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We’ve provided fuel without paying N1.3tr subsidy, says Fed Govt

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…As Senate indicts Okonjo-Iweala, says her memo caused N1.7tn revenue loss***

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday hit back at former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying his achievements are neither lies nor propaganda.

The former President last week alleged that the government had been running on lies and propaganda.

Buhari also reminded the former president that unlike during his regime, when t between N800 billion and N1.3 trillion was paid out yearly as “petrol subsidy” without making the products available even at regulated prices, his  Administration had not been paying any subsidy, yet the product is available and queues disappeared from filling stations.

Speaking at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Conference for media handlers of state’s chief executives, the President, represented by Minister of Information and Culture  Lai Mohammed, said: “Those who accused this Administration of ‘propaganda and lies’ in the fuel supply sector, for example, did not tell Nigerians that whereas they paid between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion Naira as ‘subsidy’ yearly in their time, without making the products available even at regulated prices, this Administration is not paying any subsidy, yet all products are currently available at competitive prices and fuel queues are now history.

“In their time, they paid subsidy of 3.7 billion Naira DAILY in 2011; 2.2 billion Naira DAILY in 2012 and 2013, and 2.5 billion Naira DAILY in 2014, all for products that were never available.”

Describing disinformation and fake news, as ”evil twins” in the public space, the president said that  they have become potent weapons in the hands of opposition, expressing worry that they will be the biggest obstacle as the 2019 general elections.

He said, “Let me be straight: This is the most difficult time for anyone to find himself or herself in your position. Why? Because in addition to working with a tight budget, you face the double tragedy of disinformation and fake news, buoyed to a large extent by the advent of Social Media.

Never before have these ”evil twins” of disinformation and fake news permeated the public space as they have now and, make no mistakes about it, they have become potent weapons in the hands of naysayers. Sadly, they will be the biggest obstacle facing you from now till the 2019 general elections, whether you believe it or not.

“In recent days, you have all seen the dangers posed, not just to you but even the general public, by those who have chosen to deploy disinformation and fake news as a weapon of choice. First, they created unnecessary panic in the society by claiming that Monkey Pox resulted from the Federal Government’s deliberate injection of people with the virus in certain states.

We had hardly dispelled that when they claimed that the military, which is going beyond the call of duty to support the civilian populace, has been injecting school children with Monkey Pox, forcing many parents across a number of states to withdraw their children from school for days. Imagine the implication of this on the affected children’s education and health.

“Now, the disinformation is that ahead of the forthcoming election in Anambra, the government has been providing IPOB uniform to some people to cause mayhem, so they can in turn blame IPOB, and that many roads leading to Anambra will be closed before and after the elections, hence they advised Anambra residents to stay at home and not come out for the election. This is all disinformation, pure and simple. There is no such plan.

“Now, going hand in hand with disinformation and fake news is the new strategy of the naysayers to label the achievements of the government of the day as ‘propaganda and lies’ in order to discredit them. It is for you, at your level, to use concrete facts to showcase the achievements of your principals. Nigerians are brilliant and discerning, and won’t be taken in by such deliberate denigration. But they also need facts and figures.

“For our Administration, our achievements are there for all to see. We are delivering in the broad areas that formed the plank of our policies: Security, fight against corruption and the economy, which includes the massive provision of infrastructure, ease of doing business and agriculture, just to mention a few.”

He added: ”Those who accused this government of ‘propaganda and lies’ also said we have not achieved anything in the power sector. Comment is free, facts are sacred, as they say. When this Administration assumed office on 29 May 2015, available power on the grid totalled 2,690MW, transmission capacity was around 5,000MW and distribution capacity was 4,000MW.

”As at 4 September 2017, the available power that can be put on the grid was 6,619MW; the transmission capacity was simulated at 6,700 MW (up from 5,000 MW in 2015) but the distribution capacity was 4,600 MW, which was what was put on the grid. On September 12, 2017, production of power reached an all-time level of 7,001MW,” he sai

In the meantime, the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Alleged Misuse, Under-Remittance and Other Fraudulent Activities has said revenue agencies short-changed the Federal Government to the tune of N1.7tn as unremitted revenue generated between 2012 and 2016.

The panel blamed it on a memo by a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who allegedly issued the memo to the agencies to remit 25 per cent of revenue they generated to the Federal Government and spend 75 per cent on their expenditures.

