Senate Confirms Buhari’s CBN Dep Govs, MPC Nominees

The Senate has confirmed the appointments of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad and Mr. Edward Adamu as Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. It also approved the nomination of three out of four members of the Monetary Policy Committee.

The MPC members confirmed are Prof. Adeola Festus Adenikinju, Dr. Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi and Dr. Robert Chikwendu Asogwa. Rejected is Dr. Asheikh A. Maidugu.

‎The confirmation followed the adoption of the reports by the Senate Committee ‎on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, which screened the nominees last week.

In the report on the MPC nominees presented by Chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the panel said Maidugu was considered not qualified to occupy the position for which he was nominated.

Wakili’s Death: Senate Suspends Plenary

The Senate on Tuesday suspended it’s sitting over the death of a colleague, Ali Wakili.

Mr. Wakili representing Bauchi South died on Saturday.

Coming under order 43 of the Senate’s standing order, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, asked the Senate to observe a minute silence in honour of the deceased.

He also asked the Senate suspend plenary for the day in line with the ‘tradition of the National Assembly.’

The lawmakers adopted the two motions after a voice vote.

The Senate President , Bukola Saraki, in a short comment reminded his colleagues of a valedictory service in honour of the deceased slated for Wednesday.

He enjoined the lawmakers to dress appropriately for the occasion.

The plenary was adjourned at 11:08 a.m.

Senator Ali Wakili Dies

The Senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Senator Ali Wakili, has died at the age of 58 years old.

Senator Wakili was reported to have slumped on Saturday morning at his Gwarimpa residence in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital but died on the way before getting emergency treatment.

Confirming the death via his twitter handle is the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, where he prayed that Almighty Allah grants the dear departed Senator a place in Al Jannah Firdaus.

Until His death, Senator Wakili was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

He was also a Retired Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service.

In the 2015 elections, he contested for the Bauchi South senatorial seat and won under the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC).

A funeral prayer was held earlier in the day at the Abuja Central Mosque.

Senate Probes “Illegal State Police” In Kogi

The Senate has drafted two of its committees to investigate the establishment of the Vigilante Service Group by Kogi state government.

The attention of the Senate was drawn to the development by Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC) on Wednesday.

Mr. Melaye, while presenting a motion, said the establishment of the state police in Kogi contravened provision of the constitution.

“Mr. President, I bring to the senate a law passed by the Kogi state government and signed into law by the governor of Kogi state that talks about the establishment of the Vigilante Service Group. Mr. President, I have that law here, it’s already a law of the Kogi state government. By the time I perused this law, this law is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. This law alters the functions of the Nigeria Police as stipulated in section 214 of the constitution.

“Mr. President, it is a fact that state can make laws through the Houses of Assembly as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution but the law they will make must not be in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. Mr. President, I seek your indulgence to read a section of the law passed by Kogi state government. It says that Vigilante Group will be involved in detection and prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminals, the preservation of law and order, the protection of lives and property. Will assist other security and para-military agencies in the discharge of their duties to assist other security agencies in government installations, to assist other security agencies in maintaining law and order in any economic, political and social gathering. There shall be a controller of Vigilante services. There is also a Deputy Controller-General.

“Mr. President, the most affront on the constitution is in section 15 of that law which says the vigilante Service Group shall carry dane guns, other guns and other light weapons that are commiserate with their duties and responsibilities.”

He warned against condoning such group in Kogi state. Mr. Melaye said the group are already ‘killing people in Kogi.’

“This is how it started in Kano, it was not contained, it started ravaging. This is how Boko Haram started, this is how Sara Suka started. The senate will not fold our arms and close our eyes where a governor is equipping militia to wreak havoc on innocent citizens. As I speak to you, this group is already killing in every parts of Kogi state. There is record of killings in Okene, Adabi, Lokoja and this group are carrying AK-47 and pump actions openly in Kogi.

“This will now justify the reason why uniforms and hardwares are imported into Nigeria. It will now justify why military weapons and gadgets were addressed as sporting equipment for the purpose of illegal importation. The laws of Kogi state shall not override the constitution.”

Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, said the activities of Governor Bello is an indication of incapability of youth in government.

“Quite unfortunately it is Kogi again. Here we are at the Senate trying to make laws to enable the youth who can go to elections to be voted for and we are seeing a very youthful governor who is giving impression that we elders should continue to recycle ourselves. But I do know that the youth of Nigeria are ready.

