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Posts tagged ‘Victor Ndoma-Egba’

Senate rejects Jonathan’s nominee (Mrs Akpan) as FIRS chairman.

The Senate dramatically rejected, on Thursday, via voice vote, the consideration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s nominee, Mrs Mfom Akpan, as the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The president’s request was in accordance with Section 11 (a) of the FIRS Act 2007.
The drama started on the floor when Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba made a request to consider the deferment, to another legislative day, the request by the president for the confirmation of Akpan for appointment as FIRS chairman.
Senator Kabiru Marafa was recognised by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, thinking that he wanted to second the request by Ndoma-Egba.
Marafa, however, opposed the nomination of the woman and cited the Senate Standing Rule 45, to justify his position.
He was ruled out of order by Senator Ekweremadu, who said the matter was not being presented as a motion, neither was it being presented as a committee’s report.
Senator Boluwaji Kunlere thereafter seconded the Senate Leader’s request that the matter be deferred to another legislative day.
Ekweremadu then demanded a voice vote on whether the matter be deferred to another legislative day but those who opposed the request won.
The Senate Leader then moved another motion for the deferment of the matter to the appropriate committee for consideration.
Again, the senators who opposed the consideration of Akpan’s nomination, won through voice vote when Ekweremadu subjected the matter to voting for a second time.
Neither the Deputy Senate President nor the Senate Leader made further comments on the issue after the two voting sessions.
The duo of Senators Victor Lar and Kabiru Marafa maintained that, based on the event on the floor of the Senate, the legislative body had rejected outrightly the nomination of Akpan as the FIRS boss by Jonathan.
They explained that their colleagues, especially those from the northern part of the country, were opposed to her nomination in the spirit of federal character.
Lar said the longest serving chairman of the commission, Mr David Olorunleke, was from the South-West, while the last occupant of the position, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, was from the South-South/South-East.
He said Alhaji Kabir Mashi, who is from the North, was appointed in acting capacity, adding that a northerner should either be appointed or the president should confirm the appointment of the current occupant of the position in the spirit of federal character.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has the prerogative of office to appoint any competent person to administer any federal government agency in the country.
“But the Senate also reserved the inalienable right to insist on appointment, based on fairness, equity and justice,” Lar said.
Marafa said Akpan’s nomination had been rejected outrightly, even as he vowed to lead another strong opposition should the Senate leadership again bring up the case for consideration.
There was a strong indication that the Senate might have sealed the hope of Akpan getting the FIRS job as the chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said his colleagues had rejected the nominee by their action.
Citing Order 53 (6), he said: “It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the Senate has come to a conclusion during the current session except upon a substantive motion for rescission.”
However chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, said the Senate had not rejected the nomination of Akpan.
Briefing newsmen after the plenary, he said the upper legislative body “merely disagreed that her nomination be referred to the appropriate committee.
“The first motion was that the matter should be deferred to another legislative day but the senators disagreed.
“The senators also rejected another motion that the nomination be referred to the appropriate committee.”
The appointment and nomination, according to Ita- Enang was still valid before the Senate, because “it had not been rejected by the senators through vote.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), summoned the Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over the release of over N1.4 billion for the funding of the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme.
Source: Radio Biafra.

Apo killings Boko Haram terrorists sets up base in Abuja –Senate.


Senate said yesterday it has uncovered the establishment of an active Boko Haram cell in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. This was contained in the report of the Senate Joint Committee on National Security and Intelligence and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Apo, Abuja on September 20.

Four days after the incident, Chairman of the Land Transport Committee, Senator Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u, moved a motion on the floor of the Senate, demanding a probe after he identified those killed as his constituents from Zamfara North Senatorial District.

Senators Sani Saleh and Sahabi Ya’u outrightly rejected the report of the joint committee on the grounds that the panel did not address the assignment given it by the Senate. On the other hand, Senators Kabiru Marafa and Hadi Sirika noted that the joint committee did not expressly answer whether the Apo killings was extra-judicial or not.

In the findings/observations section of the report, the joint committee noted that on the day of the operation, some Boko Haram members were killed alongside

persons who had no link with the sect, while the leader, Suleiman Musa escaped arrest.

“The influx of Boko Haram elements into the FCT and its environs was noticed through various sources including electronic intercepts, the need to stop the sudden influx of terrorists in Abuja, the nation’s capital became urgent to avoid the calamity it portends.”

