Confess, Apologise On Botched Release Of Chibok Girls, BMO Tells Jonathan

Chilling revelation by Britain’s former Prime Minister, David Cameron that former President Goodluck Jonathan rejected help to rescue the abducted Chibok Girls reflects the nonchalance and irresponsibility that brought Nigeria into the mess the country is in.

According to the Buhari Media Organization (BMO), the former President should confess his sins, apologise to the nation and stop grandstanding on an issue where he was indeed caught sleeping at the wheel.

 In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said history would judge Jonathan for treating governance as a matter of ego, without respect for lives and property, as well as his disservice to Nigeria.

‘What other proof do Nigerians need to know that if Jonathan had been allowed an extra week in power, the country would have been in a worse state than Venezuela. 

“Nigerians must appreciate the rescue mission embarked upon by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last four years. The country was a mess; governance was on auto-pilot with a President who was lukewarm towards his duties. 

“The revelation by former Prime Minister Cameron in his book (For the Record) that Jonathan refused British assistance for the rescue of the Chibok girls after they were sighted shows how the country was being managed by an incoherent leadership intent on driving her to either deliberate or irresponsible crash and wreckage.

“Even the late United States Senator John McCain alluded to this when he told CNN, few weeks after the abduction, that if he were the then US President Obama he ‘wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan’, in a clear reference to the indecision of the former President on a rescue mission.

“Which sensible President and leader would ever miss such an opportunity to save the lives of his abducted citizens,” the group queried.

It said former President Jonathan simply showed that he was not a patriot, and did not care for the Chibok girls, their traumatised parents, and Nigeria as a whole.

BMO said: “The Jonathan administration simply played politics with the lives of over 200 abducted school girls at a time the world’s focus was on Nigeria

“We recall that the then Chief of Defence Staff, late Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh said categorically at a pro-government rally that the military authorities had been able to pinpoint the location of the abducted school girls six weeks after the incident but ruled out military operations to rescue them at the time. Is this not a confirmation of what the former British Prime Minister said?

“The former President clearly made a mockery of serious business of governance and history would not be kind to him in spite of efforts to obfuscate issues with Nigeria’s rejection of gay marriage bill.

“We are also not surprised that Cameron claimed that Jonathan had turned the war against insurgency into a feast for his military chiefs. 

“It only confirmed investigations carried out by the Buhari administration and the consequent prosecution of several senior military officers who helped themselves to funds meant for the war against terrorism, aside from dipping into it to fund the expensive lifestyles of PDP leaders and their friends.”

The group added that the entire picture brought up by the details of the former British Prime Minister’s book is evidence of the hard work and commitment that President Buhari had to put in to rescue Nigeria and set it on the upward path that it is on right now.

“The mess left by PDP and Jonathan crumbled the country. Of course, this is not a complaint, but we are only keen on ensuring Nigerians understand where we are coming from, and why the process of resuscitation is tedious, even though we are seeing steady recovery.

“Is it not instructive that it took President Buhari coming on board for Nigeria to secure the release and rescue of 82 of the abducted Chibok girls and is still doing all that is within his powers to secure the other girls still in captivity.

“Just imagine what could have happened if his predecessor had the presence of mind to accede to Britain’s request to help with a rescue mission soon after the April 2014 abduction? 

“We recall and also invite Nigerians to remember how the Buhari administration swung into action to ensure the release of some students that were abducted by the same group in Dapchi, Yobe state within days of the unfortunate incident.

“It is this determination, seriousness in the business of governance and high sense of responsibility that led to the Buhari government being able to secure the eventual release of all the Dapchi girls, save Leah Sharibu, who the President has sworn to ensure her release.

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Vice President Osinbajo To Participate In Nordic-African Business Summit In Oslo

In pursuit of the Buhari administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, especially regarding the active mobilization of foreign investment, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, will be honouring a personal invitation of the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, to attend the Nordic-African Business Summit in Oslo this week.

