Presidency Issues Directive To Clear Apapa Port Congestion Within 2 Weeks

A Presidential directive has been issued for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs within 2 weeks. The directive mandates the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.

To facilitate this important assignment, operators of trucks and tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours.

This directive follows an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on the 25th of April, 2019. The meeting proffered lasting solutions to the gridlock around the Lagos Ports, as the traffic congestion has continued to restrict all operations and livelihood in the area.

At the meeting were key heads and representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, including the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola; Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu; representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral B.E.E Ibe-Enwo; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Salaam Taiwo Olufemi; and the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Dr. Sokonte Davies, among others.

Consequently, a Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Vice President Osinbajo was established to restore law and order to the area within 2 weeks. The Taskforce, which will report directly to the President, has included on its Terms of Reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system. It also includes the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others.

Members of the taskforce include Mr. Kayode Opeifa, former Commissioner of Transport in Lagos State, as the Executive Vice Chairman; a representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).

Other members include a special unit of the Nigeria Police Force led by a Commissioner of Police, representatives of the Truck Transport Union, the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and other relevant MDAs.

The Nigerian Navy and all other military formations have also been mandated to withdraw from traffic management duties in and around the Apapa axis, while military and paramilitary checkpoints in front of the ports and environs are to be dismantled.

In addition, LASTMA has been authorised to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency, while the NPA is to commence the immediate use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park. The directive further mandates compliance by all security personnel and MDAs, while heads of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and all other security operatives are to ensure their officers’ adherence to the new directives.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
22nd May 2019

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FG Committed To Speedy, Just Resolution Of Gbagyi-Army Land Dispute – Osinbajo Assures

Federal Government is committed and will adopt all necessary measures that will lead to the amicable and just resolution of the land dispute between indigenous people of Abuja and the Nigerian Army, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this today during a meeting with a delegation of Gbagyi leaders comprising political office holders, traditional and youth leaders, at the Presidential Villa. He disclosed that a meeting with the military on the matter would also be held soon.

Last week Tuesday, on his way to the airport to launch the Homegrown School Feeding Programme in Ekiti state, the Vice President ran into some protesters at Goza village. The protesters who had mounted a road block were surprised when the Vice President came out of the car and abandoned his convoy to engage with the angry youths. It was during the interaction that the VP promised to meet the group and work on a resolution, culminating today’s meeting.

Prof. Osinbajo while noting that he had personally briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter and his encounter with the protesters, also conveyed the President’s concern on the matter to the delegation with assurances for a just resolution.


According to the Vice President, “what is very important now is that we do not allow a situation where things are not done according to the law, that we do not allow a situation where due process is not followed. It is also important that this issue is resolved amicably and justly.”

The Vice President then directed officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) present at the meeting to produce a comprehensive report on the disputed land.

Earlier, Sen. Philip Aduda, the Senator representing the FCT at the National Assembly, dismissed the claim by the Army authorities that the land was allocated to it and appreciated the intervention of the Vice President.

Also, the Secretary, Area Councils Services Secretariat, Sen. Isa Maina said the FCT authorities in an effort to address the issue has already proposed to allocate a n alternative plot of land to the Nigerian Army in Kwali.

He claimed that contrary to the directive by a Presidential Committee (set up to resolve the matter) that all parties involved in the matter maintain status quo, the Nigerian Army has proceeded to construct structures on the disputed land.

On his part, the Emir of Jiwa, His Royal Highness Idris Musa said the indigenous people of Abuja are not against the Nigerian Army in any way but want a just and amicable resolution of the matter.

In the same vein, the representative of the youths, Mr Dalhatu Musa who had spoken last week for the protesters when the Vice President interacted with them on his way to the airport noted that the youths wanted due process to be followed in the resolution of the land issue.

He commended the intervention of the Vice President and appealed to him to also look into other issues affecting the indigenous people of the FCT.

Those present at the meeting include the senator representing the FCT in the National Assembly, Sen. Philip Aduda; the Secretary, Area Councils Services Secretariat, Sen. Isa Maina; Chairmen of AMAC, Abdullahi Candido; Bwari Area Council, Mr. Shekwogaza Gabaya and Abaji Area Council, Abdulrahman Ajiya; Emir of Jiwa, HRH Idris Musa; the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Yunusa Adamu and youth leaders from the affected communities.

The disputed land covers over 7,000 hectares cutting across Gwagwa, Idu, Zuba and Giri communities in the Federal Capital Territory.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
13th May, 2019

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Bauchi Agog As Osinbajo Commissions Projects, MSME Centre

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday was in Bauchi, Northern Nigeria to commission projects built and completed by Governor Mohammed Abubakar.

