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XENOPHOBIA: South African mob kills 2 Nigerians

After weeks of assault on Nigerians, which led to destruction of property and severe injuries, aggrieved South Africans have finally killed two Nigerians.

While Martins Cobham, Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, confirmed the death of a Nigerian mechanic identified as Razak Ajao, Ralph Nwachukwu, a Nigerian in South Africa, said another Nigerian was also killed on Thursday.

Both incidents happened in Polokwane, Limpopo province.

“I can confirm that a Nigerian, Razak Ajao, an auto mechanic was killed and four others injured during a mob attack against foreigners in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa today (Thursday),” Cobahm said.

“The Nigerian mission has formally registered a protest to the South African ministry of foreign affairs on this sad incident.

“The ministry said they would get back to the mission and that is the situation we are now. The mission has also reported the attacks to the South African police.

“Meanwhile, the mission is meeting with officials of Nigeria Union on the incident to decide on the next line of action.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.”

Cobham said two of the injured Nigerians had been treated and discharged while others were still receiving treatment in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Nwachukwu, who could not give the names of the victims, said the attack started when Nigerians living in that area were holding a meeting.

“They held a meeting on Tuesday and today (Thursday) was supposed to be a follow up,” he said.

“It was at the peak of the meeting that the South African taxi drivers swooped on them.

“They accused Nigerians of peddling drugs and began to attack them with dangerous weapons that led to the death of two while many others were seriously injured.”

Nwachukwu said Nigerians, in a bid to register their complaint, went to police station but the commander at the station drove them out instead of listening to them.

He alleged that the commander threatened to shoot them if they did not leave the station.


Source: The Cable

Indian police make sixth arrest over attack on Nigerians

Police have made a sixth arrest in connection with a brutal mob attack on Nigerian students in northern India that rights groups labelled a hate crime, an officer said Friday.

The students were thrashed with sticks and metal chairs in Greater Noida in a vicious assault that was captured on camera and shared widely on social media.

“He (the sixth suspect) was under tremendous pressure, so he came to the police station and surrendered himself,” Superintendent Sujata Singh told AFP, adding that police hoped to make four more arrests.

The students were set upon after the death of an Indian teenager from a suspected drug overdose, which locals blamed on the Nigerians.

Security has been beefed up in Greater Noida, with police assisting African students with their shopping runs and escorting them to class.

Police have identified roughly 60 people from footage of the attack who they plan to charge with rioting and unlawful assembly, she added.

Video footage showed a mob attacking a car, while in another clip dozens of men assaulted shoppers in a mall with metal chairs and garbage cans.

A Kenyan woman that reported a separate assault later retracted her story after it was proven false.

Hundreds of African students live in Greater Noida, where there are several popular universities, engineering colleges and other educational institutions.

Human Rights Watch said “hate-filled crimes against foreign students and vigilante attacks in India’s cities” were not new, and authorities should label this is a crime fuelled by race.

India’s foreign ministry assured Nigeria all steps were being taken to protect their citizens in India, as Abuja demanded “diligent prosecution” of the culprits.


Source: AFP

JUST IN: Indian police arrest five over attack on Nigerians

Police arrested five men Tuesday after hundreds of angry residents of a north Indian city attacked Africans with sticks and metal chairs following the death of a local teenager from a suspected drug overdose.

Around a dozen people were wounded in the violence late Monday in Greater Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi where hundreds of African students are based.

“Rumours were being spread that Africans are behind the youth’s death and racist comments were made on social media. It looks racially motivated,” senior police officer Sujata Singh told AFP.

India’s foreign ministry condemned the incident as “deplorable” and said it had assured the Nigerian high commissioner (ambassador) that all steps were being taken to protect the country’s nationals.

Many Nigerians were targeted in the violence, which was apparently triggered by the release without charge of five Nigerian students detained over the teenager’s death.

“The government is committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreigners in India. People from Africa, including students and youth, remain our valued partners,” said a ministry statement.

Singh said around 500 people had assembled for a candle-lit vigil in Noida to demand justice for the teenager, and became violent after spotting a group of Nigerians.

One television station showed an angry mob hitting a car with sticks, while another showed dozens of attackers hitting shoppers in a mall with metal chairs.

Endurance Amalawa, one of the attacked students, said he was outside the mall with his brother when they saw an angry mob running towards them.

“We kept crying for help, but no one came, not even the security marshals. I was running but they followed me and attacked me,” he said on NDTV television.

“Some people were hitting us, pushing us out… they dragged my brother outside and start hitting him.”

Africans living in India frequently face discrimination and even violence, and are often accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade.

The issue was thrown into the spotlight after a Congolese national was stoned to death last year in a dispute over an auto-rickshaw.

After that, African ambassadors in New Delhi threatened to advise students from their countries to avoid schools in the capital for their own safety.

“The locals look at us like cannibals,” said Presidoe Okujuna, spokesman for the Association of African Students in India, which is advising students to avoid classes for their own safety.

“People are scared. They don’t want to come out. They want security for their lives.”

The latest attack stemmed from the death of a local 16-year-old from an apparent drug overdose.

Police detained five Nigerian students in connection with the case after a group of local people went to their home and accused them of murder.

The students were later released after police failed to find any evidence against them.


Source: AFP

JUST IN: 155 Nigerians ‘voluntarily’ return home from Libya

At least 155 Nigerians have voluntarily returned from Libya barely two weeks after 171 returned home from the north African country.

They were brought into Nigeria on Thursday aboard a chartered Nouvel Air aircraft with registration number TS-1NB.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aircraft landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 6pm.

Like the initial group which returned on March 7 after being stranded in Libya while en route Europe, the returnees were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Nigerian embassy in Libya.

They were received at the Hajj Camp area of the airport by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the police.

Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) were also on ground to receive them.

Onimode Bandele, the director, search and rescue, NEMA, told journalists that various agencies were on ground to welcome the returnees to their fatherland.

“We are here to welcome our nationals who have signified their intention to come back home from Libya,” he said.

“The returnees are being assisted back home by IOM, having been negotiated out of detention centres in Libya for various immigration offences.

“We had three medical cases on board; one is paralysis, the other one is a psychiatric problem, while the third is a minor injury which has been taken care of with the effort of the IOM doctors and the Port Health Authority.”

Bandele said that the Nigerians had gone to Libya in search of greener pastures, which unfortunately turned out to be a terrible experience for them.

The NEMA official disclosed that the voluntary return started in 2001 and that about 7,000 Nigerians have been assisted by IOM to return home from various countries.

“Between March 2016 and December 2016, IOM assisted 867 Nigerians back home. Since February 2017 to date, we have had 654 Nigerians.

“This means that between March 2016 and March 23, 2017, IOM assisted 1,521 Nigerians that have voluntarily returned to the country.

“This exercise is to ensure that they are well received and we are also in touch with their respective state governments,” he said.

The returnees were profiled by immigration authorities and were each given N19, 695 for transportation to their respective states.


Source: NAN

“Nigerians Must Go”, Cameroon forcing Nigeria refugees home.

The UN refugee agency has criticised Cameroon for the forced return of hundreds of refugees to north-east Nigeria after they had fled from the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency.

The UNHCR said forced returns had “continued unabated” despite an agreement earlier this month.

Under the deal, any returns would be voluntary and only “when conditions were conducive”.

This year, more than 2,600 refugees have been forcibly returned to Nigeria.

Many are unable to go back to their villages in Borno state for security reasons and have ended up in camps for displaced people.

In some cases, the UNHCR said, people had been returned “without allowing them time to collect their belongings”.

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch spoke of “chaos” in the returns process and said “some women were forced to leave their young children behind in Cameroon, including a child less than three years old”.

Many of the returnees are now settled in the Banki camp for internally displaced people.

UNHCR staff also recorded about 17 people who claimed to be Cameroonian nationals, who it said had been deported by mistake to Banki.

It is common in the region to find people who have no documentary proof of their nationality.

The Cameroonian authorities have not responded to the UNCHR comments but have previously said Boko Haram militants have been entering the country disguised as refugees.

Militants have carried out a number of attacks in northern Cameroon in recent years, often using suicide bombers.

The UNHCR said forced return constitutes a serious violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Convention, both of which Cameroon has ratified.

It called on Cameroon to honour its obligations under the conventions and continue keeping its borders open so as to allow access to territory and asylum procedures for people fleeing the Islamist insurgency.


Source: BBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Deportation spree continues as 37 Nigerians land Lagos from Italy

The Italian government has deported another batch of Nigerians for committing immigration-related offences in the country, just two weeks after it deported 33 Nigerians.

The fresh 37 deportees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA) Lagos, on Tuesday night.

The deportees, who are all males, were brought back in a chartered aircraft with registration number OM-IEX, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Joseph Alabi, the spokesperson of the Lagos airport police command, confirmed the development.

The deportees were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the police.

Also on ground to receive them were officials the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The deportees were profiled by immigration authorities and were each given a stipend to facilitate their transportation to their respective states.

A total of 171 Nigerians, comprising 95 females, including 12 girls, and 76 males, also returned to the country from Libya on Tuesday.


Source: The Cable

BREAKING: New batch of 171 Nigerians arrive Lagos airport from Libya

A total of 171 Nigerians, comprising 95 females, including 12 girls, and 76 males, returned to the country from Libya on Tuesday.

They are currently at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, where they are being attended to by officials of Nigeria Immigration Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and some other agencies.

The plane, which conveyed them from the North African country, landed around 4:15pm.

Last week, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, had said 180 Nigerians were being expected.

Three-hundred and- fourteen Nigerians have been forced to return to the country within two weeks, as a result of the harrowing experience in Libya.

Gift Peters, one of the returnees, had told reporters that she was deceived of being taken to Germany.

“When I got to Libya, it was not in my mind to continue with the journey. So I asked the person that took me to return me to Nigeria but he started maltreating me and sold me to someone who has a connection house in Libya where we were maltreated daily,” she had said.

“If we don’t want to work, they will start maltreating us. They will do something to you that you will wish to die.

“Those who they sold us to, sometimes, use iron and start burning us. At times, they will instruct our fellow ladies to urinate for us to drink.”

She said she eventually contacted her family in Nigeria and was fortunate to make it back alive, unlike many of her peers who joined her on the ill-fated journey.

Oil deal exceeding expectations…countries cutting more than agreed – OPEC

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the historic oil deal sealed in December is yielding more results that expected.

The Vienna-based oil cartel, said some countries party to the deal are cutting production levels below the points agreed at the December accord.

In its first bulletin for 2017, OPEC said 24 countries have joined in turning a new page in the oil history of the world.

Quoting Alexander Novak, minister of energy of the Russian Federation, OPEC said “the results we are observing … are exceeding our expectations. In fact, many countries are going beyond what has been agreed in December in working strongly to the letter in the spirit of the ‘Declaration’.”

Via a commentary on the bulletin,  OPEC said the projection of Mohammed Barkindo, its secretary-general — that the world was about to turn a historic page in oil history — is now becoming a reality.

“Just a few days after the landmark ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ was signed in December, a delighted OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, said at the Petrotech 2016 Conference in New Delhi, India that the world was on the verge of turning a historic page in global oil.

“Of course, that was before the OPEC/non-OPEC agreement came into force on January 1. Following the positive outcome and confidence expressed at the inaugural meeting of the monitoring committee, the Organization’s chief executive might want to rephrase that statement to ‘has turned’ a historic page.”

Osinbajo condemns celebration of treasury looters

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday urged Nigerians to stop celebrating treasury looters.

To him, it is unfortunate that someone accused of corruption is celebrated in his hometown because people believe he has taken his share of the national cake.

“Today someone who is corrupt is celebrated. There is a problem that we must resolve, and if we don’t resolve it, it will hurt us very, very badly, just as it is hurting us already,” he said.

Osinbajo said the best way to win the war against corruption is to study the models used elsewhere and adopt them.

“We can only resist corruption when we ensure that systems put in place are working,” he said.

The Acting President spoke while opening a two-day National Dialogue on Corruption, organised by the Office of the Vice President in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).

Osinbajo said corruption fighting back was not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that the country “cannot survive with the type of corruption we have”.

According to him, corruption thrives where it is allowed to thrive.

“When the very best people say that there is no consequence of bad actions, they suddenly turn bad,” he said.

The Acting President recalled that when he initiated reforms in the Lagos judiciary as Attorney-General in 1999 aimed at curbing corruption, he was accused of ethnicity and witchhunt, but was not deterred.

Among the problems he addressed, he said, was the mode of appointment of judges that was based on “man-know-man”, as well as welfare, as judges were then paid N67,000, which could not meet their basic needs.

Osinbajo said the Bola Tinubu administration gave every judge a house for life, and increased their remuneration considerably, which became a reference point for other states and the appellate courts.

He said where there were issues of corruption against judges, petitions were sent directly to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and followed up.

The reforms, he said, led to the sack of 22 corrupt magistrates and three judges within one year. A 2006 survey showed zero percent corruption in the judiciary, as against 89 per cent in 2006.

“It was because a system was in place and impunity was not allowed. It is important that we put in place models that will work.

“We must work together – the legislature, the judiciary and the executive – to put a model that must work. We must ensure that systems that are put in place are fair and comply with the rule of law,” he said.

Osinbajo added that the campaign against corruption must connect it to the problems of their times ground so that people will realise the debilitating consequences of graft.

He called for international cooperation in the fight against corruption, such as making it easier to recover stolen assets, the process of which he said had been “so difficult”.

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, making his first public appearance a day after his confirmation by the Senate, said the judiciary gets a lot of stick for corruption, sometimes unfairly.

