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PAP Uncovers Payroll Fraud, Saves Over N1.5bn …As Auditors Identify 513 Ghost Ex-Agitators

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The Office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (OPAP) has said that internal and external audits of its databases have uncovered “monumental” frauds in the payment of stipends and other funds to ex-agitators.
Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Strategic Communication Committee (STRATCOM), Nature Dumale, spoke on the discovery during a press conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, last Saturday.
Dumale noted that Major-General Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), upon assuming office as interim administrator of the programme in September, initiated plans to renegotiate existing contracts with its vendors.
In the process, the spokesman added, Ndiomu had been able to save over N1.5billion.
“He has shown greater commitment to the core values of the programme, hence was able to extract promises and commitments from sister agencies and stakeholders,” Dumale said.
“For instance, the Head of Service has promised to absorb 350 ex-agitators into the Federal Civil Service once the opportunity presents itself. Gen. Ndiomu has also initiated internal and external audits of its database.
“The auditors have uncovered monumental frauds, especially in the payment of stipends and other sundry funds, where an individual is receiving stipends meant for 33 persons through fraudulent means,” he added.
Describing Ndiomu as proactive, the Amnesty STRATCOM chairman said the interim administrator had ordered the immediate verification process of all delegates to be carried out next week without further delay.
He urged delegates to rest assured that whoever is verified will be paid immediately.
“Gen Ndiomu has also indicated interest in resuscitating the vocational training centres for the training ex-agitators in specialised fields to provide middle-level manpower for the oil and gas industry.
“Gen. Ndiomu has concluded arrangements to complete the construction of four vocational training centres located in Bayelsa, Rivers Delta and Ondo states. These centres will be fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
“He is already discussing with potential technical partners for the projects. The experts are to manage the centres,” the Amnesty STRATCOM chairman said.
The Strategic Communication Committee (SCC) of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), also disclosed that external and internal auditors recently uncovered a massive payroll fraud in PAP.
He said about 513 persons were linked to multiple payments, insisting that the new management of PAP was poised to reposition the scheme for optimum performance.
Dumale said following the development, the Interim Administrator, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd), immediately initiated verification of all beneficiaries of the programme as part of the ongoing investigation.
He explained that the audit and efforts of Ndiomu to clean the payroll was the reason some beneficiaries of the programme had yet to receive their monthly stipends adding that all affected and genuine outstanding stipends would be paid after verifications.
Describing Ndiomu’s efforts as proactive, Dumale said upon assumption of office, the amnesty boss renegotiated all existing contracts with vendors and in the process saved N1.5billion for PAP.
He said: “Ndiomu initiated an internal and external audit of PAP’s database. The auditors uncovered monumental fraud especially in the payment of stipends where an individual is receiving stipends meant for 33 persons through fraudulent means.
“The proactive interim administrator has ordered immediate verification of all delegates to be carried out next week. Delegates are to be rest assured that whoever that is verified will be paid immediately.
“Upon assumption of office, General Ndiomu (rtd) initiated plans to renegotiate the existing contracts with vendors. In the process, he has been able to save over N1.5billion”.
Dumale said Ndiomu had concluded plans to set up cooperatives to be managed by ex-agitators and supervised by consultants and experts in grant management.
“The ex-agitators will be given grants of over N500million and revolving loans. They are to take responsibility for the success of the cooperatives. International donor agencies will be involved in providing grants and aids. He has opened channels of discussions with the foreign loans”, he said.
Dumale noted that five months after his appointment, Ndiomu had replaced the Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model with the Train, Empower and Exit (TEE) to allow empowered beneficiaries to exit the programme.
While observing that Ndiomu has shown more commitment, patriotism, transparency in the management of PAP, Dumale said the PAP boss had also indicated interest to revive the vocational training centres for ex-agitators.
He said: “Ndiomu has concluded arrangements to complete the construction of the four vocational training centres located in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Ondo states. The centres will be fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
“Ndiomu is committed to the idea of transforming the lives of the ex-agitators through innovative and structured training schemes. It is imperative to inform members of the public that Ndiomu has not delisted anybody but is working round the clock to sanitise the PAP register for the good of not only the ex-agitators but also the Niger Delta region”.
Dumale called on aggrieved ex-agitators to suspend all their plan actions against the PAP management and support the efforts of Ndiomu to sanitise the programme.

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FG Declares Thursday Additional Holiday For Eid-el-Fitri