Amongst other projects commissioned, the Vice President visited Barra, in Ningi Local Government Area of the state where he commissioned an electrification project that will power 22 villages in the environs.

He was accompanied by Governor Abubakar who stated that the contract for the project was awarded at the cost of N589.79 million.
Also present was Federal Inland Revenue Chairman, Mr. Babtunde Fowler.

Giving the vote of thanks, the Emir of Ningi, Alh Yunusa Danyaya, commended the federal and state governments for citing various projects in the area.
Danyaya called for the creation of Burra Local Government Area out of the present Ningi Local Government Area of the state.
He also called on the Federal Government to allocate more projects to the area, considering its high population.

The Vice President who was overwhelmed by the outpouring of joy and support from the Emir and people of Bauchi also commissioned a shared facility for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Bauchi State Health Contributory scheme.

He also had his unique Family Chat in the home of Muhammed Musa Usman, one of the outstanding MSMEs entrepreneurs identified during the MSME Clinic organized in Bauchi State in October 2018.

During his chat, he lauded Mr. Usman who previously was a scrap collector, now makes Suya grilling machines from scrap metals.

He also makes belts and shoes using abandoned tires. He currently employs seven people on his books and is looking to expand his business to further support his community.

The Vice President assured the people of Bauchi that President Muhammadu Buhari will make good his promise on making Nigeria a better place for all.

He said the Federal Government will continue its people-oriented policies and will ensure that Nigeria works for Nigerians.

The visit coincides with a dusk to dawn curfew imposed on four communities located on the outskirts of Bauchi metropolis following breach of the peace in those areas.

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FG, NSE Collaboration Useful, Says Vice President Osinbajo

The Federal Government will welcome collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in key aspects of improving the economy including the Ease of Doing Business, the privatization of public enterprises, amongst others, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja today when a delegation from the Nigerian Stock Exchange led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oscar Onyeama, paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa.

The Vice President said the proposed NSE collaboration with the Federal Government important programmes of the Buhari administration would enhance service delivery and improve transparency in public governance.

According to him, “The collaboration with the Federal Government in the Ease of Doing Business, government’s privatization programme and even in the innovation hubs programme is a good thing, and I think it will be very helpful.

“The NSE’s participation and collaboration in our Quarterly Business Forum and the competitiveness council will also be very useful. So, generally I think collaborating with the NSE in different initiatives is a good idea.”

Speaking further on the benefits derivable from such collaboration, the Vice President said, “the participation of the NSE will bring about more transparency and credibility in the sale of public enterprises, and we will look into that aspect”.

Prof. Osinbajo said the Federal Government would make efforts to further improve the ease of doing business environment and also key into any initiative that promotes innovation and creativity.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oscar Onyeama briefed the Vice President on the proposed collaboration with the Federal Government in the operationalization of the Exchange’s innovation hub and other initiatives of the Federal Government, to which the NSE is willing to support.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President

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Osinbajo Averts Impending Unrest, Calms FCT Protesters

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday averted what was an impending civil unrest when he alighted from his convoy to assuage protesters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Vice President who was headed to Ekiti state for the launch of the National Home Grown School Feeding scheme ran into the protesters who had barricaded the road, he alighted from his car and had a chat with the irate youths who began chanting his name soon as he was identified.

The protesters comprising mainly of young men and some women from Gbayi village were protesting at Gossa, the alleged invasion of their land by the Nigerian Military, urged the Vice President to intervene in the issue.

Responding to their plea, the Vice President assured them that he would meet with the village leaders to find lasting solution to the problem at hand.

He urged the youth to seek more diplomatic ways of solving issues. He assured them that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is dedicated to the people and that the dividend of democracy will be enjoyed by all.

The protesters said if they had known that the Vice President was going to ply the road they would not have acted in the manner which they did.

Thereafter, the youths once again began to chant his name and then made way for the Vice President to proceed to the airport.

Speaking to the media, a protester who identified himself as Danlami Abdulgafar praised Prof. Osinbajo for his humane nature. He said the Vice President understands and relates with the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

“Imagine that all Nigerians politicians are like Prof. (Osinbajo), this country would have succeeded since the 70s. He came down from his vehicle and he addressed us, in fact we were happy that he accorded us so much respect.

Another protester, Gwatana Muktar said if it were to be any other politician they would not even listen to the person. “You know during campaign he visited almost all the villages and we saw him first hand. He is a very humble man and God will continue to bless him,” he said.

