The State Secretary of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Bauchi State Chapter, Alh. Sani Garba Agogo has warn the Chairman, Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission (BASIEC), to be careful with the instructions or directives of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) given to the Commission in a letter dated 8th September, 2020, titled: “Declaration of Assets by Officers Contesting for Elections. The PRP letter reads:
“Sequel to the letter from Code of Conduct Bureau, dated 8th September, 2020, which your enviable office forwarded to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) among others for our information and compliance, we wish to state as follows:
That this letter is the most unfortunate single but shocking event that confront us since the beginning of this exercise.
That we expect the Commission to reply the Code of Conduct Bureau without forwading same to political psrties as the issue raised is a very clear one that the CCB is only trying to interfare with this long awaited election simpliciter without any legal basis but, perhaps, trying to test the will abd resolve of the Commission.
That even going by the provisions of the Part I of the Third Schedule, paragraph 3(a) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) the Code of Conduct Bureau wish to rely on, there is no where it can refer to contestants as Public Officers, as the Schedule only provides thus: “3. The Bureau shall have power to: (a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution; (b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law; (c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe; (d) ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law relating thereto; (e) receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal; (f) appoint, promote, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the staff of the Codes of Conduct Bureau in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the National Assembly enacted in that behalf; and (g) carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by the National Assembly.”
That on the question, who is a public officer under the Constitution in relation to the Code of Conduct Bureau. Our position is simply that if you look at the Part I of the Fifth Schedule, the word ‘Public Officer’ was interpreted to mean: “public office” means a person holding any of the offices specified in Part II of this Schedule; and “public office” shall not include the chairmanship or membership of ad hoc tribunals, commissions or committees”
This takes us to the Part II of the Fifth Schedule where the list of persons who should be referred to as Public Officers for the purposes of the Code of conduct is given as follows:
“1. The President of the Federation.
The Vice-President of the Federation.
The President and Deputy President of the Senate Speakers and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Houses of Assembly of States, and all members and staff of legislative houses.
Governors and Deputy Governors of States.
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justices of the Supreme Court, President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, all other judicial officers and all staff of courts of law.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorney-General of each State.
Ministers of the Government of the Federation and Commissioners of the Governments of the States.
Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and all members of the armed forces of the Federation.
Inspector-General of Police, Deputy Inspector-General of Police and all members of the Nigeria Police Force and other government security agencies established by law.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil service, Permanent Secretaries, Directors-Generals and all other persons in the civil service of the Federation or of the State.
Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other officers of Nigeria Missions abroad.
Chairman, members and staff of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Chairman, members and staff of local government councils.
Chairman and members of the Boards or other governing bodies and staff of statutory corporations and of companies in which the Federal or State Governments or local governments councils.
All staff of universities, colleges and institutions owned and financed by the Federal or State Governments or local government councils.
Chairman, members and staff of permanent commissions or councils appointed on full time basis.”
We therefore, wish to call the urgent attention of the Commission (Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission) to be very vigilant in preventing any attempt by any authrity or persons from interfaring with the smooth conduct of the Local Government Council Elections in Bauchi State.
We finally urge the Commission to demand the immediate withdrawal of the directive given by the Code of Conduct Bureau and demand an apology on behalf of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), or we will be left with nothing but a possible alternative of taking the most appropriate action against you.
With the recent slump in global crude, oil price shock and the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, induce economic lockdown impact on the masses. The Nigerian Government has gifted her citizenry increase in PMS (Petrol Motor Spirit) Price from N145 to N151.56/litre, but in reality fuel is been sold majorly between N161 to N170/litre in filling stations across the nation.
This news didn’t come as a surprise to many analyst and economist going by the prevailing circumstance around crude and primary commodities price falls and depression triggered by world economy uncertainties. Even with the trajectory eyes on the storm of recession hovering over us. The news also came on the heels of the fraudulent and cosmetics monthly PMS Price fixing regime and deregulation of the oil sector by Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in the last three months.
Let rewind back to March, 2020 when the Federal Government, through the PPPRA, announced a new fuel price regime. First, was the reduction price regime from N145 to N125/litre that came into effect on March 19, 2020. Followed is government’s approval of adjustment of N121.50 to N123.50 per litre PMS. Then, followed again, was the N141.80 to N143.80 per litre of petrol, adjustment in June, 2020.
Secondly, then came the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Abdulkadir Saidu, who said “Going forward, pricing of the PMS will reflect market fundamentals in a circular dated Wednesday, July 1, 2020, to oil marketers, with PMS pump price increase from N143.80 to N145 /litre, Saidu noted that the essence of “the price band was to ensure price efficiency that would be beneficial to both consumers and oil marketers. PPPRA will continue to monitor price trends and advise monthly guiding price for all petroleum products, based on prevailing market realities and other pricing fundamentals,” he stated.
Saidu further explained that the recent plunge in oil price occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 and slowing global oil demand had a direct bearing on the EOMP of petrol, pushing it to a level below the pump price cap of N145/litre. He however concludes that “Nigerians should be ready to pay high or low prices for petrol following the price liberalization scheme currently in place and what we have in place is a market reflective pricing system” Earlier in the year also on May 15, 2020, a statement credited to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who said deregulation was approved on March 19 this year. Adding that “But as you all know, PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) and other petroleum products are very strategic commodities, so you cannot allow the prices of these commodities to be determined wholly by the marketers,” he stated.
Sylva further said that “deregulation meant that the government would no longer continue to be the main supplier of petroleum products, but would encourage the private sector to take over the role of supplier of the products”. Officially, as we all know since 2017, the NNPC is the monopoly sole importer of petrol into the country after private oil marketers stopped importing due to crude price fluctuations globally, while the PPPRA retains the unjust price template.
Thirdly, then came, the bombshell, provocative and dooms day statement by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva which rightly observed by saying, fuel subsidy “benefiting in large part are the rich, rather than the poor and ordinary Nigerians.” The government decided to rid itself of the burden by the removal of the subsidy on petrol pump price was abundantly and categorically clear in affirmatively this month of September, 2020 with PMS Price from N145 to N151/litre.
He, however, noted that efforts were being made to develop alternative fuels to the PMS by deepening the utilization of Liquefied Petroleum Gas/Compressed Natural Gas as auto gas in Nigeria. From, aforementioned, it stands to reason that here is the glaringly contradiction, that would be creating controversy and confusion, soon the “market fundamentals”.
The purview and crux of this piece is to x-ray the genuity and ingenuity of market fundamentals that the government as so much put it hopes on to drive the pump price of PMS in Nigeria. “Accordingly, price will naturally be adjusted to reflect a true picture of market fundamentals at any particular period, high or low” The question is how true the above statement, we knowing fully well that the so called market fundamentals is hinge on supply and demand, hancour on the invisible hand of market forces, embellish in profit maximization drive of global capitalism. In as much as government decide to bite the bullet so as to put in place a more transparent pricing model, stimulate investment growth in the sector and encourage resumption of product imports by oil marketing companies. Regrettably, with the shambles and rots in the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, government throwing the sector up into the risky and uncertainty space and manipulative tendency of market fundamentals live us with concern. One great pitfall of market fundamentals is it poor scientific outlook and dangers it will pose to our economy.
The petroleum products marketers in this realm would be market fundamentalist. To this end we are confronted with the following questions: Will the market fundamentalist not exploit consumers with arbitrary pricing and round tripling of PMS? Would the market fundamentalist not create artificial scarcity of PMS? Will the market fundamentalist not put pressure on the naira? Will the market fundamentalist not join forces with forex speculator to sabotage, distort and deflect our foreign reserve? How would the uncertainty challenges of accessing foreign exchange be address?
The way forward, if the government is serious about the deregulation of the sector, is not surrendering PMS Price to market fundamentals that are predicated on free market capitalist economy principles not devoid of rooted sharp practices and market manipulation. Secondly, repositioning the sector is to attract the much-needed investments in functioning refineries and pipelines transport construction in the country with incentives for investors in that sectors. Thirdly, the government should also avoid creating a situation where the market fundamentalist in the PMS importation become a nightmare to CBN tired less and painstainking efforts to keep the naira stability jeopardized by the market fundamentalist cowboys. Lastly, we expect healthy competition among marketers that would enhance value for consumers without monopolistic structure that market fundamentals normally bring on, to kill vibrant and competitive market, a cyclical feature of free market economy. In conclusion, we must say here that market fundamentalist are primitive accumulator and maximum profit minded.
By: Adefolarin A. Olamilekan Political Economist & Development Researcher Email: Adefolari77@Gmail.Com Tel: 08073814436.
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President Muhammadu Buhari closing address at the first year ministerial performance review retreat which ended, the statement reads as follows:
The last two days have provided an opportunity for us to undertake an objective assessment of our stewardship of the contract we have signed with the Nigerian people since the inception of our second tenure as a Government.
From the report on the Scorecard and engagement with participants at this retreat, it is encouraging to note that progress has been made on all fronts, in spite of the multiple challenges that have arisen since our coming to office.
I therefore commend your efforts, commitment and resilience to the cardinal aspiration of this Administration. As I stated in my opening remarks yesterday, ‘the Nigerian people expect dedication and commitment by all of us in implementing polices, programmes and projects to improve the quality of their lives and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity.
Let me reassure all Nigerians that this Administration remains resolute in initiating programmes aimed at improving the quality of lives and uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next ten years.
The proceedings of the last two days have been designed to ensure the attainment of Ministerial deliverables is on track and to accelerate achievement of the Nine Priority Areas in the face of current challenges.
Distinguished participants, the discussions at the retreat have revealed that our country has what it takes to weather through the storms of contemporary challenges.
Within these few days we have examined the numerous policies, programmes and projects the Administration has embarked upon which are targeted at lifting our people from the shackles of poverty, protect their lives and properties and ensure equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth.
We aim to gradually close the gap between the different classes to bring joy to a greater number of the citizens.
I am glad that these policies, programmes and projects have recorded appreciable successes. Our renewed vigor on agriculture has been demonstrated through our Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
We have made progress on the railway projects with a view to connecting different parts of the country. The Lagos-Ibadan rail line is up and working. The Abuja-Kaduna rail line is efficiently running.
Arrangements are being made to complete the Ibadan – Kano, commence the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri line which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the Northern States.
Work is ongoing at the 2nd Niger Bridge and is at 46% completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023.
Several contracts have been awarded to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct our arterial roads, to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activities across the States.
We have flagged off the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project which is being developed at this critical time in Nigeria’s commitment to increasing our infrastructure assets and promote the use of gas in the domestic market.
Our anticorruption fight requires no emphasis. We have made consistent efforts to build strong institutional capacities in the fight against corruption by strengthening our anti-corruption Agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal supported by a Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, such that they work independently and jointly, being guided by Law.
We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency in the country with innovative approaches such as “Operation Safe Corridor,” which de-radicalize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate willingly surrendered Boko Haram members into the larger society. Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North Western States are yielding desired results. We hope to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements in these regions.
The advent of COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant negative effect is being addressed through the constitution of a Presidential Task Force for proper coordination and the launch of the 12-month Economic Sustainability Plan to cushion the effect of the pandemic on our citizens and business owners.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished participants, I am confident that the lessons we have learned in the last one year of implementation of policies, programmes and projects, deliberations and resolutions from the different sessions, and experience sharing from various speakers will serve as the needed tool to propel every Ministry to the next level of achievement.
More importantly, the trust reposed in us by Nigerians remains the ultimate driving force. We cannot afford to lose focus, regardless of the challenges. Our eyes must therefore remain fixed on the ultimate goal.
More than ever before, I charge us all to play as a team, because that is what we are. A convoy is however only as strong as its slowest vessel.
To this end, the days of insufficient collaboration, coordination and synergy among implementing Ministries, Departments, and Agencies should be over.
In this regard, I have directed that a Central Delivery Coordination Unit at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation should be revived to ensure the much-needed synergy and focus on results. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is to ensure regular reports on progress are submitted.
I have to charge all of you to defend the Government vigorously and not allow irresponsible and politically motivated activists to keep spreading patent falsehoods about this government. Information to the public should be better packaged. Go on the offensive. We are proud of our achievements and we should blow our own trumpets.
Let me also reiterate that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, and all other responsible Agencies to ensure speedy and timely release of funds to MDAs for implementation of the N2.3Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan and the Capital Projects in the 2020 Budget.
I also enjoin Ministers to ensure that funds released are utilized efficiently and transparently in implementing the programmes and projects along the Nine Priorities of Government.
I am hereby charging Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and all Heads of Parastatals to be continuously conscious of their commitments and responsibilities. On behalf of the people of Nigeria, I demand the uttermost level of performance, deliverables, and results.
I look forward to a result-oriented year, with tremendous benefits that will continue to change the lives of our people positively. I thank you for your attention and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
@ 1:30pm yesterday I got a phone call from 08148292037 who claimed to be Mr Benjamin from FBN Abuja. He gave my full names, BVN number, Date of Birth, my Alert phone number, which he called, also the 5 digit number I used to create my FBN mobile bank app.
He said that one Mr Usman created a Union bank account, and is trying to move money from my FBN account to the Union bank. He claimed he stopped the transaction, & is trying to verify if I authorised such transaction, which is the reason I have not gotten any debit Alert.
I asked him to go ahead to block the transaction, for I didn’t authorise any online transaction. He then asked if I gave my ATM card to anyone or used my ATM recently, I said NO.
He then asked if I have my ATM card with me, and demanded that I should read out the ATM digit numbers to enable him stop the transaction. I told him that he had already stopped the transaction, and have gotten a clarification from me, which is enough to enable him block whatever that needs to be blocked, if he is truly a first bank staff.
As I refused to call out the numbers, he then asked isn’t this is the first 5 numbers? He then asked what’s the next number? I told him that I will never read out my number to who claimed to be FBN’s staff over the phone, that I will rather go to any First Bank office & complain. He asked me if he is a ghost and not a FBN staff to get all my details.
As I pissed him off by not budging in, he switched off the phone.
An alert came in, as I checked the message on my phone, there was already a message from Union Bank, showing Account opening Authentication numbers 872395, 973392.
I quickly rushed to FBN. The Customer care personnel asked me not to bother about anything, so long as I didn’t read out those numbers to him nor gave him my ATM pin or the three digits number at the back of my ATM card.
Please be guided. My people, it is so real & convincing that I believe some Fraudulent bank staffs connive with these DIE HARD HOOLIGANS to dupe innocent customers.
Please share widely ASAP.
Please Note: Daily Watch Press cannot confirm the accuracy or source of this story, but the lessons in it can’t be ignored, just be vigilant.
The spokesman of the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Mr Lanre Lasisi, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria. In a statement issued early today said.
“The Nigeria-Ghana Business Council and the Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) have commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila over his intervention in the trade disputes with the government of Ghana.
Members of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council said through their President, Omoba Bambo Ademiluyi, that Gbajabiamila’s visit to Ghana has made positive impact and paved the way for an amicable resolution to the trade dispute.
In a letter of appreciation and commendation dated September 5 and addressed to the Speaker, Mr Ademiluyi said: “It is on record that your trip brought about the highest involvement of both governments in this dispute that has been on since 2007.
“Your proposals and presentations have given rise to two very vital solutions to the problem: 1. The review of the GIPC Act demanding $1,000,000 deposit for foreign investors in Ghana as it concerns Nigerians. 2. The promotion of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council backed by legislation to superintend on trade and business issues between the two countries.”
He said the formation of the business council as proposed by the Speaker was a welcome development.
“Our objectives and activities align with the proposal which is being introduced to superintend trade issues of the two countries.
“It is, therefore, our wish to express support for the formation of this council and request that we work with your team to see to a successful emergence of a government-backed Business Council.”
On their part, members of NUTAG said in another letter addressed to the Speaker dated September 6 that Gbajabiamila’s visit and engagement with the Ghanaian authorities were timely and a right step in the right direction.”
The spokesman further said:
“In the letter, signed by the association’s President, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the Nigerian traders urged the Speaker not to despair in ensuring that resolutions reached during the interface are implemented by all concerned parties.
The traders noted that Gbajabiamila’s intervention was a testimony that President Muhammadu Buhari and the government of Nigeria have the interest of Nigerians at home and abroad at heart.
