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FG moves for abducted train passengers release, opens talks with abductors

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More than two weeks after terrorists abducted scores of passengers of Abuja-Kaduna train, the Federal Government has commenced discussions with the abductors to secure the release of the victims.

Relatives of the victims confirmed this to journalists on Friday in Kaduna, saying the information was relayed to them by the Minister of Information, Mai Mohammed.

At least nine people were killed and over 60 abducted when terrorists planted explosives along the Abuja-Kaduna corridor, which detailed the train.
The terrorists had then opened fire on the train before abducting dozens of passengers on the evening of March 28, 2022.
However, nine days after the attack, the terrorists released the Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, after he reportedly paying N100 million ransom.
Speaking with journalists in Kaduna, the relatives and friends of the abducted passengers on Friday said they had been assured by the Federal Government that the channel of discussions with the terrorists had been opened.
“After the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, we heard from the Federal Government through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed that the government is in dialogue. That government is already discussing with the abductors of our relatives,” said Dr Jimoh Fatai, who has been designated as chairman of the group pressing for the release of their loved ones.
“We are happy about it, we note it, we acknowledge it and we appreciate the efforts of the government in that regard. What we are now appealing for is that government should speed up the process,” he said.
The relatives had earlier issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian Government to open discussions that would see to the release of the captives.
Fatai said since the initial contact, the terrorists had yet to contact them on the condition of their loved ones.
He expressed concern that the captives could be going through untold hardship especially during the rainy season.
The group warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation against any attempt to resume the Abuja-Kaduna train service, stressing that priority should be on the safety and release of those in captivity.
“The NRC should not be in a hurry to resume its service because we don’t want a recurrence of what happened. Priority for now should be on bringing back our people who are in captivity home,” he said.

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Adeleke Sacks Over 10,000 Workers Newly Recruited by Oyetola

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Osun State Former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola and Governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke

New Governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke, has nullified the recruitment of over 10,000 workers most of them teachers who benefitted from employments shortly before the end of the tenure of former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola.

This was part of the Six Executive Orders issued and signed by the Governor on Monday. Adeleke was sworn into office on Sunday as the sixth elected governor of the state. His late elder brother, Isiaka Adeleke was the first elected governor.

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In the Order 3, which bordered on employment, the order stated,

“All employments in the service of Osun State Government made in any capacity into any capacity in all the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Commissions , Boards and Parastatals after July 17th, 2022 be and are hereby nullified.”
Information available to the NPO Reports showed that more than 10,000 people would be affected with the decision.

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BREAKING: Adeleke suspends OSIEC chairman, members

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke

The Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has ordered the immediate suspension of the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Segun Oladitan.

A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tesleem Igbalaye, on Monday, also suspended six members of the Commission with immediate effect.

The suspension was said to have been based on several petitions bothering on financial impropriety, dereliction of duty, absenteeism and abuse of office against the said Chairman and members of the Commission.

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The statement further read in part, “The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Adeleke, has directed the immediate suspension of the Chairman of OSIEC, Segun Oladitan, and the following members of the Commission;

I. Mr. Yusuf Oyeniran
II. Alhaja Suibat Adubi
III. Prince Yinka Ajiboye
IV. Mrs. Abosede Omibeku
V. Mr. Dosu Gidigbi
VI. Mr. Wahab Adewoyin

“This suspension is sequel to several petitions bothering on financial impropriety, dereliction of duty, absenteeism and abuse of office against the said Chairman and members of the Commission.

“Pending the outcome of investigation into the allegations against the suspended chairman and members of the Commission, the Secretary to the Commission shall hold forth in running the affairs of the Commission.”

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Senate uncovers N200m fraud in Labour ministry payments

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The Senate through its Public Accounts Committee says it has discovered fraud in the payments of over N208 million for the Zonal Skills Acquisition organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The programme was organised in all the six zones of the federation in 2021 with N35 million for each zone apart from South East which had N32 million.

The money used for the programme was reportedly drawn from Service Wide Vote (SWV) which has become the subject of investigation by the Senate Public Accounts due to failure to subject the expenditure to the scrutiny of the auditor-general of the federation office before expenditure.

The Senate committee alleged forgery of signatures of participants in the programme.
The lawmakers, who received the lists of participants through the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, observed a few persons signed for the participants to collect their stipends in the six zones as the ministry allegedly failed to make available the phone numbers of participants in the programme.
Urhoghide wondered how the officials could pay millions of naira via cash for the programme instead of bank transfers.

The committee said the character of the signatures in participants’ list made it look the same and not a single person used his name as a signature.
The committee said the ministry would have used e-payment for the participants.

“The signatures can’t stand the forensic test if we subject them to the forensic test,” the committee declared.
Urhoghide said, ” The money ought to have been paid straight into the accounts, you see one person signing for many people. There is a clear violation of e-payment”
However, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Ms Kachollom Dajua, and other officials were said to have failed to give a convincing explanation to the committee as they argued that due process was followed in paying the participants.

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