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NASS Leadership: Uncertainty as Lawan, Ndume, Gbajabiamila, Bago lock horns

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NASS Leadership: Uncertainty as Lawan, Ndume, Gbajabiamila, Bago lock horns

As senators-elect intensify their last minute horse trading, consultations and negotiations over today’s election of presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly, a cloud of uncertainty is hanging across the parliament as no one seems to be sure what might be the outcome of today’s polls. Although there have been publicly announced endorsements of Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) by over 60 senatorselect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some others from the opposition parties, it is yet not clear the direction the elections will take. This is because the body language of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members-elect indicates a tendency that they might play a joker card today.

For instance, when the outgoing Deputy Senate Minority Leader and Senator- elect, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South) was asked why his colleagues were maintaining a loud silence on the issue of Senate Presidency, he said that their silence was a sign of dignity, and that they were not noisy about the whole matter because they desire a rancour-free 9th Senate. He also said that the PDP senators-elect would act as a family during voting to elect presiding officers of the Senate today, noting that noise-making among politicians could be mischievous.

He said: “There is dignity in silence and there is mischief in noise-making. So, we maintain a dignified silence because we want a 9th Assembly that will be rancour-free. We speak as a family; that is our tradition. We speak as a family; we are not divided.” Also, Rep-elect, Fred Agbedi (PDP, Sagbama/ Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Bayelsa State), who spoke to journalists at the National Assembly yesterday, noted that the PDP had not decided on the direction its members would vote today, saying that when the decision was made, they would act accordingly as loyal party members. He said that only the secret voting system would be acceptable in the elections of presiding officers of the National Assembly, stressing that anything other than that would be undemocratic.

He said: “I can’t say where the pendulum will swing to in the elections. I’m of the minority party. The majority party says they have a decision; and that is the direction they want to go. As a minority party man, I will be around watching; if it becomes necessary for me to cast my vote, I cast.” While expressing his unflinching support for Ahmad Lawan, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto), however, noted that concerning the election of the Deputy President of the Senate, he would take a personal decision on who to vote for and not just cast his vote for any one parading as anointed candidate. He also expressed support for the use of secret ballot voting model during the election, noting that the 2015 Standing Rules of the Senate, which stipulate the use of secret balloting, would be the instrument to be used. Senator Gobir, however, interpreted the silence of PDP lawmakers on the jostle for the 9th Senate Presidency to mean acceptance of Lawan as the candidate of the APC. He said: “I am not worried about the election of today because what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. What is right is that the person we are going to choose, we will choose him tomorrow (today). When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. Certainly, what the President wants is Lawan, and I am going for Lawan. “On the Deputy President of the Senate, that one is left to me.

I think am going to make my decision.” However, it appears that the APC would be going into today’s battle with a divided house as several of their members who are in the race for different positions have shunned all entreaties to step down for the anointed candidates of their party. Former Senate Leader and Senator representing Borno South, Mohammed Ndume, yesterday, shunned the meeting scheduled by the APC governors and the National Working Committee (NWC) members with the APC Senators-elect. Ndume, who is contesting for the Senate Presidency, insisted he was still in the race and not prepared to step down for Lawan, the choice candidate of the ruling party. The meeting was to formally ask all Senators and House of Representatives members aspiring for principal positions in the 9th Assembly to support the candidates of the party. The APC leadership had endorsed Lawan as Senate President and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President. Also House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has been endorsed as Speaker, House of Representatives and Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase as Deputy Speaker. However, those contesting for the positions the party has zoned to individuals did not attend the meeting. Among them are Ndume, who is contesting the Senate Presidency; former governor of Abia State and Senator-elect, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who is contesting for the Deputy Senate President; Senator Kabir Gaya, who is also contesting for the Deputy Senate President and Hon. Umar Bago, who is contesting for Speaker, House of Representatives. Others who had indicated interest to contest one position or the other at the meeting stepped down for the preferred candidates of the party. Among them are Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who had indicated interest to contest for the Deputy Senate President and Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha, who had indicated interest to contest the Speaker, House of Representatives. Addressing the media after the meeting that had in attendance APC governors, members of the NWC and Members-elect and 60 Senators-elect, the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the meeting was basically to firm up all the conversations and lobbies that have been going on and draw a specific conclusion. “We have all agreed as a caucus to endorse distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan as the APC candidate for the presidency of the Senate and Senator Omo-Agege as the Deputy Senate President and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker,” he said. PDP governors and leadership of the party met, yesterday, for a second time in four days on the elections of presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly. The governors with the leadership first met last Thursday, but failed to take a position on whom to support. PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, as well as the outgoing President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, Dogora Yakubu, were present at the meeting. A source said the meeting was to harmonise the party’s position before presenting it to PDP members in the National Assembly before the inauguration of the Assembly this morning. The meeting is under way as at the time of filing this report.

