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SERAP Gives FG Seven Days To Account For Abacha Loot

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to disclose the exact amount of public funds stolen by and recovered from a former head of state, the late Gen Sani Abacha and details of how the recovered loots were spent since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.
SERAP is also asking the Federal Government to disclose details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations, details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any of such projects, details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.
In two Freedom of Information requests sent to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, SERAP said: “We are concerned that substantial part of the estimated $5billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been diverted, re-stolen or mismanaged, and in any case remain unaccounted for.”
In the FoI requests dated February 14, 2020, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Publishing the details of projects on which Abacha loot has been spent would allow the public to know the specific projects carried and the areas of the country in which the projects have been implemented as well as the officials that may be responsible for any alleged diversion or mismanagement of the loot.”
According to SERAP: “Getting to the root of the exact amount of the Abacha loot and how the returned funds have been spent is important for the success of the government’s fight against corruption and would reassure Nigerians that the government is truly committed to ensuring full accountability for the alleged corruption and mismanagement in the spending of the funds.
“Any failure or refusal to provide the information requested will be clearly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the FoI Act.
“The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of modern democratic governance, a norm of human rights and a tool to curb corruption.”
It was gathered that Nigeria has for about two decades recovered $4.6billion (N1.4trillion) allegedly looted from the nation’s treasury and stashed abroad by the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha.
Data on the recoveries made available to newsmen, indicates that the funds were repatriated mainly from four countries between 2002 and 2020 under the administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.
The countries include Switzerland, Jersey Island in United States of America, United Kingdom and Liechtenstein.
Similarly, the Government of Jersey, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the United States of America had few weeks ago entered into an Asset Recovery Agreement to repatriate over $308million of forfeited assets to Nigeria.

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COVID-19: Hand Washing Cheapest Way Of Fighting Diseases – Health Commissioner

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The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, has said that the cheapest way fighting various diseases was through effective hand washing.
Edu staate this in Calabar while receiving over 200 handwashing stations donated by United Purpose, a non-governmental organisation, for the Primary Healthcare Development Agency in the State.
The commissioner, who said she was grateful that the state had partners who were always ready to support it in the area of health, stressed that when sanitation fails, healthcare suffers.
“Although the state had not recorded massive number of the ravaging COVID-19 infections and deaths residents are advised to have a high index of suspicion.
“We encourage everyone to effectively use the available resources in the health facilities in the state and have a high index of suspicion.
“I call on the health workers in the state to bring the Infection Control Protocol (ICP), they have been taught to bear.
“We will be signing the Clinical Governance Agreement today to ensure that when our clients go to our facilities they are protected and the care giver is also protected,” she said.
The commissioner encouraged residents of the state to build their immunity because it was a way of protecting themselves and their loved ones.
She added that anyone who felt any symptoms of COVID-19 should go to the state’s testing centre. Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, Director General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), lauded  United Purpose and other partners for assisting the state.
Ekpenyong said it was not the job of the government alone to fight the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state but the job of everyone.
Mr. Nanpet Chuktu, the Programme Manager of United Purpose, said his organisation partnered the state because it wanted to help in pushing back the virus from the state.
“We the United Purpose, through the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, are making a donation of 10 hand washing stations per Local Government Area (LGA).
“These hand washing stations are for emergency and would be delivered to the state’s Primary Healthcare Agencies.
“We are looking at about 250 of them and each of the primary healthcare facilities would get at least one,” he noted.
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents

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The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.

Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.

“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.

 

“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.

“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.

“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.

“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.

Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than

30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.

“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.

“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.

The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.

 

Dennis Naku

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Missing National Light Newspaper’s Journalist, Mathew Onwuasoanya, Found

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Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC),  publisher of the National Light group of Newspapers, Awka has announced that one of their reporters, Barr Mathew Onwuasoanya who went missing for more than  a month has been found.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Media House, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, Editor of the newspaper, Mrs Rose Oranye, along with Chairman, Anambra State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ), Sir Emma Ifesinachi and the Council’s Secretary, Mr Emma Udeagha, on Thursday, July 9, 2020, met with Mr Onwuasoanya and members of his family.
During the meeting, Barr Onwuasoanya narrated his ordeal within the five weeks of his surprised absence. He explained how he was taken from his residence on May 30, 2020.
 He confirmed that he was picked up by some security men as reported but he got released thereafter.
After the shocking encounter with security agents which left him rattled, he promptly sought medical attention to attend to the traumatic experience.
 He disclosed that he received treatment all the while until he returned home while expressing his regret for his inability to reach

out to anybody given that he lives alone and had lost his phones in the process.
This reporter recalled that in a terse statement released earlier by the MD, a brother to the journalist, Mr Oliver Onwuasoanya had said that neighbours told him “that about 2am on May, 30, some vehicles, comprising a white Hilux truck and a Highlander with some gun – bearing men dressed in what looks like security men’s uniform came and whisked him away”.
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