First batch of Nigerian evacuees from Sudan arrive in Abuja; I owe you nothing, Tinubu tells Wike | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • First batch of Nigerian evacuees from Sudan arrive in Abuja
  • I owe you nothing, Tinubu tells Wike
  • Senate approves Buhari’s CBN loan request of N22.7trn
  • Doguwa declares innocence and intent to run for speakership, despite ongoing murder trial
  • Umahi calls for the third position of Senate Presidency to be filled by Southeast

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

First batch of Nigerian evacuees from Sudan arrive in Abuja

The first group of Nigerians, mostly students, who were stranded in war-torn Sudan, have finally returned home after being evacuated by the government. The return of the evacuees, who arrived in Abuja late Wednesday, brought scenes of joy and relief, with families and friends welcoming them at the airport.

According to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), a total of 376 Nigerians were expected in the first batch, with 90 persons, including women and children, on the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) plane while the rest were aboard the Air Peace plane. Another batch of evacuees from Sudan is expected to return to the country on Thursday.

The Nigerian government had sent Air Peace and the Nigerian Air Force to evacuate the stranded Nigerians from Sudan via Egypt. The evacuees were initially supposed to arrive on Friday, but the operation was delayed due to visa issues.

The return of the stranded Nigerians has been a priority for the government, with President Muhammadu Buhari intervening to ensure that the evacuees could cross the border from Egypt into Nigeria. Sadiya Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, announced that each of the returnees would be given N100,000 to help them settle back into the country.

The successful evacuation has been met with relief and gratitude from the returnees and their families. One of the students, who spoke to reporters, expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for their safe return. “We are so grateful to be back in Nigeria,” she said.

The Nigerian government has promised to continue working towards the safe return of all Nigerians stranded in foreign countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nigerian embassy in Sudan has urged all Nigerians still stranded in the country to remain calm, as arrangements have been made for their safe return home.

I owe you nothing, Tinubu tells Wike

President-elect Bola Tinubu has turned down a request for a refund from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for the construction of some federal roads in the state.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Rumuokwuta-Rumuola Flyover in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Wednesday, Tinubu humorously stated that he doesn’t owe Wike a dime and told him to lobby him for a refund.

“You can’t (put me in a) chokehold and make a demand. You are the one living on this road. I commend your effort. You have to lobby me to collect (it),” Tinubu said to the admiration of the crowd.

Read also: Thank you for your contribution to my victory, Tinubu tells Wike

Wike responded by stating that the projects ought to be done by the Federal Government, and that the state had to amend its procurement law to source funds and complete the various flyover projects it embarked on in record time.

“Since we have said we don’t want our people to suffer, I also believe that the Federal Government should say, ‘Look, you have done well for us. These are projects we should be doing. Can you bring your bill? Let us refund you the money ‘(with which) you have done these roads,” he said.

Wike added that a partnership with a good Federal Government would entail the government refunding the state for the projects it undertook.

“I am not asking what we are not entitled to. The Federal Government should say you are a true son of this government; you have removed shame from us,” he said.

Senate approves Buhari’s CBN loan request of N22.7trn

The Nigerian Senate has given the green light for the restructuring of the controversial N22.719 trillion naira ways and means advances, which is aimed at ensuring that the government doesn’t shut down.

The approval was given after the upper chamber considered a report from its ad hoc committee, which highlighted that the federal government repeatedly borrowed from the central bank of Nigeria, exceeding the five percent threshold of the previous year’s revenue as stipulated by the CBN Act.

Initially, President Buhari’s request for the National Assembly to restructure the sum of N22.719 trillion naira ways and means advances was met with suspicion and opposition from federal lawmakers in the Senate, who argued that it contravened the constitution and the CBN Act.

However, during Wednesday’s plenary session, the Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir, led the debate for the approval of the Ways and Means, explaining that part of the money was given as loans to states.

The Special Committee was established by the Senate to scrutinize the fiscal document and put up the report after analyzing and reviewing submissions made by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning and the CBN. This move by the Senate is seen as a way to address the country’s financial challenges and ensure that the government has the necessary resources to meet its obligations.

Doguwa declares innocence and intent to run for speakership, despite ongoing murder trial

Alhassan Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, has declared his intention to contest for the speaker position of the 10th National Assembly.

Despite facing an alleged murder trial, Doguwa insists that his candidacy remains valid as he has not been found guilty by a competent court of law. The legislator says he is competent and deserves to be the speaker, given his loyalty to the party and his ability to deliver.

Speaking at the declaration in Abuja, Doguwa said, “The principle of presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty covers me. It does not stop me whatsoever from vying for the position that I know I eminently qualify to vie for.”

Doguwa claims that his constituents have demonstrated their trust in his leadership abilities by re-electing him with an even greater majority after he was arrested and remanded in custody.

“With due respect to the court and without being prejudicial to the position of the law, I want to say that I have obtained a public and political clearance from my people that I am still a worthy ambassador of my people,” he said.

The legislator is standing trial over alleged criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, unlawful possession of a firearm, mischief, and public disturbance. However, he won a supplementary election in April, defeating his closest challenger, Yushau Salisu of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), and securing his fifth term in the National Assembly.

Umahi calls for the third position of Senate Presidency to be filled by Southeast

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has called for the Southeast to produce the next Senate President in Nigeria. In a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, Umahi said that after giving President Buhari the necessary support, Igbos should be compensated with the Senate Presidency.

Umahi stressed that the Southeast deserves the number three position, adding that “you can deliver somebody by the reason of the majority votes of particular regions, but you also need the cooperation of the minority people to have a holistic nation to govern.”

With the 2023 general elections over, political agitations have shifted to the Senate Presidency. Relevant stakeholders in the Southeast have been calling for the zone to produce the number three person in the country. They argue that it would be politically right for the Igbos to produce the next Senate President due to their inability to produce the President.

It is worth noting that the Senate Presidency has been a subject of intense political rivalry and power play in Nigeria. The Senate President is the third most powerful official in Nigeria, after the President and Vice President. The position is usually zoned to a particular region, and political horse-trading usually takes place among the different zones to determine which one will produce the Senate President.

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