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‘Alleged N80bn Fraud In AGF’s Office Vindicates Our Opposition To IPPIS’

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The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has said the recent alleged discovery of N80billion in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) vindicated its opposition to Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Reacting to the alleged fraud, in a statement, yesterday, by its president, Dr Smart Olugbeko, the union insisted that it would not change its preference to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) against the Federal Government’s preferred payment platform.
In the statement, tagged:”On UTAS We Stand”, the union of lecturers of the nation’s colleges of education, said:”Insistence on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the FG constitutes a ridiculous contradiction to the acclaimed anti-corruption posture of the present administration.
“The recent letting open of the can of worms in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFCC) has uncovered a fraud not less than the whooping sum of N8billion sufficiently vindicate our Union’s position that IPPIS is a fraud.
“Apart from undermining the statutory functions of the Governing Councils and breaching the establishment integrity of the tertiary education sector in general and the College of Education system in particular, IPPIS opens the payroll up to unilateral manipulations and cool fraud.
“In fact, we dare say that the N80billion discovered by EFCC is merely a tip of the cankerous iceberg of wanton fraud enabled by the questionable pay platform,” the statement read.
According to COEASU,”The FG has no more excuse for the continued delay in migrating academics in tertiary institutions to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the ingenious alternative pay platform innovated by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“UTAS adequately addresses our concerns on payroll security and the peculiarities of the tertiary education system in general. It should be adopted for the entire academic staff in the tertiary education sector as it takes care of the peculiarities of the institutions, including financial autonomy, sabbatical service, administration of discipline and fraud prevention,”it explained.
The statement read further: “In the last year, our COEASU has received complaints from more than 1,000 academic staff in Colleges of Education in Nigeria who have had their salaries stopped, mutilated and or delayed.
“IPPIS arbitrarily stopped the salaries of some lecturers for four months in 2021 and the salaries have not been paid to date despite all efforts made to get the salaries paid. IPPIS is notorious for making third party deductions from workers’ salaries for cooperative associations, union dues, special contributions etc. without remitting the deductions.
“The IPPIS office in Abuja is daily besieged by vice-chancellors, rectors, provosts, bursars, union leaders and workers to lodge one complaint or the other. This has led to the wastage of manpower and resources.
“The end of every month brings fear as we do not know the ‘style’ of payment IPPIS will unleash on us. In February, this year, our salaries were further reduced by IPPIS without any justification. This charade calls IPPIS must stop!
“We used to be surprised why the government is not bothered by the injuries the pay platform inflicts on us on monthly basis and by the government’s refusal to adopt UTAS, a payment platform that should be of pride to Nigeria until the discovery of fraud-prone IPPIS as evidenced in the discovery of a monumental fraud in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“For the umpteenth time, the union is calling on the Federal Government to adopt the home-grown UTAS developed by ASUU as a payment platform for academics in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”

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Your Resilience Has Kept You Afloat, PHALGA Boss Tells RSNC … Says The Tide Remains Long-Term Partner

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The Mayor of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Sir Alwell Ihunda, has praised the giant strides and resilience of Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (RSNC), publishers of The Tide Newspapers more than 50 years after its establishment by the Rivers State Government.
Ihunda, who said this during a courtesy call by the management of RSNC, said the council was elated that The Tide has consistently remained on the newsstands for more than 50 years, adding that the council was looking forward to joining in the celebration of the golden jubilee anniversary of the corporation.
The mayor, who was represented by the council Secretary, Barrister Chile Kay Owuru, said The Tide has continued to deliver on its mandate and serve the Government and people of Rivers State in spite of obvious challenges.
He also praised the newspaper for standing behind the council during the recent struggle to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution were no longer brazenly breached by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, which had been conducting marriages at illegal Marriage Registries across the country.
Ihunda also said the council would work to ensure that all commercial transport vehicles operating between #1 to 10, Ikwerre Road and under all parts of the Abali Flyover relocate to the main Abali Motor Park, which has been renovated and upgraded by the council to accommodate more vehicles.
He regretted that the commercial transport and illegal business activities taking place around the area have facilitated the operations of criminal elements who have been terrorising unsuspecting members of the public, and assured that the council was synergising with relevant authorities to restore sanity to the area.
The mayor also assured that the public health issues associated with the huge refuse dumpsite at Njemanze Street in Rumuwoji (Mile One) area would be addressed.
Ihunwo further promised to work out partnership strategies that would enable both the corporation and the council mutually leverage the opportunities that abound in the RSNC’s Business Development portfolio, especially in the area of commercial printing jobs, among others.
Earlier, the General Manager of the corporation, Chief Ernest Chinwo, said the meeting was initiated with the understanding that the mayor would use his position to facilitate mutually beneficial engagements between the council and the RSNC while also creating value added window to interact with the membership of ALGON in the state with a view to eliciting their support and partnership to boost the corporation’s fortunes.
Chinwo said every Rivers man should be proud of The Tide as the only surviving state-owned newspaper regularly in the newsstands since its founding, noting that the newspaper has continued to wax stronger despite all the challenges since it was established in 1971.
According to him, The Tide was the only surviving paper on South-South and South-East that has been regular on the newsstands, saying that the corporation was not only involved in newspaper publishing but also undertakes all kinds of printing jobs.
The general manager also called on the mayor to look into the health hazard posed by the refuse dumpsite at Njamanze Street, stressing that the site has recently constituted serious threat to the health of the people in the area.
He also called the attention of the mayor to the proliferation of illegal motor parks and markets around the Abali flyover and along the rail line, adding that criminals have used the area as fertile ground for perpetrating all kinds of unwholesome activities.

