Tag Archives: senate

Umeh sworn in as senator

Umeh takes oath of office, calls for implementation of Confab report

Victor Umeh

Former National Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA) Chief Victor Umeh on Thursday took oath of office as Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District.

The oath of office was administered on him by the President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki in Abuja.

The Senatorial District had been without representation in the last two years.

Umeh, while briefing journalists after taking oath of office, called for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report, saying that the report was comprehensive enough to chat a new course for a new Nigeria.

He noted that the report addressed various issues currently causing agitation in the country, including the issue of restructuring which had generated a lot of debate and controversies in the polity.

The politician explained that restructuring was not tantamount to disintegration of the corporate entity called Nigeria, as many people had insinuated but a means of rearranging certain anomalies in the system, so as to end or reduce agitations.

He said that Nigeria could only prosper when all citizens were given equal opportunities and treatment in the affairs of the nation, pointing out that those opposed to restructuring did not want Nigeria to make progress.

The Anambra Central Senator lamented that his constituents lost so much fortunes as a result of the vacuum that existed in the Senate during the period of political tussle amongst the contestants to the seat.

He, however, said that he was comforted by the fact that justice was done in the protracted law suit, saying that it was better that he got justice, even though it took a long time to happen.

The lawmaker noted that the only way democracy could survive in the country was for everybody to obey the Rule of Law, stressing that those circumventing the Rule of law were the ones dragging the country backward and always brought problems to the people.(NAN)


Senate/Police faceoff gets messier as senator accuses IGP of impregnating police officer

Senator accuses IGP of impregnating police officer

By Correspondents

Chukwu David
The face-off between the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and Senator Isah Hamman Misau (APC, Bauchi Central) yesterday heightened, as the lawmaker accused the IGP of impregnating a junior police officer.
This was as the apex legislative chamber constituted a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate the IGP of sundry allegations bordering on financial corruption and abuse of office levelled against him by Misau.
The committee was mandated to probe the Police chief of alleged misappropriation of funds, illegal promotion, posting of senior officers, merchandising with the process and allegation that he impregnated a female junior police officer.
Misau, who has been at loggerheads with the IGP since August, told the Senate in plenary, that the IGP had hurriedly married a female police officer, after he impregnated her.
He further alleged that the said female police officer was already four months pregnant for the IGP, when he hurriedly arranged a marriage ceremony in Kaduna State.
Misau said that the pregnant female officer, DSP Esther, had also been compensated by the police IG, by illegally promoting her, despite her lack of qualification, stressing that the marriage between the IGP and the female officer contravened the code of ethics of the Force.
The senator also accused the IG of having a relationship with another female officer.
He said: “The IG is openly having two relationships with policewomen who he gave special promotions. One of them is Amina and one of them is DSP Esther.
“I am aware that the IGP has impregnated a female officer in his office. Because he wanted to save his face, he hurriedly went ahead and married the woman. The wedding ceremony was held in Kaduna State.
“The female officer was already four months pregnant. This is against the rules of the Police Service Commission. You cannot marry another police officer while you are still serving. But the IGP has flouted that law.”
On the other hand, the Senate has mandated its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate claims by the IGP that Misau deserted the police force and other associated allegations against him from the Police.
The committee is expected to report in two weeks.
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, announced the membership of the ad hoc committee to investigate the claims of financial fraud made by Misau against the IGP, directing it to submit its report soon for Senate’s consideration.
The ad hoc committee probing the IGP is headed by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Francis Alimikhena, while Nelson Effiong, Binta Garba, Obinna Ogba, Faseyi Duro, Abdulaziz Nyako and Suleiman Hukunyi are to serve as members.
The Senate made these resolutions following a Point of Order by Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy.
Misau said that he had been having a running battle with the IGP over his concern on the level of corruption in the Nigeria Police Force, noting that he was compelled by the ugly development to bring the matter before the Senate, in view of the fact that it had been in public domain for some weeks now.
He accused the IGP of blackmailing him because he was courageous enough to bring to public knowledge, level of corruption currently going on in the Police force under Idris.
His words: “I was a retired Police officer after serving for 10 years and my father was in the Police too and he served for 34 years after. In fact, he joined the police even before I was born. So, when I speak about the Police, I know what I am saying. When I speak about police, I speak on authority.
“Before raising alarm on the irregularities in the institution, I called three serving officers and they confirmed to me that people pay much more than N500,000 to get promotion. I also have other evidences that I am ready to release for investigation.”
The lawmaker further alleged that the police was generating money from companies where officers were being deployed to serve, lamenting that while most Nigerians were without security protection, the force was in the habit of deploying large number of officers to guard companies and a few individuals.
“Another thing I found out is that there is illegal diversion of funds. Under the 2016 Budget, there was a line item for purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) but instead, luxury cars were purchased without virement,” he said.
In his remarks, Saraki said: “We have listened to our colleague and we cannot ignore the allegations. We have a duty to fight corruption. These matters are weighty and must be investigated.
“The ad hoc committee we set up will deal with all the allegations about misappropriation of funds made against the IGP. We will refer the other issues raised by the IGP against Senator Misau to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigations.”
The face-off between Misau and Idris started in August when the lawmaker, in an interview, claimed that police officers were paying bribes to get favourable postings and promotions.
The Police hierarchy disputed the claim as the IGP, through the Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said Misau’s claims were unfounded and that he was only out to discredit the institution.
He had further claimed that Misau deserted the Force and that he would soon be declared wanted to respond to a disciplinary committee set up to probe him.
He alleged that Misau dubiously absconded and deserted the Police on September 24, 2010, when he was redeployed to Niger State Command, consequent upon which he was queried, in line with the Public Service Rules.
The police also alleged that Misau had previously faced disciplinary investigation when he refused to proceed on Junior Command Course (JCC) 49/2008 at Staff College, Jos, between January 15, 2009 and June 19, 2009.

