Press Release: Saraki Visits Female Sergeant-At-Arms Injured by Senate Invaders

Press Release 

April 22, 2028

Saraki Visits Female Sergeant-At-Arms Injured by Senate Invaders

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Sunday, visited a female Sergeant-At-Arms, Mrs. Sandra Davou – injured on Wednesday as she and her colleagues struggled to stop thugs who invaded the Senate and stole its Mace.

 

According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, Mrs. Davou who lives in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is presently recuperating after she was treated and discharged from the hospital.

 

Saraki who was accompanied on the visit by his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Isa Hamma Misau and Senator Baba Kaka Garbai, commended Mrs. Davou and her colleagues who had put up a spirited fight to prevent the invaders from gaining access to the Senate Chambers.

 

He also commended his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and all his colleagues who successfully took charge and safeguarded the National Assembly and the nation’s democracy.

 

He said that the visit was meant to thank and show appreciation to Mrs Davou and her colleagues for their hard work, commitment and courage.

 

Answering questions from reporters during the visit, Saraki who was away in Washington on official assignment at the time the incident occurred, said: “I was told that few of our staff were injured during the invasion of the Senate last Wednesday, including Mrs. Sandra, who is very committed and hardworking.

 

“She was taken to the hospital and discharged and we felt that for the sacrifice they made by putting their lives at stake beyond the call of duty for our democracy, we have to come and appreciate her.

 

“I keep on emphasizing that what really defines a democratic nation is the parliament and the moment the parliament is not there, democracy does not exist.

 

“So what she and her colleagues have done, fills us all with gratitude and therefore we have come here to thank her and show that we really appreciate what she and her colleagues did,” he stated.

 

Saraki described last Wednesday, the day of the invasion, as a “sad day” and “disgrace” for the nation’s democracy and called for unity and firmness to eliminate all such undemocratic tendencies.

 

“My colleagues and I have said that the day of the unfortunate invasion was a sad day for democracy. It was a disgrace to our country at large and that such things should not be associated with our country. We must ensure we stand firm as a country to nip all those kind of undemocratic acts that exist in the bud,” Saraki said.

 

END

 

Signed:

 

Sanni Onogu

Chief Press Secretary to President of the Senate

 

 

Press Release: Premium Times Should Have Known Better: Response to False Publication from Online Platform

Press Release

April 20, 2018

Premium Times Should Have Known Better: Response to False Publication from Online Platform

 

Again, our attention has been drawn to a publication by Premium Times which unethically alleges without any proof, reference, attribution or justification that the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, was involved in receiving or sharing any unauthorized funds.

 

The article, entitled “EXCLUSIVE: Minister Adeosun, Saraki, Dogara, Accountant General in N10 billion fraud scandal”, in both its style, substance, and deliberate spin struggles to connect the Senate President to the receipt and apportioning of funds which the publication describes as “illegal.”

 

In the absence of any doubt, the President of the Senate has nothing to do with any payment, receipt or disbursement of any extra-budgetary funds.

 

It is also important to state for the record that the Premium Times article in question is pure and unmitigated false news. A simple check by Premium Times would have revealed that all funds in the National Assembly are in the custody of the National Assembly Management, which is headed by the Clerk, and not its Presiding Officers.

 

Additionally, all contract awards are equally overseen by the National Assembly management, not the Presiding Officers.

 

We are aware that for some weeks now, Premium Times has had this story. However, they only contacted us on Wednesday, and the Clerk of the National Assembly, after a phone call from the Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to the President of the Senate, promised to give them all necessary explanation and documents on this issue.

 

However, it is obvious that in the bid to rope in Senator Saraki, the reporters of Premium Times could not wait to see the Clerk and rushed to publish the story with outright falsehood

 

​ less than 24 hours after the Clerk made the aforementioned promise.

 

We are surprised that without any proof whatsoever, Premium Times was using expressions like: “Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have just illegally received and shared”; “Saraki and Dogara submitted”; and “Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors Messrs Saraki and Dogara…” These are highly defamatory and careless expressions.