This was contained in an interim report by the committee chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, which was laid before the Senate last week Thursday, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent on Monday.

The panel said the amount to be remitted to the Federal Government during the period by 93 agencies it investigated was N21.5tn.

It alleged that 25 of the 93 agencies covered defrauded the government of a total of N1,695,585,887,406.

The committee said the agencies chose to comply with a directive by Okonjo-Iweala via a memo dated November 11, 2011, with Reference Number BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by the former minister “to remit 25 per cent only from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75 per cent, which is a clear violation of Section 120 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as well as the establishment acts of some of these institutions.”

According to the panel, in the report, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ran at a deficit of N3.1tn, while the Nigeria Customs Service, which generated N335.855bn, failed to remit N83.963bn during the period under review.

The committee alleged that the nation’s cash cow generated N15.541tn, while its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657tn, exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115tn.

The report also indicted the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which generated N455.5bn but allegedly failed to remit N33.83bn.

Also, the Nigerian Ports Authority reportedly remitted N86.636bn to the Consolidated Revenue Fund when it generated N789.104bn.

Others indicted by the panel are the Central Bank of Nigeria, remitting N13.716bn out of N3.098tn; NIMASA, N184.489bn out of N301.160bn; Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567bn out of N56.817bn.

The report read in part, “Most of the revenue generating agencies deny the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records, which is in conflict with Section 125, Subsection (3) a (i and ii); and Subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Consequently, the committee recommends as follows: that the Senate should amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident auditors to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books, and to ensure compliance with Section 120(i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.

“The Senate should also amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident treasury officers to be posted by the Accountant General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books.”

Nation with additional report from Punch

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on the ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

The Edo House of Assembly on Monday impeached the Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu.

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

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Court Remands Emefiele In EFCC Custody As Trial Begins April 11

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Emefiele: CBN disbursed N12.65bn as agriculture intervention since January; N1.09 trillion since 2015

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday remanded the embattled former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for alleged abuse of office and fraud to the tune of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion.
It was reported that Justice Rahman Oshodi remanded Emefiele in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) custody while his co-defendant, Henry  Isioma-Omoile, was remanded in the Ikoyi custodial centre.
Oshodi remanded the defendants pending the determination of their bail applications on April 11.
The judge adjourned the case until April 11 for the determination of bail application and commencement of trial.
Earlier, EFCC arraigned Emefiele on a 23-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage, while his co-defendant was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) had asked the court for a trial date following the defendants’ not guilty pleas.
Oyedepo also informed the court that the prosecution would be asking for a closed section for some of its witnesses who were willing to come to court to testify but scared for their lives.

Counsel to the two defendants, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, had in their bail applications, urged the court to grant them bail on self-recognizance and liberal terms pending the determination of the case.
Labi-Lawal, in a 35-paragraph affidavit, said that the first defendant (Emefiele) complied with the bail application given to him by Justice Hamza Muazu in his ongoing fraud trial in Abuja.
He added that the charges against the first defendant were bailable.
“Though the first defendant was granted administrative bail by the prosecuting authority, he is seeking bail based on self-recognizance, and he is ready to attend trial.
“The court should also take into consideration the status of the first defendant as he was the former CBN governor of the country,” the counsel said.
The defence counsel further said that Emefiele religiously presented himself before Justice Hamza Muazu in Abuja to answer allegations before him.
According to the counsel, the first defendant was not at flight risk as he was the first person to arrive in court.
He also prayed the court to grant bail to  Emefiele on liberal terms
Labi-Lawal also moved a bail application for the second defendant and urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
Prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, did not oppose the bail applications.
Oyedepo, however, urged the court to exercise its discretion judiciously in granting bail to the defendants.
In one of the charges, EFCC  alleged that Emefiele abused the authority of his office as CBN  governor by allocating foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $2.2 billion without bids, the act which was prejudiced to the rights of Nigerians.
It also alleged that the ex-CBN governor corruptly accepted an aggregate sum of  $26.5 million from NIPCO Plc through Donatone Ltd.
The commission also accused Emefiele of receiving the sum of $400,000 from Source Computer Ltd. on account of the approval of a “contract” in favour of the said company by CBN.
The anti-graft also alleged that Emefiele used his position as the governor of CBN  to confer corrupt advance on his associate, Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd. by approving payment of an aggregate sum of N900 million to the company.
Emefiele was also alleged to have used his position as the CBN governor to confer a corrupt advantage on Comec Support Services  Ltd. by approving the sum of N149 million to the company.
EFCC also alleged that the former CBN governor used his position to confer a corrupt advantage on  Andswin Resources and Solutions Ltd. by approving payment of the sum of N398 million to the company.
EFCC also accused Emefiele’s co-defendant (Isioma-Omoile) of giving the sum of $100,000 to the governor as a gift reward for allocation of foreign exchange.
According to the prosecution, the alleged offences violate Sections 8, 10, and 19 of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act of 2000, Sections 65, 73, and 328 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

