Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Niger speaker wants stiffer penalties for kidnapping, cattle rustling

The Speaker of the Niger House of Assembly, Mr Ahmed Marafa, has called for harsher penalties for the crimes of kidnapping and cattle rustling in the state.

Speaking in Minna on Tuesday at a public hearing on a bill for a law to penalise kidnapping and  cattle rustling, Marafa said that the two crimes were taking a huge toll on the state, hence the need for laws to deal with the menace.

“These two crimes are taking a toll not on only Niger state but the country as a whole.

“Cases of kidnapping and cattle rustling used to be alien to us in this state; but now they have become the order of the day, which is unfortunate,’’ he said

He lamented the absence of provisions in the Penal Code to deal with the twin menace.

“Often times when people are arrested for those crimes, there are no sufficient laws to prosecute them.

“The Penal Code only touched on abduction of minors and does not even provide any clear cut penalty and that is probably why those crimes are on the rise.

“We need to address that lacuna and that is why we have invited all the relevant stakeholders on finding a lasting solution."

Marafa described the proposed bill as a proof of the state government's commitment to improving security of lives and property.

PMB during lunch with State House correspondents (Photos)

President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB on Tuesday hosted the State House Press Corps to a Lunch.

One of the pictures shows the President sharing greetings with the oldest member of the Corps, Ladan Abubakar.

Ladan Abubakar has been a photojournalist for more than 40 years.  He is also a veteran of the State House Press Corps.

Another of the photos shows PMB addressing State House journalists during the lunch.

Buhari with King of Jordan's Envoy at State House Abuja

President Buhari on Tuesday, received Mr Manar Dabbas, Special Envoy of the King of Jordan, at the State House, Abuja

Democracy Day: Photos from President Buhari's dinner with NASS members

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night hosted a presidential dinner in honor of members of the National Assembly.

During the dinner which was held at the State House Conference Center, Buhari pledged to respect the principle of separation of powers by not interfering with the functions and processes of the legislature.

Democracy Day: Text of President Buhari’s remarks during dinner with Nass


Let me welcome the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, their Deputies, and Leadership of the National Assembly the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives, the Acting Clerk of National Assembly, the Senior Management Staff of the National Assembly, Party Leaders and all guests to this dinner.

2.This is first, to mark the 2016 Democracy Day, and further to appreciate the National Assembly Leadership, Membership and Management for the great work they have done in considering and approving as thought fit several Bills and measures submitted by the Executive and those bills originated by the legislatures, which have enabled the Government to function according to law.

3.Let me again appreciate the work of the National Assembly for the painstaking and consensual work they did with the Executive to deliver the 2016 Appropriation Act. It is on record that this is one rare occasion where the Appropriation Act was Assented to with the schedule i.e. the details. This is a good start in our journey of CHANGE.

4.I seize this opportunity to please draw attention to the under listed Bills which have been Submitted to the National Assembly and appeal for accelerated consideration and passage, namely:
1. Bills for Acts for domestication of agreements for avoidance of double taxation between Nigeria and South Korea, Spain and Sweden respectively.
2. Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Bill, 2016.
3. Money Laundering (Prevention & Prohibition) Bill 2016.
4. Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016.
5. Statutory Budget of the Niger – Delta Development Commission, 2016.

5. I am conscious that on June 9, 2016, the National Assembly will complete one Legislative year. May I appeal to you to consider and pass these submitted Bills, particularly the Statutory Budget of the Federal Capital Territory, the Niger – Delta Development Commission Budget and the budget of Statutory Corporations. These bodies cannot execute their Statutory mandate nor incur expenditure for the year unless their budgets are approved by the National Assembly.

6.I hereby re – state the commitment of this administration to observe the principles of Separation of Powers which defines and delineates the functions and powers of each arm of Government. Thus far we in the executive have restricted ourselves to our Constitutional roles.

7.Therefore I, as the President, and we as the Executive arm of Government will not interfere in the functions, functioning and process of the Legislature nor the Judiciary. In the same vein, I urge other arms of Government to please appraise and ensure that each action conceived and taken by it is in strict accord with its constitutionally limited powers.

8.I urge you as Legislators and the Legislature to take out time and communicate with your constituents and other Nigerians the policies of the Government which are based on Laws approved by the National Assembly.

9.I look forward to your one Legislative year on the 9th of June 2016. I send the same greetings to members of all the State Houses of Assembly in the country for completing the first Legislative year as we look forward to more active and engaging partnership.

Thank you.

Buhari meets South East Group for Change at State House Abuja

President Buhari on Tuesday afternoon held a meeting with the South East Group for Change, led by Senator Ken Nnamani at the State House Abuja.

VP Osinbajo in Papua New Guinea (Photos)

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo left Nigeria on Sunday to represent President Buhari at the 8th summit of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States taking place in Papua New Guinea.

