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ITF Staff Association debunks corruption allegation against DG

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The Senior Staff Association of Induatrial Training Fund (ITF) has debunked corruption allegation making the rounds in the media against their Director General, Sir Joseph Ari describing it as spurious and malicious.
This was just as the association extolled the virtues of Sir Joseph Ari describing him as the best thing that ever happened to the Fund in recent times.
“Sir Ari is clear headed Leader that has maintained the principle of the federal character in all facets and has dutifully added value in terms of infrastructional development of the fund.
It indicated that the negative report by Sahara Reporters credited to a faceless group is not only false, but satanic in its entirety, saying

The senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Own Companies (SSASCGOC), had earlier drawn the attention of Nigerians to an attempt by sponsored agents and media organizations to blackmail the Director General of the Industrial Training Funds ( ITF) sir Joseph Ari, while describing the publication as malicious.
The Association had raised the alarm in Abuja, on Friday following a malicious publication by SaharaReporters that serially linked the Funds to allegation of lopsided appointment and promotions in the ITF.

The secretary General of the Association Othman Balarabe, while reacting to the allegations at the press briefing stated that the reaction was coming on the heels of the publications attributed to a faceless group, a self-styled acclaim Northern Human Rights Group( NHRG) by an online publication (Saharareporters)
“The attention of the two workers’ Unions in the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) – the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) – have been drawn to the above publication that was published on the website of Sahara Reporters on 8th December, 2022.

The story which is attributed to a faceless group the Coalition of Northern Human Rights Groups (NHRG) was based on a protest letter by the – group, to the office of the Minister of Trade and Investment (Sic), alleging lopsided appointments and monetization of the promotion process, fraudulent awards of contracts, mandate deviation, nepotism and outright diversion of public funds, against the DG and Management of the ITF.”

“While it is not in our place to hold brief for the Director-General and Management, who are quite capable of defending their integrity that is clearly being assailed and tarnished, we, as representatives of the entirety of the ITF workforce are constrained to react to the malicious publication whose purpose is to sow seeds of discord while appealing to Nigerians and stakeholder to cross check their fact at the various offices of the ITF.

“Administrative and Vocational Wing; Lagos Island Area Office Complex; Modern Library Complex and Central Stores in the Headquarters complex; Classroom Blocks at the ITF Staff School, Headquarters Auditorium and Gymnasium and Access road and; Intro-tech Laboratory at the ITF Staff School.
“The commissioning ceremonies were performed by our supervising Ministers – Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo and Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, who lauded the DG’s achievements and parsimonious application of lean resources.
“Eight other projects have been completed and awaiting commissioning namely: Gusau Area Office Complex and Vocational Wing; Minna Area Office Complex and Vocational Wing; Aba Area Office Complex and Vocational Wing and Access Road; Awka Area Office Complex, Vocational Wing, and Access Road; Yola Area Office; Maiduguri Area Office; Abakaliki Area Office; Owerri Area Office in Imo State;

Others are the Multi-purpose Building in Maitama, Abuja; the proposed Institute of Hospitality Management at Oba Akran in Lagos and; a special Agriculture Greenhouse at Ofadaland in Ogun State.
“On-going projects include ITF staff quarters in Port- harcourt, Yola Area Office Complex and Vocational Wings, Uyo Area Office and Vocational Wings, ITF Multipurpose Training Centre, Abuja and Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC),Enugu.

“It must equally be placed on record that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Industry, during an oversight function visit to the Fund commended the Director-General
and Management of the Fund for industrial harmony as well as for achieving so much in the face of paucity of funds.

They asked that the report should be discountenanced, as it is a tissue of lies and untruth that have no basis in fact. “As a responsible media organisation, Sahara reporters should have done well by cross checking the information they got from what is clearly a faceless and non-existent organisation to cause discords and cause disaffection within the Fund.

