Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government Officials

Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government OfficialsThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the probe of some of his top appointees following allegations of corruption.

The President’s Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu announced this in a statement on Sunday.

“The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration.

“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing.

“If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution,” the statement reads.

Although the statement does not specify the identities of those marked for probe, the move might not be unconnected to allegations of corruption against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal.

cabal, presidency, SGF, Babachir LawalThe Senate on Wednesday, December 14, demanded the resignation of the SGF
over his alleged involvement in a 223-million-naira contract meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the north east.

The Senate also refused to grant confirmation to the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saying ‘security report’ available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the SGF has denied the allegations against him, his comments have not gone down well with the Senate, who have expressed displeasure at his choice of words.

Mr Magu is yet to react to his non-confirmation by the Senate but a number of civil society organisations have condemned the decision.

Apparently Manufactured

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, described the Senate’s non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) as appalling and ridiculous.

In a statement by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, the group believes that the Senate knows Magu’s salts and the fact that he is worth it and are only trying to stop him from leading the anti-corruption fight.

Magu's Confirmation: Conspiracy Between DSS And Senate Is Appalling - CACOLCACOL stated: “The truth is, if mischief was not involved, why would the DSS submit the so-called damning report to the Senate, rather than begin where they should have begun?

“For crying out loud, the head of the DSS sits on the Board of the Commission of EFCC as constitutionally required by the Act that established the agency i.e. EFCC Establishment Act 2004.

“Again, why would such a sensitive report on someone who has occupied such a sensitive position for about one year be delayed till this time? What sort of security apparatus will so wickedly wait till now while our country was at such ‘grievous’ risk before releasing these apparently manufactured allegations against Magu?”

Politically Motivated

The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability (SERAP), has also dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC.

SERAP petitioned the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the Senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

SERAP Drags Senate To UN Over Magu’s Rejection

SERAP Drags Senate To UN Over Magu's RejectionThe Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP), has dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

SERAP is petitioning the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

A statement signed by the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said:

“The Senate of Nigeria has flagrantly violated Ibrahim Magu’s right to a fair hearing, and is implicitly working to weaken, intimidate, harass and ultimately undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC in its efforts to combat high-profile official corruption”.

The Senate, explaining the reason behind the decision, said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu was not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), also said the non-confirmation, based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) was appalling and ridiculous.

SERAP on the other hand says it has reviewed the security report, which primarily alleged that sensitive and unauthorised EFCC official documents were found in Mr Magu’s home.

“SERAP is aware that this allegation was part of the conspiracy to harass Mr Magu and frustrate his anti-corruption work, as he was unjustly detained for three weeks.

“Following investigation by the police authorities in 2008, Mr Magu was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, and in fact promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“The report also incorrectly stated Mr Magu currently occupies a residence rented for 40 million Naira at 20 million per annum and paid for by allegedly corrupt person. But SERAP’s finding shows that the property was in fact paid for by the Federal Capital Development Administration.

“SERAP thus believes that the purported rejection by the Senate of Nigeria of Magu’s appointment as the chairman of EFCC is politically motivated and in bad faith and part of a persistent move by the National Assembly of Nigeria including the Senate and the House of Representatives and other agencies of government apparently working with them to undermine the ongoing fight against corruption which Mr Magu is leading, and invariably, the independence and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies including the EFCC.

“SERAP considers Mr Magu to be a human rights defender within the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1998 (UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders).”

“SERAP therefore urges you to urgently assert your mandates to put pressure on the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government apparently working with them to end continuing harassment and intimidation of Mr Magu by immediately withdrawing any politically motivated allegations against him.

“We also urge you to send a strong message to the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government that the campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights and anti-corruption campaigners is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” the statement read.

Police Caution Politicians Ahead Of Abia LG Polls

abia-policeAhead of the Abia local government elections, the state Police has challenged politicians to play by the rules and avoid actions capable of disturbing the existing peace.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Adeleye Oyebade, asked political leaders to ensure that they do not allow their supporters to create mayhem before, during and after the exercise.

The December 21 polls which coincides with the run-up to the yuletide celebrations, follows the just concluded violence-ridden rerun elections in River state.

The police commissioner also led men and officers of his command into the streets and markets to create awareness on what he described as the “new form of policing” that frowns at bribery and corruption.

He warned that police officers have been stationed in critical areas to fish out miscreants set to foment trouble.

WBC Title Fight Cancelled After Povetkin Failed Drug Test

boxer-glovesA super heavyweight title fight between Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne has been cancelled after Povetkin failed a drug test.

He was to fight Stiverne for the World Boxing Council (WBC), interim world title in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg.

Russian media reported that Povetkin’s team had tried to persuade Stiverne to go ahead with the fight despite the failed test but Stiverne had refused.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, said via twitter that the WBC was officially withdrawing recognition of the Povetkin-Stiverne fight due to Povetkin’s drug test result.

