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No amount of blackmail will stop N25bn TSA probe – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki,
has said that no amount of intimidation will stop
the assembly from investigating the alleged N25
billion Treasury Single Account (TSA) fraud. Saraki
was reacting to a motion moved by Sen. Dino
Melaye (APC-Kogi West) on Tuesday over a
newspaper article allegedly blackmailing the
Senate for pointing out the alleged fraud.
He said the
assembly
would not
relent in
carrying out its
constitutional
duties,
including
pointing out
any action that
would be
detrimental to Nigerians. “No amount of either
blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing
the work we have to do.
“We have a responsibility here to ensure that there
are no leakages in government funds and if there
are, we will call the attention of the public and do
whatever it takes to salvage the situation; it is our
responsibility.
“ The fact about the TSA will come out and
everybody will have opportunity before the
committee to state the fact, the facts will speak for
themselves,’’ he said. Saraki said the assembly
would expedite action on the inauguration of
Standing Committees to enable it to begin its
oversight function fully.
Earlier, Melaye said his attention was drawn to the
write-up accusing the Senate of working against
President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to
implement TSA.
He expressed concern that the writer could
conceive such an idea in spite of the National
Assembly’s resolve to work with Buhari in fighting
corruption.
Melaye recalled that it was the assembly’s stand on
the alleged TSA fraud that led SystemSpecs to
refund the one per cent it collected from mopped
up funds to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “The
writer said we are against the change agenda of Mr
President because we raised the abnormality going
on with the implementation of the TSA.
“We did not at any time in this Hallowed Chamber
implicate President Muhammadu Buhari of being
involved in TSA fraud. “ We will not stop carrying
out our legislative duties for fear of being
blackmailed. “The motion moved last week had two
prayers.
“The first thing we did was to thank Mr President
and commend him for the implementation of the
TSA and for anyone to say the Senate is fighting Mr
President is myopic, parochial and unacceptable. “I
have a letter here that I am going to lay with this
paper, written by the Director, Banking and
Payment of CBN to the Managing Director of
SystemSpecs.
“The CBN categorically stated that they should
remit the one per cent that they collected. “I also
have a letter here by the managing director of that
company to the Accountant General of the
Federation and the Governor of CBN that have
completely buttressed and elicited our decision
last week.
“ So for people to blackmail us as irresponsible, it
is not acceptable to me and the Senate. “Never
would we allow blackmail and political and
economic bigots to destroy the people. We are for
the people and we will stand in defence of public
interest,’’ he said. The write-up and letters cited by
Melaye were referred to the Senate Committee on
Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to be returned
to Senate in one week.
The Senate had on Nov. 11 raised alarm over
alleged payment of N25 billion to one e-collection
firm, REMITA, in one day as one per cent of monies
transferred to TSA. It also directed its Committee
on Finance, Banking and other Financial
Institutions and Public Accounts to carry out a
holistic investigation into the matter and report
back in two weeks.

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Samson Siasia’s mother kidnapped

News emerging this morning reveals that the
mother of current head coach of Nigeria’s U-23
football team, Samson Siasia has been
kidnapped. According to reports, gunmen stormed
the family residence of the Siasia’s in the early
hours of Tuesday morning at Odoni community of
Sagama Local Council Area of Bayelsa State and
forcefully whisked away Siasia’s mother on a
motorcycle.
Bayelsa State
Police
Command
spokesperson,
ASP Ansinim
Butswat, has
confirmed the
incident saying
that the matter
has been
reported, but
details were still sketchy.
Speaking to the media on the incident, a distraught
Siasia has expressed his confusion at the
occurrence of the event. Siasia said: “Right now I
am confused, from the story I got, three men on
motorbike stormed my parents’ house in my
village Odoni in Bayelsa State, shot sporadically
into the air before taking my old mother away on a
bike.
“What do they expect from me? I don’t have
money, I am right now on national duty, and need
all the time to concentrate on this very important
national task. So, I beg them to please release my
mother so that I can concentrate on this task of
qualifying the U-23 National Team for the men’s
football event of the Rio Olympics.”
In a statement released on the Nigerian Football
Federation (NFF) website, NFF president, Amaju
Pinnick has appealed to the kidnappers to release
the 72 year old mother of the coach. “This is quite
disturbing. We are just preparing for a crucial 2018
FIFA World Cup qualifying match, and the U-23
boys are already in The Gambia for a pre-Cup of
Nationstraining camp. Why this?
“All we can do is to appeal to the kidnappers to
free Samson Siasia’s aged mother. Samson is on a
critical national assignment presently and the last
he needs is this kind of distraction,” Said
Pinnick. As at the time of this report, it was
revealed that the kidnappers are yet to demand
ransom from the family.