“This is based on our firm understanding of the operations of the Fund, our deep appreciation of what the DG has done since his appointment in 2016 and the implication of the story on the image and reputation of our dear institution. In view of the above, we as the executive officers of the two unions wish to react as follows:
“On the allegation of ‘nepotism, lopsided appointments and promotion of workers and monetization of the processes’ the NHRG and Sahara Reporters are merely trying to ‘give a dog a bad name in order to hang it’ because since the assumption of office of the DG, the ITF has operated transparently and in keeping with his pledge to heal wounds and work as unto God in the discharge of his duties.
“Therefore, every activity, be it employment, promotions and appointments and others have followed due process which accounts for the industrial harmony that has prevailed in the Fund since his appointment. With regards to the recruitments that Management conducted some years back, it was obvious to everyone associated with the ITF, even before his assumption to office that the Fund was short-staffed owing to retirements and other sundry reasons.
The DG, therefore, commenced the process of recruiting staff to plug the gaping manpower gaps in a transparent process that involved the Federal Character Commission (FCC), the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the ITF Governing Council.
“It is is, therefore, preposterous that several years since the recruitment exercise, the DG would be accused of ‘lopsided appointment and bias recruitment’ as if he had sole responsibility for such an exercise, or rode roughshod over the other parties to populate the Fund with ‘indigenes of Plateau State and environs’ as the story suggested.

“Indeed, instead of the suggestion of ‘running the agency as his private estate with the bulk of recruitment into the agency reserved for indigenes of Plateau State and environs,’ the ITF was commended by the Federal Character Commission for adherence to laid down processes in the recruitment exercise.
“There is nothing that suggests the desperation of the medium to impugn the name of the DG than the assertion of “promotion in the agency has been monetised and, in most instances, based on religious and ethnic considerations”.
“As staff of the Fund, we wish to state that the promotion exercises are conducted with the supervision and active participation of the supervising Ministry and the Governing Council based on clearly defined parameters in line with the Civil service rule and condition of service.
The transparency of the Fund’s promotion exercise has been further enhanced by the introduction of the Computer Based Test (CBT) under the leadership of Sir Joseph N. Ari.
Having witnessed the process of our promotion exercise, the FMITI adjudged our exercise as one of the best and therefore, directed the Fund to prepare a template that will be adopted by other agencies under the Ministry.
“Consequently, the issue of lopsided appointments alleged by the publication is not only mischievous but equally satanic and devilish.
Interestingly, the last recruitment made by the Fund was in 2019, and the necessary approvals were obtained, and the quota system was duly followed as in accordance with the directive of the Federal Character Commission.
From 2019 to date, no other recruitment.”
“We, as the Unions, will be first to complain should there be any attempt to subvert the process in favour of others. Anybody familiar with the ITF will testify that the ITF Unions are reputed for their activism.”
“Regarding allegations of ‘fraudulent award of contracts in the Fund, without recourse to the civil service rules (Sic)’, we state without fear of contradiction that all processes concerning the award of contracts in the ITF are followed to the letter.
“Dor a medium that hypes its investigative journalism credentials, we are amazed that it did not cite any instance of such alleged infractions. Indeed, because of the transparent adherence to procedures and due process in its affairs, the ITF was ranked amongst the first from over 500 agencies of the Federal Government that were surveyed in 2020 in terms of service delivery, transparency and integrity.”
“It is equally spurious and quite laughable that a man that is described by most stakeholders’ as ‘the architect of Modern ITF’ and ‘Mr Infrastructure,’ who has virtually transformed the ITF both in terms of its ability to actualise its mandate and physical infrastructure is being accused of ‘outright diversion of funds and mandate deviation’.
“It is public knowledge that since the assumption to office of the Director-General, he has initiated several skills Acquisition programmes that have equipped thousands of Nigerians with relevant technical skills, who were empowered with start-up kits to start their businesses.
“It is equally on record that since his appointment in 2016, the DG has completed and commissioned over ten projects namely: The Mechatronics Workshop and Administrative Block at the Industrial Skills Training Centre.”

