30 years on, ghost of Dele Giwa continues to haunt IBB.

October 19, 1986 has to be one of the darkest days in Nigeria’s history; hot on the heels of the horrors of the civil war of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the Boko Haram bloodletting in the North.

It was the day Dele Giwa, a journalist, was assassinated via a parcel bomb right inside his Talabi home in Ikeja, Lagos.

It was 11: 40am.

Giwa was 39 years of age at the time of his assassination. It will be the first time in the nation’s history that anyone’s life would be cut short by a letter bomb. No one has been assassinated by a letter bomb since that time, as well.

Giwa was the pioneer Editor-In-Chief and CEO of Newswatch Magazine. Alongside Ray Ekpu, Yakubu Mohammed and Dan Agbese, Giwa made Newswatch one of the most read titles in Nigeria in the ’80s.

He had returned to Nigeria after working for four years as a News Assistant with the New York Times. He would go on to perfect his trade in the National Concord and the Daily Times.

Dare Babarinsa, who worked as a reporter under Giwa, relieves that gloomy day in the history of the media in Nigeria.

“Newswatch was a great place to practise journalism. We had four of the greatest journalists under one roof and commanding the troops into battle. Then one day, our lives changed. October 19, 1986 was a Sunday. After service, I had gone to the office, as was the practice among us staff of Newswatch to pick up my copy of the Magazine. I was accompanied there by my friend and neighbor, Paul Okomayin, a banker and accountant. We got to the office at 62 Oregun Road, and met an eerie scene.

“Giwa had been bombed!

“A lady from Newbreed, another magazine founded by Chris Okolie, was telling me. She sensed my incomprehension. Giwa had been bombed! He is dead!”

Accounts of how Giwa died and conspiracy theories that culminated in his passing may differ from person to person, but the name of a certain General (retd) Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) who was Nigeria’s ruler at the time of the letter bomb assassination, has been a recurring decimal.

Lt. Col. A.K Togun, the Deputy Director of the State Security Service (SSS) was on Giwa’s case, as was  Col Halilu Akilu of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).

Togun and Akilu had accused Giwa of various offences from gun-running, plotting an insurrection against the government of the day and blackmail.

Akilu had called Giwa’s home and had asked for driving instructions to Giwa’s home a day before the parcel bomb tore through the journalist, leaving him mortally incinerated.

Giwa had been invited to the offices of the SSS and DMI before his death. He was a living threat to the military junta headed by IBB. His pen was mightier than the sword, to borrow a timeless quote.

There’s also been the Gloria Okon angle to Giwa’s death.

On 22 April, 1985, a certain Gloria Okon was caught with heroin and hard drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport. She was headed for London. According to some accounts, Ms. Okon didn’t even exist. Her real name was Chinyere.

The said Okon would ‘die’ in custody six days after she was caught; and a ‘corpse’ of hers paraded.

As the conspiracy goes, the ‘corpse’ of the Gloria Okon unveiled to the world had been exhumed from a mortuary. The corpse belonged to someone else.

Chinyere, according to the conspiracy theorists, was a drug mule for Maryam Babangida, late wife of IBB.

Giwa had spotted Chinyere in the UK and had assigned a journalist to take pictures of the lady. He was studying the pictures when a parcel arrived his home, bearing the seal of the “Commander-in-Chief”.

According to the New Telegraph, Giwa asked his seven-year-old son when he got hold of the letter: “Who brought this?”

“On the parcel was written “From the Office of the C-in-C” (commander-in-chief). Also written on it was that nobody except the addressee should open it. Billy told his father that he received it from Musa Zibo, the security guard. Billy left the room and Giwa suspended his meal and said to Soyinka: “This must be from the president.” He put the parcel on his laps and tried to open it with his right hand and that was it”.

Kayode Soyinka, who was with Giwa when the parcel arrived, had excused himself  to use the restroom. It turned out his saving grace.

Babangida has been mum for 30 years. In 2001, he shunned an invitation from the National Human Rights Commission to testify about what he knew concerning Giwa’s death.

It got worse: Babangida, Hakilu and Togun proceeded to the courts, obtaining a restraining order barring the Human Rights Commission from ever summoning them.

30 years on however, the ghost of Dele Giwa continues to stalk the land.

There have been several unsolved murders involving high profile persons in that span, but Giwa’s has been the only one carried out with a letter bomb. Giwa’s has been the only one perpetrated with such cold-blooded, brutal technique only the Military could have pulled off at the time.

All investigations into the death of Giwa have been frustrated, several administrations after. Most of the actors in the murder case are still alive. IBB still rules the roost in Minna, Niger State and is still regarded in certain circles as a political Godfather.

IBB continues to pontificate on matters of national concern.

Late legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi, fought unsuccessfully to unravel the one million dollar question: Who killed Dele Giwa?

IBB may not be the only Nigerian leader who’s got blood stained hands hiding under his Babariga (traditional Nigerian attire), but the death of the journalist may well haunt him until his dying day.

Continue to rest in peace, Sumonu Oladele “Baines” Giwa .

Mobil Pulls Out From Nigeria’s Downstream Oil Sector

United States-based ExxonMobil has divested its 60 percent stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc to Nipco Plc, an indigenous Nigerian downstream oil and gas company.

Given the latest divestment, French energy major, Total, is the only international oil firm that is still operating in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Nipco, in a statement on Wednesday, said the acquisition was agreed with the execution of a sales and purchase agreement with ExxonMobil.

Nipco Managing Director, Mr Venkataraman Venkatapathy, said, “With the signing, we will start the transition period and initiate the process of obtaining regulatory approvals from the requisite federal agencies – the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”

The Nipco MD said, “Nipco wishes to express its profound gratitude and appreciation to ExxonMobil for selecting us as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of MON.

“We wish to give every assurance to ExxonMobil that having entrusted us with this invaluable asset, we will ensure full brand compliance with ExxonMobil’s global standards as well as rigorously sustain and follow ExxonMobil’s code of conduct/ethos and operational excellence.”

BCPG President Kunle Awobudu Warns Of Possible Earthquake In Nigeria.

The national President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Mr Kunle Awobudu, has expressed the possibility of Nigeria experiencing earthquake and the need for the federal government to immediate take preemptive action by reducing the spate of substandard building construction across the nation.

Recall that mild earthquakes recently occurred in parts of Oyo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Kaduna states.

According to him, vibrations accompanying the earth tremors resulted in the collapse of mud houses and infliction of visible cracks in modern buildings within the affected areas.

“This development has clearly ossified the harbinger on the possibility of Nigeria having an earthquake induced disaster in the near future,” Awobudu said.

In a press statement made available to journalists in Lagos, Awobudu expressed concern that the notion that Nigeria is safe or far from seismic active regions is no longer tenable.

He disclosed that Shaki in Oyo State has been subjected to intermittent earth tremors this year and climaxed in the first week of June 2016. More so, communities in Bayelsa and Rivers on July 10, 2016 had a similar experience but in this case due to prolonged effect of oil exploitation.

Records from the seismological station of the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics (CGG) showed that the earthquakes that occurred in Kwoi area of Kaduna State on 11th and 12th September, 2016 ranged from 2.8 to 3.1 in magnitude.

The statement reads in part: “Shaki and Kwoi towns are not far from the Ifewara – Zungeru fault Zone, which is linked with the Atlantic fracture system. The fault transcends the South-West and North-West of the country, thereby making that stretch of land susceptible to seismicity due to stresses generated within the earth-crust, that is, partial reactivation of fossil plate boundaries.

“Earth tremors occurred in Nigeria in 1933,1939,1964,1984,1990,1994,1997, 2000, 2009, 2011 and now 2016. A series of earth tremors might not necessarily lead to the high intensity earthquake, a reason that should douse our fears.

“However, a study carried out by Dr. Adepelumi Adekunle Abraham of the Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife and his team of researchers exacerbated the portentous signs in the following grim words, “After the earth tremor of 2009 in South- Western Nigeria, (which) was felt in several towns and villages in Oyo, Osun and Ogun States, a detailed short-term probabilistic earthquake prediction was carried out by our team, our findings indicated the probability of earthquake occurrence in the study area between the year 2009 and 2028 increased from 2.8% to 91.1%.

“The result also showed that the probability of three events occurring annually has the highest likelihood within the predicted years. Also, found that the Weibull probability density model predicts a damaging earthquake (Magnitude 5) before year 2020.”

“Buildings are the bastion of physical development which is used to adjudge a nation’s rung in the global socio-economic ladder.  Investors in buildings should be concerned about the durability of the buildings they are providing fund for. The longer a building exists, the more the revenue or value the owner derives from it. Indubitably, a solidly constructed building can stand the test of time.

“The wise learns from the errors of others. Nigeria must not continue to repeat the mistake of Haiti and Nepal where stringent building regulations were lacking, thereby aggravating the effects of  the earthquakes on buildings. In an earthquake disaster, the vulnerable, substandard buildings have always been the major cause of high death toll. And unfortunately in Nigeria, the National Building Code is legally and practically not in existence just as it was in Haiti.

“A 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred near Bukoba town in Northern Tanzania on September 10, 2016. According to local authorities, all fatalities were people ‘in brick structures’ that collapsed. Lesson from this experience is a warning to prospective homeowners and developers in Nigeria that they should endeavour to follow due process and avoid quakes. Government should pay due attention to building construction from the scratch by strengthening ministries of physical planning and development control, and also uphold the tenet of professionalism in the nation’s building industry.

BCPG in the statement reiterated the call by the Director of  Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, in Toro, Bauchi State, Dr. Tahir Abubakar Yakubu that Nigerian government should establish additional seismological stations to monitor crustal movements in the identified earthquake prone areas, and the suggestions of Dr. Adepelumi Adekunle that Nigerian Government should invest in earthquake electromagnetic precursors monitoring devices that are capable of monitoring foreshocks, main shocks and aftershocks of any future earthquake event.

A nation without an effective national building code will end up in ruin in an occurrence of an earthquake. Enforcement of building regulations without compromise will prevent serious calamity in the future. Many nations, including USA, Japan and Australia have been constructing earthquake resistant buildings in their seismic regions. Nigeria can imitate such preventive measures. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” the statement reads.

HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) 2016; Seizing the moment for Nigeria(ns) – Gabriel Adeyemo

The HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) conference began yesterday the 16th of October 2016 in Chicago, USA. Unlike many other related conferences on HIV, AIDS, STIs, etc, the HIVR4P is very specific. It is the only global scientific conference that is dedicated exclusively to cutting-edge and up-to-date research on all forms of biomedical HIV prevention which include & not limited to HIV vaccines, Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Microbicides, treatment as prevention (TasP), and other biomedical prevention approaches. This year’s HIVR4P brought about 1,400 leaders in HIV prevention research, programs and policy makers to build on the successes of its inaugural to respond to a growing agreement that effective HIV prevention will require a combination of approaches.

Nigeria(ns) and the Demand for PrEP (#LeNNiB).
PrEP; Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is the use of anti-HIV medication that keeps HIV negative people from becoming infected. When used as prescribed, a single pill taken once daily will interfere with HIV’s ability to copy itself in the body after it has been exposed. Although approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), having shown safety and effectiveness, and been around in the U.S. for over a year, not a lot of people know about it.

The New HIV Vaccine and Microbicides Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) in the past months has mobilized civil society organizations and advocates in Nigeria and other partners to demand for PrEP through the; Leave No Nigerians Behind, #LeNNiB campaign.

Nigeria is a high burden country for many diseases. We (Nigeria) currently housed the second largest population of people living with HIV globally and have the largest number of new HIV infection each year. In 2015 alone, 210,000 persons were infected with HIV, despite the availability of condoms and other prevention tools. This was one of the world’s highest figures. Yet, HIV infection is avoidable if all persons at substantial risk for HIV – Women, Young Girls, Adolescents, MSMs, FSWs, IDUs, Sero-discordant couples and Men with multiple sex partners who find it difficult to use condoms – have access to varieties of HIV prevention tools.

Despite several pleas to GILEAD Sciences; an American biopharmaceutical company that developed and commercialized Truvada since 2004, which is the major prescription medicine that is used as PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection when used together with safer sex practices, their failure to register Truvada for use as PrEP in Nigeria is a denial of access to persons at substantial risk of HIV and finds the use of condoms challenging as a HIV prevention tool for HIV. This makes a layman to wonder if truly the world is fighting HIV/AIDS in one accord and that we are helping ourselves to end the epidemic that has being around for the past 34-35 years.  Or maybe Nigeria has been left behind in the global response to tackle the HIV epidemic.

Many have argued that the use of PrEP in Nigeria will promote promiscuity and other social vices. Others claimed it would limit the use of condoms and increase STIs. Also, we claimed not to have the funds to foster the processes and use of PrEP but we forgot the sero-discordant couples. We have forgotten the limited powers of the condom being contraceptives and also not 100% safe in the case of miss-use, leakage or sudden burst.

Lest we forget our scores and deliberately not seize this moment as a nation, Nigeria has the second highest number of people living with HIV in the world. We are making poor progress with prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV as this has tagged us “the country that leads the global manufacturers of children infected with HIV”. Opportunistic infection such as Tuberculosis also remain a challenging problem and a growing public health hazard in Nigeria as the country is identified as one of the 10 high burden countries in the world. With the high number of new infections, Nigeria is racing towards being a country with the highest number of people living with HIV in the world….”I believe this will be a very nice award and a place to clap for ourselves having achieved this feat”… Truth is, we need to stop this trend. We need to ensure effective HIV prevention tools are available to person who needs them.

Also, we should note that despite the low incidence of HIV in countries such as Kenya, France, Canada, USA, Australia, they already got PrEP approved and being served as part of their HIV prevention spectrum.

Our Ministry of Science and Technology has kept quiet, maybe because they lack funds to support life saving researches and are preparing for their proposed invention of “pencils” in the 2018; The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is not seen doing anything feasible on securing or sounding the alarm for the urgent need for PrEP; Our National Academy of Science is now a place where nothing happens except to celebrate international day of blahblahblah….

The fate of the nation’s health and her citizens has now being left in the hands of Civil Society Organizations (CSO), who are advocating & fighting for the masses and vulnerable people. The Ministry of Health is now a playing ground where policies abound, rebound, etc without implementations.

Gilead’s efforts to quickly register Truvada for use as PrEP in Nigeria should commence before the conclusion of the ongoing PrEP demonstration project in Nigeria. This is a call on behalf of the many people already asking for PrEP in Nigeria. Nigeria have to stop this trend of new infections as there are individuals already asking for PrEP, yet doctors cannot prescribe. We need/must meet the global targets of ending HIV as Nigerians cannot and must not be left behind. NAFDAC is already waiting for Gilead Sciences to register Truvada for use as PrEP in Nigeria, so also the over 174 million Nigerians are also waiting for new HIV infection to stop.

There are evidences that PrEP works when taken. Also, data from various demonstration projects has provided some information on what the “real-world” implementation of PrEP will be. Although, there may not be answers and truly do not need any, but Nigeria really should IMPLEMENT PrEP NOW!!!…

Gabriel Adeyemo MPH
Public Health Analyst; HIV/AIDS Advocate.
@vinnydrey @s4mnigeria

US expresses confidence in Nigeria’s fight against corruption.

United States Special Representative to Muslims communities, Shaarik Zafar, monday in Kano expressed optimism that the current fight against corruption in Nigeria would succeed.

Zafar spoke at news conference yesterday in Kano that he was in the state to offer opening remarks at an inaugural workshop on anti-corruption tool for religious leaders.

He said if corruption could be effectively tackled, the country would witness socio-economic growth and development.

“I am optimistic that if corruption can be tackled, the trend is positive for Nigeria based on the commitment.

According to him, the US government was committed toward assisting Nigeria in the current effort to fight corruption in the country.

“Nigeria’s success is America’s success, hence our decision to work with government, civil Society organisations and religious groups on areas to prevent corruption.”

The US envoy said the workshop would address how religious communities could work together to combat corruption, promote accountability, and encourage transparency.

According to him, the workshop was organised by his office under the US Department of State is aimed at educating Muslims leaders the dangers of the corruption.

“Like I said, I have a global mandate. So, I will encourage a continued focus by religious leaders on the critical challenge of combating corruption.

“This is not only because of their moral voice. Critically, religious leaders speak a common language with their communities.

“They also have incomparable access, unique networks and level of respect that can help in this common battle against corruption and to promote accountability.”

The envoy while in Abuja, is expected to meet with religious and community leaders and learn of their current challenges and opportunities.

Nigeria’s economic challenges surmountable – CBN

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday said the current economic challenges facing the country could be easily overcome.

Emefiele said this in Abuja when members of the Senate Committee on Banking and other institutions paid an oversight visit to the apex bank.

One of the economic challenges the CBN boss was referring to is the inflation rate, which went from an average of 9.2 per cent in 2015, to 17.85 in September 2016.

It is the highest inflation rate since October 2005, boosted by cost of food, housing and utilities.

Also the country is in recession, having witnessed negative growth for two consecutive quarters.

There is also the issue of volatile exchange rate and huge margin between the inter-bank rate and parallel market in spite of the introduction of a new foreign exchange policy.

The governor said that with the bank’s targeted interventions, the challenges facing the country would soon be over.

Emefiele said: “We seek your support for the success of the activities of the CBN, especially at this difficult time in our country.

“I would like to place on record, the support that the CBN has received from the entire Senate in the course of carrying out our activities as regulators of the banking sector.

“I must confess that yes, it is difficult, but I must say that the challenges are easily surmountable.

“We will, however, continue to crave the support of the Senate and the banking committee so that we can work together to achieve the common objective of making Nigeria habitable for Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiyu Ibrahim, said the entire members of the committee were at the CBN to get answers on the state of the economy.

Ibrahim said: “So we are here to listen to you and ask questions as lay men. We are most interested in getting answers on the implementation of the budget.

“We are interested in hearing from you in the areas of monetary policies. Most Nigerians believe that the monetary policies have contributed in plunging the country into recession.

“We will be interested in a breakdown of the various intervention programmes of the CBN.

“On this one, I believe there will be a need for CBN to send us all supporting documents.

“Also we want to know of all the loans the CBN has given out and how impactful it has been on the economy; the various bailout loans to states and repayment progress reports.”

On hearing this, the CBN Governor excused newsmen from the interaction before tackling the committee’s questions.

The visit lasted for about five hours and afterwards, Ibrahim addressed newsmen.

Ibrahim said that the committee was satisfied with the explanations of the CBN concerning the economy.

He said that the CBN was working with the Ministry of Finance and other fiscal policy makers to take the country out of recession.

FLASH: Former Minister Obanikoro, Has Been Arrested By The EFCC.

Former Nigeria Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro, who returned to Nigeria from the United States on Saturday, has been arrested by the EFCC.

Obanikoro, also a former ambassador to Ghana, fled Nigeria in 2015 after former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his bid for re-election.  He was smuggled into Nigeria with the help of some Nigerian government officials with whom he had engaged in a negotiation to turn himself in.  He had previously sworn not to return, implying he would be protected by the United States.

SaharaReporters sources say he is expected to remain in detention to face interrogation over allegations of corruption relating to bribery of army officers, electoral fraud and money laundering involving some N4.7billion that was taken from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Rtd. Col. Sambo Dasuki.  Mr. Dasuki is himself undergoing trial and is currently in detention.

Earlier today, Obanikoro flew to Abuja as early as 8:00 am but refused to show up at the EFCC headquarters as promised.  When it became clear that EFCC was going to declare him wanted, he finally arrived at its premises at about 1p.m. Nigerian time

An EFCC source told SaharaReporters that the former minister, who had on several occasions dismissed the work of the anti-graft agency, started making contacts about returning to the country when his daughter, Shalewa, was arrested and made some damning revelations about her father.

The source said Mr. Obanikoro confessed to officials involved in negotiating his return to taking money from the NSA to win the 2014 Ekiti State gubernatorial election at all cost for Ayodele Fayose, but conceded that only N800million made it into his private pockets.  He also revealed that out of the money allegedly from the NSA, N1.7million was given to former Senator Iyiola Omisore, while now-Governor Fayose stole the rest.

Since last week some of Obanikoro’s aides, including Kayode Bwalla, have stated to return to Nigeria but his two sons who were also involved in engaging in massive money laundering have not returned to Nigeria.

Obanikoro departed the US for the United Kingdom last week, first traveling to the Netherlands.  He then arrived in Lagos on Saturday evening and immediately went into hiding.

Adeosun: Development Bank of Nigeria must be ready by January

Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s minister of finance, says the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) of Nigeria must be ready by January 2017.

While stating that she and her team hd given themselves very tight timelines, Adeosun said there had to be some urgency in getting the economy back to growth.

She spoke about Nigeria’s history of stalling development projects, saying it needed to change to deliver much needed growth.

Speaking to NTA on Monday, Adeosun said her team was removing development bottlenecks and already working on the proceeds of the World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington DC.

“DBN was conceived about three years ago but hadn’t gone anywhere; this is 2016. We announced it and when we got there, we said, what are the problems?

“There were some bottlenecks, and fortunately we’ve been able to solve them, and on Saturday, we were on a panel interviewing an MD and CFO for the DBN, this thing must take off by January. Let’s have some urgency.

“DBN is very important because it is going to provide money for MSMEs; and for Nigeria, that is really important, because 50 percent of our GDP is from small, medium-sized companies, petty traders, so finding a way to get money towards them is a really important part of getting out of the challenges that we currently face.

“Getting Nigeria’s development bank off the ground is a big priority for us, and we have set for ourselves very tight deadlines.”

Adeosun said one of the successes recorded at the meetings was the progress of a $500m irrigation project, that was held up “because counterpart funding, just $4m hadn’t been paid”.

“So whilst we were there, we called the minister of water resources who said he just released the money,” she said.

“The world bank people were every excited, because it means that $500m irrigation project is going to improve our agriculture, is going to create jobs, and there are quite a few takeaways that are positive.”

Dollar Scarcity: Banks Suspend ATM Card Usage Abroad

The foreign exchange crisis hitting the economy has assumed a new dimension with Deposit Money Banks announcing the suspension of overseas Automated Teller Machine card services and online transactions denominated in foreign currencies, OYETUNJI ABIOYE writes

Deposit Money Banks have begun suspending their Automated Teller Machine cards (debit and credit) from working overseas as dollar scarcity continues to hit the economy badly.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank on Friday announced the suspension of their overseas ATM card services.

Also suspended by the banks are online transactions priced in foreign currencies. This means that customers of the banks will no longer be able to use their debit or credit cards to make online transactions that are denominated in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and other foreign currencies.

In a note to its customers on Friday entitled: ‘Suspension of international transactions on naira debit cards’, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria said, “Please be informed that effective immediately, your naira denominated debit cards will no longer be functional for international transactions.

“This is due to the current volatility in the foreign exchange market. Your naira-denominated debit cards can only be used for local transactions at Point of Sale terminals, Automated Teller Machines and online for Nigerian retailers.”

In a text message to its customers on Friday, Stanbic IBTC Bank similarly said, “Dear customer, kindly note that effective October 18, 2016, your ability to carry out transactions priced in foreign currency using our naira debit and credit cards will be suspended. We apologise for any inconvenience in this regard.”

Both Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria advised customers seeking to carry out transactions denominated in foreign exchange to apply for dollar or pounds sterling debit credit cards. According to them, the dollar or pounds sterling debit or credit cards will be linked to the customers’ domiciliary accounts.

GTBank also announced the suspension of the ATM cash withdrawal service abroad. The lender also slashed its monthly ATM forex transactions to $100.

In a notice to customers on Friday entitled: ‘Review of the international spending limit on your naira Master Card’, the bank stated, “We write to inform you of the monthly spending limits currently applicable when using your GTBank naira Master Card for international payments via PoS and online. Previous monthly limit via PoS and online was $250; the new monthly limit via PoS and online is now $100. Kindly note that ATM cash withdrawal on your naira MasterCard is now only available in Nigeria.”

The development will make students studying in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world to face more challenges getting their monthly stipends from their parents.

Most of the students had relied on the ATM card withdrawal to get their monthly stipends from their parents before now.

This means customers seeking to do foreign transactions will have to open domiciliary accounts and fund same with dollars, pounds or euros purchased from the parallel market at the prevailing exchange rates.

Although other banks have yet to announce the suspension of ATM card services abroad, findings by our correspondent showed that many lenders had reduced drastically the amount that customers could withdraw via ATMs abroad.

This is despite the fact that the banks have in the past few months reduced the monthly total amount of forex-denominated transactions that customers can do, using their naira debit or credit cards via ATMs and PoS terminals abroad as well as online payments or transactions.

As of last week, findings showed that some banks had slashed their daily ATM withdrawal limit abroad from the $300 advised by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Bankers Committee to $100 due to their inability to source for dollars to fund the transactions.

Unconfirmed sources said some banks had reduced their monthly ATM withdrawal limit abroad to $100.

Top banking officials close to the development told our correspondent under the condition of anonymity that banks were increasingly finding it difficult to fund their foreign-currency denominated services, especially online forex transactions and overseas ATM withdrawals, as well as PoS usage overseas by customers.

A top official of Deposit Money Bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on Sunday, “We have to stop the services. Formerly, we were sourcing forex at high prices and we were selling same to customers at similarly high prices. But the situation is now tense; the dollar scarcity has assumed a new dimension.

“This is coupled with the fact that some bank customers are using the platforms to do round-tripping. It is high time we stopped it.”

The decision by some banks to suspend overseas ATM card services and online forex transactions came barely one week after the CBN, through the Bankers’ Committee, raised concerns about what it called the indiscriminate and suspicious manner in which some bank customers were spending dollars and other foreign currencies abroad through their naira debit cards.

Consequently, the regulator said it had concluded that bank customers who spent above the $50,000 annual forex limit it imposed would be barred from the nation’s forex market.

The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, stated this after the 329th Bankers’ Committee meeting held at the apex bank’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.

She said, “In the CBN’s move to manage the demand for forex, there was a rule that was put in place that people were not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on their naira debit cards.

“For a while, the policy has been abused by bank customers, and the CBN has not taken any step to that effect. We have decided to take the step now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place.

“All your accounts are linked to a particular Bank Verification Number. Now, that the BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum, if people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”

Dollar scarcity has been ravaging the economy after the price of crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner.

It crashed from $110 per barrel to around $44 per barrel from June 2014.

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have been depleting since then.

On Wednesday, the country’s external reserves hit an 11-year low of $24.21bn, the latest data posted on the CBN website showed.

This means a limited amount of dollars will be available at the official interbank spot market, fuelling concerns over another round of depreciation of the naira.

The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.

An expert at Ernst and Young, Mr. Bisi Sanda, lamented on the dollar pressure on the economy.

He said the Federal Government needed political will to address the issues fuelling dollar scarcity on the economy.

He said, “The issue of dollar is very important to the economy. It is predicated on the fact that we are a dollar-denominated economy. It appears the government is still begging issues as far as the import-dependent state of our economy is concerned.

“We need to fix issues, we need to go back to the drawing board. The CBN said between 2010 and 2016, a total of $11bn was sold to the Bureaux De Change annually. We need to plug leakages in this area.”

US Supports Nigeria With Additional $92m To Fight Poverty

The United States of America (US) has announced an additional developmental assistance of $92.73million to Nigeria to help fight poverty.

The sum which was given through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is meant to support the five-year $2.3 billion agreement signed with the Nigeria Government in 2015.

A statement from the Information Unit of the US Embassy in Abuja added that the amount brings the total of development assistance provided to $474.74 million.

According to the statement, “This funding will continue to help Nigeria reduce extreme poverty in a more stable, democratic society.  Activities will stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more-educated population and strengthen good governance.”

Speaking further, USAID Mission Director, Michael Harvey, who stated that the US is pleased to contribute additional funding in support of the agreement signed with the Nigerian Government in 2015 expressed confidence the funding woud have a significant impact on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

In an effort to align Nigeria’s development plans with sector-specific strategies, USAID collaborated with the Nigerian Ministry of  Budget and National Planning; the Nigerian Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Power, and Education; and state-level government counterparts to structure the agreement, which is in place until 2020.

Read More: thisdaylive

Baby Traffickers Thriving In Nigeria As Recession Bites- Report

As 16-year-old Maria strained under the anguish of labor in southeastern Nigeria, a midwife repeatedly slapped her across the face – but the real ordeal began minutes after birth.

“The nurse took my child away to be washed. She never brought her back,” the teenager said, gazing down at her feet.

Maria said she learned her newborn daughter had been given up for adoption for which she received 20,000 naira ($65.79) – the same price as a 50 kilogram bag of rice.

And Maria is far from alone.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigative team spoke to more than 10 Nigerian women duped into giving up their newborns to strangers in houses known as “baby factories” in the past two years or offered babies whose origins were unknown.

Five women did not want to be interviewed, despite the guarantee of anonymity, fearing for their own safety with criminal gangs involved in the baby trade, while two men spoke of being paid to act as “studs” to get women pregnant.

