Banks, Ex-CEOs Indicted As N720b Cash Disappears And Other Newspaper Headlines Today

The headline on THE NATION shocks its readers this morning, by revealing that a sum of N720b Cash is missing. NHIS audit uncovers how funds were stolen through curious investments asking where is the N720 billion “invested” by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 12 years? Nobody seems to have an answer. Not even NHIS boss  Prof. Usman Yusuf, The Nation has learnt. He said the “investments” had no approvals of successive Ministers of Health, past boards of the NHIS and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF). He said billions were lost to diversion and underpayment of interest. Banks, former Executive Secretaries, select management staff and interest groups were all neck-deep in the scandal, Yusuf alleged.

According to the NHIS Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, there is no trace yet of the N720billion. Yusuf opened the lid on the corrupt practices in NHIS in a power-point presentation to the agency’s Governing Council in response to a query by the board. He said when he discovered the scandal, he engaged forensic accountants to get to the root of the matter. The Nation had exclusively reported that a team raised by the Federal Government discovered that over N138billion of the NHIS cash was trapped in 17 banks, financial companies and individuals’ pockets from January 2011 to date.

Moving from missing funds to the 2019 elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has informed the N’Assembly that the 2019 polls will cost N242bn. According to THE PUNCH, THE GUARDIAN, NIGERIAN TRIBUNE and DAILY SUN, Buhari has presented a supplementary budget to the National Assembly in which he sought the approval of N164bn out of the N242bn budgeted for the 2019 general elections. Buhari said the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies would need N242bn for the elections, asking the legislature to provide N164bn through virement in the 2018 budget or supplementation, while the balance of N78bn would be covered by the 2019 budget. Buhari, in his letter to the National Assembly, titled, ‘Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget,’ specifically asked the legislature to re-allocate part of the N578bn voted to the projects inserted into the 2018 Appropriation Act by the lawmakers to fund the elections and critical infrastructure.

The President specifically asked the legislature not to increase the current size of the 2018 Appropriation Act from N9.21tn but to vire N228bn from the N578bn to the elections as well as the critical projects as earlier proposed by the executive in the 2018 Appropriation Bill. President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read the proposal at the plenary on Tuesday. INEC to spend N189.2bn; NSAO, N4.2bn;   DSS, N12bn;  NSDC,  N3.5bn; Police, N30.5bn; NIS;  2bn

Giving the breakdown of the running costs for the polls, Buhari said INEC needed N143, 512, 529, 445 for 2018 supplementary and N45, 695, 015,438 in 2019 budget, totalling N189, 207, 544, 893. He said the Office of the National Security Adviser needed N3,855,500,000 for 2018 supplementary and N426,000,000 in 2019 budget, amounting to N4,281,500,000. The Department of State Services wants N2,903,638,000 as 2018 supplementary and N9,309,644,455 in 2019 budget, totalling N12,213,282,455. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps requires N1,845,597,000 as 2018 supplementary and N1,727,997,500 in the 2019 budget, totalling N3,573,534,500. Also, the Nigeria Police needs N11,457,417,432 as 2018 supplementary and N19,083,900,000 in 2019 budget, to get a total of N30,541,317,432. The Nigeria Immigration Service also needs N2,628,143,320, out of which N530, 110,078 would come from 2018 supplementary and N2, 098,033,142 from the 2019 budget.

Still on the 2019 elections, DAILY INDEPENDENT reveals the President words assuring ICC of a free and fair, election. Buhari has assured the International Criminal Court (ICC) of free, fair and credible elections in 2019. He noted that efforts were being geared towards averting violence that characterized the 2011 elections which necessitated investigations by the ICC.

“Let me intimate the ICC that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019. Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterized the 2011 general elections in Nigeria which necessitated preliminary investigations by the International Criminal Court, I assure you that all hands are on deck to prevent any recurrence of such tragic incidents. We shall do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria witnesses the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019,”Buhari stated on Tuesday, at the Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the ICC, at The Hague.

Saraki, Legislators Perfect Moves To Dump APC heads NEW TELEGRAPH. Barring any last minute changes to the plans, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki may dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the end of the week. New Telegraph investigations indicate that some members of the splinter Reformed APC (R-APC) will be dumping the APC next week as the National Assembly embarks on a long vacation preparatory to the parties’ primaries for various elective offices.

“Just watch out before we leave for the annual recess next week, many of our members (R-APC) will denounce their membership of the APC. We are going to join a party that will guarantee us return ticket for 2019,” a source told our correspondent. The Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Special Duties, Hon. Usman Bawa, had, on Monday, resigned his membership of the APC.

