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The campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation (KOCO), on Thursday alleged that the Federal Government has moved N18 billion cash with bullion vans into Ekiti State through Akure airport with the purpose of allegedly inducing the electorate with the money during Saturday’s poll.

Director, Media and Publicity of KOCO, Lere Olayinka, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the party, said: “We called you here to intimate the public through your various media organisations of the movement of huge cash by the federal government to Ekiti State for the Saturday election.

“Last week Saturday, two bullion vehicles were moved to the Akure Airport to evacuate cash brought from Abuja by a chartered flight.

“The flight landed when it was raining and all staff of the airport were barred from going near the aircraft while the cash was evacuated into the two bullion vehicles.

“After offloading the huge cash, the bullion van first moved to the Ondo State Government House in Akure from where they left for Isan Ekiti, the hometown of the APC governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

“We present to you and the entire world, video and photographs of the chattered aircraft as the cash was being offloaded from it into the two bullion vehicles.

“From our preliminary findings, N2.5 billion cash was transferred by the Kebbi State Government to an account in UBA, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. It was withdrawn immediately and moved with a private jet to Akure.

“Also, apart from the N2.5 billion, another $50 million (about N18bn) was taken from the $321 million recovered from the late Abacha family.

“Our question is, how can a government that claimed to be fighting corruption be releasing billions of Naira from the public coffers for the governorship election of a single State? Where is their fight against corruption?

“We, therefore, call on Nigerians to note this wanton looting of public funds by the APC government to fund the election of its members.

“We must tell Fayemi and his APC that the conscience of the people of Ekiti cannot be purchased and we call on the people of Ekiti to resist the planned use of stolen funds to buy their votes on Saturday.

“Lastly, let me use this opportunity also to alert the public of the intimidation and harassment of PDP members by men of the DSS and policemen.

“Already, Akin Fakorede, an officer of the Federal SARS has been posted to Ekiti State, ostensibly to play the same ignoble role that he played during the Rivers State election.

“Let me say it clearly that no amount of intimidation will scare our people away from the polling units where they will vote for the PDP on Saturday.

“We have the people behind us and they are more than ready to give our candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka their votes on Saturday, ” he said.

BIG STORY

Minimum Wage: States’ll Go Bankrupt If We Pay N30,000 —– Governors

Peter Okunoren

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have said states cannot afford to pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

The NGF chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, told newsmen that it was impractical to implement the N30,000 minimum without states going into bankruptcy.

He said the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the Federal Government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula or to downsize workforce.

The governors who met, yesterday in Abuja, have therefore, resolved to put together another committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to work out another formula to address the issue.

The members of the committee to see President Buhari are Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

President Buhari last week Tuesday received the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.

The committee which recommended N30,000 as the new national minimum wage also submitted a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly. Organised Labour has given December date as deadline for all processes leading to the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage else they will embark on another round of strike.

But speaking after an emergency meeting of the NGF, Governor Yari: “We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee; as a member of the committee, Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late. I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So, a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. The N18,000 today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay; not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt. As Nigerians, we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“The issue of government overhead cost, if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries, if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

Asked the way forward, Yari said: “We will continue to talk with Labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. Lagos gets money through VAT. Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost. Some say 70 percent for personnel cost and 30 percent for capital projects, yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.

“If you are talking about oil, the price is not what it used to be. From last year to date, it is $20 less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay? We should not exploit this matter further. We are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.”

When reminded that part of Labour’s grouse was that governors have refused to submit audited account, the NGF chairman said: “We have given the committee audited account of the states to guide them. But if they put the audited account for the past 10-14 years, can you get something out of it? We are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation. It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure. How are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”

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BIG STORY

Orange Drugs CEO Builds Luxury Home, Rivals Tinubu’s Mansion On Bourdillon [PHOTOS]

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The home of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is certainly the most known on Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Now a new mansion on the road will henceforth be competing for attention with that of Asiwaju Tinubu.

The house is owned by Sir Tony Ezenna, the 61-year-old Chairman of Orange Drugs Limited, a pharmaceutical company in Lagos.

Ezenna did the housewarming at the weekend and opened the even more luxurious interior for his guests to rejoice with him.

Many politicians were there, including Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Senators Andy Ubah, Dino Melaye and Hope Uzodinma.

The pictures of the house have been trending in the social media ever since.

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BIG STORY

FG Serves Roadside Ladipo Market Auto Parts Dealers Eviction Notice

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The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Adedamola Kuti, on Tuesday issued final eviction warning to auto spare parts dealers at the popular Ladipo Market in Lagos, trading on its Right of Way.

Kuti also served final notices on car dealers on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during a RoW recovery tour by the ministry.

While inspecting the Ladipo Market, he warned spare parts dealers who displayed their wares on the road set back to desist from the act and trade only inside the market.

He also warned auto mechanics using the highway in front of the market as workshops to vacate immediately to avoid being victims of government action.

Kuti said that the traders usually used their wares to block the highway and engaged in street trading, thereby creating an obstruction and causing gridlock.

He said: “We are just recovering our RoW. We are not here to disturb anybody’s business but individual businesses should not disturb other road users.

“The road is not part of the market. The market is right inside; go inside and transact business.’’

Kuti said that the ministry had served earlier notices on the traders to vacate the RoW and was giving them a final warning before the government would move in to enforce sanctions.

He said: “We are not here to disturb anybody’s business. The road is not for trading; they should go into the market to do transactions.’’

Jude Nwankwo, President-General, Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers Association, promised that the association was going to ensure total compliance by its members.

He said: “We have promised to comply and there must be a free flow of traffic here.”

Nwankwo said that the association was going to shut down the market on Friday till noon to clean it in order to address sanitation concerns raised by the controller’s team.

He appealed to the Lagos State Government to construct a pedestrian bridge and car park for the market operators to save lives and reduce hardship on road users and customers to the market.

During the tour of car dealers’ shops on both carriageways of the Lagos Ibadan-Expressway, Kuti appealed to the various companies to comply with the directive and remove cars parked on road setbacks for sale.

He said: “We have warned you that you should leave the highway. We are already expanding this road and we do not want this obstruction on our highway.
“Please leave before we come and evacuate the cars.”

The controller said that “Federal Government RoW is 150ft, about 50 meters from the center of the highway’’.

Kuti said that the contract for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was ongoing and the ministry did not want obstruction to the project.

He said: “We have warned them; they have been issued letters and now, this is going to be a final warning.

“The next time we come, we are coming to enforce the law.

“They cannot continue to do business on a busy highway, it is unacceptable.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Lagos State Ministry of Environment had marked all the auto shops after the Otedola Bridge on Ibadan-bound carriageway on the expressway for demolition.

NAN reports that some of the car dealers were remorseful, rendered apologies and promised to move their cars from the highway, while others insisted that they did not get previous notices served.

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