President Buhari Launches Nigeria’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020

The much awaited Nigeria’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020 has been formally launched by Nigeria’s President in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari who unveiled the document to the council chambers at the Presidential Villa, said the plan sets out an ambitious roadmap to achieve a 7% growth rate by 2020.

He added that the document brings together all sectoral plans for agriculture and food security, energy and transport infrastructure, industrialisation and social investments.

“I want to assure all Nigerians that we are approaching the solution to our economic challenges with the same will and commitment we have demonstrated in the fight against corruption, and in the fight against terrorism and militancy.”

He appealed to the state governments to draw inspiration and strategic direction from the plan to articulate their economic own programmes, particularly in the development of the real sector.

On Tuesday, the President’s Spokesman, Femi Adesina in a statement said that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.


Source: Channels TV

President Buhari to inaugurate economic recovery plan Wednesday

President Muhammadu Buhari is to inaugurate the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr. Adesina, who is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, said the inauguration of the plan was in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and re-revamping the economy.

According to him, the formal inauguration of the plan will take place in the council chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja, at 11 a.m.

The Medium-Term ERGP was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during one of its meetings in 2017.

It has among its strategic objectives is plan to restore sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; invest in the people and build a globally competitive economy.

The plan was specifically designed to take the country out of the recession and in the long term, continue to grow the economy while planning of the 2017 was also based on the ERGP to accelerate speedy recovery and development of infrastructure.


Source: NAN

Buhari’s war on corruption won’t stop – Presidency

The Presidency has given assurances that the war against perfidy and corruption by the Muhammadu Buhari administration will not stop despite the strong resistance of the opposition and their actions to thwart the government’s efforts every day.

“Let me say one thing. Those whose illicit ways of accumulating money have been stopped will criticise this government but all that will not derail the unfaltering commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the war against corruption,” a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a radio program Hannu Da Yawa on FRCN Kaduna at the weekend.

Mr. Shehu argued that the president declared rooting out corruption as one of the cardinal policies of his election campaign.

“He is aware that this was one of the main reasons why Nigerians in their millions put their trust in him; the main reason they voted him into power in 2015.

“To keep that trust of ordinary Nigerians who voted him into the office, he has vowed to give corruption a good fight. He will not let them down.”

Mr. Shehu admitted that so far, the battle to uproot corruption from Nigeria has not been easy.

“Corruption has been fighting back vehemently, finding accomplices in various forms and guises. Nevertheless, the Buhari administration will not relent.”

He said in the program that the days when corruption reigned indiscriminately in Nigeria are over.

“Nothing will return our country to those sad, old days of wanton thievery that have plunged us into the economic mess from which Nigeria is currently recovering. The war against corruption in Nigeria is one of those clashes between good and evil, where good is determined to triumph.”

He dismissed rumours that members of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC were being spared, saying that all are equal before the law.

Highlighting the various measures introduced to promote transparency by the present administration, Mr. Shehu disclosed that upon directives by the president, the National Hajj Commission carried out an audit of accommodation agents in both Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia and as result, a saving of more than $16.7 million is being made by the paying pilgrims this year.

“Each Hajj pilgrim is being saved between 600 to 1,000 Saudi Riyals, which is about N60,000-N100,000 from accommodation, money that had lined the pockets of agents in the past. This year, houses are being rented directly from owners.”

He commended ordinary citizens for embracing the whistle-blower policy by “taking extraordinary risks to expose corruption.”

On the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and the relocation of flight services to Kaduna for the six-week period of the closure, the presidential aide said the government and people of Kaduna should think hard to devise ways by which the social and economic benefits brought to Kaduna in this period did not depart the city with the reopening of the airport in Abuja.

“‘The government of Nigeria has done a big thing for Kaduna. You must show appreciation to this by supporting the administration.”

Referring to the “massive cash releases for capital projects in excess of a record one trillion Naira under the 2016 budget,” Mr. Shehu credited the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, with the record of being the first ever minister to ride on all the federal roads across the nation.

He said in addition to the roads, three of the major projects very dear to the president which he is determined to execute are the Mambila power project, the Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Calabar and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway modernisation projects and the new Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer, which he said is already making an impact by cutting the price of fertiliser by about fifty per cent.


Source: Premium Times

BREAKING: President Buhari deploys newly approved ambassadors

President Muhammadu Buhari has deployed four of the newly approved ambassadors to some critical foreign missions.

The president announced the deployments through his twitter handle on Friday.

Mr. Buhari said Tijjani Bande from Kebbi State has been deployed as Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.

He also said Itegboje Samson from Edo State is the new Ambassador/Deputy Representative, at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Headquarters in New York.

The President also deployed Kadiri Audu from Kwara State as Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mr. Buhari equally announced the posting of Bankole Adeoye from Ogun State as Ambassador/Representative to the Embassy of Nigeria /Permanent Mission to Africa Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The announcement is coming hours after the nominated ambassadors concluded their induction training at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja.

The deployment is also coming after almost two years without substantive ambassadors in the various bodies.


Source: Premium Times

President Buhari will return to London for his medical check-ups – Garba Shehu

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, says President Muhammadu Buhari will return to London for his medical check-ups.

Reacting to reports that Buhari had plans to fly his doctors into the country, Shehu told reporters in Abuja that the president will return to the country he spent his 49 days medical vacation.

“The last time the president spoke about this (medical trip), he said he would return to his doctors after some time,” Shehu said.

“We are not aware that this has changed. We are not aware of the reported advance movements.”

However, Shehu did not specify when Buhari will continue his medical vacation.

Speaking with members of his cabinet shortly after returning to the country on March 10, Buhari had revealed that he would be returning to Britain for follow-ups.

“There may be need to have further follow-ups within some weeks,” he had said.


Source: The Cable

President Buhari picks new ministers

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent names of two new ministerial nominees to the senate for confirmation.

Quoting a source, NAN said the letter which contained the names of the nominees from Kogi and Gombe states  arrived the senate late Tuesday.

The Kogi nominee will be replacing James Ocholi, the late minister of state for labour, while the one from Gombe would replace Amina Mohammed, former minister for environment, who is the current United Nations deputy secretary- general.

Buhari sent the list at a time when the senate is unhappy with the executive.

The upper legislative chamber halted the screening of resident electoral commissioners (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as requested by Buhari.

The senate shifted the exercise by two weeks, citing what it termed disregard for its proceedings as reason.

The lawmakers berated the president for appearing to be doing nothing about their rejection of Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC.


Source: NAN

BREAKING: Senate halts confirmation of REC nominees over Buhari’s inaction on Magu

The Nigeria’s Senate has stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners, after expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sack Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.

The Senators also accused nominees of the President of disrespecting the National Assembly.

The Senate therefore resolved to suspend the confirmation in protest.

President Buhari had last week nominated 27 persons for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC.

The senate therefore shifted screening, which was supposed to begin on Tuesday, by two weeks.

President Buhari Approves Establishment Of Naval Base In Lake Chad Basin

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has given approval for the establishment of a naval base at the Lake Chad basin to boost security in the north-east.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Monday after meeting with the President.

Vice Admiral Ibas explained that the Lake Chad area is a strategic location that provides means of livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people.

He noted that the presence of the Nigerian Navy would help in consolidating on the security of the area.

The Naval Chief also said a dedicated task force has since been put in place to tackle the problem of sea piracy in Nigeria.


Source: Channels TV

President Buhari congratulates Bola Tinubu at 65

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with former Lagos State Governor and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on his 65th birthday.

The president’s congratulatory message was issued on Tuesday in Abuja by Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

Mr. Buhari said he joined “all members of the APC, political and business associates of the Asiwaju of Lagos, his friends and family, in celebrating another milestone in the life of the great leader”.

Mr. Buhari noted that Mr. Tinubu’s foray into politics had ushered in a better understanding of building consensus to achieve historical feats, like unseating an incumbent government.

“Tinubu has raised the bar for many political leaders across the country as a two-term governor of Lagos State, and also bequeathed a style of leadership that completely altered the landscape of the commercial capital,” he said.

The president recalled his “pleasant and intellectually enriching encounters” with Mr. Tinubu over the years.

According to him, as the former governor turns 65, the nation still stands to gain more from him.

He also re-affirmed that the nation had benefitted “a lot from the personal sacrifices, political experience and intellectual foresight of the APC chieftain”.

President Buhari prayed that the almighty God would grant the Asiwaju good health, longer life and more wisdom to serve his country and humanity.


Source: NAN

Never again will terrorists seize any part of Nigeria – President Buhari

Never again will terrorists take over and occupy any part of Nigeria’s territory, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed in Sambisa Forest on Monday.

The President made the vow when he declared the 2017 Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship, NASAC, opened.

Represented by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Mr. Buhari noted that holding the championship in the forest was an affirmation that government was “resolved to stamp out all activities and operations of the Boko Haram insurgents from our territory.”

Mr. Buhari said: “This championship is a showcase of the clear effect and degradation of the Boko Haram terrorist group with the destruction of Camp Zairo in the heart of the famous Sambisa forest.

“I can say categorically that never again will Boko Haram occupy any of our land.

“I want use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigerian Army for this achievement and reiterate at this point by noting that it is a case of professional training that brought the Nigerian Army to this length.”

Mr. Buhari restated that through the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative, PCNI, government would reconstruct facilities and structures destroyed by the terrorists so that the people of the region could enjoy the dividends of democracy.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said the championship was held at the forest to consolidate on the gains achieved by troops in the north-east so far.

“This championship is therefore held here at the heart of the Sambisa forest as part of Nigerian Army’s plans to effectively dominate all hostile territories in the North East”, Mr. Buratai said.

NASAC was held seven years ago, at Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, in Kaduna state.

According to Mr. Buratai, the championship could not be held since then due to numerous operational engagements by the army.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has named the newly established Nigerian Army shooting range at the Sambisa forest after the late lieutenant colonel, Abu Ali.

Mr. Ali, who was the commander of an army formation at Mallam Fatori in Borno east, died in a battle on November 4, 2016 when Boko Haram terrorists attempted to invade and take the town.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, recalls that the army routed the terrorists and took over Sambisa on December 23, 2016 at about 1.35 p.m. after it overran Camp Zairo, their last strong hold in the forest.


Source: NAN

Senegal’s President, Macky Sall lauds Buhari on Gambia

President Macky Sall of Senegal has thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention in The Gambian impasse that led to the restoration of democracy in the West African country.

Former President Yahya Jammeh had refused to hand over power to Adama Barrow, winner of an election held last December, but ECOWAS leaders, including President Buhari, insisted Mr. Jammeh must quit at the expiration of his term in January. He did, rather involuntarily.

In a communication with the Nigerian leader, Macky Sall said:

“Thank you again for your support in The Gambia. May Almighty Allah give you greater health and energy to conduct the destiny of Nigeria.”

The Senegalese president described himself as President Buhari’s “younger brother,” and prayed that “Allah” would bestow good health and wisdom on the Nigerian leader.


Source: Premium Times

The Cost Of Reforms: Hadiza Bala Usman As A Case Study – By Theophilus Opaleye

The evolutionary trend of Nigeria’s socio-political journey since Independence has shown a clear path for the permeation of corruption, from an alien concept to the statutory way of getting business done. Corruption has become the existential reality of the ordinary man or woman in Nigeria trying to eke out a living for himself or herself.
The effect of this moral decadence is evident in both the political dysfunctionality and economic debilitation of the Nigerian state. The implication is that those who seek to do the right thing often find themselves alienated by the system while battling forces that are loyal to the status quo for various reasons.
It is a trend that takes vast amount of political will to undo as systemic reformers battle against the devastating current of blackmail, libel, insubordination and sometimes direct threat to their lives by machineries of the beneficiaries of corruption. The latest survivor of this onslaught is Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority.
Hadiza Bala Usman’s appointment as MD of Nigerian Port Authority by President Buhari in July 2016 came on the back heel of dwindling revenue from crude oil and the urgent need to diversify the federal government’s income sources. The move signalled President Buhari’s resolve to make NPA one of the most efficient economic drivers of his administration. And Hadiza was the woman he trusted to make that happen.
Hadiza’s appointment sent ripples through the fabric of Nigeria’s civil service structure – it is an anomaly to have a 40-year old woman head one of the most important agencies of government in Nigeria. For stakeholders in the ports sector, it marked the end of an era of doing business at the ports the corrupt way, the end of defrauding the Nigerian state and people through sharp practices at the port.
Since her appointment, Hadiza has set about cleaning the Augean stable at the NPA, bringing to bear major reforms in the way stakeholders conduct business at the nation’s seaports. Under Hadiza, NPA became the first federal agency to fully adopt the open governance model and open its books to the scrutiny of the public and civil societies. By integrating the operations of the NPA with the federal government’s single treasury account policy, she ensured monies meant for remittance to the federation account were not locked in private accounts yielding interests for corrupt elements in high places.
Also, the high and mighty who had made defrauding the Nigerian people the norm, by not paying due import duties suddenly found themselves locked out in a system where transparency and accountability reigned supreme. Those who had enriched themselves by using their influence to bring goods into the country without paying the appropriate fees are being forced to do business the right way.
These and more are reform policies introduced to the operations of the NPA that did not go down well with a section of the Nigerian elites that made Hadiza Bala Usman a target for the campaign of calumny and character assassination as characterized by the recent report as published by the faceless online platform – The Breaking Post NG.
The powers that be who are used to having their way have now decided the best way to do it is no longer through the ports because illegality has been blocked there but now through internet infestations of lies, half truths and alternative facts. Their latest effort in dragging Hadiza’s name through the mud in which they themselves have permanent residence have failed, but they are not likely to stop.
Less than 24 hours after posting with all glee and certainty, an “exclusive” report on Hadiza targeted at painting her as corrupt, The Breaking Post tweeted an excuse-ridden apology to save face after Nigerians rose in Hadiza’s defence. In the interest of a just and equitable society, and to serve as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to make themselves available as tools for the propagation of falsehood on social media, Hadiza’s determination to go ahead with a lawsuit against the fake news platform is a welcome development.
There is perhaps no better visualization of the cost of doing things the right way and enforcing progressive reforms in a society as ours as the barrage of falsehood against the person of Hadiza and her position as MD of the NPA. It is however heart-warming that rather than dampen her morale, this campaign against her by the enemies of the Nigerian people have strengthened her determination to see through ongoing reforms at the NPA.
Theophilus Opaleye is a public finance expert based in Lagos.

President Buhari Sacks Permanent Secretary For Awarding Contracts To Himself

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the sack of a Permanent Secretary, who has been using his office to allegedly defraud the Federal Government through the award of phantom contracts worth billions of Naira to himself.

The permanent secretary, who was appointed by Buhari in 2015, was fired on Tuesday on the orders of the President.

A source in the ministry confirmed that two police officers drove the sacked permanent secretary from the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, raising concerns as to what might have led to such an action.

A Presidency source confirmed to Vanguard that the President ordered the immediate removal of the top civil servant, who presided over the affairs of one of the strategic ministries handling intervention programmes in the country following evidence that he awarded contracts to companies belonging to him.

Vanguard learned that the sacked permanent secretary had deployed several strategies to evade a sting operation, which had been planned by one of the anti-graft agencies, thereby making it impossible for the operatives to track him down.

It was learned that key officials of the ministry, who got hint of the permanent secretary’s activities, drew the attention of security agents to the scam and called for urgent investigation of the man.

One of the security agency officials, who handled the investigation of the permanent secretary, told Vanguard that the sting operation planned against the official was frustrated by him and his agents, forcing them to delay his arrest since January this year.

“We have been monitoring the man and the various companies being used by him to siphon huge sums of money from the ministry, which handles intervention programmes in the Niger Delta region but he has been very smart and suspicious of our movement, thereby making it impossible for us to arrest him despite the ambush we laid for him and his cronies,” one of the operatives said.

He added: “But Mr. President did not waste time in asking the Head of Service of the Federation to sack the man with immediate effect as soon as he got to know that the man had used over 500 companies to award fake contracts to himself and move huge sums of money from the ministry in question.”

“In fact, the discovery of the large scale fraud in the ministry, which has suffered a lot of project failure and the subsequent sacking of the permanent secretary by Mr. President, followed painstaking investigation by the anti-corruption agencies, which will soon charge the man to court.”

President Buhari cannot re-nominate Magu – VP, Nigeria Bar Association

The debate on the second rejection and re-nomination of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu for confirmation by the National Assembly is not over yet.

Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot re-nominate Magu to the Senate based on the internal rules of the National Assembly regarding such issues.

He said if that was the case, then there could be a problem, adding that he may not know what is on President Buhari’s mind as Magu had been rejected for the second time by the Senate.

“Under the law, the president can re-nominate Magu, but going by what Senator Dino Melaye said, there are internal rules in the Senate that specify how many times a candidate can be re-nominated for confirmation,” he said.

He added that there are two options for the president. Either he exploits the lacuna in law that provides for perpetually retaining the EFCC boss in acting capacity or he nominates another person for the job.

Another lawyer, Charles Lambo pointed out that the presidency’s insistence on Magu was an illegality and a breach of trust between the executive and the legislature.

“This is because section 171 of the constitution gives the president powers to appoint certain officers, which are subject to confirmation of the Senate without which they act in nullity and the EFCC Act also confirmed that the position of Chairman must be confirmed by the Senate,” he added.

He further explained that for Magu to remain in acting capacity after the Senate has rejected him twice was an illegality and advised the presidency to obey the Senate resolution on the matter.

Unlike Ubani who argued that the presidency can exploit the lacuna in the law, Lambo believes it cannot be possible, even as he made referred to Professor Itse Sagay statement that Magu can continue in Acting capacity indefinitely.

“But this is democracy and cannot be possible under the constitution,” he stressed.


Source: The Guardian

“The enemies of your government are within”, APC senator tells President Buhari.

Isa Misau, an All Progressives Congress (APC) senator from Bauchi state, says the enemies of President Muhammadu Buhari are within the presidency.

Misau said this on Wednesday, while contributing to the debate on the refusal of Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), to appear before upper legislative chamber in uniform.

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), had written a letter to the senate, saying Ali could not appear before it in uniform because the matter was in court.

But the lawmaker said it was clear that the people close to the president were creating tension, following the “relatively calm atmosphere” the country experienced when Buhari was on medical vacation.

He said Malami’s letter could create tension between the national assembly and the executive.

He also called on Nigerians to pray for Buhari to be able to deliver on his promises.

“I’m not going to speak on constitution or senate standing order, I’m going to talk on common sense. Mr. President, with what is happening, you will see that the enemies of this government are within the presidency,” Misau said.

“So many times we stand here to see that there are people within the presidency who don’t want the president to succeed and it is coming out clearly.

“If you look at the kind of advise people close to the government are giving to the presidency, you will know that they are trying to distract the president from working.

“The president went on leave to attend to his health for about 49 days. Did you hear about Niger Delta Avengers? Did you hear about Fulani herdsmen? Did you hear of any media attack? Do you hear of any tension in the country?

“Now just two weeks that the president is back, the people surrounding the president are creating tension. The enemies of this government are very close to the government, they are very close the president.

“I therefore call on the Nigerians to pray for the president.

“Look at the kind of letter coming from the attorney-general, somebody who is supposed to bring peace and stability is trying to create a problem between the national assembly and the presidency.

“If the attorney-general will write a letter like this, then you should know the kind of advise he is giving the president. Therefore the people surrounding the president are his enemies.”


Source: The Cable

“Suspend Paris loan refund”, Umar tells President Buhari.

Abubakar Umar, a retired colonel and social critic, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the order given to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the ministry of finance on another tranche of Paris loan be released to states.

Buhari had appealed to the governors to use the money to pay salaries and improve the lot of the common man.

But Umar said since it had become obvious that some of the state executives had other plans for the money since it was discovered that some governors hired consultants to help them secure the funds.

“It is now revealed that some state governors contracted consultants with fees ranging from 10 to 30 per cent to secure   refund from the federal government of Nigeria FGN,” he said in a statement.

“With this shocking revelation, President Muhammadu Buhari should suspend his order to the  the federal ministry of finance and the Central Bank Of Nigeria, CBN for the release of the second tranche of  the refund.

“It is also evident now that most of the earlier released funds were deployed for other purposes   than payment of salaries and pension arrears as directed by Mr President. This impunity has got to stop.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused some governors of diverting the first tranche.


Source: The Cable

PDP is a creation of God, it cannot be destroyed — Sheriff

The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, has said the party is a creation of God and cannot be destroyed by anybody.

Sheriff made this known while briefing journalists on Monday in Abuja on the recommendations of the party’s Reconciliation Committee, chaired by Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa.

He said, “Everywhere in our party, we are working across the board; everybody is working for the party to come back to its position in 1999.

“We are for peace and that does not mean that we are afraid of anybody; we will not be relenting.

“We need our party back in power and we will carry everybody that means well for PDP along.”

“I assure you that PDP will not be destroyed; PDP is a creation of God and cannot be destroyed by anybody.

“We are on course and we will go as planned. For everybody that believes that it is not political solution, they are on their own.”

The chairman said that he was also talking with lawmakers at the National Assembly and State Assemblies on the platform of the party as part of political solution recommended by the Dickson committee.

He added that he had commenced consultation with the Board of Trustees through its Chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, who, he said, had promised to get back to him for a formal meeting with BoT members.

He said that by next week they would meet with the party’s national ex-officio members from the 36 states.


President Buhari can re-nominate Magu for confirmation as EFCC boss – Ndume

The Chairman Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, says President Muhammadu Buhari can re-present Ibrahim Magu for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Senate.

He said the president, having earlier cleared Magu based on a report by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami should go ahead to stand by his conviction that the Acting Chairman of EFCC committed no infraction contrary to the allegations leveled against him by the DSS.

Ndume stated this in an interview on a television station yesterday. He said his support for Magu to continue to head the EFCC was not because he had any personal interest in him, but because of the need to sustain the momentum on the anti-corruption battle he has been fighting.

He also faulted the voice vote employed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki which led to Magu’s rejection, contending that the Senate president in line with tradition should have differed voting on Magu to another legislative day after he had been screened.

Ndume lamented that the rejection of Magu by the Senate was premeditated, wondering why it had to write to the DSS to demand for an advisory on Magu just a day to his scheduled screening.

“As a Senate, our job is limited only to confirmation of nominees. We are not supposed to investigate anybody. We are not supposed to be a court. The tradition is that if there is a nominee before us, Senators from that state will take a position and that is the first hurdle.

Ndume lamented that the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to intervene on the issue of Magu by calling for a meeting of the party’s Senate caucus, a reason he said there was a disconnect among its members in the Senate on the issues at stake.


Source: The Guardian

“Magu can serve in acting capacity indefinitely”, Presidential committee tells Buhari.

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to remove the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, whose confirmation was rejected by the Senate on Wednesday.

The committee further stated that Magu could continue in acting capacity indefinitely.

It was learnt that the committee had resolved to communicate its resolution to the President in writing.

The Chairman of the PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), told The PUNCH that the resolution was unanimous and that members were of the view that removing Magu would negatively affect the war against corruption.

He said, “I had a telephone conference with all members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and we unanimously agreed that Magu is the best candidate in this country for that position and that he should continue acting indefinitely until he is confirmed and there should be no change whatsoever; otherwise, there will be a major setback in the fight against corruption.

“We observed that those who do not want him are those who are opposed to the fight against corruption. So, we are 100 per cent behind him.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency, on Thursday, said it would not respond to the rejection of the nomination of Magu until it received a formal communication from the Senate on the development.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, stated this on his Twitter handle.

“The Presidency will respond to the non-clearance of Magu as EFCC boss after it receives official communication in writing from the Senate,” Adesina wrote.

The Senate had, on Wednesday, rejected Magu’s nomination for the second time.

Also, a rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, described as illogical, the manner in which the Senate rejected Magu as the substantive EFCC chairman.

In a statement on Thursday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation described as a slap on Nigerians the rejection of Magu by the Senate “on the pretext of conflicting and inconsistent reports on him (Magu) by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

SERAP posited that the Senate and the President had failed their legitimate governmental purpose of working together to promote and enhance the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the country’s main anti-corruption agency, the EFCC.

It argued that what the Senate should have done was to have “critically engaged with the two reports by the Department of State Services and provided Magu with meaningful opportunity to be heard,” before rejecting him.

“The entire process for the submission of Magu’s name for confirmation by the Senate, and the purported confirmation hearing by the Senate is utterly unsatisfactory,” SERAP declared.

The organisation argued that while it conceded that it was within the right of the Senate to accept or reject the nomination of anyone, such a right must be exercised “constitutionally, reasonably, logically and rationally.”

“He (President) should then take rational and reasonable measures to re-nominate him for confirmation.

“We also urge the Senate to carry out its duty to confirm Magu in line with constitutional and international requirements and without any political or ulterior considerations whatsoever,” SERAP demanded.

The statement read in part, “But by providing conflicting and inconsistent reports to the Senate on Magu’s confirmation, the government of President Buhari has not taken a logical, fair, and reasonable constitutional and international measure to promote, advance, establish and maintain an independent and effective EFCC.

“And the Senate, on its own part, would seem to have acted mala fide by picking and choosing the least favourable DSS report to reject Magu’s nomination.

“The proper and reasonable action the Senate should have taken in the circumstances of this case would have been to invite the leadership of the DSS to appear before it to explain the manifest contradictions and inconsistencies in its reports.”


Source: PUNCH

President Buhari Orders Payment Of London-Paris Club Refunds To States

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to urgently begin the process of releasing the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the states.

President Buhari gave the directive on Thursday when he addressed the meeting of the National Economic Council in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The President, who made a strong case for the settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of workers, said the move was to ease the people’s financial hardship.

The National Economic Council meeting, which is the highest economic decision making body of the Federal Government, is made up of State Governors and chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

In reaction to the President’s declaration, some governors at the meeting, Abdulfattah Ahmed, Udom Emmanuel and Darius Ishaku, expressed confidence that the development was strong enough to steer the change agenda of the administration.

They also advised President Buhari to take more rest if need be, even as the President insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of Nigerians.

Other matters discussed at the meeting include the problem of deforestation and update on the security situation across the country.

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, highlighted the problems of tax evasion and the scheme being put in place to stop it.


Source: Channels TV

What we discussed with Buhari — Saraki, Dogara

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said they visited President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss matters of “national interest”.

The leaders of the National Assembly met with the president behind close doors for 40 minutes.

Mr. Saraki told State House correspondents that the president “engaged them very well”.
He said they specifically “came to discuss issues and activities of the National Assembly during the absence of the president”.

Mr. Saraki said the meeting centred on the “budget, the economy, CBN, Euro bond, the issue of the ambassadorial list, the stability in the Niger Delta, and a whole range of issues”.

Mr. Saraki said the Senate has a target to pass the 2017 budget this month.

On his perception of the president’s state of health, the senate president said Mr. Buhari met with them for 40 minutes, adding “I was not talking to myself.? He is doing very well, we discussed issues of national interest”.

On his part, Mr. Dogara said they were not at the villa to assess the president’s health.

He said the journalists who are always there surely knew the president was doing well.

On the relationship between the executive and legislature, Mr. Dogara said it was not in the place of the legislature to fight the executive.

“We fight on issues but mostly issues of national interest. We fight on behalf of the people for the purpose of progress.

“There is one government and no division. If he fails, we all fail, so it is in realisation of this that we always extend the needed support to ensure that he succeeds, so that the government will be rated as a success,” he said.

ONGOING: President Buhari in meeting with NASS leaders, Saraki and Dogara.

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently holding a meeting with Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

The meeting is holding inside the president’s offfice at the Aso Rock presidential villa.

The two leaders of the legislature arrived the president’s office at exactly 12p.m.

The meeting is still ongoing.

“Wear uniform or resign,” Senate tells Customs boss Hammed Ali

The Senate has asked the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali to resign if he cannot appear before it in his uniform.

