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Ambode 820 Bus Scam: “I Was Never Invited” – Former Commissioner for Budget

Mr Olusegun Banjo, the former commissioner for budget during the tenure of the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has dismissed claims that he snubbed Committee set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Banjo claimed that as the commissioner in charge of budget at the time, it is a surprise that he was invited before any committee of the House.

“Though I was not expecting any invitation as I was never part of the Bus Purchase and Implementation Committee set up by the former governor before my appointment as a commissioner, I would gladly have responded to any invitation addressed to me by the House or any anti-corruption groups looking into the matter or any matter concerning the period of my service,” he said.

“I wish to correct the insinuation in the publication that I deliberately avoided the House of Assembly and also to state my readiness to appear before any of its committees as this is the least required of me as a citizen of Lagos State and someone who has occupied a public position in the past,” Banjo concluded.

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Police Arrest Former Lagos Gubernatorial Candidate over Funke Akindele-Bello Party

Former gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Babatunde Gbadamosi, has been detained by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly contravening lockdown order declared by the State Government to curtail coronavirus spread.

Gbadamosi was detained after being spotted in a viral video attending a birthday party organised by Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele-Bello for her husband, Abdul-Rasheed Bello, held in Amen Estate, Ibeju-Lekki axis of the state.

A police source at the command headquarters revealed that Gbadamosi has been detained and may not be released by the law enforcement agency for engaging in an act that was at variance with the law.

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COVID-19: Buhari approves recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the engagement of 774,000 Nigerians on Special Public Works programme in the country to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Ahmed disclosed this at a press conference on fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock, on Monday in Abuja.

She explained that 1, 000 people were expected to be recruited from each of the 774 local government areas in the country.

According to her, the sum of N60 billion for allowances and operational cost has been earmarked from the COVID-19 crisis intervention fund for the initiative.

She disclosed that President Buhari had previously approved a pilot special public works programme in eight states to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment, NDE.

She added that Buhari had now approved that this programme be extended to all 36 States and the FCT from October to December 2020 and the selected time-frame was to ensure that it was implemented after the planting season.

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“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is also evaluating how best to extend the Special Public Works Programme, to provide modest stipends for itinerant workers to undertake Roads Rehabilitation and Social Housing Construction.

Ahmed said: “And also Urban and Rural Sanitation, Health Extension and other critical services. This intervention will be undertaken in conjunction with the key federal ministries responsible for Agriculture, Environment, Health and Infrastructure, as well as the states, to financially empower individuals who lose their jobs due to the economic crisis.

“Mr. President has approved the establishment of a-N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. The establishment of the Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various Special Funds and Accounts, in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.

“The N500 billion is proposed to be utilized to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and approved by Mr. President.

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“This will help to finance the Federal Government’s Interventions to support states in improving healthcare facilities, finance the creation of a Special Public Works programme and Fund any additional interventions that may be approved by Mr. President”.

The minister noted that although similar challenges were experienced in 2008/2009 as well as in 2015/2016, Nigeria had considerably lower fiscal buffers now than in previous economic downturns.

According to her, the decline in international oil prices and domestic production may be magnified if a severe outbreak of COVID-19 occurs, despite ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the pandemic through compulsory lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the FCT.

The minister said to directly address these health and economic challenges, the president approved the Fiscal Stimulus Package among others as part of an Integrated Policy Framework to ensure that Nigeria’s healthcare system, fiscal position and economy were sufficiently supported to weather these shocks.

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