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REVELATION: How ‘Jonathan bribed lawmakers with N17B to pass budget’ – Ex-finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala

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FORMER Minister of Finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed how the Goodluck Jonathan led administration had to part with the sum of N17billion to lawmakers, in order to have the 2015 budget passed.

According to the information scooped from Pulse Ng ,Okonjo-Iweala revealed this in her new book titled: ‘Fighting corruption is dangerous, the story behind the headlines’.

Okonjo-Iweala was Jonathan’s finance minister from August 17, 2011 to May 29, 2015.

According to the former minister in her book, federal lawmakers refused to make the necessary sacrifices at a time of dwindling oil prices.

“By the time we presented the budget on December 16, 2014, oil prices had fallen further to $58 per barrel. We were prepared and we knew we had to trigger the additional expenditure and revenue measures in 2015 to make the budget work. This would be tough, given that we had entered an election year”, Okonjo-Iweala wrote.

The National Assembly is due an annual N150billion from the nation’s budget as a single line item.

Okonjo-Iweala disclosed further that when it was proposed that lawmakers give up some of their benefits, the legislators baulked because elections were fast approaching and money was needed for campaigns.

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“Indeed, legislators initially refused to accept any cuts to their regular N150billion budget, despite dwindling revenues. But eventually, they agreed to a 13 percent cut against a backdrop of ministers accepting a voluntary 50 percent cut to their basic salaries.

“In a tough session with the National Assembly’s adhoc committee on the budget (made up of chairs of the Finance Committee and Appropriation Committee of both chambers and other leaders of the National Assembly), an additional N20billion was re-introduced as election expenses for National Assembly members.

“We insisted the amount be dropped because it nullified the 13 percent cut made to their statutory budget, but managed to reduce the N20billion figure by only N3billion to N17billion. This became the price to pay to have the 2015 budget passed”, the ex- minister wrote.

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Sacked NDDC MD, Joi Nunieh Goes Berserk After Being Caught In The Web Of Certificate Forgery

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Ms Joi Nunieh is said to have become very frustrated and in a typical “I-will-not-go-down-alone” syndrome has been making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against those she perceived may have been responsible for her downfall, since she was sacked as the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

It will be recalled that on January 30, 2020, a civil society organization, “Anti-Corruption and Accountability Coalition Against Corruption fired a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the then Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Ms Joi Nunieh of certificate forgery.

The organization’s petition read, “Your Excellency Sir, it is now a clear fact that Joi Nunieh did not participate in the mandatory one year national youth service, as we have gathered from reliable sources that she has been parading forged credentials including her NYSC discharged certificate hence she failed to produce same, rather running to bribe her way through to shield her from security operatives.

“Your Excellency Sir, we know that you are a man of integrity and by virtue of direct, we wish to state in clear terms that Joi Nunieh is not worthy of your appointment of any kind as she lacks the moral and legal locus to do so. In view of the above, we urge you to withdraw the aforesaid appointment of Joi Nunieh and relieve her of her duty due to forgery as Managing Director of NDDC for the interest of the Niger Delta people and society at large”.

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It was reliably gathered that it was based on this that President Buhari ordered an investigation by Security Agencies into the allegation of certificate forgery by Ms Nunieh. And what they found out was startling.


 

Also, it was revealed that to cover up her track, Ms Nunieh had gone to Nigerian Law School Police Station to obtain a Police extract about loss of her documents to enable her to go to any court of law and swear to an affidavit. According to the affidavit which she had sworn to, “Upon the death of my sister Bar. Mrs. Ledee Ndorbu- Ebenezer who died on the 19th April, 2002 at her residence at doctor’s Qtrs Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Her husband Dr Zacheus Ndorbu Ebenezer refused to grant me access to her safe and refused to hand over all my Educational documents including my call to bar certificate, NYSC call up letter and certificates, University Certificates and other valid documents which were in custody of my late sister Bar. Mrs. Ledee Ndorbu-Ebenezer and effort made to recover documents listed above proved abortive till this day.”

A letter from the Council of Legal Education claimed that Ms Nunieh was mobilized for the National Youth service Corps programme for 1989/1990 service year. However, a letter by the National Youth Service Corps signed by Okonofua, K. N (Mrs) Director of Corps Certification for the Director General stated, “However, no record exists either in NYSC Kwara State or NYSC National Directorate Headquarters to evidence her participation in the Scheme.” In essence Ms Nunieh had all along been parading forged and fake NYSC call up letter and discharge certificate as she claimed in her affidavit.

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It was also revealed that upon her appointment as the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC whenever the issue of her certificates came up she became evasive and attempted to bribe security agents who carried out the investigations. However, when the report got to President Buhari that she was parading forged certificates, she was immediately relieved of her appointment.
Ever since she was sacked, as gathered, Ms Nunieh has become very frustrated and in a typical “I-will-not-go-down-alone” syndrome has been making wild and unsubstantiated allegations those she perceived may have been responsible for her downfall.

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PhotoNews: Tinubu pays condolence visit to late Governor Ajimobi’s widow

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National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Friday visited Mrs Florence Ajimobi, wife of late former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi at the late governor’s  residence in Lagos to condole with her over the death of her husband.

The APC leader was accompanied by Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi.

Late Ajimobi, an Asiwaju Tinubu’s fanatic loyalist, governed Oyo state between 2011-2019. Until his death, he was the Deputy National Chairman (South) and Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

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‘Lebanese Ambassador did not storm out of the Conference room’-  House of Reps’ Diaspora Committee

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The Chairperson, House of Representatives’ Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe on Friday said the informal meeting held with the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Diab Houssam yesterday was cordial, very constructive and set the stage for more collaboration, adding that the perceived walk-out was misconstrued.

 

The Ambassador, Diab Houssam was said to have arrived at the meeting venue around 11:00 am, but met journalists and some other government officials, including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada.

 

The chairperson said that the story circulating as to the Lebanese’s Ambassador storming out of the room was wrongfully presented. An executive session was not clearly presented to him by the foreign affairs Liaison officer and he stepped out of the meeting room not slamming any doors, to wait in the hallway till journalists were excused for the executive session.

 

In Hon. Akande-Sadipe’s words, “It was a misunderstanding; it was meant to be an informal meeting and the ambassador was not aware that even when we have our informal meetings it is documented. Because of the law of diplomacy, he wasn’t expecting to have media there and it was immediately resolved that it was going to be an ‘executive session’. The minister apologised on behalf of foreign affairs and the executive session commenced with all in attendance. Under Vienna convention an Ambassador cannot be summoned to a committee hearing and the initial presence of the media made it seem otherwise”.

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She further said, “it was an informal meeting and the ambassador with his interest for long standing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Lebanon joined us to forge a continued progressive association and solutions to the issue of Temitope Ariwolo and the menace of human traficking

 

She appreciated journalists for their coverage, but enjoined them to avoid sensational headlines that are counter-productive.

 

She said, “Some of the headlines were clear distortion of the reality of what happened.”
“The session commenced and ended on a very cordial note, with a resolution to continue efforts to ensure that the long-standing positive relationship between the two nations continues, a stronger collaboration and a stronger resolve and commitment to end human trafficking.”

 

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