​APC celebrates Bagudu, Dogara

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Nigerians to emulate the progressive traits of Gov. Atiku Bagudu, Chairman, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), who turned 59.

Similarly, the party felicitated with former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on his 53rd birthday.

In a statement by Mr John Akpanudoedehe, Secretary of the Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in Abuja, the APC noted that Bagudu had contributed to its growth and that of the PGF.

Akpanudoedehe said the Kebbi state governor had displayed uncommon vision and participatory leadership, which positively impacted the human capital development of the state while strengthening the party and the PGF in line with its progressive ideals.

He also said that the APC was proud to identify with Dogara due to his exemplary private and public dealings, having proven himself as a patriotic and grassroots politician.

He added that Dogara had constantly displayed time-honoured attributes of decency, transparency, hard work, Integrity, and a people-centric posture.

“Undoubtedly, Dogara’s recent return to the APC is a major signpost that the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC is achieving its core mandate to reposition the party,” Akpanudoedehe said.

He added that the committee was also addressing grievances and achieving true reconciliations across the party’s rank.

“The APC family prays for Bagudu and Dogara’s good health and wisdom to undertake their public and private endeavours,” he said.

​How Ministry of Power smuggled N7bn into its account without appropriation from NASS — Senate

The Senate has raised the alarm on how the Ministry of Power allegedly smuggled over N7 billion smuggled into the Ministry’s budget without an appropriation from the National Assembly.

The Senate has observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect to the Hydropower Transmission Project in either the 2014 or 2015 fiscal year.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts, raised the alarm on how the Ministry allegedly spent such amount of money without getting approval from the National Assembly in line with the law.

The Committee is relying on the query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2015 report and brought before it for probe and subsequent presentation to the Senate at Plenary.

The Urhoghide led Committee, however expressed shock on how N7 billion could appear in the Ministry’s Account when the 2015 budget was not passed then and the account for 2014 already closed as at the time.

The Query reads, “The sum of N7 billion was received by the Ministry of Power in January 2015 as shown in the accounts. This fund was spread into 4 (Four) commercial banks under the Account name Hydropower Transmission Project.

“The budget for 2015 was not yet passed as at the time this money was received by the Ministry in January 2015 while the account for the year 2014 was already closed as at 31st December 2014.

“It was also observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either 2014 or 2015 fiscal year of the Ministry Appropriation Act.”

But the Ministry of Power in a written response said, ” The Federal government released the money total amount under the special Intervention Fund to the Ministry for the funding Hydroelectric Power Project.

“The fund was released as special warrant and therefore was outside of the Ministry’s approved budget.

“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation approved project accounts for the fund in four different banks.

“The fund was transferred to four different new generation banks.

It was gathered that the money was approved by the then President as a loan for the evacuation of 40MW generated from Kashimila Hydropower station.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhogbide however further demanded more documents to verify whether the money was properly utilized as claimed by the Ministry of Power.

​Liverpool won’t force Salah to stay, says Klopp

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp sees no reason why Mohamed Salah would want to leave the Premier League champions, but says he would not keep the Egyptian forward at the club against his will.

Salah told Spanish newspaper AS in an interview this month that he admired Real Madrid and Barcelona, fuelling talk in the British media that he was looking to move on.

“I think the only reason to leave Liverpool at the moment is the weather. What other reason could be there?” Klopp said at a news conference.

“This is one of the biggest clubs in the world, we pay good money … we have a sensational stadium with outstanding supporters.

“You cannot force people to stay but that is it … We make changes and bring players in and if a player wants to go then we cannot, probably not hold him back; it’s just that I would not understand why somebody would want to go.”

Salah was left on the bench for last weekend’s 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, but still scored two goals when he came on to help the leaders maintain their fine form.

He became Liverpool’s all-time top scorer in the Champions League earlier this month in a 1-1 draw at Denmark’s Midtjylland.

Klopp said Salah’s comments about the Spanish sides were not an indication of his desire to leave Liverpool.