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Future Awards selects Don Jazzy, Asa, others as ambassadors

Africa’s biggest youth event, The Future Awards
Africa has announced the ambassadors for the
10th anniversary – a stellar cast of past winners of
the awards across business, development,
governance and the creative industries.
The 10 selected ambassadors are international
recording artiste Bukonla ‘Asa’ Elemide (Nigeria),
music producer Michel ‘Don Jazzy’ Ajere (Nigeria),
beauty entrepreneur Tara Fela Durotoye (Nigeria),
founder of LEAP Africa Ndidi Nwuneli (Nigeria),
agriculture entrepreneur Nnaemeka Ikeguonu
(Nigeria), activist Sangu Delle (Ghana), power
entrepreneur Patrick Ngowi (Tanzania), singer
Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania), change-maker
Fogblanbenchi Lily Harity (Cameroon), and
lawmaker Oramait Alengoil (Uganda).
“These 10 African icons have been selected from
across East, West and Southern Africa because
they represent the essence of TFAA,” says Sean
Obedih, a member of the awards Central Working
Committee based in Ghana. “They speak to the best
that Africa has, but more importantly their lives
work have inspired millions to take charge of their
destinies and to get involved in rebuilding their
communities and their countries.There are no
better ambassadors than these to drive our
#AfricaNeedsYou message as we celebrate 10
years of the awards and prepare for 10 more years
of impact.”
The ambassadors will drive the 10th year
anniversary campaign for the awards across TV,
radio, online and through targeted events targeted
at galvanizing the global TFAA brain trust to solve
problems across Africa.
“The question we are driving people to answer is
very simple,” says singer Asa. “If Africa is rising
and GDPs are growing then why are so many
young Africans still desperately leaving Africa?”
Added Alengoil: “There is plenty to celebrate in the
incredible work TFAA has done over the past 10
years across 21 countries of Africa, but there is so
much work left to be done, and #AfricaNeedsYou
to join us and get it done.”
As part of the 10th anniversary #AfricaNeedsYou
campaign, TFAA launched a 100-city tour to build
100 hubs across the continent over the next one
year. The hubs will partner with local non-
governmental organisations to solve problems
community by community. It will be launched
officially at the awards this year on 6, December
2015.
The Future Awards Africa 2015 is powered by RED
and held in partnership with the Ford Foundation,
Microsoft, the US Consulate, the Canadian High
Commission Nigeria and The Tony Elumelu
Foundation.
The Future Awards Africa has been called the
‘Nobel Prize for Young Africans’, and the ‘most
important youth awards’ by Forbes. It is a set of
prizes given annually to celebrate and accelerate
innovation, creativity and enterprise amongst
young Africans aged 18 – 31. It has produced over
150 winners and over 1550 nominees since its first
edition in 2006.

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TSA: Fayose’s aide fires back, says Lai Mohammed speaking like a ‘tout’

The Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor on
Public Communications and New Media, Lere
Olayinka has described the Minister of Information
and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as unfit to
speak for any decent government, saying, “he
speaks like a tout.”
Olayinka, who reacted to statement by the Minister
that Governor Ayodele Fayose and others kicking
against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Treasury
Single Account policy should return to elementary
school, said it was shameful that the Minister ran
away from the main issue and chose to attack
personalities.
Olayinka said: “Now that Daddy Lai Mohammed
has been elevated to the position of the
spokesperson of the Federal Government of
Nigeria, he needs to be purged of the APC basket
mouth syndrome that made him to speak like a
tout.”
Governor Fayose’s spokesperson insisted that the
Federal Government must explain to Nigerians
why and how it mortgaged their existence to a
single company that has made what no
manufacturing companies with thousands of
employees can make in one month.
Olayinka said “Ekiti State under Governor Fayose is
managing its finances perfectly well without the
Treasury Single Account, which is obviously aimed
at enriching a few individuals at the expense
of Nigerians.”
He advised President Buhari to urgently de-brief
Lai Mohammed so that he will operate normally as
a spokesperson of the government and not APC
propagandist.
Olayinka said: “At 63, Lai Mohammed should know
that speaking for the federal government of
Nigeria is different from speaking for the APC,
which he did by always tying corn to his anus while
dancing naked at the market place.
“He should know that opposition is a major
ingredient of democracy and any democratic
government devoid of opposition must be ready to
embrace anarchy.
“It is therefore the duty of Nigerians, especially the
National Assembly to ask questions on the
administration of the resources being held in trust
for them by those in power and it is the
responsibility of government at all levels to
explain.
“When a man like Lai Mohammed, who is
employed and being paid with tax payers’ money
now chooses to insult Nigerians just because they
ask questions, sane minds should pity the
President who employed such a loquacious person
to speak for his government.
“As for Governor Fayose, he will continue to
uphold the truth and speak in the overall interest
of Nigerians, not minding the offensive odour
emanating from the propaganda infected mouths
of Lai Mohammed and his ilk.”