The invitation is a long standing one and the event, holding from Monday to Wednesday, is being organized to give particular prominence to trade and investment ties between Africa and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The summit will attract the largest Nordic companies doing business or interested in doing business in Nigeria, with interests in agriculture, light manufacturing, transportation, digital technology and entertainment, oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Specifically, Prof. Osinbajo would, among other critical issues, be speaking on the strides made by the Buhari administration in improving the economy and human capital development.

The Vice President will also headline a specific Nigeria-focused investment roundtable, which is expected to lead to increased trade and investment into Nigeria by building confidence about business prospects in the country and its role as an economic gateway into Africa.

There will also be a high-level plenary session at the summit to be attended by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, featuring the Nigerian VP, Deputy President of South Africa, David Mabuza, and other global business and government leaders. That plenary session would be moderated by Financial Times editor, David Pilling. 

Also, while in Oslo, the Vice President would hold a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss issues of mutual interest to both countries, including bilateral cooperation, especially trade and private sector investments, as well as regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern.

In extending its invitation to the Vice President, the Norwegian government noted that Nigeria’s participation in the summit would contribute considerably to its success, as the country “plays a crucial regional leadership role and has the largest economy in Africa.”

The Vice President, who had earlier this afternoon attended the Extraordinary Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, leaves Abuja later today and is expected back on Thursday.

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At NES25, President Buhari Says ‘Nigeria’s Unique Challenges Can Only Be Solved By Made In Nigeria Solutions’

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja declared open the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES25) with a charge to public and private sector leaders to look inward to solve the unique challenges confronting the nation’s socio-economic development.

President Buhari also pledged that his administration will continue to collaborate with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity driven growth.

In his speech at the opening of the 2-day Summit, the President said the successful conclusion of 2019 general elections and the resort by aggrieved candidates to seek redress in the courts rather than the street was proof that Nigeria‘s ‘‘democracy is maturing.’’

‘‘I am informed that this year’s Summit has identified key job-creating sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, creative industry and extractive industry as focus sectors.  

‘‘I am also told that your deliberations will focus on unlocking capital through our financial services sector to actualize the opportunities in these sectors.

‘‘In your deliberations, I would request that your proposals are productive, inventive and innovative keeping in mind that Nigeria’s unique challenges can only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions,’’ he said.  

Recounting the 2019 general elections, the President said Nigeria has shown the world that it is capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.

‘‘The elections have come and gone. Our country, once again, has shown the world that we can choose our leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.

‘‘Apart from a few pockets of unrest, majority of voters exercised their civic rights without hindrance.

‘‘Furthermore, we also saw an increase in the number of aggrieved candidates, and supporters, who took their concerns and grievances to the courts as opposed to the streets. This is how it should be.

‘‘Ladies and Gentlemen, what this clearly shows is that our democracy is maturing,” he said.

Reflecting on the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, the President noted that his administration’s economic policies in the last four years focused on the need to uplift the poor and the disadvantaged and encourage inclusivity.

‘‘During the elections, almost all candidates proposed their vision for the economy and for the country.

‘‘Our party, the APC, put before the country policies that focus on delivering prosperity to all Nigerians through enhancing security; eliminating corrupt practices in public service; supporting sectors that will create jobs; and promoting socially focused interventions to support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

‘‘These areas are all interconnected and are equally important in creating a prosperous society for all,’’ he said.

Underscoring the importance of collective prosperity, President Buhari asserted that a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living.

‘‘Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same.

‘‘Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth.

‘‘Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.

‘‘But a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life,’’ he said.

The President also used the occasion to affirm that in addressing population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.

‘‘Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT.

‘‘A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in 4 or 5 States and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room. 

‘‘This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.

‘‘In the recent weeks, I have been to Niger Republic to attend the ECOWAS summit;  Japan with fellow African leaders to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; the United Nations General Assembly in New York and South Africa on a State visit to exchange ideas on the common themes we share as the two largest economies in Africa.

‘‘What was very clear at these meetings, and numerous others I have been privileged to attend over the years is the increased consensus by leaders that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, our policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.

