Bauchi Governor Lauds FG’s Social Investment Programme

The Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Sen. Bala Mohammed, Wednesday, defied partisan politics to laud the social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Governor Mohammed, who was elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), acknowledged that the SIPs are meeting the needs of the ordinary Nigerians.

The Governor stated this while appearing as a guest on Channels Television ‘Sunrise Daily.’

In his words, he said, “The social investment programme is working and I am very happy with it because the N-Power is working. That is the only solace to the graduates where they find some form of employment.”

The Governor who hinted on implementing same programme in his state stressed that with the support of World Bank and multilateral agencies in carefully implementing the schemes in Bauchi State, thousands of young people will be taken out of poverty.

Recall that the President Buhari’s administration established the National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP) in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country. Since its implementation, the scheme has benefited over 42 million Nigerians – that is, over 12 million direct beneficiaries and about 30 million indirect beneficiaries, comprising family members, employees of beneficiaries, cooks and farmers.

On many occasions, President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, for his work in driving the impactful National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) of this administration. The N-SIP has been described as the largest social investment programme in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest social welfare scheme in the history of this country.

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How NEC, Newly Formed EAC Would Work Together By Vice President Osinbajo

In response to a request for clarification by members of the National Economic Council regarding NEC’s relationship with the newly announced Economic Advisory Council, EAC, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said both councils are for the benefit of the President.

Prof. Osinbajo spoke at the 97th NEC meeting today at the Council Chambers.
“If NEC want to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, EAC, we will request the President to do that,” the VP explained to the Council observing that such interaction will promote synergy.

Below are highlights of NEC deliberations:

NEC (5TH IN 2019) 97TH NEC MEETING – THURSDAY, 19TH October, 2019

UPDATE ON THE NATIONAL LIVESTOCK TRANSFORMATION PLAN BY THE GOVERNOR OF EBONYI STATE, DAVE UMAHI, CHAIRMAN OF NEC TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON THE NLTP

The chairman reminded NEC that the Committee was to address the
Farmer/herder crisis
The Committee presented a National Livestock Transformation Plan 2019 – 2028.
The Plan is not targeted on only cows but a holistic strategy to address animal husbandry.
The Plan has six pillars:
Conflict Resolution
Justice and Peace
Humanitarian Relief and Early Recovery
Human Capital Development
Cross cutting issues
Economic Development
The Committee proposed an implementation guideline to guide FG and States
N100 billion has been budgeted to support the project.
FG is to contribute 80% in grant to support States, while States will contribute land, project implementation structure, personnel and 20% cost of the project.
Council Resolution
Need to look at the Trans-Human West Africa Regional Protocol – because the country cannot allow such movement of cattles without registering and monitoring them
Council emphasised the need to established the fact that NLTP is a creation of NEC and State Governors and is completely distinct from RUGA.
NEC adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan on January 18, 2019. It is a creation of the National Economic Council.
States will determine, whether or not they are willing to participate, as FG did not impose this plan. Participation remains voluntary.
The role of the FG is to coordinate, monitor and help implement the plan.

UPDATE ON ACCOUNT

    Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning reported to Council that balances in the underlisted accounts as at 17th September, 2019 are as follows:

EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA) = USD 274, 583, 856 .78
STABILIZATION ACCOUNT = N23, 796, 349,487.76
DEV. NATURAL RES. ACCT FUND = N105, 135, 613, 817.27
UPDATE ON BUDGET SUPPORT LOAN FACILITY
The Honourable Minister of State also briefed in the Budget Support Facility that State Governments are expected to start servicing the loan from September 2019 and repayment is over 240 months
Council resolved that Governors should meet with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria to sort out the details of repayment modalities and the Vice President will ensure same and ensure the meeting between the Governors, CBN and Finance Ministry in order to facilitate the speedy resolution of the matter.
UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL (PEBEC)
The Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Dr. Jumoke Oduwole gave an update on building an Enabling Business Environment. She informed Council that
There is currently a reform wave in African countries, as contained in the African Development Bank (AFDB) Economic Outlook Report released in January, 2019.
That in the 2019 World Bank ease of doing business ranking, Nigeria is ranked 146 with Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) making up to 90% of Business in Nigeria.
That the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, which has three broad objectives; which includes restoring growth; Investing in people and Building a competitive economy has positioned Nigeria in the path of building a competitive economy.
That PEBEC is mandated to make Nigeria’s ranking to top 100 in the 2020 World Bank Doing Business index.
Achieve the required political buy-in across all arms and levels of government.
Furthermore, she told NEC that PEBEC has in the past 3 years achieved the following:
Moved up 24 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking
32 Nigerian states, led by Kaduna, Enugu, Abia, Lagos and Anambra states have improved in their ease of doing business environment.
An independent EODB survey adjudged Nigeria’s reforms as impactful in terms of reduction in time, cost and procedures of doing business.
REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON CRUDE OIL THEFT,
PREVENTION AND CONTROL PRESENTED BY GOVERNOR EDO STATE

