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Falana urges Nigerians to champion fight against corruption, bad governance, impunity



…As Official says World Bank, EU to fund N102bn SEEFOR project in N’Delta***

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Thursday called on Nigerians to champion the fight against corruption, bad governance and impunity and adopt decisive measures to midwifing a new and progressive Nigeria.

Falana made the call in Lagos at the 3rd Lagos Professionals’ Week, organised by the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter; even as some of the youths tasked himvto lead the masses in the battle against impunity, rather merely talk about it.

Falana who spoke on the theme: “Corruption, Ethics and Good Governance”, insisted that, rather than the government, the citizens should champion the fight against corruption, bad governance and impunity.

“Good governance is aimed at creating a country that is based on honesty, integrity and free from the perennial problems of corruption and double standard.

“Corruption has robbed citizens of their potential and aspirations for a brighter future, quality education, better healthcare, improved access to housing, food and water,” Falana said.

He urged the government to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power; increased investment in infrastructure, citizen’s welfare and jobs creation and promote an inclusive governance.

The activist urged professionals to be actively involved in politics and governance, while collaborating more with the government on policy formulations that would aid socioeconomic development.

Falana said that military rule was not an option for the country, adding that those advocating for such should rather focus on preserving the nation’s unity, peace and prosperity.

He said the country could not afford to allow itself to go into another civil unrest or disintegration, adding that the socioeconomic effects of military rule would be disastrous.

Falana, however, blamed the elected leaders, corruption, bad governance and economic challenges for the increasing agitations that had led to discussions in some quarters for a way out.

Earlier, Mr Wasiu Akewusola, the Chairman of the association, Lagos State Chapter, said that corruption had been the bane of development in the country.

Akewusola said that the association would be more responsive in encouraging active participation of its members in governance and holding government accountable and responsible.

Meanwhile, the World Bank says it will soon commence the funding of States Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) projects in the Niger Delta.

The bank said the project valued at 280 million dollars (N102 billion), would be executed in part with the European Union.

Mr Parminder Brar, Team Leader for the project, said this in a statement  in Port Harcourt on Thursday by Dr Ibitoye Abosede, Director of Corporate Communications, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Parminder, who led a delegation to NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the bank would fund 65 per cent of the SEEFOR project while the EU would cover 35 per cent.

He said: “The Rivers State Government is the biggest beneficiary of the project with an allocation of 80 million dollars.

“NDDC will get allocation for two specific activities; which is why the World Bank is happy to collaborate with the commission to support its development programmes.

He said the project would commence as soon as budget for the job was developed and finalised by the global bank.

“We can confirm that we will be able to support those (NDDC) activities soon. We want to get started latest by February 2019 as well as get them completed early.

“I am glad that NDDC is involved in repairs of roads – which I think a lot of good works have happened. The World Bank is happy to partner with NDDC,” he said.

Speaking, Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, said that NDDC had carried out lots of interventions in both human and capital development in the Niger Delta.

He thanked the bank for its collaboration to improve the commission’s governance system through the SEEFOR project.

“This project is critical part of our 4-R reform plan that targets to restructure the commission’s balance sheet and reform its governance systems using technologies and best practice.

“Also, the plan seeks to restore NDDC’s core mandate by revalidating the Niger Delta regional Master Plan as well as reaffirm commitment of staff, management, board and stakeholders.

The managing director said the commission had cancelled over N200 billion worth of non-performing contracts in the last one year and half as part of measures to restructure its balance sheet.

“In order to advance to next stage, we need to be more methodical and review the actual performance of project against design requirement and actual funds paid out to contractors.

“The identification of this performance gap is a core deliverable expected from the NDDC-SEEFOR project, using the grant that World Bank has graciously approved,” he said.

Ekere said that NDDC had appointed a project coordinator to prepare the bank for take-off of the project in 2019.



Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others



 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful



LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan



Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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