Source: New Telegraph

Drama as Melaye flees Senate plenary to evade service of recall notice

Melaye flees Senate plenary, dodges INEC recall notice

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission were at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, on Tuesday, to serve the embattled lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, the petition by his constituents to recall him.

The officials, however, met Melaye’s office (Room 2.13, New Building, Senate Wing) locked.

Our correspondent sighted his aides, who could have received the notice on his behalf, around the Senate chamber.

Four ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bags, believed to be containing the recall documents and court papers, were sighted at the door to the office.

While some of the INEC officials waited at Melaye’s door, others took positions at various entrances between the office and the Senate chamber.

While the officials waited, Melaye was in the chamber for the day’s plenary.

The senator, however, hurriedly left the chamber at about 1.45pm, while the session was ongoing, rushed into a waiting car at the main entrance of the complex – the closest to the chamber – and drove off.

Some of the officials around the chamber failed in their bid to meet up with Melaye.

In a WhatsApp message to our correspondent later, Melaye said, “Appeal properly entered and all records of proceedings at the lower court transferred to the Court of Appeal. Nail on INEC.”

The senator accompanied the message with a photograph of his notice of appeal filed on September 15, 2017, at the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on September 11, 2017.

Melaye had, at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, said the 90-day deadline set for INEC by Section 69b of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) had expired.

He said, “The 90-day period, as provided for in the constitution for conducting the referendum (after our verification), elapsed by effluxion of time on the 23rd day of September 2017.

“The time, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having elapsed by effluxion of time, I, Senator Dino Melaye, cannot and shall not under any circumstance, aid and abet INEC to further desecrate and infringe on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I have sworn to defend.”

Saraki And The Alturabi Model

Saraki And The Alturabi Model

Bukola Saraki

Dr BukolaSaraki the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District who emerged in a most dubious way as Senate President on June 9, 2015 in an election that had only 47 Senators in attendance has declared as unconstitutional and illegal the categorization of the IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu as a terrorist organization. 

He personally signed a statement on Monday September 18 in which he said that the National Assembly or more precisely the Senate he presides will investigate the matter.

“I wish to state that the announcement of the proscription of the group known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Governors of the southeast states and the categorization of the group as a terrorist organization by the Nigerian military are unconstitutional and does not follow due process”, he wrote. 

What was latent to some is now apparent to all. And no one is to be blamed except President Buhari himself.

