Lekan Paul

Nigerian Army Approves New Postings And Appointments

The Nigerian Army has released the postings and appointments of its officers. The posting which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai is a routine exercise to reinvigorate the system for greater professional efficiency.

The highlight includes the appointment of Major General FO Agugo, the erstwhile Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation as the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Port Harcourt, Maj Gen J Sarham the former General Officer Commanding 6 Division is now the Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, while Maj Gen CO Ude has been redeployed from Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force Ndjamena, Chad to Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja and appointed Director Nigerian Army Consult.

Others include; Maj Gen IM Yusuf from Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja to Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force Ndajamena, Chad as Commander, while Maj Gen EN Njoku has been redeployed from Defence Headquarters to Army Headquarters Department of Transformation and Innovation as the Chief of Transformation and Innovation (Army).

Similarly, Brig Gen EJ Amadasun from Headquarters Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery Kontagora, to 35 Brigade Abeokuta and appointed Commander, Brig Gen AM Adetayo of Army Headquarters Department of Army Transformation is now the Chief of Staff Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery, while Brig Gen LM Zakari from Defence Headquarters Abuja to Nigerian Army Institute of Science, Education and Technology, Ilorin, as Acting Commandant, Brig Gen EE Ekpenyong is posted from Nigerian Army Ordnance School, Ojo, Lagos to Headquarters Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps Yaba, Lagos as Director of Land Service Ammunition

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai whilst wishing them well in their respective appointments charges them to take their new responsibilities seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to Service and the Nation. All the appointments take immediate effect.

SAGIR MUSA 
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
29 October 2019

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Prof Abdalla And The Soaring Image Of NOUN, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

If the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) lasts until the end of time, and there is every likelihood it will, the name ‘Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu’ will never go into extinction. It will face no compromise. Professor Adamu, the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN has paddled the university out of the doldrums to its present admirable position as a reputable citadel of learning. One won’t be wrong to call him ‘the changer of fate.’

Established in 1983 as a springboard for open and distance learning in Nigeria, the institution had to be suspended a year after. However, its resuscitation began on 12 April 2000. Ever since the institution had been witnessing one stride after another in the hands. Notably, the administration of Prof. Abdalla which started in 2016 has been eventful especially as the institution is seen to be witnessing a what may aptly be described as the transformation to a ‘giant’ institution.

Starting from the swift relocation of its headquarters from Lagos to Abuja, the country’s ‘administrative capital’, up till the point of making the institution to have a blossoming student population unrivalled in Africa, all of which were made possible by Prof. Adamu’s leadership ‘notoriety’. In ensuring a smooth relocation, Professor Adamu had to quickly fix the infrastructural gaps in the permanent site which was then under construction.

Concerned about qualitative education relevant to the modern world, Adamu introduced professional courses with ‘attractive’ modules including degree programmes in International Relations, French and Development Studies. He also introduced Master of Law (LL.M), Master of International Law and Diplomacy (MILD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Law, M.Sc Public Health, Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) Economics, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Mass Communication, Master of Science (M.Sc) Cyber Security. Others include a Master of Science (M.Sc) Artificial Intelligence, Master of Science (M.Sc) Management Information System, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Cyber Security, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Artificial Intelligence, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Management Information System as well as its over 22,000 facilitators spread across the country.

Before Prof Adamu assumed office, the university was facing a hard time over the accreditation of some of its courses by the National University Commission (NUC). With his Midas Touch, the school’s Law programme is being fine-tuned for accreditation so as its students would soon be able to enrol in the Nigerian Law School. This, before Prof Adamu’s coming, was deemed arguably impossible.

Also, under his leadership, in 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari assented the amended NOUN Act. With this recognition, the university is placed at par with all recognised universities in Nigeria under the various Acts that amended the provision of higher education in Nigerian universities. The act opens a vista of opportunities for students of the institution that they did not have before.

Going back to the institution’s infrastructural achievements under Prof Adamu, one can beat his chest that it never had it better. And it is not solely at the headquarters that the infrastructural transformation has taken place, it is across its 78 study centres. At the headquarters, there is a 3-storey faculty building billed to house the remaining faculties in Lagos. Other structures built by the professor include: a magnificent library, a brand-new printing press, a convocation ground and a media centre.

The institution also unveiled its newly redesigned Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, OOCAS, the centre was opened to collaborate with local and international scholars willing to dissect Africa, towards the goal of producing cutting-edge research that would showcase the African story.

Apart from academics, the professor has a strong passion for sports. This is apparently why he is seeing to the building of a recreation centre at the university’s headquarters. In the centre are two courts for basketball, one for volleyball and another one for football. These facilities are being routinely used by both staff and students; hence the institution stole the show at the recent NUSSA Games at the University of Ilorin and smiled home with the highest number of medals. NOUN had more athletes in the competition than any other university.

