Tag Archives: Assembly

Akpabio: Most NDDC contracts ‘awarded’ to NASS members

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, on Monday, said most contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are awarded to National Assembly members.

The Minister made the comment as he was being grilled by members of the House of Representatives committee on NDDC in a public hearing.

The Minister had been invited by the lawmakers on Friday to defend his actions as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and shed more light on financial misappropriation within the NDDC.

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Akpabio’s comment surfaced as he was responding to a question about NDDC expenditure amid a forensic audit.

“We cannot close down the Niger Delta Development Commission because of the fact that we are doing (a) forensic audit,” he said.

“The NDDC plays a vital role in ensuring the peace and security of the region and 90 percent or more of the resources of the country come from there.

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“If you close it down in totality all you will have is chaos. You will have a lot of, not just militancy, you will have a lot of insurrection.

“So it is important that people who have gone to court, people who genuinely did jobs should be paid for their jobs. For me, I am not against it because, of course, who are even the greatest beneficiaries? It is you people.”

A member of the committee took him up on his “you people” allegation and asked him to clarify.

“I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given out to members of the National Assembly,” the ex-Senator said.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Benue house speaker test positive

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Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Titus Uba has tested positive for COVID-19.

The chief press secretary to the Speaker, Lubiem Tiav says samples from Mr Uba and four Assembly members were taken by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Mr Tiav’s household was tested, however, only the Speaker and his last son tested positive for the virus.

The Speaker has asked all who might have come in contact with him within the last week to submit themselves for tests.

He also stated that modalities have been put in place to get all Assembly members and staff tested to ascertain their status.

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In a similar vein, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has tested positive for COVID-19.

He disclosed this himself via Twitter on Sunday.

According to Onyeama, he tested positive after his fourth COVID-19 test on Saturday after he developed symptoms of throat irritation.

He further stated that he is now heading into isolation at an undisclosed health facility.


#Newsworthy…

Sen. Suswan reveal why NASS halt tariff increment

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Senator Gabriel Suswan (PDP-Benue) says the National Assembly has directed the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) not to increase electricity tariff because of the current economic challenges occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Suswan, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, made the disclosure in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the increase in the tariff had to stop for now even when it was obvious that an increase, given the provision of necessary distribution infrastructure in the electricity market, would help the sector to be solvent.

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Suswan noted that an increase in electricity tariff in this period would worsen the economic hardship faced by Nigerians, hence the intervention of the National Assembly to prevail on the DisCos to suspend the increase until the first quarter of 2021.

“Under a normal situation, an increase in tariff increase will help the operators to meet their remittances 100 per cent, and the government will not need to subsidize.

“Now governments all over the globe are giving palliatives to their citizens; in America, for instance, most of the people who fought for palliatives for not being employed receive some stipends weekly.

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“Now, here we have people who are unable to feed family because of the COVID-19 pandemic and DisCos is saying it will increase tariff at the same time; we are saying yes, reflective cost tariff is the way to go because we need the sector to be solvent, but the timing is not auspicious.

He also explained that the government had also reduced the petrol pump price because it did not want to increase the burden on Nigerians, observing that it would not make sense if DisCos increased electricity tariff.

“In the interim, the government will continue to subsidize petrol pump prices because that is the responsibility of the government, no government will want a situation where their citizens would be overburdened with prices of goods.

“So, that was why we stepped in and good enough with the decision we took, the president has agreed with us and said they should not activate the increase until certain things are in place,” he explained.`


#Newsworthy…

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Kano governor to present reviewed budget to Assembly

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has submitted a reviewed budget to the Kano State House of Assembly.

Dr Ganduje’s administration hinted a few days back, that the 2020 budget of over N200billion would be reduced by 30 percent due to the frustrations occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reviewed budget of N138,279,140,661 was first presented at the state Executive Council meeting, Wednesday, by the Commissioner of Planning and Budget, Nura Muhammad Dankadai, before transmitting the document to the State House of Assembly.

The reviewed budget of over N138billion has N78.8billon for recurrent expenditure, which represents 57 percent and N54.9billion for capital expenditure, which represents 43 percent.

Internally general revenue (IGR) stood at N46billion in the original document, but with N7.8billion as actual collection from January to March, the IGR now stands at N24billion in the reviewed budget document.

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The FAAC source for financing the budget was N76 billion in the original document but has now become N52billion, which is lower by N24billion.

In the original document, overhead stood at N18.3 billion as the amount and now reviewed to N16.6billion.

Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, spoke to reporters on Friday, February 7, 2020.

The priority areas of the reviewed budget are education, health, and infrastructure.

While global behaviour inches towards learning how to live with COVID-19 pandemic at both local and global levels, due to the absence of a clear cut vaccine for the menace, the governor further ordered all contractors handling different government projects in the state to go back to the site.

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Governor Ganduje expressed optimism that, life will pick up steadily for the continued development of the state as he ordered for the opening of all manufacturing companies in the state, to further take care of developmental aspects in the state in Post-COVID-19.

“It is pertinent to note that, people should understand lucidly that there will life after COVID-19. As such we should not sit back and give less concern about that,” he said.

Ganduje commended all members of the State Executive Council for their roles in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor also commended the individual and collective commitment of the executive members during this period, stressing that his government philosophy of teamwork is strong and vibrant.


#Newsworthy…

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Enugu Minister dies at 49 | Ailment source

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Honorable Chijioke Ugwueze, the lawmaker representing Isi-Uzo Constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly, has died.

Ugwueze, 49, died on Friday, June 19 after suffering a heart failure.

According to family sources, the late Ugwueze who was hypertensive, woke up on Friday morning complaining he had malaria symptoms.

He was rushed to a private hospital in Enugu and was later transferred to Enugu state Teaching Hospital Parklane, where he died in the evening.

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Until his death, late Ugwueze was the chairman of the House Committee on Transport.

His death comes three days after the death of the Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Chief Patrick Omeje.

May his soul rest in peace, Amen.


#Newsworthy…

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Children’s Days: NASS President celebrate Nigerian kids.


President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has felicitated Nigerian children on the occasion of the 2020 Children’s Day.

Lawan noted that the day was set aside to highlight the challenges children’s face, with a view to promoting their well-being and happiness.

Lawan in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, said the surest route to a happy and fulfilling future for our children was to provide them quality education and healthcare.

He also identified their protection against all forms of abuse as other means to fulfil their future.

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Lawan said it was this realisation that led the Federal Government in 1976 to introduce Universal Primary Education, which in 1999 was expanded to the Universal Basic Education.

He said the Federal Government enactment of the Child Right’s Act in 2003 was also to give children a sense of belonging.

The senate president, however, expressed concern that in spite of all such efforts, Nigeria was still heavily burdened with a high number of out-of-school children.

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The situation, he said portends grave danger for the country and was unacceptable.

“I want to use the opportunity of this occasion to assure our children that the National Assembly is fully aware of the challenges that they face and will continue to work to guarantee a better future.

“I also call on the authorities at the sub-national level who have not done so, to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act for the sake of the future of our children,” Lawan said.

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The senate president called for collaboration between the federal and state governments in comprehensively addressing issues relating to the plight of the Nigerian child.

On the part of parents, Lawan urged them to dutifully play their own role in providing the immediate needs for their children, adding that the future peace of the country depended on it.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: China defends COVID-19 at WHO assembly.

President Xi Jinping says Beijing has always been transparent and promises $2bn in global COVID-19 aid.


  • World leaders have spoken at the virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly, as many countries have called for an independent probe into the pandemic.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing has always been transparent about the outbreak and will support a probe once the pandemic is under control.
  • India reports 5,242 new cases of coronavirus, taking the country’s infection tally to more than 96,000, the highest in Asia.
  • Globally, there have been more than 4.7 million known cases of COVID-19, and nearly 315,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.7 million people have recovered.

#Newsworthy…

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VAT revenue increases to N339B in first quater


The federal government has generated additional N30.46 billion in the first quarter of the year (Q1 2020) based on the hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) from five per cent to 7.5 per cent that became effective from February 1, according to data released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS figures were released just as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, met with the National Assembly leadership in Abuja yesterday to discuss the proposed cut in the 2020 Budget.

The cut, which amounted to N71.5 billion, was subject of economic analysts’ conversation with Media last night as many of them saying the reduction should reflect the country’s economic realities.

With the extra cash, VAT receipts closed at N338.94 billion in the first quarter of the year, from N308.48 billion in Q4 2019.

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The improved performance represented a 9.87 per cent increase in value quarter-on-quarter.

It also represented a 15.66 per cent rise (year-on-year), when compared to the N293.04 billion realised in Q1 2019.

According to the sectoral distribution of VAT data for Q1 2020, which was published by the statistical agency, professional services generated the highest amount of VAT with N38.30 billion and closely followed by manufacturing that generated N37.37 billion.

