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Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, has debunked claims on some media platforms that the 2024 Budget has allocated N21 billion for his accommodation.
The former speaker was reacting on his verified X handle, @femigbaja, to the report, which provided an alleged breakdown of budget details taking care of items for the office of the Chief of Staff, in the budget estimates presented to the National Assembly by President Tinubu last Wednesday.
The report, which found its way into several online news outlets, claimed proposed N104 million for the purchase of computers and printers for ‘local travel and transport for international training,’ his office is to spend N579 million, while ‘miscellaneous’ is expected to gulp N103 million.
The report also claimed a further breakdown of the proposed budgetary allocations showed that the reconstruction and repair of the CoS’s official residence is to get N10 billion.
Computer software purchase for his office is purportedly expected to gulp about N10.1 billion and N290 million is allocated for purchase of vehicles.
However, in the response posted on his X handle, Gbajabiamila said the report by the news platforms is false as there is no provision in the 2024 Budget proposal for the renovation of his official residence, noting that he lives in his own house.
He explained that the sums mischievously quoted by online news outlets and those he called fake news merchants were for the renovation of the Presidential Quarters in Dodan Barracks and the Vice President’s Lodge in Lagos, to overhaul the information management and communications facilities in the Presidency to meet modern standards and to provide vehicles for the staff of the Presidency.
He said: “I have seen social media commentary regarding the 2024 Appropriation Bill, particularly the provisions under the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President. Owing to the erroneous nature of these reports, it has become necessary to clarify that there is no provision in the 2024 Appropriation Bill for the renovation of any residence for the Chief of Staff to the President. I live in my private residence.
“The sums mischievously quoted by online bloggers and fake news merchants are for renovating the Presidential Quarters in Dodan Barracks and the Vice President’s Lodge in Lagos, to overhaul the information management and communications facilities in the Presidency to meet modern standards and to provide vehicles for the staff of the presidency.
“The sums proposed for these projects are clearly stated in the budget proposal and bear no resemblance to the deceptive online commentary.
“This administration welcomes and encourages scrutiny of government expenditure; this is why the Budget proposal is publicly available. However, healthy public debate about government actions requires us to be responsible with our utterances and engage based on facts rather than insinuations and falsehoods.”
Three months after announcing the end of his marriage to wife, Bunmi, actor Bolanale Ninalowo, has stepped out with actress Damilola Adegbite.
There were speculations weeks back that the pair were an item.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, the actor confirmed the speculation by sharing a video of himself with Adegbite with the caption, “That hateful energy – too pricy! Love dont cost a thang #LovePeaceAndLightOnly. Maka #BOLDAMEE ♥️.”
Adegbite was married to Ghanaian actor, Chris Attoh. The marriage, which produced a son, Brian, crashed in 2017.
Delta State Police Command says a yet-to-be-identified officer who allegedly shot a motorist in a viral video has been arrested and detained.
The Delta Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bright Edafe, who made this known in a post on his official X handle, expressed disappointment over the unprofessional conduct of the officer.
It was learnt that the erring officer who was on a stop and search on the East-West Road, Ughelli town, opened fire on the victim after an argument.
The motorist whose identity is yet unknown, was according to the viral video, shot on the leg and stomach.
Sharing the video on his X page, the PPRO said, the “Nigeria Police Force does not and will never tolerate unprofessional conduct from any personnel.
“On this premise, the Commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass ordered the immediate detention of the erring Police Inspector.
“The injured victim is being treated. Meanwhile, the CP urges members of the public to remain calm, as he guarantees justice,” he said.
Watch video here.
The Mokopane Regional Court in South Africa has sentenced a 35-year-old woman, Tshepho Mogoshadi Mphahlele, to 15 years imprisonment, over the gruesome murder of her twin sister at Ga Mogotlane village in Limpopo.
According to Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, the woman was found guilty of brutally killing her twin sister on January 18, 2023.
"During the trial, the court heard how the accused attacked her twin sister after they got into a heated argument and she stabbed her with a knife several times until she died at their residence,” Mashaba said. After the murder, Mphahlele chopped her sister’s body up with an axe, before fleeing the scene.
She later handed herself over to the Moletlane police station on January 20, and she was then arrested.
''The case was assigned to Sergeant Rodney Mothiba, and he diligently worked on the case to ensure that the accused was denied bail until she was found guilty,” said Mashaba. “The accused was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for the murder of her twin sister.” Hadebe added that no person has the right to take away someone’s life, even after being provoked.
In a video shared online, Korra alleged that Justin Dean has failed to contribute towards their children’s health care, food and others. She said she recently got a mail from their daughter, June’s school informing her that Justin hasn’t paid his own portion of their her school fees and that they may have to expel her. She said all she is asking for is for Justin to pay his own part of their children’s support.
She said if Justin has money to pay a lawyer, why can’t he pay $850.
‘’I have been paying for June’s school fees from July. Infact, he just stopped paying and didn’t tell anybody until the school sent me an email that they were going to expel June from school. So I told them ‘Please, send me all the bills he hasn’t paid’ and then moving forward from then, I started to pay in full from the middle of the year until this end of the year and still he has not not paid. I am not lying, I have receipts of the payment’. I have no business with this man if it is not for my daughters.’
Speaking further, she said
‘’Thank God for independence and thank God for him saving me. I have no business with him, I can take care of myself. I don’t your alimony, I don’t want your child support. I just want you to pay your 50%’’
More details have emerged after a Nigerian man killed his wife in the United Kingdom.
According to information gathered, the tragic incident happened at 259 Exning Road, Newmarket, Suffolk — a suburban terrace in the market town of West Suffolk.
It was gathered that the lifeless body of Taiwo Owoeye Abodunde, a nurse and mother of three was found lying on the floor of her living room.
The police’s grim discovery was an unplanned encounter, prompted by a follow-up visit related to a previous report of assault made against her estranged husband, David Olubunni Abodunde, according to a correspondent from TheNation.
According to the police, the visit was scheduled as “a pre-arranged meeting to gather evidence in relation to the assault allegations made against Olubunni Abodunde on November 27 by Taiwo, which led to his arrest.”
The police report indicated that they arrived at 259 Exning Road, Newmarket, Taiwo’s home address, at 9:55 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. Upon entering the residence, they discovered her unresponsive on the living room floor. Despite prompt medical attention, paramedics declared Taiwo dead at the scene.
Olubunni Abodunde, the husband, was found inside the residence and subsequently arrested on suspicion of her murder. He was then taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning and later appeared at Ipswich Crown Court and Suffolk Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary hearing.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also investigating the force’s response as officers had been called to the address earlier. A spokesperson for the IOPC said: “We can confirm we have received a referral from Suffolk Constabulary in relation to this incident and we are carrying out an assessment to determine what further action may be required from us.
” The intervention of IOPC was prompted by a suspicious failing by the Police over a previous correspondence with the Taiwo’s family on November 27, 2023, over previous assault.
The Police added: “On Monday 27th November 2023, Taiwo contacted Suffolk Police reporting an assault by Olubunni on her that day and a further assault from 15th August 2023. Olubunni was arrested on suspicion of both assaults at 10:23am 27/11/2023. He was released from police custody at 6:20pm 27/11/2023 with police bail conditions. The Police Bail conditions imposed were: Not to go to 239 Exning Road, Newmarket, CB9 0AY. Not to contact Taiwo Abodunde directly or indirectly except via a third party to arrange child contact.
“The incorrect address of 239 Exning Road, Newmarket on the bail condition should have in fact been recorded as 259 Exning Road, Newmarket. When Suffolk Police attended Taiwo’s address on Tuesday 28th November, this was for a pre-arranged meeting to gather evidence in relation to the assault allegations that were made against Olubunni Abodunde on 27th November which led to his arrest. Because of these recent police contact with Taiwo, Suffolk Constabulary have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
“We will keep you updated on this process. We also want to make you aware we initially identified two scenes in relation to what happened but following our enquiries we have removed one scene, but one remains in place. This continues to be a location where evidence is present.”
More than anything else, this chance finding by the police of the dead formed a leg in the intrigue and misfortune suffered by a family that was enmeshed in marital distrust, domestic abuse and the struggle for economic survival right out of the sleepy towns of Ipoti Ekiti and Igogo Ekiti. The late Taiwo was a native of Igogo Ekiti and Olubunmi from Ipoti Ekiti. They both met at Otun Ekiti in 2004 during a 7th Day Adventist Church social-religious camp for young people. It wasn’t love at first sight, but Taiwo would later agree to date and marry Bunmi following persistent pressure and persuasion from the husband.
