- Federal Government Saved N143bn in 2016
The Presidency also said that 11 persons believed to be members of a syndicate responsible for the presence of 50,000 ghost workers on the Federal Government’s payroll had been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation and prosecution.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists.
Shehu said although the 21 Chibok girls released recently by the Boko Haram sect had been adopted by the Federal Government, many local and international interests had expressed the desire to educate them for free.
He said, “A black American billionaire, Mr. Robert Smith, who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set of escapees from Boko Haram at the American University of Nigeria, Yola has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations.
“He is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free. The Murtala Muhammed Foundation in the country is equally interested,” he said.
Shehu added that some of the suspects involved in the ghost workers scam were already undergoing trial.
He explained that the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance created by the present administration was able to uncover the 50,000 ghost workers and saved the nation of N13bn monthly during the year.
Shehu said the amount was taken off the government’s payroll from February to December.
The presidential spokesman said, “The flagship programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course.
“Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments.
“When the committee was constituted in February 2016, the Federal Government’s monthly salary bill was N151bn excluding pensions.
“Now, the monthly salary warrant is N138bn, excluding pensions, which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about N13bn. That is from February 2016 to date.”
Shehu added that the pension bill which was N15.5bn monthly as of February had been reduced to N14.4bn.
He said the government was making an average monthly saving of about N1.1bn on the pension bill.
Responding to complaints by some of the parents of the 21 Chibok girls that they did not have enough room for interaction with their daughters brought home for Christmas by the Department of state Services, Shehu admitted that there were some hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip by some security operatives.
He explained that following the complaints, a directive had been given from the headquarters of the DSS for the access by the parents to be eased.
“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he said.
Shehu also allayed the fears of many members of the ruling All Progressives Congress concerning board appointments.
He assured the agitated members that the process would be fully back on track at the beginning of 2017.
He said, “You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector to sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the New Year. The President has given directions on what to do.”
On the agricultural programmes of the administration, Shehu said the President’s persistent call for a return to farming was yielding good results.
He added, “The talk about agriculture has driven people to the farm. This year, there is a huge boom in the rural economy. We have witnessed an excellent harvest. Farmers are getting value for their output.
“What has encouraged the farmers the more is the increasing availability of extension services. New farming techniques are helping farmers to do their occupation better.”
Sanwo-Olu Orders Full Reopening of Markets
Governor of Lagos State Orders Full Reopening of All Markets
Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has ordered the full reopening of markets in the state after a report showed new cases of COVID-19 have subsided.
The governor ordered the full reopening of both the food markets and non-food markets across the metropolis.
Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said the governor took the decision to further deepen trade and commerce and ease the hardship of recent happenings.
It should be recalled that the markets were shut due to the outbreak of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in March before they were partially reopened for activities in May.
The governor, however, urged all traders to observe all safety protocols in order to prevent a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks on Looted Palliatives, Explains Delay
Looted Palliatives: Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has spoken on the recent actions of criminals and thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and looted warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept for distributions.
The group refuted claims that the stolen items were hoarded for certain people instead of distribution to the vulnerable they were meant for. This is despite the fact that some of the palliatives were already rotten by the time criminals broke into the warehouses.
Some of the looters, who spoke with the press, said a sizeable number of the items were already rotten and destroyed by rodents, while one of the lawmakers tasked with distribution claimed he planned to distribute the items on his birthday. A statement that angered many Nigerians.
However, in a statement issued on behalf of the group by Osita Nwanisobi, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, on Monday, CACOVID said due to the huge size of the items meant to be distributed, the complex process involved in manufacturing, packaging and the eventual distribution to 2 million most vulnerable families across the 774 local government in the country, the group agreed to conduct the supply in stages, especially given locked down imposed by the Federal Government during the period.
The statement reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver, and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.
“The very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”
Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest
Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.
According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.
This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.
Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.
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