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French defence minister resigns over inquiry into misuse of funds

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France’s newly appointed defence minister Sylvie Goulard has resigned from government after a magistrate launched a preliminary investigation into allegations her party misused European parliament funds.

Goulard, who only took up her post in Emmanuel Macron’s administration a month ago, stepped down on Tuesday. She is the second high-profile minister to go in less than 24 hours.

President Macron has pledged to clean up French politics and public life after a series of scandals that have damaged voter confidence in their elected representatives. A “moralisation bill” that bans politicians from employing family members and obliging them to declare their personal interests when in office is expected to be one of his government’s first pieces of legislation.

“The president of the republic is working to restore confidence in public action, reform France and relaunch Europe,” Goulard said in a statement on Tuesday. “This work should take precedence over any personal consideration,” she added.

“Defence is a demanding portfolio. The honour of our armies, of the men and women who serve and put their lives in danger should not be mixed up in controversies that have nothing to do with them.”

On Monday, Richard Ferrand, minister for territorial cohsion and the general secretary of Macron’s fledgling political party La République en Marche (La REM – Republic on the Move) resigned after he was put under preliminary investigation for nepotism and financial impropriety.

The departure of Ferrand, a close friend of Macron, was sold as a promotion; he will lead the REM parliamentary group.

Goulard, a member of La REM’s allies in government, the centrist MoDem party, added: “On the assumption that the preliminary inquiry against MoDem is aimed at verifying the conditions under which my assistants at the European parliament were employed, I want to be in a position to demonstrate freely my good faith and all the work that I have done.”

Since becoming France’s youngest president at 39, after defeating the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, last month, Macron, a former investment banker, has seen his party win a convincing majority of 350 seats in the 577-seat Assemblée national, the lower house of parliament, in Sunday’s second-round legislative vote. This has given him a free hand to push through his economically liberal, business-friendly, reformist programme that seeks to loosen French labour laws and shake up welfare and pensions provision in France.

The French government resigned after the parliamentary vote – as is required. New appointments are expected on Wednesday in what has been described as a “technical reshuffle”.

Macron is expected to confirm Édouard Philippe as his prime minister. On Tuesday morning, Philippe told BFM TV he wanted a “balanced government”, with “people who come from the right – as in my case, from the left, from the centre” and who would not be “partisan”.

He said he would also be handpicking ministers from civil society as well as those elected to parliament and wanted an equal number of men and women.

MoDem MEPs are the subject of a preliminary investigation by Paris anti-corruption police for allegations of “breach of trust and concealment of this offence”. The inquiry centres on whether assistants employed to work at the European parliament were used for MoDem party business.

Members of the FN, including Le Pen, are also under preliminary investigation over claims they misused EU funds for party work.

A total of 19 French MEPs are under preliminary investigation. MoDem said in a statement that it had “respected all the rules and employer regulations”.
Ferrand, who is accused of favouring his partner when looking to hire an office for a Brittany-based health “mutuelle” of which he was president, has also denied any wrongdoing, favouritism or conflict of interest.

Guardian

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Governors’ Forum Welcomes LG Autonomy – Gov. AbdulRahman

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Governors’ Forum Welcomes LG Autonomy – Gov. AbdulRahman

AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman, Governor of Kwara and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), said the forum welcomed the Supreme Court ruling granting autonomy to local government areas. They have no options, anyway.

AbdulRahman remarked while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu on Friday.

He was accompanied by Gov. Hope Uzodimma, Chairman, All Progressives Party (APC) Governors Forum and Dr Bala Mohammed, Chairman, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum.

“Compliance is a given and our Attorney General has applied for the enrollment order, which we’ll study carefully.

“But by and large governors are happy with the devolution of power regarding local government autonomy. It relieves the burden on governors.

“Our people really don’t know how much states expense in bailing out local governments, and that’s the issue there,” he said.

He said in his state Kwara, the government had never tampered with local government funds.

“What the local governments have to do is to manage themselves, especially with the incoming minimum wage, to manage their affairs and make sure salaries are paid, traditional rulers get their five per cent and those are the main issues,” he said.

On states where local government elections are yet to be conducted, he said the forum would meet next Wednesday to look at the issue wholly and then come up with a resolution.

He also said the discussion on minimum wage was ongoing, and that the tripartite committee had met and submitted its report.

“Yes, a movement of figures is the prerogative of the president which he will also transmit to the National Assembly for robust debate before it’s adopted,” said AbdulRahman. 

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Kanwan Katsina Lauds Efforts of Successive Katsina Governors, on Ketare

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Kanwan Katsina Lauds Efforts of Successive Katsina Governors, on Ketare

… Credits Shehu Yar’ Adua for Government Day Secondary School; Gov. Shema for construction of Gora-Ketare-Kankara and, Ketare-Mashigi-Malumfashi Roads

The Kanwan Katsina District Head of Ketare, Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara has commended successive governments of Katsina State for executing various developmental projects in Ketare District.

Alhaji Usman Bello gave the commendation when he received the leadership of Ketare District Youth Mobilization KDYM in his palace who paid him Sallah’s homage and congratulated him for the successful Sallah Durbar in Katsina.

