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Corruption: Lawan Seeks UN’s Assistance On Repatriation Of Looted Funds

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has sought the assistance of the United Nations on the repatriation of looted funds back to Nigeria.

Lawan made the appeal on Wednesday when the United Nations Country delegation paid a visit to his office at the National Assembly, Abuja.

The Senate President, while responding to anti-graft concerns raised by the visiting delegation, said that the fight against corruption in Nigeria continues to suffer setbacks as a result of the inability of the federal government to repatriate looted funds stashed away in foreign countries across the world.

According to Lawan, such resources, if at the disposal of the government, would go a long way towards addressing critical developmental and infrastructural deficits faced by the nation.

“The head of the delegation has raised a lot of issues, and these are important and very relevant issues to us.

“When we fight corruption, we do so within and outside. So much of Nigeria’s resources have been taken out of the country.

“But even when we identify embezzled funds, to get them back to Nigeria is a big deal. And in fact, we are suffering from that for years.

“We have had few occasions when we received some repatriation, but the bulk is still out there.

“We need UN to help us, because the kind of resources that are alleged to have been taken out of Nigeria will make the country a rich country if they are repatriated,” Lawan said.

“We have never been a rich country, comparing the resources we have had, and the development challenges facing us till date.

“We are blessed and endowed, but we need every single kobo to be put into the development of this country,” the Senate President added.

The Senate President lamented further that due to unavailability of funds, the Federal Government resorted to obtaining domestic and foreign loans to fund capital projects in the 2020 budget.

Reacting to concerns raised over Nigeria’s rising population, Lawan said, “I believe that if we are able to use our population to build the capacity of our population, Nigeria’s population will be a blessing, not a curse or burden.

“It is our inability to provide for capacity building of the population, and addressing health issues and so on that makes Nigeria look like it is in bad shape.

On Nigeria’s readiness to meet the 2030 deadline for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Senate President said, “from the failures in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past, the SDGs will definitely have a better treatment in the country, because our failures in the past has shown us our areas of weaknesses.

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“Already, we are trying to work hard between the parliament and the executive arm of government to close ranks, to focus and remain on those issues out of the seventeen, that will have spin-over effects on others.”

Lawan, expressed appreciation to the United Nations for its “supportive” role to Nigeria in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the country.

“We appreciate the role you play in our country. The UN has been so supportive in many ways, and of course, the recent support you have given is in the area of our response to COVID – 19.

“We started slowly in our response, but I think as a country we are now responding very well, and thank God we are also lucky we have very few incidents.

“There are countries that are more developed than Nigeria that are in a very dire situation as far as the COVID-19 menace is concerned,” he said.

Earlier, leader of the United Nations delegation, Edward Kallon said the UN invests about $750m on development assistance per annum in Nigeria.

He added that, “the UN is also very active on the humanitarian front in the country and our support to northeast Nigeria, the epicenter of the crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

“We have been investing from $945m in 2017 to $878m in 2018, and $714m in 2019, and on an annual basis, the UN and its partners are assisting around 5.5m people in northeast Nigeria.

“The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance this year has varied from 6.2 million to 7.9 million as we speak.”

Kallon, while highlighting the major developmental challenges facing Nigeria said, “The UN is concerned about some megatrends that we feel is affecting Nigeria’s development.

“One is our concern about the explosive population growth visa vis the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth rate.

“As you are aware, Your Excellency, the population is growing at the rate of about 2.6 percent, and the economy is growing sluggishly at about 2 or 2.1 percent.

“The second megatrend is multi-dimensional poverty and increasing inequality, which is a major concern for us.

“If you look at the population growth and the GDP growth rate, what it is telling us is that more Nigerians are being born into poverty, and the figures are alarming and is a serious concern.

“The third megatrend is corruption and illicit financial flows, which your government is working very hard to combat.”

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has sought the assistance of the United Nations on the repatriation of looted funds back to Nigeria.

Lawan made the appeal on Wednesday when the United Nations Country delegation paid a visit to his office at the National Assembly, Abuja.

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The Senate President, while responding to anti-graft concerns raised by the visiting delegation, said that the fight against corruption in Nigeria continues to suffer setbacks as a result of the inability of the federal government to repatriate looted funds stashed away in foreign countries across the world.

According to Lawan, such resources, if at the disposal of the government, would go a long way towards addressing critical developmental and infrastructural deficits faced by the nation.

“The head of the delegation has raised a lot of issues, and these are important and very relevant issues to us.

“When we fight corruption, we do so within and outside. So much of Nigeria’s resources have been taken out of the country.

