Usman Tinau Mohammed: A Long Walk To Niger State Pension Board, By Abdullbergy Ebbo

Registering his presence in the labour market as a youth corps member in 1982, Usman Tinau Muhammad embarked on what would become a meritorious career as he rose through the cadres of various organisations in public bureaucracy, aviation, Oil industry, banking, financial management and political service.
Born on February 10, 1960 in the colonial Minna, Tinau is of Chanchaga Local Government Area descent in today’s political formation in Niger State. In his service to the nation and humanity, Tinau has become a model and inspiring figure not only to the people in his place of birth but beyond the boundaries of the organisations that required his skills and training home and abroad, which he exhibited with exceptional commitment.

He embarked on his academic journey at the historic Central Primary School, Minna, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1972 before proceeding for his secondary education at the prestigious Government Secondary School, Minna, where he obtained his West African School Leaving Certificate in 1977.

In 1979, Tinau underwent a pre-degree programme at Bayero University, Kano, which was a preparatory process for his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the same institution, earned in 1982. For his post-graduate studies, he enrolled for Masters in Business Administration at Usmanu Danfodio University, completing the  programme in 1995. He was at the famous Galilee College in Israel, leaving with a Diploma in Small Business and Industry – Development and Management in 1997.

His first engagement on passing out of the youth  corps service was as Planning Officer, otherwise known as Statistician, at the Niger State Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, from 1983 to 1985. He left Minna for Lagos in 1985 for a stint with the aviation industry, working as Market Research Officer at the Nigerian Airways Limited.    He left there in 1987 for Department of Petroleum Resources, a former inspectorate of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on being engaged as Principal Planning Officer, a position he held until 1993.

The same year, specifically in November, Tinau transferred his skills as experienced and pragmatic economist to the Central Bank of Nigeria, heading the state and local government finance office. He was at the nation’s apex bank until his return to the service of Niger State Government in June, 2007, this time as Special Adviser on Economics and Due Process to the Executive Governor of Niger State. This advisory role was extended, a day after termination of the latter on February 15, 2010, as Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Niger State on Economic Affairs until September 16, 2010.

The impressive applications of his learning and experience as diligent economic and financial expert to the everyday affairs of the state government,  which he carried out as a two-time Special Adviser, was rewarded with appointment as Executive Chairman of the Niger State Fiscal Responsibility Commission from August 4, 2011 to March 25, 2015.

In his remarkable career that has spanned over three decades, Tinau was responsive to evolving ideas and innovations in his calling, and thus he participated in various short courses in and outside Nigeria.

Overseas, he was in Vienna, Austria, for the 1988 Working Attachment to the Finance & Economic Division of OPEC. In 1991, he was at the International Human Resources Development Corporation in Boston, U. S. A., for Petroleum Management  Certificate Programme. In 1994, he was at the University of Texas, Dallas, for Project on Advanced International Oil & Gas Financial Management. The same year, he was in Vienna again for a seminar on Industrial Project Preparation, Financial and Economic Analysis for Nigerian Investment Bankers.

As the world strategised for the economic stability and financial security of global economy on approaching the millennium, Tinau was also in the forefront of professionals expanding their ideas to reinvent new methods of managing the affairs of the world. He was a participant at 1998 “Banking & Development Beyond the Year 2000” in Dublin, Ireland. And then, on crossing the millennium, he was in Nairobi for Macro-economic Policy and Financial Management at the Kenya Monetary School in 2003.

In August, 2004, he took park in the programme “Creating and Maintaining Quality and Value for Money” in London. He returned to London four years later for “Managing Budget, Procurement and Strategic Management.” These are among others, home and abroad, that have broadened and updated his professional foresights.

As much is expected from whom which is given, or expected from the vastly learned and experienced, some of Tinau’s managerial practices were recorded as head and member of many organisations, committees and events around his profession and for his organisations. He served as Vice-Chairman of PENGASSAN PID of the NNPC chapter in 1990; Chairman, Departmental Task Force on Integrated Data Management System of Central Bank of Nigeria; Chairman, Niger State Handball Association; Secretary, Departmental Committee on Strategic Business Unit Planning; and has served as member and secretary various political, economic and social causes.

His life of dedication to duty and passion for service comes with tremendous commendations and medals of honours, among which are: Director’s Award on the Preparation of a Seminar on Oil Industry’s Security Preparedness in 1989; 10 Years Long Service Award by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2003; Niger State Executive Governor’s Award in 2008; Merit Award for Meritorious Service to Humanity in 2010; Merit Award as Ambassador of Culture in 2010, amongst others.

Tinau’s skills and experiences have been documented in various publications he authored and published in academic and professional journals and as independent and unpublished papers and research projects, some of which were presented at seminars, workshops and in reactions to charging topical issues.

Tinau is a fellow of Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria, associate member of United States Project Management Institute and member of Nigerian Gas Association. He’s married and has six children, and speaks English, Nupe and Hausa. His hobbies include public policy analyses, reading, playing table tennis and badminton.

His vast wealth of experience and knowledge is applied to his current engagement as Director-General of Niger State Pension Board

May Allaah guide him to do that which is right and Good.

Abdullbergy U. Ebbo
Senior Special Assistant To Niger State Governor on Information and Communication Technology
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How The Mega Rich Used Their Wives To Help Hide Secret Assets

Until the PanamaPapers became public, the names of owners of some screte offshore assets were  hidden. The identities of some women who allegedly acted as fronts to launder cash for their men are now in the open.   

THERE were more revelations yesterday on the membership of the club of glamorous women who acted as smokescreen to launder money for businessmen, politicians, Hollywood actors and sportsmen spouses named as suspected tax cheats in an 11 million documents leaked in the PanamaPapers.

Senate President Bukola Saraki’s wife, Toyin, was a member of the club who featured prominently in the leak.  Her husband battled late Monday to clear his name in what looked like a fresh allegation about his assets.

Saying that he fully complied with the provisions of the law on public officers’ assets declaration, the Senate President said the properties in question belong to his wife’s family.  Saraki’s position was stated in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu.

The report in the PanamaPapers claimed that at least four assets belonging to the Saraki family, tucked away in secret offshore territories, have been uncovered.

It alleged that the Senate President failed to declare them to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as required by Nigerian laws.

This revelation, obtained by the German newspaper – Süddeutsche Zeitung – and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with Premium Times and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries, coincides as Saraki battles to extricate himself from corruption allegations.

The Senate President’s False Asset Declaration case came up before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja yesterday. It continues today.

In a written response to the ICIJ, Saraki insisted through his United Kingdom (UK) lawyers, that he “declared his assets properly in accordance with the relevant legislation,” and that the charges against him “are both unfounded and politically motivated”.

In September last year, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) slammed false assets declaration charges on the Senate President, accusing him of sundry allegations including failure to declare his assets in full.

Saraki listed in his declaration form,  property owned by his wife, Toyin Saraki, to include a plot of land at Lekki, valued at N5 million, which he said was a gift she received in January 1989.

Mrs. Saraki was also listed as owner of a property on 15, Bryanston Square, London W1 and on 69, Bourne Street, London.

The Bryanston Square property valued at £900, 000, attracts a rental income £48,000. It was acquired in January 1989. The other on Bourne Street, which was acquired at £2 million for business in April 2000, has a rental value of £150,000.

However, a fresh investigation by Premium Times and its media partners, has uncovered a hidden London property in the name of Toyin Saraki. The property, according to the leak was not among the assets declared by the Senate President.

The hidden property is located at No 8, Whuttaker Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8JQ. It has title number NGL802235.

In his assets declaration form, the Senate President stated that there was N1.5 million in his wife’s account in the Broad Street, Lagos branch of EcoBank,  at the time he became Kwara State Governor in 2003.

She also maintained an account in Coutts & Co Strand, London, where she owned £450,000 and $125,000 in addition to $3 million in Northern Trust International Banking Corporation, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner.

Mrs. Saraki was also listed as maintaining substantial shares in European and American Trading Company, Tyberry Corporation and Eficaz Limited, just as she held 500,000 shares, valued at £500,000 at P.C.C (U.K) Ltd.

Saraki was, however, silent on the number of shares his wife had in Haussmann and Tiny Tee (Nig) Limited.

Three additional overseas assets in the name of the wife of the Senate President were hidden from the authorities and are missing from the assets declaration form, a report said.

Investigations reveal that Mrs. Saraki owns secret companies in some tax havens.

The first, Girol Properties Ltd, was registered on August 25, 2004 (a year after Mrs. Saraki’s husband became governor in Kwara State) in the British Virgin Island (BVI).

According to the company documents, Mrs. Saraki owns 25,000 shares with a par value of $1 each, and she was appointed the first and only director of the company.

It, however, remains unclear what businesses Mrs. Saraki transacted with the company.

But, in letter to the ICIJ through her lawyers, Mrs. Saraki, has denied ever owning any shareholding in Girol Properties.

The second company, Sandon Development Limited, which has Mrs. Saraki and Babatunde Morakinyo as shareholders, was registered in Seychelles Island on January 12, 2011. Morakinyo of 11, Okeme Street, Lagos, is a long-time personal aide and friend of Dr. Saraki.

According to the company documents of incorporation, Mrs. Saraki bought a curious service from Mossack Fonseca & Co, the Panamanian firm that helped her to register the firm.

