President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has raised the alarm that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government are out to sabotage the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide critical infrastructure across the country.
According to Lawan, despite several invitations extended by the Local and Foreign Debt Committee of the Senate, the MDAs have consistently refused to appear to justify projects listed to be funded through the loan requests sought by President Buhari.
The Senate on July 15, 2021, approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s external loan request to the tune of $8,325,526,537 (USD) and €490,000,000 (Euros) under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
President Buhari, in another request contained in a letter read on September 14, 2021, had sought the approval of the Senate to borrow an additional sum of USD$4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million Euros.
Buhari explained that the loan was needed to fund projects listed in the addendum to the 2018 to 2021 Federal Government external borrowing plan.
He said the projects are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Credit Swiss Group, and Standard Chartered, in the credit total sum of 4.5 billion dollars,710 million euros and grant component of 125 million dollars.
Reacting to the refusal by MDAs to justify projects listed to be funded by the separate loan requests, Lawan described their action as an act of sabotage that will not be condoned by the National Assembly.
He listed the erring MDAs to include the Federal Ministry of Power under the supervision of Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, Ministry of Heath, being coordinate Dr Osagie Ehanire, Ministry of Women Affairs, Pauline Fallen , Ministry of Petroleum Resources jointly runs by the President Buhari and Timipre Sylva, Ministry of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, others are Ministry of Environment and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.
He, therefore, gave the MDAs a one-week deadline to appear before the Local and Foreign Debt Committee or face appropriate action to be dealt by the upper chamber.
The Senate President said, “List of some Ministries and agencies of federal government that should have appeared before Senate Committee on a loan and Foreign Debts, to defend the debt request by the Executive arm of government. These MDAs failed to appear.
“The Senate considers this attitude as a sabotage to the effort of the federal government to secure the loans and fund the infrastructural development that this country desperately needs.
“Already, the National Assembly has approved the loan request, but there is need for justification.
“I will therefore call the names of these MDAs, and we are giving them just one week to appear before the Committee on Loan and Foreign Debts.
“[And] if the fail to appear, we will take appropriate and prompt action, because this Senate will not condone any sabotage to the efforts of this administration to provide infrastructure to this country.”
Nationwide Strike : TUC Faults NLC
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has raised alarm that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not carry it along before declaring a two-day nationwide industrial action planned for February 27 and 28, 2024.
TUC Secretary General Nuhu Toro, in a letter to the NLC leadership dated February 19, 2024, expressed disappointment that the Joe Ajaero-led labour group did not carry the Festus Osifo-led trade association along before declaring a planned strike despite that the two groups unanimously issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement its agreement with the Organised Labour and address the mounting economic crisis of survival in Nigeria.
The TUC said the 14-day ultimatum will expire today (Thursday) and both centres ought to agree on the next step but the NLC on February 16 declared a two-day protest to commence after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum it jointly issued to the government.
The TUC general secretary said, “It is important that this is the third time that such unilateral declaration is happening under your leadership, we are therefore constrained to formally put this on record as various discussions, communications and interventions have failed. First and second time could pass as human error but a third time would in our opinion translate to an intentional act to undermine us.
“Also note that we are not averse to the issuance of your resolution because our members equally feel the pain, even if it’s a weeklong national strike, but we have a huge problem with the unilateral declaration for a process we both muted and agreed, because our members are equally concerned about the rising cost of living and not particularly the ultimatum, why can’t we see through the ultimatum that expires within the same period before jointly addressing other issues of mutual concern or at worst consolidate them?
“For the avoidance of doubt, we fully understand that NLC is an independent labour force centre that has the right to take independent decision, it is pertinent that when such decisions are taken unilaterally, there is need to go ahead and implement unilaterally.”
The Department of State Services (DSS) has since urged the NLC to shun the planned strike, pursue dialogue and negotiation, instead of engaging in actions that could escalate tensions but the Ajaero-led group has insisted on going ahead with the industrial action.
