Wednesday, 30 September 2015
The House claimed it noticed possible dangers to democracy in the development and advised the parties involved to opt for political solutions.
The House passed the resolution following a proposal by House Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.
The proposal specifically called on the "leadership of the House" under the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, to intervene in the issue by seeking audience with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss possible political solutions.
It added in part, "The House mandates the leadership of the House to meet with the President with a view to politically resolve all outstanding issues relating to National Assembly in the interest of Nigerians.
"Mandates the Speaker to intervene in the present issues and challenges being faced by the Chairman of the National Assembly (Saraki) with a view to finding a political solution and protecting the institution of the National Assembly as a whole for the interest of our democracy."
According to Ogor, the legislature remains the mainstay of democracy, arguing that whenever the institution is "rubbished", democracy itself comes under threat.
Ogor's proposal, which was an amendment to a motion on Nigeria's 55th independence anniversary, was endorsed in a majority voice vote.
The session was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
The original motion on independence was moved by a member from Imo State, Mr. Nnnana Igbokwe.
He had expressed concern that political, ethnic and religious interests now preoccupied the citizenry as against building a united country.
Igbokwe urged the country's leaders to work hard to take it back to the "good old days."
Members, while contributing to the motion, asked the Federal Government to dedicate the country's 55th independence anniversary to the victims of the atrocities caused by Boko Haram insurgents.
They called on the government to remember the plight of abducted Nigerians, orphaned children and the thousands displaced internally, by bringing succour to them.
"We must remember these orphans and many who are held in captivity. There has to be a solution; I particularly want to commend the Nigerian Army for the gallantry of its men so far," Mrs. Aisha Dukku, stated on the floor of the House.
Dogara, in a special message to the country, commended the Nigerian Army for reclaiming many communities hitherto held by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
"I commend efforts made by the military to recover territories from the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East region.
"I call on all citizens to support the fight against terrorism so that millions of our people, who are internally displaced with some being refugees in other countries, will return home and live in peace, freedom and happiness," he added.
Some government offices in Akure, the state capital, on Wednesday, were locked while security men were sighted at the entrance to Governor's Office and some ministries to prevent possible breakdown of law and order.
The leadership of the organised labour in the state on Tuesday directed workers to stay at home if the two months salaries promised by the government were not paid before the close of work.
It was gathered that some of the workers received credit alerts of one month salary on Tuesday night.
The State Government has, however, described the strike as an embarrassment to the government and an unpatriotic act on the part of the workers since they had started receiving the July salary.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, condemned the action of the labour leaders, arguing that since the government had started the payment of two months salaries, there was no need for the strike.
Akinmade added, "There should be no need for strike. The Governor (Olusegun Mimiko) had directed that two months salaries should be paid; the workers should have exercised patience. The delay may be as a result of bank process.
"They should understand that the two months can not be paid at the same time; it has to take some time before the second month (credit alert) would be received, but I am sure that before the end of today (Wednesday), all of them would have received alerts for the two months.
"So, I see no reason why the workers should go on strike if they are not politically motivated."
To ensure total compliance, the labour leaders assembled as early as 7am on Wednesday at the premises of the Ministry of Finance and moved from one premises to the other, including local government secretariats, hospitals, schools, ministries and parastatals in the state.
State Chairman of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, Mr. Sunday Adeleye, alleged that the government only tried to divide the workers by paying net salary for the month of July to the core civil servants and secondary school teachers, but failed to pay council workers, primary school teachers and other categories of workers.
He accused the government of breaching the agreement reached with labour leaders at a meeting, where it was agreed that gross salaries of July and August and deductions for the month of June would be paid
The party also said it would not repeat the "mistakes" it made in 2015.
More Details later…
Buhari, who addressed the Assembly on Monday, equally met notable work leaders, attended sessions on anti-terror initiatives and pleaded with world leaders for support on his anti-graft war.
More Details later…
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
The conference was organised in collaboration with the Lagos State Office of the Deputy Governor. She said that it was her district leaders who got the form for her and talked her husband into allowing her to run for the position.
According to her, Asiwaju likes his wife to be at home and what is more confusing to me is that most Muslim men do not want their wives to work, but I am a hard worker. "People have been saying that I got to this position because I am Asiwaju's wife.
"What they did not realise is that in the past election, my husband asked me not to go for a second term. "It was the leaders in my district that got me the form and talked to him that they wanted me to go back. "You can go to my district, the elites might not know me but the grassroots are the ones supporting and voting massively for me.
