The Imo State Government yesterday faulted the report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that it diverted the bailout funds collected from the Federal Government for the payment of workers’ salary arrears.
The government said the bailout fund was judiciously applied for the purpose it was meant.
The ICPC, in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by its spokesperson, Edet Ufot, accused Imo, Zamfara, Benue and Enugu States of diverting the FG’s bailout funds, which were meant for workers’ salaries, to other use
The ICPC produced the report, which investigated 23 states, under its Prevention mandate.
But a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo on Sunday, said: “The commission did not, however, disclose how it arrived at that conclusion but only stated that some transfers were made into certain accounts not related to salaries and emoluments including, ‘N2 billion paid into a Government Account; N2 billion paid into an Imo State Project Account and N2 billion transferred into a Microfinance Bank’.”
The statement added: “The ICPC was right that such funds were paid into the mentioned accounts and we had expected the commission to go further to tell the public what such funds paid into those accounts were used for. The commission became stingy with facts at that point.
“Again, before the bailout fund, were there no existing accounts the government was using to pay salaries? While giving out the bailout funds, was there any specified account that was given that the salaries must be paid from? These are questions that needed to be answered since the commission never claimed that the money was paid into private accounts or that the ones paid into the government’s accounts were used for other reasons except paying salaries.
“From the mentioned government’s account, personnel of Imo Security Network, Imo Community Watch, Youth Must Work Teachers, Community Government Councils and Imo Civil Guards were paid their arrears last December. We stand to be contradicted on this claim.
“From the referenced Microfinance Bank Account, Imo State University, Imo Polytechnic, Imo College of Nursing and Health Sciences Staff, and so on, collected their salaries, also in arrears last December. We also want the ICPC to prove us wrong on this claim.
“In the case of Imo State Project Account, the truth is that the government was drawing money from the account to ensure full payment of workers’ salaries when the financial fortunes of the state began to dwindle, like most other states’. So, when the bailout fund finally came, the government had no option than to pay back the fund it had borrowed from that account.
“And the truth of the matter became glaring when Labour in the state decided to be collecting 70 per cent of the total income of the state at the end of every month for salaries and pensions, leaving only 30 per cent for government, for capital projects; since January, they have not been able to pay workers full salary.
“Last December, the state government paid all arrears of workers’ salaries, including workers of corporations, agencies and health outfits the government had issues to settle with and also paid pensions, which were not part of the bailout fund. We want to be faulted on all these claims.
“When the national leadership of NLC led a protest in the state, it was not on the issue of salary but over the suspension of certain workers of corporations and agencies who remained unproductive over the years. And it was the 70 per cent to 30 per cent revenue sharing formula between the government and Labour that ended the misunderstanding, and the affected personnel were recalled.
“As we write, the payment of the February salary has begun. Which means the state is only owing the workers the March salary, since April has not ended. Let us be proved wrong in all these. Imo State has a bloated workforce and the highest number of pensioners. Yet, it is only owing the workers the March salary since the payment for February has begun. So, in what way did the state divert or misapply the bailout fund?
“The Imo State Government has unbridled regard and respect for agencies like ICPC because of the great service they have been rendering to this nation. Otherwise, we would have concluded that something was wrong somewhere.
“To say the least, the Imo State Government applied the bailout fund judiciously for the purpose it was meant: the payment of salaries. We did that and also paid pensions, which were not part of the bailout fund. We stand to be contradicted. That is why the issue of salary arrears does not exist in the state at the moment”.
Nigeria Ranks Third On Global Terrorism Index Despite Drop In Deaths – Report
Nigeria has been ranked as the third most terrorized country in the world according to a 2020 report by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI).
The report which was released on Wednesday, ranked Nigeria third only behind war-torn countries of Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to the GTI report, Nigeria witnessed an increase in Boko Haram attacks in the period under review, witnessing her worst terrorist attack in 2019 in northeastern Borno State, where at least 70 people were killed and 10 others wounded when insurgents attacked at a funeral.
“Over the past year, Boko Haram increased attacks on military targets, with deaths rising from 26 in 2018 to 148 in 2019,” the report said.
However, the report recognized that terror-related incidents in the country fell by 27% in the same period due to a significant reduction in violence attributed to killer herdsmen.
“This reduction occurred despite a small increase in deaths attributed to Boko Haram, which has been the most active terrorist group in the country over the past decade. Deaths from terrorism in Nigeria are now 83 percent lower than at
their peak in 2014.”
Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, Loses 13-year-old Daughter
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, has announced the loss of his 13-year-old daughter, Aishah Isa Ali.
The Minister took to his Twitter account on Monday night to announce this sad news.
Pantami stated that the funeral prayer for the deceased will be conducted in Abuja on Tuesday at Annur Masjeed, Wuse 2.
The post by the minister announcing the incident reads; “Inna lil Laahi wa inna ilaiHi Rajiun! My 13-year old daughter, Aishah Isa Ali (Amal) passed away just a moment ago.
“Due to some necessities, funeral prayer tomorrow at Annur Masjeed, Wuse 2, immediately after Zuhr prayer In sha Allah. May Allah forgive and be merciful to her.”
Inna lil Laahi wa inna ilaiHi Rajiun!
My 13-year old daughter, Aishah Isa Ali (Amal) passed away just a moment ago.
Due to some necessities, funeral prayer tomorrow at Annur Masjeed, Wuse 2, immediately after Zuhr prayer in sha Allah. May Allah forgive & be Merciful to her.
— Isa Ali Pantami, PhD (@DrIsaPantami) November 23, 2020
Cult Violence: Wike Imposes Two-Week Curfew Around Okoro-Nu-Odu
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has imposed a 24-hour total curfew for two weeks on some parts of Port-Harcourt, the state capital.
The Governor made this known during a broadcast on Sunday where he noted that the curfew begins from Monday 23rd November 2020.
The statement noted that the upsurge noticed by the state government in cases of cult activities, other forms of violence, and killings is responsible for the curfew.
Wike in the statement declared that the entire area along and around the Okoro-nodu flyover up to a one-kilometre radius from Saint Emmanuel Anglican Church, Rumuokoro, extending to the Rumuodomaya Slaughter and Local Government daily market will be affected.
He added that no form of trading, human or vehicular movement is allowed in the affected areas until further notice.
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