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Senate screens 14 nominees on Thursday

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The Senate on Thursday screened 14 nominees out of the 43 sent to it by President Mohammadu Buhari.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the figure is in addition to the 10 screened by the lawmakers, on Wednesday when the exercise began.

Those screened include- Sen. Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo), Abubakar Aliyu (Yobe), Mustapha Shehuri (Borno), Retired Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (Kano) , Mrs Zuibaru Dada (Niger) and Timipre Slyva (Bayelsa).

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan announced at the end of Thursday’s screening that eight more would be screened on Friday.

Lawan said those scheduled for Friday included- Goody Jeddy-Agba (Cross River), Dr Osagie Ehanire (Edo), Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa), Hadi Sirika (Kaduna), Abubakar Malami (Kebbi), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Mrs Paulen Talen (Plateau) and Muhammdu Dingyadi (Sokoto).

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Sanwo-Olu charges religious bodies on tolerance

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The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called for harmony and interfaith tolerance among religious bodies in the state.

Sanwo-Olu made the call on Wednesday in Ikeja during the celebration of the 2019 International Day of Tolerance.

The programme, with the theme: ”Enhancing Harmonious Relationship and Peace among Religious Bodies for Better Socio-Economic Development in the State”, was organised by Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs.

Represented by Wife of Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat, Sanwo-Olu said that some people in the country were still beating drums of war over religion and tribe.

According to him, Lagos, being the most cosmopolitan state in Nigeria, remains very peaceful and tolerant, devoid of religion and tribal sentiments.

“We pride ourselves in saying that Lagos State is not only ‘a Mini-Nigeria but a state for all’, where every tribe and tongue go about their businesses in peace.

“This has helped our economy and invariably our socio-economic development,’’ he said.

The governor said that his administration would continue to create more enabling environment for more interactions among all religions in Lagos State.

He described tolerance as the respect and appreciation of the rich variety of the world’s cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human.

“It is a conscious act of showing respect for other beliefs, culture and ways of life as long as it does not affect the basic right of others.

“Let us be proud of our cultural diversity and our great accomplishment even in civilisation,’’ he said.

Sanwo-Olu urged residents to live in peace and harmony with one another so as to leave a better society for their unborn children.

In her remark, Home Affairs Commissioner, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said that tolerance had been considered as bedrock of society where people felt valued and respected.

Akinbile-Yussuf said that through tolerance, people of different backgrounds, cultures and faiths would be able to live together, adding that cultural diversity was a form of wealth and not a factor of division.

She called on Lagosians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and togetherness for peace building as well as combating racism and discrimination tearing some societies apart.

“The government is adequately mobilising the security agents and spending so much on education and enlightenment of the citizens.

“People should become aware of the link between their behaviour and vicious circle of mistrust and violence in the society.

“The peaceful development being witnessed in Lagos State presently is not by accident. It is due to our level of tolerance,” she said.

Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Gov. Masari presents N249.5 bn budget for 2020

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Gov. Masari presents N249.5 bn budget for 2020

Budget

Katsina, Nov. 20, 2019 Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina state has presented a budget of N249.5 billion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly for approval.

Presenting the budget on Wednesday in Katsina, Masari said it was tagged “Budget of Reflection and Progress’’, to ensure continuation of the restoration agenda and policies of his administration.

He said that N75.6 billion, representing 30.30 per cent of the budget, was for recurrent expenditure, while N173.9 billion, representing 69.70 per cent, was for capital expenditure.

Masari said that the budget was higher than that of 2019 by N48.7 billion.

“It is important to note that the 2020 recurrent revenue has an increase of 17.91 per cent over that of 2019.

“Similarly, the recurrent expenditure in 2020 budget has an increase of about 23.72 per cent over that of 2019.

“This indicates that in real terms, the revenue will increase by about 17.91 per cent over that of 2019,’’ he said.

He said that the recurrent expenditure has components which include -personnel cost of N30.8 billion, overhead cost N20.9 billion and consolidated revenue charges of N23.8 billion.

Masari commended people of the state for coming out en masse to vote for All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2019 general elections.

The Speaker, Alhaji Tasiu Maigari, said that the house would immediately invite various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for budget defence.

He assured of speedy passage of the budget to enable government to continue to provide dividends of democracy to the people.

Maigari applauded the existing cordial relationship between the executive and legislature in the state.

Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Ali Baba (NAN)-Inuwa

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Basic infrastructure: Reps make case for border communities

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The House of Representatives has urged the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) to provide infrastructure in the border communities to check migration to other countries.

The house mandated Committees on Special Duties and Appropriations to provide funds in the 2020 budget for the provision of basic facilities in the border communities.

Mohammed Bio (APC-Kwara) at the plenary on Wednesday.

that Nigeria has many communities that share borders with neighboring countries like Republic of Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

that several towns and villages including Chikanda, Sinaguru, Aroguru, Taberu, Boriya, Gure, Yanri, Bukuro, Gbabe and Karonji are some of the border communities in Baruten and Kaiama Local Government Areas of Kwara.

According to him, the proximity of those communities to the Republic of Benin opens doors for National and International business transactions between both sides.

Bio said that despite the commercial importance of those border communities, there are no significant infrastructural facilities .

 to the Benin Republic.

According to him, they move for medical attention and quality education which does not portray a good image for the nation.

“If the absence of infrastructural facilities in the border communities are not urgently addressed, the people will continue to suffer deprivation and Nigeria will be the worst for it,” he said.

