Saraki’s Lifetime Career In Financial Crimes And His Jokes On Corruption By Erasmus Ikhide

Nigerian history on corruption wouldn’t be written without Senator Bukola Saraki’s name occupying a dominant space. Senator Saraki has been known for his legislative banditry, political corruption, virtual criminality and brazen scandals in sordid form, all his life. 

You may give it to him, on the flip side; after all, those who wanted nothing to be said about them have no business in politics. Whichever standpoint you viewed it, a scandal is a scandal. It’s the loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety. Does that excuse Senator Saraki’s moral bankruptcy as a pervert who exploits the weakness of institutions unto the bargains at every stage of his career.

In an attempt to do damage control, one of his media aides, a few days ago compounded Senator Saraki’s already battered image in the eye of the public. “I read a write up titled “BEFORE SARAKI FORGETS” insinuating that Saraki as Vice Chairman to Senator Ahmed Makarfi on the Senate’s Finance Committee in 7th Senate connived with Mrs. Diezani and absolved her of all the alleged missing $20 billion. “At first, I was going to ignore this false and malicious publication mainly because it is coming from a TABLOID that lacks credibility and known for ALWAYS attacking Saraki since he emerged Senate President to justify its paymasters”.

This is the point: ‘the Sarakis admitted that Saraki was a member of the committee led by Ahmed Makarfi and participated actively in the committee work but did not sign the report as being alleged by critics’.

One would have expected the Sarakis to come up with the original copy of the Senate’s finance committee reports that shows empty column against Saraki’s name as he refused to sign, being the vice chairman of the committee. We’re also expecting Senator Saraki’s minority report, indicting Diezani and his fellow committee members, if it was true that Senator Saraki was against the Senate’s finance committee report that absolved Diezani? Now, how does Saraki wish to exonerate himself from the committee’s report that cover up the highest graft in Nigeria history he partly superintended? Where is the evidence that/or the denial that he was not part of the sleaze? This is the self-denial of the real situation.

The other day Saraki told Bewildered World by deceiving himself that he has returned all the money paid into his account by Kwara State government as ex-governor of the state without showing evidence of transactions. But before then, the Kwara State Government had denied paying Saraki salary after he left office in May 2011. The  Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, in a reaction to claims that  Saraki was drawing a salary from the state after he left office, stated that the ex-governor’s last salary was N291,474.00 for May 2011.

“From June 2011, former Governor Saraki started receiving his pension which was N578,188.00 as other past governors in the country. Gold stated that after the review of pension of former political office-holders by the State Pension Board, Saraki’s pension increased to N1,239,493.94 monthly from October 2014 to date. He said it was “therefore false and misleading” to state that Saraki was receiving a salary after the expiration of his two-term tenure as a governor of the state’.

The denial from Kwara State Government came when the statement of Saraki’s account details with Access Bank inflows from 2007 up till August 2015 revealed that Saraki collected salary as the governor of Kwara State for about four years after completing his second term in office was making the round. A prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, in one of the cases against Saraki on economic fraud visited on the country, in his testimony, read out details of each transaction on Saraki’s statement of account as pointed out to him by the lead prosecuting counsel.

In-between some transactions described as salary, there were also some whose narration read as a pension. Wetkas said, “Exhibit 15 is the statement of Saraki’s salary account with Intercontinental Bank. N254,412.25 was the salary for July 2007.

“In May 2011, salary paid on June 3, 2011, was N291,124. The narration reads: KWSG May, 2011 salary. On July 4, 2011, there was another payment with the narration of KWSG July salary, 572,286.32. On August 29, 2011, there was a payment of  N744,002.22. On October 27, 2011, there was a narration of October salary of N1,165,466.12. On December 7, 2011, there was a payment of the same amount of N1,165,466.12. On December 28, 2011 there was payment of the same amount of N1,165,466.12 as December pension”.

By the narration in the accounts, in February 2012, Senator Saraki was paid the same amount. The narration says salary. By this account statement, they stopped payment of salary and/or pension to the defendant on August 31, 2015. The second tenure as governor ended on May 29, 2011. He became a Senator in the same 2011 till date.

