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I’m Leaving N42.5bn For Ihedioha — Okorocha

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Rochas Okorocha

Outgoing Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday, said he would hand over N42.5 billion to the Emeka Ihedioha’s incoming government because he does not want to hear excuses from Ihedioha.

Okorocha, who made the announcement in Owerri through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo, while swearing in 11 permanent secretaries as well as the new Accountant-General among others, also explained to Ihedioha where to channel the funds.

Governor Okorocha also claimed that he could not have access to the funds because of the several petitions written against him (Okorocha) to the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

He mentioned two banks where some of the monies have been lodged.

According to the release, “Governor Rochas Okorocha has disclosed that he has kept N42.5 billion for his successor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, stating that he decided to keep such amount for the incoming governor so that there won’t be excuses in carrying out activities of the government.

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“The governor explained that N8.1 billion of the money was meant for the payment of salaries and capital projects, while N5.2 billion was for pension arrears.

“He also stated that N7.6 billion was meant for the renovation of schools, while N21.6 billion was mapped out for rural roads; totalling N42.5 billion.”

— He’s lying – PDP —

However, the state chapter of PDP described Okorocha’s claim of leaving N42.5 billion for the incoming administration of Emeka Ihedioha as “blatant lies.”

PDP, through the State Publicity Secretary, Demian Opara, said the party doubted the statement from Okorocha, alleging that the outgoing regime has left the state in debt.

According to Opara, “Okorocha is leaving behind a debt of N100 billion and uncompleted projects worth N200 billion. Pensioners are owed 90 months of pension arrears.

“Okorocha is saying a blatant lie. He has been using our money in doing some naughty jobs in this state. Any statement from Okorocha will be taken with a pinch of salt. We doubt what Okorocha is saying.”

— Okorocha breaks down the funds —

Meanwhile, Okorocha alleged that “following petitions from PDP chieftains, EFCC blocked the money for the payment of arrears of pension and others at the point of starting the payments.

“Remember God in discharging your duties. Discharge your duties without fear or favour and also defend your state when the need arises. I gave this state my best. I will do all I can to support the incoming government.

“Imo State Government has kept aside a total of N42.5 billion for the incoming government, and for that reason, I will set up a sub-committee to make sure that the projects they are attached to come to fruition even when I am out of office or when I will not be available, because government is a continuum.

“The N8.1 billion that came into Imo State coffers from the state, local government and FAAC has not been expended; not even one naira has been taken away from it. N5.2 billion is the remnant of the Paris Club funds. Not one naira has been removed from it.

“The third is N7.6 billion that came from UBEC. Imo State has paid a total of N3.8 billion counterpart fund and UBEC has brought in their N3.8 billion. That gave us N7.6 billion. That money is intact and not one naira has been removed from it.

“The fourth is the RAMP fund of $60 million (N21.6 billion) and is also in Imo State Government’s account. The money is also here in Imo State and no one naira has been touched.

“If you add N8.1 billion, N5.2 billion, N7.6 billion and N21.6 billion, you have a total of N42.6 billion which I will be handing over to the Emeka Ihedioha-led government on May 29 (tomorrow).

“How are these monies meant to be expended? I want to put it succinctly clear: the N8.1 billion from FAAC usually will cover the cost of salaries and capital projects. This government is expected to spend this N8.1 billion for the payment of salaries for May and also for the payment of other contractual obligations as may be deemed fit.”

“The new permanent secretaries are Mr. Donald Igbo, Mrs. Edith Ekenze, Mr. Elias Anyanwu, Mr. Justus Oguoma, Rev. Reginald Oguike, Mr. Benjamin Nnamadu, Mrs. Patricia Elebiri, Engr. George Ejiogu, Mrs. Patricia Ezeonyeachi, Mrs. Ngozi Bernadine and Mrs. Meg Obi,” he added.

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Drama As Buhari’s Aide, Garba Shehu Presents 2019 Man Of The Year Award To Melaye [VIDEO]

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Garba Shehu and Dino Melaye

Two time member of the National Assembly, Dino Melaye on Sunday night was presented with the Man of the year award by a popular online newspaper, ‘Kwararafa Reporters’ just days after losing a return to the legislative chamber.

