Railway Holds Master Key To Transforming Nigeria’s Economy – Osinbajo


It is my special pleasure this afternoon to perform the official ground-breaking ceremony of the Wagon Assembly Plant here in Kajola. The plant which is a private investment undertaken by Messrs CCECC. It is an important project for so many reasons. It is central in the production of rolling stock spare parts and maintenance equipment needed for the railway modernization programme being implemented by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

This ceremony is not just another event, it is a historic turning point, for us, the railway is not just an alternative and comfortable mode of travel, it holds the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent.

By linking our ports to rail lines and now, building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within and out of Africa’s largest market will be completely transformed. When completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West-African sub-region.

Secondly the citing of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the Presidents directives in Executive Order 5 on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of engineering projects and services.

The plant would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans and other professionals to gain the specialized skills required for the production and maintenance of rolling stock. This will invariably conduce to spin-off businesses in the region of operation in particular and across the country wherever rail networks are in existence. The plant is expected to generate about five thousand (5,000) direct and indirect jobs.

I have a message also for you from the President and this is to CCECC which is that we expect that you move on very quickly to the next phase of this project which is the assembly and construction of coaches and locomotives.

This for us will be a significant breakthrough and we look forward to hearing from you as quickly as possible when this will come into operation.

After completing the Abuja – Kaduna Railway project in July 2016, this administration commenced construction works on the Lagos – Ibadan Railway modernization project in March 2017, following which we initiated the rehabilitation and completion of the abandoned Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri rail line which was started over three decades ago.

Furthermore, last month, we signed an agreement with Messrs China Railway Construction Company International to construct the Itakpe – Ajaokuta rail line which will be extended from Itakpe to Abuja through Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State with a branch line to Lokoja in Kogi State. This rail line will link into the new Warri sea port being constructed under the agreement.

Also, we are optimizing the Lagos-Ibadan rail modernization project by extending it to the Apapa Port, the nation’s busiest port for the efficient movement of cargo from the port to various destinations. This will expedite import/export flows, decongest the ports, and depressurize our roads in the process.

Also, we are putting all mechanisms in place to achieve the swift completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry port which will off-take containers and cargoes from Apapa port through the Lagos – Ibadan rail line.

Let me take this opportunity to appreciate the support shown by the leadership of the host communities here in Kajola and around this environment, for this project and other relevant Federal and State government projects. The implementation of these projects is important. It is imperative that our host communities continue to support government’s efforts by effectively cooperating with the contractors in safeguarding and protecting these lasting investments so that we can ensure that all intended objectives and mutual benefits are attained.

Let me also commend the Federal Ministry of Transportation led by the very able and dynamic Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi or Chibuike Amaechi, (today he is Rotimi since we are in the South West) for the very hard work and commitment he has demonstrated from the inception of our rail modernization project. And also, to the Chinese government, particularly the investor, CCECC Nigeria Limited for this significant and strategic investment.

The vision you have shown and the initiative you have taken in the larger development journey of this great country will reap unparalleled rewards for you and great opportunity for our people.

In a few minutes, I will have the special privilege of performing the official ground-breaking ceremony for the establishment of this Wagon Assembly Plant here in Kajola Ogun State, and I hope that this will be only be the beginning of the development of the railway infrastructure, not only here in Ogun State, but across the country.

Thank you all and God bless.

Released by:

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
9th November 2019

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LASG Prepares LASU Students For 2019 READY-SET-WORK

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab has disclosed that 3,000 final year students of Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo will benefit from the fourth edition of the annual Ready-Set-Work, RSW initiative of the Lagos State Government.

Wahab disclosed this on Thursday during the sensitization of students of the Lagos State University Main Campus, Ojo.

He said that LASU plays an integral role in whatever achievements that could be attributed to the State Government because of the quality graduates being produced by the institution on a yearly basis.

