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Buhari says, he signed the revised 2020 budget to mitigate Covid-19 effect.

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Buhari says, he signed the revised 2020 budget to mitigate Covid-19 effect.

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, the revised N10.8 trillion budget for the year 2020 passed by the National Assembly in June yesterday.

The President said the revised Appropriation Act 2020 became necessary in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.

“Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Osinbajo, Lawan and Gbajabiamila witness the signing of the amended 2020 budget by Buhari
which was necessitated by the unforeseen COVID pandemic and its effect on revenue projections and the national economy.
“All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this.

“In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.

“It is therefore imperative to adjust our expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.

“Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our Administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people. With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion Stimulus Programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.

“Considering recent budget implementation challenges, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 in order to realise its laudable objectives.

“All Ministers are to ensure that their Ministries, Departments and Agencies intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.

“We have, nevertheless, made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020. As at 31st May 2020, the sum of N253.33b has been released for the implementation of capital projects.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is in the process of effecting budgetary releases that will ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.

“The Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, that I have just signed into law, provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details of the 2020 Amended Budget.”

Corroborating Buhari while fielding questions from newsmen, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan said the National Assembly had to pass the revised fiscal document without delay in order to mitigate and cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the suffering Nigerians.

“The significance of that is to tell you that the National Assembly has worked with the Executive arm of government to get this document put together as it was required of us and today the President signed, as you’ve witnessed, and that means that we have implemented the Appropriation 2020 Act up to the end of May.

“Now, you have an amended or revised Appropriation Act, 2020 and the implementation of this will start immediately, probably from today.

“That means that we’ll be addressing the challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic because the essence of the revision was, first of all, to address the problem of the shortfall in revenues and secondly to ensure that the challenges posed by the pandemic are addressed, bringing a lot of palliatives and economic opportunities for Nigerians.”

“This is of interest to us in the National Assembly because we believe Nigerians at this time need a lot of support, both as individuals and businesses. Going forward, we believe that the implementation of this year’s budget, in total, will be much higher than we have ever witnessed previously because we have started the implementation from January.

“The 2020 Revised Appropriation Act, which the President signed, is also an additional impetus to what we are focusing; we want 2021 Budget that will be a consolidation of our performance here. The COVID-19 impacts will continue for some time.

“So, this will set the foundation for us to avoid falling into recession next year. Though growth may be slow or low, the definite thing that this particular budget will do is to ensure that we don’t go into a pitfall of a recession that will make it difficult for us to come out.

“Growth may be negative, but the guarantee we have is that if we are able to implement this budget, probably expenditure is sustained, the economy will be a little bit better than ordinarily, it would be. We hope we are able to achieve this by December and already, the 2021 Appropriation Bill process has started.”

The signing of the budget took place inside the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja and witnessed by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari as well as the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila among other principal officers.

Others were the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State Finance, Clement Agba, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefile and Director General Budget, Ben Akabueze.

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MBF shocked over Buhari’s failure to address Nigerians 48hrs after murder of protesters

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MBF shocked over Buhari’s failure to address Nigerians 48hrs after murder of protesters 

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has expressed dismay that more than 48 hours after the unprovoked murder of protesters, President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to address Nigerians.This was contained in a statement that was issued by National President of the Forum Dr. Pogu Bitrus.Bitrus said it is sad that the youth who were shot were not criminals but patriotic citizens marching against the brutality of the nation’s police
He said the police for long horrified victims and citizens and made Nigeria the shame of the international community.Bitrus said evwn though the youth were proudly holding the national flag and reciting the national anthem when they were brutally shot at.He said inspite of all thePresident has remain aloof not finding it appropriate to address the nation.This he said is a clear sign that Nigerian President is obviously devoid of wise counsel on the bloody turnout of the #EndSARS protests that have claimed scores of lives across the country.  He said there was shooting of scores of #EndSARS protesters in various states, especially Lagos, Imo, Delta, Plateau and Abuja, among others.That he said has shown how the nonviolent marches have snowballed into mindless killings of protesters, paving way for a trail of bloodshed in a supposedly peaceful exercise. “Tuesday’s shootings of protesters who were holding the Nigerian flags  at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, and the attendant destruction of private and public property, have thrown thick clouds of uncertainties over our nation’s skies, thereby unleashing ominous signs on our country. “Arising from these bloody protests made possible by gory confrontations between the #EndSARS demonstrators and hoodlums, the leadership of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) totally condemns the vicious violence that rocked the foundations of our dear country.He said all were happening amidst allegation of deployment of soldiers that has so far been denied by the top army command.”As the umbrella organisation representing ethnic nationalities in the defunct Northern region, the MBF is grimly at pains over these coldblooded murders and violation of citizens’ rights to hold rallies against police brutality and demanding for a better country for all. 
“In a democratic nation like ours, these nonviolent demonstrators ought to have been given protection by the state in order to forestall a possible hijack of these peaceful rallies by hired hoodlums. “Considering the rising spate of bloody confrontations with alleged thugs that were hired to introduce violence in the #EndSARS protests so as to tarnish the peaceful dispositions of demonstrators, we call on President Buhari to intervene and stop further killings of these youths.
He said the youths were simply exercising their fundamental rights.
MBFalso drew the attention of the world to the cruelty of the police and demanding for a better country where the system works for citizens. Considering also the sequence of destruction and killings of citizens, including destruction of private and public property in various parts of the country, the Forum advise President Buhari to quickly address the nation and make clear-cut commitments, with timelines, towards addressing the demands of the youth. It is only enough that in times of grave crisis that we are presently passing through, only the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, should be seen leading from the front.    The forum appeal to President Buhari to immediately set up an independent judicial panel of enquiry to unearth circumstances under which the killings were perpetrated with the intention of bringing to book all those responsible for the unprovoked murders. 
The Forum also pleadd with the President to make public the outcome of the panel’s investigation and ensure that those found guilty are punished so as to serve as deterrents to others. “Justice can only be fully served when the Federal Government compensates families of victims who lost their lives in the course of these peaceful protests. “It would only serve the purpose of justice for the government to settle all bills accrued by protesters still receiving medical attention in various private and public hospitals.” The Forum condoled with victims and family members of slain demonstrators whose blood represents the supreme sacrifice they have paid for the future of our Nigeria. 

