.

The Senate President and the Deputy Senate President are not entitled to this allowance because their own accommodation is to be provided by the Federal Government.

Similarly, each member of the House of Representatives will be paid N3, 970,425 as housing allowance on assumption of office.

This means that the 358 representatives will be collecting a total of N1, 421,412,150 as housing allowance. Again, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives are excluded from this allowance as the Federal Government is to provide their own accommodation.

Following the monetisation of entitlements of public officials, the lawmakers lost the right to occupy houses built and maintained by the government. Consequently, the Federal Government sold the houses previously occupied by the lawmakers to them.

The principal officers of the National Assembly also benefited from the sale of the houses. As a result, the Federal Capital Territory Administration is at present building new houses for the lawmakers that will emerge as the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.

For furniture, each of the senators is to get N6, 079,200. The furniture for both the Senate President and his deputy are to be fully provided by the government. This means that 107 senators will get a total of N650, 474,400 as furniture allowance. Furniture allowance is paid once in four years

Each member of the House of Representatives will be paid N5, 955,637.50 as furniture allowance. This means that 358 representatives (excluding the speaker and his deputy) will collect a total of N2, 132,118,225 for furniture.

For vehicle, each of the senators is entitled to N8, 105,600 while each representative is entitled to N7, 940,850.50. This means that 107 senators will collect N867, 299,200 for vehicle while 358 representatives will collect N2, 842,824,479 for the same purpose.

The allowance for vehicle had been controversial. According to RMAFC, this allowance payable once in four years is a loan for any member that wants. This means that it is repayable.

In 2007, each senator had been given the loan to purchase vehicles. Few months after they had received the loan, the current Senate President, David Mark, demanded that the money totalling about N856m should be converted to grants for official cars.

Mark made the request in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.

In the letter dated November 15, 2007 and titled “Monetisation policy as it affects senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mark said the senators were not properly briefed that the money was given to them as loan.

He said if senators had known that the money was loan, they would have had the opportunity to exercise the choice of refusal.

He therefore requested that the money should be converted to official car allowance although according to the monetisation policy of the Federal Government, only the President of the Senate and his deputy are entitled to official cars. The funding for cars for other lawmakers had been built into their salaries which are paid on monthly basis.

RMAFC insisted that the money was a loan and could not be converted to a grant as the lawmakers’ benefits had been monetised. It is not clear how the matter ended as both parties refused to respond to media requests on the issue.

On the executive side, each minister that will serve in the cabinet of Buhari is entitled to a housing allowance of N3, 915,160.

There are indications that the President-elect will shrink his cabinet by doing away with the ministers of state. However, there is a limit to how far he can reduce the cabinet positions. Constitutionally, each state of the federation must be represented in the cabinet.

This leaves him with at least 36 ministers as against the 42 ministers in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Cumulatively, the ministers are to receive N140, 945,760 as housing allowance.

Each minister is also entitled to a furniture allowance of N6, 079,200. Cumulatively, this comes to N218, 851,200. Each of them is also entitled to a vehicle loan of N7, 830,320. This comes to a total of N281, 891,520.

When put together, the housing, furniture and vehicle allowances payable to the lawmakers and ministers will amount to about N7.3bn. The remaining N1.7bn will cater for other perks of office such as motor vehicle maintenance, fuelling, and others.

Apart from these irregular allowances, there are other regular perks of office that are paid to lawmakers on a monthly basis. These include motor vehicle maintenance and fuelling. This is pegged at 75 per cent of their monthly salary.

Others are personal assistant, 25 per cent; domestic staff, 75 per cent; entertainment, 30 per cent; utilities, 30 per cent; newspapers/periodicals, 15 per cent; wardrobe, 25 per cent; house maintenance, five per cent; and constituency, 250 per cent.

There are other entitlements that they do not receive direct payments for but are provided and paid for by the government. These are special assistants, security and legislative aides. What this means is that those engaged in these capacities are paid directly by the government as the allowances cannot be claimed by political office holders. These allowances apply to senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Medical expenses are also borne by the government when they have need for them.

The lawmakers are also entitled to tour duty allowance, estacode (when they travel) and recess allowances. For a senator, the tour duty allowance is N37, 000 per night; the estacode is $950 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

For a member of the House of Representatives, the tour duty allowance is N35, 000 per night; the estacode is $900 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

The allowances for ministers vary slightly from those of the lawmakers. The allowances of the ministers include motor vehicle fuelling and maintenance – 75 per cent of their salaries. Others are personal assistant, 25 per cent; domestic staff, 75 per cent; entertainment, 45 per cent; utilities, 30 per cent; monitoring, 20 per cent and newspapers/periodicals, 15 per cent.