According to him, LASU has been exemplary in the peaceful conduct of its students and in holding its convocations back-to-back, thereby producing students that are making the state proud.

He said that the State Government believes that if the institution must continue to produce the best intellectual graduates, there is need for government to consciously invest in preparing the students of LASU for the best by exposing them to good work ethics and for the world of work after graduation.

Wahab recalled that the government remained committed to the third pillar of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda which is Education and Technology, stressing that more technological innovations would be introduced to the education sector under the present administration in the State.

He urged the students to justify the huge investments of the State Government in the RSA initiative by embracing innovative ideas and entrepreneurial skills, stressing that more students from the institution would benefit from the initiative next year.

Also speaking at the event, the Vice Chancellor of LASU, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun described the decision of the state government to kick-start the sensitization of 2019 RSA at the University as very historic.

He attributed the continuation of the initiative under the present administration as a testimony to the successes recorded by the three previous editions of the programme.

Fagbohun stated that Governor Sanwo-Olu through the RSA had further demonstrated beyond doubt that governance in the State is truly continuum.

“I can confidently say it here this afternoon that up till this morning, some companies were chasing me up and down because they want to offer scholarship to some students of this great institution who had distinguished themselves in one way or the other, this to me is what the institution should be proud of,” the Vice-Chancellor stated.

He added that the fact that only 3,000 students would be able to participate in the RSW out of the 5,000 students who are presently final year students of LASU shows that the competition would be keenly contested for among the students, stressing that adequate support would be given by the university to encourage the students provided they show readiness to be a part of the programme.

Omolase Yejide Mrs.

Public Affairs Officer OSAE

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NITDA’s Kashifu Has A Mountain To Climb, Is He Up To The Task? By Ayo Akanji

The chief social function of technology is to create new possibilities for human activity– William Leiss

For Kashifu, it was always going to lead to this, one way or the other. A life marked by dedication and hard work will be rewarded with responsibilities and more responsibilities. This is the life of Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the new Director General of National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA.

NITDA was an unknown item before the appointment of the former DG and current Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, alongside the team he brought in, which included Kashifu, his then Technical Assistant.

They had come in with an unprecedented drive with transformational policies Dr Pantami championed, and they recorded immeasurable successes.

For the most part, Kashifu was placed in charge of strategy execution, which in turn led to a 13 percent increase of ICT contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP. He was at the forefront of coordinating local content initiatives that increased ICT local production by more than 200% in 2017.

Recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS puts ICT contribution to the GDP at 13.8 percent as against petroleum, which stood at 8.8 percent.

His appointment came with so much buzz, especially on social media, most commentators were in awe of his age and stellar achievements. But Kashifu knows better that the journey has only begun, and all the achievements he has stocked like feathers to a cap were only preparing him for an assignment like this. This can be attested to by a tweet shared on twitter, between Dr. Joe Abah (@DrJoeAbah) former director-general of Bureau of Public Sector Reform (BPSR) and Kashifu (@KashifuInuwa) where he (Kashifu), in responding to Dr Abah’s congratulatory tweet noted that: “Congratulating me now is tantamount to congratulating a surgeon on his way to theatre. He deserves congratulation when he comes out of the theatre with smile of success.” It is clear he understands the enormity of the task ahead of him.

One of the numerous mandates of NITDA is to ensure that the citizenry are empowered with information technologies through the establishment of a workforce that is IT proficient and globally competitive. It is open knowledge that Internet penetration in Nigeria is expanding; according to Nigeria Communications Commission NCC’s data it is 115,938,255 million.

Interestingly, Nigeria via NITDA is investigating Trucaller, the Swedish call blocking app for privacy breaches against over 2.9 million Nigerians users, which contravene Nigeria’s Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) by collecting more information than it needs to provide for its primary service.

However and important to note, the NDPR bill is yet to be signed – NITDA’s new leadership needs to lobby more for the Presidential assent. It is earnestly required for the implementation of the strategic policies the regulation has in place. Its scope includes enthroning data rights and protection of Nigerians, Africa’s largest mobile market.

