Nigeria Senate News Forum
Have Received Buhari’s Letter – Senate President Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki has revealed that he has received a letter from the President about his resumption to duty.
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has acknowledged receipt of President Muhammadu Buhari’s resumption letter to the National Assembly. Saraki made this known via his twitter handle on Monday.
He said,“I have received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari informing the Senate that he has returned to the country.
“I have also acknowledged the letter.’’
The letter will be read in plenary when the National Assembly resumes from its recess on Sept. 19. President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the National Assembly informing it of his medical trip to London, which he commenced on May 7.
He had transmitted power to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to act in his absence. He returned to Nigeria on Aug. 19, amidst celebrations by residents of Abuja and major cities in the country.
SENATOR DINO MELAYE RECALL PROCESS CONTINUES
The Independent National Electoral Commission has allegedly said that it is continuing with the timetable for the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye since it was yet to receive the court order restraining it from doing so.
A Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice John Tsoho, had on Thursday refused to totally accept the senator’s ex-parte motion for a temporary injunction to restrain INEC from proceeding with his recall process.
The court however, partially accepted Melaye’s prayer by its ruling that all parties should maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice.
But instead of suspending the process till the motion is heard as ordered by the court, it was learnt on Friday that the electoral commission is going ahead with the recall process on the reason that it has not received any court judgment on the matter.
A top official of the commission, who disclosed this on the condition of anonymity, said that at the close of work on Friday they did not receive any order, ruling or a process from the Federal High Court.
He further stated that had it been they received the court order that they would have engaged their legal unit to explain what the court means by the ‘’status quo’’ as the commission cannot act in vacuum.
INEC timetable released July 3, on the process had stated that commencement of the recall will begin July 10 to August 19.
“In exercise of the powers conferred on the Independent National Electoral Commission (“the Commission”) by Sections 69 and 110 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended) and of all the powers enabling it in that behalf, the Commission hereby issues this timetable schedule of activities for the recall of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State,” the commission had said.
INEC had also given details of the process to be: Notice of Verification (July 10). To be posted at the constituency (INEC LGA Office, Lokoja).
Last day for submission of application by interested observers ( July 31). INEC headquarters.
Last day for submission of names of verification agents for the member sought to be recalled and the petitioners (August10). By a letter addressed and submitted to the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) indicating the polling unit verification agents arranged by LGAs as well as collation agents and where they will serve.
Stakeholders meeting ( August 15). INEC State Office.
Conduct of Verification (August19). To be held in the polling units in the constituency.
It had then said that the commission shall issue the “timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of referendum subject to the outcome of the verification exercise.”
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI
SENATE PROBES $3BN SPENT ON DREDGING CALABAR, BONNY, LAGOS CHANNEL
…Berates EFCC, others
ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, began a probe of over $3 billion spent since in 2005 by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, on the dredging of Calabar, Lagos and Bonny Channels without appreciable work carried out on them.
It also accused the NPA of conniving with Lagos Channel Management, LCM, Limited; Bonny Channel Company, BCC, Limited, and Calabar Channel Management Company, CCMC, Limited to defraud the country.
Consequently, it mandated its Committee on Marine Transport to summon the NPA,LCM, BCC, and CCMC, investigate their books, records and submit its report in one week
The upper chamber noted that LCM and BCM, through the NPA, have respectively requested N23 billion and N20 billion in NPA’s 2017 budget.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion moved by Senator Ovie Omo- Agege (APC, Delta Central) and entitled, “Matter of Urgent Importance for the Senate’s intervention to urgently stop monumental financial recklessness and economic waste by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, under its joint ventures with Lagos Channel Management Limited, Bonny Channel Management Company Limited and Calabar Channel Management Company Limited.”
The motion was co-sponsored by Senators Ahmed Ogembe (PDP, Kogi Central), Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC, Imo North), Abdullahi Gumel (APC, Jigawa North West) and Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central).
In his remarks, Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and other anti-crime agencies for failing to detect what he described as monumental fraud allegedly perpetrated by the NPA.
He also asked the Committee on Maritime Transport to immediately investigate the matter because of its importance.
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Omo- Agege said : ‘’The Senate notes that the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) Limited is a joint venture (JV) enterprise formed in August 2005 between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Depasa Marine International for the management and routine maintenance dredging of Lagos navigation channels; with NPA and TCMC holding 60% and 40% equity shareholding respectively of LCM.