We’re not talking about other pervasive systematic scandals which include the humongous amount of money allegedly laundered by Senator Saraki. On October 26, 2009, there were cash deposits by several individuals with different names in 87 transactions into Senator Saraki’s GTB bank account. The 87 transaction took place in one day! This was done to circumvent the money laundering law. The transactions were made in that manner because if it was made once, it would be above the provisions of the law.

The account also had cash lodgements on May 18, 2009. There was cash lodgement by Todimu, who is a banker, of $8,000 at GRA Ilorin branch. That same day, he (Todimu) also lodged another $8,000. On the same day, there was another cash lodgement of $4,000 by Bayo, who is a banker.

The total amount was $180,000. There was a total of $20,000 lodgement by the bankers. On May 19, 2009, there were 18 lodgements of $10,000 each. The last three of $10,000 of May 19, 2009, each were made by Saraki himself. On June 12, 2009, there was a lodgement of $50,000 cash by one Garba Dare. On August 21, 2009, $99,975 was transferred into the account by a bureau de change, Bin Dahuuh. On August 26, 2009, there was $49,969 paid by Carlisle Properties and Investments Limited. On September 7, 2009, there was also $59,964 by the same company, Carlisle Properties Limited. Most of the outflows from the account were basically made to American Express Service Europe Limited. Part of the outflows was made to BDC.

From our investigation, the transfers to the American Express Service Europe Limited’s account were up to $3,400,000. Part of the outflow from the account was also to the pound sterling account. The ASEL received the funds for onward transmission to the beneficiary.  The telex,  dated August 25, 2008, for transfer to the American Express Bank, New York. The amount of this particular telex is $73,223.28. Of the pound sterling account, the witness stated, “The account has six transactions in all – three deposits and three outflows. There were deposits of over £1,516,000. The fraud is endless.

The inglorious escapade of Senator Bukola’s financial criminality that rocked his post-banking career and drowns several families is still very much with us. Mr. Bukola has been severally fingered in the financial scandal that rocked and ultimately grounded the once boisterous Societe Generale Bank, GGB, owned by the Saraki family. Mr. Bukola was reported to have siphoned the bank’s depositors’ money to the sum of N17 billion to pursue his gubernatorial ambition in 2007, in the wake of an unprecedented political battle the family faced in the hand of another former Governor of the state, late Alhaji Mohammed Lawal.

At another occasion, the police repeatedly sought after Mr. Saraki to explain how a debt of N9.7 billion was dramatically written off in a certain account, which was suddenly closed by one Abdul Adamu, who they found out to be an aide of Saraki. This is different to the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigerian Police Force trail on his heist with a revelation that the former governor of Kwara State was wanted over a N21 billion-bank loan fraud at the defunct InterContinental Bank of Nigeria.

Enmeshed in the sordid legacy of fraud and more undisclosed grafts, the only way out for Senator Saraki is to keep banging his way through, even to the nation’s presidency, as a man of incredible vaunting ambition. That’s the stuff/character Nigerian political leadership is made of.

Any prosecution of Mrs. Diezani without the inclusion of Saraki and Senate’s finance committee’s members that cleared her of wrong doings will be an anti corruption war by default. Can Saraki be expelled or expels himself from the Senate presidency so that Nigeria can start on a clean slate? That’s less likely.

Saraki’s jokes on corruption is the Nigerian jokes. If the Senate’s finance committee members who allegedly shared from the Diezani’s loot are still the ultimate law givers, it means President Buhari’s anti corruption crusade have been making successes in abeyance. When you hear next time corruption is fighting back, then you have an example in Senator Bukola Saraki and his fellow economic predators.