‘‘This shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone will be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives,’’ he said.

On the focus of this year’s economic summit which is discussing what Nigeria would be in the year 2050 when many studies estimate the country’s population will rise to over 400 million people, the President said:

‘‘As a government, our view is to equip our citizens with the means to seize any opportunities that may arise.

‘‘This means we continue investments in education, health care, infrastructure, security and strengthen and entrench the rule of law.’’

While wishing the 25th NES fruitful, robust and productive deliberations, the President praised the organizers and stakeholders of the Summit for sustaining the platform established since 1993 to deliberate on key issues on national development.

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Troops Rescue Kidnapped Victims From Boko Haram Criminals, Destroy Improvised Explosive Devices And Raid Kidnappers Den

In continuation of the Nigerian Army’s drive to clear marauding criminal insurgents and other unscrupulous elements from Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other theatres of operations nationwide, troops of 151 Battalion in conjunction with elements of 21 Special Armoured Brigade’s Quick Response Force (QRF) thwarted the kidnap of 3 civilians by the criminal insurgents. This rescue operation occurred at about 12:20 pm on 4 October 2019 when the said troops, while acting on information volunteered by some patriotic indigenes, blocked and engaged the criminal insurgents in a fierce fire fight at a crossing point around FIRGI village in BAMA LGA of Borno State, leading to the rescue of the civilians and a Canter truck loaded with grains. The criminal insurgents, who succumbed to the superior fire power of the troops, abandoned the hijacked truck and its occupants and fled in disarray into the forest. The gallant troops are still on the trail of the criminal insurgents while the rescued victims have been escorted safely back to their destination. Troops continue to dominate the area and deny the criminal elements freedom of action within the entire Theatre of operation.

In another development, at about 9:30 am on 5 October 2019, troops of 114 Task Force Battalion, while on clearance operations, discovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted by criminal insurgents along BITTA – YAMTEKE Road. The devices were successfully detonated by the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team, thus making the route safe again for commuters.

Similarly, in the South South, troops on Operation MESA raided the criminal hide-outs of some identified kidnap kingpins in Rivers State. The suspected kidnappers who have been terrorising innocent citizens met their waterloo when troops of 29 Battalion simultaneously raided the said criminal hideouts in OBIO/AKPOR, TAI and GOKANA LGAs of Rivers State on 2nd October 2019. The raid led to the arrest of 4 high profile criminals who have been on the Security Agencies’ wanted list. Those arrested include DUMBARI Bro from B-DERE community, VICTOR DOKARA from K-DERE community, GBARACO KAVILOBA from LEWE and CONFIDENCE FRIDAY from BODO community. The suspects are currently undergoing interrogations and will soon be handed over to the appropriate Security Agency for prosecution.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai wishes to once more appeal to the good citizens of our great country to continue to support the Nigerian Army’s resolve to completely rid their communities of criminal elements by providing useful information to effectively tackle the myriad of the security challenges facing the nation.

You are kindly requested to disseminate above information to the general public for awareness.

Thank you for your usual cooperation.

AMINU ILIYASU
Colonel
Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator
7 October 2019

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BMO Cautions Labour Over Salary Adjustment For Senior Staff

Organised labour has been urged to tread softly and not to take any rash action over consequential increment for senior staff in the new minimum wage implementation.

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) gave this advice even as it commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his genuine commitment to taking the new national minimum wage issue to a positive conclusion.

The organisation said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsuji and Secretary, Cassidy Maduke that President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated sincere commitment over the minimum wage by signing the enabling Act without delay.

“The President has equally directed the implementation of the initial stage of the new minimum wage which is already being paid to junior staff in the federal public service, while the government will reconstitute the Tripartite Committee to find an amicable solution to the issue of consequential pay for senior civil servants”.

BMO noted that while labour wants 29 percent as consequential increment for senior staff on GL07-14 and 24 percent for staff on SGL 15 -17, the government is suggesting 11 percent for those on SGL 07-14 and 6.5 percent for those on SGL 15 -17 respectively.

