Brief Facts To Know About Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves – BMSG

– What is the ‘Foreign Reserve’ of a country?

It is all the total possible value of foreign currency available to a country, held by its Central Bank to facilitate international trade and transactions.

The Foreign Reserves of a country determines the quantum of goods and services that can be imported into that country at a particular period of time. Under President Buhari, Nigeria has saved up to 40.4 Billion Dollars in its reserves. It is projected that this can finance a minimum of 9 months of international transactions; thus providing investment confidence and access to funding for international trade.

– Does an increase in a country’s Foreign Reserve reflect increase in salaries and better livelihood for the people?

The basis of accumulation in the foreign exchange reserve is money organically converted from foreign earnings of a country into domestic use. So when a country earns so much from its exporting activities, it translates into what is shared every month at the Federal Account and Allocation Committee, (FAAC). It also translates to how much money is available to run government – to that extent, higher foreign reserves means that government at different levels have had access to larger quantum of money to run government. Thus governments at different levels have capabilities to pay salaries, embark on infrastructural development and even if it wishes, increase staff salaries.

This explains why recently, the Minister of Labour said that government would certainly increase salaries this year. With this increase in foreign reserves, government, especially, the Federal Government, would not have a problem sourcing moneys to pay salary increment.

Secondly, since the reserve funds foreign transactions, the major beneficiaries of a robust foreign reserve are manufacturers and entrepreneurs in industries and sevices. They are able to import raw materials and critical equipment at predictable cost because the foreign reserve also enables exchange rate stability.

Even now, the Nigerian manufacturing sector has been experiencing exponential growth over the last nine months because of easy access to foreign exchange. The Central Bank of Nigeria has made sure that all possible qualified requests for foreign exchange are provided for.

Providing for the foreign exchange needs of manufacturers and other classes of users would lead to expanded production capacity in the economy. This, in turn, would lead to the expansion of production activities and increased employment.

It is important to highlight that we are already experiencing high employment figures in the manufacturing, service and agriculture sectors.

With more people in employment, there would be more money in the economy, and improved transaction activities across all segments of the economy generally resulting in more income and more money in the system, and thus, improved living conditions.

It also impacts on our inflation rate.

– How has the Buhari administration able to improve on this despite fall in oil price relative to the years between 2011 and 2014? What is the magic?

Focused management of international transactions: First starting with the limited access to foreign exchange by the importers of 41 items that can be produced / manufactured in Nigeria.

Also, transparency of collection of revenue. And strategic choice in the spending of moneys earned.

Increase in price of crude oil, and production threshold of crude oil played significant roles too.

Increase in agricultural exports also added auxiliary revenue to our foreign exchange. In 2017, exports of agricultural products through the Apapa port, increased by 160%.

The Solid minerals sector is also recorded to have added some marginal revenue to the reserve.

– Do you believe this Foreign Reserve rise is sustainable?

It is very sustainable. Our primary dependency, crude oil, promises to sustain increase in prices even as government is yet to attain its 2.3 million barrels a day target in production.

Diversification of revenue sources is also an indicator of sustainability. Solid minerals and agriculture revenue are also increasing.

Lagos’ Brutal Beauty Industry, By Aisha Salaudeen

Bimbo Onafowokan, 27, has just changed into a towel at a corner in a small shop. Seated next to her is Bello, the shop owner, readying a mixture from a bottle to apply on her skin. There’s a large mirror by the wall for Bimbo to peer in occasionally and monitor how detailed Bello is in helping her bleach her skin with the concoction.

Besides the mirror, three carefully arranged plastic chairs, a towel rack and a shelf filled with skin bleaching concoctions of different sizes, Bello’s shop is pretty much empty. It is tucked deep in the very heart of Lagos State, Ikeja. ‘Under bridge’, as it’s commonly called is home to self proclaimed beauticians who work from the edges of the busy bridge. These ‘hustlers’ offer all sorts of beauty products to men and women who readily troop into their makeshift stores to “look beautiful”.

“I have been doing this thing [skin bleaching] for three years now and my skin is fairer. It makes me feel like a beautiful woman. You know if you’re dark skinned the men don’t come to you” Bimbo said in a voice tinged with excitement. She explained that she uses part of her income selling bread on the streets to purchase the skin whitening mixture from Bello. “I come here every two months to buy it from Bello. Since I started using it, the men on the streets come to me to buy bread because they find me more attractive than the other bread sellers” she told me.

Use of creams, mixtures and physical treatments to whiten the skin is not an uncommon practice in Nigeria. A 2011 W.H.O (World health organisation) report found that 77% of women in the Nigeria use skin lightening products, the biggest percentage in the world. The reasons according to the report were wide-ranging but most people say they bleach their skin because they want “white skin”.

According to a 2017 essay by Metro UK, 70% of Nigerian women admit to using products that lighten their skin. The essay pointed out that women are not the only ones obsessed with bleaching their skins, men enjoy having “white skin” as well.

David Oluwatobi, 32, who asked that his real name not be used, has a shop seven minutes away from Bello’s. He deals in lip colouration, popularly tagged as ‘Pink lips’. The pink lips procedure is accomplished in three ways. The first is by using a machine or a blade to scrape off part of the outer layer of the bottom lip and then apply an ointment or balm that changes the colour of the lip to something close to pink. “I have been doing pink lips for seven years now, everybody in this under bridge knows my face” David bragged.


Speaking on the second lip colouration process, which is also a form of Skin bleaching, David noted that many people prefer it because the process is painless. “People see the machine and get scared, they prefer buying the pink lip balm and using it. But the lip balm process takes longer to be effective, you have to use it many times before you get pink lips” he said. “But you see that machine, once I remove part of the outer lip and add my mixture, the lip swells for two days and by the time it comes down, everything is pink and fine” he said.


The third lip colouration method involves tattooing the colour pink permanently on the lower lip. When asked about the number of people that patronise him, David commented that many people preferred to come to his shop. “In a week I make like twenty five thousand naira. Many people come here because they know that I give them different options. Any method of getting pink lips, they choose from” he explained to me.


In search of persons interested in enlarging their penis, Mutiu Olalere, 25, hovers outside David’s makeshift store sometimes. Mutiu, who has been dealing in penis enlargement for three years, led me to his store at the other side of the bridge where the buses going to the Island are parked. “This business is not for everybody, only those that know me well can spot this place” he said. The enlargement process involves a method of stretching the penis with a machine shaped like a pump. “I have a small generator because my machine will not work without electricity. There is a way it draws blood to the penis and makes it swell” he explained.


Part of what drives men to visit people like Mutiu for this method of body enhancement is the belief that men with larger penises perform better in bed. “African women like it to be big, if your penis is small you will not perform well in bed. Many men like want to satisfy their women so they come to me for help” he said. “Just last week, someone came here to give me positive feedback. It works well,” he added.


In many parts of the country, body enhancement offerings offered by the beauty industry are popular. Lighter skinned women for instance are considered more beautiful and are believed to find marriage easier than dark skinned women. For lip colouration, many men partake in it because they believe it makes them more attractive to their partners. Penis enlargement on the other hand follows a notion that a large penis means better sex. “I have had women commend me in bed since I got my penis enlarged” Joseph, one of Mutiu’s customers’ told me.

The body improvement process with all its buzz comes with hazardous health consequences. Penis enlargement for example can lead to skin peeling, extreme soreness and pain on the genital organ. Abbas Amza, a pharmacist in Nigeria’s public health sector says the mechanical device used for enlargement could result in deformation of the penis and damage to the penile blood vessels.

For skin bleaching, the application of the whitening agents invites skin infections like scabies, eczema, and acne. Samira Owoyale, a medical practitioner, says skin-bleaching agents can damage the liver and kidney as they contain components like Glutathione. “These bleaching creams despite their acceptance are threatening. They lessen the pigment growth of the skin. Normally, the pigments absorb ultraviolet radiation of UV rays. Without the protection of these pigments, skin cancer can occur” she noted.

Lip colouration is just as hazardous as skin bleaching. The dangers associated with passing equipment to another customer without proper sterilisation includes the spread of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, lip infection and inflammation. Abbas Amza, says the pink lips balm sometimes contain unhealthy components like Glucocorticoids, which reduce the immunity of the body.

“Those creams when used over an extended period of time can lead to depressed immunity for the entire body” he explained. “The mixture also reduces the strength of the skin membrane and makes it liable to tearing. In the event of surgery, for example, there will be difficulty to suture the skin tissue back,” he added.

Despite the hazardous health effects around these beauty routines, they are here to stay. The industry is growing and many people are buying into the idea of looking good through bigger genitals and lighter skin. “Do you know the opportunities that come with looking fairer? Nobody is going to drop that for anything” says Chinenye Onwusoro, a skin bleaching shop owner.


Jega, Agwai, Gambari, Others Submits Memo On The Peaceful Resolution Of The Herdsmen-Farmers Conflicts

Memo By Martin Luther Agwai, Ibrahim Gambari, Attahiru Jega, Jibrin Ibrahim,Others
January 7, 2018

Memorandum by the Nigerian Working Group on Peace Building and Governance, Abuja, 8th January 2018


Pastoralists-farmers’ conflicts in Nigeria have grown, spread and intensified over the past decade and today poses a threat to national survival. Thousands of people have been killed, communities have been destroyed and so many farmers and pastoralists have lost their lives and property in an orgy of killings and destruction that is not only destroying livelihoods but also affecting national cohesion. Each day, we witness more reprisal killings that are simply making the possibilities of peaceful resolution more difficult. Rural banditry is becoming the norm in the Nigerian hinterland and has been transformed into a vicious criminal activity. The result is that the scale of loss of both herds and human life has been escalating and the victims are on all sides – subsistence farmers, commercial farmers and pastoralists. Nonetheless, we write this memo to say we cannot give up to hate and destruction, let’s pause, reflect and seek a way out of the crisis.

