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Senate frowns at non-remmittance of budget surpluses by customs

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Senate frowns at non-remmittance of budget surpluses by customs

Senate on Thursday raised concern over non remittance by customs service of surplus money budgeted for the service saying it is unconstitutional.

The anomally came to the fore when a delegation of Customs authorities led by the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs (Head, Human Resources), DCG Sanusi Abubakar Umar, had an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Customs in Abuja.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi (APC, Osun) had observed that the 2018 surplus to the tune of about N34 billion was given to Customs in 2019 as its own percentage. 
Fadahunsi who was a formal customs officer asked rhetorically,
“Where is the surplus of 2019, which should have been given to you in 2020?” he queried, noting that the Service exceeded its target last year up to N1.35 trillion.

Respondibg Umar said “Customs is not a performance-based agency. We are not a treasury-sponsored agency, which normally makes return to the treasury any amount not spent. Where we have any shortfall, we don’t have anybody backing us and we cannot borrow from the bank.”

His explanation did not go down well with the committee members, who said the service has not recorded any short fall but exceeding its target.

Explaining further Umar said whenever the service wants to implement any project, it used to have some shortcomings from Bureau of Public Procurement. “Any delay from them costs us a huge delay,” he said. 

Sadiq Ibrahim Ismaila, Deputy Comptroller General, Accounts, said “We have put the element of that surplus that we are expecting in 2020 budget.”

The service, however, failed to provide the details of the surplus in the documents submitted to the lawmakers. 

The panel asked the Service to, henceforth, provide the details of the money not spent in previous budget that it is rolling over to the next fiscal year.

The service also declared that it generated the sum of N573,190,265,605.41 as revenue between January and May 2020.

On budget performance the Comptroller Accounts, Sadiq Ibrahim Ismailia, said from January to May the performance of the budget was N37, 865, 867, 750 representing 15.90%

“The target given to the service in terms of revenue was N1.6T but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the target was reviewed to N957b. As at January to May the service had collected N573, 190, 265, 605.21.

The Comptroller Accounts, Ismailia, while presenting the budget performance of the agency, said that the agency has so far expended the sum of N300million in its yet to be concluded recruitment exercise for 3,200 officers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A member of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Kwari (Kaduna North) sought to know how the agency can claim it has spent N400million for training of its officers in view of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions.

Ismaila however explained that why it is true that the no mass training took place during the ongoing lockdown, the amount represented a rollover from January to March 2020.

In his report, the Comptroller Technical Services, Hafiz Kalla, said 28,894 seizures were made by the agency between 2015 and 2020.

Kalla however could not give a detailed breakdown of the seizures made to members of the Committee when he was asked to do so.

The Committee expressed disappointment with the seizure report and directed the leader of the delegation, DCG Umar, to inform the Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali, to make further details of the report available to the Committee as soon as possible.

Chairman Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Ailimikhena (Edo North) in his remarks said the interaction was part of the panel’s oversight activities to assess the 2020 budget performance of the agency, update on recruitment exercise, number of seized goods, number auctioned and amount realized from the auction if any.

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Legislature

CNA decries theft by Legislative Aide in NASS

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CNA decries theft by Legislative Aide in NASS
…As NASSLAF inaugurates new Exco

The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Architect Ojo Amos Olatunde, has condemned in strongest terms, the burglary act recently carried out by a legislative aide in the National Assembly .

The CNA who made the condemnation in Abuja Friday during the inauguration ceremony of newly elected executives of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum ( NASSLAF), challenged the new executives to fish out bad eggs among them .

” It is sad to note the ugly incident that occurred recently , when a legislative Aide was caught breaking into the office of a Lawmaker .
” What would have prompted such regrettable incident? There is the need for this newly elected executives to be vigilant by flushing out any bad eggs amongst you ” , he said .
He also admonished the executive to run welfare – driven Unionism and not confrontational one against the management in any way, since accordimg to him, most of their outstanding demands, were met within his first 28 days in office as Clerk to the National Assembly .

His words, “This EXCO must be guided that Unionism is all about welfare of all and sundry .
“Union matters must witness a new dawn and turn, which must be separated from the ugly past.
“I am proud and elated to state that under my watch, we have fulfilled the promise of the ‘First 28 Days’, and we are resolved to make sure that not only all statutory claims of Legislative Aides are promptly paid, but training programmes are pursued to logical conclusions ” .

