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Makinde vows to retrieve billions of Oyo’s resources ‘stolen’ in 96 months before his tenure

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Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday vowed that his administration was ready to retreive the billions of the state’s funds allegedly looted by officials of the previous administration.

Governor Makinde, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, maintained that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.

The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).

According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.

He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).

He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.

“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”

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While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.

The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.

“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.

“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.

“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”

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He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.

“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.

“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.

“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.

“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”

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Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.

“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.

“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”

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Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group

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Groups under the aegis  of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.

YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.

The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.

“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.

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It further lauded  Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.

“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.

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Real reason FG approved establishment of new anti-corruption agency

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday disclosed that it has approved the establishment of a new anti-corruption agency which will be saddled with proper coordination of all recovered looted assets.

Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,shortly after the FEC meeting explained that assets recovered have been in the hands of several agencies and that better coordination will encourage international/overall coordination in recovering more looted assets.

He added that It is on this premise that the new anti-corruption agency named, ‘Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency’ is to be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.

Malami also informed that the FEC has approved transmission of a bill, titled, “Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill,” to the National Assembly.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), explained that once the bill becomes law and the agency is established, it would see to proper documentation and management of such recovered assets and thereby guarantee transparency and accountability.

An agency of this nature, according to Malami has become necessary in a bid to consolidate the gains achieved so far in the government’s war against corruption.

In his words, “the Federal Ministry of Justice presented to Council a memo today (Wednesday).

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“The memo is about a Bill which seeks the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage.

“It is the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and management Agency Bill.

“It is in essence a bill that is targeted and intended to have in place a legal and institutional framework. The legal component of it is having a law and the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.

“What happens before now is the proceeds of crime are scattered all over, and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS (Department of State Service), EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission).

“So, with that kind of arrangement which is ad-hoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off-hand the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the federal government by way of interim forfeiture overweigh of a final forfeiture.

“So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.

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“If you have a budget item for recovered assets, this agency will now be in a position to provide information to the federal ministry of finance, budget and National Planning on-demand as to what amount is there available for budget purposes, thereby establishing the desired transparency, the desired accountability which has not been available before now,” the AGF added

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Nigeria at 60: President Buhari unveils logo

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As the most populous country in Africa- Nigeria approaches its Diamond Jubilee, the nation’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the logo which will be used in the celebration of the anniversary.

The unveiling which  took place during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, was witnessed by Federal Ministers and the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Nigeria at 60 logo

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, among others were in attendance.

It will be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier in September called on Nigerians to submit creative ideas that can brand the anniversary which is themed “Together at 60”.

Nigeria’s Independence is usually celebrated annually on October 1.

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