Daily, both global and local players in the sector of education troop into the university for all sorts of collaborations. Many a university in Nigeria and beyond are now using NOUN’s template because of its efficacy. Little wonder, the Society for Peace, Conflict and Practice and Canada-based Commonwealth of Learning conferred their fellowship this workaholic Professor.

These aren’t all the achievements of Prof Adamu at NOUN. These are only a few, yet they loudly position him as a man with the Midas Touch.

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

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A Tale Of Progress: Ease Of Doing Business In Nigeria Is Picking Steam Indeed, By Bernard Okri

Progress is not an illusion, it happens – George Orwell

The World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Index (DBI) which has ranked Nigeria 131 out of 190 countries, up 15 places from 146 positions last year, up from 170 since 2014 is a testament to the progress of our nation. For those wondering, the Doing Business Index is an annual ranking that objectively assesses prevailing business climate conditions across 190 countries based on 10 ease of doing business indicators.

This celebrated feat would not have been possible without the much needed reforms implemented by this Administration over the past four years through the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

PEBEC has the aim of minimizing the constraints that come with running businesses in the country works towards the fulfillment of the projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), which strives to deliver sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by investing in our people, and building a competitive economy. Some of the strategies that brought about this feat include cutting down the time it takes to register a business through the use of the electronic platform, new grid connections for electricity, upgrading election systems for imports and exports and also educating business owners on vital business strategies.

Since 1995, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act has taken steps to dismantle years of controls and limits on foreign direct investment (FDI), opening nearly all sectors to foreign investment, allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership in all sectors (with the exception of the petroleum sector, where FDI is limited to joint ventures or production sharing contracts), and creating the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) with a mandate to encourage and assist investment in Nigeria. The Government has introduced several programmes to boost FDI, notably in agriculture, exploitation and mining, oil and gas extraction, as well as in the export sectors. Tax incentives are granted to pioneering industries deemed beneficial for the economic development of the country and employment of its workforce (such as clothing); allowances facilitating capital investments and the deduction of interest on loans for gas companies are few reforms aimed at promoting public-private partnerships and strategic alliances with foreign companies.

The implementation of various strategies in pursuit of increasing the ease of doing business has had and continues to impacts on entrepreneurs in Nigeria. One of whom is Ola Brown, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, a medical emergency services company, whose business has been transformed by the review of the requirements for Nigerian visas in order to make it more assessable and customer-friendly to improve the country’s business climate by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). She disclosed during her interview with CNN how a simple policy change has transformed her business, allowing her the comfort to bring patients to Nigeria without having to get a visa in advance.

Speaking in detail at the Lit Subnational Tour organized by The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council and the Lagos State Government, Dr. Brown spoke about how the Visa on arrival policy has enhanced her business and ensure better and faster healthcare delivery. “For me, visa on arrival has changed the way my business runs forever. Flying Doctors like every air ambulance service in the world is focused on moving patients from an area where there is an overwhelmed level of care to a more suitable level of care.”

She went further to illustrate the numerous economic opportunities for not just her business but several others catering to the value chain: “imagine trying to move an American or a European that’s had an accident in Chad into a Nigerian hospital, you have to move them to the center of Chad first and wait two days for a visa there while the patient is critical before you can get them into Nigeria. However, now we can fly directly there and bring them straight into Lagos, they get their visa on arrival when they get to Lagos and we can take them to hospital and I will tell you what that does, each of these patients are intensive care patients, they spend around $50, 000 each. So you can imagine if we are bringing one thousand to five thousand of those patients every year into Lagos, It just props up my business. The business services are making money because now they are making money from their charges when they issue visa. The hospitals are making money; the doctors can be paid better salaries. Even sometimes the relatives have to fly in to stay in hotels in Lagos. So it is a really huge boost to the economy.”

Founder of Farmcrowdy, Onyeka Akumah, remarked about his firm’s progress operating from Lagos under a better business environment brought about by the Ease of Doing Business Reforms Policy. He spoke about the strides of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, under the new policy. He said: “When investors are coming into the country, it’s a lot easier for them to locate on their phone where the organization is across the country. So CAC registration is not just allowing people to register online easily but it also makes customers discover you online and that has been beneficial to us.”

The Ease of doing business policy of the federal government in collaboration with the state governments is aimed at ensuring that investors and entrepreneurs are able to carry out their business activities with little or no impediments or obstacles.
The policy is hinged on implementing enabling business environment interventions across the country with Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies working to ensure that processes and regulations are simplified and automated to ensure easier, faster and stress free business environment. Key features of this initiative include ease of business incorporation, trade across borders, prevention of double taxation, faster registration of property, introduction of visa on arrival, and successful legislation of a new Company and Allied Matters Bill 2018, among many others.

