arely two months after his inauguration for a second term, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, forwarded a list of 43 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
This is as the Senate resolved to commence screening of the nominees today just as it suspended relevant sections of its Standing Orders, to enable the lawmakers to sit on Friday this week and Monday next week, with a view to completing the assignment in one week.
The apex legislative chamber also resolved to postpone its recess by one week, in order to finish the ministerial screening. The Senate would have embarked on its annual recess at the end of this week, a holiday which usually lasts six or seven weeks.
The new cabinet is unique in many respects. It has nine former governors and 14 former ministers who had served the nation at different times.
It is the largest cabinet since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule having 43 nominees.
In previous dispensations, the cabinet usually consisted of 42 members made up of one nominee from each of the 36 states and an additional one nominee from each of the six geo-political zones in the country.
The current cabinet is also unique in the sense that the North-West region, which has seven states – Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara – and should have had a maximum of eight ministerial slots, now has nine.
Similarly, there are seven female ministers which appear to be a response to recent agitations for more gender sensitivity and inclusiveness in the governance system.
Top on the list of nominees were the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi; former Governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume; former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige.
Also nominated into the new cabinet were former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva.
The appointment of Akpabio and Akume, who served in the Eighth Senate, is seen largely as a reward for their unflinching support for their party.
The two former lawmakers were believed to have lost their return bids to the Senate in the 2019 general election as a result of their ardent support for President Buhari, a situation that pitched them against their constituents.
The 14 former ministers who served in the last cabinet and have been re-nominated as ministers include: Ngige (Labour and Employment), Onu (Science and Technology), Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Hadi Sirika (Aviation), Ameachi (Transport), Abubakar Malami (Justice) and Adamu Adamu (Education).
Other returning cabinet members are: Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Fashola (Works, Power and Housing), Muahammad Bello (FCT), Zainab Ahmed (Finance), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Power and Housing, State), Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources), and Osagie Ehanire (Health, State).
The seven women that made the list are: Maryam Katagum (Bauchi), Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra), Ahmed (Kaduna), Ramatu Tijani (Kogi), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Pauline Tallen (Plateau) and Sadiya Umar Farouk (Zamfara).
Other ministerial nominees are: Uche Ogar (Abia); Godie Jerry Agba (Cross River); Festus Keyamo (Delta), Clement Agba (Edo); Ali Pantami (Gombe), and Emeka Nwajuba (Imo).
Nwajuba is currently serving as a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Accord Party.
Also on the ministerial list are: Sulaiman Adamu (Jigawa); Dr. Muhammad Mahmud (Kaduna); Sabo Nanono (Kano); Maj.-Gen. Bashir Saleh (Kano).
Other are: Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamowora (Lagos); Zubairu Dada (Niger); Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo); Sunday Dare (Oyo);, Mohammed Maigeri Dengaji (Sokoto), Saleh Momoh (Taraba); and Abubakar D Aliyu (Yobe).
Meanwhile, former Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the immediate past Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, were conspicuously missing from the list.
Again, the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was highly expected by many Lagosians to make the list, was also not nominated.
“Why do you expect Ambode to be in the list; has he finished serving his punishment? Don’t you know that he is under punishment for disobeying the National Leader of the ruling party? Abeg, leave Ambode out of this matter and let us discuss another thing.
“You want to tell me that you don’t know that there are people who determine what happens in this country? Remember that “Otoge” has not taken place in Lagos as it happened in Kwara; and until it happens, Nigerians will still be at the mercy of the whims and caprices of a few who think that Nigeria and Nigerians are in their pockets,” a highly disappointed observer sarcastically expressed.
In his remarks after presenting the list to his colleagues, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said that the screening of the nominees would commence today.
Most of the senators had earlier expressed willingness to get the ministerial nominees screened before embarking on their annual recess, which is usually between six and seven weeks.
This led to several speculations and miscalculations in media reportage, trying to predict the time of presentation of the list to the apex legislative Chamber by Buhari.
Briefing journalists after plenary, the spokesman for the Senate, Dayo Adeyeye, disclosed the resolution of the Senate to suspend its recess by one week, and also to hold plenary sessions on Friday this week and Monday next week.
