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Wike, Ortom challenge Buhari to expose governors stealing LG funds

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Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom, governors of Rivers and Benue states, have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to expose Nigerian governors responsible for stealing local government funds.

The governors, who are part of the five Integrity Governors among the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, threw the challenge to the President on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.

President Buhari had earlier in a speech at the presidential parley for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the State House, said that state governors steal allocations meant for local governments.

But reacting to the allegation, Governor Wike denied ever taking funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015. He challenged the president to name governors that are doing that as his statement could be termed class defamation.

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“I want to challenge Mr. President, Mr. President you are a leader and we believe as leaders you must come out and tell Nigerians, who are those committing this offence? You said the governors are taking local government funds, I want to say in the name of Almighty God I have never touched local government funds one day, I have never and I have no reason to do that.

“So Mr. President who are those people? You know them, tell us. It is not good to say what you call class defamation, you say, governors, please I am not one of those governors, so Mr. President please spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity governors are not part of them, we have integrity, we are not part of them,” Wike said.

He added that as local government Chairman under Governor Peter Odili, his funds were never touched by the governor and therefore he has no reason to tamper with any money meant for local governments as governor.

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Corroborating his colleague’s remark, Governor Ortom also denied touching funds meant for local government, saying that their funds go to them directly from the federation account.

Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals; all governors are stealing from local government. I join governor Wike to say from 2015, let EFCC come, let ICPC come, let every other agency that can unearth this, as far as Benue State is concerned let them bring it out so that we know the people, there is no point generalising that all of us are evil people.

“I don’t do it, I didn’t like it when the Federal Government enacted something and said local government should have financial autonomy, but from that day all monies are paid to the local government, and no single naira has been paid through anyone, all monies that come from the federation account go straight to the individual councils.”

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FG commences price enforcement in Abuja, targets Lagos, others

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The Federal Government on Thursday initiated sporadic enforcement raids at multiple supermarkets and markets within the Federal Capital Territory to ensure adherence to price display and quantity regulations, aiming to reduce the cost of food commodities nationwide.

It also said it would continue unannounced inspections at super and open markets in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, and Ibadan in the coming weeks to probe the abnormal price surges and take firm measures against any companies caught engaging in unfair market practices like price manipulation, excessive pricing, or cartel formation.

The Executive Secretary of The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, said this when he conducted an enforcement exercise to eliminate grocery store price gouging and illegal pricing schemes.

During the exercise that lasted several hours, the FCCPC sealed 4U Supermarket and evacuated 33 bags of fake stallion and caprice rice filled with weevils from one of the branches of the same supermarket located at 58 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the commission had ordered its operatives to intensify monitoring of both formal and informal markets to identify businesses engaged in unnecessary inflation of prices for required enforcement action.

 

This move is a direct response to concerns raised by consumers about the rising costs of goods, which go against the recent strengthening of the naira.

Food inflation has been a recurring issue influencing the steady increase of Nigeria’s headline inflation of 33.2 per cent, recording an unprecedented food inflation rate of 40 per cent in March 2024.

 

It was exacerbated by the extensive fall of the naira against the dollar in January and February leading to the soaring prices of essential goods and services, raising the costs of living costs to an all-time high.

Although the presidency had vowed to continue its campaign against racketeers, urging Nigerians to expect a stronger naira, a significant drop in the prices of essential commodities was elusive.

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said that the president had directed consumer protection agencies to ensure that the local prices reflect the rising value of the naira.

“But there is still much work to be done and this is not a time for celebration. It is a time for doubling down and working harder to ensure that inflation is sustainably brought down in short order.

 

“Consumer protecting regulatory agencies must step up enforcement to ensure that our people are not short-changed by enterprises that fail to reflect the prevailing exchange rates on the pricing of goods and services across the board.

 

“As our private and publicly-owned refineries resume operations between now and the first quarter of 2025, the nation’s cash position will dramatically improve to the extent that Nigerians can rightly expect a stronger Naira and a fair reflection of its strength in the prices of commodities in the market place,” said Ngelale.

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The Presidency also assured Nigerians of the better days ahead saying the benefits of the reforms will be “more evident” as the administration progresses.

 

“Once you join the rising spending power of Africa’s largest population with the historic availability of trillions of naira for consumer credit that will bolster the real sector, you will see why Nigerians will be most pleased that they elected a financial engineer and businessman as president by the end of his first term in office, even as the signs are increasingly more evident today,” the Presidential spokesman stated.

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BREAKING: EFCC declares Yahaya Bello wanted

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi state, wanted over alleged N80 billion financial crimes.

 

“Anybody with information as to his whereabout should report immediately to the Commission or the nearest Police Station,” the commission said.

Details later…

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BREAKING: Protesters besiege PDP secretariat, demand Wike’s suspension

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reform Vanguard, on Thursday, besieged the party’s secretariat in Abuja to demand the suspension of Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

 

The group also called for the resignation of Umar Damagun as acting national chair of the PDP.

 

The group arrived the headquarters ahead of the scheduled national executive council (NEC) meeting of the PDP, while demanding that Wike should be suspended for alleged anti-party activities.

 

Speaking with reporters, Usman Seidu, convener of the group, said Damagun and Wike have “undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force”.

 

“We commend our former National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu for his demonstration of unwavering loyalty and love for our party by withdrawing all pending suits against the party in the court,” Seidu said.

 

“His actions have paved the way for our great party to move forward, to cleanse our ranks and restore integrity to our leadership.

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However, the presence of individuals like Amb. Iliya Damagun and Mr. Nyesom Wike within our midst remains a cancerous growth on the body of our party.

 

“Their actions, tantamount to betrayal, have undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force.

 

“The time has come for the NEC to act decisively. Amb. Iliya Damagun must be removed from his position as acting national chairman, in accordance with the provisions of our party’s constitution.

 

“He must be replaced with a loyal member from the north-central, someone who embodies the spirit of our party and will work tirelessly for the advancement of its course.

 

“Furthermore, we cannot turn a blind eye to the continuous presence of Mr. Nyesom Wike within our ranks. His romance with the APC has been handsomely rewarded with his appointment as minister of the FCT and as such, his stay is a slap in the face of every loyal member of our party.

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“If the party fails to take decisive action against those who have betrayed our trust, then it risks losing the faith and support of it’s loyal members across the country.”

 

Wike attended the national caucus meeting of the PDP on Wednesday.

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