Subsequently, another vital reform that resulted in Nigeria’s progress as seen in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Index (DBI) is the integration of more agencies into customs electronic data interchange system, and the introduction of an e-payment system for port authorities, thus speeding up both exports and imports.
Over the past 3 years, Nigeria has implemented more than 140 reforms all aimed at improving how business is done in the country. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has consequently recognized Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world, and highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness in Enabling Business Environment.

Bernard Okri is the President of the Global Economic Policy Initiative.

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AYCF Obsession With Tinubu Is A Desperation To Meet Deadline For Hatchet Job

The attention of the Arewa Progressive Initiative (API) has again been drawn to a statement credited to a faceless group, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in which it alleges that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not do anything concerning a petition against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by one Deji Adeyanju owing to the fact that he (Tinubu) is an APC member.

First of all, the pseudo ACYF should note that the person they said wrote a petition against Tinubu lacks the moral right to do so. Adeyanju, as someone who is facing a murder charge in Kano, and having been imprisoned for six years and recently for two months; is not in a position to institute a petition against someone he knows little or nothing about.

The Arewa Progressive Initiative notes the emerging opposition streaks of ACYF and would not have bothered responding to the latest promotion of the proxy political war the unknown group is spearheading, but for the need to correct misrepresentation.

We have it on good authority that the National President of the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum (ACYF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima is on the payroll of major opposition politicians in the country, which explains why he always rushes to issue a statement against APC leaders like Tinubu. As a ‘one-man’ group that is used purely for ‘political business’, we understand the so-called Yerima has a deadline to meet in carrying out the hatchet jobs of his pay masters.

If the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum (ACYF) or its President, Yerima Shettima, bothered to crosscheck their facts, they would not have made the laughable claim that the anti-graft agency, the EFCC, will fail to do its job of verifying the allegations against Tinubu simply because he is an APC member. One only need to ask ACYF the number of APC members that have been convicted under the Buhari government to see the folly in such a claim.

To set the record straight, the EFCC has prosecuted more than five prominent members of APC under President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Their Excellencies, Sen. Joshua Dariye and Chief Jolly Nyame, both two-term governors of Taraba and Plateau states respectively were, at the time of their convictions, members of the APC.

A former Accountant-General of Kebbi and member of the APC, Mr. Mohammed Dakingari was also convicted of corruption and sentenced to 70 years in prison under the administration of President Buhari. As we speak, former Governor Orji Kalu of Abia and serving Senator is still undergoing prosecution in court by the EFCC even as a member of APC.

No doubt, what the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and its sponsors failed to realise is that the Buhari administration represent a clear departure from the ignoble past of using the EFCC to witch hunt both real and perceived political enemies. The fight against corruption, being one of the cardinal focus of the present government, is one that is being pursued without fear or favor. This fact has been proven, and it can also be verified by all well meaning Nigerians who place the love of this country far above parochial and personal sentiments.

Like we observed in our last statement, It’s indeed quite unfortunate that a group of young people, who represent no one but themselves and their stomachs, would keep playing the role of attack dogs to some unscrupulous politicians who have held this country prostrate for so long. More disappointing is the fact that this small clique of young people are doing so in the collective name of northern youths.

Like we have chosen to do, it’s our hope that more foresighted and serious-minded youth groups in the north would rise to the need to salvage our collective integrity from financially induced and fake associations who pretend to speak for the young people of Arewa. We also challenge the ‘consultative youths’ behind ACYF to show their faces if they truly exist.

Signed:

Abuh Andrew Abuh
Secretary General

For: Arewa Progressive Initiative (API)

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President Buhari Celebrates Golden Eaglets’ Victory; Urges Them To Go For The Cup

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria for a fantastic beginning in the group opening match of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2019.

Nigeria Under-17 football team opened Brazil 2019 with a 4-2 win over Hungary, signaling their readiness to win the FIFA Championship for an unprecedented sixth time.

In a message to the team after the spectacular performance on Saturday night, President Buhari praised the boys for the determination to excel which they displayed throughout the match despite the brilliant performance of their opponents.

“It was a wonderful display that I am very proud of. You showed that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with determination and perseverance.

“I have followed your journey leading to your arrival in Brazil for the competition. I have equally noted your determination and confidence throughout your preparations.

“I have no doubt in my mind that you are determined to win the competition for an unparalleled sixth time,” President Buhari said.

He assured them of his continuing personal support and that of Nigerians for the entire period of the tournament.

The President also urged the team to continue demonstrating the resilient spirit of the Nigerian, and bring the cup home, adding that he will personally be monitoring their progress in the tournament.

President Buhari equally congratulated the handlers of the team, urging them to be sensitive to the needs of the youngsters in their burning desire to bring victory and honour to their fatherland.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media and Publicity)
October 27, 2019

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Osinbajo To Young Nigerian Graduates: Integrity Is Your Most Valuable Collateral

“I have come to realize that trust or trustworthiness is fundamental to the success of practically everything you will do in life. In other words, if you can build your reputation in such a manner that you can win the trust of others, your bosses, co-workers, clients, business partners, you will be tremendously successful. If you cannot be trusted or people can’t make up their minds whether to trust you or not, you are already on the back foot and you are unlikely to succeed. Trust is the currency of successful business and social interaction. It is more valuable than money because it actually attracts money.” – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

CONVOCATION LECTURE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE 6TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF BAZE UNIVERSITY, ABUJA, ON SATURDAY, 26TH OF OCTOBER, 2019.

PROTOCOLS.

I am honoured to have been invited to this 6th Convocation Ceremonies of this unique citadel of learning and research, the Baze University. And I am deeply grateful to the Chair of the board of trustees, and my immediate predecessor in office, Arch. Namadi Sambo, for the honour of his personal visit to me, along with other members of the board of trustees, to invite me to this event.
The story of the phenomenal growth of this university in just about a decade is worth repeating. Beginning with 14 programmes in 3 Faculties, to 40 programmes in 6 Faculties, including Basic Medical Sciences, and a Teaching hospital, which is now in view. From structures covering a modest 3,000 square meters and now occupying 49,000 square meters, from 60 staff members to about 620 today and from 17 Students to 1,500 today, Baze University has indeed recorded remarkable progress.

While physical and numerical growth have been in leaps and bounds, so has been academic achievement, prolific research and the students of BAZE excelling in the market place and scholarships all over the world.

But BAZE’s story is also the story of the tenacity, innovativeness, and commitment to education of its founder, visioner and Pro-Chancellor, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, who in 2011, at the tender age of 41 years, established this university. His hard work and innovation continue to push this place of inquiry and learning to greater heights. I am, of course, especially partial to the University because your Vice Chancellor is a lawyer and as we all know lawyers make the best administrators! Apologies to Arch. Namadi Sambo and all other well educated but “unlearned” professionals here present!

But it is to the distinguished scholars and teachers in the faculties of the university to which the growing academic reputation of this university is owed. And we cannot take that lightly. It is to you that the awesome responsibility of mediating the thoughts and ideas of this and the coming generations belong. We must applaud your immense successes in the journey so far.

We celebrate also and perhaps most importantly, the reason why we are gathered, the graduating class of 2019. Congratulations! Your tassels are now turned to the left like those of us who graduated before you, you now belong to a tiny minority. For instance, according to the National Universities Commission (NUC), about one per cent of the Nigerian population form the total enrolment of students in the 164 universities across the country. Congratulations again.

Also, many congratulations to the parents, families, guardians, sponsors and loved ones of the graduands. This is a special day indeed and I congratulate you specially.

To the graduands, from here on you will be engaging the realities of life; the business of living by making a living. There are some timeless principles that have worked and continue to work through the years.

Permit me to share one with you, the principle of Trustworthiness or integrity. In my relatively modest experience in business, professional practice and, lately, politics, I have come to realize that trust or trustworthiness is fundamental to the success of practically everything you will do in life.

In other words, if you can build your reputation in such a manner that you can win the trust of others, your bosses, co-workers, clients, business partners, you will be tremendously successful. If you cannot be trusted or people can’t make up their minds whether to trust you or not, you are already on the back foot and you are unlikely to succeed. Trust is the currency of successful business and social interaction. It is more valuable than money because it actually attracts money.

The world’s economic systems were actually built on trust. So, giving credit or loans was built on trust. In giving a loan, most bankers will tell you that the first consideration is not your collateral, it is your integrity or trustworthiness, and this is why credit bureaus are developed, to determine the track record of repayment of any potential borrower.

I have said this story on several occasions, but I will repeat here. Many years ago, as a young student doing a post-graduate degree in the United Kingdom, I had a delay in the payment of my school fees. In those days, you had to process your school fees abroad through the Central Bank. I spoke to my counsellor in the University about the problem and she advised me to go to the bank for a loan. I thought, how does someone who has no money get a loan from a bank? But I went; explained myself to a lady across the counter, and to my pleasant surprise, I was given a 600 pounds loan. All I had to do was sign on a piece of paper that when my cheque came, it would be paid to the bank. That was in 1981. They believed my story and trusted me to pay back.

When my cheque came, I paid back. Trust. I was able to take personal loans and several other loans in the same bank. But a few years after this, it had become impossible for anyone carrying a Nigerian passport to open a bank account in a UK bank. Why? Because many young Nigerians had taken advantage of the trust and abused the trust, taking loans but not repaying. Some thought, “how foolish these oyinbo people are,” and so used credit cards to buy cars, furniture and electronics and ran back to Nigeria without honouring the trust.

In the past few years, many foreign banks have closed accounts of some Nigerians, because of the numerous attempts to defraud on those accounts. So, no matter how much you may have in your account, they just say, “we don’t want your business” because it’s just too much trouble to do business with people who cannot be trusted. So, because of the untrustworthiness of a few, a whole nation is painted black.

