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

 

 

Press Release: Saraki, JOHESU to Meet Monday Afternoon

Press Release 

May 27, 2018

Saraki, JOHESU to Meet Monday Afternoon

 

As a follow-up to his mediation between Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Federal Government, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is set to meet with the leadership of JOHESU tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm at his office in the Senate.

 

Last week, Saraki began mediating in the ongoing strike action that has crippled Nigeria’s healthcare facilities for the past 40 days, with a meeting with JOHESU officials on Thursday afternoon, and the Ministers in charge of the Labour and Health Ministries, Dr. Chris Ngige and Prof. Issac Adewole, on Friday morning.

 

Since the discussions initiated by the Senate President, it is believed that government has improved on its offers to the striking health workers.

 

“If it is true that government has improved on its offers to JOHESU, it will be desirable for the health workers to also stretch out a hand of fellowship — in good faith — to meet the government mid-way and accept the offer, so that we can finally resolve this matter and have a win-win situation for the union, the government and the Nigerian people who make use of our public health institutions,” Saraki said.

 

END

 

Media Office of the President of the Senate 

 

 

 

Press Release: Children’s Day: Safety of the Nigerian Child is Non-Negotiable, Says Saraki

Press Release 

May 26, 2018

Children’s Day: Safety of the Nigerian Child is Non-Negotiable, Says Saraki

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has felicitated with children across the country and stated that their safety was non- negotiable.

 

Saraki, in his goodwill message to commemorate the 2018 Children’s Day, signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, noted that the Children Day gives the country an opportunity to celebrate the young ones and to fully consider the important place they occupy in the heart of the nation.

 

He insisted that no Nigerian child should go to bed hungry just as due attention must be paid to their health as part of the vision to make the country stronger.

 

Saraki said: “This is also a day to rededicate ourselves to the cause of children. It is a day to recommit ourselves to doing all in our power to ensure that children are protected and empowered to aspire to be great in life, and to remove all impediments in their way.

 

“Children are the leaders of tomorrow, our hope for the future. They are the ones we are depending on to take Nigeria to greater heights in the future. We must therefore ensure their health and well-being through the laws we make and the policies we set.

 

“I therefore call on us all to do our best to ensure that our children can live in liberty and in truth. No Nigerian child should go to bed hungry. Due attention must be paid to the health of the Nigerian child. This should be part of our vision to ‘Make Nigeria Stronger’. We must invest in the people by first investing in the Nigerian child.

 

“The 1 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the Basic Health Fund, whose inclusion we as the National Assembly ensured in the 2018 Budget that we have just passed, will ultimately make for healthier Nigerian children, through a massive boost in increased funding for the sector. We are very excited about this.

 

“Furthermore, the safety of the Nigerian child is non-negotiable. We, therefore, today, make an unequivocal call for the release of all Nigerian children in captivity. We remember Leah Sharibu and the other Dapchi Girls – as well as those Chibok Girls still in captivity, on this symbolic day. We affirm their right to freedom, to live carefree with their loved ones, to go to school, and for their dreams to remain intact.

 

“We urge all relevant authorities not to relent in the efforts to see that Leah Sharibu and all who are held captive are returned safe and unharmed. We must intensify efforts for the release of our Children, even as we felicitate with the families of all who have been released,” he said.

 

He noted that the issues of violence against children, child molestation, child labour and other evils committed against children – remain a grave concern.

 

“Last year, we held a consultative session in the Senate with the Speakers of State Houses of Assembly that had not domesticated the Child Rights Act; and I am encouraged to see that there has been some significant progress with reviewing the law to suit the local context in those states.

 

“And so, on this 2018 Children’s Day, I congratulate all Nigerian children. I join the entire members of the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and All Nigerians in wishing the Nigerian Child a Happy Children’s Day. We pledge that we shall always work for a Safe and Nourishing environment for our Children to grow and prosper,” he stated.

 

END

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

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

Press Release: Senate Intervenes To End Health Workers’ Strike

Press Release 

May 25, 2018

Senate Intervenes To End Health Workers’ Strike

…As Saraki Meets Adewole, Ngige, JOHESU

 

The Senate has intervened in the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), in a bid to end the strike and make the nation’s hospitals functional once again.

 

The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, after a meeting with the leadership of JOHESU yesterday (Thursday) where he listened to their grievances and demands, today (Friday) met with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, to hear their own side of the issue.

 

While meeting with the JOHESU leadership led by its Chairman, Comrade Biobelemonye Joseph, the President of the Senate, had pledged that the Senate would ensure that the right thing is done to end the strike.

