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Reforms: Bayelsa Govt withholds salaries of 4,204 Workers

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…As Fed Govt, others share N9.9b solid minerals revenue***

The Bayelsa Government on Wednesday said it withheld the October salaries of 4,204 workers with questionable records, as part of steps to reform the state civil service.

The Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), who announced this at a press conference in Yenagoa, said that those affected were from the eight local government areas in the state.

According to him, 1, 329 are local council workers, 2,184 in the primary school system and 707 on pension payroll.

Jonah listed those affected to include workers recruited without authorisation from relevant agencies, those with forged certificates, those receiving salaries from multiple agencies of government and some with questionable promotions.

Also, those involved in pension fraud, age falsification among others would not be left out, he added.

The deputy governor disclosed that the panel which investigated the payroll fraud, also uncovered 34 people with questionable promotions, adding that some workers on Grade Level 04 in 2011 were promoted to Grade Level 14 in 2012 with forged certificates.

He however said the state government had established a judicial commission of inquiry headed by retired Justice Doris Adokeme, to hear complaints from the affected workers on Nov. 13.

The deputy governor warned that the government would ensure strict implementation of the findings of the panel and would not be deterred by any kind of blackmail from any quarters.

He expressed regrets that it was only in Bayelsa that a person would work for a day and expects to be paid a month salary.

“We have been carrying out comprehensive reforms not only at the councils but also at the secondary schools, parastatals, pension payroll, civil service, grade levels verification and others.

“There is massive payroll fraud in the state and the situation is such that there are some earning double salaries.

“There are retired people in the payroll, those who promote themselves, and several retired personnel. In fact over 700 retired personnel are still in the payroll.

“With effect from today, salaries of such suspected persons are suspended.

“For those receiving salaries from multiple agencies, we will not pay you, but if you prove that you are a genuine worker your salary will be paid.” Jonah said

In the meantime, Minister for Mines and Steel Development and Chairman, National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), Kayode Fayemi, has said the N9.9billion revenue generated directly from solid minerals was shared among the three tiers of government in July, 2017.

He said NEITI’s intervention through recommendations in solid minerals audit report, led to the sharing of monies from the sector by the three tiers of government and other beneficiaries in line with section 162 of the 1999 constitution on derivation.

He stated this during the NEITI South West Zonal Outreach and Stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The minster who was represented by a member of the NSWG of NEITI, LawanLantewa, also revealed the ministry had received the sum of N30billion from the Natural Resources Development Fund for exploration, research, geosciences data generation and improved mines field security.

Additional report from Nation

 

Economy

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

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 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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Economy

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

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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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Economy

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

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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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