Although statistics are hard to come by, campaigners say the sale of newborns is widespread – and they fear the illegal trade is becoming more prevalent with Nigeria heading into recession this year amid ongoing political turbulence.

“The government is too overstretched by other issues to focus on baby trafficking,” said Arinze Orakwue, head of public enlightenment at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Record numbers of baby factories were raided or closed down in the southeastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo this year, NAPTIP said.

A total of 14 were discovered in the first nine months of 2016, up from six in 2015 and 10 in 2014, the data showed.

But despite the growing number of raids, the scam exploiting couples desperate for a baby and young, pregnant, single women continues with newborns sold for up to $5,000 in Africa’s most populous nation where most people live on less than $2 a day.

Cultural barriers are also a factor in the West African nation, with teenage girls fearing they will be publicly shamed by strict fathers or partners over unwanted pregnancies if they do not give up their children, experts say.

“In southeastern Nigeria a woman is deemed a failure if she fails to conceive. But it is also taboo for a teenager to fall pregnant out of wedlock,” said Orakwue.

Maria said in the home in Imo state where she gave birth pregnant teenagers were welcomed by a maternal nurse who liked to be called “mama” but went on to sell the babies they delivered.

“(After I gave birth) somebody told me that mama collected big money from people before giving them other people’s babies,” Maria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the grounds of a school compound in her village.

“I do not know where my baby is now,” said Maria, using a false name for her own protection.

A lot of the trade is carried out in Nigeria but authorities suspect babies are also sold to people from Europe and the United States because many foreigners continue to seek infants there despite the controversy around Nigerian adoptions.

Read More: reuters

U.S. provides $92.7 million to reduce poverty in Nigeria

The United States Government has announced the sum of $92.73 million in developmental assistance to support the five-year $2.3 billion agreement signed with the Federal Government in 2015.

The U.S. Embassy in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the amount was being provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The embassy explained that the money brought the total of development assistance provided in the agreement to $474.74 million.

“This funding will continue to help Nigeria reduce extreme poverty in a more stable, democratic society.

“Activities will stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more educated population, and strengthen good governance,” the embassy said.

It quoted the USAID Mission Director, Michael Harvey, as expressing the confidence that the funding would have positive impact on Nigerians.

“Today we are pleased to contribute additional funding in support of the agreement signed with the Nigerian Government in 2015.

“With their leadership we know this funding will have a significant impact on the wellbeing of Nigerians,” it said.

The statement also said that USAID had collaborated with the Federal ministries of Budget and National Planning, Health, Agriculture, Power, and Education effort to align Nigeria’s development plans with sector-specific strategies.

According to it, USAID also collaborated with state-level government counterparts to structure the agreement, which was in place until 2020.

“In addition to the developmental funding, the U.S. provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by the ongoing conflict and severe food insecurity in Nigeria and throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

“Since fiscal year 2015, the U.S. has provided more than 366 million dollars in humanitarian assistance and continues to be the single largest bilateral humanitarian donor to the region,” it added.

Of Peace, Conflict Resolution & National Cohesion – Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr

“My Son, we are better together than separate. What we need is the will to make right our union, and Statesmen whose motivation is to bequeath a fair Country to posterity” – Elder Chris Nwaokobia Snr (1939-2003).

Every so often serious issues of state dominate the intellectual sphere as well as the regular space, I find a unanimous call for peace, a concord that belies the anger in the land, a concord that belies the ethnic bend of leaders and the led, a concord that belies our regional and religious bigotry, and sadly a concord that fails to interrogate the reason there are internecine conflicts across the land.

Crises and conflicts are naught but natural occurrences that test our candour, our civility, our composure and our maturity. They are oftentimes man-made, they are products of our actions or inactions, and they are problems that a willing people can attempt and solve.

I write to stimulate a new thinking. I write to remind you my Compatriots that if nations have triumphed over racism, over apartheid, and over troubling dichotomies of Colour, WE CAN. I write to inform you my Countrymen and women that at some point in this union every Tribe, Creed or Clan has hurt each other, and have also at different times benefited from each other. I write to inspire the emergence of patriots and Statesmen who are willing to build a nation where Justice and Equity is prime. And I write because I agree with my father, that we are better together than separate.

May our debates interrogate the reason we are where we are, and may our drive prefer the highway of Peace, of Justice, of Equity, of Love and Patriotism over partisanship. To the Bridge, Dear Friends.

Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr

Nigerian Banking Industry Seen In ‘Full-Blown’ Credit Crisis – Bloomberg

Nigeria’s banking industry is experiencing a “full-blown financial crisis” as failed fiscal and monetary policies lead to a credit crunch, according to Arqaam Capital.

Unity Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc are close to being insolvent, while lenders FBN Holdings Plc and Sterling Bank Plc “will need a dilutive capital hike,” Jaap Meijer and Tarek Sleiman, analysts at the Dubai-based investment bank and brokerage, said in an e-mailed note on Monday.

Capital ratios are set to worsen because of currency depreciation and souring loans, they said. Calls to Unity weren’t immediately returned and Skye didn’t reply to questions.

The central bank in July replaced the management of Skye after the lender breached liquidity thresholds, spurring concerns about the health of small- and medium-sized lenders, and reviving memories of bank rescues by the government after the financial crisis in 2009.

Nigerian banks are grappling with a devaluation of the naira, rising bad loans and an oil-dependent economy that’s set to record its first annual contraction in more than two decades.

“Our acid test reveals seven under-capitalized banks” with a deficit of as much as 1 trillion naira ($3.2 billion) in the financial system, Meijer and Sleiman said. A stress test identified FBN as the most under capitalized lender with Unity, Diamond Bank Plc, Skye, FCMB Group Plc, Sterling and Fidelity Bank Plc also showing deficits if they were to fully provide for non-performing loans, according to Arqaam.

“Our bank is strong,” Ikechukwu Mike Omeife, a spokesman for Diamond Bank, said by phone from Lagos. “Our capital-adequacy ratio and non-performing loans are within the statutory requirements.”

Common Challenges

Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday that Nigeria’s five biggest banks share common credit challenges related to the economic slowdown.

Moody’s expects non-performing loans to increase to about 12 percent over the next 12 months. The ratio of non-performing loans to total credit rose to 11.7 percent at the end of June from 5.3 percent at the end of 2015, the Abuja-based Central Bank of Nigeria, which requires banks keep the measure below 5 percent, said in a report on its website.

The five largest lenders, which together hold 57 percent of the country’s banking assets, “are able to absorb all losses under our severe stress scenario,” Moody’s said. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc showed “the greatest resilience” and the other four banks were Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., the ratings company said.

To create a capital buffer, Sterling Bank is planning to issue a 27 billion-naira bond and “if the interest rate looks better, we will do it this year,” Abubakar Suleiman, the lender’s chief financial officer, said by phone. “We will do it if the rate goes down to around 15 percent or 16 percent. We don’t want to raise it at a very high rate. If we do it, it will take our capital adequacy ratio to over 15 percent.”

Some Buys

Arqaam rates FBN, Skye, Sterling, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Unity and Ecobank Transnational Inc. as sell, according to the analysts’ report. Zenith, Access and United Bank are rated buy.

Central Bank of Nigeria’s spokesman Isaac Okorafor didn’t immediately answer his phone or respond to text messages. Diamond, Unity and Fidelity didn’t answer calls. Moses Obajemu, a Lagos-based spokesman for Skye, didn’t immediately reply to questions sent to him by text message, as per his request.

Diamond, Fidelity, Wema Bank Plc, FCMB Group Plc, United Bank and Skye recorded declines in Lagos, with Zenith ranking as the most traded stock among the 171 securities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index.

Diamond Bank fell 5.5 percent, Fidelity dropped 4.3 percent, Skye Bank slid 4.6 percent and Unity slipped 4.1 percent. Union Bank Nigeria Plc, which is part owned by London-based Atlas Mara Ltd., was the second-biggest gainer, rising 5 percent.

GE Confirms ‘Keen Interest’ in $2 billion Nigeria Railway Concession

General Electric (GE) confirmed its a “keen interest” in acquiring a Nigeria railway concession project worth around $2 billion, the U.S. company said on Monday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said this month that GE would be investing $2.2 billion in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage some of the country’s railways.

“Given the size and scope of the proposed project, it is likely that the debt and equity commitments required from lenders, consortium partners and other co-developers will be in the range of $2 billion or more,” GE said in a statement mailed to Reuters.

It said the concession was in the formal procurement process.

Nigeria has been looking for partners to overhaul its aging railway system, which was mainly built by British colonial rulers before the country’s independence in 1960.

The West African nation has also signed two deals worth around $5 billion with China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), part of China’s state-owned railway construction firm, to modernize and build railways in the north and south of the country, the Nigerian transport ministry said last month.

Growth in Nigeria – an OPEC member whose economy has slipped into recession for the first time in more than 20 years after being hammered by low oil prices – has been stunted for decades by a lack of investment in roads and railways.

GE said the railway concession project came on top of around $150 million the firm was currently spending on capital expenditures in Nigeria as cited by a senior company executive last week.

5 things we learnt from Zambia vs Nigeria – Ifreke Inyang

The Super Eagles of Nigeria began their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with a gritty 2-1 win over Zambia in Ndola on Sunday. But beyond the final result, what else did we learn?

Carl-ing on a pair of safe hands

So when Vincent Enyeama announced he was retiring from international football last year, there was almost a national day of mourning. But in the matches he has played, his replacement Carl Ikeme, has put in very fine displays. And the result on Sunday could have been different, if not for some of his excellent stops.

In Troost we trust

Gernot Rohr could have easily named William Troost-Ekong as the only defender in the team. He was a man mountain. Immense, quick and dedicated to snuffing danger. Kenneth Omeruo was all over for the place for Collins Mbesuma’s goal and the full-backs. No, let’s not talk about them.

The England boys

In the first half when the Super Eagles played some of their best football, there were two standout performers – Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi. It was the Arsenal man who opened scoring, with a sublime volley, while Iheanacho showed great composure to put Nigeria into a two-goal lead.

Captain Obi reporting for duty

Once again, John Mikel Obi, was an irrepressible presence in the centre of midfield for Nigeria. The Chelsea man, who is yet to feature under Antonio Conte, seems to be relishing wearing that armband for his country. He was denied a goal in the encounter by the Zambian goalkeeper.

They continue to roar under Rohr

It’s two in two for the German. And in both games, one can easily see what he is trying to do. The Eagles don’t look leggy and laboured anymore. There is more combination play and you feel with a few more tweaks here and there, Rohr will soon present to us a national team we can boast about again.

‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke

Nigeria Hungry For Infrastructure, Not Iphones – Adeosun To World Bank

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, says Nigeria is hungry for infrastructure that can drive growth —not iPhones and expensive suits — which can only raise consumption.

Speaking at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington on Wednesday night, Adeosun said Nigeria was on a journey of transition aimed at driving short, long, and medium-term growth in Africa.

“We have just started a journey of transition, which will take us from an economy that was really dependent on oil, primary commodity, to a more productive economy, and we recognise that the differentiator will be infrastructure,” Adeosun said.

“We have come from spending 90 percent of our budget on recurrent and only 10 percent of capital. We are trying to move to 70:30, which is not enough.

“From the numbers that we have done, the infrastructure gap that we face, even if we devote our budget [to capital]for the next three years, it is not enough. So we’ve got to look for creative ways to mobilise additional capital.”

Adeosun, who was the only African minister on the high-level panel, said Nigeria —and Africa as a whole — is the new infrastructure and investment destination, adding that there is nothing left in the west.

“We are hungry for infrastructure. We have got 170 million people who don’t have power in sufficient quantities. We don’t have a rail system; we don’t have a road structure. We believe that if we solve those infrastructure challenges, the entire productivity, agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, our unemployment problems could all be solve.

“It seems very simple, in terms of what needs to be done. We are quite excited about negative interest rates. We like that you’re not earning any money. We are happy to take your money and give you very small positive interest rate.

“We think that the time has come; everyone is thinking out of the west. There is nothing left in the west, everybody has to now come to Africa, but we don’t want investors to come to Africa to sell us iPhones and many expensive suits.

“We want to become productive, and so we want this investment to come into infrastructure, that will enable us to compete and really enable Africans to stay in Africa.”

“We think the narrative around who pays for infrastructure is a very important one in Africa. I think there is a sense of expectation from the people that the government will deliver infrastructure, but we believe that the user pays.

“I say that because at the moment, if you don’t have the infrastructure, you’re paying anyway. The public pays; If you spend six hours on a journey that should take you an hour, you’ve paid.

“So how do we convert that payment, which is currently informal and very painful, into a formal payment and a therefore revenue stream that could attract investors is the challenge that we are working on now.”

Adeosun said Nigeria would not wait for investors to lead in infrastructure, but that the country was already taking a lead that investors can follow.

“As I have said, we are leading with our own money. We are looking at regulatory framework, that would enable investors to come in. We know it’s a new market and we are going to de-risk it.

“So what we are starting with are just infrastructure bonds that we guarantee, and then hopefully, when investors get an appetite for what the Nigerian infrastructure framework can provide them in terms of returns, we believe we will be able to remove some of the safeguards needed at the moment.

“Our population is young; we have to provide a standard of living that keeps young vibrant Africans in Africa because we think that is very important for eliminating poverty.”

Nigeria needs infrastructure, not iPhones – Adeosun tells donors, investors

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has informed multilateral donor institutions and investors that Nigeria is hungry for infrastructure that can trigger growth, not iPhones and pricey suits that will drive consumption.

Adeosun spoke Wednesday night at a session during the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in Washington D.C., saying investors must start to realise that western economies are matured and offer lower returns, while Africa with its infrastructure gap offers greater returns.

The minister made the remarks on the heels of the announcement by the IMF that it would offer zero interest rate on its concessional lending facility from 2016 to 2018 to Nigeria and other low-income economies that are in dire need of financial support to boost their economies and overcome challenges as a result of low commodity prices.

Adeosun said: “It seems very simple, in terms of what needs to be done. We are quite excited about negative interest rates. We like that you’re not earning any money.

“We are happy to take your money and give you very small positive interest rate. We think that the time has come, everyone is thinking out of the West, but there is nothing left in the West, everybody has to now come to Africa.

“But we don’t want investors to come to Africa to sell us iPhones and many expensive suits.

“We want to become productive, so we want this investment to come into infrastructure that will enable us to compete and really enable Africans to stay in Africa.”

She informed her audience that Nigeria has started a journey, which would take its economy from being dependent on oil as a primary commodity, to a more productive economy.

Adeosun said the economy had moved from spending 90 per cent of its budget on recurrent items and only 10 per cent on capital expenditure, to 70 per cent on recurrent expenditure and 30 per cent on capital expenditure.

“From the numbers that we have done, the infrastructure gap that we face, even if we devote our budget for the next three years, it is not enough, so we’ve got to look for creative ways to mobilise additional capital.

“We started of course with spending our own money (pension funds) because we think, of course, that the first thing we have to do is to re-establish some benchmarks, some ability to deliver on roads, on rails, on basic infrastructure,” she said.

According to her, Nigeria’s long-term plan is to mobilise private capital. “We think the narrative around who pays for infrastructure is a very important one in Africa. I say that because at the moment, if you don’t have infrastructure, you are going to pay anyway. If you spend six hours on a journey that should take you an hour, you’ve paid.

“So how do we convert that payment, which is currently informal and very painful, into a formal payment and therefore turn to a revenue stream that could attract investors, That is the challenge that we are working on now.

“As I have said, we are leading with our own money. We are looking at a regulatory framework that would enable investors to come in. We know it’s a new market and we are going to de-risk it.

“So what we are starting with are just infrastructure bonds that we guarantee, and then hopefully, when investors get an appetite for what the Nigerian infrastructure framework can provide them in terms of returns, we believe, we’d be able to remove some of the safeguards needed at the moment.

“We are hungry for infrastructure. We’ve got 170 million people who don’t have power in sufficient quantities, we don’t have a rail system, we don’t have a road structure, we believe that if we solve these infrastructure challenges, the entire productivity chain — agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, our unemployment problems — could all be solved.

“Our population is young; we have to provide a standard of living that keeps young vibrant Africans in Africa, because we think that is very important for eliminating poverty,” the minister stated.

Ghana Begins Fuel Exports To Nigeria

Ghana has started exporting fuel and gas oil to the landlocked countries of West Africa.The state-owned Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) Limited, is also supplying petroleum products from the same depot to Benin Republic and Nigeria. Ghana’s Minister of Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who made this known at the meet-the-press series in Accra, said there were plans to extend the exports to Liberia in the coming months.

 

The minister said the vision of the government was to make Ghana the hub for the distribution of petroleum products in the West African sub-region.The Bolgatanga Petroleum Depot, with a capacity of 46 million litres of refined gasoline and gas oil, was re-inaugurated in August 2015.

 

Buah said Ghana had been ushered into a new gas era that would guarantee its energy security for the next two decades. “Despite the global downturn in the oil industry, we have managed to increase production“, Buah said. Ghana’s strategic stock was at an all-time high, with about one million metric tonnes of petroleum products IMPORTED from January to June 2016.

 

Ghana is planing to become the major marketer of refined petroleum product inWest Africa and we here in Nigeria are the giant of Africa with Nothing to show for it.Imagine Ghana achieving this feet with IMPORTED petroleum product and I wonder what is wrong with Nigeria before you export anything out of a country that means you have enough to give out.

 

We have more than four refineries in Nigeria and we can’t even produce enough product for our daily consumption.

NESH to mobilise for Nigeria’s exit from recession

The Nigerian Entrepreneurship Summit and Honours (NESH) has designed a tool to mobilise entrepreneurs to lead the country out of the current economic recession.

The maiden edition of NESH is scheduled to hold on November 16 and 17 at Ballroom and Grand Ballroom of Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Founder of the summit, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, said at the pre-event briefing in Lagos that the project is targeted at making Nigeria a haven for entrepreneurs to become the major drivers of the nation’s economic development.

He said it was time for both young and aspiring entrepreneurs to see the need to promote made in Nigeria product in order to help bring the country out of recession.

“NESH will be at the forefront of promoting the patronage of Nigeria made goods and services for the world and not for Nigerians alone,” he said.

He added that this year’s edition would provide an avenue for thought leadership and engagement, knowledge exchange, networking, benchmarking and appreciation of the contribution of entrepreneurs to national development. NESH will offer not only a live hub but also build out an online platform (NESH TV) for and about entrepreneurs, offering advice, case studies, news and analysis.

There will also be a NESH for young entrepreneurs from age 18 to 35 years named NESH-NXT, and some of the NESH-NXT attendees will also participate in the NESH to gain further insight and network with more experienced entrepreneurs.

“It is fortuitous that NESH will be commencing when Nigeria is in an economic recession. NESH as a platform will be at the vanguard of mobilising Nigerian entrepreneurs to lead the country out of the current recession.”

“Expected to be in attendance at the NESH are leading lights of Nigerian entrepreneurship and the public sector, led by the grand patron of NESH, Prof. Yemi Oshibajo, SAN, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

The Chairman, Board and President, Africa Import and Export Bank, Dr Benedict Oramah, would deliver the inaugural keynote speech.

Ugwu-Oju added the NESH, will honour and recognise comprise of NESH Titan; NESH entrepreneur of the year; NESH 100; NESH 500; NESH award to state governments.

The NESH Titans is the equivalent of Hall of Fame in some jurisdictions. These are entrepreneurs dead or alive, who were giant entrepreneurs in their various fields at one point or another.

Nigeria Will Be Out Of Recession Soon- British Envoy

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Thomas Arkwright has assured that the country will be out of the recession soon.

The High Commissioner said the United Kingdom would sent its expertise to Nigeria to fast-track the nation’s rebound.

Speaking during the Closing Gong Ceremony, at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos yesterday, Thomas Arkwright said part of his duty in the country was to ensure that more British companies are encouraged to list on the stock market as well as help build a stable economy.

Thomas Arkwrite who described the Nigeria Stock Market as a vibrant one, notwithstanding the economic downturn, explained that the market mirrors the entire economy, adding the stock market remains the only channel through which both local and international companies can raise capital to finance huge projects.

“There is a strong partnership between the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Part of my duty here is to encourage British companies to come and list their shares.

“I know we are looking at the time of economic difficulty in Nigeria. I know the market reflect the economic situation here. But I am confident that in the immediate to medium term, perhaps in the short-term, Nigeria will turn the corner, and the economy will pick-up, employment will pick-up and inflation will come down.

“The United Kingdom is a willing partner to Nigeria. We have a strong and healthy Stock Exchange in London, and there is the expertise that can be shared here with the Nigerian Stock Exchange. That is part of the job to find how we can corporate economically”, he added.

Speaking on how soon British companies would approach the nation’s market for listing, he said; “Nigeria has a way to go, you know Nigeria is still low on the index in doing business.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/nigeria-will-be-out-of-recession-soon-says-british-envoy/

Nigeria Drops To 127th Place On WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index

Nigeria has dropped three places to the 127th position on the latest World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2016-2017, out of 138 countries surveyed. The country was previously ranked 124th on the index.

At 127th position, Nigeria only performed better than Madagascar, Yemen, Venezuela, Congo DR, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Mozambique, Chad, Mauritania and Malawi.

The report, which was released Wednesday by WEF, showed that Nigeria ranked lowest in health and primary education, and was greatly affected by a weaker macroeconomic environment.

“Nigeria is among the African economies hardest hit by the reduction in commodity prices, falling three places to 127th overall,0 almost entirely due to its weaker macroeconomic environment (down 27 places) and financial sector (down 10 places).

“Although still relatively low, the government deficit has almost doubled since last year and national savings have significantly suffered, worsening the current account position.
“Banks are less solid, reducing the availability of credit; despite the central bank ending its currency peg, financial authorities have retained restrictions on access to the interbank market, meaning access to finance will remain difficult for many businesses.

“Additional factors holding back Nigeria’s competitiveness include an underdeveloped infrastructure (132nd), which is again rated as the country’s most problematic factor for doing business; insufficient health and primary education (138th), with only 63 per cent of children enrolled in primary school; and the poor quality and quantity of higher education and training (125th),” it added.

Read More: thisdaylive

Nigeria requires $12m yearly for family planning, lifesaving drugs – UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Nigeria requires between $12 million and $16 million yearly to procure family planning commodities and lifesaving drugs.

Of this figure, the Ministry of Health has pledged to budget $3 million for next year.Executive Director of the UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, stated this in a statement at the end of his visit to Nigeria.

Osotimehin noted that the inability of Nigeria to provide sufficient funds to procure these commodities would not affect UNFPA’s contributions to Nigeria, which amounted to about $7 million for commodities and lifesaving drugs in 2015.

He described the $12 million to $16 million funding requirement as a small amount considering the huge return on investment, saying, “nobody can place a value to life.”

The UNFPA chief said he had secured the commitment of Nigeria’s health minister to set aside money to buy these commodities.

“This is in addition to a commitment obtained at a meeting the UNFPA executive director had earlier in the year with the president and the minister of finance on a business case for family planning whereby Nigeria will annually just increase its contributions to getting commodities for the country until when the nation will be solely responsible for getting these commodities.”

On when the UNFPA would withdraw its aid to Nigeria, he said the agency would build on the business case for family planning until the country’s budget could finance the responsibility of procuring these commodities.

He urged the media to highlight the benefits of family planning to women and young girls.Osotimehin expressed happiness with the level of improvement of the wellbeing of girls supported by the Adolescent Girls’ Initiative, as most of the girls were unable to communicate in English language before the programme.

“UNFPA would like to clarify that the executive director did not mention $34 billion as the agency’s expenditure on maternal and lifesaving commodities for Nigeria during the media briefing, as reported by a news medium,” the statement stated.

Nigeria’s World Cup group worse than ‘Group of Death’ – Pinnick

Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying group is worse than ‘Group of Death’ according to the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The three-time African champions will have to go past Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia to qualify for a sixth World Cup.

“Nigeria have been drawn in a group beyond ‘Group of Death’,” said NFF boss Amaju Pinnick.

“Algeria are Africa’s leading team, Cameroon have won the African Cup of Nations four times and have featured at the World Cup seven times, and Zambia have also proved themselves.”

The Eagles, under a broke NFF, will begin the final stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers away in Zambia on Sunday.

Both teams last clashed at AFCON 2013 hosted by South Africa and it ended in a 1-1 draw.

In November, they will welcome Algeria to Uyo in continuation of the series.

Tony Ademiluyi: The Beginning of The End For Jagaban?

In 1990, Bola Ahmed Tinubu did the unthinkable by resigning his job as a treasurer in Mobil now Exxon Mobil in his bid to join the murky waters of Nigerian politics. In an interview he granted to the News Magazine, he wanted to go beyond backing the gubernatorial ambition of Chief Dapo Sarumi to playing an active part in the policy. He saw the Senate as a platform to contribute his quota towards national development. Some of his bosses tried to talk some sense into the then young man as he stood a good chance of being a future leader in the American multinational. If you consider at the time that exile to the west was gradually creeping in as a national norm, that decision was indeed not for the faint of heart.

In 2014, he took another gargantuan risk by facilitating a merger of different political parties to form the All Progressive Congress to wrestle power from Goodluck Jonathan. Many pundits were miffed at the decision of Tinubu to amalgamate many strange bedfellows who were not guided by any known political ideology. His acceptance of Buhari was also curious because this was a man who was the beneficiary of a coup and in a decent clime could have been punished for treason. Why would Tinubu who nearly lost his life to the military goons, had his residence firebombed by Abacha agents, lived in forced exile for four years shuttling between the UK and the US be comfortable with fighting for a Buhari Presidency? Could he have forgotten the past so soon, was it mere political expediency or did he just want power from behind the scenes for its mere sake? Pundits were indeed curious to see how the rather macabre dance would play itself out.

History was made and the foreign media praised his dexterity to the high Heavens in making the victory of the opposition possible in a country where the power of incumbency played a decisive role in electoral contests. Rumours abound of his pact with Buhari to nominate his minions to plum cabinet positions and watchers kept a beady eye on whether he could emergence on the national scene as a reincarnation of the decimated Chief Tony Anenih who at the height of his influence was revered as the Mr. Fix It.

As expected in the use and dump game of the ruthless world of politics, none of his acolytes got a cabinet position. He was also outwitted by Saraki and Dogara which ensured that none of his disciples were in charge of the National Assembly. With the passage of time, he has been reduced to an effete leader with his foes mocking his title of National Leader which has no official party recognition.

In his piece titled ‘Bola Ahmed Tinubu and those who want him dead’ by former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, he mentioned Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola as a man who would never betray him no matter what. The overriding philosophy in politics is that it is a game of interests with no permanent friends or adversaries. Ogbeni’s open celebration with Fayose may be a subtle way of reading the signs of the times and thinking of smart ways to realign especially when the current loyalty to a dying leader is no longer a politically smart move. What do you make out of the parting of ways by Fashola, Fayemi, Amosun, Akeredolu etc? Being an open protégé of Jagaban may threaten the buttered bread so it may be best to send him to the hangman. What do you make out of Dr. Segun Abraham’s losing of the Ondo State primaries to Akeredolu? Jagaban also surprisingly cried out against the ‘rebellion’ of the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun. If his powers were still intact, shouldn’t the first Edo State Governor get quietly eased out? Alas the former NADECO Chieftain may have been reduced to a minuscule cry baby!

The final nail in the coffin is the recent revelation by Professor John Paden who wrote Buhari’s biography on the fact that Jagaban actually opposed Osinbajo’s vice-presidential nomination. This is surprising because one got the impression that the Lion of Bourdillon gave it up as it would have been difficult to fly a Muslim-Muslim ticket. This new revelation is indicative of the fact that he actually wanted a rehash of what happened in 1993 when Abiola and Kingibe ran on a Muslim-Muslim ticket. The biographer contended that Tinubu actually piled a lot of pressure on Buhari not to accept Osinbajo who served him as Attorney-General for eight years. Wonders shall never cease! We heartily await a response by Tinubu or his media team as this latest revelation will be a very interesting topic for the chroniclers of history.

Empires rise and fall; trends evolve. His decline was expected because of the unpopularity of godfatherism. Not like the concept is a bad one as there from time immemorial, there have always been leaders of thought and public opinion moulders which have punctured the holes of the ruse of ‘one man, one vote.’ However, the practice in Nigeria has been inimical to the interests of the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. It was no amazement that the concept of change would be used against one of the initial purveyors by swiftly relegating him to the background after his services post-election clearly had no relevance. In Robert Greene’s ’33 Strategies for War’, the book opened up with a soldier who led his people to victory and rather than crown him King, they led him to the guillotine where his head was impaled. That seems to be Tinubu’s current fate.

What are the options for Tinubu? Wage a war to bounce back to relevance? On what grounds would that be as the tide doesn’t favour ruling from behind the scenes. The betrayal and treachery would only multiply. Should he seek elective office once more? What mileage would he possibly get from that as if things stay this way, that wouldn’t bolster his status in 2019?

