BREAKING: Protesting Youths Shut Down National Assembly

A large number of protesting youths under the aegis of #NottooYoungtoRun have stormed the National Assembly in a protest, shutting down the main entrance after security officials allegedly denied them access.

Reports say the protesters are seeking a constitutional backing for young Nigerians to be able to vie for elective positions.

The protesters who had gathered in their hundreds at the Unity Fountain, Abuja on Tuesday, before proceeding to the National Assembly, said they only had the intention of speaking with the lawmakers.

However, after being refused form gaining entrance, they shut down the main gate and blocked the roads, refusing vehicles from entering or leaving the premises.

Details later………………….

Magu And Senate’s Rascality

THE Senate has ramped up its penchant for rascality and arrogance with two actions. In quick succession, it first passed a resolution asking the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to sack Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It followed this up by announcing that it was suspending consideration and confirmation of appointments sent to it by the Presidency. For weeks senators have donned boxing gloves and come to the legislative chamber each morning ready to throw a punch at the executive. A few ignorant ones even muttered the idea of impeaching the Acting President. For how long must Nigerians put up with terribly poor service delivery by our lawmakers?

This legislature stands among the least productive since 1999. It’s a distressing result of the power intrigues that brought in the National Assembly’s leadership in 2015. But unchecked, impunity will always run riot and this is playing out in the Senate. The rascality was set in motion in December, when, citing a curious damaging memo from the State Security Service, the upper legislative chamber declined to confirm Magu in the post he had occupied several months in an acting capacity. In March this year, after his representation by President Muhammadu Buhari, and a hearing, the Senate declined once again to confirm him. Despite wide public disagreement with the reasons cited by the lawmakers for rejecting the crusading cop, no one disputed that Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act conferred on the Senate the power to confirm an appointee as substantive chairman.

However, both Buhari and Osinbajo, who is filling in for the ailing President, have reiterated their full confidence in Magu continuing to act until a substantive chair is found. But the Senate is going beyond its brief, seeking, as alleged by Itse Sagay, a professor of law, to “be co-executive with the Presidency…” It has now backed its insolent demand that Magu be removed with an unenforceable resolution. To demonstrate how desperate they are to see Magu off, their refusal to undertake their statutory function of confirming some federal appointees is underscored by what some see as a veiled threat to impeach Osinbajo. The Presidency should strongly resist the blackmail.


Though falsely wrapped up as a campaign for separation of powers, what is playing out is a strong push-back against the anti-corruption war. For instance, the Federal Government has filed an appeal challenging the Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s acquittal at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Magu, like Nuhu Ribadu, before him, is the nemesis of the rich and powerful accused of corruption. No fewer than 10 senators, Saraki inclusive, are under EFCC investigation and prosecution for alleged corrupt practices.

Many senior lawyers have argued that while the EFCC Act requires Senate confirmation for a substantive chair, the chamber has no say in who sits thereon in acting capacity. Those who say Magu should go, having been rejected by the Senate, have been met with further arguments that Section 171 (1) of the 1999 Constitution that states: “Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which this section applies and to remove persons so appointed from any such office shall vest in the President.” The Senate has a role in who is confirmed as the substantive chair; it has none in who acts in that capacity, until a court decides otherwise.

Nigerians who may be beguiled by the hypocrisy of the anti-Magu forces should remember that as substantive Director of Operations, he is the most senior EFCC operative and the standard practice in the public service is that when there is a vacuum at the top, the most senior official acts until he is either confirmed or a new head is appointed.

But for the desperation of the Senate and other entrenched interests out to kill the anti-corruption war, Magu’s should not have been different. The Senate’s decision to stop confirmation hearings beginning with the headship of the lottery commission, ostensibly in response to Osinbajo’s comment that certain appointments don’t need confirmation, is arrogant and disdainful of the electorate. They were not elected to fight ego battles at public expense. They can, if they wish, seek a judicial interpretation of the cited constitutional provision in Section 171 that Osinbajo, Sagay and other senior advocates say supersedes laws that compel Senate confirmation.

