Senate wants Petroleum Ministry under Buhari’s care to refund N98.4m collected for flyers
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.
Robbers Loot N30m Goods At Ikota Shopping Complex
. Owners Report Security Firm To Police
For about two decades, Dr. Helen O. Eto, CEO, Superior Mobile Investment Ltd and iClick Gadgets, has been doing business peacefully at Ikota Shopping Complex which borders Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lekki Peninsula, Lagos. The shopping facility is run by HFP Engineering Ltd.
However, robbers struck at the complex that has about 1,850 shops in the early hours of March 7th, 2023. Finesse Security Ltd guards claimed that they forgot to lock the gate of the facility, allowing the hoodlums to cart away about N30 million phones and other goods from Mrs. Eto’s freshly restocked shop.
Lamentingher ordeal to the police in Ajah and Panti, Yaba, Mrs. Eto said : “We took bank loans for the business plus our life savings all of which are gone. This is a wicked plan against us in our old age with children still in school, other dependants and various bills.
“We plead that the police should help us to get to the bottom of the looting to save us from early deaths as our BPs have shot up sharply because this is our main source of livelihood. A list of the goods looted from the shop was/is attached to my statements at Ajah Police Station and SIB, Yaba.”
Omokioja Julius Eto, Chairman, Editorial Board of The Daily Times and a media consultant, corroborated his wife’s account. Eto, a former Associate Editor of The Guardian and Editor-in-Chief of The Trumpet, said: “The robbery is shocking because the security gate is inaccessible even to shop owners at night, our shop is just a stone’s throw from the gate and it would have taken about at least two hours to cut through the shop’s security system.
“This makes us to strongly see the guards as the main suspects. We were not immediately notified by the security firm or the facility managers (HFP) of the robbery which we only got to be aware of at about 8.20am through one of our employees.”
A former Editor of The Daily Times, Eto who has also worked as a senior editor at the Punch and Thisday, added: “Since the break-in on March 7 till today March 30, Finesse Security Ltd has not called to sympathize with us but has been evading our calls and texts to its MD whom we learnt travelled abroad after the robbery.
“We have been doing everything to support the police investigation despite our predicament and hope they will bring the culprits to justice.”
Arrest Interim Govt Plotters Now – Governors
Governors of the 36 states have asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and prosecute those involved in a plot to put in place an interim government as part of moves to truncate the nation’s democracy.
Condemning the move, the governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum assured of their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
In a statement on Friday by NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal at the end of the 4th meeting of the Governors, he warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.
Tambuwal said, “The Forum deliberated extensively on the alleged plot by some unscrupulous elements to install an interim government, as contained in the recent statement issued by the Department for State Services (DSS). Governors condemned in the strongest terms, any unconstitutional means of regime change and pledged its commitment to continue to defend Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
“In addition, the Forum believes that issuing statements without arrests is akin to heating up the polity and causing unwarranted tension in the country. It called on the DSS to do its job by immediately arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the plot as a matter of urgency.”
Recall that the DSS had on Wednesday confirmed rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government in order to truncate the result of the recently-concluded general elections.
The Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya in a statement said that the agency had identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria but did not give the names of the masterminds.
The agency had said that the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
BREAKING:Lagos Govt Arraigns Chrisland School, Principal, Others Over Death Of Pupil Whitney Adeniran
The Lagos State government has arraigned Chrisland School, Opebi, its principal, vice principal and two other employees over the death of one of the school’s pupils, 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran.
On Wednesday, the government of Lagos State had filed charges against Chrisland School and four others over the death of the 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Adeniran.
The school and its workers were accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts.
The workers who were arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja include Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria and Chrisland School Limited.
The school principal, Mrs Belinda Amao, broke down in tears while in the dock as the court and counsel tried to agree on a date for the commencement of the trial.
Whitney died during the school’s inter-house sports competition at Agege Stadium in Lagos on February 9.
Blessing Adeniran, her mother, had accused Chrisland of negligence over her daughter’s death.
The school’s management, however, dismissed insinuations that there was foul play in the death, saying she slumped in public.
Chrisland also argued that Whitney complained about “not-too-buoyant health” a few days before she died.
However, an autopsy conducted at the Lagos State University Hospital (LASUTH) confirmed that the deceased died from “asphyxia and electrocution”.
In the charges filed on behalf of the state government by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, who disclosed that their negligence killed Whitney because they failed to ensure her safety.
The charge also disclosed that they all acted in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered human life.
The offences are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015
If found guilty, the offences carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.
On Tuesday, the state government granted access to Chrisland High School, Opebi branch, to open for physical learning ahead of the school’s forthcoming examination after parents’ appeal.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered that the school be shut down on March 3, 2023, following the investigation into Whitney’s death.
Sanwo-Olu through the state Ministry of Education said the closure of the school would pave the way for unhindered investigation and afford all stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and friends of the deceased, time to grieve.
The reopening followed an appeal by the Parents of all Chrisland School Units who visited the Ministry of Education on Monday to seek the government’s understanding for “the sake of 500 plus students some of whom also have terminal examinations.”
The management of the school had tendered an apology over Whitney’s death.
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