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$1bn Arms Fund: PDP Slams FEC, Urges Buhari’s Sanction …FG Risks NASS’ Wrath If… -Rep

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The Peoples Democratic Party has condemned Federal Executive Council’s approval of $1billion to procure military equipment to fight insurgency, without recourse to the National Assembly.
The party noted this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday in Abuja.
The money is to be drawn from the Excess Crude Account.
The PDP urged the National Assembly to commence appropriate constitutional legislative actions against the government for unilaterally approving the release of the fund without allowing application of legislative instrument.
It also called on Nigerians to reject the approval, saying it was a renewed attempt to use the money to finance the All Progressives Congress’s national convention and 2019 campaigns.
It expressed concerns that the same administration that claimed to have technically defeated the insurgents still approved such amount to fight insurgency.
“Democracy thrives on constitutional processes of separation of powers, due diligence and transparency and not on totalitarian tendencies.
“We therefore urge the National Assembly to look into the Constitution and impose appropriate legislative instruments if any part of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) has been breached by this unilateral decision.
“We further urge the National Assembly to scrutinise the Constitution and other statute books for the purposes of strengthening the laws guiding the application of funds in our country.”
The party also demanded an independent investigation into the processes of release and utilisation of all special funds for war against insurgency in the last three years.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to reject the recent approval of $1 billion (approx. N370 billion) for the purchase of arms by President Muhammadu Buhari. The opposition party also urged the National Assembly to commence appropriate constitutional legislative actions against President Buhari for gross misconduct in unilaterally approving the release of the funds without recourse to the lawmakers.
The party in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the approval as a “renewed attempt by the Presidency to loot $1billion.”
This money, it added, would be used by the government to finance Mr Buhari‘s “interests in the upcoming All Progressives Congress (APC)’s national convention and 2019 election campaign.”
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Ali, revealed yesterday while speaking with journalists at the end of a security meeting that Mr Buhari had approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country.
According to the PDP, its investigation revealed the presidency “willfully sidestepped the National Assembly so as to avoid legislative scrutiny and accountability to pave way for the diverting of the fund for selfish partisan purposes.”
“It is a notorious fact that the presidency and the APC have been plotting to loot this $1 billion from our heavily depleted Excess Crude Account (ECA) since last year, using the guise of fight against insurgency.
“This is the same Buhari administration that has been boasting of having technically defeated the insurgents. This is also an administration that is not known to have exhausted subsisting budgetary allocations for defence.
“Democracy thrives on constitutional processes of separation of powers, due diligence and transparency and not on totalitarian tendencies. PDP believes the President, as a leader, reasonably ought to have known that he is in no way above the law.”
Similarly, the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Rimande Shawulu, has warned of the grave consequences that await the non-confirmation by the National Assembly of President Muhammadu Buhari’s $1 billion for the procurement of arms.
The Executive Arm of Government had said the money was meant to procure arms to help address insurgency and other insecurity in the country.
Shawulu, who made this known in an interview with journalists, said President Muhammadu Buhari lacked the constitutional powers to approve money for arms procurement without the mandate of the legislature.
He warned that any such move was bound to generate more trouble between the presidency and the National Assembly.
The federal lawmaker, while reacting to reports quoting the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, that President Buhari had approved the sum of $1 billion for procurement of arms to battle insecurity in the country said, there would be serious trouble if any money goes out for such purpose without approval from the Parliament.
Hon. Shawulu, who represents Donga/Ussa/Takum/Special Area Constituency of Taraba State in the National Assembly, spoke to journalists shortly after declaring open the Second Procurement Awareness Seminar, organised by the Directorate of Procurement, Army Headquarters, as a Special Guest of Honour.
Defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali had, in an interview with State House correspondents said, “I can inform you that of recent, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion.”
But reacting to reporters’ questions who had sought his reaction on the reported approval President Buhari, Shawulu said, “The fact of the matter is that there are processes for money coming into the federation acounts and for the money being used.
“And the point too that we must note is that a lot of times, pronouncements are policy statements and the policy statements are not just executed, it’s not as if as at yesterday, when the announcement was made, the federation account was debited. No, it doesn’t happen that way.
“When the president says he’s going to spend money, there’s a process that is followed before the money is spent. So I want you to understand that, it’s not as if money has gone out.
“However, if money has gone out without parliamentary approval, that’s is a problem, it’s a very serious problem if money went out without parliamentary approval. “
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant- General Tukur Buratai, in his address, maintained that the operational capability of the Nigerian Army today depends on the availability of requisite hardware, highly trained personnel and other essential resources.
Gen. Buratai said that in the past few years, the Nigerian Army “has no doubt taken robust steps and emplaced policies in enhancing its Procurement plans and processes with a view to meeting its overarching constitutional roles.
He said the theme for this year’s seminar” Optimising the Operational Capabilities of the Nigerian Army through an Effective Procurement System”, was quite unique and significant, especially in view of the accute need to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian Army towards meeting the present growing security challenges.
Moreso, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of military hardware worth $1billion for the use of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The President gave the approval during a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the service chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Dan-Ali disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after the meeting which also discussed the safe release of Leah Sharibu, the last of the Dapchi schoolgirls still in Boko Haram captivity.
According to him, the meeting also discussed security situations across the country and the steps being taken to mitigate them.
The minister further gave more updates on the fund approved by President Buhari.
He said the money was the same approved by the state governors to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to fight insurgency in the country.
Others at the meeting include the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonosakin, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai.
Also present were Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