While the Senate indulges in egotistic battles and threatens to cripple governance, it is neglecting important state affairs. Nigeria is beset with political, economic and social problems. Insecurity is rampant. Some groups have threatened to disrupt elections in the South-East and South-South regions; police have become helpless in the face of kidnapping and cult violence across the country; the economy is limping along and the prediction that Nigeria will exit recession by the third quarter is threatened by renewed decline in oil prices; floods, accidents and communal clashes are ubiquitous, and unemployment at 14.2 per cent understates the youth jobless rate some estimate at 40 per cent.

There is a signal lack of concern and leadership from the National Assembly as separatist agitation and intemperate exchanges among ethnic militants raise tension in the country. Their preoccupation is with flushing out a diminutive detective whom the Presidency has said has its full confidence to prosecute its anti-graft agenda.

We should not continue to allow reactionary forces to derail the national quest for clean government. The coalition that forced out Ribadu, the pioneer chair of EFCC, and his successor, Farida Waziri, should be fiercely resisted. We are confronted with a failure of party cohesion and discipline since the majority of senators belong to the same ruling party. Where their personal interests are concerned, party differences become irrelevant to our unconscionable legislators. A report last week revealed how the parliament reportedly inserted 1,170 unplanned, self-serving projects into the 2017 budget under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing alone, raising its total outlay by N22.4 billion and sabotaging several major infrastructure projects.

Rather than cave in to blackmail, Osinbajo should reinvigorate his full backing for the EFCC to crush corruption, no matter who the dragnet snags. He and Magu should not strike any deals that will weaken the anti-corruption crusade. In the face of judicial ambush, connivance by influential lawyers, a hostile and well-heeled political class and perceived mischief by a shadowy cabal within its ranks, the Presidency needs to fight the 1,000 elites that EFCC says are holding Nigeria to ransom. The leadership of the political parties should place national interest above all else and prevail on the power-drunk senators to put national service above ego, pursuit and protection of ill-gotten wealth and elite privilege. As the storms gather, the Senate must be ready to square up with the Nigerian people.


Source: Punch

Babangida, Melaye, Saraki And The Audacity Of The Corrupt

Two developments that happened in Nigeria this past week serve as pointers that the amber lights of corruption are still aglow even in the face of the onslaught against corruption by the present regime. The marriage of former Military Head of State (though he prefers to be addressed as President) Ibrahim Babangida’s daughter and the launching of Dino Melaye’s book, Antidotes for Corruption, provided a fillip for corrupt Nigerians to come together and share camaraderie among their ilk. Both developments stand out in their attempts to rally the wellheads of corruption and stage an audacious national outing at a time the country is still bleeding from the deep gashes corruption inflicted on it. There is no doubt that in both outings, there were deliberate attempts to serve the Buhari regime and Nigerians a scathing notice that corruption is alive and kicking. There was no doubt that the sidekicks of corruption were served good notice to tarry awhile and stay awake for the re-launching of corruption.

To be sure, no one is begrudging Babangida on the wedding of his daughter. No one is questioning his right to treat his daughter with a lavish nuptial, even as he abridged the rights of millions of Nigerians to decent living by his many vile and corrupt acts and policies whose negative fallouts still resonate decades after his blistering reign. What one finds nauseating is the indecent display of filthy lucre and wealth which attended the wedding. From all seeming indices, it looks like there were deliberate efforts to serve a shell-shocked nation, still smarting from the bruises of corruption, that indeed, corruption is alive and kicking.

Several Nigerian news reports of the Babangida wedding were filled with raunchy, salacious tales of displays of wealth, power, and aplomb. The highlight of the wedding reports was the presence of so many private aircraft in Minna for the wedding. Nigerian media space, so steeped in vanity, reported the presence of 35 to 52 aircraft in Minna for the wedding! What a banality at a time when Nigeria is going through an asphyxiating economic situation. Nigerian economic woes were occasioned by the kind of profligacy, impunity and mendacious brazenness that was on display in Minna.

Senator Dino Melaye, on his part, has come off as a jester whose penchant for buffoonery is beyond compare. Here is a character that strayed upon the national space with a dubious history trying to prescribe antidotes to the same corruption that has dogged his many controversial outings in the Nigerian political space. That the writing of the book is coming soon after Dino Melaye himself was coming out of a blistering academic inquest that leaves very big and embarrassing question marks on his educational claims reveals that the book itself was another effort in revelry, as it connotes a paradox, an irony and indeed a contradiction to antidotes of corruption. Melaye and his cohorts were only mocking the fight against corruption and displaying brazen guffaws on the fight against corruption, and this formed the main theme of their display at the launching venue.

