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Alleged N2bn road contract: EFCC invites 13 Ebonyi LG chairmen



Thirteen (13) local government Chairmen in Ebonyi State are under probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged road contract estimated at N2bn.

Documents indicated that the anti-graft agency had invited the chairmen following a petition that the amount meant for road projects was allegedly mismanaged by the chairmen and some key aides of the State Governor.

A letter of invitation dated July 6, 2022, and signed by the Commission’s Director of Operations, ACE I Abdulkarim Chukkol, was extended to all the Executive Chairmen, through the State’s Local Government Service Commission, LGSC, to appear at the anti-graft national headquarters in Abuja on separate dates from July 15, 2022, to August 11, 2022.

The anti-graft body’s ‘Letter of Invitation,’ addressed to the Chairman, Ebonyi State Local Government Service Commission, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, a copy of which was made available to our Correspondent reads: “This commission is investigating a complaint in which they need to seek certain clarification from your Local Government Chairmen.

 “In view of the above, you are kindly requested to inform and release the under listed Local Government Chairmen to report for an interview with the undersigned through the Head, CMU. 1 as scheduled below at EFCC Headquarters 5th Floor Plot 301/302 Institutions and Research District, Jabi, Abuja by 1000 hours.”

Mrs. Lilian Nwankwo, Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Ebonyi State, in response to the EFCC letter, urged the Council Chairmen to ensure strict compliance with the directive.

The forwarding letter, dated 22 July, 2022 and titled; RE: INVESTIGATION ACTIVITIES, read, “I am directed to refer to the letter with Ref. No. CR: 3000/ABJ/HQ/CMU 1/ST/DU/VOL.4/343 of 6th July, 2022 by EFCC on above subject as attached and to respectfully inform you that your presence is needed at the EFCC Headquarters, 5th Floor, Plot 301/302 Institution and Research District, Jabi, Abuja at 1000 hours. (See attached schedule).

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“Please, take note of the urgent nature of the invitation letter and act accordingly for the invitation came to us today being 22nd day of July, 2022 and received by the Local Government Service Commission. Suffice to say that you make frantic efforts to honour the invitation and find attached for your guidance while noting paragraph three for its emphasis.”

The letter specified the dates on which each of the Council Chairmen is expected to be quizzed and they are said to have gone to Abuja to say what they know about the issues at stake.

The invitation also stated that the concerned Chairmen “are to come along with Certified True Copies of all documents, approvals and payments made for One Kilometer Road construction in their Local Government Areas in 2019. This request is made in pursuant to Section 38 (1) & (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

A source close to the Ebonyi state government who spoke on an account of anonymity has however alleged that the council Chairmen in the state were buying time by going into hiding because  their tenure would  soon come to an end.

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki has nullified the recent Local Government election in the state making the matter worst for the Local government chairmen in Ebonyi state.  (Vanguard)

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Supreme Court to deliver judgement on Kogi APC guber primary Oct 23



• Usman Ododo and Smart Adeyemi
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, adjourned an appeal filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi against the judgments of the lower courts, on the Kogi APC Governorship primary election, to October 23, 2023, for judgment.

Adeyemi had filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking to nullify the primary election of the All Progressive Congress, which produced Usman Ododo as the party’s flagbearer for the state’s governorship election slated for November 11.The case was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.

The apex court, while hearing his appeal, on Thursday, told his lawyer, Musibau Adetumbi, SAN, that his client was appealing against concurrent findings of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which stated that primary elections were held in Kogi State but that he had failed to challenge these concurrent findings.

However, the appellant’s counsel said he would go ahead to argue the appeal.

The Supreme Court therefore adjourned the appeal to October 23, 2023, for judgment.The representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, All Progressives Congress and Usman Ododo include Chief Anthony Adeniyi (SAN) Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN) and M.Y. Abdullahi, SAN; respectively.

The Court of Appeal had, on August 18, 2023, held that the appeal argued by Adekunle Otitoju on behalf of Adeyemi was completely bereft of merit.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court, Adeyemi was said to have failed to establish all grievous criminal allegations made against the conduct of the primary election by APC and its leaders.

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50 poisoned at wedding party



No fewer than 50 people were poisoned at a wedding in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk due to spoiled food, local media reported.

According to the report, the incident occurred in the town of Hawija, west of Kirkuk, the capital city of the cognominal province.

The provincial health chief, Ziyad Khalaf, said some of the cases were mild while some were serious.

He added that all the patients have received the necessary medical treatment in the hospital.

The incident came a day after a deadly fire ripped through a wedding hall in a predominantly Christian town in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Make a difference in Niger Delta, Ogbuku charges new directors



The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, has enjoined the newly promoted Directors of the Commission to make a difference in the discharge of their duties and take the Commission to greater heights.

Ogbuku, who gave the charge at the closing session of a two-week course on Leadership and Performance Management for directing staff of the NDDC in Abuja, said that the provision of quality services to the people of the Niger Delta was a collective responsibility and should be given priority.

According to him, the reason for sending the new Directors for training was to ensure they took the administrative knowledge acquired back to the Commission in order to make a difference for the overall benefit of the region.

He said: “We are supposed to be training and retraining our staff. This is just the beginning. I want the directors to take back the knowledge they have gained to others in the NDDC to better appreciate their roles and understand the expectations from them.

“We want to do things differently. We want to improve on our services. We want to take up challenges. We want to start with the staff first to ensure that all the staff are properly trained and they understand their roles.”

Ogbuku urged the directors to ensure they utilised the experiences gathered from the training to improve the administrative processes in NDDC to ensure that things were done differently.

He said further: “As new directors, you need to understand your roles and understand your boundaries. You also need to understand your strengths and understand when to use them and when not to.

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“You need to understand that you are public servants and not civil servants. So, these are some of the things we thought you ought to be equipped with.”

“Over the years we have seen a situation where the staff of the NDDC seem to act as politicians, but as directors who have been inducted into Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), I believe that you are not only going to be ambassadors of NDDC, you are also going to be worthy ambassadors of ASCON,” he said.

He stressed that his expectation was to work with directors who understood that they were career civil servants, and aspiring to get to their peak as professionals, not those who want to be nepotic or tribalistic.

Ogbuku noted that directors should be wary of their actions, adding that some of their actions could mislead their subordinates who are looking up to them as role models.

In her address, the Director General of ASCON, Mrs. Cecilia Gayya noted that training was essentially an activity that was designed to make an employee more efficient and productive in the performance of their functions.

She said that the focus of training was to ensure efficient and effective application of knowledge, skills and attitude for improved performance, noting: “The programme was carefully designed and implemented to provide the needed knowledge, skills and capacity to adequately and promptly discharge their responsibilities and thus, make meaningful contributions towards the attainment of the mission and vision of the NDDC.

“The conscientiousness with which you participated in this programme for the past two weeks is a testimony to your preparedness for the challenges ahead and thus gives us hope that this training will impact positively on your performance, especially as you rise higher in the strategic realm of the management of the Commission.

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