Nigeria has a large pastoral population the logic of whose livelihood is often misunderstood. What is better understood is the culture of farming, which is rooted in a specific location and has activities that take place regularly. The assumption that pastoralism is in itself an irrational production system is far from the truth. Pastoralism is the main livestock production system in much of Africa where pastoralists live in semi arid zones. It is a historically developed strategy to cope with the uncertainties associated with climate change, build up of parasites and other related challenges. It is above all an efficient way to produce livestock at relatively low prices through the use of non-commercial feeding stock. Historically, pastoralists have been able to meet the meat demand in West Africa with a relatively high level of efficiency without government subsidy for generations.

Different methods through the use of farm residue and open range grazing has allowed this trend to flourish. Nigeria has a landmass of 98.3 million hectares, 82 million hectares of arable land of which about 34 million hectares are currently under cultivation. In crop farming, human beings only directly utilize about a quarter of the total biomass. The other three quarters is in the form of crop residue and low quality crop, which is not directly useful to people. It is this residue that cattle (ruminants) convert into meat and milk. In addition to this, cattle also utilize grasses on fallow lands, non-arable poor quality lands, open ranges and fadama in the same manner. Pastoralists move their animals to these locations to access these opportunities. This system of production is breaking down today as violent conflicts between pastoralists and farmers have arisen and created a major national crisis.

The Problem

Nigeria’s population has grown from 33 million in 1950 to about 192.3 million today. The United Nations recently projected more growth in terms of population in the coming years, 364 million in 2030 and 480 million in 2050 respectively. This phenomenal increase of the population has put enormous pressure on land and water resources used by farmers and pastoralists. Specifically, the demographic increase has led to an expansion in cultivated farmland and a reduction in available grazing land for pastoralists that is characterised by competition over dwindling resources. In the far north, the impact of desertification as well as the crisis of energy, which has resulted in deforestation, coupled with climatic uncertainty and lower rainfall have made it more difficult to sustain increasing populations, pushing many farmers and pastoralists with livestock southwards. This has happened gradually over a period of decades – with an apparent increase over the past decade – and has added to pressure on land and water in central and southern Nigeria.

One of the outcomes of this process has been the blockage of transhumance routes and loss of grazing land to agricultural expansion and the increased southward movement of pastoralists has led to increased conflict with local communities. This is particularly the case in the Middle Belt – notably in Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, and Adamawa States. The conflicts often have localised dynamics, but primarily involve Fulani pastoralists and local farming communities.

The Nigerian state has a relatively weak rural presence and has neglected the agrarian sector since the 1970s, when oil revenues began to dominate the economy. There have been few improvements in agricultural productivity and livestock production as a result of the dependence on oil revenues, which have not been reinvested in productive economic activities. State response in the context of the lingering conflicts between farmers and pastoralists has been both ad hoc and reactive, with no concrete and sustainable strategies for conflict management and peace building beyond the deployment of security or establishment of commissions of inquiries. One of the key pathways here is for the state to be more proactive in its responses by putting in place mechanisms that are institutionalised and sustainable both at the local and state levels.

As violence between herdsmen and farmers has grown and developed into criminality and rural banditry, popular narratives creating meaning, context and (mis) understandings have been emerging. The narratives emerging on rural banditry in the media and in popular discourse are becoming part of the drivers for expanding conflicts in the country. The protagonists in this saga are often presented as being nomadic Fulani cattle herders, who are mostly Muslims, and sedentary farmer communities of several other ethnic extractions, who are often, but not always non-Muslims. These two distinct groups are usually depicted as perpetrators and victims, respectively. Perspectives of the social, religious and ethnic characteristics of these rural communities are framed into expansive essentialist discourses that actively breed and sustain suspicion and distrust. The result is negative stereotyping between “the one” and “the other” that lead further to ethnic and religious bigotry which fuels the hate process, culminating in further chains of attacks and counter or revenge attacks being exchanged between these different groups. Nigeria urgently needs to find pathways to get out of the crisis and one approach may be the development of grazing reserves for pastoralists.

Grazing Reserves As Possible Solution

It is clear that Nigeria and indeed Africa have to plan towards the transformation of pastoralism into settled forms of animal husbandry. The establishment of grazing reserves provides the opportunity for practicing a more limited form of pastoralism and is therefore a pathway towards a more settled form of animal husbandry. Grazing reserves are areas of land demarcated, set aside and reserved for exclusive or semi-exclusive use by pastoralists. Currently, Nigeria has a total of 417 grazing reserves all over the country, out of which only about 113 have been gazetted. There are many problems facing the implementation of the provisions of the 1965 Grazing Reserve Law and the management of the established grazing reserves. First, most of the grazing reserves were established by the then Northern Regional Government. Since the 1970’s subsequent military and civilian governments have in effect abandoned the policy of establishing and developing grazing reserves. Secondly, State governments have not been diligent in sustaining previous policies and have not surveyed and gazetted most of the designated grazing reserves. Indeed, only 113 (about 27%) of the 417 proposed grazing reserves have been gazetted.

Whether we support or oppose pastoralism, it is clear that at least in the short and medium term, many herds must continue to practice seasonal migration between dry and wet season grazing areas, incorporating past harvest grazing farmland in the highly developed and ecologically sound pattern of transhumance evolved by the pastoralist over the centuries. This is an important point to make at this point when many political actors think it is possible to simply and abruptly ban open grazing. There is indeed, the need for permanent settlement of pastoralists both in the far north and semi humid zone of the middle belt. It is important to focus on the development of grazing reserves as part of the solution.

The Law, Politics and Pastoralism

One of the greatest difficulties in addressing and resolving issues surrounding pastoralism is the politicisation of legal regimes and the blockages to the enactment of or implementation of laws that can redress the key challenges posed. In 2016 for example, a bill was proposed – ‘‘A Bill for an Act to establish Grazing Reserve in each of the states of the Federation Nigeria to improve agriculture yield from livestock farming and curb incessant conflicts between cattle farmers and crop farmers in Nigeria.’’ The National Assembly on the basis that the Bill appeared to be seeking to favour one particular profession carried out by mainly one ethnic group, the Fulani, threw it out. The problem is that if we cannot have grazing reserves and if pastoralists cannot move, how do we expect the 19 million cattle grazing in the country to survive and how do we protect our Constitutional principle of free movement.

Free Movement and Restrictions to Transhumance

There is an emerging conflict between the constitutional principle on free movement of persons and goods and laws emerging in some States restricting movement. In Section 41(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, it is stated that:

‘‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.’’

Some States have enacted laws or are processing bills to prevent open grazing on their territory. There are four initiatives so far:

Ekiti state: Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016.
Taraba state: Anti-Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill 2017. ‘A bill for a law to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches and the Taraba State livestock and ranches administration and control committee and for others connected thereto 2017’.
Edo State Bill: A Bill for A Law to Establish the Edo State Control of Nomadic Cattle Rearing/Grazing Law and for Other Purposes.
Benue State Law: A Law to Prohibit Open Rearing and Grazing of Livestock and Provide for the Establishment of Ranches and Livestock Administration, Regulation and Control and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2017.
It is worthwhile posing the question whether laws can be effective in prohibiting pastoralism, which is practiced by millions of Nigerians. As some of the laws have already been passed, they would have to be tested in court. It is important to stress however that the Constitution guarantees free movement of persons and goods across Nigeria and no State government can withdraw constitutionally entrenched rights. Secondly, following a legislation by the Ogun State Government and the Supreme Court Judgment on the matter cited as “A.G. OGUN STATE V. ALHAJA AYINKE ABERUAGBA (1985) 1 NWLR PG. 395” States were barred from interfering with inter-state commerce and the free movement of goods and services. At that time, Ogun State had tried to control and tax goods entering from other States and the Supreme Court ruled that it would be chaotic if States enacted any laws they please restricting movement of goods and services in the Federation. It was this judgment that led to the introduction of value added tax (VAT) as a State tax that is determined at the national level and collected by the Federal Government, which takes an administrative fee and redistributes the proceeds back to the States. The key issue however is that pastoralism has developed into a national crisis that is leading to increased violence so a legal approach alone cannot resolve the issue. It is therefore important to negotiate a national policy framework that would protect the interests of both farmers and herders. The Federal Government should take the initiative of negotiating a consensual policy framework that would address the issues.

Developing a Comprehensive Policy Framework

Livestock production in Nigeria is in existential crisis and the country lacks a cohesive and comprehensive policy framework for livestock development and regulation in Nigeria. The defunct Northern Grazing Reserve Law has not been updated, the Land Use Act of 1978 is dysfunctional, emerging state grazing reserve laws, the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol and other related international instruments have to be updated and streamlined.


Piecemeal of sectorial approach to livestock development will not suffice. A new policy framework should be developed that is both comprehensive and must be mutually beneficial to pastoralists and farmers. Any policy that does not take into consideration the welfare of both sides will most likely fail or meet resistance by either side. An inter-ministerial committee should be constituted with experts and stakeholder membership to draw up the framework. There must be a consultative process that listens to the concerns of all stakeholders in developing the new framework so that the outcome would have national ownership.

The Future of Pastoralism and Animal Husbandry

Pastoralism is not sustainable in Nigeria over the long term due to high population growth rate, expansion of farming and loss of pasture and cattle routes. At the same time, pastoralism cannot end of be prohibited in the short term as there are strong cultural and political economy reasons for its existence. It is important therefore to develop a plan for a transitional period during which new systems would be put in place.


Experts should be assembled to map out the duration, strategy and timelines for the transition plan. As there is no miracle model for solving the problems, the plan should simultaneously pursue a number of models including:

Ranching can be pursued as one of the possible models in areas with lower population densities in the North East (Sambisa Game Reserve in Borno State) and North West (Gidan Jaja Grazing Reserve in Zamfara State);
Semi-intensive systems of animal husbandry should be pursued accompanied with requisite investment in infrastructure, training, extension, marketing and animal health service delivery in conjuncture with the private sector;
The traditional form of pastoralism should continue for a period to be agreed upon with some improvements (in the form of coordinated mobility between wet and dry season grazing areas and effective management of farmers and pastoralists relations);
Use of and development of grazing reserves to target pastoralists with large stocks where skills for pasture production, large milk production, etc can be promoted.
Development of integrated crop-livestock systems with farmers and pastoralists being encouraged to keep some animals in their farms.
In order to meet the feeding needs of herds, alternative low water and drought resistant grasses should be produced, in response to the impact of desertification on fodder production.