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The Federal Government has declared tomorrow, Thursday, as additional public holiday to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, made this known in a statement he shared on the ministry’s X account, yesterday.
The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”
Saudi Arabia, on Monday, said the crescent of Shawwal has not been sighted, indicating that the fasting would continue on Tuesday.
It also added that the Eid-el-Fitr would hold today, Wednesday, to mark the beginning of the new Islamic month.
The Federal Government had earlier on Sunday declared yesterday (Tuesday) and today, (Wednesday) as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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Engage In Credible Opposition, We Won’t Hunt You, Fubara Tells IPAC …As Group Passes Confidence Vote On Rivers Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the right climate will be created for all political parties to operate so that they can engage with Government and offer credible opposition.
The Governor emphasised that it was the best thing to do, especially because the opposition political parties have acknowledged that elections are over, and are resolved to offer effective support required to advance good governance in the State.
Governor Fubara spoke on Monday when he played host to the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor insisted that an egalitarian society will be engendered so that people can feel free to voice their opinions without intimidation, because, according to him, those criticisms will contribute to having more focused implementation of policies that serve the general good of the State.
“So, we are happy to identify with you. We are assuring you, even when you leave here, criticise me, I don’t have problem with that, it is meant to spur me to do well. We will continue to give you the freedom. We will not cage anybody. We will not revoke your property.
“You can also take my message to your National Secretariat, we will continue to stand on the right path. We will support them because we can see that they are also doing what is right. Anytime they need our support, let them feel free to ask for it,” the Governor said.
Governor Fubara commended IPAC for identifying with his Administration, and pledging to collaborate efforts for the good of the State.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that no person who truly loves Rivers State, whether embittered, or not, will gladly want to burn down the State to achieve personal or political agenda.
The Governor said whatever political strength anybody claims to have, it amounts to nothing without the State and its people.
Governor Fubara assured that his team in Government will steadily work, genuinely, to protect the interest of the State.
While thanking the delegation for the vote of confidence passed on him and investing him as their Grand Patron, Governor Fubara urged them to tread the path of peace always in their activities.
Governor Fubara promised to consult with them and include their interest whenever appointments are made, and promised to donate a utility vehicle to enhance their logistics, while committing to support the upcoming programme of the body.
In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, thanked Governor Fubara for the opportunity to meet with them, and announced that IPAC has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor.
He also announced the decision of IPAC to honour the Governor as the Grand Patron and Leader of the umbrella body of all political parties in the State.
“IPAC is a roundtable of political parties saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment, advocacy, educating, and inspiring courage among political parties and the society at large.
“With the elections come and gone, it is practically the time for governance and to ensure all derivable of dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
“Herein lies the core of our visit today to forge a collaborative bond with you, His Excellency, to foster partnership for the overall interest of Rivers State.
“We heartily congratulate you on your victory at Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed your election at the polls. To this end, we in IPAC have passed a vote of confidence on His Excellency, and assure you of our collaborative, collective and individual support to succeed now, and in the course of your administration, and after,” he added.
More than 17 State Chairmen of Registered Political Parties in the State were in the delegation to pay a solidarity visit to the Governor.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of a large plaque of portrait picture, certificate as Grand Patron, IPAC T-Shirt and Fez Cap by IPAC Chairman to Governor Fubara.

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Our Position On Rivers PDP Ward, LGA, State Excos Unshaken -Fubara

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The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as fake and misleading, the purported list of Caretaker Committee members circulating in the social media and published in some national dailies on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, who said this after a meeting with the NWC at the National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza in Abuja, last Thursday evening, restated that the resolutions of a meeting held between the NWC and members of the Board of Trustees (BOTs) and PDP Governors’ Forum in Abuja in March on the issue remain valid.
Governor Fubara reiterated the position of the party that the executive officers whose tenures had expired in March, shall remain in their various capacities until the three months’extension period approved by the NWC elapses, and new congresses conducted to replace them.
He recalled that a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon Umar M. Bature, dated Wednesday, March 27, 2024, addressed to the Chairman, Rivers State Caretaker Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Aaron Chukwuemeka, and titled: “Approval of Wards, Local Government Area and State Caretaker Committee Members for Rivers State”, had clearly resolved the issue of the authentic members of the Caretaker Committees at the affected levels.
The letter, copied the Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum; Deputy National Chairman, South, His Excellency, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; and National Legal Adviser, Ajibade Kamaldeen Adeyemi, SAN, reads in full, “Following the expiration of the elected Ward, LGA, and State Executive Members in Rivers State, the National Working Committee (NWC), pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 (2) (b) of the Constitution of our Party, has, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the appointment of the expired Excos as Caretaker Committee Members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, attached to this letter is theauthentic list of the Caretaker Committee Members in Rivers State. These Caretaker Committees shall run the affairs of our Party at their appropriate levels for a period of three (3) months effective from the dates of their expiration, i.e. March 14, 18, 21, 2024 for Wards, LGA, and State, respectively.
“Please note that the NWC equally approved that anywhere vacancies have occurred due to death, removal, resignation, or defection, such vacancies shall not be filled.
“While thanking you for your continuous commitment, please accept the assurances of the NWC’s highest regards”.
Governor Fubara emphasized that the party stands on the agreement reached on the issue as encapsulated in the letter by the NWC to the State Chairman of PDP dated March 27, adding that no amount of intimidation, clandestine moves, wasteful lobbying and needless expenditure of public funds will change the position already taken.
The Governor stated that the list purported to be members of the Caretaker Committees of the party in the state was only the imagination of its purveyors, and advised those whose names were removed in the fake list and gullible members of the public to ignore it in its entirety.
He said that the party did not at any time remove or replace the names of officers whose tenures had been officially extended for three months, pending possible National Executive Committee ratification on April 18.
Governor Fubara insisted that what was published on Thursday and circulated on social media is not only fake, concocted and manipulated to suit the desperate ambitions of enemies of the State and its people, but a deliberate attempt to provoke members and cause discord in the party.
He observed that the list published in some national dailies and circulated on social media on Thursday was the handiwork of politicians who were spending public funds to cause unnecessary tension, anxiety and friction in the polity, and also distract the Government from the real task of governance in the State.
The Governor urged the elected officers of the party at ward, local government, and state levels whose names were removed and replaced with fictitious names to remain calm, and go about their legitimate duties as officers of the party.
He also warned those fomenting trouble and fanning the embers of confusion and disunity to retrace their steps, and embrace peace or face severe consequences.
The Governor also warned those whose names were forced into the fake and fabricated list of purported Caretaker Committee members being circulated not to be deceived by anybody with unmerited appointment, and avoid parading themselves or showing their presence at any party offices pretending to be officials, as anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law for forgery and impersonation.

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