The 37-year-old also missed out on a title bout with Deontay Wilder of the United States after testing positive for Meldonium.

In April, traces of the substance were seen after Povetkin had a doping test, although a repeat test returned a negative result.

What You Should Know About Exercise

ExerciseConsistent physical exercise, extends far beyond weight management and is believed to be one of the most important things one can do for good health, particularly in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Going by figures from the World Health Organization (W.H.O), 24 per cent of deaths in Nigeria occur, owing to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

Although such information seems rather cliché, it is necessary to re-iterate the importance of exercise as well as other lifestyle changes that can be imbibed for sustainable health.

According to fitness trainer, Jane Amuta, “fitness is a lifestyle, its not something that you touch one day and you leave it because these benefits come over time with consistency.

“I always marry fitness with diet because you need to feed this body with the right things to be able to function properly.”

Benefits Of Exercise

Heart Disease and Stroke: Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

High Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity reduces body fat, which is associated with high blood pressure.

Obesity: Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

Back Pain: By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

Osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Self Esteem And Stress Management: Researchers have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and in ultimately, improve one’s self-image as well as help you to better manage stress.

Rivers Rerun: Wike Considers Himself A Peacemaker

wike3In response to criticisms over his recent string of allegations against various agencies, ahead of the Rivers rerun elections, the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described himself as a peace maker and not a trouble maker.

He chipped this in, during the flag off of the renovation of the general hospital in Abua Oduah local government area of Rivers state.

The governor equally took a swipe at the Inspector General of Police for allegedly holding a meeting with the opposition political party with an agenda to rig the December 10 legislative rerun.

Men, women and youths of the community however expressed excitement as the governor and his team arrived for the flag off of the renovation of the hospital.

 

The council chairman, in his welcome address, lamented public perception of the local government area, while Wike promised to do more for the people.

Many have opined that as tension begins to build in the run up to rerun election, there is need for all agencies to ensure that nothing is done to jeopardise the conduct of the polls.

Alcohol Identified As Key Contributor To Road Accidents

 Alcohol, road accidentRoad Safety 2016 reports say approximately 223 lives, have been lost in Ogun state alone, due to a number of reasons, one of which Data Analyst, Babajide Ogunsanwo identifies as abuse of alcohol by drivers.

It’s been a week of horrible road movement, following the ongoing construction and subsequently a ghastly accident that occurred along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Although rescue efforts were promptly completed by emergency officers such as men of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, (LASEMA), and Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), commutters have had to suffer long hours in a gridlock in the preceding days.

Data analyst, Babajide ogunsawo, analyzing the road infrastructure and “how we got ourselves here” described the gridlock as “extremely horrible”.

He recalled that five and a half decades ago, Nigeria’s road infrastructure, and the network around the country was 65 thousand kilometres but, “today it’s more than double that amount – population has more than quadrupled”.

Alcohol, road accident
Babajide Ogunsanwo

“At the start of this new millennium, the total estimated vehicles on Nigerian roads was 1.3 million, now its seven times what it was about 16 years ago.

“Population has significantly grown as well as number of vehicles on the roads” he added.

He then stated that a logical solution would be to increase the capacity of the roads, by increasing the number of lanes and improving maintenance of roads.

However, according to him, evidence based on several global studies, shows that when countries increase the capacity of their roads, they get more cars to fill in those roads.

“Hence, we need to realise that even though we have a transportation problem, the transportation solution may not necessarily get us out of the problem.

Mr Ogunsanwo stated that although the government makes plans based on the population figures, what they are not doing right is looking through the same perspective.

He said the Commissioner of Health in Lagos as at 2015, Dr Jide Idris, revealed something that several analysts call the “greatest information in Lagos in the last decade”.

He said although it was not about transportation, it has great significance on our road infrastructure.

According to him, Mr Idris and his team had conducted a survey among bus drivers in Lagos, and it showed that 80% of bus drivers in Lagos, were either on drugs or alcohol.

The information analyst said Lagos state has the biggest economy in the country, as measured by GDP, while also recalling that the FRSC Marshall had on Thursday, stated that road transportation was the most important means that leads people to their various destination.

Analysing all the information, he came to a conclusion that “bus drivers in Lagos indeed are leaders because they are the ones that take a lot of families to their various destination.

“However, if majority of these drivers are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it only means that most of the leaders don’t know where they are going”.

Furthermore, he stated that the National Bureau of Statistics, in their last consumption reports said most Nigerian families spend more on alcohol and entertainment than on education.

Mr Ogunsanwo then posited that when there is road congestion, “we need to connect these dots so we can clearly see where the problem comes from” in order to apply necessary solutions.

