Connect with us

Politics

Reps, Woman Affairs Minister Trade Words Over N1.5 Billion Diverted Funds

Published

on

The House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development engaged in a face-off with the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy over an alleged diversion of 1.5 billion naira meant for payment of contractors by officials of the ministry.

The face-off which occurred during an investigative hearing by the Committee started when the Minister was asked to give an account of how monies meant for contractors paid by the Accountant General office were expended by the ministry.

In her account, the Minister said that 30 per cent of the total sum meant for contractors where paid to her ministry but can not give an account of how it was spent because the first Lady, Oluremi Tinubu had advised her to mind her business.

Advertisement

In response to the Minister’s reply, the committee members questioned the rationale behind her claim of not being aware of money that was paid to her ministry.

The Minister however said that the total sum was not released which was part of why the contractors are been owed.

“If not that the money for this year has been delayed, I’m sure we wouldn’t be here today. Because we could have paid out some of these liabilities. But since this year, no project money has been released to any ministry. And that was a constraint.”

A member of the Commitee, Marie Nenemete Ebikake, however, questioned the minister on the African First Lady Peace Mission project of about 500 million naira, asking the minster to tell the Commitee how the money was utilized, where the project was located and those involved.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: Senator Proposes Bill Seeking Creation Of New State From Kano

“Honorable Minister and Permanent Secretary with Director Finance and Admin, last time when you came, that was on Thursday, we did raise an issue of African First Lady Peace Mission projects. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any concrete answer to the issue.

“It was carried over to today. So now that we are here, Honorable Minister, could you please educate the committee on the functions of African First Lady Peace Mission projects, taking into cognizance of funds allocated for the project in the past? Year 2020, 500 million,2021, 225 million.2022, 500 million. 2023, 150 million. Where is the office situated and the organogram?

In her response, the Minister, however, explained that the 150 million naira that was appropriated in 2023 was eventually given to the former first lady, Aisha Buhari who eventually told her it was meant for the purchase of a generator.

Advertisement

“About the First Lady’s funds. The 500 million you were talking about, I wasn’t there when it happened. When I came in, I saw it on the Appropriation Act. And I went to my First Lady. We discussed. She said that particular money was not meant for her.

“That it was meant for the former First Lady because that was when that money was allocated. And the former First Lady later called me and said they wanted to use it and buy a generator. And in the process, she was out of the country.

“It took her a while. She came back, called me, and she brought the person who was going to come and organize how they would get the generator. And I introduced that person to the procurement officer then, who is now retired.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest 80-year-old Man Over Alleged Defilement Of Minor In Bayelsa

Advertisement

“So that they could work it out according to the rules and regulations of procurement. And they’ve been on it. Once in a while, I talk with the First Lady to find out what’s going on. And that’s the last I heard of that.

At this point, members of the committee were surprised that the Minister could not identify the contractors or addresses of the Contractors who executed the African First Lady Peace Mission project.

In her response, the Minister said “Let me explain. This is the First Lady’s… My First Lady will tell you, to focus on your work. And she focuses on her work.

“She just advises me. And when they came there, I am not a First Lady and I can’t overstep my bounds. All I went to tell her was that there was some amount of money on the appropriation act. for her office and I went there to tell her. I have no business much to do with the First Lady’s buildings. Because I have to only take directives when given.

Advertisement

Reacting another member of the Committee told the Minister “Well, you disburse public funds on First Lady’s issues. Is it not so? The office space was not paid for with public funds of the Nigerian people. Let the director who is in charge speak, ma’am. Please.

READ ALSO: NDLEA Arrests Couple, Recovers N2.1b Drug In Raid On Lagos Cocaine Syndicate

“I won’t answer what is not within my purview, the Minister responded.

The committee members at this point insisted on knowing if it was the first Lady Oluremi Tinubu that directed the Minister to hand over the money to the former first lady Aisha Buhari.

Advertisement

The Chairman of the Committee Kafilat Ogbara in her question said, “When you resumed, you met the money in the account of your ministry. Because you said this money is for the former First Lady, and are you saying it was the former First Lady that requested that the money is going to be used for the generator or is it the current First Lady?

Responding the Minister said “Like I said, I’m not the accountant. I don’t usually know what you have.”

The Minister further insisted on explaining herself “No, but I’m trying to explain myself, Like I said, I’m not an accountant to know how much cash they have in their bank statements. All I can see is the appropriation paper and the budget. And it was right there in the budget of last year. It was there.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Buhari’s Minister To Account For N729bn Payment To Poor Nigerians

Advertisement

“My question is, was the money budgeted for the last First Lady? And I’ll ask you, is it the former First Lady who contacted you that the money is going to be used for the generator or not? The chairman asked the minister.”

In her response, the Minister said “No, it was budgeted by the ministry.

“I can’t answer that, because I don’t know who requested it was supposed to go to procurement.No First Lady called me. I called. I called. I never said a First Lady called, I called to say this is what I saw on the appropriation paper. That was what I said.

“Let me not be misquoted. Let me not be misquoted. I never said it was meant for the First Lady.

Advertisement

” I said when I saw for First Lady’s mission, that was the name of the corporation. I don’t know whether it has been used or not. We directed them, that anything that will be done is supposed to go through procurement, the normal process.”

READ ALSO: FULL LIST: State-Owned Higher Institutions Cleared For Student Loan

At this point, the Chairman of the Committee asked the procurement officer to explain to the committee how the money was spent.

According to him, “The project was awarded. But I don’t know anything about it, it is ongoing.”

Advertisement

The chairman of the Committee asked the procurement officer if the Minister was aware of the project.

While he was about to respond, the Minister interjected by saying “I am not getting very comfortable anymore. Because I don’t even understand this question.

