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Apparently in a bid to find the mysterious snake that swallowed N36m in the Benue office of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Sen. Shehu Sani, on Tuesday, stormed the headquarters of the board with snake charmers.

The senator, who represents Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, said the visit was with a view to getting to the bottom of the issue.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one Philomena Chieshe, a sales clerk in the JAMB office, Makurdi, told JAMB registrar and his team that “she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.”

“In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff to spiritually (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office,” the report said.

According to Sani, his visit to JAMB is in response to the story that a snake swallowed N36 million.

He lamented that it was of concern that such a huge sum of money was reported to have been swallowed by a snake.

“I believe that the contribution I can make is to bring snake charmers from my constituency to the JAMB office and to help them fish out the snake and weed out snakes from their premises.”

Sani further said that if a snake could actually swallow N36 million, one day Nigerians may wake up to say that a snake had swallowed the country’s foreign reserve.

“I believe that my contribution to JAMB will help them fish out snakes within the office.

“Even if it is a spiritual matter, we believe that these people I brought, they are some of the best snake charmers in the country and they will help in arresting both physical and spiritual snakes if there has been any in the JAMB office.”

He explained that it was very clear the incident did not happen doing the tenure of the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.

“We are very proud of him. We believe he is someone who should continue to man this agency and he is acting in the right direction.

“It is good for Nigerians to know this is what has been happening before he came into office. I believe the best thing we can do is to continue to support him.

“People should understand the story which is very clear and if that is the case, if people, civil servants could have used the opportunity to have been in office to enrich themselves using snake stories.

“It is high time for all Nigerians to know that there may be even dirty things happening in other places but this place has exposed it for us to see the truth and I’m very much happy about that.

“We will continue to support him. And as far as we are concerned the story that public funds could be taken away by some people in the name of snake, it is virtually unacceptable.

Sani thereafter presented cartons of snake repellent and chemicals to the agency.

In his response, the Spokesperson for JAMB, Mr. Fabian Benjamin, explained that on assumption of duty, the present registrar discovered that there were a lot of loopholes in the sale of scratch cards.

“Before the registrar resumed duty, what we were using to register candidates and all other services was scratch cards.

“We discovered a lot of loopholes, we discovered that staff were exposed to cash and then he stopped the use of scratch cards.

“The registrar thereafter introduced pin vending. After introducing pin vending, it was natural for him to call for audit or stock taking.

“After taking stock it was discovered that in some offices they could not account for what they sold, or the card that was left.

“Ms Philomena Chieshe was entrusted with a number of scratch cards which she sold and N36 million could not be accounted for, when asked she actually said she sold them at the said amount, kept the money in the public vault.

“According to her, a snake swallowed the money.”

Benjamin further explained in the spirit of transparency, inclusiveness and openness the agency felt that Nigerians should know what was happening.

He said Chieshe had been queried and has appeared before a disciplinary committee.

“A report has been written and sent to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and as soon as that report is approved, she will either be dismissed or handed over to the security agency for proper profiling.

“At the moment she has been interjected,” Benjamin said.

He also noted that there was a case in Nasarawa State where the staff claimed on his way to submit the cards, he had an accident and the cards got burnt.

(NAN)

BIG STORY

A’Ibom 2019: Plot To Tag Gov Udom’s Aides As cultists Thickens

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As the buildup to the 2019 general elections gathers momentum, a thickening plot to implicate the key aides of Akwa Ibom State governor, Dr. Udom Emmanuel with trumped-up accusations of being involved in cult activities has been uncovered. 

It is alleged to be spearheaded by a top-ranking former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who recently cross-carpeted to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Akwa Ibom State has turned into a theatre of war, no thanks to the activities of key opposition politicians in the state led by a senator who has not hidden his determination to retake control of the political machinery in the state and ensure power swings to his new party at the polls come 2019.

The once peaceful state has been engulfed in an intractable crisis since the defection of the top party man to the extent that the centre can no longer hold. Everything has allegedly been done by the Senator and his cohorts in the last few weeks to make the state ungovernable. It is perceived to be a ploy to humiliate the governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, who has been locked in a battle for the soul of the state since the beginning of the crisis.

It got to a stage that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was deployed in the humiliation process. In the process, Gov. Emmanuel was indicted by officers of the anti-graft agency for purportedly withdrawing the sum of N1.7 billion from the state treasury, an accusation which the government has since denied.

The senator representing Uyo Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan; the Assembly speaker, Hon Onofiok Luke; and Hon Ekong Samson, Commissioner for Economic Development, Labour and Manpower Planning are among Governor Udom’s aides penciled down to be labeled cultists in the latest onslaught. Others include Transition Committee ex-chairman, Hon Victor Umondak as well as Hon Kenneth Okon and Hon Eno-Obong Uwah, the Senior Special Assistant on Local Government and Youth Groups to the governor and Executive Chairman, Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, respectively.

More names included in the hit list include that of Barrister Emmanuel Eno-Idem, PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, Hon Kelly Okon and Dr Charles Mbong, among others.

The strategy is to use the law enforcement officers including the police and DSS to harangue the top aides of the governor.

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Fuel Crisis Looms as Marketers Order Depots’ Shutdown

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Oil marketers under the aegis of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) yesterday directed their members to shut down all depots in the country at midnight to protest federal government’s failure to pay them their outstanding subsidy claims estimated at N800 billion.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has, however, described the action of the marketers as economic sabotage.

The Ministry of Finance had announced, at the weekend, that the federal government had reached an agreement with the marketers after meeting the parties to begin the payment of the money owed them.

But DAPPMAN, in a counter statement yesterday by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, denied the ministry’s claim, saying they never signed any agreement with the federal government, insisting that their planned seven-day ultimatum still stands and ordered the shutdown of depots.

Adewole said, “Premised on our inability to pay December salaries and to avoid owing staff for work done without any hope of pay, it is hereby agreed, since our staff have been disengaged, all DAPPMAN member depots are not in a position to operate hence will shut down all loading operations at midnight, Sunday, December 9, 2018 until the federal government pays our calculated claims.

“This decision is binding on all members of the association and full compliance is expected from every member company of the association. The association shall revert in the same vein with any other directives as might be deemed necessary.”

According to Adewole, the association took the bold step to stop the financial haemorrhage of its members, which arose from the federal government’s failure to pay its members’ outstanding claims.

He said, “As you are aware, the association reviewed the suspension of the ultimatum given to the federal government in December 25, 2017, which was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians and the federal government’s promise to immediately pay marketers the outstanding subsidy-induced debts.

“Unfortunately as at today, and almost 12 months to the date, all we got so far are invitations to meetings and dialogues which have so far not stopped the daily increasing interest on these debts (which are owed to banks, AMCON, PPPRA, and PEF(M)B) and FIRS) and which, also has not manifested as credit to marketers.”

In a telephone interview with THISDAY, the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Abechi, said the relevant agencies of the government met with oil marketers last Thursday to resolve the subsidy payment controversy, adding that it was unfortunate for any group to claim otherwise.

Abechi noted that people had begun to exploit the political season to advance their interests, adding that to further show government’s commitment to defray the subsidy arrears, it offered to pay the first tranche of N236 billion last Saturday.

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BIG STORY

I Don’t Work For Tinubu, I’m More Influential Than Him; He Stole Lagos Money —- Omoyele Sowore [VIDEO]

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Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress ( AAC) and founder of online news agency Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore has denied claims he’s working for APC National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Sowore debunked the old-aged rumor while addressing the press recently where he spoke about the role of the media in the forthcoming general elections and also answered questions on his plans and party manifesto for Nigeria.

Watch the video below:

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