The position of the Government is informed by the huge responsibility of managing conflicting demands in the areas of security, infrastructure development, education and care for internally displaced persons, among others.

BMO reminds Nigerians, and organised labour, of the inadequate revenue, huge recurrent expenditure on salaries and pension which constitute a serious financial challenge despite continuing efforts to block leakages in the system.

BMO recalls “with appreciation” the resolution by both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to list President Muhammadu Buhari as a ‘friend of labour’ because of his openness to labour and accommodation of its reasonable demands and recommendation which promote industrial peace in the country.

The Buhari Media Organisation urged the labour movements to continue on this path of dialogue for a sustainable industrial peace that benefits everybody.

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Why States Must Have More Powers – Osinbajo

NIGERIA can become a stronger and more prosperous nation if states have more powers, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this while speaking at the 59th Independence Anniversary Lecture at the Island Club, Lagos, on Friday.

The Vice President, who titled his lecture “the whole is only as great as the sum of its parts,” said Nigeria’s population and diverse ethnic groups has necessitated that states in the country be strengthened to enable them contribute more to national productivity and development.

Prof. Osinbajo stated that this can be achieved with “stronger, more autonomous States that are able to generate and control more of their resources.”

According to the Vice President, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is ensuring that states collaborate more with the Federal Government on different initiatives to improve visionary governance in the country.

“The most important transformative change we can make in Nigeria is to lift the majority of our people out of deprivation by speedily creating wealth and opportunity leading to the eradication of poverty,” he said.

He further said that “The nation cannot be wealthy when its component parts – the states – are poor. The standard of living of the federation depends on the standard of living of people who live in the states. In other words, the federation can only be as rich as its richest state and as strong as its strongest state. Our national indices merely aggregate the realities of our weaknesses and strengths as present in all our constituent units. Consequently, we can only build a stronger and more prosperous nation by building stronger and more prosperous states.”

He said, “Building stronger states means ensuring the devolution of more power to the states, enabling them to control more of their resources and make more of their own administrative decisions such as the creation of Local Governments, the establishment of state and community police forces as well as state correctional facilities; creation of special courts and tribunals of equivalent jurisdiction to high courts. The point I am making is that states must have more powers and more rights.”

The Vice President stated that, “The challenges confronting us now are about strengthening internal coherence and cohesion. It is about moving from affirmations of unity to the achievement of synergy in which the sum of our strengths exceeds the totality of our constituent parts.”

He noted that, “Opportunities for smart and visionary governance abound. So, for example, while states may not be able to right now establish their police forces, they can collaborate with the federal government on initiatives such as community policing which also revolves around the idea of localized law enforcement. Our administration is currently pursuing this option. When we set our minds to solving problems, we will find that what is truly possible is not as distant from the ideal that we seek.”

The Vice President further noted that Nigerians, despite differences, must draw inspiration from its history of a common shared belief, in order to attain the quest for collective progress and continued unity.

He said, “In order to do so, we must draw inspiration from the deep wells of our history. The founding fathers of our republic – Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello. These three differed on many things but shared a clear belief in the Nigeria’s boundless capacity as a united country. Regardless of their keen rivalry, they agreed on the crucial necessity of Nigeria staying united despite the many centrifugal pressures that buffeted the young nation. On this matter of unity, their differences were those of degree rather than category.

“Each of them occupied different niches on the spectrum of national integration but they all shared the view that the ideal situation was one in which a united and prosperous Nigeria took its rightful place in the world as the most populous black nation on Earth and as the foremost black power.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that the founding fathers were of one mind as far as Nigeria’s world historic significance was concerned. They also recognized that her ability to fulfil her destiny was dependent on her continued unity.”

The Vice President added that, “The point of this excursion into history is to show that strong sub nationals led by visionary leadership is what it takes to develop the Nation. What we require today is stronger, more autonomous States able to generate and control more of their resources and visionary leadership.”

