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Budget Padding: Senate clears Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

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The Senate has on Monday cleared the Minister of Finance , Budget and National Planning , Mrs Zainab Ahmed of alleged insertions in budgetary provisions of some Ministries , Departments and Agencies ( MDAs).

The Senate gave the Finance Minister a clean bill of health on alleged series of puddings in the proposed N20.51trillion 2023 budget when she appeared before the Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North led Senate Committee on Appropriations to make clarifications on the issues

Satisfied by her submission , the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Senator Jibrin said that the clarifications presented by the Minister were well understood by all the committee members and thereafter hailed her for ensuring transparency with capturing of such loans or grants in the budget .

Meanwhile, the Senate has frowned at shoddy implementation of the National Social Investment Programme ( NSIP) based on lack of records of verifiable beneficiaries .

In her presentation, the Finance Minister told the Committee that the various sums some heads of agencies feigned ignorance of during their interface with relevant committees for budget defence , were approved by the Federal Executive Council ( FEC), before budget presentation itself by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday , October 7, 2022.

Ahmed said, “All the proposed budgetary sums like the N206billion in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development , the N8.6billion in the Ministry of Defence , N195.468billion in the estimates for the Ministry of Power etc , were all captured before presentation by Mr President.

“Most of these sums are bilateral or multilateral loans captured in the budget of agencies selected for projects execution for sole purpose of transparency.

“The totality of such loans captured in the proposed budget of the relevant agencies is N1.771trillion .

“Had heads of the affected MDAs carried out thorough scrutinization of their approved budgetary proposals , the issue of insertion or budget padding wouldn’t have arisen at all, realization of which made the Minister of Defence , Bashir Magsshi to apologise after feigning ignorance of N8.6billion in his Ministry’s budget during interface with Senate Committee on Defence “

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Court acquits Jide Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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A federal high court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of fraud allegations.

Omokore was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were alleged to have fraudulently diverted about $1.6bn alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the federal government.

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Employ your biological children for thuggery services during election, Pastor Enenche tells politicians

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As the 2023 general elections draw nigh, the senior pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, DIGC, Pastor (DR.) Paul Enenche has advised Nigerian politicians to directly employ the services of their biological children for thuggery, and election manipulation, among other violent activities during elections.

This was as he advised youths to be wary of politicians who are making advances to them to disrupt the forthcoming elections, as that could amount to a meaningless death.

Enenche made this call while passionately speaking to his congregants about the forthcoming election during the church’s February combined service, during the weekend, at the Glory Dome, in Abuja.

According to him, I have this caution for the youths: don’t kill yourself for any wicked, evil, devilish politician, they are not worth your life. A couple of them are generational liabilities and human disasters (at times worse than natural disasters).

“You confirm yourself to be the most stupid and useless human entity on the earth if you allow yourself to be killed so that an evil, wicked, heartless and valueless man or woman will win an election they do not deserve to contest at all.

“How much will they pay you to go and die the needless, useless, profitless death of a fool? And after you have died, who will spend the miserable blood money you were paid?

“Caution yourself: caution your brothers and loved ones, send the message to the grassroots. If you have any brother or relation who is a known thug, caution and counsel them against needless death because if a thug dies, nothing stops the politician. They won’t pause their activities for a second; they won’t mourn; it won’t even be a part of their agenda for a microsecond; no condolence or empathy with the thug’s family; it won’t be different to them from the death of a housefly. Be advised!

“If they think thuggery is good, they can employ the services of their biological children, not other people’s children”, he added.

Bemoaning the current fuel shortages, the sparse circulation of the new naira notes, and the docility of the Federal Government towards addressing the anomalies, Enenche said leadership should be oiled with empty, care and love.

His words: “At the heart of leadership is the heart for followership. A heart for people is the crux of leadership. Loving people is the foundation for leading people. Leadership expert, John Maxwell said, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. “Leaders must be touched by the plight of the people because what touches you determines what and who you can touch- you can’t touch people until their pains touch you.