Perhaps to avoid being identified as the beneficial owner of Sandon, the Senate President’s wife asked Fonsecca to provide nominee directors for the company. Nominee directors are sometimes used in tax havens to conceal real owners of companies and assets.

She then made an undertaking indemnifying the Panamanian company “in respect of all claims, demands, actions, suits, proceedings, costs and expenses whatsoever as may be incurred or become payable by you in respect of or arising out of any member or employee or associate of your company or associated companies holding any office, directorship or shareholdings in the company or by reason of or in consequence of any act or decision made by any such person or company in connection with the management and/or administration of the said company.”

Shortly after the company was incorporated, Mrs. Saraki used it in July 2011 to buy the property on Whuttaker Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8JQ.

The property, acquired from Renocon Property Limited, a company registered in the British Virgin Island, was never disclosed to Nigerian authorities as required by the country’s Code of Conduct Law.

The third hidden company in the name of Mrs. Saraki is Landfield International Developments Ltd., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands on April 8, 2014. Its registration number is 1819394 and its registered office is 1, Akara Blog., 24, De Castro Street, Wickhams Cay 1, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Island.

According to Mossack Fonseca, the registered agent of the company, Mrs. Saraki, at least until January 27, 2015, was sole shareholder and beneficial owner of the company which had two nominee directors –  Glaisd Alie Limited and New Gombe Limited  –  both appointed on September 2, 2014. Its agent says Landfield is authorised to issue a maximum of 50,000 no par value shares.

According to Mrs. Saraki, her shares in the company were sold to a third party in January, last year.

The lawyers wrote in their memo to the ICIJ: “The property in question forms part of Dr. Saraki’s wife’s family asset. It is public knowledge that Mrs. Saraki comes from a family of independent means and wealth with numerous and varied assets acquired over decades in family estates and investments.

“Furthermore, the law only requires a public officer to declare both his own assets and those held by his spouse and his children under 18 years of age. The law does not require a public officer to declare assets held by the spouse’s family.

“It is not expected by the law that a public officer should declare such assets held in the spouse’s family estate. Indeed, the Code of Conduct form does not make provision for declaration of spouse’s family assets.”

Aside Saraki’s wife, others named uncovered in the leak  include the champagne-loving socialite Mehriban Aliyev, wife of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, a professional ice dancer and 2006 Olympic champion married to a prominent Russian diplomat.

Also ‘in the club’ are: spouses of a European Union (EU) Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete (Micaela Domecq Solis-Beaumon); an Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson (Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir) and a former Guinean President  Lansana Conté (Mamadie Touré).

The revelation came after a media probe into millions of documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm exposed a tangle of financial dealings by global elites, from aides of Russian President Vladimir Putin to relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping, sports celebrities and screen stars.

It has now been established that Solis-Beaumon, the wife of the EU commissioner is linked to Rinconada Investments Group, a Panamanian company registered in 2005.

Meanwhile, the wife of Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who faced tough questions yesterday over links to the offshore banking haven, has also be named as a client of the Panama firm.

The husband and wife team jointly owned a British Virgin Islands shell company called Wintris Inc., which held more than £3 million in bonds in the three major Icelandic banks – those banks collapsed in 2008, and Gunnlaugsson campaigned against bailing out foreign creditors.

It is unclear whether he benefited personally from his political moves.

He sold his 50 per cent share in Wintris to his wife Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, the daughter of a wealthy Toyota dealer, before taking office in 2009.

Azerbaijan President’s wife, Mehriban Aliyev, who is herself from a very wealthy family, is also named in the leak.

Her family already leads a charmed life as a result of business interests in almost every sector in the economy, she also leads the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan’s ‘national’ charity – named after her father-in-law – and is behind the construction of schools, hospitals and the country’s major sports complex.

In documents revealed in the leak, Mehriban was named as one of two managers of the Panamanian UF (Universe Foundation) – which was essentially set up to put her in charge of one of the country’s largest conglomerates Ata Holding.

According to the documents by the ICIJ, Aliyev’s daughters also controlled a Panama-incorporated company and two others in the British Virgin Islands.

The Panamanian company held a significant stake in a consortium of companies exploring goldfields in Azerbaijan.

Aliyev’s sister was the sole shareholder and owner of a BVI company registered in December 2005. The registration records list her at an address in a West London neighborhood where average home prices are more than £6 million.

The fourth woman named in the leak is widow of the former Guinean dictator, the late President Lansana Conté.

United States (U.S.) authorities allege Touré received more than £3.7 million ($5.3 million) in bribes to help a mining company obtain rights to the world’s richest iron ore deposit. In 2014, U.S. authorities raided Touré’s Florida home, seizing properties, restaurant equipment and an ice cream cooler collectively worth more than £700,000 ($1 million).

The wife of Russian diplomat Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov, Tatiana Navka, is also listed among the alleged clients of the top-secret Panamanian law firm.

The ice dancer and 2006 Olympic champion was listed as the beneficiary of offshore company Carina Global Assets Ltd – based in the British Virgin islands – from its inauguration in 2014, until it was liquidated in November, last year.

She was already romantically involved with Peskov at the time, and their daughter was born in August 2014. They then married in July 2015.

Intriguingly, Peskov’s wife has been quoted as having no knowledge that she ran the company, despite a leaked document saying that its purpose was to ‘buy investment assets to benefit its beneficiary’ – namely her.

‘I have never had any offshore companies or bank accounts,’ said Miss Navka, 40. There were absolutely no foreign companies.’

But, a copy of her passport was in the leaked papers for Carina Global Assets, which has a projected £700,000 ($1 million) assets, it was reported.

When asked if her documents could have been used without her knowledge regarding the offshore operation, she said: ‘I don’t know who might have done it. And personally I would like to figure it out.’

The European Commission defended EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, saying he appeared to have obeyed its rules by disclosing his wife’s links with a firm caught up in the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal.

Asked about the Panama connection, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said ‘everything seemed to be in order’ adding that Canete had informed the EU’s executive arm of his and his wife’s business interests when he took up office in 2014.

“His declaration appears to be in compliance with the code of conduct for commissioners as it includes all the professional activities and financial interests of the commissioner’s wife that would pose a potential conflict of interest,” Schinas said.

“As far as the company (Rinconada) referred to in the news is concerned, according to the information given by the commissioner, this company has been inactive for several years before he took office in November 2014,” he added.

Source; TheNation

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Highlight Of The National Economic Council Retreat

The following are highlights of the just concluded NEC Retreat:

1. Agreement reached for concerted and consistent efforts to diversify revenue sources

2. Expand compliance on VAT, adopting a gradual plan for rate increase

3. Increase expenditure through borrowing, which should be invested in infrastructure

4. Federal and State Governments to focus on fiscal responsibility as a critical element in macro-economic balance

5. Increase investment  in infrastructure through public private partnership (PPP)

6.Develop financial inclusion strategies to cater for the poor and vulnerable population

7. Maintain a minimum level of capital expenditure of 30% in the budget

Thematic Areas 

Agriculture

1. The Federal Government to re-position Bank of Agriculture to enhance its capacity to finance agriculture.

2. Funding for Agricultural sector is considered critical and sources of intervention funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria should be considered

3. A single digit interest rate for agricultural loans should be considered while duties and taxes for Agricultural products and equipment should be waived

4. Develop strategic partnerships between Federal and State government. Each State should make specific commitments to crops in which it has comparative advantage and request Federal Government intervention

5. National targets for self-sufficiency should be set for identified crops, which should be monitored. Tomato paste – 2016, Rice – 2018, Wheat – 2019

6. The Federal and State Governments should roll out agricultural extension services nationwide

7. The Commodity Exchanges should be established for price regulation and avoidance of losses due to lack of markets. The Abuja Commodity Exchange should be revitalised

8. The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) should be re-established

9. Federal Government should develop an Agriculture Implementation plan whereby State Governments are encouraged to identify at least two crops in which they have comparative advantage

10. States should open up of rural/feeder roads to facilitate transportation of agricultural produce to be supported by the Federal Government

11.The Federal and State Governments should establish minimum price guarantee for farm produce

12.The Federal Government should provide immediate funding to upscale efforts of Agricultural Institutes of Research and Development across Nigeria

13. State Governments should also be encouraged to fund research and development in agriculture through technical colleges, universities and research institutions

Thematic Area – Solid Minerals

1. Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to complete and present the solid minerals development roadmap. This framework should address issues of illegal miner, licenses, taxes and royalties by 31st March 2016

2. Federal government to engage with state government on the roadmap and agree any amendment that may be required by 30th June 2016

3. Initiate relevant legislative changes that maybe necessitated by the agreed roadmap by 31stJuly 2016

4. Conclude the revalidation/recertification of all mining leases by 30th September 2016

5. Agree with states and local government on respective responsibilities for developing feeder roads and other critical infrastructure for solid minerals development

6. Federal Government and States to set deadlines to achieve self-sufficiency in Bitumen/Asphalt and tiles (to discourage/stop importation)

7. Make and communicate final decisions on operationalization of Ajaokuta steel plant by 30th June 2016

8. Establishment of joint committee to address issues of data on quantity and quality of minerals exploited and exported

9. Setting up of mining cadastral zonal offices for proximity to States for the purpose of issuing licenses and easy monitoring by States

10. Discourage use of wood for cooking by promoting use of coal briquettes

11. Guarantee access to finance solid minerals development via intervention funds and private sector capital

12. Block revenue leakages in the sector through effective monitoring of activities in the mining sector

13. Organise artisanal/small-scale miners as a mechanism for reducing illegal mining and Establish Mines Surveillance Taskforce by September 2016