The report identified the owner of the uncompleted building where the killing took place “as Adekunle Salisu, (who) confirmed the illegal occupation of the building by some persons. Most of the victims were Keke NAPEP operators, Okada riders or hawkers

Dissent started immediately after joint committee chairman, Senator Mohammed Magoro presented the report to the Senate. A member of the committee, Senator Sani Saleh delivered what could be termed a ‘minority report’ when he rejected the procedure adopted by the joint committee in its investigation.

Senator Saleh, a former army general, not only rejected the report, he sensationally declared that he was seeing the report for the first time. Besides, he described the military operation as ‘irresponsible’.

Said Saleh: “I am seeing this report for the first time. I dissociate myself from this report completely. We owe Nigerians the truth at all times. This report, from the outset, digressed from what happened. This report digressed and went on to discuss the anti-terrorism report of the whole country which we weren’t asked to do.

“It was a military operation that was not consistent with… I served in the military for 40 years and I can say that the operation carried out by the SSS and soldiers was not a cordon and search operation.

“It was irresponsible and not known to any military tactics or operations. They knew that over 200 people were living in that place. They had a responsibility to ensure the safety of those living in that building and even in the neighbourhood. Firing at the civilians is completely unmilitary and irresponsible. After firing, they simply left the place without searching for casualties.”

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, opened the floodgate for debate. Thereafter, Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, a member of the joint committee, described Saleh’s comments as an ambush on the entire Senate as he did not avail the chamber the opportunity of cataloging his comments in a minority report.

Another member of the committee, Senator Suleiman Adokwe said: “The issues raised by one of our member is very grave, which bothered on the integrity of the members of the committee which should not be taken very lightly.

“Most of the questions the general raised were raised at the investigative meeting with security operatives and they were furious. For him to stand up and ambush the entire process is not fair. This is not the way senators of the Federal Republic should behave. I stand here to say that he was totally unfair to us. I stand by this report and urge this chamber that there was cause for the security agencies to go there.

The original mover of the motion, Senator Ya’u also dismissed the report and demanded that a new investigation be carried out to determine whether those killed were actually members of Boko Haram or not.

But Chairman of the Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said: “I have not seen any difference in what Saleh said and the main report. The DSS gave them the intelligence intercepts which means there was actually a security threat.

Another member from Zamfara State, Senator Marafa insisted that the committee must be compelled to do further work to ascertain whether the killings were extra-judicial or not. “We need to be a little more circumspect in dealing with issues of Boko Haram. The committee should go back and do what the Senate asked them to do.” Senator Hadi Sirika backed Marafa on the same request.

At this point, Ekweremadu yielded the floor to Magoro to respond to allegations from Saleh that the committee veered off its mandate, Magoro shocked the chamber when he produced a report personally signed by Saleh, aligning with the position of the committee’s findings.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria As A Crawling Giant By Michael Jegede.

The lowering of the British Union Jack and hoisting of the Green, White, Green flag on October 1, 1960 symbolically marked the attainment of independence in Nigeria.

Upon the announcement at midnight of September 30, 1960 by Sir Emmanuel Aghanjuebitsi Ewetan Omatsola, OON, an ace broadcaster and radio commentator who died last year at the age of 83 that “Nigeria is a free, sovereign nation”, many then had thought it was the beginning of good things to come for the country.

Fifty-three years down the line, we cannot hit our chests and say we are where we should be as a nation, especially when you consider the abundance of natural and human resources Nigeria is blessed with. Nigeria is like a man who has everything and lacks nothing, yet, he is still seen to be suffering and in serious pains.

Corruption, bad leadership and outright mismanagement of our gigantic God-given wealth have kept us crawling, even though we have since been released from the clutches of colonialism through the actualization of independence. We have become more like a crawling giant.

In a piece on his column of September 27, 2011 edition of Guardian Newspaper, Dr. Luke Onyekakeyah, an analyst and the author of “The Crawling Giant” gave an insight into factors that could make a giant remain at a crawling stage. He enumerated and explained four points to buttress his argument.

In the words of Onyekakeyah, “The fourth and possibly the worst circumstance that could make a giant crawl is self-inflicted injury, in which case only the giant is to blame for his fate. A crawling giant in this context is one that failed to recognise his position in the scheme of things. Rather than rising and occupying his rightful position, this unfortunate giant embarked on a wastage spree of his God-given heritage. The prodigality instinct of this giant on the ground drove him to squander his means and opportunities in reckless spending. And like the story of the prodigal son, it got to a point
when he wasted all his inheritance and was in danger of losing his life to destitution. According to the story, it was at that point that he came back to his senses, made a drastic decision to brave the shame and humiliation of a wasted youth to go back home. He was lucky that the home front was still intact and could still afford him the opportunity to return.

