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Atiku’s Appeal: CUPP Rejects Move To Handpick Panel’s Justices

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As candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammad Buhari and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the 2019 president election shift their battle to the Supreme Court, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has alleged of plans in some quarters to jettison seniority in the selection of panel justices, and vowed to reject the move.
The CUPP, at a press conference, yesterday, in Abuja, claimed that the ruling APC-led Federal Government was mounting undue pressure on the Chief Justice of the Federation, Dr Ibrahim Tanko and the “entire court to accept a handpicked panel and jettison the age-long tradition of the court selecting the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to sit on the panel.”
Spokesman of the opposition coalition, Ikenga Ugochinyere, who addressed the media, said the coalition would not accept such action.
“We have it on good authority that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has been mounting undue pressure on the Chief Justice of the Federation, and indeed, the entire court to accept a handpicked panel and jettison the age-long tradition of the court of selecting the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to sit on the panel,” it claimed. The text of the briefing read thus: “As you are already aware the opposition consensus candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria to appeal the controversial and unpopular judgment of the Court of Appeal which dismissed his petition.
“By the provisions of the 4th Alteration of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has 60 days from the date of the filing of the Notice of Appeal. These processes have kick started and everyone is awaiting the composition of the names of the seven-man panel by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The disquiet and bad blood caused by the APC in the Supreme Court now is a clear desecration of the highest temple of justice in the land.
“We have it on good authority that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has been mounting undue pressure on the Chief Justice of the Federation, and indeed, the entire court to accept a handpicked panel and jettison the age-long tradition of the court of selecting the most senior justices of the Supreme Court to sit on the panel.
“The opposition and most Nigerians will not accept a handpicked panel neither will the pronouncement of such panel command the requite respect and confidence of the people of Nigeria and we in the opposition.
“The Supreme Court is for the people the last hope of the judiciary. The actions of the Supreme Court must inspire national confidence and deliver not just judgment but justice and that path to justice is not only about the law but about the ordinary man believing that justice has been done. The Supreme Court is supreme and its words must be for the protection of the society and the people and the law.
“A grave error was done at Appeal Court and the nation is waiting to see how a man who violated the Electoral Act and was supposed to have been disqualified managed to survive at the Appeal Court. That court failed in both the issues of law and issues of national interest.
“Today, corruption has been permeated in the highest levels of the Presidency. Today, Nigeria is indebted more than ever before. Today, suffering citizens are being taxed to death. Today, there is a craze to generate revenue even at the risk of stripping citizens of their minimal purchasing power which has almost lost all its value due to mismanagement by this incompetent administration.
“Today, public funds are spent without appropriation and proper accountability. Today, they have increased VAT to 7.5%. Today, they tax citizens to deposit their money in banks. Today, they tax citizens for withdrawal of their money.
“Today, they ask citizens to pay stamp duty and the money is not accounted for. Today, citizens pay increased electricity tariff with no reciprocal electricity supply.
“Today, they have borrowed money both locally and internationally more than any other government in our history yet they cannot pay workers minimum wage. Beyond these obnoxious policies, citizens are daily denied their basic rights to freedom of expression.
“The government has failed in its basic duty which is protection of lives and property. Today, all parts of the country are insecure with bandits and terrorist raping and destroying.
“The economy is bad because the leader has no capacity to govern and has surrendered his functions to unelected people. Citizens are charged to court for terrorism for merely speaking out against this misrule, while his supporters are asking for 3rd term and working assiduously to achieve such unconstitutional ambition.
“This administration failed on electoral reform, it failed on security, it failed on economy, it failed on the fight against corruption, it has failed to make any worthy investment in the health sector, it has failed to record any success in education, foreign investments is lower than it used to be and Nigeria is daily sinking deeper into the poverty gully and our once growing economy is now the centre of poverty in the world.
“The Judiciary is daily being emasculated. Judges are petitioned against if they rule against government interest, this attack on judges was carried out to silence the judiciary and use it as clearing house. Disobedience to lawful orders of court by the government is now the order of the day.”
It, however, said all hope was not lost if the PDP candidate wins at the Supreme Court.
“The way out is in the hands of the Supreme Court justices who will be called upon to rule in the interest of the law, national interest, unification and enthronement of a competent leadership and that journey starts with the composition of the membership of the presidential election appeal panel that will hear Atiku’s appeal at the Supreme Court,” it said.

