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Senate Investigates SURE-P Fund Diversion For Vote-Buying …As Reps Recommend NEMA DG’s Sack Over N33bn Fraud

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Senate has resolved to investigate alleged misuse of the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) funds by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
The upper legislative chamber also agreed to probe how funds allocated to the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), were utilised before 2015.
The resolution followed adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi on alleged deployment of funds under the SIP, to buy Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to promote President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential election in 2019.
Olujimi displayed copies of signed forms, by an alleged SIP beneficiary, and claimed that beneficiaries were made to attach their PVCs before they can benefit from the fund.
She noted that it was unfortunate that the Social Intervention Programme, which was created for the benefit of every Nigerian, was allegedly being manipulated to buy PVCs for Buhari’s re-election bid.
Olujimi, who came under Order 42 (personal explanation), prayed the Senate to investigate the matter as a matter of urgency.
She urged the chamber to ensure that the SIP fund was not used for political purposes.
But, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, described the allegation as completely unfounded.
As Lawan moved to disabuse the minds of his colleagues about any untoward use of the fund, the Senate erupted with shouts of ‘point of order.’
Attempts by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to control the situation failed for some minutes.
Thereafter, Saraki yielded the floor to Senator Dino Melaye to move his point of order.
Melaye said Olujimi’s motion should first be seconded before contributions would be made but requested for protection, and be allowed to make his points.
Saraki said Lawan should be allowed to speak, which he did.
Lawan said: “I listened attentively to the motion by Senator Olujimi. I want to say that the SIP of this administration is transparent. For the first time in the history of social intervention programmes in Nigeria, we have proof that anywhere you are in Nigeria, you can apply.”
But, shouts of ‘point of order’ continued.
Senator Albert Akpan took the floor to raise Orders 49 and 52, and reiterated Melaye’s position that Saraki should first allow Olujimi’s motion be seconded.
He added that contributions in support of the motion should be taken after which those opposed to the motion should take the floor.
But Saraki could take none of that.
He insisted Lawan be allowed to conclude his contribution.
Buoyed by that support, Lawan said the SIP was computer-based, which made it easy for Nigerians to apply wherever they were.
He urged the Senate President to be above board and blind to the debate.
Lawan also said it was on record that the SIP has been the most successful in the country.
“We inherited poverty, we inherited empty treasury. This administration is working to change the system. The social intervention fund is under the office of the Vice President, who has been very transparent in the implementation of the programme for the benefit of all Nigerians,” the leader said.
Lawan added that he was not against whatever the Senate wanted to do with Olujimi’s motion “but the investigation should not be turned into a political weapon.”
He reminded the Senate that Nigerians were aware that Sure-P failed and that Olujimi should tender the document she had while the investigation should be party blind.
Thereafter, the Senate adopted the prayer that the probe should be apolitical.
The prayer that Sure-P should also be investigated was also adopted.
Senators Ibrahim Gobir, Shehu Sani, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Danjuma Goje, among others, were appointed to probe Olujimi’s claims.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja of his duties over the alleged mismanagement and embezzlement of “over N33billion .”
An ad hoc committee of the House investigated the operations of NEMA under Maihaja and recommended his sacking.
The House has just approved the recommendation of the panel, which is chaired by a member from Gombe State, Mr. Ali Isa.

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PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms

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Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.

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Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.

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Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts

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The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.

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