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Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away

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Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away

A man needed to have the end of his penis amputated after doctors spotted that it was rotting away during a routine check-up.

The 43-year-old patient, who hasn’t been named, was having dialysis treatment for kidney failure at a hospital near Adelaide, South Australia.

But during his examination, medics noticed that the end of his penis had turned white with black spots.

Surgeons quickly realised that it was gangrenous and the dead flesh needed to be sliced off urgently to prevent it from spreading, reports thesun.co.uk.

Rare disease

Writing in an article, published in BMJ Case Reports,medics explained that the man had developed a rare disease called penile calciphylaxis.

It’s a build up of calcium deposits in the small blood vessels, causing them to narrow and cut off circulation.

This can lead to the tissue dying and if it’s not caught quickly, it can cause gangrene which can spread quickly and is incurable.

Calciphylaxis can be caused by chronic kidney disease because the organs stop filtering the calcium out of the blood.

Lucky to be alive

In this case, the medics, led by Dr Rowan David, said that the man was lucky to have survived the condition, which kills around six in 10 patients.

He wrote: “The majority of patients who develop penile calciphylaxis progress to gangrene and sepsis”.

The patient was taken for an emergency operation to remove the rotting flesh but his wound got worse and he needed further surgery to remove the entire tip.

They managed to reconstruct it with a skin graft four days later but he was left with what they described as a “penile stump”.

Despite his ordeal, the man appeared to be doing well when he returned for his two-month check-up.

What is calciphylaxis?

Calciphylaxis is a rare, but serious, kidney complication.

The condition causes calcium to build up inside the blood vessels of the fat and skin.

Calciphylaxis is also called calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

It’s most often seen in people with advanced chronic kidney disease, or people with kidney failure who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

In dialysis, a machine filters and purifies the blood because the kidneys are unable to do so on their own.

Calciphylaxis results in the formation of very painful skin lesions. It often causes serious infections that can be fatal.

Symptoms of calciphylaxis include:

fatigue

weakness

cramps

depression

body aches

If you have any concerns, see a GP immediately.

Source: Healthline

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Indian rape victim dies in hospital after being set ablaze

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Indian rape victim dies in hospital after being set ablaze

A 23-year-old rape victim set on fire by a gang of men, which included her alleged rapist, has died in a New Delhi hospital, the doctor treating her said on Saturday.

The woman was on her way to board a train in Unnao district of northern Uttar Pradesh state to attend a court hearing over her rape when she was doused with kerosene and set on fire on Thursday, according to police.

She was airlifted to Delhi for treatment later that day, reports Reuters.

The attack, the second major case of violence against women in the past two weeks, has sparked public outrage in India.

The woman died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest, Dr. Shalabh Kumar, the head of burns and plastic department at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital told Reuters.

“She was having 95% percent burns,” he said, adding the woman’s wind pipe was burned and “toxic and hot fumes” had filled her lungs.

The woman had filed a complaint with Unnao police in March alleging that she had been raped at gun-point on December 12, 2018, police documents showed.

Having been subsequently jailed, the alleged rapist was released last week after securing bail, police officer S.K. Bhagat said in Lucknow.

On Thursday, the rape victim was seized by five men, beaten, stabbed and set on fire, local media reported citing her statement to police.

Still ablaze, she walked nearly a kilometer, seeking help before finally calling the police herself, according to Aaj Taj TV news channel.

The victim’s father alleged that their family was harassed and threatened by the family of the accused.

“They should be either hanged or shot dead,” he told India Today news channel.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and has become notorious for its poor record regarding crimes against women, with more than 4,200 cases of rape reported there in 2017 – the highest in the country.

On Friday, Indian police shot dead four men who were suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian near Hyderabad city, drawing applause from across the country angry over violence against women.

