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Ihedioha Meets Buhari, Pleads For Infrastructure in Imo

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha Monday, met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja where he solicited support for infrastructure development.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Governor Ihedioha said that he came to pay courtesy call on the President and to solicit his intervention on infrastructure decay in the state.

 

The former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives said that he discussed the issue of agriculture and how the state would benefit from the federal government’s agricultural programmes which he said that his predecessor failed to key in.

He said that the state needs the Federal Government support in all facets of the economy. 

According to him, government would need to support us in agriculture because the government we succeeded didn’t take advantage of government policies in agriculture. 

“We are working towards agricultural revolution to ensure that that becomes a source of revenue. So we need federal government support in that regard. We need government support in education, we need government support in the area of healthcare, we need government support in area of building institutions. “

He also explained that he introduced the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) instead of over burdening the poor masses with multiple taxation.

According to him, “When I came in I found out to my shock that there were accounts in the number that was reported in the media and of course so much leakages and we were not as a state making significant progress from the IGR. 

He said that the IGR base of the state was very weak.  

He noted that the IGR base “is weak without having a productive economy that obviously meant that we depended essentially from what came from federal allocation and of course other agencies being an oil producing state.”

“It became necessary that we should find a way out and I set up a Financial Advisory Committee and the Financial Advisory Committee recommended that in view of where we are and because of our decision to instill a regime of fiscal discipline and a regime of transparency and accountability and of course to reduce the level of corruption in the state, we had to introduce the TSA which is not very ideal in many places. 

“But for us we felt we needed to start a new, we needed to confront the issues and begin to reposition our state as a state that will be alive to the demands expected of us by our people. 

“When the electorate voted us in, they believe in our ability to come and transform the state, to rein in a regime of transparency and accountability, that is what we are trying to do. So we have done that. 

“But apart from that, we are strengthening the Bureau for Public Procurement in the state. If you check through the ranking in ease of doing business, Imo finished 34th out of 37 and in several ways we have been lagging behind, we have fallen back, deteriorated from where we used to be. 

“Ours used to be a very civilized state, so we have a duty and conviction that we need to take it to that level. So we have taken steps, closing the gap and we have enjoined the Mjnistries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to work with the authorities to ensure that we a more accountable system of running the affairs of the state.”

He said that as a result of the rot in the previous administration, there have been pressure from the people to take action against the past government, saying that his interest was not to talk on the past government but to be focused and bring sanity to governance. 

“The issue is that I have been bending over backwards, I have been putting pressure on a lot of people who want certain things done. I will tell you for instance the opaqueness in land administration in my state which you must have heard. 

“So stakeholders of the state who own those lands that were taken away from them have been on the government, putting a lot of pressure to investigate but I am like just saying take it easy that is not what I am here for, we have to redesign the state, we want to regain confidence back in Imo. 

“For instance we have restored the autonomy of local government administration in Imo State. Today local government funds go to local government areas. We collaborate with them to ensure there is also accountability, sense of responsibility. 

“We are not focusing on what the man had done, we are focusing on what we are doing and for once you give it to us that if a chief executive of a state says to his people look I want to run a transparent government and an accountable government that is something significant you have to work upon. 

“If you are restoring public water that is something you are doing because you did not meet water. Am I going to say I met water when there was no water? Government house Owerri was disconnected from public power supply when I came, am I supposed to clap? 

“The state Secretariat as we speak is still disconnected from public power for about eight years, bridges are built in my state without iron rods, haven’t you heard about it, you have not read about it? You must have heard about it from people who visit Imo, am I surprised to clap? 

“You are endangering the lives of Imo people. We don’t lead a government of propaganda, it is not about me and I don’t like talking about my predecessor in office, I am talking about government, 

I am talking about focus, I am talking about the ideals of government that what we are doing first is we are restoring confidence in the entire system. 

“Judicial workers were being owed, was I the one that owed them? Didn’t you hear that they were not paid full salaries? So is it a crime if I said let’s sanitize the entire sector? Is that a crime? I come to government house and I can not operate from government house, I don’t want to talk on all those things.”

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Rivers Assembly Screens, Confirms Eight Commissioner Designates

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The Victor Oko-Jumbo-led faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, on Tuesday screened and confirmed eight nominees for possible appointment as commissioners in the state.

Reports says that the screening took place at the temporary legislative chambers located within the state Government House.

The Oko-Jumbo-led three-member legislature is loyal to the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The commissioner designates are to fill some of the vacancies created by the recent resignation of nine commissioners loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike.

During the sitting, Oko-Jumbo read the correspondence from the governor, requesting the screening and confirmation of the nominees.

He expressed the assembly’s commitment towards supporting the governor to provide democracy dividends to Rivers people.

The factional speaker said that the screening was part of the assembly’s responsibility in the governance of the state

Responding, the House Leader, Mr Sokari Good-boy and Deputy Speaker, Adolphus Timothy, unanimously adopted the request.

They said that most of the nominees had previously served the state at various capacities without blemish.

The commissioner designates include, Mr Charles Bakee, Mr Collins Onunwo, Dr Peter Medee and Mr Elloka Amadi,

Others are, Mr Basoene Benibo, Mr Sydney Gbara, Dr Ovy Chukwuma and Mr Solomon Eke.(NAN)

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Police Arrest Suspect for Allegedly Defrauding Thai Citizen of $216,000, N30m

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Police in Lagos State have arrested a suspect, Chimereze Chinedu, for allegedly defrauding a citizen of Thailand of $216,000 (₦317,725,271) and N30 million.

Police spokesman in the state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the arrest in a post he shared on his X (formerly Twitter) handle @benHundeyin on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect was arrested by detectives of the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID).

“Chinedu defrauded his victim under the pretense of selling 37 tricycles to her.

“He further expanded his fraudulent activity by forging letters of SCID, Lagos, showing that the tricycles were seized by the police and further extorted N30 million from the victim to purportedly secure the release of the tricycles,” he said.

The image maker said that the suspect was arrested on May 10 in Enugu State following weeks of diligent investigation and technical support from the International Criminal Police Organization, (INTERPOL)

The spokesman said that the suspect was currently in detention, as investigations continued to uncover details towards identifying and apprehending his accomplices.

According to Hundeyin, the Lagos State Command remains steadfast in its commitment to combating internet fraud and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice. (NAN)

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Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers not Proven Effective, Says UNODC

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the move by the Nigerian Senate to impose death penalty for drug trafficking offenders would not yield the desired result.

UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe, said this at a two-day Media Personnel Training organised in collaboration with NDLEA and other partners on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that the training is centered on Anti -Corruption, Police Accountability, Wildlife Crime and Sensitisation on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care, (DPTC).

“Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty we are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Stolpe maintained that the UN had always advocated for clear distinction between crimes of drug trafficking as opposed to the issue of drug use.

He said that it was always considered primarily to be a health issue saying that it should be dealt with as such.

According to him, addiction is a health condition, it is not a choice.”

On the need for an updated drug data for Nigerians, Stolpe observed that the current national drug survey for Nigeria was last done six years ago, (2018), and therefore does not reflect the current situation for Nigeria.

He said “the drug use survey of 2018 remains as far as I can tell the most cited study in the media.

“This data is outdated and I think a very critical question that media could ask at that point is really well, how can we still refer to 2018 data to describe today’s levels of drug use?

Stolpe enjoined the media to keep the good work while ensuring that information were disseminated efficiently and effectively. NAN)

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