Kwara Governor Abdulrazaq Salutes Information Minister at 68

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has felicitated with the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed on his 68th birthday.

Abdulrazaq in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, on Monday , prayed God to grant the celebrant long life and good health.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Kwara State, I congratulate a leader of our party the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Lai Mohammed on this birthday anniversary. We acknowledge his various roles in the ascendancy of the APC in Nigeria and Kwara State and his continuous contributions to national development,” AbdulRazaq said in a statement by his spokesman Rafiu Ajakaye.

“We pray to Almighty God to grant him more rewarding years in the service of our state and Nigeria as a whole.”

Gbajabiamila: House to Begin Work on Constitution Review, PIGB Next Year

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured that the House would commence work on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and the amendment of the 1999 Constitution next year, THISDAY reports.

Gbajabiamila disclosed this  yesterday at a retreat organised for chairmen of standing committees of the House by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), in Lagos.

The Speaker, in a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, noted that both the constitution review and the PIGB were part of the bills that the House would prioritise in 2020.

He stressed that the House would do everything within its powers to give Nigeria the best in terms of laws that would promote peace and good governance in the country.

The Speaker, who tasked the chairmen of the committees to work with their deputies and other members of the committees as a team, noted that Nigerians had high expectations on the Legislature, hence they must work hard to meet such.

He stated: “We have been elected at a time of great upheaval at home and abroad. We are confronted with great peril; oil prices have fallen and refuse to go back up, our population growth continues to outpace economic growth, we are besieged on all sides by rising insecurity and its consequences.

“How do we build an economy that is attractive to investment, that creates jobs to meet our present needs, and grows apace to meet future demands? How do we build a society where the weak are not afflicted by the powerful, where our differences of gender and tribe, religion and opinion are not weaponised to deprive any citizen of life, of liberty or the freedom to pursue happiness?

“How do we achieve the promise of greatness that so long ago caused the world to look upon us and say, here comes the giant of Africa? These are the questions that should engage our interests and animate our efforts because in the answer to these questions lies the best dreams we have for ourselves and the highest ambitions we hold for our country,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker also commended the lawmakers for their commitment to the passage of the 2020 budget, which he said would bring the budget cycle to January to December.

He added, “Where it is the responsibility of the executive to implement programmes and execute projects, it falls to us to articulate through legislation, the broad objectives of our nationhood, and through oversight, hold the executive accountable to those objectives. The standing Committees you each lead are the principal instruments of legislation and oversight.

“Whatever we are, whatever we will achieve, and everything we will be remembered for in this House of Representatives depends on how well your Committees function and how effectively you serve as leaders of those Committees.

“Our ability to rise to the responsibilities of our offices are often constrained by institutional weaknesses that have been for too long left unaddressed. We are here to critically examine how we operate in the House of Representatives.”

On his part, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the National Assembly for passing the budget on time “for the first time since 1999.

He said with the zeal and commitment exhibited so far by members of the 9th House under the leadership of Gbajabiamila, he believed they would achieve a lot in the next four years.

Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: Court Permits Fayose to Travel Abroad for Medical Treatment

A former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, was Friday granted permission by a Federal High Court in Lagos, to travel abroad for medical treatment, DailyTrust reports.

Fayose is facing trial over an alleged N2.2bn fraud.

Following an application by his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Justice C.J. Aneke, for the second time, granted Fayose permission to go abroad for treatment. The judge had in July first granted Fayose permission for a foreign medical trip.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), did not oppose the Friday’s request.

After granting the travel permission, Justice Aneke adjourned till January 16, 2020 for continuation of trial.

3 Policemen, 4 Civil Defence Operatives Held Over Theft of N40m in Bayelsa Govt House

Three policemen from the Bayelsa State Police Command and four operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have been arrested over an alleged theft of N40 million missing from a safe in Bayelsa Government House, Sun News reports.