Modernisation of Livestock

Nigeria has one of the lowest productivity levels of livestock in the world. It is for this reason that Nigeria imports very large quantities of milk, fish and chicken. The Nigerian herd requires sustained efforts at quality development based on a modernisation strategy that would transform the industry and move the country towards the objective of self-reliance.


The programme for the country’s transition to modern forms of animal husbandry must be accelerated and funded. The national stock would require rapid improvement and modernisation to meet market demands for meat, milk, hides and other products from the industry:

Commercial ranches should be established in some of the sparsely populated zones in the North East and North West;
The business community should be encouraged through policy measures to invest in the establishment of modern dairy farms;
Sensitisation programmes should be undertaken on the values of livestock improvement and breeding centres for the production of quality heifers to improve pastoral stock should be developed all over the country.
Efforts should be made towards modelling best practices of pastoral-farmer relations as evident in countries such as Chad, Ethiopia and Niger, where the existence of institutionalised and functional mechanisms for pre-empting and resolving conflicts between farmers and pastoralists enable them to live in peace.

Growing Conflicts and Imperative of Peace Building

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic explosion of violent conflicts associated with the deteriorating relationship between farmers and herders, cattle rustling and rural banditry in Nigeria. There is also limited knowledge about who the perpetrators are and their motives.


A comprehensive approach to necessary to address the growing crisis associated with violence affecting pastoralism and farmers in Nigeria. The Federal Government should commission a large-scale research endeavour to carry out in-depth study to understand the reasons for the escalation of violence, key actors, motivations and agency fuelling the crisis.

The Boko Haram Insurgency

Specific measures are required to address the Boko Haram insurgency North Eastern States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, which have close to 40% of the total cattle, sheep and goats of the National herd. These States also have the highest number of grazing reserves 255 or 61% of the 415 nationally identified grazing reserves. There are also many kilometres of stock routes interconnecting these reserves. The highest number of transhumance and trade cattle, sheep and goats from ECOWAS countries, Chad, Cameroun, Central African Republic and other countries, come into Nigeria on North Eastern International Transhumance Route.


In addition to the search for improving security in the zone through the use of security forces and mobilizing the civil population, some policy decisions are required. The military should be encouraged to pursue the path of ranching as it has already decided to. The Sambisa Grazing Reserve (4800 ha) is an ideal and symbolic place to take-off by establishing a ranch run by the military. It would significantly improve the security situation in the zone and encourage cooperation between pastoralists and the military. In the North West, the military should also be encouraged to create ranches in the Gidan Jaja Grazing Reserve (565,000 ha) for the same purpose of improving security and cooperation with pastoralists.

Growth of Hate and Dangerous Speech

Hate speech has now become a generator and accelerator of violent conflicts and the phenomenon of fake news is worsening its negative impact.


There is need for the development of a media code to be used in sensitizing the media on the relevant international standards on reporting issues of conflict and banditry. This process should involve conflict sensitivity and safety training and it should be based on very strict journalistic standards. Appropriate laws and regulations should be developed at both the federal and state levels towards ensuring that the margin of what is seen, as “free speech” in the media will be effectively regulated.

Breakdown of Traditional Conflict Resolution Mechanisms

One of the most important dimensions of the growing conflicts between pastoralists and farmers has been the breakdown of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms. In the past, when conflicts arise, they were settles by village heads and ardos, Fulani community leaders and if the need for payment of compensation arises, there were traditional systems and knowledge of how to assess damage done and the amount necessary to compensate for the damage and not profiteering. What we see today as a breakdown of traditional authority in the context of conflict management is a consequence of the take over of their powers by the state at the federal, state and local government levels, through the ad hoc measures that are often time wasting and whose recommendations are not implemented.


Cattle routes should be restored and significant investment made in restoring traditional conflict resolution mechanisms. As massive corruption has accompanied the increased presence of the police and courts in matters affecting farmers and herders, there should be advocacy and administrative guidance to return to traditional methods of conflict resolution. There should be capacity development of farmers and herders associations so that they play a more positive role in the process.

The Environmental and Climate Smart Pastoralism

Livestock produce some greenhouse emissions and pollutants. These can however be mitigated and even reversed by the sustainability of the methods that are used. On the whole, pastoralism is the only renewable non-extractive use of Ryland resources and it plays an essential role in maintaining soil and water quality. In addition, it slows down the loss of biodiversity.


Intensive capacity building is required in promoting and advocating for climate smart approaches to animal husbandry including the prevention of overgrazing, promoting integration of grazing and manure provision for farms and coordinated movement between ecological zones in the dry and wet seasons.

Legislative Solutions

There are discordant laws and regulations that legislate livestock production and pastoralism at the regional, national and state levels. Some of the newly emerging laws such as the “anti-grazing” state laws appear to contradict the free movement principle enshrined in the Constitution.


A harmonization of relevant laws and policies that governs grazing reserves. Specifically, the 1965 Grazing Reserve Law can be revived based on section 315 of the 1999 constitution in the 19 northern states.
This should be complemented with a national review and protection of traditional stock routes;
Regional instruments governing pastoralism should be protected and above all domesticated;
In addition to the laws, consultative process between farming and pastoral communities are required to review the effect of statutes and regulations on routine practices of animal husbandry.
Expanding Grazing Reserves

The Nigerian livestock industry is largely dependent on natural vegetation. Although there is a vast hectrage of natural vegetation in the country they are not maximally utilized due to poor planning and conflicting government policies. It was estimated that there are over 40 million hectares of grazing land in Nigeria, out of which only 3 million hectares are specifically tagged as grazing reserves.


The idea to encourage nomads to settle was first made in 1942 but never implemented. A clear policy of land grant to pastoralists should be developed and implemented by state governments.

Digital Tracking of Cattle

The Katsina State Government has just launched a digital tracking system for cattle in the State. It involves inserting microchips in the animals skin and tracking them with mobile phones. The use of such technologies could help address the problem of cattle rustling and violence that have become so rampant. Such initiatives should be supported.

The Construction of Positive Narratives

The atmosphere between farming and pastoral communities is extremely bitter and negative. Support should be provided for creative writers in Nollywood, Kannywood, radio and television to create new narratives showing how the interaction between the two groups could be peaceful and mutually beneficial. Above all, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as an institution with presence across the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country, should provide these critical services.

Signed by

Professor Ibrahim Gambari

General Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd)

Professor Jibrin Ibrahim

Professor Attahiru Jega

Dr. Chris Kwaja

Ambassador Fatima Balla

Dr. Nguyan Fesse

Mrs. Aisha Muhammed – Oyebode

Mallam Y. Z. Ya’u

Factsheet: Federal Response To The Attacks And Killings By Herdsmen In Benue And Other States


Insinuations and allegations that the attacks and killings are happening because President Buhari is Fulani are both unkind and incorrect. These attacks long predated the Buhari Government. In 2013 no fewer than nine cases of herdsmen attacks were recorded in Benue State alone, with more than 190 people killed. In 2014 there were no fewer than 16 recorded attacks, in Benue, which claimed more than 230 victims. Between January and May 2015, six attacks left more than 300 people dead, again in Benue State alone: See here and here for examples.

This historical context is important for a proper understanding of the issue, and to avoid unnecessarily politicizing what should be regarded and dealt with as acts of criminality. These attacks have been a longstanding issue, and successive governments have struggled to contain the situation.

The Buhari Administration is more than fully committed to bringing the cycle of violence to an end, prosecuting the attackers, and preventing further killings and attacks. The security agencies have standing instructions to arrest and prosecute any and all persons found with illegal arms.

Federal Interventions

The recent killings in Benue and Taraba States have elicited the following Federal responses:

1. President Buhari has met with the Governor of Benue State on the matter, to assure him of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities.

2. President Buhari has directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State.

3. On Monday January 8, 2018, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, convened a security meeting on the issue, bringing together Federal and State government officials: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Heads of security agencies, and the Governors of the most affected States: Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Taraba.

4. On Wednesday January 10, 2018, the IG held a Stakeholders engagement with the Benue State Government, elders, community, religious and traditional leaders etc

5. Since the first week of January, immediately following the January 1 attacks, the Inspector General of Police has deployed the following to the affected areas:

· Ten (10) Units of PMF
· Police Special Forces
· Counter Terrorism Units
· Conventional Policemen.
· Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD)
· Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams
· Police Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters)

6. The Nigerian Army has deployed Special Forces to Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States.

7. In Benue State, eight (8) suspected herdsmen are in Police custody over the recent killings, and are currently being prosecuted.

8. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working to establish cattle colonies across the country, in 2018. These colonies will provide grass and water for the cattle, and education and healthcare facilities for herders. They will also have Agro-Rangers deployed to secure the facilities.

Full Text: President Buhari’s 2018 New Year Address

I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE. 

Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.

The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.

Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.

My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.

We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.  

The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every yeargiving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.

Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.

The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.

At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu.  The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.

Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.

Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail”  through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar.  In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.

With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office.  Only test runs remain before start of operations.

This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system.  Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area.  The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.

Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.

Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:

a.  Oyo – Ogbomosho,

b.  Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,

c.  Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,

d.  Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,

e.  Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,

f.    Kaduna Eastern Bypass,

g.  Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,

h.  Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,

i.    Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.

In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.

More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses.  However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.

The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.

Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.

Several moribund projects have been revived.  Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria.  It should be fully operational this year.

The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019.  The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.

A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off.  This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China.  Completion is targeted for 2023.

As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated.  TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.

This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.

These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies which projected short-term illusory growth.

The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.

It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.

We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered.

Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on. 

By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.

In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.

We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.

However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.

As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.

In this respect the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.

Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair.

Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.

Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety. 

Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.

With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies.  Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.

With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.

I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.

Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.

Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.    

MTN Season Of Surprises Excite Abuja Residents [Photos]

 …Thrills Shoppers In Spar, Shoprite, Next, Cash & Carry, Others

Just as Christmas fast approaches, Nigerians are thronging popular malls across the country to complete their last minute shopping ahead of the yuletide.

The residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, are not left out. Shoppers who thronged major retail outlets including Spar, Shoprite, Next, Cash & Carry amongst others were in for a surprise as the Y’ello train covered the cost of all items purchased by shoppers on over the weekend.

