For adverts Placement only email: [email protected]


The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Monday disclosed that N409,915,331,675.45 had so far been spent on the payment of severance and death benefits to ex-workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Its Head of Public Communications, Mrs. Amina Othman-Tukur, explained in a statement that the payment streams were categorised into two; severance payments  to former active staff of PHCN and the payment of PHCN retirees/death benefits which PHCN could not settle before it handed over to the successor companies.


According to her, for active, the total number submitted to the BPE by PHCN was 47, 913 and out of the number, 47,275 representing 99 percent have been fully paid. These were forwarded to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for payment in 36 batches.

BPE said out of the 638 outstanding active staff, there are 167 duplicate and blank spaces on the list, 414 persons that never turned up for verification, 25 that have been audited and are awaiting cash-backing, nine others with initial documentation problems to be audited soon and 23 that have documentation problems.

Mrs Othman-Tukur added that, in the course of the verification,  81 cases were found to be short-paid, which have been corrected  and cash-backed, while 180 cases recently treated and recomputed for  short–payment are awaiting  cash backing.


She stated: “4,438 PHCN retirees/NOKs have been submitted to BPE in eight batches and to date, 3,131 representing, 71 per cent of the beneficiaries have been fully paid their entitlements with 1,307 yet to be paid. This is as a result of 15 of them having error in serial numbering, 66 possible duplicates in submissions, out of which   14 of them have   been   recently audited, and 196 have been cleared and are awaiting cash-backing, 392 cleared and sent to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) for pension related benefits and 694 to the Presidential Initiative for Continuous Auditing (PICA) for Gratuities and Deceased Benefits.

“On the  two per cent union deductions, the Bureau said a total of  N7,485,291,722.89  has already been  paid to the defunct PHCN  unions account from batches 1-36 while the Bureau has  already written to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to credit the unions’ account  for the remaining deductions.




The National Consultative Front, NCF, the newly formed political group, has lamented the rate of insecurity in Nigeria.

NCF said Nigeria may end up like Somalia with the current widespread violence, insurgency, banditry, and crime in the country.

This was disclosed by NCF leaders, Prof. Pat Utomi and Ghali Na’Abba in a statement they jointly signed and issued on Monday.

They also lamented the economic situation of the country which they said have kept Nigerians in “perpetual recursive mode.”

According to NCF: “I have pointed to the widespread violence, insurgency, banditry, and crime that is pointing us on the road to Somalia, the crisis in our educational system, and the economic troubles that keep our wellbeing in perpetual recursive mode.

“Everyone knows that without peace, progress is a pipe dream, yet we continue to mismanage the violence that is now Nigeria writ large.

NEWS:  Insecurity: Details of President Buhari meeting with Osinbajo, northeast governors, security chiefs emerge

“My first point about the violence engulfing us today is that it is so without purpose. We seem all so vulnerable to nihilists.

“Poverty and policy failure regarding education and economic growth are critical to reversing the situation. But I do not see effective deployment of soft power in dealing with the issues.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 06:50

An Upper Shari’a Court sitting in Kano yesterday sentenced a 30-year-old man, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, to death by hanging after his conviction for blasphemy.

The convict, who resides at Sharifai Quarters of Kano Municipal, was dragged before the court by the police on a count charge of inciting religious creed contrary to section 382 (6) of Kano State Sharia Panel Code Law 2000.

The trial judge, Khadi Muhammad Ali-Kani, said the offence was against the Islamic law.


Ali-Kani, thereafter, sentenced the convict to death by hanging under section 382 (b) of Kano State Sharia Panel Code Law 2000. The prosecution counsel, Insp. Aminu Yar-Goje, had earlier told the court that the convict committed the fence on February 28.

Yar-Goje alleged that on the same date at about 8pm and 11:50 pm, the convict, with the intention to hurt the feelings of Muslim faithful, made a blasphemous post via a WhatsApp group platform named, “Gidan Umma Abiha.”

“The convict made blasphemous and degrading audio remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” he said.


Sharif-Aminu pleaded guilty to the charge.