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Re: Osinbajo’s Crocodile Tears In Kigali, By Muhammad Gulani

Nigeria is an African power. It’s economy, its politics, its people and the character of these rare diverse heterogeneous society has easily made it the Giant of Africa. So there is no wonder that as a country, we were invited to the 25th National Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide that held in Kigali, Rwanda. Representing Nigeria and its President was Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo – A pastor and an academician with depth of experience in law and governance.

So when the writer of “Osinbajos Crocodile Tears in Kigali” asked “What is the Situation in Osinbajos Nigeria? And answered with the word “pathetic” my first thought was that the writer either did not appreciate who the Vice President was, or did not appreciate Nigeria from a holistic point of view, or both – which is most likely.

It is surprising for one to think of the Nigerian state and the statements of the Vice President as a pun or as Casmir Igbokwe dubbed it in his article as“Crocodile Tears”, we all know that the Vice President has continuously shown that he is a man of Integrity, a man of God and would never disrespect the Nigerian people by playing politics with their lives.

As a country, I do believe that we are not yet where we should be – we are not yet at El-Dorado – but it is undeniable that progress is being made across board. Albeit slow and steady, nonetheless it is progress and that is what is key.

While speaking on the issues surrounding the NDIGBO people, the writer was quick to mislead his readers by pushing the narrative that the present government appointments were mostly Northern deliberately forgetting to take a broader look at appointments shared in the country. The Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General of NIMASA, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Head of Service among numerous others are all from the Southern parts of the country. Perhaps the writer willfully forgets that the Southern parts of the country is not limited to the South East alone, but also covers the South South and the South West – each clamoring for more representation as much as the other.

The southern parts of Nigeria is also as diverse in tribe and culture as the North.

The single narrative of the “Sidelined Igbos” deployed by the writer cannot stand the test of reality when one fact-checks the many benefits they enjoy in personnel and policies in this government.

Across the country are various construction projects, in every state of the Federation a federal project is ongoing. The President Buhari administration is working overdrive in terms of infrastructure deployment. Of key interest to any observer of the infrastructure being deployed across the country is the famous Second Niger Bridge. It finds itself in the heart of the South East and South South and has been an item clamored for by these people for decades.

The Buhari Administration has committed over N31Billion to the main works of the 2nd Niger Bridge. Work is over 51 percent completed. With little resources, President Buhari’s administration is doing quite a bogus lot for the people of the region.

The writer attempts to suggest tolerance of hate speech by the Buhari administration. Such a pedestal claim does not stand a place in reality. The President has been very categorical on this, and willingly signed the Peace Accord to enthrone sanity in the communications and campaigns during the electioneering periods.

It is so easy to dwell in the negatives of society forgetting the many good the world has to offer. That Nigeria has moved four places up in the Human Development Index and has also moved up in the Ease Of Doing Business Ranking are testaments to a country in upward motion. Nigeria today has attained self sufficient in rice production and has began even exportation. Foreing Direct Investments into the country has reached record levels; insecurity is being tackled ruthlessly and sincerely.

The various Social Investment Programs of this Administration prove that indeed better days for Nigerians are here. The programmes have reached a record 12 Million direct beneficiaries.

Terrorism is being fought day in day out in the areas of the North East and the Buhari administration can beat its chest to say it has recorded tangible achievements here. The banditry in Zamfara is being taken seriously. The full force of Nigeria’s military and other security arms have weighed in and are bombarding these criminals daily. The“Operation Sharan Daji”has been launched specifically to deal with the Zamfara bandits. Progress is being made.

The Vice President has also shown utmost sincerity and has never tried to downplay the killings in these areas. He has visited Benue, Plateau and Kaduna over killings that occurred in the areas – especially communal and inter-tribal clashes. He has advocated for forgiveness and offered pragmatic solutions towards peace building in these societies. He has seen to the facilitation of Peace and Reconciliation Committee in states like Kaduna, and Benue among many others.

It is not in the nature of the Vice President both as an academician and as a man of God to play politics with the life of the people. Security is everyones responsibility and the Vice President has emphasized that time and again.

He rightfully pointed out during his remarks to journalists in Kigali “We must not allow a repeat of what happened in Rwanda.” Statements like that of Casmir Igbokwe tell only a lopsided truth that fuel division, fuel hate and promote tension. These were the harbingers of the nasty events of the Rwandan genocide. Mr. Igbokwe has not learnt his lesson. It appears in fact, that Professor Osinbajo’s sermon was indeed for him.

