President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with President Emmanuel Macron and all French citizens over the tragic fire incident that gutted parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The Nigerian leader extended his sympathy to Christians in Nigeria and all over the world following the partial destruction of the historical Cathedral, which houses different valuable items held dear by worshippers.
President Buhari and Nigerians joined the world in shock and disbelief as the highly revered and historic church building went up in flames on Monday, praying that God will provide resources and capacity for full restoration.
As one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, a central place of worship for Christians and symbol of France, the President called for joint faith in prayers for the country and its citizens.
Members of the #BringBackOurGirls advocacy group have accused the Federal Government of abandoning the remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls to their fate.
They said five years after the abduction of the schoolgirls, their parents were grieving without a glint of hope for the release of their daughters.
The activists noted that similar neglect had befallen the parents of Leah Sharibu, an abducted victim of insurgents.
#BBOG said Federal Government’s failure on the Chibok schoolgirls had become a sore point in the nation’s history.
A representative of the group, Nifemi Onifade, stated this in a speech co-signed by fellow members of the group, Florence Ozor and Gapani Yanga.
Onifade spoke at the fifth year anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction.
He said: “They can see that the parents of our remaining schoolgirls have been wickedly forgotten and abandoned to their fate and left to grieve the loss of their children without any form of closure by the Federal Government. No serious government handles a matter like the still missing 112 schoolgirls of Chibok and Dapchi with the levity of an unending saga. The same manner of gross neglect and abandonment has also been extended to the parents of #LeahSharibu. We question the government’s silence on #LeahSharibu. We question government’s silence on the state of Alice Nggadah of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“Our movement has already done everything within the power of a citizens’ group to keep the government alert to its primary responsibility of securing the lives of the Nigerian people since 2014. Our persistent advocacy was to forewarn government of the consequences of sending the wrong signals on the value Nigeria places on the lives of our citizens.
“Today, abductions and kidnapping are rife, gruesome killings take place on repeat basis across the country and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to rebuild their lives. That Nigeria has, since it failed our #Chibokgirls in 2014, degenerated to become a poster country for terrorist mayhem is the grandest shame of a nation.
“Today, our core demand remains the same, relevant today as it has been on each of the 1811 days that we have daily turned up at the Unity Fountain pressuring two consecutive Presidents of Nigeria to rescue the remaining 112 #ChibokGirls, Leah Sharibu, Alice and others. For as long as they remain in captivity, we of the #BBOG shall continue to carry them in our hearts and make our voices resound and re-echo our cries of five years.
“Mr President #BringBackOurGirls now and alive.”
A former Minister of Education and leader of the group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, announced that she stepped down from the group when she went into politics to avoid conflict of interest.
The former minister urged the government to tell Nigerians if the case of the Chibok girls had been closed, based on what she called the evidence gathered.
She said: “Some people look at us and ask: have you resumed? I look at them like they don’t even get it. A person like me decided that demanding for good governance from a government that has no care to offer good governance has become a blunt instrument. So, I decided to go into politics. But consistent with the values of this organisation, as soon as I decided to go into politics, I stepped down because conflict of interest is a complete lack of integrity. Others can do it, but we cannot do it in the #BBOG.
“The sad thing is that the failure of successive governments to treat the Chibok matter with the effectiveness required laid the foundation for the emboldening of those who have continued to terroriee our country.
“So, whether it is what you find in Zamfara, Yobe, Borno, Plataea, among others, the terrorists became emboldened because our government failed to show that sense of the dignity of the Nigerian life.”
President Muhammadu Buhari says he is going slowly because he wants to survive.
Speaking on Tuesday while responding to questions at a town hall meeting with the Nigerian community in Dubai, Buhari said he does not care if he is called “Baba go slow” as long as he is not looting the country’s treasury.
He said he did not want to make the mistake he made as a military head of state when he landed in prison for being so much in hurry.
“I may be ‘Baba go slow’ but I didn’t loot,” he said.
“So, whoever calls me ‘Baba go slow’, I’m very cautious of historical antecedent. Since I was in a hurry, I was locked up, I’m going slow so that I can survive.”
“I ‘bark but I cannot bite, Baba go slow,’ I have once ruled this country, some of you know that once upon a time I came in uniform and what I did was to arrest from the president downward. The president, Vice President, the governor’s and ministers, other than the president and the Vice President, the others, I put them in Kiri-Kiri, and I told them they are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.
