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Corruption, Ravaging Nigeria Under Buhari, SGF, Sagay, Others Cry Out …Vacate Office If You Can’t Lift Nigerians Out Of Poverty, President Told

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), yesterday, lamented that despite concerted efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration to eradicate corruption, the scourge still ravages the country.
The duo among other stakeholders spoke at an event in Abuja where they highlighted steps that needed to be taken to strengthen the government’s anti-corruption agenda.
Also at the event: “One-day Dialogue Session on Strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agenda: Ensuring Accountability and Transparency,” goodwill messages were delivered on the subject matter by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Sulieman Kwari; the Director of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and organisers of the event, Idayat Hassan and Director, Africa Office, MacArthur Foundation, Kole Shettima, the funding partner.
The SGF, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Amina Shamaki, disclosed that the Buhari administration had since 2015, recorded “unprecedented level of successes” in the fight against corruption by securing “the most number of convictions, including very high-profile personalities” and making “world-record recoveries in terms of money and assets.”
He, however, lamented that despite the successes recorded, the anti-graft war had not been won.
He said: “Nonetheless, we should not rest on our oars with the illusion that the war has been won despite the level of the successes I have enumerated.
“While the fight has been very successful in tackling monumental corruption, less grandeur cases are perceived and even reported.
“While the government has displayed uncommon courage to relieve its appointees especially, in its agencies, of their positions and responsibilities, there still exist some level of infractions on Public Procurement Act, and other laws. These tend to diminish the efforts of government in this direction.”
While proffering solution to end the scourge, the SGF expressed the need to bring about “innovative legislations, policies and measures to deal decisively with the lingering acts of corruption.”
In addition, he posited that the roles of audit departments/units and auditors in aiding and abetting corruption in ministries, departments and agencies should be addressed.
To this end, he called for the prosecution of auditors who sanction corrupt payments alongside the main culprits in corruption cases.
He added: “I should like to see the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation come up with innovative policies and measures to empower auditors to halt any payment that is clearly in breach of Public Procurement Act, Financial Regulations, Public Service Rules in particular, and other laws, in general.
“For such auditors that compromise, or are complicit, such policies and measures should isolate them for disciplinary action which should not preclude prosecution.”
On his part, Prof. Itse Sagay noted that the consequence of corrupt acts, included “massive unemployment, unequipped clinics, and hospitals, wretched schools, colleges, and universities without facilities, bad roads, lack of electric power and so on.
“Deaths on the roads, deaths in hospitals, deaths in maternity facilities, militants, kidnappers, armed robbers, murders, suicides are also a direct product of this Nigerian culture,” he added.
As a short-term solution to the corruption problems, Sagay suggested that “the existing Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit structure be adopted as the centre of Nigeria’s intelligence databank for sharing information and intelligence on corruption.”
Adding his voice to the issue, the CDD Director, Hassan, who spoke through the Senior Programme Officer of the organisation, Lukman Adefolahan, also said “a lot more still needs to be done to strengthen the fight against corruption, promote accountability and transparency”, despite “the great strides” that had been made in the fight against graft.
“These different dimensions of corruption have characterised Nigeria’s landscape and by implication made it be consistently rated among the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International in its Corruption Perception Index.”
She accordingly called for “pragmatic measures to curb corruption to safeguard Nigeria’s future given the implication of the problem on security, political, social, and economic prospects of the country.”
But Kwari said the Senate through its committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes “is also reviewing all the anti-corruption and financial legislations with a view to bringing them in line with current day realities and making them more effective.”
Meanwhile, a leading legal practitioner in Nigeria and President of the Caleb and Greg Foundation (CAGG), Olusegun Bamgbose, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari should have nothing doing in the State House, if he can’t tackle poverty.
He called on the President to declare war on poverty and joblessness among the youths in the country.
Bamgbose had earlier told newsmen that he can fix Nigeria in 24 hours, if he takes over from Buhari in 2023.
In a statement, yesterday, the senior lawyer said, “Extreme poverty in Nigeria is alarming and assuming a new and dangerous trend. Most recently the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, asserted that 90 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty.
“This is actually not shocking but a sad one. If these Nigerians were a country, it will be more populous that Germany. It’s really not good news because almost six people in Nigeria fall into poverty trap every minute.
“We, therefore, call on Buhari’s government to declare total war against extreme poverty and go further to declare state of emergency on joblessness in the country. Wars can’t be fought without weapons.
“The weapons should be pragmatic and purposeful programs that will clearly minimize poverty in Nigeria.
“The World Poverty Clock has clearly indicated that if nothing seriously and sustainable is done to curtail poverty, Nigeria might be home to 120 million people living in extreme poverty come 2030.
“This is dreadful. I want to say here with all sense of responsibility that this is certainly not the best of time for President Buhari to be out of the country for more than five days.
“The economic status of Nigeria being the poverty capital of the world must change.
“Something urgent and cogent must be practically done to nip in the bud this perennial problem of poverty, hardship and joblessness.
“The introduction of N-Power is quite good but more is expected from the government to reduce meaningfully the poverty trend in Nigeria.
“Poverty and joblessness breed crime and violence. Our youths are finding crime attractive because the jobs are not there.
“No country in the world has ever succeeded in curbing the wave of crime without first tackling poverty headlong.
“Mahatma Gandhi once said that poverty is the worst form of violence. It’s not in doubt that poverty is a nightmare.
“The government must search for extraordinary ways through which poverty will be minimized if not eradicated.
“It won’t be out of place to come up with a committee with a mandate to come up with blueprints on how jobs can be created and poverty minimized.
“If this government can’t find a way to minimize poverty then the government has failed in its responsibility.
“President Buhari has nothing doing in State House if he can’t tackle poverty. On our part as Foundation, we shall launch LEAP Community in 2020.
“Let’s Eradicate Abject Poverty (LEAP). It’s our expectation that about 25 million Nigerians will be part of the community.
“Our main aim is to join forces with the government and stakeholders to eradicate poverty in Nigeria not later than 2030. We, however, expect President Buhari to take the lead in fighting poverty.
“Our universities turn out graduates every year but joblessness stares at them. Crime and prostitution are now on the increase as a result of poverty and joblessness. The time to act decisively is now”, he added.

