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Defence/Security

Ndume faults N100bn budgetary allocation to defence

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Mohammed Ndume, has faulted the N100 billion budgetary allocation to the defence sector.

He said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.

Nigeria News Agency reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Oct. 8, presented the 2020 Appropriation Bill of N10.33 trillion to a joint session of the national assembly.

Out of the figure, defence got an allocation of N100 billion.

Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, said that such an amount was insufficient to tackle insurgency in the country.

He said with the recent visit of the committee members to some parts of Borno, they observed that there was “a recent resurgence of insurgency in the North-east.”

“The summary of it is that we are in a war. When you are in a war situation and you are budgeting N10.33 trillion and you are allocating less than one per cent to defence, that does not show that your are serious about it.

“Defence, not army, is allocated N100 billion. That is less than one per cent.

“I was hoping that it is 10 per cent. So when I did the calculation, it is less than one per cent.

“Following that is the issue of humanitarian crisis that follows insurgency.

“Right now, we have an increase and surge in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, where they are moving from unsafe zones to what they think is safe zone and that is putting more pressure on the government,” he said.

According to him, so far, the international community that are not affected, they are just helping us, have so far donated 547 million dollars; that translates into over N140 billion.

“While the Nigerian government that this thing is directly affecting is budgeting N38 billion for the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

“If in the budget of N10 trillion, more than half of it or even if half of it should go to secure the country, it is worth it.

“This is because if we are not secured, all the infrastructure will not work,” Ndume said. (NAN)


NNL/JEO/IS

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Ismail Abdulaziz

Metro

Ndume asks Buhari to assent to Peace Corps Bill 

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Army, Sen. Ali Ndume, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) bill when presented to him.

Ndume made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the Peace Corps of Nigeria Founders’ Day and 22nd anniversary of the corps.

The senator said he was shocked when Buhari declined assent to the bill when it was first presented to him.

He said that before the president’s decline, the bill had gone through various processes, including public hearing as well as a robust discussion by experts.

“I am confident that this time around, once the legislative process is completed, President Buhari will definitely assent to the bill,” Ndume said.

Also speaking, Amb. Dickson Akoh, National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, said the founders’ day anniversary celebration was a significant event for the organisation

He said that in spite of the daunting institutional and foundational challenges, the PCN had recorded monumental achievements.

Akoh said the PCN had transformed from being a handful passionate youth organisation in 1998 to a body with membership of over 187,000 youths.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PCN is made up of registered members and volunteers.

The national commandant said the organisation currently had well-structured branches in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

NAN reports that the celebration was observed under strict social distancing in compliance with set rules on preventing COVID-19.

Mohammed Monguno,

The Chief Whip of the House of Representatives,  Rep. Mohammed Monguno; Mr Okay Agu of  the National Human Rights Commission and other top members of the organisation attended the event.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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General news

Presidency replies Sen. Ndume, urges him to stop politicizing COVID-19

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The Presidency has advised politicians to avoid politicising the battle against the Coronavirus but partner with all tiers of government and relevant authorities in the ongoing fight against the spread of the deadly virus.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

The presidential aide was responding to allegations raised by Sen. Ali Ndume from Borno, in which he accused some unnamed government officials of wrongdoing in the performance of their official duties.

Shehu, however, advised that at this difficult time of the battle by Nigeria against Coronavirus, everyone should help the fight and not seek to make political capital out of it, whatever his or her grievances.

The statement read in part: ”When he was first elected President in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari said that he belonged to everybody and belonged to nobody. What was true then remains true today.

”He believes in public service, as a servant of the people – and he expects the exact same commitment from members of his government and, of course, his closest aides.

”The President has made it clear times without number that anyone who will not, cannot, or does not pull his weight – nor meet these exacting standards – is not welcome in his administration. A number of ranking officials have been shown the way out at various times simply on account of this.

”Similarly, he believes in loyalty and truthfulness. Should any individuals be found to be serving themselves and not the people, then it is right and proper to call them out. But this must be done on the basis of evidence and proof – not on conjecture.

”It is therefore disappointing to hear a politician call out unnamed individuals in the administration and accuse them of unnamed transgressions.

”If this politician has evidence – then he should make public their identities as well as his proof. Innuendo is not proof.

”Similarly, simply claiming that the COVID-19 Palliative Measures Committee is not functioning as it should is not the same as presenting proof for such a claim.

”No one replaces an institutional government body in the midst of the global pandemic without clear and irrefutable evidence that it needs replacing.

”A news briefing from a discontented politician is rarely the source of such evidence.”

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Sen. Ndume lauds renewed commitment by army to end insurgency

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Ali Ndume, has lauded the renewed commitment shown by the  military to tackle Boko Haram insurgency.