Thematic Area – Investment, Industrialisation and Enabling Monetary policies

1.Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (MITI) to develop a matrix of actions to be taken by Federal and State Governments towards achieving the targeted improvements in Ease of Doing Business ranking by 30th April 2016

2. Present an incentive scheme for States taking actions towards improvement of the investment climate in their States including  grants by 30th September 2016

3. Forge strong links between the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the State Investment Promotion Agencies

4. States to collaborate more actively on regional basis on investments and industrialization

5. The Federal Government should work with the States and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for trade and investment through the implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to encourage industrialization

6. Make environment conducive for the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises to create jobs for the unemployed and undertake deliberate policies to create access to funds

7. State and Federal Governments must emphasize the patronage of “Made in Nigeria” products. “Import competition” rather than “import substitution” should be emphasized

8. Governors to set up task forces to monitor implementation of trade/ investment policies and strengthen planning institutions by linking federal and sub-national planning; in this regard, a monthly meeting between the Minister of Budget & National Planning and State Commissioners for planning will be institutionalised

9. States to set up one-stop shop for investors where they do not currently exist to attract investment and improve on IGR Safeguard competitive market economy

10. Promote regional cooperation on investment and industrialisation

11. Implement institutional and structural reforms as a way of improving the efficacy of monetary policy including greater consultation with the National Economic Council

12. Predictability and consistency of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s communication to key stakeholders is required to manage expectations

13. The Central Bank of Nigeria should carry the States along in some of their reforms in areas of SMEs and Agricultural funding initiatives

14. Long-term development goals should anchor policy decisions

15. Effective regulation & supervision to improve confidence in the soundness and stability of the banking system

Thematic Area – Infrastructure and Services

1.Develop infrastructure delivery plan considering current financial capabilities driven principally by the goal of improvement of the quality of life for the populace

2.Develop financing model for infrastructure projects

3. Integrate training and job creation components in infrastructure projects

4. Implement empowerment and entrepreneurship policies to foster inclusive growth

Thematic Area – Investing in our people

1. Federal and State Governments to work collaboratively to ensure sustainability of the school feeding and other social protection programmes

2. Cooperation from the States’ Ministries of Education and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs) for the Teacher Corp program

3. Provide logistics support on the proposed upgrade of 75 existing National Directorate of Employment (NDE) facilities (across the various States) to Empowerment Centers

4. Cooperation and coordination with the States on their specific job creation efforts

5. State Government support on identified needs such as infrastructure and/or space for innovation hubs

6. State Government support for artisan training, scoping and support for existing artisan cultures, use of existing training facilities

7. Institutionalize a single register as a platform for targeting the authentic poorest and vulnerable for safety net programs; for government, donor agency, organizations or individuals

8. Creating a delivery mechanism that ensures efficient, consistent timely and direct payments in the remotest parts of the country

9. Boost productivity and financial inclusion for the poorest and most vulnerable

Thematic Area – Revenue Generation and Fiscal Stability

1. There is need for deliberate effort to generate relevant data on the respective economies of the states and the nation generally in order to drive revenue generation

2. FIRS and SIRS need to invest in relevant technology to support efforts to improve tax collection

3. There is a need to develop incentive schemes for federal and state revenue generating agencies

4. FIRS and SIRS need to actively collaborate on initiatives to improve tax collection, including joint audits of major corporate tax payers

5. All state governments are encouraged to establish efficiency units to review/enhance the quality of expenditure as well as plug revenue leakages

6. Focus on property and consumption taxes will help in improving revenues in a fair manner

7. Tax-payer education should be intensified to expand the tax base and avoid political back-lash from intensifying tax collection

8. State Government are encouraged to rationalise number of Ministers, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries

9. Cost control measures should be identified and implemented on an ongoing basis; in this regard various examples from Nigeria and other countries are recommended

Thematic Area – Survival of States and Beyond

1. Strengthen States Peer Review Mechanism under auspices of the Governors Forum and the National Economic Council (NEC) to promote sharing of good practices between the Federal and States Governments

NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION STEERING COMMITTEE FORMED:

•To oversee the work of the implementation committee

•To provide appropriate steers to the Implementation Monitoring Committee to ensure that the resolutions agreed at the retreat are duly followed up

HE Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President and Chairman of NEC

Chairman

HE Abdulaziz Y. Abubakar

Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State

Member

HE Adams Oshiomhole

Governor of Edo State

Member

HE Abdulfatah Ahmed

Governor of Kwara State

Member

HE Rauf Aregbesola

Governor of Osun State

Member

HE David Umahi

Governor of Ebonyi State

Member

HE Badaru Abubakar

Governor of Jigawa State

Member

HE Mohammed Abubakar

Governor of Bauchi State

Member

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma

Hon. Minister of Budget and National Planning

Member

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

Hon. Minister of Finance

Member

Dr. Okechukwu Enelama

Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

Member

Chief Audu Ogbe

Hon. Minister of Agriculture

Member

Dr. Kayode Fayemi

Hon. Minister of Solid Minerals

Member

Mr. Babatunde Fashola

Hon. Minister of Works, Power and Housing

Member

Mrs. Nana F Mede

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning

Secretary

NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING COMMITTEE FORMED

•To follow up the implementation of the resolutions of the retreat

•To receive steers from the Steering Committee regarding the follow up of the implementation

•To provide progress reports to the Steering Committee on the implementation

NAME

DESIGNATION 

ROLE

Mrs Zainab S. Ahmed

Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning

Chairman

Mrs Yosola Akinbi

Senior Technical Adviser to the Vice President on the National Economic Council

Member

Mr. L.O.T. Shittu

DG, Nigeria Governors Forum

Member

Mr. David Olofu

Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Benue State

Member

Mr. Mohammed Kauji

Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Borno State

Member

Dr. E.A. Onwiodokif

Comm. for Economic Planning, Akwa Ibom State

Member

Mrs. Aisha M. Bello

Comm. for Budget and Planning, Kano State

Member

Mrs. Aderenle Adesina

Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Ogun State

Member

Mr. Mark Okoye

Special Adviser, Economic Planning and Budget, Anambra State

Member

Mr. Tunde Lawal

Director, Macroeconomic Analysis Department, Fed. Min. BNP

Member

Mr. Kayode Obasa

Director, Economic Growth, FMBNP

Member

Mr. A.B. Saadu

Director, Special Duties

Member

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Inside Saraki’s Latest Legal Maneuvers To Frustrate Corruption Trial – SaharaReporters

haraReporters has unearthed a fresh plot by Senate President Bukola Saraki to frustrate his corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). Mr. Saraki has been charged with false asset declaration and other financial crimes.

Mr. Saraki’s latest effort to thwart his trial began to materialize today when the Code of Conduct Tribunal granted him a weeklong adjournment after his legal team, led by former Attorney General of Nigeria, Kanu Agabi, claimed that he had filed a submission at the tribunal on March 4, 2016, challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction to try the senator for corruption.

In a curious twist in today’s proceedings, neither the Secretary of the CCT nor the prosecutor, Rotimi Williams, was aware of the ostensible motion. Court processes require that all the parties to a case, as well as tribunal officials, must be informed of the kind of critical submission Mr. Agabi claimed he had filed.

Instead, a highly placed judicial source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Agabi’s so-called filing was illicitly handed to the tribunal judge, Danlami Umar, in Saudi Arabia where he had gone to observe the lesser hajj. Mr. Umar arrived back in Nigeria last weekend.

A lawyer familiar with the case told SaharaReporters, “Today’s developments [at the Code of Conduct Tribunal] smacked of a design to ridicule the process. The Supreme Court already reviewed the issue of jurisdiction in this case, and okayed the continuation of Dr. Saraki’s trial. So for a seasoned lawyer like Agabi to re-open the matter of jurisdiction was a mystery to me.”

Another legal source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Saraki new lawyers were also working quietly and reached an advanced stage in the motion they submitted at the Federal High Court in Abuja arguing that the continuation of the senator’s trial at the CCT amounted to a violation of his fundamental human rights.

Mr. Saraki’s case at the Federal High Court seeking again to nullify his trial is largely underreported, in part because the senator has compromised many of the judicial reporters following his trial. But a lawyer told our correspondent that the senator’s attempt to use the Federal High Court to scuttle his trial “should have been thrown out the moment the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled against the Senate President who challenged the Court of Appeal which also ruled against him. Unless the [Federal High Court] judge wants to take the position that his court is superior to the Supreme Court.”

In fact, two lawyers told SaharaReporters that the judge in question, Justice Abdul Kafarati, was known in legal circles “for being susceptible to high-level corruption,” in the words of one lawyer. The judge had been found to have N2 billion in his account according to sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which he claimed to have made from farming. Justice Kafarati has fixed March 22, 2016 for his judgment on Mr. Saraki’s suit.

Our legal sources disclosed, that Mr. Saraki’s strategy was to delay the CCT proceedings until March 22nd, when he hopes the Federal High Court in Abuja would rule in his favor. “The delay which Chief Agabi secured for the Senate President at the CCT today, by again challenging the CCT’s jurisdiction, is part of a scheme to debate the frivolous matter [of jurisdiction] until the March 22nd ruling comes down.”

