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Alex Otti signs bill stopping pensions to ex-Abia governors

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Alex Otti, governor of Abia, has signed the bill which repeals pension payments to former governors of the state and their deputies.

On Tuesday, the Abia house of assembly passed the bill for a law to repeal ‘The Abia State Governors & Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001’.

The law stipulated that former Abia governors and deputies are entitled to 100 percent of the annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy; their cooks, stewards, drivers, and gardeners are to be paid by the state; and are entitled to three police officers and two operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Orji Kalu, a former governor of Abia, who served from 1999 to 2007, approved the law in 2001.

Speaking after the assent, Otti said the law was designed to promote good governance and stewardship in the state.

Otti said he believes that leadership should be about stewardship and not a means to embezzle public funds.

The Abia governor commended the state house of assembly for expeditiously working on the executive bill, while expressing satisfaction in the relationship between the executive and legislature.

“Government is not about self interest, it is actually self interest that destroys government,” Otti said.

The governor said priority should be accorded to public welfare during the formulation of policies and not personal benefits.

He added that pensioners are the ones who need the funds the most and not former governors and deputies.

‘IT’S TRUE’

After the Abia assembly passed the bill revoking pension to former governors, some of the former governors denied benefiting from the old law.

Reacting to the comments, Otti said the former governors have not been paid entitlements stipulated by the old law.

“I have seen engagements where people said that they have not been collecting,” the governor added.

“It is true because they have not been paid, and we don’t believe that those payments should be made.

“One of the people that should be paid wrote to me about not being paid, I put a call across to him and explained why it should not be paid and he agreed with me.

“I told him we have not paid anyone and he said that he wants to confirm that he was not being singled out. The point I am trying to make is that even the people that should receive it believe that repealing the law is the best.”

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Police detain Yahaya Bello’s ADC, security details

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The Nigeria Police Force has detained a female police officer who was the aide-de-camp to embattled former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

The ADC was arrested alongside other police officers attached to 48-year-old Bello, and is being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Their arrests and detention followed a Thursday night order by the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, directing their immediate withdrawal from the former governor.

Senior police sources, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity because they did not have authorisation to comment publicly on the matter, noted that the officers were arrested on the suspicion that they aided and abetted Bello’s escape from operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who had gone to effect his arrest at his Abuja home on Wednesday.

“The ADC and the other police details attached to Yahaya Bello have been arrested and detained.

“They were arrested on the order of the IG, on the suspicion that they aided and abetted the former governor’s escape from the EFCC on Wednesday,” one of the sources told our correspondent in a telephone conversation on Friday.

Another source said, “Yahaya Bello’s female ADC and other police officers attached to him were brought to the command this morning, and they’ve been detained for aiding and abetting (the governor’s escape).”

Egbetokun had, on Thursday night, ordered the withdrawal of all police officers attached to Bello.

The order for the withdrawal was contained in a police wireless message sighted by our correspondent on Friday morning.

The document read, “CB:4001/DOPS/PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.48/ 34 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X FOLLOWING MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM NIGPOL.

“DOPS ABUJA X BEGINS X CB:4001/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.21/462 DTO:180955/04/2024 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X REF MYLET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/36 DATED 15/04/2024 X AND MY EARLIER LET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/30 DATED 24/01/2024 X Nigeria police have ordered the withdrawal of all men.

“Police attached to His Excellency and former Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, should acknowledge compliance and treat with utmost importance. Please above for your information and strict compliance.”

Also, the Federal Government had on Thursday night placed Bello on a watch list.

In a document exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Thursday night, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, revealed that Bello was placed on a watchlist for conspiracy, breach of trust, and money laundering.

The Assistant Comptroller General signed the document and copied the Nigeria Customs Service, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services, and the Director of the National Internet Agency.

The document read, “I am directed to inform you that the above-named person has been placed on a watch list. Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/TE/V 1/279 dated April 18, 2024.

“If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation, or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.

“Please, accept as always the Comptroller-General’s warmest regards and esteem.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had earlier declared Bello wanted for laundering the sum of N80,246,470,088.88.

The development was contained in a notice posted on the commission’s official Facebook page on Thursday, with a snapshot of the embattled ex-governor attached.

The notice read, “The public is hereby notified that Yahaya Adoza Bello (former Governor of Kogi State), whose photograph appears above is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in connection with an alleged case of Money Laundering to the tune of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Eighty Nine Naira, Eighty Eight Kobo).

“Bello, a 48-year-old Ebira man, is a native of Okenne Local Government of Kogi State. His last known address is: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. Anybody with useful information as to his whereabouts should please contact the Commission.”

Bello had, on Thursday, failed to appear before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja following his arraignment by the EFCC.

The embattled former governor was arraigned in absentia before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19-count charges bordering on money laundering.

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Owners to pay fine as Anambra sets to remove illegal structures

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The Anambra government says it will soon commence the removal of illegal structures across the state.

In a statement issued on Friday, Paul Nwosu, information commissioner in Anambra, said owners of such illegal structures would “bear the cost of the logistics of removal”.

“Anambra State Government has noticed that in spite of the warnings given to owners of illegal structures to remove them, these notices have been largely disregarded,” the statement reads.

“This government is a proponent of law and order, and therefore will not condone any flagrant violation of legitimate directives given in the interest of public good.

“Government has repeatedly stated that these illegal structures distort and completely mangle our cities’ original masterplan. This has resulted in the blocking of our drainages and water channels, causing flooding and, sometimes, loss of lives. This can no longer be tolerated as the rainy season is just around the corner.

“Let it be known therefore that as the government has directed individuals, companies, market and park leaders to commence intensive desilting of their gutters and drainages, it will soon start a sustained campaign to remove illegal structures.

“Owners of such structures are therefore advised to remove them on their own so that they can carefully evacuate their belongings.

“But where they ignore government notices and the structures are removed by the government, the owner(s) of such structure(s) will bear the cost of the logistics of removal. The owner of the structure will be given a stipulated time to pay, after which the property/goods within would be disposed to settle the cost.”

Nwosu added that some of the illegal structures might have been erected by the owners out of ignorance of the law or other reasons.

“But now that they know, it is only proper they remove the structures by themselves to avoid the harsh consequences that may trail their negligence to act promptly,” he said.

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Ex-Oyo gov, Olunloyo debunks death rumour, says I’m alive

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An elder statesman and former governor of old Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, has broken his silence about the rumour of his death, saying he is alive.

Olunloyo who spoke with The PUNCH correspondent who visited his Molete residence in Ibadan, the state capital on Friday said he was hale and hearty.

Earlier, the rumour of the death of the elder statesman was reported by some news platforms (not The PUNCH).

However, Olunloyo, while speaking said, “I’m still here, not yet gone.”

He also expressed worry over the rumour and asked who would live forever, stressing, “Those breaking death news and the person presumed dead will all die one day.

“I’ve been lucky. My father died at 42, while my mother died at 102. I’m 89. I’ve crossed the expected life age.”

The elder statesman also illustrated how the rumour of his death hit several news platforms on June 7, 2022.

He noted that the rumour mongers claimed that he died at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

A few days later, the family issued a statement, declaring that he was not dead but suffering from old age ailment and asked Nigerians to pray for him to survive the health complications.

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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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