Senate Holds Closed-Door Meeting With Service Chiefs Over Killings

File photo   The Senate is currently holding a closed-door meeting with the Service Chiefs to address the proliferation of

Senators Disagree As Abaribe Questions Buhari’s Competence
File photo

 

The Senate is currently holding a closed-door meeting with the Service Chiefs to address the proliferation of dangerous firearms and the spate of killings by terrorists in the country.

They are also expected to discuss the increased rate of kidnappings by hoodlums across the nation.

In attendance is the Chief of Defence Staff Abayomi Olonisakin who led the delegation and the Director General of Department of State Services, Lawal who is also briefing the Senate.

The Senate had last Wednesday invited the Service Chiefs to brief lawmakers on the alarming security situation in the country.

They (Senators) also invited the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to proffer solutions over the proliferation of dangerous firearms in Nigeria.

The lawmakers mandated the Senate Committee on Intelligence and National Security to conduct a thorough investigation, with a view to unravelling the remote and immediate causes of the proliferation of firearms in the country as well as proffer a lasting solution to the problem.

Presenting a motion on the proliferation of dangerous firearms in the country, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, said that sectarian clashes including the herdsmen farmers’ crises are now more devastating due to the wrongful and easy acquisition of firearms.

He added that this ugly trend has contributed to the colossal loss of lives and wanton destruction of property of Nigerians.

This comes after several killings in the country which has been a major concern to Nigerians.

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Buhari Meets Senators Over IGP-Senate Feud

  President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with some Senators at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senators

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with some Senators at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Senators are members of the nine-member committee set up to meet President Buhari on issues surrounding the feud between Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.






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Mace Theft: ‘I Won’t Answer Your Questions’ – Defiant Omo-Agege Tells Panel

Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator representing Delta central, refused to testify before an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly probing

Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator representing Delta central, refused to testify before an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly probing the theft of the senate mace.

Speaking when he appeared before the committee on Tuesday, May 22, 2018,  the lawmaker said he would not speak because the matter is in court.

He listed Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bala Na’Allah, the chairman of the committee, as defandants of the suit.

“Ordinarily, I will love to take these opportunity to respond to the allegations raised but I am here to inform you that I have gone to court and parties have been served,” the senator said.

“The action was taken on May 21, 2018, and all the parties enumerated have been served.”

On his part, Na’Allah said he could not be served by his office.

“I cannot be served by my office. You should know this,” he said.

“I have no problem receiving service. Maybe due to my inadequate knowledge of the law. The service has to be personal.”

Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna central and a member of the committee, asked Omo-Agege to defend his actions.

“I came here to hear a revolutionary speech to defend your actions. If he is not ready to speak, we should not sit here and be gisting on other issues,” he said.

On her part, Betty Apiafi, co-chair of the committee and lawmaker of the house of representatives, said section 62 of constitution does not stop them from investigating the matter.

But Omo-Agege stood his ground, citing order 3(5) of the senate standing order.

The order restricts the senate from probing a case that is in court.

But Na’Allah argued that there is nothing illegal about investigating the allegations levelled against the Delta senator yet Omo-Agege refused to comment on the issue.

On his part, Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, who was accused of being complicit in the mace theft, denied any wrong doing.

He recommended the overhauling of the security architecture of the national assembly.

“I didn’t know we were that exposed. For me to prevent someone from taking the mace [to safety]. I don’t have any authority to do that,” Ndume said.

“That day it was only thugs and everyone ran to the tea room.”

Read more at Premium Times

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Mace Theft: Senate May Again Suspend Ndume, Omo-Agege

Following the invasion of the Senate chamber on April 18 by hoodlums who made away with the Mace, the Ad

Following the invasion of the Senate chamber on April 18 by hoodlums who made away with the Mace, the Ad hoc Committee set up to investigate the circumstances is set to submit its report this wee.

The Committee chaired by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, had earlier forwarded its recommendation to Senate panel on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, headed by senator Samuel Anyanwu.

Similarly, another expanded joint probe panel was set up with the House of Representatives with Senator Na’Allah heading the same committee.

There is however apprehension that the report of the Ethics panel, which may be submitted this week, will recommend the suspension of Ndume and Omo-Agege and some yet-to-be named co-conspirators in the upper legislative chamber.

