Friday, 12 May 2017 06:38

FIFA ELECTS NIGERIAN JUDGE INTO ITS ETHICS COMMITTEE

in Sports

Immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips has been elected as a member of FIFA Ethics Committee. 

Justice Phillips’ election was ratified on Thursday at the 67th FIFA Congress in Manama, Bahrain. 

The 68-year-old who studied law at the University of Lagos is presently Chairperson of Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.

She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1974. 

The new FIFA appointee retired from the High Court Bench in July 2014 upon the attainment of the statutory retirement age of 65 years. 

She had by then served Lagos State Government for 38 years out of which 20 years were spent on the High Court Bench.

The new FIFA Ethics Committee is headed by Vassilios Skouris of Greece, the longest serving President of the European Court of Justice.

The Nation

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 17:46

FG SUSPENDS FUNAAB VC OVER ALLEGED FRAUD

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The Federal Government has suspended the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Olusola Oyewole, who is currently facing a criminal charge in court.

The suspension order was conveyed in a letter signed by the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Hussaini Adamu.

The letter, directed Mr. Oyewole to hand over the affairs of the institution to the most senior staff.

The letter reads, “Sequel to your arraignment before an Ogun State High Court on criminal charges, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday 24th November 2016, I am directed to convey the Honourable Minister’s approval to place you on suspension from office with immediate effect pending the determination of the court case against you in accordance with extant rules”.

“You are therefore, directed to hand over the affairs of your office to the most senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, in the University.”

The EFCC charged Mr. Oyewole alongside the former pro chancellor of the school, Adeseye Ogunlewe, the bursar, Moses Ilesanmi, to court for alleged abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.

 Whistleblowers had tipped off the anti-graft agency and accused the trio of suspicious dealings totaling N800 million.

The case is before Justice O.C Majekodunmi of the state high court.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Public Relations of the University in a statement issued by its Head,  Mrs Emi Alawode says consultations are in progress with the University Administration on the true position of things.

 She said a normal academic and administrative activities are ongoing unabated, in the University, while a formal statement will be issued in due course. 

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 05:57

SHAKE-UP IN TOP HIERARCHY AS CUSTOMS RECONSTITUTES NEW MANAGEMENT

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Nigeria Customs Service has reconstituted its management and announced some key appointments to rejig the service toward greater efficiency.

 Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Attah, announced this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Attah said the service has appointed four Acting Deputy Comptroller-Generals (DCGs) and seven Acting Assistant Comptroller-Generals (ACGs) to re-engineer the management for efficient service delivery.

While re-constituting the new team, Attah said that Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, also approved the deployment of eight comptrollers.

 He said that the new management members include Alu Robert, ACG Tariff and Trade now Acting DCG Tariff and Trade; Olubiyi Ronke, ACG FATs now DCG HRD; ACG E.I.I Dangaladima Aminu now Acting DCG E.I.I; ACG Iferi Patience SR&P now Acting DCG SR&P; and ACG ExFTZ&I.I Chidi Augustine to Acting DCG ExFTZ&I.I.

Other appointments were Comptroller Investigation Hamza Ladan now Acting ACG FAT; Comptroller VAL Ekekezie Kaycee to Acting ACG T&T; Comptroller FOU Haruna Mamud to Acting ACG E.I.I; CAC ED/DT Mrs Sarki Umar now Acting ACG Ex.FTZ&I.I, and CAC Mrs Enwereuzor Francis now Acting ACG SR.

 CAC FCT Dahiru Aminu was also promoted to Acting ACG Zonal Coordinator, while DCG Umar Abubakar who was formerly in charge of Tariff and Trade was deployed to Finance, Administration and Technical Services.

Attah said that the customs boss has charged the appointees to bring their experiences to bear in the administration of the service. 

“The modest achievements of the ongoing reform agenda in the areas of revenue generation, anti-smuggling operations and trade facilitation must be sustained and improved upon in the interest of the nation", Attah said.

NAN

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 05:53

KANO ASSEMBLY TO PROBE EMIR SANUSI, DESPITE PLEAS BY 5 GOVERNORS

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Kano State House of Assembly has launched an investigation against Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi ll, over alleged abuse of office and improper conduct.

The emirate council is already being investigated by the state anti-corruption agency over allegation of financial fraud running into billions of naira.

The House yesterday constituted an 8-man committee to investigate eight offences allegedly committed by the emir.

The committee was constituted following a motion by Mr Ibrahim Ahmad Gama, Nassarawa Constituency.