-The 13 member Ad-Hoc Committee which is chaired by the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki in their report, told the Council that the Committee is constituted to address:
i. Impact of vandalism, oil theft and illegal bunkering on oil production;
ii. Effectiveness of the activities of the JTF and other Security Agencies
iii. Consider the set-up of Special Courts to prosecute offenders, among others.
The Terms of Reference of the Ad-Hoc Committee is to include:
· restoring and sustaining the three major pipelines;
· assessing the challenges and draw up a roadmap to guide further actions towards finding a lasting solution to the problem;
· co-opt individual or corporate body to facilitate the work of the Committee and update the Council regularly.

  • The Ad-Hoc Committee in its findings discovered that there were losses. NNPC reported a loss of 22.64 million barrel of crude oil valued at USD 1.35 billion for 2019 half a year and possibly UDS 2.7 billion for a full year at a global oil price of USD 60 per barrel, if not checked.
  • The losses were recorded on the following pipeline:
    a. Nember Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) 9.2 million barrels
    b. Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) 8.6 million barrels
    c. Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP) 3.96 million barrels
    d. Trans Escravos Pipeline (TSEP) 877 Thousand barrels.
  • Absence of governance structure for the pipeline such that no one is held accountable whenever there is a breach on the lines.
  • Slow and inadequate prosecution of oil thieves, despite numerous arrests and seizures.
  • Absence of petroleum products filling stations in most of its oil producing Communities that make them resort to illegal bunkering and refineries
  • Huge internal and external markets of stolen crude oil which include Ghana as well as some neighboring countries.
    -The Committee made the following recommendations to the Council:
    i. The need to restructure the maintenance of all pipelines as a way of tackling the perpetrators of oil theft. ii. Have a legal framework that will ensure every criminal is duly prosecuted, imprisoned and all assets confiscated.
    iii. Setting up Special Courts to try offenders, set-up of Legal Task Force to coordinate the prosecution of arrested offenders as well as train special judges to handle cases of oil theft.
    iv. NNPC to engage the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify markets for the stolen products.
    v. Governors of the oil producing states to step up actions to develop their communities with their 13% derivation allocation as well as implement programmes that will be impactful to make life easy for the people. They should also create employment opportunities for the youths in these regions.
    vi. Propose a funding arrangement to be jointly funded by the Federal, State Governments and oil companies.

Council Resolution
Council resolve as follows:
Recommendations given will be presented to the President who is also the Minister of Petroleum for the final decision and implementation.
The Chairman of Council also asked NNPC to make a presentation to the Council on the state of PMS and smuggling across the borders.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Governors requested clarification from the Council Chairman on the relationship between NEC and the newly formed Economic Advisory Council. The Vice President explained that both Councils are advisory for the benefits of the President, while NEC is established by the Constitution. The Vice President added that NEC could be briefed regularly on the activities of the newly found EAC with the permission of the President.

Released by

‘Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
19th October, 2019

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Report Insinuating Vice President Didn’t Follow Due Process In Supervision Of Agencies Under Him Is False

Our attention has been drawn to a sensational report by The Cable published on September 17, 2019, which claims that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to seek approvals for agencies under him.

The report suggests, falsely, that agencies under the supervision of the Vice President do not normally comply with established rules where presidential approvals are required. 