“The judiciary finds itself being battered left, right and centre. So, what should the CJN say on an occasion like this, which will not appear as a defence of his institution?” he said.

The CJN admitted that “a few bad eggs exist within the judiciary”, but restated his commitment to collaborate with other arms of government to fight the scourge.

Justice Onnoghen said corruption thrived only in a culture of impunity where people believe in themselves alone.

He said the only way there can be justice is when everyone respects the constitution and the rule of law.

Justice Onnoghen appeared to be criticize the sting operation by the Department of State Services (DSS) in which the homes of judges were raided and some arrested.

He warned that such acts were capable of destroying the judiciary, adding that sanctioning judicial officers should be done through the right channels.

His words: “The judiciary holds these principles dear, because that is the only way we can ensure an orderly society, and ensure the maintenance of democracy and justice for all.

“So, if you are to fight corruption, then you should fight the culture of impunity which is attitudinal, by adhering strictly to the constitutional provisions and the rule of law.

“If we allow the rule of law to reign, then there will be a dramatic reduction in corruption and injustice. That is how I see it.

“The judiciary is painted with a brush like an institution that epitomises corruption; that is not fair; that is not correct. We have gentlemen on the bench, and by its nature, judicial officers can only be seen and not be heard.

“So, when you’re dealing with judicial corruption, you ought to do it in accordance with the rule of law and channel whatever you have through the appropriate channel so that you don’t destroy that institution, because destroying it will not do us any good. Yes, we can do more.”

On delays of cases, Justice Onnoghen said the judiciary alone was not to blame.

He said when prosecutors do not do their jobs well, a judge will not be expected to convict a suspect “willy-nilly”.

NDIC reveals how much Nigerians lost to MMM

The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that an estimated three million Nigerians have lost N18 billion in the Ponzi scheme, popularly called Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM).

Speaking at NDIC day at the ongoing 38th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Thursday, the Managing Director of the Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim decried that despite repeated warnings by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the corporation, Nigerian’s still patronise MMM.

He noted that the creation, usage or trading in the Ponzi scheme in forms of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Onecoin as currencies for medium of exchange are Internet-based transactions and are not authorised by the CBN due to the risks involved in their operations.

He cautioned that any person or groups of persons who invest their money in the Phonzi scheme does so at their own risk.

He added,”The Phonzi scheme is the phenomenon of illegal fund managers, popularly called “Wonder Banks” which have continued to defraud unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money. This phenomenon has been a source for concern because despite our repeated warnings over the years, some members of the public have continued to fall victims of their fraudulent practices.

“We would like to reiterate the fact that these fund managers are illegal as they are neither licences by the CBN to take deposits from members of the public not are those who patronise them covered by the NDIC deposit insurance scheme. I want to also draw the attention of some cooperative society which often go beyond their primary mandate by accepting contributions from members as cooperative societies are only recognised to mobilise savings from their members. “

Ban on okada, keke will affect Nigeria’s economy – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that motorcycles and tricycles should not be banned nationwide because doing so would affect the nation’s economy negatively.

Amaechi said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the celebration of the national day of Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairers and Riders Association of Nigeria.

The minister advised state governments not to ban commercial cyclists but train them to reduce their recklessness on the road and ensure strict compliance with rules and regulations.

He said, “I don’t think we should ban Okada because if we do, it will affect the economy; they only need to be trained to obey rules and regulations.

“The issue of security, safety and regulation should be dealt with at the state level; state governments should train Okada riders.”

He urged the operators avoid recklessness and obey traffic rules and regulations in order to reduce the rate of accidents.

According to him, commercial cyclists play vital roles in the transportation sector, especially in transporting agricultural produce where roads are not easily accessible.

He said, “We know you play a vital role in the economy: Not all buses, taxis can access our roads for agricultural purposes; a lot of Nigerians depend on you because your services are cheap.

“The economy cannot only grow through white collar jobs; everybody doesn’t need to depend on government and what you have done is to be self-employed to feed yourselves.”

Shehu Babangida, National President of ACOMORAN, said that the day was an annual event designed to celebrate the informal sector in Nigeria.

He said the association’s 12 million membership had massively reduced the rate of unemployment and criminality in the country by engaging vulnerable youths.

The ACOMORAN president thanked the minister and former Zamfara governor, Senator Sani Yerima, as well as other dignitaries, for gracing the occasion.

Facebook lauds Saraki for opening up N’Assembly via platform

World’s most popular social media platform, Facebook, has commended Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for opening up the activities of the 8th National Assembly through various channels, especially the daily Facebook Live Video streaming of Senate plenary sittings.

The Chief Product Officer and Company Lead on Product Management and Development of Facebook, Christopher Cox, gave the commendation while speaking at The Future of Media Keynote Session and opening of the annual Social Media Week held at the Landmark Centre in Lagos on Monday.

Reacting to the development, the Office of the President of the Senate in a statement yesterday said it was “indeed delighted at the endorsement of the Senate President” by the social media giant, Facebook.

According to the Special Assistant to the Senate President on New Media, Bamikole Omishore, “This commendation reinforces one of the core mandates of the Senate President to the New Media unit, which is to bridge the gap between the Senate and Nigerians.”

“The Nigerian Senate facebook live streaming has an average view of four million unique clicks monthly for the plenary live feeds and we will be expanding coverage to courtesy calls, committee hearings and oversights in the next few months.

“You would recall that Saraki personally attended the 2016 edition of the Social Media Week in company of Senators Foster Ogola, Dino Melaye and Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi amongst others, where he spoke on the topic: ‘Promoting Online Communities to improve Participatory Governance’ and subsequently had a no-holds-barred interaction with traditional and social media enthusiasts on how to continue bridging the gap between elected government officials and Nigerians passionate about the use of social media for political engagement.

“We are encouraged to do more with this commendation and wish to kindly reiterate and assure our friends, from the online community and beyond, of the commitment of the Senate President towards ensuring that the 8th National Assembly continues to witness improved transparency and accountability on government functions and people participation,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chinese govt demands dry yam from Nigeria

The Chinese government has demanded dry yam from Nigeria to meet industrial and domestic needs.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Thursday, in Abuja, which a technical working committee was inaugurated to fast track the exportation of yam by July 2017.

The Minister said Nigeria has remained one of the world’s largest producer of yam, which accounts for 61.7 per cent of the global production of the root crop, while there are over 60 varieties of yam, but sadly, Nigeria not among yam exporting countries.

He assured that local production and consumption of the commodity would not be affected by the move to export yam soon, rather government would scale up intervention in yam production, as farmers in the country have indicated willingness to increase production to meet both local and international demands.

He noted that high level of yam production was going on in Zakibiam in Benue State, the Minister said government would leverage on it and also spread production across the entire country.

However, he lamented Ghana, which produces far less than any yam producing state in Nigeria, has taken over the European market.

According to him yam consumed in the United States were imported from Ghana and a tuber of yam cost as high as $15. He said: “Ghana is controlling Africa’s yam export market where Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers. I am not sure if Ghana produces as much yam as any state of the federation”.

The Minister noted that the private sector driven committee was deliberate in other to guide the government on how to get a fair share of the global yam market. He noted that the Nigerian yam export promotion programme was aimed at taking Nigerian yam production, processing and marketing to next level in line with what is done in other country.

He also emphasised the need to ensure that Nigerian agricultural produce meet the standard of foreign markets, and stressed the need for the country to design produce that would meet Nigerian health standard.

The minister tasked the committee to develop a framework for establishment of Nigeria yam export sea and airport where all documentation relating to the export are prepared, adding that they should facilitate acquisition warehouses at the receiving destination, rationalize the bureaucracy of export and enforcement agency located within one roof designated for Nigeria yam export park houses.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof Simon Tsange, said they have been doing underground work on the programme adding that the committee would ensure that in six months time, Nigerian yam would hit the international market.

MMM again to freeze Mavros, Introduce new rules

In a latest release to its participants on February 22, members of the ponzi scheme saw in their various Pos(Personal Offices) a message stating the plan to launch the new rules which will “stop the growth of  confirmed Mavros acquired before the 1st of January 2017 and freeze the bonuses received before the 1st of January 2017 so that limited withdrawal of Mavro-2016 will include only contributions, not bonuses.”

Sergey Mavrodi of inventor MMM PO means personal office. It is the site’s environment displayed for every member to participate in its activities.

Mavros are virtual money-equivalent access to cashing returns on funds invested in the scheme.
The message read thus:

“You constantly reproach us stating we don’t listen to your opinions however we really do. We try to carry out the most reasonable and efficient suggestions immediately.

Particularly, in accordance with your suggestions, we will soon take the following measures: We will stop the growth of confirmed Mavros acquired before the 1st of January 2017. We will freeze the bonuses received before the 1st of January 2017 (so that limited withdrawal of Mavro-2016 will include only contributions, not bonuses).

We will introduce a new rule according to which the withdrawal amount cannot exceed triple amount of the provided help (so, GH cannot exceed PH more than in 3 times).”

Recall that in November 2016, the ponzi scheme first froze the Mavros of its participants, raising anxiety and controversy on whether it would ever pay back to Nigerians the millions of money they invested in it.

However, after a month’s later, it announced it had unfrozen the Mavros but ever since its return, the participants are yet to get either their invested capital back nor the promised returns on them. Promoters of the scheme were equally not resting on their oases in constantly convincing their down-liners whom they introduced into the scheme that it would come back to status quo ante.

But, almost two months since its return, the members kept receiving information about planned changes in the scheme. While others have had suggestions of forgoing the money they invested before 2017, others have been told to keep investing in order to have access to withdrawals.

The latest announcement has equally raised more fears and sparked off debate among the participants. For instance, participants of the scheme who belong to a WhatsApp group page, MMM Nexus Solutions have the following arguments: One who answers OA said, “With this new policy, I can tell you that MMM has taken the best step towards speedy recovery and sustenance. I know we have other platforms, but Baba Na baba. Very soon you will understand why baba is baba.

Very soon, you will know that those platforms were not there in the year 1989 when baba started. But, another, Adebutu countered saying, “My question is , wen will I GH, I don’t mind if am getting only my pH back? Or, Is dat  d new trick ? Am not a muumuu ooo ,my pH will be used to pay others and no one will pay me, just like wat as my 2016 pH ,it will not happen.” Another, Martinez wrote,” I must confess, there Is no professionalism in mmm. I PHed 10k so as to help me get all my cash but i was only able to.get the 10k back. It’s painful that im gonna lose my 130k to mmm.”

Fola lamented, “Wow I cancelled one just now its devastating, the amount available for withdrawal drop from 51.k to 36. K ????????????? The whole thing was 36 plus when I created the order now it was not paid close 7weeks now and it grew to 51k plus and all is removed.”

“Just forget it MMM is dead, Guiders finally tell participants.”

Meanwhile, last two weeks, the members of the WhatsApp group came online to find the group page’s name read, “MMM is dead.”

“MMM is dead”, participants and members of the popular ponzi scheme woke up to see their Whatsapp  group page name read for close to five hours before returning to its original name, MMM Nexus Solutions.

The group page is managed by supposed “Guiders” who have been consoling the members  and giving them updates on the state of the scheme before and after its supposed return from one month’s freezing of access to requesting help, Mavros. However, ever since its return, no member has successfully ‘gotten help” (GH) from the help (PH) they provided before the ponzi scheme froze their Mavros.

Since its return, it has been from one hope of a reaping the harvest to another as the promoters, called Guiders, have constantly fed the members whose money investments in the scheme have been frozen with hopes of it returning to status quo ante. But it was rather a shock to many of the whatsApp group members on the Saturday the 11th of February, 2017 when their group page changed and read, MMM is dead.

Immediately, the members began to talk. A member, Oladipupo Abdulahi wrote, ” I feel for this adetutu. But I must confess forget it,am not a guider and I don’t even know how they got to that rank. Just forget it MMM is dead.”

However, another member, Khaddy said, “mmm did not put gun on anyone’s head to pay. you knew the risk before donating.”

Another, Adetutu lamented, “Ogba ooooo,so my money is gone, I did not get any kobo from Mmm but it stole from me ,it is well.” Another, Da’mi Oduolowu said, “Adetutu i feel for u o. I still provided help this week, hoping to get my 2016 mavros released.But all na ofuutufeete”

Sammy, another participant wrote: ” Thank God u people r now talking like real human. Hoping for something that has left Nigeria since. Cause I wonder why u keep giving urself hope on something u know is gone. Just convincing urself it will get better and also trying to convince each other U will get ur money back. Na kafancha.”

Again, Oladipupo Abdulahi replied, “Have you seen it around lately in Nigeria??? All the u can still log in scope na lie.”

But Da’mi Oduolowu asked, “Bhet what if it comes back?”

Why most Nigerians are corrupt – Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said that contrary to the common belief that greed and poverty are to blame for the indulgence of most Nigerians in acts of corruption, lack of adequate sanctions is the reason corruption continues to thrive in the country.

She stated this while making her remarks at the flag-off of South-West Women Against Corruption (WAC) project in Lagos.

Dabiri-Erewa said that many young Nigerians are inspired to engage in acts of corruption when the society celebrates those who have been handed light sanctions for looting large sums of money from the national treasury.

She urged members of the public to rise against corruption and impunity in Nigeria; adding that the recession the country is currently facing was a direct product of corruption in the country.

The presidential aide called on women from the South-West geo-political zone to support President Muhammadu Buhari and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in their efforts to tackle the malaise of corruption in Nigeria.

