By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja, Aug. 14, 2019 The Federal Government said that the political will demonstrated in the execution of the N-Power programme, insulated it from corruption and other forms of sharp practices that marred similar youth empowerment endeavours in the past.
Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office (NSIO) Justice Bibiye, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the transparency in running the programme was also responsible for its huge impact on its beneficiaries and the economy.
He said that media reports highlighting minority views expressed by a few critics who made bogus allegations bordering on corrupt practices in the implementation of N-Power did not reflect the true picture on ground.
Bibiye said that N-power, one of the social intervention programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, remained the most successful government-driven youth empowerment schemes in history.
“It is either those critics have lost touch with existential realities as it concerns this government’s strict approach in implementing its policies and programmes, or that the resounding successes recorded, as evidenced in the outpouring of sincere and honest testimonies by the beneficiaries, is lost on them.
“We are aware that some persons have assumed the role of perpetual pessimists of the SIPs, following the institution of processes and procedures that frown at selfish tendencies and corrupt practices at the NSIO.
“We, however, owe it a duty to Nigerians to continue to set the records straight whenever naysayers come up with falsehoods to mislead the public.
“We wish to state categorically that there are no N-power ghost beneficiaries neither is the programme embroiled in corruption as alleged by those who have decided to see nothing good in the scheme.
“From application, selection, deployment and payment of volunteers, the process is transparent, being technology driven,’’ he said.
According to him, at inception, the BVN of successful candidates are sent to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for verification.
Bibiye, said that NIBSS, being the custodian of the BVN data, authenticated the identity of each and every name, number and account number submitted by the NSIO, and anyone not verified was dropped from the list of successful beneficiaries.
“For the first set of 200,000 beneficiaries submitted for verification, NIBSS verified 93 per cent of the total number, after which only those verified were submitted to the various States, which entities are saddled with the responsibility of physically verifying the beneficiaries and deploying them to their Primary Places of Assignment (PPA).
“Upon confirmation of the deployments to the PPAs, the NSIO then signs off to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, which makes payment directly to the accounts of beneficiaries through the NIBBS.
“This process also applies to other components of the social intervention programmes except for the National Conditional Cash Transfer programme, where due to logistics challenges, mobile money agents (MMA) are engaged to reach out to beneficiaries in the rural areas.
“The successful MMA’s are selected through an open process in compliance with the BPP Act, and even though they pay beneficiaries in remote locations where there is a dearth of banking infrastructure, they each have a backend technology that enables visibility and timely reconciliation of payments, as a pre-condition to engagement,’’ he said.
He said the Federal Government remained favourably disposed to constructive criticisms and the feedback that would aid ongoing efforts to strengthen the execution strategies of the SIPs for greater service delivery to Nigerians.
Bibiye however said that critics were also encouraged to follow up closely and interrogate the processes of the programme to avoid making remarks that were not evidence-based.
He said that Nigerians, particularly beneficiaries of the programme and their dependents, should be rest assured that the SIPs were not crumbling or coming to an end any time soon as predicted by naysayers.
The communications manager said that the Federal Government, through the NSIO, would continue to redouble efforts to ensure that the intended objectives of the Social Intervention Programmes were achieved in line with public expectations.
Nigeria engages 89 new Foreign Service Officers
The Director of the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Dr Cyprian Heen, on Monday enjoined the academy’s new diplomat trainees to be prepared as Nigeria’s future ambassadors.
Heen gave the advice in Lagos at the assumption of the newly selected 89 Foreign Service Officers for the academy’s 24th Regular Course.
“Your coming to the academy marks the beginning of your Foreign Service career. After your successful graduation from here, you will be recognised as the ones in the shadow behind the powers that be in
the global interplay.
“As diplomat trainees, you are the future of Nigeria, you should not be flippant in your actions.
“I urge you to remain focused and highly committed to your studies throughout your stay at the academy. You must demonstrate the determination to excel without compromise,’’ he said.
Heen said that the trainees would be exposed to structure and administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic and consular relations, protocol practice and other courses.
The director, who lauded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ effort at reducing the academy’s challenges, also identified the institution’s current problems to include irregular power supply and poor funding.
Mr Murtala Abdullahi, a trainee from Kebbi, expressed optimism that the Course would provide him the opportunity to learn how to become a selfless Nigerian Ambassador in the future.
“I am here to learn and be prepared to truly become a good Ambassador for Nigeria in the future.
“I will ensure that I put in my best time and make my time worthwhile,’’ he said.
Ms Barbara Young, another diplomat trainee from Cross River, said that she was already convinced that the course would prepare her to become an outstanding Nigerian representative in the future.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)
NYSC deploys 2,000 prospective corps members to Kwara
The orientation course will take place at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Yikpata, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara.
Mr Dipo Morakinyo, the NYSC Public Relations Officer in Kwara, via a statement issued on Monday in Ilorin, said that the orientation course would hold between Aug. 20 to Sept. 10.
