How States Spent Their Bailout Funds… 16 states Yet To Disburse N57.6bn

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), working in concert with the Nigeria Labour Congress, made good its resolve to monitor the bailout funds for the offset of salary arrears loaned to twenty seven states of the Federal Republic as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the conclusion of the monitoring exercise, the commission hereby wishes to issue, for public notice, the report of the exercise.  The commission also will not hesitate to provide updates to this report where applicable.

It is important to note that the monitoring exercise report and probable updates are being released to the public by ICPC to foster understanding between workers and the state governments by providing a transparent process that eliminates information gaps that often lead to rumour-mongering.  The Commission is convinced that this will promote a healthy atmosphere for interaction between the parties on the matter.

Introduction

As part of the Federal Government’s effort to end the lingering crisis of unpaid worker’s salaries in most states of the federation, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a comprehensive relief package designed to salvage the situation through the Central Bank of (CBN)’s Special Intervention Fund which offered states soft loans solely for the purpose of paying the backlog of salaries.

Benefiting states

Whereas the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is yet to officially confirm this to the Commission, the twenty-seven benefiting states from the open sources are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara states.

Following strident allegations of diversion of these bailout funds and to avoid industrial unrest, ICPC, in collaboration with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), decided to monitor the disbursement of the bailout funds in the 27 benefiting states. However; relying on available resources, we could only cover twenty-three states as follows:

Adamawa: Total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emoluments was N9,578,360,000.00. The state received N9,578,360,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N2,378,360,000.00 with a balance of N7,200,000.00.  The reason for the slow process of off-setting the debt was not provided at the time of this report. However, the state claimed not to owe outstanding salaries as at September 2015.

Bauchi: Total debt value accruing from staff salaries and emoluments was N14,820,775,109.50. The state received N8,609,100,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N8,414, 088,383. 26 with a balance of N195,011,616.74. The state claimed not to owe salaries as at September 2015.

Benue: Total debt accruing from staff salaries and emoluments amounted to N12,503, 439,787.48 The state received N12,503,439,787.48 as bailout fund and disbursed N10,852,536,702.96 with a balance of N1,650,903,084.52 Analysis of the documents submitted revealed a double payment of N37,760,000.00 in favour of the office of the Deputy Governor.  This double payment is presently being investigated.

Cross River State is yet to submit her actual debt profile. The state received N7,856,400,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N3,140,883,,040.77 with a balance of N4,715,516,959.23 However the state claimed not to have outstanding salaries to workers as at 19/11/2015.

Ekiti State’s total debt accrued from staff salaries and emolument of N3,000,266,146.64 The state received N9,604,340,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N9,213,816,252.55 with a balance of N390,613,747.56. The state owed one month salary as at 28th October, 2015.

Katsina State: Total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emoluments of N11,086,630,000.00  The  state received N11,086,620,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N2,512,214,530.71 with a balance of N8,574,415,469.29. The state claimed to have cleared all outstanding salaries as at 18th February 2016.

Gombe State has a total value accrued from salaries and staff emolument of N9,222,432,872.67. A total sum of N11,000,000,000.00 was granted to the state as bailout and it disbursed N6,321,684,423.67 with a balance of N4,678,315,576.33. The state claimed it did not owe salaries as at September 2015.

Kogi State claimed no to have received bailout funds approved for the state by the Federal Government as at 8th August 2015.

Nasarawa State received N8,317,167,368.87 in two tranches of N3,956,047,519.60 and N4,361,119,848.27 as bailout fund and disbursed N3,956,047,519.60 with a balance of N4,361,119,848.27. The state claimed not to have paid local government workers’ salaries due to an on-going verification exercise.

Niger State received N4,396,810,000.00 as bailout fund and the entire amount was claimed to have been expended in offsetting salary debts.

Ondo State’s total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emoluments and was put at N23,151,324,517.39. The state received N9,443,053,226.92 as bailout fund and disbursed N7,905,484,176.60 with a balance of N1537,575,050.32. The state owes one month salary and several months arrears of gratuity (and) pension as at 30th September 2015.

Osun State received N34,988,990,000.00 bailout fund N18,677,244,582.20 was disbursed leaving a balance  of N16,311,765,418 billion as at November 2015 the Commission is verifying allegation that osun state public servants have only been paid salaries up to July 2015.­–­

Ogun State received N180,916,208,664.86 as bailout fund. The state claimed to have expended the entire sum of salary arrears and did not owe worker as at 9th October, 2015.

Plateau State’s total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emoluments of N5,090,251,996,39. The state received N5,357,570,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N5,330,589,061.15 with a balance of N26,980,938.85. The state owes two months salaries as at 30th September, 2015.

Sokoto State’s total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emolument including pension, severance and gratuity of N3,488,11.165.77. The state was granted N10,093,370,000.00 as bailout fund and was yet to disburse as at the 19thOctober, 2015.