Developing trust also means that you must repay when you borrow. Whether it is from a friend, relation or a bank. Credit is the lifeblood of business. You are dead if your credit sources dry up. And they will if you prove that you will not respect your obligations.

In most economies, the sale of goods is by credit. Years ago, many foreign businesses offered credit to local businesses here. I remember a particular businessman who was importing and selling cars many years ago as a representative of a major car manufacturer. The cars were to be supplied to him on credit and the agreement was that he was expected to pay back in 120 days each time. He paid back a few times, then he stopped paying, he kept the money and lived large. I, a young lawyer at the time, had the onerous duty of running after him to recover some of the money. Not too long after, the credit stopped and the business collapsed.

But at around the same time, a businessman running a company called Elizade was doing the same business, buying cars on credit. He kept paying back. The foreign partners found him reliable and trustworthy and 40 years after, he is still in business, even now has an assembly plant. He is the chairman of the Nigerian subsidiary of the Japanese company that he was initially a distributor for. Trustworthiness built a business from nothing to a multi-billion Naira enterprise.

Many businesses today experience problems with dishonest staff. I was speaking to some owners of small businesses about their biggest problems, many mentioned dishonest staff.

A lady who owned a card store, where she made high-quality invitation cards one day was told by one of her customers that her cards were being sold cheaper at a store in another part of town. She discovered that two of her staff, two ladies, were stealing her inventory from the store where they were kept and had opened their own store selling the stolen cards.

Another lady who owned a cake shop complained that her staff would deliberately miscount the number of cakes that were brought in from the bakeries and then sell the excess they created and pocket the money. She said because she had to be physically present at her store all the time, she couldn’t open new branches, thus creating new jobs.

An entrepreneur who owned a small bar and left it in the hands of a manager said that he discovered that his drinks were not being sold despite the fact that several people were patronizing the bar. He later discovered that the manager and the barman were doing something funny. They brought their own drinks to the bar and sold their own instead of his own. So, when he checked his inventory his drinks were intact, but his manager and barman were selling their own drinks to his customers. He owned the bar, paid the rent, but couldn’t make money.

But there is an opportunity here because so many Nigerians and foreigners must do business here in Nigeria. The world is in search of the Nigerian of integrity, the trustworthy Nigerian to do business with or to employ. Everyone wants faithful partners or employees. Even thieves are in search of trustworthy people to keep their money with. Anyone who can show that he or she can be trusted cannot lack opportunities or profit.

There are good stories too; the story of a young Nigerian like you who turned anger to prosperity in Nasarawa State. Retson Tedheke was once a militant impatient with this country. Retson became convinced to renounce militancy in Delta State, he migrated from his native Delta to faraway Nasarawa to set up a farm.

But like most new entrepreneurs, funding was a big challenge for Retson. But a FinTech company called “Kia-Kia”, set up by young Nigerians, and another called Farmally, advanced him loans sufficient to start a small farm. From a mere initial capital base of N1.5m in 2017, Retson, last week, proudly conducted Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and I, round what is now a vast 3,000 hectares farm worth about a billion Naira and employing 300 Nigerians.

When we visited him. I spoke to the companies that gave him the loans they all said they gave the loans because they could see he was trustworthy and had proved time and time again that he could be trusted. He built a successful farm, on credit without collateral, proving the point that integrity is the most valuable collateral.

Let me say that if you take nothing away from here, take this – your most valuable possession will be that you can be trusted by other people.

Let me again congratulate the graduating class of 2019. You have received excellent education and instruction. Your certificate reads that, “The senate has found you worthy in learning and character”. You are graduating at the most advanced moment in technology and innovation in the history of mankind; you are bound to succeed!

Remember that to whom much is given much is expected, the way up requires more than talent and degrees, hard work, innovation and integrity are crucial, but above all the grace of the Almighty GOD.

So, I pray for you that you will succeed beyond your best dreams and that the honours you receive today will be your least achievement in Jesus name. Amen.

God bless you, thank you very much.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Office of the Vice President
27th October, 2019.

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The Takeaways From President Buhari’s Visit To Russia By Garba Shehu

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Nigeria from his four-day visit to the Russian Republic extremely happy with the success of the visit, which outcome is the best response to a few skeptical audiences back home, including a toxic newspaper editorial, “Buhari, Stay On Your Job,” by the Lagos-based Punch Newspaper asking him to not travel.

Based upon the results, it must be concluded that the President’s mission was fully accomplished. The definite high point was the decision by the Russians to agree to a government-to-government understanding that would see them return to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill and commission it. Nigeria had expended well over USD 5 billion without it coming to fruition.

