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2019: Senators clash over vote-buying

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2019: Senators clash over vote-buying

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Fred Itua, Abuja

Senate has resolved to investigate alleged misuse of the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) funds by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.

The upper legislative chamber also agreed to probe how funds allocated to the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), were utilised before 2015.

READ ALSO: I did not steal N14.1m SURE-P funds, ex-Perm Sec tells court

The resolution followed adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi on alleged deployment of funds under the SIP, to buy Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to promote President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential election in 2019.

Olujimi displayed copies of signed forms, by an alleged SIP beneficiary, and claimed that beneficiaries are made to attach their PVCs before they can benefit from the fund.

She noted that it was unfortunate that the social intervention programme, which was created for the benefit of every Nigerian, is allegedly being manipulated to buy PVCs for president Buhari’s re-election bid.

Olujimi, who came under Order 42 (personal explanation) prayed the Senate to investigate the matter as a matter of urgency.

She urged the chamber to ensure that the social intervention programme fund is used for political purposes.

But, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, described the allegation as completely unfounded. As Lawan moved to disabuse the minds of his colleagues about any untoward use the fund, Senate erupted with shouts of ‘point of order.’

Attempts by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to control the situation failed for some minutes.
Thereafter, Saraki yielded the floor to Senator Dino Melaye to move his point of order. Melaye said Olujimi’s motion should first be seconded before contributions would be made but requested for protection and be allowed to make his points. Saraki said Lawan should be allowed to speak, which he did.

Lawan said: “I listened attentively to the motion by senator Olujimi. I want to say that the SIP of this administration is transparent. For the first time in the history of social intervention programmes in Nigeria, we have proof that anywhere you are in Nigeria, you can apply.”

But, shouts of ‘point of order’ continued.

Senator Albert Akpan, took the floor to raise Orders 49 and 52 and re-iterated Melaye’s position that Saraki should first allow Olujimi’s motion be seconded.

He added that contributions in support of the motion should be taken after which those opposed to the motion should take the floor.

Saraki could take none of that. He insisted Lawan be allowed to conclude his contribution. Buoyed by that support, Lawan said the SIP is computer-based, which made it easy for Nigerians to apply wherever they were.

He urged the Senate President to be above board and blind to the debate.

Lawan also said it is on record that the SIP has been the most successful in the country.

“We inherited poverty, we inherited empty treasury. This administration is working to change the system. The social intervention fund is under the office of the Vice President, who has been very transparent in the implementation of the programme for the benefit of all Nigerians,” the leader said.

Lawan added that he is not against whatever the Senate wanted to do with Olujimi’s motion “but the investigation should not be turned into a political weapon.” He reminded senate that Nigerians were aware that Sure-P failed and that Olujimi should tender the document she had while the investigation should be party blind. Thereafter, senate adopted the prayer that the probe should be apolitical. The prayer that Sure-P should also be investigated was also adopted.

Senators Ibrahim Gobir, Shehu Sani, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Danjuma Goje, among others, will probe Olujimi’s claims.

READ ALSO: New Minority leader: Ekiti PDP congratulates Sen. Olujimi

The post 2019: Senators clash over vote-buying appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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