Buhari Yet To Receive Passed 2018 Budget – Minister

  President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to receive the 2018 budget, one week after it was passed by the National

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to receive the 2018 budget, one week after it was passed by the National Assembly.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma disclosed this at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday while responding to questions from journalists.

The Minster said reports credited to him as saying that the President will not sign the budget were false as he was even yet to receive the budget.

“The President is yet to receive the budget. It is, therefore, impossible to make a statement about the budget that has not been received.

“Once we get it, we will work very quickly on it.”

“When it is submitted, I am sure the National Assembly themselves will inform Nigerians,” Udoma said.

Last Wednesday (May 16, six months after it was presented) the lawmakers passed a total of N9.120 trillion, an increase of N508 billion from the N8.612 trillion originally presented to the Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje explained that after consultation with the Executive, the oil benchmark price was increased from 45 to 51 dollars.

According to him, the additional 508 billion added to the budget was applied in critical sectors of the economy namely: reduction of the deficit, security, health and power, works and housing.

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‘Buhari Style Of Gov’t Has Destroyed National Assembly And Judiciary’ – Fayose

Ayodele Fayose, the Ekiti State governor, has lamented the alleged destruction of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government by

Ayodele Fayose, the Ekiti State governor, has lamented the alleged destruction of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, raising the alarm that “democracy in Nigeria is under serious threat, with the constitution appearing to have been suspended”.

The governor said; “The once respected National Assembly and Judiciary have been so badly blackmailed such that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, functionaries of the executive arm of government now hold the two arms of government with contempt, treating them as if they do not exist.

Even those who invaded the senate and took away the Mace are being protected by President Buhari and his men.”Speaking through Lere Olayinka, his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, on Sunday, May 13, 2018, Governor Fayose, who described the Legislative and Judicial arms as the pillar of democracy, said; “Even when Nigeria was under military rule, our judiciary was not this ridiculed, with the government choosing which court judgment to obey and which one to ignore.”

The governor pointed out that; “President Buhari’s persistent refusal to obey court orders, refusal of the his men to obey summons by the National Assembly and most importantly the withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, without approval of the National Assembly and inspite of pending court case are indications that the constitution has been suspended and Nigeria returned to full-fledged dictatorship.”

Fayose described the Senate President, Bukola Saraki as the most subdued National Assembly leader in the history of Nigeria, saying; “Should President Buhari succeeds with his second term bid, no one should bother going to the National Assembly because he will rule like a feudal lord, with general authority over other Nigerians.

“Democracy is endangered when the executive arm of government goes about demonizing the Judiciary as being corrupt and the National Assembly tagged as a gathering of rascals who are contributing nothing to governance. Unfortunately, that is what the Legislative and Judicial arms have suffered under this government.

“In disobedience to court order that they should be released, the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have been detained for more than two years without trial.

“Also, Sambo Dasuki (rtd) has been in detention for over two years even when many courts in Nigeria and the ECOWAS Court have ordered for his release.

“Several resolutions made by the National Assembly have been ignored, including ones bothering on the welfare of Nigerians. Statutory appointments that require Senate confirmation are now being made unilaterally. Even those whose nominations were rejected by the Senate are still holding the same offices for which their nominations were rejected.

Read more at News Telegraph

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Senate Passes N9.12 Trillion 2018 Budget

Nigerian Senate has passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, following the consideration and adoption of the report by the joint National

Nigerian Senate has passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, following the consideration and adoption of the report by the joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriation.

The report was laid before the Senate on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, while the lawmakers considered and adopted it at an extended plenary on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. The same version of the report was presented in the Senate and House of Representatives.

President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the budget of N8.612 trillion to the parliament for passage in November 2017, but the National Assembly raised the estimate to N9.12 trillion.

Read more at Premium Times

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National Assembly To Provide Arms For Its Personnel

The Nigerian National Assembly is to provide arms for Sergeant-At-Arm personnel as part of security measures for forestall any attack

The Nigerian National Assembly is to provide arms for Sergeant-At-Arm personnel as part of security measures for forestall any attack on the institution.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ikweremadu made this known when he appeared before the joint adhoc committee on the invasion of the national Assembly by hoodlums last month who forcefully took away the Mace inside the Senate Chamber in Abuja.