Recall that the Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, Sulu-Gambari Abdul, had blamed the April 18 invasion of the Senate and removal of the mace by hoodlums on internal conspiracy.

Mr Abdul had told the probe panel that the invasion was an act of internal conspiracy among some security agencies and some lawmakers.

 

Gina Haspel Confirmed By US Senate As First Female CIA Director

The Senate on Thursday, May 17, 2018, confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director, making her the first woman to lead

The Senate on Thursday, May 17, 2018, confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director, making her the first woman to lead the spy agency despite the controversy surrounding her role in the waterboarding program.

The Senate vote of 54-45 in favor of Haspel came mostly, but not entirely, along party lines. She needed support from several Democratic senators to win confirmation.

Her confirmation effectively completes President Trump’s recent shakeup of his national security and foreign policy teams.

In recent weeks, John Bolton has become the national security adviser, Mike Pompeo has become secretary of state, and Haspel takes over for Pompeo at the CIA.

In addition to being the CIA’s first female director, Haspel is also the first career CIA officer to lead the agency since William Colby in the 1970s.

Haspel, 61, is widely respected in the intelligence community. Since joining the CIA in 1985, just a few years out of college, she has held some 20 separate jobs at the agency, including seven postings abroad.

The CIA says those foreign postings were in Europe, Eurasia and Africa, though it has declined to name the countries, saying that’s classified information.

Haspel was undercover for her first 32 years at the agency, a status lifted just last year when she became deputy director to Pompeo.

Trump then picked Pompeo to be secretary of state in March, and chose Haspel to replace him as the spy chief.

Haspel immediately came under intense scrutiny for two specific episodes in her long career.

One was in 2002, when she ran a black site prison in Thailand where officers carried out waterboarding and other harsh tactics to extract information out of suspected al-Qaida militants. The other was in 2005, when she was based at CIA headquarters outside Washington and wrote a cable calling for videotapes of the waterboardings to be destroyed.

Democratic senators grilled Haspel on these events at her confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on May 9.

In several sharp exchanges with the senators, Haspel said she would not initiate any new detention and interrogation programs as CIA director. But she did not disavow the previous program, which ran from 2002 to 2008.

After that hearing, several senators said they needed additional information from Haspel. In a letter on Monday, she went beyond what she said in her public testimony.

“With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken,” she wrote in a letter to Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat on the intelligence committee.

Shortly after her letter became public Tuesday, three Democratic senators, including Warner, announced their support for Haspel.

“I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral — like a return to torture,” Warner said in a statement.

Haspel needed Democratic support to win confirmation because two Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, opposed her for her role in the interrogation program.

Read more at CNN

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Senators Omo-Agege, Ndume Summoned By National Assembly Panel Over Mace Theft

Ovie Omo-Agege and Ali Ndume were on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, invited by the joint Senate and House of Representatives

Ovie Omo-Agege and Ali Ndume were on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, invited by the joint Senate and House of Representatives panel investigating the invasion of the red chamber and snatching of its mace.

Bala Ibn Na’Allah, the Chairman of the committee,  said the testimonies given by various security personnel at the National Assembly Complex before the panel had implicated Omo-Agege and Ndume.

Senator Ndume, according to the summons, allegedly prevented the mace keeper from taking away the mace to safety, while On Omo-Agege, according to the Divisional Police Officer, the Department of State Services and the sergeant-at-arms, allegedly entered the National Assembly accompanied by seven persons, who allegedly took the mace of the Senate during the plenary session on April 18, 2018, at about 11:30 am.

“All those who testified stated that the said people were cleared into the chamber based on your confirmation that they were with you,” Na’Allah said.“The committee, pursuant to this, has deemed it necessary to formally invite you to respond to these allegations on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 11:00 am.”

Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, had on Tuesday last week inaugurated the ad hoc committee, noting that there were reports that those who attacked the Senate were led by a serving senator. Recall that the DPO, National Assembly Division, Abdul Sulu-Gambari, during his appearance before the panel last week, had accused the lawmakers of conspiracy in the attack.