National Assembly To Consider Fresh Legal Framework For State Police – Bamidele
The National Assembly has disclosed that it will consider a legal framework for the creation of state police and for the gathering of local intelligence about the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists.
The legislature also challenged the local government council authorities, traditional rulers and community leaders to mobilise local vigilantes, hunters and able-bodied youths in defence of their communities and territories.
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele made these remarks on behalf of all the recipients of honorary doctorate degrees at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti on Saturday.
Apart from Bamidele who received Honorary Doctorate Degree in Private Law, the university conferred similar honours on Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Olamilekan Adeola and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Daji, among others.
Speaking on behalf of all the awardees, Bamidele revealed the resolve of the National Assembly to develop a legal framework and support local intelligence gathering to tame the tide of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
Specifically, the senate leader pleaded with the critical stakeholders – traditional rulers, community leaders, vigilante groups and able-bodied youths – on the need to provide useful information to the state security services on the activities of criminal elements disrupting our national peace.
According to him, all the state security services require community, group and individual support to decisively confront the menace of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism across the federation.
Bamidele said: “More than ever before, the National Assembly is working tirelessly to provide the necessary legislative framework to strengthen community policing and multi-level security architecture.
“Developing such a legal framework has become imperative at this time in our history. This plan is in the overriding public interest of safeguarding the security of lives and property, the stability of our democracy and the progress of our fatherland.
“The cases of abduction, killings, maiming, population displacement and disruption of socio-economic activities in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara in recent times have called for an urgent and decisive action by all state actors and other stakeholders.”
He expressed dismay with spate of insecurity in the country, saying Justice would duly be served to those were complicit in the recent abduction of pupils of Apostolic Faith Nursery and Primary School, Emure-Ekiti and their teachers and the gruesome killing of two of two traditional rulers – Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Olusola and Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin in the Oke-Ako area of Ikole Local Government.
He further warned that the day of reckoning “is already at hand for those behind abduction, maiming and killing in Ekiti and other states of the federation. None of them will escape the long arm of the law. In Ekiti, we are peace-loving people. But nobody should take our spirit of good neighborliness and accommodation for granted for any reason.
On the economic crisis, Bamidele reassured Nigerians that relief is already in sight soon considering strategic reforms the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been taking to revive the economy.
Also at the convocation, Adeola vowed to give priority to the country’s educational sector, especially where and whenever he had the opportunity to make such contributions.
Adeola, currently representing Ogun West in the Senate, thanked the leadership of the institution for bestowing the honorary doctorate on accountancy on him.
Uba Sani Blames Poverty, Hopelessness, Others For Insecurity In North-West
The governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, says poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education are the major reasons insecurity is festering in the Northwestern part of the country.
Sani, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, monitored in Abuja said that the issue of banditry and kidnapping in the North-west is different from that of insurgency in the North-East.
“The North-West crisis has to do with banditry and kidnapping, it is economic problem. When you look at the situation critically, you will agree with me that most of those bandits always kidnap innocent people and ask for ransom and whenever they are given money, they will release the victims in many cases and some cases when there is a delay they end up taking the lives of those victims.
“And when you look at the situation, you also look at the problem of poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and lack of education particularly in the Northwestern part of Nigeria, that is the reason why a lot of these incidents happen,” Governor Sani said.
The governor maintained that statistics has proven that greater percentage of people living in the North-West are living below poverty line, adding that a lot of out of school children in the country are also from the North-West zone.
“The last time I checked, and you can confirm from the SDGs recent report, you would agree with me that about 80 to 90% of the people living in the Northwestern part of Nigeria are living below the poverty line and of course if you look at the statistics of out of school children, you can see that a lot of the are from the Northwestern part of Nigeria,”he said.
Governor Sani said that bringing the criminals and pardoning them when they surrender is only one aspect of non-kinetic approach of ending the insecurity which according to him, is not the most important aspect.
The most important approach to ending the menace as he noted, is looking at the condition of the people generally which includes the poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.
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