Erasmus, Public Affairs Analyst write from Lagos

Email: [email protected]

Follow me on twitter @ikhideerasmus1

Saraki’s Token Gesture

It may appear to be a token but it is a gesture that is commendable all the same. The forfeiture by Senate President Bukola Saraki’s pension and other entitlements from Kwara State where he served as two-term governor and his refund of payment of same from 2007 when he ceased to be governor, has put him in the forefront of those honourable Nigerians who can be counted as the true and authentic apostles of probity and accountability in public office.
Except that this gesture – a rarity in this part of the world – was both voluntary and forced. But it is a good gesture all the same. In a society like ours where public officials have enthroned the ugly phenomenon of impunity, Saraki could have given a cold shudder to all his critics and say loudly, as others are wont to do, that he could not give a damn. But he didn’t.

Let’s put the story in a much clearer perspective. Senate President Saraki is in the cozy company of former governors who are now senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Their election into this hallowed chamber was, if you like, a reward for their excellent performance when they served in their various states as executive governors. Their impressive political trajectory from government houses to the Senate was seamless. There was no hassle – the slot was theirs for a picking.

But since the inception of the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate, the upper legislative chamber of the second arm of government, has not been in the best book of the public. Many of the distinguished senators, no matter their political affiliation, are seen as an impediment and a cog in the wheel of the administration. Some people, in fact, think that this set of distinguished senators invented the word corruption, even though in these lean times, there is really no Ghana- must- go bags to smoothen the process of legislation and the passing of bills as was done in years gone by.

It is an unfortunate perception which seems to have got stuck in the minds of the people. This sordid picture – that this Senate is up to no good – is a product of many factors, principal among them is the manner in which the current leadership of the legislature emerged. From the start, Saraki defied his party, the APC, which had zoned the position of Senate President to the North East. While the party hierarchy was meeting with President Buhari to sort out the zoning formula, Saraki outsmarted the party big shots and got himself elected as Senate president. He thus openly declared himself the man to watch, if not an outright enemy of the system.

There are many political watchers today who would swear that his political travails – the trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the failed attempt to arraign him for forgery of Senate procedure – really had nothing to do with corruption. They both smack of a miserable attempt to get back at him.

But like an old fox, he seems to be learning fast – doing it in a way that seems to keep him a step or two ahead of his traducers. In a way, fate and destiny have smiled on him. He is lucky, as some pundits have pointed out, that he was not a product of the era of banana peels in the Senate. He could not have gotten away with blue murder in that era which was characterised by brusque militarism.

President Buhari’s hands were tied from day one by his sheer determination to transform from the aforesaid brusque militarism of his predecessors to a polished and, even if not so much of, sophisticated nuances of modern democracy whose true dividends include genuine rule of law as opposed to the rule of the lawlessness, civil liberties and freedom of expression and freedom of association – and a freewheeling political shenanigan that some people have assumed to be a licence.

I see Saraki’s pension hullabaloo in that light. There has been, in my view, a justifiable outcry against ex-governors in the Senate, or in public office as ministers, receiving pension from their former service as well as receiving salaries in their present positions.

In the current Senate, you have 15 former governors now serving as law makers. And their take home pay from the Senate is jumbo, if you permit the use of the word that is now so commonplace, it has become trite. Various state houses of assembly had passed laws with varying degrees of application that have fixed sumptuous pension and other generous allowances for their ex-governors and their deputies some, it is alleged, with houses in their state capitals and in Abuja. There is also some allowance for a coterie of personal staff; brand new cars replaceable every four years – a reward for their selfless service to the people.
There is a law to back this immorality. But this law does not seem to understand the meaning of this highly subjective word and its awesome connotation. If it did, perhaps it would not have been said to be an ass. The immorality of the law, granting this life pension and the accompanying allowances, is underlined by the incestuous manner in which it was promulgated. The potential beneficiaries of the law – their excellences and the deputy excellences – without exception, instigated the promulgation of the law and the houses of assembly which were habitually at their beck and call, were so glad to ingratiate themselves with the governors, they had no difficulty whatsoever in passing the law and in giving effect to it.

