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SANWO-OLU LAUNCHES $20 MILLION ‘LAGOS CARES’ PROGRAMME FOR YOUTHS, WOMEN

LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR
PRESS RELEASE
•MSMEs, Farmers among Top Beneficiaries of Economic Stimulus Programme
•Project Funded Through World Bank Facility
Lagos State Government has rolled out a $20 million Coronavirus (COVID-19) Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (Lagos CARES) Programme to support livelihood for poor and vulnerable households and to expand food security services in the State.
At the State House, Alausa, on Wednesday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched the social intervention project that is focused on offering safety net to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of COVID-19 and also to building resilience of the State.
The programme, which will be implemented for 24 months, is being funded through $750 million facility secured from the World Bank by the Federal Government for Nigeria-CARES project. Other states also benefited from the stimulus programme.
Lagos CARES will directly support 20,843 households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals within the State.
The programme encompasses three key result areas, including increasing cash transfers and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households; increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households, and facilitating the recovery of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs), while strengthening institutional support for coordination and delivery.
Sanwo-Olu said the programme was designed to be inclusive and packaged to specifically impact women and the youth. Its implementation, the Governor said, cuts across relevant ministries, including Sustainable Development Goals and Investment (SDG&I), Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Finance, Wealth Creation, and Agriculture.
He said: “Today marks another milestone in our effort to combat the negative impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our households, livelihood, food security and businesses. The CARES project is an integral part of the national approach, adopted to alleviate the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, and enhance the wellbeing of our people.
“The Lagos CARES Programme will be implemented between 2021 and 2023, and will provide economic relief and recovery support to identified vulnerable persons. During the 24 months, the programme will directly support vulnerable households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals. There will also be interventions in 69 markets, while a minimum of 2,512 MSMEs will be supported.”
To effectively implement the programme, Sanwo-Olu set up the State’s CARES Steering Committee (SCSC), co-headed by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, and Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond.
Other members of the steering committee comprises cabinet members and policy heads, who will oversee the programme and provide policy guidance.
The Governor also inaugurated the State’s CARES Coordinating Unit (SCCU) that will work directly with the delivery platforms of the three result areas for result monitoring and coordination.
Sanwo-Olu expressed his confidence in the ability of the members committees, who, he said, had been part of the main drivers of the Government’s agenda for a Greater Lagos.
He said: “I would like to remind the committee members not to lose sight of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the State Government as they work on the three result areas. This administration will continue to collaborate with people of goodwill in the public and private sectors, multilateral and donor partners as we deliver good governance to our people.”
Egube said the project would address loss of jobs and threat to food supply chain occasioned by the spread of the pandemic. He said the programme would leverage existing World Bank’s operations anchored on community-based approach and multi-sector interventions.
On her part, Mrs. Hammond said the State would be implementing 10 Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs) out of 11 across three results areas for impact.
The programme, she said, will benefit 4,652 farmers towards driving up agricultural inputs and services, adding that 5,460 farmers would be engaged in agricultural assets for production and mitigation of food loss and waste.
The Special Adviser said there would be provision of well-targeted conditional grants to co-finance loans for eligible 1,132 MSMEs.

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 21, 2021
PRESIDENT BUHARI MOURNS FOREMOST INDUSTRIALIST, DR UDEALO AGHAZU
President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with the Udealo Aghazu family, the Anambra State government, the community of industrialists in Nnewi, Anambra State, friends and associates of Dr Benson Udealo Chizoba Aghazu, who passed away recently, aged 75.
As final rites of passage begin for the renowned industrialist, the President says the man popularly known as ‘Kpakpando Nnewi’ would be sorely missed, but his footprints on the industrial and farming sectors would remain indelible.
President Buhari prays for repose of the soul of the departed, and urges those who survive him to keep his good works alive, and his memory evergreen.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
April 21, 2021

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PRESIDENT BUHARI JOINS WORSHIPPERS FOR ANNUAL TAFSIR


President Muhammadu Buhari, who returned from a two-week trip to the United Kingdom a few days back, Tuesday, joined Muslim faithful in the State House mosque for the Ramadan Tafsir (explanation of the Qur’an).

The President, who was accompanied by personal aides, was attending the Tafsir for the first time in two years, following the closure of the Mosque throughout the Ramadan last year due to the restrictions in public gatherings put in place by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, now renamed Presidential Steering Committee (PSC).

In a sermon before the commencement of the exercise, the Chief Imam of the Villa, Sheikh Abdulwahid Abubakar Sulaiman lamented that groups and individuals have been spreading concocted and senseless stories regarding COVID-19, misleading a large number of people.

He called the epidemic ‘‘a trial from the Almighty, as well as a leveller and equalizer of humanity.’’
The Chief Imam urged Nigerians to continue to observe the regulations put in place by the relevant authorities to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 20, 2021

PRESIDENT BUHARI: IDRISS DEBY WAS A GALLANT LEADER

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over “the sudden and tragic death of President Idriss Deby of Chad on the front line, fighting against rebel soldiers.”
Reacting to the incident on Tuesday, President Buhari said: “I’m deeply shocked and devastated by the sudden death of Idriss Deby on the battle front to defend the sovereignty of his country.”
According to the President, “the late Deby had played a very active role in our regional joint collaboration in the military campaign against the Boko Haram terrorists.”
President Buhari described the late Chadian leader “as a friend of Nigeria who had enthusiastically lent his hand in our efforts to defeat the murderous Boko Haram terrorists that have posed grave security challenges not only for Nigeria, but also our African neighbours, particularly Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.”
He added that “the death of Deby will surely create a big vacuum in the efforts to jointly confront the Boko Haram terrorists and the Islamic State West Africa Province.”
While condoling with the people of Chad and their new leader, President Buhari called for greater collaboration to defeat the terrorists.
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 20, 2021

PRESIDENT BUHARI HOSTS NIGER REPUBLIC’S BAZOUM TO IFTAR DINNER
To share blessings of Ramadan while promoting harmony and mutual understanding between neighbouring countries, Nigeria and Republic of Niger, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted his counterpart, Mohamed Bazoum, to an Iftar dinner at the State House, Monday evening.
The visiting President and his delegation arrived at 6.45pm, and he was received by President Buhari at the State House Mosque, where they prayed together before proceeding to the Banquet Hall.
President Buhari met with the Nigerien leader, who was on his first international trip after inauguration on April 2, 2021, earlier in the day in his office, and they discussed issues of mutual interest, security and economy.
Some top officials of the Nigerian government at the dinner included Geoffery Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd), Minister of Defense and Timipre Silver, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
Others were National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno (Rtd), Director General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
On the entourage of President Bazoum were Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hassoumi Massasou, Deputy Chief of Staff, Djibo Daouda and Nigerien Ambassador to Nigeria, Alat Migaskia.
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 19, 2021

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TANKER EXPLOSION: PRESIDENT BUHARI CONDOLES WITH BENUE PEOPLE


President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the government and people of Benue State over the tanker explosion that left several people dead in Agatu Local Government Area of the State.
Commiserating with families of the victims, the President said:
”I am worried by the frequency of these tanker explosion incidents on public roads or residential areas. Our road traffic authorities and transportation ministries should urgently address this.”
Noting that public safety should not be compromised under any circumstances, the President calls for strict adherence to safety standards and procedures; and these rules should be enforced without fear or favour.
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 19, 2021

PRESIDENT BUHARI SYMPATHISES WITH PRESIDENTS DEBY, AL-SISI OVER TRAGIC EVENTS

President Muhammadu Buhari extends heartfelt condolences to President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad in the wake of the ethnic clashes in the South Eastern Region of Salamat that claimed several lives.
“I am shocked and saddened by the incident that shattered decades of relative peace and stability in Chad,” President Buhari said, adding that “ethnic and tribal clashes is a threat to African unity and stability and Nigeria joins the rest of Africa to deplore the latest eruption of violence in Chad.”
Underscoring the need for African leaders and people to manage their diversity with tolerance and understanding, the President notes that “a threat to stability in one part of Africa is a threat to the rest of us.”
According to President Buhari “given Africa’s economic and social challenges, we cannot afford mutual destruction that makes our challenges more complicated.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari also commiserates with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the government and people of Egypt over the train accident in Northern Cairo that killed dozens of people and injured 98 others.
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 19, 2021

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SANWO-OLU COMMENDS POLICE OFFICER ASSAULTED IN VIRAL VIDEO

PRESS RELEASE


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended ASP Sunday Erhabor, a Police officer attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the State Command, who was assaulted by one Victor Ebhomenyen at Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, Oniru last the weekend.

Governor Sanwo-Olu hailed ASP Erhabor for displaying high level of professionalism and calmness by restraining himself from taking laws into his hands, despite being assaulted while trying to arrest Ebhomenyen for driving against the traffic.

