One person has been hurt in a police affront on protesting Benue State Sure-P workers who staged a peaceful protest at the Government House, Makurdi, to demand the payment of 11 months salary arrears.
The protesters converged at the Government House’s entrance with the aim of meeting Governor Ortom, who was said to be out of town.
Despite explanations offered by a top Police officer in charge of the Government House, the protesters marched towards the gate of the Government House where security officials resorted to throwing teargas into the crowd of protesters, injuring one person in the process.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Odeh Ageh, has reacted to the protest. He said that the government would seek the assistance of the Federal Government in off-setting the salary arrears owed the protesters.
Workers of the Ministry of Information have staged a protest against what they described as the ministry’s negligence of staff welfare and gross misappropriation of public funds.
The protesters who gathered at the Radio House in Abuja, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to probe activities of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, who they accused of mismanagement of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds, non-payment of allowances, refusal to train staff, among others.
The Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants, Information Chapter, Adam Ogwola, recounted many challenges of the workers,in an environment they described as ‘unreceptive’.
The issues appeared numerous as aggrieved members threw caution to the wind, calling for tougher actions and the removal of the Permanent Secretary.
This is not the first time workers of the ministry would be protesting over poor welfare, but this time , they expect concrete results after a planned meeting with the labour union.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have threatened to impeach the State Governor, Muktar Yero, over attempt by the outgoing government to appropriate and disburse N2.7 billion Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds belonging to the 23 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.
In a session with media after an emergency meeting, the APC members, led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Aminu Shagari, alleged that the move by the outgoing executive to tamper with the LGA SURE-P funds amount to last minute looting and squandering of public funds.
They wondered why a government that has only about two weeks to go can successfully execute any project with such money except for ulterior motive.
The APC legislators, who are 14 in number also alleged that the State Government’s ceding of 50% of the said fund for road project is in total violation of the laid down regulations regarding the SURE-P funds, revealing that this having been indicated in the handing over note of the outgoing government suggests an attempt of last minute looting.
One of the lawmakers, Dr Shehu Adamu, said that any attempt by the Governor to go ahead with plans to access the fund would be resisted through all legal means.
Another lawmaker, Yusuf Zailani also corroborated this adding that SURE-P was conceived by the Nigerian Government arising from the partial removal of subsidy on fuel prices in the country and should be managed properly.
The lawmakers expressed their displeasure with the development, warning the Governor to refrain from dipping hand into the LGA funds.
Yet to respond to the allegation, the Kaduna State Government had constituted a committee in January 2012 with a view to identifying programmes, projects and activities that would be undertaken by the government with its share of the SURE-P funds.
Governor Muhktar Yero’s administration in Kaduna State says it has created over 14,000 jobs and spent over N17 Billion for the payment of pensions and gratuity since inception in 2012.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, Spokesman for the Governor, Ahmed Maiyaki said that the measure was in fulfillment of the promise by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government to provide more jobs in the state.
He stated that 2,000 graduates had been trained under the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) while 1,000 youths were trained and empowered in small scale businesses by the state government in partnership with the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SEMDAN).
Mr Maiyaki also disclosed that the Yero administration has initiated a special intervention in the education sector which informed the recruitment of over 1,800 primary and secondary school teachers and another 2,000 academic and nonacademic staff spread across all the state owned tertiary institutions.
He also explained that 10,000 teachers were undergoing training at the National Teachers Institute (NTI), aimed at building their capacity for optimal result.
Another measure which Maiyaki said the State Government has adopted in creating employment and generating revenue, is the re-opening of the Ikara Food Processing Factory which was shut down for over 25 years, while the State Government plan to revive the Kachia Ginger Company and Zaria Pharmaceuticals Company under a private partnership arrangement.
While stating that over 187 schools have been constructed by the Yero administration in the state, Mr Maiyaki told reporters that civil servants are paid their salaries every month while promotion and payment of leave grants and other allowances are also paid regularly.
A new chairman has been been appointed for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr Ishaya Dare Akau’s appointment, as the new SURE-P chairman, was announced on Tuesday in a statement by the spokesman for the President, Dr. Reuben Abati.
The Presidency said the appointment was in furtherance of efforts to continuously re-energise and reposition agencies of the Federal Government for optimal service delivery.
Mr Akau, whose appointment takes immediate effect, replaces General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd.) who served as Chairman of the SURE-P until Monday.
The new SURE-P Chairman hails from Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and holds Bachelors’ Degrees in the Arts and Law.
Mr Akau comes to the job with years of experience as a high-level administrator in the nation’s public service.
His record of service includes tenures as Chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Education Board and Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission.