But many were also concerned that police had over reached in shooting the alleged suspects without any trial.

“What will it take (to end rapes)? Not the encounter of just the poor men who rape but swift arrest and certain punishment of all rapists, however powerful or closely related to the victim,” said Karuna Nundy, a lawyer practicing at India’s Supreme Court who was instrumental in shaping the country’s anti-rape laws in 2013.

“And that takes real change, it’s not as easy as passing a legal amendment to increase sentencing.”

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Soyinka, others flay DSS for invading court, re-arresting Sowore

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Soyinka, others flay DSS for invading court, re-arresting Sowore

 

 

Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday described the commando fashion, in which the Department of State Security (DSS) officials yesterday invaded a courtroom to re-arrest the convener of #Revolution- Now movement, Omoyele Sowore, as alarming and degrading of the nation’s judiciary even as Sowore’s counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), said it was “horrendous, bizarre, and barbaric contempt of court” never experienced under “even the most brutal of past dictators that have ever ruled Nigeria.” He added: “Under the military regime, the so-called enemies of the government would not be arrested in the web of the court which is considered a sanctuary.

 

“The military regimes would always show some respect for the court and would only arrest after the person left the court premises. What we have witnessed today is alien to Nigeria.”

 

At a meeting which Justice Ojukwu called to be held in her chambers along with the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), the judge “expressed dismay” over the development as she recounted that “she was made to flee her court”. The invasion, which paralysed judicial activities in the court, was like a scene from a war movie as armed DSS operatives cocked their guns to re-arrest Sowore just after the judge had adjourned his trial till February 2020.

 

Sowore and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare, who are being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony following their call for the #RevolutionNow protests across Nigeria, were earlier released from a four-month custody after the court issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the DSS for their release. The judge had adjourned till Friday for a report of compliance with his fresh order for the release of the two men.

 

At the close of yesterday’s proceedings, Sowore and Bakare were leaving the courtroom and the judge was already attending to another case when about 15 armed DSS operatives who, appeared to have laid ambush for them, made to arrest both men.

 

The move forced Sowore and Bakare to make a dash for the courtroom but Sowore was quickly held by an operative as a struggle ensued. Sowore, who managed to free himself, ran back into the court with the invading operatives cocking their guns as they went after him.

 

The development disrupted the ongoing proceedings at Justice Ojukwu’s court, forcing the judge to quickly flee the court and call off the day’s proceedings. Sowore, along with some of his supporters, was able to resist the arrest for a while as he continued to raise the alarm that the DSS’ moves were aimed at eliminating him.

 

After emerged from the meeting with the judge, Falana offered to drive his client to the DSS headquarters in Abuja, an arrangement to which the operatives agreed as they positioned their vehicles in front and behind Falana’s car as the convoy headed to the DSS headquarters. Falana later briefed journalists that said on reaching their office, DSS officers refused ti let him meet Sowore as he was asked to come back later.

 

In a related development, a group of protesters under the aegis of Guardian of Democracy Initiative, on Friday, stormed the premises of the Federal High Court, venue of the ongoing trial of #RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore. The protesters, who booed at Sowore upon his arrival in court, demanded for the prosecution of the former presidential candidate as they displayed placards and chanted anti-revolution now songs.

 

They demanded that Sowore must be prosecuted for trying to destabilise the peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.

 

Addressing newsmen at the court premises, the leader of the group, Danesi Momoh, declared support for the move by DSS to arrest Sowore and members of his group. Momoh said that they were in court to support the Nigeria constitution, stressing that Sowore must not be allowed to trigger any form of insecurity in Nigeria and cautioning that the only constitutional means of removing a government or taking over power was through the ballot box and not through a revolution.

 

On his part, Olayemi Success of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations said that the protest was a peaceful one to demand the speedy prosecution of Sowore, saying there was every need to protect Nigeria from actions capable of destabilising it to ensure that peace and developments continue to thrive. Soyinka in a statement he personally signed and made available to Saturday Telegraph, reiterated the “nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm.”

 

He called on President Mohammadu Buhari to “rein in your wild dogs of disobedience.”