“The Bonny Channel Company (BCC) Limited is a JV company also formed in August 2005 between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and The Channel Management Company (TCMC) for the management and routine maintenance dredging of the Bonny River and Bonny navigation channel, with NPA and TCMC holding 60% and 40% equity shareholding respectively of BCC; and
“The Calabar Channel Management Company (CCMC) Limited is also a JV arrangement between Niger Global Engineering & Technical Company Limited and the NPA for the management and capital dredging of the Calabar channel, with NPA holding 60% equity share participation while Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited holds 40% equity shareholding in CCMC;
“The Senate is worried that although these JVs are supposed public-private partnerships, PPP, conceived to reduce financial burdens on the Federal Government, the NPA has expended over one billion dollars and two billion dollars respectively on LCM and BCC from 2005 till date, while significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel, notwithstanding that it is an economic gateway to the North Central and North East geo-political zones of the country;
“It observes that the NPA has failed, refused and/or neglected to ensure the JVs’ compliance with the Marine Environment (Sea Dumping) Regulations, 2012, made pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters 1972 otherwise called the “London Dumping Convention” and the 1996 Protocol to the London Dumping Convention, as there are no dump sites for the management of hazardous dredged wastes removed from the Lagos, Bonny and Calabar navigation channels, thereby leading to sustained severe pollution of our marine ecosystem.
“It is also concerned that in spite of the unjustified huge financial commitment of the NPA to these supposed PPP joint ventures, empirical facts, evidence and data, including current admiralty charts from Lloyds of London clearly confirm that the depth profiles of the channels, particularly the Lagos and Bonny channels, remained significantly the same at 13 meters between 2005 and 2016, notwithstanding the purported claims of daily maintenance dredging of the channels by the JVs.
“The Senate is also disturbed that in continuation of NPA’s manifestly questionable and reckless financial commitments, LCM and BCM, through the NPA, have respectively requested for the sums of N23 billion and N20 billion in the NPA’s 2017 budget;
“It is concerned that the NPA and the JVs (LCM, BCC and CCMC) are on a course of absolute financial impunity and recklessness to wreck the nation’s treasury and needs to be tamed now in interest.”
ATTEMPT TO DECLARE SARAKI ACTING PRESIDENT FAILS AT THE SENATE
A mild drama occurred on the floor of the Senate, on Tuesday, when a point of order was raised, that the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki was the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Senate, upon resumption from its 3 weeks break, recieved a communication from Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President of Nigeria, seeking the confirmation of Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, as the Director General of National Lottery Regulatory Commission.
The lawmakers, however, subjected the letter to deliberations, owing to the fact that the ActingPresident, had earlier reportedly said the Senate had no power to confirm nominees.
Senator Eyinanya Abaribe (Abia South), had raised a motion that the country had no President or Acting President at the moment, adding that, President Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo were neither in the country, as at the time.
This was greeted with a counter point, coming through order 53 rule 4 of the Senate standing rules, by Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central).
Marafa who cited relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution, said, “if the President is not around, the Vice President should act, and if the Vice President is not around, ththeSenate President, who is the number 3 citizen should become acting President”.
The Senate President, however, didn’t allow any seconder or more comments, even when Senators were agitating to support the motion. He quickly ruled Senator Marafa “out of order”.
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI
SENATE SITTING ON THE STATUS OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF NATIONAL LOTTERY REGULATORY COMMISSION.
The Nigerian Senate has suspended the confirmation of all nominees from the executive.
The Senate’s decision was sequel to a letter to the upper chamber seeking the confirmation of
Lanre Gbajabiamila , as the director-general,
National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) .
The lawmakers, however, dismissed Osinbajo’s request over the failure of the executive to obey certain decisions of the Senate.
The Senate further urged the Acting President to withdraw his earlier statement that the Senate does not have the powers to confirm nominations by the executive.
Speaking at plenary on Tuesday, July 4, 2017,
Senator Issa Misau described Osinbajo’s letter as a case of double standard.
“I see this letter by the Acting President as a case of double standard,” Missau said.
“How can Osinbajo say that we do not have the power to confirm nominations yet they are sending us name to people to confirm?
“When the executive have interest in someone, they would keep him without confirmation. They are some people in this country that the executive would prefer not to send their names for confirmation. I think it is high time that we the Senate stand our ground and say ‘no’ to some of these things,” he added.
In his contribution, Senator Dino Melaye urged the Saraki to stop reading letters from the executive arm of government seeking Senate confirmation of any nominee.
“The Senate confirmed some Resident Electoral Commissioners, the executive swore in some, and rejected some. Now he is sending us name. That is an insult and we cannot take it.
“Mr President, let it not be heard that it was during your time that the institution of the Senate lost its powers. I want to move a motion to prevent you (Saraki) from reading any letter from the executive seeking the confirmation of any nominee. It should become abominable,” Melaye said.
Saraki urged the executive to obey the resolutions of the institution of the Senate.
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI
Reporting from Senate
BREAKING: HON. HEMBE SACKED
At the Supreme Court this morning. Hermann Hembe has just been sacked. Certificate of return to be issued to Mrs Dorathy Mato.
The Apex court made 3 declarations. 1. That Mrs. Mato be given certificate of return and sworn in immediately. 2. That Hembe refund all monies he received while serving at the green chambers for 2 years within 90 days. 3. That Hembe should pay a cost of 700k each to Mrs. Mato and the court. That APC should pay Mrs. Mato and the court 300k each.
Amongst other issues, the Apex court relied on the fact that primaries were not conducted at the headquarters of the constituency as stipulated by the Electoral Act.
