PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been named the new Chairperson of the Economic Community for a West African States (ECOWAS).
ENUGU- Deputy President of the Senate, Prof Ike Ekweremadu has noted that President Mohammadu Buhari’s Style of governance is the main cause for tensions, hates speeches and all manner of disaffections presently dividing Nigerians. Ekweremadu in plain language said that the President’s loopsided appointments, particularly of the security chiefs was not only nepotic but dangerously aimed at destroying the bond that held the country together. While recommending leadership by example, he called on Nigerians to not only preach love, but to live love; adding that it is not enough to preach to people to behave well but that the people will be better influenced and inspired when leaders were also seen to be leading by example. Ekwereamdu spoke in Enugu on Saturday, at the installation of the Governor, District 9142, Rotary International Nigeria.
Represented by the Chairman House of Representatives commmittee on Works, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, Ekweremadu disclosed that the country is today more divided than at any other time in her history and urged the people to not only eschew hate speeches but also make efforts to guard against hate actions. Senator Ekweremadu wondered why a country like Nigeria with heterogeneous people who desire love and peace would go ahead and appoint service Chiefs, heads of security agencies and paramilitary agencies from one section of the country and totally shot out other sections and still expect that section to be interested in peace. He said: “Action speaks louder than voice. It is not enough as a Priest to preach love. It is more inspiring to live love. As a teacher, it is not enough to preach to the students to behave well.
They will be better influenced and inspired by your exemplary conducts as a teacher. “We cannot preach against hate speech in heterogeneous society like Nigeria and still go ahead to appoint service Chiefs, heads of security agencies and paramilitary agencies from a section of the country. “Today, when the National Security Council meets, some sections of the country are totally shut out. All pleas to the President to address this dangerous precedent have not been heeded despite various promises.”
Prof. Ekwereamdu urged Nigerians to exemplify the kindheartedness of Mother Teresa, the non- violence and selfishness of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi and the tenacity of Chief Awolowo in his commitment to human capital development and excellence through hard work. He also called on the Rotary Club to stand out as shining lights in their generation by helping to uphold the sanctity of human life, dignity of human person and superiority of Justice, equity, tolerance, love and peace. He commended the Rotary Club for leading the effort in propagating the popular University of Nigeria mantra “ to restore the dignity of Man.”
Latest report as President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Nigerian Senate, asking for the approval of money for the 2019 election.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Senate, requesting for an approval of a supplementary budget/ Virement of N164 billion to fund the 2019 general and presidential elections, Vanguard reports.
The President said that the N164 billion requested as supplementary is to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to commence preparation for the polls.
In the letter which was read at plenary Tuesday, President Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove a total of N228 billion as reinstatement from the ‘ padded ‘ N578 billion in the 2018 budget to fund critical projects.
According to the President, the N228 billion is for ” relocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totally N578 billion to cover the sum of N228 billion required.”
A former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the country loses about N300 billion every year to the prevention and treatment of malaria and other endemic diseases.
The event took place at the site of the proposed varsity at Ajibayo village, OGTV-Ajebo Road, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The former military ruler also noted that 43 per cent of the population lacked access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
Obasanjo, who ruled Nigeria for eight years as a democratic-elected president after serving as head of state, said that the country loses N300bn to the treatment of diseases that could be prevented if the health sector was well funded.
“These alarming statistics are further worsened by a number of infrastructural deficiencies.
“It is common knowledge that 43 per cent of the population lacks access to safe water, 37 per cent lacks access to adequate sanitation and about 40 per cent lacks access to public health services.
“Apart from the endemic diseases , the rising number of non-communicable and life-threatening diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic kidney diseases, cancers of the breast and cervix among our women, prostate and colon cancer among men is alarming.
“There is also a challenge of malnutrition and food security in the country,” he said.
A political scientist and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prof. Pat Utomi, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to do more on the economy.
He also hailed Buhari for taking the initiative to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day.
“So in the life of a nation, I think that 25 years is not a terribly long period of time. At least people like us who were active in the (June 12, 1993) struggle are still around. Will it have been better if it was done 22 years ago? Sure. But I don’t think that it was bad being done eventually.
“It will start (the country’s healing process) but it won’t close because the open wounds are too many and too many people who are closer to those problems still bear personal animosities. It’s important to begin the healing process which is why I embraced the June 12 honours – it’s a good process.
“I believe that and looking at the security architecture in Nigeria one important thing to bear in mind is the state of the economy. The more we have unemployed people and the more we have a bad or poor education – as most people are certificated but they’re basically illiterate – the easier it is for people who have grievances to recruit people and brainwash them to become agents of disruption of normal order.
