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Buhari, National Assembly’s Fight over 2016 Budget Continues

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THE crisis between President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly over the 2016 budget has worsened as the executive has discovered fresh padding of the fiscal document by the lawmakers.

Sunday PUNCH reliably learnt on Saturday that only one minister did not have problems with the budget when it was discussed at the emergency Federal Executive meeting presided over by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Friday.

It was learnt that the lawmakers reduced amounts allocated to some major projects and inserted what was not originally included in the budget by the executive.

A top civil servant, who confided in Sunday PUNCH said, “Only one minister did not have any problem with the budget details the National Assembly submitted to the President.

“There are instances, where they completely removed projects and padded the budget by inserting theirs. The lawmakers should know that the budget is the document of the executive and it takes responsibility for it.”

It was learnt that at the FEC meeting that many key aspects of the budget on government’s infrastructural programmes were removed.

One of such, it was gathered, was the coastal railway project. Findings showed that Calabar-Lagos rail project was removed from the budget by the lawmakers.

The senior civil servant, who confided in Sunday PUNCH, said, “The coastal railway project is one of the reasons the President is in China. N60bn counterpart funding has been provided.

“We are working on two major rail arteries. The Lagos-Kano line and the Calabar – Lagos line. While the Lagos-Kano provision was left intact by the National Assembly, the Calabar – Lagos line was removed.”

The projects will be jointly financed by the Federal Government and China.

It was learnt that the FEC meeting noticed that the amount proposed for the completion of the Idu-Kaduna rail project, was also reduced by N8.7bn.

It was gathered that the executive observed that the reduction would make the completion of the project difficult.

The civil servant stated, “Another major area noticed was the completion of on-going road projects. While the executive in the budget provided for the completion of all major road projects, the National Assembly reduced the amounts budgeted for them and instead, inserted new road projects which studies have not even been conducted.

“The amounts allocated by the National Assembly for the projects can neither complete the ongoing projects nor the new ones. At the end of 2016, no significant progress would have been made.

“Another major flaw in the budget is in the health sector. Proposals made for the purchase of essential drugs for major health issues such as Polio and AIDs were removed by the National Assembly.”

The FEC also observed that certain provisions made for agriculture and water resources as part of the Federal Government’s diversification projects were either removed or reduced.

“The funds were moved to provision of rural health facilities and boreholes, for which provisions have been made elsewhere,” the top civil servants said.

It was gathered that the lawmakers made such provisions in their constituencies.

Investigations showed that the President had reached out to the leadership of the National Assembly as part of efforts to resolve areas of disagreement.

It was learnt that Buhari was determined to ensure that the budget was signed as soon as he returned from China and once the grey areas were resolved.

It will be recalled that the National Assembly had a few months ago detected errors in the budget. The lawmakers had also alleged that the budget was padded.

Asked to speak on the recent development, the House of Representatives advised the executive to appreciate the power of the legislature to appropriate funds as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs , Abdulrazak Namdas, who gave the House’ position, explained further: “The job of the executive is to initiate projects and spending heads, but it is the responsibility of the National Assembly to appropriate funds as necessary.”

On padding, Namdas said that it was actually the fault of the executive, which brought a budget that was already full of discrepancies to the National Assembly on December 22, 2015.

“Padding was an issue that the executive itself admitted even before the National Assembly started a thorough re-working of the budget to clean it up,” he said.

The senate spokesperson, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, neither picked calls to his mobile telephone nor responded to the text message sent to him on the issue.

Also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, had yet to respond to a text message sent to him after repeated calls made to his mobile line did not connect.

When contacted, the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enag said, “What the Minister of Information said after the FEC meeting is the exact position of government on the issue. I have nothing more to add.”

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Access Bank’s Herbert Wigwe, Wife, Son’s Funeral To Hold March 4 – 10, 2024

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HERBERT Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, and two other members of his family tragically died in a fatal helicopter crash near the California-Nevada border recently.

 

Plans to honour the lives of Herbert Wigwe (1966 – 2024), his wife and son and span from March 4 to March 10, 2024, as detailed in a schedule obtained by us. The somber events include various ceremonies and services to pay tribute to the departed souls.

Monday, March 4, 2024 marks the Bankers Committee’s Celebration of Herbert, followed by a Service of Songs for Chizzy on Tuesday morning, March 5, 2024 and another Service of Songs for the deceased Wigwes in the evening of the same day.

On Wednesday March 6, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, a commemoration event will celebrate Herbert’s impactful contributions in the Social Impact Space, followed by an Evening Service of Songs for Herbert at Redeemed Christian Church, City of David Parish.