Many questions are begging for answers here. Is Bukola Saraki not part of this government? Doesn’t he have access to the President? So what does he want to achieve by issuing a public statement contradicting the government’s position of trying to maintain law and order? Is it the Senate that is empowered to declare an action unconstitutional? 

In any case, at this material time when preserving peace and peaceful coexistence is the main issue, what does Bukola want to achieve with this clearly unhelpful statement?

Since occupying this seat, by hook and crook, Bukola Saraki is acting like a co-president of Nigeria. He has forgotten the fact that he was elected by a fraction of Kwara state and is just one among his 108 other colleagues while the President of Nigeria was elected by the entire nation. 

For instance, when Donald Trump was elected President of the US last year, President Buhari rightly congratulated him on behalf of Nigeria. Bukola Saraki then sent a separate congratulatory letter to Trump even pledging to “work with him”! Can you beat that? Is Bukola aware of who he is and what his limitations are? I don’t think so. This joke is really getting too far it seems.

It reminds me of what happened in the Republic of Sudan when General Hassan Al-Bashir came to power as President and Dr Hassan Al-Turabi became the Speaker of the Sudan Parliament.

 Al-Turabi used the parliament to start chipping away the powers of the president gradually and subtly.

 Before long Al-Bashir found that he was just a president in name as all his powers were taken away by Al-Turabi. Al-Bashir had to quickly stamp his feet and re-assert presidential power. Saraki is lifting straight from Al-Turabi’s playbook.

He should be reminded that it is the constitutional duty of the Armed Forces to help in maintaining law and order in aid of civil authority. The patriotic armed forces of Nigeria are currently undertaking these operations in almost all the 36 states of the federation such as Operation Lafiya Dole; Operation Delta Safe; Operation Harbin Kunama; Operation Iron Fence among others. 

No one has ever said all these operations are illegal as everyone knows the government is doing these in discharging its primary responsibility of protecting life and property of the people.

 The armed forces declared the IPOB a terrorist organization because they know them as they are directly engaged with them.

 The state governors in the five south-eastern states who bear the brunt of the IPOB activities courageously and correctly proscribed the organization just like Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna proscribed the Shia movement. Everywhere in the world it is the executive arm of government that proscribes dangerous organizations. It is nothing new so what is Bukola talking about?

The Senate is on recess in any case. Does it mean government should fold its arms and wait for Bukola’s Senate to debate such serious threat to National Security before it takes action? 

Does Bukola know that he represents only 1/3 of Kwara state and that any Senator can be Senate President and so cannot compare himself with Nigeria’s president? Is he aware that even if the National Assembly has a role in this when it is on recess the President can take action to arrest the decent to chaos?

 In any case, is peace not more important than Bukola’s legality? Does Bukola know more about the situation than the Federal and all the affected state governments who are on the same page on this?

Even for confirmation of appointments, in the US where we copy the presidential system they have what is called recess appointments so that the President can directly appoint people during recess which George Bush did when John Bolton was rejected as ambassadorial nominee and Bolton was appointed during recess and remained US ambassador to UN for the Bush years despite his rejection by the US Senate. 

Bukola should know that there is no co-president in the Nigerian constitution and there can’t be two or multiple centres of power. It is simply impossible.

Bukola may give the PDP opposition party the Deputy Senate President and get away with it. He may even pocket the ruling party leadership as it appears now with his filthy riches and go scot free. He may pocket all the Senators, the distinguished and the disgraceful, and get away with it. But he cannot control or direct the Armed Forces of Nigeria, disgrace them publicly for doing their constitutional duty to the nation because there is only one Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces who is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 The constitution does not even have provision for a deputy C-in-C. Bukola should know that even Senate resolutions are merely advisory and cannot use that to hold the country to ransom as he threatened to do recently with regards to confirmations of presidential nominees.

He has so far occupied the leadership of the Nigerian Senate in a most unconventional and clearly illegal manner for over two years now. Like everything he has touched –Societe General Bank, which is now defunct; Kwara State government which is now paying his debts, the Senate of Nigeria is a shame and a disgrace to the nation since its last leadership left thanks to the vaulting ambition of this one man. In due course this page will address that ambition and put it in its proper context. But what is happening now is what the Hausa say: “the meat is pulling the dog”. History is on the side of the oppressed.