Dabiri-Erewa further enjoined women to inculcate the qualities of contentment, integrity, value, virtue, and valour on their children, stressing that as mothers of the nation, women can be agents of change.

She said: “The reason there is so much corruption in Nigeria is not greed but lack of adequate sanctions.

“As long as we see corrupt people go to jail, come out and we celebrate, we worship, we clap for them; corruption will continue to thrive.

“I think we are at a point where we need to say ‘enough is enough! Never again should we go back to the days where we are coming from. Never again should we have anybody steal our commonwealth, live with impunity and get away with it.’

“That is why I want to appeal to you; let us support President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption. For the first time, we are having a president who is fighting corruption headlong. We need to support him.

“I am ashamed that at a function today, when I said ‘women against corruption’, people shouted me down. But I say ‘one bad apple should not spoils the whole bunch’

“We, as Nigerian women, are people of integrity, value, virtue, and valour. Most importantly, if we have contentment we have everything. If there’s no contentment we will keep stealing until we steal our on hearts out. We need to raise our children with the virtues of contentment.

“As women and mothers of a nation, we can be agents of change. We can do it.

“Let us also support the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu because; we love what he is doing. We hope the Senate confirms him because we know that he will earnestly fight corruption.

“Let us all support the WAC project. If we get it right, the nation gets it right.

“Let’s support the fight against corruption and be determined that we will take Nigeria out of this recession, and this recession is corruption.”

Xenophobia: We’re sorry for the attacks, South Africa apologizes to Nigeria.

Lulu Mnguni, high commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, has apologised to Nigerians, and other foreigners involved in the recent xenophobic attacks.

In an interview with NAN on Wednesday, Mnguni said the unjustifiable attacks were a poor representation of South Africa’s values.

He said the South African government had taken measures to stop them.

“We reiterate our view that South Africans are generally not xenophobic,” Mnguni said.

“We are deeply saddened by these acts of violence that have taken place against the foreign nationals, especially the Nigerians affected in these communities.

“The South African government is sorry for the destruction and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

“If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have successfully integrated into communities all over the country.

“No amount of anger or frustration can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.”

He said his country’s minister of home affairs had led a delegation to areas where crisis broke out, and that the police had been directed to provide security.

“We have dispatched a ministerial delegation to the affected communities in Johannesburg and Pretoria which is being led by the minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba, to address the issues in the area,” he said.

“The South African government is specifically interested in addressing the alleged claims of illegal activities of undocumented migrants which have been raised by communities.

“The police have been directed to work round the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing these acts of violence.

“The security cluster has been instructed to ensure that these matters are resolved to the satisfaction of South Africans and foreign nationals in the communities bringing about better policing between communities and authorities.

“We urge communities to assist the police by providing information on the incidents that have taken place so that the perpetrators could be brought to justice.

“Our government is doing everything possible to sensitise all South Africans that the country is an integral part of Africa and our success or failures cannot be isolated from that of Africa as a whole.

“We expect any issues of concern to South African citizens and residents to be resolved through peaceful dialogue.”

Mnguni added that the complaints made by some South Africans about some undocumented foreigners was not enough to attack all foreign nationals, especially Nigerians.

“The underlining cause is the fact that we have had complaints about undocumented and illegal immigrants in the country committing crimes or using small shops and business places to carry out criminal acts,” he said.

“However, while some foreign nationals, documented and undocumented, have been arrested in relation to these claims, it is wrong to regard all foreigners as being involved with crime in the country.

“Also, not all foreign nationals in the country are there illegally as many have come to South Africa legally and have contributed to our economy immensely with development skills that we might lack.

“Even those who came as refugees escaping conflict in their home countries have also contributed to the social development of the country.

“As South Africans are expected to respect the rights and freedom of anyone on our shores, we also expect foreign nationals on our shore to abide by the laws and freedoms of South Africa.

“Our government is also emphasising on the need for responsible public comments to be made by all leaders, representatives and public figures so as to prevent situations like these from happening.

“We don’t want these incidents to discourage foreigners from coming to South Africa because we need them to develop a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

“We also want an increase in tourism figures from countries within and outside the continent and to promote sustainable economic development in Africa through business opportunities.

“So many countries helped us in our fight against apartheid so it would be wrong to fight against these same nationals in our country.

“We can’t afford to forget where we are coming from so we are promoting this unity so that we can develop our respective countries and Africa as a whole.’’


Source: The Cable

NAFDAC denies registering ‘Indian garri’

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Tuesday, said contrary to reports, it did not register the ‘Indian garri’ that was reportedly being sold in the Nigerian market.

The agency’s Director, Special Duties and Media, Abubakar Jimoh, said this in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday, noting that there had been false reports that the agency registered the brand.

Nigerians had expressed concerns over the weekend when it was reported that ‘Indian’-packaged garri was being sold in the country. The garri was packed in a 500g bag, which had the picture of a lady and an inscription, ‘TRS’, on it. It also had a price tag of N450, according to reports.
NAFDAC said it immediately commenced investigations into? the alleged importation of the “Indian garri”.

The agency also cautioned Nigerians against consumption of the product
Similarly, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, spoke on the development in a statement on his verified twitter handle, noting that 26 packets of the product were seized for analysis by NAFDAC after regulatory officials visited the supermarket in Ikoyi on Monday.

While speaking with newsmen Tuesday evening, Mr. Jimoh said that preliminary investigations revealed that the product was produced in UK, shipped to Ghana and now being sold in Nigeria.

He, however, said that the agency did not register the product as being insinuated.
“Let me make it clear again that NAFDAC did not register any garri,” he told newsmen.

“We have collected samples of the product and sent them for screening,” he added.
Explaining further, Mr. Jimoh said NAFDAC couldn’t have registered the imported ‘Indian-garri’ because the agency understood the implication of such a decision on the local production market and the general Nigerian economy.

“We are not just safeguarding public health, we also ensure the growth of the Nigerian production industry and facilitate the federal government’s efforts at fixing the economy,” he noted.

The NAFDAC spokesperson said investigation is ongoing on the product and the agency would reveal the outcome of its findings once the investigations are concluded.

“The (Acting) Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, would address the press once the result is out,” he said.


Opposition politicians are the ones inciting South Africans against Nigerians – Abike Dabiri

Abike Dabiri, the Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora to the Presidency in an interview has revealed that the opposition politicians are the ones inciting the people in South Africa against foreigners.

In her interview this morning on national TV, She said; “Opposition politicians are inciting the people in South Africa, telling them what they want to hear”.

She also said; “Xenophobia is not just a Nigerian thing, it’s an African thing”.

She further went on to challenge the South African Government to call the opposition to order, saying “It is important to embark on some awareness Education programmes to South Africans carrying out Xenophobic attacks”.

“This is about Africa killing Africans, Africa hating Africans, its not a Nigerian thing and the South African Government need to face the reality that opposition politicians are inciting the people. We have written to the African Union, it goes beyond just talking about it, AU must table this as a critical discussion. Africans need to be protected within Africa.”, she said.

Recall that this is not the first time Xenophobic attacks have been unleashed on foreigners especially Nigerians in South Africa.

“Not everybody that was affected the last time has been compensated. South Africa need to go down to the basics and educate the people. This administration wants to ensure that every Nigerian who calls for distress is sorted out”, Abike concluded.

World Bank Report: 75 million Nigerians lack access to electricity.

Nigeria is second to India on the list of countries with the highest electricity access deficit with 75 million people compared to India’s 263 million persons.

According to a new World Bank report, other countries on the list of nations with highest electricity access deficit are Ethiopia with 67 million; Bangladesh 62 million; Congo Democratic Republic with 55 million; Tanzania with 40 million; Kenya with 33 million; Uganda with 30 million; Sudan with 25 million; and Myanmar with 25 million people.

According to the report, an energy scorecard released on Monday, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sudan alone have 116 million people without adequate electricity.

The authors noted that energy access, efficiency and renewables are on the rise in many developing nations, but in places like sub-Saharan Africa, the energy situation is still grim and hundreds of millions remain unconnected.

According to the report, access is, in part, a financial issue in these countries. In many sub-Saharan Africa countries, people pay more than $500 to connect to the grid, while in another developing country, Bangladesh, the cost is as little as $22.

Senior Director and Head of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank, Riccardo Puliti, said: “Africa has long been the least electrified, and power there cannot keep up with population growth. Those disparities won’t disappear without policies encouraging both private and public investment.”

According to the report, for much of the world, however, renewables are growing fast: 93 per cent of countries have renewable energy targets, and more than three-quarters have supporting legislation.

This growth, however, needs more focus. Just 39 per cent of countries have studied how to integrate renewables such as solar and wind power into their current electrical grids, the authors found.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sustainable Energy for All, a sustainable energy initiative launched by the United Nations in 2011, Rachel Kyte, said: “The world is in a race to secure a clean energy transition. The underlying message is that we must go further and faster.”

Besides, Energy economics global lead for the World Bank Group, Vivien Foster, said: “African countries on the whole scored very poorly, with as many as 40 per cent barely beginning policy measures to accelerate access to energy. African countries on the whole scored very poorly.”


Source: The Guardian

Despite Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in S/Africa, Shoprite’s profit soars in Nigeria.

South African retailer, Shoprite, reported a 15.5 per cent jump in half-year profit, buoyed by sharp sales growth in Angola and Nigeria.

Shoprite on Monday scrapped plans to merge with Steinhoff International.

Shoprite, which sells mostly groceries, has grown rapidly outside its home market with sales in other African countries now accounting for more than a fifth of the retailer’s total.

A merger with Steinhoff International would have created an African retail giant, but the plan was called off after minority shareholders complained that the proposed deal would offer little value for Shoprite.

Some analysts said there were no obvious synergies between the two businesses.

Shoprite reported diluted headline earnings per share of 460 cents for the six months to end-December in line with forecasts and compared with 398.2 cents a year earlier.

Sales in Angola surged 155 per cent from a year ago, while Nigerian revenue jumped 60 per cent.

Both are important growth markets for the retailer, but experienced a shortage of foreign exchange as oil revenues remained under pressure affecting economic growth.

However, Shoprite said it was able to fund its stock requirements from its external balance sheet and kept shelves stocked while many traders in the region struggled.

“It was exceptional growth and we must be cautious because to continue at 150 per cent is unlikely,” Chief Executive Pieter Engelbrecht, said in an investor presentation.

He took the reins from stalwart Whitey Basson in January.


Source: Reuters/NAN

FG To Be Blamed For Xenophobic Attacks On Nigerians – HOR Committee

The House of Representative Committee on Diaspora has criticised the Federal Government for failing to stem the attacks on Nigerians living abroad.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Rita Orji, stated this on Monday while speaking to journalists at the National Assembly on the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

She said the failure of the Federal Government to address previous attacks of Nigerians in South Africa was responsible for the incessant killings of Nigerians abroad.

The lawmaker recounted some of the killings of Nigerians in South Africa, Libya and other countries, claiming that the committee had investigated some of the cases and sent a report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with no visible action taken.

Why 2018 Census will be biometric based – FG

The Sokoto State Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, Barrister Muhammadu Aminu Jason, has explained why the 2018 census will be biometric based.

He explained that the development was aimed at avoiding human errors.

While addressing newsmen in the state on Monday, Jason said, “As a prelude the commission will today (Monday) commence the third phase of Enumeration Area Demarcation, EAD, in Illela Local Government Area, LGA of Sokoto State.”

EAD is said to be a process of deploying high calibre technology to divide the landmass of a country into small units that can be easily covered by a team of enumerators during census enumeration.

Jason said, “The significance of the EAD exercise goes beyond the conduct of the 2018 census hence it will be used as an established national data for generating accurate locality list including house numbering for subsequent census.

“The commission had previously demarcated 37 local government areas in all the 36 states of the federation including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in the previous EAD exercise.

“Nigerians have no reason whatsoever not to believe the outcome of the 2018 census as we are deploying sophisticated technology in carrying out the EAD exercise,” Jason stated.

Recall that the Federal Government, FG, last week released over N775 million for the conduct of EAD exercise ahead of next year’s National Population Commission, NPC census.

The exercise, which is expected to kick off on February 20 and end on March 10, includes the foundation on which the census architecture stands.


After 2 attacks in 1 week, South Africans issue fresh threats to Nigerians.

The Nigerian community in South Africa on Monday said some of its members have been receiving fresh threats from some people in their host country.

South Africans have launched xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals twice in the last one week.

At least five homes and businesses belonging to Nigerians were burned by a mob on Saturday, while 15 houses, either belonging or rented by immigrants, especially Nigerians, were been burnt by angry residents in Rosettenvile, south of Johannesburg, last week Sunday.

On Monday, Ikechukwu Anyene, president, Nigeria Union, South Africa, told NAN on telephone that some Nigerians received calls asking for payment to protect their homes and businesses.

“Some Nigerians and other foreign nationals in Pretoria West now live in fear. Some have started packing their belongings for fear of more attacks,” he said.

“They confirmed to the union that some South Africans were calling and threatening to unleash more mayhem against them.

“The callers asked for money to be spared the attacks. The union is worried about the development because the South African police are yet to arrest those who perpetrated last Saturday’s attacks.”

Anyene said the union had pleaded with Nigerians to take precautionary measures and remain law abiding.

He also urged the federal government to persuade its South African counterpart to put in place measures to guarantee the safety of Nigerians.

Earlier on Monday, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and the diaspora, had called on the South African government to call its citizens to order.

Dabiri-Erewa said further attacks on Nigerians resident in the country may have dire consequences.

