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INEC: We’re most improved public service institution in Nigeria

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INEC: We’re most improved public service institution in Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it remains the most improved public institution in Nigeria despite the controversy trailing the conduct of the 2019 general election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamhood Yakubu, at second post-election review session for electoral officers (EOs) in Abuja, yesterday, noted that the commission is rated high when compared with its counterparts in other West Africa countries.
“Whenever I compare what we have done with what my colleagues elsewhere have done, I sometimes say we are many countries in West Africa rolled into one.
“Given the size of our voter registration, our population, if you look at what happened in our elections taking from period of 1999 to date, I have no doubt in my mind that INEC is the most improved public service institution in Nigeria today,” Yakubu stated.
According to him, the commission has offices in every local government areas of the country, but said INEC would not rest on its oars in ensuring improved electoral system.
He added that the meeting was to explore ways and means to improve in the conduct of elections, and advised the electoral officers to share their experiences on the field.
“This is our meeting, we should open up better where we need to work even harder to make the electoral process what it should be,” he added.
Electoral management expert with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Seray Jah, expressed the hope that if Nigeria gets its electoral system right, “the sub-region would be robbed off of the positive.
“Therefore, we hope this meeting will lead to actionable recommendations that will further enhance credible elections in Nigeria.”
The Programme Coordinator, European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, Maria Mauro, agreed with INEC that there is no perfect election in the world.

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FG budgets N600m for National Theatre despite banks’ takeover

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FG budgets N600m for National Theatre despite banks’ takeover

A

total of N600.39 million was budgeted for the National Arts Theatre in the 2020 Appropriation Bill despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee obtaining Federal Government’s approval to take over the cultural landmark.

New Telegraph’s analysis of the 2020 Budget of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture shows that the N600.39 million expenditure comprise total personnel cost of N356.55 million; total overhead of N144.04 million; total recurrent of N500.59 million and total capital of N99.80 million.

 

A breakdown of some of the figures indicates that salaries and wages are expected to gulp N268.21 million; allowances and social contribution (N88.34 million); allowances (N54.81 million; travels and transport (N18.60 million): electricity charges (N26.35 million) and telephone charges (N1.11 million).

 

 

However, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had announced during the Creative Nigeria Summit in Lagos, on September 30, this year, that the apex bank and the Bankers’ Committee had received the consent of both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Lagos State Government to take over the National Theatre with a view to transforming it into a creative industry park in line with the objectives of their Creative Industries and Financing Initiative (CIFI).

 

Following their annual retreat in December 2018, the CBN and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) had announced the setting up of CIFI, which is aimed at supporting start-ups and existing businesses in the creative industry space, as well as the development of a creative industry park across three major cities in the country.

 

They said the project would be financed with funds from the Agriculture/ Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (AGSMEEIS) under which lenders are required to set aside on an annual basis, five per cent of their profit after tax for the purpose of supporting SMEs.

 

Indeed, on October 5, Emefiele and top industry officials, along with the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was also accompanied by senior members of his administration, undertook an inspection tour of the iconic facility which was built primarily for Nigeria’s hosting of the global black Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977. However, over the years, lack of adequate maintenance negatively impacted the National Theatre, resulting in the facility becoming a shadow of its former self.

Speaking during the inspection tour of the facility, Governor Sanwo-Olu explained that the creative village will become the destination for tourism, entertainment and commerce, thereby creating more jobs and wealth for Nigerians.

 

He said President Buhari had been gracious to give the go-ahead and turn the national theatre, considered to be a dead asset, into an income-earning state-of-the-art, developed fashion entertainment industry.

 

“We have worked around this entire land area inhabiting the national edifice called the National Arts Theatre. What we have come to ascertain for ourselves is to also appreciate the extent of an asset that has been conceived as a non-income earning asset, but I dare say that Mr. President has been gracious to give the go ahead and turn this dead asset into an income-earning state-of-the-art developed fashion entertainment industry.”