Thursday, March 7 is dedicated to a Service of Songs at Herbert’s Dad’s parish, along with the somber tasks of traveling to PH for Chizzy’s funeral service and interment, as well as holding Service of Songs for Herbert and his wife.

According to the schedule, Friday, March 8 is designated for the final farewell, with Funeral services and interments planned for both Herbert & Mrs. Wigwe.

Saturday, March 9 will be a day to receive guests, while Sunday, March 10 will culminate in a Thanksgiving Service to honor the lives and legacies of the departed.

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, a revered Nigerian banker and entrepreneur, passed away at the age of 57. As the CEO of Access Holdings Plc and former Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, his leadership transformed a small commercial bank into a global financial institution.

 

Born on August 15, 1966, to Ikwerre parents from Omueke Isiokpo in Rivers State, Herbert attended St. Gregory’s College in Lagos for his secondary education. He later graduated with a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1987. Herbert Wigwe’s legacy encompasses not only his professional achievements but also his philanthropy and visionary leadership.

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The INTERPOL Is Set To Move Against Two Cyber Bullies, Adebukola Jesse and Abosede Ilesanmi

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The International Police Division of the Nigerian Police has received petition to move against online bullies, who continue to use the social media platform to spread false and malicious stories about popular Lagos monarch, Oba Saheed Elegushi of Ikate kingdom.

 

In a petition signed by the traditional ruler’s lawyers, M. A. Banire & Associates, a copy which was sighted, the king wants the police to move against one Abosede Comfort Ilesanmi a Nigerian based in Germany and Bukky Jesse who is resident in the United Kingdom, both of whom are using their tik tok accounts to embarrass the traditional ruler.

A part of the petition reads: “The said Mrs.Abosede Comfort Ilesanmi persistently asserts a false claim in her posts on various social media platforms that our Client fathered a child with one Mrs.Omowunmi Aloba,the wife of the late llerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as ‘Mohbad’. These claims are baseless, unwarranted and unsubstantiated by any evidence.

 

It further reads “It is pertinent to also state that despite our client’s various denials of this phantom allegation of paternity, Mrs.Abosede Comfort Itesanmi continues to mischievously assert these claims solely to besmirch our client’s good name and cause him great annoyance, inconvenience and intimidation from different quarters as a result of the false allegation of Mrs Abosede Comfort Ilesanmi.

 

Our findings revealed that another petition was submitted against the Manchester, United Kingdom based Bukky Jesse.

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Interpol, Nigerian Police Drag Realtor, Abimbola Odupaye To Court For Alleged N457m Fraud

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Freezes Odupaye’s Assets Pending Investigation 

 

Following an urgent petition by a real estate company, INTERPOL has commenced investigation and frozen the assets of one Odupaye Abimbola Joseph on grounds of alleged fraud.

Odupaye Abimbola Joseph and her company, Tigers Property LLC have been charged before a Nassarawa Chief Magistrates’ for allegedly obtaining N457 million under false pretences.

 

Other respondents in the suit number M/185/2024 were United Bank For Africa (UBA), Guaranteed Trust Bank, Polaris Bank, Access Bank, Eco Bank, Wema Bank, Fidelity Bank, Abbey Mortgage Bank, First Bank and Toluwani Gideon Olisa.

 

The petitioner, through his counsel, Mr David Njoku, said that the real estate company paid the sum of N467 million to Joseph and her company for the purchase of four ( one bedroom units) of what they claimed to be their Regina Tower Project in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

Njoku submitted that his client brought a total number of five investors who signified interest to the purchase of the purported property and committed the total sum of N467 million and 300,500 US dollar to Joseph’s account.

 

The lawyer said that his client, having parted with the huge sum, was unable to obtain the property paid for and Joseph, still at large with the investors’ fund.

 

“It is our humble view that our client, alongside the investors, have been defrauded by Abimbola Joseph and Tigers Property LLC.

 

“Many other innocent citizens will be subjected to same if the matter is not urgently addressed,” he said.

 

Chief Magistrate Abdulsalam Abubakar on Jan.19 ordered that upon the motion ex-parte moved by one Mr Aminu Abubakar and upon the affidavit deposed to by ASP Ajulo Raphael of (Interpol) Force CID Annex Lagos, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, Eco Bank, Polaris Bank, Wema Bank , Abbey Mortgage Bank, Access Bank, Guaranteed Trust Bank and UBA should furnish the commissioner of police (interpol)of the account details of Toluwani Gideon Olisa and Odupaye Abimbola Joseph.

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