NLC: SGF Lawal Shouldn’t be Tried by Osibanjo

The Nigerian Labour Congress has opposed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct an in-house administrative trial of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, who has been accused of abusing his office, Ripples reports.

According to senior officials of the labour union who spoke to newsmen on Thursday, ordering an in-house probe came short on expectations as the alleged offense committed by the SGF bordered on criminality.

Speaking, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, General Secretary of NLC posits,

“Well, we think that it is something that is positive. There are those who will say that it has taken long, particularly the issue of the SGF. Well, government has now decided to suspend them and investigation is going on, it is fine.”

“But what we don’t understand is how an administrative committee, chaired by the Vice President, will be investigating what is an alleged criminal offence. However, whatever processes they have chosen to adopt, what is important is that they need to bring the facts before the nation.”

“We need to know that there are no sacred cows and at the end of the day, we hope that justice will be done and citizens will be able to attest that justice has been done.”

“Once there are allegations of corruption and there are prima facie cases established while such investigation is going on, the normal practice is that people step aside, or are suspended or they remove themselves from the process.”

National President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke, asserts that “if somebody in the Presidency is accused of corruption, the usual anti-corruption agencies that investigate other ones, should also investigate the SGF. The Presidency should not investigate Presidency, nobody should be a judge in his own case.”


FG To Open Portal To Gather Data of Unemployed Nigerians

The Federal Government will start an online registration to gather data of unemployed Nigeria by Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

This was revealed by the deputy director, information and public relations, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Edmund Onwuliri in Abuja.

According to him,

With NDE’s “mandate to obtain and maintain a data bank on unemployment and vacancies in the country, the exercise would enable the directorate to serve as a clearing house linking job seekers with existing vacancies in government agencies and the private sector.”

“The online portal which goes live on Wednesday April 5, 2017, is designed to capture the relevant details of any unemployed person. It will equally serve as a job exchange portal that will link job seekers and employers.”

He also stated that a practical demonstration of the workings of the portal will take place at NDE stand at the ongoing 28th edition of the Enugu International Trade Fair on Thursday.

Describing the initiative as a bold step towards deepening the effectiveness of its employment creation strategies and a critical input into the process of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes and schemes, Onwuliri added that the online portal would henceforth serve as a meeting point for job seekers and their prospective employers.

The portal’s address would be :

Reps Against FG Plans to Build N3bn Houses For Top Officials

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, opposed the plan by the federal government to built 40 houses for top Federal Government officials at a cost of N3billion.

According to the Herman Hembe-led House Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during its 2016/2017 budget session with the Ministry of FCT, the change of policy started by former President Olusegun Obasanjo where housing and car incentives to civil servants are monetised, by the present administration, arguing that the initial programme may have been jettisoned without due process.

“When government comes up with a policy, it should follow it up. When you begin to build houses for ministers, permanent secretaries and directors, are they above the members of the National Assembly?”

“If you want to move for monetisation, it should be complete. I think it was wrong to sell the houses in the first place. This kind of thing may be very difficult to pass on the floor of the House. You can’t push for building houses for them. I remember at some point, they even wanted to sell the Vice President’s house.”

Representing the minister of the FCT,  FCT Permanent Secretary, Babatope Ajakaiye said,

“We have not started it; it is a new project. I still want to plead for understanding on this issue. The issue has been discussed last year and we’re still talking about it. The policy was introduced by government, but after sometime, there was this feeling that it should be reviewed.”

“When government says top functionaries, it is not defining. In countries around the world, they build safe houses, and it’s not meant for any particular person.”

“Can we really say we want to give houses to about 500 legislators in one or two years? Top government functionary could be anybody. There’s always a start.”

The committee however agreed to further look into it after details of the 40 unit houses, their specifications and supposed beneficiaries are made available.

I Won’t Honour Senate Summons – Sagay

Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, says he would not honour Senate’s summons because they have no constitutional right to summon him. According to him, the senators are ignorant of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution.

The Senate had on Wednesday proposed to invite Sagay for saying during his interview with The PUNCH that senators were irresponsible and childish.

Prof. Sagay has insisted on his claim and maintained that he was not misquoted.

“I am waiting for the Senate summons. In any case, they don’t have the remotest of powers or authority to summon me because their power to summon people is very limited if you look at Section 88 and Section 89 of the constitution.”

“I don’t fall under the category of people that they can summon. I am not operating any federal programme to which they have voted money. They are not investigating me based on anything for which they have voted money. So, there is nothing they can do about it.”

