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THIS report seeks to reveal and challenge some of the practices by most state governments which still result in wastefulness at a period that demands reduction of cost of governance

WHILE conventional wisdom suggests that the current economic crisis in Nigeria would naturally make state governors abandon the culture of wastefulness, findings showed that much is not being done in this regard.

The situation which contradicts claims of a committed resolve to plug leakages comes surprising given that the trend is happening when most states are in precarious financial positions.

The trend also goes contrary to an earlier charge by the Presidency to state governments to prioritise their expenditure in order to perform the primary function of government as enshrined in section 2b of the 1999 constitution.

More to the growing concerns about the issue is the fact that most of the country’s 36 state governors, who still entertain financial recklessness are owing salaries and pensions in arrears.

In most of these states where the First-Line Charge (payment of workers’ salaries), is not receiving the priority it deserves as the life of the civil servants has been characterized by misery.

Financial recklessness

For these and other reasons, many are alarmed that activities that beget financial recklessness, are still part of the workings of most state governments when frugality was supposed to be the word.

It was learnt that instead of financial moderation through cutting the cost of governance, most state governments still retain the following wasteful practices; too many aides, hiring of jets, first class flight tickets, use of exotic vehicles, long convoys, hosting of unnecessary events, sponsorship of pilgrimages, security votes, frequent travels, funding of First Ladies, donation to political parties, funding of unnecessary projects and unsustainable free education among others.

To a degree, these norms are not new in the corridors of power, but their uninterrupted existence at a period of alarming scarcity of cash, speaks volumes.

An appraisal of the identified worrisome practices indicates that funds that were supposed to have been conserved and used for the provision of basic amenities are going into areas that matter less to the daily survival of the citizenry.

Indeed, the habit leaves many wondering if affected state governments, realized the imperativeness of ending profitless activities at these times.

Retinue of aides

Checks revealed that only a few governors have so far kept their promise of reducing the number of appointees with whom, they run their offices.

While some, especially in the South West geopolitical zone, have reduced the number of ministries and appointees, others, particularly in the North, South East and South South still maintain a huge retinue of aides.

This practice practically means using so much money in maintaining the large retinue of aides, who hardly have defined duties.

While some states across the country were found to have reduced the number of ministries inherited from the last dispensation, others increased the number.

For instance, a certain state in the South-South increased the number of ministries in addition to the nearly 2000 appointees. A governor in a state in the South East has more than 1,000 aides spread across Local Government Areas. They do nothing but they collect salaries and attend some meetings. They were probably engaged with elections in mind.

Another state in the North East also comes close with nearly 300 aides.

The common designations are special advisers, special assistants, personal assistants and executive assistants.

Others are chairmen and members of boards, commissions, departments and agencies.

Though some state governments had defended this practice, noting that the need to expand the scope of governance informed the large retinue of aides, Saturday Vanguard learnt that the desire to sustain loyalty to party and state governors is mainly responsible.
Findings from the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilisation Commission, RFMC, revealed that the salaries and allowances of the appointees ranged from N100, 000 to N500, 000.

However, states with different categories of some of the aforementioned designations are at liberty to fix their payment structure.

With these, it is better imagined what states with a large number of aides spend monthly in maintaining a humongous team.

The result of a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, corroborated these findings by Saturday Vanguard, as it observed that each state of Nigeria’s 36 states has an average of 100 political appointees including commissioners, making the total number of aides 3,600.

Hosting unnecessary events

Till date, some state governments still convene money-gulping events that add little or no value.

Such events include sponsorship of rallies, thanksgiving services and public engagements for spouses of state governors’ aides and commissioners among others.

For example, some state governments in the South West, South East, and South-South geopolitical zones were found to have hosted thanksgiving services at the end of last year. They also hosted Christmas carols, a thing that was done by the churches in the past.

It is not uncommon to find thanksgiving services being held to celebrate victories on electoral disputes.

Most times, the events are aired live on television stations while top celebrities and public figures are paid to attend.

Akwa Ibom and Imo states stand out, as they are known for hosting events that are not in tune with their financial realities. And they are usually broadcast live on televisions. These gulp tens of millions of money.

For instance, Akwa Ibom had in early 2016, held a special thanksgiving to celebrate Governor Emmanuel Udom’s victory at the Supreme Court.