Dino Melaye’s case is even more complex. Melaye is a jester, a parodist, a reveler, a masker and a clown rolled into one. His intent in writing Antidotes for Corruption, while being mischievous, is neither meant to convince Nigerians but to play up the flagging wings of corruption. Here is a character that celebrates and deifies self-vanity in an obvious effort to cover a deep-layered personality defect and who deigns no scruple celebrating unrooted, unmerited and unexplained wealth at the drop of a hat. Melaye is a tragic character who struggles to justify multiple faces at the same time; he canonizes himself as an anti-corruption warrior yet displays obscene and indecent wealth with no verifiable source. Here is a character who does not mind sharing the dual faces of a saint and a robber. Here is a character whose life history is strewn with many unfilled gaps and yawning Here is a fellow trolled by serious academic doubts who does not mind laying claim to spurious academic records he neither earned nor merited. Here is a janus-faced poetaster who defies all norms in a bid to claim hallowed seats in the hall of fame where he is an outlaw.

That Dino Melaye can prescribe the antidotes to corruption amounts to a terrible rebuke to anti-corruption itself. His amounts to a blasphemy to decency and he knows it. He knows that Nigerians will treat his antidotes to corruption with contempt and scorn but then, he has a clear mission to play up corruption. That Dino Melaye, with his doubtful academic credentials, can even pen Antidotes for Corruption shows that the country’s moral fiber is seriously bleeding. His, while being an attempt to belittle probity and accountability, was a grand effort to ridicule and diminish anti-corruption.

All said it is obvious that the dual developments were meant to score a huge psychological victory against the war on corruption. It must not be allowed to be so. It is certain that the twin developments amounted to a daring audacity of the corrupt, which is why the authorities must redouble the fight against corruption. It behooves the present government and its anti-corruption agencies to see the huge presence of corrupt politicians at Babangida’s daughter’s wedding and the launching of Dino Melaye’s laughable Antidotes for Corruption as signals that the battle to retake Nigeria from the corrupt is still a long and winding war. It must be fought to a standstill. The necessary tools to fight this battle must be acquired, and the resetting of our national moral code must be embarked on. The anti-corruption war cannot accommodate such hideous shows on display at the two events.

Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara Pay Farewell Visit To President Buhari

The Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Bukola Saraki on Sunday night paid a farewell visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is scheduled to leave for London on medical trip. The President, who confirmed this development on his twitter handle on Sunday in Abuja, said he also received the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in the Presidential Villa on similar mission.

President Buhari posted: “I received Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara at home this evening ahead of my trip tonight.’’

President Buhari had earlier hosted the 82 rescued Chibok schoolgirls to a light reception shortly before the arrival of Osinbajo, Bukola and Dogara. The President had planned to leave Sunday afternoon for the London trip, but decided to tarry a bit due to the arrival of 82 Chibok girls who arrived Abuja earlier in the day.

The President, at the reception, described the rescue of 82 Chibok schoolgirls as a pleasant 2nd anniversary gift to Nigerians. Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, announced in Abuja on Sunday that Buhari was travelling to London to see his doctors for a follow up.

President Buhari had travelled to London in January for a similar check up. He returned on March 10.

Saraki Knocks EFCC Over Handling Of N13.3bn Discovery

President of the Senate, Olubukola Saraki has hit  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hard for what he termed has ” poor management” of the situation surrounding the discovery of over N 13Bn in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Saraki said the EFCC owed it as a responsibility to Nigerians to inform them about the ownership of the  money,  as it had become embarrassing that up till now there was no clarity on the ownership of the money.

The senate president’s remarks on the cash discovery were made last night while speaking on a television programme . Osun defender also  gathered that the EFCC has obtained a warrant from a court to search all the apartments in Osborne Towers where the cash was discovered.

Saraki said what was presently going on was not good for the image of the country, and the National Assembly, as a last resort, might step in if the parties involved are unable to resolve it and tell Nigerians what is going on.
“I believe this is something simple that the organisation (EFCC) should manage, even before the speculation started coming out. The circus has to come to end as to whether it belongs to individuals, companies, agencies or a state government.