 

Also speaking at the end of the tour, Emefiele said that when fully developed, the National Theatre had the potential of being much bigger than the Convention Centre in Peru.

 

He urged workers at the theatre not to panic over the takeover, as a mechanism has been put in place to protect their interests, including securing their jobs.

The CBN Governor disclosed that following the take-off of the pilot scheme of the creative park in Lagos, the Bankers’ Committee intended to set up similar parks in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu.

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FRSC officials beat passenger to death in Edo

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FRSC officials beat passenger to death in Edo

F

our officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Edo State Sector Command, have allegedly beaten a 36-year-old passenger to death for preventing his driver from parting with money demanded by the officials.

The officers are Francis Igboh, Sunday Ogi, Samson Alolade and Joseph Onolade.

 

The officials are attached to Abudu outpost in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.

 

The passenger, Mr. Odion Omafo Samuel, had hired an Audi 80 car and was travelling in it with its driver when the FRSC personnel flagged it down at Owuahe Hill on Agbor Road.

 

 

Samuel was said to have aided his driver to put up strong resistance against FRSC officials who were bent on allegedly extorting the driver of money.

 

An altercation ensued between the officers and the passenger. The driver fled the scene and left Samuel at the mercy of the FRSC officials.

The FRSC personnel chased Samuel to a nearby bush where they beat him to death.

 

Thereafter, they abandoned the victim’s body in the bush, returned to their official vehicle and sped off.

The driver of the car, who drove Samuel from his residence at a nearby village, rushed to inform his relatives of the ugly development.

 

The villagers and Samuel’s relations accused the driver of abducting Samuel and thereafter handed him over to the police.

 

Police at Abudu swung into investigation which led to the arrest of two of the FRSC officials who eventually took investigators to the bush where Samuel’s decomposing body was found and evacuated at the weekend.

The two FRSC officers, Igboh and Alolade, are now in police custody while efforts are on to apprehend the two others, Onolade and Ogi.

The suspects allegedly accused Samuel of snatching their booking tickets.

 

The head of Abudu outpost of the FRSC, Mr. Ogbemi Olu, was yesterday invited to the state Police Command Headquarters in Benin for questioning.

His invitation followed the statements given by his officers.

 

The state FRSC Public Relations Officer (PRO), Edoma Bajack, refused to speak on the incident.

 

He said: “I cannot give you any information on that.”

 

Also, the state FRSC Sector Commander, Anthony Oko, refused to speak on the issue.

He said: “I cannot comment on what I do not know. The police in Abudu are handling it.”

 

 

But the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, yesterday confirmed the incident.

He said: “Our operatives in the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), police headquarters, Benin, are investigating the case. It is a case of murder.”

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NFIU seeks to enjoy same salary scale with CBN

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NFIU seeks to enjoy same salary scale with CBN

T

he Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), yesterday, demanded a review of the salaries and other conditions of service of its staff to be the same with that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

The Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of NFIU, Moddibo Hamnan Tukur, who made the request, also demanded salaries of operatives of the agency to be captured as sub-head under the yearly expenditure profile of the CBN.

 

He also noted that the budget of the apex bank for the 2020 fiscal year is about 10% of the N10.33 trillion national budget for the same financial, saying that while the total budget size projected for Nigeria in 2020 fiscal year is N10.33 trillion, that of the CBN is well above N1 trillion.

 

Tukur, who stated this during budget defence session of NIFU with the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, said that since NFIU is now domiciled in CBN albeit as an autonomous agency, its salary structure and condition of service should reflect that of the CBN 100%.

 

He said that though request to that effect by NFIU to President Muhammadu Buhari in line with its establishment Act, was honoured, it was not fully approved, urging the committee members to look into it.

“When we were with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as an intelligence unit, condition of salary and service applicable to operatives of the commission, were fully extended to us.

 

“When we were moved to CBN as stipulated by the Act, we expected the same operational and management procedure to follow fully, which is not the case presently.