The elaborate nature of the forum which attracted thousands to Godwin Akpabio Stadium sent tongues wagging as to the amount spent on the event.

In Imo state where such event is a common sight, the state government had in December last year, convened a carnival entitled: Imo Carnival.

The gathering which was televised live on television was considered unnecessary for a state that has not paid pensioners in the past 77 months.

Also, the retention of the practice of celebrating the anniversary of the creation of some states is another avenue of misusing public funds.

At a time like this, analysts contend that such events could still hold without pomp and waste of scarce resources.

Frequent travels

The aspect of frequent foreign and local trips out of state capitals is a source of apprehension.

Many are alarmed that such trips which are often done with large entourage require the collection of estacodes.

Apart from a few aides, sources close to some state governors told Saturday Vanguard that unofficial associates of the chief executives are often part of the entourage.

Sources at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, said most officials still use first class tickets whenever they travel out of Nigeria. The same applies to local trips.

As of the time of writing this report, it was gathered that most airlines charge between N3million and N3.2 million for first class air tickets to popular destinations like London, Paris, Frankfurt and New York. The average cost for a first class ticket to Dubai is N1.8million.

Another agitating aspect is that RMAFC did not specify any amount for local trips by state governors-a situation that leaves the amount drawn in the dark.

Instructively, all these trips often come at a huge cost for most of these states that depend mainly on federal allocation for survival.

For instance, a source in one of the leading states in Northwest geopolitical zone told Vanguard that the state governor hardly spends five days without traveling out of the state capital. The trips are either local or international.

The governor was said to have spent three weeks abroad in December last year, was said to always travel with a large entourage.

Use/purchase of exotic vehicles

Saturday Vanguard found it ironical that most state governments, who have been championing calls for the usage of Made in Nigeria products, didn’t find it worthy to use the Innoson brand of cars as their official cars.

Essentially, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, IVM, has high breed vehicles among its products.

After all a former President, Chief Obasanjo had during his time as Head of State, ensured that Peugeot was the official brand in the country.

Rather, most states have continued with the habit of purchasing imported exotic vehicles for governors and other officials.

Such practice is known to gulp many funds considering the unit cost of such vehicles and the cost of import duties.

The most common in this regard is the predilection for buying bulletproof vehicles.

An online report entitled: How Nigerian Governors Waste Money on Bullet Proof Cars, observed that the average cost of a bulletproof car used by state governors is N75 million.

It added thus: ‘’An armoured vehicle manufacturer in Germany, gave the cost of a bulletproof 2014 Lexus LX 570 at €192,000 (N89.3m), an armoured 2015 Toyota Prado is about €125,000 (N58.1), while the cost of an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser is about €149,000 (N69.2m), excluding shipping costs.”

So irritating is the practice that a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu recently called on state governors and other political office holders to stop wasting public funds on bulletproof cars, and use the money to provide electricity for their people.

Kaduna is among states found to have, purchased costly official vehicles for aides, which include commissioners. It also bought for members of the state House of Assembly.

Others found to have bought for legislators include Niger, Kano, Imo, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kogi, Lagos, Sokoto, Kwara, Benue, Cross Rivers and Katsina states.

Sponsorship of pilgrimages

When President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, said the Federal Government was stopping the sponsorship of pilgrims to Israel and Saudi Arabia, it was expected that states would follow suit.

Though some announced the same measure as a way of cutting cost, checks showed that it is still business as usual.

Actually, a state with a large Christian population in the Northeast geopolitical zone was found to have sponsored 150 people to Jerusalem last year, a development that was said to have resulted in crisis among conflicting interests in the state.

Needless projects, programmes

Further findings revealed that most state governors are yet to prioritise the kind of projects they initiate.

It was discovered that projects are still being initiated with fewer regards to their importance at a time of cash crunch.

In most instances, some projects were found to be initiated to score cheap political goals without putting into cognizance the pressure they may have on the finances of the state.

For instance, Saturday Vanguard learnt that Imo State government is currently building chapels in all the 27 local government areas of the state.

The rationale for committing funds into such project at a time like this is indeed worrisome to observers.

The administration is also reputed for building and destroying projects it initiated and built.

One of such, Vanguard was told, was a pedestrian bridge which was built at Imo State University/Okigwe Road roundabout.

In states like Osun, Bayelsa, Abia, Ogun, Anambra, Ekiti, and Nasarawa the state governments have commenced efforts to build new airports.

