2019: Lagos East APC Leaders, Members Pass Vote Of Confidence On Ambode, Ashafa

Leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos East Senatorial district have passed a vote of confidence on Governor of the State, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Senator representing the district at the Senate, Gbenga Ashafa.

The group, in a Communiqué issued by Honourable Joko Pelumi, Secretary of the District, said that the party in the district fully supports the activities of National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The group also appealed to members of the party to give their support to the State’s Chairman of the party, Otunba Henry Ajomale.

“The district also commends the performance of our indefatigable Senator Gbenga Ashafa for his impressive and resourceful delivery of the mandate of the district adequately and hereby pass a vote of confidence on his representation; and finally that all aggrieved members of the party be reconciled forthwith to enable a common front on the coming elections in 2019,” the communiqué read.

Addressing press men at the event, Senator Ashafa described the vote of confidence on Governor Ambode as well-deserving, saying that his developmental achievements across the State had earned him the unanimous support of the people.

Ashafa also touched on some of the intervention projects he constructed within the district to include the facilitation of water and irrigation projects, installation of transformers, distribution of entrepreneurship empowerment tools and entrepreneurship training programs, several medical outreach programs for constituents, and among others.

He concluded by urging his constituents to give Governor Ambode their unalloyed support stating that “Our goal is to continue to do as much as we can to complement the immense effort and laudable achievements of the administration Governor Ambode in our Senatorial district and State.

“I therefore call on all well-meaning constituents to continue enjoying the development and growth that his administration has brought to us all.”

Recall that the general assembly of the party in the district was convened by the leadership of the party in Lagos East upon securing approval of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Professionalism Will Increase Transportation Sector’s Contribution To GDP, Says Ashafa

Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has said that the passage of the Bill to Establish the Chattered institute of Logistics and Transport of Nigeria, will enhance professionalism in the area of Logistics and Transportation Services in Nigeria.

Ashafa stated this on Wednesday while leading debate on the 2nd Reading of the Bill on the floor of the Senate.

The Lagos Senator, who identified lack of professionalism and standardization as factors responsible for the relatively low contribution of the transport Sector to Nigerian GDP also stressed the importance of the Logistics and Transport sector to every economy.

In his words: “The world economy is increasingly being driven by service based activities of various kinds with Logistics and Transport Service accounted for almost 71% of global GDP in 2010 and is expanding at a faster s at the forefront. As revealed in the 2011 World Development Report, the services rate.”

While decrying the relatively low contribution of the transportation and logistics sector to the Nigerian economy, he said thus:  “In the case of Nigeria its logistics sector is estimated to contribute over N200 Billion to our economy with an annual growth rate of 10%. The Transport sector’s estimated contribution is put at about 10% of the country’s GDP. “

Ashafa further noted that the Chattered institute of Logistics and Transport is well positioned to address the challenge facing lack of professionalism and standardization in Transport and logistics sector of the economy .

In his submission: “The challenge therefore is in the standardization of quality of their professional practice, licensing procedure, certification and development of ethics of the profession that will guarantee safety of operations, uniformity of practice and integrity.”

“The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is well positioned to close this void and ensure enhanced service delivery.”

Senator Joshua Lidani, in his contribution, threw his weight behind the bill, saying that it is a recent happening around the worl around communications and logistics. The bil, according to him, will help the standard of communication and logistics and also provide guidelines to foreigners and citizens in general.

In his contribution, Senator Dino Melaye, who also supported the Bill to be passed said: “Transportation is a major source of internally generated revenue in UK, US and other countries, a Bill like this promotes economic integration and social welfare of the people.”

After much debate and contribution from other legislators, the Bill passed the Second reading and was forwarded to the relevant committee of the Senate for further consideration.

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Deliver On Critical Rail Infrastructure Before 2019 To Ease Transportation For All Nigerians, Ashafa Tells Amaechi

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has urged the Federal Ministry of Transport to ensure delivery of standard gauge rail lines and other vital rail infrastructure to Nigerians before 2019.

Ashafa made this call on Monday, while chairing the budget Defence Session organised by the Committee in respect of Ministry of Transportation at the National Assembly.

In his words “I call on the Honourable Minister to remain conscious of the fact that the 2018 appropriation cycle is the most important in the life of this administration. It is on its back that we expect most of the projects that have been commenced since 2015 to be delivered to the teeming population of Nigerians who voted the Buhari administration into government.

“We must therefore hit the ground running to ensure the delivery of as many critical infrastructure needed to ease the transportation of all Nigerians across the country as soon as possible.”

