The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, yesterday, stormed the headquarters of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Bwari, Abuja, with snake charmers.
Sani said the visit was with a view to getting to the bottom of the issue surrounding the reported case of missing N36 million from the JAMB office in Makurdi, Benue State.
One Philomena Chieshe, a sales clerk in the JAMB office, Makurdi, had told JAMB registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.
“In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money, but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff to spiritually (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office,” the report said.
According to Sani, his visit to JAMB is in response to the story that a snake swallowed N36 million.
He lamented that it was of concern that such a huge sum of money was reported to have been swallowed by a snake.
“I believe that the contribution I can make is to bring snake charmers from my constituency to the JAMB office and to help them fish out the snake and weed out snakes from their premises,” the lawmaker said.
Sani further said that if a snake could actually swallow N36 million, one day Nigerians may wake up to say that a snake had swallowed the country’s foreign reserve.
“Even if it is a spiritual matter, we believe that these people I brought are some of the best snake charmers in the country and they will help in arresting both physical and spiritual snakes if there has been any in the JAMB office.”
He explained that it was very clear the incident did not happen during the tenure of Oloyede.
Sani presented snake repellents and chemicals to the Board.
Responding, JAMB’s Head of Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, explained that in the spirit of transparency, inclusiveness and openness, the agency felt that Nigerians should know what was happening.
He said Chieshe had been queried and has also appeared before a disciplinary committee, adding that the official will be disciplined and handed over to the appropriate security agency for proper profiling.
Meanwhile, JAMB has vowed to arrest and prosecute the mysterious snake which swallowed N36 million in its Benue State office, as well as any staff involved in corrupt practices.
The Board is also investigating a Nasarawa State officer who failed to give account of monies realised from the sales of scratch cards, but rather claimed that the unsold cards he was bringing to Abuja got burnt when the car he was travelling in was involved in an accident.
Benjamin, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, lamented the high level of misappropriation going on in the states.
According to him, the board, in its efforts not to leave any stone unturned in its fight against corruption, would begin to carefully monitor and scrutinise how entrusted staff handle government funds and also ensure all leakages and loopholes were blocked.
“We are not going to take lightly our fight against corruption no matter who is involved. We are going to unravel, arrest and prosecute this alleged mysterious snake, just as we are going to bring to book any of our officers or stakeholders who is caught in any activities not in line with the Board’s policies.
“A number of persons have indeed been discovered to have misappropriated funds belonging to the Board and the one at hand currently is one of such numerous cases of misappropriation in the state offices.
“Another such case uncovered by the Oloyede-led management team is that of a state officer who also failed to give account of monies realised from the sales of similar scratch cards, but rather claimed that he was on his way to Abuja from his state office to return unsold scratch cards when he was involved in a car crash and the cards were burnt along with the car.,” he said.
Reps move to amend revenue sharing formula
The House of Representatives, yesterday, initiated a legal framework for restructuring distributable revenue to the three arms of government.
The resolution came following passage through second reading of a bill for an act to amend allocation of revenue (Federation Account etc), Act Cap., A15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to establish the excess revenue fund account and for other related matters (HB. 1277).
The bill was sponsored by Hon, Lovette Idisi (PDP, Delta). It came on the heels of criticism over the legality of the proposed withdrawal of $1 billion from Excess Crude Account (ECA), for the procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram. Leading debate on the bill, Idisi noted that the “allocation of revenue Act was established in 1982 to prescribe the basis for distribution of revenue accruing to the Federation Account between the Federal and state governments and Local Government councils in the states; the formula for distribution amongst the states; the proportion of the total revenue of each state to be contributed to the state joint Local Government Account.”
Bed sharing raises risk of baby deaths
Scientists have raised the alarm over the number of babies dying of suffocation, occasioned by an increase in the number of parents sharing beds with their infants.
According to the findings of a report published in ‘Paediatrics,’ babies are safest sleeping on their backs in their own cribs without any pillows, toys, blankets or other loose bedding. From 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for babies younger than one year climbed from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 United States (US) infants.
Similarly, the study shows that in 2015 alone, this translated into 1,100 infant deaths that were entirely preventable.
The majority of these suffocation fatalities occurred while babies were in bed. Although, there is lack of data to show the trend of these activities in Nigeria where bed sharing between mothers and newborn is very common among low income and the poor, it is believed that this practice might also be impacting negatively in the country.
However, going by the guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), if babies do sleep in parents’ beds, parents should have a firm mattress, remove soft objects such as pillows, and move the bed away from the wall, as part of measures to ensure the safety of the babies.
Similarly, the AAP said parents should also be aware that bed sharing is most dangerous for newborns, less than four months old, premature babies and underweight infants, or if babies were exposed to tobacco during or after pregnancy.
Study co-author, David Schwebel, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: “It may be that parents are not following `safe sleep’ recommendations to place infants in beds without stuffed animals, soft blankets, pillows, and other items that could cause suffocation.
Suffocation and strangulation deaths increased across the board for boys and girls, regardless of race, ethnicity or whether they lived in urban or rural communities, the study found. At least some of the increase in suffocation deaths might be due to a change in how these fatalities are categorised, researchers note.
Some fatalities that were attributed to sleep-related causes like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the start of the study might have been categorised as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed by the end of the study period.-
Proscribed IPOB blames FG for members’ plight in prison
The outlawed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday expressed dismay over a move by a lawyer representing Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, one of the sureties for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the ongoing case to release some of its members in prison custody to adjourn the case to a later date.
IPOB listed the members in prison custody to include Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, among others.
A statement made available to journalists in Awka by IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, the group noted that seeking another adjournment on the ongoing matter in court was a clear indication that the blackmail machinery of DSS and presidency was fully at work.
The statement reads: ‘We have no doubt that this adjournment was instigated by the Federal Government of Nigeria as another way to delay and deny justice to those who have now spent more time in jail than those convicted of similar offences.
“Information reaching IPOB now from Federal High Court Abuja with Justice Binta Nyako presiding is that Abaribe’s lawyer has written to the court asking for an adjournment.
“The Government of Nigeria has succeeded in pressuring Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe to ask for adjournment of the ongoing case of treasonable felony between Nnamdi Kanu and three others who have so far spent more time in prison than those convicted of similar offences.
“DSS and Aso Rock knew they had no choice than to release David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Bright Chimezie Ishinwa so they decided to blackmail and intimidate Senator Abaribe into getting his lawyer to write to the court seeking yet another adjournment.”
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