His words: “The Senate is going to do the confirmation hearings without delay. Consequently, the Senate has decided to alter its timetable. To this effect, plenary will hold on Friday this week and Monday next week.
“We have decided to make a lot of sacrifices to make sure the ministerial nominees are screened before we go on recess. We will work in unusual hours. We are going to work until we are tired on Friday. We will sit till late, to ensure that we conclude the confirmation next week.”
Adeyeye also said that the Senate would drop anybody who did not perform up to the expectation of the lawmakers, expressing doubts however, if any nominee would not perform well, considering the credentials of the nominees.
FIRS: PDP wants probe of revenue collections since 2015
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the National Assembly to hold a public hearing into revenue collections in the country by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) in the last four years.
The party also told the lawmakers to take urgent steps to recover the alleged stolen funds and channel such to projects that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians.
PDP, in a statement Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said variance in the remission of taxes by the FIRS further confirmed its stance that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government is neck-deep in corruption and looting of the nation’s treasury.
The party added that the discoveries have vindicated it of alleged underhand dealings and frittering of monies collected as taxes in the last four years.
According to the statement, Nigerians were not deceived by the desperation by agents of the presidency to cover its complicity by seeking the sack of the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler.
It noted that a critical study of the leaked correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, to the FIRS Chairman at the wake of the revelations of financial discrepancies, betrayed the alleged complicity of the cabal in the presidency.
Insecurity: DSS moves to check nuclear threats
The Department of State Services (DSS), has begun moves to frustrate the use of nuclear technology for malicious purposes by non-state actors in the country.
According to the secret service, unless urgent steps were taken in that direction, terrorists, kidnappers, separatist agitators and other elements have the tendency to recruit students, workers in public and private sectors, to undermine the security of the country, using the available nuclear materials.
Conmandant of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Mr. Ayodele Adeleke, made the disclosure Monday at a workshop in Abuja.
Adeleke said the choice of participants from the military, security, intelligence, para-military as well as ministries and agencies of government, was a deliberate decision to imbue them with expertise in insider-risk reduction among others.
The workshop, which was organised by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, in collaboration with the NISS and other partners, had the theme, “human reliability implementation”.
Alleged extortion: Joint enforcement team arrests 42 FRSC officials, agents – ICPC
Thirty seven officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and five of their suspected agents, have been arrested for alleged extortion of motorists in parts of the country.
The officials were arrested by a joint inter-agency team comprising the ICPC, FRSC ans well as the Department of State Services (DSS), operating in Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun states.
Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who made the disclosure in a statement Monday, said the joint team was established following complaint of extortion made by FRSC’s management against officials.
“A Joint Inter-Agency Team led by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arrested 37 officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for allegedly extorting money from motorists on Nigerian highways.
“The Team, comprising officials of ICPC, FRSC and the Department of State Services (DSS) also arrested five persons said to be agents of the corps officials in a sting operation carried out simultaneously in the six geo-political zones.
“The Team struck on Friday 16th August, 2019, following the receipt of a complaint from the management of the Corps of massive extortion of money from motorists on the highways by its patrol teams.
“The FRSC management had, in the complaint to the Commission, observed that incidents of extortion were rife in the six states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun.
“Based on this, the ICPC-led Team went into action and identified the notorious spots in each of the aforementioned states to include Aba in Abia State; Ahoada, Ajaokuta, Itori, Torro and Gwantu in Rivers, Kogi, Ogun, Bauchi and Kaduna States respectively,” Okoduwa said.
Police seal off Lagos venue where Soyinka, Falana, others to speak on insecurity
The police on Monday sealed off the venue of a symposium where Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana (SAN) and other speakers where to address the state of insecurity in the country.
The programme organised by a group known as Coalition for Revolution (CORE) was billed to hold at 46, Ibijoke street, Oluyole Bus-stop, Oregun, Lagos.
It has as its theme: “Democracy, State Repression and the State of insecurity in Nigeria”.
However, when New Telegraph showed up at the venue, police vans were seen at strategic locations around the venue preventing people from entering.
Falana, who is present at the venue, has been seen discussing with the policemen, ostensibly to find out why they are being prevented from holding the programme.
Ekweremadu: Kalu debunks shelving medical check-up in Germany
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Kalu, has described as unfounded, social media reports that he suspended his planned medical check-up to Germany because of what happened to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu.
