1.6M votes? Atiku, PDP In Post-Poll Depression, Says APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says that judging by Atiku Abubakar and PDP’s recent utterances and actions, it was now clear that they had slipped into severe depression and post-defeat hallucination.

Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC publicity secretary said on Wednesday the utterances must have left many Nigerians questioning the current state of mind of members of the PDP.

Issa Onilu spoke in the wake of the claims by a PDP lawyer that the party recorded 1.6m votes more than President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential election on 23 February.

Issa-Onilu said the claim only calls for sympathy to the PDP and its candidate.

He said party was not unaware of the antics of Atiku and the PDP to discredit the outcome of the election adjudged free and fair by international and national election observers.

“Following the outcome of the presidential election, during which a vast majority of Nigerians re-affirmed their unshaken belief in President Buhari to continue to steer the affairs of the country for another four years.

“We have watched in disbelief and utter amusement how the opposition, PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have engaged in series of circus shows to cheer up their crestfallen and disillusioned members.

“While the APC is not oblivious of the PDP’s antics to discredit the credible presidential electoral process, acknowledged by local and international observers, we sympathise with Atiku for the crushing defeat handed him by President Buhari through the votes of Nigerians, “ Issa-Onilu said.

He further noted that after weeks of dilly-dallying, the PDP had woken up to the reality of its electoral defeat and decided to follow the constitutional path of filing a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal.

He described all the prayers of Atiku before the Election Tribunal as“ hollow” at best.

He added that the most ridiculous of Atiku’s prayer was his claim that the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicated that he won the presidential election by 1.6 million votes.

Issa-Onilu wondered if this was phantom figure of 1.6 million votes Dubai-invented, and if the result were sold to Atiku by his numerous marabouts.

“Most importantly, we note Atiku’s consistent reference to the INEC server as if he is the custodian of that platform.

READ: 30,000 petty traders receive TraderMoni loans after elections

“Indeed, Atiku’s constant reference to the INEC server should raise concerns as it is becoming apparent that he and the PDP are up for some dastard activities,“ he said.

The APC spokesman added that the target of Atiku and the PDP could be to jeopardise INEC`s database and internal storage system.

He recalled the widespread reported cases of several programmed card readers retrieved from some PDP agents and their failed attempt to hack the INEC database in the lead-up to the then postponed presidential election.

Issa-Onilu reminded Atiku and PDP that Nigerians saw through the devious schemes aimed at thwarting their will, adding that majority of the voters handed them a harsh verdict which had to remained sacrosanct.

He called on the INEC and the security agencies to be on red alert to ensure that Atiku and other desperate members of the PDP cannot execute their evil machinations.

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Senate Presidency: What We Need Is Restructuring – Ndigbo

The apex pan Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said it is not interested in who occupies the seats of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The group, in a statement signed by the Deputy Publicity Secretary, Chuks Ibegbu, noted that what Ndigbo needed most is restructuring of Nigeria and not who occupies what position which only benefits the occupant as in the past.

“We are not much interested in positions now but what our people, the common Igbo masses will benefit from the country in its entirety,” the group insisted.

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Why President Buhari Declined 5 Bills from the National Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his displeasure with some provisions of the five bills sent to him by the National Assembly thereby prompting him to decline to assent to the bills.

The President made this known in a compilation of letters sent to the National Assembly and read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki during plenary session.

According to the letter, President Buhari raised concerns on the bills which prompted him to refuse to sign them into law and they include Digital Rights and Freedom bill, Nigerian Film Commission bill, Immigration Amendment bill, Climate Change bill and Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners bill.

Mr President explained that he declined to assent to the Digital Rights and Freedom bill because, “it seeks to cover too many technical subjects and fails to address any of them extensively, these areas include surveillance and digital protection, lawful interception of communication, digital protection and retention etc which are currently the subject of various bills pending at the national assembly”.

“It is therefore suggested that the scope of the bill should be limited to the protection of human rights within the digital environment to reduce the challenge of duplication and legislative conflict in the future”, he further explained.

