Committee Investigating NHIS Submits Report To SGF  

 

The committee set up to investigate allegations of fraud against the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Professor Usman Yusuf has submitted its report.

The committee submitted the report of its findings to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha on Monday.

But it, however, refused to make public their recommendations.

The report is coming more than seven weeks after the committee was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the allegations against Professor Yusuf.

READ ALSO: FG Inaugurates Seven-Man Panel To Probe NHIS Boss

Buhari Directs NHIS Boss To Proceed On ‘Administrative Leave’

After its inauguration on November the 2nd, 2018, the committee was given two weeks to complete its assignment.

It will be recalled that the Chairman on the NHIS Board, Mr Ifenne Enyanatu, had in October suspended the Executive Secretary after obtaining permission from the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

However, Yusuf defied the Governing Council and resumed at the headquarters of the NHIS in Abuja with the backing of policemen, a day after the pronouncement.

Assad, Russia Envoy Discuss Syria Constitutional Committee

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad                                 HO / Syrian Presidency Telegram Page / AFP

 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an envoy from ally Russia on Sunday discussed “removing the obstacles” to forming a constitutional committee demanded by international powers to help end the seven-year war, the presidency said.

The leaders of Russia, rebel backer Turkey, Germany, and France last week in Istanbul called for the committee to be formed by the end of the year to discuss a post-war constitution, “paving the way for free and fair elections” in Syria.

On Sunday, Assad held talks with Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev on “forming the committee to discuss the current constitution”, the presidency said in a statement.

They agreed “to continue joint Syrian-Russian work towards removing the obstacles still in the way of forming this committee”, it said.

A Turkish-Russian deal for Syria’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib has revived a push towards a diplomatic solution to the country’s conflict, with international efforts focused on setting up the 150-member committee.

Under a UN plan, the regime would choose 50 of the committee members, the Syrian opposition another 50 and the UN would nominate the final 50, composed of representatives of civil society and technical experts.

But last week, Damascus rejected a UN list presented by the world body’s outgoing envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Instead, the Damascus regime is to draw up its own list, along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, according to de Mistura, who is set to step down at the end of the month.

Even if the committee is formed, analysts say the task of discussing a post-war constitution will be difficult.

The opposition has pushed for an entirely new constitution, but the regime has said it will only discuss altering the current one.

Assad’s forces have notched up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists since Russia intervened militarily on its side in 2015, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

AFP

Enugu Govt Inaugurates Committee On Airport Upgrade

Enugu Airport (file)

 

The Enugu State Government has inaugurated a committee on the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.

The committee was inaugurated by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, on Wednesday in the state capital.

Mrs Ezeilo explained that the committee has a charge to tackle issues relating to the encroachment of land around the runway of the airport.

She said, “This all-encompassing committee will finally deal with the issues of the encroachment of land around the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and other related matters, and advise the government on all necessary steps to be taken to ensure full safety operations of the airport which includes the relocation of the mast to a new site.”

According to the deputy governor, the airport project will boost the state’s economic growth in the South-East geopolitical zone and beyond.

She also reiterated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s commitment to the effective and efficient operation of the airport.

The committee is chaired by the Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Mr Chidi Aroh.

Its members include the Commissioners for Lands and Urban Development, as well as Commerce and Industry.

Others include the Assistant General Manager of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA); as well as the General Manager of Land and Water Survey at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) among others.

Senate Sets Up Committee To Investigate OAU ‘Sex Scandal’

OAU ASUU Crisis Deepens As Breakaway Group Alleges Corruption
File photo of the entrance to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) campus in Ile Ife, Osun State.

 

The Senate on Wednesday ordered for an investigation to be conducted into the case of alleged sexual harassment at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

A postgraduate student of the institution, Monica Osagie had accused a lecturer at the Accounting Department, Professor Richard Akindele of demanding sex from her, sex for marks.

The Senate during plenary on Wednesday passed a motion on the growing trend of sexual harassment in higher institutions of learning, with a spotlight on the case of Monica Osagie.

The motion moved by Senator Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti-South) was entitled, ‘The Growing Trend of Sexual Harassment in the Higher Institutions of Learning: The Case of Monica Osagie.’

READ ALSO: Senate To Invite Prisons Boss Over Detention Of Underage Offenders

In its resolution, the Senate mandated its committee on tertiary institutions and judiciary, human rights and legal matters to carry out a full scale investigation on the case of Miss Monica Osagie and the OAU lecturer named in the ‘sex-for-grades’ scandal.

The resolution also observes that Miss Osagie’s experience justified the specificity and target of the sexual harassment in the tertiary institutions bill passed by the Senate in 2016 – and the need to ensure that such perversion is curbed in places of learning.

Senate President Bukola Saraki commended the bravery of Miss Osagie, noting that the Senate would work to ensure that any member of the institution that is culpable would be investigated and thoroughly discipline.