This is obviously misleading and aims only to plant seeds of discord in the Presidency, while attempting to create unnecessary national hysteria.

The agencies in question are established by law and the Vice President has always insisted on due compliance with the enabling statutes and other established regulations. 

Depending on the particular scope of activity in question, agencies may require management approval only, at the level of the Director-General or Chief Executive Officer. In this category falls the great majority of their day-to-day activities. 

However, other activities, or procurements, with value exceeding a certain threshold, require Board approval. These may get to the agency Board chaired by the Vice President. In a few cases where Presidential approval is required, the Director-General must seek such approval from the President, through the Vice President. These rules have always guided the activities of statutory agencies and the ones under the Vice President’s supervision have always been so guided.  

To claim that in the first term of the Buhari administration, agencies of government have not been complying with the provisions (of getting final approvals from the President) is false, and the attempt to suggest the Vice President’s complicity in such irregularities is simply mischievous and reprehensible.

The effective and mutually respecting relationship between the President and the Vice President is well known to Nigerians and it is futile to insinuate otherwise. 

Even though the Vice President has a statutory role as Board Chairman of some government agencies under his office, with appropriate approval limits, which often do not include contract approvals; it is ludicrous to even insinuate that a Board Chairman approves contracts.

Evidently, the Federal Executive Council, which oversees Federal Ministries and agencies of government, is chaired by the President, and it is in its purview to approve or ratify award of contracts within the prescribed threshold. 

The Vice President remains committed to the service of his fatherland and will continue to do so despite the purveyors of fake news. We urge media organizations, as gatekeepers, to uphold truth, balance, fairness and objectivity in their reports.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
17th September, 2019

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FG Will Take 100m Nigerians Out Of Poverty In 10 Years By God’s Grace, Says Osinbajo

Below are excerpts of Vice President’s remarks during a visit Thursday afternoon at the palace of the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar in Kebbi State.

I want to thank you very much for hosting us today, we are here for several things; the MSMEs, look at the new markets that have been rebuilt after the fire and for some of the schemes that have taken place. One of the very important schemes is what is called the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, which has the TraderMoni and MarketMoni. TraderMoni is the scheme where we give petty traders, N10,000, and when they pay back, N15,000, then N20,000 and it goes on and on to N100,000.

The President’s desire for this programme is that every hard-working citizen of this country should be able to have some support from government, no matter how little their inventory.

Today, at the market, I passed a woman who was selling vegetables and I asked her how much her whole inventory was, the whole thing was N500. It is for such people, such petty traders that the TraderMoni N10,000 is meant, so that they can buy more.

The President has promised that by the grace of God, we are going to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years and I believe very strongly that we are going to achieve it, but we can only achieve it with the able support of the State Governments.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
12th September 2019

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Nigeria’s Best Minds And Talent Must Create Unique Solutions To Africa’s Challenges – Osinbajo

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT ON THE 11TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2019.

PROTOCOLS.

I need not emphasize how honoured I am to join you here today at this historic meeting: a gathering of important thought leaders in business, politics and academia, in aid of the establishment of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM). 

Every once in a while, in the life of a nation or community, a vision emerges to do something truly extraordinary, something truly game- changing; to develop a construct capable of decisively making a difference in the community or nation.

Frankly, I think I do not exaggerate when I say that we are at such a moment here today. 

A lot has been said already about the need for the school, and I am sure we have avoided the term, “an elite school”, because it suggests that the school is only for a select few. But the truth is, this is what this school is about, about setting up an elite school in the sense that it brings together the best minds and talents, but does not depend on their capacity to pay. 

Indeed, there must be an institution whose sole objective is to inspire innovation, inventions and research that address the most crucial problems that we face as a nation and the world. How do we solve peculiar African health challenges such as Sickle Cell Anemia, fibroids and cancers, some that are specifically even African? We simply have not addressed those challenges from our institutions. 

Clearly, we need an institution able to provide the atmosphere to invent agricultural inputs that will guarantee the huge yields per acreage or volumes in dairy and livestock to meet the demands of food security in our country today. 

Every time we talk about agriculture, look at what we are producing and the size of our population and how much we import, it is very clear that somebody has to work on uniquely Nigerian solutions to some of these agricultural challenges.

