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Prerogative of Mercy: Minister urges caution



Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs

Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, has cautioned the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) in the discharge of its duties.

The minister, who gave the advice when he reconvened PACPM committee members in his office, said the caution was to avoid releasing un-repentant criminals back into the society.

In a statement by Mrs Julie Osagie, Deputy Director of Press in Special Duties office on Tuesday in Abuja, Akume reminded the PACPM committee to work in accordance to its objectives.

Akume recalled that PACPM was meant to review, select and determine convicts/ex-convicts to be granted pardon for onward recommendation to the National Council of State, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He cautioned the committee members that any mistake on their parts could cause more social problems in the country.

“Mr President will be relying on you as a committee to do what is required of him constitutionally to grant pardon to deserving inmates, convicts and ex-convicts with the aim of decongesting the Correctional Centres nationwide, “ Akume said.

Also, Mr Abubakar Malami, Attoney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who served as the Chairman of the committee noted that it had become expedient  for the PACPM to reconvene as the committee secretariat.

According to him, there are over 320 applications, requesting for the grant of Presidential Pardon and clemency on behalf of some convicts in Custodial Centres across the country.

Malami urged members of the committee to review the applications objectively, based on facts before them, in the public interest, as well as in the interest of justice.

The committee members are Anthonia Ekpa, Ayoola Daniels, Usendiah Joseph, CP Shehu Gwarzo, Albert Uko, Prof. Auwal Yadudu, Debbie Obodoukwu, Lucy Ajayi, and Joshua Abu.

Others are B. A. Ogunbambi, Yetunde Haastrup, and Angela Jim-Jaja, a Director in the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, who will serve as Secretary of the committee. (NAN)(

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Update: 2024 Appropriation Bill Passes Second Reading At House Of Reps



House of Rep in Session

The House of Representatives has passed the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget for a second reading.

The House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, on Thursday, November 30, while leading the debate on the general principles of the budget, commended President Bola Tinubu.

Ihonvbere noted that national security and education which got significant allocations will be enhanced if implemented.

He said, “Nigeria will be more secure with the allocation to defence and security. As a teacher, I am impressed by the emphasis on basic education. I am sure that education will be better off this time.”


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Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday



President Bola Ahmed Tinubu


President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.

This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.

“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.

This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.

Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.

According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.

He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.

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Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market 



Senate in Session


…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill  for second reading 

The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission  .

Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC  Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .

He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .

But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .

Therefore according to him, ” the  objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria;  to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.

“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.

He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to  restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically  as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .

Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos  and Akwa- Ibom States .

” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and  create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .

” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .

” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in  Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the  proposed commission” he said .

Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .

Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .

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