…I Stand By My Submission- Ndume
… Prove Your Allegations Or Keep Quiet-Presidency
Following a reply by a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, to Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South),
the war of words between the Presidency the former Leader of the Senate may not end soon.
Ndume, had at a press briefing in Borno State, called for the immediate sack of COVID-19 Palliatives Measures Committee headed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadia Umar Farouq.
The APC Senator representing Borno South picked holes in the way and manner distribution of palliatives to Nigerians at this critical time of COVID-19 lockdown is being handled by the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry.
Ndume who kicked against the approach adopted by the Ministry in a chat with journalists said the emergency national assignment should be taken away from the Ministry and given to a fresh committee that will use governors of the 36 States as links of distribution across the federation.
His words, “My concern is the manner and the way the COVID-19 palliative measures provided by the president is being handled or executed. We have received numerous complaints and it is actually very unfortunate.
“In fact, left to me, I am strongly calling for the humanitarian committee headed by the minister of Humanitarian Affairs to be dissolved with immediate effect and the president should as a matter of urgency, form a taskforce that would deal with the issue of palliatives, headed by the military, police, civil defence, voluntary organisations, and the NYSC among others.
“It should be formed as taskforce committee headed by governor of each state, and those materials or cash be allocated and distributed house to house, instead of the fake or dubious way they have been handling the matter by just going to Television House or Government House to demonstrate.
“If you see a Minister or big person anywhere going personally to do something, then know that there is something wrong. If not, what has the Minister got to do with going from state to distribute palliative? They should be in the ministry monitoring the activities.
“While the pitiable situation of the poor is visible to everyone, few individuals are rushing to squander the money meant for the poor.
“We have reliable information that the names they generated are fake and that they connived with some of the banks to defraud the poor. It is better to stop the exercise because it is full of lies and if the president don’t do something to stop it now, we will end up investigating and later on going back and forward to the court.”
However, in his reply to Ndume’s claims, Shehu urged the Borno South senator to prove his claims instead of accusing unnamed faces in his latest attack.
In a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, the Presidency accused Ndume of politicising a national emergency and challenged him to name the alleged kleptocrats in Buhari’s government.
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The SUN reports that Shehu in the statement, urged Ndume to keep quiet as according to him, no serious government changes a winning team in times of war.
The statement titled: ‘Senator Ali Ndume should figure out his mentioned kleptocrats around the President or be quiet’, reads in part, “Claiming that the COVID-19 Palliative Measures Committee is not functioning as it should be not the same as presenting proof for such a claim.
“No one replaces an institutional government body in the midst of the global pandemic without clear and irrefutable evidence that it needs replacing.
“A press briefing from a discontented politician is rarely the source of such evidence.
“At this difficult time of the battle by Nigeria against Coronavirus, everyone should help the fight and not seek to make political capital out of it, whatever his or her grievances.”
But in his reaction to the statement, Ndume said he stands by his observations and recommendations as far as distribution of palliatives arising from COVID-19 is concerned.
Ndume, who reacted through a telephone conversation, however, said he was not ready to join issues with anybody having made his observations known.
“I’m not ready to join issues with anybody on palliatives distribution, having made my observations known based on information I got from the grassroots as a grassroots person. I’ve made my position known on the programme and I stand by it,” he said.
Ex-CAN President Onaiyekan, Cleric Bag Honorary Degrees
A former national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and the Archbishop of Abuja catholic diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, will be honored with honorary doctorate degrees by an Abuja-based Catholic institution, Veritas University, on Saturday, December 3, 2022.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Rev. Fr. Professor Hyacinth Ichoku, made this known in a briefing with selected journalists in Abuja.
Speaking on Thursday ahead of the convocation ceremony of the university, the don also noted that four countries had indicated interest to send their students to Nigeria to study pontifical degrees in the theology of philosophy.
The development follows approval by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vertical City Rome, Italy, to Veritas University Abuja to establish Pontifical Faculty.
The countries are Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast and India.
Professor Ichoku said only two countries including Nigeria and Nairobi run the pontifical degree which necessitated the influx of foreign students to Nigeria.
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“For the first time, the university will be honoring prominent Nigerians such as the former CAN president, cardinal John Onaiyekan and the archbishop of Abuja diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama.