"I think that is enough for me and that is how you can get elected, you have to really identify with your people; if really know your people, they will stand up for you,'' she said. Tinubu said she fought and worked hard as it was difficult getting the vote of the masses.
"When I got the bill to run for primaries, I told my husband that I needed money and he said no money. "I fought with the people in my constituency because they said I have to give them more money and I said no, what about the ones I have been giving to you before?
"If you are not going to vote, so be it. "They said that they were just voting for me because of Asiwaju and I responded that Asiwaju is not even supporting me, then, you can go and vote for him. "But I'm grateful they voted for me.
"I have realised that when you are elected, you have to go back and work with your constituency because that is where your support and vote rests,'' she said.
The decision of the continent's football governing body was released on its website in Abuja on Tuesday. It said that the decision was reached at its disciplinary board meeting on Sept. 20.
NAN reports that fans rushed into the pitch to celebrate the Super Eagles' second goal in the match played at the Kaduna Stadium, Kaduna.
The encounter ended in 2-0 in favour of the Eagles. The victory placed Nigeria is the second position in Group G with four points behind Egypt which has six points.
Saraki, whose led Senate resumed on Tuesday, after its 4th recess in 110 days of its existence, in his Resumption Address, expressed optimism that the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement between the legislative and executive arms of government, adding that it will also enable the Senate to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges confronting the nation.
The full text of the address tweeted by the Senate President via his Twitter handle, @bukolasaraki read in part: "As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the Executive Arm of government and enable us to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges before us, especially through our various Committees that will also be constituted soon.
"On this note, I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country, informed by the enormity and the urgency of the challenges before us.
"Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch. We must not be held down by unnecessary politicking. The enormity of our national challenges at this time does not give room for pettiness or politics of vendetta."
Distinguished colleagues, I heartily welcome you back from our annual recess. I hope you had a very rewarding time with your families and your constituencies. I also hope that the period of recess has afforded you opportunities to reflect on the enormous task before this Senate in the months ahead.
I believe that we have all resumed today with greater vigour and higher commitment to serve our fatherland and serve the cause of democracy. In the face of the great challenges that our country faces on different fronts, which urgently demands our attention, we must be prepared to put in the long extra hours to make up for the precious time we have lost for sundry reasons.
As we resume today, we must demonstrate clearly to Nigerians that we are prepared to fulfill our mandates and put Nigeria first in all that we do, no matter how we feel about anything else. To behave contrary will amount to a betrayal of the confidence repose on us by our constituencies and our country as a whole.
Let me seize this moment to register my deep sadness over the death of yet-to-be-determined number of pilgrims who lost their lives in the tragic events that happened in Saudi Arabia during this year's Hajj pilgrimage. May the Almighty Allah grant them eternal salvation and comfort their families. Even though the incident in Mecca has global ramification, we must pursue a Nigerian angle to it.
By so doing, we would begin to demonstrate to Nigerians and to the world that Nigeria cares about its people and will take care of its people wherever they may be. Pursuant to this, the Senate shall seek to determine the exact number of Nigerian lives lost in the incidents and through the Federal Government of Nigeria, work with the Saudi authorities to determine the remote and immediate cause of the tragedy with the general aim of averting such occurrence in the future.
On the 17th of September, 2015, we woke to the shocking news of a military coup in Burkina Faso. This is a monster, which we thought has been wiped off the West African political landscape forever. I therefore, commend the prompt response of the leaders of ECOWAS, not only in unanimously condemning the coup, but in pushing hard to ensure that the constitutional order is restored in that country. A threat to democracy anywhere, is a threat to democracy everywhere. We must therefore remain vigilant and leave no one in doubt that only democratically elected government would be accepted on our Continent and our Sub-region.
During the recess, I attended with some of our colleagues, the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in New York, United States. The high point of that visit for me was the conversation on Boko Haram and mobilization of global support for Nigeria, especially in dealing with the serious challenges of Internally Displaced Persons and the overall development of the North East of our country. I argued that the significant military success that has been achieved under President Muhammadu Buhari must now be complemented by a robust economic strategy in form of a Global Infrastructure and Development Fund that can deliver the vital services needed by the IDPs today, and the key infrastructure they would need to live a more meaningful and more secured life in the future: homes, hospitals, schools and, of course, jobs.
Even though the evolution of Boko Haram has been regional and it is primarily a Nigerian problem; the consequences in human catastrophe implicates the whole of humanity and therefore demands a global scale solution, which can only happen with the support of our richest global partners and the biggest companies around the world. The call for a Global Infrastructure and Development Fund for the North East of Nigeria, is not only an appeal to our common humanity, but a call for a global platform that would demonstrate to Boko Haram and other terrorist groups everywhere that the whole world is united against them, and will ultimately defeat them.
