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Gombe govt approves N5.2 billion for gratuity payment

The Gombe State Executive Council has approved approximately N5.2 billion for the payment of gratuities to retirees in the state and the local government.

This decision was announced by the Commissioner for Information, Mijinyawa Tilde, during a media conference at the end of the council’s 36th meeting, which was presided over by Governor Muhammadu Yahaya.

According to Tilde, nine memos were presented before the council, all of which were approved and ratified.

He noted that this was the fifth time the present administration was settling outstanding gratuities inherited from previous administrations.

The Commissioner for Finance, Muhammad Magaji, further explained that N2.291 billion would be used to offset the gratuities of the state’s civil service workers, particularly for the 2018 retirees.

“This is the fifth time since this current administration took office that the government is clearing the backlog.

“This time, N2.291 billion is earmarked for the payment of gratuity to deserving and other entitlements of the state’s 2018 retirees,” Magaji added.

The Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development, Abdulkadir Waziri, stated that the council approved the payment of gratuities to retired local government workers from all 11 Local Government Councils.

“For payment of gratuities to retirees of local government service of all the 11 Local Government Councils, the local government contributory fund has already earmarked over N3 billion for the payment of retirees.

“Local Governments are going to pay the backlog up to 2022; some will pay at least two years each.

“This has gone a long way in realising the efforts of His Excellency to reduce the burden of retirees and to better the lives of citizens,” Waziri stated.

On other approvals given by the Finance Ministry, Magaji stated that there was an approval of N332m for the payment of compensation to property owners at Bauchi and Dukku motor parks in Gombe metropolis.

He added, “The governor had constituted a task force/committee to assess properties in those locations, after which they submitted their report and a compensation committee was asked to do a review that was today submitted to the council and N332 million was approved for the payment of the compensation.

“This is to provide for the relocation of the motor parks to the Mega Motor Park that has been completed by this administration.”

Governor Yahaya had previously disclosed that the state received N2 billion out of the N5 billion subsidy removal palliative set by the Federal Government, which was distributed as palliatives to the people of Gombe State.

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EFCC investigates more celebrities for naira abuse

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said it is investigating several celebrities suspected of abusing the Naira.

This was revealed in a statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Sunday.

“On the issue of the works of the Commission against Naira abuse, dollarization of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far.

“Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the Commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life.

“These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“To this end, the Commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira.

“Old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

“At the moment, the Commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the Commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter.

“The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

Recall that popular cross-dresser Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky was sentenced to six months imprisonment for abusing the Naira.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro handed down the sentence without an option of fine.

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No one has been cleared in humanitarian ministry fraud investigation- EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it has not cleared anyone involved in the ongoing fraud investigation in the humanitarian affairs ministry.

Spokesperson of the commission, Dele Oyewale stated this in a statement tagged ‘Setting the Records Straight on Investigations of Humanitarian Ministry’ on Sunday.

According to him,  ongoing investigation have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

The statement read;

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

“Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices.

“Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily.

“The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

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Junior Pope: NSIB launches investigation, sends team to accident site

The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has launched an investigation into the boat accident that claimed the lives of Nollywood actor, Paul Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope; Abigail Frederick; Precious Oforum, and Joseph Anointing, while returning from a movie location.

THN reported that the boat accident involved a commercial speedboat and a fishing canoe on the Anam River in Anambra State on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

The boat carrying 12 film crew members and a boat operator reportedly crashed into the canoe, resulting in the loss of five lives.

Tthe director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB, Bimbo Oladeji in a statement on Sundat, said the Bureau has dispatched an investigation team to the accident site.

According to Oladeji, examination of the wreckage from both boats involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, eyewitnesses, and a review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat would be analysed, among others.

“The NSIB extends its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident.

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“Also, the director general of NSIB, Capt. Alex Badeh Jr, share in your grief and NSIB is fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragedy and prevent similar occurrence in the future.

“An investigation team has been dispatched to the accident site, and inquiry has begun. The investigation scope includes, but is not limited to: examination of the wreckage from both vessels involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, and eyewitnesses, review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat, analysis of weather and environmental conditions at the time of the accident, and assessment of compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations for inland waterway transportation,” NSIB spokesperson said.

Oladeji further assured Nigerians that the Bureau will release the preliminary reports of the investigation to the public.

“NSIB will collaborate with relevant authorities, including the Marine Police section of the Anambra State Police Command, maritime authorities, and industry experts during the investigation.

“The bureau will release its findings in a preliminary report, followed by a final report upon the investigation’s conclusion. These reports aim to enhance safety by providing recommendations to prevent similar accidents in the future.Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims affected by the Anam boat mishap,” she added.

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