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APC, PDP yet to pick principal officers for Rep

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Political parties’ leaders in the House of Representatives have not communicated to Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila their choice or selection formula for the election of other principal officers of the House, it was revealed yesterday.

The House is currently on a two-week recess and it is expected that the principal officers for the majority party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and other minority parties, led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would emerge within the week of resumption.

Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, through the chairman of its ad hoc Committee on Media, Khadijah Bukar-Abba Ibrahim, the House said contrary to reports, no political party had made its intention on officials to its leadership.

She said today is the last day for the submission of the letter of intent for preferred committees of the House by members.
The lawmaker said Gbajabiamila was set to begin his tour of troubled regions with visits to Zamfara and Borno states to assess the situation of banditry and insurgency.
She said: “No political party has communicated its decision on principal officers to the Speaker. No party, be it the majority or minority has sat down to select its principal officer and they have not communicated to the Speaker yet on how they intend to go about it.”

Bukar-Abba noted that the Selection Committee had given lawmakers till today to submit their forms indicating their preferred committees where their competences would be best utilized.

Besides, the lawmaker, who was accompanied by other members of the committee, said office accommodation for the lawmakers would have been ready by the time the lawmakers return next week as the ad hoc Committee on Welfare had been working round the clock to ensure a hitch-free allocation process.

On the Zamfara and Borno states’ visits by the Speaker, Ibrahim said the reason behind it was for the Speaker to have first-hand knowledge of the situation of the people in the troubled region.

“The Speaker has always expressed concern about the country’s security situation. The visits would enable him to know what the people are going through and how to use the instrumentality of the legislature to address the situation.

“He is starting with Zamfara and Borno states before other regions. When he was hosted to a dinner by the Lagos State government, he also enjoined Nigerians to be patient and fully participate in the activities of the legislature by offering useful information and providing constructive criticisms.

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Embattled Kogi deputy governor kicks against his impeachment

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The sacked Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba has described his purported removal by the State House of Assembly as unconstitutional. Achuba also described the removal as illegality that will not stand the test of time.

This is coming as the Chairman of the panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against the sacked deputy governor, John Baiyeshea, has clarified that his committee did not indict him because it could not prove the allegations leveled against him.
The embattled former deputy governor disclosed this in a press conference shortly after moving out of the official residence of the deputy governor in Lokoja, the state capital.

He said swearing-in anyone else will amount to a continuation of illegality being perpetrated by Governor Yahaya Bello.

Achuba described his ordeal as the height of the disobedience of the rule of law, which should be the major driver in a democracy.

He further disclosed to journalists that even as a sitting deputy governor, he was treated like a common criminal, held under house arrest, his house disconnected from the public power source.

He described the treatment given to him as completely illegal and inhumane, adding that the situation in the state is a shame and an insult to the state, and the country in general.

While insisting that he remains the Kogi State deputy governor, he described the sitting by the state House of Assembly that sacked him as Kangaroo, saying their process goes contrary to Section 181 of the 1999 constitution.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against the sacked deputy governor, John Baiyeshea, has clarified that his committee did not indict him.

Describing the announcement that Achuba had been removed as “the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life”, Baiyeshea said the report of the panel was submitted when the state assembly was not in session.

He said in accordance with the law, the lawmakers could not have commenced the removal proceedings since the panel could not prove the allegations against Achuba.

“This is the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life,” he said in an interview, according to The Cable.

“We submitted the report to the speaker around 1 p.m. and I left Lokoja for Abuja. I was at Gwagwalada area when one of the panel’s members who had not left Lokoja called to tell me that he saw it on television that the deputy governor had been impeached.

“As far as the report that we submitted to the house of assembly is concerned, the committee returned the decision that all the allegations were not proved. What the constitution said by section 188(8) is that, ‘once the panel returns a verdict like that. No further proceedings can be taken on it.’

“That is it. It is only when the panel returns a verdict that allegations have been proved (to be true) that they can go ahead within 40 days. When did the house sit? We delivered the documents and the house was not even in session today.”

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Senate rejects Niger Delta budget

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The Senate Committee on Niger Delta on Monday rejected the 2020 budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for omitting major ongoing projects in its capital appropriation. Senate Committee on Niger Delta Chairman Senator Peter Nwaoboshi asked that the budget be re-represented.