Kwara State received the sum of N4,320,950,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N4,291,087,985.08 for staff salaries and emoluments with a balance of N29,862,014.92 The state claimed to have cleared all outstanding salaries as at 20th October 2015.

Bayelsa State applied for the sum of N1,285,000,000.00 and had concluded disbursement formalities. But the central bank of Nigeria was yet to release the said fund to the state as at 18th December 2015.

Imo State applied for and received bailout funds of N26,806,430,000.00 from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was domiciled in two commercial banks, namely Fidelity and Zenith Bank. In the course of analysis, it was discovered that some transfers were made into certain Imo State Government accounts, which are not related to salaries and emoluments as follows:

i N2 billion into a Government House account

ii N2 billion into an Imo State project account

iii N2 billion transferred to a micro finance bank

iv A management fee of N21,017,810.00 was paid into an unspecified account.

Zamfara State requested for the sum of N32,512,495,183.27  bailout funds and received the sum of N10,020,052,964.51 After careful analysis of the document provided and interaction with the Nigerian labour leaders in Zamfara State by ICPC staff, it was revealed that the state was not owing civil servants and pensioners any arrears as at the time the Federal Government released the bailout funds.

The state government, in order to utilise the funds, made overture to the Zamfara State House of Assembly requesting to the funds to settle some liabilities amounting to N10,020, 751,072.98 as follows:

*Outstanding payment to 14 LGS of the state:                                             N4,262,560,629.85

* Outstanding payment of fertilizer for 2014 farming season                   N3,056,300,000.00

* Outstanding certificate for construction of Bungudu Nahuche Kyabarawa Road 22.6km N265,256,342.76

* Outstanding certificate of Hostel Block at Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, T/Mafara N55,000,000.00

* Payment of outstanding cost of vehicle supplied to state                        N19,430,000.00

* Outstanding certificate of construction work at K/Namoda Juma’at Mosque N20,479,109.39

* Outstanding certificate of Contraction work at Emir’s Palace Gusau:   N6,020,000.00

* Share of 14 local government coucil’s bailout                               N2,035,705,000.00.

The Zamfara State House of Assembly passed a resolution for the utilization of the funds on the above items, which was communicated in the Secretary to the State Government vide letter ZMHA/LEG/089/V.1/13 dated 31st August 2015.

Enugu State has a total debt value accruing from salaries and emolument of N13,764,622,725.38 and N23,279,099,157.58 as domestic debt. The State was granted N10,174,238,681.49 as bailout fund as at 16th November 2015. Analysis of the documents submitted revealed that the state disbursed N5,967,238,681.19 from the bailout fund to settle domestic debts and claimed that funds for the payments of state salaries and emoluments was not yet assessed.

Oyo State’s total debt value accruing from staff salaries and emoluments is N26,606,944,831.03. The state was granted N26,606,944,831.03 as bailout fund and disbursed N25,495,295,292,422.63 with a balance of N1,111,652,408.40. The state owes four-month salaries as at 7th April, 2016.

Delta State has a total debt value accruing from staff salaries and emoluments of N36,417,217,601.53 The state was granted N10,936,799,299.36 as bailout fund and disbursed N8,129,888,279.86 with a balance of N2,806,911,019.50. However, the state claimed not to owe salaries as at 24th November 2015.

Kebbi State’s total debt value accruing from staff salaries and emoluments is N8,778,594,714.78. The  state received N7,080,000,000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N2,617,152,577.20 with a balance of N4,463,975,420.27. The state claimed to have cleared all outstanding arrears on salaries as at September 2015.

NOTE:

The report indicates findings at the dates indicated above for each state. Subsequent changes may have taken place thereafter, which the various states and Nigerian Labour Congress are at liberty to bring to our notice for verification and further comments as the need arises.

This report is published to assist all parties eliminate unsubstantiated allegations and promote peaceful negotiations and understanding in the management of government processes.

This report comes under ICPC prevention mandate and states are welcomes to use this initiative.

ICPC Hqtrs, Abuja

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Naij.com Report On The State Of Governance In Akwa Ibom State: A Rejoinder, By Inibehe Effiong

Dear Naij.com Editor,

I write to draw your attention to a misleading report published on your site on Monday the 18th of April, 2016 on the current state of governance in Akwa Ibom State under governor Udom Emmanuel.

While re-publishing an investigative report originally published by Sahara Reporters on the new lavish mansion built by governor Udom Emmanuel within few months in office, you made a very wrong appraisal of the governor’s “performance” by crediting non-existent projects to his administration.

Precisely, the last two paragraphs of your report states thus:

“The banker-turned-politician is redefining how governance should be in Nigeria. Perhaps because of his extensive background in the private sector, Governor Emmanuel has started on a bright note.”

“Among his achievements so far are the commissioning of a led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu.

Sir, this is not correct.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu”, or in any part of the State.