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who was represented by the Senate Deputy Leader, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice ( APC Ondo North), also tasked the newly inaugurated EXCO to make NASSLAF the required lubricant of the operational engine of the Federal lawmakers .
In his inauguration speech, the Chairman of NASSLAF, Alhaji Salisu Zuru, promised to run an EXCO and Union that will not be confrontational to the management of the National Assembly at all levels but collaborative .
“As a union, we intend to run an inclusive administration . We shall ensure collaborative synergy with relevant stakeholders like the National Assembly Service Commission , National Assembly Management and the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies ( NILDS).
“History has taught us that constructive engagement achieves results, more than unnecessary grandstanding and confrontation.” he said.

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Legislature

Senate panel tackles NDBDA over N220 Million unexecuted contracts

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Senate panel tackles NDBDA over N220 Million unexecuted contracts


The Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) has come under senate’s scrutiny over N220 million awarded and fully paid for, but not executed.
Senate Committee on Public Account queried the Niger Delta Basin  Development Authority over the report of Auditor General of federation, Anthony Ayine which exposed massive corruption in the agency.
The report indicated that Contracts of over N220 million were awarded on18th October, 2012.

The Auditor General Report reads, “N9.2 million being expenditure for unexecuted contract for the construction of 10 Mono hand pump boreholes in Obio-Akpor LGA Rivers state was awarded to a company through letter reference AD/NDBDS/C/20/12/050 and dated 18th October, 2012

“There were claims that the job has been completed and payment effected.
However, the report said audit inspection revealed that the boreholes on the sites were in existence even before the contract was awarded.
It also indicated that the contract for the construction of Solar power water project at Ekwetortor Delta state  was awarded to a company on October 18, 2012 at contract price of N10 million with completion period of six and half weeks .
The report explained that the total contract sum had been paid but a visit to the site showed that the solar power was not working as the residents confirmed.
It further observed that some aspect of the Job in the Bill of Engineering Measurements and Evaluation were not carried out.

“N3.8 million value of the contract has not been done.
“The contract for the rehabilitation of Otir Ewhu water project was awarded on 18th October, 2013  at the contract price of N40 million.

“Examination of payment vouchers revealed that the sum of N36 million paid into contractor included contingency provision of N3.5m the reason for the inclusion for justification for the utilization of the contingency was provided.

“During inspection, it was observed that some provision of the Bill of Engineering Measurements and Evaluation (BEME) were out as stated .

The Managing Director was therefore ordered to recover N13 million being value of work not done and unexplained expenditure.
It report also observed that contract for the construction of solar power boreholes in 19 various communities in Bayelsa was awarded to a company on October 18th October, 2012 at contract price of N238 million with completion period of 3 months .
The Bill of Engineering Measurements and Evaluation (BEME) for the job had provision for items of measurable nature and items value that have no strengthening and capacity building throughput the duration of the project, provided for riverine transportation cost of upland locations contingencies and so on to the tune of N33 million which was expended without recourse to extant regulations .
“Payment for the contract value had been effected vide 2 PVs. No’s 026 of 11/072013 and 080/of 01/11/2013.
However a visit to two of the sites ( Ebenedebiri and Trofani) showed that the total value of work not done at two locations was N14 million because the project at Trofani was not executed.
“The sum of N14 million paid for work not done and provisional inclusion spent without recourse to the extant regulations, respectively, cannot constitute legitimate charge against public funds .
Therefore, the panel ordered for the total sum of N47 million to be refunded.

The Senate panel also queried the Commission for another N79 million.

According to the Auditor general, All the issues raised were communicated to the Managing Director of NDBDA through Audit inspection report in July 2016.

The Managing Director of the Commission, 
Mr. Tonye David-West,  was unable to defend all the queries issued to him by Senate Committee on Public Account chaired by Senator Mathew urhoghide.

The Committee therefore sustained all the queries issued by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

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Legislature

See Federal legislators demanding justice for killings during #ENDSARS protests

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See Federal legislators demanding justice for killings during #ENDSARS protests

Some legislators have expressed their commitments to setting agenda for
progressive laws in
Nigeria; initiating
progressive laws and speaking against anti-people bills in the
National Assembly.
They said they have
followed carefully
the #ENDSARS
protest by young people across Nigeria for the past two weeks and the killings in several cities including Jos, Kaduna,Abuja, Benin and Lagos
They noted that in
recent past, the protest has been
the most elaborate
that has united young Nigerians across
geography,
ethnic nationality and
religion.
They observed that the protest goes beyond the excesses of the police formation called
Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protests they observed was the result of
frustration by Nigerian youths
who have seen that
governments at all levels have failed to provide public goods
and opportunities for them to
lead a meaningful life.