The Monarch explained that all the modest achievements recorded in his 24 years as District Head of Ketare were made possible with the assistance of the successive Governors of Katsina State.

The Kanwan Katsina explained that the Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua when he was the Governor of Katsina State in 1999  and was his Teacher at Katsina College of Art and Science and Technology in 1975 was responsible for the construction of the Government Day Secondary School, Ketare; while Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema who was the Kanwan Katsina School mate at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, constructed Gora-Ketare-Kankara Road and Ketare-Mashigi-Malumfashi Road.

Similarly, Governor Aminu Bello Masari constructed Dayi-Gangule-Gundawa-Wawal Kaza Roads and a comprehensive Primary Healthcare Center in Ketare, in the same vein, the current Katsina State Governor Malam Dikko Umaru Radda in a bid to enhance the security of lives and properties which are his topmost priority establish the Katsina Community Watch Corp where Ketare Youth were engaged in combating bandits and kidnappers.

Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara mni also expressed gratitude to the management of the Community and Social Development  Project CSDP under the leadership of Dikko Mohammed for collaborating with communities of Ketare District to construct all the Community Day Secondary schools.

Therefore, The Kanwan Katsina assured the youth organization that he will not relent in partnering with the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to bring in the much-needed development in Ketare District.

Earlier in his address, the interim Chairman of the Association Malam Bishir Umar Girbobo said they were at the palace of the Kanwan Katsina District Head of Ketare Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara to pay Sallah homage and to appreciate all the developmental projects and policies initiated by or facilitated by him such in the areas of education, computers training for the Youths ICT, Health, Agriculture,  Road Construction, issuance of National ID Card and INEC Voters’ Cards, among others.

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HOAX: NNPP Writes Senate, Debunks Letter To Akpabio Alleging ‘Siege’ By FG On Kano

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HOAX: NNPP Writes Senate, Debunks Letter To Akpabio Alleging 'Siege' By FG On Kano

…Calls writer an impersonator who should be arrested!

The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) says the letter to the Senate, accusing the Federal Government of laying siege on Kano State did not emanate from the party.

This is contained in a statement by the NNPP National Chairman, Dr Agbo Major on Thursday in Abuja.

The party was reacting to a letter written to the Senate, through its President, Godswill Akpabio by Dr Ajuji Ahmed on June 24. 

The letter was titled: Need for NNPP Federal Lawmakers to Make Urgent and Concerted Efforts to End Immediately the Siege on Kano State by Agents of the Federal Government.”

According to Major Agbo, the letter written by Dr Ajuji Ahmed was without the mandate and authorization of the leadership of  NNPP.

“Dr Boniface Aniebonam is the founder of  NNPP, holder of the registration certificate of the party,  chairman,  board of trustees and a life member of the board while  Dr Agbo Major is the national chairman and Comrade Oginni Olaposi Sunday is the National Secretary etc. 

He described Ahmed as an impersonator who should be arrested by the senate. 

“The NNPP stand remains that the Kano Emirate leadership crisis is an internal matter of Kano state indigenes under culture and tradition.

HOAX: NNPP Writes Senate, Debunks Letter To Akpabio Alleging 'Siege' By FG On Kano

“Political party involvement under the circumstances is wrong. The principle of our party remains focused on the peace of the society, development and well-being of the greater numbers of Nigerians.

“That the matter is currently before competent courts of law and jurisdiction and any interference by the National Assembly shall further complicate the situation.

“The avoidable tension generated as a result of the actions of the state government in Kano necessitates the need for vigilance and enhanced security in the state to avoid breakdown of law and order. 

“It is trite for Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf, Sen  Rabiu Kwankwaso and Elder Buba Galadima to understand that every court order must be obeyed before the complaint. The rules of engagement to vacate orders of the court are very clear and unambiguous”

He said it was, therefore,  necessary for the National Assembly to align with the position that would guarantee the protection of the lives and property of citizens in  Kano state.

” ⁠The NNPP as a registered political party in Nigeria is not interested in engaging in any controversy with the Federal Government and its agencies,  particularly security institutions.

“We should be responsible partners and law-abiding citizens for the peace and development of Nigeria. The letter and any form of representation by the said Ahmed should be disregarded forthwith 

“In an ideal situation,  it shall be the responsibility of the NNPP lawmakers to raise the matter on the floor of the national assembly.

“As we said, the matter is in court and they should go to court, after all, the Kano state governor is in power today via the court.

NNPP  have no role to play because Gov ABBA Yusuf is the governor of Kano state and not the party.”

Major Agbo noted that Elders of Kano state and elites, come together and resolve the internal Chieftaincy crises, then approach the court for consent judgment or be patient with the court for final judgment.

“This is better, civilised and brotherly than the avoidable propaganda and blackmail of the Federal Government and its security institutions carrying on with their statutory duties to maintain peace and order of the society.

“We, therefore,  wish to state that Gov ABBA Yusuf should concentrate on providing quality leadership in Kano and distance himself from all the avoidable tensions in the state. 

“We also appeal to the senate to disregard the illegal and inappropriate letter of the expelled members of the NNPP led by Ahmed.

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