Their security personnel, medicals and special assistants are also provided. The tour duty allowance is N35, 000 per night; the estacode is $900 per night and the leave allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

Special Advisers and Special Assistants to the President to be appointed by the president are also entitled to housing and furniture allowances, special allowances and motor vehicle loan but it is not certain how many of these advisers Buhari is going to appoint.

The housing allowance of a special adviser is N3, 885,750; furniture – N5, 828,625; motor vehicle loan N7, 771,500.

The regular allowances of a special adviser include motor vehicle fuelling and maintenance – 75 per cent of their salaries; personal assistant – 25 per cent; domestic staff – 75 per cent; entertainment – 45 per cent; utilities – 30 per cent; and newspapers/periodicals – 15 per cent.

Again, their security personnel, medicals and special assistants are also provided for. The tour duty allowance is N25, 000 per night; the estacode is $800 per night and the leave allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

Severance allowance is paid to each of the office holders at the end of their tenure in government.

Our correspondents had reported that President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, non-returning federal lawmakers, ministers and aides to the President will collect N3.24bn as severance allowance.

Although political office holders in the country are among the highest paid government officials in the world, our correspondents also reported that the worry of many Nigerians is not what they earn officially but what accrues to them through self-appropriation and corruption.

Senators-elect want pay cut extended to all arms of govt

Some senators-elect have supported the call for the cut in salaries and allowances of the National Assembly members.

The lawmakers, in separate interviews on Friday with Saturday PUNCH, said that such reduction must be extended to all tiers and arms of government.

The Senator-elect for Ekiti North Senatorial District, Mr. Duro Faseyi, expressed support for reduction in cost of governance.

Faseyi, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, said the reduction must cut across the tiers of government.

He said, “I am in support of reduction of cost of governance because we have to look at the Internally Generated Revenue and the state of economy.

“The executives and judiciary must also be in support. The executive, especially, should agree so that we can use the money for what will benefit the common man.

“I support whatever would make life meaningful and improve the living condition of people, but it should be for the benefits of the common man.”

Also, the senator-elect representing Rivers South-East, Chief Olaka Wogu, expressed the need for a review of the salaries or recurrent expenditures in every sector of the economy.

Wogu, however, cautioned that funds meant for constituency projects should be increased.

The senator-elect explained that the current economic situation in the country would not be able to sustain the huge cost of governance.

He added that rather than reduce funds for constituency projects, focus should be on recurrent expenditure.

Wogu said, “Funds for constituency projects must not be reduced. They represent the projects that are done on behalf of the representatives in their constituencies and they are executed by the executive. They are not executed by the members.

“I have not been to the Senate and I don’t know their salaries. But when I say all sectors should not be isolated in the review of salaries, I mean all sectors. So, if I go to the Senate, I want to attract projects for my senatorial district. I intend to ensure that projects come to my district. So, the volume of funds available for that should go up.

“But the earnings of senators and all functionaries of government, including the senators should go down; that is cost of governance. Our economy cannot carry it today. Our pay as representatives can go down, but cost of public good must go up. That, in itself, will promote development. It will also lead to a better economy. Our problem today is that we spend too much on recurrent and too little on capital expenditure.”

But the Senator-elect for Plateau South Senatorial District, Lt.- Gen. Jeremiah Useni, said he would not be able to comment on the slash in the cost of governance until the inauguration of the eighth National Assembly.

‘It is unnecessary’

The All Progressives Congress member representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District, Senator Kabiru Marafa, described as unnecessary, the calls for the reduction in the salaries and allowances of federal lawmakers.

Marafa, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said those making the demand were ignorant of the actual amount accruable as salaries and allowances to each senator or member of the House of Representatives.

He described as untrue, media reports that a senator earns a monthly salary of N29m and promised to resign as a senator if anyone could prove that his salary per month was up to N1m.

Marafa, who said his salary was not up to N1m a month, said the call for salary reduction could only be justified if members of the public could determine the actual amount that a federal legislator is being paid a month.

He said, “What Nigerians need to know about these allowances is that they should be educated properly about what a senator or House of Representatives member earns. The figure being branded as allowances and salaries of federal lawmakers all over the place is incorrect.

“Not quite long ago, some figures were posted on the Internet and they came up with a figure of about N29m per month but if you look at the rundown, you will see there are severance allowances there which they claimed formed certain percentage of the total salary per month.”

Credit – Kevin

Failed Senators, Rep Members Have Started Moving Their Belongings Out Of National Assembly

Senators and House of Representative members who failed in their reelection bids yesterday started moving their personal effects out of the National Assembly complex. The development came less than about one month to the proclamation of the eight National Assembly.

Personal effects of the lawmakers, including tables and chairs of various sizes, framed photographs, books, standing mirror, centre rug and artworks of various sizes were seen being loaded into waiting trucks by various aides.

Buhari Meets Senators, Reps-Elect

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will address senators and House of Representatives members elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday. The meeting is scheduled to hold in Abuja.

The Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign, Garba Shehu, disclosed this on Tuesday The meeting is expected to hold after Buhari inaugurates the party’s transition committee that would interface with the team of the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan.

Read MorePunch

”Obasanjo Is Plotting To Abduct Me To USA” – Kashamu

Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Senator-elect for the Ogun East Senatorial District, Prince Buruji Kashamu, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of instigating foreign security agencies to apprehend him in Nigeria and extradite him to the United States of America, USA, to answer to drug-related charges.

Kashamu begged the Commission not to stand by and watch his fundamental human rights trampled upon at the behest of former President Obasanjo.Consequently, he has sent a Save-My-Soul, SMS, letter to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, insisting that the subterranean plot to ‘capture’ him has thickened.

It will be recalled that it was Kashamu that p ersuaded Justice Valentine Ashi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting at Apo to order security agencies in Nigeria to confiscate Obasanjo’s autobiography entitled “My Watch”.

It took the former President to get the high court to vacate that confiscation order which had even prohibited both Vendors and Libraries in the country from as much as touching the autobiography.

Kashamu had insisted that portions of the book dwelt on his alleged involvement in drug pushing and an allegation that he is a wanted fugitive in America, a subject matter he said had already been surrendered to a competent court of jurisdiction.

Meantime, in his petition to the NHRC, Kashamu urged the  commission to investigate the alleged move to abduct him and forcibly take him to the US to answer to charges bothering on drug related offences.

The petition, dated April 15th, 2015   was written on his behalf by his lawyer,   Mr Ajibode Oluyede and entitled: “Prince Buruji Kashamu: Abduction Plans By United States of America Agents in Collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria.”

The lawyer in the   petition which was addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, stated:   “Kashamu has instructed that we bring certain important facts and records to your attention with regard to the illegality of this plan and the malicious and unpatriotic motives of those behind it and seek your urgent intervention in accordance with the jurisdiction expressly given to your commission by the National Human Rights Act 1995 as amended to carry out and inquiry into the matter in order to establish the culpability and compromise of certain institution in this despicable plan and to protect our client’s fundamental human right to liberty, life and dignity of the person.”

Kashamu told the Commission that regardless of several decisions both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom which exonerated him from the alleged offences, desperate politicians had been putting pressure on the Attorney General of the Federation to resuscitate the US indictment against him in Nigeria and to instigate an extradition process against him on the accusations.

He maintained that the current plan to abduct him was an admission by the US authorities that there is no case against him. He insisted that it is   Obasanjo that is spreading a new witch-hunt net over him as a form of revenge against him for the comprehensive political defeat he (Obasanjo) suffered because of Kashamu in the PDP.

Kashamu told the commission that  the pressure on the AGF failed, a situation he said was owing to the absence of any document showing that he was   indicted in the US, nor any evidence that he was ever declared wanted both any authority in the US  as required by the Extradition treaty in the US and the Nigerian Extradition law.

He said that several people close to the AGF had warned him to watch his back because there were moves to have him extradited to the US.

According to his lawyer, “Kashamu’s enquiry revealed that indeed there had been moves by US officials within the region to secure the assistance of the head of the INTERPOL division in Nigeria, Mr Solomon Arase, a Deputy Inspector General, for the arrest and delivery to the US officials of Kashamu for transportation to the US without following the due process required by the Nigeria Extradition Act.

Enforcement at the American Embassy route Des Almedies BP 49 Dakar Senegal and requested that INTERPOL Nigeria assist in the abduction of Kashamu for the purpose of his forcible transportation to the US to face trial before Judge Norgel”, he added.

Senate Accuses Okonjo Iweala Of Destroying Nigeria’s Economy

Senators have accused the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, of perpetrating wickedness by refusing to release funds meant for capital projects in the country.

According to The Nation, the senators who met at various committees with ministers, heads of Federal Government departments and agencies in Abuja on February 24, were unhappy that last year’s budget was poorly implemented.

The lawmakers expressed shock when ministers and some heads of agencies told them that they got between 40 to 45 % of their capital votes last year.


63 Senators Sign to Impeach Jonathan

No fewer than 63 senators have signalled their intentions to commence impeachment moves against President Goodluck Jonathan, just as 215 members of the House of Representatives have allegedly signed the impeachment register.

Daily Sun gathered yesterday evening that eight senators on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had joined the ranks of All Progressives Congress (APC) to start the impeachment process.

A ranking senator from the APC confirmed the existence of the list and also, disclosed that some members of the ruling party in the Red Chamber “willingly wrote their names and appended their signatures to commence impeachment proceedings against President Jonathan.”

Reminded that the impeachment process, as stipulated in the constitution, was a lengthy process and that the Seventh Senate might not have the time to see through the process, he replied: “We will start the president’s impeachment once we get the required number. Some of the PDP senators have already signed the register.”

Credit: Sun News Online