He was met on arrival by that country's Minister for Public Service, Puka Temu and acting Nigerian High Commissioner to Australia, Cecilia Yahaya.

The summit which holds from May 30 to June 1 will discuss the future of the ACP Group as a “revitalised cohesive force advocating the interests of its member states in the international arena.”

Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, 30 May 2016

N107b loot : Ortom drags 52 to EFCC

The governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom has dragged 52 individuals and organizations, indicted by the  Elizabeth Kpojime Judicial Commission of Enquiry, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in an attempt to recover the N107 billion allegedly looted from the state’s treasury during the administration of Gabriel Suswam.

Ortom said in Makurdi on Sunday that he took the decision following the refusal of the indicted individuals and organizations to return the loot.

“They would have been granted amnesty if they had returned the loot to the state treasury, but instead of toeing that part, they opted to take the government to court.

"We will not be deterred, we have taken the report of the panel to the EFCC and already officials of the anti graft agency from Enugu have paid assessment visits to the state pursuant to the petition.

“This administration believes in rule of law and due process, so whatever we do concerning the matter must be within the ambits of the law. We will do everything within the law to ensure that the looted funds were returned. No amount of intimidation can deter us from doing the needful in this matter, our zero tolerance for corruption cannot be compromised, and to that effect I have warned my appointees because anything to the contrary would be met with stiff sanctions.”

12 Boko Haram terrorists killed in clash with Niger forces

Nigerien armed forces during the weekend killed no fewer than 12 of the Boko Haram terrorists who attacked the country's southern region of Bosso near the border with Nigeria.

Reuters reports Army Spokesman , Col. Moustapha Ledru, as saying on national radio that ;
“Three members of the security forces were lightly wounded during Friday’s battle and government forces captured machine guns, rocket propelled grenade launchers and mobile telephones from the enemy.

“The vigorous reaction of the Defence and Security Forces of Niger put the enemy to flight. Around a dozen terrorists were killed and several dozen others were wounded and carried away by the fleeing attackers.”

The casualty figures could however not be verified independently.

Recovered assets: Information Ministry to provide details next week - Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu has said that Buhari has kept his promise of making public, the details of stolen/recovered public assets.

Shehu disclosed in a series of tweets on Sunday that the Information Ministry has been updating the information with records from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and other sources and will be ready with the details by Thursday.

6. The minister should be ready with this when work resumes, possibly Wednesday or Thursday. #HappyDemocracyDay

Garba Shehu
5. Going forward, he has asked them to update the information periodically.

Garba Shehu
4. ...and actual status with regard to frozen sums in banks and assets held wherever they are.

Garba Shehu
3. Records will be obtained from the CBN and the investigation agencies regarding recovery and seizures,...

Garba Shehu
2. He has given directive that the information be put out by the Ministry of Information.

Ask Information Ministry for details of recovered loot - Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari during his Democracy Day broadcast on Sunday reneged on his promise to disclose details of assets recovered from corrupt public officials.

He however said that the Ministry of Information and Culture would provide those details in due course.

Buhari disclosed that several past government officials are currently standing trial for corruption and other economic crimes committed during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

“We are engaged in making recoveries of stolen assets some of which are in different jurisdictions. The process of recovery can be tedious and time consuming, but today I can confirm that thus far, significant amount of assets have been recovered.

“A considerable portion of these are at different stages of recovery. Full details of the status and categories of the assets will now be published by the Ministry of Information and updated periodically.

“When forfeiture formalities are completed these monies will be credited to the treasury and be openly and transparently used in funding developmental projects and the public will be informed," he said.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

IED rips through Keke Napep killing 5 in Borno

A tricycle known as Keke Napep in local parlance was on Sunday ripped apart when one of its tyres stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device buried near a military checkpoint in Borno.

According to Army spokesman, Col Sani Kukasheka Usman, the incident claimed the lives of the four occupants of the Keke Napep and a soldier on duty.

"Unfortunately, the IED exploded instantly killing 4 persons comprising of a woman with her baby and 2 other male adults.

"Three other persons were injured including a soldier and they were immediately evacuated to Biu General Hospital. We regret to state that the injured soldier also died at the hospital.

"The general area has been cordoned off and Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) team from Forward Operation Base (FOB) in Buratai have been mobilized to carryout further search of the area.

"Preliminary investigations shows that the IED was buried long time ago undetected. It exploded when the tricycle erroneously stepped on it."

VP Osinbajo to represent Nigeria at ACP Summit in Papua New Guinea

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the 8th Summit of Heads of State of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States begins in Papua New Guinea on Monday,

According to the spokesman of the Vice president, Mr Laolu Akande, Osinbajo left Abuja for the two day event on Sunday morning and is expected back on Thursday.

President Buhari also confirmed the development on Twitter.