“What moves you determines what you can move-if the problems of people don’t move you, you can’t move the problems off their lives. Now, there is a connection between feeling and healing. What you feel determines what you can heal. The reason why there is no healing for the people is because there is no feeling for the people and their problems. Today in our Nation, we have leaders and aspiring leaders who have zero feeling, care and concern for the people and their challenges. They are neither touched nor moved by the challenges of the people.

“The terrible fuel situation and cash situation in the nation currently has elicited no concern from leadership or aspiring leaders. ii. They are nowhere to be found in seasons of natural disaster or catastrophe in communities or regions of the country. They have no heart, empathy or compassion as to visit with refugees in IDP camps across the country. iv.They have neither concern nor compassion to visit with victims of terrorist or banditry attacks in communities across the Nation.

“They have neither enough sensitivity nor humanness to speak out against the massive killings, kidnappings, banditry, terrorism perpetrated against innocent citizens of the country. Not a word of condemnation or action, yet they want to lead the country- especially those whose tribesmen had severally accepted responsibility for various barbaric, disastrous, atrocious and destructive activities in the country-the same ethnicity and tribe in power today.

“They intend to step into authority so that their people can continue destroying the Nation from where they stop in the current administration-since their value for their people is usually higher than their value for the Nation. The truth is, today, many aspiring leaders have various reasons for their aspiration: Those who want to bear the title of president’ by all means since they have corruptly amassed enough wealth to last their generation for a lifetime;

“Those who want power so they can have immunity from prosecution for corrupt practices; Those who want power so they can remain relevant since they are totally irrelevant outside of power, because they don’t have a productive, meaningful or eventful life outside of government office; Those who want power because they claim that it is their turn. But it is their turn to do what?

“Their turn to continue ravaging and destroying the country from where the last person stopped-not that they care for anybody; and those who want to be in power because they have perfected, and have been successful in the control, manipulation and domination of both the people and the financial resources of their state for decades, determining who goes into power, and who does not, from the local government level, all the way to governorship level, and even the national assembly.

“They progressed to the control of their region to a great degree, and now they want to extend their control, manipulation and domination to the whole Nation. Thus, having successfully bewitched and diabolically brought a whole state, and to some extent, a region under their control, they now want to extend that control to the entire Nation.

“This explains why the people of a land or territory will celebrate and glorify their exploiter and enslaver functioning in docility like slaves who fell in love with their chains, and became willful worshippers of their slave master, only territorial bewitchment and enchantment can explain that.

“Friends, the above are some of their reasons for aspiring to get into power. They don’t love anybody for any reason. That is why they want to get into power at any cost, including the flow of human blood and the loss of lives. That is why they would hire and arm thugs to fight, kill and do everything abominable on their behalf. There was a video where one of them was telling his supporters/followers to do whatever it takes to win the election- that is whether the people want them in power or not.”

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to “vote value, vote leaders with proven heart for the people who will feel what the people feel; who go where they are.

“Vote leaders who are moved by the plight of the people. Vote leaders who have human sympathy and compassion”, he added.

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Wike asks court to restrain PDP from suspending and expelling him

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Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has asked a federal high court in Abuja to stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from suspending or expelling him from the party.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, Wike through his lawyers — DY Musa, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN); Douglas Moru, and C.C. Chibuike — asked the court to order the defendants to maintain status quo and stay all actions relating to the threats to suspend or expel him.

The defendants in the suit are the PDP; national working committee (NWC) of the PDP; national executive committee (NEC) of the PDP; Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the PDP; Samuel Anyawu, national secretary of the PDP; and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the ex parte motion filed on February 2, before J.K. Omotosho, the judge, Wike is asking the court to restrain the defendants from suspending him pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.

After hearing the motion, the judge ordered that all parties in the suit maintain peace and “not take any action or step or act that may make the outcome of the motion “nugatory and worthless”.

Omotosho also ordered that any action made to make the outcome of the motion “nugatory” shall be a nullity.

He further directed that the defendants should be served with the notice through substituted means and that it should also be pasted on the PDD national headquarters in Abuja.

The judge then adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit till February 14.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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