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Senate lauds FG on Roads, Housing Projects

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***As Fashola asks NASS to consider outstanding

Senate panels on Works and Housing have commended the Federal Government over massive construction of roads and housing projects across the country.
Commendations from the Committees to the Federal Government, came during separate 2023 budget defence sessions the Minister of Works and Housing , Babatunde Fashola had with them on Wednesday.
Fashola in his presentation to the Hosing Committee said the National Housing Project which started in 2016. has produced over 3, 000 Housing units across 35 out of the 36 states of the federation with involvement of 1, 250 contractors .
According to him , the 6, 000 Housing units has created 46 construction sites across the country , 29, 030 direct employment and 57, 874 indirect employment .
“The National Housing Project is very much on course but the problems  of paucity of fund through drastic budget slash and outstanding liabilities of N191.75billion , need to be urgently looked into .
“In 2022 fiscal year , while the total capital votes for both Works and Housing Components of the Ministry was N441.18billion , the proposal made for 2023 fiscal year is N146billion .
“Out of the proposed N146billion as capital expenditure for the entire Ministry in 2023 fiscal year , only N45billion is earmarked for Housing sector ” , he said .
He therefore appealed to the committee headed by Senator Sam Egwu , to help in pushing for consideration of the N191.75billion owed contractors .
Virtually all the members of the Committee in separate remarks, commended the Minister for achieving much with little resources.
Specifically the Chairman of the Committee said : “The Federal Government through your ministry has performed creditably well in the Housing sector through the National Housing Project.
“Continuation of such project by successive administrations , will no doubt, help in addressing the problem of Housing deficit in the country “
Similar commendation came the way of the Minister from the Senate Committee on Works.
The Committee headed by Senator Adamu Aliero, said partisan politics apart , the Muhammadu Buhari led federal government has done well as far as roads constructions are concerned.
“The Second Niger Bridge,aa Lagos / Ibadan Expressway , Abuja – Kaduna – Kano highway etc , all nearing completion , are no doubt , signature projects for the administration and highly beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians “, he said .
Fashola had in his presentation to the committee said : “The main challenge to highways development in the country remains inadequate funding . 
“As at date, government is committed to highway contractors to the tune of about N10.4trillion while a total of about N765billion are unpaid certificates for executed works .
“Secondly, the shortage of younger Engineers / Technical officers in the Ministry as a result of embargo on employment is affecting proficient project supervision at the sites.

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Legislature

Senate affirms Kogi’s status as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation

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The Senate on Thursday affirmed Kogi State as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation as stipulated for by section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The affirmation was sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Jibrin Isah, popularly known as Echocho (APC Kogi East).
Senator Isah’s motion came 24 hours after a heated debate between him and Senator Tony Nwoye on the status of Kogi as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation .
While Tony Nwoye in his presentation at Senate plenary on Wednesday, on a bill seeking for inclusion of Anambra State in the operational radius of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), argued that Kogi State is not receiving 13% derivation like Anambra State, Echocho countered him that Kogi State has been a receiving the 13% derivation since October 2022.

Coming on the strength of Order 42 of the Senate Standing rules, the Kogi Senator raised a motion for affirmation of Kogi as an oil producing State, benefitting from the 13% derivation .
The singular prayer of Senator Echocho’s motion urged the Senate to take the clarification that Kogi State is an oil producing state which has been receiving the constitutional 13% derivation since October 2022; and accord it the necessary recognition as an oil-producing state.
Senator Echocho prior to adoption of the prayer by the Senate submitted saying that oil has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy right from 1956 when it was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in the present Bayelsa State.

He explained further that after the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities in Oloibiri, other discoveries were made in other parts of the country, including the present Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, and Imo States.

“Informed that oil was later discovered in commercial quantities in Odeke, Echeno, Ihile, Anocha/Uchuchu, Omabo, Ikah, Iregwu and Ujeh all in Ibaji community of the present-day Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.

“Further Informed that after due assessments and consultations, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, officially listed Kogi State as an oil producing state in 2021.

“Aware of the peculiarities of the oil producing States, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under section 162(2), directs the constant reflection of the principle of derivation of not less than 13% in any approved revenue allocation formula.

“Recall that in a debate on a Bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act No.86 LFN 2004 (SB 271) before this distinguished Senate on Wednesday, 28th February 2024, the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Tony Nwoye, stated that Kogi State is yet to start receiving the constitutional 13% derivation as an oil producing state.