 

The statement titled “LESSONS FROM THE AFRICAN WILD DOG (Lycaeon Pictus)” reads in part: “Only yesterday, in my commentary on the ongoing Sowore saga, I pointed out the near perfect similarity between plain crude thuggery and the current rage of court disobedience. Little did I suspect that the state children of disobedience would aspire to the level of the African wild dogs on a pack hunt. “I apologise for underestimating the DSS capacity for the unthinkable.

 

I reiterate the nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm. “May I remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience, and that disobedience of the orders of the constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration – the judiciary – can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognised and accepted as – civil disobedience.

 

“It is so obvious – state disobedience leads eventually to civil disobedience, piecemeal or through a collective withdrawal of recognition of other structures of authority. That way leads to chaos but – who set it in motion? As is often the case, the state, unquestionably. Such a state bears full responsibility for the ensuing social condition known as anomie.” According to Soyinka, “It has become imperative and urgent to send this message to President-General Buhari: Rein in your wild dogs of disobedience.

 

And for a start, get a trainer to teach them some basic court manners!” Okei-Odumakin: Nigeria beyond redemption The President of Centre for Change, Dr. Joe Okei- Odumakin, has condemned the decision of the Department of State Services (DSS) to re-arrest the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, less than 24 hours after he was granted bail. Okei-Odumakin in a statement issued yesterday, shortly after DSS invaded the Federal High court where So- wore was being tried and rearrested him, said any society that tolerates thuggish disposition of its security forces is lost beyond redemption.

 

The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to the brazen and barbaric invasion of the Federal High court where Sowore was being tried. “The gangsteric conduct of the men said to be DSS operatives, who led to the chasing away of the presiding judge, harassment of lawyers, journalists and manhandling of Sowore was a crude assault on the hallowed seat of justice and further desecration of our judiciary. “Any society that tolerates this thuggish disposition of its security forces is lost beyond redemption.

 

The only way the government can attempt to prove it does not sanction this bestial conduct is to fish out those responsible for this barbaric conduct and ensure the rule of law is followed in the case of Sowore.”

 

Affront to rule of law, judicial independence – CACOL The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has taken a swipe at the Directorate of State Security (DSS), for rearresting Omoyele Sowore and Adebayo Bakare, aka, Mandate, inside the court premises on Friday. Both men have been standing trial for treasonable felony with the hashtag #RevolutionNow. In a statement issued yesterday by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL called on security apparatus of the state to be more circumspect and mindful of democratic requirements under a civil government.

 

“From the video clip of the unfortunate incident at the court earlier today (Friday), it was clear that had it not been for the timely and courteous intervention of some journalists and legal practitioners, including his lawyer, Barr. Femi Falana (SAN), who later cautioned on the implications of the DSS’ insistence to desecrate the known tenets and ethos of democratic practice, by forcefully getting hold and whisking the duo away from the court premises, one could not imagine the dimension of wanton violence and probable loss of lives that could have taken place even in the full glare of national and international media.

 

“Apparently, this is not the kind of compliments any responsible and worthy security agency should attract for itself and the country’s leadership even under a dictatorship. “As a responsible civil society organisation, we reiterate our calls for the security apparatus of the state to be more circumspect and mindful of democratic requirements under a civil government so as not to scare foreigners away, thereby jeopardise our investment portfolio or precipitate breakdown of law and order in a way that the sovereignty and survival of the nation itself becomes threatened.”

 

While calling for the unconditional release of the men, CACOL further stated: “Even if the DSS has any cause to file fresh or additional charges against the accused, either before same judge or other court of competent jurisdiction, this would have been done in cognizance of known procedures that would not precipitate contravention of law and order. “We therefore, call for immediate and unconditional release of same accused since nothing has shown them to be any cogent threat to the continued survival and peaceful coexistence of the Nigerian nation, while issues of perennial conflicts are objectively looked into for the nation to take its rightful place amongst comity of nations.”

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Our members attacked Amaechi in Spain –IPOB

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Our members attacked Amaechi in Spain –IPOB

IPOB acclaims attack

 

 

The Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB), has claimed that the members were responsible for the attack in Madrid, Spain on the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi. A a report by Thecable, online news portal, the spokeperson for the group, Emma Powerful, confirmed that the attack, which the minister said was by hoodlums, was actually carried out by their members in Spain.

 

Amaechi had yesterday made the attack on his person known himself on his Twitter handle when he confirmed the attack, which was akin to that of the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany.

