NATIONAL NEWS 08-07-2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • SENATE DEFIES OPPOSITION, BEGINS ONOCHIE’S SCREENING AS INEC COMMISSIONER.
  • OGUN ASSEMBLY PASSES ANTI-OPEN GRAZING BILL.
  • BAYELSA JUDICIAL PANEL AWARDS 21 BILLION NAIRA TO VICTIMS OF POLICE BRUTALITY.
  • COURT GRANTS EX-JAMB REGISTRAR 200 MILLION NAIRA BAIL.

BUHARI/MTEF

President Muhamadu Buhari has forwarded the 2022-2024 Medium Time Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, to the House of Representatives.

In a letter read at plenary by Speaker of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila, President Buhari hinted that the 2022 budget would be prepared using approved MTEF of the national assembly.

Reacting to the letter, Minority Leader of the house, Ndudi Elumelu, argued that the government should have used the previous MTEF which was to run from 2021-2024, while Chairman of the house committee on finance, James Faleke, pointed out that the parameters were subject to change.

The house speaker however referred the MTEF, which is a transparent planning and budget formulation process, to the house committee on finance for review.

SENATE/ONOCHIE

Despite raging controversies, the senate committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has started the screening of Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner of the electoral umpire.

In her introductory remarks, Onochie who is one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees as national commissioners of the electoral umpire, maintained that she is not partisan and always insists on due process.

Reacting, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, advised Onochie to withdraw her nomination to preserve President Buhari’s integrity and the principle of federal character.

The nomination of Onochie, who currently serves as senior special assistant to the president on new media, had elicited public criticism from political parties and civil society organizations who opined that a card-carrying member of a political party is not proper to be appointed as an election officer.

NIGERIA/REPS

As the world is shifting from fossil fuel to cleaner and renewable energy, Nigeria must begin to adopt other sources of energy.

This was the resolution reached at a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives committee on science and technology on three bills seeking to amend the energy commission of Nigeria act and create a national renewable energy development agency.

Stakeholders at the public hearing also reiterated the need for the country to have a national policy on energy, which drives the power and petroleum sectors.

Warning that Nigeria might be stranded in about 30 years if it continues to depend heavily on fossil fuel for energy and revenue, they therefore harped on the need to provide an enabling environment for youth engagement, global competitiveness, among others.

FG/AIRLINES

The federal government has expressed concerns over a 37 billion naira debt owed by airlines.

Addressing a media conference in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, lamented that the airline debt has accumulated for over thirteen years and contributes to the poor management of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation sector.

Sirika therefore promised that the federal government will, in line with current reforms, double down on such debtors owing agencies like Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.

He added that the government is in the process of intensifying plans towards the concessioning of international airports in the country by the early second quarter of 2022.

FIRS/TAX FRAUD

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, Firs, has directed some commercial banks to freeze and recover 1.8 trillion naira from accounts of Multichoice Nigeria limited and Multichoice Africa.

The directive was contained in a statement issued by director, communications and liaison department of Firs, Abdullahi Ahmad, in Abuja, a copy of which was made available to newsmen.

FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, explained that the directive was sequel to the group’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to their servers for audit, thereby ordering the banks to sweep balances in each of the company’s account until the debts are fully recovered.

Nami however enjoined members of the public to put a stop to all tax frauds that had been going on for too long, stressing that companies must be held accountable and made to pay their fair share of relevant taxes.

OGUN/GRAZING BILL

Ogun state house of assembly has passed a bill to regulate animal grazing and the establishment of cattle ranches in designated grazing areas in the state.

Presenting report of the committee on agriculture and forestry during plenary, Sponsor of the bill, Ganiyu Oyedeji, said the animal grazing regulation and cattle ranch establishment bill 2020. Is meant to address incessant clashes between herders and farmers.

Folllowing the third reading of the bill, Speaker of the assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, ordered that the clean copy of the anti-open grazing legislation be forwarded to Governor Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

A section of the bill reportedly prescribed a three-year jail term without an option of fine, including forfeiture of the herds of cattle or livestock under their control to the state government except within the permitted ranches.

KADUNA/BETHEL STUDENTS

Speaker of the Kaduna State house of assembly, Alhaji Yusuf Zailani, has vowed to work closely with the executive arm of government to ensure safe release of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna.

Zailani made the vow while commiserating with management of the school and parents of the kidnapped students in Kaduna.

Zailani, who was represented by the Senior Special Adviser to the state governor on youths, sports and culture, hon. Ekene Adams, enjoined the institution and family members to keep hope alive and support the state government in the fight against insecurity.

It would be recalled that over 100 students of the school were on Monday, July 5, abducted by suspected gunmen and are still in the hands of their abductors, in what many described as the worst students kidnapping in the state.

BAYELSA/KILLINGS

The Bayelsa state judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality has awarded 21 billion naira to victims of extrajudicial killings against the police and other security operatives.

Chairman of the panel, retired justice young Ogola, made the disclosure while presenting recommendation report to Governor Douye Diri in Yenagoa, explaining that the 21 billion naira was awarded for damages, including compensation to communities razed down by the Nigerian army.

Commenting, the state’s deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, lauded the panel’s verdict and as well hailed the committee for doing a thorough job.

The Deputy Governor assured that the Governor Diri-led administration would, within the limits of available resources and procedures, ensure the victims get reprieve.

EX-JAMB REGISTRAR/BAIL

The federal high court sitting in Abuja has granted bail to a former registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Professor Adedibu Ojerinde.

In his ruling, the Presiding Judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, granted Ojerinde bail with the sum of 200 million naira and two sureties.

Justice Egwuatu hinted that one of the sureties must be a professor in a federal university and the other must own a property in Abuja, while Ojerinde was ordered to deposit his passport with the court registrar.

The court however adjourned the case to Thursday, July 22 for trial.

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