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Lawyers Kick As Document Reveals Billions Of Naira, Govs Receive Monthly As Security Votes

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Lawyers Kick As Document Reveals Billions Of Naira Govs Receive Monthly As Security Votes

Legal practitioners have raised their contempt with the revealed millions and billions of naira governors in Nigeria receive each month as security votes, while insecurity continues to swallow citizens.

 

Nigerians can longer sleep with two eyes, as they are living at the mercy of kidnappers, bandits, Fulani herdsmen and Boko-Haram who are killing and destroying properties everyday.

 

Bordered by this the security votes and rising insecurity, Niger Delta-based groups and lawyers at the weekend kicked against the continued payment of billions of naira to governors of the oil-rich region as security votes.

 

The groups and the lawyers wondered why they should be receiving security votes when the security situation in the nine states of the region is not improving.

 

The lawyers- Aluzu Ebikebuna and Oghenejabor Ikimi – spoke to The Nation against the backdrop of a report by an online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which showed that eight of the nine Niger Delta governors receive about N9bn monthly as security votes.

 

The groups that also reacted to the report are Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), and Policy Alert.

 

Wikipedia had in the report described security votes as a huge amount of money allocated to the 36 states in Nigeria for the sole purpose of security services.

 

Based on Wikipedia figures on Niger Delta states, Delta State governor receives the highest of N2bn monthly followed by Akwa Ibom State with N1.8bn and Rivers State with N1.5bn.

 

Imo governor receives the lowest with N333.3 million monthly while his counterparts in Abia get N700m; Edo, N900m; Cross River, N500m and Ondo, N600m.

 

The monthly figure for Bayelsa State Governor was reportedly shrouded in secrecy, though unconfirmed sources put it at over N1bn.

 

It was gathered that the governors are expected to use the “outrageous” amount of money estimated at over N108bn yearly to tackle security threats such as kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, among others in their domain.

 

Ebikebuna, a Bayelsa State-based lawyer, said the governors had no justification to keep receiving such huge amount of money in the name of security votes. He described the practice as unconstitutional.

 

Aluzu said there was no place in the constitution for security votes, adding that the law only made provisions for a contingency fund in Section 83 of the Constitution.

 

His words: “The difference is that, unlike contingency fund, security vote does not need the sanction of the Assembly to be withdrawn from. In a constitutional democracy like Nigeria, its practice is illegal and unconstitutional.

 

“This illegality is heightened by the fact that its utilization is outside the normal budgetary process in most cases as the funds are unaccounted for. The funds disbursed from security votes are not audited by the Auditor-General contrary to section 125 of the Constitution.

 

“Governors have continued to use the security situation of their state to hew huge amount of money under security vote. It is almost like a catalyst for security problem in states.”

 

Ikimi, who is also the Coordinator of Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged (CENTREP), said security votes was illegal as it lacked constitutional backing.

 

He said payment of security votes to governors should be stopped forthwith because it is a precursor of corruption.

 

“In the past when there was no security votes, the level of insecurity was tolerable but now that we have security votes, insecurity is at its highest level. Security vote have not come to check insecurity but to worsen it”, Ikimi added.

 

A faction of UPU, the apex Urhobo socio-cultural organisation, urged the Federal Government to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to compel the Niger Delta governors to give account of their security votes.

 

Its leader, Olorogun Joe Omene, accused governors in the region of siphoning security votes for personal use, warning that ” many days are for the thief but one day for the owner of the house.”

 

He said collection of security votes is akin to “stealing of public funds by trick. Such funds, according to him, could be channeled into tackling the huge infrastructure challenges and poverty in the region.

 

He said: “The present government at the center should use the EFCC to compel state governors to account for the use of the money. We understand that governors just collect the money and nobody questions its use.

 

“This is grossly unfair. Look at our roads in Delta, but we blame the Federal Government whereas the money can be used for the development of the state.

 

“The irony is that if there is a major security breach, people will point fingers at the Federal Government whereas state governments are collecting humongous sums in the name of security votes. What do the Niger-Delta governors do with it.

 

“How can one man collect so much yet people are kidnapped and killed on a regular basis?”

 

A non-governmental Organisation, Policy Alert, demanded the abrogation of security votes.

 

Its Executive Director , Mr. Tijah Bolton Akpan, said governors of the Niger Delta had not properly deployed the “humongous security votes” in a transparent and accountable manner.

 

According to him, the state chief executives have “corruptly used the money to fund their political machinery and ambitions rather than use it to adequately support the police and other security agencies.”

 

He said: ”If they(the governors) were getting all that money then we have to look at it from two angles. First is its accountability and transparency. Second is the actual deployment of the security votes.

 

”Now at the level of accountability and transparency there is very little that the governors do to ensure that the people know what they use these resources for because when you go to the budget it is provided as lump sum. People cannot know if it is used for buying guns, bullets or vehicles.

 

”At the level of actual implementation you see the very poor number of security vehicles governors donate to police formations in their states. This tells us that they pay lip service to the issue of security.

‘Some months ago, you saw what happened. We saw people taking to the streets robbing in broad daylight and killing and maiming at will.

