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Senate Probes Development Bank of Nigeria ,DBN

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The Nigerian Senate has launched a probe into the Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN

The investigation is to unravel the unequal share of N500bn loans by the bank

A Senate adhoc committee has been set up to carry out the investigation into alleged uneven disbursement of N500bn to the six geo-political zones

A Senate resolution from a motion sponsored by Senators Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) and Ibrahim Bomai (APC Yobe South) respectively called on the bank to ensure equitable disbursement of the loan to the respective zones and expand its facilities beyond sectors already captured.

Areas considered for the loan are oil and gas (42.0%), manufacturing (16.0%), agriculture, forestry and fishery (7.2%), trade and commerce (6.3%), and transportation and storage (3.5%).

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over Wednesday sitting, named the chairman, Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and other financial institutions, Senator Sani Musa, to head the adhoc committee while Senators Ibrahim Danbaba (North West); Ayo Akinyelure (South West); Mathew Urhoghide (South South); Ali Ndume (North East); Uche Ekwunife (South East) and Sadiq Umar from the North Central as members.

The committee has two weeks to carry out the probe and report back

Debating the general principles of the motion, Senator Ndume alleged that there exist a huge disparity and uneven disbursement of half a trillion naira loan to the six geo-political zones and states in the country in 2021 by the DBN.

He cited Lagos State as the major beneficiary with 47 percent of the total loan while the entire Northern region got 11 percent.

Ndume said: “The bank’s Annual Integrated Statutory Report 2021 obtained on 13th July, 2022 from the organization’s website, the bank was able to disburse a loan worth N483,000,000 only out of which only 11% went to the 19 states of Northern Nigeria while 47% went to Lagos State alone.

“The 11% of the loan that went to the North totals about N53,130,000,000 and that the 47% that went to Lagos State alone totals N227,010,000,000 only.”

Senator Ndume expressed concern that “the loans were given to the the six geo-political zones, where the data showed that the South West accessed the lion’s share with 57% of the total loan, which is estimated to be around N273,740,000,000 only.”

He was also worried that “the South South accessed 17% which is roughly N81,940,000,000 only the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and the North Central accessed 11% which was N53,020,000,000 only, South East accessed a paltry 9% which was roughly N43,380,000,000 only, the North West, which has 5% accessed N24,100,000,000 only, while the North East accessed only 1%, the least share of the total loan at roughly N43,820,000,000 only.”

According to him, the DBN exists to alleviate financing constraints faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, MSMEs in Nigeria through providing finance, partial credit guarantees, and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming and fully financially sustainable.

He, however, noted that lack of awareness of the existence of the loan or even the DBN, religious belief that precludes Muslims from taking interest loans, and lack of formalization of business as most loans require that one has a registered company, corporate bank account and a good business plan have hampered the uneven disbursement.
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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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