Nigeria’s Flamingos Crash Out Of Jordan 2016 World Cup

Nigeria’s Flamingoes rounded up a disastrous U17 World Cup when they were trounced 3-0 by North Korea yesterday in a final Group C match.

Striker Ri Hae Yon plundered a hat-trick to book Nigeria’s flight back home.

The Flamingoes, captained by Rasheedat Ajibade in her second U17 World Cup, were never really in this contest.

Nigeria failed to score a goal in their three matches and managed only a goalless draw with England to finish on a solitary point.

The Flamingoes, who reached the quarterfinals in the last three editions of the competition, suffered from lack of international exposure, as they did not play any international warm-up before Jordan 2017.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said they did not have the cash to arrange any international games for the team

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World Bank Vice President Emphasises Need For Islamic Banks

The World Bank has emphasised the need for Islamic Banks to close the huge financial gap that exists in the Muslim world

Vice President and Treasurer of the Bank, Aruma Otteh stated this while discussing Islamic finance at the World Bank/Islamic Financial Services Board high level seminar.

According to her, eight in 10 Muslims do not use conventional banking systems, a figure she says represents less than 20 percent of approximately 1.6 billion Muslims population who use conventional banking worldwide.

“The growth of Islamic finance is critical in closing this gap,” she said, adding that the statistic is scary.

“In some cases, people will like to access financial services but they are unable to do so because of factors that are prohibitive to their faith or lack of financial institutions near their area or lack of trust of financial service providers

“Many Muslims around the world refrain from actively accessing the conventional financial services around the world due to their beliefs.

“Islamic finance is uniquely well-suited to promote infrastructure development, which is critical in promoting many of the SDGs from clean water to energy.”

Also speaking at the event, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, said deficient infrastructure cost in Africa shaves the continent’s growth by two percent annually.

He estimated the cost of closing this infrastructure gap estimated at $360billion between 2011 to 2014.

According to Sanusi Islamic finance facilities can be used in funding various social projects such as immunization projects, education and green energy.

He said with the growing Islamic finance, there is strong potential in closing the huge gap and there is no doubt that the need to explore all alternative in funding the SDGs is critical.

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World Habitat Day: Lagos community Tells Govt to Respect Constitution Before Taking Over Their Property

As Nigeria join the rest of the world to celebrate the 2016 World Habitat Day in October, the families of Olowobaju, Apena Ogunpodo, Falade and Idotun in Ileke Community, Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State, has urged the Nigerian government at all level to respect the constitution as it concerns the rights to property of the individual and families.

The World Habitat Day which was birthed by the United Nations in 1986 with the theme: “Shelter is My Right” was aimed at reaffirming adequate shelter which is a basic human right; focus on the conditions of cities and towns…to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future.

The families led by Otunba Oludare Falade, was speaking on the heel of land acquired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for the sitting of his petroleum refinery and oil discovered on some other parts of the areas claiming that the Lagos State government failed to consult the families involved before selling the portion of the lands.

Falade insisted that persons and government who has interest on anything on their property must consult them adequately.

“It is important to mention that the universal declaration of human rights (Article 17) provides that ‘everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others’ and that ‘no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property’. Even where compulsory acquisition of land is to be done – like where the oil well is about to be located in our land, in that case if agreed upon, compensation should address both de facto and de jure rights in an equitable manner following the principle of equivalence as well as fairness and transparency.

“Our rights and interest must be respected, remember, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.”

According to him, “Since the United Nations is focused on planning the urban future with focus to raise awareness on the need to improve the way designers build new towns and cities. There are major new challenges in the 21st century. For many people, housing is a serious problem. One third of those who live in cities (one billion people) live in slums.

“They have no access to clean water or sanitation.

“These unhealthy Conditions lead to disease outbreak and many social problems. Many cities and towns are also feeling the effects of climate change, population growth and economic instability. For example, the UN WHD noted that many lost their homes in the 2008-2009 financial crises.

“World Habitat Day is a time to focus on these problems and to start working on solutions.”

It is important to note that the failure of government to discuss the oil communities in the Niger-Delta region of the country on the royalties accrued to the communities gave birth to militancy in the region which contributed to the fall in the country’s economy to the worst in Africa.