 

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, in a statement in Abuja, said Saraki’s meeting with Adewole and Ngige was meant to hear their side of the issue and to forge a way forward, not only to end the strike but to ensure that there is lasting peace and industrial harmony in the nation’s health institutions.

 

During his meeting with the leadership of JOHESU, Saraki said the Senate and indeed the National Assembly, would ensure that the right thing is done to end the strike.

 

He noted that it is not in the interest of the country to have its hospitals closed while he pledged that the Senate would work with all stakeholders to ensure that the strike is called off.

 

Saraki said: “Our interest here in the Senate and the National Assembly in general, is to find a solution to this problem. It is not in the interest of the country for us to have our hospitals closed and we must work to ensure they are reopened promptly.

 

“I have heard your remarks, I will spend sometimes to discuss with you and get more details to see how we can put an end to this strike.

 

“On our own part, we will bring all parties involved together to ensure that where commitments have been made, those who made the commitments honour them.

 

“The only thing I can assure you is that we will make sure that the right thing is done and that this matter is resolved,” he said.

 

END

Sanni Onogu 

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate

 

Press Release: 1% Primary Healthcare Fund Is For The Poor,” Says PSN

Press Release 

May 25, 2018

1% Primary Healthcare Fund Is For The Poor,” Says PSN

…As Group Lauds National Assembly

 

 

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Ahmed Yakassi has

reiterated that the one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) provision by the National Assembly for primary healthcare in the 2018 budget will directly benefit the poor in the country.

 

Yakasai spoke when he led other executive members of PSN on a thank you visit to the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on behalf of all his colleagues in the 8th National Assembly for facilitating the inclusion of the 1% CRF in the 2018 budget.

 

He added that the primary healthcare fund will greatly boost the healthcare system, reduce poverty, create jobs and improve the economy of Nigeria.

 

Yakasai, according to a statement by the Special Assistant to the President of the Senate, on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, said: “Indeed something that gladdened our hearts is the issue of the 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund that the National Assembly has captured in the 2018 budget that was passed recently.

 

“It will change the landscape of healthcare delivery in Nigeria. It is for the poor because it is so hard financially for the poor to pay for healthcare services out of their pockets.

 

“It will create jobs. It will reduce poverty. It will bring about economic growth in the country. That is why I specifically sent out a press release yesterday (Wednesday) and I am sure it is carried all over the papers today (Thursday).

 

“Only God will pay you for what you have done. We thank you and the entire members of the 8th National Assembly for doing this to the the nation”, he said.

 

Responding, the President of the Senate, said that the essence of the 1% CRF is to improve the standard of the healthcare system in the country.

 

Saraki said: “I thank you for all you kind words, particularly your appreciation on what I believe was a major milestone in the development of healthcare in our country. That is the 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund for Primary Healthcare which we have been able to pass as part of the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

 

“It is something we believed in and I keep on thanking my colleagues in the Senate and also in the House of Representatives – those who were not of the medical profession – who supported us and we all worked hard to make this happen.

 

“This is an important provision that will definitely improve the life of a lot of our people, especially the poor among us. It will enable them to access medical services that is available and affordable.

 

“It will make the country healthier and the country stronger. This is about working for the people and we are going to work hard to make sure that this money is well utilized so that our vision and hope to make our people healthier is realized,” he stated.

 

He explained that the 1% CRF provision for Primary Healthcare will go a long way to reduce the high rate of both maternal and infant mortality in the country.

 

“Today statistics has shown that 10 per cent of infant and maternal mortality in the world occurs in Nigeria and this is not something that we should be proud of,” Saraki said. “We believe with this kind of provision that would soon become a thing of the past. The fact that only one out of four children in Nigeria receive immunization should not be.”

 

“In a country like ours every child should receive immunization and we believe that with this provision we made in the 2018 budget, we are really seeking a new nigeria as far as primary healthcare is concerned,” he added.

 

Meanwhile the Senate has intervened in the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), with a pledge to do what is right to end the strike and ultimately find lasting solution that would prevent strikes by health workers in the country.

 

The President of the Senate gave the assurance when the Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Biobelemonye Joseph, led other executive members of the group on a visit to Saraki in Abuja.

 

END

 

Chuks Okocha

Special Assistant (Print Media) to the President of the Senate

 

 

Press Release: Saraki to Public Complaints Commissioners, Tame Injustice, Abuse Of Power

Press Release 

May 24, 2018

 

Saraki to Public Complaints Commissioners, Tame Injustice, Abuse Of Power

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has charged the newly inaugurated Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), to prevent acts of injustice and abuse of power among Nigerians in order to make the nation a better place for all.