She also called on the African Union (AU) to intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks.


Source: The Cable

VIDEO: South Africans Attacked, Looted Nigerian Businesses Yet Again – Union

The Nigerian Community in South Africa have confirmed attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West yesterday.

President, Nigeria Union, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, that the attacks began at 4.00am. He said the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.

“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans. One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack. Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment,” he said. Anyene said the union had informed Nigerians in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of renewed xenophobic attacks.

According to him, the union received information that there will be xenophobic attacks against foreigners on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. “We began taking precautionary measures when the incident took place today (yesterday). The attack in Pretoria West is purely xenophobic and a criminal attack because they looted the shops and homes before burning them,” he said.

Anyene called on the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to protect Nigerians in their country. “These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” he said.



Source: ThisDay

How Nigerians Are Finally Waking Up To Their Responsibilities – By Chinedu George Nnawetanma

It was a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Robert H. Jackson, who said that “it is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” Nigerians, it seems, are beginning to wake up to this responsibility.

Over the years, Nigeria, like many of its counterparts in Africa, has been particularly plagued with bad leadership. The late literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, singled out bad leadership as the bane of Nigeria’s development as a nation in his 1983 seminal work, The Trouble With Nigeria.

In his words, “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”

Since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, Nigeria’s democracy has been truncated thrice: in 1966, 1983 and 1993; spawning a total of 8 military juntas in the process. And it’s not that the civilian leaders have been paragons of virtue, either.

The current president, Muhammadu Buhari, toppled Nigeria’s second civilian administration in 1983 as a young military officer. As a “democrat,” he rode to power in May 2015 on the mantra of a CHANGE from the status quo. But almost two years on, Nigerians are yet to discern any distinction between his administration and what they are accustomed to.

The country entered its first recession in two decades in mid-2016. The unemployment rate has soared to 13.9%, inflation is at 18.3% and the local currency, the naira, has plunged from an exchange rate of N210=$1 in March 2015 to about N506=$1 in the parallel markets as of February 10, 2017.

Much of this worsening economic condition is due to the government’s laxity and fitting of square pegs into round holes. For instance, it took President Muhammadu Buhari nearly six months to appoint his ministers while the country virtually drifted in autopilot. When he eventually did, he conflated three of Nigerians most critical ministries – Power, Works and Housing – and handed it over to a lawyer; appointed a scandal-plagued ex-governor of an oil-rich Niger Delta state into his cabinet; and named a sports minister who would go on to declare that he was against Nigeria’s participation in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Ordinarily, Nigerians would have taken this lying down. But, empowered by the social media and exposed to happenings in other parts of the world, they’ve had enough. A popular musician, TuFace Idibia, organized anti-government protests in many cities of the country, leveraging his celebrity status to galvanize support from the masses.

Though he would later pull out at the last minute, citing security fears, the protests went ahead as scheduled on Monday the 6th of February, sparked off several other protests and became the top trending story in Nigeria during the week.

What is heartwarming is not the protests themselves. Protests have been organized in Nigeria before, even during the military interregnums, with some recording higher turnouts than this week’s. The take-home is the fact that the latent activist in many Nigerians was awoken.

As more and more Nigerians become equipped with the internet and other channels of information, they will not only learn from history, but also from current world events the importance and gains of imbibing the culture of holding elected officials accountable. I hope that these demonstrations represent a giant leap in this direction, rather than a fad whereafter everyone retreats to their comfort zones.


Chinedu George Nnawetanma is a Nigerian writer and social commentator. He can be reached via and followed on Linkedin.

‘No Plan to Raise VAT’ – FG

There is no plan to raise Value Added Tax (VAT), Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma said yesterday.

Senator Udoma spoke during the opening of a public hearing on the 2017 budget by the National Assembly.

Replying to a question from Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, who was worried that the private sector and others were not sure whether or not VAT would be reviewed upward, the minister said: “I will like to talk about taxation. A view was expressed that we should not increase taxes. We were told that we should broaden the collection of taxes and that is precisely what is in the budget. There is no increase in VAT, there is no increase in companies’ income tax, there is no increase at all in taxes.

”No increase in taxes, but people who are not paying their taxes should pay because its unfair that some people are paying others are not paying.
The idea is to increase revenue by broadening the tax base, not by increasing taxation.”

The public hearing continues today with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)and other interest groups expected to make presentations.
Declaring open the event, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said that the public hearing was aimed to increase the efficiency of government and its responsiveness to citizens needs

Saraki also said that the public hearing which drew members of the public and other stakeholders was aimed to improve overall transparency and accountability in governance.

It is the first of such and was organised by the Joint Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Saraki added: “The best way to achieve this is to ensure that all stakeholders are made a part of the decision-making process especially as it relates to the provision of public services and distribution of social benefits.”

He said by engaging critical stakeholders and members of the general public to make input into the 2017 budget, the National Assembly hoped to increase the efficiency of government and its responsiveness to citizens needs as well as improve overall transparency and accountability in governance.

He said, “You will agree with me that the current state of the economy is needs, among others, a credible budget that will stimulate real economic activities, fix our critical infrastructure and provide cushion for the poor and vulnerable.

“The challenge, however, is how best to ensure that the Budget is utilized as an effective policy in achieving these. It is, therefore, in line with this belief that the 8th National Assembly deemed it necessary to bring Government, Civil Society Organisations, Private Sector, and other key actors in the economy to deliberate on the Budget proposal.

“Through this engagement, and others to come, we hope to increase the efficiency of government and its responsiveness to citizens needs as well as improve overall transparency and accountability in governance,” he said.

Saraki listed the issues challenging the nation’s economy to include low government revenues, shortages in foreign exchange supply, slowdown in economic activities, rising unemployment and cost of living.

He said: “We are all affected in one way or another. With key economic indicators heading south, there is no better opportunity to reset the fundamentals of our economy.

“What we have before our consideration is the 2017 Budget proposal of N7.298 trillion, which we believe has been designed based on a medium-term recovery and growth plan.”

“At the various sub-Committees, we are objectively reviewing the planned expenditures especially as it relates to its feasibility and relevance in delivering the broad objectives of the Budget which are to: i. Pull the economy out of recession; ii. Invest in the people of Nigeria; and, iii. Lay the foundations for a diversified, sustainable and inclusive growth.

“On a more specific note, the 2017 capital budget proposal is intended to support activities that will help to speed up the diversification of the economy and the promotion of the non-oil sector, as well as create jobs for our youth.

“Accordingly, it is expected that “Made-in-Nigeria” (that is, domestic production of food, materials and other commodities) will be encouraged. In addition, 2017 capital budget proposal is intended to engender private sector partnership in infrastructure as well as other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and services.

“However, the extent to which the budget proposal will succeed in achieving its overall objective of pulling the economy out of recession depends on a number of imperatives.

”In addition, the National Assembly will continue to focus on priority Bills that will loosen the structural bottlenecks that are impeding the ease-of-doing business in the country.

“These priority Bills, among which, include: National Transport Commission bill; National Road Fund Bill; National Road Authority Bill; National Inland Waterways Bill; Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority Bill; Infrastructure Development Commission Bill, Petroleum Institution and Governance Bill; Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill will un-stiffen the investment climate in critical sectors of the economy.
“What we want to build is a better Nigeria, and we all have a part to play.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, said the National Assembly would not abdicate the onerous constitutional responsibility of appropriation “no matter the degree of intimidation and blackmail the legislature is subjected to by persons who want to cow us and brazenly put our democracy in a recession.”

Chairman of the Senate committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Gombe, warned that in considering the budget, partisan politics must be set aside in the interest of Nigerians.

He promised that the joint committee would address the lopsidedness in the budget which favours one section of the country at the expense of others.


APC Women Plan National Prayer Summit For Buhari

The All Progressives Congress women will hold a national prayer summit for quick recovery of the President Muhammadu Buhari.

APC Deputy National Women leader, Tina Ekwueme-Adike,  who disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri on Friday, said they were worried by speculations over the health of President Buhari.

She said that the Prayer Summit would be organised by the office of the APC deputy national women leader at Enugu and to be attended by mainly APC women from the entire Southern zone.

She said that the prayer which would be non-denominational cuts across all political parties.

“The prayer is specifically meant to implore God to re-enact  back those  values which Africans  and Nigerians  in particular  are noted for, especially respecting human values and praying for our leaders,’’ she said.

Ekwueme-Adike condemned what she described as the unwarranted and unnecessary death wishes circulating in the social media on the health of the president.

The APC deputy national women leader reminded Nigerians that  to die was never for the elderly only but also for the young and infants  alike.

“Those speculating the death of someone, his or her business are rather putting their own life and business at risk because the law of nature will befall them,’’ she said.

She urged Nigerian women to demonstrate a sense of commitment, patriotism, and selflessness in their daily life, noting that it would surely be well for the nation in the near future.

She explained that the proposed prayer summit for the nation and its leadership was also for all Nigerians irrespective of their political parties, religion and tribal afflictions.

Nigeria can’t grow without stopping corruption – Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday explained that every time the Federal Government fights corruption hard, there is a major fight back, “because corruption in this country is wealthy, powerful and influential”.

He said there would be no sustainable growth without winning the battle against corruption.

Osinbajo spoke when he received Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba and labour leaders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

They led protest to Aso Rock, demanding good governance.

Osinbajo said: “We commend you for taking this laudable campaign to the villa on behalf of the Nigerian people. For a democratically elected government, we must constantly report to the people and we must show that we are accountable to the people.

“That is why positions like yours have to be received properly and we must find ways to positively take action on the many demands that were raised.

“When we came on board, there were 22 states that were not paying salaries – some up to six or eight months. That was despite that oil prices were still high. President Buhari decided that salaries of workers across the states must be paid and that was what informed the first bailout.

“We were bailing out at a time we were losing 60 per cent of our revenue on account of what was going on in the Niger Delta. We later did the second bailout; the third was the Paris Club refunds.

“These are sums of monies owed to states and nobody has ever paid that sum of money,” he said

Osinbajo added: “Management of resources is critical, especially when those resources are as small as what we are witnessing today. We want to ensure that everyone is held to account. If resources were not efficiently managed, we will not be able to do even the things we are doing now because we are operating at less than 60 per cent of revenue as at 2015, today.

“Every time you fight corruption the way we are trying to fight corruption, there is a major fight back, because corruption in this country is wealthy, powerful, influential and it is in every aspect of our lives. It is in practically all institutions including religious institutions.

“The social media campaign of bring back corruption is an orchestrated one. Nobody that is suffering can say bring back corruption. Attempts by those who are being tried for corruption to delay trials are also part of the orchestrated campaign.

“If we don’t speak up against corrupt officials, who make it look as if there is a witch-hunt, then we will not succeed in the fight.

“Government needs everybody to speak up. We have a serious battle in our hands and if we don’t win that battle, this country will never get to the path of sustainable development. The major problem that this country has suffered so far is the looting of its resources. We must fight corruption hard. It is a tough one, but we must fight it.”

He added: “The government is committed to ensuring due process and rule of law.

“The President is a process-driven person that accounts for the steps he has taken so far.

“There is no gain without some pain. There is no way you will eat an omelet without breaking an egg.

“There is so much we can do with the Nigerian economy. We are going to be consulting with the labour union and civil societies on our economic recovery and growth plan, which we intend to launch this month.

“There is supposed to be a consultation on it so that we can take a look at the issues that are important, especially to labour and civil societies and we can incorporate them into the plan.”

The protesting labour movement was led by Wabba and Bobboi Kaigama of Trade Union Congress (TUC).

Wabba, who spoke on behalf of the 18 union leaders, said labour was concerned about good governance and corruption.

2face Gives Dress Code for #IstandWithNigeria protest

Music megastar Innocent Idibia,  aka 2Face, has continued to garner support for the #WeWillMarch protest, with detailed information about the planned march. On his Instagram handle, 2Face has stated the date, venue, time and dress code for the protest.

Since January, 2Face has been urging Nigerians to keep a date with him as he takes to Lagos streets to protest the harsh economy, among other things.

The planned protest has generated mixed among Nigerians from all walks of life.

In a statement on Thursday, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, had said the Police would not allow the rally to hold because it could easily be hijacked by miscreants.

Meanwhile, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said that nothing, including the Police, would stop the planned peaceful rally being organised by the musician.

He urged the Police CP to study his copy of the Nigerian constitution before coming out to make such a statement.

Here’s a screenshot of 2Face’s Ig post:

official2baba #istandwithNigeria #OnevoiceNigeria !!!

Nigerians have the Right to Protest against the Government – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Nigerians have a democratic right to conduct peaceful protests.


The party made the comment in reaction to a nationwide protest championed by popular musician, 2Face Idibia to protest the policies of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.


“For us, it is about the constitution of Nigeria, Tuface or any other citizen of the country has the right to stage a peaceful protest,that is the position of our constitution. We as a party will not be part of anything that will abridge or take away the right of citizens to protest, especially in a democracy,” APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi told ThisDay.


“We have as a party benefited greatly from citizen’s right to express their democratic rights and our being in government is not going to change that orientation to promote the liberties and right of citizen hold dissenting views,” he added.


He also spoke on a threat made by the police to prevent the protest from holding as planned.
“Well I don’t know exactly what the police are saying about banning the protest.  I think what the police will probably be saying is that they are concerned about the issue of safety and threat to lives and property in the course of the protest,” he said.


“There are always fears that hoodlums might hijack a peaceful protest and use the opportunity to perpetrate violence on innocent citizens. I suspect this might be the consideration of the police.  But this should not be good enough reason to deny citizens the full enjoyment of their constitutional rights however they wish to express them.