A lawyer who has followed the case said told SaharaReporters that he anticipated that, next Friday, Justice Danlami Umar of the CCT would take oral arguments and reserve his ruling till the following Friday. “The adjournment would enable Senator Saraki to get a favorable judgment from Justice Kafarati,” he said. He added: “The senator and his lawyers are banking on the scuttling of his case if they get the Federal High Court in Abuja to find that his fundamental human rights have been violated.”

In an earlier report, SaharaReporters revealed that Senator Saraki’s new lead attorney, Kanu Agabi, was the principal partner in a law firm that first hired Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT when he was a fledging lawyer. One lawyer suggested that the long-term relationship between Mr. Agabi and Justice Umar had already influenced the senator’s trial at the CCT, pointing out that Mr. Agabi had been able to secure two adjournments in questionable circumstances and to purportedly file a motion that the tribunal’s secretary and prosecutor did not know about. In addition, Mr. Agabi also succeeded  in prevailing on prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs, not to file fresh charges that show that Mr. Saraki continued to receive his full salary as governor, several years after he left the seat.

SaharaReporters also learned Agabi was able to negotiate for trial dates not to fall on work free days at the Senate as Saraki and the horde of Senators that typically accompany him to the tribunal feared a backlash from Nigerians regarding their abandonment duties to attend to Saraki each time he has a case at the tribunal.

Mr. Saraki arrived at the tribunal today accompanied by more than 60 lawyers and at least 30 lawmakers.

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The House Today: Report of Proceedings on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Via Rinsola Abiola [@Bint_Moshood], SA (New Media) to the Rt. Hon. Speaker.

Bills
The following bills were passed through second reading;
A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Sales of Goods Act of 1893 and Re-enact the Sales of Goods Bill, 2016 to provide for Regulations of Sales of Goods in Nigeria and for Other Matters Connected Therewith (HB. 371) (Hon. Lawal Abubakar Garba).
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Psychiatric Hospitals Management Board Act, Cap. P34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to give room for fair hearing in the disciplining of any student for misconduct and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, (HB. 352) (Hon. Adamu D. U Kamale) – Referred to House Committee on Health Institutions.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Inland Fisheries Act, Cap. I10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Review upward the penalties and for Other Related Matters (HB. 357) (Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki).
A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Public Accounts Committee Act, Cap. P5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith; (HB.341) (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok).
A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Loans (State Development) Act, Cap. L16, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, (HB. 360) (Hon. Kolade Victor Akinjo).
MOTIONS

Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly: Order XII, Rule 94
Electronic Transaction Bill, (HB. 374) 2016
Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta:
The House
Notes that pursuant to Order XII, Rule 94 of the Standing Orders of the House, Bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence were made or negatived, or passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence were made or negatived or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the Assembly, the House may resolve that such Bills, upon being re-gazetted or clean copies circulated, be re-considered in the Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo.
Also notes that the aforementioned Bill was passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the last Assembly;
Aware that the Bill has been re-gazetted as HB. 374 and read the first time.

Resolves to:
Commit the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
Urgent Need for Completion of Kano Western By-Pass Linking Kano-Kaduna Road to Dawanau Village on Kano-Katsina Road
Hon. Garba Ibrahim Mohammed:

The House:
Notes that the Federal Government awarded a contract to Dantata and Sawoe for construction of Kano Western by-pass linking Kano-Kaduna to Dawanau Village on Kano-Katsina Road on the 10th of May, 2007 with an estimated completion date of May 19th, 2010, which has been postponed twice;
Aware that the full complement of work on the 26.6 kilometers road include construction of an interchange at the tip of the bridges, an over pass bridge over a railway line and other ancillary works, but concerned that only 38.23% of the work has been done despite the passage of 80% of the allotted completion time;
Also aware that the completion of the road will boost the revenue profiles of the affected areas, enhance agricultural activities and socio-economic conditions of the people, provide alternative linkage to many settlements and ease difficulties and time for conveyance of goods from the Northern to other parts of the country;
Disturbed that the execution of the contract has been characterized by inadequate budgetary provisions since inception, the worst being lack of any provision in the 2015 budget, which made it impossible for the contractor to receive the second advance installment in the payment plan, leading to stoppage of work;
Resolves to:
Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to appropriate money in the 2016 budget for the completion of the Road.
Urgent Need to Resuscitate the Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) at the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) Abuja:
Hon. Ahmed Yerima:

The House:
Aware that the Federal Government established the Gamma Irradiation Facility in 2006 at the cost of about 50 billion Naira to provide farmers a means of storage to prevent post-harvest losses, and treat over 20 metric tons of products daily;
Also aware that there had been workshops that brought farmers and beverage companies and pharmaceutical companies together to see how they can benefit from the Facility, which has a capacity to treat over 20 metric tons of products daily and was expected to generate 7.245 billion Naira annually but has never worked and is now wasting away at the Nuclear Technology Centre (NTC), Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) Abuja;
Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Science and Technology to determine the current status of the Gamma Irradiation Facility and recommend ways to make it functional within the shortest possible time;
Also mandate the Committee on Science and Technology to investigate the movement of the Facility from SHESTCO to Nigeria Atomic Energy Agency (NAEC) without amendment of the enabling law establishing SHESTCO and also determine NAEC’s relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the project.
Need to Investigate the multiple Appointments being held by some Nigerians and the unlawful payments of Emoluments to them in those capacities:
Hon. Abdulahi Umar Faruk:

The House:

Notes that there are some senior public and civil servants holding more than one public office at the same time and are receiving emoluments and benefits for such offices in contravention of Sections 6 and 8 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, an action that corrupts public morality;
Concerned that too much money is being spent to maintain public officials to the extent that about seventy percent of the nation’s yearly budget is allocated for recurrent expenditure to the detriment of other developmental projects;
Convinced that there is a need to put an end to the illegal and unjust enrichment of such individuals with public funds to the detriment of millions of other Nigerians, especially at this period of dwindling resources as a result of fall in the price of oil;
Also convinced that stopping the practice of public officials holding multiple appointments and earning emoluments therefrom would help in reducing the recurrent expenditure of the Government and curb this act of corruption;
Resolves to:

Mandate the Committee on Public Service Matters to conduct investigation to determine the number of Nigerians currently holding more than one public office and are receiving emoluments/benefits from such offices in Ministries, Departments and Agencies and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.
Need for Intervention in the activities of the Federal Scholarship Board:
Hon. Samaila Suleiman:

The House:

Aware that the Federal Scholarship Board has the mandate to provide sponsorship for eligible students to pursue undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in some selected Universities across the world under the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA);
Also aware that under the Agreement, participating countries are responsible for the students’ tuition and accommodation, while the Board takes care of the students’ monthly stipends, health insurance, warm clothing allowance, research and yearly take off grant;
Notes the incessant reports of delays, under payment and neglect of students on scholarships in various foreign countries by the Board which has a dampening effect on their studies and general well-being and is also a breach of the Agreement;
Observes that in recent years, the activities of the Board have been shrouded in secrecy without adequate dissemination of information to the general public, thereby depriving some eligible students from taking part in the scholarship scheme;
Resolves to:
(i) Call on the Federal Scholarship Board to settle all outstanding allowances to enable the students under its sponsorship have hitch free studies;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to carry out an oversight on the activities of the Board as it affects poor handling and selection of beneficiaries, including the level of compliance with the federal character principle and report back to the House within 4 weeks, for further legislative action.

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Report Of House Of Reps Proceedings For Wednesday, February 24, 2016

By Rinsola Abiola (SA to the Rt. Hon. Speaker on New Media)

Plenary began around 11:00 a.m.

Petitions from constituents were read by Hon. Dapo Lam-Adesina (Oyo state, APC) and Hon. Prestige Ossy (Abia state, APGA); these petitions were referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions.

Presentation of Bills

The following bills were presented for First reading by the Clerk of the House;

  1. Nigeria LNG (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Leo Okuweh Ogor).
  2. Pension Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Oluwole Oke).
  3. Defense Industry Corporation of Nigeria (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Oluwole Oke)
  4. Oil and Gas Investment and Free Zones (repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Sylvester Ogbagba)
  5. Chartered Institute for Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Gideon Gwani)
  6. The Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015 (Hon. Edward Pwajok).

Motions

  1. Emeka Reginald (Anambra) moved a motion of urgent importance on Zika Virus, stating the need for protection via sensitization. The motion was adopted by the House.
  2. Saidu Yusuf Miga (from Jigawa state) raised another motion of urgent importance regarding a river in his constituency which has claimed many lives. He stated that the situation has affected many families in the affected villages, and called for the construction of a bridge over this “moving body of water”. The motion was adopted by the House and referred to the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management.
  3. Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly Order XII, Rule 94:
  • Anti-Torture Bill, 2015
  • Senior Citizens Centre Bill, 2015

Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha raised a motion regarding the above-listed bills, stating that bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence – or vice versa – for which no concurrence were made or negative, or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the president for assent, but which were not assented to before the end of the tenure of that Assembly, may be considered in the Committee of the Whole without being recommenced de-novo. She further stated that the above-listed bills were passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but no feedback was communicated before the end of the last Assembly, and that the bills have been re-gazetted to HB 120 and 121 respectively, and read the first time. She then prayed that the bills be committed to the Committee of the Whole for consideration, and this motion was adopted and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

  1. Reconsideration of Outstanding Bill from the Preceding Assembly Order Xii, Rule 94;

Independent National Assembly Budget and research Office Bill, 2016;

Hon. Timothy Golu (and others) raised a motion regarding the above-stated bill, stating that bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence – or vice versa – for which no concurrence were made or negative, or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent, but which were not assented to before the end of the tenure of that Assembly, may be considered in the Committee of the Whole without being recommenced de-novo. He further stated that the above-stated bill was passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but no feedback was communicated before the end of the last Assembly, and that the bill has been re-gazetted to HB 377, and read the first time. He then prayed that the bill be committed to the Committee of the Whole for consideration, and this motion was adopted, then referred to the Committee of the Whole.

