Five commissioners in Niger State are to appear before the Committees on Finance and Appropriation of the State House of Assembly.
This was the position taken by members of the House on Wednesday at the legislative chamber of the Assembly in Minna, the state capital.
Those asked to appear before the lawmakers were the commissioners of finance, justice, sports, works, and planning.
During the plenary, the lawmakers deliberated on the allegation of misappropriation of funds to the tune of N3 billion purportedly by the commissioners.
A member of the House representing Chanchaga State Constituency, Marafa Guni, had moved the motion which was supported by his colleague from Kontagora I State Constituency, Falalu Bako.
Guni informed the Speaker of the House, Abdullahi Wuse, and others that it was important to have the necessary facts and figures at the disposal of the relevant committees when the commissioners appear before the lawmakers.
He said, “Mr Speaker, the matter of extra-budgetary expenditure is a very sensitive one; this is a matter that has to do with records, facts, and figures.
“This House does not have any meaningful record that we are going to use to crosscheck the claims of the commissioners when they appear, the best they can do is to give us verbal explanations and verbal explanations are insufficient to solve this problem at hand.”
‘A Very Abnormal Year’
“I want to humbly move that first and foremost; these commissioners should be mandated to submit records of their various ministries to this House after which I will want this house to allow its Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance to interface with these commissioners by way of having time to carefully sit and look at the records one after the other,” the lawmaker added.
He also urged the lawmakers to mandate the committees to report back to the House with their findings after the commissioners may have appeared before them.
The motion moved by the lawmaker enjoyed the support of his colleagues and was approved by the Speaker who asked the committees to report back in two weeks.
At the end of the plenary, the Commissioner of Planning in Niger, Mamman Musa, denied the allegations during an interview with reporters at the Assembly complex.
He insisted that the commissioners were ready to present evidence of their expenditures to the committees.
The commissioner said, “The Year 2020 was a very abnormal year. If you recall, we had a passed budget and a revised budget, as a result of dwindling resources because of the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.”
“Of course, we had some priorities resized, and yet, there were issues unprepared for that expenditures had to take place; these are normal things that take place between the executive and legislator and they are normally corrected as provided by the law.
“As far as I am concerned, … that some commissioners have carted away three million is totally untrue; that is not a fact,” he stated.
Three commissioners have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Gombe State.
The Commissioner of Information and Culture in the state, Ibrahim Alhassan, disclosed this to reporters on Tuesday.
He explained that the COVID-19 status of the infected persons was discovered after all 21 commissioners in Gombe and the governor’s aides took the test.
Alhassan also confirmed that the test results of one of the governor’s aides and five members of the Gombe State House of Assembly came back positive.
He said, “We conducted massive tests for all the government functionaries – the commissioners, special advisers, and all the staff of the Government House.
“Out of the 21 commissioners, it is unfortunate that we are having three positive cases. Of the special advisers, we have one positive case.”
“Of the members of the State House of Assembly, we have five positive cases. This is so far, the update within the government cycle,” he added.
The commissioner decried that the pandemic was already within the community and the state has begun to witness community transmission of the disease.
He revealed that the government has decided to lead by example by ensuring that 100 per cent of its workforce took the test.
“Therefore, all hands need to be on deck to see that we fight this pandemic head-on and as of today, permanent secretaries and directors in all the government ministries and agencies are now undergoing the screening (the test),” he stated.
The Chairman of the Task Force on COVID-19 in the state, Professor Idris Muhammad, also gave an update on the outbreak of the disease in Gombe.
He noted that the government has tested 609 people in four days and the results of 63 persons returned positive.
Professor Muhammad also confirmed that the infected members of the executive and legislative arms of government in the state were among the positive cases.
He, therefore, appealed to the residents to be cooperative with the task force in its aggressive approach to curb the community transmission of the disease in the state.
The task force chairman also advised the residents, especially those on essential services to wilfully submit themselves for the test.
According to him, Gombe State has a total of 234 positive cases of COVID-19, out of which 33 patients are active with 134 others discharged, as of 2pm on Tuesday.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has inducted two commissioners into the State Executive Council.
Mr Ibanga Akpabio is the Commissioner for Ministry of Labour, Productivity and Manpower Planning, while Professor Victor Inoka is assigned the Ministry of Education to replace Pastor Paul Udofia.
At the swearing-in ceremony which took place on Wednesday at the Government House in Uyo, Governor Emmanuel who said the new commissioners came highly recommended was hopeful that they would add value to the Council.