“We believe that protests are a form of feedback, although we may not agree with the grievances but at same time, it may be an opportunity for us to communicate more about what we are doing that the citizens may have had sufficient information on. It may an opportunity for us to give better clarification on what our government is doing.


“But fundamentally, it will be a form of feedback for us to do more in citizen’s engagement and enlightenment and to focus more on our commitment to the promises we made to our people. I do not see it as anything that is antithetical to our democracy,” he added.

VP Osinbajo inaugurates task force to reduce food prices

Moved by the need to enhance affordability of food prices across country, the Buhari administration has constituted a Presidential Task Force to urgently consider measures that would ensure a steady flow of produce to the market and reverse recent price increases.

Giving the directive Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council meeting, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, expressed concern at some of the inflationary rates of food prices, noting that the Task Force will explore options to promote availability and affordability of food items to Nigerians.

According to him, the Task Force, which has seven days from Wednesday to report back to the Council, will consider how to remove some of the cost-raising factors that come into play between the farms and the markets and therefore “bring relief to our people.”

While there have been reports of bumper harvests in parts of the country, the prices of food stuff still end up rather high, while some of the produce even end up wasted due to a number of reasons preventing effective transportation delivery to the markets.

One of the focus areas of the Task Force, the Ag. President noted, would be to review the transportation and preservation processes, and see how government can intervene in those aspects to bring down food prices.

The Task Force, which would be meeting with the Ag. President in the discharge of its urgent assignment, will therefore draw out a practical plan and present same to the Council next week.

Members of the Task Force include the following:

Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun

Minister of Industry, Trade & Development, Dr. Okey Enelamah

Minister of Transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi

Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu

Minister of Labour & Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige

The Offices of the Chief of Staff to the President and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, would also be on the Task Force.


NEMA: About 83 Nigerians have been deported from the United Kingdom.

Recently, it was gathered from Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency, South-West Zone, that no fewer than 83 Nigerians are expected to arrive in the country today, Wednesday, following their deportation from the United Kingdom.


According to Ibrahim, the deportees were residents whose documents had expired and prisoners whose terms of imprisonment were nearing completion and were expected to be in the country at 5am.


He said, “We were informed that 83 Nigerians would be deported from the United Kingdom on Wednesday morning. Some of the people affected are those who haven’t completed their prison sentences. They would be taken to Nigerian prisons to complete their terms. Although we cannot tell the various offences, we believe others could be drug-related and immigration problems.”


“We expect that when they arrive in the country, we would be able to know the real reason for their deportation. The aircraft is expected to arrive in the country at 5am at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.”


Source: Ventures Africa

55% of Nigerians are hypertensive. – Dr Nini Iyizoba

It’s silent but deadly. Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood onto the walls of blood vessels during circulation and this pressure is mainly due to the heart pumping. If the pressure is too high, it means the heart is doing too much work. Persistent high blood pressure >140/90 strains the heart and is known as Hypertension.

There is a growing incidence of hypertension in Nigeria. According to a study conducted by James Tosin Akinlua and Co. on the Prevalence of Hypertension in Nigeria, about 55% of Nigerians are hypertensive. This means that about half the country are at risk of dying from stroke, heart disease, heart failure and kidney disease due to hypertension. Hypertension is the number one cause of stroke and heart disease in the country. According to WHO, hypertension is responsible for an estimated 45% of deaths due to heart disease and 55% of deaths due to stroke.

It is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in not just Nigeria, but the whole of West Africa, and the fact that it starts out showing no symptoms puts people at an increased risk of death. The fact that patients have no idea about their high blood pressure before it becomes severe is not unusual, It is actually the norm here in Nigeria. Asymptomatic hypertension is very common. Sadly, most people wait till they have symptoms before they check their blood pressure and by this time, it’s mostly too late to be reversed. That is why we should make it a priority to get our blood pressure checked regularly even if there are no apparent symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, the best initial therapy would be lifestyle modifications. These lifestyle modifications are very important and should be tried for at least a month or two before proceeding to using medications. Weight loss is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce hypertension. Weight loss has a positive effect on blood pressure and has the ability to restore the person’s blood pressure back to normal if the weight loss is significant enough. As little as 5kg weight reduction has been proven to reduce high blood pressure readings in people. Obviously, the more weight you lose, the more the blood pressure will be reduced.

Second, dietary modifications like reducing fat intake and reducing red meat, eating more fish, fruits and vegetables, eating more white meat instead of dark meat are a few changes one can make. Reduce salt intake or better yet, eliminate salt completely because eating to much salt causes water retention which in turn increases blood volume and ultimately increases blood pressure.

Third, exercising at least thirty minutes daily, 4-5 times a week positively affects the blood pressure and may prevent or reduce hypertension and its other associated diseases.

Also, smoking causes constriction of the blood vessels and this tightening of blood vessels causes unwanted pressure on the vessels leading to heart disease due to the hypertension. It is advisable to quit smoking completely. In addition, reducing or eliminating alcohol intake would also help in stopping hypertension.

Last, relaxation techniques like yoga may be useful in alleviating stress which is often a contributing factor to high blood pressure. Try these lifestyle modifications for about 2 months, they have been proven to be very effective in managing high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is not significantly reduced, then your doctor may need to proceed to medications that will better manage the blood pressure.

In a country like Nigeria, where life expectancy in Nigeria is much lower than in other countries, it is important to take the issue of blood pressure serious. This is because people are dying from preventable diseases such as hypertension. The government also has a role to play in ensuring that the life expectancy of Nigerians improve through the provision of a conducive environment for citizens to live and thrive. The government can also help decrease mortality rate, by putting out educational articles that inform Nigerians about the risks associated with neglecting their health. The Ministry of Health should consider having billboards across the country sensitizing citizens on the need for frequent blood pressure screening.

Additionally, government can organize risk-factor reducing programs such as free blood pressure screening in rural areas and make it a frequent exercise. High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer’ because it has no warning signs and symptoms, and so many people do not realize it until much later. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can’t have hypertension because you are young. Hypertension affects all age groups. Make it a point of duty to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Preventive medicine is still the best medicine.

Disclaimer: The medical information provided on here by Dr. Nini Iyizoba is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Why we are hosting Big Brother Naija in South Africa – MultiChoice explains

MultiChoice, organisers of the Big Brother Naija Reality TV have explained why they’re hosting the show in South Africa.

A statement issued by Caroline Oghuma on behalf of the company, said, “?We have a fully equipped house in South Africa, which is used for the Big Brother shows.

“This means that we are able to achieve high production values whilst meeting tight timelines and ensuring the show comes to our viewers on time as planned, and with the same globally renowned quality. “

The house has played host to other Big Brother countries including; the general Big Brother Africa, Mozambique, Angola and now Nigeria,’’ the statement quoted Oghuma as saying.


NURTW, NACTOMORAS urge President Buhari to revert to old pump price of N87 per litre

National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners & Riders Association (NACTOMORAS) have urged the Federal Government to revert to the old pump price of N87 per litre of petrol.

They reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that it was the grassroots people that voted him into power and hence he should feel their pains “or another time is coming”.

The associations while making presentations yesterday before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the review of the pump price of petrol, headed by Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe, said in spite of the increases in petrol pump price, the country has ended up with “bad roads, power failure, unemployment, poverty, as well as medical care deterioration and high inflation of essential commodities”.

NURTW President Alhaji Najeem Usman Yasin, who was represented by Mercy Ibeh of the union’s legal department, kicked against any planned hike in pump price and said the association rather preferred a downward review of the petrol price.

NACTOMORAS National President Alhaji Muhd Sani Hassan said: “We write to object, reject and disagree with any plan or move to increase the pump price of PMS fuel, without leniency, sympathy or consideration of the already depleted economic realities being experienced in the country.”

The association said hardship was being “meted out to millions of Nigerians, most especially our members, who are the grassroots transporters, with population of over 13,793,150 in the country”.
Hassan said of the fuel increments made by government since 1973, only the one of 1994 benefitted the masses through the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) projects.

“Therefore, if the government wanted to maintain its good name, it should abandon the idea of increase of the price and revert to the old price of N87.00 per litre.”


Nigerians want financial records of churches, mosques vetted to aid accountability

In spite of the public outcry and controversies that followed the implementation of a controversial code by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) that forced the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Enoch Adeboye, to hand over the church’s leadership in Nigeria to Joshua Obayemi, some Nigerians still believe the financial books of churches and mosques should still be vetted by either the government or an internal mechanism devised by the religious organisations.

Majority of respondents to a poll carried by the Guardian on its website say not-for-profits organisations, such as mosques and churches, should open their books to either the government or their members, ostensibly to aid accountability.

Out of a total of 302 respondents, 43% say the government should have the right to regulate the financial activities of religious organisations while 39% feel only members of the organisations should have such right.

Their views tally with those of religious leaders who spoke to The Guardian’s Chris Irekamba on the Federal Government’s perceived interference in the affairs of the church.

“Government wanting to regulate the affairs of the church can only be interpreted to mean that government wants to take the position of the head of the church, and then dictate to God, which is impossible,” says Elder Israel Akinadewo, Prelate/Supreme Head, Motailatu Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide.

Though he accepted that some churches have gone beyond their ‘spiritual mandate’, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie says “this does not call for government taking over the affairs of the church, or usurping God’s position.”

The Guardian poll is conducted every week on a variety of topics including but not limited to sports, economy, politics, agriculture and social issues.

Nigerians condemn celebration of Ibori’s release.

Some Nigerians on Thursday expressed displeasure with the celebration of the release of James Ibori, a former Delta Governor, from a prison in London. They said in Lagos that such celebration was condemnable, unfortunate and uncalled for.
The former governor of Delta was on Wednesday released from prison in London, U.K. Ibori was jailed in 2012, two years after he was arrested by the Interpol in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where he was hiding after fleeing Nigeria. Ibori after his release from prison in the United Kingdom He was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Southwark Crown Court on April 17, 2012 after pleading guilty to 10-count charge of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
In spite of his guilty plea and conviction for corruption, his kinsmen at Oghara and other Urhobo communities in the Delta, however, turned the affair to a carnival as they lined up major streets dancing. There was wild jubilation in Delta following the news of the release of the former governor.
A retired teacher, Mr Augustine, said it was unfortunate that some Nigerians celebrated criminals and those who contributed to the bad situation of the country. “It’s a shame that we are celebrating those who had contributed the increased unemployment rate in the country, lack of healthcare services, dwindling standard of education and failed democracy among other challenges. “Until we start to change our ways and mindset, we will continue to wallow in our problems in the nation,’’ Igwe said.
In his views, Mr Sesan Adeleye, a businessman, said such jubilation showed that politicians had successfully brainwashed some citizens with ill-gotten wealth. “The problem of some Nigerians is a clear case of poverty of the mind. We value wealth so much.
They are not even bothered about why he went to prison. “They are already waiting for him to come back so that he can continue to distribute ill-gotten money to them. “They don’t even care that the money stolen was meant for their welfare and development,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Edewede Iyamu, a private physician, told NAN that the celebration over Ibori’s release was uncalled for as he also contributed to the pervasively poor and under developed state of the Niger Delta. “Those from Niger Delta continue to blame the Federal Government for the challenges confronting their region, whereas, people like Ibori should be held responsible. “It is sad that people from that region are now celebrating him,’’ she said.
A Lagos-based legal practitioner, Mr Adekunle Aribisala, said something must be done to stop the celebration of criminality in the country as it was becoming rampant. Aribisala also expressed worry that it would not be easy for the Western community to release the money in question — 18 million Pounds — to the Nigerian government. “We had the same situation when Chief Bode George and Mr Hamza Al-Mustapha were released too, now it’s Ibori.
I feel really ashamed as a Nigerian. “We do not need people like that in our society any longer. They need to be isolated so they don’t corrupt more people,’’ he said. In her opinion, Alhaja Aishe Jelil, a civil servant, said the future of the youth who were being used by politicians called for concern. “We seem to have lost our values in this society, I wonder what the future holds for our future generations.
They are celebrating Ibori because they consider him a hero and a role mode,’’ she said.

BREAKING: Indonesia announces new visa policy for Nigerians.

The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, on Tuesday announced his government’s new policy for issuing visas to Nigerians and other foreigners wanting to visit Indonesia for any purpose.


Purwanto told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that under the new policy, his Embassy would no longer be involved in visa processing, but only in the collection of visa applications.


The Ambassador, who did not give any reason for his government’s new visa policy, said that the processing of visas to Indonesia would henceforth take a much longer time.


“Nigerians seeking visas to Indonesia should know that the Indonesian government has introduced a new visa application and issuance policy.


“Under the new policy, we as an Embassy in Nigeria have been withdrawn from processing visas.


“All we are now required to do is to collect visa applications and send them to Indonesia for processing. We now have to be taking authority from Jakarta.


“We, therefore, want to tell Nigerians seeking visas to Indonesia to now begin their applications at least two weeks in advance, to enable us send their applications on time to Jakarta,’’ he said.


Purwanto enjoined Nigerians to always ensure that authentic information and documents were provided in their visa application forms, to avoid visa refusal from Jakarta.


The Ambassador, who restated his government’s commitment to issuing more visas to Nigerians, said that about 1,000 Nigerians were issued visas to Indonesia this year.


He also said that his government would continue to create the right environment for mutual trade relations and people-to-people interactions between genuine Nigerians and Indonesians.

Nigerians count losses, blame economic recession for MMM woes.

