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Nigerian government slashes foreign travels, estacodes for officials

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reduction of overseas tours by ministers, permanent secretaries and chief executives of government agencies to eight per year, and must be strictly for official purposes.

In a new guideline on fiscal prudence issued today by the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, President Buhari also ruled that estacodes, the dollar denominated allowances that officials draw, shall only be for the days of the event and not for the entire travel days. Hitherto, officials collected estacodes for the entire travel time, even when the real event may be for a day or two days.

The new presidential order also ordered government officials to submit their yearly travel plans within the first quarter of every year for approval.

Please read the full statement:

In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of Govt resources, President
Buhari has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.

Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings & engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation
for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation. They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.

On Nature & Frequency of Travels, all public funded travels (local & foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence. In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to Nigeria’s interest.

Except with the express approval of Mr. President; Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.

Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed 4 including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and 1 Aide of the Minister. Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of 3.

For Class of Air Travels, the President has approved that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments and Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals who are entitled, continue to fly Business Class while other categories of Public Officers are to travel on Economy Class.

Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.

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Kogi Decides: Thugs snatch 8 ballot boxes, INEC official kidnapped, 2 shot

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Thugs in police uniform have invaded Ward A of Crowther Memorial/Sabongari polling unit in Lokoja, Kogi State and successfully carted away eight ballot boxes after sporadic shooting.

“Eight ballot boxes were carted away,’ according to Peter Phillips, Assistant Registration officer.

He added that the card readers, his car key and phone were also taken away by the invaders.

Police officers deployed to the polling unit also joined journalists and party agents to scramble for safety as guns boom from the guns of the invaders.

The election has been peaceful and registration officers were waiting to commence collation before the invasion.

Similarly, a yet-to-be identified official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been kidnapped in SUBEB polling unit in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

The abduction happened after gunmen shot sporadically into the air while voting was going on, according to the Nation.

Voters scampered for safety before the gunmen went away with the official.

Meanwhile, voting has ended at Bishop Crowther LGEA Primary School Lokoja.

Sorting of votes and counting of ballots will commence by 2pm.

Information also reaching this newspaper revealed that two persons have been shot at Egume Police Station Polling Unit, Dekina LGA.

It was also gathered that violence has broken out in at least four polling centres in Lokoja, the state capital.

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BREAKING: Bayelsa APC gov candidate qualified for guber election, Appeal Court rules

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APC governorship candidate, David Lyon

An Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission not to remove the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, David Lyon, from the ballot, to enable him to participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State slated for Saturday.

The court gave the order following an ex parte motion filed by counsel for the Bayelsa State governorship candidate, David Lyon on November 14, 2019.

-PUNCH

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BREAKING: Kogi guber 2019: Armed masked men allegedly attack Gov. Makinde’s hotel in Lokoja

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UNCONFIRMED information reaching THE WITNESS from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital revealed that some armed and masked security men who appeared in police uniforms, on Friday, attacked the hotel where the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde lodged in Lokoja, Kogi State capital.

Makinde is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Kogi State Campaign Council.

He is in Kogi in his capacity as the Chairman of that Council.

A statement signed by the chief press secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa says eyewitnesses confirmed that the hooded security operatives arrived the Suitorial Hotels, Lokoja, located along Stadium Road, Lokoja, where the Governor and some members of the PDP Campaign Council were lodged at about 12.50 pm, on Friday, shooting sporadically and attempting to break into the hotel rooms.

It was gathered the some of the hooded security operatives scaled the fence of the Hotel and attempted to enter the rooms.

A melee was set off as the security operatives attached to the Governor of Oyo State were said to have resisted the invaders.

Within a short while, some residents nearby also gathered to resist the invading gunmen.

“However, some residents in the neighbourhood of the Hotel soon mobilised and joined the Governor’s security to resist the invaders.”

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