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NDDC:Akpabio urges NASS to check abuses in budget processing

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NDDC:Akpabio urges NASS to check abuses in budget processing

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen.Godswill Akpabio,on Friday urged the National Assembly to check abuses in budgeting procedures of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).


Akpabio made the call at the investigative hearing of Senate Ad -Hoc Committee over alleged N40 billion financial misappropriation by the second Interim Management Commitee(IMC) of the NDDC.

Making submissions, Akpabio said there were situations where money budgeted had been drastically and illegally reduced by some members of the National Assembly against the originally approved fund.

According to him, the Niger Delta region can only benefit from the activities of the NDDC maximally, if the budgeting processing is rejiged.

He said there was need for governance structure to regulate the way things are done at the Commission .

The minister, who insisted that the forensic audit of the NDDC was the best way of clearing the rot in the commission that had existed since inception, called on all stakeholders including National Assembly to genuinely support the effort of President Muhammadu.

He said the call for support on all stakeholders would ensure that the money for the NDDC was used for the people of the Niger Delta.

” The reason why you hear so much hue and cry about the NDDC is because of President Buhari’s approval for a Forensic Audit”, he said .

He disclosed that in a particular instance, N10 billion was put in the budget but some people went into a hotel in Abuja and reduced it to N100 million, saying that the figure failed to achieve any result.

Akpabio told participants that as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, he had never awarded any contract since he assumed office except the contract for COVID-19 palliatives.

In her own submission , the former Managing Director of the Commission , Dr Yimebe Nunieh ,said out of the N81billion spent by the Commission between October 2019 to May only N8billion was expended by IMC under her leadership from Oct. 29, 2019 to Feb. 18.

In defending the current IMC, on expenditures, incumbent Managing Director, Prof. Keme Pondei, threatened that he would resign if the allegation of corruption against him are proven by his critics.

Dismissing the allegations before the Committee,

Pondei said: “If anyone has any evidence that I collected even one percent from any contractor, let him present it and I will resign instantly. ”

“We need to be very careful in making spurious allegations that distract the NDDC

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunbi ( APC Ekiti North ), declared that the essence of the investigation was to make sure the common wealth of Niger Delta works for the people of the Niger Delta.

According to him, the investigation is not about missing money but about ensuring that money gets into the right pocket to promote the best interests of the Niger Delta region and its people.

The committee Chairman also told participants that at the end of the investigation, those who specialize in hijacking peoples money would be put out of business.

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Kingsley Okoye: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Economy

Dollar slips as yields dive on recovery worries

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The dollar fell in Asia on Wednesday, hitting a five-month low on the yuan.


This is as the latest coronavirus relief package stalled in Congress and United States yields sank on the prospect that further monetary easing might be needed to support the economy.

A hardening perception that the United States recovery is lagging Europe has buttressed the euro, which has repelled a rebound in the dollar and rose back above $1.18 on Wednesday.

At the same time speculation that stalemate over fiscal policy in Washington could leave the Federal Reserve with more to do, has hastened a steady decline in United States yields – undermining the dollar more broadly.

Sterling, the Australian dollar and the kiwi all climbed back toward pre-pandemic highs, while the yen rose and gold soared as real yields plumbed record lows.

“United States economic outperformance, relative to the eurozone and Japan, is no longer guaranteed given the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ said Tai Hui, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s chief strategist in Asia.

“Dollar interest rates are also converging to other developed economies’ interest rates, which means that the dollar is less appealing,’’ Hui said.

He added it is difficult to see the Fed easing policy ahead of its global peers.

The Australian dollar led gains among the majors with a 0.4 per cent rise to $0.7189.

Ten-year Australian government debt now yields about 31 basis points more than 10-year United States government debt, up from 16 basis points two months ago.

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.3 per cent to $0.6646, catching some support from a surprise dip in the jobless rate.

The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 105.60 per dollar and sterling edged higher to $1.3091.

Even the Chinese yuan, which had struggled to capitalise on the dollar’s weakness amid simmering Sino-United States tensions, forged higher to a five-month top of 6.9570 per dollar in onshore trade.

Other Asian currencies also made gains, notably the Malaysian ringgit, which was stronger than 4.2 per dollar for the first in five months.

The dollar has been sliding since March, but its prime antagonist in recent weeks has been the euro, which in July posted its best month in almost 10 years.

That has the common currency more or less back where it began life in 1999 and has many investors convinced it can keep climbing as a Europe-wide fiscal relief package anchors recovery and allays perennial worries about the bloc’s stability.

“Right now, looming long-term negative United States issues – like the dollar’s reserve status as the United States and China decouple – are at the forefront of FX concerns and not the euro’s structural problems,’ said Deutsche Bank strategist, Alan Ruskin.

“The door to $1.20+ remains wide open,’’ he said.

For now, eyes are on Washington where White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of this week.

The next economic updates are due later on Wednesday, with services surveys in Britain and Europe in the morning and United States private payrolls data around 1215 GMT.

Investors expect steady services growth in Europe and a slowdown in the United States in hiring, with surprises on any front likely to illuminate the apparent divergence between Europe and the United States

Analysts at ING have also noted that equity investors have yet to really buy into the European recovery story – and say a pile-in could provide even more support to the currency.

“Buy-side surveys suggest that investors are still heavily overweight United States equities, especially tech stocks, and are minded to rotate into the Eurozone and see the euro as cheap,’’ said ING’s global head of markets, Chris Turner.

“If that rotation comes to pass … then euro/dollar may be a $1.25 story after all.’’

