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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

Yakubu lamai tour media organizations in Nasarawa State

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The newly appointed Director General (strategic communication and press affairs) to Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Yakubu Lamai will be conducting a working tour of media organizations in Nasarawa State beginning from 15 August 2018.

Mr. Lamai said that the purpose of this familiarization tour is to strengthen the relationship between Nasarawa State government under the stewardship of Governor Al-Makura and the media in the state and to specifically solicit the professional support of media organizations towards balanced media coverage prior to the 2019 Elections and constructive analysis of government actions and programs in Nasarawa State.

Lamai,who is an alum of the Ford foundation fellowship emphasized that he intends to adopt an approach of substance and constructive reasoning to the media management of the image of Governor Tanko Al-Makura given the fact that we live in a world of “information chatter” where citizens are bombarded by countless competing message where the lines between factual reportage, fake news, hate speech, political grandstanding and political campaign of sentiments is beclouding cogent development issues and constructive debate about how to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

Yakubu lamai will be visiting media optimizations like NTA lafia , BBS lafia, FRCN Precious FM, options FM Akwanga, Eggon News, Equity TV, platinum TV keffi and Maloney FM and also hold extensive discussions with NUJ; Nigeria Union of journalists and The correspondents chapel in the course of his Two Day Media Tour.

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THE NATION

Why DSS must obey court order, release Dasuki – APC chieftain, Orji Kalu

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A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has said if court has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, then security agencies should comply with the order.

Kalu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday.

He noted that the various tiers of government, individuals and corporate entities should have respect for the decisions of the courts.

According to Kalu, “We are making many unlawful things possible.

“If a court issues an order that Sambo Dasuki be released, it should be obeyed.

“If we Nigerians genuinely want democracy to endure, we should learn how to respect the laws of the land.

“The law of the land is our constitution and any pronouncement made by the court based on the constitution should be obeyed.’’

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THE NATION

Ortom: No amount of persecution will make me return to APC

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Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, says no amount of “torment or persecution” will make him reconsider his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement issued on his behalf by Terver Akase, his chief press secretary, the governor accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being a strike squad of the ruling party.

He also alleged that the federal government had been using the anti-graft agency to “cripple governance in the state.”

“After succumbing to nationwide condemnation of its illegal freezing of Benue State Government accounts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has resorted to yet another shameful act in its desperation to cripple governance in the state,” the statement read.

“The anti-graft agency’s latest move is the bandying of figures in national dailies claiming that such figures are those of transactions in the accounts owned by the Benue State Government.

“It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made.

“The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted.

“EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.

“Are government monies supposed to be kept in the accounts indefinitely without expenditure? Their objective is apparently to give Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration a bad name.

“On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents.

“The commission may torment and persecute Governor Ortom and his subordinates on the directives of the powers that be as much as it serves their purposes, but he will neither be distracted nor reconsider his defection from APC.”

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