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Underage marriage in the North fuels insecurity, says senator Odebiyi



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***Senate asks FG to declare all known leaders of terrorists wanted

The senator representing Ogun West Tolu Odebiyi has warned that unless under aged marriage that gives room for children that are already in poverty to procreate is outlawed in the North, insecurity will continue to linger

The senator spoke while contributing to a motion entitled “Urgent need to surmount all kinds of kidnappings, banditry and related security challenges in Wasagu-Danko, Sakaba and Yauri Local Government Areas of Kebbi”.

Continuing Odebiyi said,
“We seem to be very reactive and very adhoc on how we solve problems such as security in this country but I think we need to go a bit deeper, if you look at from 2013 we had about 4million children out of school, today you have 14m children out of school add that to about 100 million people in poverty especially if you look at the northeast and the northwest.

“It is a fertile ground for recruiting bandits especially when you put that in conjunction with the break down of countries around Nigeria in the Sahel and all those areas it will provide a fertile environment.

“If you add that to under age marriage, children that are already in poverty giving birth and those children will grow up and land in poverty again

Military cannot do so much it is a holistic approach. 

“If we sit down here by 2025 we will have 20million children out of school, the security issue in this country will continue to get worse. 

“So all these adhoc reaction of calling on Army, the police, we must have a compressive approach and declare a marshal law against out of school children. 
“As long as we have poverty and more children out of school, as long as we have under age children giving birth, to more poverty, it is a fertile ground.” He said Nigeria is bordered by countries where terrorist groups aggregate to recruit. The children are vulnerable for recruitment 

He said adhoc reaction and buying of Tucano jets and bombing will not solve the problem because the variables are not there for these issues

“This thing must be looked at holistically. You have been talking about these out of school children, in 2013 we had 4million, now 2022 we have 14million and by 2025 we will have 20million out if school children.

These are the issues that are creating banditry, terrorism .”

The Senate in it’s resolution on the motion which was moved by Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi) and co-sponsored by 12 other senators  during plenary  urged the Federal Government to declare all known leaders of terrorists wanted. 
The upper chamber equally called for the establishment of an operational base within Danko/Wasagu and Sakaba Local Government Areas of Kebbi affected by “the current rise in security challenges”.
The upper chamber also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy massively, the military and other law enforcement agencies to conduct a rigorous operation that will bring to an end the banditry and cattle rustling in the affected LGAs.

It equally urged the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to as a matter of urgency provide relief materials to the affected areas.

The Senate also urged all relevant agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private philanthropist to come to the assistance of the victims of violence and humanitarian disaster.

Moving the motion, Na’Allah said that “it is no longer news that the bandits are moving in hundreds from village to village, house to house in search of cattle to rustle and people to abduct.

“The bandits have been reportedly laying siege around Yar-kuka, Morai, Dankade to Wadako and recently in Bena where 20 people were abducted.”

He further said that if urgent steps to tackle the security challenges were not taken, the peace-loving communities may be forced to resort to self-defence by acquiring arms and ammunition.
Contributing Sen. Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi) said “recently we purchased Tucano Aircrafts which can be used to move out the bandits. 
“It has the ability to trace the movement of these bandits. If they are rustling cows, I wonder how they move them without being detected.
“I urge security forces to intensify efforts to stop banditry in the state.”
Also, Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger) said that “the security situation is becoming alarming not only in Kebbi but in surrounding states like Niger.
“Human beings are lost every day; and we enjoy to stand and do one minute silence. 
“Apart from calling on security agencies to intensify efforts in the fight against insecurity, leaders should fear God,” he said. 
In his remarks, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan said “let us never be discouraged because sometimes we fill why are we doing this when nothing is happening.
“There is a limit to what we can do but we must do what we are supposed to do well.
“We can only do oversight to put pressure but we can’t execute. We can’t command anyone to go anywhere but what we do here is very significant. 
“We should continue to debate it and follow on with some actions. We have approved significant resources, funds recently in both the Supplementary Budget of 2021 and the Appropriation Act of 2022 for armed forces and other security agencies
“The time has come for all security and defence-related committees to oversight on the releases of funds to these agencies” Lawan said.

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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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Senate okays 2024-2026 MTEF, FSP as it seeks to probe Tax Waivers from 2015 Till Date




Sen Sani Musa
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The Senate has approved the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The upper legislative chamber also ordered an investigation into all tax waivers from 2015 till date and directed that all waivers not directly linked to non-governmental/non-profit organizations should not be granted.

The Senate observed that before waiver can be approved, there are certain conditions attached, adding that some people have been benefitting from the waiver year in, year out.

Addressing newsmen, shortly after the plenary, the Chairman of the Joint Senate Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Foreign Debt, Senator Sani Musa, lamented that so much have been lost to the waiver.

He said: “We can not continue to talk of waiver while we kill our local manufacturers.
What we have today are catels, who are not given back to Nigeria. We will take the bull by the horn.”

He said that the customer told the Senate that the nation lost about N1.3 trillion to waiver, adding that it doesn’t make any economy sense, when waiver is granted, and nothing is gained.

In the report of the Senate Joint Committees, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget of N26 trillion that will be presented to the National Assembly soon.

In the budget, N8.2 trillion is earmarked for debt services.

In the report presented for consideration on the floor of the Senate, Sani Musa revealed that the federal government projected the reduction in inflation from 27.33 % to 21.4% in 2024.

“The total budget for the 2024 will be N26 trillion with N16.9 trillion in retained revenue, N243.6 billion for the sinking fund, the statutory transfer for the budget will be N1.3 trillion, N1.2 trillion. In pension gratuity and retirees benefits.

“The total recurrent (non-debt) of N10.2 trillion, personal cost of MDAs- N4.49 trillion, capital expenditure (exclusive of transfers ) -N5.9 trillion, special Intervention (recurrent)- N200 billion and special Intervention capital -N7 billion comprise the.aggregate of Federal government expenditure of N26 trillion,” the report said.

The report further reads: “Following the criteria in the overview of the framework for revenues and expenses, which forms the basis of the 2024 FGN budget FGN proposed spending N26 trillion, of which N16.9 trillion was retained, new borrowings of N7.8 trillion (including borrowing from foreign and domestic), debt service to revenue ratio of 49%, pension, gratuities, and retiree benefits of N12 trillion, and a fiscal deficit of N9 trillion (including GOES)

“The projected N16.96 trillion revenues to the federal government for the 2024 fiscal year is attainable with effective revenue monitoring exercise and oversight by the relevant Committees of the National Assembly

“The projected fiscal deficit of N9.048 trillion, N10.02 and N11.48 proposed for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 fiscal years are 22%, 13.6% and 1% lower than the N11 6 trillion fiscal deficit for the year 2023. The proposed strategy for the government in 2024 towards deficit financing is to increase funding from privatization proceeds and foreign borrowing and reduce funding from multilateral and bilateral project- tied loans and domestic borrowing

“The Federal Government’s commitments to progressively restructure its debt portfolio towards achieving a balanced domestic-to-external debt ratio is evident in the 2024-2026 MTEF and FSP

“A significant number of the Federal Government’s Revenue- Generating Agencies engaged in arbitrary, frivolous, and extra-budgetary expenditure.”

The oil bemcark is pegged at $73.6 per barrel with daily production of 1.78 million barrel per day with an exchange rate of N700 to $1 .

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