However, for not signing the Nigerian Film Commission bill, Mr President noted that, “Section 1 (k) of the bill states that 1% of the proceeds for the television license for the national broadcasting commission shall be paid into a fund to be controlled by the national film commission which is conflict with section 16 (1) of the national broadcasting commission act which stipulates the purpose for which expenditure to be generated by NBC may be used”.

President Buhari further noted that, “Section 7 (2) (d) of the bill proposed 5% VAT on all film-related activities to the national film development fund violates section 40 of the Valued Added Tax and ensuring formula described therein because it averts funds normally distributed to states of the federation.”

Mr President also explained his reasons for denying assent to the Immigration Amendment Bill, he said that, “due to the concerns expressed to the retroactive effect of the provisions of 38 (5) of the bill and the impact of the section on the ease of doing business initiative of the federal government, there are also concerns that if passed, the bill will be destructive to Nigerians in diaspora if other countries were to reciprocate the provisions of section 38 (5) in their immigration laws”.

President Buhari also said that the climate change bill was also not signed because, “the scope and guiding principle of the bill replicated the functions of the Federal Ministry of Environment which is charged with mainstreaming climate responses and actions into government polices but does not suggest the scrapping of the ministry”.

“Setting up a council as suggested by Section 2 of the bill is expensive to maintain as it amounts to the proliferation of government agencies especially when there are existing agencies already performing the proposed functions”, he further explained.

Finally, Mr President said he declined to assent to the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners bill because, “the objectives of the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners created by the bill are similar to the objectives of the Signified Pension Institute of Nigeria which is already in existence and functional and this will amount to duplication of the functions of a separately constituted institute”.

“Concerns have also been raised in connection with the propriety of the private investigate panel in conducting a criminal investigation as suggested by section 8 (1) of the bill”, he further revealed.

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30,000 Petty Traders Receive Trader Moni Loans After Elections

Contrary to speculations in some quarters, the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products (MarketMoni and FarmerMoni) – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, are still very much in operation, Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), has said.

Mr Akande disclosed this in a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).

According to him, “So far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”


Besides, he added that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”

“Consequently, disbursements have continued to happen in the states; for instance, we have had over 28,000 disbursements across 10 states since after the elections.

“Our priority is ramping up these numbers in the balance of states before we move to phase two of the program after detailed reviews and structural enhancements for larger scale.

“Under the Next Level agenda, Trader Moni loans will target ten million petty traders, a significant ramp up from the initial target of two million beneficiaries.

On the role of the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Investment in the implementation of the scheme, he said, “it is actively involved in the project.”

Mr Akande said, “that ministry is, in fact the oversighting Ministry of Bank of Industry, which is the deploying agency. The office of the Minister executes the GEEP program via the Bank of Industry. 

“The governance structure of GEEP includes the office of the Vice President (National Social Investment Office), The Ministry of Trade and Investment, and the Bank of Industry.” 

Speaking on measures adopted to enhance repayments, the Presidential Media Aide said GEEP has pioneered innovative solutions to drive repayment compliance.

“Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), we successfully piloted the concept of the BVN as digital collateral; and we saw repayment go up significantly on the MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans.

“For TraderMoni, beneficiaries can pay back at any commercial bank in the country just like a NEPA or WAEC bill; all they need to provide the bank teller with is their phone number. We also developed and successfully piloted scratch cards as a repayment option for beneficiaries who stay kilometres away from the nearest banks in their community. The cards are loaded the same way Telco recharge cards are loaded, thus requiring no new learning curve.

“This improved repayment received compliance to the extent that in January, the Bank of Industry began second level disbursements – disbursements of N15,000 – to beneficiaries in Lagos, Borno, Ogun and Oyo states for trader who had successfully paid back their first N10,000 loans,” Mr Akande disclosed. 

According to him, “GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.”

The GEEP programme, a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) has since inception about two years ago, impacted many lives, improved living conditions and expanded opportunities for ordinary Nigerians to do petty trading as well as small and medium scale businesses. 

