Buhari Blames Ministers For Fresh Errors In 2016 Budget, Regrets Appointment

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President Mohammadu Buhari has reportedly pointed accusing finger at some ministers in his cabinet for their lackadaisical attitude towards the monitoring of the preparation of 2016 budget, adding that he regretted their appointments which were necessitated by his (Buhari) alliance with the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). 

President Buhari, who said his administration had been able to fish out those who heavily distorted the 2016 budget with “repeated” outrageous figures, condemned the act and assured the victims of facing the wrath of the law.

He made this known in a release signed by his Spokesperson, Garba Shehu on Friday in Abuja.

In the release, President Buhari said; “It has come to my notice that fresh flaw had been discovered in the 2016 budget. This is alarming and unimaginable as a nation.

“My government shall neither retreat nor surrender in fetching out the accomplices who helped the evil minds to perpetrate this devilish act on our budget. They must be brought to book soonest.”

It would be recalled that the Senate and House Joint Committee on Appropriation revealed on Tuesday that fresh errors had been detected in the 2016 budget.

It was gathered that the errors were responsible for the failure of the committee to present its report to the two chambers of the National Assembly on Wednesday as it had promised.

Investigations, however, showed that the errors would not affect the plan of the National Assembly to transmit the budget to President Muhammadu Buhari before Easter as efforts were being made to correct them.

It was learnt that one of the anomalies detected was in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, where provisions had been made for procurement and installation of security systems every year since 2013.

For example, in 2013, the sum of N527,000,000 was budgeted for the item; in 2014, N1,161,356,582 was allocated to the same item; in 2015, N316,420,274 was budgeted for it; and N1,710,322,610 is to be spent on the procurement and installation of security system in the SGF office in 2016.

The committee also detected items without project locations in the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing (headquarters). Such projects include the construction of a block of three classrooms at the cost of N85,592,483; construction of a maternity centre for N91,124,858; and the allocation of N172,623,767 for the building of skill acquisition centres.

The committee pointed out that oversight function would not be possible without project locations.

It was learnt that the committee also discovered anomalies in the allocation of large amounts of money for the rehabilitation and repair of office buildings as well as purchase of office items and fittings.

Not less than N21bn was allocated to such repairs and purchase at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government.

The committee also detected duplication of items. For example, N2.3bn was earmarked for former heads of state in the service wide vote of the Ministry of Budget and Planning, while N400,190,000 was allocated to the affairs of the former heads of state in the SGF office.

Other examples of duplication include allocation of N256,920,000 for the purchase of equipment, vehicles and furniture for the National Bureau of Statistics and the N230,705,000 by the NBS for the same purpose.

It was also learnt that the committee discovered instances where allocations for the purchase of items were made without stating the quantities to be bought. Such include the construction of solar boreholes at the cost of N140m in the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing and in the National Power Training Institute, N81m was budgeted for operational vehicles.

The committee described some items as curious. These include the allocation of N340m for wildlife conservation at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and N150m for growing girls and women project at the Federal Road Maintenance Agency.

Another curious budgetary item is the refund of N2,479,581,721 to states for federal roads, which was placed under the National Intelligence Agency.

When contacted, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said the errors shall be corrected at the committee stage.

He said, “The errors in the budget were identified at the various levels and were cumbersome, but shall be rectified soon.”

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Merger Talks With PDP: Aggrieved APC Members Are Blind, Segun Oni Fumes

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The All Progressive Congress (APC) Deputy National Chairman (South), Engr. Segun Oni, has described some aggrieved members in the party who were recently uncovered to be involved in merger talks with the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead 2019 election, as being myopic and couldn’t see beyond their noses, saying such politicians were desperate spoilers who have nothing to lose any longer but wanted to bring down the progressives.

New Telegraph has reported that less than one year into the life of the current administration, politicians of the major partisan divides have commenced secret moves to realign forces ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The talks, said to be causing ripples within the Presidency and a cross section of the All Progressives Congress (APC), cut across a sizeable portion of the ruling party and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The move, according to a source close to the leadership of the ruling party, is ostensibly triggered by the emergence of a new power cartel in the Presidential Villa that appears to have sidelined some founding fathers of the APC.

Such leaders are aggrieved, but have resorted to remain calm and keep their cool even in the face of glaring subjugation to the background by those young Turks who have formed a new cartel in the villa to corner the spoils of war, the source told our correspondent in confidence.

New Telegraph could not get reaction on the development from the Presidency as a text message sent to the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was not replied as at the press time.

