Overhauling Public Service Delivery: The El-Rufai Example, By Mohammed Abubakar

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Governor Sani Bello Appoints Acting Head of Service

Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has appointed Alhaji Yabagi A. Sule as the acting Head of Service (HOS) of the State Civil Service.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace in Minna yesterday, said Sule replaced Alhaji Mohammed Maude Lapai who proceeds on terminal leave with immediate effect.

The 57-year-old seasoned technocrat joined the Niger State Civil Service on the 1st of April 1986 and rose through the ranks before he was appointed Permanent Secretary on the 22nd of May, 2012.

A product of famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, Sule, is from Bida in Bida Local Government Area of the state. He had served in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Local Government Service Commission as Permanent Secretary.

On September 14, 2015, the acting head of service was posted to the Office of the Head of Service as Permanent Secretary (Establishment) before his new appointment.

Meanwhile Gov. Sani Bello has thanked the out going Head of Service, Alhaji Lapai for his contributions to the growth of the state civil service, especially during the recent rationalisation of the service last year.

The governor prayed and wished the former Head of Service well in his new endeavours.

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Sokoto Gets New Head of Service, Three Additional Perm Secs

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has approved the appointment of Dr. Buhari bello Kware PhD as the new Head of Civil Service of Sokoto State.

A statement issued in Sokoto by the Governor’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, said the appointment followed the retirement of the immediate past Head of Service, Alhaji Bature Shinkafi, who retired from service after reaching the mandatory 35 years in service.

It said the new appointee was born on 1st June 1960 in Kware LGA of Sokoto State. He graduated from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto with a Bachelor’s Degree, Masters Degree and PhD in History.

He joined the unified local government service on April 26, 1988 as Personnel Officer. He transferred to State Service under the then Admin and Home Affairs Department in 1996.

He held a number of Administrative positions in the state which include Sole Administrator Kware LGA, Principal Secretary, Government House, Pioneer Secretary Local Government Pension Board, Executive Secretary State Scholarship Board, among others.

He was appointed as Permanent Secretary on 26th February, 2007.

Similarly, following the recent retirement of some Permanent Secretaries from the state Civil Service, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has approved the appointment of the following officers as Permanent Secretaries in the State Civil service. They are:

1. Bande Muhammad Rikina: Born on 19th July 1966, he hails from Rikina in Dange Shuni LGA. He is a graduate of Fort Hays State University, USA with a Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degree in Political Science. His last appointment was Director, State Executive Council.?

2. Abubakar Sahabi Bello: Born on 14th October 1964, and hails from Shagari LGA, he hold a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto. Until this appointment, he was the Director of Administration in the state Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.?

3. Al-Mustapha Othman Ali: Born on 1st July 1963, Al-mustapha is an indigene of Sokoto North LGA. He holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1988. He last posting was Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the state Ministry of Health.?

While congratulating the new appointees, the statement urged them to be innovative and key into the vision of the present administration to provide quality service to the people of Sokoto State.

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Fire Service Sector, A New Face In Niger State By Abdullberqy Ebbo

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, for those who’ve followed his government with unsentimental interests, has done quite a lot and much more than his colleagues in other States. The truth is, even though the government hasn’t made noise about its activities, the administration hit the ground running. And if a proper channel of authenticating achievements in different sectors is in place, it’s easy for Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to be placed above other governors in his quick responses to social, economic and administrative challenges.

Out of the matrix of abandoned projects inherited by Governor Sani bello is the fire service sector which has claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed properties worth millions.

This dehuamnising state of our firefighting system is a consequence of the past 16 years of absolute insensitivity to the basic needs of the people by a government that didn’t bother to recognize the sacrifice fire fighters make every day to safe guard lives and properties of the people, registering injustice against humanity. Perhaps the key players in the past governments did not bother to ponder the statistical growth of how their obsessions with misappropriating funds allocated to critical sectors such as fire service have ruined lives and claimed properties of the common people.

