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Buhari, Osinbajo yet to complete process on asset declaration

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Two months after assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are yet to present themselves to the Code of Conduct Bureau for verification of their assets as required by law.

This is despite the fact that they had promised to make the details of their assets declared to the CBB public only after the verification exercise.

But two months after the private declaration of their assets, the first and second citizens had yet to present themselves for the verification

Section 3(a) of the Third Schedule of the nation’s 1999 Constitution, which is reproduced in section 3(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act confers the power to verify the assets declared by the public officers on the CCB.

The Presidency had said until the CCB completed the verification, the President and the Vice-President would not make the details of their declared assets public as they promised during electioneering.

The Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba in an exclusive interview with Punch on Thursday confirmed that both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo are yet to show up for the verification.

According to him, the verification of the assets declared by a public officer involves two stages, which are conference and field verifications.

Under the conference verification, the public officer is expected to present documents such as statements of bank accounts, receipts and evidence of vehicle registration relating to the declared assets before a committee inaugurated by the bureau.

After the conference verification, the officers of the bureau and the public officer will agree on a convenient date when the CCB’s committee will visit the locations of the assets for physical inspection.

Saba stated that none of the two stages of verification had commenced with respect to the assets of the President and the Vice President.

Upon further inquiries, the CCB boss said the verification would commence “any moment from now”, adding that “we are waiting for when it is convenient for Mr. President and his Vice for us to go and do it.”

The CCB boss, who said the verification of assets of governors and deputy governors who were inaugurated on May 29, 2015, was ongoing, also disclosed the bureau was collaborating with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to aid the verification of the financial standings of public officers.

He said, “There is cooperation between us and other anti-corruption agencies. We have even signed memorandum of understanding.

“For example, if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has a case that involves any public officer, they (EFCC) request for the forms (completed assets declaration form) from us and we give them, the same thing with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, including the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and when we need help we also ask them.

“I have just said that we should draft a letter to the NFIU requesting for the financial profile of the outgone governors and the incumbent ones so that we can make comparison in our verification exercise.”

Saba also stated that any public officer found to have made false declaration of assets after the ongoing verification exercise would be prosecuted before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Definitely it will go to the tribunal, because it will be a breach,” he said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however  noted that President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are not required to appear before the Code of Conduct Bureau for the verification of their assets.

Shehu said verification of assets is based on intelligence and is expected to be done discreetly by the bureau.

He said it is only when the bureau finishes the verification and discovers any discrepancy that it can revert to the President and Vice President.

The presidential aide urged Nigerians to be fair to the two officials, who, he said had declared their assets on their own and also promised to make the declarations public within their 100 days in office.

He said, “Nigerians should be fair to the President and the Vice President. There is no requirement for them to appear for verification.

“It is an intelligence exercise that should be done discreetly.

“They have declared their assets and have also promised to make it public within their 100 days in office.

“People should not sensationalise this issue unnecessarily.”

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APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme

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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.

In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.

WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.

“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.

“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”

To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.

The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.

WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.

Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.

The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.

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Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.

He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.

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Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer

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A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.

This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.

A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.

However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.

A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.

It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.

The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.

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