The upper chamber during plenary last Thursday mandated Ali to appear before it in Customs uniform over the agency’s plan to impound vehicles that do not have customs duty from April.

“If retired Colonel Ali cannot respect the Customs service or he’s ashamed of wearing its uniform and rank of his position while appearing before peoples’ representatives, then he should honourably resign,” Senator Solomon Adeola representing APC, Lagos West, said in a statement issued on Sunday, March 12.

The Senator also explained that the Senate mandated Ali to wear his uniform in order to protect the organizational integrity and discipline in the institution.

At the Thursday plenary, Adeola had backed Senator Dino Melaye on the need for the Senate to curb Ali’s ‘high-handedness.’

He said the Customs boss is “carrying out the affairs of this agency as if he is the managing director or the commander-in-chief of this country.”

However, the Comptroller General, in response to the Senate order, said he would not wear his uniform to the National Assembly, noting that he was not appointed to wear the uniform.

Ali has been wearing mufti while carrying out official duties since his appointment.

In the statement, Senator Adeola expressed disappointment in Ali’s response, saying he expected him, as a retired army colonel, to know the importance of uniforms.

Adeola said: “Military and paramilitary uniforms inclusive of ranks are part of the symbol of legitimate authority conferred on the wearer to carry out certain duties on behalf of the government.

“Except in covert operations, an officer in these organizations operating without uniform could be taken to be performing illegal duty or worse, be taken as not representing the institution at all. And as stated on the floor of the Senate in plenary, the Comptroller General is rank that can only be worn on uniform and not on mufti.”

According to him, there is concern among officers and men of the Customs Service on the appointment of ‘outsider’ to head the agency as it is a morale killer, career progression inhibitor as well as damaging to the organizational growth of the service stressing that there may be need to amend the Nigerian Customs Act to restrict appointment of CG to career officers as it is done in the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Immigrations and the Nigerian Prisons Service.

“The APC-led Government of President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on the promise of change, adherence to rule of law and renunciation of impunity in any forms. The story we hear daily is the arrogance and high-handedness of the CG and name dropping of the President. We had it on good authority of his reluctance to be answerable to the Minister of Finance as stipulated in laws of the land.

We that were elected cannot look the other way while the people we represent are subjected to avoidable hardship orchestrated by an unelected appointee in a bid to cure the inefficiencies of the agency he leads. We are in a democracy,” the  Senator added.

The lawmaker stressed that the Senate supports Buhari’s anti-corruption drive as well as effort to increase revenue to get the nation out of recession but cautioned that no one should use personal agenda to drive public policy.

President Buhari notifies National Assembly he has resumed duty.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sent letter to parliament notifying lawmakers that he has resumed his duties, his spokesman said on Monday.

It follows the president’s return on Friday after medical leave in Britain that lasted nearly two months.

His spokesman Femi Adesina, in a message posted on Twitter, said Buhari would receive a briefing from the vice president “in a short while”.


Source: Reuters

Nigeria’s reserves hit $30 billion, making it the second time under Buhari.

For the second time since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in May 2015, the nation’s foreign reserves has hit the 30 billion dollar mark.

Data retrieved from the central bank’s website show that the reserves, which have experienced a steady day-on-day increase of between 2.30 and 2.75% since January 5, 2017, closed the trading week above $30 billion.

The gross amount in the reserves is $30 billion, of which $29.3 billion is liquid and about $703 thousand is blocked.

The last time the reserves crossed the $30 billion mark was in July 2015, and went as high as $31.63 billion in August before it began to decline.

The reserves were affected by low crude oil prices across the world, which put reduced the availabilty of foreign exchange and in turn, put pressure on the naira.

Back in 2015, CBN was reported to have funded bureau de change operators to support the local currency and bridge the gap between the official and black maket rates.

The rising reserves may be attributed to oil prices, which have soared as a result of agreed production cuts between OPEC and non-OPEC members.

Since February 2017, CBN has been providing foreign exchange to banks to meet the tution, travel and medical needs of customers, thereby reducing the pressure on the naira.

Despite large forex allocation to commercial banks, the reserves have retained its upward trend.


Source: The Cable

President Buhari speaks on his medical vacation, hints on further check ups.

President Muhammadu Buhari has released the following statement, explaining his London medical vacation, and indicating that he would make more travels to the British capital for further medical checks in the weeks ahead.

Read full statement below.

“I am deeply grateful to all Nigerians – Muslims and Christians alike who have prayed and are continuing to pray for my good health. This is a testimony that in spite of the hardship being experienced, Nigerians support the Government in its effort to tackle our country’s challenges.

“The best way for me to repay you all is to re-dedicate myself to serving you, protecting your interests and keeping your trust. I thank you very much.

“I am feeling much better now, there may, however, be need to have further follow-ups within some weeks. Rather than sending delegation upon delegation to Abuja to welcome me, may I appeal to all Nigerians to continue to pray for our country’s unity, progress and prosperity.

“I thank you very much and may God bless our Country!”

Muhammadu Buhari
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Buhari is back with new determination to fix Nigeria’s challenges – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says President Muhammadu Buhari has returned back to the country “with new vigour” to fix the challenges facing Nigerians.

Buhari returned to the country on Friday after a 49-day vacation in the United Kingdom.

After a meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said his deputy will continue running the affairs of the country while he continues his rest.

But in a statement, Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesperson of the APC, said Buhari was back to fulfill the party’s promises to Nigerians.

“The party believes that President Buhari is now well rested and has returned with new vigour and optimism to fix the challenges facing our people and fulfil the promises our party made to Nigerians during the 2015 elections,” the statement by Abdullahi read.

“We thank the president for following due process and properly handing over to his deputy, vice-president Yemi Osinbajo and thereby saving the country the needless controversies and crises that we experienced in the past.

“The Party also commend the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for competently holding fort on behalf of Mr. President and for his loyalty and commitment to the change agenda of our party.

“We thank Nigerians and all men and women of goodwill who have been praying for the health and safe return of the President and note that the government is fully committed to the Party’s manifesto of Change, couched on true transformation in every area of national life.”


Source: The Cable

PHOTOS: Jubilation in the villa as President Buhari returns after long vacation

There was a mild jubilation at the State House today on the arrival of President Buhari back into the country after a somewhat long medical vacation.

Family members, staff members, ministers and state governors were all on standby to welcome the President back into the villa.

In the pictures made available to Omojuwa.Com below, the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari and the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were seen in a jubilatory mood:







President Buhari receives Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in London.

The Archbishop of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on Thursday visited Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari at the Abuja House in London.

Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and the most senior bishop in the Church of England.

“Very pleased to welcome the Most Revd and Rt Hon @JustinWelby, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Abuja House this afternoon,” he said on Twitter.


Buhari left Nigeria in January for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. But there has been no definite answer from the presidency regarding the exact date of his expected return to the country after the expiration of the initial 10 days he sought to stay away.

But the president said in a statement on February 21 that there was no cause for worry and thanked Nigerians for the prayers.


Source: The Guardian

Soludo is correct… this govt is intolerant of criticisms – Oby Ezekwesili

Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, says the points raised by Chukwuma Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on the economy, are correct.

On Thursday, Soludo said President Muhammadu Buhari inherited a bad economy but made the situation worse.

Reacting, Laolu Akande, spokesman of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said the former CBN governor ought to have offered progressive ideas and join hands with the current administration.

“What would have been more patriotic is that people of goodwill will join several others working with us in this administration and offer progressive ideas and join hands with a government and administration that everyone knows are led by a President and Vice-President who are trustworthy and are people of unabashed honesty, and integrity,” Akande said in a statement.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Ezekwesili said if Soludo had given his views to economic managers of another country, they would have used it to improve the economy.

Accusing the federal government of intolerance, Ezekwesili said the government made things worse by labelling Soludo “unpatriotic.”

“The FG really should desist from the unhealthy habit of assuming ill-motive on the part of people who think differently. Soludo was correct. Soludo spoke sound economic policy and FG as usual responded in prose but worsened it by tarring him and a ‘few others’ as ‘unpatriotic,” She tweeted.

“It is extremely intolerant of the FG and its spokespersons to assume that differing views on how the economy is run is ‘unpatriotic’. In a democracy, the culture of healthy debates help to coalesce best ideas for solving society’s problems. First, the FG must learn to listen.

“Second, the FG must learn to respond to criticism in a way that elevates democratic public debates. Provide evidence based counter factual. Third, the FG must know that no amount of tagging those who disagree with policy thrusts will stop some voices. Voice is core to democracy.

“If Soludo gave that feedback to another country economic managers, they would most likely appreciate it and review for improvement. Do same.”

Sultan to lead prayer for Buhari, Southern Kaduna

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Jama’atu Nasirl Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, will, on Sunday, lead a special prayer session for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari and an end to the Southern Kaduna crisis.

Secretary-General of JNI Khalid Aliyu Abubakar and the Chairman, Kaduna State branch of Council of Imams and Ulama, Sheikh Baban Tune, addressed a news conference yesterday.

They said: “It is a religious duty for us to work together to seek Allah’s intervention to relive us of these ailing moments.

“Preparation is on and come Sunday, the prayer will hold in Kaduna. We pray it brings the state out of this quagmire bedeviling the country and may He grant our president good health to come back and continue steering the country’s ship.

“May Allah relieve the state of this cancer of violent conflicts and bring relive to the Northeast and other parts of the country where we have such skirmishes.”

Why I will never Criticise Buhari’s government – Reuben Abati

Ex-Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati, has said that he will never criticize President Muhammadu Buhari no matter the number of policy mistakes the federal government makes under his leadership.

Abati, who said this in Lagos during a chat with the media, maintained that President Buhari had good intentions for Nigeria and sincerely wants to leave good legacies behind him.
He, however, said that running the federal government of Nigeria was filled with difficulties that were amplified by the rising expectations of the people.

He said that critics should understand that all the rising expectations of the people may not be immediately met and some may not be met at all.

“But, since government is a continuum, progress will be made from one administration to another.

“I’m not going to sit here and criticize President Buhari’s government, because if you go into the arena, you will see it is difficult.

“I can say categorically that it is not easy to run a country, and even more difficult to run a government in Nigeria.

“Every President has good intentions that is one of the things I discovered working with politicians. Politicians want to do well. They want to be liked. They enjoy public attention and they like to win elections.

“So no president will get to the top in Nigeria or anywhere and his intention will be to offend the people or to be remembered negatively. Once they become president, the first thing they begin to think about is legacy. How will they be remembered? That is the highest office in the land there is nothing after that. So when they get there they would want to leave a legacy that they would be remembered for. I have seen that either by interacting with a seating president or a past president.

“And you see our democracy is evolving – you keep learning things. I think one of the early articles I wrote after I left office talks about the lessons we have been learning. Since 1999.and we will continue to learn these lessons in different direction.

“One of the issues with democracy in Nigeria is the issue of rising expectations. People have very high expectations. A government comes in after a while people will start criticizing the government. People immediately react to what they see. It is called optics in government.

“But at the end of the day, all of those expectations may not be immediately met. All of those expectations may not be met. But from one government to the other, we have been seeing that there is progress since 1999. That is something to be cheerful about”, he stated.

House of reps members argue over Buhari’s health

The health status of President Muhammadu Buhari created disagreement among some members of the house of representatives on Tuesday.

Lawmakers were debating a motion on an alleged harassment by ‘Kwankwasia’, a political group loyal to Rabiu Kwankwaso, a senator from Kano state.

The motion was sponsored by Aliyu Madaki, a lawmaker from Kano and a staunch supporter of Femi Gbajabiamila, during the period he contested the position of the speaker with Yakubu Dogara.

The legislators disagreed on the word “sickness” to describe the health status of Buhari.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, chief whip of the house, had told the lower legislative chamber that the country was already under tension owing to the absence of Buhar, and that the Kwankwasia group was creating more tension by allegedly inciting people against the leadership of the state.

While describing Madaki’s motion as “baseless”, Ado-Doguwa, who sounded like a supporter of Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano governor, said: “Our beloved President is sick abroad.

“These partisan activities are completely unnecessary and baseless. The police must do their work of protecting lives and property anywhere in the country.”

At this point, Gbajabiamila countered Ado-Doguwa, and told him to stop saying Bhari was “sick.”

“The president is not sick. At best, he can say that the President is on medical vacation. There is a difference between being sick and going on a medical vacation,” he said.

The lawmakers kept on arguing over the issue, until Dogara restored normalcy.

Buhari has been away from the country since January 19.

He was expected back in the country on February 6, but extended his leave indefinitely, citing medical reasons.

Osinbajo struggles to not outshine sluggish, bumbling Buhari – By Chinedu Ekeke

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is struggling not to be seen to outshine his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose sluggish approach to governance has rallied critics against him and frustrated supporters in his nearly two years of exercising presidential powers.

Buhari is currently in the United Kingdom attending to an undisclosed ailment, although his handlers insist the president is hale and hearty, only receiving a much-needed rest. But the president made an abrupt departure to the UK on January 19, even though a letter he transmitted to the National Assembly to that effect indicated he was going to commence a 10-day leave on January 23. He left before the date he indicated he would leave. The speed of his departure raised concerns about his health.

However, in the same letter, the president handed over to his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, a wonky professor of law who served as Attorney General in Lagos state for eight years. After the ten days the president had sought, he again wrote to the legislature, this time seeking an indefinite extension of his stay abroad.

Within the period the president has been away, Osinbajo carried on with the basic tasks of governance, tasks which have earned him accolades home and abroad. First, Osinbajo recognized the right of people to freely assemble for protests and acknowledged that on February 6th when Nigerians protested in different cities against the hardship brought upon them by the country’s current economic recession. He told protesters that the government heard them ‘loud and clear’.

Under Buhari’s watch, the Nigerian Military, described recently by Transparency International as ‘Human Rights Abusers’ killed scores of peaceful protesters seeking an Independent State of Biafra in the South East. Many public affairs commentators are of the view that if Buhari was around at the time of the February 6th protests, there might have been incidents of brutality from security agencies.

Osinbajo also sent the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen to the National Assembly for confirmation. Onnoghen was sworn in as acting CJN on November 10, 2016, by Buhari, even though the National Judicial Council (NJC) had long forwarded his name to the president as the next in line to replace then outgoing CJN Justice Mahmud Mohammed. The NJC recommendation was in line with tradition that the most senior justice of the Supreme Court at the time of the retirement of a sitting CJN takes over. The president did not forward Onnoghen’s name to the legislature. No reason was given for the action.

As his three months acting period was going to elapse, many citizens began to agitate about the delay in converting the judge to a substantive CJN. The presidency quickly packaged a line of defence, claiming security agencies were carrying out a background check on Onnoghen. But many understood the background check could have also been carried out soon after the NJC recommendation, while Justice Mohammed was still the CJN.

But that sluggishness is in tune with Buhari’s known modus operandi in governance. It took him nearly six months to assemble a cabinet after inauguration, even though he had two months between when he won the presidential election and when he took oath of office.

Currently, only three out of Nigeria’s 36 states have resident electoral commissioners (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yet Nigeria has just about two years to another general elections. Those vacant posts need to be filled with presidential appointments. That has not been done., and no reason has been given for leaving the posts vacant.

Exactly a year ago, Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi died in a ghastly accident on his way from Kaduna to Abuja. The president is yet to nominate a replacement for him. In Nigeria’s constitution, each state should produce a Federal Minister. Failure to replace Ocholi means Kogi state doesn’t have its fair share of representation at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The Vice President also undertook tours to the Niger-Delta states where he interacted with the people, speaking frankly to them about government’s desire to develop their communities and make life easier for them.  The visit to the region was in search of lasting peace to the perennial crisis of insurgency that has stalled development in that part. Some leaders of the region said after the VP’s well received visit, that such visitation was all the people of the region yearned for, just to be involved in their own affairs.

Prior to his medical vacation, President Buhari had remained holed up in Aso Villa, visiting only about five states in nearly two years. Part of the states he visited were Edo, for campaign and Ondo, also for campaign. APC, the president’s party, contested for the governorship seats in the two states. He however did visit 35 countries since his inauguration.

On the economic front, Vice President Osinbajo presided over the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting wherein it was agreed that $250 million be injected into the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was advised to adjust its forex policy. Subsequently, the apex bank came up with an action plan, and also released $371 million into the inter-bank market. Less than 48 hours after, the naira, which was exchanging for about N510 to a dollar crashed to between N400 and N450.

Since the appreciation of the Naira, Osinbajo’s stock has risen before Nigerians, and many of Buhari’s critics have publicly joked that the president remains abroad permanently since it seems his Vice is doing better.

But the Office of the Vice President which, initially, was out to promote the VP’s competence seems to have recoiled as it is increasingly appearing like more Nigerians prefer Osinbajo’s style of leadership. This became quite pronounced in a press statement sent out by Osinbajo’s Media Aide on Monday.

Unlike before when the headline would name the Vice President’s action, Laolu Akande’s Press Release headline shouted, “BUHARI PRESIDENCY ACTIVATES $20B OGIDIGBEN GAS INDUSTRIAL PROJECT”. In place of “Buhari Presidency”, FG (Federal Government) could have been apt for the headline. But observers read what the news release was designed to achieve: remind citizens that the presidency was still Buhari’s.

The statement went lengths to inform readers how President Buhari instructed the VP to embark on the Niger-Delta tours. It reads in part; “Before he went on vacation, President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the Vice President to embark on visits to oil-producing communities to demonstrate the resolve of this administration to the pursuit of a new vision for the Niger Delta.”

Yet critics have wondered why the President could not personally embark on the tour in nearly two years which he’s been on the saddle, if he considered the visitation important.

The Presidency has since struggled to spin the narrative that Buhari and Osinbajo are on a joint ticket. Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said what Nigerians are seeing under Osinbajo’s temporary leadership reflects the maturity of government policies implemented earlier. He blasted those he called ‘mischief makers’ for promoting divisive tendencies in the government. Ojudu said; “The same people who said we never had economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. “It is now that the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.

“There is nothing that has been done since the Vice-President started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative.

“The President called the Vice-President and said ‘I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta and meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits of Nigerians.’

“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of Mr. President not that of the Vice-President.

“These are mischief makers, those who do not wish this country well, who are always promoting crisis, who will not allow the people to benefit from this democracy. They are the ones promoting this kind of divisive tendencies” the presidential aide said.

But analysts say service delivery is idiosyncratic and dependent on the individual involved. In Osinbajo, the nation is witnessing a leader who identifies with everyone, including states politically opposed to his party, whereas in Buhari, the nation saw a leader who insisted on only addressing issues affecting constituencies he considers politically friendly.

I’ll not contest against Buhari in 2019 – Tinubu

Former Lagos governor, Ahmed Tinubu, has ruled out the possibility of contesting against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

Mr. Buhari, who is on extended sick leave, has not said he will seek a second term.

But Mr. Tinubu, a senior leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, and one of the party’s strongest backers, said he would never contest against the president, or support anyone who does, should he decide to seek re-election.

Mr. Tinubu was reacting to a ThisDay report suggesting he was preparing for a presidential run, and was set to dump a purported alliance with the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

A statement signed by Tunde Rahman, for the Tinubu Media Office on Tuesday, said the report was a “fantasy” seeking to place Mr. Tinubu at odds with President Buhari.

“Writing such a baseless report is a very foul and wrong thing to do,” the statement said.

“As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence,” the statement said.

Read Mr. Tinubu’s full statement below:

The front page story of the February 28 THISDAY newspaper alleging that Bola Tinubu is actively planning a presidential run is an example of bad fiction masquerading as professional journalism. The story is a manufactured tale weaved by its authors to try to create division where there is none. Those who wrote this fantasy seek to place Mr. Tinubu at odds with President Buhari. Writing such a baseless report is a very foul and wrong thing to do.

The story carried the headline “Tinubu Prepares for Presidential Run, Dumps PDP, Mega Party Alliance”. The headline is remarkable in the fact that every bit of it is utterly wrong.

First, Asiwaju Tinubu is not gearing up for a presidential run. So there will not be any doubt about this core matter, we shall state Tinubu’s position clearly and unequivocally so that even THISDAY reporters cannot misinterpret his position. As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence. Asiwaju Tinubu remains faithful to the mission of progressive reform and change that President Buhari, he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have started. Tinubu was instrumental in the formation and success of the APC. His toil and efforts helped establish this government. He is not one to tear down something he laboured so dutifully to build.

Instead of trying to convey the truth, the THISDAY report opted to gain false sensation by completely mocking the tenor of the brief banter Asiwaju Tinubu had with journalists at the inauguration of Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. When asked about future political office, Asiwaju said he could not discount that possibility if the nation called upon him for such service, provided, he emphasized, that all political conditions were appropriate; particularly the office in question would have to be vacant, even if it’s local government chairmanship. In our political lexicon, this means the office is not held by a member of the APC in good standing. We all know this.

Moreover, if you really listen to his words, Asiwaju did not mention any office or any time-frame. The conditions he mentioned may not become ripe for years to come and they might not pertain to the presidency. In effect, all Asiwaju said was the position that any political figure would hold.

As a politician, he cannot preclude the possibility of running for office in the future because no man knows what the future will hold. To translate this general statement of political reality into a tale that he is actively preparing for a 2019 presidential run is reckless in the extreme. For that newspaper reporters to have engaged in this great leap of counterfeit logic means they purposefully bowed to the pressure to create false headlines instead of following the ethics of their craft to follow the truth even if the truth is more pedestrian and less volatile than what the reporters would have liked to hear. They have turned themselves into newsmakers instead of remaining true to their calling of being neutral conveyors of events.

Asiwaju Tinubu has not held any planning meetings for any such presidential campaign and is not contemplating any such meetings. He has no present list of possible running mates because he has no present intention of running.

The headline also libels Asiwaju by asserting he was going to join the PDP. This is as shameless as a lie can be. Asiwaju is acknowledged to be the intellectual father and the driving force behind the APC. It makes no sense that he would abandon the party that he worked hard to build in order to enter the dilapidated building the PDP has become. Asiwaju worked for over 16 years to break the PDP yoke on the nation. After breaking that yoke, it is not in his nature to voluntarily place it back on our necks. Anyone who has followed his career, even his staunchest critics, knows Asiwaju for his partisan consistency. He is not a party hopper. He is loyal and sticks with the party to which he belongs. After fighting for so many years to elevate his party to the position of national leadership, he would not give that away in order to join with those who blame him for their currently bleak political circumstance.

We understand all too well the genesis of this false news report. For their own reasons, THISDAY has joined with those who seek to put Asiwaju Tinubu at odds with our President.

This scam will fail. Asiwaju supports and stands behind President Buhari. He wishes the president well and that he returns soon. Whether the president is here or away, he has the full loyalty of Asiwaju Tinubu. President Buhari can rest assured on this point: Asiwaju Tinubu will never contest against him nor will he support anyone who does.


Source: Premium Times

Call it what you like, budget-padding will continue – Gbajabiamila

Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that irrespective of the nomenclature given to the act of budget-padding, the National Assembly will continue to pad the budget for certain reasons.

Gbajabiamila, who initially claimed not to understand what budget-padding means, explained that lawmakers, even in the most advanced democracies of the world, pad the budget to be able to generate extra money for providing democracy dividends to their respective constituencies especially when their constituencies are not captured in the national budget.

The lawmaker disclosed this during an interview on Channels TV that was anchored by Seun Okinbaloye.

He said that it was legislative malpractice for a lawmaker to sit back and do nothing when a national budget that does not make provisions for his constituency is been appropriated.

The Majority Leader said that in some advanced countries, budget- padding is not only practised but called ‘earmarking’ or ‘pump-up legislation.’

He said that since the National Assembly holds the power to the national treasury, it will continue to scrutinize the level of budget-padding from the executive, stressing that it’s not a rubber stamp.

Gbajabiamila said that since suspended Rep. Abdulmumuni Jibrin decided to take the issue of legislative budget padding to the law enforcement agencies, it was proper for the House to sit back and let them do whatever they want to do, adding that there was no regret over suspension of Jibrin, if indeed he was a true whistle-blower like he claimed to be.

He said: “Abdulmumuni Jibrin did what he needed to do. He took the matter to the law enforcement agencies – the EFCC, the police and the rest of them. He has done his. The National Assembly does not agree with it. He put the ball in the court of the law enforcement agents. It is up to them to do whatever they want to do. I’m not aware of any padding. I don’t understand what that means.

“When it comes to money and I represent a particular constituency but I look at the budget and I don’t see my constituency represented in that budget and I know that throughout the year people of my constituency have needs – they want this; they want that. It is only me they can talk to. They are not going to talk to the President.

“I actually consider it as malpractice not padding, if during the budget circle I have opportunity to attract something to my constituency and I sit back and do nothing and go back in four years to seek for their mandate again when I promised them all these years that I will do this and do that. What do I go back and tell them? ‘Oh, I am not allowed to pad the budget.’

“If for instance, I represent a constituency and a budget is sent to National Assembly. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the National Assembly. By my representation, I should attract federal presence to my constituency.

“Even in the most advanced of democracies, you have heard of earmarks, you have heard of pumped-up legislation. It is the same thing. It is done everywhere in the world otherwise you are not worth the sit you seat on.

“Let me explain something to you about padding. That’s what Nigerians need to understand. It doesn’t mean that if you hear anything thing negative about the National Assembly and you are not objective. You will not understand what is going on.

“In terms of padding from the executive, there are checks and balances. That’s why we have always argued that the National Assembly is not a rubber stamp. It is trite that the legislature holds the power of the purse. We will go through this budget and look at it item for item; item by item. Whatever padding means, I don’t know.”




Call it what you like, budget-padding will continue – House Leader, Gbajabiamila

The ‘Nigeria prays for Buhari’ competition – By Reuben Abati

After the publication of my column last week, titled “I want to go to London… to see Buhari”, I received a lot of feedback from persons who were either amused or dead serious that they had been overlooked in my compilation of the list of persons who should go to London.

One fellow asked:

“Abati, you left out the Miyetti Allah and the cattle herders of Nigeria.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes, they too will like to go to London”

“With due respect, to go and herd cattle?”

“No, to visit the President and reassure him about the welfare of his cattle”

“My friend, are we talking about cattle or the health of Mr. President?”

“We are talking about everything and anything that can ensure the President’s speedy recover.”

“Speedy recovery!”

“Speedy recover!”

“My friend, it is speedy recovery, not speedy recover!”

“That is your problem. You spend too much time worrying about grammar and big words you don’t oftentimes know what to do. Look at you, you even left out local government chairmen. You left out an important organization like ALGON, the umbrella body of local government chairmen. You also did not insist that there should be a special resolution of the National Assembly in both chambers authorizing that a formal joint delegation should be sent to London to see the President, instead of the Senate President and the Speaker sneaking to London, behind every one else’s back.”

Candidly, I didn’t know what to say.  But just about then, I received a text message and a phone call.


“I don’t like that your article. An old man is ill, and you are mocking him with your pen.”

“No. You are misreading the article.  That is not my message. I understand that a President is a human being. No President has supernatural immunity. It is not unusual for any human being to have a medical challenge.”

“I didn’t get that message. You sounded like you were having fun, with your article dripping with cruel sarcasm. You have to be careful how you come across.  You were just busy throwing yabis up and down. Are you Fela?”

“Calm down. My point is that the President’s stay in London should not become an opportunity for eye service, which is the biggest enterprise in Nigeria. Before you know it now, everybody will start trooping to London to see the President, and that will create too many leaking buckets, a lot of waste. I tried to use the vehicle of humour and laughter to ridicule and stop that.”

“I have said my own. Maybe you should re-read the article. When they decide to do something about you, don’t just say your friends abandoned you. If you want to be a stand up comedian, make up your mind.  But this one that every time you carry your pen, you’ll start making jest of serious national matters in the name of writing, well, na you sabi oh.”