The Senate also asked the joint committee to “invite the OAU authorities to explain the steps they have taken and the outcome of their internal investigation on the matter as well as institutional reviews they have carried out, together with such further proposals aimed at nipping the problem in the bud.”

They also urged the House of Representatives to quickly move to pass the Senate’s bill on Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill, which had been transmitted to the House.

This, the Senate noted will provide a window of solace for victims of these kinds of atrocities across the country in higher institutions of learning.

 

Minister Of Justice Inaugurates Committee To Decongest Prisons Nationwide

FILE PHOTO: Enugu Prison

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has inaugurated an 18-man committee to fast-track prisons decongestion in the Nigeria.

The committee is chaired by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High court, Justice Ishaq Bello.

While addressing the committee in Abuja, the Minister describes the current states of prisons across the country as pathetic and a complete abuse of the fundamental human rights of the inmates.

He charged the newly inaugurated committee to work at ensuring that the number of inmates awaiting trials reduces drastically.

According to him, over 70 per cent of inmates in prisons across the country are awaiting trial, a situation he describes as an indictment on the Nigeria’s justice system.

Lagos CP Sets UP Committee To Tackle Crime In Tourism Sector

Lagos CP, Imohimi

As part of the measures aimed at tackling of crime in Lagos State, the Acting Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Imohimi Edgal, has set up a 10-man Committee.

It is expected that the committee will come up with a strategy that will be used to end drug peddling and prevent bandits from gaining access to the establishments to plan crimes, while also strengthening security in the tourism sector, according to a statement by the Lagos Police Command’s spokesperson, Folarin Famous-Cole, on Sunday.

The committee chaired by the Managing Director of Farm City Lounge, Mr Lanre Carew, is to complement the efforts of the police in tackling the menace of criminal activities and to actualise the vision of the state Governor, Mr Akiwunmi Ambode, in ensuring a 24-hour business-friendly state.

The move, according to the CP, became necessary after he received intelligence on the rising number of young people peddling drugs.

Addressing stakeholders during a meeting in the hospitality industry at the Command Headquarters in Ikeja, the state capital, he said, “Young men and women freely use narcotic substances at times in the seating areas, at times more hidden in the toilet areas of our clubs, lounges, hotels to the knowledge of the operators but they are doing nothing about it. This is wrong.

“Intelligence report at my disposal reveals that there is increased drug peddling, drug abuse in most of our nightclubs, lounges, beaches and so on across the state. The scourge of drugs and its attendant effect not only healthwise on the young population but also a very clear correlation between drug and crime is something that should make every responsible Lagosian worried.

“The ease with which our youths are getting access to drugs at clubs, lounges, beaches and so on is worrisome and our meeting here today is to send a very strong signal to operators that it is not going to be business as usual.”

The police boss had while chiding most tour operators in the state of partnering with criminals, lamented that such spots were used to promote prostitution which could breed criminal activities.

The CP said, “It has also been observed that some hotels in the state now give rooms to minors and also sell alcoholic drinks to them, while under-aged girls were also being allowed to use such establishments for prostitution.

“We also have the issue of criminals hibernating and having to save haven on all our beaches, hotels, clubs, lounges these days. The last intelligence report I received indicates that young men now move around these establishments armed.

“This is very dangerous for the security of the State. We have it on good authority that some of these establishments are used as meeting points to plan crimes before they execute.”

Senate Sets Up Committee To Investigate Maina’s Return

Senate Approves Electronic Voting For Elections
File photo

The Senate has on Tuesday set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the recently dismissed civil servant and former Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Pension, Abdulrasheed Maina.

After its sitting on Tuesday, the Senate resolves that the Committee on Public Service and Establishment investigate how Maina got into the country after he left the shores of the country and trailing a report that he was on EFCC wanted list for about two years.

The Senate through the committee is also set to investigate how Maina was reinstated into Public Service and how he got promoted to the level of Director in the civil service.

Senator Akpan Bassey adds that the Committees on Interior and Anti-Corruption should be included to the committee carrying out the investigation.

READ ALSO: Head Of Service Counters Dambazau, Denies Reinstating Maina

Senator Olusola Adeyeye in his contribution said that the Ad-hoc Committee should include Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committees on Interior, judiciary and anti-corruption, public service and establishment headed by the Chairman Committee on Public Service and Establishment.

Senator Alasoadura said, “We should not always duplicate the Executive if the Executive has ordered an investigation we shouldn’t order another.”

Some lawmakers in their contributions say the reinstatement of Maina into the civil service is an indictment on the Attorney General of the Federation.

This reaction of the Senate is coming after President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the immediate disengagement of Maina from the Federal Civil Service and calling for a probe of the Federal Civil Service.

Reps Form Committee To Reunite Nigeria

The Federal lawmakers on Tuesday resumed plenary and the session involves discussion about various national issues.

Various national issues including the unity of Nigeria, 2017 budget, the controversial NGO Bill, among others, were issues deliberated on at the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives, during their sitting on Tuesday, set up an ad-hoc committee to meet with various stakeholders across the six geopolitical zones for practical solutions to ensure the unity of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: National Assembly Resumes Plenary After Seven-Week Break

The motion, proposed by the House Majority Leader, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila and unanimously adopted by the House, follows the welcome address of the speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.