But the critical segments of the civil society saw the corruption involved in this and had cried out loudly. The Socio-Economic and Accountability Projects (SERAP), created in 2004, took up this as a project to be pursued with a single-minded commitment. It punched numerous holes into the argument that double pension was backed by the laws passed by the various state governments and the beneficiaries had violated no law. And Femi Falana, the iconoclastic legal luminary, not to be outperformed, was unsparing in his attacks. He called those ex-governors and any other public office holder who feels comfortable taking two salaries, receiving two allowances all at the same time to publicly denounce this gross immorality and refund the money.

It is against this background that the Senate President openly took a patriotic stand by stopping the payment of his pension from Kwara State. Saraki also decided to make a refund of the pension he had received from 2007 to date. Testifying to this gesture, the Secretary to the Government of Kwara State, Sola Isiaka, said the Senate President on his own free volition “considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving senator and chose to abandon his legal rights.” The statement was, however, silent on the Abuja house allegedly built for him.

What the Senate President did is a good public relations gesture that is certain to buy him some good will. But can he move beyond this and persuade his colleagues who are in a similar situation – untenable on grounds of morality? Some of them have denied receiving any pensions and other benefits from their state governments.

Saraki may not be vicariously responsible or liable for the conduct of other senators but he should be worried if their actions of omission and commission attract generous public odium to the august body. Currently, some senators are enmeshed in apparent double dealing and conflicts of interest and the public is waiting to see what the Senate will do on resumption from recess.

Not too long ago, the Senate President was prompt to bring the allegation of importation of an armoured vehicle for his use as well as the certificate palava of another senator before the ethics committee of the Senate. The resolution of the two issues appeared untidy and has left some dent on the image of the Senate.

In this current house cleaning exercise, Saraki has led by example. Adherence to the principle of probity and accountability makes it mandatory for him to go the whole hog by persuading, nay by directing his colleagues, who have oversight responsibilities, to behave like Caesar’s wife and stay scrupulously above reproach.

 

 

Source: The guardian

Nigerian Senate President, Saraki Sacks 98 of 300 Aides

Senate President Bukola Saraki has sacked his director of protocol, head of administration and 96 others to scale down the number of his aides, it has been reliably gathered.

It was gathered that the affected aides have been issued sack letters through the office of the Chief of staff, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed. It was gathered that with the mass sack, Saraki’s aides have been reduced from over 300 to a little above 200.

The newspaper had exclusively reported in March, 2016, how hundreds of aides engaged by Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun weighed down the National Assembly.

An aide to Saraki said that the last batch of the affected aides, were given their sack letters on Tuesday.

“They started last Wednesday and they have finished distributing the letters on Tuesday. Out of the 300 aides, about 100 were affected. You know we have some of our colleagues that are based in Kwara,” he said.

He said among those affected were the director of protocol, Arthur Ndiwe and the head of administration, Mrs Folasade Adigun.

It was also gathered that the Special Adviser to Saraki on legal matters, Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi has also resigned.

Another source in Saraki’s office, who also confirmed the mass sack, said majority of those affected were staff of the National Assembly, who have been on secondment for over a decade.

The source who doesn’t want to be named said others who were affected are those who were redundant and are not ‘adding value’ to the system.

[BREAKING] Saraki Has Returned All Pensions Collected From Kwara State –Govt says

The Kwara State Government has said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has returned all the pensions he collected so far as a former two-term governor of the state.

In a surprising twist, however, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the claim emanated from the Kwara State Government and he neither confirmed nor denied it.

The Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, in a statement on Wednesday said the attention of the state government had been drawn to issues surrounding the payment of pensions to former governors of the state, especially Saraki.

The SSG said Saraki, as a two-term governor of the state, was entitled to pensions as stipulated by the third schedule, Paragraph D (i) of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law, No. 12 of 2010 of Kwara State.

He added that the said pensions had been duly remitted to his (Saraki’s) account, like other former governors, since he left office.

He, however, said that when, via a letter dated August 20, 2015, addressed to the state government, Saraki requested that the payment of pensions to his account be stopped and the amount already credited to the account be refunded to the (Kwara State) Government, the state government promptly complied.

