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2023 Census: N200bn already spent on preparation — NPC discloses



…Insists census not cancelled, only postponed

…Says only N224bn of N800bn released by FG

As controversies and doubt continue to surround the possibility of holding the 2023 population and housing census, after a postponement was foisted nullifying the earlier scheduled date, the National Population Commission (NPC) has disclosed that over N200 billion has been spent so far for preparation for the exercise.

Chairman of the Commission, Nasir Isa-Kwarra made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday at a breakfast meeting with media executives in preparation for the 2023 population and housing census.

The NPC boss further stated that although N800 billion was budgeted for the census, the Federal Government has only allocated N224 billion for the exercise.

“What we have been able to expend is about N200 billion. So, the N800 billion is a budget and that budget covers the cost of conducting census in Nigeria. It is not that government has given us N800 billion but it is a budget and we believe that we may spend up to that or we may not spend up to that.

“To be straightforward, the federal government has actually provided N224 billion which we have utilised for the census so far,” he said.

The NPC boss hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to postpone the census, saying that it is the right decision to make amidst processes of power transition to another administration.

On security, he assured Nigerians that the Commission would conduct the census in a serene and secure environment despite security threats from different parts of the Country.

Speaking on same note, the Federal Commissioner representing Oyo State, NPC, and Chairman Public Affairs Committee, Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji, said the census was not cancelled but only postponed and that preparations still continued.

“The census process continues. Even though it has been postponed and rescheduled, we want to make a statement that it has not been cancelled, the process is continuing.”

He said, “When President Muhammadu Buhari announced the postponement, he also charged us to continue activities while allowing the incoming government to become part of the process and own the process.

“We want to assure Nigerians that the preparations that have been made and money spent is secure, they are not wasted, we will continue to work towards the success of the exercise.”

Recall that the NPC had late April announced the postponement of the population and housing census earlier scheduled for May 3rd, 2023, citing it was in view of the Federal Government’s wisdom for the exercise to hold after the inauguration of the new administration and after nerves from the general elections must have been calmed.

Director, Public Affairs Department, NPC, Dr Isiaka Yahaya at a media chat had said having a census is an event that needs enough planning that follows due process.

“The census was not postponed but was rescheduled, because preparations for the census have begun already.

“Some are having the misconception that the census was postponed due to the Commission’s lack of preparation. I want to let Nigerians know that we are prepared and we have done everything that we need to do to deliver this census starting from the enumeration/demarcation, first and second pre-test and the trial census. So, the issue of our preparedness is out of it.

“The responsibility for the funding of the census is that of the Federal Government of Nigeria and they have lived up to expectations in financing all the preparations. And I know that if there was a consensus to proceed with the census, the money will come. We should be very clear that it’s not an issue of funding.

“The Federal Government has the power to decide whether the census will take place or not. This is a massive exercise and the decision cannot be only for the Commission to make. Hence, the Federal Government has felt in its wisdom to postpone it.

“The Federal Government might have thought that the conduct of the census is a process. If the nation uses the data for planning then it has to be done well. If the Census is conducted by one government and another government will have the responsibility of utilising it, it won’t be a smooth synergy and transition.

“Fixing the census after the election, we felt the healing process that we hoped after the election everyone must have accepted the fate. But the rescheduling of the governorship election, limited the period available for this healing process to happen. The Federal Government in its discretion must have felt to carry out the census after the inauguration of the new administration and after nerves have been calmed,” he had said.

Yahaya had also noted that the nation is not losing anything by postponing the census but gained a lot by having extra time to continue preparations to have an effective data that will aid planning.

“The kind of preparations we have made for census are so effective to the extent that if we don’t conduct the census now, those infrastructures and facilities we have put in place, will make it successful. The nation is not losing anything substantial from the census postponement,” he said.

On same page, the NPC Census Manager, Dr. Inuwa Jalingo, boasted that the Commission is technically ready to implement the census and that preparation for the exercise continues.

