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NASS ’ s Many Probe Reports Gathering Dust In Presidency

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images 2020 08 26T100013.944 NASS ’ s Many Probe Reports Gathering Dust In Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence on retaining the nation’s service chiefs despite opposition to it is just one out of the many instances the executive arm of government undermine efforts by the National Assembly to contribute to the security and wellbeing of Nigerians. The House of Representatives had, in February, asked the president to declare a state of emergency on insecurity and sack all the service chiefs for not living up to expectation.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Ahmed Wase, who spoke on the vexed issue of insecurity, expressed regrets that in spite of the vote-of-no-confidence passed on the service chiefs, they were yet to be sacked, just as the security situation keeps getting worse in communities and states across the country.
“How do we survive as a nation when insecurity has become the order of the day?” he asked during the debate on a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Sada Soli last June.
The Rep’s Deputy Whip, Mrs. Onyejiocha Nkeiruka, expressed anger on the issue, when she said, “It is only in Nigeria that you fail and remain in office. We should not celebrate failure and we should be bold enough to tell those who have failed that they have failed, even if that person is your father.”
Till date, cases of terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry remain a daily occurrence in Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina Kaduna, Kogi, Plateau, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, and other parts of the country. A similar scenario where the executive displayed lukewarm attitude played out in the 8th Assembly, when Senator Bukola Saraki held sway, as Senate President.
At the end of an emergency session that lasted over four hours, the two chambers of the National Assembly reaffirmed a vote-of-no-confidence earlier passed on Mr. Ibrahim Idris, then Inspector General of Police. The lawmakers had accused the police chief of doing “nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the president and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative.”
They urged Buhari to adhere strictly to the rule of law, show sincerity in the fight against corruption, and quit harassing “perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions, including legislators and the judiciary”.
The 12-point resolutions at the time included the call for the security agencies to be given the marching order to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect life and property as the primary duty of any responsible government. Unlike the 8th Assembly, whereby Buhari was subtly threatened with impeachment proceedings over alleged constitutional breaches, it’s unlikely if the Senator Ahmed Lawan-led 9th Assembly, which is conciliatory in nature, would be able to toe same path.
The Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, had observed that the refusal by the executive arm to implement a series of recommendations by the National Assembly was tantamount to encouraging impunity in the polity. The pro-democracy activist, however, stated that the conduct of some of the lawmakers in the course of over-sighting the executive arm leaves much to be desired.
According to her, “The executive has no reason or justification to do that because it actually defeats the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances. Without implementation, the National Assembly is being turned into a toothless bulldog. The National Assembly has not also helped itself with consistent allegations of grafts and influence-peddling facing it by the executive.”
Among the deluge of probe reports was the one on the legality or otherwise of the sack of the Managing Director, Chief Executive officer of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Adebayo and 11 other top management officials, which saw the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige have an open altercation with the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Mr. James Faleke. The House, in a bid to protect the rights and liberties of citizens by curbing the excesses of the executive arm, ordered the officials’ immediate reinstatement.
Adopting the report of the Miriam Onuoha-led ad-hoc committee, the House declared that the procedure leading to the suspension of the NSITF officials was in breach of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Act. The lawmakers urged President Buhari, through the office of Secretary to the Federal Government, to reinstate the officials and ensure that due process is observed in line with laid down rules.
The House further urged the Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to review disciplinary action against the chief executives of Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
A member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Mark Gbillah (representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency of Benue State) heaped the blame of non-execution of probe reports and recommendation on President Buhari. He accused the executive arm of treating the National Assembly with disdain. Gbillah claimed that over-indulging the executive arm in alleged corruption practices was solely responsible for the executive sidetracking the activities of the legislative arm of government.
