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Nasarawa Moves To Block Financial Leakages In LG Administration

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By Yahaya Idris, Lafia

Following anxiety over the country’s economy as oil prices fall, Nasarawa State Government has moved to block financial leakages in its local government administration.

This was the resolution reached after the state Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule met with critical stakeholders in local government administration at the Government House, on Friday.

Recall that oil prices slumped following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted Nigeria’s oil revenue.

Specifically, stakeholders including labour leaders, pension union, finance and local government administrators from both state and local government levels, want local government chairmen to strictly monitor payment of staff salaries and pension of retirees, with a view to blocking leakages.

Part of the resolutions also was that local governments in the state must consider the welfare of the electorates through the execution of projects rather than paying monthly salaries and pensions only.

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In an opening remark, the Governor said it has become necessary to invite critical stakeholders in the administration of the state to discuss issues pertaining to the economy of the state, welfare of the citizens and local government administration, among other issues.

“The issue of the economy today, globally and specifically as it affects Nigeria, welfare of our people, our local government administration and activities of our administration, are reasons for the meeting,” Engineer Sule stated.

Briefing journalists shortly after the meeting, Chairman, Lafia Local Government Council, Aminu Mu’azu Maifata, who doubles as the state Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.

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Maifata affirmed the decision of council chairmen to pay special attention to the issue of vetting salary vouchers in order to rationalize monthly wage bill, especially as it affects retirees.

While emphasizing the need to sustain the payment of pension to retirees in full, the ALGON chairman, added that his colleagues are determined to work closely with the state government and local government pensioners, to over challenges.

Also speaking, state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Yusuf Sarki, commended the Governor for organizing the meeting, which he said focussed on the economy of the state, welfare of the people and local government administration.

Comrade Iya was particularly happy with the decision of the state government collaboration with the state House of assembly, towards reviewing the current pension contribution by local governments from 15 to 20 percent.

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Those who attended the meeting include Commissioner for Local Government,, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Others are, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Director General Pension Bureau, State Accountant General, State Auditor General, Auditor General for Local Government, all local government chairmen, overseers of development areas.

Also, State Chairmen Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, State Chairman, NULGE, State Chairman and Secretary, Union of Pensioners, and LG Chairman, Union of Pensioners.

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Governor Uzodima Wins Again At Federal High Court, As Suit Challenging Him Dismissed

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The Federal High Court setting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit, asking the court to restrain Hope Uzodinma as Imo State governor.

The judge, Okon Abang, who delivered the ruling after taking arguments from counsel to parties, also ordered the award of N500, 000 each in favour of 1st, 2nd and 7th defendants in the matter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kingdom Okere, Reform and Advancement Party (RAP)’s 2019 Governorship Candidate in Imo, had filed a suit asking the court to stop Mr Uzodinma.

While Mr Uzodinma is the 1st defendant in the suit, the governor of Imo, Attorney-General of Imo, All Progressives Congress (APC), Action Alliance (AA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 2nd to 7th defendants respectively.

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Although all parties were represented at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, only Action Alliance was not represented.

Ifeoma Ogufo, Counsel to Mr Okere, informed the court that she had filed a notice to discontinue the suit and that defendants had been served.

M.A. Aguda, who was counsel to Mr Uzodima, did not oppose the application.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit.

However, Mr Aguda, who described the suit as a distraction to his client in steering the ship of the state, asked for an award of N5 million cost against the plaintiff.

 

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Tribunal Sacks Kwara APC lawmaker, Declares PDP Winner As APC Rejects Ruling, To Appeal

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The Kwara State House of Assembly Rerun Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday, nullified the victory of Adam Rufai of the All Progressives Congress in the by-election for Patigi constituency.

The tribunal subsequently declared Salihu Mohammed Gada of PDP winner of the by-election held on March 14, 2020.

However, the Kwara State chapter of APC rejected the judgment of the tribunal which declared the candidate of PDP the winner of the recent Patigi by-election.

The seat became vacant when Rufai’s brother, Saidu Ahmed, died in December 2019 after a brief illness.

It explained that the judgment was based on the difference between ‘Adam’ and ‘Adama’ on the certificate of the candidate of the APC.

APC Vs PDP

Kwara APC made the complaint in a press statement by its Publicity Secretary, Folaranmi Aro, on Monday.

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The statement was titled, ‘APC rejects, to appeal Tribunal’s judgment on Patigi … Says judgment a judicial subversion of people’s mandate’.

Aro complained that the PDP never called any witness from the examination body to substantiate its claim that the APC candidate was not the owner of the certificate he tendered for his election.