  1. Non-Compliance with the Resolution of the House by the Public Complaints Commission;

Hon. Agbedi Yeitiemone Fredrick (Bayelsa) raised a motion on the above-stated issue, explaining that following the presentation of a petition (on October 24, 2013) by one Finidi Jahbless against Shell Petroleum Development Company, regarding contracts NGO 1001316 (A28) and NGO 1003218 (A29), the Public Petitions Committee presented its report to the House on September 23, 2014, which directed the Public Complaints Commission to further investigate the matter and report to the House within eight weeks. He also stated that although this directive was conveyed to the Public Complaints Commission via a letter from the Clerk of the House (dated September 29, 2014), and that Section 5 (1) of the Public Complaints Commission Act (2004) makes all Public Complaints Commissioners answerable to the National Assembly, the Order of Reference contained in the resolution was not complied with. He, therefore, prayed that the Public Complaints Commission explain, within 14 days, why this Order had not been obeyed, and that the Commission fulfill the directive in that resolution as contained in the votes and proceedings of 23 September 2014, within 30 days. This motion was adopted the referred to the Committee on Legislative Compliance.

  1. Urgent Need to Complete the Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Road:

Hon. Austin Chukwukere (with Hon. Chris Azubogu, Hon. Eucharia Azodo & Hon. Obinna Onwubuariri) moved a motion on this road, which he said is a federal highway whoch connects Anambra, Imo and Abia states and other South-South states. He further explained that the contract for rehabilitation of the road was awarded in two sections to two companies in 2007, namely CCC Nig. Ltd and Bulletine Construction Ltd., both of which mobilized to site, then later abandoned the project despite not having done up to 50% of the work required. He also drew attention to the economic importance of the road, and prayed that the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) rehabilitate the road to make it motorable, that the Committee on Works and Appropriation make provisions in the 2016 budget for completion of the reconstruction, and that the Committee on Legislative Compliance ensure implementation. The motion was adopted, and referred to the Committees on Works, Appropriation and Legislative Compliance.

  1. Urgent Need for Completion of Kagara Dam in Niger State:

Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu (Niger State) raised a motion on the Kagara Dam, which covers approximately 1000 hectares and was conceived by the state government, and was awarded to WRECA in 1982 with the aim of providing potable water and irrigation needs of the Kagara people. He further stated that due to the slow pace of execution, the Federal Government re-awarded it to Biwater Shellbear Nig. Ltd. In 1992 at the cost of N199,222,596 with a completion period of 24 months. The project was, however, abandoned due to lack of funds, and this resulted in re-negotiation in 2001 at the cost of N2,219,746,244.75. Execution then stopped in 2006, when the project was 68% complete. He expressed concern that the incessant abandonment of the project has resulted in increased cost for the Federal Government and is adversely affecting job creation and farming in the area, and therefore prayed that the House Committee on Water Resources investigate the delay in the completion of the project despite budgetary allocations over the years and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action. The motion was adopted, and referred to the Committee on Water Resources.

  1. Devastating Erosion in Mikang, Quan-Pan and Shendam Federal Constituency of Plateau State:

Hon. Johnbull T. Shekarau raised this motion, stating that the torrential rainfall of August 8, 2012 left a trail of destruction in the Southern Zone of Plateau State (comprising Langtang North, Langtang South, Mikang, Quaan-Pan, Shendam and Wase), as there destroyed homes, farmlands, bridges and displacement of people. He then added that following the visit of a high-powered delegation, led by then Vice-President Namadi  Sambo, the FG, state government and organisations such as NEMA and FERMA, among others, provided one form of intervention or the other, which entailed the rehabilitation of some roads. However, others (e.g. the Shendam byepass, Nbet-Piapung bridge and Doemak-Bwall box culvert) were left untouched and it has been difficult for people affected to connect with other parts of the country. He then prayed that the House urge the Ecological Fund Office to reconstruct the damaged culverts and bridges, that NEMA provide relief materials to affected families and also help the displaced persons relocate to their communities, and that the Committees on Environment and Habitat, and Legislative Compliance work out modalities to ensure rehabilitation of affected communities and report to the House within four weeks. The motion was adopted, and referred to the previously stated Committees.

  1. Need to Investigate the $260,000,000 Contract Awarded by the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS):

Hon. Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole (Ondo state) raised this motion, stating that NAPIMS, a subsidiary of NNPC, granted approval for Esso Exploration and Production Nig. Ltd. – a subsidiary of ExxonMobil – to award four single-source contracts for projects in ExxonMobil’s Usan Deep Water Project for the sum of $260,000,000 without a tendering process. He further stated that NAPIMS had nominated four companies to execute the contracts in violation of due process and without approval from the Board of NNPC and its Group Executive Committee, and prayed that the House mandate the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the contract and report to the House within four weeks for further legislative action. After extensive debate, an amendment seeking to further mandate the Committee on Public Procurement to investigate the procurement was made, and the motion was adopted. The Speaker then referred the motion to the House Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Public Procurement for further legislative action.

  1. Need to Ensure Integrity in the Issuance of Driver’s License to Reduce Accidents on the Highways:

This was raised by Hon. Philip Shuaibu, who noted that FRSC and VIO – the two agencies in charge of issuance of the driver’s license – do not seem to follow due process while doing so, and lamented the effect that this has had on the spate of accidents on highways, as people who do not know how to drive are issued licenses. He then prayed that the House mandate the Committee on FRSC to investigate the lack of integrity in the issuance of the driver’s license and the measures being put in place to reverse the trend, and report to the House within four weeks for further legislative action. The motion was adopted, and the Speaker referred it to the Committee on FRSC.

  1. Urgent Need to Address the Problems of Cross Border Communal Clashes in Itongesi Island, Ogun State:

Hon. Adekunle Abdulkabir Akinlade raised this motion, drawing attention to encroachment on this part of Nigeria’s territory by the Republic of Benin. He said that the Nigerian government has no presence on this island, despite Benin Republic’s provision of a school and health centre, and that the country’s flag had even been placed on the island. The small fishing village, which also has oil deposits in commercial quantities, has also been the scene of conflict in recent times, and he therefore prayed that the Committees on Special Duties and Navy undertake an oversight visit to the island with a view to recommending ways to secure it in order to protect Nigerian citizens living there, who face the risk of annexation by the neighbouring Benin Republic. The motion was adopted.

  1. Collapse of Education Sector in Bama, Ngala, Kala, Balge Federal Constituency of Borno State and the Entire North-East Zone:

Hon. Mohammed Nur Sheriff noted that the specified area has been turned to a battleground due to the insurgency, and that this has resulted in the abduction – and forceful conscription – of young men and women by the Boko Haram sect, and crippled not only economic activities, but also adversely affected education as even those in IDP camps have no access to education as there are no schools in their camps. He further explained that the situation poses serious social and security challenges, which, if not arrested, would have even more serious adverse consequences on the area and the people. He then prayed that the Federal Government adopt measures to revive the educational sector in the area, and to move children from vulnerable areas to more secured locations and establish schools in IDP camps. The motion was adopted.

 

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Report Of House Of Reps Proceedings For Tuesday February 23

By Rinsola Abiola, SA (New Media) to the Rt. Hon. Speaker

Highlights: House mandates high-powered delegation to look into and resolve the crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly.

The sitting commenced around 11 a.m.

Matters of Urgent Public Importance

  1. Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano state) moved a motion regarding the recent fire outbreaks at markets in Kano state, stating that over 200 shops were burnt and goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed. He then prayed that the House constitute a committee to visit and condole with the people. This motion was adopted and the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, announced the constitution of the committee. Members include all members from Kano, among others.
  1. Following the adoption of the motion quoted above, Karim Sunday (Kogi state) raised a motion seeking that the House consider the crisis in the Kogi State House of Assembly as a matter of national importance, and prayed that the House intervene and resolve the situation. This motion was co-sponsored by all members of the Kogi caucus, and was seconded by Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje. Hon. Karim Sunday further explained that on 16th February, five members of the Kogi State House of Assembly – out of 20 – illegally and purportedly impeached the Speaker. This motion garnered considerable debate as most were in support and opined that the House ought to send a strong signal that it will not condone impunity by intervening, but others pointed out that the Speaker who was illegally dismissed previously benefitted from the same thing, as he also spearheaded the illegal impeachment of his predecessor. The debate eventually ended when the Majority Leader (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) addressed the issue, stating that he and the Minority Leader had previously received 15 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, and this proved that there was no dispute regarding the fact that 5 members had indeed illegally impeached the Speaker. He also went on to state that the matter at hand is one about establishing a clear penalty for undermining the rule of law, and is really not about defending any individual. He also said that illegal impeachments had become a norm, with occurrences in states like Oyo, Rivers and Ekiti, and that “this is the time to put this ugly issue to rest, so that it never rears its ugly head again.” He also quoted the Constitution, saying that there are clear guidelines regarding impeachment, and that the punishment for treason must be evoked for such acts which undermine the constitution. He ended his submission by saying that: “this government must not tolerate the impunity that it condemned.” The Speaker then called for a vote on the motion and it was adopted by the House. He subsequently constituted a high powered delegation to investigate and resolve the issue, consisting of 10 members and led by the Deputy Whip, Hon. Pally Iriase.