Governor Sani Bello deviated from the normal tradition of neglecting developmental issues and took the courage to do that which is right and good. Today our Fire Service sector is witnessing a profound change in the positive direction.

The pictures below is the ongoing total renovation of Fire Service Station along Bosso road with procured Fire Fighting Vehicles, this project is targeting the entire 25 Local Government Areas of the State

May God Guide Our Leaders To Do That Which Is Right And Good.

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Abdullberqy U. Ebbo

SSA, Information and Communication Technology to Niger State Governor.

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GTBank Launches Innovative Service Delivery Channel – Bank 737

Over the last few weeks, Nigerians all over the country have been faced with the question; Whatisthe737? From billboards to hash tags and radio hypes.

Introduced by Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Bank 737 is more than just well rhyming numbers; it’s a simple, smart, and safe way to bank anytime, anywhere and on any device. Imagine if opening an account was as simple as dialing a number from your mobile phone or transferring funds was as easy as sending a text message, or paying bills could be done at any time of the day, even long after banking hours. Imagine if you need to make an urgent transfer online and your data just ran out and you don’t have your hardware token to complete the transaction. Truth is, at some point or the other we have all experienced those moments when we wished banking could be as simple as ABC’s and 123’s. Well, in this case, GTBank has made it as simple as 737.

In recent years, mobile phones have made life easier! You can now shop online, watch movies, surf the internet, play games, chat with loved ones, share and download information with the simple push of a button. While mobile penetration has witnessed an impressive growth in Nigeria, Internet proliferation hasn’t experienced similar success, owing largely to the cost of data. Built on a USSD interface, GTBank’s 737 banking is phone agnostic and works on any type of mobile phone and does not require internet access or registration protocols. With GTBank’s Bank 737, your mobile phone is now a service channel for all your banking needs. Users simply have to dial the short USSD *737# code on any mobile device to experience a new world of simple banking.

With Bank 737, GTBank customers can perform banking functions such as transfers to all Banks in Nigeria, check account balance, open a GTBank account, buy airtime, pay bills, BVN linking, token code generation, card less withdrawals and lots more from their mobile phones.

Commenting on the launch of the product, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc said; “The launch of this product marks another milestone in our quest to make banking truly simple for our customers. We remain firm on our objective to deliver banking products and services tailored to meet the diverse needs of our ever-growing customer base by leveraging technology to make banking faster, safer and more accessible for all our customers.”

GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions in Nigeria and across its subsidiary countries. The bank is renowned for its innovative financial solutions, superior financial performance, world class corporate governance standards and excellent service delivery. The bank’s latest E-payment service, known as the 737 banking, is considered a veritable alternative to in-branch banking as it offers a faster, safer and more convenient way to perform financial transactions.

 

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Kogi Governor Sacks Head Of Service, Appoints Igbo Man, Four Others

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has appointed Barrister Moses Okezie as Senior Special Assistant on Speech Writing, Research and Documentary.

Barrister Okezie who hailed from Imo State was part of the five new political appointees by the Governor.

Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Folashade Ayoade in a statement Wednesday in Lokoja, listed others appointees as; Barr. Justina Abanida from Yagba West Local government area, Chairman, Kogi State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, and Alhaji Yakubu Oseni from Okene Local government area as Chairman, Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue.

The statement also announced arch. Robert Achanya as Director- General, Bureau of Public Private Partnership while Mr. Emmanuel Odiniya who hails from Olamaboro Local government area is to serve as Chairman, Bureau of Local Government Pension.

The statement which said the appointment takes immediate effect said their appointment was an efforts by the Governor to position his government to ensure equitable distribution of dividends of democracy in the state.

In a related development, the State Head of Service has been placed on 30 days compulsory leaves. The SSG also said the compulsory leave of the HOS follows a directive from the Governor, Yahaya Bello.