Most of the beneficiaries were simply lost for words when they were informed by the cashiers that their bills had been cleared by MTN, organizers of the Season of Surprise initiative.

Durogbola Samuel, an Engineer and residence of Abuja stated that the Season of Surprise give-back initiative as the best Christmas gift he has received in recent times.

In his words: ‘’I am still shocked that they paid not only my bill but that of everyone that came to Spar today. This is the best Christmas gift anyone has ever given me and I am so grateful”.

Ngozi Ajayi, who also got a gift voucher at Shoprite, Apo, Abuja, also expressed delight at the gesture. While describing herself as the luckiest shopper in Abuja, she disclosed that she almost missed out on the largesse.

‘’I can say today is the best day of my life. And to think that I almost moved my Christmas shopping to next week! I only decided to do the shopping because my boss gave me the day off. I think I am the luckiest shopper in Abuja,”   she said.

More Nigerians are expected to benefit from the Season of Surprises as the train moves across location in the country.






MTN Season Of Surprise Thrills Lafia People With Exciting Gifts

It was the turn of Lafia, capital of Nassarawa State, to feel the love as MTN’s Season Of Surprise train berthed in the town.

There was gift aplenty ranging from television sets, bags of rice, cartons of Noodles, Umbrellas, groundnut oil, airtime and amongst others for everyone who turned up for the surprise initiative.

Adamu Balu, a resident of the town and  recipient of a brand new television could barely contain the excitement as he took delivery of the gift.

Hajiya Muhammed, also a resident in the town was also recipient of a bag of rice. The trader was beside herself with excitement as sh

“This is really a season of surprise for me. I am happy because bags of rice are usually expensive bags during this period and we were not even thinking of buying it. Now my family can have a wonderful Christmas thanks to this Season of Surprise.

The Season of Surprise continues to touch locations around the country spreading glad tidings of the Yuletide season in its wake

Here are pictures and clips from visit.


Atiku’s Speech At APC Convention In 2014 Versus Atiku’s Speech At PDP Convention In 2017

Last week, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he has left on two occasions for the then Action Congress (AC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he resigned from few weeks ago.

Each time the Wazirin Adamawa leave one party for the other, even though he returns again, there are always negative things to say about the party he is jumping from.

Here, we look at the speech of the former Vice president when he dumped the PDP for the APC in 2014, where he highlighted the party’s numerous failures and his speech in 2017 after leaving the APC for the PDP, where the disparaging comments he made about the party in 2014 has turned to praises.



Speech by Atiku Abubakar, GCON, former Vice President and Presidential Aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the Presidential Convention of the APC, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

Wednesday 10 December, 2014.


Let me begin by saying thank you to all of you who have travelled from far and near, braving bad roads, traffic jams and delayed airline flights to be here tonight night.

Yes, by the end of this convention we would have elected a Presidential candidate for our party for the 2015 elections. But that’s not the main reason why we are here. We are here because we all see and feel what I have seen and felt travelling the length and breadth of this country for several weeks now: Nigerians want change. And they want change because they are fed up with the PDP led government.

They are tired of the regime of insecurity that sees huge numbers of our people slaughtered everyday by terrorists who have also seized Nigerians territories, with our government seemingly unable to do anything about it. They are tired of the crushing level of unemployment that is destroying this generation of Nigerian youth.

Nigerians want change because they are fed up with paying for electricity and getting darkness which is also destroying our industries and contributing to unemployment and crime.

Nigerians are tired of the dangerous PDP mathematics that is destroying our democracy, the math where 16 is greater than 19 and 7 is greater than 19. I’m of course referring to the Nigerian Governors Forum and recent events in Ekiti State respectively.

Nigerians are tired of the abuse of power, lawlessness and impunity of the PDP government; the type of impunity that sees a court sacked and judges beaten up by thugs under the direction of a party to a litigation, a governor-elect. They are tired and disgusted by the abuse of power exemplified by the siege on our parliament, teargassing of the Speaker, Honourable members and staff of the parliament on the orders of the same Executive that asked him, as Speaker, to reconvene parliament to deliberate on a matter of critical national importance.

Nigerians are tired of the continued embarrassment and humiliation of our national army and police force that had performed gallantly in the past at home and abroad but are now reduced to a butt of jokes in beer parlours and motor parks across Nigeria and indeed around the world. Who has not heard the uncomplimentary comparison with hunters and local vigilantes?

Nigerians are tired of plying the death traps called roads from Enugu to Port Harcourt, Benin to Ore Road, Lagos to Ibadan and Lokoja to Abuja, to mention just a few.

And they are tired of the collapse in our public school system and the mass failures being registered year in year out by WAEC, NECO, and JAMB.

These are some of the reasons why Nigerians want change. And they are the main reasons for our being here these two days. Because we can give Nigerians the change they deserve, the change that will save this country!

Thus you are also here because you also have hope. You came here because you believe in what this country can be. You came because you believe in CHANGE, change to a Nigeria for all.  You believe that our hopes and dreams can become reality.  You believe in a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.  You believe in a government that serves its people with heart and might.  You believe that our great country can set a standard for all of Africa to see.

I pray that you will give me the opportunity to lead our party, the All Progressives Congress, in the movement to bring about this CHANGE, change for a better Nigeria, a Nigeria for all.   Thus, I stand before you to offer myself for consideration as the candidate of our great party in the presidential election of February 2015.

Today, you will disprove those who say that there is no difference between the PDP and the APC, because today we will demonstrate that every vote counts, and that we are serious about renewing our democracy by democratic means.

Distinguished delegates, fellow Nigerians, the APC is offering something we have not had for a long time – real choice. For the first time in living memory, the Nigerian people will have the opportunity to democratically replace a Party that has lost its way with a Party that knows what to do.

Now, Nigeria needs a leader who understands what it takes to deal with a challenging economic environment, who understands what it takes to create jobs; who understands what it takes to ensure that education should not only be accessible but must deliver the skills that matter; someone who understands what it takes to turn this country around and has the will to defuse tensions and to end conflicts among our peoples.

Today, you should signal your desire for change by making the wise decision to elect a flag bearer that is a proven manager of men and materials, a person who knows that good governance transcends the limits of red tape bureaucracy, and who is a tested bridge-builder. The nominee you are about to elect must be a person trusted across our ethnic and religious divides, a person that is gifted at playing the balancing act when it comes to the sensitivities and sensibilities of our multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation.

Without sounding self-conceited, many of you here gathered, and millions of our compatriots outside this Convention arena, know that for years, I, along with other compatriots, some of who are here present, fought to oust the military and establish democratic structures.  Many times, my efforts have earned me the wrath and vengeance of wicked and unreasonable men.  Back in 1995, during General Sani Abacha’s reign of terror, my home in Kaduna was attacked in the middle of the night.  The assailants overpowered the security guards on duty, gained access to the house, and entered through the bedroom of my first son, Adamu, who was then 20 years old.  They beat Adamu up, tied his hands behind his back, and made their way towards the master bedroom.  I emerged with my wife, Titi, behind me, and told them: “It’s me you want.  Here I am.  Leave my son alone.”

One of the men fired a shot that narrowly missed my head.  Fortunately, one of my guards had jumped over the fence and alerted the police, who arrived shortly after.  Unfortunately, six of the policemen lost their lives in the ensuing gun battle.  After the attackers left, Adamu and I picked up the bodies, loaded them in a van and drove to a nearby hospital in the middle of the night.  Adamu was so traumatized that he could hardly eat anything for some weeks.

Despite this horror experience – and several other very painful occurrences, which included the murder of my mentor, Shehu Yar’Adua, and the loss of some of my property and major businesses – I continued to speak out against tyranny and dictatorship.  I continued to call for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.  I continued to reach out to well-meaning compatriots and sympathetic members of the international community, working with them to liberate Nigeria from the suffocating grip of Abacha’s reign of terror.

I have been a successful entrepreneur, creating jobs and empowering men and women, to generate wealth and improve their material conditions. I was also in the public service of our great country for 20 years, in addition to my service as the Vice President of this country.  As Vice President I largely assembled the economic team, pursued the privatization programme of the government and gave direction to the National Economic Council. I vigorously pursued reforms within the limits of the responsibilities assigned to me as Vice President.  I played an important role in the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and, in particular, sourced funds within government to enable it to commence operations.  Indeed it was my recommendation, after a trip to Brazil, which led to the enactment of the Public Procurement Act, another initiative to reduce corruption in our public life.

These privileged public service positions have adequately equipped me for an exceptional leadership with a thorough knowledge of how to effectively and efficiently run a democratic government.

Also the years I spent in the public service in different locations in the country along with managing my businesses that spread across the nation over the years have provided me with unrivalled understanding of the diversity of our people and have greatly helped me to build a network of enduring friendships and associates across our ethnic and religious divides.

Without doubt, these unique experiences and exposure make me stand out as an aspirant with a sound mix of public and private sector experience and with a wide network of tested and trusted relationships cultivated over a long period of time with different groups in the country.

I therefore implore you, as you go to cast your ballot, to consider this important leadership and team-building attribute. And also ask yourself who among the contestants, if elected President, would likely be the most accessible to you, to listen to your concerns and those of Nigerians. That person would be me.

Distinguished delegates, whatever I have to do, I have always prepared myself well. I have, therefore, prepared a comprehensive Policy Document that identifies our nation’s problems and proffers workable solutions to them. This important document was produced, based on the social democratic ideological posture of our great Party, the APC. The document, a product of wide consultations, has been examined by a panel of more than 50 distinguished experts in an open Summit. It has also been openly discussed and published for public evaluation and reactions. If you give me this mandate it will form the basis of a new deal with the people of Nigeria.

The priority areas identified in that policy document are Employment Generation and Wealth Creation; Infrastructure and Power; Education and Skills Acquisition; Security; Citizenship and Governance; Agriculture and Food Security; Niger Delta and Desert- and Insurgency-Ravaged States.

But I cannot do any of any of these things alone.  I need your support.  That is our purpose here today.  I am aspiring for the presidential ticket of the APC, not just to hold an office, and definitely not to become rich or famous, but to join you to change a nation, our nation.