Bills

The following bills were debated and passed second reading;

  1. A bill for an act to authorize issue for the FCT Statutory Revenue Fund of the FCT Administration Account the total sum of N193,864,591,470 (one hundred and ninety-three billion, eight hundred and sixty-four million, five hundred and ninety-one thousand, four hundred and seventy Naira) only, of which the sum of N45,961,784,503 only is for personnel costs and the sum of N33,834,186,423 only, is for overhead costs whilst the balance of N114,068,620,544 only, is for capital projects for the service of the FCT, Abuja, for the financial year commencing from 1st January 2015 and ending on 31st March, 2016 (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) – Referred to House Committee on Supply.
  2. A bill for an act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to among others, provide tenure for the Board, condition of assumption of jurisdiction, etc.; and for other matters connected therewith (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok), and a bill for an act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai) – Referred to the House Committee on Anti-Corruption.
  3. A bill for an act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to provide for the Office of a Mayor for the FCT, Abuja, and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo).
  4. A bill for an act to alter section 24 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide a time frame of ten years or less for population census; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Abiodun Dada Awoleye)
  5. A bill for an act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to establish more Code of Conduct Tribunals and make it mandatory for all public officers to subscribe to the Code of Conduct before taking oath of office; and for other matters connected therewith. (Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok) – Referred to Committee on review of 1999 Constitution.

Motions

  1. Business continued from Assembly to Assembly:

Capital Expenditure Budget Roll-Over Bill, 2015

 

Hon. Sunday Steve Karimi

The House:

 Notes that pursuant to Order XII Rule 96 of the standing orders of the House, the Legislative Business of the House which, though completed and laid in the House by a Committee of the House which remain undetermined at the end of the Assembly shall be resumed and proceeded within the next Assembly in the same manner as if the tenure of the Assembly had not come to an end, if the House resolves in the affirmative that such bills, upon being re-gazetted, be reconsidered in the Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo;

 

Also notes that the Capital Expenditure Roll-Over Bill, 2015 was awaiting consideration in the Committee of the Whole before the last Assembly;

 

Aware that the Bill was re-gazetted as HB. 164 and read for the first time on 1st December 2015;

 

Resolves to:

Commit the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

 

  1. Reconsideration of Outstanding Bills from the Preceding Assembly:

(a) Witness Protection Programme Bill 2015

(b) Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, 2015

Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha

The House

Notes that pursuant to Order XII, Rule 94 of the Standing Orders of the House, Bills passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the Senate for concurrence for which no concurrence were made or negative, or passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for which no concurrence were made or negative or which were passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or witholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the Assembly, the House may resolve that such Bills, upon being re-gazetted or clean copies circulated, be re-considered in Committee of the Whole without being commenced de-novo;

Also notes that the aforementioned Bills were passed by the preceding Assembly and forwarded to the President for assent but for which assent or withholding thereof was not communicated before the end of the tenure of the last Assembly;

Aware that the Bills have been re-gazetted as HB 132 and HB 119 respectively, and read the first time;

Resolves to:

Commit the Bills to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

 

  1. Call for construction of a bridge across River Bunga to link Ningi and Warji Local Government Areas of Bauchi State:

Hon. Salisu Zakari Ningi

 

The House:

Notes that the people of Ningi and Warji Local Government Areas share the same culture and emirate council, and are about 30 kilometres apart, separated by River Bunga;

 

Concerned that owing to the absence of a bridge across River Bunga, the people of the two Local Government Areas now travel through Ganjuwa and Darazo, a distance of 120 km to access their respective LGAs, which results in colossal loss of valuable time;

 

Resolves to:

  • Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to ensure that money for the construction of a bridge over River Bunga is appropriated for in the 2016 budget; and
  • Also mandate the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation.

 

  1. Call on the Executive Arm of Government to Prepare Adequately for the Forthcoming Census:

Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mahmud:

The House:

 

Notes that section 153 (1) and part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers the National Population Commission to undertake the production of demographic, socio-economic and health data through the conduct of census, surveys, vital statistics (registration of births, deaths, migration, etc) and other related researches;

 

Also notes that the United Nations Organisation (UNO) recommended that census be conducted every ten years owing to its significance in providing useful data for socio-economic planning, allocation of resources and opportunities, and for uncovering the housing and social needs of a given society;

 

Aware that the conduct of a modern population census is a very complex exercise, requiring sophisticated arrangements involving a whole range of scientifically tested and technically efficient methods as well as a robust planning that could span a maximum period of four years and a minimum of 17 months, just for the mapping of the entire country, identifying what technology to utilize, mobilizing and training legions of enumerators conducting campaigns, canvassing households, collecting individual information, compiling millions of completed questionnaires, monitoring procedures and results, analyzing and disseminating data and responding promptly to emerging challenges.

 

Also aware that the proposed 2016 population and housing census is no longer feasible owing largely to challenges of funding and lack of political will which scuttled the proper implementation of the earlier scheduled pre-census activities;

 

Worried that only 15% of the funds required for preparation for the 2016 census was appropriated by the National Assembly between 2012 and 2015, thus giving vent to the feeling that genuine quest for a census that will help ensure that policy decisions and monitoring efforts, which are rooted in sound information, will still be marred in view of the complexity and cost of census and their high political profile which put them in a different league from other exercises being carried out by any country;

 

Conscious that the renewed regional and global concerns to reinvigorate the system of civic registration are the building blocks for establishing sustainable demographic databases that help in monitoring developments;

 

Also conscious that international donor agencies can only offer assistance when there is a Presidential proclamation for the take-off of the Census:

 

Resolves to:

  • Call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to issue a proclamation for the holding of a census in 2017; and
  • Urge the National Population Commission to continue its exploits in technology utilization to reduce cases of irregularities and controversies to the barest minimum.

The motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Population.

 

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Report Of House Of Reps Proceedings Of Wendesday

By ‘Rinsola Abiola

The sitting kicked off around 11 a.m. and while legislators were seated in the chambers, the gallery was occupied by students of secondary schools and a higher institution (on excursion to the National Assembly) from within Abuja and Kaduna respectively, and the press.

Letter from the President

Sitting commenced with the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, reading a letter from H.E, President Muhammadu Buhari, craving the indulgence of the House for the extension of the FCT Appropriation Bill until 31st March, 2016. It should be noted that the budget of the FCT is traditionally presented separately from that of the rest of the nation.

Presentation of Bills

After reading the letter, the Clerk presented 15 bills for first reading as follows;

  1. Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (This is an Executive Bill)
  2. Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (This is an executive Bill)
  3. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (Alteration) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa)
  4. Nigerian Legion Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa)
  5. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa)
  6. Flag and Coat of Arms Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ekeje)
  7. Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Ahmed Abu)
  8. Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun Bill, 2016 (Hon. Evelyn Omavowan Oboro)
  9. Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Evelyn Omabowa Oboro)
  10. Chartered Institute of Operations Management of Nigeria Bill, 2016 (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta)
  11. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Hazeez Akinloye)
  12. Unclaimed Financial Assets Bill, 2016 (Hon. Abdulrahman Shuaibu Abubakar)
  13. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Abdulrahman Shuaibu Abubakar)
  14. National Productivity Centre Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi)
  15. National Grazing Routes and Reserve Bill, 2016 (Hon. Karimi S. Sunday)

(Debate occurs during second reading, and updates will be provided.)

Motions

Following the presentation of the above listed bills, Members raised motions as follows;