Under the Trader Moni scheme, an initial N10,000 loan is given to petty traders and once they repay within six months, they can receive a new N15,000 loan and when they repay that they can get another N20,000 loan until they get as much as N100,000

 

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FG Expresses Satisfaction Over Concession Of 30mw Gurara Hydropower Plant

The federal government has expressed satisfaction with the concessioning of the 30 megawatts (MW) Gurara hydropower plant located in Kaduna State.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this when he received the Full Business Case compliance (FBC) certificate from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), in Abuja.

Adamu said that as soon the project concessioning gets the nod of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), it would be made public.

According to the minister: “With the experience that has been garnered from the concessioning of the Gurara hydropower plant, we are now set to accelerate the pace of engagement with the private partners for other available facilities.

“This issue of developing our hydropower is one of the key components of the broad map we developed in 2015. At that time, we realised that the potential of hydro power had not been exploited,” he said.

In his remarks, the ICRC Director General, Chidi Izuwah, noted that the Full Business Certificate compliance indicated that the ministry had completed all technical and financial transactions for the hydropower component of the dam to be concessioned.

Izuwah asserted that ICRC chose the North South Power Company as preferred bidder and Mainstream Energy Solutions as the reserved bidder, adding that it was in line with international best practices.

“The private sector has chosen capacity. Look at what the private sector has done in Shiroro and Jebba hydropower plants. When Shiriro was concessioned, it was doing barely 200 megawatts, today, it is doing 600 megawatts. The private sector has demonstrated capability in being able to unleash these facilities for the benefit of Nigerians. We need power; the concessionaire himself has shown commitment to see that this project commenced pledging to bring his own funds,” he said.

ThisDay

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Five Feared killed As Cult Groups Clash In Akwa Ibom

No fewer than five people have been reportedly killed after two cult groups clashed in Urua Ekpa community in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The two-day cult war in the area, in the outskirts of Uyo, the state capital, reportedly occurred last Tuesday night and continued till the morning of Wednesday also leaving many wounded.

As at Wednesday, shops within the vicinity were locked while police beefed up security and more patrol vans deployed.

A source said: “At about 9 pm on Tuesday when I was returning home from the market, I heard a gunshot down the street and I thought it was a tyre of a vehicle that got burst but after some time I heard another gunshot again. It was when I heard the second gunshot that I knew something was wrong.

“A few minutes later, I heard people running and screaming and by this time, the gunshots were everywhere, there was sporadic shooting.

“Since yesterday, this area has been under serious security threat. We couldn’t sleep last night. Three persons including one of our neighbours have been killed.”

Another source in the area said: “There was a big problem in this our village, yesterday (Tuesday). It continued this morning and I can confirm to you that two persons have died in this our street.

“I was preparing to come to my barbing saloon this morning (Wednesday), when a group of guys started chasing our neighbour, they later caught up with him down the street, where they mercilessly murdered him.”

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EU Commends Nigeria On Deradicalization Of Ex-Boko Haram Terrorists

The European Union has commended the Gombe state government, Nigerian Army and officials of “operation safe corridor” on its deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration Programme of boko haram terrorists.

According to its Ambassador in Nigeria, Ketil Karslen the Programme would go a long way in tackling the insurgency in the north east and guarantee education for its youth.

The E.U. envoy want in the north east to look at the deradicalization Programme of the Nigerian Army and to understand the peculiarities on the war against insurgent groups in the north east.

Officials of “operation safe corridor” say they have concluded plans to reintegrate one hundred and fifty-four ex-combatants into the communities with the conclusion of the deradicalization Programme.

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Aisha Buhari Kicks Off Tuberculosis Awareness Campaign In Abuja

The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari has kicked off a Tuberculosis awareness campaign ahead of the world TB day next week.

At the ceremony in Kobe Village, a suburb in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mrs Buhari called on those experiencing more than two weeks persistent cough to go for TB test to ascertain their status.