Otunba Falade, while sharing his ordeal with our reporter said that his family and community have suffered continuous oppression in various ways: socially, economically and humanly.

“My community is called ETO, ABUTE KOSU AND ILEKE we are of Yoruba descendant presently located at   Idotun  in Ibeju Lekki  local government area of Lagos state Nigeria.

“My family and I, together with our community are the owners of Part of Epe Lagoon Area in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government area of Lagos state. We own hectares of land and swamp, evidence  as shown in the certificate of occupancy Nunmber 65 at page 65 Volume 2009-1 dated 14th November 2009. In which token compensation without adequate consultation and compensation by government.

“The site is located along coastal road within free trade zone parcel “A” Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos state, Nigeria.

“This site contains several interests as a result of the following: (i) Individual ownership of some parts of the property, (ii) Family ownership of some parts of the property, (iii) Family shrine located in some part as well as (iii) Community ownership of the remaining portion.

“Our people and our community are peace loving and we appreciate that government at all level, oil fields in large quantity will soon be located in our property and the surroundings.

“However, we are very worried that most of the causes of land conflicts on private property may rear up its head due to: (a) Expropriations of owners by the state or powerful individuals: – (1) without compensation (2) without adequate compensation, (3) displacement of land owners whether private or common ownership without giving them sufficient rights. (b) Sales of somebody else private property- private person selling the property of another person (c) Leasing/renting of somebody else’s private property- that is, private person leasing or renting the property of another person etc.

“The government of many developing countries and countries in transition are currently investing in the improvement of land administration, the primary objective, being the development of a transparent and efficient land management with goals of decreasing land conflicts.

“Land conflicts also increase social and political instability. Where ever, there occur a lot of multiple sales, evictions, land grabbing etc, people lose confidence in the state and start mistrusting each other. Social and political stability suffers even more when land conflicts are accompanied by violence.

Dealing with land conflicts, Otunba Oludare Falade, therefore maintained that it should be a means to re-establish trust and confidence in public as well as private institutions.

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Sokoto’s Religious Moderation Is Rich Lesson To A Troubled World By Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Nigeria, and particularly our state, Sokoto, will this week host the Secretary of State of the USA, John Kerry, on a two day working visit. Our August visitor is an important guest whose contributions to his country’s diplomatic engagement have received praise from many quarters. His commitment, and by extension that of President Barack Obama, to international cooperation and preservation of democracy, have fostered friendship and bolstered standards across the globe.

We are honored that Secretary Kerry has not only decided to visit Sokoto, but has opted to speak to our young people on dangers posed by intolerance and violent extremism.

To start with, Nigeria’s relationship with the United States is a glorious one steeped in history and shared values. As President Muhammadu Buhari pointed out during his last trip to Washington, Nigeria values the special relationship it has with the US, and will work closely with it and other allies to develop governance initiatives whose aim is to ensure that Nigeria’s wealth benefits all its people. The election that brought the present administration to power has reaffirmed the confidence of all Nigerians in democracy as a system of government. Since coming to power in May 2015, concerted efforts have been put in place by the present administration to improve the competence and forthrightness of Nigerian institutions. More than at any moment in our recent history, we are setting credible ground rules for public officials and recovering stolen funds. At the same time, coordinated efforts are being taken to improve healthcare delivery, build critical infrastructure and enhance national integration.

Secretary Kerry will step into Sokoto at time of renewed interest in the ideals and tenets of the pre-colonial Sokoto Caliphate. The world is now bedeviled by violent extremism whose perpetrators claim to be representing Islam; a religion universally adored for promoting virtues including sacredness of life, freedom of worship, respect for and protection of minorities, treatment of others with justice and kindness, among others. Here now come the lessons we can learn from Sokoto Caliphate. Over 200 years since the establishment of the Caliphate, our people have become known for their religious tolerance, moderation and promotion of understanding among various faiths and ethnic groups especially in Nigeria.
Apparently, such disposition did not start over night. The founders of the Caliphate made conscious efforts during their lifetimes to instill justice, peace, good neighbourliness and rule of law among its citizens. From its early years and until it evolved into a quasi-federal system of emirates with balanced responsibilities, a central function of the Caliphate leadership has been to try to mediate conflict, and ideally, preempt conflict before it undermines the integrity of the state. Huge success was achieved in that direction because the intelligence-gathering ability of those saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace was utilized effectively.
In addition, the founder of the Caliphate, Usman Dan Fodio, his son Muhammadu Bello, brother Abdullahi (Gwandu), daughter Nana Asma’u and their key lieutenants, while known for their military skills, also promoted scholarship. Each contributed books of poetry and texts on religion, politics, and history.   They encouraged scholarship among members of the society.