 

It is expected, that the Editors of Premium Times will not be ignorant of the internal procurement and payment process in an organization like the National Assembly that they have covered and “investigated” for as long as they (Premium Times) has been in existence.

 

We consider this as part of the orchestrated campaign of calumny being waged against Dr. Saraki by some political elements using media platforms in which they have interests.

 

In this regard, for this careless and unwarranted assault on the person of the President of the Senate — after several previous warnings — the lawyers of the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, will be initiating legal action on this particular matter.

 

Finally, we ask the public to disregard the Premium Times piece, and take it for what it is, and will continue to be: “Fake News.”

 

END

Signed:

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to the President of the Senate

 

 

Press Release: Senate Working to Grow Digital Financial Technology In Nigeria, Says Saraki

Press Release 

April 1 3 , 2018

Senate Working to Grow Digital Financial Technology In Nigeria, Says Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday said that the Senate is working to ensure the growth of digital Financial Technology (FinTech) popularly known as digital financing in Nigeria.

 

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, stated this in his address before the Africa Finance Forum, organized by the Corporate Council on Africa, at this year’s Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) holding in Washington D.C.

 

He said that the Senate is desirous to see Nigerian banks expand with capacities to create opportunities for financial services penetration and support for enterprises.

 

He further averred that the Red Chamber, through its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions is engaged in legislative interventions to ensure financial inclusion for all, “especially in the rural areas where a large percentage still remains unbanked by bridging services between the banking and telecommunications sectors.”

 

While commending the Corporate Council on Africa for convening the event and its inspired focus on the FinTech environment on the African continent, Saraki emphasized that the Senate will continue to encourage innovation in the Financial Technology (FinTech) space in Nigeria.

 

He also noted that Financial Technology has enjoyed a tremendous upsurge in the global economy and is currently creating a lot of excitement in Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, as the next frontier in the industry.

 

Saraki said: “The net impact of our legislative interventions; through the relevant Committee’s oversight and engagement will be to expand the ability of our banking sector to facilitate digital financing, expand the opportunity for financial services penetration and reach with the SMEs, and for enterprise support.

 

“We believe that these will give a fillip to the development of innovation and private sector capacity across the country. You will agree with me that innovation is the engine that powers financial inclusion. We are therefore working assiduously to encourage innovation in the FinTech space in Nigeria, and we shall continue to do so,” he stated.

 

He noted that challenges militating against the growth of FinTech in Nigeria include but not limited to issues about consumer protection, intellectual property, concerns about money laundering and fraudulent activity.

 

He said: “FinTech growth requires us to pay attention to all of these, and to come up with regulatory frameworks that will safeguard our people.

 

“Therefore, as we seek to improve the business environment for SMEs and tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria, we are also committed to passing legislation that strikes a balance between facilitating the sector and maintaining a secure financial system.

 

“We are continuously working to reframe our payment systems, strengthen mechanisms for electronic commerce, reduce non-performing loans and strengthen the credit market for SMEs through a broad range of legislative interventions,” he said.

 

He said the Senate has continued its legislative interventions by passing the Electronic Transactions Act; the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill; the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Act.

 

He said while the Consumer Protection Commission Act creates a Consumer Protection Commission to safeguard consumers from fraud and price manipulation; the Consumer Credit Agency Act allows lenders to better assess the credit worthiness of loan applicants.

 

He stated that the Credit Reporting Act, which has been signed into law, will enable the market reduce credit delinquencies, serve as a behaviour change and institutional framework that brings sanity into the credit community which will inspire confidence in the Nigerian market by drawing in more participants.

 

“The Secure Transactions in Movable Assets is the signature bill in our support of SMEs,” Saraki stated. “It frees up capital and creates opportunity for the funding of SME ventures as never seen before in Nigeria.”

 

“With this law, we have created a new stream of opportunity for SMEs to access capital by using movable goods including small machinery, cell phones and even household items as collateral. The implication of this is enormous in terms of dealing with capital formation and poverty eradication.

 

“Our work is not exhaustive and will continue to adapt to changes that innovation in technology brings.