Mrs Buhari who expressed her passion towards combating the air-borne disease said appropriate logistics would be deployed to put an end to TB before the 2035 deadline by the world health Organization.

The Minister of State for Health, Doctor Osagie Ehanire outlined some of the efforts made by the ministry to eradicate TB to include the nationwide expansion of TB diagnostic and treatment capacity, scale up of TB screening at community and facility level, and training of various categories of healthcare workers among others.

The high point of the event was the unveiling of a mobile treatment center by Mrs Buhari and wife of the Vice President Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo.

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Army Faults INEC’s Position On Rivers Election

The Nigerian Army has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the position it adopted regarding the governorship election in Rivers State.

INEC indicted soldiers alongside armed thugs over the violence that forced the suspension of the elections in Rivers .

Executive Director, Global Peace and life rescue initiative, Melvin Ejeh, in an interview with TVC, also reiterated the position of the army.

“The governor is an alarmist. Wike wanted to rig the election and the position of the army is that the election should be held in a free and fair atmosphere”, he stated.

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Policeman Kills NSCDC Officer In Abuja For Violating Traffic Laws

Ogar Jombo, a two-star officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has been allegedly killed by a policeman for violating traffic law.

The incident reportedly happened at Nyanya Market area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), when the deceased was driving his two children and wife.

The slain NSCDC officer reportedly made a U-turn at the wrong spot, but was flagged by the police officers on duty in the area.

Findings revealed that Ogar pleaded that he was rushing to drop the children in school. Ogar was in uniform and also identified himself as an officer.

However, all entreaties made by the deceased fell on deaf ears, as one of the police officers jumped on the bonnet of the vehicle, while the other one descended on him with a baton. At this point, his wife and children intervened and pleaded on his behalf. He was, however, allegedly beaten to a stupor and died in the process.

One of his children was quoted as saying: “Please, don’t kill my father; leave my father alone.”

According to passers-by, the Police had attempted to take the corpse away with a view to dumping him somewhere, but they intervened and followed them to the hospital where the corpse was deposited.

Bala Ciroma, the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who was at the General Hospital to console the family of the deceased, has ordered the arrest of the officers who committed the crime.

The slain officer hails from Otukpo in Benue State and was recently promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Corps (ASC).


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Labour Unions Urges President Buhari To Sign Minimum Wage Bill Into Law

The organized labour in Nasarawa State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action and sign into law the National Minimum Wage Bill without further delay.

Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdullahi Adeka and his counterpart in the Trade Union Congress in the state Comrade Danladi Namo made the call in Lafia while speaking with Radio Nigeria on the their expectations on the passage of The National Minimum Wage Bill by the senate recently.

The labour leaders said that urgent implementation of the Minimum wage was the best thing the federal government can do to reciprocate the patience and sacrifices of Nigerian workers.

They Commended the National Assembly for approving the new minimum wage bill describing it as labour friendly steps in the right direction.

Comrade Adeka and Comrade Namo also called on state governors to do the needful and comply with the implementation of N30,000 minimum wage to avoid industrial disharmony.

Radio Nigeria

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Immigration Rescues Eight Girls From Suspected Trafficker In Kano

The Nigeria Immigration Service NIS has rescued eight trafficked victims and arrested the suspected trafficker in Kano.

NIS Kano State Command Comptroller, Isiaka Yusuf disclosed this while parading the suspect, Ms Sweet Akoye before newsmen.

He said the suspect, was arrested by Irregular Migration Section of the Service, while trying to facilitate trafficking of the eight victims from Benin city in Edo state through Kano to Italy en route Niger Republic.

The Comptroller said during interrogation, it was discovered that the victims, all females paid money ranging from N30,000 to N300,000 to facilitate their trip.

He maintained that the suspect, Ms Sweet Akoye has admitted that she was trafficking them to Italy.

The comptroller added that she would be charged to court for aiding and abetting human trafficking an act contrary to section 70 of the Immigration ACT 2015 as amended.

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