The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, please, allow me to seize this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association of Ghana (NUTAG), for your kind, responsible and timely intervention to quell the much travails we have been experiencing at the hands of Ghanaian authorities and our Ghanaian counterpart, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
“Sir, the leadership of NUTAG and all Nigerian traders in Ghana, as well as other Nigerians living in Ghana, deeply appreciate your recent visit to Ghana in order to try and resolve the lingering trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria; in unison, we hail this as the right step in the right direction.
“The move at once displays that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari has all Nigerian citizens very close at heart, both at home and abroad.
“We are indeed very grateful to you and the entire team who embarked on this journey, and we are optimistic that an end to our travails in Ghana is at hand.”
“The president of the trade union, however, stated that a lot of Nigerian traders in Ghana are finding things difficult as their means of livelihood have been shut down.
The traders appealed to the Nigerian Government to engage with the Ghanaian Government to reopen the said shops pending an enduring solution the impasse.” He concluded.
Address By His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, At The First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, State House Conference Centre, Abuja. 7th September, 2020. Read by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) as follows:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat. We are meeting a time that mankind is struggling to overcome the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted life as we knew it. The consequences of the pandemic will no doubt influence our deliberations at this gathering, especially as we will have to adjust our policy approaches and methods of working going forward.
I stressed at last year’s Retreat that the Nigerian people expect dedication and commitment by all of us in implementing policies, programmes and projects to improve the quality of their lives and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity. I also reiterated the resolve of this Administration to set the stage for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. Even today, these remain our overriding objectives.
The priorities we set for ourselves were around nine inter-related and inter-connected areas, which are: stabilizing the economy; achieving agriculture and food security; attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; improving transportation and other infrastructure; driving industrialization with a special focus on SMEs; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments; as well as building a system to fight corruption, improve governance and strengthen national security.
In the course of the past year, Ministers have rendered reports to the Federal Executive Council on their activities and outputs related to the achievement of these objectives. Some of the notable achievements include:
i. Economic recovery prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. The economy recovered from a recession and we witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 0.8% in 2017 to 2.2% in 2019, but declined in the first quarter of 2020, as a result of the downward trend in global economic activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ii. Implementation of a Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Policy for the power sector, has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to homes and industries. We are also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023.
iii. On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. These include the 11.9 km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway. At the same time, we are actively extending and upgrading our railway networks, as well as our airports which are being raised to international standard with the provision of necessary equipment, to guarantee world class safety standard.
iv. The Government has continued to support the Agricultural sector, the key to diversification of our economy, through schemes such as the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme.
v. The work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has resulted in Nigeria moving up 39 places on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking since 2015 and Nigeria is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries. We are confident that the on-going ease of doing business reforms would result in further improvement of this rating.
vi. Nigeria’s Law Enforcement Agencies have significantly scaled up their footprint across the country. As part of the efforts towards strengthening our internal security architecture, the Ministry of Police Affairs was created. Amongst others, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment, expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen States of the Federation, and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force. We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at boosting security nationwide .
vii. Efforts are also being made to empower the youth and provide for poor and vulnerable groups by enhancing investments in our Social Investment Programmes.
These accomplishments are a testament to the fact that all hands are on deck in establishing a solid foundation for even greater successes in future.
Distinguished participants, when we met one year ago, little did we know that the world would be in a serious economic, social and health crisis that had left even the major economies in disarray, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as in other jurisdictions, the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria has experienced a severe shock. Nearly 55,000 of our people have been infected with the virus while we have recorded 1,054 deaths by 4th September. The economy contracted by -6.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year; normal schooling has been disrupted; businesses are struggling and in certain instances completely closed; many people have lost their jobs and earning a living has been difficult. It has been a trying time for all of us and particularly for those in the informal sector who make their living from daily earnings.
It has not been any easier for Governments, Federal and State alike. As a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60%. Yet we have had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects. We acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan but we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.
The N2.3 Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), consists of fiscal, monetary and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable. In addition to improving the health sector, the ESP lays emphasis on labour-intensive interventions in agriculture, light manufacturing, housing, and facilities management. It also complements on-going major infrastructural projects in power, road and rail by prioritising the building of rural roads, information and telecommunications technologies as well as providing solar power to homes which were not hitherto connected to the National Grid.
Alongside interventions in these critical areas, including agriculture and food security, affordable housing, technology, health, and providing jobs for youths and women post-COVID; the ESP will also provide different avenues whereby Government will support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to enable them respond to the economic challenges of COVID-19. This includes safeguarding about 300,000 jobs in 100,000 MSMEs by guaranteeing off-take of priority products; and Survival Fund to support vulnerable SMEs in designated vulnerable sectors in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguarding jobs from the shock of COVID-19.
Under the ESP MSMEs component, both the Survival Fund (Payroll support), and the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, GoS, are to impact about 1.7 million individuals within a three to five months timeline. Also, 45 per cent of total business beneficiaries will be female owned; and 5 per cent of total business beneficiaries will be dedicated to special needs business owners.
In addition, under the Survival Fund (payroll support) scheme; 250,000 new business names are to be registered at a discounted rate of N6,000 by the CAC, but this will be free for the MSMEs; while 330,000 transport workers and artisans will get one-time grants of N30,000 each.
Following an MOU to be signed by BOI and the FG, the total beneficiaries for Survival Fund Scheme tracks are about 33,000 beneficiaries per State; with a minimum payroll support at N30,000 and maximum support is N50,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a severe downturn in the funds available to finance our budget and has severely hampered our capacity to ..one of the steps we took at the beginning of the crisis in March when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown, was the deregulation of the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) such that the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. This was welcome by all and sundry. The effect of deregulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover we would see some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now. When global prices rose, it meant that the price of petrol locally will go up.
There are several negative consequences if Government should even attaempt to go back to the business of fixing or subsidizing PMS prices. First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime . Today we have 60% less revenues, we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration. Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices. Also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services. We now simply have no choice.
Nevertheless, I want to assure our compatriots that Government is extremely mindful of the pains that higher prices mean at this time, and we do not take the sacrifices that all Nigerians have to make for granted. We will continue to seek ways and means of cushioning pains especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. We will also remain alert to our responsibilities to ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens by raising pump price arbitrarily . This is the role that government must now play through the PPPRA. This explains why the PPPRA made the announcement a few days ago setting the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers. The advantage we now have is that anyone can bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers, that way the price of petrol will be keep coming down.
The recent service based tariff adjustment by the Discos has also been a source of concern for many of us. Let me say frankly that like many Nigerians I have been very unhappy about the quality of service given by the Discos, but there are many constraints including poor transmission capacity and distribution capacity. I have already signed off on the first phase of the Siemens project to address many of these issues. Because of the problems with the privatization exercise government has had to keep supporting the largely privatized electricity industry . So far to keep the industry going we have spent almost 1.7 trillion, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. We do not have the resources at this point to continue in this way and it will be grossly irresponsibl e to borrow to subsidize a generation and distribution which are both privatized. But we also have a duty to ensure that the large majority of those who cannot afford to pay cost reflective tariffs are protected from increases. NERC the industry regulator therefore approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement only customers who are guaranteed a minimum of 12 hours of power and above can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply, or the Band D and E Customers MUST be maintained on lifeline tariffs, meaning that they will experience no increase. Government has also taken notice of the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering program is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers – creating thousands of jobs in the process. NERC has also committed to strictly enforcing the capping regulation which will ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood.
In addressing the power problems we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all. So as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, we are providing Solar home systems to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. We have already begun the process of providing financing support through the CBN for manufacturers and retailers of Off Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids who are to provide the systems . The Five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation  This means that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
The support to Solar Home System manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local meters will create over 300,000 local jobs while ensuring that we set Nigeria on a path to full electrification. The tariff review is not about the increase, which will only affect the top electricity consumers, but establishing a system which will definitely lead to improved service for all at a fair and reasonable price. 
There has been some concern expressed about the timing of these two necessary adjustments. It is important to stress that it is a mere coincidence in the sense that the deregulation of PMS prices happened quite some time ago, it was announced on 18 March 2020 and the price moderation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices. Similarly, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July but was put on hold to enable further studies and proper arrangements to be made. This government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation, and we certainly will not inflict hardship on our people. But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans brighter more prosperous days will come soon. Ministers and senior officials must accordingly ensure the vigorous and prompt implementation of the ESP programmes, which will give succour to Nigerians.
In this regard, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created credit facilities (of up to N100B) for the Healthcare (N100 Billion) and Manufacturing (N1 Trillion) sectors. From January, 2020 to date, over N191.87B has already been disbursed for 76 real sectors projects under the N1TRN Real Sector Scheme; while 34 Healthcare projects have been funded to a tune of N37.159B under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility. The facilities are meant to address some of the infrastructural gap in the healthcare and manufacturing sector as a fall out to the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate the attainment of the Governors 5-year strategic plan.
Distinguished participants, to address our current economic challenges, and consolidate on our achievements over the past year, this retreat has been designed to:
▪ Review the performance of each Minister in delivering the priority mandates, including programmes and projects assigned to them upon their appointment in 2019;
▪ Identify key impediments to implementation; and
▪ Re-strategize on how to accelerate delivery of results, given the current economic situation.
The retreat would also provide the opportunity to effectively evaluate the activities of the Ministries over the last twelve months with regard to the delivery of our agenda and promise to Nigerians.
The Ministers are urged to work closely with the Permanent Secretaries to ensure accelerated and effective delivery of the policies, programmes and projects in the priority areas. I have also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to intensify efforts at deepening the work of the Delivery Unit under his coordination towards ensuring effective delivery of Government Policies, Programmes and Projects in the coming years. It is also my expectation that progress on performance of the implementation of the 9 priority areas will be reported on a regular basis.
In closing, I encourage optimal participation and contribution by all participants, while observing all the necessary safety protocols and compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
On this note, it is my pleasure to formally declare this Retreat open. I look forward to a very fruitful session and stimulating exchange of views.
Arsenal football club ended last season on a very high note by winning a major trophy, and they did this by getting past fantastic teams like Manchester City and Chelsea.
They have equally started this season from where they left last season by winning the first competition of the season, the community shield by defeating the almighty Liverpool on penalties.
There’s no telling to what this very Arsenal team could achieve this season with Mikel Arteta as the coach and making the right changes and improvements on the present squad.
Arsenal is yet to make any mercurial signing in this current transfer window, and even though the transfer window deadline day is still a little far, the league will start this weekend and it will be pertinent if they can do these things below before the end of this summer transfer window.
Sign Thomas Partey
If you take a critical look at the Arsenal squad, there is no clear cut world class defensive midfielder, and yet they can challenge the the best teams. What will then happen when they sign one?
I don’t think there is a team they will not be able to beat. Rumours of Arsenal trying to Sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid is widespread and if they eventually sign him, Arsenal defence line will be unbreakable.
2. Do Away With Mesut Ozil
Arsenal and the head coach Mikel Arteta should stop playing Ozil in the midfield because he seems to have passed his prime, but since he insist on staying and fighting for a place, he should be given an opportunity as a backup. But a new central and world class midfielder should be signed. If they can do this, there is no telling to what they can achieve this season. Ozil was a great play maker but we need to look at the future and not the past.
3. Retain Aubameyang
Arsenal need to do everything in their power to keep their captain and star player, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. He almost single handedly gave Arsenal 2 cups and with him in your squad and with a focused mind, he can get you any trophy you put before him. The only thing they should do is to offer him a lucrative contract extension and bring in a creative play maker in addition to Willian and Arsenal can be deadly. Not even Liverpool, Chelsea or the 2 Manchester clubs can stop them.
4. Sign Houssem Aouar
In addition to the above, Arsenal has been linked with with a move for the Lyon versatile midfielder, Houssem Aouar, indeed he is very versatile and can play anywhere in the midfield. His technical ability and calmness with the ball is top notch. If Arsenal can also sign him, they will have a near perfect team that can compete with any team on the planet earth.
So, if Arsenal can do these 4 things, the treble can be a dream come through for them. I’m talking about the champions league trophy, premier league and FA cup trophies here, it will be within distance to be only backed with luck and another invincible team has Come.
Should Arsenal put all the above into perspective, it will be very strong a team comes the 2020/2021 Season. And it will see the pairing of Willian, Aubameyang and Pepe in the Attack. While a possible alignment of Aouar, Xhaka and Partey in the Midfield. And the combination of Tierney, Gabriel, Saliba and Cedric Soares in the Defence. With Leno between the stick as first choice Goal Keeper.
To compliment the first team should be a strong youth team with some blend of experience, comprising of; Martines, Saka, David Luiz, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bellarin, Ozil, Ceballos, Lacazette, Nkettiah, Nelson, Martinelli.
All other players should be sold or loan out, to create opportunities for young Academy players, so as to continue with the tradition of building the future teams from the academy.
Newcastle United are delighted to announce the signing of striker Callum Wilson from AFC Bournemouth.
The 28-year-old joins the Magpies for an undisclosed fee and has signed a contract that will keep him at St. James’ Park until summer 2024.
Callum Wilson said: “From the minute I knew that Newcastle were interested, it was definitely something that appealed to me.
“It’s a massive club with great history. Along the years, they’ve had great strikers so if I can emulate half of what they’ve done, I’d like to attempt that.
“I believe in my ability as a player. As a striker I think it’s important to set yourself goals long term and short term, and I’m hoping to achieve them.
In his first interview after signing for Newcastle, Wilson said:
“With the players around me, I believe we can get the goals we need as team and I want to help contribute to that.”
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce said: “Callum is somebody I’ve admired for a long time and I’m delighted to get him.
“He has done fantastically well at Bournemouth and was deservedly playing centre forward for England less than two years ago.
“The club has worked ever so hard to get Callum here and we have beaten off competition from a number of clubs.
“I’m grateful the club has made it happen. Lee Charnley and those behind the scenes deserve a lot of credit.”
Wilson began his career at hometown club Coventry City, rising through the club’s academy and enjoying loan spells at Kettering and Tamworth before scoring 23 goals in 55 senior appearances for the Sky Blues.
After moving to AFC Bournemouth in 2014, Wilson fired the Cherries to promotion in his first season – scoring 20 goals in 45 Championship outings – before becoming the South Coast club’s talisman in the Premier League.
His performances brought full international recognition in November 2018, with Wilson scoring on his England debut against the United States at Wembley.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Press Conference today, address the recent issues surrounding the the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariff. The Adress was as follows:
ON: FUEL PRICES
As you are aware, the long-drawn fuel subsidy regime ended in March, 2020, when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced that it had begun fuel price modulation, in accordance with prevailing market dynamics, and would respond appropriately to any further oil market development.
Recall that the price of fuel then dropped from 145 to 125 Naira per litre, and then to between 121.50 and 123.50 Naira per litre in May. With the low price of crude oil then, the cost of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil, fell, and the lower pump price was passed on to the consumers to enjoy. With the price of crude inching up, the price of petrol locally is also bound to increase, hence the latest price of 162 Naira per litre. If, perchance, the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop, and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.
The angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are therefore, unnecessary and totally mischievous.
Gentlemen, the truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country. The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects. Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.
One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS. As I said earlier, the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now.
Government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, because of its many negative consequences. These include a return to the costly subsidy regime. With 60% less revenues today, we cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this Administration. The days in which Nigerians queue for hours and days just to buy petrol, often at very high prices, are gone for good. Of course, there is also no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, because we just cannot afford it.
Gentlemen, the cost of fuel subsidy is too high and unsustainable. From 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.413 Trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum. According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy is as follows:
In 2006 Subsidy was 257bn
In 2007 Subsidy was 272bn
In 2008 Subsidy was 631bn
In 2009 469bn
In 2010 667bn
In 2011 2.105tn
In 2012 1.355tn
In 2013 1.316tn
In 2014 1.217tn
In 2015 654bn
In 2016 Figure Not Available
In 2017 Subsidy was 144.3bn
In 2018 730.86bn
And in 2019 Subsidy was 595bn
The Federal Government is not unmindful of the pains associated with higher fuel prices at this time. That is why we will continue to seek ways to cushion the pains, especially for the most vulnerable Nigerians. The government is providing cheaper and more efficient fuel in form of auto gas. Also, Government, through the PPPRA, will ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens through arbitrarily hike in pump prices. And that is why the PPPRA announced the range of prices that must not be exceeded by marketers.
