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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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FG declares its readiness to deploy 5G network after precautionary measures

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FG declares its readiness to deploy 5G network after precautionary measures

By Aminci Audu

The minister of communications and Digital Economy Isah Ali Pantami has declared that Nigeria is ready for 5th Generation Network (5G) as long as the major challenges are taken care of.

Pantami spoke yesterday, at a one day investigative hearing on the present status of 5G network organised by the joint Senate committee on communication, sScience and Technology, ICT and Cybercrime and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.

The minister in his presentation allayed the fear among Nigerians over the planned deployment of the network saying the Federal Government has taken all necessary precautions by investigating through research and trial on all issues raised.

He said “The position is that we are almost at the final stage. So now, Nigeria is ready for 5G as long as we address the major challenges.”

“We have not gotten there, wether we will deploy 5G but we are on track conducting research, investigations, engaging stakeholders and definitely if all issues are addressed, the executive will support the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.”

He noted that so far no negative impacts has been established from the research and trial carried both locally and at the international level. 

On the speculation that the 5G network escalated the COVID-19 he said there is no link between 5G and COVID-19.
“And there is no relationship between 5G and any desease. The only issue being raised usually is about radiation.  But people don’t realise that the radiation of 4G is more harmful than that of 5G. 
“The radiation of microwave oven at home is more harmful than that of the 5G. The radiation of even the smart phone itself is even more harmful that that of 5G

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SELF backs Sylva over choice of Saipem on Bonny NLNG Train 7 contract

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SELF backs Sylva over choice of Saipem on Bonny NLNG Train 7 contract

The South-south Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) has faulted allegations of wrong doing leveled against the Minister of State for Petroleum Chief Timipre Sylva over the choice of Saipem, an Italian firm to handle the Bonny NLNG Train 7 contract.

SELF in a statement argued that the deal also endorsed by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Local Content Board Engr. Simbi Wabote was in the best interest of the country.

SELF position was in response to an online publication which accused the duo of bribe taking running into millions of naira in the deal.

SELF warned the publisher of the medium , Mr Jackson Ude, to desist from blackmailing leaders of the South-south extraction in a bid to score political goals.

Urging the Publisher of the online medium to show proof his allegation, SELF noted: “We strongly condemn the allegation leveled by Pointblanknews.com and its sponsors, this is highly condemnable and viewed as a sponsored plot to instigate hate against the Minister and derail his concentrations.

“This is ridiculous and belittling of Jackson Ude, the face behind this blackmail for being petty to the ground level for publishing tissues of lies about the persons of Timipre Sylva and Simbi Wabote.

“Nigerians should not believe this and throw it into the dust bin. It’s incumbent on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the positive drive of Minister and collaborate with him, towards the actualization of the onerous task at stake.

“Although Jackson Ude and his medium Pointblanknews.com are criminally known for thriving in the business of blackmail, especially against the officeholders from the Niger Delta region. But this forum will henceforth resist this criminality by deploying all known instrumental of law to fight the faces behind these tissues of lies.

“This Forum is using this medium to warn the likes of Jackson Ude to stay away from Nigeria and the South-south most especially if they are not ready to turn a new leaf because the business of blackmail has long become outdated and unpopular.”

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Great relief as Kidnapped Punch reporter, Nnodim regains freedom

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Great relief as Kidnapped Punch reporter, Nnodim regains freedom


It was a great relief for journalists, family members, friends and well wishers when the news filtered in that the Punch Newspapers reporter, Victor Okechukwu Nnodim who was kidnapped from his residence in Kubwa, Bwari Area Council on Thursday has regained freedom.

He was released almost 48hours hours after his abduction alongside two other neighbours who were also abducted.
It was gathered early hours of Sunday that he has been released and in high spirits.

The media world was jolted by the news of his abduction, as many turned prayer warriors supplicating for his freedom without any harm

His abductors, NationaUpdate learnt later communicated with his elder sister who resides in Lagos demanding for N10 million.

At the time of this report it could not be ascertained if ransom was paid before he regained freedom, but colleagues made efforts to contributed money towards his release, when it became obvious that the kidnappers were bent on collecting ransom.

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