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Certificate: ABU to Speak on Melaye Today, Senate Begins Probe

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Senator Dino Melaye
  • Certificate: ABU to Speak on Melaye Today, Senate Begins Probe

The Senate, on Tuesday, decided to investigate the allegation that an armoured Range Rover car said to worth N298m and seized by the Nigeria Customs Service belongs to the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki.

The move was based on a point of order raised by former Majority Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, who also called on the upper chamber of the National Assembly to investigate the allegation that Senator Dino Melaye did not complete his first degree in Geography at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Also, the ABU management said it would issue a statement on Melaye’s academic status on Wednesday (today).

An online news portal, SaharaReporters, which made the allegation in a report published on March 18, 2017, said the seizure of the Sports Utility Vehicle, allegedly belonging to Saraki, was the reason why the Senate was moving against the Comptroller General of the NCS, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.).

The medium reported that the car was intercepted and impounded on January 11, 2017, by the service for allegedly having fake documents.

Ndume, at the plenary on Tuesday, said previous certificate scandals involving members of the National Assembly were probed by the lawmakers.

He said, “One has to do with the distinguished Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, and it was reported in a paper; I have it here. With your permission, I will want to, after making presentation, lay it down. It says that, ‘Senate on Vengeance After Nigeria Customs seized Senator Saraki’s bulletproof Range Rover Over Fake Documents.’

“My colleagues that are following events, particularly online, have seen, heard or read the rain of abuses on this Senate and the misconception of the fact that we invited the Customs CG based on a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent.

“During the 4th Assembly, Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery; he was investigated and his fate determined. After that, in the 5th Assembly, Bello Masari was accused of certificate forgery (secondary school); it was investigated and was cleared. In the 6th National Assembly, Dimeji Bankole was accused of not having NYSC certificate; it was investigated and he had to show his NYSC certificate.

“Now, that brings me to the second matter. In the National Assembly, here in the Senate of the 4th Assembly, Enwerem was accused and it was also investigated. Wabara was accused of collecting a bribe and it was investigated and determined. So, a lot of precedence had been set. Now, the second matter of privilege affects my colleague, Sheikh Dino Melaye, and it is in The Punch of today (Tuesday) on Page 10; I have the newspaper. In The Punch, it says, ‘Dino Melaye in first degree certificate scandal.’”

Ndume also quoted an online medium with a report titled, ‘Dino Melaye Allegedly Did Not Graduate From University.’

He added, “Therefore, accordingly, I will appeal we refer the matter to the Ethics and Privileges Committee to investigate so that our colleagues would be cleared and this Senate will stand as it is supposed to.”

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which was asked to report back to the lawmakers in four weeks.

Saraki, however, denied any link with the seized car.

The Special Adviser to Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement, stated that the allegation “lacks basis as it was outright falsehood.”

Olaniyonu said from the facts and documents about the seized vehicle, it was obvious that the Senate President had nothing to do with the importation of any vehicle.

He said, “A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle. While transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the customs. We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the customs because the Senate has not taken delivery. So, why is somebody trying to drag the name of Saraki into the issue?

“The documents on the vehicle are there for the general public to view and make their conclusions. Now that the matter has been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, all the facts will be out.”

Melaye, who is a member of the committee, in his reaction after the plenary, told journalists that he was ready to be probed. He also said he would suspend his membership of the panel pending the determination of the case.

He said, “I’m here to respond to the issue raised by the … senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ali Ndume. I want to say, to me, it is a welcome development. Democracy is about investigation and no senator is above investigation. To me, it is a welcome development and it will finally clear the air on all the malicious and vindictive allegations.

“To say that I did not graduate from ABU is to say that I am not a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ABU is a very prestigious university in this country and it is not possible for one to be running a Master’s programme in the university when one did not graduate from a university. I have successfully completed one and I am doing the second one.

“I want to announce that this is the eighth degree that I am pursuing. I am also a graduate of the University of Abuja, where I did Master’s in Policy Analysis. I am a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science. I am also a graduate of Harvard University. The course I am pursuing now will make it my eighth degree.”

When asked what would happen to his membership of the panel directed to probe him, Melaye replied, “Definitely, in the interest of justice, I will excuse myself from the consideration of this matter except when invited for questioning.”

He added, “I have my admission letters, results, certificate of discharge from ABU. Not only that, I was the Student Union Government President of ABU. On three occasions, I was the most popular student on campus.”

However, the Information Officer of ABU, Mr. Adamu Muhammed, told one of our correspondents that the university would issue a formal statement on the status of Melaye on Wednesday (today).

He said, “We are gathering all the facts from the faculty and the department concern and we will issue a press statement tomorrow (today).”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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NIMC Announces Launch of Three National ID Cards to Boost Identity Management

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has unveiled plans to launch three new national identity cards.

These cards are aimed at providing improved access to government services and bolstering identification systems across Nigeria.

