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Buhari requests replacement of two non-career Ambassadors-designate

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Buhari requests replacement of two non-career Ambassadors-designate 

…FCT Senator hicks over exclusion of FCT indigene 


The Senate has received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari requesting for the replacement and confirmation of two non-career Ambassadors-designate. 

The request came in through a letter read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. 

The President sought to replace the earlier nomination of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State, respectively.

The letter reads: “In accordance to Section 171(1)(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of Mr. John J. Usanga and Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) from Akwa-Ibom and Niger State respectively, as non-career Ambassadors-designate.

“The Senate is kindly requested to recall my earlier submission of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State respectively, vide letter dated 17th June 2020, I substitute Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga (Akwa-Ibom State). I replace Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar (Borno State) with Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (Niger State).”


However, the lawmaker representing FCT in the upper chamber, Senator Philip Aduda, protested the non inclusion of an FCT indegeneq¹¹ under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, protested the exclusion of a non-carrier Ambassador from the FCT. 

According to him, the only FCT indigene presently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Hafiz Obada, was not re-appointed. 

“For the ambassadorial nomination for the non-career, nothing has been said about the one for FCT. It has been silent and we have an Ambassador who is already sitting in Sierra Leone, his name is Ambassador Hafiz Obada. We don’t know what becomes of his fate because other states have been told to remain in their stations or they have been re-appointed. 

“My issue is that is it at this time FCT will now lose an Ambassador. It is worrisome to me and the people of the FCT. Sitting here, names have been called for all other states except FCT and we have one.

“Now that particular non-career Ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us and is being killed, otherwise we are also entitled to have, and that is what I have consistently said since this list came out. 

“So, Mr. President, I hope something can be done to this to help the people of the FCT. We don’t get Ministerial nomination, we don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have is about to be taken away which should not be so”, Aduda said.  

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remark described the lawmaker’s complaint as valid, saying it is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career Ambassador by the President. 

“I sympathize with the FCT but I know there were twelve non-career Ambassadors who were retained. I don’t know if you have an FCT indigene among those twelve, probably you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid. 

“What I’m going to advice is maybe we need to take more political action, so that it doesn’t always come like it is an after-thought. The FCT is to be treated like a state, that’s what the Constitution states, so you deserve one like any other state deserves”, Lawan said.

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INEC chair: Lawan denies taking N2b bribe to confirm Yakubu

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INEC chair: Lawan denies taking N2b bribe to confirm Yakubu

By James Ojochegbe

The president of the senate Ahmad Lawan has denied collecting any gratification of N2b to facilitate the confirmation of the INEC chairman as alleged by an online publication.

This contained in a Statement issued in Abuja by his special Adviser on media Ola Awoniyi.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Office of the Senate President has been drawn to a report by SaharaReporters alleging that a group led by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, collected N2billion from Professor Mahmood Yakubu to facilitate the confirmation of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to a fresh five-year tenure as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“It is noteworthy that the publication, as always with its ridiculous fabricated reports, could not even expand the entertainment of its readers by providing the names of members of the fictitious group and where the group operates from.
“To be sure, that group exists only in the mischievious imagination of the writer of the fiction.”
The Statement enjoined Nigerians to ignore the report as yet another incident of hallucination by the comical characters operating the fabricated news platform.

“The online medium has long earmed its notoriety as a purveyor of fake news with high profile public officials as its targets. 
“It is well known that only the President can nominate a candidate for appointment or reappointment as Chairman of INEC.
And only the Senate as a body can confirm or reject the appointment, after due screening of the candidate.
“The parliamentary process for the confirmation of nominations by the President is open and involves all distinguished senators.
“The Senate President is only a presiding officer of the Senate and does not lead any group in or outside the august chamber that acts in any way to circumvent the processes of the Senate. “We reassure Nigerians that the Senate President did not receive any gratification, in his or behalf of others, to help Professor Yakubu get a second term as chairman of INEC.”

He challenged SaharaReporters and the sponsors of the false publication to provide whatever evidence that they can in support of their glib claims, failing which Nigerians should dismiss the report as another cheap blackmail from a platform that has no reputation for credible reportage and ethical journalism practise.”

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Lekki shooting: FG barefaced denial refuses to gel as CNN insists its report is authentic

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Lekki shooting: FG barefaced denial refuses to gel as CNN insists its report is authentic


What seemed like a barefaced denial by the Federal Government on the alleged Lekki killings have refused to gel in the midst of various reports and reactions triggered by the shooting.

This was just as the minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed demanded that CNN be sanctioned for publishing the report that is contrary to Government’s position.

The minister, who addressed reporters in Abuja almost 24 hours after the report was published, stated that it was one-dimensional and lacked balance.

However, the Cable News Network (CNN) would not accept that as it reacted to the comments by Lai Mohammed, on its investigation into the shooting that took place at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos.

The CNN maintained that it did not rush to publish the report as it ensured due processes were followed, which included thorough research.

“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” a spokesperson for the American-based news agency was quoted as saying in an email on Thursday.

Reacting further the CNN on its website stated that the report, titled ‘How A Bloody Night Of Bullets And Brutality Quashed A Young Protest Movement’, was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, as well as photos and video obtained and geolocated by the news agency.