Gold said, “The (Kwara State) Government not only stopped the payment of the said pension, the amount already paid into Saraki’s account since he left office was deducted from the money owed to him as well as his other outstanding lawful entitlements.

“In view of the foregoing, it should be noted that neither the Kwara State Government nor Saraki, violated the state pension law or any other law for that matter.

“The State Pension Law empowers the state government to pay pension to former governors of the state.

“The Kwara State Government will want to reiterate the fact that it was Dr. Saraki who, of his own volition, considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving Senator and chose to abandon his legal rights.

“We believe he should be commended for the decision.”

Gold added, “It is the hope of the Kwara State Government that this clarification will end all the controversy about this issue.”

 

 

Source: Punch

Agriculture: APC’s Achievements Fantastic – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had recorded tremendous achievements in agriculture.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, that the feats of the party in agriculture were, however, not adequately reported.

He berated some media houses for always making headlines with negative stories while ignoring such success stories.

The President of the Senate noted that in the area of rice farming and processing, Nigeria under the APC government, had risen to a point where it would soon be completely self sufficient.

“You can see what the APC government is doing in agriculture but this is something we don’t talk about, the success that the APC government has made is tremendous.

“Am sure in a few years time we will be self sufficient in rice and that is a major achievement for a country that is always importing rice to now get to the stage where we no longer have to import rice.

“But how often do you report it, how often does it make your front pages in the papers?

“But the point I am making is that some of these things that we have done in agriculture, I am happy to see that there are a lot of successes,” he said.

Recalling the poultry farm he established during his tenure as governor of Kwara, he said that the farm had grown to be the second largest poultry in Nigeria but was not being reported.

Saraki said that the farm was a true example of a success story, adding that with its current growth rate, it would soon become the largest in Africa with many international companies buying into it.

“That farm today is probably the second largest poultry farm in the country and probably in another three years,it will be the third largest in West Africa.

“Recently the farm was bought into by the largest poultry farm in South Africa.

“I don’t think there is any other example of success in seeing something start from nothing and growing to a state where it is viable and growing to a stage where you can see private sector involvement.

“If you go to the community around there, you will see a lot of small scale industries that have picked up and small scale farmers also. It has been a great success.

“The problem sometimes is that some of you in the media, you don’t like going beyond Lagos and Abuja.”

The President of the Senate, however, warned that the success story of the APC government in agriculture and those of other states and individuals would amount to nothing if smuggling was allowed to thrive.

He said that while the government was working hard to ensure self sufficiency in various aspects of agriculture, smugglers were hampering governments efforts.

He, therefore, called on all agencies concerned to immediately step up their game and end smuggling in Nigeria.

“I was in the farm recently with the governor of CBN and what we saw there was very impressive, the only thing they (farmers) are still having problems with is the issue of smuggling.

“People are still smuggling chicken and that is our biggest challenge.

“The same thing with rice, we have been working and taking on Customs that they need to do something about these issues.

“We had to give the management of Customs all the support we have to make sure that they must do something about smuggling.

”Once we can address smuggling, I think it is the greatest challenge to our success in agriculture.”

NAN

BREAKING: Supreme Court Sacks Sheriff, Reinstates Makarfi As PDP Chairman

The Supreme Court has removed Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, in its judgment delivered on Wednesday, reinstated Ahmed Makarfi, earlier sacked by the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, as the National Caretaker Committee.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, in its judgment delivered on Wednesday, reinstated Ahmed Makarfi, earlier sacked by the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, as the National Caretaker Committee.

Reading the lead judgment of the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, held that contrary to the majority judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, the suit filed by Makarfi faction before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt was not an abuse of the court.

The apex court also held that the National Convention of the PDP held on May 21, 2016, rightly and constitutionally removed Sheriff.

It held that the convention acted rightly and not in breach of any aspect of the PDP’s constitution by setting up the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee.

The judgment of the apex court was unanimously agreed to the lead judgment by Justice Rhodes-Vivour.

Other members of the panel are, Justices Onnoghen, Tanko Muhammad, Kayode Ariwoola and Dattijo Muhammad.

