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Senate approves Buhari’s N338bn debt payment to 2 states, contractors

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By Olugbenga Salami

Senate has approved the payment of N338.9 billion local debts owed by the federal government through a promissory note programme and bond issuance on Wednesday.

The figure consists of N102 billion as refund for federal projects executed by Delta and Taraba States; N43.5 billion for debts owed five contractors, and N193 billion as outstanding Export Expansion Grant, EEG claims by 269 companies.

A breakdown of the figure shows that Delta State share of the N102 billion refund is N67.9 billion, while Taraba State will get the balance of N34.3 billion.

Also, of the N43.5 billion contract liabilities, Setraco will get N37.4 billion, Bouygues -N4.6 billion, Simida S and I. International company -N346 million, Hamadala Homes and Agency Ltd -N346 million and LEJMEJ Nigeria Ltd -N960 million.

The Senate approval followed the submission and presentation of the report of its adhoc committee chaired by Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC-Edo Northwhich worked on the executive request.

Presenting the report, Alimikhena said the committee was furnished by justifiable details of all claims submitted by representatives of Delta and Taraba States, beneficiaries of the EEG scheme and the contractors.

The details, according to him, include the Federal Government’s approval through its Ministry of Works for the highway projects executed by the two states.

Others are contract agreements between the state governments and the contractors that handled the projects, and evidence of payments to the contractors.

Also received by the committee, Alimikhena added, were certificates of project completion and evidence of part payments made by various MDAs to the five contractors, among others.

The senator said after exhaustive deliberations on the submissions and presentations, the committee found that the federal highways constructed by the states were in deplorable conditions before the intervention.

He said beneficiaries of the EEG scheme had not been paid since 2007 up to the compilation period in 2016/2017.

“The backlog in disbursement of the EEG claims seriously affected the liquidity strength of most of the companies which has resulted in difficulty of loan repayment and meeting employees obligations.

“Contractors that appeared before the committee justified their claims by presenting all supporting documents including evidence of part payments received”, he said

The committee, therefore, recommended that the president’s request be granted for the settlement of the debts.

Some senators, in their contributions supported the motion for approval of the recommendations.

However, Senator Barnabas Gemade urged the committee to request for evidence of the income earned by the country from the exports claimed to have been promoted by the benefiting companies.

“I believe the item on the exports expansion grant should be reconsidered by the committee because we don’t even know how much income a company asking for N7 billion for exports promoted has brought to the nation.

“We know there is a huge amount of funds around this EEG, and we should not push things unnecessarily”, he said.

But his argument fell on deaf ears as the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the sitting, put the recommendations to a voice vote and it was approved.

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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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