This resolve to construct the airports instead of concentrating on projects that would have a direct impact on the people is no doubt a misplaced priority.

The culture of embarking on needless empowerment programmes that further impoverishes the people they were meant to assist is still in place across the country.

720 goats worth of N104m

In August 2016, Katsina State government in a move described as imprudent bought 720 goats worth of N104m and distributed for the women in the state under its Women Empowerment Scheme.

Shortly before then, Jigawa State also empowered 220 women with 660 goats in the state.

In addition, a source in an earlier cited state in the Northwest geopolitical zone told Saturday Vanguard that the state governor, who is at loggerheads with his predecessor, is currently spending money in promoting his second term ambition.

The second term awareness campaign, it was learnt, resulted in the erection of gigantic billboards across the state and sponsorship of radio jingles.

In addition, the governor was alleged to have embarked on needless projects that have no direct link with the realities of the moment.

One of such is the renovation of his deputy’s official residence.

In May last year, Kogi State governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello approved over N148 million for the renovation of his office at the Government House at a time the state was struggling to pay salaries.

Though Osun State currently has a lean government given the governor’s decision not to appoint commissioners, the state created additional 31 new local council development areas, LCDAs, three area councils and two administrative offices to complement the existing 30 Local Government Areas last year.

It was obviously an unpopular decision given that the economy of the state cannot sustain the additional LCDAs.

Speaking on the subject, Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran condemned the trend, blaming the 1999 constitution for giving state governors unrestricted access to public funds.

Constitution is to blame

He told Saturday Vanguard thus: ‘’It is not surprising that governors have stopped wasting public funds on unnecessary ventures. The constitution is to blame for giving the governors unfettered access to public funds. The constitution gave them so much power to the extent that they can render the offices of state Accountant General and Attorney General ineffective. It is the same at the local government level where the chairmen have unlimited access to council funds. It is because the constitution allowed it to be so. But the National Assembly is also to be blamed for not amending the constitution in a way that public funds can be protected. If the practice must be stopped, Nigerians cannot rely on public structures to do it. The people must take up the gauntlet and question their leaders on how public funds are being used now.”

Most elders benefitfrom the loot

‘’The immunity clause in the constitution has made it possible for these governors to use money the way they like. Honestly, the constitution made them irresponsible with public funds. That is why they always appoint numerous aides, who have no business being in government. These aides have nothing to offer. And these governors are very intolerant of criticisms because, in other places, people will criticize the things they do during this period of recession. The reckless usage of state funds when they are supposed to prioritise is not good for this country and if it continues the journey out of recession may be long for the states,” he stated.

Continuing, he wondered why governors would be spending money on bulletproof vehicles when they have so many security personnel attached them.

‘’What are the governors doing with bulletproof vehicles when they have security personnel? Even people like us, who have been in the service and have investigated high-profile cases, still move around freely. What are the governors afraid of that will make them lavish money on bulletproof cars. The current recklessness is happening because most elders are not talking. They benefit from the loot,” he stated.

State governors must prioritise their projects—SERAP

Also speaking, the Executive Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni said: ‘The current problem of governance in Nigeria is not lack of resources, but not getting our priorities right. The governors are not prioritising the things they do in their states. There should be no governor in the South West that should be talking about building a new airport when we have airports in Ilorin, Akure, Lagos and Ibadan. Spending money on the construction of new airports now is a misplaced priority. It shows that the governors are not in touch with the socio-economic realities of their states. They must cut their coat according to their size by stopping the current wasteful things they do.‘’


*As AGF directs he hands over to Director, Operations
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, may have finally been removed from office.
A source close to The Guardian said his redeployment back to Nigerian Police Force (NPF) was to pave way for a fresh person to be presented by President Muhammadu Buhari as the nominee to head the anti-graft agency before the Senate.
The Guardian gathered to make the situation look like a routine exercise, some senior Police officers would be re-deployed by the Police hierarchy to resume as conventional Police officers.
It was equally reliably gathered yesterday that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has already issued a leter to Magu on the development and directed that he hands over to the Director of Operations in the Commission.
Magu’s nomination was recently rejected by the Senate following allegation of graft levelled against him by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