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Commercial and trading generated N17.19 billion while mining recorded the least amount of N61.83 million.

Textile and garment industry and local government councils recorded N306.05 million and N319.04 million respectively.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: NASS meet with finance minister over 2020 budget amendment. [Nigeria]


The Leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday met with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to be briefed by the latter on the plan by the Federal Government to amend the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year.

The meeting which had in attendance principal officers from both chambers was presided over by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Senate President, in his welcome address, told the Executive arm of Government to ensure that the interest of Nigerians remains protected in the proposed cut to the 2020 national budget.

Lawan also expressed the willingness of the Federal lawmakers to expeditiously consider the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget which the Minister said would be presented to the National Assembly by next week.

“The budget amendment is very important, but I believe that when we are faced with this kind of challenge (COVID-19 pandemic), it is an emergency and we should do everything and anything possible to fast track the passage and implementation of the government intervention that is so critical and crucial at this stage.

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“I believe that we shouldn’t delay it any longer. Next week, and I will suggest the early part of next week, we should have that document(MTEF) ready so that we can consider it alongside the budget. It is supposed to be the tonic of what Nigerians are waiting for.

“We have listened to the various adjustments you have made to avoid going into recession. However, to avoid going into a deeper recession, I think we need to do a little bit much more.

“After this meeting with the leadership, I suggest that you engage with our relevant committees in the Senate and House of Representatives to look at the nitty-gritty that would be considered more in detail at the presentation level.

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“On the whole, let me assure you that the National Assembly and Executive arm are on the same page, and that is to say that we will work to ensure that we have a budget 2020 amendment that will address the needs of the people of this country.

“One thing is that the net public expenditure must be targeted at net maximum performance for the benefit of the people of this country.

“In other words, we must come up with an amended budget that is operable and favorable to Nigerians,” Lawan said.

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In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called on the Federal Government to adopt a feasible benchmark in the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget.

“The benchmark is so critical and so important because once you passed the law, it becomes difficult to adjust that benchmark, and then what happens to the excess?

“We have always had problems with the Excess Crude Account, potentially an account which has no backing of the law. So, let’s even assume that the price remains static at $35, which means we have $10 going to the Excess Crude Account which we have no control over in terms of spending, that is why we guard that benchmark price very jealously.

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“Is there a possibility of having a provisio built-in in the budget…So that there can be an automatic kick in if the benchmark price goes beyond $26 or $27. We want you to explore that possibility.

“So, I think you should study the market and see what happens next week by the time you present the adjusted budget,” Gbajabiamila said.

Speaking on Nigeria’s debt profile, the Speaker said, “I would also want to address the issue of our deficit and tie it with the issue of debt relief. I’m not sure I heard any presentation on how much we owe and how much we are paying back in this budget.

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“The reason I asked is that at the moment, I believe, for want of a better word, some of our creditors are very vulnerable right now. And depending on how you package your case, I believe they should be the ones coming to beg you to take debt relief, if not outright cancellation.”

Earlier, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, while briefing the leadership of the National Assembly said, “the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget is no longer sustainable.”

The minister said further that: “it is necessary to reallocate resources in the 2020 budget, to ensure the effective implementation of required emergency measures, and mitigate the negative socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Ahmed stated that in line with the global economic outlook and relevant domestic considerations, the assumptions underpinning the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 Budget was revised to slash crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$25 per barrel; reduce crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day to 1.9 mbpd.

She added that the federal government also adjusted the budget exchange rate to N360/US$1; and reduced the upfront fiscal deductions by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for mandated Oil and Gas sector expenditures by 65 percent from N1.223 trillion to N424 billion.

She disclosed that the amount available for funding the 2020 Budget is now estimated at N5.548 trillion, down from N8.419 trillion, a revised revenue estimate which is 34 percent (N2.87 trillion) lower than what was initially approved.

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Federal Government’s aggregate expenditure budget was slashed by N88.412 billion; Statutory Transfer from N560.47 billion to N397.87 billion; and Overhead costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N302.43 billion to N240.91 billion.

Debt Service provision was, however, increased from N2.453 trillion to N2.678 trillion.

On Provision of N500 billion for COVID-19 Intervention Fund, the Finance Minister in her presentation explained that N263.63 billion will be sourced from Federal Government Special Accounts, N186.37 billion from Federation Special Accounts and the balance of N50 billion expected as grants and donations.