Ndume gave the commendation while speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Yola.

Ndume said the decision by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai to relocate and stay in a camp in a village in Borno and the deployment of more troops and fighting equipments in preparation for a major onslaught on the insurgents was a welcoming development that brings hope to the people.

The senator representing Southern Borno Senatorial District urged people of Borno, particularly those in the affected areas to provide vital information for a more effective operations.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on citizens of Borno, particularly those around the operational areas of Lake Chad fringes, Sambisa Forest and Mandara mountains known as black spots where boko haram hibernates and launch attacks to provide useful information.

“I also want to urge the army to collaborate with other forces to bridge the gaps that hinder effective and smooth operations.

“The army also needs to collaborate with groups like hunters, civilian JTF, vigilante groups for reliable information on the insurgents,” Ndume said.

The senator also lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to contain the Convid-19 pandemic.

He called for the establishment of a task force involving stakeholders like governors, faith based organisations, CSOs, security agencies among others to handle the distribution of palliative.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Yuletide: Sen. Ndume donates cattle, food items to troops in northeast

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Sen. Ali Ndume, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, has donated cows and food items to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Ndume, presented the items to Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, the Theater Commander of the OPLD, at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri on Sunday.

Ndume, who was represented by Alhaji Idris Timta, listed the items to include 10 bulls, 50 cans of cooking oil and 50 bags of rice.

He disclosed that the gesture was to enable the troops in the front line celebrate the season in a happy mood, adding that similar items would also be distributed to other military formations in the theater of operation.

Ndume added that the gesture was to appreciate the troops over their gallantry and bravery in the counter insurgency campaign and peace restoration process in the region.

Adeniyi commended the senator over the gesture, adding that it would go a long way toward improving the well being of the troops engaged in the fight against insurgency.

Adeniyi described the senator as somebody who supported and identified himself with the military in its operations.

“Sen. Ndume has severally spoken and shown concern over our operations against Boko Haram insurgency; he is among Nigerians that always stand for us and commend our gallantry.

“Boko Haram is nowhere and cannot go anywhere; we have degraded them and unless they surrender, we are going to finish them. We thank him for the gesture and appreciate him for remembering us at the fronts,” he said.

Adeniyi reiterated the commitment of the military to end insurgency, restore peace, protect lives and property as well as ensure peaceful celebrations during the festive season.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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General news

Why Peace Corps bill is reintroduced -Ndume

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Ali Ndume on Wednesday, said that he reintroduced the Peace Corps Bill to harmonise their responsibility with that of other security agencies in the country.

Ndume made this known at a press briefing in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency recalled that the Senate had on July 25, 2017 passed the Bill Establishing the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC).

The bill is to empower and provide employment for the youths, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services and nation building, he explained.

NAN also reported that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2018,  declined assent to the bill, citing financial implication and duplication of duties among reasons for his decision.

While speaking to journalists, Ndume said there was the need to have an institution such as the Peace Corps that would play its role in terms of adding value to the security of the country.

He said  the purpose for which the Peace Corps was formed was not a new thing because the corps was found in so many countries and was recognised by the United Nations (UN).

“Last time we passed it in the 8th Senate, the president declined assent to it the reason proffered by the president is  germane that is, he said there is paucity of funds in the country.

“Secondly, he said there is a kind of duplication on the role they are supposed to play and that of the security outfits already existing and not that the president said that the idea of having Peace Corps is not good,” he said.

NAN reports that the Peace Corps Bill was reintroduced for  first reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)

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Education

Sen. Ndume empowers 1,000 students in Borno

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NNN: Sen. Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) on Sunday, inaugurated “Ndume Education Trust Fund”, a scheme to support the education of 1,000 students from Southern Borno, currently studying in various tertiary institutions in the state.

Ndume, who disclosed this during the inauguration of the fund at the Elkenemi hall in the University of Maiduguri, said the gesture, was to mark his 60th birthday and to enable him impact positively on the lives of the people of his constituency.

He said that the students were drawn from the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Ramat Polytechnic, Borno State UNIVERSITY, Kashim Ibrahim College of Education, School of Nursing, and College of Agriculture among others, adding each of them would receive N10, 000 under the fund.

“We have already collected the BVN number of each of the beneficiary. Your Excellency, we are expecting that if every information you gave is correct, on Monday at most, all the beneficiaries will get their N10, 000 each because the system is computerised.

“My background is what is guiding me in doing this. Right now we also introduced a project for our mothers in various local governments.