In spite of the recent increase in the price of fuel to 162 Naira per litre, petrol prices in Nigeria remain the lowest in the West/Central African sub-regions. Below is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre);
Nigeria – 162 Naira per litre
Ghana – 332 Naira per litre
Benin – 359 Naira per litre
Togo – 300 Naira per litre
Niger – 346 Naira per litre
Chad – 366 Naira per litre
Cameroon – 449 Naira per litre
Burkina Faso – 433 Naira per Litre
Mali – 476 Naira per litre
Liberia – 257 Naira per litre
Sierra Leone – 281 Naira per litre
Guinea – 363 Naira per litre
Senegal – 549 Naira per litre
Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia. You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa.
ON: ELECTRICITY TARIFF
Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies, or DISCOS. The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity industry, the government has been supporting the industry. To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path. To borrow just to subsidize generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.
But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, NERC, has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase. This is the largest group of customers.
Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process. NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.
The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. This alone will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
Gentlemen, please note that despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.
COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.
Sierra Leone 106.02
Burkina Faso 85.09
Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians. This is a mere coincidence. First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.
Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made. Like Mr. President said today, at the opening of the Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people. But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.
The opportunistic opposition and their allies are playing dirty politics with the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff. Please note that these naysayers did not complain when the price adjustment led to lower petrol prices on at least two occasions since March. Nigerians must therefore, renounce those who have latched onto the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff review to throw the country into chaos.
I thank you all for your kind attention Show quoted text.
Islam is a religion which according to the prophet Muhammad (SAW) started with the creation of Prophet Adam, the first man (Human being) to be created by God (Allah) but the same religion found itself around 570 AD with the coming or prophet hood of Muhammad in Arabia, to be precise in Makkah and letter Madinah which served as the first Islamic City. and the followers of Islam are referred to as Muslims, Islam is practiced by more than one billion people in the world and it recognises God the creator, prophet Muhammed as his messenger and the Quran as God’s final words or massage to mankind. The Muslims usually greet themselves with the phrase, Assamu’ Alaikum (peace be upon you) .
However, despite how popular Islam is in the world and the huge number of their worshippers, There is a country in Europe were Islam is not recognized as a religion, has no single mosque and has the toughest laws against Islam in the entire Europe. Below is what you need to know about this country and their hatred for Islam, not withstanding their claim for freedom of thought, conscience or religion among others.
Slovakia is a country in central Europe, it has a population of over 5.4 million people, with 75.9% Christians, 13.4% irreligion and 0.5% others. One thing that terrified me about Slovakia is that Islam is not recognize as a religion and it has no single mosque in the country.
On 30th November, 2016, The Slovakia nation passed a law to totally block Islam from gaining official status as a religion in the country, making it the only country within the European Union (EU) without any mosque despite having the population of over 5,000 Muslims in the country.
Since Islam is not officially recognized as a religion in Slovakia and have no mosque, the Muslims do not receive any financial aid from the government as done other faiths. Hence during Friday or Eid prayers (Sallah) the few Muslims in the country meet in small apartments which serve them as prayer hall and place for religious studies.
Moreover, failing to recognize Islam as a religion means, islamic leaders and Islamic marriages are not recognized, no school is allowed to teach thier student about Islamic faith, thereby denying the students knowledge concerning the historical presence of Muslim in Slovakia.
Why was the law passed
Slovakia politicians sees islam as a “serious threat” due to how mistakenly islam usually get associated with terrorism. With series of terrorist attack in Europe hands keeps pointing at the Muslims as the perpetrators of such act.
However, this made the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico to officially block Islam saying “I am sorry Islam has no place in Slovakia. Its a duty to every politician to talk about these things very clearly and openly, I do not wish there we’re ten thousands of Muslims”.
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Monday for Niamey, Niger Republic to participate in the Fifty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. The one-day summit will deliberate on the Special Report on COVID-19 to be presented by President Buhari who was appointed the ECOWAS Champion on the Fight against COVID-19 during the Extraordinary Virtual Summit of ECOWAS on April 23, 2020. As a Champion, the Nigerian leader was expected to coordinate the sub-regional response against the pandemic. In furtherance of that objective, under the supervision of the Champion, Nigerian Ministers of Health, Aviation and Finance were appointed Chairpersons of the Ministerial Coordination Committees on Health; Transport, Logistics and Trade; and Finance respectively. The Summit will also receive a Special Report on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme to be presented by President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), and President Alassane Ouattara, who is Chair of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA). The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kassi Brou will present to the West African leaders, the 2020 Interim Report on activities of the sub-regional body including ECOWAS Vision 2050. The alarming rise in incidents of terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and piracy will also come under focus, while the disruption of the democratic process by the military in Mali, will receive further attention. Similarly, in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger where parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for this year, the imperative to strengthen democracy in the sub-region by respecting constitutional provisions, rule of law and outcomes of free and fair polls, will be emphasised. President Buhari, who will be accompanied to the Summit by ministers and other top government officials, will return to Abuja after the meeting.
The statement was made available yesterday by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.
The central proposition of this article is that the Nigeria’s state neo-liberal political economy will be shaped in decisive manner in no small way by factors such as: the coming 2023 general election, current secession agitation, fiscal federalism and resources control, insurgency and militancy, corruption, ethno-religious and herdsmen farmers clash, deteriorating human conditions in the land, bad governance, renew workers struggle for new minimum wage and primitive capitalist accumulation.
The objective of this article, is to help chart the way forward.While, this way forward, however will entails a radical resolution of the afore mention contradictory factors defining or constituting the hamburger to sacrifice to restructure Nigeria.
The continuing call for the restructure of Nigeria show the existence in a system that has failed in and urgently in need of a cure by all means-reform or revolution. The debate and outright agitation from all tongue and tribes both from the Southern and Northern part of the country, either for restructure or against restructure is a function of the disillusion with the current status quo and scheme of things.
Naturally, the virtue of the restructuring call today in Nigeria is anchored through ethnic nationalities. This is in a way suggest a North –South divide, drawing plausible attention most especially on the social media and mainstream media as well.Also,there are mischievous and opportunistic co-travellers in the restructure call and campaign, just as we have witnessed other social struggle, campaigns and advocacies in Nigeria.
We may also have to admit that there are mischief makers in the anti- restructure movement. Indeed, what must play out here is that we need a better society. However, what is most tasking, of which this writer is more interested in is what ideological strand, the pro and anti restructure movement deals with. The bottom –line is that restructure or restructuring Nigeria goes beyond ethnic nationalities and religious crux demand. For Nigeria, like this writer strongly hold is not equal to the ‘’arithmetical sum’’ of the ethnic nationalities in it. Here, without diminishing the collective will of the various ethnic nationalities questions, we can’t afford to ignore the ‘’conscious class interest’’ in which ethnicity and religion becomes a weapon.
Furthermore, we live in a country where we have to deal with primitive capitalist accumulation. And in that, one may want to believe that, the whole essence for restructure is for an exclusive geopolitical spares to control and exploit, unsuspected citizens, whose only hope for supporting the cause of restructuring Nigeria is for better country, only to be subjected to deeper inhuman and poverty life, by a fraction of coalition of elites with support from representatives of global capitalism.
It is apparent to us all that the restructure campaign movement is here to stay, and nobody can shut it down .However, what is more apparent is that corruption and human deficits are transferred unto the political struggle to create integrity problem in Nigerians. In this wise, the realization of this restructure campaign becoming successful is ultimate.
The overriding objective of restructure movement is a desire to build a strong nation, so that in way the cries of marginalization along hegemonic politicking is reduce. I would like to end this piece with the obvious; the reality is that it has, inevitably developed questions if there is alternative to restructuring Nigeria?
For those who genuinely believe in resolving the problems or change the status of the country through restructure rather than war or ballot papers, they must not give up on their dream. On the other hand, nothing guarantees the’’ victory of a revolution before it is launched’’.
The quest for a better Nigeria will be a difficult task because power, especially as the conservative and reactionary will not concede anything easily. While, the agitator or campaigners of restructure must be aware that ‘’ideological basis’’ is what some of its deem necessary to set them on popular approval across.
By: Adefolarin A. Olamilekan Political Economist and Development Researcher, Email:email@example.com-Abuja.
The transfer of the young, highly rated attacking midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen follows on from the purchase of Timo Werner from another Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, and is in addition to the recruitment of Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva as Frank Lampard’s squad for the forthcoming season takes shape. They have also signed young French defender Malang Sarr who is going out on loan with a view to gaining more experience before he is involved.
Havertz had this to say on becoming a Chelsea player. ‘I am very happy and proud to be here, For me it is a dream come true to play in a big club like Chelsea and I can’t wait to meet all the players and the trainers. Yeah, I am very happy to be here!’
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: ‘Kai is one of the best players of his age in world football, so we are very happy that his future lies at Chelsea. He has proven pedigree in one of the best leagues in Europe, he plays for the German national side and he is an exciting, dynamic talent. We are delighted to be able to add his versatility and quality to the squad before the season begins.’
Havertz has become one of German football’s highest-rated young players following his breakthrough at Bayer Leverkusen, setting a series of records for his achievements, including those for the youngest player to make 50 and 100 Bundesliga appearances, which were both previously held by Timo Werner.
Tall (he is 6ft 2in), fast and technically excellent, the 21-year-old has shown impressive versatility given his age. Predominantly a central attacking midfielder known for his accurate and incisive passing, along with an ability to retain possession in tight spaces and win the ball back in advanced positions, Havertz also played wide on the right earlier in his career, cutting inside onto his favoured left foot.
More recently, he proved himself a capable striker while filling in for that role due to injuries in the second half of 2019/20, and has been dubbed an ‘Alleskonner’ in his homeland – meaning a player who can do everything.
Having received his early education at local lower-league clubs Alemannia Mariadorf and Alemannia Aachen, the former run by his grandfather, Havertz joined Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 11 in 2010 and made a name for himself in their youth set-up, receiving the Silver Fritz Walter Medal in 2016, given to the best Under-17 players in Germany.
He made his senior debut that same year, becoming the club’s youngest Bundesliga debutant, and continued to grow in stature over the course of the 2016/17 season. He made his first Champions League start in that season’s last 16, although he missed the second leg of their defeat to Atletico Madrid because it clashed with his school exams. Before the end of the campaign he had his first goal, in a 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg, making him Leverkusen’s youngest Bundesliga scorer.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in a statement about President Buhari’s presentation of party flag to APC Governorship Candidate in Ondo State, said:
“President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja urged governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC), to work diligently and ensure fairness in electoral processes, while returning governorship candidate of the party, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, for second term in office.
The President, who presented the party’s flag to the candidate at the Presidential Villa, said the reconciliation process in the state branch of the party had provided a solid ground for an easier clear victory for the candidate than he achieved in his first term.”
Garba Shehu further said:
“While assuring Akeredolu of the party’s full support, the President said a peaceful and fair election that reflects the will of the people should be upper most, urging adherence to the regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission and protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. President Buhari noted that the party’s mechanism for resolving differences was most effective, and would be sustained to strengthen relationships, and project the objectives of the party as people-focused and development oriented.”
“The APC candidate was presented to the President by the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the Governor of Yobe State.” He concluded.
The Presidency welcomes the judgment by the UK Court granting Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions in a $10 billion arbitration case with Process and Industrious Development Limited (P&ID) in Nigeria.
In our view, the judgment is right, just and provides a strong prima facie case that the fraudulent gas deal with P&ID and the subsequent judgment debt of $10 billion against Nigeria was a clear attempt to cheat the country of billions of dollars by a company that had not invested one Naira in our country.
On the arbitration award, it is a source of huge satisfaction that the UK Court, among others, had ruled that:
‘‘Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the Gas Supply and Processing (GSPA) was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria.
‘‘There is also a strong prima facie case that that (P&ID) main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave a perjured evidence to the Tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.’’
The Presidency expresses delight with the processes that led to this outcome in the English Court, noting that it has given relief to the Nigerian government to further protect our national assets from criminally-minded organisations and individuals.
The views of the UK court thus provide sufficient grounds for the Federal Government to go ahead and challenge the frauds perpetrated by the company and overturn the arbitration award.
President Muhammadu Buhari therefore commends the team of lawyers who represented Nigeria in the matter with P&ID, and reassures all well-meaning Nigerians and the international community of his unwavering commitment to fight corruption in all its forms and manifestation.
The statement was issued today by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.
According to report available to the Daily Watch Press, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged the newly-appointed Chief Executive Officers of some agencies under the Ministry to consider their appointment by Mr. President as a call to national service.
The Minister, who gave the charge in Abuja on Friday at his maiden meeting with the CEOs, said they must work hard to justify their appointments.
He specifically urged them to key into the 9-Point Agenda of the Administration, identified to guide the policy directions over the next few years and to achieve national development.
“You must consider your appointment by Mr. President as a call to national service, and you must work hard to justify it. A starting point is for you to ensure that the activities of your agencies key into the 9 priority areas of government.
“Of particular relevance to your various agencies, especially those in the culture and tourism sectors, are priorities 1, which is to build a thriving and sustainable economy, and 2, which is to enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty,” Alhaji Mohammed said, adding that the Ministry of Information and Culture is already working on these areas through its reform of the Creative Industry and the efforts to put in place a standard Audience Measurement System.
Describing the new CEOs as round pegs in round holes, he said they were carefully selected based on their respective track record of achievements, competence and years of dedication to duty.
The Minister said the CEOs are joining a government that is doing so much with so little, especially at a time of dwindling resources due to the sharp fall in the price of oil and the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global economies.
He said in spite of the challenges, the government has remained steadfast in carrying out massive infrastructural renewal in the areas of roads, bridges, rail and power, among others.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the General Manager/CEO of the National Theatre, Prof. Sunny Ododo, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointments and assured that he and his colleagues will consolidate on the gains so far recorded by the Minister, and strive to make the Creative Industry an enviable component of the Nigerian economy.
The new CEOs who attended the meeting are: Mr. Buki Ponle, Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria; Mr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; Prof. Sunny Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre; Mr. Francis Nwosu, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ado Muhammed Yahuza, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation and Mr. Ebetan William Ivara, Director-General, National Gallery of Arts.
Others are: Prof. Abba Isa Tijjani, Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments; Mrs. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization and Mr. Nura Sani Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.
The statement was made available today by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant To The President on Media, Office of The Minister of Information and Culture.
The poor man in Nigeria is a milk cow. I am reared either to be milked or be butchered, I struggle through thick and thin for my family’s survival I walk out from home without guarantee of coming back.
I dread man attack but I dread more of the invisible hunger attack For man has some sense while hunger does not, Only to be met with ungodly marauders Who have no conscience if they turned murderers.
I have naught knowledge of my offence Yet I am made to face the fence, And naught have I a means of defence.
Government milks me through tax collection Or they say is form of revenue generation, A poor man who has little or naught for consumption.
This world is not the ideal abode for me a poor man, Perhaps I don’t belong here beside any man, And I should pack all my baggage and go away.
Again transport fare is now a problem, Despite the covid-19 pandemic, The driver of Nigerian state has increased fuel price.
Then, where will I go to? Where will I be safe in my own motherland? Which of the securities will I trust? Who would wipe my tears? Government which makes promises to win my vote? Rich men with capitalist philosophy? Or my neighbour which we are in the shoe with?
I guess I have to stay here if this is my destiny, My North which used to be a sanctuary, is now a place where the term ‘survival of the fittest’ could practically be brought to bear.
Now, I sleep with one eye closed and the other opened, Thinking someone might pounce on me at anytime.
If I had the chance again to come back to this world again, I would choose another.
By: Mahmud Yahaya A student of Faculty of Law, Bauchi State University, Gadau. firstname.lastname@example.org
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the concern of his administration about the sudden spiral of food prices, at a time when the economy is already mired in a slowdown occasioned by the global coronavirus situation.
The President assures Nigerians that the situation is transient. His administration has already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.
While Providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short lived one.
This year has indeed tested us in ways that globalization has never been tested since the turn of the century. These challenges have disrupted lives and supply chains all over the world, and Nigeria has not been spared.
The effect has been deeply felt in the delays encountered in procurement of raw materials for local production of fertilizer (damaging standing crops before harvest) and the speculative activities by a number of rice processors who are ready to pay for paddy at any price to keep their mills running non-stop.
But of all these problems, the most worrisome are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners) and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.
In dealing with these problems, the administration has, in line with its ease of doing business mantra, avoided imposing stockholding restrictions, in order not to discourage investments in modern warehousing and cold storage.
The President has just approved the release of food items from the strategic reserves, including 30,000 tons of maize to animal feeds producers to ease the high cost of poultry production.
President Buhari’s administration has raised some of these issues with the various food producer associations involved, particularly those of rice and other grains.
With their cooperation, the high food prices should soon be a thing of the past.
In addition, investments in the agro-allied sector by the private sector will significantly increase domestic production of farming inputs especially fertilizer, further crash prices, create employment and ease the pressure on our foreign reserves.
One of these major investments is the Dangote Fertilizer plant which is projected to come on stream by the 4th quarter of 2020.
Additionally, key government agencies and policymakers with the responsibility and visibility on market activities remain focused on removing structural impediments to the production and free movement of agricultural products.
President Buhari once again assures Nigerians of his dedication to bringing this issue to a swift end.
Nigerians have already suffered grave economic losses owing to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Buhari administration will do all in its power to ensure that our people do not continue to suffer additionally from high food prices.
The statement was made available yesterday by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.
The FC Arsenal is in the market since Mikel Arteta wants to continue its reconstruction by helping world class players improve the quality of the team massively before the following season. Arsenal is prepared to welcome Said Benrahma ‘s signature from Brentford, according to reports, because Mikel Arteta identified the Algerian attacker as the biggest Summer Transfer Target.
22-year-old Algerian aggressor Said Benrahma was considered one of the best young attackers in England, as his impressive championship performance has attracted a number of UK top clubs’ interest. Like Chelsea and Tottenham, the attacker was also linked, but Arsenal will have the signature well ahead.
Arsenal is prepared to meet the €40.000.000 Brentford assessment of the Algiers who are likely to join a massive contract with the Gunners, according to reports. Benrahma said he was great for the Gunner when, throughout the season, he scored 17 goals and placed 10 assists for the championship club.
The Gunners will hop on Benrahma as he has opened preliminary negotiations with the Algerian star to replicate his formidable shape at the club. Benrahma said that the Gunners are threatened with an explosive pace and are very capable of dribbling, creative and capable of scoring objectives.
Arsenal is very active on the transfers market as they have signed Willian, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares are also signed by the Gunners. Benrahma said that he could be the latest player in the game to join Mikel Arteta and bring the young Gunner coach new options.
Barcelona are hoping to reach a £250m compromise with Manchester City over Lionel Messi deal, but according to the latest reports from Spain Messi’s suitors no longer have to trigger a release clause to get the Argentine. Manchester City are hoping to sign Lionel Messi for free after the player revealed that he has an option in his contract to leave at the end of each season.
However, Barcelona claim that arrangements has expired since June 10 and can’t come into effect until next summer. According to recent reports from Spain, Lionel Messi has told the club that he will not show up for pre-season training in an effort to force his move out of the club.
Barcelona chiefs are hoping to agree a £250m players plus cash deal with Manchester City, rather than go into war with the Messi over his potential move to the Premier giants. The blues are in the pole position to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, after he made it clear that he is ready to leave the Catalans this summer.
The Senate Ad-hoc committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has formally commenced the process of further alteration to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The Committee therefore requests the general public, Executive and Judicial bodies, Civil Society Organizations, Professional bodies and other interest groups to submit memoranda or proposals for further alteration(s) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) on the underlisted matters and on any other matter that will promote good governance and welfare of all persons in our country on the principles of freedom, Equality and Justice, namely:
Gender Equality for women and girls
The Federal Structure and Power Devolution
Local Government/Local Government Autonomy
Public Revenue, Fiscal Federation and Revenue Allocation
Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security Architecture
Comprehensive Judicial Reforms
Electoral Reforms to strengthen INEC to deliver transparently credible free and fair elections
Socio-economic and cultural rights as contained in Chapter 2 of the constitution
Strengthening the Independence of oversight institutions and agencies created by the constitution or pursuant to an act of the National Assembly
Residency and Indigene Provisions
The National Assembly
All proposals and memoranda are to be submitted to the Secretariat of the committee in Room 0.28, Senate New wing, National Assembly Complex, Abuja, not later than 14 days from the date of this publication or they may be sent electronically to the email address of the committee’s Secretariat (08033109357/ 08097522601) namely email@example.com.
Signed: Senator Ovie A. Omo-Agege Deputy President of the Senate/Chairman
“If My Manhood Is Found Guilty, Let It Be Cut Off, Let The Law Take Its Course” – Sallaman Kanam
We are only secured when the law is allowed to take its fullest effects on anyone among us found in the criminal act of conspiracy or directly involved in perpetuating the kidnapping of our people.
The hallmark of leadership is when those responsible to lead must dispense justice without fear nor favor.
When we were young, I used to hear Sallaman Kanam said, “idan bakin azakari na yayi laifi a yanka” (if my manhood is found to be guilty of any act against the law, it should be cut off).
One day I felt worried because at such a tender age I found the expression very vague and therefore asked him what it means. His reply was that you are my children and now I am saddled with the responsibility of leadership over the whole people of Kanam Kufai, even if you as my biological children are found going against the law, I will not spare you. I will use you to set example.
Like joke, one day his first grant son misbehaved and he ordered for his arrest and detention. Everyone in the community was shocked. Those who knows him very well said Sallama can do more than this.
We must therefore stand up and be firmed in ensuring that anyone found to be involved is allowed to face the law of the land. People should please not take laws into their own hands. We must allow law to treat anyone found including those related to us by blood, faith, or where we live accordingly.
No one should be spared!
Comrade ND Shehu Kanam Community and Rural Development Advocate
While Christianity is the prevalent religion in Western Europe, there are so many top Muslim Soccer legends in the European alliances.
Soccer is one of the most libertarian and drawing in sport on the planet, speaking to players from all identities and with various strict foundation. Numerous Muslim football players have been adding to football over a long history. Their fabulous presentation astonish their fans.
Here is a rundown of the best Muslim footballers playing major parts in the European Leagues:
1. Karim Benzema (France & Real Madrid)
Karim moustafa benzema is one of the most well known Muslim Soccer Footballer in world, Karim Mostafa Benzema is a French proficient Soccer player who plays as a striker for R.Madrid and the France.
Benzema is a rehearsing Muslim, Benzema do his Ramadan fasting during the Islamic heavenly month of Ramadan.
2. Riyad Mahrez (Morocco & Manchester City)
Mahrez is a proficien Soccer player who plays as a winger for Manchester City.
Mahrez is a rehearsing Muslim and in June 2017, he made the Umrah journey to Mecca.
3. Paul Pogba (France & Manchester United)
Paul Pogba is a French Excellent Soccer player who plays for Manchester United and the French public group.
He is a notable Muslim Soccer player.
4. Frank Ribery (France & Bayern Munich)
Ribery changed over to Islam in the year 2002 by the impact of his better half Wahiba who is of Algerian plummet.
He included the name Bilal after the transformation.
5. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
Mohammed salah is well known for his completing the process of, spilling, and speed.
There is no uncertainty that he was the best Muslim Soccer player of 2019.
6. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
Mane is an expert Soccer player who plays as a winger for Liverpool.
He is a rehearsing Muslim and once in a while is seen making du’a before the beginning of each match.
7. Emre Can (Germany & Borussia Dortmund)
Emre Can is an Excellent and proficient footballer who plays as a focal midfielder for Borussia Dortmund. Can’s name is additionally among the Muslim footballers’ rundown.
8. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland & Arsenal)
Granit is an expert Soccer player known for his speed and dribbling skills.
He plays as a midfielder for arsenal and he is one of the Muslim group stars at the North London side.
9. Mesut Özil (Germany & Arsenal)
Özil is a rehearsing Muslim. He reads from the Quran before his matches. He stated, “I generally do that before I go out [on the pitch]. I supplicate and my colleagues realize that they can’t converse with me during this short period.
Özil is a German expert footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal as an assaulting midfielder, yet can likewise be sent as a winger.
10. Edin Dzeko (Roma)
As another top Muslim footballer, Edin Džeko is a Bosnian professional footballer who now plays as a striker for Roma in the Italian Serie A.
The sstriker moved to Roma from Manchester City having made his name at the Etihad Stadium for some years.
Wishing you and other Muslim players more success along the way in your career as we look forward to a new football season 2020/2021 across Europe and beyond.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Arsenal to a Community Shield victory over Liverpool at Wembly and hinted that he might be staying at the club beyond his current deal.
The Gunners have won or shared the Community Shield for a 16th time, including four of the last seven. They overtake opponents Liverpool (15). Only Manchester United have won or shared more (21).
Aubameyang, asked on BT Sport whether he’ll sign a new contract: “We’re going to see in these days. Today we take the trophy, that’s it. We are improving. There is still work to do but I’m really happy and it’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal player.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, speaking to BT Sport said on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: “Big games, big moments, big players. He has responded really well to that kind of pressure. He was magnificent in the FA Cup final and the same today.”
He then added: “I’m so happy. I knew the challenge we were facing today. Thank you to the players for the effort and the performance.
“The courage of the team [was the most pleasing thing], how aggressive we were without the ball and to break the pressure of Liverpool. I knew in the second half we would suffer. This generates belief, to be able to compete against a team like this in a final makes me happy.”
Aubameyang has now Captained Arsenal to FA Cup and Community Shield glory under Mikel Arteta who joined the Gunners from Manchester City.
Despite being at what he calls “the low ebb of resources caused by COVID-19 and fallen oil prices,” Nigeria will continue to provide support for the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) based in N’djamena, Chad Republic, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured.
The President spoke Friday at State House, Abuja, while receiving Ambassador Mamman Nuhu , Executive Secretary, Lake Chad Basin Commission and Head of Mission, MNJTF.
President Buhari said despite paucity of resources, security of Nigeria and that of her neighbours must have pride of place, “so I will consult with all the relevant officials, and we will do our best.”
Ambassador Nuhu gave the President updates on the proposed recharge of Lake Chad, which he said was one of the priorities of Lake Chad Basin Commission, “and for which you have great passion,” informing that the governments of China and Italy were of great support, and positive action should commence soon.
He also commended countries which have contributed troops to MNJTF, adding, however, that kinetic military approach alone would not eradicate insurgency, and emphasis must also be placed on the root causes, particularly poverty.
As stated by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity. Today August 28, 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja joined ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in a virtual meeting, charging the military junta in Mali to set an acceptable time table for return to democratic government, since the country cannot afford to stand alone in the sub-region.
In his remarks at the third Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS on the socio-political crisis in Mali, President Buhari said from the briefings presented by the Special Envoy, former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was clear that the regional body’s engagements with the new military leadership in Mali were yet to achieve the desired results in several key areas.
“I am, however, personally happy to hear of the release from detention of the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is reported to be in good condition. The disposition of the new leadership to free the remaining senior officials is noted as this should contribute to the renewed sense of belonging to the Malian people.
“With regards to other areas being negotiated, Nigeria believes that the people of Mali and the military leaders need to appreciate the fragility of their country and the imminent danger which it poses to the citizens of Mali as well as the ECOWAS sub-region, “the President said.
He added that the military leadership should be flexible in negotiations by putting the interest of all Malians and the harmony of the sub-region into consideration.
“For the people of Mali, specifically the leadership, embracing Democracy and Good Governance is crucial to the country’s political stability. Mali cannot therefore afford to stand alone, hence the need to come to terms with the realities of an acceptable and workable transition compact that inspires the confidence of all Malians.
“Meanwhile, I urge the military leadership to consider: the immediate release of all the remaining senior Government officials in detention, without pre-conditions; a transition process, to be completed in not more than 12 months, and which shall include the representatives of Malian stakeholders.
“This is a critical consideration for the new government to enjoy the cooperation and collaboration of regional and international community, and to allow the easing of sanctions imposed on Mali.’’
President Buhari also emphasized the need for Mali’s Constitutional Court to work hand in hand with all the Malian stakeholders to ensure an early and hitch-free return to a democratic government through free, fair and inclusive election.
According to the President, “In this connection Nigeria will, alongside ECOWAS, provide necessary logistics support to facilitate the conduct of elections to re-establish democratic governance in Mali.
“As I conclude this intervention, let me thank once again, the Mediator, Dr Jonathan, as well as my colleagues in the sub-region, who have continued to demonstrate sincere commitment to the resolution of this crisis. Nigeria stands in solidarity with the good people of Mali.’’
President Buhari commended the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic for convening the Extraordinary Summit.
The President also condoled with Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote D’ivoire, on the loss of a close aide, Mamadi Diane.
Among Declarations of the Summit adopted by ECOWAS leaders were that the transition government in Mali must be led by civilians, and that the return to constitutional order should be concluded within 12 months.
Malian military was also encouraged to focus on securing the country, faced with severe security threats from its northern part, instead of an incursion into governance.
The statement was made available by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, today August 28, 2020.
The Daily Watch Press came into contact with this very rear story and share it with you about a Ghanaian lady who is interested in marrying her but on certain contion for reward.
The lady known as Isabella Johnson, as reported by Kofi Legit which he cites as fictional, revealed that she has been in a lot of relationships which has failed because of hard luck on her side.
According to Isabella, she has made a lot of money from where she works as a result of a connection one of her sugar daddies did for her but she has intentions of settling down once and for all.
However, men who have interest in marrying her must be ready to succumb to her conditions which she outlined on social media.
My name is Isabella Johnson, and I have been living here in Kumasi Ghana since I was little. Initially I was living with my parents, just like few kilometers from my current residence, before I moved into my own personal apartment, here in Kumasi, but I will not disclose the address for security purposes.
Honestly speaking, I have had a lot of relationship which I will say clearly that it has never favoured me. I have dated Young boys and boys of my Age, but It seems like I don’t have luck when it comes to relationships and daring. Most of this boys will promise me heaven and earth for me to accept them, of which I gave them reasons beyond doubt that they will not fail me, but all to no avail. Within 1 year, the relationship will start to crumble, of which what will follow next will be breaking up.
But on dating some old men, I was able to gain access and connection to where I work now, and I earn huge amount of Money every month, as you will be shock to find out how much I earn. But ever since then, I have been single and searching for love.
I have met so many men who claimed to love me, but a long the line I will discover what they want is my money and not Marriage. So I have decided to give any man GHc90,000 monthly to any man who will agree to marry me under this Condition as I state below.
To marry me, you must be a tall handsome gentleman, who knows how to make a lady happy at all times.
To marry me you must know how to cook most of Ghana’s Mouth tasty meals. And your food must always be tasty.
You must be good in all ramifications, both in the other way round (am sure you know what I mean by being good in all Ramifications).
You must always stay at home all day to keep after the house, because I will be the one working and will be paying you GHc90,000 monthly. So there won’t be need for you to go out and work.
You can only hangout with your friends on only Sundays. And if you want to hangout with tour friends, you must include me in your plans because I now have trust issues.
You must not answer any call from any other woman except that of your family members and relations. Nothing like “she is just a friend”, that is unacceptable.
Before a Baby will come and live with us, our babies must have gotten to the age of Juvenile, and any nanny that will come to live with us must be an Old woman, and I will be the one to choose who it will be.
You don’t dare discuss our private lives to your friends, family members, relatives and wellwishers. It is meant to be secret between us.
Under no circumstances or condition should any of your friends past the night in our House. This is our home and not theirs.
For those who wants to try their lucks, the road to Ghana is not too far.
President Buhari congratulates AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina on Re-election, led round of applause at Council of State Meeting
In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, yesterday, the Presidential spokesman said:
“On behalf of the Federal Executive Council and Nigerians in general, President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, on his re-election for a second term in office.
News of the victory came during the Council of State meeting, which was attended by former heads of state, Senate President, governors, some Ministers, and senior government officials.
As Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, announced the good news, President Buhari led a round of applause, and declared: “He deserves it.”
Adesina further said:
“The President extends appreciation to the African Union for its endorsement of the AfDB President much earlier, and to shareholders of the bank who worked tirelessly to ensure the return of the visionary leader.
President Buhari believes Dr Adesina’s versatility, experience at both national and international engagements, will be further deployed to energize the pan-African financial institution, urging him to remain focused and steadfast in pursuing the noble goals of making life better for Africans through various development plans, already captured as High 5s.”
“The President rejoices with family, friends and professional colleagues of Dr Adesina over the re-election, while commending members of staff and Board of Governors of the AfDB for their consistent support for the former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his management team.
While pledging full support of his government to ensure a successful tenure for the AfDB leadership, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will continue to strengthen Dr Adesina and his team for greater good to the continent.” He concluded.
Gov. Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum sites mega school, hospital rehab in army chief’s town.
Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, hosted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, on Thursday commissioned an institute of war and peace, located at Buratai town in Biu local government area of southern Borno.
The institute, which is named after the Army Chief, is an off campus section of the Nigerian Army University which has campus in Biu town.
The institute was previously the Army’s national museum, established in 2016. The institute has six centers that include: Center for research and documentation, center for counter terrorism and counter insurgency, center for strategic communication, cyber security center, Museum and Archives centers.
Speaking at the venue of the commissioning, Governor Zulum expressed appreciation to officers, and men of the Nigerian military for their counter insurgency operations in the northeast.
“I am not unaware of where we were before the inception of the Buratai’s leadership and the successes recorded by the military in the war against terror. We appreciate the sacrifices of lives and deaths of our gallant officers, we shall continue to support our armed forces. When we occasionally criticize we do so with a view to improving on our successes and not out of lack of appreciation.” Zulum said.
The Governor explained that Buratai institute of war and peace will promote research on contemporary issues such as terrorism, insurgency and all forms of conflicts with a view to attaining peace. He pledge his administration’s readiness to partner with the institution.
“This is a very welcome development, I can assure you of the absolute support of the Government and people of Borno State for such noble venture. We appreciate the foresight of the Nigerian Army University, Biu and indeed the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai for this initiative. Government of Borno State shall work with Tukur Buratai institute to design a templet of programs for peace building, reconstruction and development of our communities. Count on our support.” Zulum said.
He added, “You are all aware of the depleting effect of Boko Haram insurgency in Borno, neighboring States, and indeed adjoining countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Our dear state, Borno is the worst affected with many of our citizens lives in the IDPs camp. With the level of destruction of infrastructure and displacement of people from their communities we have the onerous task of rehabilitating the people, so that, they will return to start their means of livelihood. That’s why the Borno State Government is importing a lot of its resources to empower the people and encourage them to return to their communities. The Nigerian Army has been a reliable partner in this endeavor.”
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum has directed the construction of a new mega school in Buratai town, also ordered by the Governor was the rehabilitation of Primary Health Center, Buratai.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai commended Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, other leaders of the northeast and entire Nigerians for their support to the military.
“I want to thank Nigerians particularly, the leaders, and people of the northeast for their dogged support to the Nigerian Army, without your support and understanding the successes achieved so far would not have been possible, please continue to support the security agencies with timely intelligence as a war on terror is a collective responsibility of all. I will also like to thank the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, the emir of Biu His Royal Highness, Alh. Mai Umar Mustapha Aliyu for their support to Nigerian Army.” Buratai said.
The Nord Tank will compete with fastselling trucks like Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200, Ford Ranger, Leopaard CT7 and INNOSON IVM Carrier 4×4 pickup trucks.
A quick check at the NORD Automobiles website shows that it also manufactures several types of Nigerian branded vehicles.
Nord Automobiles lineups includes the Nord Max, Flit bus, Tank, Aso truck, Lasgi big bus, Q3 sedan, Q5 SUV, Nord Yarn, Ben SUV, Urban sedan and more
According to NORD Automobiles, its operations focus on designs; development; assembling; distribution; marketing and provision of sales and after-sale of premium vehicles at relatively competitive costs.
With this development, Nord Automobiles joins a growing list of Nigerian automotive manufacturer that also includes Innoson Vehicle Manufacturers (IVM); Obasa Specialty Vehicles (OSV); Proforce and Bennie Technologies.
Corruption: A Parasite That Retards Collective National Development – Mukhtar Garba Kobi
It is unarguable true that the problem of corruption has being in existence since time immemorial. Corruption is frequent in each and every society and it happens almost everyday. It has several shapes as well as various effects but that varies from one society to another, it deals with subverting public fund, etiolating morals, defalcating staff’s benefits, absurdifying tax & fines, political misconduct and decadences in spheres of human endeavours.
The wound of corruption has eaten deep down the flesh and melted in veins of fellow countrymen. It usually starts from home between husband and wife, mother and children, down to entire society. It generates a lack of transparency and a lack of control by supervisory institutions, corruption paves way for a non transparent functioning of social, political and economic sectors.
Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in position of power or followers which typically involves bribery. According to Morris (1991), corruption can be seen as the illegitimate use of power to benefit a private interest. It also entails offering of bribe to an official so that the truth of a situation will be hidden. It covers the embezzlement of public funds for personal use, giving a token to scale a course by students, offering some amount to skip paying actual fine to security agents and any act that is considered to be criminal in nature which is contrary to the laws enshrined by code or constitution. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, second only to Bangladesh.
Recently in 2019, Transparency International ranked Nigeria as 146th out of 180 countries surveyed on corruption with 26% corruption index. This reveals that level of corruption has mercilessly stabbed Nigeria deep to a state of unending stupor.
Furthermore, corruption retards economic growth of a country, slows down business operation, blocks employment opportunities and halts investors from foreign countries in investing. The wider society is persuaded when the gravity of corruption is high, the executive arm of government tends to not bring policies and programmes for development, judiciary will then be chocked with angry and money egocentric judges which makes citizens lose confidence in them.
The legislative arm can then be taciturn and passive by not passing bills that could reduce burdens and dilapidated infrastructures. The level of corruption in Nigeria hurts a lot of people as money which supposed to be used in purveying developmental projects to better lives is channeled into the pockets of selected few.
The sad part of it is that the current Nigerian government and the ruling party turned to redemption camp; where corrupt labeled politicians absquatulate to it, then those charges on them are being dropped unquestionably.
The stain of corruption did not spare anti-graft agencies that are saddled with the responsibilities of antagonizing corruption, as the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Lamurde was accused of fraudulently diverting one trillion naira recovered from corrupt convicts by the commission (Adeyemi, 2016). Recently, the embattled Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu was also accused of corruption, diversion of recovered loots, insubordination and abuse of office which led to his unexpected suspension as the Acting Chairman of the commission. This is unimaginable as those appointed to fight corruption in the country are also found to be guilty of the same problem they are suppose to be fighting for.
Laconically, corrupt related malfeasance varies from one country to another, in most developing countries; the cases of corruption are usually common. Some causes of corruption includes GREED which has led to major crisis in almost all developing countries and in Nigeria in particular; Leaders that garnered too much wealth still quest to remain on power because their money ego is insatiable.
Secondly, UNEMPLOYMENT; Youth that are the strength of the nation are unemployed, the hike of idleness triggers many into internet fraud (cybercrime), sexual harassment by male managers in companies in order to reinstate female staff.
Thirdly, POVERTY; According to international standard, which states that a person is said to be poor when he or she lives under $1.25 (which is equivalent to N475) per day, poverty has pushed many into thuggery, cybercrime, and other heinous acts in order to better their lives.
In fact, corruption is a multidimensional process, it benefits the giver of the bribe, the receiver and both are aware of the consequences while others are doing it unknowingly.
Some countries have recorded great success in dealing with corruption, such that anyone caught the repercussion is to be liquidated or life imprisonment.
There are several ways to curb corruption and they includes; Reinforcement of moral compass in which government should help parents in by rewarding honest citizens whether adults or teenagers, also by declaring free education, free healthcare, taking under age persons that are found guilty to rehabilitation homes, etc.
Similarly, leaders can help in fighting corruption by serving as good example to citizens; this can be achieved by judiciously applying stipulated punishment to anyone irrespective of whoever he or she is. Thirdly, making anti-graft agencies or commissions independent from government control, by giving them the wherewithal to charge all whether in ruling or opposition parties.
Lastly, citizens should be allowed to have access to information concerning country’s finance, this will help in enhancing accountability.
In conclusion, if these steps are sternly taken and applied the preponderant cases of corruption would be eradicated and lastly become history.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published on Monday August 24, 2020, the 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, which measures economic growth.
Nigeria’s (GDP) declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the 3-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.
The overall decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the projected forecast of -7.24% as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter. Furthermore, despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts. It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%).
The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.
On the fiscal side, a robust financing mechanism was designed to raise revenue to support humanitarian assistance, in addition to special intervention funds for the health sector. Adjustments to the national budget as well as emergency financing from concessional lending windows of development finance institutions were critical in supporting governments’ capacity to meet its obligations. On the monetary side, moratorium on loans, credit support to households and industries, regulatory forbearance and targeted lending and guarantee programs through NIRSAL were some of the measures implemented in response to the pandemic during the second quarter.
It is equally worth noting that since the start of the third quarter, the phased approach to easing the restrictions being implemented centrally and across States have resulted in a gradual return of economic activity, including the possibility of international travel.
More importantly, the anticipated health impacts of the pandemic have been managed without overwhelming the health infrastructure, which would have further compromised the ability to re-open the country to travel,
commerce and international trade. Indeed, this has provided greater confidence and ability for authorities to initiate the conduct of nationwide terminal examinations and resumption of the next academic year.
Finally, it is anticipated that while the third and fourth quarters will reflect continued effects of the slowdown, the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by government in a phased process will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, as the country begins the gradual loosening up of restrictions, and levels of commercial activity increase by people returning to their various livelihoods and payrolls expand, it still remains imperative that all the necessary public health safeguards are adhered to so the country avoids an emergence of a second wave.
The statement is signed by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, today 26th August, 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Chief Executive Officers for nine of the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
According to the approval letter, which was conveyed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, on Tuesday, Mr. Buki Ponle was appointed Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria while Mr. Nura Sani Kangiwa was named the Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.
Mr. Francis Ndubuisi Nwosu was appointed the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ebeten William Ivara, Director General, National Gallery of Arts; Mr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar/CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and Prof. Sunday Enessi Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre.
Others are Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation; Prof. Aba Isa Tijjani, Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments and Mrs. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, Director General, Centre For Black And African Arts And Civilization.
The appointments take effect from 1 Sept. 2020, as announced by Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Abuja 26th August, 2020.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, made this known today in a statement that:
“President Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday at State House, Abuja, that the priority in Republic of Mali now should be securing the country, which is largely occupied by terrorists. The President spoke as he received briefings from ECOWAS Special Envoy to the West African country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting came ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS heads of state and leaders, scheduled for Friday. President Buhari stressed: “About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests.”
He said the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday, hoping that an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties would be arrived at.
Dr Jonathan brought the President up to speed on dialogue with the military coup leaders, who are seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections.
“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People. We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him,’’ the Special Envoy said.
“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months. The Interim Government would then organize elections to restore full constitutional order.”
“Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position.
He added that the military leaders want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country, “but we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS heads of state.” He concluded.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, is a statement issued today says. When Asks: “Why can’t we have time limits for all cases?
In what is deemed a significant contribution to the ongoing public discourse on the need to urgently reform the administration of justice system in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari’s voice has brought a sharp focus to the matter especially regarding the slow pace of trials in the courts.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the President entered the discourse on Wednesday at the opening session of the virtual 2020 Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Annual General Conference themed “Step Forward” which coincides with the body’s 60th anniversary.
Speaking on the theme of the conference which he said translates into “taking responsibility”, President Buhari explained that the situation has become necessary given the current and pre-existing challenges confronting the system.
According to the President, “why can’t we have time limits for all cases? Why can’t we put in place the rules that will say that a criminal trial all the way up to the Supreme Court must end in 12 months, and that a civil trial must not exceed 12-15 months? I think that, for me, will be stepping forward.
“Step forward means taking responsibility. It may also mean making progress, boldly taking on the challenges of the future.”
The President listed a few areas where “I believe we need to step forward and resolve some of the nagging problems of our systems of administration of justice.”
Going personal on the issue of delay in trials, the President referred to his experience at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunals in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2019. He said until recently, court trials had been “terribly slow” and capable of frustrating genuine efforts aimed at promoting general progress of the society.
He said “I am not a lawyer but I have been both a casualty and a beneficiary of the judicial process. I was before the courts for two and a half years- 27 months from 2003 in the now famous case of Buhari and Obasanjo. It took me two and a half years to fight for a four-year Presidential mandate.
“In 2007, I was again in court for 20 months, almost two years, also as petitioner and later then appellant in the case of Buhari and INEC. And in 2011, again as petitioner in the case of CPC and INEC. I spent another 8 months in court. At the end, I lost all three cases. I wondered then why it needed to take so long to arrive at a verdict.
“In 2019, my status improved, I was now no longer petitioner, I became first respondent in the case of Atiku and Buhari and the whole process took barely 6 months.”
Still on the areas requiring reform, President Buhari said “the second issue for me is the multiple and sometimes conflicting orders of courts. Recently, my party, the APC, had an internal crisis. In the six-week period before I chaired the meeting of the party to resolve the issues, there were at least 10 different conflicting rulings of the courts across the country.
“Again I am not a lawyer, but surely these sort of multiple and conflicting rulings of courts sometimes ex parte, really make a mockery of the judicial process.”
Continuing, the President said “third issue is the seeming bias towards technicality over the clear common sense justice of cases. If justice is to be seen to be done, then the outcomes of cases must make sense to the average person and not just to the refined minds of learned persons alone. Justice must make sense to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.”
My fourth issue, the President said, “is on the appointment of judges. I believe that we must continuously improve on the selection processes for appointment of the men and women who serve as judges.”
“First we must cast our nets wider in search of judges, especially at the appellate level. Second we must put in place primarily merit-based selection processes including mandatory tests and interviews for all applicants for judgeships.
“While our Constitution urges Federal character for balance, this is not an excuse for mediocrity. If a particular zone is to produce a judge why can’t we find the best talents in that zone. Our country has excellent men and women everywhere,” the President said.
President noted that “Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement. We cannot afford to have the stitches come undone.”
While urging stakeholders in the sector to further leverage technology to enhance the speed of court processes, the President said “digitization of court processes, records and services is very much the new frontier of justice delivery and will dramatically enhance access to justice and affect trial timelines.”
Speaking on his administration’s efforts at addressing security concerns, President Buhari said his government acknowledges the apprehensions of the people, and restated the commitment to address them.
He however noted that “the fight against insecurity and to establish law and order, requires the full cooperation of all especially the various structures for law enforcement and administration of justice at all levels,” referring to how both the Federal Government and the States need to work together on prosecuting criminal cases for instance.
“If like some of us, you listen to the radio, you will often hear ordinary people asking questions about why criminals have not been sent to jail. So for example, they would ask why a suspected murderer has not being prosecuted. Of course the question many will ask is, ‘so, what is Buhari doing about that?’.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad restated the commitment of the judiciary to adapt to changes within and around its environment, citing the adoption of virtual court proceedings as an example.
He said the judiciary under his watch will not condone practices that have, over the years, negatively impacted the image of the justice sector, noting that abuse of court processes, among others would no longer be tolerated.
The week-long event will feature discussions and presentations by distinguished personalities and scholars with a focus on the theme “Step Forward”. He concluded.
When election is afoot, it is the right time to contemplate voter’s education especially in our rural areas. Elections into political offices in Nigeria are often fiercely contested with its attendant challenges. So there is always the air of apprehension and anxieties whenever elections are schedule to hold.
The reasons to educate the electorates and voters in other to prepare them on the right ways to conduct themselves before and after election are critical.
Voter’s education is imperative and cannot be wished away or over emphasizes in quest to strengthen our democracy. The 2019 general election was an interesting exercise that exposed all the intrigues and political gimmick of politicians, posing to us the relevance of voter’s education.
