Good morning Nigeria. Welcome to the Naija News roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Tuesday, 13th February 2024.
Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, at his palace in Kano State.
Naija News reports that the former Lagos East Senator paid homage to the monarch on Monday alongside some of her aides and Nana Shettima, the wife of Vice President Kashim Shettima.
Speaking during the visit, the First Lady said the Tinubu administration means well for the nation and doing its best to address the various challenges facing the nation.
Mrs Tinubu, who had arrived in Kano State for an official visit, was received by Governor Abba Yusuf, his wife and many other wives of Governors.
The Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF) has raised an alarm over the escalating cost of living in Nigeria, drawing parallels with Venezuela’s economic hardship and warning that the country could be treading a similar path under the administration of President Bola Tinubu.
The forum’s chairman, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, voiced these concerns during an interaction with journalists after the forum’s meeting, which took place at the Oyo State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, on Monday.
He said, “At the onset of this administration, we supported the removal of subsidy, we believed that there were safeguards, we believed that if we took collective decisions, we should go by it.
“But certainly, we have seen that it is a free fall for the naira. The cost of living is going high, we are almost on the road to Venezuela.”
Mohammed also said, “We are working closely with the federal government since the inception of this administration. The rising cost of living is not only under the purview of the federal government.
“We have been partnering together with them to make sure that we don’t bring any distraction but the monetary and economic policies rests squarely with the federal government.
“The majority of Nigerians voted for this administration, so we are doing so much across party lines and on bi-partisan basis, within the Nigeria governors forum within the National Economic Council to make sure that we cushion the effects of some of these policies.
“We have reached out to our people and opened the food reserves in a manner that it will provide some succour to our people at the lower level.”
The Bauchi State Governor described the PDP as the most democratic and experienced party in the country.
In a significant development that underscores the challenges of fiscal discipline within Nigeria’s public sector, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) has indicted approximately 256 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government for engaging in unauthorized spending practices.
According to the latest 2020 Audited Report on government finances, these entities have been found to violate extant laws by incurring extra-budgetary expenditures totaling N284 billion in the year 2020.
Among the implicated bodies are notable institutions such as the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the Airforce Institute of Technology, highlighting the widespread nature of the issue across various government sectors.
The audit, which was submitted to the National Assembly, shed light on significant financial mismanagement involving unbudgeted expenditure and failure to remit revenues to government coffers for the fiscal year in question.
The submission of the 2020 Audited Report came notably late, arriving two years beyond the constitutional deadline.
According to legal requirements, the report should have been presented to the National Assembly in 2021.
However, it was only submitted on November 30, 2023, under the reference AuGF/AR.2020/01, marking a significant delay in the accountability process.
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, has urged the First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, to prevail on President Bola Tinubu to make a positive change concerning the economic situation in the country.
He begged the First Lady to tell her husband the truth about what is happening in the country.
“Although we have several means of communicating to the government on our needs and requests, but your way and means is the surest way to tell the President the actual happenings in the country,” the emir told Tinubu’s wife, who was in Kano to open the faculty of law at a private university.
Speaking through an interpreter, the monarch noted that the hunger and starvation did not start with this economy, but the situation has become worse and needs urgent attention.
Bayero also spoke on the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos.
5. ‘The Treasurer Is Under Some External Influences’ – Labour Party Reacts, Clears Abure Of N3.5 Billion Fraud Allegation
The Labour Party (LP) has cleared its national chairman, Julius Abure of the allegations of misappropriating N3.5 billion party fund.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, in a statement on Monday said Abure has not embezzled any money as claimed by the LP national treasurer, Oluchi Oparah.
Naija News recalls that earlier on Monday, Oparah called on the Labour Party National Chairman, Julius Abure, to provide a detailed account of the party’s funds, which amount to over N3.5 billion.
She said during a press conference held in Abuja that the funds were generated through the sale of forms and various fundraisers for the 2023 general elections.
Oparah expressed her frustration at being prevented by the National Chairman from fulfilling her constitutionally assigned role of managing the party’s accounts.
