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Cross River Govt. to Probe 38,358 Workforce Increase in 8 Years

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The Cross River Government is set to probe how the state workforce increased from about 18,000 to the present 56,358 in eight years.

The state Head of Service (HoS), Dr Innocent Eteng, made the clarification at a news  conference in Calabar on Tuesday.

Eteng said that Gov.

Bassey Otu was worried and had expressed concern with the high cost of paying government employees’ salaries.

He said that the huge number of government employees had created a significant financial burden for the present administration, thereby making it difficult to fund other priority projects.

He said that in view of this, the state government had vowed to sanitise the payroll of the workforce which he described as “currently bloated by several infractions”.

Giving a breakdown of the 56,358 workforce, the Head of Service revealed that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had 14,328 staff, while the Primary Health Care Development Agency had 2,812.

He also said that the State Civil Service had 22,526 pensioners, among others

”The present administration has  religiously kept its promise of prompt payment of salaries and has done up-to-date, except for a few civil servants whose names could not be reconciled on the nominal roll and payroll.

“However, there is an ongoing strategic clean-up of the state payroll, driven by the office of the HoS and the Accountant General, to rid the system of any ambiguities.

As part of measure to address this, the governor has given a directive for the permanent secretaries to submit their nominal rolls for reconciliation,” he said.

The head of service disclosed that so far, only nine of the 32 MDAs had complied with the directive, adding that more than half of the workforce would not receive their salaries in March.

He appealed for support and understanding of all in the effort to clean up the payroll.

“If you go to schools you will see that we need teachers in schools, but in the payroll, we have more than enough teachers. This is the situation we are addressing.”

He also said that anyone still owed salary may be due to irregularities in their record, and such person must endeavour to do the right thing by presenting his case before the office of the head of service.

It would be recalled that there were counter accusations among former Head of Service, Ogbang Akwaji, former Accountant General of the State, Joseph Adie and former Auditor General, John Odey over bloated wage bills.

Eteng said extensive verification was embarked upon as soon as he and the new Accountant General, Dr Glory Effiong, assumed office.

“In line with the state governor’s directive to nip the controversy in the bud and streamline the wage bill, my office issued directive to the 31 MDAs to submit their nominal rolls for reconciliation.

“So far, only nine MDAs have complied and we have reconciled their names. Only workers in these nine MDAs who we can attest to will receive their salaries for the month of March.

”The rest 22 which have refused to comply will not be paid. The government has paid all salaries up till February.

“We have even paid all recognized 2,860 traditional rulers in the state for March as the government is very committed to salary payments.

“We have even begun to clear backlog of gratuities. All pensioners have been paid for March. The governor directs that they must always be paid first.

“We are very stern about submission of the Nominal Roll directive. Civil servants should hold their permanent secretaries responsible for non payment of their salaries, not the state government.” (NAN)

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Kano APC Suspends National Chairman, Ganduje Over Alleged Corruption

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The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has been suspended as a member of his ward in Kano. Reports says that the Executive members of Ganduje Ward In Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area of Kano state announced the suspension of Ganduje over alleged corruption on Monday.

Addressing newsmen in the state capital, the legal adviser of the Ganduje Ward, Haladu Gwanjo said the former Kano state governor is alleged to have committed gross misappropriation of public funds during his time as governor of the state.
According to him, the members decided to suspend the national chairman’s membership after a vote of no confidence was passed on him due to his inability to clear his name from various allegations of corruption against him, which range from the circulated dollar videos where he was allegedly collecting bribe from contractors.
He said the suspension takes effect from today 15 April.A viral video had captured Ganduje allegedly receiving bundles of dollar notes as a bribe from a man said to be a contractor and stuffing them in the pockets of his flowing gown.The video, which garnered widespread attention in 2017, has been the subject of intense scrutiny.Ganduje had denied the content of the video when it first surfaced and maintained his innocence but years after, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)’s administration of Governor Abba Yusuf revisited the case, vowing the prosecute the ex-governor.The Kano High Court would arraign Ganduje on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 on charges bordering on allegations of bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds, including the purported acceptance of $413,000 and N1.38bn in bribes.The Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Haruna Dederi, had said Ganduje would be arraigned alongside his wife and six others.The Yusuf administration, which initiated the criminal suit against the eight respondents, had declared its readiness to present 15 witnesses to testify before Justice Usman Na’aba of State High Court.