Women empowerment and story of Nana Asma’u

The story of Nana Asma’u will provide deep insight into the position of women in contemporary Sokoto life over two centuries ago. As a respected community mobiliser, she joined her father, the revered Sheikh Danfodio, brother and uncle, in devoting significant time to chronicle histories, writing poetry, and Islamic studies. According to Wikipedia, she was well educated in the classics of the Arab and the Classical world, and well versed in four languages (Arabic, the Fula language, Hausa and Tamacheq Tuareg), Nana Asma’u had a public reputation as a leading scholar in the most influential Muslim state in West Africa, which gave her the opportunity to correspond broadly. She witnessed many of the wars of the Fulani War and wrote about her experiences in a prose narrative Wakar Gewaye “The Journey”. As the Sokoto Caliphate began as a cultural and religious revolutionary movement, the writings of its leaders held a special place by which later generations, both rulers and ruled, could measure their society. She became a counselor to her brother when he took the Caliphate, and is recorded writing instructions to governors and debating with the scholars of foreign princes.

Among her over 60 surviving works written over 40 years, Nana Asma’u left behind a large body of poetry in Arabic, the Fula language and Hausa, all written in the Arabic script. Many of these are historical narratives, but they also include elegies, laments, and admonitions. Her poems of guidance became tools for teaching the founding principles of the Caliphate. Asma’u also collaborated closely with Sultan Bello, the second Caliph. Her works include and expand upon Danfodio’s strong emphasis on women leaders and women’s rights within the community ideals of the Sunnah and Islamic law.

Others of her surviving written works are related to Islamic education: for much of her adult life she was responsible for women’s religious education. Starting around 1830, she created a cadre of women teachers (jajis) who travelled throughout the Caliphate educating women in the students’ homes. In turn, each of these jajis in turn used Nana Asma’u’s and other Sufi scholars writings, usually through recited mnemonics and poetry, to train corps of learned women, called the ’yan-taru, or “those who congregate together, the sisterhood.” To each jaji she bestowed a malfa (a hat and traditional ceremonial symbol of office of the pagan Bori priestesses in Gobir) tied with a red turban. The jajis became, thus, symbols of the new state, the new order, and of Islamic learning even outside women’s community. In part this educational project began as a way to integrate newly conquered pagan captives into a Muslim ruling class. It expanded, though, to include the poor and rural, training teachers who traveled across the sprawling Caliphate.

Contemporary legacy

Nana Asma’u’s continued legacy rests not just on her literary work and role in defining the values of the Sokoto state. Today in Northern Nigeria, Islamic women’s organisation, schools, and meeting halls are commonly named for her. She re-entered the debate on the role of women in Islam in the 20th century, as her legacy has been carried by Islamic scholars and immigrants to Europe and its academic debates. I have highlighted her role to dismiss the notion that women are denied basic rights in this part of the world. That is far from the truth. We are the first to admit that more needs to be done to improve impact and reverse negative statistics of women participation in socio-economic activities. But Nana Asma’u’s story clearly shows that with dedication and commitment, our women can reach the pinnacle of their chosen paths. Few months ago, Justice Aishatu Dahiru retired from the Bench after serving meritoriously for twenty years as the Chief Judge of Sokoto State. Just three weeks ago, Amina Yahaya, a 400 level student of English Language, became the first President of the Students Union Government of Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, a feat so rare that women who have attained such heights in the North in the last fifty years can be counted on the finger tips.