Source: Leadership 

Sagay takes on Senate again, says each Senator earns N3bn yearly

Sagay takes on Senate again, says each Senator earns N3bn yearly

Senate and its serial critic, Itse Sagay, are sparring again.

This time, the Senate accuses the senior lawyer and presidential adviser on anti-corruption of hate speech and claims he is a “senile, jaded, rustic and outdated Professor of Law” who may be “under influence of substance.”
The latest wrangling followed a claim by Mr. Sagay that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay in a speech he delivered at the Nigerian Society of International Law public lecture in Lagos on Wednesday.
“From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian Senator earns about N29 million a month and over N3 billion a year,” the professor said.
“Basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242, 122.70; constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.

“Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248, 424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00,” Mr. Sagay added. 

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, he challenged the Senate to prove him wrong by publishing what the lawmakers collect as salaries and wages.

However, in a statement on Thursday, the Senate spokesperson, Abdullahi Sabi, replied with vicious remarks and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the at the septuagenarian lawyer, whom the Senate accused of “making hate speeches” against the National Assembly and using “uncouth and unprintable words” to describe the legislators and the institution they represent.”

“Ordinarily, we would ignore Sagay whose statements and attitude present him like a rascal and sadist instead of a former university teacher. However, his last speech in Lagos during which he was reeling out false and exaggerated figures about the salaries and allowances of legislators and also lied about the passage of anti-corruption bills showed that he just deliberately set out to undermine the legislative institution and lower its reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and we therefore believe we should put him in his rightful place.

“As an academic whose creed should be to find facts and make comments based on truth, we believe that Sagay should stop spreading beer parlour rumours about the salaries and allowances of legislators when he could simply get the facts from the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) which is the body constitutionally charged with the responsibility of fixing salaries and allowances of all public officials,” said Mr. Sabi. 

But he was yet done.

He said Mr. Sagay’s comparison of remunerations of a U.S. president and a Nigerian lawmaker was like comparing oranges and apples and that only “a senile, jaded, rustic and outdated Professor of Law like Sagay will make such a comparison which falls flat on its face, even to an ordinary lay man.”

The senator added: “This man talks like a man who is constantly under the influence of some substance and perhaps possessed as he employs the language of a tout with no civility. He is probably constantly excited and incensed by the fact of having his first opportunity to find himself in the corridors of power.” 

Speaking further with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Sagay said he was unperturbed by the statement from the Senate calling him “loose cannon” who should be “put in his right place” by Mr. Buhari. 
Asked how he arrived at his figures, he said, “It is not a figure that I arrived at; it’s a figure that was printed (for me) and published on the internet with very convincing details.”
Otherwise, he added, “If the Senate says what I say is false, they should publish what is right. right. If these figures are being doubted, write to the Senate President asking him to deny or confirm them.”
He was asked what particular issue he had against the Senate in the context of the accusation by the lawmakers’ spokesperson that every opportunity to address the public would be employed to disparage the Senate by Mr. Sagay.
“Firstly,” he said in response, “the minimum wage in Nigeria is N18,000 and the Senate is a group of people who actually vote their own minimum wage for themselves. The President does not determine his wage but the Senate takes a chunk of our budget and gives itself.”
“Secondly, their allowances: their basic salary in a year is N2,484,000. Then they collect hardship allowance which is 50 per cent of basic salary. Is there hardship in being a Senator?  They stay in air-conditioned offices with beautiful cushions and live a luxurious life and yet collect hardship allowance. Then, there’s constituency allowance, 200 per cent of basic salary; furniture allowance, 300 per cent of basic salary; newspaper allowance, 50 per cent of basic salary. So, our senators cannot afford to buy their own newspapers, Nigeria has to buy newspapers for them? Wardrobe allowance, 25 per cent of basic salary. So, they arrived in Abuja stack naked, meaning we have to clothe them.
“Recess allowance, 10 per cent of basic salary; Accommodation allowance, 200 per cent of basic salary; utilities, we don’t even know what that means, 30 per cent of basic salary.
“Domestic Staff, 75 per cent of basic salary; entertainment, 30 per cent of basic salary; personal assistant, 25 per cent of basic allowance; vehicle maintenance allowance, 75 per cent of basic allowance; leave allowance, 10 per cent of basic salary; severance gratuity, 300 per cent of basic salary; motor vehicle allowance, 400 per cent of basic salary.”
“90 per cent of Nigerian youth are jobless, involved in kidnapping, armed robbery and so on. Boko Haram came because the people are jobless and a few people are earning over N3 billion a year. One can’t be neutral, should Nigerians be deprived of all these by small elite who think of themselves alone and do not care about the country.”

