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Senate Queries CCT Over Poor Performance

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The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has queried the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over its alleged inability to determine all corruption cases forwarded to it by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure, said the agency was underperforming not only because of underfunding but also due its failure to effectively utilise all funds appropriated for it in the budget.
Speaking when the Chairman of the (CCT), Mr. Danladi Umar, appeared before the committee to defend the agency’s 2022 budget estimates at the weekend, Akinyelure said: “The impact of the money given to you in not being felt. That’s why you have unspent balances of money that is not even enough.
“You must determine all the cases referred to you and let Mr President know that you are promoting his anti-corruption agenda.
“Your silence over the meagre allocation to your agency to fight corruption is not good enough for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
N232million was appropriated to CCT in 2021 out of which N174.2million was released, according to the document submitted to the panel.
The document further showed that only N164.7million was utilised, leaving an unspent balance of N9.45million.
In his response, the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, said that only 30 cases had been concluded and determined out of the 257 referred to the tribunal by the CCB this year.
He said: “257 cases were referred to us from CCB this year, out of which 57 had been treated. We have concluded and dealt with about 30 cases fully.”
He, however, blamed the agencies inability to speedily determine cases on underfunding and the fact that it is only the CCT that adjudicates on all CCB cases which are spread across the country.
“We have not been able to deal with all the cases referred to us due to underfunding.
“The CCT is only one body and we have to go to different places in the country. If we have other division of the tribunal in the six geopolitical zones, it will reduce the enormity of our work here in Abuja. We cannot be everywhere,” he said.
Umar added that the agency could not utilise all the funds appropriated to it due to the cumbersome procurement processes.
Umar said, “The procurement procedures will have to be followed very diligently and due processes observed.
“We have to be above board in dealing with public funds in relation to the fact that we sit over and adjudicate matters like this.
“So, we will not just go ahead and do things in spite of the fact that the money is with us.
“Though the money is too small but we have no choice other than follow the processes, which are cumbersome.
“That’s not to say that we don’t need much. We have reasons to ask for more funding because that will enable the CCT to effectively deal with matters before it, bearing in mind that CCT is only one in the whole of the country and supervises all public offices and officers. We really do have a lot to do.”
He enjoined the committee to come to the aid of the tribunal, saying adequate funding and timely releases would enable the CCT to use all funds allocated to it and still follow the procurement procedures, its cumbersome nature notwithstanding.
In reaction to Umar’s remarks, Akinyelure said that the panel was not impressed with the activities of CCT because it could not effectively utilise its meagre allocation.
“Basically, the agency is underfunded by the executive arm of the government. That is not to say that the little amount appropriated and released to the tribunal would not be spent.
“We have cried loud over the years but this has not been improved upon. Again, the agency is sleeping on its right,” he said.
He called on President Buhari to improve on the yearly appropriation for the Public Complaints Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal, whose mandate is to fight corruption, which is one of the cardinal goals of the present administration.
He also urged the CCT and CCB to seek the intervention of the president, saying, “Match to Mr President to improve your budget. For us, it is the envelope you are given that we will work upon.”

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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