We need an institution that will produce cutting edge Artificial Intelligence applications for education, business, medicine and security. One that can design the educational innovation required to train millions of children in and out of classrooms all across the country. 

I have been around the country, practically every local government, one thing that is obvious is the need to crack (the problem of) education in Nigeria. It is getting increasingly out of hand, the sheer number of young people all over the country who require high-quality education but are not getting anything at all. 

So, the question is, what sort of design or technology would work? In and out of the classroom, what would work? What do we do with languages? Are we going to teach using local language or dialect? 

We must now produce world class economists, managers of commerce in a world increasingly disrupted by technology and innovation. We must convert our best young minds and talents, to creative thinkers, innovators in science, technology, the economy, commerce and public finance and in public sector related endeavors that truly make a difference in governance. Only a deliberately planned and resourced university can deliver these.

We already have several tertiary institutions of science and technology and management sciences all over the country. But what is proposed is an institution intentionally created as a world class centre for the training of the best Nigerian minds and talents. It is not an equal opportunity establishment, except that capacity to pay must not be an object, admission standards will be set very high, only the best are required in such an institution. 

The institution must also engage the best academics and scholars, locally and internationally. This is not an institution that we have seen the likes before locally. The comparators are the deliberate creation of thinkers in the public and private sectors like ourselves here today.

The vision is clear, but the key, of course, is funding.  As is the case with comparable institutions all over the world, the NUTM must have considerable resources to support high-quality research. The implications of this are vast. 

To excite research, the NUTM ought to be able to attract to the residence, Nobel Laureates and international leaders of thought and innovation. Whether they spend 2 weeks, 5 weeks or a year, it will obviously cost money. 

Provisions for the attendance and hosting of academic conferences locally and internationally must be made. The challenge we have is whether we are prepared to dream this big dream, see it through, and consistently fund and creatively find sustainable ways of keeping it adequately resourced. 

I am convinced that the founders have not just the zeal, but the will to see this to fruition.  I was privileged to be invited to the first event to introduce the Nigerian University of Technology and Management to people such as yourselves in Abuja, when ideas were at the preliminary stages. But what we have seen between then and now, is the market. I think so much progress has been made and I’m excited to see the progress. It is not surprising given the calibre of individuals who are the founders.

I think what this evening calls for is how to ensure that this dream becomes a reality. It is only the beginning. A lot of inspiring things have been said already about why we need to participate in this activity, in founding it and sustaining it. But frankly, whether you and I choose to do it, somebody will do it. I am so convinced that it will be done. That is the thing with great ideas, somebody, somewhere, someday will do it.

I really hope people here in this room are the ones that will pick up this great idea and really work towards it and ensure it is done.

I want to congratulate the founders for doing an excellent job so far, and to make my own personal commitment and commit on behalf of the government, to do all that is necessary to ensure that this sees the light of day.

Obviously, I won’t be making any large donations, we are still struggling with a budget deficit, but I am sure that everything else that is required to ensure this happens, especially from the side of government, I will work with others to ensure that. 

I also want to say on behalf of Mr. President, that this a project that he is very keen to see happen and I am sure with his backing and with the able support of so many in and out of government, we will see the NUTM come to life and remain alive and live up to the dreams charted out for it today and in the future.

Thank you

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
12th September, 2019

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Osinbajo Takes 24th MSME Clinics To Kebbi

The 24th edition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Clinics will hold on Thursday in Kebbi with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance.

Over 400,000 MSME participants have so far partook in the MSME Clinics across 23 states so far, with the Vice President attending 21 of those Clinics.

The states that have hosted the Clinics since its inception include Bauchi, Plateau, Kwara, Sokoto, Cross-River, Eboyin, Ogun, Ondo, Edo,FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Oyo, Ekiti, Abia, Enugu, Anambra Osun, Katsina, Lagos, Kogi and Akwa Ibom States.

Also since its inception, seven one-stop shops have been launched in the Federal Capital Territory, Osun, Cross River, Kwara, Abia, Plateau and Bauchi states by assembling relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable MSMEs access their services on an on-going basis with relative ease.