Africa's richest man has been named the second most powerful man in Africa behind yet another powerful man in Africa who came first.
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote
Africa's richest man and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has been named as the second most powerful man in Africa. He was named in the list of top 100 most powerful people in the world. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin was named as the most powerful man on earth, followed by American President-elect, Donald Trump and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as the 2nd and 3rd most powerful persons in the world.
However, the Nigerian billionaire, Dangote came 2nd in Africa and was named the 68th most powerful man on earth.
The most powerful man in Africa is the President of Egypt, Abdel el-Sisi. He is the 44th most powerful man in the world.
Forbes in the latest edition of its 74 World Most Powerful People ranking list, indicated that the 64-year-old Putin was the most powerful in the world, ahead of Trump who was second on the list.  
Ms. Merkel was ranked the third most powerful person in the world while outgoing U.S. President, Barack Obama placed 48th on the list.
The Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis was in fifth place; the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, come in seventh; Chinese President Xi Jinping came before the Pope in number four while the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was the 10th most powerful person in the world.
Forbes reported that there are nearly 7.4 billion people on planet earth but the listed men and women as the most powerful make the world turn.
The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings, including its list of the richest Americans (the Forbes 400) and rankings of the world’s top companies (the Forbes Global 2000).

The Federal Government has lost the bid to secure the services of senior lawyers to prosecute judges alleged of corruption, an impeccable source has told New Telegraph.

The Federal Government is currently prosecuting three judges, the Chief Registrar and two other senior officials of the Supreme Court for alleged corruption.

The judges are Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja and Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High, Lagos.

Justices Ngwuta and Ademola were part of the eight judges arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on October 8 and 9 for alleged corruption. Justice Ajumogobia was, however, drilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before her prosecution commenced.

The source, who preferred anonymity because he is not authorised to talk on the issue, said that not less than 15 SANs have rejected Federal Government’s briefs for the prosecution of the judges.

The source further disclosed that part of the senior lawyers who rejected the proposed fiat to prosecute included prominent senior lawyers who are part of special prosecutors assembled by the Federal Government through its National Prosecution Coordinating Committee.

New Telegraph recalled that in preparatory for high profile cases, the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), had set up a National Prosecution Coordinating Committee, which was made of several SANs.

It is further recalled that the government had assembled about 80 special prosecutors, grouped into 20 teams, for the purpose of prosecuting high-profile cases that are instituted by the AGF and Minister of Justice’s office. Each team is having four SANs.

The source also stated that at least a quarter of the group members were offered the briefs of prosecuting the judges, but they declined. Speaking on the decline, some senior lawyers who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they rejected the brief based on how the Federal Government went about the whole issue.

They added that they are in support of the efforts by the Federal Government to cleanse the judiciary, but they are opposed to the approach. Also, some well-recognised prosecutors, who are familiar with handling corruption cases in the country, seem not to be willing to take up the brief.

Some of them have attributed their rejection of the brief to the fact that the government’s approach is targeted at caging the judiciary. They, however, said that they are willing to defend the judges in court.

However, in the absence of Nigerian-based senior lawyers, the Federal Government was left with an option of looking elsewhere and this resulted to government hiring two former international prosecutors, Segun Jegede and Charles Adeogun-Philips. The duo has accepted the offer, though the terms of contract are not known.

However, they have started the work of prosecution. While Jegede is leading the prosecution of Justice Ademola, Adeogun-Philips heads the prosecuting team with respect to Justice Ngwuta’s and the Supreme Court officials’ trials.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced Bolaji Abdullahi, former minister of youth and sports, as its new spokesman.

During a mini convention held at Chelsea Hotel in Abuja on Thursday, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), reportedly announced Bolaji Abdullahi as its spokesman.

The former Minister of Youth and Sports, succeeds Lai Mohammed, who is now the Minister of Information as the party's Public Relations Officer (PRO).

Timi Frank, former deputy national publicity secretary of the party, was however, prevented from stepping into Mohammed’s shoes following Frank's suspension by the party.

This is a developing story, we'll be bringing you more details on this report as soon as it's made available...

Governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, has given a speech after he received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission in Akure.
A Senior Advicate of Nigeria and Governor-elect of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who emerged the winner during the state's gubernatorial election over the past weekend, has been issued the Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday morning.
Below is an acceptance speech made by the governor-elect after he received the CoR from INEC in Akure, Ondo State.
All Protocols observed.
I thank you all for coming to witness this solemn occasion that is being marked by this brief ceremony. Twice this great party has spoken and twice I have answered. 
From all the 18 local government areas, I thank you. I thank all the women of Ondo state, all the youths and all the men of Ondo state. I thank all members of our great Party, the APC.  Today you have all voted for change and your foresight has laid a solid platform for the liberation of our people. I accept this Honour to serve as Governor, this call to duty, this divine responsibility to lead you wonderful people. I accept this victory with every sense of humility and responsibility.  I thank you.
I cannot thank enough, my fellow compatriots during this election, who had a separate conviction and voted elsewhere. They took the guts to answer the call of democracy to make a choice. I believe it is these resounding voices that have created this worthy moment which is making this victory real and refreshing. I thank you. 
Today's victory is of God through the good people of Ondo state. It is not for me or APC alone. It is a victory for the people of Ondo state, irrespective of which side of the divide you stood during the election. For me it is a call to service and a challenge to perform. Although we all had different points of view before the election but today, as members of one strong, vibrant and indivisible Ondo state family, we are all united and resolute with one single objective to save our beloved Ondo state.
With this new dawn, it is now time to rediscover and reinvent ourselves. It is time to find what we lost, to rescue this land and its people from the myriad of poverty and pains which daily assail their lives. As patriots, it is now time to unite and revamp our fortunes. 
As Governor, we will take deliberate and decisive steps to optimally harness our overall potential for greatness, prosperity, peace and stability. YES WE WILL.
I cannot end this speech without sincerely thanking INEC for conducting a free, fair, transparent and credible election in our state. It is clear that this INEC means business in sanitizing our electoral process and strengthening democracy. I like to put it on record that in this election, we witnessed and confirm an INEC that is truly responsible and independent.
May I also specially thank the security agencies, particularly the Police, DSS, Army and Navy as well as the para military agencies for true service to our fatherland. The conduct of these security agencies during this election shows me that this country can be greater if we want it to be.
For everything there is a time. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to weep and a time to rejoice. A time to sow and a time to reap. A time to campaign for vote and a time to Govern. 
Ondo state people have voted for me as Governor for the a tenure of four years starting from February 25th 2017, the ball is now in my court to provide leadership that will take our people from a place of poverty and stagnation unto the path of hope and irreversible progress.  This I will do so help me God.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

The wife of ex Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has made a revelation about how she was defrauded of a huge sum by an Akwa Ibom State politician. 

Aminat Titi Abubakar
Mrs. Aminat Titi Abubakar, the wife of former Nigeria’s Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has told a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja how former former governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State identified as Nsikakabasi Akpan defrauded her of the sum of N918 million.
According to Leadership, she made the allegation on Friday.
Giving evidence before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Mrs Abubakar said: “I have never been inside a court before. Not even a police station in all my life. I am here because I want Justice.

“All my investment and even profit is gone. I want this to serve as a deterrence to other fraudsters that they can’t defraud people and not face Justice.”
Akpan Jacobs and Abdulmalik Ibrahim are facing a 15 count charge of fraud and stealing N918 million being proceeds of sale of a property situate at Plot C63A , Amuwo Odofin
Commercial Layout along Oshodi Apapa Expressway , belonging to Tha Maritime Services Limited.
They however pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mrs Abubakar told the court that Akpan Jacobs , a pastor used the money to contest for governorship in Akwa Ibom State.
The company allegedly belonged to Mrs Abubakar, Dan and Fred Holmes both working for Julius Berger at the time.
The company was formed in 2000 with 49 per cent shares to Mrs Abubakar, 25 per cent to Holmes and 25 per cent to Akpan Jacobs.
Akpan Jacobs who doubled as the company’s managing director and secretary was however alleged to gone to the Corporate Affairs Commission where he altered the share arrangement in his favour.
He was alleged to have forged a company board resolution re distributing the shares ownership  giving himself 70 per cent , 15 per cent to Mrs Abubakar, and 15 per cent to Holmes.
With the shares re-distribution, Akpan Jacobs was alleged to have fraudulently assumed full ownership of  THAShipping  and subsequently sold a property worth N918m belonging to the company to Dana Motor Nigeria Ltd.
Mrs Abubakar is expected to continue her evidence on December 14, 2016 when the continues with the trial.
Part of the charge read, “that ‎Nsikakabasi Akpan Jacobs and Abdulmalik Ibrahim as the Managing Director and Company Secretary on about the 10th day of August 2008 in Lagos within Ikeja judicial division with intent to defraud stole and converted to your own personal use the sum of N918,000,000.00 being proceeds sale of the property and appurtenances situted at plot C63 A Amuwo Odofin Commercial. Layout along Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Lagos belonging to Tha shipping and Maritime Service limited entrusted with you as the Managing Director.
”Nsikakabasi Akpan Jacobs and Abdulmalik Ibrahim‎ on about the 1st day July 2002 in Lagos within Ikeja judicial Division with intent to defraud forged a Memorandum and Article of Association of Tha Shipping and Maritme Service Limited, dated the 1st day of July 2002 purporting the Signatures therein to have been signed by Florence Doregos and Fred Holms.”

