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NSA denies saying arms funds missing under ex-service chiefs

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  • Funds can’t be missing in Buhari govt – Presidency

National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.) has denied saying that funds meant for the purchase of arms to strengthen Nigeria’s anti-terror war got missing under the immediate past service chiefs.

He said he was quoted out of context in the reports emanating from his earlier interview with BBC Hausa Service on the matter.

The Presidency through President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, also said on a television programme Friday evening that funds could not get missing in the Buhari government and that the NSA was misquoted.

In an interview on BBC Hausa Friday morning, the NSA had said the new service chiefs had not seen any of the arms said to have been procured by the immediate past service chiefs and that the failure to provide arms to frontline military personnel was a setback to the fight against insecurity in the nation.

The NSA had said, “No one knows what happened to the money but by God’s grace, the President will investigate to find out whether the money was spent and where the arms went.

“It is not that we are not working to end the security challenge in the country. The president has done his own part and allocated huge amount of money to purchase weapons but they are yet to be here. We don’t know where they are.”

But in a press statement later, the NSA said government had provided sufficient resources for the arms procurement but the orders were either inadequate or yet to be delivered and “that did not imply that the funds were misappropriated under the former service chiefs.”

The statement added, “We would like to state that the NSA was quoted out of context as he did not categorically say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs as reported or transcribed by some media outlets from the BBC interview.

“During the interview, the National Security Adviser only reiterated the federal government’s commitment to deal decisively with insecurity and stated President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued commitment to provide all necessary support to the Armed Forces, including the provision of arms and equipment.

“In the interview, the National Security Adviser clearly informed the BBC reporter that Mr President had provided enormous resources for arms procurement, but the orders were either inadequate or yet to be delivered and that did not imply that the funds were misappropriated under the former service chiefs.

“The NSA also informed the reporter that Mr President is following up on the procurement process as is usual with contracts relating to military equipment. In most cases, the process involves manufacturing, due diligence and tedious negotiations that may change delivery dates.

“As the National Security Adviser conveyed during the Aso Villa media briefing, questions relating to defence procurement should be channelled to the Ministry of Defence. All security and intelligence agencies are working together to bring an end to insecurity with the full support of Mr. President and stakeholders, including the media and civil society, as part of a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to address our security challenges.”

The Presidency has also said no funds were missing under the watch of the immediate past service chiefs.

It stated that procurements had been made for military weapons but yet to be delivered.

According to Shehu, the NSA was misquoted, stressing that Monguno did not accuse the ex-service chiefs of misappropriation of funds.

He said, “About the $1 billion taken from the Excess Crude Account with the consent of state governors used for military procurements, I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing. The reference to it in the interview of the BBC Hausa Service by the National Security Adviser has been misconstrued and mistranslated.

“The NSA made two critical points –one is that we don’t have enough weapons, which is a statement of fact; and two, procurements made have not been fully delivered. At no point did the NSA say that money has been misappropriated and that no arms are seen. They have not been delivered; that is correct. These are things you don’t get off the shelves.

“People are just been political, they want to draw moral equivalent between the PDP and the APC administrations – we are not the same. Things like this cannot happen under a Buhari administration.”

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FG to begin rehabilitation work on part of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway

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The Federal Controller of Works in Enugu State, Olufemi Oyekanmi, has said the ministry will soon begin the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Ugwu-Onyeama portion of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

Mr Oyekanmi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday, saying the project would ease the plight of motorists plying the road.

He said the ministry had awarded to RCC Nigeria Ltd, the contract for the rehabilitation of the 15km stretch of the expressway from 9th Mile to Enugu.

He said the contract also included the construction of a state-of-the-art bypass to take care of the perennial traffic gridlock at 9th Mile during Yuletide.

The remedial work at Ugwu-Onyeama would start on June 21 and run to the end of the year, while the second contract would begin after the rains in October, Mr Oyekanmi said.

He said he had informed the leadership of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Tanker Drivers and other interested groups in the area about the federal government’s plan to fix the road.

