El-Rufai Donates Land For Methodist Church

Governor Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna State has promised to provide additional land for building of Methodists church in Kafanchan, Southern Kaduna

The governor who made the promise when he received the prelate of the Methodist Church Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche in his office also urged the Church not relocate from their present location.

He said: “I visited your church in Kafanchan after the violence. We are willing to give you another plot of land in Kafanchan, but please consider using it to build an additional church. We request that you do not abandon or relocate the church from your present site. Let us not succumb to the agents of blackmail and division.

“Your neighbors in Kafanchan must accept the right of that church to remain there. The current church should be rebuilt and maintained as a symbol of the right to worship freely.”

Malam El-Rufai said that the government is committed to securing the area and promoting a return to normalcy. He disclosed that 10 mobile police squadrons are now deployed to the affected local governments, along with two battalions of the army. He further requested that the religious leaders should discourage the tendency to allow criminals to hide behind religion.

“When individuals have problems or disputes, they should not be allowed to mobilize emotions by escalating their differences into an ethnic or religious conflict.”

Malam El-Rufai thanked the Methodists for showing solidarity with the people and government of Kaduna State in this trying moment.

Earlier in his remarks, the prelate of the Methodist Church Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche urged Governor El-Rufai not to relent in his quest to restore peace and security in southern Kaduna. 

Dr. Uche, who was speaking when he visited Malam El-Rufai in Kaduna, told the governor that he should take the blames flying around as the price of leadership. 

“We note that you are being blamed over the violence in southern Kaduna. Please take that as the price of leadership. We know that the issue has been happening before your government. I remember the 1987 events vividly.

“We call on the people of Kaduna State to accept each other, to be tolerant, and to say no to violence. I have served in Kano. I do not see why we should fight each other. Nobody can Christianise or Islamise Nigeria. Let us learn to live together in peace. Religion should preserve lives. Anybody who kills is a criminal. Those who sponsor killings should be arrested.”

Dr. Uche, who was accompanied by the Methodist Bishops of Kaduna and Kano, said he came in solidarity with the people of Kaduna State. He informed Malam El-Rufai that the MedtodistChurch in Kafanchan was vandalized during the 19th December 2016 riot in Kafanchan. He requested for a new plot of land so that they can relocate the church.

“My church is affected by the violence in Kafanchan. We want your assistance with land to relocate the church and to rebuild it. We thank you for the plots of land you allocated to the Methodist Church in Abuja. I have seen your signature on the certificates of occupancy, and I know that you have nothing against the Church.”

We’ll Use IGR Only For People-Focussed Programs – Governor Ahmed

FG Reiterates Commitment To Bridging Power Shortfall In 2017

says accurate population census critical to provision of adequate electricity supply  

In a renewed effort to re – energize its commitment to providing incremental, stable and uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has disclosed some policy directions for the power sector for 2017.

The Minister made the disclosure recently in Abuja during the monthly Power Sector Dialogue Series with theme; 2016 Power Sector Review and 2017 Power Policy Direction organized by the Nigeria Electricity hub, a subsidiary of  NEXTIER Power, a leading policy advisory firm with a focus on the Nigeria electricity market.

Speaking on 2016, Fashola reacted to the call for the reversal of the privatization of the power assets, saying that it will be almost impossible to reverse, as the exercise is just three years old, and needs time to mature. In his words, “We should think on what to do to make it work better, instead of canceling it, because that will only take us backward to the beginning”. 

The Minister said every time we cancel contracts we send negative signals to our foreign investors that we don’t respect agreements, saying with privatization, government is now a policy maker and a regulator.

On the other challenges facing the sector, the Minister stated that accurate demographic data is very critical in the planning and provision of adequate electricity supply to the citizenry, lamenting that lack of proper planning has hampered the delivery of electricity in the country over the years.

According to him, it is important to know how many we are so as know how much power to provide, and the number of consumers to be supplied electricity.

In addition, on the non-payment of outstanding debts owed Distribution Companies (DISCOs), the Minister assured his audience that government will off-set these after proper verification, pointing out that the present administration had inherited accumulated debts prior to the privatization exercise.