Source: Premium Times

Cross fire!  Senator accuses IG of N120bn fraud, he is a habitual liar-  police 

IGP collects N120bn annually from firms, VIPs –Senator Misau

Leke Baiyewu and Adelani Adepegba

The senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Isah Misau, has taken a swipe at the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleging that Idris collected about N120bn annually as payment for special security services rendered by the police to corporate organisations and very important personalities.

He, however, added that over 50,000 personnel involved in such act had not been benefitting from the money.

Misau, who is a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, had also alleged that the special promotion of officers by the force was fraught with corruption, an allegation the IGP subsequently set a panel to investigate.

But in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday evening, the senator said he would not honour the invitation of the IGP’s probe panel because the police could not be a judge in a case involving them.

He said the Department of State Services or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should be given the task of investigating his claims.

However, speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the lawmaker, who denied the allegation by police authorities that he was on a vendetta against the force due to his dismissal from the service, alleged that posting of senior officers such as commissioners and mobile police commanders attracted between N10m and N15m bribe.

Misau said, “Based on available records, series of petitions and reports from insiders, the incumbent IGP has no capacity to run the police, just like the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro (retd.), a former IGP, who also lacks similar capacity going by the N300m scam and others hanging on his neck since 2011 during the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, where he served as the head of the security committee.

“Specifically, the IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10bn on monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120bn on a yearly basis without any reflection in the police’ annual budget or internally generated revenue.”

“On nepotism, the IGP is scoring high marks by making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country people of his Nupe extraction.”

According to the senator, such postings have not helped the police in their war against crime in the country.

“Police is not a political outfit and should not be allowed to be turned into one by IGP Idris,” he stated.

Misau also dismissed the allegation made by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshhod, that he (Misau) was dismissed for misconduct while displaying his letter of retirement issued by the Police Service Commission.

The letter, dated March 5, 2014, and signed by one Mrs. Garos Logams, on behalf of the then Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the PSC, read in part, “I wish to inform you that the commission has approved your retirement from the service of the Nigeria Police Force with effect from 1st December, 2010, after 10 years of meritorious service.”

Speaking further on why he would not honour the invitation by the IGP’s probe panel, Misau, in the telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, stated, “You cannot be the judge in your own case. If really their hands are clean, they should bring an independent body. They brought the invitation (to me) because of fear.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act, they should make something like that public. It means they are not fair in what they are doing. If there is no corruption (in the process), they should make it public.

“They set up a panel led by one retired judge but the allegation is against them (police) and you cannot be the judge in your own case.”

Misau further alleged that there was more corruption in the Nigeria Police and the Police Service Commission apart from those in the promotion exercise.

He said, “Let me give you an example of the so many corruption cases that are taking place.  More than 10,000 policemen are working with the oil companies and every month the companies are paying money. Where is the money going? Is the money going into the Federal Government’s coffers or into some people’s pockets?

“We have over 10,000 officers working in banks. Are they paying money to the Federal Government? Who are they paying the money to? Where is the money? We have policemen in thousands working for companies and private individuals. Go to the airports and you will see that people of questionable character have policemen attached to them. Are they paying money to the Federal Government?

“Why should the Federal Government train a policeman, give him uniform and gun; and then he is passed to an individual who will not pay anything to the Federal Government. Is that right under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?

“Last week, an organisation accused the Nigeria Police of bribery amounting to N400bn. Am I the person who said it?”

The senator said before he received the panel’s invitation, he had written the police authorities in which he invoked the Freedom of Information Act to compel the force to provide details of promotions since 2009, including the beneficiaries and reasons for their promotion.

