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Nigeria: Suspend recess, approve 2019 polls budget, Presidency begs National Assembly

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The Presidency has urged the National Assembly to suspend the ongoing recess and attend to requests by President Muhammadu Buhari pending before the legislature.

The National Assembly was billed to proceed on holiday on Thursday but the lawmakers went on recess on Tuesday in protest against the alleged clampdown on President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

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One of such requests is the one asking the lawmakers to vire funds in the 2018 Appropriation Act to fund the supplementary budgets of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

Buhari had recently presented a N228bn supplementary budget to the National Assembly, asking the legislature to re-allocate part of the N578bn voted to the projects inserted by the lawmakers into the 2018 Appropriation Act.

Buhari said INEC and security agencies needed N242bn for the 2019 general elections. He asked that N164bn be vired to fund the polls while the balance of N78bn would be covered by the 2019 budget.

The President also said N64bn be taken from the same source back to the critical projects whose allocations were cut by the lawmakers.

The lawmakers had introduced 6,403 projects into the budget amounting to N578bn.

On Thursday, the Presidency pleaded with the lawmakers to reconvene and approve Buhari’s requests in the interest of the country.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters ( Senate), Senator Ita Enang, warned that delaying the approvals would frustrate some organs of the government.

Enang said, “The executive – President and ministers – will keep working with the legislature with respect due their offices and persons, and keep working with them as legislators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who make laws for the executive to execute irrespective of their individual political decisions while leaving all options open for conciliation.

“We will be praying the legislature – the leadership and membership – to consider that there are many matters of very urgent nature which are pending before the legislature and unless (they are) considered, the functioning of certain institutions of the government will be hampered.

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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