Distinguished delegates, fellow Nigerians, we have not built the APC simply to replace the PDP. We have built the APC to replace a political system that has been hijacked by a small cabal of anti-democratic forces. We have built the APC to give every Nigerian a choice.

Let me remind us all that the change that this nation so earnestly desires can only be achieved with unwavering unity and oneness in the rank and file of our Party. We must stand united, unshaken and unmoved. We must clearly show the strength represented in one of our party’s symbols, the broom; and that is to say that when many broom sticks are tied, knotted together, the bunch sweeps faster, better and cleaner. And it cannot be broken.

We must, therefore, stand together no matter the odds, and no matter the outcome of this primary election. To do otherwise is to fail as a party of change and of national rebirth and become a fodder in the insatiable mouth of the PDP cabal that is sucking this nation dry.  To fail to unite, is to grind to a halt this great mass movement which is important to provide our people with a formidable alternative to the failing PDP. This must not happen. It must be avoided at all costs.

Let us send a very powerful message to the Nigerian people that we are a party that is serious about defeating the PDP and that is ready to govern. And the best way to do that is by nominating the best candidate tonight and by how we conduct ourselves during and after this Convention.

I believe that you will give me your mandate by nominating me as the APC presidential flag bearer to carry out, with you, the onerous but important task of building A Nigeria for All.

Thank you.

God bless APC!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!



A winning PDP will get Nigeria working again
Remarks by Atiku Abubakar, GCON, former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, at the Eagle Square, Abuja
Saturday 9th December, 2017.

I believe in Nigeria.
I believe in one Nigeria where all our people
have equal opportunity
I believe in one Nigeria where we all share a common good.
This belief inspired me and other compatriots to establish The Peoples Democratic Party on the ideals of one united nation, built on the principles of Justice, Equity and Equal Opportunity.
For the past 19 years, I have fought for these principles, even when some in the party have not:
• I fought against factionalism

  • I fought for our Nation’s constitution and to prevent tenure elongation
  • I fought for our party’s constitution – even at the expense of being forced out of the very party that I helped found. For this is the price one must sometimes pay for democracy.
    However, I never abandoned our founding principles.
    I stayed true to them as I did on Monday the 17th August, 1998 when the late Alex Ekwueme, the late Solomon Lar and the late Abubakar Rimi and our other founders gathered to announce the birth of the PDP.
    And, today, I am proud to say that I have returned home – home to our party.
    • I am proud that the PDP is the party that successfully took over power from the military in 1999
    • I am proud that the PDP gave Nigeria her first transition from a ruling party to an opposition party – a transition that is now a model for all of Africa
  • I am proud that the PDP has an unequalled record of growing our economy for the benefit of all
    However, in 2015 the PDP was no longer united and Nigerians voted for change.

Now we must unite as a party to secure the trust of the Nigerian people again because under the APC Nigeria is not working and our people are not working.
Let us consider what the APC has achieved versus what they promised at election time:
• The APC promised us three million new jobs a year.
In Government the APC has lost us three million jobs a year

  • The APC promised us peace and unity.
    Under the APC Nigeria is now more divided and acrimonious than at any time since the civil war
  • The APC promised us restructuring. In office the APC denied restructuring.

The APC promised a war on corruption but all they have delivered is a war on the opposition, with handouts for their cronies and handcuffs for their opponents.
Compare the record of the APC in Government to the record of the PDP in Government:

  • We, the PDP, achieved a 10-year increase in the life expectancy of our people
  • We, the PDP, enabled 99 million more of our people to have a mobile phone
  • We, the PDP helped Nigeria become the largest economy in Africa
    As members of the PDP, we all have a lot to be proud of.
    In the 16 years that we governed this nation we kept it united, peaceful and prosperous.
    We made mistakes, but we put our nation first.
    We did not favour only states that voted for us and punish those that did not. We favoured all.
    And we also know that 5% and 97% do not add up to 100%.
    We now have an APC government, which continues to blame previous governments and scapegoat people rather than solve problems it was elected to solve.
    The PDP is the party that will restructure Nigeria into a modern nation with working institutions and a system that gives back power to the people by promoting:
    • Free enterprise – because it is businesses that create sustainable jobs, not government
  • Property rights – that encourage people to invest in job creation
  • A smaller, more effective government that does not consume 75% of the federal budget just on paying salaries
    We the PDP are Nigeria’s only truly national party.
    We must work to earn the trust of Nigerians again and, if given another chance in Government use it to continue to work to improve the lives of our citizens.
    So my message to you today is plain and simple:
    The PDP is stronger together and Nigeria is stronger together.
    • We, the PDP, must be the party that is the hope of the common man for the common good of the commonwealth of Nigeria
  • We, the PDP, must be the party that takes power from the centre and puts it firmly in the hands of the Nigerian people
  • We, the PDP, must be the party that embodies the Nigerian vision, and ensures that the Nigeria of divisions never, ever happens again
    So at this very important Convention let us elect the very best leaders….
    • LEADERS who truly understand what it means to position the PDP as a viable and preferred alternative to the mis-governing APC!
  • LEADERS who understand the urgency of restructuring to devolve more power to the states and to our people
  • LEADERS who truly understand what it means to create the right environment to create jobs – especially for our youths

So let’s get the PDP winning again so we can get Nigeria working again.

PDP! (Power)
PDP! (Power)
Power! (To the People)

DOWNLOAD: Making Steady, Sustainable Progress – Buhari’s Mid-Term Scorecard

On the 16th of November, 2016, the media team of President Muhammadu Buhari presented a book titled “Making Steady, Sustainable Progress For Nigeria’s Peace And Prosperity – A Mid-Term Scorecard On The President Muhammadu Buhari Administration”

This fact-based compendium which was prepared by the Buhari Media Support Group an independent media advocacy group for the President Buhari administration captures the works of the Buhari administration between May 29, 2015 and May 29, 2017.

It highlights details of an administration which has made increased, but steady progress in the building of a new Nigeria.

From addressing the challenges in education to agriculture, militancy in the Niger Delta to terrorism in the Sahel, armed banditry and cattle rustling in the Savannah, the book captures the efforts of the Buhari administration to continues to soldier on, making steady progress in the resolute effort to make Nigeria more secure and improve the living conditions of the Nigerian people.


Fact Sheet On Buhari Administration’s Niger Delta New Vision

The Buhari administration, in line with its New Vision for the Niger Delta (#NDNewVision), is working hard to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from the wealth of their land.

So far, the Buhari administration has also taken actions to underscore its commitment to the people of the region.

These include:

  • Increased Budgetary Allocation to Niger Delta Ministry and NDDC
  • Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State
  • Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up
  • Investments in Infrastructure: Bonny-Bodo Road and Ibaka Deep Sea Port
  • Approval for establishment of Export Processing Zone in Delta State
  • Approval for establishment of Modular Refineries
  • Presidential Amnesty Programme


  • N71.20 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission
  • N53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion provided in 2017


  • The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari administration recently approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.
  • Academic activities are expected to start in the University soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.
  • The take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.


  • In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.
  • An Inter-Ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established.
  • HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of clean-up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.
  • 8 Companies engaged to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work. These Demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.
  • HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation.
  • HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoni land in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni following pollution of water sources in region by oil spills.
  • Health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities.
  • Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation.



Investment in Ibaka Deep Sea Port:

  • The Federal Government has budgeted N1 billion towards the development of Ibaka seaport in Akwa Ibom.

Investment in Bonny-Bodo Road Project:

  • The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.
  • The Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government, in which the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG) will each bear 50 percent of the N120.6 billion that it will cost to complete the project.
  • When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.


  • The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West local government area, Delta State.
  • When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.


  • The objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following: to create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attendant environmental degradation, and to provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.
  • 13 out of 35 applications have reached what is known as the LTC (License to Construct) stage.
  • Two out of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment. Consideration for Customs duty waiver and some form of tax holiday also underway.
  • Government is also working with Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF), Bank of Industry (BOI), AfrExim Bank, and Nigerian Content Development Management Board to address the issue of lack of financial capacity on the part of the local partners (Local partners are expected to come up with a minimum of 15% of cost as counterpart funding).


  • The Presidential Amnesty Programme engages ex-militants and youths from the impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.
  • The 2018 budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is N65 billion.
  • 21,615 beneficiaries have so far been trained, out of which 4,079 have been empowered.
  • PAP has empowered 4,079 ex-militants through the establishment of businesses such as agriculture (cluster farms). 3,237 ex-militants are in various stages of Vocational Training and University Scholarship Programmes.
  • The Amnesty Office has initiated the training of 10,000 beneficiaries in modern agriculture and established them into 10,000-hectare cluster farms in the nine (9) Niger Delta States.
  • PAP modern agricultural schemes are projected to create 80,000 new jobs in three years

2018 Budget Speech: Budget Of Consolidation, By President Muhammadu Buhari

At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja

Tuesday, 7TH of November 2017


1. I am here to present 2018 Budget Proposals. Before presenting the Budget, let me thank all of you Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, and indeed all Nigerians, for your support and prayers for my full recovery while I was on medical vacation.

2. I am very pleased to address this Joint Session of the National Assembly, on the revenue and expenditure estimates, and related matters, of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the 2018 fiscal year.

3. The 2018 Budget will consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2018 – 2020.


4. 2017, so far, has been a year of uncertainty on many fronts across the world. Whether it is Brexit, the crisis in the Korean Peninsular, or indeed, the political uncertainty in key oil producing nations of the Middle East and South America, we can all agree that these developments have in one way or another impacted Nigeria’s economic fortunes.

5. By all accounts, 2018 is expected to be a year of better outcomes. The tepid economic recovery is expected to pick up pace and the global political terrain is expected to stabilize. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is anticipating global GDP growth of 3.7 percent in 2018. Emerging markets and developing economies are expected to lead with GDP growth of 4.9 percent, while advanced economies are projected to grow at a slower rate of 2 percent.

6. Nigeria’s journey out of the recent recession was a revealing one. We heard many opinions from within and outside Nigeria on how best to address our economic woes. We listened carefully and studied these proposals diligently. Our belief has always been that the quickest and easiest solution may not necessarily be the best solution for a nation as diverse as ours. We took our time to create a balanced and equitable response, keeping in mind that only tailored Nigerian solutions can fix Nigeria’s unique problems.