As bequeathed to us by our founding fathers, Sokoto is committed strongly to increasing mutual understanding, keeping good relations with others, and working to keep our community and our nation safe. We believe the world can learn a lot from us in areas like communal harmony, religious understanding, and tolerance towards all faiths. To ensure continued peace in our state, our government has aggregated the needs of our citizens and zeroed down on critical sectors like education, healthcare delivery, agriculture, development of infrastructure, job creation through development of small and medium scale enterprises, women and youth empowerment, development of solid mineral sector as well as implementing community development initiatives at the grassroots level. We have declared a state of emergency in the education sector, and matched our words with action by allocating the highest percentage of funds in our 2016 budget to the sector. The 28 percent we allocated is more than the percentage recommended by UNESCO.

Through personal and community interactions, we have fostered relationships of trust not just with our citizens, but with peoples of other faiths and ethnic inclination. This level of trust helps contribute to human resource development and strengthening the foundation for nation-building. We, the political and religious leadership under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, have committed ourselves to contributing to the socio-economic development of our state, and to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between all Nigerians irrespective of tongue or faith.


*Tambuwal is the Governor of Sokoto State


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Second Quarter Results And The World Of Oil By Nasiru Suwaid

In the world of economics, it is the trite norm to measure systemic governmental policies and performance from the prism of the financial markets, be they; currency, stock, bond or commodity exchanges. Thus, we cannot examine and assess the Nigerian economy, outside its biggest commodity source of revenue, which is basically the crude oil and most importantly, the financial performance of the international exploration companies, upon which the country draw its collectible revenue receipts, to coalesce as the national revenue base.

As at this time, the appropriate measure to gauge the financial standing of crude oil as a tradable commodity is through the instrument of the second quarter company results and performance of the international exploration companies. Basically, all of them are listed in the biggest and most visible financial market in the world, which unarguably is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where for most of last week, they posted result of their performance in the second quarter of the financial year.

The results were as similar as they are glaringly negative, as an overview and a sample; Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) saw its quarterly profit plummet by 70% percent as low oil prices bites, where its second quarter earnings on current cost of supplies (CCS) basis attributable to shareholders (excluding identified items) was $1 billion dollars, down from $3.8 billion in the same period, a 72% percent drop.

France’s Total second adjusted net income was down by 30% year on year (YOY) to stand at $2.2 billion dollars, although, when measured on a quarter on quarter (QOQ) basis, it actually rose by 33% percent, when compared with the first quarter results.

As for the biggest of them all, that is the British Petroleum (BP), it reported a second quarter 2016 results, which posted revenue of $47.28 billion dollars, however, for the corresponding period of second quarter 2015, the same company posted a turnover of 63.21 billion dollars, aggregately, a loss of 30% percent in company income.

Indeed, the financial hemorrhage did not only stop at oil exploration companies, even the oil support services companies, faced a similar problem, as the Halliburton Oil Services Coy, posted in the second quarter, an adjusted diluted loss per share of $0.14 dollars, on a revenue of $3.84 billion dollars, the firm reported a quarterly net loss of $3.21 billion dollars.

Now, if we place this fact with the reality of the pipeline vandalism in the Niger-Delta, where Nigeria aggregately, was unable to export more than 60% of its allotted crude oil quota, it best explains why on the half year basis, the country lost over a trillion naira in collectible revenue receipts. But, there is silver lining, in this predicament serving as an incentive to try capturing revenue from non oil sources, through, matching economic activity with revenue generation.

Also, in the instance where deliberate policies are made, to discourage import and galvanize local production, as in the case of the much criticized Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) import ban, which listed a certain number items [including palm oil] that were denied access to foreign exchange (FOREX) in the official interbank market.

The 2016 second quarter results in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), had vindicated the often vilified policy, when despite the exceptional rise in the prices of crude oil byproducts markets, due to the removal of petroleum subsidy, most oil companies posted an average of 30% percent rise in profit, while many others, even had a lot less financial returns.

However, compare their financial output with Okomu Oil Palm Company, a value adding agricultural company that had been struggling to survive until last year, which had a rise in sales of 66% percent in the first half of the year (HY1) 2016, as profit margin rose by 48% in the second quarter, while it had a turnover of 51% percent, it doubled profit against the corresponding period of last year, which is an indication of a surge, strong growth and earning at a time of general downturn in company performance and profits.

And this two other things:


As Nigeria enters a season of ‘technical’ recession, it is important to examine manufacturing productivity data, as to observe whether it is on a sustained basis and indication or, the economy could return to the path of growth and development.

