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Bello asks Nigerians to be grateful to God for keeping the nation one against all odds

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Bello asks Nigerians to be grateful to God for keeping the nation one against all odds

From John Akubo,, Lokoja

Nigerians should be grateful to God for remaining one entity as a nation inspite of myriad of challenges that would have thrown it into another round of civil war with all the attendant negative implications Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said.
The Governor who spoke during his 57th independence anniversary speech in Lokoja Yesterday said “Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises.
“Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.”
He enumerated the challenges bedevilling the country to, Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which was contend with in the Nigerian Federation.
The governor hinted that unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.
“We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.”
The Governor who acknowledged the many negative publicity accorded him by his traducers said his critics cannot accuse him of tribalism as he has ensured equitable distribution of appointments and resources.
According to him, “The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.”
“In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation.”
Bello said that is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, as the economy was consciously being diversified towards agriculture and mining and the less privileged are being attended to through various social investment programs.
He said his Government was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.”
He said though prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, he will do his best to keep the workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time.
“However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.
“In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform.”

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FG not withholding any budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army, says Finance minister

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FG not withholding any budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army, says Finance minister
**senate Panel chair decries paltry budgetary allocation to the Army

The Minister of Finance Budget and National Planing Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed on Tuesday said the Federal Government has been doing its best to ensure all budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army are released promply.
Reacting to the statement by the Senate Committee chairman on Army Senator Ali Ndume statement that the situation is so bad that the Nigerian Army now rations ammunition because of inadequate funding,
She said, “This sensitive issue of financing the security sector of the country, apart from the fact that we try our effort to fund with what is provided from the busget almost 100%, there are also instances when the swcurity services will go to the president for special approval and we still provided the funds.
“So if it is to take stock of the needs of the Nigerian Army, we have an opportunity in the supplementary budget that is coming and we can address some of that.
She enumerated some of the
capital funding for the Nigerian Army in 2019 fir which she said what was budgeted was N19.6b and N12.84b was released representing 64.37%
“In 2020 the total capital budget was N74.37b and this amount was released 100%.
“In 2021, the total busget for the Nigerian Army is N29b and so far we are in May we have released 17.9% of that which means we are on course to also release 100%.
There were some of their needs outside budget because the need was higher than what was provided in the budget provision of N64.5b for the procurement of military equipment that was provided from seperate approval by the president.
we have the detals attached.
she indicated that, in terms of overhead cost, what was budgeted for the Nigerian Army was N15.64B out of which we released N14.22b representing 91.01% for 2019.
“In 2020 what was budgeted was 20.634b and out of it 20.47 representing 99.21%
“In 2021 the budget for the year is N20.6b and 3months releases with overhead is N4.99b representing 96.75% of the autorated budget for the 3 months because the year is still running.”
Ndume earlier had said the people of the North East are gettjng used to BoKoharam attacks because they have vowed that they cannot go anywhere again
“We have been displaced for 6 or 7 years we are scattered all over the country. Those that were strong enough to go back can not sleep confortably.
“I have the insight in the armed forces. it is so bad that the Nigerian Army now rations ammunition. To ration Food is normal but not ammunition.
“I can be quoted I have gone round I have not seen a Nigerian Soldier holding a brand new AK47. I can Understand because in a budget of N13trillion you are allocating less than N30 Billiion to the Nigerian Army.
He alleged that thee only place he has seen Army holding new AK47 is in Abuja because it is the seat of power.

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Nigerian workers demand full implementation of N30,000 minimum wage

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Nigerian workers demand full implementation of N30,000 minimum wage

Workers across Nigeria have expressed anger at the non implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage, insisting that henceforth no worker would accept anything short of full implementation of the N30,000 national minimum wage.

The Workers who gathered for the May Day celebration under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress across the country called on the state governors to fully implement the N30,000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government.
The workers, said the new minimum wage was not only their rights but also non-negotiable.
The labour union leaders noted that while some states had yet to implement the N30,000 minimum wage, a number of other governors who had implemented it failed to do so fully.

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Humanitarian Minister tackles State Governments over shoddy distribution of CIVID-19 palliatives

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Humanitarian Minister tackles State Governments over shoddy distribution of CIVID-19 palliatives

The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has blamed State Governments for the shoddy distribution of the COVID-19 palliatives.
She expressed regrets for ever using States for the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives.
Speaking on Thursdsy at an investigative hearing organised by the Senate committee on Special Duties, she said she has not recieved any report from the state governors on how they distributed the food items.
“This has made us to have a rethink and restrategise to see how we can engage other bodies especially the NGOs in subsequent interventions by the ministry.”
It would be recalled that some of the palkiatives given to states were stockpiled in warehouses with many wasting away until the #ENDSARS protest uncovered them. The palliatives were later looted as youths went on rampage, broke into the ware houses and carted away most of the commodities.

Continuing the minister said,
“We handed over grains as directed to the state governments and when we handed over we told them what the intervention is meant for and who it  is meant.
“Unfortunately the EndSARS came with some revelations, some warehouses were vandalised we got to know that some of those warehouses existed.”

She said the ministry was allocated the sum of N551462 for covid-19 intervention in 2020 appropriation which she said has been sum has been utilised for various interventions.
“In addition, the sum of N2 billion 457 million 500k was released to the ministry in respect of the covid19 rapid response and this is part of the allocation of N32,457, 000, 0000 allocated from which N30 billion is yet to be released.
“This sum is meant for the payment of N5,000 each to 1 million vulnerable urban and fairly individuals for 6 months.
“On the modified national home grown school feeding programme, in an effort to ensure and achieve response during covid-19 pandemic, the ministry experimented the modified school feeding programme whereby food was tailored to be provided to households with children of benefiting schools.”
She said the experiment was conducted in FCT, Lagos and Edo.

The Senate Commitee on Special Duties, took up the Minister over spendings of the N32.4billion allocated to her office for palliatives provisions against COVID – 19 pandemic .

The Committee drilled the Minister on how the fund was spent during an interactive session on Thursday.

Senator Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South) who said the Ministry was not doing enough tackled the Minister asking how she thinks Nigerians are not feeling the impact of alleged interventions made by the Ministry in the heat of the COVID- 19 Pandemic.

” You are not doing enough as far as poverty eradication in the country is concerned.

” The modus operandi being adopted by your Ministry cannot in anyway help in fixing the country .

“Humanitarian intervention should be looked at more holistically “, he said .

Also lampooning the Ministry on its modus operandi, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Biobarakuma Degi Eremionyo ( APC Bayelsa ) said the handouts being doled out to some Nigerians as palliatives by the Ministry, cannot in anyway, take them out of poverty line .

“Giving unemployed people N10,000 or even N20, 000 for a month or two, cannot help them out of the poverty related problems facing them .

“The handouts should be channelled into creation of employment for the unemployed ” , he said .

As a face saving measure for the Minister , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf ( APC Taraba Central), quickly intervened by telling the members that the interactive session was not on poverty eradication by the Ministry but interventions made by it as palliatives against COVID – 19 from the 32.4billion earmarked for it out of the N500billion appropriated by the National Assembly last year .

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