Maybe it’s time to try something new. After conquered the worlds of accounting and politics, perhaps it’s a sign to move on to something else. He may not have heeded Shakespeare’s call in quitting when the ovation was loudest but it’s never too late. What more does he want? Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Tony Ademiluyi, Lagos

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Recession: London Companies Will Continue To Do Business In Nigeria

Mr Carl Woolf, International Trade Adviser at the United Kingdom(UK) Department for International Trade on Tuesday said that London companies would not be discouraged by Nigeria’s current economic recession.

Woolf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a ‘Market to Nigeria’ trade mission to Lagos that London companies would continue do business in Nigeria.

“London companies will continue to see Nigeria as a country with 180 million population with future huge opportunities.“Economic recession or not, London companies strongly believe in the huge investment opportunities in this country, Nigeria.

“It is even better for us to be here during this current Nigeria’s economic recession for us to really know what the future holds for our companies here,’’ he said.

Woolf, who led a mission of London companies to Lagos, said that the companies were visiting Nigeria to establish long-term business relations with Nigeria.

He said that the mission was being part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to enhance the competitiveness of London SMEs in international markets.

The UK International Trade Adviser said that the companies were interested and would be providing a wide range of products, services and expertise to Nigeria’s energy, infrastructure, agriculture and education sectors.

Woolf, however, said that it was imperative for Nigeria to examine her recent World Bank’s low ranking in Ease-of- Doing Business.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/recession-london-companies-will-continue-to-do-business-in-nigeria/

EU Advises Nigeria To Devalue Naira

A European Union (EU) official, Fillippo Amato, has advised the federal government to devalue the naira as part of measures to tackle the economic recession.

Amato, Counsellor, Head of Trade and Economics Section of EU, made this known in an interview with journalists yesterday. The EU official, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said recession could not be addressed with traditional development tools.

He added the recession was a recent development which was due to a number of factors, including the fall in oil prices and resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.

“To come out of recession, the country has to take brave decisions, regardless of how unpopular they may be such as fully and effectively devaluing the naira.

“Devaluing the naira is a measure, which will finally reassure investors and attract new capitals to the country.

“At the same time, it will further reduce imports, thereby removing artificial forex restrictions, and removing any potential waste of scarce resources such as the fuel subsidy.

“Improving security (in the North-east and Niger-Delta) and ease of doing business are also key factors on which the government must urgently work to re-launch the economy,’’ he said.

Read More: thisdaylive

Nigeria To Deport Jamaican, 4 Cameroonians

The Nigerian Army says it plans to hand over six foreigners who were arrested in the course of its anti-terrorism war to the Nigeria Immigration Service, for deportation.

The foreigners include four Cameroonians and one Jamaican.

Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 division of the Nigerian Army, stated this while speaking with journalists in Maiduguri on Sunday.

Mr. Ezugwu said that the foreigners were among suspects arrested at various raids in Boko Haram terrorists camps, but were cleared of affiliation with the group.

He said that the suspects had been found to have entered the country illegally.

“We handed over 348 cleared detainees to the Borno State Government on Saturday

” Some other suspects were not released because they had committed crimes that are civil in nature, as such, will be handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.

“Among this category are six foreigners who illegally entered Nigeria.

“They consist of four Cameroonians, one Chadian and one Jamaican; these foreigners will be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service for deportation” , he said.

Read More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/211801-nigeria-deport-jamaican-four-cameroonians.html

Jumia Nigeria Is Launching Jumia Local To Sell Made-In-Nigeria Products

Jumia Nigeria is marking Nigeria’s 56th independence day anniversary this year by introducing an online store dedicated to products made in Nigeria. They’re calling it Jumia Local and the official launch is this Saturday, October 1, 2016 .

Jumia Local is Jumia’s way of supporting local entrepreneurs and brands that manufacture or assemble their products in Nigeria. Merchants on the site will be able to sell their products on at 0% commission, and their products will be promoted through Jumia’s marketing channels (social media accounts, mobile apps, billboards, and radio).

Jumia is calling this a social responsibility initiative that’s aimed at growing the local economy. According to Bili Sule , Head of Business Development, Jumia Nigeria, “To build a sustainable and healthy ecosystem for Nigeria, we need to focus on products made in Nigeria. The change starts with each and everyone of us and Jumia will lead the way by taking the responsibility to promote our own Nation’s products.”

As expected, vendors that want to sell on Jumia Local must have their products made or assembled in Nigeria.

 

Another condition is that they have to sell online exclusively through Jumia for the first six months

President Buhari will do everything possible to make Nigeria great again – VP

President Muhammadu Buhari is ready to put everything on the line to make sure Nigeria is great and he has no other objective other than seeing this dream come true, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

“This morning, I had a meeting with the President and he repeated to me twice, he said ‘at my age there is only one thing I am looking for, I want to see a great Nigeria’. He has no other objective and I feel very inspired by that,” Prof Osinbajo stated.

The Vice President spoke while receiving a delegation of Christian Ministers Welfare Initiative also known as the Pastors’ Forum, Taraba State, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Prof. Osinbajo while restating the firm commitment of the President and himself to a great Nigeria where peace and justice reign said “it is madness for anybody in our position to be looking for money. According to him, God put people in a position of authority for them to be able to do something for their people.

“I think if any Nigerian gets the chance to be president of the country, there is nothing he/she is looking for anymore except that while there you improve the lot of the people,” he added.

Linking the economic situation to corruption and official graft, the VP stated that “no economy can tolerate the level of corruption seen in Nigeria without the consequence, Nigerian lives were being lost and yet people cannot account for $15 billion meant for purchase of security equipment to fight the insurgents.”

Besides, the Vice President also explained how the factor of vandalisation of oil installations is contributory to the recession.

He said Nigeria has lost several millions of barrels of crude oil due to the activities of the militants in the Niger Delta.

According to him, by early 2016 the country was producing 5,000MW of power for the first time, but by February 2016 the Focados terminal  was destroyed by militants and 40 per cent  of the gas used to fire the power plants were lost and the country was down to 2,500MW of power.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, at the time the militants started blowing up oil and gas installations, the amnesty stipend were still being paid, “nothing changed, the only reason is that we  are investigating people who have stolen money.”

He added that the country was loosing one million barrels of oil a day, nothing that, that is 60% of the country’s revenues, and there is nowhere such amount of revenue is lost without going into  some  economic challenge like a recession.

While expressing optimism that the country will come out of the recession, the VP stated that “there is no question at all, God has a reason for bringing us in at this time and God helping us we will see a change in this country.”

Vice President Osinbajo urged the Church and all religious leaders to stand up against corruption, stressing that if this government is doing the right thing by fighting corruption the Church should support it.

In response to some of the concerns of the delegation, the Vice President assured that the Federal Government is working very seriously to end the problem of ravaging herdsmen. He said the President has instructed the police and the military to act and deal with anybody who carries arms.

He then urged that anybody with early information or intelligence on such violent activities should give it to government and the security agents for effective response. He also added that those behind the ‘herdsmen violence’ are criminals.

While calling on honest and forthright men in the country to work together, Osinbajo said God has structured Nigeria in such a way that no one can dominate another, not Muslims against Christians or Christians against Muslims.

“It is not possible for one tribe to dominate another based on the way God has structured the country. The reason we have Christian president and Muslim vice president or Muslim president and Christian vice president is to have balance,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the delegation, Rev, Godwin Nyiekule said the delegation was in the State House to pledge their support to the Buhari Administration for its forthrightness and fight against corruption.  “We are happy with the government for the war against corruption crusade,” he said.

Rev Nyiekule also highlighted that the Christian Ministers Welfare Initiative is a non-partisan group but supports good persons who want to participate in government, adding that the federal government should come to the assistance of those churches whose premises are being used as IDP camps.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity
In the Office of the Vice President

Shaping Nigeria’s Future is Your Responsibility – India Tells FG

The Vice-President of the Republic of India, Mohammed Hamid, yesterday at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), charged the federal government to recognise its enormous responsibilities in shaping the future of the country.

Hamid, who stated this in a lecture at the University of Lagos, entitled Legacy of Indian Freedom Movement,’ said: “Nigeria and India, as large developing countries with multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual societies, have enormous responsibilities within their countries and in shaping the future of their region and beyond.

“Our youth, with 60% Nigerians under the age of 25 years and more than two-thirds of India’s 1 .2 billion population under the age of 35 years, are our strength. We have a great opportunity to work together to channelize this demographic dividend.”

He disclosed that Nigerian youths in India were contributory and constituting their strength, considering their size.

Hamid, who urged the youths to have a sense of history, said that natural experiences could have relevance beyond borders in a fast shrinking world.

According to him, legacies do endure but no legacy, however, strong can last forever, adding that legacy tended to erode and become irrelevant unless reinforced and developed.

‘’Youth should know that the environment that encourages their aspirations was built on the sacrifice and toil of others before them,’’ he said.

He further charged youths to emulate the legacies of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi of India, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Aminu Kano of Nigeria who positively influenced their generations.

He said: ‘’India was blessed that a set of people of incredible talent and wisdom graced the period marking our struggle.

‘’The possessed moral integrity of the highest order; the tallest among them was Mohanda Karamchand Gandhi, whose singular efforts transformed the struggle from a campaign by the elites into a true mass movement.’’

56th Independence Anniversary: FG Declares Monday Public Holiday

The Federal Government has declared Monday, October 3, as Public Holiday to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido and issued to Vanguard Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen (rtd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, while making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulates Nigerians at home and abroad on the commemoration of this year’s independence anniversary and assures them that Government is working assiduously to put in place various palliative measures to cushion the effects of the current economic challenges.

The Minister enjoins all Nigerians to continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his avowed determination to build a strong, virile and united country in line with the dream of the country’s founding fathers”, the statement added.

Why Nigeria Can’t Rely On Donors’ Funding- UNFPA Chief

Nigeria cannot continue to rely on donor support for family planning and lifesaving commodities, the Executive Director of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin has said.

The UNFPA chief, who is also the UN Under Secretary, is in Nigeria for a three-day visit with the Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Mark Lowcock, to boost access to reproductive health services.

Estimates have it that DFID funds nearly 60 per cent of family planning commodities in Nigeria’s public health sector.

At a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema in Abuja, yesterday, Osotimehin said there has to be a larger commitment where the government should plan to transit out of “donor support over time.”

He called on states to step up support for life-saving interventions instead of leaving all funding and support to the Federal Government.

Osotimehin pledged the support of the UN agency for the Presidential Committee on North East Intervention, stressing that most of the support to the region would be channeled through the panel.

Onyema lamented how the insurgency in the North East was derailing the health and humanitarian situations of the people resident there.

The minister, however, maintained that government was working hard to ensure the streamlining of donor support for the region.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/why-nigeria-cant-rely-on-donors-funding-by-unfpa-chief/

Nigerian Drug Lord Deported From Kenya Sneaks Back And Gets Arrested

Controversial Nigerian businessman Anthony Chinedu. A Nigerian drug lord Emmanuel Peter Lovembe, who was deported from Kenya in 2013 alongside Mr Chinedu, was Wednesday arrested in Kayole after he sneaked back into the country.

In Summary
In June 2013, he was arrested and deported together with Anthony Chinedu for involvement in narcotics trafficking.

Three months later he also sneaked back and was arrested in Donholm estate

He was arrested together with a Kenyan woman, Ms Virginia Wakini, who had just arrived from Tanzania via Namanga border when police raided their house.

A Nigerian drug lord who was deported from Kenya in 2013 following a presidential order was Wednesday arrested in Kayole, Nairobi, after he sneaked back into the country.

Mr Emmanuel Peter Lovembe was arrested in Kayole estate on Wednesday at around 2pm.

On Thursday morning, the suspect was picked from the station by detectives from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) and the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) for interrogation.

In June 2013, he was arrested and deported together with Anthony Chinedu for involvement in narcotics trafficking.

Three months later he also sneaked back and was arrested in Donholm estate

He was arrested together with a Kenyan woman, Ms Virginia Wakini, who had just arrived from Tanzania via Namanga border when police raided their house.

He confessed to have come back using different identification documents through Namanga.

FG Slams Economist Magazine Report On “Change Begins With Me” Campaign

The Nigerian government has slammed United Kingdom-based magazine, The Economist, over its report on the government’s anti-indiscipline campaign: Change Begins With Me.

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the campaign on September 8, calling on citizens to imbibe new values and change attitudinally before demanding the “change” which he had promised.

But in a report titled: ”Nigeria’s war against indiscipline, Behave or be whipped” – on September 24, The Economist blistered the new campaign.

Locally, the campaign had met with criticisms that – the idea was not original; Mr. Buhari plagiarized parts of his speech during the launch; and that the President was trying to shift burden of “change” promise.

Days after the magazine’s critical report, Nigerian government through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, reacted on Wednesday. Mr. Mohammed described The Economist’s as “racist” and one characterized by “embellishment”.

“Contrary to the newspaper’s self-professed belief in ”plain language”, the article in question, from the headline to the body, is a master-piece of embellishment or dressed-up language,” said Mr. Mohammed.

“It is loaded with innuendos and decidedly pejorative at best, and downright racist at worst.

“The Economist wrote that President Buhari wants to ”tame” Nigerians with the ”Change Begins With Me” Campaign. For those who are the owners of the English language, the use of that word is unpardonable, “The verb ”tame” suggests that Nigerians are some kind of wild animals that must be domesticated, and the usage reveals the mindset of the authors of the article: a deliberate put-down of a whole people under the guise of criticising a government policy,” he added.

Read More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/211560-nigeria-slams-racist-economist-magazine-report-change-begins-campaign.html

Nigeria Already Getting Out Of Recession– Minister

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, on Wednesday said that the nation was already getting out of recession, saying the Federal Government had taken steps that were in the best interest of the citizens.

Adeosun disclosed this in her closing remarks at a two-day conference of National Council of Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Abeokuta.

“We are already getting out of recession because of the actions the Federal Government is taking, if you are in a problem, the day you start to step towards progression, you are already getting out of it.

“The government is investing more in capital than we have ever invested, we are sorting out infrastructures, we are stopping wastage and so the sign of recovery is already there.

“Agriculture and solid mineral are already starting to grow and so they are responding to our policy initiative and we are expected to continue in that direction.

“Nigeria is getting out of the trouble that we have found ourselves, we are turning things around and I believe everybody is united and everybody that were here represented the 36 states, “she said.

Read More:

Nigeria is already getting out of recession – Minister

Nigeria League Winner To Get N40 Million

Champions of the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season stand to win N40 million from the Merit Award of the League Management Company (LMC).

Rangers International of Enugu and Rivers United of Port Harcourt are the two clubs in contention for the big prize money.

The reward is from a total of N200 million pool the LMC has set aside as reward for final positions on the league table at the end of the season on Sunday.

Last season, the highest payout from the Merit Award, which went to Enyimba International, was N30 million from a total pool of N150 million. This year’s total figure of N200 million represents an increase of 25% over last year’s.

The Merit Award pool has been increasing annually, from N50 million in 2012/13 to N75 million in 2013/14 and now N200 million.

The top three clubs on the final table usually received the chunk, which supports the clubs’ preparation for the CAF Club competitions the next season.

According to figures released by the LMC, the champions will have received a minimum of N90 million in all direct payments for the 2016 season.

This includes the Basic Award, which comprises pool of funds shared equally by the 20 participating clubs; the Merit award paid to clubs based on their final position on the table, and the Football development award.

Read More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/211566-nigeria-league-winner-get-n40-million.html

India To Invest $5bn In Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the proposed investment of $5billion in the Nigerian economy by the business delegation that accompanied the Vice President of India, noting that India had already invested $10 billion in the economy.

According to a statement by his senior special assistant on media, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said Nigeria will continue to expand its relationship with India in the areas of health, education, agriculture, technology and trade.

Receiving the Indian Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, at the State House, President Buhari said Nigeria had over the years benefited from the cooperation of the Asian country in trade and investment, agriculture, technology and the fight against terrorism.

President Buhari said Nigeria would emulate the Asian country’s agricultural model and capacity to feed its one billion population, and also export to other countries, describing the country as “sustainable and prosperous’’.

The President noted that Nigeria would continue to support the reform of the United Nations Security Council, pointing out that it was unfair on the rest of the world for five countries to exercise power of ‘‘yes or no’’ in the UN.

In his remarks, the Indian Vice President said his country, which is the leading buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil, will increase its purchase of the commodity in addition to natural gas.

According to him, the relationship between Nigeria and India is near perfect as both countries ‘‘have nothing to quarrel about’’.

Despite recession, Dangote vows to scale up investments in Nigeria, Africa

In recognition of his immense contribution to human capital development in Africa through the establishment of businesses across the African continent, a United States of America-based Organization, Africa-America Institute (AAI) has honoured the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, with the “2016 African Business Leader Award.”

The business guru was named and presented the award at a colourful ceremony held on the side-line of the United Nations Congress held in New York city, United States alongside other prominent Africans like Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), who won the AAI ‘2016 U.S. Business Leader Award’; and Sunil Benimadhu, Executive Director of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM), who won the AAI ‘2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.’

Dangote said he was humbled by the award considering the pedigree of the award which celebrates African achievement at the global stage and promised that he would not be deterred by the current economic challenges in Nigeria but would intensify the expansion of his businesses across Africa.

At the award Gala themed “Education: The Key to Africa’s Economic Growth,”, Dangote expressed delight that the Institute brought education in Africa to the front burner., noting “I have always been passionate about education because I believe it is a weapon of liberation.

Drawing a reference from a Nelson Mandela quote that: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”, the Chairman of Dangote Cement, global, said he identified himself with laudable initiatives that seek to promote educational growth and development, particularly in Africa.

“As a matter of fact, I am a founding member of the Gordon Brown-led Global Business Coalition for Education. Education is also one of the cardinal areas that the Aliko Dangote Foundation focuses on.

“I believe quality and affordable education will address the immense social and economic inequalities that often breed discontent in many parts of Africa. I also believe education will strengthen the human capital that will drive Africa’s development in the 21st Century.

“I am happy to note that AAI has been contributing to Africa’s development, through training and education, since it was founded 63 years ago. This award is coming at a time the Dangote Group is rapidly expanding its footprints across Africa, and into new sectors.

“Last year alone, we commenced cement operations in Ethiopia, Zambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania. By 2019, we will have operations in 18 countries with a total capacity of nearly 80MMTPA, thus making us the largest cement producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the world.

“Over the next few years, we will be investing nearly $20billion in projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals, fertiliser, gas pipeline, and backward integration in sugar and rice production.

“These projects will create over 250,000 jobs and provide foreign exchange earnings and savings of $16 billion for the country and help diversify our economy. Central to this developmental trajectory is the need for capacity building and ramping up of the quality of skills of a fast growing African workforce.

“Despite the current economic challenges, we will continue to scale up the value of our investments not only in Nigeria but also across the entire continent, because we believe in Nigeria’s and Africa’s potential. We believe that it is only by sustained massive investments in infrastructure across the continent, supported with access to education, that Africa can reach its full potential.

“This award will further encourage us to redouble our efforts as we work towards promoting Africa’s economic renaissance. We are grateful to the organisers for recognising our modest efforts to transform Africa”, he stated.

Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management.

Its primary model is to identify capacity-building projects and coordinate the programmatic, financial administration and evaluation necessary to deliver high-impact results.

Labour threaten to shutdown Nigeria over planned national assets sale

Oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, have threatened to shut down the country should the Federal Government carry out its plan to sell national assets to augment revenue shortfall.

Also, the Trade Union Congress on Sunday said it would join PENGASSAN to shut down the country if the government remained adamant on its plan to sell some national assets.

PENGASSAN, in a statement on Sunday by its National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said the government should look into other ways to increase its revenue base while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.

The union, which described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move for Nigeria, said, “The plan meant to solve short-term financial obligations is targeted at handing over our collective wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the rest of our countrymen and women.”

It said government at all levels should pump money into the economy through the execution of capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to revive the economy.

PENGASSAN said it would not sit back and watch the sale of national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry, such as the Nigeria LNG that had become a huge revenue-earner for Nigeria; refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations being shared among those in power and their cronies.

It said, “Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the association, as PENGASSAN will galvanise every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt.

“Some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians had earlier advocated the sale of public assets such as the NLNG, four state-owned refineries, Nigeria’s stakes in the Africa Finance Corporation, the nation’s airports and reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations and this was approved by the National Economic Council.”

Reacting to the recent approval of the sale of the national assets by the NEC, Ojugbana said the sale of the assets would further compound the economic and security problems in the country.

He added, “They should tell us what will happen after the recession if we have sold the assets to greedy individuals. Will the country go cap in hand begging those individuals who bought the assets and borrowing from them?”

He said the plan “is ill-timed and unwarranted as it does not serve national interest,” adding that no nation could develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.”

PENGASSAN stated, “Doing this will further mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals. These individuals are just looking for advantage to further loot the country through illegal acquisition of the national assets as in the case of various oil blocks held by a few powerful Nigerians.

“The sale of national assets is not only surprising but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession. The proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation.”

According to him, such sales in the past, including the power and steel sectors privatisation, are just a shift from public monopoly to private monopoly, which has further worsen those sectors.

“It is, therefore, the candid position of PENGASSAN that such a plan should be thrown into the trash bin. Government should continue to seek better ways to address the present economic challenges and reduce areas of wastage. The long overdue calls for diversification of the economy should be driven with all seriousness; more action is required urgently than propaganda mechanism,” he said.

The President of the TUC, Bala Kaigama, said on the telephone on Sunday that the Congress would collaborate with the two major unions in the oil sector because the planned sale of the assets was flawed.

He noted that if those who invested in the assets had sold them, the current administration would not have met them.

Kaigama said, “We will solidarise with them. You cannot sell vital assets like that. You don’t. If those who invested in the assets had sold them, would they have met them?

“Of course, these business people, who are saying sell and sell, let them pay the appropriate taxes. Those people who are not paying the appropriate taxes, let them pay the appropriate taxes and money will accrue to the Federal Government.

“TUC will solidarise with NUPENG and PENGASSAN to shut down the country.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress, on its own, said while it would take necessary steps on the issue, it had not taken the decision to shut down the country.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, stated on Sunday that the congress would inform Nigerians when the decision was taken.

Ozo-Eson added, “No. We are a democratic organ; we have our processes. We have not taken a decision; when we take a decision, we will let the country know.

“If individual unions have announced, we have no quarrel with that. We are opposed to it (assets sale) and we will take the necessary steps. We have not yet taken that decision of shutting down the country or whatever. We will inform the nation when we take that decision.”

Ideals, Imperatives and Patience Towards a Nigeria that Works – Laolu Akande

An ideal situation is one where things work most perfectly, and as desired. It is where and when expectations and fulfillment dovetail. We all live for ideals. There is a way the quest for the ideal gravitates our lives towards feats and accomplishments that otherwise could have been missed. Imperatives on the other hand are the unavoidables, necessary and required things or better still, actions that must be taken. But in order to attain ideals, there would always be imperatives on the way, some of them possibly unflattering and inconvenient.

For example in 1776 when the American elites of the day took a firm decision to declare independence from King George III of Britain, they fashioned out a well crafted vision of freedom, liberty and equality which the emergent United States of America would represent and advance. That was a noble ideal. But they had to fight fatally and fiercely, for a total of 8 years in all, to clinch their ideal of independence. The war, which British historians named “revolt of the colonies,” but which their American counterparts rather called “war of independence,” (or American Revolutionary war, was the imperative.)

Nigerians voted for President Muhammadu Buhari, in good part, because as a people we had gotten to the point that majority of us could no longer tolerate the astounding level of corruption in government and the then seeming intractable security catastrophe in the Northeast.

For good measure, the Buhari/ Osinbajo ticket also did an excellent job during the campaigns, depicting the possible economic resurgence that could be attained in the country and how. The ideals were very clear, agreed and well embraced. What many of us possibly did not imagine were the imperatives that would have to be confronted on the journey to the ideal.

One lesson I have surely learnt in public service in the last 15 months is the virtue of patience: it’s the useful conduit between ideals and imperatives. But mine is a story for another day. It is the ideal relationship that ought to exist between a master/superior and his/her servant that I want to talk about in laying a background to say some other things.

The master hires a servant and assigns a duty, expecting performance as soon as possible. That is the ideal. The servant tackles the assignment but there is a time lag between effort and result, including certain unpleasant imperatives which prolong the expectation of the boss, and the boss becomes understandably impatient, questioning the servant.
Let us assume that this looks like what is happening in our country today. The people are the masters, those of us in the Buhari administration are the servants. We got the message, the expectations were that there would be swift turnarounds and the prosperity promised would kickoff much earlier.

Yet, the master cannot in good conscience ignore what the imperatives are, nor the explanations of the servant, especially if there is trust between the boss and the servant. Clearly, Nigerians have shown tremendous trust in President Muhammadu Buhari. Indeed, at the recently concluded Aso Rock Retreat on the 2017 Budget last week Thursday, one of the invited economic experts, after making his presentation regarding how best to steer the country out of recession said to the president “it is better to be trusted than to be loved.”

Now, to get the Nigeria of our desire, the ideal, there has to be some urgent imperatives, especially in the economy. No one in all truth can deny the main causes of our present economic condition. It is not about a blame game but it is what it is. Even the immediate past Finance Minister made it abundantly clear that some of the things that had to be done when the economy was buoyant were simply left undone because of lack of political will. Past governments left out some critical imperatives and with increasing intensity from one administration to the other, corruption became the order of the day.

What then is the Buhari presidency doing now? One critical imperative is economic diversification. Diversification in our national lexicon has become an overused and hackneyed word, except that now we are left with no option really. Besides, we have a President who means what he says and is getting results. Even if little, lights of hope are being sighted in the area of agriculture and Agro-Business. For instance, because of the deliberate policies of the Buhari administration, some of the states are advancing in rice production, and the country is targeting self sufficiency by 2018. (This will also reduce foreign exchange pressure.)

Let us take the example from Kebbi State where the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme launched by the President late last year is churning out exciting news. According to media reports, 78,000 farmers got some soft loans under the programme leading to the creation of over 500,000 jobs and the emergence of 40,000 millionaire-farmers this year alone. BusinessDay actually did a front page lead story last week September 15 thus: ‘Rice Production Gains Traction In Northern States’, with one of the riders saying 40,000 millionaire rice farmers emerge in Kebbi State.

This particular example goes to prove what the rice farmers told Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in May during a meeting at the Presidential Villa to discuss the Agric policies of the Buhari presidency. According to Mallam Aminu Goronyo, the President of the Rice Farmers Association, before the coming of the Buhari presidency, “farmers in Nigeria were considered useless people on the streets, but now farmers are kings.” Indeed if we can get 78,000 people on a soft loan programme and 40,000 made a million or more in profits in a few months, certainly within a year, that is significant it’s only a tip of the iceberg.

The Vice President himself had assured the farmers then at the May meeting that the Buhari presidency has a clear idea on how to execute its agricultural policy to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, and diversify the economy in the process. The results are trickling in. These are the facts, all we need is patience. This is only one example.

Facts are sacred, opinions are free, the fact is that already now in Nigeria, there has been a certain turn around that has happened in the affairs of the federal government today when compared with the past. It cannot be denied, nor gainsaid for instance that the affairs of Nigeria is now steered by a fiercely honest leadership.

A decisive message has reverberated across the country that the days of corruption with impunity are over. The mindless bleeding of the nation’s resources is being terminated. These are significant outcomes that Nigerians yearned for and it’s already in the bag.

However, what no one could have imagined is the extent of damage. The discoveries are unending, ranging from the $15B security equipment purchase scandal in a country that could hardly boast today of $25B in foreign reserves, to the open and public claim recently by an individual related to power in the past of several millions of dollars in a few accounts in one bank! Also, there has not been anything said or heard yet about the corruption in the oil sector but at least everyone knows there would be a reckoning unlike in the past when a corruption convict was even given a state pardon “before our very eyes.”

Now the fight against corruption is a big deal because in a sense it has been responsible for where we are today as a nation. Several choices and decisions by past governments were deeply rooted in corruption, thereby shutting out the people from enjoying any meaningful and enduring benefit from our collective patrimony. Take the scams that were perpetrated in the subsidy regimes for example where we now know that people just completed forms and were paid large sums of money supposedly for supplying refined fuel when indeed there were no such supplies.

The cumulative effect is that today when we need the savings of the buoyant years, there is nothing to fallback upon due to corruption and it’s twin sister-profligacy. And so the economic situation is rather difficult and many of our people are suffering the pains. The deliberate and relentless sabotage of our oil and gas pipelines have even added a worsening streak, cutting government revenue almost by half at a time government needs to spend its way out of the recession.

But my final point is the most important: patience. If there is any government that deserves to be patiently given a chance to perform, this is it. There are indeed tonnes of questions that can be asked, and possibly a few issues here and there. But the resolve, the patriotism, the honesty, the integrity, the competence and the diligence of the Buhari presidency to restore Nigeria’s lost glory are unequivocal. When you have a president who can’t be lured into a corrupt deal, who has absolute passion for the people and utmost respect for the land, who knows what he is doing, supported by a vice president, equally committed and well tested on the issues of the day, all we have need of is a patient citizenry in the face of some rather unpleasant imperatives on our way to attaining the ideal of a Nigeria that works. As the Lord lives, that journey is now in irreversible progress!