“We have created the necessary system that is required to implement a digital census. Starting from our software development, which we have developed for the enumeration area demarcation.

“For the success of the census, we have developed systems whereby it doesn’t allow the enumerators go beyond the boundaries in which they are expected to enumerate. So the issue of overlap or under coverage has been taken care of in our planning for this census,” he mentioned.

Jalingo further disclosed that salaries of the adhoc staff of the Commission have been put on hold.


Abiodun eulogies Alaba Lawson, says legacy will be sustained



Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Friday said that the late Iyalode of Yoruba land, Chief Mrs. Alaba Lawson left a legacy that would be a reference and an inspiration to generations yet unborn.

Abiodun stated this at the funeral and outing service held at the African Church, Cathedral of St. James, Idi-Ape, Ago-Oko, Abeokuta, even as he noted that the late educationist life and times are inspiring narrative of great accomplishments.

According to the governor, as the first female president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), former Chairman, Board of Governing Council, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Fellow and Council Member, Institute of Directors, Chairman Board of Trustees, Nigerian Quality Infrastructure Forum, among others, the deceased dedicated her life to serving the nation, Ogun State and the society at large.

He added that her accomplishments are extraordinary and challenging to replicate.

The governor said: “Chief Alaba Lawson was a woman of remarkable achievements, leaving indelible marks and lasting impact, not just in our dear State, but throughout the entire country. A great philanthropist who garnered numerous accolades throughout her life time and her contributions to the society were immense.

“The Lawson family of Abeokuta has lost a true gem, and the Association of Academics in Nigeria mourns the loss of a distinguished member with exceptional intelligence. Her eventful life will continue to inspire many especially the younger generation.”

He described the late Alaba Lawson as the cultural ambassador who held on to her root by promoting the cultural values and the Adire fabrics wherever she went, adding that as an advocate of women rights, she was fearless and tireless and was always ready to sacrifice for the benefit of the society.

Mrs. Lawson, the governor emphasized, was a loving mother to her children and those of others, saying she lived an impactful life, and was a strong supporter of the present administration, assuring that his administration would do the needful to sustain her legacy.

“We as government, we will do the needful in sustaining your legacy. Let me assure you that we will continue to ensure that we sustain the legacy of our own dear Iyalode Oluwaseun Alaba Lawson,” Prince Abiodun said.

In his sermon, the Primate, African Church, His Eminence Julius Olayinka Abbe, said the late Alaba Lawson lived an impactful life as she was kind and generous to the people, the church and the society.

Iyalode Lawson, according to the Primate, was a defender to the defenceless, a reliable and worthy mother who was not only interested in the welfare of her biological children, but to anyone who crossed her path during her life time.

Taking his text from the Book of Matthew 5 verse 8, the Cleric decried the attitude of some wealthy individuals who care less about the well-being of others, noting that late Alaba Lawson, apart from being a well known educationist, an industrialist with wide network of connections, was a beacon of hope.

He added that her death has created a big vaccum that would be difficult to fill.

He called on the wealthy and those in authority, to work towards alleviating the sufferings in the land brought about by the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, saying many people are struggling to survive due to the hardship.

The service had in attendance the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and his wife, Chief (Mrs) Bola Obasanjo; former Governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun his wife, Olufunso; the wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, amongst others.

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Ministry sensitizes staff on cost cutting in governance



By Matthew Denis

The Head of Efficiency Unit Federal Ministry of Finance, Busola Ajiboye said that activities of Efficiency Unit are effectively helping the Federal Government to cut down the cost of governance.

Ajiboye made the disclosure in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital today during a one-day sensitization exercise on Cost Cutting Measures in Governance.

Ajiboye in her welcome address said that, the Efficiency Unit through its critical role in enhancing the “prudent and transparent management of public resources” in the country has efficiently reduced wastages and improved value for money in government spending, adding that, the Unit has continually contributed significantly towards achieving the nation’s development goals.