Gbillah, who was Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream in the 8th Assembly, further contended that the situation has been worsened due to the emergence of the Ahmed Lawan/Femi Gbajabiamila leadership of the National Assembly, considered to be mere appendages of the executive arm.
According to him: “Under this administration, it is clear that the anti-corruption fight is a fallacy; it was just propaganda, because under this president, there were several probe reports thrown under the carpet with no concern being expressed either by the president or anybody under him.
“You can see that even the anti-corruption boss himself is being probed. The attorney general himself, who is the one who raised the issue of the acting EFCC boss, is being accused of corruption. So it’s corruption galore in this administration.
“And I will also want to emphasise the fact that Nigerians should now understand where corruption thrives in this country. They keep castigating and maligning the National Assembly, but they don’t realise that every year the budget of this country is shared in a manner such that the executive is always in custody of about 97.8 per cent. The entire budget of a whole legislature is about 1.2 to 1.4 per cent of the annual budget while the judiciary is one per cent or 1.2 per cent. The executive, where only one man actually operates, sit on majority of the funds.
“That is obviously where corruption thrives. And it is important to also note that under President Buhari’s watch as minister of petroleum, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is rife with a lot of fraud allegations from Ibe Kachikwu’s time till date, and nobody has addressed that issue. Nigerians should be aware that NNPC does not bring its budget to the National Assembly, and so it operates with impunity. Now, that is not a government that claims to be transparent or fighting corruption.
“The National Assembly has also abdicated its responsibility. That is why Nigerians, including some of us in the House, were concerned about what we perceived might be a lame duck legislature. Here, you have individuals handpicked by the executive. This is a defining moment for them on the issue with Festus Keyamo, which till date, they have not been able to address. The National Assembly was harassed from doing its work. There is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) issue. The report has come out and Mr. President has practically kept mum over it and several other issues. Recently, a committee has to petition the president for lack of response from NNPC, which believes it is larger than life.
“So, maybe when we initiate an impeachment process against the president, if we have the leadership that has the balls to do so, then maybe the executive would rise up to its responsibility, because that is what Nigerians elected us for: to hold the executive accountable, which we are not doing. So ministers and heads of agencies treat the National Assembly with complete disregard and odium and that is why we shirk in our responsibilities.
“The issues of NDDC should have been unearthed by the National Assembly, the issues in EFCC should have been unearthed by the National Assembly. The National Assembly was appropriating funds for an acting EFCC chairman, which is unheard of. We should have stopped funding that agency until the president did what was necessary. And we should stop funding the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Army until the service chiefs are changed.
“Everyday we raise motions on change of the service chiefs, pass votes-of-no-confidence and we sit back and do nothing. It’s a shame on the National Assembly, which I am part of. It’s a shame on us, a shame on the leadership that doesn’t seem to have the balls to hold this executive accountable.”
However, another member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olajide Olatubosun, disagrees with Hon. Gbillah that the National Assembly has become a rubber-stamp of the executive arm. The lawmaker, representing Atisbo/Saki East/Saki East Federal Constituency of Oyo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), argued that the conciliatory nature of the 9th Assembly should not be mistaken for weakness.
“Resolutions by their nature are not laws or acts of the National Assembly that must be implemented and that if you don’t, there would be penalties that are stated in the law,” Olatunbosun countered. “Resolutions are advisory, to the best of my understanding, and when they get to the executive, they have to study them and take decision in the best interest of the country.
“On the NDDC report, it was recently adopted in the Senate. I want to believe that it is still being studied. That of the House is not yet completed. Also on call for the sack of the service chiefs, it was just advice to the president. The president is the commander-in-chief. The buck stops at his table. We advised him and he has refused to take that advice till today.
“On talks that we have become a rubber-stamp, my take is, we are not. What we have is more of cooperation and collaboration with the executive arm for good governance. It doesn’t mean it is when we antagonise the executive that we will be seen to be doing our work. You can see that, successfully, we reverted to the January to December budget cycle.
“That is part of the benefits of the cooperation. For almost 16 years, Nigeria was doing June to May cycle. So for the first time, within three to four months, that was achieved. So I hope and pray that such collaboration will be sustained. That notwithstanding, there should be checks and balances to avert tyranny. But I don’t subscribe to the fact that the Assembly is a rubber-stamp.”