–– Akande is Senior Special Assistant – Media & Publicity, in the Office of the Vice President

Buhari Taking Nigeria Out Of Wilderness- Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says President Muhammadu Buhari is taking Nigeria out of the wilderness just as Moses took the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.

Osinbajo said this at the 56th Independence Anniversary Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, on Sunday.

The promise of God, he said, included building a new Nigeria where there would  be peace from North-East to the Niger Delta, and where there would be jobs for the unemployed.

The Vice-President urged Nigerians to see beyond the current problem instead of asking to ‘return to Egypt.’

He said, “We are on our way out of the wilderness. We should not be like the children of Israel when He took them out of Egypt and after few problems became grumblers-in-chief.

“As children of God, we must declare this nation will prosper, we must be like our father who is the great encourager. Our message to Nigeria is be strong and be of good courage; do not be dismayed, every Nigeria will benefit from the new Nigeria.

“God saw our nation and decided to put this leadership in place, this leadership will take us across the Red Sea to the new Nigeria.”

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in his message said that the leaders needed divine revelation and to receive wisdom from God in order to handle the economy.

He said Nigeria was in recession because the government failed to save during the oil boom.

Read More:

http://punchng.com/buhari-taking-nigeria-wilderness-says-osinbajo/

Nigeria loses N800bn to auto policy

The President, Shippers Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said the Federal Government had lost about N800 billion to the auto policy on imported vehicles.

The 70 per cent tariff and levy on imported vehicles which took effect in 2015, had reduced vehicle imports by more than 50 per cent.

Nicol on Friday said that other ports outside Nigeria in Benin, Togo and Ghana now accepted the vehicles and developing their economies with proceeds from the imports.

According to him, with the auto policy, government will be creating more rooms for smuggling.

The shipper said that in other countries, shippers were revered as economic developers.

Nicol suggested that government should remove the lid on importation of essential domestic goods which local industries could not produce.

He said, “The maritime sector should have acted as a cushion in alleviating the present economic recession and also supply the government enough revenue outside oil and gas.

“The recession we are going through is man-made and can be corrected.

“The ports access roads also need to be reconstructed as a priority.

“Government should reverse foreign exchange policy on trade. Imports and exports which constituted trade go together.”

Nicol said that the major problem was that most maritime administrators with their personnel had little or no knowledge of maritime administration.

He said that this was why it had been difficult for some of the administrators to defend some government’s maritime policies that were not working well.

Morality: The lost symbol of Nigerians – Abba Auwalu Issa

The law is indispensable for the stability and continuity of a nation. But laws are not always the final tool to maintain discipline in a country. Sometimes people showed lack of regard for anything called law in their countries.

What happened in Rwanda, in the last two decades and two years ago, which claimed the lives of several thousand Rwandans was not showing absence of law in Rwanda; but lack of respect for the law. The Sierra-Leone Civil War which reigned for eleven years did not mean that the country had no established law. Rather, it meant that some people in the country at that time had no respect for the country’s law. The Liberian Civil War is a similar example.

What started in Nigeria, sixteen years ago, under the guise of democracy and turned out to be inhumane exploitation of the country’s treasury by those ‘polio-ticians’ indicates total lack of respect for the Nigerian law by those people.

Before we say something, we must try to understand who is to blame for the people’s lack of respect for law. Is it the government? Is it the people themselves? Or is it related to other external forces?

I bet you, it has nothing to do with any external force. It all depends on the government. The government is responsible for law making and making the people to obey the law.

In Nigeria, the law is there: and there are sanctions against violations. However, it appears as if the law and the sanctions do not exist. And as if some ‘polio-ticians’ are more powerful than the law. It baffles me to see the court trials of the alleged looters running out of one year without any tangible effect. It is right for judges to claim the grant of fair hearing to the accused. But, is it ethically right for lawyers to device means of prolonging the trials in favour of such clients? No.

If the law cannot provide limit to trial periods of such cases, if the law cannot put limit to the actions of lawyers handling such cases, if the law seems unwilling to convict looters of national treasury; the law proves insufficient. And such law needs urgent redress.

While no one can emphasise the negativity of the law, Nigerian government need to consider other way of instilling discipline in the citizens. Morality.

Law and morality are two guiding principles that shape human conduct. The law alone, cannot play the role of morality. If our government discards moral enforcement, I am afraid, public conduct may not be well channeled. The law has minimum effect on our feeling. This function, however, may be well played by our moral conduct. Steven Shavell of Harvard Law School wrote: ‘morality too involves incentives: bad acts may result in guilt and disapprobation, and good acts may result in virtuous feelings and praise’. Our government needs to work hard to make people have zeal for virtue and contentment. Let the people be made to detest illegal ways of making money.

It is difficult to get rid of corruption without changing people’s way of thinking about wealth, dignity and honour. To be honest, we should never expect Nigerian people to be right-thinking about fraud, looting, cheating and corruption if the current will continue. Aniebo Nwamu wrote in his Sunday column of 22nd May, 2016, that: ‘each year plagues of honour are awarded to thieves and charlatans, while hardworking, honest but poor Nigerians are not noticed. Nigeria will not recover until moral values are re-instilled in Nigerians’. But the government looks indifferent to the statement of this sage.

Today, a detained suspect, accused of stealing from the national treasury is living more comfortable life than an innocent average Nigerian. The law makes it easy to elect politicians into power but difficult to bring down thieves among them. I wonder the source of law that shields and gives privilege to a criminal. Whatever the basis of such law, it is not sufficient.

If the government must end corruption in Nigeria, it must first make adjustment to the law; andcreate a medium of re-establishing moral values in the people.

Looking back at the history of precolonial Nigerian societies, today, we are no longer ourselves. Our virtuous identity; our morality, is lost. In the North, for example, a typical Hausa man would hate his death not more than he would hate to be called a thief. Today, I see youth who long to attain the positions of power in order to steal from the government accounts. In order to be called thieves. Compare the two and you will see lack of morality in the latter. In those days, there were no law in form of what we have today. But, morality was their guiding principle in attitude and behavior.

It is time for the government of Nigeria to make move and revive the morals; the lost symbol of our people. It is time for the religions to do the same.

‘War against indiscipline’? No. it sounds so military and we are political people. The government may have a subtle slogan for its campaign of moral restoration, because it is a moral virtue to treat people with lenience. And this will tell us that our government is morally good.

– Abba Auwalu Issa is of the department of Mass Communication of Bayero University, Kano.

Only Agric-Business can Bail Nigeria Out of Recession – Afe Babalola

A foremost Lawyer, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has called on all Nigerian leaders to see agriculture as the only business that will take Nigeria out of economic recession.

The legal luminary who decried the manner at which agriculture was neglected after discovery of oil said, the country can make many successful people through agric and create millions of job.

The founder of made the statement in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday while being decorated as the Life Patron of the Nigerian Association of Hairdressers, Cosmetologists, and Barbers (NASHCOB).

He said: “For Nigeria to overcome the present economic problems, we must add business to Agriculture. We need to develop our own technology, improve our own farming practice, innovate, invent and create massive and robust markets for our unique African agricultural products.

“Before the advent of oil, Nigeria was self-sufficient in many things. We made good money from agricultural products. Our naira was stronger than the British pound and the American Dollar. But after the oil discovery in Oloibiri in 1956, we abandoned that all-important income earner in favour of oil.

“Now, the price of oil has gone down in the international market. But there is a way out: we should go back to our first love, Agriculture. I believe the time has come for Africa to take its pride of place via Agriculture”, he advised.

Proffering solution to this economic crisis, Babalola added: “Let us stop exporting our raw agricultural products, let us encourage value chain production and retailing of such. Enough of all the big retail chains carrying 95 per cent foreign agriculture-based products, let us give them the benefit of stocking our well processed and packaged products”, he said.

Babalola commended the initiative of the hairdressers to partner ABUAD in promoting Moringa Hair cream being produced by his university, saying this will go a long way in promoting the products across Nigeria.

He said, “our university is into big farming, we have a big farm of Moringa trees and an industry where ten products from Moringa trees and leaves are being produced”.

The Lawyer who promised to assist the association to build its secretariat in Ado Ekiti also promised that ABUAD will create a special programme where members of the association can be trained to garner more skills to perform the task of their profession.

The Ekiti NASHCOB President, Mrs Mary Ayodele, said she had presented the ABUAD’s Moringa Hair Cream to the national body of the association, revealing that the product will soon take over the hair industry in all the 36 states of the federation, because of the acceptability it enjoys.

“Our desire is to promote this product because of its quality.”

Report Lists U.S., Germany, France As Custodians Of Stolen Money From Nigeria

A report by London-based Public Service International Research Unit (PSIRU) has listed United States, Spain and France as countries that keep illicit funds from Nigeria.

The group, which investigated the impact of privatisation and liberalisation on public services, also named Japan and Germany as the other nations where money stolen from Nigeria is kept.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies are planning to stage a protest in Switzerland for the repatriation of stolen funds kept in the country’s banks.

Disclosing its plan to stage a protest in Switzerland yesterday at a workshop in Abuja organised by Public Service International (PSI) on tax justice in Africa, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the congress would also stage similar protests in countries that are believed to be harbouring illicit funds from politically-exposed persons from Nigeria.

Unveiling the details, the PSI Director of Policy and Governance, Daniel Bertossa, said reports indicated that between 1980 and 2009, about $1.4 trillion was lost by Africa from illicit financial flows.

Bertossa, who also quoted from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) report, added that Nigeria also lost over $3 billion annually to tax incentives and import waivers.

He said while the country loses $2.9 billion to corporate tax incentives, it also loses $327 million annually to import duty exemption.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/report-lists-u-s-germany-france-as-custodians-of-stolen-money-from-nigeria/

Nigeria’s Debt Rises By N4.17tn In One Year

Nigeria’s debt profile has risen to N16.29tn, the Debt Management Office has said. Statistics obtained from the DMO on Tuesday showed that the country’s total debt liability had risen to N16.29tn as of June 30, 2016. As of June 2015, the country’s total debt stood at N12.12tn.

This means that within the one-year period (July 2015 to June 2016), the country’s total debt rose by N4.17tn, or 34.41 per cent.

A breakdown of the country’s debt profile shows that external debt by the federal and state governments stood at $11.26bn or N3.19tn as of June 30, 2016. It was $10.32bn or N2.03tn by July last year.

According to the DMO, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official exchange rates of N283 to $1 as of June 30, 2016, and N197 as at December 2015 were used in arriving at the naira equivalent of the foreign debt status.

The domestic debt of the Federal Government alone stood at N10.61tn as of June this year, up from N8.4tn a year ago.

This means that within 12 months, the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile rose by N2.21tn or 26.31 per cent.

The domestic debt of the states stood at N2.5tn at the end of June this year, whereas it was N1.69tn in July 2015. This means that within a period of one year, the domestic debt of the states rose by N810bn, an increase of 47.93 per cent.

For domestic debt, FGN Bonds remained the dominant instrument for borrowing from the domestic market, as it accounted for N7.47tn or 70.46 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile.

The Nigerian Treasury Bills accounted for N2.9tn or 27.36 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile.

Treasury Bonds, on the other hand, accounted for N230.99bn or 2.18 per cent of Federal Government’s domestic borrowing.

Although the Federal Government had for long acknowledged that it was borrowing too much from the domestic debt market and crowding out the private sector, current debt statistics show that the trend has not changed.

The DMO recently said that refinancing 30 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt amounting to N2.56tn within the next one year posed a high risk to the economy.

The DMO, in a document, ‘Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy 2016-2019’, said at least 30 per cent of the nation’s domestic debt would fall due within a one-year period.

It added that refinancing the 30 per cent component of the domestic debt posed high risk to the economy because of high interest rate.

It stated, “This debt stock is slightly lower than the published FGN’s total debt stock of $55,576.28m (N10,948,526.57m), because the Debt Management Strategy tool treats the NTBs stock based on the discount values and not on the face values; while for the external debt, the tool aggregates the debt by tranche and currency, and applies a common end-period exchange rate. These gave rise to the observed difference.

“The implied interest rate was high at 10.77 per cent, due mainly to the higher interest cost on domestic debt. The portfolio is further characterised by a relatively high share of domestic debt falling due within the next one year.

“Interest rate risk is high, since maturing debt will have to be refinanced at market rates, which could be higher than interest rates on existing debt. The foreign exchange risk is relatively low given the predominance of domestic debt in the portfolio.”

Nigeria promotes 57 senior police officers

The Police Service Commission, PSC, has approved the promotion of 47 Assistant Commissioners of Police, ACP, to the next rank of Deputy Commissioners of Police, DCP.

This is contained in a statement issued by Ikechukwu Ani, Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mr. Ani said the commission also approved the promotion of 10 Deputy Superintendents of Police, DSP, to Superintendents of Police, SP.

The beneficiaries of the promotion to the rank of DCP include Lawrence Onwuka, Amos Omuiyadun, Mathew Akinyosola, Sodipo Rasaki, Mathew Onah and Damain Okoro.

Others are Michael Vigara, Anthony Okpara, Umege Umar, Ebenezer Ogunjobi, Titilayo Kayode, Ngozi Onadeko and Emienbo Assayomo among others.

Mr. Ani said the newly-promoted SPs are; Romanus Iwoha, Gold Akponfagha, Yahaya Adamu, Edward Oshadare, Haliru Madaki, Christiana Alabaraonye, Dominic Nwahiri, Julian Igbudu, Adenyi Abayomi and Anda Ali.

He said the chairman of the commission, Mike Okiro, urged them to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation.

Mr. Okiro said the commission would continue to ensure that promotion in the Nigeria Police Force was regular and based on seniority and merit amongst other established criteria.

He said the commission would also not hesitate to discipline any police officer who abused his office in the course of duty.

Mr. Ani said the commission’s approval had been communicated to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

Nigeria Bars Use Of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phone On Board Aircraft

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has banned the use or even the charging of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 mobile phones on any airborne aircraft in Nigeria. It will be recalled that Samsung has recalled over 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 devices it manufactured recently citing several reported cases of overheating and outright explosion by users.
“Consequent upon recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, NCAA has directed passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft,” the NCAA said yesterday in a statement by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye. 
“In addition, these phones must not be stowed away in any checked-in baggage and importantly, all airlines are hereby advised to emphasize the prohibition of this devices on board during passenger briefings by the Cabin Crew,” the statement added. The NCAA urged all those responsible for searching or screening checked-in baggage  to intensify the procedures to identify possible checked-in Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
The  NCAA which regulates the Nigerian aviation sector however appealed to passengers to assist regulators and airlines to ensuring safety and security of air transportation in the country.
According to the NCAA, investigations by Samsung has traced the explosions of the Galaxy Note 7 device problems to charging and the company is limiting battery charging on Galaxy Note 7 devices to prevent inferno.
“The NCAA therefore calls on all passengers and airline operators to ensure total adherence to this directive as safety and security of air transportation is paramount to the us,” the NCAA added.

Credit:

http://sunnewsonline.com/nigeria-bars-use-of-samsung-galaxy-note-7-phone-on-board-aircraft/

CBN Rejects Finance Minister’s Call For Interest Rate Cut

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday retained the Monetary Policy Rate, which is the benchmark lending rate, at the current 14 per cent.

The decision to leave the rate unchanged was contrary to expectations of economic analysts, manufacturers and some government officials.

Indeed, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had on Monday said there was a need for the apex bank to lower interest rates so that the government could borrow domestically to boost the economy without increasing debt servicing costs.

But addressing journalists at the end of the two-day MPC meeting, which was held at the central bank headquarters in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank decided to hold the lending rate in order to maintain its primary objective of price stability.

He also said the decision was unanimously agreed on by all the 10 members of the committee who attended the meeting.

Apart from the MPR, he said members of the committee also left the Cash Reserve Ratio and the Liquidity Ratio unchanged at 22.5 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

The MPC also called on the Federal Government to introduce tax incentives to stimulate activities and return the economy to the path of growth.

Emefiele said the Federal Government should toe the line of other developed countries such as the United States that adjusted its tax policy during the period of economic recession to stimulate consumer demand.

For instance, he said the government should consider reducing the tax burden on the low and middle-income earners, while increasing the rates payable by the rich.

He said, “In the United States and other economies, when you have situations like this, there are those who are naturally vulnerable – the weak, the low and middle-income people. What the government can do is to reduce their tax rates; and for the rich, increase their tax rates so that they can pay more, and this balances out.

“In fact, you can increase more for the high-income earners so that the disposable income for the poor and vulnerable, and middle-income earners can increase so that they can pump liquidity and use it to boost consumption spending.”

Emefiele said the MPC considered the numerous calls for rate reduction but came to the conclusion that the greatest challenge to the economy at the moment remained incomplete fiscal reforms, which raise costs, risks and uncertainty.

The CBN governor said the committee was of the view that in the past when the rates were reduced to achieve these objectives, it was later discovered that rather than deploy the available liquidity to provide credit to agriculture and manufacturing sectors, it provided opportunities for lending to traders who deployed the same liquidity in putting pressure on the foreign exchange market.

This, he lamented, resulted into limited supply of foreign exchange, thus pushing up the exchange rate.

He, however, lamented that the purpose for which the funds were deployed by the banks was not in line with the objective of the CBN.

He said, “Both the monetary and fiscal authorities all have the intention to achieve growth, but the direction through which we want to achieve it may differ for as long as you still achieve the growth.

“The issues here are that when you say reduce interest rates, there are two possibilities here. Firstly, you are saying that because you want it to spur credit to the private sector at lower rate. Secondly, which I have heard the fiscal authority talk about, is that they need to be able to borrow at lower rates to spend.

“Our own view at the MPC, which was exhaustively discussed, is that in the past, there was a time when the MPC took the decision to reduce the policy rate and the cash reserves. These were intended to lower rate and encourage spending to the private sector. After we did that, the following meeting we said because we did not see the impact of credit to the private sector that we needed to further reduce the CRR.”

Responding to a question that the decision to hold the benchmark interest rate was against the call by Adeosun to reduce it, the governor said that borrowing at lower rates to spend on consumption in an economy not backed by industrial capacity would further fuel inflation.

He said while the committee agreed that it was expected to stimulate growth through aggressive spending, doing so without corresponding efforts to boost industrial output by taking actions to deepen foreign exchange supply for raw materials would not help reduce unemployment.

Emefiele said, “The second part of it is that when you lower the interest rate, it will make it possible for the fiscal authorities to borrow at lower rates.

“But we are saying fine. If you borrow at lower rates to stimulate spending, what that does is that it simulate demand for goods, but when you stimulate demand for goods by providing cash or money to be spent without taking action to boost industrial capacity, manufacturing capacity and output, what happens is that you will see a situation where too much money will be chasing too few goods, which will worsen the inflationary conditions that we have now.

“And that is why we are saying that the option that we would like to adopt is while the fiscal authority is going ahead to spend, what we want to do is to retain the rates where they are so that that will again encourage the inflow of capital, because between July and now, we have seen the inflow of above $1bn.”

The governor also said that the CBN would continue to monitor the sale of forex to the BDCs, adding that any bank undermining the integrity of the foreign exchange market would be sanctioned in line with current guidelines.

LCCI DG reacts

While reacting to the outcome of the MPC meeting, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said it underlined the imperative of proper coordination between the monetary and fiscal authorities in the economy.

He said, “What is desirable at this time is to stimulate growth and create jobs. My view is that lower interest rates will benefit the economy more than it will hurt it. The truth is that the economy is afflicted by challenges of a multidimensional nature, rooted in structural weaknesses, tight monetary conditions, forex policy shortcomings, weak institutions and floundering investors’ confidence.

“Fixing the problems requires proper strategic responses from the fiscal, monetary and political governance fronts. And these response actions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, they should be taken together. The economy surely has profound issues with infrastructure; but high cost of funds is also one of the major problems, which investors are worried about.

“There is a need at this point to agree on what the national economic objective should be. This is why I will agree with the proposition to have a retreat among the key actors in the fiscal, monetary and political governance space to agree on a common direction and strategy to rescue the economy.”

World Bank Launches Massive Solar Energy Programme In Nigeria

The International Finance Corporation, IFC, a member of the World Bank group in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) is facilitating a massive solar energy programme, targeting Small and Medium Scale businesses across the country.

Under the initiative, the Financial Institution with the DFID would deploy off-grid and embedded solar systems in commercial and industrial sectors in Nigeria.

Providing insight into the project, country manager IFC, Eme Essien Lore, at a media briefing in Lagos, yesterday, said a number of financial institutions in Nigeria would be given incentives to provide finances for the programme.

She said studies would be conducted to fully understand the challenges that had stalled similar initiative in the past.

Lore stated that IFC is leading an initiative, creating and facilitating solutions to help increase access to energy at the home and corporate levels in Nigeria.

Credit:

http://leadership.ng/business/551372/world-bank-launches-massive-solar-energy-programme-in-nigeria

CAN Calls For 3-day Fasting, Prayers For Nigeria

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called for a 3-day fasting and prayer session for the nation in commemoration of its 56th independence anniversary coming up on October 1st.

October 1, 2016 will mark 56 years since Nigeria gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1960.

Various developments in the last few years have triggered growing concerns about Nigeria’s unity and national development.

The CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, in a statement from his head of media and publicity, Adebayo Oladeji, said the prayers will be for the nation and its president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Ayokunle had during his message at Sallah called for patience and understanding from Nigerians for the current government.

He noted that although the times were hard, God will show his mercies to Nigeria if the nation prays to God.

Reiterating his earlier point, Mr. Ayokunle, a pastor, called on Nigerians to use the opportunity of the anniversary to talk to God about Nigeria’s many challenges.

“We call on all Christians nation-wide to seek the face of God for divine intervention as our political leaders are seeking for the panacea to the economic recession and the attendant problems,” he said quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Credit:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/210883-independence-can-calls-3-day-fasting-prayers-nigeria.html

Pele Arrives Nigeria Tomorrow, Leads Kanu, Rufai To Legend Camp

World renowned footballer, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, will arrive in Nigeria tomorrow to begin a three-day visit that will see him joining some of the country’s soccer legends in mentoring youths drawn from across the nation in the rudiments of the game.

The three-day visit is part of the YEDA Legend edition 2016 organised by Winihin Jemide Series (WJS) and Youth Experience Days Africa (YEDA).

Unveiling the programme in Lagos on Friday, the Event Coordinator, songstress, Chidimma Okebalama, also known as Chee, said the project “is focused on the development of football and the Nigerian youth and will bring together football loving teenagers, parents and key figures within Lagos State Government, corporates and football regulatory bodies.”

She added that it would include “a football clinic (football tournament/celebrity match), an exclusive dinner with Pele and other African football legends scheduled to hold on September 24. There will be chances for football aficionados to own Pele memorabilia at an auction during the dinner, whose proceeds will be donated to the Kanu Nwankwo Foundation and the City of David football academy.”

She said the football clinic, which will begin on Wednesday and end on Friday, would climax with a celebrity exhibition match featuring Kanu Nwankwo, Victor Ikpeba, Peter Rufai, Timi Dakolo and Gideon Okeke, among others, at the Campos Mini Stadium, Onikan Lagos.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/sport/pele-arrives-in-nigeria-tomorrow-leads-kanu-rufai-to-legend-camp/

How Nigeria was plunged into recession – CBN

A failure to save for the rainy day as well as poor monetary and fiscal policies were partly responsible for the country’s current recession, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele who disclosed this at an interactive session with media managers in Lagos at the weekend noted that a number of external factors, particularly the crash in global oil prices, also contributed to the nation’s economic woes.

“I must confess that what is happening today is a result of a global crisis in the sense that we’ve seen commodity prices dropping, we’ve seen geopolitical tensions all around the world,” he said.

Emefiele recalled that when it was very buoyant, Nigeria frittered away about $66billion or an average of $6billion per annum funding Bureau de Change (BDCs) operations over 11 years period, beginning from 2008, when the country’s foreign reserves stood at $62billion, and oil price about $120/barrel. He said such funds could have been kept for the rainy day or invested in infrastructure development that would have buoyed economic activities.

Emefiele said if the government heeded his advice to sell off some of its equities in oil and gas assets, Nigeria could make up to $20billion that could stimulate the economy and boost spending.

According to the CBN boss, efforts at jump-staring the economy are being circumvented by the banks that are flouting the policy on lending to the real sector by diverting CBN proceeds into buying treasury bills and bonds for higher yields instead of lending to businesses.

Explaining how Nigeria got into such a dire situation, the worst in 29 years, Emefiele recalled that not only did the country indulge in frivolities, including high taste for imported products, the waste in the system began much earlier dating back to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the mid-1950s.

“If we had held strongly to our potential in agricultural sector and in the same vein held strongly to the potential that we have because we found oil in Nigeria, our story would have been different today,” he argued.

Apart from abandoning agriculture revenues for petro-dollars, he said, successive government failed to plan with the proceeds from export sales, which compounded issues for Nigeria, unlike Norway, which invested its fishery and oil proceeds in a Sovereign Wealth Fund now worth about $873 billion.

The CBN governor said: “Unfortunately, we didn’t plan this way for our people, and that is why we are where we are today. I will give you a few examples .In September 2008, Nigeria’s FX reserves stood at $62billion. What did we do with $62billion at a time crude price was almost $120 per barrel?

“What we could have done was to save the money, if we couldn’t save the money, invest it in infrastructure and in industry that will grow productivity and wealth of our people.

“At that time, the Central Bank went about licensing Class A, Class B and Class C Bureau de Change. In 2005 the CBN was amongst a few central banks in the world allocating dollar cash for bureau de change operations, and by the time it was stopped in January 2016, the CBN had disbursed $66billion to fund cash operations of BDC in Nigeria. What that meant in 11 years is that we spent $66billion funding operations of BDC, which came to an average of $6billion in a year.

“If we had thought of other ways to utilise our reserves in 2008, when it was as high as $62billion, certainly we will not be where we are today.”

Emefiele also noted that the continued fall in the price of oil at the international market is not helping matters, with reserves on a free fall.

“Between August and September 2014 up till this moment, which is about two years, we have seen a consistent drop in prices of crude to the extent that by March 2015 precisely, our reserve had dropped to $31billion, at that time crude price had dropped to $48 per barrel. At that time too, the country’s receipt from export of crude dropped to $1.3billion. At the same time, the demand for forex, the demand for import had remained high.”

On taking proactive measures that could have checked the recession, the CBN governor hinted that Nigeria may have been misled by its foreign allies when it adjusted its currency.

The currency adjustment hiccups notwithstanding, Emefiele disclosed that the flexible exchange rate policy is yielding fruits by fetching $1billion in the last three months.

“I feel confident that if we continue the way we are going, managing the situation in a way that encourages foreign investors and all those who have foreign currencies to bring them in to support our economy, there will be more inflows of foreign exchange into the system,” he said

Join hands with Buhari to ensure prosperous Nigeria – APC tells PDP

The All Progressives Congress, Enugu State chapter, has stressed the need for the Peoples Democratic Party to join President Muhammadu Buhari in laying a solid foundation for a prosperous Nigeria.

The state’s chapter of the party in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Kate Ofor, decried “plot by PDP to bring back unbridled corruption into Nigeria”.

The statement added: “The plot was exemplified by PDP’s unwarranted propaganda against President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The statement explained that the scheme by PDP to bring back uncontrolled corruption made the party to keep heaping blame on President Buhari as the cause of the recession in the country.

The APC state chapter said: “PDP smartly exonerated its leadership of lack of planning and squandering the resources of the nation in the last 16 years.”

According to it, the lack of planning and squandering of resources by the immediate past administration actually caused the present economic recession.

It said: “PDP has the guts to call on President Buhari to resign for failing to fix the economy they battered during their 16 years leadership.”

The party recalled that it was during PDP government that billions of naira was stolen, thereby plunging the nation into the current economic challenge.

“In less than 20 months, PDP thought Nigerians are morons who forget so easily,” it said.

The APC, however, assured Nigerians that Buhari was on course in its avowed determination to fight corruption and lay solid foundation for economic prosperity of the country.

It stated that the PDP was consciously or unconsciously reminding Nigerians of the economic fraud, which pushed millions of Nigerians into poverty and at the same time produced the richest African.

The governing party also called on political parties, civil society organisations and patriots to rally round the President to collectively search for solutions to the economic recession.

Guinness Nigeria To Export Beer To South Africa To Increase Sales

Guinness Nigeria Plc plans to increase exports to improve sales and generate more foreign exchange as the country’s second-largest brewer battles to overcome an economic slump in its home market.

The unit of London-based Diageo Plc will consider selling Guinness stout and the herbal drink Orijin in South Africa to boost the proportion of beverages it sends to international markets, Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ndegwa, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

That will help resolve the brewer’s shortage of foreign currency in Nigeria, which the beverage maker needs to pay for imported goods.

