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Senate panel worries over losses of war equipments, platforms to insurgents by Nigerian Army

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Senate panel worries over losses of war equipments, platforms to insurgents by Nigerian Army

The Senate committee on Army has expressed concern over the continued loss of combat equipments and platforms by the military in its fight against the Boko Haram insurgents as it demanded that the Nigerian Army should be adequately funded to prosecute the war against the Insurgents

Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume said this  during the ongoing session of the budget defence by the Military high command led by Lieutenant General, Lamidi Adeosun, Chief of Policy and Planning.

While expressing it’s dissatisfaction over the development Senator Ndume said such deplete of weaponry by the Army calls for more funding.
Ndume said the Army which could boast of 22 M-Rack platforms donated by international partners against the insurgent  cannot account for more than five M-Rack platforms because the military platforms for engaging the insurgents had been destroyed by mines during some encounters.
“When you are in a period of war, those equipments or platforms can be counter destroyed by planted mines and all that. We used to have over 22 M-Rack which were given to us by America, but right now I dont think we can account for 5 of them because they have been destroyed in the engagement.
“Therefore the army needs money to operate effectively.”

He said the federal government must as a matter of national security provide the Army with more funding for its budget which the committee considers insignificant to the security challenge at hand.

The Army had presented a budget of N509.66bn with a Capital budget proposal of N27.87bn, N20.634bn for overhead while N460.958 is proposed for personnel.

He said the Army is present in various theatre across the country where it is operating in the fields to combat insecurity in one form or the other, hence the need to boost her capital budget to meet her constitutional mandate of securing the lives, property and territorial intergerity of Nigeria.

His words: “The Army is combating Farmers Clash, tribal and religious crisis, there in southeast challenges of IPOB and others, in the Southwest other forms of criminalities and south-south challenges we have with the Avenger even though that one is almost taken care of.

I want to say to the public for the Nigerian public that I feel maybe this is my own position, but I believe my colleagues in this committee and in the Senate also will agree with me that in a budget of N13trn and in period of war, you can’t budget less than N30 billion for the Nigerian Army.

“That amount budgeted is grossly inadequate especially now that we have challenges everywhere, Nigerian Army, to my knowledge is operating in 32 or 33 states of the federation.

“All this require money and with that kind of capital and that means that it is that money that would be used to buy ammunitions arms, you know other equipments to carry out their operations especially when you are in the period of War those equipments or platforms that  in most cases, encountered destroyed by planted mines and all that.

“This committee will have to be convinced about what you need and what is needed for so that we can from the background of Knowledge from the information and what we have seen would be able to support that position

“Last year too. It was the same thing about the budget, we cried out that it was grossly inadequate. And therefore this is one of the first things that you go out with that you Committee of the Senate and I think I have your endorsement  Colleagues Senators, that N27 billion as capital for the Army in the budget of  N13trn is inadequate.

“Having said that, we would look at what you have done so far and what you need and then do the needful and see how we can help ourselves because it’s not like helping the Nigerian Army now because if the country is not secured then the country is not there.

“Besides the Constitution is very clear. It clearly says that the main purpose of government security and welfare of the citizens, we cannot do that, you know, you wear the shoes and you know where it itches you more you have to open up to the committee. Tell us your problem defend what you have done before so that we can stand with you and we can talk anywhere from the background of knowledge., Ndume said.

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Legislature

Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

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Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

By Joseph Sunday

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts thursday gave marching orders to the new permanent secretary of the Federal ministry of Environment Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan to produce 55 official vehicles that were not properly accounted for in 2018.

The Committee had queried the Ministry of Environment over the alleged missing 55 vehicles.

The Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide relied on the 2018 Auditor General’s Report.

The query reads, ” Audit observed that 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection, all efforts to inspect and confirm their existence proved abortive and the exact location of these vehicles could not be ascertained.

“We are aware that some officers take ministry vehicles away with them when going on transfer or retirement.

” The audit further observed that the motor vehicles Logbooks had not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and track their record of maintenance. It is also noted that some official vehicles carry pdivate plate number and registered number.
Speaking after the hearing by the committee, chairmavehicles Committee  senator Mathew Orhoghide said as the accounting officer of the ministry he should make every effort to recover the 55 missing vehicles.
“The permanent secretary is required to make every effort to account for those vehicles not presented for audit.
He however appreciated the effort of the permanent secretary in trying to extricate the ministry from the infraction.
“One of the things I must tell you is any decision we take here is for the sustainable development  of what the system should be.
“Ministry of environment is our own ministry, if somebody with the responsibility of permanent secretary did not do well it would be disservice to the nation for us to rationalise his actions.
“Let us assume that these vehicles have been taken away, it is our common asset. Permanent secretary should go and produce the vehicles, by the time the presidnt gets it the first time, we want to see really how serious the executive is.
“That is why we have to do things right, if we come and treat you with kids gloves because people have been taking vehicles away, do you want it to continue. No, 
“If you take our annual budget all MDAs purchase of vehicles is enough to create jobs for all the youths, the vehicle are bought every year and they are carted away, it is not you.”
So he said, they would not allow anybody to came and blindfold the committee.