“We, however, believe they will sort it out and eventually tell Nigerians who owns the money. Nigerians deserve to know. The circus must stop,” he said.
He said Nigerians should not see the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration as the fight of President Muhammadu Buhari, but should be seen as a Nigerian fight, as it can only be won when viewed as an institutional issue rather than a personal one.

“I believe progress will be made faster if the process is transparent. Those are ways to strengthen institutions. When the process is transparent up to the investigative stage, people will not believe that it is because of this person that so, so, person is being prosecuted.

“Corrupt people are very patient, but with a transparent process, the fight against corruption will be won.
“On our part, we are doing all it takes to strengthen institutions. We have four bills before us, one is with the Constitution Amendment Committee, one has been taken back by the executive,” he said.

When asked if it was a failure of law enforcement that the EFCC did not monitor the Ikoyi apartment, Saraki said: “I would rather not comment and prejudge them because they might come before us.
“But clearly, Nigerians must know, to save us this embarrassment. I believe they should come out and tell us who owns the money. I believe an agency like this should monitor and clear this mess.”

Also speaking on the face-off between the executive and the National Assembly, Saraki said he has often explained that the relationship between the two arms of government was cordial, and was far better than it was in 2016.
“What we have now is very cordial. If you look at the confirmation of nominations from the executive, we have cleared over 90 per cent. If you look at the national budget, the process is much better than in 2016. In a few weeks, we will be done with the process.

“I think people just sensationalise situations. The fact that one person’s nomination was rejected does not mean there is controversy between the executive and the House.
“We don’t define democracy based on individuals. We follow processes, and that is exactly what we have done. By virtue of our presidential system of checks and balances, there is bound to be one off frictions. That is what democracy is all about,” he added.
When the Arise anchor, Charles Aniagolu, reminded him that the executive recently set up a reconciliatory committee to look into the frosty relationship between the Senate and the executive, Saraki said he was not aware of any committee, as there was no need for it.

“But I don’t think that the committee was set up because we rejected one person. There are many nominees we have rejected, and been re-presented or replaced.
“But we can’t define our democracy based on individuals. There is a process; the process is transparent. The president sent a name and the nominee has been rejected. That is it, we’ve played our own part; and I don’t think the executive is basing the relationship on the rejection of one nominee.

“I’m not aware of the committee, I think it was announced after a cabinet meeting, but since then that has not happened.
“May be on second thoughts, I think the question to ask is, is the committee really necessary? Besides, when the relationship was not as good as this, when we had major issues such as the budget (last year), we didn’t have a committee.

“So this can’t define the relationship between the executive and the Senate based on one nominee, because we are addressing more important issues.
“Also, I think the word face-off is very strong to use, because of the rejection of one nominee, I think there are one or two issues there but they can’t define the relationship,” he stressed.
On why it was taking the National Assembly long to pass the 2017 budget given that the lifespan of the 2016 budget will end on May 5th, the Senate President said he was glad that there was significant improvement in the way the legislature and executive had worked together on the budget.

“I am very sure that by the time we come back from our break on April 25th, the budget will be passed. That is the time we have in place. We are checking with various committees to see that everything is in order.
“Most of the agencies have defended their budgets, so what all the committees are doing is compiling all the reports. The plan is that when we come back on the 25th (of April), that week we should go into the final consideration of the budget.

“What the Appropriation Committees are doing is to just check that the committees have done their work properly. What we are presently doing is just the house keeping part that it going on,” he explained.
Saraki also spoke on the National Assembly’s budget, stating that it was distinct from the federal budget.
“On the National Assembly budget, we hope to change the way it’s been perceived, because in the past, not much was known about the National Assembly budget.
“But when I came in, I said we were going to change that and make it transparent. We hoped that we could have done it in 2016, but in 2015, unfortunately, we did not settle down as a united Senate as quickly as we could.
“But now that everything is fine, the National Assembly’s budget will be transparent. Nigerians will know what every member receives.

“By the time the budget is passed in the next few weeks, we will make it public and it will be to our advantage, because we hear statements like National Assembly members are the highest paid, because what people do is to take the budget and divide it by 469 members and arrive at our salaries.
“But by the time we present the budget and by the time people see what goes to salaries of aides, what goes to capital, what goes to management, what goes to running costs, and what goes to actual salaries of legislators, the commentary will stop after they see the breakdown,” he said.