The World Economics headline Sales Managers Index (SMI) for the month of July 2016, reports that the Nigerian economy has registered an improvement after 5 months of contraction, Sales Growth Index (SGI) is still below 50 Index Point (IP), however, there is sharp improvement in Business Confidence Index (BCI) and, growth is likely to be weak, but, productivity conditions are improving slowly.

As for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) headline Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the month of July 2016, manufacturing PMI rose marginally to 44.1 Index Point (IP) in July, as compared to 41.9 Index Point (IP), which is an indication of slower rate of decline in the review period.

Although there is a decline on all the key indicators, however, it was in a much slower pace, also, the data did not take into cognizance, significant improvement in electricity and widespread availability of petroleum products, which are a stimulus for improvement in economic activity and its capability in strengthening purchasing power, despite the very high inflationary trend.

Regarding the Nigeria’s premier manufacturing productivity indicator, the FBNQuest headline Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the month of July, 2016, posted a pick-up in productivity to stand at 51.0 Index Point (IP), although, last month it posted a figure of 50.2 Index Point (IP), however, this is the first time in months, three of the key indicators were in the positive territory, as against two that lay in negative area.

Stocks of purchases sub-index, suppliers’ delivery times sub-index and new orders sub-index exhibited signs, to suggest that manufacturing has risen off the floor and, possibly, that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for the third quarter 2016 (Q3) will be less depressing, than the second quarter (Q2) economic report.


One of the stark financial problems which the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) inherited, upon assumption into office, apart from a very badly managed economy, low oil price revenue and an imprudent fiscal management of the public service, was the reality of a highly depleted Excess Crude Account (ECA).

It is usually a kind of a governmental savings account, where prices of sold crude oil that surpasses the pegged oil bench mark price, would be saved into an account in case of budgetary shortfall and expenditure deficiency by the two tiers of the federal and state governments.

Normally, an Excess Crude Account (ECA) should enjoy the graces of high oil prices, fortunately, the past few years had been a period of relatively, high crude oil prices, usually, it is expected that such an account balance, would be on a very high side, unfortunately, Nigeria is a typical depiction of a nation that does not plan, thus, did not save for the rainy day.

Sadly, this has been the narrative of exchanges, between the officials of the present government and that of the past democratic regime, with the former complaining of a depleted reserve, while the latter countered, that it is because the last administration, was led by a leadership that lacked the will power and resolve to save.

Now, one of the challenges the present administration has been facing, apart from the acknowledged low oil prices in the international market is the evident disruption in crude oil production, through the sabotage of crude oil pipeline by the act of vandalism, in fact, it is the reason why the nation is having problems with foreign exchange availability for trade.

Yet, as at today, through deliberate effort and prudent economic governance, the Excess Crude Account (ECA) has climbed to nearly $4 billion dollars, or if I am to be most precise, $3.9 billion dollars, while, the federation account has started sharing bigger sum of revenue amongst the three tiers of government.

Basically, that is how to stimulate and wean an administrative system from a recession, with increasing government spending, creating increased consumer confidence and, a financial back-up saving to stave off the eventuality, of an uncertain economic world of crude oil reliance.

Follow me on twitter: @neeswaid

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World Bank, Sokoto Govt Commit N8.8b For Projects In 10 LGAs

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@MBuhari Ranked 14th Most Influential World Leader On Social Networks In 2016

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has been ranked the 14th most influential leader on social networks in 2016.

President Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) with a twitter following of 562,000, 184,000 Facebook likes and 49,000 followings on Instagram was ranked ahead of 36 other world leaders by the Burson-Marsteller’s 2016 Twiplomacy study.

The ranking named Burson-Marsteller twiplomacy, refers to the use of Twitter and other social media sites by government agencies and officials to engage with the public, disperse information and even leverage global influence.

It looks at how Head of states and Government, Foreign Ministers and International organistions use social media channels.

Aside ranking 14th in the world, the @NgrPresident account which is the official account of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president was also ranked 38 in the world.

@Magufulijp and @alsisiofficial, the twitter account of John Magufuli of Tanzania and Abdel Fatah elsisi of Egypt respectively are the only two African countries who made the list of the 50 World leaders. They are ranked 36 and 43 respectively.

