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Buhari inspired ICPC to recover N189bn from inflated budgets – Presidency

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  • Admit your failure, PDP tells Buhari

The Buhari administration has recovered N189bn from inflated personnel budgets under its fight against corruption, the Presidency has said.

It said the recoveries were made by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

This was part of the highlights of the achievements of the APC administrations as captured in a statement entitled ‘The Buhari Administration at six: Counting the Blessings One by One’ issued by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to him, scrutiny of practices, systems and procedures of MDAs’ personnel cost from 2019 to 2020 by the ICPC led to the recovery of the money.

He said that in 2019 alone, the commission recovered N32bn worth of land, buildings and vehicles, while its audit of constituency projects covering 2015 to 2018 led to the recovery of N2bn of diverted funds and assets.

He also said Nigeria had signed an agreement on the identification and repatriation of illicit funds with the United Arab Emirates and successfully engaged the governments of Switzerland, Jersey Island, the US, the UAE and Liechtenstein, among others, in an effort to ensure the repatriation of Nigeria’s stolen assets.

He said, “A total of $622m in looted Abacha funds repatriated to Nigeria in two tranches in December 2017 and April 2020.

“The first tranche ($322m) is being disbursed as part of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme interventions, while the second tranche ($311m) is being invested in the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).”

Adesina said the Buhari administration extended more than N2tn in bailout packages to the 36 state governments to “enable them to meet their salary and pension obligations, especially in the face of dwindling oil revenues in the first three years of the administration.”

The support, he said, comprised N614bn Budget Support Facility; $5.4bn in Paris Club Refunds; N700bn in refunds for federal road projects embarked upon by state governments; and restructuring of N575.516bn loan facilities with commercial banks for 23 states to reduce the debt service burden on the states.

“In exchange for their loans to state governments, the banks were issued 20-year FGN bonds at a yield of 14.83 per cent per annum,” Adesina said.

He added, “The restructuring exercise benefited the states through reduction in the monthly debt service burden of states from between 55 per cent to 97 per cent for various states; and interest rate savings for the states ranging from three per cent to nine per cent per annum.”

Other listed achievements were investment of over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway and resumption of work on the 337km East-West Road project, originally awarded in 2006.

He said the East-West Road would be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

Adesina said the administration had achieved a lot but only noticeable to those it referred to as dispassionate fair-minded, and not beclouded by political partisanship and undue cynicism.

The statement said that the sixth anniversary of the administration holding on Saturday (today) offered an opportunity to reflect and recount the impact of the government.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Buhari to use his May 29 speech to admit the failure of his government.

It stated this in a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the APC failed to record any landmark achievement in the last six years.

The statement read, “President Buhari and the APC must know that Nigerians are no longer interested in their stage-managed Presidential addresses as well as the circus show of their so-called APC Legacy Awareness Campaign, particularly in the face of the horrendous situation they have plunged our nation.

“This is because, in the last six years, President Buhari’s speeches have always been litanies of false claims, empty promises and lame excuses for failures, which the APC, in its penchant for lies, propaganda and beguilement, wants to accentuate with their legacy awareness campaign.

“If indeed the Buhari Presidency and the APC have any achievement to showcase, would it be organising an awareness campaign to seek the understanding of Nigerians for its mass failures?

“It is trite wisdom that their works ought to be speaking for themselves like those of the PDP administration which are still being seen today in every sphere of our national life.

“If they have anything to show, would President Buhari be begging that history should be kind to him for his failures? Would he go to faraway Paris and France to declare that his administration is being plagued by ill-luck?

“Our party vehemently rejects this attempt by APC leaders to claim that their party failed because of the challenges that have befallen our nation when in reality, the APC and the Buhari Presidency should be held responsible for their own failures.”

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Just in: No bail for Nnamdi Kanu, says court

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A federal high in Abuja has refused to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

However, on April 8, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out eight out of the 15-count charge.

While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, moved an application for bail.

Ozekhome said, “Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”

He reminded the court that a defendant ought to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

He begged the court to consider the deteriorating health condition of the defendant.

Ruling on the bail application on Wednesday, the judge held that “the application is premature and refused with liberty to refile and reapply.”

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Fed Govt puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed

FACEBOOK and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

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“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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Ex-EFCC chair Magu promoted to AIG before retirement

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The Police Service Commission has confirmed the promotion of a former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, to the position of assistant inspector-general of police (AIG).

Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, announced this in a statement issued on Monday.

“The eight Commissioners of Police promoted to AIGs were; CP Mustafa Magu Ibrahim who is the most senior in the CP cadre and who missed the last two promotions after returning to the Police; Abraham Egong Ayim; Okunlola Kola Kamaldeen; Andrew Amieengheme; Akeera Mohammed Younous; Celestine Amechi Elumelu; Ngozi Vivian Onadeko and Danladi Bitrus Lalas (Airwing),” the statement reads.

The development comes amid Magu’s expected retirement from the Nigeria Police Force, having clocked the mandatory retirement age of 60 on May 5.

In July 2020, when Magu was still at the helm of affairs in the EFCC, he was arrested, detained, and suspended as the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency — after he appeared before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct

The panel, led by Justice Ayo Salami, subsequently recommended Magu’s removal as EFCC boss “for failing to properly account for N431,000,000.00 security votes/information fund released to the office of the Executive Chairman of EFCC between November 2015 and May 2020”.

The panel further recommended that Magu should be referred to the inspector-general of police (IGP) for “necessary disciplinary action”, and that he should be prosecuted over the alleged offences.

Despite the recommendation of the panel, Magu resumed duties at the police headquarters as commissioner of police — his rank before he was appointed acting EFCC chairman.

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