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Senate Queries FRC Over N258m Extra-Budgetary Expenditure

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The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has queried the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) over the extra-budgetary expenditure of N258 million on personnel cost in the agency’s budget for 2017 fiscal year.
The committee, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, hinged the query on 2018 Audited Report prepared by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) which is being considered by the National Assembly.
The query read: “We observed from audit, that the Council incurred the sum of N339,834,586.00 as against N81,245,107.00 contained in the 2017 approved budget. This resulted in an extra budgetary expenditure of N258,589,479.00 on personnel cost.
“This non-compliance with the Appropriation Act was due to the failure of the Executive Secretary to seek approval for supplementary budget from the appropriate authorities, that is, through the Ministry of Finance and National Assembly.”
But, the Executive Secretary of FRC, Daniel Asapokhai, in his response, said for the year 2017, the sum of N81 million was appropriated as government subvention for personnel cost for the council, and the amount was to augment the council’s personnel cost for the fiscal year.
“The Council customarily prepare its budget at the beginning of every year detailing both Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), and government subvention. This is usually sent for approval before implementation. The Council has an approved salary structure which it pays from the IGR. The amount refrenced by the Auditors as over expenditures not approved was staff salary funded via IGR which is contained in the approved budget,” he explained.
The committee has, therefore, asked the council to present the approval for N258 million extra-budgetary expenditure by the National Assembly.
The FRC executive secretary has promised to send the document backing the expenditure to the Senate Committee for perusal and necessary action.

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LG Polls: IPAC Hails RSIEC, Congratulates Winners

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Less than 24 hours after the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC, announced the results of last Saturday’s Local Government Election held across the 23 LGAs of the state, the Interparty Advisory Council, IPAC, has come out to endorse the outcome or the polls, saying it was free, fair and credible.
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP  won all the Chairmanship and Councilorship positions in that election as announced by RSIEC Chairman, Hon Justice George Omereji (Rtd).
IPAC Secretary in the State, Amangma Harry, made this known during a Press Conference held in Port Harcourt, Monday, 19 April, 2021.
Amangma Harry who is State Chairman of Young Progressive Party, YPP, appealed to other political parties who lost in the election to accept the outcome in good faith.
“At this point, we as active stakeholders and key players having understanding of the need to keep the River’s spirit alive and avoid unnecessary waste of lives and useful resources, that we are one people united to seeing a better Rivers State and also  appeal to our colleagues, brothers and sisters to accepr the outcome of the election in good fate as a demonstration or true brothers partnering  for the good of the state”.
While congratulating the winners of the just concluded 2021 Local Government election, IPAC urged them to extend hands of fellowship to all irrespective of political leanings.
Answering questions, IPAC PRO and ADC State Chairman, Leader Sampson said any political party which engages in protest against the outcome of the election is doing so on it’s own as IPAC does not authorise any political party to go on the streets.
“As IPAC we have done an overview of what the election was and we have taken a position”.
On his part, the State Labour Party Chairman, Prince Favour Reuben,  clarified the situation in which PDP won all positions in the state, explaining that the situation in Rivers State is not different from what obtained in other states controlled by other political parties.
”If you go to where APC rules, no other party will win. So its not different from Rivers State and can never be different. If you go to Anambra State, APGA won everything.  When Labour party was in power in Ondo State, we won everything even in the presence of PDP.  They did not win even one Councilor”.
He advised those who felt aggrieved by the outcome of the election to approach the court to ventilate their grievances rather than take the laws in their hands.