But the deputy national chairman (South) of the APC, Engr. Segun Oni, has described such politicians as desperate spoilers who have nothing to lose any longer.

“We are aware of all the antics of these so-called politicians. I am sure they are more in the PDP than they are in the APC. Even if there are some in our party, they must be acting in ignorance and perhaps misinformed by their contact travellers in the PDP.

“In this country, people have failed to realise that losing election itself is an opportunity for self-reassessment and reinvention. It is an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and see what could be done to salvage your party. You don’t just wake up one day and say because you lost, everything should be lost. It is absolutely impossible the way they view it.

“Like in America, once the Republicans or the Democrats lose, they concentrate more on what led to their defeat and not to immediately explore possible means of bringing down a government.

“As far as we are concerned, such elements are desperate and you the media should expose them, we know what they are up to, but we are more prepared to bring the dividends of change to the ordinary Nigerian who voted for our party than spend time trying to stop them,” Oni told New Telegraph.

Ekiti People Instigated Me Against Fayemi, M.O.B Confesses, Pleads Support Ahead 2018

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The Ekiti June 2014 Labour Party gubernatorial candidate and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (M.O.B), has disclosed over the weekend that he was instigated into contest against the former governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in 2014, adding that what transpired before and during the election were orchestrated beyond his wishful act by some elements he can’t enlist on air to avoid escalation of rift.

He said he never planned to play a spoiler role as painted and presented against the chances of the former governor and present Minister of Solid  Minerals Development, but several forces, mostly within the All Progressive Congress (APC), the political party that produced Dr. Fayemi, heavily prevailed on him to decamp and contest against the incumbent.

“What happened between me and Dr. Fayemi was not new in politics. It was individuals interest protection, and everybody is allowed to do that with whatever method or means in active politics. It’s absolutely unavoidable.

“I pray that God will return all our losses and this could only happen when we are one and united.

“APC has lost elections persistently because we are divided. Whoever knows me well will realize that I am not a desperado, nor a traitor.

“I have always believe strongly in the will of God,” Bamidele said.

Spelling out why he had decided to return to the APC despite his ordeals with the party during the 2014 electioneering campaign of his Bibiire Coalition, in where several lives were lost and properties worth millions damaged, Bamidele explained to newsmen that what happened then could happen to anybody, saying it was called political battle and not individual issue between him and Fayemi.

He said, that formed part of why he had later chosen to return to the progressives, because he believed what happened then was mere politics and nothing more attached as may be insinuated at different quarters.

He said; “I have taken my time to redress and correct some mistakes which were unavoidably made in 2014 before returning to APC. I was pushed and I fell victim of circumstances, but I thank God the hope is still very much alive.

“I didn’t defect to PDP in the first place, because I was conscious of my background in politics which cannot and would not have gone far without the endless support of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“But I want to apologize to whoever I must have offended by my defection to LP to contest at that time.

“In politics, differences can come in diverse ways. It has come for us in APC and we lost an election. So what should be paramount to us now is reconciliation and how to restructure our party in order to present a more credible guber candidate by 2018, as I still plead for your support.”

FG Didn’t Refund “Kobo” To EKSG On Federal Roads Construction -Ex Minister

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Immediate past Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, has declared that no refund was made to the government of Ekiti State on the rehabilitation of federal roads during his tenure as minister, saying; “Ado-Ifaki dualisation on which it was reported that refund was made was not even in the category of roads on which the Federal Ministry of Works intended to make refund.”

Adeyeye, who was reacting to media report that the Department of State Services (DSS) was investigating the N5.8 billion reimbursement from the Federal Government on the rehabilitation of federal roads, including the Ado-Ifaki Road.

The former minister said throughout his tenure as minister of state for works, no kobo was paid to Ekiti State government by the Federal Ministry of Works and the records are there for all to see.

“The records are there and I expect responsible journalism to be about facts and figures.

“For instance, the Ado-Ifaki road that they mentioned was not even among the roads the Ministry of Works earmarked for refund because of non-compliance with Federal Government regulations on award of construction/rehabilitation of federal roads.

“Journalists as well as members of the public should stop acting on rumours when indeed; they have unhindered access to facts and figures.

“On this one, I can say it categorically that Ekiti State did not get any refund on federal roads construction or rehabilitation during my tenure as minister of state for works,” Adeyeye said.

Ekiti Assembly Summons Fayemi Over Missing N852m UBEC Fund, Condemns DSS

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The Ekiti State House of Assembly has summoned  the immediate-past Governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to appear before it on Tuesday, March 22, to explain how the N852 million Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund was expended by his administration.Also, the House condemned the invasion of the Assembly complex by the operatives of Department State Security (DSS) in a gestapo manner to arrest four members of the House.