When he campaigned early in the year for his re-election, which he won with a majority of four million votes, marking a difference of 14 per cent against his closest rival, President Buhari reiterated an earlier promise to complete Ajaokuta to provide jobs and the steel backbone that the nation’s industrial complex needed so desperately. Could this have been achieved if he had locked himself inside the Aso Rock Villa? The answer is obviously a “no.”

Yet, this was not all that he secured. Presidents Buhari and Vladimir Putin opened a “new chapter” in the historically important relationship between the two countries as they both agreed to expand cooperation in energy sector, petroleum and gas, trade and investment, defence and security, mining and steel development, aluminium and phosphate, education and agriculture and a plethora of other issues which, to my pleasure had been spelled out in an elaborate manner by Tonye Princewill, an astute leader in the All Progressives Congress, APC in an opinion article he widely circulated.

President Putin noted that the traditional friendly relationship between Nigeria and his country has gained a new momentum, symbolized by a 93 per cent growth in trade between the two nations in 2018, promising that “Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructure.”

In President Buhari’s view, this summit was a necessary anchor “to kick start what has been a very cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in past years…there are similarities between Russia’s journey under your leadership (Putin’s) and Nigeria’s aspirations for the future. We can learn a lot from the experiences of Russia’s ongoing reforms of transitioning from an oil dependent economy to a modern, diversified and inclusive economy.”

Russia is clearly seeking to reconstruct the important role the country played in its Soviet era. They had traditionally supported African countries in their fights for independence and sought to build industrial infrastructure and develop national economies.

In another sense, the focus of the summit on multilateralism, the advocacy for the reform of the United Nations and climate change action is a direct response to Trump era unilateralism.

It is noteworthy that Nigeria got everything our delegation asked for. When German Chancellor, Angela Merkel visited President Buhari in Abuja in August last year, she made reference to a pertinent defect in the relationship between Europe and Africa when it comes to the promotion of projects.

“When we give you a project, we show you the door to a bank. We tell you to go and obtain financing. The Chinese give you the project, they give you financing. That is something we will have to look at,” she said to President Buhari.

Before the Europeans make up their minds on this, the Russians are now having a go at the idea. For every viable project Nigerian officials suggested in the course of this summit, the chances of the financing appeared within sight.

It is in the light of this that one of Russia’s leading rail line service providers, MEDPROM indicated their interest in undertaking the 1,400-kilometer Lagos-Calabar rail track that will pass through all the states in the South-South sub-region.

The agreement and MoU signed between the NNPC and the Russia’s Lukoil is another spectacular agreement along these lines. Lukoil owns seven refineries and a record turnover of USD 38 billion.

The two oil giants will upgrade their commercial relationship to a government-to-government backed partnership, to work together in upstream operations and in revamping Nigeria’s ill-functioning refineries. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari signed for the Nigerian side while Vagit Alekperov, President, signed on behalf of Lukoil.

In support of this, President Buhari made clear that he wished to work with Russian businesses to improve the efficiency of our oil and gas sector, giving a strong assurance that his administration will “ensure this initiative is implemented within the shortest possible time.”

Of no less significance is the MoU resolving past issues, paving the way for the revival of the rested joint venture between the NNPC and Russia’s gas giants, GASPROM for the development of Nigeria’s enormous gas resources and its infrastructure.

In that waggish but poisonous editorial, the newspaper in question raised concerns about terrorism, kidnapping and general insecurity in the country. It asked a question, wondering why the President would travel abroad when there is, in the country, the problem of kidnapping and fire from oil tankers had caused the loss of life and devastation of shops. Yes, these are sad and unwelcome. This is a President who is praised for his prompt response to the Onitsha fire, first by releasing a message of commiseration same evening and thereafter, dispatching the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs on a condolence mission. The minister gave directive on the spot to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA for the immediate deployment of emergency assistance to the Southeast.

Either out of ignorance or mischief, the Punch failed to see how important it is for the President to seek international support in tackling home grown terrorists, the Boko Haram, reinforced by 2000 ex-ISIS fighters as disclosed by Mr. Putin.

Not only did President Buhari get that needed support to fight Boko Haram terrorists, he got the two countries to cooperate extensively in the strategic fields of defence, civil nuclear energy and in dealing with piracy and oil pipeline vandalism in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Nigerian leader also got a deal for the technological upgrade and timely delivery of the balance of seven, out of an existing order for 12 Attack Helicopters. These, and an assortment of military hardware are direly needed by Nigeria to deal with the new wave of crime bedevilling the country.

Interestingly, one of the three key themes of the whole conference is security. African states with Russia’s support have, as an outcome, drawn up a regional security architecture that would use new technological solutions to ensure security for cities, securing the borders and creating a buffer against the illegal movement of explosives, weapons, drugs and smuggling to reduce terrorist danger to the continent.

