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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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Bank Of Industry’s Former MD, Rasheed Olaoluwa, Others To Be Arraigned November 23

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The absence of the former Managing Director (MD), Bank of Industry (BoI), Rasheed Olaoluwa, and three others, on Tuesday frustrated their planned arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja.

Others expected to be docked before the judge includes Sadat Abdullahi Aliyu, Mr Chibundu Edozie, and BGL Capital Limited.

They are to face a 13-count charge bordering on the alleged sale of BoI shares as slammed against them by the anti-graft agency.

In addressing the court, the Commission’s lawyer, Kehinde Adetoye, said though the case was slated for arraignment, the defendants were duly contacted that their arrangement would come up in court.

The counsel equally informed the judge that the Defendants were granted administrative bail since 2020, and ought to be in court for their arrangement.

In his response, Olabode Iranloye, counsel to the 2nd defendant (Sadat Abdullahi Aliyu) tendered an apology for the absence of his client and gave the assurance that the defendants would be in court at the next adjourned date to take their plea.

This prompted Justice Abike-Fadipe to adjourn the matter until November 23, 2022, for arraignment.

It would be recalled that the EFCC had sometimes in 2016 carried out a raid on the Lagos office of the BoI following what it termed a discreet investigation it had been conducting.

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How New Owner Saved Sheraton Hotel From Dwindling Fortunes, Den for High-class Sex Workers.

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The fortunes of Sheraton Hotels will soon be revived having been majorly acquired by its new owners. In its heydays, the luxury hotel was the place to be and commanded high patronage from the elites of society.

But in the last few years, the respect that the hotel commanded has dwindled considerably. With patrons allegedly complaining about one thing or the other, the chain of hotels, two in Lagos State and one in Abuja, is allegedly, currently surviving on its past glory.

Patrons of Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos, complain about the hospitality centre becoming a den for high-class sex workers. It is alleged that the once serene environment where business moguls hold and attend conferences, lunch, dinner, and leisure meetings has over time become a sanctuary for these ‘businesswomen who come to the hotel in groups at times to seek prospective customers.

They allegedly contribute to lodge in the hotel to enable them to gain access to the swimming pool and bar areas where they can easily have access to meet rich clientele who also lodge there or are there for a drink or business meeting. These ‘business women’ allegedly became quite brazen, harassing unsuspecting customers, pitching their bodies as essential commodities to be had for a fee.

Many patrons have complained about the once luxurious Lagos Sheraton Hotel. They claim that the entire building looks like it could do with a face-lift. It is shabby, they said, and the interior décor is urgently in need of an overhaul. They have also complained about the grubby furniture and the fact that the hotel’s structures no longer match the brand.

The management of the Abuja branch of the hotel has been accused of institutionalising racism and gender-insensitive policies. Perhaps all of these may have contributed to 22 Hospitality Limited acquiring a majority stake of 66 per cent of the shares of the hotel group.

Following its acquisition, five members of the board of Capital Hotel Plc, the owners of Sheraton Hotel, resigned from their positions. They are Chief Anthony Idigbe, SAN; Dr Alexander Thomopulos; Mrs Fadeke Olugbemi; Mrs Helen Da-Souza and Mr Akpofure Ibru. 22 Hospitality Limited, the new owners of Sheraton Hotels, is a subsidiary of 11 Plc, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria.

11 Plc is ironically owned by Ramesh Kansagra one of the richest Asians in the United Kingdom. Besides being the chairman of 11 Plc, Kansagra is also the Managing Director of Solai Holdings Limited, an investment services company with net asset value in excess of £160m.

Solai Holdings is involved in oil trading, raw materials for ceramic industry, agriculture and food industries processing with various investments in Africa and the UK. Ramesh holds 135 appointments at 135 active companies. The asset value of all businesses where Ramesh holds appointments equals €144.4 million, a combined total current assets vue of €745.7 million with a total current liabilities of €697.1 million and a total current net worth of €835.4 million. Ramesh is a recipient of the honourary award, Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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GLOWFUX Concert ’22: FANAFILLIT set to host 1,000 children and adults to a fiesta

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The organizers of the annual GLOWFUX Charity Concert, Fanafillit Integrated Concepts, have announced their plans to host not less than 1,000 adults and children from special homes across Lagos State. This was contained in its official statement made available to the press on Friday, to announce the official commencement of activities for the annual end-of-the-year social intervention event.