By the way, a precedent has been set in Ireland when the European Union fined Facebook $1.63 billion for a data breach in which hackers compromised accounts of more than 50 million users. Any violator of the law would be fined and this would be an avenue to generate revenue.

One must applaud the synergy between the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and the agencies it supervises.

The directives from the Honourable Minister on the Subscriber Identification Module, SIM registration exercise uncovered that 9.2 million SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedure, he directed the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC to deactivate improperly registered SIMs across various networks; so far 6.8 million cards have been regularized while the 2.2 million SIMs not regularized have now been blocked.

In this age of cyber warfare and hacking private information must be placed in safe hands. There is need for a well-defined data law stipulating how personal information of citizens should be stored and protected and also penalties meted out should citizens information be compromised.

Furthermore, the information technology sector in Nigeria is gaining notoriety in the world for the wrong reasons. These days, cyber frauds are becoming synonymous with the Nigeria. Nigerian companies are losing millions of dollars to hackers, both international and local. Nigerians are waiting to see the line of action that will be taken by the NITDA leadership to secure the cyberspace. Not only that, how these fraudsters can be identified and prosecuted accordingly.

We will like to see agents of national security deploy sophisticated infrastructures in the course of their work.

NITDA has the mandate to ensure and enhance national security and law enforcement. Our battle with insurgents, kidnappers, bandits, will definitely be boosted with the deployment of the requisite technology. We await the DG’s blueprint on that.

Ordinarily, many secondary schools in Nigeria cannot boast of having a functional computer lab. A huge majority of those that claim to own computer labs have computers for use in pictures and nothing more. This should be part of the DG’s agenda and I am happy to have noticed the successes of the NITDA Kids Kode Kamp 2019 where children within a week created html websites and other elementary coding technics.

Consequently, laws to establish IT infrastructures all over the country and to ensure that such infrastructures are utilized optimally as stipulated in NITDA’s mandate should be put in place.

Additional tech hubs, especially in zones hit by insurgency, more boot camps, more hackathons and the likes are areas Mr Kashifu would be expected to make things happen. The leadership must also look for ways to bring in the private sector for collaboration.

Silicon Valley is not a dream too big to aim for. Nigerians expect Kashifu to do more in transforming Nigeria’s technology ecosystem. Good for him, his predecessor has already laid a worthy foundation that though sets the bar high, leaves Kashifu an opportunity to mark his era as one that transformed Nigeria’s digital space. His work is cut out for him, but his ability has never been in doubt.

Ayo Akanji is a businessman and cyber security enthusiast, he writes from Abuja.

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Army Vows To Apprehend, Sanction Personnel Involved In Unprofessional/Extra Judicial Actions

The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to a video reportedly showing some NA personnel engaged in unprofessional torture and above all extra judicial killing of a suspected Boko Haram terrorist likely in the North East Theatre of Operation.

The NA wishes to clearly and strongly condemn the action of those involved (whoever they may be) in the misconduct, and that the dastardly act is completely unacceptable, unethical and is against the cherished core values of the NA especially that of respect for others and their fundamental rights.

NA training, Rules of Engagement and Standing Operating Procedures guiding the conduct of all her operations are unambiguous about human rights abuses and extra judicial actions including the rights of the arrested/captured terrorists/combatants.

Troops in the various theaters of operations in Nigeria, have been consistently warned to desist from rights infractions of any form no matter the amount of desperation, anger or provocation. NA does not license, encourage or condone indiscipline, unprofessional conduct especially extra judicial execution of suspects or combatants. Where ever, such is noticed or reported, once it is comfirmed, appropriate decisive sanction or punishment is usually immediately meted out to the perpetrators and this case would never be an exception.