 

Speaking when he officially inaugurated the Chief Commissioner, Hon. Chileh Igbawua and other Commissioners of the PCC from the 36 States of the Federation, Saraki said the Commission must be proactive and focused in the discharge of its mandate.

 

He noted that the PCC is the sole agency under the National Assembly with significant roles in strengthening government institutions while urging the commission to not to betray the confidence reposed in the by Nigerians.

 

Saraki said: “The institution of the Ombudsman is highly regarded worldwide, as the machinery for the control of official excesses, including non-adherence to administrative rules and procedures.

 

“The Ombudsman provides much needed succour to citizens, especially the weak and the marginalized, who may seek redress against administrative violations by public authorities, private organizations and companies.

 

“In recognition of the duty entrusted to you as gatekeepers of this important institution, you must be bold, courageous, fair and just to one and all, irrespective of religion, tribe or gender.

 

“You are to perform the quasi-judicial duties of your office with diligence, integrity and good conscience – while holding yourselves to the highest standards of probity, devoid of conflict of interest and partisanship.

 

“It goes without saying that there should be no room for internal wrangling, red-tapism and unnecessary bureaucracy in your work. All Petitions and Complaints are to be treated promptly, dispassionately and effectively.

 

“I should also remind you that you are to submit an Annual Report on your activities to both Chambers of the National Assembly, without fail, every year. These, in a nutshell, should be taken as your operational guidelines or Code of Ethics,” he said.

 

On his part, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, lamented that many Nigerians still do not know of the existence of the Commission even though it has existed for 43 years.

 

He urged the Commission to be more proactive in its dealings so as to actualize the aims and objectives of seeking up the commission.

 

“The Commission may be working hard and making impact, but it is not known by a majority of Nigerians,” Dogara said. “You therefore need to step up your activities and also publicize same. Maybe you need to conduct public hearing on your investigations to involve Nigerians in what you do.”

 

However, the Chief Commissioner of the PCC, Hon. Chileh Igbawua, pledged the readiness of the commission to justify the confidence reposed in the appointees by carrying out their mandate diligently and conscientiously.

 

END

 

Sanni Onogu

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate

Press Release: Passage of CAMA by Senate A Lifeline To Small Businesses, Says LCCI boss

Press Release 

May 24, 2018

 

Passage of CAMA by Senate A Lifeline To Small Businesses, Says LCCI boss

 

President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase has lauded the passage of the Companies and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act amendment Bill by the Senate, and said the development will greatly boost and increase the viability of small businesses in the country.

 

Ruwase gave the commendation when he led other executive members of the Chamber on a courtesy visit to the President of the Senate, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, in in Abuja.

 

The LCCI boss noted that the passage of the CAMA amendment Bill is a major step towards enhancing the business environment in the country.

 

He said that the Bill when signed into law would reduce the burden of reporting obligations for small businesses, reduce time and cost of of setting up a company and also facilitate the transition of many informal sector players to the formal sector of the economy.

 

He said that the amendment is timely in view of present economic realities as the country cannot “afford a static legislation in a dynamic business and economic environment.”

 

Ruwase further stated that the beauty of a legislation lies in how well it is aligned with contemporary realities and thanked the President of the Senate for the “efforts of the Red Chamber in promoting private sector development and for collaboration.”

 

“The fact that your Excellency has a private sector background has brought a lot of value to the content and processes of legislation,” he added.

 

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, thanked the LCCI and its members for their contributions to the nation’s economic growth.

 

He noted that the 8th Senate has been keen on working with the private sector to improve the nation’s economy and business environment right from its inception in 2015.

 

He said that the Senate with the collaboration of major players in the private sector had identified a number of critical laws that required urgent review to improve the ease of doing business in the country, most of which have now been passed and signed into law.

 

“This is a Senate that is very pro-business. We believe that our role as a government is to create enabling environment that will allow businesses to thrive.

 

“Even in the area of infrastructure, our focus has been on how we can pass laws to enable private sector participation. With our reforms in railways, ports and road construction and maintenance, we hope that the private sector will play a bigger role with the bills we have passed.

 

“There are some bills that are still pending like the the Investment and Securities bill where there is a major amendment that we hope to pass very soon. We are also looking into the reform of the Stock Exchange to make it more attractive and also in line with global best practice,” he said.

 

Saraki said the aim of the Senate is to strengthen the economy and be able to provide jobs for the youth through legislation.

 

END

 

Sanni Onogu

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate