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CBN Approves N20b Bailout For Kogi

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved N20 billion as bailout for the Kogi Government.
The state gov., Alhaji Yahaya Bello, announced this on Sunday in Lokoja while addressing a rally held by Organised Labour to mark this year’s May Day celebration.
Bello explained that the N20 billion was the first tranche of the N50 billion applied for to clear salary arrears of the state and local government workers.
He blamed the delay in the release of the fund on the last administration, saying that the application submitted by his predecessor was shoddily done and fraught with irregularities.
“We had to start from scratch. We are glad to announce that our efforts have paid off. This week, we received approval to draw down on the first tranche of our Bailout Funds from the Federal Government.
“This will amount to about N20 billion. We will draw down on the balance of about N30 billion as we meet the milestones for implementation of the first tranche, as set by the Central Bank of Nigeria,“ he explained.
Bello promised to fully expend the money on workers salaries, so as to guarantee industrial harmony.
Speaking on the ongoing screening of state and local government workers, the governor said that all sorts of tricks were devised to shortchange the workers, describing as worst, the scourge of ghost workers in the civil service.
“Thousands of non-existent workers were being paid from the Kogi State coffers, thus bringing it under undue strain and leaving the real workers either totally unpaid or only receiving meagre percentages of their wages.
“I was a former Federal Civil Servant. I was never owed salaries during my time in service. When we came into Office, Kogi Workers were already on strike for at least 6 weeks, fed up with the then PDP Government’s lack of transparency.
“It hurt me that a so-called Government could receive all the Federal Allocations due to it and still find the heart to leave workers unpaid,’’ he lamented.
According to him, the state government had also been inundated with allegations of collusion between some labour executives and the past administrations in cheating the very workers they claimed to be representing.
“We will of course investigate and anyone found culpable will have a date with the anti-corruption agencies,’’ he said.
Bello drew a wild applause from the jubilant workers when he announced that his administration had started cooking something nice for them and the entire people of the state.
He promised to remain committed to improving the lot of workers and freeing them from slavery and injustices that had been built into the system for long.
The governor appealed to the striking lecturers of the Kogi State University to call off the strike in the interest of the students, saying that government was ready to meet their demands within its limited resources.
Earlier in his address, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC), Mr Onu Edoka, charged workers to remain calm and give their full support to the administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello.
He also told them that labour was keenly following the ongoing screening of state and local government workers and assured that the union will not allow any worker to be unjustly treated.
Highlights of the event was the donation of two 18-seater buses to the NLC and the state chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the march-past by members of the affiliate unions. (NAN)

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buharihas returned to Abuja after weeks on medical trip in London.
This was according to a statement from the presidency on Thursday.
The president had been heavily criticized for his perchance for medical expedition inspite huge budgetary allocation to the Presdential Villa clinic.
His critics also blamed him for embarking on such trip even when resident doctors in his country were on industrial action.
The presidential aircraft that brought Buhari and some of his aides touched down at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.45 p.m.
Dignitaries at the airport to welcome the president included the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, and the National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno.
Others were the service chiefs, acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i, the Director General of the State Securitt Services, Yusuf Bichi and other presidential aides.
President Buhari, after a brief welcoming ceremony at the airport, boarded a presidentrtial helicopter that conveyed him to the Presidential Villa.

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

By Friday Idachaba

Participants at a one-day stakeholders strategic meeting on Open Governance Partnership have called on Kogi government to urgently key into the global concept to promote transparency, accountability and good governance.

The participants made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting organised by Conscience For Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in partnership with African Centre For Leadership Strategies And Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the Communiqué was signed by Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director of Kogi-based CHRCR and made available to newsmen in Lokoja.

The Communiqué said that in view of the importance of the global OGP concept with potentials to check corruption and enhance good governance, 16 states in Nigeria had presently signed up.

It however revealed that Kogi State was yet to key into the global concept and urged the state to, as a matter of urgency, sign up for the state to derive inherent benefits of the partnership.

Objective of the meeting in line with the OGP concept, according to the Communiqué, is to encourage accountability, transparency and reduce corruption in Kogi State.

It is also to build on the existing Networks on Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability (NATA), to mobilize Media institutions and professionals in reporting activities on OGP in Kogi State.

The participants however, urged multi-lateral financial institutions particular the World Bank to begin to hold State Governments accountable by verifying the situations of implementations on ground before rating them on financed projects.

The Communiqué reiterated that there should be no rivalry but rather, a broad based relationship and partnerships between the state government and the Civil Society Organizations as both work for and in the interest of the citizens.

The Communiqué said there was need for the current House of Assembly members to live up to their constitutional responsibilities by performing their oversight functions on all institutions of the state, “particularly the local government councils.”

It also called on Media Professionals to take more interest in OGP issues and partner more with the Civil Society Organisations in particular and other relevant institutions to drive the OGP Concept.

“The Civil Society Organizations needs to do more in raising awareness and sensitization of the general public on the OGP and with the Government to get the OGP.

“There is need for the development partners to continue to work with the Civil Society Organizations in the state to promote the OGP process”, the Communiqué added. (NAN)

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of Sokoto Catholic diocese, has come under attack again from the Presidency for describing Nigeria as a killing field under the Buhari administration.
Kukah in his Easter homily on Sunday, said both the government and the citizens have become helpless as criminals continue to cause havoc in parts of the country.
The battle over insecurity in Nigeria has continued unabated especially in the northern parts of the country where bandits and insurgents have turned to a killing field.
Kukah said the security situation has frustrated many citizens making them to believe the government has gone AWOL (absent without official leave).

“Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart” the bishop said.
“Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession, as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits.
“The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.”

However in a statement issued in Abuja Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman said Kukah’s “bashing” of President Muhammadu Buhari is “ungodly.”
“All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth. But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness,” he said.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter message. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. 

“Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”
Shehu also faulted the bishop for saying Buhari is not concerned about those displaced because of the security crisis, citing the creation of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development as part of the president’s efforts in that regard.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily,” the presidential spokesman said.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”

With additional reports from Cable

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