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Non-audit of 801 MDAs since 2017 shocks reps

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The House of Representatives has expressed grave concern over the inability of the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to carry out the audit of 801 federal agencies and parastatals as well as foreign missions across the world, since 2017.

The lawmakers expressed the concern during the investigative hearing held at the instance of the Wole Oke-led House Committee on Public Accounts.

It thus resolved to summon the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; Accountant General of the Federation; Ahmed Idris; Head of Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan; and Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission.

The lawmakers also expressed displeasure over the non-provision of required funds for the recruitment of 611 new personnel needed to bridge the manpower shortfall in the office of the Auditor General of the Federation despite obtaining waiver from the Head of Service of the Federation since 2017.

Oke said, “A very critical professional body is being under-funded. Even in fund allocation for the budget, the Director General of the Budget Office has deliberately underfunded the Office of the Auditor General so that he won’t be able to discharge its duties and uncover all the illegal criminal activities and looting going on in the country.

“On what basis would you be funding agencies that have no value to the economy at the detriment of the Auditor General’s office?

“From the presentation of the Auditor General, it is understaffed; he needs over 600 workers.

“It will interest you that the entire Zamfara State has just on staff. One staff in Zamfara State. How do we run a country like this?

“Even in the 2020 budget, the Auditor General is struggling. Its funds are yet to be released to him 100 per cent.

“There are critical activities of the office of the Auditor General aside from financial auditing. We have programmes’ auditing; we have project auditing; value for money, but the Auditor General is unable to do all these. It’s underfunded.

 “So we’ve resolved to invite the Minister of Finance, the Director of Budget Office, the Accountant General of the Federation, Head of Service and Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission to cause appearance before this committee.”
He also said, “There’s no government that has put in place programmes for youth empowerment, training and development, but funds allocated for these programmes. Can the Auditor General trace and track them without personnel, without equipment, so as to ensure value for money?

“Personnel of agencies that you asked Auditor General to go and audit earn better than the personnel of Auditor General to the extent that Nigerian youths are not even interested in going to work with the Auditor General. They prefer to go to the NCC, paramilitary agencies, CBN, FIRS, just because working with Auditor General’s office you cannot earn a living wage.”

To this end, the committee mandated the Accountant General of the Federation to release with immediate effect all the funds required for the exercise before the end of 2020 fiscal year.

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FG establishing oxygen plants in 36 states – NEC

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The National Economic Council (NEC) says the Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states of the federation.

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi made this known to State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Friday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Umahi said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who chaired the NEC Ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy, presented a report to the council.

“The Federal Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states in the country, but currently six states have been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.

“The Federal Government has paid for 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines coming in batches and therefore a considerable amount of the vaccines will come into the country between now and January 2022. Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.”

Umahi said that NEC also received states’ performance report on COVID-19 from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He said that the council was also updated on the global situation of COVID-19.

He said, “Over 237 million confirmed cases and over 4.8 million deaths due to COVID-19. There are now over 6.3 billion vaccine doses administered.  Nigeria is still in the first wave of vaccination and vaccination tools will improve as the country receives additional vaccines. COVID-19 cases have declined by 7.5 per cent over the last week.”

Umahi said that states were urged to continue to push testing activities in order to detect new cases before the situation worsened.

According to him, an update on travel restrictions on certain countries expected to be announced soon by the Federal Government.

The governor said that the council also received an update on the situation regarding Cholera outbreak.

“Current Cholera situation in the country; suspected number of cases   is 88,704. Number of states is 31 and the FCT. Number of deaths is 3,208.

“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response,” he said.

He listed the challenges to include difficulty in accessing some communities due to insecurity, open defecation and lack of potable drinking water.

Umahi said other challenges were lack of basic health primary healthcare infrastructure, inadequate health facility and cholera commodities for case management.

Umahi said that NEC commended the insightful presentations and congratulated the outgoing Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his new appointment at the WHO and also welcomed the incoming Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa.

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Bakare meets with Buhari, opposes clamour for power rotation

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Founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, says the region to produce the president of Nigeria should not be an issue.

He stated this in Abuja on Friday during an interaction with reporters at the presidential villa after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigerians are only bothered about a leader that would ensure the prosperity of the country.

The pastor said the “immaturity” of the citizens is responsible for “making us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best.

“Listen to me, if where the President comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be richest and the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the North has produced either the President or heads of state for 40 to 41 years and yet, see the retrogression in the North.

“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East, why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?

“If there are agreements between politicians on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That is between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”

The pastor commended the national assembly for empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the mode of transmitting election results.

“Perhaps one of the best things the present national assembly has done, especially the senate, because, with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily,” he said.

“Not only that, part of the state of the nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.”

 

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FG declares Tuesday Oct 19 Eid-il-Maulud holiday

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The Federal Government has declared Tuesday October 19 a public holiday to mark the Islamic festival of Eid-il-Maulud in “commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).”

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore.

Aregbesola congratulated the Muslim faithful both at home and in the diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion.

He urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which he said “are the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), adding that doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.”

The statement added, “Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality. As the indisputable leader of our race, we must show responsible leadership in Africa.

“While calling for a stop to all divisive tendencies across the country, the minister urges all Nigerians and the youth in particular, to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans, irrespective of faith, ideology, social class and ethnicity and cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-Administration in its effort to build a progressive and enviable nation that all citizens would be proud of.”

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