“The general state of anomie that seems to be overtaking us in Nigeria for me significantly is economy. Therefore, the beginning of thinking insecurity is thinking a developmental state that aims to create a full employment economy – people who are educated enough in civic matters to resist those who seek to use them to abuse the state.
Following the rainstorm and flooding that wreaked havoc in some parts of Katsina State, President Muhammadu Buhari will visit the state Friday to commiserate with the victims.
The rainstorm which was accompanied by heavy downpour destroyed over 600 houses, killed more than six persons and rendered thousands homeless.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari disclosed this in a statement issued to newsmen on Thursday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.
Masari added that President Buhari felt it was necessary for him to personally visit the affected places and meet the people to extend his commiserations and condolences.
The governor urged the people of the state to turn out en masse to welcome the president in the best tradition of ‘Peace and Heritage’ which Katsina State is famed for.
President Muhammadu Buhari is scheduled to fly out Nigeria today on a two-day working visit to the Kingdom of Morocco.
According to a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, the visit, which is at the invitation of His Royal Majesty, King Mohammed VI, will see the two leaders discuss socio-economic matters affecting their countries.
It follows prior engagements in December 2016, during the official visit of His Majesty to Nigeria.
In Rabat, discussions will focus on strengthening existing agreements on the fertilizer industry, education cooperation, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project and establishing a basic chemical platform to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and support Morocco’s diammonium phosphate industry.
“It is noteworthy that following the signing of a collaboration agreement between Nigeria and Morocco in December 2016 to revive the abandoned Nigerian fertilizer blending plants, 14 plants have been revitalized so far under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI); with a total capacity of 2.3 million MT of NPK fertilizers.
“The President will be accompanied on the trip by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and other senior government officials,” the statement read in part.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in his Democracy Day broadcast assured Nigerians that his government will continue to work for them.
Buhari, who spoke on many issues, called for support for his administration, assuring that Nigeria was on the path of greatness.
Full text is his speech:
“My Dear Nigerians
Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy.
2. The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.
3. Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East.
4. Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.
5. In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international Organizations.
6. Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and development.
7. The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
8. I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.
9. This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.
10. The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.
11. The second primary object of this Administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.
12. Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include:
a. The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.
b. The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion;
c. The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll;
d. The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.
e. The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
13. The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.
14. We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.
15. This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.
16. The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
17. Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017.
18. Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These have yielded significant prospects for investments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.
19. Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
20. The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:
a. Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.
b. The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
c. Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
d. N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.
21. In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.
22. The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government and private investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.
23. This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, and metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.
24. The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries will significantly open up new flight routes.
25. As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated $90m annually.
26. Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.
27. The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.
28. The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three years, Government has approved the establishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.
29. Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with the disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT.
30. The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal sustainability at the sub-national governments through the implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal Sustainability Plan. Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.
31. In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the control of gully erosion in different communities across all geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.
32. It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The government and people appreciate you all as mothers of our great country.
33. My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.
34. Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free process.
35. In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill
36. I thank you for your attention.
37. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of old Anambra State, has highlighted reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari should abandon his second term bid.
The elder statesman said Buhari should not seek re-election because age was no longer on his side, adding that the stress associated with the office of the President was already having negative effect on his health.
Speaking with Punch, the former governor said Buhari’s first tenure was a “comprehensive failure”.
According to Ezeife, “Let us pray so that God would stop Buhari from talking about a second-term and instead, begin a six-month emergency restructuring of Nigeria.
“It is not a matter of whether he is fit or qualified, age is important. He claims to be 75, he may be 82. Even at 75, he is too old to be in that office.
“The second consideration is his comprehensive failure in the first term. If you recorded a failure like that, why do you want to seek a second term?”
Ojoto (Anambra) – The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari would be re-elected in the 2019 presidential election. Buhari’s painting Ngige spoke on Sunday at Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra, while addressing newly elected local government officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area.
The minister said Buhari had done so well to merit re-election. “I stand before you today to say Mr President has done so well in all ramifications. “He will be returned by Nigerians in 2019 in a landslide victory,” he said. Ngige, who noted that the party would contest all elective positions in the general elections, urged party faithful to work hard to ensure that the APC scores not less than 70 per cent of the votes cast in the state. He commended the party members for ensuring a smooth and peaceful local government congress held in the 21 local government areas of the state on Saturday.
“Contrary to what the prophets of doom had expected, the APC in the state had a hitch-free local government congress,” he said. The National Treasurer of APC, Chief George Moghalu, also commended the party for the peaceful conduct of the congress in the state. “I am very optimistic the same good conduct will be witnessed during the state congress,” Moghalu said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other stakeholders that spoke at the event pledged to work in unity and harmony to ensure victory for the party in the 2019 general elections. (NAN)