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Why oil production has not commenced in Nasarawa despite huge deposits, expert

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From Daniel Abel, Lafia

Manager, Asset Integrity, NNPC-ATAMS Producing Dr. Musa Adamu has disclosed that production of oil in Nasarawa is being faced with some challenges hence the delay as they are still in the process of drilling to reach the reservoir.
Dr. Musa gave the hint in an interview with journalists in Obi, Obi local government on Tuesday.

Dr. Musa who doubled as Chairman, Obi Oil and Gas Exploration Committee explained that the current drilling activity is the Ebenyi 1 drilling site by ENSA, a branch of NNPCL in Obi.

The petroleum expert with thirty years of field experience disclosed that the estimated depth to reach the oil deposit has been narrowed the drilling is approaching a large reservoir of oil.

“When we get to the reservoir we will know the quantity and lifespan of the deposits.

He stated that there are some challenges which are not only peculiar to the Obi oil drilling as he expressed the hope that soon oil production will commence.

The Obi oil drilling which was commissioned by the formal president Buhari in March 24, 2023 is yet to commence production one year after as drilling is currently ongoing.

Musa a petroleum engineer with thirty years feild experience in so many state and currently serving as manager with the NNPC in Rivers State, assured that oil production will soon commence in ernest

Musa however noted that the reason for the delay in production is because of the physical challenges being faced in the drilling process.

Dr. Musa identified breakdown of drilling equipments and the long process of fixing of those equipments as being responsible for the delay in production, which according to him is normal.

“The equipments we are using are foreign made and because of the present stage of the drilling, breakdown of those drilling equipments is anticipated.

“Replacing those drilling equipments take time because they are imported, and you know the process of importing heavy equipments. That is the reason for the delay, but we are getting closer to the reservoir.

“We can’t tell you exactly when the drilling will be over because of the unforeseeable challenges. By God’s grace we will soon reach the target level where we will have the first oil.

He however explained that the result of previous exploration revealed that there are four major oil deposit sites in Asakio, Agwatashi, Keana and the present site where drilling is taking place in Obi.

He explained further the outcome of the exploration shows that the probability of huge deposit in those oil wells is above 70 per.cent.

“In some places in Keana the presence of oil deposit are overtly visible. You can even see spills in some places and when you fetch them it produces the odour of gas and fuel. That shows the huge oil deposit in such areas but drilling is yet to commence.

“The quantom of oil deposit from result of exploration amount to economic oil. It is not enough to discover oil and go into drilling. You must be sure the deposit amount to economic oil.

“The oil deposits in those wells is an equivalent of economic oil. The communities, State and the federal government stand to make huge profits when oil production kick start.

Dr. Musa highlight other challenges earlier faced from residents on compensations of lands where the well was discovered.

The challenges included multiple claims of land ownership by residents, but had been handled by the traditional ruler of Obi

“The traditional ruler, Alh. Aliyu Dangiwa Ogiri, the Osukwo of Obi constituted a special committee on Oil and Gas of which I am the chairman.

“The committee has help resolved so many hitches that would have spark out youth restiveness but we have intervened in and proffer solutions that he help to create a conducive working environment to the NNPCL in the community.

“The host community through the intervention of the committee are currently enjoying some benefits such as youth empowerment, scholarship.

“Over 70 per cent of the labour at the drilling site is done by youths from Obi. The NNPCL has given scholarship to some youths who showed interest in some professional career who will be employed when oil production starts proper.

Musa also hinted that the youths are happy with the current activities that has engaged them profitably and are even providing security apart from the conventional security in and around the drilling site.

As parts of their Corporate Social Responsibilities, street lights, access road and other Social amenities have been provided by the NNPCL who promised to do more as work at the site progresses.

Musa explained however that with the relationship between the host community and the NNPCL challenges being faced in some oil producing states which led to protracted youth restiveness would be greatly curtailed.