 

Amaechi tweeted: “Some minutes ago, I was attacked by a few misguided Nigerians while on national assignment at a climate change event in Madrid, Spain. They were quickly repelled by the Spanish police before they could do any harm. I am fine. I was not hurt.

 

Thanks for your support and prayers.” At the time, Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader, described the attack as targeting “those engaged in selling (Igbo) collective interest to Fulani caliphate”.

 

 

Kanu left the country after security agencies stormed his father’s house in Abia state during a military exercise. He had been granted bail in the course of his trial before an Abuja court, but the judge revoked the bail after he failed to show up in court. According to Thecable, an online news portal, the spokesperson for the Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB), Emma Powerful, confirmed that the attack, which the minister said was by hoodlums, was actually carried out by their members in Spain.

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Makinde jokingly jabs Ajimobi in LAUTECH address in video

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Makinde jokingly jabs Ajimobi in LAUTECH address in video

The hardworking Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, explored his soft side days ago during an interaction with students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) during a recent visit. The governor, who continues to resonate with the people through his visionary style of governance and purposeful leadership, was laying out his action plan to the students which he said would be the panacea for the lingering crisis of the university.

 

As he spoke, a few students here and there interrupted him, like they did to immediate past governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi in a viral video a few years ago. But unlike Ajimobi, who delivered his now famous “Constituted Authority” “Are you a student too?” “What course are you doing?” and “Bring that boy for me” among others, Makinde simply, jokingly said: “All these things you people are doing, can you do them in front of Constituted Authority?” It led to an eruption of laughter as the students, lecturers and other stakeholders of the university cheered him.

 

In tweets accompanying the event, Governor Makinde wrote: “We visited the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH), this morning to meet with all stakeholders, in order to resolve the current crisis which resulted in strike action by staff on November 18, 2019.”

 

In another, he said: “I assured them Oyo State would intervene in the current crisis so studies can resume, if the various staff unions reach an agreement on how to utilise the intervention fund. However, I told them we need their support to implement a lasting solution to the university’s challenges.”

 

Finally, he noted: “We believe our proposal for sole ownership for LAUTECH is the solution the university needs. I reiterated that this was not a rejection of Osun State people as our brothers and sisters but a pragmatic solution, as Oyo State is financially prepared to shoulder the responsibility.”

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Experts: Early passage of 2020 budget’ll boost economy

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Experts: Early passage of 2020 budget’ll boost economy

Following Federal Government’s return to January –December budget calendar with the 2020 version, economic and financial analysts have declared that the early passage will add value to the economy and also lead to some measure of buoyancy. In their separate submissions to our correspondent’s inquiry, they agreed that the early passage would also allow proper implementation of project distributions.

 

After years of futile attempts to return the country’s budget circle to a predictable and structured January to December budget calendar, the jinx was broken Thursday with the passage of 2020 N10.59 trillion budget by the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the Senate. President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8, laid the N10.33 trillion 2020 ‘’Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation” before a joint session of the parliament.

The budget was laid at record time before members of the 9th National Assembly, who pledged to work with the executive arm to pass the budget by December. Reflecting on the enormous advantage of January to December calendar, Task Team Leading Consultant for World Bank, Prof. Ken Ife, said the economy would reap positively from the January to December budget circle.

 

He said: “it is a very remarkable achievement for both parties- executive and the legislature. It’s also very important for private sector to syncronise with government spending pattern. It’s also to the advantage of development assistance. Almost two per cent of our GDP comes as development assistance. Most of them function in the same horizon. “In terms of capital releases, it makes sense to release money on time for projects. They have to be released and spent within a particular calendar year. From our previous experiences, projects were delayed because the whole arrangements didn’t sync.”

 

He added that Nigeria’s budget now rooted in January- December calendar, going forward, would impact positively on the economy, noting that it would give private sector players sense of predictability. On his part, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, advised the Federal Government to expand its revenue sources in order to raise adequate revenue to finance the budget

 

He said government should free itself from funding numerous programmes, saying that would reduce the need for borrowing and the demand for funds to pay back and service debts. “Generally, our revenue projections have severally missed the mark over the years.