President Jonathan thanked the outgoing Chairman of SURE-P, Gen Agwai for his service to the nation and wished him well in his future endeavours.
The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme was designed along the line of the transformation agenda of the President, the life span of which is 2012 – 2015, the period covering the first tenure of the President.
The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the State Governor to account for over 136 billion Naira SURE-P largesse allocated to Lagos State.
The party claims the money was collected by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
In a statement issued by the Lagos State PDP spokesman, Taofik Gani, the party noted that the amount was enough to build at least 100,000 low cost accommodation and adequate hostels on all the state’s tertiary campuses.
“In spite of the huge state internally generated revenue (IGR) and the over 136 billion Naira SURE-P largesse over the years, Lagos residents are still lacking many ordinary social services.
“Where they are available, Lagosians (Lagos residents) pay exorbitant to enjoy such,” the party stated.
According to the statement: “even the APC governorship Candidate’s campaign jingles, posters and other messages are clear vote of no confidence in the services rendered by Governor Fashola.
“This is because Mr Ambode has himself declared emergency in virtually all the sectors of governance in the state by proposing trust and emergency funds in the sectors.”
The Akinwunmi Ambode is the Lagos State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PPD re-emphasised its confidence in defeating the APC in the coming general elections.
“We are good to go and defeat APC in the coming elections. Fashola was able to cajole Lagos residents for some years with pseudo and momentary projects, while neglecting areas of governance that affect the masses most,” the party said.
The PDP, describing the Governor as a mediocre in governance, said it would capitalise on the flaws of Governor Fashola’s administration to defeat of the APC in the state.
The subsidy re-investment program (SURE-P ) funds for Abia State has been utilised to its maximum capacity for grass root developments, empowerment and in executing more than 70 infrastructural projects across the three senatorial zones of the State.
Presenting the SURE-P score card to Governor Orji at the executive chambers of government House, Umuahia, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor and member of the Abia SURE-P board, Mr Chijioke Nwakodo said that the achievements recorded were made possible because of effective monitoring, supervision and judicious use of available funds.
Also by adhering to the template and guidelines given for the grass-roots developmental projects and empowerment of rural dwellers in the community service, women and youths employment through judicious use of SURE-P funds.
The State SURE-P team says it can boast of numerous projects that have touched lives and enhanced the socio-economic development of the state, which the Governor says is very impressive and a feat worthy of recommendation.
Numerous landmark projects which were equitably distributed across the 17 local government areas include infrastructural development in health, education, rural electrification, empowerment of youths and women, training and graduating over 4000 youths in various entrepreneurial skills and making them employers of labour by equipping them with funds and working tools.
Mr Chijioke Nwakodo said that the SURE-P community services set up to support and assist persons with low income in order to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment had already engaged a total of 3000 persons in the State who would earn an income for working for five hours a day for a year while waiting for permanent jobs.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration says it has created more jobs more than any other administration within its short term, as over seven million young Nigerians have been empowered, supported or educated using the YouWin, SURE-P and Agropreneur programmes.
This revelation was made at the conference hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
It was the unveiling of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy, designed to aggregate all the programmes in a single window portal for the use of the beneficiaries.
President Goodluck Jonathan, at the launch, said that with the new strategy, his administration would be providing jobs to the tune of 2 million per annum.
He called on Nigerian youths to key in to the entrepreneurship strategy which he said had been designed to turn Nigeria into a different country in the next ten years going by the process.
Taking a break from campaign tours across the country to attend to the needs of Nigerian youths, the President beat his chest that jobs are being provided already and he would like to do more.
Some of the past beneficiaries of the YouWin, SURE-P, Agropreneurs and the graduate internship programmes, who are already employers of labour, also validated the President’s claims as they shared their testimonies.
The CEO of Anabel Group, Nicholas Okoye, who has been part of waging the war against unemployment, reeled out startling statistics of what the Jonathan administration job creation programme had achieved so far.
He also created the portal that would enable more Nigerian youths benefit from the various programmes.
It is believed that the new portal would eliminate the complains associated with all the job creation programmes.
He enjoined Nigerian youths to join the single window to access all Federal Government empowerment and entrepreneurship programmes.
The Director-General of the Budget Office in Nigeria, Bright Okogu, says the 2015 budget has been designed with a focus on growth promoting areas of the economy.
Speaking during a conversation on Channels Television, Mr Okogu said that the authorities have recognized that there is a cash crunch in Nigeria just as it has been in other oil producing countries.
He mentioned infrastructure related expenditure, security and others among the focus of the budget to ensure stability of the economy, explaining that they would be using the available resources “even though they are reduced” to ensure “that the economy keep running”.