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Ex-IPAC legal adviser tells Tinubu not to delay the regulation of prices of food items

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***Naira Gains and Losses – Product of APC’s Ineptitude

Former National Legal Adviser  Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) Barr. Chukwudi Ezeobika has raised issues over skyrocketing prices of goods and services amidst speculations on a daily basis that the Nigerian Naira is gaining value against the American dollar

Ezeobika who was also a Candidate Anambra South Senatorial District (2018) gave the indication in statement on Sunday.

He said the presumption of gains in the Nigerian currency may be erroneous as they are without the consequent effects on goods and services as the average Nigerian is yet to feel the impact

“The reason for this indescribable phenomenon, just as we have in every sector of the Nigerian economy, is indeed not far-fetched. The wilful resolve by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu – led APC government to continually deceive Nigerians amidst the glaring economic recession and crisis. 

“It is erroneous to yield to the belief that the Nigerian currency can ever make any gains against the American dollar or its economy relevant in the global stage if the country is unable to produce the basic goods and services required by it, to build and develop its dilapidated and or non-existent infrastructure in critical sectors of the economy such as health, power, transport and agriculture. 

“All known indices of economic recession are currently prevalent in the Nigerian economy as can be seen in high and unprecedented costs of goods as well as services and the continued manipulation, by the current administration,  of the Nation’s currency, against the will of the Nigerian people.

“The Federal and State agencies saddled with the responsibility of regulating the prices of goods, most especially food items which are basic to an average Nigerian, have become either obsolete or 

non-existent, hence, the absurdities prevalent in the prices of food commodities such as rice, yam and beans, in most Nigerian markets.  

“The current administration has wilfully and consciously chosen to continue the path of its predecessors by propagating ill-conceived social and economic policies and engaging in projects that are purely unconnected and at variance with the well-being of its citizens.  

“The Nigerian Legislature ought to, as a matter of urgency, re-discover its essence in enacting relevant laws which have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizens, re-position itself in its oversight functions and periodically justify the huge budgets passed yearly to maintain the legislative arm of the Nigerian government. 

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Ganduje: Northern Patriots accuses Kano Gov of lack of Clear Agenda

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***Say, he is Progressing In Error

The Northern Patriots (NP) has take a swipe at Governor Abba Yusuf for lacking in any clear blueprint or agenda for the people of Kano State.

Comrade Dominic Alancha, the national president of the group, gave the indication during an interview on TVC’s Journalists Hangout on Sunday.

According to Alancha, the governor has instead resorted to a witch-hunt and political vendetta against his predecessor Alhaji Umar Ganduje all in the name of a probe.

Comrade Alancha indicated Governor Yusuf is progressing in error as his perceived case against Ganduje is dead on arrival as it is not within the jurisdiction of the state to probe him.

The Northern Patriots, however, advised the governor to focus on governance and if indeed he wants to recover state funds, he should look the way of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.

“It is unfortunate that Governor Abba Yusuf is progressing in error. Instead of focusing on advancing governance, he is out for a witch-hunt and political vendetta against his predecessor,” he said.

“I don’t think that he is aware that there is a judicial pronouncement on this matter. The state can’t prosecute Ganduje, it is the responsibility of the federal high court.

“For me, this case is dead on arrival. If he’s transparent enough, he should have gone back to 2011 or even beyond to probe his political godfather because there are a lot of accusations against Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso of corruption and misappropriation of state resources.

“For example, in 2011, there was a 5km contract purportedly allocated to each of the 44 LGAs. Unfortunately, to date, 1km of that road has not been constructed.

“If any probe is to be done, it should be based on transparency and accountability. But this whole case is diverting the attention of the people from seeking transparency and good governance from the governor.

“Abba has nothing to point out as his achievement in the last 11 months. Rather, he is busy setting up committees to probe his predecessor.

“I think it is proper for him to sit down and make his priorities known. He should set out a clear agenda for the people. ”

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