El-Rufai Reshuffles Cabinet, Appoints New Perm. Secs

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has effected a cabinet reshuffle. The comprehensive rejig of senior personnel includes the swapping of commissioners, the nomination of new commissioners, the appointment of new permanent secretaries and some retirements.
Announcing the decision during a meeting of the state executive council, the governor thanked all members of the team for the successes the government has recorded so far.
The commissioners swapping portfolios are as follows:
• Amina Dyeris-Sijuwade moves from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
• Dr. Maigari Daniel Manzo moves from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
• Shehu Balarabe moves from the Ministry of Environment to become Commissioner, Stakeholder Relations.
• Mohammed Bashir Saidu, having become the Chief of Staff, relinquishes the office of Commissioner for Local Government .
Rabi Abdulsalam, former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, becomes Special Adviser on Social Development. Dr. Shehu Usman Adamu, former Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, returns to academia.
The Governor has also nominated four commissioners for confirmation by the Kaduna House of Assembly. They are:
• Umma Hikima, Clerk of the House of Assembly, as Commissioner of Justice/Attorney-General
• Professor Kabiru Mato, currently Special Adviser,Intergovernmental Relations, as Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry
• Hafsat Baba as Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development
• Jafaru Sani, Permanent Secretary Cabinet Affairs, as Commissioner for Local Government
Three special advisers have been reassigned. Uba Sani is redesignated as Special Adviser, Political Matters and Intergovernmental Relations. Chris Umar, Deputy Chief of Staff, is to become Solicitor-General, while Murtala Dabo, Special Adviser, Economic Matters, is appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport.
The Government has also announced the appointment of eight new Permanent Secretaries.
The new Permanent Secretaries are:
1. Mohammed Mahmoud Shuaibu: Ministry of Health and Human Services
2. Chris Umar: Ministry of Justice
3. Rabilu Shehu Ibrahim: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
4. Joseph Steven: Ministry of Local Government
5. Habiba Anana Shekarau: General Services, Office of the SSG
6. Lawrence Shemang: Ministry of Water Resources
7. Murtala Dabo: Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport
8. Abdullahi Sani: Cabinet Affairs and Special Services, Office of the SSG
Five Permanent Secretaries have been redeployed as follows:
• Hauwa Umar, Ministry of Women and Social Development
• Ibrahim Shehu Jere, Bureau of Establishments, Management and Training
• Ibrahim Sambo, Ministry of Rural and Community Development
• Nuhu Ishaku Buzun, Public Service Office, Office of the Head of Service
• Aishatu K. Mohammed, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
The following permanent secretaries have been retired:
1. Esther C. Tsuwang
2. Lukman Musa Soba
3. Victoria Galadima
4. Mamman Garba Senior
5. Mary Musa Sawok
The Governor has, on behalf of the government, expressed appreciation for their services to the state.
Signed
Samuel Aruwan
Special Assistant to the Governor (Media and Publicity)
21st February 2017

Saraki Reads Buhari’s Letter Extending His Vacation In UK

The Senate on Tuesday officially read President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter dated Feb. 5, requesting an extension of his vacation to further finish up some medical checkups.

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, read the letter at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the senate had before resumption from its four weeks suspension of plenary, admitted receiving the letter from the President.

The letter reads: “Further to my letter dated Jan. 18, 2017 in which I notified the distinguished Senate of taking part of my annual leave.

“During my leave I took the opportunity to have routine checkups and consult my long standing doctors in London. In the course of the routine examinations, certain tests results indicated the need for a course of medications and further appointments rescheduled for next week.

“I am therefore notifying the distinguished senate that I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out.

“In the circumstances, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo would continue to act on my behalf. Please accept distinguished Senate President the assurances of my highest consideration,” the letter read.

In his remarks, Saraki said that the National Assembly leadership visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London, adding that he was in good spirit and in good health.

“He was chatting as usual and conveys his best wishes and hopes to be back with us very soon,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate has condoled with the House of Representatives over the death of Rep.  Bello Sani representing Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency of Katsina State.

“Our condolence is to his family and the government of Katsina State.

“He was a gentle man, principled and cosmopolitan who interacted very well with members of the National Assembly,’’ he said.

He prayed God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss. (NAN)

Ooni of Ife To Host Renowned Space Astronaut Next Week

Preparations are in top gear for His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ile-Ife to host the renowned astronaut, adventurer and inventor, Nik Halik for the Nigeria edition of “Rocket your Success” a motivational program for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Astronaut, Nik Halik, who is presently on a world tour, will be in Ile-Ife next week Wednesday and Thursday respectively to pay homage to the foremost traditional ruler before proceeding to Lagos for the “Rocket your Success” conference on 4th March to promote the entrepreneurial and adventure spirit among young people.

