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CSO decry copy and paste budget syndrone, seeks partnership with Kogi

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CSO decry copy and paste budget syndrone, seeks partnership with Kogi

By John Akubo

A Civil Society Organization(CSO) under the eagies of Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution(CHRCR)has expressed the centre willingness to partner with Kogi state House of Assembly on public hearing for the 2019 budget, to make it more inclusive and people oriented.
The center challenged the Assembly and the KGSG to raise the ante in the state budget so it should not just be an annual ritual but people oriented document.
It decried the copy and paste syndrome that has bedevilled the State budget in recent times ascribing it to laziness of civil servants.

At a budget summit organised by the CHRCR in Lokoja on Monday, the Executive Director of the Centre, Comrade Idris Miliki Abdul said beside the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, budget is the most important document that shapes the direction of every government at all level, as such, it should not be treated with levity.

He said the activities of the budget submit is hoped to assist stakeholders in budgetary process in Kogi State to make it more participatory and inclusive, particularly as preparation for 2019 budget commences so that relevant stakeholders will be involved before, during its passage and implementation.

“Every year, Nigerians hear of billions of naira budgeted for ministries, parastatals and other agencies of government. But at the end of the year, people are always at a loss as to where the money was invested.

“Budget that were described by executive in laudatory terms usually result in decreased standards of living for the average person.Accusations of selective implementation of budgets, late release of capital votes and disregard for the appropriation Act have been the norm”, Miliki expressed.

The CHRCR observed the different levels between budget defence and budget hearing appealling to the state legislators to involve credible CSOs in the next year budget draft or hearing for the impact of the budget to be felt positively by the beneficiaries.

In the key lecture, delivered by Eze Onyekupere (Esq) at the summit, the resource person noted that accountability and transparency remains the watch words, if a state budget is to perform, as drafted.

The resource person noted that the country have aburdant resources but lack of managerial ability has been our undoings, saying that “accountability and transparency, value for money are great cornerstones that drive development”.

The Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Haruna Idoko, representing Idah constituency commended the organiser and the resource person for expanding their knowledge into budgetary affairs, assuring that the lawmakers will surely involve the CSOs in the next budget hearing in order to ensure quality assement of the budget to the benefit of the people.

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Buhari jets out to UK for routine medical check up tomorrow

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President Muhammadu Buhari is billed to travel to London, the United Kingdom on Friday, June 25, 2021, for a scheduled medical follow-up.

The chief spokesperson of the president, Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday said the President is expected to return to the country during the second week of July, 2021, the statement added.

Recall that in March, the President was in London for a routine medical check-up that lasted same period of two weeks

Before the last trip, Buhari was last in the UK for a medical check-up in 2019.

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Discordant tunes as Senate, FCDA trade blames over NASS Leaking roof

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Nigeria Senate on Wednesday blamed the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) for not renovating the National Assembly Complex since it was built.
This was coming just as the FCDA also passed the blame unto the Federal Executive Ciuncil for delay in awarding the contracts for the rehabilitation of the dilapidating roofs of the complex.

The FCDA Public Relation Officer, Mr. Richard Nduul stated that the dilapidated roof of the National Assembly was also as a result of the cumbersome nature of approval of contracts by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)
Hence he said no contract has been awarded to any company for its maintenance.

The development he said has led to the delay in award of the contract to prospective contractors who are supposed to maintain the edifice and other government structures in the FCT.

The National Assembly however, exonerated itself from any blame over the dilapidation of its Whitehouse which led to a major embarrassment on Tuesday when a heavy downpour caused the roof of the complex to leak.
The spokesperson of the Senate Senator Surajudeen Ajibola gave the indication while reacting to widespread reports on the incident.
He said the National Assembly Administration and its leadership is not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex.
He said if there is any blame to be apportioned it should be directed at the FCDA which is responsible for its maintenance as well as renovation and not the Leadership of the National Assembly as being falsely bandied about. 

According to him, the N37b set aside for the renovation of the complex has not been recieved adding that it is true that an initial appropriation of N37b was made due to the decaying nature of the National Assembly Complex.
However he said the complex has not witnessed any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, adding that even the said amount was reduced to 9 billion naira after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even with this reduction, the sum of 9 billion or any amount is yet to be cash backed or released to the National Assembly. None of this amount is even appropriated for the National Assembly bureaucracy or its leadership.

In a similar vein the Senate President also reacting at plenary said the fact that there was a leakage, is a clear testimony, confirmation and vindication of the position the national assembly took initially.
“For emphasis, when we approved the budget of N37 billion for the rehabilitation of this complex, it was not a national assembly budget. It was an FCDA budget, we have nothing to do with this.
Continuing the Senate spokesperson said, “It must be reiterated that the National Assembly Complex is a National Monument which falls under the purview of control of the Federal Capital Development Agency. In essence, the FCDA is responsible for its maintenance as well as renovation and not the Leadership of the National Assembly as being falsely bandied about. 
“The leakage witnessed at the foyer of the National Assembly yesterday justifies the apprehension of the leadership of the National Assembly and the FCDA and further underscores the need for an urgent intervention in revamping the dilapidated structures within the complex before it falls into further dilapidation with the attendant huge cost of possible replacement.”
In another development the Senate raised issues on the widespread report on the leak

I’m sure, most of us saw the report by Channels Tv and let me also say that the channels Tv correspondent may not be responsible for the that because I know that our press corps reporters are in tune with what we do here and what happens around us and they are very patriotic and committed to democracy and therefore, the senate correspondent of the Tv, wouldn’t have sent that report.

