Lekan Paul

Is Nigeria Is On Its Way To Becoming A Global Food Basket? By Richard Ogundiya

Nigeria is a nation with several endowments, but yet there is still the threat of hunger and extreme poverty which requires urgent attention. In terms of quality and quantity, Nigeria is known worldwide for the production of several agricultural goods such as Cashew nuts, Cassava, Cocoa Beans, Ground Nuts, Gum Arabic, Kola nut, Melon, Millet, Palm kernels, Palm Oil, Plantain, Rice, Rubber, Sorghum, Soybeans, amongst others. The list abounds.

Yet our farmlands perform below expectations due to factors ranging from low fertiliser usage to poor farm management, insufficient financial access and market access. A strong and efficient agricultural sector would enable Nigeria to feed its growing population, generate employment, earn foreign exchange and provide raw materials for industries.

The good news is this: the strategy of using Agro- based industries for accelerated economic growth is slowly beginning to take shape and the Nigerian government, through private sector partnerships and investments is working to enable a strong and efficient agricultural sector to feed its growing population, generate employment and provide raw materials for industries. 

The Agro-allied industry is a collection of companies engaged in a high-scale 
production, processing, and packaging of food with the use of modern equipment and methods aimed at achieving these goals. Just like any other industry, the agro-allied industry has a positive relationship to economic development in 
Nigeria. Several million metric tonnes of agricultural products are exported every year; after a bumper harvest, reasonable amounts of these products get bad each year. A shortage in supply of these agricultural products is created, and the remaining products are sold at low prices in the international market, we then import these products back in a processed format but at higher prices. This practice is not economical, thereby depriving Nigerians of creativity and innovation in adding value to our agricultural products. It has discouraged economic growth and development as well as generated high unemployment rate by empowering foreign based agro-industries.

Nigeria’s ambitions for accelerated and inclusive economic growth are contingent on achieving a vibrant Agriculture sector that can support extensive down-the-line enterprise development and employment. Alongside job creation, Agro-industrial enterprises often provide crucial inputs and services to the farm sector for those with no access to such inputs, inducing productivity and product quality improvements and stimulating market induced innovation through chains and networks, facilitating linkages and allowing domestic and export markets to become mutually supportive.

During a meeting with a delegation of Chinese investors and other officials from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on August 6 2019, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN stated that ‘In line with its commitment to develop a thriving agro-industrial sector, the Federal Government will welcome partnerships and initiatives that would make Nigeria actualize its potential of being the food basket of the world’. Through the African Development Bank, the Chinese investors hope to commence the processes of investing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector under an initiative known as the Agro-Industrial initiative with focus on crop production, forestry, fishery, and livestock production.  

Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka of the AfFB said the framework of the initiative is to develop a programme that leverages Nigeria’s comparative advantage in key areas of agricultural production. According to him, ‘the overall investment, under the initiative, amounts to between $16 billion to $25 billion over a period of four years with a strong government support and private sector leadership.’

The challenge of feeding Nigeria’s growing population, which is expected to reach 402 million people in 2050, requires new strategies and new multicultural and multisectorial rethinking, capable of generating new forms of dialogue, at different specialist levels, towards a more sustainable use of the available natural and human resources, to ensure food and nutrition security. Agro-industrial development can contribute to improved health and food security for the poor by increasing the overall availability, variety and nutritional value of food products, and enabling food to be stored as a reserve against times of shortage, ensuring that sufficient food is available and that essential nutrients are consumed throughout the year. This new development if implemented well will have a direct impact on the livelihoods of the poor both through increased employment in agro-industrial activities, and through increased demand for primary agricultural produce.

Vice-President Osinbajo believes that the proposed partnership, especially the agro-allied aspect of it will help deliver the kind of growth needed in Nigeria’s agricultural ecosystem. According to him, the FG and AfDB will ensure that the investors have no troubles in setting up and operating their businesses efficiently.

Agro opportunities abound in Nigeria. We have the 9th largest arable land in the world and most of that is still largely untouched. Nigeria’s potentials in this sector are limitless, thus becoming the food basket of the world may sound like a tall order, but it is not surmountable. That lofty goal will depend on how we are able to get high quality inputs, seedling and others, and how we are able to use technology especially the benefits of industrial agriculture to our advantage. Moves seen in the Buhari administration – from its revolutionary Anchor Borrower’s Programme, to other massive unprecedented investments from the likes of Olam to Friesland Campina WAMCO among others – show that Nigeria has left the realm of potential as it makes it way to reality, that indeed we have the capacity to be a global food basket. Consistency of policy and determination is however key to this ambition, else, all would be mere bark, no bite.

Richard Ogundiya is a journalist and researcher resident in Lagos.

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Buhari To Tribunal: Atiku’s Petition Is A Sham

Emerging details from the final addresses by lawyers to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, indicate that the petition by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal lacked merit and is a ‘patent sham’.

According to the final addresses filed by lawyers to President Buhari and the APC at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP “have failed in their attempt to stridently but erroneously prove their petitions” which was premised on six grounds, but hinged mainly on the alleged use of an electronic server to transmit results of the elections, and the educational qualification of President Buhari to contest the election.

President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was adjudged the winner of the February 23 presidential elections, by over 15 million votes as against Atiku’s 11,262,978 votes.

On the issue of the electronic server, the address noted that the argument from Atiku’s camp that the results of the Presidential election were transmitted electronically from all polling units across the country was a ‘patent sham’; describing the entire case of the PDP Presidential candidate at best as ‘infantile’.

Explaining further, the address noted that Atiku and PDP “failed woefully to establish, by credible evidence, the existence of the imaginary server belonging to the INEC and into which results were electronically transmitted from polling units.”

The final address submitted the fact that INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had clearly stated, before the general elections, that electronic transmission of results to server would not be possible for the 2019 general elections. The INEC Chairman had stated that this was due to the major constraint of lack of Internet connectivity in most parts of Nigeria, especially blind spots/grassroot areas that were not covered by digital network.

More over, the law in Nigeria does not recognise (and actually prohibits) transmission of results electronically. Sections 52 and 73 of the Electoral Act 2010 are categorical on this. The only means of transmission of election results, under the law, is the Form EC8 Series; especially Form EC8A at the Polling Units. It is only through these approved forms that election results in Nigeria can be proven. Not by any Server or Servers, imaginary or real.