I am an indigene of the area (Itu). I can confirm to you on good authority without any fear of contradiction that the project(s) you reported as having been commissioned do not exist anywhere.

Sometime in July 2015, the governor performed a so-called “ground breaking” exercise of the purported Automobile Assembly Plant while he was still defending his election in the courts to convey the false impression that he was working and should be allowed to continue. It was a scam – until the contrary is proved.

The Israeli company (MIMSHAC Merkavim Transportation Technologies Plant) that was fronted by the governor for the setting up of the plant had since disappeared.

I have attached the photos of the current state of site of the so-called Automobile Assembly Plant in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State for your attention. You can see that there is nothing on the ground. The site has been overgrown by weeds. This is pure fraud. You can visit the site for verification if you doubt me.

As at today, the governor has obtained more than three credit facilities (loans) from commercial banks. Civil servants in some establishments and pensioners in Akwa Ibom State are being owed arrears of salaries and pensions, respectively. The State government has not commissioned any tangible project in the state since its inauguration on May 29, 2015. Nobody knows exactly what is going on in Akwa Ibom State, it seems the government is on sabbatical.

The above assertions are factual and verifiable. Given your wide readership, it is pertinent for the public not to be misled. I strongly recommend that subsequent appraisals of the government of Akwa Ibom State should be preceded by objective and dispassionate research and investigation.

On the purported second term advocacy by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, my simple response is that people are entitled to express their views. You will however agree with me that it is sheer sycophancy and utter nonsense for anyone to be campaigning for a second term for a governor that is yet to exhaust the first year of his first term in office.

The Nigerian public are very aware of the sham that took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015 in the name of an election. The verdict of local and international observers on the election is a matter of public knowledge. The judicial approval of that sham cannot obliterate the memories of Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians.

No court judgment can alter settled facts of history. It is therefore ludicrous and repugnant for anyone to be talking about a second term when the crisis of legitimacy of the first term is still hanging on the governor’s neck.

I am not writing this rejoinder because I believe that facts are sacred and should be respected. I urge you to avail members of the public the benefit of reading this rejoinder.

Please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.

Inibehe Effiong, Esq.

Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

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Kano State Govt. Considers Option For Proposed China Town – Gov. Ganduje

Kano state government wants alternative financiers for the construction of a proposed China town in the state capital, following the failure of some Chinese investors to execute the project, as agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding they signed with the government.

The state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who made this known while exchanging views with Chinese business men from Henan province, China on Tuesday, explained that the initial investors failed to meet up with the terms of the MOU.

It could be recalled that in early 2015, some Chinese financiers signed an MOU with the government, for the acquisition of 250 houses and 41 hectares of land at the Amana city, in Kano metropolis, to construct a China town adjacent to the city, at the cost of about N5 billion.

The governor, however, pointed out that the investors, who agreed to pay the money for the property acquired within three months reneged and started playing pranks.

“This made us to doubt whether they are really Chinese because we know people from that part of the world normally honour agreements”, the governor stressed.

Governor Ganduje therefore, urged the visitors to look into the possibility of investing in the projects as well as the abandoned Kanawa market, initiated by the Shekarau administration, in view of their potential for mutual economic benefit.

“Our doors are also open for you to invest in agriculture in Kano in view of our vast water resources and arable land. We shall create the enabling environment for you”, the governor assured, pointing out that his administration and indeed the Federal government under President Buhari are averse to corruption.

The leader of the delegation, Mr.Richard Lu, explained that they were impressed with the land they saw in Kano and would want to invest in agriculture, fertilizer production and irrigation as well as mining of Kaolin, a mineral found richly in Kano.

In another development, the Comptroller General, Federal Fire Service, Engr. Garba Joseph Anebi has visited Governor Ganduje, where he stressed commitment to work with the state government towards curbing fire outbreaks in the state.

He sympathized with the government over the recent fire incidents in the state, urging the government to take more positive states towards fire and disaster monument.

Earlier, the state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who thanked the visitor for his concern over the fire incidents in Kano and expressed readiness to work with the agency towards enhancing the capacity of the state Fire Service.

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#PanamaPaper Reveals How Ibori Used Delta State Funds To Acquire Offshore Properties

Former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, were among some prominent Africans named in a newly discovered secret offshore assets scam released by a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Details of how Mr. Ibori organised the looted funds were contained in a leak of about 11.5M secret documents owned by the Panama-based international law firm, which showed how world leaders, celebrities, athletes, FIFA officials and criminals hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.

Newsweek quoting the report disclosed that Ibori was linked to four offshore companies including Stanhope Investments, which he allegedly used to open a Swiss bank account. The account, it added, was used by Ibori to channel funds for the purchase of a $20m private jet.

Ibori, who is currently serving jail term in the United Kingdom after pleading guilty to fraud charges in 2012, enlisted his immediate family as beneficiaries of the offshore companies and foundations.

