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Unremitted Funds:Saraki Spits Fire

Senate President Moves To Prove He Is Not Tied To Anyone’s Apron Strings By Warning That The Era Of Withholding Of Funds Accruing To Federation Account Was Over

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday put a step forward in his attempt to show he is actually going to work for change as he warned Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that the era of deliberate withholding of funds accruing to the federation account was over.

He warned that government would no longer condone non remittance of revenues to the Federation Account. As Saraki spoke, his Like Minds support group assured that the Senate would not in any way constitute itself into a hurdle on the way of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti corruption posture.

Addressing Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Engr. Elias Mbam, and his team, when they paid him a courtesy visit at his office, Saraki noted that non remittance of revenues by agencies of government was a major setback to government.

He reiterated support of the Senate in bringing justice to agencies that indulge in diverting government revenues. “Monetary revenue and allocation is a serious challenge to our economy. Though, diversification of economy is very important but is not an overnight issue. We must block every leakage in government revenue. “We made campaign promises to Nigerians, and we must fulfil all our pledges. It cannot be business as usual.

We will do everything within our capacity to elevate the living standard of Nigerians,” he said. Earlier, RMAFC boss, Mbam, who disclosed that the agency has always enjoyed a cordial relationship with the National Assembly, called for continued partnership with the view to enhancing its effectiveness. Meanwhile, Senators of Like Minds group, have assured that the senate led by Senator Saraki would not be a stumbling block against President Buhari’s anti corruption promises.

The senators, who spoke yesterday through their coordinator, Senator Dino Melaye, however, assured that the 8th Senate, under Saraki, would give the Buhari administration all the necessary legislative support to fight and reduce corruption. In an emailed statement signed by Melaye, the group noted that previous actions and bold steps taken against so-called oil barons indicate that Saraki is fully committed to anti corruption.

Reacting to a recent media report (not The UNION) that oil barons, and their likes, hijacked the Senate and House of Representatives’ elections, the statement said that it was wrong and mischievous to link what happened on the floors of both chambers of the National Assembly Complex to some unnamed ex-ministers of the immediate past administration.

“The attention of the Senators of Like Minds has been drawn to a malicious, false and totally reprehensible news report, wherein it insinuated that the election of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the 8th Senate was facilitated by Nigerians associated with dubious claims in the infamous oil subsidy. “The news report went further to give a negative and dirty impression that the emergence of the President of the 8th Senate was aimed to sabotage the anti corruption posture of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

“Ordinarily, we would have ignored the report, given the writer’s antecedents in arm chair reporting, but for the sole reason that some undiscerning readers might mistake the fiction for the facts. “We also wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for the writer of the fictional piece to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed exministers of the immediate past administration.

“We dare say that the entire story, detailed as it may seem, was the figment of the imagination of the author. That the story was packed full of insinuations and wild allegations, and (that) the writer evaded specificity in the names of the dramatist personae throughout the story smacks of bad journalism,” the statement read in part. Recalling how Saraki’s motion on the floor of the Senate during the 7th Assembly exposed the rot in the oil sector, the statement added that Saraki opposed to the inclusion of the kerosene subsidy in the 2015 Budget It, therefore, reassured Nigerians that Saraki is determined and focused to achieve the 8th Senate targeted legislative agenda.

“We make bold to state that in the 7th Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki was Chairman of the Senate Ad hoc Committee, which exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector. Until Saraki’s motion on the floor of the Senate, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector. Therefore, surely, Senator Saraki will be the last person the oil baron will want to see as Senate President. “In that position, Saraki did not only lead his colleagues in exposing the rot in the scheme, but made very strong recommendations on how the system could be reformed and made corruptfree.

“Further to this, during the Senate hearing on the missing $20 billion, for those, who attended the public hearing, Senator Saraki led the onslaught of difficult questions to the Minister of Finance, Minister of Petroleum and other federal agencies, despite being in the ruling party then. To this effect, Senator Saraki refused to sign the final copy of the Committee’s report, but rather put forward a minority report with a press statement.

Saraki went further to oppose the inclusion of kerosene subsidy in the 2015 Budget, as well as his opposition to the Petroleum Swap deal by NNPC. “Let it be known, therefore, that the Senate Presidency of Dr. Bukola Saraki would not in any way be a stumbling block against President Buhari’s posture against anti corruption. Rather, the 8th Senate under him as the President would give all necessary legislative support to the administration to fight and reduce corruption as his previous actions and bold step taken against the so-called oil barons indicates that Saraki is committed to anti corruption.

“For avoidance of doubt, we want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Senator Saraki’s emergence as Senate President was facilitated by oil barons. This is a case of calling the dog a bad name so as to hang it. Another blatant lies that (cannot) fly. “Senator Bukola Saraki is determined and focused to achieve the Senate targeted legislative agenda, and he is committed to support President Buhari to deliver on his promises to the people of Nigeria,” it added. The senate President has also encouraged Muslim faithful, who begin the Ramadan fast today, to be of good conduct.

In his Ramadan message to them, Saraki charged Muslims to be of good conduct during the holy month. He said that holiness is the key to maximising the spiritual and physical benefits in the Ramadan. He observed that Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam, adding that the period should be used to seek Allah’s face in the fight against insecurity in the nation.

He urged Islamic scholars and preachers to be guided in their teachings during the fasting period. He particularly urged them to concentrate on the true teachings of Islam, rather than engaging in mutual recrimination. “Muslim scholars should educate their audience of what is expected of Muslims during and after the holy month of Ramadan to earn Allah’s blessings. As we begin this year Ramadan fast, we must be firm in the pursuit of good deeds, we must pray for peace and unity of our dear country,” he said. He reminded Muslims to be of good courage and be helpful to the needy during the Ramadan fast, saying that those are the commandments of Allah.

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