On the issue of metering, Fashola further stated that government has directed distribution companies to bridge the metering gap in the country, so as to end the estimated billings of consumers.

Looking forward, Fashola stated that the government is geared towards ensuring that everyone in the system gets paid, putting in place better governance and institutional frameworks, more sanctions for energy theft, ensuring better contract performance and sanctions for non-performance, as well as providing electricity access to rural dwellers

The Minister further revealed that the existing contracts for 2000 constituency electricity projects under the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) will soon be completed, adding that the government will be looking at expanding the generation, transmission and distribution aspect within the electricity value chain by encouraging more technical partners and other investors to come into the power sector and explore other energy resources in more secured environments in the country.

EFCC, SEC Declare War On Fraudulent Capital Market Operators

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, have vowed to clamp down on fraudulent operators in the Nigerian capital market.

Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, EFCC, and his SEC counterpart, Mournir Gwarzo made the pledge  Thursday, January 19, 2017  while signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for cooperation at the EFCC head office, Abuja.
The collaboration will see the EFCC provide law enforcement muscle to give bite to SEC’s regulatory mandate in the capital market. 
Magu stressed the need for both agencies to pool resources together in dealing with the menace of Ponzi schemes, which many Nigerian are currently at their mercy.
Gwarzo, on his part declared that the signing of the MoU will send a strong warning to fraudsters added that, “any operator of the capital market that crosses the red line will certainly be dealt with”.

Obaseki, Benson Idahosa University Set To Generate Electricity From Waste

Edo state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said his administration will collaborate with Benson Idahosa University (BIU) in Benin to convert waste for wealth creation in the state.

The governor announced this on Thursday after meeting with the management team of Benson Idahosa University at The Government House in Benin.

On why he decided to meet the management, he noted that waste management was a priority in his administration and he was ready to collaborate with investors interested in converting waste to wealth.

He also said that his administration, in its effort to make the state clean, will unveil its environmental strategy in less than two months.

“We will be launching a massive environmental campaign because our goal is to make the state and Benin the cleanest capital in the country. It will involve massive citizen participation and we will be counting on the support of the University when we unveil the strategy”, he said.

The governor however urged the institution to finalise plans with its other partners in order to facilitate a proper MoU with the government. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Mr Ernest Izewingie, said the visit was to seek the government’s permission to get access to its waste dumpsites for its ‘waste to wealth initiative’.

He also explained that the initiative aimed to facilitate youth employment, income generation and conversion of waste to electricity in the state. “We want to partner with the state in the area of waste management; we want to convert waste into wealth.

A Switzerland-based company will fund the project with no financial commitment on the part of the government. We are building a waste recycling machine which will have a bioreactor that will act as an artificial stomach to digest the carbon base material”, he revealed

Police Release Detained Premium Times Publisher, Reporter

The police have released Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of PREMIUM TIMES and Evelyn Okakwu, a reporter, after delaying them for several hours.

The duo were arrested on Thursday over a report that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was investigating Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, for allegations of corruption.

Don Awunah, police spokesman, had said the raid on the newspaper’s office was sequel to complaints filed by Buratai’s lawyers.eas

The journalists were taken to the police headquarters at Garki 2, Abuja, and later transferred to a police station at Wuse around 9:22pm, and later released.

PREMIUM TIMES confirmed this in a tweet.

“We are happy to announce that both @DapsyOly and @EveOkakwu have been released on bail,” the online publication wrote on Twitter.

Obaseki inaugurates Agric committee, targets 80,000 jobs

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Thursday inaugurated an ad hoc committee under the Agriculture Empowerment Initiative to revamp agriculture in the state.

Obaseki, while inaugurating the committee at the Government House in Benin, said that the ad hoc committee was to kick-start reforms in the agricultural sector of the state before a full committee would be formed.

The committee is a product of the Public Private Partnership between the State and private sector partners. The partnership between the state government and private sectors comprises Saro AgroSciences, a leading company in the agribusiness space of Nigeria with expertise in crop production and protection and Afrinvest W.A. Ltd a leading financial advisory service provider in Nigeria and West Africa.

Governor Obaseki explained that the ad hoc committee would help the government implement specific projects, which would create between 50,000 to 80,000 agricultural jobs before the end of the year in five Local Government Areas.

