By Adedapo Adesanya
The Senate has ordered 59 federal agencies to return over N300 billion misappropriated funds into the federation account with a 60-day ultimatum.
According to the upper chamber, the ultimatum covers all the money illegally spent by the erring agencies between 2013 and 2015 and they must be recovered and remitted into the treasury.
This was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the yearly report of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) on accounts of the federation for the year ended December 31, 2015 (Part Ii &1).
The Senate panel, for over a year, had been investigating expenditures of federal government agencies from 2015 to 2018 based on an audit report by the AGF.
The committee’s chairman, Mr Matthew Urhoghide, in his presentation, disclosed that 114 MDAs were queried in the 2015 audit report, out of which 59 had their queries sustained after the probe.
In the course of the investigation, Mr Urhoghide said his panel observed, across the board, the incessant violation of extant rules by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The committee observed that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) misappropriated N995 million; Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N1.77 billion; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), N68.9 billion, $2.3 million and €196,000.
Others are Nigeria Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), N4.35 billion; Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), N8.84 billion; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N821.9 million; National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), N1.88 billion and Mortgage Bank, N369 million.
The report said the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs disposed of 22 vehicles to various beneficiaries in May 2015 and realised N5,215,500. Out of the 22 vehicles, eight were purchased on June 23 and August 18, 2014, for N106,560,000 and duly paid for. Less than one year after the acquisition, six of the vehicles costing N90,870,000 were sold at a ridiculous sum of N2,172,600.
The Senate, therefore, ordered the sum of N61,436,400.00, being the understated disposable value of the vehicles, be recovered and paid back to the treasury within 60 days.
LG Polls: Ogun Imposes Movement Restriction
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Ogun State Government has announced a statewide restriction of movement between 7 am and 4 pm on Saturday, July 24, 2021, to allow for the conduct of local government elections.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, said the restriction was at the instance of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), which is conducting the councilorship and chairmanship elections in all the 236 wards across the 20 local government areas in the state.
However, during the period of the restriction, voters will be free to move to their polling centres within their neighbourhood and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.
The statement urged the electorate to be peaceful and avoid any act that could tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Ogun State as one of the most peaceful states in the country.
This is coming after the Lagos State Government restricted movement between 8 am and 3 pm on Saturday for the same purpose.
Mr Gbenga Omotoso, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, had said in a statement Thursday that the restriction will enable the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to conduct hitch-free elections across the 57 local government areas and local council development areas in the state.
“The restriction will facilitate the ease of movement of the electorate, election materials and LASIEC officials for the sanctity of the election, effective monitoring and enhanced security,” Mr Omotoso said.
Everybody Needs PR—Yomi Badejo-Okusanya
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Group Managing Director of CMC Connect BCW, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (YBO), has emphasised the importance of Public Relations to organisations and individuals, saying everybody needs PR.
Mr Badejo-Okusanya, who doubles as the president of the African Public Relations Association (APPA), therefore, submitted that efforts should be made to have a better understanding of the profession, noting that PR is different from journalism but both work together to achieve great results.
He called on organisations, leaders, nations, policy and decision-makers to never overlook the value that PR brings to the table.
“Many still bear in mind that PR is only about press releases and organising events whilst those with an understanding of the weight PR professionals pull as a result of their expertise have yielded great results for themselves,” he said.
Mr Badejo-Okusanya, while speaking on the first-ever World PR Day held on July 16, 2021, charged practitioners to push forward the agenda of PR in their daily dealings, stressing that “PR needs PR.”
The APRA leader said the decision to set aside a day for PR and a unified global agenda was indeed a welcome development, stressing that, for the past 33 years, APPA has been able to gather PR Practitioners in Africa and recently across the globe under one roof to push forward the agenda of PR, the profession itself and discuss issues, trends and solutions to PR needs.
“I am delighted because this day speaks to the fact that our effort is yielding results in ways that will take the profession to the level where it belongs and better utilized by organisations, businesses, nations, brands, individuals, decision and policymakers.
“Truth is, everybody needs PR. It is part of our daily lives and PR is about telling a compelling story! This call for unity on a day such as this will bring about great opportunities and collaborations that will be beneficial to our profession in the long run,” he said.
MIIVOC to Train FIRS Officials on FOI Act
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A group known as the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) is taking steps to improve the knowledge of government officials in the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act of 2011.
Already, it has concluded arrangements with the management of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to train key personnel on the provisions and application of the law.
“Knowledge and capacity on the FOI Act are still very low in the country. There is a need for training and retraining of representatives of public institutions on the provisions and applications of the Act.
“Poor understanding of the provisions of the FOI Act is one of the reasons for its poor implementation in Nigeria, particularly, among state actors,” the Executive Director of MIIVOC, Mr Walter Duru, said.
“Section 13 of the FOI Act makes it mandatory for public institutions to ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right to access information or records held by the government or public institutions, as provided for in this Act,” he added.
“Pursuant to section 13 of the FOI Act, the present management of FIRS approved the training for relevant officials of the Service on the FOI Act, with the view to ensuring increased compliance. The training is to be held on Thursday and Friday this week in Abuja,” Mr Duru also stated.
The MIIVOC chief, who also chairs the board of the Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria called on other public institutions in the country to take steps towards enhancing the capacity of their officials through regular training and retraining on the provisions of the Act.
He also called on Nigerian citizens to take advantage of the FOI Act to hold governments at all levels accountable.
Mr Duru, an Assistant Professor of Communication and Multimedia Design at the American University of Nigeria, Yola is the leader of the non-state actors drive on FOI Implementation in Nigeria – Chairman of Freedom of Information Coalition in Nigeria.
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