“And you know subsequently what happened- we put about six tribunals base on the geopolitical zones, and those who were ministers and governors were asked to justify what they have in the banks and physical on the ground relative to their legitimate earnings.
“There were only two Nigerians then to my knowledge who were found to be very Honourable, both of them are dead now: Biliaminu Usman, a junior minister, from Jigawa State, and Adamu Chiroma, a minister of finance and governor of central bank.
“They were incredible Nigerians. But you know what happened, eventually, I myself was arrested, I was put in detention for three and a quarter years, luckily for me, I was not stupid, I didn’t take anybody’s money, so there was no bad publicity for me because they couldn’t find anything against me.
“Eventually I was released, and that was why I made up my mind since the bulk is partisan politics, I joined the partisan politics. You also know what happened, I tried three times, and I managed to succeed the fourth time.”
President Muhammadu Buhari says it is “ridiculous” and “unfair” to suggest that he is not concerned about the killings in Zamfara state.
Writing via his Twitter handle on Sunday, the president said ensuring the protection of lives of Nigerians remains his primary responsibility.
Zamfara has been experiencing attacks by bandits which have caused many lives, including 50 killed on Tuesday.
The attacks have triggered protests and criticisms with many Nigerians accusing Buhari of not doing enough to address the situation.
But the president said he has been following developments in the state, promising that his administration is determined to tackle the menace.
“It is ridiculous and unfair to suggest that I am not concerned about the situation in Zamfara, or doing anything about it. Ensuring the protection of the people of Nigeria is one of my primary responsibilities and functions. No other issue dominates my attention as much,” he wrote.
“We are fully determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and utterly defeated. We have deployed security agents to all the areas currently under attack, and we are constantly fine-tuning and escalating our security strategy.
“I am constantly in touch with the security chiefs, and receive regular briefings on the situation in Zamfara and across the country. Let me assure that we will continue to do everything to motivate and equip them to respond effectively to all our security challenges.
“I want to appeal to Nigerians that we should not politicize this tragic situation in Zamfara. How can I be indifferent to the senseless killings and kidnapping of my fellow citizens by bandits, and the deep trauma and impoverishment that these attacks inflict on them?”
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Dead Sea, Jordan, urged world leaders to work towards narrowing gaps in social and economic opportunities for citizens as panacea to rising conflicts across the globe, attributing the Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria to lack of inclusion.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Middle East and North Africa, the President, who honoured an invitation by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, said rising opportunities of prosperity for some people while others struggle to survive trigger tensions and conflicts.
“It is at this point that we must ask ourselves how we, as a region, got to this point. The answer, at least in the case of Nigeria, is the lack of social and economic inclusion.
“As Nigeria celebrated being the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Nigerians were migrating in droves through harsh desert conditions and across treacherous seas to seek what they believe would be a better life in Europe.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly believe that the lack of social and economic inclusion was the root cause of many challenges we are experiencing,’’ he said.
President Buhari said the changes taking place across the world in technology, population, migration, trade and geo-politics had been yielding both positive and negative results and called for more collaboration across borders to alter tides of frustrations that fuel conflicts.
“It is my view, that no region of the world has felt the full impact of these dramatic shifts and shocks like the Middle East and Africa – North and Sub-Sahara.
“On one hand, our region is blessed with a very young, vibrant, enterprising and dynamic population. We also have valuable natural resources that are the envy of many nations.
“These assets and endowments contributed to our region experiencing some of the highest economic growth rates in the world. On the other hand, however, we have also been hosts to some of the deadliest conflicts in recent history. The deaths, damages and destructions caused by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram over the last ten years will take decades to repair,’’ he added.
President Buhari said terrorism around the world, including Boko Haram, had been significantly degraded, stressing that the insurgents no longer control any territory in Nigeria, but the country had been left with the task of rebuilding.
“In this digital age where physical borders no longer exist to protect even the most secured nations, the only way to overcome predatory and divisionary forces is for all well-meaning nations to work together for the greater good of mankind.
“Simply put, cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity,’’ the President said.
He told the gathering of leaders, entrepreneurs and economic experts that Nigeria’s population is one hundred and ninety million, and by 2050, estimated to hit three hundred and ninety million, making it the third most populous country in the world.