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According to her, “the sum of N186.37 billion will be applied toward COVID-19 interventions across the federation, while an additional N213.60 billion was provided in the Service Wide Votes for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention recurrent expenditures.”

She disclosed that while a total of N100.03 billion was provisioned in the Intervention Fund for new capital spending, the Federal Government carried out a cut in capital expenditures for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N1.564 trillion to N1.262 trillion.


#Newsworthy..

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Protest in Isolation centre – Gombe Assembly summon taskforce. [Nigeria]

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The Gombe State House of Assembly has summoned the State Taskforce Committee on COVID-19, following the protest in two isolation centres last week at the state capital.

The Speaker of the State Assembly, Abubakar Kuba, who gave the directive at the floor of the House on Monday, said that the lawmakers want to know what led to the protests and what action has been taken to resolve the issues.

Before the meeting went into a closed-door, the chairman of the task force, Idris Mohammed told journalists that his committee would provide any information on the incident, adding that they have nothing to hide.

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Many isolated COVID-19 patients took to the streets in Gombe state last week over the alleged poor state of their isolation centre.

They were later joined by numerous other members of the community where the isolation centre was located.


#Newsworthy…

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Ambode goes to Court to stop Assembly from probing him


Former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has appealed the ruling of a Lagos High Court which struck out a suit seeking to stop the State House of Assembly from probing him over the procurement of 820 buses meant to revolutionize public transportation in the State.

The Lawmakers suspended the probe after Ambode secured a court order which directed parties to the suit to maintain status quo.


However, in a ruling to the interlocutory action filed by the governor on Thursday, Justice Yetunde Adesanya who presided over the matter struck out the suit by the former Governor on the ground that it was premature and not justiceable.

The Judge said the Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate Ambode was a fact finding committee, noting that an investigation was not an indictment.


But in the notice of appeal filed by his counsel, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, before the Lagos division of the Appeal Court, Ambode prayed the court to set aside the decision of the trial court and allow the appeal.

Besides, the former governor prayed the appellate court to remit the matter back to the High Court to allow the Chief Judge to re-assign it to another judge of the High Court for trial.


Respondents in the appeal are the State House of Assembly, its Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and the House Clerk, A.A Sanni. Others are Mr. Fatai Mojeed, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement of the buses and eight members of the Committee.

On the four grounds of appeal, Ambode argued that the trial court erred in law when it held that the suit he filed was not mature.


According to him, any person who assumed that his right was being infringed upon or likely to be infringed had the right to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to seek legal protection, which the court had a duty to entertain.

He argued further that the court below erred in law when it held that Section 36 (1) of the 1999 constitution did not apply to the exercise of the powers of the defendants under Section 128 of the constitution.


Ambode argued that Section 128 (1) of the constitution provides that the exercise of the powers of the House of Assembly is subject to the provisions of the 1999 constitution.

He submitted that the trial court erred in law when it held that the Claimant’s action did not disclose a reasonable cause of action.

According to him, his action was a declarative action, which pleaded the facts of the allegations against him, which were not denied by the defendants.

He also submitted that the trial judge erred in law when it held that the defendant’s objection was properly taken without the defendants filing a statement of defence.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: Why Buhari haven’t sack the service chiefs


Details have emerged surrounding the refusal of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack the service chiefs after meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over the deteriorating security situation in the country at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.


This came days after both chambers of the National Assembly passed resolutions on the security situation to formally present the resolutions to Buhari.

While the House urged the President to sack the service chiefs and appoint new ones, the Senate sought the imposing of a state of emergency on insecurity.


Findings indicated that though Buhari at the meeting saw reasons in the position of the House, in particular, he was not obliged to act immediately as requested by the lawmakers.

A top National Assembly official said that the President did not want to appear like he was taking directives from the legislature.


The official said, “The President was on the same page with the National Assembly but did not want to seem he was under the directive of the National Assembly.”

It was learnt that the legislators argued that given the current cordial relationship between the President and the legislature, Buhari should act on the resolutions, just as he expected the lawmakers to act on his requests.


The source said, “There was the argument that for reciprocity he should act on the resolutions of the National Assembly since he too expected the lawmakers to yield to his proposals to the National Assembly.

“But the President felt he would decide by himself if he needed to (sack the service chiefs), not because the National Assembly said so. He is not taking directives from them.” However, the President was said to be “truly embarrassed” by the security situation and admitted so to Lawan and Gbajabiamila at the meeting.


The official, who chairs a key legislative committee, added, “From the conclusions reached, he will eventually sack the service chiefs.

