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Senate Begins Debate On 2014 Budget, ’Morrow



L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba and Chairman, Ifelodun Local Development Area, Mr Shuaibu Ajidagba, during the monitoring of  environmental sanitation exercise  in Lagos last Saturday.

L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba and Chairman, Ifelodun Local Development Area, Mr Shuaibu Ajidagba, during the monitoring of environmental sanitation exercise in Lagos last Saturday.

Just as indicated on resumption by the Senate President, David Mark, the Senate would tomorrow commence debate on the N4.6trillion Appropriation Bill, which President Goodluck Jonathan had proposed for 2014 fiscal year as one of the topical issues on the Senate’ agenda.
Sensitising the lawmakers on the budget consideration, the Senate last week opened a register for registration of the names of senators who would want to make contributions during the three-day debate which will take the entire three legislative days this week.
Senate President, David Mark, who announced this following a letter from the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, told his colleagues to prepare for a robust debate that would ensure effective and efficient 2014 budget.
Just before the Senate went on end of year and Christmas break, Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, presented the 2014 budget to both chambers of the National Assembly on different occasions which may not be unconnected with the then disagreements between both chambers over the appropriate benchmark for crude oil.
At last Tuesday’s plenary, Senate also referred the names of the Service Chiefs nominated by President Jonathan to its committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, for screening.
The Senate President gave the Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force one week to submit their reports, urging the committees to expedite legislative actions on it.
Similarly, the Senate referred nomination of Umaru Farouk Ahmed from Katsina by President Goodluck Jonathan for appointment as a member of the governing board of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to its Committee on Works, charging them to carry out legislative action on it and submit report in one week also.
Earlier, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano Central) under Order 53, faulted the appointments of the Service Chiefs, and assigning of portfolios to them by President Goodluck Jonathan before the Senate’s confirmation but was over-ruled by the Senate President.
The Senate Committee on Police Affairs also presented its report on an investigation of  the alleged rape of a two-year old infant by a police corporal, Anthony Onoja, at Mararaba area of Nasarawa State.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Paulinus Nwagwu laid the report before the Senate for consideration.


Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity



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



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



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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