20 SENATE SUB-COMMITTEES DELAYING 2018 BUDGET – SARAKI
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, at the plenary on Thursday, insisted on today’s (Friday) deadline issued to standing committees to represent their reports on the 2018 budgets proposed by the Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He said the deadline would not be extended, noting that the Senate would not be held to ransom by the 20 sub-committees that had yet to present their reports to the Committee on Appropriations. “My meeting with the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations as of Wednesday showed that a number of committees have notsubmitted their reports. As much as possible, we have tried not to name names, but we have no alternative than to list these committees so that the chairmen can know that they are holding all of us back,” he stated. Saraki said the defaulting committees were Defence, Army, Air Force, Navy, Industry, Federal Capital Territory, States and Local Governments, Culture and Tourism, Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream), Niger Delta and Sustainable Development Goals.
Others are Primary Health and Communicable Diseases, Health, Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Capital Market, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Works, Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy; and National Cooperation and Integration. The National Assembly had set April 24 for the passage of the budget.
SENATORS IN ROWDY SESSION AFTER ABARIBE CALLS BUHARI INCOMPETENT
It was a rowdy session in the Senate yesterday following Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s description of President Muhammadu Buhari as “incompetent” in his handling of clashes between farmers and herdsmen. Abaribe had used the word while reacting to Buhari’s comments made in London last Wednesday when the president said the killer herdsmen were not Nigerians but militias trained by the late Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. Abaribe, in a motion queried why Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was incapable of protecting Nigeria from foreign invasion. He also wondered why the president, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), have propounded different reasons for the recurring clashes. Idris had blamed the clashes on the anti-grazing laws passed by some of the affected states, while the minister had said they were caused by the blockage of grazing routes. “Yesterday (Wednesday) in London, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria said the killings are as a result of the people who were trained by the late Gaddafi, and so implying that these people doing these killings in Nigeria are from outside the country.
“When a commander-in-chief cannot take care of invaders invading Nigeria, why is he still a commander-in-chief? Why do we continue to indulge this president (such) that everywhere he goes, he tells everyone outside this country that he is totally incompetent? Because it is obvious…,” Abaribe added. At this point, his presentation was interrupted by shouts of ‘point of order’ by several senators who raised their hands, requesting permission from the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to register their protest. It took a few minutes for calm to be restored to the chamber. The Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who first took the floor, expressed displeasure at Abaribe’s choice of words, which he said disrespected the president. Lawan demanded that Abaribe should withdraw the statement and apologise to the chamber. Saraki, backing Lawan’s position, said offensive words must not be used by senators. Abaribe apologized to his colleagues, but said he simply interpreted the words used by Buhari himself. However, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has said that President Buhari was becoming an embarrassment to Nigerians, urging his handlers to desist from allowing him to speak extempore. Fayose said President Buhari should rather face the reality of his government’s failure to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians as well as its seeming culpability in the herdsmen killings instead of going to foreign lands to advertise his cluelessness by blaming the dead.
HERDSMEN KILL 66 IN BENUE, TARABA; SCORES IN ZAMFARA
No fewer than 66 persons were on Wednesday night killed in Benue and Taraba states by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, with the attacks continuing yesterday. Scores of others were also killed in Zamfara communities, following a midnight attack by suspected herdsmen. While 41, according to residents, were killed in separate attacks on communities in Logo and Ukum local government areas of Benue State, 25 were slaughtered at Jandeikyula village in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. The killings in Taraba prompted the governor, Darius Ishaku, to align with former Chief of Army Staff and Defence Minister, Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma, asking the people to rise and defend themselves. The residents in the Benue communities also said the death toll may rise sharply in the coming hours, as more bodies were still being removed from nearby bushes. Among the injured victims of the latest attack was 70-year-old Mama Uhaen Ndiisaa, mother of a former chairman of Logo Local Government Area, Mr. Terhemen Ndiisaa, of Peoples Democratic Party.