Through the Clinics, about 300,000 new business names have been registered by the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) at a reduced 50% price of N5000, from the normal N10,000.

On his Twitter page, he wrote, “I will be in Kebbi State today for the MSME Clinic,” he tweeted Thursday morning.

“The MSME Clinics assemble Government agencies under one roof to provide on spot solutions to the challenges faced by MSMEs.

“These include access to finance, business registration, product registration and certification,” he added.

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Largest Solar Plant In Africa Opens In Bayero University Kano

Solar power projects being commissioned under the Energizing Education Programme of the Buhari administration is a testament to the fulfilment of its Next Level agenda, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday in Kano State, where he commissioned the 7.1MW solar hybrid power plant in Bayero University Kano, which is the largest off grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa.

The Vice President further said the solar hybrid power plant was ‘just one touch point of progress and impact within this Administration’s Next Level agenda. The Federal Government is committed to powering Nigeria; one university, one market, one community at a time.”

This is the second solar plant to be commissioned by the Vice President within a period of about one month, following the first one in August – a 2.8 MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI).

BUK is the second of the 37 federal universities and 7 teaching hospitals under the Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme designed to provide sustainable and clean power supply around the country. It includes a solar hybrid power plant, renewable energy workshop and training centre and a solar powered street-lighting project.

“Notably today, we are also commissioning the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa.  This is something we, as Nigerians, should all be proud of. This was only possible because various levels of government worked in tandem with the growing renewable energy private sector.”

“The installed 7.1MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant funded by the FGN green bond will supply over 58,000 students and staff with clean, safe and reliable electricity. I am sure that the entire student body, management and staff of Bayero University are proud to be beneficiaries of this, most especially as the only Federal University in Kano State and one of the longest standing ones. As a result, students can now focus on their academics and vocational training in a safer and illuminated environment,” Prof. Osinbajo said.

The Vice President emphasized that the ultimate goal of the Buhari administration’s Next level roadmap policies and objectives under the Energizing Education Programme is “to increase access to modern technical education in safe and illuminated learning environments, empower the girl child, create jobs in the power sector value chain, amongst others.”

He added, “Thus far, this project created 182 energy related jobs from power system engineers to electricians as well as trained 20 young female STEM students with the skills to contribute to strengthening our energy sector. It is initiatives like this that create the impact for Nigeria’s socio-economic growth.

“This significant initiative upholds the Federal Government’s adherence to global best practice, as we transition to cleaner sources of energy in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These projects being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) are strategic to fulfilling our commitments to the Agreement as they strive to reduce Nigeria’s carbon footprint. 

“The leveraging of renewable energy technologies is in line with the Federal Government mandate and related activities. Nigeria’s plans to reduce carbon emissions by 20% unconditionally and 45% with international support by 2030 aims to limit the damaging effects of climate change.

“This remarkable off grid solar hybrid power plant being commissioned today, is already on its way to bringing these goals and objectives to fruition.”


Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
4th September, 2019

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Attacks On Nigerians Reckless, Run Against Ideals South African Leaders Fought For, Says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, spoke to reporters in Kano, just now, answering questions on the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa. Below are his verbatim comments:

“Let me say first that these recent attacks are condemnable. It is very sad and very unfortunate that the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians living in South Africa are once again being destroyed with such wantonness and with such carelessness and recklessness.

“It is unfortunate because Nigeria and Nigerians invested a great deal in the pulling down of apartheid. Besides, these acts of bigotry are entirely contrary to the very ideals that all the great South African leaders, including the present President fought for, and for which many gave their lives.

“Mr President has already spoken about this; and obviously we are very concerned and certainly intend to take this up with the authorities in South Africa in order to ensure that this sort of thing does not repeat itself. This is absolutely unacceptable and unconscionable.”

Released by:

Laolu Akande,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President
3rd September, 2019

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To The Deaf, Osinbajo Is Silent, By Richard Ogundiya

On 20th of August 2019, Itunu Ajayi from Maryland USA revealed his standpoint on The Guardian about Vice President Osinbajo’s presumed silence on the incessant killings and security instability in many parts of the country.