Nigerian Police boss, Mr Ibrahim Idris has revealed that about 128 police officers were killed by militants and other criminals.
Inspector-General of Police, (I-G), Mr Ibrahim Idris
The Inspector-General of Police, (I-G), Mr Ibrahim Idris, said 128 policemen had lost their lives to activities of criminals in various parts of the country in the past three months.
Idris said this in a statement issued by the Force Spokesman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Don Awunah, in Abuja on Wednesday.
“In the past three months, the Force has lost 128 personnel in various parts of the country due to activities of undesirable elements in our communities.

“These line of duty resultant deaths, occasioned by unwarranted attacks by religious bigots, bandits, hoodlums and militants must be reversed and the trend halted,” he said.
Awunah said also disturbing was the wanton destruction of Police infrastructure and public assets.
“The recent cases in Dankamoji village in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara, Abagana in Anambra, and in Okrika waterways in Rivers where personnel were killed, arms carted away, structures and equipment destroyed are cases in point,” he said.
He said that the I-G regretted the loss of these personnel in the course of their national duty and condoled with their families.
“The I-G urges the officers not to relent or be distracted in our collective will to serve this country, the costly challenges notwithstanding."
He advised Nigerians to continue to render the police the desired support and assistance to enable them to provide adequate security to Nigerians.

In a boastful manner Dr. Bukola Saraki, Nigeria's President of the Senate has attributed his stupendous wealth to hard work and blessed family

Saraki in an interview with BBC Hausa service said he acquired 95% of his wealth before he entered politics.

Mr Saraki acknowledged that there was corruption in the country, but said his wealth was a result of coming from a blessed family and hard work.

He said he was confident that he would be cleared of the charges against him and he would continue to serve in public office.

The senator also said he had not evaded tax - an accusation highlighted in the Panama Papers.

His wife also appeared in those documents accused of registering a company offshore to buy a London property.

Saraki was quoted as saying;
"Based on legal advice the company was set up because they were acquiring an asset and it was advised at that time and that’s how it was set up to the best of our knowledge. It was not a company that was set up by ourselves; it was set up by a legal firm and under a legal firm as far as to the best of our knowledge no law was being broken."
Saraki, who is standing trial of alleged corruption and false declaration of assets, expressed confidence that he would be cleared of the charges against him.

He also denied the tax evasion accusation highlighted in the Panama Papers, some documents which revealed the secretive offshore companies that influential personalities used to hide their wealth

The sons of foremost Benin chief have stolen the show at their sister's wedding which took place recently.
Ganiyu Kuteyi and Ewamade Igbinedion at their wedding
The Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, gave his daughter out in marriage on Saturday at his palace in Benin, Edo State.
The Benin Chief married his daughter, Ewamade Igbinedion off to an Ondo state indigene, Ganiyu Kuteyi.
The ceremony was colorful and well attended by guests from far and wide.
However, the Igbenedion brothers were the ones who stole the show at the event as they stepped out looking dapper and stylish at the event to honour their sister.
See photos below:

Sincerely I'm short of words...this is really touching. Read below as shared by Akpoti:

'Queen needs your help!!!
Last night I, like many were disturbed about the news of a young lad burnt to death for attempting to steal garri. The images haunted my sleep. Not only because of the gruesome murder of a human being bitten hard by poverty, but because of those human beings that carried the act and worse off, those who stood by capturing his death with their phones.

This morning on my way to the Singaporean embassy in Lagos, I saw besides the gates of Eko hotel, a lady laying on the floor and everyone (black and white) walked past her like she didn't exist.

