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Mmesoma: Anambra govt distances self from JAMB’s claim

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The Anambra State Government has distanced itself from claims by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) that the result of Mmesoma Ejikeme, a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School (AGSS), Nnewi, is fake.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Nwosu said the investigation was still ongoing when JAMB issued a press release stating the result is fake.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Nwosu said the student and her school came to him to say she got 362, while JAMB recognized someone who scored 360 as the highest scorer.

He said the Commissioner for Education intervened, but the board involved the Department of States Services (DSS) to investigate but made disclaimed Mmesoma’s result before the investigation was concluded.

He said a full investigation had been launched, naming the members of the committee to include: Prof. Nkemdili Nnonyelu (Chairman), Prof. Mercy Okonkwo – member, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh – member, Prof. Maduabuchi Dukor – member, Prof. Jaja Nwanegbo – member, Rev. Sr. Prof. Mary-Felicia Opara – member, Rev. Cannon Dr. Uchenna Umeifekwem – member, and Mr. Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata (MD, Anambra Information Communication Technology Agency) – member.

“Anambra State Government has, for obvious reasons, been following the JAMB/Mmesoma Ejike matter with keen interest.

“It’s important to note that Miss Mmesoma Ejike went to the office of the Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Professor Ngozi Chuma-Udeh with her UTME result to protest that the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) didn’t recognise her as the candidate with the highest score.

“The Commissioner in turn called JAMB to confirm her claim, but she was told that Mmesoma’s result was forged.

“It was at this point that JAMB authorities invited the Directorate of State Services (DSS) to investigate the matter and make its findings known.

“This was yet to happen when JAMB went public with the matter, thus eliciting the raucous conversations we’ve seen in the media,” Nwosu said.

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Benue Assembly passes bill for Civil protection, Magistrates remuneration

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

A bill for a law to establish the Benue civil protection guard has been read for the second time on the floor of the Benue state House of Assembly.

In a leading debate on the bill, the house Majority Leader, Mr Saater Tiseer said Benue State and her citizenry have been  prone to attacks by various militia groups.

Hon. Tiseer explained that a speedy passage of the bill would enable the state take the center stage of their own security and protection and moved that the bill be read for the second time.

Seconding the motion for the second reading, the house Minority Leader, Mr Michael Audu further explained that they valued the security of their constituents and appealed to members to support the bill overwhelmingly.

In a unanimous decision, the house agreed that the bill be read for the second time.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Hyacinth Dajoh invited the Clerk, Mr Bernard Nule to read it for the second time and it was referred to the rules and business committee for further legislative scrutiny.

In a related  development, the bill for a law to provide for a retirement age and improve remuneration for Magistrates also passed second reading on the floor of the house.

Also in a lead debate, the Majority Leader expressed worry that the Magistrates do not have accommodations, protection and official vehicles.

He further stated that the Magistrates should be respected and protected so as to be motivated to do their constitutional responsibilities effectively.

“Imagine a Magistrate who is handling a kidnapping or terrorism case and he is still using a motorcycle as his means of transportation, that one is already open to attacks,” the Majority Leader stressed.

He moved that the bill be read for the second time and it was seconded by Audu.

The House agreed that the bill be read for the second time and the Speaker referred it to the rules and business committee for further scrutiny.

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Ogun Assembly passes Local Government amendment law

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By Omobolaji Adekunle, Abeokuta

The Ogun State House of Assembly has passed the Local Government (Amendment) Law, 2024, to allow for the creation of an Audit Department in the Local Government administration with a view to further entrenching transparency, prudency and improved service delivery.

The passage of the bill followed the presentation of the Committee report by the Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Jemili Akingbade, who also moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Hon. Dickson Awolaja, and supported by all the members through a voiced vote at a plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Oludaisi Elemide at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The bill was later read and adopted clause-by-clause before the Committee of Whole, after which the motion for the third reading of the bill was moved by the Majority Leader, Yusuf Sheriff, seconded by Hon. Adeyinka Ademola and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Thereafter, the Deputy Clerk of the Assembly, Barr. (Mrs.) Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers, following which the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Oludaisi Elemide,  directed that the clean copy of the bill be transmitted to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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States now enjoy over 50% increase in FAAC under tinubu – APC professionals forum

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All Progressives Congress (APC) Professionals Forum has lauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the significant increase in the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to states under his administration.

Speaking at the inaugural edition of the Asiwaju Scorecard Series in Abuja, on Tuesday, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the forum, Dr. Isa Yuguda, noted that the over 50 percent increase in FAAC was part of the positive fiscal impacts of the subsidy removal.

Presenting an extensive review of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first year in office. The forum focused on two critical issues: the state of the Nigerian economy and the power sector.

In his address, Dr. Yuguda emphasized that President Tinubu did not create the existing economic challenges but has been effectively managing them to prevent further deterioration.

He therefore highlighted the President’s decisive actions, including the controversial removal of the fuel subsidy. He argued that the removal of the subsidy, long mired in corruption, was necessary and beneficial, pointing out that petrol importation had decreased by 50% since June 2023.

“The President did not create any of the problems people are talking about whether in the economy or in the other sectors. Infact what he met on ground would have created a worse situation if not properly handled but he is championing reforms that are required to pave way for a better society.

“We all recall how on assuming office, President Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy but again for the avoidance of doubt he did not remove subsidy on PMS. It was not in the later part of the 2023 budget but surprisingly the Tinubu administration has had to bear the brunt for subsidy removal.

“Let me quickly add that my opposition to fuel subsidy has been well documented since the Goodluck Jonathan years when as chairman of a subcommittee on the economic meltdown, we recommended its removal after a discovery of the scam being perpetrated in the name of fuel subsidy.

“A recent study also showed that inspite of the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, Nigeria still paid billions of naira for fuel subsidy even though in reality, domestic fuel consumption was very low.

 “Indeed, the President has today been proved right with the manner petrol importation has gone down by 50% since June 2023 and it is almost certain to go down more in a few months when the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery begin to produce PMS locally as well as the impending resumption of production at the Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries,” Yuguda claimed.

He further stated that the N1.2trilllon FAAC shared by states in April was unprecedented and laudable.

“If any Nigerian is still in doubt about how payment of subsidy has over the years strained the country’s resources, they must have seen how the subnationals now receive more than double what they used to get from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“At the last FAAC meeting, the total distributable revenue for April 2024 was N1.2trilllon, the highest ever disbursement in history. This time last year in the subsidy era, what was shared was N655.8bn.

“So the subnationals especially are receiving double their previous allocations and therefore have more funds for critical infrastructure and should be doing more to provide succor to the people.”

The address also touched on the Tinubu administration’s unification of exchange rates, a move that eradicated bolstered economic growth. “The economy grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared with 2.54% in the preceding quarter. Capital importation was up by 66% in Q4 of 2023 compared to a 33% decline in the previous quarter,” Dr. Yuguda stated.

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