The biggest challenge faced by our country today is the state of our economy. The dwindling oil revenue has brought enormous shock to our economy and greatly limited the capacity of government at various levels to meet even basic commitments. Our country has gone through periods of recession in the past. What we face today is however unprecedented in ramification and potential gravity.
We must think hard and work hard with the Executive to achieve greater clarity in policy direction and interventions. We shall therefore commence immediately, a review of the 2015 budget and begin now to lay down the fundamental principles that would determine the 2016 budget and the philosophy of our economy in times like this. Like I mentioned earlier, legislative agenda must take precedent over all other things in this Senate. I have no doubt that we are all capable of putting in the long hours, but those long hours must be invested primarily, in debating and making the laws that would move our country forward.
We are here to proffer policy solutions and minimize hardship amongst our people. Any other objective must be secondary. The externalized distractions we have had recently have been unhelpful but I am more than ever focused and resolute to the course of our people to provide them leadership that will ease their pain and realize their dreams. It is in view of this that we set for ourselves the legislative agenda committee to help us identify priorities that will have substantial impact on the lives of our people.
In the coming days we shall be considering the report of the committee. Adopt it and immediately begin the implementation of the priorities identified. There will be need to fast track issues- not with haste but with deliberate steps and diligence that would deliver results that can stand the test of time.
We promised Nigerians that our actions would positively impact on their lives. This I intend to keep. In that light I will urge you my distinguished colleagues that we make priority the passing of bills that would ultimately and substantially expand our peoples livelihood and opportunities.
As part of our agenda, we shall also be starting the journey to deliver the E-parliament blueprint. This we believe is a vital precursor to building a strong technology infrastructure that will engender greater public participation in law-making and enable real-time interface between committees in both houses, and between both houses and civil society organizations.
I took opportunity of the recess to undertake tour of the facilities, staff offices, agencies and institutions attached to the National assembly with a view to understanding their various peculiarities and state of readiness to implement and drive the adoption of the E-parliament agenda.
This will see us leapfrog into the ranks of efficient law-making entities able to solve 21st century problems. I believe that this will leapfrog our productivity and make lawmaking in this chamber much more efficient.
As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the Executive Arm of government and enable us to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges before us, especially through our various Committees that will also be constituted soon. On this note, I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country, informed by the enormity and the urgency of the challenges before us. Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch. We must not be held down by unnecessary politicking. The enormity of our national challenges at this time does not give room for pettiness or politics of vendetta.
Distinguished Senators, I believe you have all followed with keen interest, my trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. I shall avoid discussing the details of that case here for obvious reasons. But let me say it again, that I am ready and will submit myself to the entire judicial process as provided by law. Meanwhile, I wish to reiterate my remarks before the Tribunal, that I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the president of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this Chambers.
But what is clear to me also, is that the laws of Nigeria, and the rules of the National Assembly give consideration only to the wishes and desires of those of you who are here today as members of the Senate, to elect as you wish, one of your peers as President of the Senate. This, in your wisdom, is what you have done by electing me to be the first among all of you who are my equals. The laws of Nigeria do not give any consideration to any other forces outside the Senate in the election of its President.
And to yield the ground on this note, is to be complicit in the subversion of democracy and its core principles of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution. This is why we must once again, commend President Muhammadu Buhari, for refusing to interfere in the election of the National Assembly leadership even in the face of enormous pressures on him to do so. He has proven quite concretely that he is indeed a born-again democrat.
Too many people have fought and died for the democracy that we enjoy today. We would not be honouring them and their memories if we allow the sad chapters of our history to continue to repeat themselves like a bad curse. As for me, I am prepared to do my duty in defence of our democracy and in safeguarding the independence of the National Assembly.
My duty, as I see it, is to do justice and honour to the memory of those who have paid even higher prices to give us this democracy and this constitution. Primarily as a Senator of the Federal Republic and as Senate President I owe it to this Senate to stand strong in the face of relentless persecution. I invite all of you to stand with me to defend this Senate and preserve its sanctity. Ultimately, our legacies would not be defined by how long we stay here and in whatever position; but by what we did with this great opportunity that our people have given us by the grace of Almighty God.
In the next couple of days, we would be celebrating our 55th Independence Anniversary as country. This is an auspicious moment for us to rededicate ourselves to all that which will advance our nation, move us closer to the dreams of our founding fathers and our attain our destiny as the greatest nation of the black race on the planet. All that we seek for our country is achievable in our life time if we all play our part and forsake our old ways. But the least we must do is to ensure that while we are here, we are able to lay the necessary foundation for our children and their children to live a more prosperous life.