According to the statement signed by the Project Coordinator, Miss Margaret Ngonadi, this year’s edition marks the 7th edition of the impactful project and the second time of spreading its tentacles across Lagos State. “As we aim to again host children from special homes like orphanages, rehabilitation centers, less privileged homes, and homes of people with special abilities, we are not going back on our promise last year to make this glamorous event statewide”, the statement reads.

Reiterating their commitment to the project, the organizers stated that they look forward to giving everyone a funfilled, exciting, and memorable experience at this year’s edition of the GLOWFUX Charity Concert which is slated to hold on Saturday, 28th of December, 2022 at Dan & Den Arena, Elegushi Beachfront, Lekki, Lagos.

“The general public is welcomed to celebrate with our VIP guests who will be joining us from several orphanages/special need homes across Lagos State. Admission to the event is strictly by registration through the GLOWFUX registration link and invitations to some members of the public. However, all members of the public attending the event are encouraged to come with gift items as that’s part of the criterion for clearance at the entry point”, a part of the statement read.

On the content of the event, the organizers assured that this year’s edition of the GLOWFUX Concert promises to feature an avalanche of entertainment, gifts, food and drinks for all. “While we already have on board some notable entertainment practitioners like Kemi Stone, Da’Fresh Olorin, Vanessa Jones, Ogbono, TalkTalk, Princephelar, Meyrah, Maryjane Dawn, FKM, Dharnniella, we are working on more popular brands and entertainment practitioners to merry with the children and make them experience the overwhelming joy of the end-of-the-year festivities. Notable amongst entertainment brands we are in talks with are Prince Jide Kosoko, Funsho Adeolu, Bimbo Akintola, Yemi Blaq, Shushu Abubakar, Yinka Alaseyori and a host of others”, said the project coordinator in the release.

Also, the organizers announced the introduction of a new award category to its GLOWFUX Hall of Charity Award Category which is tagged GLOWFUX Charitable Corporate brand of the year to recognize and celebrate Corporate Brands whose charitable endeavors have impacted their immediate community.

The organizers of the GLOWFUX Charity Concert encourage the general public to join the cause as they set to put smiles on the faces of 1000 Special Children through donations and by attending the events with gifts.

GLOWFUX (Giving Love With Fun for Xmas) is an annual end-of-the-year charity concert that brings together children from orphanages/special need homes across the state for an unusual end-of-the-year celebration with the general public.

The last six editions of the GLOWFUX Charity Concert have recorded myriads of impact across the State with about 1,500 children from several special homes (government-owned and private-owned) as beneficiaries.

In addition to existing brands like iCare Foundation, Hands Lifting Hearts Initiatives, Corsican Brothers, Elegushi Royal stool, MALENS diagnostics, Headway Events, DJ MAPS Productions, OPREM Photography and NSNF who have always been part of the project, other notable being considered to come on board this year’s edition includes Fidson Healthcare, Beloxxi Biscuits, Dano Milk, Unilever Nig, Seniors Wellbeing Foundations, AkModel Properties, Hypo, Dan & Den Lounge, Germane Auto and SIFAX Group.

The media supports for this year includes AIT, KRAKS TV, Legit.ng, Pulse.ng, thestatusng.blogspot.com theeagleonline.com.ng, thegazellenews.com, newspop.com, mockinbird.com.ng, omonaijablog.com.ng, societyreporters.com, theheute.com.ng, freedomonline.com.ng, Hottestgistinnaija.com, Encomium magazine, YES! International magazine, theelitesng.com freedomonline.com.ng, thecitypulsenews.com, Global Excellence magazine, saharaweeklyng.com freelanews.com theimpactnewspaper.com

Inquiries on the partnership, support, and donations can be forwarded to any of the following contact 07032312815, 08111236196, 09159712472, 07061893629, 08103103198, or connect with the organizer on their social media pages @glowfux.

Donations can also be made through the link https://donate-ng.com/campaign/glowfux-concert

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