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Reps Probe $1.4m Contract Scam in Defence Ministry

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House of Representatives Tuesday mandated its committees on Defence, Army and Public Procurement to carry out a comprehensive Investigation on the alleged multi- Million Contract scam in the Ministry of Defece.

 

The resolution of the House was sequel to the passage of a motion of Urgent National Importance by Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP Kogi), a member.

 

The lawmaker said that the media space has been awashed with an alleged duplication, misappropriation and mismanagement of a multi- million Naira contract in the Ministry of Defence.

 

“Some high ranking appointees and officials in the Ministry of Defence were allegedly involved in the contract scam that had gone viral and not in sync with the efforts of the Federal Government to fight corruption,” Yusuf said.

 

According to him, the contract was for the relocation and refurbishment of level 2 Hospital under the United Nations Multinational Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali.

 

” The Level 2 Hospitals which are funded by the United Nations and awarded to countries who contribute troops/ police to global peace missions, carry out limited surgeries including life, limb and organs on officers and men on military duties.

 

“The scandal blew open following United Nations directive that Nigeria should move the Level 2 Hospital from its present temporary camp at the Timbuktu airport in Mali to the more secure new UN Super Camp also in Timbuktu..

 

“That in a desperate bid to cover its tracks, the Ministry of Defence in February 2017 allegedly awarded a contract for the refurbishing and relocation of the Hospital to a Contractor who had zero experience in installation of Level 2 Hospital.”

 

Yusuf said that the Ministry also flouted procurement guidelines of the Bureau of Public Procurement after getting presidential approval.

 

“Nigeria has been asked to withdraw its remaining contingents to the United Nations African Mission in Darfur consequent to its not meeting the UN’s August 2017 deadline for the relocation of the Hospital to a new location.

 

“The shady deals allegedly perpetuated by top functionaries in the Ministry of Defence have led to Nigeria losing the deployment of level 2 Hospital to Rwanda as directed by the UN.

 

” Due to the selfish and greedy antics of some officials at the Ministry, of Defence, Nigeria has gone down from No. 5 to No. 9 in troops contributing country global rating and dropping from No 1 to No. 5 in Africa and in the African Union,” he said.

 

When the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara called for a vote on the motion, it was passed with majority votes.

 

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Lagos Govt Introduces Electronic Revenue Assurance System

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The Lagos State Government yesterday introduced Electronic Revenue Assurance System (ERA) to enhance collection of consumption tax.

The electronic device is in accordance with the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalisation) Regulation signed into Law on Dec. 7, 2017.

The introduction of the electronic device was done at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos.

The stakeholders include owners of hotels, restaurants, night clubs, drinking pubs, event centres and hospitality venues in Lagos state.

In a keynote address, the state Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode said that the regulation was to enable the state to put in place efficient machinery to enhance tax collection.

Ambode who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adewale, decried under-payment and non-remittance of tax to the statec government’s .

He called for high commitment from residents and business owners in the payment of taxes.

‘’Taxation is one of the ways in which government is able to finance its activities.

‘’Funds are required to enable government to actualise its objective of provision of adequate infrastructure and services for the residents of the state at levels expected within a mega city.

‘’Our objective is to rely less on federal funding and more on self-funded.

”That is why we are leveraging on technology – the fiscalisation project – to drive economic growth and development, ” he said.

Ambode urged hoteliers and bar, restaurant and event centre owners to integrate their systems with the state internal revenue service server, to facilitate monitoring of tax transactions and remittance.

Mr Olusegun Banjo, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, said that the regulation would enable the state to plan and build its revenue base.

‘’This regulation will help us build our revenue properly to fill the gap in our economic planning as well as match our income and expenditure,” he said.

Mr Akinyemi Ashade, the state Commissioner for Finance, said that the state budget performance for 2017 was 82 per cent in spite of harsh economy.

Ashade said that, with the regulation, there would be increased revenue to fund and deliver high profile projects targeted for this year to make life easier for the state residents.

In his remarks, Mr Ayodele Subair, Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, said that the ERA system would ensure efficiency and transparency in the collection of consumption tax in the state.

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FG Restates Commitment to Press Freedom

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, has restated the federal government’s commitment to the freedom of the press, saying the media has nothing to fear from the present Administration.

 

The Minister stated this in Abuja on Thursday when he received a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) on a courtesy visit to his office.

 

“The media has nothing to fear from the government but, on the contrary, we are the ones that cannot sleep with our eyes closed because of the media,” he said.

 

Alhaji Mohammed, who said the government always takes criticism from the media in good faith, however, appealed to the media to be fair and constructive in its criticisms.

 

“Like I always say, this government will never stifle the media. We take so many punches everyday from the media. We are not saying please don’t criticize us, do criticize us, but please do your own homework thoroughly also and be fair to us. That’s all we are asking. Please criticize us on facts and not on emotion,” he said.

 

The Minister said the present administration believes that democracy cannot thrive without a free press but noted that the media should report the government within the context of the daunting challenges facing the nation, most of which were inherited by the Administration.

