ICPC uncovers N2.67bn school feeding funds in personal accounts – Newstrends
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ICPC uncovers N2.67bn school feeding funds in personal accounts

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Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman ICPC

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Monday said it had discovered part of N2.67 billion school feeding funds meant for Federal Government colleges in personal accounts.The ICPC said the payment was made to the Federal colleges for school feeding during the lockdown “when the students were not in school.”
The Chairman, ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, who disclosed this, noted that the commission had commenced investigations into these findings.
He made the disclosure in a keynote address he delivered at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption with the theme, ‘Together Against Corruption and Launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy,’ in Abuja.

The chairman also revealed that the ICPC uncovered another N2.5bn, appropriated by an individual, now deceased, to himself and his cronies, in addition to a N16bn recovered from the Ministry of Agriculture, paid to individuals for non-official purposes.

Other assets that were recovered in the Ministry of Agric, according to him, include 18 buildings, 12 business premises, and 25 plots of land.

Owasanoye said, “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA were to prevent disbursement from being monitored.

“Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts.

“We have commenced investigations into these findings.”

Under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative, 722 projects with a threshold of N100 million were tracked across 16 states by the Commission, it was learnt.

According to the ICPC boss, a number of projects described as ongoing in the budget, were found to be new projects that should have been excluded in order to enable government complete existing ones.

He said the absence of the needs assessment resulted in projects recommended for communities, which did not require them being abandoned; projects sited in private houses on private land thus appropriating common asset to personal use, hence denying communities of the benefit; and absence of synergy between outgoing project sponsors and their successors.

The commission, he said, also discovered that uncompleted projects sponsored by legislators who did not return were abandoned to the loss of the community and the state.

The ICPC chairman said discoveries of misuse of funds were made in the education sector, where 78 MDAs were reviewed.

He listed them to include payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, including project funds; non-deductions/remittance of taxes and IGR; payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to microfinance banks, payment of arrears of salary and other allowances of previous years from 2020 budget, and payment of salary advance to staff.

Others were under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion arrears due to surplus in Personnel Cost; abuse and granting of cash advances above the approved threshold and irregular payment of allowances to principal officers.

He said, “We have restrained or recovered by administrative or court interim and final orders assets above N3 billion, facilitated the recovery of $173,000 by the whistleblower unit of FMFB&P from an erring oil company, retrained £160,000 in a UK-bank in an ongoing interim forfeiture.

“These figures exclude quantum of recoveries on return or contractors to site as a result of project tracking initiatives.”

“It should however be noted that some of these assets are subjected to ongoing cases and where suspects proved their cases, physical or liquid assets will be released in accordance with laid down laws, guidelines or court directives,” the chairman added.

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Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Doyin Okupe

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

Director-General of the Labour Party’s presidential campaign in the 2023 election, Dr Doyin Okupe, has denied betraying the candidate of the party, Peter Obi.

Rather, he said it was Obi who betrayed the Peoples Democracy Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to contest the election.

According to Okupe, Obi’s presidential interest forced him to go against Atiku, who brought him into national politics.

Okupe maintained that he decided to withdraw his support for the LP presidential candidate because he was no longer interested in working with him.

The politician spoke in a viral video circulated on social media on Friday.

He said, “They said I betrayed Obi. No. How can I betray him? I started politics in 1978. Obi was nowhere else. My life and political destiny cannot be tied to Obi’s ambition. I wish Obi well, but I am done with him. We wanted to achieve something, but we couldn’t achieve it.

“Obi was the vice-presidential candidate of Atiku Abubakar in 2019. He brought him to the national limelight. Because of his own ambition, which was correct and due, Obi left the party and contested against Atiku. If people said I betrayed Obi, what did Obi do to Atiku? It is not fair.

“It is Obi’s interest in 2023 that made him go on a collision course against his former master. Obi was not my master; I was his supporter. If I supported him up to a point and decided to go back and be myself, how can that be an offence?”

Okupe disclosed that Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, persuaded him to support Obi.

According to him, he (Adebanjo) objected to the idea of a northerner succeeding former president Muhammadu Buhari, adding that he supported the move for the South to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.

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Okupe further stated that the collective decision to support Obi from the South-East was based on fairness.