 

“We firmly believe that this can be done if by the apex bank by just capturing our personnel costs as a sub-head under their expenditure profile on yearly basis,” he said.

 

He stated that operatives of the agency needed to be well remunerated to avoid being consumed by temptations that come their ways on a daily basis as regards millions of US dollars being tracked from monies fraudulently smuggled into the financial system.

 

“This morning alone, NFIU tracked and reversed $1.5 million of such fraudulent transactions. Some of the banks are in problem finding all means of getting out of it.

 

“A lot of money is being taken out of the energy sector within the radius of billions of dollars, but we are leaving up to the task of tracking and frustrating the financial fraud in line with our primary responsibility of assets tracing and tracking,” he said.

 

He lamented further that out of the N1.1 billion capital budget appropriated for the agency in 2019, only N400 million has just been promised to be released to it this week, which according to him, translated into zero per cent implementation for now.

 

He appealed to the committee chaired by Senator Suleiman Kyari (APC, Kaduna North), to help push for approval of the agency’s 2020 capital budget component of N4.2 billion.

 

He said that this was very necessary for the agency to finance the construction of its office in the Villa at the approved cost of N3.5 billion and give to the Supreme Court, N500 million as cost incurred from its building being used as temporary office.

His words: “The office site is in the Villa and the contractor is Julius Berger, everything has already been approved at the executive level, requiring appropriation from the National Assembly.”

However, a member of the committee, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye (APC, Ekiti South), described the capital budget projection of the agency for 2020 as too ambitious, having not been adequately funded in 2019.

He advised the agency to think outside the budgetary provisions in raising money through grants seeking from international donors.

 

“N4.2 billion as capital budget proposal for 2020 is too ambitious. Find ways by which you can meet some of your capital commitment outside the budget,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee assured the agency of required assistance in getting its salary structure to align with that of the CBN and approval for the projected N4.2 billion 2020 capital budget proposal.

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N2.1bn fraud: Ex-pension boss, Maina, forfeits 23 properties to FG

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N2.1bn fraud: Ex-pension boss, Maina, forfeits 23 properties to FG

T

he Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday granted an order of interim forfeiture of 23 landed properties linked to a former Chairman of Pension Reforms Task Team (PRTT), Abdurasheed Maina.

 

 

This was as the Federal Government slammed a 12-count criminal charge on Maina over alleged pension fraud to the tune of N2.1 billion.

Maina is expected to be arraigned alongside his son, Faisalb before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

There are however indications that Faisal will be arraigned on a separate charge.

 

Both father and son will be arraigned before Justice Okon Abang.

The interim forfeiture order granted by Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbajo was premised on an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

Counsel to the anti-graft agency, S.M Abubakar, hinged his application on Section 17(1) & (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud related offences Act, 2006 and the inherent powers of the court.

 

The applicant prayed the court to grant an interim order of forfeiture to the Federal Government of the assets and properties listed in the motion.

 

It further prayed the court to direct the publication of the interim order of the forfeiture in any national daily newspaper inviting any person(s) or body(ies) who may have interest in the assets and properties to show cause within 15 days of such publication, why final order of forfeiture to the central government of the said assets and properties should not be made.

 

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo, in a short ruling after listening to the application, granted the application as prayed.

The court later adjourned till November 19 for hearing.

 

Parts of the assets forfeited are: Plot 965 Cadastral Zone C02, Gwarimpa; No 13, Korau road, Nasarawa district, Kano; Plot 37, Kinshasa road, Maiduguri and No 16, Dabai road, off Mangoro road, Sokoto.

 

Also listed are property at No 62, AC Maternity Ward, Damaturu road, Biu, Borno State; Block 23v, flat 2, located at life camp, Abuja (2 bedroom, semi-detached); Plot 1b, Ajayi Road, Unguwan Rimi, covered by C of O; Plot MF – 27A, New Pasali layout, Kuje; Property located at 16B/BG, Gombe road, Biu and Farm at Dorawa, Karshi Development Area, Karu LGA, Nasarawa.

