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Panel says Kogi lost N213b to ghost workers in 13 years

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Panel says Kogi lost N213b to ghost workers in 13 years

By John Akubo  
• Governor Bello vows to end syndrome
A screening committee constituted by Kogi State Government has discovered the state lost over N213 billion to ghost workers in 13 years.
The breakdown of the report indicated the government was losing N16 billion yearly and N1.3 billion monthly to ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries.
Chairman of the back-up committee for the analysis of the screening, who is also the state Auditor-General, Mr. Yusuf Okala, made the disclosure at the public presentation of the report of the committee yesterday.

He explained that about 88, 973 people were on the payroll as at the time the screening exercise commenced and had a monthly wage bill of N5.84 billion.

The Auditor General said the committee screened workers in state ministries, departments and agencies, local government departments, local government education authorities, state and local government pensions board.
He, however, said upon the conclusion of the screening exercise 63, 870 workers were cleared, reducing the wage bill to N4. 443 billion
Okala explained that the screening exercise revealed that there were irregularities in the state civil service, with 532 employments hurriedly made in January before the inception of the present administration, while 114 were drawing salaries in more than two paying points and 119 were found to have invalid bank verification numbers (BVN).
He, however, noted that the exercise was not completely perfect as there was infiltration by the organised labour, which intended to embarrass the state government.
Okala said the committee recommended the prosecution of those found culpable in the looting of the state through the ghost workers scam.
He wondered why 13 labour leaders, who participated in the screening exercise refused to sign the outcome of the report, while 17 of the screening members signed the report.
While accepting the committee’s report, Governor Yahaya Bello pledged to put an end to ghost workers in state saying, it was sad that some people were hiding under the civil service to plunder the wealth of the state.
The governor, who later inaugurated a 15-man technical review committee to look into complaints expressed displeasure with the organised labour who he said were carried along in the screening exercise but later turned around to instigate the workers to embark on strike for their selfish reasons.
He also pledged to ensure that all the funds of the state that were carted away would be recovered.
The governor said it would be unfair to spend the state’s resources on only 2 percent of its population, saying, “We are putting a permanent end to ghost workers syndrome.”
Bello also blamed the organised labour in the state for attempting to hold his government down against efforts at sanitising the civil service.
http://m.guardian.ng/news/panel-says-kogi-lost-n213b-to-ghost-workers-in-13-years/

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Insecurity: HURIWA asks FG to account for $1bn drawn from ECA for weapons

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Insecurity: HURIWA asks FG to account for $1bn drawn from ECA for weapons

A pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari account for what his administration did with the $1 billion that it took from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in the name of purchasing and procurement of combat weapons.

This is coming agaisnt the background that the minister for information, Lai Mohammed had accused the international weapon sellers of refusing to sell arms to Nigeria.

Besides, the Rights group, however, canvassed for the aggressive training of the operatives and officers of the Nigeria Police Force to embrace the skills of intelligence gathering and proactive policing rather than the dominant reactive methodology they are using to enforce the law.

HURIWA, therefore, urged Nigerians never to get tired of providing support and solidarity for the members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria as they increasingly get involved in the intensive campaigns and war against terrorists and the diverse segments of armed non-state actors that are unleashing bloody violence against civilians all over the country.

“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to do all he can to sufficiently equip the men and officers of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are by this statement demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari provide the fuller accounts of what this administration did with the $1 Billion that it took from the nation’s escrow account in the name of purchasing and procurement of combat weapons.

“Nigerians want to know what was bought with that humongous amount if the government has admitted publicly that it is finding it difficult to procure arms to battle the armed Islamists of Boko haram terrorists?”

In a statement signed on Thursday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said one of the causes of the increasing crimes rate is the dearth and lack of intelligence gathering capacity on the part of most police operatives and officers who ought to lead the process of crime-fighting and law enforcement.

The Rights group argued that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has in the last four years failed to build up the intelligence generating capacity of the police.

“It is unbelievable that armed and violent criminals are allowed to roam freely all around the Country and to continuously unleash devastating and bloody violence on the citizenry but the operatives of the Nigerian Police seems to be gravely ill-equipped with the 21st-century compliant policing skills which must of necessity include the effective deployment of capacity to generate intelligence and to build a formidable data bank of useful tips and information so as to be able to fall back on such abundant actionable materials to tackle crime.

“The Nigerian Police still operate as if we are in the 18th Century era because the police lack the technology to fight crime, the Nigerian Police lacks the scientific facilities like fingerprints devices to stop criminal on their track before they strike but every year humongous budgetary releases are made but it seems that the Country is grossly under policed and unsecured, ” HURIWA said in the statement.

HURIWA wondered what kind of police will wait for a citizen to first be killed before they will shamelessly announce to us that the suspected killers have been apprehended.

HURIWA added that in Nasarawa and Ondo States, the APC Party Chairman was killed and a first-class traditional ruler was murdered by armed non-state actors, but the Police which could not prevent these violent crimes from happening will only rush to the media to announce to us that the killers have been arrested.

