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EFCC Should Leave Ortom, Begin Probe with Buhari

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

 The Benue Coalition for Democracy (BCD),has advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin it’s probe of leaders in the immediate past administration with former President, Muhammadu Buhari, and not former Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

Yesterday, the media were awash with reports that the EFCC was laying ambush to apprehend the immediate past Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on alleged corruption charges.

The reports however did not state what Chief Ortom’s offense was. 

But the coalition, in a statement signed by the President of Benue Coalition for Democracy (BCD), Comrade Ternenge Bendega on Tuesday, Said, as lovers of democracy, justice and fairness, it feels there was need for the EFCC to adhere to its constitutional role and desist from fighting selective battles and the wrong enemies.

 

The government of Muhammadu Buhari is on record as the most corrupt administration in the post-independence history of Nigeria! Trillions of naira have been stolen under the watch of “Mr Integrity”, but the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies always look the other way while the country is being raped. They prefer to oppress those who have volunteered to fight for justice, like Samuel Ortom. 

We recall that in August 2018, less than one month after Governor Ortom dumped the All Progressives Congress, APC and returned to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on account of gross insecurity and his maltreatment by the leadership of APC in Benue State, the EFCC was swiftly drafted by the presidency to go after the Governor like a rabid dog. 

Former President Muhammadu Buhari did not hide his disdain for Ortom. He wanted Ortom removed at all costs and his agent for executing the “project” was Senator George Akume, the leader of APC in Benue State. 

Today, the EFCC, apparently following the wink and prompting of the immediate past President, has resumed the witch-hunt of Ortom? But what is the former Benue Governor’s crime? His only “sin” is his boldness to challenge the powers behind the Fulani occupation agenda. He has dared to take the tiger by the tail. Ortom is apparently the first Governor to directly question the Fulani subjugation machinery and refuse to shift even a foot backwards.

The immediate past Benue State Governor also knew that the beast would fight back and he prepared his mind for the war ahead. In the last couple of weeks, he often told his audience that he was ready to visit the EFCC if the commission wanted him to appear before it. What is not clear is why the commission would want to arrest a man who is willing to answer charges against him. 

EFCC has exhibited the height of impunity by its selective war against financial crimes in the country. The situation where the commission harasses innocent citizens on politically motivated grounds is unacceptable. 

We task the EFCC to beam its searchlight on corrupt officials in the immediate past administration of President Buhari who turned the national treasury to their personal estate. 

Lastly, we must remind Senator George Akume that we Benue people are carefully taking note of his role in bringing down our illustrious sons to enable him remain the only lion in the forest. We are aware of the several petitions he sponsored against former Governor Gabriel Suswam and the ones he has sponsored against Suswam’s successor Samuel Ortom. 

Akume has betrayed the love we have shown him since he joined politics. He has rewarded our love with hatred by absolving armed Fulani herders and accusing us of killing ourselves. 

Education

Benue Born Medical Doctor Breaks Uncommon Grounds in Literature

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By David Torough, Abuja 

A Benue born Medical Doctor and a writer, Dr Mark Ogbodo, has broken uncommon grounds in literature as his third Novella, “Untold”, has been certified and approved by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), as a general reading material.

In a letter, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof.

Ismail Junaidu, stated that the book, Untold, has been assessed by NERDC and found useful, and therefore, “it is recommended as a general reading material”.

The approval made it the second approval of Dr Ogbodo’s books, as the first Novella, “Amour Maternel”, was also approved by NERDC as a supplementary reader for all JSS 2 classes in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Fellow, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) who is also the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Lafia (FULafia), Professor Idris Amali, has congratulated Dr. Ogbodo for his successful outing in another literary work.

“This is an important achievement to be on a national reading list. This is creativity with a purpose with immediate impact. 

“The concept well held for many years that there is no money in literary creativity is becoming a thing of the past and the era of milking the author without replenishing the milk is no longer tenable in the 21st Century. 

“Thus, the exploitation of the third world creative writers by the west is mellowing down. The Nigerian writers can today pursue his copyright issues to a gainful and logical end. 

“This position therefore makes  Dr. Mick Ogbodo, a potential instant  millionaire from the sales of his latest outing which has been placed on a national reading list of schools nationwide. This is a great feat.

“This situation should spur you to write more specific literary creativity  that targets such an audience which would attract a national audience for a specific purpose like the one you have written.

“Let me therefore congratulate you for this achievement. Manage the success well,” Prof. Amali stated.