Senator Ikweremadu who described the incident as an attack on democracy said the National Assembly would soon propose a bill seeking to arm Sergeant at arm personnel against similar invasion.

“The incident was simply an attack on democracy which required emergency remedies,” Senator Ikweremadu stressed.

NASS/Presidency: A Disharmounious Marriage That Must Work, By Johannes Tobi Wojuola

This legal relationship, forged by the letters of our constitution has been a rocky romance from its coming together again

This legal relationship, forged by the letters of our constitution has been a rocky romance from its coming together again in 1999. Break-ups, cheating, distrust, late nights, bribery, and even padding have been the phrases that we have oft heard of the affair.

But this is not uncommon, or unexpected. Different political leanings, different personal backgrounds, strong ego, unclear relationship terms, with seeming overlapping responsibilities, interests, and many more, are the obvious reasons.

Yet, irrespective of these, the two arms must never forget that their mandate is to serve the Nigerian people. Differences must be set aside, and ego-driven argy-bargies left behind to fulfill this primary assignment.

For this Presidential system of government to fulfill its constitutional objectives, to give the Nigerian people good governance, all hands must be on deck. That is to say, the three arms of government must work in tandem, not at cross-purposes, to fulfill this mandate.

Promises by the government in power, especially for infrastructure, social amenities and investments are put into the budget proposal sent to the legislature to undergo the rigorous sail of scrutiny, debate and defense of the appropriation process. And even when they are passed into law, they are naught but proposals – mere intentions. Funding must be made available for each item. For some, this would be guaranteed from earnings from oil revenues, while others would find their funding from borrowing, or other sources of government revenue.

The spirit of the budget proposal is summarized thus: what do we, the government, seek to do, when do we hope to do same, where would we get the funds to embark on these expenditure?

For the fact that Nigeria’s income is not sufficient to fund our deep deficit of infrastructure and capital needs, the country must borrow. To borrow, we must equally, with circumspect and nous, discern whether to borrow externally and/or internally; and to what degree on each, where we opt for both. Either way: the blessing of the Legislature must be sought to make this happen.

Where these two arms of government quibble unnecessarily, over who gets what, when and how much, the people are the ones who bear the brunt. No projects. No roads. No schools. No health facilities, no social investments – because the elephants are fighting.

In 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, then Acting President signed the budget in June – that was almost mid-year. That budget is still in operation. Knowing that it takes about 200 days to complete the due processes for procurement, a delayed budget passage has damaging effect on the delivery of government’s promises to the people.

With the somewhat early submission of the 2018 Budget document by the President to the National Assembly, it was hoped that the passage of the 2018 Budget would be different, evidence on ground does not seem that way. It is late-April and the budget is yet to be passed by the National Assembly. With 2018 being largely a political year of campaigns and political mobilization, slow passage of this budget may hamper its implementation, especially that it has not been passed in the first quarter.

Both arms of government must sit up and get to work together; with the ball largely in the court of the legislature right now, it has the burden of pulling this through in record time – if it wants to. Politics and self-serving interests must be put aside in the overall interest of Nigerians.

Nigeria faces daunting challenges in the days ahead. The world, as it progresses, and solves its own problems, would not pause to help us fix ours; most of which were in fact self-inflicted.  For instance, parliament withheld approvals of Presidential nominees to the boards of the Central Bank, ICPC and some other government agencies, which slowed down the process of governance. This sort of petty power-play is needless for our country’s development.

The fractious romance of these two arms of government is more worrisome, when one remembers that the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has a majority membership in the National Assembly. As it is worrisome, so also, is it embarrassing.

An epigram says: The President proposes the budget, but congress holds the key to the purse. The good intentions of the Executive do not translate to better days for the Nigerian people without the legislature playing its fundamental role of opening the purse for spending through the Appropriation Bill and other sundry responsibilities.

A better harmonious relationship must be forged. And if patting each other’s back would smoothen this ride then it must be done. If for nothing else, in honor of the ultimate responsibility to serve the Nigerian people. Not our egos.