 

In the affidavit in support of the ex-parte application deposed to by one Mohammed Goji who is an investigative officer with, the EFCC averred that the Commission was invited sometime in 2010 by the Office of the Head of Service to assist in the verification/biometric exercise of the federal civil service pensioners.

 

He further averred that during the investigation, two fake pensioners were discovered, which led to a full scale investigation for more fake pensioners.

 

Goji added that in the course of investigation, it was discovered that large scale corruption in form of stealing and money laundering of pension funds had taken place, spearheaded by one Abdurasheed Maina, who was the chairman of PRTT, along with his accomplices.

 

 

“That the said Abdurasheed Maina, alongside one of his cohorts, Stephen Oronsanye, the former head of the Civil Service of the Federation, had set out to siphon funds belonging to the federal civil service pensioners by setting up a fraudulent nationwide biometric enrolment exercise for pensioners on the Federal Government payroll under auspices of a Pension Reform Committee.

 

“That the said Stephen Oronsanye invited one Osarenkhoe Afe to join the Pension Reform Committee.

 

“That the said Osarenkhoe Afe introduced a company known as Innovative Solutions to the Pension Reform Team through the office of the Head of Service for biometric enrolment project, which company was headed by one Robert Ikazoboh.”

 

The deponent averred that in the course of investigation, Ikazoboh volunteered extra judicial statement.

 

“That Innovative Solution Ltd. did not respond to a tender made in the papers, so as to be selected to handle the biometric enrolment project, but rather, were appointed by Mr. Osarenkhoe Afe.”

 

The prosecution had alleged that Maina fraudulently opened and fictitiously operated accounts with the active connivance of the staff of Private Banking Department of a bank.

Most of the transactions were done through phone calls.

 

 

In addition, the prosecution submitted that a bank official’s statement revealed that the sum of N33.8 million was brought from one Bashir Mohammed Taura, a bureau de change operator and he was instructed to facilitate the delivery of the said money to Maina on June 5, 2014.

 

 

The prosecution further submitted that its investigation revealed that the bank official also brought another sum of N2,500,000 from same Taura and instructed him to facilitate delivery to Maina on June 6, 2014.

 

 

According to the prosecution, the bank official also on March 10, 2014 facilitated the transfer of N33,105,000 million to ALNASRA BDC & JIEK BDC on behalf of Maina from cluster logistics account for the purpose of buying US dollars.

It further alleged that the sum of N224,085,000 was paid to Innovative Solution Ltd. translating to overpayment of N25 million to Innovative Solution.

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Court set judgement date in Kalu’s case

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Court set judgement date in Kalu’s case

J

ustice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 2, 2019 as the date to deliver judgement in the alleged fraud case involving a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.

The judge fixed the date yesterday after parties in the matter adopted their written addresses.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Kalu, a former Director of Finance in Abia State Government House, Udeh Jones Udeogu and a firm, Slok Nigeria Ltd. to the court over alleged N7.2 billion fraud.

The defendants have since denied the alleged offence.

 

In adopting his written address, Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), faulted the prosecution’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), over the use of “offensive language” against his client.

 

Kalu drew the court’s attention to Pages 107 and 109 of the prosecution’s written address wherein it was stated that: “The first defendant knew that he could not face the rigour of cross-examination and that his falsehood will be exposed through the fire of cross-examination; that was why he declined to be cross-examined.”

 

Expressing his displeasure at the statement, Kalu urged the court to direct the prosecution’s lawyer to withdraw the paragraph failure which he will be prepared to address the court on the issue.

According to him, his client’s decision to opt for making of statement rather than being cross-examined is a statutory choice, which cannot be queried by any lawyer.

The silk added that it is only the court that could decide whether his client’s case amounts to falsehood or not.

 

Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Jacobs, justified the inclusion of the paragraph in his written statement, saying he is not willing to withdraw it.

 

In his intervention, Justice Idris said he will address all the concerns raised by both lawyers in his judgement.

 

Earlier, Udeogu’s lawyer, G.E. Ukegbu, while adopting his written address, said the prosecution has failed to prove that the bank drafts under consideration in the case were paid to the 3rd defendant (Slok Nigeria Ltd).

He added that contrary to the prosecution’s position, there was no admission of any crime by his client. He urged the court to discharge and acquit the 2nd defendant of all counts against him.

 

Slok’s lawyer, David Ndah, also adopted his written address, which he said was dated 16th October, 2019 and filed on October 17, 2019.

After listening to the submissions of parties, Justice Idris thanked them for their cooperation and reserved judgement till a date that he said will be communicated to parties.

 

However, the prosecution’s lawyer pleaded with the judge to give a date for judgement, even if it is tentatively.

Consequently, Justice Idris fixed 2nd December, 2019, as the date to deliver judgement in the matter.

 

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Diezani’s ally, Aluko, loses N26.63bn property to FG

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Diezani’s ally, Aluko, loses N26.63bn property to FG

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ustice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of three landed property worth over N26.63 billion belonging to Kola Aluko, an ally of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The order was sequel to the granting of an ex-parte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) through one of its lawyers, Rotimi Oyedepo.

 

The anti-graft agency gave the value of the landed property, located in Abuja and Lagos, as $73 million (N26.280 billion) and N350 million respectively.

 

 

Arguing the motion, Oyedepo said Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 2016 empowered the court to make such a forfeiture order.

 

He alleged that the two property situated at Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja; as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, were procured with proceeds of unlawful activities.

The lawyer further revealed that the Abuja property were purchased for N350 million and $18 million respectively, while the Lagos property was bought for $55 million.

 

 

“The property sought to be attached were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful diversion from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

 

 

“The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the property sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Oyedepo said.

After listening to the lawyer’s submissions, Justice Liman ordered the interim forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government.

 

The judge also directed the EFCC to publish the interim order in a national newspaper for the respondent (Aluko) or any other interested party to show cause why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

 

Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to 12th November, 2019.

In an affidavit attached to the motion deposed to by one of its operatives, Sambo Mayana, EFCC said it commenced investigation into the matter after one Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, sent in “a damning intelligence report and a petition alleging fraud, lack of transparency and unethical conduct in the transfer of production rights in the oil mining leases against the respondent and his cronies.”

 

EFCC said its investigation revealed suspicious financial transactions involving the Aluko, KAA and Atlantic Energy Holding Limited based in the British Virgin Island.

 

“That the company, in the course of three years, received large suspicious transfers from two sister companies, namely: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, based in Nigeria,” the deponent averred.

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ICPC declares ex-presidential aide, Obono-Obla, wanted

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ICPC declares ex-presidential aide, Obono-Obla, wanted

…says investigation indicted suspended aide for fraud

 

T

he Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared the suspended Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, wanted over his alleged failure to honour invitation.

Specifically, the commission seeks to interrogate Obono-Obla on allegations bordering on abuse of office, falsification of admission records, living above his income and collection of gratification from suspects under his investigation.

 

Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, said the need to interrogate Obono-Obla followed receipt of petitions from aggrieved persons.

 

According to Okoduwa, available records from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) indicated that the embattled former presidential aide left the country on August 17.

She further disclosed that the wanted man, who travelled to an “undisclosed location” through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, had yet to return.

 

“Mr. Obono-Obla is facing series of allegations levelled against him by members of the public on his role as head of the government panel on assets recovery.

“The commission is in receipt of petitions accusing him of abuse of office, falsification of admission records, living above his income and collection of gratification from suspects under his investigation.

 

“The suspended chairman is also facing allegations of working outside the guidelines governing the panel by investigating unauthorized petitions and prosecuting suspects without recourse to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation,” the commission said.