He said police’s response was that he was not the chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and was not eligible to request for the information.

“I replied them again that I wrote not as chairman of the committee but as a citizen of Nigeria and as a senator who made an allegation and who wants to further show them that what he is saying is true,” he said.

The lawmaker alleged that although police were at the forefront of anti-corruption campaigns in developed countries, corruption had prevented Nigeria Police from leading the anti-graft war by the Buhari-led administration.

Okiro is performing well – PSC

When contacted, the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, said Misau was entitled to his opinion about Okiro, but added that the commission’s chairman was performing well.

He cautioned the senator against making unsubstantiated allegations, stressing that he should present evidence on his allegations if he had any.

In a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, Ani said, “What has the promotion issue got to do with Okiro’s role in the PDP? The police have set up a panel. The commission too is investigating his allegations, and if he has evidence, he should present it before either of the panels. If he has issues with the IGP, he should leave the commission out of it; Okiro is doing well as chairman of the commission and this was attested to by everyone,” he stated.

Misau is a habitual liar –Police

While reacting to the allegations, the police described Misau as “a habitual liar and police deserter who would be brought to justice for his crimes.”

The Force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said Misau was parading a forged retirement letter and called on the Senate to direct the former police officer to return to the force to face the disciplinary committee.

He said, “Everything Misau said is false; he is a habitual and unrepentant liar. DSP Isa Hamma is still a police officer, he is not a senator, his real name is Isa Hamma and his name is still on the police staff list.

“He deserted the force and didn’t fill the emolument form; he forged and paraded a retirement letter dated 2014 while he contested in the House of Representatives election in Bauchi State in 2011 and lost. He exited the force unceremoniously in 2010, but he is parading a letter dated 2014.”

Moshood said the police would give the Senate Ethics and Privileges Committee some time to deal with Misau, adding that if they failed, the police would have no choice than to arrest him and charge him for desertion and forgery.

He added, “He (Misau) should know that desertion and forgery are criminal offences and the police are going to pursue that. The Senate should ask DSP Hamma to return to the police to face a disciplinary committee for the various offenses he had committed. He is not qualified to be a senator and we are going to bring him to justice.”

How Senators engaged in smuggling, contract scandals are using Senate to undermine anti-corruption fight

Senators on mission to sabotage anti-graft war, says ex-Kaduna Gov Umar

Yusuf Alli 

•Traces origin of Senate/Customs boss’ recent face off

•Asks Saraki to rein in members

•’Nigerians must rise to save Customs CG, Magu, Hadiza’

A former military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar yesterday gave a new perspective on the recent face-off between the Senate and Customs Comptroller General Hamid Ali.

He said it was all about the Customs seizure of a huge consignment of rice imported by a company owned by an influential member of the Senate, but which the company declared as yeast in a bid to avoid paying the appropriate import duty on the rice.

Umar said the same senator is the brain behind a company involved in the controversial $34million Calabar port dredging contract.

The outspoken former governor, in a statement in Kaduna, said the conduct of the Senate on these and similar matters seem to suggest that Senators “might be on a mission to crash the federal governments’ war against corruption using the power of ‘oversight’ as cover.”

He, therefore, wants Senate President Bukola Saraki to rein in Senators who are stepping out of line especially those in the Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs.

He cited the Committee’s handling of matters concerning the Nigeria Ports Authority and the Customs which, in his view, leaves room for suspicion.

Umar asked Nigerians to actively support the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hamid Ali, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman, and a former BPP DG, Emeka Nzeh.

“Incidents such as these are the reason the Nigerian public feels let down by our Parliament. They are the reason why a whole lot of Nigerians take a dim view of members of the National Assembly,” Umar said.

“Some even believe the conduct of our legislators is a major factor holding Nigeria down; why it is a laughing stock among the nations of the world.

“It is the duty of all Nigerians to demand correct conduct from all public officials, including from members of the National Assembly; especially the Senate.

“Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, must enforce discipline among his colleagues. No member of a committee, much less a chairman, should remain in his duty post once credible information about possible crime is received on the person.

“We need not remind our political leaders, most of all our legislators, that punishment always follow excess.”

He asked Nigerians to take interest in the activities of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, especially its relationship with the Nigeria Ports Authority.