The incident that was captured in a viral video on social media last Saturday, Erhabor while trying to arrest Ebhomenyen for driving against the traffic was violently assaulted and inflicted with severe bodily injuries. But the Police officer, who was armed with his official AK 47 rifle, displayed a high level of professionalism despite the fierce provocations.

Speaking at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Monday while receiving ASP Erhabor, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the action of the Police officer is a testimonial and encouragement for other officers to show that they can be civil in the face of provocation or assault from suspected criminals.

He said: “This is our own little response to the very condemnable events that happened over the weekend. We are all very quick to condemn men of the Nigeria Police, especially when they are found wanting. We are always very quick to also admonish them. But the event that we all saw over the weekend showed that indeed there are some very commendable Police officers.

“In the real heat of provocation, ASP Erhabor displayed high quality of restraint. He displayed calmness and restrained himself from taking laws into his hands. And I think for that little gesture, it is important for us to bring him out so that we also can use him as a testimonial and encouragement for other Police officers to show that indeed they can be civil and that Police are meant to protect our citizens. They are meant to also be law abiding and the likes of ASP Sunday Erhabor today can be a source of encouragement to others.

“On behalf of the Government and the entire people of Lagos State through the Commissioner of Police, I want to commend ASP Erhabor for show of patience, decorum and what is expected of a Police officer. And I want to implore other Police officers to see that indeed there are times when you may be provoked, restraint is the word and see it that there are some members of the general public that can be very violent, please restrain and let the normal cause of law take its full course.”

“I want to use this medium to commend him, thank him and give him a Governorship handshake or elbow shake as the case might be as a source of encouragement for him and for the Commander of RRS, Chairman of Task Force, the Chief Security Officer and everybody in our Police formation to use ASP Sunday Erhabor as a good case for others.”

Speaking earlier, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu said ASP Erhabor “in the face of provocation and assault on his person displayed high level of diligent and civil oriented professionalism expected in modern policing as advocated by the present Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.”

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 19, 2021
PRESS RELEASE

LAGOS TO ESTABLISH ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY, AS SANWO-OLU SIGNS BILL DEEPENING ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNANCE

•Governor Also Assents To Bill Regulating Lotteries, Online Gaming Services

Lagos State has moved to deepen the culture of accountability and transparency in the expenditure of appropriated public funds, with the signing of a bill by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, establishing an anti-corruption commission in the State.

The Governor assented to Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill of 2021 at a brief ceremony held in Alausa. The legislation, sponsored by the executive arm of the Government, was signed into law days after it was passed by the House of Assembly.

With the legislation coming into force, the anti-corruption commission, which will be formally set up in the coming days by the Governor, is backed by the instrument of law to investigate and prosecute officials of the State Government and registered contractors indicted for economic crimes and financial misappropriation.

Also, Sanwo-Olu assented to the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill of 2021, initiated by the executive arm to coordinate activities of lotteries agencies operating within the State.

After the signing of the two bills into law, Sanwo-Olu said the action was a testimony to the State Government’s effort towards entrenching accountability in governance and checking malfeasance among officers entrusted with public resources.

He said: “The bill establishing Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission is an important legislation critical to the delivery of quality services to the citizens. When we came in, we had said we would be accountable and responsible in the appropriation of the State’s resources. We want to stand in front of the citizens to give account on how public funds are being spent.

“To give credence to this promise, the executive arm initiated the bill and sent to the Assembly for approval. We believe that this law would not only ensure accountability of public funds, responsibility of public office, but also promote dialogue among public officers to keep the trust of the people in the discharge of their duties in line with transparency. The anti-corruption commission will ensure that all approved activities are implemented in accordance with budgetary allocation.”

Sanwo-Olu said the anti-corruption commission would be independent in its operations and functions, pointing out that the agency would complement efforts of similar agencies in the police and federal establishment.

The Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill of 2021, the Governor disclosed, is to simplify and incorporate technological innovations in the gaming sector.

The law sought to harmonise five gaming and lottery formats, such as casino, jackpot, pool, lotto and sports betting, thereby regulating the sector and checking fraudulent activities of unregistered game centres within the State.

Sanwo-Olu said the former lottery law of the State did not meet the contemporary needs in the industry, which was why the executive initiated the bill to accommodate technology in regulating the business.

“As a forward-looking Government, we are doing the needful to ensure fair play, regulation and monitoring is brought back into the gaming industry. The law is not in any form to stifle investment, but to offer better platform for lottery companies to enhance equity, transparency and make their investment more rewarding,” the Governor said.

Sanwo-Olu reiterated that his Government’s actions would continue to be taken in a way that would boost confidence of the public and promote accountability in governance.

He thanked the Speaker and members of the Assembly for cooperating with the executive arm and consistently prioritisng executive bills aimed at delivering good governance.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, said the two bills signed by the Governor made it 10th legislation sponsored by the executive and passed by the House of Assembly to strengthen good governance. Twenty-six executive bills, he said, have been initiated since inception of the current administration.

He said: “The anti-corruption commission agency to be established is akin to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute misappropriation of public funds in the State. The chairman of the agency will be appointed by Mr. Governor, subject to the ratification of the House of Assembly. If the investigation leads to prima facie case, the offender will be prosecuted in the court.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, and his counterpart in Public Complaints and Judiciary, Hon. Victor Akande, attended the event.

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 19, 2021

AMAECHI IS A GREAT ACHIEVER – SOUTH-SOUTH LEADERS

Prominent leaders in the South-South geo-political zone on Friday hailed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, for demonstrating rare leadership qualities and changing the status of the country’s transportation sector for the better.
‘’Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has delivered the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. Posterity will place him in the right place and judge him well’’.
They also praised the former Rivers State governor for building bridges of unity across the country and putting in place the necessary machinery for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the country.
The leaders, cut across ethnic cleavages in the South-South geo-political zone, gave Amaechi kudos for conceiving and articulating policies that stood the test of time.
‘’Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi belongs to a rare breed of high achievers. It is either the best or nothing’’ the leaders stated.
In a statement signed by APC chieftain and chairperson of Progressive Volunteers Group (PVG), Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua, the leaders thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the mission-driven former governor of Rivers State, whose drive and grasp of development issues have made him a significant voice in the country’s quest for socio-economic development, the opportunity to work for unity, stability and overall development of the country.
The statement emphasized Amaechi’s character, inner strength and sterner stuff.
The leaders commended Amaechi for doing his best to improve the lives of Nigerians.
‘’Things are simply getting better in Nigeria’’ the leaders under the auspices of Progressive Volunteers Group, led by Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua, said.
They eulogized the virtues of Amaechi, listing the commissioning of freight services on Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line as a major feat he was able to achieve in the country.
‘’Amaechi, a team builder, true Christian and bright-shining icon, is one of the few turn around managers in the country’’.
The leaders urged the people of the South-South geo-political zone and Nigerians in general to cooperate with the Muhammadu Buhari led APC government, foster unity and harmony among themselves.
PRESS STATEMENT
CDWR SUPPORTS JUSUN STRIKE AND MASS PROTEST

WE CALL ON NIGERIANS TO SUPPORT THE STRIKE AND JOIN THE MASS PROTEST

Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) supports the ongoing strike action of Judicial workers as well as the protest planned for Monday April 19, 2021.

Judicial workers under the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) have embarked on nationwide strike action since April 6, 2021 to demand financial autonomy for the judiciary as a step to a better working condition and proper running of the judiciary. The strike action has led to the shutdown of courts and has equally stalled the judicial process. As usual, the state governments and the federal government have failed to respond positively to the demand. The meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 2021 between government and the union to discuss the matter has been recklessly postponed indefinitely by government representatives without any reason. In response to government lackadaisical attitude, the judicial workers are embarking on a mass protest across the country as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on April 19, 2021. We call on the workers to organize more mass actions including mass meetings, protest, rallies, public sensitization, press conferences etc., as a means of sustaining the struggle, mobilizing public support and putting more pressure on the government.

In as much as we support the demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary, we call on the workers and the union to demand adequate funding of the entire justice system and democratic management of funds by elected representatives of workers, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and communities. This is the only way funds will be efficiently utilized for the benefits of workers and ordinary people. We make this point because judiciary autonomy does not automatically guarantee adequate funding and efficient management of resources.

Judiciary is not only underfunded, the entire justice system needs an overhaul and adequate funding. Courts and staff are grossly inadequate making justice slow, cumbersome and expensive; access to justice for workers, ordinary people and the poor is extremely poor because it is expensive and the laws are mostly skewed against the working masses and the poor. We currently have thousands of innocent ordinary Nigerians and those who commit petty crimes awaiting trial and languishing in prisons across the country and some of the cases spending more time than they would have spent if prosecuted timely; we also have overcrowded prisons and police stations that have subjected many people to conditions not befitting for animals; besides, cases/matters linger unavoidably in courts for several years at the expense of workers and the poor.