The problem with the single story is that it shows a thing as a single thing, forgetting that there are two sides to a coin. Nigeria just like any other country is as diverse in its triumphs and problems and it is highly unfair to Igbokwe’s reader and Nigerians to view our complexities from only the negatives.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a father and God fearing man, he has shown this time after time, will never play politics with his people.

Muhammad Gulani, is a political commentator and writes from Zaria, Kaduna

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Fake News: Osinbajo Never Said Kogi Govt Will Be In Trouble

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo never said Kogi State government will be in trouble if he had died in a helicopter crash, transcript of his goodwill message has revealed.

Newspaper and online platforms had published reports that Prof. Osinbajo had claimed that the Kogi State Government would be in trouble if he had died in the helicopter crash.

Speaking at a special thanksgiving service at the Banquet Hall in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Prof. Osinbajo thanked God for his live and for surviving the crash.

God is truly worthy of praise and thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Him enough. I and my family, and so many of us here today have so many reasons to thank Him.

Occasionally, my wife and I reflect on how unlikely our journey here is. She frequently reminds me that all she wanted was a quiet life as one of the many families of academics living on the university campus. That was all that I promised, and that’s all that she really expected, but here we are.

If someone had said to me in 2013, “you will be campaigning across the country; attending rallies and that you would win the elections and become the Vice President of Nigeria”, I would, because I am generally polite, have said amen, but in my heart, I would have said what a crazy chap!

Anyone who knows how difficult it is to campaign for Local Government Chairman and win, will understand how difficult it is to accept that merely because someone said so, that you would be elected into any position. I’m sure many of us here today, also celebrating the success of the elections, national assembly members and governors-elect also, would accept that except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it. It is impossible to know the outcomes of anything. It is the Almighty God who brings about the wonderful phase that we celebrate and thank Him for.

I realize that I have no special qualification to be here or to have enjoyed such an incredible promotion. Psalms 75:6 says for exaltation comes neither from the East nor from the West nor from the South, all the exaltations comes from God.

Psalms 75:7 says but God is the Judge; He puts down one, and He exalts another. I want to thank the Almighty God for exaltations. I want to thank Him also for all of us here present, and those believing God for exaltations. I believe the Lord God Almighty would promote you also in Jesus name.

On the 2nd of February 2019, God gave me and members of my family, friends and colleagues, even further reasons to know that if not for His mercies, we would have been consumed. We were going to Kogi for a two-day campaign tour, and then our helicopter crashed as we got in to land at Kabba. You know how it is when things happen, everybody becomes spiritual; everybody becomes a prophet, people saying why and how?

I remember in the split second when the incident occurred, for a second, there was absolute silence and nobody said anything. It was my brother who started shouting Jesus Jesus Jesus! But for a moment, there was complete silence in the helicopter.

On reflection, it occurred to me that if we had died, that is what would have happened, complete silence, nobody saying a single word. A few minutes later with all of the activities, all of us got out of the helicopter without a scratch. God is surely worthy to be praised!

I reflected over the various problems that would have occurred; the smaller problems would have been the rumours, how did it happen? Who did it? Why did they do it? With the way we are, I just felt sorry for so many people who would have been involved in conspiracy theories of things they knew absolutely nothing about. But God delivered them too because they would have had to explain themselves.

We bless the name of God that He not only wrought such a great deliverance, but that He did it in such a way that only He could take the glory. We give all the glory to Him!

I want to thank everyone who has supported in so many different ways, all through the campaigns and elections, so much support and prayers, so much love and kindness. I pray that the Almighty God would be kind to you also, you will never lack in support, you will never lack in care and affection, you will never lack the genuine prayers of those who want you to succeed in the mighty name of Jesus.

I pray that all of us will travel in aircrafts and the Almighty God will always deliver. It is by His grace that we are delivered. It is not by anything we do or we are careful not to do.

I recall that there was a gentleman who was talking about how it is always good to exercise, but another friend of ours reminded him that there was a particular gentleman who we all knew very well, who died while exercising. So I think that all we can depend on is the sheer grace of the Almighty God.

So we praise the Almighty God and I want each and every one of us who believes that the Almighty God is worthy of praise, shout one mighty halleluiah!

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We Will Expand Tradermoni, N-Power, School Feeding, Others – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government will expand Social Investment Programmes including TraderMoni, N-Power and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Speaking at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium themed: ‘Work For People’ at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Thursday, he assured Nigerians of better times.

Prof. Osinbajo explained that at the Next Level many Nigerians will benefit from the programmes introduced by the federal government.

