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FG To Borrow N722.53bn For Security Spendings, Wants N895.84bn for COVID-19 Vaccines, Others

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COVID-19

The federal government has prepared a supplementary budget of N895.84 billion for the provision of COVID-19 pandemic vaccines and military hardware, which it will soon present to the National Assembly.

 

 

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told reporters yesterday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja that the council also approved the borrowing of N722.53 billion to finance security expenditure.

 

 

She stated that the meeting approved 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in an average expenditure of N895,842,462,917.

 

 

According to her, the supplementary budget will take care of the procurement of 30 million vaccines and the logistics for their deployment, including further enhancement of the capacity of the nation’s defence.

 

 

She said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented to council a proposal to seek council’s approval for the draft Federal Government of Nigeria 2021 Supplementary Budget. The council deliberated on our proposal and approved as follows:

 

 

“Having noted the need for the urgent procurement of vaccines and also the need for funding to ensure that Nigeria is able to meet its commitment under the HIV, the Nigeria Progressive AIDS Programme in State, the council approved that we should be able to proceed to the National Assembly with the bill in the total sum.

 

 

“Also, the council noted the urgent need to specifically, enhance the capacity of our military and paramilitary agencies to tackle the various security challenges that we currently have in the country, council on this note approved the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in an average expenditure of N895,842,462,917.

 

 

“The total of this expenditure is made up of at N83.56 billion for COVID-19 vaccine programme, covering 30 million vaccines from Johnson and Johnson and the logistics costs related to the deployment of that 30 million vaccines.

 

It also contains the sum of N1.69 billion for the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme that is currently operating in the states and an additional contingency provision of N40 billion under the public service-wide adjustments to take care of the needs for allowances to the health sector, to the education sector and other wage-related issues. This is an incremental provision of over N100 billion that is already provided in the 2021 budget.

 

“The council also approved an aggregate sum of N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the defence and the security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.”

 

 

She added that the budget will be financed through already approved loans from the World Bank and special reserve levy accounts.

 

 

She said: “In line with this approval, we have also been given the approval to draw down on some existing World Bank loans, totalling about N39.58 billion, as part of the financing source for this supplementary budget.

 

We will be working with the World Bank to restructure some of the existing facilities to realise this N39.58 billion. “We’ve also been given the approval to withdraw N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts to part-fund this supplementary budget, but specifically related to COVID-19 vaccine, salaries and other health-related expenditure as well as the recurrent component of the defence and security expenditures”.

 

 

Ahmed added that the council also authorised the federal government to borrow N722.53 billion for security expenditures “and these are the capital components of the security expenditure in the absence of any other additional supplementary sources of borrowing and the borrowing would be done from the domestic international capital market.”

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 Na’Abba Accuses Governors Of Killing Democracy In Nigeria

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Democracy

A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has lampooned governors in the country saying they have ruined democracy.

 

Na’Abba, while speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa Service yesterday, said state governors have hijacked democracy, manipulating primaries of their political parties for their cronies to emerge.

 

“The governors have drawn a line in politics in which if you are not their boy you won’t become anybody or get elected at all levels. This is happening in both the PDP and APC.

 

“Democracy should always give room for interaction among people and they should be allowed to vote the right person they want. But the governors have since changed that, there i…

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Appeal Court Rekindles Jegede’s Hope Of Sacking Aketi With Inconclusive Judgment

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Jegede

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday partially upheld the appeal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), in the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.

 

 

Jegede, who is challenging Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s victory, had approached the appellate court after the tribunal dismissed his petition for lacking in merit.

 

His counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, had asked the court to sack Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, because they were allegedly not properly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

 

But the respondents’ counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), for Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC and Charles Edosanmwon (SAN) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faulted all the arguments of Jegede’s counsel.

 

 

They contended that the case was a pre-election matter.

 

 

In the lead judgment by Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, the court partly allowed Jegede’s appeal on issues one, two, four and five.

 

She dismissed the appeal on issues three, six and seven.

 

In their judgments, Justice H. A. Barka, Justice J. G. Abundaga and Justice Andenyangtso Alli dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

 

 

Justice Orji-Abadua said the Electoral Act cannot override provisions of the Constitution on qualification or disqualification of a candidate in an election.

 

 

“The appeal is partly allowed and partly dismissed,” she said.

 

The PDP and Jegede vowed to challenge the decision.

