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Audit query: Reps  Ctte Sets to probe activities of ITF



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***summons DG, others for operating unapproved budget for in four years

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, (PAC) on Wednesday summoned the Acting Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mrs Adesola Taiwo over the operation of the Agency’s budgets from 2018 to 2021 without the approval of the National Assembly.

Consequently the Committee being Chaired by Hon Busayo Oluwole Oke is to commence an immediate probe into the strange discovery as it has directed the Clerk of the Committee to write  a formal letter to the Clerk of the National 
Assembly and the Clerk of the House of Representatives demanding for evidence of the conveyance of the Agency’s Annual  Budget in the years under review from the Presidency to the National Assembly.

The Committee vowed to uncover the circumstance surrounding the operation of the unapproved budgets by the Agency contrary to section 81 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as ammended) which empowers the President to convey the annual budgets of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to the National Assembly 

every fiscal year for approval.

The Committee which made the discovery on Wednesday while grilling the 

management of ITF, which was placed on status inquiry by the House following several infractions said to be going on in the Agency over the years

The Committee expressed displeasure over the absence of the Acting DG of the Agency, who was represented by Director of Finance and Administration, Yusuf Abdulmajid.

The Committee Chairman, Hon Oke, had asked the leader of the team the whereabouts of the acting DG, who was supposed to appear before the committee to speak on various infractions leveled against them, but the DFA replied that she was on annual leave, which prompted him to represent  represent her.

The Committee described it as unacceptable and directed the Acting DG to report physically unfailingly next Tuesday along with a copy of letter which  proved the  leave.

Oke added that the Agency should show evidence that the budget of the Agency was actually conveyed to the National 

Assembly by the President and was thereafter considered and approved.

In addition, he directed that the  Agency 

should also present the reports of its budget performance from January 2020 to date, records of donations, grants and other interventions, detailed breakdown of amount disbursed and comprehensive list of beneficiaries.

The Acting DG was also asked to come along with the Director of Human Resources, Director of Finance, and Director Procurement.

Hon  Oke explained that the Committee was not out to witchhunt the Agency or anybody but was acting on the status of inquiry referral from the House detailing several infractions against  it which should be sorted out .

He said that it was unconstitutional and unacceptable to the parliament or any agency of government to be operating outside the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as being  done by ITF and that this would be held against the Agency until it was able to produce convincing evidence that the President actually conveyed its budget to the parliament for consideration and approval.

He said that the attention of the Acting DG was needed to come and  speak to the facts on the allegations levied against the agency saying that unfortunately the Acting DG resorted to staying away and sent subordinates to the parliament which he described as a slap on the face of the parliament.

According to a submission by the agency to the committee, in 2018 it got N37, 592, 730, 753; in 2019 it got N43, 133, 753, 661; in 2020 it got N43, 468, 030, 400; and in 2021 it got N43, 947, 801, 437 respectively

But the Committee insisted that no record  in the National

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Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials




Moro, Abba Patrick
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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria

It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,

According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.

He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.

He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils

He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law

Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.

The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls

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Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt 




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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.  

The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development. 

The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.

“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023. 

“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms. 

“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.

“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.

“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”

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Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic




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***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger

The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings

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