 

“We are confident in the signals we are sending to the world, that Nigeria fully intends to key into the astronomical growth of the FinTech industry – and to harness its full potential for the benefit of the largest economy in Africa; and we welcome any partnerships that ensure that this happens.

 

END

 

Signed:

 

Sanni Onogu

 

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate

 

Press Release: Attack on Senate: Saraki Commends Colleagues, House Members for Defending Democracy 

 Press Release 
April 18, 2018
Attack on Senate: Saraki Commends Colleagues, House Members for Defending Democracy 
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has commended the leadership and all members of the Senate for standing up firmly in defence of democracy and the rule of law with their decision to defy those who machinated an attack on the Red Chambers of the National Assembly in which the mace was forcefully taken away.
Saraki, speaking from Washington where he is attending the Spring Meeting of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF),  also lauded the swift reaction by the leadership and members of the House of Representives in demonstrating their solidarity with the red chamber and thereby sending a strong signal that enemies of democracy and those who want to undermine the legislature will be resisted by all parliamentarians.
“I have just been informed that some hoodlums invaded the Senate chambers, forcefully taken away the mace and assaulted some of our Sergeant-at-arms on chamber duties. I am delighted that the Senate stood up to them by disregarding their unreasonable and shameful action and went on with the day’s proceedings as slated in the Order Paper.
“My commendation goes to my deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, other members of the leadership, my colleagues, the leadership and members of the House of Representives for standing in defence of democracy, parliamentary sanctity and constitutionalism.
“With the way the Senate has defied those seeking to undermine it, we have sent out a strong signal that we are always ready to defend our constitutional mandate and nothing will deter us from this.
“I associate myself with the comments of the Deputy Senate President that we are ready to get to the roots of this assault on democracy and ensure that those who are responsible, no matter how remote, will be brought to justice”, Saraki stated.
Signed 
Yusuph Olaniyonu
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity)

Press Release: Saraki to Attend World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting

Press Release 

April 17, 2018

Saraki to Attend World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday night left for Washington, United States, to attend this year’s Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

He will also participate in the African Finance Forum organized by the Corporate Council on Africa. The forum is expected to “bring together more than 100 project developers, financiers and African government representatives to address how the fintech industry is transforming the financial sector and financing on the African continent.”

 

The Senate President was accompanied by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, and his counterpart in the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru.

END

 

Signed:

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the President of the Senate 

Press Release: Rescue Of Chibok Girls, Leah Sharibu, A Must, Says Saraki

Press Release

April 15, 2018

Rescue Of Chibok Girls, Leah Sharibu, A Must, Says Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called for concerted efforts by governments, security agencies, religious and community leaders, to rescue the remaining 112 Chibok Girls and the Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu, from Boko Haram’s captivity.

 

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, said even though four years have elapsed since the sad incident of the Chibok girls’ kidnap, it must not dampen efforts being made to see the girls rescued and reunited with their families and loved ones.

 

He noted with sadness the plight of the Chibok parents whose girls are not back and the anxiety they have had to endure all these while.

 

He called on the parents to remain steadfast as government will never relent in efforts to see their daughters back home safely.

 

Saraki said: “As a parent, I feel the pains of these unfortunate young girls from Chibok and the latest one – Leah Sharibu – from Dapchi, their parents and the people and Governments of Borno and Yobe States over these harrowing experiences.

 

“However, all hope is not lost. We are all involved in this . Their return will give us joy while their continued stay in captiviy will inflict us with perpetual torment of failure.

 

“This is no time for blame game or passing the buck. We must all gear up and work together to see these girls rescued within the shortest possible time. I believe that the last four years has given us ample time to reflect on the calamity, review our modus operandi – politically and militarily – and resolve to ensure that all Nigerians are adequately protected.

 

“Let’s fine tune the strategies that have won us successes and discard those that have failed us. The goal and focus must be clear – to rescue our girls and all those in forced captivity in any part of the country, and ultimately, to restore our pride as a sovereign entity.

 

“This is the time for all stakeholders to retool and re-strategize to ensure that all these girls are not only rescued but do all in our power to put a closure to all cases of kidnapping and insurgency in this land,” he said.