Distinguished Senators, once again, I welcome all of you and thank you for your abiding support and confidence in my leadership. Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's start our work!
Senator (Dr) Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
Giving newsmen update on the incident in Mecca, Alhaji Uba Mana, the Director, Public Affairs of the commission, said 244 pilgrims had been declared missing.
Mana said 71 pilgrims were injured as against the 61 pilgrims earlier announced by the commission.
He said of the 64 deceased pilgrims, 46 were transported to Saudi Arabia by state pilgrims' welfare agencies and 18 by private tour operators.
Mana also said that 12 of the 71 injured pilgrims were transported to Saudi Arabia by tour operator and 59 by state pilgrims' welfare agencies.
He said the deceased were from Adamawa,Bauchi, Borno, Ekiti, Jigawa, FCT, Cross Rivers, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers Sokoto, Yobe, Taraba, and Zamfara.
NAN recalls that more than 749 pilgrims were reported to have died, and 805 others injured, during Thursday's stampede on the way to the Jamrat complex (stoning site) in Mina, Saudi Arabia.
The Senate which met today, Tuesday, passed the vote of confidence on Saraki amidst rowdy session. Similarly, Senate expects ministerial list from the president as speculations become high as for which prominent competent Nigerians will make the list. Currently, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters, Mr. Ita Enang is already in at the Senate, perhaps to present the ministerial list.
However, following the vote of confidence on Saraki, some pro-Saraki supporters converge at the Senate entrance to chant solidarity songs for Saraki and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu.
The pro democracy group, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo Youth Movement ,ONYM, led by Mr Uche Nnadi told newsmen that the rally to the National Assembly was also to protest the use of anti-corruption war by politicians for personal gains.
"This despair is caused by the fact that the anti-corruption war which Nigeria in general and Igbo youths have keyed into is being misused by few political elite to fight their political war.
"We must state categorically that it is an act of corruption to use the anti-corruption war for party politics and political benefits,'' Nnadi said.
He faulted the trial of Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, saying that he was being persecuted because his emergence as Senate President allowed an Igbo man to be the Deputy Senate President.
According to him, the trial of the Senate President by the code of conduct Tribunal is in contravention of section 3(d) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
"The same Chairman of the Tribunal Mr Danladi Umar ruled in favour of the principle in section 3(d) on the November 30, 2011 in the case against Senator Ahmed Tinubu.
"And today is insisting on trying the Senate President.
"We know that Mr Danladi Umar cannot overrule himself,'' he said.
Nnadi, therefore, urged the tribunal to quash the charges against the Senate President and discharge him.
He added that Saraki's trial was quickly contrived to force him out of office.
"Otherwise why will all this political tension when the man has not been found guilty.
"Our law still upholds a man as innocent until he is found guilty,'' he said.
The protesters displayed placards : "No to Witch-hunting" and "No to Plot To Destabilize National Assembly".
The protesters were pushed beyond the first entry point of NASS gate by security operatives who were very polite in discharging their duties.
Saturday, 26 September 2015
Abdulkadir Jega, The brother of the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, has been confirmed as one of the dead in the Hajj stampede.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, Saturday, disclosed that two Court of Appeal Justices were among those that died during the stampede that led to the death of over 700 persons at Mina, Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
In a statement, the CJN, gave the names of the deceased Justices as Abdulkadir Jega who is the Presiding Justice of the Abuja Division of the appellate court and Justice Musa Hassan Alkali of the Ilorin Division.
Justice Mohammed, in a condolence message to their families, the Court of Appeal, the Judiciary and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said it was with a deep sense of shock but with gratitude to Almighty Allah that he learnt of the death of the two justices.
Switzerland has banned sales of Volkswagen Group car models which may have been outfitted with devices designed to tricking emission tests.
The ban – announced on Friday – is on all cars with diesel engines in the Euro 5 emissions category, including VW, Seat, Skoda and other brands in the VW group.
Thomas Rohrbach, spokesman for the Swiss federal office of roadways, said the move could potentially affect 180,000 vehicles that have 1.2-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines.
But the ban does not include the cars that are already in circulation.
Matthias Mueller, who was appointed as CEO of the embattled German car maker on Friday to deal with the emissions scandal, pledged to do everything to win back the trust of the public.
“We stand by our responsibility,” he said.