Also in police net is a Government House staff attached to the Maintenance Unit, who had do some routine maintenance work in the office on the fateful day. The suspects who are already being grilled by operatives of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Bayelsa State Command were attached to the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Bayelsa State Government House, Mrs. Ebizi Ndiomu-Brown. According to investigation, the alleged theft of the money, which occurred on Wednesday night, was discovered on Thursday morning as workers met the safe vandalised.

Sources at the Government House are baffled as to how those who allegedly stole the money had access to the safe because policemen were guarding the two entrances to the office of the deputy chief of staff where the money was kept. A reliable source at the Police Command said the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Uche Anozia who was infuriated over the development ordered for the immediate arrest of all the suspected policemen. Government House officials were said to have been shocked by the audacity with which the theft was carried out.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bayelsa Command, Asinim Butswat confirmed the arrest of the suspects, adding however that the money missing was N3.5 million and not N40 million.

President Buhari Salutes Renowned Poet, JP Clark at 86

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Professor Emeritus, renowned poet and playwright, John Pepper Clark, who turned 86 on Dec. 6.

Clark is often referred to as ‘JP Clark’.

The president congratulated him for vigorously working for the development of the country in writing, teaching and coaching.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was communicated through in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday.

The President joined family members, friends and professional colleagues of the foremost scholar in celebrating the milestone, which had been signposted by many years of recognitions and awards, including Nigerian National Order of Merit.

He believed, as a writer, JP Clark’s poetry, drama and literary works had clearly distinguished him as a genius, whose publications inspired deep thinking and actions, especially on socio-political themes.

He saluted the Professor Emeritus, whose influence transcended the lecture theatres in Nigeria to include teaching and coaching in many universities across the world.

He added that Clark’s works had continued to leave lasting memories of discipline, focus and resilience in pursuing and sharing knowledge.

Buhari prayed that the Almighty God grant JP Clark longer life, good health and strength to keep serving the nation.

(NAN)

President Buhari Salutes Renowned Poet, JP Clark at 86

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Professor Emeritus, renowned poet and playwright, John Pepper Clark, who turned 86 on Dec. 6.

Clark is often referred to as ‘JP Clark’.

The president congratulated him for vigorously working for the development of the country in writing, teaching and coaching.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was communicated through in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday.

The President joined family members, friends and professional colleagues of the foremost scholar in celebrating the milestone, which had been signposted by many years of recognitions and awards, including Nigerian National Order of Merit.

He believed, as a writer, JP Clark’s poetry, drama and literary works had clearly distinguished him as a genius, whose publications inspired deep thinking and actions, especially on socio-political themes.

He saluted the Professor Emeritus, whose influence transcended the lecture theatres in Nigeria to include teaching and coaching in many universities across the world.

He added that Clark’s works had continued to leave lasting memories of discipline, focus and resilience in pursuing and sharing knowledge.

Buhari prayed that the Almighty God grant JP Clark longer life, good health and strength to keep serving the nation.

(NAN)

Rising, Worrisome Cases of Jungle Justice in Bayelsa

📷 An alleged kidnapper burnt to death in Bayelsa on Dec 3, 2019.

In Bayelsa today, trust is fading, impatience with leadership, the security agencies, and the judiciary can be seen and felt, as citizens are putting law into their hands as the best way to curb criminal activities in the state.

Lynching, battering, burning of alleged or suspected criminals is getting too common and this is what happens when a government doesn’t make concerted effort to curb poverty, crime and insecurity.

On Tuesday, an alleged kidnapper was burnt to death by an angry mob in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. On Thursday, an alleged thief was killed in Swali market, in the state capital.

This despicable act of unlawful violence is a very clear evidence of a failed state and this is gravely threatening our way of life, as the culture of impunity and jungle justice is slowly becoming a norm.

There is no justification for killing people who should be handed over to the police. We have laws in this country and the judiciary is the only body vested with the power to try and punish offenders.

