Lekan Paul

BMO Cautions Labour Over Salary Adjustment For Senior Staff

Organised labour has been urged to tread softly and not to take any rash action over consequential increment for senior staff in the new minimum wage implementation.

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) gave this advice even as it commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his genuine commitment to taking the new national minimum wage issue to a positive conclusion.

The organisation said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsuji and Secretary, Cassidy Maduke that President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated sincere commitment over the minimum wage by signing the enabling Act without delay.

“The President has equally directed the implementation of the initial stage of the new minimum wage which is already being paid to junior staff in the federal public service, while the government will reconstitute the Tripartite Committee to find an amicable solution to the issue of consequential pay for senior civil servants”.

BMO noted that while labour wants 29 percent as consequential increment for senior staff on GL07-14 and 24 percent for staff on SGL 15 -17, the government is suggesting 11 percent for those on SGL 07-14 and 6.5 percent for those on SGL 15 -17 respectively.

The position of the Government is informed by the huge responsibility of managing conflicting demands in the areas of security, infrastructure development, education and care for internally displaced persons, among others.

BMO reminds Nigerians, and organised labour, of the inadequate revenue, huge recurrent expenditure on salaries and pension which constitute a serious financial challenge despite continuing efforts to block leakages in the system.

BMO recalls “with appreciation” the resolution by both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to list President Muhammadu Buhari as a ‘friend of labour’ because of his openness to labour and accommodation of its reasonable demands and recommendation which promote industrial peace in the country.

The Buhari Media Organisation urged the labour movements to continue on this path of dialogue for a sustainable industrial peace that benefits everybody.

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Why States Must Have More Powers – Osinbajo

NIGERIA can become a stronger and more prosperous nation if states have more powers, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this while speaking at the 59th Independence Anniversary Lecture at the Island Club, Lagos, on Friday.

The Vice President, who titled his lecture “the whole is only as great as the sum of its parts,” said Nigeria’s population and diverse ethnic groups has necessitated that states in the country be strengthened to enable them contribute more to national productivity and development.

Prof. Osinbajo stated that this can be achieved with “stronger, more autonomous States that are able to generate and control more of their resources.”

According to the Vice President, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is ensuring that states collaborate more with the Federal Government on different initiatives to improve visionary governance in the country.

“The most important transformative change we can make in Nigeria is to lift the majority of our people out of deprivation by speedily creating wealth and opportunity leading to the eradication of poverty,” he said.

He further said that “The nation cannot be wealthy when its component parts – the states – are poor. The standard of living of the federation depends on the standard of living of people who live in the states. In other words, the federation can only be as rich as its richest state and as strong as its strongest state. Our national indices merely aggregate the realities of our weaknesses and strengths as present in all our constituent units. Consequently, we can only build a stronger and more prosperous nation by building stronger and more prosperous states.”

He said, “Building stronger states means ensuring the devolution of more power to the states, enabling them to control more of their resources and make more of their own administrative decisions such as the creation of Local Governments, the establishment of state and community police forces as well as state correctional facilities; creation of special courts and tribunals of equivalent jurisdiction to high courts. The point I am making is that states must have more powers and more rights.”

The Vice President stated that, “The challenges confronting us now are about strengthening internal coherence and cohesion. It is about moving from affirmations of unity to the achievement of synergy in which the sum of our strengths exceeds the totality of our constituent parts.”

He noted that, “Opportunities for smart and visionary governance abound. So, for example, while states may not be able to right now establish their police forces, they can collaborate with the federal government on initiatives such as community policing which also revolves around the idea of localized law enforcement. Our administration is currently pursuing this option. When we set our minds to solving problems, we will find that what is truly possible is not as distant from the ideal that we seek.”

The Vice President further noted that Nigerians, despite differences, must draw inspiration from its history of a common shared belief, in order to attain the quest for collective progress and continued unity.

He said, “In order to do so, we must draw inspiration from the deep wells of our history. The founding fathers of our republic – Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello. These three differed on many things but shared a clear belief in the Nigeria’s boundless capacity as a united country. Regardless of their keen rivalry, they agreed on the crucial necessity of Nigeria staying united despite the many centrifugal pressures that buffeted the young nation. On this matter of unity, their differences were those of degree rather than category.

“Each of them occupied different niches on the spectrum of national integration but they all shared the view that the ideal situation was one in which a united and prosperous Nigeria took its rightful place in the world as the most populous black nation on Earth and as the foremost black power.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that the founding fathers were of one mind as far as Nigeria’s world historic significance was concerned. They also recognized that her ability to fulfil her destiny was dependent on her continued unity.”

The Vice President added that, “The point of this excursion into history is to show that strong sub nationals led by visionary leadership is what it takes to develop the Nation. What we require today is stronger, more autonomous States able to generate and control more of their resources and visionary leadership.”

Speaking during a Q&A session, Prof. Osinbajo added that the Buhari administration will continue its fight against corruption.

“Two governors have been convicted for corruption, and they are in jail today. It took almost 10 years because our legal system is extremely slow, but we achieved it,” he said.

“The other thing I think we have to take note of is the fact that corruption fights back, and we also as citizens have to much more up and doing, because corruption fights back. They throw mud at everybody, give the impression that, “everybody is corrupt.”

“If we don’t control corruption, it’s the worst possible cancer that any nation can have, and as we can see from anything else, it just destroys a country by installments.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated that he will continue to give his best in service to the country under the Buhari administration.

“I intend to do everything that is necessary, everything that I can to ensure that we achieve the promises that we made and to ensure that we achieve the kind of country that we want to achieve. And I will do that every day, every minute, for as long and God gives me life and opportunity,” he said.


Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
05th October, 2019

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Still on Buhari, Osinbajo and the Cabals, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

Any other eminent political figure or star celebrity could and should have dominated the media space. But that was not to be. Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s serving Vice President, was in the news—all through last, and even a penultimate week.

His ‘travail’ was the appetizing ‘cuisine’ several media houses feasted on. In major newspapers, on TV stations, radios, commenters and analysts had a field day. They all dished out their expert analyses on the nature of the high wire politicking and scheming already taking place in the Presidential Villa.

It would be recalled that a fortnight ago, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a crack team of economists, led by Prof. Doyin Salami, as members of his Economic Advisory Council (EAC). The team replaces the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The new team, which reports directly to the president, is to advise on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues, working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies. 

President Buhari’s action has continued to draw plaudits across the country, with many of his critics also voicing approvals and describing the move as one capable of redirecting the economic policies and improving the country’s fortunes.

Former CBN governor and Emir of Kano, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, commendand ed President Buhari, describing the action as “the single most important move made by the president in his second term with great potential for turning the economy around. The team he has assembled is first class by all standards and each and every one of them is held in high regard by all our professional colleagues.”

Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum described Buhari’s bid to rejig the economic team for growth of the country as a welcome development. The Forum praised the old team, headed by Vice President Osinbajo, for exiting the nation from the recession occasioned by years of profligacy and massive corruption that left the country stunted.

But while many highlight the positives of the action, there has been greater measure of dissents, who believe that the President’s action, in the same fell swoop, is sheer gamesmanship aimed at further cutting down on Osinbajo’s already lean powers. 

The supposition is that the latest move is part of a salvo aimed at whittling the importance of the office of the Vice President and indeed, the occupant of the office, all as part of the game-plan ahead of the next political dispensation in 2023.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, condemned the replacement of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying that by the action, Buhari has relegated and treated the VP with contempt.

Fani-Kayode said, “Despite his constant fawning on Buhari, his cowardly and quisling disposition and his penchant to defend the indefensible, Osinbajo seems to have been relegated and treated with disdain and contempt by the object of his praise and the recipient of his worship.” 

“First, he is thrown off the economic team, then some parastatals are removed from his supervision and finally he is told that he must get presidential approval for any expenses he seeks to incur.”

