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How We Spent N25bn To Pay Pensioners Since 2016 – Edo Govt

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The Edo State government says it has spent N25,047,472,632.77 for the payment of monthly pension of 13,081 pensioners from November 2016 to May 2020.

According to the Mid-Year Report of the Edo State Pension Bureau, the government has also expended over N4.3 billion in clearing the backlog of outstanding pension arrears owed about 3,128 pensioners in the state.

A breakdown of the figure shows that the government spent a total of N771,714,393.01 between November and December 2016 for the payment of pensions; expended N5,371,283,211.09 in 2017; while N6,452,535,649.08 and N7,936,681,957.45 were spent in 2018 and 2019 for the same purpose.

“For 2020, the government spent N735,069,623.04; N736,780,760.18; N759,731,334.31; N760,620,948.61; N759,695,333.23 and N763,359,423.02 in January, February, March, April, May and June respectively,” the report stated.

It explained that with the setting aside of N200 million monthly, the Godwin Obaseki administration was able to defray arrears of pensions dating back to 1996 to December 2018.

The government, the Bureau noted, divided the pensioners into batches 37 to 65 and ensured that the backlog was cleared after physical and documentary verifications.

Following the payment of outstanding pension arrears, it revealed that the government would consider harmonisation of pensions and payment of death benefits and gratuity in the weeks ahead.

The Bureau disclosed that an efficient management process has been put in place to fast-track the processing and documentation of retiring officers’ entitlements, thus ensuring a seamless migration from salary payroll to pension payroll.

It stressed that this has minimised the incidence of accumulation of pension arrears that had been a burden before the inception of the present administration.

The report also revealed that civil servants eligible to register under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have the benefit of a Group Life Insurance cover that makes provision for beneficiaries of contributors in the event of death in active service.

“The sum of N80,713,446.34 was paid as premium for 9,803 Edo State employees in the CPS. With this payment made, the next of kin of deceased employees receives three times their gross annual salary as benefits.

“From the commencement of the CPS on January 1, 2017 till date, a total sum of N 81,169,724.24 have been paid to families of 34 deceased employees of the State Public Service who were enrolees of the CPS,” it noted.

The report stated further, “The state government exercised political will and has been committed to the payment of pension arrears, monthly pension, death benefits under the Defined Benefit Scheme and  government’s 10 per cent matching contribution into the Employees’ RSA, in compliance with the provisions of the Edo State Contributory Pension Scheme Law of 2010 as amended.

“The state has made remittances of contributions of both employees (8%) and employer (10%) to the PFAs for 39 months, i.e. from January 2017 to April 2020 which amounts to N5,230,348,954.34.

“Of this, government’s (employer) matching (10%) contribution is N2,905,749,419.08 only, while that of the employees’ (8%) contribution is N 2,324,599,535.26. Also, a Retirement Benefits Bonds Redemption Fund (RBBRF) account has been opened with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“This account is being funded monthly to ensure that funds are available to defray the accrued pension rights of employees who have registered for the Contributory Pension Scheme. The RBBRF Account is being funded with 5% of the total monthly wage bill of employees in fulfilment of the provision of the Contributory Pension Scheme Law.”

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Fulani Will Always Revenge Injustice, Says El-Rufai

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Fulani tribe will always take revenge whenever they suffer injustice.

He, however, said they accept their fate whenever they are convicted of a crime. El-Rufai said this on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.

The governor was asked to clarify his tweet in 2012 wherein he said, “Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”El-Rufai had been asked why he made the comment and if the Igbo would be justified to take revenge on other Nigerians that killed them during the Biafran war.

In his response, the governor said, “If a Fulani man dies in war, it is different. If a Fulani man is arrested by the authorities and convicted, it is not an issue. What the Fulani never forgets is when he is innocently targeted and killed and the authorities do nothing. He will never forget and he will come back for revenge. This is it.

“So, it is better to understand the context given the context of what I tweeted which had to do with an issue in Plateau State in 2012. I hope you get the context. So, it is not that Fulani will never forget. Anyone that goes through pain and sorrow either forgets or doesn’t forget but when it is extrajudicial, when it is extra-official, the attitude is completely different.

“This is the context in which Fulani never forgets. It is not in every context. As I said, I lost relations during the war. It doesn’t mean I still hold a grudge. We’ve moved past that.”

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Buhari Probes N165.32bn Unremitted Operating Surplus by NPA

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , is probing alleged non-remittance of about N165bn operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Nigerian Ports Authority.

There are indications that the development may not be unconnected to the recent suspension of the Managing Director of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman.

Documents sighted on Friday showed that the government figured out discrepancies in the remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for two consecutive years under the leadership of Bala-Usman.

Findings indicated that a total of about N73.61bn (N56.3bn in 2017 and N17.31bn in 2018) realised within the two-year period was not remitted to the CRF as expected by the government, although the suspended NPA boss provided explanations to the contrary.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in a May 4, 2021 letter to the President claimed that the NPA failed to remit N165.32bn to the CRF from 2016 to 2020 and called for an investigation and audit of the financial accounts of the authority

But in a letter, with reference MD/17/MF/VOL-XX/541, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Bala-Usman said the NPA was aware of Buhari’s approval for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the CRF.

The letter was entitled, “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds account by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

In the letter, she explained that the audited financial statements of the NPA provided operating surpluses in 2017 and 2018 that were contrary to what were arrived at by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

The letter read in part, “Audited financial statements of the authority for the period 2017 and 2018 provides operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively as contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn arrived at by your office from the budgetary submission.”

The letter stated that the presidential approval for the audit of the NPA accounts arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the budget office conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

Bala-Usman said, “We wish to state that the authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus on which basis the amount due for remittance to the CFR is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended.

“It is further based on the statutory mandate Part 1, S.3(1) (b) &(d) whereby the FRC issued a template for the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance to the CRF.

“Accordingly, the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the authority’s financial statements.”

She argued that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the accessible operating surplus of the authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“This amount will give rise to a remittance due to the CFR in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 per cent of the surpluses for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“Accordingly, the authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.”

On remittances for 2019 — 2020, the suspended MD said the audit of the 2019 financial statement had been completed and awaiting consideration of the authority’s board at which point the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus would be determined for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CFR.

“But thus far, the authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance. The sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020, while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the authority will make the payment of the balance as required,” Bala-Usman noted.

She stated that based on the above, the authority wished to clarify that the computation of its remittances to the CFR were concluded from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the authority from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and not budgetary provision.

“The authority has remitted the full amount due to it to CFR for the periods 2017 and 2018 arising from the operating surplus derived from the audited financial statement for the period totaling N76.384bn as evidenced in attached treasury receipts,” Bala-Usman said.

She added, “The authority has remitted a total of N 82.687bn for the periods 2019 and 2020 pending the audit of the financial statement at which point the amount so computed arising from the value of the operating surplus in the audited financial statement will be remitted to the CFR.”

She said the NPA wished to request the Chief of Staff and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who were the statutorily custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarification on the above so as to establish the true position of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

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Parents of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest at National Assembly

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Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State have occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.

The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.

They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.

“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly.

The protesters joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to the National Assembly complex.

The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.

On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.

Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.

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