…says no date yet for budget passage
The Senate, yesterday, relaxed its ban on screening and confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees to political offices, by resolving to screen and confirm two Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deputy governor nominees. Others to be screened and confirmed include nominees to constitute 12 membership of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) only.
The Senate had, in March 2017, resolved that it would not honour any request of Buhari to screen and confirm his nominees to executive positions in parastatals and agencies of government due to the President’s refusal to sack the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu. This is because the Sen- ate twice rejected the nomination of Magu, as a result of unfavourable report written against him by the Department of State Services (DSS). The DSS had forwarded
a security report to the apex legislative chamber, saying that Magu was unfit to head the anti-graft agency, especially under a government that said that it was out to fight corruption. Buhari defied the position of the Senate on Magu by allowing him to remain in office in acting capacity, a treatment that offended the Chamber, compelling the lawmakers to take the stringent decision against the President.
But citing orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim (APCKwara North), appealed to the Senate to reconsider its resolution on the screening and confirmation of presidential appointees, with particular reference to the CBN and MPC nominees. His words: “I rise on the issue pertaining to a very significant aspect of the country’s economy, knowing that from inception, the 8th Senate is pro-economy, pro-foreign direct investment, and pro-foreign controlling investment.
“We are all aware that in January, because of the resolution of this Senate, that all confirmation according to all acts of the National Assembly pending with us should be suspended forthwith. “I rise to ask that the Senate do consider the possibility of us taking the very important aspect of the economy which is the Monetary Policy Committee. The MPC is made up of 12 members; about seven from the private sector and five inside the Central Bank.
“As of today, only three of them are valid. Almost all other members, their tenure expired by December last year and that culminated into the MPC meeting not being held on January 22nd and 23rd and the next meeting is March 19 and 20. “I want to appeal to our colleagues. We have three requests regarding the Board of the Central Bank; two deputy governors who are also members of MPC and MPC members who are majorly in the private sector.
“MPC is a creation of the CBN Act which is autonomous. It is not run by the Board of Central Bank, but each meeting of every two months bothers on the economy. As it is today, it’s already affecting the foreign direct investment into Nigeria. Some foreign portfolio investments are already leaving, some that are supposed to come, are not coming.
“I just want to appeal that we take only the aspect that affects the MPC, which is the independent members and the two deputy governors that are members of the MPC so the committee can continue to sit and direct the affairs of the financial sector which is the heart of the economy.”
Seconding the motion, the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’allah, noted that the Senate has a commitment to cooperate fully with the Federal Government on everything that relates to the economy and good governance of the country.
Also Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said that given the vital role played by the apex bank in the economy of the nation, the Red Chamber should relax its hard stance on screening nominees to the position of deputy governors of CBN and board members of MPC. In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commended his colleagues for bending their decision on the screening and confirmation of the nominees to the apex bank.
Meanwhile, the Senate has said there was no date yet for the passage of the 2018 Budget. Senate’s spokesperson, Sabi, said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja. He said: “The budget process is on and I can’t tell you this is the specific date it is going to end.
“We are working very hard on it and we want to assure Nigerians that at the end of the day, we will have a budget that will serve the purpose of Nigerians.” On the upper chamber’s resolution to lift embargo on confirmation of presidential nominees, the lawmaker said: “There was an existing impasse between the Executive and the Legislature with respect to confirmation hearing of appointees of the Executive. “We had a resolution that since the executive is claiming we don’t have the powers to make those confirmations, we are not going to consider the nominees they are forwarding to us.
This happened since last year. “We will also consider the nomination of the two deputy governors of CBN who are also members of the MPC so that the Nigerian economy will receive the necessary technical input to ensure that we sustain the growth of our economy. “We are definitely going to do the confirmation to enable those confirmed to attend the next MPC meeting,” Abdullahi said. The MPC meeting is scheduled to hold on March 19 and 20.