By Johannes Tobi Wojuola, a lawyer, and a member of the Abuja Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum

Police DPO Blames Mace Theft On ‘Internal Conspiracy’

The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, CSP Sulu-Gambari Abdul, has blamed the April 18th invasion of the Senate

The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, CSP Sulu-Gambari Abdul, has blamed the April 18th invasion of the Senate and theft of the mace by hoodlums on internal conspiracy.

Abdul said this on Wednesday during an investigative hearing into the incident by a joint ad hoc committee of the Senate and House of Representatives.

According to him, what happened at the National Assembly was an act of internal conspiracy among some security agencies and some lawmakers. He noted that there was no communication from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the National Assembly during the invasion by the thugs.

READ ALSO: IGP Fails To Appear Before Senate For Third Time

“On April 18, at about 11 a.m., my attention was drawn to a group protesting at the gate, and while I moved to address the group, I was informed that some people were running away with the mace.

“I signalled all the entry points that nobody drives in or out but three men approached me identifying themselves as security operatives and requested to be allowed to go.

“The strain of blood on their clothes made me suspicious and I ordered their arrest. In all, six people were arrested same day and handed over to the Force Headquarters alongside charms recovered from them.

“In addition, an unmarked Prado jeep and a Toyota Hilux were impounded and they are with the police,” he said.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Bala Ibn N’allah in response said the Police should provide the committee with copies of the station diary where entry of the crime was made.

He also directed that the committee should be given copies of the crime routine diary, pictures of those arrested and the transfer register explaining where the invaders were transferred to.

Senate Plenary was on Wednesday, April 18 disrupted by some hoodlums who stormed the Upper House and snatched the mace from the chamber.

The Red Chamber consequently issued a statement in which it condemned the incident as an act of treason and an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force.

It also accused the lawmaker representing Delta Central senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, claiming he led the hoodlums to plenary to seize the symbol of authority of the Senate.

Senator Omo-Agege was later picked up by the police on the premises of the complex, although he has since denied any involvement in the theft of the mace and freed from police custody.

The police later recovered the mace under the flyover and returned it Senate, about 24 hours after some hoodlums invaded the Red Chamber.

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Saraki visits new EFCC headquarters, pledges support

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday visited the new headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday visited the new headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and said he will continue to support efforts to build and strengthen the nation’s institutions.

According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, Mr Saraki said he was particularly impressed by the quality of work done and the fact the the building was designed by a Nigerian architect.

He said he is duty bound to visit the completed project as part of his oversight functions in view of the contributions of the National Assembly to its realisation.

Speaking with journalists after a tour of the edifice, he stressed that strengthening such institutions will help the nation tackle corruption.

“If you look at most projects in Abuja, I don’t think any project like this has been well-funded and that shows that despite all the noise you will hear, the National Assembly has supported where it matters because this is where it matters and I think we have done that.

“If you look at what has been achieved in the last two and half years in putting this building up and bringing it to completion, I think it is a remarkable achievement.

“We might disagree on what those right things are but at the end, we must ensure that we build institutions, we support institutions and do what is right and we must continue to do that,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the fight against corruption must continue in order to bequeath a better future to both present and up coming generations.

“I think we have all said it. Corruption is something we must fight,” he said. “There is no way you can build a society without fighting corruption.

“I have always said that my own strong will is that as we fight it, we must fight it in ensuring that we strengthen the institutions and what you see here is part of the process of strengthening that institutions so that whoever comes here will know that this is what we must fight if we want to build institutions.”

When asked what the completion of the building means for continuity in governance for the country, he said: “That is why I keep saying it is not about individuals, it is about institutions and this is what we have shown here.

“I think the project has gone through about three Executive Chairmen and one did not come in to say this is not my project and I must not continue. Each one has taken it as his own project.

“I think that is good and that is the whole point that is important and this is something we will be proud of for many years.

“In many years to come, I hope that we don’t have corruption in an environment like this but for now, I think there are many good aspects of this.”

The National Assembly has been at loggerheads with the Executive since it rejected Ibrahim Magu’s nomination as the chairman of EFCC.

Mr. Magu was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari twice. Both times, the Senate rejected the nomination.

The senate president had earlier said contrary to insinuations, the Senate had no premeditated plan to reject Mr Magu as chairman of EFCC.

