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The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), on Thursday in Abuja rejected calls for the sack of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.

Sagay spoke against the backdrop of the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Adeosun over the allegation that she skipped the National Youth Service Corps programme and forged an exemption certificate.

Sagay spoke in Abuja during the workshop on the United Kingdom Unexplained Wealth Order, organised by PACAC, UK National Crime Agency and the Department for International Development.

Asked what he thought about the government’s refusal to react to the issue, Sagay said: “I don’t know why the government has not reacted.

“But, let me tell you my reaction: this woman is a brilliant and extremely valuable member of this government.

“A lot of the good things happening now – the welfare that Nigerians are enjoying and are going to enjoy, because it takes time, and the way our economy is booming, how we got out of recession – are due to her expertise, her commitment, her sacrifice.

“There is nothing in this world that will make me remove such a woman from the government.

“The PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) can weep from now until there is no tear in their body.

“She is going to be there.

“We cannot afford to lose that woman.”

Asked if it was not an offence to skip NYSC, Sagay said: “Who cares about youth service?

“I don’t bloody care whether she did youth service or not.

“It’s irrelevant as far as I am concerned.”

On the allegation that she forged an exemption certificate, the PACAC chairman said: “I don’t believe it.

“I don’t see anything serious about not doing youth service.

“I don’t see anything serious about it.

“That’s my own bias, not government’s.

“I’m telling you now. If you ask me, if I were President Buhari, I would never, ever touch that woman because she’s damn good.

“The enemies of this government want to reduce his capacity to provide good governance by engaging in social media attacks and trying to get rid of her.

“It will not work.”

In a related development, Sagay faulted the freezing of Benue State’s account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, describing it as “extreme”.

He said while EFCC could investigate governors, they cannot be prosecuted since they have immunity.

He said: “There’s nothing EFCC can do to him (Governor Samuel Ortom).

“They can’t arrest him.

“They can investigate him, put down the records of what they found and wait for his tenure to end.

“Right now, nobody can touch him.

“As for freezing Benue State’s account, I can’t support it.

“I don’t know why, but the government has to function.

“I don’t want people to suffer because there are no funds for basic government functions.

“I don’t know if EFCC really did that.

“We have to be careful because it looks extreme to me.”

BIG STORY

Nigerian Girl Tobechukwu Phillips Shatters American School’s 125-year Academic History, Earns 6.9 GPA

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A Nigerian-born teenager, Tobechukwu Phillips has shattered the 125 academic history of her high school in Texas, US.

Phillips, a student of Alvin High School boasted a 6.9 GPA, after she earned A’s throughout her stay in the school. She emerged the first Black valedictorian in the school’s history.

Alvin High School was originally established in 1894. African-American students were allowed to join the school in 1965.

Speaking to Because of Them We Can, Phillips said, “Maintaining the highest GPA in my class is a difficult task. It truly takes time management but more importantly acknowledging what you do it for. I know that I am no longer just representing myself.”

Phillips had a word of advice for other students. She said, “My biggest advice to other scholars of colour is to truly adopt the mindset of Rosa Parks — ‘No.’ Do not conform to the stereotypes that have held us under thumbs for so long,” she explained. “Do not be discouraged when someone speaks out against you, simply allow what they say to fuel your fire. But more than anything, do not remain tight-lipped. Stand up for what you believe in and take it upon yourself to be the change you’ve always wanted. Say ‘No’ to the ways of the world and stick out.”

Phillips will attend the Nursing School at the University of Texas on full scholarship later in the year. Her plan is to one day own her own clinic as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

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Minimum Wage: FG Increases NYSC Allowance To N30,000

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The allowance of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has been increased to N30,000 by the federal government.

The disclosure was made by the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, who however, noted that the federal government is still working out modalities before the implementation of the new allowance for corps member, The Nation reports.

PorscheClassy News gathers that the minister made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday, May 16, during a press conference where she added that the total sum of N649.434 billion was verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.

She said: “The other aspect that should be clear is that there is an increase for the NYSC as well because NYSC, by its Act, is designed that they earn the minimum wage.”

“So, NYSC allowance also has to increase to N30, 000. So, I cannot give you projections right now because the negotiations are not yet concluded.”

Recall that we had previously reported that the former director general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Major General Suleiman Kazaure, said that the increment of allowances for corps members would be considered as soon as the minimum wage increment was approved.

Kazaure stated this in Abuja on Friday, March 29, during the swearing-in ceremony of 3,022 Batch A corps members into the FCT orientation camp.

The NYSC ex-DG said all hope was not lost as the scheme was waiting for the federal government to sign the minimum wage into law.

He urged the newly sworn in corps members to conduct themselves properly while in camp and shun drug abuse.

The NYSC ex-boss advised them to remain patriotic after being posted to their communities of primary assignments and ensure that impacts were made in their host communities.

Declaring the orientation camp exercise open, the minister of the FCT, Alhaji Muhammad Bello, who was represented by the director of administration and finance of the ministry, Hajiya Safiya Umar, also urged the new batch of corps members to be hard working.

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BIG STORY

Stop Eating Foreign Rice, It’s Poisonous — Customs Comptroller-General Warns Nigerians

Peter Okunoren

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Col. Hameed Ali (Retd), the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has urged Nigerians to stop consuming foreign rice because it is poisonous.

He said this on Thursday in Abuja at a news conference organised by the Ministry of Finance.

Ali said that the Federal Government had not issued license for the importation of rice and that any rice seen on the streets that was not produced in Nigeria was smuggled, NAN reports.

He said that the imported rice was poisonous because before coming into the country, it must have spent a minimum of five years in the silos.

“A chemical must have been added to sustain its freshness and that chemical is harmful.

“Also, it has been re-bagged with a new date given as the production and expiry date and that is what we consume here which causes diseases.

“So, I appeal to Nigerians to please patronise our own rice, it is available, more nutritious and if you do that you will assist customs by making sure these people are put out of business.”

The Customs boss said that rice importation was one of the biggest challenges the NCS was encountering, adding that it still happens because Nigerians consume the imported rice.

He added that Nigerians were not helping matters as they help the smugglers bring in the product.

According to him, if Nigerians stop buying the imported rice, smugglers will go out of business and there will be no need to bring it in.

“We always ask for assistance from Nigerians to apprehend these smugglers but up till now there is no private citizen that has walked up to us to give us information, the only people giving us information are the rice millers.

“We are working very closely with them to make sure that the rice that comes into this country is validly processed.”

According to him, there is no smuggler that is too big to be arrested, and that the NCS has in custody three big rice smugglers.

He said because of the smugglers, the NCS enlarged its task force specifically to fight the rice problem, especially in the season of fasting, a celebration period which smugglers would try to import rice.

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