Hence, we demand public funded legal aid to all Nigerians who could not afford the services of lawyers. Workers and the masses would have to struggle to change the unjust capitalist system and laws that put the working class and the poor in perpetual subjugation and bondage if justice will be meaningful.

We call on Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), affiliated industrial unions and all pro -masses organisations to give active solidarity to the ongoing Judicial strike and mass protest.

SIGNED
Comrade Rufus Olusesan Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Chairperson National Publicity Secretary
PRESIDENT BUHARI GREETS OSHUNKEYE, FORMER CNN AFRICAN JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR, AT 65
President Muhammadu Buhari rejoices with Mr Shola Oshunkeye, winner of CNN African Journalist of the Year 2006, as he turns 65 April 20, 2021.
The President salutes the professional strides of Oshunkeye, garnered over more than three decades with media houses like Concord Press, where he rose to edit the then best-selling Weekend Concord, Associate Editor at TELL Magazine, editor of The Spectator, a publication of The Sun Publishing Limited, and Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Ghana.
President Buhari rejoices with the Oshunkeye family, the media fraternity, and all those who celebrate the journalist of repute, who also won the Nigerian Media Merit Award Best Print Journalist laurel in 1996.
Currently President/Chief Executive Officer of The Crest Publishing and Entertainment Company Limited, the President urges Oshunkeye to continue sharing knowledge and experience with the younger generation of journalists.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
April 19, 2021

WE’LL STABILIZE OUR REGION TO THE BENEFIT OF BOTH COUNTRIES, PRESIDENT BUHARI ASSURES PRESIDENT BAZOUM OF REPUBLIC OF NIGER
An assurance went out Monday from President Muhammadu Buhari to the newly inaugurated President of Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, who was in Nigeria on his first international visit: “We will stabilize our region for the benefit of the two countries.”
President Buhari said Nigerians and Nigeriens are people with similar culture, language and ways of life, “and we also share about 1,500 kilometres of land border, so we cannot ignore each other.”
The President congratulated Bazoum on winning the recent presidential election, and his successful inauguration into office.
“You have been in the system for a long time. The only thing is that you had never been President. Now you are one,” the host President said, assuring that Nigeria would assist its close neighbour in diverse ways as required.
On terrorism, as perpetrated by Boko Haram, President Buhari observed that Republic of Niger also suffers high casualties, vowing; “We will do all it takes to secure our two countries.”
President Buhari was thankful to the immediate past President, Mahamadou Issoufou, for what he calls “his understanding and sacrifices” to help stabilize the region, urging the successor to maintain the institutions his predecessor had established.
President Bazoum said he was delighted to make Nigeria his first port of call, noting that the two countries have common interests, “and, therefore, a good relationship is very important.
”On security, he observed that the fact that some Nigerians flee to Niger during terrorist attacks “shows that we need to cooperate, and we will face our challenges together.”
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
April 19, 2021

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PDP Charges DSS to Invite Pantami for Questioning over Alleged Affiliation with Al-Qaeda, Taliban


April 18, 2021
Press Statement
PDP Charges DSS to Invite Pantami for Questioning over Alleged Affiliation with Al-Qaeda, Taliban
…….. Asks Buhari to Sack Minister

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charges the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for questioning over alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
The party also demands that President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.
Our party’s position is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.
The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.
The party tasks the DSS to investigate the allegation, which has created apprehension, particularly given the rise in banditry and other terrorists activities in our country.
The PDP urges Nigerians to remain at alert and very sensitive to their environment, while not hesitating in providing useful information to our security agencies in the interest of our nation.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 18, 2021
Press Statement
PDP Savours Sweeping Victory in Rivers LG Polls
…Says Victory Signposts Repositioning For 2023
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its sweeping victory in the 23 local government areas as well as the 319 wards in Rivers state, is a further demonstration of its political supremacy and repositioning to take back its dominant position in the affairs of our nation at the center, come 2023.
The party asserts that the overwhelming victory in a state like Rivers, with its egalitarian population and political exposure further confirms that parties like the fizzling and shambolic All Progressives Congress (APC) and its leaders have lost all footholds not only in the state but also in the South South region and the nation at large.
The PDP says the election has shown that the APC only exists in the empty boasts of their few disoriented leaders, who have lost credence in the sight of the people and are only hanging around waiting for President Buhari to complete his second and final term in office.
Moreover, the PDP’s wholesale electoral victory is a reaffirmation of the popularity and acceptance of Governor Nyesom Wike in his unprecedented development of the state in all sectors in line with the manifesto and ideology of the PDP.
The PDP congratulates Governor Wike, the newly elected local government chairmen and councilors as well as the people of Rivers state for the triumph of democracy in the state.
The party urges the newly elected council officials to emulate Governor Wike and hit the ground running in the development of the state in line with the vision of the governor and the PDP.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 18, 2021
Press Statement
PDP Debunks Purported Suspension of Kwankwaso, Babangida Aliyu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) debunks claims in misleading documents being circulated by some mischievous individuals purporting that former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has been suspended from the party.
The PDP states clearly that Senator Kwakwanso is not suspended from the party adding that any claim of suspension by any individual or group, purporting to be representing any organ of our party at any level, is mere fabrication and should be discountenanced.
The PDP stresses that the provisions of the constitution of the PDP are very clear on the suspension of a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), if and when such occasion arises, and cautioned those behind the misleading claims to desist henceforth.
The PDP strongly cautions that it will not accept such reckless adventure by such misguided individuals, which its notes, is capable of destabilizing our party and bringing it to public disrepute.
Similarly, the PDP states that the former Niger state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has not been suspended by the party as mischievously published in certain quarters.
Our party frowns as such fabrications aimed at subverting the stability of our party and trigger disagreements and suspicions within our ranks.
The PDP urges our leaders and teeming members in Kano and Niger states to be at alert, resist distractions and continue to work together as Nigerians earnestly look up to the PDP for solution and direction at this critical time.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

40th Wedding Anniversary: My Crossing the Niger worth it- Ondo First Lady

.charges couples to understand each other, communicate, give room for compromise

It is forty solid years today that the number one citizen of Ondo State, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN tied the knot with his heartrob, Betty-Anyanwu.

Narrating her experiences so far, the wife of the Governor, Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu affirmed that marriage is not a bed of roses but they were able to come this far by making use of Communication tool and by understanding each other.

Betty-Anyanwu, a bonafide indigene of Emeabiam in Owerri Imo state, noted that despite the fact that herself and the Governor are from different tribes, she enjoyed total support from her spouse, saying, “I couldn’t have asked for a better husband. Infact, my crossing the Niger was worth it”.

She explained that for different people from different background to survive the storms of marriage, there’s a need for them to identify each other’s likes and dislikes, while advising young couples to give space to each other to grow in the union, saying: “Marriage MUST not be a master and slave relationship”.

She lamented a disheartening situation where an educated woman is being subjugated in marriage due to her husband’s lack of support in her career advancement, while appreciating her late father and the Governor for giving her voice and the liberty to explore her potential in life.

Her words: “There is nothing more depressing than for an educated woman to feel suffocated in marriage due to husband’s lack of support in her career advancement or in some extreme cases, outright stoppage of a wife pursuing a career for fear of a woman having a voice in her home or being in control of her wealth.

“This state of mind leads to frustration and unhappy home. Its ramification is better imagined.
“My case is different. My husband and I believed in building our home together and from the scratch. With love and understanding, we feel fulfilled, today, 40 years. While my father gave me the wings to fly, my husband oiled the wings for me to soar. I have a supportive husband in all my endeavours”.

The First Lady of Ondo State who asserted that one cap fits all does not apply in marriage, further enjoined young couples to see marriage as partnership where both sides should contribute to make it succeed.

“There will be quarrels and fights but once you understand yourselves, each other’s likes and dislikes and give room for compromise, your marriage will last”.

According to the mother of four and grandma, it is a beautiful thing to fall in love before marriage. She noted that her union with Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, was love at first sight which could have been a physical attraction but it endured the test of time.

“Ours is, indeed, a true love. As love leads into marriage, you do not rest on your oars. You have to work on it to keep the flame aglow. It requires understanding each other and the handy tool is communication. Once you can communicate with each other, it becomes easy to iron out your differences. Make no mistake, marriage is not a bed of roses. Roses after all have thorns”, she noted.

PRESS RELEASE
SANWO-OLU: WE’LL PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR DIGITAL SWITCH OVER IN LAGOS

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu says his administration will support the Digital Switch Over (DSO) being embarked by the country, saying it would enhance job creation and content development.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who acknowledged that the DSO would be of immense benefits to residents said Lagos State would be providing publicity support for the rollout.