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PSC Appoints Three DIGs, Suspends Promotion Of Eight CPs, 11 DCPs

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The Police Service Commission has approved the appointment of three Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, Aji Janga, and Adeleke Bode, to the rank of Deputy Inspectors General of Police.
The new DIGs are expected to fill the vacant duty posts created due to the retirements of three DIGs representing the North-Central, North-East and the North-West geopolitical zones.
The Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, revealed this in a statement, yesterday.
The PSC noted that the approval of the appointments of the new DIGs had also ensured that the defined succession policy in the Nigerian police is sustained.
The Force Secretary, Hafiz Inuwa, will be replacing retired DIG Mustapha Dan-Daura for the North-West slot. Dan- Daura retired on January 15 this year.
Aji Janga from the North-East will replace DIG Zanna Ibrahim who retired on November 26, 2022, while Adeleke Bode of North-Central will replace DIG Sanusi Lemu who retired on January 31 this year.
The new appointments were part of the decisions of the reconvened 18th plenary of the commission which held in Abuja, last week and chaired by the acting chairperson of the PSC, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi.
Meanwhile, the commission has suspended the promotion of eight Commissioners of Police to the rank of Assistant Inspectors General and 11 Deputy Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Commissioners due to their failure to appear before it for the mandatory promotion interview.
Ani said, “The PSC had sent invitations to the officers to appear before it for the usual interaction to ascertain their suitability and capability for the new offices.
“The commission expressed surprise on their failure to honour the invitation especially as the 2023 general election is just days away.”
The commission also approved the promotion of 10 Assistant Commissioners of Police to the next rank of Deputy Commissioners; 17 Chief Superintendents of Police to Assistant Commissioners and 301 Superintendents of Police to Chief Superintendents.
Meanwhile, 47 skipped Deputy Superintendents of Police from previous recommendations to the commission were also promoted to Superintendents of Police while 665 Assistant Superintendents of Police were promoted to Deputy Superintendents of Police.
The recommendations for ACP Nwamanna Nelson, SP Iliyas Casmir and SP Alheri Mamman were also endorsed and the officers promoted to their next ranks after they were absolved of any pending disciplinary matter.
Justice Ogunbiyi congratulated and wished the officers success, while charging the newly-promoted officers to give their best to the service of the nation especially now that Nigeria will be going to the polls to elect new leaders.