Other social media accounts ranked include that of the President of the United States, (@POTUS) which was ranked Number 1 as well as King Salman (@KingSalam) of Saudi Arabia ranked number 2.

Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is ranked number 3, Barack Obama (@barackobama) in his personal capacity was ranked number 7, while the Saudi Foreign Ministry (@ksamofa) was ranked number 50.

A statement on the ranking posted by the organisation said it identified 793 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 173 countries worldwide.

“The study analyzes each leader’s Twitter profiles, tweet history, and their connections with each other.”

“Data was collected on May 1, 2016 using Burson-Marsteller’s proprietary Burson Tools to analyze the 628,000 possible Twitter connections between world leaders. Other variables considered included: tweets, following, followers, the date the user joined Twitter, tweets/day, retweets, percent of retweets, @replies, percent of @replies, tweets retweeted, average number of tweets retweeted.”

“Burson-Marsteller looked at each account to see if it has a header picture, if the account is dormant, active or protected and if the world leader tweets personally. We checked the language the account tweets and checked for the presence of Twitter lists.”

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Health: Kogi State Bags $1.5m from World Bank

The Kogi State Government has been awarded $1, 500, 000 by the World Bank to meet set health targets.

The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna Audu, represented Kogi State at the ceremonial launch event for the first disbursement of funds to states on the “Saving One Million Lives Program for Results” (SOML-PforR) of the Ministry of Health held on the 14th of July at the Lagos/Osun Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The SOML-PforR is an initiative aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality rates in the country by providing financing to the states based on the results they achieve. It is a response to the slow progress witnessed in the past in an attempt to curb this alarming situation of child and maternal death. That has been chiefly attributed to the focus being on the input rather than the results achieved therefrom.

The program is supported by a $500 million credit from the World Bank, which rewards states with an untied fiscal transfer (grant) from the Federal Government when they achieve improvements in the coverage and quality of key maternal and child Health (MCH) services. On the overall, 82% of the funds would be available to states based on their performance in four continuous disbursements, implying that any state that does not attain improvement at the end of the year would not receive any further funds from the Federal Government.

The Program Development Objectives (PDO) are “to increase the utilization and quality of high impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions”. This objectives would be measured by the following indicators:
i)Increase in the combined coverage of six key SOML-PforR services

a)Vaccination coverage among young children
b)Contraceptive prevalence rate (modern methods)
c)Vitamin A supplementation among children 6 months to 5 years of age
d)Skilled birth attendance
e)HIV counseling and testing among women attending antenatal care
f)Use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) by children under five and

ii) Improved quality of care index at health center level.

Disbursement-Linked indicators with regards to payment to States and Federal Government are based on
?Quantity of Services (61%)
?Quality of Care (11%)
?Data Collection and Utilization (16%)
?Private sector innovation (4%)
?Transparency in Primary Health Care (8%)

This disbursement of the funds and the implementation of the SOML-PforR objectives would be strictly monitored such that states that fail to meet up or who divert the funds to other uses, be they genuine or not, are likely not to get further disbursements next year. Moreso, States who perform the best in respective zones (called zonal champions) will receive additional $500,000 as reward for their effort! Further disbursements would be done based on an elaborate performance-based calculation plan contained in the program brochures.

The Honourable Commissioner for Health reiterated that the SOML-PforR is a peculiar health intervention program as it is developed with the principle of transparency and accountability. He further states that the administration of His Excellency Governor Yahya Bello is committed to honoring memoranda of understanding, fulfilling counterpart funding and making sure that whatever fund or donation, received from the Federal Ministry of Health and development organizations is used strictly for the purpose it is meant for and therefore assures that not only would Kogi State be ready for the next disbursement, but aims to go beyond being just zonal champions but overall champions as all hands would be on deck in the State Ministry of Health and no stone would be left unturned in achieving the program set objectives.