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Senate Confirms Usman As NPC Commissioner

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Muhammad Usman as Commissioner for National Population Commission (NPC).
The Tide reports that Usman’s confirmation followed consideration and adoption of a report of the Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Saidu Alkali, while presenting the report, said that the nominee possessed the requisite qualifications, integrity, leadership qualities and comportment to discharge his responsibilities.
According to him, Usman’s appointment satisfies the requirements of Section 154(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The Tide reports that Usman was the Registrar of Federal University of Technology, Minna, between 2007 and 2012 and a member of African Council on Communication Education.
He is also a member of Association of Nigeria University Professional Administrators (ANUPA) and Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM).
Usman is also Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration and Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
Meanwhile, the Senate has ordered an investigation into the alleged invasion of the Bodija market in Ibadan by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) during which bags of rice and other items valued at N85 million were conveyed away.
The Senate ordered the investigation on Wednesday following the receipt of a petition from the Ibadan Foodstuff Sellers Association addressed to the President of Senate, Ahmed Lawan.
Immediately the petition was tabled before it by Sen. Kola Balogun (APC- Oyo ), the senate mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the matter.
In the petition to the Senate President, the association said inter alia:
“The above named association write to report the unfortunate night invasion of the Bodija International Market, Ibadan, and the forceful breakage of the Rice traders’ shops by men of the Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Lagos, on March 31 to April.
“Our shops and warehouses were forcefully opened in our absence and the following items were carted away: 3,046 bags of Rice at N26,000 per bag – N79,196,000, 14 25kg Vegetable Oil; Cash of N4,862,000.00, and one 15kg bag of Gari.
“It is pertinent to report to you, Sir, that five shops still remain under special white padlock, the same that were put on the forcefully broken ones.
“The Ibadan Customs Unit has advised us not to unlock the locked shops for reasons unknown to us and owners of the shops have been rendered helpless.
“They cannot access their shops and neither can they trade in anything, their families have been suffering.
“We seek the intervention of your highly esteemed office for the immediate return of all the items and cash carted away from our shops and warehouses.
“We also seek Senate’s investigation into the reasons behind the forceful raid on our shops.
“We demand that such raid should stop henceforth and this one should be the last of such action on the innocent peaceful traders in our market.
“We demand that tight security arrangements be put in place in the market by the government to protect our products after closure from business activities of the day to avoid looting of our shops by hoodlums who might want to follow the illegal footsteps of the men of the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We demand that the Nigeria Customs should be warned against the use of the crude and cruel method of infringing on traders’ properties and products.
“That the action of the Nigeria Customs is seriously infringing on our rights to trade in legitimate items within the country as the midnight invasion violates all democratic principles.”
President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, referred the petition to the Sen. Ayo Akinyelure-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition for investigation.

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S’South PDP Wants Youths In Leadership Positions

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), South South Zone, has called for increased active participation of Nigerian youths in the political affairs of the nation.
The National Vice Chairman, South South of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, made the call on Monday in Benin when he received some youths led by Speaker Oyo House of Assembly, Mr Adebo Ogundoyin, .
The group, made up of youths from across the country, came to solicit for Orbih’s support in their quest for leadership positions in the country.
Orbih said their visit and request were apt and noted that this is the right time for active youths participation in politics.
“I am optimistic that they will bring in their ideas and strength in terms of numbers, to give dimension to the politics of the country.”
According to him, I want to identify with all that you have said today. First, we need greater participation of our youths in politics.
“I think the importance of your visit is that we all have a role to play, irrespective of political parties, to chart new course for our nation.
“And I can assure you that the message you brought to me today, I will take to the highest decision body of our party”.
The South South PDP leader further said that under the PDP, the party would accommodate the interest of youths and would encourage their greater participation in politics and governance.
“You are in a very safe company. All you have said in respect of youths in politics. Today, in Nigeria, PDP is the only party that accommodates the interest of youths,” he claimed.
He assured the visitors of his massive support for their desire and quest for youths inclusiveness in the nation’s politics.
Earlier, Ogundoyin said they were in his house to congratulate him on his assumption of office as the National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South-South, and to also pledge their loyalty and support in order for him to succeed in his task of moving the party forward.
Ogundoyin appealed to Orbih to rally round the youths to ensure that their dreams of becoming the President, Vice President, Senate President and other top political positions in the country are realised.
He noted that the recent agitation of youths in the country, the #EndSARS saga, could not be ignored any more.
“But we can’t achieve this without our voices being heard. So, active participation of youths in politics is the way forward,” he said.

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