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EFCC arrests Kwara Assembly clerk over alleged N400m severance pay

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating alleged illegal payment of about N400 million to some members of the Kwara state House of Assembly, it was gathered.

Accordingly, the anti-graft body is quizzing Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sola Gold and the Clerk of the state House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai over the alleged payment.

EFCC source maintained that the payment did not follow due process.

It was gathered that all the 24 lawmakers were two weeks ago paid the sum of N400 million severance package, when their tenure is yet to expire.

The petitioner said even though the lawmakers and members of the state executive council are entitled to severance package, it is the next administration that is supposed to pay the money, a source at the EFCC has said.

“More worrisome is the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner which they wanted it pay along with severance package,” the petitioner added.

Speaker of the Assembly Dr Ali Ahmed had in a letter with Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, confirmed that the lawmakers are entitled to severance package at the end of their tenure on June 7th this year.

The letter reads that “in accordance with the provisions of the revenue mobilization, allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) honourable members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of office.”

The clerk of the house, Halimat Jummai Kperogi confirmed that the lawmakers had received their severance package.

She was said to have told the operatives of the EFCC that Governor Ahmed approved the payment of the package.

Kperogi said “in a meeting of the principal officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I was scheduled to be the secretary, held on May 8th, 2019, issue of severance gratuity to the honourable members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the state government has approved the payment of the severance gratuity.”

“At the meeting, I informed the house that the governor had approved the payment. I added that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of office. The house debated it and they overruled me.”

Alhaji Gold on the other hand wrote and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300 million for some members of the state executive council.

Gold, in a letter to the governor dated May 8th, 2019 said “your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara state remuneration of political and public office holders laws, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon
successful completion of tenure.”

Alhaji Gold said that while the lawmakers had received their monies, members of the state executive council are yet to receive their gratuity.

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Buhari urges universities to intensify inventions to assist national development

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged universities to intensify efforts at making discoveries and inventions that can assist the development of the country.

Buhari made the call in Dutsinma, Katsina State, in a goodwill message to the fourth convocation of the Federal University,  Dutsinma (FUDMA).

Represented by Professor Hafiz Abubakar, the former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Buhari said that part of the speech would serve as a wake-up call to the nation’s universities.

“Research, critical thinking, moral dispositions, discoveries and inventions should find natural habitats in our universities, as they do in several other universities in the world.

“Universities are supposed to be strong drivers of the country’s development initiatives for sustainable development,” he said.

He challenged the universities for being slow in aspects of discoveries and inventions.

“It is not heart-warming that in our over 58 years of independence, Nigerian universities are slow in discoveries and inventions,” he said.

He, however, said that his administration would continue to do everything possible to improve structures and facilities in the institutions, and to enhance learning by training the required manpower through various interventions like TETFUND.

Buhari also urged FUDMA to partner with Sokoto River Basin Development Authority to produce improved agricultural varieties and give the required scientific and extension support to the local farmers.

He said that this would enhance the farmers’ productivity and economic viability.

In his remarks, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Adamu Baba-Kutigi, said that 430 students were graduating from the institution for the 2017/2018 session.

According to him, the university, whose vision is to be among the top-ranking universities in the world, has seven faculties that run about 40 programmes.

He disclosed that the institution had established micro finance bank, university farm, printing press and a shopping mall to enhance its internally generated revenue.

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President Buhari has not approved state police — Presidency

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President Muhammadu Buhari has not approved the formation of state police structures as being reported by some newspapers, the Presidency said on Monday.

A statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari Monday rather received a report on the reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

It said the president requested that the report be studied and a white paper produced within three months.

”President Buhari’s specific directive is that a three-man panel is set up to produce the white paper.

”The report of the white paper committee will form the basis of the decisions of the government on the many recommendations, including the setting up of state and local government police made by the Ojukwu panel.

”Until a white paper is produced, it will be premature and pre-emptive to suggest that the recommendations contained in the report have been approved by the President in part or whole,” the release said.

The debate over the creation of state police has heightened in recent months with the rising insecurity across parts of the nation.

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Obasanjo’s fear on Islamisation, Fulanisation real, says CAN official

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Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) National Director, Legal and Public Affairs Samuel Kwamkur has reaffirmed that the fear raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Islamisation and Fulanisation was real and should be taken serious by concerned Nigerians.

Kwamkur stated this yesterday in Jos while briefing reporters on the state of the nation.

According to him, “the position of the former president is simply a repetition of the stand and position of CAN leaders long before now.”

He said: “If what Obasanjo said should be doubted, what is the justification for the community cleansing by killer Fulani herdsmen who jump on innocent communities in the night, killing them and taking over their communities? We never saw any far-reaching steps taken to bring these killer herdsmen to book!? How can you justify the Federal Government’s establishment of a radio station for Fulani?”

He said: “CAN commend the former President’s boldness to speak out at this critical period of the nation.

“We wonder what will become the fate of Nigeria and Nigerians if respected and bold leaders like Obasanjo are no more there to speak.”

Kwamkur, who was speaking on behalf of the CAN President, called on the Federal Government to take seriously the alarm raised by Obasanjo and act on it if they are to be trusted.

He said the former president spoke the minds of many people, urging the government never to intimidate him for the sake of peace.

“CAN believes that the foundation for Islamisation of Nigeria has since been laid by the makers of the Nigeria Constitution and some previous leaders of Nigeria.  Particular examples are the provisions made in the constitution for the operation of Sharia laws and courts. This makes the common law and the sharia law to be operating in the same constitution.

“This naturally has divided the nation into two and sets the tone for Islamisation. The implication of this scenario is confusion. Furthermore, as we have said before, the registration of Nigeria, (a secular state) as a member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) by military fiat is a further confirmation of deliberate Islamisation of the country,” Kwamkur said.

On insecurity, he said the  increase and expansion of insurgencies, armed bandits, armed robbery, kidnappers and killer Fulani herdsmen have continued unabated.

He called on government to be bold enough to take responsibility and be sincere in providing convincing lasting solutions.

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