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NAGAFF Vows to Stop Kwankwaso from Taking Over NNPP

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NNPP inaugurates 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, Aniebonam remains BoT Chairman

…Votes N150m take off professional fees for lawyers to begin litigation warfare!

Members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) will vehemently resist the taking over of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) by the group noted to be loyal to Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

It would be recalled that the NNPP was originally founded by the National Association of Government-Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, largely to provide a credible platform for maritime industry stakeholders to make a national impact within the nation’s political space.

It. would also be recalled that the former Governor of Kano, Senator Kwankwaso latched on the NNPP, after his effort to run as the flag bearer of another political party was dimmed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who emerged as the PDP presidential candidate.

NNPP inaugurates 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, Aniebonam remains BoT Chairman

Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

Presently, a statement issued by the NNPP National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Clement Iwegbuna, lamented that what started as a child’s play is becoming a reality with the body language and actions of Senator Kwankwaso to highjack NNPP from the original owners, the members of  NAGAFF.

In a swift move, the president of NAGAFF, leading the pack of resourceful young freight forwarders said the original are poised to match money for money and contact for contact to retrieve NNPP from the people tagged ungrateful.

The statement revealed that the sum of N150,000,000 has been contributed as a take-off professional fee for the lawyers to take on the serial litigations upcoming.

NAGAFF accused Kwankwaso of court abuse with the institution of a court case involving INEC at Kano State High Court. “And so what does it take someone who held the position of minister of defence and member of the national assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to know that it is out of jurisdiction to do so.

NNPP is a national party and INEC is a federal commission. “Let Nigerians be told that there is a new order in Nigeria judiciary at the moment. If Senator Kwankwaso likes let him, Elder Buba Galadima and all of them who are the former members of the National Working Committee led by Alhaji Abbah Kawu who was alleged not to be able to write a statement at the state police command, Abuja when he reported a case against Mr Phillip Oyana the Zonal Secretary North Central of New Nigeria Peoples Party.

“Our young, vibrant and informed lawyers shall meet him and his cohorts in court. Once again we hold no malice against any person. All members of NNPP and NAGAFF are children of God and always ready to show love to all manner of people who may come our way,” the statement further said.

The statement directed and appealed to all members of NAGAFF and NNPP to keep the peace of the society and be law abiding and respectful to the constitution of Nigeria.

“Regret to note that Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had avoidably prided himself to have brought NNPP to relevance and recognition. Tell the American marine that trash for the fact that Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso forgot to note that NNPP is as old as People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria spanning over 24 years in existence. He joined less than 2yrs ago.

“We consider Senator Kwankwaso as someone who is avoidably arrogant and proud for no good reasons. This is because NNPP provided him the opportunity to contest the Presidency of Nigeria 2023 with great men like the current president of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (PDP) and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party

“Let it be on record that if NNPP were not winning elections for the period under review it would have been deregistered like the one he facilitated which was called Alliance National Party. As a matter of fact, the current headquarters of NNPP in Abuja is the same office used by the defunct Alliance National  Party whose chairman was one Moshood.

“We also know that the current executive Gov of Kano Alhaji Abbah Kabir who was shortchanged in the previous elections took advantage of us as children of God to be protected and today those evil men could not stop him from becoming the Gov of Kano State.

“Therefore senator RABIU MUSA Kwankwaso should be taught the principles of humility and gratefulness to people who have been nice to him.

“In all of these, he may wish to distance himself from elder Buba Galadima if he wants to make headway in politics. The former President, Gen. Buhari did realise and distanced himself to combine with Asiwaju B. A. Tinubu, the grand master to become the President of Nigeria.,” advised.

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