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Return to site or face contract termination – Umahi to contractors

Minister of works, Engr. David Umahi, has issued a marching order to all the contractors handling the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okpella- Okene- Lokoja road to commence rehabilitation work or face termination of their contracts.

Umahi handed over the warning during his inspection visit to the various project sites in Edo State at the weekend.

This was contained in a statement issued by the special Adviser to the Minister of works, on media and publicity, Hon. Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji.

The Minister, who disclosed that the Federal Government under the Renewed Hope administration of President Bola Tinubu had released funds to the contractors handling the federal projects, warned that contractors who fail to fully mobilize and commence work on the projects would have their contracts terminated and such companies blacklisted.

Speaking after a meeting with the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, the Minister described as unacceptable the delay by the contractors despite the FG’s prompt release of funds to them for the projects.

On the recent protest along the Jattu axis of the Benin-Auchi highway by the residents of the area which disrupted vehicular movements, the Minister said that his meeting with the Governor was to brainstorm on the drastic measures to tackle the issues affecting the progress of work in the area.

 

“I have had a very serious meeting with the Governor here. We are concerned about what is happening between Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okpella and the axis of Kogi State.

“That is what we have been brainstorming on. I have worked with him throughout last night to direct that the road should be unblocked, and if you see the grievances of those people you will not blame them so much, because people are dying, trucks are falling,” he said.

On his part, the Governor Obaseke thanked the Minister for his deep sense of commitment to the development of road infrastructure in Nigeria.

He assured of the unwavering support of his administration to the concrete technology initiative introduced by the Renewed Hope administration, which he said was the best model for the road infrastructure along the East West and indeed other parts of the country.

“First, let me thank my brother and very good friend, the Honourable Minister of Works, who you know is an engineer par excellence, for the concern he has shown. Same time last year when I cried for help ahead of the rainy season, we didn’t get this kind of response.

“We shall not continue to use expensive asphalt to do our roads. We should use sustainable local materials; we produce cement and steel, there is no reason we cannot begin to move towards utilizing more concrete in building our roads for sustainability so that our roads can last longer,” he stated.

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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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