VP Prof Osinbajo will join leaders from 78 other countries to address the summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Vice President Prof Osinbajo will represent Nigeria at the 8th ACP Summit holding in Papua New Guinea from May 30-June 1.

British Airways not pulling out of Nigeria

British Airways has denied reports that it is planning to quit Nigeria because of a huge debt it is being owed.

Mr Kola Olayinka, Country Manager British Airways had earlier been quoted as saying that the “U.K. carrier is struggling to repatriate its share of the $575 million that Nigeria currently owes the airline from tickets sold in Nigeria.”

However, the airline in a statement issued on Sunday denied the report.

According to the statement,
“ Our attention has been called to reports in several newspapers Sunday that British Airways is considering an exit from Nigeria.

“British Airways has a long history in Nigeria, having begun operations in the country 80 years ago as Imperial Airways.

"Nigeria remains a strategic market for BA and our operations locally are very strong. We have not issued any statements at any time indicating that we are on the verge of terminating operations in the country. We will continue to operate to Nigeria.”

Ganduje to support 100,000 Kano youths in rice farming

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State told a town hall meeting in Kano on Sunday that he would support no less than 100,000 youths in rice production this farming season.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting was held to mark the 2016 Democracy Day. .

Ganduje said that registration of interested youths is already in progress with a view to giving them the necessary support before farming activities begin in full.

He assured that the state government would support the youths with fertilizer, improved seeds and other necessary agricultural inputs in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to diversifying the economy.

The governor disclosed that government has purchased 240 trucks of fertilizer from Kano State Agricultural Supply Company, KASCO for distribution to the farmers.


Foreign sponsorship: Borno govt to withdraw non-performing medical students

The Borno State Government has warned 10 of the 60 medical students on State sponsorship in Sudan that they risk being withdrawn if they fail to improve on their academic performance.

According to the officials of the two private universities where the girls are studying, 50 of them are about to move to 300 level while the remaining 10 have put in average performance.

Governor Kashim Shettima who is on a four day working tour of Sudan visited the girls to personally assess their performance.

He told the 10 girls with poor academic records that government would discontinue their sponsorship if they failed to perform impressively.

The governor's spokesman, Isa Gusau said in a statement that the 10 have been given a last chance to improve or return home to study less tasking courses in local universities.

“The 10 girls on last chance have been performing low in academics according to their reports personally assessed by Governor Shettima who looked at academic transcripts of each of the sixty girls now approaching part three at National University which has 29 girls and Elrazi University which has 31 girls.

“The governor’s visit to the schools where 60 girls from Borno state study medicine was the first since the programme began in 2014 during his first term in office.

“Shettima was highly impressed with the performance of 50 of the girls particularly three of them, Rebecca Akila Ndahi from Hawul Local Government Area, Aisha Hala from Jere and Fatima Kabiru Kashiku from Shani Local Government Area of Borno, who have the three best academic records out of 29 girls studying medicine at the National University, Khartoum,” the statement said.

We will deal with militants and kidnappers - Buhari

“Nobody would invest in an insecure environment. Those who have been in Nigeria for so many years can conduct feasibility studies. But why do they put money paying militants or paying for corruption? This means with all the goodwill we are winning, we may not be able to benefit in the long run because of the kidnapping and the actions of the militants.

“So it is a top priority for this government to address. Once we settle down to make sure that we deal with militants, we will deal with kidnappers also. We will secure this country.”

That was President Muhammadu Buhari’s response when asked about the Niger Delta Avengers during a chat with a select group of newspaper editors as part of the events marking his one year in office.

Already, the Nigerian Army has moved to end the menace of the Niger Delta Avengers as 10 people suspected to be members of the group were paraded yesterday.

The Commander, 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin City, Brigadier General Farouk Yahaya, said that firearms, ammunitions and other items were recovered from the suspects.

