Funds were withheld for duplicated projects in the 2021 budget, Mr Ben Akabueze who is the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation told Channels Television on Friday.
He made the disclosure during an interview on Sunrise Daily where he spoke about the measures taken by the Budget Office to prevent wastage of the government’s funds.
Akabueze, a chartered accountant, revealed that the Budget Office took the necessary measure after the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) uncovered some duplicated projects in a report.
“The ICPC came up with a report which they sent to us about duplicated projects that they found in the budget,” he said. “We did our own review (and) we found that 54 of those projects were not actually duplications but there were issues with project descriptions – project descriptions which made them look the same, but they were not the same.
“Every project in the budget has a unique identifier and the ones which were found to indeed be duplicated, funding was withheld from such projects. There were 185 from the list we received; 185 (projects) were found to be duplicated, 54 were not.”
Chairman of the ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, had disclosed that 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget.
According to the anti-graft agency chief, the commission tracked 1,083 projects across the country. But the exercise could not be conducted in Borno and Zamfara due to the security situation in the states.
Akabueze, on his part, believes it is the responsibility of the ICPC to take necessary actions against those involved in the duplication of projects in the nation’s budget.
He stressed that the best the Budget Office could do was to withhold the release of funds for such a purpose to help the nation save its resources.
“We have our own job description, we have the limit of our own authority,” the accountant stated. “When it (duplicated project) is discovered, the most – on our own part – that we can do is withhold release of funds to those specific projects.
“The ICPC has already reported. They have investigative powers, so they actually pull in the people involved to investigate whether these are willful actions to defraud the government or whether they are erroneous. They are the ones with the authority to do so, we don’t (have such authority).”
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Okada Gradually Resurfaces In Lagos One Month After Sanwo-Olu’s Ban
By Augustine Akhilomen
One month after the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu enforced the ban on Okada riders in the state, it appears the ban has failed to achieve its purpose as they are gradually resurfacing their ugly heads in some of the eyebrow areas.
Recall that on June 1, the state commenced ‘operation clean okada’ in six Local Governments areas of the state. The local governments and local council development areas affected by the ban are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa.
The ban was meant to sanitise the streets of Lagos from the chaos being caused by the Okada riders coupled with the level of insecurity and the gruesome killing of a sound engineer, David Imoh, allegedly by commercial motorcyclists in the Lekki axis of the state.
No doubt, there was a sigh of relief for most Lagosians and motorists within the first few weeks when the Lagos Task Force embarked on a thorough arrest and confiscation of okadas in the state.
Recall that more than 2,228 motorcycles, popularly called Okada seized in areas where their operations have been proscribed have been crushed by the Task Force, a move worth commendable.
It has also curbed and reduced the rate of fatal accidents and criminal activities perpetrated by them.
However, since the beginning of the week, Thepledge have observed some lapses as it appears the streets of Lagos is gradually painted with the return of okadas in areas such as Surulere, Oshodi, Berger, Okota, Apapa, Ikeja, others despite the ban enforcement.
The presence of police in some traffic light sections doesn’t create any sort of panic from the Okada riders as they calmly make their way with their passengers.
Besides, a few of the okada riders who spoke to Thepledge said that they are taking the risk because they have family to feed and there are no alternative jobs for them.
One Mr Boniface stated that he understands the danger of plying routes that govt said they should not pass but that he has no choice because of his family.
“The ban on okada riders has seriously affected me a lot and I can’t continue to stay at home since I have a family to cater for. So I decided to take the risk of passing through those places that govt said we should not pass.”
Another okada rider who doesn’t want his name to be mentioned told Thepledge that he has to wait for some weeks in order to walk the streets of Lagos. .
“I know for sure that this ban will only last for some weeks so I decided to park my okada for some time before starting my okada business again. Everything in life is time and I know the government will relax a bit soon.”
Also, a middle aged man told Thepledge that the government is also losing from the money they generate from them through the use of tickets.
‘The truth is that the state govt are one way or the other losing lots of money from tickets that they issue to us everyday. We know quite alright that the ban was for the safety and security of our lives but then, its implementation should not be to the detriment of our daily bread.”
Some are of the belief that with the 2023 election gradually winding down, the government has decided to relax the rules in a bid to win the ‘sympathy’ of the okada riders through their votes.