TOLUWANI ENIOLA writes on how economic recession drove three million Nigerians to embrace the controversial Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, which has left them in the lurch after a freeze last week

With a 30 per cent return on investment within 30 days and other perks such as bonuses from referrals, the idea was too promising for Oladejo Ojo, an almost broke small-scale business owner, to turn down.

“Even if you don’t have the money, I will lend you. Trust me, try it and see the results,” Ojo’s friend, Olayemi kept prodding him when he complained of his difficulty in getting capital to start the scheme.

The idea sounded too good to be true but the bank statement his friend showed him assuaged his suspicion and fears.

Unsure of the fallout of his decision, Ojo joined the trending Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, popular known as MMM, in October 2016. With an initial deposit of N17,000, which he borrowed from his friends, he had made a profit of more than N100,000 in less than two months.

In 30 days, his N17,000 initial deposit yielded N5, 100, the 30 per cent of his capital. He also gained more from referral bonuses from the 10 per cent of the amount the subscribers he enlisted contributed.

“It was a miracle of a sort to the biting recession which seriously affected my business in terms of cost of operations and even sales. I completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme last year with no job.

“I started a small business at the Federal University of Technology in Akure. The strike on the campus also crippled sales. A close friend of mine asked me to join MMM in order to make ends meet. So far, it has been weeks of testimonies. I enrolled five people in the scheme and settled my debt effortlessly,” he said while narrating his experience with SUNDAY PUNCH.

Just like Ojo, Adedeji, a sales executive in the Ikeja area of Lagos joined the MMM scheme last year when his employers could no longer pay his full salary. Adedeji, who was a victim of the failed wonder banks that plunged many Nigerians into debts in 2005, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he decided to participate in the MMM scheme because of the high profit  margins.

He stated, “Ordinarily with my experience with the failed wonder banks, I should be the one advising people not to put in for MMM but with the way it started, it was too nice to shun. Although we knew it was not sustainable, we were driven by the will to survive.

“Owing to the fact that salaries are not paid and the hardship in the country, I decided to invest a little amount of money and gain little, while I planned to withdraw all my capital. I registered with N50,000 to start.”

Adedeji, who has since introduced more than 15 other jobless youths to the scheme, has been able to make close to N500,000 as gains through referral bonuses and the 30 per cent of his initial capital.

The sweet melody however changed for Ojo and Adedeji last week when the founders of MMM announced that the accounts of three million Nigerians had been frozen for one month.

Both men are still in a daze over the announcement as their initial capital and profits are trapped in the scheme.

“When I got the news that our accounts had been frozen on Tuesday, I was traumatised because I was expecting N100,000 as bonuses that day. I am beginning to regret this because I was planning to use the fund to buy materials for my business,” Ojo told SUNDAY PUNCH.

How MMM works

From Lagos to Abuja to Kano and Aba, MMM became the solution to millions of Nigerians struggling to survive the economic recession.

MMM was created in 1989 in Russia by Sergei Mavrodi, Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova.  It describes itself as “a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other, a kind of the global fund of mutual aid.”

The scheme encourages its participants to send ‘help’ (money) to other participants who had provided help previously.

For instance, if one of its participants accepts to provide help of N50,000, the bank account of the person who requested an help of N50,000 or people whose total request equals N50,000 will be sent to such a participant to pay the money into. In the following month, such a helper would get 30 per cent of his initial capital plus bonuses from other referrals.

A statement on its website explains the business thus, “This is the first sprout of something new in modern soulless and ruthless world of greed and hard cash. The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world’s unjust financial system. Financial apocalypse! Before you join, be sure to be acquainted with our ideology!”

Also on its website, although it claims to have run the scheme successfully in 118 countries, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that it was banned in China, Zimbabwe and South Africa on the grounds of being fraudulent. In South Africa, our correspondent learnt that accounts of its subscribers were frozen.

Despite its antecedents in other countries, MMM caught on like wildfire in Nigeria. Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Mr. Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said MMM has been a major trending topic in Nigeria’s cyberspace.

Web traffic data and analytics, showed that the MMM website was rated the 12th most visited website in Nigeria and 3,330 globally.

Renowned economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, said  the scheme was not sustainable because it is a Ponzi scheme.

Ekpo described MMM as a Ponzi scheme because it imitated the investment model of Italian businessman, Charles Ponzi. According to him, MMM is fraudulent because it uses the contributions of new investors to pay the old ones.

“Those who partake in such schemes would reap initially while later, it would fail because it is not sustainable,” he stressed.

Repeated warnings were issued from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission that MMM was not feasible and should not be patronised, but many Nigerians did not pay heed.

“The commission hereby notifies the investing public that the operation of this investment scheme has no tangible business model hence it’s a Ponzi scheme, where returns are paid from other people’s invested sum. Also, its operation is not registered by the commission,” SEC stated.

But reacting to the criticisms by the government agencies, the founder of the scheme, Sergei Mavrodi, urged the Federal Government to look at the benefits of the scheme, adding that many Nigerians had benefitted from it.

In a scathing open letter addressed to the Federal Government, Mavrod was quoted as saying, “What are you trying to get? Do you want the MMM system to collapse and millions of people to suffer? Who will support them then if now MMM is their only means of livelihood? Will you? You even don’t pay wages to people? Or might you not care about them? Might you be using a trendy topic to make a good name for yourselves? What will you say to a mother who will have no money to buy food for her child? Will you let her child die for the sake of the higher interests of the economy?

“You say that MMM is a scam. What is the scam here, if all members are warned in advance about all the risks, the possible and impossible ones? They know there are no investments at all. The warning is a red text on a yellow background placed on the most prominent place of the website.”

Recession pushed Nigerians to MMM — Experts

MMM launched its website in Nigeria when the recession began to bite Nigerians hard in November 2015. By the last quarter of 2016, up to three million Nigerians had joined the scheme. There are other get-rich-quick schemes such as Ultimate Cycler, Crowd Rising Paradise, Helping Hands but MMM is the most popular.

Financial experts say if the economy was not in bad shape, less people would have fallen for the Ponzi scheme.  From the last quarter of 2015 till date, life has been hard for the average Nigerian.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,  had declared that Nigeria was in its worst possible time, quoting the Gross Domestic Product figures for the 2016 second quarter issued by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the NBS, in the second quarter of 2016, the nation’s GDP declined by -2.06 percent (year-on-year) in real terms.

“This was lower by 1.70 percentage points from the growth rate of 0.36 percent recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41 percentage points from the growth rate of 2.35 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015,” the NBS had stated.

Similarly, recent data published by the bureau also showed that the economic recession had led to 1.5 million job losses. In the 2016 report on underemployment and unemployment in Nigeria, the NBS stated that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 10.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015 to 12.1 per cent.

Also, at the parallel market, the prolonged scarcity of foreign exchange also forced the naira to an all-time-low of 420 against the United States dollar.

Manufacturing firms, industries and banks are some of the worst hit. Earlier in the year, many banks and industries sacked thousands of workers in a bid to contain the recession.  With a dip in revenue occasioned by the falling oil prices, many states of the country also cannot pay workers’ backlog of salaries.  The effects of this have been damning for families.

To compound Nigerians’ woes, food prices have also increased, making them beyond the reach of the poor. A market survey conducted by our correspondent showed that the prices of some food items have increased by over 100 per cent since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Traders and consumers of staple food items such as rice, beans, garri, palm oil, vegetable oil, flour, wheat, spaghetti etc. are lamenting the soaring food prices which are taking its toll on their businesses and homes.

The arrival of MMM became an elixir of a sort for millions of Nigerians who were already pushed to the wall.

A MMM subscriber, Bayo Salako, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said he considered MMM as a substitute for lack of job.

“For personal and security reasons, I can’t disclose how much I have earned, but I can honestly tell you that by the grace of God and with the help of MMM, I’ve been able to upgrade my life from my initial status to my current level,” he said.

Similarly, Ekiti-State based civil servant, Fajewonyomi Akinwunmi, said he took to MMM to cushion the effect of  unpaid salaries.

Akinwunmi was invited by a friend to join MMM and in no time, he had introduced 10 people to the scheme. This, according to him, has transmuted to thousands of naira for him monthly.

He said, “I initially thought it was one of these fake schemes but after some months, I decided to register and give a try. The first ‘help’ I provided was a boom and ever since then, it has been from one testimony to the other. It has really changed my life and boosted my finances. It took me out of the rat race of recession.”

Amidst the challenges of skyrocketing inflation, rising unemployment, unpaid salaries and mass retrenchment that have been the hallmark of the economic recession, many Nigerians have made millions of naira as profits.

Sharing his success story from the scheme, Bamidele Michael said he joined MMM after several persuasions from friends and acquaintances.

“Being a sceptical person, I observed how they operated and how people get paid. I finally joined in October after being personally convinced. I invested N300,000 and got extra N95,000 as gain,” he told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Although majority of those who invested in the scheme are low and middle-income earners, many rich Nigerians joined the fray. The story of Jane shared on the MMM website showed that the rich have not been left out of the scheme.

Jane’s testimonial partly read, “My name is Jane. I reside in Lagos, Nigeria. On the 1st of November 2016 and 3rd November 2016,  I did pledge to provide help of 3,200,000 on both days and on the 29th of December 2016, I requested to get a help of 10,238,000, an accumulation of my  30 per cent mavro and some referral bonuses. In less than 48 hours, all funds were paid into my account. MMM Nigeria is real and really pays.”

An economist, Johnson Chukwu, blamed the recession for the rush for Ponzi schemes in the country.

Chukwu said since millions of naira of savings might be trapped in the scheme, the effects will be on the micro level.

He said, “Owing to the recession, a lot of people are facing hard times. If you close the windows to legitimate businesses, people will look for anything that will keep them alive. The MMM came at a point when people were desperate to survive. The returns on investment are way outside this world. It became too attractive for people who had no opportunities for gainful engagements.”

Banker and financial analyst, Kunle Ezun, said although the banks would not lose much because they didn’t lend to the MMM subscribers, the failure of the scheme would be felt.

Ezun maintained that since over three million Nigerians enrolled for the scheme, it had become an income line for the banks because they served as the platform for the transfer of funds.

He said, “You can’t rule out the fact that there will be an impact on the banks. Banks provided the platforms for funds transfer. If we put that into context, it means whatever transactions that were done by the MMM subscribers, there was a level of income that accrued to the banks. If every bank took N100 on every transfer, that’s a lot.”

The Director-General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, Prof. Akpan Ekpo,  stressed that millions of Nigerians would not have patronised MMM if the country’s economy was stable.

The economist stated that since many of the MMM subscribers were from the informal sector, the loss of their savings would affect the sector.

He said, “The government should work more than last year. It needs to spend more on capital projects and get us out of the recession. The government should find ways to create opportunities for employment and provide temporary relief for the jobless. Recession drives the scheme.

“People are wrongly saying the government should not spend more on recurrent expenditure. But when you are in a recession, where workers are owed salaries, the Federal Government must ensure that it gives money immediately to the state governments or directly to those who are being owed so that demands for goods and services will increase. When in a recession, you have to spend both recurrent and capital expenditure. Otherwise, people will patronise fraudulent schemes and when they lose money for a long time, crime will increase.”

Tale of regrets, debts

The sudden news that the Ponzi scheme had frozen the accounts of its participants for one month on Tuesday threw the country into panic.

A statement by the promoters of the scheme cited “heavy workload on system” as the reason for the ban.

A day after freezing the accounts of its subscribers in Nigeria, the MMM scheme launched its website in Kenya, promising 40 per cent return on investment in 30 days, 10 per cent higher than what it gave its Nigerian subscribers.

With the freezing of the accounts, participants who were supposed to withdraw their profits and 30 per cent interest cannot do so until January 2017, further confirming the fears that the scheme had crashed.

This will be a bleak Christmas for millions of its subscribers who were expecting to get “help” in December from the scheme.

Bola Adeyinka, a job seeker told SUNDAY PUNCH that when she heard the news, she lost appetite for food. Adeyinka invested N200,000 which she partly borrowed from her sister.

“I put all my savings into the scheme. I was expecting N300,000 today. My target was to reap N500,000. If I can get my N200,000 back, I won’t do it again. I pray that they lift the suspension in January,” she told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Also on Tuesday, while Ojo was expecting to be paid over N100,000 as bonuses, Adedeji was expecting N57,000 as bonus. These are apart from their initial capital.

If the scheme crashes, they would have lost thousands of naira. People like Jane who invested millions of naira are the worst hit.  Some of them took to the social media to express their despair as the reality of losing their investments dawned on them.

Akinwunmi, another subscriber, said, “Waking up this morning to read from my private office (that it had been suspended until January) was shocking.”

Although the promoters of the scheme had tried to pacify its subscribers not to panic, the red signal is evident based on the fact that the scheme crashed after a temporary suspension in South Africa.

An online medium, DailyPost, had reported that a Benue State indigene, identified simply as Adakole, tried to commit suicide by ingesting insecticide when he learnt that MMM had frozen his account.

Adakole reportedly invested N300,000 meant for his wedding in the scheme. Checks by our correspondent showed that many people committed suicide when the scheme crashed in Russia.

To forestall similar occurrences,  the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, on its Twitter handle, asked Lagosians to quickly dial the toll-free number 112 to report any case of attempted suicide.

#2017Budget: Nigerians react as FG promises full implementation.

Some stakeholders and economic experts in Borno on Wednesday expressed mixed feelings over the 2017 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Some said they were confident about the president’s political will, while others predicted a robust economic outlook in 2017, with drastic economic reforms imminent.

