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Ekiti Assembly summons Fayose, ex-Speaker, others over alleged financial impropriety

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Ekiti State House of Assembly has summoned former Governor Ayodele Fayose to appear before it to throw light on alleged misappropriation of local government funds while in office.

Also summoned are former Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Mr. Dapo Olagunju, former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs Mr. Kola Kolade and 16 former local government chairmen.

The Assembly, in its plenary yesterday, took the unanimous decision sequel to the adoption of the recommendations of the joint committee of the House on Public Petition and Local Governments on a petition submitted to the Assembly by eight suspended PDP council chairmen.

The Assembly had on December 18, 2018, suspended indefinitely the 16 council chairmen and 177 councillors to pave way for a forensic audit of the councils’ accounts over alleged fraud.

Eight were reinstated in July, following a petition they filed, appealing for their reinstatement. Others were suspended for further forensic investigation.

Presenting the report at yesterday’s plenary, the Chairman of the Public Petition Committee, Adegoke Olajide, said the remaining eight chairmen on suspension made a plea to the House for the review of their indictment and possible reinstatement.

Olajide said the suspended chairmen during an appearance before the committee confessed to have diverted funds of their councils on monthly the basis to an account, but said the action was in compliance with the directive of the immediate past governor.

He said the council chairmen, who provided documents to back up their allegations, claimed that the instruction to withdraw the councils’ fund was often passed to them through Olagunju and Kolade.

The assembly also summoned a former Speaker of the House, Kola Oluwawole, some suspended members of the Fifth Assembly as well as the former governor over the passage of a N10 billion revised appropriation law towards the end of the former governor’s tenure.

The motion for the summon was moved by the House Leader, Gboyega Aribisogan, on the recommendation of the report of the ad hoc committee.

But, Fayose’s media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, was also directed to appear before the lawmakers for alleged un-remittance of revenue of above N13 million while serving as a supervisor at the state-owned broadcasting service.

The summon was consequent upon a motion moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ayokunle Yemisi and seconded by Femi Akindele representing Irepodun/Ifelodun Constituency 1

The Speaker, Funminiyi Afuye, said the lawmakers would continue to do their best at sanitising the state and ensuring prudence in the management of its resources.

Afuye urged the anti-graft agencies to freeze his account immediately.

In a reaction, Fayose, through Olayinka, said: “Fayose will not dignify an Assembly of clowns, who are under the total control of a governor, who is desperately in search of ways to cover his electoral thievery and failure to secure the acceptance of Ekiti people.

“If they have any evidence of financial impropriety against him (Fayose), they can ask the man who used SMS to appoint them to invite EFCC operatives and accommodate them in the Government House as he has done on many occasions. As for us, we are moving on.”

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THE NATION

Reps investigate NIMASA, NDIC over unaudited accounts

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The House of Representatives has placed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, on full status enquiry.

This followed the non-submission of its audited accounts for years 2015 to 2018 to the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).

The House Committee on Public Account took the action yesterday.

Also, the committee did not only place the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on full status enquiry, but also summoned the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, over the unaudited accounts of the corporation.

This was part of the resolution of the House Committee headed by Oluwole Oke at the continued hearing of the “Deliberate and Reckless Refusal By Non-Treasury and Partially-Funded Agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018”.

Julius Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session, confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts from both organisations.

Last week, the committee summoned the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, with the permanent secretary in the ministry, over continued shunning of the invitation of NIMASA Director-General Dakuku Peterside.

Others were also invited.

Peterside was still absent at Tuesday’s session.

Read Also: Reps urge Fed Govt to appoint more Supreme Court justices

But Gambo Ahmed, the agency’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, told the committee that Peterside was outside the country on an international assignment.

The committee rejected the excuse for his absence.

The committee rejected Saraki’s explanation for the non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency.

It expressed surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account; hence, could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.

“We cannot submit an audited account from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit,” the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bashir Jamiu, told the committee yesterday.

“Are you saying you don’t have a management account?” Oke queried.

“We don’t have,” he said.

The committee chairman asked if he was saying the agency did not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years.

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THE NATION

Breaking: Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

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Breaking: Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

The Presidency has recalled some aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who were unceremoniously relieved of their duties late last year.