“Having been a governor before, we were very circumspect about arming militants or arming youth because at the end of the day, even after you’ve left office, for you to retrieve that weapon. To hear that there is a law at all mentioning people to carry light weapons in a state is not only condemnable but must be looked into because Nigeria has been struggling with proliferation of arms. What is happening is almost like legalising illegality.”

Taraba senator, Emmanuel Bwacha, urged the federal government ‘to stop virtually everything and focus on security.’

“If we do not stop everything and face this matter, we will wake up one day and our country will not be there,” he said.

Magnus Abe (Rivers) called the attention of the senate to a similar group in his state.

“Mr. President as we all know, I have always been and I will remain an advocate of state policing as solution to the problems of this nation but for us to do this thing and do it well, we have to be careful.

“In my own state, Rivers, the state House of Assembly has just passed a law called the neighbourhood something bill and law provides for this people to carry arms, provides for them to take every order for the governor, makes all sorts of provisions and even provide for these corps members that even the Nigeria Police does not have. Mr. President, this problem is not just a Kogi problem, it is a Nigerian problem.”

Meanwhile, Victor Umeh (Anambra-APGA), said the vigilante group had been a success in his state. He urged the senate to limit the proscription of such parallel groups to states where they constitute threat to citizens.

“This is a very critical issue. It is very unfortunate that Kogi has been in the news for this abuse for some time now but it behoves on me to point out to this senate that vigilante service has worked in some parts of this country in helping to maintain peace in those states. Anambra is an example.

“It is important, while we condemn vigilante in some states, we have to commend them in places where it has worked effectively like in my own state.”

The senate mandated its committees on Security and Intelligence and Judiciary to invite the National Security Adviser to investigate the issue.

The committees are to also invite the Attorney-General of the federation with a view to disband this unconstitutional body.

The lawmakers however rejected an additional prayer to include Rivers state in its purview of investigation of the committees.

Hate Speech Bill Not Against Freedom Of Speech – Senate Spokesperson

By Ismail Kolapo

The spokesperson of the Upper Chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Sen Sabi Abdullah has disclosed that the Hate Speech Bill that spelled death penalty for those convicted after thorough investigation on malicious statements on religion, ethnicity and nepotism in the country is not to withdraw Nigerians freedom of speech.

Senator  Abdullahi disclosed this while featuring on a radio programme in Osogbo on Monday.

Senator Abdullahi said that, the Hate Speech Bill was not against the freedom of speech in the country but to curb the situation where many many lives were lost daily through hate speech that infuriates ethnic and religious crisis.

The Senate’s spokesperson who is the sponsor of the bill stated that the bill is just at the first reading level in the Upper Chamber and that its second reading will pave way for the bill which will drive out the nepotism in religion and ethnicity in Nigeria.

According him, “This hate speech bill is my personal contribution to national development and I see it as a responsibility for the constitution. Eleven people have since died of ethnicity and religious group violence and I sat down and looked at what has happened and I came up with the idea”.

“A lot of lives is lost, I thought we should look at it and this was what brought about this section, we have passed it for first reading because of the procedure.”

He stressed that the bill is also paramount to protect the citizenery and not that government is finding a means to cage them or trample upon their freedom of speech.

“Every citizen have right to life and right to have properties but people have lost their lives through the hate speech, ethnicity and religious crisis.”

“The people are criticizing the bill because of headline without going into the content of the bill. The bill is about malicious statement that can cause chaos through ethnicity and religious bigotry.”

Femi Falana Urges Buhari To Stop Huge Allowances Of Senators

Following Senator Shehu Sani’s revelation last week that each senator was given the amount of N13.1 million monthly apart from their N750,000 monthly salary, human rights activist Femi Falana has voiced out.

Falana released a statement to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to stop the flamboyant salaries and allowances of Nigerian Senators and public office holders.

The statement read “according to the Senator (Shehu Sani), the running cost of each Senator is N13.1 million in addition to a consolidated salary of N750,000 per month. Apart from the monthly package of N13.8 million, each Senator is given the opportunity to execute constituency projects to the tune of N200 million per annum.

“However, the disclosure made by Senator Sani does not cover the allowances for cars, housing, wardrobe, furniture etc running to several millions of Naira approved for each Senator.

“The revelations by Senator Sani should therefore provide an opportunity for the Nigerian people to review the entire costs of governance under the rickety democratic dispensation.

“The Buhari administration owes the nation a duty to ensure that no political officer is paid salaries and allowances that have not been approved by the Revenue Mobilization. Allocation Fiscal Commission.

