Press Release: Saraki Leads Senate Delegation on Visit to Russian Parliament

Press Release

June 18, 2018

Saraki Leads Senate Delegation on Visit to Russian Parliament

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, will on Tuesday (tomorrow) lead a Senate delegation on a three day parliamentary visit to Russia, aimed at deepening legislative best practices and further strengthening the relationship between both countries.

During the visit, the President of the Senate is expected to address the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (Senate of Russia) and hold meetings with its Chairperson of the Federation Council, Ms. Valentina Matviyenko, Chairman of the State Duma, Mr. Vyacheslav Volodin and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Mikhail Bogdanov, to exchange views on issues of Nigerian-Russian cooperation.

Senators will also hold side meetings with corresponding committees of the Federation Council of Russia.

Senators on the delegation include Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Duro Faseyi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports and Youth, Senator Obinna Ogba and the Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ibrahim A. Danbaba.

Also on the trip is the Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Special Assistant on Partnerships & NGOs/CSOs to the President of the Senate, Mr. Innocent Onah and the Special Assistant on Events to the President of the Senate, Ms. Eniola Shitta.

The delegation is expected back in the country on June 22, 2018.

END

Signed:

Bamikole Omishore

Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs & International Relations to the President of the Senate

Press Release: Eid-el-fitr: Saraki Congratulates Muslims, Calls For Sustained Prayers

Press Release
June 14, 2018

Eid-el-fitr: Saraki Congratulates Muslims, Calls For Sustained Prayers

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated Muslim faithful across the country on the successful completion of the month-long Ramadan fast and called for sustained prayers for peace in the country.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, to commemorate the Eid-el-Fitri celebrations, the President of the Senate said in spite of Federal Government’s appreciable efforts in combating the challenge of insecurity, it is imperative for Muslim faithful to utilise this period to pray fervently for peace and unity in the country.

“We have just ended a month long fast thus paving way for the Eid-el-fitr celebrations. These two periods are such times that the Almighty Allah enjoined us to ask for his blessings. We should therefore seize the opportunity to pray for the country and its leaders,” Saraki said.

Saraki called on Nigerians to use the season to promote national integration, saying “Eid-el-fitr is a time of love and goodwill. It gives us a message to love all and hate none.”

He said despite numerous challenges in the country, ‘’hope is not lost”, adding that, “only tolerance, stronger sense of patriotism and love for one another will help the country surmount her present socio-economic challenges.”

END

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

Press Release: 3rd Anniversary: Saraki Thanks Nigerians …Says Economic Bills are Beginning to Make Positive Impact

Press Release 

June 11, 2018

3rd Anniversary: Saraki Thanks Nigerians

…Says Economic Bills are Beginning to Make Positive Impact

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has thanked Nigerians all over the country for their support and encouragement towards the work of the 8th Senate, since it was inaugurated three years ago.

 

In a statement issued from Saudi Arabia where he is on lesser hajj, Saraki acknowledged that the achievements of the Senate would not have been possible without the backing of Nigerians, who have played a more active role in the activities of the legislature since June 9, 2015.

 

“In three short but eventful years, we have definitely come a long way in this 8th Senate. We have worked assiduously and diligently to meet the demands of Nigerians and a changing economy that experienced a recession just a year after we assumed office.

 

“In this time, we have passed 213 Bills, cleared 138 petitions submitted by the public. We are happy to say that this Senate is the most productive since 1999. It has surpassed the 5th Senate which with 129 bills in four years had the highest number of bills, as against the 6th Senate with 72 bills, and 128 passed by the 7th Senate. The number of petitions we have successfully treated to the satisfaction of Nigerians who filed them dwarfed the eight and six treated by the sixth and seventh Senate respectively.

 

“The present Senate has worked to grow our economy by passing Bills like the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act, the Credit Bureau Reporting Act and the Warehouse Receipts Bill, Nigerian Railways Authority Bill, National Transportation Commission Bill, which are aimed at providing significant reforms to our business environment and strengthening our lending legislative frameworks to allow SMEs to access capital.

 

“We are particularly glad that the impact of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act and the Credit Bureau Reporting Act became apparent immediately after they were signed into law as they form the basis for which the World Bank upgraded the rating of Nigeria in its Annual Ease of Doing Business rating. We expect that when the new CAMA which we just passed becomes law, it will yield an even more significant results in helping small and medium scale entrepreneurs to access capital, grow and multiply.