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COVID-19: Interministarial Committee Takes Enlightenment Campaign To Religious Leaders

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The Rivers State Inter-Ministarial Committee on COVID-19 Enlightenment on Sunday, commenced another phase of its campaign with a focus on religious organisations, beginning with Churches.
Addressing volunteers to the campaign at the State Secretariate Complex, Chairman of the Committee, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, charged the volunteers to take this phase of the campaign as serious as they had taken the previous one.
Nsirim, who is also the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, stated that the need to embark on this phase of the campaign is necessitated by the revelation that many people are not adhering to the COVID-19 prevention advisories of wearing face mask and social distancing.
Recalling that the State Governor noted this in his last State broadcast, the Chairman said the Governor “lamented that people in the State are not observing the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.

“The danger”, he continued, “is that if we don’t adhere to these protocols, we may likely enter community transmission of coronavirus in the state”.

 

Consequently, he explained, “We are going to be doing targeted sensitization. The three Sundays that we have in this month we will use to sensitize churches, and on Fridays, we will also do targeted sensitization to Muslim community”.
He further explained the importance of reaching religious leaders in the fight against the coronavirus, saying they are strategically placed to reach a considerable population.
According to him, the churches and mosques are very important because “the religious leaders wield a lot of influence. Members of their congregation listen to the things that they say. If we are able to get the churches to begin to observe the protocols, we are going to get to a greater number, a greater population in the society”.
He, therefore, charged the volunteers to go beyond the jingles currently being aired by the Committee in delivering COVID-19 enlightenment messages to interfacing with the people, noting that they shouldn’t add the role of enforcement to their assignment.
“As you interface with people, you must be wearing your face mask very well. Don’t put it under your chin.
“You are not an enforcement team. Don’t go and give yourself the power of enforcing the wearing of face mask. Don’t go and harass people that are not wearing face mask. Don’t go and assault people that are not wearing face mask. Your duty is purely enlightenment and sensitization.
“When you see people who are not wearing face mask, you enlighten them on the importance of wearing face mask. We don’t want to hear that any member of this team went and entered into any form of altercation”, he charged.
While assuring them of immeasurable rewards accruable from selfless service to humanity, the Chairman also reminded them of the innate desire of the the State Governor, which is ultimately to make Rivers State safe, as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“Anyone that is called to do patriotic duty needs to understand that the crux of the matter is that you are here to save lives, and for you to save lives, you must have the passion to render selfless service. It’s important that I underscore that fact”, he said.

Responding on behalf of the volunteers, one of the Team Leaders, Adata Brown, assured that they will do their best to ensure that Rivers

people get the required message to enhance their safety from the virus.
“We want to say we are going to put in our best, we are going to work and make the governor of the state proud, and to make the whole Rivers State proud”, she said.
Other members of the Inter-Ministarial Committee present were the Commissioner’s of Environment, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, and Youth: Dr Igbiks’ Tamuno, Barr Olisaeloka Tasie-Amadi, and Prince Ohia respectively.
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Be Role Models In COVID-19 Campaign, Nsirim Charges Religious Leaders …RSG To Arrest People Who Refuse To Wear Face Mask

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In furtherance of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has called on religious leaders in the State to path the way for their congregation.
The Commissioner, who made the call on Saturday, during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, hinted that by their status they represent a section of the society with notable group of followers, hence the need for them to be role models.
One way to show this, he said is for them to strictly obey the State Government’s advisories on measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, including ensuring that not more than 70 persons are allowed per session of service.
Citing churches, he noted that they have so far flouted this directive. “and that is something that is worrisome”, he said.
He continued that “Christians need to be role models. If there’s a group of people who should show good example, it should be Chriatians. When Christians begin to flout

government directives, I don’t think there’s any hope for society.
“This is a Clarion call to religious leaders. We shouldn’t sacrifice the lives of our members on the alter of church worship. Jesus Christ is our role model. Jesus Christ was a man who obeyed authority, who did not come in confrontation with the law, and the Bible teaches us to obey those in authority”, he emphasized.
Also, against the backdrop of high non-compliance to the COVID-19 advisory of wearing face mask in public places, the Rivers State Government (RSG) says it will soon begin to arrest defaulters.
This is sequel to the declaration of the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in his last State broadcast on Wednesday, in which he stated that those who refuse to wear face mask risk arrest.
Confirming the Governor’s statement, the State’s spokesman unequivocally said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“If you go around the State since the Executive Order on face mask was introduced, you’ll notice that less than 30 per cent of the populace are really obeying the Executive Order. What we see in the State is that people just put the mask under their chin, including in the churches.
“The Governor is saying that to grant the wearing of face mask the kind of weight it deserves, to save our people, a special Task Force to monitor it will be put in place. That is the only sure way”, he said.
He recalled that the Governor in his broadcast expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.
“Government will introduce policies. The onus is on the populace to obey those policies … The COVID-19 pandemic has defied medical solutions for now. So, to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State need to take responsibility.
“It’s important that everyone living and doing business in Rivers State should have the kind of passion that His Excellency has to flatten

the curve. He’s desirous that Rivers State remains safe.
“That’s why every day he’s enunciating policies to ensure that strategically, the State is isolated from the national spread.
“He’s one man who would require the cooperation and understanding of citizens here to ensure that what he has in mind for the State is actualized”, the Commissioner concluded.
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Governor Wike’s Reply To Governor Uzodinma Was Concocted – RSG

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The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the news circulating in the Social Media that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State denigrated his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The purveyors of the deliberate falsehood alleged that Governor  Wike  replied Governor Uzodinma over a recent statement where he allegedly boasted that “the All Progressives Congress (APC)  will teach the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor  Wike how to conduct a  transparent election in the forthcoming Edo State gubernatorial election.”
The concocted story only existed in the imagination of the authors and so there was also no disparaging comment by Governor Wike.
Members of the public are hereby advised to discountenance all the information contained in the said publication as they did not emanate from Governor Wike.
Paulinus Nsirim
Commissioner for Information and Communications
July 10, 2020.
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