“We are talking again about our Social Investment Programmes (SIPs). At the Next Level, we will, of course, expand our Social Investment Programme; at the moment, the programme is the biggest of its kind anywhere in the African continent. 

“In our school feeding programme, we are feeding every day, 9.2 million children in public schools across 26 states.

“That programme is important not just from the point of view of providing nutrition for many of the young people in public schools, many of whom come from very poor parents and may not be assured of a decent meal a day.

“It is a very important programme for us also because of the multiplier-effect on agriculture and also in the distribution of the products and also those we employ as cooks.

“The same is true of our TraderMoni programme, a component of our Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), where we are giving money to the bottom of the trading pyramid in Nigeria.

“It is a programme of the Bank of Industry where we give loans of N10, 000 to petty traders through their mobile phones and they get N15,000 when they pay back, then N20,000 and more up to N100,000.

“The same is true of our MarketMoni which we give to traders in cooperatives. So far, we have over a million TraderMoni beneficiaries and about 500,000 MarketMoni beneficiaries and we intend to expand the scope of that.

“We also intend to expand the scope of our N-Power programme which is our job scheme for young people. Young graduates coming out of school and some non-graduates.

“At the moment, we are engaging 500,000 of these young people and we pay them every month. Most of them have devices/tablets that contain training materials in enhancing their viability skills and also helps them to provide services to people who require them. 

“We intend to expand the programme; we must expand the programme because 1.7million people come out of school and are looking for jobs every single year, we are able to bridge that gap by engaging 500,000 of them as soon as they come out of school.  

“So, the Next Level promises to be exciting, though a bit challenging as possibly as where we are coming from. But as the President has said repeatedly, we have no other focus but the progress of this country. And we will ensure that step-by-step, we get to where it is that we promised to take the country. 

“I want to say to you all that the Next Level is for all of us and I urge that all of us cooperate to take us to this Next Level,” he said in his speech.

So, on behalf of the President, Muhammadu Buhari whom I represent here today, I want to wish Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, happy birthday and to thank you all for making out time to come to this event.

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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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Right Of Reply To Pendulum Open Letter To The VP, By Laolu Akande

My dear Bob Dee!

One could have easily made up his mind not to read or respond to anything you wrote after seeing the rather unprincipled queuing up behind Senator Bukola Saraki and then abandoning him, moving on to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and then deserting him as well. 

But I felt one should respond to your attempts to create a false narrative from the very hollow lamentation of the recent elections as the “worst in our history”.

In my view, those like your good self, veteran journalists, who have built a formidable platform in the public arena must strive always to use the platform for the larger public good. There have been several interventions from you that reflect such true public spirit, but some of us stridently disagree with what at times could be perceived as a self-serving journalistic conduct. Many would seem to agree that this was obvious in your recent open letter to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But first, let me thank you for your gracious words of congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, and your admiration for the VP’s commendable performance in office. I am certain that your quest for public accountability derives from that admiration.

It is important to state that a citizen’s open letter to public figures or government authority is always welcome here and not necessarily a matter of right or exclusive access. For us, such matters of access for the people to their elected leaders is of normal cause and ought not to be a matter of exclusivity nor should we make a play of it as so special.

As is typical of your propaganda machinery, it begins with an outrageous lie by the principal then the operatives like yourself repeat it ad naseum. It appears you were not in this country when foreign and local observers accepted the results. Independent Foreign Observers commended the transparency and credibility of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Also, the Independent ElectionMonitor group, supported by the French Embassy, concluded that “based on the analysis carried out in this document as well as the actual observations of the election activities across the country, it is Election Monitor’s considered opinion that the 2019 Presidential Election results are consistent with the will of the majority of voters who took part in the elections notwithstanding the various infractions which also occurred as they were not on a scale significant enough to affect the overall outcome of the election.(ElectionMonitorNG)

YIAGA Africa’s Parrallel Voting Tabulation, relied on by international agencies, embassies and funders also said its  “findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote.” And that “the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote; these figures are consistent with the official results as just announced by INEC.

“For both APC and PDP, the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.” That YIAGA AFRICA results statement was based on reports from 1,491 polling units which are 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s projections were reportedly also consistent with the officially announced vote shares for the other 71 parties who contested in the presidential election. It is also believed that the group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation at the ward, local government area, State and national levels. Also, “INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also generally consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates.” (Vanguard)

These are empirical facts, my dear Bob Dee, especially if you put your analysis through any rigorous tests. Propaganda and falsehood only need a willing sponsor.