 

“We have also passed Bills like the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, the Witness Protection Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Bill and the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill to support the fight against corruption. It should be noted that the National Assembly quickly rose to the occasion to prevent the expulsion of Nigeria from the Global community on the exchange of financial intelligence by expediting the passage of the NFIU bill.

 

“With the support of the Nigerian public, we were able to break the PIB jinx, by passing the Governance Component of the Petroleum Industry Bill, and now, we have successfully conducted the Public Hearing on the Administrative, Fiscal and Host Community Components of this Bill — taking it to its farthest stage since 1999,” Saraki stated.

 

“Also of note is our passage of the constitution amendment bills, some of which will change the landscape of governance in Nigeria. Some of the bills like the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ bill, the Financial Autonomy for Local Government Bill, Financial Autonomy for Houses of Assembly among others are aimed at improving governance and ensuring that government serves our people better.

 

The Senate President also highlighted some of the interventions of the Senate since June 9, 2015, stating that the impact of the work of the legislature in Nigeria’s system of governance was starting to be understood.

 

“The legislature as the youngest of the three arms of government still has a lot of catching up to do in ensuring that Nigerians understand its role in our democracy. This is why we have been attentive and responsive to the needs of Nigerians by intervening where it counts.

 

“We will like to reiterate the fact that this Senate has taken deliberate measures aimed at opening up the institution for better understanding by members of the public. These measures include providing details and breakdown of the annual budget of the National Assembly, holding of public hearing as part of the budget preparation process, the proposed Open Nass week aimed at engaging with other arms of government and civil society groups and the frequent discussions with a view to resolving issues involving labour unions, government and other stakeholders.

 

“We exposed high-level corruption in the management of the North East relief efforts, and passed the North East Development Commission Bill, which has now been signed into law.

 

“We have also engaged stakeholders on the drug epidemic that is ravishing a significant demographic of our population and we are set to pass new Bills that will help to address the Mental Health aspect of drug abuse and the law enforcement component that has to do with ensuring that all agencies of the Federal Government are working in-sync to tackle this menace with clearly defined legal structures in place. We equally intervened in the human trafficking and illegal migration crises plaguing the youthful segment of our population.

 

“We have also been working to ensure that healthcare remains the right of every Nigerian and this is why with the passage of the One Percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to establish the Basic Healthcare Fund in the 2018 budget, primary healthcare will be within reach for all 180 million of us.

 

“The One Percent Basic Healthcare Fund is an intervention we made out of our conviction that all Nigerians, no matter their station in life, deserve access to qualittive and affordable health care. This is a move we made for the ordinary Nigerians and we believe it will help to create a more vibrant, healthy and patriotic citizenry.

 

“This Fund will help us eliminate the problem of maternal and infant mortality as well as create a healthy population. We will be able to ensure that all our kids get necessary immunization that keep various diseases away from them and ensure the mothers are well catered for during child birth”, he stated.

 

He said security issues remains work in progress and that the Senators are tired of the frequent observance of one minute silence following the killing of Nigerians in the various conflicts and criminal activities across the country. The Senate President added that the Senate was engaging with security agencies to ensure that all the necessary laws and funds needed to ensure the safety of lives and property in the country are put in place.

 

Saraki pledged that the Senate and the National Assembly will continue to be transparent, accountable and responsive even as the nation and its political office holders prepare for the 2019 elections.

 

“Some might see it as a time to leave governance and focus on politics. We do not believe this. We will continue to push forward and continue to perform. This is what Nigerians who sent us to Abuja to represent their interests expect of us: a committed, transparent, accountable and responsive government. We have shown this through our antecedents, and as we continue to serve in the next one year, we will continue to be just that.”

 

Signed

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President. 

 

Press Release: Saraki Lauds THISDAY Editors, Nwogwugwu, Adebiyi, Momodu, Others Over New Appointment, Promotion

Press Release

June 8, 2018

Saraki Lauds THISDAY Editors, Nwogwugwu, Adebiyi, Momodu, Others Over New Appointment, Promotion

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated the Editor of THISDAY Newspaper, Ms. Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, on her appointment as the pioneer Managing Director of ARISE News Channel Africa.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, also lauded the elevation of the Sunday Editor, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi to the position of Editor (Daily).

