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Okorocha, Ambode, Others to earn N2.06bn as Severance Allowance

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Fourteen governors, their deputies and 434 state lawmakers who will not be returning to government will be going home with N2.06bn, investigation has shown.

Prominent among the governors are Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who are concluding their second terms in office.

Akinwunmi Ambode who lost the nomination of his party prior to the governorship election on March 8; and Adamawa State Governor, Bindo Jibrila, and his counterpart in Bauchi, Mohammed Abubakar, who did not win their re-election bids are also among the governors to collect severance allowance.

Going by a template obtained from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, each of the governors will get a total of N6.67m as severance allowance. Each of their deputies will receive a total of N6.34m as severance allowance at the end of their tenures on May 29.

This means that the 14 governors and their deputies will be going home with a total of N182.11m at the expiration of their tenures on May 29.

The severance allowance is, however, separate from other packages which many states have put in place as retirement benefits or pension packages for their governors and deputy governors.

Some of such packages include unlimited health care benefits as well as houses in any place of their choice in the state. Some also offer another house in the Federal Capital Territory. Some former governors have been known to implement some of the packages for themselves towards the end of their tenures.

Investigation also showed that 434 state lawmakers spread across 27 states will be going home with a total of N1.88bn. Each state lawmaker is entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salary as severance allowance. This comes to N4.34m.

In Oyo State where 30 lawmakers will not be returning to the state House of Assembly, the lawmakers are to receive a total of N130.14m.

In Niger State, 27 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N117.12m; while in Benue, 24 non-returning lawmakers will get a severance package of N104.16m. Ekiti State also has 24 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N104.16m.

Twenty three non-returning lawmakers in Kwara State will be receiving a total of N99.82m. The same amount will be going to 23 non-returning lawmakers in Osun State.

Ogun State has 22 non-returning lawmakers who will receive a total of N95.48m. The same amount will also be paid to 22 lawmakers who will not be returning to the Bauchi State House of Assembly.

In Imo State, 21 non-returning state lawmakers will go home with a total of N91.14m while 19 lawmakers in Gombe State will be going home with N82.46m. Ondo State has 18 non-returning lawmakers that will return home with N78.12m.

Anambra State has 17 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N73.78m. The same applies to Plateau State while Kogi and Zamfara states have 16 non-returning lawmakers respectively that will go home with N69.44m.

Edo State has 15 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N65.1m. Adamawa and Akwa Ibom states have 14 non-returning lawmakers (each), who will go home with N60.76m.

Katsina State’s 13 non-returning lawmakers will go home with N56.42m; Bayelsa State’s 12 lawmakers will go home with N52.08m while Abia State’s 11 non-returning lawmakers will get a total of N47.74m. Taraba State’s 10 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N43.4m.

Ebonyi and Borno states tied at nine lawmakers that will go home with a total of N39.06m per state. Cross River State has only four non-returning lawmakers who will go home with N17.36m while Rivers State produced only three non-returning state lawmakers who will get N13.02m.

Incidentally, Lagos State whose governor could not get the party’s ticket produced the least number of only one non-returning lawmaker that will get N4.34m.

Severance allowance is paid to political office holders at the end of their tenure. There are other allowances which they receive while in service. These include motor fuelling allowance, furniture allowance, newspaper allowance, hardship allowance and a host of others.

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Gbajabiamila Threatens to Report Service Chiefs to Buhari for Shunning Security Meeting

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, berated the nation’s military Service Chiefs for allegedly refusing to appear before the House to offer explanations on the security situation in the country.

A visibly disappointed Gbajabiamila, who described their action as an insult to the National Assembly, promised to report the matter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Gbajabiamila noted with dismay that the act of shunning the invitation of the National Assembly by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was uncalled for.

The Speaker, who declined to meet with representatives of the Service Chiefs, directed the affected military officers to appear before the House on Monday morning.

He commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu; the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi and the Comptroller General (CG) of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, who were present at the meeting.

Gbajabiamila described the conduct of the Service Chiefs as a sad development since all arms of government were supposed to work in unison for the development of the country and the benefit of Nigerians.