“With all the challenges we have had with foreign currency availability, we realise that export is a great opportunity to gain foreign exchange and stabilise,” Ndegwa said.

“We have heard a lot of inquiries from South Africa. We are currently in the process of seeing how we can export some of those brands to the country.”

Heineken NV is also expanding in South Africa with the recent introduction of Sol Mexican lager, part of a plan to boost its market share in a country dominated by SABMiller Plc. Guinness Nigeria will also seek to export beer to target Africans living on other continents, Ndegwa said.

Generating foreign currency from exports would help Guinness Nigeria offset a scarcity of dollars in its home market caused partly by a slump in oil revenue, the country’s biggest earner.

The economy is on track to shrink 1.8 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. That would be Nigeria’s first full-year contraction since 1991, according to data from the nation’s statistics agency.

Guinness Nigeria is seeing drinkers switch to cheaper beer brands such as Satzenbrau as disposable incomes decline, and is expanding its range of spirits to increase choice in its more affordable product range.

“We are focused on brands that are lower priced, by either improving distribution or improving awareness,” Ndegwa said. “We have spirit brands across all categories but the growth is mid-to-lower end.”

Buhari, APC and the road to 2019 – Abiodun Komolafe

All things considered, I think Nigeria has been punched into a coma and only God can bring her back to life!

 

From the man who opted for a bag of rice in exchange for his son; to the pregnant woman who stole N300.00 to answer the call of a normal symptom of pregnancy, there is a rise in Nigeria’s socio-political temperature and no one really knows where Nigeria is headed. Inflation rate is on the high side and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is unsmiling either. From the cosmetic to the substantive, politicians have chopped our country into pieces with each of the parts selfishly kept to themselves even as the gladiators continue to fight in another person’s corner. Dollar gets worse with each passing day, which in turn deeply traumatises the fortunes of our country.

 

Even as a Buharist whose fierce support for ‘Change’ has been unflinching, I believe it’s time government clipped the wings of this trajectory of sham and uncertainty that is capable of corrupting our national cohesion and national peace. The threatening trend of poverty-inspired suicide cases among Nigerians calls for concern and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration must find resourceful means of destroying this deadly temple of want and turpitude before it springs into something else. In strict terms, Nigerians are tired of the ritual of wringing hands in lamentation. So, relevant authorities must devise creative means of putting value on intentions before a line damages an entire song.

 

2019 is around the corner and ahead of this politically-charged and highly volatile socio-economic environment lies a fiercely-loyal-but-highly-critical support base. As we are aware, one of the biggest challenges in running Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape is that of ensuring that best practices are employed in creating ventures for the economy to pick up. However, the irony of our policy somersault in this part of the world is that it sympathies with the criminals but penalises the victims. Basically, therefore, the fear of failure should encourage Buhari to travel back to the past, look at the risks, weigh benefit options, then make decisions which show greater consistency, courage and determination in preventing ‘Change’ from being a threat to our survival.

 

I am not an expert on economy-related issues. But, beyond economic jargons, being in a state of recession, in my own view, what matters in a state of recession is what is done to navigate through the temporary setback. United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada, have at one time or the other in their chequered history hit this bottom but they all came out of it, possibly bruised but unbowed. South Korea, incidentally, Asia’s fourth largest economy, is currently having her technical dose of it while South Africa, Africa’s touted largest economy, narrowly escaped it in the second quarter of this year. So, what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a bit of creative wake-up by introducing higher dimensions of consciousness into the complexities of governance.

 

With the benefit of hindsight, Buhari comes across a very different, special leader with a magnetic and personable charisma, divinely positioned to rescue Nigeria from the damaging and dangerous remnants of the past. But, in his efforts at righting past wrongs, he should always remember that rumblings of dissent or wrangling of misery among members of his party can gravitate into a catalyst for implosion. So, he will be doing internal democracy a great deal of good if, within the dictates of the law, he dines with situations that are incapable of promoting unity within its rank with a long spoon.

Nigerians are also never in doubt of the president’s ability to move the country up out of the fantasy of ancestral authority and the excitement of collective captivity that have become predatory threats to her survival into a hub of business and cultural opportunities. Along this line is the saga of unpaid salaries which is currently rocking no fewer than 27 states. Government needs to proactively solve this problem before the next general elections if the ruling party must retain the confidence of this integral part of the electorate. Also in need of renewed vigour in its prosecution than it is witnessing at the moment is the anticorruption war, lest political principalities, terrorists and businessmen shortsightedly exploit its manifest weakness as a bargaining tool for access to power in 2019.

 

Contrary to claims in some quarters, Nigeria’s large and diverse voting public is not always the classroom professor or the parasitic analyst but the poor folk out there who is even ready to die for a cause he believes in. So far, this class of Nigerians has been the president’s strongest pillar of support and most-treasured asset. The toxic truth is that things are currently not looking good for them and this is as a result of government’s rather biting policies. It is, therefore, in the president’s interest to roll out practical solutions that can help lighten their yokes and give them some sense of direction before things get out of hand. If he succeeds in doing this, then, Buhari will be chasing a place in the record books as the best president Nigeria ever had!

 

By the way, will Buhari seek a second term in office? For now, the sky is cloudy and response can be confusing! Constitutionally, it is his right! Yet, it is his call! Well, while opinions may differ as to the propriety or otherwise of adventures in power, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lee Kuan Yew, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Jerry Rawlings, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, even, Goodluck Jonathan have provided varying shades of opinions on this topical issue. Though what these people earned or did not earn for themselves in terms of untainted esteem is left for historians to ponder, it is my sincere desire to dig deeper into this area of special interest in my subsequent interventions.

 

Reckless temperaments! Hateful instincts! Appearance of impropriety! Why are the people hungry and angry? Why are they poor and unfed? How come we have suddenly become a decadent and polluted society swimming, irresistibly, in a dysfunctional economy, culture of recklessness and pattern of hypocrisy? For God’s sake, why do people delight in profiting from others’ misery and why are the led preferably kept in perpetual poverty for them to continue slaving and serving the purpose as dictated by the master? On the other hand, how come the abolition of Navigation Act, which ship owners once predicted would be the ruin of British Shipping, eventually turned out to be one of the greatest periods of expansion in the history of shipping in Britain?

 

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

 

– Komolafe writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

Nigeria losing $8bn in tourism revenue – RenCap

The Global Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital, Mr. Charles Robertson, says Nigeria is losing at least $8bn in tourism receipts.

Robertson, who stated this in an emailed note on Wednesday, stressed the need for improvements in airport quality and visa policy.

He said, “Why is Ghana 25 times more successful than Nigeria in attracting tourism revenues? Indeed, why is Nigeria the second least successful African country in attracting tourism receipts out of the 43 we have data for (only the DRC is worse)?

“One deterrent is the visa process, which we argue is sometimes an example of countries putting pride before economics. It can be an unpleasant experience for an east European or African to get a visa to visit the EU or US – and so it’s not surprising that some emerging markets and frontier countries make it hard for people in richer countries to visit them.”

According to him, patriotic countries like Turkey and Croatia do not jeopardise the economic benefits of tourism by insisting on visa reciprocity.

Robertson said, “We argue that deterring tourists is an economic mistake, especially when the EM or frontier economies are weak. Countries like Russia and Nigeria could do with the diversification that tourism might provide.”

He said during tough times, Spain and Greece had seen tourism revenues rise substantially as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product in recent years, adding, “Many EM and frontier countries have not despite weak currencies and low jet fuel costs.

“We think Russia is missing out on at least $6bn of tourism receipts, while Nigeria is missing $8bn if only it could boost tourism receipts to Ghana’s equivalent level (and any improvement on the current $0.5bn in travel receipts would be welcome given currency shortages in Nigeria.”

He said countries like Cambodia, Georgia and Laos had seen huge increases in tourism revenues over the past 10 to 20 years due in part to open visa regime policies.

“He added, “We think frontier markets like Pakistan and Nigeria could see strong tourism growth in the coming years from an extremely low base, much as Cape Verde and Laos have done in the past 20 years.

“When we look at net tourism receipts (spending abroad by your citizens, minus spending in your country by foreign tourists), we can see which frontier countries are doing best (Croatia, Jordan, Mauritius, Morocco) and which are doing worst (including Nigeria, Pakistan and Romania).”

According to the RenCap economist, Russia will boost its GDP and current account receipts if it bring forward its 2018 plan to introduce temporary visa-free travel for the World Cup (and made this permanent)

He added, “Nigeria, via improvements in airport quality and visa policy, might in the long-term do far more to address its tourism deficit, than it gains from visa revenues, which the Finance ministry never gets to see.”

The Nigerian Agro-revolution; drive, goal and objective – Oyinkanola Mayowa Hafiz

It is no longer news that oil revenue has suffered an unprecedented drop globally. Economies largely dependent on oil proceeds have been greatly hit, leading to fluctuations in oil prices to between $35 – $45 per barrel. This has forced our leaders to have a rethink on alternative means of driving our economy from the norm of total oil revenue dependence to seeking out other sectors of the economy.

 

Although Agriculture has always been an efficient option, evident in pre-oil discovery with great potentials, it has yet to be fully harnessed due to several factors such as change of government, inconsistencies in policies, inadequate implementation of policy, lack of technocrat involvement, little or no laid out plan for the future and a top-bottom approach to policy and implementation.
The question is: Are we prepared, as a nation, for the proposed change in economy source or just faffing around as usual?

 

What’s the hope of common man in this proposed agricultural drive?

 

What are the plans to make agriculture a sustainable venture?

 

Recently, different Agricultural program launches erupted across the country from North, East, West to South.

 

State governments are getting busy trying to wake their agricultural heritage, from Kebbi state leading the revolution in crop production to Lagos state’s readiness to handle the processing, packaging, mass marketing, distribution and export of agricultural products or produce across the nation. Interest in other states is also encouraging as they plan to be actively involve in Agricultural production, processing, packaging, marketing and distribution.

 

Amidst all this, a crucial point lacking is the zeal and involvement of able, willing and eager youths in the aforementioned sector of agriculture. Its imperative for every state to look inward and choose agricultural specifics that can emancipate their glut of unemployed or underemployed youths.

 

Significant agricultural development can only be achieved by marrying the undying love of youths for technological advancement with local content development of agricultural practices. Nigerians are known to be creative individuals. All the government needs to do is provide an enabling environment and a level ground to fuse this creativity into significant development .

 

To achieve this, government should shun politicizing the projects and allow only the few interested and qualified lots manage or run the affairs else the interest will soon become a burden.

 

The media also has a role to play in making agriculture a worthy prospect for young lads in secondary schools and colleges across the country. The image of agriculture as a poverty ridden venture needs to be transformed urgently within the society, else the prospect of having any significant progress in Agricultural development will be unachievable. The media needs to focus on historic facts that shaped our country’s fortunes long before the discovery of oil; success stories of individuals involved in agriculture before and after oil discovery etc. these must be broadcasted as mainstream messages far and wide.

 

Agriculture is a venture that requires time to reap the benefits of its investment based on injected input from human capacity to available resources, capital layout and expertise involvement.

 

Oyinkanola Mayowa Hafiz

Director, QMFarms Limited 

@czarohm

Recession: Nigeria at Economic Crossroads

To say that Nigerians are economically hurting at this moment is no exaggeration; to state that most Nigerians have never had it this economically difficult in their lifetime is not an overstatement; the fact that most Nigerians are out of work and go to bed hungry now is no longer news. The pains are palpable in the voices and faces of everyday Nigerians on the streets and in the work and market places across the land – driven by the current economic recession. And while it’s luring to heap the blame squarely at the doorsteps of fallen crude oil prices, it would be best to put the blame to where it rightly belongs – on our visionless and prodigal leadership class, who instead of building the nation’s future by responsibly planning ahead for times like these, irresponsibly chose to build and nurture an unprecedented corruption industrial complex.

 

What we are experiencing right now in the country is a practical realisation of the age-long saying that “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”. For decades, the leadership class rather than engaging in the patriotic act of nation-building, has spent most of their time perfecting the shameful act of betrayal of public trust by repeatedly engaging in massive looting of our “easy-to-come” petro dollars, at the callous expense of everyday Nigerians. Stories abound of looting in the billions of dollars of monies earmarked for road construction, Niger Delta development, power rehabilitation, refineries turn-around maintenance, and fight against Boko Haram even as innocent Nigerians, women and children were being raped, abducted and killed by the Boko Haram renegades, etcetera. As such, in the light of the above and other several well-documented gross mismanagement of our national wealth by an irresponsible, greedy and visionless political class, it’s unfortunately, fair to conclude that the current economic recession has been a long time coming.

 

It’s also fair to acknowledge that all of these frustrations led to the CHANGE vote by the Nigerian people in the last election. The election was simply aimed at making a statement against impunity and business as-usual.

 

While the current administration has recorded some success in the areas of reducing corruption in public service and curbing the free reign of Boko Haram in the Northeastern part of the country, it’s clear to any objective observer that not much has been done to instill needed confidence in the economy, especially by way of sound fiscal and monetary policies. There doesn’t seem to be a steady hand in-charge of the economy at this time and this doesn’t bode well for the administration after 15 months of coming to power.

 

All one hears most of the times on the pages of newspapers are platitudes and pockets of incoherent and reactionary interventions by the apex bank. It is well known that nothing hurts an economy and scares investors and the business community during an economic recession more than equivocation and non-steady economic steering hands. Considering that recessions are not uncommon in nations’ economic lives, one tends to believe that what our economy is suffering more from right now is not simply the recession, but the feeling of hopelessness in the recession. A time as serious as this calls for decisive economic leadership and clarity of direction.

Mr. President, if I were you, I’ll be on national television engaging in question and answer sessions as often as possible, explaining the present economic problem and possible solutions in very simple and clear terms to the Nigerian people. You owe it to them and they rightfully deserve it. The Nigerian people are hurting so much right now and they don’t seem to get the sense that someone is caring, listening and doing something to alleviate their sufferings.

 

The Nigerian people are a smart people; they get the fact that the problem did not emanate with this administration, but they also understand that things could really get worse if nothing urgent and serious is done right now by the administration to stem thisugly tide.

 

Mr. President, there has to be that sense of the fierce urgency of now on the economy, just like you’ve demonstrated in the fight against Boko Haram and corruption.

 

This time calls for you to seek help from the best Nigerian economic experts wherever you can find them.

 

Mr. President, now is the time for you to talk to the Nigerian people directly and not via tweets by some aide; you have to be seen instilling hope by directly engaging the Nigerian people on your policy solutions to this very serious economic problem. Now is not the time for you to just listen to one “trusted” aide and sublet decision making to him or her; this time you must listen to all aides and then make decisions in the best interest of the country, bearing in mind that this is your administration and only your name gets attached to any successes or failures of the administration. Now is the time for our time-wasting and financially-draining federal legislature to earn their bloated salaries and allowances by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work for the suffering Nigerian people.

 

Now is the time for the president to step into the communities and engage with parents who have been left behind by the Nigerian economy even before the recession, and who are now forced to watch their children go to bed hungry and in some cases, die because of skyrocketing costs of food and healthcare. They need to hear directly from the president that things will get better at some point. Now is the time for the president to engage directly with our unemployed graduates.

 

Now is the time for the president to step out and speak directly to our senior citizens, who after giving decades of their lives in service of country still regularly collapse and die in long queues in an endless wait for pensions and gratuity that never come, simply because their fellow citizens in power conspired and decided to embezzle funds that were budgeted for paying them.

 

Mr.President, while this is an undoubtedly difficult time for your administration, our country and its citizens, it also provides a golden opportunity for you to separate yourself from the pack of presidents; this time provides a rare opportunity for you to leave your name in the sands of our nation’s annals as the president who led us out of a serious recession andspread economic prosperity across the land. This time provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to re-shape and irreversibly position Nigeria on a path of economic progress so that when historians, our children and our children’s children look back at this moment 50 years from now, it will be told that you were the president that beat back the worst economic recession of our life time,the worst national security threat of our life time – Boko Haram – and an all-time high corruption in our nation’s public service.

Nigeria Eyes $5bn Annual Cassava Export

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, yesterday said Nigeria would reap over $5 billion annually from cassava export in the next few years.
Speaking while declaring open the National Cassava Summit in Abuja, Chief Ogbeh said the country had made mistakes in the past 30 years by ignoring agriculture, adding that every industry in the agriculture sector which had the potential for foreign exchange would be developed.

He said the capacity of farmers in accessing finance would also be enhanced by strengthening and  repositioning the Bank of Agriculture to give credit at 5-6% interest rate so that the farmers could engage in profitable business.
Professor Lateef Sanni of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Ogun State who spoke on “Achieving a $5 billion Cassava Industry in Nigeria”, said the industry had the potential to create millions of jobs across the cassava value chain.
“By 2021, the Nigerian cassava industry will represent over $5billion, spur rural industrial development, generate millions of new jobs and create wealth for over 45 million people,” Professor Sanni said.
He said the cassava industrial demand for starch was 269,000 but that the current supply stands at 20,000. For ethanol, 200 million litres is demanded while only 9 million litres is produced, he added.
Professor Sanni said the capacity of cassava farmers needed to be improved upon and more processing companies had to  be established to achieve the target.
The president of the cassava farmers association, Pastor Adewumi Segun, said Nigeria, the world’s largest producer of cassava, could not export high quality cassava, adding that the potential was there but processing was the major problem.
He said the association had acquired 15,000 hectares of land in Ekiti State for the cassava programme.
Credit: dailytrust

BREAKING: Ibrahim Idris Confirmed As IGP Of Nigeria Police Force

Acting Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has just been confirmed as the IGP of the Nigeria Police Force. The is one outcome following the Council of State meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari today.

 

The Council of State meeting, which brought together several former heads of state and sitting governors, was deliberating over the full appointment of Mr. Idris as the IGP as well as several other key positions in the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).

 

Images following Mr. Idris’s confirmation are below:

 

 

 

 

 

FG introduces SOP to fight corruption at Lagos ports

The Federal Government has introduced the Standard Operating Procedures, SOP, with the aim of combating corruption in Lagos ports.

 

This was just as the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has commenced moves to sanction terminal operators who violate the concession agreement entered into with the government regarding developmental plans.

 

To fight corruption at the ports, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, yesterday, introduced the Standard Operating Procedures, SOP and the Port Services Support Portal, PSSP, in the Lagos Ports Complex.

 

The SOP was designed by the Federal Government to stop illicit activities, corruption, increase transparency, accountability and to make Nigeria Ports users friendly.

 

Speaking at the official launch in Lagos, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi said that the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network and the UNDP had in 2013 noted that the pre-requisites for port effectiveness and efficiency in Nigeria are in short supply and recommended intervention by government.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Ms Hajia Usman, said “As you are aware, the corruption risk assessment project is an anti corruption project focusing on strategies to reduce corruption in the Nigeria Port sector.”

 

Meanwhile, the NPA has threatened erring terminal operators who violate the concession agreement entered into with the government regarding developmental plans.

 

Speaking during a recent tour of Lagos ports, MD of the NPA Mrs Usman said that most of the operators have defaulted in developing the port facilities and in its revenue generation drive for the government.

 

Usman also said the Ports Authority will soon embark on an aggressive collection of debts, which will be paid in foreign currencies.

 

She said, “We have had discussions with the terminal operators around critical areas such as port development that they have not complied to. I have raised that with them.

Nigeria: We’re in a recession, what next?

The United Nations recently released a report pointing to the divided nature of the Nigerian society while also commenting on the alarmingly low social and developmental indices recorded. Anyone unfamiliar with the way things are done in Nigeria, where incompetence, or failure, are either brushed away or rewarded, might be wondering why the same people who were not able to help us meet the UN prescribed targets for development under other administrations, find themselves, yet again, in similar roles.

 

It is this repetition of the same, old, familiar faces which has accounted for our lack of real progress over the years. Parties recycle aides and candidates, enabling ‘group-think’, archaic ways and policies, rather than new ideas from fresh minds. Beyond pushing paper, wearing agbadas, looking important or ceremonial, state and federal appointees in Nigeria have failed to deliver: this is the unspoken, undiplomatic truth behind the UN report. Every issue recorded in this country periodically repeats itself, bolstering a feeling of hopelessness which the current economic recession fuels.

 

The report features these words which read almost like a warning: “Nigeria’s population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five most populous countries in the world”. What will we do with all these people? How are we preparing for them? Is our educational system ready? Are our health services ready? Or have we accepted, that even before they are born, most will grow up poor and disenfranchised, becoming unproductive burdens rather than potential assets?

 

The report couldn’t have said a lot more than what is already known across diplomatic and charitable circles, within our government and amongst some of our own people. In a nation where everything is imported, where we never capitalise on opportunities for real growth, our current economic situation is hardly surprising: when the United Arab Emirates used oil rents to build infrastructure and social services which provided the foundation they continue to build on today, we held parties, sprayed money and flew wives and girlfriends to London.

 

We delight in buying “aso ebi” which enriches the economies of Austria and Switzerland, etc(we don’t even produce the fabrics we wear yet we call these fabrics, prints or styles African!); spending billions each year on items whose profits pay the mortgages and school fees of foreign nationals—I won’t bore you with more examples of our collective small mindedness.

 

Or perhaps we should discuss just one more example: Our rich and famous finance their lifestyles through bank debts, running from one bank to the other to get loans to buy houses, buy private jets rather than start businesses to employ Nigerians and grow our economy. They are rich on paper alone. Eventually, when the Ponzi scheme collapses like the house of cards it was, the debt is written off, they are free to further offend by giving business tips on the pages of magazines, or to run for governor, clearly or dare I say, curiously, because in Nigeria, mismanaging a personal fortune is a pre-requisite to gaining notoriety and of course, to public office.

I’m surprised no one has trademarked or gone into manufacturing using the phrase “only in Nigeria”—it could be our own catch phrase appearing on T-shirts, mugs, etc. like the British: “keep calm”. At the same time, we should be fed up of making fun of our country’s sad penchant for disorganisation, wastefulness and lack of planning.

So, we’re in a recession, what next? It would be great if every ministry could share its strategic plans. I don’t mean in a lecture attended only by political insiders, sycophants and their public mouthpieces. Rather, on websites and in the media (both new and traditional). We need to know where we are going: not to criticise government plans but simply because it is our right to know and a plan is more easily implemented when people buy into it; and anyway, the only reason one would have to worry about a plan is if it isn’t a priority, or a good one. Indeed, some Nigerians are professional critics. AGIP—Any Government In Power—has a wing of critics which belongs to everyone and to no one, hates all Nigerians and secretly wishes they’d checked out before the British government stopped handing out passports or work visas to immigrants.

 

What is our plan for Nigerian technology? Information Technology, IT, is a global force which employs millions of young people. Nigeria is yet to harness its inherent possibilities. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the President’s meeting with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Our professional celebrities, who love nothing more than photo-ops, contribute little else and seem almost paidto sell to Nigerians the same fake lifestyle which contributes to us accepting deception and delusion, must have confused Mr Zuckerberg, whose simplicity stunned Nigerians, so used to “big men” demeaning them, giving them a complex and encouraging them by their example, to seek wealth through illegal ways.

 

Zuckerberg started out as an ordinary young man—he had shoes but those were not his true wealth—ideas were his main currency. A young man with ideas in Nigeria is as good as dead in a country where policymakers themselves, despite decades of speeches claiming the contrary, care very little for young people or any ideas that don’t involve their own fortunes.

 

Speaking of our members of state and federal assemblies who should be creating the laws which facilitate everything from business to our most basic comfort—reports about their huge salaries and entitlements have once again surfaced. If every one of them relinquished just 10% of their state sponsored income, Nigeria might afford to recruit graduates into the police system, making them detectives or agents entrusted with special, more sophisticated duties than the very many unqualified individuals wielding guns.

 

Gradually, the later could be weeded out of the system. We can’t afford to keep employing mediocre people, be it in public office or any related government service. What’ll happen to those who’ll be rendered irrelevant by the changing times is the crux of our inability to reform. Politicians are afraid of “new blood” because of its game-changing potential. If from a rent-seeking society we progress to a productive society, virtually half of our business and political elite would disappear. But “every dog has its day”: it is the very nature of the universe to have a season for everything; so Nigeria’s Zuckerbergs, etc. will undoubtedly rise no matter what is done to stop them.

“Nigeria badly governed & systematically destroyed”, says VP Osinbajo.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday lamented that the country had been badly governed and systematically destroyed.

Speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum, Osinbajo said corruption was responsible for the current state of the nation’s economy.

“This country had been badly governed. We are dealing, for instance, with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15bn in one sector alone. There are those who are asking, ‘why talking about the past?’ We have to, that is why we are here. We have not turned attention to the oil and gas sector, where the former CBN governor alleged that $20bn was stolen. We must condemn and stand up against this level of corruption. It is the single most important reason of the current state of the country. We can’t ignore it,” he stated.

According to him, no country in the world can experience the kind of looting that has taken place in Nigeria without having to deal with the consequences such as the current economic recession.

The vice president, however, assured that “even though the times are hard today, there is great hope that this country will prosper.”

He urged religious leaders in the country to openly condemn graft, saying, “we can’t say because they are Christians or Muslims, we wont condemn those involved in corruption.”

Osinbajo, who said the country had been systematically destroyed, further noted that the Naira depreciated “because we don’t have the reserves to back it. At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings.”

He also decried the destruction of oil pipelines which worsened the situation with the nation losing about one million barrels of oil per day within the past six months and cut in short power supply.

“That is the background for the sort of situation we find ourselves. God surely has a plan for this country.
We, as a government, are open, honest, transparent and we shall use the resources of this country very well,” he said.

The vice president argued that the recent GDP figures recently released showed improvements in agriculture and solid minerals.

Osinbajo assured that the social investment programmes of the present administration were on course, saying “very soon, the 500,000 jobs scheme will take off, alongside other schemes.”

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed the security agencies to deal with perpetrators of violence.

“The president has said twice in the past fortnight that anyone who commits atrocities must be arrested and tried and he has demonstrated that resolve,” he said.

The vice president also regretted that the nation’s criminal justice system was slow in delivering justice, noting that there is need for justice sector reforms as the system is very slow, not just in some cases, but generally extremely slow, saying for example, it takes for ever before a murder trial gets to court.

The leader of the delegation, Archbishop Daniel, expressed the support of the forum for economic diversification and advocated access to lower interest rates.

He also urged the federal government to check the violent herdsmen, create ranches in the states and promote religious harmony.

Nigeria’s Exports Grow By 63% to N1.873trn In Q2

The total value of Nigeria’s export trade increased to N1.873 trillion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016, representing an increase of N725.6 billion or 63.3 per cent, over the value recorded in the preceding quarter.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this in its foreign trade statistics for Q2 2016 that was released on Tuesday.
According to the NBS, the improvement in export value was largely due to the depreciation in the value of the naira.It, however, pointed out that the structure of the export trade is still dominated by crude oil exports, which contributed N1.493 trillion or 79.7 per cent to the value of total domestic export trade in 2016.

Exports by section revealed that Nigeria exported mainly mineral products, which accounted for N1.735 trillion or 92.7 per cent of the total export value. Other products exported by the country included “animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products” at N55.7 billion or three per cent.

“Base metals and articles of base metals” at N28.4 billion or 1.5 per cent, and “prepared foodstuffs; beverages, spirits and vinegar; and tobacco” was at N16.2 billion or 0.9 per cent.

The export by direction showed that the country exported goods mainly to India, United States, Spain, Netherlands and South Africa whose values stood at N402.7 billion or 21.5 per cent, N235 billion or 12.5 per cent, N215.2 billion or 11.5 per cent, N133.3 billion or 7.1 per cent, and N119.9 billion or 6.4 per cent respectively.

In addition, the natural liquefied gas recorded N198.0 billion of the total export value during the period under review.

Read More: thisdaylive

“I will transform thousands from tenants to home owners”, Buhari states.

The Federal Government has said that its affordable housing schemes will soon transform thousands of Nigerians from being tenants to proud owners of houses and plots of land.

This is contained in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Monday.

Shehu said the scheme operated through the mortgage banking system was part of the programmes meant to uplift the quality of lives of the citizens.

“There are also programmes for affordable housing with mortgages which will transform thousands from tenant status to homeownership.’’

He said that the Buhari-led administration had so far released N74 billion as part of capital allocations in the last three months.

According to him, more of the capital allocations will soon be released to revitalise the economy.

“Most of our road contractors had not been paid since 2012, many of them had sent their workers away adding to the unemployment problem.

“This government has released capital allocations in the last three months that is more than the whole of 2015.

“In 2015 Nigeria spent a paltry N19 billion on roads, in three months we have spent N74 billion and we are already releasing more,’’ he said.

Shehu, who was reacting to negative comments on the nation’s economy in some quarters, noted that the Federal Government had expended N26 billion in the transport sector in the last few months.

He also revealed that the government would start a concession that would revive the nation’s rail system for freight.