SUPREME COURT SACKS SENATOR ABUBAKAR DANLADI
The Supreme Court has ordered the Senator representing Taraba North Senatorial District, Sani Abubakar Danladi to vacate the seat immediately and refund all salaries and allowances he received within 90 days.
The court also declared Shuaibu Lau, as the Senator representing Taraba North.
The order was contained in the judgement of the court on the appeal filed by Shuaibu Lau challenging the decision of the court of appeal That had upturned his victory during the primary that he was wrongfully substituted.
The Apex court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,to issue a fresh certificate to of return to Lau.
The apex court in the unanimous decision of a five member panel held that the “the appellant has the right to participate just like any other candidate in the primary and of he feels his right was infringed upon, he has the right to approach the court.
And His substitution at the primary election is null and void since the appellant scored the highest number of votes,vthe only option is to declare the appellant as the winner of primary.
——————————————————————-A NOTE OF THANKS AND FURTHER COLLABORATION IN CURBING COMMUNICABLE AND NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN NIGERIA.
The Senate committee on Primary Healthcare and communicable disease held a meeting on the occasion of the visit of the GAVI CEO to the National Assembly.
The Senate chairman committee on primary healthcare Senator Mao Ohuabunwa in his appreciative remark welcome the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) who is on a courtesy visit to Nigeria.
GAVI is famous for the tremendous work the organization has being doing to bridge the gap in vaccine financing amongst many countries including Nigeria. He further acknowledged the impact of the healthcare unit in curbing death rate in Nigeria. It should however be recall that GAVI has being in partnership with Nigeria since 2001.
GAVI is reported to have being funding the introduction of new vaccines, measles and yellow fever campaigns and in the provision of injection safety commodities.
The chairman further revealed that as the nation is in partnership with GAVI. It is heartwarming to inform the masses that the present regime is committed to accountability in all sectors, while the current leadership of FMOH and NPHCDA have also assumed exemplary courage in ensuring that our health care sector becomes a positive point of reference for everyone to see.
The chairman reminded the the guest that The National Assembly has being very conscious of the need to re_ engineer the health care sector, and took the bold step of setting up a new committee for Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases in the pass two years. The aim of the committee is to drive on the required efficiency and accountability of our many partnerships such as with GAVI which continue to have great impact on our Primary Healthcare delivery, we have the competent staff in our NPHCDA. These, the chairman believe should rekindle GAVI’s confidence in dealing with Nigeria, especially in up_scaling the partnership and the support of the country.
The Senate Committee Chairman further revealed that National Assembly is aware that Nigeria is expected to provide a counterpart funding of about $11milion , which is approximately #3billion for the 2017_2018 planned measles campaign. While there is no appropriation for this campaign in 2017 budget. The National Assembly is fully aware of the enormity of the situation, and will certainly endeavour to appropriate adequate funds in 2018 for the 2017_2018 measles campaign, by requesting for a supplementary budget approval for 2017.
Finally the Chairman request that GAVI should consider reciprocating to the commitment of National Assembly toward improving the primary healthcare sector in general, and immunization in particular, by equally granting the country the permission to prefund activities for the measles campaign, pending when the operational funds from GAVI and the government of Nigeria will be released.
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI reporting from Senate
——————————————————————-SENATE AND THE ANTI-GRAFT LAW
The executive bill passed by the Senate will help in tracking down corrupt elements.
The Senate recently passed a bill to enhance the nation’s anti-corruption war by ensuring that suspects do not evade justice locally and enjoy the proceeds of their crimes abroad. This followed the adoption of the report of its Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, and Foreign Affairs.
An executive bill, it is for mutual assistance in criminal matters between Nigeria and other foreign states to facilitate the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crimes. It is intended to provide a legal framework that will strengthen the fight against corruption, terrorism, economic and financial crimes, money laundering and other related offences. The bill is also intended to effect the temporary transfer of persons in custody to assist in investigations or appear as witnesses, facilitate obtaining and preserving of computer data, and providing any other assistance that is not contrary to the law of the requesting state.
In summary, the bill, which provides to repeal the Money Laundering Act of 2011 prohibits money laundering activities, expands the scope of money laundering offences, provides protection for employees of various institutions and provides appropriate penalties for offences.
When concurred to by the House of Representatives, and signed into law by the President (which is expected since it is an executive bill) Nigeria would be able to request that any country where a money laundering suspect is resident can prosecute such person in line with the relevant laws of that country. Nigeria can also supply such country with evidence to further the case against the suspect.
This bill is therefore considered a critical component of the country’s anti-corruption war, which would facilitate the required collaboration to prevent individuals from escaping prosecution and justice by taking refuge in another country. In this age of globalisation and the increasing cross border form of crimes, the passage of this bill is commendable.
While some may choose to criticise the bill as an ‘outsourcing’ of justice, it remains a legal process to ensure justice against criminals, and deterring potential money launderers for whatever purposes. In this case, the law is a necessary means to an end, where the eyes should be kept on the prize.