 

The projections and forecasts suffer from lack of realism. In 2016, revenue projections fell short by 23 per cent; in 2017, it fell short by 47.73 per cent and in 2018 by 45 per cent. This indicates that overall, a good part of our revenue projections has not been based on empirical evidence. “Further, if projected revenue in 2018 was N7.1 trillion and we missed the mark by 45 per cent and have also missed the mark by 30 per cent in the half year of 2019, the further increase in projected revenue to N8.15tn in 2020 seems to be hanging in the air,” he said. The 2020 Appropriation Bill, officially laid was passed into law after a clause by clause consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

 

The Senate specifically approved N10.59 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. The breakdown shows that N560,470,827,235 for statutory transfers, N2,725,498,930,000 for Debt Service; N4,842,974,600,640 for Recurrent (Non- Debt) Expenditure; and N2,465,418,006,955 for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on December 31, 2020. The budget has a fiscal deficit of N2.2 trillion and Deficit/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.52 per cent. Also reacting, a former Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who started the pursuit of January to December budget calendar, lauded the new era of budget calendar.

 

Udoma started the campaign for the return to the January to December budget cycle. He consistently blamed the inability to achieve more strategic fiscal cycle on the frosty relationship between the two arms of government; but he was hopeful that the present administration would still achieve it once the leadership of the National Assembly is convinced and aligned with the Executive.

 

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Akpandem James, he regretted that the administration was unable to achieve it in the first four years because of the friction between the two arms of government. He had predicted that “in Mr. President’s second term we might have a situation where the Executive and the leadership of the National Assembly are much more aligned. This will help not only to achieve a return to the January to December fiscal year, but to have a much smoother budget process.”

 

In order to achieve a return to the January 1 commencement date, Senator Udoma indicated that the budget must ideally be delivered to the National Assembly by September. “But when you are operating a budget which commenced only in June or July, by September you would have had no idea how the existing budget is likely to perform. “Indeed, given the procurement process, for a budget which starts running in June or July, there might have been little or no capital releases by September.

 

The only way to return to a January to December fiscal year, under those circumstances, is for there to be agreement between the Executive and the National Assembly to produce a budget on the basis of significant assumptions.” The former minister was delighted that the alignment between the 9th Assembly (in its first budget outing) with the Executive was poised to return the country to the January to December calendar

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Orifite killings: Youths flee homes as JTF storms community

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Orifite killings: Youths flee homes as JTF storms community

Orifite community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State has become a ghost town following the fleeing of youths and some villagers in the area since the deployment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) made up of the police and soldiers. It would be recalled that two masquerade cult groups had been at war over who heads the traditional leadership of the community’s masquerade organisation which led to the clash by both rival groups of Otu Eke and Out- Afor respectively. The clash led to the invitation of the rival groups by the Anambra State police command. But one of the groups, Otu-Eke, led by the lawyer of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOP) Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor refused to honour the invitation. It was the refusal of the Out-Eke masquerade cult to honour the invitation that led to the police embarking on the arrest of the group who are also members of IPOB.

 

It was this that led to the killing and burning of the Area Commander Ichi town and the officerin- charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Orifite, Abbey Oliver and Joseph Akubo by suspected youths of the masquerade cult.

 

When this reporter visited the town youths in the area have taken flight for fear of being arrested by the Joint Security Task Force. Some villagers who are scared of being arrested fled also. Everistus Nwosu, a trader told Saturday Telegraph that: “The Police and army people are so many and the way they are operating in our community shows that innocent people would be at the receiving end in the aftermath of these killings.

 

“So you cannot expect youths in our town to be walking about the town freely without the police trying something funny and it may lead to another clash between the boys and the security task force.”

 

 

Mrs. Ngozika Izuchukwu a teacher told Saturday Telegraph that there have been reports of harassment by some policemen of the villagers. She said: “I don’t know how true it is but people have been complaining of harassment by security men who claim that they are searching for the boys that killed the OC SARS and the Area Commander. So everybody is afraid of the security men and our town is under tension.” Currently, over 80 policemen and soldiers are already in charge of security formations and major flash points of crime in the community.

 

According to the President General of Orifite Improvement Union (OIU) Sir Sunny Igboanuzue, “You know that we have banned all masquerade groups in our town because of this incident and the presence of security men here is to maintain law and order and we have not experienced any problem between the community and the security men. “People should remain calm and go about their lawful duties because we are also here to settle whatever fallout that may arise.” According to the public relations officer of the command in Anambra State Mr Mohammed Haruna who spoke to Saturday Telegraph there are no proofs of any act of harassment by policemen.