According to him, Mr Magu’s rejection was prompted by report from the State Security Service, among other issues, and the screening was aired “live’’ on national television for all Nigerians to watch.

He also said the rejection was in the interest of the nation’s democracy.

Mr Magu, who is still the acting chairman of the EFCC, while appreciating Mr Saraki and his entourage, said the project wouldn’t have been a reality without the support of the legislators, according to a statement by the commission.

APC chieftain criticises Police IG over Senate snub

A chieftain of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State, Yusuf Ali, has chided the Inspector General of

A chieftain of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State, Yusuf Ali, has chided the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for what he described as “serial and flagrant disregard” to the nation’s democratic institutions.

Mr Ali made the remarks in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja Saturday evening.

The police chief has twice failed to appear before the Senate who invited him for questioning over the predicament of a senator, Dino Melaye, and the continued insecurity across the country.

The lawmakers have since fixed another date for him to appear.

Mr Ali said while the police chief continues to “trample on the National Assembly with impunity…he should know that posterity is watching and he might end up on the wrong side of the nation’s democratic history.”

“The nation has watched in dismay how the IG has shunned several invitations extended to him by the National Assembly as regards his stewardship as the chief law enforcement officer in the land.

“His conduct, as exhibited, was in contempt of our democracy and has laid a very terrible and dangerous precedence in the nation’s body politic,” he said.

The politician said the Senate simply wants Mr Idris to answer questions regarding the spike in attacks and killings of innocent citizens across the country.

He said the police chief owes Nigerians an explanation as to why “these things are happening yet he has chosen to dance on the grave of the innocent without even showing a modicum of respect for the souls that have departed.”

He said by his actions, Mr Idris has told Nigerians in “unambiguous language” that he cannot be held to account.

“To add salt to injury, even the President who appointed him confessed on live television that the IG disrespected his direct orders on the killings in Benue State,” he said.

A mud building set ablaze by soldiers in Benue community

Mr Ali said a lot of commentators and public officials have raised concerns about the politicisation of policing in Nigeria, saying “it is not about Saraki or Ekweremadu or the PDP, but the National Assembly, which is the citadel of democracy in Nigeria, which ought to be respected if not the nation, will slide into anarchy.

“When the IG disrespects the people he is supposed to give account to, it goes to tell the primary school pupil to disregard his or her teacher because the children now see these things on the television and in the Social Media.

“Therefore, I am appealing to Nigerians of good conscience to rise up to this anomaly and condemn it. You don’t go to the National Assembly just to defend your budget. No! You have to give account to Nigerians through their elected representatives. You don’t pick and choose which laws to obey or orders to disregard,” Mr Ali said.

He also said in order to guard against such malfeasance in the future, the National Assembly should take a second look at the Police Act with a view to rejiging it and making it more responsive and responsible.

He commended the maturity exhibited by the National Assembly in handling such a “provocative issue” and said the electorate is behind them.

‘2018 Budget To Be Passed Next Week’ – House Of Reps Spokesperson

The National Assembly will pass the much awaited 2018 Budget next week, the House of Representatives disclosed on Thursday, May

The National Assembly will pass the much awaited 2018 Budget next week, the House of Representatives disclosed on Thursday, May 4, 2018.

Abdulrazak Namdas, the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja.

Namdas said the budget will be laid for consideration by the House Appropriation Committee on May 8 and will be eventually passed into law same week.

He said, “Hopefully, we want to pass the budget next week. The budget is a voluminous document but l can authoritatively confirm that we will pass it. “We’ll lay it on Tuesday. We’re working very hard and within that same week or by this time next week, we will pass it.”

The lawmaker explained that the House opted not to embark on its planned three-day break in protest against the killings in various parts of the country and the general state of insecurity because it wants to pass the budget first.

He said, “We can’t go on the three-day break when such an important issue like the budget is pending. “We’ll surely observe the three-day break as a sign of our protest against the killings, but we won’t do it to jeopardise the national interest.”

He revealed that when and how the protest would be observed would be determined by the House leadership. Furthermore, he stated that the letter inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to brief the House on the state of the nation’s security following the unending killings is being handled by the management of the National Assembly.