Meanwhile, the court had also sentenced a 17-year-old man, Umar Faruk, to 10-years imprisonment for alleged derogatory remarks on Allah, during a debate on March 4.

The convict, Faruk, voluntarily pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court also granted 30-day grace to appeal the judgment.

A former General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church, Prophet Samuel Abiara, has said politicians and government workers who steal from COVID-19 funds are cursed.

Abiara, in a statement on Monday, commended the Lagos State Government for reopening worship centres and pledged the commitment of his congregation to keeping regulations on COVID-19.


He, however, called on religious leaders in the country to intensify prayers for the end of the virus, saying only God could deliver the world from the pandemic.

“For those who are in charge of the donation of money, food items, etc, God said you must not steal anything from the money, food and all items donated for COVID-19 for yourself. If you do that, curses of the pandemic will be in the family of those who do this,” he added.

Abiara also asked Nigerians to go into agriculture, urging those with land, irrespective of the size, to cultivate them.

He appealed to the government to support agriculture, diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil and gas.


President Muhammadu Buhari says the All Progressives Congress (APC) could have used the military to overrun opposition states in the 2019 general election but it chose to be impartial.

Speaking at a meeting with north-east governors on Monday, Buhari said the government wanted to show Nigerians that it is humane.

Among the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors who attended the meeting at Aso Rock were Ahmadu Fintri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).

“It is true that we lost some states as a ruling party in a developing country, which is normal. I am proud of that because we are impartial, that is why as ruling party, we lost some states. That means we have our own mistakes,” he said.

“Some of those that defeated us are sitting here. We know we are a developing country but we respect our country, otherwise, with the use of Army, the police and the rest of them, we could have overrun you. We just wanted to show that we are humane and we are Nigerians. We will continue to do our best.”

The president said before last year’s elections, his party went round the country “apologising for not doing better, but we are doing our best. I think Nigerians believe us”.

“Nigerians, we thank God, understood us and they voted for us,” he said.

The president also lamented over the high level of insecurity in the country, asking the military to put in more efforts in curtailing crime.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 06:51

The Federal Government on Monday arraigned four civil servants and a former banker on charges of perpetrating a fraud involving over N140m through the manipulation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System to input details of ghost workers in 2017.

The five defendants were arraigned on 11 counts of cybercrime and advance fee fraud before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja.


They are Anthony Ogar, Olarenwaju Ladipo, Samuel Enwerem, Joshua Omachonu, and Joy Wright, who all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ogar was said to be of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Wright, the IPPS Desk Officer in the ministry, the duo of Ladipo and Omachonu, were said to be of the Nigeria Space Research and Development Agency, and Enwerem, an ex-banker, when the alleged fraud was said to have been perpetrated in 2017.

The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, alleged in the charges filed on August 6, 2020, that “with the intent to defraud” the defendants conspired and did obtain by false pretence from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System of the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of N140,000,000 using several fictitious salary accounts of employees of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The offences of conspiracy and the actual fraud were said to be contrary to Section 8(a), and 1(c), respectively, of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act CAP A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, both of which were said to be punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

In one of the counts Ogar, Ladipo and Wright were specifically accused of conspiracy and “unlawfully inputting, migrating and reactivating accounts of fictitious employees of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the said IPPIS with the intention that such fictitious employees will be considered as genuine.”

After the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, the defence lawyers, Mr E.I.B. Odo, for the 1st defendant, J.D. Musa for the 2nd and 5th defendants, Dickson Omahi for the 3rd and D. Akatugba for the 4th defendant, informed the judge that they had filed separate bail applications for their clients.


Justice Mohammed granted each of them bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in the same sum, each.


He fixed October 20 for trial.

AS the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria continues to rise, the Federal Government has warned that the nation is at a very dangerous stage of community transmission, even as it expressed concern that the pandemic may spread to all the 774 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the Federation.

Currently, only 85 LGAs, spread across 20 states, in which tests have not been conducted are yet to record a positive case of the disease.

Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce, PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha who disclosed this at Monday’s briefing of the Taskforce, said the number of LGAs with 50 percent of the COVID-19 burden has now extended to 20 from 11 previously, adding that for technical reasons it has not been feasible isolating those areas for precision lockdowns.

He said: “Nigeria, with 46, 577 confirmed cases and 945 cumulative deaths, remains respectively the third and fourth highest in these parameters. As we emphasised at the last briefing, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic. Therefore, the low test/ case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome. We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million population.

“Our analysis has however shown that five States still account for 60 percent of cumulative cases; 689 out of 774 LGAs have reported a case; 85 LGAs in 20 States still remain with no testing done and no case reported; and 50 percent of all cases are in 20 percent LGAs”.

Further, the PTF Chairman said even though the country has capacity to test 10, 000 people daily, only about 2,000 tests are currently being conducted, urging state governments to ramp up testing in their areas of responsibility.


1,000 fatality mark a wakeup call —Ehanire

Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire who expressed worry that the country was approaching the 1,000 mark in COVID-19 fatality, said it was a wakeup call to the reality of the pandemic.

Stating that the strategy of the government was to reduce fatality rate to less than 1 percent, Ehanire announced that the Federal government has reactivated the Basic HealthCare Fund, BHCPF.

He said National Council of Health, has reversed the guidelines for monitoring and disbursement of BHCPF funds, adding that the suspended funds were resumed to support the much needed efforts to COVID response.

“The new system has better structure and transparency and accountability. Development partners are urged to support the new system and the ministry of health is available to attend to concerns of donors. COVID will surely give us the opportunity to strengthen our health system.

Ehanire said government is turning its preferences therefore to gadgets that provide oxygen, like oxygen generators to be in many facilities, including General hospitals and larger Primary Healthcare Centres PHCs.

“Solar-powered aggregates, where available, will be prioritized. Federal Health Institutions with oxygen plants should activate them as a matter of priority and ensure they can deliver to their A & E Dept. The other measure is the activation of the Ambulance service to move patients to treatment centres.”

‘’This strategy worked well in Kano and all States should prepare to set up the system. The Federal Ministry of Health will provide guidance”, he said.

All WAEC centres decontaminated nationwide – Abubakar

The Minister of Environment, Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, disclosed that over 40,000 environment officers have been recruited to man all the West African Examination Council, WAEC, centres that have been decontaminated across the 36 states of the Federation.

According to him, the ministry last Thursday concluded while there will be daily decontamination of the centres throughout the examination period.

“The environment officers are to provide assistance at the centres. We have given them PPEs just in case somebody presents with symptoms. They will be there to evacuate, isolate the patients. There will be daily decontamination of the centres.

“ Mr. President is doing everything possible to contain the virus. Next exercise will come up when the schools are opened nationwide. “

The National Coordinator, PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu said the activities of the PTF was based on a scientific approach which is data driven.

“There is no doubt that COVID continues to live with us. For those who continue to deny it, close to 20 million people cannot be wrong. We have about 730 deaths worldwide and it continues to be a threat to our lives. COVID is a silent enemy and an enemy. We encourage persons above the age of 60 to stay at home and wear a mask.

“COVID is a silent enemy and the fact we cannot see it with naked eyes makes it more difficult. We can only get on top of COVID pandemic by enhancing self-awareness.

He said they could not carry out the procession lock-down because most of the centres are by the middle of the state and locking them down will mean locking down the entire state.

Governor of Oyo, Seyi Makinde, has sacked Raphael Afonja, the state commissioner of works, infrastructure and transport.

In a statement on Monday, Taiwo Adisa, chief press secretary to the governor, said the termination of Afonja’s appointment was contained in a letter dated August 10 and signed by Olubamiwo Adeosun, secretary to the state government (SSG).

The reason for the commissioner’s sack was not officially stated, but Afonja had announced at a radio programme earlier on Monday that he spent 55 days treating COVID-19.

The sack letter as reproduced by Adisa, read: “I wish to convey the approval of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, on the termination of your appointment as Honourable Commissioner, with immediate effect.