President Buhari said he spent the last four years tackling security issues in the country and implementing policies that make the economy more inclusive.
“We are extremely grateful to the many countries that have stood with Nigeria to confront this global scourge and in particular, the Kingdom of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty, the King.
“Furthermore, our economic diversification and social inclusion policies are also yielding positive results. Our country has now returned to the path of growth. We are making gains in the ease of doing business indices.
The President said the agricultural sector in Nigeria is driving government’s efforts to diversify the economy, adding that “in the spirit of “Building New Platforms of Cooperation’, we partnered with the Kingdom of Morocco to domesticate fertilizer production in Nigeria and revive over two million tons of abandoned fertilizer blending plant capacity. The outcome is we created tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and retail sectors.’’
He said Nigeria had achieved moderate and inclusive growth in four years.
President Buhari said Africa and the Middle East must focus on policies that deliver shared economic prosperity for all citizens, adding that more could be done on trade and investments.
“Opportunities exist in key job creating sectors such as Agriculture, Health, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure as well as Textile and garmenting to mention a few. Our new, inclusive and diversified Nigeria is definitely open for business. Our population, resources, policies and programs make it the most attractive investment destination in Africa,’’ he said.
King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan said inclusive growth will be of benefit to the entire world, especially when it creates enabling environment for youths and women.
The king of Jordan said opportunities must be expanded fast, while noting that “the challenges we face are not only problems to be solved rather they are opportunities for collaboration.’’
UN Secretary General Secretary-General António Guterres said the world will be better off with stronger collaboration, commending Jordan for playing a historical role in restoring peace in the Middle East, especially between Israel and Palestine.
The founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, who congratulated President Buhari for his re-election for a second term, said discussions at the forum will focus on new ideas, entrepreneurship, innovation, environment, peace and reconciliation.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the compulsory retirement of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen, based on “incontrovertible” findings on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC).
It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to give effect to the recommendation immediately.
But the NJC urged the President to allow Justice Onnoghen retain his seat as a former CJN in the Council of State.
The council also said the CJN should be retired with full benefits.
According to a source, who pleaded not to be named “because of the sensitivity of the matter”, the compulsory retirement of Justice Onnoghen was the major highlight of NJC’s meeting yesterday.
All NJC members were said to have decided not to comment on the meeting because “it would not be right to do so when a letter has been sent to the President on their decision.” He should get the letter before any comment, the source said.
The source said: “The NJC has been able to navigate the most challenging moment for the nation’s judiciary by recommending compulsory retirement of Onnoghen with full benefits.
“The NJC specifically demanded that the CJN be allowed to take his eminent position in the Council of State like his predecessors.
“If these recommendations are accepted, the Executive may be on the same page with the Judiciary by staying action on the ongoing trial and other pending trials of the CJN.”
The NJC may have adopted a “win-win approach” to ensure that the Executive and the Judiciary are on the same page.”
Another source familiar with how the NJC arrived at its decision said the “EFCC’s report on Justice Onnoghen was damning and incontrovertible”.
The anti-graft agency accused the CJN of “being in possession of funds which are fairly not attributable to his known, provable and legitimate source of income”.
The opening of a dollar account in Standard Chartered Bank for the CJN by a lawyer, Joe Agi, with $30,000 was said to be unhealthy.
The EFCC had accused Justice Onnoghen of being unable to account for curious deposits in his accounts.
The anti-graft commission alleged that deposits had accumulated to $1,716, 000.
The amounts in the said account were deposited as follows: $74,200 (2009); $291,800 (2010); $340,000 (2011); $625,000 (2012); $298,000 (2013); $40,000 (2015) and $47,000 (2016). The total was $1,716,000.
The agency also accused Justice Onnoghen of depositing $1,716,000 in a United States dollar account operated with the Standard Chartered Bank in 2009, marked as exhibit P4 C, between 2009 and 2016.
The petition said: “From the evidence on record, it is clear that the Respondent failed to declare all the accounts and funds in exhibit P4-P4D when he declared his 2014 asset in November 2016. Your lordship will observe that the Respondent only declared his salary account with the Union Bank exhibit P3 and failed to declare P4-P4D, which are the accounts that warehoused funds that are far above the Respondent’s known and provable lawful income.