They also recognised that over
the years, socio-economic
indicators in Nigeria have remained precarious as indices have consistently classified Nigeria
among the 15 worst states that are failing across the world.

They appealed for the utilization of globally
recognised methods of
policing in a democratic society rather than reliance on force,
intimidation and manipulation by government and security
agencies in attempt to break
the protest.

“We are enraged by reports of
shooting of unarmed,
defenceless protesters by
military officers at the Lekki
toll gate in Lagos after the
lights were turned off and CCTVcameras put off.
“We call on the President to
give an immediate order to all
security agencies to stop
shooting at protesters.
“We condemn this action by
government and security
agencies. This is inexcusable
and totally unacceptable.
“There is no justification
whatsoever for security
officials who are paid with tax
payers’ money to kill unarmed
protesters.
“We call on the President to
address the nation and take
concrete actions to respond to
the demand of the protesters.
“He should commit in words
and action to respect and
protect the right to protest.
He should publicly invite the
leaders of the protesters to an urgent dialogue while assuring them of their safety and that
outcomes would be
expeditiously implemented.

“We demand that the
perpetrators of this dastardly
act and all those who gave the orders should be brought to
account in a transparent and accountable manner.
“We ask the President to
immediately identify all the
officers involved and prosecute them for murder.
“We also condemn the attack
and burning of properties of
innocent citizens and
government.
“We call on government to
respond expeditiously to
demand of the protesters and
other lingering issues of
addressing the security
architecture of the country and addressing revelations of
corruption in many governmentagencies.
“As patriots, we will not keep
quiet while the country is
plunged into crisis under any
guise. A stitch in time saves
nine.” They concluded

The legislators that appended their signatures are:
Senators Olu Adetumbi, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Tolu Odebiyi, and (Dr)
Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru.
House of representatives members that signed: Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum,
Hon. Francis Waive,
Hon. Peter Akpatason,
Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf ( Teejay)
Hon. Umeoji Chukwuma,
Hon. Kingsley Chinda,
Hon. Abubakar Hassan
Nalaraba,
Hon (Dr). Francis Ottah Agbo,
Hon. Unyime Idem,
Hon. Omowumi Olubunmi Ogunlola,
Hon. Ibrahim Kunle Olarewaju,
Hon. Segius Ogun,
Hon. Preye Oseke,
Hon. Ibrahim Obanikoro,
Hon. (Barr) Ifeanyi Chudy Momah,
Hon. Dennis Idahosa,
Hon. Nnolim Nnaji,
Hon. Benjamin Bem Mzondu,
Hon. Timehin Adelegbe,
Hon. Taiwo Olukemi Oluga,
Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu,
Hon. Amos Magaji,
Hon (Dr) Olododo Cook Abdulganiyu Saka,
Hon. Igariwey Iduma Enwo,
Hon Olubukola Oyewo,
Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe Oluyole,
Hon Uzoma Nkem Abonta,
Hon. Satomi AlhajiAhmed,
Hon. Wole Oke,
Hon. Miriam Onuoha,
Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo,
Hon. Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha,
Hon. Solomon Adaelu,
Hon. Uko Ndukwe Nkole,
Hon (Dr) Paschal Chigozie Ogah
Hon. Nicholas Ossai Ossai,
Hon. Toby Okechukwu,
Hon (Dr.) Muriana Ajibola ,
Hon. Chukwuka Onyema,
Hon. Machin Bagos,
Hon. Solomon Maren,
Hon (Dr.) Abiante Dagomie Innombek,
Hon. Solomon Bolus,Hon. Dan Asuquo,
Hon. Bitrus Laori,
Hon. SolomonBob,
Hon. Tyoe Bob,
Hon. Benjamin Nzomdu,
Hon. Ken Chikere,

Hon. Boma Goodhead,
Hon. Boniface Emerengwa,
Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor,

Hon. Gogo Bright,
Hon. Fred Agbedi,
Hon. Dennis Amadi and Hon. Amos Gwani,

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