Speaking on Saturday when the Ministerial Taskforce of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Digital Switch Over led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the DSO will provide job opportunities for youths and many businesses, especially those in the entertainment and tourism industry.

He said the DSO will also provide opportunity for government to use the content to inform and engage the citizens as well as bring governance closer to the people.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who advised the Ministerial Taskforce on the Digital Switch Over to make the FreeTV box and after sale support easily accessible, said making the FreeTV Set Top Box a one-off payment with a yearly renewal, will provide opportunity for millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms to enjoy the benefit of digital television.

He said: “The movement from analogue set up that we currently have to digital is apt and it speaks to reality of what we have today. Everywhere in the world, technology is now a fundamental and critical deliverable of government. It presents an opportunity for citizens to have access to local, national and international space.

“As a forward looking state, we are in partnership and we see it as bringing the future to our citizens, so we do not have a problem with it at all. Even for us as a state, we have been developing our metropolitan fiber optics to provide fiber connectivity as one of the solutions for our citizens to have access to cheaper data.

“We will support the DSO. We want Lagos to continue to set the pace for the nation. We will help our people to be exposed to modern and international best practices. We will be willing to work with you and ensure that we deliver jointly on April 29.”

Speaking earlier, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the proposed rollout in Lagos would be a critical milestone for the DSO and the creative industry as over one million jobs would be provided nationwide.

He said with the FreeTV of the DSO, Nigerians would have opportunities to watch over 60 channels with great contents at a cheaper rate and without subscription to pay TV.

Mohammed who presented Governor Sanwo-Olu with the Set Top Box for the DSO said it would also enable government to get the data of every household with television, thereby making the collection of television and radio licenses easier, adding that the Nigerian Broadcasting Code (NBC) had been amended to make provisions for the switch over from analogue to digital.

The Minister of Information and Culture also disclosed that six months after the rollout of the DSO in Lagos, the NBC would ask television stations to shut down their analog broadcast equipment, thereby making more spectrum available for data and other telecommunication services.

Mohammed who noted that the DSO is relevant to the Lagos Smart City Project and the Lagos Broadband initiative, urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to direct the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) to provide out-of-home boards, lamp post and other publicity support for the DSO launch for at least three months.

He said: “The rollout in Lagos reflects our decision to take the DSO to commercial centres across the country. With a population of over 20 million, and projected TV Households of over five million, the launch of FreeTV in Lagos State will be a critical milestone for the DSO and for Nigeria’s broadcast and creative industry.

“Lagos State, which is the hub of the Creative Industry, will take a large share of the 1 million jobs to be created. Since FreeTV helps to provide Value Added Services, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State will be supported in the collection of Television and Radio Licenses from residents. With FreeTV’s push system for information services, the FreeTV platform can be used to broadcast information on Lagos State activities to all viewers.

“A major advantage of the DSO is that viewers will not pay subscription fees. Once they have acquired the Set Top Box and pay the once-a-year access fee, which is a token, it is free viewing all the way. Millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the rising subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms can now enjoy the benefits of digital television. This is the meaning of bridging the digital divide.”

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 18, 2021

SERAP writes Buhari, seeks probe of ‘missing N106bn in 149 MDAs in 2018’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations that N106bn of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as documented in the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

SERAP said: “Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered.”

SERAP also urges him “to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to create a system of public announcements to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those that reportedly failed to remit over N55bn of their revenue; awarded contracts of over N18bn for services not rendered; and spent over N23bn without any supporting documents.”

In the letter dated 17 April 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The reported missing public funds reflect the failure of the indicted MDAs to ensure strict compliance with transparency and accountability rules and regulations, and the failure of leadership of the MDAs to foster institutions that uphold the rule of law and human rights.”

According to SERAP, “Recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the Federal Government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s human rights obligation to progressively realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.”

The letter, read in part: “SERAP urges you to ask Mrs Ahmed and Mr Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs, despite the warning and recommendations by the Auditor-General.”

“SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs Ahmed to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that accurately detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.”

“The Auditor-General stated that the alleged infractions by the 149 MDAs could have been prevented if the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation had heeded his warning to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs.”

“SERAP is concerned that the alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped your government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these services.”

“Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, as well as serve the public interest.”

“Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“SERAP has carefully analysed the recently released 2018 audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation and our analysis reveals the grim allegations that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs in 2018.”

“According to the Auditor-General, 35 MDAs failed to remit N48,551,274,468.35 of generated revenue, and N5,418,780,747.23 of statutory deductions including value added tax, withholding tax, and stamp duties in 2018, thereby ‘depriving the government of the much-needed fund to pursue its agenda.’”

“Similarly, 25 MDAs awarded contracts amounting to N18,369,595,564.47 in violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007, including disregard to due process, irregularity in payment for contracts, excessive pricing of procurements, payment for services not rendered, and payment in full for uncompleted projects.”

“Another N23,486,881,920.49 was spent by 48 MDAs without following the rules and regulations relating to spending procedures and policies, and without any documents to support such spending. Furthermore, 11 MDAs paid N8,389,842,637.88 for store items that were not taken on store charge. The Auditor-General fears that the items may be ‘missing/misappropriated.’”

“In addition, 18 MDAs paid N354,223,774.67 as cash advances to staff without duly retiring the money, contrary to the Financial Regulation 1405 and Financial Regulation 1420. According to the Auditor-General, ‘unretired cash and personal advances may be a deliberate attempt to divert public funds for personal use.’”

“Moreover, 12 MDAs spent N371,750,964 as cash advances, above the approved threshold of N200,000.00, contrary to the Treasury Circular Ref. No. TRY/A2&B2/2009OAGF/CAD/26/V, which requires all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000.00 to be made only through the award of contracts.”

“There are several other infractions documented in the report, a copy of which can be obtained from the Auditor-General’s office. The 2018 audited report therefore suggests a grave violation of the public trust. These damning revelations also suggest that the indicted MDAs lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended]; anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption; and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

The letter was copied to Mr Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Mrs Ahmed; and chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
18/4/2021
Lagos, Nigeria
Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org
Twitter: @SERAPNigeria
Website: www.serap-nigeria.org
For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

April 16, 2021
Press Statement
Currency Printing: PDP Calls Out President Buhari
…Demands Finance Minister’s Sack

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to deny the printing of N60 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its behest.

The PDP asserts that the admission by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank has been printing money at the bidding of government, has vindicated its earlier stand that the Buhari-led APC administration is characterized by concealments, deceit and falsehood.

The PDP flays the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, for attempting to mislead Nigerians by denying the revelations by the Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that N60 billion was printed in March to support federal allocation to states.

Governor Obaseki, as a financial expert, who is not known for flippancy, must be commended for his act of patriotism in exposing the dire economic situation our nation has been plunged under the Buhari administration.

A situation where the Federal Government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate printing of currency notes, only goes to further confirm that the Buhari administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.

Indeed, the admission by the CBN governor that “Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation” further justifies our position that the Buhari-led APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
Our party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Bureau of National Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

This situation has led to further economic hardship with surging prices and fallen purchasing power throwing millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

The PDP calls out President Buhari to come clean on the amount that has been printed so far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used for.

Furthermore, for failing the full disclosure test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our naira.

Our party implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to manage and salvage our economy before it is too late.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 15, 2021
Press Statement
Twitter: You Have A Poor Understanding of Governance, PDP Replies APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the by-passing of Nigeria by Twitter to cite its African Headquarters in Ghana is “a non-issue” further confirms APC and Buhari Presidency’s poor understanding of governance.

The PDP asserts that the statement issued by the APC in a desperate bid to justify its manifest misrule and abuse of human rights, shows that the APC and Buhari administration are not ready to end their policy inconsistency and the fettering of our youths through suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet, for which Twitter shunned our nation for Ghana.

This disposition by the APC and the Buhari Presidency has further strengthened the widespread view among Nigerians that this administration suppresses every vocation in which our youth demography has shown interest.

Their statement also validates apprehensions in the public space that the APC deliberately worked against the citing of Twitter headquarters in Nigeria because of their plot to forcefully regulate the use of internet in our country.

A more responsive government and political party, who have the interest of the people at heart, ought to device all means possible to attract the Africa Headquarters of Twitter to our country given the huge benefits such would have served in the face of grinding unemployment which the APC administration has imposed on our nation.

It is indeed saddening that rather than devise means such as this opportunity to create wealth and revamp our economy, the APC and the Buhari Presidency are mortgaging the future of our nation through all manner of foreign loans which they cannot account for.