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Q1:PTML Customs Rakes N66.9b, Surpasses 2023 Revenue

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The Port Terminal Multiservices Ltd. (PTML) Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has recorded N66.9 billion revenue in the first quarter of the year.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), PTML Command, Comptroller, Saidu Yusuf, said this at a news conference in Lagos on Monday.

He said that the figure, which was N22.

19 billion higher than the N44.
72 billion recorded same period in 2023, represented 49.
6 per cent increase.

Yusuf described the increase in the revenue collection as a laudable feat.

According to him, the command is committed towards trade facilitation and supports the government’s drive on ease of doing business.

The comptroller thanked the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, for initiating strategies to achieve faster cargo clearance.

He reiterated that PTML command, under his watch, aimed to surpass its record of three hour cargo clearance for compliant traders.

“The launching of Time Release Study (TRS), which is ongoing and other deliberate efforts by the Comptroller General, had contributed to the expansion of terminal space and promoted ease of doing business in PTML.

“PTML command has potentials to achieve two hour cargo clearance and surpass it’s existing three hours record if port users compliance level is improved upon.

“PTML is one of the safest and most secure environments for RoRo(Roll On Roll Off) and general cargoes,” Yusuf said.

He advised importer and their agents to take advantage of the incentives available for compliant traders such as fast track, advance ruling and possible migration to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

He reminded port users in PTML of the robust and time conscious dispute resolution mechanism, which had contributed immensely to the revenue collection, trade facilitation and anti smuggling functions of the command.

Yusuf commended the various government and private sector stakeholders for their cooperation and support toward the realisation of the overnment goal of revenue collection and prevention of unlawful activities.

He also expressed optimism that the command would surpass it’s annual target for the year.

He described the importation of vehicles meant for Nigerian roads into nneighbouringcountries with the ntent to smuggle them through unapproved roads into Nigeria as unpatriotic and act of economic sabotage.

The PTLM customs boss said that the command had the capacity for seamless and efficient processing of such automobile cargoes.

The CAC enjoined officers of the command to maximally deploy available technology and rededicate themselves to the job to achieve more revenue for the second quoter.

He reminded the port users of the increased in anti-smuggling vigilance to uncover concealment such as under declaration and smuggling of prohibited items.

Yusuf said that any discovered infraction would lead to full evoking of the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA), where there were spelt out penalties. (NAN)

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EFCC Arraigns 5 for Illegal Crude Oil Deal

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, charged five defendants before a Federal High Court in Lagos, over an illegal deal in petroleum products.
The defendants are: Mt Vinnalaris (a vessel), Azeez Abubakar, Wisdom Borborley, Samuel Akpan and Freedom Otuagoma
They appeared before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on two counts bordering on unlawful deal in petroleum products.


After the charge was read to them, they pleaded guilty.

Following their plea, the prosecutor, Mr R.A. Abdurasheed, informed the court that the prosecution had filed the plea bargain agreement with the defendants, before the court.
Consequently, the court adjourned the case until April 25, for adoption of plea bargain agreement.

The court, however, ordered that the defendants remain in custody of the prosecution till then.
In the charge, the defendants were said to have committed the offence sometime in 2023, while on the Nigerian maritime domain.
They were alleged to have dealt in 515.8 litres of crude oil without lawful authority.
The offence contravenes the provisions of Section 1(17) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Law of the Federation 2004. (NAN)

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