“About the issue of security, I think the National Assembly has done quite a lot in that area working with the Executive arm of government and, recently, on Monday or so, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and I met with Mr. President, and the center of our discussion was the security of the country.
“How do we engage the security of this country? It has been a nagging issue, but it is not an issue that cannot be solved.
“With the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, we have seen newer strategies and Mr. President and the National Assembly will be working to provide more resources in the supplementary budget which the presidency will submit sometime maybe this month to the National Assembly.”
“We (National Assembly) are prepared to give every possible resource to our security agencies to fight and restore normalcy to every part of the country, whether it is insurgency, banditry, militancy or kidnapping.
“We believe that we need to have security before life can be better, because you can’t do anything or attract direct foreign investments, even farming becomes impossible in some states because of the level of insecurity.
“So, security is key. It is essential and a necessity that we have to restore normalcy in this area and, Mr. President gave the security chiefs six weeks to restore security in our rural areas, particularly because the rainy season will come pretty soon – maybe in the next two months and without security in the rural areas, there’ll be no farming.
“And when there’s no farming, our food security will be threatened and our security situation will be further complicated.”
The Senate President however lambasted the agitators for self- rule, saying they are in the minority.
“I think this is one way to go, probably the only way to go to ensure that everybody feels belonged.
“This administration has done quite a lot in that area, if you look at the spread of federal government projects across the country, you will agree with me that the federal government has not favored any part of the country.
“I think the government is doing quite a lot to ensure that there’s that equitable distribution of projects across the country.
“I believe that the unity of this country will continue to be our major focus. From time to time, you hear some people talking of maybe establishing their own country or secession.
“I believe that majority of Nigerians believe that they should stay together – and I mean the ordinary Nigerians. These are people who believe in the unity of this country.
“But the elites is where the problem is, the elites will tell you, no, we have to secede. I believe that we should be fair to the multitude of Nigerians – those ordinary people of Nigeria. What they require is leadership.
“We must give them leadership, a fair leadership. If we have any issues, we should be able to discuss the issues. We should not neglect people when they complain, but that is not likely to be the most popular position of the people from any part of the country. So, I believe that unity of this country is non-negotiable”, Lawan said
Buhari, Jonathan, Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdusalami, Osinbajo, Atiku, others to spend N13.8billon from N27.5 trillion 2024 budget
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Federal government has earmarked the sum of N13.8 billion in the 2024 budget as the cost of upkeep of
former presidents, vice presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, and retired heads of government agencies and parastatals.
The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
Also, N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments).
A breakdown shows that the entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn. At the same time, N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.
The payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn.
Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects.
The government is also proposing the sum of N40bn to offset electricity debts owed to power distribution companies by all MDAs.
President Bola Tinubu unveiled the N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year.
The budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, where it is currently undergoing scrutiny and deliberation for final approval.
In his presentation, he declared, “The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope.
The proposed budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
News Alert: Wale Adeniyi revives CG conference, holds 2023 edition December 13-15 in Lagos.
Ukraine blocks Russia’s reelection bid at IMO council elections
The outcome is another blow for Russia after it failed in its bid to return to the UN’s top human rights body in October, in an election seen as a key test of Western efforts to keep Moscow isolated.
Last year, Moscow also failed to win enough votes for re-election to the UN aviation agency’s governing council.
The London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating the safety and security of international shipping and preventing pollution and comprises 175 member state countries.
Russia has been a member since 1958 and has been consistently re-elected to the IMO Council.
With voting on Friday, 40 countries were elected by secret ballot to the IMO Council, which supervises the work of the body.
In October, Russia said the IMO was departing from its impartial role due to “external pressure” which it said was impacting the fair treatment of all member countries.
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