The Late 5: FG replies Saraki’s “hopeless 2019 budget” comment; JAMB announces date for sale of forms, says no more cybercafes | Other top stories


These are the stories that drove conversation today.

The Information Minister, Lai Mohammed has said the Executive won’t trade words with the Legislature in terms of the 2019 budget which Senate President Bukola Saraki described as “hopeless”.

“Yesterday, we all heard the 2019 budget. That is a budget that has no hope for anybody because if you look at the statistics and the figures there’s poverty, if you look at the figures based on revenues that are coming in, there is nothing left. So where’s the future?”

Lai Mohammed said, “It is not the practice of the executive to be exchanging words with the legislative arm of government, they are independent, we are independent. To the best of our knowledge, we presented a budget given the circumstances of our resources this year, we feel that is the best we can. It is left for the National Assembly to consider it.”

A Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kano Friday, remanded Deji Adeyanju in prison until February 2019, after taking his plea and concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to hear murder charges against him.

“This is clearly an attempt to keep him unlawfully in detention,” Adeyanju’s lawyer, Yusuf Suleiman said, adding that the matter was concluded nearly 10 years ago and should not have been picked up again by the police, much less taken back to court.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has negated the recent comment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the strike by university lecturers could jeopardise the 2019 general elections.

The union said it found the statement ”highly unfortunate” and unbecoming of the national electoral umpire and notes that such ”unguarded statement” has a tendency to erode the confidence of Nigerians in the 2019 elections and is a threat to democracy in itself.

”We hereby demand that such unguarded and unbecoming statement is retracted in the interest of our democracy,” the spokesperson of SSANU, Abdussobur Salaam said.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) has said that it will commence sale of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) form to candidates on January 10, 2019.

The board said it has 718 accredited Computer Based Test (CBT) centres, which will help in spreading digital literacy.

According to the spokesperson of the board, Fabian Benjamin, the registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, also said the registration for the UTME would no longer be done at cybercafés but at accredited CBT centres.

The Buhari/Osinbajo Continuity 2019 Organisation said, through its National Coordinator, Hon, Ayuba Birma, that all campaign groups involved in the Presidential campaign should eschew bitterness and hate speech in the campaigns and preach peace through out the campaign, also promising to deliver 16 million votes to the President in the 2019 election.

The group said it planned to embark on a door to door campaign to ensure the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

And stories from around the world…

US President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that a partial government shutdown “will last for a very long time,” seeking to blame Democrats for a potential government funding lapse that he said last week he would proudly own.

“If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “House Republicans were great yesterday!”

Demonstrators have clashed with police in Barcelona during protests against the Spanish government’s decision to hold a cabinet meeting in the Catalan capital on the first anniversary of the snap election called after the regional government’s unilateral independence declaration.

Pope Francis has vowed the Catholic church will “never again” cover up clerical sexual abuse and demanded that priests who raped and abused children turn themselves in.

The pontiff dedicated his Christmas speech to the Vatican bureaucracy to the theme of abuse, after a year of revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-ups that rocked his papacy and caused a crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy.

UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt has pledged to make the fight to release of two Reuters journalists imprisoned by the Burmese government a top priority for the coming year.

Last week, Hunt met the human rights barrister Amal Clooney, who is representing Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Clooney gave him a copy of a children’s book written by Wa Lone.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis is resigning, the latest senior US officials to do so.

His announcement came a day after Trump said he was withdrawing troops from Syria – a decision General Mattis is understood to oppose.

In his resignation letter, Gen Mattis strongly hinted at policy differences with Trump.

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