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Corruption allegation: Plateau govt replies Buhari’s minister

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Following accusation of corruption levelled against the Plateau State Government by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, on Monday, the state government has reacted.
On Monday, the minister accused the Plateau State Government of mismanaging over $2 billion loan.

According to the minister, the APC administration in Plateau was not prudent in managing resources.

“Where is the $2 billion loan collected from African Development Bank for potatoes processing factory payable in 25 years? Where is the factory located? Or where is the money kept and whose account? Why did the state government keep the issue of the loan secret? What is happening to LG funds? What is happening to 5 per cent meant for the traditional council?” the minister said in a statement he personally signed in response to an earlier verbal attack on him by the APC chairman in the state, Latep Dabang.

The two had traded tackles over the handling of a recent visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to the state as part of his tour to states ruptured by bloodletting in recent months. In reacting to the APC chairman, the minister chose to take a swipe at the state governor, Simon Lalong, accusing him of graft and fraud.

President Buhari was in Plateau State last Thursday as part of his visit to violence-ravaged states.

Scores of people have been killed in ethnic-related violence in Plateau, mainly between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities. Over a dozen people were killed in the state even on the day the president visited.

A day after the president’s visit, the minister accused Governor Lalong of side-lining him from the visit. He said he was not officially informed of the visit by the state government, despite being a minister from the state; and that even when he attended a reception organised for the president, he was not allowed to speak. He also accused the governor of playing to the gallery by renaming a road, formerly named after a former military ruler, after Mr. Buhari.

“Another disaster of the president’s visit was the renaming of Yakubu Gowon way to Muhammadu Buhari way. To say the least, it is embarrassing,” the minister said in an interview he posted on his Facebook page.

“Gowon was the president’s boss, how can he be stripped of a 40-year privilege and honour in his home state? This is the worst thing that can happen to a man like the elder statesman. I believe that General Gowon is feeling betrayed and abandoned by his own people.”

In his response to the minster’s outburst, the APC chairman criticised the minister, allegedly describing him as a lunatic.

The minister, undeterred by the insult accused the Governor Simon Lalong administration of lying about the security situation in the state; and of ”deceiving President Buhari”.

”And if peace has returned to Plateau, why was the LG elections suspended because of security concerns? Is it not true that Governor Jang constructed all the roads in Jos and Bukuru metropolis except for state low cost -Dong road? You were present when former President Goodluck commissioned Federal Secretariat bridge, why did Governor Lalong mislead the president to recommission it again?” he said.

However, the Commissioner for Information and Communication in Plateau State, Yakubu Dati, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TMES chose to react only to the allegations of corruption levelled against the state government noting that Mr. Dalung’s allegations were false, and unfounded, and only meant to portray the state government in bad light.

The spokesman also said that the Lalong administration has been able to reduce the debt it inherited by it predecessor, Jonah Jang, by over 50 per cent

Mr. Dati, in the statement also denied that the state procured a loan of $2 billion. He also explained other financial dealings by the Plateau State Government.

The statement reads:

“For the records. Plateau State debt profile is N122 billion from an inherited debt of N220 billion. The records are available at the Debt Management Office for confirmation. The bandied figure of N1 trillion is tales by moonlight.

”On the matter of the loan. It is still being processed and not released. This can easily be confirmed on the bank’s website as attached. The amount secured by the Federal Ministry of Finance is 11 million dollars and not 2 BILLION dollars being bandied. The facility was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of Wednesday, July 26 2017. The loan was secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the development of the Irish potato value chain, and the project is expected to create 60,000 jobs.

”Plateau State would be providing N599 million as counterpart funding for the project.The loan has a five years moratorium; thereafter, whatever remained of the loan would be paid at the rate of 1 per cent in 20 years. The loan would be used to develop the Irish potatoes value chain in 17 local local government areas of the state.

”The implementation would be jointly executed by FADAMA project and a unit in the state Ministry of Agriculture. About 70 per cent of the loan would be used for the provision of infrastructure, extension services, improved planting and marketing. The whole exercise is aimed at boosting production and minimising wastages in Plateau State which is the largest producer of Irish potatoes. The rescue administration remains focused on delivering on its mandate.”