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Benue Internal Revenue Service: Measuring In The Negative By Adah Ocholi

…And yet another set of BIRS staff were beaten up in Adikpo. From protest march to Government House, it has now become a street affair. Something is obviously wrong. I supported and voted Samuel Ortom to become Governor. I don’t want to regret doing that but some of his lieutenants are making me want to. Peculiar to this situation is the Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) who in her revenue drive has resorted to scare tactics of oppression and intimidation and has successfully thrown the private sector in Benue State into a fever.

 

With Revenue generation and security as one of the 5 pillars of the Samuel Ortom administration, it is pivotal in view of dwindling federal allocation. In repositioning BIRS, Mimi Orubibi was the chosen vessel in the pack of many hopefuls. Few months down the line, businesses are suffocating and gasping for air. The new sherrif in town is not only ruthless but also merciless in her quest to satisfy the agreement signed. Under the prevailing economic circumstances, raising 1.5bn in a largely civil servant state is a mirage or a dream too big to achieve immediately but Mimi Orubibi thinks it’s possible. The two pronged approach: While the Governor emphasizes that government cannot employ people but encourages people to open new businesses, she will turn in with the tax receipts on such businesses. Perfect plan but not long after she hit the road, it’s almost chaotic in the business community just as intending business owners are weary of starting one. In spite of this, certain negative developments have made it difficult for one to peruse the direction of the revenue drive if indeed its meant for the state or for servicing private pockets.

 

Littered all over town are folks in branded shirts moving from shop to shop, flashing one consultancy ID card or another. Brisk Global Concepts, Mabeni Integrated Concepts Limited, Pinikson Empire Limited, Orsolian Nigeria Limited, the most dreaded Agundu Ventures Nigeria Limited and many others. These are the new faces of tax consultancy in Benue State. In very spectacular fashion, revenue collection has been parcelled out to them for different sectors in different zones while some for the entire state. In the currently distressed condition of the finances of the state, an elder statesman mentioned that “as much as it is possible, government should embark on direct labour in the pursuit of her programmes and projects…” This obviously fell on deaf ears. In these days of bailout, are consultants really the way to go? I thought that government will heed to this advice especially with the handsome innovation of the widely celebrated P.O.S machine. How then did we end up with consultants? After the Kpojime committee report, we thought BIRS will refrain from awarding contracts but we have consultants today with contracts awarded for revenue collection. How were the contracts awarded? Was it open and competitive? What are the terms of their contracts? What percentage of the total income is their pay? What is the pedigree of these companies? Have they been in the business of revenue generation and for how long? To borrow a leaf, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Assembly is clear about its intention to terminate her contract with SystemSpecs, the revenue officers for the Treasury Single Account. Basic reason is the huge sum charged for each transaction done on behalf of the FG.  How then do we go ahead in Benue to adopt such a harmful practise that is being discarded by the FG?

 

More appalling is the fact that one of the companies mentioned above is operated by a social media cabal that rooted for the appointment of Mimi Orubibi as BIRS Chairman. Then comes the question of pedigree. It is now clear for all to see, the source of the social media campaign for Mimi Orubibi that named her “tax amazon”. This is indeed further attestation that our society has lost its value in the youth. In our world today where money, power and fame has become the order of the day, examples as these should serve as pointers to the bleak future that we are to behold. These have reduced the credibility of todays BIRS and in effect, the sincerity of the Ortom administration.