“He is buying time. What is not certain is when he will do it. He will allow some time to pass. If you know the President, he will not act now simply because the legislature wants him to sack the service chiefs.” Speaking with State House Correspondents after the one-hour meeting, both Lawan and Gbajabiamila admitted that the case of the service chiefs was a key issue mentioned among the general discussions on insecurity.


When Lawan was asked a specific question on whether the sacking of the service chiefs was discussed with Buhari, he said, “We discussed everything that matters as far as the issue of security of this country is concerned.

“We believe that we must be able to provide the necessary equipment and welfare for the armed forces and the police to ensure that they can operate and perform efficiently and effectively.”


When asked what Buhari’s response was, Lawan said the President agreed with the National Assembly that the security situation required urgent attention.

He said, “Mr President was forthcoming. Of course, as the leader of this country, he is more worried than anybody else about the situation.


“So, we are on the same page that we should to do whatever it takes to ensure that the security agencies can perform better than they are doing now.”

When asked again whether he thought replacing the service chiefs would bring immediate solutions, Lawan said the security situation had reached a “tipping point” that needed the intervention of all Nigerians, including whatever decisions the government had to take to bring succour to the people.


Gbajabiamila said “changes” would be witnessed by Nigerians soon, following their discussions with Buhari.

Buhari, not in haste to sack service chiefs – investigations


Meanwhile, those expecting the President to sack his service chiefs may wait a little while because an investigation conducted revealed they might not lose their jobs soon.

Our correspondent, who spoke with some senators on condition of anonymity after a closed-door session on Tuesday, learnt that the service chiefs might spend an additional year in office.


A senator from the South-West said the issue of the service chiefs was discussed extensively at the meeting between Buhari, Slawan and Gbajabiamila on Monday.

The Senator said, “The Senate President briefed us on the outcome of the meeting. From what he said, the President is not considering the sacking of the service chiefs for now.


“He has sought the understanding of the presiding officers on the issue and had promised to ensure a positive action in the areas of insurgency and insecurity across the country.”

A ranking senator from the North-East also said the President would not sack the service chiefs now, based on the briefing by the Senate President.

President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari


He said, “The Senate did not adopt the sacking of service chiefs as a resolution. It is the House of Representatives. I don’t believe that they should go. I am of the firm belief that our military will do better in the fight against insurgency with adequate funding and recruitment of more energetic personnel.”

A Senator from the South-South, who spoke vehemently against the service chiefs during the Senate debate on Wednesday, also confirmed that Lawan’s briefing had shown that Buhari would not sack the service chiefs immediately.


#Newsworthy…

Kano assembly approves free education loan ..


Kano Assembly has approved a request by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to allow the 44 local government areas in the state access N15 billion to fund his primary to secondary schools free and compulsory education initiative.

The Assembly approved the request on Wednesday during its plenary session presided by Speaker Abdulazeez Garba-Gafasa.


NobleReporters reports that the Speaker, on Tuesday, read a letter by the Governor seeking permission to allow the local governments to access the loan from one of the new generation banks.

The legislators approved the request after the Deputy Majority leader of the House, Alhaji Kabiru Hassan-Dashi, who supervised the committee of Local Government presented their report.


The committee recommended approval of the request, pointing out that the fund would be used to construct more classes and rehabilitate some aimed at reducing congestion.

Hassan-Dashi explained that the loan will also support the provision of free uniform for the students and also enhanced the school feeding initiative by the state government.


After series of deliberations by the legislators, the Assembly adopted the motion and approved the request.

Ganduje said in the letter that each of the 44 local governments if the loan was approved, will receive N340 million aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the free and compulsory education across the state.

The Governor said the loan would be paid in 30 months with only 15 per cent interest.

According to the letter, the loan will be deducted from the local governments’ monthly Federal allocations.


#Newsworthy…

Kaduna Assembly: PDP declared winner..


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced Mrs Comfort Amwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the rerun election for Sanga constituency seat in the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

The Returning Officer, Salihu Kargi of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria who announced the results in Gwantu on Sunday, said Amwe polled 19,815 votes to defeat Haliru Gambo-Dangana of the APC who scored 19,688 votes.

The rerun election was conducted in 14 polling units in the local government


#Newsworthy…

Impeachment trial: Opening arguments expected after 12 hours of debate


The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Tuesday to reject proposals to subpoena new witnesses and documents for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Now that the rules and procedures have been approved, the trial will begin in earnest with opening arguments expected Wednesday afternoon.