The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had given an analysis of the 2015 budget to key players in the financial sector, during which she announced an oil benchmark price of 65 dollar per barrel for the 2015 budget.
The expectation of Nigerians had been that the 2015 budget would show that Nigeria’s was not an oil economy and they have questioned why the benchmark was pegged at 65 dollars.
Okogu explained, “We have excessive volatility in the oil market. Everybody has recognised that, and there’s no point in pretending. It could go up and it could be even lower than that in 2015.
“Some of the critical elements that are driving the main oil market at this time include the geopolitical developments in Europe, vis-a-vis Russia. It also includes the fight for market share between OPEC countries and American oil producers and other oil producers.
“We know that everybody is going to lose from a lower price of oil internationally. So, the best thing to do under such circumstances of uncertainty is to make sure that you approach this thing on a scenario basis.
“This means that you develop your budget structure using a variety of different price scenarios and then crafting a whole series of economic policies and programmes to manage the situation.”
The Finance Minister had just presented the 2015 budget of 4.3 trillion naira to members of the National Assembly and the sum of 124billion naira has been proposed for distribution for the Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment Programme, SURE-P.
With the implementation rate of the 2014 budget put at 78% and considered a success, the sum of 2.6trillion Naira has been proposed as recurrent expenditure, while capital spending would be 644billion Naira in the 2015 budget.
Mr Okogu spoke about Nigeria’s savings in its Excess Crude Account and why the country seemed not to be able to fall back on this in the face of challenges from the oil market.
He also responded to complaints by State Governments that delays in the payment of their federal allocations had been responsible for their financial challenges, as well as why there had been too much reliance on the excess crude over the years.
A total of N628 billion has been disbursed to the Federal, State and Local Governments for the month of November.
Addressing journalists after the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting in Abuja, the Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda said gross revenue for the month stood at N500 billion, lower than the N536 received in October.
Ambassador Yuguda attributed the drop in revenue to a reduction in export volumes and a drop in crude oil prices.
He however said that a total of N35 billion has been proposed for distribution under the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) for the three tiers of government.
President Jonathan’s administration would henceforth promote agriculture the same way sports is being promoted in the country to instil a self reliant entrepreneurship culture within Nigerian students at an early stage.
Dr Jonathan was speaking at the flag off of the National Schools Agriculture Programme in the Presidential Villa.
The programme, which is to go to all secondary schools in the country is beginning with 12 secondary schools as a pilot with about 4,000 youths to benefit at the pilot stage.
The 12 pilot states chosen for the initiative converged on the Presidential Villa for the flag off of the programme.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Schools Agriculture Programme, Dr. Baraka Sani, who is also a major initiator of the programme, said that the vision was clear and that is to put agriculture in the hands of future leaders.
Some of the students that will benefit from the programme said that their perception about agriculture had changed following the innovation.
The commissioners of education, represented at the event, assured President Jonathan that they would immediately swing into action to implement the programme in the schools in the federation, while state governors gave assurances that they would do no less to ensure the success of the programme.
The moment everyone had waited for came when President Jonathan signed the official T-shirt to commemorate the day.
Some of the special guests then joined the President on stage as they got decorated as agriculture ambassadors and mentors. They have the responsibility to help sustain the programme.
They believe that the future is bright for the country and that a time would come when Nigerians would remember that the Jonathan administration created the programme.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina and Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, were both present at the event.
As part of effort to reduce maternal mortality and child mortality in the country, the Federal Government through the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) has trained a total of 639 midwives to be deployed to primary health centers in rural communities in the north east and north west zones of the country.
Speaking to journalists at the opening ceremony of a five-day workshop for midwives nationwide on Monday in Kaduna state, North West Nigeria, the Project Director of SURE-P Maternal and Child Heath Care, Dr Ugo Okoli, said the essence of the workshop was to re-orientate the newly graduated midwives from all the nursing schools across the country in order to engage them in the SURE-P Maternal and Child Health programme, with particular emphasis to address healthcare challenges at the rural areas where most of them don’t have access to qualitative healthcare.
She stated further that the SURE-P Maternal Programme was also equipping all primary health centers across the country with modern medical facilities for the benefit of the rural dwellers.
The SURE-P Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Project was necessitated by the fact that Nigeria accounts for 10% of the world’s maternal deaths and under-5 mortality rates.
Sadly, an official report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2008, put Nigeria’s Maternal mortality ratio at 545/100,000 live births with the highest maternal mortality ratios of 1549 in the North East and the lowest 165 found in the South West.
The programme aims at reducing the deaths of pregnant women and newborn babies and aims to accelerate Nigeria’s track towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5.