To hide his loot, Mr. Ibori, working through a Swiss asset management firm, Clamorgan S.A. in Geneva, established several offshore companies, including Stanhope Investments Limited,a foundation, Julex Foundation, and a trust, The Hopes Trust, enlisting himself, his wife and daughters as beneficiaries.

Clamorgan prides itself as a company that provides asset management, fiduciary services, immovable property administration, amongst others, and operates under the laws of Geneva, Switzerland.

The beneficiaries of Mr. Ibori’s Julex Foundation were Mr. Ibori himself; his wife, Theresa and some other believed to be his daughters: Obianuju, Ehriatake Ibori, Otonvwen, Eseoghene, Oberhili and Eguono.

In August 2003, Clamorgan S.A. applied for registration for Stanhope Investments Ltd. in the Pacific Island of Niue with initial shareholders’ capital of $50,000 at $1.00 per share, all held by Julex Foundation. A certificate of incorporation for Stanhope was issued by the Office of the Registrar of International Business Companies on August 11, 2003.

On behalf of Mr. Ibori, Clamorgan S.A. contacted Mossack Fonseca & Co. in Seychelles to act as the registered agents for Stanhope Investments Ltd.

Mr. Ibori then secured the services of Yvette Rogers and Francis Perez to act as nominee directors on his behalf. Nominee directors are usually appointed in tax havens to hide ownership of companies and assets.

Timeline of James Ibori's caseBoth Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Perez were staff of Mossack Fonseca. The two only signed forms as directors of the company, and they take direct instructions from shareholders — Julex Foundation, through Clarmorgan S.A.

Therefore, they had no discretion over the company’s activities, whatsoever.

Mr. Ibori hired Sebastian Thiery, a certified independent assets management consultant based in Switzerland as the signatory to the account of Julex Foundation. He operated the bank accounts on behalf of the Iboris.

When Mossack Fonseca resigned as the registered agent for Stanhope in Seychelles in 2012, the company transferred all Stanhope’s assets to Mr. Thiery.

The documents also showed that all the shares of Stanhope were issued in bearer form. According to Investopedia, bearer form means the security is traded without any record of ownership, so physical possession of the security is the sole evidence of ownership. Most securities issued today are in registered form.

The leaked papers linked Stanhope Investments, Julex Foundation, Financial Advisory Group Ltd. and Hunglevest Corporation as the four companies owned by Mr. Ibori in tax havens.

Other companies such as Borel and Barbey, a Swiss law firm, The Hopes Trust and Howard LLP in London also had links to Mr. Ibori.

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Kano State Govt Wants FG To Declare Sabon Gari Market Fire A National Disaster

Kano State Government has called on Federal Government to declare Sabon Gari Market Fire as a national disaster in view of its magnitude and multiplier effects on the economy of the country.

The called was made by the State Deputy Governor Prof Hafiz Abubakar when he received the Minister of Youth and Sports, Bar. Solomon Dalung in his office recently.

He noted that Sabon Gari Market is a business hub that attracts people from all over Nigeria and beyond.

Prof Hafiz Abubakar disclosed that over 4000 shops were Completely razed down with goods worth trillions of Naira.

He said many people lost their means of earning lively hood to the fire.

The Deputy Governor emphasized the need for Federal government to take urgent steps towards assisting the victims.

On youth development, Prof Hafiz Abubakar said Kano deserve special attention as 60% of state population are between the ages of 15 and 25 with 60 year old people accounting for only 15%.

He told the minister that currently the total primary school pupils in the state is 3 million with other 3 million in Quranic and Islamiyya schools while more 3 million are outside school.

Prof Hafiz Abubakar disclosed that the state government has, with support of donor agencies, initiated some programmes toward achieving it’s free and compulsory basic education to all children in the state.

He then thanked the minister for his love and concern for the people of the state.

Earlier, the Minister Bar Solomon Dalung said he was in Kano to commiserate with the Government and people of Kano over the death of the mother of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the Sabon Gari fire incident.

He noted the the Sabon Gari Market fire affects many business people within and outside the state.

The minister commended Kano State Government for its effort to ensure that the affected people gets succor within shortest time.

He also noted government recent effort of ensuring religious harmony and tolerance among different religious groups in the state.

Meanwhile the 9 man Sabon Gari Market traders committee set up by the government on recent fire disaster has submitted it’s report.

Submitting the report the secretary of the committee Alhaji Abdulkadir Bala Madigawa commended Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for his government concern and efforts towards addressing the plight of the business community in the state.

Responding the deputy governor assured them that all shop owners will be allowed to rebuild their places with guidance of engineers. While effort was on top gear towards resettlement of small traders at temporary sites.

He charged them to hasten the compilation of names of the affected traders to enable government complete it’s arrangements.

Prof Hafiz Abubakar also assured them that will look into their recommendations with a view to implement them.

