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CSJ Raises Concerns over Tinubu’s Request to NASS for Approval of N500 Billion Fund for Palliatives

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CSJ Raises Concerns over Tinubu’s Request to NASS for Approval of N500 Billion Fund for Palliatives

By: Michael Mike

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a Nigerian Knowledge Institution is deeply concerned about the request made by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the National Assembly for an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act.

The President has requested a substantial amount of N500 billion from the 2022 supplementary budget to provide palliatives aimed at cushioning the effect of fuel subsidy removal.

CSJ, in a statement on Thursday said it finds it disconcerting that such a request is being made in July, the seventh month of the 2023 financial year for an amendment to the previous year’s supplementary budget, stressing that this raises questions about the propriety of the timing and the potential impact on fiscal planning and budgetary processes.

It said it was wrong to implement and proposed virements from the 2022 federal budget in July of 2023, insisting that this rubbishes the idea of a financial year defined as the period commencing on January 1 and ending on the 31st of December of every year.

The CSJ said: “In fact, and in logical parlance, the Federal Government cannot be proposing to use the 2022 budget to alleviate the hardship arising from the fuel subsidy removal that was announced in the middle of 2023.

“We note that the President’s request lacks specificity and vital details regarding how the proposed N500 billion will be allocated, spent and utilized. Without specific information on the intended purpose, target beneficiaries, etc, this request violates S.81 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 199 as amended vis: “The heads of expenditure contained in the estimates (other than expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation by this Constitution) shall be included in a bill, to be known as an Appropriation Bill, providing for the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the sums necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified therein”.

The CSJ described the request as neither transparent nor accountable; and best described as unconstitutional.

The statement added that: “CSJ strongly urges the National Assembly to assert its constitutional power of appropriation and demand that the requested amount’s specifics and the planned utilization be sent to it for vetting before approval. It is crucial for the government to follow the rule of law, demonstrate transparency and accountability in financial matters, especially when dealing with significant amounts of public funds.

“We emphasize that Nigeria’s fiscal challenges require a long-term and strategic approach rather than ad hoc measures. Short-term fixes, like a sprint run, may provide temporary relief, but they do not address the root causes of our fiscal imbalances. A comprehensive policy framework and sustainable solutions are needed to ensure long-term stability and prosperity for all Nigerians.

“We urge the Federal Government to follow the Constitution, prioritize transparency, engage in inclusive decision-making processes, and pursue evidence-based policies that address the underlying issues affecting our economy.”

The CSJ said it this provide for the National Assembly an opportunity to stamp its authority and avoid being tagged early in the day, as a rubberstamp institution.

CSJ Raises Concerns over Tinubu’s Request to NASS for Approval of N500 Billion Fund for Palliatives

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Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023

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Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023

By: Michael Mike

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, was honoured on Saturday with the Visionary Leader/Pillar of Democracy Award for the year 2023 by Champion Newspaper for his outstanding contributions to the development and progress of his state.

The award ceremony, held at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos, is an annual high-stake platform designed to celebrate outstanding Nigerians, institutions and companies for their excellent and profound contributions to Nigeria’s social and economic development.

Presenting the award, the chairman of the occasion, who is also the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), described it as a worthy recognition.

He said, “ Borno has been faced with so many issues that are compounding for any governor, but I am happy to observe that Governor Umara Zulum is doing very well. So this award is well-deserved.”

Zulum, who was represented by Borno Deputy Governor, Umar Usman Kadafur, said, “On behalf of my governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, I appreciate the management of Champion Newspaper for recognising our effort in the development of Borno State.”

The governor added, “this award is a challenge to do more for the people of Borno State.”

Other prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations, including the governors of Akwa Ibom, Umo Bassey Eno, Enugu, Dr Peter Mbah, and that of Anambra, Prof. Charles Soludo.