7. And from the recovery that we are seeing today, it is clear that we made the right decisions. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I am now asking you to continue to support our economic policies in order to consolidate and sustain on the success achieved so far. We simply cannot go back.

8. In the non-oil sector, crop production has been one of the main contributors to non-oil growth, which rose to 0.45 percent in the second quarter of this year. This was primarily driven by our ongoing financial, capacity building and infrastructure development programs.

9. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, working with development partners and the private sector, have embarked on numerous capacity building projects. We have also completed over 33,000 Hectares of Irrigation Projects that have increased water availability in key food producing states. We shall continue to intensify our interventions through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative to ensure that this momentum is sustained. We have also made provisions in the 2018 Budget to complete ongoing Irrigation Projects at Ada, in Enugu State; Lower Anambra, in Anambra State; and Gari, in Jigawa State. In 2017, many factories and projects in the food and agricultural sectors were commissioned in Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Anambra, Edo, Jigawa, Rivers, Niger, Ogun and Ebonyi States, to mention a few. This is a clear statement that our economic diversification and inclusive growth ambitions are coming to fruition.

10. Significant progress has also been made in the Solid Minerals development sector. In Ondo State, for instance, work is ongoing to fully exploit the bitumen resources to meet the 600,000 MTs of asphalt imported per annum for roads and other construction projects. To consolidate on these efforts, we have also established a 30 billion Naira Solid Minerals Development Fund to support other minerals exploration activities across the country.

11. In the oil and gas sector, the relatively higher crude oil prices supported our economic recovery. Our mutually beneficial engagement with oil producing communities in the Niger Delta contributed immensely to the recovery in oil production experienced in recent months. We would like to thank the leadership and communities in the Niger-Delta for their continued support and to also reiterate our assurances that this Administration will continue to honour our commitments to them. We cannot afford to go back to those dark days of insecurity and vandalism. We all want a country that is safe, stable and secure for our families and communities. This means we must all come together to address any grievances through dialogue and peaceful engagement. Threats, intimidation or violence are never the answer.

12. We are working hard on the Ogoni Clean-up Project. During the year, we engaged 8 international and local companies proposing different technologies for the mandate. To enable us select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work, we asked each company to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land. These Demonstrations were recently concluded and the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project. Although the Project will be funded by the International Oil Companies, we have made provisions in the 2018 Budget for the costs of oversight and governance, to ensure effective implementation.

13. On the international front, I would like to thank our friends and partners in the Joint OPEC / Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) who graciously granted Nigeria an exemption from the output cuts imposed on OPEC Member Countries in January 2017. This exemption, which was extended in September 2017, significantly helped during our most challenging time. We shall continue our positive engagement with other oil producing nations to ensure that the momentum generated is sustained.

14. Permit me, Mr. Senate President and Right Honourable Speaker, to state that despite the downturn in oil prices and our challenging economic circumstances, this Administration was able to invest an unprecedented sum of over 1.2 trillion Naira in capital projects through the 2016 Budget. This is the highest ever in the history of this country. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to consolidate on our economic diversification reforms and lay a stronger foundation for future growth and development.

15. Our Sovereign Wealth Fund, which was established in 2011 with US$1 billion, did not receive additional investment for 4 years when oil prices were as high as US$120 per barrel. However, despite record low oil prices, this Administration was able to invest an additional US$500 million into the Fund. This further demonstrates that in our struggle to have a stable and secure nation today, we have not, and will not, lose sight of the need to lay a solid foundation for the future prosperity of successive generations.

16. We have asked the Sovereign Wealth Fund to look inward and invest locally. Some of the successes we are seeing today in the agricultural sector are driven by this new investment approach by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The NSIA also has a very strong pipeline of local investments that will support our inclusive and diversified economic growth plan.

17. Stability has been restored to the foreign exchange market due to the interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria to improve access to liquidity, discourage currency speculation and increase net foreign exchange inflows. As at the 30th of October, 2017, our external reserves had increased to US$34bn. This stability has supported our efforts to provide the enabling environment and interventions needed to empower Micro, Small and Medium-Sized enterprises, investors, manufacturers and exporters, to sustain and in some cases, grow their operations. Indeed, by the second quarter of 2017, exports significantly outpaced imports, resulting in a trade surplus of 506.5 billion Naira.

Ease of Doing Business Reforms

18. One of the targets we set for gauging our progress in creating an enabling environment for business was to achieve a positive movement in the World Ease of Doing Business Index. You would recall Nigeria experienced a decade-long decline in this ranking. In 2008, Nigeria was ranked 120th. By 2015, our situation had deteriorated to 169th of the 189 countries surveyed. Our very simple, logical and user-friendly reforms are reversing this trend. A recently released World Bank business ranking report announced that Nigeria had moved 24 places to 145th position in 2017. I am delighted that we have met and even surpassed our target of moving at least 20 paces up this global ranking. The same World Bank report also stated that Nigeria is among the top 10 reforming countries in the world.

19. To ensure these reforms are institutionalized, Executive Order Number #1 on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment was issued in May 2017. The Order contained measures that ease the process of business registration, approval of permits, granting visas and streamlining port operations. We are committed to continuing and accelerating the Ease of Doing Business reforms, which are critical to attracting new investments, growing the economy and creating jobs for our people.

Improved Tax Administration

20. Although the economy is diversified with non-oil Sector accounting for over 90 percent of total Nominal GDP, the Government’s revenues are not as diversified yet. Our Tax-to-GDP ratio of about 6% is one of the lowest in the world. This situation is not consistent with our goal of having a diversified, sustainable and inclusive economy. Accordingly, we are stepping up efforts to ensure all taxable Nigerians comply with the legal requirement to declare income from all sources and remit taxes due to the appropriate authorities.

21. Already, we have introduced the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) on the 1st of July, 2017. The Scheme provides non-compliant taxpayers with a nine-month window to regularise their tax status relating to historical periods. In return, overdue interest and penalties will be forgiven. In addition, no investigations or criminal charges will be brought against participating taxpayers. We expect that this Scheme will widen the tax net for both the Federal and State Governments. I am therefore, asking all Nigerians to seize this opportunity and do right thing. Let us not shy away from our duty to build a better Nigeria.

Optimising Efficiency in Expenditure

22. In 2016 this Administration adopted a policy of allocating at least 30 percent of our annual budget to capital expenditure. This was entrenched in the ERGP to unlock further growth in the economy. This tradition was maintained in the 2017 Budget and has been reflected in the proposal for 2018, in which 30.8 percent of total expenditure has been set aside for the capital vote.

23. To support these efforts, you would recall that an Efficiency Unit was set up under the Federal Ministry of Finance to reduce wastage, plug leakages and foster greater fiscal transparency. We have intensified the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) across government MDAs to automate personnel records and salaries’ payment process, with the goal of eliminating ghost workers. 461 Federal MDAs have been captured on the system, so far. Our target is to enroll all MDAs. I have directed the military and other security agencies to ensure total compliance without further delay.

Increased Investment in Infrastructure

24. Mr. Senate President, and the Right Honourable Speaker, we shall continue to develop our infrastructure across the country. Although a lot of progress has been made, the huge contractor liabilities we inherited have adversely impacted our infrastructure development timetable. Indeed, contractors were owed trillions of Naira when this Administration came into office. In some areas, we have made payments so projects may be completed; while in others, we are reconciling the liabilities to identify and settle legitimate claims. As a responsible and accountable Administration, we decided that clearing this backlog was an important priority.

25. For instance, at the outset of this Administration in 2015, the Abuja Metro-Rail Project, which began in 2007 was only 50% completed, after 8 years. Today, in just 18 months, we have pushed the project to 98% completion. This was achieved as the Nigerian Government was diligently able to meet its counterpart funding obligations for the Chinese loans.

26. We have also continued work on key strategic Roads. Over 766 kilometres of roads were constructed or rehabilitated across the country in 2017. For instance, work is at various stages of completion on these strategic roads with immense socio-economic benefits:

a. Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Road;

b. Dualization of Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Road;

c. Rehabilitation of Gombe-Numan-Yola Road;

d. Dualization of Kano-Maiduguri Road;

e. Rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega Road and Kotangora-Makera Road that transverse Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States;

f. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu-Port-Harcourt Road;

g. Rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Dual Carriageway Road;

h. Rehabilitation of Aleshi-Ugep Road and the Iyamoyun-Ugep Section in Cross River State;

i. Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Expansion of Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway Road;

j. Construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States; and

k. Construction Gokanni Bridge along Tegina-Mokwa-Jebba Road in Niger State.

27. Under the Federal Roads Development Programme, we recently completed a Data Collection Exercise on the 7,000km Federal Road Network which was funded by the World Bank. This information is enabling us to make informed decisions regarding the planning, budgeting and management of the Federal Road Network. Going forward, we will be working based on facts rather than subjectivity.

28. Furthermore, we have also invested a lot of time and effort in identifying alternative means of funding new projects. For example, the recent 100 billion Naira Sukuk Financing will cater specifically for the development of 25 roads across the country. We also developed different structures that empower private investors to contribute to the development of roads of significant national importance. Already, we are seeing results. For example:

a. The Bonny-Bodo Road is being jointly funded by the Federal Government and Nigeria LNG Limited. This project was conceived decades ago but it was abandoned. This Administration restarted the project and when completed, it will enable road transportation access for key communities in the Niger- Delta region; and

b. The Apapa Wharf-Toll Gate Road in Lagos State is also being constructed by private sector investors in exchange for tax credits.

29. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, our Power Sector Reforms still remain a work in progress. Although we have increased generation capacity significantly, we still have challenges with the Transmission and Distribution Networks. That said, I am pleased to announce that since 2015, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Niger-Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) have added 1,950 MVA of 330-132kV transformer capacity at 10 Transmission stations, as well as 2,930 MVA of 132-33kV transformer capacity to 42 substations nationwide. With these additions, the Transmission Network today can handle up to 7,000 Mega Watts (MW).

