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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President Buhari Pledges Adequate Funding For Judiciary, Inaugurates Annex Building Of National Industrial Court

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja pledged that his administration will continue to adequately fund the judiciary to enable it discharge its responsibilities. 

The President also said it is the collective duty of the three arms of government to ensure fair justice delivery and safeguard the rights of all Nigerians.    

The President spoke at the commissioning of the annex building of the headquarters of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Area 3, Abuja, which also marked the valedictory session of the President of the Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo. 

President Buhari said: ‘‘You will all recall that in 2014, the entire budgetary allocation to the judiciary was N68 billion. 

‘‘Today, the judiciary budgetary allocation has gone up to N100 billion. Rest assured that we shall continue to adequately fund the judiciary to ensure it is enabled to discharge its responsibilities.’’ 

The Nigerian leader used the occasion to appeal to the three arms of government to continue collaborative partnership to ensure that policies, programmes and projects of this administration positively impact the lives of Nigerians. 

‘‘Simply put, all Nigerians, regardless of ethnicity, religion and politics deserve peaceful and prosperous lives. 

‘‘Where these basic rights are trampled upon, Nigerians deserve fair justice delivery.  

‘‘It is therefore our collective duty to work collaboratively to ensure that such rights are safeguarded,’’ he said. 

Congratulating the President of the Court on his retirement and meritorious service to the country, the President said Justice Adejumo’s numerous contributions are well known and appreciated. 

‘‘I am confident his legacy will have a positive impact on those who follow him,’’ he said. 

Speaking on the mandate of the Court, the President recalled that it was established as a specialised Court to adjudicate on disputes arising from and relating to labour, industrial and employment matters. 

‘‘Indeed, it is the Court in Nigeria that is constitutionally mandated to perform these functions. Thus, the performance of this court directly impacts Nigeria’s ease of doing business indices,’’ he said. 

The President noted that the completion of the Annex Building will further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of justice delivery by the Court. 

‘‘Furthermore, the socio-economic impact of this Court cannot be downplayed as it also provides the platform for employees, retirees as well as the dependents of deceased employees to find justice when treated unfairly,’’ he added. 

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Nigeria @59: You Are Myopic, BMO Tells Atiku

The anniversary of Nigeria’s independence should be a period for sober reflections by all Nigerians, regardless of political affiliations, social, economic or tribal inclinations. 

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) expressed these sentiments in its reaction to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s comments where he raised issues on the repression of the press, persecution of judges, poverty level and high cost of governance in the country. 

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the group said Atiku’s views were myopic and reminded him, that it was on the basis of the atmosphere for free speech provided by the Buhari administration that he is able to release statements to the media unhindered.

“Since President Buhari assumed power, the Nigerian press has enjoyed unfettered access to information, ably aided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).

“It is also worthy of note that contrary to Atiku’s assertion that the Judiciary is being hampered under the present administration, judges are free to deliver judgements and such judgements are promptly obeyed by the Buhari administration as it believes in the rule of law. Perhaps we need to re-state that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his quest for the Presidency of Nigeria, had pursued his case through the courts up to the highest court in the land, and this is a clear evidence of his faith in the Judiciary.”

BMO also said it totally disagrees with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that poverty level had risen in the country, “considering that the President Buhari administration had taken steps to reduce poverty, especially with the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) which have gained international acclaim and recognition. 

“Similarly, the engagement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians in agriculture, based on the support being provided by the Buhari administration has significantly reduced the poverty level that various PDP administrations bequeathed to Nigerians after being in charge for sixteen years. 

“Obviously, these are deliberate policies and programmes put in place by the Buhari administration to alleviate poverty in the land and it is still work in progress.”

On the allegation that the cost of governance in the country was on the increase, BMO drew the attention of the former vice president to the 50% voluntary slash in the salaries of Mr President and his deputy as their exemplary sacrifice as leaders.

“The Buhari administration was also able to weed out tens of thousands of ghost workers from the civil service, thereby reducing the federal wage bill by several billions naira monthly. The federal government is also looking into ways to reduce reccrrent expenditure in the legislative arm.”

The Buhari group also recalled that up till 2015 recurrent expenditure and other non-capital expenditure gulped up to 80% of our national budget, leaving a paltry 20% for spending on infrastructure and other capital developments.  

“It is to the credit of Buhari administration, since 2015, that this is no longer the case.

“It is also on account of reducing waste, curbing corruption and blocking leakages that the Buhari administration conceived and implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA). The positive results are there for everyone to see.”

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Heritage Bank MD Says Credible ID Management Will Foster Access To Credit

MD/CEO, Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo , has stressed the need for the federal government to work towards creating a credible and strong identity management towards expanding access to credit in the country.

Sekibo noting that while the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has been able to create a form of identification in the country, it has not been able to address some of the issues around identity management in the country. Speaking at the 2019 Annual Conference of Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) at the weekend, the Heritage Bank MD noted that the ability of individuals to relocate from one place to another without notifying anyone was a major issue in access to credit.

