SENATE GIVES BUHARI FINAL WARNING OVER 2016 BUDGET
The Senate, yesterday, gave what it described as a final warning to the presidency on its dealings with the legislative branch of government, affirming that it would no longer tolerate its blaming the legislature for its failures.
The assertion which was a direct fallout from brickbats over the removal of the Calabar – Lagos rail project from the final budget, came as presidency officials, yesterday, affirmed that the rail project was in the budget but removed by the committees of Appropriation in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The claim which was stoutly rebuffed by the Senate and the House was, however, backed by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who said the coastal rail project was in the budget report presented by his committee to the Senator Danjuma Goje-led committee on appropriation.
The Senate, last night, in a sternly worded statement urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the
budget bill and not distract Nigerians from what it claimed were acts of blackmail on the part of the executive arm.
The statement singled out Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for blame, asking him to apologise for seeking to pitch one section of the country against the other and asked him to resign if he cannot show
evidence of the inclusion of the projects in the original budget as presented by the president.
IJAW STUDENTS, COMMMUNITY LEADER EXTOL TOMPOLO AT 45
The National Association of Gbaramatu Students, NAGS, has congratulated Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, on his 45th birthday. It said it has also concluded plans to host a special event in Tompolo’s honour in Warri, Delta State. This is coming as Chairman of Kunukunuma community in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, Chief Moses Bebenimibo, described Tompolo as one of the greatest sons of the region in view of his efforts to bring development to the Niger Delta.
In a statement congratulating Tompolo on his 45th birthday, Chief Bebenimibo said it was unfortunate, “that those who want perpetual poverty and underdevelopment of the coastal area of the Niger Delta region which feeds the country are using our brothers to scuttle the only university in the coastal region of Nigeria.”
On his part, Seifa Ekpemupolo, National President, NAGS, who spoke yesterday in Warri, described Tompolo as a legend and hero.
He said that the celebration was inevitable considering the positive impact Tompolo has on the lives of the students through facilitation of scholarships and provision of educational materials and school uniforms to
ABIA SHALLOW GRAVE: IKPEAZU, OKOROCHA CONDEMN KILLINGS OF FULANI, IGBO BY KIDNAPPERS IN ABIA
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and his Imo State counterpart, Chief Rochas Okorocha, yesterday, admitted that a shallow grave with corpses was discovered in a forest in the boundary community along Uturu axis of Abia State.
They said that the grave was dug by suspected kidnappers, who killed and buried five Fulani herdsmen and two Igbo men. They swore to aggressively tackle the menace of kidnapping in both states.
They ruled out ethnic killing or killing by any group, saying it was a case of kidnapping. The joint security meeting was also attended by some traditional rulers led by the chairman of South East Traditional Rulers’ Council, Eze Eberechi Dick.
At a joint press briefing, shortly after rising from a joint security meeting of the two states, the governors attributed the killing to activities of kidnappers which they agreed needed to be tackled aggressively.
According to them, security operatives have been directed to raid the forest and clear it of miscreants, and warned that any property in which kidnapping activity was carried out would be demolished and the land taken over by the government.
LAGOS – CALABAR RAIL CONTROVERSY: APOLOGISE OR RESIGN, SENATE TELLS AMAECHI
The Senate has asked the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to apologize if he fails to prove that the Lagos-Calabar road project was included in the 2016 budget.
Otherwise, Mr. Amaechi should resign forthwith, the senate said in a statement Monday. The Senate advised the Presidency to come clean with Nigerians on the 2016 Budget and stop engaging in surreptitious campaigns of calumny against the upper legislative chamber, to cover up its serial errors.
Reacting to reports in the media credited to the executive arm of government, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said in a statement that the National Assembly had bent backwards to wring a coherent document out of the excessively flawed and chaotic versions of the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.
BORNO NOW FREE OF TERROR – GOV. SHETTIMA
Ten months into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has announced that his state was now free of terror. While Governor Shettima was quick to concede
that the Boko Haram terrorist group had not been annihilated, he said despite occasional hiccups, “Borno is now free.” Governor Shettima, who disclosed this while on a visit to the Director General of National
Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Muhammad Sidi, in Abuja yesterday, said: “10 months ago, one could not travel for 10 kilometres without encountering terrorists.”