I picked up my phone and took pix with the hope that I could share a lesson of poverty with you all.

At the embassy, I couldn't get her image off my head. I felt even ashamed to have taken only the picture without stopping to hear her story.

Immediately I stepped out of the embassy, I drove right back to her. Woke her up and this is what she said in fluent English.
"My name is Queen Okoye. I am 31 years old and a graduate of YabaTech. I am from Orsu LGA in Imo state (she paused to spell Orsu for me)."
Her father is Mr. Basil Okoye. Mother is late. She lived with her boyfriend whilst in school. Their relationship fell apart and he kicked her out of his apartment. She has lived on the streets for years because her sister (married with children ) refused to assist her.

I asked if she was on drugs and alcohol, but she said no. I noticed she smiled a little too much but always added, "I am happy, a beautiful lady like you acknowledged me. People walk by me everyday like I don't exist".

This broke my heart. So I asked permission to take a picture and share her story with you good people. She asked "will they help or laugh at me. People call me crazy". I told her the God that made me see her will make others connect to her.

I also asked if she had any message for you all. She looked at me and said "tell them I need help to get out of the streets. It all started like a joke and now I can't believe how low I have fallen. I might need some counseling and medical attention because being out here changes one drastically. I need a place to sleep and a job to fend for myself . Please."

Beloved Nigerians, in our heart lies the power to do good and evil. I understand hunger's pain. I know exactly the danger poverty sting's delves to ones psych. At this trying times, let's be sure to Chanel our frustration to the right persons and not the vulnerable like us.

Today, I had an option to be like everyone and walk past Queen but I decided to be better. Everyone of us can attempt a little kindness and love to each homeless person; or anyone about to be lynched by a crowd. A little effort goes a long way.

Queen stays in front of Eko hotel's fence. She is waiting for someone to read this and reach out to her. So if you work in Lagos state welfare department or know any agency in charge of women, plsease get to Queen. Let's all share a little kindness because it would all come back to us.

Queen needs you!

Manchester United’s players are the highest paid footballers in world, earning an average annual salary of £5.77million.
This was determined after a survey of almost 10,000 sportsmen at 333 teams in seven sports across 17 of the world’s richest leagues.
European giants, Barcelona, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea make up the football top five, but basketball sides, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Yankees and LA Clippers topped them all.
According to the Global Sports Salary Survey (GSSS), the average Premier League player earns £2.4m a year – double of what their counterparts in La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga earn.
Top 10 best-paid sports teams (average annual salary)
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (£6.54m)
2. New York Yankees (£5.81m)
3. LA Clippers (£5.78m)
4. Manchester United (£5.77m)
5. Barcelona (£5.64m)
6. Portland Trail Blazers (£5.59m)
7 Memphis Grizzlies (£5.51m)
8. Dallas Mavericks (£5.50m)
9. Manchester City (£5.42m)
10. Orlando Magic (£5.38m)

Top 10 best-paid footballers (annual salary)

Benue State Police Command on Friday denied that it declared the state commissioner for Art, Culture and Tourism, Mr Sekar Iyortyom, wanted over alleged culpable homicide.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Moses Yamu, made the denial in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi.
Yamu was reacting to media reports that the Police had declared Iyortyom wanted in connection with the alleged assassination of Joseph Tondo, a chairmanship aspirant in Buruku local government area.
According to the Police Spokesman the reports are false as no commissioner in the state is in the command’s wanted persons’ list.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some six persons, including the said commissioner, were being investigated for alleged assassination of Tondo two months ago.
NAN also recalls that the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, had told newsmen that Iyortyom had petitioned the police high command for “unsatisfactory investigation’’ of the case.
Makama further said that the matter was already under investigation and assured that justice would prevail.
NAN reports that the Iyortyom had been carrying out his duties as commissioner in the state. (NAN)

A prediction by influential Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua that Hillary Clinton would win the US presidential election has reappeared after the post was removed from his Facebook yesterday.

The post containing the prediction was “mistakenly removed and has been reposted as such is not our policy”, according to an email sent to the BBC from the Social Media Department of TBJMinistries on Facebook.

“Ten days ago I saw the president of America with a narrow win… What I frankly saw was a woman,” said the post, reiterating comments made by Mr Joshua in an address to his congregation on Sunday.