“Consequent upon the above development, you are hereby directed to hand over all the government items in your possession to the permanent secretary (ministry of works, infrastructure and transport).

“I am to add that, your contribution within the time of your sojourn is appreciated and commendable, and therefore, wish you successes in your future endeavours. I thank you.”

The governor also swapped the portfolios of two of his commissioners.

Bayo Lawal who was commissioner of special duties was moved to the state’s ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs, while Funmilayo Orisadeyi who held sway in the latter ministry was given the former role of Lawal.


Last modified on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 06:51

Students in Senior Secondary Schools Three in Ekiti State resumed on Monday preparatory to the commencement of West African Senior School Certificate Examinations.

This was as the state government on Monday announced the suspension of a school principal who was not available in the school on Sunday when the governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, visited some schools in the state on the level of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.


The Commissioner for Education, Foluso Daramola, who announced the suspension of the Principal of Methodist Girls High School, Ifaki Ekiti, directed her to “hand over the management of the school to the most senior vice principal in the school pending the conclusion of appropriate disciplinary action by the Teaching Service Commission.”

A public service announcement signed by the Assistant Director (Information), Kunle Adeniyi, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, stated, “At Methodist Girls High School, Ifaki Ekiti, the principal was not available to receive the governor and his entourage and making the monitoring exercise impossible in the school in spite of the notice from the Ministry of Education.”

The statement quoted Fayemi as saying that schools must ensure that the sitting arrangement of students was done to conform with COVID-19 protocol for physical distancing and to allow teachers’ unhindered movement around the classrooms. 

Catholic Bishops have asked Nigerians to rise and defend themselves against attacks by bandits, herdsmen, kidnappers and other violent criminals across the country.

The bishops spoke as North-East governors yesterday, for the second time in four days, told President Muhammadu Buhari that there was the need to address the root causes of Boko Haram insurgency in the zone.


Rising from the second plenary meeting of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province at Bishop’s House, Okigwe, the Catholic Bishops in a communique issued at the end of the meeting, expressed concern over growing insecurity in the country and asked Nigerians to be vigilant and be ready to defend themselves.

‘Defend yourselves, pray’

In the communiqué, signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna and Most Rev. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, respectively, the Bishops said: “Bearing in mind that no economic or educational endeavour can thrive in a volatile and unsafe environment, the security and safety of the nation at large and Igboland in particular, deserve special attention.

“Kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, incessant killings, which have continued unabated, cast serious doubts on the willingness and capability of our security outfits to rise up to their constitutional responsibilities.

“Rise up in prayer to God in vigilance and in legitimate self-defence, for the right to life, to our homes and to our lands that is God-given.”

The bishops also called on governors, as chief security officers of their states, to protect their people’s lives, homes and their lands, appealing specially to Imo and Abia state governors to protect their domains against marauding herdsmen, kidnappers and other violent criminals terrorizing the people.

On COVID-19, the Bishops noted that nothing had shaken the world to its foundations as coronavirus, saying “amid the unprecedented panic, tension and confusion provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the face of the resurgent insecurity in our land and across the nation, we have every reason to thank God, who has kept us alive by His mercy.”

Reaffirming that COVID-19 is real, the Bishops stressed the need for governments at all levels to rise to their responsibility of ensuring adequate provisions of basic amenities, such as running water.

“Particular attention should be paid to improving our poor healthcare facilities, making provision for more testing centres with affordable services and enough personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers,’’ the Bishops pleaded.

On the effect of the pandemic on education, the Bishop’s said: “The pandemic has also impacted negatively on our educational system. Our schools at all levels have been closed for months. With everybody at home, there has been an increase in domestic violence, abuses and all sorts of crimes.

“The inadequacy of our educational system and formation have been laid bare. Some climes have tried to bridge the gap through online education. Unfortunately, we lack the basic infrastructure to cue in, except in a handful of places and schools.

“But this is too few, too selective and too expensive to provide for an integral human forum, which is the goal of education.

“This is a challenge for all stakeholders in education. The billions of Naira embezzled regularly could be gainfully used in meeting these challenges.”


Last modified on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 06:50