774, 000 jobs: 2nd republic lawmaker mocks N’Assembly for bringing itself to ridicule
*** blames executive for picking quarrel with lawmakers over trivialities
Lawmaker in the second republic, Dr Junaid Mohammed, has teased the Leadership of the National Assembly for embarrassing the institution in their recent faceoff with the executive over the 774, 000 public work project.
The face off between the minister for State, labour and employment Festus keyamo over the project got to a head when the national assembly started acting like executive giving orders after the joint committee on works had a public spat with the minister.
The president of the senate went ahead to order the suspension of the 774, 000 public works jobs when they could not agree with the minister over how the recruitment in to the program would be carried out.
However, despite Lawan’s grandstanding, the minister went ahead to commence the program across the country to the embarrassment of the national assembly.
Muhammed who spoke exclusively with the NationalUpdate in a phone interview over the weekend in Abuja said he cannot figure out how the National Assembly believed they could order the suspension of the program without recourse to the constitutionHe however, also blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing such insignificant matter degenerate into his picking quarrels with members of the national Assembly.He warn those who are misguiding the President that on issues which are not fundamental they should not create friction between the executive and the legislature as they would be needed sooner or later for assent.
“The idea of this jobs is not a matter for do or die and he didn’t need to ride roughshod over the national assembly, as it doesn’t help him because there are areas which he will need their assent and should they withhold their assent there is nothing he can do about it.”Unless he wants to blatantly go forward and break the law which can get him into serious trouble.”He said, the issue of Keyamo and the national Assembly is a bit complicated because Keyamo himself is not an Angel.”If he was given that assignment by the president or by his senior minister in the cabinet, he turned it upside down because clearly he wants to introduce APC internal squabbles into that national Assignment.”We are talking about jobs for people spread all over 774 local Governments, you have to be fair and you cannot say that because somebody is not a member of your party or he is a member of your party but not a member of your faction hence is not entitled that is also another problem.”National Assembly were right to have demanded to know how the people would be engaged, that is clearly legal and it is in the constitution.”However he said that before someone gets a Federal appointment he must belong to the ruling party and also must belong to the faction of the ruling party which perhaps the minister comes from, is really unfortunate.”These are some of the areas we need to be clear because it is not a straightforward issue, there are lots of nuances involved.”Taking a swipe further on the national Assembly he said,”First and foremost if you have been following my statements over the years I have nothing but contempt for the national Assembly not just this one but the previous national Assembly so called.
“My contempt for them was not personal but more to do with the recklessness with which they pursue their assignments.”Muhammed indicated that whoever has been following event in the national assembly knows that it has been increasingly corrupt, incompetent adding that they have not established a reputation for standing for issues important to the country.
“Any time you hear them making noise they have a hidden agenda and that hidden agenda has never been for National interest.”We are not surprised that they are having problems now with people who are either working with them, or those on assignment, to the level of the ministers and people who are in charge of ministry, departments and agencies of Government.”
He said they have decided to take the law and constitution and put it upside down.”They believe that whatever they want must be seen to be the law and if they don’t like something they say well they are members of the National Assembly they can do what they like and that they can in fact challenge the President.”Their challenge on the authority of the President has exceeded their mandate and the people elected to do some major oversight of the responsibility of Government.”This seem to be their opinion, secondly they believe because they are members of the national assembly the senate and the House, they believe they have a divine right to be corrupt nobody can challenge them.”In the third place he said, they also assume have a divine right to intimidate people who they think they can intimidate even some of their former colleagues who have been biasedly picked one way or the other to be ministers.”Some of them have been assigned ministerial responsibilities. Some of them have become Governors.”They think they are entitled to be respected but what they don’t know is that respect is reciprocal. If you respect people, people will respect you, if your behavior is respectful people will also accord you that respect.”If you are dishonorable and corrupt people will treat you with contempt you deserve and that is the fact of the matter.”He said had been involved in the National Assembly but the present crop of kawmakers have nothing to show for the years the country has practiced democracy since 1979-83 and 1999 under Obasanjo till dateHe said it is simple but complicated.”It is simple because the constitution which is the supreme law of the land and other enabling acts and enactments have clearly defined the role of the national assembly in all the areas they choose to intervene as a superintending authority. “Unfortunately however, the matters which are important to the nation they chose to go in with their greed, corruption and they have been more than zealous in trying to show they are powerful people and what they want becomes automatically law and that is really unfortunate.”
