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Reps ask Buhari to sanction Ngige over misconduct

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The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction the Minister and Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment for allegedly violating moratorium on the issuance of International Recruiters Licenses.

This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Tolulope Alande-Shadipe (APC-Oyo) which was unanimously adopted at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion earlier, Shadipe said that the officers should also be made to face disciplinary measures for disregarding and obstruction of the House Committee on Diaspora in its attempt to carry out its official mandate.

Sadipe said that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige be summoned and give explanation on the issuance of International Recruiters Licenses.

“It is very important that the Minister, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment appear to explain the inconsistencies observed and the reasons why there is presently still no Bilateral Labour Agreement to protect Nigerian migrant workers.

“Also, mandate the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute Government officials found to be complicit in issuing the International Labour Recruiters licensed after September 2017 Moratorium.

“The Nigeria Police Force should also arrest and prosecute all agents/persons Nigerian and Foreign Nationals when found to have compromised the freedom of our citizens or involved in human trafficking,” she said.

The house urged the president to mandate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Nigerian Immigration Service and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to hasten the process of preparing a Bilateral Labour Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for recruitment of Nigerians for unskilled labour employment in foreign lands.

The house urged the Federal Government to ensure that the remaining allegedly trafficked girls by Mr Wafic Hamza are rescued, repatriated and duly compensated before his release.

The green chamber recommend that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be compelled to provide funding to repatriate girls from the middle East region, Ivory Coast, Libya and Mali, among other countries where girls are being faced with similar challenges.

The lawmakers recommended that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs negotiates affordable evacuation flights for Nigerians in the diaspora who wish to return back home.

The lower chamber urged the Minister of Aviation and the Covid-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF) to open up the airspace to ensure affordable flights of citizens who wish to return home.

The house urged the Federal Government to provide funding for the Nigerian High Commissions and Embassies to assist Nigerian diaspora in distress.

The legislators called on the Federal Government through Diaspora Commission and Foreign Missions to develop relationships with diaspora lawyers to create an avenue to tap on their expertise in the absence of legal representation for citizens abroad.

The legislators called on the Federal Government to empower the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to stop the travel of persons departing from Nigeria for the purpose of work in countries without Labour Agreement with Nigeria.

The house recommended that the Federal Government sets up a joint Taskforce to include the Diaspora Commission, NAPTIP, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, to devise an urgent means of combating human trafficking and funding the repatriation of trafficked citizens stranded across the globe.

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VP Osinbajo denies involvement in Magu’s alleged fund embezzlement

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has denied his involvement in the allegation of embezzlement of fund leveled against the suspended Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu on Tuesday.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by his Media aide, Laolu Akande and published on the Presidency’s Twitter handle on Tuesday evening.

Contrary to the claims of some media platforms that Magu gave the VP the sum of N4 billion after the latter had instructed him to release some of the recovered loots.

He said, “With all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless purporting to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Mr Ibrahim Magu. They are indeed completely absurd in every respect.

“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will of course not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny.”

Click here to read the full statement

 

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EFCC picks Umar to replace Magu as agency’s Chair

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The Director of Operations, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Umar, has been appointed to oversee the affairs of the agency in the absence of Magu.

A top official of the commission disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday.

The source, who asked not to be named, said Umar was chosen by the “EFCC’s hierarchy” following the reported suspension of Magu.

The official, however, said that the commission had not received any official communication on the reported suspension.

Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr Dele Oyewale, declined comments when contacted by NAN to confirm the latest development.

The embattled acting chairman is being interrogated by a presidential panel set up to probe allegations of gross misconduct against him.

Magu appeared before the Ayo Salami-led panel on Monday before he was reportedly taken into police custody.

Meanwhile, the EFCC official has defended Magu against the allegations, saying they were not true.

However, the source said his travails also emanated from complaints by staff of the commission over poor welfare and delay in promotion.

“I can tell you that all the allegations against Magu are untrue. I see the whole situation as a power play.

“Preparations for the 2023 elections are another reason they want Magu out because he knows too much.

“Another thing is the problem of staff welfare, imagine somebody like me for close to 10 years, I have not gained any promotion.

“We are not happy about the news of his suspension, but I know that members of staff are not happy with him,” the official said.

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Senate President says Kalu’s seat was never vacant

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, said Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat in the Senate was never vacant, it was preserved because as it was the right and just thing to do.

Lawan was giving reasons why the Senate did not yield to pressure to declare the seat and position of Kalu vacant during the period of his incarceration.

Mr Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser to the Senate President (Media), said in a statement that Lawan made this known when he received some leaders of thought from Abia.

He therefore, said what the Senate did by preserving Kalu’s seat and his position as Senate Chief Whip, was not extra-ordinary.

The former Abia governor was the Senate Chief Whip when a court in Lagos sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in Dec. 2019, for fraud during his tenure as governor between 1999 and 2007.

Kalu, who spent six months in the correctional facility, regained his freedom and returned to the Senate following the Supreme Court judgment which nullified his conviction on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the trial judge.

Lawan told the group that: “There was no way anybody could convince us in the Senate that somebody should take the Abia North Seat because it was not vacant.

“He was on several appeals, and until he exhausted all the opportunities available to him, that seat remained his seat.

“Similarly, we did not even appoint an acting Chief Whip. The Deputy Chief Whip continued to play that role until he (Kalu) was released.

“We came under pressure, of course, but we thought the right thing to do was to keep that seat, that position until he was able to get his judgment.

“It would have been premature, unjust and unfair to declare his seat vacant or his position to be given away because he was in that situation.

“So we did not do anything extra-ordinary, really. We did what was right, what was just, what was necessary.”

The senate president also commended the leaders for the unity and understanding among them and their followers.

“It has been a long time, I have not seen or heard the kind of unity, understanding and desire to move a state forward in a bi-partisan way.

“Our people need us to give them leadership and good governance. They want to have better life, and particularly in Abia, you have a lot of business people, they would like to see their businesses grow and do well.

“Once the leaders are united, it makes it much easier for the follower-ship to remain united and supportive, so that reaching the promised land can be quite easy,” Lawan said.

The leader of the delegation, Sen. Chris Adighije said that the visit was to appreciate the Senate and its leadership for the support to Sen Kalu, Lawan’s media aide said in the statement..

“We want to thank the Senate. It is something that the entire Abia, and indeed the South East, appreciates very much,” Adighije said.

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