Jonathan begs Senators, Reps to pass 2014 budget

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday appealed to members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the 2014 Appropriation Bill in order to enable his administration to deliver dividends of democracy to the people. Jonathan made the appeal during a stakeholders’ forum of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.When the debate on the bill entered the second day in the Senate on Wednesday, some Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress senators had described the document as anti-people.They chided the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the way the bill was packaged and therefore called for its review.It will be recalled that the APC had last week directed its members in the National Assembly to block the passage of the bill and the screening of ministerial nominees as well as the Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs.The CDS and the service chiefs were however cleared on Thursday by the upper arm of the National Assembly.Jonathan, who was represented at the SURE-P stakeholders forum by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, told the Chairman of the Senate Committee on SURE-P, to carry out the assignment of pleading with his colleagues on his behalf.“Let me appeal to Senator Ningi who chairs the Senate committee on SURE-P to please help urge his colleagues in the National Assembly to expedite consideration of the 2014 budget which is currently before them in order for us to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to our people,” he said.He reiterated his administration’s determination to continue to improve on the country’s infrastructural needs.While saying that the SURE-P had since its inception in 2012 become a critical unit of his administration’s transformation agenda, the President disclosed that over 190,000 youths had so far been employed in various categories.He said that the programme had also intervened massively in railway, road construction and health sectors.The Director-General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, put the Federal Government’s share of the SURE-P’s fund at N180bn per annum.Earlier, Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State, had thanked the Federal Government for introducing SURE-P, saying its footprints were all over the place in many parts of the country.Wada said, “In Kogi State, our first focus was on youth employment and empowerment. The first

Jonathan the Igbo Man

Update On The National Conference Modalities

After a few weeks of suspense, federal government on Thursday unveiled modalities for the proposed national conference. A total of 492 delegates are billed to participate in the conference that will last three months.Out of the 492, President Goodluck Jonathan is to nominate 77 across specified strata of the society while state governors are to collectively nominate 109 delegates.Following the modalities released by the secretary to the government of the federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, the socio-political group of the north, Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), and its counterpart in the south-west, the Afenifere, both gave their stand on the national conference and it’s modalities.ACF’s spokesman, Anthony Sani, in a terse statement said he had nothing to add or subtract from it.“I have just read the statement by the federal government on the national conference, and pleased to say that I have nothing to add or subtract. I therefore pray the nominees will be our first 11 endowed with public intelligence and patriotic courage,” Sani said.On its part, the Yoruba socio-political body, Afenifere, acknowledged the template for the conference as the first of its kind to recognize the ethnic nationalities in the country.Afenifere’s spokesman Yinka Odumakin, who made the position of the group known, however, cautioned that the representations to the conference could be better handled by stakeholders.“Again, Afenifere finds it commendable that stakeholders will nominate their delegates, and not the government interfering in the process of nomination by interest groups; this is a welcome development.”But the APC said the proposed conference is just to keep Nigerians busy so people wont ask questions about the rot in the country as well as question the scandalous 2014 budget.Interim national publicity secretary of the APC Lai Mohammed said: “What is there that would make us change our position? Has anything happened that could make us change our position? We stand by


Chief Edwin Clark Amaechi dramatizing Rivers crisis

The Leader of the South-South Peoples Assembly, Chief Edwin Clark has accused Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi of dramatizing the crisis in the state.Besides, the former Federal Commissioner said it was wrong to have elevated the crisis to the national issue.The elder statesman also said that Ijaw leaders will mediate in the crisis between Bayelsa and Rivers over oil field.He spoke on Wednesday night at the opening of the one day expanded National Working Committee of the South South Peoples Assembly, held in Asokoro, Abuja.He said,” the governor of River State is dramatizing the crisis in the state and he just wants support. And some distractors and opponents of this government are using the Rivers state issue to create crisis in the country. What is happening in the state is between two factions and nobody has been killed.


National Conference Nigeria’s unity, no-go area

*All 492 delegates to be nominated *75% majority to approve decisions *Conference may begin late February THE Federal Government, yesterday, declared that the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria would be the only no-go area for the planned National Conference which may be convened before the end of February. This was disclosed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the Federal Government’s endorsement of the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue which submitted its report few weeks ago. During the briefing, Anyim was flanked by Chairman and Secretary of the Presidential Committee on National Dialogue, Senator Femi Okurounmu and Dr. Akilu Indabawa, respectively.


Rivers released 275 suspects Boko Haram arrest sterrorists

Two hundred and seventy-five persons among those held by the Police in Rivers State on the suspicion that they are members of the dreaded Boko Haram group, have been released. Deputy Commissioner State Criminal Investigation Department (DC/CID), Sam Ukaula told reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday that 19 of those arrested are being held for further interrogation. The arrest of the people travelling in buses on the Rivers –Imo border, has generated huge interest. The House of Representatives has ordered as probe into the


Man named Israel Dike a native of Odenkume Obowo LGA of Imo State resides in Egbu Road Owerri reported to have tied his seven children to wheelbarrow, begging for buyers.

Palpable confusion reigned in Owerri, yesterday, as a father  tied his seven children, including his triplet, to a wheel-barrow and  was heading to an unknown destination before officials of Ministry of  Women Affairs and Social Development intervened.Vanguard investigations revealed that the 44-year-old man, Israel Dike,*  is a native of Odenkume, Obowo Local Government Aarea of Imo State, but  resides in Ugwu Ekwema, Egbu Road, Owerri.The children’s hands were securely tied to a wheelbarrow while the man  was soliciting for buyers for the children, saying he was fed up with  his dwindling economic fortunes.A staff of the ministry told Vanguard: “Following a tip off, a high  powered team led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Nma  Onyechere, quickly went and rescued the children.”Apart from disclosing that he planned selling some of them with a view  to enabling him take proper care of others, Dike equally lamented that  Governor Rochas Okorocha put him in the mess he has found himself today.“Owelle Okorocha is the cause of what I am passing through today. He  made me a promise in the past and has failed to redeem it till today,”  Dike said.Speaking to newsmen at the scene, the commissioner described Dike as a “depressed man, who is mentally deranged.”While urging Dike’s wife to go for family planning, the commissioner  equally promised that government would carefully ascertain the level of  the man’s mental problem.Answering a question, Mrs. Onyechere said the ministry would find a way  of giving out the children to foster parents with a view to ensuring  adequate care


Will looters in the Zoo clean up the spills? Nigeria slams $11.1.5bn fine on Shell over Bonga spill.

THE Nigerian Maritime  Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the National Oil Spill  Response and Emergency Agency, NOSREA, have fined Shell Nigeria  Exploration and production Company, SNEPCO, $11.5billion, about N1.84  trillion over the Bonga spill incident of 2011. Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, the NIMASA’s Director General made the  disclosure while speaking at a Public Hearing organised by…