Senate Probes $105bn NLNG Funds Diversion …NASS, CUPP Condemn Assassination Attempt On Ekweremadu As Four Rep Members Dump APC

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike (3rd right), with his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja (3rd left), Amanyanabo of Bonny Kingdom, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III(2nd left) and others, during the 108th and 109th General Meeting of the State Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt , last Monday.

The Senate has resolved to investigate the diversion of 105 billion dollars from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend to build up the shortfalls between the landing cost and pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
Raising a point of order during yesterday’s plenary, the Chairman of the Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Akpan urged the Senate to give approval for the committee to investigate the withdrawal and payments.
He noted that the funds belong to the three arms of government and described NNPC’s withdrawal of the funds as illegal.
The Leader of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate’s adhoc committee probing the alleged operation of an Illegal Account by the Group Managing Director, and one other as well as an unappropriated subsidy regime at plenary raised issues on the call for another investigation by the committee on gas as he said it amount to dualising the probe.
However senators who spoke on the issues noted that there are two different probes and would not clash on mandates given.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki in his ruling mandated the committee on Gas to proceed with the probe.
Also at the Plenary. yesterday President Muhammadu Buhari in a communication to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki transmitted the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper to the Senate for consideration and approval.
In the letter read on the floor of the Senate by the Senate President during plenary, President Buhari requested the Senate to give the document a speedy consideration in order to bring preparatory works on the 2019 Budget to a conclusion.
Similarly, the Senate also received President Buhari’s request to confirm the appointment of Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Diaspora Commission.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa, is currently the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, yesterday condemned in strong terms, the alleged attempt on the life of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who was Tuesday morning attacked alongside members of his family by assailants, at his official residence in Apo, Abuja.
The PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan expressed fear over the safety of the lawmaker, adding that certain forces are bent on silencing him. It noted that the attacks on the Senator have assumed a frightening dimension since he became Deputy Senate President, even as it called on the authorities to do a holistic probe of Tuesday’s latest invasion of the lawmaker’s residence to unravel the identity of those behind the alleged assassination plot.
“The PDP draws the attention of Nigerians to the series of uninvestigated security threats around the person of Senator Ekweremadu.
“Nigerians could recall that on November 17, 2015, a similar attempt was made on Senator Ekweremadu’s life by some assailants on his way to work.
Though that attack was reported to the authorities, there have been no investigations by the security agencies. No arrests have been made and no culprit has been brought to book.
“Instead, the Senator has been a subject of unrelenting harassments and attacks on his person and office since his emergence as Deputy Senate President, including the May 26, 2017 invasion of his official quarters by security agencies, purportedly in search of phantom caches of arms, and the July 24, 2018 siege of his official residence at Apo Quarters.
“These were in addition to the invasion of the Senate chamber and carting away of the mace on the day Ekweremadu presided, in an otherwise very secure Three Arms Zone.
“The PDP family is, therefore, worried about the relentless attack on the Deputy Senate President, which we believe is part of a scheme to silence him,” the statement read in part.
The party called for an immediate wide-range probe into the attack “as well as an assurance from the federal government on the safety of the Deputy Senate President, as the nation is not ready to accept any harm on his person or his family at this critical time.”
On its part, CUPP described as “shocking” news of the botched assassination attempt, saying opposition figures were no longer safe in their own country.
In a statement by its first spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, the coalition called for the interrogation of the arrested alleged assassin to ascertain the real sponsors of the failed move to harm the key opposition leader.
“The President should immediately sack the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and appoint a gallant and committed officer of the police that will help check the growing internal insecurity in the country,” the statement read.
Similarly, four members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the House of Representatives, who failed to win re-nomination to contest in 2019, have announced their defection from the party.
The Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara announced the defections on the floor of the House in Abuja, yesterday.
Among them are Mr Abiodun Awoleye-Dada (Ibadan North) who moved to the Accord Party; Mr Samuel Segun-Williams (Abeokuta South) who moved to the Labour Party and Mr Lawan Hassan-Anka (Anka/Mafara Zamfara State), who joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The fourth member, Mr Lam Adesina (Ibadan North East/South East) from Oyo State defected to the African Democratic Congress (ADC).