Still on security, the Nigeria-Russia Military Technical Agreement that lapsed a few years ago without being renewed will be given due attention by Nigeria. Russia had been ready with her part. President Buhari gave a response to this, saying, “I have directed the Minister of Defence to work with the Ministry of Justice to conclude this matter within the shortest possible time.”

The significance of this agreement lies in the fact that it opens the door to the procurement of military hardware, on a government-to-government basis, eliminating middlemen and reducing cost, as well as the training of military personnel, modernization of the armed forces, refurbishment and renewal of infrastructure and equipment, which President Putin said he is ready to assist Nigeria to undertake.

The one perennial business and, if you like emotional topic between the two countries is the protracted issue of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State. It too, will be resolved. President Buhari announced that he had asked the Ministry of Justice, “to submit a comprehensive report on the UC Russel (the Russian owners of the plant) matter…I want to assure you that the aim of our reforms is to ensure such investments are concluded and actualized in a professional and painless manner.”

There are many of our citizens who do not reckon with the fact that this country has a nuclear programme for about 40 years, one however, that has not gone beyond the setting up of research stations. Arising from these discussions, President Putin invited President Buhari to join him in taking the next step in the implementation of the project by commencing the construction of the nuclear power plant.

The two Presidents also addressed issues in education and agriculture. Russia said she would give additional scholarships. There are currently 100 Nigerian students studying under her scholarship and so far, 797 students from Nigeria have benefited from scholarships for training in Russia in various academic fields.

On agriculture, Russia agreed to support Nigeria in laying a solid foundation for food security. This will partly come through raw materials (phosphate) supply for President Buhari’s very impactful Presidential Fertilizer Initiative that has seen the reopening of dozens of blending plants and the return to work of thousands of employees.

Russia, now the world’s largest producer of wheat according to President Putin, will work with Nigeria in growing wheat to meet domestic and market needs.

This is in response to President Buhari who made a request to Putin, that “we seek your Government’s support especially in the area of wheat production. Today, Nigeria produces less than one hundred thousand metric tons of wheat locally while our imports are projected to exceed five million tons in 2020. We therefore need your support to bridge the deficit which will create jobs and save our foreign exchange for other important areas like security, defence and infrastructure.”

The two leaders also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, with President Buhari pointedly asking for Russia’s support for Nigeria’s aspiration to assume a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, in the envisaged reform of the UN.

Realizing that the relationship between our two countries had suffered the loss of the momentum characteristic of the Soviet era, President Buhari said “to move forward, may I suggest that our countries organize the fifth Joint Commission meeting to review and ratify all the agreements (about 40) contained in the Inter-governmental Nigeria-Russia Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Protocol of November 11, 2016,” to which his Russian counterpart agreed.

For the African continent that been looked at as a potential bright spot in the world economy for a long time, the flurry of summits between the leaders of the major economies of the world and the Heads of African states and government is a clear indication of Africa coming of age.

For Nigeria and President Buhari in particular, the Russia-Africa Summit had served the desire the two countries to diversify and further strengthen the bonds of our robust bilateral relations. A solid foundation has indeed been laid for the promotion of the mutually beneficial cooperation between both nations.

Garba Shehu, is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

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Troops Raid Hideouts Of Insurgents, Bandits, Kidnappers, Other Criminal Elements Nationwide

Troops of the Nigerian Army continue to raid the hideouts of criminal insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements nationwide with remarkable successes. One of such operations involved troops of 342 Artillery Regiment. The troops, while acting on credible intelligence raided a suspected kidnappers’ den at Ihie Community in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State. Two suspects, Umah Kingsley and Miss Chukwu Happiness were arrested. Items recovered during the operation include 2 empty magazines and a locally fabricated gun. Similarly, following the alleged murder of one Alhaji Tanko of Janda Village in Jema’a LGA of Kaduna State by unknown assailants, troops of 1 Division Garrison deployed within the area swiftly moved into the suspected crime location and arrested 2 suspects, Danladi Bisallah and Manesa Danladi with a locally fabricated rifle and 12 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition. Also, in two separate night operations conducted by same troops at Gindin Dutse Village and Rijana Forest of Birnin Gwari and Kachia LGAs of Kaduna State respectively, 5 bandits terrorizing areas were neutralized while 3 locally-made guns were recovered from them. the troops also rescued a 12 years old boy, Rabe Abubakar, who was kidnapped on 21st October 2019 by some bandits at Ruwan Sanyi Village close to Liberia Forest in Kubau LGA of Kaduna State. In the course of rescueing Rabe Abubakar, one bandit was neutralised, one motorcycle belonging to the bandits was recovered while 3 other bandits were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds.