Revealing the mandates of the ad hoc committee, Obaseki said, “We want to ensure that we begin some agricultural activities before the next cropping season.

We want to cultivate 5,000 hectares of maize located in 5 Local Government Areas of the State producing at least 25,000 metric tons of maize in the first year. Besides, there would be another 1,000 Greenhouse Farm producing 4,000 metric tons of tomatoes yearly, piggery producing 30,000 animals annually, Golden Cocoa Program primed to turn the State into a major cocoa producing state in the country by improving yield by more than 50% in the first year of implementation.

The Governor said the partnership will achieve the following objectives through the 4 projects: Generation of employment for the teeming youth population of the State, wealth creation through agricultural activities that will lead to the creation of 2000 millionaire Agripreneurs who will in turn generate jobs for at least 30,000 youths across each units of the state and food security for the over 4million people of the State.

He added that the Ministry of Agriculture would serve as the secretariat while the Secretary to the State Government would give the committee the necessary support, while the committee will, on a weekly basis, submit reports on the level of progress being made.

In his remarks, the chairman of the ad hoc committee, Chief Osaro Idah, commended the governor for the opportunity to serve.

He assured the governor of the committee’s commitment to achieve its mandate of employment creation and increased agricultural productivity in the state.

Other members of the eight-man committee include Oluwole Adeyegbe as Deputy Chairman, Mr. B. S. Kadiri as Secretary, and Dr. Tunde Faturoti, Mr Olumide Ogunedojutimi, Mr Walter Obaseki, Surveyor Godwin Osayande and Mr Victor Ndakauba as members.

Reps Deny Passing Resolution To Probe Accidental Bombing Of IDP Camp

Contrary to widespread reports in many national dailies, the House of Representatives has denied passing a resolution to probe the accidental airstrike at at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Raan, Kale-Balge local government area, Borno State

The House in a statement by the Chairman, Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas said there was no such decision taken in plenary.

The statement reads in part:

Sequel to a motion raised by Hon Sani Zorro under a motion of urgent national importance, which was debated extensively and passed by the House, it was resolved that:

i. The House should constitute a 10 member-committee selected from committees on Internally Displaced Persons ( IDPs), Refugees and Initiatives in the North East Zone; Air Force, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness; Army and Healthcare Services respectively, to among other things:

a. Visit the scene of the disaster and commiserate with bereaved families of the victims, the Federal and State governments, respectively, and the entire people of Nigeria over the unfortunate incident;

b. Ascertain the level of response of the emergency assistance needed by the surviving victims of the air strike and members of their immediate families;

c. Also ascertain the extent to which emergency and adequate health service are being extended to the surviving victims of the mishap;

ii. Observe a one-minute silence in honour of the unfortunate victims of the disaster.

“Give Us Value For Our Patronage”, Speaker Dogara Tells Chinese Govt

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has charged the Chinese government to give the required value for projects for which Nigeria has taken huge loans from its country, saying that only then will the high debt profile owed China be justified. The Speaker, who made this statement when he received the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, in the National Assembly, also disclosed that though there have been concerns about the rising profile of debt owed by Nigeria to China, it will all be for good if the assets for which they were acquired are delivered for the benefit of Nigerians.
“There have been concerns about the debt hangover that perhaps we may leave it for generations to come, but I always say that doesn’t matter if debt is left for posterity as long as we have the assets on ground,” Dogara said,  adding that the Chinese government must ensure that “projects are delivered to prevent future generations from losing faith in the relations between Nigeria and China. This is a responsibility we owe to our people and that which you owe to the people of China.”
While expressing gratitude for the support offered to Nigeria, including in the war on terrorism, he also assured the Chinese delegation that the House of Representatives will support the Executive’s agreement on ‘One China’.
The Speaker also expressed gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for supporting Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Dogara had, in August 2015, secured the endorsement  of the Chinese government for Nigeria to occupy a permanent seat on the UN Security Council when he held bilateral talks with the Speaker of  People’s Parliament of China, Mr. Zhang Dejiang in New York, United States of America.
“We will collaborate with the Executive to support policies towards that,” he stated.
Dogara also used the occasion of the visit to stress the need for mutual benefits for both countries from their bilateral relations. He noted that Chinese businesses are thriving and getting support from Nigerian government and asked that more doors be opened to Nigerians who do business with China.
The Speaker then urged the government of China to explore the Nigeria-China Parliamentary Committee of the House to deepen ties between the parliaments of both countries.