“My lords, by the provisions of Rule 1.2 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, it is clear that because members of the public expect a high standard of conduct from a judge, the Respondent is under the obligation to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities both in his professional and private life. It is our submission my lords, that any conduct of the Respondent that give rise to the appearance of impropriety is a judicial misconduct and same is punishable under the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.
REad also: Onnoghen closes case at CCT after calling a witness
“It is our humble submission that the petitioner proved before this Honourable Panel that the Respondent was in possession of funds which are fairly not attributable to his known, proveable and legitimate source of income. The evidence shows that my lord earned a monthly salary in the sum of N750,819.87, which is about N9,000,000.00 per annum. My lords, as shown in exhibit P10A page 14 paragraph XXVI, the Respondent only earned the sum of N91,962,362.49 as salary between September 2005 and October 2016. It is also on record that the exhibit P3 is the salary account of my lord wherein his salaries are paid.
“My lords, the evidence before this Honourable Committee shows clearly that the Respondent opened United State Dollars account with the Standard Chartered Bank in 2009, exhibit P4 C. This USD account was opened by Mr. Joe Agi SAN and the first cash depositor of United States of America dollars into the said account. We humbly refer my lords to the entry of the 29th day of June,2009.
“Though the Respondent claimed that he was the one who gave the learned SAN, Joe Agi the $30,000.00 to deposit to exhibit P4C, the Respondent could not give any reasonable explanation as to the source of this money. My lords, the Respondent admitted under cross-examination that the USD was not his salary and that he only received dollars as estacodes which is meant for his official trips.
“My lords, upon the opening of the USD account exhibit P4C, a lot of cash deposits in Dollars were made to this account. The evidence before my lords is that between 2009 and 2016 a lot of cash deposits were made into exhibit P4C.
“My lords, from the evidence before this Honourable Panel, it is clear that these huge sums of money were not earned by the Respondent as his salaries and allowances. It is our humble submission that the burden of proving the legitimate source or origin of the sum of $1,716,000.00 lies heavily on the Respondent.”
The amounts in the said account were deposited as follows: $74,200 (2009); $291,800 (2010); $340,000 (2011); $625,000 (2012); $298,000 (2013); $40,000 (2015) and $47,000 (2016). The total was $1,716,000.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Chairman Board of Trustees of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the founding fathers of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief John Odeyemi, as he turns 80 on April 4.
According to a statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, the president joined the business world in celebrating the consummate businessman, industrialist and philanthropist.
President Buhari noted that Odeyemi’s zeal to serve God had continued to speak in his service to the nation and humanity, while his dedication to success had inspired and produced huge gains for individuals, institutions and communities.
According to him, Odeyemi, who holds many titles, including Obasewa of Ife, typifies the virtues that any nation should be proud of seeing in a citizen, which include the fear of God, disciplined and focused lifestyle, and a penchant for excellence through diligent work.
As a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and member of many blue chip companies within Nigeria and beyond,
President Buhari also saluted Obasewa of Ife’s visionary leadership qualities and his entrepreneurial spirit, urging him to keep sharing his wisdom of prudence and propriety with fellow citizens, public and private institutions.
The President, who shared in the joy of the milestone with family members, friends and business associates as Chief Odeyemi turned an octogenarian, prayed that the almighty God would remember his investments of love in people and the nation.
He also prayed that God would grant him longer life, good health and more wisdom.(NAN)
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the ministry of finance, led by Zainab Ahmed, to sell all recovered and liability-free assets in six months.
A number of politicians and former government officials will be affected by this because some assets have been seized in the course of the war against corruption embarked on by the Buhari administration.
Speaking on Tuesday while briefing the house of representatives joint committee on finance, appropriation, planning and economic development, Udoma Udo Udoma, the minister of budget and national planning, said the federal government is determined to improve its revenue generation in 2019.
“The Ministry of Finance, working with all the relevant authorities, has been authorized to take action to liquidate all recovered, unencumbered assets within six months,” he said.
“The Department of Petroleum Resources has been directed to, within three months, complete the collection of past-due oil license and royalty charges, including those due from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) (a subsidiary of NNPC), which it had agreed to pay since 2017.”
Udoma told the lawmakers that the president has directed that work should be concluded on the deployment of the National Trade Window to enhance customs collections efficiency from the current 64% to up to 90% over the next few years.