The 8-man committee was headed by a member representing (Warawa), Mr Labaran Abdul.

The allegations are:  Accusing the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the state legislators of mismanaging state resources while on an official visit to China.

Making remarks in Kaduna on the proposed Kano light rail project which had tarnished his (Gama) image, the government and the assembly as well.

Allegation by the emir that the state governor and his entourage wasted one month in China seeking for loan to construct the light rail in the state.

On this Gama said “First of all, we did not spend one month in China. We only spent four days and our mission was to find out the capability of the company to handle the rail project but not to secure any loan as alleged by the emir.” 

He added that the emir’s allegation had caused serious embarrassment to him (the lawmaker), the state government and the House of Assembly within and outside the state. 

Intentionally attacking  President Muhammadu Buhari whenever he got an opportunity to speak at a public gathering. He said this had contravened the culture of traditional institution.

Embezzlement of funds belonging to the emirate council.

 Tarnishing the image of the emirate by assigning his daughter to represent him at a public function, introducing strange religious issues and involvement in politics.

 Downgrading the honour of the Kano emirate council by assigning his daughter to represent him at a function organised by the #BringBackourGirls# group in Abuja, saying it was against the emirate’s tradition.

On this he said: “There are many responsible members of Kano emirate council members that can represent the emir at the event instead of his daughter. This is the first time we are witnessing this kind of representation in the history of Kano emirate council.

“The mode of dressing of the Emir’s daughter at the event was an embarrassment not only to the emirate council but the entire people of Kano", he lamented. 

Gama, therefore, appealed to the house to investigate activities of the emirate council with a view to correcting things.

It would also be recalled that Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission is currently investigating Kano emirate council over alleged embezzlement of over N6 billion in three years.

 Three officials of the emirate council were expected to appear before the commission today (Thursday) to answer some questions as a continuation of the ongoing investigation which the commission commenced last month.

 However, Chairman of Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Agency, Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado said Kano state House of Assembly did not notify the commission on its decision to launch investigation into the activities of the emirate council.

He said, “The commission has suspended its investigation pending the outcome of the Assembly’s. This is because according to section 16 of the commission’s law, we are prevented from investigating any matter that is before the State Assembly, Executive and or court of law.

“And the law of the commission is a product of Kano State House of Assembly. So, as a mark of respect, we have suspended our investigation into the embezzlement of over N6 billion by Kano State Emirate Council pending outcome of the House ofAssembly’s investigation.

He said if the House investigation was only focused on the administrative aspect, the commission could have gone ahead with its ongoing investigation.” 

But he added that since it borders on allegation of financial fraud, the commission could not go concurrently with the assembly investigating the same issue.

When contacted for comment, Walin Kano, Alhaji Mahe Bashir Wali, said the emirate had not yet received any invitation letter from the State House of Assembly in respect of the probe.

“I only heard about the development on television, but we did not receive any invitation letter from the house in that respect,” he said.

 The probe is coming at a time when five northern governors -  Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna, Kashim Shettima of Borno, Aminu Masari of Katsina and Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger were said to have brokered a truce at a peace meeting in Kaduna penultimate Friday between Governor Ganduje and the Emir.

Daily Trust

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 05:49

2 NIGERIANS SHOT DEAD IN SOUTH AFRICA

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Nigeria Union in South Africa said on Wednesday that two Nigerians were shot dead in Western Cape Province of that country.

Mr Mike Ibitoye, Chairman of the Union's chapter in the province said in Cape Town, South Africa, that the Nigerians were  shot by unidentified assailants.

“Mr Ernest Ughakwesili, 42, native of Nkpor,  Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, was shot in a night club by gunmen at Strand Area of Cape Town on Sunday. 

“The assailants escaped after the shooting and the victim died before being rushed to the hospital", he said.

Ibitoye also said the second victim, Chimezie Oranusi, 26, from Oba town in Anambra State,  was  shot with a friend in a car at Delst area of Cape Town.

“The friend is a South African and is still in the hospital receiving treatment.

“The incidents have been reported to the police and the national secretariat of the union", he said. 

The chairman said that the motive behind the shootings had not been ascertained, adding that  the police had commenced investigation. 

Secretary of the union, Mr Adetola Olubajo, said the national secretariat had received the  report of the killings. 

“We have received report about the killing of two Nigerians in Cape Town, Western Cape Province of South Africa.

“The union's chapter in the province is handling the matter while the national body has reported the incident to the Nigerian Mission in South Africa.