Indeed, voter’s education is associated with insight and knowledge of voter’s rights in electioneering process.
Therefore, little wonder that in developed democracy like US and Britain, voters during election are more informed on candidates, political parties and guidelines of the election.In this, move voters education has positive implication on emergence of political leaders out of election contest.
Fortunately for us, voter’s education would strengthen our democratic process as well as reduce any electoral fraud during the forthcoming governorship election Edo and Ondo state respectively.
This is therefore important to our democracy and national development. Indeed, this has come to the heart of our observations.
The supreme task of voter’s education is paramount to the rural and urban electorates many whom have showed interest on who governed them. This may sound surprising but the current reality of change has reawakened every citizens of this country.
Obviously, has resident and indigene of both Edo and Ondo state prepare for the governorship elections comes in a matter of weeks, to our village people in the rural areas as we refer to them are in need of voter’s education, even though most of them are politically conscious of their socio-political environment.
We hope that voter’s education in its strict sense is to empower the electorates and it is a must that relevant stakeholders would undertake.
Concretely what this voters education means and how it is to be done is simply on the basis of non partisanship, respect for the electorates and devoid of sentiment (religion or ethnic) or hate speeches.
This is possible because voters need to be prepare more than before to avoid their votes been wrongly cast, the right to vote been denial and their fundamental human right not abuse.
We want to the election result to reflect the wish of the electorates, while we desire our voters to cast their vote with informed knowledge of their right to choose who they best trust. Stand and know your right as voters and follow up the result of your votes as good citizens. In all be able to hold the elected official accountable.
By: Adefolarin Olamilekan, Political Economist and Development Researcher, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org-Abuja.
Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades with the Spanish giants.
The club confirmed on Tuesday the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to activate a release clause that would end his contract – which currently runs until next June – and allow him to leave for free this summer.
Barcelona have received this in writing via a fax from his lawyers. They have not officially replied yet but are understood to be preparing one.
Barcelona do not agree the clause is still active. It is said to have expired on June 10 – 10 days after the original date of the Champions League final on May 30.
But Messi’s lawyers are arguing that – in the spirit of the deal and good faith – the clause is still active after the rescheduled final on August 23, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history.
The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007-08 – and ignited one of their worst crises ever.
Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.
Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol reacted to the news Messi wants to leave, tweeting: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”
Koeman said: “I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay]. Of course he is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team – you don’t want him playing against you.
“For me as a coach, I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he is at the ability and the level he has always shown, I would be more than happy for him to stay.
“He’s still got a contract and he is still a Barcelona player. There are some older players in the team and we need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case, I hope that he stays with us.”
‘We want to build a team around Messi’
Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes insists the club want to build a team around Messi, despite the bombshell transfer request made by “the greatest player in the world”.
Speaking at the official unveiling of €31m (£27.8m) signing Francisco Trincao on Wednesday, Planes said: “This is evidently the important news.
“As we’ve said many times, as [new head coach Ronald] Koeman and the president have said and my position as technical secretary, we count on Messi for the future, just as we count on Trincao as a talent of the future, and we have heard that he will play alongside the greatest player in the history, the greatest player in the world.
“These things happen and we hope we will come back stronger from the defeat at the end of last season.
“What’s happened has happened and our idea is to build a team around the most important player in the world.
“We are not contemplating any kind of departure because what we want is for Messi to stay.
“We only have enormous respect for Leo Messi. Barca and Leo are like a marriage, where both have given so much to each other and have brought so much joy to the fans. I think the future is positive. I am an optimist.
“We are putting every effort into ensuring that the relationship between Barca and Messi will continue. We are working internally to convince Leo.”
Analysis: Messi has done the right thing
“Messi has done the right thing and he should have done it earlier. His contract and the law may not support him, what Barcelona are saying is the ‘get out of Barcelona free’ – to pardon the Monopoly expression – is a clause he had built into his contract and I’ve seen very little examination of that.
“When his last contract was signed, they put that clause in and argued for a ‘get out of jail free’ clause at the end of every season. He had to inform the club in May that he wanted to leave and they had to allow him to leave for free. When that clause was inserted, it is typical of this club, if you look back at the Neymar fiasco, that they can be told something in big, bold writing and they misunderstand it or fail to act on it.
“So Messi and his people have been prepared to parachute out of a failing football club for a very long time. They will argue that although the timing for this clause in his contract has passed, they are going to say this was an odd season, an extended season and if months become transferable, they’re going to argue that saying it in August is the same as saying it in May. I’m not sure if that will wash.
“I think if you view it as a strategy in order to get the president out, I think this president [Josep Maria Bartomeu] is too stubborn and too obstinate to try and sit this out and even fight in the courts over this contract, which would be a disgraceful scenario. The presidential elections are in a year and I don’t think the president will bring them forward, even to save this situation.”
Analysis: Could Messi leave for free?
“The facts of the matter are that he has a release clause in his contract of €700m so, whether he wants to leave or not, who can afford €700m?
“However, there is a clause within that contract that says Messi can leave for free at the end of every season, should he decide that he wants to leave Barcelona, so you would think then that Messi is available for no money at all.
“However, there is a little bit of confusion with this one because Messi will say the season has finished late and, under the contract, the season finishes and I can leave for free.
“But Barcelona will say this is an exceptional circumstance that the season got extended and they will refer to when the season would have ended before, which would have been in May or early June.
“They will say that is when the clause expires, so the £700m release clause becomes active once more.
“Until they sort that out, Messi can say I want to leave Barcelona, he can express his desire to leave but, until this release clause issue gets sorted, and whether he can actually leave for free, you have to wonder who can actually pay €700m to buy Messi?”
Analysis: An epic failure if Messi leaves for free
Spanish football expert Terry Gibson told Sky Sports News:
“I think the catalyst was the news today that Koeman told Luis Suarez that there wasn’t a future for him at the club. We know how close Suarez and Messi are and that’s probably the final straw for the great Argentine striker.
“They’re using August 31 as their template to try and get Messi to leave on a free transfer, according to the agreements they’ve had in place for a number of years. When I say he comes on a free transfer, he probably comes with €100m per week salary but in terms of a transfer fee paid to Barcelona, Messi and his advisors are asking that he can leave and be allowed to leave on a free transfer, which would be astonishing.
“He is a player we all expected to finish his career at Barcelona and that should be the case. But the sad matter of fact is the club has been an absolute shambles for at least two years, you can maybe argue five or six years, and I think Messi has just had enough.
“The situation with the president, Bartomeu, he is going to be leaving the club at the end of next season. He can’t be elected to stay on for another term and I think this is a power play from Messi and his camp at the very least, if he has any intention of staying at the club, to make sure the president leaves now. If there is a choice between the Barcelona supporters of who stays or who goes between Messi and the president, there’s only one winner there.
“This story has got legs, it’s not going to be resolved quickly. Barcelona are going to do everything they can to at least try and get a transfer fee for arguably the best player that has ever played football and I think it’s a sad day for Barcelona.
“If they allow this to happen, their iconic player among so many iconic players, if they allow him to leave and to pursue his career elsewhere, it is an epic failure for whoever is running the club at the moment.”
Insight: ‘Meeting did not go well for Messi’
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports News the seeds for Messi’s decision were sown when he met new boss Ronald Koeman last week:
“The main thing is that the meeting last Friday with Ronald Koeman was not as good as they expected for a football club like Barcelona.
“The meeting with Koeman didn’t go well, from Messi’s opinion.
“Koeman told him that he didn’t count, for example, with players such as Arturo Vidal or Luis Suarez. And Messi didn’t like that.
“The way of Koeman treating him in the media and the way he has expressed the way he wants to work in Barcelona, wasn’t liked by Messi, so I think that was the situation.”
Analysis: Where could Messi go next?
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show:
“The bigger picture here is almost a war between Messi and the Barcelona board. He has fallen out with them, he wants out of the club, he is not happy with the direction the club has been led in.
“The important thing is – will he get his way? Will he be able to force his way out of Barcelona? That is the first hurdle he has to clear. The second hurdle is, can he find a club who can afford to pay him?
“When you think about it, how many clubs are there in the world that can afford to pay Messi the kind of money he’s on?
“In the current economic climate, I cannot see another club in the world that can afford to match the money he’s on at Barcelona.
“But – who could afford it?
“Yesterday, the Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak accepted that normally, they sign players aged between 20 and 25, but they were willing to make an exception this summer to buy somebody who is a bit more experienced.
“Messi is 33, does that mean Man City are interested in signing him?
“PSG could afford to sign him as well. They have Kylian Mbappe, they have Neymar – and spent £200m getting him out of Barcelona – would they want to Messi as well?
“When you’re looking at his situation, I don’t think it’s done and dusted that he’s going to leave Barcelona just because he sent a letter saying he wanted to. It doesn’t mean the board will let him leave.
“The second problem then is where is he going to go to.
“In normal circumstances, it would be difficult but in the present economic climate, it’s almost impossible to work out who could sign him.”
Analysis: Man City is Messi’s best option
Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero on Sky Sports News:
“Manchester City is the best option because of the money, because of the Premier League and because of Pep Guardiola. Put everything together and it is a good situation for Lionel Messi.
“This evening in Spain, on a television programme, they said that Manchester United could be an option. Many people in Italy are saying that Inter could be an option. I don’t think so because there is a difference in the financial situation of the Premier League and Italy, France, Spain or Germany.
“Of course, the Premier League is also maybe the best league in the world so I think Premier League plus Manchester City plus Pep Guardiola is a good cocktail altogether.
“We know the union of Pep Guardiola and Messi at Barcelona eight or nine years ago was amazing. Maybe the best team in the world ever. I would say there is a huge possibility of Manchester City and I would say they are the first ones in this race.”
Analysis: Messi, Neymar, Mbappe at PSG?
“I think that the field has probably narrowed down to a couple of clubs.
“Inter Miami – David Beckham’s franchise – have long tried to tempt Messi and Luis Suarez to come together. That would be a big surprise to me because the MLS is not competitive enough football.
“Inter Milan want him. I don’t think he’s going to accept going there.
“At the moment, as far as I know, the field is two clubs – Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
“Imagine Paris Saint-Germain with a front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi, being fed by Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria. For football that is something that is such a delightful prospect that I imagine the Parisians are probably in pole position right now. But we’ll see, City will have something to say about that.”
The former Minister of Aviation and PDP self appointed mouthpiece, Femi Fani-Kayode in a statement issued today apologized for insulting and harassing Daily Trust Reporter, Mr Eyo Charles on Thursday during a Press Conference at a hotel in Calabar.
“I met with my advisors till late last night and I wish to say the following. I hereby withdraw the word “stupid” which I used in my encounter with a journalist in Calabar.
I have many friends in the media who I offended by losing my cool and using such words. I hereby express my regrets for doing so.”
Fani-Kayode further said:
“I do however wish to state categorically that no threat of physical harm was ever made to the journalist in question and neither did I send anyone to threaten him. Anyone that says otherwise is lying and I challenge them to bring the proof.
I would never seek to physically harm a journalist. For the last 30 years I have defended and worked with journalists and fought for the right of freedom of expression.”
“I am also very close to many in that profession. I would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honorable and noble within its ranks.
I hope that this will assuage the pain and anger of anyone that was hurt or offended by this ugly episode. I have now put this matter behind me and moved on. Now my tour of the South continues. Moving to yet another state today!” He concluded.
The verbal attack on a Daily Trust reporter, Mr Eyo Charles by former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has been condemned by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Mr Fani-Kayode was captured in a viral video pouring invectives on the reporter, Eyo Charles, whom he said asked him an “insulting” question.
The incident happened at a press briefing on Thursday in Calabar, Cross River State, where Mr Fani-Kayode wanted to talk to reporters about his tour of projects in the state.
The former minister got angry and told the reporter he was “foolish” for asking him who “bankrolled” his tour to Cross River and other states.
“What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think you are talking to? Bankroll what? Go and report yourself to your publisher,” Mr Fani-Kayode said to the reporter.
“I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that,” Mr Fani-Kayode kept yelling at the reporter who was still standing and apologising — “I am sorry, sir.”
“Don’t judge me by your own standards,” the former minister kept saying.
“I have been in politics since 1990. I am not one of those politicians that you think will just come…. I was taken, I have been locked up how many times by this government. I have been prosecuted, unlike most of these politicians you follow for brown envelopes!
“Don’t ever judge me by that standard. I spend, I don’t take and I am not a poor man, I have never been and will never be.”
The NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo, said in a statement, Tuesday, that Mr Fani-Kayode’s attack against Mr Charles was “gangster-like”.
Mr Isiguzo said the reporter was only asking “a simple question”.
“For him to have embarked on assessment of projects in some states, even though we are yet to be told under what platform, he is doing so, it is proper for the media to hold him to account for his actions and decisions,” Mr Isiguzo said.
Mr Isiguzo said the former minister’s reaction to the reporter’s question was against “simple decorum and civility” and, therefore, “unacceptable, dishonourable and reprehensible”.
He demanded a retraction from him.
“By delving into politics and holding political office, Fani Kayode is very conversant with the watchdog role of the media.
“We are more shocked that the same Kayode who had in recent times, used his social media handles to call leaders to account is at the same time attacking a journalist for a simple demand for him to unmask those behind his nationwide tour.
“He had already visited six states. This is indeed, terribly disappointing,” the NUJ president said.
“By denigrating the journalist, Fani Kayode has exposed himself the more as an intolerant and unstable person who will not want his activities closely scrutinised by the media.”
Media Trust, the employer of the reporter, Mr Eyo Charles has since comdemned the actions of the former minister for been reprehensible.
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja assured Nigerians and the international community that his administration will use the remaining years in office to improve access to quality education, health care and enhance productivity, while listing nine priority areas.
The President, who received Letters of Credence from Ambassadors/High Commissioners of eight countries at the State House, said efforts were being made to sustain Nigeria’s position as profitable investment destination with unequalled incentives in all sectors, especially large market and flexible tax system which investors from various countries can take advantage of.
The Ambassadors/High Commissioners who presented their Letters of Credence are: Hocine Latil of Algeria; Luong Quoc Thinh of Vietnam; Dr Benson Alfred Bana of Tanzania; Traore Kalilou of Cote d’Ivoire; Abakar Saleh Chahaimi of Chad; Jamal Mohammed Barrow of Somalia; Brahim Salem El Mami Buseif of Sahrawi Arab Republic and Mohammed Alibak of Iran.
The President told the diplomats about Nigeria’s priority, and the need to streamline on people-focused policies.
“In our efforts to achieve a realistic domestic and foreign policy, as well as national development, we have identified the following nine priority areas to guide our policy directions over the next few years. “Build a thriving and sustainable economy; Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; Enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expand transport and other infrastructural development.
“Expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; Expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; Build a system to fight corruption, improve governance and create social cohesion; and improve security for all.’’
Describing Nigerians as the “nation’s most prized assets’’, President Buhari said the nine priority mandates were already reflected in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, a medium-term initiative pioneered by the government to restore economic growth and development while leveraging the resourcefulness and resilience of the citizens. The President urged the diplomats to use the opportunity of working in the country to improve relations with their governments and people. “I have no doubt that you might have prior and in-depth knowledge of Nigeria’s huge potential which you will hopefully see for yourselves. I therefore, urge you to go around the country, see things for yourselves and report to your home governments. This is important as you all are representatives of both your sending and host states.’’ President Buhari said Nigeria will remain steadfast in pursuing deeper and valuable relations among nations, without discrimination. “Nigeria strongly supports joint action to ensure a democratic and fair world order based on strict respect for the norms of international law, the United Nations Charter, recognition of the unquestionable value of cultural diversity, national sovereignty, and the right of all countries to decide their future freely, without external pressure.
“Nigeria does not divide its partners into big and small; we value and respect every country, and with every country we are ready to pursue dialogue, as well as build cooperation on the basis of equality and constructive mutual respect.
“These include our cooperation in strengthening regional, continental and global peace and security, resolving complex issues, settling conflicts, as well as addressing dangerous threats to mankind, among which include terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, cybercrimes, poverty, communicable diseases and epidemics.’’