“If you ask any player in the world who is not playing for Barcelona or Madrid if he can imagine playing there one day and he said: ‘No, Spanish football is not for me,’ why would he say that?

“Mo is a very important player for me obviously but this story around is not.”

Liverpool are top of the table with 31 points from 14 games, four clear of second-placed Leicester City.

They face West Bromwich Albion, who are second from bottom, on Sunday. (Reuters/NAN)

Hours after attack, Kano government says state ‘the most secured in Nigeria’

Kano State Government has reiterated its commitment to enhance security, protect lives and property in the state, following the Dec. 23 attack by unknown gunmen in Minjibir town, in the state.

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman-Alhaji, made the pledge in a statement issued on Friday, in Kano, by his press secretary, Mr Uba Abdullahi.

The statement quoted Usman-Alhaji as saying that the government had adopted proactive strategies to forestall recurrence of the attack, saying that the perpetrators of the attack would soon be brought to book.

“Kano State is the most secured state in the nation and we will not rest on our oars. Indeed the security of the people in the state is the priority of the state government,

“The Directors of Personnel Management of the 44 local government areas are hereby directed to increase and enhance security in their localities”, he said.

It would be recalled that unidentified gunmen on Wednesday attacked Minjibir, headquarters of Minjibir LGA, abducted one person and vandalised a security patrol vehicle. (NAN)

​APC govs seek collective approach to tackle insecurity

Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC have called on all Nigerians irrespective of their political and religious leanings to unite and work together to resolve the nation’s security challenges.

The governors gave the charge in a statement signed on their behalf by the Treasurer of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF and Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello.

The statement which also wished Nigerians a peaceful Christmas celebration and blessings of the season, further felicitated with the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF and Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu on the occasion of his 59th birthday.

Part of the statement reads; “The Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF enjoins all Nigerians to unite and work together irrespective of our differences to resolve all our security challenges.

“Under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Forum members are confident that the nation will overcome all security challenges.

“We also wish to felicitate with our PGF Chairman, HE Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, on the occasion of his 59th birthday on December 26, 2020.

“Forum members join him, his family and people of Kebbi State to celebrate the blessed life of a unifying leader and an outstandingly progressive politician.

“Forum, our party and indeed all APC members across the country, acknowledge and commend the leadership, vision and commitment to a united prosperous Nigeria of this illustrious personality”.

​Bauchi: We inherited N27bn retirement arrears, says Gov Mohammed

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state on Friday said that his administration inherited the sum of N27bn naira in pension arrears from his predecessors.

Mohammed, who disclosed this in Bauchi when the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), paid him a courtesy visit to mark the 2020 Christmas celebration, explained that despite all the challenges, pensioners were now getting their entitlements ‘as and when due’.

“Unless we are able to free resources, we won’t be able to employ people. We have a prevalence of ghost workers and we are working very hard to make sure we free resources in our personnel emolument within the nominal rolls that have been bastardized.

“Even though we got Paris club funds, we got bailout money, we were not able to settle all that.

“However, pensioners are getting their money as and when due and in fact, even their retirement benefits, we inherited N27bn retirement arrears from the previous administrations,” he said.

Mohammed further revealed that his administration had realised the sum of N500 million naira as a result of the ongoing blocking of leakages and sanitisation of government payrolls of ghost workers in the state.

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He also revealed that no more than 2000 youth had been slated for selection with ‘equity and Justice’ to be trained in agriculture.

“Right now we are doing a programme where we are selecting about 2000 youths to go for agricultural training and they are selected across the 20 local governments with equity and Justice.

“The second batch has finished a course in Abuja and they will be going in succession. We intend to spend a lot of money and to make them look inward to explore their potentials,” he said

Speaking earlier, Rev. Joshua Maina, Chairman, Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi state chapter, appreciated the state governor for his efforts in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

“People said he set the pace and others have been following. Our ability to record low mortality is borne out of nothing but sheer sincerity and commitment in handling this pandemic.

“I want to assure you that the work you have done, you have not done it for humanity, you have done it for God and he is going to reward you in due course,” he said.