Recently, Sanwo-Olu noted that the decision to ban ‘Okada’ in the state was not easy while seeking re-election
While explaining the purpose of the ban, he said such a critical decision was only made for the benefit of the people and not a political action.
“It’s not too easy. When in a political terrain, especially when you’re going for re-election and like I said, you are jumping up and down. You have to make a decision that is so critical like that, and stay within because indeed a lot of people believe that everything that politicians do must have a political meaning but sometimes, we stay with our words and indeed believe the need to ensure that you know that people benefit from it greatly.”
” When we took the initiative to say we also wanted to ban okada a couple of weeks ago, people never believed that it was meant to happen. It was going to be a thing that we can do. I want to thank all of you for the support we’ve recorded so far.”
Could this be a sign of early panic from the Governor? Or a sign of setting the record straight as par the achievement recorded with the ban?
With just eight months to the 2023 election, It is yet to be seen how far the Sanwo-Olu can go on this crucial Okada ban, knowing fully that they may also rely on the votes of some of the okada riders.
Beyond this however is the fear that if the ban is not properly enforced the effects on crime rate in the state will always put the government at the receiving end.
“The governor should be ready to bear the blame if there is an increase in crime rate and other things that are inimical to the peace and progress of the state. The people are watching closely to see if Sanwo-Olu will match his words with action”, says Tunde Omilani, a Lagos based lawyer.
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How Funke Akindele’s Broken Marriage May Affect Her Political Ambition
It is no longer news that Funke Akindele Bello and her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello, known as JJC Skilz, have parted ways over irreconcilable differences.
According to the statement released earlier this morning by JJC Skillz, he and his wife are no longer together because she had refused to settle their differences amicably even after putting on a lovely front at the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).
“Dear Friends and family I need to let you know that Funke and I have separated. While it lasted we shared a lot of things together and have created 2 beautiful children. The last two years have been extremely difficult for us. I know I have tried my best to fix things but I believe it is beyond repair now. 3 months ago and at Funkes insistence I moved out of the house and apart from AMVCA have not been able to get Funke to sit down in an amicable manner to discuss the future of our relationship. I’m making this announcement so that the public is clear that we both are pursuing separate lives. We still have issues that need to be addressed such as the custody and wellbeing of our children which is paramount as well as business interests which need to be disentangled but I have no doubt that these will be resolved one way or the other
Mr Abdul Bello”
Numerous reports trailing this development have alleged both sides of been faulty in their marriage breakup saga.
Different online reports cited infidelity, ego and mismanagement of funds as the central theme of Funke Akindele and JJC Skillz’s separation.
Recall that Funke Akindele had refused to speak concerning the update released by her husband on social media. However, the actress and mother of two had maintained her husband’s surname on her Instagram profile.
One of the concerns raised by Funke Akindele’s fans was her budding political ambition.
It is unclear if her broken marriage will affect her selection as the deputy governor of Lagos state for the upcoming general elections.
Also the Jenifa’s Diary crooner was nominated alongside four others as deputy governors for the Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for the upcoming Lagos State elections.
The shortlisted names include Funke Akindele, popularly known as Jenifa; former governorship aspirant Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour; former Senatorial candidate for Lagos East, Yeye Shobajo, another governorship aspirant, David Kolawole Vaughan known as DAKOVA, and Engr. Teslim Balogun.
At the time of this report, Funke Akindele has yet to disclose or divulge any news regarding her marriage or political ambition.
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Fresh PDP crisis: Why Wike, Ortom Shouldn’t Be Attacked, Omokri Speaks
A former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, on Thursday said “nobody in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should disparage” Governors Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom.
Recall that according to Omokri, both men “laboured to build” the PDP.
“Stooping to conquer is not weakness. Nobody in the PDP should disparage Wike or Ortom. They should be appealed to and listened to. The PDP ought to seek to understand them. And then to accommodate them. When people who labour to build get angry, you embrace them!” Omokri said via a Twitter post.
The opposition party went into another round of crisis after its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, picked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate for the 2023 elections.
The development has degenerated into a full-blown disagreement among party leaders with Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, asking Atiku to ‘appease’ Wike, Rivers State governor, who came second in the presidential primary election in May.
In a similar vein, Ayodele Fayose, a former Governor of Ekiti State, and presidential aspirant, also dumped Atiku, and expressed his support for a Southern candidate, increasing speculations that he’ll throw his weight behind the candidature of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
250 total views, 250 views today
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