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Nigerians will remember Ninth N’Assembly for its achievements – Lawan

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and cross section of Senators
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…says security, improved revenue generation to top legislative agenda in 2022 
 
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that Nigerians will remember the Ninth Assembly under his leadership for its outstanding legislative achievements after the end of its lifespan in June 2023.

Lawan made this known on Wednesday when the Senate Press Corps paid a visit to felicitate with him on the occasion of his 63rd birthday in Abuja.

According to the Senate President, the upper chamber and by extension the National Assembly remains committed to serving the interest of Nigerians in the discharge of its constitutional duties.

He added that no amount of name-calling by critics would deter the upper chamber from considering and passing pro-people legislations needed for the development and advancement of the country.
 
He said, “We believe that there is a price to pay for anything, but we are patriotic. Let us be called any name, what we want to do and achieve is for our country to be better.

“Tomorrow, some of these people that are calling us all types of names will be writing very good commentaries about what we have been able to achieve in this Ninth National Assembly.

“Majority of Nigerians are happy with what we are doing, we are not perfect, we make our errors and we will correct them.

“We identify with our citizens but we will always do what is in the best interest of our country.”

Lawan disclosed that the National Assembly in 2022 would focus on security through oversight of funds appropriated in this year’s budget to the armed forces and security agencies.

He explained that doing so would guarantee transparency in the procurement process and ensure the welfare of military and security personnel tasked with restoring security across parts of the country.

“That takes me to the challenge for the National Assembly, particularly the Senate in 2022.

“So far, we have done over ninety percent of what we set for ourselves in our legislative agenda, but because the country and people are dynamic, we have so many other things to do.

“Today, the security situation still begs for more attention. We will give a lot of attention to the security situation.

“We have appropriated about a trillion for our security agencies and armed forces, now it is for members of the National Assembly to ensure that the procurement process by the armed forces are transparent and everybody there is accountable.

“[And] of course, we should do oversight as much as possible for the welfare of our soldiers and security personnel. They need to continuously be motivated.”

The Senate President added that the upper chamber would also in the first-quarter of this year focus on addressing the challenges of revenue generation, collection and remittance to shore up earnings by the federal government.

According to him, an improvement to the country’s revenue figures would reduce Nigeria’s dependence on external borrowings for the execution of capital projects captured in the national budget.

“We still have a huge responsibility, and, in fact, it is something that we wanted to do last year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic we couldn’t do so.

“This year, by the grace of God, we are going to resuscitate that plan, and it is to keep and maintain focus on revenue generation, collection and remittance.

“Our Revenue to GDP ratio is very low, and the economists will tell you Nigeria’s problem is not debt but revenue.

“So, if that is the case, it means those of us in government must focus on dealing with the challenges of revenue generation, revenue collection and remittance.

“This year, we are going to have engagements with the revenue generating agencies such as Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and so on, on a quarterly basis, to have their targets set for them, and we want them to come and brief us on their performance every quarter.

“We hope to start the first meeting, which is an exploratory kind of meeting with them either this month or early February.

“We want to see how we can make positive difference in the area of revenue generation.

“Nobody likes taking loans, borrowing or accumulating debts, wether as an individual, a family, a community or as a country.

“But what can you do when you’re not able to generate enough? We are as concerned as anybody else about our level of borrowing, even though we have not saturated, but if we can do better why not reduce, and the best way to reduce is to get more revenues from especially independent sources.

“The government owned enterprises are supposed to give us more money. In 2022, we are expecting maybe about a trillion, I’m not an economist, but I believe that we should be expecting maybe double or triple from them.

“We must support them, we must supervise them, and we must keep them on their toes for us to have more revenues in other to reduce the level of borrowing

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Deborah Samuel: NBA Calls For Swift Prosecution Of Suspects, Postpones Conference In Sokoto

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The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned extra-judicial killings in any part of the country, describing them as reprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable.

A statement signed by the President of the bar, Olumide Akpata also called on security agencies to do more to stem these ugly developments, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are made to face the full wrath of the law.

Citing the specific cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and the incident in Sokoto involving the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy, the NBA asked government to immediately commence the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings in order to send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.

The NBA said it believes that the prompt and effective prosecution of the alleged killers will instill confidence in the citizens, promote accountability, and signpost the government’s commitment to the rule of law.