Speaking about his upcoming trip to Nigeria, the astronaut said, Nigeria presents a unique opportunity in the future of space science and technology.
“In many ways, Nigeria and Africa as a whole, is open for many opportunities to develop its young people and foster interest in a future thriving space program and adventure. In my trip to Africa, I have seen eager and curious minds wanting to take on the world. Now is the time to encourage them to attain their full potential.”

He stated further that apart from encouraging young people to embrace space research, his mission is also to motivate entrepreneurs and people who like to venture into the unknown: “It is entrepreneurs who move the world forward, who shape the future for others. This is why as an entrepreneur myself, I like to engage people to let them know that there is so much to offer the world.”

Speaking about the program: “Rocket your Success” with Nik Halik, the coordinators, Adeleke and Wale Olukoya who thanked the Ooni of Ile-Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi for his involvement in the program also encouraged others to support.

“We would like to thank His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Ooni of Ile-Ife for supporting this program with Nik Halik and we are believing that his presence at the conference will be an added advantage to the participants. We must encourage our young people to literally reach for the stars and dare to dream, so that they can be something great in life. This program will definitely help in providing direction for them.”

About 3,000 people are expected to attend the “Rocket Your Success” program, which will feature keynote speeches, exhibitions, a VIP business networking session at National Theatre, Lagos on Saturday 4th March, 2017.

Gov Yahaya Bello Urges Traditional Rulers To Supports Security Measures

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has urged traditional rulers to supports security measures being put in place towards addressing insecurity in the state.

The governor who spoke through his Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs, Engineer Abubakar Ohere at the Quarterly Meeting of Traditional Council said that the state government is cooperating with security agencies in tackling menace of kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists in the state.

 The governor said that his administration has procured and provided surveillance equipment and security vehicles to proactively tackle insecurity in the Confluence State. He added that in one year of the administration several roads have constructed or rehabilitated in addition to electrification of rural areas and installation of street light across major roads in Lokoja, the state capital.

 Bello urged the traditional rulers to brainstorm on issues bothering on traditional institution, security and social developments that could enhanced mutual understanding, tolerance and economic advancement of the state.

 He disclosed that Governor Bello is using a magic wand of experience and administrative competence to improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State which his predecessors thought to be unrealisable, adding that more dividends of democracy are coming on the way of the tradition fathers across the State soon as the Government plans to embark on renovation and rehabilitation of their palaces.

 Earlier in his speech, the President of the traditional council and the Attah of Igala, Dr. Michael Ameh Oboni II, commended the governor on his infrastructural developments across the state and commended his commitment towards welfare of the custodians of traditional institutions.

 The traditional ruler also promised to cooperate with security agencies towards increasing security consciousness in their areas.

He stressed that “most importantly, the consultation and inclusion of traditional rulers in key decision and policy making by the current administration, first in the history of the State.

Lending his voice on security challenges, the Vice President of the traditional council, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, the Ohinoyi of Ebira land tasked the royal fathers to complement the efforts of the state government in every possible way in combating the security challenges in the land as it is much a herculean task to be left on the shoulders of the government alone.

Buhari Thanks Nigerians, Explains Why He Is Staying Longer In London

Arms Deal Scam: EFCC Tenders More Exhibits Against Badeh

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC, on February 20, 2017 through its 14th witness presented more exhibits against a former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, who is standing trial along Iyalikam Nigeria Limited on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97 billion.
While being led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the witness Olusegun Adegbite, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Maiatama, Abuja, told the court that the EFCC requested for documents with respect to the defendants.
“The EFCC requested for documents related to Farsman Account, NAF payee account and Judah Oil Limited, specifically account opening documents, statements of account, and we responded,” he said.
He identified the documents in court has having emanated from his office.
The defence team raised no objections to the request of the prosecution to tender them as evidence.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, thereafter accepted the documents in evidence and marked them as exhibits T97, T98, T99, T100 and T101.
The trial has been adjourned to February 21, 2017.

Money Laundering: Senate Panel Asks EFCC To Go After CBN, NNPC

The Senate, on Monday, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over alleged racketeering in foreign exchange transactions.

The lawmakers also urged the EFCC to identify owners of mansions in highbrow areas of Abuja, alleging that several senior officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government had become billionaires through corrupt enrichment.