Represented by divisional head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Mr Segun Akanji, Sekibo said the dearth of effective and standard identity management infrastructure made access to credit for the SMEs in Nigeria tough as banks only see unmitigated risks.

“I am talking about identity management challenge. That is the biggest collateral to lending and that is what is missing in this economy. The day banks can verify where you live, everybody will get loan with ease, because you cannot run away,” he stated. He explained that “the problem is this, I don’t know where you live.

The address of the company is not where you live. And you can wake up in FESTAC today, but tomorrow you move to Ajangbadi or Victoria Island. You don’t have to tell me. And that is a huge problem for  banks.

“People take a loan from banks and change accommodation, run away to Ibadan and you cannot find them. That must change. But how do you do that? It is very simple. You lose all the benefits that is allocated to you as a person, the day you relocate like that, you are as good as dead.

“Like when you live abroad, once you misbehave with your identity, you cannot bank, your credit goes bad, you cannot go to hospital and everything else goes bad and you cannot do anything. So, you have a responsibility to yourself and the country that supports you to report yourself.

“There is no value in our identity management as we have it. So, it is not just about banks, it is about the holistic structure where there is no value to the person that each of us will represent. ”He gave instances about developed economies such as the US where if one changes accommodation, they must notify all relevant institutions that they deal with because of the inherent value in the system.

“Just like they do abroad, when you are changing accommodation, you will be the one going to your bank, hospital, everywhere, you will dedicate a day in a week until you go around to everyone and inform them of the address change,” he said.

“Why? There is value to where you live. That’s where your mail, pension, cheque comes. Everything attached to you comes to that address. So, there is value. We need to get to that and then no one will be needing collateral to get some minimum amount to do business.”

Sekibo also observed that although the banks had pushed the government to some form of identity management system through the bank verification number, BVN, it has not been enough to solve the problem of the identity constraining lending in the country.

“You can argue that the banks have driven the government to some identity management system through the BVN, but the problem is that the infrastructure that will keep everybody in the homes where they live and not just change is non-existent,” he said.

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President Buhari Lauds Bill Gates/Aliko Dangote For Service To Humanity

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday applauded the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation to humanitarian and developmental activities in Nigeria.

Meeting with the duo at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President said they have touched humanity in many positive ways, and congratulated them “for achieving what you had set out to do.”

“Thanks for deriving pleasure in helping people. Congratulations to you for returning part of your wealth to the people in diverse ways. Whatever we save in areas in which you have intervened, we can deploy to other areas like building of infrastructure,” President Buhari said.

On agriculture, in which Alhaji Dangote makes huge investments, the President noted that farmers were very happy in Nigeria now, “as we have made fertilizer available, cut the price by half, and given many other incentives. They have no regret going back to the lands. The more we invest in agriculture, the better for us.”

Mr Gates congratulated President Buhari “for assembling a cabinet that excites us,” saying he was pleased that one of the priorities of the administration was human capital development, of which health, nutrition and education are key components.

Noting that Bill and Melinda Gates as well as Aliko Dangote Foundations keep track of Nigeria’s attainments on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as enunciated by the United Nations, he submitted that they were encouraged that there was improvement in reduction of child mortality.

“Every local government area has better health/education situation today than in year 2000. We are delighted about that. Nigeria is our biggest commitment in Africa. It’s only in India we do more in the world,” Mr Gates said.

On polio eradication, he said Nigeria reached a zero wild polio virus free milestone for three years in August, noting that the next six months were critical, so that the country could finally be declared polio free.

Alhaji Dangote appreciated the Nigerian military for helping with vaccination in the theatres of war while fighting insurgency, thus adding to the advances in the country’s polio status.

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Atiku, PDP Will Fail Again At Supreme Court -BMO

The appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar at the Supreme Court is an exercise in futility, as it will only re-emphasize the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) which ruled that the petition was futile and had no substance.

The Buhari Media Organization (BMO) said Atiku and PDP either did not read or they did not understand the judgement of the Tribunal.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the group stated that the judgement of the tribunal was quite clear and unequivocal about Atiku’s empty petition.

“If they had thoroughly digested the judgement they would not have wasted their resources to file an appeal.

“It was one of the very few times that five Justices would sit to deliver a judgment and be unanimous in their decision. This was so because there could not have been any other decision contrary to what they held: Atiku’s case was a no-brainer, and lacked any substance.

“On facts and evidence, they failed, on technicalities and irregularities they failed as well. The Justices may not have said so, out of respect for the institution of the courts and our democracy, but certainly they must have known that the petition was a waste of time. Any reasonable person would know that.

“The petition was bound to fail – in whatever direction it took. And it will fail again”.

BMO argued that Atiku’s appeal was to satisfy the pressure of marabouts who had deceived him into believing that he stood a chance at the polls and in the courts.

“What the Supreme Court will do is put a final nail in the coffin where PDP and Atiku’s petition lies. We strongly believe the Supreme Court would do nothing less than striking out the appeal of the PDP”.

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