 

The President of the Senate called on all Nigerians who can help to come to the aid of government and the security agencies on how to rescue the girls.

 

He also urged security agencies to keep people abreast of developments about the issue to avoid the speculations and talks like the one insinuating that many of the girls may have died.

 

END

 

Signed

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate

 

 

Press Release: Why Local Government Autonomy Is Imperative, Says Saraki

Press Release 

April 14, 2018

Why Local Government Autonomy Is Imperative, Says Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has reiterated his support for local government autonomy in the country.

 

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, stated this during a visit by the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), led by its National President, Comrade Ibrahim Khalil.

 

He said that the Senate and the National Assembly appreciate the importance of autonomous governance at the third tier of government and will continue to work towards its realization.

 

“Here in the Senate and the National Assembly, we appreciate the importance of governance in the third tier of government — the local government,” Saraki said. “As such, it is very important that we strengthen local government administration.

 

“Part of strengthening local government administration is ensuring that there is autonomy. I also believe that strengthening local government administration means that we all do our best to increase the capacity at the local government.

 

“Sometimes, you find out that in developed countries, people who are competent, to contest at a level even as high as the Senate, would tell you that they don’t want to be at the Federal level like Abuja or Washington, they prefer to stay at the local level,” he said.

 

Saraki told the local government employees that it is also important to see that local governments are properly and independently funded, “however, there must be a symbiotic relationship between the states and the local governments to ensure that the third tier of government is not placed at a disadvantage.”

 

“It is unfortunate that you observed that in the last Constitution alteration exercise, we were not successful on this issue. Being a former Governor, the Senate Leader always reminds me that ‘I have seen the light.’ But on a serious note, we all have a role to play to strengthen our local government system.

 

“It is important that we see how local governments can be independent, how local governments can have more autonomy, and Governors cannot interfere with what is due to local governments.

 

“In all of this, there must still be a cordial and symbiotic relationship. If we just say that local governments should just be on their own, it might have some disadvantages.

 

 

 

“We must also look at how we can ensure that local governments have funding of their own without any interference,” Saraki stated.

 

 

 

Saraki also noted that following the last Constitutional Review exercise embarked on by the National Assembly, only nine states were in support of local government autonomy, stating that he would do more to ensure that further cooperation and collaboration is achieved to rectify the issue.

 

 

 

“If we look at the last Constitution review exercise, unfortunately, I must say that we have a lot to do. I don’t think that we got up to nine states that were in support of local government autonomy.

 

 

 

“I will ensure that we do more to rectify this issue. I am proud to say that my home state, Kwara, was one of those 9 states that supported local government autonomy.

 

 

 

“It will happen. I assure you, it will happen. We are all in a hurry to see that it happens. The question though, is how soon? I always say that these kinds of things like the Constitutional amendment process, you cannot bully anybody. But you must ensure that there is cooperation and collaboration,” the President of the Senate said.

 

 

 

Earlier, the National President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khalil lamented that local government administrations in the country have been rendered impotent over the years as a result of undue interference.

 

“Our visit is to rekindle efforts and bring all hands on deck to ensure that Local Governments become autonomous in this country,” Khalil said. “We recognize that the leadership of the National Assembly has a critical role to play in ensuring that Local Governments become autonomous in this country.”

 

 

 

 

END

 

 

 

Signed:

 

Sanni Onogu

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate 

 

Press Release: 2019: Saraki Vows to Work for Increased Participation of Women in Politics

Press Release
April 11, 2018

2019: Saraki Vows to Work for Increased Participation of Women in Politics

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Wednesday pledged to work with relevant political stakeholders to ensure that a greater number of women are given the opportunity to vie and occupy elective offices during the 2019 general elections.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, gave the pledge when the Conference of Nigeria Female Parliamentarians paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly.

He said that there is nothing to fear about having more women occupy political offices saying that such a development can only but help to strengthen the nation’s democracy.

He lamented that the present statistics of women in governance in the country is not encouraging and said that going into the 2019 elections, something must be done to change the tide.

Saraki said: “Anybody in this country today will agree that from the statistics you have given out here today, it is clear that definitely, we are not doing enough in the inclusion of women in politics and governance.

“We must change and turn the tide in this direction. We cannot continue with this low level of participation.

“What I want to assure you is that you have my full support and the full support of the National Assembly to see what we can do to ensure that as we go into 2019, it will be a year that we will change the level of participation of women in politics in this country.

“The challenge we have is that such an action is something that must be done collectively. We will champion it but it is something that requires all of us to work very hard for it to happen.

“I believe that what we will do is to make it clear that it must happen. It has to happen and it is in the interest of this country for it to happen.

“We want to reassure those that have fears about it that there is noting to worry about. It will only strengthen our democracy and make our country better.

“I am convinced that your visit is timely that in this 2019, we must make a difference. We must see a real change in this area,” he stated.

He commended the group for their advocacy and commitment to ensure that more women are voted into offices and said it is imperative to support women groups to push for greater political inclusion.

He said: “Political parties are now gearing up for election, this is the right time we must begin to demand from political parties and candidates that they must tell Nigerians what their policy is on gender affirmation.

“You have the votes, at least you have 46 – 48 per cent, let your votes do the work and if your votes do the work, then you will make the work easier for all of us.

“It is time for you to mobilize and work for it because it is important. A lot of us who have had the experience have found out, without any bias, that generally female politicians/parliamentarians are very committed, hardworking and more importantly very consistent and loyal.

“I think when you build a country and you build a political space, what is important is consistency and sometimes loyalty,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairperson of the group, Hon. Elizabeth Uyinmwen Ativie, decried the low level of women participation in the nation’s governance since 1999, in terms of both elective and appointive offices.

Ativie, who is the member representing Uhunmwode Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly, however commended the President of the Senate for influencing the nomination and election of five women into the Kwara State House of Assembly during the 2015 general elections.

“Nigeria needs to invest in women’s participation in politics by creating an enabling environment for women to thrive and tackle perceived systemic and cultural hinderances to women’s inclusion,” she said.

She sought the support of the President of the Senate for the quick passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, implementation of 35 per cent affirmative action strategy and the abrogation of laws that infringe on citizens’ rights of women, among others.

END

Signed:

Sanni Onogu
Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate

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Press Release: Saraki Tasks MTN on Quality Service Delivery

Press Release
April 10, 2018

Saraki Tasks MTN on Quality Service Delivery

President of the Senate has called on the authorities of the MTN Group to ensure that Nigerian subscribers enjoy top quality voice and data services from their network.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, made the call when the Chairman of MTN Nigeria

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Press Release: Saraki Mourns Senator Mustapha Bukar

Press Release
April 4, 2018

Saraki Mourns Senator Mustapha Bukar

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday expressed deep sorrow over the death of the Senator representing Katsina North, Senator Mustapha Bukar, after a brief illness in Abuja.

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, Saraki described the death of Senator Bukar as one too many coming a few weeks after the Red Chamber lost Senator Ali Wakili.

“I am saddened to learn about the passing of another friend and colleague, Senator Mustapha Bukar. When I and some of my colleagues visited Senator Bukar in the hospital after Jummat prayers last Friday, we prayed with him and we were filled with hope that he would soon recuperate and resume his normal life and legislative activities.

“As a first-time lawmaker, Senator Bukar stood out for the quality of his contributions on the floor, his pragmatism and his work to strengthen the institution of the legislature. We shall sorely miss his vibrancy and progressive mindset.

“But now that he is no more, we cannot query Almighty Allah over the incident because He gives and takes as it pleases Him. The late Bukar was forthright and gentle in all his dealings.

“This is indeed another painful moment for the Senate, a sad moment for his immediate family, his constituents in Katsina North Senatorial District and the people and government of Katsina State.

“As we mourn his passing, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, President Muhammadu Buhari and the government and people of Katdina State. I pray that the Almighty Allah, in his infinite grace, grants the dear and departed Senator a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah firdaus,” Saraki stated.

END

Yusuph Olaniyonu
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the President of the Senate