The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Kaduna State, Shehu Sani, yesterday charged Nigerians to demand for compulsory disclosure of salaries and allowances of the President, Vice President. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, governors, state legislators and chairmen of councils.
Sani, who recently disclosed that federal lawmakers go home with stupendous N13.5m monthly allowance also called for a review of salaries and allowances of government officials to stem the ugly tide of inequality in the society.
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State capital yesterday, the senator said his revelation of the allowances and salaries which he and his colleagues collect was actually not to antagonize them but to end the 19 years of secrecy and culture of silence in the National Assembly.
His words: “I made the revelation not because I wanted to antagonise my colleagues but out of my belief that things should not continue to be as it were for a long time. My observation was based on the reading of public mood and public perspectives on issues in the National Assembly. The National Assembly has many distinguished personalities, but because of the culture of secrecy and silence, many have found themselves criminalised and stigmatised, and the dome of the National Assembly is being seen to be a canopy of persons with questionable characters and integrity.
“I took the bold step to save the honour and integrity of the National Assembly by unveiling the wall of 19 years secrecy and bring it once and for all to an end. I know I would lose friends and colleagues from the Senate I serve, but my action is to correct the conflicting rumours about Senators collecting N50m, N100m and the rest.
“Nigerians should ask their members of the Houses of Assembly too how much allowance they are collecting in silence because they are also collecting such. I am collecting the allowance and others are also collecting at the National Assembly. But this will continue until there is a review which I advocated. There is need to know the salary and allowances of Ministers, Chief of Staff. GMDs of NNPC, and the rest. This is necessary because we cannot continue to be like the North Korea.”
“When President Buhari assumed office, he publicly declared his assets. His Vice, Professor Osinbajo followed suit. After them, I was the third person that declared my assets publicly. Since then, there was no one. Not even a Councilor, Local Government Chairman, Governor, had declared their assets. There is no difference between a sinner and a saint in the political arena.
“I went to the Code of Conduct Bureau. I was given a pen and paper and in a page, I wrote down my assets. Others with me in the hall who have also won elections were calling for more papers as if it was an exam centre where you could ask for more papers. Some filled theirs almost like volume. If the PDP are seen as sinners and in the group of APC who are saints, only three persons can come out clean, then you ask yourself whether you are being taken for a ride. Since I made the public declaration, there has not been any sanction against me. I am not sure maybe there may be one tomorrow or next”, Sani said.
Killings: Nigeria is a failed state – Dickson
Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson said the wanton killings in the country by Fulani herdsmen is symptomatic of a failed state.
Dickson who spoke yesterday at a National Prayer Conference in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, stated that Nigeria is seriously bleeding and divided more than ever.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Agbo, the Bayelsa State governor said Nigerians must unite in prayers and resolve to work together to ensure fairness, justice, equity and equal citizenship.
“In this country, God’s children, human beings irrespective of the God they worship are being slaughtered mercilessly, remorselessly in many parts of the country.
“Our nation is bleeding, we must unite in prayers and resolve to do what is right and fair. Our nation should be a nation of fairness, justice, equity, equal citizenship and united by common ideals of being the greatest black nation,” Dickson added.
He called on the nation’s leaders to take the responsibility to stop the bloodletting, adding that this is the time Nigerians have to intensify prayers for the nation to overcome its challenges.
The governor said: “We are united by our common shared humanity and nationality, so injustice and unfairness anywhere should be a concern to anyone and everyone in our nation.
“I join you in praying that the bloodletting, unnecessary killings in our nation under any shape or guise ends in Jesus name.
“God should intervene so that people will feel the need to do the right thing, be fair and just to one another.”
Chairman and convener of Nigeria Prays, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), stressed the importance of prayers, which he said, could help to solve Nigeria’s problems better and faster than military generals and soldiers could do with physical weapons of war.
Gowon assured Nigerians that God would honour the collective prayers and intercession for the nation, while also advising people to shun violence and retaliation.
Also, the National Director of Nigeria Prays, Reverend Moses Aransiola said the organisation believes in the efficacy of prayer, and argued that it is the patriotic responsibility of all Christians to pray for their leaders.
