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Group wants NASS to probe NSC board over abuse of power or face nationwide protests

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***Querries board for disregarding Tinubu’s dissolution order

***Asks SGF, Steel Minister to allow due process, transparency prevail, call board to order

A group, Alliance For Credible Legislative Conducts (ACLC), has urged the National Assembly to investigate the National Steel Council (NSC) for flagrantly disobeying the orders of President Bola Tinubu for the boards of Federal Government’s Agencies and Parastatals to be dissolved.
10 months ago, President Tinubu had approved the immediate dissolution of the Governing Boards of the Federal Government, parastatals, agencies, institutions and Government Owned companies in the exercise of its constitutional powers and in the public interest
However, the group is concerned that NSC is yet to be dissolved after 10 months of the directive.

The Chairman, Alliance For Credible Legislative Conducts (ACLC), Comrade Afuye Shola, who made this revelation during a Press Conference in Abuja on Wednesday therefore urged the relevant committees of the National Assembly that have oversight function on the Ministry of Steel Development to urgently commence the probe
“But should they fail to heed our call, we shall mobilize our members across the Federal Republic of Nigeria and stage a massive protest to draw the President’s attention to the illegality being perpetuated by the NSC board.
“He condemned the abuse of office and disobedience to the lawful orders of the President and called on the SGF and the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu to cause the board to respect the lawful directive of the President.

The CSO condemned what it described as flagrant abuse of office and disobedience to the lawful orders of the President and called on the SGF and the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu to cause the board to respect the lawful directive of the President.

Shola said: “The attention of the Alliance for Credible Legislative Conducts (ACLC) has been drawn to a case of monumental disobedience of the Presidential order on dissolution of boards, by the Ministry of Steel Development, which flagrantly disregarded the directive of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, as it pertains to the dissolution of boards of parastatals.

“Specifically, on the 16th of June, 2023, in a circular signed by Willie Bassey, director of Information, on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, President Bola Tinubu approved the dissolution of all Boards of Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies, Institutions and Government-owned Companies, except those listed in the Third Schedule, Part I, Section 153 (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Recent findings showed that the National Steel Council (NSC) was among the bodies dissolved by the above extraordinary Presidential order as it is clearly not among those Commissions and Councils listed in the constitution and therefore not exempted from that sweeping directive by Mr. President.

“We have equally discovered that the National Steel Council (NSC) is not only a parastatal under the definition of the Public Service Rules, but a policy making body, that sets operational and administrative policies in accordance with government’s policies, and supervise the implementation of such policies.

“We are abundantly constrained to inform Nigerian people today, about the utter disrespect for the orders of President Tinubu, high level of indiscipline, sheer irresponsibility and administrative rascality being extremely exhibited by the leadership of the Council, albeit with the acquiescence of Prince Shuaibu Audu, in the periphery of the National Steel Council (NSC).

“We hereby condemn in the strongest terms the deliberate cultivated muscling of statutory laws against established provisions or rules guiding the National Steel Council, and using this medium to call on the SGF, Senator George Akume, to enforce the presidential orders on boards, without exception beyond the illogical posture of the Minister of Steel Development.

“It might interest you to know that available records indicate that the Board had at infancy given series of approvals for vehicles, furnishing and office accommodation, where money was paid following the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the requisite accounting processes.

“However, some individuals within the Council that seemed ignorant of extant financial regulations sought to fraudulently circumvent standard procedure undeservedly portending further and unnecessary expenditure that will duplicate government expenses on office accommodation and furnishings; which matter Minister Shuaibu Audu failed to recognise.

“We also uncovered other gross violations and abuse by the National Steel Council as follows: Gross violations of BPP Provisions and Procurement Act during its 2nd meeting held on Friday, 20th of August, 2023 @ the Grand Ibro Hotel, Wuse Zone 5 Abuja; where the Council approved monetary threshold above the Government stipulated threshold, which it did not have authority to do. On the 9th of February 2023, the Council without the due consent of the Minister, who is supposed to be the regulator attempted to spend outside Budgetary provisions, and against the rules of procurement by attempting to open an account with TAJ Bank, with the sole purpose of taking loan to buy cars for official which is also openly outside the financial regulations regarding their entitlements; and also breach of extant financial regulations of the Federal Government under the guidelines of the operations of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government. These attempted contraventions gave foundation to the conflict within the Council.