Abdullahi Gana, a civil servant, said the 2016 budget had not yielded much positive results.

“What particular project has been carried out with the 2016 budgetary figures. The citizens haven’t felt the benefits of this year’s budgetary dispensations and are very hungry.

“They cannot find the time to listen or read about 2017 figures when that of 2016 hasn’t helped their lives.

“The government must find a way to circulate money in the economy so that it gets to the impoverished and hungry citizens,” Mr. Gana said.

“President Buhari said the 2017 budget would contain proposals and packages that would lead Nigeria out of the present economic recession.

“We are glad that most of the government policies are targeted at reducing unemployment and poverty, and wealth creation.

“The social intervention programme of N500 billion in the 2017 budget would go a long way to cushion the hardship of Nigerians,” he said.

Bulama Baba, another civil servant, said the effort of the government to diversify the economy was very commendable.

“By declaring that the economy must be diversified, the president has said it all; that is his economic policy and the direction of his government.

“It is left for those in the business environment to change the way business is done, to turn around agriculture, mining, local production of the basic needs of the Nigerian people.

“Come to think of it, after all what is budgeting and how does it affect the welfare of the people.

“Budgets are just guidelines in spending if you have and want to spend or proposals.

“In 2016, the government made a projection (budget) on income and expenditure based on a certain amount of crude sales.

“Unfortunately, that is not realisable because of obvious reasons, fall in crude price which accounts for 80 per cent of government revenue.

“That has already created a gap and it means readjustment to give more attention to priority areas.”

Muhammad Ciroma said if all proposals that the president presented in the assembly would be executed with integrity, Nigeria would have no cause to be broke.

“It is no doubt that the PMB government has made significant gains in terms of governance and transparency in the oil sector.

“The government must therefore monitor effectiveness of operations at the refineries and show a readiness to tackle difficult issues, especially the Niger Delta militants.”

Muhammad Askira, a lecturer at Ramat Polytechnic, said: “By what ensued in the 2016 budget, it has brought out the fact that budgets were never holistically prepared in this country for anything at all.

“It was cut and paste actually, nobody cares so long as money will be made available to be shared, with no accounting procedures followed and budget monitoring nonexistent.

“Supposing there was no change in government from PDP to APC, you and I would never have known the inadequacies in running the government of Nigeria or any government before, for that matter.

“It was just a bandwagon; people were carried along to ‘eat’ what was offered them and no questions asked.

“The onus (is) on this administration to put things rightly in place and do things the right way is enough exercise to last it through its first four years,” Mr. Askira said.

However, Friday Nwadinobi, a resident of Gwange quarters, said polarisation of the country along so many fault lines was affecting governance.

“The loyalty any leader gets from the civil servants or subordinates depends on ethno religious beliefs or alignment.

“Saboteurs are everywhere. And for a government that has clearly declared war on corruption, when even the head of an arm of government is under trial, leaves so much to be desired.

“Criticising the government that is bringing change may not be the solution.

“The presidency must come out and educate Nigerians the more on what it is doing, because they are doing so much to get us out of the problems we are in; but only those who have ears to listen or eyes to see can assimilate that.

“When economists are criticising the economic team because they feel they know it all and should have been part of it, then you know that something is wrong with us.

“Is the implementation of the TSA not a great departure from previous economic policies ? Is that not enough to praise the political will and decision of the government?

“For the government to survive to this point, with all the problems it inherited like Niger Delta crises, corruption, insecurity, poor infrastructure and many others, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari deserves commendation,” Mr. Nwadinobi said.

Nigerians to Pay More for International Passports

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Muhammad Babandede yesterday said Nigerians would now have to pay more for their international passports.

According to him, the hike in fees was necessitated by the high cost of producing the booklets abroad, which had become unsustainable and uncompetitive under the current dispensation.

Babandede made the disclosure at the flag off of a capacity development programme for 500 immigration officers on ICT organised by the NIS in conjunction with Huawei Technologies in Abuja.

He said it had become increasingly difficult for the immigration service to pay for the passport booklets outside the country because of the fall in value of the naira.

“You will agree with me that air tickets have doubled, you are also aware that a lot of things have changed, but the passport fees have not changed. We cannot afford to service these passports with the current charges,” he said.

He added that service delivery would improve as soon as the federal government approves the new fees for the passports.

The production of the booklets, he said, is done under a private partnership arrangement and is not funded by government.

Read More: thisdaylive

Boko Haram Now Disguising As Menial Workers, DHQ Alerts Nigerians

Defence Headquarters, Tuesday,warned Nigerians to to be wary of people entering their communities as menial workers, saying it was a new strategy employed by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists to get at their targets.

In a statement, by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar,its Director of Information, the Defence Headquarters insisted that the terrorists, in their desperation to get at their targets, have resorted to disguising as menial workers.

The statement read: ”The Defence Headquarters wishes to alert members of the public of another antic being employed by the escaping Boko Haram terrorists that were smoked out of Sambisa forest by the combined efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“Available information indicates that some fleeing Boko Haram terrorists are now disguising as menial workers to melt into communities and towns with a view to organising terrorists attack against our innocent citizens. The unfortunate recent incidents in Madagali and Maiduguri are instructive.

“The Defence Headquarters therefore advises citizens to be on the alert and be wary of these tricks of the defeated terrorists who are hell-bent on remaining relevant inspite of their lost battle.

“This sensitisation becomes necessary now to create security awareness to our citizens to be conscious of some strange faces that could take menial jobs in their communities or towns, especially now that festivities are around the corner. ”


BREAKING: Panic, confusion grip Nigerians as MMM freezes all confirmed accounts

Members of the famous money-doubling scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, MMM have been thrown into panic and great confusion, Tuesday, following the message from the ponzi scheme freezing all confirmed Mavros, otherwise known as money due for withdrawal for one month.
Sergey Mavrodi of inventor MMM Sergey Mavrodi of inventor MMM This means, all the accounts of members who are due to be paid after having ‘provided help’ (PH) to another person since the last month have been frozen and hence, have no access to request for payment, known as ‘Get Help’ (GH) until after one month. All members woke up with the shock message displayed on the screen as soon as they logged into their accounts. Giving reasons for freezing the Mavros, the scheme said it is experiencing heavy workload and want to deal with the attacks coming from the country’s mass media.
It also said it wants to prevent hitches in the coming new year hence, the freezing of the access to requesting for payments even when such person is due for payment. mmm freezing notice mmm freezing notice.
The message read thus: “One-Month Freezing of Confirmed Mavros” “Dear members!” “As usual, in the New Year season the System is experiencing heavy workload. Moreover, it has to deal with the constant frenzy provoked by the authorities in the mass media.”
“The things are still going well; the participants feel calm; everyone gets paid – as you can see, there haven’t been any payment delays or other problems yet – but!.. it is better to avoid taking risk.:-)) (Moreover, there are almost three weeks left to the New Year.)”
“Hence, on the basis of the above mentioned, from now on all confirmed Mavro will be frozen for a month.” “The reason for this measure is evident. We need to prevent any problems during the New Year season, and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled. (Which we will definitely do.:-))” “We hope for your understanding, Administration”
Panic Quarters Lamentations:
In a WhatsApp group, MMM Nexus Solution, members of the ponzi scheme, many who are Guilders, have launched their displeasure over the new development. Many have lamented that they don’t know how to communicate the development to their downliners (Those they persuaded to stake their money in the ponzi scheme).
They also argued that this decision of the scheme’s management will trigger the downfall of the scheme. They said most people will hence, be skeptical in staking their money while a good number of them said such decision is selfish and would have been better if it was conveyed to members before now.
One of the members with the name, Rosy, said thus: ” This rule is obnoxious, unscrupulous, provocative, insensitive….they did not advise them well, evil prophesy coming to pass.”
Another, Samroyal said: “it shouldn’t have been now when both the media and govt are predicting that it will soon collapse thereby trying to discourage people from it.”
Another member lamented thus; ” One of my down lines was supposed to pay 50k today and he has just called me to tell me he isn’t paying again till this is sorted out. Exactly my point. If millions GH in January, how will the system manage that, bearing in mind that this act of suspension of GH this period will discourage many people from joining; who will pay the January GH?”
And yet another member lamented thus: “I am a member of NBA Abuja branch, tomorrow, we have a seminar on lottery, gaming, casino, MMM etc hosted by Nat lottery Comm. I have been a strong MMM advocate amongst Abuja lawyers, what do i tell them tomorrow?”

Don’t lose faith in my government, Buhari tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians not to lose faith in his administration.

In his 2016 Eid-El-Maulud message, the president said “the reality of the temporary challenges should not undermine our hope, reverse our collective will to succeed, or divide us..”

Read Mr. Buhari’s full message:

Again the calendar of life has brought us into another period of celebration, and deep reflection. Celebration, because we are marking the birth of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), and deep reflection, because it is another opportunity of pausing, taking a deep breath and reflecting on the current realities before us.

First of all, I wish all Muslims a happy and memorable celebration of the birth of the great Prophet, through whose teachings, particularly on peaceful living, tolerance, sobriety, generosity, sacrifice and honesty, and wisdom, the nation has gained immensely in building a harmonious and prosperous society. The universal truths of the Prophet’s values remain unchanged.

Against all odds, we have used these pillars of strength in securing a just and fair society, and our efforts are beginning to yield dividends in curbing terrorism, militancy, corruption and other crimes that devalue our humanity.

As we use the memorable occasion of this celebration to reflect on our current challenges, I urge you not to lose faith in the ability of this administration to make a difference in the lives of our people.

The reality of the temporary challenges should not undermine our hope, reverse our collective will to succeed, or divide us; rather it should remind us of why we need to stay together, fight together and succeed together. We all share a vision of a better Nigeria, and we will all share in the responsibility of building the country of our dreams.

As we look forward to 2017 with hope and huge expectations, let me assure you that with collective dedication and hard work, we will overcome the mountain of economic difficulties, and return our country to the path of prosperity.

The 2017 Budget proposals which I will lay before the National Assembly on Wednesday, will contain measures that we are confident will get the nation out of its economic woods.

As we celebrate and reflect, I wish all Nigerians a peaceful Eid-el-Maulud.



DECEMBER 11, 2016

Nigerian Air Force Promotes 78 Senior Officers

The Air Force Council has approved the promotion of 78 senior officers to the next higher ranks in the Nigerian Air Force.

The promotions comprise 14 Air Vice Marshals, 19 Air Commodores and 45 Group Captains.
Those promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal include the Air Component Commander OPERATION DELTA SAFE, Paul Dimfwina; Commander Presidential Air Fleet, Saddiq Kaita; Director of Legal Services at the Defence Headquarters, Mahmoud Ahmed; Chief of Accounts and Budget at Headquarters Nigerian Air Force, Clement Ogbeche and; Principal Air Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff, Abubakar Bagare.

Others include Mohammed Idris, Charles Oghomwen, Napoleon Bali, Remigus Ekeh, Abdulganiyu Olabisi, Ibukun Ojeyemi, Bello Garba, Tunde Awoyoola and Cletus Udeagulu.

All those promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal were Air Commodores.

The officers elevated to the rank of Air Commodore are Group Captains Hassan Abubakar, Tajudeen Yusuf, Ebinbowei Yinkere, Abubakar Adamu, Ibikunle Daramola, Ilemobola Amodu, Abubakar Abdulkadir, Sunday Aneke, Bgmibgbmitawuza Solomon, Lanre Oluwatoyin, Ayoola Jolasinmi, Titus Dauda, Olanrewaju Shobande, Sani Rabe, Dominic Danat, Anthony Nweke, Sayo Olatunde, Nanjul Kumzhi, and Bukkan Sani.

The spokesperson for the Force, Ayodele Famuyiwa, said the promotions were in line with one of the key drivers of the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, an Air Marshal.
“As an annual exercise, the NAF undertakes promotion exercise to motivate officers and men towards rededicating themselves to duty, the Service and the nation at large,” Mr. Famuyiwa said in a statement Friday.

“While those promoted to Group Captain rank have already been decorated in their respective units, the decoration ceremony for the 33 newly promoted officers of air ranks has been scheduled for Wednesday 14 December 2016 at the Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Abuja,” he said.

Judge Earns N24m Annually, Spent N500m in 10 Months –AGF

The Federal Government on Wednesday said investigations had shown that a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, spent over N500m between January and October 2016 despite his total annual legitimate earnings, including his allowances being N24m.

