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NASS Moves To Impeach Buhari …Lists Eight -Point Demands …Says President Responsible For Appointees’ Actions …Our Democracy ’ll Die If… -Ekwerenmadu

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A member of the House of Representatives, Muhammadu Gudaji Kazaure, has raised an alarm over what he said is a plot to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kazaure, who addressed the House Press Corps immediately after the 3-hour long joint closed door session of the Senate and the House, said some lawmakers have been mandated to collect signatures to impeach President Buhari.
Kazuare, adjudged one of the closest allies of the President in the House, said” I do not support this move because the man Buhari is a very good man. Kazuare however expressed confidence that those behind the impeachment move will not be able to reach the constitutionally required two-third majority.
Kazaure also disclosed that he was opposed to what he said is a threat to impeach the President if he fails to implement the resolutions reached at the joint executive session.
According to him, the resolution to use legislative instruments should the President fail to take action on the resolutions reached by lawmakers is a veiled impeachment threat. “I tried to raise an amendment, but they didn’t allow me to do so. This is because, we had a resolution that, all what we did…that if the Federal Government doesn’t meet our demands, that we will take any legislative action against the executive.
“I am not in support of this and many of us (lawmakers) are not in support of this. Many of us are not in support of threatening the president because we know he is a man of integrity,” he said.
“The issue of people collecting signatures to serve a notice of impeachment to the president….we know this is happening in the House. “But we know nobody can afford to show us the list of people who want to impeach the president.
“I tell you nobody can present this list because they cannot get two-third majority. “Those of us who support the president in the Senate and the House have the numbers. We are strong enough to stop anything called impeachment,” Kazaure added.
On other resolutions, the lawmaker said he is in support, particularly, to the one that demands that security chiefs should be fired.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly (NASS) has tabled a list of demands before the Muhammadu Buhari administration, asking it to implement them, lest they invoke “the Constitutional Powers of the Parliament”.
The demands were listed as part of the outcome of an emergency executive joint session of both chambers of the National Assembly yesterday.
The meeting passed a vote of confidence on Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, now the subject of police investigation over the April 5, robbery in Offa, Kwara State.
In contrast, the National Assembly members passed a vote of no-confidence on the Inspector General of police, who they want the president to remove because of what they considered to be his “outright disregard for constitutional authority of both the executive and the legislature”.
Reading the resolutions after the session, of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki said reminded the Presidency that the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians across the country is the responsibility of government and as such demanded that they security Agencies be given marching orders to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country.
The lawmakers who met for over three hours in closed door, did not spell out what the “constitutional powers of the Parliament”, is but legal pundits said the only power they have is to set in motion an impeachment proceedings against the President.
Among the list of demands, the legislators want the Buhari administration to address the current security situation in the country.
They frowned at the constant harassment of legislators and other political actors, especially those who seem to hold a contrary view from the executive or those who are critical of the executive arm.
The legislative arm called on the executive to show sincerity in the fight against corruption, adhere to the rule of law and refrain from the “intimidation of Nigerians”.
They threatened that they may be forced to invoke their constitutional powers if the conditions were not met.
Below is the detail of the conditions from the Joint Session of the National Assembly:
The Security Agencies must be given marching orders to contain all the sustained killings of Nigerians and protect the lives and properties of Nigerians — as this is the primary duty for any responsible government.
The systemic harassment by the executive of perceived political opponents — people with contrary opinions in the legislature and the judiciary — by the police and other security agencies must stop.
There must be strict adherence to the rule of law and protection for all citizens by the President and all his appointees.
The President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction, those that carry out any act,that will ridicule or endanger the country and our democracy.
The government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them.
The sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the federal government… and prosecute those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace.
Democratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the current reign of fear and intimidation — particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.
The National Assembly will liaise with the international community through the IPU, the APU, ECOWAS Parliament, Pan-African Parliament, EU, US Congress and the United Nations to secure our democracy.
“The National Assembly will also engage with civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect our democracy. The President must take immediate steps to curtail the growing level of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria — especially now that we have an advantage of high oil prices.
“Both chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President, the Speaker and the entire leadership of the National Assembly”.
We also hereby reaffirm our earlier resolution on the vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police, who does nothing but preside over innocent Nigerians with an outright disregard for constitutional authority of both the executive and the legislature.
“The National Assembly will not hesitate to invoke its constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today”.
Similarly, the National Assembly has said that the President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees.
It also accused the Executive of “systematic harassment and humiliation” “of perceived political opponents,” urging it to stop.
These were part of the five-point resolutions made at the Joint Executive Session held yesterday.
A tweet posted on the verified Twitter handle of The Senate President, @SPNigeria, and containing the resolutions also stated that the lawmakers resolved that security agencies must be given “marching orders” to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect lives and properties of Nigerians, saying “this is the primary duty of any responsible government.”
Other decisions reached at the joint session were revealed as follows:
“The systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinion, including legislators and judiciary, by the Police and other security agencies must stop.
“There must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees.
“The President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy.
“The government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective, also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the resolution of the joint session of the National Assembly against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency was a vindication of its stance on the administration.
A statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja yesterday commended the members of the National Assembly for their ”patriotism and courage in unanimously standing up for democracy, the rule of law, national stability and cohesion at this trying time.”
It added: “Nigerians would recall that the PDP had consistently pointed to the misrule of the Buhari presidency, as well as the unrelenting violations of our constitution, unprecedented executive highhandedness, abuse of the rights of citizens and the erosion of all known democratic norms under this administration.
“These are in addition to the foisting of siege mentality on Nigerians as well as presidential aloofness to important issues of state thereby resulting in the escalation violence, killings and daily bloodlettings in our country.
“From the above, it has become evident that Mr. President must be called to order through an appropriate legislative instrument.”
The PDP, therefore, called on all democrats, across board, irrespective of party affiliations, to come together, support the National Assembly and “save our democracy from the misrule of the Buhari presidency.”
In another development,the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, said the country’s democracy would die if the National Assembly was turned to rubber stamp.
The deputy president of the Senate also noted that he was perturbed that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has remained silent in the face of what he termed clear acts of aggression against the legislature and the judiciary in recent years.
He said the current state of the nation’s democracy would make heroes of the struggle like Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief MKO Abiola, Chuma Ubani, Bamidele Aturu, and Kudirat Abiola sad in their graves.
Ekweremadu, who spoke at the 2018 Law Week of the NBA held in Abuja, maintained that the democracy in Nigeria would die a slow and painful death if the independence of the judiciary is destroyed or the National Assembly is turned to a rubber stamp.
According to him, “Our society is in despair today; democracy is receding; rule of law appears to be at the crossroads; and the killings across the land have become so massive, frequent, and mindless. Politicians that were once friends have turned our politics into a war of attrition.
“Our elections, in many instances, have been highly militarised, with some security officers accused of physically assaulting the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Nigerians have watched on live television, the raid of the hallowed chamber of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the carting away of its mace by thugs.
“As if emboldened by that, political thugs stormed the premises of the Rivers State High Court. The nation watched with great concern the heavy and prolonged gunfire by armed thugs, who, but for the resistance put up by the people of Rivers State, had virtually succeeded in preventing the court from carrying out its legitimate duties. Today, to hold a different political opinion appears tantamount to a political suicide.”
While urging the NBA to be more proactive, Ekweremandu said, “the Bar has not uttered any word of condemnation of these and other clear acts of aggression against the legislature or the judiciary in recent years.
“We must bear in mind that democracy does not die in a day. Democracy dies a slow and painful death. Democracy will die if the independence of the judiciary is destroyed, the National Assembly turned to a rubber stamp, the media gagged, the civil society organisations sucked-in, and the electoral umpire annexed.
“But it is not in anybody’s interest, let alone the Bar, for our democracy to fail. However, we cannot fold our hands, keep sealed lips, and expect heavens to play our parts as lawyers. So, the Bar must rise in defense of democracy.
“There is no sitting on the fence. The poet, Dante Algheri, warns that the hottest parts of hell are reserved for those, who in the time of moral crisis preserved their neutrality. The Bar must speak up against impunity.
“The Bar must be heard loud and clear in condemnation of desecration and intimidation, and annexation of key institutions of democracy.
“The Bar must stand up in defense of the rule of law, separation of power, rights, liberties, and other laudable tenets without which democracy becomes an empty barrel, a civilianised dictatorship, and, above all, the Bar must continue to promote justice, equity and fairness to sustain our democracy.”