He said: “Let me first of all commend Mr President for the commitment he has shown in trying to stem the spate of insecurity in the country. Mr President has to have people he would delegate those powers to as the Commander-in-Chief as dictated by our constitution.

“Mr President has delegated those powers to the Service Chiefs, so we decided to call this meeting, as representatives of the people. Let me commend the Inspector General of Police for being here personally. Let me also commend the DG DSS and the CG Nigerian immigration for being here.

“Let me say, as a House, as an institution, I cannot understate my disappointment or our disappointment that the rest of the Service Chiefs are not here.

“Again, like I said, we called this meeting because it was inevitable. It was important. You can see members from Borno State here. There is a crisis in Borno State right now.

“We wanted to hear from the Service Chiefs to know what was going on, how the House can help and what the problems are as well as what are the challenges; to talk about strategy, to talk about what we need to do.

“I’m sure you really didn’t expect the House to fold its arms while people in Maiduguri and other parts are being killed. There is migration now from local councils in Borno State to Maiduguri. Here we are, we called the Armed Forces coordinated by the CDS, who is not here with Service Chiefs being represented. I’m actually at a loss.

“For me, I believe my colleagues are in tandem with this. The Service Chiefs — the CDS, the COAS, the CNS and the CAS — are not represented as far as we are concerned. I’m sorry, when I said not represented, as far as I’m concerned, the heads are not here, the Service Chiefs are not here. I know one or two of these Service Chiefs were somewhere yesterday night. I am aware of that.

“I can almost say it shows a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. Yes, we need to talk about that. What do you need? What is required? I’m almost embarrassed. To tell you the truth. I’m almost embarrassed.”

The Speaker added: “There was no call placed to my office to explain why. I’m just seeing accountants and representatives. So, I’m not sure how to handle this, because I don’t think this is happening anywhere in any Parliament that I know of in the world, where the head of parliament will call the Service Chiefs for a nagging problem, how to resolve it and you have what we have here as representations.

“So, I think it’s important that we might need to postpone this meeting to Monday morning. I will personally see the President myself.  We are supposed to work together as a body, but it shows lack of seriousness apart from the disdain on Parliament. It shows that this is not as serious to the level that we believe it is. Unfortunately, this meeting can no longer hold.”

In his terse remarks, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, described the development as an insult to his person and the institution of the legislature.

“In strong terms, I condemn those who have deemed it fit not to be here. As far as I’m concerned, as the Chairman of a Committee, I never attended to any agency in the absence of the chief executives and the accounting officers, and I know that these Service Chiefs are the accounting officers in their various agencies. It is our practice, tradition and I am insulted.”

After the remarks, the Speaker postponed the meeting to Monday morning. Present at the session were some principal officers of the House and chairmen of relevant security committees.

The Guardian

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FG Slams Sowore with Treason Charges, Accuses Him of Insulting Buhari

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The Federal Government on Friday filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.

The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.

The detention order elapses on September 21.

In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.

It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire.

The sums of money he was said to have been involved in the alleged transfers were the sums of $19,975 on April 2, 2019; $20,475 on May 21, 2019, $16,975 on June 27, 2019, and another $16,975 on July 16, 2019.

The DSS arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, following his call for revolution in a protest he organised to take place in some major cities on August 5.

The Punch

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Atiku Breaks Silence, Gives Reasons for Heading to Supreme Court

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 23, 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday said he would appeal at the Supreme Court the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to ensure that votes of Nigerians count.

In his first official statement after President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress defeated him at the tribunal, he also said he believed he would get justice at the Supreme Court.

Atiku said, “Nothing good comes easy; and hard as the task to rid Nigeria of the forces of fascism and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.

“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria and in public service.

“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.

He added, “And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done but seen to be done can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this dear land is indeed a land where unity, faith, peace and progress reside.

“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.

“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to freedom of speech and freedom after the speech are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary is not afraid to do its job and has to be wary of blackmail, intimidation and victimisation.”

The Punch

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