 

BIRS and her agents have in the past few weeks locked the business community in a quadrangle of undertaxation, overtaxation, multiple taxation and fake/wrong taxation. Acting in uncoordinated manner, consultants of BIRS have showered down a cache of documents that have led to the exposure of their unpreparedness to help Governor Ortom record the needed milestones in revenue generation and revenue security. A simple example is that of the Environmental Development Charges/Levy (EDC/L). This charge/levy is payable on every business location or site and is done annually. Under the widely quoted and circulated Benue State gazette No. 17, Vol. 40 of 23rd April 2015, the law mandated the Benue State Environmental Sanitation Agency (BENSESA) to collect the Environmental Development Levy as stated on page A67, category B, subhead 310 to the tune of N20,000 only per annum. BENSESA has done the needful as businesses in this tax category have received demand notices and are on course by complying with necessary payments. BIRS under Mimi Orubibi, in its quest to meet up the 1.5bn agreement with Gov. Ortom has commissioned Mabeni Integrated Concepts Limited of No. 4 Lushakya Anja street Old GRA MAkurdi to collect this levy at an inflated rate of N75,000. This amounts to over 275% increase in the original and legally approved rate. As though that was not exploitative enough, BIRS through Mabeni Integrated Concepts Limited has gone beyond the provisions of the law to go ahead and impose a N20,000 Environmental Development Levy on all hotels in the state when in reality, hotels are not listed to pay the levy under that subhead in the gazette. This levy is peculiar to manufacturing, processing, fabricating, milling, packaging and refining companies.  Pages A67- A69 of the gazette is clear on this. To further complicate the matter, the mode of payment has generated immediate cause to worry. The spirit behind revenue security is meant to prevent public funds from entering private pockets but BIRS is supervising and promoting the payment of monies into a private account on her behalf. The authority on the demand notice requested that payment be made to a personal account in Sterling Bank of a certain Tyo U. Kenneth. Who is fooling who? This again brings to mind the essence of the P.O.S machines. In a widely celebrated fashion, one thought that these machines were an end to the much publicized siphoning of funds but here we are faced with the same scenario they set out to prevent and now on a larger scale. One might be left to refer to these companies as phony creations and conduit pipes to extort money which in every sense is a well-coordinated racket.

 

Going further, agents of BIRS Tax Consultants Orsolian Nigeria Limited, located at No. 3 Aii Iyenge close off David Mark bye pass have made life unbearable for business owners as they slammed a N25,000 tax on businesses that operate with generators for “toxic emission”. Up standing companies like WaterFirst, Steam Fast, Country Suites and a few others who just bought brand new generators are also expected to pay this tax. This tax comes without proof of toxic emissions or toxicology report from any government approved chemist/laboratory that gives credit to such claims.

 

In another twist, fiery looking men acting on the authority of BIRS Tax Consultants Pinikson Empire Limited located at No. 6 Uhool Gyuse street, Judges Quarters have put a fresh financial burden on the business community in Benue State with inflated figures for registration and renewal of business premises. From my analysis, they don’t have staff with basic arithmetic foundation as required by SSCE and some of them are either confused or are yet to clearly identify the basic differences between a Public Liability Company and a Limited Liability Company. The company has interchanged and in some cases inflated the rates stated on pages A46 and A47 of the Benue State gazette No. 17, Vol. 40 of 23rd April 2015. In a particular case, they charged a Limited Liability Company the sum of N20,000 for registration and renewal of business premises. According to the gazette, the rate for registration is N6000 and rate for renewal is pegged at 50% of registration rate hence N3000. This means a Limited Liability Company operating in its first year will pay only registration fee at N6000. Subsequently, it would only be renewed at N3000 per annum. The remark on page A46 subhead 49 states that “decree 21 of 1988 limits cost of business registration in urban centres to a maximum of N10,000”. How then does BIRS through Pinikson Empire Limited charge over 120% (N20,000) of the total cost of registration and renewal combined (N9000)? Are businesses supposed to be registered and renewed in the same year? In a remarkable display of lack of pedigree and experience, they sheepishly undertaxed another Limited Liability Company by requesting for N5000 as payment for registration of business premises as against the N6000 stated in the gazette (if the company was operating in its first year). This same amount of N5000 represents overtaxation if it were for renewal as the fee for renewal is N3000 only. It is clear that this agency is confused, lacks expertise, is in dire need of help and cannot support the revenue security agenda of the Samuel Ortom administration. Even if Benue was for sale, it would have been sold to a smarter outfit rather than these rag-tag tax consultants. We are witnessing the broad daylight mortgaging of our state.