Speaking on behalf of the Ambassadors/High Commissioners, the Ambassador of Algeria to Nigeria said each of the diplomats brings greetings and agenda from their home governments, but the bottom line remains to enhance cooperation and seek advancement in mutual areas of interest.
“On behalf of my colleagues, we thank you for receiving us. We know that your schedule is tight. As the giant of Africa, you are always focused on resolving conflicts in the continent, while taking care of your domestic issues as well.’’
The Algerian ambassador said the African ambassadors will leverage the opportunity to further enhance implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and learn from each other.
Femi Adesina Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) August 25, 2020
Flowing from his earlier visit to the Inspector General of Police and the critical meeting of stakeholders of Kanam Local Government Areas in a bid to curb the rising spate of criminal activities in PKK, with particular concern to the incessant kidnappings in Kanam LGA, the member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yusuf Adamu Gagdi was today at the Operation Safe Heaven (STF) headquarters in Jos, where he held talks with the Commander for a collaborative effort to tame the tide.
The lawmaker commended the commander, Major General Okonko for his efforts to curb the wanton killings in Southern Kaduna, parts of Bauchi and Plateau, and encouraged the commander not to rest on his oars until activities of marauding killers in his areas of coverage are brought to an end.
Rt Hon Gagdi requested for the formation of military checkpoints in Garga axis, Gagdi-Dugub axis and Namaran-Kapel axis, where the kidnappers and other criminals had recently had field days perpetrating their heinous activities.
He said lack of security presence in those axis had encouraged the criminals to execute their missions unhindered, hence observed that when Join Security checkpoints are installed in the areas, the criminals will have to withdraw their activities from those areas or get apprehended by the security apparatus.
While responding, the commander, Major General Okonko promised to hearken to the lawmaker’s request in order to put paid to the criminal activities of bandits in the mentioned areas.
He said his men are well equipped and combat ready to clamp down on bandits and criminal activities in his area of coverage, while assuring that his men will redouble their efforts to ensure improved security in PKK and the whole areas under Operation Safe Heaven.
As Chairman of one of the armed forces committee in the House of Representatives who equally oversight the general activities of the military, Rt Hon. Gagdi was presented with a plague, to honour his visit to the STF headquarters.
ADA is the beauty of the Idoma nation and glory Smeared with beauty and scars that tells a reflection story.
ADA is blessed with crown of beads And Love is the emblem of her creed A thick lips of smiles she shares,
A warm embracing of a dimple she bare She could sing her mother’s song and dance That attracts a hive of bees and men for a chance.
And when she bounce from her behind, you wish You paid her bride price to enjoy her local dish She is the image of an African queen The apple on the eyes of a king.
She boast of her green-foothills And could use styles for her head-ties Her smiles beams like the full moon For the sun is her concubine in the noon Protruding more prettiness of her colour A first daughter worth a man’s valour.
She is the joy of every mother The best kind of a sister, that supports the father Her strength found within her chest.
And her humble pride she wears as a vest From the little dreams she had in many And the future walls she is building from her penny.
You have mocked her from your mannish ego Still her happiness is drawn from her heart of gold.
The name ADA blows forth a strength From Ole to every length and breath In Idomaland, She is a symbol of true passion Raising dreams of our future generations.
Dedicated to my mum of blessed memory. ADA like no other. I celebrate all the ADA’S.
It is evidently clear that some persons are hell bent to destroy this country and we shall resist it by all means.
We were misinformed and misled to believe that soldiers killed peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate, whose bodies are yet to be seen, family members yet to be seen crying and the hospitals they were taken to yet to be seen or shown to us. We have not heard parents or relatives of the deceased coming out to cry. The governor confirmed only one death which was not as a result bullet, and it is yet to be confirmed if the incident happend at the scene of the protest at Lekki.
The burning and destruction of Public infrastructure, media houses and attacks on the Oba of Lagos and other personalities has shown the evil intent of some anarchist. We shall not allow this, and the best way to resist this madness is by resisting to be tempted to respond to their evil act, but to allow the constituted authority to do the needful.
Our young people up here in the North must keep calm and refuse to be tempted to see the violence from a regional, tribal or religious angle because that is their intention. Those in Plateau that have subconsciously allowed themselves to be used must wake up and note that they are only playing to the gallary of some evil persons.
We shall soon mobilize young people of influence from this part of the country to have a talk and see how to prevail on other young people with tendencies not to contemplate taking laws into their hands. Violence has never defeated violence.
We urge all voices of young progressive Nigerians both those for and against SARS to speak up against this insincerity and intent to burn down our country.
The IPOB guys have proven a point and we must resist them by refusing to be violent while we note that not all Igbos are members of IPOB.
The PRP Family in Bauchi State has today received the resignation of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from the party without an iota of surprise or disgust.
This public statement wouldn’t had been made, if not because of some issues that Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi raised in his resignation letter which we consider inimical and injurious to the image and long-lived reputation of our cherished party.
The departure of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from PRP is a conspicuous gain that heralds the future growth and development of the party as has now created a space for all persons with progressive ideals and ideas to join the redemptive bandwagon – the PRP.
Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi had joined the PRP in 2019 after being tactically trashed from the APC by its leadership which he went back to meet now. He affirmed this in his resignation letter copying the APC Chairman by stating: “I am sure you will recall that my departure from the APC was not as a result of my resignation from the party. It was a result of my total exclusion from the affairs of the party by the leadership of the party”.
The PRP, due to its accomodating nature, accorded him all privileges including giving him the opportunity to steer the activities of the party at Bauchi State level. Even though a number of voices had objected the then decision of the party citing as justifications some unprintable incidences that characterized his existence in his former parties – ANPP, CPC, and APC.
The resignation and total departure of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from PRP has saved a lot of energy and time from being wasted as there were already moves by some patriotic party members to effect his removal due to the stagnant condition which the party found itself since his assumption of its leadership almost two years ago. In this regard, the Bauchi State PRP family members did commend Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi here for making their work short, brief and accomplished.
Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi has mentioned in his resignation letter that a conflict in PRP was what majorly moved him to resign. At this juncture, we deem it important to specifically point out that there’s no any political party on earth that exists without one problem or another. It is a natural culture of politics and a part and parcel of human existence. Like any other political party in Nigeria, the PRP cannot be totally perfect and has its own issues that cannot be called crisis if compared with the crises that rocked and continue rocking the party he was going to – the APC. Was it not a crisis that paralyzed and polarized the APC to the extent that they dissolved their National Leadership and formed a Caretaker Committee? Was it not a crisis that destabilized and decapitated the APC to the extent that they arranged to hold extraordinary emergency convention as part of desperate measures to address the lingering and ravaging crises? Was it not the crises in APC that made some of its state governors like the former of Governor of Imo, Senator Rochas Okorocha and others to declare 2023 as its expiry date?
Therefore, citing a crisis that does not exist as a basis for his resignation cannot and will never hold water. We have no problem if Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi joined the ruling APC in anticipation of appointment, renewal of appointment or any other promises that might be made to him because doing that didn’t start with him and will not end from him in Nigerian politics. But our problem was his intentional action of citing a non-existent problem that would dent the image of our party as his basis for resignation.
In addition, we consider it pertinent to bring to the attention of the general public that there is no any form of conflict among the PRP National Executive Committee (NEC), National Working Committee (NWC), and Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party as alleged by Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi in his resignation letter. These organs work in synergy and harmony with one another. Recent successes and achievements recorded by the party, particularly at the National Level serve as an indisputable attestation to that.
PRP remains intact and united. Therefore, we urge well-meaning Nigerians, particularly the inhabitants and indigenes of Bauchi State to join the redemptive wagon of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) now so as to move Nigeria forward and salvage Nigerians.
We thanked Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi profusely for all his services and contributions to the PRP during his sojourn in the party. We equally hoped he would get what he’s after in the APC sooner rather than later. We pray that they won’t ‘totally exclude him from the affairs of the party’ this time around as they did previously.
Signed: Comrade Muhammed Ishaq, For the Bauchi State PRP Family. 20/10/2020.
Gov. Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, shares building materials, cash to families of 25 villages in Jere.
Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum on Saturday supervised the distribution of building materials and cash to 1,111 families who will reconstruct their homes across 25 villages in Jere local government area.
The distribution is one of government resettlement policies even though the government at many instances, builds and reconstruct thousands of homes on major projects.
Each of the 1,111 families empowered for resettlements, has at least six members.
They will be returning to safe communities they lived before they were displaced years ago.
At a brief ceremony which took place in Yawuri each family, called a household, received building materials and cash to renovate their houses and pick up the pieces of their lives.
Zulum assured the communities of Government’s continued assistance in ways that will boost access to livelihoods in irrigation agriculture taking advantage of potentials in the shores of Lake Alau.
The governor also promised to construct a new school and a hospital for the families.
The returning communities had been taking refuge in parts of Jere Local Government and Maiduguri Metropolitan for over 3 years.
Commissioner for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Engr. Mustapha Gubio informed the Governor that only displaced persons who indicated interest to to return were listed for the self-reconstruction empowerment.
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum was at Dalwa, a community in Konduga Local Government Area where the ministry for reconstruction already mobilised to site for construction of 500 houses.
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja assured Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the country will explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy to ensure that she becomes the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is one of two candidates contesting for the top position of the multilateral institution.
President Buhari, who received the former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank at the Presidential Villa, said she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.
“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,’’ he added.
The President assured Dr Okonjo-Iweala that he will make more phone calls, and send letters to some world leaders for more support.
“I did the same for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for President of the African Development Bank. Both of you served the country under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You are both highly qualified. We will continue to support you. I will immediately make those calls,’’ the President told Dr Okonjo-Iweala.
In her remarks, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment for supporting her staunchly.
“I feel very proud of Nigeria. I am getting so much support from you, Mr President, Chief of Staff, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments. The ministers have been working around the clock to ensure that I succeed,’’ she said.
The former Minister of Finance also appreciated ECOWAS leaders for their endorsement, mentioning in particular the outstanding contributions of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS as well as President Alhassan Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
She asked the President to “make one final push within the week to beat the Koreans and bring this to Nigeria by sending a few letters and placing telephone calls to some world leaders, and also thank others for their support.’’
“Mr President, put a smile on my face,’’ she said, “I am very proud of the country.’’
The statement was made available today by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the voice of the Nigerian people over their dissatisfaction with the operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
Lawan said with the courageous decision to dissolve the police unit, the President and his government have shown themselves as responsive to the feelings of the people.
“I am applauding the President because it is a demonstration of good leadership to yield to the demand of the populace in difficult situations like this,” Lawan said.
He also commended the Inspector-General of Police for the decision and challenged him to come up with measures for the transformation of the Nigeria Police into an effective law enforcement and crime fighting agency that is also a true and respected friend of the Nigerian people.
The Senate President said the measures should fully address all the issues that earned the dissolved SARS the odium of the Nigerian people, and in particular of the articulate Nigerian youths.
“The expectation is that this situation offers us another opportunity to reform the operations of the entire Force.
“I also reiterate my call for the prosecution of all security personnel whose extra judicial killings and other acts of misconduct brought us to this sorry pass.
“I hope that the steps taken by the Inspector-General of Police will be followed with more comprehensive reform of the Police,” Lawan said.
The statement was made available yesterday by Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser on Media to the President of the Senate.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerian farmers stand to reap the benefits of his government’s reforms as he continues to accord the highest priority to agriculture, describing it as the country’s largest employer of labour and engine of growth.
At a meeting with Katsina State Elders Forum at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the President said his administration will continue to take steps to enhance output and productivity by ensuring the availability of cheap agricultural credits, farm inputs, fertilizer and the introduction of latest technologies.
President Buhari said the choice of practicing farmers as ministers in charge of agriculture, first Chief Audu Ogbe and now, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, was a reflection of his strong wish to protect the interest of farmers and the attainment of national food self-sufficiency.
He agreed to look into the request of the Katsina Elders for the expansion of existing irrigation schemes at Zobe and Sabke dams to enhance employment and profitability in agriculture, saying that a situation in which 60 per cent of the state is productive in rain-fed agriculture for three to four months, and idle for the rest of the year was unacceptable.
The President told the meeting that he had charged his ministers of agriculture to work with the states to rediscover the lost animal grazing routes and reserves as a means to ending the frequent outbreak of violence between farmers and herders.
He also pressed the necessity of educating school-age children, saying that once the opportunity of early education is lost, it often turns out very difficult for them to make up.
According to him, “This is the best preparation we can give to them. We destroy their lives by denying children education.”
President Buhari also broached the issue of armed banditry and kidnapping that had bedevilled Katsina and other northwestern states and gave assurances that the situation will be overcome in the same way the farmer-herders attacks were subdued.
The leader the delegation, Alhaji Aliyu Balarabe Saulawa representing the Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Kurfi, Maradin Katsina, commended the President for returning peace to most parts of the state and for the various infrastructure projects, including the Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Maradi rail link.
They welcomed the recent decision by government to elongate the service of teachers and improve their condition of service.
Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) October 9, 2020
His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, laid the 2021 Budget, At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja. Today Thursday, 8th October 2020.
It is with pleasure that I present the 2021 Federal Budget Proposals to this Joint Session of the National Assembly.
Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members of the National Assembly, at this juncture, I wish to commend your tremendous efforts in approving the revision of the 2020 – 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and passage of the 2020 Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Today marks an important occasion in our quest to accord the federal budget process the seriousness it deserves. In line with our commitment, we have worked extra hard to ensure early submission of the 2021 –2023 Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, as well as the 2021 Appropriation Bill. It is my sincere hope that the National Assembly will pass this Bill into law early enough to enable implementation by 1st January 2021, given the collaborative manner in which the budget was prepared.
In the course of this address, I will present the highlights of our budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will, later, provide the full details of these proposals.
The 2021 Budget was prepared amidst a challenging global and domestic environment due to the persistent headwinds from the Coronavirus Pandemic. The resulting global economic recession, low oil prices and heightened global economic uncertainty have had important implications for our economy.
The Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Real Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) growth declined by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This ended the 3-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017. I am glad to note that, through our collective efforts, our economy performed relatively better than that of many other developed and emerging economies.
GDP growth is projected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences. However, we are working assiduously to ensure a rapid recovery in 2021. We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
As skills’ deficits limit employment opportunities in the formal economy, various skills’ development programmes are being implemented simultaneously to address this problem frontally. For instance, the Government is implementing the Special Public Works programme to provide employment opportunities to 774,000 youths across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria. We have also recently introduced the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, of which N25 billion have been provided in 2021 Budget.
We thank all Nigerians, for your perseverance and continued support during these difficult times. We remain unwavering in our commitment to actualize our vision of a bright future for everyone.
Performance of the 2020 Budget
Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that the 2020 ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation’ was amended in response to recent fiscal pressures. I am glad to report that these efforts enabled us to effectively respond to the public health challenge of Coronavirus outbreak and moderate economic impact.
Pursuant to our revised assumptions, the amended 2020 Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of 28 US Dollars per barrel; oil production of 1.80 million barrels per day; and exchange rate of N360 to the US Dollar.
Based on these budget parameters, aggregate revenue of N5.84 trillion was projected to fund N10.81 trillion in expenditure. The projected deficit of N4.98 trillion, or 3.57 percent of GDP, is expected to be financed mainly by borrowing.
In 2020, average daily oil production was 1.88 mbpd up to June, as against the revised estimate of 1.80 mbpd for the entire year. However, the market price of Bonny Light crude averaged 40.79 US Dollars per barrel, significantly higher than the revised benchmark price of 28 US Dollars.
As at July 2020, the Federal Government’s actual revenue available for the budget was N2.10 trillion. This revenue performance was only 68 percent of our pro-rated target in the revised 2020 budget. At N992.45 billion, oil revenue performed well above our budget target, by 168 percent. Non-oil tax revenues totalled N692.83 billion, which was 73 percent of the revised target.
To improve independent revenue performance, I have directed that the cost profiles of Government Owned Enterprises (‘GOEs’) should be scrutinized and limits imposed on their cost-to-revenue ratios. Supervising Ministers have also been directed to ensure closer monitoring of the revenue generating activities and expenditures of the Government Owned Enterprises.