The addresses also buttressed their conclusion on the Atiku petition with the failure of the PDP’s Kenyan “expert” witness to prove the claims made in the petition.

The “expert” tendered eight exhibits in support of his testimonies, he did not attach any certificate detailing his area of expertise as well as the certificates of his educational qualifications to his statement on oath as required by law.

“Similarly, his testimony, in all respects, only amounts to manipulations, conjecture and speculations,” the lawyers stated.

According to the final addresses, not only did the ‘so called expert’ admit that the IP address of the alleged website, the source of the purported electronic results has been used by many companies in many countries all over the world; he also admitted that he made use of information provided by a faceless and unidentified whistle blower in carrying out his analysis and not from INEC; since INEC did not give him the authorisation to have access to the alleged server.”

Interestingly, the purported server allocated results to only two (PDP and APC) of the 73 political parties that participated in the elections.

The ‘expert’ also conceded in open court that the so-called website was created after the date of the presidential elections.

Similarly, the lawyers noted that the petition by Atiku and the PDP “failed woefully to adduce credible and reliable evidence to establish the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari forged his certificate as alleged in their petition.”

According to the President’s address, “While it is appropriate to debunk such baseless, mendacious and spurious assertion, it suffices to bring to fore the unequivocal provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which states the requirement for a candidate to contest the presidential election and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 131(d) provides that; A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if – He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

“More so, the consequence of submitting a forged document to INEC is grave. It therefore requires precise evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, which the Petitioners have not been able to establish,” it added.

Drawing reference from the Constitution, the address stated that Section 318 of the Constitution, defines a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent’ to mean:

“A secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or Education up to Secondary School Certificate Level; or Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and (a). Service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a Minimum of ten years…”

“It is apparent that from the pleadings and evidence adduced led by the Petitioners there is no scintilla or iota of evidence to prove that President Muhammadu Buhari was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election. It is trite law that he who asserts must prove,” the address emphasised.

The address further added that, “It could be recalled that the 2nd Respondent tendered various exhibits confirming that President Muhammadu Buhari has attained the level of education required to qualify for the position he currently holds. The 2nd Respondent further tendered a statement signed by the Vice Chancellor, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom attesting to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari sat for the West African School Certificate Examination in 1961, at Provincial Secondary School, Katsina.”

Continuing, the address stated that the evidence provided under cross-examination by Buba Galadima, a witness from Atiku’s camp, had also rubbished the latter’s petition.

“He (Galadima) told the court that he believed that President Muhammadu Buhari was qualified to vie and contest for the office of the President at the four times he supported him in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015; that President Muhammadu Buhari was a Military Head of State between 1983 and 1985; that Buhari used to address the nation in English Language.”

On the non-calling of witnesses by the 1st and 3rd Respondents, the lawyers explained that although the 1st and 3rd Respondents (INEC and the APC) called no witnesses of their own, it is however important to stress that they elicited copious relevant evidence from the Petitioners’ and 2nd Respondent’s (President Buhari) witnesses under cross-examination.”

“It is trite that non-calling of witnesses by a party to a case does not mean non-calling of evidence. The evidence elicited from a party or his witnesses under cross-examination, which supports the case of the party cross-examining constitutes evidence in support of the case or defence of the party.

“Furthermore, in a case of this nature, which involves declaratory reliefs, the onus is on the Petitioner to prove its case in order to be entitled to the reliefs sought.”

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Imo High Court Complex Abandoned Overtaken With Weed, Residents Query Govt Neglect

The new Imo State High Court Complex has been taken over by weed.

The complex, built by the immediate past administration in the state has been abandoned and subject to no use by the new administration.

Findings by our correspondents reveal that the multi-Million naira edifice constructed to serve the Imo state judiciary has been overtaken by weed.

A resident of Imo state, Mr Chidi Okafor who spoke to newsmen expressed displeasure over the development, noting how detrimental the action of the current government is to the progress of the state.

Okafor told newsmen that the situation has become worrisome with government neglecting meaningful infrastructural projects that would have aided the development of Imo state.

“I find this situation very embarrassing. The new government since it came to power has squarely been concerned with destroying and neglecting meaningful as well as impactful projects of the last administration.

“Look at the demolition of the Imo freedom falls and destruction of other ongoing projects conceived and paid for by the last regime. These projects were funded with our resources, the taxes we pay and our commonwealth.

“The present government should with utmost sincerity and the passion they have for this state settle its differences with the immediate past administration. We cannot watch things destabilize this way and destroy our heritage in the name of politics. They should find a way to bury their ego for the betterment of our state. Enough is Enough.”

Another resident, a lawyer who spoke to our correspondent anonymously noted that the current situation was not what electorates in the state had expected when Governor Emeka Ihedioha took over the reins.

She urged the new administration to consolidate on the many gains recorded under the last government and continue to drive the state forward.

“ Any serious government would have made it a point of duty to continue where the last administration stopped. I see no reason why he ( Emeka Ihedioha) would abandon an edifice such as this “.

Imo has in the last few months witnessed the alleged demolition of several of former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s “ legacy projects” by the new government, this has fueled speculations on the streets that the neglect suffered by the Imo State High court complex might not be unrelated to these claims.

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I Will No Longer Tolerate Ihedioha’s Attacks – Okorocha

The former Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha has accused the Imo state government of attacks on his personal properties in the state.

In a statement, Okorocha said that agents of the state government have since his exit from office launched several attacks on properties, individuals and anything that has to do with him.

These activities according to the Imo North Senator potrayed as recovery of the state assets have resulted in the damage, vilification and abuse of power in a bid to witch-hunt him.

“In the last couple of months, the government of Emeka Ihedioha has launched and sustained attacks on my property and that of my family members. They had raided my wife and daughter’s businesses places and I have reported to the authorities.

“Now the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Uche Onyeaguocha, went to my private guesthouse, chased away the security men and broke into the house, ransacked it and made away with documents, locked up the house and took the keys.

“I have been quiet about all these unwarranted attacks but they should not take my silence for granted.”

Okorocha posited that if the Imo State government is acting on the dictates of the law, it should obtain a court order that will legalize any of its actions and not unleash state forces to destroy his personal properties.

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Eid Mubarak: Musa Halilu Ahmed Foundation Secures Release Of 41 Prisoners

Musa Halilu Ahmed a non profit organisation committed to consolidating effort of the Nigerian government in achieving social justice across Nigeria has facilitated the release of 41 prisoners serving various jail terms at the Numan Prisons in Adamawa State.