The three new national identity cards, as disclosed by Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, will include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

Babalola explained that these cards are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Nigerian citizens while fostering greater participation in nation-building initiatives.

In an interview, Babalola outlined the timeline for the rollout of these cards, indicating that Nigerians can expect to start receiving them within one or two months of the launch, pending approval from the Presidency.

The bank-enabled National ID card, designed to cater to the middle and upper segments of the population, will offer seamless access to banking services within the specified timeframe.

Also, the National Safety Net Card will serve as a crucial tool for authentication and secure platform provision for government services such as palliatives, with a focus on the 25 million vulnerable Nigerians supported by current government intervention programs.

This initiative aims to streamline the distribution process and ensure efficient delivery of social services to those in need.

Furthermore, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will provide an optional identity verification solution, facilitating cross-border interactions and promoting regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The announcement comes on the heels of NIMC’s collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to develop a multipurpose national identity card equipped with payment capabilities for various social and financial services.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of key stakeholders to foster innovation, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness in service delivery.

Babalola stated that the new identity cards aim to address the need for physical identification, empower citizens, and promote financial inclusion for marginalized populations. With a target of providing these cards to approximately 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023, NIMC is poised to revolutionize the identity management landscape in Nigeria.

The implementation of these programs aligns with broader efforts to drive digital transformation and improve access to essential services for all Nigerians.

Babalola highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the new identity cards, including their potential to uplift millions out of poverty by facilitating access to government social programs and financial services.

While the launch date is set tentatively for May pending presidential approval, NIMC remains committed to finalizing the necessary details to ensure a smooth rollout of the new identity cards.

The introduction of these cards represents a significant step forward in NIMC’s mission to provide secure and reliable identity solutions that empower individuals and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Efforts to reach Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, for further insights on the initiative were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

As Nigeria gears up for the launch of these innovative identity cards, stakeholders express optimism about the potential positive impact on identity management, financial inclusion, and socio-economic development across the country.

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Nigeria Launches New National ID Card to Enhance Access to Social and Financial Services

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National-eID-card

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the launch of a National Identity Card with integrated payment and social service functionalities.

This initiative, spearheaded by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), aims to provide Nigerians with a single, multifunctional card that combines identification, payment, and access to various government and private sector services.

The new National ID card backed by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 is poised to become the country’s default identity card, serving as a tangible proof of identity for citizens and legal residents alike.

With features aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, including a Machine-readable Zone (MRZ) and biometric authentication capabilities, the card offers robust security and verification mechanisms.

One of the most significant aspects of the new ID card is its payment functionality. Cardholders will have the ability to link their cards to bank accounts, enabling them to conduct debit and prepaid transactions seamlessly.

This feature is expected to enhance financial inclusion efforts, particularly for the unbanked and underbanked populations in Nigeria.

Also, the card will grant holders access to a wide range of government interventions programs, including travel, health insurance, microloans, agriculture initiatives, food subsidies, transport benefits, and energy subsidies.

By consolidating these services onto a single platform, the government aims to streamline administrative processes and improve service delivery efficiency.

To ensure widespread accessibility, the NIMC has outlined various channels for obtaining the new ID card, including online applications, commercial banks, participating agencies, and NIMC offices nationwide.

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New York City Hit by 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake

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christian dior

New York City, famously known as the “city that never sleeps” was hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake.

The tremors reverberated through the towering skyscrapers and bustling suburbs as it sent shockwaves across the densely populated metropolitan area and left residents feeling shaken.

The earthquake, with its epicenter approximately 45 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia, caught many off guard.

Reports indicate that over 42 million people across the Northeast region may have felt the midmorning quake with reports coming in from as far as Baltimore to Boston and beyond.

The impact of the earthquake was not confined to mere tremors; it resulted in significant damage to several multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, displacing nearly 30 residents.

Officials immediately sprang into action, conducting checks on bridges and other major infrastructure to assess any potential structural damage.

Flights were diverted or delayed, Amtrak slowed trains throughout the busy Northeast Corridor, and a Philadelphia-area commuter rail line suspended service as a precautionary measure.

The experience was unsettling for many New Yorkers, with some likening it to the sensation of an explosion or construction accident.

Shawn Clark, an attorney working on the 26th floor of a midtown Manhattan office, described it as “pretty weird and scary,” echoing the sentiments of many who felt the earth move beneath them.

Aftershocks were reported hours later in a central New Jersey township, causing additional concern and producing reports of damage and items falling off shelves, according to Hunterdon County Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey.

The disruption caused by the earthquake extended beyond immediate safety concerns. Cellphone circuits were overloaded as people tried to reach loved ones, and phones blared with earthquake-related notifications during the New York Philharmonic’s morning performance, adding an unexpected twist to the day’s events.

Even as the seismic event rattled New York City, residents and officials alike drew comparisons to past earthquakes, particularly the memorable tremor of August 23, 2011. Registering a magnitude of 5.8, it was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II, leaving lasting impressions on those who experienced it.

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