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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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Senate passes for 2nd reading Tinubu’s bill seeking for re – introduction of old National Anthem

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An Executive Bill forwarded to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu seeking for re – introduction of the old National Anthem which starts with popular phrase of ” Nigeria, We Hail Thee’ received accelerated consideration as it scaled second reading
In giving the Executive bill, accelerated consideration, the upper chamber passed it for second reading during plenary on Thursday.
The Senate, after giving the bill, first reading, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central ), made a lead debate on it for second reading.
The Senate Leader in the lead debate on the bill, said the Bill seeks to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old National Anthem that would promote better symbol for unity, peace and prosperity – compared to the current one.
” The old Anthem if reintroduced, will inspire in us the zeal to build a fully integrated and indivisible nation, whereby all citizens will live in unity and harmony”, he said .
He explained further that the old National Anthem was more patriotism and Nationalism – driven.
His words : ” The Anthem, upon rendition, inspired and stimulated deep sense of patriotism in Nigerians. You will also agree with me that those who were around in the 60s and the late 70s, would attest to the fact that the Anthem played quite a significant and crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity, as well as engendered high sense of value and personal belonging amongst the citizenry.
“It was symbolic of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and nationhood. In retrospect, the Anthem served as regular and constant reminder of our journey, as a nation and provoked feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.
“Mr President, my dear colleagues, at this momentous time in our national history, it is imperative that we utilise any platform that seeks to unite the country and promote patriotism amongst Nigerians.
“Accordingly, the old National Anthem, as a symbol of national pride, has provided insights for patriotic reflections on our aspirations, values and hope for a united and prosperous Nigeria.
“Finally, I implore you all, my Distinguished Colleagues, to support the expeditious passage of this Bill, as it is in line with the RENEWED Reorientation of our collective values and national conscientization efforts of the current administration.
“The rendition and musical accuracy of the Anthem, is better in content and context than the current one. On this note, permit me at this juncture, to reproduce the Anthem to serve as a reminder and reflection:
“Nigeria, We Hail Thee
Nigeria we hail thee
Our own dear native land,
Though travelling and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland
“Our Flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain,
“O God of creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed.”
All the Senators who contributed to the debate , supported the bill and called for its expeditious consideration and passage .
Senator Tahir Monguno ( APC Borno North ) , described the bill as apt and germane.
In his own contribution , Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South ) , said the move made by the presidency to replace the current National Anthem with the new one was very apt and necessary.
According to him, Nigeria, We Hail Thee, is far more inspiring and Nationalistic than Arise O Compatriots.
Senator Victor Umeh ( Labour Party, Anambra South), also supported the bill by declaring that the wordings in the current National Anthem are vague.
The bill was accordingly passed for second reading on the strength of supports given it by all the Senators who contributed to debate on it , after which the President of the Senate , Godswill Akpabio, mandated the Senate Committees on Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal matters, Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs , to make further legislative inputs on it and report back very soon .

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30 CSOs denounce Lawyers who dragged EFCC chair before UN, UK, others

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***describe them as jobless detractors, paid hecklers, defenders of Injustice

Lawyers who dragged the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olanipekun Olukoyede to the United Nations, United Kingdom and other international nations have been called out by 30 civil society groups

The lawyers had on Friday accused the EFCC boss of flagrantly disregarding valid court orders and breaching the constitutional rights of Nigerians.

At a press conference on Saturday, the Convener of the 30 Civil Societies and Chairman of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria, Mr. Adams Otakwu, indicated that the allegation against the EFCC by the lawyers is a slap on the entire nation, aimed at distracting and derailing the ongoing war on corruption.

The Nigerian Civil Societies denounced the lawyers’ unfounded claims and “dismissed the group as jobless detractors, paid hecklers and defenders of Injustice unknown to the civil society.

“The assertions put forth by these lawyers, accusing the EFCC of flouting court orders and infringing upon the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens, are not only devoid of merit but are also symptomatic of a deliberate attempt to impede the ongoing efforts of the EFCC to combat corruption and promote accountability within our nation.

