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N7.5B secret withdrawals: Senate Summons Finance Minister, AGF

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N7.5B secret withdrawals: Senate Summons Finance Minister, AGF

Senate Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris over secret withdrawals of N7.5 billion from the 2 percent National Automotive Design and Development Council Levy Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The report indicated that first N3.8 billion was withdrawn in two installments of N2.8 billion in 2005 and N1 billion in 2006.
This was containwd in the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, which is being considered by the Senate committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
The second N3.7 billion, the report said, was withdrawn between March – December 2000 in three separate payments of N725 million, N1 billion and N2 billion.
When the Committee asked the Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council
Jelani Aliyu about the withdrawal, he said the money was withdrawn without the knowledge of the agency.
He said the Agency has been writing to the Accountant General and Ministry of Finance on the need to refund the money but there was no response.
Apparently piqued by the development, Senate Committee on Public Accounts resolved to summon the Minister of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation to give explanation on the fund.
The query reads,”A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 (Three billion, eight hundred and thirty-six million naira) was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in 2 installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and N1,036,000,000.00 (in 2006) by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as car loan to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme Loan.
“The transaction was carried out by the Presidency in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation without the involvement of NAC, the account owner.
“However the principal and the accrued interest from the fictitious loan have not been paid back nor are records available on the beneficiaries, agreement documents, moratorium, duration of the loan, the yearly interest rates accruable and how the fund will be paid back by the beneficiary.
“The Director General has been requested to intensify correspondence with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Presidency to recover the fund (‘loan’).”
On the 3.7 billion, the report said the sum was “irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria between March-December 2000 in 3 separate payments of N725,000,000; N1,000,000,000 and N2,000,000,000 as ‘loan’ to NAFCON vide the Accountant General of the Federation internal memo to the Permanent Secretary, Budget Office of the Federation Ref No: DD/(R&F)22.Vol. 1158 of 27/5/2003.
“The ‘Loan’ Principal and the accumulated interest are yet to be paid since the year 2000.”

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Legislature

Harvest of constituency projects in Ankpa II, as Hon Rabiu innaugurates three

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It was a harvest of projects for the constituents of Ankpa II State constuency as the member representing them in Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Alfa Momoh Rabiu presented three projects for commissioning.
The lawmaker had added value to the educational development of his constituency through the construction of a Library, Laboratory and the renovation of the administrative block of a community secondary school.

The projects which were part of his contituency obligation benefited Government Day Secondary school Enabo with the construction of a Library complex and Laboratory, while community Grammar School, Ojoku benefited through the renovation of its adminstrative block.

The Honorable Commissioner for Solid Minerals and representative of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, Hon Bashir Gegu commissioned the newly constructed library and laboratory at Government Secondary School, Enabo.

Relatedly, the Rector, Kogi State Polytechnic, Dr Salisu Usman Ogbo commissioned the renovated administrative block on behalf of the Chairman Ankpa Local Government, Hon Ibrahim Abagwu at the Community Grammar School, Ojoku.

Hon Rabiu who was in high spirits promised to replicate the gesture in all the schools across Ankpa II constituency.
He advised the people to be optimistic about the government of the day, led by Governor Yahaya Bello adding that the dividend of democray will trickle down to every part of the State.

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Ban on open Grazing gains more ground as Southern Speakers promise legislative backing

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The recent resolution by the Southern State Governors Forum that banned open grazing in their respective domains is gaining more ground as Speakers of their States’ Assembly’s have thrown their weight behind them

The speakers at the weekend declared their support for the resolutions that banned open grazing, called for national dialogue and restructuring of the Federation amongst other demands.

The Speakers, in their own resolution that was signed by speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, in Asaba, lauded the Southern Governors for the unity of purpose that brought them together to speak with one voice.
They reiterated the fact that the resolutions of the Southern Governors were key to resolving the problems facing the country.
They said: “We, the Speakers of State Legislatures in Southern Nigeria commend the Governors of the Southern States for their patriotism and firm belief in the unity of the country.
“We salute the Governors for their initiative and restate our support for the positions of the Governors. We wish to state unequivocally that the issues canvassed in the communique are neither new nor strange, rather they require swift response from the Federal Government.

