OrderPaperToday – Highlights of activities in Senate in the outgone week include the shelved consideration of the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the shocking recoveries from the investigation of Maina-gate, the disgraceful clash of the security agencies, and the unending Maina debacle.

Delays for MTEF & 2018 budget…

The passage of the two 2018 fiscal documents (MTEF and FSP) seems to be bleak as it suffered more delay. The joint committee on Finance, Appropriations, and National Planning & Economic Affairs failed to tender its reports on the MTEF due to pending “important matters” as explained by Sen. John Enoh (APC, Cross River). President Muhammadu Buhari had submitted the documents on October 19, 2017 and the 2018 budget bill on November 7 respectively even though former was yet to be approved as required by the Constitution. Unfortunately, debate on the budget had already been planned to commence on 22nd of November.

 

Maina matters…

The unending investigation of the former chairman of the Presidential Task force Team on Pension Reforms, (PTTPR) welled up more surprising discoveries as the Senate granted an extension of time to the committee probing his illegal reinstatement. The new revelation made by the committee mentioned that the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) illegally shared some 222 properties recovered by Maina’s team. EFCC swiftly replied, refuting the claim and accused the Senate of not verifying the information before going to town with allegations.

Buhari’s presents, rejects 2 bills…

After having vetoed two National Assembly bills, (University of Wukari Establishment bill (2017) and Chartered Institute of Treasury Management Establishment bill 2017), President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead to seek approval of 2 other bills. The bills are: Raw Materials Research and Development (Reenactment) Bill; and Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (Establishment) Bill 2017.

 

 

Senate rejects President’s nominee…   

During the course of the week, the Senate rejected one of President Buhari’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) nominee, Ahmad Bello Mahmud. The rejection was based on his alleged citizenship of Sokoto State. This conflict stirred up a bit of drama amongst the lawmakers. They however, accepted the other two nominations of Ambassador Rufus Akeju (Lagos), and Dr. Mahmuda Isah (Kebbi).

 

Row over clash of security agents…

The lawmakers engaged in a row over the reported clash between agents of the Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The hot debate also put President Muhammadu Buhari on the spot as he was accused of not being in charge of affairs in the country. The DSS and NIA denied the arrest of former Directors-General, Ita Ekpeyong and Ayo Oke launched by EFCC. Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) who drew the attention of the Senate to the incident recommended a thorough investigation which was approved.

 

 

3 minutes silence…

During the course of the week, the red chamber observed a minute silence for the former vice president of Nigeria, Alex Ekuweme who died on Sunday 18th November. The chamber equally urged for his immortalization although Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta) canvassed for the immortalization of great Nigerians while they are still alive. In other events, the Senate similarly observed a minute silence each for the 23 people killed in the violence that erupted in the villages of Mallamawa and Tungar Kahau of Zamfara state; and those who lost their lives in communal attacks and bombings in Adamawa state in the last one week. Owing to the rise in insecurity, the Senate named a 13-man ad hoc committee who will look into the security structure of the country

 

 

Rescue mission on deplorable condition of retired judges…                 

Owing to the pitiable plight of retired Judges of State High Courts and the non- payment of gratuities, pension and arrears of pension, the Senate urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to expedite the payments. The sponsor of the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) decried the situation and accused the state governments of delaying the payments

 

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