Speaking during a Q&A session, Prof. Osinbajo added that the Buhari administration will continue its fight against corruption.

“Two governors have been convicted for corruption, and they are in jail today. It took almost 10 years because our legal system is extremely slow, but we achieved it,” he said.

“The other thing I think we have to take note of is the fact that corruption fights back, and we also as citizens have to much more up and doing, because corruption fights back. They throw mud at everybody, give the impression that, “everybody is corrupt.”

“If we don’t control corruption, it’s the worst possible cancer that any nation can have, and as we can see from anything else, it just destroys a country by installments.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated that he will continue to give his best in service to the country under the Buhari administration.

“I intend to do everything that is necessary, everything that I can to ensure that we achieve the promises that we made and to ensure that we achieve the kind of country that we want to achieve. And I will do that every day, every minute, for as long and God gives me life and opportunity,” he said.


Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
05th October, 2019

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Still on Buhari, Osinbajo and the Cabals, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

Any other eminent political figure or star celebrity could and should have dominated the media space. But that was not to be. Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s serving Vice President, was in the news—all through last, and even a penultimate week.

His ‘travail’ was the appetizing ‘cuisine’ several media houses feasted on. In major newspapers, on TV stations, radios, commenters and analysts had a field day. They all dished out their expert analyses on the nature of the high wire politicking and scheming already taking place in the Presidential Villa.

It would be recalled that a fortnight ago, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a crack team of economists, led by Prof. Doyin Salami, as members of his Economic Advisory Council (EAC). The team replaces the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The new team, which reports directly to the president, is to advise on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues, working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies. 

President Buhari’s action has continued to draw plaudits across the country, with many of his critics also voicing approvals and describing the move as one capable of redirecting the economic policies and improving the country’s fortunes.

Former CBN governor and Emir of Kano, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, commendand ed President Buhari, describing the action as “the single most important move made by the president in his second term with great potential for turning the economy around. The team he has assembled is first class by all standards and each and every one of them is held in high regard by all our professional colleagues.”

Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum described Buhari’s bid to rejig the economic team for growth of the country as a welcome development. The Forum praised the old team, headed by Vice President Osinbajo, for exiting the nation from the recession occasioned by years of profligacy and massive corruption that left the country stunted.

But while many highlight the positives of the action, there has been greater measure of dissents, who believe that the President’s action, in the same fell swoop, is sheer gamesmanship aimed at further cutting down on Osinbajo’s already lean powers. 

The supposition is that the latest move is part of a salvo aimed at whittling the importance of the office of the Vice President and indeed, the occupant of the office, all as part of the game-plan ahead of the next political dispensation in 2023.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, condemned the replacement of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying that by the action, Buhari has relegated and treated the VP with contempt.

Fani-Kayode said, “Despite his constant fawning on Buhari, his cowardly and quisling disposition and his penchant to defend the indefensible, Osinbajo seems to have been relegated and treated with disdain and contempt by the object of his praise and the recipient of his worship.” 

“First, he is thrown off the economic team, then some parastatals are removed from his supervision and finally he is told that he must get presidential approval for any expenses he seeks to incur.”

However, various media reports have indicated that problems started for the Vice President when he speedily pushed for the sack of former Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura while he was in acting as President. It was reported that such act compelled the cabal to move against the pastor. 

It was further reported that Lawal Daura had been digging into how funds in agencies and departments under Professor Osinbajo have been utilised including the Social Investment Programmes which are been spearheaded by the Vice President. 

Meanwhile, the major beneficiary of the seeming tension within the Presidency is the new super minister, Sadiya Umar Faruk, who supervises all-powerful Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under which the Social Investment Programmes have just been moved. 

With the south already anticipating a return of power to the region come 2023, and with news making the rounds that APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, is gearing up to throw his hat in the ring, a group of power brokers in the presidency is said to have plans afoot to effectively checkmate Tinubu’s alleged 2023 presidential ambition or any of his allies for that matter. 

