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‘I Never Said Stealing Public Funds Happens Under Buhari Govt’ – Amaechi

‘I Never Said Stealing Public Funds Happens Under Buhari Govt’ – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has denied reports quoting him as saying that stealing is done quietly under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

The minister had said in an interview with on Sunday that stealing of public funds under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government is not done in the open.

Speaking on the legacy of the Buhari administration, the former Rivers governor said that the present administration has handled Nigeria’s resources very well.

He said: “I want Nigerians to be honest; can you openly take money in this government? I am not saying whether we are corrupt or not.

Let us assume we are corrupt, can you openly take money in this government? In the past governments, what happened? You can take money in the streets. Corruption was so pervasive that nobody was talking about it. It was not hidden that people completely and openly displayed their wealth.

“Most of those who did that had nothing to do to show for it. They did not have a carpentry shop, but they were billionaires. They did not hide it; but here, if you are stealing, it is done quietly. I am not saying it is good, it is a sin punishable. In the previous government, you could steal and you won’t be caught. If you were caught, there won’t be consequences. But in this government, if you steal there are consequences,” Amaechi added.

But in a telephone interview with the same media outlet on Tuesday, the minister denied saying that corruption is prevalent under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

According to the former Rivers governor, he was misrepresented and misquoted in the widely circulated interview.

Amaechi added that the administration has succeeded in curbing impunity and corruption, unlike the previous governments.

He claimed that during the previous government, someone without any means of verifiable livelihood could become a billionaire due to corruption.

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EFCC Arrests Fake State House Staff for N22m Employment Scam

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission, EFCC, have arrested a syndicate of fake State House Staff in Abuja for alleged criminal conspiracy, false representation and employment scam.

The suspects were arrested separately following investigation on petitions by various victims who were promised jobs as “Directors General” at the Ministry of Communication, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC and other ministries.

The suspects are; Augustine Enamegbai Umogboi, who claimed to be a former staff of the State House, Eleojo Josephine Idakwo, a fake staff of the Ministry of Information in the Registry Unit, and Kingsley Onuh who also claimed that he just concluded his National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

Others are Omata Sunday and Eljayon Nigeria Limited, one of the companies which bank account they were using to get money from their victims. Besides, they had different account numbers of different banks through which they were receiving the money amounting to N22,350,00 (Twenty Two million, Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) from different victims.

Umogboi was arrested on June 16, 2024, Idakwo was arrested on April 30, 2024, while Onuh was arrested on April 3, 2024.

Many victims narrated their bitter experience in a series of petitions written to the EFCC.

A sample of such a petition reads : “we were reliably informed that sometime around April 2023, Mr. Gabriel Kingsley Onuh notified our clients about job opportunities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation LTD(NNPCL) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). With support of Eleojo Josephine Idakwo who claimed to work in NNPCL, they undertook to assist Mr. Toheeb Adesina and Miss Asabe Gambo to secure employment in NNPCL, as well as Mr. Tertindi Reginald Igbayue in FRSC, subject to the payment of a fee. It was agreed that the payment would be in two tranches-initials part payment and the balance payment when the employment letter is ready and when documentation of credentials commences”.

Another victim in a petition written to the EFCC stated that “Sometime in May 2023, one of my friends, Sunday Omata approached me that one Eleojo Josephine Idakwu told him that their office in the Presidential Villa is responsible for screening applicants for the appointment of ‘Directors General’ for all Ministries and Parastatals in the current government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“As such they want me to apply for the position of Director General in the Ministry of Communication… She however gave me a condition that I must pay them Five Million Naira (N5,000,000) before they can start the process.

“Since it involves a big office, they cannot do all the contacts for free and their boss in the office requires some money too. Since then, they have been requesting all sorts of money from me with various accounts”.

They suspects have given useful information to the EFCC and will be charged to court upon conclusion of investigation.

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Ondo Govt reacts to court judgement declaring new LCDAs ‘illegal’

The Ondo State Government says necessary legal action will be taken on the judgement nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The government’s reaction is contained in a statement by the Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Kayode Ajulo SAN, made available to  newsmen on Friday in Akure.

Justice A.O Adebusuoye of the state High Court had in a judgement on Thursday described the creation of the LCDAs as unlawful.

The court said it was illegal for a governor to sign a law outside the State.

The court said that the Local Government Creation Law 2023 signed by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The statement said the government has taken cognizance of Ondo State High Court’s judgement and had requested for a Certified True Copy of it.

Ajulo said after it was studied and analysed, a legal opinion would be presented to the state government.

“Subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served,” the statement said.

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LASTMA impounds 40 vehicles in Oyingbo, ijora, idumota axis

The  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas of  Lagos.

Mr Taofiq Adebayo, Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Adebayo said impounding the vehicles at these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by LASTMA Head of Enforcement, Mr Kayode Odunuga, under the directives of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa.

Adebayo that they were specifically directed to target illegal garages that had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the  Lagos State Government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

He quoted Giwa as emphasising that government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads, ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos.

“These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

“LASTMA’s intervention aims to clear these bottlenecks and enhance the overall traffic situation in these critical areas.

“Residents and business owners have expressed their support for the government’s action, noting the positive impact it will have on their daily activities.

“LASTMA has also assured the public that the operation will be sustained and extended to other parts of the city where illegal garages and related activities are prevalent,” he quoted Giwa as saying.

He urged all vehicle owners and operators to adhere to the state’s traffic regulations and cooperate with authorities to avoid sanctions.

He reiterated that the government’s primary objective was to create a better and more livable Lagos for everyone.

He also urged motorists to take ownership of the roads and to promptly inform LASTMA of any broken down or abandoned trailers or trucks via the Agency’s hotlines: 0810056586008129928503.

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