According to the statement released by the online news platform, the recognition was aimed at further spurring other Nigerians to engender good governance and ultimately a better society, through diligence, hardwork, personal integrity and leadership as exemplified by Melaye and fellow Awardees.

Present at the event was an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu.

However, a mild drama ensued when the organisers of the award called Garba Shehu, a spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari, to present the award to the former senator.

The mention of Garba resulted in guests clapping and hailing in surprise.

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Even Melaye, who was standing while his citation was read out, could not hold his laughter as well.

Garba Shehu came out to present the award to Dino Melaye. This action further caused laughter in the audience as both doesn’t belong to same Political school of thought.

Garba then asked jokingly after collecting the plaque to be presented to Melaye: “Should I just take this thing and leave him standing here?”

He told the guests that he had been close to Dino Melaye being that the duo had come a very long way. He added that they had worked together on many projects. He noted that politics has a way of bringing people together and also dividing them.

In his reaction after receiving the award, Melaye described Garba as his brother and friend. He confirmed that the two of them have a longstanding relationship beyond the current dispensation.

“And I appreciate him for presenting this award. I appreciate the organisers,” Melaye said.

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Orji Kalu Will Receive Full Salaries, Allowances In Prison – Senate

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Orji Uzor Kalu

The Nigerian Senate has explained that former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while serving his prison sentence.

Godiya Akwashiki, the spokesperson of the Senate, who made this known on Sunday, December 8, said Kalu will be paid all of his entitlements in full because he remains a sitting senator despite his conviction.

It was gathered that Akwashiki said the convicted chief whip of the Senate remains a serving lawmaker until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgement is given.

He said: “He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level. Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you. All his entitlements will be paid.

“The spokesperson of the Senate explained that even if the Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of the lower court, Kalu still has the right to go to Supreme Court. He said it is only the Supreme Court that holds the final judgement over Kalu’s conviction.”

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My Party Started Hate Speech In Nigeria — APC Chieftain

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Lai Mohammed

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Joshua Alobo, has claimed that his party started hate speech in Nigeria.

Alobo mentioned the current Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, as one of those involved in activities that can now be termed as hate speech under the present administration.

The human rights activist slammed the APC for allegedly turning around to hound some of those it used to get to power because they are now criticizing the present administration.

Alobo, who is the president of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, said these while speaking on Channel TV’s ‘Sun Rise Daily’ on Omoyele Sowore’s re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) last week.

The DSS was said to have invaded the court premises to re-arrest Sowore less than 24 hours after granting him bail.

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Alobo said he was “seriously embarrassed” by the situation as Sowore was “among those who canvassed for the ‘change’ mantra.”

“APC, in which I am a chieftain, originated hate speech,” Mr Alobo, who is the President of the International Human Rights and Development Centre, continued.

“Look at what happened at . . . even Lai Muhammed and the rest, nobody was arrested. Look at the fuel subsidy protest at the freedom square. If not that Jonathan was proactive to deploy soldiers . . . I was in Abuja; even though I wasn’t in the general protest, I was using my vehicle to monitor the whole situation.

“So a lot of showbiz was going on during the Jonathan administration, they don’t look at it as a threat to the government. What is Sowore? They are just making the guy to be too popular, I don’t know him as a person. But they have been reading Sahara Reporters right from Jonathan era, a lot of information has been disclosed and all those things.

“So if a media practitioner cannot express his opinion, then what will he do? And this is a man that has the pedigree of activism right from University. So the DSS for goodness sake should not bring another terrorist group. It is the suppression of Yusuf Muhammed that escalated into what we have now as Boko Haram.”

The DSS had charged Sowore with alleged treasonable felony and cyberstalking President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.

He was first picked up by the state service after announcing plans to stage what he termed the “#RevolutionNow” protest against the Buhari administration.

The DSS had explained over the weekend that it re-arrested the Sahara Reporters publisher because he resorted to “acts inimical to security” after he was granted bail.

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