The Senate spent more than 12 hours debating the rules and procedures of the impeachment trial. The debate started Tuesday afternoon but bled into the early-morning hours of Wednesday with a vote to approve the proposed resolution not happening until about 2 a.m. ET.

The resolution filed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell states that the seven House managers will have 24 hours to present its case over the course of three days. The president’s legal team will then have 24 hours over the course of three to present the defense.

U.S President, Donald Trump


The majority of the hours in the court on Tuesday were spent debating amendments to the resolution that were proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. A total of 11 amendments were proposed to subpoena new documents and witnesses to get more information on a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. All of the proposed amendments were voted down along party lines.

Nexstar is bringing you complete coverage of the impeachment trial. Our coverage continues on Wednesday at 12:50 p.m. ET with Digital Anchor JB Biunno, Political Reporter Evan Donovan and DC Correspondent Jessi Turnure.


#Newsworthy…

Imo: 9 members defected to APC days after Uzodinma wins election


Days after Hope Uzodinma of the APC was sworn in as governor of Imo state, nine members of the state House of Assembly, have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Their defection was announced during plenary on Tuesday January 21st. Reading their defection letter, Colins Chiji, the speaker, said the defecting members are from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Alliance (AA).


The PDP defectors are Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele), Chidiebere Ogbunikpa(Okigwe), Heclus Okorocha (Ohaji/Egbema), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo) while those from AA are Authur Egwim (Ideato north), Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre), Johnson Duru (Ideato South), and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu).

Only Ekene Nnodimele (Orsu) moved from APGA to APC.


#Newsworthy…

Desmond Elliot Celebrate 16 years anniversary with wife.

Nollywood actor and lawmaker representing Surulere constituency in Lagos State House of Assembly, Desmond Elliot took to Instagram to celebrate his 16th wedding anniversary with his wife, Victoria.

Sharing a collage of their before and after photos which captured their loved up moment, Desmond Elliot thanked his wife for being his friend in their 16 years of marriage.

He wrote;

My Babamai..16 years and still counting, thanks for being my friend . love you always . Happy wedding anniversary to us

Desmond Elliot and his wife, Victoria celebrate 16th wedding anniversary

Victoria who also penned down a heartfelt message to her husband, wrote;

Happy anniversary sweetheart..
Love you loads

Desmond Elliot and his wife, Victoria celebrate 16th wedding anniversary


#Newsworthy…

Nassarawa passes bill to curb kidnap come 2020.

…says it would henceforth be prohibited

Members of Nasarawa State House of Assembly have passed 2020 appropriation bill of N108.4billon into law, 19 days after the state governor, Abdullahi Sule submitted the proposal to them.

Speaker of the Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, announced the passage of the 2020 budget into law after the House Majority Leader, Tanko Tunga moved a motion for the passage of the bill.

The speaker said that the passage of the bill would allow the state government complete ongoing projects and execute new ones for the progress and development of the state.

According to him, the bill is “for the services of Nasarawa State government for the period of 12 months commencing from 1st January, 2020 and ending on 31st December 2020 has been read for the third time and passed into law, ” he said.

He further said the capital expenditure stands at N49,774, 676,004 while the recurrent expenditure stands at N58,670,129,710.

The speaker also disclosed that the House jerked up the budget by over N7billion to take care of some critical areas in the interest of development.

Balarabe-Abdullahi urged MDAs to adhere strictly to the budget provision if finally assented to by the governor.

Earlier, Tanko Tunga (APC-Awe North), the majority leader of the House while moving a motion for the passage of the budget into law urged his colleague to support his motion considering the importance of budget to societal development.

Danladi Jatau,(PDP- Kokona West), seconded the majority leader’s motion for the passage of the budget into law.

The House unanimously passed the budget into law

The House also passed into law a bill prohibiting kidnapping and other related offences.

The House further passed into law a bill for a law to amend the Nasarawa State Fiscal Responsibility Commission Law 2013.

It would be recalled that on Dec.4, 2019, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State presented the 2020 budget proposal of N100.52 billion only to the state House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

#Newsworthy…

NYSC, Corp members to enjoy 2020 minimum wage – Minister of Youth.

…captured in the 2020 budget recently passed by the National Assembly

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has said serving corps members of the National Youth Service Corps will enjoy increased allowance as a result of the N30, 000 minimum wage from next year.

The minister said that increase in the allowances earned by corps members have been captured in the 2020 budget recently passed by the National Assembly.

