NTA, FRCN, VON Should Be Sold, They No Longer Make Sense – Murray-Bruce

The senator representing Bayelsa East, Ben Murray-Bruce, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to sell government-owned media companies.

Mr. Bruce said the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, and Voice of Nigeria, no longer make sense and should be sold to relieve the budget of recurrent expenditures.

The Senator said this while making his contribution to the debate on the 2018 budget which started at the Senate on Tuesday.

Mr. Murray-Bruce said the recurrent expenditure of the budget was over-bloated and should be trimmed.

“We have downgraded our economy and the reason we are downgraded is we cannot meet our revenue projection. It is understood that this is a budget of consolidation; I would rather describe it as budget of active imagination,” he said.

“If you look at the budget from 1960 to the present, you have agencies that were designed for 1960, agencies that were designed for the Nigerian civil war, agencies that were designed to suit some certain conditions in life. 60 years later, those agencies still exist in the budget.

“If you look at the budget, you will see some agencies, they get recurrent expenditure, they pay salaries, they get houses, computers, cars but they have no money to do any work. No money to do any work, we pay salaries. Some agencies are so bloated it defies logic but these agencies exist. So, we have 2.4 million people consuming 60percent of the recurrent expenditure of Nigeria, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Mr. Bruce listed some of the agencies he wants the executive to privatise.

“I called President Obasanjo on phone two days ago and he said to me; the National Orientation Agency was necessary when we had no political party, what is the value of the National Orientation Agency in today’s world for instance? Yet billions of Naira is spent in that agency.

“Let us look at agencies that make no sense. FRCN, sell it to the staff. FRCN has 8, 000 workers sell it to them. Sell NTA to the staff. Voice of Nigeria. Who listens to Voice of Nigeria? Sell it. If the staff want to buy, let them buy it. Set up a cooperative like Awolowo did, sell it to them. If we spend 71 percent on recurrent expenditure, we will never get out of this predicament we find ourselves.”

The lawmaker also criticised the agreement reached by Nigeria and China in the construction of rail lines in the country.

“I sent a letter to the Minister of Transport and I asked him to send us the contract he has with the Chinese. Let’s say we spend 10 billion dollars with the Chinese and they give us a loan what percentage of that money is spent in the local economy? How many Nigerians are employed? Which steel product are we producing locally?

“The last time I checked, rail lines were produced 300, 400 years ago. It’s not rocket science, we have Ajaokuta steel. So if we have the capability of producing steel or we have the capability in slow motion of making this work as Nigerians, we don’t need to borrow $10 billion from the Chinese and then give them back $10 billion, what do we benefit in our economy?

“The United Nations projected that in February 2018, Nigeria will have more people in poverty than in India. We have a population of 180 million people, India has 1.3 billion. Then, if we are going to have more people in poverty than India, then we have to create jobs. Once we create jobs we can then export our Naira to China, to India or some other place.”

Ben Murray-Bruce Lied To The Public – Senator Adeyeye

Majority Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye ( Osun Central, APC) has said that Senator Ben Murray-Bruce lied to the public by misrepresenting facts when he tweeted that he was barred from greeting the president.

Senator Adeyeye said:

“I was at the dinner. I sat in the front row along with other Principal Officers of the National Assembly.

I had a vantage view of what transpired. I am disappointed by this comment from a respected colleague.

I have on two occasions provided robust defense of Sen Ben Bruce. Not this time!

It was Sen Dino Melaye who first went to greet those seated at the President’s table, including President Buhari.

He was well greeted. No one in the senate has criticized President Buhari more than Sen Melaye. But as others rose to do what Dino had done, the scene got clumsy and indecorous because people were approaching the President’s table from different directions.

I sat between Sen Olujimi and Sen Bwacha. The three of us felt embarrassed by what was clearly a breach of dinner protocol. At that level, if dinner was served or being served, good etiquette demanded that the President’s table should not be approached. One should wait until people had finished eating.

