- Senate Reviews Passed Bills Rejected by Presidency
The Senate, on Wednesday, made a move to review four bills passed by the National Assembly which the Presidency said it would not assent to.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while acting when President Muhammadu Buhari was on medical vacation in the United Kingdom, had written to the Senate that he withdrew his assent to the bills based on various reasons.
The bills were Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016, National Lottery (Amendment) Bill 2016, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016, and the Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The Senate had said it would consult with its legal team for advice on the decision.
Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, moved a motion for a review of two of the bills at the plenary on Wednesday.
In the motion, titled, ‘Re-Committal of the Dangerous Drugs Act (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Currency Conversion (Freezing) Orders Act (Amendment) Bill 2017,’ the Majority Leader recalled that the President had signified the withholding of his assent to the two bills.
He said, “The Senate observes that Mr. President withheld Assent to the Dangerous Drugs Act (Amendment) Bill based on the concerns regarding certain words and phrases reflected in the bill that may be inconsistent with the Principal Act in Sections 6 and 21 respectively;
“It observes also that Mr. President withheld Assent to the Currency Conversion (Freezing) orders Act (Amendment) Bill on the concern regarding modalities for the communication of Asset forfeiture.”
The Senate approved the prayer of the motion to “constitute conference committee on the respective bills to consider the observations of Mr. President on the bills.”
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, however, referred the bills to the committees who worked on them.
In the four letters sent to the Senate, dated February 7, 2017, the Acting President gave various reasons for his decision, “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution.”
On the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016, Osinbajo said, “The reasons for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangements, limitation of liability of funds, and proposals to increase levels of un-collaterised loans from N5,000 to N250,000.”
For withholding assent to the Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Acting President said, “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill is the concern regarding modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.”
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
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.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
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.
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – 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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