He expressed the hope that the movement of goods, particularly foodstuff through the rail system would reduce the cost of food items across market places in the country.

“In the transport sector in 2015, government spent just N4.2 billion; we have spent N26 billion with more to follow.

“We are starting a concession that will revive our old rail system for freight, whilst we build a new high speed rail system.

“Moving heavy goods by rail will reduce our transport costs which will reduce food prices and will save our roads from damage from heavy loads.’’

According to him, government will embrace the private sector through PPP, concessions and other collaborations to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently.

He maintained that the government was working hard to do things right and do them in a manner that would endure.

He said, “no government has ever considered the poor like this one. Under the current budget, the administration devoted N500 billion for social intervention programmes for those who need and deserve support.

“Any process that will endure, must involve some pain but things will begin to improve. There is always a time lag between policy and effect. That is why the bad effects of past policies are manifesting now.

“Similarly, the positive impact of the work being undertaken to fix Nigeria’s problems will soon begin to show and we will emerge from this period stronger, wiser and more prosperous.

“There is hope for Nigeria, a hope that was previously clouded by corruption, greed and lack of focus.

“Nigeria is starting over and everyone has a role to play. Look back, look ahead.’’

FG Moves To Prevent Entry Of Locusts, Quelea From Niger Republic

The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja warned farmers against locusts and quelea birds coming into the country from Niger Republic, calling for vigilance and urgent action.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh gave the warning during an emergency meeting with Commissioners for Agriculture from 24 states.

Ogbeh expressed fear that the current hunger in the country would further be exacerbated if the alert from Niger was not taken seriously and measure put in place their entry.

He also warned that if the quelea birds and locusts as well as grasshoppers are allowed into Nigeria, they would do terrible damage to farmer’s crops.

According to him, Nigeria is already facing food crisis and if the pests should gain entry to the country, it will cause a serious problem.

“We have called you here for two major reasons. There is a warning we received that locusts and quelea birds are messing up in Niger Republic from where they normally attack us in Nigeria.?

“We know how dangerous quelea birds can be and locusts. If they arrive within hours or days, they will ?have wiped out everything the farmers would have put in the field.

“We already have maize crisis. We may have food problems if we are attacked. This country would be in turmoil. We can’t allow that.

“Prices of food today is very high and Nigerians are troubled. People are angry and they want this high cost of food items to be resolved in no time.

“I believed with the effort you are making in the states we are approaching promised land. With the high yield we are recording in some states now, ” he said.

The Minister added that there was a disease attacking maize in the country known as army worm, calling for an emergency team to address the problem

He said that the country was experiencing a severe shortages of maize, adding that the price has risen to N15,000 per bag as a result of the army worm.
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“We must have an emergency team put in place between you and we at the Federal Ministry to tackle these issues very swiftly.

“Now we know they will come. We have to design a strategy where chemicals are available in all the states and contingency steps can be taken quickly,” Ogbeh said.

The Minister, however, ordered the commissioners to watch out and ensure that any outbreak of the pesticide be reported for urgent action.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari has written that the ministry should move quickly to check the menace and liason with state governors.

Nigeria Is One Of The World’s Poorest Countries, 80m Living Below Poverty – UN Report

A United Nations, UN, report on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis, CCA, has described the country as one of the poorest and unequal country in the world, with over 80m of her population living below poverty line.
This was as the report revealed that the country was deeply divided on the basis of plurality of ethnic, religious and regional identities.
The report was made public during a consultative meeting on the formulation of the UN Development Assistance Framework IV (UNDAF IV) for the South East geo-political zone in Awka.

According to the report, some part of Nigeria had at different times expressed feelings of marginalization, short changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, and even targeted for elimination.
The report read in part: “Nigeria, with a population of over 175 million, is the most populous nation in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. Her population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five populous countries in the world.
“Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64% of her population living below poverty line. The situation has not changed over the decades, but is increasing. Poverty and hunger have remained high in rural areas, remote communities and among female –headed households and these cut across the six geo-political zones, with prevalence ranging from approximately 46.9 percent in the South West to 74.3 percent in North West and North East.


“In Nigeria, 37% of children under five years old were stunted, 18 percent wasted, 29% underweight and overall, only 10% of children aged 6-23 months are fed appropriately based on recommended infant and young children feeding practices.
“Youth unemployment which is 42% in 2016 is very high, creating poverty, helplessness, despair and easy target for crime and terrorism. Over 10 million children of school age are out of schools with no knowledge and skills.
“Nigeria’s economy is currently in a recession and it is estimated that government revenues have fallen by as much as 33 percent, which has further resulted in the contraction of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by 0.36 percent in the first three months of 2016.
“The vulnerable macroeconomic environment in Nigeria is affecting investors’ confidence in the domestic economy. ?
“Despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to a number of protocols on sustainable and renewable environment, the country had, over the decades, failed to protect the environment, ecosystem and natural resources.
“Over-exploitation of natural resources and pollution of the environment, desertification are exposing the population to vulnerability and risks caused by climate change, among others.
“Nigeria is well-endowed with forest resources, accounting for 2.5% of GDP. But Nigeria has one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest per year on average deforestation rate of 3.5% per annum

 

Source-

Nigeria one of the poorest countries in the world, over 80m living below poverty line – UN report

Nigeria In Serious Crisis – UN report

A report released by the United Nations says Nigeria is in a fix. It said the country had been deeply divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines.

 

It painted a gloomy picture of the country’s economy, noting that most of the development and social indices in the country were below acceptable standards.

 

The report, which was read during a consultative meeting on the formulation of the UN Development Assistance Framework IV for the South-East zone, in Awka, Anambra State, observed that for decades, different segments of Nigeria’s population had, at different times, expressed feelings of marginalisation.

The report read, “Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. Her population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five populous countries in the world.

 

Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64 per cent of her population living below poverty line.”

Again, Nigeria’s Manufacturing Index Declines In August

The Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) declined to 42.1 index points in August 2016, compared to 44.1 in the preceding month, indicating that the manufacturing sector declined at a faster rate during the review period.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed this in the PMI report for August that was released yesterday.

According to the report, of the 16 manufacturing sub-sectors, 15 recorded a decline in August in the following order: nonmetallic mineral products; transportation equipment; petroleum and coal products; fabricated metal products; furniture and related products; cement; appliances and components; printing and related support activities; paper products; computer and electronic products; food, beverages and tobacco products; primary metal; textile, apparel, leather and footwear; plastics and rubber products; and chemical & pharmaceutical products. The electrical equipment sub-sector remained unchanged in the review period.

Also, at 40.5 index points, the report showed that the productivity index for the manufacturing sector declined for the eighth consecutive month. It declined at a faster rate than what was recorded in July 2016.

All the 16 manufacturing sub-sectors recorded declines in productivity last month in the following order: appliances and components; plastics and rubber products; petroleum and coal products; transportation equipment; nonmetallic mineral products; computer and electronic products; primary metal; paper products; electrical equipment; cement; fabricated metal products; food, beverages and tobacco products; furniture and related products; printing and related support activities; textile, apparel, leather and footwear; and chemical and pharmaceutical products.

Meanwhile, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), a research and financial advisory firm, has revised down its 2016 growth projection for Nigeria to -1.4 per cent from -0.5 per cent.
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.06 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016, compared with 2.4 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2015.

Read More: thisdaylive

Malaysia’s Bilateral Trade With Nigeria Hits $766.8m In 2015 — Envoy

Malaysian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Datuk Lim Juay Jin, said his country’s bilateral trade with Nigeria in 2015 stood at 766.8 million dollars.

Datuk Lim, who made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday said that trade value was a 14.6 per cent increase from 2014.

“The total trade between the two countries was valued at 766.8 million U.S. dollars in the year of 2015 and this was an increase of 14.9 per cent from the previous year.

“The trade was in Malaysia’s favour.

“Malaysia’s main export to Nigeria included petroleum products, palm oil and palm based products, machineries and also processed food.

“Malaysia’s main import from Nigeria was Liquefied Natural Gas, iron ore, metal scrap and agricultural goods.

“And of course, it is our sincere hope that the bilateral trade between the two countries will continue to increase; I am sure Nigeria has a lot of things to offer to Malaysia too.”

Datuk Lim said that both countries had bilateral relations since 1965, adding that 2016 marked the 51st year of this relationship that waxed stronger in spite of the dormancy of the Joint Commission of Cooperation.

He said although the joint commission had been inactive for more than a decade, efforts were made to revive it.

“As far as the joint commission meeting is concerned, it is dormant for the time being due to some reasons that have prevented this mechanism to be conducted on a more regular basis.

“This is either due to unavailability of commonly accepted dates and unavailability of officials or members of the commission.

“But both countries have on numerous occasions expressed interest in reviving this Joint Commission of Cooperation because we agree and recognise that this is an important platform to propel bilateral relations.

“I also must stress that even without the joint commission, our relations have been moving on in so many areas without putting special impetus to it and the momentum has picked up, but of course, the joint commission is an official mechanism.”

The high commissioner also explained that the Malaysia-Nigeria Business Council served as an umbrella under which the business communities of both countries explored investment opportunities.

He added that the business council coordinated its activities with the Malaysia-Nigeria Trade Commission.

Datuk Lim further explained that the commission was aimed at spearheading commercial activities between the two countries.

“The activities of this business council is geared towards investment promotion between Nigeria and Malaysia.

“We have, last year, established a trade office in Lagos to spearhead the commercial activities between the two countries and the Nigeria-Malaysia Business Council is working hand-in-hand with the trade office.

“The trade office is manned by a trade commissioner; from here you can also see that Malaysia actually puts a lot of emphasis on Nigeria’s future; we see the business potential in Nigeria.

“Out of the many West African countries we chose Lagos as the destination for the trade office; that speaks volumes.”

According to Datuk Lim, both countries have bilateral relations in the areas of economy, science and technology, culture and capacity building.

Nigeria Officially In Recession, GDP Growth Drops To -2.06%

The National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday released the much-awaited Gross Domestic Product figures for the second quarter of 2016 with the GDP growth rate sliding further from -0.36 per cent in the first quarter to -2.06 per cent year-on-year.

The negative growth rate recorded in the second quarter of this year is a confirmation of the predictions by the Federal Government and economists that the country was heading into recession.

A recession is defined as a significant decline in activities across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, employment, real income and wholesale retail trade.

The technical indicator of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s GDP.

In the GDP report released by the NBS, the bureau said, “In the second quarter of 2016, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product declined by -2.06 per cent (year-on- year) in real terms.

“This was lower by 1.70 per cent points from the growth rate of –0.36 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41 per cent points from the growth rate of 2.35 per cent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015. Quarter on quarter, real GDP increased by 0.82 per cent.”

Credit: punchng

Why Team Nigeria Performed Poorly In Rio – Dalung

What appears another major controversy over the employment of German tactician, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Super Eagles cropped up yesterday following a declaration by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, that he knew nothing about the deal.
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Recall that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) recently selected Rohr to manage the Super Eagles despite the minister’s preference for a local coach.

 

Dalung was at the State House yesterday, Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the nation’s outing at the ?just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil, where Nigeria could only get a bronze medal in football.

 

He also appealed to the president for an official reception for the team.

 

The minister who told State House correspondents that he was yet to be communicated by the NFF of Rohr’s appointment, said ?the Samson Siasia-led Dream VI that won the football bronze medal at the Olympics, has not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.

 

The minister also faulted the treatment meted to the coach and the decision of the NFF to withdraw the official car given to him while on assignment at the Olympics.

 

Dalung, who earlier met with Siasia, said Nigeria still needed him ?to facilitate football development in the country, explaining that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.

He said it would be sad to have someone like Siasia frustrated and forced him to leave Nigeria to go and represent another country, as witnessed during the Rio Olympics, where many athletes were seen donning the jerseys of other countries.

 

Dalung further cleared the air on the $390, 000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing, attached to the donation.

 

The Minister who also cleared the air on the poor outing of Team Nigeria in Rio, attributed the development to late release of funds and inability to churn out home-grown talents, especially as many in the continent that performed relatively better were home-trained.

 

He said it was high time Nigeria revisited the basic architecture of sports in the country, stressing that “we need to go back to grassroots” and groom talents for future competitions.

 

Dalung also took a swipe at his critics, saying that he was not the problem of Nigerian sports as being portrayed, adding that abysmal performance predates his appointment.

 

He argued that the National Sports Commission (NSC) was necessary, but was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.

I Am Not The Problem Of Nigerian Sports – Dalung

Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has fired back at those calling for his sack following the country’s poor outing at the 2016 Olympic Games and says he is not the problem.

 

Dalung was speaking to State House correspondents, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to review the Olympics, where Nigeria finished with only one bronze medal.

 

He argued that poor performances have always been the case with Nigeria, even before he was appointed.

I am not the problem of Nigerian sports. Abysmal performance has been happening before me,” Dalung said.

 

The Minister also called for a return to the grassroots, to groom talents for future competitions.

Nigerians Urged Not To Panic As Annular Eclipse Hits September 1

National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA) has urged the public not to panic over the Annular Eclipse which will be experienced between the hours of 7:15am and 10:03am on Thursday, September 1 with slight variations in actual timing across the country.

In a press statement by the Head of Media and Corporate Communications, Dr Felix Ale, the Agency appealed to the general public not to panic or adduce any mystical interpretations to this event, urging them not to observe the eclipse with naked eyes, as this can cause damage.

According to the statement, in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, there will be a partial eclipse, with an obscurity of 60 per cent, and the first contact at about 7:17am, with maximum eclipse at 8:32am and end at 10:00am.

Also, Lagos will experience its first contact with the eclipse at 7:15am, with a maximum eclipse occurring at 8:32am and ending at about 10:00am.

The Agency has arranged a viewing centre tomorrow  to enable members of the public, pupils and students from various schools to view the eclipse using specially designed viewing instruments provided by the space Agency.

The viewing centre which has been set up by the Agency will be open to the public on Thursday 1st September, 2016 from 6:45am for school pupils and students to observe the annular eclipse as part of its continuous programmes to expose Nigerians and students to matters concerning astronomical environment.

Credit:

http://leadership.ng/news/548586/annular-eclipse-hits-nigeria-september-1

Nigeria’s Recession Pushes Bonds To Lowest Point In More Than Two Weeks

Nigeria’s dollar bonds have fallen to their lowest point in more than two weeks after official statistics  showed that the  economy had entered its first recession in 25 years.

  The official data showed that the economy contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter.

 According to a Reuters report “The 2023 issue chalked up the biggest losses, down 0.728 cents to trade at 99.417 cents in the dollar – its lowest since Aug. 15, according to Tradeweb data. The 2021 bond slipped by 0.489 cents to 102.156 cents while the 2018 issue lost 0.603 cents to trade at 101.167 cents.”

 The report further showed that “data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed the non-oil sector declined due to a weaker currency while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

Credit: dailytrust

Why Zuckerberg Arrived Nigeria Unannounced

Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, yesterday, arrived Nigeria unannounced. The 32-year-old tech enterpreneur surprisingly made a sudden visit and inspection of activities at the Co-Creation Hub, Yaba Lagos.

His arrival to Nigeria is not unconnected to the ‘Facebook for developers’ workshop’ for Nigerian engineers, product managers and partners holding today in Lagos.

The event is expected to help the engineers build better applications and monetise them more effectively. Before his arrival, it was earlier announced that the company’s Director of Global product Partnerships, Nigeria’s Ime Archibong was to lead speakers to the event where Facebook would unveil a ten-year roadmap that can help improve Nigeria’s economy Facebook is an online social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, United States, which Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard College students and roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes formed on February 4, 2004.

After its initial public offering, IPO in February 2012, Facebook began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion. On July 13, 2015, it became the fastest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to reach a market cap of $250 billion. As of March this year, Facebook had hit over 1.65 billion monthly active users out of which 7.1 million people are daily users from Nigeria.

This makes the country Africa’s biggest user of the social media platform.

However, it was gathered that it was for security reasons that Zuckerberg’s plan to visit Nigeria and his eventual arrival was kept top secret.

A  source said: “It was a top secret and nobody was meant to know before his arrival. It was actually for security reasons but now that he is here, he would be able to interact with tech professionals and other Nigerians today in a press conference at Eko Hotel and Suites tomorrow (today).”

Being his first trip to Africa, Zuckerberg on arrival met with developers and partners, and also explored Nollywood. One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria where young developers learn how to code and develop their solutions while looking for mentors and angel investors.

Read More:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/facebook-founder-zuckerberg-arrived-nigeria-unannounced/

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Visits Nigeria

We’ve just confirmed that Mark Zuckerberg is at the CoCreation Hub, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria at this very moment. Apparently, he arrived this afternoon and is meeting with a few key players in the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

Mark was in Rome with his wife, Priscilla, until a few hours ago (according to his Facebook page). He held a Q&A session, visited the Pope and did a few “touristy” things. This visit to Nigeria wasn’t announced so you’ll permit if I go off into speculation.

There’s been a lot of Facebook-related development in Nigeria so there’s a ton of reasons why Mark may be visiting. First, Free Basics launched in Nigeria and Mark showed his support for the Jobberman team. Then the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative invested $24 million in Andela. Facebook’s developer workshop is happening tomorrow, and yesterday, we reported that Facebook is partnering with Cool Link to launch Express Wifi in Lagos some time this week.

I reckon Mark is in Nigeria to kill all these birds – visit Jobberman, the Andela team he’s invested in, attend the developer workshop, launch Express Wifi AND have policy-centred conversations with the Nigerian government to further Facebook’s cause.

You’ll know more when we know more.

Source –

Mark Zuckerberg is in Nigeria right now

Japanese Surgeon, Dr. Takasu Angry With Nigerian Officials Over His Donation

Japanese surgeon, Dr Katsuya Takasu is unhappy with Nigerian sports officials over their recent “grumblings” about the $390,000 donations he made to the Nigeria U-23 Men’s football team, Dream Team V1 at the just concluded Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

 

The Japanese flew to Brazil to hand over the $390,000 cheques to Siasia and Mikel John Obi (Coach and captain of the team) after winning the soccer bronze of the Rio 2016 Olympics. But immediately after the donation, top Nigerian sports officials have called for investigations to the source of the money.

 

With the development, the Japanese surgeon revealed his displeasure with Nigerian officials especially the sports minister, Solomon Dalung; telling him to conduct an investigation on his foundation by checking the source of the money. “We support women and young people who keep on trying without giving up. I will recommend plastic surgeon of my competition to wear Red Beret,” he stated in a series of tweets.

Nigeria Will Overcome Present Challenges – Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, sent a message of hope to Nigerians, declaring that the nation will overcome its current economic challenges.

 

He said Nigerians must be prepared to protect and develop the country at all times, stressing that the current challenges were transient even as he urged Christians to continue to pray for the nation.

 

He stated this while speaking at the public presentation of a book titled, “The History of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Otuoke, his home town in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

 

Jonathan said the essence of history was to know how societies or clans evolved, adding that there was need to capture the spread of Christianity in communities in the Niger Delta.

 

He, therefore, appealed to indigenes of Otuoke to read the book and volunteer additional information for the next edition. The former president also eulogized the book reviewer, Professor Emeritus, Ebiegberi Alagoa, who he said has contributed so much towards the documentation of the history of Niger Delta.

 

While unveiling the book, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah(rtd), Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, who represented Governor Seriake Dickson, stated that the book would engender the spiritual upliftment of its readers.

He also congratulated the author of the book, Dr. Stephen Olali, who is also the Chief Historian and Archivist of the State for his efforts in writing the book.

 

The book reviewer, Prof. Alagoa commended the author, Dr. Olali, who was his former student at the University of Port Harcourt for effectively telling the story of Otuoke from a Christian perspective.

 

Alagoa said the author has become a specialist in church history, having done a similar work for the Anglican Church, Tombia, and himself being a Christian and a historian.

 

The author of the book, Dr. Olali said the idea of writing the book was mooted in 2011 and commended former president Jonathan immensely for facilitating the publication of the book.

 

Dr. Godbless Eruani, Chairman, Azikel Group, who was the Chief Launcher, stated that a people without history were like a people without a soul and commended the church for the laudable project of documenting the history of the church.

 

Earlier in his sermon, Rt. Rev James Oruwori, Bishop of the Ogbia Diocese of the Anglican Communion, emphasized the need for Christians to be truthful, stressing that truth brings about freedom from sin, sicknesses and all kinds of tribulation.

World Class Mineral Discovered In Nigeria, Govt. To Sign Exploration Deal With Australian Firm

A private mining syndicate has made a potentially “world class and highly unusual” Nickel discovery in Nigeria, The Australian, an Australian national newspaper is reporting.

The private mining syndicate is reportedly headed by Hugh Morgan, a mining industry veteran.

“The discovery is unusual because the nickel is found in small balls up to 3mm in diameter of a high purity in shallow soils in what could be the surface expression of a much bigger hard-rock nickel field,” the newspaper said.

“The nickel balls, rumoured to grade better than 90 per cent nickel and thought to be a world first given their widespread distribution, offer the potential for early cashflow from a simple and low-cost screening operation to fund a full assessment of the find that has exploration circles buzzing.”

Details of the discovery are sketchy, according to the newspaper, but it was rumoured to be close to Dangoma, a small farming town about 160km northeast of the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

Checks by showed that Dangoma is located in the North-West state of Kaduna.

When asked to comment last week, Mr Morgan reportedly said it was for the Nigerian government to make an announcement.

Kayode Fayemi, the Minister for Solid Minerals, will be among the speakers at a three-day Africa Down Under mining conference at Perth’s Pan Pacific Hotel, Australia, in September.

Read More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/209488-world-class-nickel-discovered-nigeria-govt-sign-exploration-deal-australian-firm.html

We Won’t Relent On Our Pledge To Chibok Girls – Oby Ezekwesili

Co-convener of the #BringBackOurGirls group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has said the group had made a pledge to continue to stand for the abducted Chibok Girls, adding that it will not relent on its pledge.

Speaking during the sit-out of the group, Ezekwesili stated that it gave its word to the Chibok community to continue to be the voice of their daughters until they are rescued from their abductors.

“We gave our word to the Chibok leader that knelt in the rain and begged us not to give up on their daughters until they are back. A pledge is a pledge and every pledge is meant to be actualised,” she said.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the strategy team, Aisha Yesufu has expressed dissatisfaction over President Muhammadu Buhari’s habit of making statement over burning issues in the country, while outside the country.

In a series of tweets, Yesufu stated that it was unfair that the president could not address the parents of the abducted girls when they joined in the march organised by the group.

“Parents were in front of villa and @MBuhari asked police to block them. Tell PMB the world is a global village.

“Tell President @MBuhari to speak to his people. They are the ones that voted him. He can’t be callous to his people!

“Unfortunately they are not in Kenya and can’t read your mind so President @MBuhari be the leader Nigeria needs and act now,” she tweeted.

While addressing the special adviser, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Yesufu told him that he had failed the president in his trust of employing him.

“You should have advised him to talk to Nigerians since,” she said.

Recall that Buhari has reiterated the preparedness of the Federal Government to discuss the release of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terror group since 2014.

In an interview with journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, at the weekend, President Buhari said the Nigerian government was ready to dialogue with bonafide leaders of the terror group who know the whereabouts of the girls.

“I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised.

“What we said is that the government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram,” he said.

Nigeria Is No. 1 Scrabble Nation In the World, Yet Team Denied French Visas

Nigeria is the English-speaking world’s Scrabble superpower. Africa’s most populous nation is home not only to the global Scrabble champion, but team Nigeria ranks as the world’s top Scrabble playing nation — ahead of the U.S. in second place.

The Scrabble world champion is Wellington Jighere. He’s 33, has a soft voice, a slow smile and a penchant for fedoras, earning him the nickname “the Cat in the Hat”. Jighere acknowledges that he’s taciturn by nature, but also has an explosive, infectious laugh, though he considers Scrabble serious business.

“You can’t afford to waste too much energy doing unnecessary chatter,” he says. “During a tournament, I see it as business time. And that is no time to be joking around.” Jighere plays chess to relax, “and for fun,” he says.

Jet-lagged and weary, Jighere was crowned the world Scrabble champ last year in a grueling 32-round competition in Australia. Up to 30 of the top 100 global players are from Nigeria, which has the highest percentage of any country in the top 200. The Nigerians’ apparent collective strategy — short words that rack up the points.

Nigerians have been credited with perfecting that tactic under the tutorship of senior team coach, Prince Anthony Ikolo. He says Nigerians are passionate about Scrabble and the short word method gives them an edge. Many put Nigeria’s towering Scrabble prowess down to its players’ ability to “choke the board” as they say, with this defensive play.

“The game of Scrabble is actually built around short words — especially five letter words,” says Ikolo. “If you have such a word base, then you are good to go. But it would be a very big mistake for the world to think our players only know short words, especially five-letter words,” he warns.

The coach says “the short words help you to be defensive (by blocking longer words from opponents, but when it’s time to be offensive, we know those long words also. Nigeria is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Scrabble”.

Read More: ThisdayLive

Sarumi Lukman Oluwapelumi: Heirs Of Harmony

Veraciously an heir is what every man wishes for before the journey to the land of no return, if gone family heritage, culture and history cease to exist.

 

Sustaining ancestral pedigree lingers on the heart of an elder without a heir. However in the quest of seeking divine
interference, recitations are offered solely for the good and upright offspring. A glorious heir, knowledgeable, pious and that which will be a blessing to humanity.

 

Elders taught us to be custodian of language yet the barren ones seems to have forgotten an important Yoruba axiom that says “He who begets and he who begets not will both be buried by a child

 

Before a sprinter passes the baton in a relay race, the receiver anticipate eagerly full of vigor, determined to surpass the previous bearer, we are born and lessons we have learnt,  are the heirs truly filled with the energy or are they lost by the glitz attached to being a youth? Death is inevitable, every man shall taste it so says the Religious Books (Al-Quran and The Holy Bible) verily the old shall go while the young shall grow.

 

Behold! The heirs of harmony yet to be old, we are a beacon light of hope to the millions of unborn heirs, asingle broomstick is never enough to clean off dirt but 100 broomsticks bonded together can deliver justice to dirt. North, South and Central. We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.

 

Together we can reject political division formulated by the old, together we should be progressive heirs, zonal sentiments, tribal sentiments, religion sentiments and “omo wa ni” philosophy should never be our watchword. It will only be good here when the heirs are united not divided, it will only be good here when we take into consideration the efforts of the progressive minded heirs who are powered by their zeal to change the status-quo of the old foxes.

 

If we fail to be united our lunch will be passed to the cat, our voice, dialogue and struggle will yield and fetch no result. To all the heirs of harmony the future is bright and fertile, the starting point to the ‘tomorrow future’ is now and it lies greatly in our hands if only we do not get infected by the division theory of the policy makers. Truly the older generations failed by giving it for the soup and cash.

 

Once bitten twice shy! They own heirs who have never been part of us, their sight are far away from our plights yet they rule us. Heirs of harmony the next time you see one of you working towards the growth of the harmony state never render their efforts useless! do not sabotage their struggle for the wads of Naira, just as lovers of football derive joy from seeing their team win, the game they enjoy best is seeing us fight and divided, they own a masters degree in formulating religious and ethnic theories.

 

Southern propaganda is false, “Omo wa” won’t make us grow, No to seclusion.  The state of harmony belongs to
all, victory is certain if youths unite!

 

About the writer.

Sarumi Lukman Oluwapelumi is a 400 level student of political science at the university of Ilorin. He can be reached via www.Facebook.com/lukmon.sarumi1 He tweets via @sir_rumz

Nigeria’s D’Tigers Now 16th In Latest FIBA World Ranking

Nigeria’s men basketball team, D’Tigers have moved 9 places to rank 16th (with 106.2 points) in the 2016 FIBA World Ranking released on Thursday.

The African champions outshone their arch rivals, Angola to lift the Nations Cup for the first time last year which earned the country an automatic qualification to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The performance of teams at the just concluded Games also led to drastic changes on the ranking table.

Others with noticeable jumps are Venezuela, Serbia and Brazil while Germany, Angola, Iran and Greece have had the biggest falls after failing to qualify for a second straight Olympics.

Venezuela (115.4 points), the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship winners have risen to No. 15.

Angola (66) and Iran (53.2) dropped eight places to No. 23 and No. 25, respectively, and Germany (31) fell nine places to No. 29.

Nigeria, by this ranking, is now the highest ranked African team while Tunisia who were however, not at the Olympics also gained two steps to now occupy the 21st position from 23rd, ahead of Angola.

Serbia (553), after winning two of their five games in Group A of the Olympics’ basketball event, have leapfrogged Lithuania and France into third place.

They now trail No.1 USA (1000), who won a gold medal at the Olympics for a third straight time, and Spain (665), who finished third.

The Serbians, who suffered a heavy defeat to the Americans in the title game, just as they did at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Madrid, are well clear of No. 4 France (444), No. 5 Lithuania (442) and No. 6 Argentina (360).

