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Senate investigates budget utilisation by army

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Senator Ali Ndume
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The Senate said on Wednesday that it had commenced investigation into the Nigerian Army’s utilisation of its 2019, 2020 and 2021 budgets.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, made the disclosure when he led commitee members on oversight of the 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt.

Ndume said the investigation would enable the committee to properly make budgetary allocation for the army in 2022.

According to him, the inspection of projects in barracks and interaction with the army hierarchy would enable the committee to make adjustments in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

“This will enable the committee to know areas that need adjustment, addition and attention, especially now that the 2022 budget is before the National Assembly.

“This oversight function will enable us to allocate what the army will get in 2022 with focus to the security challenges we are facing across the country,” he said.

Ndume said the strength of any nation was determined by the strength of its military and paramilitary agencies, noting that the government would continue to assist them to succeed.

He noted that the army was currently being overstretched due to its engagement in multiple fronts across the country.

“We commend the military and encourage the new guard (service chiefs) to continue with their good works while observing the rules of engagement,” he added.

The senator thanked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, for boosting the morale of troops and condoled with the 6 Division over the death of Maj.-Gen. Olu Irefin.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, commended the committee for its efforts to address the constraints in the army.

“We are happy that most of the interventions have been done especially in the area of equipment that are coming and efforts to improve army barracks.

“We also appreciate the donation of various types of operational vehicles to the army while the COAS has informed us that many more are coming,” he said.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday said it would consider better budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Navy in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

The Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Rep. Yusuf Gadji, gave the assurance whe he led other members of the committee on inspection of projects at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt.

According to him, the navy and NNS Pathfinder had recorded milestone achievements in the execution of projects in its formations and units as budgeted in the 2020 fiscal year.

“We are on oversight to seek feedback from the navy that we superintend over, to enable us to address the concerns and seek ways to improve their operations.

“Going by what we have seen from our inspection of NNS Pathfinder base, we can say that they are doing a good job in the area of contract execution.

“We understand the challenges in this base but we will only assist in budgeting for the primary projects that are more significant due to the meagre resources available,” he said.

Gadji said the National Assembly was currently seeking ways to make the nation’s armed forces self-sufficient in the area of funding.

“To this end, we have two bills before the national assembly, including the Armed Forces Support Fund and the Maritime Security Trust Fund.

“These bills when passed will go a long way to solving the problems associated with funding of our military,” he said.

In a presentation, the Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Abdullahi Ahmed, said the base had destroyed hundreds of illegal refineries, bunkering sites as well as made many arrests in 2021 alone.

He said the successes were recorded with the deployment of swamp buggy machines that completely crushes the illegal refineries, thereby making it impossible for them to be reactivated. (NAN)

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Defence and Security

Zamfara Govt Dethrones Two Emirs, District Head Accused Of Aiding Banditry

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Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle
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The Zamfara State government has dethroned two emirs and a district head over allegations of aiding the activities of bandits terrorising communities in the state.

Those affected by the government’s decision include the Emir of Zurmi, Abubakar Atiku, Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, as well as Sulaiman Ibrahim who used to be the District Head of Birnin Tsaba.

Mr Ibrahim Dosara, who is the Commissioner for Information in Zamfara, made the announcement on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Gusau, the state capital.

“The council has approved the deposition of Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and that of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Umar,” he declared.

“The council also approved the immediate removal of the District Head of Birnin-Tsaba, Alhaji Sulaiman Ibrahim.”

According to the commissioner, the government has also ordered that all land titles issued by the affected traditional leaders be revoked.

“The State Executive Council has also directed the state Ministry of Justice to issue an executive order to back up the council resolution,” he added.

The deposition of the traditional leaders comes 10 months after they were suspended by the state government.

It also comes days after the submission of the reports of the committees set up by the state government to investigate the allegations against the affected traditional rulers.

“The council upheld the recommendation of a six-man white paper committee set up by the government to review the report of two separate committees earlier set up to investigate the involvement of the three traditional rulers in the activities of banditry in the state,” said a statement by Governor Bello Matawalle’s media aide, Zailani Bappa.

“The three impeached royal fathers were earlier suspended by the state government following wide allegations of serious involvement in the act of banditry in the state.

“The findings of the committees also revealed abuse of the Land Act in their domain and the government ordered the reversal to status quo involving the lands illegally allocated.”

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Defence and Security

Senate Passes Amended Terrorism Act, Criminalises Payment Of Kidnap Ransom

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Senate has prohibited the payment of ransoms to kidnappers in its bid to complement the Federal Government’s effort to tackle the disturbing spate of insecurity in the country.

Payment of kidnap ransom was criminalised by the lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary in Abuja as they passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The prohibition by the lawmakers followed the receipt and consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters on the bill.

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who chairs the committee, had moved that the lawmakers receive the report after which he presented it for consideration.

Thereafter, the lawmakers resolved into the committee of the whole to consider the report, clause by clause, and reverted to plenary to report progress.

This led to the reading of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the third time and its subsequent passage.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, congratulated his colleagues on the passage of the bill which he said was very important.

“It is believed here in the Senate that this bill, by the time it is signed into Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated vices,” he said.

“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security issues of Nigeria but even the economy of the country.

I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon.”

According to Lawan, the fight against insecurity is not the sole purpose of a government and the contributions and support of the citizens are essential.

He explained that this was because the security agencies need critical information to tackle terrorism, kidnapping, and other threats to the nation’s security.

The Senate President stated that the security agencies were trying their best but needed to do more and achieve better results.

“With this, once again, I want to congratulate the Senate for this very important piece of legislation,” he concluded.

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Defence and Security

DSS Alerts on renewed Bomb Explosions

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has said some criminal elements plan to return the country to the pre-2015 era reminiscent of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks on soft and hard targets in parts of the country.

The Public Relations Officer of the security agency, Dr Peter Afunanya, raised the alarm in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

He stated that while the DSS has received reports on cases of such incidents in some areas, it has uncovered a plot by suspected criminal gangs to forge an alliance.

Their objective, Afunanya explained, was to launch further attacks on critical infrastructure and other public places frequently visited, such as worship and relaxation centres, especially during and after the holidays and festive celebrations.

He added that the groups intend to achieve some self-serving interests and cause fear among the people, and warned managers and owners of such centres to be cautious and implement basic security measures to deter the threats.

The DSS said it would continue to disrupt the trend and pattern of violent attacks and asked the people to go about their lawful businesses

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