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Senate Tears Apart NSITF Management, Alleges Agency Embezzles N84bn

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The Senate on Monday berated the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) over the alleged misappropriation of N84bn within four years.

The Senate Public Accounts Committee stated this while scrutinizing the 2017 report of the Auditor General for the Federation.

The Chairman of SPAC, Matthew Urhoghide, alleged that N84bn was misappropriated within four years based on the 12 out of the 50 queries before his panel.

Urhoghide said, “Twelve out the 50 queries investigated so far by the committee is an excess of N84bn was misappropriated, just unfortunate, in the place of four years.

“They depleted our resources, just a few human beings who are mindless.

“They are all guilty; they are implicated. The agency is most defiant and most nutritious.”

One of the queries reads, “Audit observed that the Fund had been implementing a salary structure that is not approved by the National Salaries, Income, and Wages Commission.

“As a result, irregular payment of N 38,219,919,530.32 by way of personnel cost was made to the staff of the Fund from 2012 to 2017.

“Implementation of unapproved salary structure may result in wastage of public funds, as remuneration may be higher than the productivity level of staff.

“The managing director is required to provide the approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission for the implementation of the fund’s salaries structure.”

However, the Managing Director of the NSTIF, Dr Michael Akabogu, claimed that the amount was approved through a letter dated 4th July 2019.

Meanwhile, when the Committee looked at the letter from National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on the alleged illegal salary at the commission, it was observed the letter was written five years after the commission started paying the salaries.

The committee further discovered in the letter from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission that an objection was raised about the payment of unapproved salaries by the commission.

BIG STORY

I Will Be Your Listening President, Tinubu Tells Edo Residents

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Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has assured the people of Edo state that he will be a “listening president” if elected.

According to a statement by Tunde Rahman, head of Tinubu media office, the APC presidential candidate said this on Sunday at a town hall meeting in Edo state.

Tinubu also said under his leadership, Nigeria will pipe gas to Europe and compete with Russia.

He also criticized Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and urged the people of Edo to “take back” their state from PDP government.

“Edo, take your state back. First of all, let us forge unity. Let’s find the way where they say there is no way,” he said.

“We must rescue Edo state. I am ready to work with you. Take lanterns, go from house to house. Don’t get angry; anger does not solve problems. Disappointment is an energizer for me. You disappoint me, I work harder. You betray me, I don’t get angry; I ignore you.

“The reason is because you are not my God and you are not my creator. My mother taught me if you are sad, I will share your sorrow with you, if you are happy I will rejoice with you. If you are poor, I will share the little I have with you.

“You see PDP, they are scattered; they don’t know the road. Atiku does not know how to lie again except falsify lie upon lie. Atiku cannot hold serious job for Nigeria.

“When they were privatising Aluminium Smelter Company at Ikot Abasi and privatising NITEL, I was negotiating Free Trade Zone in China. I negotiated Lekki Deep Seaport in Singapore and it is the deepest sea port now in West Africa. Edo people are extremely smart. You can do the job.

“Count on me at the federal level. I will be your listening president. Vote for me. Prosperity is here. When you put down ballot paper in the box, say it is for creating jobs. I will create jobs for you because you are not lazy.”

On the constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, he said the opposition party should be ignored.

“People who can’t give power to Nigeria say they want to come back. In only eight years, APC put the rail back,” he said.

“We are putting refineries back and we will produce for you. They can abuse Buhari from morning till night, he does not hear their abuse. Abuse him, rail he provided, second Niger Bridge he provided, Lagos-Ibadan expressway he provided. Benin-Ore port will be done so that you don’t need to come to Lagos to clear your goods.

“We must now begin to make use of all our nation’s endowments. Greater industrialization is a vital aspect of this. Through the production of more and better goods, we shall improve our standard of living, provide workers with a living wage, and establish businesses that will drive our national economy for generations.

“Our industrial plan shall encourage the establishment of new manufacturing concerns across the country. We see a future in which Nigeria is known as a nation that produces high-quality goods worthy of export to anywhere in the world.”

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New Naira Notes: Reps Committee Rejects CBN’s One Week Extension, Threatens Emefiele’s Arrest

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The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the redesign of three naira notes has rejected the 10 days extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 bank notes.

In a statement on Sunday, the Chairman of the Committee and the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the green chamber will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the committee.

According to him, the new naira redesign policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The CBN on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed the January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.

Many Nigerians have lamented the scarcity of new notes as the January 31 deadline approached while the National Assembly demanded a six-month extension.

However, emerging from a meeting with the President on Sunday, the apex bank chief said Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.

In its immediate reaction, the House of Representatives committee chaired by Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.

The lawmaker said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the adhoc committee.”

Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.

He described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed earlier by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.

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BIG STORY

UPDATE: 9 Confirmed Dead As Container Falls Off Truck In Lagos [VIDEO]

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An articulated truck conveying a 20ft container fell on a commercial bus at Ojuelegba, Lagos on Sunday killing nine persons.

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the truck lost control while ascending a bridge.

“Upon arrival at the scene, a truck conveying a 20ft container was found to have landed on top of a commercial bus.

“Investigation revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge.

“A total of nine fatalities were recovered, comprising four adult males, three adult females, a girl, and a boy.

“After suspending the container load with the aid of LASEMA’s forklift, an adult woman was extricated alive and taken to the trauma center,’’ he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said LASEMA’s heavy-duty ambulance and Lagos State Fire Service were on hand for a rescue operation, just as LASTMA and Nigeria Police were on ground to control traffic.

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