The house urged the BCDA to employ indigenes of border communities to ensure that they represent the interests of their communities.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila forwarded the matter to the relevant committee to ensure compliance.

Edited by Jane (NAN)-Frances Oraka/Sadiya Hamza

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Social Media Bill passes second reading in Senate

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Bill

Abuja, Nov. 20, 2019A Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and for related matters 2019 passed second reading in the Senate.

This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the bill by the sponsor, Sen. Musa Sani (APC-Niger east) during Tuesday’s plenary.

Leading the debate, Sani said that the bill was a 36-clause legislative proposal to provide for the prevention of broadcast of falsehood and manipulative contents using the internet and its intermediaries for transmission.

“It prescribes sanctions to offenders with a view to deterrence and the penalty for defaulters ranges from fine of up to N300, 000.”

Sani added that the bill also provided for issuance of regulations dealing with transmission of false statements of facts in Nigeria upon declaration.

“It also issues guidelines for internet intermediaries and providers of mass media services and sanctions for offenders.”

The lawmaker further said that the internet had its draw backs one of which was the spread of falsehood and manipulation of unsuspecting users including malicious contents such as confrontational propaganda among others.

“Today, motivated by geopolitical interest and identity politics, state and non-state actors use falsehood to discredit governments and misinform people against each other.

“Individuals and groups influenced by ideologies and deep-seated prejudices in different countries use internet falsehood to promote their course as we have seen in Nigeria with the insurgency of Boko Haram.

“Elections around the world have seen domestic groups use misinformation to support their preferred candidates and disparage the opposition.

“In Nigeria it is particularly disconcerting given our plurality and low literacy level.

“The husk about the demise of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and his purported replacement by one Jibril of Sudan among others are things that threaten the peace, security and harmony of our people.”

While supporting the bill, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC- Sokoto East) said that there was need to regulate the internet and punish offenders.

“It is an issue we have to support,” he said.

Sen. Abba Moro (PDPBenue South) said that the bill was one with a good intention and would protect the society.

“One way or the other we have been victims of the spread of falsehood and the manipulation of the internet has caused a lot of havoc to some of us.

” I believe it is intended to protect society against unscrupulous elements within the society.

“In this jet age, if we allow an unbridled manipulation of the internet and the spread of falsehood, society will be at the mercy of these elements.

” If we leave this to continue the way it is spreading, to take root in Nigeria, at a certain point, we may find it difficult to come to terms with the damage that it will do to society, ” he said.

He urged the senators to support the bill to be passed into law, “at least to regulate one aspect of our lives that is negative.”

Sen. Elisha Abbo(PDPAdamawa North) said that if fake news was not regulated, “it is a cancer waiting to consume all of us.

“Even conventional media that are regulated by government are suffering from falsehood. I am supporting this bill holistically. This bill is good and if we cannot regulate the spread of falsehood, it will consume all of us,” he said.

Opposing the bill, Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani (PDPEnugu East) said that “In principle, I not only oppose the bill, I condemn it in its entirety.

“Section 39(1) of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of information and speech, there is a cybercrime act that deals with this issue and there are also laws that have to deal with false information; libel, slander.”

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee in Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action and report back to the Senate in four weeks.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Election: Group calls for review of operational guidelines for security deployment

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Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called for a total review of the standard operation guidelines and rules for security deployment during elections.

said it would curb fake identifications and disarm fake police personnel.

He said that the call became imperative following the Nigeria Police report that fake police officers operated in the 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa state Governorship Elections which witnessed some level of violence.

“We call for a total review of the standard operation guidelines and rules for security deployment during elections.

“In particular, the review of the role of Inter Agency Committee on Election Security is necessary as security during the 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa States Governorship Election day is now under question.

“We call for a thorough probe of the officers deployed to various local government areas where violence took place during the elections,’’ he said.

Anyaele also demanded for immediate mopping of all illegal heavy and light arms in the hands of politicians and their thugs to reduce harm to the society.

Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Dada Ahmed (NAN)

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Reps move to control indiscriminate erection of speed bumps on highways

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to develop guidelines for host communities to erect speed bumps on federal highways in the country.

This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Omowumi Ogunlola (APC-Ekiti) during the plenary presided over by the Speaker of the house, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday.

The motion was tagged: “Need to Control Indiscriminate Erection of Bumps on Federal Roads’’.

Moving the motion, Ogunlola said that speed bumps of different sizes and shapes were erected by the host communities through which the federal roads passed.

The lawmaker emphasised that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to construct and maintain federal roads across Nigeria.

She expressed concern on the way bumps were being erected by communities on federal highways which she said was often a danger to road users.

“The reason for erection of those blimps by the communities is to safeguard lives of pedestrians in those communities.

“The bumps being erected are without approval from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing or FERMA, thus excluding expert opinions concerning specifications in terms of size, width and suitable places for erection of such bumps.’’

The house, however, acknowledged the presence of controllers of works in each state who issued rules and guidelines on erection of bumps on highways within their jurisdictions.

The lawmakers also urged any community wishing to erect bumps on a federal highway to obtain approval from the Ministry of Works and Housing or FERMA regarding the length, width and quality of such bumps.

Furthermore, the reps urged the ministry to also develop guidelines for erecting to lessen the burden of obtaining approval by host communities.

The house called on the communities that wished to erect bumps on federal highways to seek approval from relevant authorities to avert accidents some of such bumps may cause.

The lawmakers also directed the House Committee on Works to ensure compliance.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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