The politician said, “Baba Adebanjo called me and said he heard that I wanted to contest for the presidential election, and I said yes. Baba said I was a troublemaker. I told Baba that he didn’t know what was happening in our party.

“PDP wanted a northerner to replace Buhari; that didn’t make sense to me. It made a mockery of our federalism and unity as a nation. It undermined my essence as a human being.

“Baba asked which section of the South should be considered if the presidency was zoned to the region. I told Baba that it was only the South-East that has not produced a president.

“Baba said we should support the South-East for the presidency and I agreed. We reviewed the presidential candidates from that region and we concluded on supporting Obi. That was what happened.”

Speaking further, Okupe said, “I went to the Press Centre in Abeokuta to declare that I was withdrawing from the race, and that I would support Peter Obi. By that time, I hadn’t met Obi. I haven’t discussed or seen him. I only knew he wanted to be president.

“Five days later, Obi called me on the phone and requested to see me. We met and discussed and he made me the Director-General of his campaign. That was how the journey with Obi started. When it was clear to us that we couldn’t get the ticket from PDP, we decided to leave the party.”

On why Obi lost the election, Okupe disclosed that the party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election, saying LP didn’t have what it took to win the presidential poll.

He said, “We ran a fantastic campaign; we did a lot of mobilisation, but we had our flaws and shortcomings. The party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election. We didn’t have what it took. The structure that covered the entire country wasn’t there.”

Reacting to Okupe’s statement, the Chairman of the Labour Party in Osun State, Bello Adebayo, said, “Obi didn’t betray anybody; it is not correct to say he betrayed Atiku because he didn’t contest the PDP presidential ticket with him in PDP.”

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Benneth Igweh, yesterday night refuted claims by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the police prevented union members from protesting.

Reacting to the development, Igweh dismissed allegations  by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the operatives of the FCT police command restricted members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, from leaving the protest ground and also deployed armoured vehicles, assault dogs, and police personnel to break up the peaceful protest using excessive force at Unity Fountain in Abuja on Thursday.

A statement issued by the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh said: “The command wishes to state that it clearly recognises and understands the rights of the citizens to freedom of association and expression and wouldn’t prevent citizens from exercising such rights. Hence, it didn’t deploy armoured vehicles, assault dogs, or personnel to use excessive force to prevent protesters from exercising their rights.

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“The command wishes to state that there was an understanding and agreement between the associations and itself that the protest should be held within the unity fountain, where representatives of each association will address the press and subsequently take their complaints on behalf of others to the appropriate authorities without entering the streets. The agreement was reached to prevent potential hijacking of the protest by some unscrupulous elements, hence the restriction.

“The commissioner of police FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, wishes to reaffirm that the command is committed to upholding the right to peaceful assembly while prioritising the safety of the general public. He also noted that the command appreciates the cooperation of the community and will continue to work diligently to maintain a safe environment for all.”

Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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Reinstated dep gov of Edo State Philip Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

The reinstated deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, says the State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to destroy him.

Shaibu alleged that Obaseki was behind the attack on him and Monday Okpebholo, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state on Thursday.

A clutch of armed men opened fire on Shaibu and Okpebholo on Thursday at the exit gate of the Benin Airport upon their return from Abuja after the judgment reinstating the former as the deputy governor of the state.

Okpebholo’s police aide was killed during the shootout.

Speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Friday evening, Shaibu said he got an intelligence report that Obaseki ordered his men not to allow him into the state.

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He, however, said no one can stop him from entering the state even if he was an ordinary let alone as a deputy governor.

He said: “Yesterday I got intel that the governor told his men not to allow me into town. I’m a free-born citizen of Edo State, nobody can allow me into the state.

“The Constitution does not allow anybody to bar me from entering the state, not even when I’m a deputy governor, even if I’m an ordinary citizen; nobody has that right.

“But I didn’t know he would arm them that much, reviewing it further; I remembered the governor threatening to destroy me, he used the word ‘I will destroy you’

“It’s obvious that it was an attempt to actualize the statement that he was going to destroy me. I have decided that only God can destroy a man and that’s why I have decided that I will fight till the end of this campaign, even when I was impeached; I decided to fight for the sanity and sanctity of the office of the deputy governor.”

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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