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Genocide In Benue And The Strange Response of The Nigerian State By Bemdoo Hulugh

It is no longer news that about 15 Local Governments in Benue state are affected by the on-going invasion and occupation by armed fulani herdsmen (Agatu remains the most affected). These attacks by herdsmen did not spare women or children. In some instances a whole family has been wiped out. It is so sad that these poor villagers have been forced out of their homes by armed herdsmen to take refuge in classrooms and open fields while their homes are now occupied by herdsmen and their cattle. It is even more sad and annoying that the Nigerian State is doing little or nothing about it.

Beginning with the State government, The Governor has not been speaking clear enough or at most only laments about the situation. He has failed to tell us what exactly he is doing to make sure these armed herdsmen are neutralised so that displaced people can go back home. At the moment of writing this piece, the governor has not visited Agatu or any of the troubled communities.

Our President on the other hand has been eloquently silent. It took the presidency days to release a statement after about six communities in Agatu were completely burnt down by these armed fulani herdsmen. According to the president’s spokesman, the president ordered an investigation but more and more villages continue to come under attack and this is evident in the number of IDP camps that have been opened since this statement was made. I will not be far from the truth if I accuse the president of sitting and doing nothing as armed fulani herdsmen commit genocide in the Benue valley.

Our security and law enforcement agencies are also acting strange. The Inspector General of Police visited Benue and remained in the State’s capital city of Makurdi but went back to tell the world that the killings in Agatu was exaggerated. There are still dead bodies littered in those communities that are under siege and those displaced can’t go back home but the number one police officer is saying the Agatu massacre has been exaggerated. Is that what he went back to tell the President? While the people of Benue were running from their homes and counting dead bodies because of armed fulani herdsmen, the Inspector-General of Police announced he was deploying three Commissioners of Police to Rivers state for election. Are the people of Benue lesser human beings? He will later claim to deploy more policemen and operational vehicles to Benue state command but up to this moment nobody can tell the level of progress they have made. Those who visited Agatu on a fact finding mission with Senator David Mark told us there are very few military personnel on ground who said they were not given any specific orders. So what is actually going on?

Those who visited Agatu told us Agatu is dead. They showed us pictures of dead bodies littered around, over grazed and destroyed farms, burnt houses and bans. The story is the same in about 14 other affected Local governments across the state. It is alarming that these armed fulani herdsmen are walking around with sophisticated weapons and the Nigerian State is doing nothing.

The narrative gaining prominence by the day is that government is reluctant to act because President Buhari is a fulani man. That They are all afraid of offending the President by acting against fulani people even if they are committing genocide. I don’t know if this is true but this narrative will continue to gain prominence if the Nigerian government continue to behave strange. This is how we ignored boko haram till they became powerful beyond our imagination. The media most times refer to the genocide in Benue as a “clash” between herdsmen and farmers and some justify their actions with a claim that the farmers provoked the herdsmen by killing their cattle. This is how people will continue to find excuses for them till they become powerful beyond our imagination. If they can use sophisticated firearms to occupy villages in Benue state without any challenge from the Nigerian State, why won’t they do that in any other part of the country? This is why the whole Nation must be worried.

What is happening in Benue is genocide. These armed fulani herdsmen kill anything on their path that is not fulani or their cattle. Some who are lucky to escape the matchet and bullets of the herdsmen still die in the classrooms or open fields that are called IDP camps. These atrocities cannot be relegated to the background of national conversation. The government must act now and make sure the displaced people return to their homes as quick as possible. The president must come out clear in words and deeds that he truly belongs to everybody. Government must rise to its responsibility to protect lives and property.

Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi

You can also interact with him on twitter @bumy

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Kebbi State Govt Constitute High Powered Committee To Unravel Cause Of Market Fire

The Kebbi State Government has setup a high powered committee comprising of commissioners, eminent politicians, civil servants, traditional rulers, business communities, security agents, fire-service and market officials to ascertain the cause of the recent fire outbreak which gutted the new central market in Birnin-Kebbi, the state capital.

The committee has been empowered to recommend how best to re-open the market for commercial activities.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor; Abubakar Mu’azu Dakingari says the governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu announced this after inspecting the market when he visited to sympathise with the traders.

Gov. Bagudu directed members of the committee to chart possible ways to assist the affected persons and immediate relocation of traders to a temporary site.

The Governor said the state government would provide relief measures to all the victims to cushion the losses incurred from the inferno. He advised the traders to take solace in Allah as a pre-destined divine act.

Earlier, the commissioner of Lands and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Chika Ladan (AC) told the governor that two thousand one hundred and seventy (2,170) temporary stalls and three hundred and twenty four permanent shops (324) were burnt based on an interim report. He said the fire started as a result of suspected gas explosion in one of the shops because there was no electricity in market.

The commissioner gave the assurance that security has been beefed up at the market for maximum protection.

Earlier, the divisional police officer, DPO, Birnin Kebbi division; Idris Mohammed told the governor that all necessary measured have been provided to guard against looting at the market.

