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Senator Ohunabunwa empowers constituents as beneficiaries count blessings

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The lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District, Mao Ohunabunwa, has described a report that he empowered women in his constituent with frying pan and camp gas as a mischievous and deliberate spread of falsehood.

Senator Ohunabunwa, who spoke through his Special Assistant, Uche Okoli described the report as a distortion of fact and misrepresentation of what happened.

Okoli said that the senator conducted a skill acquisition training programme in 2017 which was handled by Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN), adding that after the training, each person was equipped with the necessary tools needed in the area of training with a financial support of up to N50,000.

“Politics of lies and falsehood only makes a mockery of the individuals involved, the picture being peddled around only tells a part of the story.

“In 2017, the Distinguished Senator Mao Ohuabunwa in line with his commitment to teaching Ndi Abia North to fish instead of giving them fish, embarked on Skill Acquisition Training programme for Abia North Women and Youths in Partnership with Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN) and part of the skills included making pastries; the beneficiaries chose the skills themselves. After the training they were given working tools and grant to start up the business with a firm commitment from Senator Mao Ohuabunwa to facilitate access to SMEs loans as the business grows from subsistent stage to SME,” Okoli said.

The Senator’s aide further noted that the picture trending on the social media ‘is only an edited part of the story to suit the narrative from the usual suspects to achieve an agenda best known to them’

“We are not bothered about the narrative these individuals are pushing, the distinguished senator cannot be distracted, his focus on empowering the people of Abia North is already paying off as these women empowered with these equipment are very grateful and they are already impacting positively to their families. Other youths who were also trained in Solar Power and other skills are bringing in results” he added.

Okoli added that the second phase of the programme is ongoing.

One of the beneficiaries of the skill programme, Mrs Ogechi Nwosu from Isuikwuato local government area said that she makes about N3,000 daily from her pastry business.

“I am doing well, I make doughnuts, chinchin and so many other things, the training changed my life and the start up cash of N50,000 went along way to help me stabilize my business,” another beneficiary, Mrs. Victoria  Akanu from Ohafia noted.

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Africans richest woman, Alakija narrates how 3 siblings defrauded her

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Folorunso Alakija

A business tycoon and one of the richest women in Africa, Mrs Folorunso Alakija has narrated to an Ikeja High Court how Vincent Ayewah, a staff of her Rose of Sharon Foundation and his two siblings defrauded her of N3million.

Vincent, who works as a clerk and admin officer for the foundation was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his siblings Florence Ayewah and Emmanuel Ayewah and four others; Onuwa David, Okoronkwo Chikadibia, Ehizibolo George and Chinyere Awanah.

The EFCC alleged that Vincent conned Alakija’s foundation of the funds by forging cheques while conniving with his siblings and cohorts to pose to banks as beneficiaries of the foundation.

While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr M.D Aliyu, Alakija said, “On November 13, 2012, my treasurer Gladys Efiozor called me to say that she received a call from Stanbic IBTC concerning a forgery of a cheque.

“I told her to send me an email of the forged cheque and when I saw it I told her that the signature was not mine, there are three signatories to that account and the forged signature did not match those of the other signatories.

“Florence (Vincent’s sister) was the one caught with the cheque, tge bank called EFCC to investigate and Florence was handed over to the EFCC.

“It was discovered that the bag she was carrying had 12 different Identity cards of beneficiaries of the foundation with her pictures on the identity cards.

“The bag also contained cash collected from other banks from the foundation’s account.”

Alakija further said that she confronted Vincent and seized his mobile phone after he had received a suspicious call and that he had also deleted an incriminating text message from his phone.

“He admitted to the fraud and begged for mercy, he had done other infractions in the past and had begged for mercy anytime he was caught.

“Vincent enjoyed a new lifestyle with proceeds from the scam, buying a new car which he parked far away from the premises of the office to avoid detection.

“A blank cheque and a survey plan of a property was in his car.

“He had committed infractions before, begged for mercy and I forgave him, I thought that with warnings, he will change,” the billionaire said.

During cross-examination by the Defence Counsel, Mr Obiora Umeh, she said: “There are widows and orphans that need to be empowered, I have one project manager at a time that Vincent Ayewah was reporting to.

“When he needs to write the cheques he had to handle the cheque book, I knew he was issuing the cheques because it was part of his duty.

“The auditors must have gone through the list of beneficiaries and approve it, I can’t remember now if they were going through the cheque books because our systems have since changed.

