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Anti-Corruption Group Urges EFCC to Probe ex-Delta Gov Okowa, Others

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The Network Against Corruption and Trafficking Initiative (NACAT), an anti-corruption group, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate former governors who already have petitions against them before the commission.

At a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the executive director of investigation at NACAT, Tega Oghenedoro, said some governors have petitions against them at the EFCC but the continued neglect of probing these petitions was discouraging to the amount of time and money put into investigations by the petitioners.

The group lamented that despite petitions from different persons against the immediate-past Delta State governor, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, the EFCC was yet to investigate him or make their investigation results public.

According to the group they are at loss at why the EFCC and ICPC have not started investigating and prosecuting past Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, despite the petition against him. We have submitted petitions to such effect for months. A statesman from Delta has also submitted a petition.

“If the EFCC will constantly turn a blind eye to such corruption that happened over Okowa, which makes that of ex-governor Yahaya Bello’s alleged N88 billion a child play, then they should let Yahaya Bello walk scot free. It seems that the EFCC is in bed with ex-governors from the South South who are the biggest looters in the country.

“As a leading anti-corruption group in Nigeria, we will be failing in our duties and responsibilities if we turn a blind eye to the wanton corruption and embezzlement of public funds orchestrated by former governors not bring it to the public domain.

“We have painstakingly investigated and audited many of the financial records of the state available to us and detailed our findings here as part of our press briefing today,” the group remarked.

 

Abuja Reports

FG Restates Support For SMEs To Deepen Economic Development

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The federal government has restated its commitment to support the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, stressing that they are vital for socio-economic growth and development of the country.

The minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, (FMIST) Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji said this during the launching and analysis section of Global Cleantech Innovation Program, initiated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on Wednesday in Abuja. He  added that the nation recognizes the critical role start-ups and SMEs play in driving economic development, enhancing renewable access and contributing to broader climate change actions in the country.

Nnaji pointed out that SMEs often face significant challenges in commercialising and scaling their solutions due to insufficient policy and regulatory support, limited financing opportunities, and general weak innovation ecosystem in the nation.

According to the minister, ‘’Today we embark on a journey of transformative change, driven by collective efforts of the Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP), this UNIDO-led initiative, sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aims to bridge the gap between Cleantech Entrepreneurs and the Market, often referred to as the “valley of death” by providing competitive, business acceleration services for innovative Cleantech Startups and SMEs. It seeks to foster an enabling environment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the country’’.

A statement issued by the deputy director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry,  Obed Atuora, quoted the minister as saying  that with valuable support from UNIDO, the government  aims to build, strengthen, and interconnect the institutional capacity of the stakeholders .

He noted also the Government was keen in developing policy regulations and recommendations, promoting linkages and collaborations across Global Council on International Educational Exchange, (CIEE) towards ensuring gender and youths mainstreaming into the economy of the nation.

To this end, the Minister commended all stakeholders for their unwavering support and commitment towards creating a sustainable future for Nigeria.

Earlier, the National programme coordinator of  UNIDO Mr. Oluyomi Banjo said that there is need for Clean Technology, which will not only enhance achievement of climate change mitigation and Paris agreement obligations, but also, cements Nigeria’s status as an emerging economic and technological giant.

According to Oluyomi Banjo, the cleantech programme seeks to build robust innovation ecosystems that can identify and systematically support high –impact cleantech technology innovations as well as attract large-scale investments.

 

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Abuja Reports

BPP To Strengthen Procurement Systems, Trains Katsina Governing Board

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The acting director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPP) Olusegun Omotola, has said the bureau is working on strengthening the procurement systems at not just the federal level but also at state levels.

He stated this at a training organised by the BPP for the Governing Board of the Katsina State Bureau of Public Procurement for Economic Development and Job Creation. Omotola, while giving his Remarks during the Opening Ceremony of the two-day workshop on ‘Public Reform for the Governing Board of the Katsina State Bureau of Public Procurement’ said there is need to strengthen institutional framework at all levels.

Adding that, “Public Procurement is a strategic tool for economic development” Omotola said, to achieve “Mr. President’s mandate in the area of procurement, there is the need for proper harnessing of knowledge to get good results in work. He said the core of any Procurement Reforms are the cardinal principles of Modernisation, Legislative and Regulatory framework, strengthening institutional framework and Management Capacity. Stressing that, improvement of procurement operations, market practices and strengthening integrity of procurement systems are core cardinals.