“This reactive form of policing like people groping in the dark is not sustainable and has no capacity to check the high crime rates. The Nigerian Police Force and its hierarchy should update their knowledge of making the police effective through proactive strikes of criminals before they attack, ” it added.

HURIWA, therefore, tasked the authorities to fine-tune and rejig the policing strategies in the country because as, the police has proven incapable of combating violent crimes, and this lacuna and incapacity to play the routine policing duties has overburdened the Nigerian Army to partly go into internal security operations rather than concentrate and wage a relentless war against terrorists threatening to tear Nigeria apart.

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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

By Friday Idachaba

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has reopened the closed section of the Murtala Muhammad Bridge, Jamata on Abuja-Lokoja highway to ease movement of traffic movement during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Engr. Kajogbola Jimoh, Federal Controller of Works in Kogi State disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lokoja.

Kajogbola said that though the rehabilitation work on the dual carriage bridge was yet to be completed, a substantial part of it on Lokoja-bound portion had been done and could be reopened to traffic to address heavy vehicular movement during the festivities.

According to him, what remains for the Lokoja bound bridge to be completed is to change the damaged expansion joints which have to be ordered from abroad adding that the contractor has some constraints in this area.

“Presently, all other works are completed and we have asked him to cover the edges of the old expansion joints so that when the new ones arrive, he will simply remove the old ones and replace them with new ones.

“If the closed section is not opened, Nigerians will suffer during this festive period and that is why we are insisting that they should open it for now till when the contractor is able to get the new expansion joints”, he said.

Kajogbola said he collaborated with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Corridors Commander, Sector Commander and other officials to remove the barricades and redirect the traffic all in the presence of the contractor’s representative.

He pointed out that the reopening was an interim arrangement saying, “This is just temporary reopening, the work is for two years and the contractor has not spent up to a year.

“So, it’s just to let Nigerians know that the Federal Government cares for them and that we are working and to tell them what stage we are on the project.

NAN reports that the bridge which is currently under rehabilitatinon/ maintenance work, being handled by Hallekem Ltd., had only one functional 2-lane carriageway in use before this reopening.

The Controller appealed to motorists to be patient, resist temptation to drive against traffic and to keep their vehicles in good condition to avoid break down. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chiefs

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chief

The senator representing Ekiti Central Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele has asked President Muhamadu Buhari to respect the resolution of the National Assembly that he should sack the service chiefs without further delay.
The senator while contributing to the motion on the beheading of 67 farmers in Borno, by Bokoharam insurgents: Need for Urgent, Decisive action pleaded with the service chiefs to voluntarily resign based on national interest.
He said they can then wait to be appointed as Presidential Advisory Panel on security.
“For me the number one resolution that I will like to reemphasize on this floor of the senate is for the President to allow the service chiefs to go, they have done their best, they have worked so hard, the best anybody can give is his best.
“You cannot give what you do not have and if the President believes so much in these service chiefs he should remove them as service chiefs and constitute them as Presidential advisory committee on security matters and they will still be there to be advising him and let the younger ones take over as service chiefs to move the country forward.
He said, “It is yet another moment when we run the risk of Nigerians looking at us as a group of elected representatives who sit in the red chamber to shed crocodile tears but we know that is not what we do.
“We are victims of certain circumstances that make it look like that. There is probably nothing any of us could say here today that has not been said, the only thing that is new is that more people have been killed in most barbaric manner. Yet we have to say something as representatives of the people.
“We are unhappy about what happened in Borno, Katsina and Niger States and some Northern parts of the country. Even in the South South, south East and south west where people are being kidnapped, there are some forms of insurgency.
“In Ondo State just last week a paramount ruler was killed. My own contribution is this, let us stand on existing resolution, in addition of course to the prayers that the mover of this motion made clear to us.
“Fighting Bokoharam cannot be something we do by habit, it cannot become part of our national life, it cannot become what we budget for year in year out as a routine.”
He lamented that the war was becoming a routine adding that there is a need to bring it to an end as lives are being lost on a daily bases.
He also made refrence to a constitutional provision in section 14(1)b which defines the primary purpose of Government to be the welfare and security of the people.
“We all agree that this is not being fulfilled and where a Government is deemed to be in breach of section 14(1)b the Government is also automatically seen to have breached section 32 and 34 of our constitution which provides for the right to life, right for personal liberty, and life against torture.
“These are things that goes together once you fail to fulfill the provision of section 14(1)b so what are we talking about let these service chiefs go.
“If the President would not remove them we call on these service chiefs in the interests of the public to resign and look forward to being appointed as members of Presidential committee on security. So this is one contribution that I really want to make.”
He also made reference to the budget of over N800b set aside for all of the armed forces, whereby more than 60% of it is specifically tailored towards prosecuting the war against insurgency.
“I believe before this budget is passed it is either the president come to address this parliament on the way forward on how to address the security matter or we hold a joint session and do a public hearing and allow Nigerians an opportunity to also speak to this issue.
“I dont think it should be a question of us sitting down to pass this budget it should not be business unusual.”

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