When asked by Senator Ashafa when the Lagos-to Kano Standard gauge railway project would likely be completed and delivered to Nigerians for use, Amaechi responded that initially the plan was for it to be completed by the end of 2018, but the company has stated that due to several technical works to be done it will most likely be by the first quarter of 2019.

The session also had in attendance Distinguished Senators Jeremiah Useni, John Owan Enoh, Olanrewaju Tejuoso and Osinakachukwu Ideozu who are members of the committee, while the Ministry of Transportation was ably represented by the Honourable Minister for Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Permanent Secretary Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria amongst other key members of the ministry.

Ashafa also called for synergy between the committee and the Ministry to ensure a speedy passage of the 2018 budget, in line with the sense of urgency demonstrated by the early submission of the 2018 Budget estimates to the National Assembly by His Excellency, President Muhamadu Buhari. He stated that “that this meeting makes it the 2nd time that our Committee would meet with the Honourable Minister and his team in respect of budget defence in 2017. This is due to no other reason but the government’s commitment towards ensuring an early passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law. What this translates to clearly is that there is a renewed sense of urgency in governance and we cannot afford to slow down this process in any way. I would therefore like to begin by imploring all parties to avoid any actions that would delay the appropriation process in any way”.

He therefore restated the committee’s determination to ensure that the estimates before them were painstakingly reviewed and also that the committee was prepared to work with the Ministry to arrive at the most realistic estimates in order to present a workable budget.

Amaechi on his part, appreciated the support of the Senate Committee on Land transport for their support, understanding and cooperation and assured the committee that they shall work collectively to transform the Land Transport Sub-Sector for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He took the committee through the 2017 budget performance of the Ministry and also though the 2018 budget proposals. He explained that priority has been placed on the completion of the ongoing Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri-Aladja railway project which commenced 32 years ago and the counter part funding that will be required as Federal Government contribution for the financing of the Ibadan-Kano project and the Nigerian Coastal line Lagos-Calabar project.

He also took the committee through new projects that were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal which President Buhari has given approval to the Ministry to source for financiers. These include the new standard guage Rail line from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri passing through Enugu, Lafis, Makurdi, Gombe with branch lines to Owerri, Onitsha, Awka, Abakaliki, Yola, Jalingo and Damaturu amongst other projects.

With the conclusion of the budget defence, the Senate Committee on Land Transport is expected to conduct an oversight visit to the Ministry of Transport.

 

 

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Ashafa Attributes Slow Procurement Process To Poor Funding, Urges President Buhari To Sign Amendment To Procurement Act

Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has decried the poor funding of the 2017 budget by the Federal Government.

Ashafa made this known on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, while contributing to the general principles of the 2018 Budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his words: “We cannot discuss 2018 budget without going back to the previous few years. In 2016 the size of the budget was N6.07 Trillion. The size of the 2017 budget was 7.2 Trillion Naira. Now it is projected that the 2018 budget will be about N8.6 Trillion Naira (16% Higher than 2017 estimates).

“The 2017 budget with just about 450 Million released out of the 2.1 Trillion Capital Expenditure is currently performing below 40% level. The capital component of the 2018 Budget is set at about N2.428 Billion…. While it is okay to have a large budget or increase in the size of the budget, it is more important to ensure that the budget can be adequately funded. The challenge of the 2017 budget has remained the lack of funding of most agencies. This must be guarded against in the 2018 cycle.”

Ashafa further mentioned that though the Federal Government was short of funds for a major part of the year 2017, he would have expected that certain important Agencies of Government with capital/infrastructural projects affecting the general population of Nigerians would have been prioritized as well.

He also decried the situation where the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). received just N800 million out of a budget of N25 Billion and The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which he stated received just N500 million out of a Capital Appropriation of 11 Billion Naira, as not being good enough.

Ashafa also highlighted the slow procurement process by some MDA’S for capital projects contained in the 2017 Appropriation Act, a situation which he linked again to poor funding.

The Senator called on President Buhari to sign the amendments to the Procurement Act as passed by the National Assembly stating that “one of cardinal amendments of the Procurement Act is to reduce the time spent on the procurement process substantially in order to expedite the award of contracts and the speed of Governance.”

Ashafa, however concluded by commending the administration of President Buhari for being sensitive to the plight of the people by ensuring the completion and introduction of rail projects that would touch each part of the country. “what is apparent in the budget is that this Government has demonstrated that it is sensitive to the plight of the people.’