He said he had informed the leadership of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Tanker Drivers and other interested groups in the area about the federal government’s plan to fix the road.

According to him, major repair work will start on the most critical areas of the road on Monday. “As a matter of fact, we will start moving equipment and materials to that place.

“The planned palliative will solve the problem of accidents that are not related to recklessness around Ugwu-Onyeama.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot Community, Chinedu Anyaso, thanked the Federal Government for its “timely intervention” on the road.

The Enugu depot community is in-charge of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states.

Mr Anyaso said his leadership had a meeting with Mr Oyekanmi who assured them that remedial work would soon begin on the Enugu-bound lane of the dual carriageway.

He expressed the hope that the repairs would bring relief to oil marketers and petroleum tanker drivers in the South-east.

According to him, oil marketers and tanker drivers have suffered huge financial losses as a result of road accidents on the road.

He said since the beginning of the year, over 20 product-laden tankers had fallen on the road, resulting in spill, fire and vehicle damage.

Mr Anyaso said the association was planning a protest to show its bitterness over the situation before it learnt about the federal government’s planned intervention.

“You know we rely on other depots for supply because Enugu depot has not functioned for about 15 years.

“So, good roads are important to us because it will reduce our business risks and save the lives of millions of people,” the IPMAN chairman said.

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I sold about N70,000 bread daily to bandits when Kaduna students were abducted – Baker

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Hassan Magaji, a baker in the Galadimawa area of Kaduna State, has confessed to supplying bread to bandits.

Magagi, who was recently arrested by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, said he sold bread worth N70,000 to the bandits during the time that some university students were abducted.

It is not clear if he was referring to students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who spent over a month in captivity.

“I observed that whenever they kidnapped many people, like during the kidnap of those university students, the quantity of bread that they bought increased. During that period I delivered up to N70,000 worth of bread everyday until recently when it dropped to N50,000 again.”

“I have not benefitted much except that I married a new wife and I was able to save money to take care of two wives. To stop banditry, government should recruit more security men. We prefer police because they know the job.”

Bandits have been terrorising residents of Kaduna and its environs.

On Saturday, angry residents blocked the ever-busy Abuja-Kaduna highway to protest incessant attacks.

Despite repeated assurances from government, armed gangs have been making life a hell for people.

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FG kicks as Kwara, Bayelsa fail to implement homegrown school programme

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Federal  Government has Kwara and Bayelsa states among other states of the federation, over non-implementation of its National Home Grown School Programme in their respective states.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya U Farouk, said this on Friday in Ilorin, Kwara State, during a courtesy visit to the state Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi.

Alabi who represented  the governor urged the Federal Governemnt to be patient with the state, agreeing that the advantages inherent in the programme are phenomenal.

He said that the programme would increase enrolment of pupils in schools, boost the economy of the state and generate employment.

The minister,Hajia Farouk had hinged the state’s delay in the enrolment on initial non compliance with the programme’s guidelines and Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said that “with the relaxation of lockdown caused by COVID-19 and resumption of schools, the state will soon be there.”

Represented by Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National and Social Investment Programme Dr Nasir Mahmud, the minister said that the state recently expressed its preparedness to come on board the programme.

Hajia Farouk said that based on the data available from the state no fewer than 96,000 pupils in public schools from primary one to three would benefit from the programme, adding that over 1500 schools would also be enrolled.

She added that primary one to three pupils are the targets of the school feeding programme in the country.

Said she: “Recently, the state communicated to the ministry that it is ready and we are here to assess the status of the preparedness and if there is any support we need to give, the ministry will give it to make the state come on board.

“So far, we are very happy with what we saw. We just debriefed the state Deputy Governor about our findings. There are very few gaps here and there and we believe together with the national and state governments will soon address them to make sure they state begins the programme. In a matter of weeks I am confident that the programme will commence in the state.”

She said the programme had steadied enrolment of pupils in public schools in the federation.

“We have seen tremendous improvement in schools enrolment in the country. The other objective of the programme is to make sure students stay in schools resulting in learning improvement,” the minister added.

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