  1. Conflict in Benue State: Hon. Mark Gbillah (of Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Benue State) raised a motion of urgent importance regarding the “recurring conflict” between unidentified herdsmen and villagers in the state, a situation which he explained, has resulted in loss of lives, destruction of property and internal displacement. He therefore prayed that the House Committees on Police Affairs, Public Safety and Internal Affairs prevail upon the Inspector-General of Police and Ministers for Defense and Internal Affairs, to put in motion steps aimed at preventing further conflict and attendant loss of lives, and to create a joint task force which will be charged with the responsibility of monitoring the influx of herdsmen and creating a database of their identity and other vital details. He also prayed that the people and communities affected by the conflict should be assisted. This motion was adopted.
  2. Urgent need to rehabilitate the Argungu-Yamama-Tago road which connects Kebbi and Sokoto states: Hon. Husseini Suleiman Kangiwa raised an infrastructure-related motion on this road, drawing attention to the constant loss of lives as a result of its current state, and further discussed the economic importance of the road. He further prayed that the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) rehabilitate failed portions of the road as an interim measure, and that the Federal Ministry on Power, Works and Housing award a contract for the reconstruction of the road in order to end the suffering of the people. The motion was adopted, then referred to the House Committee on Works for further legislative action.
  3. Urgent need for completion of Contract for the rehabilitation of Jega-Maiyama-Koko-Yauri road: Hon. Salisu Garba Koko raised another infrastructure-related motion on this road, stating that it connects the Western and North-Central states to Niger Republic and is therefore of vital economic importance to Nigeria. He further stated that the road was constructed over 40 years ago and the erosion which has occurred over time has generated craters and potholes which slow traffic and expose motorists to the risk of accidents while also posing security risks. He also stated that the contract of the rehabilitation of the road was awarded to Triacta Nigeria Limited by the last administration, but the contract has since been abandoned. He therefore prayed that the House Committee on Works investigate the abandonment of the contract and interface with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Federal Ministry of Finance, with a view to moblising the contractor to site for completion of the contract in order to ameliorate the hardship being faced by motorists. This motion was adopted.
  4. Urgent need to resuscitate the multi-billion Naira Federal Government Investment in the Ikere Gorge Dam in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State:  Hon. Olasupo Abiodun Adeola raised this motion, stating that the project was initiated during the military regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd.) although construction didn’t begin until 1983 during the Shagari administration. The project has since been abandoned, however, despite the capacity to irrigate 12,000 hectares of farmland, generation of 6 MW of hydroelectricity, supply of 82 million cubic metres of water through the spillway to Lagos metropolis, production of 17,325 tons of maize, 954 tonnes of Sorghum and 3,630 tons of cassava annually. He further stated that civil works on the dam are 99.5% complete while mechanical and electrical works are 90% complete, and that the dam has since been supplying 82 million cubic metres of water annually to Lagos state. In conclusion, he prayed that the Committee on Works liaise with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to ensure that the construction of the 32km access road from Iseyin to the dam is captured in the 2016 Appropriations proposal, that the FG – through the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing – expedite actions on all outstanding works that will lead to the engagement of concessioners for the generation of 6MW of electricity at Ikere dam; that the Committee on Water Resources liaise with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority to ensure the completion of all outstanding projects on the Ikere Gorge dam, and that the Committee on Legislative Compliance ensure implementation. The motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Works for further legislative action.
  5. Need for integrated rural development in the country:  Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu raised a motion regarding the perceived underfunding of rural development projects, which has contributed in no small way to the abandonment of agriculture, which is mostly practiced in rural areas. He therefore prayed that the House urge the Federal Government to give due attention to rural development by increasing the annual budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to accommodate the increasing needs of the rural populace, and that the Committee on Rural Development investigate the state of rural developmental projects nationwide . The motion was adopted.
  6. Need to invest pension funds to meet Nigeria’s infrastructural challenges: Hon. Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen raised a motion on the subject matter, stating that since the implementation of the Pension Reform Act, over N5trillion has accumulated, and this could be invested in the provision of infrastructure. This motion generated fierce debate, as there were opinions both in support and against, and eventually, the minority leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Leo Ogor, suggested that the motion be amended to only mandate the Committees on Pensions, Finance and Capital Market and Institutions to interface with the National Pensions Commission and other stakeholders on the viability of investing pension funds in infrastructural development. The motion was adopted after this amendment.
  7. Urgent need to address the utilization of the N350billion Natural Resources Fund (NRF) as a finance window for development of the Solid Minerals sector: Hon.  Danladi Mohammad Kurfi noted that the Natural Resources Development Account was created in 2002 to develop alternative resources with a view to reducing Nigeria’s reliance on oil, and that while mining contributed over 10% of the nation’s GDP in the 1970s, it currently accounts for 0.3%. He also stated that although the funds in the account were utilized, the NRF was never accessed by the Solid Minerals sector, despite Nigeria’s huge mining potential. He further revealed that the total accrual to the account between 2002 and 2012 was about N873billion, while utilization stood at N701billion, leaving a balance of N172billion at the end of 2012, and that between 2013-2014, N159.6billion was contributed to the fund, thus bringing the balance to about N350billion. The Rep expressed concern that between 2013 and 2015, money was continuously withdrawn from the fund without a single project in the solid minerals sector, and that a Solid Minerals Development Fund was set up but never funded. He then went on to note that the development of solid minerals would provide millions of jobs and result in poverty reduction while also increasing the volume of Nigeria’s external trade and foreign exchange earnings. He therefore prayed that the House Committee on Solid Mineral Development would investigate the matter and report to the House for further legislative action. This motion was adopted.

Adjournment

Sitting was subsequently adjourned around 2 p.m. until 23rd February in order to allow for further deliberations on the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

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Meet The Deputy Governor Of Kogi State, Simon Achuba

The new deputy governor of Kogi State, Simeon Achuba, was born on July 13, 1964 and hails from Iyano-Ibaji, in Ibaji Local Government Area of the state.

He started his early education at LGEA Primary School, Iyano-Ibaji, between 1971 and 1976 and proceeded to Idah Secondary Commercial College between 1976 and 1981 for his O’ Level certificate.

Achuba attended College of Education Katsina/Ala, Benue State between 1985 and 1988 where he obtained his National Certificate in Education (NCE).

In his quest for more knowledge, Achuba gained admission to Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja between 1998 and 2001 where he obtained Higher National Diploma (HND) in Public Administration.
He obtained a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Public Administration from Kogi State University, Anyigba in 2004.
Achuba also attended Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma in Edo State between 2004 and 2005 where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
He has held various leadership positions including Vice Chairman, Ibaji Local Government Council, 1997-1998; member, Kogi State House of Assembly, 1999-2003 and two term deputy speaker in Kogi State House of Assembly, 1997 and 2007.
Achuba was chairman, Kogi State Environmental Protection Board between 2012 and 2015; Government nominated member, Amateur Wrestling Federation Board, 2008 till date.
He has served at various times as chairman, House Committee on Public Account, Public Petition and Human Right, Commerce and Industry while he was member of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

He was also the Director General, Prince Abubakar Audu Governorship Campaign Organisation in 2008.
Achuba is an accomplished business man who majored in the areas of construction, production, oil and gas retailing amongst others.

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SDGs Goal Four: Picking The Best Strategy For Quality Education In Nigeria

World leaders gathered in New York last September to develop a new agenda for the future. At that summit, they set 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030. One of the goals is to ensure quality and inclusive education for every child in the world.

Here in Nigeria, education has improved significantly in the past 25 years. We have more schools and better facilities. Only 25% of children aged between 6 and 11 were in school 25 years ago, but that has changed over the years. Enrolment has risen steadily and more children finish school today than ever before.

It has helped that state governments have programs that address this problem. Tuition is free or subsidised to secondary level in most Nigerian states. States are building new schools and renovating old ones to facilitate learning. In the Northern Nigeria, the federal government has also made efforts to absorb children in the Almajiri system so they can get a formal education alongside their religious studies. These programs have helped get more children in school and have them finish secondary at least.

Even at that, over 10 million children are still out of school in Nigeria today. Children in rural parts of the country are less likely to enroll in primary school – currently 39% of primary school aged children in rural areas are presently out of school and 19% of this number will enter late and 76% will never enroll in any form of school. The statistic becomes grimmer for the most disadvantaged of us: children living in homes that survive on less than a dollar per day. 66% of children from poor families are currently out of school compared to a mere 6% in richer families, 11% out of the 66% of the poor families will enter school very late, while a whooping 87% will never see the four walls of a classroom.

In 2012, the North East and North West were the regions with the lowest per capita income in the country and this collates with having the highest number of out of school children at 67% and the lowest primary school completion rate in the country. In Yobe for instance, a Millennium Development Goals report shows only 10% of the pupils finished primary school compared to 83% in Ogun.

Moreover, there are many parts of the country where people do not see the connection between formal education and economic advancement; therefore they do not see the need to prioritise education. This is why many young people from these areas are either not supported to go to school or are actively blocked from doing so. So even though tuition is free or subsidised, many drop out due to the unseen cost of getting basic education or do not go to begin with, as they are responsible for taking care of the growing family through their extra income. They are busy working on the farm, doing some trade or taking religious lessons. Tuition is free in Ebonyi for example. Yet every year lots of young boys in the state drop out of school and migrate to cities to learn a trade or run a business.

The Boko Haram insurgency has also disrupted schooling in some states. As of December 2015, Boko haram had forced over one million children out of school. Many children have been killed or kidnapped since the crisis began. A lot of school-aged children have had to flee their homes with their parents and now live in camps with hardly any formal schooling system. The insurgency has certainly hampered access to education in Boko Haram strongholds, which include Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

The truth is, things could be so much better if state governments had better policies on education—like training and monitoring teachers through technology, prioritising high quality education for all especially girls and creating structures in conflict areas to ensure the continuity of education during conflict. Teachers in government schools often lack the proficiency to do their work; teachers need adequate preparation through access to learning resources and technological tools that will highly motivate them to provide a productive classroom-learning environment for their pupils.

In fact, many parents have had to withdraw their children from state-funded schools because their teachers would teach them nothing all day. In conflict areas, parents are scared to send their children to schools because of the many horror stories due to the insurgency. Girls in certain part of the country are made to leave school much earlier due to early marriages. Government cannot deliver quality education and achieve the seven educational target for education if it does not make better decisions which lead to increased access to the most disadvantaged, high quality training for teachers, paying better wages to attract the very best talents to teaching in the primary schools and setting up make-shift schools to accommodate education in conflict areas.

It has been proven over and over again that most of the social and economic problems that hinder education can actually be solved long term by making sure every child completes fee, equitable and quality basic education. Education is key to achieving any form of socioeconomic development.

Education enlightens people. People who keep their children from going to school do so because they’re not enlightened about the importance of schooling, and that’s usually because they did not have access to high quality education themselves. But we can change that by getting young people into school so they’ll grow up to think differently, educate their own children, and therefore turn things around in their community.