“But even when we identify embezzled funds, to get them back to Nigeria is a big deal. And in fact, we are suffering from that for years.

“We have had few occasions when we received some repatriation, but the bulk is still out there.

“We need UN to help us, because the kind of resources that are alleged to have been taken out of Nigeria will make the country a rich country if they are repatriated,” Lawan said.

“We have never been a rich country, comparing the resources we have had, and the development challenges facing us till date.

“We are blessed and endowed, but we need every single kobo to be put into the development of this country,” the Senate President added.

The Senate President lamented further that due to unavailability of funds, the Federal Government resorted to obtaining domestic and foreign loans to fund capital projects in the 2020 budget.

Reacting to concerns raised over Nigeria’s rising population, Lawan said, “I believe that if we are able to use our population to build the capacity of our population, Nigeria’s population will be a blessing, not a curse or burden.

“It is our inability to provide for capacity building of the population, and addressing health issues and so on that makes Nigeria look like it is in bad shape.

On Nigeria’s readiness to meet the 2030 deadline for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Senate President said, “from the failures in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past, the SDGs will definitely have a better treatment in the country, because our failures in the past has shown us our areas of weaknesses.

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“Already, we are trying to work hard between the parliament and the executive arm of government to close ranks, to focus and remain on those issues out of the seventeen, that will have spin-over effects on others.”

Lawan, expressed appreciation to the United Nations for its “supportive” role to Nigeria in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the country.

“We appreciate the role you play in our country. The UN has been so supportive in many ways, and of course, the recent support you have given is in the area of our response to COVID – 19.

“We started slowly in our response, but I think as a country we are now responding very well, and thank God we are also lucky we have very few incidents.

“There are countries that are more developed than Nigeria that are in a very dire situation as far as the COVID-19 menace is concerned,” he said.

Earlier, leader of the United Nations delegation, Edward Kallon said the UN invests about $750m on development assistance per annum in Nigeria.

He added that, “the UN is also very active on the humanitarian front in the country and our support to northeast Nigeria, the epicenter of the crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

“We have been investing from $945m in 2017 to $878m in 2018, and $714m in 2019, and on an annual basis, the UN and its partners are assisting around 5.5m people in northeast Nigeria.

“The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance this year has varied from 6.2 million to 7.9 million as we speak.”

Kallon, while highlighting the major developmental challenges facing Nigeria said, “The UN is concerned about some megatrends that we feel is affecting Nigeria’s development.

“One is our concern about the explosive population growth visa vis the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth rate.

“As you are aware, Your Excellency, the population is growing at the rate of about 2.6 percent, and the economy is growing sluggishly at about 2 or 2.1 percent.

“The second megatrend is multi-dimensional poverty and increasing inequality, which is a major concern for us.

“If you look at the population growth and the GDP growth rate, what it is telling us is that more Nigerians are being born into poverty, and the figures are alarming and is a serious concern.

“The third megatrend is corruption and illicit financial flows, which your government is working very hard to combat.”

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El-Rufai Reacts To The Slaughter Of 34 Kaduna Villagers, Says This Is Wickedness

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El-Rufai Reacts To The Slaughter Of 34 Kaduna Villagers, Says This Is Wickedness
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El-Rufai Reacts To The Slaughter Of 34 Kaduna Villagers, Says This Is Wickedness

34 residents of Madamai village in Kaura local government area of Kaduna have been killed by unidentified gunmen in the latest round of violence to hit the state.

The attack on the village took place late on Sunday, September 26, 2021, according to reports.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed 34 dead in a statement on Monday, September 27, and also reported seven people were injured.

The attackers also set many houses in the community on fire before they were reportedly forced to withdraw due to the intervention of military troops in the area.

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El-Rufai Reacts To The Slaughter Of 34 Kaduna Villagers, Says This Is Wickedness

“The troops put out the fire at three of the burning houses, and rescued six locals from the infernos,” Aruwan said.

Two suspects have been arrested and are being questioned in connection with the attack.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai described the attack as “an unspeakable display of wickedness” which deserves the harshest punishment.

He ordered the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency to urgently assess the area and provide relief for the affected households.

The governor also called for calm in the area, and urged security agencies to conduct urgent and precise investigations into the attack.

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Kaduna is one of the worst affected by banditry and violent attacks in the northern region, with 1,482 people killed and 3,695 kidnapped between January 2020 and June 2021, according to the government’s own records.