Let me advice the media, this is irresponsible. I must say because seek the truth, investigate properly, come to us or go to those who you think should know better before you compile and send your report.

By the time we came into office and our endorsement, the speaker and I found it necessary to go round this Senate and we found out dilapidation and degradation, in fact, any way who sees what we have here, knows that this place is over due for rehabilitation. It is even worse downstairs.

So we complained to the President that there is the need to rehabilitate and renovate the national assembly complex.

After in use for about 20 years and not rehabilitated at all.

Mr president was gracious and he asked us to come back, engage the FCDA who are the owners of this building.

The technical side of the national assembly and some contractors to come up with what we need to rehabilitate here and the cost. In fact I fought against the initial submissions because I was to take the document directly to the President, when I saw what they were bringing, I say there was no way I could take that to Mr President, go and rework until they came up with N37 billion and I took that to the President.

Some misinformed, some innocent, some deliberately mischievous went to town saying the national assembly wanted to eat N37 billion, there is nothing wrong with this place.

The institution of the parliament must be supported by citizens and we expect the press to take a lead in informing the public properly and appropriately. I advice the press, help us develop this democracy.

Sabi. Point of Orders 14 and 15.

Yesterday, Abuja experienced rainfall. The issue of the rainfall as it happened yesterday which was heavy was reported in various media.

However when I listened to the reportage of the Channels Tv yesterday, there were many issues that were raised in their report that I felt has infringed on my privilege and perhaps and of course, the privilege of my colleagues.

In that report, three things were reported which were very inaccurate that there was heavy downpour or leakage even in the chamber. That was not correct. There was leakage of course around the premises, outside the chamber and also it was reported that because of that leakage, it delayed our sitting, that also is not correct.

The leadership had house keeping matters and of course until the leadership comes into the chamber, sitting will not begin. So that was the only thing.

Thirdly, Mr President, distinguished colleagues and the most critical was that they reported the leadership as approving the sum of N37 billion for rehabilitation of the complex, this is nothing further than the truth.

As we all know, when we came on board as the 9th Senate, the leadership of course noticed the level of dilapidation and the need for rehabilitation of the national assembly complex.

The Senate president and the speaker of course, approached Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari to report this matter and we all know, we were all briefed that Mr President was willing to ensure that something was done about it.

At the end of the day, when the sum of N37 billion was made as provision in the 2020 budget, the media went to town castigating and calling the members of the national assembly all kinds of names.

At the end of the day, like we all knew, the pandemic came and at the end of that amount was reduced to about N9 million so that they can take the application in pieces.

As we speak, nothing is being done until yesterday, the leakage across the complex.

“This is a vindication of what the leadership and indeed the Senate and members of the House of Representatives saw with respect to this edifice which is a national monument.

“This is the symbol of our democracy and we believe as responsible tenants, we have our time, we leave, we believe whatever it is, we have a duty to report back to the concerned authority, in this case, the FCDA are responsible for the building, this we did.

A video had gone viral yesterday on social media, during the early morning downpour, showing the leaking roof of the National Assembly, with water splashing to the lobby of the federal parliament.

The cleaners had a hectic time scooping water from the floor while the development delayed the sitting of the senators who resumed on Tuesday after a one-week break to mark the end of their second legislative year.

“For now, the position with the National Assembly building is that there is no contract to carry out maintenance. As you know contract takes a procedure. When we had a report that there are some of these leakages, we still have go to through the process of award of contract.
He stressed that there were speculations that the FCT has awarded a company known as Visible Contractors to maintain the National Assembly complex, however he indicated that no contract has been awarded to any company known as Visible Contractors Limited.

On the N37billion approved for the maintenance of the complex, he said, “You people are the ones mentioning that N37billion. Of course, even if the contract is issued at a particular sum of money, it cannot be expended within a year, because the contract will not be exhausted within a year.

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Twitter ban: FG makes subtle U-turn as it raises team to dialogue with Twitter

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The Federal Government of Nigeria may have soft pedalled on its initial hardliners posture against Twitter on its indefinite ban on its operation in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the composition of its team to engage with the microblogging site and social media network over the recent suspension of its operations

The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who will chair the team.

The Federal Government’s team he saud also comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Works and Housing, Honourable Minister
of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.

Following the indefinite suspension of its operations in Nigeria, for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, Twitter wrote to President Buhari seeking to engage with
the Federal Government over the suspension, with a view to charting a path forward, the Minister said.

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