Full text of President Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast


My compatriots,
It is one year today since our administration came into office. It has been a year of triumph, consolidation, pains and achievements. By age, instinct and experience, my preference is to look forward, to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead and rededicate the administration to the task of fixing Nigeria. But I believe we can also learn from the obstacles we have overcome and the progress we made thus far, to help strengthen the plans that we have in place to put Nigeria back on the path of progress.
We affirm our belief in democracy as the form of government that best assures the active participation and actual benefit of the people. Despite the many years of hardship and disappointment the people of this nation have proved inherently good, industrious tolerant, patient and generous.
The past years have witnessed huge flows of oil revenues. From 2010 average oil prices were $100 per barrel. But economic and security conditions were deteriorating. We campaigned and won the election on the platform of restoring security, tackling corruption and restructuring the economy. On our arrival, the oil price had collapsed to as low as $30 per barrel and we found nothing had been kept for the rainy day. Oil prices have been declining since 2014 but due to the neglect of the past, the country was not equipped to halt the economy from declining.
The infrastructure, notably rail, power, roads were in a decrepit state. All the four refineries were in a state of disrepair, the pipelines and depots neglected.
Huge debts owed to contractors and suppliers had accumulated. Twenty-seven states could not pay salaries for months. In the north-east, Boko Haram had captured 14 local governments, driven the local authorities out, hoisted their flags. Elsewhere, insecurity was palpable; corruption and impunity were the order of the day. In short, we inherited a state near collapse.
On the economic front, all oil dependent countries, Nigeria included, have been struggling since the drop in prices. Many oil rich states have had to take tough decisions similar to what we are doing. The world, Nigeria included has been dealing with the effects of three significant and simultaneous global shocks starting in 2014:
A 70% drop in oil prices.
Global growth slowdown.
Normalization of monetary policy by the United States federal reserve.
Our problems as a government are like that of a farmer who in a good season harvests ten bags of produce. The proceeds enable him to get by for rest of the year. However, this year he could only manage 3 bags from his farm. He must now think of other ways to make ends meet.
From day one, we purposely set out to correct our condition, to change Nigeria. We reinforced and galvanized our armed forces with new leadership and resources. We marshaled our neighbours in a joint task force to tackle and defeat Boko Haram. By the end of December 2015, all but pockets and remnants had been routed by our gallant armed forces. Our immediate focus is for a gradual and safe return of internally displaced persons in safety and dignity and for the resumption of normalcy in the lives of people living in these areas.
EFCC was given the freedom to pursue corrupt officials and the judiciary was alerted on what Nigerians expect of them in the fight against corruption. On the economy, in particular foreign exchange and fuel shortages, our plan is to save foreign exchange by fast tracking repair of the refineries and producing most of our fuel requirements at home. And by growing more food in Nigeria, mainly rice, wheat and sugar we will save billions of dollars in foreign exchange and drastically reduce our food import bill.
We resolved to keep the Naira steady, as in the past, devaluation had done dreadful harm to the Nigerian economy. Furthermore, I supported the monetary authority’s decision to ensure alignment between monetary policy and fiscal policy. We shall keep a close look on how the recent measures affect the Naira and the economy. But we cannot get away from the fact that a strong currency is predicated on a strong economy. And a strong economy pre-supposes an industrial productive base and a steady export market.
The measures we must take, may lead to hardships. The problems Nigerians have faced over the last year have been many and varied. But the real challenge for this government has been reconstructing the spine of the Nigerian state. The last twelve months have been spent collaborating with all arms of government to revive our institutions so that they are more efficient and fit for purpose:
That means a bureaucracy better able to develop and deliver policy
That means an independent judiciary, above suspicion and able to defend citizen’s rights and dispense justice equitably.
That means a legislature that actually legislates effectively and
Above all; that means political parties and politicians committed to serving the nigerian people rather than themselves.
These are the pillars of the state on which democracy can take root and thrive. But only if they are strong and incorruptible. Accordingly, we are working very hard to introduce some vital structural reforms in the way we conduct government business and lay a solid foundation on which we can build enduring change.
An important first step has been to get our housekeeping right. So we have reduced the extravagant spending of the past. We started boldly with the treasury single account, stopping the leakages in public expenditure.
We then identified forty-three thousand ghost workers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information system. That represents pay packets totalling N4.2 billion stolen every month. In addition, we will save Twenty-Three Billion Naira per annum from official travelling and sitting allowances alone.
Furthermore, the efficiency unit will cut costs and eliminate duplications in ministries and departments. Every little saving helps. The reduction in the number of ministries and work on restructuring and rationalization of the MDAs is well underway. When this work is complete we will have a leaner, more efficient public service that is fit for the purpose of changing nigeria for the good and for good.
As well as making savings, we have changed the way public money is spent. In all my years as a public servant, I have never come across the practice of padding budgets. I am glad to tell you now we not only have a budget, but more importantly, we have a budget process that is more transparent, more inclusive and more closely tied to our development priorities than in the recent past. 30% of the expenditure in this budget is devoted to capital items. Furthermore, we are projecting non-oil revenues to surpass proceeds from oil. Some critics have described the budget exercise as clumsy. Perhaps. But it was an example of consensus building, which is integral to democratic government. In the end we resolved our differences.
We have, therefore, delivered significant milestones on security, corruption and the economy. In respect of the economy, I would like to directly address you on the very painful but inevitable decisions we had to make in the last few weeks specifically on the pump price of fuel and the more flexible exchange rate policy announced by the central bank. It is even more painful for me that a major producer of crude oil with four refineries that once exported refined products is today having to import all of its domestic needs. This is what corruption and mismanagement has done to us and that is why we must fight these ills.
As part of the foundation of the new economy we have had to reform how fuel prices had traditionally been fixed. This step was taken only after protracted consideration of its pros and cons. After comprehensive investigation my advisers and I concluded that the mechanism was unsustainable.