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Ganduje Donates N10 Million to EFCC, ICPC for Anti-Corruption Event

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The Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has donated N10 million to the organizers of the National Anti-Corruption Marathon.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Crimes, ICPC, Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN and other stakeholders organized the first National Anti-Corruption Marathon, in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari, for his fight against corruption.

Announcing the donation when he received members of the main organizing committee in Abuja, Mr Ganduje promised that the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission would collaborate with the organizers, as an official partner, to ensure success of the event.

He said his administration not only engaged in sensitizing the citizenry on the evils of corruption but also reorganized and strengthened its anti-corruption agency to offer optimal professional services.

“Before now, people find it difficult to access the services of the agency but we established offices across the 44 local government areas so that the services can be available to the common man”, the governor stressed.

“We also facilitated the recruitment of additional personnel and subjected them to training by professional agencies like EFCC and ICPC so that they can deliver.

“We also ensured cooperation with these agencies and that attracted international organizations to support us in reinforcing our anti-corruption system.”

The governor stated that as a result of the renewed professional and vigour of the state anti-corruption agency, highly placed individuals such as Permanent Secretaries in the state civil service and a commissioner were removed and prosecuted for involvement in corrupt practices.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Jacob Onu, told the governor that the organizers intend to “use the image and popularity of marathon races to create massive awareness and bring together all segments of the Nigerian population in support of Mr. President’s fight on corruption in all facets of national life”.

“This will strengthen unity among the citizens of this country and also satisfy the desire to exploit and harness the abundant talent in our youth for national integration,” Mr Onu said.

He added that the campaign was aimed raising national consciousness on the scourge and danger of corruption to the country and humanity in general.

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Buhari Approves New Salary Package for Police Officers

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a new salary package for police personnel.

Mr Buhari also assured that his administration will continue to give attention to the welfare and operational needs of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) with a view to restoring its lost primacy in the internal security framework of the country.

Mr Buhari said this during an audience in the State House, Abuja, with members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force on a “Thank You” visit.

The visit followed his approval of Rank Salary Structure Adjustment, by which salary, allowances and pension of police officers will be increased.

Mr Buhari regretted that the inability of the police in their constitutional role as the frontline force in the prevention of crime had led to military involvement in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country.

According to the president, “From Taraba to Sokoto, to the South-south, people don’t feel secure until they see the military. I am pleased to make the increase in salary and allowances in the hope that it will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system.”

Mr Buhari observed that the more efficient the police is, the more confident the government and citizens will be.

According to him, “The military should be reserved for higher tasks. The police should be able to cope well with the challenges of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and such crimes. In every town and village, there is the presence of the police. From all these places, they should be able to forward first-class intelligence to you on which to act.

“There is a need to amplify the question of more men of the police, especially given the condition we are in–emergency in the North-east, pervasive insecurity and abduction for ransom and banditry in many parts of the country. I congratulate you on the success you recorded against criminals taxing people and stopping them from their farms. We are expecting more from you,” the president told the team.

A Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Service Commission, Clara Ogunbiyi, a retired judge, who represented the chairman, Musiliu Smith, had informed the President that the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment would enhance police welfare and morale.

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, also assured that the police would redouble efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections throughout the country next year.

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Eid-El Maulud: FG Declares Tuesday Public Holiday

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The Federal Government has declared Tuesday as public holiday to mark the Eid-el Maulud.

The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), made the declaration on Friday in Abuja in a statement by Dr. Mohammed Umar, Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

Dambazau called on Muslim faithful to align themselves with the Prophet’s teachings which border on piety, charity, tolerance and peaceful co-existence, among others.

He also called on all Nigerians to uphold these virtues with a view to overcoming the current national challenges facing the country.

Dambazau assured that the Federal Government remained committed to the unity of the country, and as such, would put adequate structures on ground towards ensuring that forthcoming general elections were credible, free and fair.

He wishes all Nigerians a joyous and peaceful Eid-el Maulud.

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