For someone who is a 2014 Kurt Schork Fellow in International Journalism (yes, I looked him up), it was an uninformed, depressing take packed with personal bias and judgement that didn’t do justice to credit a man whose role is to deputise, support and advise the president.

This factless blasphemy by Itunu disguised in the suit of an opinion by one who prides to be a journalist is a valid reason why people’s faith in journalism is fast drifting.

Itunu’s evocative postulations give the impression of a hyper-deliberate attempt at slandering Yemi Osinbajo and undermining his achievements and contributions as arguably the most active, seen, heard and devoted Vice President Nigeria has ever encountered.

Itunu attempts to play a centrist. But too often, we confuse centrism with fairness, objectivity or common-sense truth. But centrism is none of those, it is a point of view, and it can be wrong, just as conservatism or liberalism can be; so opinions must be based on accurate information, sound logic, and expressed respectfully.

He wants us to believe, without any certitude, that Osinbajo is not deeply concerned about the current state of the country because of his own misinterpretation of events.

He consciously forgets to mention every instance the Vice President has spoken out on issues of insecurity in the country, every time he has condemned wrongdoing by enemies of our state, every time he has paid a solidarity visit to victims and reminded them that government cares, and would not forget them – passing the message of relieve and hope to the victims.

He consciously denies the truth to his readers when he pretends not to know that President Buhari has the ears of his number two man, and they, whether we know it or not, meet time without number to discuss issues of national interests.

In his essay, the writer consciously strips the Vice President off his constitutional capacity through deliberate ignorance of the roles and responsibilities that flow therefrom, but thereafter goes ahead to hold him liable for those functions that are not even his.

He then attempts to severe his office from the Buhari government, as if they are not one, and that the two elected leaders should act in discord. The story forces its readers to digest misconstrued analysis as facts and struggles to beg for empathy by connecting it to the general displeasure of nationwide killings.

What makes it absurd and ridiculous is that he thinks and believes that the President and his Vice are not troubled about the insecurity or working towards seeing the end of the menace. Nothing could be more far from the truth.

There is no political leader who prays for disability knowing it would injure his name, or who is in a place of power would do nothing to end such. And this in fact is the least expected.

Since he assumed office in 2015 as President Muhammadu Buhari’s deputy, VP Osinbajo has played an increasingly prominent role in Nigeria’s government and his accomplishments are incomparable to any other Vice President as they surpass by far.

Not too long ago, former President Obasanjo had disclosed that his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, complained about taking on too many responsibilities as the nation’s number 2 citizen in their days of power.

That is in contrast with the reality today; Vice President Osinbajo not only chairs the National Economic Council which works with several parastatals to identify problems, recommend and execute solutions regarding economic development, poverty alleviation and foreign exchange policies, he also oversees the National Social Investment Office which facilitates empowerment schemes aimed at students, traders, farmers, enterprises and bottom of the pyramid population.

The Social Investment Office boasts of the largest social investment ever attempted in Africa. And it is succeeding. It feeds almost 10 million pupils in public schools; it has provided entrepreneurship and skill based jobs to 500,000 previously unemployed graduates; it is giving cash to Nigeria’s poorest families in the hinterland communities to improve their welfare and livelihood.

But Itunu is in haste to lash out on the Vice President and his office that he forgets these, as well as the administration’s ongoing plans on establishing a sustainable herding system across the country through the National Livestock Transformation Plan – which Vice President Osinbajo oversees – that would put a sustainable end to clashes between herders and farmers and the consequent killings.

He also misses out on the fact that the Buhari – Osinbajo administration is re-engineering the country’s national security architecture to help combat attacks led by Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), farmer-herder clashes and other unfortunate bandits.

His failure to mention the times the Vice President has visited families of victims, visited areas of attack to assess the impact and report to his principal is evident of Itunu’s deliberate mischief and shortfall of honest intentions.

Recall that on 26th of June 2019, Osinbajo interacted with The Council on Foreign Relations in the USA and extensively talked about the current state of ISWAP, challenges rocking the administration and ongoing efforts to completely deal with the insecurity.