We are also engaged in making recoveries of stolen assets some of which are in different jurisdictions. The processes of recovery can be tedious and time consuming, but today I can confirm that thus far: significant amount of assets have been recovered. A considerable portion of these are at different stages of recovery. Full details of the status and categories of the assets will now be published by the Ministry of Information and updated periodically. When forfeiture formalities are completed these monies will be credited to the treasury and be openly and transparently used in funding developmental projects and the public will be informed.
On the Niger Delta, we are committed to implementing the United Nations Environment Programme report and are advancing clean-up operations. I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the delta communities. Re-engineering the amnesty programmes is an example of this. The recent spate of attacks by militants disrupting oil and power installations will not distract us from engaging leaders in the region in addressing Niger Delta problems. If the militants and vandals are testing our resolve, they are much mistaken. We shall apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice.
The policy measures and actions taken so far are not to be seen as some experiment in governance. We are fully aware that those vested interests who have held Nigeria back for so long will not give up without a fight. They will sow divisions, sponsor vile press criticisms at home and abroad, incite the public in an effort to create chaos rather than relinquish the vice-like grip they have held on Nigeria.
The economic misfortune we are experiencing in the shape of very low oil prices has provided us with an opportunity to restructure our economy and diversify. We are in the process of promoting agriculture, livestocks, exploiting our solid mineral resources and expanding our industrial and manufacturing base. That way, we will import less and make the social investments necessary to allow us to produce a large and skilled workforce.
Central Bank of Nigeria will offer more fiscal incentives for business that prove capable of manufacturing products that are internationally competitive. We remain committed to reforming the regulatory framework, for investors by improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the first steps along the path of self-sufficiency in rice, wheat and sugar – big users of our scarce foreign exchange – have been taken. The Labour Intensive Farming Enterprise will boost the economy and ensure inclusive growth in long neglected communities. Special intervention funds through the Bank of Agriculture will provide targeted support. Concerns remain about rising cost of foods such as maize, rice, millet, beans and gari. Farmers tell me that they are worried about the cost of fertilizers, pesticides and the absence of extension services. The federal and state governments are on the same page in tackling these hurdles in our efforts at increased food production and ultimately food security.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the increasing role that our women are playing in revitalizing the agricultural sector. Modern farming is still hard and heavy work and I salute our Nigerian women in sharing this burden. In this respect I am very pleased to announce that the government will shortly be launching the national women’s empowerment fund, which I have approved to provide N1.6 billion in micro-finance loans to women across the nation to assist in rehabilitating the economies of rural communities, particularly those impacted by the insurgency and conflict.
With respect to solid minerals, the minister has produced a roadmap where we will work closely with the world bank and major international investors to ensure through best practices and due diligence that we choose the right partners. Illegal mining remains a problem and we have set up a special security team to protect our assets. Special measures will be in place to protect miners in their work environment.
For too long, ours has been a society that neglects the poor and victimizes the weak. A society that promotes profit and growth over development and freedom. A society that fails to recognize that, to quote the distinguished economist Amartya Sen “ poverty is not just lack of money. It is not having the capability to realize one’s full potential as a human being.”
So, today, I am happy to formally launch, by far the most ambitious social protection programme in our history. A programme that both seeks to start the process of lifting many from poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunity for people to fend for themselves.
In this regard, Five Hundred Billion Naira has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for social intervention programmes in five key areas. We are committed to providing job creation opportunities for five hundred thousand teachers and one hundred thousand artisans across the nation. 5.5 million children are to be provided with nutritious meals through our school feeding programme to improve learning outcomes, as well as enrolment and completion rates. The conditional cash transfer scheme will provide financial support for up to one million vulnerable beneficiaries, and complement the enterprise programme – which will target up to one million market women; four hundred and sixty thousand artisans; and two hundred thousand agricultural workers, nationwide. Finally, through the education grant scheme, we will encourage students studying sciences, technology, engineering and maths, and lay a foundation for human capital development for the next generation.
I would like to pay a special tribute to our gallant men and women of the armed forces who are in harm’s way so that the rest of us can live and go about our business in safety. Their work is almost done. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.
Abroad, we want to assure our neighbours, friends and development partners that Nigeria is firmly committed to democratic principles. We are ready partners in combating terrorism, cyber crimes, control of communicable diseases and protection of the environment. Following on the Paris Agreement, COP 21, we are fully committed to halting and reversing desertification. Elsewhere, we will intensify efforts to tackle erosion, ocean surge, flooding and oil spillage which I referred to earlier by implementing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
We are grateful to the international community notably France, the US, UK and China for their quick response in helping to tackle the recent Ebola outbreak in our sub-region.
We also acknowledge the humanity shown by the Italian and German governments in the treatment of boat people, many fleeing from our sub-region because of lack of economic opportunity. We thank all our partners especially several countries in the EU.
We appreciate the valuable work that the UN agencies, particularly UNICEF, ICRC, the World Food Program have been doing. We must also appreciate the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, the Global Fund and Educate A Child of Qatar for the excellent work in our health, education and other sectors.
Fellow citizens let me end on a happy note. To the delight of all, two of the abducted Chibok girls have regained their freedom. During the last one year, not a single day passed without my agonizing about these girls. Our efforts have centred around negotiations to free them safely from their mindless captors. We are still pursuing that course. Their safety is of paramount concern to me and I am sure to most Nigerians. I am very worried about the conditions those still captured might be in.
Today I re-affirm our commitment to rescuing our girls. We will never stop until we bring them home safely. As I said before, no girl should be put through the brutality of forced marriage and every Nigerian girl has the right to an education and a life choice.
I thank you and appeal to you to continue supporting the government’s efforts to fix Nigeria.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Officers demanding money for bail are on their own - Police

