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Osinbajo, Dogara, meet to resolve budget impasse



A resolution to the budget crisis may be on the way following disclosures in Abuja yesterday that a team of negotiators led by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, for the Executive; and federal lawmakers, led by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, met in Abuja Wednesday and concluded that the details will be readjusted to pave way for an assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was not clear yesterday which details were to be righted, but a source in the House of Representatives sounded optimistic that the budget document will be signed in the new week, even as the Senate continues to insist that what it passed remains the document to be signed by the President.

The new position is coming out just as it emerged that the Speaker may have indeed rejected a planned allocation to projects to his constituency, but it was pushed through by other interested parties in the House Appropriation Committee to justify projects inserted outside what was agreed with the Executive Arm of government.

National Assembly sources said Dogara had actually written a letter to the Committee that N2.8 billion of the N3 billion set aside under the Zonal Intervention programme for presiding and principal officers of the National Assembly for projects in their constituencies be waived for him and used for other capital projects.

The balance of N200 million, he advised, should be distributed for constituency projects of House members.Buhari had proposed N60 billion in the 2016 Budget estimates for constituency projects, but the amount was upped to N100 billion by the lawmakers, who though reduced the President’s total budget figure from over N6.07 trillion to a little over N6.06 trillion, tinkered with the details in a manner that irked the Executive which raised eyebrows and asked for explanations.

One of the explanations it sought was how N50 billion put in as counterpart funding for a Chinese loan for the coastal railway line from Lagos to Calabar went missing. This arterial rail project is one of the reasons Buhari led a delegation to China to get a soft loan from the China EXIM Bank.

Yesterday, a National Assembly source confirmed that following the mandate from the House for its leadership to interface with the presidency to find a solution to the budget impasse, the Speaker met with Osinbajo and some ministers on Wednesday night.

The source disclosed: “Details of areas of concern were noted so it will be reworked. This will not require that the budget document goes back to the chambers.”

“When you are passing a budget, you check the subheads, the total figures, but it is the committee that works on the details to come out with the clean copy. It is being done already.”

“We are aware lawmakers are angry with the chairman of one of our committees that allocated N4 billion to his constituency. It is not that he allocated to the Speaker’s constituency.”

“The zonal intervention that is allocated to presiding and principal officers is statutory. What initially came to the Speaker’s constituency is N3 billion, but he rejected it, and wrote to the committee that the zonal intervention for his constituency be moved to other projects so as to free more resources for capital projects.”

“He actually rejected N2.8 billion, but he said the balance be reallocated for members’ constituency projects.” “He was shocked and surprised when he saw the details and saw that it was put back for his constituency by the committee, apparently to justify the over N4 billion in chairman’s own constituency. He has asked that the money be removed as he directed earlier.”

When The Guardian sought confirmation of the meeting from the spokesman to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, he said he did not know if such a meeting took place between his principal and the lawmakers, but promised to get back with information.His response was being awaited as at press time.

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forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from SundayNiMet



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja predicted sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during the forecast period.

According to it, sunny skies in hazy atmosphere are also expected over the North central region during the forecast period.

It anticipated cloudy skies with spells of sunshine over the Inland states of the South.

NiMet predicted cloudy skies over the coastal cities with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

The agency envisaged dust haze over the northern region on Monday during the for22ecast period.

“Sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere are expected over the North central region during the forecast period.

“Cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are envisaged over the Inland states of the South and the coastal cities with prospects of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.


“Later in the day, thunderstorms are expected over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states,” it said.

According to NiMet, dust haze with visibility range of 2km to 5 km is anticipated over the northern region on Tuesday during the forecast period.

It predicted dust haze over the North central region during the forecast period.

It anticipated cloudy skies with spells of sunshine over the Inland states of the South and the Coastal cities during the forecast period.

“Dust particles are in suspension, public should take necessary precautions. People with Asthma and other respiratory issues should be cautious of the present weather situations.

“Moderate to heavy rainfall could lead to flash floods. The public is advised to take necessary
caution, avoid driving and walking through flood waters.

“Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany the thunderstorms, the public is advised to take necessary safety precautions.

“Disaster Risk Managers, Agencies and individuals should be proactive, to avert loss of lives and property during the rainy season,” it said.

The agency advised the Airline operators to get updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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Kidnapping: Senator tasks NASS on new robust strategies



Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta) has urged the National Assembly to recommend robust strategies to prevent kidnappings in the country.

Nwoko representing Delta North, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

He said the joint committees of the National Assembly on security agencies should interface with relevant stakeholders and come up with novel measures to tackle the menace.

According to him, kidnapping has increasingly made life difficult for citizens and is affecting the economy, including food security.

Nwoko said this would have far reaching effects on the country’s prosperity.

The senator particularly said that the kidnappers had gradually made life difficult for residents of the FCT, particularly in Kuje Area Council.

Nwoko said in spite of the efforts being made by security agencies, a lot needs to be done in tracking and apprehending the kidnappers.

He also called for enforcement of the 2023 law that criminalised payment of ransom to kidnappers.

The lawmaker, whose legislative aide and 18 others were recently abducted in the Galadimawa area of Abuja, said it was important to take appropriate measures to end the menace.

He, therefore, called for a joint operation involving the Army, Air Force, Police, and Department of State Services (DSS) to intensify the search efforts for the captives.

Nwoko also urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to seek funding for  installation of CCTV cameras in strategic locations within and around Abuja, and along the highways, and major capital cities to bolster surveillance and deter criminal activities.

“The IGP  should also urgently increase security patrols and surveillance within Abuja and across the nation to proactively combat and prevent further kidnappings.

“In view of this, I recently moved a motion on urgent action needed to fortify security, and tackle the surge of kidnapping in the FCT,” he added.

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Military neutralises terrorist kingpin, others in Niger air strikes – NAF



The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch, has eliminated a dreaded terrorist and kidnap kingpin, Yellow Jambros, and scores of other terrorists in airstrikes in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made this known in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Sunday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the terrorists met their end while attempting to cross the Jikudna River in Galadima Kogo District, heading towards Wurukuvhi axis of Chikun LGA.

He said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts were trailed from Zamfara into Niger riding 13 motorcycles along the Kaduna-Niger State border, precisely heading towards Kusasu in Shiroro, prior to the strike.

“At Kusasu, five other motorcycle-riding terrorists joined Yellow Jambros’ convoy, bringing the total number of motorcycles to 18, which then headed to the bank of River Jikudna.

“At the river bank, the terrorists and their 18 motorcycles boarded a large motor-powered canoe in an attempt to cross and link up with other terrorists across the river.

“It was at this point that the authorisation to undertake a strike was given.

“The precision strike was adjudged effective as it neutralised Yellow Jambros and his colleagues, destroyed their motorcycles and sank the boat.

“Though it was unusual for terrorists riding in a convoy of 18 motorcycles to travel in broad daylight, it was apparent that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had assumed that air strikes were suspended following the unfortunate incident at Tudun Biri in Kaduna State and wanted to exploit the perceived window of opportunity,” he said.

The NAF spokesman said that Yellow Jambros and his cohorts had been responsible for several kidnappings and killings along the Abuja-Kaduna Road and in several communities in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States.

He said a kidnap kingpin, known as Mohammed Sani, who arrested by the Police in Zamfara in October 2020 for murdering over 50 of his victims due to their inability to mobilise ransom, had claimed that he worked for Yellow Jambros.

According to Gabkwet, the terrorist revealed that Yellow Jambros usually supplied him with fake military and police uniforms, guns and other weapons needed to execute his operation.

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