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N5.7bn Fraud: Ex-Aide Testifies Against Shema

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Special Adviser to ex-Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, Mr Nasiru Ingawa, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Katsina how Shema allegedly directed him to use about N5.7 billion state SURE-P funds for politics during his tenure.
The former special adviser testified at the resumed hearing of a fraud case against Shema.
Our correspondent reports that Shema is standing trial before the court on 26 counts bordering on fraud, in contravention of Section 15(2d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended.
The offences are punishable under Section 15 (3) of the Act.
Ingawa told the court that he was the Special Adviser to Shema on SURE-P from June 2014, to May 2015.
“I remember him (Shema) telling me that we were going to use the funds for politics and that we would extract our savings from there,’’ he said.
He said that the duo wrote memos for certain programmes and used half of the money, while the remaining half went into savings.
Ingawa also said that the department made direct purchases from which a certain percentage would go into savings.

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Reps, NDA Commandant Parley Over Bandits’ Attack

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The House of Representatives Committee on Defence, yesterday, met with the Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, on the bandit attack on the academy.
It would be recalled that the bandits had carried out an audacious attack against the foremost academy and abducted some military personnel at the institution.
Yusuf informed the committee that the military is working to prevent future occurrence of the attack.
The committee, chaired by Babajimi Benson from Lagos State, had an executive session with the commandant to get the details of the attack.
Also, the committee met with the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, to discuss the impact of the recent military agreement between Russia and Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Nigeria and Russia signed a defence agreement which was announced by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia.
The agreement, which is a technical agreement between the two countries, will involve sales of Russian made equipment to Nigeria.
The committee had the session behind closed doors.

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Ember Months: FRSC Set To Inaugurate ‘Operation Show Of Readiness’

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says it is set to inaugurate” Operation Show of Readiness’’ as part of efforts to reduce road traffic accidents during the 2021 ember months.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Mr Bisi Kazeem told The Tide yesterday that the operation would involve massive sensitisation campaign ahead of the corps’ annual “Special Patrol’’.
Kazeem said that operation show of readiness followed the review of the FRSC’s 2020 ember months’ performance and the need to break new grounds.
“To achieve this, we have deployed public enlightenment teams to motor parks, Churches, Mosques, town hall meetings and we will use motorcade for awareness where possible.
“From the 2020 review, the corps realised that night travels are prevalent during this time (ember months) with overwhelming negative results.
“Speeding is also known to be responsible for over 60 per cent of crashes.
“As such, the corps will deploy energy to discourage people from indulging in these deadly road use behaviour (night travels and speeding),’’ he said.
Kazeem said that the corps would use Special Marshals, first responders, celebrities, traditional rulers and involve road safety clubs for the special operation in view of the COVID-19 travel advisory.
“Operation zero tolerance to road traffic crash carried out annually by the FRSC is also part of strategies to reduce crashes aside the maiden operation show of readiness,’’ he said
Kazeem said during the exercise, visual acuity test/screening for drivers would be conducted as well as free safety checks on vehicles.

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VAT Bill Scales Second Reading At Ogun Assembly

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A bill for a law to impose and charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain goods and services, provide for administration of the tax and for related purposes yesterday scaled second reading at Ogun State House of Assembly.
 Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Deji Adeyemo, read the bill for the first time during plenary session in Abeokuta, while the Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sherif, moved the motion for the second reading which was seconded by Mr Ganiyu Oyedeji.
 While opening debate on the bill, Mr Olakunle Sobukanla, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, noted that the bill was an avenue for the state to generate more revenue for its development.
 Sobukanla added that the more internally generated revenue by the state, the more infrastructure development in all sectors of the state.
 In his submission, Oyedeji explained that collection of VAT would allow the state to generate more revenue and meet needs of the people.
 The lawmaker stated that the people’s needs included fixing of bad roads and the construction of new ones, provision of healthcare facilities among others, which all required finance.
 Other lawmakers who spoke supported the quick passage of the bill, saying that it would boost the socio-economic development of the state.
 They noted that passage of the bill would be a financial restructuring and a form of redistribution of internally generated revenue.
 In his response, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of the house, commended the lawmakers for the deliberation, adding that the VAT law was needed in the state for more economic development.
 The speaker committed the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative actions.
 Also during yesterday plenary, the Ogun State Anti-Corruption Law 2021, scaled first reading.

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