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Protesters shut down Edo over compulsory covid 19 vaccination

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Protesters shut down Edo over compulsory covid 19 vaccination
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Protesters shut down Edo over compulsory covid 19 vaccination

Members of civil society organisations and students on Monday took to major streets in Edo State to protest against the compulsory COVID-19 vaccination policy put in place by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.

The protesters, who grounded vehicular movement in the metropolis, carried placards bearing inscriptions as: ‘We need security in Edo, not vaccine’; ‘We will resist any form of executive rascality’; ‘Hunger is killing us, not COVID-19’; ‘Obaseki obey court order’; ‘My body is my right’; ‘Share COVID-19 palliative’.

They also threatened to completely shut down government houses, government agencies/parastatals, corporate organisations enforcing ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policies, stressing that the protest of Monday was just a warning.

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Speaking at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, the coordinator of the Freedom Ambassador Organisation, Curtis Ogbebor, said they were out to express their displeasure over the compulsory vaccination in the state, noting that other pressing issues such as security should be the governor’s priority and not COVID-19 vaccination.

Protesters shut down Edo over compulsory covid 19 vaccination

He said, “We have come out today to send a warning and an advice for him to urgently withdraw that enforcement order. If he refuses to withdraw that order in 48 hours, we will mobilise to shut down the economy of the state. We cannot fold our arms and watch the act of illegality happen in our state.

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“There are issues of urgent concern like security which is enshrined in the constitution that the governor is under the law to secure the lives and properties of its citizenry. But as we speak, the governor is not concern about the security and welfare of the people.

“As of now, no street light is working in Edo State; Benin-Auchi Road is not safe to travel on because of bandits, herdsmen and other criminal elements.”

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Only Senseless Governor Will Borrow To Pay Salaries – PDP Tackles Abiodun

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Only Senseless Governor Will Borrow To Pay Salaries - PDP Tackles Abiodun
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Only Senseless Governor Will Borrow To Pay Salaries – PDP Tackles Abiodun

The Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lamented what it called the unquenchable appetite of Governor Dapo Abiodun for borrowing, saying no reasonable government borrows money to pay salaries and take care of other recurrent expenditures.

The PDP said it was worried by the “increasingly disturbing socio-economic realities currently staring the people in the face under the watch of Prince Dapo Abiodun.”

The opposition party said it was unfortunate that “since its emergence, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government has steadily conducted the business of governance in a most insensitive manner.”

It was said that “every sane mind is worried about the unquenchable appetite of the government for unjustifiable loans. The spree of borrowings has become very embarrassing.”

While conceding that quests for financial aid and interventions are not wrong in itself, the PDP, however, stated that all assistance, in form of loans must have a practicable plan, both medium and long term of repayment and clear-cut reasons for such borrowings, stressing that, “No reasonable government accesses loans to pay salaries or other recurrent needs.”

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A statement signed by Ogun PDP’s Publicity Secretary, Akinloye Bankole, and made available to DAILY POST on Monday, read in part:

“The situation in Ogun State is so pathetic to the extent that the ruling government is hell-bent on plunging the entire destiny of unborn generation to an endless pit of indebtedness by seeking another 83.5billion without giving full details of what happened to the Post COVID-19 250billion which the State House of Assembly approved around April 2021.

Only Senseless Governor Will Borrow To Pay Salaries – PDP Tackles Abiodun

“As a fact, the worry is, despite the scary burden of indebtedness hanging around the state’s neck as a direct result of lack of developmental creativity by the government, Ogun State still wallows in socio-economic hardship, huge infrastructural decay and unprecedented environmental degradation. A countless number of our roads have become impassable owing to blatant abandonment by the same government that is expected to fix them. The deplorable conditions in virtually all sectors call for immediate concerns of all.

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“The public should also be reminded that despite huge debt profile, Dapo Abiodun led government still owes about 20 months contributory deductions of civil servants; bout 10 years gratuity and pensions of retirees are also being owed by the Abiodun led government who is currently somewhere holidaying outside the country. His promise of houses to Ogun state teachers during World Teachers’ Day in 2020 has not been fulfilled till now.

“Perhaps it may also interest the good people of Ogun State that a recent report of a survey carried out by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, is enough to make this sinking ship show remorse but it is obviously comfortable with the rating which shows that Ogun State has shamelessly drifted from its erstwhile position of pride as it currently ranks 19th in the nation. Without mincing words, this government is an embarrassment.

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“As a responsible political organization, our great party is sympathetic to the plights of the people in general, civil servants and pensioners. We are ever determined to always stand by them, especially during this legitimate demand for their inalienable rights. We shall continue to partner with the good people of the state in order to rescue our collective patrimony from the claws of the irresponsibility of the ruling APC government.”

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