“The abuse of office at the National Steel Council and the refusal of the youthful Minister, to nip the embarrassing issues in the bud is a clear indication of incompetence, which simply means that Prince Shuaibu Audu whose Ministry just concluded an otherwise laudable Ministerial retreat with visible objectives is unwisely tolerant of what now makes him a real clog in the wheel of President Tinubu’s dream for steel development in Nigeria.

“Pertinently, the duo of Senator George Akume and Prince Shuaibu Audu should without delay put to rest the evident impunity and stark disobedience of Presidential order on boards; retrace their steps to curb the taboo going on at the National Steel Council and allow due process and transparency to prevail by calling the Board to order.

“Finally, we call on the Ministry, especially its Resident Anti-Corruption Units to exercise their statutory duties, without undue sensationalism, on allegations of financial infractions, to the tune of N1billion, which almost equals the budget for the NSC in 2023. While the Ministry muster the courage to do the necessary, the National Assembly which is saddled with oversight functions, should perhaps immediately look into this abnormal situation at the National Steel Council and handle it accordingly.

“This unbelievable, unfortunate and reckless abuse of power at the Council, has unduly embarrassed the government enough!”

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Budget 2024: Again Obi uncovers more insensitive, undeserving allocations

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The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi has again uncorvered lopsided allocations in the 2024 federal budget

Obi in his previous remarks on the budget called for a total review of the budget

He insisted that there were various misplacement of priorities tilted against poor and vulnerable Nigerians

Obi expressed dismay that the National Assembly Hospital was receiving whooping N15b for one year, the amount which he said is five times more than that allocated to the National Hospital and six other premier Teaching Hospitals in the country.
The former Anambra Goverrnor made his observation his verified X handle on Tuesday

In his words ‘I will remain persistent in my expressions of deep concern about the 2024 budget because of its critical importance to the lives of the citizens especially the poor in our midst.
“I will continue to do so until the end of the year as a matter of patriotic engagement. This is because the many negatives of the budget have far-reaching implications for the development of our dear nation and the well-being of our citizens.

“It is evident that there are items in the budget that do not align with our current circumstances, and it is imperative to call for a review and appropriate virement. Allocating our scarce resources to high-priority areas of need is essential for the well-being of the nation.

“For instance, allocating N15 billion solely for the National Assembly hospital is unacceptable, especially when it exceeds five times the budgetary allocation to the National Hospital or the combined capital vote of our six major teaching hospitals across the nation, namely; University College Hospital, Ibadan; University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu; Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife; Jos University Teaching Hospital and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
He said the disparity reflects a low level of care for the rest of society.

“Similarly, justifying a budgetary allocation of N15.3 billion for the National Assembly library project and procurement of books, including the e-Library, in a country without a National Library is very disappointing.
“The National Library has been under construction for the past 20 years, and its budgetary allocation for 2024 is less than 1B Naira, which makes the National Assembly Library budget 15 times more.

“Again the National Assembly Library budget is more than the combined budget of the top national universities’ libraries that desperately need the Libraries for research, teaching and learning purposes.

“Furthermore, allocating N10 billion for the Senate’s and House of Representatives car parks and the National Assembly Recreation Centre, while allocating less to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, is concerning. In an era where science, technology and innovation are crucial for the nation’s future, such allocations demonstrate a lack of foresight and basic awareness of global trends and urgent national priorities.

“This level of insensitivity to the present situation and challenges faced by the people should not be tolerated by any development-minded nation.

“Every scarce resource must be directed towards productive sectors of the economy. It is time for our nation to reassess its priorities, revisit the budget, eliminate frivolous expenditures and channel our resources properly for the benefit of the people.

“No great nation is built on a foundation of waste and frivolity.”

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CUPP scribe describes Lagos-Calabar highway contract as highway of fraud

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**Says N3000 toll fee is exorbitant

The General Secretary, Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Peter Ameh has aligned with the ascertion of Former vice president Atiku Abubakar that Lagos Calabar highway contract as high way to rob the Nigerian people.
The CUPP scribe said it is high way to fraud saying that the cloud hovering over the award of the contract have all the trappings of corruption and abuse of power
In a statement he issued in Abuja on Friday Mr. Ameh said the process lacks transparency and due process, as the contract was awarded without proper oversight and competitive bidding process.
According to him, the cost of building the road per kilometer is outrageous and unacceptable.
“We are already worried that due process was not followed in both the selection and award of the contract for the project.”
He said, the intention of Federal government that vehicles would pay an average of N3,000 per toll is not acceptable and should be rejected by all Nigerian citizens as it will further increase the burden on the Suffering masses of our country.
“Anything above 300 Naira will create a lot of hardship but worst case scenario 500 Niara will be totally intolerable. Let the people breath.