 

 

The party’s spokesman Kennedy Peretei said in a statement: “In concluding her lead judgment, Justice Orji-Abadua said the appeal was partially dismissed and partially allowed. To the ordinary man in the street, the judgment was ‘inconclusive’.

 

 

“The kernel of the Eyitayo Jegede/PDP petition was whether or not a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be allowed to stay; whether or not Mai Mala Buni, as a sitting Governor of Yobe State, can double as National Chairman of the APC, to sign the nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for the governorship election.

 

 

“While the Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was a violation of the Constitution, it still went ahead to dismiss the appeal.

 

“We are still studying the details of the judgment, by virtue of the fact that it was delivered via Zoom. But we have sufficient grounds to appeal the decision of the court. We are confident the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, will do justice.”

 

 

Akeredolu has extended an olive branch to Jegede, urging him to join hands with him in building the state.

 

 

Addressing reporters, Akeredolu said: “I have said this over and over: this case itself is so flimsy for me as a person. And it is clear because where you believe that you can go through the back door and upturn the will of the people, it is not going to work.

 

“We had an election in which the party won 15 out of the local governments; you won three. You are not contesting the result of the election, but you are hinging your petition on the Chairman of the party who signed the nomination that was forwarded to INEC.

 

“For me, it is clear. With God on our side, no matter where they go about this case, it will be the same result.

 

 

“It is just like when Yoruba say that if you throw the cutlass up 50 times by the time it’s landing, it will land on its side.

 

 

“Tayo, for one reason or the other, I said to him, we don’t need to pursue this case. I had called him once or twice. I don’t see why we are going about this action; that both of us can come together to work for the benefit of the state. That is my own belief.

 

 

“I respect him, but he must have a reason behind him pursuing this case the way he’s pursuing it. It is either the party is the one pushing him or he’s the one pushing himself. Whichever one it is, I know there must be something behind what he’s doing.

 

 

“But I can assure him, like a man who is building with straw, I can assure him nothing will come out of this case.

 

 

“I will call on him again for the umpteenth time: let him come, let us work together to build that state and let us work together for the Southwest and let us work together for Nigeria.

 

 

“Importantly, he is one person that I have a lot of respect for; he has respect for me. I see him as a brother. But in election matters, you cannot avoid this kind of contestation.”

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Agbakoba Rubbishes Restructuring, Wants Regional Autonomy In Constitution Review Package

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Agbakoba

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has asked the National Assembly to consider regional autonomy in the review of the 1999 Constitution.

Following calls for restructuring, among other issues, the National Assembly had recently held public hearings across the country on the proposed review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

Speaking on the review process in a statement yesterday, Agbakoba said regional autonomy is the best solution to some of the challenges facing the country.

 

“Calls for restructuring have, in my personal view, become a catch-all phrase that has introduced more confusion than solution. I believe the simple way to go is by regional autonomy,” he said.

 

“Regional autonomy refers to the governance and administration of a federating unit in the interest of the local people, according to their aspirations. Nigeria is made up of multi-ethnic nations managed by a central authority. This model has proved unsuccessful.

 

“Europe understood that diversity is best managed by regional autonomy. Switzerland has four ethnic groups. Each of them shares the presidency through four cantons that make up their federating units.

 

“According to Prof. George Obiozor, even though Quebec is the only fully French-speaking province, yet Canada is bilingual for the sake of Quebec. On the other hand, Yugoslavia mismanaged its diversity and the result was the emergence of six distinct countries. The same fate befell Czechoslovakia, now the nations of Czechs and Slovaks.”

 

He said devolution of powers is a related concept to regional autonomy, as this means the transfer of powers from one level of government to another and vice versa.

 

The senior lawyer also suggested that legitimacy can be conferred on the constitutional review process by full involvement and incorporation of the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.

 

“Prof. Ben Nwabueze has indicated that ethnic nationalities are the true representatives of Nigeria. To quote him, ‘Nigeria has no territory other than the traditional territories inhabited by its constituent nationalities from time immemorial – Yorubaland, Igboland, Hausaland, Tivland, Kanuri, Ijaw, etc. It is the ethnic nationalities that ceded or granted sovereign powers of government over their territories to Britain which makes them (i.e. the ethnic nationalities) the original and primary stakeholders in the Nigerian state,’” Agbakoba said.

 

He also expressed optimism that more would be achieved by giving prominent seats to the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.

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