Hoodlums Invasion, Mace Snatching Act Of Treason – Senate

The Senate has accused a lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, of leading hoodlums to seize the mace, which serves as the chamber’s symbol of authority.

In a statement after the incident on Wednesday, Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said the incident is an act of treason.

Read the full statement below:

*RESPONSE TO TODAY’S INCIDENT IN THE SENATE CHAMBER*

Today, some armed hoodlums led by suspended Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, walked into the Senate plenary and seized the symbol of authority of the Upper Legislative Chamber, the mace.

This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such. All security agencies must stand on the side of due process and immediately mobilise their personnel to retrieve the mace and apprehend the mastermind and the perpetrators of this act.

This action is also an affront on the legislature, and the leadership of the House has come to express their support against this action.

The Senate is now in an Executive session.

An updated statement will be released immediately after the closed door session.

*Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi*
   SENATE’S SPOKESPERSON

JUST IN: Thugs Invade Senate, Whisk Away Maze

The Senate plenary was on Wednesday disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the maze.

The incident happened few seconds after a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.

Journalists covering the session observed that about 10 suspected thugs who came to the venue with the senator forced their entrance into the chamber.

Seconds later, the thugs ran out of the chamber with the maze causing pandemonium in the Senate.

They left the National Assembly with the maze in a black SUV.

The maze is the symbol of authority of the parliament.

One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly said the thugs told him and other officers they were with the senator.

“We tired to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.

The senators are yet to reconvene as at the time of filing this report.

$462m Helicopter Purchase: Senate Summons Adeosun, Emefiele

The Senate has invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (retd.); and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, over alleged illegal withdrawal of $462m from the Consolidated Revenue Account.

The money was said to have been withdrawn and paid to an American firm for the purchase of helicopters. It was, however, alleged that it was done with the approval of the National Assembly.

At the plenary on Tuesday, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo-East) raised a point of order, alleging that Section 80(2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution had been breached.

Anyanwu said, “I have it on good authority that in March 2018, from the Federation Account, a whopping sum of $462m was withdrawn and paid for (the purchase of) helicopters to an American firm. And this is without the approval of the National Assembly or the Senate.

“I know that there was no time when there was any request (for approval) from this Senate before any withdrawal from the Consolidated Federation Account.

“I, therefore, as a senator, want us to find out if that thing (withdrawal) was done.

“I will request and suggest we invite the CBN governor, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Defence to tell us how this money was withdrawn and paid to an American company — a whopping $462m — without the approval of this Senate.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, put the request to voice vote and it was unanimously granted.

Ekweremadu referred the matter to the Committee on Appropriations, asking it to invite the ministers and the CBN governor.

“The Appropriations Committee should invite the three: the Minister of Finance, the CBN governor and the Minister of Defence to shed light on the release,” he said.

 

Electoral Act Amendment: Senate Suspends Senator Omo-Agege

The Senate has suspended a senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, for accusing his colleagues of working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election plans in 2019.

Mr Omo-Agege in February accused his colleagues of working against Mr Buhari by adopting the amendment to section 25 of electoral act outlining a change in the sequence of elections.

Mr. Omo-Agege had said: “For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the House of Reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act was introduced.

The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the House (of Reps), which is now being carried over to 109 in the Senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.

“We have 59 senators who are opposed to the inclusion of section 25 of the Electoral Act. If that division was allowed today, 59 senators would have voted to delete that purported amendment to section 25.

“You don’t make a law targeted at one person. The perception out there is that this Section 25 was included to target Mr. President.”

A week after, Dino Melaye, (Kogi-APC), drew the attention of the Senate specifically to the comments made by Mr. Omo-Agege on the election sequence.

The matter was referred to the committee on ethics and privileges to investigate.

Presenting the report on Thursday, the chairman of the committee, Sam Anyanwu, recommended 180 days of suspension.

He said the punishment was imperative because the senator took the issue to court after it was referred to the committee.

The days of suspension was however reduced to 90 on pleas by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Kaduna Govt Blames Politics For Rejection Of Its $350m Loan Request

Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasiru El-Rufai, has described the lawmakers’ rejection of the World Bank loan as politically motivated.

El Rufai stated while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday in Kaduna, the state capital.