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To Nigeria And The Developing World; Making A Case For Saemaul Undong By Hemester Butu

Enshrined in principles of self-help, cooperation and diligence, Saemaul is arguably the world’s most efficient development model. The Saemaul Undong movement is reputed as being the single most important factor is Korea’s rise which is often described as “Miracle on the Han River”. But as the President Choi Oe-chool of the Global Saemaul Development Network, conveners of the Global Saemaul Forum testified, Korea’s transformation was not a miracle. At least not in the sense that the word miracle elicits in some quarters, as something instantaneous like portrayed in a magic trick of some sort. Koreans put in a lot of hard work to change the way they thought, the way they did things and the general principles by which they lived and ultimately created the wonderful society they enjoy today.

When I came to Korea, I had no idea what Saemaul was and what it truly meant. I hadn’t the faintest idea of the vastness it had achieved. But in less than half a year I am an apostle of Saemaul, sworn to spread it to the corners of all developing nations, including Nigeria, my fatherland. Nigerians have the heard the rhetoric “mental reorientation” repeated so much that the phrase has been rid of all noble intent and now depicts nothing beyond mere political hogwash. Yet, we must again dig deep and find the right way to pass this message to everyone seeking a development model that works. I am not necessarily saying Saemaul is transferrable, hook, line, and sinker; but its ability to be applied in almost interminable ways in local communities, transforming them into economically viable settlements is unprecedented. Perhaps that’s the reason behind Saemaul Undong’s adoption by the global community, organizations and programs like the UN, WTO, UNDP, SDGs etc. now imbibe a variant of Saemaul or its principles.

During the just concluded Global Saemaul Forum, world leaders gathered at the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju to exchange knowledge and experience in adopting various forms of Saemaul in numerous disparate environments. The one thing that stood out was the seemingly over-flogged issue of “attitudinal change”. Speaker after speaker reiterated that without changing the way a group of people think, nothing could be done really and therein lays the brilliance in Saemaul. It captures a simple yet effective mix of self-help and cooperation and diligence. Looking at this document decades later, it is impossible to appreciate the foresight of President Park Chung Hee. The essence is to inspire individual development, and then elicit a synergy of enhanced individuals, willing to persevere together in diligence. The simplicity cum effectiveness of this model cannot be overstated.

Permit me to strike an analogy, take my country Nigeria for example, it has a population of 180 million. That means at any one time it can exert a force 180 million man strong. Then take Korea with a population of 50 million, which is relatively less compared to Nigeria’s, but strengthened by the Spirit of Saemaul, they exert a force not 50 million man strong by 50 million raise to the power 50 (i.e. 50 * 1050). That is the power of SAEMAUL. That is what nations stand to gain, a geometric rise in the ability to produce. This analogy is conceived from the “energy slave” concept and it is possible for nations like Nigeria to hypothetically multiply its perceived economic strength by anything between 180 million times 1020 to 180million times 10100.

I am thoroughly enjoying my stay in Korea, and beyond the formal class education I feel connected to the wonderful people, the deliciously healthy food, the sense of community, the astonishing advance in technology, the living breathing example that modernity does not necessarily mean a decline in morals or societal degradation and the high value system. I could go on and on but long articles make for boring reads and I’d so much like people to read this. Anyone who knows about Saemaul has probably heard too much about Korea before the 1970s and how President Park Chung Hee penned down a charismatic document historically and effectively falling on the same level as documents likes Manga Carta and The US Declaration of Independence, except a little more relatable, implementable, and adoptable. Yet we must talk about Korea’s past and how they overcame chronic poverty, with little resources but strength of purpose and conviction. In this regard it is truly a miracle and nothing short of magic, yet the sort that requires all hands on deck to perform.

Let me sign out with the words of Professor Choi Oe-chool, at Global Saemaul Forum. “The Saemaul Soldier is armed with a warm heart and his bullets are self-help, cooperation, diligence, sharing, service and creativity. He/she studies, plans and moves to combat out poverty wherever it exists.”

From a Saemaul Soldier and an Apostle of Saemaul

Hemenseter Butu

Hemenseter writes from Korea, where he is studying for a Masters in Environmental Management and Policy. He is a serial contributor of opinion on political and social issues in Nigeria and the developing world. He tweets via @HemButs

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Hard Times Await Looters As Buhari, 59 World Leaders Agree On Sanction

The party appears to be over for public officers in the habit of looting the nation’s treasury.

The Federal Government and 59 other nations will in May sign agreement on the sanctions to be imposed on corrupt political and public office holders.