While Ahmed Makarfi was present in court with a large retinue of loyalists of his faction, including Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, ‎Sheriff was absent from court.

 

 

 

Source: Punch

Kwara Youths Threaten To Recall Saraki, Accuse Him Of Pursuing Personal Interest

A youth organisation in Kwara State, Kwara Youths Stakeholders Forum (KYSF), has threatened to initiate a process to recall Mr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President. The group made the threat in a statement jointly signed by its leaders, including Mr. Charles Olufemi Folayan, President; Ahmed Alanamu, Deputy President; and Abolarin Olusola, Secretary.

The organisation said the long-running face-off between the Senate and the Executive arm of government is hindering the operations of the government and affecting the masses. It blamed the situation on Mr. Saraki’s lust for power.

“We are cognizant of the separation of powers in a democratic government, but it is shocking to see the Legislative and Executive arms of Government formed by the same political party playing opposition between themselves in the name of separation of powers,” said KYSF.

The group noted with regret that the Senate recently suspended confirmation of nominees sent to it by the Executive. KYSF said it is particularly disappointed by the conduct of the Senate President, an indigene of Kwara State, for refusing to work with the Executive to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

It accused the Senate under Mr. Saraki of elevating personal interests above the public interest.

“Sadly, bills of public interest such as Local Government Autonomy Bill and other bills that will make a direct impact on the people have not yet received adequate attention from the Senate.

“We are disappointed that despite the economic recession, which demands urgent attention, the Senate leadership has been paying more attention to swarming courtrooms for Code of Conduct Tribunal trial, Customs boss’ uniform and debates on the recalling of an individual senator,” stated KYSF.

Rather than antagonise, KYSF said the Senate should support Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who is standing in for President Muhammadu Buhari, to lead the country out of its current economic hardship and keep it united.

KYSF maintained that Kwara State has not felt the impact of producing the Senate President. Rather, it said, the people of the state are constantly embarrassed by Mr. Saraki’s obscene display of affluence through multi-billion naira convoys before unemployed youths in the state and oppression of civil servants, whose salaries have not been paid for months.

KYSF said it has resolved that if having a Senate President from Kwara State is of no value to the youths in the state and Nigerians in general, it will have no option other than initiating the process to recall Mr. Saraki from the Senate, where he represents Kwara Central Senatorial District.

“We hereby advise him to realise that he is there to serve the good people of Nigeria, adjust his ways and prioritise the interest of Nigerians above ego and personal political ambition,” said KYSF.

 

 

Source:: Sahara Reporters

Jubilation In Ilorin As CCT Acquits Senate President

Kwara All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts, supporters, loyalists and party members on Wednesday went on a wild jubilation in Ilorin over the discharge and acquittal of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Amidst drumming, singing and dancing at the APC secretariat in the state capital, the jubilant crowd women wore multicoloured customised T-shirts to celebrate the moment.Addressing reporters the state

Addressing reporters the state chairman of the APC, Alhaji Isola Balogun Fulani, expressed happiness, saying the ability that the allegations were politically motivated.

“The entire APC members and all peace loving people of Kwara State are very happy. We knew that this is a politically motivated charge, but God has vindicated us, and it is a plus to democracy. This also allows us to have confidence in the judiciary of Nigeria.

“We are very happy. We thank everybody and well-meaning Nigerians who had supported us for the first time this thing (trial) started up to the end of this case. We are very happy and that is why you see us
rejoicing.

“We are going to the Emir of Ilorin to rejoice with him and thank him for supporting our leader, the Senate President. From there, we will move to the Governor of Kwara State to thank him for his support from the onset up to the end of this time and to also pray for him that with him in the helm of affairs,
Kwara State is progressing and we hope that Insha Allah with the end of this case, Kwara State will continue to progress.

We are very happy and words cannot express our happiness,” he added. The APC chair said that the Senator Saraki’s victory would spur for more performance in office.