“The country is currently undergoing very challenging times and requires bold and audacious measures to stop it from sliding into abyss.
“We maintain that the positions of the Governors as contained in the communique issued on the 11th of May, 2021 in Asaba are sacrosanct and a guarantee for justice, fairness and equity in the country.
“We adopt all the positions in the communique and reiterated the call for the ban on open grazing of cattle in the South.

“We support the call for the restructuring of the country to enthrone true federalism and therefore the convocation of a National Dialogue is inevitable.
“That this will afford stakeholders from all parts of the country to table their prejudices and together work out a sustainable relationship as one indivisible country.
“We pledge to deploy our legislative powers to strengthen the positions canvassed by the Governors.
“We also urge the Governors to send bills to the Legislature where necessary to address some of the issues in the communique.

“Finally, we thank His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State for providing the platform for the meeting of the Governors”.
At the meeting were Sheriff F.O Oborevwori Deputy National Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Mr Aniekan Bassey, Vice Chairman South- South, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.
Other were: Francis O.Nwifuru, Vice chairman South East, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Prince Olakunle Taiwo Oluomo, Vice Chairman South West, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.

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Legislature

Communal Clashes: Senators Sue for Peace in Benue, Ebonyi

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Worried by the lingering communal Clashes among people of some communities in their States , Senators Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North) , have sued for peace.

The two senators at a joint press conference on Wednesday in Abuja , said the warring communities across the two states should cease fire by allowing the National Boundary Commission to wage in as far as appropriate demarcation of territories are concerned .

The jointly signed press statenent by the Senators reads : ” As the Senators representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District and Benue South Senatorial District, we are here to brief you on recent security concerns that have substantially threatened the peace and development of the people of Ohaukwu and Ado LGAs in our Senatorial Districts.

“On Monday the 12th day of April, 2021, alleged herdsmen invaded Umuogudu Akpu Community, Ngbo, in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and gruesomely killed over 12 innocent indigenes, burnt/destroyed over 56 houses and kidnapped 5 persons.

” While we were mourning our people and trying to identify the extent of damage, we were surprisingly greeted with a statement by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, without any form of investigation, that the attack was carried out by Agila people, and not Fulani herdsmen.

” This claim, which has the potential of heightening the tension between the two communities has long been refuted and denied by the Chairman of Ado LGA and the Government of Benue State. The people of Ado LGA who have been victims of herdsmen attacks in recent times couldn’t have hired the same people to carry out an attack on their behalf.

“There have been sustained efforts on our part to finally settle the land dispute and restore lasting peace between Ngbo people in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and the Agila people in Ado LGA of Benue State, which have lingered over the years. Motions have been raised on the floor of the Senate, resolutions passed by the Senate and efforts sustained at the State and Federal levels to ensure that lasting peace is restored between the two communities.

“We urge security operatives to move into the affected communities and secure lives and property of the people. We know that both communities have embraced the proposed rebeaconing and delimitation exercise by the National Boundary Commission.

” We therefore urge that the exercise should be carried out with dispatch to finally put to an end all the boundary-related crises in our Senatorial Districts”.

The two federal lawmakers also proffered similar solutions for the Ezza/ Effium crisis .

They said : ” On the Ezza/Effium crisis, which started in Effium community in Ebonyi state and spilled into Ado LGA in Benue State because of the presence of Ezzas/Effiumites in Ado LGA, it is regrettable that the crisis is yet to be contained, leading to the relocation of some Efium and Ezza people to neighboring communities both in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and Ado LGA of Benue State, thereby creating apprehension in those neighboring communities.

“The alleged abduction of Five Elders from Odum Community of Ulayi District, Ado LGA before Easter Sunday has heightened the tension between the affected communities. However, the timely intervention of the government to contain the situation has prevented any form of retaliation or reprisal attack. It was resolved that the Traditional Council of Ado Local Government should reach out to the elders and traditional leaders of Ohaukwu LGA to broker more peaceful negotiations and resolution of the matter.

“We therefore call on the Governments of Benue and Ebonyi States to put in greater efforts and in collaboration with relevant Federal Government Agencies to take immediate practical steps to ensure immediate of all adopted persons and restoration of lasting peace between the affected communities.

“We urge our people in the affected communities to please apply restraint, avoid all forms of violence, maintain peaceful coexistence and rest assured that we will do everything within our power and influence to ensure the restoration of lasting peace in the affected communities” .

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