By: John Bibor

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Kick Insensitive APC Govt Out With Your PVCs, PDP Charges Nigerians

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As the 2023 elections gather momentum, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged Nigerians to kick the All Progressives Congress (APC) out with their Permanent Voters Card (PVC)
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, stated this, yesterday, during a sensitisation campaign for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Abuja.
The party’s national publicity secretary; National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Effa-Attoe; and National Youth Leader, Mohammed Sulieman; led the campaign around the streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ologunagba said the campaign was to sensitise Nigerians, particularly youths and women on the need to participate actively in the democratic process by collecting permanent voter cards and ensuring that they participate in the 2023 general election.
He said, “Against the backdrop of the fact that we have an APC government that is insensitive, that is rudderless, that completely failed this country, they lied to us in 2015, came to power by fraud and propaganda.”
Ologunagba lamented that the APC-led Federal Government has made life difficult for most Nigerians.
He said, “As the party of the people that believe in the sanctity of life and that our children need the future where on their own, they can achieve their goals and live a life where they can aspire to be anything in Nigeria.
“So, we are urging all youth and women to come out en mass to pick up their PVCs and those who have not registered to take advantage of the window now available by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come out and register”.
He assured the electorate that their votes will count in 2023, adding that “we have seen how APC has destroyed the country, get your PVC and vote them out”.
Also speaking, the PDP National Youth Leader, Mohammed Suleiman, said the failure of the APC government was enough to motivate Nigerians to kick them out.
“We have seen what is happening in the country, the rate of unemployment, insecurity, students, is at home for over five months and the economy is messed up. So, we believe those comments you’re seeing on social media will turn to vote come 2023.
“We have 36 state youth leaders, we have six zonal leaders, we’re all working together to mobilize Nigerians so that they can vote for the PDP come 2023″.

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See IOCs’ Divestments As Blessing, NUPRC Charges IPPG

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The Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has urged stakeholders in the petroleum industry, especially the Independent Petroleum Producers in Nigeria (IPPG) to look at the brighter side of the divestments of International Oil Companies (IOCs) as many opportunities for local players abound.
Komolafe gave the charge at the opening dinner of the ongoing Nigerian oil and gas conference holding in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, local players now have a golden opportunity to prove their mettle by leveraging the local content window in value addition and optimising the development of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources.
He emphasised the need for indigenous players across the value chain to deploy their ingenuity in promoting vibrancy and capacity utilisation in the industry
“As a regulator, the commission is not oblivious of the threat posed to the development of the Nigerian hydrocarbon industry by the divestment of the IOCs.
“The impetus for divestment by the IOC is mainly attributable to the hostile upstream petroleum environment arising from crude oil theft and energy transition as a global response to the advocacy for reduction in carbon emissions.
“Our view as a commission is that IPPG and other prospective indigenous players should perceive the IOCs’ divestment in some of the upstream assets as an opportunity rather than a threat to the development of the Nigerian upstream petroleum sector,” he said.
Speaking further, Komolafe noted that indigenous companies presently contribute about 30percent of the nation’s crude oil and 20percent of the gas production, as well as 40percent and 32percent of oil and gas reserves, respectively.
He also informed that seven indigenous companies are among the top 20 companies with the highest oil reserves in Nigeria.
He further disclosed that 57 fields were offered for awards in 2020 to indigenous operators, resulting in the issuance of 102 Petroleum Prospecting Licenses (PPLs) by the commission on June 28, 2022.
“It is worthy to note that Nigeria has the largest participation of local independents in the domestic oil and gas industry activities of all petroleum-producing countries in Africa arising from the robust local content policy.
“It is estimated that the energy demand across Africa in 2040 would increase by about 30percent compared to the current level. Consequently, the divestment of the IOC away from our onshore and shallow water terrains presents a massive opportunity for new operators of those assets, which the IPPG is better positioned to take advantage of in order to meet the increasing energy demand.
“The commission expects the IPPG to stay competitive, optimise future energy security and be resilient in our oil and gas extractive industry”, Komolafe stated.

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