TB Joshua was widely mocked on social media when people noticed that the post had been removed.

The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken another dimension as the Political Advisory Council (PAC) of the national chairman has embarked on canvassing support for him.

As the Advisory Council reaches out to party faithfuls to save the National Chairman’s office, other persons are aligning with those, who are pushing for the removal of the APC national chairman.

One such persons, according to New Telegraph, is former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwakanso, who has lost out to the sitting governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje on the leadership tussle of APC in the state. He is said to have joined forces on the call that Oyegun 'must go'.

At the forefront that APC Chairman John Oyegun should resign or be removed is National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Engr. David Babachir, the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Timi Frank. Babachir and oshiomhole are political allies of the APC national leader.

Speaking to Telegraph exclusively, one of the 7-man Political Advisory Council to APC chairman said the good thing about the fight and the allegations against their principal is that the President and leader of APC knows the truth. According to him, they have decided to reach out to other chieftains and stalwart of the party on the need to support Oyegun as the APC National Chairman.

He stated that every plot to remove Oyegun would fail, just as the political move to nominate him for Ambassadorial appointment failed. The Advisory Council member stated that it took the dexterity of the President not to include Oyegun’s name on the list of none career ambassadorial appointment.

On why the President did not include Oyegun’s name of the Ambassadorial list, he said:
“The President has said no to it and that there is a process of removing the National Chairman and that he cannot be removed by posting him out without telling him.

"The President was very categorical that you don’t remove the National Chairman of a party by just posting him out. He is just not anybody. If he was an outsider it would have been a different thing and as you also know, the National Chairman also has a right to reject any appointment.”

In his reaction, Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha, said, “I want to assure them (Oyegun and others at the party's secretariat) that no one will bully them out or husk them out.

"But, where there is need to make amendment, which is natural within any human organisation, the party will be restructured for the purpose of making it stronger and to move forward as a people and as a party."

There are strong indications that a gale of defection will soon hit the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the South-West.

It was said that many members of the APC, who are loyal to the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are awaiting his directive before leaving the ruling party.

High-profile meetings of politicians across parties were being held discreetly to fine-tune strategies for the emergence of an alternative political platform to fight for power come 2019.

According to Punch, governors and lawmakers, especially senators from the South-West, are said to have intensified consultations to ensure that they are not used and dumped in the next dispensation.

Confirming this development, Senator Adesoji Akanbi, representing Oyo South, said Nigerians would soon see the outcome of the new political alliances and realignments.

Speaking with Punch, Akanbi said some of those, who were part of the formation of the APC, and who had become uncomfortable with the turnout of events after the party attained power, might be considering their options.

He said, “You know that ambition can drive people and a lot of people, when it comes to amalgamation like that of the APC, some people may feel cheated and may not be happy with the outcome of the whole thing. It is normal.

“There is no way you can form a new party in a room. Nigerians should not be too eager to see the outcome of such (secret and closed-door) meetings because they are still coming out to the public to canvass for support. Let us all wait and see.”

In a veiled reference to Tinubu, he said, “Personally, someone like me is a committed member of the APC and I still have my leader.

“Politics is about the grass roots. You have to know what your people want before you can decide on what to do. I am from the South-West and we have a way of doing our thing. We still have a leader.”

Akanbi, who declined to name names, insisted that the people of the South-West had their way of responding to political challenges when they occurred, adding that the decision of the leader, most often than not, was in line with the popular wish of the people of the geo-political zone.

He said, “I have not mentioned any name but whatever it is, it is going to be a collective decision. Personally, I am an advocate of regional integration. When I say regional, I am particular about the South-West, where I come from.”

The recently suspended Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Timi Frank had also hinted that an alternative political platform was in the offing, which might emerge in the political space.

"I say this without fear of contradiction; major political re-alignments are going on in this country."

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, said, yesterday, that Benue State small holder farmers, under its Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, will harvest over 10,000 metric tonnes of high quality rice this month. 

Benue State Project Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum, who made this known in his 2016 progress report in Makurdi, said the feat was achieved through Good Agronomy Practice, GAP.

Igbaukum said: ‘’In the course of the farming year, we constructed 34.5km of rural roads and developed over 2,300 hectares of farmland in the five pilot local government areas of Benue State, with each hectare expected to yield between four and five metric tonnes of rice.

Igbaukum added that cassava production in the state has already gained momentum.



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