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Kogi gives priority attention to Agric to up the ante in revenue drive

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Kogi gives priority attention to Agric to up the ante in revenue drive

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has muted the plan to use agriculture as a spring board to up the ante in the revenue drive for the State.
Bello who was speaking as part of his Democracy Day broadcast to the people of the State said Agriculture is the new frontier for the revenue projection of the State.
“Several task forces we have set up have already started making gains in this area.
“For instance, in one area where the State has been averaging N2M revenue monthly, we have already earned N13M in April simply by blocking the leakages.”
This he said has motivated his administration to replicate and develop in many other areas.
The Governor disclosed that his government has also signed memorandum of understanding with tested large scale farm enterprises.
According to him, “The Dangote Group has negotiated for 20, 000 hectares for rice production and others are in the pipeline.”
This he said will have incalculable multiplier effects as it will provide jobs to the teeming youths roaming the streets.
Apparently piqued by the dangerous trend in the rate at which projects were being abandoned in the State, Bello disclosed that he has appointed qualified consultants to review all abandoned projects by previous administrations.
He pointed out that his government ordered contractors that abandoned their duties back to site when he mounted the saddle.
According to him, “We discovered that most of the contractors who rushed back to site when we assumed office had abandoned those projects before.
“This has kept us wondering how many other projects exists for which the State has made payments and received little or no value.”
According to him, his administration has appointed consultants to review all abandoned projects and advice on the way forward.
Bello vowed to sustain and complete deserving projects not minding the initiators.
He advised other contractors who have abandoned their work without giving value for the money committed to the projects to quietly return to site and complete their obligations as his Government would not tolerate corruption when discovered.
To plug all leakages in financial misappropriation he said he has setup fiscal responsibility Committee to assist in overseeing the operation of Single Treasury Account (TSA) for the State.
He added that there is also an economic team in place to engage prospective investors by scrutinizing their proposals and selecting the ones that will add value to the economy of the State.
He said, “In the matter of TSA we commend the Federal Government’s example and intend to align with its example totally. We will only modify it as may be required to suit our peculiar needs in the State.”
To workers welfare he promised to give priority adding that his Government is also adopting the Contributory Pensions Scheme and Universal Health care Insurance Scheme.
Continuing he said, the first tranche of the bailout fund is from the Federal Government in the sum of N20B was intact adding that disbursement would commenced soon.
“We intend to dedicate that money mainly to resolving outstanding wages and salaries issues for workers. We expect the State civil servants to reciprocate these gestures by increased output on the job.”
The Governor who reiterated that he will not tolerate corruption in any version said he would not overlook obvious cases of embezzlement of State funds.
In his words, “Of particular note in this regard is the N2B youth enterprises Fund which the previous administration collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria and basically distributed among political appointees and favored individuals.”
Bello indicated that the money is a loan meant to stimulate commerce among the youths hence he will recover it back from whoever has stolen it.
The Governor who blamed the PDP for grossly squandering the hard earned democracy said they became a monster.
According to him, “The Peoples Democratic Party and members grossly managed our hard earned democracy. After about 16 disastrous PDP years.
“Ordinarily Nigerians, Uniting around the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Hurricane Buhari, swept them out of the corridors of power into the dustbin of history.”
He said having been in office for exactly 4 months and 2 days his Government came at the worst time socio-economically for Nigerians.
“With the steep slide in the global prices of crude oil which is the mainstay of our economy, Governance has become more challenging than usual.
“It is indeed a wonder that the President and his team have been able to stave off a full-blown recession given the circumstances.”

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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)

FDJ/

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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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