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Messi returns to training from injury aganist Real clash

Barcelona star Lionel Messi returned to training
with his team-mates on Monday following a knee
injury, ahead of the league leaders’ trip to Real
Madrid this weekend.
Messi hasn’t featured for Barca since sustaining
knee ligament damage in a 2-1 victory over Las
Palmas at the end of September, but is in line to
make his comeback in Saturday’s first Clasico of
the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“(Monday’s training)
session included the
presence of ‘Leo’ Messi,
who is in the process of
recovering from a left knee
injury suffered on
September 26,” read a post
on Barca’s club website.
Barca have performed well
in the absence of the four-
time Ballon d’Or winner,
with four straight league
victories propelling Luis
Enrique’s men to the top of La Liga, three points
ahead of arch-rivals Madrid in second.
Neymar and Luis Suarez have scored 10 goals
apiece since the Argentine was sidelined, and the
duo could again lead the line at the weekend with
Spanish media suggesting that Barca may not rush
Messi back into the starting line-up as a
precaution.
Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic also returned to
training after injuring his calf in a 3-0 Champions
League group stage victory over BATE Borisov at
the start of the month.

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SCORE A GOAL AND GET $20,000 WIKE TELLS SUPER EAGLES

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has pledged
$20,000 per goal as he urged the Super Eagles to
beat visiting Sihlangu of Swaziland in their 2018
World Cup qualifier in Port Harcourt.
The Super Eagles
laboured to a draw in the
first leg in Lobamba.
However, coach Sunday
Oliseh is hopeful that his
wards will be on top of
their game this afternoon
when they face the Swazi
team at the Adokie
Amesiemaka Stadium.
“Rivers State Government
pledges $20k per goal
against Swaziland.
#SoarSuperEagles,” national team handle tweeted.
Secretary to the Rivers government Kenneth
Kobani who delivered the Governor’s message
urged the team during training yesterday to do all
it takes to ensure victory.

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REMITA: Accountant-General, CBN meet SystemSpecs today

Nigerian Gossip investigations reveal that the meeting,
which was at the instance of the OAGF and the
CBN, will review the tariff for transactions under
the TSA.
Presently, there is a one per cent transaction fee
for every transaction through the TSA which is
conducted on Remita electronic payment platform
owned by SystemSpecs.
A source close to the TSA project confirmed this
development to Nigerian Gossip. Speaking on condition
of anonymity, he said, “The meeting will involve all
the companies in the TSA value chain, and they will
discuss and agree on what the new tariff should
be.
The meeting should have been held long before
now, but recent developments have made it
imperative”.
Last week, following the decision of the Senate to
probe allegation that Remita had been paid N25
billion, being the 1 per cent commission it charged
for the transfer of N2.5 trillion of federal
government funds to the TSA, and the directive of
CBN to SystemSpecs to refund the transaction fees
charged so far under the TSA, SystemSpecs had
written to the President, seeking intervention of the
Presidency in the resolution of the transaction fees
issues. The letter in part reads, “While we await
clarification from OAGF/CBN on the way forward,
we have since suspended all TSA e-Collection fees
on the platform. This means that none of the TSA
collection parties/channels are earning any fees
for providing services to Government.
“This position is however not sustainable as the
collection partner banks are threatening to
suspend FGN TSA collections. This would clearly be
playing into the hands of those who do not wish
this initiative to succeed. We understand the
strategic importance of the TSA project to this
Administration and the country at large.
“Your Excellency, we would appreciate your kind
and urgent intervention to ensure a speedy
resolution of this matter before the banks stop
collections.
“In line with the subsisting contract and your
assured commitment to the rule of law, we humbly
request sir, that the fees earned by ourselves and
the banks to date be returned to us and our
partner banks. In view of the enlarged scope and
the need to review the process, we humbly request
sir, that you direct a meeting of relevant
stakeholders be conveyed to agree a sustainable
pricing model going forward. We solicit the
continued political support of the TSA initiative by
your Administration for this initiative that offers far
more to our nation beyond the immediate take-off
issues”.

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