Kalu disclosed this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Only recently the former deputy senate president was physically assaulted in Germany at the weekend by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Ekweremadu was invited as a speaker/special guest of honour at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Nuremberg, Germany.
Kalu said that since the Senate commenced its recess, he has been in his country home, interacting with his constituents.
“I have been in my country home interacting with the people and settling disputes. The news that I suspended by planned medical check-up in Germany was not true.
“I was invited by Igbo group in Spain to attend their function, I could not go because of the interaction with my constituents.’’
Kalu had described the action of the IPOB members as uncivilised, unacceptable and barbaric.
The former Abia governor urged Igbo people to respect their leaders at all levels.
He noted that the only way the South-East zone can be prosperous was by embracing dialogue, peace and unity.
Kalu also urged the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany, the German Government and appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators of the ugly incident to book.
He said: “After watching a viral video of the physical attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweramadu, I was not only disappointed, but irritated and disturbed with the action of some members of IPOB.
“The assault on the senator is a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of age, party affiliation and religion.
“The perpetrators of the uncivilised act must face the wrath of the law.
“Sen. Ekweramadu is not only one of the Igbo leaders, but also a prominent Nigerian and as such should be accorded due respect by all and sundry at home and abroad.
“For the South-East to move forward, the people of the zone must embrace dialogue as a way of resolving pertinent issues and eschew violence.”
Kalu appealed to Igbo people across the globe to be law-abiding and good ambassadors of Nigeria.
Sudan’s ousted President Bashir in court for corruption trial
Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in court in the capital, Khartoum, for his trial on corruption charges.
There’s heavy security around the courthouse.
After he was ousted in April, millions of dollars in cash were allegedly seized from his house.
Bashir’s trial opened last month, but had to be postponed following the death of his mother, reports the BBC.
Police, soldiers deploy in Zimbabwe as opposition challenges protest ban
Soldiers and police deployed in large numbers in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo on Monday to enforce a ban on an anti-government demonstration, as the country’s main opposition party sought to overturn that decision in court.
The street protest was the second called in four days by the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC), which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement.
Authorities had also banned Friday’s gathering in Harare, intended as the launch event of a nationwide protest movement. The MDC called it off, saying it aimed to avert bloodshed after police there rounded up its followers and dispersed them with batons and water cannon.
In a similar show of force in Bulawayo, an MDC heartland, authorities prohibited the march on Sunday and on Monday sent soldiers in trucks into the centre of the city and nearby townships, bolstering police who patrolled on foot and lorries, witnesses said.
Businesses remained open and residents circulated as normal in the city, however.
David Coltart, an MDC senator from Bulawayo and lawyer, called the ban “clearly unconstitutional and unjust”, and told Reuters the party had lodged a court appeal that city magistrates would hear on Monday morning.
The MDC protest movement is rooted in Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis in a decade, and viewed as a test of Mnangagwa’s willingness to tolerate dissent in a country tainted by a long history of repression under Robert Mugabe, its ruler for nearly 40 years.
Anger is mounting over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread – bringing back memories of the hyperinflation of a decade ago that forced Zimbabwe to ditch its currency, reports Reuters.
APC: Attackers of Ekweremadu are irresponsible elements
… Says they were supported by PDP
Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the attackers of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as “irresponsible elements” being supported by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the ruling APC, the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who attacked Senator Ekweremedu on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany, had been supported by PDP against the ruling party.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party called on all to condemn activities of criminals everywhere and at whatever form.
APC condemning the attacks on the former Deputy Senate President, said: “Those involved in the despicable actions and the organisation they represent are unworthy in character. No Nigerian should be assaulted in the manner Senator Ekweremadu was. It is an indecent action and it is below the acceptable standard of behaviour expected of our citizens whether in Nigeria or abroad.
“It is, however, regrettable that some of the people and organisations who had offered these irresponsible elements open support in the past are raising their voices now. It would be recalled that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leaders chose to play politics over a matter that called for collective patriotic actions when IPOB raised a terror group in the South East. It is clear that PDP and its other short-sighted co-travellers who were the main cheerleaders of IPOB owe this country an apology. IPOB hid under regional identity to perpetrate criminality having recruited some misguided elements and miscreants.”