“Once the House took the decision to invite the president and passed the resolution, it ends there.

“The onus now lies with the National Assembly management as represented in the person of the clerk to the National Assembly to communicate to the Presidency,” he added.

Read more at The Cable

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How poor budgeting hampers Nigeria police operations – Report

Most of the operational equipment used by the Nigeria Police Force – Armoured Personnel Carriers, vehicles, body armours, communications equipment

Most of the operational equipment used by the Nigeria Police Force – Armoured Personnel Carriers, vehicles, body armours, communications equipment and boats – are provided by state governments and the private sector, a new report by the Network of Police Reform in Nigeria has shown.

The report, released Wednesday, highlighted the problems associated with budget preparation and implementation in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

For instance, according to the report, the Force’s budget preparation using a top-down approach leads to a lack of coherence in the budget process.

“Other than salaries, the NPF budget represents a contribution to costs rather than an attempt to fund the NPF,” the report stated.

“Rather than being based on operational needs, the budget is prepared using broad budget headings, with budgets based on increments of the previous year.

“This leads to conflict with the National Assembly, which questions why, for example, the same number of new computers is requested annually. Another example is the annual budget line for the refurbishment of barracks; what barracks have been refurbished?

“As budgets are both inadequate and never released in full, all MDAs are incentivised to inflate budget requests (by line and in total).

“Operational needs are not considered. For example, there is no list of vehicles, no certainty about personnel numbers and no policy on equipment needs, such as minimum equipment per officer.”

For decades, the NPF has been bedeviled by poor funding which has, in turn, resulted in poorly trained, ill-equipped personnel.

A 2008 Presidential Committee on Police Reform headed by M.D Yusuf recommended an estimated N2.8 trillion – or N560 billion annually – to effectively reform and transform the NPF over a period of five years.

Police on patrol

Also, the Parry Osayande Committee constituted in 2012 echoed the recommendations of the 2008 committee, adding that police funding should be made a first line charge or a special fund be created to accommodate the needs of the NPF.

In a document presented at the Senate Public Hearing on the bill for the establishment of a Police Trust Fund, Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, said only N16.1 billion was allocated to the police in 2016 for capital development, out of which N10 billion was released.

Out of the N31.6 billion allocated to the police in the 2017 budget, only N8 billion has so far been released, Mr Idris added.

In addition to the poor funding, the corruption within the NPF had also ensured that almost zero benefits trickle down to the rank and file of the force.

A personnel audit earlier this year uncovered over 80,000 ghost police officers.

The NOPRIN report, in partnership with Konung International Ltd, reflected the opinions of 12 serving and eight retired police officers as well as four nongovernmental organisations and nine others with knowledge of police operations.

The interviews were conducted between November 2017 and February 2018 and were held on unofficial basis as no response was received to a request for a letter of authorisation from the Inspector General of Police, the report said.

“NOPRIN recognises that budgeting is a sensitive subject in Nigeria, a fact which was immediately apparent when many serving officers declined to be interviewed, stating that the subject is too sensitive,” the report stated.

“Several officers who did agree to participate in interviews declined to discuss all budget matters. Other interviewees stated that the interview could only take place because they were no longer employed by the NPF.”

Unlike the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose budgets are analysed by the various embassies and consulates, the report stated, the NPF budgets are not analysed by operational units, zones, states, divisions or police stations.

There are 300,892 police officers as at December 2017, according to the NPF, comprising of core police personnel, traffic wardens, and civilian staff spread across 12 Zones, 37 State Commands and the FCT, 128 Area Commands, 1388 Divisional Commands, 1579 Police Stations, and 3756 Police Posts.

“The budget does not take account of significant funding from state governments, local governments, corporates, individuals or the Lagos State Security Trust Fund,” the report continued.

“The budget does not take account of releases from ‘special funds,’ such as Capital Supplementation or Service Wide Vote.

“One private citizen serving on a community relations committee made the following comments: (i) the budget process is a charade (ii) they have no money to run their activities (iii) they come to us for basic and simplest expenditure and mostly we oblige them (iv) the whole system is dysfunctional.

“One interviewee asked: ‘when the Police Service Commission decides to recruit new police officers, does it understand the financial implications?’”