Minister Of Power Inaugurates Power Plant In Akwa Ibom

Minister Of Power Inaugurates 330kv Power Plant In Akwa IbomAgainst the backdrop of lack of electricity in some parts of the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has promised improved transmission across Nigeria.

He was speaking during the commissioning of a 330kva power transmission station in Akwa Ibom state.

The Minister said that the power plant would boost electricity supply and resolve the challenge of access to electricity in the country.

The 330kva station with 12 inter-connectivity lines to evacuate power from four major plants to the national grid is located in the heart of Essien Udim, Akwa Ibom state.

The Minister, after inspecting the facility, appealed for patience on the part of the host community while assuring them of improved electricity at affordable rates.

The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr Moses Ekpo, who lauded the project said that the event marked a turning point for industrialization and development in the state.

In the meantime, more private investments worth billions of naira have taken off in the state.

Nigerians are hopeful of better power in the days ahead.

Bayelsa State Assures Workers It Will Pay Full Salary

henry-dickson
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

The Bayelsa State Government has re-assured its workforce of its preparedness to pay full salaries at the end of November, with a view to cushioning the financial hardship caused by Nigeria’s current economic situation.

The Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd), gave the assurance during the transparency briefing for the month of September, 2016 at his office in the Government House, Yenagoa.

He explained that, the 50% salary owed in the month of February, 2016 would be paid alongside that of October, to make full payment.

Cashless System

the Deputy Governor stated that the government was still committed to the payment of the salary arrears owed the workers.

“We understand there is this fear that, the past halves would be forgotten. No! We don’t need to be afraid. We want to reassure our workers that the government would be doing this from time to time until we pay up the whole arrears. After all, it is your own money,” Rear Admiral Jonah stressed.

While presenting the income and expenditure profile of the state, he said from 2017, the state government would operate a cashless system of collecting Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) to check leakages.

He announced a gross inflow of 11.07 billion Naira saying that the amount was made up of 13% derivation of 4.2 billion Naira, exchange differential 2.2 billion Naira, statutory allocation 1.8 billion Naira, Petroleum Profit tax 1.1 billion Naira, Budget support 1.1 billion Naira, VAT 662 million Naira while refund from other states stood at 57 million Naira.

On deductions, he noted that, bond loan amounted to 1.2 billion Naira, restructured bank loans 741 million Naira, Excess crude account loan facility 126 million Naira, Commercial agricultural loan schemes one and two 162 million Naira, foreign loans 29 million Naira and salary bailout of 16 million Naira totalling 2.3 billion Naira which brought the net inflow to 8.7 billion Naira.

He, however, pointed out that, an IGR of 736 million Naira increased the amount available for spending to 9.4 billion Naira from which 9.7 billion Naira was expended resulting to a negative balance of 267 million Naira.

The Deputy Governor also said that “the expenditure include recurrent payment of 2.9 billion Naira, capital payment 2.4 billion Naira, civil servants’ salaries 2.5 billion Naira, bank loan repayment 1.5 billion Naira, salaries for political appointees 160 million Naira and provision for IGR collection 69 million Naira”.

Edo Speaker Defends N300m Benefit For Ex-Governors, Deputies

Edo Speaker Defends N300m Housing Benefit For Governors And DeputiesThe Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Justin Okonoboh, says the House is justified in approving the sum of 300 million naira as housing benefit for former governors and deputies.

The Speaker said this in reaction to allegations of waste of public funds against the House in various quarters, particularly social media.

He argued that the amount is not so outrageous in the face of current economic realities in the country, adding that the payment is one time only.

“Some talked about the amount and I think that was quite moderate because the law says any part of the country. If you want to use 200 million naira in Lagos, it probably might just be a grant to them because they need to add money to build a befitting house in Lagos or wherever,” he said.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the idea of approving 300 million naira retirement benefits for the immediate past governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu.

The rights group has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to “immediately withdraw the bill, and use the funds to clear the backlog of pension arrears spanning between seven and 45 months.”

SERAP’s call followed reports of amendment of Law for Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor by the Edo State House of Assembly, with the immediate past governor and deputy governor expected to be some of the beneficiaries.

The new amendment contains provision of residential buildings worth N200m and N100m for the governor and his deputy at the expiration of their tenures. The bill also provides that the buildings could be sited in any location of their choice.

Former Speaker’s Suspension

The Edo Speaker also commented on the suspension of former Speaker of the House, Victor Edoror.

Following his impeachment on May 4, an ad-hoc committee headed by Emmanuel Agbaje was set up to investigate the former speaker over alleged misappropriation of fund.

