The Senate Public Account Committee has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to show a document involving payment of $5 million in legal fees for service not rendered.
The panel had invited the management of NIMASA to explain why the $5 million was paid for services not rendered.
At the resumption of the committee meeting on the issue on Tuesday, the representative of NIMASA, OlamideOlusanya, told panel that the matter was in court.
But the committee rejected the submission and asked the agency to present information at its disposal on the payment of legal fees to the law firm.
The official of the NIMASA told the lawmakers that the agency was directed by the then Attorney General of the Federation to pay $5 million for the legal fees.
The Chairman of the Committee, however, asked the representative of NIMASA to present any letter mandating it to pay $5 million for legal fees.
Responding to whether the Presidency directed the agency to pay the legal fees, the representative of the NIMASA’s Managing Director said there was no such letter, adding that they only had a letter from the Senior Special Assistant to President on Administration authorising the payment.
The Chairman, therefore, ordered the agency to present documents relating to the payment by Thursday this week before the committee would take a final decision on the matter.
He said, “We need the details of the payment, you go back to your archives and bring it out. Also, let us know the transaction between you AGF before you paid the money.”
Another member of the Committee, Senator AbdullahiDanbaba, said there was no basis for making that payment, adding that the money should be recovered from the law firm.
The committee had invited NIMASA up to three times for an explanation for the payment of $5 million as a professional fee and details of the $9.3 billion loss by the Federal government, but the agency had declined the invitation. The chairman had then ordered that an arrest warrant be issued on the NIMASA boss at the last panel sitting.
UNDP, IGP Seek Partnership On Police Reforms
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Nigeria, has sued for concrete partnership with the police high command in fostering police reform agenda of the government.
UNDP made the call during a meeting led by its Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya, with the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, and members of the Force Management Team in Abuja, midweek.
Yahya’s entourage included representatives of the German Government at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, as part of the Presidential Committee on Police Reforms Agenda for the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the spokesman of the police, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, “During the meeting, the UNDP Resident Representative discussed areas of further collaborations with the Nigeria Police Force to achieve the Presidential Action Plan for Police Reforms in the country.
The areas considered and deliberated upon included training and retraining, support in acquisition of logistics such as ICT-based gadgets and intelligence networks, welfare, in line with the President’s approved road map.
“The IGP expressed the willingness of the Force under his Command to support the UNDP, international community and other relevant agencies under the Presidential Committee on Police Reforms.
He discussed some projects that have been completed under his watch in line with the Police Reform Agenda, such as the completion of more than 120 model police stations across the country, and construction of modern NPF Resource Centres.
Also include in the projects are Provision of barrack accommodation to some officers and men of the Force, health facilities, and other developmental projects across the country, as well as the yearly recruitment of 10,000 Police Constables to boost the manpower drive of the Nigeria Police Force, which, he said, “are all catalytic to improved service delivery of the NPF”.
In the same vein, the IG appreciated the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, for its continuous support in all areas to reposition and boost the police for effective and efficient service delivery in Nigeria.
He reiterated the commitment of the Police Force to improving its services at all levels in order to have better security and public safety in Nigeria.
Trafficking: NAPTIP Holds Peer Review For Member States
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) has organized a second batch of Boot Camp Peer Review for members of states’ taskforces to fight human trafficking
The five-day North/South boot camp organiaed in partnership with Expertise France, International Organisation Migration (IOM), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and others, was aimed at deepening engagement of members of states taskforce in fighting human traffickers.
In her opening remarks, the Director – General (DG) NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, appreciated Expertise France, IOM, UNODC and others for their support towards organising the boot camp.
Waziri-Azi said the collaboration would provide avenue to holistically assess the level of progress made by the inaugurated taskforces across the country.
The NAPTIP DG said although the trends and proportionality of human trafficking might differ, statistics revealed that no state was free from human traffickers.
“NAPTIP’s statistical analysis from 2019 – 2022 revealed that 61 per cent of human trafficking cases in the country occurred internally while 39 per cent was across our borders.
“It is an undisputable fact that what anti-human trafficking stakeholders have in their hands now is a national crisis.
“This is major reason this forum is imperative for in-depth interactions among state and non-state actors,” she said.
The DG, who was represented by Mr Olubiyi Olusayo, Director of Intelligence, Research and Programme Development, NAPTIP, said the second phase of the boot camp was organised for 12 states.
“It would enable NAPTIP to take stock of the impact of the taskforces at the subnational levels.
“The states included Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Enugu, Rivers, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Borno, and Jigawa,” she said.
According to her, there is no doubt that human trafficking is a dynamic and emerging crime.
She urged the taskforces to present and maintain a clearer picture of how human trafficking affected their communities and how traffickers were changing their tactics.
“NAPTIP would be looking forward to receiving and studying the report that would emanate from this five-day meeting,” she stressed.
The NAPTIP boss further commended partner organisations for their support in making the camp boot a reality.
New CJN Debunks Rift Among Justices
The newly confirmed Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has denied any rift among justices of the Supreme Court.
Ariwoola reacted to the leaked memo suggesting that Supreme Court justices were at each other’s jugular when he appeared before Senators at the red Chamber for his confirmation to take over from the former CJN, Mohammed Tanko, in Abuja.
Recall that Tanko had resigned over health issues.
Ariwoola in his response to questions by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Senate Committee Chairman on Judiciary and Legal Matters, Michael Bamidele Opeyemi, and other Senators expressed concern that petitions were allegedly written against the erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko, by 15 other Supreme Court justices without recourse to the procedure.
He clarified that Supreme Court Justices didn’t write petitions to or against Justice Mohammed Tanko as CJN then but an internal memo on how to address challenges being faced by them as regards welfare and an unconducive working environment.
“Justices of the Supreme Court didn’t write petition to or against Justice Mohammed Tanko as CJN few months back, but memo where issues relating to welfare of each of the Justices and unconducive working environment of Justices at the Supreme Court generally were raised.
“We, the Justices were embarrassed when we read the content of our memo in the papers.
“It was never intended to be for public consumption since the motive behind the memo was not to fight or bring down anybody.
“When the handwritten memo was signed by all the Justices, we didn’t allow anybody to see it, making its leakage to the media to be like a miracle to us”, he said.
He, however, said most of the issues raised in the memo are still not attended to, due to paucity of funds and poor funding of the Supreme Court in particular and Judiciary in general.
According to him, Justices who were appointed in 2020 have not had official accommodation, making them come to the office from Satellite towns within the FCT.
After the screening by the Committee of the whole, he was confirmed by the plenary which was presided by the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
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