However, various media reports have indicated that problems started for the Vice President when he speedily pushed for the sack of former Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura while he was in acting as President. It was reported that such act compelled the cabal to move against the pastor. 

It was further reported that Lawal Daura had been digging into how funds in agencies and departments under Professor Osinbajo have been utilised including the Social Investment Programmes which are been spearheaded by the Vice President. 

Meanwhile, the major beneficiary of the seeming tension within the Presidency is the new super minister, Sadiya Umar Faruk, who supervises all-powerful Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under which the Social Investment Programmes have just been moved. 

With the south already anticipating a return of power to the region come 2023, and with news making the rounds that APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, is gearing up to throw his hat in the ring, a group of power brokers in the presidency is said to have plans afoot to effectively checkmate Tinubu’s alleged 2023 presidential ambition or any of his allies for that matter. 

The group, which has the president’s ears and is said to be recruiting leaders across the north, including emirs, is also alleged to be working to ensure that power eventually does not return to the south at the expiration of Buhari’s term. As events unfold, however, stakeholders in the national project would continue to interrogate the actions and inactions of President Buhari. This is with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the plot thickening ahead of 2023, his culpability in the whole narrative and whether the latest appointment of economic stalwarts into his government was buoyed by altruism or it is yet another salvo in a political orchestra playing out.

See link: https://newsdigest.ng/opinion/2019/10/06/buhari-osinbajo-gidado-shuaib/

Gidado Yushau Shuaib, the editor of Youths Digest and The News Digest, can be reached on giddyshuaib@gmail.com.

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Nigeria’s Democratic Journey: Why Social Media Would Define Future Elections, By Jasmine Osai

No average person 30 years ago would have predicted that Social Media would define democracy three decades ahead. The closest was William Gibson in 1984 in his masterpiece, Neuromancer. In it, he predicted a situation where there would be no geographical boundaries for the mass media and information flow because of technological advancement. The evolution of social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have not just provided room to facilitate networking among friends but have also provided the platforms for political communication and campaign, hence giving testimony to Gibson’s prophecy.

The global political media system has undergone massive transformations over the past decade. There is a major shift in how and where people get political information and with technological advancements, more people easily turn to digital sources. With no geographical boundary, over the past decade, social media has become one of the most powerful tools in campaigns and governance.

Not left behind, Nigeria has witnessed an exponential growth in Internet and social media use in defining its political processes. Although social media platforms were already in the picture around the 2011 Presidential election, the political role of social media in Nigerian politics took a more established position during the famous OccupyNigeria movement in 2012. In a seeming unprecedented fashion, the protests saw thousands of Nigerians take to the streets to demand improvement in the fight against corruption, the reversal of the deregulation of downstream oil industries and at large, and better government accountability. Participants at the protests were mostly mobilized by social media posts; the movement exploited the networking, collaborating, and community-building potential of social media. Ever since, social media’s political function in campaigns, government, and political movements, as well as its role in the news media ecosystem in Nigeria, has rapidly broadened in reach, consequence and complexity.

The OccupyNigeria movement drove a hunger for change; so, when the merchants of change came, a large percentage of Nigerians were stoked. They picked up the gauntlet and got into the thick of things; Nigerians rallied, campaigned and even donated to the ‘change’ cause on social media. These social media platforms played a significant role in the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner in what has been described as the most ‘free and fair election in the history of Nigeria’ in 2015.

“Elections are not won on social media but perceptions are shaped there,” says an aphorism. Indeed,social media did not win the 2015 elections. However, it molded opinion, helped create viral campaigns, checkmated irregularities, and locked down results – it was a similar case for the 2019 elections. But politics transcends the social media sphere; other factors come to play – local popularity, finances, relationship with key actors, among others. This is most likely why although some party candidates in the 2019 presidential elections may seem to have had thousands of Retweets, Shares and Likes on social media, translating to a perception of preference for their candidature, President Buhari still won the elections. He was able to engage more people at the grassroots whilst having a relatively strong online campaign.