Edoror was suspended over his failure to appear before the committee, and the current Speaker insisted that the action followed due process.

“I set up another committee to invite him so that we can hear from him to give us their report within three months as it is usual during that period he remains suspended, that’s what we’ve just done.

“We are in the same party. It is not a political thing, it’s not a personal thing, we are from the same senatorial district. I actually thought I was doing him a favour,” he explained.

SERAP Asks Obaseki To Withdraw N300m Mansions Bill For Oshiomhole, Deputy

SERAP Condemns Reported N300m Mansions Bill For Oshiomhole, DeputySocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the idea of approving 300 million naira mansion retirement benefits for immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and his former deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu.

The rights group has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to “immediately withdraw the bill, and use the funds to clear the backlog of pension arrears spanning between seven and 45 months.”

SERAP’s call followed reports of amendment of Law for Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor by the Edo State House of Assembly, with the immediate past governor and deputy governor expected to be some of the beneficiaries.

The new amendment contains provision of residential buildings worth N200m and N100m for the governor and his deputy at the expiration of their tenures. The bill also provides that the buildings could be sited in any location of their choice.

But in a statement dated November 17, 2016, SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said: “Coming at a time the Edo State government can’t even pay its pensioners and salaries of workers, the amendment by the Edo State House of Assembly is immoral, unfair, unconstitutional, unreasonable, and a rip-off on a massive scale.

“Governor Obaseki must reject this grotesque bill if he’s to fulfil his election promises and lift millions of Edo State pensioners out of extreme poverty.

“This so-called proposed legislation means that millions of Edo pensioners and workers will have to fund the massive and unjust pensions for former governor, Oshiomhole and his deputy and others that will come after them.”

Edo-State-house-of-Assembly
Edo State House of Assembly

The statement furher read that “many of the retirees whose pensions have not been paid have been evicted from their apartments due to their inability to pay their rents””.

According to SERAP’s information, one of such retirees is Ihama Friday who at 60 is now squatting with friends. Another pensioner Osa-Aighobarueghia who retired as a head teacher “continues to live a life off debts because the Edo State government has refused to pay her 30 months’ pension benefits”.

“SERAP is aware that the Edo State government is not the only state passing such obnoxious pension laws to provide outrageous retirement benefits to former governors and deputy governors and that many of them are already in the National Assembly receiving multiple benefits and putting their personal bank accounts ahead of the common good.

“SERAP is finalising a comprehensive legal strategy to challenge these unjust laws and to name and shame those who continue to benefit from such laws.

“Nigerians should not be made to subsidise these bloated pensions and clearly undeserved perks. Governor Obaseki should not see disadvantaged Nigerians and poor pensioners according to Orwell’s Animal Farm dictum: ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’.

“Approving the amendment by the Edo State House of Assembly will amount to a fundamental breach of the Governor’s constitutional oath declaration to serve the interest of justice, common good, transparency and accountability,” the group said.

SERAP maintained that it is appalled by “this apparently unfair and discriminatory law”, as there is no justification for such law at a time the pensions systems across the country are in poor shape, and pensioners continue to be denied the fruit of their labour.

“Former governors and their deputies can’t lawfully give to themselves a steady stream of public funds for life at a time millions of pensioners including in Edo State face cut to their pension schemes and remain in poverty without any state support,” it concluded.

Aregbesola Debunks Claims Of Payment Of Fees In Public Schools

Governor Aregbesola, payment of fees, Public schoolsOsun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has described as mere rumours, the claims that the state has ordered payment of fees in public schools across the state.

Hosting the newly elected executives of the National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) who were on a familiarization visit to Osogbo, the state capital, Governor Aregbesola said education in the state still remains free despite the excruciating economic condition facing the state and the country.

Aregbesola stated that qualitative and functional education, particularly at the lower level, is very important and must not be neglected and abandoned by any responsible government, which according to him is why he has continued all education policies in the state regardless of the shortfall in allocation and the economic meltdown.

Also the Deputy Governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori told the students that on no account has the administration ordered the parents to pay any alleged fee.

She explained that the state in agreement with parents and guardians, only introduced school infrastructural maintenance levies, which according to her, are to ensure proper maintenance of all the newly built schools in the state.

“Let me make it clear to the residents of this state that our government did not introduce payment of school fees in any of our schools across the state.

“We did not also ask any of our pupils or students to pay tuition fees as being speculated around the state.

“We have only directed all the pupils in Elementary Schools to pay 2,000 Naira in three tranches per annum.

