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Insecurity remains FG’s biggest challenge that must be tackled – Lawan 

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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Demand quick implementation of PIA

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the issue of insecurity remains the biggest challenge that must be prioritized and tackled headlong by constant engagement between the Executive and Legislature.

Lawan stated this on Tuesday in a speech delivered to welcome Senators back from the upper chamber’s two-month annual recess.

According to him, efforts must be made to sustain the fight against insecurity by ensuring adequate funding for security agencies in the 2022 budget to be submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari later this month to the National Assembly for consideration.

He said: “Distinguished Colleagues, let me applaud and commend our gallant Armed Forces for the recent success recorded in their fight against insurgency and banditry in our Country. I want to urge them to sustain the campaigns until the insurgents and bandits are rooted out in our Country.

“Distinguished Colleagues, you would recall that we approved the Supplementary Budget request of the Executive in July this year, just before we proceeded for the annual summer recess. The National Assembly approved over N800 Billion for our Security and Intelligence Agencies.

“While that provision was appropriate and indeed necessary, we should sustain the trajectory of increase in funds and resources to the security sector.

“Therefore, we should consider a ramp up of more resources for our security agencies in the 2022 Appropriation. This also requires that our Defence and Intelligence related Committees must step up their oversight on the Agencies.

“Distinguished Colleagues, the fight against the security challenges in our Country requires continued engagements between the National Assembly and the Executive arms of Government.

“It also requires continues engagements with citizens, for the necessary and desired results to be achieved. We must therefore remain resolute and focused in achieving those. The National Assembly, indeed the Federal Government has no more serious challenges to tackle than insecurity today.”

The Senate President while giving a breakdown of landmark legislations passed by the Ninth Assembly, underscored the need for the Implementation Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the timely execution of the Petroleum Industry Act assented to by the President on August 16, 2021.

“Distinguished Colleagues, before we embarked on our recess we had accomplished the targets that we set for ourselves. We passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), and also passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2010.

“These were landmark Legislations targeted at enhancing the Oil and Gas Sector in our Country and improving the Electoral system in our dear Nation.

“Distinguished Colleagues, as we are all aware, Mr. President assented to the Petroleum Industry Bill on 16th August, 2021 making it an Act of parliament.

“Also, the President had set up an implementation Committee to start the execution of the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge the implementation Committee to expedite action so that our Country will start to reap the benefits of the law.”

Lawan charged the Senate Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Petroleum Upstream, and Gas to start oversight on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, with a view to ensuring that the Senate discharges its critical mandate of compliance with contents and dictates of the law.

On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in July 2021, the Senate President announced that a Conference Committee would be set up to harmonise the two versions of the bill, so as to enable its eventual transmission to the President for assent.

He added that, “both Chambers had done a great and patriotic job to increase the integrity and transparency of our Electoral processes and procedures through these amendments.”

On efforts made by the Ninth Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution, Lawan disclosed that the Constitution Review Committee would be presenting its report soon to the upper chamber for consideration.

According to him, the amendment exercise is intended to “make Nigeria a more united and stronger Federation.”

The Senate President disclosed further that the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, National Planning and Economic Matters, Petroleum Downstream, Petroleum Upstream and Committee on Banking would also be presenting its report soon on the 2022/2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), preparatory to the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill by the President.

He added that the Standing Committees of the Senate are ready to receive Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for budget Defense.

“As in the previous years, all MDAs are expected to defend their budget proposals within October 2021, as this is the only allotted window for the exercise.

“Distinguished Colleagues, there is no gainsaying the fact that, the early passage of the 2020 and 2021 Budget has yielded tremendous benefits to our Economy and Country.

“According to the second – quarter GDP report release by the National Bureau for Statistic (NBS), Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 5.01% in the second quarter of 2021 – strongest growth since fourth quarter 2014.

“This can be attributed to the early passage and subsequently implementation of the Budgets.

“The National Assembly is proud to be a major factor in turning around the economic fortunes of our dear Country” Lawan said.

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Buhari Pledge to Rescue Kaduna Train Attack Hostages

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assured to rescue 31 hostages taken in a train attack and return them “safe and unhurt”, his office said, five months after their abduction.

Gangs of bandits with no ideological or religious motives are known to kidnap for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria.

On March 28, armed men blew up a train travelling between Abuja and Kaduna and opened fire, killing eight people, wounding 26, and taking an unspecified number of passengers hostage.

A week later, they freed one hostage — a top bank executive — as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, because of his “advanced age”.

Dozens of hostages have already been freed following negotiations, but 31 remain in the kidnappers den.

“I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers,” Buhari told representatives of the families of the hostages in Abuja on Thursday.

He said his government would ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages to their families.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,” he assured.
The president commended the security forces on recent successes against kidnappers and “terrorists”.

“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and a number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop, or reduce,” he said.

“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country,” he said.

“Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,” he added.

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja
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The Nigerian Army on Thursday buried five members of the Guards Brigade killed by bandits during a clearance operation in the Federal Capital Territory recently.

The soldiers were laid to rest at the Guards Brigade Cemetery, Maitama , Abuja, according to a statement by Guards Brigade spokesperson, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa

Among the deceased was Captain Attah Samuel.

“Until their demise, the gallant soldiers were serving with 7 Guards Battalion, Lungi Barracks Maitama and 176 Guards Battalion Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja respectively,” the statement said.

“While reading the funeral oration of the deceased officer and soldiers, the Commanding Officers of 7 Guards Battalion Lt Col Salim Yusuf Hassan and Commanding Officer 176 Guards Battalion, Lt Col Joshuah Kolowale Adisa described the late Captain and Soldiers as thoroughly bred Infantrymen who were genuinely committed to their duties in defence of Nigeria and whose contribution and services would be greatly missed.

“They asked God to console the families left behind stressing that while the Brigade and the Nigerian Army mourns, the families should take solace in the fact that they have fought a just fight and their souls shall continue to rest with the lord till the resurrection morning.

“Highpoint of the event was the presentation of accoutrements by the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen James Alilu Ataguba to the next of kins of the deceased personnel and lowering of the remains of the fallen heroes.

There was also the blowing of the last post and gun salute to bid the departed heroes fair well

“The burial process started with Christian wake keep and funeral service held in honour of the fallen heroes at St John’s Military Church (Protestant) before the final Internment at the Guards Brigade Cemetery Maitama Abuja.

“The solemn ceremony was witnessed by senior officers of the Nigerian Army, Commanding Officers, Staff Officers of the Brigade, Bwari Area Council Chairman, Hon John Gabaya as well as family members and the barracks community.”

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Two More ISWAP Terrorists Linked To Owo Church Attack Arrested – DHQ

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor
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Two more Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, have been arrested.

Gunmen had on June 5 stormed the Catholic church, killing over 40 worshippers and injuring others.

The incident drew widespread condemnation, with President Muhammadu Buhari ordering security agencies to arrest the attackers.

On June 9, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, blamed the attack on ISWAP, but the claim was countered by Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Just yesterday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the Director of Defence Information, Jimmy Akpor, said the two suspected ISWAP fighters were arrested through the collaborative effort of the military and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022,” Akpor said.

“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.

“Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.

“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.

“It is instructive to note that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.”

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