He also applauded the reassignment of the Saturday Editor, Mr. Shaka Momodu as the Sunday Editor and the promotion of the Deputy Editor on the Saturday Desk, Mr. Yemi Adebowale, as the new Editor (Saturday).

Saraki described the appointment of Nwogwugwu, after 11 years as Editor of the three titles under the THISDAY stable, as well deserved and expressed confidence that she will make a success of her new assignment in view of her sterling performance as Editor.
“I have no doubt that you (Ms. Nwogwugwu) will once again bring to bare your professional acumen and experience in your new assignment,” Saraki said. “You have never been known to disappoint and I don’t think you will disappoint now. I wish you a successful and fulfilling tenure.”

He also described Adebiyi’s appointment as a square peg in a square hole and urged him to build on the enviable heights the newspaper has attained.

END

Yusuph Olaniyonu

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

Press Release: Saraki: Our Response to Claims By Police

Press Release 

June 3, 2018

Saraki: Our Response to Claims By Police

 

The attention of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has been drawn to a story circulating online and apparently derived from a Press Conference addressed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moshood Jimoh, linking him (Saraki) to the Offa robbery.

 

Dr. Saraki will want the entire public to disregard this claim as a baseless allegation and another ploy by the Police to implicate him by all means.

 

“Let it be known that there is no way I could have been associated with armed robbery against my people. When the Offa robbery incident happened, I was the first top public official to pay a visit to the place and right there in the palace of the traditional ruler, I put a call through to this same Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the IGP, requesting him to make certain specific security arrangements as demanded by the people.

 

“Members of the public will remember that on May 16, 2018, I alerted the Senate about the information passed on to me by my State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed, over a plot by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to frame me up by getting some suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin to implicate me. It is believed that the timely leakage of the plot in that case aborted the use of the suspected cultists to implicate me. Now, it is the Offa bank robbery suspects that are about to be used.

 

“This plot is concocted to embarrass me and, in the mind of the IGP, it is his own response after his refusal to honour the invitation by the National Assembly, headed me, for him to come and offer explanations on the rampant killings and violence across the country.

 

“Like the earlier one, this frame-up will also fail as I hereby state categorically that I have no link with any band of criminals.

 

“As a person who has utmost respect for the rule of law and all constitutional institutions, when the invitation from the Police is formally extended to me, I will be ready to honour it without any delay.

 

 

“It is however sad that this abuse of the criminal investigation process aimed at intimidating and over-overawing the legislature, thereby obstructing it from doing its work, is a big threat to our democracy “, the Senate President stated.

 

END

 

Signed

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President

Press Release  June 3, 2018 Saraki: Justice Akanbi’s Death, A Personal Loss 

Press Release 

June 3, 2018

Saraki: Justice Akanbi’s Death, A Personal Loss 

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has expressed grief over the death of a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, and said the incident was a personal loss to him.

 

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described the late Akanbi as an indefatigable, honest and principled jurist who upheld the fine ethics of the judicial process till he breathed his last.

 

“I am sad that Baba (Akanbi) has left us. He was fearless, courageous and spoke truth to power during his lifetime,” Saraki said. “He was like a father to me. His death is a personal loss. Kwara State will miss him. Nigeria will miss him,” he said.

 

He stated that the late Justice Akanbi would be remembered for his unquenchable zeal to restore the principles of transparency and accountability in the country through his fight against corruption.

 

Saraki noted: “He was an anti-corruption czar who fought the malaise both when he was in and out of office. He never gave up. His untiring zeal to stamp out corruption from all facet of our national life never dimmed. He lived what he preached and you could see there was no pretense about him at all.

 

“He was an incorruptible jurist whose judgements could hardly be faulted while on the bench. During his stint as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), he fought corruption with uncommon passion and courage.

 

“After leaving office as the ICPC boss, he again joined the board of the Justice and Law Enforcement Reformation Organization – a non-profit organization – to continue his anti-corruption crusade. Besides, he later established the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, in furtherance of his quest to strengthen the culture of transparency, accountability and good governance in the country,” Saraki stated.

 

He described Akanbi as a true son of Kwara State whose many contributions to the development of his immediate community, state in particular, and the country in general, will remain indelible in the hearts of the people.

 

The Senate President commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the government and people of Kwara State, and urged them to emulate the virtues and values of integrity, selfless service and unparalleled patriotism of the late jurist.