“The members of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission empowered by section section 70 of the Constitution to approve the salaries and allowances of the legislators have always washed off their hands like Pontius Pilate while the Budget Office has never questioned the payment of unauthorised salaries and allowances to federal legislators.”

The activist lawyer recalled that last year, the legislators also illegally purchased exotic cars of N4.7 billion for themselves at a time when workers were owed arrears of salaries and the masses were groaning under recession.

“While we commend Senator Shehu Sani for exposing the secrecy which had enveloped the salaries and allowances of federal legislators in Nigeria before now, it is crystal clear that the statement credited to Professor Itse Sagay, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council not too long ago to the effect that Nigerian legislators are the highest paid in the world cannot be faulted.

“However, the federal legislators cannot be blamed alone for paying themselves skyrocketing salaries and allowances outside the ambit of the wages approved for all political office holders in the country,” he added.

Senators Receive N13.5m Monthly As Running Cost

Mr Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly has revealed Nigerian Senators best kept secret: their pay packet.

In a major interview with The News magazine, Sani said he and his colleagues received N13.5 million monthly as running cost.

The revelation by the Senator was the first time a member of the National Assembly will confirm speculations that Nigerian senators are earning N41.5 million quarterly as a running cost.

The Kaduna Senator said the earned running cost was in addition to the over N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances of each member of the Senate.

The Senator said, “I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month,” the Senator said in response to the question on alleged bogus salaries and allowances of Nigerian lawmakers.

According to him, while there is no specific instruction on what the fund should be used for, lawmakers must provide receipts to back up their expenses from the running costs. He added that the running cost is in addition to funds earmarked for each senator for constituency projects.

“But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.00.

“The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every Senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you.

“You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.

“Now, the corruption comes when the projects are not done and the money is taken. But right now, it is difficult to do that because NGOs and transparency groups have come into it. They track every allocation made to you and where they are being used.

“So, it’s becoming difficult for what used to happen in the past to happen now.

“But I can tell you that I would love a situation where we do away with running costs, constituency projects and leaves senators and members of House of Reps with salaries.

‘And also, the public should be informed that nobody should come to any senator’s house asking for any kobo. That also would be helpful.

“There are issues that we need to understand. First, I don’t believe that members of the National or even state assemblies should be involved in carrying out what is called constituency projects.

“When people are elected into the National Assembly, they should just be involved in law making, raising motions, bills and also performing oversight functions. But we live in a society where people cannot differentiate between the legislators and the executive.

“When the people come to you, they want you to build roads, dig boreholes, build hospitals, schools, give money, pay school fees for them. Now, if we have a society in which people will stop asking legislators to do those things, then there is no need (for the allowances) But funny enough, if you are very active in the National Assembly in making laws and you don’t embark on projects in your constituency, you cannot in any way be appreciated by the people you are there to serve because the electorates in United States are different from the electorates in the United States and Africa.

“We live in an underdeveloped society with a lot of poverty, misery and wants. What people want is for you to address those basic fundamental issues that affects their lives.

“If we can be done with that, it would be okay. Now, you are talking of bogus salaries and bogus allowances – there are three steps you need to consider – the first has to do with the fact when you represent the people, expectations arose from your immediate and the larger constituencies.

“But I agree with you that the salaries and allowances of lawmakers should not be discreet, but what is discreet about it when you can write to Resource and Fiscal Mobilization Commission to get everything about what a senator earns?

“The only money you are not expected to account for is your salary and the salary of a senator is about N750, 000.00 per month. The other one, the running cost of office must be accounted for. You must provide a receipt for every expense you make.”

*Reported by Saharareporters

Senate Tells Buhari To Sign Peace Corps Bill, Or Face Being Vetoed.

The Senate on Wednesday told President Muhammadu Buhari to oce again look into his withholding assent on the bill to establish Peace Corps of Nigeria.

This followed the adoption of a Point of Order raised by Senator Dino Melaye during plenary.

Relying on the Senate rules, Melaye urged the Senate to revisit the bill with a move to veto the President if he fails to take back his rejection of the bill.

President Buhari had cited duplication of duty and funding challenges in declining assent to the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, 2017 recently passed by the National Assembly.

However, Melaye said Buhari should give the bill a priority.

“The same thing happened when the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was to be established; there was also the same complaint that there was no money and all of that.

“But today, we can see the advantages of the civil defence and how they have helped in safeguarding government infrastructure.


“About $5.5bn was borrowed from euro bond; what part of it will the youths of this country benefit from?

“About $1bn is to be spent on security and how does this affect the youth of this country.