Dare spoke during a visit to the orientation camp of the NYSC in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos state.

In a statement by his media office in Abuja on Wednesday, Dare assured the corps members that the increase will be effected once it is signed into law.

Dare said the over 350, 000 youth that pass through the NYSC yearly are essential to the success of any change agenda for the present and future generations.

“I have always advocated that Nigeria must invest in the Youth. We at the Ministry are refocusing the development of our youth in terms of programming.

The Ministry has developed a programme called DY.NG. We want it to be a two month program that you would run during your service, after which you will have some level of certification. It will give you that added advantage beyond your degree,” Dare was quoted to have said in the statement.

He said the template is being set up in partnership with the NYSC Directorate and some of the digital skills to be learnt include data processing, cloud computing, app development.

The Minister also announced that he had enlisted all corps members across the country as Anti-Corruption Ambassadors to “spread the word, create awareness and make sure corruption does not thrive.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, has re-stated the zero tolerance of the scheme against mobilising unqualified graduates for National Service.

He said the NYSC scheme would not relent in its efforts towards sanitising the mobilisation process as the NYSC Act does not allow the scheme to mobilise unqualified graduates to participate in the service corps.

The DG stated this while addressing Commanding Officers at the HQ 3 Division, Nigerian Army in Jos, Plateau State.

In a statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, Ibrahim lamented the influx of unqualified graduates from some universities in West African countries.

The DG solicited support from every stakeholder to end the “abnormally.”

He commended the Army for its support through security, accommodation and welfare for serving corps members at all times.

“Under my leadership, the Scheme would not mobilise any fake graduate. NYSC would team up with the National Universities Commission, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies in the country to fight the battle.

“We would continue to prosecute any fake Corps Member that is caught during registration in any of our Orientation Camps,” the DG said in the statement.

#Newsworthy…

Oyo Assembly speaker react as punch calls Buhari ‘Major General’

… commends the news media

Oyo State’s House of Assembly Speaker, Debo Ogundoyin has reacted to Punch Newspaper’s notice in which it notified the public that it will henceforth address President Buhari with his rank as a military dictator and also refer to his administration as regime.

Recall N.Rs reported earlier that the national daily backed its claim of the lawlessness witnessed in Buhari’s administration by recounting Sowore’s travails, how the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim el-Zakzakky and his wife spent over three years in detention in violation of court orders granting them bail and ordering their release, and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki being held in detention since 2015 in defiance of several court orders, including one by the ECOWAS appellate court.

N.Rs also reported that Punch media accused the Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed of forgetting how as an opposition spokesman in 2014, he was harassed by the SSS and accused of “loitering”. It also alleged that the Minister has been vigorously pressing for anti-hate speech laws to restrict the social media.

Reacting to the notice, Oyo State’s House of Assembly Speaker Debo Ogundoyin commended the newspaper for being courageous.

Debo tweeted;

Today’s @MobilePunch editorial, its resolution to henceforth prefix @MBuhari with Major General & refer to his adminstration as regime in protest against autocracy is another huge feat renewing our hope in the media as a strong voice ready to hold govt. accountable & responsible

#Newsworthy…

Social Media Causing Death, Lawlessness, Violence – Garba Shehu.

…calls for regulation

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu has called for the regulation of social media which according to him has led to lawlessness, violence and deaths.

The Presidential spokesperson who spoke at a media award event organised by Kawararafa Reporters, said the Nigerian government was not against free speech but against use of social media to wreck havoc.

Mr Shehu said;

“For instance, the entire Kasuwan Magani saga that resulted in the death of more than 50 people was because someone posted misleading information on WhatsApp that went viral.

“All countries in the world are trying to make laws to check the excesses. Many countries are trying to control the situation. The Europeans have placed a new law that holds the companies responsible.

“In United Kingdom, the parliament has received a report on social media. There is a youth addiction to it, just like cigarettes. Without any form of control, it has done harm to women, ethnic minorities, individuals, institutions and countries.

He also pointed out that journalists around the world undergo training, accreditation and licensing before practicing while social media users with a phone, a tablet or laptop anyone can reach millions, sometimes for good and other times with ulterior motives.

Garba Shehu further argued that the Nigerian constitution never anticipated social media, thus the need to tackle hate speech so Nigeria can be a sane place to live in.

He added;

“The federal government is saying that stakeholders should come together and agree on regulation. We know that no matter how bad the situation it favours someone.

“Some have argued that our constitution already has laws in libel, but the laws of the ‘60s never anticipated social media.