Founder of the organisation, Alhaji Musa Halilu Ahmed who also doubles as Dujima of Adamawa the 1st, was in attendance at the ceremony alongside the Controller of Prisons in Adamawa, Mr. Audu Umar, and other dignitaries in the state.

The Founder said the gesture was in the spirit of Eid-Mubarak, and in alignment with the Federal Government’s efforts to further decongest the nation’s prisons.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had earlier directed all governors in the country to do everything possible to decongest the prisons. This, according to Dujima Adamawa, is his commitment to support the government of Adamawa, and make the state prosperous.

Those who were granted clemency are young men between the ages of 18 and 25 as these are the segment of the productive workforce in Nigeria.

“The alarming rate of youths in Nigerian prisons is negatively impacting on the nation’s development. This gesture will encourage these young men to become responsible citizens and live a crime-free life.

“We want them to return back to their families and also contribute to the development of the country, and this can only be done when we support and empower them with necessary tools to function effectively in the society and live a meaningful life.

“Besides release, those granted clemency will be rehabilitated, reintegrated and empowered with Skills Acquisition for six months, thereafter, will be provided with seed grant to stay independent and become self-sufficient,” Halilu stated.

Alhaji Halilu further promised continuous support to the Prison command in order to improve the condition of prison facilities in the state.

The freed inmates, who could not conceal their joy, thanked the Dujima Adamawa, Musa Halilu, for securing their release and promised to be good ambassadors of their families and the nation.

In his remarks, the Controller of Prisons in Adamawa State, Audu Umar, thanked the Dujima Adamawa the First, and advised the ex-inmates to keep away from crime to avoid going back to jail.

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There Is So Much To Do Turning Power Supply Around; And We Shall Do It – Osinbajo

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF NDPHC PROJECTS IN ABEOKUTA AND ITS ENVIRONS ON THE 15TH OF AUGUST, 2019.

PROTOCOLS

I am honoured to commission today, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) reinforcement projects around the Abeokuta environs and also the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) projects.

This commissioning is an important part of the Federal Government’s efforts to improve the supply and quality of power to homes and businesses in Nigeria.

Indeed, in the past few years, resolving the power supply problem has been top priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria. Permit me to give a brief update on the state of the power sector today and a glimpse into the very near future.

Today, we have about 13,427MW of installed capacity, and an available capacity of about 8,342MW. This was achieved through the efforts of government and its private sector partners in the rehabilitation and commissioning of turbines in Shiroro, Egbin, Delta Power, Sapele and Gbarain.

Before the end of the year, new generation is expected from Gbarain and an extra 115 MW; Kashimbilla (40 MW); Afam III Fast Power (240 MW); Gurara (30 MW); Dadin Kowa (29 MW); and Kaduna (215 MW).

In the long term, several solar plants will come on stream. The national grid already has the capacity to transmit 7,000MW, an increase from less than about 5,000MW in 2015 and this is due to the completion and improvement of several transmission projects. We have been told by the MD of NDPHC, Mr Chiedu Ugbo, the completion of projects already done by TCN, like the Ikot Ekpene switching station and the completion of the Ikot Ekpene-Ugwuaji-Makurdi-Jos loop, which was done by the NDPHC in 2017. But distribution capacity in the 11 DisCos are significantly low, hovering at around 4,000MW on average with a peak of about 5,400MW.

So, despite the availability of 8,000MW of generation and 7,000MW of transmission capacity, the lack of DisCos’ infrastructure to absorb and deliver grid power to end users has largely restricted generation to an average of about 4,000MW and sometimes falling below 4,000MW.

Apart from the lack of infrastructure is the inability of DisCos, first, to provide distribution assets generally and also metering, and you have heard what the MD of TCN said about the unavailability of distribution assets, there is also the unavailability to provide metering to consumers. In resolving this issue, the Federal Government stepped in through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulation of 2018. This is essentially regulation to provide metering, through independent or third parties to consumers all across Nigeria.

On May 1 2019, MAPs, commenced meter rollout; over 250,000 applications have been received and processed by DisCos to date and of course, that is then supposed to be forwarded to MAPs for installation. This figure is expected to quadruple by the end of 2019, and double by the end of 2020, largely closing the current metering gap of about 5.3million consumers.

But it is evident, despite all the efforts that has been put into trying to expand the national grid and do a lot more, and of course, we have also heard that there is need to recapitalize the Discos, but despite all the efforts so far, it is evident that the structure of the market today cannot deliver on the government’s promises to give power for domestic and industrial use. A substantial change of strategy is necessary. What we have done in the past has taken us to a point but clearly, there is a need for change of strategy.

At the heart of that strategy is the recapitalization of DisCos. We have to simply come up with more resources. Part of that recapitalization process is in the Siemens Phased Electrification Roadmap which was commissioned by the President recently. 

Now the whole idea of the Siemens Electrification Roadmap is to deploy financing and technology on commercial terms agreed with transmission and distribution companies in partnership with the German Government and Siemens to: [in Phase 1] increase transmission and distribution capacity to enable power delivery of at least 7,000MW to consumers; [in Phase 2] eliminate bottlenecks in transmission and distribution, to enable full utilization of existing generation for power deliver of 11,000MW to consumers; and [in Phase 3], upgrade and expand generation, transmission and distribution for end-to-end power delivery of 25,000MW.

The Siemens Electrification Project must not be seen as all there is to enhancing transmission and distribution. the TCN still has a major role to play in all the various projects that the TCN itself has dedicated itself to doing. At the same time, the DisCos must come up with more capacity and resources to upgrade what they have been doing and ensure distribution assets are available including metering.

Second is the opening up of the market to new investors in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, transacting directly with each other to serve willing customers, including deploying off-grid power and using micro-grids, especially for deployment of solar power.

We must ensure that we open up the space for other investors or end-to-end generation to distribution. We cannot restrict the space that we currently occupy, we must ensure that we open up the space. 

Now we have successfully done this in Sabongari market, Kano; Ariaria market in Aba and recently, we launched the first of several solar power plants in Universities with the 2.8MW plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Ebonyi State. Over the course of the next few months, the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effrun Delta and Bayero University in Kano will have their off-grid Solar Hybrid Systems commissioned.