Yes, observers mentioned pockets of violence and some malpractices, but none felt that these were sufficient to affect the credibility of the elections or its results. Frequently cited is Ago Palace in Lagos. One unit in a city of 20 million! In any event, the real question is, how did the violence in the comparatively few places where it happened favour the President? And how come the strong allegations of foul play by the likes of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom, George Akume in Benue and Ndoma-Egba in Cross River State (all APC Senatorial aspirants!) escaped your eagle eyes?

It is sometimes forgotten, and Bob Dee , you chose to forget, that for the previous 16 years before 2015, the PDP governments had conducted elections. Everyone is familiar with the incredible excesses of the elections and the election-observer reports so poignantly describe some.

In the 2003 elections which gave Atiku Abubakar and his boss a second term, Wikipedia observes that “Millions of people voted several times. The police in Lagos uncovered an electoral fraud, finding five million false ballots.”

But the 2007 elections got even worse reviews: “Following the presidential election, groups monitoring the election gave it a dismal assessment. Chief European Union observer Max van den Berg reported that the handling of the polls had “fallen far short” of basic international standards, and that “the process cannot be considered to be credible”, citing “poor election organisation, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, violence and bias.” 

They described the election as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world”, with “rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation”). One group of observers said that at one polling station in Yenagoa, in the oil-rich South-South, where 500 people were registered to vote, more than 2,000 votes were counted.”

Your choice of words such as “theatre of war” to describe the presidential polls is not only inaccurate and questionable by and large, but also surprising considering the recent history of past presidential polls. And you have to tell us who described the elections as “the most dreadful and desperate”?

Besides these facts that you carefully chose to ignore, the contents of your letter read in part like a brief for the opposition, and, at other times, a judgment of an electoral tribunal in favour of the opposition. And such bias undermines the credibility of the author such as yourself.

It could even render the write-up confusing rather than informing the readers. For good measure, Bob Dee, maybe we should just remind our readers that not only are you an active member of the opposition, you have also benefited from significant business relationships with some in the opposition circles. And this is entirely within your right.

But that certainly discounts your assessment about the direction of our administration. It also devalues your criticism of the narratives that hold those who raped this country in the past responsible for the consequences of their corrupt activities while in government.

One also wonders whether it is your well-known personal relationship with the opposition that has beclouded you so much that you seek to assail the anti-corruption efforts which ordinary and well-meaning Nigerians have embraced.

Let me make it clear that the facts show that while some old members of the opposition have joined APC, that has not shielded those responsible for corruption and graft. In any case, even if old PDP members are now APC members, the current leadership of the country under the APC stands out as it is made up of two gentlemen with impeccable integrity. 

Old PDP members and all Nigerians are welcome just like sinners are embraced in the church, In fact, the church was opened for sinners to be converted. And what is skewed about the anti-corruption campaign when the two governors who have now been convicted for corruption are both APC?

Having said that, be rest assured that the APC as a party will articulate its defences to any allegations. For the records, it is an obvious fact and this must be reiterated that the Buhari administration has a commendable record of respecting the independence of INEC, a clear departure from what occurred under previous administrations. This government also ensures that it provides all the support INEC requires, as well as respects the independence of the judiciary and has ensured that security forces act within the ambits of law. Even international observers have made their comments accordingly and positively. 

As the Buhari administration always noted, every single loss of life is sad and lamentable. And previous elections have regrettably caused even far more losses. We must achieve an electoral system that doesn’t result in any such loss of life. However, the record of improvement from the past is clear as it were.

To characterize the will of the people as Pyrrhic victory represents what exactly needs to change in and about our nation. Indeed, our privilege as elites imposes the responsibility of trustees of power, wealth, values and direction of and for a nation in the interest of the people upon us. To narrow this interest or substitute our amplified voices as the vocal minority for the silent majority is not only taking liberties a little too far, but also losing tune and touch with our national realities. As leaders, we must reflect introspectively on how we have prioritized the people, and how we must continue to do so going forward.

This is what President Muhammadu Buhari is known for and it is what played out in the elections. It is the voices of the few and the devices of the privileged that the Opposition regarded and expected to hold up. That did not happen.

We respect the right to disagree and exercise that right through the established mechanisms, but we reject any denigration and the diminishing of the electoral outcome which is the true voice and expression of the people of this country.

As you noted, the whole concept of sin in the worldly context is a violation of the law of the land, and in the spiritual context, a violation against God. That you judge either as a matter of law, or ecclesiastically when you by yourself determine that this administration is “committing sin” is a departure from what your letter identifies as its objective. Victory in an election is a nation speaking up, while the victor is the symbol of that nation’s victory.