The group, which has the president’s ears and is said to be recruiting leaders across the north, including emirs, is also alleged to be working to ensure that power eventually does not return to the south at the expiration of Buhari’s term. As events unfold, however, stakeholders in the national project would continue to interrogate the actions and inactions of President Buhari. This is with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the plot thickening ahead of 2023, his culpability in the whole narrative and whether the latest appointment of economic stalwarts into his government was buoyed by altruism or it is yet another salvo in a political orchestra playing out.

See link: https://newsdigest.ng/opinion/2019/10/06/buhari-osinbajo-gidado-shuaib/

Gidado Yushau Shuaib, the editor of Youths Digest and The News Digest, can be reached on giddyshuaib@gmail.com.

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DSS Arrests Abdulrasheed Maina

This is to confirm that the Department of State Services (DSS), in a combined operation, on 30th September, 2019, arrested Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).

The arrest which was effected at the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja followed a request by the EFCC to the Service to assist in the apprehension of the suspect.

Maina was arrested in company of his 20 year old son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, who unsuccessfully tried to resist the arrest.

The lad even pulled a pistol against the security agents involved in the operation. He was, however, disarmed and arrested. He is a final year student at the Canadian University of Dubai where he is studying Telecoms Engineering.

Items recovered from the suspects include a pistol with live ammunition, a bullet proof Range Rover SUV, a BMW Saloon car, foreign currencies, a phantom 7 drone and sensitive documents.

The suspects and the recovered items will be handed over to the EFCC for further investigations and appropriate necessary actions.

It is instructive to note that the operation is as a result of a renewed interagency collaboration among security and law enforcement agencies.

The Service has always subscribed to such collaboration believed to be important in national security management and therefore, hopes to sustain the initiative in mitigating the current threats against public safety and national critical assets.

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President Buhari Congratulates Kano, Plateau Governors On Election Tribunal Victories

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on the affirmation of their victories in the March 2019 gubernatorial polls by the respective State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals. 

President Buhari, who is travelling with the two victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) party governors to South Africa on a State Visit, extended his goodwill to the duo on Wednesday shortly before departure from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The President described the verdict of the Tribunals as a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.

With the elections and tribunals now behind, the President urged the governors to unite their States by focusing more on inclusive and accountable governance and ensuring that all APC programmes targeted at improving the welfare of Nigerians are fully implemented.       

President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government will continue to work with States to create economic growth that benefits everyone, and security for human lives, investments and the environment.

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How Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes Have Garnered Global Acclaim

In a strategy aimed at ensuring the continuity and sustainability of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes, the schemes are now being upgraded to a full ministry status with the take-off of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

This move is coming after the first term successful implementation of the scheme directly from the Presidency, indicating the need to now institutionalize the SIP.

Endorsed by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the World Economic Forum, as testament of its national impact in Africa’s most populous country, the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) truly embodies what it means to go global while making local impact.

Regarded as the largest social protection programme in Nigeria’s history, the Social Investment Programmes has four broad programmes, namely: N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes, GEEP). 

At inception, the National Social Investment Office, NSIO,  in the Vice President’s office was responsible for overseeing the N-SIP since  2016, while issues of funding, contract awards and procurement had always been undertaken by the Ministry of  Budget and National Planning. 

Also an inter-ministerial  Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice President and composed of several Ministers including from the ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Budget and Planning, Labour and Employment, Women Affairs and others,  had policy oversight on the programme implementation.

In his Independence speech earlier today President Muhammadu Buhari  stated in order to “institutionalize these impactful programmes, we created the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which shall consolidate and build on our achievements to date.”

Indeed the Social Investment Programmes have also been recognized by several local and international organizations for empowering Nigerians and meeting the urgent needs of Nigerians in different areas including providing employment, supporting small businesses and poverty alleviation.

Organisations like Action Aid (Nigeria), of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) have all commended the NSIP for its nationwide social impact

The impact of the SIPs has duly attracted the attention of the rest of the world. Among the global recognition for the impact of its schemes are the Financial Inclusion Award, which was at the 2019 African Bankers’ Awards: where BOI won for the GEEP scheme; the Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019, where GEEP CEO, Uzoma Nwagba, named among recipients; the Public Social Entrepreneur award, given by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, WEF, to Mrs Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments; and recently.