We commend the passage of the bill. But it is necessary to point out that without the necessary political will, the aims and objectives of the bill would not be achieved. We have always canvassed the need to build strong institutions, and we are again doing that. Anti- corruption agencies that are subject to the whims of the powers that be would not be effective in implementing this law.
For instance: would the authorities have the courage to seek transfer of a crony of the president or be willing to supply necessary evidence that could ensure the conviction of someone in the good books of the president? This consideration is necessary particularly as cases of corruption seem to fizzle out the moment a ‘suspect’ politician renounces his party and decamps to the ruling one.
Again, the anti-graft agencies themselves have to get more serious and thorough with their investigations. Media trials would not be enough to secure convictions in climes where the justice system is based on facts, and not sensationalism or hearsay. These are not enough even in local courts as evidenced by the inability to secure any notable conviction despite the mudslinging of ‘suspects’ of stolen national funds in the recent times.
The message therefore is clear: If the anti-graft agencies do not get their act together, invest time in credible and reliable investigations, partnership countries would not take Nigeria serious.
SUPREME COURT VERDICT:I DEDICATE VICTORY TO ALL,SENATOR AIDOKO
Kogi east senator,Atai Aidoko Ali has extended an olive branch to the people of his area and perceived opponents to enable him actualise his grand plan to bring to fruition dividends of democracy to the area
Aidoko stated this in his offence in address to his supporters after the supreme court. Judgement that affirmed his election as duly elected to represent the people of kogi east at the senate
Senator Aidoko described the event that led to his ascension to the red chamber as divine,promising to carry along all shades of opinions,groups and to reciprocate by extending his olive branch to constructive criticisms to move the area forward
Senate committee chairman on sustainable development goals(SDGs),said his door are widely open to opinions that will move the area forward and the entire state promising to touch all critical areas interms of employment,create opportunities,provide basic social and infrastructural development for the people of. Kogi east
He said he will not hesitate in his efforts to see to reality requests, suggestions,opinions and ideas that will transform the entire land mass as well as move the area interms of economic,social and political development of his people
Distinguished senator Aidoko thanked all sundry for their prayers,support and encouragement during the litigation,stating that it was a trying moment in his political life that prompted him to dedicate the victory to the people.
He will pursue,recover and overtake all dearth’s of development that had retard the area to the back seat in the area of development as soon as he settles down to the business of law making and constituents welfare .Senator Aidoko said
SENATE WILL NOT CONCEDE POWERS TO EXECUTIVE
The Senate on Thursday vowed that it would not concede its powers to the Executive.
This followed a point of order raised by the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’Allah, at plenary.
Quoting Order 43 of Senate Standing Rule, Na’Allah said there were media reports credited to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to the effect that the National Assembly did not possess any power to alter the budget.
He expressed concern that such statement was attributed to the Acting President, saying that he was knowledgeable enough in law.
”We have operated the Constitution from 1999 to date and I have had the privilege to work with the Acting President while I was practicing in Lagos as a lawyer.
”We did a lot of things together. So, he is somebody that I know so much.
“I will rather believe that what was alleged to have been said could not have been said by him and even if he spoke on the matter, he was misquoted.
”For the avoidance of doubt, this same Constitution we operated from 1999 to date has section 80, and the title of section 80 is `Power and Control over Public Funds’,’’ he said.
He read out the provisions of sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Constitution to support the argument, adding that the Constitution recognised that Nigeria operates a federal structure.
Na’Allah said the Constitution also recognises that Nigeria was multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious and that that was the reason issues of domination were raised in the constitution-making process.
He explained that it was the fear of domination that made framers of the Constitution to provide for representation on the basis of population and land mass and on the basis of equality of states.
”This is what gave birth to a bi-cameral legislature – the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House provides representation based on population and land mass while the Senate is based on equality of states.
”So, I know that the Acting President who is a professor of law is sufficiently trained in law to know that the National Assembly has powers to tinker with the budget.
”I am not making a case for him and I do not want to believe that he said what has been alleged that he said.
”I also want to assuage the fears of my colleagues that what was alleged to have been said does not represent the spirit of the framers of our Constitution,” Na’Allah said.
He said the explanation was necessary to allay the fears of the lawmakers.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said there was no ambiguity in the Constitution on the responsibility of the National Assembly.
He commended the deputy leader of the senate for raising the point, and said he also was sure that the Acting President must have been misquoted on the issue.
“This matter has been cleared and settled by the Constitution. So, I don’t think there are any issues here that are vague.
”I will like to believe too that the Acting President must have been wrongly quoted,” he said.
Saraki said the leadership of the National Assembly has had consultations with the executive arm.
According to him, those consultations did not in any way suggest that we will give up legislative powers as contained in the Constitution.
”I want to reassure our members on this because it is very important. Based on what we have heard, you may be concerned that one way or another, the leadership has given up some of these powers.
”That is not the case. I believe that as responsible statesmen, there are times we consult and do our best to work with the Executive and assist them.
“But, as we bend backwards, I don’t think that it should be misrepresented that powers given to us in the Constitution do not exist.
