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Anti-corruption: Persons found wanting won’t be spared — Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday vowed to strengthen his anti-corruption campaign in the country, noting that his administration would not spare anyone found guilty of corrupt practices.

Buhari said this at the opening session of the 45th Annual Accountants Conference and 50th Anniversary celebration of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria tagged “ICAN:Building on a legacy of service”.

The president, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia Nwaobia, vowed to step up his anti-corruption campaign through the re-invigoration of all anti corruption agencies in the country.

He said that institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission were key in his fight against corruption.

He said that the lack of prudence, transparency and honesty in the management of public resources had left Nigerians in a state of suffering and deprivation.

He called on the ICAN to assist his administration in reversing the trend by ensuring that the resources of government were duly accounted for with all sense of transparency.

“We are at the threshold of history where we must collectively take the destiny of the nation in our hands.

“As Nigerians, no one can love Nigeria like you and me. On our part, we will continue to lead by example, making efforts to live above board.

“As we strive to walk or talk,we will carry to its logical conclusions our initiative to overhaul the bureaucracy of the public sector in an effort to engender transparency and improve productivity in public governance.

“I assure you that persons found wanting will not be spared,” he said.

Buhari said with the huge number of resources at the country’s disposal, it’s citizens had no business being classified poor among comity of nations.

The president said his administration had commenced the process of rebuilding a better country for all through the enthronement of honesty in the management of public resources.

“As blessed as we are as a nation, Nigerians have no business being classified as poor.

“Yet, through the greed of some unpatriotic few, our commonwealth has been badly pillaged in the name of public service.

“Our ability as a nation to create wealth has increasingly been hampered by lack of prudence, transparency and honesty in the management of public resources by some of those entrusted with the duty of governance at all levels.

“This should not be allowed to continue. The nation ought and must leave the throes of poverty and underdevelopment. I do believe that as a people, we are naturally destined for greatness,” he said.

While admitting that the battle for the enthronement of the right values would be difficult, his administration was committed to effecting a change in the nation’s value system.

He expressed optimism that corruption would soon be a thing of the past. He reiterated his administration’s commitment in changing Nigeria for the better.

Earlier, the President of ICAN, Mr Samuel Deru, said that the nation’s economy needed surgical and drastic reforms beyond the solution of privatisation of government companies.

These reforms, he added, should begin with plugging of all revenue leakages, revisiting and redefining priorities, slashing of cost of governance and investing more in capital ventures.

“In spite of the current challenges, as a body, we are persuaded that integrity and public interest as cherished virtues, will continue to underlie good governance and economic prosperity.

“Accordingly, we will continue to defend these ideals, no matter the odds. To ensure this, we have set in motion strategies to re-engineer our processes in order to re-position the profession for greater value delivery,” he said.

Dere called on the government to make the budget cycle a subject of legislation, to enhance budgeting ethics and effective implementation processes

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Court soft-pedals on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial

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The authorities of the Federal High Court in Abuja have soft-pedaled on the stringent conditions imposed on the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Against their last month decision, the court authorities have stopped the movement of the trial to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, at Jabi District of Abuja.

Also, the authorities of the Court have permitted the media to witness the treasonable felony charges brought against the Biafra nation agitator by the Federal Government.

At the time of this report, fully armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have taken perfect control of the security situations within and outside the court premises.

Journalists, lawyers, litigants, as well as workers are being allowed into the court premises unhindered after formal introduction and presentation of identity cards.

The court had last month issued a Practice Direction which moved the trial to CCT believed to be large and spacious enough to accommodate the crowd that usually surged to witness the trial.

The Practice Direction endorsed by the Chief Judge of the Court, Justice John Tsoho had also prohibited media coverage except where expressly permitted.

However, it was observed that the stringent conditions have been jettisoned.

Although, reasons for deviating from the Practice Direction have not been made known, it was gathered that Jabi Code of Conduct Tribunal was considered too porous for such a sensitive trial, especially from the security points.

Apart from unhindered access being granted to lawyers and media practitioners, roads leading to the court are not blocked, while food vendors are also having their businesses done without molestation.

However, adequate security measures are being observed to prevent security breaches.

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Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance, a move driven by security concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday after receiving their application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.

“This is a historic moment, which we must seize,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Neutral throughout the Cold War, the two countries’ decision to join the alliance is one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.

The applications must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

If his objections are overcome, and accession talks go as well as expected, the two could become members within a few months. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia hanging over the Nordic countries’ heads.

Canada, for example, says that it expects to ratify their accession protocol in just a few days.

Several NATO allies, most notably the United Kingdom, have offered security assurances to Finland and Sweden during the application period before they are covered by the alliance’s mutual defence pact.

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

“Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by allies committing to Finland and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary,” Stoltenberg said.

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 Nigerian government puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Facebook and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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