The Lithuanians and Argentinians played at the Olympics and reached the Quarter-Finals but lost to Australia and the USA, respectively.

Brazil (323) hosted the Summer Games and climbed two spots to No. 7 despite not advancing to the last eight.

Read More: dailytrust

20 Shipping Firms Leave Nigeria Over Low Business

Groaning under intense hardship imposed by poor government policies and global economic crunch, over 20 shipping firms have exited the nation’s shores.

This is coming as Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN) lamented that over 3,000 workers have already been laid off by various shipping companies, terminal operators and logistic companies, owing to lack of financing and poor import policies of the Federal Government.

The workers also blamed the massive retrenchment on the inability of the Federal Government to meet its joint venture obligation with the international oil companies which are major partners with the marine logistic companies.Some of the companies that have already made an exit include Mitsui O.S.K Line, Nippon Yusen Kasha, Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, Messina Line, Hapag-Lloyd and Gold Star Line (GSL), among others which were forced to withdraw from the West Africa route due to growing losses as a result of declining volumes.

The President, Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN), Anthony Emmanuel Nted, yesterday bemoaned the poor state of the ports, terminal and work environment in the maritime industry.

Nted revealed that about 20 shipping firms have left the shore of the country because of low traffic occasioned by government importation policy.

According to him, Nigeria as an import-dependent country cannot suddenly ban the importation of the principal goods being generally consumed in the country.

“Hence, the current government policy on importation though with the best intention seems to be wreaking more havoc on the economy and ought to be reviewed urgently,” he said.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/20-shipping-firms-leave-nigeria-over-low-business/

Kerry’s Visit To Nigeria Discriminatory- CAN

The President of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle, has faulted the recent visit to Nigeria by United States Secretary of State, John Kerry.

He described it as discriminatory and aimed at furthering agenda by the Federal Government to persecute the country’s Christians.

Kerry, during the two-day trip had, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, and also met with the 19 northern governors.In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Ayokunle accused Kerry of not respecting the heterogeneous nature of the country, and favouring northern Nigeria and Muslims, to the detriment of the Christian community.

He said the Secretary of State’s attitude reinforced accusations that the President Obama administration and key US politicians openly supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2016 general elections.

Ayokunle said the visit sent a wrong message, alleging that Christians under the Buhari administration were under siege.

The CAN leader said: “Kerry’s actions speak volume. His actions and body language were very divisive. Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors? Is Nigeria north alone? Why did he go to the north alone? If the U.S. Secretary of States is coming for an official visit, it is understandable. But we demand an explanation on why he was selective. Has the Sultan’s palace become another State House? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?

“We have 36 states in Nigeria. He only selected northern governors. It was a visit to the north, not to Nigeria. It was surely a very divisive visit. With it, Kerry has heightened fear and tension among Christians in the country. If they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs.”

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/kerrys-visit-to-nigeria-discriminatory-says-can/

John Kerry Leaves Nigeria

The United State Secretary of State, John Kerry has concluded his visit to Nigeria.

Mr. Kerry’s next stop is Saudi Arabia where he will meet with Foreign Ministers from the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

Some key issues he discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari, include the anti-corruption campaign, religious extremism and the violence in the Niger Delta Region.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, that he would institutionalise the anti-corruption crusade to ensure it lasts beyond the current administration.

At a meeting with Mr Kerry in Abuja, the President said his administration “will insist on the standards it is establishing”.

“We are laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed.

“Any breach will no longer be acceptable.

“We will retrain our staff, so that they understand the new orientation.

“And those who run afoul of these rules will be prosecuted, no matter who is involved,” he stressed.

John Kerry Leaves Nigeria

“No Place For Religious Violence Under My Watch”, Buhari Talks Tough

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that religious violence would not be tolerated by his administration.

 

The President said this on Tuesday, while condemning the killing of eight people in Zamfara State on Monday.

 

A mob had set the house of a man ablaze for rescuing an undergraduate, who was accused of blasphemy, resulting in their deaths and those of six others.

 

However, on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the violence.

 

I received news of the mob killings in Zamfara with great dismay. It is barbaric and unacceptable,” he said.

 

I assure Nigerians that the law will take its course. Under my watch, we will work to ensure that there is no place for violence in the name of religion, ethnicity, or in any guise whatsoever.

Adeeko Ademola Abayomi: The Long Road To Fixing Nigeria’s Battered Economy

The Nigerian economy took a deep plunge this year but make no mistake, it’s not a sudden twist, it’s been long coming and every discernible mind should have seen it coming. However, the un-foretold hardship the current situation of the economy has put on Nigerians have really taken a toll on their memory. The struggle to survive is naturally frustrating millions of Nigeria into believing there should be a quick fix.

 

Compatriots, there is no quick fix to an economy that took decades to “achieve” its present dilapidated form.

 

Nigeria is a middle income, mixed economy and emerging market, with expanding financial, service, communications, technology and entertainment sectors. It is ranked as the 21st largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, and the 20th largest in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. It is the largest economy in Africa; its re-emergent, though currently under-performing, manufacturing sector is the third-largest on the continent, and produces a large proportion of goods and services for the West African sub region. Nigeria recently changed its economic analysis to account for rapidly growing contributors to its GDP, such as telecommunications, banking, and its film industry.

 

Previously hindered by years of mismanagement, waste, corruption and dependence on just one derivative (Oil) has been one of our major setback.

 

Apart from the fact that Nigeria, over the years became overly dependent on the Dollar which is as a result of the failure to rejuvenate its manufacturing/production sector, corruption played a huge role in the decay of an economy that was pitched to take over the globe.

 

Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government, or ‘political’, corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

 

The mirage and ripple effect “Free Government Money” created in the past few years gave an impression that everything was ok with the economy. Alas, underneath, Nigeria was seated on a keg of gunpowder which had already been set on fire, waiting to create a catastrophic blast.

 

Our economy was touted to be a very buoyant one basically because there was a huge chunk of free money floating around. Padded budgets, inflated contracts, embezzled contract funds, nepotism amongst many other corruption vices flourished and created that mirage that gave people the impression that the economy was just fine. That right there is a result of the fact that majority of Nigerians only think in Naira.

 

Nigeria’s economy is struggling to leverage the country’s vast wealth in fossil fuels in order to displace the poverty that affects about 33% of its population. Economists refer to the coexistence of vast wealth in natural resources and extreme personal poverty in developing countries like Nigeria as the “resource curse”, although “resource curse” is more widely understood to mean an abundance of natural resources which fuels official corruption resulting in a violent competition for the resource by the citizens of the nation.

 

Nigeria’s exports of oil and natural gas—at a time of peak prices—have enabled the country to post merchandise trade and current account surpluses in recent years. Reportedly, 80% of Nigeria’s energy revenues flow to the government, 16% cover operational costs, and the remaining 4% go to investors. However, the World Bank has estimated that as a result of corruption 80% of energy revenues benefit only 1% of the population.

 

Now, take some out to think about it. In October 2005, Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18 billion and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s debt stock by $30 billion. The deal was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt but as at 2015, Nigeria was borrowing again to pay worker’s salaries. Can you imagine? What a travesty!

 

Lessons learnt? No! That ridiculous feat does not align with the expected results of a buoyant economy. Projects that were included in the budget were not being executed due to lack of funds. Isn’t that a red flag? We export crude to import Petrol, Diesel and other by-products. Is that a good economic policy?

 

We were dependent so much on Crude Oil when we have Natural Gas, Rubber, Cocoa, Tin, Columbite, Taolin, Talc, Tin, Quartz, Iron Ore, Gypsum, Zircon, Calcite, Tantalite, Chalcoprite, Mica, Copper Ore, Limestone, Tourmaline, Beryl, Garnet, Muscovite, Aquamarine, Topaz, Marble, Bismuth, Wolfromite and others. We had all the opportunities to diversify the economy and look at other alternatives to revenue generation which in turn will simultaneously rejuvenate the manufacturing sector, yet we failed to take those chances but we kept on rejoicing over a pseudo-buoyant economy.

 

The largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now imports a large quantity of its food products, though there is a resurgence in manufacturing and exporting of food products. In 2006, Nigeria successfully convinced the Paris Club to let it buy back the bulk of its debts owed to the Paris Club for a cash payment of roughly $12 billion (USD).

 

The global drop in the price of oil should be an eye opener for Nigeria but I doubt we will learn our lessons. A country that failed to diversify its economy all through 17 years of its democracy cannot be termed a serious one.

 

The fall of the Naira against the Dollar can be simply traced to the disability to manufacture enough to saturate the local market, let alone export. Hence, our over dependence on the Dollar basically because we import almost everything we use in this country. At that point where we decided to feed only on imports, we threw away the purchasing power of the Naira to the Dollar on a platter. Today, that “Unconscious” decision has come back to haunt us and then all of a sudden we are in a frenzy, expecting a miracle to happen in one year, pretty hilarious.

 

If there should be a time to revive the economy, it should be now! The government of the day is saddled with the great task of setting the economy back on to the right track to a resurgence. It is not going to be an easy task but it is one that is possible if we put the proper structures in place and that can only mean one thing; a critical review of existing policies and enactment of new ones. It’s so sad that a country like Nigeria with its growing population which really should be our strongest link to attracting investors is still romancing with anti-investment policies. So much for a country that really wants to grow.

 

We should start looking at alternatives immediately and of course we may need to focus less on derivatives and be more focal on manufacturing/production in order to strengthen the Naira. One laudable feat the government the has been able to embark on is the currency swap deal with China. Once that ball is set to roll, we can have enough time to rejuvenate the manufacturing/production sector of the economy before the “Yuanification” of the economy just like we did with the Dollar over the past decades.

 

I am so much optimistic about the currency swap policy IF and ONLY IF we follow through with the plan and not prance around like we did with the Amnesty Programme launched in the Niger-Delta.

Bronze Medal Not Good Enough For Nigeria – Aminu Maigari

Immediate past president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari, has expressed disappointment over the outing of the Team Nigeria athletes, stressing that he was not impressed with the bronze medal from the U-23 national team.

 

Answering questions from his base in Bauchi State, the former Glass House boss said the Dream Team VI however deserved some commendations for saving the country from a disgraceful outing.

 

Asked if he was impressed with the U-23 performance in Rio, he replied: “Winning bronze medal is certainly not good enough for a country like Nigeria that has built a strong reputation. We all know that there are many things that went wrong starting from the pre-tournament preparations like the camping of the players to the lack of motivation.

 

Based on what we have read and seen in the media, the performance was not enough. It should not be in our character to accept and settle for bronze medal in a big tournament of this magnitude especially when it comes to sports and soccer which is source of unity for this country.

 

However, I want to say that the Dream Team VI deserve commendations because despite all they passed through including locking them out of the hotel in Atlanta USA to the abandonment at the airport yet they did what they did to bail out the country,” he said.

Maigari equally commented on what had become a general impression that everything is going wrong with Nigerian football, admitting that he was as confused as every other soccer-loving Nigeria.

 

His words: “I am as confused as what is happening to Nigerian football just as every other Nigerian. It is really unfortunate that we found ourselves in this situation. I have tried to know if the administrators, players or even the media should be blamed.

 

I have tried to put what is happening now side by side with what happened during my regime when we participated and won almost virtually all the tournaments we participated. However, what is obvious is that the structures are not just there now.”

 

We also have to admit that the quest for power is more pronounced now than before. Everybody is just desperate for power now and that is why there is power tussle. The option left for us is to put our heads together as stakeholders and football family to find the solution to the problems,” he noted.

Nigeria: Health Sector Needs N8.2bn To Address Humanitarian Crisis

As part of the overall 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan under review by the World Health Organisation (WHO), $25 million or N8.2 billion is required to address funding gaps in Nigeria’s health sector.

 

The global watchdog, yesterday, raised fresh alarm on the humanitarian crisis in the country, decrying appalling health situations in 15 Borno State Local Government Areas (LGAs) formerly held by insurgents. It also disclosed that more than half of the health facilities in the state’s most affected communities are non functional.

 

It announced, however, that its emergency team arrived August 19, 2016 in Maiduguri, Borno State, to assess and respond to the health needs of 800,000 people in the troubled region.

 

“The working environment in the affected areas is extremely challenging. Resources and capacities to meet the enormous health service gaps are grossly inadequate. Insecurity is a major constraint, with a number of recent attacks on humanitarian staff by insurgents. The annual wet season is also peaking and there are forecasts of major floods in the coming weeks. Access to the 15 LGAs require military escort over long distances on poor roads.

“Nonetheless, WHO and its partners are taking immediate steps to tackle these issues head-on. WHO has already deployed expert staff to Nigeria for emergency operations, coordination, and data management. Another team is on the ground in Borno State to help with the polio outbreak response. The government has already launched emergency polio vaccination activities, with support from WHO and partners. The first round of vaccinations will soon be completed, targeting one million children. Subsequent large-scale polio immunisation rounds are planned before November.

 

WHO has also dispatched emergency drugs and supplies, while the organisation’s emergency operations will be further reinforced by an expanded, experienced response team in coming days,” it said.

Restructuring Should Begin With The National Assembly

President Macky Sall of Senegal is one African leader after my heart. A few weeks into his presidency, the man took one look at the balance sheet and decided that the interest of the country would be better served by a single-chamber parliament and simply abrogated the upper house. He was convinced and, the people of Senegal agreed with him, that the unwieldy two-chamber parliament he inherited was a drain on the economy. His action must have conserved much-needed funds for the country.

 

The call for a review of Nigeria’s National Assembly assumed a new dimension in the last few years following the realisation that the parliament has become a drain on the economy. It all started when former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II revealed that nearly a quarter of the federal budget goes into servicing the false lifestyle of federal lawmakers. The lawmakers did not help the situation by involving themselves in unwholesome practices such as bribe-taking, extortion and forging or falsifying official documents and budget proposals for the purpose of corrupt enrichment.

 

Unlikely voices have joined the call of late. Worried by the unacceptable level of corruption among lawmakers and as part of events to mark his 75th birthday, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida echoed the position of The Guardian and supported an arrangement where legislative duties will be conducted on part-time basis as a cost-cutting measure and a way to break the cycle of corruption at the National Assembly. The former president revealed that the idea was high on the agenda of his government in 1989. His views echoed similar ones by Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, in a recent presentation on the issue.

 

Chief Gadzama had argued that aside saving cost, part-time legislative work will enrich the democracy project at much lower cost because it is the only way to encourage professionals who do not wish to abandon their primary callings to the National Assembly. He even suggested the idea of reserving seats in the National Assembly for professionals, as practised in some developing democracies, who will also operate on part-time basis as other members.

 

Still as part of cost-cutting measures, there are those who believe Nigeria should operate a single-chamber National Assembly. In one of his major contributions to constitution making some three decades ago, President Olusegun Obasanjo made a robust case for a unicameral or, single-chamber legislature for Nigeria which he said best suited developing countries. In his words, bi-cameral or, double-chamber parliaments are generally unwieldy and wasteful for developing countries. Problem is that on two different occasions, President Obasanjo had the opportunity to grab the front-page and twice he demurred!

Honestly, it is still puzzling that President Obasanjo passed up the glory of the revolutionary idea. Who knows? Had he pushed for a single-chamber parliament instead of busying himself with wasting precious time and money of Nigerians in the attempt to stretch his tenure, President Obasanjo’s aspiration to the fatherhood of the nation would probably have been adequately vented. But, that is as far as it could get!

 

Aside its unadvertised role as job-placement agency, the best-known benefit of double-chamber parliament, which is suitable for and, desirable in comparatively rich and literate democracies, is that it allows for checks and balances! Here, the impression one gets is that the upper house, supposedly made up of level headed people is capable of checking the supposed excesses of their supposedly hot-headed juniors in the lower house. It is devoid of commonsense to even imagine that this perceived benefit applies to Nigeria.

 

Developing democracies have no need for double-chamber parliaments. Aside being financial sink holes, double-chamber parliaments are mere duplication of roles and functions. With two unwieldy, often-bickering and scandal-prone houses, Nigeria’s National Assembly with some four hundred and fifty mostly half-educated and mostly-lazy federal legislators is a major drawback. And, mind you, the grouse here is not with representation in terms of numbers. With a population estimated at one hundred and sixty million, the National Assembly may not be overpopulated.

 

Trouble has always been the unreasonable and unrealistic chunk of the federal budget that services the false life style of a disingenuous few in a vast plain of poor, struggling people. If self-regulation, a synonym for checks and balances is the main attraction of a double-chamber legislature, it could be better achieved through a less-costly, result-oriented and effective single-chamber assembly with a good mix of supposed cool headed and supposed hot headed members. To achieve this is to retain the present 350 federal constituencies with legislators working on part time basis. In any case, the present arrangement of observing a 181-day legislative year is part-time, anyway!

 

Aside baiting professionals to bring their expertise to the table, part-time legislative work will eliminate the do-or-die approach to election to the National Assembly which many see as an instant route to wealth. This is misplacement of priorities which in turn shuts out serious-minded people and thereby robs the National Assembly of the services of the best minds. Nigerians cannot continue to be represented by or, subsidise the false style, of poor quality lawmakers some of whom are stark illiterates anyway!

 

History beckons! As the Buhari/Osinbajo administration steadies itself, it may not be a bad idea to look toward progressive lawmakers in seeking ways to reform the National Assembly.

John Kerry In Kenya For Regional Security Talks, Arrives Nigeria Tomorrow

With a peace deal unravelling in South Sudan and jihadist attacks continuing in Somalia, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on Monday.

The two discussed regional security and terrorism before Kerry met with the foreign ministers of Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda for talks focusing on a faltering peace agreement in South Sudan and looming elections in Somalia.

A statement from the Kenyan presidency ahead of Kerry’s visit said discussions with Kenyatta would focus on “regional security and stability” including South Sudan where a civil war has been raging since December 2013, Somalia where elections are due next month, and Burundi in the throes of a political crisis since April 2015.

Terrorism would also be on the agenda, the statement said, as the threat from Somalia’s Shabaab militants continues to affect the region.

Kerry’s previous visit to Kenya in May 2015 paved the way for US President Barack Obama’s trip two months later.

The high-profile US diplomatic missions underline Kenya’s importance as a regional partner to the US, particularly on security, and demonstrate a thawing of relations that cooled while Kenyatta was under indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged election-related crimes against humanity.

Kerry is expected to focus his attention on South Sudan and shoring up a year-old peace deal that has so far failed to end the conflict.

Kerry is due to travel to Nigeria on Tuesday before leaving Africa for Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Read More: AFP

Nobody Can Islamise Nigeria- Sultan

The Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has told Nigerians to forget the fears or suspicion of a grand plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state.

Abubakar pointed out yesterday that it is not possible for a multi-religious country like Nigeria to be converted into a monolithic religious state.

Speaking while commissioning the International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony’s office in Kaduna, the Sultan, who is also a Co-Chairman of the centre, argued that no country survives a religious war; hence Christians and Muslims in Nigeria must imbibe the culture of peace and peaceful co-existence.

While also urging Nigerians to promote issues that would strengthen the country’s unity, Abubakar said ethnic and religious crises in the country ought to have by now become a thing of the past, adding: “No country survives war or war stimulated by religious intolerance.”

According to him, religious practice should be voluntary and not by force, insisting: “We have seen countries where people are killing one another. Obviously, there can be no peace in such countries. Killing is not part of the teachings of the Holy book.”

He called on Christians and Muslims across the world to desist from making comments insinuating that anybody is out to Islamise Nigeria.

The Sultan noted: “Nigeria has a Muslim President and before him was a Christian President. We must see ourselves as one big family. Without that, we cannot have peace.

“It is not possible to Islamise Nigeria. If God had wanted, He would have created all Christians or all Muslims.

“We are not secular, but a multi-religious state, because the people are so religious. We must respect one another and understand the tenets of the two religions.”

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/nobody-can-islamise-nigeria-says-sultan/

Niger Delta Avengers Issue Fresh Secession Threat

The Militant group, Niger Delta Avengers have again threatened to secede and create a Niger Delta republic from Nigeria, if calls for the restructuring of the federation go unheeded by the Federal Government. 

They made this fresh threat in a statement by their spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, and the Avengers suggested an October 1 ultimatum.

 

The rationale for this threat is due to what they call an alleged division of the country by the administrations ‘misdirected policies’.

 

According to the statement, Nigeria as a nation is completely unattractive to the point that nobody, not even the Niger Delta people, wish to continue to be part of the system.

 

“Our prayer for Buhari and the Northern hypocrite (Northern Governors) is that oil should be found in commercial quantity in the North, so they can let the Niger Delta go.

 

“The Buhari Led government has fail Nigerians with their misdirected policies that has divide the country, as such nobody wants to be part of that failed state not even the Niger Delta.

 

The October 1st, declaration of independence is still sacrosanct. If the Nigeria government fails to retrace its step by restructuring this country.We want to warn the general public that those using NDA to defraud people days of reckoning is close,” the statement said.

John Kerry To Visit Nigeria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia next week to discuss regional issues, the State Department announced Thursday.

Kerry will first go to Nigeria and meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the threat of terror group Boko Haram, spokesman John Kirby said.

Boko Haram, the group responsible for the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from a school in Chibok in 2014, has killed at least 20,000 people in its 7-year uprising against the Nigerian government. It surpassed Islamic State in 2014 to become the world’s deadliest terrorist group, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

Kerry and Buhari also will discuss Nigeria’s economy and human rights issues.

Secretary Kerry then will travel on to Saudi Arabia where he will meet with Saudi and other Gulf state leaders to discuss the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Kirby said.

Credit: voanews

Rio Olympics: We Didn’t Play Well Against Germany – Mikel

Nigeria U-23 skipper, Mikel Obi, has admitted that his team mates didn’t play well in Wednesday’s Olympics football semi final clash against Germany in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

With the Nigerians missing the services of two key players in the shape of Oghenekaro Etebo and Azubuike Okechukwu, the Dream Team struggled against the Europeans, first conceding early in the first half, before Nils Petersen grabbed a second goal with one minute remaining.

I wanted to win the gold medal, but the fact is that we did not play well today (Wednesday). The Germans played well,” the Chelsea midfielder was quoted as saying at the press conference.

 

We are professionals, we can now claim third place and this is what we get. We want to give a medal to Nigeria.”

Nigeria Imports $227m Sugar In Seven Months

Nigeria imported $227million worth of sugar in the first seven months of this year, according to the central bank.

The highest monthly value of imports of $79.1 million was recorded in June, a Central Bank of Nigeria monthly compilation of funds used for sugar imports obtained by Bloomberg News showed Wednesday.

The amounts are for raw sugar as well “chemically pure glucose and glucose syrup not containing fructose,” according to the document.

The central bank ditched its 16-month old peg on the naira in June and introduced a flexible exchange rate regime to allow the currency to trade freely on the interbank market.

But dollar liquidity has remained a concern in the system with periodic intervention by the central bank. The central bank has told lenders to set aside extra provisions against their dollar loans.

While the naira closed at N314.14 to the dollar on the interbank forex market yesterday, on the parallel market, the nation’s currency went for N394 to the dollar Wednesday.

The central bank on Tuesday resolved to raise the amount of weekly foreign currency which banks are authorised to sell to Bureau de Change operators (BDCs) to $50,000 from the initial $30,000.
Speaking at the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Kennedy Uzoka, said following the feedback from the market, the committee decided to effect an upward review in dollar sale to BDCs. He said the increase would make more cash available to BDCs and increase the supply which would help to drive down price.

Credit: thisdaylive

 

Dope: Nigeria Profits As Russia Loses Beijing Relay Gold

Russia was stripped of a relay gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Tuesday night, after one of its female runners tested positive for steroids in a reanalysis of her doping samples.

Sprinter Yulia Chermoshanskaya tested positive for two drugs — stanozolol and turinabol — and has been retroactively disqualified and, along with her teammates, stripped of the gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

Chermoshanskaya was also disqualified from the 200 meters, in which she finished eighth.
Belgium stands to be upgraded to the relay gold, with Nigeria moving up to silver and Brazil to bronze.

The IOC asked the IAAF to modify the results and consider any further sanctions against Chermoshanskaya, who is no longer competing.

The three other Russians runners in the relay final were Yulia Gushchina, Alexandra Fedoriva and Evgeniya Polyakova. Under IAAF rules, an entire relay team loses its medals if one of the runners tests positive.

The Belgian runners in line to get gold are Olivia Borlee, Hanna Marien, Elodie Ouedraogo and Kim Gevaert.

The United States did not make the relay final after dropping the baton in the heats. The Jamaican and British teams dropped the baton in the final.
The IOC said Chermoshanskaya claimed in a written statement that she had been injured ahead of the Beijing Games and had been receiving injections on medical advice. The IOC said she should have declared those medications at the time.

Turinabol and stanozolol are traditional steroids that go back decades. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and he was stripped of the gold medal in the 100 meters.

Tuesday’s decision was another black eye for Russia. The country’s track and field team was banned from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over allegations of state-sponsored doping. Investigations are continuing into wider systematic doping in Russia involving dozens of other summer and winter Olympic sports.

Using enhanced techniques, the IOC has retested more than 1,000 doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics to catch those who evaded detection at the time. A total of 98 athletes have been caught.

Read More: ThisDayLive

Annular Eclipse To Occur All Over Nigeria On September 1st

An annular eclipse will occur in all parts of the country with different degrees of totality on Thursday September 1st . This is according to a statement released by the Head, Media and Corporate Communications of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Felix Ale yesterday August 16th.

An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun, hence, the sun appears as a very bright ring or annulus
surrounding the dark disk of the moon.

According to the statement, the highest degree of obscurity in Nigeria during the annular eclipse would be in the Southern part of Nigeria, particularly in Lagos, where it was expected to have 80 per cent obscurity, while the lowest degree of obscurity would be about 45 per cent and this would be observed in the Northern part of the country, particularly in Sokoto. in Abuja, the annular eclipse will be observed at about 60%.

The eclipse is expected to occur between 7.15 a.m. and 10.03 a.m, with slight variations in actual timing across the country. In Lagos, the first contact will occur at about 7.15 a.m, while the maximum eclipse will occur around 8.30 a.m. and will end by 10.03 a.m.

The eclipse is expected to commence in Abuja around 7.17 a.m, with maximum eclipse to be recorded at about 8.32 a.m. and the eclipse will end around 10.00 a.m. The statement warns that the eclipse is not a spiritual issue but a natural occurrence that can be accurately predicted by science. It warned that nobody should observe eclipse with naked eyes as such act can lead to permanent damage to the eyes.

The Space agency appealed to the general public not to panic or attach any mystical interpretations to this event

Why Nigeria Did Not Achieve Much Results– Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said although Nigeria recognised her problems early enough, the country wasted so many opportunities.

This, he said, made the nation not to achieve much results.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the President as speaking while receiving Executive Members of Association of Africa Automotive Manufacturers led by the chairman, Mr. Jeff Nemeth, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari said in order to reverse the trend, the Federal Government must avoid the mistakes of the past.

“We must avoid the mistakes made in the past by both government and manufacturers, and we are ready to get investment from all quarters, so that we can improve the lives of our people,” he said.

The President lamented that Nigeria failed to develop on automobile initiatives started in Bauchi, Kaduna and Ibadan, and depended too much on oil as mainstay of her economy.

“We are making efforts to start our steel industry all over again. I see vast opportunities for both the country and those who invest here,” the President said.

Read More:

http://punchng.com/nigeria-not-achieve-much-results-buhari/

RIO 2016: “Stay Away From Us”, Dream Team Tells Dalung.

The Nigerian U-23 team at the Olympics holding in Brazil has warned the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung to stay away from the team.

The players whose next match puts them up against Germany in the Semi-Finals of the competition noted that the Sports Minister is a distraction to the team and hence his visits to the camp is unnecessary.

According to reports, the team warned the Sports Minister and his delegation against coming anywhere close to the dressing room before and during the match.

One of the top players in the team on Monday night said: “We are set for the semi final clash with Germany.

“We have perfected our game plan to qualify for the final and win the gold medal for Nigeria like our 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games colleagues”.