Property worth hundreds of millions of naira were lost as a result of the outbreak which started at midnight this Friday and raged for several hours into the next day.

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Rivers, Nigeria’s Most Deadly State – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, dubbed Rivers State as Nigeria’s most deadly state, even as he offered profuse apologies for the ill-tempered elections conducted under his watch in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states.

Speaking at the first National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, amidst tight security in Abuja, the president urged party supporters to stay the course, saying that progress was being made on all fronts, from the economy to the security situation in the country.

Buhari nevertheless charged Nigerians to rise to the situation as he particularly charged militants in the Niger Delta that continuous sabotage of oil facilities was doing the people more harm than good.

On conflicting signals from Niger Delta militants, the president said: “Some have said they are ready to drop their arms and join the rest of the nation to build it. But part of them are still sabotaging installations which is making investments in that lucrative area of Nigeria difficult because nobody will submit his riches to financial institutions, get money only to suffer huge loss. ”

“So, the environment for investment is being sabotaged by ourselves, Nigerians. We are doing our best with the military by trying to persuade them to join the rest of the country because in unity lies our strength.

Charging Nigerians to sustain the democratic enterprise through maintaining their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, the president offered profuse apologies for the ill-tempered elections held in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states.

“I am afraid I did not succeed in the election in Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers. I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state.

At this stage of our political development, to remain brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general election.

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#KadInvest2016 – Kaduna State On The Path To Greatness, By Abdullahi Kasimu Abubakar

Mark this date, 6 & 7th of April, the Government of Kaduna State under the leadership of Mallam Nasir Elrufai will hold an Investment Summit hoping to turn around the fortunes of our underdeveloped state, Kaduna.

The summit is organized by the recently established Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency – KADIPA. The mandate of KADIPA is to lead and coordinate all investment promotion activities undertaken by the State and to be the prime negotiator in finalizing deals with private sector investors on behalf of the State.

Kaduna state was a lead state in Northern Nigeria with most of the industries now either half dead or completely dead. We had the Tomato Industry in Ikara, the cotton and groundnut Industry in Gubuchi, the Zaria Pharmaceuticals and Zarinject in Zaria, the Sugar Refining Industry in Makarfi, all like whiskers, gone.

Mallam Nasir Elrufai once in 2012, while analyzing the state budget, mentioned an array of mineral resources abound in Kaduna state, which include, Kyanite, Kaolin, Columbite, Gold, Quartz, Mica, Clay, Asbestos, and Graphite. It has ample arable land which traverses the Sahel Savannah region among its agricultural endowments. The state produces huge quantities of Yam, Cotton, Groundnut, Tobacco, Maize, Beans, Guinea corn, Millet, Ginger, Rice and Cassava. The State has numerous tourist attractions like the Nok Culture, Kajuru raw-castle, Arewa House and Museums. We are hopeful that the New Sheriff knows where exactly the shoe pinches.

It is therefore, our expectations that the state government would leverage on this Investment Summit to revive the almost non-existing industries, create jobs for its teeming population. And by all intents, the government is eager to bring together, through this summit, the private sector, international development partners and development finance institutions to identify opportunities in the state and take the investment initiatives that create growth.

This is plausible.

Investors have great influence over the social, environmental and economic challenges of societies, and to date, these players are operating in a fragmented market and in need of guidance on how to engage fully. It is in this regard, that I compliment Mallam Elrufai on this great feat – to provide guidance to these investors – and invariably, provide jobs, forge ties with local and international communities and become a force to reckon when it comes to investment decisions.

Together, we shall make Kaduna Great again.

Abdullahi Kasimu Abubakar is on twitter as @abubakar47i .

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Land Use Act – The Sale And Re-sold Of Community Land In Imo State By: onyenwe princely

On the good efforts of the of the state government of Imo state to deal with cases of land menace posed by land speculators in the State, betrayals of good governance are parading themselves as land agents on increase at the rural communities where they may feel so free to perpetuate obnoxious acts against the already existing ethics of the ministry of land, survey and Urban planning in Imo State.

It has been discovered that most of the communal war and conflicts are caused by discrepancies on land sharing and occasional trespass by government without due settlement and compensation to the rightful owners of the land. Because of this anomalous hit over land issues, owners of land have decided to map out their lands to individual owners.

Besides, it is a criminal act for the owners of a particular portion of land to sell same portion of land to more than two or three buyers at a time. Some may even re-sell a particular portion of allotted land to their relatives with fake documents to fraud the buyers of their hard-earned money. Therefore, buyers must endavour to be careful of the type of land agents and the landowners they deal with to avoid “mmakwara” had I known in quote.

The aboriginal people of Umuagwu Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area are affected by the menace of these disgruntled agents who indulge in selling and re-selling of a particular portion of land to more than one or two buyers at a time. Most of these so-called agents are unregistered and unprofessional in their practices. They indulge in sharp practices to grasp their agency fee and run away leaving the buyers aloof amid controversies. This is so unfortunate.