However, when Saraki was reminded that there is the widespread perception that Nigerian legislators collect humongous salaries estimated at $189,000 per annum, which is 116 times above Nigeria’s GDP per capita, he dismissed the notion, stating: “Those figures like I explained are arrived at when they have taken the bulk budget of N115 billion and divided it by 469 members and come with a figure of $189,000 per annum.
“When we release the detailed budget, you will see what is the salary, you will see what is allowances, you will see what is the cost of running the offices, you will see what is management, you will see the cost of legislative studies, you will see the cost of the capital budget.

“So you will now be able to actually know how much a legislator earns and how much he is even paid to run his office, which he has to retire. But because over the years, it has never been made public, people have concluded that legislators earn a lot more and they are not going to make it public.
“Then again, if you look at other countries like the UK or US, in the US, a senator gets close to $1 million to $2 million to run his office, but nobody adds that to his salary. But because we have not broken down our budget, this has caused the misrepresentation.”
He also explained that the allowances of legilators are determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The Monster Buhari Failed To Destroy By Charles Ofoji

It has now turned out that the monster President Muhammdau Buhari failed to destroy is becoming his nemesis.

For a president, who coasted to power on the promise of change, I had watched the inexperience at democratic governance or naivety exhibited by Mr. Buhari when he thought he was boasting, saying that he was not interested in who emerged as leaders of the legislature.

“There is due process for the selection of leaders of the National Assembly and I will not interfere in that process … I am prepared to work with any leaders that the House or Senate selects….It doesn’t matter who the person is or where he or she is from,” Buhari had said in a statement signed by Malam Garba Shehu, then Director Media & Publicity APC Presidential Campaign.

Buhari’s stance then had dethroned logic. How could a president say he is careless about who controlled an arm of government that has the power to rubbish his presidency or even cut his reign to pieces with the sword of impeachment?

Then I wrote in my blog: “Sir, If you wanted to show statesmanship when you refused to influence who emerged leaders of the National Assembly, you only ended up displaying naivety. It is common practice, even in civilized democracies, for a president or prime minister to influence directly or indirectly who emerges as speaker of parliament.

“You promised change and should know that you are no longer a dictator. It therefore means that you need good laws to deliver on your promise. Now how can you effect change with a man like Bukola Saraki as Senate President? How could a man who is one of the most people who profited from Nigeria the way it is, allow you to change the status-quo?

“Honestly speaking, from the moment you looked away and allowed Saraki to become senate president, I lost hope in your promise of change. Guilty or not, the fact remains that he has lost moral legitimacy. There is too much finger-pointing, which makes his moral baggage over-weight. If Saraki had any iota of honor, he would have long resigned his office. Rather he prefers to put the office of the senate president through ridicule. So Mr. President, as a leader of your party, if you are still serious about change, you must do all to get rid of this man as the leader of the Nigerian legislature.”

Buhari’s political naivety by allowing Saraki to emerge and remain as senate president is now his greatest undoing.

As things stand, the two men from the same ruling party, APC, are chasing different goals. Nothing shows that the ruling party has a commanding majority of the two houses of parliament. It has become increasingly embarrassing for the president in his failure to get simple bills passed or his appointees easily endorsed by the legislature controlled by his party.

The case of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stands out. Twice Buhari sent his name to senate for approval as substantive chairman and twice the Saraki-led Senate rejected him – on the flimsy excuse of a negative security report. Notwithstanding the fact that Magu has done fairly well as EFCC chairman. Though there is the accusation in some quarters that he is an apostle of selective justice.

In any case, critics of the members of the National Assembly say they are hell scared of Magu, who in my assessment, has prosecuted an uncompromising war against corruption.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo once famously lamented, “The National Assembly is largely an assemblage of looters and thieves.”

Mr. Obasanjo, speaking at the public presentation of the autobiography of Justice Mustapha Akanbi in Abuja in 2014 said: “Apart from shrouding the remunerations of the National Assembly in opaqueness and without transparency, they indulge in extorting money from departments, contractors and ministries in two ways.