Though the Nigerian Army confirmed that soldiers were deployed at the venue where peaceful #EndSARS protesters had gathered on October 21, it insisted that nobody was killed.

The army has also continued to insist that no live ammunition was fired at the protest ground, stressing that only blank bullets were used to disperse the demonstrators.

CNN on Wednesday released an investigative report alleging that the Nigerian army used live bullets on protesters during its intervention in the #EndSARS protests in Lekki, Lagos state.

The international media outlet also unveiled the identity of a protester who reportedly died on the night of the shootings.

CNN said a forensic probe of the bullet casings recovered from the scene of the incident revealed that live bullets were fired at the protesters

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‘It will take a century to achieve 50% of the needs of people with disabilities’

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‘It will take a century to achieve 50% of the needs of people with disabilities’

The Executive secretary of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities James David Lalu has indicated that it will take almost 100 years to meet 50% of the expectations of people living with disabilities based on meagre budget of N1, 749, 884, 495 allocated for the commission

He spoke yesterday during the budget defense of the commission before the senate committee on special duties.

According to him, even if the new commission is going to be allocated N20 Billion every year, it will take almost 20 years to meet half of their needs.
“Just the provision of assistive device only, before a person can get artificial limbs that can last for more than five years he will require N500, 000.
He said at the moment that Nigeria is facing so much challenges of crises a lot of people are already becoming members of persons with disabilities. “Some of them because of gun shots and they are amputated. Today in Nigeria we are with the statistics everyday in our tertiary health facilities you have one or two persons being amputated.
“And an amputated person who does not have artificial limb but walks with clutches  automatically can not go to farm, he will not be able to fend for himself and when it happens he may resort to begging. Just because he has no wheel chair he may not be able to go to school and this a way that a potential president and a potential Local Government chairman or a potential senator is wasted just because he does not have the basic limb.
“These are things that are tied to us as a commission that we are to provide for them so that they can stand on their own.”
He said despite all the COVID-19 palliatives given to persons with disabilities if they are not provided with basic assistive devices to stand on their own to do business or farming automatically they can not do anything.
He said the commission was established and their appointments were announced on the 24th of August 2020.
“It was established mainly to take care of persons with disabilities across the federation.
“We have accumulated population of 31.5 million persons with disability across Nigeria.”
He explained that the commission’s main mandate is to take care of their education, their health, livelihood, provision of accessible facilities, and protection of their lives and dignity as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said taking care of their education means they have to ensure the enrolment of their children in schools from primary to tertiary education.
“When you talk about empowerment, it starts with education and providing education for them is the first thing we have to do.
“In the area of health to provide healthcare services to persons with disability across Nigeria, in the area of livelihood we have to ensure that persons with disability are properly empowered to stand on their own and fend for themselves.
“In the area of accessibility it is within our mandate to ensure that all public buildings in Nigeria are properly accessible for persons with disability with provision of all accessible facilities to ensure that our people can move freely everywhere.”
This he said is important so that they can have many of them as senators like the committee members so they can make their contribution to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said their mandate which has to do with the protection of their rights is to make sure that they reduce to the bearest minimum discrimination against every person with disability in every government circle, so that they can participate in every Government activity.
“Our approach as a commission is inclusive development approach
So it is no longer charity but to see persons with disability as partners in progress.
“We must make sure we mainstream people with disability into all government programme and projects.
“To at least ensure 10 percent inclusion of persons with disability in all Government activities”
In the area of employment  he said the national disability commission has already made provision for 5% of persons with disability employment.
“We are soliciting the cooperation of this committee to ensure we realise the 5% employment opportunity for persons with disabilities in all Government parastatals.
“Provision of disability specific services which has to do with a lot of disability assistive devices.
“A lot of persons with disability today require artificial limbs, some hearing aid, these are some of the things tied to the disability commission to make sure we respond to these in all of the 774 local Governments in Nigeria.
“The expectations of persons with disability in this commission is very very high. We require the support of your committee to see how we can meet with these Dmands.”
He said when the senators go for their campaigns they will see persons with disabilities in their constituencies who also support them one way or the other.
“Our budget proposal for the 2021 was N1, 749, 884, 495 for the personel cost it is N749884498 and for Overhead it is N299,999,997
Capital cost N700m
Looking into our mandate is to cater for all persons with disability in all 774 local Government areas and over 8000 electoral wards in Nigeria.
He asked the committee to consider an upward review of the budget so they can meet with high expectations from the disability community.
He said in their budget there is provision for data and provision for disability certificate to make it possible to identify their members and make sure that all the interventions that are going to be provided are provided for the real persons with disabilities.

The chairman of the committee senator Yusuf Yusuf demanded that the commission establish a database for people with disabilities—from local governments to states to ascertain the exact number.
“Then we will know the kind of health facilities we have to provide, the kind of capacity building you are going to make, means of livelihood, education etc.
“I looked at your 2021 budget to see which area we are going to capture that for making provision for effective database. We will look at it so see what amendments to make to give you leeway to spend money.”
He also canvassed for the creation of zonal and states offices as he pointed out the fact that it was not captured in the budget.
“But we will look at it to see how you are going to build your offices. We would want that structure of state and local government offices in the next 24 hours.”

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