“Even without settled mind, he has been performing credibly. We are sure that with his settled mind he will do more and perform credibly to the interest of all Nigerians at large,” he said.Also speaking, former APC women leader and

Also speaking, former APC women leader and chairperson, Kwara state local government service commission, Alhaja Sarat Adebayo, said the judgement was a welcome development.

“We appreciate President Buhari for doing justice to the whole issue. The judgement is a welcome development to Kwarans as a whole. We appreciate everyone that stood by us when the case lasted.

‘We appreciate particularly the NASS, the executive and judiciary arms as well as Nigerians for standing by us during our time of trial. We believe that justice has been done today. We salute everyone, we are confident that with the judgement tremendous achievements would be achieved in the remaining two years ahead,” she said.

‎The ABS Mandate Constituency office of Dr. Bukola Saraki also expressed gratitude to God and humanity for the outcome of the CCT judgement which discharged and acquitted the President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki of the 18 count charge against him as lacking in proof and evidence.

‎A statement issued by Hon. Kayode Omotose on behalf of the Director General ABS Abdulwahab Oladimeji paid glowing tribute to the Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and members of the state executive council, the Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Dr Ali Ahmad and members of the legislature, the Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu – Gambari and all traditional rulers, the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Chairman of
the Christian Association Nigeria and all clerics and clergymen, the State Chairman of APC Hon. Ishola Balogun Fulani and members of the party.

While calling for continuous prayer in the task ahead, the ABS mandate office assured Kwarans that the
President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki shall remain focused in the development of every nook and cranny of the state

I’ve Been Vindicated, Says Senate President

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday described his acquittal by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) as a vindication.In a statement signed by him, he said he bore no grudge against anyone over his trial.

In a statement signed by him, he said he bore no grudge against anyone over his trial.

The outcome of the case, Saraki said, had strengthened his faith in the judiciary, which he noted, “could indeed provide sanctuary for all those who seek justice”.

The statement reads: “I thank the Almighty Allah, the ultimate Judge and the repository of all powers. He alone has brought about this victory. I am immensely grateful to all my colleagues in the National Assembly for their abiding support. All through my trial, they demonstrated their strong conviction about the choice we all decided to make two years ago. I thank members of my family for their unflinching support. I thank all friends and supporters back home in Kwara State and across the length and breadth of our country for their prayers and their sacrifices. My gratitude also goes to all members of my legal team for their tireless efforts to ensure the cause of justice is served.

“After undergoing the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication today calls for a celebration. It is my belief however that if there should be any celebration at all, it should be a celebration of the hopes that this judgment gives us as citizens that despite all the challenges that we face as a country, we are well on our way to building a country where the innocent needs are not afraid. I, therefore, urge all my supporters to refrain from any unbridled triumphalism. The challenges that our country faces today are enormous and do not allow for wanton celebration. Instead, we should all reflect on the significance of this moment and what it meant for our democracy.

“On a personal note, I harbour no grudge against anyone, regardless of the role they might have played… I believe that If my trial had in any way given hope to the common man that no matter the forces arraigned against him, he can still get justice in our courts, then my tribulation had not been in vain.

“Once again, I thank my colleagues in the Eighth Senate for standing firm. Regardless of the distraction of my trial, we have achieved more as legislators than the previous Senates. Now that this distraction is over, we can even achieve so much more. We must now proceed from here with greater vigour to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians and show that this Eighth Senate can indeed play a central role in improving the quality of lives of our people.

“Lastly, I thank all the gentlemen of the press for your abiding interest in this case, which I believe had contributed in no small measure in ensuring that truth and reason ultimately prevailed”.

 

 

 

 

Source: The Nation

Protest Over Death Of Deputy Speaker’s Aide

A protest was staged by the Legislative aides in the National Assembly over the death of one their colleagues, Mr. Hassan Abiodun, attached to the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun.

Abiodun died on June 9, 2017 due to complications from ruptured appendicitis, which the legislative aides claimed was caused by his inability to pay the N165,000 bill required for the surgery.

The aides clad in black, said Abiodun’s death could have been averted if he was not owed by the management.

Following the protest, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has summoned the management of the National Assembly over the late payment of salaries of the legislative aides of 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members.