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FG , States , LGs Share N682 .060 Billion As Allocation For August , 2020

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images 79 2 FG , States , LGs Share N682 .060 Billion As Allocation For August , 2020

FG, States, LGs Share N682.060bn As Allocation For August, 2020
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N682.060 billion August 2020 federation account revenue to the Federal, States and Local Government Councils and agencies.
This was made known after the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for September 2020 held through virtual conferencing; chaired by Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance.
The gross statutory revenue of N531.830 billion was received for the month of August 2020. This was lower than the N543.788 billion received in the previous month by N11.958 billion.
The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N150.230 billion as against N132.619 billion available in the previous month, resulting in an increase of N17.611 billion.
A communiqué issued by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) indicated that from the total distributable revenue of N682.060 billion; the Federal Government received N272.905 billion, the State Governments received N197.648 billion and the Local Government Councils received N147.422 billion.
The Oil Producing States received N30.881 billion as 13% derivation revenue, while cost of revenue collection and transfers collectively had allocation of N33.205 billion.
The Federal Government received N251.948 billion from the gross statutory revenue of N531.830 billion; the State Governments received N 127.791 billion and the Local Government Councils received N98.522 billion.
N30.881 billion was given to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue and N22.689 billion was the collective total for cost of revenue collection, transfers and refund to agencies.
The Federal Government received N20.957 billion from the Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N150.230 billion. The State Governments received N69.857billion; the Local Government Councils received N48.900 billion, while cost of revenue collection and transfers collectively had allocation of N10.516 billion.
The Communiqué stated that for the month of August 2020, Oil and Gas Royalty, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Import and Excise Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) increased considerably, while Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) decreased significantly.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at 17th September, 2020 was $72.409 million.

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Lokoja Tanker Explosion: Pupil, 9 Others Dead

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images 75 2 Lokoja Tanker Explosion: Pupil, 9 Others Dead

A primary school pupil died on Wednesday alongside nine persons after a petrol tanker exploded at Felele area of Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
It was gathered that the tanker lost control and rammed into oncoming vehicles before going up in flames around 8am.
Some of the victims are Kogi State Polytechnic students.
The emergency responders failed to attend to the fire for over one hour.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello in a statement by his spokesperson Onogwu Muhammed commiserated with the bereaved families.
“It is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” he said.
He also urged students of the polytechnic to maintain peace.

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Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

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images 66 2 Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

A Nigerian, Felix Osilama Okpoh, who is wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 different businesses in the United States, has turned himself in to Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Okpoh, 31, who allegedly conspired with five others to defraud their American victims of over $6million, was led to the Lagos office of the EFCC by his father, retired Colonel Garuba Okpoh and his mother Justina Okpoh.
A spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspect surrendered on September 18 and that investigations into his case had since commenced.
Mr Uwujaren quoted Mr Okpoh as saying, during interrogation, that he decided to surrender himself to the Commission out of respect for his parents and his resolve to be morally upright.
The FBI accused the suspect of allegedly providing hundreds of bank accounts to Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh and other co-conspirators, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson, that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
Bank accounts that Mr Okpoh allegedly provided to Mr Uzuh allegedly received fraudulent wire transfers from victim businesses totalling over $1million
On August 21, 2019, Mr Okpoh was indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. On August 22, 2019, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.
On June 16, 2020, United States Attorney Joe Kelly and Kristi K. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the unsealing of indictments charging the six Nigerians for their involvement in the fraud schemes.
“The schemes included individual victims and victim businesses both in Nebraska and other states,” the U.S.
Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the indictment. “BECs are sophisticated cybercrimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearinghouse transfers.”
“The indictments charge the defendants with one or more of the following violations of federal law: 1) Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000; 2) Identity theft and access device fraud, each punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
“The Nigerian nationals charged and still at large are Richard Uzuh; Micheal Olorunyomi; Alex Ogunshakin; Felix Okpoh; Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson. An indictment is a formal accusation returned by a grand jury upon establishing probable cause. The indictment is not evidence of guilt and defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence. Two related defendants have entered pleas of guilty. Adewale Aniyeloye was sentenced in the District of Nebraska to 96 months’ imprisonment for wire fraud. Onome Ijomone received a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”

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