No writer should be placed under pressure to explain his own message.  Language is invariably embodied, iconic, symbolic, semiotic and hence open to interpretations relative to levels of perception.  So, I gave up on that conversation. But I was vindicated a few days ago. Another friend called, also anxious to discuss the most important subject in Nigeria today: President Buhari’s health and absence.

“Ore, ki la ri wi, ki l’on sele, ewo lewo, omo boy”


“How are you?”

“Have you noticed something?”


“Since you wrote that article on your plan to go to London, people have stopped going to London or they have stopped them. When last did you see anybody posing for a photo opportunity with Sai Baba in front of Abuja house?”

”They are probably still going. London is Nigeria’s new Holy land. It may well just be that they are no longer publicizing the visits.”

“If there is no publicity, then very few people will go. A handshake with the President shown to all Nigerians, while the President is on medical exile, can open many doors for many people.”

“Medical exile. I like that phrase.”

“Forget that. I am not here to discuss grammar.  I have a business idea that I think we can discuss.  What you don’t know is that some people are already exploiting the business opportunities involved in Sai Baba’s absence.”


“I pity you. The only thing you know is to speak and write English and lift your head to the clouds. You can’t smell business. The biggest business in Nigeria today is to be seen to be loyal to President Buhari.”

“I don’t quite get the business angle.”

“This is my proposal, then. We have to do something.  In this season of recession, you have to think creatively. That is the best way to beat recession. We also have to organize a solidarity rally or a prayer session for Buhari.”

“How is that a business?”

“Very strategic business”


“First things first. Do you think all the people who have been organizing rallies and prayer sessions are doing it for fun, or free of charge, or for love?”

“I am aware that they are doing it out of love for the President. They have all said they wish him well. They are praying for his good health and for the well-being of the nation.”

“Is that why there is so much competition to pray for Buhari, then?”

“What I am aware of is that prayer sessions have been held in parts of the country, in Kano by the Governor, and the Emir, in Kaduna by the state Governor and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), In Katsina state, where 50, 000 youths gathered in Daura under the umbrella of the Buhari Youth Congress for Change.  In Nasarawa, Muslim faithful from 13 local councils and 18 development units spent 4 hours praying in Lafia. Security was even provided by the Nigerian Army, the Police, the Civil Defence Corps and other government agencies.  The same thing happened in Kwara State, and Jigawa where the state chapter of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam also conducted prayers.”

“I am glad you have been following the trend.”

“You should trust me. Let me also tell you that all mosques across the North have been placed in a prayer mode, under strict instructions from the Sultan. Not even the private sector is left out: The Pyramid Radio Mosque in Kano held a prayer session for Buhari, attended by over 200 Muslim faithful.”

“And you still don’t see the business opportunity in all of this?”

“No. My only concern is that Nigeria is a secular state. The Constitution says so. When we begin to involve the state in prayer sessions, we are violating the law.”

“Leave that matter. The Constitution says we are a secular state. It does not say the people must not pray for their leaders.”

“Not quite so”

“I beg. Let’s talk business. See, I have a business proposal in my head. We can beat all these people to it. Instead of all these, small, small, prayers-for-Buhari that they are organizing, we can have a grand prayer rally, at every stadium in this country.  I know people who can link me up with all the big Pastors and Imams in Nigeria, and every week till President Buhari returns, we can have inter-denominational prayer rallies and vigils from one state to another.”

“But where is the business in that?”

“We will buy tickets, keep people in hotels, organize transportation from every local government to the state capital, we will put money in envelopes, pay for venues, provide refreshment, and we will ensure we surpass the prayers warriors of Nasarawa who prayed for only four hours. We will make our own 8 hours. We will also involve evangelical musicians and prayer warriors. These prayers don’t come cheap or free.”

“How? Where will the money come from?”

“I can’t give you all the details. You see this my head, it is full of business but to give you an idea, we will get the state governors and local chairmen involved, corporate Nigeria and SMEs will also be mobilized. They will bring money. They won’t want to be seen to be opposing prayer sessions for the President. They too will understand the business implications.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You still don’t get it? What don’t you get?  Can’t you see that even the People’s Democratic Party and all their Governors are also talking about holding prayer sessions for the President? Last year, when the President went for an ear infection vacation, the PDP – Governors, National Assembly members and other stakeholders held a prayer session. This year, with the President now on medical exile in London, the PDP is planning an even bigger prayer session from Delta state to Bayelsa to Ekiti. Fayose who once predicted that the President would fall sick is now a Buhari prayer warrior. Bet with me, the way this thing is going, you would wake up one day and Fayose will hold a prayer rally in Ado Ekiti. I know what I am talking about.”

“I don’t know. So, why are you telling me?”

“You know people. You can provide relevant contacts and we can get this thing done.”

“But what if you don’t make any money?”

“We can’t fail.  The business model in my head cannot fail. People are making gains already. Everything is not money. The President made a phone call to the Governor of Kano while a prayer session was going on at the Government House in Kano. Just 300 Imams and Islamic scholars oh, but the Governor made sure the phone call was broadcast live on all local radio stations in Kano state. Calculate the cost of that in business terms.  An ordinary phone call from President Buhari at this time is worth its weight in gold. Since that phone call to Governor Ganduje, other state Governors have been falling over themselves to organize prayer sessions.  The Governors of Katsina, Kebbi and Gombe have also received their own phone calls.”

“I am confused.”

“You will soon get it. The day we succeed in organizing our own prayer session, with over a million Nigerians, I will make sure President Buhari makes a direct, live telephone call to the stadium.  He will mention the names of Governors, CEOs, VIPs, media executives, and the whole thing will be on skype, whatsapp, snap chat, instagram, you tube, live streaming.  And the prayers will go straight to heaven, because we will make sure we invite only those pastors and imams who have been saying they have direct telephones to God.”

“There are such religious leaders in this country?”

“But you seem to have left out the diviners, the aborigines, the herbalists…”

“Sai Baba is a devout Muslim. We can’t bring such people to the public domain, but we’d find a way of providing for them. We’d give them cows, rams, goats, clothes, palm oil, kolanuts, alligator pepper… and they will pray and be happy in their underground covens.”

“And you, what will you do?”

“If Sai baba can just make that phone call, I will jump in the air and dance like Dekunle Ajokete.”

“But what if something goes wrong and the network connection fails. Or your phone runs out of battery.”

“A text message from Sai Baba will be just fine. If I get just that, Walahi, I will twerk publicly like Tiwa Savage.”

“Tiwa Savage? Does Mummy Jam Jam twerk also, with that her small 2G package? To twerk properly, you need 3G, 4G, or wifi Bakassi. What you are proposing sounds like Kwa-ra-pption.”

“Dey there. You think any judge will indict or convict anybody for praying for the President? Even the Judges may soon organize a prayer session for Buhari.”

“Let’s talk a bit more about this twerking business. “

“Get out. I am talking business; you are talking twerking! You have no business sense.”

Buhari not critically ill, not in hospital, says Lai Mohammed.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari is neither critically ill nor in life threatening situation and there is no cause for alarm.

The minister reiterated this position on Monday in Umuahia at the second town hall meeting for the South East and the launch of national reorientation campaign, “Change Begins With Me’’ in Abia.

The minister, who was asked to tell the country about the health condition of the president and whether there was need for a regular briefing on his health stressed that there was no reason for such briefings.

“If Mr president is in the hospital or is critically ill, as minister of information, I will give daily bulletin on his health. “Mr president is neither critically ill nor in the hospital and there is nothing life threatening about the checks he is going through,’’ he said.

Speaking on the state of the economy, the minister said that it was corruption that made the prices of commodities to go up. He noted that no economy in the world could survive the blind and reckless looting perpetrated by the previous administration.

“If one person was found with almost 10 million dollar in an uncompleted house and another with 136 million dollar in fake account and other with N7 billion how can the economy survives the kind of looting. “Naturally the price of commodities will go up.

“These are funds meant for development of infrastructure and for provision of services. “That is why you cannot do anything with the economy without first facing corruption squarely.

“But the good news is that the government is doing both together, as we are fighting corruption, we are also making sure that we are ensuring we are out of recession by investing heavily on infrastructure. Mohammed also pacified the audience who lamented the spate of attacks on farmers by the herdsmen.

“I want to make the appeal that the strength of Nigeria is in its diversity and unity. “We have been living together peacefully before and we shall continue to live together peacefully,’’ he said.

Speaking in same vein, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to the farmers who had suffered from the ugly trend.

“We in the Ministry of Agriculture are mostly affected in this crisis and frankly we feel deeply disturbed about it.

“Like the two traditional rulers had said, you asked people to go and farm and there is this problem of herdsmen tormenting them and their cattle eating up their crops.

“It is affecting not only the farmers but the food that they are supposed to produce and sell to the society. “As a farmer, nothing can be more upsetting to wake up and find out that my farm has been destroyed.

They have done it to me and I know how it badly affected me but we will bring the challenge to an end very soon,’’ he said. Ogbeh said the Federal Government is training 3000 agro rangers who will protect farms in different places.


Source: The Guardian

FG evacuates 41 Nigerian girls from Mali

The Federal Government on Tuesday evacuated 41 Nigerian girls from Bamako, Mali, through the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Air Force, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

The 41 girls, according to the government, are victims of human trafficking to Europe but ended up in Mali.

They arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport , Lagos aboard a Hercules C-130 military transport aircraft at about 7. 55pm.

The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the girls were trapped in Mali.

She said NAF was asked to bring them back after the government received a distress call to help evacuate the girls.

Dabiri-Erewa said their return home was part of the directives from President Muhammadu Buhari, who insisted that Nigerians stranded anywhere in the world, should be assisted to return home .

She said many Nigerians were still stranded in Mali and would be brought back home and urged the girls to make the best use of their lives as they had no business living in Mali.

According to Dabiri-Erewa, prior to their evacuation, NAPTIP officials had travelled to Mali for documentation and other logistics to ease the return of the girls.

She said, “NAPTIP will rehabilitate them and we have commenced profiling of the girls. We call on Non-Governmental Organisations to join us in tackling this problem.

“They were deceived into embarking on the journey. We will ensure we train them to the state of proficiency in different vocations, after which we trace their parents and counsel them.”

She said many of the girls came back with stories of woes, adding that they were evacuated alongside six suspected traffickers.

“We have arrested six suspects and have handed them over to security agencies for prosecution,” she added.

Some of the girls complained of not being allowed to take their belongings as they were literally brought home empty handed.

Developing agric sector vital — Osinbajo

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has insisted that developing the agricultural sector of the country is a good starting point in the quest for not only diversification of the hitherto mono-cultural economy of the country, but also guaranteeing rapid industrialisation.

Professor Osinbajo, who spoke yesterday at Kuru, Jos, during the inauguration of the Senior Executive Course, SEC, 39 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, noted that this year theme, Science, Technology and Innovation for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied industries in Nigeria, had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari because of his belief that the agriculture sector provides enormous potentials for quick industrialisation.

Represented by Plateau State Deputy Governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden, he stated that the theme could not have come at a better time, as the present administration was committed to revamping the agricultural sector through the application of science, technology and innovation to the development of agriculture and agro allied industries.

According him, “Nigeria remains an agrarian economy, with over 70 percent of the informal sector jobs created from this sector. It also has other multiplier effects.”

That could drive rapid economic recovery and growth in Nigeria in the shortest possible time. “We must radically transform agriculture to improve its contribution to GDP as well as promote sustainable food production in the country. When science, technology and innovation become the key drivers of agricultural sector, food security will not only guarantee sufficiency for our teeming population, but also industrial development, which would enhance employment opportunities for youths as well as take a substantial number out of poverty.”

Comparing Osinbajo and Buhari is ‘mischievous’ – Presidency

Comparing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari, and concluding that Mr. Osinbajo is doing better as he acts on behalf of the president who travelled on medical leave, is mischievous, the presidency has said.

Mr. Buhari left Nigeria for the United Kingdom on January 19 for what was initially scheduled to be a 10-day medical leave, but later extended his stay indefinitely.

He transferred power to Mr. Osinbajo before traveling, plugging a potential power vacuum and constitutional crisis once witnessed when late President Umaru Yar’Adua travelled for treatment in 2009.

As acting president, Mr. Osinbajo has amongst other things, supervised the implementation of a new foreign exchange policy that has managed to strengthen a rapidly sliding naira.

The government has also announced a reduction in attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in recent weeks, cuts that follow Mr. Osinbajo’s tour of the Niger Delta and talks with community leaders.

Many Nigerians view those decisions as swift and firm, and have compared them with President Buhari’s often unhurried response to needling national problems.

But the president’s political adviser, Babafemi Ojudu, on Monday condemned the assessment, and said it was done by “mischief makers” whose intention is to cause disharmony in the presidency.

“These are mischief makers, those who do not wish this country well, who are always promoting crisis, who will not allow the people to benefit from this democracy,” Mr. Ojudu told journalists. “They are the ones promoting this kind? of divisive tendencies.”

Mr. Ojudu said all steps taken by Mr. Osinbajo were with the approval of Mr. Buhari.

“There is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative.

“The President called the Vice-President and said ‘I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta and meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits of Nigerians.

“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession.

“The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of Mr. President not that of the Vice-President.”

On the foreign exchange policy, Mr. Ojudu said claims of superior leadership capacity in favour of Mr. Osinbajo are touted by “The same people who said we never had economic team, no policy, nothing”.

“It is now that the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person,” he said.

Also, a lawmaker representing Kankia/Ingawa/Kusada Federal Constituency, Katsina State, Ahmad kaita, told PREMIUM TIMES that “baseless, ill-motivated” comparison of Messrs. Buhari and Osinbajo was capable of affecting Nigeria’s unity.

“It is one presidency; and whatever anybody does in this administration is to President Buhari’s credit,” said Mr. Kaita.

“Meanwhile, all we now see that means progress takes root from the time before the President travelled, with the two leaders working cordially for the good of the country based on the manifesto of our party, APC.”


Source: Premium Times

Ogidigben gas project activated under Buhari – Presidency

With the renewed interactive engagements of the Federal Government with oil-producing communities in several states in the Niger Delta region, the Presidency on Monday said that there is now a process to put in place a gas industrial park valued at about $20 billion through a Public-Private Partnership model.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, said that the project tagged the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, GRIP, Ogidigben, envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries, will cover 2700 hectares with fertilizer, methanol, petrochemicals, & aluminium plants located in the park that has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the Federal Government.

The statement said that the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo spoke during a meeting with international developers and investors of the project at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the Buhari administration is committed to the development of the Niger Delta, and the importance of the project is underlined by the presidential attention it is attracting.

“The presidency is very interested,” he said.

Before going on vacation, President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the Vice President to embark on visits to oil-producing communities to demonstrate the resolve of the administration to the pursuit of a new vision for the Niger Delta.

It reads “The building of an industrial gas hub in Ogidigben, Delta State was one of the feedbacks that was received during the visit to the state.

“As a follow-up on the Niger Delta trips, Acting President Osinbajo, alongside the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Group Managing Director; Dr. Maikanti Baru and other top government and NNPC officials met today with a group of international investors and developers put together under a consortium by Dubai-based firm, AGMC.

“The consortium is made up of Fortune 500 companies like the GSE&C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several others global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle-East.

“Under the plan presented today by the consortium to the Acting President, about $20B would be invested to develop the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, and generating 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the process.

“The industrial park would be a cluster for several industries in one location benefiting from an efficient, cost-competitive and abundant supply of natural gas, proximity to a deep sea port and centralized utilities, & services such as uninterrupted power, world class telecommunications and processed water.

“The park, originally conceived by NNPC, is located about 60km from Warri, and is about 1km away from the operational base of Chevron Nigeria Limited. It will be connected to over 18 trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves in fields such as Odidi, Okan, Forcados, located within a 50km radius. It is equally planned that the park will be connected to Nigeria’s most dominant gas pipeline network-ELPS, enabling supply of gas to and from the park.” it added

The Acting President said “we already have a Steering Committee in place, chaired by the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and that shows the level of our commitment. We are unwavering.

“We take the project very seriously and glad to see you are committed and ready to make several other commitments. This is a process that we intend to see happen.”

In his own remarks, Dr. Kachikwu expressed confidence that the GRIP will bring the much needed succor to the people of the Niger Delta, and the oil-producing states.

Speaking earlier the leader of the group of investors and developers, Sheik Mohammed Bayo reiterated the commitment of the consortium, adding also that the project is important to solving the Niger Delta crisis.


Let’s stop disturbing God, my successors are resposible for Nigeria’s economic woes – Obasanjo

“I banned importation of toothpick in 1977, because it was the most stupid thing to import when we can produce it here. But, about 40 years after, one of my successors, I won’t mention his name, unmanned toothpick. Then, I put on my Babanriga and went to Abuja to express my shock about the policy, but to my greatest surprise, the President told me, he signed the document unbanning toothpick without reading it.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday took a swipe at his successors, blaming them for the nation’s economic woes. He said God was not responsible for the problems hindering the development of Nigeria.

Obasanjo spoke while chairing the 38th Kaduna International Trade Fair Seminar with the theme: “Promoting Public Private Partnership as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development”.

The ex-President said “that Nigeria is where it is today is a question of leadership and not God”.

According to him, “somebody came to me and said we need to pray to God and I said, for what? He said, so that God can do for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. And I said, no, let us stop troubling God, because God has done all we need for us, we only need to play our own part.
“But, if we must pray to God, our prayer should be that God should not take away all He has given us as a nation.

“God, in His mercy, has given us all the needed resources, both human and natural, but we have not been able to put them together and manage them effectively. The countries that have developed and are performing better are not better than Nigeria in terms of resources.

“One problem that must be corrected is the problem of leadership. This is because our leaders lack focus, commitment, continuity and sometimes proper knowledge about economic and development issues, hence we have not been able to achieve meaningful result.

“Another problem is that, we take one step forward and two backward. Nigerian leaders must be tough and ready to bite the bullet, because Nigeria cannot have it easy. Until we get the right leadership, the problem will continue”, he said.

Registering his displeasure over inconsistency in policies, Obasanjo said: “I banned importation of toothpick in 1977, because it was the most stupid thing to import when we can produce it here. But, about 40 years after, one of my successors, I won’t mention his name, unmanned toothpick. Then, I put on my Babanriga and went to Abuja to express my shock about the policy, but to my greatest surprise, the President told me, he signed the document unbanning toothpick without reading it.

“Another thing is that, he came in saying he will generate additional 30,000 megawatts to the 3,500 megawatts we left behind, and I told him, don’t trouble yourself, if you can add 3,000 megawatts to the one we left behind, you will receive awards. But, to my greatest shock, he couldn’t add one megawatt before leaving office”, he narrated.

Speaking on the public-private partnership, the former President said lack of synergy in public-private sectors was responsible for the set back in the nation’s economy and growth.

He said: “The public sector perceives the private sector as a profit making industry that reaps where it does not sow, but in actual fact, they are two legs that when brought together can accelerate development in all sectors of the economy.

“Public and private sectors must work together to accelerate growth and development. When we were in office, we privatised the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and sold to Dangote and partners, but the government that succeeded me revoked it and that is why till today, NNPC cannot work optimally.

“But, today the same Dangote that was denied ownership of NNPC is building a refinery that can produce in excess of what NNPC can produce and what Nigeria can consume. So, it means he will even export.”

In his lecture, former Minister of Finance Shamdudeen Usman said Nigeria was facing backwardness in economic growth and development because of the lack of continuity in governance and poor will by political leaders to complete projects started by their predecessors.
According to him, “delay in budgetary approval process and also padding of the budget contribute to the slow acceleration of growth and development experienced in the nation.

“Short term policies affected PPP projects across the country due to inconsistencies in government. Though several governments gave high support to PPP, only President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration recorded about 90 per cent completion of PPP projects and they include the Garki hospital in Abuja, Lagos International Airport, port terminals, amongst others.

“However, the Jonathan administration took a huge step in adpoting a 30-year National Integrated Infrastructure master plan, which targets core infrastructure in the country, but nothing much has been achieved so far,” he said.

Nigerians Should Focus On Governance Rather Than Buhari’s Absence – Adetokunbo Adedeji

The position of the president is sacrosanct to any government in any democracy therefore, it is that position we should be looking at, rather than looking at the person occupying the position.

This was the view of Management Consultant, Adetokunbo Adedeji, as he called on Nigerians to focus on what is important, which is governance, rather than President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence.

He believes Nigerians are just “making a mountain out of a molehill as governance is not about the individual but the position”.

According to him, the nation is guided by a constitution and the provision in the constitution allows that if the person who is occupying a position is not available or fit to continue, someone else who is next to him should be in that position and continue to run government.


He further stated that much of the “unnecessary noise is because there are vested interests who are probably using this opportunity to position themselves in government such that whatever it is that they are hoping to achieve with the absence of the president at this point, they can achieve it or they run against the tide of events that is already going on”.

Mr Adedeji then recalled a statement by the wife of the president, Mrs Aisha Buhari, where she allegedly mentioned that there is a cabal that is running government.

“How are we sure that the mismanagement and the mal-positioning of the information about the health of the president is not being handled by this cabal,” he questioned.

Also addressing the issue, a member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammad Yakubu, said: “I think Mr President has done what is right and what he should do constitutionally.

“He has handed over power to the acting president properly and the acting president is doing excellently well.

“I think at this point in time, all we need to do is to appeal to Nigerians to show some understanding.

“All this noise we are hearing about the president’s health is as a result of the fact that those who helped in bringing this government to power, a good number of them – about 85% of them are still not properly appreciated”.


Mr Yakubu added that it is at the discretion of the president to disclose the status of his health.

“It is at his discretion to do that. It is not necessary because he has properly transmitted power.

President Buhari is currently on vacation in London, and while rumours about whether he was still alive or not had been doused, many still criticise his purported inability to address Nigerians openly about the state of his health.

He had however written to the senate for the second time, requesting to extend his leave which ought to have lasted for only 10 days.

Recently, he spoke to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and thanked him for “holding out against mischief makers”, while he has been away.

Buhari needs more time, it took Obama seven years to pull US out of recession – Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, has asked Nigerians to give President Muhammadu Buhari more time.

In an interview on Sunday Politics, a programme on Channels Television, the lawmaker said President Barack Obama did not pull the US out of recession until a year to the end of his eight-year tenure.

Gbajabiamila said people must understand “where we are coming from” before lamenting over the slow pace of the country’s redemption from the current economic crisis.

“If you look at it objectively, there is a problem and I quite agree with you. But we must understand where we are coming from. Where were we two years ago?” he asked

“We were at the bottom. If there is anything lower than the bottom, that was where we were.

“Let me use the United States as an example. When Obama came in, he inherited a recession not as bad as this, and that’s a country that functions.

“The first year, second, third, fourth, fifth year, into the second term, he didn’t recover – sixth year, it was perhaps a year to the end of his second term, that the United States started getting out of its recession.

“But we are asking that something should be done in a country that was in rot, far worse than the US was, in 18 months.

“Even if you are a magician, its more complicated than that. The president means well for this country. He has advisers who are good. I think we should give him a little more time.”

Gbajabiamila said the situation of things in Nigeria is better than that of neighbouring African countries.

“And don’t forget that Nigeria is not isolated. If you look across board to all the other policing countries, you see that we are even doing far better than most of them,” he said.

“But that is not to say that we are happy with where we are. Slow? Yes. But, slow and steady wins the race.”

He added that it was not proper to blame Buhari over the late appointment of ministers, saying: “As of today, even Donald Trump has not appointed his full cabinet”.

When asked about some of the achievements of the current administration, he reeled out, “Treasury single account (TSA), a robust reflated economy in the last two budgets, budget performance, corruption.

“Prior to now budget performance was at a 30%. Even the budget of Jonathan that he inherited, he performed about sixty-seven percent. Right now, budget is at well over 50% performance. It hasn’t been done in Nigeria. He has injected, he has inflated stuff into the economy.”

Gbajabiamila encouraged Nigerians to shun pessimism and be hopeful, “as things would definitely get better”.


Buhari’s Absence: APC National Chairman assures citizens of stable leadership

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr John Oyegun, says Nigeria is still under a stable leadership under the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, as he believes strongly in both what the president and the party stands for in terms of effective leadership.

Mr Oyegun was speaking when a delegation of the national leadership of the party paid a condolence visit to Okwuosa family in Oraifite, Anambra state on Saturday.

He, further assured Nigerians that the temporary absence of the president did not affect the conduct of government business.

According to him, the president had already built a firm foundation for national leadership and everything was still in perfect shape for the good of the entire nation, even as citizens look forward for his return in good health.

He said, “Well the president is there, he may not be physically with us right now. the nation is on course, no question about that because we are lucky. We have a very cerebral acting president and vice president.

“We have a man who believes strongly in what the president stands for and what the party stands for and we have an administration that is strong, firm on the ground and very much in charge.

“The temporary absence of Mr President does not affect the conduct of government business.

“Of course we will like to have him here, of course we will love to have him in good shape, strong, as the leader of the team, but we thank God he has built a very strong and firm foundation of national leadership, we miss him but business is going on.”

Lack of openness about Buhari’s condition has been costly – By Emmanuel Akinwotu

From the beginning, and now a month after President Muhamadu Buhari left Nigeria on a medical trip to London, the presidency and his administration have refused to disclose what the state of his current condition is. There has been a constant dismissal of serious questions, treated as overblown or unnecessary, while the President’s stay in London has now twice been extended.

President Buhari left Nigeria on the day he sent a letter to the National Assembly informing that he would be away for ten days from the following Monday. According to the Presidency’s statement, it was for routine medical tests, yet, the trip stated as routine came with lack of advanced notice.

On the day, he was meant to return, the presidency announced that that his trip would be extended in order for President Buhari to receive the results of those tests. By leaving this announcement until the last day, they gave the wild rumours about Buhari-that he had died, that he was critically ill- a reason to go into overdrive.

The trip has since been extended indefinitely without a date of return. To the Presidency’s credit, the transition of responsibilities to the Vice-President has been as seamless as the transition from Late President Umaru Yar’adua to then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, ought to have been.

But the lack of transparency shows there are still lessons from 2009 Nigerian leaders haven’t learned from. By not being open about what the specific condition of the president is, and by dismissing legitimate concerns, they are slowly undermining their own credibility at home and abroad.

On the BBC World Service, the President’s Special Media Advisor claimed last week that Buhari was not ill. He stated that the President was entitled to the same yearly holiday allocation as ordinary employees and claimed the President would return in a matter of days. A series of government officials have, in trying to downplay concerns on the President’s health, only made the government seem less and less trust-worthy. This is happening at a time of worsening economic situation in the country, which is eroding the trust and support this government had at the beginning of their term.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, along with numerous other top government and APC officials have now visited the President on multiple occasions. The Senate President told the press after his visit that the President was “his normal funny self”. But Nigerians can legitimately suspect that this is not a normal situation. Visits by multiple government figures, in person, to a President who is “not ill”, who is “hale and hearty” and “only on vacation”, does not seem normal. That the president has spoken to President Donald Trump and not spoken directly to Nigerians only adds to the confusion, further undermining trust in their claims. It has also been widely reported that he called the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje some days to join in the prayers being offered by some clerics and supporters in the state house.

Much of the media in Nigeria is a soundboard for unedited government press releases, too often published without enough scrutiny. In this environment, the public perception of a government that has sought to tackle corruption and promised to be a change from past administrations is even more important.

President Buhari’s trip has been extended, officially because of a need for more rest. But if as it seems that the President who is 74 years old is ill, Nigerians deserve to know the full extent of his health condition. The people of Nigeria elected him to serve them, they deserve to know the status of their President.

Nigeria needs credible policies before 2019 elections – IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Nigeria’s window for bold reforms is gradually closing, and the country needs coherent and credible policies before 2019 elections.