On the other hand allot tees only secure  government land for speculative objectives counter to government goals and such allotted land may stand the chance of being sold by these angry agents or may be revoked by the government after staying undeveloped for a long period of years .

It is agreeable the land use Act vested all lands within the State territory on the governor and each property or plots owner is required to pay rent to the governor vis a vis the State. Therefore, the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning Owerri being one of the biggest and most attractive Ministries in the State must rise up with very critical responsibility of land and administration to regulate the services of land agents and Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA).

It is also the duty of the Ministry to control all survey activities in the State as well as boundary controls, registration of tittles of Land and collection of statutory fees and levies from lands and buildings and where necessary maintain the Owerri master plan inclusive of rural communities to checkmate the abrupt abuse of land use Act.

Just recently, Nekede – Avu – Obinze farmland, a certain developer had claimed acquiring these lands for Federal University of Technology Owerri and the Communities objected to it.  Some part of same land was used by the government for industrialization waiting due compensation until date.

Such criminals that perpetuate this kind of misdeed in our society should be flushed out by relevant authorities and agencies saddled with such responsibility to uphold benefits of land use Act, knowing quiet well that the basics of development of any society is land.

For this reason, sale of a particular portion of land to more than one person at a time is a consensus that crime is a major social problem that usually does injury or harm to others. Crime is a sort of society’s ability to contain; it violates sacred customs, law and values. Crime can also interrupt the smooth operation of socio – economic and political order of a nation, state or community Just as the sale and re – sale of land in Umuagwu Umuoma Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State and its environ has affected the land use Act of Imo State.

Onyenwe Princely is a public Affairs analyst, a human rights activist and renowned journalist. 08036856526

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Kaduna State Government Set To Hold Economic And Investment Summit

The Kaduna State Government has concluded arrangement to organize and economic and investment summit geared towards demonstrating the readiness of the state for business.

The summit, which is organized by the recently established Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency and scheduled to hold on the 6th and 7th of April 2015, will be hosted by the governor of the state,  Malam Nasir El-Rufai, who will use the event to unveil the state’s Economic Agenda and Development Plan.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) are co-hosts of the summit.

Tagged KadInvest2016, the summit is expected to bring together the world’s savviest investors in the private sector, international development partners and development finance institutions to share fresh insights and discuss the strategies put in place for investment in Kaduna State.

Focusing on key priority areas of transportation, housing, power (renewable energy), information and communication technology and hospitality and Tourism, the government believes that private investment is the best vehicle for job creation. The opportunities in these sectors is what the government hopes the summit will help to identify so that investment initiatives that will create growth will be birthed

Other key priority sectors which the state government wants investors to take investment initiatives in include agriculture, agro-allied, waste to wealth, manufacturing and solid minerals/mining.

At the end of the summit where investment knowledge, insights and resources will be provided for investors to address key financial topics, investment strategies, and perspectives on the state’s economy, the government hopes to announce new deals and partnership, sign investment MoUs, adopt investment strategies and deliberate on engagement of investors in key sectors.

 

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“State Govts Must Comply With Procurement Law, Standards In Rehabilitating Federal Roads” – Dogara

ADDRESS BY THE RT. HON. DOGARA YAKUBU, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE JOINT INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ON THE CLAIMS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS OF EXPENDITURE INCURRED ON REHABILITATION OF FEDERAL ROADS HELD IN ROOM 231, NEW BUILDING, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ON WEDNESDAY, 23RD MARCH, 2016.

Protocols:

It is with great pleasure that I welcome all stakeholders and everyone here to today’s occasion, which is the “INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ON CLAIMS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS OF EXPENDITURE INCURRED ON REHABILITATION OF FEDERAL ROADS IN THEIR STATES” being jointly conducted by the House of Representatives Committees on Works and Finance.

  1. This Joint Investigative Hearing is pursuant to the House of Representatives resolution of Thursday, 26th November 2015, which specifically mandated the joint committee to, among others, “…..investigate claims by State Governments on the expenditure incurred in reconstructing Federal roads to determine their propriety, integrity of the construction work and other related matters….”
  2. The 1999 Constitution has provided for road matters in the Exclusive Legislative List, and there exist various legislations on the subject. Item 11 of the Exclusive Legislative List provides for “Construction, alteration and maintenance of such roads as may be declared by the National Assembly to be Federal Trunk Roads”.

In fact, the Second Schedule, Part II: Supplemental and interpretation, provides that:

“1. Where by this Schedule the National Assembly is required to designate any matter or thing or to make any declaration, it may do so either by an Act of the National Assembly or by a resolution passed by both Houses of the National Assembly”.

Existing legislation such as the Federal High Way Act, Cap F13, 35 of LFN, 2004 is also relevant to this public hearing.