Social media has ultimately become a tool for driving one cause or the other; from social movements aimed at socio-economic development, to direction for policy-making, to protestations against corruption, to demands for government empathy or accountability, and advocacy for an overall better performance and input by government officials.

Take the more recent instance of the proposed implementation of the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlement, which was suspended partly because Nigerians took to various social media platforms to oppose the policy. These platforms have created a space for intensive and productive civic engagement, political discourse and deliberative democracy, using hashtags as a coordinating and tracking strategy. In many cases social media trends do not just stop as trends, but transcend the internet to become raging topics on TV shows, radio programmes and even newspaper headlines.

Nigerians on social media are forever on the topic of who gets what, when and how and are keenly involved in conversations tilting towards a progressive country. These conversations have influenced policies, people and most definitely have influenced the opinions and decisions of those in power.

Four years ahead of the 2023 Presidential election, commentaries on the agenda of that political epoch are already being held – on the internet space. The divide on social and digital media platforms, like Twitter, Nairaland and Facebook are getting wider with partisanship, interests and sentiments palpable in the tone of posts. The character of the political discourse on these platforms is already defining the persona of who users seek would emerge as their next president – or not.

Jasmine Osai, a development and media enthusiast writes from Port Harcourt.

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2019 Ember Months: Nigerian Army Sustains Operational Activities Nationwide

In compliance with the Chief of Army Staff’s directives, formation and unit commanders have moved strongly to sustain their operational activities nationwide. To this end, troops continued in their relentless efforts at combatting the threats of criminal insurgency and terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen-farmers clashes, cultism and communal crises, amongst others. As a result, between 1st and 2nd October 2019, several operational achievements were recorded against the criminal perpetrators of these acts of insecurity particularly by troops deployed on Operation LAFIYA DOLE and Operation MESA nationwide. Some notable achievements recorded were as follows:

OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE

In continuation of their aggressive patrols, and ambushes to detect, deter and decimate marauding criminal insurgents, in the early hours of 2nd October 2019, the gallant troops of 192 Battalion, Sector 1 Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted an ambush operation at LOKODISSA general area of GWOZA LGA of Borno State. Following the successful springing of the ambush, troops successfully neutralized one criminal insurgent and recovered one bicycle and some food items. Additionally, same troops switched to a position where smoke was sighted. The troops moved swiftly and established contact with the criminal insurgents at BALALGAJE general area, neutralised one of them and destroyed their criminal hideout and other belongings in the process.

Furthermore, troops continued to dominate the general area of TANSAGUA JUNCTION, KEKENO, MAIRARI, LINGIR, CROSS  KAUWA and BAGA among others with patrols and ambushes to maintain the achieved serenity within the entire theatre.

OPERATION MESA

In another development, troops of 82 Division Garrison, while carrying out their Operation MESA activities, rose to the occasion and averted a chaotic situation that could have led to the breakdown of law and order, where some trailer drivers at ONU-EBONYI ABAKALIKI barricaded ABAKALIKI – OGOJA Road to stage a protest over alleged maltreatment of one of their members by a Policeman. The troops were able to restore normalcy in the general area with the employment of their professional crisis management techniques.

In a related incidence, on 1st October 2019, troops of 144 Battalion arrested 27 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) comprising 4 females and 23 males led by their spiritual leader, one Pa MICHEAL MADUMERE (56 years) who hails from IDEATO South LGA of IMO State. One of the proscribed IPOB members named Mr OLIVER ONYEBUNACHI was arrested with one AK 47 Rifle with Registration Number 562511003 and 2 Magazines containing 8 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition. The suspect was shot on his right leg as he tried to shoot at own troops. Normalcy has since been restored in that area as troops continued to maintain surveillance in the general area.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai hereby solicits the support of our good citizens of our great country in availing Nigerian Army formations and units nationwide with timely information that will assist them in ridding the communities of criminal elements and their nefarious and violent activities. All law-abiding citizens are requested to go about their businesses without fear of molestation

You are kindly requested to disseminate above information to the general public for awareness. Thank you for your usual cooperation.

