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Group berates Uzodinma over high spending on Gov’s office, neglect of key sectors

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A civil society organization, Policy Alert, has criticized Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State for allegedly giving precedence to his office at the expense of the state’s social sector budget implementation in the third quarter of 2023.

In a statement signed by its Programme Officer, Fiscal Reforms and Anti-Corruption, Faith Paulinus, the group expressed concern over the imbalance in expenditure, noting that the Office of the Governor received a total expenditure of N11.84bn, while all other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in the state combined had only N7.37bn capital release during the quarter.

Policy Alert, which advocates for fiscal and ecological justice in the Niger Delta, conducted a review of the Imo State Third Quarter Budget Performance Report for 2023 (July – September). The organization highlighted a trend indicating consistently high priority given to the Office of the Governor, with N31.5bn already released for the last three quarters of 2023, representing 95 percent of the budgeted N33.1bn for the entire fiscal year.

The group expressed concern that if the current spending trend persists in the last quarter, there may be a risk of the state government engaging in extra-budgetary expenses for the Office of the Governor.

While acknowledging that making expenditures for the Governor’s Office is acceptable if budgeted for, Policy Alert raised alarm over the total neglect of social sectors, emphasizing that no capital release was made for sectors like Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education, Health, Youth and Social Development, Women’s Affairs and Vulnerable Groups, Agriculture, and food security during the quarter.

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Policy Alert urged the state government to prioritize the social sector in the last quarter of 2023, emphasizing that the negligible capital release of N4.17bn for the entire Social Services Sector across the three quarters (only 14 percent of the budgeted N29.74bn for the year) implies citizens are being deprived of essential social services.

Additionally, the organization noted that recurrent spending in the quarter amounted to N18.76bn, while capital spending was only N7.37bn, urging the Imo State government to reconsider its prioritization of recurrent expenditure over capital expenditure.

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‘Some people have turned into monitoring spirits because of Tinubu’ – Joe Igbokwe

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Joe Igbokwe, a prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, raised concerns on Saturday about the constant monitoring of President Bola Tinubu. Igbokwe claimed that some individuals have resorted to witchcraft and “monitoring spirits” to keep an eye on Tinubu.

He explained that these individuals are observing Tinubu closely to catch any mistakes or mishaps, wherever he goes. Posting on his Facebook page, Igbokwe predicted that this scrutiny will persist for the next eight years.

He wrote: “Some people have turned to monitoring spirits. They follow PBAT anywhere he goes to see if he will make mistakes, if he will fall down, or if he will be received very well in any country he goes to. This is witchcraft and they will do this for 8 years. Mark this.”

Tinubu had a slip during the Democracy Day celebration at Eagles Square on June 12. Addressing the incident later at a Democracy Day dinner at the Presidential Villa, the President commented: “Early this morning, I had a swagger and it’s on social media. They’re confused about whether I was doing bugger or babariga.

“But it is a day to celebrate democracy. Why doing dobale on the day? I’m a traditional Yoruba boy. I did my dobale.”

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‘We’re still owed salaries in Abia State University’ – ASUU

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The Abia State University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has claimed that many of its members did not receive their April and May salaries, and those who were paid had deductions from their salaries. ASUU Chairperson Chidi Mbah and Secretary Victor Obisike stated that despite announcements from the Abia government and social media reports indicating that salaries had been settled, only a few staff members with accounts at commercial banks received their April salaries, and even fewer received their May salaries.

The ASUU leaders highlighted that this inconsistency in salary payments and deductions has caused financial difficulties, anxiety, and uncertainty among the affected staff. They noted that staff members who did receive their April or May salaries experienced unexplained deductions ranging from N8,000 to N53,000.

This irregular payment system has made it difficult for the unions within the university to determine the status of their check-off dues, which are usually deducted at the source. Additionally, ASUU emphasized that 11 months of outstanding salary arrears remain unpaid, despite repeated assurances from the government.

ASUU expressed its support for Governor Alex Otti’s efforts to improve Abia State University but urged government officials to avoid politicizing the salary payment issue. They appealed to the state government to promptly address the concerns raised and ensure that all outstanding salaries, including the arrears, are paid in full to alleviate the financial hardships faced by the university staff.

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Sanusi: Ado Bayero was never Emir of Kano – Gov Yusuf’s spokesman

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Sanusi Bature, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State, has asserted that Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. According to Bature, former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje appointed Bayero as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city.

During an appearance on Arise Television, Bature explained that Ganduje’s appointment of Bayero as emir was part of a political maneuver that compromised the integrity of the historic Kano Emirate, which predates Nigeria and its constitution by over a thousand years.

Bature stated: “The governor’s action was intended to protect the emirate’s integrity as an institution. The Emirate of Kano has a history that predates Nigeria, with people living under a single Emir for over a thousand years. Ganduje’s administration politicized this history, which Yusuf promised to rectify during his campaign to restore the emirate’s lost glory.”

He further remarked, “This is not the first time an Emir has been deposed; Ganduje did it, and Sanusi left Kano for peace to prevail. Now Sanusi has returned to Kano after the law was repealed.”

Clarifying Bayero’s status, Bature said, “Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. He was appointed as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city. With the revision of the law under a unified Kano, the emirate Bayero served no longer exists. He was the Emir of the Kano city emirate, not the entire 44 local governments of Kano, a status created by Ganduje’s 2019 Emirate law.”

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Governor Yusuf deposed Ado Bayero and reinstated Muhammed Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. Despite this, Ado Bayero has refused to leave his Nassarawa palace and has challenged the state government’s action in court.

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