“The issue at hand is that the first defendant (Vincent) had taken blank cheques and written the names of the beneficiaries on them.

“Vincent’s siblings had gone to pose in banks to pretend that they were the original beneficiaries.

“Even if it wasn’t a blank cheque he had torn out and he had followed the normal sequence of things, they will still go and pose as beneficiaries,” she said.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until October 25 for a continuation of trial.

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School feeding: Vendors steal 200 crates of eggs, yam, rice in Niger

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A desk officer has been caught with 200 crates of eggs stolen from the store of food meant for pupils in the homegrown feeding of primary school pupils in Niger state.

While responding to questions on Thursday at a post Exco briefing, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Barrister Amina Musa disclosed that the person involved has been reported to the State Security Service (SSS) for further action.

Speaking on the implementation of the programme in the state, she said over 560,499 pupils benefited from the programme in the state while 4,929 food vendors have been engaged.

According to her “my ministry has organised stakeholders meeting to ensure elimination of challenges and I have also warned vendors to desist from stealing food and other condiments.

“We also gathered that some tubers of yam and rice were stolen thereby reducing the ration for schools. Luckily, we eventually discovered and recovered the items.”

She added that N392,300,000 was allocated to the state by the presidency for a period of ten days.

Barrister Musa also disclosed that the free feeding programme has led to increases in school enrolment of pupils in the state.

She said that the programme has also boosted the economic empowerment of farmers and women in the state due to the patronage of local food items while several women were engaged as cooks.

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Reduce cost of UMTE form to N3000, Reps tell JAMB

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The House of Representatives has urged the federal ministry of education to review downward the cost of Unified Tertiary Examinations (UTME) by about 50% from the current N7, 500.00 to not more than N3, 000.00 in order to make university and other tertiary education accessible and affordable.

The House also called on the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to cut the cost of Jamb application forms and process to ensure that the cost of the other ancillary forms for changes must be free or at “the very barest minimum of N500.00”

The House, while adopting a motion by James Faleke (APC, Lagos) urged the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that the cost of the other ‘ancillary forms’ for changes must be free or at the very barest minimum of N500.

These decisions were taken after a unanimous endorsement of motion sponsored by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke (APC, Lagos).

While leading debate on the motion, Fakele noted that the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) was said to have remitted the sum of N7.8 billion to the Federal Government being excess of the N12 billion made from sales of Unified Tertiary Examinations (UTME) application forms for University Admission in 2017 at the rate of N7, 500.00 each excluding incomes from the sales of other forms such as Change of Course Forms and Change of University Forms at the rate of N5, 000.00 each;

He said an estimated 250,000 candidates purchased the UTME forms bringing the income from sales of the forms to estimated sum of N2.4bn per year.

The lawmaker further noted that the cost does not include the Post UMTE Examinations that are conducted by Universities at an average cost of N2, 500 (Two Thousand Five Hundred Naira only) per candidate excluding the expenses made on logistics;

Faleke said he was aware that JAMB had a surplus of N7 billion budget in 2017, “meaning that the sum under consideration is from sales of forms only, making the Board a profit making venture to the detriment of educational and social development of the country”

According to him, the increase in the number of Universities from 12 at inception of JAMB in 1798, with less than 50,000 candidates to over 400 tertiary institutions with more than 1.7 million candidates writing the exams and indices shows only about 50% of those who wrote the examinations were admitted in the universities as at 2017.

“Further aware that JAMB as a government agency is not set up for profit making but to promote educational development of the young citizens in pursuit of their professional career;

“Worried that the proliferation of Universities to 120, 83 Polytechnics, 82 Colleges of Education and other Tertiary Institutions under JAMB purview is portraying it as a profit making venture”, he stated.

The sponsor said he was alarmed at the “allegation of the huge sum of money missing from the vaults, burning of scratch cards, lending out money made from sales of application forms, conversion of proceeds from sales of application forms to loans and Image ’empowerment’ funds to private individuals and fictitious by stories by the officials of the board”

He maintained “that being the first time such an amount is being returned to government coffers by any government agency, the management of JAMB deserves commendation for upholding the Federal Government’s Anti-Corruption policies.

“Believes that education, being a pivot upon which relational development of the nation rests, should be made available to citizens at the barest minimum cost”

The motion was unanimously adopted and referred to the committee on basic education led by Hon. Zakari Mohammed (APC, Kwara) to ensure compliance and report back in two weeks.

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