“They do so during visits to their projects and programs and in the process of budget approval when they build up budgets for ministries and departments, who agree to give it back to them in contracts that they do not execute. They do similar things during their inquiries.”

He added: “Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects which they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.

“In all this, if the executive is not absolutely above board, the offending members of the National Assembly resort to subtle or open threat, intimidation and blackmail. When the executive pay the huge money, normally in millions of dollars, all is quiet in form of whitewashed reports that fail to deal effectively with the issues investigated.”

The truth is bitter. Whether the members of the National Assembly like it or not, majority of Nigerians, including this writer, share Obasanjo’s view.

So like the mockers of the legislators say on social media, how can rats allow a cat (Magu) to become the anti-corruption czar?

It is hard to speculate which game Saraki is up to now that he sees President Buhari weakened by failing health. Whatever his calculations, Saraki’s Senate, with the suspension of the former Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, can no longer be said to be a democratic house of parliament. The great son of Alabama, Hugo LaFayette Black put it succinctly when he said: “Freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they have, or the views they express, or the words they speak or write.“

Ndume’s only sin was that, as a representative of a senatorial zone, he had called for the investigation of the allegations against the Senate President bothering on non payment of import duties on an SUV and certificate forgery leveled against Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi-West.

Ndume could have made the demand for two good reasons. First, being a matter of public interest, Nigerians have the right to get to the bottom of the matter. And secondly, maybe, he wanted the two senators to be cleared of the accusation so as to preserve the integrity of the Senate – if there is still any left.

The purported suspension of Ndume is the height of impunity by the Saraki-led Senate. It is an infringement of the right of free speech of Mr. Ndume as a senator and that of the constituents he represents in the Senate. I will encourage him to seek legal redress.

The Saraki-led Senate has been insulting Nigerians with its series of illegalities and pettiness. So much that the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) described the senators as being childish and irresponsible. In this era of summoning anyone and everyone, even for merely coughing, the Senators have also summoned the learned jurist.

The Nigerian Senate under Saraki has lately become a source of embarrassment to Nigerians. Sagay was so miffed with the behavior of the lawmakers that he wondered how people of such character could occupy the highest legislative office in the country? “Nigeria is finished,” he concluded.

I heap the blame on Buhari. He failed to take control, as the leader of the ruling party, from the beginning. And, up till now, he is still not in control. Going back to Magu for example, if Buhari had been in control, the so-called DSS negative security report on Magu would have first being seen by him before it gets to the legislature. Unless, he is playing a game of chase with Magu.

Saraki was the monster Buhari failed to destroy politically when it was rearing its ugly head and when it was politically expedient. Now the monster has gone full circle and destroying everything in sight – its maker not spared, talk less of those who tolerated it.

Also not spared is whatever is left of Buhari’s change agenda. It has also become a big threat to our democracy.

Saraki Says The Senate Will Not Bow Down To Any Form Of Intimidation

The Senate, at the end of a closed-door session on Tuesday, resolved not to bow to any form intimidation in the discharge of its constitutional duties. Senate President Bukola Saraki said the lawmakers deliberated on issues bordering on the integrity of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate.

Saraki, who did not give details of the “intimidation” the institution is facing, said that the senate, at the executive session, resolved to defend its integrity.

“We cannot be intimidated from carrying out our constitutional duties at all times.

“Nothing will stop the National Assembly, especially the Senate, from performing its duties,” he said.

Meanwhile, committees that were yet to submit reports of budget defence of the various MDAs were asked to do so by Thursday.

Saraki said at least 20 committees were yet to submit their reports.

The president of the senate warned that committees that failed to meet the deadline risked not being considered.

“If by Thursday, any committee did not send its report to the Appropriation Committee, we will have no alternative than to make do with what we have on ground.

“This is the last time I am making the announcement,” he said.

Sahara Reporters Obsessed With Lies Against Me – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has accused online medium, Sahara Reporters and its publisher, Omoyele Sowore of being obsessed with desire to lie against him.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Saraki, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said that medium has commited so many libellous offences.

Saraki said it is from that prism of the obsession that he viewed the recent story that accusing him (Saraki) of collecting and laundering funds related to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) from the so-called Paris Club Fund refund.