“That is not the case, and this Senate will continue to defend the Constitution and ensure that anything we do is in line with the laws of the land,” Saraki said.
He announced the adjournment of plenary until July 4.
SENATOR EKWEREMADU INSIST GOVERNMENT MAY NOT FUND POLITICAL PARTY
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has blamed the withdrawal of government subventions for political parties on abuse, noting that it was still inadvisable to reintroduce it.
Ekweremadu also said that high level consultations were in top gear to obtain the views of critical stakeholders about the ongoing constitution review.
He spoke when the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) visited him at the weekend on the ongoing constitution amendment.
He said: “Giving subvention to political parties was the case in the past. But, we had to amend the constitution to remove that, the reason being that it was thoroughly abused by some people.
“They register a political party and wait for election. Government gives them subvention, then they put it in their pockets and make no efforts to win. To them, political parties are platforms for making cool money from the government”.
Rather than government funding, Ekweremadu urged political parties to agitate for the introduction of proportional representation to widen political representation in the legislature, which would in turn help smaller political parties to thrive.
“When this is done, instead of first-past-the-post system where a party that pulls the highest number of votes, even by a single vote, takes the parliamentary seat, while the other parties go home empty-handed, no matter how well they performed, parties will now be allocated parliamentary seats based on the percentage of the total votes they garnered in an election.
“That way, smaller parties will be accommodated in the parliament. They will know that they will not go empty-handed if they work hard”, he added.
Meanwhile, he said the National Assembly was holding consultations with some critical stakeholders to ensure a smooth sail of the constitution amendment exercise and an outcome that will be tune with the aspirations of Nigerians.
“For instance, we have gone to the judiciary. We have gone to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders asking them to express their views.
“We got a lot of responses. So, we are going ahead, and your visit today will help to shape the final document, which we will present to the Senate”, he continued.
Ekweremadu, who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, said that, the current consultations would culminate in a joint retreat in a few weeks to enable members of the Senate and House Committees on Constitution Review to reach consensus on issues slated for amendment.
He said that representatives of the State Houses of Assembly would be part of the retreat to arm them with firsthand knowledge of the thrusts of the proposed amendments ahead of the transmission of the Alteration Bills to them for approval.
He explained that the current exercise drew substantially from the failed Fourth Alteration Bill, and that proposed amendments would be drafted into several Alteration Bills to avoid a situation where the rejection of one amendment could lead to the death of the entire amendments.
Earlier in his address, the National Chairman of IPAC, Hon. Mohammed Nalado, said IPAC was making efforts, with the support of the International Republican Institute (IRI), United States Aid Agency (USAID), Political Party Policy and Leadership Development Centre, among others, to faciliate electoral reforms that would guarantee free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process.
It also requested the National Assembly to consider amending the constitution to reintroduce government funding of political parties, reduction of age limit for elections, and cause persons who cross-carpet to lose their seats.
BREAKING: AIDOKO ALI REMAINS WINNER OF KOGI EAST SENATORIAL SEAT- SUPREME COURT
In a unanimous decision delivered today by Justice Eko, the Apex court faulted and dismissed the appeal filed by Isaac Alfa challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal that had earlier declared Ali winner.
The Justices also faulted the decision of the Federal High Court which sacked Ali from the red chambers; stressing serious anomalies which included lack of jurisdiction. They also warned politicians to stick to the rules of their respective political parties; rather than inundate the Apex court with issues ordinarily deemed as intra-party affairs. Although, no cost was awarded against the Alfa as penalty for misnomer and abuse of court processes, the Justices laid to rest all litigation surrounding the election of Senator Atai Ali Aidoko.
INTERACTIVE SESSION BETWEEN THE LAW MAKERS AND SPONSORS OF HEALTH INITIATIVES
The Senate Health Committee holds an interactive session in collaboration with National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) World Health Organization(WHO) and MSCH.
The aim of the meeting, is to draw attention to the Nigeria’s deteriorating health sector which is incapable of serving the masses, which inturn makes them seek refuge abroad.
It is being said that atleast 15% of National budget should be allocated to the health sector, but instead what is allocated to the it is about 3 to 4 percent, hence the epileptic status of the health sector.
It should however be recalled that turkey was in same situation as Nigeria twenty years ago and then they decided to increase fundings into their health sector, which makes it, what it is today.
The objective is to sensitize partners, on the need to seek collaboration,with concern stakeholders in the furtherance of schemes in the health sector.
It is being deliberated, that the Federal and State government, should sit under one umbrella to synchronize the issue of the health system, that is poorly coordinated. It is only when this is arrived at, that there can be universal healthcare for the masses.
Dr Aremu stated that on the 10 and 11 July 2017, a network will be launched in Sheraton aimed at contributing to the attainment, of quality healthcare in Nigeria.
He advocated that the steps involved in moving forward is
_Everyone should work together in achieving success in the health sector.
_A structure should be put in placed where the network will be sustained over time.
_There should be an interface between the network and the executive.
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI reporting from Senate.
SARAKI HAS NO CASE TO ANSWER – CCT
The Code Of Conduct Tribunal has ruled that Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has no case to answer in the 18 charges of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government.