Now that they have borrowed from all corners of the world and turning our country into a debtor nation, with nothing to show for it, the APC and the Buhari administration have resorted to primitive printing of naira notes not minding the huge inflation as well as devastation such would trigger in our economy.

From the arrogant disposition of the APC, it is clear that it has no regard for Nigerians and as such has no business being in governance.

Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

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SANWO-OLU: WE’LL PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR DIGITAL SWITCH OVER IN LAGOS

PRESS RELEASE

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu says his administration will support the Digital Switch Over (DSO) being embarked by the country, saying it would enhance job creation and content development.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who acknowledged that the DSO would be of immense benefits to residents said Lagos State would be providing publicity support for the rollout.

Speaking on Saturday when the Ministerial Taskforce of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Digital Switch Over led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the DSO will provide job opportunities for youths and many businesses, especially those in the entertainment and tourism industry.

He said the DSO will also provide opportunity for government to use the content to inform and engage the citizens as well as bring governance closer to the people.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who advised the Ministerial Taskforce on the Digital Switch Over to make the FreeTV box and after sale support easily accessible, said making the FreeTV Set Top Box a one-off payment with a yearly renewal, will provide opportunity for millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms to enjoy the benefit of digital television.

He said: “The movement from analogue set up that we currently have to digital is apt and it speaks to reality of what we have today. Everywhere in the world, technology is now a fundamental and critical deliverable of government. It presents an opportunity for citizens to have access to local, national and international space.

“As a forward looking state, we are in partnership and we see it as bringing the future to our citizens, so we do not have a problem with it at all. Even for us as a state, we have been developing our metropolitan fiber optics to provide fiber connectivity as one of the solutions for our citizens to have access to cheaper data.

“We will support the DSO. We want Lagos to continue to set the pace for the nation. We will help our people to be exposed to modern and international best practices. We will be willing to work with you and ensure that we deliver jointly on April 29.”

Speaking earlier, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the proposed rollout in Lagos would be a critical milestone for the DSO and the creative industry as over one million jobs would be provided nationwide.

He said with the FreeTV of the DSO, Nigerians would have opportunities to watch over 60 channels with great contents at a cheaper rate and without subscription to pay TV.

Mohammed who presented Governor Sanwo-Olu with the Set Top Box for the DSO said it would also enable government to get the data of every household with television, thereby making the collection of television and radio licenses easier, adding that the Nigerian Broadcasting Code (NBC) had been amended to make provisions for the switch over from analogue to digital.

The Minister of Information and Culture also disclosed that six months after the rollout of the DSO in Lagos, the NBC would ask television stations to shut down their analog broadcast equipment, thereby making more spectrum available for data and other telecommunication services.

Mohammed who noted that the DSO is relevant to the Lagos Smart City Project and the Lagos Broadband initiative, urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to direct the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) to provide out-of-home boards, lamp post and other publicity support for the DSO launch for at least three months.

He said: “The rollout in Lagos reflects our decision to take the DSO to commercial centres across the country. With a population of over 20 million, and projected TV Households of over five million, the launch of FreeTV in Lagos State will be a critical milestone for the DSO and for Nigeria’s broadcast and creative industry.

“Lagos State, which is the hub of the Creative Industry, will take a large share of the 1 million jobs to be created. Since FreeTV helps to provide Value Added Services, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State will be supported in the collection of Television and Radio Licenses from residents. With FreeTV’s push system for information services, the FreeTV platform can be used to broadcast information on Lagos State activities to all viewers.

“A major advantage of the DSO is that viewers will not pay subscription fees. Once they have acquired the Set Top Box and pay the once-a-year access fee, which is a token, it is free viewing all the way. Millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the rising subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms can now enjoy the benefits of digital television. This is the meaning of bridging the digital divide.”

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 18, 2021

SERAP writes Buhari, seeks probe of ‘missing N106bn in 149 MDAs in 2018’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations that N106bn of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as documented in the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

SERAP said: “Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered.”

SERAP also urges him “to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to create a system of public announcements to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those that reportedly failed to remit over N55bn of their revenue; awarded contracts of over N18bn for services not rendered; and spent over N23bn without any supporting documents.”

In the letter dated 17 April 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The reported missing public funds reflect the failure of the indicted MDAs to ensure strict compliance with transparency and accountability rules and regulations, and the failure of leadership of the MDAs to foster institutions that uphold the rule of law and human rights.”

According to SERAP, “Recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the Federal Government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s human rights obligation to progressively realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.”

The letter, read in part: “SERAP urges you to ask Mrs Ahmed and Mr Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs, despite the warning and recommendations by the Auditor-General.”

“SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs Ahmed to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that accurately detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.”

“The Auditor-General stated that the alleged infractions by the 149 MDAs could have been prevented if the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation had heeded his warning to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs.”

“SERAP is concerned that the alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped your government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these services.”

“Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, as well as serve the public interest.”

“Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“SERAP has carefully analysed the recently released 2018 audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation and our analysis reveals the grim allegations that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs in 2018.”

“According to the Auditor-General, 35 MDAs failed to remit N48,551,274,468.35 of generated revenue, and N5,418,780,747.23 of statutory deductions including value added tax, withholding tax, and stamp duties in 2018, thereby ‘depriving the government of the much-needed fund to pursue its agenda.’”

“Similarly, 25 MDAs awarded contracts amounting to N18,369,595,564.47 in violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007, including disregard to due process, irregularity in payment for contracts, excessive pricing of procurements, payment for services not rendered, and payment in full for uncompleted projects.”

“Another N23,486,881,920.49 was spent by 48 MDAs without following the rules and regulations relating to spending procedures and policies, and without any documents to support such spending. Furthermore, 11 MDAs paid N8,389,842,637.88 for store items that were not taken on store charge. The Auditor-General fears that the items may be ‘missing/misappropriated.’”

“In addition, 18 MDAs paid N354,223,774.67 as cash advances to staff without duly retiring the money, contrary to the Financial Regulation 1405 and Financial Regulation 1420. According to the Auditor-General, ‘unretired cash and personal advances may be a deliberate attempt to divert public funds for personal use.’”

“Moreover, 12 MDAs spent N371,750,964 as cash advances, above the approved threshold of N200,000.00, contrary to the Treasury Circular Ref. No. TRY/A2&B2/2009OAGF/CAD/26/V, which requires all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000.00 to be made only through the award of contracts.”

“There are several other infractions documented in the report, a copy of which can be obtained from the Auditor-General’s office. The 2018 audited report therefore suggests a grave violation of the public trust. These damning revelations also suggest that the indicted MDAs lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended]; anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption; and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

The letter was copied to Mr Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Mrs Ahmed; and chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
18/4/2021
Lagos, Nigeria
Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org
Twitter: @SERAPNigeria
Website: www.serap-nigeria.org
For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

April 16, 2021
Press Statement
Currency Printing: PDP Calls Out President Buhari
…Demands Finance Minister’s Sack

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to deny the printing of N60 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its behest.

The PDP asserts that the admission by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank has been printing money at the bidding of government, has vindicated its earlier stand that the Buhari-led APC administration is characterized by concealments, deceit and falsehood.

The PDP flays the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, for attempting to mislead Nigerians by denying the revelations by the Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that N60 billion was printed in March to support federal allocation to states.

Governor Obaseki, as a financial expert, who is not known for flippancy, must be commended for his act of patriotism in exposing the dire economic situation our nation has been plunged under the Buhari administration.

A situation where the Federal Government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate printing of currency notes, only goes to further confirm that the Buhari administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.

Indeed, the admission by the CBN governor that “Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation” further justifies our position that the Buhari-led APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
Our party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Bureau of National Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

This situation has led to further economic hardship with surging prices and fallen purchasing power throwing millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

The PDP calls out President Buhari to come clean on the amount that has been printed so far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used for.

Furthermore, for failing the full disclosure test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our naira.

Our party implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to manage and salvage our economy before it is too late.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 15, 2021
Press Statement
Twitter: You Have A Poor Understanding of Governance, PDP Replies APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the by-passing of Nigeria by Twitter to cite its African Headquarters in Ghana is “a non-issue” further confirms APC and Buhari Presidency’s poor understanding of governance.

The PDP asserts that the statement issued by the APC in a desperate bid to justify its manifest misrule and abuse of human rights, shows that the APC and Buhari administration are not ready to end their policy inconsistency and the fettering of our youths through suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet, for which Twitter shunned our nation for Ghana.

This disposition by the APC and the Buhari Presidency has further strengthened the widespread view among Nigerians that this administration suppresses every vocation in which our youth demography has shown interest.

Their statement also validates apprehensions in the public space that the APC deliberately worked against the citing of Twitter headquarters in Nigeria because of their plot to forcefully regulate the use of internet in our country.

