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Senate will expedite action on Electoral Bill – Lawan 

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has assured that the chamber would expedite action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill having concluded all consultations on the President’s response.

Lawan gave the hint on Tuesday in an address delivered at the start of plenary to welcome Senators back from the Christmas and New Year break.

He recalled that the Senate postponed discussions on the consideration of the response of President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill in December last year.

He said this became imperative to enable the chamber consult with its counterparts in the House of Representatives and their Constituents, respectively.

According to him, the chamber would expeditiously look into the Electoral Bill having concluded all the needed consultations on the President’s response.

“Like we all know, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill. Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issue”, he said.

The Senate President further assured that the upper chamber would continue to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the required support through legislative interventions to ensure that the Commission succeeds in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He said, “Distinguished Colleagues, Political activities leading to 2023 general elections have already started.

“This Senate should continue to provide the support that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs for successful elections across the country.”

Lawan also tasked standing committees to strategies on ways to effectively oversight Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to ensure the thorough implementation of the 2022 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year and signed into law by President Buhari.

“My Distinguished Colleagues, before we went on the recess, we considered and passed the Appropriation Bill on 22nd of December, 2021. That was the third consecutive time to pass the annual appropriation bill before end of year.

“The Bill was signed into law on 31st of December, 2021 by Mr President, to give the desired effect of starting the implementation of the Budget from January 2022.

“Distinguished Colleagues, I once again commend the Senate, indeed the National Assembly and the Executive arm of Government for working tirelessly to maintain the instituted January to December budget cycle.

“Distinguished Colleagues, as we all know the oversight of the implementation of the Budget is a critical function of the National Assembly.

“We must therefore strategize on effective oversight of the implementation of the 2022 Budget.

“This is going to be the last budget that would be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the Ninth Senate. We therefore, need to supervise very closely”, Lawan said.

The Senate President assured that the Senate would develop a strategy of engagement with revenue generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022.

According to him, this would reduce the country’s dependence on external borrowing to fund critical infrastructural projects.

“Distinguished Colleagues, funding of the 2022 Budget is predicated on significant borrowing. Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

“We have to construct and provide infrastructure, in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop.

“However, we do not generate enough revenues to fund the provision of such infrastructure. Until more revenues are generated, the country has to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding our infrastructural development. But we cannot continue to borrow endlessly.

“It is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio. At about 8% Revenue to GDP ratio, our country is basically at 50% of what is required of the revenue to GDP of 15% for it to support any significant economic development.

“Distinguished Colleagues, the Senate will develop a strategy of engagement with revenue generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022.

“The Senate will ensure that we boost their revenue generating drive with a view to reducing borrowing for development of our much needed infrastructure. This is a major challenge for our development and we need to treat as such”, he said.

Distinguished Colleagues, the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) 2021 was enacted with a view to providing better investments climate for better performance by the Oil and Gas industry. The Senate therefore,

Lawan underscored the need for the upper chamber to seriously supervise the implementation of the PIA 2021, so as to enable the country benefit from its passage.

He added that the Senate must continue to prioritize the Security and welfare of citizens as enshrined in the constitution, while urging Nigerians not to despair as a result of the security challenges confronting the nation.

On plans by the chamber to review the 1999 Constitution, he said, “Our Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution has done so much work so far.

“Working with their counter parts in the House of Representatives the report of the Committee will be presented to the Senate for consideration soon.

“The Senate will consider the report and the National Assembly will communicate to the State Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year.”

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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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Osun State Map
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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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