12—Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 :Vanguard News :@vanguardnews :@vanguardnews NEWS HOTLINES: 08052867023, 08052867058 Ayade signs N1.3trn budget in tears, seeks divine intervention By Ike Uchechukwu C ALABAR—CROSS River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, yesterday, broke down in tears after signing his N1.3 trillion budget of Kinetic Crystallisation into law, with an appeal to religious leaders to pray for implementation of the budget. A sobbing Governor Ayade called on a clergy man in the audience to hold the signed copy of the budget and lead everyone present in prayers, asking God’s divine intervention to make the budget realisable. Ayade said: “This is the first trillion budget in the history of this state and therefore unique and ambitious, intended to take the state away from the dependence on federation account. “The philosophy behind the budget is the spirit of ‘we can do it’ and creates a new vista, thinking and horizon that would take us out of the woods. It is high time we put an end to the civil service status mentality we have found ourselves by thinking outside the box. “This is epochal in the history of the state and the nation, as it is the first to pass the N1 trillion mark in the nation among states. “Part of the philosophy of this budget will focus on human capital development and we said we will put food on the table, which was still what we focused on in our year one and year two. “But on this third year, we are amending the agenda to be food on the table, hand on the plough.” Ayade lauded the state House Assembly for what he called “the deep understanding of the budget proposal and the intricacies that led to the passage,” adding that they have been a great stabilising factor in this dispensation. Mr. Speaker Presenting the budget earlier, the Speaker, Mr. John Gaul-Lebo, said the House interfaced with various ministries, department and agencies before the passage of the budget. His words: “We had extensive engagements with all the MDAs to arrive at N1.3 trillion. The budget is designed in terms of international benchmark of deficit and envelop budget. “We shall, in line with Section 122 of the Constitution, carry out rigorous oversight functions to ensure that the budget is implemented to deepen the dividends of democracy.” Diezani may forfeit £28m jewellery to FG —EFCC ...says list of looters will shock Nigerians By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor THERE were strong indications yesterday that highly-priced jewellery valued at £28 million seized from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison- Madueke, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, might be forfeited to the Federal Government. The jewellery were impounded from the home of the former minister when operatives of the anti-graft agency raided her house in Abuja shortly after she lost her position. A top official of the EFCC confirmed to Vanguard in Abuja that the boxes containing the items were stored in a safe custody with some of the items still bearing their expensive price tags. “Maybe we will soon invite Nigerians to come and see what one person acquired or collected as gifts while serving as minister,” the official said on Tuesday in Abuja. “We have even brought in dealers and experts from the United Kingdom who have assessed the value of the gold and silver in the boxes we seized from the woman’s homes and they have ascertained that the value is not below £28 million,” the top official said. Responding to a question on the list of those who had looted the treasury, being bandied about by both the government and the opposition, the official said that the final list of looters would shock Nigerians. “Nigerians have not seen even 10 percent of the looters yet; and when the list comes, it will shock Nigerians,” he said. Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, has for the first time admitted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission assisted it to recover N28 billion from various tax defaulters across the country. “Through the intervention of the EFCC, the agency has been experiencing high level of tax compliance and it is yielding positive results,” Fowler confessed when he met with the Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu in Abuja on Tuesday. According to him, “When tax defaulters are reported and invited to your office (EFCC), we see results; we don’t know how you do it, but we are seeing results and people are complying.” He believed that the FIRS alone cannot curtail the activities of tax evaders without the collaboration of other national and international agencies such as the EFCC. The FIRS boss emphasized the need to strengthen the existing collaboration and synergy between the two agencies and assured that his organization would explore all means backed by law to ensure that taxes are paid and not diverted. According to him, if taxes are paid, funds would be available for government to provide the infrastructure needed for the socioeconomic well-being of the citizenry. Responding, Magu, assured that “the commission is ever ready to partner any agency, organisation or individual in fighting corruption for to move the nation forward. AWARD: From left: General Manager, Africa Division, Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan, Mr. Yoichi Sagara; representative of First Bank Nigeria Plc, Mr. Shola Olayemi and Chairman, Toyota (Nigeria) Limited, Chief Michael Ade Ojo , during the presentation of the Evergreen Customer Award to First Bank Nigeria Plc at the Toyota Awards 2017 in Lagos. Photo: Kehinde Gbadamosi. Wike blames national insecurity on APC G OVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said that the nation’s security degenerated dangerously because the All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government chose to play politics with the security challenge in Rivers State. The governor also called on professionals to show interest in political developments in the country, to ensure that the APC Federal Government returns to the right track. Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, at the Government House Port Harcourt, yesterday, Governor Wike said when Rivers State had issues with kidnappings, instead of addressing the security challenge, the APC Federal Government and her agents plotted on how to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State. “The Federal Government politicised the issue of security in Rivers State at a time when its intervention was required. That is why the whole country has been engulfed by insecurity. “Everyday, you hear people being killed like chickens. In Taraba, Plateau, Kogi, Benue, Zamfara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Yobe and Borno states, the story is the same. The case of Offa (Kwara State) where 50 persons were killed recently is disheartening. “After 50 persons were murdered in cold blood, the very next day, the authorities claimed that seven persons had been arrested. If the security agencies have the capacity to arrest almost immediately, why not stop the killings?” He decried the situation where Nigeria answers Big Brother Africa, but remains unable to uphold the rule of law, conduct credible elections and institute basic governance process.
Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018—13 :Vanguard News :@vanguardnews :@vanguardnews NEWS HOTLINES: 08052867023, 08052867058 OML30: Threat to shut down operations of Heritage unnecessary —Eriyamremu A prominent By Jimoh Babatunde opinion leader from Ofuoma oil producing community, (Afiesere oilfield) in OML30, Delta State, Mr. Chris Eriyamremu, has described the alleged threat by cluster chairmen to shut down the operations of Heritage Energy Operational Services BRIEFING: From left: Prof. Leo Otoide, Department of History and International Studies, UNIBEN, and chairman Local Organizing Committee; Chief David Edebiri, Esogban of Benin Kingdom and Dr Philip Ugbodaga, during a press conference by Chief Edebiri to announce the launching of his book, Ogiamien and the Illusion of Kingship on Saturday, in Benin City. Photo: Simon Ebegbulem. Church building collapse: Reactions trail govt rejection of white paper By Chioma Onuegbu & Harris- Okon Emmanuel UYO—VICTIMS of Reigners Bible Church building collapse, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, have expressed mixed reactions to the white paper released by the state government on Monday which exonerated the General Overseer of the church, Apostle Akan Weeks. One of the victims, Mr. Akan Akpanuwa and businessman from Nkim Itam village in Itu LGA of the state, who reacted angrily based on what was published in the newspapers, wondered why government rejected the indictment of Akan Weeks by the commission of inquiry. Akpanuwa said: “From the brief extract I read in newspaper, I see that the commission of inquiry set up by the state government indicted the pastor, but I am surprised why the governor exonerated him. “I think the appropriate body to indict or exonerate people from the Reigners Limited, HEOS,as unnecessary. He also advised the cluster chairmen who issued the threat to always consult extensively with the leaders and president generals of other communities in their various clusters before taking decisions or issuing public statements. Eriyamremu, who spoke yesterday at Ofuoma building collapse is the commission of inquiry that was set up by the state government and I believe their integrity was tested before they were assigned to carry out that responsibility. So I expected that the recommendations of the commission should have been taken seriously. “I was in the hospital (Alma Clinic) for 11 months going through series of surgical operations. My hip bone was pulled out completely, so I went through surgery for another bone to be fixed. Also my ankle bone was totally damaged and about three major operations have been carried out on the ankle, but you can see that the wound on my leg is still not healed due to lack of funds to continue treatment. “ The doctor that was managing my case told me that the state government, through the Commissioner for Health, paid less than 50 percent of my hospital bill. I paid part of the bill for my surgery. The state government paid less than 50 percent of the bill and I still have outstanding bill to pay.” community, said it was very wrong to say 111 communities in OML30 issued the threat to shutdown the operations of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited, HEOS, since there was no crisis in OML30. Eriyamremu charged Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited to prioritise and ensure prompt payment to Also Processor Chris Ekong of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Uyo, who lost his brother in the building collapse said he would comment on the matter later, as he will soon issue a statement where he will state his position on the white paper released by government . However, a member of Reigners Bible church who also lost her