“The pupils in this category will pay 1000 Naira first term, and 500 Naira each for second and third terms.

“For Middle School, they are to pay 3000 Naira in three tranches per annum.

“The students in this category will pay 1000 Naira in each of the three terms while High School students are to pay N6000 per annum at N2000 per term.

“This is not school fee but rather maintenance levy because it is only introduced to pupils and students of our new schools not those in the old schools,” she stressed.Governor Aregbesola, payment of fees, Public schools

Furthermore, she explained that the state with the stakeholders arrived at the decision having widely consulted the parents, guardians, teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector on the need to sustain the tempo of proper maintenance of the modern school buildings across the state.

“It was on this note that we collectively agreed on the certain amount to be paid in order to keep the facilities procured in each of these schools in good condition for the present and future use of our children.

“So, this money is not meant for government but rather to maintain, sustain and protect the huge investment made in these schools,” she stated.

The Governor also told the student union leaders that the efforts to provide very conducive learning environment must not be allowed to go in ruins.

“As we all know that this administration has prioritized education with huge investments, we must equally do everything possible to ensure the sustainability of our efforts at ensuring that the edifices we built across the state are properly and consciously maintained.

“There are many universities in Nigeria that are incomparable with our high schools in terms of infrastructures. That is why we want these facilities to be properly handled and taken care of.”

He therefore opined that “If government should leave the students to use these facilities as they want, they will surely bastardize them in no distant time.

“Despite the fact that we introduced Community Based Monitoring Team in all the communities where we have these new schools, all we experience is damage and destruction of the facilities.

He explained the government arrived at the decision in order to halt the rapid dilapidation of the school facilities.

The Governor who also lamented over the poor appearances of some pupils in some of the public schools however, charged the parents to be more dedicated and committed to the welfare of their children by ensuring that their wards are well equipped, dressed and kitted for schools.

“It is an aberration for parents to be well dressed only for their school children to be in rags,” he said.

Seeking collaboration from the leadership of NAOSS, Mr Aregbesola said it is imperative for the students’ movement and the state, to further cement relationships at enhancing quality education.

Kogi State Celebrates World Tourism Day

Kogi, Yahaya Bello, Supreme CourtThe Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said he will transform and make the state a tourism destination for foreign investors.

The governor who was represented by his Deputy Governor Simon Achuba stated this during the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Tourism Day Celebration in Lokoja the state capital, he noted that the state has a lot to gain if the tourist sites in the states are well developed.

Lokoja popularly called the Confluence City is where River Niger and Benue meet.

Most of the historical lyrics that would have been a tourist site for the state are now in a deplorable state, as they were not well taken care of, the first prison yard in the northern Nigeria that was used for prisoners up till 1945 has been taken over by weeds, the oldest treasury in the northern Nigeria is now a home for hens and dogs.

Joining the rest of the country to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day which took place at the Confluence Beach Hall in Lokoja with the theme ‘Tourism for all Promoting Universal Accessibility’ is the reason for the gathering of top government officials and some stakeholders in the tourism sector.

In his opening speech, the Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism in the state, Mohammed Imam called on tourism policy makers in the industry, service providers and destination managers to evolve policies that would grant easy access to all tourism products and consumers irrespective of their physical challenges.

The Deputy Governor while reading the governor’s speech noted that his administration has provided an actionable framework for tourism among other critical areas.

Nigerian Navy Offers Free Medical Care In Maiduguri IDP Camp

medical services, Nigerian NavyThe Nigerian Navy, as part of their diamond jubilee celebrations are offering free medical services to displaced people in Maiduguri.

The free medical services named Medical Rhapsody, held in Dalori1, a selected Displaced People’s camp in the state capital.

Dalori1 is one of the 22 government-recognised displaced people’s camps within Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

One of the beneficiaries is a mother of four abducted girls, Falmata Mustapha, battling with diabetes without medication since she fled from insurgents in her hometown, Bama.

The medical outreach was a lifesaver for her as money and drugs or the correct diet to control her condition have been out of her reach.

The Navy offered free drugs for the treatment of malaria, blood pressure check for the elderly and pregnant women, deworming for children, as well as multivitamins among others.

Part of the activities also included public health lectures by the naval medical team on topical issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, environmental, personal and oral hygiene.

The gesture was mentorship-oriented, intended to stir up ambition in younger ones from the benefitting communities.

Meanwhile, the Borno State government, again pleaded with the armed forces to consider recruiting members of the youth vigilante assisting in the insurgency war.

Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa, made his request to top ranking officers of the Nigerian Navy.