Part of the statement read, “The tribunal did not deny that we won the election overwhelmingly. It instead hid under a feeble excuse that the names of our candidate on the two certificates he presented to the electoral body are slightly different from each other to award our mandate to the opposition.

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“It is a sad day for democracy as the judgment is a slap on thousands of the electorate who stood in the sun to make their choices.

“This judgment is a violent attack on the position of the Supreme Court in many established cases where an alphabet was either omitted or added to a candidate’s name. We are definitely going to appeal the judgment because it signals a danger for our democracy and amounted to stealing the mandate of the people. The judgment is a judicial subversion of the mandate of the people.”

Meanwhile, a former senate President, Bukola Saraki, has congratulated Yahaya over the judgement.

The former Kwara State governor tweeted, “A big congrats to the candidate of our party @OfficialPDPNig for the State Assembly by-election held in Patigi, Kwara State on 14th March, 2020. Hon. Salihu Muhammad Yahaya has just been declared the winner by a tribunal. I also congratulate all our stakeholders for their steadfastness.”

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Edo APC To IG: We Want Suspected PDP killer Arrested, Prosecuted

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IG Mohammed Adamu
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IG Mohammed Adamu

IG of Police, Mohammed Adamu

The Inspector General of Police (IG), Muhammed Abubakar Adamu, must urgently bring Chief Godwin Ukori, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Godwin Obaseki, to deserved justice for allegedly shooting dead Mrs. Yado Odogbo, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member on Saturday, 19 September 2020 in Nikorogha Ward, Ovia South-West local government area, Edo state.

Making the call on Sunday in a release in Benin, the capital, APC noted “The gruesome killing of Odogbo in Unit 6 Nikorogha Ward was just one of very many despicable, callous and violent acts foisted by the PDP across parts of the state to win the Saturday’s election at all cost. From Uhunmwode in Urhonigbe North, to Orhionmwon, Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha local Government, and several other places in Edo central and Ego North, INEC officers ran away, while voters took to their heels for dear lives as a result of sporadic shootings by PDP agents of death.”

It said: “As they came into the voting environment and upon sighting our party member called Pastor Bishop, Ukori and his men started shooting at him. It is during the shooting that Odogbo was sighted and shot at the head, dying instantly. Her family who are strong APC members has written a petition to Zone 5 and Zone 5 officers have gone to Asaba to effect arrest of Ukori, Obaseki’s SSA on Security. We don’t know if he has been arrested.”

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The release, signed by Mr. John Mayaki, clarified that Odogbo was on the said day at the polling station to vote, and was reportedly awaiting her turn, like many others, “when the hoodlums stormed the centre shooting into the midst of voters, party agents and INEC officials. While many scampered and escaped the scene, Odogbo was not fortunate.”

It said: “The blood of Odogbo cries for justice. Those who shot her, making her grisly and ghastly remains the subject of pitiful attention for almost one hour as police officials were being awaited to evacuate same, must be served justice of equal weight. Why PDP, using Ukori, decided to terminate our members life just because she wanted to perform her civic role must be questioned and punished.

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“Others who allegedly came with guns in company of Ukori included Kulemine Allah, Tubesa Allah, Jephet Ebiwei, Wisdom Gamine Ebiwei, Gbolu Ebiwei and Ejorliyor Ogodogodo Gibi. As a party, we have done everything possible to stop our enraged members from taking laws into their hands. Pastor Ize-Iyamu has been busy in the last few days visiting and appealing to the bereaved family, as well as those who suffered injuries in whatever way, to exercise restraint, promising them justice and pledging supports.

“As a party, we expressed our commitment to engage in non-violent election and results of our unflagging commitment is now being seen through Odogbo who now lies at the mortuary. Many others who suffered degrees of bruises and wounds have been receiving treatments across various private hospitals in the state.

“The option of peace will be sustainable if and only if justice is served and at the quickest possible time. We lamented the plans of PDP to kill and make voting difficult for our members and the Edo state electorate before and while the election was going on. We were entirely aware of the thugs Obaseki prepared weeks before the election day, and how gun trainings were being undertaken, to declare that the election was indeed war.

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“The story now is that PDP, particularly Ukori, has been going round and warning our members in Ovia South-West, as well as other councils, never to disclose what they experienced during the election. Many of our people are now nursing gunshot wounds, and wounds sustained in stampedes occasioned by violence instantiated by PDP daredevils.

“We urge the IG to order the arrest of Ukori and the six others for diligent prosecution and deserved justice, and to investigate several other cases of violence and unrests caused by the PDP. This call is the least we could do in the face of torments and provocation by Obaseki and his party who again have been arresting our members across the councils on trumped allegations, using men of the Nigeria Police,” the statement said.

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