President Inaugurates, Sets Agenda For Economic Advisory Council

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja administered oaths of office on members of the newly constituted Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), and also set an agenda of what they should accomplish in the shortest possible time.

Speaking at a meeting with the 8-man Council chaired by Prof. Doyin Salami, President Buhari charged them to focus on developing reliable data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.

The President who called the task before the PEAC ‘‘most important national assignment’’, said:

”As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.

” Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies.

” Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.

” This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country.

” We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities.

”Our programs covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertiliser to grains and ultimately, our dishes.

”As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability. ”

The President also used the occasion to set agenda and expectations from the Council, constituted on September 16, 2019, to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT).

On the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), the President told members that his administration was working to measure the impact of the programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens.

As such, the President said he had directed the new Minister for Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East.

” Today, we hear international organisations claiming to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the camps, you rarely see the impact.

” In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was significantly lower than the claims made by these international organisations.

” Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian issues.

” I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future, ” the President said.

On his expectations from the council, the President urged them to proffer solutions on how to move the country and economy forward.

The President directed the Council to coordinate and synthesize ideas and efforts on how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, working in collaboration with various employment generating agencies of government.

”I am told you worked throughout last weekend in preparation for this meeting.

”I have listened attentively to findings and ideas on how to move the country and the economy forward.

”Yes, Nigeria has exited the recession. But our reported growth rate is still not fast enough to create the jobs we need to meet our national ambition of collective prosperity.

”Reason being we had to tread carefully in view of the mess we inherited.

”Many of the ideas we developed in the last four years were targeted at returning Nigeria back to the path of growth.

”I am sure you will also appreciate that during that time, our country was also facing serious challenges especially in the areas of insecurity and massive corruption.

”Therefore, I will be the first to admit that our plans were conservative. We had to avoid reckless and not well thought out policies.

”However, it was very clear to me after we exited the recession that we needed to re-energise our economic growth plans. This is what I expect from you, ” he said.

President Buhari also assured the Council that the Federal Government will ensure that all their needs and requests were met before the next technical sessions in November.

He said all key ministries, departments and agencies will be available to meet and discuss with them on how to collectively build a new Nigeria that caters for all.

”Now, no one person or a group of persons has a monopoly of knowledge or wisdom or patriotism.

”In the circumstances, you may feel free to co-opt, consult and defer to any knowledgeable person if in your opinion such a move enriches your deliberations and add to the quality of your decisions, ” he said.

Chairman of Council, Professor Salami, said the mandate was about ”Nigeria first, Nigeria second, and Nigeria always, ” adding that it was about Nigerians, not as numbers, but as people.

He added: ”Our goal is that the economy grows in a manner that is rapid, inclusive, sustained and sustainable so that Nigerians will feel the impact. ”

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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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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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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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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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My Head Swelled And Swelled, As The World Celebrated Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Credentials, By Femi Adesina

Wednesday was a helluva day. Filled to the brim. We didn’t call it a day till 9 p.m (2 a.m Nigerian time), and it was with all pleasure that I dived into bed about an hour later. Sweet embrace. Sleep. William Shakespeare calls it “sweet nourisher in life’s feast.” We must give glory to God for creating sleep. That’s why it’s not good to murder sleep. Serious trouble.
How did Wednesday go?

President Muhammadu Buhari met with the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The latter said it was always inspiring for him, each time he sat near the Nigerian President.

Purpose of the meeting? Portugal would be hosting Europe-Africa Forum in Lisbon next year, and the Nigerian leader was being invited to declare the event open.

“Please come, we’ll like to see you” de Sousa said. “We’ve been waiting for you for three years. Please come, even if it’s for just half a day. Many African leaders have visited us, but we want Nigeria. Please come to Lisbon.”
The President said our own President was looking quite well: “You are so fit! Your opponents say you are ill. I guess that is just to disturb you.” General laughter.

President Buhari said he would consider the invitation, apologizing that he hadn’t visited all the while. “I was very busy in the first term, knowing that I was going to face re-election. Now that we are in second and final term, we will consolidate on what we’ve done in first term, so that I can retire in peace and comfort.”