Speaking on the opposition political party, APC said: “Are we surprised by the PDP’s hypocritical reaction to the unfortunate attack on Senator Ekweremadu? No! The PDP and their leaders have acted true to type. This is what happens when politicians become myopic and allow narrow sentiments becloud their sense of judgement.”
Calling on all Nigerians to be responsive to security issues, the APC said: “We all have a responsibility to collectively rise against evil wherever we find it and in whatever guise it appears. We hope lessons have been learnt from this unfortunate incident.”
Ohanaeze youths warn IPOB against attack on Igbo leaders
hanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday warned members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against further attack on Igbo leaders.
The group was reacting to attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by IPOB in Germany at the weekend.
Ohanaeze youths condemned the attack and urged IPOB to stop assaulting Igbo leaders.
In a statement issued in by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, the Igbo youths said Ekweremadu’s attack was contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all.
It reads: “We condemned vehemently the introduction of mob action against Igbo leaders, as this is a wrong precedence that should be condemned. We believe that there are likely more targeted Igbo leaders on their lists, who may face the consequences of failed leadership in the South-East but Ekweremadu’s assault is contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all stakeholders.
“From intelligence report, Revolution has begun in Igbo land, Igbo leaders should be careful, they are no longer safe across the globe, this assault on Ekweremadu was to test run on what is likely to happen to other marked leaders, if this ugly trend remained unchecked, it will be bring doom to Igbo leadership.
“We call for cease fire on violence against Igbo leaders, but urge that South-East political leaders to find a means to make peace with between all the stakeholders in the South East, especially the youths and agitators.”
Crisis rocks Ondo community over upgrade of monarch
major crisis broke out at the weekend in the oil-rich Aboto in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo State over the upgrade of Chief Behiah Idiogbe as Alaboto of Aboto by the state government.
Sources in the town said there was a breakdown of law and order in Aboto community following the upgrade of Idiogbe from being chief to the status of the monarch of the coastal community.
The source said youths in the community who have been protesting the upgrade of Idiogbe who they alleged is not from that community to the status of a monarch threatening to blow up the bridge linking the community to other parts of the state if the decision is not reversed by the government.
The State Executive Council had effected the upgrading of Chief Beniah Adeola Idiogbe from Oloja of Aboto to the position of Alaboto of Aboto in Ilaje local government area of the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo said the request for the upgrade had been approved by the State Executive Council 12 years ago, adding that the present government came in and decided to effect the upgrade.
This announcement, sources in the community said had led to the burning of houses and government projects.
The lawyer to Aboto community, Prince Idowu Mafimisebi who confirmed the crisis in the community said the former administration of late Olusegun Agagu in 2007 erroneously announced the approval of Idiogbe as the Alaboto which led to a bloody crisis leading to the death of some persons and razing of many houses in the community.
The lawyer alleged that many indigenes of the town have fled the town for safety since Thursday when the announcement was made by the government.
The statement appealed to the state government to call its foot soldiers to order and allow peace to reign in Aboto community.
Mafimisebi said Agagu’s administration immediately reversed the decision then having discovered it was wrongful. He said the community already has an approved monarch who was selected by the kingmakers.
The statement by Aboto community read ” It is an anathema that a government led by a SAN had to toe the line of a wrongful decision of a previous government made 12 years ago which was reversed consequently after the loss of lives and properties.
“Although correspondences have been sent to the present government through a letter dated July 8 and another one on August 14 to the effect that selection has been done for our client, while the commissioner for local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney-General and Ilaje local government chairman affirmed that the selection of Prince Oyetayo Ofoaye was done in accordance with the Chieftaincy law of Ondo State.
“The Amapetu of Mahin who has been restrained by Ilaje District Council and a court of competent jurisdiction since 1957 from meddling with Aboto land not being a community under him cannot make a person an Oloja over such a community, and it is, therefore, impossible to upgrade a person made an Oloja through an incompetent authority”.
However, Ojogo insisted that Alaboto’s elevation had been approved almost 12 years ago, emphasizing that some encumbrances had delayed the pronouncement.
Ojogo said” The process is what we met on ground and government felt justice must be served. It is not a fresh process; state executive council gave approval for Alaboto’s elevation since 2007, but was not effected by the previous administration”.
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