The House also agreed to immediately revisit the issue of devolution of powers in the interest of the unity of Nigeria.

Reps Committee Order Banks To Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s Accounts

Patience Jonathan, Court, EFCC

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has directed that banks to allow wife of former President of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan to access some of her bank accounts that have been frozen.

This direction was given during the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives committee on public petitions, on Tuesday.

Patience Jonathan’s attorney had submitted a petition to the committee over what they described as the unwarranted and persistent attacks on her by agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other government agencies (EFCC).

During the hearing, in which EFCC representatives were absent, the committee also directed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to meet with the petitioner’s counsel to resolve the issues regarding one of the businesses of Patience Jonathan.

Representatives of the FIRS were taken up by the committee on their visit to the petitioner’s business in Bayelsa State for allegedly evading paying tax.

The chairman of the committee, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta sought to get to the heart of the matter by hearing from the petitioner, the banks, and FIRS.

One of the members of the committee, Emeka Obiago, made it clear that the focus of the lawmakers is that people obey the laws of the land.

He said “We will not want to be seen in any way to shield anybody who tries to evade tax. Our position is we must be governed in accordance with the rule of law.”

Nkem-Abonta, therefore, directed that the banks should unfreeze all accounts that they have no pending court order.

“Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.

“I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,’’ the committee chairman said.

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial Centres

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial CentresThe Federal Government has been asked to pay more attention to building Nigeria’s industrial capacity, by giving priority to the development and funding of Industrial Development Centers (IDCs) across the country.

The Senate Committee on Industries made the call during a visit to the Industrial Development Centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as part of its oversight function.

The Committee, led by Senator Sam Egwu, decried the state of the centres across the country, stressing the need to prioritise the IDCs and ensure they become functional, in order to contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A member of the Committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade, observed that one of the major causes of Nigeria’s recession was the failure to develop its industrial capacities.

He added that countries like China and India were able to thrive due to the priority given to industrialisation.

“IDCs were meant to give a foundation of producing middle-level staff for industrialising the nation. And since they were not working very well, and have remained moribund in most of the centres, 23 of them in the country, our level of industrialisation is where it is, which is part of why the recession has come to this nation.

“Countries like India and China that were basically at the same level with Nigeria, are highly industrialised now because they paid attention to their development of industrial capacity, that is what is lacking here,” he said.

The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Radda, said to achieve full diversification of the economy, government should give more priority to industrialisation.

“I believe we are going to get it right this time because the lawmakers are here and they are the people that appropriate funds for the development of these centres.

“I believe they are really worried about it, and I believe that they are going to do something about it. The government will put more priority on the IDCs,” he said.

Disagreement Trails Statutory Instrument Bill Hearing

Statutory Instruments Bill It appears not everyone agrees that the National Assembly should carry out the function of oversight and legislative scrutiny of statutory laws and policies, before they come into force.

There were disagreements on Friday between participants at a public hearing on who should oversee the scrutiny of statutory instruments.

The public hearing on the provision of the Statutory Instrument Bill 2015 was organised by the House Committee on Justice in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Razak Atuwa, highlighted the objectives that the bill intends to achieve.

“The statutory instruments themselves should carry a bit more weight on one hand, and on the other hand, should have some scrutiny so as to avoid conflicts,” Honourable Atuwa explained.

However, participants disagreed on who should manage the oversight and scrutiny of the statutory instruments.

They suggested that the bill should be jettisoned, calling on the standing committees at both Lower and Upper chambers to carry out the oversight function rather than making another bill.

Sambo Presents Handover Notes To APC

Namadi SamboNigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, has presented copies of the handover notes to the transition committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Presentation of the documents to the committee led by Ahmed Joda held at the Presidential Villa on Monday, four days to the handover ceremony.

Presenting the documents, Mr Sambo said that members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be available to provide clarification on any query arising from the report.

Mr Sambo added that the report comprises activities of the Federal Government between 2011 and 2015 and that the Permanent Secretaries of each ministry had signed each page of the report to authenticate it.

He also hoped that it would guide the incoming administration towards the achievement of positive objectives, development and progress of Nigeria.

Sambo thanked the members of the two transition committees for their support and contributions.

In his remarks, Mr Joda described the handover notes as ‘comprehensive’, saying his committee would examine the report before final submission to the incoming Buhari’s administration.

He said it was the duty of his committee to ensure continuity in government, for the general progress of the nation.

On Sunday, the spokesman for the APC, Lai Mohammed, had raised concerns that the incoming administration had not received any document from the outgoing government. He was worried that the time for the incoming government to study the document before the handover of May 29 was short.

Mr Mohammed accused President Goodluck Jonathan of allowing the challenges facing the nation to degenerate and planning to handover ‘a nation in deep crisis‘.