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Benue Governor Faces Backlash Over N2.04 Billion Expenditure on Vehicles



Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue has stirred controversy with the approval of N2,040,780,000 for the purchase of vehicles, including those for himself, his Deputy, House of Assembly members, and other government officials in the state. This expenditure, sanctioned on September 5, 2023, is part of a series of questionable expenses by the governor, amounting to over N40 billion in just five months.

Financial records obtained exposed the allocation of funds for various purposes, including construction and rehabilitation projects. The document outlined the allocation of N2,040,780,000 as an anticipatory approval for the procurement of vehicles, with sources within the state government expressing concerns over the governor’s spending practices.

In response to the revelations, a government source stated, “Recent developments have however proven that Governor Alia has not been telling Benue people the truth. To describe his government as wasteful is to be kind to him. What is happening with Benue’s resources under the watch of Governor Alia is worse than a locust.”

The report disclosed that Governor Alia spent substantial amounts within four months in office, awarding contracts, some of which were deemed fictitious. The concerns further highlighted a lack of ongoing projects despite significant financial allocations.

Among the controversial expenditures, the governor approved N1.2 billion on the same day for the procurement of refurbished 2017/2016 Hummer buses and fairly used Hilux 2018/2019 model vehicles. The company allegedly receiving the award is said to have ties to the governor’s associates.

Additionally, on September 28, 2023, the Alia government reportedly released N2,236,000,000 (N2.2 billion) to the same company for the procurement of refurbished Hummer buses and Toyota Hilux vehicles, with the number of vehicles unspecified in the third approval.

Further scrutiny of the financial records revealed payments for unrelated expenses, including N3,551,820.00 for accountants to attend a professional development program and N65 million for the replacement of a generator at the Government House in Makurdi. These revelations have raised concerns about financial transparency and accountability in the governor’s administration.

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EFCC Prosecute Couple For N500 Million Investment Scam



The Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a couple, Emmanuel Dike and Ugochi Eziaku Dike, for an alleged N500 million investment scam.

This was disclosed in a statement posted on the official X handle of the EFCC on Thursday evening.

According to the statement, the couple was arraigned alongside their company, Dike & Phil Associates Ltd, on Wednesday, November 29, by the EFCC on five-count charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and criminal conversion of funds to personal use.

One of the charges read, “That you Ugochi Eziaku Dike, Emmanuel Dike, Dike & Phil Associates Ltd; Kelechi Chigozirim Ahiawe (still at large), and Ampletech Integrated Services Ltd, sometime between the 24th day of August, 2020 and 15th day of February, 2021, at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira only from one Captain Chukwuemeka Stanley Ikeri, a Nigerian citizen and his company- Clipboard Office Superstores Limited, under the pretext that it was for investment purposes that will yield him 10% interest, which you all claimed to have the capability to deliver to him, which pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.

The statement further read that the couple pleaded not guilty to the charges read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel Dr. B. Ubi, prayed the court for a trial date, while counsel to the defendants, J. C. Okeke, informed the court of his application for the bail of the first and second defendants. He prayed the court to grant the defendants bail to enable them prepare for trial.

Justice Ajoku granted the defendants bail in the sum of one million Naira each, with two sureties in like sum.
The defendants were remanded in the Port Harcourt Correctional Service pending the perfection of their bail conditions, and the matter was adjourned to January 30, 2024 for commencement of trial.

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Miracle Delivery: 70 Years Old Woman Gave Birth Birth To Twins In Uganda



A Ugandan woman aged 70 has given birth to twins, her doctor said Thursday, in what the mother hailed as a miracle.

Safina Namukwaya described her joy at the arrival of the twins who were born on Wednesday at a medical facility in the capital Kampala, where she had received fertility treatment.
“This is [an] extraordinary achievement, delivering twins to Africa’s oldest mother at 70 years,” Doctor Edward Tamale Sali, who supervised her pregnancy and delivery, told AFP.

He said the mother and babies — a boy and a girl — were still in the care of the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre that he founded, but were in good health.
“There is no way to express my joy at this moment,” said Namukwaya, who lives in the rural of Masaka about 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Kampala.

“At 70 years when I’m considered weak, unable to get pregnant and deliver, or look after a baby, and here is a miracle of the twins,” she told AFP by phone.
Namukwaya said she previously gave birth to a girl in 2020, after being mocked as “cursed woman” who had previously failed to produce a child.

She said her first husband had died in 1992, leaving her without children, and she met her current partner in 1996.

But Namukwaya voiced dismay that her partner has not visited her since she came to the hospital for the delivery.
“Maybe he is not happy that I delivered twins because men don’t want to know you are carrying more than one child in a womb for fear of may be responsibilities that come with that.”

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FG Assure Nigerians Of Better Standard Living By 2024



The presidency has assured that Nigerians will begin to see the effects of the 2024 budget within the shortest possible time.

Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters to President Bola Tinubu, Kunle Olanrewaju, gave this assurance in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.

He said, “Within the shortest possible time, Nigerians will begin to see the effects of the 2024 budget and will have reason to smile.”

“Things are not very rosy for the average Nigerian; all of us are in the shoes, and we believe that we must change the narratives. And of course, that is why the president has focused this particular budget on solving the basic problems, particularly job creation, poverty reduction, and social development.

“The indices are clear that we have problems in our hands, but like a good warrior, you don’t run away from war. I can assure you that we will begin to see the effect of this budget within the shortest possible time.

“Nigeria will clearly see that at the end of the tunnel, there is light,” he said.
Recall President Bola Tinubu, at his maiden budget presentation before the National Assembly on Wednesday, said the proposed N27.5 trillion 2024 budget will ensure micro-economic stability, poverty reduction, and greater access to social security.

The president highlighted priority areas such as security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security.
He fixed recurrent non-debit expenditure at N9.92trn, capital expenditure at N8.73trn, debt service at N8.25trn, revenue at N18.32trn, new borrowings at N7.83trn, and deficit at N9.18trn.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget for a second reading.

The House passed the appropriations bill on Thursday.
House Leader Julius Ihonvbere, while leading the debate on the general principles of the budget, commended President Bola Tinubu.
Ihonvbere noted that national security and education, which got significant allocations, will be enhanced if implemented.
He said, “Nigeria will be more secure with the allocation to defence and security.

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