Finally VANGUARD reveals NAF’s reason for stopping South, M-Belt leaders’ trip to Benue. The Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, explained the circumstances that surrounded its denying landing permit in Makurdi for the aircraft that was to have conveyed Southern leaders to the Middle Belt Forum conference on restructuring on Monday, saying it received information that the plane initially hired for the flight had some ‘snags’. In a statement signed by Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, however, insisted yesterday that the air field in Makurdi was not for civil aircraft operations but military aircraft, stressing that  the ongoing ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ meant to checkmate the activities of killer herdsmen and militia in Benue, Taraba states and other places was largely being coordinated from NAF Base in Makurdi, with fighter aircraft flying in and out of the Base. NAF’s explanation, however, drew strong reactions from Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed; Igbo leader, Chief Guy Ikokwu, and Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, who expressed dismay over it.  But elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, agreed with NAF’s explanation of the incident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There Were More Killings Under Your Watch – Presidency Tells PDP

President Buhari says ongoing killings should not be politicised, but the latest statement could further deepen partisan bickering.

Although President Muhammadu Buhari warned against politicising the ongoing killings across Nigeria, his aides have yet again reminded Nigerians that deadly attacks resulting in high number of deaths did not start under his government, but rather a reality which Nigerians lived through for the most part of Peoples Democratic Party’s 16-year rule.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the PDP was playing politics when the major opposition party declared a week-long national mourning in memory of those killed last weekend in Plateau State.

The police put the figures of those killed around 100, but witnesses and organised groups like the Christian Association of Nigeria are estimating over 200 deaths in the killings which affected several communities in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area between July 23 and 25.

Mr Buhari was in Jos, the state capital, located about 50 kilometres north of the affected communities, to commiserate with the state government and reassert his administration’s commitment to hunt down the killers and ensure justice for the victims.

The PDP, which became Nigeria’s major opposition party following its defeat at the 2015 general elections, announced Wednesday evening its flag would be unfurled at half-staff at its local and national chapters across the country for the next seven days.

For concrete action, the party said the “people of Plateau State” should “exercise their rights as global citizens, work with other public-spirited Nigerians and groups and take President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for acting helpless in the face of continuous mass killings in our country.”

“The PDP firmly holds that the life of every Nigerian is sacred. All Nigerians must be protected whether they are Birom, Basange, Igbira, Tiv, Idoma, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Gbagyi, Yoruba or from any other tribe whatsoever,” the party added. “The fundamental duty of government all over the world is the protection of lives and Nigerians can no longer continue to fold their hands while compatriots are being daily hacked down by marauders.”

In both tone and deed, the PDP’s move to rally Nigerians appeared an uncomfortable development for the State House, prompting Mr Adesina to exhume a string of past killings he said occurred without declarations of national mourning by the opposition party when it was in power.

Rather than exercise “decorum, deep introspection” and help proffer “actionable ideas” on how to end the senseless killings in the country, the PDP danced “on the graves of the dead, playing cheap, infantile politics,” with its national mourning, Mr Adesina said.

Mr Adesina said the PDP’s mourning exercise would fail because “Nigerians are politically discerning, and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap antics.”

The spokesperson went on to list the following past incidents and called out the PDP for allegedly failing to mourn the casualties at the time.

– November 20, 1999. Odi, in Bayelsa State, was invaded on orders of a PDP President. About 2,500 people killed. No national mourning.

– Between February and May, 2000, about 5,000 people were killed during riots over Sharia law in different parts of the North. No national mourning.

– In 2001, hundreds of people, including the old, infirm, women and children were killed in Zaki Biam. No crocodile tears.

– Between September 7-12, 2001, Jos, Plateau State, erupted in internecine killings. Between 500 and 1,000 people were killed. Flags were not flown at half mast.

– In February, 2004, at least 975 people were killed in Yelwa-Shendam, Plateau State. No mourning by the then ruling PDP.

– Between November 28 and 29, 2008, Jos was in flames again, with 381 deaths. No mourning.

– In 2010, 992 people killed in Jos. Mum was the word.

– In 2014 alone, according to Global Terrorism Index, at least 1,229 people were killed in the Middle Belt. No mourning.

– Boko Haram killings in PDP years were over 10,000. PDP flags were still fluttering proudly in the sky.

 

PDP “Expert” In Annuling Elections – APC

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has said the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, was good for just annulling elections.

The APC said this in reaction to the call on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to annul results of the party’s national convention held last weekend.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, the APC said: “We imagine the utter shock and disappointment the dying opposition Party must have felt to see that their prediction of collapse for our Party ahead of the Convention did not come to pass. Unable to recover from the shock, they now indulge in ignorant whimper, calling on INEC to help them do what they are best at doing; annulling elections.

“It is quite distressing to see that a Party that held power for 16 years did not know that INEC has no role in internal elections of a political party. We also wonder which position the PDP contested for at our Convention which entitles them to take it upon themselves to challenge the process.

“If the PDP now sees itself as an interested party in our internal elections, we would encourage them to send their petitions to the Convention Appeals Committee of our party. We however do not expect them to understand this process of internal democracy.

“It is clear to everyone that having been kicked out of power, the PDP still has no idea what to do three years after. However, playing the busybody and so openly advertising their ignorance of basic electoral rules will make it even more difficult for Nigerians to grant them the forgiveness that they have begged for.

“What is PDP’s grouse? That INEC should not recognize the new APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as his affirmation, according to the PDP in violation of democratic requirements of direct voting by delegates.

“Our election guidelines provides that all Party posts prescribed by the Party constitution can be filled by democratically conducted elections or by Consensus, provided that where a candidate has emerged by Consensus for an elective position, a vote of “Yes” or “No” is called to ensure that it was not an imposition. This was clearly adhered to in many positions, including the National Chairmanship position which was unopposed.

“But we understand PDP’s problem. They are terrified by Comrade Adams Oshiomole. They know that with him they will no longer have a breathing space. Hence the baseless allegations peddling and conspiracy theory which we are now accustomed to as part of PDP’s sorry attempt to play ‘opposition politics’.

“It is indeed ridiculous that a Party whose Convention was a bazaar where delegates were bought and sold with dollars could brazenly allege corruption against our Party. They should go ahead and show which governors contributed the amount being alleged to the convention. We have dealt with the issue of membership contributions in an earlier statement.

“We however ask this “new anti-corruption crusaders” to start with the basic task of producing audited accounts. Till today, APC remains the only political party in the country to have done so. Nigerians know that PDP talking about corruption is like prostitutes preaching sexual morality. They dont take them seriously.”

World Bank Approves $2.1bn Loan For Seven Projects In Nigeria

The World Bank has announced the approval of $2.1bn loan for seven projects to be executed in Nigeria.

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday said the loans were approved in Washington on Wednesday and are for seven projects to support Nigeria’s investment in nutrition, access to electricity, states’ fiscal transparency, polio eradication, women’s economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, was quoted to have said, “The Federal Government of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies human capital investment, restoring growth, and building a competitive economy as its key pillars.

The projects approved by the International Development Association, the bank’s low-interest arm, are expected to support Nigeria’s economic growth plan.

Growth rates in Nigeria have bounced back since the third quarter of 2016, when a recession, its first in 25 years, bottomed out. Growth returned largely due to higher oil prices, with the country relying on crude sales for much of its revenue.

However, growth slowed again in the first quarter of 2018, as the country’s non-oil sector struggled.

The government expects growth to rise to a pre-recession level of 7 percent by 2020.

The World Bank said more than half of the loans would be used to fund power and climate change projects and boost fiscal transparency. It also approved a $7 million grant for nutrition.

Nigeria privatised most of its power sector in 2013 but retained control of its dilapidated monopoly transmission grid, often blamed for hobbling growth.

The country intends to raise $2.8 billion of debt offshore to help part-finance its 2018 budget and plans to explore all options to lower costs, the debt office head told Reuters.

The debt office said it could tap capital markets or concessionary loans from the World Bank after the 2018 budget had been approved.

(Additional reports from agency)

JUST IN: Oyo Govt Closes Bodija Market Over Traders/Police Clash

The Oyo State Government has shut down Bodija market, Ibadan, as police and butchers clash on Thursday.

According to the verified twitter handle of the Oyo State Government, @oyostategovt, it was shut after gunshots were heard in the market.

The tweet added that the chairman of Aare Laatosa Local Council Development Area, Adekunle Oladeji, said the closure was to prevent the loss of lives and property. “It is also to guard against the escalation of violence in the market to other parts of the state,” the tweet said.

The state government had directed that the butchers should relocate to a new abattoir outside the town but the butchers did not agree with the directive.

On Tuesday, the butchers staged a protest at the state secretariat in Ibadan over the demolition of the abattoir in the market by the government over the weekend.