Next. Former Prime Minister of Australia, Hon Kevin Rudd, who now spends his time advocating for water, sanitation, and discouragement of open defecation round the world. He is chairman of a body called Water and Sanitation for All. He says his children now call him ‘Global Sultan of Sanitation.’ Interesting.

President Buhari told him what Nigeria was doing in the area of water and sanitation, including declaring a state of emergency in November last year. Target date for eradicating open defecation is 2025. Ex-PM Rudd shared a slogan made popular in India by PM Narendra Modi, particularly directed at ladies: ‘Never marry a man, unless he can provide you with clean toilet.’ Lol. Many men would surely be sentenced to eternal bachelorhood, if that happens in Nigeria. But happen it must, President Buhari assured. He said the country would step up advocacy against open defecation, and clean water would be provided for all.

Next. Two men of wealth, and of power. Their kind of wealth naturally confers great influence anywhere in the world. Bill Gates, and Aliko Dangote. Before they came in, one of us had jocularly said: “I hope they would announce a gift of one million dollars to each of us before they leave.” I would simply faint, I responded . If I got revived, and saw the pile of money, I would faint again. Remember the late Justice Ovie Whiskey? He was the electoral commission boss sometime in Nigeria. When someone accused him of collecting inducement in millions of Naira to swing victory to a particular side, he said he had never seen a million Naira before, and that if he saw it, he would simply faint. So, don’t blame me if I faint at the sight of a million dollars.
Gates and Dangote gave the President updates on the polio war, progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agriculture, and many others. Their host lauded them for their help to humanity, saying: “Thanks for deriving pleasure in helping people.” (I thought they would drop the one million dollars gift for each person at that time, but alas, they didn’t).
Next again. President Julius Mada Bio of Sierra Leone. He came to discuss matters that affected his country, the West African sub-region, and Africa in general.

Now, to the big one for the day. High Level Side Event on Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows. It was organized by AUDA-NEPAD in conjunction with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria. President Buhari presented a keynote address, was supported by President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, and President of Ethiopia, Sahlework Zewede. President of UNGA 74, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was also there, as well as key figures from round the world.
In his keynote address, President Buhari lamented the evil that corruption was doing to Africa. Quoting from the 2014 Global Financial Integrity Report, the Nigerian leader noted that Nigeria alone lost minimum of $157.5 billion between 2003-2012, adding that such massive loss of assets resulted in dearth of resources “to fund public services or to alleviate poverty,” in the country.

According to him, “This is why, as Africans, we have no choice but to break the back of corruption…That is why our government has made it a war we intend to win. We will give all it takes to ensure there is no hiding place for purveyors of corrupt practices who are truly enemies of the people.”

Stressing the need to strengthen good practices on asset recovery and return, President Buhari said that, “In the last five years, our government has made significant progress to curb corruption,” adding: “We have recovered millions of dollars stolen from our country.”

Then followed a session in which my head swelled, and swelled, as keynote statements were made by personalities from across the world. Ori mi wu, as the Yoruba people would say. Almost all the speakers were not done, till they had eulogized President Buhari for his commitment to integrity, transparency and accountability. It was one evening every right thinking Nigerian in the hall felt proud of our President. I just was afraid that my head could burst before the end of the event, as speaker after speaker poured encomium on the Nigerian President, the anti-corruption champion of Africa.

You see why some of us believe in the man, and can follow him blindfolded into battle? But pitifully, a prophet often does not have honour in his own country. Interventions came from African Union Commission, European Commission, Norway, Namibia, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), former Prime Minister of Niger Republic and CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, Sweden, South Africa, and many others. Almost everyone had good words about the Nigerian leader and his passion for anti-corruption.

My greatest takeaway from the seminal evening was perhaps the declaration by Mr Mukhisa Kituyi of UNCTAD. He said corruption was a matter that brings shame to the African continent. He praised President Buhari “for offering leadership,” and then threw a challenge: “Let other African leaders stand up to be counted.” Food for thought, indeed.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

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President Buhari Condoles Von DG, Osita Okechukwu, On Loss Of Wife

President Muhammadu Buhari sympathizes with Mr Osita Okechukwu, Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, on the loss of his wife of 30 years, Tina, aged 57.