The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Police Command has reemphasized that bail is free.

The FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr Wilson Inalegwu speaking at a forum organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Abuja chapter on Saturday, warned that any officer caught demanding money before granting bail to a detainee would be sanctioned.

“Any officer who asks for money for bail does that at his or her own risk,’’ he said.

Inalegwu said that the command was concerned with the conduct of its men and would sanction any of its men found to be indulging in professional misconduct.

“No matter the situation we find ourselves, we must remain professional in carrying out our duty.

“We will not hide any of our men that is highhanded in dealing with the public from being sanctioned.

“We are very concerned about the conduct of our officers,’’ he said.

He assured that the command  has no laws aimed at confronting journalists performing their legitimate duties.

“We don’t have any deliberate policy to harass journalists in the territory or elsewhere.

“For the society to develop, we must report issues as they come,’’ he said.

Inalegwu also called for collaboration between the police and journalists to stop mutual suspicion, noting that the media had enhanced operations of the command on several occasions.

EFCC Quizzes 11 INEC staff

EFCC interrogates 11 INEC staff over N120m bribery allegations http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2016/05/efcc-interrogates-11-inec-staff-over.html

Kano governor sacks SSG

Kano state governor sacks his SSG, makes new appointments http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2016/05/kano-state-governor-sacks-his-ssg-makes.html

Buhari meets NPAN on crucial national issues (Photos)

President Muhammadu Buhari met with members of the Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria on Friday at the State House, Abuja.

They are said to have discussed matters of crucial importance to the nation.

According to Presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adeshina
"these are the key stakeholders in the Nigerian Project. The media and the government must work together because they have a lot in common.

“So, from time to time, there should be meetings like this between government and media.“

He said that the media, through the executives of the NPAN, brought up some "key issues affecting the industry, affecting the country.’’

Friday, 27 May 2016

Operation Crackdown: troops kill terrorists in ambush (Photos)

Nigerian troops on Operation Crackdown on Friday ambushed some Boko Haram insurgents as they tried to cross into Alagarno area from Sambisa forest.

A statement signed by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col Sani Usman said that the troops killed two of the terrorists and recovered many items including arms, vehicles and sex enhancing drugs.

"Following information of suspected Boko Haram elements crossing point across Maiduguri-Bulabulin-Damboa road, troops of 81 Battalion and 251 Task Force Battalion, both of 25 Task Force Brigade, staged a deliberate ambush against the terrorists logistics elements on motorcycles and bicycles crossing from Sambisa forest to Alagarno general area around Nyaleri yesterday night.
During the operation, the troops killed 2 Boko Haram terrorists, wounded several others and recovered some arms, ammunitions and other items.

"Specifically, they recovered 1 AK-47 Assault rifle, with registration number 27875, 1 hand grenade, 4 AK-47 magazines loaded with ammunition, assorted food items, sex enhancing drugs, such Viagra, foot wears and bathroom slippers. Others include 3 motorcycles, 10 bicycles, tool kits and assorted clothing, 5 rechargeable lamps and 5 litres of Kerosene. As well as military uniforms, amongst other things.

"From all indications, the terrorists attempted to resupply and sell the items to other terrorists hibernating elsewhere after being displaced from parts of Sambisa forest.

"The troops have continued with the clearance and rescue operations while others are maintaining blocking positions."

May 27: Saraki celebrates children, urges implementation of Child Rights Act

To mark this year's Children's Day celebration, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki held an interactive session with children from secondary schools in Abuja in Senate chambers.

At the end of the session, he gifted each child a copy of the 1999 constitution.

Saraki also used the occasion to call for the implementation of the Child  Rights  Act

Read part of his message to the children below.

