Some officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday arrested four directors of The National Theatre in Lagos for alleged embezzlement of government funds.
According to the Sources, the four directors, including a woman, were picked up at their Iganmu office for allegedly diverting “huge sums” of revenue and statutory allocation into private use.
It was gathered that the directors allegedly failed to remit revenues realized from the use of facilities at the National Theatre into the Federal Government Treasury Single Account (TSA).
According to sources, among government revenue allegedly embezzled were N24 million annual rent paid by Nigerian Breweries for its 20 branded kiosks and N9 million paid for the use of National Theatre during the “Lagos @ 50” celebrations.
The affected directors were allegedly whisked out of the promises after they refused to honour EFCC invitation for questioning in the office of the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre, Mr Tar Ukoh. The intervention of Mrs Grace Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, on telephone could not save the officials from being whisked away by the EFCC operatives.
While adressing an Anti – Corruption Rally earlier in the premises, Ukoh who also oversee the National Troupe of Nigeria, vowed to stamp out graft in the Agency. Ukoh said, “Culture must kill corruption before corruption kills culture.”
Reacting to the development, Henry Udubuisi, Vice President, National Theatre Chapter of AUPCTRE, said that the union was behind the decision of the management to rid the Agency of corruption.
AUPCTRE is the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services. Udubuisi told sources that the union would give its support to the new management to cleanse the Agency of graft.
He said, “The position of the union is that we are solidly behind the management to fight corruption in National Theatre. We are also proud to be associated with it. We are using this medium to appreciate the management on its ‘Change must begin with me project.”
“The Artistic Director means well; he wants to address some administrative impunity here. He is not victimizing anybody, he is just asking them to be accountable for what has happened for those who has questions to answer. We need someone like him here to stamp out corruption.”
“The union will never condone corruption; infact the union stands against corruption and we are happy that the management key into our vision.”
“The union has been fighting corruption even before the new management came in, especially when there was a proposal on the sale of the theatre. We fought against what we regarded to as administrative impunity under the then Chief Executive but all what we got was dismissal.”
“Most of the executive members of the union were dismissed for standing against corruption and the sale of the only cultural iconic building in Nigeria.”
When contacted, EFCC spokesman in Lagos, Mr Sam Amadin, said that he was yet to be briefed on the arrest.
About 2, 000 hectares of farmland have been destroyed by water across the three districts of Patigi Local government area of Kwara.
Special Adviser to Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed on Emergency and Relief Services, Alhaji Duro Mohammed, disclosed this while inspecting the havoc caused by flood in Patigi yesterday.
He said rice farms in Lade, Patigi and Sepondi districts cultivated near the River Niger were mostly affected as well as a clinic, a cemetery and a primary school at Gbaradogi.
Mohammed, who led the state government’s delegation to the flooded farms, described the damage as devastating.
He called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the state in ameliorating the suffering of the affected farmers.
He said the magnitude of the disaster was too much for the state to bear alone.
He also called for urgent dredging of River Niger and construction of a drain that would permanently secure the rice farms against flooding in the future.
The Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar, expressed concerns over the perennial flooding in the area.
The monarch also suggested that dredging of River Niger and construction of drain would permanently safe the community from the disaster.
Umar said the flood had increased poverty level in the community, noting that compensations were not enough in ameliorating the suffering of the people who are predominantly farmers.
Source: The Nation
Garba Shehu, spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, has condemned Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s criticisms of President Buhari’s Independence Day speech. Shehu, in a statement on Monday, maintained that it was unfair for the group to blame the recent unrest in the southeast region on the federal government.
“President Buhari was not abdicating his responsibilities. He didn’t request any political leader to do anything seminal or out of the box.
“All he says is, talk to your out-of-the-line-youth so that we have some peace. Igbo leaders need not to be on the defensive for the misbehaviour of the IPOB which they rightly condemned,” he said.
Shehu stated that the President was simply saying that the regional leaders also had a role to play in keeping their hot-headed youth in check.
“President Buhari was simply calling out the regional leaders to their responsibilities, making them aware of the crucial role they can play.
“This should not be seen as an attack on the Ohaneze or on any other regional leaders.”
Shehu also reacted to other criticisms of the President’s speech, particularly the declaration that all matters of restructuring or constitutional amendment are the business of the National Assembly.
“It beats our imagination that men claiming to be democrats or having democratic credentials are asking the government to ignore an elected parliament in preference to a committee made up of presidential appointees to debate and resolve constitutional issues.
“You are either for democracy or for its opposite. For us in this government, democracy is the country’s chosen system of government and we are determined to deepen and uphold it.
“Democracy may be slow and chaotic, but it remains the best system of government the world has got so far.
“We inherited a country in tatters- its economy, its security and its social relations. President Buhari deserves credit for rebuilding what has been destroyed.
“If anyone thinks this a failure, let them talk to those millions of farmers we have empowered to create riches for themselves and the nation, for whom fertilizer is available everywhere at the regulated price of N5,500 instead of N13,800, a year ago.
“Let them ask the manufacturers and importers of goods who bought the Dollar at N525:00 and are happy that it is down to N360:00 and still improving.
“Let them go back and read the accomplishments highlighted in the speech, to see the advancements in security, agriculture, the ease of doing business and anti-corruption, to mention a few,’’ he stressed.
Shehu also condemned those he described as professional critics who were fond of attacking or criticizing meaningful government policies and programmes with the hope of being “settled’’.
He said: “As for those critics who are used to being settled by successive governments, with false claims to being so-called conscience of society popping out from the cupboard on and off to drive the country towards religious and ethnic polarization, they have no other motive but to rock the boat of good governance.
“What they yearn for is to be picked out to be paid to keep quiet. The Buhari government has abolished ‘settlement’.
“Polarizing speeches that aggravate Nigerian against a brother Nigerian are causing damage to our democracy, rocking at the very foundation of our unity and they better not cross those red lines as warned by the President.”
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has slammed those agitating for Biafra.
Obasajo said those clamouring for the disintegration of the nation were only waiting for ship at the airport.
The ex-soldier in an interview with a Liberian-based news portal, AfricanArgument, said the agitators don’t event know what the struggle was all about.
“The protesters don’t even know what the struggle is all about, but if it gives them false hope, why not hang onto it? Let the elders handle it or ignore it until it loses momentum.
“There are elders in any community who are still respected…After all, they’re their fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, and can still be used effectively,” he said.
On federalism, Obasanjo said he does not believe in it and that those talking about devaluation and true federalism don’t know what they were talking about.
“I don’t believe in true federalism. What is true federalism? Why are they not accountable? What powers do they not have?
Obasanjo also carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari for not doing enough on unemployment and recession.
He added, “In fact, state governors are more powerful than the president. That’s the truth.”
“If anybody tells you they want devolution or true federalism, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
He advised that if “youth empowerment, skill acquisition and youth employment – education are provided the ticking bomb of possible youth explosion out of restiveness and anger will subside. In fact, state governors are more powerful than the president.”
The younger brother of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has called on the Nigerian Army to release the corpse of the secessionist group leader if they have killed him.
The younger Kanu had an interview today where he said that since the September 14th “invasion” of his brother’s home by military officers, no one knows the whereabouts of his brother, Nnamdi as well as their parents.
He called on the international community to help in calling on the Federal government to release his brother dead or alive.
“It is either they, that is the soldiers, captured him or killed him when they attacked our house.
If they captured him, they should release him to the police, and if they have killed him, they should produce the corpse because he was last seen moments before the raid,” he said.