“On Nigeria, it is currently facing a challenging outlook. As we have said before, the authorities have initiated some measures, but more remains to be done,” Gerry Rice, IMF director of communications, said at a press conference in Washington.

“Urgency is needed in implementing a coherent and credible package of monetary, fiscal and structural policies as the window for bold reforms is closing as the 2019 elections are approaching fast.”

Rice confirmed that Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), or any other government official, has not approached the IMF for a loan.

He said the fund is however providing technical assistance for Nigeria and is willing and ready to help, if the need arises.

“It is true the Nigerian authorities have not approached the IMF for a programme, as such, there are no discussion, negotiations going on, regarding a programme with Nigeria,” he adds.

“As we have said before, the fund continues to render technical support and we stand ready to help, should the country make a request for financial assistance”.

The IMF said it would conclude its “Article IV Consultations” with Nigeria in March 2017, and would give an update on the global economy at its Spring meeting, scheduled for April, 2017in Washington.

Financial Times: Osinbajo delivering good governance in Buhari’s absence

The Financial Times of London has observed governance in Nigeria, since President Muhammadu Buhari left the country over 33 days ago, and concludes that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, has seized Buhari’s absence to deliver what Nigerians have been expecting for two years.

In an article written by Maggie Fick, its west African correspondent, the newspaper said “President Muhammadu Buhari’s five-week absence from Nigeria has triggered political jockeying within his ruling party as concerns grow about his health and capacity to lead”.

“His office tried to reassure Nigerians this week that “there is no cause for worry”, but it also said the 74-year-old, who has been receiving treatment in London, would need a longer period of “rest” than initially planned.

“And not even his own ministers know how ill Mr Buhari is, says senior officials,” Fick wrote.

The newspaper goes on to explain the zoning formula in Nigeria, quoting a senior party member as saying “whether Mr Osinbajo then becomes the APC’s nominee in 2019 is ‘anybody’s guess’”

“Still, some in government note that Mr Osinbajo has used the president’s absence to push ahead with the sort of action Nigerians have been hoping for since electing Mr Buhari two years ago,” FT wrote.

“‘People are happier with the performance and style of the vice-president — he’s more decisive, active and charismatic,’ said a senior government official.”

“The country has been in a freezer for the past year,” FT quotes the head of a multinational company in Lagos, to have said.

“He [Osinbajo] listens, understands, and inspires trust.”


Source: The Cable

It’s insane to talk about succession when Buhari is dealing with his health – Shettima

Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, has said it is only insanity that can motivate anyone to be talking about succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari at a time when he is addressing his health issues.

Reacting to a purported call made to this effect by Danlami Kubo, the deputy speaker of the Borno house of assembly, Shettima said, “It would amount to moral insanity for anyone to be discussing succession of President Buhari at this time.”

Isa Gusau, his spokesperson, in a statement said, “I received a Google alert of the story credited to a lawmaker in Borno State over issue of succession. Governor Kashim Shettima was deeply angered by that report and he has tried reaching the lawmaker to clarify if he granted that interview or he was misrepresented.

“In the meantime, Governor Shettima feels it would amount to moral insanity for any Nigerian to be discussing issues of succession at a time a very popular, highly experienced and capable sitting president is managing his health.

“We have a sitting President, a popular one that we are all proud of for working more than anyone would have done in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency which is our number one problem in our state, the north-east and the Northern region.

“How can anyone in his right thinking be talking about succession when a cherished President is dealing with his health? What has gone wrong with our moral values?

“Has politics taken over our sanity? What is most precious to me is to have Boko Haram brought to an end and I don’t think anyone would have done better than what President Buhari is doing for us. This call does not represent the slightest of my thoughts.

The Borno governor further noted that nobody in Nigeria’s history nobody had successfully aspired to be the country’s president.

He said most Presidents were invited to contest without actually nursing any aspiration.

“Only a mad man blindly aspires to be Nigeria’s President if history is anything to go by. From 1979 to date, nobody with aspiration for the presidency has achieved it,” Shettima said.

“President Shagari was invited to contest without aspiration in 1979; President Obasanjo was invited to contest without aspiration in 1999; President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was invited to contest without aspiration in 2007; President Jonathan who eventually succeeded

“Yar’Adua was also invited to become Vice President without aspiration. Even President Buhari with his electrifying popularity didn’t win the presidency in his 2003, 2007 and 2011 aspirations until in 2015 when he was invited to contest.

“This is the complexity of Nigeria’s politics and any person with the slightest wisdom must learn from history and face his business of the day.

The Borno governor added that President Buhari will be fine and successfully re-elected, noting that his “greatest wish is that the person succeeding me as the next governor of Borno State doesn’t inherit the Boko Haram crisis like I inherited the crisis in 2011 and my other wish is that Borno is rebuilt before whoever is taking over from me at Allah’s appointed time.”

“I am not the ungrateful and not the blindly ambitious type and I thank Allah for his grace and pray that I succeed in positively reversing the Borno story,” he said.

Another PDP lawmaker, Emmanuel Ukoetu defects to APC

Barely 24 hours after Senator Andy Uba formally defected to the All progressives Congress, APC, another House of Representatives member, Emmanuel Ukoetu (Akwa Ibom) has decamped from the PDP to joined the ruling party.

Hon, Ukoetu cited irreconcilable differences between the factions of Ali Modu Sheriff ad the Makarfi team as the reason for his defection.




Femi Adesina Appeals To Nigerians To Be Patient Over Buhari’s Absence.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has appealed to Nigerians to be more patient.

He said that the President will be back once he gets clearance from his doctors in the United Kingdom.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Adesina did not specify when the President would return, but added that “Only the President and his doctors know when he will be returning”.

On Tuesday, the President through a press statement said he needed more time to rest, before returning back to the country.

“President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.

“During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating that the President stays longer than originally planned.”

“Thanks to millions of Nigerians who have been sending good wishes and praying for his health and well-being in mosques and Churches throughout the country.

“The President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern”.

The president left the country in January 2017, on an annual leave and a medical vacation which he wrote to the National Assembly of his intentions to extend.

On February 5, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly informing them of his desire to extend his leave, in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“The President had planned to return to Abuja but was advised to complete the test cycle before returning.

“The notice has since been dispatched to the Senate President, and Speaker, House of Representatives.

“Mr. President expresses his sincere gratitude to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and kind wishes,” Adesina stated.


Source: Channels TV

News circulating that President Buhari bribed Justice Ademola is false – Presidency

The Presidency on Wednesday said there was no truth in the reports that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kola Awodein, gave Justice Niyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, currently standing trial for alleged corruption, N500,000.00 at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari during the certificate issue affecting the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, recalled that Buhari challenged the elections of 2003, 2007, and 2011, up to the Supreme Court and was never named as trying to compromise any judge.

He said any attempt to sully that reputation was bound to fail.

The presidential spokesman said even Awodein himself had denied the allegation.

“Nigerians know that President Buhari challenged the elections of 2003, 2007, and 2011, up to the Supreme Court, and not once was he named as trying to compromise any Judge, though some of them were his schoolmates, or contemporary, at one time or the other.

“It is in keeping with the President’s time-tested reputation as a man of truth and integrity. Any attempt to sully that reputation is bound to fail, inexorably,” he said.

Adesina then reproduced Awodein’s statement on the matter as follows, “I am constrained to make in absolute good faith, in good conscience and in the interest of justice and fair play the following very short statement on account of the distorted news story currently being peddled as affecting the person of Mr President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and my good and very noble self.

“The very simple and plain facts are as follows:
“I have known as a friend and for well over 35 years Mr Justice Niyi Ademola, a notorious fact known to the majority of lawyers who have practised especially in Lagos for over that same period more or less and also to so many other professionals of other disciplines and other prominent and not so prominent Nigerians.

“It is a fact that the sum of money mentioned was personally paid by me as a friend to Mr. Justice Ademola as a personal gift, as our custom well recognises and demands, on the occasion of his daughter’s High Society wedding solemnized at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, on the 9th of May 2015, which I attended in person.

“I was fully convinced then, as I remain today, that I could do no less as a friend of longstanding to fairly reasonably support him on that memorable occasion of his daughter’s wedding.
“Anyone and everyone who knows me would readily and unquestionably testify that I am and have always been a man of impeccable integrity on and off the Courts and that such a record speaks always loudly for itself.

“I would conclude by stating categorically and without any equivocation that ANY link whatsoever with Mr. President, or any court case or cases, of my personal gift from my personal resources delivered to Justice Niyi Ademola by myself on that occasion or any suggestion whatsoever that it was anything but such a gift or that it ever came from Mr President or at his instance or that I was acting, under any circumstances, on his behalf is most malicious, utterly ridiculous and in very very poor and revolting taste and most undeserving of any further comments.”


Source: The Punch

My husband became President because he never gave up – Aisha Buhari

The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has advised Nigerians to emulate her husband by never giving up on their dreams and aspirations.

She said her husband became Nigeria’s president in 2015 due to his doggedness, persistence and compassion for the masses.

She said this in Abeokuta on Tuesday in Abeokuta during the launch of a book titled, “Buhari vs Yar’Adua: Facing the future,” written by a Special Assistant on Media to the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Opeyemi Soyombo.

The First Lady was represented by the wife of the Ogun State governor, Dr Olufunso Amosun.

She commended the efforts of the author, who documented the legal struggles of her husband in the 2007 election petition challenging the victory of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Despite Buhari’s legal struggles which saw him moving to Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court trying to prove that he won the 2007 presidential election, he lost the case. But he never gave up his presidential ambition.

Mrs Buhari noted that the importance of record keeping or documentation could not be over-emphasised because without it history would be distorted.

She said there were lots of lessons to learn from the life of President Buhari who contested the presidential election consecutively four times before he eventually won in 2015.

She said, “There are lots of lessons to learn from the life of President Muhammadu Buhari, most especially his doggedness and compassion for the masses. President Buhari contested presidential election consecutively four times before he eventually won in 2015.
“His victory has paid off considering his passion for helping the masses and most importantly the successes recorded in the anti-corruption war of his government.

“I commend the efforts of the writer for documenting the Presidential Election suit between the candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and President Umaru Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2007.

“This shows that the author has been following with keen interest elections held in the country and the petitions arising from them. In most recent shared views and writings on human and societal development, the investment made on other people gives tremendous yields; thus the facts and authenticity of the book are invaluable.”

The chairman of the occasion, who’s a retired judge of the Ogun State High Court, Justice Ademola Bakre, said Nigerians must all work for a better future of Nigeria.

While he lamented the rot in the country’s judiciary, he warned against interference and undue pressure in the affairs of judges.

He said, “I want to appeal that Nigerians should allow the judges to do their job, people should stop putting unnecessary pressure on them.”
Speaking with journalists after the launch, the author said he was motivated to write the 179-page book, which was divided into seven chapters, to forestall election rigging in the future in Nigeria.

Soyombo noted that Buhari was short-changed in the 2007 presidential election, adding that the book would “ensure that we have credible, free and fair elections and to ensure that the judiciary on no account, either by design or default, would endorse electoral robbery.”

The book was reviewed by Mr Kayode Oyede of the Department of Public Private Law, Faculty of Law, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos.

Onnoghen’s confirmation imminent as Osinbajo writes the Senate.

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday read the letter from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo urging the confirmation of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) at the plenary.

Onnoghen has been in office in acting capacity since November last year and his tenure elapsed on February 10, 2017. The National Judicial Council (NJC), which had nominated Onnoghen for the position, re-nominated him on February 9, a day before the expiration of his three-month tenure.

The acting president’s letter reads in part: “Following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), I hereby notify you of the appointment of the Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen CFR as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Also, Saraki yesterday read the letter from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the extension of his vacation in the U.K.

Saraki told senators he met President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently on vacation in London, in “good health,” adding that the president will be back with them in the country very soon.

“I am happy to report that we met the President in good spirit, in good health, chatty as usual and convey his best wishes and hopes to be back very soon.”

Meanwhile, Acting President Osinbajo will launch Sovereign Green Bonds at the conference for investors and capital markets operators at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos on Thursday.

A statement made available to The Guardian indicated that the conference is organised by the Federal Ministry Environment in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office.

The Minister of Environment, Amina J. Mohammed, was quoted as saying that Green Bonds Project present a huge opportunity to discuss next step in the diversification of the economy and it will bring together institutional investors, banking finance and young social entrepreneurs.


Source: The Guardian

President Buhari May Be Staying In The UK Longer Than Expected – Presidency

Don’t expect President Muhammadu Buhari from the United Kingdom anytime soon, this is according to the Presidency.

In an update on President Buhari’s health, the Presidency wrote to Nigerians in a press statement, that the President says he may be staying longer than expected.

“President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.

“During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating that the President stays longer than originally planned.”

He however “Thanks millions of Nigerians who have been sending good wishes and praying for his health and well-being in mosques and Churches throughout the country.

“The President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern”.

The president left the country in January 2017, on a annual leave and a medical vacation which he wrote to the National Assembly of his intentions to extend.

Its now about 32 days since he left Nigeria.


Source: Channels TV

President Buhari orders return of Egbesu sword to Niger Delta

As the Federal Government intensifies effort to appease the restive Niger Delta region to stabilise oil production, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate return of the golden sword seized by the Nigerian Army last year to Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South Local Government of Delta State.

The golden sword described as the symbol of authority of the Gbaramatu, was reportedly confiscated by soldiers from the 4th Brigade, Benin City, in May last year while searching for ex-militant leader, Government Ekpomukpolo, alias Tompolo, in the heat of oil facility bombings in the area. In addition to the return of the sword, the Presidency has also resolved to mobilize funds for the immediate takeoff of the Maritime University of Nigeria, which has been marred by controversies and lack of funding.

A top Presidency source revealed that President Buhari ordered the search, recovery and immediate return of the golden sword which is a symbol of the ‘Egbesu Shrine’, to Gbaramatu Kingdom with immediate effect. The official, who pleaded anonymity, said the new move by the Presidency to appease the Niger Delta was in line with the resolve by the government to bring about lasting peace to the area and end the destruction of economic facilities that is currently hurting the nation.

The source confirmed that it was in a bid to appease the Niger Delta and forge ahead that President Buhari despatched his deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, to meet with key leaders of the Niger Delta in recent weeks, even in his absence on vacation and medical attention. The official described Osinbajo’s ongoing visits to the Niger Delta as a ‘diplomatic offensive’ aimed at resolving the crisis in the region.

It was laernt that as part of the Niger Delta rapprochement, the Presidency has also decided to play down on the use of open military tactics against Niger Delta militants in favour of dialogue with identified groups, one of them being the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF. The official said: “President Buhari instructed the Vice President to go and work out details of series of tours and visits to all the states in the country that have oil-producing communities and ensure that all interests are brought to the table, regardless of parties or any other differing factors or cleavages.

“The meetings also resolved that the Amnesty Programme which the President had already instructed should be maintained with even greater budgetary funding and this must be clearly communicated to the communities by the Vice President during the meetings. “Besides, the President also asked the Vice President to ensure that during the visits, the communities should be made to understand that the Federal Government is now interested in action and would do its own part. The Vice President was also asked to secure from the communities a buy-in of peace and collaboration from state governments and the oil companies in particular.

“To show his determination and commitment to create a new understanding and atmosphere between the government and the communities, the President in fact, gave an order after the Vice President’s visit to Gbaramatu that an investigation be conducted to determine what happened during an alleged military raid of Gbaramatu community where the kingdom’s Golden Sword was allegedly taken away.

“The presidential order also directed that a search for the golden sword of the kingdom, allegedly confisticated, if this is found to be so, should be recovered and once located, promptly released to the kingdom with an apology.” It will be recalled that Chief Government Ekpemupolo had threatened to take steps to recover the missing golden sword, which is also referred to as the traditional symbol of authority of Gbaramatu Kingdom.



I want to go to London to see Buhari – By Reuben Abati

When 15 million plus Nigerians voted for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 General elections, their expectation was that he would be available to serve them 24/7/365, and that those who fielded him as their candidate had done their home work to avoid what is curiously becoming the Katsina problem in Nigerian politics.  Katsina! But we have now found ourselves in a situation whereby our President is now in London, for more than one month sir, ma, and we are here, and we have an acting President, who according to everybody, including the extremists and the mischievous, and the politically partisan, is beginning to try his best, with his admirers, now praying for the worst.

For that reason alone, we have an emotionally, politically and spiritually divided country on our hands. Don’t mind what they tell you, and don’t deceive yourself, the Nigerian Presidency is in turmoil. It is not our wish. It is not what the voters asked for. But that is how democracy works. You cannot predict the results that democracy produces.  Not even in America. Or Russia.

Now that we have found ourselves in this situation, anyway – an absentee President trying to remain relevant and an acting President struggling to put up appearances, and struggling harder not to be seen to be ambitious (sorry, Prof. I was your student but I have something to say sir, I don’t mean any harm – truth be told), where should the Nigerian people stand? For the past one month, we have all been trapped in a post-truth situation, pretending as if all is normal. We should stop pretending.

Those who supported and are supporting the APC that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power and office cannot talk. They cannot talk due to embarrassment and shame. They are busy putting up a face. But for how long can they do this? The Nigerian media is also on its knees, looking so pitiable, with the exception of a few blogs, newspapers that we can’t even trust, professional media consultants who are in disarray, a few bloggers and then some gentlemen: Pa Ikhide, Farooq Kperogi, Sonala Olumhense, Omoyele Sowore, Pius Adesanmi and Okey Ndibe who have since been specially illuminated as they journeyed to Damascus.

I will return to this subject some other day. But I think right now, we should begin to take the subject of the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari more seriously. Bukola Saraki, our Senate President has visited him in London, twice, within two weeks. I don’t think we should leave this business of visiting the President to party chieftains, the executive and the Federal Legislature.  If care is not taken, Senator Saraki may be tempted to visit the President again next week. And the week after and he may even be tempted to travel with all the members of the National Assembly. There must be equity in this matter.

Figure it out as follows: we all know that President Buhari is now in London and he is the man Nigerians chose as their President in 2015.  We cannot forsake him. He is in London on working leave, for more than one month now, and we don’t know when that leave will end. We have been told it will end soon. Later. One day. Whenever. We are not God. Let the leave end when it will.  But we, the people, have a duty to stand by our President. This is the point of this article. We are Africans. We have traditions. We respect elders. We don’t joke with old age. The time has come, right now, for Nigerians to behave like Africans.

We should therefore, not leave this business of visiting to Senator Busola Saraki alone. Party chieftains have visited Mr. President.  The leadership of the National Assembly has also gone to London to be part of President Buhari’s working leave. I think Vice-President-Acting-President Yemi Osinbajo should also visit his boss, this week, next week, or ASAP. Henceforth, he should be in London at least once a week.  Let us stop pretending that the President is not in charge. He is.  If Aso Villa is now in London, let us make it work. The Acting President and the real President need quality face time.  If the acting President must go to London everyday, let him do so, but don’t let us run Nigeria by telephone or DHL Am I making sense? I am not talking about common sense. I mean real sense. So, do I make any sense at all?

After the Acting President’s visit, all former Presidents should also start going to London to see the President. Those former Presidents are not as harmless as they pretend to be. They are projected to the public as advisers but they are more than that: they all left something in Aso Villa that makes them eternally powerful.  It is like leaving your DNA in a woman’s body. They should be allowed or perhaps encouraged to visit President Buhari while he is on working leave.   I think our Baba in Abeokuta, Ota and Ibogun should be the first to visit. That may negate the order of seniority, but trust the Ebora Owu to return from London with front-page news! After him, the others can start visiting and probably advise on the possibility of holding a Council of State  meeting in London.  As it were, the Nigerian Constitution does not insist that the Council of State Meeting must be held inside Nigeria. The main subject of that first historic, diaspora, Council of State Meeting should be phrased by OBJ in his own unique way: “Momodu: are you well or sick?”

There is something called the separation of powers. I don’t want to disrespect mi’lords but I think they too should go to London.  The National Judicial Council (NJC) should put together a high-powered delegation of judges from every part of the country, from all divisions, and level, to proceed post-haste to London to visit, no, to confer with President Buhari on matters of judicial interest to the nation.  But Sirs, don’t go there and talk about the welfare of judges, or the non-payment of your entitlements – if you try that, well, I won’t be in a position to tell you what awaits you on your return. You know mi’lords, as well as I do, that the law in Nigeria is now being made to look truly like an ass!

After the judges, okay may be the Nigerian Bar Association should also send a delegation, but I don’t trust many of our lawyers. They think they know the law, and they could go to London and say things that will disrupt the President’s working leave. To make that impossible, members of the NBA should be booked on an Arik flight to London, please. But if they get there, fine. The next delegation should be that of Permanent Secretaries. These ones should spend more than a week in London with the President. In fact, they can stay with him till he returns. If they also have medical issues, they should use the opportunity to ask for tests, with the condition that they must return immediately the President leaves London, notwithstanding the status of their own medical tests!

Once the Permanent Secretaries have been fully accommodated in London, the Ministers, those who were once dismissed by their own employer as “noise-makers”, and who have proven to be no better, should also visit London.  They can go ahead and make as much noise as they wish in London and even enjoy the benefit of a full Federal Executive Council Meeting.  I suspect that this will be a particularly productive FEC meeting. If the people in the Foreign Affairs Ministry know what they are doing, however, they would arrange ahead of that meeting in London, a special meeting with Theresa May, Prime Minister of Great Britain, followed by a dinner with Her Majesty the Queen of England, with a proviso, please, please, please, that nobody should bring up the issue of Biafra or Southern Kaduna after shaking the Queen’s hand, and there should be a strict guarantee that President Buhari will be accompanied by his extremely beautiful wife, Aisha, and he will not, meeting the Queen, no matter how excited, make the mistake of referring to “za oza room”.

Stop laughing, my friend; this is how you people cause problems for innocent writers.  What I am now trying to add having made all these points above, is that the Governors’ Forum should also visit President Buhari in London. The Governors have already signified their intention to do so and that seems to be fine with the Nigerian public.  The Governors should therefore appoint representatives who should proceed to London. When they meet with the President, they should hold a special prayer session with three prayer points: one, that President Buhari will not work for another person to come and eat; two: that the demons of Aso Rock will spare and forgive him and his family; three: that President Buhari will return to Nigeria with his two feet. The Governor to lead the prayer should be Peter Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.

If he starts sounding as he has been sounding in recent times, Nasir el-Rufai should be asked to take the microphone from him. And if Nasir sounds like he is playing politics, as he has been doing, Adams Oshiomhole who will like to be there anyway, as a Governor ex-officio, should be given the microphone and asked to pray for the President as best as he can or as best as Trotsky could.

I have left out some people. In the past month, some Imams and ulamas and concerned relatives have been reported in the media, holding prayer sessions for a hale and hearty President who is just in London to enjoy the weather and do some quality check-ups, private and public. These prayer warriors have prayed and prayed in Abuja, Daura, Borno and everywhere else. The matter is so serious that nobody should be surprised if Rochas Okorocha or James Ibori organizes a prayer session for Muhammadu Buhari. This is the biggest business in Nigeria at this moment.

I think, therefore, that we should also encourage the ulamas and the imams to visit. Let them go to London and pray for their President. We have been told they have been sending prayers through skype, whatsapp and the air, the same channels that GSM service providers in Nigeria now want to block. Let the imams go to London then and let the verses of the Holy Quoran rain down. It will be unfair not to allow Christian leaders to go to London too. They are also anxious to go to London. Pastor Tunde Bakare, my beloved, secondary school senior should lead that team. His job should be to screen out any Pastor with Biafra, or Southern Kaduna or pro-PDP blood in him or her.  I mean Pastors like Reno Omokri, Ebun Adegboruwa…. you get what I am saying? The prayer should be commissioned!

Traditional rulers, bloggers, public intellectuals, trolls, and journalists! Oh, I almost forgot. I think we should also be invited to London to have tea with the President. I volunteer to lead that team but if I am considered unpopular, since they say I am not one of them, let @ikhide, @akaebube, or @dejiadeyanju, @realFFK, or @YeleSowore, be the team leader. But please, make sure we have on that list, @lindaikeji, @SDimokoKORKUS, @emepretty1, @bellanaija, @omojuwa, @ChiomaChuka, @AbangMercy, @toyeenb, @MrStanleyNwabia and… and… My friend, STFU!  I am not planning a special episode of #bbnaija. I just want to go to London and see …my President.

2017 Budget: We will give maximum support to President Buhari – Dogara

Nigerian lawmakers will give maximum support to President Muhammadu Buhari and ensure that his government is not humiliated in the ongoing deliberations over the 2017 proposed budget, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said Monday.

Mr. Dogara said the National Assembly took this decision because most of its members and Mr. Buhari all belong to the same political party, the All Progressives Congress.

“I must say that the APC as the party with majority in the National Assembly will not allow Mr. President and the APC as the ruling political party to be humiliated or defeated on its budget priorities as we are all part of the same government,” Mr. Dogara said.

He made the comments when he addressed a round-table on the N7.29 trillion budget proposal organised by governors on the platform of the APC in Abuja Monday morning.

The Speaker also noted that lawmakers across political aisles believe that constituency matters are very crucial to their activities as lawmakers.

“It is however, important to stress that on budget matters members of the National Assembly tend to be very sensitive to their constituency representational functions, irrespective of party,” Mr. Dogara said in an apparent reference to the controversial culture of earmarking funds for lawmakers to carry out projects in their respective constituency.

The practice has come under heavy criticism in recent years, and the call for its abolition peaked in the wake of the budget padding scandal that broke out in 2016.

Critics say the so-called constituency projects line items mostly serve as a conduit for lawmakers to syphon public funds into their pockets because they are often poorly executed or, in most cases, never carried out.

Mr. Dogara updated the governors on the progress so far made by the National Assembly in the ongoing debates about the 2017 budget and promised better transparency and accountability in its passage and implementation.

Guardian’s reporter threatened with arrest over proposed interview with Buhari

Security staff at the Abuja House in London yesterday called in policemen to arrest a correspondent of The Guardian who was on the premises to see President Muhammadu Buhari and possibly interview him.

When the correspondent told a member of staff at the Abuja House, the official residence of the Nigerian High commissioner to the United Kingdom, yesterday afternoon that he had come to see the president, he replied: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s not here.”

At 2:50 p.m., when a black Mercedes jeep arrived, the occupant sitting by the driver rolled down the glass and asked the The Guardian correspondent, “why are you here?” “When I told him that l was a reporter with The Guardian and l had come to see if the president was there and to interview him, he looked quite irritated and replied angrily: ‘he’s not here, you can’t see anybody here.’ “

Prior to that, the security staff threatened the reporter with the police when he called at the Kensington residence to interview President Buhari about his continued stay in the UK.

A few minutes after The Guardian arrived at the Abuja House, just after 1:00 p.m., wanting to speak to the high commissioner, the reporter was directed to go to the Embassy- Nigerian House at Northumberland Avenue. “Somebody should be there,” he was told.

Around 1:20 p.m., when a man and a teenage-looking girl wearing glasses pressed the buzzer, a security officer appeared to open the gate for the duo. When asked:”Is that the daughter of the president?” – judging by her resemblance of the First Lady- the security officer replied: “I don’t know.” He then reiterated that the reporter should go to the office at Northumberland Avenue.

When The Guardian pressed the buzzer about five minutes later, the security man sounded angry and threatened to call the police even when the reporter disclosed his identity and said he had come to speak to the president or any member of staff of the residence. “You should realise this is a private place and I will call the police,” he said. When he was immediately corrected and told that the reporter was standing outside in a public place, he then said:” l won’t speak to you again.”

But around 1:40 p.m., when two guests arrived, the reporter shook hand with one of them and asked, “have you come to see Mr. President?” He replied cheerfully, saying “yes”, but he didn’t enter the compound. He left about 15 minutes later.

