It’s been such a busy week with so many stories. It’s possible that you may have missed some of our most interesting stories from this week.
The 2020 Budget, Trump’s impeachment, Orji Kalu’s dilemma, Uwajumogu’s death, Adoke’s arrest and others topped this week news trend.
To make sure you’re up-to-date, The Nation brings you a brief round-up of the major stories this week in case you missed the mark. ALAO ABIODUN reports.
Here is a roundup of the major political news stories this week below –
Donald Trump impeached by U.S House of Reps
The U.S. President, Donald Trump, has been impeached by the country’s House of Representatives.
The house voted late Wednesday to impeach the president on his 1,062nd day in office for alleged obstruction of Congress and abuse of power related to his dealings with Ukraine.
A trial will now be set up in the Senate to decide whether he remains in office.
Mr Trump is only the third U.S. President to face such trial and if the odds go against him, he will become the first to be removed from office via the impeachment process.
After several hours of heated dispute on the House floor between two leading parties in the U.S – Democrats and Republicans – the lawmakers voted largely along party lines.
The proceedings on Wednesday began with members of Mr Trump’s Republican Party calling for votes on procedural issues in an effort to frustrate the process.
Democrats control the House 233 to 197 seats over Republicans, with one independent and four vacancies.
According to the Washington post, the Democratic-controlled House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to the president’s attempts to withhold military aid to Ukraine and pressure its government to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.
Mr Biden is a potential presidential candidate of the Democratic Party and could be Mr Trump’s major challenger in the upcoming 2020 U.S general elections.
The House voted 230 to 197 to approve the article accusing the president of abuse of power. On the obstruction of Congress vote, which followed soon after, the tally was 229 to 198.
Trump’s Republican Party members in the house all voted against both articles, but it was not enough to stop the process.
The Senate trial on whether to remove the president is expected to begin in early January.
Should Trump eventually be removed, Vice President Mike Spence will step in.
Senate confirms new chairpersons for FIRS, AMCON
The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Muhammad Nami as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Also confirmed are members and representatives of geopolitical zones for FIRS.
Those confirmed are James Yakwen Ayuba – Member (North Central); Ado Danjuma – Member (North West) and Adam Baba Mohammad – Member (North East)
Others are A. Ikeme Osakwe – Member (South East); Adewale Ogunyomade – Member (South West) and Ehile Adetola Aigbangbee – Member (South South).
Representatives of MDAs confirmed are Ladidi Mohammad – Member Attorney-General of the Federation; Godwin Emefiele – Member Central Bank of Nigeria; Fatima Hayatu Member – Ministry of Finance and Maagbe Adaa – Member Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission
Others are Umar Ajiya – Member Nigerian National Petroleum Commission; T. M. lsah – Member Nigerian Customs Service and Registrar General – Member Corporate Affairs Commission.
The confirmation comes about a week after President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate seeking their confirmation.
It was sequel to a presentation of the report of the Senate committee on finance.
The chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan, who made the presentation, recommended that the Senate confirm the appointment of the nominees.
The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Edward Adamu as the chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) – following the presentation of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.
Alleged Fraud: Maina to remain in jail till 2020
The former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, who is facing trial for alleged money laundering will remain in the Correctional Centre in Kuje, till January 2020.
Mr Maina’s son, Faisal, is also being prosecuted for money laundering by the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
At the last adjourned date, the court had granted Faisal’s plea to be transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre from Police Tactical Squad, Asokoro.
Mr Maina is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities.
The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS).
The SSS then handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.
Mr Faisal was arrested alongside his father in September. The father is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds.
His son is accused of operating an account he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million.
The two men were arraigned by the EFCC on October 25 on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Okon Abang, adjourned Mr Maina’s trial to January 13 to hear his application for bail variation and that of Faisal to January 20, for the continuation of his trial.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang had said that though it would not be convenient for the court to take trial, but the arguments for Mr Maian’s application for bail variation would be taken.
However, the EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, said he was ready for the continuation of the trial and that the prosecution’s next witness was in court.
Buhari signs 2020 budget
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2020 appropriation bill into law.
He signed the bill at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The National Assembly had on December 5, 2019, passed the budget estimates presented by Mr Buhari on October 8, 2019.
The National Assembly increased the budget estimates from N10.33 trillion to N10.50 trillion.
The passage was a sequel to the presentation of a report by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin.
The signing was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Others are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Minister in charge of Budget and Planning, Clement Agba and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.
A breakdown of the budget showed that N560,470,827,235 was budgeted for Statutory transfer; N2,725,498,930,000 for debt servicing; N4,842,974,600,640 for recurrent expenditure; N2,465,418,006,955 for capital expenditure; and N2.28 trillion for fiscal deficit.
When the National Assembly passed the bill last Thursday, new projects inserted into the budget moved it up to ₦10.594 trillion.
A breakdown of the inserted projects obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the country may end up spending more on what anti-corruption agents and activists have identified as “vague, frivolous, self-enrichment projects smuggled into the budget by federal lawmakers.”
The new projects are expected to cost Nigeria about ₦264 billion.
Mr Buhari signed the budget document into law on the occasion of his 77th birthday on Tuesday, and commended the National Assembly for speedy passage of the bill.
“It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law,” a message posted on Mr Buhari’s twitter page said.
“I’m pleased that the National Assembly has expeditiously passed this Bill. Our Federal Budget is now restored to a January-December implementation cycle.”
FG declares Dec. 25, 26, Jan.1, 2020 public holidays
The Federal Government has declared Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 as well as Jan. 1, 2020 as public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year celebrations.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced this on Thursday in Abuja through a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mrs Georgina Ehuriah.
Aregbesola felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the 2019 Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He enjoined all Christians to live by the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ.
According to him, those virtues hinge on compassion, patience, peace, humility, righteousness and love for one another.
The minister said that living by them would guarantee an atmosphere of peace and security in the country.
Aregbesola said that the determination of government toward peace and security would engender inflow of foreign direct investment, thereby revitalising the nation’s economy.
He said it would also improve employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the country.
The minister expressed confidence that 2020 would be a breakthrough year for all Nigerians.
Lawan, APC, senators, others mourn as Imo Senator Uwajumogu dies
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour and Employment Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu has died.
Uwajumogu (Imo North) attended plenary on Tuesday. Less than 24 hours after, he was gone.
The cause and circumstances of the death of the 51-year-old could not be confirmed last night but sources said he slumped suddenly yesterday morning in his house while having his bath. He was confirmed dead at an Apo hospital.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan expressed shock, especially when Uwajumogu “was full of life” at the chamber on Tuesday.”
Lawan, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, commiserated with the deceased’s family, Imo State and friends over the loss.
He added: “But God gives and takes in line with his supreme sovereignty, so we cannot question His will.
“Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death is shocking and a painful loss to the ninth National Assembly where he always made robust contributions to debates and other activities of the upper legislative chamber.
“He will be greatly missed by all of us and staff of the Senate.”
The Senate President prayed that God will comfort his loved ones and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, described Uwajumogu’s death as a huge loss to Nigeria, his constituents and Imo State.
Supreme Court affirms elections of eight governors
There was jubilation on Wednesday as the Supreme Court affirmed the election victories of governors in eight states.
They are: Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Masari (Katsina) Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
The Supreme Court held that the appellants against the eight governors failed to prove their cases and dismissed their appeals.