30. The key bottleneck now is the Distribution Network where the substations cannot take more than 5,000 MW. This is constraining power delivery to consumers. We are working with the privatized Distribution Companies to see how to overcome this challenge. Nigerians should be rest assured that this Administration is doing all it can to alleviate the embarrassing power situation in this country.

31. Furthermore, to sustain the continued expansion of generation capacity and enhance evacuation, we approved a Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) to raise 701 billion Naira. This assures the Generation Companies of up to 80% payment on their invoices. This intervention has brought confidence back into the sector and we expect additional investment to flow through, particularly in the gas production sector.

32. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, this Administration is committed to the development of Green Alternative Energy Sources. To date, we have signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with 14 solar companies. We also approved:

a. The completion of the 10 MW Wind Farm in Katsina State, a project that was abandoned since 2012; and

b. The concession of 6 small hydro-electric power plants with a total capacity of 50 MW.

33. To enable the successful take-off of these, and future Green Projects, I am pleased to inform this Distinguished Assembly that the Federal Government will be launching the first African Sovereign Green Bond in December 2017. The bond will be used to finance renewable energy projects. We are very excited about this development as it will go a long way in solving many of our energy challenges, especially in the hinterland.

34. On Rail, we recently received 2 additional locomotives and 10 standard gauge coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line. These will be deployed for the new non-stop express service between the two cities that will only take one hour and fifteen minutes. This new service will complement the existing service currently in place. We plan to commission this by December 2017.

35. We have also kick-started the abandoned Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line. This project has been on for over 17 years. We had to take some drastic measures but I am pleased to announce that work is ongoing and we expect to commission this service by September 2018. This service will start with 7 standard gauge coaches.

36. The situation at the Apapa port complex is a top priority for this Administration. The delays due to congestion and their adverse impact on business operations and costs is a key concern to our Government. As I mentioned earlier, we are partnering with the private sector to fix the road. We shall do the right thing considering. We will not cut corners.

37. In addition to the road, we have also commenced the extension of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line to connect Apapa and Tin Can Port Complexes. This project will significantly ease the congestion at the ports and enhance both export and import operations. This project shall be completed by December 2018. Already, working with the private sector, we have repaired the Apapa Port Narrow Gauge Line which is currently being used to evacuate goods from the port, thereby easing congestion.

38. As we all know, sometimes doing the right thing takes time and requires sacrifices. I am therefore appealing to all stakeholders to work with us in ensuring we deliver a solution that we will all be proud of.

39. Certainly, the infrastructure requirement to reposition Nigeria for the future is huge and our resources are limited. Government, therefore, will pursue private partnerships to maximise available capital and developmental impact. In the next fiscal year, we will also establish 7 tertiary health institutions across the country through partnership with our Sovereign Wealth Fund and other private sector investors.

Agricultural Development

40. The agricultural sector played a crucial role in Nigeria’s exit from recession. Today, it remains the largest employer of labour and holds significant potential to realise our vision of repositioning Nigeria as a food secured nation.

41. We will consolidate on existing policies and develop new ones to ensure the numerous value chain challenges in the agricultural sector are addressed. As I mentioned earlier, several investors have deployed significant capital in the production and processing of rice, sugar, maize, soya, cassava, yams, tomato, oil palm, rubber and poultry, to mention a few. We are also seeing increased investment in the agro-inputs manufacturing sector such as fertilisers.

42. We are determined to protect these investments and encourage more. Food Security is an important aspect of this Administration’s National Security agenda. Any person involved in smuggling of food items is a threat to our National Security and will therefore be dealt with accordingly. A Committee chaired by the Vice President is working on this matter. A key part of their work will be the reactivation of the Badagry Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin in 2003. This agreement, which was abandoned by previous Administrations, established a mutually beneficial framework for the two neighbours and allies to partner in tackling smuggling and other cross border crimes. I would like to assure investors in the agricultural value chain that the menace of smuggling will be handled decisively.

43. To further support investors and State Governments, we will accelerate the establishment of at least 6 Staple Crop Processing Zones, in the first phase. This initiative will develop infrastructure for the production, processing and storage of strategic commodities. The focus is on backward integration for grains, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and sugar; as well as exportable commodities such as cocoa, cassava and oil palms.

Health Sector Developments

44. During 2017, the country had a number of disease outbreaks such as Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox and Lassa Fever. I would like to commend the Federal and State Ministries of Health for their selfless service and timely responses to contain these outbreaks. I would also like to thank the World Health Organisation, the Global Fund and UNICEF, for their continued support during these trying times. This collaboration was a key factor in the low mortality rates experienced. To further improve our response to such outbreaks, we are working to upgrade our Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System. This will further enhance the efficiency of our diagnostic and clinical management processes.

45. In this respect, I urge this Distinguished House to expedite the passage of the Bill for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to enable us consolidate on the successes recorded to date.

Implementing the Social Investment Program

46. I am pleased to inform you that we have recorded tremendous success in the implementation of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Program. Specifically,

a. Over 4.5 million Primary 1 to Primary 3 pupils in public schools are being fed under the School Feeding programme;

b. Over 200,000 unemployed graduates have been employed under the N-Power Scheme in education, health and agricultural sectors;

c. Over 250,000 enterprises have benefitted from the sum of 12.5 billion Naira, which has been disbursed to entrepreneurs to expand their businesses; and

d. Over 110,000 households are currently benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme across the country.


47. The 2017 Budget of Recovery and Growth was based on a benchmark oil price of US$44.5 per barrel, oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day, and a Naira-to-US Dollar Exchange Rate of 305. Based on these assumptions, total revenue of 5.084 trillion Naira was projected to fund aggregate expenditure of 7.441 trillion Naira. A projected fiscal deficit of 2.356 trillion Naira was to be financed mainly by domestic and external borrowing.

48. On revenue performance, collections were 14 percent below target as of September 2017, mainly due to the shortfall in non-oil revenues.

49. A key revenue shortfall was from Independent Revenues; only 155.14 billion Naira was remitted by September 2017 as against the projected pro-rated sum of 605.87 billion Naira. This represents a 74 percent shortfall, which is very disappointing.

50. This recurring issue of under-remittance of operating surpluses by State Owned Entities is absolutely unacceptable. You will all recall that in September 2017, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced that they were ready to remit 7.8 billion Naira back to the Government. The shocking discovery was that in the last decades, JAMB only remitted an aggregate of 51 million Naira. This clearly illustrates the abuses that occur in State Owned Entities as well as their potential for increased Independent Revenues, if only people would do the right thing. We all need to play our role to ensure the right thing is done. I would also like to remind Nigerians that the Whistle Blower lines are still open.

51. Accordingly, I have directed the Economic Management Team (EMT) to review the fiscal profiles of these agencies, to ensure strict compliance with the applicable Executive Orders and Financial Regulations. There may be a need to consider a review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Executive will be approaching the National Assembly on this issue in due course.

52. On the expenditure side, a total of 450 billion Naira of the capital vote had been released as at the end of October 2017. With your support for our funding plan, our target is to release up to 50% of the capital vote for MDAs by the year’s end. We have prioritised payments of our counterpart obligations on our concessionary loans, as well as funding of critical infrastructure and other projects with socio-economic benefits. Furthermore, MDAs have made provisions to carry over to the 2018 Budget, capital projects that are not likely to be fully funded by year-end 2017, to ensure project continuity.

53. Regrettably, the late passage of the 2017 Budget has significantly constrained budget implementation. As you are aware, the 1999 Constitution authorized necessary Federal Government expenditures prior to the 12th of June, 2017 when the 2017 Appropriation Act was signed into law. This year, we have worked very hard to achieve an earlier submission of the Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), and the 2018 Appropriation Bill. Our efforts were to avail the National Assembly with sufficient time to perform its important duty of passing the Appropriation Bill into law, hopefully by the 1st of January, 2018. It is in this spirit that I solicit the cooperation of the Legislature in our efforts to return to a more predictable budget cycle that runs from January to December.


54. The 2018 Budget Proposals are for a Budget of Consolidation. Our principal objective will be to reinforce and build on our recent accomplishments. Specifically, we will sustain the reflationary policies of our past two budgets. In this regard, the key parameters and assumptions for the 2018 Budget are as set out in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP). These include:

a. Benchmark oil price benchmark of US$45 per barrel;

b. Oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates;

c. Exchange rate of N305/US$ for 2018;

d. Real GDP growth of 3.5 percent; and

e. Inflation Rate of 12.4 percent.

Federally-Collectible Revenue Estimates

55. Based on the above fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue is estimated at 11.983 trillion Naira in 2018. Thus, the three tiers of Government shall receive about 12 percent more revenues in 2018 than the 2017 estimate. Of the amount, the sum of 6.387 trillion Naira is expected to be realised from oil and gas sources. Total receipts from the non-oil sector are projected at 5.597 trillion Naira.

Federal Government Revenue Estimates

56. The Federal Government’s estimated total revenue is 6.607 trillion Naira in 2018, which is about 30 percent more than the 2017 target. As we pursue our goal of revenue diversification, non-oil revenues will become a larger share of total revenues. In 2018, we project oil revenues of 2.442 trillion Naira, and non-oil as well as other revenues of 4.165 trillion Naira.

57. Non-oil and other revenue sources of 4.165 trillion Naira, include several items including: Share of Companies Income Tax (CIT) of 794.7 billion Naira, share of Value Added Tax (VAT) of 207.9 billion Naira, Customs & Excise Receipts of 324.9 billion Naira, FGN Independently Generated Revenues (IGR) of 847.9 billion Naira, FGN’s Share of Tax Amnesty Income of 87.8 billion Naira, and various recoveries of 512.4 billion Naira, 710 billion Naira as proceeds from the restructuring of government’s equity in Joint Ventures and other sundry incomes of 678.4 billion Naira.

Proposed Expenditure for 2018

58. A total expenditure of 8.612 trillion Naira is proposed for 2018. This is a nominal increase of 16 percent above the 2017 Budget estimate. In keeping with our policy, 30.8 percent (or 2.652 trillion Naira) of aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers) has been allocated to the capital budget.

59. We expect our fiscal operations to result in a deficit of 2.005 trillion Naira or 1.77 percent of GDP. This reduction is in line with our plans under the ERGP to progressively reduce deficit and borrowings.