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NASS Passes N10.59trn Budget For 2020 … Jerks Its Appropriation By N264bn, Gives Reason

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The two Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), yesterday passed the Appropriation Bill of N10.59 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year with a view to returning the nation’s budget cycle to January to December.
The Lawmakers jerked up the budget as proposed by President Muhammad Buhari to the tune of N246 billion.
The lawmakers passed the 2020 budget following a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Appropriations of the two Chambers.
Briefing the press after plenary session, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Barau Jubril and Stella Odua, respectively, defended the additional N246 billion the lawmakers injected into the budget.
The Chairman described the budgeting process as the best so far because it is the first time the Executive, Senate and House of Representatives came together on a roundtable to agree on a united document as budget of the country.
He defended the N264 billion increase injected into the 2020 budget as not padding of the appropriation bill, but harvested additional revenue, saying the additional fund was brought in conjunction and consultation with the Executive.
Denying that the extra funds injected was padding, Senator Jibrin Barau said the word padding is alien to the 9th Senate because the infusion on additional vote for capital projects was done in collaboration with the executive arm of government.
According to him, the Senate saw avenue to make additional revenue and “just fixed the expected increased revenue to sectors in need of additional revenue”.
He said “In a Presidential system of government, there is room for checks on what any arm of government is doing by the other. President Buhari no doubt presented a perfect budget, but it is our own responsibility as the parliament to critically look at what was presented by the executive and make corrections where necessary.
“During the course of deliberating on the budget, we saw opportunities of where we can get additional income for the government and we deployed them to areas that need further spending.
“The National Assembly has the right to do it and that is what we have done”, he said.
Presenting the report, Senator Barau Jibrin said the increase of N264billion allowed for interventions in critical areas such as national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, and health.
A breakdown of the budget, Senator Jubrin said, is that Statutory Transfer stood at N560.5billion, recurrent expenditure-N4.8billion, capital expenditure-N2.5billion, debt servicing-N2.7illionbn, fiscal deficit-N2.3trillion and deficit to GDP of 1.52 per cent.
He pointed out that daily oil production stood at 2.18 million barrels per day, Oil Benchmark stood at $57 per barrel against $55 proposed by the Executive, while the exchange rate stood at N305 per dollar.
Capital Expenditure for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) for the 2020 fiscal year are: Ministry of Defence N116,181,290,730; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N7,608,141,474; Ministry of Information and Culture, N7,555,803,233; Ministry of Interior, N34,035,825,302; Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, N1,722,796,040; Ministry of Police Affairs, N15,959,986,864; Ministry of Communication Technology, N5,919,002,554; and Office of the National Security Adviser, N27,418,469,323.
Others are: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N25,188,940,930; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, N2,158,620,395; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N124,395,096,917; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N4,976,199,925; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N38,583,331,761; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, N24,445,756,678; Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N62,882,531,566; Federal Ministry of Transport, N121,366,932,571; and Federal Ministry of Aviation, N52,061,533,122.
Also, for the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Power has an allocation of N129,082,499,363; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N3,337,444,887; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N10,431,563,177; Ministry of Works and Housing, N315,563,564,269; Ministry of Water Resources, N91,679,927,042; Ministry of Justice, N3,853,600,220; Federal Capital Territory Administration, N62,407,154,360; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N23,120,350,399.
Others include: Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, N3,735,486,210; Military of Women Affairs, N6,650,300,966; Federal Ministry of Education, N84,728,529,572; Ministry of Health, N59,909,430,837; Federal Ministry of Environment, N12,350,140,731; and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, N61,085,146,003.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks after the 2020 budget was passed, said, “when we came in, all of us approved our legislative agenda, and one of the key pillars of this agenda is to take back our budget cycle from the very undesirable cycle that cannot be defined to something that can be defined and bought into by our country and business partners living in and outside the country.
“Today, we have been able to achieve this. It means where there is will, there is always a way. This is something that we have been able to achieve together with the House of Representatives.
“I must give members of the Ninth National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible.
“Let me also commend the buying-in of the executive arm of government. When we continued to preach that we have to receive the 2020 budget estimates before the end of September, it was not easy for the executive.
“I know they (Executive) worked day and night. So it was presented to us on the 8th of October. We have been able to work harmoniously. There is no way we can achieve this without all of us working together.
“I want to commend our colleagues from the opposition. This Senate from the beginning, we said, will be bi-partisan. You have given us all the support that we require, and indeed, this is the way it should be”, Lawan added.
The Senate President also noted that with the recent passage of landmark legislations such as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act, Finance Bills and Public Procurement Bills by the National Assembly, the Executive arm of government is sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Wike, Building Legacy For Tomorrow -Nsirim