He said that the Borno State government was worried about the fate of the teeming jobless youths when the insurgency war is brought to an operational end with their services no longer required.

Some of the youth vigilante volunteers also known as the Civilian Joint Task Force are also anxious about getting jobs to confront poverty.

Nasarawa APC Flags Off Bye Election Campaign

APC, NasarawaThe Nasarawa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has flagged off its campaign for Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency bye election.

This is following the demise of the lawmaker representing the area who was a member of the party.

The party also presented to its members the flag bearer, Jaafaru Mohammed, who emerged victorious in the just concluded primary elections.

During the flagging off and presentation in Nasarawa Local Government Area, the Deputy Governor, Mr Silas Agara, expressed optimism that the party would win the bye election scheduled to hold on Saturday, May 28.

Kaduna State Inaugurates Government Agencies’ Boards

KadunaKaduna State government has inaugurated Boards of Government Agencies and Parastatals, with a mandate to improve the state’s revenue profile and plug all leakages.

Inaugurating the boards on Monday at the Government House in the State capital, Governor Nasir El-Rufai tasked the revenue generating agencies in the state on the need to strive to attain a monthly Internally Generated Revenue target of four billion Naira in order to put the state on a sound financial footing.

According to the Governor, with the wage bill of the state’s work force consuming about 90 per cent of the Federal Allocation every month, there is need for the government to look inwards for other sources of generating revenue to enable it perform its statutory responsibilities to the people of the state.

Some of the inaugurated boards were the Kaduna State Facilities Management Agency, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency, and Kaduna State Bureau of Pensions.

Governor El-Rufai said the five parastatals were key to the economic development of the state especially in the face of the dwindling oil price in the global market.

He explained that the appointment of people into boards and agencies would ensure effective implementation of policies and programmes of the All Progressives Congress-led government in the state which the party promised the citizens during electioneering campaigns.

Responding on behalf of the appointed board members, the State Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, and Secretary of the Internal Revenue Service, Francis Kozah, thanked the Governor for giving them the opportunity to serve the state in their respective parastatals and agencies.

They further pledged that they would carry out their functions diligently.

Presently, Kaduna State generates close to one billion Naira monthly.

As the board members go back to their respective establishments to resume work, it is hoped that all hands must be on deck to turn around the financial fortunes of the state.

Kogi State Governor Signs 2016 Appropriation Bill

Yahaya-Bello of Kogi StateThe Governor of Kogi State, Mr Yahaya Bello, has signed the 2016 appropriation bill of 99.9 billion Naira into law, tagging it a ‘budget of change’.

The Governor, who signed the bill on Monday, in the Government House in Lokoja, the state’s capital, said he would be guided by the law.

At the Governor’s office to witness the signing of the bill were the Deputy Governor, Simon Achuba, the Secretary to the State Government, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and some of the governor’s aids.

Before he signed the budget, Mr Yahaya explained that the State House of Assembly had worked harmoniously with the executive to pass the 2016 budget.

He noted that the budget had a capital expenditure of 141.8 billion Naira.

After the bill had been signed, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Ahmed Imam, said the passage was just the beginning of good things to happen in Kogi State.

Edo Deputy Governor Survives Attack, Govt. Debunks Assassination Claim

AssassinationAn alleged assassination attempt on the Edo State Deputy Governor, Pius Odubu, at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Auchi, Edo State has left at least seven persons wounded.

Director of Strategy, Pius Odubu Campaign Organisation, Samson Osagie, told journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital that the attack was part of attempts to frustrate Mr Odubu’s governorship ambitions.

But the Edo State Commissioner of Police said that the Police is still investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the Edo State government has reacted to the alleged assassination attempt on the Deputy Governor.

A statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Kassim Afegbua, said that while government condemns in very strong terms the ugly incident at Auchi, the conclusion of the Odubu Campaign Organisation on alleged assassination attempt appears hasty.

The statement says preliminary reports suggest that the fracas at Auchi was caused by thugs allegedly loyal to the Odubu campaign, imported in two trucks to Auchi who attacked other party loyalists not sold to the Deputy Governor’s aspiration.

Mr Afegbua added that the Deputy Governor was inside the secretariat building of the APC in the company of the Party Chairman in the local government, Mr Akokhia, addressing the delegates when the incident happened.

“It is laughable that the Odubu campaign organisation will allege that the Deputy Governor, with full compliments of security details, was shot at yet no casualty was recorded on the other side and nobody apprehended,” part of the statement read.

According to the statement, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has already directed the Commissioner of Police to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the incident and whoever that is found culpable should be made to face the full wrath of the law.