If the court hasn’t pronounced anyone guilty, such person cannot be punished for any reason whatsoever. Thus, burning, lynching, killing of any alleged criminal is illegal, uncivilized, cruel, babaric, and a crime against humanity punishable by law.

I urge the people of Bayelsa State to desist from this unlawful and barbaric act and allow the law to take its course.

The security agencies and other institutions should urgently sensitise Bayelsans on the danger of the practice of Jungle Justice.

The State government must wake up to its responsibilities and act decisively to ensure that security of lives of the people of Bayelsa are protected and guaranteed under the law.

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Half-naked Women From Sowore’s Village Storm Abuja Court

A group of half-naked women from the birthplace of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, on Thursday stormed the Federal High Court in Abuja to protest the continued illegal detention of their son by the Department of State Service, Punch News reports.

Most of the women numbering about 30 were decked in white wrappers and bra but with no clothes covering the rest of the upper parts of their bodies.

Sowore and his co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, were produced in court on Thursday, with the judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, ordering the DSS to release them from the illegal detention within 24 hours.

Their trial on charges of treasonable felony was scheduled to commence on Thursday but the court had to adjourn till Friday due for report of compliance with the fresh order for the defendants’ release.

The protesting women who arrived in the court environment after the proceedings started on Thursday, were not allowed entry into the court premises.

But they stayed by the gate brandishing their placards with various inscriptions calling for Sowore’s release and only departed long after the proceedings had ended and Sowore with his co-detainee returned to custody by the DSS operatives.

In their Apoi dialect the women, many of them with grey hair, described themselves as beneficiaries of Sowore philanthropic gestures and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release their son from custody.

BREAKING: Senate Passes N10.594tr 2020 Budget

The Senate has passed the 2020 appropriation bill.

The passage was a sequel to the presentation of a report by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin.

The budget was increased from N10.33 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 8 to N10.6 trillion (10,594,362,364,830).

In the report presented by Mr Jibrin, N560.47 billion is for statutory transfers (a category into which the National Assembly budget falls).

While the Senate maintained Nigeria’s daily oil production rate at 2.18 million per barrel, it, however, increased the Oil Benchmark Price to $57 per barrel against the $55 proposed by the Executive.

The committee retained the inflation rate at 10.81 per cent and the exchange rate at N305-$1 as proposed by the executive. It also retained GDP Growth Rate at 2.93 per cent as proposed.

Mr Jibrin said the committee worked harmoniously with the Executive for the processing of the bill.

The breakdown

The Senate passed the budget with the breakdown as follows:

Statutory transfer –N560,470,827,235

Debt service – N2,725,498,930,000

Recurrent expenditure –N4,842,974,600,640

Capital expenditure –N2,465,418,006,955

Fiscal Deficit – N2.28 trillion

Deficit/GDP – N1.52 per cent

Mr Jibrin explained that the increase allows for intervention in critical areas like security, infrastructure, mines and steel development, social development, among others.

This, he said, is in line with the budget thrust of the government “which is focused on growing development and sustainable growth.”

He also said the committee adopted the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) as approved by the National Assembly.

This is as he urged his colleagues to adopt the recommendations of the committee.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, thanked his colleagues and the Executive for the cooperation, He also admonished the Executive to ensure the full and effective implementation of the budget of the budget.

He said the ninth Senate has achieved one of its key promises to return the budget cycle to January – December.

We have done so much in a short while; we have given the Executive everything they need – budget, finance bill, MTEF, among others, he said.

Mr Lawan said the Senate will interact with Ministries, Departments and Agencies on a quarterly basis in 2020 to monitor implementation of the budget.

“We hope that with this budget passed, the Executive will ensure full implementation for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said.

N7.65Billion Fraud: Ex Gov. Orji Kalu Jailed

A former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who was prosecuted on 27 counts by the EFCC has been jailed.

Kalu, now a Senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly, was jailed by a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos and presided over by Justice Mohammad Idris.

He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud.

Also convicted and sentenced are two other accomplices, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during his tenure as governor.

The judge also ordered that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.