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2022 Budget: Senate Uncovers N4.5billion Police Barack Project hidden in NDLEA Budget

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The Senate has rejected the report of its Committee on Drugs and Narcotics after it uncovered the document  illegally contaied N4.5 billion meant for the construction of Police barracks in the 2022 budget for National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA).

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotic, Senator Hezekiah Dimka said his Committee uncovered the anomaly in the course of scrutinizing the budget document presented to it by the Ministry of Finance and quickly raised the alarm

It was on the basis of this that the Committee on Appropriation chaired by Senator Barau Jubrin turned down the report on the budget for NDLEA and asked the Committee to go and correct the padded N4.5billion.

The N4.5 billion padding in the budget for NDLEA comes a day after the Senate Committee on Environment chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu uncovered a whoopping N16b proposed in the 2022 Appropriation Bill for the repayment of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP.

Making his own presentation, the Chairman Senate Committee on Sports and Youth Development, Senator Obinna Ogba called for greater investments by government in sports infrastructure.

In the area of youth development, Ogba made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to augment the daily feeding allowance of members of the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC). 

He said the arrangement where government spend N1,000 as feeding fee on a prisoner a day and N600 on a corps member is not good enough and should be reviewed. 

Responding, members of the Committee on Appropriation, Senator Smart Adeyemi and Stella Odua called on the Federal government to do more for sports and see it as a veritable tool to boost the economy.

On the fate of Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr, Obinna Ogba disclosed that himself and a few others in the Board of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) are disposed to the  idea of relieving the German of his job following his strings of poor performances.

He said in doing so, proper care must be taken to ensure Nigeria does not violate any of the rules of the world football body FIFA which could come with dire consequences for the country’s football.

He therefore calls for understanding on the part of the Nigerian people.

Earlier, the Chairman Senate Committee on Interior, Kashim Shettima   defended his Committee report on the budget of the Ministry to the satisfaction of the Appropriation committee which praised it for doing a perfect job.

All of these was as the President of the Senate on Tuesday gave the Jubrin Barau led 

Committee on Appropriation fresh deadline to complete its work on the 2022 budget by Wednesday.

The deadline according to Lawan is to enable the National Assembly met with the December 14 timetable it has set for itself for the passage of the 2022 budget.

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Legislature

Kogi Lawmaker applauds Bello for giving automatic employment to constituent

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Governor Yahaya Bello has been commended for giving automatic employment to Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko of the department of Science Laboratory Technician who scored 5.0 CGPA from College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah.

Governor Yahaya Bello had offered Miss Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko automatic employment with the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja during the convocation of the college after it’s establishment forty five years ago.

A statement by the Member representing Bassa constituency in the state House of Assembly, Mr Rayi Daniyan described the gesture to his constituent as the demonstration of the love he has for the people of Bassa Local Government.

Daniyan who described the gesture of the Governor as second to none in the history of his constituency urged the people of the area to continue in their support for Governor Yahaya Bello.

The Lawmaker said Governor Bello was God sent to Bassa Local Government in view of his proactive step in stopping the insecurity in the Local Government.

He said the automatic employment given Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko was a clear demonstration of the fact that Bassa Local Government has a special place in the heart of the Governor.

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Legislature

Alleged breach of local content act: Senate decries non appearance of NLNG, NCDMB, Saipem, Daewoo

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The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed concern that organisations handling the Train 7 gas project failed to honor its invitation over issues relating to alleged breach of local content act on implementation of the project.

The organisations invited by the committee, that failed to appear are the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG),Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB),Saipem and Daewoo.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Teslim Folarin, (APC -Oyo), while addressing journalists said there were petitions against the running and the promoters of Train 7, Gas Project.

According to him, there are a lot of pressure to escalate the matter to an investigative hearing.

Folarin, however, said the committee thought, it would be nice to hear from the four organisations involved, hence their invitation.

“We invited the four of them today, but as you can see, non of them honoured our invitation,” he said.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi(APC- Niger) and Vice Chairman of the committee, speaking further on the position of the committee said, the matter boarded on implementation of Nigeria’s local content policy.

Abdullahi said Train 7 gas project, which centred on increasig the nation’s output on liquified natural gas was an issue that was critical, given the increasing price of cooking gas.

He said given the huge deposite of gas, the National Assembly was interested on how the companies could make life meaningful to Nigerians in their participation on the train 7 project and on increasing the local capacity.

Abdullahi said the Senate had invited the companies to know what was happening on implementation of the project, but they had all surreptitiously failed to honour the senate invitation.