Members of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes made the call when the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, led the commission’s leadership before the lawmakers for 2017 budget defence.

The lawmakers, while criticising the EFCC for usually going after former public officials, said the anti-graft agency should focus on financial crimes prevention.

A member of the committee, Senator Isa Misau, said since the EFCC was now encouraging whistle-blowers, he wished to blow the whistle on the CBN and the NNPC.

He cited the recent recovery $9,772,000 and £74,000 from Mr. Yakubu Andrew, who was the Group Managing Director of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014.

Operatives of the commission had, on February 3, 2017, raided a building in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, belonging to the former NNPC boss, and recovered the staggering cash stashed away in a huge fireproof safe.

Misau stated, “I can’t imagine the over $9m recovered from a former GMD (of NNPC). If somebody who left (public) office has such money stashed somewhere, then, you can just make a guess about the other people who have been on the seat.

“Therefore, today, I am giving it as a challenge to the EFCC to go and see what the NNPC or CBN or the finance ministry is doing.

“Look at (the case of) somebody, who left office about five years ago. This is an era of whistle-blowing. I am blowing my whistle: go and check CBN. That is the reason why, today, we have (this) recession. Today, dollar, at the parallel market, is N520. And there are allegations against the CBN; the way they give these dollars.

“This committee is challenging the EFCC to go and look at these records: what is our revenue in dollars? Who are the people collecting these dollars?”

The lawmaker added that Nigerians were no longer using forex for international transactions, stressing that rather than use the dollar for importation, people now took advantage of the forex crisis in the country.

He said, “People now buy these dollars and keep them in their houses. The amount of dollars in Nigeria in cash is more than the amount of dollars in the whole of the USA. If you (EFCC) tell us, we can cooperate with you and tell you (about) the people hiding these monies.

“Go and see unoccupied buildings in Asokoro, Maitama and Wuse 2 (all in Abuja). For over five years, nobody will be there (in the buildings). And EFCC is not looking at these houses. A lot of transactions are taking place with ill-gotten money to the tune of N2bn or N3bn, and somebody will bring the money in cash to buy a house.

“Without digging into these landed properties and knowing their owners, you may end up being only after somebody who just left office, and arresting and detaining them for one week, and they will get bailed. And the business continues.”

Misau lamented that the anti-graft war was being threatened by the aspect of the law which enabled suspected looters to enjoy their freedom while under EFCC probe.

He said if he could steal N10bn from public funds and all he had to suffer was being in EFCC custody for a few days, “I will do it.”

According to him, a lot of looters are encouraged by such provision in the law.

Misau added, “We want a situation whereby you will get the cooperation of judges. I see no reason why somebody will take (steal) billions and after two days with the EFCC, they will be granted bail.

“If we need another law that once it has to do with government money, we can keep such person with EFCC for one year; if there are certain laws you want, where you can detain somebody for one year, we are ready.

“Go and check the houses in Maitama, Wuse 2 and Asokoro. How did they (the owners) get the money? Check the directors, who are still serving; they are all billionaires. I can mention more than 30 directors; they are still serving and they are billionaires.

“These are the kinds of things that make up institutional corruption that we have to check. Go and see the procurement officers and permanent secretaries; they give contracts to themselves and inflate contracts.

“If we have to wait for somebody to blow whistle, it will be business as usual and nobody is afraid of it now. I am blowing this whistle about CBN so that any recovery from the CBN, I am the one who blew the whistle; and any recovery from the NNPC, I blew the whistle.”

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, stated that going by the mandate of the EFCC, 60 per cent of its task should be on preventive measures, while 40 per cent should be for all other issues combined.

He, however, noted that the commission did not focus on preventive measures in its budget defence.

Utazi said, “Looking at your core mandate, the essence is to curb corruption to a large extent but in the budget you have provided, I have not seen the issue raised in the prayers here. There is no prayer that is talking about enlightenment, which is the money thing you are expected to do.

“All we hear from the press is negative publicity; chasing people who have been caught; that is what we hear all the time. We want to change the narration to ‘what are we doing to ensure that instead of chasing after people, who are giving us a headache, why can’t we stop other people from joining the gang?’ There is nothing like that here in this budget.”

