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Senate summons Emefiele, Adeosun, Dan-Ali over $462m helicopter

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The Senate on Tuesday summoned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, for explanation on alleged withdrawal of 462 million dollars for purchase of helicopters from an American firm.

Also summoned on the matter are the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and her Defence counterpart, Mansur Dan-Ali.

The upper chamber’s resolution to invite the government officials was sequel to a Point-of-Order raised by Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Sen. Sam Anyanwu, at plenary.

According to Anyanwu, I have it on good authority that in March, 2018, from the Federation Account, a sum of 462 million dollars was withdrawn and paid for helicopters to an American firm.

“This is without the approval of the National Assembly. I know that at no time was there any request from this Senate for any such withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Account of the federation.

“I want to find out if anything was done.

“I will suggest we invite the CBN Governor, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Defence to tell us how this money was withdrawn and paid into an American company without the approval of the Senate,” he said.

Anyanwu stated that Section 80 (2 and 3) of the Constitution stipulated that “no monies shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by the Constitution.

“No monies shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the federation other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund unless the issue of those monies have been authorised by the Act of the National Assembly.”

In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the plenary, referred the matter to the Appropriation Committee and gave it one week to report back. (NAN)

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PDP sponsoring herdsmen attacks- Reps member, Kazaure

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As armed bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen continue to kill innocent citizens and sack communities, a member of the House of Representatives, Muhammad Kazaure, has alleged that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), were behind the killings.

Kazaure made this known on Thursday in Abuja, at the inauguration of the board of trustees, Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) as well as the launching of the book, ‘Amazing Testimonies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Integrity.’

He noted that members of the PDP were making use of the funds looted during its 16 years in power to sponsor the ongoing killings by suspected herdsmen, in an effort to discredit the good works of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“PDP messed up for 16 years and destroyed the economic and social life of the people. We are the ones that allowed them to talk, they should have been in the prison by now. I don’t know what this government is waiting for.

“They want to fight the progress and I am surprised some Nigerians are supporting them the people that looted our money.

“Majority of these kilings, there are people behind it. If we start arresting those looters, these killings will stop because they are the ones financing the killings,” he said.

On Senators call for Buhari’s impeachment, Kazaure noted that nobody could impeach Buhari saying, “they can do nothing, they are just wasting their time.

“We are the ones representing the people, we are the ones with them and they still want Buhari because of his integrity and honesty. All these propaganda will come and pass, President Buhari will be reelected to Presidency come 2019. Even if an election is tomorrow, Buhari will win the election,” he added.

Also speaking, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, alleged that members of the PDP have politicised the ongoing killings in some parts of the county to score cheap political points and enrich their pockets.

He stressed that the PDP was trying to maximise damage to the APC government as well as fight the APC’s stand on corruption, by trying to undermine its good works.

Adamu who maintained that the killings was an act of terrorism which has become an unfortunate phenomenon of our time, however, added that the PDP was using it as an avenue to make money out of innocent Nigerians

“This is an unfortunate phenomenon and because it pleases the opposition, they are being so inhuman, so unfair to try to bring the president on live. All the killings going on they are making politics out of it, theyvare making money out of other peoples misfortune.

“Yes the president has a duty as the commander in chief and we accept this, but to use this as a campaign issue against the government is most unfair and it is most ungodly

“We must stand up, every town, every village, every street and defend this government. Come out and be counted we have more people than they have.

“We are not asking you to break the law but we are saying stand up defend and promote the cause of this government within the armbit of the law, we must take this government down there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), a non governmental organisation, has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for another term in office.

Making the endorsement, the Chairman Board of Tustees of the BCO, Markus Gundiri, argued that Buhari has substantially delivered on his campaign promises in the areas of education, insecurity, health and the economy, but needs another four years to effectively bring about a total change in the country.

According to him, Buhari deserves another chance to rule Nigeria and complete the good works he has started, as he remains the only person capable of reviving the economy and ensuring peace and security.

“The continuity of President Muhammadu Buhari will usher a highly sophisticated economy that each and every one of us will be proud of. He has continued to fight illiteracy and disease in education and health, and he has brought about improvement in our security especially in the North East.

“They may be other areas where there are insecurities today but given another opportunity, he will tackle the issues of insecurity. No other person knows or have the skills to tackle the insecurity in the is country,” he said.

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Court permits SSS to tender weapons allegedly found at Dasuki’s residence

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, permitted the Department of State Security Services, (DSS), to tender as exhibit, weapons allegedly found at the residence of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, (NSA).

The trial judge, Ahmed Mohammed granted the DSS permission while ruling on an objection against the public display of the weapons in the open court by Dasuki.

Mr Mohammed held that it was in the interest of justice and fair play for both the prosecution and the defence that the alleged weapons comprising different types of guns be displayed in the court.

