Before the Senate adjourned next year for the Christmas and New Year break, it confirmed Muhammad Nami and Edward Adamu as the heads of FIRS and AMCON respectively. There was also the reintroduction of the Peace Corps Bill by Senator Ali Ndume among the main issues on the floor of the Senate last week.
A PREMIUM TIMES analysis of the 2020 budget signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the same day revealed that ₦264 billion worth of questionable projects were inserted by federal lawmakers. Most of them were empowerment and capacity building projects, which the ICPC had described as conduits for embezzling public funds because they are impossible to track.
Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) reintroduced the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill which seeks to turn the Peace Corps, currently a non-governmental organisation, into a government paramilitary agency. President Buhari had in 2018 declined assent to the same bill.
Mr Ndume said the new bill put into consideration the objection raised by the president. He said the Peace Corps would reinforce the police and army with the personnel they lack if passed.
The Red Chamber also summoned the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede, and other relevant officers over the new visa-on-arrival policy recently announced by President Buhari. They are to appear before the Senate Committees on Interior, Judiciary and Legal.
Worried about the alleged injustice and ill-treatment meted to Nigerian traders and business owners in Ghana, the Senate opened a file to investigate the report.
Sequel to last week’s request by President Buhari, the Senate confirmed Muhammad Nami and Edward Adamu as chairmen of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) respectively.
Two weeks after he sought the confirmation of the new chairman and other commissioners for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), President Buhari forwarded the names of Bala Muhammad and Yusuf Nwoha to the Senate as additions to the Commission’s board members.
In a separate letter, the president also sought the Senate’s confirmation of board members of the National Assembly Service Commission.
Further analysis of the 2020 budget by this newspaper also showed that while ₦37 billion is earmarked for the renovation of the National Assembly complex, ₦36.6 billion is enough to repair bad roads across the country. This is also more than half of the amount earmarked for capital projects in Abuja.
Imo State senator, Benjamin Uwajumogu, died Wednesday morning, as a result of which the Senate adjourned plenary till next day, Friday, to mourn the late lawmaker.
On the sidelines, legislative aides protested within the main building of the National Assembly complex over unpaid salaries.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary also gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the State Security Service (SSS), counsel to Omoyele Sowore and others to submit their testimonies. This, it said, was to aid its investigation over the SSS’ invasion of an Abuja courtroom and the rearrest of Mr Sowore.
In its last plenary for the year, the Senate named new committee chairmen. Smart Adeyemi replaced Dino Melaye as the chairman of the Committee on Aviation. The Senate announced adjournment of plenary to January 28, 2020.
The Senate completed the year by passing the budget of ₦278.4 billion for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), against the ₦232.8 billion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.