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RSU Commences Academic Activities In Satellite Campuses

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The Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, has commenced academic activities for the 2022/2023 session in her satellite campuses at Emohua, Etche, Ahoada and Sakpenwa.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, DSSRS, disclosed this when he led other Principal Officers of the University, Head of Etche Campus and Dean, Faculty of Agriculture on a courtesy visit to the Paramount Ruler of Abara, Etche, last Wednesday, as part of assessment tour of the various campuses.
Speaking at the palace of the Paramount Ruler, the Vice-Chancellor expressed appreciation to the Ochimba and his Council of Chiefs and the entire community for the support given to the university which, according to him, contributed to the speedy completion of the various structures at the Etche campus.
He said that the satellite campuses had commenced studies with the year one students for the 2022/2023 session, expressing optimism that more accommodation for staff and students will be provided by the university within the year.
He appealed for more support from the community, stating that the Etche campus is a replica of a full fledgef university, which all over the world, is a centre of development.
He explained that the presence of the campus would stimulate economic activities and assist in the development of the host community and neigbouring communities.
He assured the leaders of the community that the iniversity would continue to maintain its corporate social responsibility with her host community.
Responding, the Paramount Ruler and Ochimba of Abara Etche, Eze Jonah Nwala, thanked the Rivers State Government for completing the project and the take-off of academic activities at the Etche Campus of the university.
The paramount ruler said that what the State Government has done for the people of Abara Etche is beyond providing a school, explaining that the campus is an industry which has started impacting on all sectors of the economy within the community.
While appreciating the management of the university for ensuring the take-off of studies, he assured the university of the community’s continuous support for the sustenance of the Etche campus.

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2023: Wike Enjoins Military To Be Apolitical

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised officers and men of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt to be apolitical throughout the 2023 general election.
The governor stressed that in the interest of the country’s democratisation process, the military must adhere to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army’s commitment not to interfere in the 2023 general election.
He stated this during the 6 Division West African Social Activities (WASA) 2022, that held in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Governor Wike, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, was represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Emeka Woke.
The governor, who commended the military for its active role in fighting crime in the State, urged officers and men of the 6 Division to work assiduously with personnel of other security to provide level playing for all political parties and politicians in the State.
“We want to thank you for the relationship we have enjoyed. You have also contributed a lot in terms of crime fighting. But as you are aware, we are now in election season. It is on public notice that Mr President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (Muhammadu Buhari) has said at different forums that he will not interfere in the forthcoming election.
“And that he will ensure a free and fair election. The Chief of Defence staff has also said at different forums that the military will be apolitical and they will not interfere in the general election. I want to believe that men and officers of this 6 division will follow suit.
“I want to believe they will follow the position of Mr President, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff not to interfere in politics. I am saying this because of the ugly experience the people who live and do business in Rivers State had during the last election.”
Governor Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, recalled how the Nigerian Army Bori Camp barracks, which is the headquarters of the 6 Division in Port Harcourt, was practically converted to a collation centre during the 2019 governorship election.
He expressed dismay that the military allowed itself to be used to interfere in what ordinarily ought to be a civil exercise.
The governor, however, said that with the level of discipline and focus that the present officers of the 6 Division have shown and exhibited, he is hopeful there would not be a re-enactment of the despicable incidences of 2019 general election.
“Allow the citizens of Rivers state to exercise their civil responsibility in an atmosphere of free and fair election. Work with other security agencies to provide level playing field for politicians”, he said.
He congratulated the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruq Yahaya; the General Officer Commanding, Major General O.O Oluyede, and the personnel of the 6 Division for a successful completion of the training year 2022 and the beginning of a new year, 2023.
Governor Wike extolled the GOC 6 for efforts put in place since his assumption of office to fight all forms of criminality especially in areas of crude oil theft and kidnapping in his area of responsibility.
He said, “Your effort has brought about maintenance of peace in the region. I want to congratulate you and the entire personnel of 6 Division for a job well done and also urge you not to relent in your efforts.
“Let me use this opportunity to solicit for support of all stakeholders to join hands with the 6 Division to eradicate criminalities in our society.”
In his remarks, the GOC 6 Division, Major General O.O Oluyede, who was represented by Brig. General A.A Idris, explained that West African Social Activities (WASA) is customary in the Nigerian Army to mark the end of each training year as well as ushering Nigerian Army into the new year.
Highlight of the event was presentation of awards to some personnel of the Nigerian Army who distinguished themselves in the previous year.

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