***Summons Interior Minister, Perm Sec, NIS CG For Questioning
The House of Representatives Committee Public Accounts Committee, PAC, at the weekend berated the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for resorting to use of consultants to manage visa and passport related matters at the nation’s missions across the globe.
The Committee Chaired by Dr Busayo Oluwole Oke summoned the Minister of Interior, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration to appear before it on Wednesday to address the issue.
The Committee issued the summon on the affected individuals when the Acting Comptroller General of the Service, Idris Jere, represented by an Assistant Comptroller General, Budget Olubusola Fashakin, appeared before the it over a query from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation against the service.
The Chairman of the Committee lamented the ugly incident which he said was costing the country a lot of money adding that it should be stopped immediately since there are Personnel adequately trained for the same purpose.
According to him, “We visited your Embassies and the Auditor General raised some queries on some Missions so we visited South Africa and Atlanta, US. We discovered that Nigeria is losing serious money through your operations.
“You engaged consultants to manage your passports and visas platform “
“In our opinion, NIS personnel were trained to manage visa and passport matters. That is your core mandate. So on what basis are you now engaging Consultants. So what are you people doing in the offices.
“This is to say your men are idle, roaming the streets, this is not acceptable to the Parliament, something has to be done to stop the economic wastage
“I give you a scenario, In South Africa, out of a revenue of $213, a Consultant took $90. Out of that $213 only $15 came to the Nigerian purse. That particular consultant is managing 14 countries. And Nigeria is bleeding through this window and we would continue to borrow money to finance our budget and one person sitting down in the corner of his room is making $90 on each applicant. It should be discontinued forthwith.
“The Minister of Interior, the Permanent Secretary, the CG of the Service are appear before this committee to speak to this issue.
“You have a letter from this committee asking you to furnish this committee with the particulars of all the Consultants you have engaged and the agreement you signed with them. Nigeria is bleeding through this window
“What are your personnel doing? Why did we train you and engage you? Your personnel are idle, roaming the streets, sitting down in the offices and Consultants are doing your job and taking away our money.
“The Minister of Interior, the Permanent Secretary, the CG have to come with the agreement you signed and give reasons that they have to deny personnel trained and employed to do this work.
“You are also exposing Nigerians to risk. Data protection. We owe Nigerians a high duty of care and we would discharge it.”
The Committee also directed NIS to furnish it with procurement records for utilization of money collected through service wide votes and deployed for capital purposes from 2013 to 2018.
The Committee said itwas necessary due to discrepancies in the submissions by the NIS to the committee on how the funds were managed over the years.
Akpabio debunks impeachment rumour, says Senate is stable, harmonious
The Senate President Godswill Akpabio has debunked the rumour that some senators were plotting to impeach him.
Reating to the insinuation through his special adviser (Media and Publicity) Eseme Eyiboh in a statement, he said the Senate is stable and harmonious as it cannot be distracted by the innuendo of the merchants of political tar brush.
Eyiboh describe the rumour as a syndicated media attack from outside the precincts of the National Assembly
Reacting to what he described as syndicated reports in some weekend newspapers about plots to distabilise the Senate and its leadership, Eyiboh said the reports were complete imaginations and sometimes laced with malice to achieve what senators are yet to comprehend.
According to him the Senate has since gone past the experience of the keenly contested leadership election
Eyiboh said the plot to drag in Senators who initially did not support the emergence of the present leadership into a conspiracy that does not exist was uncharitable to the senators and a needless umbrage.
“Senators are presently concluding their holidays in their constituencies and other places they have chosen to spend their time after the rigours of the inauguration and ministerial screening and other constructive engagements,” Eyiboh said.
“All senators are also refreshing themselves ahead of the resumption, therefore, any suggestions that they are presently engaged in other subversive plots against the institution is rather uncharitable. “It is mostly uncharitable for those senators who initially did not support the emergence of the leadership but who have all unanimously endorsed the Senator Akpabio-led leadership. Continuing to link these senators with needless conspiracy with barely disguised innuendo is rather unkind.
“We call on the media not to give in to the conspiratorial tales, and not to give damage to the reputations that they have built over time,” Eyiboh concluded.
Senate says, rumour of impeachment of Akpabio is a ruse
The Senate on Saturday described as a ruse the rumour making the rounds in some media that some Senators were planning to impeach the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.
A press statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu said, “our attention has just been drawn to a syndicated satanic verses in a section of the media, of purported and illusory plots of leadership change in the Senate.
Top politicians strongly opposed to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, were alleged to have planned to remove him when the Senate resumes later this month.
The forces were reported to be upset that the former Akwa Ibom State Governor is playing the role of a lap dog for President Tinubu rather than serving the overall interest of lawmakers and Nigerians
They alleged that Akpabio’s closeness to the president has made him not pay full attention to his colleagues and work hard enough to meet the expectations of Nigerians despite the challenges in the country.
But Adaramodu said,
“The Nigerian Senate is one united and fraternal family. This imaginative composition is in the realm of the fake and fallacious story of 100m per legislator. It’s apt to note that the 10th Senate, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio, has carried out its legislative and constitutional duties diligently.
“Within a span of less than 60 Legislative days, the Senate has passed life enhancing bills and motions. It has screened and confirmed service chiefs and ministers, among others, apart from very essential oversight functions.
“We urge the fifth columnists, who operate undoubtedly outside the Senate, desperate to cause disharmony through media stunts and thus clipping the wings of Nigeria’s democracy, to take caution.
“The Senate should be allowed fresh air to settle down for its national assignments so that the Nigerian project can move forward. The media, too, should be discerning not to be used as hand tools to these retailers of fake and bad news,” the statement added.
Benue North-East Senatorial contest: Senator Suswam returns as Tribunal Sacks APC’s Udende
Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been returned as the senator-elect for Benue North-East as the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sacked Senator Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Udende as the winner of the Benue North-East senatorial election held on February 25.
Suswam, a member of the 9th senate, had lost his bid to return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
But he had proceeded to the court, arguing that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast in the 25th February, 2023 for the Benue North East Senatorial District election.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha and another member, ruled in the favour of Suswam and PDP.
The duo, in their judgment, averred that Suswam and PDP fulfilled the requirement of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.
But, in a minority judgement, Justice Umar Mohammed, opposed the decision of the two other members of the panel, saying that the petitioner failed to proved his case.
Mohammed held that Suswam who called 19 witnesses most of who were irrelevant as the irregularities complained about were at the polling units and instead he called ward agents instead of polling unit agents.
Suswam and PDP’s petition was predicated on the ground that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.
Justice Mohammed held that the evidence by Suswam was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.
He therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of each of the respondents against the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Innocent Daagba, on behalf of the APC, said, “we are not satisfied with the decision and will advice my client to appeal.”
The PDP, through Bemgba Iortyom, the State Publicity Secretary has applaude the judgment and congratulated the Senator.
The immediate past Governor of the State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has also sent his congratulatory to Senator Suswam over his victory at the tribunal.
Ortom said the victory of Senator Suswam has further proven the capacity of the judiciary to uphold justice and serve as the bastion of democracy.
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