A more responsive government and political party, who have the interest of the people at heart, ought to device all means possible to attract the Africa Headquarters of Twitter to our country given the huge benefits such would have served in the face of grinding unemployment which the APC administration has imposed on our nation.

It is indeed saddening that rather than devise means such as this opportunity to create wealth and revamp our economy, the APC and the Buhari Presidency are mortgaging the future of our nation through all manner of foreign loans which they cannot account for.

Now that they have borrowed from all corners of the world and turning our country into a debtor nation, with nothing to show for it, the APC and the Buhari administration have resorted to primitive printing of naira notes not minding the huge inflation as well as devastation such would trigger in our economy.

From the arrogant disposition of the APC, it is clear that it has no regard for Nigerians and as such has no business being in governance.

Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

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SERAP writes Buhari, seeks probe of ‘missing N106bn in 149 MDAs in 2018’

SERAP writes Buhari, seeks probe of ‘missing N106bn in 149 MDAs in 2018’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations that N106bn of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as documented in the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

SERAP said: “Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered.”

SERAP also urges him “to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to create a system of public announcements to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those that reportedly failed to remit over N55bn of their revenue; awarded contracts of over N18bn for services not rendered; and spent over N23bn without any supporting documents.”

In the letter dated 17 April 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The reported missing public funds reflect the failure of the indicted MDAs to ensure strict compliance with transparency and accountability rules and regulations, and the failure of leadership of the MDAs to foster institutions that uphold the rule of law and human rights.”

According to SERAP, “Recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the Federal Government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s human rights obligation to progressively realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.”

The letter, read in part: “SERAP urges you to ask Mrs Ahmed and Mr Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs, despite the warning and recommendations by the Auditor-General.”

“SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs Ahmed to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that accurately detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.”

“The Auditor-General stated that the alleged infractions by the 149 MDAs could have been prevented if the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation had heeded his warning to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs.”

“SERAP is concerned that the alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped your government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these services.”

“Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, as well as serve the public interest.”

“Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“SERAP has carefully analysed the recently released 2018 audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation and our analysis reveals the grim allegations that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs in 2018.”

“According to the Auditor-General, 35 MDAs failed to remit N48,551,274,468.35 of generated revenue, and N5,418,780,747.23 of statutory deductions including value added tax, withholding tax, and stamp duties in 2018, thereby ‘depriving the government of the much-needed fund to pursue its agenda.’”

“Similarly, 25 MDAs awarded contracts amounting to N18,369,595,564.47 in violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007, including disregard to due process, irregularity in payment for contracts, excessive pricing of procurements, payment for services not rendered, and payment in full for uncompleted projects.”

“Another N23,486,881,920.49 was spent by 48 MDAs without following the rules and regulations relating to spending procedures and policies, and without any documents to support such spending. Furthermore, 11 MDAs paid N8,389,842,637.88 for store items that were not taken on store charge. The Auditor-General fears that the items may be ‘missing/misappropriated.’”

“In addition, 18 MDAs paid N354,223,774.67 as cash advances to staff without duly retiring the money, contrary to the Financial Regulation 1405 and Financial Regulation 1420. According to the Auditor-General, ‘unretired cash and personal advances may be a deliberate attempt to divert public funds for personal use.’”

“Moreover, 12 MDAs spent N371,750,964 as cash advances, above the approved threshold of N200,000.00, contrary to the Treasury Circular Ref. No. TRY/A2&B2/2009OAGF/CAD/26/V, which requires all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000.00 to be made only through the award of contracts.”

“There are several other infractions documented in the report, a copy of which can be obtained from the Auditor-General’s office. The 2018 audited report therefore suggests a grave violation of the public trust. These damning revelations also suggest that the indicted MDAs lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended]; anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption; and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

The letter was copied to Mr Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Mrs Ahmed; and chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
18/4/2021
Lagos, Nigeria
Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org
Twitter: @SERAPNigeria
Website: www.serap-nigeria.org
For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

April 16, 2021
Press Statement
Currency Printing: PDP Calls Out President Buhari
…Demands Finance Minister’s Sack

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to deny the printing of N60 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its behest.

The PDP asserts that the admission by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank has been printing money at the bidding of government, has vindicated its earlier stand that the Buhari-led APC administration is characterized by concealments, deceit and falsehood.

The PDP flays the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, for attempting to mislead Nigerians by denying the revelations by the Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that N60 billion was printed in March to support federal allocation to states.

Governor Obaseki, as a financial expert, who is not known for flippancy, must be commended for his act of patriotism in exposing the dire economic situation our nation has been plunged under the Buhari administration.

A situation where the Federal Government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate printing of currency notes, only goes to further confirm that the Buhari administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.

Indeed, the admission by the CBN governor that “Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation” further justifies our position that the Buhari-led APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
Our party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Bureau of National Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

This situation has led to further economic hardship with surging prices and fallen purchasing power throwing millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

The PDP calls out President Buhari to come clean on the amount that has been printed so far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used for.

Furthermore, for failing the full disclosure test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our naira.

Our party implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to manage and salvage our economy before it is too late.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 15, 2021
Press Statement
Twitter: You Have A Poor Understanding of Governance, PDP Replies APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the by-passing of Nigeria by Twitter to cite its African Headquarters in Ghana is “a non-issue” further confirms APC and Buhari Presidency’s poor understanding of governance.

The PDP asserts that the statement issued by the APC in a desperate bid to justify its manifest misrule and abuse of human rights, shows that the APC and Buhari administration are not ready to end their policy inconsistency and the fettering of our youths through suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet, for which Twitter shunned our nation for Ghana.

This disposition by the APC and the Buhari Presidency has further strengthened the widespread view among Nigerians that this administration suppresses every vocation in which our youth demography has shown interest.

Their statement also validates apprehensions in the public space that the APC deliberately worked against the citing of Twitter headquarters in Nigeria because of their plot to forcefully regulate the use of internet in our country.

A more responsive government and political party, who have the interest of the people at heart, ought to device all means possible to attract the Africa Headquarters of Twitter to our country given the huge benefits such would have served in the face of grinding unemployment which the APC administration has imposed on our nation.

It is indeed saddening that rather than devise means such as this opportunity to create wealth and revamp our economy, the APC and the Buhari Presidency are mortgaging the future of our nation through all manner of foreign loans which they cannot account for.

Now that they have borrowed from all corners of the world and turning our country into a debtor nation, with nothing to show for it, the APC and the Buhari administration have resorted to primitive printing of naira notes not minding the huge inflation as well as devastation such would trigger in our economy.

From the arrogant disposition of the APC, it is clear that it has no regard for Nigerians and as such has no business being in governance.

Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

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Currency Printing: PDP Calls Out President Buhari

April 16, 2021
Press Statement
…Demands Finance Minister’s Sack

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to deny the printing of N60 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its behest.

The PDP asserts that the admission by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank has been printing money at the bidding of government, has vindicated its earlier stand that the Buhari-led APC administration is characterized by concealments, deceit and falsehood.

The PDP flays the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, for attempting to mislead Nigerians by denying the revelations by the Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that N60 billion was printed in March to support federal allocation to states.

Governor Obaseki, as a financial expert, who is not known for flippancy, must be commended for his act of patriotism in exposing the dire economic situation our nation has been plunged under the Buhari administration.

A situation where the Federal Government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate printing of currency notes, only goes to further confirm that the Buhari administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.

Indeed, the admission by the CBN governor that “Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation” further justifies our position that the Buhari-led APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
Our party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Bureau of National Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

This situation has led to further economic hardship with surging prices and fallen purchasing power throwing millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

The PDP calls out President Buhari to come clean on the amount that has been printed so far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used for.

Furthermore, for failing the full disclosure test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our naira.

Our party implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to manage and salvage our economy before it is too late.
Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

April 15, 2021
Press Statement
Twitter: You Have A Poor Understanding of Governance, PDP Replies APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the by-passing of Nigeria by Twitter to cite its African Headquarters in Ghana is “a non-issue” further confirms APC and Buhari Presidency’s poor understanding of governance.

The PDP asserts that the statement issued by the APC in a desperate bid to justify its manifest misrule and abuse of human rights, shows that the APC and Buhari administration are not ready to end their policy inconsistency and the fettering of our youths through suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet, for which Twitter shunned our nation for Ghana.

This disposition by the APC and the Buhari Presidency has further strengthened the widespread view among Nigerians that this administration suppresses every vocation in which our youth demography has shown interest.

Their statement also validates apprehensions in the public space that the APC deliberately worked against the citing of Twitter headquarters in Nigeria because of their plot to forcefully regulate the use of internet in our country.

A more responsive government and political party, who have the interest of the people at heart, ought to device all means possible to attract the Africa Headquarters of Twitter to our country given the huge benefits such would have served in the face of grinding unemployment which the APC administration has imposed on our nation.