I want to stress that it’s not all prodigal sons that have the opportunity for a second chance. Many prodigal sons that misused the opportunities of their lives never have a second chance to start all over again. They perish in their foolishness.” According to the writer and columnist, “Nigeria is a crawling giant on account of deadly injuries it has inflicted on herself. Where do we go from here? The country should retrace its steps as the only way out.

All the political and economic structures that have failed the country should be dismantled for a better and more progressive arrangement. It’s better to start life afresh like the prodigal son than to perish in self-inflicted destitution.”

While contributing to a motion moved by the Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), requesting the Senate to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, the government and good people of Nigeria on the country’s 53rd independence anniversary, Senators unanimously agreed in their submissions that the nation’s leaders had failed to offer the requisite leadership that could guarantee our socio-economic independence.

In his contribution, Chairman,  Senate Committee on Rules and Business,  Senator Ita Enang, observed that the critical situation in the education sector and the reduction of Nigeria to a mere raw material supplier to industrial companies  in other climes, was not the best for a nation that has actually attained self-governance.

Hear him: “A truly independent nation is measured by its quality of education and economic sustainability.  A situation whereby our universities are shut for months and manufacturing companies are relocating daily to neighbouring countries is not good enough for an independent nation. How can we claim to be an independent nation when all we do is just to produce raw materials for processing firms outside the country and nothing serious is being done to address the high rate of unemployment?”

On his part, Senate President, David Mark, noted that it is the common people that should be congratulated for their exhibition of so much patience and imperturbability, amidst frustrations induced by total abuse of power and maladministration.

The number-one lawmaker in the country said: “We need to look inwards and begin to search our minds. The ball certainly is in our court as leaders to do what we should do to reverse the trend. We must shelve the attitude of seeking power at all costs. We do not need to get desperate about getting to the top. At any level we are, we must be ready to contribute our quotas. We have so many human resources in this country but we are losing them because everybody has gone out of the country to seek greener pastures. We must do something to get them back.”

The revelation by the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, on the same day the Red Chamber bewailed the state of affairs in the country, clearly confirmed the statement of Mark on the rate at which Nigerians are moving out of the country to look for comfort elsewhere.

Enabulele told a national newspaper in Abuja that only one out of three registered Nigerian doctors practices in the country, with the other 2/3 traveling abroad. He said: “71,740 doctors registered with Medical and Dental Council, about 27,000 are practising in Nigeria while others are practising outside the shores of this country.” The situation is not different in other professions as well. And this has really dragged us back as we have lost our best hands to other countries because successive governments failed to create conducive environment that could encourage people to want to remain in their fatherland, even when they have every opportunity to move out.

While I join in congratulating Nigerians on the auspicious occasion of our 53rd independence anniversary, I call on our present crop of leaders to do everything within their reach to get us out of this quagmire, which is obviously a product of our handiwork. They must leave no stone unturned to renew the confidence of the people of this great country called Nigeria. This is the time for them to put in place all necessary machineries that will make us to stop crawling and start walking as a truly self-regulating nation. Our lawmakers must go beyond their lamentation on the state of affairs in the country and use their good offices to help change the situation in the interest of all Nigerians. May God help Nigeria!

Michael Jegede, a journalist and public affairs commentator wrote from Abuja


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Nigeria Senate pass Vote of no Confidence on the Country after 53 years of Independence.


We politicians have failed the masses says David Mark

In a surprisingly candid assessment of the state of Nigeria, the country’s Senate on Thursday gave their assessment of the nation 53 years after independence, asking political leaders to search their souls just as the Upper Legislative Chamber urged them to shun greed and selfishness.

Adopting a motion by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN) and 10 other senators, the chamber lamented that Nigeria had retrogressed from being a producing and exporting nation at independence in 1960 to her present status of a consuming nation.

Senate President David Mark asked rhetorically whether Nigeria still stands in brotherhood as it did at independence. He said it is the ordinary Nigerians who deserved to be congratulated for exhibiting so much patience, amid the frustration occasioned by maladministration and mis-governance.

He said: “We are genuinely worried about our country; across political, religious and ethnic boundaries, we’re are truly worried because some key aspects of our values and tradition have been lost. In the old national anthem, we said ‘in brotherhood we stand.’

“Do we still stand in brotherhood today? We used to be our brothers’ keepers. Are we still our brothers’ keepers? The answer definitely is no. Instead, we do those things that hurt others now.

“We need to look inwards and begin to search our minds. The ball certainly is in our court as leaders to do what we should do to reverse the trend. We must shelve the attitude of seeking power at all costs. We do not need to get desperate about getting to the top. At any level we are, we must be ready to contribute our quotas.