It said preliminary investigation showed that Obono-Obla may have breached some provisions of the Act establishing the commission, hence the need to present himself for questioning.

 

“ICPC had conducted series of investigations on the allegations with preliminary findings showing that some provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and extant laws of Nigeria had been allegedly violated by Mr. Obono-Obla.

 

“Consequently, ICPC had extended several invitations to him, which he had failed to honour without giving any reason. Attempts to track and make him appear before the commission also failed, leading ICPC to contact other law enforcement agencies for assistance concerning his whereabouts,” Okoduwa noted.

 

She added that: “One of such contact has yielded results as records from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) show that Mr. Obono-Obla had travelled out of the country.

 

“The NIS records revealed that he left the country to an undisclosed location on 17th August, 2019, through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, and has not returned two months after.”

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FG to rake in N108bn from National ID card renewals

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FG to rake in N108bn from National ID card renewals

NIMC ACT permits agency to charge/fix fees

 

Correction in DOB costs N15,000

 

 

T

he Federal Government may generate revenue in excess of N108 billion from National Identity Card renewals, New Telegraph has learnt.

This is coming on the heels of recent declaration by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that Nigerians would have to pay N3,000 to renew the card every five years.

NIMC recently disclosed that it had enrolled 36 million Nigerians for the National Identity card as at August 2019, while more are still being enrolled on a daily basis.

Based on this figure, the government is to realise N108 billion if each person pays the N3,000 to renew.

This is aside charges for other services relating to the identity cards, for which the agency has fixed different fees.

 

According to NIMC, replacement for lost card costs N5,000, payable through the Remita app. Anyone that wishes to update or modify his or her details on NIMC database is to pay “N500 per updatable field”. Such information modification, however, excludes change in date of birth, which alone attracts N15,000.

 

Although Nigerians have criticised the government and the Identity Management agency for what they described as rip off through the renewal fees, section 31 of the NIMC ACT 2007 empowers the agency to, among others, “impose fees (if any) of such as the Commission thinks fit, which may be charged for the issue, reissue or replacement of the Multipurpose Identity Cards including different fees to be charged in different circumstances….”

 

Incidentally, most Nigerians would be receiving their cards after five years of enrolment, meaning that they would have to first renew before they can start using it.

As at December last year, NIMC said it had been able to print 300,000 cards and by that time, total enrolment for the card was about 30 million. The commission also noted that the printed cards were for those who enrolled in 2012, which was six years before the cards were made available.

 

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented non-availability of the cards years after enrolment. Many who have enrolled and issued National Identification Number (NIN) as far back as 2013 are yet to receive the physical card.

“Me and my mum registered in 2013, which is six years ago, and until today, we have not received the card,” a lady who identified herself as Omowunmi Adebayo said.

 

Another angry Nigerian, Olayiwola Saheed said: “I registered about five years ago and my card isn’t ready yet. I am sure it has already expired while I’m waiting for it. NIMC should let us know when they are ready for business because, for now, they are still joking.”

The story was also not different from Joy Uche, who claimed she enrolled in 2014 and got the NIN, but yet to receive the card until now.

 

Reacting to complaints over non-availability of the card, NIMC said its main focus was ensuring that all Nigerians are enrolled and issued their NIN, adding that the NIN is the most important and not the card. “You will be issued your cards when funds permit. Please bear with us,” the Commission said in a response to complaints on it its Twitter handle.

Director General of the Commission, Aliyu Aziz, also urged Nigerians to focus on the NIN, which they can get instantly after registration. According to him, lack of funds to print cards had forced the agency to concentrate more on issuing NIN. “We will not be able to produce the card at the rate at which we produce the NIN. Therefore, we have separated the job and told every Nigerian to focus on the NIN,” he said.

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Prison decongestion: FG freed 3,768 inmates in 2 years

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Prison decongestion: FG freed 3,768 inmates in 2 years

…as inmate population stands at 74,081

 

 

I

n its determination at decongesting the prison population, the Federal Government has released a total of 3,768 inmates from different correctional formations across the country, in the last two years.