Our correspondent learnt that Thursday’s clash began when some of the butchers accused their leaders of taking gratification from the government to support the relocation order.

The clash led to the closure of shops in the market while traders vacated the market because of the commotion.

When contacted, Public Relations Officer of the Oyo State Police Command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he would come up with a statement on the clash soon.

Osun 2018: 11 Aspirants To Jostle For PDP’s Ticket

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee for Osun state governorship election on Wednesday, June 27, cleared all the 11 aspirants contesting to be the party’s flag bearer in the September 22 governorship election in the state.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the chairman of the screening committee, Austin Opara, at the presentation of Screening Certificates to the aspirants at Wadata Plaza in Abuja, said all the aspirants were successful.

The aspirants are Senator Akanbi Abdulrasheed, Oyewumi Olalere, Nathaniel Oke, Senator Ogunwale Felix and Alhaji Fatai Akinbade.

Others are Ezekiel Adeniji, Akin Ogunbiyi, Ayoade Adewepo, Rafiu Bello, Senator Nurudeen Adeleke and Adeolu Durotoye. Opara commended the aspirants and urged them to work as a team for PDP’s success in the election.

The deputy national secretary of the party, Emmanuel Agboh, addressing the aspirants, advised them to engage meaningful discussion on possibility of having consensus candidate for the election.

Killings: Senate Delegation Commiserates With Plateau Govt, People

A Senate delegation led by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to Plateau State over the latest killings.

The delegation is also in the state for an on-the-spot assessment of situation of the state, according to the Twitter handle of the Senate President.

Speaking during the visit, Saraki conveyed the sympathy of the National Assembly, “on this unfortunate sad incident that occurred here in Plateau State”

“This is something that is very sad. This is not only a loss to Plateau, but also a loss to the entire country. Words cannot describe how the affected families are feeling with this kind of loss.”

 

See video of Saraki speaking in Plateau state:

The Senate President

@SPNigeria

VIDEO: “On behalf of the National Assembly, we convey our deepest sympathy on this unfortunate sad incident that occurred here in Plateau State” – Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki

Killings: Buhari To Overhaul Security Setup

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari was planning a reorganisation of the nation’s security architecture to address ongoing security challenges in parts of the country.

He, however, did not disclose the details of the re-organisation.

Dogara said this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The President has taken enough steps, these are security issues, they are not matters that you can discuss; but he has told us what he is doing, the re-organisation that he plans to put in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen,” he said.

Dogara said Buhari briefed them on what he saw firsthand when he visited the troubled state on Tuesday and the measures he was putting in place to forestall recurrence.

He added, “These are very sober moments for all of us. In a situation where people, in hundreds, continue to be killed, we can no longer tolerate this kind of situation as a government.

“Whatever it is, we must not lose the fight against violence because we can’t lose that fight and still keep our civilisation.

“If you go to the North East, you can see the level of devastation caused by Boko Haram. Everything resembling progress: from schools to hospitals to government institutions, everything has been pulled down. And we don’t want a replication of this all over the country.”

PHOTONEWS: Aregbesola, Adamu Commission Ayedaade High School, Ikire

Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the Minister for Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu on Tuesday commissioned the newly built Ayedaade Government High School, Ikire in Irewole Local Government Area of the State of Osun.

The school is the sixth of its kind to be commissioned by Aregbesola as part of the projects in the O’School initiative.

Here are interesting photos from the ceremony as captured by his Official Photographer, Dolapo Julius.

 

PHOTONEWS: Buhari Presides Over FEC Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the meeting of the Federal Executive Council FEC.

In attendance were the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SGF, Boss Mustapha and Ministers including other members of council.

The FEC meeting began immediately after President Buhari met with the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara over the security situation in the country.

Here are photos from the meeting by Novo Isioro, Osinbajo’s official photographer.

Plateau Killings: Saraki, Dogara Meet Buhari

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have met with President Muhammadu Buhari over the killings in Plateau State.

Both leaders of the National Assembly arrived at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Discussions at the meeting focused on ways in which the Legislature and the Executive can work together to resolve the security issues in the country.

The two leaders of the National Assembly also received a briefing from the President on the steps being taken to tackle the crisis.

The Presidency also confirmed the meeting in a tweet.

Presidency Nigeria

@NGRPresident

President @MBuhari met with Senate President @bukolasaraki and Speaker House of Reps @YakubDogara this morning at the State House, on the Security situation in Plateau State.@AsoRock & @nassnigeria working together to end the killings,restore peace and ensure justice