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Poor Funding Threatens INEC Operations …As N2bn Staff Pension Trapped In NICON – Jega

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The 2012 budgetary allocation to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is inadequate for preparations toward the 2015 elections, the  Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, said on Wednesday.

Jega made this known to the Senate Committee on INEC in Abuja during an official visit to INEC’s headquarters.

“Where we are having the most challenging issue is the slashing of the budget proposal by 40 per cent, as barely 60 per cent of the budget is appropriated.

“This has put INEC in a very serious constraint and pressure in terms of being able to do some essential and urgent jobs between now and 2015.”

Jega said INEC had only 600 permanent structures in 774 local government areas of the country, adding that these permanent structures were being renovated without being furnished for effective use.

According to him, INEC will be handicapped in the execution of its programme if the situation fails to improve as the provisions in the 2012 budget allows for the renovation of only 67 structures.

He stressed the need for 774 local government areas to have functional offices for conducting proper election, collation of results and adequate security.

Jega recalled that in 2011, the National Assembly gave approval for building 75 offices but noted that only the erection of 10 offices would be covered by the 2012 budgetary allocation.

He expressed regret that the budgetary allocation merely provided for the erection of three houses for Resident Electoral Commissioners houses in 2012.

He said in spite of challenges facing the commission INEC remarkable progress had been recorded under his stewardship.

Responding, the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, expressed concern over the complaint regarding underfunding of the commission.

He said the matter would be given attention if a supplementary budget was forwarded to the lawmakers.

Uba said there was urgent need to work toward ensuring supplementary budget for INEC as Nigerians could not afford any excuses.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that the commission’s N2 billion pension fund was trapped in NICON Insurance.

Briefing the Senate Committee on INEC during an oversight visit to INEC headquarters, Jega said it had been difficult to retrieve the fund from the corporation.

Jega said that most of the challenges had to do with the old pension scheme, adding that issues relating to it were now in court.

He said the present INEC had not defaulted in paying pensioners their dues, adding that their complaints were redressed without delay.

Jega assured the committee that INEC would continue to intensify dialogue and consultations in ensuring that adequate welfare of its staff and retirees was addressed.

The chairman said he inherited some court judgments involving some of INEC staff, adding that an in-house process for decisive actions had begun.

He referred to the Ekiti election for which some officers were indicted.

“Those whose names were mentioned we have dealt with and those indirectly indicted we have constituted internal enquiry for fair hearing.

“Some have been asked to retire while some were dismissed, this is not for us to advertise because the challenge is for us to cleanse the system.

Jega said INEC had fewer court cases in the 2011 elections than 2007 and added that 99 per cent of the judgments were in INEC’s favour.

According to him, the commission has mapped out strategies towards satisfying the desire and aspiration of Nigerians by 2015.

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IPPIS: FG, ASUU Meet, Today, As Fresh Strike Looms

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Delegations from the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are expected to meet, today, in a bid to avert a fresh strike.
The chairmen of ASUU branches had expressed readiness to commence a fresh strike over the non-implementation of their agreement with FG on IPPIS.
One of them, Chairman, ASUU, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Dr Ibrahim Inuwa, said the protracted strike, which was to press home the union members’ demands for the continued survival of the public university system in Nigeria, was suspended in December after the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the various issues and providing timelines for the implementation of each of the eight items in the agreement.
Inuwa said over seven months after the MoU was signed only two out of the eight issues had been addressed.
He listed some of the outstanding issues to include payment of the earned academic allowance, funding for revitalisation of public universities, salary shortfall, proliferation of state universities and setting up of visitation panels.
Others are renegotiation, replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, said the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, will be hosting the leadership of the ASUU to a meeting at the ministry’s Conference Room, Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
“The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be hosting a meeting with ASUU. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 2, 2021 at Minister’s Conference Room,” the letter read.
The National President, ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, had said that the union was invited by the Ministry of Labour to discuss issues surrounding the Memorandum of Action, which was signed with the Federal Government in December, 2020.
However, Osodeke, explained the last time the union met with the government was around March/April.
He said, “The Ministry of Education, which is our ministry, has not called us to any meeting since we signed the Memorandum of Action. But the Ministry of Labour, which is just an intervention ministry, around March/April called us to a meeting in which we discussed and they promised to implement all those things.”

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30 Of 65 Private Jets In Nigeria Owe Duties, Customs Insists

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says 30 out of 65 private airplanes verified owe duties to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, made the disclosure to newsmen, yesterday.
He said some of the airplanes came into the country by Temporary Importation Agreement which allows them in without payment because it was secured by bond.
The spokesman noted that many later fail to turn up to pay on the expiration of the agreement.
The customs explained that the verification was not meant to embarrass anyone but to collect payments due to the government.
The service has given another two-week extension which commenced from Monday, July 26, to Friday, August 6.
Attah said with the increasing economic challenge, every revenue is important.
“With this, you can now tie proper ownership to every aircraft or private jet that flies in and out of the country.
“The owners of private jets are highly placed Nigerians who should be respected and approached in a manner that provides convenience. That is what these extensions stand for,” he added.

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FBI Indictment: PSC, IGP Suspend Kyari, Name Inquiry Panel

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has suspended embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force, Abba Kyari, from the exercise of the powers and functions of his office.
Kyari’s suspension was contained in a press statement by the commission’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, made available to newsmen, yesterday.
The commission said Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31, 2021, and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.
The commission has also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.
The commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the commission for the commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave.
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari from the service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the report of the four-man investigative panel constituted to probe him.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Force, CP Frank MBA, last Saturday, the IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission (PSC), dated July 31, 2021, noted that the recommendation is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the force.
According to the IGP, the suspension would also create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel, to carry out its investigations into the allegations against Kyari without interference.
He explained that the suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, the statement said.
The four-man Special Investigation Panel (SIP), is headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), DIG Joseph Egbunike.
“The SIP is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force leadership on the matter,” Mba said.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the force to the rule of law, and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.

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