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Okorocha, Ambode, Others to earn N2.06bn as Severance Allowance

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Fourteen governors, their deputies and 434 state lawmakers who will not be returning to government will be going home with N2.06bn, investigation has shown.

Prominent among the governors are Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who are concluding their second terms in office.

Akinwunmi Ambode who lost the nomination of his party prior to the governorship election on March 8; and Adamawa State Governor, Bindo Jibrila, and his counterpart in Bauchi, Mohammed Abubakar, who did not win their re-election bids are also among the governors to collect severance allowance.

Going by a template obtained from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, each of the governors will get a total of N6.67m as severance allowance. Each of their deputies will receive a total of N6.34m as severance allowance at the end of their tenures on May 29.

This means that the 14 governors and their deputies will be going home with a total of N182.11m at the expiration of their tenures on May 29.

The severance allowance is, however, separate from other packages which many states have put in place as retirement benefits or pension packages for their governors and deputy governors.

Some of such packages include unlimited health care benefits as well as houses in any place of their choice in the state. Some also offer another house in the Federal Capital Territory. Some former governors have been known to implement some of the packages for themselves towards the end of their tenures.

Investigation also showed that 434 state lawmakers spread across 27 states will be going home with a total of N1.88bn. Each state lawmaker is entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salary as severance allowance. This comes to N4.34m.

In Oyo State where 30 lawmakers will not be returning to the state House of Assembly, the lawmakers are to receive a total of N130.14m.

In Niger State, 27 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N117.12m; while in Benue, 24 non-returning lawmakers will get a severance package of N104.16m. Ekiti State also has 24 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N104.16m.

Twenty three non-returning lawmakers in Kwara State will be receiving a total of N99.82m. The same amount will be going to 23 non-returning lawmakers in Osun State.

Ogun State has 22 non-returning lawmakers who will receive a total of N95.48m. The same amount will also be paid to 22 lawmakers who will not be returning to the Bauchi State House of Assembly.

In Imo State, 21 non-returning state lawmakers will go home with a total of N91.14m while 19 lawmakers in Gombe State will be going home with N82.46m. Ondo State has 18 non-returning lawmakers that will return home with N78.12m.

Anambra State has 17 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N73.78m. The same applies to Plateau State while Kogi and Zamfara states have 16 non-returning lawmakers respectively that will go home with N69.44m.

Edo State has 15 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N65.1m. Adamawa and Akwa Ibom states have 14 non-returning lawmakers (each), who will go home with N60.76m.

Katsina State’s 13 non-returning lawmakers will go home with N56.42m; Bayelsa State’s 12 lawmakers will go home with N52.08m while Abia State’s 11 non-returning lawmakers will get a total of N47.74m. Taraba State’s 10 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N43.4m.

Ebonyi and Borno states tied at nine lawmakers that will go home with a total of N39.06m per state. Cross River State has only four non-returning lawmakers who will go home with N17.36m while Rivers State produced only three non-returning state lawmakers who will get N13.02m.

Incidentally, Lagos State whose governor could not get the party’s ticket produced the least number of only one non-returning lawmaker that will get N4.34m.

Severance allowance is paid to political office holders at the end of their tenure. There are other allowances which they receive while in service. These include motor fuelling allowance, furniture allowance, newspaper allowance, hardship allowance and a host of others.

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Buhari Approves Suspension of Ex-EFCC Acting Chairman, Magu

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the boss of the country’s anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu days after he appeared at an investigative panel.

The Nigerian Government said Magu’s suspension is to “allow for unhindered inquiry” by the panel investigating allegations of corruption against the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards,” Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said in a statement on Friday.

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COVID-19: Fresh Lockdown Likely After Two Weeks – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.

The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.

Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians.  Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi  Akeredolu, contracted the virus.

Warning people in authority, the SGF said,  “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”

When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.

He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.

“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”

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Cross River Finally Joins the Fray As Nigeria Records 575 New COVID-19 Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 575 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 29,286.

Nine deaths were recorded from the virus on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 654.

There was an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported Monday compared to what was reported on Sunday (544).

The health agency in a tweet Monday night said the 575 new cases were reported in 20 states including Lagos, Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Delta, Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Bayelsa, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Abia, Cross River, Kaduna and Ekiti.

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

NCDC has officially recorded the confirmed cases reported in Cross River, after days of controversies on the cases.

Lagos remains the epicentre for the disease in the country while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 48 days.

“Till date, 29, 286 cases have been confirmed, 11, 828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.

The 575 new cases were reported from 20 states: Lagos – 123, FCT – 100, Delta – 58, Edo – 52, Ogun – 42, Katsina – 24, Bayelsa – 23, Rivers – 22, Borno – 19, Plateau – 18, Ondo – 18, Oyo – 17, Kwara – 15, Osun – 13, Enugu – 9, Nasarawa – 7, Abia – 6, Cross River – 5, Kaduna – 3 and Ekiti – 1.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria in February, NCDC said, 152,952 samples have been tested.

As of the time of reporting, there are 16,804 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, while 11,828 have recovered and have been discharged.

A breakdown of the 29,286 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 11, 367 cases, followed by FCT – 2,281, Oyo – 1,530, Edo – 1,435, Delta – 1,285, Kano – 1,268, Rivers – 1,205, Ogun – 1,047, Kaduna – 868, Katsina – 628, Borno – 574, Gombe – 520, Bauchi – 518, Ebonyi – 503, Ondo – 474, Plateau – 454, Abia – 391, Enugu – 381, Imo – 352, Jigawa – 318, Kwara – 284, Bayelsa – 268, Nasarawa – 232, Osun – 178, Sokoto – 153, Niger – 122, Akwa Ibom – 112, Adamawa – 99, Benue – 97, Kebbi – 84, Zamfara – 76, Anambra – 73, Yobe – 61, Ekiti – 45, Taraba- 22, Kogi – 5, and Cross River – 5.

While confirmed cases of the virus have continued to increase in the country, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the government is trying to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection hospitals sites.

This, he said will require working with state governments to identify the facilities and the space within them, to conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPEs and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples.

“If logistics around sample collection and delivery to test sites are better organised, a lot more will be achieved.

“However, the more we test, the more confirmed cases we shall find, of which the vulnerable will have to be prioritised for admission to treatment centres, even if they are not yet showing symptoms,” he added.

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