Both Ipoti Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area and Igogo Ekiti in the Moba Local government area are located in Ekiti state -Southwest geopolitical region of Nigeria. Known for its myths and festivals, the two towns are roughly 15 miles of each other. Igogo Ekiti is popular for its royal folklore of Queen Oronsen who while married to King Rerengejen fled the palace in anger because of the conspiracy against her. She would be immortalised with a terra cotta image near ‘Igbo Oluwa’ a sacred forest in the town. Natives make annual ritual sacrifice of different articles, such as dried fish, colanut, alligator pepper, and bitter cola in return for her spiritual protection of the kingdom.
Interestingly, the tradition and folklore of Ipoti Ekiti is also woven around a wife who was assured after Ifa divination that she would have three male issues on the account of faith, belief and offering to placate the gods. The late Taiwo and her estranged husband, Olubunmi Abodunde, have three male children David 16, Daniel 14 and Jetemi 11. The husband, Olubunmi Abodunde, 47-year-old self-declared engineer migrated to the United Kingdom in November 2022 with the three children to join his wife of 17 years. But their marriage, which withstood several challenges, soon began to disintegrate over controlling behaviour, domestic violence, allegations of infidelity and distrust. He became verbally violent, kept throwing fist and calling the wife unprintable names, said Adekunle Owoeye, the twin brother to the late Taiwo.
It’s hard to overstate what a cataclysmic episode this was for the couple and the people of the two neighboring towns of Igogo and Ekiti where the case had dominated airwaves and street conversation since last week. Adekunle Owoeye, speaking on behalf of the late Taiwo’s family recalled an incident some years back in Igogo Ekiti when Bunmi and Taiwo attended an event where the couple exchanged hot arguments and fists over where to sleepover after. Bunmi was said to have hit the wife and the mother-in-law who protested his violent behaviour. The matter was later resolved by the two kings of the towns; the Onigogo of Igogo Ekiti HRM Oba Sunday Adewunmi, Okinbaloye the 1st and the Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti, HRM Oba Oladipupo Kolade.
HRM Oba Sunday Adewunmi, Okinbaloye said he was very disheartened to hear about the sudden demise of the late Taiwo because of the hard-work put in by the royal house to make the marriage work and the guidance he provided for Taiwo to help the family in their pursuit for better life overseas.
“My sister had endured a lot of assaults from Bunmi over petty marital issues,” said the twin brother Adekunle Owoeye.
Adekunle described the past 18 years as a ‘living nightmare’ for the late sister. But he added: “I was elated and relieved that my sister was traveling overseas where domestic violence cannot happen. She had not long earlier retrieved her academic certification from the husband after he hid it for 10 years over envy to stop Taiwo from earning her own income independently.”
The relocation was indeed ominous as family members recalled the worry and excitement that greeted the news of their relocation to the United Kingdom. Elder Ayo Abodunde, who is an uncle to the husband, said he was very happy but also worried about the couple given the previous intervention of third parties in their issues.
“I counselled Bunmi to be very patient and understanding when dealing with women and especially a wife. I told him that he has to avoid any situation that will lead to arguments and fights, especially because of their children and the domestic law in the new country.”
He added that the tension is now very high in the two towns over the sad development. “I have now arranged for our family to go to Igogo Ekiti on Wednesday (today) to visit and engage the other family (late Taiwo’s) on the way forward.
A neighbour living near the unfortunate home of the couple in Newmarket described her routine observation: “I came home to see that the whole street was just covered in police and ambulances, but two days prior there were police. I knew it was something really bad with the amount of police here and the way they were not telling anyone anything. Normally they say something, but they were very hush-hush.”
“It’s just awful, everyone is really shocked. I used to see some young boys kicking a ball about in their garden.”
In a condolence note penned through his social media handle, the Kehinde Owoeye said; “I want to tell the entire member of Owoeyes’ family to stay calm (though painful) as justice will be served on the killer in due course; be rest assured. I want to thank UK Govt, Detectives Peter, Amy and the hired Private investigators, as well as the Nigeria Embassy in London for their professionalism. To the Onigogo of Igogo-Ekiti and sons and daughters of Igogo, with a lot of our friends especially in the United Kingdom, we say thank you for your efforts so far. To the people that came from far and near to console, we appreciate.
“To my mum, though it’s an irreplaceable loss, please take heart (though not easy), it’s only God that can console you divinely. To the entire Amuludun dynasty, please NO to derogatory post, calm down as we await his trial in the Court of the UK. Thanks for your understanding the children are currently being taken care of by the UK social services.”