The Senator representing Delta North said there were abandoned projects in the nine oil-producing states.
Other senators said there was a need to increase the ministry’s capital budget.

He said: “There is no state, I dare to say, there is no local government where there are no abandoned projects in the Niger Delta.

“We cannot continue like that. With all the abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, we are talking about new projects; these new projects are designed to fail.
“Honourable Minister, we need to look at this budget again and we expect you to do your cleanup because the documents we needed were not supplied to us.”

According to him, “proliferation of abandoned projects cannot continue.”

Nwaoboshi said President Muhammadu Buhari had not inaugurated any completed project executed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the last four years.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe noted that the Ministry’s budget is an “uncommon budget.”

“When a budget is designed to fail, it is uncommon,” Abaribe said.

He added: “I will suggest that the budget should be taken back for reworking, taking into cognizance all the projects that were pointed out and we give them another day to come and defend the budget.”

Senator Rochas Okorocha noted that the budget was not different from the ministry’s budget of two or three years ago.

“This type of budget doesn’t produce anything feasible,” Okorocha said, adding: “You have to do your projects and complete them so you don’t sound like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“One of the worst establishments is NDDC known for funny activities because of the way it is set up.”

Senator Sandy Onor Ojang, representing Cross River Central, lamented a situation where capital components of yearly budgets would not be released to ministries.

He said: “We are faced again with the vanity of having a budget and almost through the budget year, there are no capital releases. It calls for concern and deep worry.”

Ojang decried a situation where the capital outlay is even lower than other costs.

“To speak of a situation where nothing is released for capital is a tragedy,” he said.

But, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the ministry’s budget was not rejected.

Akpabio urged the lawmakers to join him in appealing to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to increase the capital component of the ministry’s budget.

He insisted that the ministry’s capital budget cannot complete a 10kilometre road in the region.

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Kogi gets new deputy governor

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Former Chief of Staff to Kogi State governor, Mr. Edward Onoja, yesterday took the oath of office as the new deputy governor of the state. He was sworn in by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, who had earlier set up a committee that cleared Achuba of allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him.


However, despite being cleared by the panel, headed by Mr. John Baiyeshea (SAN), the state House of Assembly summarily removed Achuba, contrary to Section 188 (8) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Section 188, subsection 8 reads: “Where the panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.”
Ajanah administered the oath of office on the new deputy governor at the Banquet Hall of the Lugard House, Lokoja.

In his speech, Bello charged the new deputy governor to sustain his quality of service that brought him to the limelight.
He said: “It is good to be good. My joy today has no bound because the swearing-in of my former chief of staff as my second-in-command is historical. The journey between me and my twin brother, Edward David Onoja, that has brought us to where we are now didn’t just start today.”

The governor expressed optimism that with the combination of him and his new deputy, Kogi State will enjoy more turnaround of its fortunes.

The Speaker of state House of Assembly, Hon. Matthew Kolawole said the lawmakers, after a critical look into the report submitted to the House by the judicial panel that investigated the allegations of gross misconduct against Achuba, found him guilty of the offence that had led to his removal.
Onoja thanked Bello for finding him worthy of the elevation and also appreciated the state House of Assembly and the chief judge for standing up to their constitutional obligation under the situation that brought him on board.

Onoja expressed gratitude to God for the mistakes of Achuba, which paved the way for being picked to occupy the exalted position.

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Nnamdi Kanu blames FG for mother’s death

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Ugoeze Sally Meme Kanu, mother of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu is dead. Kanu, who announced the mother’s death on Sunday, said she died August 30, 2019, in Germany after doctors battled unsuccessfully over a protracted illness she suffered.


The freedom fighter linked the federal government to the death, citing alleged soldiers’ invasion of his Umuahia, Abia State residence in September 2017.

He said: “Watching her children being hunted and killed by the federal government was the cause of her illness, and today we have lost her.”
He, however, pledged not to be deterred by the death in his struggle for the actualization of Biafra republic.

“I had said before that I was ready to sacrifice anything for Biafra, and today I have sacrificed my mum. We will not be deterred, we shall continue to fight for the freedom of our people.”

The IPOB leader, who disclosed his mum died long before his visit to the UN and several other engagements, described such resilience as a demonstration that the loss of his mother has not dampened his spirit.

He was however silent on the burial arrangements as well as reasons behind the belated announcement.

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