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Anti-corruption: ICPC Chairman Raises Alarm Over Diversion Of Public Funds

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has raised alarm over the diversion of public funds.

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Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasannoye, made the declaration in Abuja on Thursday, while presenting a keynote address during a workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on the theme; “Corruption As Threat Security In Nigeria”.

He said that Nigeria has enough laws and regulatory frameworks to address the issues of corruption, but that hypocrisy remained the greatest obstacle to the fight against graft.

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The ICPC boss who queried the diversion of public funds, both in revenue receipts and expenditure, condemned illicit financial flow, misapplication of funds and budget padding.

According to him, it was time corruption was confronted headlong, even as Nigerians were yet to recognise the death knell that corruption meant.

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He therefore warned that if citizens did not deal with the ethical issues of corruption, it would further impact negatively on the country.

Owasannoye who noted that Nigerian was never in short supply of anti-corruption legislation but in short supply of integrity, said that this has been worsened by high level hypocrisy.

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According to him, the Central Bank Of Nigeria CBN, Bureau of Public Procurement BPP and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, are all anti-corruption gate keepers; and added that most regulatory agencies also played anti-corruption roles.

Owasannoye further observed that corruption accentuated political patronage and encouraged sabotage of governance, stressing that funds appropriated on paper, were never used for the purpose for which they were meant.

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In his remarks, Hon. Shehu Garba, Chairman of the House Committee on Anti-Corruption, noted that the challenge and the fight against corruption had remained a topical issue.

The lawmaker said that the ills of corruption had been well documented and that Nigerians did not need to be reminded of the consequences.

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Garba who noted that corruption denied citizens a promising future and development, stressed that it was heart-warming when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration made the fight against corruption one of its tasks.

He said that the fight against corruption remained multi-dimensional; involving all institutions and there would be no success without collaboration.

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The lawmaker asserted that information sharing and capacity building workshops were crucial in the fight against corruption.

In his contribution, Director-General, National Institute for Legislative Studies,
Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, commended the National Assembly for the continuous building of staff capacity.

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This, he said, has reflected in the 9th National Assembly, especially in the way it took the issue of the fight against corruption seriously.

According to him, the workshop was important as the current Federal Government administration winds down and that corruption also fuelled instability and conflicts.

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He further noted that there had been allegations of non-payment of allowances of security operatives, which according to him, undermines the fight against insecurity.

“Corruption undermines security and human capacity development,’’ he stressed.

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The Resident Representative, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Marija Peran, decried the complex security challenges and corruption in the security sector.

She said that corruption in the security sector had a detrimental impact, both on security apparatuses and at large peace and security of the nation.

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Peran said the German foundation’s core mandate was to strengthen good democratic governance, the rule of law abd that the fight against corruption was an integral part of its mandate.

End

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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