It is indeed saddening that rather than devise means such as this opportunity to create wealth and revamp our economy, the APC and the Buhari Presidency are mortgaging the future of our nation through all manner of foreign loans which they cannot account for.

Now that they have borrowed from all corners of the world and turning our country into a debtor nation, with nothing to show for it, the APC and the Buhari administration have resorted to primitive printing of naira notes not minding the huge inflation as well as devastation such would trigger in our economy.

From the arrogant disposition of the APC, it is clear that it has no regard for Nigerians and as such has no business being in governance.

Signed:
Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

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AMAECHI IS A GREAT ACHIEVER – SOUTH-SOUTH LEADERS


Prominent leaders in the South-South geo-political zone on Saturday hailed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, for demonstrating rare leadership qualities and changing the status of the country’s transportation sector for the better.
‘’Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has delivered the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. Posterity will place him in the right place and judge him well’’.
They also praised the former Rivers State governor for building bridges of unity across the country and putting in place the necessary machinery for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the country.
The leaders, cut across ethnic cleavages in the South-South geo-political zone, gave Amaechi kudos for conceiving and articulating policies that stood the test of time.
‘’Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi belongs to a rare breed of high achievers. It is either the best or nothing’’ the leaders stated.
In a statement signed by APC chieftain and chairperson of Progressive Volunteers Group (PVG), Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua in Port Harcourt, the leaders thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the mission-driven former governor of Rivers State, whose drive and grasp of development issues have made him a significant voice in the country’s quest for socio-economic development, the opportunity to work for unity, stability and overall development of the country.
The statement emphasized Amaechi’s character, inner strength and sterner stuff.
The leaders commended Amaechi for doing his best to improve the lives of Nigerians.
‘’Things are simply getting better in Nigeria’’ the leaders under the auspices of Progressive Volunteers Group, led by Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua, said.
They eulogized the virtues of Amaechi, listing the commissioning of freight services on Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line as a major feat he was able to achieve in the country.
‘’Amaechi, a team builder, true Christian and bright-shining icon, is one of the few turn around managers in the country’’.
The leaders urged the people of the South-South geo-political zone and Nigerians in general to cooperate with the Muhammadu Buhari led APC government.
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING
Office of the Special Adviser on Communications
Headquarter, Mabushi P.M.B. 111, Garki – Abuja, Nigeria
PRESS RELEASE

PETITION OVER IFE-IFEWARA ROAD: RCCG APOLOGIZES TO WORKS AND HOUSING MINISTRY
• As Fashola says no payments were made in respect of rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019
• “The Ministry of Works and Housing deserves apology and I tender it unreservedly” – Petitioner
• Minister explains that amount paid to contractor in 2011 was four years before Buhari’s administration
• Says there is move to sanction recalcitrant contractors
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Thursday in Abuja tendered an “unreserved apology” to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing over its allegation of “false claims on the rehabilitation of Ife-Afewara Road in Osun State” saying it was based on a false premise.
The RCCG, in a petition to the Senate, had claimed that it had good reason to believe that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had paid N151.51 million to Messrs. Cartill Construzioni Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara Road, a work which, according to the petitioner, was indeed carried out by the Church.
In the petition dated 24th March, 2021, Secretary to the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, claimed that the Church, after carrying out the rehabilitation of the road, learnt that the aforementioned company, which was awarded the contract since 2010 and had abandoned the work for over six years, had been paid by the Ministry for the work praying that the Money be retrieved from the company.
But responding to the allegation at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said there was no proof to support the position of the petitioner that an unjust claim was made by Contractor or paid by the Ministry between 2016 and 2019.
Fashola, who explained that the road in question was a State Road, added that the contract for its rehabilitation was awarded by the Federal Government in 2010 as a Parliamentary Constituency Project and domiciled in the budget of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, hence the intervention by the Ministry.
Clarifying that both the award of the contract and payment of the said contract sum were made between 2010 and 2011, four years before the Buhari Administration came to being, the Minister explained further that the contract was awarded on December 21, 2010 to the contractor in the sum of N662, 760,771.75 with a commencement date of March 7, 2011 and completion date of November 7, 2011.
On the sum of N151.51 million paid to the Contractor, he explained that the payment made in two tranches, was statutorily made adding that while the first payment of N99,414,115.76, made on March 31, 2011, represented 15 percent of contract sum, the second payment of N52,094,785., made on December 29, 2011, was based on submission of an Interim Statement.
Fashola said the contractor achieved only 26.21 percent project completion before abandoning the project adding that the contract was as a result recommended for termination “for breach of contract” after warning letters were served on the Contractor first on March 5, 2014 and final warning on June 15, 2015.
Noting that before any payment was made to any contractor, there has to be actual work done, measured and certified and recommended for consideration for approval for payment, Fashola, however, added that since the contract awarded to Messrs. Cartill had not been formally terminated, there has been budgetary provision for the road since 2010, except in years when it had zero budgeting, but the budgeted sum has never been processed since 2011 following the dismal performance of the Contractor.
The Minister, who hinted on plans by the Ministry to sanction recalcitrant contractors by opening a “black book” for them based on appropriate legal advice, declared, “It is clear that contrary to the claims of RCCG, the Contractor, Cartill Nigeria Limited, did not make a claim for a refund for the cost expended on the rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019”, adding that the Ministry also did not make any such payment to the Contractor.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing did not certify any work done on the road by the Contractor between 2016 and 2019”, he said reiterating that the two payments made to the Contractor were made in March and December 2011 respectively, “four years before the commencement of this Administration in 2014”.
Maintaining that the Ministry did not consider or grant approval for anyone to intervene on the road, Fashola, who said the RCCG did not seek or obtain such approval further declared, “the federal Ministry of Works and Housing is not liable to make any refund to anyone in respect of the Road which is the statutory responsibility of the Osun State Government”.
The Minister explained further that although the RCCG could be commended for the work done, there are procedures and processes for such interventions be they on Federal or State Roads, adding that the Petitioner could have sought clarification either from the Ministry of any other relevant agencies of government instead of petitioning the Senate.
The Petitioner, Pastor Adebanjo, in his response expressed deep regrets for taking the matter to the Senate saying it was not, however, meant to embarrass the Minister or his Ministry but in the spirit of fighting corruption by ensuring that the money paid to the contractor was retrieved and paid to the federal Government coffers.
However, on realizing that the claims he made in his petition had no factual proof and as noted by one of the Senate Committee members who advised that he should do the needful on account of available evidence, Adebanjo said, “For the fact that the Ministry of Works deserves an apology and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology unreservedly before this Senate Committee”.
In his submissions, the Chairman of the Committee commended the Minister for coming personally, “as always when we invite you” to respond to the petition and throwing more light on the whole issue adding that other officials of Government should borrow a leaf from him.
Other members of the Committee, who spoke, also commended the Minister for his diligence and commitment to every assignment pertaining to his responsibilities. They also noted with satisfaction that there was move by the Ministry to bring recalcitrant contractors to book.
Also accompanying the Minister to the hearing were some Directors, Special Advisers and other top officials of the Ministry.
HAKEEM BELLO
SPECIAL ADVISER,
COMMUNICATIONS
TO THE HON. MINISTER
16TH APRIL, 2021

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President Buhari returns to Abuja after Private trip to London on 15th April 2021

President Buhari returns to Abuja after Private trip to London on 15th April 2021
PRESIDENT BUHARI MOURNS ACE MUSIC PRODUCER, INSTRUMENTALIST, PA CHRIS AJILO

President Muhammadu Buhari sends condolences to the entertainment industry, particularly musicians and producers, over the passing of renowned music producer, instrumentalist and instructor, Pa Chris Ajilo, who was band leader of the National Orchestra for Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
President Buhari commiserates with family, friends and professional colleagues of the highly celebrated artiste, whose talent completely altered the musical industry in Nigeria, giving it more depth, meaning and appeal, as he inspired a genre that was accepted across class, age and creed.
As remains of the multi-talented instrumentalist go to rest on April 16, 2021, the President believes the legacies of discipline, focus and professionalism that Pa Ajilo brought into the industry, after studying music for many years in England, will be remembered by generations.
President Buhari prays that the music teacher will find eternal rest with God, while the many musicians and producers he mentored will carry on with his vision.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 15, 2021

SANWO-OLU PAYS CONDOLENCE VISIT TO YINKA ODUMAKIN’S FAMILY
•Says The Late Afenifere Spokesman Was A Detribalised Nigerian

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday urged Nigerians, especially members of the Civil Society Organisations to cherish, preserve and push forward the struggle for a better Nigeria and black race, which the late Yinka Odumakin, former National Publicity Secretary of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, fought and died for.