  1. The Constitution thus, vested in the National Assembly, with exclusive power for the construction, alteration and maintenance of such roads as it may declare to be federal trunk roads. The National may exercise this power by resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly. Thus, the Executive may not be involved even in this declaration. The National Assembly may have delegated aspects of this power to the Executive by virtue of some existing laws, but it appears that the power to declare Federal Trunk Roads still exists in the National Assembly. This was the decision of the Lagos High Court in the case of Incorporated Trustees of All Nigeria Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association Vs Lagos State Government

In this case, Okada riders in Lagos argued that “the defendants (Lagos State Government) have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or highway roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road traffic Law, No. 2 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, Cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”

The Hon. Justice Aishat Opesanwo, held that the prerogative of designating federal trunk roads is “undeniably” that of the National Assembly. She declared:
“Every trunk road is a highway, although every highway may not necessarily be a trunk road”
….”I have neither been provided with nor directed to a provision where the National Assembly designates any road as a trunk road … I hold that there are no federal trunk roads”.

“Claimants also submitted that the roads are Federal Highways under the Federal Highway Act. It is a misconception and misrepresentation of the Act”.

This Public Hearing may in addition to its express mandate look into the procedure and process of declaring federal trunk roads and federal highways to conform with Constitutional provisions and make recommendations to the House.

  1. The road system in Nigerian is classified into four identified broad categories: The Federal Trunk ‘A’ Roads: These are under Federal Government ownership and they are developed and maintained by the Federal Government. The Federal Trunk ‘F’ Roads: These were formerly under state ownership, but were taken over by the Federal Government, with a view to upgrading them to Federal highway standards. The State Trunk ‘B’ Roads are under the ownership and management of the component states. The Local Government Trunk ‘C’ Roads: These are under Local Government ownership and management. Each tier of government has the responsibility for planning, construction and maintenance of the network of roads under its jurisdiction.
  2. It is important to note that most Federal Roads traversing the States are very strategic roads that link various communities and towns. Some are inter-state roads that are very vital to the economic and social wellbeing of the citizens resident in many states.
  3. When these roads are in dilapidated state, it brings a lot of pressure on the state governments that are responsive to the yearnings of their people, to act. As a result, some state governments are content to re-construct the roads even if they have no approvals from the Federal government. Some of the state governments actually sought and obtained approvals from the Federal Government to reconstruct exclusively federal trunk roads.
  4. You are all aware, that the National Assembly has exclusive Constitutional responsibility on matters in the Exclusive Legislative List under S.4 of the Constitution. The National Assembly also has power of oversight over federal government projects and MDA’s.
  5. The National Assembly’s powers of the purse entails the Executive can only incur expenditure as provided for by law.

It is thus within the province of the National Assembly to determine the amount to be appropriated for road projects and to oversight any MDA where monies are appropriated for roads. Furthermore, the National Assembly passed the Public Procurement Act of 2007 wherein the method and process of contract awards are stated.

  1. It is very relevant therefore to find out if state governments complied with the basic tenets and principles of the Public Procurement Act in the award of Federal road Projects within their states for which they seek a refund. Is there value for money for those contracts? Are those contracts awarded whimsically to conies and favoured companies without due process? Ordinarily, it is not the business of the Federal Government in a Federation, to get itself involved in how state governments conduct it procurement and award of contracts. But when you want the Federal government to re-imburse you, then the National Assembly as constitutional guardians of our commonwealth and patrimony, has a duty to ensure, that due process is followed and that there is value for money for the Nigerian people. This is the purpose of this public hearing and this is why the National Assembly is involved, in an otherwise state activity.
  2. I wish to call on the Joint Committee to carefully design a workable criteria for refund of such expenditures to State Governments that is in line with our extant laws, specifically, the Public Procurement Act of 2007, in addition to other requirements.
  3. The inability of the federal government to undertake the rehabilitation of the over 30,000 Kilometers of Federal roads despite the establishment of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency in 2003 is treacable to paucity of funds resulting in the poor funding of the road sector.
  4. In view of the enormous responsibility of Federal Ministry of Works and it’s maintenance agency FERMA, it is necessary to look for alternative source of funding for the road sector. For the 8th Assembly, we look forward to the Executive to propose a comprehensive framework and an Executive Bill that will address all the issues in the sector. If the Executive fails to do so, private members bill will fill the gap.
  5. The bill, should encapsulate all necessary areas of alternative funding for the road sector including but not limited to BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) and all necessary models of BOT. It should also specify the areas of taxation that will bring in the required fund for the road sector.
  6. Finally, permit me at this juncture to congratulate the members of the House of Representatives for their unflinching and unwavering support and commitment to the provision of good governance to the people of Nigeria. It is my conviction that the leadership and membership of the Joint Committee will maintain a high standard of legislative service delivery in conducting this investigation.
  7. I invite you all today, to join me as I declare this Joint Investigative Hearing open.
  8. May God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

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