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Senate wants Petroleum Ministry under Buhari’s care to refund N98.4m collected for flyers

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Between Ahmad Lawan And The President Of The Senate: Moment of Truth

The Senate has frowned at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for spending, without due process, N98.4 million to supposedly print leaflets.

The leaflets were said to have been printed as part of an awareness campaign programme for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

President Muhamamdu Buhari is the sudstantive minister of Petroleum Resources ministry, a portfolio he has held since coming to office in 2015, while he also appointed a minister of state for the ministry, to oversee the days to day running of affairs.

The lawmakers unsatisfied with the explanation offered by the ministry, ordered it to return the money to the federation account.

It also asked the ministry to refund another N39 million paid into two personal accounts to monitor the project within Abuja.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC’s) gave the order following a query issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in the 2015 report and brought before it for probe and presentation to the plenary of the Senate.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Uroghide (PDP Edo South) made this known to newsmen on Saturday.

The queries which were made available to newsmen read:

“Contrary to the procurement process, an entry in the cash book for the sum of N98.4 million was made in favour of a company for printing of leaflets for awareness campaign programme for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“There was no formal award of contract and it was also observed that the approval for the payment was via memo presented by the Director (Press) to Ministerial Tender Board meeting of 9th and 11th October 2013.

“The permanent secretary had been requested to take procedural disciplinary measures against the erring officers in line with the provision with extant regulation.”

In its written response, the ministry replied that it made adequate publicity for the project.

“M/s Dangrace and partners Ltd were selected based on proven capabilities and competence.

“It should be stated that veritable costing proposals were submitted and approved before the Authorization for the award and production of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) leaflets.

“The Department complied with necessary rule and procedure,” it said.

Another query to the ministry read, “Contrary to the e-payment policy of the Federal government the total sum of N39.7 million was paid to 178 staff of the ministry for project monitoring and evaluation in 2014.

“Instead of direct payment to individual accounts, the disbursement was paid 2 (two) accounts vide PV. Nos. MPR/CAP/828/2014 and MPR/CAP/826/2014 of 02/12/14.

“It was curious that 178 officers in the division of the Ministry could be involved in project monitoring and evaluation at the same time. Other irregularities observed duplication of officers names, duplication of locations, monitoring of projects outside the statutory purview of the Ministry and its parastatals, payment of DTA, and other traveling allowances to staff for monitoring parastatals located in Abuja.

“There was no evidence presented for audit review by the M & E division for the project monitoring exercise carried out by the 178 officers despite the payment of N1.4 million to coordinating secretariat for such purpose.

“To all intent and purpose, this expenditure cannot be accepted as a legitimate charge against public funds.”

The ministry replied, “The two staff were appointed as the project Accountants for the project. People were grouped and assigned to various projects for prudence and accountability.

“Reports were submitted to the appropriate Department which DPRD

“Due process and procedure were followed in the best interest of the service.

“Duplication of officers’ names and locations were due to officers visiting different places after grouping. No officer was paid DTA for monitoring parastatals within Abuja UT they were paid to monitor those outside Abuja.”

But the Senate committee, not satisfied, asked the officers of the ministry concerned to return the money to the federation account.

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage

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BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership

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Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires

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Walson-Jack

As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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