With particular reference to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, the NBA said it is worried by unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.

On the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property, the NBA said this is worrisome and clearly a test of the will of the State to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.

On its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL scheduled to hold next week in Sokoto, the NBA said, having critically reviewed the current security condition in the state, it has become apparent that it cannot guarantee the safety of participants and accordingly, the Conference has been postponed also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Deborah Yakubu.

The NBA urged the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and where necessary deploy its coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, safeguard lives and property and dissuade vandalism and impunity.

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Accord Party’s comment on award of Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road project, unfortunate, illogical – Osun Govt 

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.…says it took over the project to alleviate citizens’ hardship

The government of Osun has explained that it took over the reconstruction of the Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road, which is a Federal road, to alleviate the hardship motorists and other road users face daily why plying the road.

The government said the facility had been in a deplorable condition for so long and it could not afford to allow its citizens continue to suffer on the road, adding that it followed due process in taking over the project.

One of the opposition parties in Osun, the Accord Party had in a statement published accused the State Government of taking over a road project that had already been awarded by the Federal Government.

Reacting to the statement by the Accord Party, Mr Ismail Omipidan who is the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, described the party’s claims as unfortunate, lame and illogical.

He said while the contract for the rehabilitation of the road had been truly awarded by the federal government on two different occasions since 2012, no concrete work had been done on the project, a development he said forced the State government to take over the project.

“The contract for rehabilitating the road was first awarded by the federal government 10 years ago, but since then, no significant work has been done on the project that has caused so much hardship for our people who use the road.

“It was for this reason that the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led administration decided to take over the project to address the needless sufferings and loss of man-hours on the facility,” Omipidan explained.

He further noted that Accord party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate to the people of Osun rather than engaging in a futile exercise. “The party’s comments on the take-over of the road project by the State government are lame and illogical,” he added.

Omipidan further said: “Accord Party should simply bury its head in shame. Are they saying we should continue to allow the people of Osun to suffer under our administration simply because the road belongs to the federal government?

“If they were discerning enough and if they had listened to Mr. Governor’s speech on the day we flagged off the reconstruction of that road, I am sure they would not bother themselves issuing a statement that lacks substance.

“Mr. Governor said it clearly in his speech that the road contract was awarded about 10 years ago and that as a state government, even though it is a federal government project, we did everything possible to support all the contractors that have had cause to work on that road. But there was no positive result.

“The argument on the timing of the award of the project is preposterous and ill-judged. A government can award a project contract even a week to its expiration, as long as it is in the overall interest of the State and its people.

“We all know that there are processes to take over federal government project that explains why it took us time to start the reconstruction because we have to complete the necessary paperwork.

“During the Governor’s January broadcast, he stated it clearly that though 2022 is going to be an election year but as a responsible governor, he will not allow politics to over shadow governance, so if anything, the Governor should be commended for walking his talk.

“Hon. Lasun Yusuff, the candidate of the Labour Party in the July 16 governorship contest was on air just on Monday, stating how as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he facilitated the reconstruction of the road. He explained how some persons who were coming for his event from Lagos had to return without getting to their destinations after spending three hours on that road, so he was happy and even commended the State government for taking over the road project and so, are the immediate beneficiaries of the road.

“The benefiting communities and road users who ply the road will definitely not be happy with the position taken by Accord Party. The party has indeed missed its target as it cannot use this project to attack Governor Oyetola who has only done what the people desire.

“The party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate rather than engaging in a futile exercise because this indeed is an exercise in futility, the people of Osun know Mr Adegboyega Oyetola very well as a man of his words and somebody who walks his talks. He has promised that he won’t allow politics to overshadow governance. As a matter of fact, we will reel out more road projects in the days ahead.”

 

 

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Death Toll Rises To Nine In Kano Explosion

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Scene of the Kano blast
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At least nine persons have died after an explosion rocked Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday.

The bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school.

The police earlier said the explosion was triggered by gas cylinder and not a bomb as being speculated.

“It is not a bomb explosion, it is a gas explosion,” Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Dikko, said in a voice recording. “A gas cylinder explosion.

“Because there is a welder, just by the place, and he is the first victim in this situation.”

Dikko added that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, was also investigating what led to the gas cylinder explosion.

He maintained that the scene was under control.

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