The tribunal held that the formulation of the 18 charges was predicated on the testimony of the third prosecution witness and Chief Investigation Officer at the CCB, Mr Samuel Madujemu.
He had testified that details of the outcome of the investigation were based on information given to him by the “team”; a term which is regarded as invalid in law, as it has no constitutional or statutory backing.
According to the tribunal, this was a fatal flaw of the prosecution as the evidence rendered all evidence of the prosecution invalid hence the declaration that Mr Saraki was discharged and acquitted.
The CCB had on September 16, 2015 filed a 13-count charge against Saraki for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets.
The charges were increased to 15 on April 18, 2016 and another charge was added on April 27, 2016 to make it 16.
The government later increased the charges to 17 on January 11, 2017 and finally to 18 on February 23, 2017.
The Danladi Umar-led two-man panel of the CCT had reserved its ruling after hearing Saraki’s no-case submission and the Federal Government’s objection to it on June 8.
The Senate President, through his no-case submission filed before the CCT on May 26, 2017, contended that none of the exhibits tendered and no evidence given by the four prosecution witnesses linked him to the alleged offences to warrant him to defend the charges.
DEPARTMENT OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES ALLEGED RECRUITMENT SAGA.
The Senate committee on Federal Character and Inter_ Governmental affairs, holds a meeting on the alleged recruitment saga that has being raised by applicants’ over the recruitment exercise that many thought would have being conducted secretly.
The meeting is a continuation of an earlier meeting held sometimes in March. The Chairman, Committee on Federal Character and inter_governmental affairs Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura (Zamfara North) presided over the meeting. He asked for a debrief from the Director of Department of petroleum resources who took over from there.
The Director revealed that they are willing to employ 700 applicants, 350 in 2016, 200 in 2017 and 150 in 2018. However, two hundred and thirty two thousand applied for the limited slot.
He further revealed that qualified applicants would write a computer based test in four locations(Abuja, Portharcourt, Lagos and kano). The further promised to conduct the recruitment exercise after fasting. A question is being raised as to how the shortlisting would be conducted and it is revealed that the would follow their criteria strictly in conducting both the shortlisting and the interview thereafter. A motion is being raised as to make the exams centers into six instead of the four earlier stated. The department promised to look into that and make further arrangement on that.
Hopefully, before September, the exam would have being conducted and by January 2018 successful applicants would have started training. The exams would be for one hour and the applicants would get notifications of that by SMS and Email.
The Federal Character. Commission represntatives being present all through the meeting, held a close door meeting with the Senators.
By OGUNBIYI JOYCE SEYI Reporting from Senate.
——————————————————————-STEPS TO RECALL A SENATOR CONSTITUTIONALLY
Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution provides 10 clear but tortuous steps on how a senator can be recalled from the Senate.
The steps are:
1. More than half of the registered voters in the Senator’s senatorial district write, sign and send a petition to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC alleging their loss of confidence in the senatorial
2. The petition must be signed, and arranged according to polling units, wards, Local Government Areas, and constituency.
3. INEC notifies the Senator sought to be recalled, stating that it has received a petition for his or her recall, if the petition is valid.
4. INEC issues a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location of the verification of signatures to the petition.
5. INEC verifies the signatures to the petition at the designation. The signatories must be individuals who appear on the voters’ register.
6. INEC conducts a referendum if more than one half (50% + 1) of the signatories are verified.
7 INEC writes to the petitioners stating that the minimum requirements for a referendum were not met, if the number verified is less than one half of the registered voters in that constituency.
The petition will therefore be dismissed.
8. INEC conducts a referendum within 90 days of receipt of the petition if the minimum requirements for a referendum are met. The referendum will be a simple yes or no vote on whether the Senator should be recalled, and will be decided by simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that Senator’s
9. If majority of the voters in the constituency vote ‘yes’ the Chairman of the INEC will send a Certificate of Recall to the Senate President to effect the recall.
10. The Senate President will show affected senator the way out of the Senate.
STATUS OF THE OTHER GEO_ POLITICAL ZONES NOT INCLUDED IN THE RAIL MODERNIZATION PROJECT
The senate committee on Land and transport was saddled with the task of making enquiries on the marginalization of the south east in the supposed construction on the intending rail line in Nigeria. The Minister for land and transportation, made it known to the house that they are not in any way marginalizing any part of the country as the supposed project is on a loan of 1.5% from the Chinese government. The Minister further made it know to the committee that the Chinese Government is willing to Build two tertiary institutions, in order to train engineer’s who would further take over the train station as time goes on.
The Minister, made it known that the intending loan is to be returned between the sparse of twenty years.
The Senate Committee Chairman made it known to the Minister that it will be better if two or more universities are being picked and their faculty of engineering upgraded to be able to train engineer’s who would see to the smooth running of the train stations.
The meeting ended on Thursday at 3.50pm with a closing remark by the chairman.