She noted that the Unit’s main objective was to share knowledge on cost cutting devices through sensitisation programme such as this, reviewing all government overhead expenditures with a view to reducing wastes, promoting efficiency and ensuring quantifiable savings for the nation.

She added that the participants would be equipped with knowledge and tools at the end of the sensitisation programme to contribute to the efficient and effective use of public resources, noting that, cutting cost and blocking of loopholes is what the country needs at the moment so as to save for the rainy day.

She further explained that the aim of the workshop was to explore opportunity to learn, collaborate and make positive impact on efficient financial management, adding that, participants would also learn various initiatives, policies and strategies for ensuring optimal utilization of resources at every level of government.

She explained that it would serve as a platform for engaging in meaningful dialogue, sharing of experiences and fostering collaborations across different sectors.

The Head of Efficiency Unit disclosed that the Efficiency Unit would be established in all government’s Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Mr. Fatimehin Adebayo, Assistant Director Efficiency Unit Federal Ministry of Finance in a vote of thanks said, “The workshop was timely because of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda whose core objective is cutting cost, prudent spending, blocking of loopholes and maximising available resources.” Adebayo also added, “Though the challenges are many but we will get there.”

He commended the Honourable Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, the Permanent Secretary Finance, Okokon Ekanem Udo, the Honourable Commissioner of Finance, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Nsikan L. Nkan, the Permanent Secretary Finance and Accountant General of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Uwem Andrew -Essien, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State, the workshop participants for their support and encouragement for the success of the sensitisation programme.

The workshop was well attended by representatives of Federal and State Governments Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

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Crude Oil Theft: Navy nabs oil vessel with 17 crew



The Nigerian Navy says its Forward Operating Base (FOB), IGBOKODA, in Ondo State, hasi n the early hours of Thursday apprehended a 77-meter-long Motor Tanker (MT) VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS involved in crude oil theft.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, in Abuja.

Ayo-Vaughan said the vessel, which had 17 crew members onboard at the time of arrest, was caught engaging in illegal siphoning of crude oil from one of the well heads at EBESAN oil field about 7 nautical miles off the coast of Awoye riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo state.

He said the arrest of the vessel followed credible intelligence received by the Base on the illegal activities of crude oil thieves at the location, which informed the swift deployment of FOB IGBOKODA personnel to nab the vessel and her crew.

“Notably, as the anti-Crude Oil Theft Patrol Team of FOB IGBOKODA approached  MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS, the 2 x boats attached to the vessel fled on sighting the naval personnel, which confirmed the engagement of the vessel in illegality.

“Accordingly, on arrival at the scene, it was discovered that the vessel was actively involved in siphoning crude oil from both sides of the well head.

“Consequently, upon further search and interrogation, it was further discovered that the vessel had onboard 17 crew members of Nigerian nationality.”

Ayo-Vaughan said the vessel had storage capacity of about 15,000 metric tonnes, adding that it loaded about 500 metric tonnes of crude oil as at the time of arrest.

According to him, the arrest of MT VINNALARIS 1 LAGOS attests to the Nigerian Navy’s determination to curb crude oil theft and all manners of illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime domain.

He warned that the Nigerian navy would use all legitimate means at its disposal to track and arrest perpetrators of illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime environment.

He solicited the cooperation of patriotic and well-meaning members of the public to promptly report any form of criminality, especially in the coastal communities to the navy for necessary action.

According to him, it is believed that Tantita Security Service (TSS) is involved in these illegalities because Awoye riverine area which is close to the place of arrest is covered by TSS.

“Again, it was upon the arrest of the vessel by the Nigerian navy that TSS began to raise false alarm, totally unfounded and indeed mischievous.

“Nonetheless, the Nigerian navy remains resolute in the pursuit of her constitutional mandate for the protection of Nigeria’s Maritime Environment for national economic development and prosperity,” he stated.

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