His words: “There are good reasons why Nigerians should take more than a passing interest in the controversy generated by the actions of members of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs and that of the Nigeria Ports Authority.

“If the reports in the media are true, the matter goes beyond the victimization of one organ of government by another.”

On the recent humiliation of Col. Hamid Ali (rtd) by the Senate he said it all started with the October/November, 2016, importation of 1,200 metric tons of rice in thirty, 40-foot containers by a rice trading company owned by an influential senator.

According to Umar, the company in its attempt to evade paying the correct custom duties declared the ‘rice’ consignment as ‘yeast’.

“The goods were later intercepted and seized on the orders of the Comptroller-General of Customs. Unfortunately, this seemingly patriotic action by a public officer was seen as an affront to one senior member of the National Assembly.

“A Senator, the leader of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise & Tariff, wrote the CGC demanding that the consignment be released forthwith, on the dubious claim that he had investigated the matter and had found the importer blameless. His findings? That it was the clearing Agent not the importer that called the goods ‘yeast’ instead of ‘rice’!

“The CGC brushed aside this incredible story; as any right thinking person would do. But to the shock of all Nigerians, all hell broke loose. The Senate Committee then summoned him to appear before them in uniform- seeing that as a retired army colonel, the CGC had refrained from wearing the Customs uniform.

“He was also directed to answer a long list of queries by this same angry panel. In the end, he was dragged before the Senate at plenary, put through a cruel inquisition, publicly humiliated and dismissed as ‘not fit to hold public office’.

“Fast-forward to last week.

“This time, a dubious scheme was uncovered in which a subsidiary company of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), went into a joint venture with a private company to manage the Calabar Port.

“Both the NPA subsidiary, called Calabar Channel Management (CCM) and the private company, Niger Global Engineering & Technical Co. Ltd, were incorporated together in 2014, just for this deal. The purported JV partner was then awarded a contract to dredge the Calabar Channel; a contract the Bureau of Public Procurement was to condemn as violating all due processes.

“This did not discourage them from demanding and getting a whopping $12.5million upfront payment from the NPA or asking for a purported balance of $22million.

“In the meantime, a rash of petitions and reports had inundated the NPA against this contract, with many alleging it to be a bogus scam to siphon public funds.

“The Bureau of Public Procurement was the first to cry out, saying both the award of the dredging contract and the initial payment of over N4billion to Messrs Niger Global Engineering & Technical Co. Ltd, were done in violation of the law. “Even worse, all efforts of the new management of the NPA under Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, to find evidence of the dredging work purported to have been done in the Calabar Channel at the time the company claimed to have done so, was unsuccessful.

“That is not all. There was also the report by a consultant that advised against a joint venture partnership for the purpose of managing the Calabar port. Their reason was simply that maritime activities in the Calabar port was too low, that a joint venture scheme as obtained in Lagos and Bony was unsustainable.

“Faced with these negative outcomes, the NPA management under Ms. Bala Usman decided that national interest would be better served if the JV scheme as well as the so-called dredging project are terminated.

“On their part, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have moved in, with a mission to “recover public funds collected for job not done”.

“Now, the name of the person driving this scheme is quite instructive going by the very loud and sustained counter attacks being mounted against the public officers; officers that insist that right things are done.”

Umar said the person is an influential Senator who owns the rice company that brought in the confiscated consignment, and also Niger Global & Engineering Co. Technical Ltd.

Umar added: “Nigerians must not leave the likes of Hamid Ali, Ibrahim Magu, Hadiza Bala Usman,(former BPP DG) Emeka Nzeh et al at the mercy of these strange lawmakers; politicians that have demonstrated time and again that they are in politics to serve themselves and themselves alone.

“The experience of Hadiza Bala Usman, the new M.D of the NPA, is particularly sad. The more she tries to fight, to reduce graft and perfidy, the more determined they seem to mobilise against her, to neutralise her and see her back.

“They want her out because, they now claim, she is ‘too young’ to manage a complex organisation such as NPA – even though she is past 40 years of age. Unashamed, they question the wisdom of appointing a woman to such a post – her training and experience counting for nothing; apparently.”

Source: The Nation