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FG Has Failed to Use Recovered Loot to Fight Poverty – Falana

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  • FG Has Failed to Use Recovered Loot to Fight Poverty – Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has criticised the Federal Government for failing to address the increasing poverty in the country.

He noted that the government did not deploy the looted trillions of naira it recovered through the whistleblower policy, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number, to address the deprivation in the land.

Speaking at the second anniversary of the whistleblower policy organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, in Abuja on Monday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria observed that what had been recovered was a tip of the iceberg.

He said the government had failed to follow up on the various tips he provided including the request he made to the Minister of Finance on March 8, 2016 to recover $200bn.

Falana stated, “Apart from boasting about the success recorded so far in the implementation of the TSA, BVN and whistleblower policies, the trillions of naira which have been saved or recovered by the Federal Government have not been deployed to arrest the increasing wave of poverty in the land.”

Falana explained that based on the information he obtained from the National Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had withheld $20bn from the federation account.

He added that from the 2015 audit exercise conducted by NEITI, the figure had increased to $22bn and N376bn.

The lawyer disclosed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had commenced investigation into his petition about the 60.2 million barrels of crude oil stolen from Nigeria between 2011 and 2014 which were discharged at the Philadelphia Port in the United States.

“If the investigation can be painstakingly conducted, it is estimated that not less than $300bn could be realised as the costs and penalties for the oil stolen from Nigeria and discharged in several ports in the United States, China, India, United Kingdom, France,” he said.

AFRICMIL Coordinator, Chido Onumah, stated that the anti-graft war could not be left to the government alone, adding that his organisation’s goal was to sensitise the citizens to their roles in tackling corruption.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial market.

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Government

COVID-19: World Bank to Support Nigerian Frontline Healthcare Workers With $114.28m

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world bank

World Bank Strengthens Nigerian Response to COVID-19

The World Bank has once again approved another $114.28 million financing for Nigeria to improve its COVID-19 response time and further curb the spread of the virus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The multilateral financial institution said the money will help Africa’s largest economy prevent, detect and respond to the threat of ravaging COVID-19 better.

In a statement titled “Nigeria to boost states capacity for COVID-19 response” and released on Friday, the lender said the fund includes $100 million credit facility from the International Development Association and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

The statement reads, “Through the COVID-19 preparedness and response project (CoPREP), the government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.

The lender, however, stated that grants for states would be based on the adoption of COVID-19 measures and strategies. In particular, the strategies must be in line with the ones put in place by the Federal Government.

CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the strategic response plan,” it stated.

The bank added that it would help the Federal Government in such response capacity through the training of frontline healthcare workers and provision of the necessary equipment to aid their work, strengthen public healthcare network for emergencies and generally improve their response efficiency.

Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director, Nigeria said, “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.”

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Mismanagement of Public Funds and Resources Will Destroy Nigeria, Says Stakeholders

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Some concerned stakeholders have said the broad-based financial misappropriation, abuse of public office by Public Officeholders and unchecked borrowing will destroy the nation’s present and future if not checked.

According to Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC, who spoke at a stakeholders’ dialogue on ‘Policies, Gaps and Alternatives in Fiscal Transparency in Private Sector Governance,’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International (TI), with support from OXFAM’s country office in Nigeria, abuse of power and financial recklessness as been going on for far too long.

Musa said, “This has been going on for too long, and every singular effort from the citizens is termed as hate or unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the consequences of this anomaly are staring us in the face on a daily basis and are on the increase. Increased poverty; banditry allegedly occasioned by rising unemployment; and unpatriotic citizens trooping into leadership positions to perpetuate the looting and misappropriation due to no oversight and punitive sanctions, not to mention health, infrastructure and societal decay. The list is inexhaustible.

He also implored the Government that in order to reduce the excessive misuse of public resources, mismanagement of finances and strengthen the financial management system, the holes that encourage people to evade and undermine the collection of taxes must be bridged and in-depth economic improvement devised to close policy gaps.

There are many areas in which the government can increase its revenue drive. For instance, in the Oil and Gas sector, there are a lot of gaps as a result of lack of a clear legal framework through the PIB, which will enable the sector to be more efficient, transparent and competitive. Again, the oil theft needs to be blocked; other areas like maritime revenue can be harnessed in these sectors.

“Also, the government should block the areas where revenues are supposed to be collected and are not collected. For instance, the audit report clearly shows how the government is losing revenue.” he said.

The stakeholders urge policymakers to look for other sources of revenue that can guarantee development in Nigeria.

Also, speaking at the event was the Programme Manager, Tax, Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, CISLAC, Chinedu Bassey, who said one of the reasons to strengthen the Nigerian financial management system is to stop people from stealing and mismanaging resources meant for development.

Iheme Madukairo, the Manager, Large Tax Audit, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), advised Nigerians who evade taxes to stop such act that the law will take its course.

He said “Enforcement is out there, sleeves are rolled up to do the job that we are mandated to do by the act and sooner or later, we will catch up with them. The sanctions have also increased by virtue of the finance act. The penalty has been increased, once it is found out that it is a deliberate act to breach the law, the law will take its course.

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Lai Mohammed Says Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

President Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered over N800 billion looted by corrupt Nigerians since the beginning of this administration in 2015.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja.

He said, “This administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800bn, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has made recovery of Nigeria’s stolen assets one of his priorities since he became president in 2015.

Several of Nigeria’s untouchables have been convicted despite political experts and social commentators saying the war against corruption should not be only against opposition but also against those in the ruling party that seems to have been overlooked.

Still, the ruling party has insisted that members of the party have been convicted and one of such is Kalu.

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