SUSPENDED SEN. NDUME, FG ARGUE OVER HIS SUSPECTED LINK, SPONSORSHIP OF BOKO HARAM
Former Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume on Tuesday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to quash the alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram case against him, because he has no case to answer in the matter.
But the Federal Government told the court that Ndume has to defend himself because it’s witnesses have proved that he had information on the sect he refused to disclose to government.
Ndume who is under suspension at the Senate, has since 2011 been on trial on a four-count charge bordering on allegations of supporting the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group, levelled against him by the Federal Government.
But the lawmaker, in a no-case submission filled before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, through his counsel, Ricky Tarfa (SAN), argued that the Federal Government has been unable to established a prima facie case against him or linked him with the said crime.
He insisted that the charges leveled against him have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt as required by law at the end of the prosecution’s case.
Ndume, who accepted that he had contact with Boko Haram sect, however said that he got the contact when he was appointed into the Presidential Committee on Security Matters to negotiate for peace with the terrorists.
Insisting that the charges against him were unjust, the Senator explained that the former Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, and the then Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), were aware of the said contact he had with the Boko Haram sect.
Tarfa, Ndume’s counsel argued, “Clearly, from the totality of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, there is no ingredients of the charges proved as required by law.
“The analysis of the mobile phones seized from the defendant and subjected to forensic examination by the prosecution did not reveal any offence committed.”
Base on the above argument, counsel to Ndume prayed the court to strike out the charge against the Senator because no prima facie case has been established against him to warrant his going to defend himself.
But the prosecution counsel, Grace Okafor, contended Ndume’s prayer and urged the court to mandate him to open his defence in the charges against him.
Okafor told the court that Ndume has a case to answer since the government witnesses have effectively linked him with the crime.
According to the prosecutor’s lawyer, the charge against Ndume borders on his failure to disclose material information to security agents on Boko Haram and rendering support to the terrorist group.
She further argued that Ndume had in his own statement tendered and admitted in court confirmed that he has enormous information on Boko Haram which he never disclosed to government.
Okafor said, “His admission that he was a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Matters also corroborate the evidence of the prosecution that he had volume of information on the terrorists group which he refused to give to the government.
“The volume of information found on him was revealing and warranted his being charged to court.
“Let the point be made here that witnesses of the government have by one way or the other linked the charge against the defendant, and this court as an impartial court should order the defendant to open defence on the charges against him. It is even in the interest of the defendant and justice that this case be heard on its own merit, instead of upholding the no-case submission.”
After listening to the arguments, Justice Kolawole adjourned ruling on the matter till July 4, 2017.
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears
SENATE LEADER NOT ATTACKED
Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Usman Jambo, described the report as “concocted barrage of lies by faceless elements intended to malign the personality of the Senate leader.
According to him, “That his motorcade was blocked last Friday along Nguru-Gashua road was completely false, misleading, preposterous and a figment of imagination by desperate politicians who feel threatened by the towering qualities of Sen. Ahmad Lawan.
“It did not happen and will never happen by the grace of God. For the avoidance of doubt, Sen. Ahmad Lawan was on that very Friday in Daura, Katsina State where he attended the wedding fatiha of the daughter of the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Malam Lawan Daura, and therefore couldn’t have been in Yobe at the same time.
“It’s important to note that Sen. Lawan had last month successfully inspected the ongoing Nguru-Gashua road construction, which is under his constituency, and everyone knows that he is representing his people very well for nearly twenty years and commands enormous respect in Yobe and beyond,” he said.
“As members of his senatorial zone, we feel satisfied and proud of his performance in the Senate. We wish to assure him and the entire world of our unalloyed support and cooperation as he continues to represent us,” he added.
SENATE DENIES ALLEGATIONS OF ANOTHER BUDGET CRISES
The Senate says there is no budget crises going on.
Senator Aliyu Sabi, the chairman Senate committee on media and public affairs spoke on behalf of the Senate while addressing journalists after Tuesday’s plenary.
Senator Sabi said the budget was following normal procedures.
According to him, the Senate will authentic the budget through its committee on appropriation by ensuring that the document is free of errors and that the actual document is transmitted to the presidency as passed.
He said the budget will be sent to the presidency later today or tomorrow.
The Senate spokes person called on Nigerians to ignore media reports going round that there is an on-going crises resulting to the delay in the transmission of the 2017 budget to the presidency.
However, our interactions with some Senators who spoke off record indicate that there are deliberate attempts by the National Assembly leadership to accommodate the interest of all the members in the budget before it is finally sent to the presidency.
Iorter Peter – from the Senate.
GATHERING OF WHO IS WHO AS DINO MELAYE LUNCHES BOOK.