sister and a close relative and spoke to Vanguard in confidence on Asutan Street Uyo, said her family members had already left everything in the hands of God. But reacting yesterday, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, assured Akwa Ibom people, including victims of the collapsed Reigners Bible Church, that the state government will prosecute all those whose activities led to the collapse of the church building. Nwoko who promised to liaise with the police authority in the state to ensure a thorough investigation of those indicted by the report of the community contractors/ workers and as well urgently initiate the review of the Global Memorandum of Understanding GMoU with the 111 host communities. He said: “The assumed delay by Heritage Energy to pay community contractors and workers may not be deliberate, however, that alone is not enough to issue threat to shut down operations in OML30." commission to ensure that justice was done in line with due process, appealed to Akwa Ibom people to remain calm and patient. Also, some members of the church who spoke with Vanguard, expressed joy that the whole saga had come to an end following the clean bill of health given to their General Overseer by the state government, saying that he should not be held liable for the incident. A member of the church, Oto-Obong, who sustained injury during the tragic incident said: “We are still keeping quiet to see how the whole thing will go. As a member of the church, we can’t really say much.” Another victim of the church collapse, who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I am fine. The injury has gone and I am back on my feet. The building collapse was not the fault of the pastor as such the blame should not be on him. He was not the engineers. The thing happened in churches and only God knows why it happened.” Obaseki expresses desire to build capacity of teachers By Simon Ebegbulem B E N I N — GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has expressed the determination of the state government to build capacity of teachers to ensure that teaching and learning experience in public schools met the best standards. The governor disclosed this at the flag-off of the Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results (Edo STAR) programme, an initiative under the framework of his reform agenda for basic education tagged Edo BEST (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation). He said that the state prioritises teacher training, noting that with 3, 500 victims of human trafficking rescued by NAPTIP B E By Gabriel Enogholase N I N — NATIONAL Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has disclosed that no fewer than 3,500 victims of human trafficking in Edo and Delta States have been rescued by the agency. This was disclosed by the Benin Zonal Commander of the agency, Mr. Nduka Nwanwenne, during the profiling of 150 victims, mostly girls, in Benin City, Edo State. He also disclosed that over 3,000 victims were rescued during covert operations by officials of NAPTIP from 2003 to December 2017, adding that over 1,250 other the deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to classrooms, pupils are sure to get the best from public schools. It will be recalled that 2,000 teachers are currently being trained by the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, in the pilot scheme of the Edo BEST programme. Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education and acting Chairman, Edo SUBEB, Dr. Joan Oviawe, said the two-week training will equip teachers with knowledge and skills in deploying new technologies in the classroom, noting that over 2,000 teachers and Headmasters/ Headmistresses participating in the exercise will receive computer tablets and smart phones. victims, who were recently repatriated from Libya, following the intervention of the Federal Government, had been received by the agency. He said: “Since the repatriation started, we have received about 1,250 victims from Edo and Delta states. For the Benin zonal command, we have about 3,500 victims that had been rescued as of December, 2017. “The empowerment is in various vocational skills because the Director-General of the agency, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, wants the victims to settle down fully and get on with their lives. “The plan is to empower them in the areas of catering and hotel management, cosmetology, fashion and design, bead-making, shoemaking and photography. But there are also some that want to go back to school." UCOSA elects new executives URHOBO College Old Students Association, UCOSA, has elected new executives to run its affairs for the next two years. Chris Ugolo, former branch president of Benin branch of the association emerged National President while Reuben Esabunor of Warri branch was elected National Vice President. Others are Admoug Adjejevwe of Warri branch, Thompson Umukoro of Warri branch, Gordon Ekpuyama of Benin branch and Denning Tebite of Lagos branch were elected as National Secretary, National Treasurer, National Financial Secretary and National Public Relations Officer respectively. Kingsley Agbonye of Warri branch, Esievo Ovie of Warri branch, Egbonodje Philip of Ughelli branch and Victor Edoh of Warri branch were elected National Assistant Public Relations Officer, National Welfare Officer, National Asst., Welfare Officer and National Legal Adviser respectively. The election was held at the just concluded Annual General Meeting, AGM of the association.