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Auditor general queries ministry’s N3.8bn spending from suspended RUGA fund

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Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu

The Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation has queried the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for spending a total sum of N3.809bn on the suspended Rural Grazing Area scheme without a presidential approval or National Assembly appropriation.

The query is part of the eight audit queries issued against the ministry in the ‘Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019.’

The OAuGF had queried expenditures totaling N60,795,898,225.84 by the ministry.

The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, presented the report to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts commenced investigation into the queries.

The Federal Government had introduced the RUGA scheme in May 2019 but was forced to suspend it in the July of the same year due to the wide criticisms that trailed it.

According to the OAuGF, the ministry, in violation of the presidential directive suspending the scheme, allegedly initiated and paid out N3.433bn without due process.

The query read in part, “Ninety-five (95) payment vouchers were raised and paid from RUGA Intervention Fund between 1st August, 2019, and13th September, 2019, totaling N3,433,984,692.66, and the above payments were initiated and paid without due process after the Presidential directive suspending the RUGA project.”

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The ministry also paid out an additional N375,785,893.75 to some individuals and corporate organisations from the RUGA Intervention Fund through 13 payment vouchers without approval, according to the Auditor-General.

According to the report, the payments include N202.7m and N160m paid for transportation and other expenses in support of victims of banditry in Zamfara State, and advance payment meant for sensitisation and advocacy visits to the Governor of the state, respectively.

The report quoted the ministry’s management to have said, “The action is regretted and is also being investigated.”

The office, however, blamed the two expenditures on weaknesses in the internal control system at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Auditor-General consequently recommended that the withdrawals from the RUGA Intervention Fund be refunded to the Federal Government’s coffers as they were in breach of the extant laws and the financial regulations of the country.

The report also indicted the ministry over extra-budgetary spending of about N48.425bn on contractual liabilities, adding that despite a budgetary release of N98,044,134,611, representing 99.07 per cent of its 2018 capital allocation, the ministry did not take necessary actions to pay eligible contractors, which led to an outstanding contract liability of N48.425bn.

The office also accused the ministry of misappropriating the sum of N7.737bn first quarter capital allocation while paying for the 2018 capital projects, which was fully funded and released.

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NMDPRA seals 16 gas plants, arrests five suspects in Edo

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The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has sealed 16 illegal gas facilities in Edo State.

Some filling stations were also sealed over an alleged breach of rules and regulations.
The agency arrested five suspects during the exercise.
The agency’s state comptroller, Ebi Ogionwo, said the clampdown was to curb the activities of illegal and unlicensed oil and gas operators in the state.
He alleged that some misguided operators were setting up oil and gas facilities in areas not suitable for the business and without necessary approval from the agency.
Ogionwo said, “It is an offence for anyone to site such facilities without due approval from the NMDPRA. The agency is out to bring sanity to the operations of midstream and downstream petroleum business in the state.”

He further warned investors against taking laws into their hands by setting up gas and petroleum facilities in areas not approved by the agency.

Ogionwo said five suspects arrested during the exercise would be charged to court.

“There are laws, guidelines and regulations that people must follow before setting up oil and gas facilities. So, the purpose of the operations is also to check the level of compliance by those who have set up these facilities in the state and take necessary actions that are required,” he said.

Ogionwo added that the illegal operations of oil and gas facilities compromised the safety of lives, property, environment as well as deprived both the state and Federal Governments of the revenue that should accrue to them through taxes and other sources.

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Lagos suspends RTEAN activities, sets up caretaker committee

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The Lagos State Government has suspended all activities of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, who announced the suspension, said the action became imperative following some pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island on Wednesday.

Already, he said a 35-man caretaker committee had been constituted to take over activities of the union.

The caretaker committee is headed by Sulaiman Adeshina Raji, with Bamgbose Oluseyi as deputy chairman and members are Sunday Aransiola, Sulaiman Onabanjo, Azeez Abdulrahman, Isiaka Seriki, Victor Ifemenam, Kareem Babatunde, Amusan Abdulrahman, Teslim Adeshina, Sulaiman Surajudeen and Fatai Rauf.

Others are Sunday Banjo, Segun Omole, Thomas Akinkayode, Taiwo Lasisi, Gbenga Kashimawo, Samson Ajala, Taiwo Daodu, Sule Aliu, Ahmed Musa and Oladipupo Ibrahim. Adewale Adeniyi, Olatunji Durojaiye, Wasiu Olanrewaju, Taofeek Onileola, Yusuf Afolabi, Bode Ogungbade, Alh. A.A. Ussaini, Saliu Usman, Saheed Badru, Kolawole Yusuf, Kayode Thomas, Idowu Oyewole and Salami Babatunde Ope, are to also join them.

Giwa reiterated that suspension became necessary to prevent further acts of violence in the state, stressing that men of the Lagos State Police Command would be deployed in different parts of the state to enforce the action and ensure safety of lives and property.

He said the state government met with some representatives of the RTEAN on Wednesday, following a protest by some members of the union demanding the removal of their national president, adding the government had assured them of a thorough investigation into the allegations levelled against the union’s president with a promise to resolving all lingering issues.

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Ade.Ojo hails Mandilas GM @60, says Toyota family proud of you

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Celebrant GM Mandilas, Kemi Koyejo; Chairman of Toyota Nigeria, Chief Michael Ade.Ojo, and his wife, Taiwo Ade.Ojo, at Kemi's 60th birthday in Lagos

The Founder of Toyota Nigeria Limited, TNL, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, has described the General Manager of Mandilas Motors, Ms. Kemi Koyejo as a performer, who takes her job very seriously.

Chief Ade Ojo, who spoke at the MUSON Centre, Lagos during the 60th birthday ceremony of Koyejo as the chairman of the occasion, showered encomiums on the GM for her contributions towards driving Toyota brand sale and development in Nigeria.

He said, “Olukemi is a performer, a wonderful lady, who takes her job very seriously. She is “Lady Toyota”. She never misbehaves and I want to pray that God should continue to bless you the more.”

Chief Ade Ojo, who recalled that Kemi’s father was his senior in high school, expressed no surprise at  Kemi’s sterling performance and behaviour, given her family background.

“The Toyota family in Nigeria is very proud of you and God will continue to be with you,” he prayed.

The 84-year-old business mogul attended the event with his wife, and senior management staff of Toyota Nigeria Limited including the Managing Director, Mr. Kunle Ade Ojo.

Reiterating Chief Ade Ojo’s commendation on the Mandilas General Manager, the Managing Director of Toyota, Mr. Kunle Adeojo, also said that the Mandilas General Manager is very hard-working and has brought many ideas that have led to the growth of the Toyota brand in Nigeria.

He also used the occasion to announce that the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers has conferred on him a Fellow of the institute.

A trained engineer, Mr. Kunle Ade Ojo, has been at the helm of affairs at TNL and has taken the company to greater heights despite the challenges in the Nigeria’s auto sector.

-Vanguard

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