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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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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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