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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Signs N10.8trn Revised 2020 Budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, signed the revised 2020 Budget of N10.8 trillion, passed by the National Assembly in June, into law.

While signing the bill into law, the President explained the revision became necessary because of the weakening effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy.

He also said ministries, departments, and agencies will be given 50 percent of their capital allocation by the end of the month.

The signing ceremony, which took place inside the State House, was witnessed by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal officers also witnessed the signing.

The Ministers Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State Finance, Clement Agba, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefile and Director General Budget, Ben Akabueze.

At 11:03am, Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Umar El-Yakub, on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), presented the budget to the President, while the Osinbajo, Lawan, and Gbajamilia joined him to witness the signing the budget at exactly 11:06

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BIG STORY

Director Demoted By Magu Emerges Head Of EFCC Academy

Peter Okunoren

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A Director with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ayo Olowonihi, has been appointed as the Commandant of the EFCC Academy, the EFCC has said.

Olowonihi, who was on Grade Level 17 was suspended by the then acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, in 2015 and then demoted to Grade 16 by Magu in 2017.

The aggrieved director subsequently instituted a case against the EFCC before the National Industrial Court.

According to court documents, Olowonihi said Magu had on November 19, 2015, summoned him to his office accusing him of being behind some damning online publications on the activities of the commission and against the person of the chairman.

He said on Magu’s directive, he was interrogated, his official computer taken away, while the two phones (MTN and GLO) were seized, adding that his office, after being thoroughly searched by a team of detectives and policemen, was sealed.

The plaintiff further stated that while interrogation was still on, Magu demoted him as commandant and redeployed him.

Olowonihi said while the letter was purported to have been issued by the management of the commission, he was not aware of any management meeting where such a decision was taken being a management staff.

The EFCC director won his case in court on February 26, 2019, but the EFCC under the leadership of Magu filed an appeal.

The Court of Appeal in August 2020 affirmed the ruling of the lower court but by then, Magu had been suspended indefinitely by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

On Monday, the EFCC said in a statement by its Spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, that Olowonihi had been appointed as the head of the EFCC Academy.

A statement titled, ‘Olowonihi Takes Over at EFCC Academy’, read in part, “The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mohammed Abba, has appointed Detective-Commander Ayo Olowonihi as Commandant, EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja.

“Olowonihi takes over from Itam Obono, a Deputy Commissioner of Police
“The appointment which is with immediate effect was consummated with a hand-over ceremony today, Monday, January 18, 2021, attended by both Olowonihi and Obono with heads of departments and units of the Academy in attendance.”

Obono charged Staff to give Olowonihi the best cooperation, stating, “I’ll ask that, Ayo who is coming is not new, he has been here before and the work will take speed. Give him the best cooperation. The little hurdles that are there, you may be able to surmount faster than we have done.”

In his response, Olowonihi appreciated Obono and wished him well at his new assignment. He pledged to take the Academy, which is the brain of the organization, to where it should be.

Meanwhile, It was learnt that the new EFCC leadership had reversed several of Magu’s appointments while those close to the sacked EFCC boss have remained on suspension for the last six months pending the decision of the President to act on the report of the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel.

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Uganda Restores Internet Two Days After Museveni’s Re-Election

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The Uganda authorities have switched on the country’s internet, six days after it was shut down.

According to NAN, Ofwono Opondo, government spokesperson, confirmed the development saying the internet was switched on after data collected indicated that there would be no violence.

The country shut down the internet about 48 hours to its presidential election which held on January 14.

The Ugandan authorities had ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.

Opondo said the internet was shut down in the best interest of the country.

He said the government took such steps because people wanted to spread messages of violence and discredit the polls.

“Internet was switched off because people wanted to spread messages of hate and violence, as well as discredit the integrity of our elections,” he said.

“We think now people have come to terms with the results. However, we remain on alert.

“Whatever was done was done for the good of the country. The opposition was affected and the ruling party was also affected. Even the general public was affected.”

Although the internet is now on, social media access remains blocked.

This development is coming two days after Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was re-elected to the country’s highest office for the sixth consecutive time.

Museveni has so far spent 35 years as president of the East African country. He was first elected in 1986.

Museveni polled 5.85 million votes to defeat Bobi Wine, the main opposition candidate, who secured 3.48 million.

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Drug Abuse Is Unacceptable Nonsense, Peddlers Will Be Dealt With Henceforth —- New NDLEA Boss Buba Marwa Spits Fire

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Mohammed Buba Marwa, a former military governor of Lagos state, has assumed office as the new chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Speaking at an inaugural meeting with the management and staff of the agency on Monday in Abuja, Marwa said the NDLEA will be “resuscitated” to deal with drug peddlers.

The chairman noted that drug abuse has eaten “very deep” into Nigerian society, adding that every community in the country is affected.

While describing drug abuse as “unacceptable nonsense”, the retired brigadier-general said a roadmap that would guide the agency will soon be released.

“It is the task of NDLEA to stop all these unacceptable nonsense of drug abuse in Nigeria,” he said.

“As the lead agency in the drug war in Nigeria, you are all too familiar with the extent of devastation that drug use has caused our nation. Drug use has eaten very deep into our social fabric. Every community in Nigeria is affected.

“It needs repeating that the number of drug users in Nigeria now, of all ages must be well over 15 million.

“If we extrapolate the figures of the recent UNODC survey of 2018 where 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 to 64 years were found to be drug users, at that time, nearly three times the global prevalence.

“We will resuscitate NDLEA to be fully active, to be effective, respected, and be feared by all concerned criminals. Nigeria is the only country we have; we cannot fold our arms. We can, will, and must eliminate the drug scourge.”

Marwa also warned peddlers to desist from dealing in illicit drugs.

“I would like to warn those who engage in the dastardly trade of importation, export, cultivation, processing, manufacture, trafficking, sale, and consumption of illicit substances to stop forthwith or be prepared to contend with NDLEA,” he said.

“NDLEA will safeguard the nation and our youths from the drug menace.”

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