The major headlines for mainstream newspapers today, Friday, June 22, are focused on the alleged ‘padding’ of the 2018 budget by the National Assembly, the upcoming national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the arrest of two suspected IS commanders in Abuja, the nations’ capital.
The Punch is reporting that the alterations made by the National Assembly to the 2018 budget have been opposed by the southeast caucus in the Senate, the Ijaw Youth Congress, the Centre Anti-Corruption and Open Leaders and an Afenifere chieftain, Femi Okurounmu.
While the Senate southeast caucus expressed surprise over the slashing of the N2 billion allocated to the Enugu Airport Terminal to N500 million, the IYC chided lawmakers for cutting budgetary allocations for the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and the East-West Road projects.
The National Assembly was also blamed for not following due process, by the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, a civil society organisation; which opined that the power tussle between the legislative and executive arms of the government was what led to the budget padding.
The Nation is also focused on reactions to the alterations in the 2018 budget. The publication reports that there was uproar over the matter, on Thursday, June 21.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) were among the groups which expressed outrage over the ‘padding’.
The lawmakers had cut 4,700 projects amounting to N347 billion from what President Muhammadu Buhari presented and introduced 6,403 projects of their own, amounting to N578 billion.
In addition to the voices opposing the alteration, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also described the lawmakers’ action as 'a crime against humanity'.
This Day is however focused on the response to allegations of security votes for the presidency in the budget, by Amnesty International.
The publication reports that minister of budget and national planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, stated that there was no security vote for the presidency, debunking the report by Amnesty International (AI) titled: “Camouflaged Cash: How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria”, which indicated, in part that the presidency is not only appropriating, but “has increased the number of security votes tucked into the federal budget in the last two years”.
Udoma made the comment on Thursday, June 21, during the 2018 budget briefing session in Abuja, the nations’ capital.
He pointed out that it was necessary to state clearly that “there is no line item as Security Vote in the State House budget,” adding that “provisions for security-related matters are contained in the detailed budgets of the Ministry of Defence, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Department of State Security (DSS) etc.”
Vanguard is however focused on the upcoming national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The paper reports that the party was on Thursday, June 21, putting finishing touches to the ‘coronation’ of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as its new national chairman at the convention which is scheduled for Saturday, June 23.
It also pointed out that another challenger for the position, Clement Ebri, stepped down; paving the way for the former Edo state governor.
Ebri, a former governor of Cross River state, forwarded a letter withdrawing from the contest to the National Convention Committee, earlier on Thursday. He followed that up with a press statement issued later in the day.
Away from politics to security however, The Guardian is reporting that two commanders of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) were arrested at Kukuntu village, Gwagwalada, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
According to a statement by the spokesman of the agency, Tony Opuiyo, the suspects, Bashiru Adams and Rufai Sajo, were picked up on May 5, after special operations.
The announcement followed a previous report that jihadists were being snuck into Nigeria from Syria, by the Islamic State (IS).
The suspects had reportedly concluded plans to disseminate the ideals of the group in the area, and in collaboration with Boko Haram, carry out violent attacks on innocent persons.
Naija lawmakers overreact - on NAIJ.com TV: