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Elections budget: Nationwide blackout imminent as Senate vires N25.5bn from power votes

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By Olugbenga Salami

……..30 MDAs affected in the virements 

Indications that the current epileptic electricity supply be experienced by Nigerians in many parts of the country may continue after the 2019 general elections, emerged on Wednesday with a whopping cut of N25.5billion from N714.668billion appropriated for the power sector in the 2018 budget as parts of monies vired for the conduct of next year’s general elections.

This followed the approval of virement/supplementary budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agencies for the conduct of the general elections as recommended by the Senate Committee on Appropriations by the Senate.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, APC-Gombe Central, while presenting report of the committee, explained that the earlier virement of N242billion for the elections budget entirely from service wide votes (Special Intervention Programme) should be rescinded and approve new sources recommended.

The recommended new sources as presented and approved by the Senate are N121.2billion to be vired from service wide votes and the remaining balance of N121billion to be vired from 2018 budgetary votes of affected 30 ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs of the federal government.

Other sectors affected include the education sector where N10.238billion was vired from N651.226billion appropriated for the Federal Ministry of Education in the 2018 budget to make up for the N242.2billion now budgeted for conduct of the 2019 general elections.

The rest include 28 other MDAs which had parts of their 2018 budgetary allocations vired in addition to the N121.2billion vired from service wide votes to make up for the N242billion 2019 elections budget.

Others MDAs that suffered from the virements are Federal Ministry of Water Resources which has N12.954billion vired from its N155.149billion 2018 budget, Federal Ministry of Agriculture where N11billion was vired from its N203billion 2018 budget.

The rest include the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning -N8.845billion, Federal Ministry of Defence N2.636billiin, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs -N1.737billion and Federal Ministry of Health -N8.059billion.

Also affected in the virements are Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation N6.734billion, Office of the National Security Adviser N1.120billion, Ministry of Labour and Employment N2.727billion, Information and Culture N1.884billion, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs N1.199billion, Science and Technology N7.466bn, Industry, Trade and Investment N7.085billion etc.

However, the committee in the report, retained the spread of the N242billion virement votes for conduct of the 2019 general elections across the six affected agencies as earlier approved by both chambers of the National Assembly with N189billion for INEC, N27.3billion for the Nigeria Police Force and N9.481billionn for the office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA.

Others are N10.213billion for the Department of State Services, DSS, N3.573billion for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and N2.628billion for the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, totalling N242, 245, 050, 100 virement/supplementary as passed by the National Assembly.

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Metro

FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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