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School feeding programme: Education Ministry to investigate misappropriated N2.6 billion

The Ministry of Education and the ICPC will collaborate to investigate allegations of fraud in the school feeding programme.

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The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, says the Ministry will investigate the ICPC report that  N2.67 billion school feeding funds meant for 104 unity schools ended up in private accounts during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Education in a statement on Tuesday.

“The investigation is to establish the veracity of the claims to ensure that there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same.

“To this end, the Ministry in line with the Minister’s directive is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to unearth the facts as well as find a lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies that will ensure accountability and transparency,” the statement read in part.

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Nairametrics reported last month that the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), announced that it found N2.67 billion in some private accounts which was meant for the provision of school feeding to federal colleges during the lockdown.

This was disclosed by the ICPC Chief, Bolaji Owasanoye who stated; “The Investigation is to establish the varsity of claims to ensure that there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same. To this end the Ministry, in line with the Minister’s directive is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to warmth the facts as well as find lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies that will ensure accountability.”

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US military rescue American hostage in Northern Nigeria

The US military has successfully rescued an American hostage from armed men in the northern part of Nigeria.

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President Trump leaves Walter Reed Hospital

The United States Military has announced that it successfully conducted a rescue operation in Northern Nigeria, where an American citizen, Philip Walton, aged 27, was “recovered” from armed men in the region.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Pentagon and reported by American news sources on Saturday.

“U.S. forces have conducted a hostage rescue operation in northern Nigeria “to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men. This American citizen is safe” and “no U.S military personnel were injured during the operation,” NBC News said.

Fox News reported that it was the US Navy Seal team 6 that conducted the raid and nobody was injured in the exercise.

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“U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men,” Jonathan Hoffman,  Pentagon spokesman said.

“We delivered on that commitment late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and most skilled warriors rescued a U.S. citizen after a group of armed men took him hostage across the border in Niger,” Pompeo, US Secretary of State said.

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There has been no official response from the Nigerian Army yet.

More details later…

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We plan to make migration of doctors unattractive – Health Minister

The FG says it’s making plans to invest more in healthcare infrastructure so as to make migration of skilled health workers unattractive.

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We plan to make migration of doctors unattractive - Health Minister, COVID-19: India donates $50 million worth essential medicines to Nigeria, others, Second case of Covid-19 now tests negative

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has announced that the Federal Government plans to make the migration of skilled Nigerian Healthcare workers unattractive by investing in Healthcare infrastructure.

The Minister disclosed this on Friday, during the inspection of a recently launched cancer centre in Abuja.

READ: A Glance at the HealthTech and Healthcare startup space in Nigeria

Recall that Nairametrics reported in July that the FG resumed payments of improved Hazard Allowances to doctors, following threats by resident doctors to embark on strike if their hazard allowance needs were not met.

Other issues they wanted to address included the deplorable state of hospitals, and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients, which has led to the deaths of some doctors.

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READ: Power: Nigeria records transmission peak of 5,459.50MW – TCN

In September, Nairametrics reported that Health workers, under the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), went on a 7-day strike on Monday 14th. The union had earlier warned of impending strike action to protest the poor funding and infrastructural decay in the health sector. 

The Minister of Health, on Friday, said that the FG was aware of the challenges facing doctors and planned to provide better funding in the sector.

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READ: NSIA invests $5.5 million in radiology centre in Abia State

“I have heard the challenge of doctors leaving the country. We have plans to provide better funding for our hospitals in Nigeria and make such migration unattractive,” he said.

He added that the Cancer Centre performed well during the pandemic and that the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, had indicated plans of the hospital to encourage doctors to remain in the country.

READ: What you need to know as banks rebrand CBN intervention funds to woo borrowers

Bottomline

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Nigeria is facing an ever-increasing brain drain in the healthcare industry, due to the rising policies of skill-based immigration in Europe and North America, which give Nigerian healthcare workers access to much better standards of living and salary packages.

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The brain drain, however, may not end anytime soon, as Nairametrics reported on Friday that the Canadian government plans to receive over 1.2 million immigrants in three years, from 2021 to 2023.

READ: Buhari insists “no kobo” of foreign exchange will be issued for food imports

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Aig-Imoukhuede and ex-FIRS boss call for youth participation in public sector transformation

Nigeria’s transformation lies in the hands of its youths, who will go on to lead the public and private sectors to rebuild and lead a great nation.

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Aig-Imoukhuede and ex-FIRS boss call for youth participation in public sector transformation

Founder and Chairman, Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and former Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, have called for youth participation in the transformation of the public sector.

The duo, at the public lecture organised by AIG, emphasised on the importance of youth participation in transforming the sector.

READ: FIRS boss, Nami discloses why FIRS failed to meet revenue target under Fowler 

Speaking on “Transforming the Public Sector in Nigeria: Reflections from My Leadership of the FIRS,” Omoigui-Okauru said:

Leading reform or, indeed, any other organisational activity is a team sport. The strength of the institution is in the strength of the team – past, present and future.”

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READ: Jeff Bezos becomes first person to cross $200 billion net worth, as Zuckerberg crosses $100 billion

Aig-Imoukhuede agreed with the former FIRS boss, when he admitted that the strength of the FIRS team is apparent, even 10 years after her departure.

The AIG founder explained that the hope and future of the nation lies in the contributions of young people and those who are truly committed to Nigeria’s development.

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READ: Why the FG should reverse 6% tenancy, lease stamp duty – NLC

He said, “The situation is urgent, we will further expand our scholarships and fellowships and intensify our investments to build a critical mass of capable leaders who can move our nation forward.

“Nigeria’s transformation lies in the hands of its youth, who will go on to lead the public and private sectors, and no stone must be left unturned, as we invest in them and build their capacity to rebuild and lead a great nation.”

READ: Nigeria’s pension contributors add N186.43 billion to pension asset

According to him, the 2019/20 AIG Fellowship was awarded to Omoigui-Okauru in recognition of her outstanding contributions to public service, as the Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

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She spearheaded comprehensive tax reforms, culminating in the development of Nigeria’s first national tax policy, the modification of tax legislation and a remarkable improvement in the effectiveness of tax collection. Her achievements remain a reference point almost a decade after her tenure in office,” he added.

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READ: Tax on rents and Certificate of Occupancy is valid – Akabueze

He explained that AIG grieved with the nation over the loss of life and property, following recent days of social unrest.

“We must use this momentary period of darkness as impetus to usher in a new dawn of enlightenment and progress. This is the time to envision what we want our nation to be and to move forward by building and empowering Nigeria’s next generation of leaders,” he said.

READ: Alert: FIRS is launching a new Universal TIN that makes it even harder to avoid paying tax

What you should know

The AIG scholarship programme awards five scholarships annually to promising future leaders to undertake a Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

This September, undeterred by COVID-19 challenges, it embarked on the national selection process to identify the 2021/22 AIG scholars for Nigeria and Ghana.

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READ: FIRS’ Nami doubtful of meeting Buhari’s revenue target, runs to Lagos for help 

The founder said, “Recent events in Nigeria have threatened completion of the scholar selection exercise. We however regard these scholarships as being more important now than ever and will marshal whatever resources are required to complete the exercise in time to meet the closure date for BSG’s MPP application window. Shortlisted candidates will be required to follow stringent health and safety protocols.”

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