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Senate Canvasses Pay Cut For Jonathan, Others …As Mark Hails Appeal Court’s Verdict

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The campaign for pay slash for all public servants earlier canvassed by the National Assembly would be reflected in the output of the 2012 budget..

The Senate has insisted that the Executive must ensure that this is reflected in the 2012 Appropriation Bill being expected in the National Assembly.

The Upper House has also reiterated its commitment to Nigerians on the probe on the sale of government-owned companies by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE ) as it will make public the names of all those that may be indicted in the investigation.

These were revealed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, while briefing newsmen, Monday

Senator Abaribe said the presidency was expected to honour the earlier understanding that public servants’ pay be cut to reduce the cost of government in all the three arms.

Abaribe, who also spoke on the reported N50billion slash in the proposed 2012 budget of the National Assembly noted that other arms of government should emulate the National Assembly which slashed its overhead cost in the 2011 budget.

His words, “Until we see the budget, we will not know what has been done; but one thing is certain, we have reached a consensus between the executive and legislature that the cost of running the government is too high and that there will be a need to cut down the cost of government and I think that, that will be the general trend in this particular budget. So, we are looking forward to seeing the budget and how much has been cut in terms of running the government.”

On the BPE probe report, Senator Abaribe said the allegation that the matter had been swept under the carpet was false.

According to Senator Abaribe, the committee led by Senator Ahmed Lawan was granted extra time to undertake a tour of  all the privatised firms to ascertain the veracity of the claims by stakeholders at the public hearing.

“In a very short while, the report will be out. I promise you that the report will not be buried. No report that will come out of the Senate will be buried. It will be brought out and it will be open to the public because we want to ensure that we have good governance in Nigeria and the only way you can do that is to be sure that whatever you find out is not buried,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Senator David Mark, has congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan on his victory at the Appeal court, Monday and urged the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to take the court’s verdict in good faith.

Senator Mark noted that the verdict represented the wishes of the Nigerian people as expressed in the April presidential election.

According to Mark, “this victory will further spur President Jonathan to consolidate on his transformation achievement”.

He has also reinstated his commitment to the cause of executive/ legislative relations in the overall interest of the entire Nigerian people.

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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