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi

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PDP Inaugurates 15 Convention Sub-Committees –

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Wike Chairs Special Duties Committee
6,000 Delegates Expected To Attend

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Committee, yesterday, in Abuja inaugurated 15 sub-committees for its national convention scheduled for October 30.
The sub-committees as read by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, include the National Convention Organizing Committee, chaired by Adamawa State Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri.
Others are Constitutional Amendment Committee, chaired by Akwa lbom Governor, Udom Emmanuel; Zoning Committee chaired by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Screening Committee, chaired by former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
Sub-committees and their chairmen also inaugurated were Screening Appeal Committee chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Special Duties Committee chaired by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Accreditation Committee chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; and Security Committee chaired by former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The Electoral (Statutory) Committee, with Adamawa Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri as the chairman; Publicity Committee chaired by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; and Venue Committee, chaired by Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed are also among them.
Others include: Welfare and Entertainment Committee with Mariya Waziri as chairperson; Transportation Committee, with Ibrahim Dankwambo as chairman; and Contact and Mobilization Committee with Taraba Governor, Darius Ishaku as chairman.
The rest are, Protocol Committee with Sen. Biodun Olujimi as chairperson; Medical Committee — Nuhu Zagbayi; and Secretariat Committee — Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
Inaugurating the sub-committees, Fintiri expressed belief that the October convention would be successful and lead PDP to victory in 2023.
Fintiri said that the leaders and members of the sub-committees were carefully selected to organize a credible convention for the party.
The Adamawa governor urged them to make the necessary sacrifices to deliver the best convention to the party.
Fintiri, fielding questions from newsmen after the inauguration, said that by PDP’s new constitution, over 6,000 delegates were expected at the convention.
“We are fully prepared for that. We are expecting everybody in every ward that is a delegate to attend the convention.”
He said that the sub-committees had been given directions and they were expected to go back, adequately prepare and submit their report to the main committee for approval.
On which part of the party’s Constitution would be amended, Fintiri said he could not pre-empt the Constitution Sub-Committee, but allow them do their job.
On how far the zoning committee had gone after the one-week appeal he gave them, last week, Fintiri said the committee was in a meeting in Enugu carrying out its responsibilities.
“You can see the party is working, and it is a turning point for all of us,” Fintiri said.
According to him, the leadership tussle in the party has largely been addressed even as he came short of saying the PDP has moved on from the crisis.
He said, “We are moving on. I am the chairman of the convention committee and you can see that we are doing our work. Everybody is happy and participating. I don’t see any crisis in this party.”
The party’s national elective convention is slated for October 30 and 31 this year in Abuja.