The Governor said Odumakin during his lifetime, did his best through several struggles and interventions to make Nigeria a better country and therefore urged people to stand firm and ensure that the legacy of the late Afenifere spokesman is built upon.

Odumakin, a renowned human rights activist, died on Friday April 2 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) at the age of 54 years.

Speaking during a condolence visit to the family at the deceased’s residence in Omole, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu described the late Afenifere spokesman as “one of the strongest, detribalised, action packed, full of life, true Nigerians of our time.”

The Governor assured the widow of the deceased, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin that Lagos State will not leave her alone. “We will not leave you alone. We will ensure that even when the crowd disappears, we will be there for you,” he promised.

He said “I am here to pay my condolences on behalf of my government and the entire people of Lagos State for the painful loss of one of the strongest, detribalised, action packed, full of life, true Nigerians of our time, late Comrade Yinka Odumakin.

“Our friend and brother lived a good life. He lived a fighter; he died a fighter. The civil society stakeholders in Lagos and Nigeria have indeed lost a big member of that community and indeed the entire nation because of what he stood for and fought for. If we begin to take him as a Yoruba man, we will be reducing him and what he stood for in this country.

“Wherever Yinka is right now, his wish would be that we will make this country better than how he left it and that is a commitment we are going to leave with you that we will do it to ensure that what he stood for, the legacy he worked for does not go into waste.”

In her response, Dr. Okei-Odumakin appreciated the Lagos State Government for the condolence visit.

She said several tributes and comments about the deceased will energise her to do more in pursuing what Yinka Odumakin stood for, adding that the ideals of her husband will continue to live forever.

She said: “Yinka was selfless. Before he went to hospital, he still told me about four programmes that he would have. He told me how he would leave for Ilorin the next day and later to Ekiti, the third day he would be back to Ibadan for his programme. He said he would be at Ife on Friday, he would be at Ikenne and Sunday, he would return to Lagos. He was so selfless and he had faced all sorts of medical problems and still came out strong. One did not know that this would be goodnight.

“One consolation is that Yinka is not dead; he lives because he will continue to live in the consciousness of the people. And to live in the consciousness of the people is to live forever. What Yinka will want to see is for us to remain focused and committed. Some of the things he could not achieve like restructuring of Nigeria and a lot of things that he could not do, he will be happy if he sees us doing a lot more better. Yinka lives on.”

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 15, 2021
SANWO-OLU KICKS OFF CONSTRUCTION OF RAIL MASS TRANSIT RED LINE
• Property Owners, Tenants Affected By Project Get Compensation
• Rail Project Becomes Operational Next Year

History was made today (Thursday) in Lagos, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu breaking the ground for the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving more than one million commuters daily.

The rail corridor will be constructed in three phases. The first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be completed in 24 months, will be sharing track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute – Metta. It will have its dedicated track from Ebute – Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes. The passenger capacity of the first phase is 500,000 daily.

The ceremony was held at the proposed site of the Ikeja Train Station. It was witnessed by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who was represented by the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh.

To be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022, the Red Line, a project of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will have eight train stations – from Agbado to Oyingbo.

The Red Line is to raise mass transportation capacity in the State, complementing the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue Line is at 78 per cent completion.

Sanwo-Olu, who was at the event with the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, handed cheques to property owners affected by the right-of-way, described the project as another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive mega city.

He said the traffic management and transportation pillar in his Government’s development blueprint – Project THEMES – was being implemented with the goal to develop an efficient and sustainable transportation model that would improve mobility, promote economic growth and enhance the living conditions of residents.

He said: “Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda. This is because we recognise the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

“The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.

“Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction.”

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme – a financing package put in place by the State Government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN). The Governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, for supporting the State in the bid to make the project a reality.He praised also the bankers who facilitated the funding.

To facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including six overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The overpasses will provide grade separated crossings that will enhance safety for the rail system and road users.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

“Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.”

The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected. Many of the property owners and tenants were smiling as they got their cheques.

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors and over 20 waterway routes.

He said the intervention was a deliberate effort of the State Government and its development partners to make Lagos livable beyond Year 2032.

Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the project was a bold step and commitment of the Governor to solving transportion challenges in line with his administration’s development blueprint.

She noted that the construction would not be delayed by funding and human factors, as stakeholders were duly carried along in the projects.

The Lagos mass transit rail dream began in 1983 during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, but it was stopped by the then Federal Government. Sanwo-Olu has vowed to ensure that the Blue Line and the Red Line are completed to the memory of the late Jakande.

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
APRIL 15, 2021

OKPE LEADERS HEAD TO COURT
• WARN DETRACTOR
• ANNOUNCE DATE FOR OKPE UNION NATIONAL ELECTION

Respected leaders in Okpe Kingdom on Wednesday appealed to stakeholders to put the interest of the kingdom above their personal interests.
The leaders also said any act capable of jeopardizing unity and development should be avoided.
In a statement titled: ‘’There are no factions in the Okpe Union; interim impostors should be ignored’’, the leaders listed the strange Orodje of Okpe Interim Committee, as one of the problems in the kingdom.
The notable leaders called the actions of the Okpe monarch and members of the interim committee ‘’a threat to the unity and security of Okpe kingdom’’.
‘’It has come to the notice of the elected National leadership of the Okpe Union that some persons have been parading as interim leadership of our great Union and using the name of the Okpe Union to fleece unsuspecting personalities of Okpe extraction asking for financial support to execute bogus projects that are unknown and not approved by the Okpe Union. For some months now, the elected leadership led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor has exercised utmost restraint following entreaties by highly placed Okpe personalities who promised to intervene and call the usurpers to order’’.
The leaders accused some Sapele Okpe community members of trying to engineer a coup in the kingdom.
‘’In furtherance of their nefarious efforts to cause disaffection in the ranks of our branches and affiliates, the attention of NEC of the Okpe Union was drawn to the shocking viral broadcast by some leaders of the Sapele Okpe Community which purports to give credence to those claiming to be an interim leadership which is alien to the Okpe Union constitution’’
The Okpe Union leaders are heading to court as they seek to stop non-members and suspended individuals from parading as leaders of the ancient union.
‘’Okpe Union was established on May 16th 1930 and registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria under the land (perpetual succession) Ordinance No. 32 of 1924, on the 13th of December, 1934. The second registered ethnic union in Nigeria is a member only organization which bars non-members from taking up any leadership position. Only a member of a branch of the Union who pay dues in accordance with the constitution of the Union can vote and vie for any of its leadership offices’’ a statement from the national leadership of the union said..
Signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Okpe Union, Mrs. Atarhe Abuh, the union said Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni were suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities.
‘’The nine persons parading themselves as interim EXCO of the Okpe Union have only two members of the Union, Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni who have been suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities. It is noteworthy that Prof. Kenneth Eni was the chairman of the Okpe Union Electoral Committee of the Okpe Union in 2016 that conducted the elections that brought into office the current outgoing National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. Before the expiration of the tenure, he joined hands with undemocratic forces in an attempt to derail and take over the leadership of the Union leading to his indefinite suspension’’.
Lawyers acting for Okpe Union will appear in court this week.
‘’ The national election of the Okpe Union is now slated for the 14th of May, 2021 in accordance with the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution which does not recognize any external power to intervene in the governance or administration of the Union. The reason for the shifting of the date from the previous May 1st 2021 is to enable branches complete their input in the ongoing constitutional review’’ statement said.
The national leadership of the union called on members, branches and affiliates of the Union to continue preparation for the elections and ignore any distractions.
‘’The distractions are the handiwork of those who are not comfortable with the poise of the Union to speak for and protect the interests of the Okpe Nation. Like merchants of doom, they seem primed at executing an unpopular assignment whose only purpose is to destabilize and destroy the Okpe Nation. It is also clear that these individuals will stop at nothing to achieve the prebendal objectives of their paymasters’’.
The leadership also called on well-meaning Okpe personalities and office holders to use their good positions to call all those championing the so called interim leadership of the Okpe Union to order before it is too late.
‘’The NEC is resolved to safeguard the integrity of the Okpe Union and the Okpe Nation from these marauding beggars as the Okpe Union is not known for begging for alms from those it should demand stewardship and accountability from’’.
The statement further advised the good people of Okpe kingdom to ignore stories and statements to destroy the union.
‘’We pray that God grants us the ability to continue delivering on the vision and mandate handed to us by the founding fathers of the Okpe Union and who won accolades for resuscitating the Okpe monarchy of the Orodje, won several cases for the Okpe people, instituted a scholarship scheme which trained several Okpe overseas, organized Okpe people to contribute to the fund with which the modern Orodje’s Palace was built, and which continually held and projected the identity of the Okpe people’’.