SECURITY MEN, LAWMAKERS CONSPIRED TO STEAL MACE —POLICE
The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, CSP Sulu-Gambari Abdul, yesterday blamed the April 18 invasion of the Senate and removal of the Mace by hoodlums on internal conspiracy. Abdul stated this during an investigative hearing into the incident by joint ad hoc committee investigating the incident. He said what happened at the National Assembly was an act of internal conspiracy among some security agencies and some lawmakers. “There should be cooperation between security agencies and the lawmakers but in this case, the attack came from the roof as the senators are not helping security matters. On April 16, there was an earlier hint that a group planned to invade the National Assembly and disrupt activities, which called for a build-up of security with two units of mobile police mobilised to the complex.
“However, on April 18, at about 11 a.m., my attention was drawn to a group protesting at the gate, and while I moved to address the group, I was informed that some people were running away with the mace. I signalled all the entry points that nobody drives in or out but three men approached me identifying themselves as security operatives and requested to be allowed to go. The strain of blood on their clothes made me suspicious and I ordered their arrest. In all, six people were arrested same day and handed over to the Force Headquarters alongside charms recovered from them. In addition, an unmarked Prado jeep and a Toyota Hilux were impounded and they are with the police. It was later that I observed that the protest was a diversionary attention to move me out and that the protesters were same group with those that attacked,’’ Abdul said.
He said that there was no communication from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the National Assembly during the invasion by the thugs. Earlier, the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Brighton Danwalex, had said that report from investigation after the incident revealed that Senator Ali Ndume instructed the men assigned to protect the mace not to touch it during the invasion. He said it was wrong for them to take orders from Ndume.
NEW PDP BLOCK ISSUES 7-DAY ULTIMATUM TO BUHARI, APC
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress has taken a fresh twist as one of the party’s blocks; the New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the leadership of the ruling party to convene a meeting to redress grievances of its members. The nPDP also told the APC leadership and president Muhammadu Buhari to stop treating its members as outcasts and meddlesome interlopers in the party they rightly belong. They accused the Buhari-led government of sidelining, harassing, intimidating and victimizing its members. The letter, dated April 27, and addressed to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had copies forwarded to President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. It was signed by former New PDP National Chairman and National Secretary, Alhaji Kawu Baraje and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, respectively. Baraje is a known political ally of the Senate President Bukola Saraki, while Oyinola, a former governor of Osun State, is former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s protégé. The former president has not only been critical of the APC administration, but has advised President Muhammadu Buhari against seeking re-election in 2019.
The APC, which was formed in 2013, is an amalgam of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the New PDP. The New PDP block was led by then Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers). Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar later joined in 2014. Other key members of the then ruling PDP, who later defected to the APC are Senator Saraki and then Speaker of the House of Reps, Aminu Tambuwal (now governor of Sokoto State). Listing its grievances, the block said: “In the constitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the New PDP block was generally sidelined as virtually no position was conceded to it. The only member of FEC that belonged to former New PDP block comes from a state that contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential election.” The reference here was to Rivers State. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi is from the state and now Minister of Transportation. Buhari garnered less than 100,000 votes in Rivers State in the 2015 presidential election.
Other grievances are that: “There has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies such as chief executives and executive directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our block of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile CPC, ACN, ANPP and even APGA blocks of the party and those who have no party at all. “In appointments into boards of various government agencies, very few former New PDP members were patronised. These are, however, not commensurate with our contributions to the growth and victory of the party.” The New PDP block called for an urgent meeting to address their grievances. Reacting to the New PDP’s letter, the PDP from which it pulled out, advised members of the block to return to its fold as the APC has nothing to offer them.
LAGOS-IBADAN ROAD READY BEFORE DECEMBER, SAYS MOHAMMED
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be ready before December, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said. He spoke yesterday while inspecting the N232 billion project handled by Julius Berger and Reynold Construction Company (RCC) as part of the tour of federal projects. Mohammed kicked-started the inspection on Tuesday with the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. He inspected the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line. The 137-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is divided into two sections. Julius Berger is handling Section One at the cost of N134 billion. The section covers the Lagos-Sagamu Interchange. RCC covers the axis from the Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan for N96 billion. The project, which started in 2013, with initial completion date of 2017, is slated for completion this year. There were initial hiccups, with the scope of work expanded. In both axes, over 50 per cent has been achieved. Mohammed said this was commendable because traffic had been reduced. Already, 17 kilometres – with three lanes on each side – have been completed, with drainage work going on. Speaking after the inspection, Mohammed said the Federal Government would put pressure on the contractors to ensure they deliver on time.
SENATE DECLARES IGP ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY
The Senate boiled on Wednesday over the refusal of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to honour its summons for the third time. Apart from passing a vote of no confidence of the Police boss, the Senate declared him an enemy of democracy, who is unfit to hold any public office. They added that he is ridiculing the country and President Muhammadu Buhari who appointed him into the office before the international community. The decisions of the lawmakers were prompted by the IGP’s persistent refusal to honour invitations sent to him for appearance before the Senate on killings by Fulani herdsmen and other bandits as well as the inhuman treatment meted on Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) by the Police. After about an hour of closed-door session on the refusal of Idris to appear before it, the Senate concluded that the “IGP is an enemy of democracy and unfit to hold public office in Nigeria and the world generally.”