He attributed the government’s inability to meet its revenue target in 2018 to the non-implementation of some one-off items.
According to Udoma, these items include the N710 billion from Oil Joint Venture Asset restructuring and N320 billion from the revision of the Oil Production Sharing Contract legislation/terms, which have now been rolled over to 2019.
Speaking on the production quota agreed on by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the minister explained that there is no quota set for condensates.
“Mr. President has directed the NNPC to take all possible measures to achieve the targeted oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day.”
He explained that in allocating funds in the 2019 budget proposals, priority was given to critical infrastructure projects.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expessed regret about the recent killing of 36-year okd Kolade Johnson by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives from the Lagos State Police Command and commiserates deeply with the family of the deceased.
In a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari acknowledged “the genuine outrage regarding the activities of SARS and reassures the public that swift actions have already been taken.”
He noted that the suspects are in custody and an orderly room trial is set to commence immediately, following which indicted officers will be prosecuted in court.
According to President Buhari, “Government will not tolerate in any way the brutalization of Nigerians or the violation of their rights. Any officer of the law enforcement agencies or any other government functionary caught in this act will certainly be visited with the full weight of the law.”
Adesina pointed out “that following directives from the Presidency in 2018 to overhaul the management and activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, steps were taken by the Police leadership to restructure and reform SARS. The President recognizes that a lot more remains to be done and this effort must be sustained.
He said the President reassures that this administration will continue to ensure that all officers in the Police and other law enforcement agencies conduct their operations in strict adherence to the rule of law and with due regard to International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected seven more bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
The president announced his decision to withhold assent to the bills via a letter read during senate plenary on Tuesday.
The bills include: Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria Bill, 2018; Nigeria Aeronautical Research and Rescue Bill, 2018; National Institute of Credit Administration Bill, 2018 and Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund.
Others are National Housing Fund Bill, 2018; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill, 2018 and National Bio-technology Development Agency Bill, 2018.
The president also cited various reasons for rejecting the bills, as contained in the letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The development brings to 20, the number of bills Buhari has rejected in 2019.
The reasons given by Buhari on each of the bills:
The Chartered Institute of Training and Development Establishment Bill 2018:
Buhari said he declined assent to the bill because of concerns that the institute does not possess the capacity to undertake the numerous duties and responsibilities imposed under the act.
“In addition, the bill criminalises the practice of training and development without registration with the institute even though no description or definition of the term training and development is provided in the bill.”
The Nigerian Aeronautic Research Bill 2018:
Buhari said there were “many inconsistencies” in the bill and it is not in tandem with relevant international civil aviation regulations.”
He said, for instance, that section 1 of the bill provides that the principal objectives is to incorporate the Chicago convention into Nigerian law whereas “the convention is already incorporated by virtue of section (3) (1) of the civil aviation act 2006.”
“The bill is a duplication of the work of NEMA, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Estate Management Agency and other responsible organisations for research and rescue services in Nigeria especially aeronautic research.”
The National Institute of Credit Administration Bill 2018:
The president said he rejected this bill because the provision that every member of the staff of banks and other financial institutions should hold a National Institute of Credit Administration licence before they are eligible to practice as credible managers “portends a recipe for crisis.”
“Two, section 5 of the bill should be deleted in its entirety as the power sort to be conferred on the NICA will be in conflict with the powers of some regulatory bodies such as the powers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and the National Insurance Commission.”
The National Housing Fund Bill 2018:
The president expressed concern over the various levies and obligations imposed by some sections of the bill.
For instance, in the case of people earning income around the minimum wage band, the NHF contribution is 250% higher than their PAYE.
According to Buhari, “The compulsory investment requirement imposed on commercial banks, merchant banks, insurance banks and pension fund, administrations of the minimum of 10% profit before tax into the National Housing Fund will be destructive punitive to a number of industries and sectors of the Nigerian economy including cement, manufacturing, banking, insurance, pensions and may also impact adversely affect the average Nigerian worker.”
The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill 2018:
Buhari said he is declining assent to the bill over its failure to spell out in detail, the required qualification and experience threshold of the directors and senior management staff with specific reference to developmental banking, risk management and mortgage loan administration experience.