On the expenditure side, as at end of July 2020, a total of N5.37 trillion had been spent as against the pro-rated expenditure of N5.82 trillion. Accordingly, the deficit was N3.27 trillion. This represents 66 percent of the revised budgeted deficit for the full year.
Despite these challenges, we met our debt service obligations. We are also up to date on the payment of statutory transfers and staff salaries, while overhead costs have been significantly covered.
For the first time in recent years, we commenced the implementation of this year’s capital budget in the first quarter. As at 15th September 2020 a total of about N1.2 trillion had been released for capital projects. Every Federal MDA has received at least 50 percent of its 2020 capital expenditure budget, in line with my earlier directives.
Let me emphasise that revenue generation remains our major challenge. Nevertheless, Government is determined to tackle the persisting problems with domestic resource mobilization, as there is a limit to deficit financing through borrowing. The time has come for us to maintain a healthy balance between meeting our growing expenditure commitments and our long-term public financial health.
Key Achievements in the 2020 Fiscal Year
Over the last year, this Administration has implemented several priority projects. I am happy to report that much progress has been made on several fronts and our Government has delivered on key policies, programmes and projects in these priority areas.
In agriculture, we have recorded appreciable success in rice and other crops mainly through the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, anchored by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, respectively. We are also accelerating the construction of 337 rural roads around key agricultural corridors to enhance access to market and reduce post-harvest losses. These efforts have reduced the adverse impact of Coronavirus on our food availability, prices and security.
We have made progress on the railway projects connecting different parts of the country. The Lagos-Ibadan Line will soon be operational. The Abuja-Kaduna Line is running efficiently. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta Line was finally completed after over 30 years since it was initiated and commissioned in September 2020.
Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line. Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the North, and the South-South as well as South-East to the North, and South-West, respectively.
The Second Niger Bridge is at about 46 percent completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023. We have awarded several contracts to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct major arterial roads, in order to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activity.
To bridge the infrastructure deficit, we are also implementing innovative financing strategies to pull-in private sector investment. The Infrastructure Company, which I recently approved, will become a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on making critical infrastructural investments in Nigeria. This Infrastructure Company will raise funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Africa Finance Corporation, pension funds as well as local and foreign private sector development financiers.
Under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, we are undertaking the construction and rehabilitation of over 780km of roads and bridges, nationwide, to be financed by the grant of tax credits to investing business. Ongoing projects under this scheme include:
a. Construction and Rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road Section II (Obajana-Kabba) in Kogi and Kwara States;
b. Construction of Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway in Lagos State; and
c. Construction of Bodo-Bonny road with a Bridge across the Opobo Channel in Rivers State.
To enhance good governance, we strengthened our anti-corruption agencies to ensure they work independently and jointly, while respecting the rule of law. We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency, nationwide, with innovative approaches. Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North West are yielding desired results. We are determined to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and criminal behaviour from our midst.
Theme & Priorities of the 2021 Budget
Distinguished Senators; Honourable Members; let me now turn to the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which is designed to further deliver on the goals of our Economic Sustainability Plan. This Plan provides a clear road map for our post- Coronavirus economic recovery as a transitional plan to take us from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020) to the successor Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021 – 2025).
In view of the many challenges confronting us, we must accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. The 2021 Appropriation has, therefore, been themed the ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’. It is expected to accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, promote economic diversification, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion.
Parameters & Fiscal Assumptions Underpinning the 2021 Appropriation
Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper set out the parameters for the 2021 Budget, which include:
a. Benchmark oil price of 40 US Dollars per barrel;
b. Daily oil production estimate of 1.86 million barrels (inclusive of Condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day);
c. Exchange rate of N379 per US Dollar; and
d. GDP growth projected at 3.0 percent and inflation closing at 11.95 percent.
Finance Bill 2020
Distinguished and Honourable Members; I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to finalise the Finance Bill 2020, which will be forwarded for your kind consideration and passage into law, shortly after today’s 2021 Budget presentation. The Finance Bill is to support the realization of our 2021 revenue projections, adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies and enhance the efficiency of fiscal incentives.
Tax Expenditure Statement
In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, we will prepare and publish, a Tax Expenditures Statement for 2019. The 2019 Statement will be the first of these annual Statements, setting out the estimated cost of tax exemptions, incentives and rebates provided under Nigeria’s revenue and other laws. The 2019 Statement is expected to contribute to public discussion on the use of our tax policies and system to achieve socio-economic development.
Federal Government Revenue Estimates
Based on the foregoing fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally distributable revenue is estimated at N8.433 trillion in 2021. Total revenue available to fund the 2021 Federal Budget is estimated at N7.886 trillion. This includes Grants and Aid of N354.85 billion as well as the revenues of 60 Government-Owned Enterprises.
Oil revenue is projected at N2.01 trillion. Non-oil revenue is estimated at N1.49 trillion. As you will observe, the format of the 2021 Appropriation Bill has been modified to include budgeted revenues, no matter how small, for each MDA, to focus on internal revenue generation. Accordingly, I implore you to pay as much attention to the revenue side as you do to the expenditure side.
Planned 2021 Expenditure
An aggregate expenditure of N13.08 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2021. This includes N1.35 trillion spending by Government-Owned Enterprises and Grants and Aid funded expenditures of N354.85 billion. For 2021, the proposed N13.08 trillion expenditure comprises:
a. Non-debt Recurrent Costs of N5.65 trillion;
b. Personnel Costs of N3.76 trillion;
c. Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits of N501.19 billion;
d. Overheads of N625.50 billion;
e. Debt Service of N3.124 trillion;
f. Statutory Transfers of N484.49 billion; and
g. Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire certain maturing bonds).
The 2021 Budget deficit (inclusive of Government Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans), is projected at N5.20 trillion. This represents 3.64 percent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. It is, however, to be noted that we still face the existential challenge of Coronavirus Pandemic and its aftermath; I believe that this provides a justification to exceed the threshold as provided for by this law.
The deficit will be financed mainly by new borrowings totalling N4.28 trillion, N205.15 billion from Privatization Proceeds and N709.69 billion in drawdowns on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific projects and programmes.
The sum of N484.49 billion provided for Statutory Transfers in the 2021 Budget represents an increase of N56.46 billion (or 13 percent) over the revised 2020 provision. The Statutory Transfer provisions are:
a. Niger Delta Development Commission – N63.51 billion;
b. North East Development Commission – N29.70 billion;
c. National Judicial Council – N110.00 billion;
d. Universal Basic Education Commission – N70.05 billion;
e. Independent National Electoral Commission – N40.00 billion;
f. National Assembly – N128.00 billion;
g. Public Complaints Commission – N5.20 billion;
h. Human Rights Commission – N3.00 billion; and
i. Basic Health Care Provision Fund – N35.03 billion.
In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, all beneficiaries of Statutory Transfers will be required to provide the Budget Office of the Federation with periodic reports on the allocation and expenditure of funds for inclusion in the quarterly Budget Implementation Report.
In our efforts to enhance national security and human capital development, a major part of the 2021 recurrent cost estimate is allocated to paying salaries and overheads in MDAs providing these critical public services. These include:
a. N227.02 billion for the Ministry of Interior;
b. N441.39 billion for the Ministry of Police Affairs;
c. N545.10 billion for Ministry of Education;
d. N840.56 billion for Ministry of Defence; and
e. N380.21 billion for Ministry of Health.
Personnel cost is still our largest single item of expenditure. In the 7 months to 31st July 2020, it accounted for 34 percent of total Federal Government spending and is projected at 33 percent of 2021 expenditure.
To check the incidence of payments to non-existent personnel and unauthorised allowances, only Federal staff that have been captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (‘IPPIS’) platform will receive salaries.
All agencies have been directed to ensure that they obtain all necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment. Any breach of these directives will be severely sanctioned.
We remain committed to meeting our debt service obligations. Hence, we have provisioned N3.12 trillion for this in 2021, representing an increase of N445.57 billion from N2.68 trillion in 2020. A total of N2.183 trillion has been set aside to service domestic debts while N940.89 billion has been provided for foreign debt service. N220 billion is provided for transfers to the Sinking Fund to pay off maturing bonds issued to local contractors and creditors.
Total overhead costs of MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises are projected to rise to N625.50 billion in 2021, mainly due to the inclusion of the overheads of an additional 50 Government Owned Enterprises. Overhead provisions have also been made for newly created agencies. To keep a tab on running costs, MDAs must adhere to extant expenditure controls.
An aggregate sum of N3.85 trillion is expected to be available for capital projects in 2021, as summarised below:
a. N1.80 trillion for MDAs’ capital expenditure;
b. N745 billion for Capital Supplementation;
c. N355 billion for Grants and Aid-funded projects;
d. N20 billion for the Family Homes Fund;
e. N25 billion for the Nigeria Youth Investment fund;
f. N336 billion for 60 Government Owned Enterprises;
g. N247 billion for capital component of Statutory Transfers; and
h. N710 billion for projects funded by Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral loans.
The 2021 capital budget is N1.15 trillion higher than the 2020 provision of N2.69 trillion. At 29 percent of aggregate expenditure, the provision moves closer to this Administration’s policy target of 30 percent.
Capital expenditure in 2021 remains focused on the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than the commencement of new ones. We have also made efforts to ensure equity in the distribution of projects and programmes in the proposed budget. I will be providing the National Assembly a list of some of the most critical projects which we must work collectively to ensure they receive adequate funding. Until projects reach completion, they do not deliver the dividends of democracy that Nigerians rightly deserve.
Highlights of the 2021 Capital Projects
Key capital spending allocations in the 2021 Budget include:
a. Power: N198 billion (inclusive of N150 billion for the Power Sector Recovery Plan);
b. Works and Housing: N404 billion;
c. Transportation: N256 billion;
d. Defence: N121 billion;
e. Agriculture and Rural Development: N110 billion;
f. Water Resources: N153 billion;
g. Industry, Trade and Investment: N51 billion;
h. Education: N127 billion;
i. Universal Basic Education Commission: N70 billion;
j. Health: N132 billion;
k. Zonal Intervention Projects: N100 billion; and
l. Niger Delta Development Commission: N64 billion.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will facilitate the integrated development of its sector by promoting crops’ value chains; as well as providing rural roads, water and sanitation, veterinary and pest controls, grazing, food and strategic reserves, and access to inputs and extension services.
The 157 percent increase in the capital allocation to the health sector is to enhance the capacity to deliver healthcare services through the procurement of equipment, vaccines and other facilities. Two centres of excellence, as well as one Accident and Emergency Centre, will be equipped in Federal Teaching Hospitals in each geopolitical zone.
In addition, numerous Primary Health Care Centres will be equipped and upgraded across the six geopolitical zones. Furthermore, funds have been allocated for the expansion of Midwives Service Scheme in the six geopolitical zones. To enhance occupational safety, funds have been provided for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers.
The Ministry of Education’s capital allocation has been increased by 65 percent to improve the education of our children. Funds have been provided for the provision of scholarship awards to Nigerian students at home and abroad.
We have provided funds for the upgrade of security and other infrastructural facilities in our Unity Colleges nationwide. To improve access to education, we have made provision for the establishment of five new Federal Science and Technical Colleges. We have also provided for the payment of allowances to 5,000 teachers under the Federal Teachers Scheme.
In line with our commitment to invest in Transportation Infrastructure, capital allocation to the Works and Housing sector is to facilitate the completion of several critical projects in 2021. I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide a detailed breakdown of key infrastructural projects in her subsequent Press Briefing.
Key projects for implementation in the Power sector include several Rural Electrification Projects in the 36 States and Abuja, Rural Electrification Access Programme in Federal Universities, the Kaduna LPFO Gas Fired power Plant, the Mambilla Hydro Power Project and the Zungeru Hydropower Project.
Provisions have been made for legacy debts owed to local contractors compensation and resettlement of project-affected communities, the Renewable Energy Micro Utility (Solar) project, and the construction of transmission lines and substations nationwide. These project’s implementation is expected to have positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, as well as boost productivity and employment.
Projects to be implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2021 include provision of potable water in the North East, construction of irrigation and dams across the country, and the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.
The Ministry of Transportation has earmarked funds for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan-Kano Line, Abuja-Kaduna Line, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Line. These projects, when completed, will minimize the cost of transporting people and goods around the country.
To maintain the peace in the Niger Delta region for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2021 Budget. In addition, the sum of N63.51 billion has been appropriated for the Niger Delta Development Commission and N24.27 billion has been provided for the capital projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. These allocations should further support the development of the region by facilitating the completion of important ongoing projects, such as the East-West Road.
Government Fiscal Strategy in 2021
The government is already implementing several measures to overcome our fiscal constraints. In addition to the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives, we are leveraging technology and automation, as well as more effective monitoring of Independently Generated Revenues. Our efforts are aimed at addressing revenue leakages and redirecting scarce resources to the poor and vulnerable. These efforts include:
a. Deregulation of the price of petroleum products;
b. Ongoing verification exercise with IPPIS; and
c. Implementation of service-based electricity tariffs.
The new petrol pricing regime has freed up resources that was allocated to subsidise petroleum products. Similarly, the ongoing IPPIS verification exercise has closed gaps that encourage ghost workers or pensioners. The service reflective electricity tariffs will help resolve liquidity crisis in the power sector and make the sector attractive to foreign investment. These reforms have released trillions of Naira for allocation to other priority areas.
Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to reiterate that the main thrust of our capital spending programme in 2021 is the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible across the country. Accordingly, we have prioritized projects that can be rapidly completed to benefit our people.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, I note, with satisfaction, your determination to promptly consider and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. The enactment of this Bill will boost confidence and attract further investments into our oil and gas sector, as well as increase revenues.
I fully understand the difficulties many of our people are going through with the implementation of our reform agenda. However, the measures we are implementing are necessary for sustainable public finance, better allocation of our scarce resources and improved public service delivery. As we implement these reforms, social safety nets will be implemented to cushion the effect of the most vulnerable of our citizens as well as business owners.
In furtherance of our inclusiveness agenda, the sum of N420 billion has been provided to sustain the Social Investment Programme. N20 billion has also been set aside for the Family Homes Fund, our Social Housing Programme. We have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional one million Nigerians following the onset of Coronavirus. We recently introduced the N75 billion Survival Fund Programme to support and protect businesses from potential vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Nigeria is reducing the interest rate on its intervention facilities from 9% to 5% with a 1-year moratorium till 31st March 2021, to provide concessional lending of: . N100 billion to households and small businesses;
a. N100 billion to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry; and
b. N1 trillion to large agricultural and manufacturing businesses.
We urge Nigerian businesses and individuals to make the most of these concessional credit facilities and other such opportunities.
Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the 9th National Assembly; let me use this opportunity to, again, commend your firm commitment towards ensuring a very harmonious and productive relationship with the Executive. It is important to further deepen this relationship in the interest of our people.
As you review the 2021 Budget estimates, we believe the legislative process will be expedited to ensure its prompt passage to sustain the restoration of a predictable January – December fiscal year. In this regard, I have directed all Ministers and Heads of Agencies to be personally available for budget defence.
Let me re-emphasize that Nigerians expect that the 2021 Budget will contain only implementable and critical projects, which when completed, will significantly address current structural challenges of the economy, improve the business environment and accelerate economic recovery.
May I conclude my remarks by commending the National Assembly for its support in steering our economy during these very challenging times. We remain committed to sustaining this partnership. We believe that as we work together, we will jointly deliver on our joint mandate to our people.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay, before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2021 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, for your consideration.
I thank you for your attention.
May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Arsenal have made a late move to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid before tonight’s transfer deadline, according to Goal.
The Ghana international – who has a release clause of £45 million (€50m/$58m) – has been a priority target for the Gunners all summer.
Discussions with Atletico have taken place during the past few months, with Arsenal hoping to land the midfielder for a fee less than his release clause, but Atletico have consistently stated that the only way Partey will be leaving this summer is if that clause is activated.
Arsenal have previously indicated that the release is too high, but Goal has been told that stance has now changed and Arsenal are willing to meet the clause and have indicated such to La Liga, who hold the player’s registration.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.
This IGP’s ban was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the Force, Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect. In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
Specifically, the IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.
The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country. He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads. He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road. They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
The IGP has equally warned, that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.
The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure. He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police.
DCP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja.