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Page 10 NBA faults Magu on lawyers’ role in anti-graft war From Hir Joseph, Jos Following remarks by the chairman of the Economic and Financial…

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NBA faults Magu on lawyers’ role in anti-graft war

From Hir Joseph, Jos

Following remarks by the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu’s that lawyers were frustrating the trial of treasury looters, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Allegeh, yesterday faulted the allegation, describing it as “laughable.”

“It is indeed laughable that an agency of government would present counsels to prosecute persons accused of corruption, but frown at counsels representing such persons. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander,” he said in Jos.

Allegeh, who was presiding over the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the association, said the federal government must fight corruption within the ambit of the law to respect persons accused of looting the treasure as innocent until proven guilty.

Allegeh said counsels for accused persons were merely representing them, and not making up defences, just as counsels prosecuting the accused in court were merely carrying out prosecution, and not persecution.

He said it was the principle of the rule of law that cases brought before the court were given due representation for justice to be seen to be done.

Gaidam signs N88.9bn budget, swears in LG mgt chairmen

From Hamisu Kabiru Matazu, Damaturu

Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam yesterday signed into law, the state’s 2016 Appropriation and Finance Bills which provide for a total expenditure of N88.9bn, with an assurance that government would finance the execution of all the expenditure items and projects appropriated.

According to Gaidam, the budget tagged: “Result-based budget for consolidation, reconstruction and self-reliance”, is aimed mainly at sustaining the achievements recorded in the previous year.

He said the budget which is another concrete step in the continuing drive to move the state to the path of socio-economic greatness and self-reliance, had a capital expenditure of N42.7bn or 48% while N46.2bn or 52% was devoted to recurrent services.

‘’It is designed to take further steps geared towards stimulating self-reliance. We shall consolidate the gains of the previous year by completing on-going projects while according attention to quality education, promotion of agriculture, health care delivery, water supply, youth empowerment and skill acquisition among others within the limits of available resources”, he said.

He noted slight internal adjustments based on observations and harmonization of some expenditure items during the budget defence by MDAs before the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation.

“Let me indicate that although we are facing serious economic challenges due to dwindling revenue from the Federation Account, I am optimistic that given the high expectation of generating more internal revenue coupled with the significant improvement in the security situation in the state, we shall be able to finance the execution of all the expenditure items and projects appropriated for in the bill Insha Allah”, he said, adding that government would continue to take all necessary steps to ensure strict compliance with due process.

Gaidam enjoined the MDAs to uphold the principles of probity, accountability and transparency and ensure that contracts are awarded only after due process while only reputable contractors should be engaged.

In another development, the governor yesterday swore in the new local government management committee chairmen pending the conduct of fresh elections in the councils. Gaidam had ordered the dissolution of local government councils on the expiration of their tenure at the end of December 2015. While commending the former council members, he described the task before the new chairmen as enormous and challenging. He said in view of the strategic importance of the role of local governments in good governance and effective service delivery at the grassroots, government would closely monitor their activities but would not hesitate to remove or hand over to the appropriate authority, any chairman who commits gross misconduct or violates public trust.

Ebonyi gov denies link to Abuja auto crash

From Nabob Ogbonna, Abakaliki

Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi, yesterday denied links to Wednesday’s auto crash along the Kubwa Expressway in Abuja which killed one Mallam Mukaila Inakakana.

The governor who expressed sadness over the death in a statement, distanced his convoy from the crash, adding that

his convoy had passed the route before the crash.

“We state clearly that no vehicle in the convoy obstructed any vehicle

on the said road, much less of causing the said accident. For purposes of clarity, the said crash happened some metres away from the convoy.

“Going by a police account as reported, the vehicle driven by the occupant skidded off a bridge and fell into a ditch, it

would be clear to those who know the route well that the governor’s

convoy could not have been responsible for the crash. We state clearly here that we are being linked circumstantially to the accident simply because we were a few seconds away when the accident was happening. His Excellency is however saddened that the occupant of the vehicle, Mallam Mukaila Inakakana, passed on”, the statement said.

Yoruba Unity Forum decries naira fall

From Kehinde Akinyemi, Abeokuta

The Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) has warned that millions of jobs may be lost due to the continued steady fall of the nation’s currency, the naira.

The forum which noted that year 2016 would particularly be challenging to Nigerians, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and other managers of the nation’s economy to put measures in place to arrest the situation and restore investor confidence.

The chairman, Rev. Emmanuel Gbonigi, made the call at a meeting of the group at Ikenne, Ogun State yesterday.

He urged the government to diversify the economy by giving prime attention to agriculture as well as establishing agro – allied industries that would add value to farm produce.

He urged the government to also develop the nation’s solid mineral sector and revamp ailing industries, particularly the textile industries to absorb the unemployed.

According to him, the textile industry if revived is capable of not only restoring lost jobs but also adding to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

Masari renames public buildings

From Habibu Umar Aminu, Katsina

Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari yesterday ratified the report of a committee which recommend the renaming of some public buildings.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the state executive council meeting, the state Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Sadiq Sada, said the new Government House formerly known as Al’ummah House is now to be called Muhammadu Buhari House.

The new house was built by the Shema administration at about N8bn.

Other projects renamed include the Muhammad Dikko Housing Estate ( Barhim ) to Usman Nagogo, while the old Government House was christened Saidu Barda House.

Meanwhile the council has approved contracts for the construction, renovation and upgrading of various projects at about N2bn.

They include renovation and upgrade of the old Government House at N496m, rehabilitation and remodelling of three general hospitals at Daura, Katsina and Funtua at N384m, expansion and renovation of seven schools at Kaita, Ajiwa, Batagarawa, Makera, Malumfashi and Bindawa at the cost of N643m and work an incubation technology center at N119m.

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