Both life, by its temporal nature, and the Constitution, by its term limitations and periodic elections, already ensure that we all know that everything but eternity is transient, and the example of that in our nation today is the rejection of the old order four years ago, and the most recent confirmation of that rejection by preferring the new and current order, and the Next Level of our national restoration and growth. 

Finally, thank you for declaring your belief that the APC “would have won” a handsome victory because that was exactly what happened! It is your equivocation about Atiku’s loss expressed in the same letter where you said you expected an APC “handsome victory” that left me and other readers confounded. What are we to believe?

Again, thank you for your open letter. Be rest assured that the Vice President and the President would continue working for the good of all Nigerians in the Next Level.

Laolu Akande is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President

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Nigerians Don’t Ask For Too Much – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigerians don’t ask for too much, noting that, they deserve a better life which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on delivering.

Speaking at the PMB/PYO Volunteers Appreciation Dinner held at the Banquet Hall, Abuja on Thursday, Prof. Osinbajo said President Buhari’s integrity is a key attribute needed to move Nigeria forward.

READ FULL SPEECH BELOW:

Just before I make a couple of remarks, we know that a few of our supporters lost their lives during the course of the campaign. I want us to stand for a moment and observe a minute of silence in honour of them. We thank the Lord for their souls and ask for comfort for all members of their family in Jesus name.

For me, this campaign was about the Nigerian people. One of the things I discovered, and I’m sure most of us know, is that our people are so trusting and supportive of their leaders everywhere. I think that one of the major characteristics of Nigerians is how supportive they are and also they don’t ask for too much. They never really ask for anything that is impossible to do.

For many of us, as we went around the country, we realised the tremendous amount of work that we need to do and our capacity to do so much work and what our people need. As a matter of fact, I don’t know any nation where the people are so generous no matter how poor they are.

I met a woman in one of the markets in Kwara State, and she gave us some vegetables and I thought she wanted to sell them, but she was actually offering it to us free. I thought to myself, here is this woman I should be giving something to and she is the one giving a gift instead. That is just a typical Nigerian. I was walking past another woman in Kogi while shaking hands with people there, she gave me N200. I thought to myself, I am the one meant to be giving her something.

There was another elderly woman here in Gwagwalada, and that made the news, she pulled me aside and said, “Young man, you need prayers” and she prayed for me. People saw her holding my hands and praying for me, and I thought to myself, I am meant to be offering these people comfort and succour, but they are hopeful and offering the support, comfort, love and all of the things they thought at the time that we needed.

 On behalf of all of us who are here, I want to say a very big thank you to the Nigerian people for their contributions to getting us back here.

We visited many homes across the country; we did the house-to-house campaign, visiting many homes and most of those homes were the homes of the poor. But they were still very hospitable and they would still ask, “What will you eat? What will you drink?”

I remember an encounter in Idanre, Ondo State, where we met a man; he was so excited we visited him in his home. He said, “This your government is the best I have ever seen.”  He said all sorts of very nice things, then the Local Chairman of the APC in Idanre said to him, “But you are PDP this man.” The man then said, “How can you say I am PDP? Okay, I used to be PDP, but from now on, I am now APC!”

It struck me that what we need to do more is connect with the people that we govern. All that the people want are opportunities for us to interact more with them. Somebody who gave a speech earlier said that we should govern in this same way.

One of the complaints that people made about our government is that we didn’t communicate well enough and people didn’t even know what we had done. I think they were probably right, and we did very well in terms of our messaging during the 2015 campaign, but thereafter, we seemed to have slacked and over time, the opposition began to get the better of us, especially on Social Media and Radio. But all of that is definitely going to change.

I am going to take on everyone who has challenged us on this matter, including the gentleman who has offered his services for communication purposes because this has to be a joint effort in ensuring that we put across our point of view. 

Everybody knows that this was not exactly an easy campaign but I believe that God saw, first the heart of Mr President. Here is an honest man, and as I said during the course of the campaign, even his worst enemies agree that he is a man of integrity.

In any event, there are many few Nigerians who would have been Minister of Petroleum, Governor of the whole of the Northeast, Head of State, not once or twice, but thrice, and still have just one home in Kaduna and some very modest place in Daura. Very few people are like that.

When I looked at his assets declaration form, I was checking it in 2015, I said to him, “Mr President, I am so much richer than you, it is an embarrassment.” He said, “I am only a soldier, you are a big lawyer so you should have more money than me.” I can tell you that he is perhaps; even poorer than he was in 2015 when I saw his declaration of assets form. 

