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Amaechi’s aide shuns Rivers probe panel



Former commissioner for agriculture in Rivers State, Hon. Emmanuel Chinda, yesterday failed to appear before the State Commission of Inquiry looking into the sale of valued assets of the state during the administration of former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

The commission, chaired by Justice George Omereji, had summoned Chinda to appear before it at its inaugural sitting to explain the distribution of over N2billion agricultural loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This is as the permanent secretaries in the Ministries of Agriculture, and Commerce and Industry told the commission in Port Harcourt how former council chairmen diverted over N4billion CBN agricultural loan.

The lawyer to the commission, Dr. Zaccheus Adangor, while interrogating the permanent secretaries of the ministries, based on the memos they submitted to the commission, explained that the N4billion CBN loan meant to help develop agriculture in Rivers State was shared among 380 mother cooperatives which had the then serving council chairmen as their presidents.

Adangor said that 38 of the cooperatives lack official documentation with both the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry and that of Agriculture, adding that the loans which were converted to grants were disbursed without supervision.

He told the commission that following a memorandum of understanding submitted by the former commissioner of agriculture, Chinda, the former governor had on 25th January, 2015, approved the disbursement of N3billion CBN loan to farmers as grants.

According to him, regardless of the CBN guidelines which specified that the loan was meant for the development of agriculture in Rivers State, the funds were disbursed to the then council chairmen.

Adangor stated that the memo submitted to the commission by the permanent secretaries revealed that Asari Toru Cooperative Society which has former Asari Toru council chairman, Mr. Flag Ojukaye Amachree as its president was given N54,850,000 as grant.

He also said that the incumbent chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni council, Augustine Ahiamadu on behalf of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni cooperatives received the sum of N64,300,000.00.

The Port Harcourt Cooperative Society which had the former Port Harcourt city local government chairman, Nnamdi Uche as its president, received N134,625,000.00, and Omuda Integrated Fishing Cooperatives, whose president was identified as the then chairman of Ogu/Bolo, Mr. Mina Tende, received N32,175,000.00.

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Deborah Samuel: Gov Tambuwal relaxes curfew



Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State government has relaxed the 24-hour curfew he imposed on the state capital following violent protest over the arrest of some youths allegedly involved in the killing Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student.

Tambuwal in a statement issued by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Isah Bajini, said the revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township.

The statement noted that “Sequel to the briefing by the security heads in the State, the State Governor, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has ordered the relaxation of the 24-hour curfew in force in Sokoto metropolis

“The revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township. This is with a view to affording people the window to pursue their legitimate businesses and other means of livelihood.”

Recall that following the lynching of the 200-level student for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed, the State’s police command arrested some persons linked to the incident.

However, a large number of Muslim boys who were angered by the arrest, stormed the streets in the State on Saturday, demanding the release of the suspects.

The development, which triggered tension in several parts of the State, made the Governor to impose the curfew.

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Arsonists burn down LG secretariat, Magistrate Court in Anambra



Suspected arsonists have burnt down Idemili North Local Government secretariat in Ogidi and a Magistrate Court in the area.

Sources said the arsonists entered the premises on Sunday night to perpetuate the act, burning down all files, properties in the secretariat, including the secretariat building.

Videos and pictures circulating online showed that the entire buildings were reduced to rubbles, while vehicles parked inside the Local Government secretariat were also burnt to ashes.

The State Police Command has also confirmed the development, attributing it to unidentified arsonists.

DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, the spokesperson of the State Police Command said: “Yes, the incident was confirmed, and our men were there to restore normalcy.

“Right now, the fire has been put off, and calm has been restored to the area,” Ikenga said.

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National Assembly transmits amended Electoral Act to Buhari




The National Assembly has transmitted the amended Electoral Act 2022 to the Presiden Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The bill was transmitted to the Presidency on Friday.

Sources in the Presidency and the National Assembly confirmed the transmission.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he had not been authorised to announce the development officially, said, “Yes, it has been transmitted. But wait till Monday when it may be announced when the President will sign it.”

Another source in the National Assembly said, “It was transmitted on Friday. I needed to confirm it before saying anything.”

It was further learnt that Buhari would sign the amendment ahead of primaries of political parties beginning next week.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had last week passed an amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates at primaries, congresses, and conventions of political parties.

The lawmakers particularly amended Section 84(8) of the Act to provide automatic or statutory delegates, ahead of the forthcoming party primaries, from where candidates would emerge for the 2023 general elections.
In March, the National Assembly had passed the bill for the Act while the President signed it into law.

While political parties are close to conducting primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections, the Act did not allow members elected into public offices and executives of the parties, known as statutory delegates, to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of parties.

The chambers had described the omission as “a fundamental error.”

Without the provision by the law, Buhari; the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local government areas, councillors, executives of political parties, amongst others, would have been disenfranchised.

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