He said: “We have added to our team, two fresh ideas and brains. I have added two more to the family, so beat that if you can in terms of pedigree, intellect, exposure, passion, tenacity in delivery, and even in capacity. I believe we will get the best out of these two.”
The governor further thanked the serving commissioners for the contributions they have made so far to the state government and urged them not to relent in their selfless services.
He also advised the new commissioners to be mindful of their conducts as they are now seen as representatives of the government.
“There are certain places you used to go, you will no longer go again; there are certain things you used to say, you may not be able to say again because when once you speak now, you are speaking the minds of government,” he said.
Governor Emmanuel asked them to take their duty to heart, discharging same without the interference of personal interest.
Addressing reporters shortly after his inauguration, Professor Inoka, described the governor as a visionary man who is assiduously working towards building a bridge to link the state to the future.
He thanked Emmanuel for the appointment and promised to key into the governor’s vision with a show of unflinching loyalty, dedication and commitment to his duties.
Akpabio hails from Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state and until his appointment, he served as the State Deputy Chairman of PDP, while Inoka from the University of Port Harcourt is a native of Oruk Anam Local Government.
Apart from Pastor Udofia who was relieved of his appointment, all other commissioners and special advisers retained their posts.
Present at the swearing in were some present and past leader in the state, including the immediate past governor and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, has dissolved the State Executive Council over non-performance.
According to him, the commissioners were sacked as they were not helping him to achieve the desired goals and aspirations of his administration.
The Secretary to the State Government, Ibrahim Ladan, who confirmed the sack, said the governor has the right to dissolve his cabinet at any time.
Governor Bello, who expressed dismay at the council meeting on Wednesday at Government House in Minna, said their impacts were not felt by the citizens despite every opportunity made available to them to perform their responsibilities as cabinet members.
However, the three new commissioners – at the ministries of Mineral Resources, Culture and Tourism, as well as, Livestock and Fisheries, were exempted from the sack.
The governor further directed all the Permanent Secretaries of the affected ministries to take charge until new appointments are made.
He also suspended the weekly executive council meetings until a new cabinet has been put in place.
Bello thanked the former members of his cabinet for their contributions, support, and commitment to the actualisation of his restoration agenda and wish them success in their future endeavors.
It was a fresh day at work but Thursday morning with a difference for civil servants at the Edo State Secretariat in Benin City, the state capital.
Since the inception of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration late last year, commissioners are just assuming office.
Among the first arrivals for work at the state secretariat building was the Commissioner for Budget, Planning and Economic Development, Miriam Abubakar and her counterpart in the Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment Ministry, Emmanuel Usoh.
In separate interviews with Channels Television in their offices, both commissioners expressed their desire to immediately settle down to work and deliver on their mandates.
Mrs Abubakar, who noted that the 2018 budget would be ahead of schedule, said: “We are going to be preparing for the 2018 budget; the governor has made it clear to us that in December he’s going to announce his budget, so we are ready”.
On his part, the wealth creation commissioner pointed out that the first step for him was human capacity building.
“The first is for human capital and its requirements to be dealt with so that we can go out to meet the citizenry to create wealth and employment for them. In return, the government is enriched by the quality of human capital and the resources available to them,” Usoh stated.
It may have been a slow entrance to the governing team for the commissioners following the thorough screening prior to their appointments, but they appear determined to contribute to the development of Edo State as they assume office.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday, sacked four commissioners from his cabinet.
In a minor change of cabinet, Governor El-Rufai nominated replacements for the sacked commissioner for confirmation by the Kaduna State House of Assembly (KSHA).
The Clerk of the House of Assembly, Umma Hikima, was appointed as the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General of the state, while Professor Kabiru Mato was nominated as the Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry.
Hafsat Baba was also appointed as the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development and Jafaru Sani as the Commissioner for Local Government.
The governor also redeployed the Commissioner of Justice to environment, the Commissioner for Agriculture to Commerce and the Commissioner for Environment to the newly created Ministry of Stakeholders Relations.
“The commissioners swapping portfolios include Amina Sijuwade, moved from Ministry of Justice to Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, while Maigari Manzo moved from Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
“Shehu Balarabe moves from Ministry of Environment to become Commissioner, Stakeholder Relations, while Mohammed Bashir Saidu who is now Chief of Staff, relinquishes the office of Commissioner for Local Government.