AMINU ILIYASU

Colonel

Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator 

2 October 2019

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DSS Arrests Abdulrasheed Maina

This is to confirm that the Department of State Services (DSS), in a combined operation, on 30th September, 2019, arrested Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).

The arrest which was effected at the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja followed a request by the EFCC to the Service to assist in the apprehension of the suspect.

Maina was arrested in company of his 20 year old son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, who unsuccessfully tried to resist the arrest.

The lad even pulled a pistol against the security agents involved in the operation. He was, however, disarmed and arrested. He is a final year student at the Canadian University of Dubai where he is studying Telecoms Engineering.

Items recovered from the suspects include a pistol with live ammunition, a bullet proof Range Rover SUV, a BMW Saloon car, foreign currencies, a phantom 7 drone and sensitive documents.

The suspects and the recovered items will be handed over to the EFCC for further investigations and appropriate necessary actions.

It is instructive to note that the operation is as a result of a renewed interagency collaboration among security and law enforcement agencies.

The Service has always subscribed to such collaboration believed to be important in national security management and therefore, hopes to sustain the initiative in mitigating the current threats against public safety and national critical assets.

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President Buhari Congratulates Kano, Plateau Governors On Election Tribunal Victories

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on the affirmation of their victories in the March 2019 gubernatorial polls by the respective State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals. 

President Buhari, who is travelling with the two victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) party governors to South Africa on a State Visit, extended his goodwill to the duo on Wednesday shortly before departure from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The President described the verdict of the Tribunals as a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.

With the elections and tribunals now behind, the President urged the governors to unite their States by focusing more on inclusive and accountable governance and ensuring that all APC programmes targeted at improving the welfare of Nigerians are fully implemented.       

President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government will continue to work with States to create economic growth that benefits everyone, and security for human lives, investments and the environment.

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How Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes Have Garnered Global Acclaim

In a strategy aimed at ensuring the continuity and sustainability of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes, the schemes are now being upgraded to a full ministry status with the take-off of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

This move is coming after the first term successful implementation of the scheme directly from the Presidency, indicating the need to now institutionalize the SIP.

Endorsed by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the World Economic Forum, as testament of its national impact in Africa’s most populous country, the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) truly embodies what it means to go global while making local impact.

Regarded as the largest social protection programme in Nigeria’s history, the Social Investment Programmes has four broad programmes, namely: N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes, GEEP). 

At inception, the National Social Investment Office, NSIO,  in the Vice President’s office was responsible for overseeing the N-SIP since  2016, while issues of funding, contract awards and procurement had always been undertaken by the Ministry of  Budget and National Planning. 

Also an inter-ministerial  Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice President and composed of several Ministers including from the ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Budget and Planning, Labour and Employment, Women Affairs and others,  had policy oversight on the programme implementation.

In his Independence speech earlier today President Muhammadu Buhari  stated in order to “institutionalize these impactful programmes, we created the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which shall consolidate and build on our achievements to date.”

Indeed the Social Investment Programmes have also been recognized by several local and international organizations for empowering Nigerians and meeting the urgent needs of Nigerians in different areas including providing employment, supporting small businesses and poverty alleviation.

Organisations like Action Aid (Nigeria), of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) have all commended the NSIP for its nationwide social impact

The impact of the SIPs has duly attracted the attention of the rest of the world. Among the global recognition for the impact of its schemes are the Financial Inclusion Award, which was at the 2019 African Bankers’ Awards: where BOI won for the GEEP scheme; the Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019, where GEEP CEO, Uzoma Nwagba, named among recipients; the Public Social Entrepreneur award, given by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, WEF, to Mrs Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments; and recently.