In each of these places, a private power provider is licensed to provide end-to-end power for a particular community or cluster, usually on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis.

The policies and regulations to empower customers to get the services they want at prices they agree to, are largely in places because we already have the law that allows willing-seller-willing-buyer arrangement and the different categories of those laws. 

The first is the Independent Electricity Distribution Networks (IEDN) 2012. This allows for the installation of an independent distribution network with the minimum capacity of 1MW where there is currently no distribution network, or where existing distribution network is not sufficient to serve existing customers. That is the first regulation that we have. 

The second is the Mini-Grid Regulation, 2016, which was issued on the 24th of May 2017. This allows for unserved or underserved customers of a distribution company to be supplied power on agreed terms by a developer of a grid-connected or an independent electricity distribution system, with an embedded power station of up to 1MW. 

Then we have Eligible Customer Regulation issued on the 1st of November, 2017. This allows for unserved or underserved consumers of more than 2MW of power, to buy power on agreed terms, directly from generating companies who have contracted with providers and operators of transmission and distribution infrastructure for its delivery.

The last is the Electricity Distribution Franchising Regulation, which is still in public consultation and preparatory to its issuance of regulations that will govern it. The whole idea is that it sets out the rules for a distribution company to appoint, or be compelled to cede consumers who will be connected to a 33kV or 11kV feeder, or a designated area to an agent or third party, willing to make investments in lines, metering, transformers and other equipment to serve the customers better at a mutually agreed tariff.

Now with a lot of these policies, the whole idea of it is to create a regime whereby there can be more willing-buyer-willing seller arrangements. It is in my view completely impossible, to satisfy Nigeria’s power demands from the national grid alone. There must be independent power suppliers and this why we have all these regulations for micro-grid and other willing-buyer-willing-seller arrangements and that is the way by which we can go forward and ensure that we are able to serve many of the unserved and underserved communities that we have today.

These polices when fully implemented, will enable the opening up of the market to new investors in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, transacting directly with each other, to serve willing customers and this is the way which the Federal Government will proceed to ensure that we increase some more opportunities to existing DisCos and to other investors who may wish to serve Nigeria’s huge power market, which of course, at the moment is terribly underserved. 

But back to today’s land mark event. Electricity supply to Ogun state, especially along the axis of Otta right up to Abeokuta the State capital, was initially via a Double Circuit 132kV line into Otta. It was supplied from a 330/132/33kV Grid Transformer Substation at Ikeja West, which serves as a marshalling station for several power plant inflows into Lagos.

A 130MVA capacity substation was built at this Otta location for supply to Otta and environs. Out of Otta, a single circuit lower capacity 132kV line was built to connect Abeokuta via an intermediate 132/33kV Substation at Papalanto within the premises of Lafarge Cement Company. The Abeokuta Substation was also equipped with 2X40MVA 132/33kV transformers for suppling Abeokuta and its environs.

Over time, all these facilities became overloaded and lacking capacity to cater to growing demand in these locations. So, this is why government felt the need, through the NDPHC, to design a set of transmission projects to resolve this problem and with various segments which we have heard today. Particularly today we have:

· A 1X60MVA 132/33kV transformer addition to Otta with associated switching bays and a dedicated 33kV Substation to facilitate Four (4) extra 33kV feeders into Otta environs.

· A 70.5km long higher capacity 132kV Double Circuit line to replace the old low capacity 132kV Single Circuit line connecting Abeokuta. This new line (carrying two circuits in place of the pre-existing single circuit) was designed with switching facilities (bays) at Otta, Lafarge and Abeokuta, to accommodate the extra high capacity circuits that now exist along this route.

· A new 2X60MVA 132/33kV Substation was built here at Kobape in Abeokuta and named New Abeokuta with facilities for six (6) 33kV feeders offtake for improved supply to the growing Ogun State Capital and its environs.

· A new 7kmhigher capacity 132kV Double Circuit line to connect old Abeokuta Substation to this New Abeokuta Substation was also built to complete improved power flow from Otta to New Abeokuta through Papalanto and Old Abeokuta.

We expect that these reinforcements of existing transmission and distribution infrastructure will substantially improve power supply in the Abeokuta axis.

We know that with all the work that is being done, and what we have also heard, the various ideas that our very dynamic governor has laid out in Ogun State, we are sure that power supply in Ogun State is bound to grow in leaps and bound. And so, in the next few weeks we will be commissioning and formally declare open the NDPHC Intervention on all the projects in Abeokuta and environs.

I want to say that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that we have adequate power supply both in our home and also in our various places of business. Power supply is the life blood of any economy and we will remain committed to ensuring that power supply is adequate everywhere. Just as you heard, it is certainly not going to be a short walk, but as we have seen, from all what we have heard so far, there so much to be done and we are committed to doing it.

I want to thank you very much for making the time to attend this event and to thank the NDPHC and TCN, for the very hard work and our host governor, Dapo Abiodun, for ensuring that we are well accommodated and we are very hospitably treated. 

Thank you very much. God bless you.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
17th August, 2019

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Football Flakes With Emmanuel Nwachukwu

Liverpool are on yet another campaign to break what now seems as a Premier league title curse. After an impressive opening day at home to Norwich, they visit Southampton, hoping that the Champions and title favourites drop points at home to Tottenham.

Lampard fell terribly short on his Premier league managerial debut at Manchester United, now, he hopes to make the bridge the sort of fortress it was in his playing days as Chelsea host Leicester City.

Monday night sees the Devil try to barnish his demons as Manchester United goes away to battle Wolves.

Emmanuel, previews all 10 games and makes predictions.

Arsenal v Burnley

The Burnley team were very impressive in their 3-0 win over Southampton last week. Last season saw Burnley play with the handbrake and most time got lost between defending and attacking. Last week, they were brave with their attack, got more men into yet kept shape behind. That will trouble a few teams because Wood and Barnes will cause problems in the box and can guarantee you double digit goals.

I think Arsenal was controlled in that slim but comfortable win at Newcastle, kept the ball well and looked dangerous despite not close to full strength. At the Emirates, Arsenal always look like a different animal and few teams can cope with them at home. With Lacazette, Ozil back in the team, and Pepe with Ceballos getting closer to full fitness, i think they will be too much for Burnley to handle.