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IPAC cautions on deployment of Military against peaceful protesters

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IPAC cautions on deployment of Military against peaceful protesters

**condemns infiltration by criminal elements

The Acting President of the Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu,
has urged Federal Government to reverse its decision to deploy the military during the pendency of the peaceful protest being carried out by Nigerians across the federation.
This was contained in a press statement that he personally signed and was made availlable to the Guardian.
He said, “We want to state categorically that the Nigerian Police and not  the military, remains the rightful agency saddled with the responsibility of attending to Nigerians during such legal protests.
“The Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria is deeply concerned over the activities of hoodlums who continue  to infiltrate the peaceful protests with the aim of undermining its very essence and causing harm to the Nigerian society.”
He called on the Inspector General of Police to remain vigilant and focused on the roles of officers and men deployed to provide protection for Nigerians,  as they exercise their rights during the protests.

“More than ever before, the services of the Nigerian military are needed now in the north eastern part of the Country and should be so deployed to tackle the menace of Boko haram and ISWAP terrorists ravaging the northern Nigeria.

“We maintain that Nigerians have a constitutionally guaranteed right to freely assemble and express themselves and such inalienable rights must be protected by law enforcement agencies.

“We expect Nigerian governments at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, look into the demands of Nigerians,  which remain the subject matter of the lawful protests, and provide immediate solutions thereto.”
He said, the political parties are agencies of the Nigerian society and elected persons remain agents and servants of the people hence all political players must respect the collective will of  the people.

“Nigeria remains the very light on the African continent and must be seen as such through the entrenchment of best democratic practices.”

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EndSARS Protests: NGO urges FG to deploy legal, constitutional means

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EndSARS Protests: NGO urges FG to deploy legal, constitutional means


By Friday Idachaba

Patriots for Growth and Development Initiative (PGDI), a Kogi-based Non‐Governmental Organization has called on Federal and State Governments to deploy every legal and constitutional means to end the nationwide EndSARS protests.

Mr Isaac Salami, Executive Director of PGDI who made the call at a Press Conference on Monday in Lokoja.

Salami said the call had become necessary to protect lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in view of the escalating acts of disruption, attacks and killings in recents days in parts of the country.

He said that the trend, if not quickly arrested, could plunge the nation into a state of anarchy as he attributed it to efforts of Fifth-columnists.

He described it as “A careful planned effort and hardwork of Fifth-columnist and enemies. If you see crises coming into peaceful agitations like this know that the 5th Columnists are at work to subvert the relative peace and unity in Nigeria.

Salami noted that President Muhammadu Buhari in his October 12, national broadcast, stated that the disbandment of SARS was only the first step in government’s commitment to police reform.

He held that the government had started implementing all the five-point demands of the protesters and did not see any justification for the escalation of the protests.

“We therefore see no reason why the protesters should continue to be on the streets thereby creating opportunities for negative characters to perpetrate anarchy leading to threat of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.

“We clearly understand that the original intentions of the protesting youths is for an end to SARS, and Police reform. We also affirm the constitutional and democratic rights of every patriotic Nigerian to protest.

“But the violent dimension that the supposed peaceful protest has taken in the past few days has shown that some enemies of the State are marauding as protesters to unleash mayhem and confusion on the peace and unity of Nigeria.

“We ask the government at the Federal and State levels to use every legal and constitutional means to protect lives and livelihoods of all”, he said.

Salami also called on all patriots and leaders to lend their voices and support to end the protests across the country while the citizens await and monitor implementation of the demands “to a logical conclusion.” (NAN)

FDJ/

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