President Muhammadu Buhari will join 59 other world leaders in the United Kingdom to seal the pact by which any of the 60 countries involved would no longer be a “safe haven” for treasury looters.

Some of the sanctions that may be imposed on culprits include:

  • travel restriction or denial of entry visa into the 60 countries;
  • rejection of request for political asylum by corrupt political and public office holders;
  • likely loss of citizenship;
  • no more approval of naturalization for any corrupt person;
  • no establishment of shell companies abroad; and
  • the corrupt will not be allowed to operate foreign accounts in any of the 60 nations.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent, said the agreement will make it difficult for those stealing public funds in the country to escape abroad or operate slush accounts to stash cash away.

He said: “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is stepping up the fight against corruption. I am happy to bring to your notice that Nigeria and 59 other countries will enter into an agreement in May on the imposition of international sanctions against corrupt political and public office holders. This will take place at the 2016 international summit on anti-corruption in the UK.

“At the May summit, these 60 countries will agree on some sanctions against those who steal public funds or launder money.

“Some of these measures are travel restriction or denial of entry into the 60 countries; rejection of request for political asylum by corrupt political and public officers; no more approval of  application for naturalization by any corrupt person; and the corrupt will not be allowed to operate foreign accounts  in any of the signatory nation to the pact among others.

“The affected countries will also design ways of sharing intelligence on corrupt officers and money launderers. We will all key into this understanding as part of the global action against corruption.

“With this development, there is no hiding place for any public office holder who steals funds in this country.”

Responding to a question, the AGF said: “The President will deliver a keynote address at the May summit. It all borders on the international appreciation of the anti-corruption agenda of this administration.

“In fact, Nigeria is being considered as the 2017 host of the international summit on anti-corruption.”

In the past few years, politically exposed persons in the country and their cronies have stashed looted funds in the UK, US, UAE, Switzerland, France, Seychelles and the Island of Jersey.

Some of the looted funds include $723 million (about N142.43 billion) repatriated from  Switzerland in the last 10 years; $200b allegedly stashed in UAE; $480m to be released to the Federal Government by US; £22.5 million (N6.18 billion) recovered from Island of Jersey; and about £400b in Europe, Asia and America.

The Swiss government in March confirmed that it had so far returned $723 million (about N142.43 billion) of stolen funds seized from the family of the late former head of state, Sani Abacha, to the Nigerian government in the last 10 years.

The amount excluded the $321million (about N63.24 billion) which the Swiss authorities recently said it was planning to repatriate to Nigeria.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, said over $200 billion had been hidden in UAE.

He said: “Over $200 billion are stashed away in Dubai alone. This may represent the monies stolen since in the past 20 years.

“I am not talking about estates and bonds and other securities bought with Nigeria’s stolen money.”

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Boko Haram: World Bank Allocates $800m For Rebuilding North East

The World Bank has allocated $800 million to support rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed in the North East by the Boko Haram insurgency.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura, made the disclosure on Thursday in Maiduguri during a courtesy visit to Gov Kashim Shettima.
Samoura, who is also a UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, said the UN was scaling up its presence in Borno and other North Eastern states ravaged by the insurgency.

“Yesterday, we had a long discussion with the World Bank team that came from Washington to attend the workshop.

“The workshop is for validating the year findings of the recovery and peace-building assessment.

“They have promised to leverage 800 million dollars for the North East to response to recovery, rehabilitation, de-mining, waste management and debris processing for the North East of Nigeria,’’ she said.

The UN representative regretted that the UN was having challenges in mobilising resources for Nigeria in view of the humanitarian crises in other parts of the world.
“As we all know, the Syrian crisis that is affecting Europe is also taking a heavy toll in terms of funding from our traditional donors.

“We are trying our best to ensure that our advocacy and our communication strategy are up to the level where we will be receiving more attention from the donor community.

“The humanitarian response plan, as we speak, is just 10 per cent funded, meaning we have only received 24 million dollars.
“This is out of 248 million dollars budgeted for the North East of Nigeria for 2016,” she said.

Samoura, however, pledged that the UN would continue to complement the World Bank and the EU supports to address the root causes of poverty and exclusion in the North East.

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