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N700bn recovered through whistleblowers – Finance minister

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The Federal Government had recovered over N700bn from corrupt individuals since the commencement of the whistle-blower policy in 2016, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Tuesday in Abuja.

She spoke during an interview with journalists at the National Conference on Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria.

She said some of these recoveries were made during the cleaning of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System; stoppage of non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account and violations of the procurement Act 2007 among others.

The minister said at inception of the policy, there was widespread enthusiasm as Nigerians volunteered numerous actionable information.

Such information or tips, she noted, were referred for further investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Department of State Services.
However, she lamented that after sometime, interest in the implementation of the policy nosedived.

To address these issues, she said a committee with representatives from anti-graft and security agencies, chaired by a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, was set up to draft a Whistle Blower Bill.

The committee was set up taking into account all the complaints received from the public and the observations of the various stakeholders.

Also speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Whistle Blower Policy was developed as a tool to expose corruption and corrupt actors in government.

“The Whistle Blower Policy presents a unique opportunity for men and women of conscience who are appalled by the level of corruption in the society and are looking for safe avenues to expose the perpetrators of such corrupt activities to do so in a way that their identities are protected and their positions in their places of work are secured,” he said.

The Vice President urged the developers of the new Whistle Blower Bill to expand the scope of wrongful acts that might be reported by whistleblowers.

He said, “As a violation of law, gross mismanagement, waste of public resources, or acts inimical to public health or safety should be included in the scope of activities that whistleblowers can report to the authorities.

“The law should also provide for comprehensive protection of whistleblowers, including against reprisals from their employers and those whose activities they expose.

“These may include witness protection type provisions should the whistleblower have to appear in court.”

The VP said the ability of government to deliver on promises in the areas of human capital development, provision of quality infrastructure and the general economic progress of the country depended significantly on the protection of the scarce resources from being looted and its application for the benefit of Nigerian citizens.

He also said the policy should operate widely in states and local governments as they were closer to the people and oversee about half of the nation’s revenues.

Osinbajo said government’s goal was to harness the huge potential of the people to deliver on their moral obligation to report cases of corruption within their immediate environments.

The new whistleblower policy, he insisted, would energise the people to guard their resources through increased exposure of financial and related crimes.

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Deborah’s killing un-Islamic, barbaric — Hausa community

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THE Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Security Matters and youth leader of the Hausa community in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Junaidu Imam, has condemned the killing of the 200- level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemy, describing the killing as barbaric and un-Islamic.

 

Imam who doubles as the Chairman of, the United Rainbow Peace Movement, URPM, while reacting to the dastardly act, contended that the killing of Deborah was against the teaching of any religion in the world, noting that such practice was not an Islamic act as Islam promotes civility and peaceful coexistence.

 

While insisting that no individual was given the authority to kill, he said: “No matter how grievous an offence is, even if it attracts capital punishment, the Prophet allows retracting blasphemous pronouncement, which means the offender can evade the punishment. Whatever the version, her killing was despicable. She has the right to a trial before the abysmal level of her execution.

 

“The version I heard was that Deborah said Muslims were sending content to the class WhatsApp group. On that basis, the girl has freedom of expression. Islam says you cannot impose your religion on others. A verse also said ‘your religion is for you and theirs is for them’. So, as Muslims, you don’t cross the path. Everyone is entitled to their religion. Therefore, nobody can ascertain that Deborah has abused our Prophet Mohammed as it is the duty of the court to establish the fact.”

 

“They are not supposed to take it upon themselves to kill, beat, burn, destroyed place of worship and people’s property based on what they judged as blasphemy,” he further explained, even as he called for justice for the lynched NCE undergraduate.

 

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AbdulRazaq clinches Kwara APC guber ticket, talks of beating own record

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Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara state was Thursday evening reelected as the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023 General elections.

The governor was the sole aspirant in the exercise that took place inside the Banquet Hall of the government house, ilorin where 965 delegates were expected to vote for him.

At the end of the exercise, Chairman Governorship/ House of assembly primaries sent by the National leadership of the party from Abuja ,Prof Emmanuel Dandaura who led the team that supervised the election said that there were 961 valid votes, and 4 invalid votes.

Professor Dandaura asked whether there was complaint from anyone to which there was no response. He therefore declared the governor as the gubernatorial candidate of the party for the 2023 governorship elections.

Governor AbdulRazaq in his acceptance speech assured that he would not take the support of the delegates and other stakeholders in the ruling party for granted.

He noted that,”2023 is the year to make it clear to the doubting Thomases that the revolution of 2019 was not a fluke”, stressing that “It is the year to reaffirm our decision to reclaim our dignity and have a state that serves everyone equitably.

“We must therefore keep what is left of our patrimony, and by all democratic means avoid a relapse to the years of the distress, Governor AbdulRazaq said.

He also said that, “between 2019 and now, the trajectory of Kwara State has changed. We have registered a bold presence in the comity of decent and respected states. We have positive strides and indices in education, health, access to water, improved youths engagement, gender mainstreaming, support for farmers and the vulnerable, and rural development to show for our mandate.”

Today, he said, that ” no part of Kwara State is left without government presence. Our politics has also evolved. The destiny of Kwarans is no longer tied to any particular person. That is the bold message from our primaries.”

Governor AbdulRazaq however said he’s not perfect, saying, “Are we perfect? No, we are not. What is not debatable is the magnitude of progress that Kwara has made over the last three years. We can only beat our own records of achievements.”

He also said, “So, we will campaign on our records of improving the lots of our people and reasserting the leadership position of Kwara State.

“We will campaign on our record of courageously opening up the democratic space for all. We will campaign on our records of courageously opening up our books for public assessments in our strong belief that perfection belongs to God alone. In doing so, we are steadily improving the old system and achieving more efficiency.”

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Alleged killing of Timothy: Ibadan based Radio CEO, Hamzat regains freedom

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THE Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of an Ibadan based Radio Station, Agidigbo FM, Alhaji Oriyomi Hamzat, who was arrested and whisked to Abuja, on Thursday, has regained his freedom, we reliably gathered this morning.

Recall that Hamzat was arrested by Force Intelligence Bureau, FIB, operatives over his alleged role in seeking justice for a gruesome murder of a Postgraduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile Ife in Osun State, Mr. Timothy Adegoke.

Recall also that Adegoke died in one of the hotels belonging to the Maye of Ife, Chief Ramon Adedoyin late last year. Adedoyin and some of his hotel staffers have been arrested and currently facing murder charges in connection with the killing.

A competent Radio station source, however, who did not want his name in print told Our Correspondent that: “Oga, Alhaji Hamzat, will reunite with us today. He will be in Ibadan from Abuja any moment from now.”

Police had earlier said he was arrested in connection with a case of Cyber Bullying under investigation.

Its position was made known in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi and made available to newsmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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