No senator in the USA would breach such elementary protocol. We (on my table) predicted in whispers that colleagues would soon be barred from approaching the President’s table and it happened.

The first person to be turned back was Sen Gemade who was visibly embarrassed. He belongs to the APC; he is not a known critic of the President.

When I noticed that most people had finished their food, I approached the table and offered my pleasantries. Others followed suit. No one was turned back.”

Sanusi: My Letter To Jonathan On ‘Missing $20bn’ Was Leaked By Amaechi

Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Muhammad Sanusi II’s has stated that Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers state and now minister of transportation, leaked his famous letter on the “missing billions” in oil revenue.

Mr, Sanusi wrote former president Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 to raise the alarm over billions of dollars from oil sale not remitted to the federation account.

Sanusi was later suspended as CBN governor but he became emir of Kano while he was in court seeking that his suspension be declared illegal.

The emir of Kano revealed that Jonathan did nothing until former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote his own letter.

Amaechi on Wednesday night confirmed to TheCable that he was the one that leaked the letter “because the corruption was simply too much”.

JONATHAN SAID I LEAVE OR HE LEAVES

Narrating the $20 billion saga to Forbes Africa, Sanusi said that in 2012 and 2013, government revenue collapsed by $10 billion, without a collapse in oil prices or production capacity, adding that the CBN found a $49 billion revenue gap.

Shocked at the revelation, Sanusi said he wrote Jonathan, saying: “If this continues, we are going to have a big problem if the price of oil came down. We can’t protect interest rates, we can’t protect exchange rates, we can’t protect reserves.

“We may have to tighten money to prevent inflation, there will be unemployment, government will suffer – all of the things we are seeing today.

“In the middle of all these, the president called me and said I should see him at 3pm. I turned up at 3pm and the entire place had been swept. There was no one apart from security services. I got to his office, it was just me and him. It was as if everybody had been asked to go.

“And so he says to me, he’s calling me because he is surprised that letter I wrote to him got to Obasanjo, I said I’m surprised too.

“He said he’s convinced that the letter went from the central bank to Obasanjo, and I had 24 hours to find who leaked the letter or sack somebody; the director who prepared the letter or my secretary and if I did not sack them, that was proof that I leaked the letter and therefore, I should resign.

“I said to him that I’m surprised that I’m being asked to resign for raising an alarm over missing funds and the minister in charge of the portfolio is not being asked to resign.

“From then I knew I had signed my equivalent for death warrant. But I said I was not resigning. He got very angry and said whether you like it or not, you’re going to leave that office, I cannot continue to work with you, either you or I will leave government.”

JONATHAN IS NOT A LEADER THAT CAN KILL

“I was amused that leaking the letter is far more crime than leaking money. I went straight to the office of the principal secretary to the president, and I met him with a gentleman from Kano, who was foreign minister Ambassador Aminu Ali.

“I said to them, gentlemen, I’m coming to you because I just had a meeting with the president, and there were no witnesses, and the president had threatened me.

“I repeated what happened and told them I am going to tell people close to me, if anything happens to me, it is the president.

“I don’t think I was really in fear of my life. Even if you don’t like someone – Jonathan was not the kind of person that would have someone killed. He wasn’t that kind of leader.”

BEN BRUCE TOLD ME THEY’D JAIL ME

“I remember Ben Murray Bruce, who is now a senator, coming to me to say that he had it on good authority that if I went to the senate with my documents, I would be removed, investigated and imprisoned.

“Then I said, why would I be imprisoned, and he said, you know, you’ve worked in government. I have worked in government, if people really want to find something on you, in the central bank, five years, they would come and look, they would find something.

“I was like they would find it if I have done it. I mean they can plant something, but if haven’t done it, maybe somebody under me had done something that I wasn’t aware of.

“But in all my years at the central bank, to the best of my knowledge, I had done nothing that should put me in prison. However, I said to him, tell the president, from me, that if the punishment for going to the senate is prison, he doesn’t need to go through all of that, just ask him to tell me what prison he wants me to go to and for how many years, I’d drive myself there.”