“BPP is currently on the path of repositioning itself to improve the procurement operations and market associates as well as strengthening the integrity of Public Procurement system by supporting fair and competitive practices, stressing the use of technology such as e-procurement system to ensure delivery and value- for- money in public expenditure.”

He further stated that having members of the Governing Board of the Katsina State BPP is a strategic move by the state Government to equip the strategic apex of the state BPP with relevant knowledge, skills and exposure that will position the state to achieve the dividends of strategic and sustainable public procurement practices in the state.

The Bureau, he said, is happy with the partnership and called on other States Public Procurement Regulatory bodies to embrace this type of knowledge exchange to enrich the public procurement practices at sub-national level across the country.

“I expect that at the end of this workshop, the members of the Governing Board of the Katsina State Bureau of Public Procurement would have gained knowledge and useful insight on the Provisions of the Public Procurement Laws and Guidelines, practical tips and practices on the performance of regulatory functions, and entrenching ethical standards and Code of Conduct in public procurement practices”. He pointed out.

The Director-General of Katsina state BPP, Badamasi Yau Yantumaki, in his address said, the Katsina State Governor, Mallam Dikko Umar Radda is committed to Transparency and Accountability, which is aimed at promoting public confidence and trust in the state.

Yantumaki noted that the Katsina State BPP initiated a number of Reforms to ensure Best Procurement Practices that would become a service culture in the State, these are; Capacity Building, Domestication of Procurement Cadre in all government entities with a view to ensure that all government agencies adhere to the provisions of Public Procurement laws in all procurement processes.

 

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Abuja Reports

Electricity Theft: AEDC To Embark On Night Raids

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The management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has revealed that it has adopted a strong stance against energy theft through increased vigilance and night raids.

The initiative, he said was to identify and address illegal connections and ensure fairer billing for all customers and reduce system losses.

Mr Victor Ojelabi, the Acting Managing Director of the company, said this on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.

Ojelabi said the company is also prioritising the clearance of outstanding bills to optimise service delivery and ensure operational efficiency.

“This strategic move is designed to enhance our financial health, enabling us to provide more robust and reliable electricity distribution services.

“We appeal to all our valued customers with outstanding bills to settle them promptly.

”This is crucial in maintaining uninterrupted service delivery and ensuring that we provide reliable electricity to every household and business in our service areas.”

Ojelabi also said AEDC has introduced new initiatives to enhance its operational capabilities for effective service delivery.

He also assured the customers that the new changes effected would bring about a significant improvement in the service delivery.

Ojelabi said that the series of initiatives were embarked upon by AEDC to transform its operations and enhance service delivery to its esteemed customers.

“The new leadership team is poised to drive the organisation to new heights of operational excellence and customer satisfaction.

He listed the initiatives embarked upon by the company to bolster its service delivery and customer satisfaction to include the Token Identifier Rollover (TID).

“We have launched the Token Identifier (TID) Rollover to enhance the integrity and functionality of prepaid meters.

‘This initiative is crucial for accurate billing and updating the meter software security.

“The global termination for the TID rollover is Nov. 30. Also, our target is to ensure all customers are rolled over by July 31, 2024,”he said.

In the area of mass metering programme, he said, “As part of the Federal Government’s Mass Metering initiative, we are facilitating the distribution of meters to unmetered customers.

”I encourage our customers to apply for meters through AEDC’s streamlined application process to benefit from accurate and fair billing.

” We have successfully operationalised our vending platforms, making it easier for customers to purchase electricity tokens through various convenient channels by visiting it
AEDC’s vending platform at pay4energy.abujaelectricity.com or any UBA branch nationwide.

”We have strengthened our customer experience department to ensure timely responses to inquiries and complaints, further enhancing customer satisfaction,”he said.

According to him, in the company’ quest to improve internal efficiency, it is digitalising several internal processes, including the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

He said that the move was to improve employee turnaround time and operational efficiency.

He listed the new management teamto include Mr Okwuokenye Chijioke , Chief Operating Officer, Mr Babajide Ibironke , Chief Finance Officer, Mr Godfrey Aba, Chief Technical Officer , Mr Iguwo Ukwu , Company Secretary and Head Legal.

Others are Mr Uche Anyalewechi, Chief Information Officer, Ms Irene Nwankwo, Chief Internal Auditor, Mr Canice Emeka, Chief Business Officer, APO Zone and Ms Adefisayo Akinsanya, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications amongst others.

”We recognise the critical role of the media in informing and serving the public.

“We are committed to fostering a collaborative relationship with media partners to ensure transparent and accurate communication with our customers,” he said.
(NAN)

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