“Cognisant that upon the official recognition by the RMAFC in 2021, the Kogi State Government officially received the first 13% derivation in October 2022 and has continued to receive it till date.

“Further Cognisant that the receipt of the first 13% was officially acknowledged by the Kogi State Government in a state broadcast on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, which was widely published in national dailies which reported Kogi State as the first northern oil producing state to get 13% derivation. Copies of those publications are attached for ease of reference”.

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Legislature

Afeez Kilani declares to contest NASSLAF chairmanship

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***Says he is most experienced having gone through the ranks

Alhaji Prince Afeez Kilani, senior Legislative Aide to distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai has officially declared to contest for the chairmanship position of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF)
Kilani who hails from Shaki west in Oyo State, South west Nigeria said he would bring his wealth of experience to bare by improving on the welfare of Legislative Aids.
“I have been here since the year 2015. I got here as a legislative Assistant, that is LA2 and because of thr level of dedication my boss promoted me to LA1 in 2019.
“Now I am the SLA to the distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai, he is a third time Senator in the Nigerian senate.
“With this carrier progression, coupled with my experience in the National Assembly, at least I have run through the ranks of the aides of the National Assembly.
“I think I am in the best position to understand the yearnings and the needed welfare of the legislative aides because I have gone through the ranks of the legislative aids.
“We don’t want a situation whereby an aide or a chairman will be elected and he will not understand what other legislative aides are going through.
He said there is no need to elect a chairman that will not understand the pains, the feelings and yearnings of Legislative aides.
He said he is a reflection, a manifest example of a leader who has gone through the ranks of legislative aid because, “I started my carrier as an SL2 but now I am the SLA so there is nothing that any legislative aide is going through that I don’t understand.
“With that understanding, I am in the best position pilot the affairs of the national Assembly legislative aides. If you give me your support, I am going to serve you better.”
On how he would be able to use diplomacy to settle disagreement with the management of the National Assembly when it arises, he said, “We are in the 21st century, and as a lawyer there is what is called alternative dispute resolution. In labour law, it is very important that confrontation, protests should be the last thing, should be on the last burner.
‘The first thing is negotiation, good approach to issues, we are in a democratic era. It is when all that fails that we can adopt confrontation which we are not going to even adopt.
“I know with my skills as a lawyer for more than 11 years of experience, it is not going to be difficult for me to meet with management to convince them of the reason why they should take care of us.”

Chairman of the Southwest National Assembly Legislative Forum, Ogumawola Ebeneza, said, “As you can see the ovation is laud because we have gone through rigorous screening and Southwest as a leading zone when it comes to affairs of the NASSLAF we have then everything in to consideration and we decided one voice to queue behind our own Barr.Hafiz Kelani as our candidate
The DG said the aides need a new lease of life.
“We are tired of recirculation of warn out leaders. We don’t want people that have been circulating themselves since the 5th Assembly.
“You have heard the voice of the aides, the first timers, and the semi first timers and we have decided as the South West zone we have decided to put our own, some one who’s door will be opened, who will not stay in the office wanting people to come and meet him.
“He is someone that will go round to know the needs and yearnings of the aides. This is the man we are looking for. This is the reason we are doing to stand by him, He is not for South West but for all the zones.
Olusola Olugbami AKA maintain said they need Somebody that will do what others have not been able to do, you know in the South West, we don’t take the back seat.
“Whenever we said we have resolved to do something that is what we will do. This is our candidate and by the grace of God, he is going to emerge victorious.

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Legislature

Senate panel quizzes Bakari as NFIU Boss

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The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes has on Monday quizzed Hafsat Bakari as the Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU).

President Bola Tinubu last week appointed Bakari as the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, pending her confirmation by the Senate.

By the appointment Bakari is to replace Modibbo Tukur who was relieved of his job by President Tinubu in June 2023.
Bakari is a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing said she has “enough experience to discharge he duties”
Before her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the NFIU, she served as Deputy Director at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and was at different times the Head of the General Services Unit; Head of the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and Head of the Board Secretariat of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a chat with newsmen after the screening, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Emmanuel Menga Udende expresses that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to bare in the discharge of her mandate in this critical role, especially in view of the President Bola Tinubu’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets”
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) a creation of the National Assembly is the Nigerian federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing disclosures from reporting organizations, in order to produce financial intelligence to other agencies combating money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
The NFIU was established in 2004 as an autonomous unit within the central coordinating body for the country’s Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) framework of Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
It also operates as part of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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