“Without fear or favour, the Peoples Democratic Party, in 16 years, borrowed N6tn and this government in three years, has borrowed N11tn but there is no specific programme that will empower the youth.

“Also, N500bn was earmarked for the social investment programme of the Federal Government, but we have not seen any impact.

“If the Peace Corps is given an opportunity to exist, thousands will be employed and this will help to fight unemployment in this country.

“We may need to write Mr. President to review his position; if not, we have the power on behalf of the Nigerian youths who voted us to veto him so that people will become the ultimate beneficiaries of this bill.

Senate To Enforce Child Rights Act

In a bid to reduce the menace of child abuse, the Senate on Tuesday tasked the Ministry of Women Affairs and security agencies to devise measures to enforce the rights of Nigerian child.

The lawmakers also urged the federal, state and local governments to provide quality education and job opportunities, which they identified as the roots of the menace.

These resolutions followed a motion by Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo-APC) which called the attention of the Senate to the ‘increasing rate of child labour, molestation and abuse in Nigeria.’

Mr. Uwajumogu expressed worry over recent data published by the National Bureau of Statistics which showed that 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children; aged between five and 17 years are engaged in child labour.

He noted that children often used as domestic helps are “forced to do work that is way beyond their tender bodies, and this eventually stunt the general development of the child.”

Citing different publications in national dailies, Mr. Uwajumogu said it is high time Nigeria declared a state of emergency against all forms of child abuse.

He urged the executive and its agencies to enforce the section of the Constitution which provides for the implementation of the Child Rights Act.

“Section 14 subsection (2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that: ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’”, he said.

In another resolution, the senate mandated its Committee on Women Affairs and Judiciary to investigate the viral trend and report back in two weeks.


The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary in the absence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, proposed establishment of a special court to prosecute cases related to violation of the Child Rights Act.

“Nigeria has been a signatory to a number of international conventions regarding the rights of the child including the African Charter, UN Convention on Human Rights as well as local legislation including the Child Rights Act and Universal Basic Education Act which makes education of children compulsory. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to adhere to some of these legislation.

“I think the problem is not legislation but enforcement. I think its time for us to consider the possibility of setting up a special court for enforcing some of these rights of the children so that those who flout them will be punished adequately,” he said.

Senate Summons Minister Over Airport Near-Mishaps

The Nigerian Senate has summoned the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to explain measures being taken by the federal government to minimise air mishaps and near fatalities in the country.

The Senate also resolved to invite the heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and other relevant agencies in the industry on steps being taken to check human errors and preventable air crashes.

The resolutions followed an extensive deliberation on a motion titled “The need to minimise the possibility of air mishaps and near fatalities in Nigeria”, sponsored by Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos East) and 14 other senators.

Mr. Ashafa led the motion by reminding the Senate of reports of a near fatal incident involving Dana Airlines with number 9J0363, explaining that the aircraft overshot the runway at the Port Harcourt Airport, on a flight from Abuja.

“This incident was attributed to the wet surface of the runway. Just a few weeks before that, there was also panic on Wednesday, 7th of February, 2018, when the emergency door of an aircraft conveying passengers to Abuja fell off upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja”, he said.

He expressed concern that these recent occurrences might be a sign of a sequence of human errors, caused by the failure of officials and staff of the agencies saddled with the responsibility of guaranteeing safety to carry out due diligence before issuing clearance for aircraft to operate within the Nigerian airspace.

“Nigeria has experienced a significant number of air catastrophes that cost the lives of hundreds of Nigerians, due to a range of causes including human and technical errors,” he said.

Making reference to an article published by PREMIUM TIMES on February 21, 2018, titled, Human errors, dereliction of duty are major causes of plane crashes in Nigeria, he said it had become imperative to move with speed to ensure that agencies in the Aviation industry do their work in order to prevent avoidable loss of human lives.

Chukwuka Utazi, (PDP, Enugu), reminded the Senate that it set up an ad-hoc committee last year to investigate the aviation sector, but nothing was done afterwards.

“We visited the airport, held a public hearing and all that but the same issues are rising today again. Most of us became very much afraid of entering planes. For a long time, I was afraid to travel by air because of what I heard from the professionals about our airports and all the issues we raised in that committee, nothing has been done.

“Ordinary landing equipment that should be in the airport, we don’t have them. Some of the things that were procured already have not been installed in the airports. This is very much unwarranted and shouldn’t happen in a country like this.