“We urge Nigerians in South Africa to remain law abiding. We also  appeal to the Federal Government to continue to  protect the welfare of our people here", he said. 

NAN

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 05:43

FALAE'S FAMILY SUES AIRLINE, NCAA: CLAIMS $100,000, N219.9M

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The family of former Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, late Deji Falae, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to hold that Associated Aviation Nigeria Ltd and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, were responsible for his death in an air crash through negligence. Deji was the son of former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae.

The deceased was serving as commissioner in Ondo State and a passenger on board Flight 361 that crashed on October 3, 2013 while conveying the remains of former Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Agagu, for funeral. 

Late Falae’s wife, Ese and her three teenage children are claiming damages from the defendants for alleged negligence.

They are claiming $100,000 as general damages and N219,906, 250 which the deceased would have earned in 15 years as a lawyer had he not died.

The plaintiffs are seeking in the alternative, N108,527,750, £160,740 and $19,000 as special damages for alleged breaches of the defendants’ respective duties under the Civil Aviation Act 2006, Fatal Accident Act 1846 and Fatal Accident Law of Lagos State. 

They are also praying the court to award N5 million as cost of filing the suit and legal fees, and 10 per cent interest on the post-judgment sum.

Meanwhile, the defendants have prayed the court to dismiss the suit, with NCAA contending that the aircraft was airworthy as at the time of the crash and had a valid certificate of air worthiness. 

The family is contending that Associated Aviation, which operated the chartered aircraft, breached Section 74 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by failing to procure a legally binding insurance policy covering its liabilities, including compensation for damages that may be sustained by third parties.

It also wants the court to hold that the company breached statutory duties imposed by Section 55 of the Act when its aircraft at about 9.32 a.m., a minute after take-off, crash just outside the aerodrome and caused the deceased’s death.

 According to the family, “The first defendant flew its Flight 361 in such a manner as to cause danger to the occupiers of the aircraft and indeed cause the death of the deceased.

“The only inference that can be drawn from the circumstances of this incident is that the first defendant was negligent or lax in carrying out its duties to the occupiers of the flight.”

The plaintiff said the NCAA also failed in its duties to ensure that the aircraft was safe to fly.

Vanguard

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 20:30

AMOSUN RETIRES GENERAL MANAGERS OF OGTV, OGBC

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In what could be seen as a swift reaction to the strike embarked upon by the staff of the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, the General Managers of OGBC, Engr. Tunde Awolana and the General Manager of Ogun State Television, OGTV, Engr. Dele Bolujoko have been ordered to proceed on compulsory retirement from the Public Service of Ogun State.

The state Governor , Senator Ibikunle Amosun on Wednesday reportedly accepted the notices of voluntary retirement with effect from the affected General Managers .

The Head of Service, Abayomi Sobande in a statement said the retirement of the two affected General Managers takes immediate effect .

He said “on behalf of the Governor of Ogun State, I wish to seize this opportunity to appreciate the contributions of these General Managers to the development of the State and wish them success in their future endeavours.

“The Most Senior Management Staff of the two Government Agencies are hereby directed to take over the Management of the Agencies pending further directives from the office of the Head of Service”,he said .

Workers of OGBC, had on Wednesday started an indefinite strike over unpaid four months’ salaries.

Nigerian Newstrack gathered that the workers at the early hours of Wednesday had arrived the station and locked up the studio and offices to prevent the General Manager and top management staff from gaining access. 

The workers, who were led by Mr Abiodun Ogundipe, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Mr Ayo Aina, Chairman, Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers (RATTAWU) of the OGBC chapel had issued a three-day warning to the management to pay the salaries.

Ogundipe said there was no going back on the strike until their demands were met.

“We are not going back on the strike. The strike has not been suspended, we will continue until our demands are met, “he said.

The workers, had during a press conference on Friday, threatened an indefinite strike from Wednesday over non-payment of outstanding salaries.

They said that  inspite of  issuing three different notices to the management, nothing was done  to pay the outstanding salaries.

Apart from the arrears of salaries, the workers are also claiming that some pension deductions from 2012 till date totalling about N50 million had not been remitted.

The workers said deductions to the National Housing Fund of over N2 million were not remitted.

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:19

AIED, LAWYERS SLAM BUHARI ON OSINBAJO'S DESIGNATION AS 'COORDINATOR'

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Lawyers in the country and a Non Governmental Organisation, Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development, AIED have expressed divergent views on the appellation of the “Coordinator of Government Businesses” used by President Muhammadu Buhari to describe Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in the letter he sent to the Senate when leaving the country for medical follow-up in the United Kingdom. 