“Right now, my wife is in Biu, empowering 600 women and 100 of them will benefit from grinding machines so that they can help themselves. Five hundred women will also get N10, 000 each as empowerment to start up what they can do to help the family among others.

“Mostly, we randomly selected those selling kosai, (bean cake), Kunu and others doing petty trading on the streets for the empowerment programme.

“I discovered that the Trader Moni of N5, 000 given by the Federal Government makes a lot of difference and changes the life of some people. Therefore, I decided to do the same, this is the second batch in which I selected 100 women to be given N5, 000 each.

We also selected 500, 40 from each of about 101 wards in Southern Borno, focusing on widows and vulnerable women in dire need and empowered them with N10, 000 each, to make a difference.

“Also men are not left out; right now we are empowering 675 of them in the nine local government areas with N10, 000 each to embark on viable business.

“The beneficiaries comprise of 100 each from Gwoza, Askira Uba and Biu, 75 each in Shanni, Hawul and Damboa, 50 each from Bayo, Kwaya Kusar and Chibok while the disbursement has commenced,“said Ndume.

The Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, commended the Senator for his efforts aimed at adding value to social and economic life of the people of the stat.

The governor was represented by the Usman Jidda-Shuwa, the Secretary to the State Government.

Zulum said, “In the last two years, the dynamic interplay of certain factors occasioned, by Boko Haram phenomenon has inevitably pushed us to the cross road of life.

“It turns out that education is the key to toward addressing the various challenges confronting us and the key toward guiding our children to make a better life and saving future for themselves.

“It is also the key toward confronting the unfortunate social and economic consequences of the insurgency as well as the physical and psychological trauma thereof.

“The most distinguish Sen. Ndume must have certainly reflected on these refreshing and inspired qualities of education when he initiated this brilliant, imaginative idea.

“The idea is to assist our students most of who are obviously from the poor background, to pursue their educational objectives in an uninterrupted and gratifying manner.

” Ndume is a man of broad understanding, and amiable disposition who has the sympathetic and sensitive insight into the problems of his constituency and indeed, the state at large,“ he said.

The governor said not withstanding its limited resources; the state government would continue to give priority attention to the provision of infrastructure and other essential requirements.

This he said was apt to create and sustain the ideal requirement for the pursuit of education at all levels.

Also speaking, Prof. Abdullahi Shugaba, the Vice- Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) said helping the students in their educational pursuit, as done by the Senator, was a welcome development.

The vice-chancellor called on other wealthy citizens of the state to emulate the Senator by contributing their quota to the development of education and adding value to the life of the people of the state.

“Let me also thank distinguished Sen. Ndume for his gesture in supporting education generally and specifically assisting students especially from Southern Borno, his own constituency.

” The significance of this support cannot be overemphasised because education is a very important business that should not be left alone to the government,“ he said.

He said that the university would provide secretariat for the trust fund, as requested by the distinguish Senator because of the importance of the project.

He appealed to all students, particularly the beneficiaries of the Fund to face their studies seriously for the realization of their educational ambition and in conformity with the objectives of the Senator’s gesture

Edited & Vetted at NAN By: Dada Ahmed
(NAN)

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Defence/Security

NASS will adjust defence budget to meet security challenges – Sen. Ndume 

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The Chairman Senate Committee, Army, Sen. Ali Ndume on Thursday said the National Assembly will adjust the defence budget to meet current security challenges in the country.

Ndume said in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna that the allocation for the Armed Forces contained in the 2020 budget proposal before the National Assembly was grossly inadequate in view of the current security challenges.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Ndume led joint members of the National Assembly on fact finding mission, needs assessment and oversight to Army formations in Kaduna State.

The committee members also paid courtesy visit to Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai at the Kashim Ibrahim Government House in Kaduna.

Although N100 billion was allocated to the defence sector in the budget, the Senator said the amount, which is less than one per cent of the total budget size, was grossly inadequate.

“There is nothing more important than security to Nigerians. Even if half of that budget is to be spent on security they will be glad, because if you are not secured all other things will not work.

“We have security challenges in this country and Nigerian Army is in the forefront of trying to address the challenges.

“We have gone round to see for ourselves and now we paid courtesy visit to the state Governor and we also sought for his assistance to make sure that we all put hands on deck to tackle the security challenges.

“Now that the budget is before us we will surely try to make adjustment so that the budget for defence will be something that will make a difference.

“A country that is not secured is not a country, and the Nigeria army which is saddle with the responsibility of securing the teritorial integrity of the country will be useless if within the country is not secured,” he stressed.