“No government has the right to muzzle freedom of speech. We don’t support the taking of lives as punishment. People insult others and share false information on social media. I hope that hate speech will be tackled so that Nigeria will be a sane place to live in.”

#Newsworthy…

Lagos house of assembly will not repeal the law allowing ex governors to receive pensions.

Lagos House of Assembly said it would not repeal the state’s pension law permitting former governors and other public office holders to receive juicy pensions from state coffers.

Mr Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, told the media yesterday, that the Assembly would not go the way of Zamfara Assembly, which recently repealed pension law for its former governors.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

The court also directed the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to receive such pensions.

Braimoh, however, faulted the court ruling that ordered Malami to take immediate legal action toward the abolishment of state laws that permit “former governors to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.”

He said as long as the law did not contravene the constitution, state assemblies had the right to make laws for the benefit of the society in which they operate.

He atgued that separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution empowers the legislature to make laws, the executive to implement and the judiciary to interpret the laws.

“The Supreme Court had made it clear several times that no arm of government can repeal the constitutional provisions of another arm of government.

“Therefore, legislators make laws that are in tune with the yearnings and dynamics of their society.

“Until another legislature comes to alter, review or amend the law, the law is meant to be obeyed.

“The judiciary cannot pronounce that a law by the state is unconstitutional unless such state law is contradictory to the constitution.”

Braimoh said he was not aware of any law that restricted state assemblies from making laws for the provision of welfare package of former governors and public office holders.

#Newsworthy…

Mo Buhari tells Nigerians agitating for ‘Restructuring’, say, take it to NASS.

The Presidency has stated that only the National Assembly has the constitutional power to restructure the country.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam, Garba Shehu who spoke at a media parley with House of Representatives correspondents, urged proponents of restructuring to take their agitation for restructuring to the national assembly as the Buhari-led administration is committed to the promise which is contained in APC manifesto.

He said: “We in the APC are committed to restructuring. Read the manifesto of the APC. It is stated there and so, we are not running away from it. President Buhari is ready to restructure the country.

“The problem we have with a lot of the proponents of restructuring is that they are looking for the fastest way to that restructuring. They don’t want to use the parliament. They want to use extra constitutional bodies and that is untidy. If you are a democrat, you abide by the processes.

“The parliament is the institution of government working with the executive and the judiciary. For you to say no you want to do a congress at Yaba Market Square and debate; do you want to cause a fight.

“We must be organised and follow due process. If you have a case on restructuring, come to the parliament. In any case, the Senate President has announced that this 9th Parliament will start constitutional amendment in January. So, bring your issue. These are intelligent people voted for by the people.

“Those who shout restructuring saying they want a parallel body to-do that, we have said to them that they are wrong. The sovereignty of the people resides with the parliament and so, if you want to restructure the country, come to the parliament.

“If you don’t have confidence in the parliamentarians you have voted for, wait for four years and vote them out and choose another set of people. But you cannot circumvent the role of the parliament in a democracy and it is key to whatever restructuring you want,” he said.

On the controversial media bill, the Presidential spokesperson insisted that the proposed death penalty is not the only thing contained in the bill. According to him, there is need to curb fake news as it can lead to the death of other Nigerians which is not acceptable.

He said: “It is your responsibility as the media to help the Nigerian government on the issue of hate speech before the parliament. The Minister of Information, who speaks for the Nigerian government, has spoken of the necessity of a law to govern social media.

“I am being careful on what he wants to do because I think there are parallel processes going on. I also blame the media for creating unnecessary controversy. If you look at the law being discussed, the media has focused more on the death penalty for fake news.

“You have a responsibility of studying that bill. Only a few days ago, the American Ambassador met the sponsor of that bill and at the end, he said Nigerians should have a rethink. It is your duty to reap it open and tell Nigerians what it contained. The bill is not all about death penalty or free speech,” he said.

He also said, “I think we have a problem that Nigerians have to address. Nobody is saying that President Buhari or the parliament should impose a law against the press. I am happy that they will hold public hearing on this and if you have any objection to some of the elements, come forward and tell parliament that you have objection. This country needs a law that will regulate social media and attack fake news.”

On claims of the current parliament being a rubber stamp legislature, Garba Shehu said;

“Anybody who is thinking that because the parliament and the executive has worked together on the finance bill and the budget within record time, so we are dealing with a rubber stamp parliament, such a person better look back and see what happened in the past.”

#Newsworthy…