‘Most of the projects in the Ministry of Transport for example are ongoing projects which means that the administration is more focused on completing the projects it commenced, which is a smart approach. I suppose that the infusion of certain new projects is also to alley the concerns that rail projects need to reflect National Spread. Counter part funding for rail projects is set at N162 Billion to cover the following projects: (i) Lagos-Kano (Ongoing), (ii) Calabar-Lagos (to kick start in the 2018 budget), (iii) Port Harcourt to Maiduguri (new), (iv) Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi in Niger Republic (New), (v) Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja (Warri)-Warri Port and Refinery including Warri New Harbour (new), (vi) Bonny Deep Sea Port & Port Har (New)’.

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Ekwueme: ‘An Elder-Gentleman Who Displayed A Brilliant Appreciation Of National Issues,’ Says Senator Gbenga Ashafa

Senator Representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has described the death of former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a great loss to the nation.

Ashafa, in a statement signed by his aide, Mr. Tope Atiba, commiserated with the Ekwueme family, the entire Ndigbo and Nigeria over the death of the Elder States Man and Nationalist.

Recall that Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (GCON), passed on to glory on Sunday November 19, 2017.

“I would always remember Dr. Ekwueme as an elder-gentleman who displayed a brilliant appreciation of National issues and always maintained a high command of reason and temperance in the face of issues that stirred passion among many others. He was also an advocate of a well balanced Nigeria where the rule of law and equity prevails.

“Nigeria would surely miss his wealth of experience, knowledge and influence which he made readily available at every moment same any of these were required of him.

“May his gentle soul Rest in Perfect Peace,” the statement read.

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Ashafa Joins Concerned Nigerians To Call For State Of Emergency In Education Sector

Just a day after the President hosted the Federal Executive Council to the Presidential Summit on Education organized by the Honourable Minister of Education Alhaji Adamu Adamu, where the President decried the rot being experienced in the Nigerian Educational Sector, Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has also joined other concerned Nigerians calling for  a State Emergency to be declared in the Education Sector.

Ashafa made this call at the Convergence Summit held at the NAF Conference Centre Abuja on Tuesday, 14th November, 2017.

Ashafa, while giving his remarks said, “I am happy that the Hon. Minister is present at this event because he is very vital in achieving the theme of this event, which is “Driving a new public education initiative for Nigeria.” It goes without saying that the state of public education in Nigeria is very poor and crying for help. From the primary to the tertiary institutions, public education in Nigeria is failing…”

The Distinguished Senator went on further to provide some statistics to buttress his point. He said “Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to draw some inferences quickly. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s world fact book, the literacy level in Nigeria is just about 59%, this is not too far from the UNESCO’s submission that about 65 Million Nigerians are illiterate. It is also important to note that by 2050, Nigeria would be the third most populous country in the world. Beyond the ratio of population to literacy, is also the issue of quality of education being received. In Kaduna State recently, a competence test conducted for all teachers in the state revealed that 75% of the teachers failed. Never mind that this test was based on curriculum for Primary Four”

While acknowledging the effort of the President Buhari led administration through the Minister of Education in the Education sector by revamping the curricular, Senator Ashafa noted that if this dangerous trend continues at this rate Nigeria would be looking at a very huge population of illiterates/under literates by year 2050

He therefore called on the Minister of Education to declare a state of Emergency in the Nigeria Education Sector. He was quoted to say as follows “I join other well meaning Nigerians to call on the Honourable Minister to declare a State of Emergency in the Nigerian Education Sector. The effect of this might not be popular at first, however this is the bold, proper and conscientious thing to do. We must do right by the judgment of posterity and the future of our common wealth”.

He canvassed for the need for Nigeria to adopt contemporary training, teaching methods and instruments being used in the more developed countries to educate the minds of their people. To adopt an experimental approach to teaching and learning as this will allow the students learn better and the teachers impart knowledge more easily.

The event which has as its theme “Driving a new Public Education Initiative in Nigeria” was organized for the purpose of identifying the challenges in the education sector and proffering ideas and solutions that could revamp the Nigeria education sector.

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Ashafa Leads South West Senators To Condole With Tinubu Over Son’s Demise, Expresses Shock And Great Sadness

Senator Representing Lagos East, Gbenga Ashafa, has expressed shock and sadness over the demise of Mr. Jide Tinubu, Son of National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju bola Tinubu.

Ashafa, in a statement signed by his Legislative aide, Tope Atiba, and issued to pressmen on Friday, described the late Jide as a “hardworking gentleman who was so full of life and ideas.”