The senator, however, expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari and the executive will take another look at the provisions made for defence even without the intervention of the National Assembly.(NAN)


HUM/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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Economy

Akabueze, Akpabio, Ndume speak on 2020 budget estimate

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Mr Ben Akabueze, the Director General Budget Office, says the 2020 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari tagged the “Budget of Growth and Job Creation” clearly defines its objectives.

Akabueze made this known on the sidelines of the 2020 budget estimate presentation by Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The budget presented by Mr President is titled the Budget of Growth and Job Creation; so, at least that clearly defines what the objectives are.

“The budget is intended to drive growth; it is intended to expand the economy’s capacity to create jobs.

“As you are aware, the president has committed to a goal of uplifting a hundred million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.

“And the best way to take people out of poverty is to put them into jobs to be able to earn income.”

The DG said that creating palliatives, such as Social Investment Programmes, can only serve as interim measure pending when people get jobs.

Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, commended the President for the timely presentation of the budget.

Akpabio said this would enable the country to achieve the January to December budget cycle.

“The reason the budget is coming (now) is to enable us go back to the budget cycle of January to December which will help us plan and have a better plan for the future of Nigeria.

“This is highly commendable because of the cooperation between the executive and the parliament today; we are quite excited about it.

“Nigerians should expect better dividends of democracy; the president has promised that this second term he wants to take them to Next Level.”

Akpabio said availability of funds, commitment and dedication of everyone involved was the surest way for Nigerians to get to the next level.

Sen. Ali Ndume, however, decried the performance level of 2019 budget, tagging it ‘circumstantially poor’.

According to Ndume, the poor performance of 2019 budget is no fault of the executive, but a result of the late passage of the 2019 budget.

“The budget was passed in June and you see it cannot be implemented, but despite that, the president’s commitment is commendable as he has now ordered that N600 billion be released by the end of the month in compliance with the execution of the 2019 budget.

“I think that will make a lot of difference in critical areas.”

Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa said a lot of work had been done underground on the budget and the document presented was a result of what had been agreed upon.

He said speed, dedication and precision would be employed in the deliberations on the budget to ensure its passage by the legislature, not later than November.

Bulkachuwa said this would enable the President to accent to it before the end of December, to ensure its implementation from January 2020. (NAN)


SBO/IS

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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General news

Osinbajo passionate about humanitarian crisis in Borno – Sen. Ndume

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had a private meeting with Sen. Ali Ndume, (APC-Borno South).

Ndume, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, said he had always paid routine visits to the vice president.

He said that Osinbajo’s humanitarian work in Borno was commendable as many orphans are being assisted.

“I am here to see the vice president and for some of you that have been here for a while, you know that I come from time to time; I have a relationship, very personal with the vice president; just like the president too.

“More especially, I come to brief him from time to time on the humanitarian crisis that we are facing because the vice president is personally passionate about it.

“You know what he did for us; he has an orphanage that is running very effectively in my area; accommodating about 2,000 orphans.

“So, I normally come to discuss with him; he is always very curious about what is going on, so, I came to adequately brief him.’’

On Federal Government’s plans to bring back toll gates on federal highways, Ndume said that the state of Nigeria’s infrastructure was of concern.

He said that there was virtually a collapse in the nation’s infrastructure.

The senator said that if the toll gates would serve the objective of keeping the roads not only motorable but effective and safe; then it was a good one.

“Like the Abuja-Kaduna road for example, where there is toll gate, you will be able to place security there and if you place people there, you have to pay them.

“I am sure every Nigerian travelling, for example, say from Lagos to Ibadan, if you say he is going to pay N100 or N12 to N50 at each point in four places to assure that number one, the road is good; number two, he will be safe.

“He can drive without expecting anybody to come and close the road and kidnap or rob anybody, it makes sense to me but for the toll gate to be placed just for the purpose of it, I don’t think that is what the government wants to do.

“Besides, I heard the minister say that they are bringing private partnership into it; and that is also good.’’

On the Bill for an Act to establish the Communication Service Tax which he sponsored, Ndume said it was a better way of generating revenue without subjecting the poor to hardship.

He said that increasing VAT would have a spiral effect on the populace as it would affect the poor more.

According to him, the effect will be on everybody and even commodity transportation from one point to another which always affect the poor.

“So, that is why I am saying that we should introduce Communications Service Tax and people will pay for it sometimes even not knowing.

“And government will be able to generate more from that angle; you know the money the service providers are making out of communications.

“So, this is my position and I think this Communications Service Tax is part of it; tax those that can afford telephone, 60 million of them; why do you tax 200 million people?

“Tax the 60 million people that can afford it and you get what you want,’’ he said.

Ndume said he was also working on Property Tax Bill and Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) which would make people pay taxes on their property and explain the means of their wealth. (NAN)

CJ/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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