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Oyo Rep denies inflating road project contract from N9bn to N54bn

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that the old naira banknotes will retain their legal tender status. Earlier, in October 2022, the CBN had introduced redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations, with set deadlines for discontinuing the use of the old notes of these denominations.

However, on Tuesday, the CBN announced its intention to indefinitely extend the legal tender status deadline for the old design of N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations. The decision is in accordance with international best practices and aims to prevent the recurrence of previous issues. According to a statement by Isa AbdulMumin, the Director of Corporate Communications, all banknotes issued by the CBN, as per Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to be legal tender indefinitely, surpassing the initial December 31, 2023, deadline.

The CBN is actively working with relevant authorities to overturn an existing court ruling on the same matter. Consequently, all CBN branches nationwide will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, both old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks (DMBS).

The public is urged to accept all Naira banknotes, whether old or redesigned, for everyday transactions and to handle them with care to preserve their lifecycle. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to adopt alternative payment methods and electronic channels for their day-to-day transactions.

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paraphrase: The member representing Oluyole Federal Constituency of Oyo State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has denied reports that she inflated the contract sum of a road rehabilitation project in her constituency.

The lawmaker was reacting to reports in the media that she connived with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works to inflate a 45 kilometre road project from N9 billion to N54 billion.

The contractor handling the project, DC Engineering Limited, was quoted to have made the allegation at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja.

Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Akande-Sadipe explained that the Olojuoro, Ijebu-Igbo, Ita Egba, Owonomwen road project in her constituency in Oyo State was awarded in 2018 with a two-year completion period, but after five years, one kilometer of the road has not been completed despite the contractor being mobilized substantially.

According to her, several petitions have been written by her constituents, prompting her to sponsor a motion calling for investigation as the road got deplorable with serious human casualties on daily basis due to accidents.

Her intervention, she said, was within the mandate of her office as a lawmaker in protecting the interest of her constituents, hence, she raised a motion expressing concerns over the deplorable state of the road and calling on the lower legislative chamber to investigate with documentary evidence of payments made to the contractor.

Her motion urged “the House to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the consistent failure of the contractors to fulfill their contractual obligations”.

“The investigation should specifically focus on the construction and rehabilitation of the Olomi Olojuoro road, referred to as the Ijebu-Igbo Ita Egba-Owonowen Ibadan road, with the following contracts and budget allocations,” the motion added.

The lawmaker expressed disappointment that she was being blackmailed by the company, which she said failed to meet up with the terms of the contractual agreement to the benefit of the people of the Oluyole area.

A paper she presented at the public hearing on the road project partly read, “My attention has been drawn to a letter dated 29th August, 2023 written by the solicitors to DC Engineering Limited Co and Oba (King) Adesegun Alowonle, the Emure of Ijebu, the person believed to be the owner of the company.

“This letter accused me of total falsehood in an attempt to steer this hallowed committee away from, the true situation on ground with regards to Olojuoro, Ijebu-Igbo, Ita Egba, Owonowen road in Oluyole Federal Constituency.

“The letter did not address the substance of the several petitions and motions in anyway, including the most recent of 13th July, 2023, rather what they went into was to disparage my person and smear my name and engage in scandalous defamation of my character by alleging that my objective in intervening on behalf of Oluyole is to promote a particular contractor – Aereatech Nigeria Limited, to the Federal Ministry of Works.”

The lawmaker denied having any “direct or indirect relationship with the said contractor, and I am not in any way related to the said contractor. I have never introduced any such contractor and have never inflated any contract”.

She alleged that the competence of DC Engineering calls for investigation given that some parts of the road project were sub-let to other minor construction firms in contravention of the contractual terms.

Akande-Sadipe further recalled how she initiated an inspection visit to the site in 2021 with representatives of the Federal Ministry of Works, the Commissioner of Public Complaints Commission and representatives of DC Engineering Limited, only to discover that the company was accused of collecting money from communities to fix feeder road culverts which were removed in the course of the rehabilitation work.
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The representative for Oluyole Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has refuted claims that she inflated the contract amount for a road rehabilitation project in her constituency. Media reports suggested that she collaborated with Federal Ministry of Works officials to raise the cost of a 45-kilometer road project from N9 billion to N54 billion, an accusation made by the project’s contractor, DC Engineering Limited, during a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives in Abuja.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday, Akande-Sadipe clarified that the road project in Olojuoro, Ijebu-Igbo, Ita Egba, Owonomwen in her constituency was awarded in 2018 with a two-year completion period. However, after five years, only one kilometer of the road has been completed despite substantial mobilization of the contractor. She highlighted the numerous petitions from her constituents, leading her to sponsor a motion for an investigation due to the road’s deplorable condition causing frequent accidents and human casualties.

The motion she presented called for the establishment of an Ad-Hoc Committee to comprehensively investigate the contractors’ consistent failure to fulfill their obligations, specifically focusing on the Olomi Olojuoro road. Akande-Sadipe expressed disappointment at being blackmailed by the company, emphasizing that she was acting within her legislative mandate to protect her constituents’ interests.

During the public hearing, she presented a paper addressing the accusations, stating that the contractor’s letter accused her of falsehood to divert attention from the actual situation with the road project. She denied any connection with the contractor, Aereatech Nigeria Limited, and refuted allegations of contract inflation. Akande-Sadipe called for an investigation into the competence of DC Engineering, pointing out that some parts of the project were sub-contracted to other firms, violating the contractual terms. She also recalled a site inspection in 2021 that revealed the company collecting money from communities to fix culverts removed during rehabilitation work.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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