FG Meets Investors On Issuance Of Sovereign Green Bonds

“Nigeria is committed to sustainable economic development. The Lagos Event is a concrete step in the process of developing and issuing our 2017 sovereign green bonds program ‘- Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment

Nigeria’s aspiration to become a green economy inches closer as The Federal Government meet investors and Capital Markets Operators in Lagos for the first ever Green Bonds Conference.  Themed “Green Bonds: Investing in Nigeria’s Sustainable Development”, the Conference is organized by the Federal Ministry Environment in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office and will take place on Thursday, the 23rd of February 2016 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos.

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo will deliver a keynote presentation at the conference. The Governor of Lagos State, H.E Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and The Governor of Ogun State, H.E Ibikunle Amosun will also attend as special guests.  The Conference Agenda is expected to have Panel Discussions, an exhibition and presentation of the identified projects in Energy, Agriculture, Transport (FCT) and Environment with international investors and business leaders expected to lead at the event.

The Sovereign Green Bonds project is part of a strategic process by the Federal Government to add to the nation’s funding options to catalyse the rebound of our economy and offer the vast majority of Nigerians, a new alternative.  The Green bonds issuance will be the first stage in enabling Nigerian tap into the growing global market for green bonds, which as of end of 2016 comprised of $576bn of unlabeled climate-aligned bonds and $118bn of labeled green bonds according to Climate Bonds Initiative in London.

“A sovereign green bond represents a new stage in development of Nigerian capital markets and opens the way for further corporate issuance and international investment. The NSE is playing a key role to help develop this enormous opportunity for Nigeria and fulfill one of our key objectives as a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative,” says Oscar N. Onyema, CEO Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Nigeria’s first green bond issuance will be the first ever Sovereign issuance in an emerging market. According to Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Green Bonds Project present such an opportunity and the investors conference for Nigeria’s first green bond issuance is timely. The Conference present a huge opportunity to discuss next step in the diversification of our economy and it will bring together institutional investors, banking finance and young social entrepreneurs that will ensure this initial bond launch is a success enabling the development of a green bond market while building our national climate finance capabilities.

The Honorable Minister of Environment and her counter-part, the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun had on 12th of January 2017 inaugurated  a Public Private Advisory Group meeting on the Green Bonds, this was consolidating Stakeholders’ consultation held in late 2016.

Sponsors and supporters for Thursday’s event include the Nigerian Stock Exchange, CITI Bank, Chapel Hill Denham and Climate Bonds while the World Bank, DFID and EY are also playing active roles.  The involvement of the NSE and international groups is another indicator of the longer-term climate finance objectives that lay behind this issuance.

Governor Ahmed Budgets N1bn For Students’ Bursaries, Scholarships In 2017

The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has expressed his administration’s preparedness to prioritize bursary and scholarship awards to students in the 2017 fiscal year.

Governor Ahmed said this commitment is in view of the need to support Kwara State indigenes studying in tertiary institutions across the country and in recognition of his administration’s emphasis on education. The governor added that this will also encourage the beneficiary students to excel in their education as the scholarship will be merit based, according to statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede.

Alhaji Ahmed stated that in the 2017 budget proposal, which is currently before the State House of Assembly, the sum of N500m is earmarked for bursaries, while N450m is allocated for scholarship awards.

According to the governor, once the budget is passed by the House and signed into law, the State government will begin the phased disbursement of the bursary and scholarship.

Governor Ahmed noted that in a departure from previous practice, the government has obtained lists of students of Kwara State origin in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, which according to him will form the basis of direct payment to the beneficiary students.

Alhaji Ahmed said that the State government could not pay bursary last year due to the financial situation in the country, but commended the students for their patience and maturity.

Kwara Govt Donates N1m To Student With Spinal Cord Injury

Kwara State Government today donated a sum of one million naira to the family of a student of Cherubim and Seraphim College, Ilorin, Ibrahim Garba who has a tspinal cord injury.

The State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Engineer Musa Yeketi who presented the cheque on behalf of the government symphatised with the family of the student over the incidence.

Engineer Yeketi explained that the mother of the student, Mrs. Kafilah Garba requested for the sum of nine hundred and fifty which covers pre-surgical, surgical and post surgical.

He said the immediate approval of one million naira by the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed would assist in the treatment of the student.

Narrating the incident, the Principal of Junior Secondary School, Cherubim and Seraphim College, Mr. Daramola Olufemi said a tree fell on the student while observing environmental sanitation exercise in January, this year.

Mr. Olufemi explained that the College immediately took the student to health facility and ran to well-meaning Nigerians including LEAH Foundation for assistance.

In her response, the mother of the student, Mrs. Kafilah Garba thanked the State Government for its intervention.