The Senator had earlier in the week, led a group of Southwest Senators to condole with Asiwaju Tinubu at his Abuja residence.

Ashafa further prayed for the repose of the soul of the late Jide and wished the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

In his words, “My heart & prayers are with Asiwaju and his family at this time of grief. May the soul of Mr. Jide Tinubu Rest In Perfect Peace.”

Some of the Senators who accompanied Ashafa to pay their condolences included Senator Adeyeye (Osun Central), Senator Babajide Omoworare (Osun East), Senator Solomon Olamilekan (Lagos West), Senator Abdulfatai Buhari (Oyo North), Senaotr Monsurat Sumonu (Oyo Central) and Senator Adesoji Akanbi (Oyo South).

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Ashafa Expresses Worry Over FG’s Failure To Complete National Library Project, Urges Senate To Intervene

Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial district, Senator Olugbenga Ashafa, has expressed concern over the inability of the federal government to complete the National Library Building Project eleven years after it was awarded for the sum of N8.59bn with a timeline of 22 months.

Senator Ashafa, in a motion titled “The Preventable Economic Loss and national Embarrassment arising from the failure of the Federal Government to complete the National Library,” noted that the project has suffered a huge setback due to insufficient funding for the project, and has in turn, spiraled into other avoidable pitfalls.

Senator Ashafa dwelt further on his worries that the continuous failure of the FG to properly fund the project within the specified period would cause the government both short term and long term financial losses modestly estimated to be in the range of 40 to 50 billion Naira and that there was the danger of more losses in the long run if funding challenges persisted.

One of the many concerns expressed in the motion included the reality that the National Library of Nigeria still operates from a rented building after 57 years of independence and trillions of Naira spent on the project thus far.

Senator Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central), while contributing to the motion, commended the motion and its mover, Senator Ashafa, whilst stressing the need for government to speed up the project and focus more on capital projects that enhance national/collective learning and development.

In its resolution, the Senate urged the Federal Government to prioritize the funding and completion of the permanent site of the National Library of Nigeria in order to mitigate losses accruable to the project.

The Senate also resolved to mandate the Senate Committee on Education to meet with the Honourable Ministers of Education and the Federal Capital Territory and the National Librarian/Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of Nigeria to adopt an appropriation strategy that would ensure the completion of the project starting from the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

The FG was also advised to be more strategic in the award of contracts with a view to embarking on only projects that can be adequately financed to the tune of its budgetary appropriation.

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Ashafa Commends Ambode’s Leadership, Says Lagos Is Forefront Of Development In Nigeria

The Senator representing Lagos East Constituency at the National Assembly, Gbenga Ashafa, has described Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, as a visionary, committed and courageous leader.
The Senator made the comment while addressing the press at the ongoing Lagos State Executive/Legislative Parley 2017 themed “Mega City to Smart City.”
Ashafa said thus: “Let me seize this opportunity to commend His Excellency Governor Ambode and the entire team of Lagos State Government under his leadership for the awesome work of further transforming Lagos State. The socioeconomic and infrastructure development going on around the state can only be a testament of one thing: Visionary, committed and courageous Leadership.”
The Senator also identified Lagos State as being in the forefront of development across the country stating that “No doubt Lagos State has been in the forefront of development across the Country and this is so not necessarily because we have so much resources, but because the resources coming into Lagos have been well managed by the Governor of Lagos State and his team.”
?He stated further that “?Sincerely, it is events like these where we come together to brainstorm over the future of our dear state and the direction in which it should go that set Lagos State apart as the Center of Excellence.
?
It is my hope that we would in the next few days be able to discuss frankly and with clarity on the theme of this years parley: Mega City to Smart City.”?

?Ashafa concluded by calling on Lagosians to continue supporting the government of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode while also restating the commitment of the Senators and Members of the National Assembly from Lagos State to always give ?their best in defending the interest of Lagos State as ?they also continue to contribute ?their quota in the grassroots? and various? constituencies to ensure the actualization of the vision of His Excellency, Governor Ambode for Lagos State.
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Nigeria At 57: Glorious Dawn Ahead, Says Ashafa

“After rain comes sunshine; After darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!” – Chief Obafemi Awolowo

As our dear country marks her 57th Independence anniversary, I draw inspiration from the words of one of our founding fathers, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as quoted above.

For so long, the Nigerian State has demanded of Nigerians to be ready to sacrifice for the eventual benefit of all. Nigerians have been asked to manage, to bear the burdern and sometimes be willing to suffer until the ship of state arrives at the place of hope.

