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Why National Assembly failed to pass 2022 budget as promised



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Against the promise by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, that the 2022 Appropriation Bill would be passed this week; feelers around the National Assembly suggest that it might not be passed by either chambers before this week runs out after all.

The senate President who also doubles as the Chairman of the National Assembly, while presiding over the Senate’s plenary of Tuesday, November 23, 2021, made a commitment on behalf of the National Assembly, that the budget would be passed by Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

He dropped the hint at a time the budget defence sessions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies were coming to a close.

But the Senate failed to pass the budget on Tuesday, December 14 as promised.

During the plenary on Wednesday, December 15, the Senate adjourned till Tuesday, December 21, for possibly laying of reports by the Committee of Appropriation.

The Senate would thereafter adjourn till another legislative date, when the report shall be subjected to debate and clause-by-clause considerations, before final passage.

When asked if the Senate would still pass the 2022 budget this week as promised, Senator Barau Jibrin, Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, said only the Senate President could give official statement on that.

“I don’t have the authority to tell you that, whether the budget will be passed this week or not, but we are still working on it.

“You can make your calculations. I don’t have the authority, the Senate President will be the one to tell you that”, Senator Jibrin said, Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Senate today interfaced with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Population Commission (NPC), over complaints of insufficient budget estimates.

Briefing newsmen after a close door session, Senator Jibrin said it was to look into the complaints and effect last minutes changes, where necessary.

“We had interaction with INEC and National Population Commission in respect of complaints we had from different quarters about insufficient funds that have been provided for them in the 2022 appropriation bill.

“And because of the stance of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that these two institutions need to be properly catered for in terms of their funding.

“We all know the importance of elections in this country. It is the foundation of every democracy. If you don’t get it right in your electoral process, you are in trouble as a nation.

“So, that is why we said let us not
wait until the problem manifests itself. That is why we decided to have interaction with them to see where we can do something for them, to perform optimally.

“And that of NPC, we all know population census and housing census in every country, the data that will be generated from that exercise would be able to plan Nigeria as a nation. That has not been done for the past 15 years, we appreciate the fact that the President and indeed the entire executive are determined to conduct the population census and we are all on the same page with the executive arm of government and we believe that it is something that will be beneficial to this country.

“So it was on this note that we decided as a committee that we should listen, discuss with NPC to hear if there is any problem in terms of their funding. We have known their problem and we are going to work on those problems to make sure that they are solved”, he explained further.

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Akpabio debunks impeachment rumour, says Senate is stable, harmonious




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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.

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Senate says, rumour of impeachment of Akpabio is a ruse




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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.

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Benue North-East Senatorial contest: Senator Suswam returns as Tribunal Sacks APC’s Udende




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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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