He has also led the consultations and meetings – especially in the south west – seeking an end and solutions to the kidnappings and killings. He is largely responsible for the peace we see in the South South today; the absence of a hitherto raging militancy is courtesy his back and forth in the region in 2016 where he met and dialogued with the leaders there and constantly assuring Nigerians of the Federal Government’s commitment to continue to give priority attention to the operational requirements and welfare of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

He seats as the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council which means he has a voice at the highest points whenever issues of security are brought up. Are these items of silence, or is Itunu just simply deaf?

It is without doubts that he has brought value and and function to his office, as manager of the economy and other assignments given to him. The Vice President’s pace of action has been commended by many Nigerians and international bodies prompting suggestions that he should continue playing the major roles in the government.

According to the writer, Professor Osinbajo’s call for alliances across faiths and ethnicities to wreck national threats hindering the country’s unity and coexistence is enough concrete reason to accuse him of lackadaisical attitude and noiselessness.

I am left to wonder if a birthday ceremony is the best place to give a detailed proposition on how the government plans to successfully tackle security challenges. It is no coincidence that even before now, the Vice President has always addressed cooked narratives by opposition that the presidency is protecting killer herdsmen and Boko Haram members as a desperate ploy to promote ethnic and religious suspicion.

Without doubt, Itunu’s phoney claims are inaccurate, abandon objectivity and suspend sense of fairness, declaring judgement in his own court of reasoning. This haste to demonize the Buhari administration is agenda-driven, not Information-driven.

Richard Ogundiya is a journalist and researcher based in Lagos

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Our Policy Interactions With Businesses Essential For Economic Growth, Says Osinbajo

The Federal Government would continue to support the private sector as it plays an important role and contributes to the growth of the economy, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Thursday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) led by its Director-General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

NECA is the umbrella organization of employers in the organised private sector of Nigeria to provide the forum for the Government to consult with private sector employers, especially on socio-economic and labour policy issues.

The Vice President explained the policy interactions between Government and the organized private sector, describing it as essential.

Prof. Osinbajo further said the Federal Government would keep exploring ways to improve the economy through its policies and reforms.

He said, “Our interaction is a very important one, because it is really part of our policy as a government to ensure private sector participation in the economy. We think that the private sector has a very important role. For us the private sector is essential to the growth of the economy so we must continue to encourage the private sector in every possible way.”

Prof. Osinbajo further assured that matters of concern that require government attention would be decisively tackled through the Ease of Doing Business initiatives to improve the business environment and ensure growth of local businesses.

“We want to continuously engage NECA and the private sector because it is central to what we are doing in respect to the economy,” the Vice President said.

Commending the Vice President for his leadership, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), which is chaired by the VP, and the Ease of Doing Business reforms; the NECA DG remarked that the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo was an outcome of their sterling performance in the first term.

In his remarks, the NECA DG said the organization has actively supported and championed government’s efforts at job creation, while he commended “the giant strides made by the Buhari administration in fostering an environment that is hospitable for businesses to thrive through the Ease of Doing Business initiatives.”

He said, “We specifically recognize the passion with which you (VP) have driven the relationship between government and organized businesses in the past four years through your interventions and leadership that you have provided, which have translated into the activities of PEBEC, the ERGP and the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum, which you preside over.

“We have no doubt that the solid foundation that has been laid in the first four years would be built upon and Nigeria would be better for it.”

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
29th August, 2019

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Tradermoni, Marketmoni Beneficiaries Are Paying Back, Doing Well, Says Vice President Osinbajo

Feedback from the field and testimonies from stakeholders including beneficiaries indicate that the TraderMoni and MarketMoni loan schemes are doing very well, and beneficiaries are indeed paying back their loans, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday during an interaction with journalists after his assessment visit to markets in Keffi and Masaka towns of Nasarawa State, where loans under the TraderMoni and MarketMoni schemes are being disbursed to traders.

According to the Vice President “It is going very well, and I am excited to hear the testimonies of the traders who have done so well after getting their first loan. It is also exciting to see that they have repaid their loans very quickly, because as you pay back, you are able to get more; when you get N10, 000, and you pay back, you get N15, 000 and it gets to N20, 000, when you repay, all the way to N100, 000, and it is so exciting to see that these traders are doing so well.

“Everybody is keying in already, what we want to do is to expand it so that more traders can get this facility, so we need to do more because at the moment, we have done close to 2 million but we need to increase the number”.  