“Rabi Abdulsalam, former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, becomes Special Adviser on Social Development, while Shehu Adamu, former Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, returns to academia,” said a statement released by the governor’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan.
Governor El-Rufai also reassigned three special advisers namely: Uba Sani as Special Adviser, Political Matters and Intergovernmental Relations; Chris Umar, Deputy Chief of Staff is to become Solicitor-General, while Murtala Dabo, Special Adviser, Economic Matters, is appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport.
He further announced the appointment of eight new permanent secretaries.
They include Mohammed Shuaibu, Ministry of Health and Human Services; Chris Umar, Ministry of Justice; Rabilu Ibrahim, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; and Joseph Steven, Ministry of Local Government.
Also appointed as permanent secretaries were Habiba Shekarau, General Services, Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG); Lawrence Shemang, Ministry of Water Resources, Murtala Dabo, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport; and Abdullahi Sani, Cabinet Affairs and Special Services, Office of the SSG.
Mr El-Rufai stated that five permanent secretaries have been redeployed as follows: Hauwa Umar, Ministry of Women and Social Development; Ibrahim Jere, Bureau of Establishments, Management and Training; Ibrahim Sambo, Ministry of Rural and Community Development; Nuhu Buzun, Public Service Office, Office of the Head of Service; and Aishatu Mohammed, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
However, five other permanent secretaries have retired.
The governor thanked all members of the team for the successes the State Government has recorded so far and wished them good luck in their future endeavours.
18 commissioners and two special advisers sworn in by Akwa Ibom state governor, Udom Emmanuel, have now been assigned portfolios.
The state House of Assembly on Wednesday confirmed the nominees, following their screening exercise.
House leader, Udo Akpan, had moved a motion for their confirmation and was seconded by Aniekan Bassey, the member in charge of Uruan constituency of the state.
It would be recalled that Governor Emmanuel dissolved the state Executive Council on October 15, 2016.
The new list was sent in on November 26, exactly 45 days after the dissolution of the former EXCO.
Here is a full list of the 20 government officials.
1. Victor Antai, Ministry of Culture and Tourism 2. Orman Esin, Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources. 3. Linus Nkan, Ministry of Finance 4. Akan Okon, Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal and Special Duties 5. Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney General, Ministry Of Justice 6. Dr Dominic Ukpong, Ministry of Health 7. Ephraim Inyangeyen, Ministry of Works 8. Glory Edet, Ministry of Women Affairs 9. Monday Ebong Uko, Ministry of Youth And Sports 10. Prof. Eno Ikpe, Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry 11. Udo Ekpenyong, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs 12. Dr Uduak Charles Umoinyang, Ministry Of Agriculture 13. Arc Ime Ekpo, Lands and Town Planning 14. Paul Alexander Udofia, Ministry of Education 15. Charles Udo, Ministry Of Information and Strategy 16. Idorenyin Sunday Udo, Ministry of Economic Development, Planning and Man Power Development 17. Dr Nse Udo Essien, Ministry of Science And Technology 18. Dr Iniobong Essien, Ministry of Environment 19. Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson, Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Affairs 20. Mrs Ekemini David, Special Adviser on Rural Development and Co-orporatives
The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has sworn in 20 Commissioners into his cabinet. The commissioners comprises of three women and seventeen men – Four of whom have served in previous administrations.
The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahiaon Monday.
Administration’s Five Pillars
According to the Governor, the men and women assigned to be part of the executives were carefully chosen, based on their precedence and assurance that they would deliver in their various ministries, supporting the administration’s drive to turn around the fortunes of the state.
Governor Ikpeazu also promised to give the new commissioners all that they needed to perform. He also urged them to cue into the administration’s emphasis on the five pillars of agriculture, environment, commerce, trade and oil and gas, to drive the economy of the state.
Their appointment, according to the Governor, is a privilege, as the state can boast of many qualified men and women who could occupy the same position, if given a chance.
Governor Ikpeazu also said that with priority to enhance economic development, his administration in the new dispensation had divided the Ministry of Commerce into two – the Ministry of Trade and investment and Ministry of Industry.
Some of the new commissioners thanked the Governor for finding them fit to serve and pledged their readiness to support the upliftment of the state.
The allegations against them include non-payment of staff salaries without satisfactory explanations, inability to account for Internally Generated Revenue, diversion of funds, failure to follow due process in the award of contracts as well as illegal employment of senior officers without going through Local Government Service Commission, which is a violation of laid-down provisions.