Nigerian Navy trains officers to combat emerging security threats
The Nigerian Navy has recently raised the bar of training of its personnel owing to “security issues currently facing the country.” The Navy made this remark after concluding the two-day seminar tagged; “Consolidating Professional Training in the Nigerian Navy”, held recently at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Quorra auditorium, Apapa, Lagos.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Admiral, Obi Ofodile, reiterated that, “the purpose of training is to meet the current challenges, we are witnessing, because when we train well, then you can operate well, if you do not train well, you cannot operate well, because security issues and challenges we are facing today are a little bit more than what it used to be.
What we witness here in Nigeria is more of asymmetrical warfare, the enemy is not defined; we don’t even know where it is, so efforts to confront them are not conventional efforts.” He further reacted to security threats that linger, “it is ever changing and we want to further our training and close the gaps that have been created by the unimagined security challenges. So, basically decisions reached and recommendations made were religiously implemented. There are certain security challenges that we were not witnessing in 2016 like kidnapping that is not part of our job, we came in when the police couldn’t handle it.”
Cholera, Lassa Fever kill 14 in Bauchi
Nine people have been have confirmed dead following the outbreak of Cholera in Bauchi State. Briefing newsmen yesterday, Commissioner for Health, Dr Zuwaira Hassan, said five people also died of Lassa fever in the state. She however revealed that 324 cases of cholera were recorded while 26 patients are on admission at the isolated centre of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital Bauchi.
According to her, a female student of College of Education, Kangere, was among the nine victims of cholera outbreak saying “the causes of the outbreak in the institution were as a result of sewage evacuation. Dr. Zuwaira also attributed the causes of cholera outbreak in the state to open defecation by residents.
“It’s unfortunate that our people defecate outside and the faeces pass through their drinking water while they don’t practice personal hygiene”. “In order to prevent more outbreaks, community volunteers have been going round to educate and sensitise the people and the Ministry of Health has chlorinate their water,” She added.
…reactions trail apex court judgement
Different reactions yesterday trailed the Supreme Court verdict that nullified the appeal of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN over the primary that produced him as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for last year’s election.
While the State chapter of APC and the government described the verdict as no issue, the camp of the runner-up in the election, Dr Segun Abraham described the verdict as victory for democracy. Abraham is challenging the September 3, 2016, governorship primary that produced Akeredolu as the candidate of the party. But Akeredolu through his lawyer challenged the processes of service of the court papers to him.
The Supreme Court has however dismissed the objection and remitted the case to Federal High Court for adjudication. While the camp of Abraham was jubilating after the verdict, Akeredolu in his reaction, assured the people of the state that there is no cause for alarm over the Supreme Court ruling which dismissed the appeal filed by him. But the Olusegun Abraham campaign organisation said it received the judgement with utmost respect for judiciary in Nigeria saying the judgement which is celebrated all over the world is a victory for democracy.
A statement by the Director General of his Campaign Organisation, Mr Eko Davies said “we urge the people of Ondo State to remain calm, collected and continue to hope in God through the judiciary for the expected judgement in the case between Dr Olusegun Abraham and Mr Rotimi Akeredolu to determine the authentic flag bearer of the APC in the 2017 Ondo governorship election.
“We also want to correct the falsehood being peddled by the Akeredolu organisation that there is no case in the matter. The judgement by Supreme Court today shows that we have a good case. “Mr Rotimi Akeredolu should toe the line of the noble and resign honourably.
The perpetrated fraud that attended the party governorship primary is open and fresh in the memory of all and sundry. Once again we felicitate with the good people of ondo state and lovers of truth all over the world in an assured victory through the court.”
However, the state chapter of APC said Akeredolu remained the governor despite the judgment being celebrated by Abraham’s camp saying the apex court’s verdict is a sheer approval to commence hearing of a case that has not begun.
The spokesperson of the party, Mr Steve Otaloro said “It has come to our notice that some political almajiris and confusionists have started misinterpreting the apex court’s verdict as outright removal of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu from office and to be replaced with the applicant, Abraham.
“It’s unfortunate that this group of people decided to confuse members of our party and the good people of Ondo State in favour of their leader. Without prejudice to the judgement handed down by the Supreme Court, every member of APC is convinced that the primary was free, fair and transparent.”
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