He said the committee resolved that given non appearance of the four organisations on the next invitation slated for Dec 2, the committee would excalate the matter to a full public investigation.

He said the attitude of the four organisations was an insult on the parliament as a whole, as they found it convienient on themselves not to appear before the senate committee.

Abdullahi said the parliament would not abdicate its responsibility of ensuring compliance to set local content rules and regulations,noting that it was committed to ensuring success of the Train 7 gas project.

He said it was the duty of the parliament to ensure that Nigerians were not short changed and taken for granted, while expressing hope that the concearned organisations would honour the next invitation slated for Dec 2.

He said with all the challenges of the economy, the matter was not what the senate would fold its arms and allow Nigerians to be short changed on the project.

He, however, said the Train 7 gas project was an attempt by the NLNG to increase Nigeria’s output from the current level to tap from the abundant natural gas resources in the country.

Abdullahi, who did not disclose further details, on the pertitions against the companies given its sensitive nature, said the committee would want to hear from the organisations.

He said it was too early to give further details until after engaging the companies.

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Legislature

Senate panel makes case for N10b increase in 2022 judiciary budget

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**Insists terrorism taking its toll on the arm of Government

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters has made a case for an addition of N10b to the judiciary in next year’s budget.
Senator representing Ekiti Central and Chairman of the Committee, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele presented the request before the Senate Committee on Appropriation on Thursday at the National Assembly complex.
The Executive had made provision of N120 billion for the judiciary in the 2022 Budget.
Speaking with newsmen after his presentation before the Senator Jibrin Barau led Appropriation Committee, Senator Bamidele who disclosed that his Committee made a request for additional N10billion for the judiciary maintained that the budget estimate was inadequate, considering the enormous responsibilities before the judiciary.
“To begin with the Federal Government on its own in the 2022 budget proposal on its own had proposed and increased the budget by N10b for the judiciary. “Recall that the amount budgeted for the judiciary in the year 2021 budget was a sum of N110b. So on their own Government had proposed additional N10b subject to the approval of the national assembly, that is why we are talking about N120b with the N10b increase by the Federal Government.
Senator Bamidele indicated apart from the challenge thrown up by terrorism, there is the need to deploy technology in the dispensation of Justice.
“As we speak there are people awaiting trial as a result of the various insecurity problems that we have in the country, whether you call them bandits whether you call them terrorists, whether you call them gunmen or women the truth about the matter is there is insecurity in the country.
“This has brought additional burden on the judiciary to the extent that our constitution still guarantee right to freedom of fair hearing for everyone who is alleged, once he is arrested apprehended and bought to court.”
He said all that underscored the need for more money to be made available for the judiciary.

“So we are convinced as a committee that there is a need to give more money to the judiciary. Second reason why we are convinced that judiciary deserve to have more money is the fact that COVID-19 opened the eyes of everybody to the need for every court to be placed in a position where there can be virtual heating.
“You must be ready to deploy technology, all manners of technology that will make it possible for lawyers to electronically file their cases, that will make it possible for lawyers to be able to engage in virtual hearing.
“To make it possible for court to be able to sit virtually. All of these require deployment of technology and they don’t come cheap.
“We are talking of all levels of courts, from the magistrate court to the State high court to the Federal High court, to the court of Appeal to the supreme Court.
“There are other specialised courts like industrial court and the Code of Conduct tribunal and others. So definitely there is need to give money to the judiciary to respond to the global best practice standard needs that are confronting them today.
“It is for all of these things that as a committee both chambers we are asking that the senate committee on appropriation should take it beyond the N120b by the Federal Government for the year 2022 to a sum of N130b.
“We have also added the list of the courts and other judicial bodies like the Judicial service commission, judicial justice committee of FCT and all the other relevant ones.”

Asked about the secrecy surrounding the budget of the judiciary, the Chairman,
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters dismissed it as a non issue as he noted that it was not peculiar to the judiciary.
“It isn’t our responsibility to monitor their expenditure but it is important that whatever is allocated under the National Judicial Commission is judiciously used.
“The secrecy you talked about isn’t peculiar to the judiciary. No one is asking about the budget of the Department of State Serviced or National Intelligence Agency.
Their budget (judiciary) isn’t up to one percent of the entire budget. We may choose to sensationalise it, but public interest is better served if the budget of the judiciary is at least one percent of the entire budget. We need a well funded judiciary so that it’s independence isn’t compromised.”

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