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THE NATION

Buhari yet to get 2018 budget from National Assembly

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President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to get a clean copy of the 2018 Appropriation Bill as passed into law by the two chambers of the National Assembly last week.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Udoma said there was no truth in some reports quoting him as saying that the President would not sign the document as passed by the federal lawmakers.

The minister stated, “The President has yet to receive the budget. It is therefore impossible to make a statement about the budget that has not been received.

“Once we get it, we will work very quickly on it. When it is submitted, I am sure the National Assembly will inform Nigerians.”

The minister said from all indications, the nation’s economy was improving with the current Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 1.95 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

The Senate at the plenary on Wednesday approved the Conference Committee’s report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill, which corrected errors in the versions passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly.

The errors bothered on grammar and syntax.

The National Assembly passed the N9.12tn budget last week Wednesday after the Appropriation Bill had spent more than six months with the legislature.

The final figure was raised by over N508bn from the initial estimates of N8.612tn that the President laid before lawmakers on November 7, 2017.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives, however, identified and corrected various errors in the bill, while the Committees on Appropriations of both chambers formed a conference committee to harmonise the corrections.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, presented the Conference Committee’s report.

The House of Representatives also on Wednesday adopted the harmonised report on the 2018 budget, preparatory to Buhari’s assent.

With the adoption of the report, the budget is set for transmission to the President.

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THE NATION

The ICON Newspaper re-brands, changes name to The Witness

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Fastest growing Nigerian tabloid, The Icon has changed its name to The Witness as part of its re-branding process to serve its teeming readers better.

According to its managing director, Mr. Julius Akpovire Enyeh, the news medium headquartered in Lagos, in a bid to expand its reach, decided on a lot of changes, one which is the change of name that also affects its online version.

Akpovire said the readers and followers of the king of the newsstands were in for a refreshing experience as a result of the new changes. He also assured all of sustaining the newspaper’s continued tradition of churning out unbiased reports and on-time news dissemination as well as leading in delivering breaking news as they happen.

The Witness is available in newspaper tabloid form and online at www.witnessngr.com

The Witness is a new publication in newspaper tabloid format that covers News, Business, Politics, Health, Fashion, Entertainment and Sport. As part of its name indicates, the major focus of the newspaper is on happenstances around Nigeria, and other parts of the world to report interesting news as it breaks.

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THE NATION

We won’t suspend anti-grazing law in Ekiti, Fayose replies defence minister

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Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, has said that the call by Mansur Dan Ali, minister of defence, that states should suspend the implementation of the anti-grazing law is an affront to federalism practised in the country.

The minister who made the call at a security meeting with President Muhammadu on Tuesday, said there was need to negotiate safe routes for the herders.

“The need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the anti-open grazing law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders,” Gusau, spokesman of the minister, quoted Dan-Ali as saying.

But in a series of tweets on Tuesday, Fayose wondered why it is difficult for the federal government to support cattle ranching.

The governor said the federal government should be concerned with finding a way of taking the herdsmen out of the bush in view of giving them a better life through ranching.

“Call by the FG through the minister of defence, Dan-Ali that states should suspend implementation of the anti-grazing law is an affront on federalism that is practised in Nigeria. It is amazing that at the level of the presidency, they still see states as appendages of the FG,” he tweeted.

“January this year, the minister of defence blamed passage of anti-grazing law in some states as the cause of killings by herdsmen. Today, he is still singing the same song. Is there something to this old system of nomadic cattle rearing that they are not telling Nigerians?

“Why is @MBuhari not rearing his cows through open grazing? Why is it so difficult for the FG to support cattle ranching? Here in Ekiti, the anti-open grazing law stays. It is the presidency that should stop looking the other way while herdsmen go about killing Nigerians.

“Me thinks the Presidency should be concerned about how to take the herdsmen out of the bush and give them decent life by embracing cattle ranching. How can anyone be pleased subjecting his own people to a life of following cows through the bush from Yobe to Lagos?” Fayose said.

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THE NATION

Tribunal upholds Gov. Obiano’s election

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The Anambra governorship election petition tribunal has upheld the election of Governor Willie Obiano in the Nov. 18, 2107 polls.

It will be recalled that Praise Okechukwu, candidate of the Mega Progressives Peoples Party in her petition prayed the tribunal to annul Obiano’s victory for non-substantial compliance to the electoral act.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance and the Independent National Electoral Commission were also respondents in the suit.

Justice H. A Olusiyi, chairman of the tribunal in a unanimous judgment ruled that the petitioner had not proven her case substantially to invalidate the election.

Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Obiano, described the judgment as welcome as the election in question was the best in the history of Anambra and that the victory was convincing.

Ikpeazu said it was the institutional right of the petitioner to have contested the poll but it was not necessary.

He said: “It was the confirmation that the past election was about the best in Anambra.”
Emeka Etiaba (SAN), counsel to INEC, also lauded the tribunal for a job well done.

Etiaba said: “You know there were three petitions, we raised preliminary objections and based on that, one was struck out and in its wisdom, the tribunal decided to hear these other ones and one of them has been decided in our favour today.”

On his part, Nkem Ekweozoh, counsel to Okechukwu, said he would appeal the ruling as he was not satisfied with the decision.

Ekweozoh said some aspects of his petition were not addressed in his application to inspect sensitive materials which INEC refused to make available to him.

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