The President shares in the grief of the Okechukwu family at this time of distress, asking God to console and comfort them.

Losing a dear wife and mother, President Buhari opines, is time of deep travail for any family, particularly one who was so devoted, and a rallying force for the household.

The President laments the loss of a true Nigerian, who had schooled in Kano, Enugu-Agidi in Anambra, her state of origin, Maiduguri, and Sango-Otta, Ogun State, thus fluent in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, among other languages.

The Okechukwu family, the President says, should draw succour from God Almighty at a time like this, and take comfort in the quality of life the departed lived.

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BMO Lauds Global Award For Buhari’s Social Investment Programme

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has applauded the recent endorsement of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The award was conferred on Nigeria at the WEF’s Impact Summit in New York, United States on Monday, September 23, 2019.

The group also opined that the profound leadership of President Buhari, driven by sincerity, honesty, diligence and top-notch diplomacy is responsible for Nigeria’s improved international status at the World body and the comity of Nations.

In a statement signed by its chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Maduke, BMO said it is obvious that the people-oriented programmes put in place by the Buhari administration is attracting international encomiums as some countries are now understudying the policy and adopting them for their countries.

“In fact, it has become a reference point for poverty reduction globally.

“The Social Investment Programme has impacted positively on over 40 million Nigerians, with a long term target to remove about 100 million people out of poverty in ten years.

“With this recognition, it is crystal clear that the Buhari administration has enunciated the right policies and programmes towards alleviating the plight of the poor in the country, and the international recognition will no doubt spur the Buhari administration to sustain the tempo”.

BMO noted further that the determination and commitment of the Buhari administration to eradicate poverty in Nigeria “is resolute and unwavering” and enjoined Nigerians to continue to support the administration in this direction.

Commenting on President Buhari’s plea at the World body for the recharging of Lake Chad, the group said that the call was motivated by the President’s concern for the 45 million people who sourced for their livelihood from the emaciated Lake Chad.  

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Reducing Extreme Poverty & Hunger, One Of Our Cardinal Objectives, Says President Buhari As Nigeria Launches SDGS’ Planning Tool

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in New York said that “reducing extreme poverty and hunger is one of the cardinal objectives” of his administration.

Delivering the keynote address at the Nigeria High-Level Side-Event on “SDG Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budgeting Gap for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” which held on the margins of the 74thSession of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74), the President noted:

“It is for this reason that in May this year, we committed ourselves to lifting approximately 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period. This is a national development priority and in line with the aspirations of the SDGs. We have since established an ambitious National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) targeting the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population.”

According to him, “Through the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), we are tackling and addressing the root causes of poverty in all its manifestations. For example, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) component is feeding almost 10 Million school pupils daily and empowering over 90, 000 local catering staff across the country.”

On the need to overcome ad hoc planning for the SDGs, President Buhari said among others:

“It was our genuine desire for scientific planning and implementation of the SDGs that made Nigeria to commence the process of domestication and customization of the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model in 2017.

“The Nigeria iSDG Model, the Report ofwhich we will officially launch today, will serve as a framework for robust, fact-based policy analysis, planning and implementation at all levels of government. It is expected to be used as a planning tool to complement existing ones currently in use at the national, sectoral and sub-national levels.”

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Nigeria Tackling Corruption Head-On – President Buhari Declares At The UN

“The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on,” President Muhammadu Buhari declared Tuesday in New York.

Presenting the country’s National Statement as the fifth speaker on the first day of the General Debate during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74), the Nigerian leader also warned:

“We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.”

Holding social media outlets responsible for fuelling major crimes such as mass killings, President Buhari called on major tech companies to be alive to their responsibilities, adding that, “They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.”

He also declared that, “No threat is more potent than poverty and exclusion,” noting that, “They are the foul source from which common criminality, insurgency, cross-border crimes, human trafficking and its terrible consequences draw their inspiration.”

Describing poverty “as one of the greatest challenges facing our world,” President Buhari noted that, “Its eradication is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development,” while highlighting his administration’s efforts to overcome the challenge.

On the 2019 presidential elections, he said “our people backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division.”

In his speech reproduced below, the President reaffirmed Nigeria’s position on certain issues which impinge on global peace, security, progress, democracy and development.

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