‘’Veritas University has been granted the faculty to run Pontification degrees in theology and philosophy by the Congregation of Catholic Education in the Vertical City, Rome. That is in addition to National Universities Commission-approved programmes in theology and philosophy. As a Catholic University to be granted the power of the faculty to run these programmes is the height of our development and in Africa; there are just two granted such faculty, which are, the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi and Veritas University in Abuja. It is an exceptional privilege for us,’’ Professor Ichoku stated.
Professor Ichoku said the university would be awarding first-class degrees to 28 students who had distinguished themselves in character and learning.
He noted that the minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola would be delivering the convocation lecture.
NACCIMA, Nigeria’s Road To Prosperity – SDP Presidential Candidate, Adebayo
The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has said that the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through The Nigeria Association of Chambers and Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Adebayo who spoke at the 4th quarterly meeting of NACCIMA in Enugu assured that the SDP, if elected into power, would not be a lawbreaker government but a law abiding.
He added that one of the difficulties facing the industry is that government does not respect contracts.
He posited that times have changed because in the past before government presents the country’s budget, captains of industries are always consulted, and the government doesn’t take decisions without considering the effects.
Adebayo driving his point and acknowledging the importance of NACCIMA said ‘In the past when you see presidential candidate, governorship candidate, senatorial candidate, you in NACCIMA will say he’s my boy, he use to work for me, he’s a good boy.
He added that Nigeria must return to such lifestyle, because the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through NACCIMA.
True Federalism: Expert Wants NULGE Join CSOs, Others For Constitutional Amendment
Professor Festus Imuetinyan, federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Abuja has called on the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to join hands with other unions and civil society organizations working for the amendment of the nation’s constitution to make the constitution truly federal.
Imuetinyan made the call on Wednesday in Benin City at the Edo State chapter of NULGE 2022 week celebration with the theme,”Sustaining an autonomous local government as a catalyst for national development: The role of NULGE”.
The university don opined that local governments will only become catalyst for national development when they are put in firm control over local affairs as well as encourage the emergency of local solutions to local problems.
He advocated that the local government matters must be removed from the national constitution and placed within the purview of the states to save them from the challenge of forced uniformity in the face of endemic diversity of local problems.
He added that NULGE, as the major trade union in the local government system in Nigeria, has a duty to ensure that the present unified local government system which is unwieldy is jettisoned.
“Unfortunately, many local government staff are beneficiaries of the present system and do not see any urgent need for changes.
“Your members are the ones that are made sole administrators when elected council heads are illegally sacked by state governments. Many enjoy posting to areas that they are not conversant with the custom and tradition of the people whose problems they are called upon to solve.
“Others are promoted in the face of inadequate utilization of available resources to manage waste and protect public utilities within their jurisdictions.
“It is often alleged that many of your members extort money from members of the public and that they enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the communities”, he said.
He further opined that the present local government system is not patterned to achieve any developmental goal rather than a smooth vehicle for the transfer of centrally collected funds to the pockets of States’ political elites.
Imuetinyan emphasized that the 1999 Constitution makes it possible for state governments to cripple Local Government Councils financially by routing the amount of money standing to the credit of Local governments in the Federation Account (FA) through a joint State Local Government Account rather than directly to local councils.
He asserted that the arrangement adversely affects the fiscal autonomy and viability of most local governments.
According to him, some state governors make inexplicable deductions or unduly delay the release of funds from the joint accounts to local government chief executives.
“Local government chairmen are bullied by state governors to surrender much of their statutory allocations under duress. When they fail; they find other ways to replace them with caretaker committees of selected loyalists.
“Expenditure and project discretion had become a thing of the past. Most states expect their Local governments to seek and obtain permission to embark on projects. Local government projects are inspected periodically by officials of state governments.
“More financial load has been placed on Local governments’ share of the Federation Account. For example, funds for primary school teachers’ salaries and pension charges are now charged centrally to the Local governments.
“The central deductions at source of these charges and several other unfunded mandates in environmental and social spending by the State Governments tend to leave many Local Governments with little funds.
“And unfortunately, many Local governments especially those in the rural areas have limited access to productive tax bases”, he added.
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