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N344Billion: Kogi APC Stakeholders Reject Yahaya Bello For Second Term, Petition Buhari

Peter Okunoren

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Stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State have sent a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari against fielding Governor Yahaya Bello for the second term in office.

They said Bello has received about N344billion in the last 38 months he has been in charge of the state.

They said the governor has been owing salaries, pensions and gratuities without any visible capital projects on ground anywhere in the state.

They described Bello as non- performing and violent governor in the past three and a half years.

The stakeholders accused the governor of wasteful and fraudulent use of funds.

They made their position known in the petition signed by the Convener of the Kogi APC Stakeholders Forum, Sen. (Dr.) Alex Kadiri.

The petition reads in part: “Governor Yahaya Bello was never elected by the good people of Kogi State.

“The death of Abubakar Audu made it possible for Bello to be Kogi State Governor.

“He has shown everyone that he lacks leadership abilities. He can’t fight for the rights and privileges of Kogi people.

“We request you to step down your support for the candidature of Governor Yahaya Bello for the forthcoming election in Kogi State.

“If the party fields him as a candidate, we are sure of losing the state to the opposition.”

The stakeholders gave insights into how the governor allegedly mismanaged statutory allocations meant for the state.

They said: “For the past 38 months including February 2019 Gov. Yahaya Bello has not paid full salaries to the workers of Kogi State, despite the fact that the state received full allocation from Federation Account as detailed below: Statutory allocation, Excess Crude and VAT(N132b); Internally Generated Revenue by the state(N51b); total allocations to local governments(N111b).

“Total funds received by the state and local governments: N294 billion. The other funds received by the state are as below: Bail Out (N20b); Paris Club refunds 1, 2, and 3 (N19b); and refunds for road construction by previous governments (N11b).

“The governor had conducted multiple staff screening for both the state and the local governments. And from the Report of the screening, the Monthly wage bill (state, local governments and pensions) at the inception of the administration stood at N5.8 billion. After screening, this figure reduced to N4.4 Billion.

“From table above, it is evidently clear that the total revenue received by the state Government was more than enough to settle all salaries, pensions and gratuities with huge balance remaining for overheads and capital projects.

“It is very instructive to note that even without bailout and other funds received outside statutory allocation, Gov. Yahaya Bello could have still paid all salaries including pensions without conducting multiple screening and inflicting pains on Kogi State and Local Government workers. This must hurt APC at the polls.

“Even after the screening, all salaries and pensions payments were paid using arbitrary percentages, thereby still owing workers huge outstanding salaries.”

BIG STORY

Buhari Did Not Sideline VP Osinbajo, He Only Tweaked Governance —– Femi Adesina

Peter Okunoren

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A source in the presidency has dismissed claims that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had been sidelined following President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration of an Economic Advisory Team (EAC) to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT).

While the EMT was headed by Osinbajo, the newly constituted EAC will report directly to President Buhari.

Speaking as a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today, on Wednesday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said all that the president had done particularly this week was just to “tweak governance and get the best for Nigerians”.

He also maintained that the presidency remains one and that there’s been too much suspicion and different kinds of inferences which he believes are only aimed at driving a wedge between both the President and the Vice President.

“The Vice President is the number two man in the country. the new economic advisory body can also relate with the Vice President as necessary.

“It’s just some Nigerians who want to drive a wedge between the President and the VP, that read meanings into everything and insinuate but there’s no need for that,” he said.

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BIG STORY

Ekiti Varsity Undergraduate Stabs Lover To Death Over N2,500

Gbemileke Ajayi

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People wailed uncontrollably on Tuesday evening in Iworoko Ekiti, Irepodun/Ifelodun local government area of Ekiti State, as a female student of the Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti (EKSU) identified as Bukola Odeyemi, allegedly stabbed her boyfriend, John Iju, to death.

The murder, according to eyewitnesses, occurred at Treasure Base Hostel in Iworoko Ekiti.

Findings revealed that the 20- year old Odeyemi is a 300 level student of the Department of Biology Education while the deceased, who was 22, was also an EKSU student.

Witnesses said the incident occurred at about 10am at night and the fracas was said to have broken out after the suspect had demanded a sum N2,500 from the deceased to plait her hair in the saloon, which the victim had turned down.

A source said: “the refusal of the boyfriend to meet up with her demand resulted in hot argument, which angered the lady and they started fighting.

“During the fight, the lady saw a sharp knife on the tray and immediately brought it out and stabbed the deceased on the chest.

“The deceased who could not survive the deep cut fell on the floor with blood oozing out of his body. The people around there cried for help but that could not help. The man died on the spot”.

The deceased’s friends were said to have rushed to the police station at Iworoko to report the case.

Speaking with journalists on the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu confirmed the incident.

He added that that the suspect had been arrested and was now being detained at the police headquarters.

Ikechukwu explained that investigation had begun into the matter and the suspect will be charged to court as soon as his men conclude their findings.

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BIG STORY

Lagos Govt Gives N20,000 Each To 2nd Batch Of South Africa Returnees, Set To Train Them On Skill Acquisition

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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday gave a sum of N20,000 to each of the second batch of 315 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the fresh batch of returnees arrived a week after another 187 Nigerians fleeing xenophobia came back from South Africa.

The joyous returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 7.21p.m aboard an Air Peace B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.

The flight, which originated from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, was received by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema.

Also on ground was Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Diaspora.

Presenting the token on behalf of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the money was a palliative for the returnees.

Sanwo-Olu said that the returnees from Lagos State would be transferred to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), where they would be trained on skill acquisition.

Dabiri-Erewa told newsmen that the returnees would be profiled according to their states and local governments of origin to complement the federal government’s effort in reintegrating them.

She said apart from giving the returnees stipends to get back to their respective states, there was also a medical team on ground to provide assistance to those with medical conditions.

Dabiri-Erewa also noted that the Nigeria High Commission was working with the South African authorities to reduce the unnecessary delays which had so far characterized the evacuation exercise.

On his part, Onyema told newsmen that some Nigerians were stranded in South Africa for over four years and could not return home due to financial difficulties and lack of proper documentation.

He said: “What Air Peace is doing to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa is part of our support to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and we are doing it wholeheartedly.

“The airline is only asking the government to do what it has been doing to facilitate the smooth return of the Nigerians.

“We are not asking for any refund because we knew that the cost of evacuating the Nigerians will exceed N300 million at the end of the day.

“We are so happy that even our pilots and crew that went to South Africa refused to take their allowances saying that it is their own way of showing patriotism,” Onyema said.

He commended the Nigerian government for the matured diplomatic way it was handling the xenophobia issue with its South African counterpart and called on other well-meaning Nigerians to assist in the resettlement of the returnees.

One of the returnees, Chuks Okoma from Delta State, thanked God for sparing his life considering the ordeal faced by Nigerians in South Africa.

Okoma said that he had been in South Africa for six years without a job and sleeping in the street.

Another returnee, Michael Udoh, narrated how some foreigners were burnt in South Africa, adding that they were unable to move around.

Udoh, who had been in South Africa for six years, said that the country refused to renew his work permit after it expired, thus making him jobless.

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