"I want to first of all reassure you that we believe the future belongs to the children and there is no society that can flourish if the future is not better than the present and for the future of Nigeria to be better than the present, we want all our children to have a greater future and that is our own responsibility.

"On the implementation of the Child's Rights Act, we are going to engage with legislators from the different states to see how those who have passed the Child's Rights Act can begin to implement them and to make those in the remaining 12 states who have not passed it to understand the need for them to pass it.

"We are going to do a lot of advocacy and consultations and we are hoping to have a kind of conference with all the states, so that the entire 36 states would have the law. Clearly, it is a task before us to ensure that the laws we passed that have to do with the safety of our children are adhered to. We must today as part of the ceremony for this year's Children's Day, make a commitment to see that through oversight we ensure the implementation of laws meant to protect our children from abuse and violence.

"I think it is also the responsibility of the supervising ministries to engage us and bring some of these cases of abuse to the attention of the relevant committees so that we can through our oversight function address them.

"No matter what we do in any other aspect of this society, if we cannot achieve the basic things of providing safety for our children then we cannot say that we are one of the top 20 economies in the world. A country does not just achieve that status by GDP measured on the scale decided by economic forces. The quality of the future life for our children is very important," he said.

See Aisha Buhari’s Children's Day message (Photo)

Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of the President gave this beautiful postcard to Nigerian children on Children's Day, May 27

Double salary lands civil servant in jail for 6 years

A civil servant, Mr Lawal Idris Abdullahi has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for fraudulently receiving monthly emoluments from two Federal Government agencies.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC dragged Abdullahi before a Minna High Court following a petition from the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC where he was employed and at the same time drawing monthly payments from the Federal Inspectorate Service, Minna.

Abdullahi was arraigned before Justice Maria Zukogi on a six count charge bordering on making false statements to public officers in contravention of Section 25 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and Section 122 of the Penal Code and punishable under the same laws.

Soon after trial commenced, Abdullahi's lawyers notified the court of his intention to explore the plea bargain option and was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson of ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa;
“Justice Zukogi, upon conclusion of the plea bargain and sentencing agreement, convicted and found Abdullahi guilty of all the charges brought against him after he had pleaded guilty.

“She therefore sentenced him to one year imprisonment on each of the counts which cumulated to six years that will run consecutively with the option of the payment of a fine of N40, 000 only on each of the counts amounting to N240, 000.

"Abdullahi was, in addition, bound and ordered to execute a bond in the sum of N100, 000 to be of good behaviour for one year.”

Read President Buhari’s Children's Day message to Nigeria


I heartily greet and felicitate with all Nigerian children on the occasion of this year’s Children’s Day celebration.
I seize the opportunity of this year's celebration which comes just two days before the first anniversary of the present Administration, to reassure our children and youth that we remain fully committed to fulfilling our promise of a better Nigeria for all of our people.
On this happy occasion for our children, I reaffirm my belief that it is the right of every Nigerian child to have access to quality and affordable education, as well as healthcare and other basic necessities for a good life, in a peaceful and secure environment.
The good health and well-being of Nigerian children remain a top priority on our agenda for national development and we have demonstrated our strong commitment in this regard with the allocation of N12.6 billion in the 2016 budget for vaccines and programmes to prevent childhood killer diseases such as polio, measles and yellow fever.
Other measures in the 2016 budget, such as the school feeding programme for children at a cost of N93.1 billion, will ensure that more children go to school and enjoy the fun of learning and growing together with their peers.
Despite the current economic and funding challenges facing our dear nation, my administration will continue to do all within its powers to achieve better living conditions and greater access to quality healthcare and education for all our youth.
It is a thing of joy that on this year's Children's Day, we can also celebrate the safe return of one of the Chibok girls, Amina Ali Nkeki and many other abducted women and children who have been freed from the clutches of Boko Haram by our gallant troops.
I assure all Nigerians and friends of the country, once again, that my administration will not rest on its oars until the ungodly terrorist sect is totally eliminated from our country.
As peace gradually returns to the insurgency-ravaged North-Eastern States, the Federal Government will continue to work diligently to ensure the rapid and full reintegration and rehabilitation of all internally displaced persons, including orphaned children in the region.
We will also sustain and strengthen ongoing actions to protect children more effectively from violence, child-labour, child-trafficking, forced marriages and other related offences.
In return, I urge you all to imbibe and exhibit in greater measure, the virtues of hard work, diligence, discipline, honesty, prudence, selflessness and patriotism which are essential for the actualisation of our vision of a truly great nation.
The world now looks up to our dear nation, Nigeria as an exemplary model of democratic ideals after the smooth transition that brought our Administration to power.
You, our children and youth have a very significant role to play in ensuring that our democratic institutions of governance are continuously nurtured, improved and strengthened to underpin national development and prosperity.
Remain assured that under my leadership, the Federal Government will continue to do its best to prepare and equip you to show the world that with its brilliant, resourceful and resilient people, Nigeria is a country of incredible potential and opportunity.
I wish you all a Happy Children’s Day celebration.