 

While praying Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the departed a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus, Saraki stated that he will continue to draw inspiration from the fact that late Justice Akanbi did not only live a worthy life, but was a great blessing to his generation.

 

END

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

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

Press Release: #NotTooYoungToRun: This is Only the Beginning for Youth Inclusion, Says Saraki

Press Release

May 31, 2018

#NotTooYoungToRun: This is Only the Beginning for Youth Inclusion, Says Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, reacted to the signing of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill# by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing the occurrence as a historic moment that young people will look back on someday.

 

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said: “More than half of our over 180 million population is made up of people under the age of 30. Today’s signing of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill represents many years of hard work and signals a new era of youth inclusion and participation in our governance.

 

“Now more than ever, as young people across the country bask in the moment and celebrate the signing of this Bill, they must not see this as the final destination. It is one thing to be able to run, but, it is another thing entirely to be able to serve.

 

“This is why, it is incumbent on our youths to register, get their PVCs and move on to the next phase of this journey — which is getting their peers elected in legislative and executive positions. You must all take part, to take charge.

 

“Nigeria needs the energy and innovation of our young people. On this note, I congratulate the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), and all other groups that championed this cause for more youth inclusion. I also commend my colleagues in both the Senate and the House for making sure that this Bill passed its first milestone during the Constitution Review Process,” Saraki said.

 

 

END

 

Signed:

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser (Media & Publicity) to the Senate President

Press Release: My CCT Trial Never Came Up At nPDP Meeting With Osinbajo, Says Saraki

Press Release 

May 30, 2018

My CCT Trial Never Came Up At nPDP Meeting With Osinbajo, Says Saraki

 

The attention of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has been drawn to the front page headline in the May 30, 2018, edition of The Nation newspaper – ‘Ex-nPDP: stop Saraki’s trial’. The body of the story was contained on Page 6 of the newspaper.

 

Ordinarily, Dr. Saraki would have ignored the story as he has done in the cases of other speculative ones concerning the on-going discussions between the new People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government published by the newspaper, but since this story specifically mentioned an issue concerning him and the newspaper is associated both in ownership and viewpoint with a section of the APC leadership, it may be perceived to have some level of authenticity.

 

The trial of Dr. Saraki over asset declaration issues which is now before both the Supreme Court and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) was never part of the discussions over the grievances of the nPDP leaders and all those who attended the meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo can attest to this. The issues being discussed between the nPDP and the APC leaderships are beyond personal matters.

 

Dr. Saraki will want it known that he is not interested in any settlement of the asset declaration case outside the judicial process. He is confident that the court will give him justice and he will be exonerated of all charges as can be seen by the verdicts of the CCT and the Court of Appeal. In fact, he maintains his earlier position that the trial was politically and maliciously motivated.

 

The Senate President’s only concern is that all interested parties should allow the judiciary to freely and fairly decide on the issues before it. Dr. Saraki believes in the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and ability of the court to adjudicate on all matters.

 

The Senate President has consistently exhibited a strong belief that nobody should compromise national interest with personal issues. And this has guided his actions, conduct and utterances in the performance of his official duties in the last three years, despite the persistent persecution and intimidation directed at him.

 

While urging Nigerians to ignore the speculations contained in The Nation’s story, Dr. Saraki maintains that there is no reason for him to depart from his avowed principle that the nation is greater than any individual, including himself.

 

Signed:

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President

Press Release: Saraki to Youth: “NotTooYoungToRun” is Only the First Phase

Press Release 

May 30, 2018

Saraki to Youth: “NotTooYoungToRun” is Only the First Phase

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that the passage and assent to the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill, will be the first phase in the journey for more youth inclusion in politics.

 

The President of the Senate, according to his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, said this at a meeting with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), led by Samson Itodo, its founder.

 

Saraki encouraged youths to advocate for free and fair elections, stating that the next step in the advocacy process is to ensure that more young people have their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs).

 

“Let me congratulate you on the campaign that helped in the passage of the Bill in the National and State Houses of Assembly. What you have done has become a reference point across the continent.

 

“You need to use same energy that you applied to the ‘Not Too Young to Run’, to push for free and fair elections. When you have the voice, you have the numbers.

 

“So the first thing for the advocacy that will support ‘Not Too Young to Run’ must be free and fair elections.

 

“The only way you’re going to make a difference is for you to have your voter’s card.

