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World Bank approves $20.4m grant for Cross River State

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The Cross River State government has achieved $20.4 million dollars grant from the World Bank’s States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, SFTAS, programme.

The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr told Vanguard in his office on Friday that the money would be plowed into the implementation of the state’s 2021 budget which has an emphasis on job creation for the youths.

“It was strenuous but we met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and the state was pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian states under the programme”.

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Ekpenyong said the assessment exercise for pre-qualification was carried out in September 2020 by the World Bank’s Independent Verification Assessor, IVA,  from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and the result showed that Cross River State achieved six out of the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators, DLRs, which were applicable in the 2019  benchmark and three out of three in the 2020 DLRs which was one hundred per cent.

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According to him, the strengthening of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue collection, implementation of biometric verification to stem payroll fraud, improved procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthening of its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability, and the institution of more transparent budgeting during the course of the budgeting year shot the state into the third position across states in the country to benefit from the grant.

“The STFAS programme is a product of mutual agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and World Bank designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency,  accountability and sustainability in Nigerian states as a way of improving their revenue base, increasing fiscal transparency in public expenditure and reducing debt overhang”

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He commended Senator Ben Ayade for the support which gave Steering Committee the wherewithal to achieve the needed benchmark.

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Kano State Government Orders Immediate Closure Of 4 Tertiary Institutions

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Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has ordered the immediate closure of four tertiary institutions in the state.

The closure comes a day after he ordered the closure of ten boarding schools in the state following the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in neighbouring Zamfara State.

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A statement released by the state Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure, reads

“The Kano State Government under the able leadership of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has directed the closure of some tertiary institutions in the state with immediate effect,” 

The tertiary institutions ordered to be closed include RMK College of Advanced and Remedial Studies, T/Wada; School of Environmental Studies Gwarzo; School of Rural Technology and Entrepreneurship Dev (SORTED), Rano and ABCOAD, Dambatta.

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All students of the affected schools were also advised to vacate the campuses as soon as possible.

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PHOTOS: Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, Meets Freed Kagara Schoolboys

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PHOTOS: Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, Meets Freed Kagara Schoolboys

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello met with the recently freed Kagara schoolboys and their teachers at the state government house in Minna, the state capital.

The state governor said the state government is working to identify the root cause of banditry in the state.

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He also disclosed that one of the abductees is in the hospital being treated for excessive exhaustion.

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Armed Bandits Kill 4 Persons In Fresh Attacks In Kagara

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At least four persons were reportedly killed during fresh attacks by suspected bandits in Kagara community in Niger State.

The attack comes after the 27 students and three teachers of the Government Science College in Kagara abducted by suspected bandits last Wednesday, February 17, regained their freedom in the early hours of today, February 27.

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According to a report by DailyTrust, the bandits attacked Gidan Adamu, near Yakila, headquarters of Gunna district and Gidan Wamban Karaku community where 11 persons which include seven women were abducted.

The bandits were said to have rustled a large number of cows and also kidnapped the Imam of Madaka district in Rubo village.

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EFCC Arraigns Insurance Broker Over Diversion of N26b PHCN Pension Fund

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Abiodun Waheed Hassan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday, February 25 arraigned an insurance broker named Abiodun Waheed Hassan, alongside his firm, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited, on a five-count charge of misappropriating over N26billion PHCN pension fund.

Hassan was arraigned before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja.

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Abiodun allegedly diverted huge sums of money earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the corporate account of entities.

In one count of the charge, the insurance broker diverted N26 billion paid into the insurance firm account into another bank account on January 25, 2015. Count five of the charge alleged that Abiodun misappropriated six billion naira.

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He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.

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Kano State Government Closes 10 Boarding Schools Following Zamfara School Abduction

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In reaction to the recent abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State by armedmen , the Kano state government has ordered the immediate closure of 10 boarding schools located at the outskirt of the state.

A statement released by the state Commissioner of Education Muhammad Sunusi Kiru, listed the affected schools as Girls Secondary School at Sumaila, Girls Secondary School Jogana, Girls Secondary School Gezawa, and Government Secondary School, Kafin Maiyaki (Male),

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Others are Maitama Sule Secondary School, Gaya; Girls Secondary School Kachako; Girls Secondary School, Kunchi; Unity College Karaye; Girls Arabic College Albasu; Girls Secondary School Tudun Wada and Danzabuwa.

“This decision is part of our resolve to protect our children from any unforeseen circumstances.”the statement read

The Commissioner urged parents to bear with the state government over the painful decision, saying it is for the good of the children.

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He said schools will resume once the security situation is brought under control.

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