Another security officer came out shortly after and told the reporter to move away from the main gate. “Excuse me, you can’t just stand here,” he said.

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was also at Abuja House, a strong indication that Buhari may actually be there. At 5:13p.m., Saraki emerged from the house in a black suit, accompanied by a male aide.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has accused the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of politicising the health status of President Buhari by their visitation to London which he described as “make-belief and too much of eye-service.”

Fayose said he had “temporarily suspended” his criticism of the president because of his health challenges. The governor spoke on a live programme tagged, ‘Meet Your Governor’ aired on the state-owned Ekiti Television and Radio Stations on Saturday.

Fayose who prayed for sound health for the president said his desire for a better Nigeria accounted for why he had been criticising the Federal Government when things were not done the right way.

“I don’t have any problem with the president; the only problem I have is with his handlers. They will say something today and say another ?tomorrow. Anybody can fall sick,” he said.?

Besides, the Anglican Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West, Rt. Revd. James Olusola Odedeji yesterday cautioned Nigerians against wishing the president dead but rather pray for his health and wellbeing so that he could succeed in delivering his electoral promises to the nation.

Odedeji spoke at the induction and installation of Venerable Adegoke Oludare Agara as the Dean of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral held at the church in Ikeja, Lagos.

He said: “It is unfortunate in this country that Nigerians do hate their leaders. The rate at which people are willing to wish the president of the country dead is alarming. What are we going to gain if he dies?’’


Source: Guardian

No definite time for Buhari’s return to Nigeria – Spokesperson

Despite increasing agitations over President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence since January 19, 2017, when he left the country on a medical vacation to the United Kingdom (UK), there is no definite answer from the presidency on when he is expected back

President Buhari was expected back on the February 6, 2017 after an initial 10-day medical vacation, but that was not to be.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had in a statement at the expiration of the 10 days confirmed ?that the President would be extending his stay in the UK to “complete the test circle before returning.”

Recall that President Buhari was expected to resume from his vacation on Monday, February 6, 2017.

However, he wrote to the National Assembly informing the parliament of his desire to extend his leave in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.

With the Presidency failing to come up with a categorical statement on when President Buhari would return to the country, the development has continued to fuel agitations, with many Nigerians demanding hourly bulletin on President Buhari’s status, as was the case when former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was indisposed.

PDP lawmakers criticise non-inclusion of their member to meet Buhari in London

Some opposition lawmakers on Thursday questioned the non-inclusion of one of them in the National Assembly delegation that recently visited President Muhammadu Buhari.

The lawmakers, including House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, suggested there was a decision to exclude members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the visit even though one of them – Ike Ekweremadu – is the Deputy Senate President.

Notwithstanding, the PDP lawmakers —exactly a half dozen in total— who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in separate telephone interviews ,Thursday evening, said they were happy to learn from the media that the visit was productive and the president was in good health.

The reactions came a day after Senate President Bukola Saraki travelled to the United Kingdom with Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, to see Mr. Buhari in London.

The trio arrived in London around Wednesday evening and met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Buhari left Nigeria for London on annual vacation January 19, with a promise to return on February 6. He also noted that he would see his doctors while there and handed over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

But on February 5th, a day before he was due to return, the president sent another letter to the National Assembly, informing lawmakers of his intention to extend the trip until his doctors complete ‘a cycle’ of medical examination on him.

The prolonged absence, which came amidst raging economic crisis, got many Nigerians worried.

Although he had telephone conversations spread over several days with individuals, including Messrs. Saraki and  Dogara as well U.S. President Donald Trump, startling rumours about his health persisted.

But the visit by the National Assembly leaders on Wednesday helped convince many Nigerians that the president was not dead or bedridden.

Mr. Saraki declared in a Twitter update shortly after seeing the president that there was “no cause for alarm.”

Mr. Dogara reported Mr. Buhari was “fit as a fiddle.”

But some PDP lawmakers said Messrs. Saraki and Dogara should have included at least one member of the opposition on the trip.

Even though the lawmakers did not allege foul play or cover up during the visit, they raised concerns about absence of one of them.

Mr. Ogor likened the visit to a similar one paid by APC leaders, Bola Tinubu and Bisi Akande.

“You’re aware that the first visit was done by Tinubu and Akande,” Mr. Ogor told PREMIUM TIMES. “There was no PDP member that participated in that visit, so you can clearly see that it is more of a political party thing.”

Mr. Ogor, from Delta State, said he got wind of the visit early enough and was elated to see the president in good spirit.

“I have a hint of the visit much earlier. I saw the president smiling. I saw the Senate President smiling. I saw the Speaker smiling. And when I saw that picture, I also smiled.

“We thank God for his live. We wish him well,” Mr. Ogor said.

But he insisted that those who made the journey did so in their own personal capacity because there was no consensus amongst lawmakers delegating any group of persons for the journey.

“But I am convinced that that visit was purely based on political colouration. So, it is totally inconsequential because we were not invited.

“It is at the discretion of the president to invite whoever he wants to see him.

“It is not a National Assembly delegation. It is like a private visit to see the president. First, you know we’re not in session. Neither was there any resolution of the House or that of the Senate to go and see the president,” he said.

Mr. Ogor’s position was echoed by another lawmaker from Kogi State.

“I did not hear about this visit before,” the lawmaker said. “I read it last night on PREMIUM TIMES and I was initially shocked, but then said to myself: ‘no need to be surprised about anything these people do.”

“Since we weren’t told ahead, I think it’s very clear that they weren’t making the trip on our behalf,” the PDP lawmaker, who sought anonymity so as not to be seen criticising the House leadership, said. “And they’ve clearly expressed that in the manner they picked those who went on the trip.”

A source in Mr. Ekweremadu’s office claimed the Deputy Senate President was not informed about the trip.

“They didn’t invite the Deputy Senate President on the trip,” the source said, refusing to be quoted. “They bypassed him down to the Senate Leader for reasons we still don’t know.”

The source’s claim could not be independently verified.

The source said Mr. Ekweremadu just returned from a trip abroad but would have followed them to London if invited.

“Yes, he just returned from abroad, but that could not have hindered him from being part of the delegation if they had extended him the courtesy,” he said. “If only to make him be the representative of the southern part of the country instead of all the northern politicians that made the trip.”

The House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, and his Senate counterpart, Sabi Abdullahi, did not respond to requests for comments Thursday evening.

The spokespersons for Messrs. Saraki and Dogara also declined comments.

But Nicholas Ossai, a PDP lawmaker from Delta State, said he had no reservations about the makeup of the delegation.

Mr. Ossai said even though adding a PDP member would have been good, it would not make much difference since the delegates were duly elected by all lawmakers to represent the National Assembly as an institution.

“We believe in the Speaker and the Senate President,” Mr. Ossai said. “We have confidence in them that they’ll tell us the true position of things.”

“We didn’t elect them as APC Speaker or Senate President of the APC. We elected them on the basis that we have confidence in them and we believe in them to tell us the truth.”

“This is a leadership of complete explanation and transparency. Probably taking an opposition along would have been a boost, but, all the same, we believe in our leadership,” Mr. Ossai said.

“I appreciate your prayers”, President Buhari tells Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed appreciation to Nigerians for the prayers offered on his behalf.

Since January 19 when he went on vacation in the UK, different individuals and groups have been praying for him.

On Friday, 350 mosques offered special prayers for the nation’s number one citizen.

Responding to the goodwill after receiving national assembly leaders at Abuja House, London, on Wednesday, Buhari said he appreciated Christians and Muslims alike for the interest in his health.

He also thanked Senate President Bukola Saraki; Ahmad Lawan, senate majority leader; and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, for their visit.

“I thanked them for visiting. I’m also grateful to Nigerians, Christians and Muslims alike, for their prayers and kind wishes for my health,” he wrote on Twitter.


Buhari was scheduled to return to the country on February 5, but he extended his leave indefinitely, saying his doctor had advised him to wait and get results of some tests.

Many Nigerian politicians have visited Buhari in London.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has been in charge of the country since Buhari left.

White House Releases Details Of Trump Phone Conversation With Buhari.

Speculations over whether President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump of the United State actually had a phone conversation has been laid to rest with a publication of the details of their conversation.

The White House released the summarised details of the Monday’s phone conversation between both presidents on Wednesday.

The readout was published on the official website of the US government,, putting an end to speculations on the call which many Nigerian critics of Buhari claimed did not take place.

Details  of the readout:

President Donald J. Trump spoke this week with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to discuss the strong cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities.  President Trump underscored the importance the United States places on its relationship with Nigeria, and he expressed interest in working with President Buhari to expand the strong partnership.  The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide.  President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.  President Trump thanked President Buhari for the leadership he has exercised in the region and emphasized the importance of a strong, secure, and prosperous Nigeria that continues to lead in the region and in international forums. 

“President Buhari Is Healthy And In Good Spirit”, Says Saraki. [Pictures]

Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is still on vacation in London is healthy and good spirit.

Saraki, in a statement personally signed by him stated this after a meeting with the president at the Abuja House in London.

He visited the president in company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other members of the leadership of the National Assembly including Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan.

“Delighted to see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits”, Saraki said.

“The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself.”

“The president’s absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate. And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!”, Saraki added.


Saraki, Dogara Travel To Meet Buhari In London.

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara have travelled to London to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

A source at the National Assembly confirmed this to Channels Television.

The Senate President and the Speaker left for London on Wednesday morning, to meet with President Buhari who has extended his vacation indefinitely to attend to his health.

Buhari Extends Return 

The President had on February 5,2017 written to the National Assembly informing of his desire to extend his leave in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.

This was according to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“The President had planned to return to Abuja this (Sunday) evening, but was advised to complete the test cycle before returning.

“The notice has since been dispatched to the Senate President, and Speaker, House of Representatives.

“Mr. President expresses his sincere gratitude to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and kind wishes,” Adesina stated.

President Muhammadu Buhari embarked on a 10-day vacation on Monday January 23 and was billed to return to work on Monday February 6, 2017.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has since been performing his duties as Acting President.

Valentine, Baba’s vacation and other stories – By Reuben Abati

“Happy Valentine’s day, my friend”
“You don’t wish someone Happy Valentine’s day with ordinary mouth, my friend”
“Are you a woman? The gifts are for women, not male friends.”
“You see, yourself? You are a bush man just like one of my friends who got a text message from his girlfriend, and he started asking what is the meaning of bae and boo. The girl used those words and our friend was lost.”
“Bae. Boo. I have no idea either.”
“Of course, you are old school. You better stay away from young girls.”
“I don’t carry girls. I am a responsible man. So, I am not into this Valentine thing.”
“What will I do with you, this man? Valentine’s Day is not only for boys and girls. It is a day of love. You can show love to everyone around you. It is a day when you show that you care.”
“This whole thing about Valentine’s day is just a business idea. You know even schools collect money from their pupils to celebrate Valentine Day and the kids are asked to come to school, wear red, and bring gifts for any member of the opposite sex that they admire.”
“Primary schools? “
“Yes. Those who profit from Valentine’s Day are beginning to catch them young in order to grow a future market. Virtually every business outfit is into this madness. But if you ask me, I think every day should be Valentine’s Day in Nigeria. We should love one another. We should learn to be each other’s brother’s keeper.”
“Keep preaching. The only thing that bothers me about Valentine’s Day is a certain report I read somewhere indicating that last year, February 14, one particular condom-making company recorded its highest sales worldwide on that particular day in Nigeria!”
“That is precisely the problem. It is all about sex, no longer love. I hear if some women don’t get a gift or some form of special attention on Valentine Day, they would feel as if they are washed up. I once settled a quarrel between a friend and his wife, because he forgot it was Valentine’s Day and he came home very late. The wife refused to talk to him for weeks.”
“On a day like this, every woman will be monitoring her man.”
“Well, may be because we have reduced the idea of love to nothing but sex and waywardness, and that is probably why they have had to ban Valentine’s Day in Pakistan.”
“Ban Valentine’s Day?”
“Banned. The Islamabad High Court ruled this week that there should be no celebration of Valentine’s Day in public. The Pakistani media has also been banned from reporting any Valentine Day activity.”
“What kind of court of law is that? Of all important matters to worry about in Pakistan.”
“Obviously the matter of Valentine’s Day is very important in Pakistan because even the President of the country has declared that Valentine’s Day is not a Muslim tradition, but a Western one.”
“Oh I see. It is a Sharia thing.”
“Not necessarily. What of the situation in Japan where a group of men, the Kakuhido or the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women Find Unattractive have staged a public protest calling on the Government of Japan to ban Valentine’s Day.”
“Are there some men that women find unattractive?”
“What kind of men are those ones?”
“They obviously exist in Japan. And they claim that public smooching on Valentine’s Day is a form of terrorism, oppressive love capitalism and they feel marginalized, completely discriminated against because women find them unattractive.”
“They actually sound as if they will take the law into their hands. But definitely there are no such unattractive men in Nigeria. I have seen poor, ugly, impossible Nigerian men with some of the prettiest women around and you are forced to ask: what exactly did she see in him?”
“Nigerian men are better lovers than the Japanese. Even oyinbo women don’t joke with our men. That was how one Kenyan athlete came here for the Lagos City Marathon last week and she didn’t want to return to Kenya. She said she would remain here if she could find a Nigerian man to marry her because Nigerian men are wonderful.”
“Oo-o-shey! Our brothers! They must have shown her some good, good loving…”
“But talking seriously, you know, I think love is all we need in this country. Our leaders should love the people and the people should love their leaders and we would be a much better country.”
“I hear Baba sends his love.”
“Which Baba?”
“Our Baba in London”
“I won’t join you to comment on that subject. We are all human beings. We can have medical issues at any time.”
“Who is talking about medical issues? What we know is that Baba is on working leave in London and he used the opportunity to do some medical tests”
“Working leave”
“I was in fact going to say that those tests should have been conducted in Nigeria here. It is sad if Nigerian doctors can’t conduct ordinary tests.”
“If you are President of Nigeria, you’d go and hand over yourself to Nigerian doctors, you will? The same doctors who are always complaining about allowances and threatening to go on strike. These same doctors, many of whom are card-carrying members of the opposition, MASSOB and Niger Delta Avengers. It’s alright.”
“Medical tourism is a threat to the Nigerian economy. We have good doctors here. Nigerian doctors are among the best in the world.”
“I know somebody who wanted to buy Nigerian medical practice. Whatever it was they diagnosed after carrying out tests was completely wrong. When he eventually went to London, he was told he had been on wrong medication for three years! So when you become President, Governor or Senator, carry your body and give to a Nigerian doctor for trial and error diagnosis.”
“But when will Baba return?”
“When the results of the tests are released”
“I am not a doctor but I hear some tests could stay in the medical lab for up to three months”
“Why are you screaming? It is a working leave. Anywhere the President is, that is where power is. After all, Baba spoke with Donald Trump yesterday and he is also likely to have a telephone conversation with South African President, Jacob Zuma. He is also constantly on the phone with the Acting President.”
“Zuma. Zuma. Zuma. I hope Baba will remember to sympathise with President Zuma over the embarrassment he got at the parliament the other day when the red-jacket wearing members of the Democratic Alliance started calling him a thief. Baba should give him some tips about how to deal with rude and arrogant lawmakers.”
“No. Baba should not meddle in South African affairs. He should talk to President Zuma about the continued attack on Nigerians living in South Africa. Some South Africans will just wake up one day and start attacking Nigerians, and they don’t get arrested for doing so or punished. We must let South Africa know that Nigerian lives matter!”
“What I have even noticed is that those South Africans only attack Nigerian men. They don’t attack Nigerian women.”
“I have information on that.”
“I am all ears”
“I hear our Nigerian brothers in South Africa are into South African women like ki’lode. And the South African women love them back like crazy, because you know your guys, when they want to impress a woman, they really go all out.”
“You just look at it. Only a few days to Valentine’s Day, some South African hoodlums started attacking Nigerian men and their businesses. I am surprised that the South African Ambassador to Nigeria has not yet been summoned, even the Foreign Affairs Ministry has not uttered a word. Is it because Baba is in London?”
“Well, well, well, I think the new oga on top is trying his best to be on top of everything.”
“Who is that?”
“Acting President Pastor Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN”
“He is doing well”
“A child of the Most High. An erudite, loyal, hardworking…”
“Una don start oh. That is how you people will cause problems for the man. As far as I can see, he is focused on the assignment that he has been given and he is humble and hardworking. The Christian body in Nigeria and you, Yorubas should not distract him. Some Christians are already saying their time has come. And all of a sudden, some Yoruba Obas want to visit the Villa. I saw some Yoruba boys the other day, they were very busy weaving conspiracy theories and suddenly quoting the Constitution.”
“What I know is that there is no way a man will ride a horse and his head will not shake.”
“Just be careful how you shake your head.”
“You don’t have to worry about all that. You said the truth when you said the Acting President is doing well. In the last two weeks, the man has been working as if he does not know how to do anything else other than to work. Even primary school students in seven states are beginning to eat one hot meal a day, free of charge. About 12, 000 cooks have been employed, farmers are also involved.”
“The hot meal per day should be extended to some households, street beggars and em…em. There must be a mechanism in place to make sure the teachers don’t end up diverting the hot meal. Some teachers are so hungry, they’d take the food home to their families and deprive the children.”
“What kind of teacher will do that?”
“I am telling you the truth”
“But there is another scheme that should cover the teachers. It is called the Social Intervention Programme (SIP).”
“That is for the poorest members of our society -N5, 000 per month. Teachers don’t fall into that category.”
“You are sure about that? You think if the Federal Government offers you N5, 000 every month, you won’t take? With N5,000, you can buy recharge card.”
“Look, the best thing to do is to just share the money from oyel every month. They can start with every Nigerian who has a bank account. Instead of state governments going to collect the money on our behalf every month, just put the thing directly into every Nigerian’s bank account.”
“That is not how to run a government.”
“We have to start thinking out of the box. Look at the benefits. If we adopt that strategy, all Nigerians abroad will come home. There will be nothing for anybody to steal, because the cake will be shared equitably. Everybody gets a share of it.”
“And the Nigerians who have no bank accounts?”
“You don’t get it. They will all rush and open one. Oyel money, na im you dey take joke like that? In due course, we will have accurate census figures.”
“You are beginning to sound like those Niger Delta people who gave James Ibori a heroic welcome party.”
“Those ones? They were defending African culture.”
“And what culture is that?”
“You better don’t bother yourself about things you can’t understand. You and I will be here one day when a certain James Onanefe Ibori will hold brooms with two hands and declare for the APC… Enjoy the rest of your day. Go home and make your bae happy.”

President Donald Trump invites Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari to Washington

President Donald Trump of the United States (U.S.) has assured of his country’s readiness to assist Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.

Trump also extended an invitation to President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Washington at a mutually convenient date, according to a terse statement from the presidency yesterday.

The development indicates the willingness of the U.S. government under President Trump to strengthen its relationship with Nigeria for mutual benefits to both countries.

According to Adesina, “the conversation was cordial and President Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as President of the United States, and on his cabinet.”

Adesina said the two leaders specifically discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through the provision of necessary equipment.

“President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.

“President Trump assured the Nigerian President of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism. Trump also invited Buhari to Washington at a mutually convenient date.”

Meanwhile, a group, Northern Patriotic Assembly has raised the alarm over alleged plots by some individuals to exploit Buhari’s health saga through paid protests and media propaganda, and thereby undermine his presidency.

At a state of the nation press conference yesterday in Abuja, the National President of the group, Kwuanu Terrence said Buhari’s health saga had been grossly exploited to further undermine the stability of the country.

According to him, Buhari clearly, in keeping with the constitution, wrote to the National Assembly that he was proceeding on a medical leave, adding that the president further communicated with the lawmakers when he had to, upon the advice of his doctors, stay back longer than he initially anticipated.

Terrence alleged that since the first letter announcing Buhari’s holiday, there had been too much of efforts to make him look incapable of staying in office and consequently edge him out.

He said the undue attention was to overwhelm the president with stress so that his health would be further compromised. Terrance accused some individuals he described as “disgruntled men” from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of being behind the sustained campaign against President Buhari because of their loss of power at the federal level.

“Their idea of burying the hatchet is to undo other ethnic nationalities with the reasoning that the vice president, being of their own ethnic stock stands in line as the beneficiary if they can force Buhari out of office on health grounds. Such treachery is not alien to this collection of two timing politicians.

“For this purpose a refined model of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has been activated to be launched in the coming days. Financial mobilisation for paid protesters is being concluded as we speak.”

However, the Borno State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared seven days of prayers and fasting for Buhari’s speedy recovery. The declaration was contained in a statement of the Legal and Public Affairs Director of CAN, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel issued to newsmen in Maiduguri yesterday.

“Clerics drawn from various churches in Borno State are to converge on some churches to offer special prayers and fasting for the quick recovery of President Buhari, to return to the country and continue with his good policies and programmes for the nation,” the statement said.

Governor Kashim Shettima has also instructed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to write the CAN chairman requesting prayers for the president in appreciation of his commitment to the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Buhari will be home soon”, says Presidency

The Presidency has alerted Nigerians on the possible return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London any moment from today as he is no longer “enjoying his stay’’ outside the country.

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, made this known in an interview with the Channels Television in Abuja on Tuesday.

President Buhari, who proceeded on vacation to the UK on Jan. 19 for a routine medical check as indicated in a letter to the Senate, transmitted another letter to the Senate, on Feb. 5, requesting an extension of time to complete the medical check-up.

“As a matter of fact, we should be getting ready to see the president in flesh and that will be soon as possible.

“The President (himself) is looking to being home to be with his people.

“I don’t think he is enjoying any longer with an extended vacation outside the country.’’

On the president’s telephone conversation with President Trump, Shehu described as “undiplomatic’’ the request being made in some quarters for the release of the audio containing the conversation.

According to him, releasing an audio containing telephone conversation between two presidents is highly unethical and against modern day civilisation.

“No, I don’t think so; I don’t think it is permitted in international diplomacy. I think if we had recorded Mr Trump in this conversation it would have offended our diplomatic relations.

“I think the Americans themselves would not have recorded this conversation of the president to president,’’ he said.

On the president’s test results being expected from his doctors, the presidential aide said he had no information on whether the president had collected the results or not.

He said: “No, we have no information on that (test results). If he had received them, he would have been on the plane back home.’’

Shehu, who noted that there was not enough time for the two presidents to discuss other continental and international, however, expressed optimism that the conversation would boost the bilateral relations between Nigeria and the U.S.

“Well, there wasn’t enough time to talk about everything. I think the point at what will follow is the invitation that President Trump has extended to our president (Buhari) to come over.

“That is the kind of opportunity that was presented to Nigeria put all the issues on the desk.

“As for their immigration policy, I think our president has been clear about one thing- the choices made by the Americans as to who to lead them in this case, Mr Trump, is entirely their own choice.

“We have no business interfering in their domestic affairs. As to the countries that have been barred, it has been clearly specified and Nigeria did not feature on the list,’’ he added.

Buhari had on Monday in London spoken with Trump by telephone at the request of the American President.

According to the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the conversation was cordial and Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as President of the United States and on his cabinet.

Adesina said the two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through the provision of necessary equipment. According to him, Trump encourages Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commends him for the efforts he has made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.

“Trump assured the Nigerian president of the U.S readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.

“Trump also invited Buhari to Washington at a mutually convenient date,’’ the statement concluded.

The American President has since been putting calls to other world leaders to inform them of his action plans towards the eradication of terrorism in America.

Get ready to see Buhari in flesh – Presidency alerts Nigerians

The Presidency has said that Nigerian should be ready to see President Muhammadu Buhari as soon as possible.

The senior special adviser to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu stated this in a telephone interview with Channels Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

On US President’s phone conversation, Mallam Shehu said: “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that President Trump made the choice of making the first African call to the President Of Nigeria”.

“Nigerians should be getting ready to see the president in flesh, as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sadness over the death of Hajiya Tasallah Fika, the wife of former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Adamu Fika, Wazirin Fika.

In a telephone call from London to the bereaved Wazirin, the President said the loss of such a devoted wife of many years was particularly a painful and challenging moment in the life of any husband.



To say I didn’t visit Buhari is simply crazy – Tinubu

Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), says it is crazy for anyone to insinuate that he did not visit President Muhammadu Buhari in London, United Kingdom.

The former Lagos state governor had last week visited the President in the company of Bisi Akande, chairman, APC board of trustees.

Reacting to reports that he didn’t travel to London, Tinubu said no one in their right senses would peddle such falseness when there were pictures to prove that he visited Buhari.

A statement was released to this effect by his media aide, Tunde Rahman.

Tinubu was quoted as saying that, “The report about the so-called denial of the visit is the handiwork of mischief- makers. I felt we should not dignify that with a response.

“That report beggars belief. Asiwaju Tinubu and Baba Akande were in London. The reason they travelled to the United Kingdom was to see President Buhari.

“And they visited him last Thursday and held discussions with him at the Abuja House in London. After the visit, the President, as a mark of respect, saw off his guests to the door.

“Pictures were taken during and after the visit and released to the media by the Presidency. These pictures were international headlines. How can anybody in his or her right senses be saying there was no such visit? It’s simply crazy! I can’t just get it.”



Buhari may speak to Nigerians by phone soon – Presidency

Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adesina disclosed  on Monday night during a live political programme on Channels TV that Mr president may speak to Nigerians soon by phone.

Adesina said: “Yes, he (Buhari) said maybe, he will speak to Nigerians by phone, and I also say maybe.

“That issue of his coming back is already in the public domain in the letter that was transmitted to the National Assembly. He said as soon as he has an ‘all-clear’ on his health, he’ll be back. I think that issue has been settled

“I communicate what has been told to me. Unless I receive a definite communication that says the president will be back on this date. Then, I can say. Otherwise, I’ll just be making a guess, if I say anything that has not been said to me. Don’t forget that I’m a spokesman. I speak for somebody. I communicate what has been transmitted to me.

“Remember Trump said America will be number one, America will be number two, and America will be number three. So anything that is in the interest of American that the previous government did. I’m sure this Trump administration will continue. We know that governance is a continuum. I don’t think one government will come in and obliterate all the positive things that have been done by the previous administration as long as it is positive; and, in the interest of the country.”

This Is The “Change” We Voted For – By Godwin Amadi

Some people glamourize regret as if regret is a virtue or an endowment. All some posers need to do to remain relevant on social media is to say they regret voting Buhari. Others less imaginative ask, “Is this the change we voted for?” Whenever I hear these, I am reminded that loyalty is a high-price commodity.

What are you regretting? IF you really voted “Change”, what did you have in mind? Instead of reveling in your ignorance, should you not be ashamed that you lacked the basic understanding of what you espoused? At your age and with your level of education you still dance to every beat? Shame!

This is the “Change” I campaigned and voted for. From inception, I know real, lasting change comes at a high cost and discomfort. Have you ever attempted to change your life, weight, values or complexion? Did it come cheap or easy? Why do many people fail to live up to their New Year resolutions? Genuine change at any level is tough and cruel at first. Nigeria will not be an exception.

What happens when corporate organizations decide to change processes and procedures in the workplace? It is usually resisted because most people prefer the status quo. Corporate changes like mergers, acquisitions and reconstructions create imbalance and uncertainties in the concerned entities. I know a man whose workforce reduced by 75% when he restructured (or effected change in) his company. Today, the same man is shouting his voice hoarse that Buhari’s change is draconian and insensitive. Hypocrite!

How do we become self-sufficient in food production? The answer is simple: make heavy investments in agriculture and ban importation of foods that deplete our foreign reserve. Take rice for instance. As long as there are no restrictions on the importation of rice, local farmers will not grow rice and our exotic taste buds will not be retrained. If I were Buhari, I would put a total ban on the importation of rice.

Take cars, fabrics and wines (and spirits) for another instance. Something drastic needed to be done about our appetite for cars, clothes and wines. The cumulative costs of importing this trio into Nigeria consumed a substantial share of our foreign reserve. Buhari says NO. He argues that if you must use these imports, then be ready to pay a premium price for them. This is simple logic and economics. This is especially so since global oil price has dwindled and tempers are high in the Niger Delta.

Goods are more expensive in Nigeria today because Buhari insists that most of the products we import can and should be produced locally. By so doing, he has flung open unending investment and job opportunities for Nigerians especially. While reserving limited foreign exchange for some critical sectors of the economy, Buhari is urging them to make hay while the sun shines. Buhari is CHANGING the way we live, and the pains we now experience are his instruments of CHANGE. You can only take it, but you can’t reject it.

Why is Buhari putting these strategic restrictions on our consumption patterns? If you are PDP or a hater, these restrictions are to punish Nigerians. But to the dispassionate observer, Buhari’s stance is the most effective route to Nigeria’s escape from economic doldrums festered by inordinate importation of all and every product. Some countries in Asia, Africa and North America have provided infallible precedents to what Buhari has set out to do.

What has happened so far? Buhari is in a mad hurry to fix the refineries. About 6 states are now producing rice in commercial quantities. Cross River state has almost completed what is arguably the largest textile mill in Africa. Buhari is challenging Nigerians to introspect and unleash their creative geniuses. Unfortunately, politics is providing a distracting counter-intuition to these breath-taking developments.

Where will Nigeria be in 10 years if we continue (or forced to continue) to look inwards? Imagine what will happen if we continue to produce a larger chunk of what we eat, wear and drink. Imagine when Aba, Sokoto, Nnewi, Kano, Ondo, Osun, Benue and Nasarawa turn natural endowments into skills. Imagine when our universities and polytechnics wake up. Imagine when our industries and blue-chip companies begin to produce. Only a bold step like Buhari’s CHANGE will give form to these imaginations.

If you did not understand Buhari’s change, it is not Buhari’s fault. Regretting voting Buhari says so much about your character. Asking “Is this the change we voted for?” is the clearest indication that you must never be taken seriously again. You are a plastic supporter, and we will not need you in 2019.

I visited Buhari in London, but I won’t talk about his health – Amosun

Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has confirmed visiting President Muhammadu Buhari in London where the Nigerian leader is currently receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

There has been controversy over a picture showing Mr. Amosun and the president in the United Kingdom, amid allegations an old image was edited to make it look recent.

However, on Monday at an event at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Mr. Amosun told journalists that he indeed visited the president in London.

The event at the library was a climate change knowledge immersion workshop organised by the Federal Government in conjuction with the World Bank.

“Yes it is true I visited our president in London and he is doing fine. If you ask me pointedly whether I saw him or not, yes I did and that is the only thing that I can say. And of course you can see he is very well, he is okay. So I don’t know what else you want me to say,” Mr. Amosun said.

Asked of the condition he found the president when he visited, t?he governor said he was not in the right position to talk about his health, saying such should be left to his spokes person who were already doing that.

“I am not one of the spokespersons of Mr. President; so it will be out of place for me to talk on that. But then, they are doing their job and you’ve listened to all that they have said,” Mr. Amosun said.

Buhari will return, Nigeria needs him – Sheriff

The Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday prayed for good health and return of President Muhammadu Buhari.

At an expanded South-west PDP Committee meeting in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun state, the faction said Nigeria needs Buhari “in order to continue his anti-corruption crusade”.

This is contained in the nine-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, read by the faction’s National Vice-Chairman, South-west, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe.

It acknowledged efforts of leaders to reposition the party and get PDP back to winning ways.

The communique said PDP remained the only alternative to the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.

The communique urged members to prepare for the forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun States.

In his remark, Sheriff said he would continue to work for the progress of the party and return it to the grassroots.

Sheriff, who stated that he would not be provoked by the statement of Chairman of the PDP Strategy Review Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, challenged him to go and contest election in his locality and win before he could talk to him about party administration and management.

In his keynote address, former Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, also the Deputy Chairman of PDP Reconciliation Committee, attributed the crisis rocking the party to lack of internal democracy, imposition of candidates and impunity.

Mantu said: “The national leadership is doing its very best to rebrand and reposition our party positively before the Nigerian public in readiness for 2019.

“In spite of the crack in the family, the leadership is moving steadily in the right direction; encouraging mass participation of members in the activities of the party, thereby giving them sense of belonging.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure total victory in the entire South-west and Nigeria in 2019. We must therefore not allow seeming differences affect our victory at the polls.

“Our detractors had expected the crack in the family to be the beginning of our end. Tell them that the lion was just sleeping in order to conserve more energy for 2019. No matter how much weight an elephant loses, it can never be compared to a cow”.

The meeting was attended by the Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojuigbo; National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Senator Sam Anyanwu (Imo West), Senator Buruji Kashamu (Ogun East) and former FCT Minister, Mohammed Abba Gana.

Others included Senator Hosea Ehinlanwo, Hon. Adesegun Adekoya, Hon. Segun Odebunmi; Hon. Victor Akande, Hon. Bowale Solaja, former Presidential adviser, Ahmed Gulak and the leadership of the party from Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo and Ogun States.

APC Women Plan National Prayer Summit For Buhari

The All Progressives Congress women will hold a national prayer summit for quick recovery of the President Muhammadu Buhari.

APC Deputy National Women leader, Tina Ekwueme-Adike,  who disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri on Friday, said they were worried by speculations over the health of President Buhari.

She said that the Prayer Summit would be organised by the office of the APC deputy national women leader at Enugu and to be attended by mainly APC women from the entire Southern zone.

She said that the prayer which would be non-denominational cuts across all political parties.

“The prayer is specifically meant to implore God to re-enact  back those  values which Africans  and Nigerians  in particular  are noted for, especially respecting human values and praying for our leaders,’’ she said.

Ekwueme-Adike condemned what she described as the unwarranted and unnecessary death wishes circulating in the social media on the health of the president.

The APC deputy national women leader reminded Nigerians that  to die was never for the elderly only but also for the young and infants  alike.

“Those speculating the death of someone, his or her business are rather putting their own life and business at risk because the law of nature will befall them,’’ she said.

She urged Nigerian women to demonstrate a sense of commitment, patriotism, and selflessness in their daily life, noting that it would surely be well for the nation in the near future.

She explained that the proposed prayer summit for the nation and its leadership was also for all Nigerians irrespective of their political parties, religion and tribal afflictions.

Buhari is Nigeria’s most credible brand – Onyeama

President Muhammadu Buhari is the ‘strongest brand’ the country currently has to improve on its credibility.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Geoffrey Onyeama made this known when he addressed newsmen in Eke, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, on Thursday.

According to him, the credibility of the nation has relatively improved since the inception of Buhari’s administration.

He, however, said that the improvement was basically because of the reputation of the president.

The minister said that the international community had high regards for the president whose anti-corruption posture had made impressions on them.

“The nation’s credibility before the international community has improved but I think it is mainly because of the person of the president.

“The international community is very impressed with the president’s records so far.

“He has a track record of real integrity and that is why they are responding so positively to our economic, security and anti-corruption initiatives.

“So, the strongest brand Nigeria has at the moment is President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.


CAN demands update on the ‘full progress’ of Buhari’s recovery.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has advised the presidency to release details of the full progress of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recovery.

Buhari is currently in the UK on vacation. He was due to return to the country on Sunday, but he extended his vacation indefinitely.

Femi Adesina, his spokesman, had explained that Buhari’s doctors advised him to stay back to receive the results of a series of tests.

In a statement on Thursday, CAN called on all Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the “quick and full recovery of Mr. President”.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is human, hence subject to health challenges sometimes. CAN appreciates the anxiety of Nigerians to hear Mr. President speak, but sues for understanding as we await that,” read the statement signed by Kwamkur Samuel, director of legal and public affairs.

“It is very clear that our leader is passing through health challenges. We advise the presidency to update Nigerians on how he is fairing and the full progress of his recovery.

“We call on all Christians and indeed all God-fearing Nigerians to dedicate time of prayers for our President and the nation. We owe our leaders prayers and support at all times while shunning divisive opinions that only generate strive.”

CAN also canvassed support for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, saying he deserves prayers to lead well.

“We acknowledge that government is a continuum, hence, we call on Acting President, Prof.  Yemi Osinbajo to be bold in handling critical State matters and not to be distracted by those who do not wish Nigeria well,” the statement read.

Salaries are low, exchange rate is high, I hear you – Saraki tells NLC

Senate President Bukola Saraki addressed the Nigerian Labour Union protesters, promised a review of National Minimum Wage and support for the executive to get Nigeria out of recession.

He said: “We are on the same side, because we all want Nigeria to be better!”

“I hear you! The exchange rate is high, the tension is high — the only thing that has stayed low are your salaries.”

“As we continue with the budget process, we must find palliative measures. We cannot continue like this!”.

Buhari called me last night, we discussed food security for Nigerians – Dogara

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday evening called Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

Mr. Buhari, who just extended his vacation in the UK called Speaker Dogara on Wednesday evening.

The speaker stated this on his personal twitter handle on Thursday.

He said: “@MBuhari called me yesterday evening. He talked about what the Executive/ Legislature must do to to ensure food security for all Nigerians”.

“He said he was pained by the suffering endured by most Nigerians last year and he’s resolved not to let events of 2016 repeat themselves

“He also asked me to extend his best wishes to all Hon Members”, he tweeted.


Similarly, on Wednesday, the senate president also said the President called him and they joked about working late night.

Oba of Lagos visits Osinbajo, prays for Buhari

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on Thursday, met behind closed doors with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The traditional ruler who was accompanied by one of his chiefs later told State House correspondents that he was at the Presidential Villa to pay homage to Osinbajo who he said was his law lecturer at the university.

He said he also used the opportunity of the visit to pray for good health and safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently in London, United Kingdom.

He said, “I am a traditional ruler and a servant of the people and I am here to see the Acting President.

“We had a meeting that I was invited by the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday. We were supposed to have another security meeting tomorrow (Friday) but unfortunately it was cancelled.

“So, I have found time to see my former law lecturer and once more to convey to him the wishes and prayers of Lagos so that by the grace of God, the Almighty Allah that our President will return to us hale and hearty.

“It will be well with this country provided all of us are sincere and we cooperate with the government and we tell the government what we feel: constructive and not destructive criticisms.”

Akiolu also urged Nigerians to be patient with the present administration.

Making reference to the reported ill-health of the President, the traditional ruler said all Nigerians should be praying for both Buhari and Osinbajo.

“We have to be absolutely patient and provide useful suggestions to move the country forward.
“Prof. Yakub was sick to the extent that maggots were coming out his body and Allah brought him back not to talk of somebody who is not like that.

“By the grace of Almighty, our President will be back to all of us. As I told the Acting President now, God blessed him more than how he expected. He was a law teacher; very quiet, easy going and he is always with his Bible and see what God has done for him. He is not interested in any political thing but God had destined that he will be the number two man.

“All of us should pray for the two of them and for Nigeria to be very successful provided we are and close to God and very absolutely honest in everything we are doing. All will be well with us,” he added.

It will be recalled that the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, had on Wednesday paid a similar visit to Osinbajo in his office.

Buhari is a victim of his own transparency – Lai Mohammed

Following the controversy surrounding the vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has declared that the President was a victim of his own transparency.

Mohammed made the declaration while addressing State House Correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Noting that the President while embarking on his vacation informed the National Assembly and transmitted power to his Vice, Mohammed said it was surprising that Buhari was pronounced dead by some people, less than six hours after he arrived London.

Mohammed lamented that even those who saw the President aboard the aircraft in Abuja en route London, claimed that he was flown to UK in an air ambulance.

According to the Minister, “Mr. President, like I said elsewhere, is probably a victim of his own transparency. He was going on leave, he did what the constitution said he should do, transmitted it to the National Assembly and Acting President was put in place. And he said `while I am on leave, I am going to conduct some medical tests’ which many, or all of us do without announcing it.’’

Buhari, who was expected back in the country on Sunday, following the completion of his vacation, sent a letter to the National Assembly same day extending his 10-day vacation in the UK  to enable him complete and receive test results from his doctors.

I speak with my brother every day, says Buhari’s only sister.

Hajiya Rakiya, the only surviving elder sister of President Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed to Nigerians to continue to pray for the well-being of the president, instead of spreading rumours about his health.

In an interview with NAN in Daura, Katsina state, the 84-year-old woman said her brother needs the prayers of every Nigerian for him to succeed in the task of addressing the problems facing the nation.

She said he as a human being, he is bound to fall ill or even die “at any time his Creator wishes’’.

Rakiya said since January when he departed to London, she has been speaking with the president every day, and that he is in high spirit.

“I just returned from the lesser Hajj, and even while in Saudi Arabia, I was communicating with him every day,” Rakiya popularly called Amadodo, told NAN.

She said in Saudi Arabia, she communicated with him “every ten hours”.

“We were 28 from our mother late Hajiya Zulaihatu who died in 1992, but Buhari was her last born,” she said.

A cross section of the people in the ancient city, who spoke with NAN, expressed displeasure over rumours about the president’s health.

Abdulrahman Daura, north-west organising secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), described the false reports as “baseless and unfounded”.

Daura said Buhari is in good health and is only conducting a routine medical checkup in the United Kingdom.

He advised the president’s opponent to be always constructive and avoid campaign of hate and calumny.

Similarly, Aminu Na-Dari, an ally of the president, said he has also been in constant touch with Buhari since his departure and their conversation did not in anyway indicate that he is having any health challenge.

A group of students from the School of Health Technology, Daura, described the rumour as unfortunate and asked the National Association of Nigerian Students to issue a statement condemning the rumour.

Aminu Mohammed, spokesperson of the students, called on Nigerians to always think and act positive, saying Buhari has started the reform of correcting the ills of the nation, and corruption had started fighting back.

He urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the nation and “safe return of Mr president”.

“I spoke with President Buhari last night” – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has revealed that he had a conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently on vacation in the UK.


Saraki said the president was in “high spirits”, and that both of them joked about him working late into the night.


The number three citizen disclosed this on Twitter.


“Happy to have spoken with @NGRPresident @MBuhari tonight. He was in good spirits and joked about my working late into the night, as usual,” he tweeted.



Saraki’s tweet came hours after Hajiya Rakiya, the only surviving sister of Buhari, said since the president left in January, she has been speaking with him every day.


Buhari was expected back in the country on Sunday, but he wrote a letter to the senate, informing the legislative chamber that his vacation had been extended.


Buhari’s health condition has drawn a lot of concern from the public, but Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and presidential aides have assured Nigerians that he is “hale and hearty.”


On Tuesday, Femi Adesina, his spokesman told Channels Television that Buhari should be expected back in the country “sooner that people think”.

President Buhari MAY return to Nigeria on Saturday – Presidency Official

Emerging reports suggest that, if all things go as planned, then President Muhammadu Buhari would return to Nigeria from his vacation to the United Kingdom this Saturday, February 11.

According to Leadership, a source disclosed on Wednesday, February 8, that except there would be any last minute change, all is set for President Buhari’s return.

The source, a senior official in the presidency, who spoke in confidence with newsmen, simply said: “Barring any last minute change, we are expecting the president back this weekend, probably on Saturday.”

It was also gathered that the president had on Tuesday this week cancelled an interview with a foreign media organisation, but may possibly grant an interview in London before the weekend.

Another source in the presidency also said that President Buhari “had already packed his bags to leave on Sunday but was advised by his doctors to wait and get results of some tests he conducted before leaving that country.”

“I can confidently tell you that Mr. President might still be there (in London) because he has to succumb to the superior knowledge of physicians who conducted medical checks on him, but his mind is in Nigeria,” he added.

On rumours that he is incapacitated, the source who preferred not to be named in print because he is not in a position to officially speak on the matter said, “What else do you expect from people? If it were to be other past presidents who go on vacation or medical checkup without official notification, there wouldn’t have been room for such rumour.

“But this is a president who is determined to remain transparent in whatever he does in office. Don’t forget that this is not the first time His Excellency is embarking on a vacation outside the shores of the country.”

Source: NAIJ

“Those Around Buhari Only Interested In Their Pockets” – Mbaka

Spiritual leader of the Adoration Ministries in Enugu State, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has said those working with President Muhammadu Buhari, are only interested in what they can get from the current administration.

Mbaka insisted that Buhari had good intentions for Nigeria, but his efforts were being frustrated.

In a sermon at the first Adoration Crusade for the year, Mbaka said: “Unfortunately, he (Buhari) surrounded himself with officials who have different agenda.

“Buhari has good intentions for the country; unfortunately, his subordinates have different agenda – they are interested in their pockets.

“Those wishing the president dead don’t love this country. Children of God, what do people gain by wishing somebody dead? We should pray for our leaders; that is what the Bible says.”

He also encouraged Nigerians not to lose hope, as there was light at the end of the tunnel.


Source: Sun News

I am not under pressure to resign, says Osinbajo.

Nigeria’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo Monday said he was no under pressure to resign from his post, addressing rumours for the first time that he was pressured by a special interest to vacate his position.

Osinbajo spoke to reporters at the State House, Abuja, after a meeting with the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John odigie-Oyegun.

“I’m absolutely under no pressure to resign. In any event, I was voted for by the people of this nation – myself and Mr President, and the people of this nation have not asked us to resign,” Osinbajo said.

Reiterating the presidency’s position that the Buhari had no serious health issues, the acting vice president said he had a long phone conversation with ‘hale and hearty’ Buhari earlier on Monday on the state of the nation.

“Let me say that the President is hale and hearty. I spoke to him just this afternoon and we had a very long conversation.

“He was interested in knowing about the budget process and how far we had gone. As you know, we had a meeting today with the private sector on the economic recovery plan.

“Of course I informed him about some of what we are seeing – the protests, marches and all of that, some of the feedback and what people are saying about the economy.

“He is in good shape, he was very chatty and we had a good conversation this afternoon.”

He, however, like Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, declined to disclose the exact state of the president’s health, noting that only the president had the right to disclose such information to the public.

“I think that the health status of Mr President is a fact or issue that only Mr President himself will be able to discuss at the appropriate time.

“Again, he is running tests and before you determine your health status you must be able to say ‘this is my health status’.

“If I’m running tests; doing some routine and some that my doctors have asked me to do, then surely I must await the outcome of that before I talk about any kind of status,” he said.

President Buhari is hale and hearty – Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has assured the nation that President Muhammadu Buhari is hale and hearty and would return home as soon as he completes the necessary tests recommended by his doctors in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Osinbajo, a professor of law, gave the assurance on Monday when State House correspondents approached him for a chat shortly after his reported telephone conversation with the president.

“Let me first say the President is hale and hearty. I spoke to him just this afternoon and we had a fairly long conversation, he is in good shape and very chatty,” the Acting President said.

He disclosed that the conversation was focused on the economy, the budget and goings on in the country.

The President was “interested in knowing about the budget process and how far we had gone,” especially with efforts aimed at taking the country out of recession.

“As you know we had a meeting today with the private sector on the economic recovery and growth plan and he was interested in knowing what was happening with that, with the economic recovery and growth plan and what we are doing with the private sector.”

“And of course I informed him of what we are seeing, the protest matches and some of what the feedback is, what people are saying about the economy and all of that,’’ Mr. Osinbajo added.

On when the President would return to Nigeria and his present health status, Mr. Osinbajo said “just as he has said in his letter to the National Assembly, he needs to go through a cycle of tests and once the test results are seen, he will receive medical advice. We should expect him very soon.”

On the health status of the president, Mr. Osinbajo noted that at the appropriate time Mr. Buhari be able to discuss it, especially as he is currently running tests.

According to Mr. Osinbajo, “before you determine your health status, you must be able to run the necessary tests, and do what doctors have asked to be done, and await the outcome of that before one can talk about any kind of health status.’’

The Acting President also dismissed insinuations that he was under pressure to resign.

“I was voted for by the people of this nation, myself and Mr. President, and the people of this nation have never asked us to resign.

“So, I am absolutely under no pressure, and the truth is that there has been absolutely no pressure from any source.”

#IStandWithNigeria: Buhari’s Aide Denies Attempt By FG To Bully Organisers.

Personal Assistant (on Social Media) to the Nigerian President, Lauretta Onoche, has denied any attempt by the Federal Government to bully the organisers of the anti-government protest.


Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, she stated that all that the government was interested in, was for the popular musician, Innocent (Tu-face) Idibia to come and explain why he and his group were organising the protest.



“I could never ever frown against the protest, what I frowned at and I still do, are the motives behind the protest.


“I have come back to Nigeria to see that protests are not really what we see. So when I read in the news “Tu-face to lead other stars to protest President Buhari’s policies”, I looked at the headline and I felt there was something not quite right.


“You can’t protest against something that you are not aware about, what policies are you protesting,” Onoche questioned.


“I wanted to be sure that Tu-face and the people he was leading into the protest understood what the policies were.


“I wanted him to come on national television and explain to Nigerians what those policies he was not happy with were”.


Furthermore, the president’s aide stated “I don’t think he’s been bullied. He has a right to protest.”


According to her, denying anyone such rights can be likened to “beating a child and asking him not to cry”.


She also alleged that the exercise is been hijacked by politicians.


Unfavourable Policies


Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters under the aegis of the #I Stand With Nigeria group, have gone ahead in Abuja and Lagos to protest what they call “unfavourable government policies”.


Source: Channels TV

BREAKING: Pro-Buhari groups take to the streets to protest in Abuja.

Two groups comprising those in support of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and those demanding a better deal from the government are currently at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.


Those protesting against the current economic situation are under the aegis of #ISTANDWITHNIGERIA, while their counterparts are of the Buhari Volunteer Network.


The pro-government group says it is out to sensitise the populace on the achievements of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.


But Chidi Odikalu, former chairman of the Human Rights Commission, who is on the side of those protesting against the current economic situation, said he was at the Unity Fountain to demand good governance.


More to follow…

Catholic bishop tells Nigerians to pray for safe return of Buhari

Martins Uzoukwu, Catholic bishop of Minna diocese, has urged Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, or political differences, to pray for the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In an interview with NAN, Uzoukwu said praying for the president was necessary in view of the myriads of problems in the country.

“I specifically pray for our president to return back home safely to administer the affairs of our great country, we should all seek divine intervention in our nation’s socioeconomic and political activities.”

The bishop said Nigerians must shun sentiments and support the government to move Nigeria out of its present predicament, adding that the prayers of all Nigerians is necessary in this respect.

He also called on Nigerians to always wish their leaders well, to enable them implement policies that would be beneficial to all.

Uzoukwu commended President Buhari for demonstrating the political will in ending the “senseless killings” of Nigerians by the insurgents in the north-east.

He appealed to Nigerians to assist the government and security agencies to tackle other crisis situations in Nigeria, in order to ensure peace, progress and political stability of the nation.

Femi Adesina: Only President Buhari can disclose his own health status

Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, says it will get to a point when his principal would disclose his health status “if it has to be disclosed”.


Speaking on Sunday Politics, a programme on Channels Television, Adesina said knowing the actual health condition the president has been treating is not compulsory.


Explaining that all the information he has on the president’s health had been released, he said what Buhari needs from Nigerians at the moment is prayers.


Adesina said known to be a straightforward person, Buhari would not fail to disclose his condition to the citizens if the need arises.


“I am sure it will get to a point when the president has to disclose the status of his health if it needs to be disclosed,” he said.


“If it’s something serious enough to disclose, I am sure he will disclose it.”


He explained that he could not disclose the nature of health challenge the president is dealing with because he was not aware.


“The president is the one who can release his own health status,” he said.


“The day he left, we still spoke. He didn’t tell me ‘this is my condition’. He told me he was going to rest and he would do medicals and that was included in the statement we released.”


Responding to a question on when Buhari would return, Adesina said: “If there was a date he would return, it would have been in that statement.


“But the issue now is (that) there is no vacuum in government. No lacuna because power has been transferred to the vice-president who is acting president.


“So, Mr President can take the time he desires and when his doctors give him a clean bill of health, he then can return home.”


Source: The Cable

#IStandWithNigeria: Comedian SeyiLaw joins protesters at the National Stadium

Nigerian comedian SeyiLaw just arrived the National Stadium, Surulere to join the protesters.


The comedian, who on Sunday said Innocent ‘2baba’ Idibia only cancelled his participation in the protest, and not the actual event.


Seyi Law said the protest is not about the Nigeria music icon but about the demand for good governance by Nigerians.


He noted that Nigerians have a right to protest while stating that he understood why 2baba had to pull out.


“Please if they won’t let us gather, can we stage a social media revolution for tomorrow and keep tweeting and trend with #NigeriansProtest,” he wrote.


“My heart bleeds right now. This is not about Tuface. This is about us and our demand for good governance. God knows I will be at the stadium tomorrow whether people gather or not. I have a right to be at the stadium too.


“Tuface has cancelled his own participation not my own. I want to assure you that I will be at the stadium tomorrow. I am giving Nigerians the assurance that I will be at the stadium tomorrow. We have a right to our protest. I absolutely understand @official2baba, but I am not backing out.


“These pple think it’s about 2Face. They are mistaken. It is about us. We only appreciate his willingness to stand with us.”

2face Gives Dress Code for #IstandWithNigeria protest

Music megastar Innocent Idibia,  aka 2Face, has continued to garner support for the #WeWillMarch protest, with detailed information about the planned march. On his Instagram handle, 2Face has stated the date, venue, time and dress code for the protest.

Since January, 2Face has been urging Nigerians to keep a date with him as he takes to Lagos streets to protest the harsh economy, among other things.

The planned protest has generated mixed among Nigerians from all walks of life.

In a statement on Thursday, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, had said the Police would not allow the rally to hold because it could easily be hijacked by miscreants.

Meanwhile, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said that nothing, including the Police, would stop the planned peaceful rally being organised by the musician.

He urged the Police CP to study his copy of the Nigerian constitution before coming out to make such a statement.

Here’s a screenshot of 2Face’s Ig post:

official2baba #istandwithNigeria #OnevoiceNigeria !!!

Showdown as Nigerians divide into 3 groups – #IStandWithBuhari, #IStandWithTuface & #IStandWithNigeria

There’s no sitting on the fence. This weekend, Nigerians will be sharply divided into three distinct groups – #IStandWithBuhari, #IStandWithTuface and #IStandWithNigeria. All three will be stomping the streets in a popularity contest from Sunday.

Of the three, #IStandWithTuface, a sort of 2012 remake of #OccupyNigeria and #EnoughisEnough fuel subsidy protest, is leading the pack in popularity and resilience, as the other two appear to be a belated afterthought in response to the growing acceptance of a movement that may well define public consciousness and shape the next general elections in 2019.

The missions of the three groups are well stated. Popular music icon, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface, is leading a nationwide protest against the government and for good governance; a group, which sponsors are yet to be unveiled, #IStandWithBuhari immediately launched a counter protest in support of the government; while a fairly unknown group, led by those who refuse to be bystanders in the emerging power show, is floating #IStandWithNigeria.

“We want to state very clearly and peacefully that #IStandWithNigeria and the country must work for all of us and all of us must work for Nigeria,” he wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

Ahead of the clash of the mega rallies, it has been a feverish war on the social media space with each canvassing for supporters and maligning the others.

The group in support of the government had on Wednesday in a Facebook post stirred some controversy when it announced its nationwide solidarity rally for February 5 to take place on the same day Tuface had earlier fixed his protest march.

Not taking the bait, the #IStandWithTuface group immediately shifted their rally to Monday, February 6, to avoid some clash with the president’s supporters, while announcing they intend to hold the march on the day President Muhammadu Buhari would be returning to the country from his 10-day vacation in London.

Despite the controversies generated by the much-publicized protest, including the warning by the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, stopping the protest, the ‘African Queen’ crooner yesterday vowed to go ahead with the protest.