President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Revd. Felix Provide, in a message, assured of God’s intervention to the nation’s problems.
N21.5bn SUKUK bond: Lawmaker lambasts Niger Governor
The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Barrister David Umaru, has lambasted the Niger state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello over the N21.5 billion SUKUK loan facility applied for, saying it will plunge the state into bankruptcy.
Barrister Umaru who is also the chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights at a press briefing on Sunday in Minna said the capacity of governor Sani Bello to put to judicious use the funds from SUKUK bonds if access is not only doubtful but nonexistent.
According to him “it is obvious that this administration is badly obsessed with accessing bond facilities in the presence of infrastructural development while it has consistently failed to account for the billions of naira accrued from statutory allocation to the State including other huge financial interventions from the government.
“Governor Bello should be aware that the well-informed people of the state including my humble self cannot be deceived by the needles lies being canvassed as benefits derivable from the huge burden-laden bonds meant to impoverish the state.
While calling on the state house of Assembly not to approve the loan, he said “this administration when compared to previous administration of former Governor Babangida Aliyu is more financially reckless.
“While the former administration had left a total sum of N44 billion as external debts and close to N30 billion as internal debts, the present administration appears ready to break such record with heavier debt burden despite huge resources that had accrued to the state in the past three years.”
He added that between 2015 and 2017, governor Bello administration had accessed over N114 billion as net FAAC. Though the State budget keeps increasing (36.3 % and 9.4% for the periods 2016-2017 and 2017-2018), the government is increasingly becoming incapable of delivering the democratic dividends as it is enmeshed in growing external and internal debts.
Accordingly, he said “the state’s external debt is put at N17.13 billion and, N31.98 billion as internal debt. We are asking governor Bello to tell us how the Bail-out funds from the federal government and the disbursements from the Paris Club refunds allegedly amounting to about N250 billion were utilized.”
Furthermore, he said the loans taken by the state which include $226 million bond from the Islamic Development Bank and $330 million from Kuwait find for Arab Development, are meant to further impoverish the state which is yet to recover from the comatose condition imposed by the huge debt bonds borrowed from the capital market by the previous administration.
He, however, called on members of the State House of Assembly to withhold approval on the loan request adding that this would save the state from further impoverishment, “history will not be kind to our House members if they do otherwise. Future generations of Nigerlites and indeed the present generation will hold our lawmakers responsible for mortgaging their future.”
He then called on the people of the state to stand up and vehemently resist and oppose the clueless misadventure of the Governor in seeking the N21.5 billion Sukuk bond.
Naka military invasion: Benue PDP guber aspirant blasts army, threatens court action
A Peoples Democratic Party governorship aspirant in Benue State Prof. Eugene Aliegba has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently end the on-going killings by Fulani herders\military rascality of innocent citizens in the state.
Prof. Aliegba made this call in Makurdi while reacting on the attacks by the military on the peace-loving people of Gwer West local government on the allegation of a killing of an army officer where two lives and over 300 houses were burnt down.
He described the reprisal by the military as lawless, uncivilized, brutal and a calculated attempt to provoke the law abiding citizens of Gwer West.
Professor Aliegba who was visibly angry over the military’s action said he is not comfortable with the present level of insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in Benue.
He added that as it stands now, the people of Agatu, Guma, Logo, Okpokwu, Gwer West, Kwande and Ukum Local Government areas are under siege and appealed to the federal, state governments and relevant security operatives including, Army, Police Department of State Services (DSS) and others to stop the senseless killings in Benue State.
Prof. Aliegba further called on the state government to set up internally displaced camps in Gwer West where presently inhabitants in nine out of fifteen council wards are moving helter-skelter in Naka town without shelter.
The former commissioner in Benue State, who also called for a thorough investigation into the incident that led to the loss of lives, called on Non-Governmental Organizations, public-spirited individuals and the international community to come to the aid of IDPs as well as ensure rehabilitation and resettlement of the areas devastated by the herders crisis in the state.
He advised army never to deviate from their primary responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of the country Nigeria as failure to do so will force the citizens to heed to the statement credited to General Theophilus Danjuma of self-defense.
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