Mrs. Garba who is a widow also thanked various stakeholders for coming to the aid of his child.

The cheque presentation which took place at the office of the Commissioner for Education and Human capital has in attendance the Chairman, State House of Assembly Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Judiciary, Barrister Kamaldeen Fagbemi, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Goke Bamidele, representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria, Public Complaint Commission and Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).

Army General, Police Commissioner Relocate To Southern Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government on Monday announced that the Garrison Commander of the 1 Division of the Nigeria Army and the state’s Commissioner of Police have relocated to the southern part of the state. This is to enable Brigadier-General Ismaila Isa and CP Agyole Abeh coordinate a determined response to renewed attacks by armed bandits on communities in Kaura and Jema’a local government areas.

The situation has been brought under control by this afternoon, but security operations continue.

A government statement said that Malam Nasir El-Rufai has extended his condolence to the families of the victims of the renewed attacks which began last night, 19th February 2017. The governor assured them that the government is fully committed to securing the area, with the active support of the army and the police.
The statement added that the two battalions of the army and the 10 mobile police squadrons are engaging the bandits, as the duty state carries out its obligations to secure the area, protect lives and rout these armed bandits.

The governor said that despite these difficulties and the pain of the attacks, this is not the time to give the bandits the pleasure of seeing victims turn on each other.
He called for support for the army and the security agencies as they work to repel attacks and crush the bandits.

Unknown gunmen in a coordinated attack invaded Bakin Kogi, Kaninkon Village in Jemaa Local Government Area in the State on Sunday 19th February, 2017 at about 5:30pm. They were repulsed by Operation Yaki Surveillance Patrol Teams and Operation Harmony Patrol Teams.  Further attacks were recorded today in Kaura local government. Fatalities were recorded and some houses were burnt in the attacks.

“I have been in touch with the security agencies and I have been studiously following the situation in Jema’a and Kaura Local Government Areas over the unfortunate attacks. I want to, first of all, extend my heartfelt condolences to the families and relations that lost their loved ones and properties in these unfortunate attacks. My prayers and support equally goes to citizens that sustained injuries and are traumatised by what they witnessed.

“This is clearly a wicked, evil and devilish act being perpetrated by enemies of peace and humanity.

“I also wish to commend our gallant soldiers and police personnel, who are defending our communities. The Kaduna State Government will continue to work assiduously with security agencies towards the protection of life and property.”

Adegboruwa Withdraws Case Against Magu’s Confirmation As EFCC Chair

The court case filed against the conformation of Mr Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, was today (Monday) withdrawn at the Federal High Court.

In the case, Adegboruwa, had sought to stop the Senate from proceeding with the conformation of Magu as Efcc chairman based upon his alleged corrupt practices and lavish lifestyle.

At the resumed hearing today before Olatoregun J, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, appeared for Mr Adegboruwa, while Mr. Wahab Shitu Esq led Rotimi Oyedepo for the respondents. Mr Oyetibo informed the court that upon being instructed to handle the case, he went through the file and decided to persuade Mr Adegboruwa to drop the case, in order to encourage Mr Magu in the anti-corruption campaign.

He stated further that there is need to give Magu the opportunity to continue the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration and since this case may affect Magu’s confirmation as such, it was better to discontinue it.

Confirming the position of Mr Oyetibo, Mr Adegboruwa himself told the court that he was well persuaded by his counsel, that in his second coming, Mr Magu will do a good job, to be more rule of law friendly and to be holistic in his approach to the anti-corruption drive of the administration.

Responding, Mr Wahab Shittu stated the the respondents are not opposed to the withdrawal of the case and they were very happy on the position that Mr Adegboruwa has taken, which would surely boost the anti-corruption war of the Buhari/Osinbajo administration. He said the govt needs the input and support of lawyers and activists like Mr Adegboruwa, to bring their wealth of experience to bear on the fight again corruption.

The judge consequently struck out the case.

While responding to journalists after the proceedings, Mr Adegboruwa stated that he was not intimidated by any one to withdraw the case but he was genuinely persuaded, given recent mind boggling revelations of alleged corrupt practices, to support the fight against corruption. Adegboruwa stated further that his challenge is the manner in which the anti-corruption war is being prosecuted, which would appear to be selective and at times, against due process of law.

Mr Adegboruwa maintained that his decision to withdraw the case does not amount to an endorsement of the Buhari/Osinbajo regime but he has only picked a positive aspect of the regime’s policies for his conditional support.

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