“The provisions in section 9(2) provided that liabilities of the federal mortgage bank shall be discountable with the Central Bank of Nigeria without specifically stating in the bill that this is subject to usual criteria for normally accessing the rediscounted window of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
The National Biotechnology Development Agency of Nigeria Bill 2018:
Buhari said the bill fails to include the ministry of agriculture and rural development within the governing board of the agency.
He also said there are “a number of drafting issues and errors in the bill which will affect the interpretation and operation of the bill.”
Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, 2018:
Buhari said appropriating $1 billion from the excess crude account, which the bill had provided for, is “not the best strategic option for Nigeria at this time of budgetary constraints.”
“Furthermore, as the excess crude account funds belong to the federation, it would be proper to consult with the national economic council and the states,” he said.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has explained why the senate did not confirm Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Saraki gave the explanation on Monday at the orientation programme organised for senators-elect and house of representatives members-elect ahead of the inauguration of ninth national assembly in Abuja.
The country’s number three citizen said having rejected Magu’s nomination on more than one occasion, President Muhammadu Buhari should have nominated another person for the position.
The senate had repeatedly rejected Magu’s nomination after he was said to have been indicted for infractions by a report of the Department of State Services (DSS).
But Saraki said there is always “the need for political solution and dialogue” to solve such issue as Magu’s confirmation.
“In the case of the appointment of the chairman of the EFCC, the powers of the Senate are very clear in the constitution. For any nominee, we are guided by the constitution. It is an appointment made by Mr. President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, which means the Senate has the powers to either say yes or say no,” said the senate president.
“In a situation where the Senate rejects, it is up to the executive at that time to send in a replacement or in some cases, when we have appointment rejected and the executive will re-present before the Senate but if the senators again, took a decision to reject the nominee, the appointment stands rejected.”
Saraki also said that the senators in the incoming ninth assembly should decide who is best to lead them as senate president, as it is important to ensure stability in the upper legislative chamber.
There has been much news about who takes over from Saraki as senate president after he failed to secure re-election in the chamber.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is, however, expected to produce Saraki’s replacement having emerged with majority lawmakers.
Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC, had on Friday told party members in the national assembly to pick Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as their preferred candidates for senate president and speaker respectively or leave.
But Saraki urged incoming members of the national assembly to be present in the legislative complex and elect their next leaders themselves.
“The point I am making is that we should not make too much news on the process of electing a presiding officers,” he said.
“What is important is for the members of the Senate to decide who is the best to lead them so that they can have stability.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the State House Medical Centre (SHMC) should revert to serving its original purpose, according to Jalal Arabi, state house permanent secretary.
Arabi said this on Monday when he appeared before the senate committee on federal character and inter-governmental affairs during a 2019 budget defence session in Abuja.
He said the facility was initially meant to serve only the first and second families as well as Aso Villa staff.
The presidency official added that while the directive was a case of ‘‘cutting one’s coat according to your cloth”, it will also make the medical centre functional.
“Without prejudice to what is currently obtainable at SHMC, the intention to revert to a clinic is a presidential directive,” he said.
“This is to make sure that the facility is functional and serves the purpose for which it was established, ab initio. It was initially meant to serve the first and second families and those working within and around the Villa.
‘‘The overstretching of facilities at the medical centre by patients is some of the challenges the Centre have been going through. It wasn’t meant for that purpose.
‘‘Nobody was charging anyone for any services and relying on appropriation means we will depend on subvention when it comes to run the Centre.
‘‘Whatever comes is what you utilise and if the last patient comes in to take the last drugs based on the last budgetary release, that is it and we have to wait till another release is done.
“But this new development means that services will be streamlined to a clinic that will serve those that it was meant to serve when it was conceived.”
Arabi also said the centre had a total budget of N1.03 billion in the 2018 budget, with N698 million as capital expenditure and N331.7 million as overhead cost.
He said while the allocation for overhead cost was fully released, only N231.9 million was released for capital expenditure.
TheCable had reported that the clinic lacks basic medical equipment and drugs such as syringe, paracetamol, cotton wool.
Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, had also lamented the poor state of the facility.
The house of representatives subsequently passed a resolution to set up a committee which will probe how the N10.9 billion said to have been released to the clinic from 2015 to 2017, was spent.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given the nod to Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the house of representatives in the in-coming National Assembly, according to a report.by The Cable
The national working committee (NWC) of the ruling party was in a meeting with the newly elected APC members in the house of representatives on Monday when this report was filed.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila, who are currently the leaders of the APC caucus in the upper and lower chambers of the national assembly, enjoyed the support of the president in 2015 but Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of reps, teamed up with some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers to edge them out.