The latest attacks came a day after 15 people were killed by gunmen said to be wearing military uniform. “The first attack happened in Tse Hwer in Ukemberyge/Tsweray Council Ward in Logo Local Government around 6:30 p.m. to this morning,” said a senior state government official. He said he had been warned by federal authorities for talking to the media in the past. “Some people are saying their families are missing, but we haven’t been able to confirm how many exactly,’’ he said. ‘’When they arrived at about 6:00 p.m. in Jande-Ikyura in Ukum Local Government Area, the gunmen appeared determined to wipe out the entire community, said another resident of the area who said he had been to the village yesterday morning to witness the aftermath.
2019: PDP WON’T ACCEPT MANIPULATED RESULT, SAYS SECONDUS
The People’s Democratic Party yesterday said it would not accept the outcome of the 2019 general election if it was manipulated through the use of technology. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had expressed worry over growing cases of technology-related interferences in election results when it hosted a three-day international conference on the use of technology in the conduct of elections this week. But the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, told a delegation of the European Union (EU) Ambassadors to Nigeria led by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen that the party demands nothing but free and fair elections from INEC in 2019. “We want to assure you that we are law abiding citizens and follow constitution as we want to see this election free and fair and if they use technology to manipulate it, it will bring problem. Let it be a technology that will deliver a free and fair, transparent election. We urge INEC to keep by the rule of the law,” Secondus demanded.
He alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress wants to truncate the nation’s democracy, adding that INEC and security agencies operate as arms of the ruling party. Ambassador Karlsen had said the purpose of the visit was to ensure peaceful conduct of elections in Nigeria in 2019.
I WAS TORTURED TO FRAME SENATOR SHEHU SANI – KADUNA CIVILIAN JTF LEADER
Garba Isa, a member of a Kaduna Civilian JTF who is in the centre of the Murder case controversy against Senator Shehu Sani of one Lawan Maiduna has alleged that the Military forced him to implicate the Senator. Isa told newsmen in Kano yesterday that, ” I was not in Kaduna but received calls that the Military are looking for me on an issue so when I went back I was at our office in Kabala Doki when the military came and asked me to come with them”. He said, “The Military told me that they arrested some suspects and I alongside another person we should come in our position as JTF to verified their identity at Badarawa so after an inquiry they allowed the other person to go and asked me to follow them. They now took me to Kukwa Ahmed Aruwa Firm, and kept me there; I was there when a Military Captain came and left there after he sent an intelligent officer who came and told me that I was the one who killed Lawan Bakin Ruwa. I told them as a civilian JTF how can I killed anybody, they started torturing me that I most accept that I’m the one who killed him and Senator Shehu Sani was the one who contracts us to do it”.
Garba added, “The Military at the firm insisted that I most accept that Senator Shehu Sani gave Bashir Hamadada money to pay us for the killing of Lawan and I told them I neither knew Bashir no Lawan they are talking about”. Garba Isa added that he spent two weeks with the military but still refused to implicate Senator Shehu Sani “and later we were transferred to the Kaduna State CID were I spent almost a month and from where I was taken to Prison”. He said it was at a Kaduna State High Court that he got his bail but his right-hand side is now having serious injuries making him to go on treatment because of the military torture. All efforts to hear from the Military Command in Kaduna proved abortive.
COURT REJECTS OMO-AGEGE’S BID TO STOP SENATE SUSPENSION
The Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an ex parte application filed by the lawmaker representing Delta Central in the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, to stop his suspension by the Senate. He had, on April 3, filed the ex-parte application before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, asking the court to order that “all further proceedings against the plaintiff (the Senator) in respect of the allegations referred to the 1st defendant’s (Senate) Committee for Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition” be halted pending the hearing and determination of his main suit. Omo-Agege asked the court to order parties to the main suit, earlier filed on March 26, 2018, “not to consider, act on or give effect to any recommendation, resolution or decision of the 1st respondent’s (Senate) Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition.” But the Senate, on Thursday suspended the Senator for 90 legislative days for his comments that the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 to reorder the sequence of polls in a general election was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.