OBASANJO’S LETTER PUSHED JONATHAN TO ACTION

Sanusi said nothing was done until Obasanjo wrote his famous open letter to Jonathan. In that letter, he now referred to a letter from the central bank governor.

“This was in August 2013, the president received the letter and did nothing. A few weeks after that, the finance minister called to say, governor, can we do some reconciliation on oil revenue numbers? I said minister, I report to the president.

“I have written to the president, if the president wants me to sit with you and do reconciliation, the president will tell me.

“After Obasanjo’s letter, all hell now broke loose. The letter was then leaked to online media, and it became public. That was when the president got angry and we then had to sit and do reconciliation.

NOBODY TOUCHES DIEZANI AND SURVIVES

“I knew that taking on NNPC was taking on the most powerful minister in Jonathan’s government, and nobody who had touched Diezani had survived. It was not a question of what would happen, I just didn’t care at that time. I did not want to go down in history as having seen this and kept quiet.

“After the first round of reconciliation, there was $29 billion that was explained. And how was that explained? Crude that was shipped by NNPC did not entirely belong to NNPC.”

He said some oil companies paid taxes and royalties in oil, and the NNPC sold this oil on behalf of FIRS, meaning FIRS got the money and not necessarily the federal government.

“No reasonable explanation for $20 billion, $6 billion was with NPDC that had not gotten to the federation account till date.”

Sahara Reporters

Bayelsa Salary Issue: Where Is Ben Murray-Bruce?

By Goke Butika

“If we are in poverty, we can lie our way through, but we should elect not to embark on hypocrisy and conspiracy because of the consequence of death,”—-Ifa panegyrics.
President Muhammadu Buhari while explaining the parlous state of economy in Nigeria pointed to the fact that 27 states of out 36 have difficulty in paying workers’ salaries, ascribing the challenge to the crash of crude oil price and zero productivity, and it was widely reported in all dailies and electronic media.
Last week, an interesting headline seized front pages, that workers in oil rich Bayelsa state with eight Local Government council Areas were resorting to begging for survival as a result of delay in salaries close to six months. Whereas, Oyo state, one of the biggest states in the country has entered into a deal of placing all his allocations from the federation account for salaries alone in order to halt an imminent strike.
In a related development, while the nation’s currency was taking plunge for US dollar, the President and his team became sleepless on the drama of death at the forex market, but Buhari appeared clever in this game of baiting as he extends the country’s net of international engagement to the East, particularly China, the second economic super power of the world as against the pressure from the West on him to reduce the value of naira.
However, what appears to be troubling “Ajebamidele” is different from his son. While Ajebamidele was thinking of making more money for the family, the son wanted more food. While the President was losing sleep to fix the country in response to the cry of the millions, the representatives of the same people at the National Assembly were busy padding national budget with secret projects that would get them more money to make statement of “new arrival” on the political permutation of their states; don’t ask me about the intention of top national assembly members who want to become governors in 2018/19 in their states.  At the same time, the Senate under the leadership of the embattled Senator Bukola Saraki was struggling to alter two bills: Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal (CCB/T) and Administration of Criminal Justice.
To the best of my knowledge, the first bill must be altered to help the Senate President who has run from frying pan to furnace with a view to evading  justice on his alleged criminal past at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, while the second bill must be quickly passed to return the snaily speed of justice which could make Saraki’s case last eternity. And I found my justification in the words of Ekiti Senator-Ekiti again! Biodun Olujinmi, the impeached deputy governor to Ayo Fayose-Fayose again! She said: “If you don’t help your neighbour when his house is burning, you will not get help when the fire reaches your house.” In one piece,  the Senate of the Federal Republic has become “stock exchange market for corruption.”
Yes, some critics have their misgivings about the China deal, but yours sincerely thumb up for it, because it makes sense to say that an import dependent nation like Nigeria must get its Maths right. We import over 80 percent of wares from China, but used US dollar to denominate the transactions, making the naira to be chasing the dollar that would later be changed to yuan, Chinese currency. In the exchange, naira gets weaker, dollar gets stronger. Now, with the new deal, Nigerian importer would exchange naira for Chinese yuan at rate of N30 for a yuan, the import would be done with ease; machinery for local industries would be procured at cheaper rate; while dollar would have rest from hot chase, and possibly relax and reflex on its hike, and the economy would be on its legs again. If I am wrong, let the economists fault my argument and come up with convincing one.
Let it be known that the narratives I have read about the other side of arguments against the China deal seem to be planted by the looters who had stocked looted dollars in their soak aways with a view to be selling it at higher rate for the benefit of their families alone. But the analyses above were not even the hit of this piece, the meat is to draw out the “common sense” Senator Ben Bruce who once mocked State of Osun on national media that he would be donating his wardrobe allowance to its workers in sympathy to their agitation on delayed salaries, that Bayelsa, his home state where he represents could not pay for ten months now at the Local Governments and six months at the state level, and common sense suggests that Bruce begins to release his jumbo salary to the workers there.
Today, Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun who was their boot of jokes some months back while he declared that the nation’s economic downturn has hit his state badly has found his template for fixing his remaining  projects, paying though not regularly, the reworked salaries known as “afusa” pejoratively means half salaries for some categories of workers, and enjoying his peace with work force in the state, while watching states with bigger allocations with “nosa” pejoratively means no salary with justifiable concern.
The long and short of my story is that Nigerians should know that we are in a dire strait, the country is in need of collective will and unalloyed support, and certainly the support for a better Nigeria would not come from the National Assembly, because the guys there want to be rich quick at the expense of the vulnerable citizens. So, it is high time we rose to support Nigeria project under President Buhari.
Butika is a journalist of intercontinental exposure