We often have the wrong politicians in government because a lot of people, who vote these politicians, do not have the skills to make wise voting choices. An educated person can function more effectively as a citizen and vote smarter than a person who has had no access to education. This is due to limited knowledge in devising the truth from propaganda. So when we educate young people, we are empowering them to make the right choices as citizens. This will strengthen our democracy and then we can begin to prepare the nation for development.

Poverty and income inequality are prevalent in our country today chiefly because of the educational challenges. The same areas where people mostly do not go to school are the same areas where most poor people reside. But education gives people the opportunity to turn things around for themselves and earn a better living. There are statistic everywhere that show this; for every additional year a girl in a developing country pass primary three, this leads to a 20% higher wages; by not offering girls the same education as boys, developing countries like Nigeria, losses averagely 90 billion dollars yearly. So if we’re going to end poverty and close the gap between the rich and the poor, we have to do more to make sure every Nigerian child has equal access to quality education regardless of gender and socioeconomic background

With education, people especially women make better decisions and live healthy lives. If we ensure every girl has equal access to basic education, we can reduce child mortality rate by 2%; have 50% of children under 5 live past their fifth birthday; increase immunization rate by 50%; reduce maternal mortality by 66%, reduce early marriages by 64% and cut down earlier pregnancy by 59%. The government can reach most of the sustainable development goals targets by prioritising equal access to education for all especially the girl child through better-informed policies.

It’s encouraging to know that Nigeria made some progress in the MDGs which ended in 2015; achieving universal primary education (74% in primary six completion rate, increased literacy rate (66.7%) for women between 15-24) and promoting of gender equality and empowering women (1.01% increase in girls to boys ration in primary school). There is so much the government can do with the seven educational targets set to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education) by 2030.

To start with, the Nigerian Government need to choose which of the seven educational goals will be prirotised by the Ministry of Education and communicate that to all agencies working on education, so there is a joint effort in attaining the set goal before the end of the year.

At the Orderly Society Trust, we have started the conversation on all of our social media platform to get the public to vote for three educational targets that ought to be prioritised by the Nigerian Government. The results will form part of our advocacy drive to ensure every Nigerian child has access to high quality education for a chance to live a meaningful and better life.

 Join in on the conversation at the www.orderlysocietytrust. Follow us on Twitter at @OrderlySociety_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/theorderlysocietytrust/

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Buhari’s Very Smart Policies Revealed

President Muhammadu Buhari, is no doubt charting the course of “change” for Nigeria and also setting the stage for strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the medium-term, despite current external economic turbulence.

For the skeptic and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it is scandalous to say that the born again democrat has done well since his ascension to power on May 29, 2015.

“National PDP has pleaded with Nigerians to pray for Buhari and the APC, saying … his government has been a case of all motion, no movement,” the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Olisah Metuh had stated in a statement before his sojourn to Kuje Prison.

To be fair to the president, the anti-corruption war is a bolster that has re-branded the country’s image in the comity of nation.

The magic wand that secured Buhari’s electoral victory in the March 28, 2015 presidential election was his anti-corruption antecedents and pledges.

Many Nigerians have been arrested indiscriminately and some have been denied entry visas, simply because their passports brandish the green-white-green colours. To many, the colour was an “insignia of corruption.”

It was Buhari’s anti-corruption stance that prompted the United States, US, Secretary of State, John Kerry to praise Buhari’s determination to rid Nigeria of corruption.

In his speech at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kerry expressed concern about the role of some government officials who allegedly diverted funds meant for the procurement of arms to prosecute the war against Boko Haram insurgents.

He also commended the determination of this administration to prosecute all those suspected of looting public funds in Nigeria.

In the area of climate and environment, Buhari has demanded that the global community works together in order to avert any disaster that could be capable of harming the human race.

On infrastructural development, Buhari through the 2016 budget intends to increase capital expenditure as a share of total budget to more than 30 per cent from 15 per cent.

In the energy sector, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has stated that power generation in the country reached an all-time high of 4,810.7MW on August 25, 2015. These are fruits from Buhari’s smart policies.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Buhari has made regional integration within the West African sub-region one of the priorities of his administration.

This policy direction is not only economically vital, but it will also be critical if the war against insurgency is to be won.

The plans for the implementation of a Treasury Single Account, TSA, is aimed at increasing transparency in the remittance of collections of revenues. His fight against corruption is no doubt a key achievement of his administration.

Despite criticisms against his economic stand point, he has been able to stabilize the markets, despite fluctuations in food prices, the government has set aside N500 billion as social intervention, aimed at easing the effects of higher prices and exchange rate volatility.

Post Nigeria

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$17.8 bn Illegally Taken Out Of Nigeria In 9 Years – Report

Over $7.8 trillion was siphoned from the world’s developing and emerging economies between 2004 and 2013, and over $17.8 billion (about N3.4 trillion) of that amount, was from Nigeria, a new report on global illicit financial flows has said.

Nigeria is among the world’s top 20 countries with the biggest losses from skewed financial transactions, the report noted.

South Africa leads the pack in Africa with $209.22 billion lost over the period. It occupies the seventh position on global ranking.

Globally, China leads with $1.39trillion, followed by Russia ($1.05trillion), Mexico ($528.44billion), India ($510.29billion), Malaysia ($418.54billion) and Brazil ($226.67billion), Thailand ($191.77billion) and Indonesia $180.71billion.

Others include Kazakhstan ($167.40billion), Turkey ($154.50billion), Venezuela ($123.94billion), Ukraine ($116.76billion), Costa Rica ($113.46bilion), Iraq ($105.01billion), Azerbaijan ($95.00billion), Vietnam ($92.94billion), Philippines ($90.25billion) and Poland ($90.02billion).

Illicit financial flows are transactions involving the transfer of the proceeds from the exploitation of the resources from a particular region to another, either through money laundering and other illegal means, or commercial activities, without the commensurate value in returns.

The report published on Wednesday by Global Financial Integrity, GFI, a Washington DC-based research and advisory group, said illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies, which stood at just $465.3 billion in 2004, rose sharply to $1.1 trillion in 2013 alone.

Titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013?, the report, which described the phenomenal jump in scale, showed that illicit financial flows first exceeded the $1 trillion mark in 2011.

Authored by GFI’s chief economist, Dev Kar, in partnership with his junior counterpart, Joseph Spanjers, the report ranked Nigeria 10th among the world’s top 20 countries devastated by illicit financial flows.

The study involved the analysis of discrepancies in balance of payments data and direction of trade statistics (DOTS), as reported to the IMF to detect flows of capital illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized.

Detailed findings from the report showed that illicit financial flows growth rate for the period averaged 8.6 percent in Asia and 7 percent in developing Europe as well as in the MENA and Asia-Pacific regions.

The report identified Sub-Saharan Africa as the only region still suffering the biggest blow from the negative impact from illicit financial outflows, with an average of 6.1 percent of its gross domestic product, GDP finding their way out to other regions without returning.

About 5.9 percent of the GDP of developing economies in Europe was equally affected, according to the report, while the impact on the developing countries’ GDP averaged a staggering four percent and 3.8 percent of the GDP of Asia.

The report also said about 3.6 percent of the entire value of the economic activities of countries in the Western Hemisphere was lost through illicit financial transactions, same as the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which accounts for about 2.3 percent.

Other findings from the report showed that trade fraud accounted for $6.5 trillion of the illicit outflows, with China, Russia, Mexico, India, and Malaysia, as the biggest exporters of illicit capital over the period.

In seven of the10 years studied, the report showed that global illicit financial flows outpaced the total value of all foreign aid and foreign direct investment flowing into poor nations.

“This study clearly demonstrates that illicit financial flows are the most damaging economic problem faced by the world’s developing and emerging economies,” GFI President Raymond Baker, said.

The GFI president said the report confirmed the concerns at the 2015 United Nations Assembly that for Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved, it would require significant curtailing of the illicit flows to meet the mantra of ‘trillions not billions’ needed to fund the campaign.

This was in line with the objective of Goal 16.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on countries to significantly reduce illicit financial flows by 2030.

Although the report observed that the international community was yet to agree on the goal indicators, it said however that the technical measurements have been identified to provide baselines and track progress made on underlying targets and, subsequently, the overall SDGs.

These indicators, the report explained, would not be finalized until March 2016. But, it called on the International Monetary Fund, IMF to conduct the annual assessment.

The report urged world leaders to focus on promoting openness in the global financial system, particularly by establishing public registries of verified beneficial ownership information on all legal entities, while all banks should know the true identities of owner(s) accounts opened with them.

“Government authorities should adopt and fully implement all of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering recommendations; laws already in place should be strongly enforced,” the report recommended.

Besides, it asked policymakers to demand multinational companies to publicly disclose their revenues, profits, losses, sales, taxes paid, subsidiaries, and staff levels on a country-by-country basis.

In addition, it said all countries should actively participate in the worldwide movement towards the automatic exchange of tax information as endorsed by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and the G20.

Other policy recommendations included the need for Customs agencies to treat trade transactions involving a tax haven with the highest level of scrutiny, while governments should significantly boost their customs enforcement by equipping and training officers to better detect intentional misinvoicing of trade transactions, particularly through access to real-time world market pricing information at a detailed commodity level.

It also emphasized the need for governments to sign on to the Addis Ababa Tax Initiative to further support efforts to curb illicit financial flows as a key component of the development agenda.

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