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Niger Governor Bago presents 2024 budget of N613bn before State Assembly

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Niger State Governor, Muhammed Umaru Bago, has submitted the 2024 Appropriation of N613,274,081,698.17 to the state House of Assembly for thorough legislative review and swift approval. Presenting the budget, titled “The Budget of the Future,” the Governor characterized it as a crucial roadmap toward the state’s collective vision for a prosperous future.

He clarified that the 2024 budget comprises N149,217,969,152.00, representing 24.33% for recurrent expenditure, and N464,056,832,546.60, or 75.67% of the total budget size, designated for capital estimates.

The Governor outlined the budget’s financing plan, indicating that it would be funded through a recurrent revenue of N298,052,655,520.00, sourced from Statutory Allocation (N155,963,711,064.00), Value Added Tax (N50,644,000,750.00), Internally Generated Revenue (N61,868,620,968.35), Excess Crude/Other Revenue (N9,576,322,737.00), and SURE-P Refund (N20,000,000,000.00).

He further disclosed that the budget would also rely on Capital Receipts amounting to N315,322,146,178.00, comprising N256,459,074,825.00 and N58,763,071,353.00 for loans and grants, respectively.

Governor Bago emphasized that the proposed 2024 budget aligns with the Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), and Budget Statement (BPS) of 2024–2026, as approved by the state assembly.

In response, the Speaker of the Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, assured the Governor that the House would work diligently to ensure the budget’s prompt approval before December 27, 2023. The Speaker praised the cooperative relationship between the House and the Executive, attributing it to the Governor’s extensive experience gained at the National Assembly.

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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Presidential Election: INEC Report Shows Peter Obi Swept South-East With 87% But Had Less Than 7% In Northern Zones

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria has published a performance assessment of the four major political parties involved in the presidential election held on February 25, where President Bola Tinubu emerged as the winner.

Earlier reports from SaharaReporters detailed INEC’s explanation for the failure of the result viewing portal (IReV) during the February 2023 presidential election. Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election, followed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

In a comprehensive 526-page post-election report released on the first anniversary of the election, INEC disclosed that before the election, a total of 87,394,106 out of 93,469,008 registered voters nationwide had collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs).

The report highlighted the diverse outcome of the election in terms of party representation across executive and legislative positions nationwide. The performance analysis across six geopolitical zones showed varying degrees of success for the APC, PDP, Labour Party (LP), and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in meeting the required 25% threshold to win states in the presidential election.

Moreover, the report provided a breakdown of PVC collection state by state, indicating varying rates of collection ranging from 82% to 99% of registered voters.

The commission emphasized that out of the 93,469,008 registered voters, 87,209,007, representing 93%, collected their permanent voters’ cards before the election.

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