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Gbajabiamila inspects NASS Renovation projects, seeks delivery of quality work, early completion+photos

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…. Says 2023 Budget Presentation likely To Be 1st week of Oct.

By Gloria Ikibah

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the 2023 budget presentation would likely be in the first week of October.


Gbajabiamila stated this on Wednesday in Abuja when he inspected key aspects of the renovation work in that National Assembly complex, particularly the House of Representatives Chamber, the dome and foyer of the complex.

He called for the speedy completion of the ongoing renovation of the National Assembly complex ahead of the delivery deadline of August 2023.

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The Speaker however, warned that this must not compromise the quality of the work to be delivered.

He said that though the renovation, which began last month, had progressed well, he would still ask the project managers to speed up the pace and beat the deadline.

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At the chamber, Gbajabiamila was briefed on the details of the upgrade and the adjustments to be made to the sitting areas of lawmakers, the chamber staff, the presiding officers, the press gallery, the roof and the adjoining rooms to the chamber.

Speaking with House of Representatives correspondents after the inspection, Gbajabiamila said the changes introduced were “impressive” and would greatly assist the lawmakers in their legislative duties in line with global standards.

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Gbajabiamila stated, “This work started in August, a few weeks behind schedule, but for a good reason. So far between August and now, giant strides have been made; you can see the whole chamber has been ripped apart, and the innovations are going to be state-of-the-art.

“We will be proud to have a chamber that matches the best standard all over the world; so I am quite impressed with the work so far.

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“I would encourage them to double the pace because, as it is, this is not for the benefit of the 9th Assembly but for the benefit of the 10th Assembly.” The whole chamber isn’t going to be ready until sometime in August next year; so we are talking close to a year, and that tells you the level of work that is going on”.

However, the Speaker insisted that speeding up the pace of completion must not compromise the quality of the work.

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While the renovation, which is being carried out by Visible Construction Limited, is ongoing, members will reconvene from their annual break next week to hold plenary sittings in a temporary chamber already prepared at Hearing Room 028.

Giving his impression of the temporary chamber, Gbajabiamila said, “So far so good, we are happy and this temporary site where we will be sitting for the next 9-10 months, is obviously a far cry from where we used to be.

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“This used to be a hearing room to a legislative chamber, a lot of adaptations and a lot of innovations have been made and we are quite pleased with the work so far; so we are ready to go”.

The Speaker said the 10th Assembly would most likely be inaugurated in the temporary chamber, except the project managers would be able to complete the renovation of the main chamber months before the scheduled deadline.

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“The 10th Assembly more than likely will kick off from here unless work can be accelerated, but you don’t want to accelerate work and compromise the quality of the work, so it’s better late but done well. Anything worth doing is worth doing well”, he added.

Asked if the temporary chamber would accommodate all 360 lawmakers, Gbajabiamila replied, “The configuration is not just this place but upstairs. So, I think there are about a 100 and something seats in terms of accommodation on this level and about 200 and something upstairs.

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“But, it has been configured in such a way that everything is connected and you can see the screen. I can see everybody upstairs; whoever is presiding can see everybody upstairs and you can see everybody downstairs”.

The Speaker rounded off the project inspection at the permanent site of the National Assembly Service Commission building, which is also being constructed within the National Assembly complex.

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He said he was satisfied that the project was being executed according to plans.

End.

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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