While Lawan did not get the opportunity to go head-to-head with Saraki, Gbajabiamila lost to Dogara by eight votes.
However, Saraki is out of the way, having left the APC for the PDP and lost his re-election bid.
Dogara is also not expected to put a fight as PDP, his new party, does not have enough numbers in the house of reps.
APC has a 25 seat majority in Senate and a 100 seat.majority on the House of Representatives.
Last week when he announced his ambition to lead the senate, Lawan, who represents Yobe north, said the ruling party will do things differently in choosing the leadership of the 9th national assembly because it had learnt its lessons in 2015.
Buhari never forgave Saraki for upstaging Lawan in 2015
“We are not in any way thinking that we will have crises; it is not what we are envisaging at all. But let me say that our party, the APC, must have learnt its lessons, and therefore, the party leadership will do something differently this time,” he had said at a press conference in Abuja.
Lawan was elected into the house of representatives in 1999 and got into the senate in 2007. The 60-year-old is a graduate of the University of Maiduguri where he read geography. He also has a postgraduate diploma in land survey, an MSc and PhD in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS), all from the University of Cranfield, United Kingdom.
On his part, Gbajabiamila, who represents Surulere 1 federal constituency of Lagos state, is an ally of Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC. He was first elected into the green chamber in 2003.
APC reps at Yar’Adua Center for the strategic meeting
A law graduate from the University of Lagos, he started his career with the Bentley, Edu and Co law firm in Lagos before he established his own firm, Femi Gbaja and Co. where he was principal partner. Gbajabiamila later returned to John Marshall Law School in the US and was said to have graduated top of his class, earning himself a juris doctorate. He set up a law firm and had a brief stint of practice in the US after he passed his Georgia bar exams in 2001. Later, he returned to Nigeria to join politics.
Speaking at the Yar’Adua Center, Abuja, where the politicians gathered on Monday, Adams Oshiomole, national chairman of the APC, made it clear that the purpose of the meeting is to ensure that the party produce the leadership of the lower chamber.
“We will ensure that we have a leadership of the national assembly that share the vision of the executive . Although we stick to separation of power and unless the various arms pursue the same agenda it is difficult for the executive to fulfil its promises and legislative backing is often require for most of the executive actions,” Oshiomhole said.
The presidential technical advisory committee led by Bismarck Rewane, the CEO of Financial Derivatives, has submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the president, the report was submitted on Monday, with ways in which the federal government can generate revenue to pay the new minimum wage.
“On Jan 9, 2019, I inaugurated the Presidential Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of the National Minimum Wage (PTAC),” Buhari said via Twitter.
“The PTAC was mandated to advise on how best to fund the additional costs of implementing the imminent increase in the National Minimum Wage.
“Today the PTAC, chaired by Bismarck Rewane, and comprising other experienced economists and administrators from the private sector, as well as Federal Govt officials, and a Representative of the Governors’ Forum, submitted its report.
“I am very pleased that the Committee took on this important national assignment with all seriousness. I thank the chairman, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, and all the Committee members most sincerely for their patriotism, hard work, commitment and sacrifices.”
In January, Buhari appointed the committee “to develop, and advise the government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases”.
He said the committee will also “identify new revenue sources, as well as areas of existing expenditure from where some savings could be made in order to fund the wage increases without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”.
The report will form the “basis of a Finance Bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly, alongside the Minimum Wage Bill”.
President Muhammadu Buhari says he believes in the will of the people and cannot put pressure on voters to elect leaders they do not like.
Buhari’s statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Friday, dismissed insinuations that he is forcing voters to elect candidates other than those they prefer during the supplementary elections scheduled for 17 states on March 23.
The President said at no time did he give instructions that the electorate should vote particular candidates.
The President assured Nigerians that he was ready to work with elected representatives of the people, regardless of party platforms on which they were elected.
President Buhari said he would work in the best interest of the country and democracy.
President Buhari, who thanked voters for re-electing him for a second term in office, said he would never forget their sacrifices in defying harsh weather conditions to vote for him.
He said: ‘‘I was deeply overwhelmed by your show of incredible confidence in me, and I will never let you down. Thank you for your sincere show of support for me.’’
President Buhari, however, appealed to voters not to get tired of coming out to vote in the supplementary elections, adding, ‘‘these elections are no less important than others before them.’’
He appealed to voters to vote for the candidates they believe would deliver on promises because, “it is your constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights.”
President Buhari also called on INEC and security agencies to ensure that the supplementary elections are conducted peacefully and in accordance with the law and constitution.
He, therefore, called on the electorate to come out en masse and participate in the supplementary elections.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the court order stopping the collation of pending results of the Bauchi governorship election.
The party described the order as unconstitutional, and threatened to obtain similar ones stopping the swearing in of all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) “particularly President Muhammadu Buhari”.
A federal high court in Abuja had given an ex parte order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to halt the collation of results from Tafawa Balewa local government area of Bauchi state.
The court gave the order while ruling on a suit filed by Mohammed Abubakar, governor of the state who is of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reacting via a statement, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesman, accused the APC of arm-twisting the judiciary over the election which he claims his party has won.
“Our party should not be constrained into a situation in which we will have no option than to allow our members to seek similar ex parte orders to halt statutory processes including the swearing-in of APC candidates at various levels, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari,” Ologbondiyan said.
“The party alerts that such development, which is akin to the infamous order that derailed the 1993 democratic process, is part of the plot by the APC and certain compromised elements in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to escalate crisis and derail our electoral process.
“The power to collate, suspend collation and or to reverse such decision based on obvious circumstances as the case in Bauchi is clearly within the domain of INEC.”
The party added that until collation is completed and results declared, “no one can question the constitutional powers of INEC.”
“Our party should not be constrained into a situation in which we will have no option than to allow our members to seek similar exparte orders to halt statutory processes including the swearing-in of APC candidates at various levels, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari,” it said.
“It is clear that collation of result is part of the electoral process and that INEC cannot act on a purported exparte order to jettison its independence and halt the collation of results, which is a key component of its statutory electoral duty.
“Our party therefore charges INEC to be properly guided by the law in this regard.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected five bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
The bills are Nigerian Film Commission bill, Immigration Amendment bill 2018, Climate change bill 2018, Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners bill 2018 and Digital Rights and Freedom bill.
The president’s decision to withhold assent to the bills was conveyed via a letter read during plenary on Wednesday.
The president’s reasons for not assenting to the bills, as contained in the letter, range from conflicting and duplication of duties of existing government agencies, their destructive nature as well as lack of clarity.
This comes a day after he rejected two bills passed by the legislative chamber . The development brings to 13, the number of bills Buhari has rejected in 2019.
The Financial Times of London says President Muhammadu Buhari has been running a government that lacks a clear direction in the last four years.
The respected newspaper therefore called on the President to see his re-election as an opportunity to do the right thing.
The Financial Times said this in its editorial which has been read and shared thousands of times around the world.
It said there was no clear economic policy like that of Rwanda and Ethiopia.
It read in part, “With his renewed mandate, it is now Mr Buhari’s task to rebuild faith by running a dynamic and successful administration and by building the institutions that can lay firmer foundations than in his previous term.
“The omens from his first four years in office are not good. During that time, the former military leader ran a lacklustre administration with no obvious sense of direction. There was no coherent economic strategy of the sort being attempted by the likes of Ethiopia, Rwanda or west African neighbours Ghana and Senegal to produce the rapid growth needed to haul tens of millions of people out of poverty. It is an indictment of its leadership — both military and democratic — that the continent’s biggest oil producer should have more people living in absolute poverty than any other country in the world.”
FT advised the President to appoint more technocrats in his second term who can help turn things around.
The newspaper said the anti-corruption war must be more holistic and less selective.
FT added, “Mr Buhari’s priority this time must be to set out a coherent agenda, implemented by technocrats rather than ideologues, to turn things around. Nigeria desperately needs to create a level playing field for business in which access to foreign currency, permits, and other requirements is both predictable and rational.
“His much-vaunted crackdown on corruption must go beyond taking action against a few minor officials. Some big scalps would help. More important still is to implement systematic changes — whether by reforming institutions, using technology or by removing arbitrage opportunities — to create a more transparent environment. People should prosper in Nigeria based on what they know and how much value and employment they can create, not by their connections.”