Founders Of New Parties Looted Funds To Do So – Afenifere

Spokesman of the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin has linked the proliferation of political parties in Nigeria to the abundance of funds looted by founders of the parties.

Odumakin, a former spokesman of the presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen Muhammadu Buhari, said this during an interview on Channels Television’s morning flagship programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

“The people who can afford to form new parties are the ones who have looted resources and funds to play around with,” he said.

The politician said the rise of new parties spells doom for politics as it is known in Nigeria adding that “I think we are seeing the end of politics in Nigeria.”

The aftermath of the successful registration of the All Progressive’s Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has caused an upsurge of many other groups who have signed up for registration by the electoral body.

This is happening because “the day the elephant dies, you see all manner of knives.” Mr Odumakin said “everybody wants to grab this thing” because there is distrust amongst politicians, which has resulted in “all manner of parties”.

However, this new era has resulted in fewer choices for the masses because all the parties look and speak the same way. “I have learned to watch what men are doing rather than what they are saying”

Although there are new parties, there is a dearth of fresh blood as members of the new parties are the “same set of people dividing themselves into new formations”.

He described “most of the so called new parties” as “old wine in new bottles,” adding that in Nigeria “the more things change, the more they remain the same”

Although the APC has been touted as the party to unseat the ruling PDP, Mr Odumakin regards the party’s promises as ‘empty platitudes’ with “no ideology defining all these things”.

After a read through the 31-page manifesto the APC produced “you will see some wish list but if you look at it there is no ideological thread tying all these things together”.

The former CPC member stated that the 1999 constitution, which has accommodated corruption and the likes, is the country’s greatest problem. In his opinion, a total change and not an amendment is the only solution.

He accused Nigerians of reproducing bad leaders as he asked “why have Nigerians continued to continually produce worst set of leaders than the previous ones?”

Lawyer Describes Public Sector Reform “Cosmetic”

A legal prpractitioner and  a member of the Crusade For Justice, Richard Nwankwo has tagged the reform taking place to sanitise the public sector as “cosmetic”.

He said “corruption as we know in Nigeria has grown over time and justice is yet to prevail. The approaches that can solve these problems have to be comprehensive, wholehearted and there must be a display of political will”.

Nwankwo, who spoke as a contributor on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, advocated for the creation of an enabling environment for battling corruption.

He added that the major way of dealing with the problem is identifying where to start from, saying “where do you start? You start from the leadership. If the leadership is clean, you see people falling in line.” He noteded that Nigerians are selective in addressing issues therefore constructive criticism is needed.

He therefore called on all Nigerians to come together to address the issues of corruption in the public sector.

ASUU Strike: Education Minister Has Not Helped Matters

A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has said that the Minister of Education, Ruqayat Rufai is not helping the on-going industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and accused of treating the situation in an off-handed manner.

“The Minister of Education has not being helping matters” by “talking glibly.” This, he said, is a very cheap way of looking at a very serious problem.

He said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

The strike action embarked upon by the union is currently in 6th week, however, students may have to wait some more before an agreement is reached between the body and the Federal Government.

Mr Nnaji said “it appears it’s still a long wait” but added that the strike may be called off “anything from next week Tuesday, if it is possible.”

He accused President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials of paying little or no attention to the problems of the education sector and focusing attention on 2015. It is very unfortunate thing because “education is the most primary thing government should provide.”

“The ministers, governors, president, all the people in government are geared towards 2015.”

First, government must accept responsibility because “an agreement is an agreement” and must be respected.

The ASUU strike is happening at a time where there is proliferation of federal universities but “if you do not prepare the child of today for tomorrow, there is no future for this country.”

He addressed the issue of unqualified lecturers and called them to examine themselves. “How many of them are good enough to teach. What is the content of their teaching?”

Nigeria’s Budgeting Process Is ‘Guess Work’ – Financial Analyst

A Financial Analyst, Bandele Olusegun on Thursday faulted the entire budgeting procedure  in Nigeria, referring to it as ‘guess work’ because the government does not apply analytics when planning the budget.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Olusegun supported the National Assembly in its stance against the executive arm of government regarding the current state of the 2013 National Budget, which is yet to be passed.

“If the 2013 was properly done, there wouldn’t have been any need to amendment” he said, adding that “the National Assembly is doing its job.”

Mr Olusegun called on the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to change the process of budgeting in the country. “A budget drawn up without data is not a budget, it’s a guess work”.

Nigeria is currently using cash based accounting system which he says allows for lapses in ensuring the completion of budgets.

He alleged that cash based accounting system allows for holes in the country’s accounts which in turn affects the budget. He said this is why there is ‘so much fraud’ in the budgeting process.

He suggested that the country adopts the accrual system which is the trend worldwide.

The budget was submitted in October 2012.