In another development, troops of 1 Brigade Garrison raided suspected kidnappers’ hideout at Dogun Karfe Forest in Bakura LGA of Zamfara State. Troops however recover one AK 47 Rifle, 4 magazines and 80 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition which were abandoned by the fleeing suspects. Similarly, troops of 16 Brigade Garrison (Main) raided a suspected kidnappers hideout at Isisiama Village in Akuku –Toru LGA of Rivers State. During the operation, troops arrested one suspect and recovered 3 pairs of military camouflage uniforms, 2 Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) Overall Suits, 5 Speed Boats, and 2 Generating sets. Other items recovered include; one pumping machine, one power bank, 4 mobile phones, 117 Voters Cards, one boat engine and one Box Radio.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to thank all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support and goodwill towards the Officers and men of the Nigerian Army. All law abiding citizens are requested to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and intimidation. .

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

         AI

AMINU ILIYASU
Colonel
Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator

26 October 2019

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Osinbajo Is Not Tribalistic, Kabiru Gaya Fires Back At Junaid Mohammed

Senator Kabiru Gaya, representing Kano South Senatorial district, has described allegation of tribalism leveled against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as mere distraction.

He called on Nigerians to ignore such claims against the Vice President.

It is recalled that a Second republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, had alleged that Osinbajo was tribalistic while acting as President in the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.

He accused him of appointing people from a section of the country and members of his church into government positions.

However, Gaya told State House Correspondents after a private meeting with Osinbajo on Tuesday that the allegation was unfounded and did not reflect the true position of things in the office of the vice president.

“I think the vice president should disregard this issue and continue working as the vice president and for Nigeria. I believe he should not be distracted,” he said.

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Troops Capture Top Boko Haram Commanders In Borno

In yet another successful covert operation, the combined troops of 26 Task Force Brigade, 21 Special Armoured Brigade and elements of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), while acting on a piece of intelligence, conducted a sting operation against some Boko Haram criminals hibernating around Pulka general area of Gwoza LGA, Borno State on 20th October 2019. The operation led to the arrest of 16 active Boko Haram members. Preliminary investigation reveals that some of the arrested suspects participated in the heinous attack on Pulka and Gwoza including the barbaric execution of some Nigeria Police personnel sometime ago.

It is heart-warming to mention that 2 of the arrested Boko Haram criminals have been on the Nigerian Army most wanted Boko Haram list earlier published on Serials 41 and 90. The arrested suspects are: Lawan Abubakar Umar Garliga and Bayaga Manye ( on serial 41 and 90 respectively of the Nigerian Army most wanted Boko Haram list), Alhaji Umaru (a Boko Haram Logistics Supplier), Goni Agwala (Boko Haram Logistics supplier), Momodu Shetene (Boko Haram Logistics Supplier and bicycles repairer), Hassan Audu (Boko Haram Logistic Supplier), Usman Manye AKA Yega ( Boko Haram Logistics supplier ), Ali Lawan (Boko Haram Logistics supplier) and Modu Mallum (Boko Haram Logistics supplier). Others are, Modu Abubakar Jugudum, Bulama Ali, Umar Usman, Mustapha Alhaji Mele (Boko Haram Rifle man and vulcanizer), Abor Lassan, Mallum Ari and Mala Bala.

Following the massive success recorded by the troops during the sting operation, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has commended the Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Maj Gen Olusegun Adeniyi as well as the officers and men of Operation LAFIYA DOLE for this commendable feat in service of their fatherland. He also enjoined them to continue to sustain the pressure on the criminals and ensure there is no hiding place for them and their collaborators.

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
21 October 2019

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Nigerain Army Renames “Exercise Egwu Eke” To ‘Exercise Atilogwu Udo’

The authorities of the Nigerian Army wish to inform the general public of the change of name of one of its annual training exercises code named, “Exercise EGWU EKE” to ‘Exercise ATILOGWU UDO’. The annual training exercise commenced in 2016 and has consistently recorded remarkable successes since its introduction. The Exercise, which covers the South East region of the country, is designed to combat criminal activities including kidnappings, armed robbery, inter-cult and communal clashes among other sundry crimes. All other information relative to the Exercise as contained in the previous Press Statement and Press Conference issued by the Army Headquarters remain unchanged.

The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting lives and properties of citizens particularly during these ember months and the fast approaching Yuletide season. He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians towards providing a well secured environment for all and sundry.

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
16 October 2019

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Nigerian Army Announces Change Of Excise Name



The authorities of Nigerian Army wish to inform the general public of the change of one of its annual training exercises Code Name, “Exercise EGWU EkE” to ‘Exercise ATILOGWU UDO’.

The annual training exercise commenced in 2016 and has consistently recorded remarkable successes since its introduction. The Exercise, which covers the South East region of the country is designed combat ceiminal activities including kidnappings, armed robbery, inter-cult and communal clashes among other sundry crimes. All other information relative to the Exercise as contained in the previous Press Statement and Press Conference issued by the Army Headquarters remain unchanged.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting lives and properties of citizens particularly during these ember months ans the fast approaching Yuletide season. He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians towards providing a well secured environment for all and sundry.

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



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