Read more at Premium Times

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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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PDP Expresses Concern Over ‘Plot’ Against Saraki

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has express concerned over claims by the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki alleging

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has express
concerned over claims by the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki alleging plots by the Police to frame him up.

Saraki had, during Wednesday’s plenary, informed his colleagues that the police authorities had perfected plans to use suspected cultists, who have been in detention, to implicate him and the Governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

In a statement on Wednesday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the PDP, as a party, has taken judicious note of assertions by the Senate President that the said plot is allegedly being hatched by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim.



According to the President of the Senate, the IGP was out to settle scores with him over the Senate recent declaration that the police boss was not fit to hold public office.

The statement said, “The PDP is alarmed by the trend of brazen assaults on the institutions of democracy, particularly the National Assembly and the judiciary, in addition to unrelenting attacks on dissenting voices, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.

“Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier alerted of plots to arrest, harass, detain dissenting voices and opposition members on trumped-up charges, as well as intimidate institutions of democracy and pave the way for a one-party state in our country.

“Nigerians will further recall the invasion of the Senate chambers by thugs, who disrupted proceedings and carted away the mace. Only last Friday, hoodlums violently attacked a High Court in Rivers state with guns, in a bid to stop the judiciary from making pronouncements on an electoral matter.

“The PDP therefore charges the National Assembly to defend the nation’s democracy by sparing no energy in pursuing its resolution of engaging President Muhammadu Buhari on these assaults, in addition to putting in motion, all legislative instruments available to it, to curtail all excesses in government before the situation finally gets out of hand”.

2018 Budget: Senate Explains Rationale For New Figure

The Nigerian Senate has said that the 6% increase of the 2018 budget estimates from N8.612 trillion to N9.120 trillion

The Nigerian Senate has said that the 6% increase of the 2018 budget estimates from N8.612 trillion to N9.120 trillion was done in consultation with the Executive arm of government.

Chairman of the Senate committee on Approrpiations, Senator Danjuma Goje, stated this while presenting details of the Appropriation Bill for consideration at Wednesday’s plenary.

Senator Goje also listed the critical sectors where the increase was applied to include: “Reduction of deficit N50.88 billion; Security N46.72billion; Health N57.15billion; Power, Works and Housing N106.50billion; Education (particularly for the infrastructure for the 12 newly established Universities and meal subsidy in Unity schools) N15.70billion; Judiciary N10 billion and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N44.20billion, which is a part payment of the NDDC liabilities on the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

This, he said, was attributed to the increase in oil price benchmark. To this end, the lawmaker said the proposal was jerked up from $45 per barrel to $51 per barrel. Highlights of the budget are “=N=530,421,368,624 for Statutory Transfer; =N=2,203,835,365,699 for Debt Service; =N=3,512,677,902,077 for Recurrent Expenditure, =N=2,873,400,351,825 for Capital Expenditure, Fiscal Deficit of =N=1,954,464,993,775 and 1.73% Deficit to GDP.”

 

‘Nigerian Senate Under Saraki The Worst So Far’ – Sagay

Itse Sagay, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, said on Thursday, May 10, 2018, he could

Itse Sagay, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, said on Thursday, May 10, 2018, he could not wait for the current Senate, which he described as the worst since 1999, to go next year.

He faulted the lawmakers’ insistence on Ibrahim Idris,  the Inspector-General of Police, personal appearance before them.

The PACAC chief, who said he was not a fan of the current Senate, accused the red chamber of abdicating its responsibilities by its refusal to pass the 2018 budget almost halfway into the year.

He told the Nation Newspaper: “You know I have never been impressed by this Senate. It’s probably the worst we have ever had since the return to civilian rule. They are more concerned about exercising vain authority and power than in actually doing anything substantive for the country.

“These are people – the whole Senate – who would adjourn sitting and go to the Code of Conduct Tribunal in solidarity with their President. For every day they go, the work of legislation is suspended. And they owe a duty to this country to make the laws for the order, peace and good government of Nigeria.

“As if that was not enough, the whole Senate packed themselves again to visit Dino Melaye in the hospital. How rational is that? Why can’t they send a delegation of two or three people who would report back? So, it’s like a showoff of power and intimidation. I don’t think it’s really worthy of them to behave like that.”

Read more at Politicsngr

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