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Senators, Reps get N52m, N32m yearly office running allowance – Lawan

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, revealed the salaries and emoluments of members of the National Assembly to the public in Abuja.

Lawan also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had surpassed his predecessors on assent to bills.

He stated this in a paper presented at the First Distinguished Parliamentarians’ Lecture Series organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.

The President of the Senate said the monthly salary of a senator was N1.5m, while that of a member of the House of Representatives was N1.3m.

He said the N13m thrown into the public space a few years back as the monthly salary of a senator was actually their quarterly office running allowance.

Lawan said, “The total salary of a member of the Senate is about N1.5m, while that of a member of the House of Representatives is about N1.3m.

“The quarterly office allowance for legislators is what is erroneously conflicted with the monthly income to create confusion and mislead the Nigerians.

“The average office running cost for a senator is about N13m, while that of a member of the House of Representatives is N8m.”

When calculated by our correspondent, the N13m office running cost for a senator amounts to N52m per annum, while the N8m for a member of the House of Representatives amounts to N32m in a year.

Lawan’s lecture was titled, ‘The Legislature, Legislative Mandate and People – The Reality and the Public Perception’.

He said the N13m and the N8m quarterly office running cost for members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively were the lowest of any presidential democracy in the world.

The allowances as enumerated by him cover costs of local/international travels, consulting of professional services, medical services, office stationeries/computers, consumables, books, newspapers, magazines, maintenance of motor vehicles and office equipment, among others.

Lawan added that Buhari had surpassed all his predecessors on signing bills into law with 84 already assented to by him.

He said the President’s record surpassed that of any of his predecessors.

Lawan stated, “President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua (2007-2010) gave 38 bills presidential assent; Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015) assented to 40 bills, while President Muhammadu Buhari assented to 84 bills within the last two and half years in office.

He added that the 9th National Assembly had within the last two and half years initiated a total of 2,500 bills, which were in different stages of legislative procedures.

“The 9th National Assembly is not a rubber-stamp parliament, but one geared towards ensuring that the required synergy exists between the legislature and the executive for good governance in Nigeria.”

Buhari, in his speech, which was read by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said a stronger executive-legislative partnership would deepen democracy in the country.

He noted that presidential democracy in Nigeria had experienced successful transitions from one administration to the other, adding that it had also witnessed a smooth handover from an incumbent to the opposition party.

Buhari, however, said the executive arm of government would continue to build on the existing good working relationship with the legislature to ensure that the interest of every Nigerian was advanced and public good delivered.

He stated, “Our democracy has similarly been confronted by several challenges, some novel, that required hitherto unanticipated solutions, while others, though familiar, required adaptation to meet prevailing circumstances.

“In other situations, the executive-legislative relationships have come into focus, especially as it concerns the exercise of powers enshrined in the Constitution and the practice of checks and balances.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that “democracy thrives when competing views and opposing visions of the future can be freely espoused, assessed and critiqued in the marketplace of ideas so that only those positions that can withstand critical analysis become policy and law.”

According to him, the lecture series is in furtherance of the shared commitment of the 9th National Assembly and the NILDS to expand the civic space and enlarge the marketplace of ideas where citizens can engage constructively to find solutions that will shape the nation’s future.

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Google set to invest $9.5bn in US

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Google has announced plans to invest $9.5bn in its US offices and data centers around the country in 2022, up from more than the $7bn it spent in 2021.

According to CNN, the big bet on office space was coming at a point Google was embracing a hybrid work model. The Alphabet-owned company has called for many of its employees to work in an office three days a week after two years of being fully remote.

The Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and Google, Sundar Pichai, said, “It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work.

“Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees, and stronger communities.”
Google said it would open an office in Atlanta this year and continue to develop and expand office space in Austin and New York. It added that it planned to continue investing in data centers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, among other states.

As part of the announcement, Google said it expected to create at least 12,000 new full-time jobs at the company this year.

Google and other tech companies were among the first businesses to shift to remote work when the pandemic hit in early 2020. But that shift always appeared to be temporary. Like others in Silicon Valley, Google had previously invested billions in expansive campuses and lavish office benefits for workers.

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European markets pull back amid doubts over latest Russian pledges over Ukraine

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European stocks retreated on Wednesday following the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine, aimed at finding a solution to the conflict.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% in early trade, with autos shedding 1.9% to lead losses, while oil and gas stocks gained 1.7%.

In terms of individual share price movement, Finland’s Nokian Tyres fell 6.6%, while Sweden’s Lundin Energy added 4.7%.

Investor sentiment was boosted on Tuesday following negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Turkey, at which Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Moscow had decided to “drastically” cut back its military activity near Ukraine’s capital.

Alexander Fomin, who spoke following the talks in Istanbul, said Russia would slow its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order for peace talks to progress. Russia previously claimed that it would reduce military operations in other parts of Ukraine but then continued its advance.

Growing hope for a cease-fire appeared to boost investor sentiment Tuesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 200 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures also climbed 0.6%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.7%. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which spiked on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fell more than 4% to $100 per barrel.

Doubts have set in over the pledge, however, and while the Russian military has begun moving some of its troops in Ukraine away from areas around Kyiv to positions elsewhere in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned the troop movements do not amount to a retreat.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors watch for developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Stateside, traders are keeping tabs on a slew of key economic reports, while also monitoring the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday showed 11.3 million job openings, higher than the 11.1 million expected. The ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday.

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Lagos Assembly kicks against harassment of residents by police

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Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday, cautioned police in the state against harassment, intimidation and extortion of residents.

Obasa said this on the floor of the House when lawmakers honoured outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, who has been promoted to Assistant Inspector-General, and is due to retire in January 2022.

Obasa said Odumosu was honoured as the first Commissioner of Police in the state to stand before the lawmakers and address Lagosians on his experience policing the state.

The Speaker thanked Odumosu for his openness and responsiveness to issues affecting the peace of the state.

“It is important to call on those behind you to know that the relationship between the police and the people need to be constantly improved upon,” Obasa said, adding that men of the Nigeria Police Force need to build more trust among the people.

“Everybody must be treated with respect, dignity and honour. And that is how we can earn respect. Policing should not be about harassment and extortion but building trust among the people and making them comfortable,” Obasa said.

The Commissioner of Police, who led a team of officers to the House, thanked the lawmakers for their support. According to him, nothing could have been achieved in terms of security and peace in the state without assistance of the House.

He said he would remain grateful to Lagosians for making it possible for him and his team to effectively manage the security of the state.

Odumosu, who described Lagos as ‘mini-Nigeria’, said proactivity of the Assembly led to the creation of laws that helped the police remain successful in the state.

He said the Cultism Prohibition Law also helped to reduce illegal associations in tertiary institutions in the state and enlightened property owners and residents.

“We promise to continue to excel in providing watertight security for people of the state,” he told the lawmakers. He also promised he would encourage his successor to sustain the relationship between the police and the House, while urging the lawmakers to extend their support to his successor.

“Policing Lagos is not a tea party. Without the laws in Lagos, it would have been difficult to police the state. Don’t get tired, don’t relent in making laws that would make Lagos maintain its place as the most peaceful state in Nigeria,” he said.

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