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Budget Padding: Tambuwal Backs Dogara, Jibrin Meets Police Panel

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Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

There are strong indications that the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has thrown his weight behind the embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, against his accuser, a former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

It was gathered on Monday that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Mr. Abdulrahman Kawu-Sumaila, was also supporting Dogara.

The moves by the governor and the President’s aide were said to have deepened the budget padding crisis in the House.

It was gathered that Tambuwal had been mobilising some members of the House from the North-West to support the Speaker.

A member of the House said, “It is an open secret that the Speaker is Tambuwal’s man. The Sokoto State governor was instrumental in the emergence of Dogara as the Speaker in 2015. He has not abandoned the man. He is mobilising members of the House for Dogara.”

It was learnt that although the Sokoto State governor had succeeded in convincing the North-West members of the House to support Dogara, the South-West members had, however, declined to support the Speaker.

Findings showed that members from the South-West had not forgotten the role Tambuwal played in the emergence of Dogara as the Speaker in June 2015, dumping Femi Gbajabiamila, the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

It was learnt that the budget crisis would have been resolved if the South-West members had signed the list of those who were ready to pass vote of confidence in Dogara.

Journalists gathered that most members from the zone, however, decided to be neutral by supporting neither Dogara nor Jubrin.

A chieftain of the party said, “You will recall that the South-West members of the party were instrumental in the emergence of Tambuwal as the Speaker in 2011. In 2015, when it was the time to show gratitude, he abandoned the zone.”

Investigations also showed that the relationship between Jibrin and Kawu-Sumaila had been frosty since the budget padding crisis started.

It was learnt that Jibrin, who accused Dogara of padding the budget, was not happy with Kawu-Sumaila because he thought that the presidential aide prevented him from meeting President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former appropriation committee chairman had in a statement on Sunday alleged that two governors and three former members of the House were blocking him from meeting the President.

A source said, “Jibrin feels that Kawu-Sumaila has been tactically supporting Dogara.”

Kawu-Sumaila, an All Progressives Congress ex-lawmaker from Kano State like Jibrin, had previously served as the Deputy Minority Leader of the House before becoming the SSA to Buhari.

Jibrin did not name the governors, but sources close to him were said to have named Kawu-Sumaila as one of the three former Reps.

“The point is that you could see Kawu-Sumaila with Dogara in the video as the Speaker addressed State House correspondents soon after he emerged from the meeting with the President,” one of close aides of Jibrin alleged.

Efforts to get the spokesman for Tambuwal, Imam Imam, to comment did not succeed, as his mobile phone rang out. He had yet to respond to a text message sent to his phone as of press time.

The Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, declined comment.

‘Jibrin didn’t request to see Buhari’

The Presidency on Monday deplored what it said were attempts by Jibrin to drag the President into the budget padding allegations.

It said Jibrin, as a lawmaker, should know the “protocol” on how to see Buhari, as against his recent insinuations that he had been blocked from seeing the President.

Kawu-Sumaila reacted amid insinuations that he was one of the “three former” members of the House of Representatives accused by Jibrin on Sunday to have “blocked” his efforts to see Buhari to state his own version of the budget scandal just like the Speaker did.

The SSA said there had “never” been a time Jibrin requested through his office to see Buhari that he was denied access.

He said, “The way he has been going about this issue is unfortunate. He is dragging the names of innocent people into it.

“He has not approached me that he wants to see the President. If he makes a request, I will facilitate it for him. He knows the protocol.”

Kawu-Sumaila said his role in Dogara’s meeting with Buhari was to act as a facilitator.

He said he neither participated in the meeting nor knew the outcome.

The SSA added, “When the Speaker wanted to see Mr. President, he told me.

“I did my part to facilitate it. I was waiting at the office while they met. I was not at the meeting with them.

“It was after the meeting ended and the Speaker came out that I saw him off.

“The same thing would have happened if Jibrin requested to see the President.”

Meanwhile, the meeting of the Transparency Group, which was believed to be behind Jibrin, scheduled for Monday to review their strategies, had yet to take place as of 6pm on Monday.

Key figures in the group, including Mr. Abubakar Chika-Adamu and Mr. Baballe Bashir, did not pick their calls when one of our journalists made efforts to get an update.

Baballe, who had disclosed on Sunday that the group would meet in Abuja on Monday, also failed to reply to text messages that one of our correspondents sent to his mobile phones.

Jibrin meets with police panel

Jibrin on Monday met with the police Special Investigation Panel on the budget padding crisis in the House.

It was gathered that during the meeting, which began at 12pm at the Force headquarters, Abuja, Jibrin submitted a large number of documents and other evidence to prove his allegations against the Speaker and the others he accused of padding the budget.

Sources told our correspondent that the lawmaker also promised to bring more documents that were germane to the investigation into the alleged insertions under constituency projects in the 2016 budget.

A source explained that the SIP, led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Amodu Ali (retd.), received the documents with a promise to diligently study them.

The source said, “Jibrin came with documents which he handed over to the SIP on Monday. It was obvious that he was well prepared to establish his allegations against the leadership of the House. He promised to bring more documents during the week.”

It was learnt that the SIP had said it would take time to study the documents and other evidence before summoning the accused to defend themselves.

“This is a high-profile case, so, the SIP is not in a hurry to conclude it; members will take their time, carry out a forensic analysis of the evidence provided, conduct a thorough and diligent probe and by the time they are through, no one would be able to fault the report of the investigation,” another source stated.

Our correspondent gathered that Dogara’s posturing after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa last Friday had initially confused police authorities who felt that he might have reached a political settlement with Buhari.

It was learnt that the Speaker’s statement that “budget padding is not an offence under the nation’s law” gave the public the impression that he and the President had agreed on the point.

Findings indicate that the investigation panel was later told not to get carried away by the Speaker’s publicised visit to the President, but must get to the root of the scandal.

The All Progressives Congress Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Timi Frank, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Jibrin would be punished for flouting the party’s order to cease public comments on the budget padding scandal in the House.

A letter addressed to Jibrin and signed by the APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, last Thursday, had asked Jibrin to stop making public comments or issuing public statements on the lingering budget scandal after the leadership of the party had intervened in the matter.

But Jibrin had, in 82 tweets on Sunday accused Dogara of colluding with some serving governors and ex-lawmakers to change media narrative against him

Frank accused Jibrin of lack of respect for the Shuaibu-led committee, which was working “tirelessly to resolve the crisis.”

The statement partly read, “It is now obvious how disrespectful and desperate Jibrin could be, even to the leaders of our party, which include the National Deputy Chairman, North; National Secretary, National Treasurer, and others who have been sleeplessly working to ensure that peace returns to the House.

“But if Jibrin does not have respect for Speaker Dogara as a person, it is expected of him to respect the Office of the Speaker, the number four citizen of our party and the country.

“Jibrin should also be told that he has clearly shown disrespect for President Muhammadu Buhari who is the leader of our party by this singular act.

“It is high time Jibrin kept quiet and stopped this public show of shame before his excesses would be made known to Nigerians and the whole world.”

Frank said Jibrin’s continued “show of shame” did not only affect the lawmaker, but had great negative impact on the party, its members and the Buhari-led government.

“He should be also aware that disobeying the party in this manner may attract sanction, if the party deems it fit,” Frank stated.

Jibrin had alleged that Dogara and three other principal officers requested the inclusion of N40bn projects in the 2016 budget, besides sundry projects in sums ranging from N20bn to N30bn.

The other three are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Lasun Yussuff; the Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.

He claimed that his refusal to oblige the four principal officers and his opposition to several financial infractions were responsible for his sacking by Dogara on July 20.

The House had said the allegations would be investigated internally by the committee on ethics and privileges after members would have reconvened on September 13 from their annual recess.

There had been claims and counterclaims of signature collection to pass a vote of confidence on Dogara or ask him to step down.

Jibrin had claimed that 250 members were backing the calls for Dogara to resign.

However, on Sunday, some members dismissed Jibrin’s figure and claimed that “80 per cent (288) of the lawmakers” were with Dogara.

None of the sides has made the acclaimed registers public.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.

On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.

Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.

“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.

“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.

“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”

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Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria

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Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.

The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.

However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.

Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.

In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.

Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.

“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.

“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.

On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.

The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.

He added that people are facing desperate choices.

In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.

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In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”

Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.

This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.

He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.

Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.

The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.

“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.

“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).

“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.

“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”

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