According to the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, the two position were contained in a separate resolutions passed by the House at its plenary on Wednesday.Members of the House said the diversion of the fund by Dr Fayemi had affected the state as it could not access the UBEC fund for the past two years.

The Lawmakers threatened to take legal action against the former Governor and to invite relevant anti-graft agencies to take up the matter, if he refused to appear before the House on the day.

The Leader of Government Business Hon Olatunji Akinyele, moved the motion for the approval of the two resolutions and they were unanimously approved by the lawmakers.Members who included Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, Ekundayo Akinleye Sunday Akinniyi, Dr. Omotosho Samuel, Titilayo Akerele and Olusegun Akinwumi condemned the invasion of the Assembly complex by DSS operatives and described the action as shameful, barbaric and crude.

They called on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to call the All Progressives Congress(APC)-led Federal Government to order.The lawmakers also canvassed for immediate stoppage to the DSS siege on Ekiti House of Assembly and the release of the four abducted members for the organization to charge them to court.

While capping up discussions at the plenary, the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt Hon. (Pastor) Kola Oluwawole, said the evil plot of the APC to truncate the democratically-elected government in Ekiti would fail woefully.

He said that the members of the House could never be induced or coerced to impeach the popularly-elected Governor Ayodele Fayose.

He noted that the APC spokesman in Ekiti State, Taiwo Olatunbosun, had taken over as the spokesman of the DSS, confirming the allegation that the APC and the DSS were “joined in their evil plan which will definitely fail.”

Ondo Assembly Reinstates Speaker, Deputy, As Mimiko Intercedes

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Virtually after 5 hours of close door meeting with Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, the Ondo State House of Assembly Lawmakers have reinstated the speaker and its deputy.

All actions taken yesterday to remove its speaker and deputy have been reversed. Rt. Hon Jumoke Akindele  remains Ondo State Speaker.

The Ondo State House of Assembly said it has resolved its internal issues and resolved to allow the status quo ante on the leadership of the house.

The house committee chairman on information, Hon. Olamide George disclosed this while addressing journalists in Akure on Wednesday, today.

More details later…

FG Offered Us $1m To Impeach Fayose —Lawmakers

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Ekiti State House of Assembly claimed on Tuesday some of its members had been promised $1m to impeach Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Addressing reporters in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, said, “In the last four days, eight of our members have been visited by some men, who claimed to be officials of the DSS.

“Our members were told that their names were among those to be arrested and that they must ‘cooperate’ if they did not want their bank accounts frozen and be kept in detention indefinitely.”

Aribisogan, who was flanked by 13 other members of the Assembly, added, “We are here to inform the public the open involvement of the men of the Department of State Services from Abuja in the plot to unseat our governor, Ayodele Fayose.

“Last Friday’s invasion of the House of Assembly by the DSS, in which four of our members were abducted, has been established to be a prelude to the clandestine plot to coerce members of the Assembly to impeach Governor Fayose.

“As of today, even Afolabi Akanni that we were able to confirm was with the DSS in Abuja is being held incommunicado. No one has been given access to him, not even his lawyers and doctors. We do not have any information about the whereabouts of the other three (members).

“We are aware of the plot to arrest no fewer than 18 of our members with a view to forcing them to sign an impeachment notice against Fayose.

“The plot is being hatched by the same elements who masterminded the impeachment of Fayose in 2006, which was eventually declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

“They went on to promise that a proper arrangement had been made for the impeachment of the governor, with $1m already earmarked for sharing among ‘cooperating’ Assembly members.

“Also, our members were told that they would be provided with a soft landing in the APC if they cooperate. One of them revealed that they promised to make him the Speaker, and eventually the acting governor.

“We however wish to tell the plotters of evil against the government of Ayodele Fayose and by extension the people of Ekiti State that we, members of the Assembly, are not interested in their evil plot.

“We are prepared to spend the rest of our tenure with the DSS, instead of joining the people that we roundly defeated in five straight elections to cause another political instability in Ekiti State.”

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has accused the All Progressives Congress of submitting the names of more PDP lawmakers and government officials to the DSS for arrest.

The PDP, in a statement by the state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, on Tuesday, alleged that it had been informed that the list had been submitted to the President.

“The president who should be the president of all Nigerians, irrespective of their party affiliations, will do himself and the nation a lot of disservice if he acts such a devilish script,” the party said.

Copyright PUNCH.