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ICPC, NOA Educate Edo Citizens On Monitoring Constituency Projects



In order for the dividends of democracy to get to the people, especially in the various communities, the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Edo State, have educated the citizens to always monitor any constituency projects sited by Federal Government in their communities.

The duo,while giving this enlightenment in a town hall meeting tittled: ‘My Constituency , My Projects’, Benin city, said the money earmarked to execute these projects are not coming from the lawmakers but the Federal Government hence the need for people or citizens to monitor projects going in their communities.

According to the Commissioner of ICPC Edo, Delta States, Olatunji Yusuf, the Town Hall meeting was organized to teach the citizens on how to guide, protect and monitor all governments constituency projects.

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Yusuf added that the Town Hall meeting will also be taken to other local government areas in the state to let the citizens know how to monitor, protect and report on all government projects in their different localities.

He stressed that ICPC is doing this in order to reduce the gravity of corruption that is going on in government and called on all stakeholders to curb the menace, adding that corruption is more endemic than corno virus disease.

“Constituency projects are health, education or infrastructural projects recommended by legislators at federal level , including Senate and House of Representatives, Or state Houses of Assembly; or projects identified by government agencies, and organized as beneficial to the people for government to carry out in their various constituencies for the benefit of the people they represent.

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“It is vital that, these projects are funded by public money raised from taxes paid by citizens, and from other sources of government revenues, “ he added.

In his speech, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, said, their partnership is to change the idea so that, citizens will begin to see the constituency projects as their own and to continue to make needed efforts that help to popularise democratic model government in Nigeria.

“As the promoters of the model ,constituency projects help to give tangible meaning to their representation at the National Assembly in Abuja.”

“It also gives the representatives of the people. The required opportunity to identify infrastructure accountable their domains for quick government intervention.

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“When communities take ownership of these projects, there will be genuine interest to preserve and protect them. It ensure contractors are to maximize profits to execute the projects to the highest standards needed. 

“Community ownership will ensure legislators and other officials of government are alerted when there is poor execution of these contracts , and how they will be hold accountable,” he stressed.

In his remarks, Comrade Roland Osakwe, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Edo State Council, commended the initiative, but appealed to the organisers to always carry the media along to enable them achieved the reality of the event.

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Comrade Osakwe lamented that, over the years, politicians have misused and misappropriated the money meant to give vital constituency projects to the people.



Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election




A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

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He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

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Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

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When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

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Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman




The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

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NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

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“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

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Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget




The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

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Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

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Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

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