IGP DARES SENATE, SAYS ‘I’VE NO APOLOGY FOR NON-APPEARANCE’
Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, said he has no apology for not appearing before the Senate for three consecutive times over police’s manhandling of Sen. Dino Melaye. IGP Idris has also described the resolution of the Senate during its plenary, on Wednesday, that he was unfit to hold public office as not just unfortunate but a ‘blackmail, witch-hunt and mischievous’. The police chief through the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood late Wednesday said, “It is urgently imperative that the Nigeria Police Force respond to this resolution of the Senate which is a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, unfortunate and mischievous. The Nigeria Police Force, therefore, owes no apology to any individual or groups in its effort to ensure preservation of law and order, supremacy of the law of the land, and make sure that all Nigerians are subject to the same law, no matter what their position is in the society. The General Public are hereby implored to disregard and discountenance the resolution of the Senate on the IGP as a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting and mischievously aimed at casting aspersions on the hard earned integrity of the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force.”
SENATE SETS UP C’TTEE TO DELIBERATE ON BUHARI’S REQUEST FOR OVER N2TRN PROMISSORY NOTE, BOND
THE Senate, yesterday set up a seven member Committee to deliberate on President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for over N2 trillion for the issuance of promissory note to offset inherited local debts and bond issuance to civil servants as well as contractors. The formation of the committee was sequel to an Executive Communication by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate on the matter. Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, read the communication at plenary which is “for the approval of a Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to settle inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations.” Lawan suggested that the Senate refers the matter to the appropriate committee to deliberate upon. Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who countered Lawan, suggested that an ad-hoc committee be set up, adding, “People are depending on our approval of these funds. There are a number of issues involved. Some are the pensions, some have to do with salaries, subsidy and then some are for payment to states.”
“In view of the multi-dimensional nature of the issues and the controversy regarding borrowing money to fund recurrent items which is forbidden under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, what we should do on the matter is to set up an appropriate ad hoc committee to be able to look at this together and see which of them that can be recommended to the Senate for approval. While the other ones that are technically deficient or are controversial will now be sent back to the Executive for them to decide what to do depending on what that committee will recommend because under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, there is no way you can borrow money to finance a recurrent item.”
DASUKI, DIEZANI: PRESIDENCY INDICTS MARK, TAMBUWAL, EKWEREMADU, OTHERS
THE Presidency yesterday took a swipe at the 7th National Assembly headed by former Senate President, Senator David Mark; Ex-speaker, House of s and now governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, saying if the lawmakers had carried out an effective oversight function, the unfolding scenario of probe of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), over alleged $2.2 billion arm deal would have been averted. The Presidency, which also indicted the then Deputy Senate President and the incumbent Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, senators and members of the House of Reps, who were in the 7th session, said the lawmakers concentrated less attention on oversight functions, hence they could not uncover the alleged loot of $90 billion under the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, and other probes the current 8th Senate was carrying out. Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who described the current Senate as the best period of relationship between the Executive and the Legislature, said what obtained now was a very active legislature. He said the current Senate had in its two years, passed more bills and doubled what the 7th Senate did in four years, adding that it had done 200 per cent because of less of politics
NIGERIA’S EXCESS OIL REVENUE RISES TO N22.4BN DAILY AS PRICE HITS $77BN PER BARREL
Nigeria’s excess oil revenue has risen to N22.4 billion daily as a result of the sudden leap in the price of crude from $67 to $77 per barrel in the international market. The rise in oil price was partly attributed to President Donald Trump’s decision to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran and the continued output cut by members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Consequently, current oil market situation is expected to impact positively on the nation’s 2018 budget. The nation’s N8.612 trillion 2018 budget, which the National Assembly had promised to pass next week was benchmarked on $45 per barrel of oil and the production of 2.3 million barrels per day. But the rise in oil price showed an excess of $32 per barrel against the $45 per barrel budget benchmark price, indicating an excess daily revenue of $73.6 million or N22.4 billion at the official exchange rate of N305 per dollar. A survey of various oil markets around the world showed that the price of some light crudes, including Nigeria’s Bonny Light was in excess of $77 per barrel.
MILITIA WARNS TARABA COMMUNITIES AGAINST GOING TO FARM
ARMED militia have warned Taraba State communities not to waste their time going to farm as they were going to come after them. This was revealed by President General of Tiv Cultural and Social Association, Taraba State, Chief Goodman Dahida, who said most communities around Gbundu, Ayu-Guraku, Ananum and Shaakaa villages in Donga were completely deserted following attacks by armed militia. He called on Army operatives of Operation Ayem Akpatuma currently ongoing in the state not to take the threats lightly. Also, Police Command in the state yesterday confirmed the death of nine persons in early morning attacks on Tutuwa community in Ussa Local Government Area of Taraba State. Meanwhile, five people were killed in Mbayevikyaior and Atsaha villages, a border community between Donga and Takum Local Government areas of the state.