He added that then, Maiduguri was the only relatively safe haven, adding, “Yes,we still have occasional hiccups, but Boko Haram has been so decimated that they can no longer threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
He noted that peace was gradually returning to the state, expressing optimism that by year – end, all internally displaced persons, IDPs, would have returned to their homes.
Praising NEMA for its support to Borno State, the governor solicited for greater support, saying the state is home to 90 percent of IDPs in the country.
According to him, out of 2.5 million IDPs in Nigeria, Maiduguri alone is host to 1.7 million, while there are nearly 200,000 IDPs in camps scattered around the state.
On the vexed issue of the missing 219 Chibok girls, the governor was optimistic that the girls were still alive and would be rescued soon.
NOW THAT SARAKI HAS BEEN ‘CONVICTED’ BY THE MOB
Last week must have been the lowest point in Senator Bukola Saraki’s political career. Quite literally speaking, he was dragged to the market square, denuded, and sprayed with opprobrium so thick that his traducers would hope it never washes off.
As the prosecution chief witness reeled out fantastic stories of serial cash lodgements and illegal salary earnings, everyone gasped in disbelief. Powered by the social media, the stories leapt across boundaries within
seconds. As the stories were retold and re-circulated, they grew weirder and wilder. Cash lodgements totalling N70 million became N70 million paid into Saraki’s account 70 times in one day! Some said it was actually $70
million dollars paid into his account 50 times in a day.
People brought out their calculators to multiply 70 million by 50, still the sheer absurdity of the result did not clear their minds. As the stories grew wilder, public anger against Saraki grew in geometric proportion. He was brutally savaged in the social media, ridiculed in the newspapers, cursed in the market places, abused in motor parks, and mocked by his political enemies. It was a timely diversion for a country brought to its knees by fuel scarcity. To an anguished people who have to rely on the black markets to keep their lives going, this was a comic relief. The Saraki story became the new tales by moonlight!
If this was all that Saraki’s political opponents set out to achieve; they have done a good job so far. Never before has a number three citizen in the land been so publicly humiliated. In fact, it is difficult now not to
think that the damaging testimony of the prosecution witness was an end by itself; calculated as it were, to achieve this very objective of eroding the Saraki brand. Anyone familiar with court proceedings would clearly
see that what happened at the tribunal last week was more evocative of an inquisition, programmed to pander to the mob, rather than a trial meant to serve the cause of justice.
What became clear also was that Saraki is on trial in two courts: the court of law and the court of the mob. Even as the trial at the court of law is still at a very early stage, he has already been found guilty and condemned in the court of public opinion.
I AM STILL IN PDP – NWODO
A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, said he was yet to dump the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Nwodo stated this in a statement signed by him and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
He said that his attention had been drawn to media insinuations that he had dumped the PDP for the ruling APC. Nwodo, a pioneer National Secretary of PDP and former Governor of old Enugu state, said that while the developments in PDP was “embarrassing and unexciting”, he was yet to dump the party.
He said that it was improper for anybody to stand merely on his wife being present at a meeting that he was not, to conclude that he had joined the APC.
He said that it was improper to make such conclusion that he had joined the APC disregarding the fact that his wife, as an adult, had her own political life.
“As one of the founding fathers of PDP, who has held the highest office in the party, I know the statutory procedure of resigning and would willingly do that if necessary.
“Although a number of issues within PDP remain embarrassing to the founding fathers, the truth is that am still a member of the PDP and has not joined the APC,” he said.
AMAA 2016 TO HOLD IN LAGOS ON APRIL 30
The 2016 edition of the African Movie Academy Awards is set to take place on Saturday, April 30, TheNETng has gathered. The event, which is reputed to be the biggest movie award on the African continent, will be holding its 12th edition since it was founded by Peace Anyiam-Osigwe in 2005.
This year’s AMAA will be preceded by a nominee unveiling in Dubai, UAE later this month as the awards seek to get more global partnership with prospective investors.
The 2015 edition of the award was held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday, September 26, 2015 with top industry players turning up.