The lifeless body of a 16-year-old girl, Machaka Radebe, has been found two days after she was reported missing in Free State, South Africa.
Machaka's body was discovered with a stab wound in an open field in Bloemspruit in the early hours of Monday morning, December 4, 2023.
Machaka was last seen by her brother on Saturday afternoon, December 2.
Police spokesperson, Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli, who confirmed the development in a statement said the siblings were asleep at their home in Rocklands and when her brother woke up, he noticed that Machaka was not in her bedroom.
"He tried to call her but her mobile phone was answered by an unknown male demanding cash or his sister will die," Kareli said.
Kareli said the brother called his mother and they reported the matter at the Kagisanong police station where a case of kidnapping was opened.
Police are appealing for information that can assist in the investigation into Machaka's murder.
They are urged to contact Colonel Bolsiek on 082 466 8530.
Meanwhile, police in the Free State are pleading with teenagers to stop providing or sharing personal information with unknown people online.
"We also wish to advice young girls not to agree to meet with anyone they met on social media,” Kareli said.
A Nigerian clergyman, Prophet Okeke, has stirred reactions online after he cautioned his church members about the amount of money they give to God as offering.
In the video, Prophet Okeke asked why his church members would have N1million and give God N500.
According to him, it is only an oracle that accepts such offering. He added that the amount people give as offering shows how much God has their hearts.
The Federal Government has cleared 4,081 civil servants out of a total of 17,000 originally delisted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
The civil servants have now been re-enrolled into the payroll of the Federal Government.
The fate of the other civil servants is yet to be known.
This development, which was made known to our correspondent in Abuja, comes amidst cries of withheld salaries of certain civil servants across the Federal Government’s ministries, departments and agencies.
The PUNCH reports that following the intervention of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, the Federal Government, through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, began the verification of 17,000 civil servants who were recently delisted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System in October.
The 17,000 government employees were said to have been delisted from the IPPIS for failing to comply with verification exercises spanning over five years.
In the list obtained by our correspondent, it was observed that some of the civil servants cleared were from the State House, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Public Service Commission, Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Others were from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Youths, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Ministry of Police Affairs, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development…
, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Education, Federal Civil Service Commission and Budget Office of the Federation.
The National President, ASSCN, Tommy Etim, did not respond to inquiries by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.
The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, has requested N35bn funding from financial institutions to revive the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The ministry’s Chief Information Officer, Tine-Iulun Maureen, in a statement, said the minister revealed this when he received a delegation from Stanbic IBTC Bank, at its headquarters on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister said the collaboration with financial institutions, was to seek the best financing options to re-start the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta and kick-start iron rod production.
The statement read, “It has become imperative to seek funding of about N35bn to enable the re-start of the Light Mill Section of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for the production of iron rod to achieve the agenda of the current administration to revive Ajaokuta in phases in accordance with its set timelines and benchmark.
“This is in furtherance of achieving its mandate of reviving the Steel Sector, improving industrialisation in the country, diversifying the economy, providing jobs for the teeming youths and growing the Gross Domestic Product, is collaborating with Financial Institutions, for best financing options to re-start the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta.”
He disclosed that the ministry has an existing agreement with the Works Ministry to be off-takers of the rod produced as well as with the Ministry of Defence to build a Military Complex in Ajaokuta, adding, “We have huge opportunities in Ajaokuta and potentially a lot can be achieved.”
Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, has stated that the construction of fibre optic cables nationwide in Nigeria is estimated to require a $2 billion investment.
Tijani shared this information on Tuesday while featuring in an interview on Channels TV.
He added that his ministry, working alongside the Nigeria Communication Commission, sees fibre optics as a priority to improve the quality of communication service in the country.
According to the Minister, the federal government has already constructed about 35, 000 kilometres of fibre optics cable nationwide. However, the country needs around 95,000 kilometres to ensure complete coverage.
- “I understand, as a minister, that if we prioritize fibre optic cables in this country, the quality of service, whether it’s through your normal mobile telephone or the internet service you use at home, is going to go off the roof, and that’s the commitment I’m also making.
- “In the next four years, we are going to do everything to increase the kilometres of fibre optic cables in Nigeria. We are about 35, 000 kilometres away, and we need to go to 95,000 kilometres, almost halfway there.