“I expressed my personal view and if you feel very strongly about it, you can go to court and sue for defamation. That is the best anybody can do but to say I should come before the Senate committee based on an accusation by the same Senate committee which is going to act as a judge in the same case? It will charge me and judge me? It is unconstitutional and illegal.”


We Will Hunt You Down – FG to Tax Evaders

Nigerian billionaires and millionaires who evade tax payment have been reprimanded by the Federal Government and told to expect action against them soon.

The minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, sounded the warning when she spoke during a colloquium to mark the 65th birthday anniversary of the state’s erstwhile governor, Senator Bola Tinubu in Lagos state.

According to her, Nigeria has one of the lowest tax regime ratio globally at six per cent, and President Muhammadu Buhari plans to use tax mobisation as one of the approaches to boost the country’s economy.

“It is a pity that Nigeria has one of the lowest tax regime ratio globally at six per cent. The only country that is lower than us is Oman. We have so many wealthy entrepreneurs, who have managed to develop habit of not paying tax, we need to correct that.”

“When the administration of Tinubu, as Lagos State governor, introduced a new tax regime, he became unpopular, but, today, when we see the infrastructure, I don’t think anyone will blame him for his action.”

“I take this opportunity to reach out to the millionaires and billionaires that you will hear from me, soon. It is a shame that we are one of the largest owners of crude oil, but, we cannot enjoy the revenue from it. Oil has proven that it would be an unreliable source of revenue.”

Fuel Scarcity Impends as Indebted Marketers are Denied Licence

The threat of fuel scarcity weighs heavily as the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) not to renew import licence and loading of petroleum products to oil marketing companies indebted to government through its agencies.

The minister also mentioned that special attention should be paid to the marketers, who also owe the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) (PEF), in respect of N6.20 per litre bridging allowance due to the fund.

Consequently, some stakeholders that there would be scarcity of fuel in some parts of Nigeria where bridging costs still operate, if the minister ‘s directive is strictly adhered to.

Explaining the directive, an aide to the minister said the directive became necessary following a series of complaints by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and transporters under the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) that bridging claims owed them by the PEF may hamper smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.


Whistleblowers to Earn N210m on Every N5bn – FG

The Federal Government have revealed that whistleblowers whose information leads to recovery of  N1billion to N5 billion will receive 5 percent for the first N1billion and 4 percent of the remaining N4 billion.

The minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed revealed it in a statement yesterday. According to him, any amount from N5bn and above would attract 2.5% reward.

The minister also assured that the government would protect the identity of all whistleblowers, whether in the public or the private sector by keeping information they provide secret.

“Whistleblowers have nothing to fear, because the committee has put in place the necessary measures to safeguard those who give useful information. As a matter of fact, whistle-blowers have everything to gain and nothing to lose. What we have done by making this information public is to reassure potential whistleblowers that the plan to reward is real. We are not just saying we will pay all whistleblowers, but we are letting them know in advance what they are entitled to, once the information they provide leads to the recovery of looted funds.”


Tests Revealed President Buhari Needed a Longer Period of Rest – Femi Adesina

According to Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Buhari on media and publicity, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has thanked every Nigerian, both Muslim and Christian, who has been praying for his health.

Adesina disclosed this in a press statement today.
President Muhammadu Buhari thanks millions of Nigerians who have been sending good wishes and praying for his health and well-being in mosques and churches throughout the country.
The President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern.
President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.
During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating the President staying longer than originally planned.”

FG Closes 20,000 Bank Accounts, Moves N5.2tn into TSA

Over 20,000 accounts with Deposit Money Banks belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been closed with a total sum of N5.24tn moved into the TSA, since the the commencement of the Treasury Single Account in September 2015.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ali Ahmed Idris, disclosed the figures on Tuesday in Abuja, while speaking at the opening session of a two day retreat on TSA.

The event which was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal among other top government officials had as its theme, “One year anniversary of Treasury Single Account: Benefits, challenges and way forward.”

Idris explained at the event that the TSA initiative has assisted the government to overcome the burden of indiscriminate borrowings by MDAs thus saving government a lot of bank charges associated with these borrowings.

For instance, he noted that prior to the full commencement of the TSA, the government was incurring about N4.7bn monthly on bank charges, adding that this has been eliminated through the TSA initiative.

The TSA is a platform which was used by the government to unify all its accounts by ensuring that all monies belonging to the federal government are kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria.