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EFCC grills former Kwara governor, Ahmed

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The immediate past governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has been invited to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation.

Ahmed governed the state between 2011 and 2019.

The former governor, in a short statement made to Premium Times, said the invitation was to clarify specific transactions and decisions taken while steering the ship of the state.

“Yesterday, I was at the Ilorin Zonal office of EFCC on invitation. During the session, I clarified specific budgeted transactions and board-approved decisions of a government body while I was governor. No allegation of fraud was made against me. I have since returned home,” he wrote.

Ahmed’s successor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, had inaugurated panels to probe the sales of state-owned properties and assets starting from 1999.

He also inaugurated another panel to look into the finances of local governments and their activities since 1999.

These panels have indicted some officials under the previous administrations.

Also, the former Commissioner for Finance under Ahmed, Ademola Banu, was arraigned for alleged N411 million money laundering.

He was arraigned alongside Travel Messenger Company Limited and one Olarewaju Adeniyi, on nine counts before Justice Babangana Ashigar of the Federal High Court, Ilorin.

The immediate past chairperson of state Scholarship Board, Fatimah Yusuf, and two others who were allegedly involved in bursary fraud, were arraigned before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the State High Court, Ilorin.

According to the EFCC, the trio were arraigned on a seven-count charge for their alleged involvement in bursary fraud in the state, to the tune of N50 million.

However, none of those mentioned had been convicted.

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Governors have limited power to tackle insecurity, says Lalong

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Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau, says there are limits to what state governors can do about insecurity in the country.

He lamented that governors don’t have full authority over the security operatives in their states.

Lalong spoke on Friday during the Good Morning Nigeria programme on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

He said even though the constitution makes the governors the chief security officers of their states, there is a limit to the orders they can give security personnel.

Lalong called on the national assembly to intervene, adding that the federal lawmakers have a role to play in ensuring that governors are empowered to tackle insecurity.

“We have also cried and said the constitution provides that we (the governors) are chief security officers in our state,” he said.

“But there are limits to what we can do, the command that we do. If I am the general officer commanding, I should be the general officer commanding. Not the general officer that will command, and the person you command will say I need to get command from somewhere. All these are very important.”

Lalong said it is time for the federal government to address security issues and to implement all the security reports that have been drafted and submitted.

“We can’t be talking unless we address these issues. Let us be addressing these issues, not only talk-shop, because by the time we continue to talk without coming back to implement, we will still be talking of the same issue,” he added.

 

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Buhari meets Chad’s interim leader, promises support

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President Muhammadu Buhari has held a meeting with President of Chad’s Transitional Military Council, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari at the Friday meeting made his visitor a promise that he would help Chad to stabilize and return to a democratic government.
A statement issued by a presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, recalled that Marshal Idriss Deby  President of the country, had died in a battle last month, while leading troops to confront insurgents, who had come in through Libya.
“The country set up the transitional council, headed by the son of the deceased, and a return to democratic order is expected in 18 months,” the statement added.
The President, while speaking to his visitor, said: “We are bound together by culture and geography, and we will help in all ways we can.
“Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism, and we will continue the collaboration,” said the president.
Buhari said Chad should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary as the late Marshal Itno “was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria, and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria.”
The President, who said Nigeria would help strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), added, “We will also help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people.”
Lt. Gen. Itno, who thanked Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the passage of the former President, noted that the main objective of the Transitional Military Council “is the security and cohesion of our country.”
He recommitted to democratic, free, fair polls in 18 months, telling President Buhari: “You were very close to Marshal Itno. I’m here to reaffirm that relationship, and for you to support our transition. We rely on our brother country Nigeria, as we have shared history, culture and geography. We are ready to be guided by you in our journey to constitutional rule.”

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I’ll always be mayor for all Londoners, says Sadiq Khan

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Newly elected London major, Sadiq Khan has said he is humbled by his election for a second term, promising to always remain a mayor for all Londoners.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan won the election by beating Conservative rival Shaun Bailey.

He won 55.2% of the popular vote, after entering a run-off with Mr Bailey when neither managed to secure a majority in the first round of voting.

The former MP became the first Muslim mayor of an EU capital city when he was elected to the role in 2016.

He spoke at the City Hall, pledging “to strain every sinew to help build a better, brighter future for London”.

The Green Party’s Sian Berry came third, while the Liberal Democrats’ Luisa Porritt was fourth.

The Lib Dems lost their deposit, as Ms Porritt failed to win more than 5% of the vote.

Elsewhere on Saturday evening, Labour lost overall control of Durham County Council while the Tories continued to make inroads in their traditional heartlands.

Sadiq Khan: ‘I never wanted to be a culture war poster boy’

Mr Khan was seen as the favourite throughout the campaign, with some pollsters predicting he would win more than half of the first-round votes.

The 51-year-old failed to reach his record-setting vote total of 2016, but won with a 228,000-vote majority.

Khan’s closest rival was Mr Bailey, who received 44.8% of the first and second-round votes, and increased the Conservative vote share by 1.6%.

Speaking after the results were announced, Mr Khan said, “I will always be a mayor for all Londoners, working to improve the lives of every single person in this city.

“The results of the elections around the UK show our country, and even our city, remains deeply divided.

“The scars of Brexit have yet to heal. A crude culture war is pushing us further apart.”

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