” We have so much human resources in this country but we are losing them because everybody has gone out of the country to seek greener pastures. We must do something to get them back” he stated.

Introducing the motion earlier, Ndoma-Egba said Nigeria deserved congratulations for surviving series of challenges that bedevilled her right from her pre-independence days through the civil war period to the long period of military rule and yet, remained a united country. “Our democracy has moved from episodes to an enduring, unbroken democracy of 14 years,” he said.

Senator Solomon Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom) deplored a situation where over six million Nigerians have applied for few openings at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

He noted that it was too bad that Nigeria had not done well in all indices of development. Enang who did not disclose the exact figure of the vacancies, lamented that Nigeria could not be said to be truly independent when the country’s teeming unemployed graduates struggle to fill very limited slots.

“We need to find out the percentage of graduate unemployment. More than six million have already applied for immigration positions for few hundred openings. Let there be employment for our graduates in this country,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

PHOTONEWS: Nigerian Senators Pay Last Respects To Late Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido.

Tears as Nigerian Senateors,family and relatives pay last respects Pius Akpor Ewherido in Abuja.

Nigerian senators hotly debate crucial oil bill.

  • A Nigerian oil dealer pours gasoline into bottles at a road-side market in the commercial capital of Lagos October 31, 2008. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

    View PhotoReuters/Reuters – A Nigerian oil dealer pours gasoline into bottles at a road-side market in the commercial capital of Lagos October 31, 2008. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

ABUJA (Reuters) – A bill that could unblock billions of dollars of investment into Africa‘s biggest oil and gas industry ran into discord in Nigeria’s senate on Tuesday, casting doubt on whether it will be passed any time soon.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is a comprehensive document seeking to reform everything from the mismanaged state energy company to fiscal terms with oil majors.

It has been more than five years in the making, but previous versions of it failed to get through parliament. Both houses have been debating it sporadically since late last year.

“The bill … will fundamentally alter … our oil sector. It is easily one of the most important bills to be considered by this chamber,” said Victor Ndoma-Egba, majority leader in the senate, the upper house.

“I therefore urge you all to seize the moment by making history, by giving this bill your unqualified support.”

But there was little sign it will get unqualified support.

“The bill we have before us is set to deform the sector, not reform it,” said Senator Isa Galaudu. “This bill is anti-investment, it is pro-corruption.”

President Goodluck Jonathan said in January that investment in the country’s oil industry was falling because of delays to the passing of the bill. Oil majors say they cannot commit capital to new exploration and production until it’s sorted out.

A major licensing round for new fields is unlikely to go ahead until the bill is passed.

Shell said last month it would invest $30 billion in offshore projects if there was clarity over contract terms.

“If this bill had been passed, say a year ago, we could have made about $12 billion extra by now,” saidSenator Emmanuel Paulka, who supports the bill.

Nigeria exports more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) and also holds the world’s ninth largest gas reserves, but global competition and a lack of domestic investment could soon set it into decline, analysts say.

Oil majors such as Shell and Exxon are concerned about the taxes in the bill.

The restructuring of the state oil company is likely to be resisted by vested interests. Legislators are also unhappy at sweeping new powers granted to the oil minister in the bill.

Another area of contention is the host development fund, which is supposed to provide extra compensation for the communities who live around oilfields.

“The oil belongs to all Nigerians but you give concessions to the people whose areas produce the oil,” complained Senator Ahmed Lawan, adding the 13 percent extra revenue that oil producing states currently receive was already too much.

Analysts say the bill may have to be split up into several parts and passed separately to be workable.

Senator Bukola Saraki, from central Nigeria hinted at that solution, suggesting that issues that were important but less controversial should be hived off and passed in a separate bill.

If the bill passes this stage the Senate will set up committees to make recommended changes to the law before harmonising it with the House of Representatives, the lower chamber. This could take several months.


By Camillus Eboh | Reuters

Senator’s Murder Spurs Questions About Nigeria’s Future.

Sen. Dantong
Senator Dantong (Facebook)

Sen. Gyang Dantong was killed while attending a funeral.

He was among a handful of elected members of Nigerian government attempting to bury the more than 100 Christians killed just the day before, when Muslim gunmen had rampaged through several villages in Nigeria’s central Plateau state.

The sheer scale of the violence July 7 convulsed a country where attacks upon Christians are commonplace. Then the attackers returned the next day, killing scores more, including Datong, 53, and another elected government official, who had gathered to bury their dead. The two days of brutality have pushed Nigeria beyond shock into a debate about whether it can even survive as a nation.