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The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information And Communications, Rivers State, and Commissioner-designate, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, says the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike is building lasting legacies for tomorrow through the various developmental projects going on across in the state.
Nsirim said the traffic gridlock being witnessed in major roads across part of the state, was due to the concerted efforts by the state Chief Executive’s transformation policies which, he said, havw turned the state to a construction site.
He, therefore, urged residents and visitors to the state, to bear with the State Government and not worry about what they see around, saying that it is the vision of the NEW Rivers mantra to place the state on the trajectory of leadership and governance.
Nsirim, said this while declaring open a two-day workshop for Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Heads of Public Relations (PR) and protocol being hosted by the RSUBEB in Port Harcourt yesterday, with the theme, “Bridging the Gap and Breaking New Grounds in UBE Public Relations/Protocol Practice”.
He described the role of PROs and Protocol officers in basic education management in the country as very strategic and urged them to improve on their professional competencies in order to drive the programmes in their various boards.
“Your roles in basic education is very strategic.There are new strategies being introduced by government to ensure that basic education receives a boost in the country”, he stated
Nsirim also urged them not to see the workshop as an avenue to make new friends, but to improve on their proficiency in order to bring in various stakeholders into the activities of the board .
“What ever opportunity and duty you find yourself, see it as a service to God and write story of prosperity”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state SUBEB, Ven. Fyneface Akah, said the workshop was a unifying event that offers a moment of exchange of ideas and skills as well as orderliness among the Public Relations Officers and Protocol managers in order to streamline the way of doing things.
According to him, the workshop will help them on how to get the public to know and understand the workings of the board, adding that they have much work to do in making people understand the activities of the board.
In his own speech, the head, UBEC Public Relations and Protocol, Abuja, Mr. Ossom M. Ossom, who read the good- will message of the UBEC Chairman, said “Public Relations and Protocol practitioners owe it a duty, especially to Nigeria’s school-age population, to use every available opportunity in drawing the attention of all UBE stakeholders to the fact that our country cannot afford to berth and pass through the coming decade as largely uneducated entity and with the largest population of out-of-school children in the world”.
Earlier in an interview with newsmen, the Head of legal and Public Relations, SUBEB, Barr Karibi T. George, said “Public Relations is the live wire of every organization because it builds on the corporate image and reputations of organisation to build public Confidence”.

 

 

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We’ll Monitor Commissioners’ Performance -RSHA …As NUJ commends Wike on Nsirim’s Appointment

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The Rivers State House of Assembly has finally confirmed the nomination of 13 Commissioner-nominees sent to it by the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The confirmation was finally done after debate and sitting to scrutinize complete tax certificate and clearance of one of the nominees, Mr. Sylvanus Nwankwo.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said it was the constitutional mandate of the legislature to screen and confirm Commissioner-nominees; hence, it was not a witch-hunt on any of the nominees.
Debate on whether the nominees should be confirmed after they appeared on the floor of the House on Tuesday started when the Leader, Hon Martin Amaewhule, described all the nominees as, “fit and zealous” persons with requisite qualifications.
In the same vein, Hon. Matthew Dike of Tai Constituency said, “The Commissioner Nominees sent to this Assembly are landmark. It is full of men and women of proven integrity “.
On his part, Hon. Michael Chinda of Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 submitted that the Assembly will beef up its oversight on them, and therefore urged the nominees to be alive to their duties or bow out.
Chinda insisted that performance is key, saying that the House will monitor the activities of the screened and approved Commissioner nominees.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has commended the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for appointing their past State Chairman and two times Press Secretary to the Governor, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim as Commissioner.
Chairman of the State NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, in a chat with The Tide, said the union is excited that after few years a professional communicator has been chosen to serve the state.
Though the nominees, who have been screened and confirmed by the Assembly, are yet to be sworn in and assigned port, folios, the NUJ Chairman expressed confidence that Nsirim will man the Information and Communications Ministry which he (Nsirim) had been a Permanent Secretary in the past three years.
“We are happy for the appointment because as a union, we have been advocating that professionals be appointed to man the Ministry.
“It will be a boost to the image of the NUJ because Nsirim was our former Chairman and for a very long time we have been longing for press/government relations to be cordial,” Stanley stated.
He described the appointment of the Permanent Secretary as well deserving, urging him to use his good offices to boost journalists/ government relations in the state.
Pastor Nsirim was among the 13 Commissioner-nominees screened and confirmed by the Assembly on Wednesday.
Nisirm, a Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Information and Communications until his nomination as a Commissioner, is currently the State Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations(NIPR).
He has in the last six months championed a statewide image advocacy campaign tagged,” Our State, Our Responsibility.”

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