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What Saraki told visiting British envoy, Harriet Thompson

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President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Monday assured Nigerians that legislative duties in the National Assembly would not be relegated to the background in view of the commencement of the 2019 electioneering.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, in Abuja, made the assertion while responding to comments by the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who visited him at the National Assembly.

Saraki said, “It is very important to emphasise that as far as we are concerned, we will follow through on the key Bills. We will continue to work on these Bills, because they are priorities to the 8th National Assembly — these are Bills that were initiated by the legislative arm of government.

“For example, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has never gotten this far in its history. However, both Chambers of the National Assembly worked very hard to come up with a unified position and sent it to the Executive. Unfortunately, it came back with some minor issues that we feel should not have affected the progress of the Bill. These were issues that could have been easily addressed.

“The two arms of government must see that the most important thing is for us to get the PIGB going because it has a lot of impact on the industry in terms of transparency, accountability and ensuring that the revenues of the petroleum sector are well managed.

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“As you know, we have also gone far with the fiscal and host community components of the Bill, because it came about as a result of constant engagement with stakeholders in the industry. However, with this setback by the Executive, this has slowed down the process a little,” the Senate President said.

Speaking on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the Police Reform Bill, Saraki said that the CAMA Bill was only waiting for the Concurrence Committee of both Houses of the National Assembly to finish its work, while the Police Reform Bill would soon be subjected to Public Hearing.

“I am hopeful that the CAMA will soon pass in the House of Representatives too. On the Police Reform Bill, we are hoping to have a public hearing very soon. As you know, this reform Bill came about as an immediate response by parliament to the increased reports of insecurity across the country.

“We took the decision to evaluate the security situation in the country, particularly the police, to see how best we could make the institution more effective and efficient. Unfortunately, as we work towards these reforms of the police, I must be honest, many of the actions of the police are seen to be quite partisan.

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“We are hoping that the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs will set the ball rolling on this immediately. It is important that the Executive too must see the importance of this Bill so that we can work together and improve the efficiency and the level of Police performance,” Saraki said.

On the Discrimination Against persons with Disabilities Bill, the Senate President stated that the Bill would soon be on its way to the President for assent; while emphasising that he was still hopeful that the Gender Bill would be passed before the end of the 8th Assembly.

“On the Electoral Bill, we have passed that and sent it to the Executive. We have addressed all the concerns raised by Mr. President because we believe that that Bill is important to improve the quality of our elections and our electoral process. We want an electoral process that will make our elections more credible. Therefore, I hope that the interest of the country should be the determining factor in the decision to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“Despite the fact that campaigns have started, all these important Bills will still receive the desired attention from us to ensure that governance does not suffer and we can still make the lives of all Nigerians better,” the President of the Senate stated.

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Earlier, the Acting British High Commissioner had advised against relegating legislative duties to the background with the onset of campaigns for the 2019 general elections in the country.

“There are quite a number of Bills in which we have key interests because we firmly believe that these Bills are in the interest of the Nigerian people both in terms of their rights and in terms of their opportunities for economic development,” Thompson said.

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Makinde Rues 11 Hectares Undeveloped Land At Samonda GRA

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Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde on Friday, expressed his displeasure over the undeveloped 11 hectares of land at the highbrow Samonda GRA in Ibadan, as he called on investors to partner the State to develop the land in order to boost the State’s economy.

 

The view of the governor was expressed by the State commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Barr. Abiodun Abdu-Raheem while on inspection tour to some State’s reserved areas and Samonda Ultra-Modern shopping Complex at Ibadan North Local government in Ibadan.

 

Abiodun who noted with disdain, how over eleven hectares of land within which the ultra-modern shopping complex was situated, adding that the complex would be turned to an annex for the popular Gbagi market as the wished to turn its condition around to make it have international standard.

 

“The governor is not happy that these vast hectares of land is being put to waste when investors can be called in to use it for things that will help grow the State’s economy, we have gone around and see that the Samonda Shopping Complex needs some touch of revamping after which we will work towards making the complex an annex to the Gbagi market.

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“The Ministry will discuss with other concerned Ministries, especially those in charge of the Gbagi market to come up with a plan for proper usage of the place as the present administration will not allow any resources of the state to go to waste, we are calling on well-meaning Nigerians who are interested in partnering the State on this project to come forward with ideas on how to develop the eleven hectares of land for the benefit of the State.”

 

Barr. Abdu-Raheem called on the landlord association of the Samonda (Aerodome) GRA to desist from distorting the plan of the estate by building on waterways and areas mapped out for recreational purposes.

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Oyo Targets N20 Billion Monthly IGR – Olatunbosun

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Oyo State government has set a target of hitting 20 billion naira monthly internally-generated revenue  (IGR) before the end of the Governor Seyi Makinde’s first term in office.

The State’s IGR was reported to be between N2billion and N2.5billion during the tenure of the former governor, Abiola Ajimobi.

 

This was revealed by the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun at a One Day Workshop for the State media officers which held at the Film Theater of the Ministry on Wednesday.

 

Olatunbosun said the four cardinal focus of the administration were education, primary healthcare, agro-business and security and all efforts were concentrated at plugging tax holes so as to increase the State’s revenue, urging the media officers to key into the agenda of governor Makinde to achieve the set target.

 

“It is the belief of Governor Seyi Makinde that Oyo State can be taken from a civil service-propelled economy to an agro-business-driven economy and before the first term of this administration runs out, we will be looking towards achieving about N20billion IGR target.

 

“You cannot enlighten people as a media practitioner if you are not enlightened, therefore the current administration believes in training of its officers to achieve maximum yield and productivity, especially for them to key into the agenda and aspirations of the government.

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“This government is pro-people and would always deal with communication from the bottom to the top, we believe in the use of town hall meetings where all stakeholders would gather and set target for government as well as give feedback on the activities of the administration.

 

“All these require government media officers to be up-to-date, diligent and efficient, they are the reasons government has embarked on training the officers in this particular cadre among others,” he noted.

 

Also at the event were the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa and the Executive Assistant to the governor on Administration, Rev. Idowu Ogedengbe, who said the State government was working towards improving human capital index of the State workers towards enhancing the economy of the State.

 

 

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Rehabilitation of the grave of a French veteran soldier

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The grave of the French veteran – Private Marange number 14503 – renovated in 2018 had been severely damaged in recent weeks.

Also, very quickly, in order to honour his memory, thanks to the assistance of the Directorate of Heritage, Memory and Archives of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the defence mission of the French Embassy carried out a new rehabilitation of the tomb.

This veteran who died for France on June 26, 1943, is buried in the open-ended Commonwealth Military Cemetery in Eldoret, about 150 km from the Ugandan border.

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