Humiliated UNILAG Student Lambast Sen. @BenMurrayBruce At 60

By Abidemi Adesokan

Senator Ben Murray Bruce turned 60 yesterday, he took the opportunity to launch his book “The Common Sense Revolution” but it’s sad to see that the event in its totality portrays the average Nigerian Politician.

Usually, I hate to attend these so called “Big” events but it was Ben Bruce, the common sense guy, I jumped at the Opportunity to go with my department, department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos as we were invited with a letter and we were feeling all important. We didn’t know it was an invitation to humiliation.

At the venue, we were told to go upstairs, we didn’t mind, as they said that area was reserved for students. Getting there, I realized it was a perfect view to watch the “Elites” wine and dine. Still, we didn’t care. We only began to care when the ceremony kept going on and all tables kept getting additional contents and we were just there, like Observers. Don’t forget that we were invited, as I said earlier.

While all of that kept happening, I still didn’t care because they said every guest will get a free copy of the book. I wanted the book so, I waited on. At the end, only the guests got the Book. I had to look at our invitation to be sure we were guests. Yes, we were guests but the stiff class stratification that Senator Bruce Criticizes came to play. It’s so sad to see that the actions of the Common Sense Guy justifies the “Common Sense is not so common” statement.

Since I know it’s all fake, I’d like to give a professional PR advice. It’s so bad, if you invite Nigerian Students, who will, to a large extent, determine your political success, to an event only for them to watch you and your rich friends dine. Their votes aren’t even enough. Writing a book about Common Sense doesn’t actually make you have Common Sense. We aren’t hungry people. We are Unilag Students and we are contented with what we have, we wouldn’t go to shop 10 to sweet-talk anyone about common sense, just to get rice.

Happy Birthday, Senator Ben! Thanks for the deceit, segregation and above all, thanks so much for the Palm oil made Jollof Rice with a meat-like object.

I am Abidemi Adesokan, A concerned Nigerian Student who believes there is hope for Nigeria, but Bruce isn’t just that guy.