Also awarded were the GCEO NNPCL, Mele Kyari, Rear Admiral Kasimu Musa, Dr Abije Dabiri, Fidelity Bank Plc, and First Bank Plc, among others.

Kadafur was accompanied by the member representing Konduga at the State Assembly, Bukar Modu, SSA on Media to Governor Zulum, Baba Shielh Haruna and that of New Media, Abdurrahman Ahmed Bundi, and other senior government officials.

Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023

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Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport

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Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport

. As NDLEA busts drug trafficking syndicate at Lagos airport

By: Michael Mike

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a 48-year-old Paris-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

This he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi said Okechukwu who also claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe was arrested last Tuesday during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris.

He said after a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilogrammes over a period of three days.

Babafemi said the suspect claimed he does business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him.

NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos in another clampdown have dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

According to Babafemi, this followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8 kilogrammes of methamphetamine and 7.6 kilogrammes of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

He revealed that the lid was blown off the syndicate when an official within the airport system was intercepted with a backpack and a bag at the departure hall of Terminal 1 of the airport by NDLEA officers with the support of Aviation Security officers last Tuesday, with a search of the bags leading to the discovery of the illicit substances.

He said a swift follow-up operation at Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu.

Babafemi noted that further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system last Saturday.

In a related development, NDLEA operatives at the NAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport have arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun over her attempt to cargo eight parcels of cocaine weighing 2 kilogrammes concealed in three out of six paint buckets containing shea butter packaged for export to the United Kingdom last Wednesday.

In Igbo Elerin in Ojo local government area of Lagos State, NDLEA officers on Tuesday 21st May arrested a suspect, Odumegwu Obijofor producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, Babafemi added that no fewer than 2,480 litres of the New Psychoactive Substance, NPS, were recovered from his clandestine factory when he was arrested.

In Cross River state, while Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5 kilogrammes of cannabis at Ukpada Utugwan village, 29 sacks of the same substance weighing 290 kilogrammes were recovered from the warehouse of another suspect, Usani Ikpi, who is currently at large. Three suspects: Sa’adu Sule, 23; Mukhtar Nura, 23; and Hamza Nura, 18, were nabbed at Jabiri Funtua, Katsina state last Friday with 129 blocks of cannabis weighing 70 kilogrammes coming from Ogere, Ogun state.

The spokesman added that no fewer than five suspects including: Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by NDLEA operatives on Thursday 23rd May during raids at Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of FCT, Abuja, where 95.01 kilogrammes of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

In Edo state, operatives arrested a physically challenged alleged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday 22nd May. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grammes of Loud, 178 grammes of tramadol and pills of swinol.

He revealed that the various commands of the agency across the country
continued with the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign in the past week.

Meanwhile, while commending the officers and men of the NAIA, MMIA, FCT, Lagos, Cross River, Katsina, and Edo commands of the agency for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures.

Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport

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Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe

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Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe

By: Yahaya Wakili

Yobe State Governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni CON, has revealed that trade fairs are widely believed to provide access to research findings, new technologies, and ideas towards actualizing scientific and economic advancement for industrialists and policymakers through face-to-face interactions.

He highlighted some abundant and yet untapped resources in terms of solid mineral resources, deposits of oil, vast arable land suitable for both irrigation and rain-fed agricultural activities, and the highest livestock population in the country.

Governor Mai Mala Buni disclosed this at the Yobe State Special Day at the 15th North East joint domestic trade fair held at Bauchi, the Bauchi state capital.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana, was impressed with the theme for this year’s event, “Combating security challenges and the way forward for Nigerian economic transformation.”

He pointed out that the diverse people of the state showcased their cultural heritage at the festival from all seventeen local government areas of the state.

Buni commended the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism contingent and state officials for showcasing the cultural heritage of the state.

Governor Buni expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Bauchi state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, for hosting the event.

The North East Colliation of Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mine, and Agriculture presents an award to Governor Mai Mala Buni CON in appreciation of government support for the chamber of commerce.

Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe

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