He said the camp would be closed for registration on the midnight of Aug. 21, while the corps members would be sworn in on Thursday, Aug 22.
Morakinyo added that all logistics and other necessary materials needed to execute a hitch-free orientation exercise in the state have been adequately put in place.
According to him, the orientation camp is wearing a new look because most of the facilities have been given a face lift in preparation for the exercise.
“The camp has been properly cleared and fumigated against reptiles and mosquitoes,” he said.
Morakinyo added that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq would declare the orientation course open as well as deliver President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech.
“His Lordship, the Chief Judge of the state will also be at the ceremony to administer the oath of allegiance to the newly mobilised corps members.
“The NYSC management wishes to inform the press that about 300 camp officials will be on ground to execute the orientation programmes and activities, as directed by the NYSC National Directorate Headquarters, Abuja.
“The scheme also appeals to the good people of Kwara, to warmly receive the new corps members, who are just being deployed to the state for their one year mandatory national service,” Morakinyo said.
PDP, candidate pray tribunal to order fresh election in Nasarawa State
Counsel for the PDP, Mr Wale Olanikpekun, SAN, while adopting his final written addresses, alleged that INEC did not comply with the accreditation requirements in more than 90 per cent of the polling units in the state.
He said that they had tendered certified true copies of voter registers to the tribunal, adding, “the total votes that returned the governor did not tally with the number of accredited voters”
“If there is no compliance with the accreditation process, the law says that the election is invalid and should be declared as such.
“The election conducted on March 9 in Nasarawa state has not complied with the accreditation process, that is what we are holding unto.
“We want the tribunal to declare the election invalid and order a fresh election in the state,” he said.
Also adopting his final argument, Mr Hassan Liman and Mr Adebayo Adelogun, representing the APC and Sule, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.
They argued that the petitioners’ claims against the accreditation process were merely a figment of their imagination.
After listening to all arguments in the suit, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abba Mohammed, reserved judgment in the matter.
“The tribunal will communicate to all the parties in the petition the day the judgment will be delivered,” Mohammed said.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Attack on Ekweremadu: Don asks IPOB to tender unreserved apology to Nigerians
A University don, Dr Bashir Yankuzu, on Monday, asked members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerians over the attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany, describing the incident as a global embarrassment to the country
He told the Nigeria News Agency in Minna, that no nation can grow or develop if its citizens have no respect for its leaders.
“It is a bad omen for Biafra if what IPOB did to the former deputy senate president is the kind of nation they are advocating and seeking for international support to establish.
“This act is totally uncivilised and condemnable. Surprisingly, Ekweremadu has told the world how he worked the release of someone who openly showed his disloyalty to united Nigeria, just because he is an Igbo.
“With the happenings now, it is evident that shielding someone from the law can never be a solution to our problems.
“Ironically, the senator was a one time deputy senate president of Nigeria, who should know better.
“It is for our collective interest that those of us loyal to united Nigeria show our patriotism and loyalty to our nation not minding where we come from.
“Unless we begin to see challenges of our country as ours and its successes as ours, I doubt if we can ever overcome the myriads of problems we are facing as a Nation.
“As for those advocating for a separate country, i think, they should be encouraged to channel what they need through proper channels.
“I believe for great number of us, this is better than people continuously engaging in acts that are not only embarrassing to themselves, but also to the remaining peace loving Nigerians”,he said.
World Humanitarian Day: CLO urges political, religious leaders to show love
Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has called on political and religious leaders to show love and empathy in order to improve humanitarian interventions in the country.
He said that Nigerians and the leaders need to improve humanitarian interventions by being selfless and by thinking about common good and interest of the people.
According to him, WHD is dedicated toward sharing, giving and showing love to unfortunate ones ravaged by wars, conflicts, injustice, man’s inhumanity against man and natural disasters.
“Truth can never be faulted, falsified or fortified.
“It is existential reality that the genesis of world humanitarian crisis is the unbridled quest for materialism and wealth acquisition by the political class and elites in the society to the detriment of the masses.
“The political class must think less about their interest. Rather they must think about common good, if we would certainly make our good better and our better best.
“Our political leaders must use their privilege positions to impact positively on the lives of the people and exhibit the best motive of doing good to one’s country and its citizens which is the essence of servant leadership,’’ he said.
Ezekwueme also called on Nigerians, especially the affluent and wealthy individuals to use this unique occasion to show love, empathy, kindness, generousity and compassion to humanity.
He, however, prayed for repose of the souls of all humanitarian aid workers who died in the course of rendering selfless services to humanity.
The UN has set aside Aug. 19 as World Humanitarian Day, with this year’s theme as: “Honouring of the work of women in crisis throughout the world ’’.
It is a day meant to create awareness of the plights, problems and predicaments of civilians around the world who had been caught up in conflicts.
It also attracts support for humanitarian workers who risk and sometime lose their lives in humanitarian works.