“We are complaining that we have only one runway in Abuja here and if its closed down, nobody moves. The last time we closed the whole airport just to do some renovations and nothing was moving. I am of the opinion that the Minister of State for Aviation should appear before all of us here, not just the committee”, he said.

Contributing to the motion, James Manager (PDP, Delta) blamed the aviation authority for ignoring the lingering dangers in the airports.

“As a country, we really need to be careful. If you go to the airport now, you’ll see a lot of Nigerians getting ready to travel without knowing the details of the dangers. This is a very serious issue. Most of the required equipment are not in the airports. Some of the things have been bought already but have not been installed. They have refused to install them. What a country!

“And when you travel by air, by the time you take off, you say your first prayer and your last prayer because when you are in the air, everything is gone. No matter whom you are, rich or poor”, he said.

Aliyu Sabi (APC, Niger North) called for immediate action in order to prevent recurrence of the incidents

“The issue at hand calls for more decisive action even more than what we are looking at because we had an ad-hoc committee that looked at the aviation sector and I think we must give confidence to our citizens.

“If necessary, we should declare a state of emergency in the aviation sector. We cannot wait for another incident to happen before we start acting when all the signals are coming out clearly. Ranging from door falling off to emergency brake being applied.

“I don’t want a situation where we’ll come back here again and say lets give them one minute silence, let us take the one minute decision now and save lives and future accidents,” he said.

Former aviation minister, Stella Oduah, however blamed the Federal Government for not properly funding the aviation ministry.

“The issue concerning aviation on incidents and accidents, is something that has nothing to do with public hearing. In aviation, policy is the most regulated department. No pilot can start an aircraft without going through an established process. Why is it that these processes are not being followed?

“I don’t think any pilot is suicidal to the extent that they want to kill themselves and in the process, kill others. The first person responsible for ensuring safety is the pilot.

“The problem that aviation has, is funding because you need to train the personnel, buy the necessary equipment, maintaining the aircraft. There is an existing Act that needs to be reviewed and I think the last one that was done was in 1960-something.

“We must tell aviation to do the needful. Government should give them the necessary funding, intervention fund is required. It’s not that aviation is not doing what it’s supposed to do, but because it is not equipped to do what it’s supposed to do”, she said.

The Senate also resolved to “urge the Honourable Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation) to immediately direct all relevant agencies in the Aviation Industry to immediately conduct a maintenance and airworthiness audit on all commercial aircraft operating within the Nigerian Airspace as well as the training of personnel operating within the industry.”

I Do Not Support The Anti-Hate Speech Bill- Sebastine Hon

The Anti-Hate Speech bill stipulates that any person found guilty of any form of hate speech resulting in the death of another person shall die by hanging upon conviction and also proposed a jail term not less than five years or a fine of not less than N10 million, or both for harassment on ethnic grounds or racial contempt.

Some lawyers, including Chief Sebastine Hon and Kayode Ajulo, expressed concerns over what they described as extreme punishment for offenders.

Hon contended that capital punishment is highhanded. He observed that in line with the provisions of the penal and criminal codes of other countries, death penalty, as proposed by the National Assembly, should be opposed by all Nigerians.

He said: “I do not, with respect, support the anti-hate speech Bill recently passed by the National Assembly, especially the punishment proposed for offenders. Stipulating capital punishment for hate speech is, with respect, extremely harsh and highhanded.

“A close look at the provisions of the penal and criminal codes of other countries will show without doubt that death penalty, as proposed by the National Assembly of Nigeria, is excessive and should not be tolerated.”

Citing examples, Hon said: “In Germany, the criminal code stipulates a maximum prison term of five years for offenders, while in Iceland; the maximum sentence is two years.

“In Netherlands, the Dutch criminal code, in section 137c and 137d stipulates a jail term of not more than one year, while in Canada, the punishments, depending on the category, range from six months to two years and then, five years.

“In Bosnia, the maximum sentence is five years, as confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights in the recent case of Smajic vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (2018) ECHR (Application No. 48657/16).

“In England and Wales, the Public Order Act, 1986, as amended several times by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006 and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008, stipulate a punishment not exceeding seven years.”

While advising the suspension of the Bill or refusal by the President to assent to it, Hon stressed that since power is transient, “anything which could compromise freedom of speech and other forms of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms must be vigorously avoided and or resisted.”

In his response, constitutional lawyer and former Secretary, Labour Party, Ajulo, said: “The term ‘freedom of expression’ is sometimes used interchangeably, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. The 1999 Constitution, as amended, enshrines this right in its Section 39(1), which provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

“Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by Nigeria, provides that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”