Ogbodo who is the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Medical Association, Benue State Branch is also the Chairman, Publication Committee, Nigerian Medical Association, Benue State Branch as well as the Secretary, Association of Nigerian Authors, Benue State Chapter.

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Tinubu Approves Implementation Of Oronsaye Report, To Merge Agencies

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President Bola Tinubu has ordered the full implementation of the Oronsaye report.⁣

⁣Consequently, it announced the merging, subsuming, scraping and relocation of several agencies of government. ⁣

⁣The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed this to State House Correspondents after Monday’s Federal Executive Council meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

“So in a very bold move today, this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigeria, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Oronsaye Report.

⁣“Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions, and some departments have actually been scrapped. Some have been modified, and marked while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where the government feels they will operate better,” said Idris. ⁣

⁣Consequently, the President constituted a committee to implement the mergers, scrapping and relocations within 12 weeks, said Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Mrs Hadiza Bala-Usman. ⁣

⁣Submitted in 2012, the Oronsaye report on public sector reforms revealed that there are 541 — statutory and non-statutory —Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies.⁣

⁣A year earlier, the then President Goodluck Jonathan had set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, under the leadership of former Head of Civil Service, Stephen Oronsaye.⁣

The 800-page report recommended that 263 of the statutory agencies be slashed to 161; 38 agencies be scrapped; 52 be merged and 14 be reverted to departments in various ministries.⁣

The report also recommends that the law establishing the National Salaries and Wages Commission be repealed and its functions taken over by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Responsibility Commission.⁣

⁣It advised the FG to merge the nation’s top three anti-corruption agencies—the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau.⁣

More details shortly… ⁣

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How SOAR Initiative is Changing SGBV Narratives in Abuja Community

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Pigba Kasa community in Apo District, Abuja, says the intervention of Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation Initiative (SOAR Initiative), an NGO, is changing the narratives on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the community.

The community members stated this during the graduation of beneficiaries of the NGO’s ‘Right to be a Girl’s Project’ in the community on Monday.

Reports says that the project, a nine-month intervention, is being supported by Mundo Cooparente, a Spanish humanitarian aid organisation.

The project is designed to empower 240 vulnerable adolescent girls from ages 10 to 16 with the right information and life-skills to protect themselves from violations, improve their ability to speak out against SGBV and forced marriage.

The Chief of Pigba Kasa community, Ayuba Kulobi, described the project as a game changer in addressing the challenges of SGBV in the community.

Kulobi said that prior to the project, the incidence of SGBV was high,but now on a downward trend due the  NGO’s intervention.

He particularly said that the Right to be a Girl’s Project has empowered adolescent girls with the needed information on how to protect their rights and seek redress when violated.

He added that the NGO helped the community to set up a Community Protection Committee (CPC) centre, where community members meet monthly to share ideas and advise families on how to address SGBV.

“More so, we now have access to the police, and we can call them anytime we have issues of SGBV. Gladly, the police intervened promptly and made arrests.

“Due to these interventions, we now hardly record cases of SGBV in our community,” he said.

The Deputy Chairperson of CPC in the community, Ms Christiana Manji, said the community members were now speaking out courtesy of the project.

“Hidden issues are now being exposed because people now know their rights and can seek redress,” she said.

Similarly, the committee’s secretary, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said that several persons have been arrested over alleged domestic and sexual abuse.

Some of the beneficiaries of the project thanked SOAR Initiative for the gesture, saying it broadened their knowledge on the rights of the girl-child among others.

One of them, a 13-year-old Jessica George, said she now knows a lot about sexual abuse, dangers of early marriage and self-esteem.

The story was the same for Mary Ayuba, a 10-year-old, who said that the project has empowered her to defend herself against SGBV.

“I am so empowered that I can now help other girls to overcome SGBV and enlighten them on how to seek help,” the girl said.

The Youth Advocate of the NGO, Miss Lolade Ipele, expressed satisfaction on how the adolescent girls embrace the 12-week project.

“I saw them grow from timid girls to intelligent girls with confidence to face the future,” Ipele said.

The Project Officer, Mr Yakubu Levi, said that the project was implemented in two communities – Chafuyi and Pigba Kasa, leveraging four public schools serving the communities.

Levi said that the girls were trained on safe spaces and other life skills, including access to case management, psycho-social counseling, and legal-aid services.

For sustainability, the project officer said that the NGO would support the establishment of a girls’ club in the four benefiting schools in collaboration with FCT Education Secretariat. (NAN)

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