However, what we have experienced in the past 2 years can be likened to darkness caused by years of decay, which led us into the recession, which we are now coming out from. We are not only coming out of the recession, we are coming out of it with a diversified economy, a more entrepreneurial population, lesser dependence on crude oil, a more informed people, a more solid foundation for our economy and the institutions of state. We are making haste slowly, we are coming out a better country.

I therefore believe that there is no better time than now for us as a country to come together as one in order to emerge together into the “glorious dawn” that lies ahead. Our differences are many, our tongues differ but we must be willing to come together to forge a road map for this bright future together and through the legitimate institutions of state.

Dear Nigerians, Lagosians and the Good People of Lagos East, I urge you all to rally round the leadership at various levels. I believe that this is the time to support our leaders with effort, counsel and constructive criticism, as we work together to create the Nigeria of our dreams.

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Senate Summons Adeosun, Udoma Over Inadequate Release Of Funds To Finance Capital Projects

The Senate, on Tuesday, summoned Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, over alleged under-funding of Capital component of the 2017 Budget.

The Senate made this call after approving resolutions of a motion sponsored by Senator representing Lagos East, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, titled Inadequate releases in the 2017 budget and the need to expedite releases in order to stimulate the Economy”.

Ashafa argued that inadequate release of funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies to finance their capital projects might return the country to recession.

Recall that the total size of the 2017 budget tagged as the budget of Economic Recovery and Growth is in the sum of N7,441,175,486,758 (Seven Trillion, Four Hundred and Forty One Billion, One Hundred and Seventy Five Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight Naira), and capital component of the budget is in the sum of N2,177,866,775,867 (Two Trillion, One Hundred and Seventy-Seven Billion, Eight-Hundred and Sixty-Six Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Seven Naira) only, for the year ending on the 31st December, 2017, according to the Appropriation Act of 2017.

Speaing further, Senator Ashafa expressed concern that since the 2017 budget was assented to by the President in June 2017, only about N310 Billion Naira has been released by the Federal Government to Ministries, Departments and Agencies as funding for capital projects.

The figure according to the Distinguished Senator is too low to stimulate the economy.

His words: “The livelihood of millions of Nigerians is directly connected with the funding of the budget and execution of projects. Considering that the more projects are executed, the more Nigerians would be engaged at various levels of the employment value chain.”

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu while seconding the motion commended Senator Gbenga Ashafa on the motion and urged his colleagues to support the motion.

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Senator Ashafa Urges Lagos Pensioners To Attend Verification Exercise

As part of the ongoing biometric verification of pensioners being carried out by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directory PTAD across the country, the Senate Committee on Establishment and Pensions, Ably Chaired by Senator Emanuel Paulker conducted an oversight of the exercise in the South-west, at the Ketu Center of the exercise on Wednesday, 20thSeptember, 2017.

At the oversight which was conducted by Senators Emanuel Paulker (Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment  and Pensions), Gbenga Ashafa (Member, Senate Committee on Establishment and Pensions) alongside their colleagues from the House of Representatives, Ashafa who represents Lagos East Senatorial District called on all Pensioners in the South West to make themselves available for the screening.

Senator Ashafa made this call while addressing the pensioners, in the presence of the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Pensions, Senator Emanuel Paulker, stating that, “The biometric verification of pensioners who retired from the federal civil service, under the Defined Benefit Scheme is aimed at providing accurate database and eliminate ghost pensioners who may want to benefit from the payment of pension allowance. According to the Executive Secretary, of PTAD Sharon Ikeazor no fewer than 15,200 fictitious names were removed from the Federal Government payroll in 2016.”

“I therefore encourage all eligible Federal Governemnt retirees in Lagos to make themselves available at the centers as this verification is a precursor to their being placed on the payroll particularly for those who haven’t been paid yet. It is also part of the mandate of the Buhari administration to ensure that all pensioners receive their retirement benefits legitimately.”

The Senator also observed that unlike the practice in the past when pensioners were kept in the rain and sun, PTAD has done quite well to make the process as seamless and stress free as possible by providing a conducive environment for the verification exercises in the different locations.

He however urged the management of PTAD to ensure that to devise a method whereby the pensioners would not be required to show up physically at every verification exercise, as pensioners should be able to receive their entitlements electronically without stress.

He concluded by giving kudos to the administration of President Muhammad Buhari as well as the 8th Senate for making the issue of pensions a priority and assured the pensioners of better days ahead.

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