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National Assembly Passes ₦7.441tn 2017 Budget

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budget
  • National Assembly Passes ₦7.441tn 2017 Budget

The National Assembly on Thursday passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill, with estimates totalling N7.441tn.

The passage followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees on Appropriations on the bill.

Of the total, N434,412,950,249 is for statutory transfers; N1,841,345,727,206 for debt service; N177,460,296,707 for sinking fund for maturing bonds; N2,990,920,033,435 for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure; while the sum of N2,174,496,775,867 is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure (exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers) for the year ending on December 31, 2017.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, while presenting the report, recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, during the presentation of the bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2016, tagged it ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’ with the aim of “bringing Nigeria’s economy out of recession into a path of steady growth.”

Goje said, “I want to say that the committee also made some landmark interventions in some critical sectors of our national life. These include the provision for a second (Nnamdi Azikiwe) Abuja airport runway; the funding for the resumption of work on the long abandoned Bwari-Aladja rail line.

“We have also made additional appropriation for the Amnesty Programme to ensure stability and peace in the Niger Delta for increase in oil production. This has increased the aggregate figure to N7,441,175,486,758.”

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the lawmakers scored a number of firsts in the processing and passage of the budget.

He said, “This is the first time we had public hearing as part of the process for the 2017 Appropriations Act. The level of engagement and contributions of the civil society has played a part in making this budget a remarkable one.

“Another first that we achieved is seeing that the line-by-line details of the budget were laid down along with the bill. Again, this is a great achievement on the part of us and I commend you all.

“Another first we have achieved is making the budget of the National Assembly available to the public, which has been an issue for a long time. I am very proud for what we have been able to achieve and we do hope, that this budget of recovery that we believe has reflected equity, has ensured efficiency and adequate resources to all relevant sectors and will go a long way in helping Nigerians to come out of the economic recession and create growth.

“I want to appreciate the level of consultations and the good working relationship and cooperation that exist between us and the executive for us to get to this point. This is a remarkable difference from what we saw in 2016 and it shows that the entire country is better for it.”

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, also said a lot of innovations were introduced in the budget process, citing the example of the public hearing held on the bill.

He stressed that there were consultations between the legislature and the executive during the process.

Ekweremadu said, “For the first time since some of us have been canvassing for public hearing, this happened this year. It must be added that the appropriation bill is the most important bill for any national assembly. For us, all these years, to consider this bill without public hearing has been a mistake. Now, we are back to the right path by ensuring that there is public hearing.”

 

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

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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In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force

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EFCC

Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.

The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.

The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.

As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.

It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.

Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).

“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.

“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.

“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.

Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.

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