One of the SIP components, GEEP, which is executed through the Bank of Industry (BOI) was recognized as the most impactful Financial Inclusion programme in Africa during the African Bankers’ Awards ceremony which held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 14th, 2019. The award was for BOI’s role in implementing GEEP, which includes the popular TraderMoni scheme. The awards event featured financial institutions and projects from all 54 countries in Africa, as well as the international community;

TraderMoni is one of the microcredit schemes under GEEP, where millions of petty traders get N10,000 loans. Upon repayment within 6 months, the beneficiary becomes eligible for a larger amount of N15,000 and all the way to N100,000 if and when the collateral-free loans are repaid. The other microcredit schemes are MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.

Also, in April, the impact of the SIPs was recognized by the African Leadership Institute when the GEEP COO, Uzoma Nwagba was named among the recipients for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2019.  According to the AFL, Nwagba’s role in GEEP, which it described as “the world’s largest micro-credit scheme” was critical. “GEEP to date has leveraged the power of a technology-driven operation to disburse and manage a portfolio of two million loans to underbanked Nigerians, demonstrating the biggest advancement of financial inclusion via credit in Africa,” the citation read.

Recently, Mrs Maryam Uwais MFR, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, was conferred with the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award by the Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF. It was another pointer to SIP’s global endorsement. Uwais was named among 40 other global leaders selected from different countries to receive the award in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

Similarly, with the N-Power job scheme, which currently engages 500,000 young graduates and 200,000 non-graduates in different key sectors, and the School Feeding Programme, which currently feeds almost 10 million school children in 32 states, the SIPs’ impact is truly felt nationwide.

Indeed, millions of Nigerians can testify of the impact of the largest social welfare programme in sub-Saharan Africa. This is because since its implementation in 2016, the N-SIPs have impacted over 12 million direct beneficiaries and over 30 million indirect beneficiaries, comprising family members, employees of beneficiaries, cooks and farmers.

Justice Tienabeso Bibiye
 
Communications Manager,
 
National Social Investment Office NSIO

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President Buhari Visits South Africa Over Welfare Of Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari departs Abuja Wednesday on a three-day State Visit to the Republic of South Africa, following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss welfare of Nigerians, and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts.

The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians and the exchange of visits by Special Envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.

While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of Nigerian government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.    

President Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report will be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.

The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts.

President Buhari will be accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

Others are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd); Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.

Also on the trip are: National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chairman/CEO Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The President will return to Abuja on Friday.

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LASG Frowns At Conversion Of Industrial Premises For Other Uses

The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako has, in a release issued on Sunday, frowned at the conversion of Industrial premises for other uses, saying it is illegal and not permissible.

Salako explained that industrial premises were primarily places of economic and productive activities expected to provide employment opportunities and grow the economy of the State.

“The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has noticed with dismay the continuous illegal conversion and use of industrial premises for other uses including Places of Worship, Event Centres and other non-complementary uses” he stated.  

Warning perpetrators of the act, Salako said “The General Public is hereby informed that all non-complementary facilities such as Places of Worship and Social related activities are not permissible within INDUSTRIAL ESTATES in the State in consonance with the Operative Development Plans and relevant sections of Lagos State Physical Planning Permit and Building Control Regulations (2019)”.

While noting that appropriate sanctions shall be applied against violators of these Regulations, the Commissioner declared that the Industrial Estates affected by the directive include Ikeja, Ilupeju, Apapa, Oshodi, Mile 2 Amuwo, Ikorodu, Epe, Orile Iganmu and Oregun Industrial Estate, amongst others.

He solicited the continuous support of all residents in the State in sustaining the Industrial Estates as hubs for job creation and economic prosperity, requesting that further enquiries on the matter should be directed through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Block 15, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

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