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Mobile Police Training School, not personal asset of I-G – Police

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The Police say the Mobile Police Training School in Nasarawa State  was a national security legacy project and not a personal asset of the Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu.


The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mba said establishing the school in Endehu, Nasarawa State, was informed by overriding national security consideration on the need to strengthen the operational capacity of the special forces of the Nigeria Police Force.

He said that the IGP had not used his office to threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the project.

”It is on record that the parcel of land where the institution was sited was donated to the Police with the full complement of the Certificate of Occupancy by the Governor of Nasarawa State.

“The acquisition of the land was, therefore, without any financial commitment by the Police.

”The construction of the facility was achieved with the support of the Nasarawa State Government and well-meaning corporate bodies within the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

”All the support so extended were not in cash but in form of donation of materials,” he said.

Mba said that the only involvement of some Squadron Commanders was to ensure the delivery of some of the construction materials so donated by the corporate bodies.

He said the construction of the project through corporate intervention was a demonstration of the commitment of the Force leadership to meet its obligations to citizens.

According to him, this is not the first time  corporate organisations and governments at all levels are assisting the police to bridge operational and infrastructural gaps.  

 

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Defence/Security

CAS task NAF cadets on core values of integrity, service before self

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The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, has tasked cadets of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on core values of integrity, first excellence in all they do and service before self.


Abubakar gave the charge on Tuesday night during the regimental Dinner of Direct Short Service, Course 29, at the Military Training Centre NAF base Kaduna.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that regimental dinner was a military tradition worldwide aimed at inculcating one of the rich mess etiquette in officers in order to maintain regimentation and comradeship among other military ethics and tradition.

The Air Chief was represented by Chief of Policy and Plan, NAF Headquarters, AVM Isiaka Amao.

Abubakar reminded the cadets of vision of the NAF as they looked forward to passing out and begin your service to our fatherland as commissioned officers.

“To reposition the NAF into highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiative for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in responsive to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.

“In line with this vision, you have undergone six months of intensive military training to prepare you as officers for the rigours of service in the NAF,’’ CAS said.

According to him, this is particularly important as the country, in recent time, has witnessed a wide range of security challenges that have stretched the capacity of the armed forces and other security agencies.

Abubakar said the armed forces, particularly NAF, had been involved in operation aimed at finding lasting solution to some of these security challenges.

He added that NAF has also been involved in community out-reach programmes to demonstrate a human approach to finding lasting solution to some of the security challenges.

“As you pass out from training to become commissioned officers, most of you will be assigned various duties in order to restore peace to our nation.

“Such duties will not only require professional competences, but also your ability to lead men in the field.

“Military profession is all about leadership and command, as young officers, you will realise that your men depend on you for inspiration.

“You are, therefore, to ensure that you show good example in both your personal qualities and abilities.

“This can only be achieved by ability to apply NAF core values of integrity, first excellence in all we do and service before self,’’ he said.

Abubakar charged the cadets to always ensure that equipment and resources that would be put at their disposal were maintained and judiciously utilised.

This, he said, is in keeping with NAF policy of prudent management of resources and culture of self-reliance, which is key driver of CAS vision.

NAN report that the passing out parade of the cadets would be held on Aug. 8.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19

COVID-19: Nigeria’s total hits 44,433 as NCDC announces 304 new cases, 910 deaths

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Nigeria’s COVID-19 total cases have now reached 44,433 after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced 304 new cases and 910 deaths from infections in the country.


The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Tuesday.

Data from the health agency showed that the 304 new cases were spread across 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).

According to it, as of Aug. 4, 14 deaths were recorded in the country.

Till date, 44,433 cases have been confirmed out of which 31,851 cases have been discharged and 910 deaths recorded nationwide.

The NCDC said that the 304 new cases were reported from FCT (90), Lagos (59), Ondo (39), Taraba (18), Rivers (17), Borno (15), Adamawa (12), Oyo (11) and Delta (9).

Others were Edo (6), Bauchi (4), Kwara (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Bayelsa (3), Plateau (3), Niger (3), Nasarawa (2) and Kano (1).

Meanwhile, the agency warned that the coronavirus does not care if a person ‘believe’ in use of face masks or not.

“You may not believe in the virus, but the virus sure believes in you.

“Do not wear masks with valves.

“Why? Because a valve acts as an open doorway, allowing your breath to leave the mask and putting those around you at risk of catching COVID-19.

“Again, there are many ways to wear a mask incorrectly, but only one way to maximise protection; wear a well-fitted mask with gaps.

“Check if your mask fit before going outside, it is really simple.

“Step 1, inhale: Your mask should pull on your face.

“Step 2, exhale: Your mask should expand.

“Step 3, check leaks: There should be no major leaks.

“Readjust your mask if there are leaks for best protection, your mask should fit well,’’ it advised.

The NCDC said that Nigerians were still in the middle of a pandemic and need to remain extremely careful to keep the gains of the sacrifices they have all made since March.

“Even if you wear protective mask in public, it is important that you also use other preventive measures, stay at least two metres away from other people.

“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

“Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; cover your coughs and sneezes.’’

It, however, said that coronavirus could not overwhelm Nigerians.

“There’s an end; let’s just do the needful,’’ it stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that since the emergence of COVID-19 in the country, the statistics from NCDC reveals a gradual decline in daily recorded cases from July 27.

The figures have reduced significantly over the past seven days with the lowest figure over this timeline, being 288 recorded on Aug. 3.

Between June and July, new cases had risen to as high as 790 on July 1.

With the recent trend, the case rate is slowing down in the country.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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