The judge held that the weapons were listed in the proof of evidence made available to Mr Dasuki and that he would not be prejudiced if the weapons were tendered as exhibits and displayed.

He adjourned the matter until May 22 and May 24 for the display of the weapons and continuation of trial.

Oladipupo Okpeseyi, (SAN), the prosecuting counsel, had asked Williams Obiora, a prosecution witness to identify and display the weapons allegedly found in Mr Dasuki’s house in 2015.

Mr Obiora, an operative of the DSS, was giving his testimony behind a veil following an order of the court that the witnesses’ identity should be protected.

Mr Dasuki’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, however, raised an objection on the grounds that the trial was being conducted in semi-secrecy in compliance with the 2015 decision of the court.

He premised his objection on Section 190 of the Evidence Act, Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015 as well as Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said that since the witness was testifying behind a veil, it was normal and appropriate that the weapons be displayed in the chamber of the judge.

Mr Okpeseyi, however, urged the court to dismiss the objection on the grounds that it was only the official record of the state that could not be displayed in the open court.

He said the order did not include items recovered in the house of a suspect during an investigation.

The witness had earlier told the court that he was part of the team ordered by the Director-General of DSS in 2015 to search Mr Dasuki’s house.

He said the order to search was based on intelligence report that Mr Dasuki had weapons injurious to national security.

He told the court that a team led by one Ali Burara, armed with a search warrant arrived Mr Dasuki’s house in Asokoro and met armed soldiers, who prevented them from carrying out the search.

Mr Obiora further told the court that the soldiers eventually paved way for the team to search the house and the weapons were found and recorded on the search warrant.

Mr Dasuki is standing trial on charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.

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$496m arm purchase: Reps divided over impeachment of Buhari

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Members of the House of Representatives are sharply divided over the calls for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari for the alleged extra-budgetary expenditure of US$496 million in the purchase of fighter jets from the US

Recall that the members had on Tuesday accused the president of impeachable offences and call for the commencement of impeachment process against him.

The disagreement arose following a motion by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) seeking the approval of the president’s letter on a request to include the sum of US$496 in the 2018 appropriation bill for the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft from the US government.’

Leading debate on the motion, Monguno, urged the House to include the money in the 2018 budget as “the president’s anticipatory approval was granted based on the critical importance of the aircrafts to National security of the nation.”

He noted that on Tuesday, 24 April 2018, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent a message to notify the House of Representatives of the decision to purchase Super Tucano Aircraft under a direct Government to Government arrangement with the United States of America;

Monguno said that the President has considered that this highly specialized Aircraft is critical to national security, granted Presidential anticipatory approval for the release of US$496,374,470.00 which was paid directly to the treasury of the United States Government for the purchase of the Aircraft;

He also informed that in the said letter, the President sought the approval of the House of Representatives for the sum of US$496, 374,470.00 (N151, 394,421,335.00) to be included in the 2018 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly;

Also informed that the balance of the requirements for critical operational equipment is still being collated from the different security services which its financial implication will be presented in form of a Supplementary Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly for approval;

But opposing the motion, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), raised a point of order that the motion should be discarded as appropriation bill should come in form of a bill, not a motion.

Supporting Ossai’s claim, Hon. Lovett Idisi (PDP, Delta) said: “What we are being asked is to indict the house, if there is an illegal process, we cannot correct it with illegality. This process goes against everything we stand for”.

However, Hon. Munir Danagundi (APC, Kano) argued that the president has “committed no sin.” He said: “I did not see any sin that has been committed, section 82 of the constitution says ‘the appropriation bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into law by the beginning of the financial year, the president may authorise the withdrawal of moneys in the consolidated revenue fund of the federation for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the government of the federation for a period not exceeding months or until the coming into operation of the Appropriate Act, whichever is the earlier’ so the president has done nothing wrong.”

Also deputy speaker, Hon. Yussuff Lasun explained that the procedure to bring a substantive Bill is belated as the time of Public Hearing has passed, hence the written communication.

Similarly, Hon. Shehu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) pleaded with the sensitivity of the Members to allow the request from the President in light with the fact that the request is to beef up security for the nation, even though the powers of the National Assembly has been breached by the process.

But also kicking against the motion, Hon. Simon Irabor (PDP, Kaduna) reasoned that the president should have sent an addendum to the 2018 appropriation bill stating his intention, not to spend the funds without appropriation.

But ruling on the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara explained that there is no straightforward approach, but what the communication seeks the House to approve is for expenditure already made. “There are people watching the House ensure what they do is Constitutional, even if it is not Constitutional; it should only allow national interest supersede”.

He consequently ruled to refer the motion to the committee on rules and business to see if there is any way it can be debated on a further legislative day.

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