The auditor general Aghughu Adolphus Arhotomhenla had querried the ministry’s Audit that indicated 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection.
He said all efforts to inspect them and confirm their existence proved abortive and the location of the vehicles could not be ascertained. “We are aware that some officers take these vehicles away when going on transfer or retirement.”
Explaining further he said, “We further observed that the motor vehicle log book has not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and tack their record of maintenance.
“It is also noted that some official vehicles carry private plate numbers in place of Government registered number.
“The above anomalies are because of failure on the part of the management to ensure proper record keeping and due process in the ministry.”
The auditor general while justifying the querry quoted financial regulations 2005 which says, “The accounting officer shall be responsible in  ensuring that there are effective control in the use of Government vehicles, for this purpose, you will ensure that the following records are maintained.
“Vehicles control register, exposition, approval for journey register, vehicle log book, vehicle maintainable register.”
He said the essence is to prevent Government vehicles from being diverted for private use, unthorised journey that may be undertaken due to lack of adherence to the internal control system put in place.
In his recommendation he said,
“The permanent secretary should account for the 55vehicles not presented during audit. He should also be sanctioned in accordance with provisions of financial regulation 3129 of the Financial regulation which says, “any officer who violates any other provision for which no sanction is specifically recommended, shall be taken to have committed gross misconduct and shall be disciplined accordingly.”
“What you have presented as your evidence here is just schedule, anybody can type anything and affix, there is no document here that connect us with the vehicles.
“I am not accepting this as evidence. Some of the vehicles don’t have chasis number, it was 2018 and we are in 2021 those vehicles still don’t have chasis number, it is not the issue of locating but that those vehicle probably must have been carried away by officers.”
In his response, the new permanent secretary said the anomaly did not happen under his watch however, he said the vehicles were not prsented to the auditor General at the time the ministry was issued the querry because the list, the register and other documents concerning the vehicles were not available circumstantially to aid the auditors verification. “Presently the list of the vehicles are available for the auditors sighting and verification.
“I want to take this opportunity to invite our esteemed auditor and maybe the committee to set up a sub-committee to come and verify and inspect these vehicles. The comprehensive list of the vehicles are attached on page 50 of our submission and they are available for sighting.
“These are records that can be updated, but the vehicles are there even in State offices they are there. What I am saying on oath is that the vehicles are available for inspection.”
“I can assure you the vehicles are available for verification and sighting, the missing details I will make sure we put them back and come back to the committee and put everything before them. “There is nothing to hide, we ar in an era of transparency and accountability and that is what the ministry is committed to doing at all times. I have given them my words on oath, we will come with all the information to present them before the committee.”

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Legislature

Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

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Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

For the poor handling of security issues in
Zamfara State, the State House of Assembly has passed vote of no confidence on the national security adviser Major Gen(rtd) Babagana Mungonu.
The House also recommended that the State Government immediately setup committee to investigate those behind the effort to truncate ongoing peace and dialogue in the state irrespective of political leaning.
The lawmakers were speaking against the backdrop of the federal government no fly zone order imposed on the state and total ban on mining activities.
Other reason for their action at plenary on Wednesday they said is the nonchalant attitude and poor handling of protracted security challenges in  the state by the  national security Adviser.
The lawmakers also recommended that the federal government without further delay set up a high powered committee to investigate and review the security architecture of all the security agencies and the level of their intelligence network in the state.
They called on the state government to as a matter of urgency set up an investigative committee to probe people allegedly undermining the ongoing peace process in the state irrespective of their political affiliations.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion raised by the House leader Hon Faruk Musa Dosara under matters of urgent public importance at the resumed plenary wednesday.

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Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

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Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

From Daniel Abel, Mafia

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, said it would summon the committee in charge of Primary School teachers screening exercise next week to investigate allegations by some teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers of their respective local government areas.

Hon Daniel Ogazi, the Chairman of the Committee made this known on Wednesday when he led other members of the committee on an assessment visit to ongoing construction and renovation of primary schools in Lafia, Obi and Doma Local Government Areas of the State respectively.

According to him, “We will invite the committee in charge of Primary School screening exercise next week in order to get to the bottom of the hues and cries by some primary school teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers”.

“We will do the needful after we hear from the committee. We will continue to stand for justice in the interest of peace and for the overall development of the education sector, ” he said.

Ogazi indicated that the inspection was aimed at ensuring that contractors adhere strictly to project specifications.

The lawmaker commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for giving adequate attention to the education sector while assuring the state government of the assembly’s support to its policies and programmes.

The committee expressed concern over non commencement of work by some contractors in their various sites.

He also called on contractors, who are yet to complete their works to do so in their interest and for the overall development of the education sector.

“We call for speedy completion of all the ongoing works.

” We are out to ensure that the right things are done in the interest of our children and for the overall development of the education sector.

‘ We are out to ensure that we check deficiencies in projects execution in order to avoid wastage of government money, ” he said.

He urged communities across the state to take ownership of projects in their domains for the overall development of the education sector and the state at large.

Ogazi advised teachers to be disciplined in their duties for the overall development of the state.

The Committee Chairman also urged teachers to impart positive knowledge on the younger ones, adding that no society would achieve meaningful progress and development without quality education.

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