Meanwhile, the police have been advised to desist from becoming tyrannical by attempting to stop the Tuface Idibia-led rally. A pro-democracy and Non-Governmental Organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the Nigeria police should not attempt to stop an idea whose time has come just as it affirmed that the peaceful nation-wide rallies called by the reputable social crusader and musician, Idibia is in compliance with a plethora of human rights provisions enshrined in the Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution.

In the same vein, activist-lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, yesterday said the police cannot stop the planned mass rally organised by the popular musician, saying it is an attempt to intimidate those who wish to partake in the rally.

“For the information of the police commissioner, Nigeria is a democratic country governed strictly in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Section 39 of the Constitution grants freedom of expression, including the right to be heard and disseminate information.


Source: Guardian

Acting CJN: No need to threaten Buhari over my appointment

Walter Onnoghen, acting chief justice of Nigeria, has appealed to Nigerians to give President Muhammadu Buhari a “free hand” to perform his constitutional duties.

The refusal of Buhari to send Onnoghen’s name to the senate for confirmation has attracted criticisms.

Earlier on Thursday, Abubakar Umar, former military governor of Kaduna state, urged the senate not to confirm any nominee for the position of chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) apart from  Onnoghen.

He accused the president of being pro-north, saying the lack of explanation on the delay has left Nigerians “ guessing and speculating”.

But the acting chief justice has called for restraint.

“Nigerians should allow President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, a free hand to perform his constitutional duties concerning the appointment of a substantive chief justice of Nigeria,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by Awassam Bassey, his media aide.

“Honourable Justice Onnoghen believes the president does not need any threat or ultimatum to perform his constitutional duties and therefore dissociates himself from those individuals and groups making such demands on the president.”

Onnoghen expressed gratitude to Nigerians for the interest they have shown in the issue, but maintained that issuing ultimatum amounts to disrespect for the “exalted” office of the president.

“However, the acting chief justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian judiciary sincerely appreciate the interest of Nigerians towards the appointment of a substantive chief justice of Nigeria to oversee the affairs of the judiciary as the third arm of government, but believes that issuing an ultimatum to Mr. President appears to be going too far and smacks of disrespect for the exalted office of the president,” the statement read.

“The acting chief justice therefore appeals for caution on the issue of the appointment of chief justice of Nigeria as Mr President goes about his constitutional duties, especially considering the fact that the given time for him to act as Chief Justice of Nigeria has not expired.

“In conclusion, the Acting Chief Justice wishes to thank all Nigerians for their support and continued prayers while calling on them to back the federal government in the fight to make the country a better place for all.”

Buhari appointed Onnoghen – the most senior justice of supreme court –  as acting CJN on November 16, following the retirement of Mahmoud Mohammed.

Umar says Buhari is pro-north, asks senate to reject any CJN nominee if not Onnoghen

Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, former military governor of Kaduna state, has urged the senate not to confirm any nominee for the position of chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) apart from Walter Onnoghen.


In November, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Onnoghen – the most senior justice of supreme court –  as acting CJN following the retirement of Mahmoud Mohammed.


Since then, the presidency has not forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the senate for confirmation.


His three-month acting term will elapse on February 10.


In a statement on Thursday, Umar said the failure of the presidency to forward Onnoghen’s name to the senate for confirmation without any reason “leaves Nigerians guessing and speculating”.


“In a few days, the tenure of acting appointment of justice Onnoghen will expire. Going by our extant constitution, the acting CJN  will be disqualified  from appointment as the substantive CJN unless the NJC resubmit his  nomination to the president,” Umar said in a statement.


“Already, many analysts view this action as a ploy to deny a southerner his right to succession based on his seniority in keeping with the appointment protocol observed the NJC in making the appointment.


“In the event of this occurrence, the NJC must not forward any other name nor should the senate confirm any other nominee.


“This will serve to check the excesses of this administration and reinforce the unity of the nation which has already been  pushed to the precipice by the recruitment  and appointment policies of a government  which tends to favour the north in violation of the federal character provision of the constitution.”


On Tuesday, the Cross River caucus in the national assembly also asked Buhari to submit the name of Onnoghen to the senate for confirmation without “further delay”.

OPINION: We Can’t Afford To Be Pawns – By Muhammed Karamba

Recently, there has been an uproar with regards to President Buhari’s decision to keep EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu and SGF Babachir Lawal. The President is under pressure from the public and the National Assembly to replace the two. I find it interesting how we have become so invested in such an issue that should probably be at the bottom of our list. Are we playing somebody’s game? I doubt if it is far from the truth.

It’s quite funny how, all of a sudden, the legislature decides who amongst the executive is corrupt or not. This is an arm of the government who hasn’t answered a lot of crucial questions being asked by Nigerians. It has failed to keep up to its promise of an open NASS. It has suspended a member turned whistle-blower and are yet to give comprehensive answers as per his allegations. I am not saying this disqualifies them from their officials. But it begs the question, are these probes done in the interest of Nigerians?

The media of today is doing a wonderful job at keeping us updated and exposing stuffs we probably otherwise wouldn’t have known. Most of us have one or a couple of media outlets which we trust hundred percent and will always believe anything that comes from them. But how sincere is the media of today? There are bad eggs; a lot of them. Now, all it takes to have a media outlet is money.

Have we ever sat down to think that maybe one of this media is there to defend the interest of a particular entity or group? It might even be as simple as a social media account. Politicians have social media “warriors” (one of whom is might be an account you trust so much) who get paid to spread propaganda. We have become so gullible that a simple twitter account operated by a fellow citizen is what we depend on, to get “credible” info. It’s saddening.

Would we know these people better than Buhari? These are people he would probably deal with on a daily basis. The thing is, being the spectator, we might have this feeling that the president is just there seated while his cabinet devours our wealth without his knowledge. If that happens, then we would have the worst leadership. Yeah, they would try as much as possible to hide their corrupt practices from him. Do we thing it is that easy to dig up something the president hasn’t? But the thing is, the president has the tedious job of knowing when an allegation is in the interest of someone or in the interest of the state.

It is very good for citizens to feel disturbed when we “see” a corrupt top official. We know what we don’t want. But most at times, we don’t know what we want. These guys might be corrupt, but president Buhari knows what he enjoys about working with them. You don’t employ a plumber and tell him which tools to use. Who are we to say no when the president says he wants them? If that’s what it takes to fulfill his campaign promises, then so be it.

The bottom line is, there is a political battle going on and we do not want to be pawns. Regardless of who is in this government, or priorities should not change. What we demand is Transparency and accountability, security, fight against corruption, good stable economy, proper infrastructure and the list goes. That’s it.

Author: Muhammad Karamba

President Buhari’s power sector revival hits major brick-wall

One year after the African Development Bank (ADB) approved $174 loan to tackle Nigeria’s power crisis, the cash remains in the lender’s vaults.

The Senate is believed to be cautious about the Presidency taking the loan because of its conditions, including the restructuring of the Transition Company of Nigeria (TCN), which President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have approved.

The main condition is that ADB experts will run the show at the TCN — the managers of the national grid— for six months in the first instance.

Senators are raising some issues, among which are:

the propriety of allowing the ADB to run the TCN even when it is yet to be privatised;
the legality of removing the TCN management, which is just midway into its tenure; and
the arrangement under which the critical national asset will be “ceded” to the ADB.
The Presidency is said to have made up its mind to take the loan to resolve Nigeria’s “critical power crisis”.

Under the plan, the ADB is to send three experts to run the TCN, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The source said: “The Federal Government has already made a huge allocation in the 2017 budget estimate. Is it now proper to hand over such funds to TCN to be managed by ADB appointees?”

He said: “Curiously the Federal Government is yet to determine whether to privatise TCN. The Senate is insisting that you cannot hand over TCN to ADB without privatising it.

“The Senate is therefore insisting that the status quo must be maintained, failing which the Senate as an institution will not have anything to do with handing over a national asset when it has not been privatised.

“We are therefore watching and waiting hoping that common sense will prevail.”

Quoting Mr. Louis Edozien, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Special Adviser (Communications) to the Minister, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said the government’s action at the TCN is part of the restructuring of the organisation in the overall plan to deliver power to Nigerians.

He described the change of guards at the TCN as part of the implementation of the TCN restructuring plan approved by the President.

According to him, following the exit of the Canadian management firm Manitoba, it was agreed with the multilateral funding partners that the TCN needed to have an effective management and structure.

The ADB, it was agreed, would bring in a manager and two others to run the TCN for six months in the first instance – which could be extended for another six months if need be – and to be funded by the organisation.

Workers under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) at the TCN yesterday shut down offices at the firms’s headquarters in Abuja.

They protested what they called the unjustified attempt to remove the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Abubakar Atiku.

Their action was predicated on a January 31 letter written to Atiku, urging him to vacate office for Usman Gur Mohammed.

The letter is titled: “Request for the secondment of Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed from African Development Bank as the Transitional Chief Executive Officer of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)”

Wisdom Nwachukwu, who is FCT chairman of NUEE, said owing to the technical nature of the power sector, it was out of place for an accountant to take over the duty of TCN Managing Director from a trained engineer, such as Atiku. He said it would be tantamount to economic sabotage.

The labour leader insisted that the plot to remove Atiku was not in good fate but to merely bring in the minister’s stooge to manage the $364million loan that the TCN is anticipating from the World Bank.

He added: “We are not against the government taking decisions but the impunity with which this is being done, as the staff of TCN by constitution are supposed to be 75 per cent technical and only 25 per cent non-technical.”

He said constitutionally, the MD/CEO of TCN should have been informed or given a notice of at least three months, noting that “people are trying to subvert the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Governor Ortom: Those wishing Buhari dead should confront God

Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has advised those wishing death on President Muhammadu Buhari to “go and confront God who made it possible for him to become the president at this time”.

Addressing state house correspondents after a visit to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo late Monday, Ortom wished Buhari good health and safe return back home.

He also prayed that God should help the current administration overcome the challenges which he blamed on “bad leadership” by the past government.

“Those that are wishing Mr. President dead should go and confront God who brought Mr President to be president of Nigeria,” he said.

“It was not his making. When that time came, God made it possible, just like some of us.

“It was God that made it possible for us to be here and nobody can remove us until the time that God’s programme for Nigeria is completed and God decides what to do next.”

He appealed to Nigerians to shun violence and acts capable of plunging the country into crisis.

Ortom also counselled those in position of authorities not to abuse power.

“Nigeria is the only country we have. Definitely, we don’t want to be like Syria and other countries that have got entangled in various calamities,” he said.

“I want to implore those who are bestowed with leadership, especially those who have taken oath of office, to obey the laws of the land, to protect the laws of the land and to live by the oath of office they have taken instead of playing politics of the extreme and causing things that can bring major disaster to our country.”


Source: The Cable

President Buhari mourns with Sports Minister Solomon Dalung

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on the death of his wife, Briskila Dalung.


Mrs. Dalung died after a brief illness in the early hours of January 29, 2017 in Jos.


A statement issued by Nneka Anibeze, the media aide to Mr. Dalung, said President Buhari telephoned Mr. Dalung on Monday night from London where he is currently on vacation.


The statement said the president prayed God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.


“President Buhari regretted the death of Mrs. Dalung which came at such an unripe age and prayed that God will forgive her sins and give the family she left behind the fortitude to bear the loss,” the statement said.


The president promised his support to the family of Mr. Dalung in their moment of grief.


Mrs. Dalung is survived by her husband and 5 children.


Source: Premium Times

Onnoghen’s confirmation will test Buhari’s religious, ethnic ‘bias’ — Lawmakers

Federal lawmakers from Cross River State have said the perception of President Muhammadu Buhari as one guided by ethno-religious considerations in making public choices may be confirmed, should he fail to seek Senate’s confirmation of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria before his tenure as acting head of the Supreme Court expires on February 10.

The lawmakers said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a press conference convened to urge Mr. Buhari (or the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo) to forward Mr. Onnghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation before February 10 when his tenure as acting CJN expires and he will be constitutionally illegible to continue on the bench.

Mr. Onnoghen, 66, is from Cross River State. He is the first southerner to come close to getting appointed CJN, in decades.

The National Judicial Council, in exercise of its powers under Section 231(1) of the 1999 Constitution, had on October 13, 2016 recommended Mr. Onnoghen as the next CJN to President Buhari on the expiration of Mahmud Muhammed’s tenure.

But against convention, Mr. Buhari rather swore in Mr. Onnoghen as acting CJN on Thursday, November 10, 2016, an appointment which will expire on Friday, February 10.

Speaking through John Enoh, a PDP Senator, the lawmakers said already, “There is a growing sentiment in certain quarters that Justice Onnoghen’s earned elevation to the rank of CJN is held in abeyance precisely because he is either not from a particular ethnic origin preferred by powerful forces or his said to be preferred by powerful forces or his profound and at times radical pronouncement make him too principled to occupy that exalted position.”

“The President’s inaction in this instance has acted as cannon fodder for those alluding to a vast conspiracy to deny Justice Onnoghen his earned position,” the lawmakers, numbering 11, added.

As political leaders, they continued, efforts should be made to build a fair and just society, devoid of sectional cleavages; a society where hard work and integrity are rewarded and not repudiated.

The lawmakers said they were worried by the “intriguing cobweb of uncertainties” enveloping the judiciary which, as they said. is a hallowed institution, the bastion of our democracy that “should be insulated from undue influence, politics and manipulation of political predators.”

Therefore, “We call on the Presidency to act in a decisive manner to reassure Nigerians that we are all equal and that if we are able to harness our God-given talents, that we can aspire to the highest position in our nation unencumbered by primordial forces. Justice Samuel Walter Onnoghen is eminently qualified to occupy the position of Chief Justice of Nigeria,” they said.

Mr. Onnoghen’s name should be transmitted to the Senate for confirmation “without further delay”, they urged the President, asking him to act “in clear and decisive manner”.

“Any action contrary to this will convey and validate growing sentiments of vendetta,” they said.

An event of the failure of the President to forward Mr. Onnoghen’s name to the Senate without any lawful and constitutional cause, the lawmakers said, would not only threaten the indenpendece of the Judiciary but also open “floodgate of political and social insinuations and entrenched the perception of ethno-regional prejudice and politicization of the judiciary. This is most unfortunate.”

23,000 Artisans, Traders Get FG’s Soft Loans in 13 States – Presidency

The Presidency on Monday said 23,000 persons have so far benefited from 23, 400 loans in 13 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the Government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), under the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs).

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, listed the States as Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Rivers and the FCT.

He said the loans ranged between N10,000, to N100,000 per applicant.

The loans, he said would be paid directly to individuals, while they are expected to belong to registered associations and/or cooperatives to ensure that they were peer-endorsed as credible, and to facilitate timely repayments.

“All beneficiaries must have BVNs and bank accounts.” the statement stated

Stressing that the Micro-credit scheme is a no-interest loan scheme, with only a one-time 5 per cent administrative fee for costs, the statement said the loan is targeted at micro-enterprises: traders, artisans, market men and women, entrepreneurs, farmers with the involvement of cooperatives and executed through the Bank of Industry, BOI.

It added “Although over 23,000 people have benefited from the loans, altogether, over 1 million people have already enrolled for the programme across the country and are expected to benefit this year.

“To facilitate the loan disbursement, four payment providers have been signed-on for the programme mostly in the urban areas. The next wave of payment providers, coming on stream by March 2017, would provide a much wider coverage in the rural areas.”

“About 8,436 market associations and cooperatives nationwide have been registered for this scheme through the web portal (, as well as through paper application forms.”

On the progress made with the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the statement said that “actual feeding of pupils is expected to commence this week in Ogun and Oyo States, while Ebonyi State will soon follow

It also gave details of the cost of the feeding programme, stating that N70 was the cost of the one meal per pupil.
“Contrary to insinuations in some quarters and inaccurate reports in some sections of the media, there are no payment issues or any kind of food rationing taking place in states where the Homegrown School Feeding Programme has kicked off.

“While the Federal Government has paid all approved cooks based on the number of pupils allocated to each cook, it is the State that provides the number of pupils to be fed. And where those figures change, the next batch of FG payment would reflect it.

“Specifically, where the number of pupils increase, the State will communicate the increase and approve the review. The numbers of the new pupils are then physically verified, before a commensurate number of cooks are engaged, trained and then paid.

“The FG has also adopted a system where it pays the cooks a 10-day advance payment for feeding. The programme is designed to ensure that no cook feeds more than 150 pupils a day, but in some cases, the numbers are as low as 35 children per cook.

“The meal which must be sufficient and nutritious is costed around locally sourced items and approved by the State under the N70 per child provision by the Federal Government. Food quality is monitored at the school level through the head teachers, the Parent Teachers Association, PTA, and the State monitoring teams.

“11 States have so far indicated their readiness to commence the school feeding programme having met FG’s set criteria.

“The progress so far recorded with the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the N-Power Teach for unemployed graduates, the Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest, and the GEEP underscores the Buhari Presidency’s commitment to the plight of poor Nigerians and unemployed youths in the country.

“Efforts to ramp-up all the schemes are in top gear currently”, it said.

Governor Ajimobi denies governors’ emergency meeting over Buhari.

Amid rife speculation over the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state yesterday refuted reports that governors were summoned for an emergency meeting in Abuja to discuss the issue.

“There is no iota of truth in the rumour making the round that governors were summoned to Abuja for an emergency meeting to discuss the health status of our dear President. We should desist from circulating callous insinuations aimed at denting the image of prominent citizens.

“Instead of peddling unfounded rumours, I will advise Nigerians to continue to pray for the President and other leaders, including governors, because their well-being is tied to the well-being of the people.

The governor, who spoke yesterday in Ibadan, clarified that his trip to Abuja was for a scheduled meeting with World Bank officials. He went on: “It is pertinent to state here that the President only went for a break and to use the opportunity to undergo routine medical check-up. To the best of my knowledge, he was not even admitted into any hospital for any ailment.

“There is nothing wrong with the President taking some time off to rest and meet with some people abroad unofficially. I am reaffirming the fact that our President is hale and hearty.”

Recalling the negative online comments that had trailed his recent interaction with the protesting students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAIUTECH), Ogbomoso, Ajimobi said it was high time the medium was regulated to check abuses.

Acknowledging the importance of the new media for social mobilisation and creation of awareness on developmental issues, policies and other positive intents, he admitted that the medium was also being abused by some individuals.


Source: Guardian

2 weeks to Onnoghen’s exit as Nigeria’s Acting Chief Justice, lawyers criticise Buhari’s inaction

Two weeks to the expiration of the three months tenure of Walter Onnoghen as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, there is growing disquiet over the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to forward his name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive head of Nigeria’s judiciary.

The National Judicial Council had on October 6, 2016 recommended Mr. Onnoghen to President Buhari as successor to Mahmud Mohammed whose tenure was to expire on November 9, 2016.

But rather than immediately forward the name to the Senate for confirmation or reject the recommendation, the President on November 10 appointed Mr. Onnoghen to the office in acting capacity. That appointment will lapse on February 10 based on a constitutional provision.

As stipulated in Chapter 7, Section 31 (1) of the Constitution, “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate”.

Chapter four of the same section states that; “If the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.

The Constitution further states in sub-section (5) of the same section that; “Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appointment a person whose appointment has lapsed”.

From the foregoing, lawyers say that unless Mr. Onnoghen’s name is forwarded to the Senate and he is confirmed, he would cease to be the acting CJN from February 10. Mr. Buhari would also not be able to submit his name to the Senate as substantive VC after that date and he would have to be replaced.

According to some legal practitioners, the failure of Mr. Buhari to forward the name of Mr. Onnoghen to the Senate, long after his recommendation, is dangerous for Nigeria and the judiciary in particular.

Speaking on the matter, shortly before the expiration of the tenure of the former CJN, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon, described Mr. Buhari’s delay in processing the confirmation of Mr. Onnoghen as “scary, to say the least”.

“The name of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, the next most Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, has since October, 2016 been forwarded to the President, who is expected, constitutionally, to forward it to the Senate for confirmation.

“Till this moment, Mr. President has not forwarded Justice Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation. This is scary, to say the least”, Mr. Hon had stated.

But hours after the said expiration of Mr. Mohammed’s tenure on October 10, the president appointed Mr. Onnoghen to fill the vacant position, as stipulated by the Constitution.

As the expected three months during which Mr. Onnoghen can act as chief justice draws near, stakeholders have been speaking on the implications of not submitting his name to the Senate.

Speaking on the development, Rotimi Oguneso, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, viewed the president as “having a penchant for stirring up needless controversies”.

“This is where I find a problem with this government. It appears the present government has a penchant for stirring up needless controversies.

“The NJC has recommended Justice Onnoghen, who is the most senior judge to be the next CJN. What the president needs to do is to send his name to the Senate and it will come into being”, Mr. Oguneso said.

“The government has not told us; I am not aware of any situation or any disability on the part of Honourable Justice Onnoghen. He has already been recommended even to the substantive office, why make him acting in the first instance? That is where the controversy started.

“The Nigerian government right from the Obasanjo time, do not seem to like the collegial system of appointment; whereby it is the judiciary that has so much say on who becomes the Chief Justice. But the truth of the matter is that if they do not like it; why don’t they push for a constitutional amendment?

“The former President Obasanjo did express his reservations, that the executive doesn’t seem to have so much say; but I don’t see that as being correct. Because there is nobody who is appointed a judge whom the State Security Service will not have conducted an investigation upon. If the president has anything against a certain appointee, he should state it. Why not make it public?” Mr. Oguneso queried.

For another senior advocate, Samson Ameh, the situation is not one that cannot be remedied as the NJC still reserves a constitutional right to intervene.

“The NJC can still intervene and prolong the period, possibly. So as it is now, if the period of three months is to expire, I will recommend the intervention of the NJC to enable the president take the decision that is to be taken,” said Mr. Ameh who encouraged the presidency to ‘act in order to avoid a constitutional crisis’.

Another lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, also said that the situation should not degenerate into something worrisome as many Nigerians presume.

“The hysteria in town about the possibility of a doomsday that is looming; that once that three month clocks, then the judiciary will be thrown into a pandemonium, or a new CJN may then be appointed on a rotational bases; that doomsday prediction may not occur”, Mr. Ogunye said.

“Let’s apply the facts to that provision; the NJC currently is headed by this same acting CJN, so the NJC can exercise the power to say we want the present acting CJN to continue, and the president cannot override that recommendation,” he said.

Mr. Ogunye however queried the president’s silence on the matter.

“What this president has failed to do is to either forward his name to the Senate or, if he has any reason that is cogent and verifiable for not accepting the recommendation, he then consults with the NJC on that subject.

“The Third Schedule to the Constitution, in Part One, Paragraph 21 and 22, details the composition of the NJC and the powers of the NJC. Under those provisions you will see that the president is empowered to consult with the NJC on any matter pertaining to the Judiciary.

“So under that position that allows for consultation, the president or governor of a state, if he has any reservation, is obliged to consult with the NJC. And the president can have such an objection, because it’s not a rubberstamp.

“So what this president has not done, which a lot of people find objectionable and unacceptable is that he has not exercised his power regarding this matter, and I have serious objection to that kind of dilatory and lethargic approach”, said Mr. Ogunye.

He added that the constitutional position of the NJC is not without its own faults and that before the expiration of these three months, the presidency is not under any obligation to succumb to the recommended choice of a CJN by the council.

“Some people have said that the position of the presidency is merely a rubberstamp; he has no choice in the matter. I don’t think so. What I think rankles and is unacceptable is for the presidency not to act. The NJC is constituted in such a way that it is possible for somebody who is not desirable to be a CJN to emerge. What is the tradition here? The most senior.

“At that point of recommendation, other persons do not have a say. And being that the NJC in recent times has done certain things that people have found very objectionable. Indeed, the NJC did come out to defend the judges, some of whom are on trial now, only for them to backtrack when they saw the groundswell of public opinion against that kind of stands, in the face of overwhelming damming evidence in the public domain.

“So my opinion is that government has to act on that recommendation. If he has a reservation let the president disclose it. You can’t allow government business to be transacted on the basis of speculation”.

Mr. Ogunye lamented the repeated cases of delays in ensuring the confirmation of public office holders by the Executive arm of government, describing the development as a “questionable style of governance”.

“And I have questioned what is now becoming a style of governance. Magu was appointed acting chairman of EFCC and it took months, something that ought to take days, before his name was forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. You go to constitute a cabinet and it took about eight months. As we speak some heads of agencies, parastatals and corporations are yet to be established.

“Now that we are talking about the Judiciary, when the president knows that he has to exercise this power, why has he not done so, or if he has a reservation, why has he not approached the NJC in good conscience?

“And this is rife. For over three months, this debate has generated various dimensions, basically an ethnic dimension, regional dimension and a dimension of the allegation that the Executive arm of government wants to control the Judiciary”, Mr. Ogunye said.

Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to get the presidency to comment on whether or not the name of Mr. Onnoghen will be sent to the Senate yielded no results.

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said he was not in a position to comment on the matter, since the President was on vacation out of the country.

The spokesperson for the Vice President, Laolu Akande, neither picked his calls nor called back when approached by PREMIUM TIMES. He also failed to reply to text messages.


Source: Premium Times

Buhari’s Letter On Babachir Has Raised More Questions Than Answers – Ismael Ahmed

A member of the All Progressives Congress’ Board of Trustees, Ismael Ahmed, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest letters to the Senate have whipped up more questions than answers.


The letters were for the confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and another written in response to a request that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Lawal Babachir.


Mr Ahmed was particular about the letter focusing on the SGF, which critics said was a defense for the SGF by the President, but on the renomination of Mr Magu, he said: “The president is within his right to renominate the rejected acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr Magu.


“Some of the concerns that were raised as impediments for not going ahead with the confirmation by the Senate initially, have been taken care of and it is left for the Senate to begin the legislative process, get to the confirmation hearing and determine whether the EFCC acting chairman is fit to be confirmed or not”.


On the issue of the SGF, he pointed out that “the issue of corruption is a very sensitive issue to Nigerians and incredibly so for this government because it is an anchor upon which we were elected into office.


“The President, I think in his own wisdom, thought it was necessary to write back a response on the reasons he could not carry out some of the things that they (the Senators) decided that he should. He felt that that was necessary, but as a politician, I will tell you that I do not think that the Senate were expecting a response from the President.


“I thought the letter would have raised more questions than answers, from the side that the president was trying hard to protect some of his appointees.


“I wouldn’t have written the letter,” he emphasised.


The member of Board of Trustees of the APC, however, pointed out that the letter was not a defense for the SGF, but written to give the Senate a leeway to continue with its investigation.

There are allegations that border on conflict of interest against Mr Lawal Babachir


A lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, who doubted that the letter was from Mr Buhari, had described the letter as a funeral for the anti-corruption crusade of the President.


Critics have also said that the letter did not show the moral standard of the current government that had in the pinnacle of its campaign manifesto, a glaring desire to fight corruption.


Conflict Of Interest


Mr Ahmed, however, said that it was too early to judge that the apc-led administration had lowered the moral standard of fighting corruption, but insisted that writing such a letter comes with such a political implication.


“The moral standard is high for the administration to deal with anyone involved in corrupt practices.


“I am sure that if we were in the stock market, our shares would have fallen since that letter was written,” he said.


The APC member insisted that the Mr Babachir’s being in office will not affect investigations into allegations that he awarded contracts to a company that he had a stake in.


Highlighting the All Progressives Congress’ commitment to fighting corruption, he emphasised that awarding a contract to a company he had a stake in was inimical to the office he occupies and tantamount to conflict of interest.


He also insisted that if investigations showed the SGF was culpable, he should be sacked and prosecuted.


Source: Channels TV

Fake Metro, Huffington Post news websites behind President Buhari health rumours

For the second time in a week, the Presidency has been forced to deny the rumoured death of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in London on a short break. In the first instance, he was said to have died from an “unknown disease” and later, he was said to have been advised to resign by his doctors after he attempted to commit suicide.