I Won’t Go Back To Chelsea Without An Olympic Games Gold Medal – Mikel

Rio de Janeiro – Nigerians appear to pin hopes in Dream Team VI, going by steady manner that the team has been inching toward the medal zone in the ongoing Rio Olympic Games’ soccer event. Even though the team had been dogged by a myriad of problems, thrown at them by the haphazard manner of preparation for big events including the ongoing Olympics, the team has hardly let that come in between them and victory when it mattered most.
Captain Mikel Captain Mikel “We are ready to die to wrestle the Olympic Gold,’’ members of the Dream team have resolved shortly after they overcame the Danish team to win the ticket to meet the Germans in one of the semi-finals of the soccer event of the Games. Chelsea star player, John Obi Mike, captain of the team and one of the three overage players, said he did not want to return to Chelsea, his club, without an Olympic Games gold medal. He vowed to delay his return to his English Premier League side after helping Nigeria to reach men’s football semi-final against Germany in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
He added that he was determined to have the Games gold to declare in his luggage. “I hope to go back to Chelsea as the Olympic champion. That is my aim,’’ vowed the 29-year-old Obi, who scored the opener in the 2-0 quarterfinal win over Denmark in Salvador on Aug. 13. “I came out here to do my best to help the team with the gold medal. “That has always been my objective. It’s my aim and the players all want the same. When you have a group of players all wanting to achieve the same thing, hopefully it will go well at the end. “Hopefully, the semi-final will go well on Wednesday and then we will be in the final and win the gold medal’’.
An ex-Eagles’ goalkeeper, South Africa-based Idah Peterside, said the team could defeat Germany when they clash in the semi-final. Peterside said from Johannesburg, that the match would be tough. “ The semi-final against Germany will be tough. We can win the match. We all have to pray for them and wish them well’’. He said the presence of striker Etebo Oghenekaro in the match can boost the country’s chances because he has potential to score goals. “ Etebo`s presence will be a great boost to the team. I hope he is okay and fit for that match,” he said. He noted that the Dream team has recorded great results in the course of the games. “All that matters now is the Gold. I am optimistic that this result is achievable’’.
The team will be certain to have the backing of many lovers of Nigerian brand of soccer because many Brazilians have not forgotten the raw deal they had at the 1996 Atlanta Games, when the original Dream team beat them to gold. The venue of the match, Sao Paulo, will offer a good setting, if the boys can reproduce the sparkle that they have shown since the start of the completion right from the tight and strangulating circumstance that dogged their path to Manaus for the opening match.
In spite of late arrival at the venue of the first match in Manaus, they hit Japan 5-4 to set the tone for a challenging event. They also defeated Sweden, 1-0 but gave a second string side the opportunity to concede 0-2 to Colombia. The result did not upset the balance as the two previous victories were enough to see the team through quarters. With a huge number of Nigerians in Sao Paulo and environs, the National team would not lack vital support to forge ahead.
Although the team did not impress during the last group match against Denmark, losing 0-2 but many said they had since put that behind them since it did not affect the team’s progress to the crucial quarters. Mike Adjuya, a Brazil-based Nigerian soccer agent, said: “I have since forgotten about the loss. Many other Nigerians will be there at the Arena Corinthian to show solidarity to the team.’’ “The team needs us now. We shall be more organised in providing the vital support.
The team will make history. I will be happy to be part of it, ‘’ noted Chinedu Nwosu, a Nigerian and Sao Paulo businessman. “I am confident the Dream Team will prevail. They have Olympic Games’ soccer pedigree. That is what has seen them through to this stage. “I have seen that Nigerian spirit of rising to occasion when a challenge presents itself, especially the many obstacles that have dogged their getting to this stage.
They are fired up now. They have a way of dismantling big soccer nations. “I see a Nigeria-Brazil finals and it will be a good advertisement for World football,’’ noted George Aluo, the Sports Editor of the Sun Newspaper, in Brazil covering the Games. Coach Samson Siasia said he was confident that his boys would deliver. “The dream is a gold medal. This vital possession I want.
I know all my boys want this as well.’’ Mikel reckons that his team has already defied the odds in reaching the last four. “It was a bit frustrating coming down here, but while we were in Atlanta we knew that we had a good shot at getting to the final or winning the tournament.’’ “With the problems we have had getting to this stage, it is just absolutely amazing and we just have to keep going.’’

Reuben Abati: Tales From #Rio2016

In some other countries of the world, a bronze medal at the Olympics is not something to be talked about or celebrated. Not even silver is satisfactory sometimes, just remember that look on Russian athlete Yulia Efimova’s face as her arch-rival, Lilly King of the United States took the gold in 100m women’s breaststroke swimming. Nothing but gold is good enough – afterall, the Olympics is the biggest showcase of human talent on the planet and a demonstration of man’s capacity to express himself or herself to the limits and excel. In the US for example, there is an obsession with gold at the Olympics, this being an extension of the average America’s patriotism-driven belief that the United States is the center of the universe. The US has the largest number of gold medals in Olympics history.

“Go for Gold” is the classic Olympics slogan, but we have also seen in the on-going Rio Olympics, episodes after episodes and tales of human ingenuity in addition to memorable events: so much hard work and dedication – Michael Phelps winning three gold medals and still counting, so far bringing his total Olympic gold medals to a record 21, Uzbekistan’s 41-year old Okusana Chusovitina participating in her seventh Olympics as the oldest gymnast on parade, and making it to the finals, 19-year old American Simon Biles putting pure genius on display in the gymnastics, team refugees participating for the first time in the Olympics,  Kosovo winning its first Olympic medal (gold!), a marriage proposal on the field showing love is more important than gold, well, an Egyptian, Sara Ahmed won a trail-blazing historic bronze in weightlifting, the mighty falling – Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Venus Williams crashing out of tennis, Chris Froome coming up short in cycling, and on the side lines,  BBC female presenter, Rebecca Adlington reaching out under the table to squeeze Mark Foster’s thigh,  and on the minus side, the organizers getting China’s flag wrong, mixing up national anthems including Nigeria’s, complaints about living conditions at the Rio Olympics village, and on the streets, a marvelous opening ceremony, and a generous display of Brazilian female nudity, and on the dark side: young Brazilian hoodlums, robbing visitors of valuables with such unpatriotic brazenness. It is less than a week, so far, but the tales are of characteristically intriguing and historic dimensions.

 

But again, we must not forget this: the Olympics is about the victory, and about national glory and pride. To win the gold, a country must be prepared, and its athletes must be prepared to show the excellence, the resilience and the courage that is the hallmark of the event. When the issue is not about gold however, it is about, on the humanistic side, the kind of courage in the face of adversity demonstrated by British athlete Derek Redmond at the 1992 Barcelona Games, when he tore his hamstring and simply refused to give up, reaching the finish line of the semi-finals, hanging on his father’s shoulder. The Olympics since the first modern one in 1896, has been about the human being and the many possibilities of human aspiration in the face of challenge.

Nigeria has participated in the Olympics (the Summer Olympics) 15 times, 1952 -2016. And over that period, this country of over 180 million people, has been able to win 3 gold medals (Chioma Ajunwa, 1996, Dream Team 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team, 2000 Sydney Olympics), 8 silver, and 12 bronze medals, making a total of 23 Olympic medals. No cause for despair. After all, we are better than some 73 countries, which have never won a single Olympic medal, countries like Somalia, Chad, Swaziland, Oman, Palau, Benin, Belize, Cape Verde, American Samoa, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Congo, Malawi, Mali, Palestine, Nauru, Lesotho and Oman.  My take however is that we could have done much better, if this had been a different country, if successive governments had paid more attention to sports as a tool for international glory and achievement.

 

Our poor record is the cumulative effect of the failure of the Nigeria Olympics Committee, the lack of political will in government at all levels to promote individual talent in sports on a sustainable basis, and the Nigerian disease: last-minute syndrome which means everything is done at the last minute, things that other countries spend years and resources preparing for, we wade in at the last minute and expect that miracles would happen. Major breakthroughs in sports in Nigeria as in everything have been either through miracles or individual sacrifice. Our sports community, active and retired, is made up therefore of angry and frustrated men and women who feel that they have been used and forgotten by their country, the serving ones are so poorly treated they even sometimes wonder why they are still wearing Nigeria’s caps. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, there is a Lawrence Okolie and a Christine Ohuruogu on Team Great Britain and yet another Nigerian running up and down for Italy. Nigeria has got talent. Point.

 

But we do not know how to use, nurture or encourage those talents. There are probably thousands of Michael Phelps in the Niger Delta who can swim from creek to creek, Olympic style, but who are busy carrying guns and looking for cheap wealth; if you go to the Mid-West, there are probably hundreds of girls who can swim better than Lilly King, Yulia Efimova and Katinka Hosszu put together, but all that talent is probably being wasted in a thigh-raising whorehouse in Benin or a city in Italy, because the Ogbe stadium is ruined and nobody has bothered about discovering the natural flying fishes in that part of the country.

When I see the Olympic gymnasts doing their thing, I think of the many talented young girls in Nigeria, who due to lack of opportunities are busy putting their lithe, capable sporty bodies to other uses. Developing the sports sector does not require too much imagination: you just need to start, catch them young, groom them, give them opportunity. That is why a 16-year old from Chile can stand out in archery, and a 19-year old teenager from America, Simone Biles, can be an embodiment of human perfection.  We have the people, the potentials but…

 

We are most certainly not prepared for big events that require state planning. It is particularly ironic that we have done much better as a country in the Paralympics – 22 Gold, 11 Silver, 12 Bronze since 1992.  You can interpret that literally, I don’t want to spell it out and offend the valiant men and women who have done us proud in that alternative Olympics. What is painful is that Segun Toriola, seven times Nigerian Olympian had warned us quite early that the preparation for this year’s Olympics is the “worst Team Nigeria in Olympics history.” Underline the word, “worst”, and it looks like he is right.  Before the Olympics, we heard the embarrassing story that Nigerian athletes going to the Olympics- 78 of them, 49 male, 29 female, participating in eight events (we seem trapped here!) had been asked to go and fund themselves, cap in hand. To worsen matters, the Sports Minister, the Sports Ministry and just about anyone who needed to use their brains, started sounding like Emperors.

 

The Nigerian soccer team, called Dream Team VI was stranded in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the Minister’s informed response was “who send them there?” The teams trip to Brazil was postponed from Friday to Monday, to Tuesday and to Wednesday, no money, no support. The Dream Team eventually arrived in Brazil on the wings of charity: Delta Airlines had to airlift them free. They arrived a few hours to their opening match, jet-lagged, without allowances, hungry, and with a coach, Samson Siasia, who had also not been paid for five months, and yet the boys went ahead, to beat Japan, 5-4. That is the spirit of the Olympics.

 

Dream Team VI, (we really like to dream!) has since qualified for the quarter-finals, and they may well surprise the world. No one expects that they would, maybe the Nigerian government (which likes to reap where it has not sown), but whatever happens, those boys and their coach are heroes already, and should they manage to win any medal, that medal should be presented to Delta Airlines, not Nigeria, and when that is happening, Solomon Dalung must not be anywhere near the room. Well, they say he has apologized, but must we run Nigeria’s international appearances on the basis of apology?

 

That is what we are doing. Better-focused countries are celebrating gold medals, we are here celebrating courage in the face of adversity: the biggest story we would probably take out of the Rio Olympics. Besides the Dream Team VI, I have seen very enthusiastic comments about how Segun Toriola is a seventh time Olympian in table tennis, and how Nigeria has produced the first African to qualify for the Quarter Finals in table tennis in the person of Aruna Quadri, and the first Nigerian rower, Chierika Ukogu.  Ms Ukogu had to sponsor herself to the Rio Olympics. She had to beg for funds, and travelled on the wings of charity too. She qualified for the quarter finals and got Semi-finals C/D ranking and we are now all so proud of her, but deep in her heart, she would know that the country she promoted so much at the Rio Olympics, does not really care for her. And that is sad.

 

There was also the Nigerian basketball team. They put up a valiant fight for love of country, but I doubt if any one of them is home-made. When will Nigeria begin to make its own athletes and geniuses, and not leave its responsibility to pure chance and accidents?

 

I salute the courage of all the badly treated and frustrated 78 Nigerian athletes currently fighting for our country at the Rio Olympics. They are patriots and they are all deserving of our appreciation for their faith in Nigeria despite the odds, representing Nigeria, in badly sewn track-suits. They may not win any medal- we understand! We would still be proud of them. It is their type that reminds us that indeed, there is still a country and for that alone, we must be grateful.

Anti-Corruption War: Don’t Bow To Pressure – Ajibola Tells Buhari

Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, SAN, yesterday advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to succumb to the pressure to relax his anti-corruption war.

 

According to him, Nigeria will not make progress, if corruption is not taken to the cleaners.

 

Ajibola, who gave the advice in an interview in his Abeokuta home, recalled telling the President after his inauguration that corruption would fight back, but pleaded with him not to give in to pressures.

 

The retired Judge of the International Court of Justice wondered what manner of people Nigerians were if the same people that voted Buhari to solve their problems of corruption were so early getting tired when the work had only just begun.

 

He said: “Fighting corruption is vital and it is going to come with many provocations and open show of ungratefulness by the same Nigerians you are working hard to save but you stand firm and not be deterred. That is the way to go.

 

‘’When I served as Attorney-General of the Federation for over six years, I did not take salaries, asking them to use my salaries as part of the fund to run the nation’s affairs.


‘’Despite all that, when I was nominated for election into the International Court of Justice, eminent Nigerians, lawyers of note (names withheld) travelled all the way from Nigeria to campaign against me that I should not be voted into the ICJ.

 

“That is where I would like to advise President Buhari not to be deterred by seeming lack of appreciation of the good work he is doing and various acts of sabotage and pressures of corrupt people that caused the suffering of Nigerians currently.

 

‘’The success of the whole struggle is in his not succumbing and in his firmness. The people that are doing these to the government, who will always come out to criticize as if there is nothing good that the government has done or is doing, should not be the reason to allow the other 170 million helpless Nigerians to suffer.”

 

He is capable and I pray that Almighty Allah will continue to strengthen him to succeed.’’

World Bank Supports Agricultural Sector In North East Nigeria With $50m

The World Bank has pledged to support Nigeria’s agricultural sector with 50 million dollars towards the restoration of agricultural livelihood of Fadama beneficiaries in the North East.

Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Task Team Leader of the Fadama III project, disclosed on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme would last up till December 2019.
He said the programme had begun in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Gombe and Yobe states.

Oredipe disclosed that Borno, Yobe and Taraba had released their N20 million counterpart fund, while the three other states had given approval for payment.

He said that the bank had launched a special programme of Fadama for the North East towards actualising the programme.

Oredipe said that actualising the programme had become imperative because the bank was determined to help to restore livelihood in the region.

“We want to reach out to 24,000 households and we have the package for them as you know most of them have lost everything.
He said that the programme would be done in stages and there is budget for every community where the bank is intervening.

“The third leg is that we are giving food assistance to farmers that we are going to work with because if you don’t provide food assistance the tendency that when you bring seedlings or fertilisers they will sell it.
Oredipe noted that it is inimical to health and food production when farmers cooked seeds instead of normal grains.

He said in this regard, Fadama would support every family with a small quantity worth 200 dollars, just to help them within the period while they were waiting for their harvest.

The coordinator revealed that damaged irrigation facilities, abandoned roads that might have lost shape would be upgraded by supporting them with water lifting devices.

Oredipe said that there was adequate budget for every household while the bank facilitators were on the field working with NGOs who are familiar with the terrain to map out farms and other facilities.

“We are not engaging in trial and error, we are working with experts who are familiar with environment so we can move quickly as the sense of urgency is there.

“Every community will prepare a community action plan for the team to work with, since we have a budget,’’ he said.
Oredipe disclosed further that 25,000 dollars had been set aside for each community as intervention fund.

“In that community they will have to sit together and put facilities that are relevant but are not functioning we have roads to fix, we have irrigation facilities.
“So, based on the consensus, they have all agreed on and identify 40 households with farmlands.

“It is a straightforward package that we have learnt from the earlier phase of the project to be able to make quick intervention that can yield very good result,’’ he said.

Read More:

http://leadership.ng/news/545642/world-bank-supports-agricultural-sector-in-north-east-nigeria-with-50m

Nigeria Rise To 67th On FIFA Rankings

Nigeria senior football team, Super Eagles, rose three places in the latest FIFA rankings to berth at the 67th position.

The Super Eagles were last July rated 70th globally and 17th on the continent. However, in August ranking, Nigeria moved a place in Africa to 16th behind Algeria, Ghana, CIV, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, Congo DR, Cape Verde, Mali, Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Guinea respectively.

There were no changes at the rankings summit, with the top 20 retaining their July position.

Argentina remain top, followed closely by Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile.

Just two international matches, both friendlies, have been played since the July Ranking, meaning that the changes that have taken place are generally minor.

Read More:

http://punchng.com/nigeria-rise-67th-fifa-rankings/

Turkish Citizens Protest In Nigeria As Erdogan Widens Coup Clampdown

Citizens of Turkey resident in Nigeria on Thursday protested in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, calling for support for President Tayyip Erdogan who survived a coup attempt on July 15.

The protest was organised by by two groups – Musiyad and Little Turkey Nigeria.

The protesters, about a hundred, embarked on a peaceful procession from the popular Abuja parade ground, near the magnificent International Conference Centre to the Turkish embassy located on Diplomatic Drive, near the Nigeria’s Ministry of Defence.

As they marched, the protesters waved Turkish flags and sang songs of solidarity in praise of President Erdogan.

As they arrived the embassy building, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, was already waiting outside to receive them.

Mr. Cakil had on July 28 called on the Nigerian Government to close 17 Turkish schools in Nigeria for their alleged links with a movement his government says was involved in the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey.

According to the ambassador, investigations by the Turkish government showed that a movement led by US-based Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the failed coup attempt, which claimed over 200 lives. was in support of the Turkish president.

President Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions after the failed military coup.

Read More:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/208434-turkish-citizens-protest-in-nigeria-as-president-erdogan-widens-coup-clampdown.html

South Africa Overtakes Nigeria As Africa’s Biggest Economy

In dollar terms, South Africa is once again the biggest economy on the African continent, a position it reclaimed from Nigeria.

This was attributed to the appreciation of the rand, South Africa’s currency, and the devaluation of the Nigerian naira following the introduction of a flexible foreign exchange regime.

Using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of 2015 published by the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg reported that the size of South Africa’s economy was $301 billion at the rand’s current exchange rate, while Nigeria’s GDP was put at $296 billion.

Bloomberg noted that the rand has gained more than 16 per cent against the US currency since the start of 2016, while in contrast, Nigeria’s naira has lost more than a third of its value.

In afternoon trade wednesday, the rand firmed by more than a per cent against the dollar, to R13.29.

Despite the switch, Nigeria and South Africa both face the risk of recession, having contracted in the first quarter of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Nigeria’s economy shrank by 0.4 per cent, while South Africa’s GDP contracted by 0.2 per cent.
Nigeria has suffered amid low oil prices, while South Africa is sensitive to shifts in the commodity cycle.

“More than the growth outlook, in the short term the ranking of these economies is likely to be determined by exchange rate movements,” an economist at Exotix Partners LLP, Alan Cameron said.

He said although Nigeria was unlikely to be unseated as Africa’s largest economy in the long run, “the momentum that took it there in the first place is now long gone”.

Also, the Head of Research, SCM Capital Limited, Mr. Sewa Wusu, told THISDAY that the challenge of naira devaluation has caused a lot of economic challenges to the country, particularly with respect to the GDP.

“This should give policy makers the drive to rectify the forex challenges. Of course they have done their best by introducing a flexible exchange rate, but the issue is beyond that. The issue currently is about our forex earning potential.

“But I think the government is up to the challenge. I think we need a quick fix on the economy. That would help to support the naira and strengthen the currency,” Wusu added.

Read More: thisdaylive

UNESCO DG Arrives Nigeria On 3-day Working Visit

Ms Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, arrived Nigeria on Wednesday, on a three-day working visit.

She was received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, by Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Hajia Mariam Katagum, Nigeria’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

Bokova who spoke to newsmen on arrival, said that the purpose of her visit was to discuss vital issues with the Federal Government.
She expressed concern over terrorist activities in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Mali.

“The purpose of the visit is to meet the President and the Ministers of Education, Science and Culture.

“Nigeria is a very important member of UNESCO-a member of the executive board.

“There is an agenda for sustainable development for the next 30 years; we want to see how we can accomplish the ambition of the Nigerian government.

“We are very much concerned about the terrorist attacks in the region; that is why I also visited Niger, Chad and Mali,’’ she said.
According to the UNESCO D-G ,the visit is her third time of coming to Nigeria.

Credit: NAN

UK Launches 24-hour Visa Service In Nigeria

The UK has launched the Super Priority Visa Service in Nigeria to allow prospective visitors to Britain to process their applications within 24 hours.

The British High Commission, on its website, said the new service was targeted at meeting the needs of those who require urgent service to travel.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the High Commission quoted the British High Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright, as welcoming the introduction of the Super Priority Visa service in Nigeria.

“I am pleased to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in Nigeria.

“This comes with an additional cost but is designed to give greater flexibility to our customers and underlines our strong commitment to make improvements to the visa services we offer.

“We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business. We understand that business opportunities and urgent requirements can arise at very short notice.

“We recognise this and want to facilitate such travel to the UK with this new super-fast service,” Arkwright said.

Read More: Thisday

VP Osinbajo Wants AU To Declare Corruption A Crime Against Humanity

Nigeria has formally requested the African Union (AU) to declare corruption a crime against humanity. The country blamed the impoverishment of African people on corrupt leaders. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said on Wednesday at the inaugural JF Ade Ajayi Memorial Lecture held at the University of Lagos, that the request had been tabled. The late Ajayi was one of Nigeria’s foremost history scholars, and former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos.

 

Thousands of lives

 

Prof Osinbajo said the problem of corruption must be escalated as the vice was clearly the most devastating affliction on the African people. Corruption, he noted, was the single leading cause of poverty on the continent. Drawing on the Nigeria situation, he said: “Corruption of a few has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, destinies lost and futures destroyed.’’

 

The wasteland

 

He also wondered how anyone could explain “the wasteland that is the Niger Delta today’’. Prof Osinbajo described the “needless elongation of the insurgency in the North East’’ and “continuing human and environmental tragedy in the Niger Delta’’ as two recent tragedies orchestrated by corruption. The vice-president recalled that some estimates showed that some Niger Delta state earned more than many African countries every year, but they had nothing to show for such fortunes.

 

Moral tradition

 

We must demonstrate that it is un-African for leaders to perpetrate the immorality of stealing the future of our children,” he stressed. The vice president hailed the virtues of the late Ade Ajayi as worthy of emulation.

 

The legacies of men and women like the great JF Ade Ajayi must be held aloft as the examples of the African moral tradition.’’

Peace Must Be Restored In Nigeria At All Cost – Burutai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has vowed that the Nigerian Army would at all cost ensure restoration and maintenance of peace and harmony in the country.

 

This is even as he noted that the Nigerian military has degraded to its knee the Boko Haram activities in the north east as incessant bombings of worshipping centres, market places, motor parks and other places have gradually subsided in all section of the country.

 

The Army boss gave the pledge when he paid a courtesy visit to the Gbong Gwom Jos, His Royal Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba at his palace in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.

 

Originally, Buratai was on a familiarization tour to military outfits and formations under the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos.

While commiserating with the His Royal Highness over the death of the paramount ruler, Saf Ron Kulere of Bokkos Local Government, HRH La’azarus Agai, he also assured the people of Plateau State of security of lives and properties.

 

Also commending, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba appealed to the military and other security agencies to continue searching high and law the killers of the paramount ruler La’azarus Agai and brought them to book, appreciating the Nigeria for its sacrifices towards restoring peace and other only in Plateau State but all over Nigeria.

AGF Directs EFCC, Others To Submit High Profile Criminal Cases To Him

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has directed prosecuting agencies to compile list of “high profile criminal cases” they are prosecuting for transfer to a special committee.
Malami, a few months ago, constituted the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) with a brief to assume prosecution of some identified “high profile criminal cases” being handled by prosecuting agencies.

The minister said the committee was constituted to ensure “smooth and prompt” prosecution of such cases.

The directive for the agencies to compile the list of such pending cases was announced yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with heads of the prosecuting agencies and representatives of the AGF.

Corruption Is Official In Nigeria- Pastor Bakare

The convener of Save Nigeria Group and Presiding Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, at the weekend, said not only government officials were corrupt, but emphasised that “corruption is official in Nigeria.”
Bakare made this declaration during the birthday celebration of human rights activist, Monday Ubani and the launch of Onyekachi Ubani Foundation at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, while delivering the keynote address titled “the system that allows massive corruption in Nigeria must be bad”.
He noted that, “at the twilight of the military era in Nigeria’s political trajectory, the name “Nigeria” became synonymous with a certain word, a word that elicits the image of a cesspool running over corruption.
“At that time, precisely, bin 1999, Transparency International rated Nigeria the second most corrupt countryman the world in terms of perception, second only to her eastern neighbour, Cameroon.
“For instance, given the unbridled looting the treasury at that time, reportedly to the tune of over one billion dollars as was subsequently uncovered following the exit of the military, it was obvious that the abnormal had become the norm, the illegal had become legal, the outrageous had become banal and aberrant had become the gold standard.
Bare who was represented Ayers the event by the managing director of Wema Bank pointed out that “through 17 years of civil governance, the stench of corruption has continued to pollute the national atmosphere and to attract the derision of the international community.”

Read More: SunOnline

 

“I Will Continue To Fight Nigeria”, Shekau Vows.

Boko Haram’s shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau has appeared in a new video vowing to fight on, shrugging off an apparent split in the hardline jihadist group blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009.

 

“I… Abubakar Ash-Shakawy (Shekau), the leader of Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, made it a duty for myself (to fight) Nigeria and the whole world,” Shekau said in the video released on Sunday, using the group’s name since it declared allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

 

Last week, Shekau said in an audio message he was still head of the group despite his purported replacement by Sheikh Abu Musab al-Barnawi, a former Boko Haram spokesman.

 

“We have no desire to fight our Muslim brethren,” Shekau, who last appeared in March, said in the 24-minute video.

 

Shekau ridiculed suggestions that he was dead, and looked more composed and energetic than in previous appearances.
“I’m alive by the permission of Allah,” he said in his speech in Arabic and Hausa, adding that he would only die when his time came.

 

In the video he is wearing camouflage gear and holding a machine gun, standing between two Islamist fighters in balaclavas armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

 

He taunted President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and condemned Western countries including the United States, France, Germany and “the tyrants of the United Nonsense (UN)”.

 

At the end of his speech — apparently filmed in Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest of northeastern Nigeria — he fired off rounds of ammunition into the air.

 

His absence in recent months had sparked speculation about his fate and whether he had been deposed as Boko Haram’s chief.

Barnawi’s appointment was contained in a magazine issued by the Islamic State group, to which Boko Haram pledged allegiance in March last year.

 

Shekau dismissed Barnawi as an infidel who condoned living in an un-Islamic society without waging jihad.

 

Shekau became leader after Nigerian security forces killed the group’s founding chief Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.

 

Omar Mahmood, a security analyst with US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute who has spent the past five years researching Boko Haram, said Shekau was removed because of his highhandness and ruthlessness.

 

“One thing that has remained constant, however, is the focus on attacks against regional security forces, with Muslim civilian deaths still ignored. This aspect seems to be a key concern for IS propagandists,” Mr Mahmood said.

 

“By contrast, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the man announced as the new leader, clearly stated in his al-Naba interview that attacks against Muslim civilians, mosques and markets will not be a staple of his leadership.”

 

Sources close to Boko Haram said Barnawi, aged in his early twenties, is none other than Habib Yusuf, the eldest son of group founder Yusuf.

 

They said he was put under Shekau’s care following the death of his father, but the pair fell out over ideological and operational differences.

 

Boko Haram has been blamed for some 20,000 deaths and displacing more than 2.6 million people since it launched a brutal insurgency in Nigeria in 2009.

 

Nigerian forces, with the support of regional troops, have recaptured swathes of territory lost to the jihadists since they launched a military campaign in February 2014.

Olympics: Argentina Shoot Down Nigeria In Basketball

Perennial medal contenders Argentina eased past Nigeria 94-66 in each team’s Rio Olympic debut as Facundo Campazza scored 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from three-point territory. Manu Ginobili of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs added 12 points and the Brooklyn Nets’ Luis Scola 18 as the more experienced Argentines proved too much for the sloppy African qualifiers. Argentina is the only country since 1988 to have won an Olympic basketball gold medal other than the USA.

They won in Athens in 2004 on the strength of their “golden generation” of core players including Ginobili, Scola and Andres Nocioni. But with Ginobili now 39 and the other two 36 years old, time is running out for that decorated cadre to take home another medal. Cheered on by a boisterous turnout of fans from their nearby homeland, which borders on Brazil, Argentina jumped out to an 11-0 lead. They never looked back, using tough defence and superior ball movement to set up eight first-half three-pointers and take a 50-31 halftime lead. More of the same followed in the second half, with the Argentines cruising to the final buzzer. They finished with 15 three-pointers. Nigeria was led by Ikechukwu Diogu’s 15 points and 13 rebounds, and 14 points from Ebi Ere.

See Nigeria’s Schedule At The Rio Olympics

Barely 20 Hours to the kick-off of the much expected 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, a full schedule of the sporting activities in which Team Nigeria will participate has been released.

As the Olympics is scheduled to start on Friday, Nigeria will first feature in a Group B Men’s tournament football match against Japan after which the country’s flag bearer at the Olympics, Funke Oshonaike and her male Table Tennis counterpart Segun Toriola, will participate in the preliminaries of the table tennis singles.

Thereafter, Nigerian football team will play the second leg of the Group B match against Sweden on Sunday at about 2:00am Nigerian time.

 Click here for the full schedule.

Credit: Nation