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N540b recovered through whistle blower policy, says minister

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MINISTER of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said yesterday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) has so far recovered over N540 billion through the Whistle Blower Policy.

He stated this yesterday at the 71st General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Mohammed said: “To this end, as at May this year, the EFCC, through the Whistle Blower Policy, has recovered over N527 billion, $53 million, and £122,890.”

The minister, who was represented by the Director, Public Relations and Protocol of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mr. Sunny Adejoh Baba, said the EFCC also successfully launched a major onslaught on the seeming high-and-mighty in the society (including senior military officer and their civilian accomplices), who had soiled their hands with shady deals, leading to recovery of choice assets across the country.

He enjoined the media to align itself with the policies and programmes of the Buhari Administration, aimed at ridding the country of the cancer of corruption, in order to free funds for development projects, which will uplift the standard of living of the citizenry.

“This effort should not be seen as the sole effort of Mr. President or the Government alone. The media has a duty to ensure that the programmes of government, meant to uplift the lots of the citizenry, are projected as a national cause and not just as that of Mr. President or the administration,” the minister said.

Mohammed, who said the BON General Assembly is taking place at an auspicious time in view of the forthcoming general elections, urged the broadcasting organisations not to yield their platforms to the purveyors of hate speech and fake news.

He said the broadcasting outfits should instead promote the unity, stability and the development of the country.

“Anything short of this would amount to a criminal abdication of a sacred duty, which could spell doom for our collective national life.

“We have had enough sordid examples to learn from that we ought not to allow a repeat at this critical time of our national development.

“It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the media and specifically, broadcast media, do not allow itself to become a purveyor of fake news and hate speeches,” the minister said.

Mohammed restated the Federal Government’s commitment to allowing the media to carry out its assigned watchdog roles, even as government expects the press to be guided by national interest above every other interests.

The minister said the launch of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in Jos in April 2016 underscored the administration’s determination to democratise the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed.

He noted that the changing media landscape and the advent of digital technologies have fundamentally altered the nature and function of media in the society, at times circumventing traditional media and challenging its privileged role as gate-keeper of news and entertainment.

The minister, therefore, urged companies in the broadcasting value-chain to take the advantage of the market and build local stations that would create employment for a diverse segment of the population and also lead to a transfer of technology and free the creative dexterity of the young population.

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THE NATION

NITDA DG, Isa Pantami, wins outstanding promoter of local content for national development award

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The efforts of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the development and promotion of local content in ICT sector has been further affirmed by an array of industry players and stakeholders at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on 19th July, 2019. The Director General/CEO of NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami, was awarded the prestigious Titans of Tech Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the promotion of local content for national development.

In a statement by Mrs, Hadiza Umar, NITDA’s head of Corporate Affairs & External Relations, the IT agency’s unwavering commitment to local content under Dr Pantami, has enhanced the purchase of indigenous brand of ICT devices by over 60% within the last three years. Local hosting of data doubled in value and local software consumption has significantly increased as attested to by the diversity of IT experts and business people at the Award ceremony.  The cumulative effect of these efforts, is that ICT contribution to GDP reached an unprecedented mark of 13.63% in Q4 of 2018.

Organisers of the Award further recognised the purposeful approach of Dr Pantami to ICT regulation in Nigeria. Organisers and stakeholders opined that the leadership of Dr Pantami is restoring confidence in indigenous technology development which has led to more foreign direct investment in the IT sector than any other sectors since 2018.

The Award was received on behalf of Dr Pantami by Dr Vincent Olatunji, the Director of e-Government Development and Regulations department of NITDA.

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THE NATION

TCN suspends KEDCO from electricity market

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The management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), says it has issued suspension and disconnection orders to Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) from the electricity market.

The suspension order was posted on TCN’s twitter handle @TCN_Nigeria on Sunday.

According to the twitter handle, the suspension order was as result of KEDCO’s default in the Market Conditions/Market Participation Agreements.

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THE NATION

How we spent $1bn security fund – Presidency

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The Presidency has dismissed Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) allegation that the one billion dollars drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was spent by the Muhammadu Buhari administration on the 2019 general elections.

The Peoples Democratic Party in a statement on Sunday asked Buhari to explain to Nigerians what his administration had done with one billion dollars drawn from the ECA in 2017 and meant to address the nation’s security challenges.

The amount was approved by the National Economic Council in December, 2017, to be used to purchase weapons to fight insurgency across the country.

However, Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said “this unverifiable allegation’’ clearly indicated that the PDP was suffering from socio emotional distress.

He said PDP ”thinks that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own.

”Here is what happened to that 1 billion dollars. It’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about 490 million dollars for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with government of the United States.

”Various other military procurement have been made. Balance of expenditure stands at about 880 million dollars or so. The PDP spent Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court. That is not to say every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same.”

The presidential aide added that, barring considerations of national security, the details of the stage of implementation, the procurement made and the suppliers would be obtained and made available on Monday.

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