 

”It shows something is lacking. Security is not all about providing the hardware. It is also about the intelligence which the government could help the police with.”

 

The Nation

 

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PDP Secondus Accused Of Siphoning N10 Billion

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PDP Secondus Accused Of Siphoning N10 Billion

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC), has been accused of mismanagement of N10bn generated from the sale of forms for four years.

 

The country’s anti-corruption agencies, EFCC and ICPC have been petitioned by one of the chieftains of the party over the matter.

 

The petitioner, Prince Kassim Afegbua, alleged that the leadership has mismanaged close to N10bn which accrued from the sale of nomination forms for the presidential, gubernatorial, house of assembly and senatorial elections from 2017 to date.

 

Responding to the petitioner, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the claim as “spurious” and “irresponsible”.

 

“The PDP did not raise Afegbua’s fictitious sum of N10 billion as alleged by him. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP generated the sum of N4.6 billion and raised a budget for its expenditure, in line with all known financial regulations of our party.

 

“This budget passed through the organs of our party and received the approvals from the NWC, the governors’ forum, the Board of Trustees as well as other organs of the party.

 

“As a law-abiding political party that respects the doctrine of rule of law and transparency, the budget was presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) where it also received a final approval,” the party stated.

 

The petitioner, in a statement, said, “Much of the financial transactions of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus have been shrouded in mystery.”

 

He said in the event the anti-graft agency delayed in carrying out its investigation, he would have no option but to seek legal redress in the law court.

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Niger Delta Leaders Laud Timipre Sylva

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Niger Delta Leaders Laud Timipre Sylva

Niger Delta leaders on Saturday praised the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for liberating the country’s petroleum sector from its quagmire.

 

They also praised the minister for playing a crucial role in the development of Nigeria.

 

“Chief Timipre Sylva is committed to the development of Nigeria. He will always support the Niger Delta region through thick and thin”.

 

In a statement in Yenagoa, the leaders praised Sylva for the zero-fuel queues situation in the country and the ongoing Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGAPS) at Emeyal, Ogbia LGA in Bayelsa State.

 

They commended the minister for defending the interests of the Niger Delta people, changing the image of Nigeria for the better and attracting International Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to the petroleum sector.

 

READ ALSO: $350,000 Bribe: I Never Offered EFCC Boss Any Money, I Was Never Detained – Akpabio

 

The leaders also hailed Sylva for creating jobs for the people, placing greater emphasis on the distribution chain, indigenous capacities for the oil and gas industry as well as choosing courses which tend at least to a better and more desirable development of the country’s petroleum sector.

 

Signed by the chairperson of the Niger Delta People’s Movement (NDPM), Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua, the leaders applauded the former Bayelsa State governor for his honest leadership, dogged commitment to principles in the practice of politics, the rule of law and the best democratic tradition of fairness and justice.

 

“Chief Timipre Sylva should be applauded in his quest to bring about economic and social development in the country.”

 

The leaders who met in Yenagoa for three hours commended the astute politician for opening up local manufacturing in the country, improving the environmental condition of the oil producing areas and making the South-South geo-political zone, particularly Bayelsa State proud by his achievements in politics.

 

“Chief Timipre Sylva and other ministers have done South-South proud. The zone has never had it so good in terms of provision of amenities and infrastructure,” they said.

 

The statement emphasized sound business policy, creative power of the petroleum economy and operations of the petroleum industry.

 

“Chief Timipre Sylva is travelling on the road that leads to success.”

 

The leaders called on critics to emulate the virtues of Sylva by pursuing peace, progress and development.

 

“In spite of the current financial crunch, the Federal Government is up to date in its obligations to the Niger Delta region”.

 

The leaders also advised critics of Buhari’s appointees from the South-South geo-political zone to join Nigerians, home and abroad, in celebrating the achievements of the petroleum resources minister.

 

“Chief Timipre Sylva will continue to seek what is best for the good people of the Niger Delta region” the statement said.

 

Chief Timipre Sylva is one of the most ardent promoters of the unity and development of the Niger Delta region

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People Are Reporting Killing Like It Had Never Happened Before – Garba Shehu

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People Are Reporting Killing Like It Had Never Happened Before - Garba Shehu

……Forging Certificate is More Critical Than Terrorism

 

Senior Special Assitant to President, Garba Shehu, has said that the way killings are being reported under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is like it had never happened before.

 

Garba Shehu explained that killings had been in existence since forever and President Buhari seems to be a target in the way it is being reported now.

 

Garba Shehu said this on Channels’ Politics Today, on Friday night while answering questions on the ongoing controversy surrounding the embattled Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, said that those who “stand in criticism of the minister are not willing to forgive him.”

 

READ ALSO: Buhari Will Not Sack Pantami – Garba Shehu Responds Nigerians

 

Garba Shehu, reacting to comparison of Pantami’s case to alleged forgery that consumed former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the cases are different and opined that the latter was more critical than the terrorism accusation against Pantami.

 

He also stated that if Pantami forged a certificate before coming to office, the attitude from the Presidency would have been different. The Presidency has been hit with heavy criticisms following the backing of Pantami in the midst of terrorism comments, which the minister said were utterances made in ignorantly, stating that he is now more mature and knows better.

 

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