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FG to launch portal for budget implementation monitoring

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Mr Alfred Okoh, Technical Adviser to the Director General, Ministry of Budget and National Planning says there are plans to launch a budget implementation monitoring portal.

Okoh said this on Wednesday in Abuja, at a workshop organised by the Accountability Lab Nigeria and Open Society Foundations on communications, tax and budget monitoring.

He explained that the portal would engage citizens in budget in order to accommodate their contributions to budget implementation.

“The budget is function of revenue and expenditure and if you do not have enough money, then you have a deficit budget and Nigeria have been running a deficit budget for a long time,

“We are over depending on oil revenue and government is now looking on how to diversify its revenue.

“The Ministry of Finance is looking at an initiative called Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, which focuses on how to improve on non oil collections and one of this is to expand the tax base of the country.

“We have a higher level of implementation of the budget because when more monies are collected, we have more revenue to fund the budget,” he said.

Okoh, however, said the county has potentials to bring in more money as revenue, adding that less than 10 per cent of the economy was on oil.

Mr Jude Oketta, Consultant for Azziki Brands, said that there was the need for citizens to engage in budget implementation to expand the scope of feedback.

He said that the budget ministry would leverage on the accessibility of Mobile technology to reach out to the citizens.

“The budget office is actually taking that step to see how we can leverage on technology and bring citizens closer to the people through more engagement.

“We are looking that at the end of May and first week of June to launch the app, to sensitise people on it, we are focusing on civil society and we hope to involve everybody on it,” she said.

Mr Odey Friday, the Country Director of Accountability Lab Nigeria, said it was very good to talk about fiscal governance in tax, while budget taxation was very important for the growth of any economy.

He said that stakeholders would discuss the need to employ multi-pronged approaches like Data collection, Research, Campaigns, Advocacies, and Lobbying at the meeting.

“But we are seeing how we can bring everybody to be on the same page when one fix A, another fix B and we are equal on C that is how we came about this.

“For civil societies, we have to be sure what everybody is working, we already have the open government partnership platform which brings government and civil societies together to talk about these issues.

The citizens’ budget monitoring portal would be inaugurated by first week of June for citizens to contribute and monitor budget implementations. .

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Defence/Security

Rep assures of improved welfare for military personnel

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Hon. Tajudeen Adefisoye, Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, has assured that his committee will give priority to the welfare of military personnel.

Adefisoye stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Super Camp, in Okitipupa on Monday.

The lawmaker, representing Idanre/Ifedore Constituency, said that his committee would work tirelessly to ensure that soldiers were well catered for in the discharge of their duties.

He also promised to foster robust relationship between the military and the civilian populace in the country.

“I am most impressed with the functional facilities that are available in the Super Camp, particularly the helipad.

“The Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Zakari Abubakar, also deserves commendation for the humanitarian services being rendered by the military to residents of the host communities.

“Provision of potable water, distribution of sports wears and computers to students in the Ondo South Senatorial District by the military are undoubtedly deserving of commendation,” he said.

The lawmaker also thanked Abubakar for doing a great job to curb crime and criminality in the state.

Adefisoye also commended the traditional rulers of the host communities for supporting community policing.

He lauded the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for making funds available to run the camp, thereby ensuring peace in the southern zone of the state.

Responding, the brigade commander said that the ongoing clearance activities of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile IV’ had been yielding the desired results in the state and across the country.

Abubakar urged the public, particularly the host communities, to take advantage of the hot lines provided by the Nigerian Army to provide useful information to attain success in clearance operation.

The commander later conducted Adefisoye round the camp and explained to him its strategic security importance.

Although Abubakar said that the camp was a military barrack, he, however, added that it also housed the police and other paramilitary agencies like DSS, Immigration, NDLEA and the NSCDC.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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LASG evacuates lion from private residence to Lekki Zoo

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 The Lagos State Task Force says it has successfully moved a lion found at a private home around Victoria Island to a zoo in Omu Resorts, Lekki.

The Chairman of the agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, said in a statement on Monday, that the exercise was carried out in conjunction with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and medical personnel from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan.

Egbeyemi said that Dr Ogunmo Bamidele, who led the medical team from the University of Ibadan, had to tranquilised the lion thrice before evacuation.

He said that the agency responded to a petition from residents on the use of the lion as maiguard.

According to him, investigations revealed that the lion was brought in from Cameroun by an Indian national two years ago.

”Immediately I got the petition, I deployed my officers to the house at No. 229, Muri-Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, where they kept a close watch for more than 72 hours before the lion was finally removed today,” he said.

He assured residents that the owner of the lion would face the full wrath of the law, while warning residents to abstain from harbouring wild animals that endanger the lives of others.

”In as much as we appreciate residents around Victoria Island for their quick action, we urge every member of the public to be observant in their immediate environment.

”Residents should report any strange or unusual activity to appropriate government authority for prompt action,” Egbeyemi said.

The Director, Veterinary Services, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Macaulay Rasheed, advised members of the public to stop rearing wild animals in private homes to avoid unnecessary attack and contagious animal diseases.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Wale Ojetimi

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Woman bags 3 years imprisonment for stealing one-month-old baby

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An Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Monday, sentenced a 39-year-old woman, Mercy Momoh, to three years imprisonment for stealing one-month-old baby.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Adesoji Adegboye, found the convict, whose house address was not given, guilty of the charge of stealing.