 

He said the government is on a rescue mission, but noted that the rot of 16 years cannot be corrected within two and a half years.

 

Alhaji Mohammed said the Administration succeeded in preventing a total collapse of the economy and has returned the country to the path of economic growth and sustainable development.

 

He thanked the IPI for its confidence in Nigeria by granting the country the hosting right for its annual congress, saying the IPI World Congress 2018, scheduled for Abuja on 21-23 June, will give the government the opportunity to showcase its achievements to the international media.

 

In her remarks, Ms. Barbara Trionfi, executive director of IPI, said she is in the country to interface with media professionals towards the successful hosting of the forthcoming congress.

 

She commended the government for its efforts towards promoting press freedom and the safety of journalists in the country, and tasked the media industry to look beyond business rivalry and competition in order to cooperate and promote the core values of journalism.

 

Ms. Trionfi was accompanied on the visit by Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, chairman of IPI Nigeria and Publisher of Media Trust; Dr. Tonnie Iredia, former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority, and Mr. Raheem Adedoyin, secretary of IPI Nigeria, among others.

 

 

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CSR: UBA Foundation Commissions Link Bridge @ Usman Danfodiyo University,Presents Leo Virtual Banker to Students

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l-r: Executive Director, North, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Ibrahim Puri; Vice Chancellor, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru; GMD/CEO, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Kennedy Uzoka; Secretary to the State Government, Sokoto State, Professor Bashir Garba; and representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sarkin Yaki Biaji, Alhaji Kabiru Usman, during the commissioning of the pedestrian bridge built and donated to the Usmanu Danfodiyo University by the UBA Foundation

UBA Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility Arm of Pan- African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has completed the construction of a pedestrian bridge primarily for students of the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State, thus bringing comfort to students of the institution.

 

The construction of the bridge, valued at about N13m was commissioned on Monday, by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State.

 

Inaugurating the bridge, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director of UBA, said the construction of the bridge was part of the bank’s efforts to give back to the society.

 

Uzoka also said the bank deemed it necessary to construct the bridge, to cushion the suffering of the students of the institution.

 

“Today’s event is very symbolic. We believe in the society we operate in and this gesture is part of efforts of the UBA Foundation to give back to the society.

 

“I strongly believe that with this bridge, students can move freely and will not have to go a long distance to reach their hostels.

 

“So, this saves time and will enable them to study harder,” he said.

 

He said the Foundation gave priority to education through scholarship to Nigerian students; improve the environment and empowered many people with a view to impacting on the society.

 

According to Uzoka, UBA is creating a new narrative for Africa capable of making Africans run organisations that can stand the test of time for over 100 years.

 

He also used the opportunity to enlighten the students on UBA’s new customer centric product, Leo Virtual Banker, which he said gives customers, particularly youths, more power in conducting transactions.

 

According to Uzoka, “this is the first time a financial institution in Africa has come up with this manner of solution to simplify the way customers transact. Something that has become necessary in today’s fast-paced world with demands for  quick-time transactions and response. We know that students can be very busy with lectures and keeping up with so much activity. It is pertinent, they get a young mobile upwardly mobile banker like Leo the chat banker to proffer an array of solutions to all their banking needs.

 

With the launch of the Chat Banking, customers will be able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds and airtime top up. They will also be able to confirm cheques, pay bills apply for loans, freeze accounts, request for mini statements, amongst other things.

 

Mr. Uzoka said, “The formulation of this product, is consistent with the bank’s customer 1st philosophy, where we are doing things with a strong focusing on what the customers want, where they want it, and in the exact platform they want it.’

“At UBA, we have been working with technology giants that have the global capacity to ensure not only seamless but also effortless banking for millions of our customers across Africa. We at UBA, have collaborated with Facebook to come up with this innovation that is capable of revolutionising the way banking is done in Africa,” he said. Uzoka noted that Leo will  in the nearest future, show up on other social platforms and added that all it takes to enjoy the services is simply to have a Facebook account.

Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State

In his remarks, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Bashir Garba lauded the UBA Foundation for the gesture.

 

He called on other banks operating in the state to emulate the footstep of the bank by giving back to the society.

 

“We need more of these interventions to public universities in order to improve teaching and learning.

 

“I really commend Tony Elumelu and the Group Managing Director for coming to the aid of the students,” the governor said

 

Tambuwal, therefore, renamed the bridge ‘Tony Elumelu UBA Pedestrian Bridge’.

 

Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, Vice-Chancellor of the University, described the construction of the pedestrian bridge as unprecedented.

 

He said it would go a long way in taking care of the challenges facing the students

“We reached out to a number of organisations but thank God UBA heeded our call and came through for us in a big way. It is now the shortest way for our students particularly now. We deeply appreciate Elumelu and the UBA family. The edifice which has side lights will serve us in no small way,” he stated.

 

In the recent past, UBA Foundation has intervened in the infrastructure development of universities across Africa with donation of ICT centres, hostels, recreational parks among many others.  Beneficiaries of such interventions include Universities of Ilorin, Benin, Lagos, Ekpoma and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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