According to a report by Daily Independent revealed that instead of returning to their previous posts in the Pres­idential Villa, the aides have been rede­ployed to various ministries where they were assigned new roles by the supervising ministers.

Speaking on Tuesday evening, February 25, one of the af­fected Vice President Osinbajo aides, said some of them were recalled in December 2019 while some also got redeployed in Janu­ary 2020.

“We have all been recalled but not to our former posts. We have all been redeployed to ministries and we will be reporting to the ministers. We are no longer under the Office of the Vice President. It is not what we expect but it is better than what happened before when our ap­pointments were terminated abruptly.

“Some of us were recalled late last year while some of us got our letters in January this year. I have since returned to Abuja and resumed in my ministry.”

Another of the affected aides, who also spoke on the matter, said it took a serious intervention from prominent Nigerians before they were recalled.

“It was just divine because we have all lost hope. The me­dia also did not help matters as they were reporting that there is a rift between the vice president and the presi­dent and he may resign or be impeached.

“But we thank God for his grace and the intervention of eminent Nigerians including our then-boss, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who really fought for us to be recalled. I have also resumed in a min­istry”, she said.

Sacked Osinbajo Aides

The report said when Daily Independent contacted some ministries, some top officials confirmed that some of the affected aides are in the ministry. A top official in the Minis­try of Information and Cul­ture said, “Yes, some of them are with us here. They re­sumed in January this year”.

Another top official in the Ministry of Transport also confirmed that some of the af­fected aides were redeployed to the ministry.

The names of the affect­ed aides are Ajibola Ajayi, daughter of former governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. She was appointed Special Assistant (Legal) to the President (VP’s Office) in August 2019. She was a former SA to the President on Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) (VP’s office), from October 2015 to May 2019.

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THE NATION

Lai Mohammed, NTDC unveil new policy to grow Nigeria’s tourism industry

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The Nigerian tourism industry is set for speedy development as the Ministry of Information and Culture, in synergy with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, is set to come up with a new tourism policy for the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed disclosed this during his working visit to the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Alh. Mohammed explained that the policy portends great avenue for the development of the nation’s tourism industry, “and it will no doubt lead to an influx of foreigners into Nigeria to appreciate the potentials that abound in the country – our food, music, film, culture and fashion industries which are subsectors of the tourism network.”

Mohammed, who noted that Nigeria made $53 million from film and $51 million from the music industries respectively last year, described Tourism as the fastest-growing sector in Nigeria economy, which, according to him, employs more than one million people, though with the capacity of employing seven million people.

Alh. Mohammed while commending the NTDC’s TourNigeria initiative noted that the NTDC is sitting on a keg of unexplored potentialities. He added that the Corporation also can harness the huge potentials of Nigeria to attract people to Nigeria, “because there are many reasons people should come to Nigeria.

“Nigeria is a country of colours, with 250 ethnic groups, good culture and almost all-year-round good weather. We are blessed with a good music industry that has become global. Our fashion is celebrated globally. Nigeria also has good religious tourism, with lots of people coming to Nigeria every day for religious tourism.”

The Information and Culture minister while commenting on the visa-on-arrival policy for African nationals which began operation since the beginning of this year, said with the policy, the tourism industry will be better off, realise its full potentials and generate more revenue into government coffers and increase the fortune of operators in the industry.

While welcoming the minister, the Director-General of NTDC, Folorunsho Coker identified a paucity of funding as one of the critical problems besetting tourism development in Nigeria aside legislative framework to institutionalise the sector.

He promised not to rest on his oars until the ‘Tour Nigeria’ and ‘Nigerian Flavour’ twin programmes he conceived are driving to their full potentials and replicated in all states of the federation.

Tour Nigeria is a tourism brand, created by the NTDC in 2017, under the Coker-led administration, to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria.

Coker revealed that the Corporation is deploying digital platforms and strategies to revolutionise the sector, saying “We are embracing digital transformation tools to gain more mileage and penetration to sell the Nigerian flavours – music, film, fashion and food to the global world.”

The NTDC boss then reiterated his road map for the Nigerian Tourism, a five-point action plan – acronymic CHIEF (Corporate Governance & Regulations, Human Capital Development, Infrastructural Development, Events and Marketing, and Finance & Investment) – to promote and develop the tourism industry by promoting domestic tourism and encouraging ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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