The lawyers yesterday bared their minds in separate interviews with New Telegraph. 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, said naming the Vice President as ‘Coordinator, Nation Affairs’ in the letter transmitted by President Buhari to the National Assembly is unconstitutional. 

Ozekhome said there is nothing like “Coordinator of National Affairs” in our Constitution. 

“That is a strange importation of an unknown term into our Constitution. Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution specifically refers to “Acting President”, who “shall perform the functions of the President as Acting President” whenever “the president is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office.”  

"PMB may have used the term jokingly, to represent one who is fully in charge in his absence. Certainly, it is not legally or constitutionally correct,” he stated.

Another lawyer, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, also said the description of VP as co-coordinator is superfluous, adding that the description suggests that there are other VPs, with Osinbajo acting as the coordinating VP, a sort of VP inter pares.

“Coordinator, by its ordinary meaning, suggests that the Coordinating VP is a coordinator, an organizer of government business. Put in another way, that the power of the VP relates only to coordination and not the discharge of the functions of the office of the President as stipulated by S.145 of the CFRN 1999. 

“The President’s power to discharge the functions of his office ends temporarily when he transmits letters to both chambers of the National Assembly stating ‘that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office. 

“The President cannot prescribe new functions for the VP outside such functions cognized by S.145 of the CFRN 1999.

“The marginal note of S.145 of the CFRN unequivocally names the VP as “Acting President during temporary absence of President. 

“Those paragraphs of the President’s letters to the two chambers of the National Assembly that describe the VP as a coordinator are superfluous, ultra vires and unconstitutional.

They should be expunged from the record by both chambers of the National Assembly,” Mahmud stated. 

In his own submissions, lawyer and rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, faulted the president on his choice of word, saying he has not transmitted power to the Vice President.

“As it stands in Nigeria today, we have no leader. There is no president and there is no Acting President in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

There is a vacuum. “The president has committed a constitutional illegality in travelling abroad without transmitting appropriate letter to the National Assembly.

 The letter written by the president does not meet the requirements of Section 145 of the Constitution. 

"This is because no president can travel out of his country for an indefinite period. He is not the doctor. The first time he travelled, he said he would be spending 10 days, but he later extended it.

"You cannot travel indefinitely in a country of more than 180 million people and hold the rest of us to ransom. 

“Secondly, the president has no power to impose a ‘National Coordinator’ on the people of Nigeria contrary to the Constitution.

A coordinator is somebody who is equal in rank to another person. Such an individual is powerless and a ceremonial person. 

“The implication of what the president has done is that he has not handed over power to the Vice-President, but to an invisible cabal.

As it is, the Vice-President has no power to take decisions and exercise the powers of the incumbent president,” Adegboruwa said. 

 Barr. Adekunle Fasugba noted that the term ‘Co-ordinator of Nation Affairs’ is a clear departure from the provision of the Constitution.

“The term is strange to our jurisprudence; it is not accepted in law. 

The Constitution is very clear as to what is obtainable.

“There is nowhere in the constitution that the Vice President is described as a co-ordinator in the absence of the President, rather he is Acting President. 

 “The term, not being known to the constitution suggests mischief,” he stated. 

However, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) was of the view that there should be no concern about the language used by the president to describe the Vice President in the letter.

According to him, the most important thing is that the president has complied with the provisions of the Constitution by transmitting the letter to the National Assembly when he was leaving for his trip abroad.

“I don’t think I have the right to comment on language used. All I know is that the relevant Section of the Constitution has been complied with and the Vice-President has transformed into an Acting President. 

 "It doesn’t matter what language was used. The important thing is that this letter was written and the provision of the Constitution has been complied with,” the silk said.

Speaking in the same vein, Seyi Sowemimo (SAN) said the controversy over the president’s language is unnecessary.

He said: “I think if the president does not use the appropriate words and we all know the circumstances, the Senate should just treat it as to the fact that there is an Acting president.

 “We are all living witness to the state of health of the president and there has been clamour that he should hand over to his vice to attend to his health. I don’t think this is the time for us to be involved in unnecessary controversy.

“The Senate should just simply take it that he has done the needful. It is the substance of the letter that is important and not the appellation. There is nothing like the ‘Coordinator of the Nation’s Affairs’ in the Constitution and it is inappropriate for the president to use such word.”