“The procurement do their job. I don’t get myself involved. If anything has been going through on that, it’s supposed to go through the normal process. I don’t get myself involved. Procurement officer.”

The Commitee Chairman at this point said due to the confrontation between the Minister to the Commitee, the meeting was adjourned sine die.

Advertisement

 

Politics

LP Suspends Chairman In C’River Over Alleged Embezzlement

Published

on

The Cross River State chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Ogar Osim, has been suspended from office over allegations of embezzlement and anti-party activities.

Osim who is also accused of inability to maintain a State secretariat and other sundry issues, was suspended alongside the State Secretary, Mr Felix Etim on Tuesday.

Their suspension, which is contained in a press statement by the Chairman and Secretary of the State disciplinary committee, Bonnie Adie and Ibiang Igri respectively, announced the appointment of an acting Chairman and Secretary.

Advertisement

According to the statement, Eugene Obia and Allen Ekpe are to remain in acting capacity pending when a congress will be held to elect a substantive Chairman and Secretary respectively.

READ ALSO: Tension In Abia As Female Truck Driver Blocks Highway To Protest Harassment By Touts

“The decision to relieve them of the positions was taken following a thorough investigation into allegations of gross misconduct, anti-party activities, inability to maintain a state secretariat, embezzlement, and other serious issues.

“We are confident that Mr Obia and Mr Ekpe thatbhave been appointed in acting capacities will provide strong leadership and ensure the smooth functioning of the Labour Party in the State.

Advertisement

“We urge all members to cooperate with the new leadership and work together to achieve the arty’s goals,” it stated.
Those who signed the purported suspension letter are not even known to Labour party .

When contacted, the Labour Party, (LP) Chairman, Com Ogar Osim described his suspension as laughable adding that those who signed his purported suspension letter were unknown to the Party and were mere impostors.

READ ALSO: Transfer: Arteta Gives Two Conditions To Sell Arsenal Midfielder

His words: “Those persons who signed the purported suspension letter are impostors and I will describe them as stranger elements, becuase their names are not in any of our registers, from ward level to chapter and state , we don’t know them.

Advertisement

“Even if there was anything like a disciplinary committee as they claimed, thier letter should have been signed by the legal adviser.

“As a matter of fact, we are taking them to court , even if such committee exists, they can only make recommendations , they don’t have powers to suspend,” Ogar said.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

Edo APC Gives Vanguard 24hrs Ultimatum To Retract Alleged Libelous Publication, Threatens Law Suit

Published

on

The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given Vanguard newspaper 24 hours ultimatum to retract a publication which the party described as “libelous and defamatory.”

This is contained in a letter addressed to Vanguard newspaper Editor by the party’s lawyer, Martin Omo-lghekpe, a copy of which was made available to INFO DAILY on Tuesday.

Vanguard newspaper was said to have carried an advertorial today July 23, 24, wherein faces of some APC chieftains in the state were published and labelled: Edo Airport Violence: Faces of Suspected Culprits.

Advertisement

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Reps Increase 2024 Budget To N35.055 Trillion, Amend Finance Bill

In the letter titled: ‘LIBEL AND DEFAMATION AGAINST THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESss (APC) EDO STATE CHAPTER WITH RESPECT TO THE NAMED PERSONS, WHOSE PHOTOGRAPHS APPEARED IN PAGE 15 OF THE VANGUARD’, the APC lawyer said it was meant to malign the party and the persons whose photographs wete published by the paper.

The party said Vanguard’s failure to publish a retraction and apology within the said 24 hours would lead to the party instituting “criminal and civil action” against the paper over what the paper referred to as “defamatory and libelous” publication.

The letter reads in part: “It is our brief that you termed the photographs of the aforesaid gentlemen as “Edo
State Airport Violence faces of suspected culprits”

Advertisement

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Shelve Planned Hardship Protest, Tinubu Appeals To Nigerians

“We take serious reservations to your audacious, malicious, libelous and defamatory publication which has no legal foundation, as the said publication is orchestrated to
malign the image of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Edo State Chapter, in the eyes of the general public as our Client had written a comprehensive petition to the office of the Knspector General of Police, in respect of the incident at the Benin Airport on the 18 of July, 2024, which said petition is subject to police
investigation.

“We are of the firm view that a newspaper of your standing, ought to maintain the highest ethical standard put in place by the regulatory agencies.

“Flowing from the above, our Client hereby demand as follows:
a) The immediate retraction of the aforesaid malicious, libelous and
defamatory publication within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter.
b) A letter of apology to our Client within a full cover space of your
newspaper. TAKE NOTICE; that failure to abide by the penultimate paragraphs, will leave us with no option than to institute both criminal and civil action against Vanguard.”

Advertisement

 

 

 

 

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Politics

JUST IN: Imo Senator, Onyewuchi Dumps Labour Party, Joins APC

Published

on

The senator representing Imo East Senatorial District, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, has dumped the Labour Party (LP) and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Onyewuchi also declared his support for President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

His letter of defection was read on the floor of the red chambers by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, July 23.

Advertisement

Read Also: Reps minority caucus advocates political solution to end Nnamdi Kanu’s detention
Recall in 2022, Senator Onyewuchi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the Labour Party (LP).

READ ALSO: JUST IN: ADC Reps Member Defects To APC

Onyewuchi was also a former member of the House of Representatives – Owerri-Municipal/Owerri-North/West-Federal Constituency

The letter partly reads: “This decision is due to the intractable division and crisis in the labour party that sponsored my election into the senate.

Advertisement

“We give our unflinching support to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and of course, support his administration aimed at achieving sustainable development for our country.”

Continue Reading

Trending