 

 

Statistics from the website of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) indicate that as at October 14, 2019, the total prison population stood at 74,081.

Out of the number, 72,662 were male inmates, while 1,419 were female offenders.

 

Available records further showed that a total of 51,380 inmates were awaiting trial for various crimes, even as 22,701 were convicts.

Worried by the growing number of inmates across prison cells and its attendant pressure on security and limited facilities, the Federal Government had, in October 2017, constituted a Presidential Committee on Prisons Reforms and Decongestion.

 

The committee, which is headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, was saddled with the responsibility of, among other things, developing technology-based strategies towards the decongestion of prisons nationwide.

New Telegraph gathered that since its inauguration, the committee has continued to work round-the-clock, with visits to at least 15 states of the federation.

 

Our correspondent learnt that a total of 3,768 inmates had, so far, been freed from various prison cells by the committee, owing to the nature of their offences.

 

Factors that necessitate release of inmates from prisons, according to findings, include: cases with option of fines, age, ill-health as well as errors.

Secretary of the presidential committee, Mrs. Leticia Ayoola-Daniels, confirmed the figure in a text message to New Telegraph.

 

Also speaking, spokesperson for the NCS, Mr. Francis Enobore, a Comptroller, said once it was discovered that an inmate had no “concrete reason” to be incarcerated, the committee ordered their immediate release.

 

When asked to give an estimate of the number of inmates so far freed by the committee, he said: “They have released over 3,000 inmates from various prisons.”

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APC: Buhari in hurry to create jobs, grow economy

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APC: Buhari in hurry to create jobs, grow economy

T

he All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday said that President Muhammadu Buhari was in hurry to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and grow the economy.

APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, stated this when the delegation from the Vietnamese Government paid a visit to members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party in Abuja.

 

 

The delegation was led by Nguyen Hai Ninh, the Deputy Chief of Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, according to statement issued by Chief Press Secretary to the APC National Chairman, Simon Ebegbulem.

“To achieve this, the APC-led Federal Government is reviving our textile industry so that we work towards taking advantage of our comparative advantage in this sector so it can help provide jobs to the over 200 million of our population,” he said.

Oshiomhole stated that President Buhari was in a hurry to provide jobs to unemployed Nigerians as well as accelerate the growth of the economy.

 

He said: “It is as a result of this that the APC-led administration is fighting corruption vigorously so our common wealth will not be concentrated in the hands of a few but that of the majority.

 

“With a population of 200 million, we have the advantage of a huge market. But we also have a huge challenge of ensuring an economic growth that will make that 200 million people comfortable. Before the coming of President Buhari, we have missed a lot of opportunities.

“We had challenges in power supply and, of course, we have our own share of security challenges. And, of course, the President had to fight corruption so that a few people cannot take the wealth of this nation. Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for our President, so we are going to take advantage of this second term to ensure that we accelerate economic growth so that we will meet the needs of our people.

 

“Right now, we are focusing on ensuring that we have power supply. Vietnam has a strong textile industry and you have international market, so I am glad to know about that. I am particularly keen on this because I worked in the textile factory before and I think that there are one or two things we can learn from your experience because we are on the verge of reviving our textile industry which will help us create jobs.

 

“That is why you see the APC which was formed in 2014, our key objective is to ensure that our economy is managed in such a way that it works for the good of the majority and not for a few.”

Oshiomhole, according Ebegbulem, commended the Vietnamese government for backing Nigeria in its bid for the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly, adding that the two nations will continue to deepen its relationship in the area of trade and investment for the benefit of the two countries.

 

Speaking earlier, Hai Ninh said they were on the visit to establish official relationship between the APC and the Communist Party of Vietnam.

He used the opportunity to solicit the assistance of Nigeria in settling the crisis between Vietnam and China over the disputed South China Sea, urging Nigeria to insist that the dispute be settled according to the UN established laws.

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