- “It’s going to cost roughly $1.5 to $2 billion to wire the whole of Nigeria to reach that 95, 000.
- “We hope we can accelerate in the next 6 to 12 months, secure that funding that private companies can tap into—it’s not government money—and hopefully work with serious companies that can lay fibre over the next two to three years.
- “We’re hoping that before the first four years of this administration, a significant portion of that 95, 000 kilometres will be covered,” he said.
FG to Improve 5G Infrastructure in the Country
The Minister also noted that the federal government is working to improve the infrastructural structures of the 5G network across the country, stating that there is still a need for developments to support such a high-quality network in the country.
He stated that while such infrastructures are in place in some locations in the country, many people still experience low-quality of 5G networks due to a lack of infrastructural support.
- “The infrastructure that drives 5G is not something that is across the nation. We do in some places.
- “So, if you subscribe to 5G and you move into locations where the infrastructure cannot support it, of course, the quality will drop. 5G exists in Nigeria and there are telcos with the licence,” the minister said.
Accordingly, Tijani shared some of the strides of his ministry within his first 100 days in office.
What you should know
A fibre optic cable consists of glass fibre strands encased in insulation, tailored for efficient long-distance data networking and high-performance telecommunications.
Fibre optic cables surpass wired cables in both bandwidth and long-distance data transmission. They play a crucial role in supporting global internet, cable TV, and telephone networks.
•Sub-nationals share N15.8 trillion from FAAC in four years
• Corruption, poverty, insecurity, disputes retard growth
• IGRs less than 40 per cent of states’, LGs’ allocations
• Silence over CBN salary bailout loan status
Despite raking about N15.8 trillion from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in less than four years, the majority of sub-national governments are reeling in huge debts just as some are showing signs of distress. But the huge indebtedness, poor infrastructure funding and financial stress have not stopped mind-boggling profligacy on the parts of the states’ administrators.
While a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that between 2020 and 2021, the states shared about N8.8 trillion, checks by The Guardian revealed that as of 2022, the 36 and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had received N3.16 trillion.
In the first half of 2023, N1.15 trillion was disbursed to the sub-national entities. In July, they received N966.1 billion; August, N1.1 trillion; September, N903.4 billion and October, N906.9 billion, bringing the total amount shared in the past four years to N15.58 trillion.
The federation distributes revenue generated every month from its different revenue sources units to the federal, state, and local governments, in line with both horizontal and vertical sharing formulae. The sources include electronic transfer levies, value-added tax (VAT) and remittances from other revenue-generating agencies.
It has been argued that the central funding arrangement has not encouraged creativity among the states as most of them rely mostly on FAAC allocations to fund their activities.
Indeed, while the state governors wait for Abuja every month to be spoon-fed, their internally generated revenue (IGR) potentials are ignored or sub-optimally utilised. For instance, while they received N8.8 trillion from the common purse in 2020 to 2021, their combined IGR stood at N3.46 trillion or less than 40 per cent of their FAAC allocations.
That about 41 per cent of the total IGRs generated by Lagos underpins the level of viability crisis facing many states. Some states, for instance, generate less than N10 billion as their total IGRs for a year. In 2021, IGRs of Kebi, Taraba and Yobe were below N10 billion each.
Rather than leveraging internal potential to support FAAC sources, states have continued to indulge in debts. As of 2020, the Debt Management Officer (DMO) put the domestic debts of the states at N4.18 trillion. The figure rose to N4.45 trillion in 2021 and N5.33 trillion in 2022. As at the end of the first half of the year, the figure was N5.815 trillion.
Meanwhile, most of the states are said to have been exposed to different debts granted by commercial banks but not documented with the DMO. It would be recalled that the former minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, told a gathering of financial experts at a forum of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
The state governments, ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, prevailed on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide budget support to the state governments that were facing financial stress and grappling with difficulties in payment of salaries. The last word anybody heard about the facilities was when the former CBN boss, Godwin Emefiele, threatened on the heels of his conflict with the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki over an allegation of excessive quantitative easing, that the apex bank would commence deducting the loans. Whether the deductions were done as threatened or whether the full amounts have been recovered are matters of speculation to date.
In their half-year financial statements, some banks made veined reference to the opaque salary bailout funds.