Furthermore, she alleged that the chairman has refused to allow any form of scrutiny into the party’s financial records since the closure of the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for the 2023 general elections.
However, in a swift response, Ifoh said Oparah is operating under some external influences and would be subjected to disciplinary measures over her claims of embezzlement and mismanagement of funds and abuse of office against the party’s national chairman.
The LP said prior to the emergence of Abure as the party’s national chairman, the Labour Party didn’t keep proper records but with Abure in place, that changed and Oparah is embittered that her means of making money has been cut off.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an increase in the exchange rate used for calculating Customs duties at the seaports in the country.
Naija News reports the exchange rate was adjusted upwards on Monday, February 12th, from 1,417.635 Naira per US dollar to 1,444.56 Naira per US dollar.
The 1.9% increment was confirmed based on data from the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The latest increase represents marks the fourth time this year that the apex bank has made changes to the rate.
As a result, importers and manufacturers who rely on the country’s seaport to bring in essential production materials will be required to pay a higher amount to facilitate the customs clearance of their goods, as import duties will be set according to the value of the dollar.
7. Emefiele: CBN Unable To Account For $4.5 Billion Missing From Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Between 2018 To 2019 – Auditor-General
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been asked to explain how the sum of $4.5 billion went unaccounted for in Nigeria’s foreign reserve account between 2018 and 2019.
The discrepancy was made known in an audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF).
The yearly report on audit provides comprehensive information about the spending and financial affairs of the various ministries, departments, and agencies under the government throughout a fiscal year.
According to the report, Foreign Reserves, which stood at US$42,594,842,852.75 in December 2018, decreased to US$38,092,720,200.72 in 2019. By a simple calculation, US$4,502,122,652.03 could not be accounted for.
The report detailed that the violation occurred during the COVID-19 outbreak, while Godwin Emefiele was in charge as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Following the discovery of the discrepancy, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Shaakaa Chira, has asked the CBN to provide an explanation for the missing funds.
8. Minister Places N2 Million Bounty On Anambra Lawyer For Inserting Hot Knife Into Househelp’s Private Part
Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, has declared Anambra-based lawyer, Adachukwu Chukelu Okafor, wanted, alongside a N2 million bounty, for brutalising her 11-year-old househelp.
Naija News reported that Adachukwu, who resides in Akpaka, Onitsha, molested 11-year-old Happiness, whom she brought into her home in January 2024 after contacting her parents to help her get a child who would assist her with house chores.
The househelp had mistakenly touched the private part of the lawyer’s little son while bathing him, and she inserted a hot knife into her private part as punishment.
The action generated outrage among residents, which led to the lawyer’s ‘disappearance’, and has failed to disclose her whereabouts or respond to calls.
Briefing newsmen Monday in Abuja, Kennedy-Ohaneye condemned Adachukuw’s action and urged the public to report her whereabouts to the police if seen.
The governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule has claimed that non-Nigerians operating the solid minerals sector are earning big.
The governor lamented that the foreigners take away the bulk of the resources and leave Nigerians with peanuts.
Sule revealed this at a public policy dialogue on Nigeria’s minerals and mining legislation, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, on Monday.
He subsequently called for constitutional reforms to turn around the fortunes of the sector for the benefit of Nigerians.
Gunmen believed to be affiliated with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) allegedly carried out an assault on the Okigwe Correctional Farm Settlement in Imo State on Monday.
Naija News learnt that the attack resulted in the death of a police officer and the escape of seven inmates.
Prior to the attack, the assailants reportedly kidnapped the correctional service officer responsible for the settlement.
In response, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Danjuma Aboki, visited the scene and promptly ordered the deployment of the Command’s Special Tactical Squad to track down the suspected IPOB/ESN operatives.
A statement issued by the Command’s spokesperson, Henry Okoye, attributed the responsibility for the attacks on the Correctional Service Farm Settlements, Umualomoke, and the residence of Dist. Senator Patrick Ndubeze in Okigwe to IPOB/ESN.