The Senate yesterday commenced investigation into the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.
The Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the crisis led by Sen. Abdullahi Sabi (APC Niger) invited 12 out of 24 lawmakers from the state for questioning.
Before the committee went into a closed-door session, the chairman said members would be guided on the area to go into in the matter.
He said: “This committee is only interested in the matter as provided for in the constitution.
“Our interest is to ensure that law and order prevail in Edo State House of Assembly.
“We won’t go into the areas of judicial jurisdiction, but areas spelt out by the senate.
Sen. ChukwukaUtazi (PDP Enugu) in his remarks also noted that the committee is not going to encroach on the functions of the court in the process of carrying out its duty.
Earlier, Mr Washington Osifo , who led the lawmakers before the committee urged the Senate to save democracy in Edo.
Osifo narrated how Gov. Godwin Obaseki allegedly denied them in partaking in the state assembly inauguration.
The legislator also alleged that they were eventually arrested and detained by the security agents on June 18.
He urged the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, invoke its powers as enshrined in the constitution and save democracy in Edo.
“Though this is APC family affair but we need an arbiter from outside the family to resolve this matter.
“The world is watching us. We are urging the Senate to help us invoke the power and spirit of the constitution to save the situation.
“We want to go back to Edo and do our work as elected lawmakers of our people.
“On June 7, the 8th Edo State House of Assembly came to an end, and in accordance with section 105 (3) of the constitution, the governor is expected to issue a proclamation but he refused to do so and said he would do it at a convenient time.
“Gov. Obaseki ordered that we should be arrested and detained on June 18, 2019 and after our release we have been living in Abuja.
“Abuja is no longer safe for us, we want to go back to our habitat. Our constituents are being denied adequate representation at home.
“We were not part of the inauguration, no message was communicated to us that it was eventually going to take place,” he said.
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan on July 10, set up an ad hoc committee to look into the crisis and make recommendations.
The decision followed a point of order raised by Sen. OpeyemiBamidele (APC Ekiti) calling on the Senate to wade into the crisis and prevent further developments.
Kogi Poll: APGA Guber Candidate Wants Probe Of N10bn Project Fund
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Kogi State, Sheik Ibrahim Jibril, has urged the National Assembly to thoroughly investigate the N10. 069 billion presidential funds for projects allegedly executed by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Sheik Ibrahim who kicked against the release of the money urged the National Assembly to discharge their duties with the fear of God and the interest of the people of Kogi State, saying the National Assembly should insist on seeing the projects for which Governor Yahaya Bello is requesting the fund.
He said the last N30billion bailout funds to the state were not used for the purpose of paying salaries, noting that a probe into how the money was spent will be instituted if APGA assumes office after the election in the state.
The APGA governorship candidate questioned the timing of the fund request and noted that it would not be out of place to accuse the governor of planning to use the money for purchase of votes having realised that he is bound to lose the election.
He claimed that it was obvious that APC and the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari did not care about the welfare of the people rather they are more interested in foisting an incompetent and non-performing Governor on the people.
He stressed that ordinarily, such financial initiative ought to be a source of joy to the Kogi people “but for the incompetent leadership of Bello who also has a penchant for diverting public funds.”
Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC
Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.
NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.
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