The convict had pleaded guilty to the charge and begged for leniency by the court.

The Magistrate, who summarily tried and sentenced the convict to three years imprisonment, however, gave her an option of N100,000 fine.

Earlier, the police prosecutor, Sgt. Samson Osobu, had told the court that the convict committed the offence on Sept. 20 at the state government secretariat in Ado-Ekiti.

Osobu told the court that convict had stolen a month-old baby belonging to Funmilayo Dada.

According to him, the offence contravenes Section 371 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

He told the court that the convict had seen the woman with her baby and tricked her with the story that the Ekiti State Empowerment Programme at the state secretariat was disbursing money to the less-privileged.

The prosecutor said that the convict had further tricked the woman to leave her baby and cell phone with her, while she sent her to help purchase call card.

Osobu said that when the woman came back, both the convict and her baby were nowhere to be found.

He added that the mother of the baby reported the matter at the police station and that through information, the convict was apprehended by the police and the baby given back to the mother.

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Northern Governors Forum congratulate  Bayelsa, Kogi  governors – elect

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The Northern States Governors Forum, (NSGF), has the congratulated Bayelsa Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon and re-elected Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello over their victories in the last Saturday’s elections.

The Chairman of the Forum and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong also rejoiced with the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the victory of its two candidates in the elections.

Lalong, in a congratulatory message issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Simon Macham, described Lyon’s victory as a demonstration of the people’s confidence in his ability to perform.

The NSGF chairman said that Bayelsa people had no doubt in his ability of their governor-elect to deliver the change to the state in line with the vision of APC.

He said that the re-election of Bello was yet another sign of confidence reposed in him by the people of Kogi.

Lalong said that it was also an opportunity for the state government and the people to work harder in taking the state to the next level.

He assured the elected governors of the support of the Forum as they settle down to fulfill their campaign promises to the electorate.

/ DUA

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/ Dada Ahmed

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Emir of Daura distributes relief items to 1,500 indigent persons

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The Emir of  Daura, Alhaji Farouk Umar has distributed relief materials to 1,500 indigent persons in the emirate to cushion their hardship.

The monarch made the presentstion at the Daurama palace in Daura on Monday.

He said the materials were donated by a philantropist, who did not want to be named, but entrusted the emir to share it to deserving families.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the items distributed included 1,000 each of matrasses, bags of beans, maize, salt, sugar, cartons of sphagehhtti, formade, noodles, blankets and packets of Lipton tea, as well as 2000 cartons of soap.

Other items are 2000 bundles of clothing materials, 1,000 jerrycan of cooking oil and other cooking ingredients.

Umar said indigent persons, including the blind, cripples, widows, orphans, lepers and some section of the media have been selected to benefit from the gesture.

The monarch added that 59 victims of the recent flood in the area and members of the NURTW were also selected to benefit.

He said the items would be distributed across the five local governments of Daura, Baure, Sandamu, Maiadu’a and Zango, which constitute Daura Emirate, and warned the beneficiaries against diversion of the materials.

“We have formed a formidable survellance committee that will report sharp practices to us for prompt action,” he added.

Malam Saminu Ahmed, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, commended the donor for the gesture and prayed for long life to the emir for his just and fair leadership.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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YPP faults Kogi election, YDP says conduct perfect

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The Kogi Chairman of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Mr Chinda Emmanuel has faulted the outcome of the governorship election in the state, saying it was marred by violence and did not reflect the true wishes of the electorate.

On the other hand, Dr Sani Teidi-Shaibu, gubernatorial candidate of Youth Democratic Party (YDP) said the election was one of the best he had ever witnessed.

Emmanuel disclosed this while addressing newsmen on Monday in Lokoja after announcement of the election rwon by incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello.

According to Emmanuel, the exercise fell short of all known rules of engagement as contained in the electoral rules and regulations and was, therefore, not happy with the outcome.

“I am not happy with the way the election went. In my own Local Government Area, I voted at unit 007 Gboloko and my supporters also voted there but I’m surprised that INEC recorded only two votes for my party in the results.”

He claimed that in Dekina, Ibaji and Lokoja Local Governments people were killed and helicopters allegedly used to carry ballot boxes.

“My party, YPP and our candidate, Hajia Aisha Audu are not happy with the outcome of the election and the result announced today. They announced a cooked result and we shall challenge it in court”, he said.

However, Teidi-Shaibu, the gubernatorial candidate of  YDP said the election was one of the best he had ever witnessed.

“I think this is one of the best elections I have ever witnessed because they at INEC did their homework and the election was very perfect.”

According to Teidi-Shaibu, there was no rigging in the election.

“Whoever is aggrieved should put it aside and let us team up and work with government so that Kogi can move forward”, he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that, in the result announced by INEC Monday in Lokoja, Bello of the APC won with 406,222 votes, while Engr Musa Wada of PDP got 189,704 votes to come second.

Edited /Maharazu Ahmed

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