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“Buhari Is Being Sabotaged”, Lawan Raises Alarm

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has raised the alarm that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government are out to sabotage the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide critical infrastructure across the country.

According to Lawan, despite several invitations extended by the Local and Foreign Debt Committee of the Senate, the MDAs have consistently refused to appear to justify projects listed to be funded through the loan requests sought by President Buhari.

The Senate on July 15, 2021, approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s external loan request to the tune of $8,325,526,537 (USD) and €490,000,000 (Euros) under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.

President Buhari, in another request contained in a letter read on September 14, 2021, had sought the approval of the Senate to borrow an additional sum of USD$4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million Euros. Buhari explained that the loan was needed to fund projects listed in the addendum to the 2018 to 2021 Federal Government external borrowing plan.

He said the projects are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Credit Swiss Group, and Standard Chartered, in the credit total sum of 4.5 billion dollars,710 million euros and grant component of 125 million dollars.

Reacting to the refusal by MDAs to justify projects listed to be funded by the separate loan requests, Lawan described their action as an act of sabotage that will not be condoned by the National Assembly.

He listed the erring MDAs to include the Federal Ministry of Power, Ministry of Heath, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Ministry of Water Resources, and Ministry of Environment. He, therefore, gave the MDAs a one-week deadline to appear before the Local and Foreign Debt Committee or face appropriate action to be dealt by the upper chamber.

The Senate President said, “List of some Ministries and agencies of federal government that should have appeared before Senate Committee on a loan and Foreign Debts, to defend the debt request by the Executive arm of government. These MDAs failed to appear.

“The Senate considers this attitude as a sabotage to the effort of the federal government to secure the loans and fund the infrastructural development that this country desperately needs.

“Already, the National Assembly has approved the loan request, but there is need for justification.

“I will therefore call the names of these MDAs, and we are giving them just one week to appear before the Committee on Loan and Foreign Debts.

“[And] if the fail to appear, we will take appropriate and prompt action, because this Senate will not condone any sabotage to the efforts of this administration to provide infrastructure to this country.”

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Sokoto massacre: Attack Callous, Painful, Regrettable, Obaseki Fumes

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tTe Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday reacted to the attack on Goronyo Market, in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto State by bandits which led to the death of about 43 villagers.

Obaseki, in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, commiserated with the people and government of Sokoto State, over the dastardly attack on Goronyo Market by bandits.

He also charged security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent another re-occurrence.

The governor who described the incident as callous, painful and regrettable, prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims of the attack.

According to him, “We are deeply saddened by the terror attack in Goronyo Market, Sokoto State, which has thrown the entire country into mourning. Our hearts are with Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the people of the state, as they go through this difficult phase.

“We join all meaning Nigerians in calling on the security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent this painful loss of our citizens to banditry and terrorism.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Edo State, I commiserate with the people of Sokoto State and the Governor over this painful incident.”

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2023 Presidency: Akpabio Decries Distraction From Channels TV, Others

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Ex-Governor of Akwa Ibom State now Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has urged Channels Television against distracting him from the task of helping President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his set goals for the Niger Delta people.

The minister, who knocked the broadcaster for listing him among those seeking to succeed Buhari in 2023, faulted the use of his photograph on the Television station’s political programme for the same purpose.

Recall that in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, the Minister kicked that the nation’s media were not respecting his request not to be associated with ambition for the 2023 presidency.

The former Senate Minority Whip categorically requested: “that he be allowed to focus on the national assignment of assisting President Mohammadu Buhari to achieve his set goals for the people of Niger Delta Region.”

The statement read in part, “On Sunday, 17th October 2021, Channels Television’s political discussion and interview programme – Politics Today, anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye, listed the name of the Hon. Minister and went ahead to use his photograph as one of those purportedly eyeing the presidential seat in 2023.

“As a politician and a serving Minister of the Federal Republic, who understands the distractions such unsolicited action(s) could cause in the polity, the Hon Minister, has, therefore, for the umpteenth time, called on groups, individuals and media houses, either Newspapers, Television, Radio or Online discussion platforms, to forthwith, stop associating his name and picture whenever 2023 Presidential discussions are being held.”

Udom asserted that the Minister has neither consulted any individual or groups nor declared interest in contesting for the rumoured post in the upcoming election.

According to him, “What is topmost in the heart of the Hon. Minister is how to assist President Mohammadu Buhari to leave a lasting legacy in the Niger Delta Region and to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to deliver on its mandate.”

The statement, therefore, warned other media houses and 2023 presidential election campaigners against the use of Akpabio’s “name and photographs as one of the purported presidential aspirants in 2023, in any of their discussion platforms.”

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NASS Must Listen To INEC On Electoral Bill, Says Jega

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Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the national assembly must consider the recommendations of the agency to avoid ambiguity in the electoral act.
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His statement comes weeks after Festus Okoye, national commissioner of INEC, said there is a provision in clause 63 that contradicts the provision for electronic transmission of result in clause 52 of the electoral act.

He had appealed to the harmonisation committees and the national assembly to amend the ambiguous clauses so as not to be used by politicians with selfish agendas to exploit legal loopholes for their own electoral advantages.

Speaking on the issue on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Jega said there is a need to harmonise the provisions of the act so as to avoid ambiguity and contradictions in electoral operations.

He asked the harmonisation committees in the bicameral assembly to give “serious consideration” to the recommendations of INEC.

The former INEC chief said any provision of the law that contradicts the use of electronic transmission of results for the 2023 elections must be amended.

“If the national assembly can generally continue to be receptive to genuine concern of citizens in the manner in which they do their legislation, this country would be better for it,” he said.

“There is a need to harmonise provision of the electoral act so that one provision does not contradict another and so that at the end of it those that want to cause mischief will not exploit the ambiguity and contradictory provisions in the law.

“It behooves the two committees of the house and senate that are sitting to harmonise the provisions of the bill to also give serious consideration to suggestions made by INEC.

“It is a value addition that can continue to improve the operations and conduct of elections in our country.

“There is no doubt that we have to go in the direction of electronic transmission of results and where there is any provision that can affect or negate or constrain that effort to transmit results electronically, those provisions need to be carefully looked at and then necessary amendments also exerted.
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“The national assembly needs to pay attention to the very important issue that has been raised.

“The harmonisation committee of the national assembly should do the needful in addressing these provisions of the electoral bill that are being raised by INEC.

“In creating a legal framework for the operations of election, it is important that the national assembly listens to the recommendation of INEC.”

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