Accordingly, on seeing the gory video, NA has commenced thorough investigation to apprehend the culprits with the aim to deal with them in accordance with the extant military justice system. Members of the public will surely be informed of the results of the actions taken so far.

The NA, as a responsible and law abiding organization, will remain professional in the discharge of its constitutional roles and will continue to operate within the ambit of the law in line with the local and international best practices.

Acting Director Army Public Relations
4 October 2019

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Mobolaji Johnson: Fashola Mourns Passage Of An Illustrious Pioneer

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has expressed deep sadness and condoled with the Government and people of Lagos State over the death of the first Military Governor of the State, Brigadier- General Mobolaji Johnson.

Fashola, who served for two tenures as the 13th Governor of Lagos State from 2007 – 2015, described General Johnson as an illustrious pioneer, a man of singular vision, integrity and unwavering duty   whose loss is “one that is shared by an entire nation.” 

According to the Minister, “General Johnson was a dedicated soldier and public servant and a loving husband and father. As the first governor of the newly created Lagos State in 1967, he faced immediate challenges in leading a restive federal capital territory. He handled those challenges with tremendous courage and unwavering grace.”

Noting that the late elder statesman established a strong administrative structure for the State, Fashola declared : “Beyond governing a state which was at the heart of a divisive national civil war, General Johnson was an administrative trailblazer. Along with key civil servants like Adeyemi-Bero and Folarin Coker, he laid a template for civil service practices and procedures which set Lagos State apart as a centre of excellence.”

Recalling his appeal, as Governor, during the launch of the Biography  of the late Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson titled, Lagos State-My Life of Service with Integrity, in 2010, that past leaders should document their periods of Stewardship, Fashola noted that such documentation that showed the great infrastructural strides like how the Lagos City Hall was built, how the Badagry Expressway was constructed, how the Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex was built, among several others would serve as inspiration to future leaders that things were successfully done before and could still be done again. 

Fashola said he would personally miss the wise counsel and support of GeneralJohnson. “During my own tenure as Lagos State Governor, General Johnson was always ready with counsel and advice. If there was any public event or occasion regarding the welfare of the state, his towering figure was certain to be found present,” he said.

“On behalf of my wife, Abimbola, we extend our deepest condolences to his entire family. His loss is one that is shared by an entire nation,” Fashola said. 

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How Buhari’s Visits Have Greatly Benefited Nigeria -BMO

President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance at summits and other international fora is in the best interest of the country and aimed at exploring and expanding opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology, agriculture, transportation and oil & gas production, to mention a few.

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) made this observation in reaction to criticisms from some quarters on the President’s trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the economic forum of the Future Investment Initiative (FII).

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and  Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that these meetings are no ordinary gatherings but avenues to attract potential investors and showcase the economic opportunities that abound in the country.

“As President Buhari makes a three-day state visit to Saudi Arabia to strengthen the diplomatic, trade and economic relations between the two countries, some had condemned the trip as unnecessary since the President just came back from Russia few days ago after a successful Russia-Africa summit. The summit was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations in areas such as solid minerals, reviving steel rolling mills (Ajaokuta and Aladja), rail transportation, security cooperation, oil and gas, agriculture (Wheat production and fertilizer) and education, to mention a few.

“It is worthy of note that the President is not only visiting and signing MOUs, the MOUs are being realised in physical projects such that in 2018 8Billon dollars came into Nigeria as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with 65 projects across the country. 

“We recall also that President Buhari’s working visit to China last year yielded additional investments in Nigeria exceeding $6billion. A total of $1billion is to be invested in the development of a Greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos. Similarly, Mambilla Hydro Power Project, which is capable of generating about 2,600 Megawatts of electricity will, when completed, be the biggest dam in Africa. Like the rail project, the Mambilla Hydro Project was conceived several years ago, precisely in 1982.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Morocco has helped to revive abandoned Nigeria fertiliser blending plants. So far, 18 plants have been revitalized under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI), with a total capacity of about three million metric tonnes of fertiliser which has created about 50,000 jobs across the value chains of Agriculture. 