On the first look at the news website that ‘broke’ the news, the word fake comes to mind. On the one hand, the that published the news that Buhari died was only registered on October 15, 2016 and will expire a year after. On the other hand, the clone Huffington Post website that claimed that Buhari attempted to kill himself was created on November 19, 2016 and like the former website, was registered for just one year.

Each of these websites was registered via proxy and hosted on Go Daddy. Conversely, the actual Metro UK website was created on August 1, 1996 and Huffington Post on March 10, 2005, with the names of the owners attached to them.

The use of fake news to fight political foes is not new. But it got to a head during the last American presidential election. Teenage Macedonians set up basic websites and filled them with outright misleading or totally false reports to sway readers’ perception of the two leading candidates. According to an Associated Press report, most of the websites, as it is in the case of the sites publishing Buhari death rumours, were set up within 12 months before the November 8, 2016 American presidential election.

“These sites tend to follow one of two patterns: some masquerade as well-known outlets like The New York Times or Fox News, while others operate under made-in-America-sounding names like USA Daily News 24,” AP said. The first pattern was deemed the right choice by both and, aping well known and

While the young Macedonians claimed they set up fake news websites primarily to make money through Google AdSense, can those behind the publication of Buhari’s death rumours claim to have the same motive? Possibly! With more than 90 million internet users monthly, it is possible for creators of fake news websites to rake in thousands of dollars through AdSense if millions of Nigerians throng their sites to read, of course, fake news.

But Nigeria is not exactly a place where the hunger for money and lust for power can easily exist in mutual independence. Are we seeing the beginning of a trend that could become more prominent as we move closer to 2019 when another general election would be held?

While researchers Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford, in a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that the consumption of fake news by Americans had little impact on Donald Trump’s triumph over Hillary Clinton, they both noted that about eight per cent of the people interviewed for their research said they believed the fake news read.

Here’s the troubling part for Nigeria: with religious biases, ethnic bigotry and political intolerance mounting by the day, are we, as a people, ready to question the veracity of what we read or hear? Are we patient enough to seek the truth without falling victims to the creeping intensity of deep-seated distrust for people of other religion or ethnicity?

I suspect that, in a country where religious and ethnic crises had been ignited over the flimsiest of excuses, fake news can wreak more disasters than imagined! And where such thrives, there will never be a winner!


Bakare is the online editor at The Guardian. He tweets from @tonyeville01

Death rumor: Buhari should speak to Nigerians – NLC

Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to Nigerians.

NLC, in reaction to a comment by presidential adviser on media, Femi Adesina, that no one can force Buhari to speak, noted that public appearance by the country’s leader would put to rest rumors of his death.?

General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said that “In the social media, stories circulate without confirmation; I think that the easiest way is to talk publicly to the nation because the citizens are concerned about their leaders’ whereabouts.

“If there are those who orchestrated rumours and they are not true, the easiest way is for him to reach out to Nigerians through a public appearance and a statement.

“Nigerians have a right to be certain about the health situation of their President and the people who orchestrate rumours and unsubstantiated reports, one would wish for him to call their bluff by publicly addressing the citizens.”

In his reaction, Executive Secretary, Anti-corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, faulted the call for Buhari to address the nation.

He said, “I do not subscribe to that. It smacks of mischief from such people. We are Africans. We have cultural discipline on some issues.

“He has done the appropriate thing by handing over to the VP as Acting President. Let us be patient and maintain a sense of decorum and respect to the institution of governance.’’

We have no plan to reduce petrol to N70 per litre -FG

The federal government has announced that it will not reduce the pump price of petrol following a recommendation from the House of Reps that the commodity shouldn’t cost more than N70 per litre.

The PPPRA on Thursday held a meeting to discuss the issue.

A top ranking PPPRA official said all the stakeholders came to the table to decide how much a litre of petrol should be sold.

“PPPRA should not take the blame alone. The whole stakeholders should be blamed for the current template. Whenever we review, the stakeholders and the government approve for execution. The template is only domiciled in PPPRA,” he said.

He argued that but for the Federal Government’s intervention, the price of petrol should have been higher than it is presently in view of the foreign exchange challenges.

According to him, petrol price was calculated at less than N300 to $1 whereas the exchange rate is almost N498 to $1, noting adding that marketers cannot even access dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).



Oyegun plans to sack Tinubu, Atiku from APC – Timi Frank

Embattled Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has alleged that the Chairman of the party.John Oyegun has made moves to sack Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from the party.

In a release he signed and made available to newsmen, he warned the National Chairman to stop running ruling party like a dictator, stressing that the plan by the chairman to review party’s constitution “is a grand plot against the national leader of the party, Bola Hammed Tinubu, myself and other leaders who oppose his leadership style.”

The National Chairman had, on Wednesday, set up a constitution review committee headed by the party’s National Legal Adviser Muiz Banire, with a charge to closely look at the provisions for discipline members he (Oyegun) described as problem within the party “to be speedily neutralised.”

“Chief Oyegun is vigorously working to ensure that he pushes out some prominent members of the party including the National Leader Bola Tinubu, myself and so many other leaders who have spoken against his leadership style which is now more of a dictator,” he said.

Comrade Frank also noted that it is shameful for the National Chairman to talk of indiscipline “when he has breached the same constitution more than any other persons. His leadership has breached party constitution several times, even as regard to National Convention which the party law states clearly that it must be held every two years.

“Oyegun is talking about indiscipline when there are several allegations of bribery and favouritism yet unanswered hanging on his neck.”

The APC deputy spokesman challenged his national chairman to tell the world how he plan to fill some vacant positions in the NWC when “he is talking of non elective national convention.”

He said if APC is a Democratic Party, members should be allowed to criticises the wrong doing of the handlers.

“Some of us have prepared to meet them at the convention no matter the evil agenda they are planning against us,” Frank said.



President Buhari not hospitalised but will talk if he wishes to – Aide

President Muhammadu Buhari is not ill and admitted in any hospital in London as being speculated. But he cannot be forced to speak to Nigerians, the presidency declared yesterday.

The clarification came amid rumours that Buhari is critically down with an undisclosed sickness that may lead to his death. But according to the presidency, Buhari is in London on vacation.

This clarification may not stop the rumour mill being stoked by those who expect the president to speak out or appear in the public to dispel the speculation about his health .

Buhari transmitted a letter to the National Assembly to the effect that he would begin a 10-day vacation from January 23, 2017, but he actually began the vacation two days earlier, January 21. If the date to reckon with is January 23, he will be due to resume work on February 3. But if January 21 is the date to take, Buhari will be expected back at work on February 1.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the clarification yesterday in a live interview programme on CNBC Africa, which was monitored in Abuja. He said that the rumoured hospitalisation of the president was a figment of people’s imagination.
“The president is in London on vacation. He is not in any hospital and he is not ill. When he was travelling last week, the statement we put out was that he was going on vacation, and during the vacation he would do routine medical check-up and nothing has changed from what we pushed out last week. If anybody has fed something else into the rumour mill, that is just what it is – rumour,” Adesina said.

He said the president would decide if he wished to talk to Nigerians from the UK or not. “Despite the fact that he is a president, he still has his rights. Compelling him to come out and talk will be infringing on his rights. The president will talk if he wishes to, if he doesn’t wish to, nobody will compel him to talk. The truth is that the president is on vacation and he has given a date on which he will return to work.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also refuted a media report alleging that governors were planning to send a delegation to confirm the health status of Buhari in London. He says there is no need for such an emissary since the president is in good health.

Receiving members of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative’s Sub-Committee on Economic Development yesterday, the minister stated that governors were not meeting in Abuja because there was no need for it and there was no plan to send any emissary to London to see the president.

Meanwhile, security agents are planning to arrest and prosecute those peddling speculative news about Buhari’s health. A recent report that Buhari died in a foreign hospital nearly swept the nation into mourning again, after the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in circumstances shrouded in secrecy. The report was later confirmed to be false.

The Guardian learnt that the government, in a bid to curb the trend, has tasked top security agencies in the country to fish out the troublemakers, especially unregistered online media organisations which, in seeking recognition and ‘hits’, publicise fake news.

When The Guardian contacted the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Don Awunah, an Acting Commissioner of Police (Ag.CP), to confirm the report, he said those behind it were “just mischief makers out to deceive the public.’’

“You know the online thing especially, it is gradually becoming a menace to the Nigerian society. People stay in the comfort of
their rooms and claim they are publishing online, whereas they peddle a bunch of lies,” he remarked.

He said the visit of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to the United Kingdom to strengthen technical partnership with the London Metropolitan Police was also misrepresented by an online publication that he led a delegation of government officials to visit Buhari.

Asked if the police were tracing those behind the rumour with a view to bringing them to justice, Awunah said though they were not known, it would be proper to ask them to stop.

But a competent source told The Guardian on the condition of anonymity that those publishing and circulating the stories could be fished out within one week.

“But for now, there are some modalities being worked out, legislative frameworks and otherwise. The other way is that they would be charged with tax evasion, we all know it is a serious offence against the government for one not to pay tax, especially on a profitable venture,” he said.

A legal practitioner in Abuja, Cosmas Akighir, reacted thus: “The publishers of these alleged false stories have their freedom to circulate information, but it has to be credible in a manner that it is neither libelous nor seditious. If it is to inform, based on credible background, such a person is not liable.

“On the threat to democracy, it is two-folds: one is that, by circulating false information, like the one on the death of the president, you are fuelling the embers of insecurity and endangering democracy in the process.

“Where there is hunger for power in the military, like we had during the Gen. Sani Abacha days, some soldiers would have started playing martial music on national radio, announcing their takeover. So publishers or rather practitioners must be circumspect in what they publish.

“On another front, arresting these carriers of fake information would not go down well with the government. It is already unpopular among Nigerians. But if there are arrests, it would stem the tide of publication of false news.”

Dr. Anthony Igyuve of the Department of Mass Communication, Nasarawa State University, remarked: “Where a practitioner fails to send in credible and verifiable stories for publication, the whole essence of information dissemination is defeated. What is happening in the social media now is irresponsible and highly condemnable. Unfortunately, some of these so-called publishers were not adequately trained to practise, but the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the National Press Council (NPC) have failed in their role to standardise practice and ensure that quacks are weeded out.”

Activist, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGF.

Observers, such as a rights activist and a former Lawmaker, have continued to react to re-nomination of the EFCC Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Babatunde Ogala, a former Lawmaker in the Lagos state House Of Assembly, faults the interim report sent to the presidency by the Senate as not sufficient enough to throw out the candidacy of both men.

“The president has not said u were right or wrong, it has only pointed out that there are procedural errors.

“A legislature takes resolutions to the executive – You do not send interim reports, he stressed, adding that the Senate had sent an incomplete report.”


Questioning the actions of the Senate, he said: “Supposing the man had been sacked in your interim reports and your final reports now prove that its not even liable, what would have happened.

He then noted that although he was not exonerating or condemning the SGF, the votes and proceeding and interim reports, did not suggest that he was given a fair hearing.

The rights activist, Richard Nwankwo, on the other hand, believes both the SGF and the Anti-graft agency boss, ought to step down from office to allow for proper investigations into allegations leveled against them.

Nwakwo stressed that in the fight against corruption, there should be an elaborate, comprehensive and an intellectually driven campaign; which he believes is not what is playing out in reality.

“Éven if there is no merit from the allegation from the Senate, I expect that the gladiators involved ought to step aside for a thorough investigation to be done.”

They both gave their opinions while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.


President Buhari had on Monday, re-submitted the name of Mr Magu to the Senate to for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In that letter, the President explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.

The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir, over allegation of corruption.

Different Circumstances

Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has highlighted what it called differences in the circumstances surrounding both situations involving Magu and Lawal.

In a statement made in reaction to President Buhari’s letter, the spokesman for CACOL, Mr Wale Salami, explained that “there is the imperative need to separate Magu’s case and that of Babachir”.


Source: Channels TV

President Buhari’s UK trip, a total blunder – By Niran Adedokun

It now seems obvious that those who sold the idea of change to President Muhammadu Buhari did not reach what lawyers call ad idem with him from the outset.

Ad idem refers to a meeting of minds of parties involved in a contract on the very essence of that agreement. It is a critical ingredient whose absence is able to vitiate any contract subjected to the test of law.

Over the past 20 months, it has become increasingly discernable that those who hawked Buhari to Nigerians as the agent of transformation only successfully communicated half of the elements of Buhari’s agency to him.

This half, from what one perceives, ends with the urgent need for a change in leadership. That critical part wherein the desire to reform a country is followed through by a series of policies and actions was either not conveyed at all or got lost at some point during the conversation.

This is why it is impossible to reconcile the President’s avowed commitment to revolutionalise the way Nigerians think and conduct themselves with some of his actions. All of this makes you wonder whether Nigerians and members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) had the same understanding of change as they worked towards the definitive 2015 elections.

And please, no one should raise that already overstretched argument about change being a tedious, long process which an impatient nature makes Nigerians misunderstand.

That suggestions by itself, it a reprehensible slight on the resilient determination of millions of Nigerians who defied all odds to vote in Buhari about 21 months. What those who market this idea should realise is that even the long process of instilling effective transformation should be signposted by incontrovertible evidences of a deep, research-based understanding of the problem, a theoretical and practicable framework for the reversal of the problem, a palpable determination of the leader to solve the problem without fear and favour as well as an undisguised ability of custodians of the people’s mandate to lead by example!

Subjected to any objective evaluation, it is doubtful that the Buhari administration will exceed the very base of assessments on most of these fronts. The administration has, to say the least, wallowed in uninspiring ineptitude that should currently worry every Nigerian conversant with the urgency with which this country should get of the gallows of underdevelopment.

For example, Buhari and his party men have regaled us with tales of how we found ourselves in the current economic deep pit because past leaders of Nigeria allowed the importation of everything and anything to the detriment of production at home. They have gone further to promise to redress the situation and set Nigeria on the path of irreversible development.

Part of their design to achieve this is weaning the nation off its dependence on oil through relentless diversification and the encouragement of local manufacturing. Clear way to go, everyone would agree.

Towards the achievement of the latter in particular, this government has almost since inception imposed capital controls which has seen to the restriction of the importation of a number of items and the ability of many hardworking Nigerians to transact legitimate business, attend to their healthcare need or send their children to school regardless of the import of the latter to the country’s future.
The President coverts the collaboration and sacrifice of all Nigerians on these but he and some of his close aides are not exactly inclined to subjecting themselves to the very demands they make of their compatriots.

He would show total disregard for the sensibilities of Nigerians when he made that comment about being able to send his daughter to school abroad because he could afford it while insisting that those who can no longer afford it, even if through no fault of theirs, would get no help from government. A veiled suggestion that they should withdraw their children from schools abroad. Yet he indulges in this venture that costs Nigerians a whooping N1.5tr annually. What about bringing your children back home as a sign of your commitment to improving standards at home?

It is this same rationale that would make the President for the jump on a plane to seek medical attention in the United Kingdom, a second time in his less than two years in office,
And here one must acknowledge the clarification by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, to the effect that his principal’s primary mission to the UK is a vacation and that the medical checkup is a mere adjunct. He went on in his usual manner to denigrate Nigerians for trying to reverse the President’s scale of priority.

But the joke here is on Adesina and the government he serves. The bitter truth is that there could never be any acceptable reason for Buhari to embark on any of these missions out of the country at this time. I will explain.
Why should a President who desires to bestow a variegated economy on his country think of a holiday abroad? In his administration research into ways in which Nigerians “waste” billions of dollars on unproductive ventures annually, did it not encounter foreign travels for holidays? Doesn’t this administration understand how much could accrue as well as how much it could save from a thriving tourism industry? What better way exists for a President to encourage his people to holiday in-country than for him to lead by that example? After all, the late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua once did that in 2009!

And for the subsidiary purpose admitted by Adesina, this administration is gradually becoming a most pathetic failure at living to the reality of the expectations that it raised.
In two years and in spite of humongous budgetary allocations to the Aso Rock Villa Clinic, it has been unable to produce a world class hospital that could treat the president and his staff and save us occasions of rushed transfers in air ambulances as was recently reported concerning his chief of staff, Mr Abba Kyari!

A country in economic dire straits and bogged down by an epochal scarcity of foreign exchange should think of nothing but a conservation of its resources. It should work assiduously towards being able to treat its people and developing the capacity for medical tourism.

Rather than go out of the country to consult with medical doctors who emigrated out of the frustrations of a comatose system, the President should lead the mobilisation for the return of close to 10, 000 Nigerian medical experts in western and Middle East countries. Even if we do not have the vision to become a medical tourism hub, we could at least conserve monies in the excess of $1bn spent on this cause by our compatriots in 2013.
It is not clear whether the president’s decision to seek medical attention abroad came out of distrust of the Nigerian medical system, or the age long honest error of seeing everything foreign as better, but it is certainly not a project that the leader of a country of Nigeria’s current travails, size and resources should invest resources, even if they were personal, in.

I do not think Buhari has left anyone in doubt about his desire to lead a turnaround in the fortunes of the country, but then this is not one of those things that you wish into reality.
The president must realise that transformational leadership isn’t just about the title; it is more about the judicious use of the opportunity to show positive action and examples.

Before Buhari can hope to fix Nigeria, he must first fix himself and then show the way to go. He must continually improve himself in areas that he plans to improve the country before hoping to achieve success.

Anything less would place him on the same row with every other past leader that he always gleefully disparages. It is an prospect that the president should avoid like plague.


Follow me on twitter @niranadedokun

North-west reps: Nigerians can’t afford to lose Buhari in 2019

House of representatives members from the north-west geo-political zone believe President Muhammadu Buhari should stay in office beyond 2019.

Speaking to journalists after a caucus meeting late Wednesday, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, leader of the group, said Buhari had achieved a lot, particularly in the area of security.

The lawmakers also passed a vote of confidence on the Buhari administration and the leadership of Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the lower chamber of the national assembly.

“2019 will come and we will engage all stakeholders and Nigerians cannot afford to miss or lose the President Buhari in 2019,” Ado-Doguwa said.

“I want to believe that the security situation in the north-west has improved seriously and Nigerians are commending the president and we just have to commend him, support him and identify with him.

“We have also individually and collectively passed a vote of confidence in the leadership of President Buhari’s government and also the leadership of the house of representatives ably led by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

“We are speaking on behalf of the north-west people. I think as far as we are concerned; it does not matter what the people say; we want to say openly that Mr. President has done a lot in the area of security.

“In spite of the challenges, our people in the zone can sleep with their eyes closed and Nigerians are commending him. We have to commend him and we must support him.”

He also said the north-west zone was not properly captured in 2017 budget proposal.

“We looked at interventions in the budget and discovered that we have been under represented in the project allocation in the power sector and in education,” the legislator said.

“Also, the area of zonal interventions; we have concerns about it and we have agreed that as soon as the budget is committed to the committees, all members of the zone should be on the lookout and be vigilant.”

Ado-Doguwa advised the federal government to come up with a plan to end killings in Kaduna and the zone at large.


Source: The Cable

2017 budget debate: Reps hail Buhari’s estimates, say it ’ll reboot economy.

MAJORITY of themembers of the House of Representatives, yesterday, hailed the 2017 N7.3 trillion budget estimate of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as the catalyst that will reboot the Nigerian economy.


Also the Senate has begun debate on the general principles of the 2017 Appropriations Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari. Majority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila (Surulere federal constituency, Lagos), who led the debate, conceded that the budget was an ambitious one, adding that the ambition is precursor to the success.


He presented the highlights of the budget to include oil production projection of 2.2 million barrels per day, with benchmark of $42.5 per barrel, and exchange rate of N305/US$1.


Buhari, Osinbajo and Adeosun Other key assumptions of the budget include a revenue projection of N4.94 trillion, with N1.98 trillion expected from oil revenue and N1.37 trillion non oil revenue, while expenditure include N419 billion for statutory transfers, N1.66 trillion for debt servicing, N177 billion to a sinking fund for retirement of maturing bonds, N2.98 trillion to non debt recurring expenditure and N2.24 trillion to capital expenditure . Gbajabiamila added that the budget deficit for the budget was N2.36 trillion and to finance the deficit, government proposes to borrow N1.06 trillion from external sources and N1.25 trillion domestic borrowing.


“Prior to this time, capital allocation in our yearly budget was way below 30 percent and now this administration has raised it to over 30 percent. Before now, budget performance has been about 30 percent but somehow with little resources available, this administration hovers around the mid 50s range in terms of budget performance,” he said.


He added that while the administration targets better budget performance, it has been able to achieve the current rate by blocking leakages, broadening tax base and collection, and eliminated ghost workers.


A few, however, criticised the non-release of fund to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, MDAs, hinging their argument on the fact that 2016 budget performance was rather poor. MrJerry Alagboso (PDP, Imo), had argued during the debate that “this 2017 budget is almost like that of last year which was associated with poor releases of funds to MDAs.”


He urged lawmakers to take oversight functions seriously as this will make the executive and “they should remember that we have the constitutional right to make inputs into the estimates which some people call padding.” Several lawmakers simply praised the budget proposal but a few argued against it. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) argued that the exchange rate of N305 to the dollar was unrealistic, going by MTEF.


Backed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Gbajabiamila raised a point of order to the effect that MTEF has already been passed. Mark Terseer Gbillah (APC, Benue) however, argued that the exact exchange rate remains undetermined. Senate begins debate on principles of 2017 budget THE Senate has begun debate on the general principles of the 2017 Appropriations Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.


The commencement of debate on the budget, yesterday, was sequel to the passage of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF and FSP last week by the National Assembly.


In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presided over the plenary explained to the Senators the procedure of debate on the bill where 30 senators have been selected to speak during the consideration of the bill. Also yesterday, the Senate referred President Buhari’s request on the confirmation of the nomination of Mr. Aghatise Erediauwa for re-appointment as Executive Director of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions for further legislative input.


Leading the debate on the principles of the budget, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan presented a Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation – Total sum of N7,298,507,709,937 with Statutory Transfers of N419,020,684,000, Debt Servicing of N1,663,885,430,499, Sinking Fund for Maturing Bonds: N177,460,296,707, Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure: N2,979,151,756,196 and Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure: N2,058,989,578,536.


Senator Lawan, who noted that the budget was designed to stimulate and attract private sector capital and spending, however, stressed that the 2017 budget was to take Nigeria out of recession, create sustainable, inclusive growth and prosperity for all Nigerians in line with the change agenda of this present administration.


Source: Vanguard

Uproar in Senate over Buhari’s support for Babachir, Magu.

There was uproar at the Senate yesterday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued support for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

In two separate letters read by Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari pointed out perceived flaws in the resolutions of the upper legislative chamber last December against Babachir and Magu.

Among the complaints is that the Senate committee breached the rule of fair hearing by refusing to invite Babachir to any of its sections. The presidency also alleged that the report on which the lawmakers based their decision was interim not the final report.

The uneasy calm in the chamber as Saraki read the letter suddenly broke into uproar when he attempted to cut short a remark by the chairman of the ad hoc committee that investigated and indicted the SGF, Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central). The lawmakers resorted to chanting “Go ahead! Go ahead!! Go ahead!!!” to encourage Sani to continue his remark despite Saraki’s interjection.

When calm returned, Sani described the president’s letter against the Senate’s resolution on Babachir as “a funeral service of the anti-corruption war”.

According to him, the anti-graft campaign is so selective to the extent that when it has to do with the National Assembly, the judiciary and other segments of the society, the president uses insecticides but when it concerns anybody in the executive arm of government, he uses deodorants.

The lawmaker and civil rights activist said: “It is unfortunate that we have a political atmosphere where you have a saintly and angelic presidency and a devilish and evil society. We must in every respect fight corruption within the kitchen as we do in the veranda; if we don’t do that, then we are being hypocritical. This letter does not in any way reflect the spirit which we espouse as a people fighting to cleanse and fumigate this country of corruption.

“It is shocking to me that such a letter can come from the presidency with such misinformation and outright distortions. They lied by saying that the committee didn’t invite the SGF; the committee invited the SGF and the letter was acknowledged by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SGF, Mr. Aminu Nadehu

“To make sure that we buttress our point, we made a paid advert in three or four national dailies: this one was published on December 2, 2016 and the SGF is clearly mentioned as one of those expected to come and appear before the National Assembly.
“If they have the intention of simply reaching a pre-determined conclusion by covering up on the issues raised by the committee, that is one thing.”

On the president’s allegation that the report that indicted Babachir was signed by only three of the nine members of the committee, Sani said:

“That was also a second lie coming from the presidency. I have a copy of the interim report which was initially signed by seven of the nine members of that committee and I am going to submit it to the Clerk of the Senate. Even if it is nine and then three people signed, we still have a quorum, but here I have seven people.

“I will say also that I listened to the list of the names that were read and they omitted the chairman which is myself. I know I am not very big in frame but I believe my name shouldn’t have been omitted.”

Condemning the president’s response further, Sani said: “This shows clearly how the SGF and his minions in the presidency misinformed the president to sign this letter. Secondly, I will say this clearly, this letter is a funeral service for the anti-corruption fight.

“ Mr. President, I stand by the report of that committee and it is very clear to us: if we can allow this committee’s report to be shredded into pieces, then I think it would be in order for us to open all the 138 prisons in this country for all the convicts and awaiting trial inmates to go scot-free.”

At an earlier closed-door session that lasted for two hours, the senators took their turns to condemn Buhari’s response to the resolutions against Babachir and Magu.

It was learnt that the lawmakers particularly condemned why Buhari refused to address the issues raised in the DSS security report on Magu. “Is it that the report never existed or that it has been withdrawn?” a senator queried.

The lawmakers faulted the manner in which the Buhari’s letter was delivered in sharp contrast with the normal tradition of message delivery to the Senate.

“The letter was dated 17th of January but it was sent to the Senate president at 10:00 p.m. of 22 January. It was delivered to Saraki by hand and not through the normal message delivery channel to the Senate. Why the gap? Could it have been written by someone else and backdated?” another senator wondered.

It was pointed out at the closed-door session that the Senate would be breaching its rule if it went ahead to screen Magu.“The Senate rule forbids it from considering any matter upon which a judicial decision is pending. Why can’t we wait until the matter is decided upon by the court?” a lawmaker said.

The Senate said it would stand by its resolutions.Briefing journalists shortly after the session yesterday, Chairman of the Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdullahi Saabi Aliu, said the Senate had taken note of the fact that the president did not address the issues raised in the security report upon which the chamber refused to consider the nomination of Magu.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had fixed February 13 to hear a suit filed against Magu, challenging his continued stay in office as EFCC acting chairman.

Buhari’s Death Rumour: Our hands are clean – DAAR Communications

The management of Daar Communications has washed its hands clean from a purported Facebook post that published President Buhari’s death in London over the weekend.

The statement reads:

“The attention of the Management of DAAR Communications Plc has been drawn to a FACEBOOK Account purportedly being operated by our Organization.
A report was published on the FACEBOOK that the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President ;Muhammadu Buhari ;who is currently on vacation in London has passed on.
We wish to state the following facts:

• It is falsehood dressed up as truth that we opened such FACEBOOK Account

•We did not publish nor know anything about the report.

•None of our Correspondents in London filed such report.

The Editorial Policy of our Organization is that any of our Correspondents is mandated to file all their reports for vetting and approval before publication which can only originate from our headquarters No Correspondent could individually on his or her own decision publish or cause to be published any story.

• The FACEBOOK Account is the brain child of a faceless and mischievous group whose despicable activities must be investigated by security agencies because of the unpleasant consequences.

• We wish to state that AIT runs an official on-line site for News which is not available for use by outsiders.

• We dissociate ourselves completely from anything contained in the said report which is a figment of the imagination of the authors.

• We also disown the so-called FACEBOOK Account, and have officially reported to FACEBOOK Managers. ”