 

“‘Not Too Young to Run’ has just finished phase one. Phase two is ensuring that you have a lot of young people that have PVCs and letting everyone know that you have PVCs so that all the political parties will pay attention that you have the numbers.

 

“My advice for all young people is that, this is not a short race, it is a marathon,” the President of the Senate said.

 

At the meeting, speaking for YIAGA, Samson Itodo, its founder commended Saraki, the Senate and the National Assembly for the passage of the Bill.

 

“This is the first time that we had a National Assembly whose leadership played a visible role in the passage of the Bill. The fact that you played a part in providing the leadership for the passage of the Bill is significant.

 

“We want to convey our appreciation to you and the other 108 members of the Senate that we are pleased with this development. You and your counterparts in the House of Representatives have written your names in gold,” Itodo said.

 

Signed:

 

Olu Onemola

Special Assistant on New Media to the President of the Senate

Press Release: Saraki: Nigerians Should Not Be Complacent About Democracy 

Press Release 

May 29, 2018

Saraki: Nigerians Should Not Be Complacent About Democracy 

 

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised Nigerians not to take for granted the continued democratic dispensation the country has been enjoying for the past 19 years but guard against actions, statements and moves which can truncate the political process.

 

While congratulating Nigerians on the 19th anniversary of unbroken elected government in the country, Saraki advised the people to always be vigilant and speak against anti-democratic policies and actions which are capable of subverting rule of law.

 

He also canvassed strict adherence to the principles of rule of law, separation of powers, sovereignty of parliament, independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press, adding that “our constitutional institutions must be preserved and protected”.

 

“As we celebrate democracy today, I congratulate our people and express my conviction that this system of government is the best so far invented. However, it goes beyond the conduct of elections to put leaders in office. Democracy involves strict adherence to rule of law as against the rule of men. It is about respect for due process and following laid down procedures. It is about respect for and building of institutions.

 

“That is why we cannot be celebrating Democracy Day without canvassing for caution on some recent negative developments in our polity, particularly as we prepare for next year’s general elections. These include abuse of office in a manner that suggests persecution and oppression of perceived enemies, stifling of free expression, undermining of democratic institutions, and impunity on the part of certain persons who behave as though they are above the laws of the land.

 

“These developments should be of concern to all democrats. Other political and opinion leaders who decided to veil their sight as if they are not seeing these infractions on democracy and choose to keep quiet, should know that they equally pose danger to the survival of our country.

 

“History will not be fair to us if we allow our complacency to jeopardize democracy. We all must be able to speak out with strong voice on issues that constitute a danger to democracy. Eternal vigilance, they say, is the price of liberty.

 

“At this point, let us remember and salute our heroes of democracy, those who toiled and paid different prices for us to have elected government, particularly, those who paid the ultimate price with their lives. Their labour shall definitely not be in vain.

 

“Also, it is important for us to quickly tackle all issues that can undermine our democracy, particularly insecurity and lack of good governance. We must immediately find solution to the security issues and ensure that we return the regime of peace, safety of lives and property in all parts of our country. In the same way, we must do all that is necessary to deliver good governance to our people and fight corruption at all levels. These challenges must be confronted by all political leaders devoid of party loyalty, ethnicity, religion and personal preferences. We must all set aside our personal interests and work as a collective on these aforementioned issues.

 

“It is equally necessary to warn that with the 2015 polls, we have set a very high standard in Africa. We cannot afford to perform less in 2019. The next general elections must be freer, fairer and more peaceful than the last one. Those responsible for conducting the polls must raise the bar and work to take Nigeria to a higher level of electoral process.

 

“It is important for all of us to note that Nigeria will continue to exist after the 2019 polls. Just as the country is still here after the 2015 polls. We must therefore not do anything that will threaten the existence of the country or its peace, unity and tranquility.

 

“Let me use this occasion to urge our all our people to avoid making and circulating hate speech which can further accentuate our fault lines and set one section of the country against the other. Rather, we should all embrace tolerance and the need to be our brother’s keeper. We all have a lot to gain from a united and stronger Nigeria than having a nation embedded in conflict.

 

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, it is my wish that Nigerians will continue to enjoy good governance, provided by freely elected government and sustained by strong and impartial institutions, all of which will lead to the creation of a developed society with the citizens freely enjoying a high standard of living,” Saraki stated.

 

Signed

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu

 

Special Adviser to Senate President on Media and Publicity