Why we’re always at loggerheads withexecutive – Saraki

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has disclosed reasons behind the frequent frictions between the executive and the National Assembly, particularly on yearly budget presentation and consideration. Speaking in Jos, the capital of Plateau state on Saturday at a one-day retreat of the Senate Press Corps, Saraki said lack of constructive engagement and institutional collaboration between the two arms of government have been the reasons for the endless frictions. According to him, for as long as the executive, particularly the presidency, is not ready to collaborate with the National Assembly on its programmes and policy direction, there is bound to be friction.

He explained that though by the doctrine of separation of power, healthy frictions in terms of checks and balances are envisaged N650m fraud: Akinjide, others disown confessional statements By Jerry Uwah Lagos A former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, standing trial over alleged fraud of N650 million, has disowned the statements she allegedly made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2016.

Her lawyer, Mr. Olusegun Williams, told a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday that the statements were made under duress. Contending that the court should not allow the statements to be tendered as evidence, William urged the court to order a trial-within-trial to test the involuntariness of the statements. Akinjide’s co-defendants, Senator Ayo Adeseun and Olanrewaju Otiti, also disowned their own statements.

Their lawyers, Mr. Michael Lana and Akinola Oladeji, joined William to argue that their clients’ statements were obtained under duress. “The third defendant also made statements to the EFCC and we shall be contending that the statements were made under inducement and subsequently, threat of incarceration. “I will therefore align myself with the position of my learned colleagues for the second and third defendants,” Oladeji told Justice Muslim Hassan. Following the contention by the defence lawyers, the judge ordered a trial-within-trial. Akinjide, Adeseun and Otiti are being tried on 24 charges of money laundering.

The EFCC accused them of collecting N650 million from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections. It claimed that they ought to have “reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act,” adding that they handled it without going through any financial institution in contravention of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. It said they acted contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012, and were liable to punishment under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act. From left: Chairperson, Electoral Commissions Forum, Southern African Development Community, Mrs. Notemba Tjipueja, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and Executive Director, European Center for Electoral Support, Mr. Fabio Bargiacchi, during the opening ceremony of a conference on “ Opportunities and Challenges in the use of Technology in Elections: Experience from West and Southern Africa”, in Abuja yesterday Photo: Ayuba Raji Gaidam approves more funds for gratuity By Musa M. Buba Damaturu Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state has approved the sum of N670, 731,146.00 as gratuity to a total number of 364 civil servants who have retired from the state civil service and those who died in service. This was disclosed in a press statement issued by the DirectorGeneral, Press Affairs to the Governor, Abdullahi Bego.

“The public may recall that in early January 2018, His Excellency the governor had approved N1, 097,896,058.43 as gratuities to 631 workers who have retired from the service of the state government between January and July 2017.” “Workers who have retired from the services of the state government from January 2018 to date will await verification and the processing of their documents before further payments are made,” the statement read in part.

in a presidential democracy, but it is not so yet with our democracy because of lack of required respect and regards for the parliament as an institution. Specifically, Saraki made references to the way and manner the executive wanted the National Assembly to approve its request for the rejected N4.6 trillion bond and the $1 billion to be taken from the Excess Crude Account aside expected rubber stamp approvals for the yearly budgets. He said: “Just few days ago, the issue of providing funding for the purchase of security equipment came up. In a good environment, such an issue needed to have been discussed with lawmakers.

Already, some senators are angry. They said they were not consulted by the executive before such a decision was taken.

These are the issues we are talking about. “There is no way the security architecture of this country can work without a strong synergy between the executive and the legislature. When you see certain agencies who by their actions and utterances frustrate the relationship between the two arms, you begin to wonder.” He added that the frictions between the two arms of government over the years transcended party affi liations and persons in power.

“Even during the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, when PDP was in charge of executive and legislature, there were some frictions. It means it is not about the party. It is not about any individual. It is about the system. “In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together? How? It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it.

“Imagine the federal government wants to raise a N4.6 trillion bond from the capital market. The leadership of the National Assembly first heard about it through a letter written by the President.

This is what happens from time to time and yet, people keep on blaming the legislature for allegedly being confrontational.” On the crisis bedevilling the N2018 budget Bill, the Senate President lamented that even the President believed that the National Assembly was delaying the budget until he listened to the leadership of the National Assembly a few weeks ago. “If you take the 2018 budget for example, even before they had bothered to find out where the cause of the delay is coming from, people were already attacking and blaming the legislature.

“When I led the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives to see Mr. President, he came to the meeting being briefed as if the delay was that of the National Assembly. He was humble enough at the end of the discussion to render an apology.”

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