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Withdraw Your Budget Padding Allegation, It’s Careless, Irresponsible – Saraki Tells Tinubu

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President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has challenged the  National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to prove that he has padded the national budgets since   2015.

Former  Lagos State governor Tinubu in a statement on Sunday accused  Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, of padding national budgets since they came to power.

“National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” Tinubu claimed in the statement.

“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics, halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.

“He (Saraki) planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate President showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position.”

But in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Monday, Saraki slammed the allegation as “careless, irresponsible and callous”.

The former Kwara State governor challenged Tinubu to prove the allegation or withdraw it.

The statement said, “In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make a specific reference to where  Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly ‘sought to pad with pet projects’ as he alleged.

“Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation. We consider that allegation careless, irresponsible and callous. We, therefore, demand that he withdraw it.”

Olaniyonu described  Tinubu’s statement as “another of his now well-expected quarterly vicious attack” on  Saraki.

He added, “Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations. The statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the 8th  National Assembly and its leadership.

“To further make the points here clear, we invite  Tinubu to look at the records of the time of  the submission of  the budgets and their passage since 2010 and he will see that, with the exception of the 2013 budget, which was passed on December 20, 2012, all the budgets were passed between March and May of the same fiscal year.

“This    should give him a better understanding of the fact that the date the Appropriation Bill is submitted to the parliament and the readiness of the MDAs to defend the proposals submitted as well as a  timely agreement on the figures by both chambers of the National Assembly are the main determining factors when the budget is eventually passed. So, Tinubu should see that the facts cannot support his spins and fake narrative.”

Saraki faulted Tinubu’s criticism of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly, insisting he and other leaders of the upper chamber were democratically elected.

The statement said, “It is because they are the choice of their colleagues that they have remained in office for the past 46 months despite  the plots hatched by anti-democratic, reactionary and fascist elements pretending to be ‘progressives.”

It added, “In fact, Tinubu should know that if there was any mistake made on June 9, 2015, it was the miscalculation by himself and his cabal in the APC who felt they could decide for the senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect. When they failed after their grandstanding that they could always get whatever they desired, they resorted to undermining the institution of the legislature and waging a campaign of calumny against the lawmaking body.”

Saraki’s aide also accused Tinubu of attacking his principal due to his belief that the APC chief frustrated his ambition to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in 2015 as well as his presidential ambition in 2023.

The statement said, “It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process of the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National  Assembly is already falling through. The frustration from this experience might have been responsible for this needless and baseless outbursts.”

It added, “A situation where  Tinubu is dictating to elected legislators and ordering them to either comply with his directives or get out of the party will not augur well for the legislature in the next dispensation. History should have thought him that only leaders that truly enjoy the support of members can help the President and his administration to achieve their objectives.

“It is a good development that the candidates for the various positions are already reaching out to their colleagues and forging alliances. We can see that after he realised that he has misfired, he is trying to retrace his steps.”

Meanwhile, an aspirant to the House Representatives speakership, Mr Mohammed Bago, has urged Tinubu to allow the best aspirant to get the job.

Bago in a statement on Monday by spokesman for the Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr Victor Ogene, said, “Not too long ago, in 2015, when Tinubu tried to foist the same mentee of his as Speaker. In spite of the rational voices of caution by many stakeholders, many have been left wondering if the enforcement effort was at the instance of President Buhari and the party.

“Although a greater portion of the statement centred on his probable scheming for the 2023 presidential election, real or imagined, our concern revolves around the oblique reference to loyalty as the basis for his decision to stand by his adopted (son) as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

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#EndSARS: CNN Calls FG’s Bluff, Releases Second Report on Lekki Shootings

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Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.

Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig.Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.

The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig.Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.

The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.

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Buhari’s Letter Seeking Yakubu’s Confirmation as INEC Chairman Read in Senate

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for a second term in office.

Buhari’s official communication to the red chamber was read on the floor during plenary on Tuesday, by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

He sought the lawmakers’ expeditious consideration of his request for another five-year tenure for Yakubu.

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MDCN Suspends Beautiful Lagos Plastic Surgeon over Failed Surgery

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A Lagos plastic surgeon, Anuoluwapo Adepoju, whose services allegedly resulted in the death of her patient, Nneka Onwuzuligbo, has been suspended indefinitely by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

MDCN took the interim disciplinary action against Ms Adepoju, owner of Med-Contour, a plastic surgery hospital, on Monday, pending the determination of her case with its disciplinary tribunal.

The plastic surgeon allegedly operated on the late Onwuzuligbo, a 2013 winner of Face of Democracy Transformation in Nigeria, at a medical facility on December 31, 2018.

The news of her patient’s death first went viral in February 2019.

Ms Adepoju is also currently being investigated over suspicion of illegal activities and alleged evasion from an investigation into the failed plastic surgery.

She is also charged with failure to comply with a summons by The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

With the charges, nonetheless, Ms Adepoju continues to showcase photos and videos of her numerous cosmetic surgeries, ‘positive’ feedbacks, and patient transformations on her hospital’s Instagram handle which boasts over 74,000 followers.

The self-confessed body contour specialist and mother of two is also an Instagram celebrity who openly flaunts her curves.

Reacting to the development, FCCPC said it welcomed MDCN’s decision to impose interim measures suspending the plastic surgeon indefinitely from practicing medicine pending full and final disposition of disciplinary proceedings.

‘‘Every action, whether interim or final that prevents the risk of injury to patients/consumers and or mitigates the pain and suffering of citizens on account of injury by manufacturers or service providers is an important component of a larger effort to protect citizens.

‘’This is a demonstration that the system works and can endure, as well as inure to the benefit of society. Whether patient care or good manufacturing, ultimately, the highest responsibility is to consumers. We, as regulators, must hold producers and providers accountable to that obligation,’’ Ondaje Ijagwu, the agency’s spokesman, said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Lagos University Teaching Hospital had urged the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Investigation Panel to investigate the alleged professional misconduct of the Lagos plastic surgeon.

The hospital, in a petition dated June 11, 2020, and signed by its Director of Legal Services, O. O. Olajide, accused Ms Adepoju of professional misconduct during a surgery she performed on Ms Onwuzuligbo at her facility.

According to LUTH, Ms Adepoju had continued to perform surgeries despite the fact that her facility was sealed off by the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency.

In an affidavit attached to the petition, the hospital alleged that she (suspect) referred the victim from her facility to LUTH on January 3, 2019, on the pretext that she was being referred from the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island.

The victim, according to the affidavit deposed to by a consultant surgeon, Andrew Ugburo, was presented to LUTH with severe respiratory distress and septicemia with infected surgical wounds.

Mr Ugburo further deposed that the victim developed multiple organ failure of cardiac, respiratory and renal failures.

He also said the patient had a cardiac arrest “on the 31st day of admission”, adding that after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was unsuccessful, the victim was certified dead around 9 a.m. on February 3, 2019.

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