Emma’s prediction: 3-1

Aston Villa v Bournemouth

I think Aston Villa were very good for long periods against Tottenham and the 3-1 scoreline flatters the London side. Villa will look at that defeat blame themselves for losing a game they were the better tactical side to costly individual errors. Playing against a Bournemouth side which tends to leave spaces behind while implementing their attack-driven strategy, I think that Grealish, Wesley, Kodija and McGgin will find spaces to run into.

In midfield and up front, Bournemouth are a threat to almost all teams in the league, but defensively, I am always unsure as to what exactly is the shape and strategy of Eddie Howe. They always look panicky at the back, like they are not sure when to pass or just kick the ball away.

I expect both teams to score, and I also expect Villa to win

Emma’s prediction: 3-2

Brighton v West Ham

I am still surprised that Brighton not only defeated Watford away, but, scored 3 goals from the 6 yard box and conceded non. Watford were unbelievably poor that evening, but credit when due, it was an impressive display from the Seagulls. It’s just a game, so I’ll be careful not to expect this to be the new way, but, Potter made very good investments in attacking and creative players in the summer, so, maybe they will go for it in games a lot more this season.

West Ham is every pundit’s nightmare, you just don’t know if it will be West Ham or the Hammers turning up.  West Ham were just taken apart by Manchester City so easily. Yes, Pep’s side are miles ahead of every other team in the league, but, with the squad and manager at West Ham, you at least expect to see a team in shape and with some purpose. 

Brighton will be greatly encouraged by the performance and results of both sides, and they are at home. I will go for a home win.

Emma’s prediction: 2-1

Everton v Watford

Everyone expects Everton to play a more expressive style of football win more points and push the top six teams all the way for a Europa league place, and this is why i have Silva is one of the first three managers to get the boot. On their day, the Pensioners are a force to be reckoned with, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard, Theo, Iwobi, Tosun, Gilfyi all have the capacity to bring goals, but they all also can be frustratingly inconsistent. Everton backline are always looking like they are ready to concede.

Watford’s home defeat by Brighton was a bad result, one I think was a bad day at the office. Usually compact, physical and mobile, i am sure they will look for a response. Deeney has got the ability to trouble Mina and Keane, and hope that Deulofeu, Gray and Sarr have a better game.

Think both teams will score but will end in a draw

Emma’s prediction: 2-2

Norwich v Newcastle

Norwich impressed and disappointed me in equal measure last week at Liverpool. They attacked like Premier league champions but defended like some neighbourhood five a side team. If they play like they played last week, i think they will score more goals, just not sure Newcastle has got the clinical players to profit from the Canaries generous defending.

The Magpies are a team in transition and I think Steve Bruce is still unsure what his first team is and how best to setup his team. In Joelinton, they have a centre forward built for the EPL, but now Bruce needs to get Saint-Maxim, Almiron, Atsu closer to him as he is not such a prolific striker yet.

I am going to enjoy watching Farke’s Norwich this season, they are safe bets to score goals and also concede.

Emma’s prediction: 2-1

Southampton v Liverpool

After Wednesday’s Super Cup in Istanbul against Chelsea that stretched into extra time and penalties, Klopp has a decision to make on some players for this game. Fabinho looked in pain as the game ended, Mane just back from AFCON exertions and a few others have now played about 220 minutes of football in 6 days. But, such is the demand at the top.

Klopp will take comfort in that the next opposition is Southampton. No disrespect, but Hasenhuttl side looks to me like they are in for a relegation scrap. I thought they needed to shore up the attack over the summer, but they did not. They look short in about all the department quality wise.

Against Burnley, they were all over the place and very unimaginative. I know they will be looking to respond immediately, but, unfortunately, it is Liverpool next.

Liverpool are a wrecking bull with an obsession to win the EPL. I see a very comfortable win

Emma’s prediction: 0-4

Man City v Tottenham (17:30 BST)

I think Tottenham were poor at home to Aston Villa last week. Really struggled to create much and opened up easily by the guys from the Championship. You may say that they found a way to get the job done, but they now play Manchester City and can’t afford to be poor again and hope for a Harry Kane moment to get out of jail. I think that the absence of Son is telling and Spurs needs to get more dangerous in the wide areas. Ndombele looks decent on the ball, but may need to make decisions a lot quicker.

City were in cruise control last week against West Ham, but I am expecting a much stronger and more dangerous opposition  because Spurs have got the weapons to hurt them on the break or even press them high. Rodri will be targeted by Poch as he appears to still be struggling with pace.

This definitely going to be a very interesting game with both teams going at each other. I still expect Pep Guardiola’s side to win as I also expect the game to produce about 5 cards and quite a few VAR moments to talk about.

Emma’s prediction: 2-1

Sheff Utd v Crystal Palace

When i saw  Billy Sharp score to earn Sheffield United a point last week, I remembered some great predatory strikers like Inzaghi, Batistuta, Nisterooly. You can’t see what else they bring to the team, but, you know that as long as they are on the pitch, a goal is likely to be scored.  I think the Blades were really brave and unrelenting last week at Bournemouth and fully deserved the draw. The 3 at the back allowed the midfield to protect the back while giving support to McBurnie and McGoldrick upfront. Bramall Lane will be a full house and there will be a great noise and you will expect to see a super charged Blades.

Wilfried Zaha should start for Palace. I think Palace looked better when he came in last week and they would need him focussed this season to stay afloat. Palace has got the physicality to cope with the Blades energy levels, but i worry for their pace. Palace will be put under huge pressure, especially in the middle. Captain Milivojevic was lucky not to get a red against Everton, if they lose their heads to the noise and energy levels of the Blades, then, they may drop points here.

Emma’s prediction: 1-1

Chelsea v Leicester

Chelsea looked an attacking threat at Old Trafford on Sunday, but you could see the tactical naivety from Lampard. Some say the  4-0 scoreline faltered the Red Devils, i say they took a gift from Chelsea and ensured they thanked their guests very well.

They are going to have to be a lot tighter defensively and be a little less cavalier in their approach, especially as they are in transition.

Lampard really needs  players like Willian and Antonio Rudiger and N’golo Kante back to full fitness to provide leadership and quality to the team.

Leicester will be tricky opponents. Rodgers is a good coach and has made some decent signings. Really shocked that Rodgers has not brought in another striker, hence, will rely on Vardy for goals.

I watched Chelsea against Manchester United and Liverpool and they really appear to lose steam in the second half. Rodgers will unleash pace at Chelsea and target players like Azpilicueta, Zouma, Jorginho.

Reckon this will be an open game with both teams scoring. I am going with a home win, but not without a scare

Emma’s prediction: 3-2

Wolves v Man Utd

4-0 win against a rival is probably the perfect start to any campaign. The trio of James, Rashford and Martial has got the pace and goals to put any team to the sword. But, they will need a midfield that can win the ball, hold and find them with good balls behind the opposition backline.

I think the Pogba and Scott were easily passed over by Chelsea last week and Manchester United were saved by poor choices by the Blues in the final third. Wan Bissaka will need to repeat his performance thus far, while Shaw needs to show more awareness.

Wolves is a very tricky customer with movements on and off the ball so exciting to watch but difficult to track. I suspect the trio of Moutinho, Neves and Dendocker will win the better share of the ball in the midfield. How quickly United midfield can track runners, win the ball back and transition to attack will be key.

I think we are in for an exciting Monday night football, but how much fun Manchester United will have is what I am unsure of. If Wolves turn up as they do against top teams, it could be a long night for Ole.

Emma’s Prediction 3-2

Emmanuel is @emma-dele on twitter

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UBA Partners LCCI For 2019 Lagos International Trade Fair

Pan African financial services institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), have partnered to organize the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair.

The Fair, which holds between November 1st and 10th, 2019, is the 33rd edition and is expected to provide an avenue for networking and other business opportunities that will assist to catapult business activities in Africa’s largest and busiest city, Lagos and in Nigeria.

UBA, which is the headline partner will be working together with LCCI, to provide a veritable platform that is intended to grow both domestic and international trade. It further presents participants and visitors with opportunities to seal medium and top business deals.

In line with UBA’s unflinching support to the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the bank is giving a 20% discount to its Small and Medium business customers who register to attend the fair.

UBA’s Group Head, Marketing, Mrs Dupe Olusola, who expressed excitement at the partnership, noted that the bank, with its extensive spread across Africa and other major economies of the world, is always on the lookout for partnership opportunities that will benefit the business environment and the economies where it operates.

Olusola noted that the Bank is delighted as this year’s Lagos International Trade Fair is coming after a very successful organisation of UBAmarketplace by the Bank in Abuja, where over 120 SMEs from 20 African countries exhibited their products, attracting over 50,000 footfalls.

She said, “UBA, the Pan African financial institution, has branches in 20 African countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France and has always been involved in activities that aim to strengthen business connections and networks across key economies.

“Thus, we have decided to partner with LCCI to promote this year’s fair which is in its 33rd edition because the Lagos International Trade Fair has become a genuine avenue for both domestic and international trade through business to business meetings, product launches, enlightenment opportunities for government agencies’ programmes, and international trade partnership deals across borders” she explained.

She added that the partnership will also offer the bank the opportunities to showcase its array of products to its teeming and new customers, adding that the bank will set up stands at various points to serve its customers and attend to various concerns.

The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf who praised the collaboration between both institutions, noted that it is a partnership that is expected to yield great benefits, owing to the fact that the LITF hosts an average of 2,000 exhibitors annually, with over 200 foreign exhibitors from 16 countries.

He also added that arrangements have been put in place to make this year’s fair even bigger and better than the previous editions, adding that already, existing and potential exhibitors have been responding positively to register and participate at the Fair.

“We at LCCI believe that this is part of the bold initiatives of the bank with a corporate culture founded upon strong organizational values and performance-driven operating standards”, Yusuf said.

Yusuf stressed that the Chamber would maintain thebrand promise of the Fair, with the theme ‘Connecting businesses, Creating value’, adding that this will be sustained this year in all its marketing campaigns.

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How Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes Are Tackling Poverty, By Richard Ogundiya

Nigeria’s population swells at an annual increase rate of 3.75%, indicating a doubling of the population every 22 years. The World Poverty Index estimates that 46.7% of 197 million Nigerians live in acute poverty and the numbers are still on the rise. Improving quality of life for those under the extreme poverty line, while at the same time caring for peculiar problems of vulnerable groups, particularly children, women, the elderly and youths are challenges which require effective policies as well as focus on sectors that drive development such as health, education, agriculture and entrepreneurship.

Led by Maryam Uwais and Ismaeel Ahmed, the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), which is strategically hosted within the Office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo provides a sustainable, long-term foundation and responsive national social security system for at-risk population with the purpose of delivering inclusive, pro-poor growth across the country. Since it’s establishment in 2015, the initiative has made significant investments for children, seniors, lower-wage workers and other resistless Nigerians. The rationale is that if families invest money they receive from the government, they will gradually build the capacity to fund petty businesses, farming and attend to other basic needs.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a report in 2016 that showed direct transfer payments of money to eligible people, can show direct growth in the economy, school attendance, health care and dietary diversity. The ODI concluded that cash transfers, when invested correctly, can lead to an increased amount of income in the future and achieve both social welfare and livelihood promotion objectives. There is also a sense of loss of an opportunity to prove something bigger: the radical notion that poverty, long viewed as an intractable policy problem, can be solved by putting money in the pockets of those who have the least. This is what the Conditional Cash Transfer seeks to do.

For some, N5,000 may not seem too exciting but to many Nigerians under the poverty line, it is a great sum of money to keep things moving. The National Cash Transfer Programme is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to beneficiary households and build their capacities for sustainable livelihood. This scheme is predicated on the idea that poor people, not governments or nonprofits, know what they need best. Rather than enrolling them in complicated social assistance programs that presume the kind of help they need, basic income trusts people to make their own financial decisions.

To ensure beneficiaries establish a sustainable means of livelihood before graduating the programmes, they are continuously supported and mentored to form savings groups and cooperatives by trained Cash Transfer Facilitators in every local government ward, who pay them weekly visits to provide capacity building on life skills and basic financial knowledge. Since January 2016, 394,430 vulnerable households have been paid in 25 states, including households in Internally Displaced Camps in Borno.

The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is a government-led school feeding programme that aims to improve the health and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils. It uses farm produce locally grown by smallholder farmers to provide children nutritious mid-day meals on every school day. The program aims to improve the enrollments in primary schools and reduce the current dropout rates estimated at 30% and also address the poor nutrition and health status of many children who have been affected as a result of poverty; it has also affected the learning outcomes of the children. At the start, the federal government set out to feed 5.5 million pupils but its successful implementation has broadened the vision and the numbers are currently at 9,817,568 pupils. As part of the value chain, NHGSFP also empowers 106,074 cooks and provides sustainable income for small holder farmers, thereby stimulating growth and productivity around the communities in 32 states.

