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N700bn recovered through whistleblowers – Finance minister

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The Federal Government had recovered over N700bn from corrupt individuals since the commencement of the whistle-blower policy in 2016, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Tuesday in Abuja.

She spoke during an interview with journalists at the National Conference on Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria.

She said some of these recoveries were made during the cleaning of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System; stoppage of non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account and violations of the procurement Act 2007 among others.

The minister said at inception of the policy, there was widespread enthusiasm as Nigerians volunteered numerous actionable information.

Such information or tips, she noted, were referred for further investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Department of State Services.
However, she lamented that after sometime, interest in the implementation of the policy nosedived.

To address these issues, she said a committee with representatives from anti-graft and security agencies, chaired by a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, was set up to draft a Whistle Blower Bill.

The committee was set up taking into account all the complaints received from the public and the observations of the various stakeholders.

Also speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Whistle Blower Policy was developed as a tool to expose corruption and corrupt actors in government.

“The Whistle Blower Policy presents a unique opportunity for men and women of conscience who are appalled by the level of corruption in the society and are looking for safe avenues to expose the perpetrators of such corrupt activities to do so in a way that their identities are protected and their positions in their places of work are secured,” he said.

The Vice President urged the developers of the new Whistle Blower Bill to expand the scope of wrongful acts that might be reported by whistleblowers.

He said, “As a violation of law, gross mismanagement, waste of public resources, or acts inimical to public health or safety should be included in the scope of activities that whistleblowers can report to the authorities.

“The law should also provide for comprehensive protection of whistleblowers, including against reprisals from their employers and those whose activities they expose.

“These may include witness protection type provisions should the whistleblower have to appear in court.”

The VP said the ability of government to deliver on promises in the areas of human capital development, provision of quality infrastructure and the general economic progress of the country depended significantly on the protection of the scarce resources from being looted and its application for the benefit of Nigerian citizens.

He also said the policy should operate widely in states and local governments as they were closer to the people and oversee about half of the nation’s revenues.

Osinbajo said government’s goal was to harness the huge potential of the people to deliver on their moral obligation to report cases of corruption within their immediate environments.

The new whistleblower policy, he insisted, would energise the people to guard their resources through increased exposure of financial and related crimes.

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Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula

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A Niger-Delta group, Ijaw People Assembly (IPA) has condemned the proposal by 59 members of the House of Representatives seeking an amendment of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.

It said the real motive was targeted at deleting the Principle of Derivation which stipulated 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from natural resources, describing the move “as an inglorious attempt and a misadventure.”

The group’s scribe, Dortimi Tawari, who spoke in a statement, yesterday, said the plan was an “invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy.”

Tawari warned the proposal was “another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation and other Niger-Delta nationalities.”

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Part of the statement read: “The Ijaw nation being a host nation to oil and gas resources and assets, the IPA views this proposal as another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation in particular and the other Niger Delta nationalities.

“Need it be mentioned that it is an invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy. The ljaw People Assembly vehemently oppose a system that will drag the ljaw Nation and the other nationalities in the Niger Delta into undeserved subjugation and retrogression.”

Tawari reiterated the call for a restructured Nigeria that “guarantees resource ownership, control, management and freedom to appropriate a declared percentage of derived revenue to the central government or an arrangement of sovereign nations as the extreme option.”

He said a restructured Nigeria “will promote a productive economy and end the current monthly sharing (rentier) economy under some spurious formular which has encouraged laziness and unviability of states from which the said 59 members all hail from.”

The Nation

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Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari

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Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman

The Conference of Speakers in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and enemies of the state.

The Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, made the pronouncement at the end of the third quarter general meeting of the Conference of Speakers in Katsina on Saturday.

He said the call was one of the outcomes of their 5-point communique reached at the end of their deliberations.

According to the Speakers’ Chairman, they have come to realise that the mode of operations employed by the bandits is not in anyway different from that of terrorists and as such should be treated as one.

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Other resolutions reached in the course of the deliberations included working out a legislative framework to complement federal government efforts in the fight against insecurity in the country.

Also, the conference resolved to come up with appropriate laws that will address the fundamental issues responsible for the insecurity experienced in the country.

The communique also harped on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as a means to curb the insecurity situation bedeviling the country.

Daily Post

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Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka

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Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.

Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.

Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.

He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”

He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.

The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.

“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”

The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.

He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”

Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”

Punch

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