We are all grateful to God for this great victory, and the real heroes are you all seated here today, who went out every day to campaign and talk about what you believed about our government, what you thought this government could do for the Nigerian people.

One thing that is clear to me is that your belief and commitment were not wrongly placed. You are absolutely right that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is the appropriate and right government for Nigeria at this time.

And the simple reason why that is so is that today what our country needs the most is honest government, that’s what our country needs. And I’ll tell you why as I repeated many times in the course of the campaign; our country is not short of ideas, projects or money. What we are short of is integrity in office. Corruption is the major problem that our country has faced. And once we are able to deal with it effectively, and we will, we will be the great nation we ought to be.

I was saying to someone that this same President, President Muhammadu Buhari, of the four refineries that we have in our country today, he built three of them when he was Minister of Petroleum. Then he built 3km of pipelines, how much has been added to it since then?

So, you don’t need to be a great orator. And this is one of the responses I gave to people when they were saying – “oh the president doesn’t talk.” He doesn’t need to be an orator; all he needs to do is be a doer. And that is what he is doing today.

And what we’ve seen today is despite the fact that we are earning 60% less than the previous government, we are spending almost 8 times more especially for capital projects. Why? Because the president is not stealing the money, simple! That is why we are able to spend more.

And just in terms of achievements in infrastructure, the Lagos-Kano rail, we have just commissioned the first phase, which is the Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan, and we are going to complete the Lagos-Kano rail.

We completed the Itakpe-Warri rail after 5 years it has been completed. Even the Abuja Light rail that was started in 2005 has just been completed.

We put money aside to do the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which had been practically abandoned; they would start and stop, they put it into the budget, but it would disappear. Today, the money is there to complete it.

Sometimes, I talk to my friends in the Southeast about the second Niger Bridge, which was commissioned in 2014, but it was not designed, it was just commissioned. How does anybody do that? Today, the highest amount of money as an immediate payment for any project we have ever done was for the second Niger Bridge, 33 billion immediate payment for that bridge. That is the highest amount of money we have ever put for one single payment.

We’re going to start the Mambila Project, and have put money aside for it. All these projects are projects that the President himself not just negotiated, but supervises on a regular basis.

And that is the thing; a lot of work needs to be done in this country. Infrastructures we need to put in place will be put in place. And the reason why is because the President is not a thief. And that is to just put it very simply. Many believe that the government is very complicated, no. If the man who is in charge is honest, everything we want to be done will be done, just take a look at our Social Investment Programmes.

I was saying to some group of people that today we are feeding 9.2 million children every single day as part of our school feeding programme. We’re paying for 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries every month. We have given almost 2million traders TraderMoni loans, and almost 500,00 MarketMoni. Apart from that, we are giving N5,000 to the poorest of the poor per month, we are now approaching 500,000 and we are going to do a million.

All of that has still not cost us N300billion. Yet some people ran a programme called Sure-P, and we cannot find a single beneficiary and it cost N700billion. On everything I’ve said, we still haven’t spent N300billion in 2 years.

So, it’s not as if this business of doing the right thing is rocket science. The major thing is an honest man, as we have an honest man, everything we want to be done is what will be done.

And I believe very strongly with your support, all of what we wish and want for our country will be done.

And by the grace of God, every one of the infrastructure projects we want to be done will be done. Our economy will turn around and we will see prosperity in this great nation of ours.

Finally, let me just say that we are still not done with elections. On the 23rd of March, we still have some outstanding states. As you know, we are re-running in 6 States. All of the efforts that we need to put into those 6 States should be done, we cannot afford to slack up and say we are done; we still have some things to do.

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Osinbajo Heads Policies, Programmes, Projects Audit Committee

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Policies, Programmes and Projects Audit Committee.

Chairman of the committee is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo.

Members of the committee, according to a statement by Olusegun Adekunle, include Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), are Chief of Staff to the President, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Minister of Finance.

Others are Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Hon. Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Also in the committee are Minister of Water Resources, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Security Adviser, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President is a member and secretary of the committee.

The Terms of Reference include “To audit and determine the status of implementation of policies, programmes and projects either inherited or commenced by the out-going administration.

“Identify and highlight a residue of works and challenges that may militate against their successful implementation;

“Prepare and produce a detailed working document that would guide the incoming Cabinet Members on the direction of Government regarding policies, programmes and projects;

“Co-opt any organization(s)/person(s) relevant towards the successful execution of the exercise; and

“Make any other recommendation(s) as may be necessary.”

The date of Inauguration of the committee is Friday 15th March 2019 at the Vice President’s Conference Room.

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