In Access Bank financial statement, it was stated: “The amount of N58,842,651,795 represents the outstanding balance on the state salary bailout facilities granted to the bank by the CBN for onward disbursements to state governments for payments of salary of workers of the states. The facility has a tenor of 20 years with a two per cent interest payable to the CBN. The bank is under obligation to on-lend to the states at an all-in interest rate of nine per cent per annum. From this creditor, the bank has a nil undrawn balance as at 30 June 2023.”
On its part, Fidelity Bank reported: “FGN Intervention fund is CBN Bailout Fund of N80.65 billion (31 Dec 2022: N82.07 billion). This represents funds for states in the Federation that are having challenges in meeting up with their domestic obligation including payment of salaries. The loan was routed through the bank for on-lending to the states. The bailout fund is for a tenor of 20 years at nine per cent per annum.”
It added, “The bailout fund is for a tenor of 20 years at seven per cent per annum and availed for the same tenor at 9 per cent per annum until March 2020, the rate was reduced to five per cent for one-year period due to COVID-19 pandemic to March 2021 after which it was extended to February 2023. CBN on August 17 2022 further reviewed the rates in response to the economic outlook and approved the following order; All intervention facilities granted effective July 20, 2022 shall be at nine per cent per annum while all existing intervention facilities granted prior to July 20, 2022 shall be at nine per cent per annum effective September 1, 2022.”
In its H1 2023 financial statement, Zenith Bank, also noted, ‘the Salary Bailout Scheme’ was approved by the Federal Government to assist state governments in the settlement of outstanding salaries owed their workers. Funds are disbursed to banks nominated by beneficiary states at two per cent for on-lending to the beneficiary states at nine per cent. The loans have a tenor of 20 years. Repayments are deducted at source, by the Accountant General of the Federation, as a first-line charge against each beneficiary state’s monthly statutory allocation. This facility is not secured.”
A breakdown of the NEITI report (2020 and 2021) showed that in terms of geo-political zone allocations, the South-South received the highest allocation with N2.59 trillion, which represents 29.53 per cent of the total revenue disbursed to states and local governments.
According to NEITI, the North-West got N1.56 trillion, representing 7.85 per cent; South West, N1.28 trillion, representing 14.57 per cent; North-Central, N1.26 trillion, representing 14.39 per cent and North-East, N1 trillion, representing 12.71 per cent for the period under review.
The South-East had the lowest allocation of N963 billion or 10.96 per cent of the total allocation. Catchphrases such as Budget of Deep Vision, Budget of Infinite Transposition, Budget of Transformation among others are common slogans that have not translated to any expressions of performance. Rather, the budgets have further impoverished many, leaving them at the mercy of a few individuals, who control government coffers.
Checks by The Guardian showed that despite the huge monthly allocations, most states are getting worse across performance indices. Standard hospitals, schools, good networks of roads, independent power generation, affordable housing, especially for low-income earners missing, food affordability, modern facilities among others remain a mirage.
According to Statista, in 2023, nearly 12 per cent of the world population in extreme poverty lived in Nigeria, considering the poverty threshold at $1.9 per day.
The NBS multidimensional poverty report index of 0.257, Sokoto, Bayelsa and Jigawa States led the list of states in Nigeria with the highest multidimensional poverty index, having an aggregate of 14.18 million impoverished people. According to the Bureau, factors such as healthcare, food insecurity, education, nutrition and access to cooking fuel contributed the most to the national poverty index.
The wrongful application of workers’ contributory pension funds by governors and the federal government is unacceptable, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) said yesterday.
He knocked the federal and state governments for ignoring commercial bank loans and opting for the funds contributed by workers on their payrolls, owing to the very low interest rate.
The senator described the practice as a breach of the concept of the contributory pension scheme, which was established to represent a social capital which the workers would fall back on upon retirement.
Oshiomhole, a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stated that the funds, currently estimated at over N11 trillion, ought to go into mortgage investments for workers, who upon retirement, are supposed to have a roof over their heads.
He lamented that the essence of establishing the pension fund have been eroded by the administrators.
Oshiomhole spoke in Abuja yesterday at the 8th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), with the theme: “Trade unionism in the era of economic crisis: Addressing the increasing poverty level of Nigerian workers.”
The erstwhile Labour leader said: “I know I resisted the idea of contributory pension to be managed by Pension Fund Administrators PFAs. These PFAs are profit seekers, you cannot give me six per cent return on my pension savings and yet path with 25 per cent.