The Vice President urged beneficiaries of the loan schemes to continue to pay back their loans so they can get more money and become very successful in business.

Prof. Osinbajo said the target of the Federal Government in the Next Level is to expand the scheme to cover more traders and also increase the amount received to enable beneficiaries expand their businesses.

According to him, “we want to expand the TraderMoni and MarketMoni to include more people in every state, so we have only just started. More of the traders who are here will get the TraderMoni and the MarketMoni.

“So long as you continue to pay back you will continue to get more money. We want to make sure that every petty trader in the market have enough so that they themselves can even employ more people and pay their children’s school fees and also build their own houses. As I told you, we are going to expand the scheme so that more people can benefit.”

Earlier at the palace of the Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Shehu Chindo Yamusa, Prof. Osinbajo said his visit to the State was to assess the disbursement of the TraderMoni and MarketMoni loans to traders in markets across the States.

He said “TraderMoni is the President’s own way of empowering women and men who are traders. For many of them, their inventories are very small, it could be people hawking groundnuts, selling bread and other basic things. Most of them don’t have enough capital to improve their businesses. So, what we do is to empower them through the Bank of Industry.

“So, we want to ensure that people who are trading have an opportunity and that opportunity is provided when we are able to give them capital as part of this TraderMoni scheme. So, that is why we are here.”

On the Emir’s appeal about improving educational standards, the Vice President said President Buhari is determined to improve both access and quality of education to all Nigerians regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.

According to him, “One of the other things that I think you might be happy to hear is the President’s determination to this question of education. On June 20th this year, while speaking to Governors when he inaugurated the National Economic Council, he made the point that the Federal Government will enforce, along with the State governments, the law on free and compulsory education of the first 9 years of the child’s school life.

“It is a very important thing because we all know that education the key to the economic success, the key to self-realization and the key that enables any person live a dignified life. So, we are extremely concerned on how to improve education; Technical education in particular, I think that it is very important.

“As a matter of fact, under our N-Power scheme we already have a number of technical education schemes going on.  We have what we call N-Build which is technical education for persons involved in the building industry (tillers, brick layers etc). We also have training for extension workers, persons who will provide extension service.  There is the one for persons involved in technical training like carpenter, electricians and many others.”

He added that the Federal Government in collaboration with State governments are committed to “doing more in terms of technical education and also in supporting the states for education especially making primary education and first three years of secondary education free and compulsory as well as the education of young women”.

In his remarks, the Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Shehu Chindo Yamusa who commended the Vice President for his show of concern and interest in the welfare of the people of Nasarawa State and Keffi in particular, appealed to the Federal Government to review the nation’s education curriculum to integrate vocational and technical education to address youth unemployment.

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Osinbajo Decries High Port Charges

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has decried the imposition of arbitrary high charges by shipping lines in West and Central African countries.

He also urged the Union of African Shippers Council to adopt common political and diplomatic strategies to check the operations of shipping lines servicing the ports in the sub-region.

Prof Osinbajo who spoke yesterday in Abuja while declaring open the sub-regional summit on unfair shipping surcharges and high local shipping charges at the ports of West African sub-region, said some of the charges were unnecessary.

He listed the charges to include bunker adjustment factor, currency adjustment factor, war risk surcharge, confession sub charges, peak season surcharges, extra risk insurance sub charge, freight rate surcharge, and port operation recovery surcharge.

He said the surcharges amounted to huge sums of illegal capital flight from the countries of the sub-region and has been depleting the countries foreign reserves. He also said data obtained from the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) showed that about N2billion is repatriated by multi-national shipping firms from reasonable of demurrage charges for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in each quarter of the year.

Attributing the poor transport infrastructure development to one of the reasons for the high port charges, he urged AU member-states to prioritise the development of transport infrastructure for the work-ability of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, also condemned the unilateral manner in which service providers introduce and increase freight rates in the sub-region through various surcharges.

He said the Federal Government, through its partnership with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), has started checking claims of terrorism, piracy, armed attacks on ships and other negative activities in the Gulf of Guinea to increase charges and introduce more surcharges in Nigeria

The Nation

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