Saraki, who is also Chairman of the National Assembly, summoned the management in order to resolve the issues.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr. Sanni Onogu, briefing journalists, said the meeting with the management was to discuss the issues raised by the protesters.
“The Senate President has summoned the management of National Assembly with intention to resolving all the issues raised by the legislative aides,” he said.

The major issue raised by the aides was that the choice of a bank, to domicile their salary account was causing late payments.

The spokesman of the aides, Mr. Dayo Fadugba, accused the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sani Omolori, of having an ulterior motive over his preference for a “mushroom bank and unknown financial institution.

“From all indications, it is manifest that the bank does not have the capacity and infrastructure to handle the volume of transaction the CNA has foisted on them. Indeed we are convinced that the decision is motivated by ulterior motive aimed at bolstering the financial standing of the microfinance bank masquerading as commercial institutions,” Fadugba said.
He added that the aides just received their May salaries on Monday.

Listing the demands of the aides, Fadugba called for the payment of the outstanding quarterly duty allowances, and movement of aides salary accounts to a ‘proper bank’.
Reacting to the development, the office of the Deputy Speaker described Abiodun’s death as sudden and shocking.
The Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, said the deceased worked almost all of last week.

“He was supposed to join me in Ekiti for my father’s 90th birthday on Saturday. We were close enough that he asked me for anything. It was sudden and we are mourning,” he said.
Daramola however, added that it was insensitive and unfair, to say the death was caused by the late payment of May salary.

“Whoever concocted that narrative is insensitive and not fair to the memory of the young man. We are aware his wife is due to give birth any moment from now and we will support her and the family,” Daramola added.

Smuggling Of Agricultural Products Is Sabotage – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has described the high rate of smuggling of agricultural products into the country as “economic sabotage.”

A statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr Chuks Okocha, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that Saraki said this when he received representatives of Poultry Farmers’ Association of Nigeria who visited him.

“We all know that about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of poultry products are still being smuggled into the country and this is bad. “Something needs to be done about it. Nigeria Customs must sit up because it is an economic sabotage.

“ It is now that we must stop this smuggling particularly on agricultural products like rice and chicken.

“We will take this up aggressively. Without that, we are only wasting our time. Nothing we are going to do at this level in support of agriculture if products are still going to be smuggled in.

“Chicken is still being smuggled in and rice as well. This is something we must fight as a nation.

“This is economic sabotage we are talking about and the management of the Nigeria Customs must rise up, either they are ready to do it or we give it to people that are ready to do it.

“If there are challenges the Customs is having, let them tell us. We are ready to support them. This is a fight we must win.

“ Ordinarily, if we are talking about diversifying the economy and we still allow the smuggling of chicken, there is no way organizations like your own can survive,’’ he said.

On non-payment of compensation to farmers who lost their birds to the outbreak of the Avian Influenza, Saraki said that the senate would play its part to ensure that affected farmers were compensated.

“We will see what we can do particularly on the issue of non-payment of compensation to farmers that lost their birds to the Avian Influenza. These farmers who are doing well need our encouragement.

“This is where government will show true interest in agriculture and ensure that all compensation is paid,’’ he said.

On access to finance, Saraki decried the high interest rate charged by banks, saying, “I am surprised and this is the aspect we have to take up’’.

He expressed concern that farmers borrowed money from banks at interest as high as 25 per cent, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ought to support farmers, particularly the serious ones.

Earlier, the leader of the group, Alhaji Usman Dantata, said that the progress of poultry farming in the country was being undermined by the activities of smugglers and high interest rates.

He said, “we humbly request you to implore the Nigerian Customs Service to do more to curtail the level of smuggling.

“We are equally concerned about difficulties in accessing finance for poultry and other agriculture production by most farmers.

“Where available, the interest rate is between 25 per cent and 27 per cent and the collateral terms are very stringent and the tenure of loan is very short.

“The repayment plan does not match the long term nature of our business and the potential cash flow available for debt service of agriculture business in Nigeria.’’