“In misery I am getting poorer but we are the greatest economists you can ever think of. Nowadays, that pension scheme is over N11 trillion deducted from your wages, if they put up a part of that trillion or more into mass housing, will workers remain homeless? No, because we were told that the reason we don’t have a flourishing mortgage system in Nigeria is that banks don’t give long-term funds.
“Governors go to borrow these pension funds at a very reduced interest rate for about six per cent, instead of going to the banks which have higher interest rates. Because the banks say they cannot give out customers’ funds to borrowers, especially because some save at maybe two to three months and come and collect, such funds cannot be used as long-term loans.”
The senator also condemned the brutalisation of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero by thugs, just as faulted the resultant two-day strike which grounded social and economic activities in the country.
According to him, oftentimes, Labour leaders go seeking implementation of their demands from governments, (the capitalists) with biased positions that are not well articulated, giving the government officials upper hand in their negotiations.
He said the Labour movement must always approach issues in a united front, even though the capitalists will always find ways to break or fragment them.
On the removal of petrol subsidy, Oshiomhole urged workers not to lament their sorry situation but to put on their thinking caps and wriggle out of the dire situation.
Rather than spend time agonising over unfavourable government policies, workers should engage as a united front to press home their demands to those in authority.
According to him, he successfully engaged former President Olusegun Obasanjo during his days as president of the NLC to make the prices of petroleum products remain at a reasonable level for Nigerians because he was always armed with specific demands from the affiliate unions.
President of NASU, Makolo Hassan, said state governments were the “biggest beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy removal which has plunged millions of Nigerians into abject poverty, as they continue to grapple with high cost of living.”
To this end, he asked state governments to replicate the federal government’s wage award to federal employees as an interim measure to cushion the hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.
Hassan said: “In view of the fact that all state government workers are equally affected by the same hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy, we call on the remaining state governments to, as a matter of urgency, announce and implement their awards.
“State governments have no option than to do so because they are the biggest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy removal in view of the quantum of increase in the allocations they are now receiving from the Federation account.”
Hassan also called on President Bola Tinubu to kick start the processes of reviewing the current national minimum wage Act, as workers were “struggling to survive the harsh economy and an extremely high cost of living which was no longer commensurate with their take home pay.”
Admitting the economic crisis facing the country, the NASU President lamented that the monetary policies of the immediate past and current government has given rise to an inflation rate of 27.3 per cent, an exchange rate of as high as N1,100 to a dollar as at the time of report, and the high price of pump price of petrol currently at N640 per litre, and as such, was making mockery of the current minimum wage.
He said: “The call for the review of the National Minimum Wage has become urgent in view of the information given by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its report for October 2023, which stated that the major contributors to the increase in inflation were food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel, clothing and footwear, transport, furnishings, household equipment and maintenance. The continued rise in inflation was attributed to removal of petrol subsidy and the devaluation of the official exchange rate
“I therefore call on the president to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a National Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee to review the current National Minimum Wage Act.”
No fewer than 9, 000 civil servants who sat the 2022 Federal Civil Service Promotion examinations failed.
This is according to a list obtained by The PUNCH from the Federal Civil Service Commission.
The PUNCH reports that no fewer than 13,000 civil servants sat the 2022 examination, which held in about 69 Computer Based Test centres.
The candidates were drawn from the core civil service, the Nigeria Police, and other para-military and specialised agencies.
The letter containing the list of successful civil servants was dated November 30, 2023 and sent from the Federal Civil Service Commission.
The letter, tagged FC.6241/S.35/Vol.xi/ T12/268, was signed by the Director of Promotions, Sani Bello, and addressed to the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
In a list attached to the letter, it was noted that only 3,851 civil servants out of the over 13,000 civil servants who sat the promotion examination passed.
In the list, it was stated that 139 officers were, for instance, promoted from the post of Assistant Chief Administrative Officer to Chief Administrative Officer.
A total of 191 were promoted to the post of Assistant Chief Administrative Officer from the role of Principal Administrative Officer. A total of 313 civil servants were promoted from the role of Senior Administrative Officer to Principal Administrative Officer. A total of 191 were promoted to Senior Administrative Officer from the role of Administrative Officer 1 among others.
In a letter of acknowledgment by the Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office of the OHCSF, Marcus Ogunbiyi, civil servants were informed that the 2023 promotion exercise for civil servants in the pool of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation will hold from December 11, 2023 to December 16, 2023.