•El-Rufai presents 155b 2019 budget to House
•Court adjourns hearing on Benue crisis till August 24
Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Aminu Shagali, yesterday announced that the seat of former Deputy Speaker, John Audu Kwaturu, has been declared vacant.He disclosed that the seat of the member representing Kudan Constituency, Junaid Yakubu was also declared vacant. Kwaturu, representing Kachia constituency, had last Friday defected alongside his colleague from Kudan constituency to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Meanwhile, the embattled former deputy speaker had on Tuesday resigned his position.It was leant that he resigned to avert an impeachment by lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who are in majority at the House.According to Shagali, the two members were elected on the platform of the ruling APC, but defected to another party, while there was no crisis in the party at the state and national levels.
The House unanimously elected former Chairman, House Committee on Information, Nuhu Goro Shadalafiya, representing Kagarko constituency, as the new deputy speaker.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai yesterday presented a 2019 budget estimate of N155 billion to the state House of Assembly.He said: “The 2019-2021 Multi-Year Budget is hinged on the 2016 zero-based budget principles, aimed at actualising the state’s Development Plan from 2016-2020 as stated earlier.”
The governor said the key targets from a fiscal perspective were to ensure the success of the state’s Development Plan and respective Sector Implementation Plans (SIPs).
According to him, the estimate is aimed at maintaining a favorable proportion of Capital to Recurrent Expenditure, which is at least a target of 60 per cent to 40 per cent.
Others include ensuring adequate provision for the completion of 2018 projects in 2019, and expanding the revenue generation capacity of the state, among others.In a related development, Justice Theresa Igoche of a High Court in Makurdi has adjoined till August 24, 2018, the order restraining factional leaders of the Benue State House of Assembly.
Terkimbi Ikyange, who is among the eight members who served impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom, has insisted that he is the substantive speaker. But, Titus Uba, who belongs to the majority 22 members, maintains that he remains the speaker. Mamman Mike Osuman and other lawyers represented Ikyange in court, while Sebastian Hon (SAN), Edward Ashiekaa (SAN) and other counsels represented Ortom, Uba and 23 others.
Ikyange and Uba had separately secured court orders restraining each other from conducting the business of the assembly. Ortom, Uba and 23 others are also applying for an interim injunction restraining the Chief Judge of the state from receiving process and constituting any panel in respect of any impeachment move against the governor.
But, at the resumed trial yesterday, the matter could not continue for the dual reasons of service and time requirement for responses to court process.