 

In a move that defiles common sense and elementary thinking, some muscular young men claiming to be agents of Brisk Global Concepts Ltd acting on the authority of BIRS are terrorizing artisans in Makurdi claiming to be the authority commissioned to enforce collection of revenue from all artisans for 2016. Unfortunately, none had their ID cards save for some branded T shirts hence, many artisans wet skeptical about transacting with them. That notwithstanding, they thundered down their threats in their request for N1500 as artisans fee for 2016 whereas page A72 of the Benue State gazette No. 17 Vol. 40 of 23rd April 2015 pegs the fee at N1000 only. In this case, we have a diabolic mixture of no identification, overtaxation and intimidation. Just when one thought that the days of Spacco were over, there is fear that the worst might be in the offing. If this can be going on untamed in the centre of Makurdi town, how then does one argue that “amnestified” Ghana is not a revenue collector in Zone A? Up till now, unruly unemployed young men are still collecting “marching ground” across town.

 

Two things are seen to be uniform amongst all these phony consultants: Their staff are muscular able bodied people and their ultimatum for payment is either 7 days or 14 days from receipt of dead notice. While the bill boards of BIRS spread across town are clearly saying “Pay Small Small”, her consultants are saying “Pay Now Now”.

 

Time and space may not allow for all allegations of irregularities to be registered but there is need to state in very clear and unambiguous terms that thus far, the body language of some key officers of this administration has failed the public test and has belittled the Ortom administration, making it to resemble in every sense, a failure hitherto. BIRS is todays example but a look around some MDA’s will make it more convincing. For the record, Benue people are now trooping to Lafia to renew car papers and drivers’ licenses. Yet again, are BIRS consultants empowered by law to check vehicles on the road? What has happened to the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO)? This is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

As the authorities enjoy the momentary pleasure of their mental orgasm, the reality will dawn on the entire administration when in the end, the targeted and agreed 1.5bn remains unachievable due only to bad approach, anti-people strategies and arrogance on the part of the leadership of BIRS. There is a clear indication that if this rapid thrust of anti-people strategies is sustained, very few new businesses will come up, many existing ones will fold up, the burden of the millions of unemployed will remain unabated and revenue generation will remain at today’s sorry state.  For over 2 weeks, a question as simple as “how much is BIRS generating per month?” was left unanswered until Gov. Ortom himself mentioned on radio that they generated N500m for the month of January. Going further, rumours are filtering in that unless the issue of percentage for the BIRS authorities is addressed, the job will be left to suffer. This is an internal attempt at sabotage. Gov. Ortom must take note of this as well.

 

The worrisome part of this quagmire is that the board has been left to roost without due diligence from the Chairman who in autocratic style has courted the functions of the board. Many times one tends to wonder why men like Nanevwua Clement Uhondo, Terkaa Gemade, Jack Ajene and about 11 others will permit such brazen rape of the people but more details have emerged that point to the fact that Mimi does not consult the board in her activities. As a matter of fact, since inauguration, the board has never met. Some members have decided to go to court to seek for interpretation of the letter of appointment they were given since they seem not to have any job to do.

 

As much as she hates to hear it, Mimi needs strategic tutorials from former BIRS Chairman, Andrew Ayabam. It’s not easy to raise 1.5bn monthly in a state like Benue with a lean private sector and a larger population of consumers and very very few producers. Worst of all, the bulk of consumers depend solely from salaries and wages of the state government. How then does the business community willingly pay taxes when they have not sold to the bulk of its customers who derive their income from a government that is not paying salaries? Continuous neglect of basic and common sense is what has added BIRS to the infamous list of “protest causing agencies” in Benue State as Okada men continuously vent out their anger. No matter how lawful, right, correct and proper the taxes, the strategy of receiving them is by every sense anti-people and must be condemned.