AMAA is reputed to be the ‘most prestigious awards for Black filmmakers around the Globe’, while CNN has also described it as the African Oscars.
BILLIONAIRE JUDGE, IN TURNAROUND, NOW TO GIVE SARAKI JUDGEMENT
Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court judge, has reversed his position, and will this week return to the
bench to give a major ruling on the human rights case filed by embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Justice Abdul Kafarati, SaharaReporters learnt, that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta,
secretly returned the case file to Justice Kafarati asking him to deliver his judgement and damn the consequences.
Our sources revealed that the assurance that Kafarati would give the judgement is the reason Mr. Saraki is still in office despite having told several Senators that he would resign in order to save himself further
embarrassment at his CCT trial where prosecutors revealed mind-boggling evidence of his corruption when his trial commenced last week.
After Justice Kafarati excused himself from the case, Saraki hired several writers to keep encouraging him to deliver his ruling, which has been revealed to Saraki to be favorable. Saraki’s lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, who is a known ally of Justice Kafarati, has also sent a petition to the Chief Judge insisting that he allow Justice Kafarati to deliver his judgement.
Justice Kafarati is the next in line to become the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria. Allegedly known in legal circles to be a very corrupt judge, and has been caught with billions of Naira in his personal account by
the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He claims to have made his wealth from farming.
Previous detailed reporting of his track record by SaharaReporters last month pre-empted Justice Kafarati from delivering his favorable judgement on Saraki’s human rights lawsuit.
At that time, he claimed a Catch-22 dilemma: that he could not give either judgement without it being interpreted either as caving to pressure, or being bribed by Saraki.
SaharaReporters learned on Monday that Kafarati has chosen Thursday to give his ruling, which would aim at scuttling Saraki’s trial.
PRESIDENT BUHARI LEAVES ALLEGED CORRUPT EX POLICE IG, MIKE OKIRO, TO RECRUIT 10, 000 POLICE OFFICERS
Two top police officers in Abuja have told newsmen of widespread disenchantment within police ranks
that President Muhammadu Buhari had not removed former Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro from his post as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). Also, newsmen learned that several non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) have voiced their disquiet over Mr. Okiro’s continued leadership of the PSC despite credible and well-documented details about his corrupt lifestyle.
One of our sources told newsmen that Mr. Okiro’s tenure at the helm of the PSC has had negative consequences on the professionalization of the police, adding that Mr. Okiro was well known for his alleged corrupt
practices and notorious for favoring some of the most criminal elements within the police force.
The other source remarked that it would be unfortunate if President Buhari allowed Mr. Okiro to oversee the hiring of 10,000 new police officers. “This man (Okiro) was not a good influence when he was the IG, and he
has not been a good influence as chairman of the Police Service Commission,” said one of the high-ranking police sources. He added: “To allow him to be in charge of new recruitment of thousands of new officers
means that the culture of corruption and even criminality in the force is being fostered.”
OLISA METUH STONEWALLS TRIAL AGAIN, JUDGE SET TO RULE
Credit:SaharaReporters Media SOURCE: Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic
Party, PDP again held up his trial for corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust on Monday with a fresh request for adjournment.
Olisa Metuh In Court Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court, Abuja had on Friday ordered Metuh, to open his defence. This followed the dismissal of three applications to stop the trial.
Metuh is being tried on a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption, money laundering involving $2m cash transaction and for allegedly receiving N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser on Friday.
Rather than open his defence, Chief Tochukwu Onwugbufor, who announced himself as the new counsel to the Destra Investment, a company solely owned by Metuh, which is also the second defendant in the case, had on Monday morning asked the court to adjourn to enable him to familiarize himself with the matter.
In the oral application Onwugbufor whose similar applications were repeatedly rejected last Friday argued that he was appointed as counsel to the second defendant on Friday and as such, incapacitated to participate in any proceeding connected to this charge today.
He added that he will not participate in the proceedings henceforth unless he is given time and facilities to prepare the case of the second defendant in line with section 36 (b and c) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria:”The second defendant has now briefed us in accordance with this provision of this provision and we are asking the court to give us adequate time and facilities to come up with the defense.”