Muhammed said they have no power to suspend the recruitment.”If they had desire to wield the power they seem to now be exercising they should have passed a law and the areas they can pass law and the way and manner those laws can be passed and executed are also clearly defined by the constitution.Explaining further he said, to pass a law they cannot do it alone in the senate as it has to be in conjunction with the House of representatives which will be taken to the president for his own assent before it becomes lawHe said the other side is perhaps by the time it will become law most of them must have been out.”If you check the records most of the members of the national assembly, over 80% of them never returned after every electoral circle.”
Senate committee tackles power minister for allocating 20 projects to his LG
Senate panel tackles power minister for allocating 20 projects to his LG
**Committee queries location of REA regional offices
The Senate committee on power on wednesday took a swipe at the minister of power Maman Saleh for siting 20 Rural electrification projects in his Lau Local Government area of Taraba State.
The action which the senators described as official misconduct, they said is against his oath of office to be fair to all.
The projects which were captured in the 2021 budget of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) were uncovered during the budget defense of the agency which is under the purview of the minister.
The senator representing Taraba Central Yusuf Yusuf had drawn the attention of the committee to the concentration of over 20 projects at various sums of between N20m to N50m all in the minister’s, Lau Local Government of Taraba State as captured in the budget proposal.
Senator Yusuf however indicated that he was not challenging the minister but to set the record straight.
The chairman of the committee Senator Gabriel Suswam who corroborated with Yusuf said he was happy that it is the senator from Taraba that has pointed out the anomally.
The discovery drew the ire of other senators who expressed disappointment that the minister could allowed his personal interest to affect his official conduct and decision which they perceived to be a very serious matter.
Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah from Kebbi Central while explaining the implication of the betrayal said,
“Those who elected us to these office is that we would ensure that the Constitution which they have made for themselves and given to us will be executed to the latter.
“The President wants to be the President of every citizen of the Federal Republic if Nigeria and he would want loyalty and cooperation from every citizen of the Country. If we sit down here and agree that a budget that pleases a minister, can come, he (minister) is not doing himself good because he has sworn to do justice to all manner of the people and not to allow his personal interest to affect his official conduct and decision.
“He has by this clearly shown that, he has allowed his personal interest to affect his official conduct and decision that is a very serious matter.
“Governance is a very serious issue, I think that this observation, you must take it serious and convey it to the minister that the committee is not in agreement with him.
“We will never sit down and sign this kind of situation. We will be failing in our duties; we will be failing in the oath of office we have taken to protect the hold and protect the constitution, so please let him know, there is no sentiment on this matter.
“Let us all try as much as we can to operate within the elements of our Constitution like said was given ourselves please,” Na ‘Allah submitted.
The agency also came under the committees attack when it also expressed shock over what it described as outright disregard to the established regional headquarters by management of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in locating the regional head offices of the agencies across the country.
Consequently, the Senate directed the Management of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) an agency under the ministry of power to revert to the geo-political order in positioning the REA regional headquarters.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue) could not hold back his dismay when the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, (REA), Ahmad Salijo reeled out some contentious project locations to the Senators.
The Senate had queried some projects tagged ‘provision and installation of solar mini-grids in six geo-political zones’ which appeared twice in the document submitted to the senate and demanded to know the project locations.
Salijo in his response listed Dutse for NorthWest, Bauchi for North East, Lokoja for North Central Calabar for South South, Oshogbo for South West and Enugu for South East.
He said these were the location of the projects but trouble started for the Management when the Chairman insisted that the specific project be named.
Responding to the demand, Salijo said this particular projects were for power back up for the regional offices of the Rural Electrification Agency.
Senator Suswam said the only office location of the REA that complied with the national definition and established state regional headquarters was Enugu, insisting that others were flagrant disobedience to the acceptably known regional headquarters.