“President Muhammadu Buhari also signed nine different agreements, including the Extradition Treaty between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which include the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.”

According to BMO, what is obvious is that President Buhari is working to strengthen diplomatic relations, trade and the security of our nation. He has held series of meetings with serious investors and has fetched us investments in the range of billions of US Dollars.

“These are a few of the many outcomes of the President’s visits. Instead of condemning these visits, all Nigerians should be proud to have a President like Muhammadu Buhari who never loses an opportunity to showcase the country’s potentials at international fora.”

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$9b Power Probe: EFCC, ICPC Must Dig Real Deep – BMO

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have been commended on the recent discoveries of shady activities in the power sector where over 50 persons have so far been interrogated over an alleged $9billion power project scandal.

The investigation, according to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), is long overdue because the power sector plays a huge role in the economic transformation process. 

In a statement signed by its Chaiman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Maduake, BMO said President Buhari’s anti-graft war is a war against all forms of corruption, and should be supported by all Nigerians. 

“It is an opportunity for the anti-graft agencies to show that former heads of state and other high-ranking public officials are not protected from investigation and prosecution for allegations of grand corruption in Nigeria.”

This is also in line with President Buhari’s determination to remain resolute and focussed on delivering on the promises of securing the lives and properties of Nigerians, and halting the pillage of the economy by corrupt public officials.

“The huge amount of money taken by contractors without delivering on the jobs has almost grinded our industrial progress and stagnated our economy.”

According to the Buhari group, lack of access to electricity hampers both economic and social development. It affects everything, from people’s ability to learn, to the creation of enterprises and the provision of public services. The need for electricity is paramount for any country.  

“Lack of electricity locks people in poverty while access to electricity is key to any country’s development, improvement in security, food production, and strengthening economies. Increased access to electricity improves education, entertainment, health, comfort, protection, and productivity. 

“We urge Nigerians to support and campaign heavily for the fight against graft in order to avoid further criminal breach of contracts by contractors and public servants in the future so as to enable us benefit as a nation,” the statement added.

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Lai Mohammed Is Right, Social Media Can Set Nigeria On Fire, By Alwan Hassan

At a Press Conference on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said that the government planned to push forward its plans to regulate activities on social media in Nigeria. During the briefing, the Minister’s rationale was that no responsible government would allow activities capable of setting the country on fire to continue. These activities, as we all know, include the propagation of political propaganda and fake news through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the highly encrypted and virtually unregulated, WhatsApp.

Nigerians have freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech has its own inherent limitations in a civilized democracy. These include placing outright policy and legislation to deter speech that is harmful to others; threatening to the peace and security of the society; or speech that is repulsive and reviled.

This means that people are free to express themselves, however, people must know that essential responsibilities are always accessories to every power and every freedom. Every citizen has a fundamental role to play to preserve the sanctity of civility and unity that binds the nation together.

Every post on social media must be within basic guidelines; every one that posts on social media must do so within established frameworks; and even government must work to preserve the intrinsic freedom of citizens to articulate their views, express their concerns and grievances, and hold the government accountable.

As the world evolves, so must we. Yes, social media can set the country on fire, however, it can also be a vehicle for good. Citizens must feel free to air their thoughts on issues; and government must also be responsive.

The internet is a double edged sword, as it can make or mar; build and destroy; and teach and unlearn. A tool can also become a weapon, yet, we must always remember that it was first a tool. Therefore, as we regulate its use, we must never lose sight of its usefulness.

This post originally appeared on NewsWireNGR on Tuesday 29, 2019. Alwan Hassan is is a public policy professional and social commentator, a politician and works in developing and sustaining strategic partnerships between governments and internal and external non-governmental organisations.

Tweets @yesmylo

mail: alwanhassan91@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless you, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator

26 October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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