“We all know that there are institutions and bodies, agencies that are created by law to take care of matters of this nature, ranging from the Federal Executive Council, which sits to consider the economic imperative of this kind of gigantic project, the National Assembly which has been constitutionally mandated to apprropriate the funds, Bureau of Public Procurement which looks at the entities that will execute the contract without the federal government spending above and beyond what the project would ordinarily have cost, and etc.

According to him, constitutional democracy which we practice, funds are not arbitrarily expended without the authorisation of the legislative arm, which controls the purse of the nation and the president ought not to have doled out a trillion naira plus to his friends without authorisation.

“But in the event that the coastal highway is a build-operate-transfer-project, due process must also be followed with the aforementioned institutions and agencies which ought to have put in their knowhow with their input taken into consideration.
“If President Tinubu, as reported in the dailies and social media, has awarded the contract to the Chagourys who are alleged to be his bossom friends and business partners without due process and due consideration to the constitutional and statutory provisions, the National Assembly (that is if we have a functioning and responsible parliament that is not beholden to the Executive Branch) is obligated to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate and possibly call the president to order because doing what he is alleged to have done is a breach of the Constitution which he has sworn to uphold and protect.
“APC government has failed to deliver on the promises of open government and has decided to use government to reward their friends and cronies at the expense of tax payers.
All government contracts must follow open and competitive bidding process.

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Classified document claims Abure entered agreement with NLC in 2022

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It appears there is no end in sight over the dispute between the Labour Party(LP) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as the suspended National treasurer of the party Oluchi Okpara has leaked a document that confirmed that NLC had a pact with the LP against the claims of Julius Abure.

The political wing of the NLC at a stakeholders meeting had sacked Abure and its NWC declaring the recent convention in Nnewi that returned Abure and his co-travelers as kangaroo

However, Abure Claimed the NLC has no power to dismiss him and the National Working Committee, as recently announced.
The document confirmed that the Labour Party had an agreement with the NLC

The Document indicated that there was a dispute between the duo which was mediated by INEC in 2022 showing the signature of LP national chairman, Abure and that of Ayuba Waba of the NLC

The document titled, “Report of Mediated Settlement between The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Labour Party by the Independent National Electoral Commission Zambezi Crescent Maitama, Abuja reads,

“We bring you fraternal greetings from the Nigeria Labour Congress {NLC) ard the Labour Party (LP). 

“We write to Inform you that the mediation initiative brokered by the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the dispute between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Labour Party has been successfully consummated on the 27” of June 2022.
“The consummation of the resolution is established in a TERNS OF SETTLEMENT which was willingly reached without any duress whatsoever between the two parties, the NLC and the Labour Partv and validated by the signatures of the President of the Nigeria Labour 
Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni. the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barr. Julius Abure, General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, and the National Secretary of the Labour Party, Alhaji Umar Farouk Ibrahim. 

The National treasurer of the Party  Mrs. Oluchi Oparah, who made the document available to the Guardian on Thursday  said, “The mark of a good and trustworthy person is in his ability to keep his word and respect agreement reached in the course of mediation settlement agreement in the Presence of Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) between the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) and Labour Party, (LP)

“It is only a morally bankrupt individual  who has no moral character that will reached, sign an agreement and then go publicly to deny such agreement. 

“The document above will prove to you what I have been saying about the existence of an agreement between the Labour Party and Nigeria Labour congress.

“Abure and his cohort can not continue on this path of lies and deception to justify their illegally convened and purportedly conducted national Convention.

“This agreement was sign consequent upon the mediation brokered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) between the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and the Labour Party which commenced on the 26th of April 2022 and at which commitments were made for an improved cordial relations between the two parties consequent on the court Judgement by Justice Gabriel Kolawole delivered on the 20th March 2018. 
This mediation settlement agreement was signed by Bar. Julius Abure and  Alhaji Umar Farouk the National Secretary of Labour Party on behalf of the Party while Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President of Nigeria Labour Congress and comrade Emmanuel Ubiaja, General Secretary of Labour Congress signed for the union

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