Of all the initiatives under the NSIO umbrella, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) is the most fascinating because of the role it plays in stimulating the economy from the grassroots. Under the Bank of Industry (BOI) supervision, the Programme aims to provide micro-lending to 2.5 million small traders including farmers, women cooperatives, market women, agricultural workers and entrepreneurs. MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni loans range between N10,000 and N350,000 with a 6 month loan tenor and a moratorium of two weeks. In many cases, the tenor can be extended depending on the nature of the business. What makes it more captivating is that no collaterals are involved but BOI charges a 2.5% and 5% administrative fee which is used to finance recruited agents and aggregators who make sure that all loans are recovered when due. MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni has funded 330,568 women, 1,712 farmers and 1,805,171 traders respectively, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 2,136,911 Nigerians.

The overall success of the government’s social investment scheme is still very much dependent on the collection and use of data to improve the target structure and effectiveness. The National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) uses ‘Poverty mapping’, ‘Community based Targeting’ and ‘Proxy Means Test’ as methods of validating payment basis for grantees. These techniques provide authentic data that helps the government identify the poorest in local governments and rank households according to their means, thereby eliminating the more affluent in the actual payment exercise. As of now, 1,132,675 households comprising of 4,531,118 individuals from 32 states have been documented and paid, with women leading the curve at 50.8% engagement.

When poverty strikes, it must be met with an equal strike at the very least. At the very best a counter-strike must double the dose. The strength of its blow is when it is left unmatched. India bragged once as the world’s poorest country. That status is no more today. Why? Because the Indian government put in place, structures, programmes and targeted policies that were aimed at tackling the menace of extreme poverty facing its population. They worked. Now Nigeria stands atop the list – not because it did anything, but largely because it did nothing. Now an ambitious Buhari administration seeks a reversal of this shameful status through its Social Investment Programmes.

With over 40 Million Nigerians who have benefitted in one way or the other, and two million Nigerians who have ben lifted from the claws of extreme poverty, Buhari’s social investment programmes have taken on the fight to poverty’s doorstep. Victory is in the offing.

Richard Ogundiya is a journalist and researcher resident in Lagos.

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Why Nigerians should beware of Fani Kayode’s obsession with Osinbajo

It is no longer news that for Femi Fani-Kayode to remain relevant in Nigeria he has resorted to insulting Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and this has given him the illusion of the relevance he sought especially at a time even members of his own party see no more value in him. 

Femi has been following his father’s footsteps by fighting against the real Yoruba interest and  person of Prof Osinbajo, who many see as one of the shining lights and a beacon of hope in this present government. What cannot be doubted is that Yemi Osinbajo is everywhere going about his national duties, working tirelessly for the good of the nation even with his limited constitutional powers as the vice president.

The main grouse of people like FFK is that the VP has a trustworthy and cordial relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari. And for this reason he is saddled with the responsibilities that are deemed by many as beyond his constitutional powers.

These are major responsibilities which many a former vice president has never handled. How many times did Atiku had to bear the blame for the perceived errors of Obasanjo while they were in office? Or Jonathan bearing the burden of Yar’Adua’s mistakes? Who ever blamed Namadi Sambo for the many undoings of President Jonathan? Yet for people like FFK, it is the man who is clearly ahead in integrity, character and competence who must be attacked and brought down, even when the buck don’t stop at his desk!

It has been argued that the renewed onslaught against Osinbajo is because of 2023. FFK and such political opportunists and sophists are focused on the VP because his character, integrity and popularity threatens their 2023 aspirations. Who knows tomorrow anyway?

On the kidnapping of clergymen, Femi Fani-Kayode should know that Pastor Adeboye and Prof Osinbajo were as bothered as the rest of Nigerians and as leaders with integrity; they immediately swung into action using their spiritual and political capacity to call for the rescue of the abducted pastors. If Mr. Fani-Kayode did not have an ulterior motive and had he waited even 48 hours he would have been celebrating the rescue of these pastors and other Nigerians that were abducted. Actually the pastors abduction was reported on Friday and by Saturday they were rescued by the Police. But unstable characters FFK were already attacking Osinbajo no sooner the abduction were announced.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye demonstrated a good example as a leader in the body of Christ by asking Nigerians and Christians to pray for their release, even while the security agencies continued their search and rescue operations. Unlike the rabid rabble-rouser utterances we have read from Fani-Kayode on various media platforms.

Femi Fani-Kayode is very crafty in whipping up religious and ethnic sentiments, as he encourages people to behave violently or aggressively, twisting even the meanings of passages in the Holy Scriptures, always for his personal political advantage. He has been out of power and the money that come with it. He is thus on a mission of survival, albeit in a most fatal approach of slandering Osinbajo who is seen by progressives as a true ‘Omoluabi’ and hardworking man.

How do we clearly ascertain those pastors were even kidnapped by Fulani Herdsmen in the first place, when investigation is still on? Just some days ago a four-man Yoruba gang was caught in possession of 10,000 live ammunition in Ibadan.

The same thing was just reported in Osun State where a roberry gang terrorizing Ikire axis in the State met their Waterloo when they were rounded up by local vigilante and were handed over to the Police. Surprisingly, they all dressed like Fulani but they were in fact indigenes of Ondo and Kogi States.

We as positive Nigerians should not continue to point fingers, when we should be working together to overcome our security challenges rather than fuel prejudice and ethnocentrism as a nation with different religions and languages.

Recently, Femi Fani-Kayode had to publicly apologize to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his  widely publicized allegations, wherein he had blatantly accused the EFCC had raided the home of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. The commission would later threaten to sue him for defamation, describing him as a purveyor of fake news.

However, in a very rare acceptance of the humiliation brought upon himself by his regular unguarded utterances, Fani-Kayode would later apologize for his earlier comment but petulantly insisted that some people actually searched the CJN’s home. Many public analysts agreed the bravado was just a mere face-saving attempt after getting burnt. FFK had also insinuated that Onnoghen’s bank accounts had been frozen by agents of the Federal Government.