Meanwhile, Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED) has described the designation of Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo as ‘coordinator of national affairs’ via the notice of medical vacation submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as a desecration of the office of the President and a complete aberration.
 
In a statement issued by its Director of Research and Publicity, Comrade O’Seun John, the group accused the ‘cabal’ within the presidency of plotting to create confusion in the country by its continuous interference with the decision of the President.
 
According to AIED: ” We are extremely saddened with the content of President Buhari’s letter where he neglected tradition and voice of sanity to dance to the tune of political vampires by importing a lexicon alien to our constitution. While we are aware of the unambiguous provision of section 145, we are frightened by signals such as this on the peace and unity of our country.
 
“The new designation of Professor Osinbajo can only be interpreted to mean that President Buhari does not trust him enough to act as the President in his absence. With this reality, we are now forced to ask: who does President Buhari truly recognise as the Acting President?
 
This act has put paid to any form of doubt that the powers controlling the affairs of the country have greater influence and perhaps, control than the vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo” the statement read.
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:14

FG, AGIP TO SIGN $15 BILLION REFINERY, POWER PROJECT DEAL

in News

The Federal Government and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), a subsidiary of Italy’s ENI, have struck a deal to construct a $15 billion refinery in the Niger Delta. The deal will also include Agip’s investment in a power project.

In this regard, officials of Agip held a meeting with acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday with a view to opening discussions on the proposed investment.

The meeting agreed on the need to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery by Agip in the Zabazaba field, located in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245.

However, the $15 billion announced by the government for the refinery and power project raised eyebrows among industry observers who wondered why a mid-sized refinery and thermal power plant would gulp that kind of money. 

In comparison, they said the 650,000bpd refinery complex, including fertiliser and petrochemical units, being built by the Dangote Group at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, is costing $9 billion.

The meeting, which had in attendance Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, also discussed Agip’s assistance to Nigeria in the repairs of the Port Harcourt refinery.

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Kachikwu said the deal is aimed at discouraging oil companies operating in Nigeria from continuous fuel importation and encouraging them to refine oil locally.

Kachikwu said the deal was in pursuit of the federal government’s commitment to increase capacity for local production and consumption of petroleum products with a view to ending fuel importation in Nigeria within a scheduled period.

“We just finished a meeting with the acting president and Agip. In the meeting, we dealt with the issue of Agip’s investment in the Zabazaba field and their cooperation with us in the repairs of the Port Harcourt refinery.

“We reviewed, following my meeting with Agip, an agreement that the firm will build a brand new refinery of 150,000 bpd capacity which will be located in Port Harcourt or Brass.

“They have accepted and are preparing a memorandum of understanding along this line. The effect of this is that oil companies operating in Nigeria will begin to migrate from only exporting crude and begin to look at how to start refining crude so that we will be able to meet our local consumption.

“With this new refinery and along with other things, what we are going to do with the refinery in Port Harcourt gives us hope in our quest to try and increase our local capacity to produce the refined products we need in the country and to meet the timeline of 2019.

“We are now going ahead to work out the modalities with Agip. I am also calling on other multinationals to see what they can do along this line.

“In the area of power, Agip has the second largest plant which will be on stream by 2020. 

This is to make sure they are not only just taking away crude but have other local investments.

 “Total investments in the area of power and the refinery from Agip will be in excess of $15 billion,” Kachikwu said.

Thisday

 
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:11

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RAISES 2017 BUDGET BY N143 BILLION

in News

National Assembly has jerked up 2017 budget by N143 billion, from N7.298 trillion to N7.441trillion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Reports of the Appropriation committees of Senate and the House of Representatives were presented and laid yesterday. The presentation of the budget reports were postponed trice. 

At the Senate, Chairman of the Appropriation committee, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) laid the report and it was seconded by the Vice Chairman, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP, Ebonyi). 

Senate President Bukola Saraki said the budget would be passed tomorrow. 

At the House, the report was presented and laid by chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Mustapha Bala Dawaki (APC, Kano).

The sum of N2.174 trillion is for contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure; N434.412bn for Statutory Transfers; N1.841 trillion for debt service; N177.460bn for Sinking Fund for maturing bonds, while the sum of N2.990 trillion is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure.

With the presentation, the lawmakers are expected to begin clause-by-clause consideration of the budget. 

Our correspondents gathered N20bn was added to the budget by the lawmakers for the second runway at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

 Daily Trust

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