60. We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at 1.699 trillion Naira. Fifty percent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically. The balance of the deficit of 306 billion Naira is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

61. The proposed 8.612 trillion Naira of 2018 Aggregate Expenditure comprises:

a. Recurrent Costs of N3.494 trillion;

b. Debt Service of N2.014 trillion;

c. Statutory Transfers of about N456 billion;

d. Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to Local Contractors);

e. Capital Expenditure of N2.428 trillion (excluding the capital component of Statutory Transfers).

Statutory Transfers

62. 456.46 billion Naira was provided in the 2018 Budget for Statutory Transfers. The 5 percent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue.

Debt Restructuring

63. We are closely monitoring our debt service to revenue ratio. We shall address this ratio through our non-oil revenue-generation drive and restructuring of the existing debt portfolio. Presently, domestic debt accounts for about 79 percent of the total debt. Our medium-term strategy is to reduce the proportion of our domestic debt to 60% by the end of 2019 and increase external debt to 40 percent. It is noteworthy that rebalancing our debt portfolio will enhance private sector access to domestic credit. In addition, annual debt service costs will reduce as external debts are serviced at lower rates and repaid over a longer period than domestic debt.

Recurrent Expenditure

64. A substantial part of the recurrent cost proposal for 2018 is for the payment of salaries and overheads in key Ministries providing critical public services such as:

a. N510.87 billion for Interior;

b. N435.01 billion for Education;

c. N422.43 billion for Defence; and

d. N269.34 billion for Health.

The allocation to these Ministries represent significant increases over votes in previous budgets.

Personnel Costs

65. Personnel costs is projected to rise by 12 percent in 2018. Although we have made substantial savings by registering MDAs on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform, the increase is mainly due to provision for staff promotion arrears, and recruitments by the Military, Police Force and para-military agencies. Furthermore, I have directed agencies are not to embark on any fresh recruitment unless they have obtained all the requisite approvals. Any breach of this directive will be severely sanctioned.

Overhead Costs

66. Overhead costs is projected to rise by 26 billion Naira in 2018, a modest increase of about 12 percent reflecting inflationary adjustments. MDAs are required to adhere to government regulations regarding cost control.

Capital Expenditure

67. To consolidate on the momentum of the 2017 Budget’s implementation, many ongoing capital projects have been provided for in the 2018 Budget. This is in line with our commitment to appropriately fund ongoing capital projects to completion. By allocating 30.8 percent of the 2018 Budget to capital expenditure, the Federal Government is also demonstrating its strong commitment to investing in critical infrastructure capable of spurring growth and creating jobs in the Nigerian economy.

68. Key capital spending allocations in the 2018 Budget include:

a. Power, Works and Housing: N555.88 billion;

b. Transportation: N263.10 billion;

c. Special Intervention Programmes: N150.00 billion;

d. Defence: N145.00 billion;

e. Agriculture and Rural Development N118.98 billion;

f. Water Resources: N95.11 billion;

g. Industry, Trade and Investment: N82.92 billion;

h. Interior: N63.26 billion;

i. Education N61.73 billion;

j. Universal Basic Education Commission: N109.06 billion;

k. Health: N71.11 billion;

l. Federal Capital Territory: N40.30 billion;

m. Zonal Intervention Projects N100.00 billion;

n. North East Intervention Fund N45.00 billion;

o. Niger Delta Ministry: N53.89 billion; and

p. Niger Delta Development Commission: N71.20 billion.

69. As I had previously indicated, we aim to consolidate on our achievements in 2017. We shall meet our counterpart funding obligations. We shall complete all ongoing projects. And we shall carry forward all strategic projects that were budgeted for but which we were unable to kick start due to liquidity challenges, late passage of the budget, prolonged contractual negotiations, and other matters.

70. Specifically, I would like to bring your attention to the following key projects and programmes that we are determined to implement in 2018:

a. N9.8 billion for the Mambilla hydro power project, including N8.5 billion as counterpart funding;

b. N12 billion counterpart funding for earmarked transmission lines and substations;

c. N35.41 billion for the National Housing Programme;

d. N10.00 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge; and

e. About N300 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of the strategic roads mentioned earlier.

Consolidating on the Social Intervention Programme

71. This Administration remains committed to pursuing a gender-sensitive, pro-poor and inclusive growth. We are keenly interested in catering for the most vulnerable. Accordingly, we have retained the 500 billion Naira allocation to the Social Intervention Programme. Under the programme, 100 billion Naira has been set aside for the Social Housing Programme.

72. Government will also continue to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, as well as the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme in 2018. These initiatives are already creating jobs and economic opportunity for local farmers and cooks, providing funding to artisans, traders and youths, as well as supporting small businesses with business education and mentoring.

Regional Spending Priorities for Peace, Security and Development

73. To maintain peace and security in the Niger Delta for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of 65 billion Naira for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2018 Budget. In addition, the capital provision for the Ministry of Niger Delta has been increased to 53.89 billion Naira from the 34.20 billion Naira provided in 2017. This is to further support the development in the region. We will complete all critical projects, including the East-West Road, which has a provision of about 17.32 billion Naira in 2018.

74. Across the nation, and particularly in the North East region, our commitment to the security of life and property remains absolute. We will ensure that our gallant men and women in arms are properly equipped and well-motivated. The result of our efforts is evident in the gradual return to normalcy in the North East. It is in this spirit that I recently assented to the North-East Development Commission Bill that was passed by this Distinguished House. We expect that this development will consolidate on our ongoing efforts to combat insurgency, reintegrate Internally Displaced Persons and rebuild communities in the North East Region, which have been adversely affected by the insurgency.

75. Similar attention is being given to efforts to reduce violent crime across the country. The Nigerian Army was recently deployed to combat the growing scourges of cattle rustling and banditry that have plagued our communities in Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara States. We will also continue to arrest the incidence of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and other Violent Crimes across our nation.

76. We have also increased our focus on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material that is being propagated on social media. Whilst we uphold the Constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the liberties of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.

77. In this regard, I reiterate my call for Nigerians to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing any grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past. I trust that the vast majority of our people would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our Unity in Diversity.


78. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that in my 2017 Budget Speech, I promised a new era for Nigeria and an end to the old ways of overdependence on oil revenues. The statistics and initiatives I mentioned clearly show that this new era has come and the old Nigeria is surely disappearing. We must, therefore, all work together to protect and sustain this CHANGE to create a new Nigeria:

a. A Nigeria that feeds itself;

b. A Nigeria that optimally utilizes its resources;

c. A Nigeria with a diversified, sustainable and inclusive economy.

79. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, this speech would be incomplete without commending the immense, patriotic and collaborative support of the National Assembly in the effort to move our great nation forward. I wish to assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive branch to deepen the relationship with the Legislature.

80. Nigeria is currently emerging from a very difficult economic period. If we all cooperate, and support one another, we can consolidate on our exit from the recession and firmly position Nigeria for economic prosperity. All the projects presented within this Budget have been carefully selected and subjected to extensive consultations and stakeholder engagements. As a Government, we are determined to bring succour to our people, improve their lives, and deliver on our promises to them. 2018 is a crucial year as we strive to ensure that we consolidate our successes and institutionalize the policies and practices that drove this turnaround.

81. I appeal to you to swiftly consider and pass the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

82. It is therefore with great pleasure and a deep sense of responsibility, that I lay before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2018 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

83. I thank you most sincerely for your attention.

84. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

#Budget2018: 10 Major Takeaways From Senate President Bukola Saraki’s Speech


“I must commend Mr. President, the Economic Management Team, my Distinguished colleagues and Honourable members of the House of Representatives as well as all Nigerians, for working together to make the necessary sacrifices to get the economy out of recession. Without doubt, this recovery benefitted from greater policy coordination, prioritization and passage of economic reform bills, but more importantly, the resilience of the Nigerian people.”


“It is pertinent to note that the implementation of the 2018 Budget – how it is implemented – will be a defining element of this Administration. We must therefore continue to work together to steady the ship of this recovery.”


“As the country gradually recovers, it is important to reset the fundamentals that drive our economy – so we do not slide back into recession. We must reassess the relationship between oil and our economy. Oil prices are gradually inching up, but that is no reason for complacency in our diversification drive. We must grow our economy away from oil – as well as the need to increase non-oil revenue generation and collection.”


“Revenue from taxes as well as independent revenues from State Owned Enterprises must be taken seriously. If the budget is to be funded, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to revenue under-performance. While there is a need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some Government enterprises, I would urge for more determined effort on the part of the Executive, to plug leakages.”


“…We must ensure that our borrowing is targeted at productive projects that will stimulate the economy. We must ensure real value-for-money in projects funded by borrowing, and make doubly sure that the projects are not overpriced.”


“As the country emerges from that period of uncertainty, the question on the lips of many Nigerians has been this: How does the recovery translate into tangible economic benefits for me? We must remember that the real gains must be felt on a personal level by the individual, for economic recovery to have meaning. People are seeking to get back to work but cannot find jobs.”


“While I commend your current efforts at tackling unemployment – especially among the youth through Federal Youth Programmes such as YouWin, N-Power, and YES-Programme – deliberate steps must be taken to make the 2018 budget a job oriented one.”


“…we must see to the implementation of the Procurement law, with particular relevance to the part that has to do with support for Made-In-Nigeria goods. The implementation of the 2018 budget must anchor on the Made-In-Nigeria project. This should be reflected in government procurements in 2018.”


“We must never lose sight of the need for equity and balanced development across the entire spread of our country. Infrastructural development should be seen to be well distributed, to create growth pools away from the major city centres and drive the regeneration of our rural areas. Agriculture, for instance, is meaningless without those that will engage in farming in the countryside. The current rate of rural-to-urban migration is alarming and unsustainable – congesting the cities and stretching resources to breaking point, while undermining the economic viability of some states. People must be able to see a future for themselves in every corner of this country, not just in the big cities.”


“As I close, Mr. President, I would like to advise and caution that there is no better time in this Administration than now for a rigorous drive for good working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. The early passage of the 2018 budget will depend on this good working relationship.”

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