“Sowore as usual is merely creating fiction and quoting faceless, non-existent sources in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) without providing any document or stating any fact to support his claim.

“This is sheer blackmail and character assassination.

“This time he was talking of the Senate President “grabbing N3.5 billion” from the NGF fund.

“We challenge Sowore and his sponsors to produce evidence of payment of N3.5 billion to Saraki within the next 24 hours.

“Sowore has consistently engaged in this game of defaming Saraki since the election of the Senate President on June 9, 2015 believing that he and his sponsors will through lies, mischief and libellous publications bring Saraki down in a matter of days.

“We recall how at the commencement of the case on Asset Declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, he was reeling out lies which the proceedings in the CCT have since proved to be untrue.

“As at yesterday, the key Prosecution Witness from the Code Of Conduct Bureau has admitted that in September 2015 when they filed the case against Saraki, there was no evidence against him.

“We recall that this same Sowore had alleged that Saraki bribed a former Chief Justice of Nigeria to influence the CCT case.

“This has since proved to be a lie that cannot be supported by any fact. Later, he shifted his bribery allegation to the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice who he claimed was induced to withdraw the CCT case.

“This has since been proved to be another bare-faced lie. He later alleged that the Senate President had influenced the verdict of a judgement at the Court of Appeal which was then arrested. That was another fabrication not supported by any fact. Other areas where he had concocted lies against Saraki was the allegation that the Senate President was involved in the Sambo Dasuki fund saga. That was another lie. Again, when there was a robbery incident involving money owned by a Bureau de Change, Sahara Reporters claimed Saraki owned the money. This has been proved to be a big lie. Just as this claim of N3.5bn payment by NGF has not been supported by any fact,” he said.

He said that it was wrong for the Sahara Reporters Publisher to be brandishing lies against him and getting away with them.

Olaniyonu said that journalism practice was about truth, objectivity and strong ethics: he therefore claimed that Sahara Reporters was not practicing Journalism but outright blackmail.

“He goes after those not ready to pay his price. That is why he has continued to live beyond his legitimate means. We are set to expose his game and let people see him for what he is.

“It should be known that there is nothing that depicts corruption more than the circulation of falsehood and engaging in the game of blackmail.

“It is our plan to employ all lawful means to protect the integrity and reputation of Dr. Saraki, including exposing the antics of this man who pretend to be acting in public interest.

“We therefore call on all members of the public to ignore and disregard the claims contained in Sahara Reporters stories concerning Saraki and the N 3.5 billion NGF Paris Club fund.

“The Senate President has absolutely nothing to do with any transfer or repayment of money by the NGF,” he said.

He added that the report was just a figment of the imagination of the publisher of the online medium.


Buhari meets Saraki Twice in One Week

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari met Senate President, Bukola Saraki in London on Sunday evening, the presidency’s official Twitter account said.

It was their second meeting within a week.

“This evening President @MBuhari met with Senate President @bukolasaraki, at Abuja House,” the official @NGRPresident Twitter account wrote.

Unlike the first meeting, Senator Saraki has not spoken on what was discussed with the president.

When they met last week, along with other leaders of the National Assembly, Saraki issued a statement, allaying public concerns about the president’s health.

He said “there is no cause for alarm”

“The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself…he is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits”.

Here is Saraki’s statement:

“Myself, Rt Honorable Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan paid a visit to President Buhari in Abuja House in London.

We were delighted to see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits.

The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself.

The president’s absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate.

And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!”


Buhari: No Cause for Alarm, Says Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who led a team of National Assembly leaders to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in London, said at the end of the visit: “there is no cause for alarm”

His statement was meant to douse apprehensions and speculations in Nigeria about President Buhari’s health. And after meeting the President today, Saraki declared:

“The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself…he is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits”.

With Saraki on the trip were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the majority leader in the Senate, Ahmed Lawan.

Here is Saraki’s statement:

“Myself, Rt Honorable Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan paid a visit to President Buhari in Abuja House in London.

We were delighted to see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits.

The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself.

The president’s absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate.

And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!”


Saraki, Dogara Visit Buhari Abroad

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and some principal officers of the National Assembly are currently in the United Kingdom to visit President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on medical leave.

The National Assembly leaders left Nigeria for London today, it was learnt.

Details later.

The Punch