A diaspora group, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has called for caution in the spending of resources by the Ebonyi state government, even as it called on anti-graft agencies to monitor closely the sharing of another Covid-19 palliative in the state.
The group specifically called on the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to come to the rescue of the state.
In a statement signed Tuesday by its President (Worldwide) Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, the association expressed disappointment on the way the current administration in Ebonyi continued to manage what it described as scarce resources in the state.
The group claimed it has information that the state government is about to spend another N4 billion as ‘Second phase palliative’ to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“AESID therefore call on the relevant anti-graft agencies whose mandates include monitoring and forestalling of financial crimes to beam its light very brightly on the Ebonyi state government to uncover, expose this obvious plot to swindle the poor State of its scarce resources in the guise of palliatives. The Ebonyi State government should be brought to book to also account for the various sums ordinarily meant for the development of the State which has officially been reported to the anti-graft agencies as having been diverted.
“We at AESID are quite disturbed about the way and manner the Ebonyi state government has continued to mismanage the scare resources of our poor state without any scintilla of accountability. We hold this view because the Umahi-led administration to the best of our knowledge is yet to give any account of an earlier approval of N4bn it made in July this year which it had christened ‘palliatives for Ebonyians.’
“Of course, we still recall the hues and cries of the Ebonyi poor masses over the extremely bizarre food items which included few sachets of noodles shared to just a hand-few of particularly party loyalists in the guise of palliatives after a very protracted period by the government. As a non-interest group whose mandate remains to continue to hold state actors accountable, AESID is calling on the Ebonyi state government to halt the proposed plan to lavish another whooping N4bn under the façade of COVID-19 palliatives.
“Rather, the government should first of all account for its management of the earlier sum approved and released as palliatives. It should show accountability by detailing the masses with how same was expended. We say so because of our vehement suspicion that the COVID-19 has since its outbreak in the country become for Governor Umahi and indeed some other Nigerian leaders a huge business and the most unsuspecting means to loot and divert lean resources accruing to the States they govern.
“Otherwise, how can Ebonyi state that never recorded more COVID-19 cases than states like Lagos claim to have now proposed to spend over N8bn? What kind of palliatives would take away over N4bn from the coffers of a government with lean allocation like that of our dear Ebonyi state? There is actually nothing less to suspect except to conclude that this is not just another hoax but another masterfully-designed plot by the Governor Umahi administration to siphon Ebonyi’s poor treasury!
Again we may wish to ask: Why is Umahi focusing only on projects and contracts that would enrich only him and his family without paying attention to genuine human empowerment programmes for our state which is rated as the poverty capital of Southern Nigeria?
“Why has he allowed rural roads that are completely impassable for local farmers to concentrate on mere cosmetics and artificial monuments that add no reasonable value to the lives and economic well-being of the average Ebonyian?
“What achievements can the Umahi administration truly boast of in the critical Education and Health sectors in Ebonyi state? What about attracting firms interested in operating in the State that can offer the teeming unemployed population job opportunities? This platform therefore urge the Ebonyi State government to reverse itself and not tow this path of ignominy by wasting resources in the guise of palliatives.”
The group, however assured the people of Ebonyi “that we shall continue to do all within the ambits of the law, the principles of fairness, equity and natural justice to protect and defend their interests at all times even as they pass through this difficult era of deceptions, lies and vicious propaganda.”
Agric Minister Shield’s Factional AFAN Leader From Police Invitation
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Friday, 17th June, 2021 at the ICC (International Conference Centre), in Abuja prevented policemen on duty from taking factional leader of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Farouk Rabiu for questioning on fraud related matters.
According to reliable sources and eye witnesses at the scene which was the venue of the 2021, Council on Agriculture, the police were there to invite Farouk to Force headquarters following a petition against him for acts that bordered on criminality.
Recently a federal high court sitting in Abuja had cautioned the renegade group led by Farouk through their lawyer, on Wednesday,15/2/2021, against parading themselves as leaders of AFAN until the matter is determined in court.
Farouk had been accused of defrauding investors using the name of AFAN Kano branch which he illegally registered, a matter which had been brought before the Corporate Affairs Commission, who revoked the registration.
However, Farouk has been continuously recognised as the leader of AFAN, by the Minister who hails from the same state with him despite several petitions from the Arc Kabir Ibrahim led executive.
The minister’s actions in siding with Farouk despite a case in court to resolve the leadership tussle of AFAN, has been allegedly linked to the minister’s shameful removal as chairman of AFAN Kano, long before he became appointed minister.
Witnesses at the scene stated that the minister after frantic efforts to get the Inspector General on phone to call off his men failed, resorted to giving an unhindered exit to Farouk in his official car, tantamount to obstruction of justice, much to the chagrin of the police officers.
A reliable source further disclosed that the policemen declined to follow the minister to his office.
Three Soldiers Injured as Troops Kill ISWAP Terrorists in Borno
Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.
The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.
They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.
“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.
“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.
Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.
Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.
To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.
He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.
Onion Marketers Threaten to Stop Supply to Southern Nigeria
The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria has threatened to stop the supply of onions down to the South from June 7, 2021.
The group said it would carry out the threat if the government fails to compensate its members who have suffered losses in recent times following attacks in some parts of the country.
President of the association, Aliyu Umar, made this known to journalists at a press briefing on Sunday in Sokoto State.
He explained that the government under a committee led by the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had promised to compensate their members, many of whom suffered huge losses in Abia, Imo and Oyo States during the #EndSARS and Shasha market crisis.
However, according to him, the promise has not been kept and the members have reportedly lost over 4 billion naira.
“We are calling on the state and Federal Government to restore law and order in the state, and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar said.
“We also call on state governments to collaborate with fed govt to set up a committee to investigate the incident that led to the loss of lives and property of the Onion Association members.
“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onion to the entire south by Monday the 7th of June 2021”.
In recent times, the price of Onions skyrocketed from just about ₦20,000 to nearly a hundred thousand, in less than a year – a situation which quickly gave it the reputation of ‘new gold’.
While the price hike could not be understood by many, some traders have attributed the increment to seasonal fluctuations, a general increase in prices of fertilizers among other items, strike actions as well as insecurity arising from the #EndSARS protests.
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