Unity in diversity should be Nigeria’s strength. There should unity in every corner of Nigeria which will be our strength. Finally, anyone that has gone through Chief Remi Fani-Kayode’s rascal antecedents in the Nigerian Politics during the NPN, should know by now that Femi Fani-Kayode is a real son of his father. Hence the public should beware of his antics, Femi FaniKayode once said that  President Jonathan’s government is a bad omen to the country, but thereafter he decamped to the PDP to join people from the same bad omen.

Oladele Peter writes from Ile Ife, Osun state

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Why Obla Is In Trouble With The Presidency

Activities and conduct of the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovey of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has been under critical review for sometime in the Presidency and his outright dismissal and prosecution is imminent, a top government official has disclosed.

Specifically the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister had earlier recommended to the Presidency, among others “that a thorough investigation be conducted into the allegations of forgery levelled against Mr. Obono-Obla,” while also proposing suspending him from office.”

The Presidency has also received more recently an indicting report on the Panel Chairman bordering on acts of forgery and misconduct.

According to the Office of the Attorney-General, Obla has been accused on various issues “ranging from abuse of office, intimidation and unauthorized malicious investigations, financial impropriety, administrative misconduct, and allegations of forgery/falsification or records, to mention but a few.”

In fact late last year, the matter of the madate of the Panel became an issue of judicial interpretation at the Appeal Court in the case of TIJJANI MUSA TUMSAH V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

In that case, the Appeal Court held that the Panel headed by Obla lacks prosecutorial powers and cannot seize properties belonging to anyone or obtain forfeiture orders against any public official.

The Court also held that the duty of the Panel upon conclusion of an investigation is to submit its report to the head of government and that the Panel, as against the conduct of the Chairman, cannot act outside its enabling Statute, the Recovery of Public Property Special Provisions Act of 1984.

Actually once when confronted with some of his alleged misconduct and other allegations, Obono-Obla pleaded profusely and was  made to sign a written undertaking to mend his ways. However, no sooner he signed that he abandoned the undertaking and continued singularly violating the law and regulations in place in the conduct of the work of the Panel.

According to an authoritative source, “following a series of violations for which he was queried, Mr. Obla submitted a written undertaking to the effect that the panel under his leadership would only act on a written mandate received from the Presidency, and will seek authorization from the Presidency to undertake fresh mandates in accordance with extant laws of the Federation.”

The main grouse against the Panel Chairman was that while the Panel was supposed to investigate only cases referred to it by the government, according to the law establishing the panel, the Chairman has single-handedly taken on cases outside of its mandate and in gross violation of Rule of Law, including violations of people’s fundamenetal human rights.

Said the source, “inspite of the specificity of the mandate of the Panel, the FG has been inundated with complaints against Mr. Obla. These include complaints of violation of the specific mandate of the Panel, human rights abuses and conduct unbecoming of an official of Government, which conduct and actions had a number of times subjected the Panel and the Government to ridicule.”

Matters however came to a head when the other four members of the 5-man Panel wrote a petition against Obla, asking for urgent action to curtail the “several identified unlawful conducts of the Chairman of the Panel.

According to the Panel members, while two cases involving NEXIM Bank and CBN, Finance Ministry, Nigeran Ports Authority were referred to the Panel, the Chairman single-handedly took on over 50 cases outside the mandate of the panel.

They also stated that “contrary to the fact that the Panel is an investigative panel by its enabling law, which lacks prosecutorial powers, Mr. Obla has unlawfully engaged lawyers to file charges against suspects without recourse to the Attorney-General’s office.”

“The man has been busy extorting money running into millions from suspects and engaged in excessive behaviour towards individuals, government agencies, private companies and even foreign missions in Nigeria,” another government source noted.

For instance after an illegal secondment of over 100 policemen to himself, Chief Obla attempted to arrest the Executive Secretary of TETFUND “with a truck of mobile policemen which led to the petition written to the Attorney-General’s office over the incessant illegal harassment.”

Among several petitions against Obla which has caused considerable concern in the government is the one by the Human Rights Writers Association bordering on allegations of forgery of WAEC result used for admission into the Law Faculty of the University of Jos.

The Office of the Attorney-General in its recommendation to the Presidency also mentioned Obla’s “unauthorized investigations of several judges initiated by Mr. Obla through the issuance of notices to them to declare their assets, an obligation which these Honorable Jugdes had hitherto complied with through the authorized agency-the Code of Conduct Bureau.”

It was also stated that Obla had used the Panel to arrogate the powers and functions of the EFCC and the ICPC.

“In the circumstances, the Government is left with no choice than to review his appointment and possibly prosecute him for allegations of forgery and possibly also for criminal extortion, “ a source noted.

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APYF Congratulates Founder On Making Africa’s 100 Most Influential List

All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) has congratulated its founder and former Chairman, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed on the recent recognition accorded him as one of the most Influential People of African Descent, Global 100 Under 40.

The Forum notes that the sterling leadership qualities of Barrister Ahmed, coupled with his contributions to political development and good governance in Nigeria, makes him worthy of this honor.

Considering the visible and impactful role Barrister Ismaeel has played in the politics of Nigeria, especially during the campaigns and struggle to entrench progressive governance in Nigeria; we are proud to say this is a most deserving award.

As someone who has also made visible progress in his work as one of the frontline managers of Nigeria’s Social Investment Programs (SIP) in his capacity as the Senior Special Assistant on SIP to the President, lifting many households and individuals out of poverty and bettering the lot of millions of Nigerians; it is a fitting tribute to the capacity of Barrister Ismaeel as someone who combines the capacity of a politician with the refined intellect of an administrator. It’s therefore not surprising that the award is being awarded him in the ‘Politics & Governance category.’

To us in the APYF, we are most excited that our founder, who has done a great job mobilizing and galvanising young people from across Nigeria to embrace the ideological politics of our party, the APC, is being rewarded for his excellent interventions in the personal and political development of multitude of Nigerian youths.

While we thank the organization, Most Influential People of African Decent (MIPAD) for the honor accorded our leader, we also commend Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed for displaying compelling leadership attributes and his trademark ingenuity which has brought this sort of global recognition that we all are very proud of. It’s our prayers that God continues to strengthen the awardee and guide him to keep being the shining light and inspiration to our generation.

END

Signed:

Ife Adebayo
National Chairman, APYF

Alwan Hassan
National Field Director

Oscar Obi
National Secretary

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