***Adeyemi says scarcity of diesel cause for non-completion of projects
The Senate on Tuesday extended implementation of the 2021 Appropriation Act from 31st March to 31st May, 2022.
The scarcity of diesel they said affected some of the capital projects captured in the 2021 budget as most of the earthmoving equipments could not be deployed to site.
The extension got the upper legislative chamber’s approval following the consideration of a bill to Amend the 2021 Appropriation Act.
The Senate before considering the bill suspended Rule 78(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 (as amended), to enable the upper chamber to expeditiously introduce and pass the bill.
The bill was read on Tuesday for the first, second and third time after the suspension of Rule 78(1).
The bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Yayah Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Abdullahi, recalled that prior Appropriation Acts in the past were passed mid-year, with their implementation usually extended to the following year.
The lawmaker, noted that in previous Appropriation Acts, these extensions were usually covered by a Clause, in line with the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that the Act runs for a period of 12 months, starting from the date it comes into effect.
He, however, observed on the contrary that Clause 12 of the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution provides that the 12 month period starts from the 1st day of January to 31st day of December, 2021.
He recalled that the 2022 Appropriation Act was amended to extend the implementation year from 31st December, 2021 to 31st March, 2022.
Senator Abdullahi, explained that the extension of the budget period became imperative in view of the need to complete ongoing projects nearing completion.
He said, “As you are aware, the 2021 Virement of the aggregate sum of N276 billion was approved for several MDAs by the National Assembly in December, 2021 along with 100 percent release of the 2021 Capital Budget of the MDAs.
“A significant portion of the releases to the MDAs has been utilized following the extension to 31st March, 2022.
“In view of the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant further extension of the expiration clause to avoid compounding the problem of abandoned projects given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2022 budget hence the need to extend the implementation year form 31 March, 2022 to 31st May, 2022.”
Senator representing Kogi West while supporting the bill said, “When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power he did what was unusual by going ahead to complete projects inherited. In essence this government believes that projects must be completed. “All the major projects that this administration inherited they are actually completing them so it is going to be out of place if we allow projects to be abandoned .
“More importantly why this amendment is desired is to ensure that those projects that were captured in 2021 budget are completed.
“Why this is so is the fact that in the last 2 to 3 months we had crises of diesel which is the main fuel for most earthmoving equipments, so many projects are at very slow stage of completion because diesel is not available, where it is available it is adulterated.
The lawmaker said he had visited a number of sites and saw that many earth moving equipments were abandoned so I think it is desirable we extend the 2021 appropriation so that all the projects would be completed.
According to him by so doing we will be improving the socio economic development of our nation and put smiles on the faces of Nigerians who will be working there
The bill to amend the 2021 Appropriation Act was, thereafter, passed sequel to its consideration by the Committee on Supply.
Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials
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
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
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.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***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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