The death of Dantong, a member of the National Assembly, reverberates through Nigeria’s struggle to hold itself together.

“Sen. Dantong was the bridge between religions, cultures and tribes,” said Senate Majority Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba at a July 18 valedictory session of the National Assembly. “Let his death not be in vain. Leaders of all inter-religions and cultures owe it to themselves and Senator Dantong to terminate this culture of hate and promote reconciliation and peace that Plateau was known for.”

Yet the void created by Datong’s death may be felt most directly on a more personal scale, certainly by his wife, Hanatu, and three children, but also by the surviving members of his church and hospital, both of which he helped to build. As all of Nigeria paid its respects to Dantong’s national legacy, Open Doors News sought out those closest to him to reveal his legacy to Nigeria’s suffering church.

Service to God Gyang Dalyop Dantong was born in February 1959, in the village of Bachit, about 50 kilometers south of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, in central Nigeria. The son of a pastor, he studied medicine at the University of Jos, and at the University of Legon, in Ghana.

He worked for several years at the Vom Christian Hospital, about 30 kilometers southwest of Jos, before being elected into Nigeria’s National Assembly. He served four years in the House of Representatives, and then was elected to the Senate, where he had served for the past five years.

The church of Dantong’s youth, a Church of Christ in Nigeria congregation in Bachit, was founded in 1936, and had about 550 members at the time of the July 7 and 8 attacks, according to its pastor, Rev. Bulus Alamba Bindi.

“Bachit is a village whose population are farmers,” Bindi said. “Only a few of them are in public service and they live in townships. As for the commitment of these villagers to the Gospel I can tell you that they have embraced the faith without reservation.”

Dantong may have been among the few villagers to leave farming behind to take up a profession, but he remained a student of the faith. A physician by training, a senator by avocation, he also was pursuing a divinity degree from the Theological College of Northern Nigeria in the town of Bukuru, near Jos.

And he remained active in the church’s local affairs. He provided the funding to build a church building in the village of Gashish, about 12 kilometers south of Bachit, Bindi said. The church building, he said, later was burned by Muslim attackers.

When the Bachit church–a simple rectangular structure–needed renovation, Dantong again offered his help, even though his regular place of worship had become the Church of Christ in the town of Vom, about 15 kilometers away.

“When he came to us with the decision to assist us build the church, we asked him to allow us to handle the work, but he said no to our request and insisted in bearing the complete cost of building the church,” Bindi said. “He said he has made up his mind to build a sanctuary for the Lord.”

Dantong provided 6 million Nigerian naira – about US $38,000 – to reconstruct the church’s sanctuary, complete with a terrazzo floor, Bindi said.

“What are left (to install) in the church now are pews,” he said. “He was preparing for the second and last phase of the construction work when he died.”

His murder, and the wider violence that forced many Christians to flee from their homes in and around Bachit, has not only left a church building unfinished. It also has cut the congregation down to 40 elderly members.

“They said they cannot run away because they do not have the strength to leave,” Bindi said. “They prefer to remain and die here.”

Service to the sick Dantong was a fixture at Vom Christian Hospital, established by the Church of Christ in Nigeria in 1922. He worked as the hospital’s medical superintendent for about 10 years.

He was “a committed member of our church and a former church worker, medical doctor, with our hospital at Vom,” said Rev. Dachollom Datiri, Vice President of the Church of Christ in Nigeria.

Hospital staff members tell stories about how, for two years, Dantong ran the 154-bed hospital as the only physician in residence, tending to about 150 patients daily. He is also said to have carried out, in some weeks, as many as 15 surgeries.

“He was the only medical doctor we had for about two years here, and during this time, he was on call duties every single day,” said David Yakubu, a radiographer at the hospital.

“He never had time to even go back to his house to eat. Instead, his wife brought his food to him in the theater where he carried out surgeries,” said Sarah Elijah Kpadu, the hospital’s chief matron.

His election to the National Assembly took him away to the capital, Abuja, about 150 kilometers away. Even so, Kpadu said, “his love for this hospital was so great that he returned from the national assembly to assist in surgeries on a weekly basis.”

Vom Hospital’s current medical superintendent, Dr. Samuel Dido, said Dantong’s commitment to the church hospital was a personal sacrifice.“Dantong gave his life to work in this hospital in spite of the fact that he had better opportunities to work in public hospitals or elsewhere where he could earn better salaries,” Dido said.

“He also was building a 12-room private ward, as a donation to this hospital, before he died.”

That project, as with the Bachit church and so many other bridges Gyang Dantong had begun to build, now is left to the survivors to complete.


By Compass Direct News

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