 

In modern climes, people are encouraged to pay tax when they have seen their taxes at work. For the ordinary Benue man to wake up and pay his tax willingly will require more advocacy, excellence and proactiveness on the part of government towards the plight of the ordinary man rather than the display of ignorance and arrogance we behold and is threatening to finally deplete the remnant of goodwill the Ortom administration has. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The Governor is, will and cannot stop suffering from the consequences of this rubbish.

 

Adah Ocholi wrote from Makurdi, Benue State.

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FG Uncovers 23,000 Ghost Workers In Civil Service

The Federal Government has discovered about 23, 000 ghost workers in the federal civil service, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed on Thursday.

Mrs. Adeosun, who appeared before the senate committee said the discovery, was made possible due to the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN).

She said the introduction of the BVN exposed the failure of the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to effectively deal with the issue of ghost workers in the federal civil service adding the investigation is still ongoing and it will be concluded in a month’s time.

According to her, the civil servants connived with some banks to perpetrate the fraud, assuring that they would be handed over to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

The Minister also vowed to ensure that the banks that connived with the workers to pad the Federal government payroll are going to be prosecuted too.

?Her words, “We will not only sack them, we will ensure the recovery of the money they have been collecting over the years from the Federal government.”

Adeosun said further that that IPPIS was? able to register only 295,000 in five years to deal with issue of ghost workers but with advent of BVN over 320,000 have been registered within three months.

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Dapo Balogun Introduces Revolutionary Taxi Service to Nigeria

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Fresh Recruitment Scam Uncovered In Nigeria Immigration Service

The Nigeria Immigration Service has again engaged in a fresh illegal recruitment of 300 personnel, the slots of which was shared among the top management officials.

Investigations on Sunday indicated that the personnel who were on inspector cadre (levels 1-8), were employed in December, 2015.

Sources stated that the personnel were placed on various ranks, including Inspector, Assistant Inspector, Immigration Assistant and Chief Immigration Assistant.

It was learnt that the beneficiaries of the illegal recruitment had been enrolled in the NIS payroll and had been paid their January 2016 salaries.

A source said, “The personnel were engaged during the Christmas holidays but no letter of appointment was given out, apparently to prevent the secret recruitment from being leaked. They called it replacement, which is another name for illegal recruitment.

“The 300 slots were shared among the top management team from the ACGs upwards. Some got two slots, some got six, depending on your rank.

“The names of their preferred candidates or applicants were submitted along with their account details and they were placed on levels 1-8. They have been paid their January salaries, as we speak.”

A former Comptroller-General of Immigration, David Parradang, was suspended by the Federal Government in August,2015 for allegedly recruiting 1,600 personnel in violation of extant laws.

Parradang was found to have issued appointment letters to 700 Assistant Inspectors of Immigration as well as 900 Immigration Assistants III into the NIS without approval.

Parradang’s suspension led to the appointment of the current CG, Martin Abeshi, who was said to have engaged the 300 personnel with the approval of the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Board.

When contacted on Sunday, the NIS Public Relations Officer, Ekpedeme King, said he could not confirm the recruitment exercise. “I am not aware of this,” he stated over the telephone.

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Funds Looted From Nigeria In The Last Five Years Enough To Service 3 Annual Budgets – EFCC Boss

The Chairman of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said that the funds looted from Nigeria in the last five years is enough to fund three years budget of the country.

He stated this yesterday during an informal meeting with Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka in Ikeja, Lagos State.

Magu used the occasion of the meeting to discuss his plans for a renewed clampdown on corrupt officials in Nigeria.

Earlier at the meeting, Mr. Soyinka bantered with the EFCC chairman, at one point wishing him “good luck, but not that other one.”

Mr. Magu was accompanied by some of his aides.

