- Senate, Reps to Spend N13bn on Refreshment, Travels, Welfare
The National Assembly is to spend over N13bn on refreshment, transportation and welfare packages in 2017, estimates of its new budget have shown.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives budgeted about N11.5bn for general travels and transportation (local and international) in the next fiscal year, excluding the allocation for vehicles. Senate will spend N3, 777,114,399 and House of Representatives will spend N7, 722,489,596 for the same purpose.
The lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly will also spend a total sum of N1.3bn on refreshment and meals. The item will cost the Senate N409, 973,760, while the House will spend N913, 289,760 for the same purpose.
While both chambers made zero allocation for honorarium, their welfare packages will gulp N539, 760,392; N398, 168,712 in the House and N141, 591,680 in the Senate.
These estimates are exclusive of those of the National Assembly bureaucracy.
The National Assembly, as part of its ‘Open NASS’ campaign, had on Thursday published its 2017 budget, which showed that the legislature had raised its budget estimates from the N115bn in 2016 to N125bn.
The total personnel cost takes N23,789,787,880; total overhead cost, N85,878,619,888; and total capital cost, N14,940,196,063.
A breakdown of the estimates shows that the National Assembly Management gets N14.9bn; Senate, N31.3bn; House of Representatives, N49bn; National Assembly Service Commission, N2.4bn; legislative aides, N9.6bn; Public Accounts Committee (Senate), N118.9m; Public Accounts Committee (Reps), N142.7m; general services, N12.5bn; National Assembly Legislative Institute, N4.3bn; and service wide vote, N391.3bn.
Despite the publication, the remuneration of each member of the National Assembly is still shrouded in secrecy.
A further analysis of the estimates made available to the public showed that under “General Services,” cleaning services for the NASS Phase III Building will cost N606, 916,919.
Under the same column, the National Assembly has also budgeted N640, 584,000 for constitution amendment, while “Budget Coordination Activities” will cost N197, 665,920.
In their separate budgets, the PAC of both chambers will spend N56, 783,747 on transport and travels. PAC-Senate will spend N25, 339,572, while PAC-House will spend N31, 444,175.
The committee will also jointly spend N20, 546,748 on “printing of non-security documents.”
Refreshment and meals will cost the Senate committee N14, 417,492, while the House committee will spend N16, 748,428, bringing the total to N31, 165,920.
On honorarium, a total sum of N60, 220,882 will be spent by the committees. In the Senate, it will cost N24, 232,712 and N35, 988,170 in the House.
The National Assembly, on Thursday, passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill, with budget estimates totalling 7.441tn.
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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