One of the SIP components, GEEP, which is executed through the Bank of Industry (BOI) was recognized as the most impactful Financial Inclusion programme in Africa during the African Bankers’ Awards ceremony which held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 14th, 2019. The award was for BOI’s role in implementing GEEP, which includes the popular TraderMoni scheme. The awards event featured financial institutions and projects from all 54 countries in Africa, as well as the international community;

TraderMoni is one of the microcredit schemes under GEEP, where millions of petty traders get N10,000 loans. Upon repayment within 6 months, the beneficiary becomes eligible for a larger amount of N15,000 and all the way to N100,000 if and when the collateral-free loans are repaid. The other microcredit schemes are MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.

Also, in April, the impact of the SIPs was recognized by the African Leadership Institute when the GEEP COO, Uzoma Nwagba was named among the recipients for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019.  According to the AFL, Nwagba’s role in GEEP, which it described as “the world’s largest micro-credit scheme” was critical. “GEEP to date has leveraged the power of a technology-driven operation to disburse and manage a portfolio of two million loans to underbanked Nigerians, demonstrating the biggest advancement of financial inclusion via credit in Africa,” the citation read.

Recently, Mrs Maryam Uwais MFR, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, was conferred with the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award by the Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF. It was another pointer to SIP’s global endorsement. Uwais was named among 40 other global leaders selected from different countries to receive the award in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

Similarly, with the N-Power job scheme, which currently engages 500,000 young graduates and 200,000 non-graduates in different key sectors, and the School Feeding Programme, which currently feeds almost 10 million school children in 32 states, the SIPs’ impact is truly felt nationwide.

Indeed, millions of Nigerians can testify of the impact of the largest social welfare programme in sub-Saharan Africa. This is because since its implementation in 2016, the N-SIPs have impacted over 12 million direct beneficiaries and over 30 million indirect beneficiaries, comprising family members, employees of beneficiaries, cooks and farmers.

Justice Tienabeso Bibiye
 
Communications Manager,
 
National Social Investment Office NSIO

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President Buhari Visits South Africa Over Welfare Of Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari departs Abuja Wednesday on a three-day State Visit to the Republic of South Africa, following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss welfare of Nigerians, and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts.

The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians and the exchange of visits by Special Envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.

While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of Nigerian government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.    

President Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report will be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.

The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts.

President Buhari will be accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

Others are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd); Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.

Also on the trip are: National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chairman/CEO Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The President will return to Abuja on Friday.

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Independence Day: Let Us Harness Our Diversity For Nation Building – Bulama

I wish to congratulate fellow Nigerians on the occasion of our nation’s 59th Independence day anniversary.

Indeed, despite our challenges, we have cause to celebrate. Since our independence, we have struggled and survived as a nation through thick and thin. This year marks 20 years of uninterrupted democratic rule – the longest in our history. We have successfully broken free from the strangehold of military rule and it’s attendant costly effect on our socio-political life.

With our collective resolve, we successfully enthroned progressives ideals in 2015 with the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in a historic election in which the opposition defeated an incumbent government – a first, in our nation’s history.

While we cannot say we have tackled all the challenges of underdevelopment, we are definitely not where we used to be. Since 2015 there has been greater commitment to tackling the problems afflicting our great nation and thus strengthening hope.

We have dealt terrorism and organised crime severe blow, our anti-corruption war has recorded significant successes that has generated worldwide acclaim – it is no more business as usual. Accountability and probity has been largely restored to our public service.

Our Social Investments Programme, unarguably the most ambitious in sub-Saharan Africa, is directly impacting tens of millions of Nigerians, in addition to unprecedented investment in Infrastructure, with the power supply situation being tackled with new innovations and uncommon gusto.

The President Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration is blazing the trail in making the welfare of the people, the core of his programmes, in line with the manifesto of the APC.

With the call for institutionalization of our great Party, the progressive ideology of the APC – we must nurture and deepen, such that even after the exit of President Buhari, our development and progress will be sustainable.

We must, as Nigerians magnify our strengths and deemphasize our weaknesses bearing in mind that there is no nation devoid of challenges. Citizens in all great and stable nations rise above them with unity of purpose, and determination.

That the labours of our heroes past may not be in vain, we must eschew bitterness, harness our diversity for nation building, and commit ourselves to putting Nigeria first – subduing the proclivity for religious or ethnic jingoism.

