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N70billion NASS funds: Falana, others taking nonsense, Senate fumes *We need our comfort



The Senate has said that there was no padding of the supplementary budget, saying it was not prepared to join issues with those it described as some misguided and mischief makers on the recently appropriated N70bn for the National Assembly which they have mischievously described as a “gift” from the Executive arm of government.

In a statement Sunday in Abuja by the Chairman,, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, the Senate also said that the passage of the Supplementary Appropriation Act was part of the constitutional duties of the Senate to accommodate funding for the Federal Government’s Palliative for the Nigerian public among other National demands.

The statement read: “After the passage of the Supplementary Budget to accommodate funding for Federal Government’ Palliative for the Nigerian public, among other urgent national demands, the socio-political space has been inundated with spurious, inaccurate and irreverent misinterpretations.

“Suffice to say that the passage is part of the absolute constitutional duty of the Senate. We would therefore, not wish to join issues with the mischief and misrepresentation that a portion of the just passed Amendment Act that appropriated 70b Naira was a ‘gift’ to the Legislators.

“A visit to the Suites, offices and the general structures of the National Assembly complex would reveal a yawning and the need for exigent attention. Many Senators had to bring their chairs, tables and electronics and in many cases, do sundry repairs.

“The so much debated allocation will not be paid to any Legislator. This will be managed by the National Assembly Bureaucracy. It’s pertinent to also note that the National Assembly complex does not house only the Legislators. There are thousands of workers and service providers, whose working environment need a face-lift, and/with necessary tools.

“Since the Assembly Complex is not owned by Legislators who are merely political birds of passage, such allocation cannot be termed by anyone as a palliative to the Legislators. The alleged padding of the palliatve Budget by the National Assembly only exists in the minds of those who are all out to discredit the 10th Assembly. There is nothing like padding as being alleged in some misinformed media outfits.

“We wish to urge fellow compatriots to see the National Assembly as partners in the progress of Nigeria.The National Assembly is the soul of democracy and the 10th Senate shall join hands with other arms of government and our forward looking Nigerians to sing new songs of progress, development, safety and all round economic recovery and growth.

Adaramodu had said, immediately after the approvals that: “Yes, the other issue which the Senate treated is the issue of N500 billion palliatives which the President asked for in order to cushion the negative effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the common Nigerians. Definitely, that may not be enough because there are many other aspects which the government can delve into especially as we learnt that government has been having talks with the organised Labour, and I think the Federal Government is going to do something in that area.

“But in the immediate, what is the stopgap for especially the dependent Nigerians so as to lift them up before other palliatives come. We feel the problems too, and that is why we believe that the average Nigerians must be assisted because we are running a human face government. When we are running face government, then everything that will be done must be targeted at Nigeria. That is why we expeditiously aceded to the request of Mr. President because appropriations belong to the National Assembly. So, no Kobo can be spent without appropriating it by the National Assembly. It took us time to pass it because we have all pointers that this palliative is going to yield result. It is going to touch those people that it supposed to touch. So, that is why it was passed.

“Then, on the issue of $800 million, which is like a social security scheme, which the Federal Government has sourced for because we know that the N500 billion cannot do the magic; so the $800 million will follow in and assisting Nigerians overcome the economic hardship in the country. So, that is why we approved these requests by Mr. President.

“You know we were not part of the previous palliatives, and for this 10th Senate, when we asked questions because all of are concerned; my town is concerned, my Senatorial District is concerned and my State is concerned, and every other person. So, we were not part of any previous palliatives and we are not concerned about what was given before. I am not aware of whatever palliatives that had been done before but what is on ground is that when we asked questions about data, data was supplied; and when we asked questions about modus operandi, modus operandi was supplied.

“Therefore, there is no reason and there is no point that we should doubt the veracity of those explanations, empirical one for that matter. Another thing is that, even when you talk about palliatives in the past, fuel subsidy had never been removed before. So, this one is that fuel subsidy had been removed and everybody knows that one. And this one is targeted to cushion the effect of an action of government, to shore up the economy of Nigeria. Therefore, this one cannot go the way of the others. We all know that there had never been a time the government came to the National Assembly to ask for palliatives. It used to be through a Ministry such Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. But this one is a direct Federal Government dealing with the citizens and we don’t have any reason to doubt the genuineness of the scheme.”

Adaramodu also spoke on why the government sought to $800million loan, sayind: “We are all journalists, we know that this issue of $800 million came up towards the end of the last government. The opinion of many Nigerians was that, when it was just few days to go, where will you expend it? Can you bring up a very good agenda of how you are going to expend it? And if any such money is coming to the coffers of Nigeria, it has to be legislated and it must be targeted at something. And you know that it is a World Bank facility. It has been on before the advent of this government.

“So, it is not borrowing, it is for the national social safety net. So, it is very different from the palliatives targeted specifically at Nigerians and to be sourced among Nigerians. It is not borrowing; it is not a loan, we are not approving a loan for the Federal Government. It is a World Bank assisted facility that has been there before the 10th Senate.

“But any money that is coming from outside or that is being taken out of Nigeria coffers must be legislated upon, so that is what we did today. I have always being recommending something. When ever appropriation is done, let us avail ourselves of the opportunity of reading through. So that oversighting does not reside only with Assembly people even we as journalists can oversight. So if we oversight very well we know that, not a new thing as a budget.

“When you look at all items here they were part of 2022 budgetary provision. The only one that is new is that N500b which had to be sourced for within the budget that had been in existence. So any other budget tittle or heading that is there. Because of the N500b we now first line charge towards the next budget of 2024 which have to start from September. That is the implication. I always say one thing. Even if it is 10k in the budget they write National Assemby that is what Nigerians will first talk about.

“The would have forgotten that National Assembly is not only about senators or house representatives members only. We cannot give ourselves salary, it is not possible, it is illegal. That person will go to jail,there is an organ RAMFAC that do that. Either salary or allowance National Assembly cannot give themselves kobold. They can’t add or even subtract. RAMFAC will never do it for only National Assembly. When they are doing it they will do it for everybody and they have no reason to do it and it has never been done. Nothing like that has ever happened. Even when I read sometimes ago, 831% increase, whatever. I said where’d did that one come from.

“When they gave me my salary for May, I found out it did not change, it was the same thing with 2019 salary of June 2019. That 4 years, my salary never changed. But it is good that we are very alive to it, we have even forgotten that NASS includes all those people that work here, messengers and all sorts. You don’t know if I senator Daramodu is not here many Nigerians too will not be here. They will be unemployed too. Those people who sweep the office, they are there because I am there. There will not just include them to start sweeping outside there, the drivers, the sweepers, and several others and consider even the energy, power and so on.

“When you look at it, it will be paid by the budget allocated to the National Assembly. So when you see National Assembly it is not definitely members. If we avail ourselves of having looked at 2022 budget very well you will find out that nothing there is new. The only thing that is new there is that N500b. Why all other things must be brought forward is that we must show it in appropriation to make it a law that yes, these have been like this, these have been like this, we remove N5 from here N2 from there and N3, we joined them to make N10, that is that N10 that we are spending but everything must still come together. So it is not anything to anybody. Our salary, has not increased, allowances have not increased. If it is going to I will clap for myself.”


Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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