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RSG Recommits To Building Agric Sector

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The Rivers State Government has said that it was committed to building the agricultural sector and utilise the huge potentials the state has for the benefit of Rivers people.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this while speaking at a seminar of the Norwegian Seafood Council at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said, “In the face of dwindling oil prices, and the need to diversify the economy, we see a lot of potentials in the seafood industry especially post Covid-19. This is an important industry for creating employment opportunities, generate revenue and boost economic activities in our area”.
Wike, who said that Rivers State was one of the coastal states in the Niger Delta endowed with valuable seafood resources, revealed that Norway and Nigeria have had a long history of relationship and trade.
According to the governor, “Rivers State, known as the oil and gas hub of Nigeria, is open to do business in all sectors including maritime and welcome more partnerships and investments from stakeholders who wish to do business in the state”.
Wike further said, “In the effort to grow our economy, the Government of Rivers State supports making laws that work for us all, by putting laws in place to improve society’s efficiency. Hence, the assent and signing of the VAT law”.
The Rivers State chief executive, who commended the Norwegian Seafood Council for conducting the seminar in the state, stressed that stock fish was enjoyed across Rivers State by all groups, including low and high earners, while both men and women are involved in the sales in our markets.
“I believe this seminar will examine the many advantages and gains of seafood as well as anticipated support from the Norwegian Embassy in the areas of encouraging deep sea fishing, trawlers, good storage for sea products, training to grow and nurture fish production standard, fish ponds and open fish farms, use of technology and encouragement, support to artisan farmers.
“We believe that the gains for removing stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the FX windows far outweigh the losses if any.
“For all the reasons stated above and many more, we anticipate Federal Government and the CBN’s removal of stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the Central Bank of Nigeria FX window”, Wike further stressed.
In his remarks, the Ambassador Royal Norwegian Embassy, Knut Lein, who described the history of stock fish in Nigeria and Norway as fascinating, said it creates a bond between both countries, and expressed the desire to foster increased cooperation, build on bilateral relations and inform the government of Norway about the opportunities in the country.
He said, “together we could create lots of jobs”, insisting that “doing what we can to promote stock fish trade was a win-win for all of us”.
Highlights of the occasion were the presentation of papers by the Director Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council, Mr. Trond Kostveit, and other stakeholders.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Knut Lein, had earlier paid a courtesy call on Governor Nyesom Wike, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, where the state chief executive expressed the state government’s desire to continue to partner with the Norwegian Embassy to facilitate economy growth and development of both countries, and the state in particular.

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Encourage States To Harness Own Resources For Dev, Wike Tasks FG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax (VAT) to advance their development.
He also stressed that it was baffling to note that Rivers State was not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government was seeking to obtain from the World Bank.
Wike made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor observed that there were mounted attempts to frustrate federating states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.
The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators, including state executives, rather, they were politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.
According to Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal, and could be likened to robbing some states to pay others.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in Items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the Concurrent List. Therefore, it falls under the Residual List. It is not arguable. That yesterday, nothing happened, does not mean that today, nothing will happen or tomorrow, something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop themselves. We are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”
He explained that the contest against the collection of Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State, which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is an agency of the Federal Government that was illegally collecting the tax in the state.
“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency.”
The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State Government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular state governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that states, and not FIRS, are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.
He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first, appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.
“Some people say, ‘be your brother’s keeper’. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper, but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth: as it is provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT?
“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then, we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say ‘be your brother’s keeper’ while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”
Wike stated that it was sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the states that will benefit from projects for which it was seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.
“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.
“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only state that is not benefitting is Rivers State”.
He further noted, “It is the prerogative of Mr President; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”
Speaking further, Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration was seeking a law that would provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.
The reason, he said, was to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners, and avoid corrupt practices.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award was the flagship of award the company.
According to him, Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which would help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue of VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT, and the court stated that actually the states should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism”, he said.
Ukeh commended Wike for his sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.

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