Major Lagos parks and fun spots were on Friday shunned as Muslims and picnickers shunned Sallah celebration in public places as a result of what they described as insecurity and lack of purchasing power.
Some residents, particularly Muslims told our correspondents that they would have loved to visit the fun spots and parks with their families for relaxation and other social interactions, but for reasons including insecurity, poor economy, unpaid salaries and unpredictable weather.
This year’s experience is a departure from the usual tradition in the state of fun seekers thronging fun spots such as Ndubusi Kanu Park, Aluasa, Ikeja; Alausa Garden and Amusement Park, Apapa.
A Muslim in Ikeja area of the state, Alhaji Nurudeen Ashimi, told one of our correspondents that he decided to shun the parks because of the recent arrests of some suspected Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of the state by the police.
He said, “Nobody prays for evil to happen in Lagos State, but it is advisable that one shuns places likely to be targets of attacks by criminals.
“I have not missed taking my families to picnic in the last 10 years, but I refused to do so this year because of fear of likely attacks by the insurgents.”
Earlier in the week, the office of the National Security Adviser, had also issued a security alert on the likelihood of Boko Haram attack on Lagos seaports.
The alert followed concerns expressed by the United States Embassy on the security situation at the nation’s seaports.
A resident, Gbenga Olujinmi, attributed his decision to avoid public fun spots during the festive season to the latest security report.
But another Muslim, Ganiyu Ibrahim, blamed his reason for avoiding his favourite fun spot on lack of purchasing power, saying that the economy was having negative impacts on him.
Ibrahim said, “I could not afford taking my children to picnic at Alausa Garden because I am financially buoyant. I just sent money to my first son studying medicine in the United States, so I’m left with little or nothing.
“There is no way I will go to Alausa Garden that I will not spend minimum of N15, 000 on my children. But since I don’t have the capacity now, I decided to fuel my generator to enable them to see programmes of their choice on the television.”
In addition, Ibrahim said he had to offer some financial support to some relatives in two neighbouring states, where governments owed workers’ salaries.
Asked why he did not visit the Amusement Park at Apapa as he did last year, Alhaji Idris Muktar, said he chose to stay at home with his family because of the unpredictable weather.
Muktar said, “On Thursday, it rained all day and we did not do much cooking because of it. So we decided to stay indoors on Friday, cook and share with neighbours and friends.”
Over two million people are performing Hajj this year, including 70,000 Nigerians.
Eight hundred and sixty-three others were injured in the stampede.
The incident, which occurred during the “stoning of the devil ritual” in the Holy Land, was described as one of the deadliest in the last 25 years.
Yusuf, who was the first female editor from the North, was a graduate of political science and journalism. She pursued a successful career in journalism in Nigeria, working for Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers.
Another victim was Hafsat Shittu, who was a member of the Nigeria’s medical team in Mecca.
Reacting to the tragedy, the factional Deputy National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Issa Aremu, on Friday said though the death of pilgrims in Mecca was tragic, they did not die in vain.
Aremu, who spoke to journalists in Ilorin, described the incident as a spiritual accident.
He said, “We believe, as Muslims, that death is inevitable, but it is more exciting when one dies in the Holy Land.
“They died in the course of serving Almighty Allah. They did not die stealing money; they did not die destroying public property and they did not die killing people like suicide bombers, but they died while worshiping Allah.”
While the Saudi authorities blamed the incident on the pilgrims’ failure to follow crowd control rules, its regional rival, Iran, had expressed outrage at the deaths of 131 of its nationals, with Iranian politicians suggesting that Saudi authorities were incapable of managing the event.
“Death to the Saudi dynasty!” hundreds of demonstrators chanted at a protest in Tehran Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also blamed Saudi Arabia for the incident.
“I ask the Saudi Arabian government to take responsibility for this catastrophe and fulfill its legal and Islamic duties in this regard,” Rouhani said in a statement published on the state news agency IRNA.
But Saudi Health Minister, Khalid al-Falih, assured that an investigation would be conducted and a final toll of the dead and wounded calculated.
“The investigations into the incident of the stampede that took place in Mina, which was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities, will be fast and will be announced as has happened in other incidents,” Falih said in a statement.
Saudi King Salman had also ordered a review of Hajj plans after the disaster, in which two big groups of pilgrims collided at a crossroads in Mina, a few miles east of Mecca, on their way to performing the “stoning of the devil” ritual at Jamarat.
However, a former Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, an ally of Iran and foe of Riyadh, said the incident was “proof of the incompetence of the organisers of the pilgrimage season.”
He suggested that the Hajj be placed under the authority of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s largest Muslim organisation.