Muhammadu Buhari
Federal Republic of Nigeria
May 27, 2016

President Buhari marking Children's Day with a Nigerian child (Photo)

He said the wellbeing of the Nigerian child is his priority.

Children's Day: Buhari promises better Nigeria (Photo)

President Muhammadu Buhari used the occasion of this year's Children's Day celebration to reaffirm his promise for a better Nigeria.

"We remain fully committed to fulfilling our promise of a better Nigeria for all of our people," he said.

Nigerian Air Force redeploys 10 Air Vice Marshals

The Nigerian Air Force, NAF has announced the redeployment of 10 Air Vice Marshals AVMs and 2 Air Commodores and the appointment of new Air Officers Commanding.

Those affected by the exercise  include AVMs Auwal Muhammed as Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (AOC TAC) Makurdi; Emmanuel Agwungwu as Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command (AOC MC) Yenagoa; Nurudeen Balogun as Air Officer Commanding Training Command (AOC TC) Kaduna, and Sani Ahmed as Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command (AOC LC), Lagos.

Others are  AVMs Wakili Ahmed as Director of Policy, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force; Uko Ebong as College Secretary, National Defence College, Abuja; Emmanuel Akogu as Commandant Air War College, Makurdi; and Benjamin Nweze as Director of Electronic Warfare, Defence Headquarters (DHQ).

The new postings were contained in a statement signed by Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, Director, Airforce Public Relations. 

“Other AVMs affected by the redeployment are AVMs Olusoji Amomodu appointed Director of Plans (HQ NAF) and Isiaka Amao as Director of Operations (HQ NAF).

"The 2 Air Commodores are Dahiru Sanda appointed Deputy Director Transformation (DHQ) and Ibrahim Lawal appointed Commander 339 Base Services Group, Kano," the statement said.

The redeployment, is a routine exercise aimed at ensuring  effective and operational efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force in line with the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique B Abubakar.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Why Nigeria has 19,000 abandoned projects - Emeka Eze

The Senate Committee on Procurement was on Thursday told that Nigeria presently has 19,000 abandoned projects spread across the country.

Speaking at a public hearing on amendment to the Procurement Act 2007 organized by the committee in Abuja, the immediate past Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, Emeka Eze said that nonpayment for certificates of work done was responsible for the situation.

He said that for efficient service delivery among  agencies of government involved in procurement and disposal of public assets, there was a need to merge the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP; Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, into one strong commission.

“It is my humble opinion that now that the nation’s resources are dwindling, the right thing to do is for the legislature to be courageous enough and merge all the three agencies involved in procurement and disposal of public assets into a strong commission. I want to assure that the nation will be better for it if BPE, BPP and ICRC are merged," he said.

In a similar development, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, NIQS in its presentation at the public hearing, called for the synchronization of project funding with project cycle to help avoid project abandonment and ensure continuity of projects up till completion.

Ecowas Parliamentarians elect Stella Odua President

Senator Stella Odua has just been made President of ECOWAS Parliamentarians.

The Anambra-born politician announced her election into the position via her Twitter handle.

Delighted to announce that I was just elected president of ECOWAS female parliamentarians. Will channel my energy to improve quality of life

Senator Stella Oduah

I will ensure we advocate for laws that will empower women, especially those in rural areas also increase participation in politics

Well done Buhari: that's what these Nigerians said on BBC Africa

Buhari is trying. Please be patient Nigerians.

Well, that's the message from these two Nigerians to the rest of us.

Buhari hosts former VP Alex Ekwueme at State House (Photo)

Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme was a guest of President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.

Buhari meets new Ecowas President (Photo)

President Muhammadu Buhari   receiving the new President of ECOWAS,  His Excellency, Marcel A. De Souza at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

Minister sacks management of Abuja Environmental Protection Board

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Bello has directed the immediate dismissal of the Director of Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, Baba Shehu Lawan.

The Minister also directed the immediate replacement of the sacked director by Mrs Oluwatoyin O Olanipekun.

In an obvious shake up of the entire management of the AEPB,Bello also approved the sacking of all heads of departments and units and their replacement with their deputies.

The Minister made the sweeping changes on Wednesday following a meeting he held with the Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Dr Babatunde Ajakaiye and the former management team of the AEPB.

Following the reorganization, the Minister directed the Director of Establishment and Training to issue appointment letters to the new appointees without delay.

Bello also warned against lack of seriousness at work, stressing that Abuja must be rid of filth, street beggars, hawkers and sundry environmental nuisances.

Furthermore, the Minister directed that the sacked management team be constituted into a task force to recover the N9.8b owed the AEPB.

He gave the task force has two months to complete the task.


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