He warned that such abuse of power by some of the directors privileged to be in the agency would not accepted.
“For you people to whimsically just be locating these things because you have directors from those places is not right.”
Suswam said the reason for locating these things at the headquarters is because of accessibility.
“Nassarawa is a place that is easy for all the States in North Central to access. You people are trying to change what has been settled, we would look at this as we move forward.”
The chairman had earlier querried the Provision and installation of Solar mini grid that was captured in the 6 geopolitical zones, and yet same Solar mini grids were captured for SouthEast zone, North Central, North East which he said seemed to be duplication.
“I don’t know whether any senator here knows where such project is going on and they are duplicated in two places.
“Is it a duplication or two different project and where are they doing them?”
Responding to the issue the managing director said the provision and installation of solar mini grid in the 6 political zones is for the REA offices.
“As you might recall the REA has six zonal offices which were recently rehabilitated last year because they were having power challenges so this was put in the budget so that they can have backup power for the offices.”
Senator Suswam had also challenged the Agency to produce in prints the name of each project, where they are located and the contractor handling them
“Quite frankly I have tried to verify this projects in Benue and I dont know where they are and who is doing them and it cuts across all the state.
“If you go down to most of the States no project is going on anywhere. I dont think anyone here can say this is where they are doing this project.
“We want you to throw more light on where these rural electrification prohects are in the States are. The distinguished senator from Katsina said he cannot find where and who is handling the projects and where they are. It is important for us to know.”
He therefore directed the agency to return on Monday with all the details the committee has demanded.
Senate panel suspends budget defense over attacks by hoodlums
Senate panel suspends budget defense over attacks by hoodlums
Senate committee on Interior yesterday suspended budget defence by the agencies under its purview on account of the #ENDSARS protests that was hijacked by hoodlums and the COVID-19 pandermic.
The committee chairman senator Kashim Shetima said most of the paramilitary organisations were victims of the attacks by the hoodlums as some of their offices were attacked and others burnt down.
He said they have submitted their 2020/2021 budget containing details hence there was no compelling need for them to hang on.
“Those paramilitary organisations, the Federal fire service and the Civil Defence submitted their budgets containing details of expenditure.
“We have received and will subject them to public scrutiny and when the need arises we will call them back to shed more light.
“In the light of the growing challenges and the issue of the pandemic we felt compelled not to dissipate their useful time and energy answering a lot of questions from us.
He said there are no compelling issues to hold them back.
“If there is need for them to appear before us as we said earlier, we will call them back and subject them to scrutiny.
“We have the budget and there are explanations on how the funds are expended.
“If we want an additional information we will inquire from them but right now some of their organisation are being attacked some of their offices were burnt down, so how do you expect us to hold them to ransome here while their needs for them to attend to outside.”
Senate faults FG’s lackadaisical approach to environmental safety
Senate faults FG’s lackadaisical approach to environmental safety
**Minister says Ogoni cleanup is FG’s priority
The Senate committee has on Environment has expressed disappointment over Nigeria’s disregard for environmental safety issues.
This came to the fore Tuesday during the Budget defense by the ministry of environment before the the Senate Committee on Environment.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, indicated that government’s failure to accord priority to environment issues is underscored by the relatively poor budgetary allocation to the Environment Ministry.
The Environment Minister, Mohammad Abubakar told the Senate Committee that his Ministry is presently tackling environmental issues including oil spills, among others.
The sum of N8.9 billion is the total allocation for the Environment Ministry, as captured in the 2021 budget.
When asked about the much talked about Ogoni cleanup that has lingered for some years the minister said,
“Three weeks ago we were able to completed six remediated sites that are being certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) right now. I think about three or four more are in the pipeline to be completed and certified and the remaining fifteen sites of the first 21 are being worked on seriously and we completion very soon. “There are 36 additional sites that have been awarded. They are at various stages of work. “There are livelihood programme that are going on which have been part of the clean up project by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that is ongoing currently.
“About 1200 women and youths are being trained in various skills like agriculture, aquaculture, poultry, welding and so on. A great number of youths have been employed by the projects.”
He said the cleanup of Ogoni is ongoing adding that it is one of the main project of this administration.
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