“It was pure selfish politics. I am disappointed that the Senate did not approve the loan but in some ways, it was expected,” he said. “We are not dealing with people that appreciated the economic impact. When we made a presentation to the Senate Committee, they said our presentation is the best of all the states yet politics and perverse incentives kicked in.”

 

The state government had requested a $350 million loan from the World Bank last year and was granted approval in a bid to support its Development Policy Operations (DPO).

But four months after this, the Senate rejected the loan based on the purported recommendation of its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts and the three senators from the estate.

In the report, which was presented by Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shehu Sani, it was recommended that the facility is disapproved as it would worsen the debt profile of the state.

While admitting that the state was burdened with huge debt, the governor, however, gave the assurance that its financial viability cannot be questioned.

He added, “Kaduna State may be the second most indebted state in the country, but we are fiscally sound. So there is really no risk in taking this loan and even those that rejected it know it.

“Within the two years we have taken office, we have tripled our Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) collections per month and it is going up.”

Despite the setback, it seems the state government is not deterred at all in its quest for development. This is even as the governor has promised to avail other options at his disposal.

Saraki Mourns Senator Mustapha Bukar

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday expressed deep sorrow over the death of the Senator representing Katsina North, Senator Mustapha Bukar, after a brief illness in Abuja.

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, Saraki described the death of Senator Bukar as one too many coming a few weeks after the Red Chamber lost Senator Ali Wakili.

“I am saddened to learn about the passing of another friend and colleague, Senator  Mustapha Bukar. When I and some of my colleagues visited Senator Bukar in the hospital after Jummat prayers last Friday, we prayed with him and we were filled with hope that he would soon recuperate and resume his normal life and legislative activities.

“As a first-time lawmaker, Senator Bukar stood out for the quality of his contributions on the floor, his pragmatism and his work to strengthen the institution of the legislature. We shall sorely miss his vibrancy and progressive mindset.

“But now that he is no more, we cannot query Almighty Allah over the incident because He gives and takes as it pleases Him. The late Bukar was forthright and gentle in all his dealings.

“This is indeed another painful moment for the Senate, a sad moment for his immediate family, his constituents in Katsina North Senatorial District and the people and government of Katsina State.

“As we mourn his passing, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, President Muhammadu Buhari and the government and people of Katdina State. I pray that the Almighty Allah, in his infinite grace, grants the dear and departed Senator a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah firdaus,” Saraki stated.

Just In: Another Senator, Mustapha Bukar Dies

The Senator representing Katsina North Central District, Engineer Mustapha Bukar is dead.

The Senator, also known as Madawakin Daura, reportedly died Wednesday morning in Abuja.

The late Senator’s personal assistant, Ahmed Daura, posted the news of his principal’s death on his Facebook page early Wednesday morning.

Details surrounding the death and burial arrangements were still unfolding as of the time of this report.

 

Senate Suspends Plenary Till April 10

The Senate has suspended plenary activities till April 10.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, made the announcement on Thursday, after the Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South) moved that the Senate adjourn for the day.

The suspension is because of the Easter celebrations for which the federal government already declared Friday and next Monday public holidays.

While wishing his colleagues a happy holiday, Mr Ekweremadu admonished his colleagues not to relent in praying for the nation.

“This is an opportunity for me to wish all of you and everyone a happy Easter and please let’s use the remaining period of the Lent to pray for our country for God to intervene in our lives and ensure that all these killings will stop and our economy would pick up and we continue to leave in unity and there would be progress all round.

“We believe that God would hear our prayers this period and wish everyone a happy Easter and look forward to seeing you again on the 10th of April,” he said.

‎Senate Rejects Kaduna’s $350m World Bank Loan Request

The Senate has rejected the request by the Kaduna State Government for a $350m loan request from the World Bank.

The rejection was based on the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts and the three senators from the estate.

In the report, which was presented by chairman of the committee, Senator Shehu Sani, it was recommended that the facility be disapproved, as it would worsen the debt profile of the state.

Senate Re-introduces Electoral Act Amendment Bill

The Senate has begun a fresh move to amend the Electoral Act 2010.

A new bill on the amendment is to be presented and passed for first reading today, according to the Order Paper for today’s plenary.

The House of Representatives had re-introduced the bill last week.

The first version of the bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives, had been passed by the National Assembly but vetoed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The bill had sought to reorder the sequence of polls during a general election, which generated controversy over the allegation that it was targeted at Buhari in the 2019 elections.

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.