“It is imperative to underscore that actions undertaken by Mr. Olukoyede are not personal endeavors but are emblematic of the steadfast commitment of the EFCC as an institution of the Nigerian people to uphold the rule of law and foster transparency in governance. Any insinuation to the contrary is not only fallacious but also an affront to the integrity of the EFCC and the Nigerian People.

“Furthermore, we categorically reject the insinuation that these self-proclaimed defenders of justice are acting in the interest of the Nigerian populace. On the contrary, it is evident that they are driven by ulterior motives, perhaps influenced by vested interests seeking to undermine the progress achieved by the EFCC and the watchful Civil Society of Nigeria in the last six months.”

The groups urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union not to listen to the so call lawyers.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union should entertain the baseless demands of these individuals. Such propositions are not only preposterous but also reflective of a desperate attempt to garner attention through sensationalism and misinformation.

“We call on the international community to disregard these frivolous allegations and instead lend unwavering support to the EFCC and the Nigerian State in the noble pursuit of combating corruption and promoting good governance.

“The EFCC has made significant strides in the fight against corruption in the last six months, and the Nigerian Civil Society remains confident in the ability of the EFCC to steer our nation towards a future free from the scourge of corruption,” the groups said.

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Uphold virtues of Ethics, Civic Education, Akpabio charges Scout Association of Nigeria

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The Scout Movement of Nigeria has been admonished to inculcate in Nigerian youths virtues of national ethics and the need to be prepared for any eventuality in life all the time
The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio gave the admonition when the Chief Commissioner of The Scout Association of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah led other executive members of the Association on a courtesy to him at the National Assembly.
The Association visited Akpabio as one of their own to brief him on the forthcoming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Award event coming up in Abuja from 17-21 May, 2024.

In his opening remarks, The Chief Commissioner of Scout of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah expressed their joy over the elevation Senator Godswill Akpabio to the position of President of the Senate of Nigeria, stating that Senator Akpabio’s quality as a young scout has propelled him to excel in his tasks as one of the best governors Nigeria ever produced and now his giant strides in his short stay as President of the Senate.

Padopads-Awunah further recalled the role the senate president played by paying for scouts and ensuring Nigeria Scouts were represented at the world scout jamboree in Japan during his period as governor.

In his response, Akpabio expressed his joy at the visit and recalled with nolstagia, his period as a young scout.
He highlighted the tenets of scouting which he said help in molding the character of persons who grow in good citizens of their country.
He stated his commitment to amending the Boy Scout Act of Nigeria and also assist the association in delivering on their core mission to the young people of Nigeria

A statement by the Special Assistant to the President of the Senate, Anietie Ekong quoted Senator Akpabio as having advised the Association on the need for discipline, continuous education on issues like climate change and artificial intelligence.

According to Senator Akpabio, “I don’t know at what stage that Nigeria stopped having organizations like yours in primary and secondary schools. In my time, we had Scout Movements in primary and secondary schools. We even use to have the female counterpart, The Girls’ Guide.

“These Movements inculcated right ethics and ethos on the young ones, getting them to know their country, the national pledge, national anthem and respect for national symbols like the national flags and currency.

“The Scout Movement should prepare the youths for leadership in all spheres of life and that is why the motto of the Scouts, “Be Prepared” appeals to me. You should be prepared for situations that are favourable, be prepared for the rainy season and dry season; be prepared for the season of bountiful harvest and even famine,” he said.

Senator Akpabio extolled the Scouts Movement as a disciplined organization which should be encouraged through training and retraining on contemporary issues like climate change and artificial intelligence and pledged the support of the National Assembly in their programmes.

Mr. Awunah who led the delegation intimated the Senate President on the forth-coming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Medal Awards, sought the collaboration of the National Assembly in executing their programmes that would ne of immense benefit to Nigerian youths.
The deputy senate president and other leaders of the senate were present at the event where the President of the senate was decorated by the Chief Commissioner alongside his colleagues

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