 

He further stated that such allegations should be put in writing by the affected villagers and forwarded to the office of the Commissioner of police for necessary action. Haruna also stated that the prime suspect in connection with the killing of the OC SARS and the Area Command for Ekwusigo is still at large and that the command is continuing the hunt for him and his cohorts. But Haruna contended that the officers and men deployed in the community were given express order to maintain law and order in the area and that anyone saying something contrary is only trying to deceive the public.

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EFCC raids illegal microfinance bank in Sokoto

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EFCC raids illegal microfinance bank in Sokoto

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Sokoto Zonal Office, has apprehended a 27-year-old girl, operating an illegal bank, Olive Microfinance Bank, in Sokoto, the state capital city. The EFCC zonal Head, Abdullahi Lawal, stated this while briefing newsmen in Sokoto yesterday.

 

He said that the suspect had collected N897, 500.00 from 108 victims. He said the operatives of the commission raided the office and premises of the bank located at No.26 Dubabe Plaza, opposite Asibi, Eastern Bye Pass Road, Tamaje area, Sokoto, following a tip off by a well – meaning Nigerian on December 4.

 

The EFCC Zonal head further explained that one, Amina Kabo popularly known as Fauziyya Kabo, an indigene of Bali, Taraba State, who was the manager of the bank was arrested alongside three others whom she recruited as stated. According to him, the three employees are Mariam Usman, Abdullahman Lawali and Shehu Ibrahim.

 

Lawal said several incriminating items including a cash amounting to N533, 805.00 and additional N49, 505.00 were recovered. He explained that the suspects were alleged to have been collecting money ranging between N5000 and N10000 from their unspecting victims under the guise of opening accounts for them, with a view to granting them loans.

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Buhari wants process for land ownership in states simplified

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Buhari wants process for land ownership in states simplified

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to state governments to simplify the process of land ownership. The President said this will enable more Nigerians access bank facilities for affordable homes. Buhari made this call on Friday while receiving the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) led by the chairman, Dr. Uche Olowu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

 

The President expressed concern over some of the challenges being faced by Nigerians, such as land and other collateral related issues, hindering the banking industry’s ability to lend to the real sector.

 

“As a government, we are also facing such challenges as part of our various affordable housing programmes. But I am urging state governments to assist by simplifying and rationalising land matters,” he said.

 

Commending the banking industry for increasing their lending in key job-creating areas such as agriculture in the last four years, the President welcomed their collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in this regard, noting that the partnership had been a “key anchor” to the food security programme of his administration. “We can only feed ourselves by deploying capital in the right areas. I implore the banking community to keep this trend up,” he said.

 

Affirming that the banking sector is critical to the economic development of any society, President Buhari said he is proud that Nigeria has the most vibrant, creative and innovative banking sector in Africa. “Nigerian bankers have not only proved themselves in Nigeria alone but across the entire continent and in other parts of the world.

 

“I am proud when I visit African countries and see posters or branches of Nige- rian banks. I will ask all your members to continue to be great ambassadors of Nigeria as you expand within Africa and beyond, “the President said. In his remarks, Olowu expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the plethora of interventions to drive inclusive growth in the country, through initiatives such as Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and diligent progress in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, among others.

 

The chairman declared the institute’s support for the current policy by the Federal Government to close Nigeria’s land borders. He said the policy would protect and promote Madein- Nigeria products as well as prevent the country from being used as a dumpsite for substandard products and other illicit cross border activities. The institute’s chairman also raised topical issues affecting the Nigerian economy especially the banking sector.

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Sanwo-Olu kicks off Badagry Heritage Festival

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Sanwo-Olu kicks off Badagry Heritage Festival

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday kicked off the Badagry Heritage Festival with a Symposium themed ‘Harnessing Badagry’s Tourism Potential for a greater Lagos’.

 

The three-day festival involving 10 local government and council areas in Badagry axis, will also involve a water regatta to be held today along with family picnic tomorrow in the ancient town.

 

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Tourism, Art &Culture, Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu, said the festival was aimed at promoting tourism potential in Badagry division for a greater Lagos.

 

“Before, Badagry used to be one local government, which is from Seme and Ajegunle and is one but the vision to foster unity, especially because of the tourism potential, we were brought together.

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