The Nobel laureate expressed his unfettered support to Mr. Magu, urging him to do all the right things necessary to arrest the culture of impunity and corruption in the country.

Mr. Soyinka remarked about the probe of procurement contracts for the military and the arrest of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

He also made reference to former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is currently in the UK undergoing treatment for cancer, stating that her health had been used to milk public sympathy.

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Why We Handcuffed Metuh – Prisons Service

The Nigeria Prisons Service has said that putting handcuffs on the National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh while appearing for his trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday was at the discretion of the prison officer, who supervised his court appearance.

The NPS spokesman, Francis Enobore, said the officer in charge of the escort that took Metuh to court was at liberty to determine if the inmate should be handcuffed based on security situation, the environment and intelligence report made available to him.

Enobore made the clarification following comments in the media and by PDP, that putting handcuffs on Metuh is a plot by the All Progressives congress -led to subdue the major opposition party.

Enobore, in a telephone interview, stated that Metuh was not maltreated in any way, stressing that handcuffing an inmate was a standard procedure, which the prison warden could employ based on the situation at hand.

He said, “Handcuffing an inmate is at the discretion of the officer in-charge, depending on the security situation, the environment and intelligence report available to the officer. Sometimes they look at the atmosphere and take the necessary decision.

“If you suspect that the atmosphere, security-wise, may not be conducive to the inmates in your custody, you can use handcuffs; to avoid a situation where you have to start telling stories, you use your discretion to study the environment and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the inmates in your custody.

“Remember that we not only try to secure the inmate from escaping, we equally provide protection for the inmate. The officer in-charge must ensure that the life of the inmate is not jeopardised. It is the officer in-charge of the escort that studies the security environment and takes the decision to use handcuffs.”

Asked if there was intelligence that Metuh might escape or was in danger of being harmed, Enobore said he did not know because he was not at the scene.

He dismissed suggestions that the PDP spokesman was handcuffed to please the Presidency, saying there was no political consideration in the treatment of inmates by the prisons service.

Justice Abang had, on January 15, ordered the accused person to be remanded in Kuje Prison shortly after his arraignment on seven counts of money laundering preferred against him by the EFCC.

The EFCC alleged in the charges that Metuh, who was arraigned along with a firm, Destra Investments Ltd, received N400m, part of the money meant for the procurement of arms, from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.

The EFCC alleged in the case, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016, that Metuh and Destra, through their account with Diamond Bank Plc, collected the sum of N400m from the NSA office on November 22, 2015, for PDP’s campaign activities.

The prosecution also alleged that the N400m was “part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity” of the immediate past NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

It alleged that Metuh and Destra transferred the sum of N21.8m to Anenih and they (Metuh and Destra) thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

The judge ordered on Tuesday that Metuh should not be released from custody until he met the bail conditions.

But in granting him bail on Tuesday, the judge dismissed EFCC’s objection to the application, ruling that the allegation that Metuh destroyed his statement and attempted to influence potential witnesses while in the custody of the anti-graft agency, was not substantiated.

Justice Abang added, “The truth of this allegation has not been established. The prosecution said that he, the first defendant, if granted bail, will try to influence potential witnesses.

“In my humble view, this is speculative. The court of law cannot act on speculation.

“The alleged conduct of the first defendant while in custody of the EFCC cannot be used as a factor or taken into consideration in refusing the bail to the first defendant.”

He said the offences that Metuh was accused of were bailable and that the accused still enjoyed constitutional right to being presumed innocent until proved guilty.

Metuh was arrested by the EFCC on January 5 and remained in the custody of the anti-graft agency till when he was arraigned on January 15.

The judge however dismissed the second prayer contained in Metuh’s bail application seeking an order restraining the EFCC from re-arresting him after being granted bail.

Metuh’s separate fundamental human rights enforcement suit is scheduled to come up for hearing before Justice Abang on Wednesday (today).

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