Ashafa Lauds Ambode’s Achievements, Urges Lagosians To Keep Supporting The Governor

Senator Representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, on Thursday 19th January 2017 commended and praised the Governor Of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for his Economic, Infrastructural and Environmental Initiatives in Lagos State.

Ashafa, made his remarks to the press after the 1st Quarter 2017 Town Hall Meeting of His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode which took place at the Ajelogo Housing Scheme, Mile 12 Lagos.

At the end of the well-attended event wherein the Governor had updated Lagosians on his activities in the past quarter as well as his plans for the year 2017, the Senator stated that “You can not argue the fact that everywhere you turn to in Lagos State you can see and feel the presence of the Government. Our Governor, has continued to set the pace with his Economic direction, Infrastructural Development as well as environmental development initiatives.”

Speaking further, he commended the Governor for being in touch with Lagosians through his quarterly interactive sessions through which he gives the people feedbacks on the activities of the Lagos State Government.

In conclusion, Senator Gbenga Ashafa restated his support for the initiatives of the Ambode led Government of Lagos State and urged all Lagosians to support the government and to play their part  by being law abiding citizens.

The Town Hall Meeting was the 6th in the series that have been organized by His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode since he resumed office in May, 2015.

Education Development: Bayero University Honours Aregbesola Over Sukuk Bond

Commendations and laurels came the way of the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, again on Thursday as he was honored for his contributory role in the development of Islamic finance system in Nigeria. The governor was given the award of  “Leadership Award in Islamic Finance’ on Thursday by the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance (IIIBF) of the Bayero University, Kano.

The IIIBF said it gave the Governor the award because of his administration’s pioneering role in the issuance of Sukuk Bond in the country. In 2013, Osun became the first state government to issue Islamic (Sukuk) bond in the history of Islamic finance in Nigeria.

The Osun initiative has however opened the door for other states and Federal government to explore the huge benefits derivable from the interest-free Sukuk Islamic bond. Other awardees in this category includes, the Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the Chairman of Jaiz Bank, Alhaji Umar Mutallab.

In a statement by the Bureau of Communication and strategy in the office of the governor, Governor Aregbesola was quoted as saying the award represented a recognition for his administration’s many trail-blazing zeal in many respects.

In the statement signed by the Director of the Bureau, Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola was quoted as saying he took Sukuk because of its numerous economic benefits to develop the state. “Sukuk offers huge opportunities and financial latitude for development because of the interest-free policy it offers debtors. It was this opportunity that we seized and utilized through the bonds to upgrade the state infrastructure in the area of education.”

“The N11bn sukuk bond Osun took is what is being used to finance some of the schools being built especially the High Schools. Specifically it has helped us change the face of education through the construction of what can be called the best schools in Nigeria today. President Buhari was in Osun in September to commission one of such schools, The Osogbo Government High School.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said Osun State is the most informed state in Nigeria on Islamic financial system. Usman commended Osun for blazing the trail in the Islamic finances for other to follow.  

NAF Constitute Panel To Investigate Rann Accidental Airstrike

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has constituted a board of senior officers to investigate the accidental air strike on 17 January 2017 at Rann, Borno State.

Among its terms of reference, the Board is to determine the immediate and remote causes as well as the circumstances that led to the incident.

This is with a view to forestall future occurrence. In addition to a list of 20 witnesses given to it, the Board is free to invite other persons to give evidence on oath.

The Board is to submit its report not later than 2 February 2017.

The 6-man Board is headed by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (HQ NAF), Air Vice Marshal Salihu Bala-Ribah.

Other members are Air Vice Marshal Charles Oghomwen, Air   Commodore Ayoola Jolasinmi, Group Captain Essien Efanga, Wing Commander Solomon Irmiya and Wing Commander Mohammed Muazu.

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