- Presidency: Buhari will Not Sign Stupid Bills from National Assembly
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected a high number of bills because he has to analyse such documents closely so that he will not sign stupid bills into law.
Shehu has also said he cannot guarantee whether or not President Buhari’s administration will put an end to Boko Haram insurgency.
Shehu who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said this in Abuja yesterday.
The president’s spokesman had accused the 8th Assembly of frustrating Buhari especially in the area of delaying the passage of the budget in 2018.
When challenged with facts showing that President Buhari had rejected more bills from the National Assembly than any other president in Nigeria’s history, Shehu said the president did it for the right reasons as he could not sign stupid bills into law.
Shehu was asked to react to claims by the Senate that it had passed 306 bills which is the highest number of bills passed by a legislative arm of government in Nigeria’s history while Buhari had the record for the highest number of rejected bills.
In his reaction, however, Shehu said Buhari was known to be meticulous with his work.
He said during the minimum wage bill amendment, for instance, the president drew up a list comprising ministers, stakeholders and even members of the judiciary to evaluate and agree with the contents of the bill before signing it.
Shehu said such painstaking processes take time but it helps prevent the president from signing stupid bills.
The president’s spokesman said, “Let me say that the president is very methodical in dealing with matters such as this. A president could sit in that powerful office and act like he knows it all and I think in this country, we have had such Presidents but President Buhari is different because whenever bills come for signature, he will ask that a long list of stakeholders be drawn up. For example, the Minimum Wage Bill he which signed.
“Prior to that, labour groups had been demanding that he sign immediately but he refused and identified all stakeholders, ministers and even the judiciary were made to sign off on it and when this process is on, it takes a lot of time.
“Sometimes deadlines are issued and re-issued. However, the point is that at the end of it, a thorough job is done so that the President does not sign stupid documents and that is important for this country.”
He said the seven-month delay in passing the 2018 budget should be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Shehu said, “The delay which was experienced in 2018 in which the National Assembly held unto the budget for seven months is good enough for the Guinness Book of Records and the President lamented this.”
When asked if ministers who failed to appear before the National Assembly to defend their respective budgets did not contribute to the delay, Shehu said the parliament should have summoned such ministers if it were true.
He said the legislative arm of government had the power to order the arrest of persons without immunity but the fact that they did not enforce such powers showed that they were only looking for excuses.
The president’s aide, however, failed to explain why Buhari had failed to sign the Electoral Amendment bill 2019 into law.
Shehu also said he cannot guarantee whether or not the Buhari’s administration will put an end to Boko Haram insurgency.
He acknowledged that while the federal government is still cracking down on Boko Haram insurgency, new security challenges have emerged.
Asked if terrorism has come to stay or it will phase out completely, Shehu said: “I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated but it is an ongoing challenge globally even in the more advanced, more weaponised nations, it is still a challenge.”
He, however, said Boko Haram has “faded away”, and that the federal government is doing all it can to tackle banditry and kidnapping.
“I am happy that there is a realisation that there is shifting ground. When the president came in in 2015, the big issue was Boko Haram. Boko Haram has faded away, it is on the way out but new challenges have arisen. You have mentioned banditry and kidnappings and these ones are being tackled,” Shehu said.
“Recent successes have been recorded, look at what for instance, the police are doing, operation Puff Adder that they launched. They have netted in over 150 suspected kidnappers and bandits and they have recovered huge quantities of weapons, guns, surprisingly, locally made semi-automatic weapons, revolvers that have multiple cartridges in Anambra, Plateau and Zamfara States.”
He said the government and security agencies have identified and have to deal with the availability of weapons if the war against insecurity must be won.
“The attacks you just mentioned is still a far cry from those attacks that we had seen in the past. They are being pushed away farther from the national population. We had mentioned this thing about cheap availability of weapons in the country and across borders,” he said.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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