Senator Dino MELAYE lunched a book tittle Antidotes For Corruption, at Shehu Musa Yardua Center Abuja. During the event, Alhaji Musa Bello said the lesson he learnt from the Author of the book is about his passion for the maintenance of the city, he said writing was a dream to him, but to the Author he made it a reality. Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the President of House of Representatives made comment about the book He said, he is very excited that a very busy man like Sen.Dino can find time to write despite his tight schedule,as well as the knowledge impacted in the book. According to him, the book speaks for the common people, as an ambassador for the masses. He also said the Anti-corruption will give the Author all the support he needs to fight corruption, which does not talk about money alone, but moral support from every one in thesociety. The Antidotes For Corruption is a message for the people with words of power to fight corruption, also we must formulate a new order to erase the old order, so we don’t end up punishing corruption instead of putting an end to it, because if we don’t minister to the people to stop practising corruption, we will end up jailing every one. Doctor Abubakar Bukola Saraki the Senate President, said the book is a direct Article to fight corruption in Nigeria. According to him, for us to fight corruption, it requires enlightened experience and Anti-corruption Agency,which will bring Revenue Approach.
He concluded that in his view, the key area to fight corruption should be work on with sincerity, and they should provide basic Education, Food and Shelter as well as Health concern for the people. Senator Dino Melaye showed appreciation and thank all Distinguished Senator and Honourable members in the National Assembly and other invited Guest for their support, He furthersaid Corruption exist in local and poor places, even in the market you come across people who increase prices of goods in the name of Government. According to Sen. Dino, the country is “Greedocracy” which define by the people who are greedy, to the people and greedy for the people, finally what lead to Corruption is Greed and should not continue.
Adebisi Adenike Blessing, from House of Reps.
SENATE FINALLY PASSES 2017 BUDGET
The 2017 budget has been finally passed by the Senate.
The Senate, coming out of a closed-door session, announced the passage of the budget after over four months.
The 2017 appropriation bill was submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly in 2016 by PresidentMuhammadu Buhari.
With the passage of the budget on Thursday, May 11, 2017 (today), the executive would be required to go through it before assenting to it.
Senate to pass 2017 budget on Thursday 11th May,2017
The Senate has again setfor itself another deadline for passage of the 2017 budget.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki said this after the report of the joint committee on appropriation and Finance (appreciation bill 20017) was received by the Senate.
The report of the committee was laid by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Danjuma Goje.
The Senate President said the senators will be given time to go through the report tomorrow and thereafter consider and pass the appropriation bill on Thursday.
In another development, Senate has received a letter from President Buhari informing its of his medical trip to London.
Reacting to the President’s letter, Senator Mao Ohuabuwa, (Abia south) raised a point of order faulting the letter saying it fails to properly delegate powers to vice president Osinbanjo in acting capacity as president.
His point of order was however turned down after explanation by the Senate leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan that the constitution is clear on the matter hence the content of such communication does not need such specifics.
Senate has adjourn sitting to wednesday 10th May, 2017.
Iorter Peter from the Senate.
AGAIN, A SENATOR DUMPS THE PDP FOR APC
The leading opposition party, the People’ s Democratic Party (PDP) has again lost a member to the ruling party the All progressives Congress (APC).
Senator John Enoh, representing Cross River Central senatorial District made the announcement today Tuesday, 9th May, 2017 at Senate plenary.
Senator Enoh said he and his supporters had left the PDP last Saturday and have since registered as members of the ruling party.
In his remarks the Senate President Dr. Bukola Sarki welcomed the Senator to the party and wished him well.
Senator John Enoh, is the Senate committee Chairman on Finance.
Iorter Peter from the Senate.
SENATE ADJOURNS PLENARY OVER DEATH OF REPS MEMBER.
The Senate in Tuesday adjourned its Plenary over the death of a Member of House of Representatives, Hon. Sani Bello Mashi (APC), Representing Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency of Katsina State.
Our Correspondent gathered that, Hon. Bello passed unto glory on the February, 2017, after a protracted ailment. “He has been suffering from an unnamed illness for many months before he finally gave up,” Abubakar Adamu, an Aide to Hon. Bello disclosed.
The deceased has since been buried according to Islamic rites in his hometown, Mashi in Katsina state. He died at the age of 48, and he is survived by three wives and many children.
At the resumed session of the Senate on Tuesday, the minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio draw the attention of the senate to the death, through a motion, which was also seconded by the Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan.
The Senate therefore, observed a minute of silence in honour of the departed colleague.
Meanwhile, the senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, officially read the letter of extension of vacation written by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 5th of February, 2017.
The Senate President also read a letter signed by the Acting President, Prof. yemi osinbajo, asking for confirmation of justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen (CFR) as the chief Justice of Nigeria, following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
The Acting President also sent the name of Mr. Adeyinka Asekun as a non-career Ambassadorial nominee from Ogun State, for confirmation.
Reporting for NassNewsNg Babangida Fahad
SENATE SUSPENDS PLENARY DUE TO DEATH OF MEMBER
The senate have suspended plenary due to death of an honourable member of house of representatives, Hon. Sani Bello Mashi representing Dutsi\Mashi from Katsina. The motion was move on the floor of the Senate by Senator Godswill Akpabio and seconded by the senate leader Senator Ahmed Lawal in respect for the departed member of the house of representatives. The senate adjourned to Wednesday 22nd of February, 2017.
Reporting from National Assembly, Abuja Adeboye O. Oluwole