Upon deep reflection, as a nation we have made great progress in nation building largely due to the sacrifices of many citizens and gallant men and women.

The ‘Nigeria Project’ – the abiding aspiration to attain enduring peace and prosperity is an everyday work. Nigeria of our dreams is a task for us all but much more today for the APC, which has been honoured with task of governance by our citizens. Let’s join hands to make her greater everyday.

Congratulations and a Happy Independence Day Nigeria.

God bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Signed: Arc. Waziri Bulama
Deputy Director- General, APC. Presidential Campaign Council

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LASG Frowns At Conversion Of Industrial Premises For Other Uses

The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako has, in a release issued on Sunday, frowned at the conversion of Industrial premises for other uses, saying it is illegal and not permissible.

Salako explained that industrial premises were primarily places of economic and productive activities expected to provide employment opportunities and grow the economy of the State.

“The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has noticed with dismay the continuous illegal conversion and use of industrial premises for other uses including Places of Worship, Event Centres and other non-complementary uses” he stated.  

Warning perpetrators of the act, Salako said “The General Public is hereby informed that all non-complementary facilities such as Places of Worship and Social related activities are not permissible within INDUSTRIAL ESTATES in the State in consonance with the Operative Development Plans and relevant sections of Lagos State Physical Planning Permit and Building Control Regulations (2019)”.

While noting that appropriate sanctions shall be applied against violators of these Regulations, the Commissioner declared that the Industrial Estates affected by the directive include Ikeja, Ilupeju, Apapa, Oshodi, Mile 2 Amuwo, Ikorodu, Epe, Orile Iganmu and Oregun Industrial Estate, amongst others.

He solicited the continuous support of all residents in the State in sustaining the Industrial Estates as hubs for job creation and economic prosperity, requesting that further enquiries on the matter should be directed through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Block 15, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

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President Buhari Pledges Adequate Funding For Judiciary, Inaugurates Annex Building Of National Industrial Court

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja pledged that his administration will continue to adequately fund the judiciary to enable it discharge its responsibilities. 

The President also said it is the collective duty of the three arms of government to ensure fair justice delivery and safeguard the rights of all Nigerians.    

The President spoke at the commissioning of the annex building of the headquarters of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Area 3, Abuja, which also marked the valedictory session of the President of the Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo. 

President Buhari said: ‘‘You will all recall that in 2014, the entire budgetary allocation to the judiciary was N68 billion. 

‘‘Today, the judiciary budgetary allocation has gone up to N100 billion. Rest assured that we shall continue to adequately fund the judiciary to ensure it is enabled to discharge its responsibilities.’’ 

The Nigerian leader used the occasion to appeal to the three arms of government to continue collaborative partnership to ensure that policies, programmes and projects of this administration positively impact the lives of Nigerians. 

‘‘Simply put, all Nigerians, regardless of ethnicity, religion and politics deserve peaceful and prosperous lives. 

‘‘Where these basic rights are trampled upon, Nigerians deserve fair justice delivery.  

‘‘It is therefore our collective duty to work collaboratively to ensure that such rights are safeguarded,’’ he said. 

Congratulating the President of the Court on his retirement and meritorious service to the country, the President said Justice Adejumo’s numerous contributions are well known and appreciated. 

‘‘I am confident his legacy will have a positive impact on those who follow him,’’ he said. 

Speaking on the mandate of the Court, the President recalled that it was established as a specialised Court to adjudicate on disputes arising from and relating to labour, industrial and employment matters. 

‘‘Indeed, it is the Court in Nigeria that is constitutionally mandated to perform these functions. Thus, the performance of this court directly impacts Nigeria’s ease of doing business indices,’’ he said. 

The President noted that the completion of the Annex Building will further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of justice delivery by the Court. 

‘‘Furthermore, the socio-economic impact of this Court cannot be downplayed as it also provides the platform for employees, retirees as well as the dependents of deceased employees to find justice when treated unfairly,’’ he added. 

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