This was disclosed in a document prepared by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, summarising the case of the prosecution against the Justice of the Supreme Court, who was on November 21, 2016, arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
 During his arraignment, Ngwuta pleaded not guilty to 16 counts, including money laundering and others relating to fraudulent obtainment of multiple passports.
The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned till January 16, 2017, for the prosecution to start calling its witnesses.
The document, prepared in anticipation that the prosecution would be allowed to open its case on Wednesday, stated that the case brought against the judge, “chronicles corrupt enrichment, violations of the money laundering laws of our land, passport fraud, and an attempt to obstruct justice by a judicial officer”.
The prosecution alleged that from the N500m, the apex court justice transferred dollar equivalent of N313m cash in $100 bills to a building contractor within the period of nine months between January and September, 2016, to “develop several landed properties” for him.
It explained that earlier in 2015, the defendant, within a period of one month, made various cash payments totalling $180,000 to the building contractor.
It also alleged that during the raid on the defendant’s Abuja house by the operatives of the Department of State Services on October 7, 2016, total sums of N38.358m, $319,596 and £25,915 were found in his possession.
According to the prosecution, the Justice of the apex court gave no satisfactory explanation for the huge sums of money found in his possession.
Prosecutor’s document
The document partly read, “Another witness will testify before this court that the defendant’s total annual income, including allowances in 2016 amounted to approximately N24,000,000.
“It beggars belief how a serving public servant could have under his direct control, in a 10-month period spanning between January and October alone, cash sums in excess of N500,000,000.”
Adeogun-Philips said proposed prosecution witnesses would also appear in court to testify over the huge funds found in possession of the defendant, among other allegations.
The document stated, “In the course of this trial, the Federal Republic of Nigeria will adduce evidence from a building contractor engaged by the defendant, as to how in a period of nine months, spanning between January and September 2016, he received the total sum of N313,000,000 from the defendant in cash, which was paid to him mostly in $100 bills to develop landed properties for the defendant.
“This court will also hear from another witness, how in his capacity as an architect engaged by the defendant in 2015, he received from the defendant within a period of one month, various cash payments totalling $180,000.
“Investigators will further tell this honourable court how during a search at his residence on October 7, 2016, cash totalling: (1) N35,358,000 (2) $319,956 and £25,915 were found in the defendant’s possession.”
The prosecution alleged that the defendant had betrayed “the judicial oath of allegiance to discharge his duties as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, faithfully, with honesty, and to the best of his abilities”, which he swore to on June 23, 2011 when he was promoted to the Supreme Court bench.
The prosecuting lawyer also stated that he would lead evidence on how the defendant, on October 9, 2016, a day after being granted administrative bail by the DSS in Abuja, prevailed on a potential prosecution witness on the telephone to help him to move some bags containing title documents of landed assets and N27m cash away from his house in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Adeogun-Philips stated, “The court will, in the course of this trial, hear how the defendant, having been confronted with the maze of evidence against him, following the search of his official residence in Abuja and his subsequent arrest on October 7, 2016, and oblivious of being under DSS surveillance, prevailed on a potential prosecution witness following his release on administrative bail on October 9, 2016, to remove from his bathroom at his private residence in Ebonyi State several bags containing several land title documents and the sum of N27m cash.
“The evidence will also reveal how the defendant ordered the same witness to remove three luxury vehicles from his residence following which the said vehicles were subsequently concealed at various locations in Ebonyi State in an attempt to obstruct ongoing investigations in this case.”
He also said the evidence to be led by the prosecution would reveal “how the defendant, deliberately misled the Nigeria Immigration Service into issuing him four valid passports – two diplomatic and two standard Nigerian passports – having previously declared to the said service on oath that he had lost two of these passports”.
“The defendant was later found with all four passports during a search at his residence on October 7, 2016,” the prosecution stated.
Adeogun-Philips added, “It is for these reasons that the defendant is standing trial before this honourable court today. By the end of this trial, I am confident that the prosecution would have established beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is indeed guilty of the offences charged.”
The prosecution was scheduled to call its first set of witnesses against Justice Ngwuta on Wednesday, but the defendant, through his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), begged the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, to further adjourn the case to afford him (Ngwuta) more time to prepare for his defence.
He said his client was eager to defend himself, “But unfortunately we still have a lot to do to be sufficiently ready.”
He cited section 36(6) of the constitution which he said entitled any person accused of criminal offences to be given the “time and facilities” to defend himself.
He said, “There are some documents we still need to access from the prosecution. Under our constitution the defendant should be given enough time.
“I urge your lordship to direct the prosecution to avail us of all the documents they intend to use so that we can be fully prepared.”
Prosecutor opposes adjournment
But Adeogun-Philips, who said a lot of resources had been expended to bring three of the prosecution witnesses to court on Wednesday, opposed the application for adjournment.
He opposed the application on the grounds that both parties had on November 21, after the arraignment of the defendant, consented to the commencement of the trial on Wednesday.
 Insisting that all the documents the prosecution would use had been front-loaded and served on the defendant along with the charges, he added that the  application for adjournment also violated section 396(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which provides for day-to-day trial upon arraignment until the conclusion of trial.”
 He also said the adjournment would also violate the provisions of the court’s Practice Direction 2013.
 He suggested that if the court was willing to grant the adjournment, the prosecution should be allowed to call its witness and give the defence another date to cross-examine the witness.
Defence lawyer seeks adjournment
Responding on point of law, Agabi said day-to-day trial was impracticable and that under section 396(4) of ACJA, the defendant was entitled to seek adjournment five times throughout the period of the trial in the event of the impracticability of day-to-day trial.
But ruling, Justice Tsoho agreed with the defence lawyer on the grounds that the provision of the constitution overrides the provision of the ACJA.
He said that the time and facilities which the provision of Section 36(6) of the constitution provides must be afforded the accused person which could extend to “emotional and psychological” readiness.

AWCON 2016: Three Nigerian players make BEST XI

Three Nigerian players were included in the Best XI from the just concluded Africa Women Cup of Nations held in Cameroon.

The trio selected in the AWCON 2016 Best XI are Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala, chosen as strikers for the 4-4-2 formation. Osinachi Ohale is in the defence.

Oshoala finished as the top scorer at the 2016 AWCON with six goals, while Oparanozie scored vitals goals for Nigeria in the semifinal and final games against South Africa and Cameroon.

The France-based striker opened her goals account in the final group game against Kenya.

Aside the three Nigerian players, the Best XI named by CAF also has four Cameroon Ladies, two South Africans and a Ghanaian.

Two other Nigerian players, Alaba Jonathan and Francesca Ordega, were named on the bench.

In the other awards, CAF settled for Cameroon star, Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene, as the Best Player while Oshoala earned the Top Scorer Award.

Best Player: Gabrielle ABOUDI ONGUENE (Cameroon) Top scorer: Asisat Lamina OSHOALA (Nigeria) – 6 goals Fair Play award: Cameroon

Best XI
Goalkeeper: Annette NGO NDOM (Cameroon) Defenders: Meffoumetou Tcheno FALONE (Cameroon), Osinachi OHALE (Nigeria), Janine VAN WYK (South Africa), Linda ESHUN (Ghana) Midfielders: Jermaine SEOPOSENWE (South Africa), Raisa FEUDJIO TCHUANYO (Cameroon), Elizabeth ADDO (Ghana), Gabrielle ABOUDI ONGUENE (Cameroon) Forwards: Ugochi Desire OPARANOZIE (Nigeria), Asisat Lamina OSHOALA (Nigeria)

Alaba JONATHAN (Nigeria), Marie AWONA (Cameroon), Janet EGYIR (Ghana), Francisa ORDEGA (Nigeria), Portia BOAKYE (Ghana), Nothando VILAKAZI (South Africa)

Hunger Will Not Kill Nigerians, Presidency Faults UN Report

The Presidency says the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible and will not allow starvation to kill millions of Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu said this on Sunday in a reaction to the recent alarm by some aid agencies that starvation would kill one million internally displaced persons in the northeast next year.

He said the nation appreciated the increasing humanitarian assistance complementing the federal and state governments’ efforts in the region currently facing humanitarian crisis.

Shehu explained that the crisis was a problem Buhari’s administration continued to handle with great sensitivity.

He stated: “This notwithstanding, we’re concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a nonexistent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies; a type of hype that does not provide solution to the situation on the ground, but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad. In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die of starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.

“The displacement pattern as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the International Organisation for Migration indicates that there are currently about two million people who are displaced. Only about 20 percent of this is however in IDP camps. This much reduced numbers are in Borno in 13 formal and 16 satellite camps; four of such camps currently operating in Adamawa and about the same number in Yobe. The larger number of the IDP population is living either in self-settled camps or with host communities. The affected states with active collaboration with NEMA and the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative are deeply involved in efforts to cushion the humanitarian challenges especially on food security and nutrition.

“Through an ongoing arrangement, NEMA provides raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centres, host communities and satellite centres. The states for their part provide condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps. Beyond the IDP camps, government agencies are  distributing food in host communities. The T.Y Danjuma-led PCNI is currently doing this in Borno State. In addition to the supply of food, the Federal Government, through NEMA and the PCNI, has made the provision of drugs to some major hospitals in the zone as a priority. These agencies have also been deploying on continuous basis, medical teams and equipment to the North-East to support the provision of medicare to the IDPs.

“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people. The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community.

“We do not, however, see the reason for the  theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies. The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part. The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is therefore uncharitable and unnecessary.”

Credit: dailytrust

Borno Records 512 New HIV Cases in IDPs’ Camps

The Executive Secretary, Borno Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Malam Barkindo Saidu, says 512 new cases of HIV infections have been recorded in Internally Displaced Persons camps in the state.

He spoke on Sunday in Maiduguri while briefing journalists.

Saidu said that the cases were recorded after voluntary screening in some IDPs’ camps in the state.

He pointed out that two out of the 512 persons were children.

“We are currently conducting voluntary screening on HIV/AIDS in IDPs’ camps across the state to determine the status of the people, especially those rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists.

“As at last week, we have recorded 512 positive cases, among which two are children,” Saidu said.

He said that the state had witnessed rising cases of the virus due largely to the Boko Haram terrorism.

“Currently, 2.4 per cent of the population of the state are living with HIV and AIDS, which translates to 108,000 persons, going by the record of the National Population Commission.

“But only a tiny portion of these people can access treatment because most antiretroviral centres have closed,” Saidu said.

He explained that only 32 out of the 90 antiretroviral centres were still operational in the state.

“Before the Boko Haram terrorism, we had 90 treatment centres across the state, but only 32 are still functional today.

“The rest have been closed down due to the Boko Haram terrorism,” Saidu said.

He called on the Federal Government and donor agencies to intervene in the HIV and AIDS control in the state.


Fear grips Nigerians in MMM, others as ponzi website, Ultimate Cycler, crashes

One of the ponzi schemes in Nigeria, Ultimate Cycler has crashed, sending panic waves across many of its Nigerian members who have invested their money in it as well as those who have equally invested in others such as MMM. cycler The ponzi website, Ultimate Cycler went down early Thursday morning, specifically around 10:30am(Nigerian time), shutting out every member who owns an account with it.
When accessed, the site initially displayed an error line of code, before displaying ”Error 500” in bold letters, then it proceeded to display another message: “Be right back. We are currently updating the site to give you a more pleasurable experience and will be back online shortly.
Our update estimation is to be complete over the next 6 – 12 hours. Thank you, Peter Wolfing.”ultimate-cycler Ultimate Cycler is a new ponzi scheme that followed MMM. This new money doubling scheme claims a promise of better returns on invested money than MMM. The hook for Ultimate Cycler is members get a return of N50,000 after paying N12,500 to a fellow member he or she registered under.
As at the time of filing this report, the ponzi website has still not come to life. Dangers for members who have invested in it or others like MMM is that when such websites go down, chances are that it never comes up again and hence, “investors’” money goes with it.
So, will Ultimate Cycler ever come back to life? This is question on the minds of every member.

Boko Haram: 5.1 million Nigerians Risk Starvation In 2017- UN

The United Nations said on Friday that $1billion was needed in 2017 for the provision of aid to victims of Boko Haram terrorism in north-east Nigeria.

The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Peter Lundberg, in a statement said the Boko Haram menace was the largest in Africa, and that hope can be brought to the victims through support from the international community.

“The narrative on this humanitarian crisis can no longer be ignored and we are appealing to the international community to help us prevent the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians over the coming 12 months.

“This is the largest crisis on the African continent and I am confident that with the support of the international community and the private sector, we can begin to bring hope to the people of the northeast,” he said.

The UN official added that “a projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for a third year in a row, causing a major food crisis.”

Millions of people have been displaced from their homes in north-east Nigeria since the insurgency began in 2009. Over 20,000 people have also been killed.

While tens of thousands of the displaced live in camps, millions of others live in host communities where they are barely able to fend for themselves.

The Boko Haram, despite losing most of their seized territory to Nigerian troops, still carry out attacks on civilians and security officials.


40m Nigerians To Access Telecoms Services By 2017

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said provision has been made in its 2017 budget to widen telecommunications services to additional 40 million people across the country.

Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Umar Danbatta, represented by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo made this known recently during a sensitisation workshop organised by NCC for law enforcement agencies on telecommunications issues in Lagos.

Danbatta said the commission had conducted a survey, which identified about 200 communities nationwide with access gap, stressing that through the Universal Service Provision Fund (ISPF) being managed by one of its departments, 40 million people in these areas would be covered in 2017.

He said the industry’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about 10 per cent and NCC was committed to seeing greater development in the sector.

“In this respect, two Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) have been licensed, while the remaining five companies will be licensed shortly to commence the deployment of more broadband fibre networks beyond the major cities in the country.

“Our model, anchored on robust development of infrastructure, transmission and retail segment, is expected to speed up the cascading of networks of fibre required by individuals and businesses to improve life and catalyse economic growth,” he said.

According to him, these tasks underscore the need for collaborations with security agencies to curtail criminal assault against telecommunications infrastructure.

He said the industry had witnessed rise in the theft of telecommunications infrastructure and vandalism of installed

facilities and equipment, adding that NCC was determined to move fast in its mandate of harnessing the potential of the ICT sector to boost national economy.

Danbatta added that the industry had witnessed usage of preregistered Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards, all of which were infractions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and other extant regulations governing the industry.

He said that while the commission rolled out various campaigns to raise awareness and made some arrests with the support of the police, there was need for effective strategies to ensure that anyone arrested was prosecuted.


Ribadu Reveals Names Of Nigerians Who ‘Frustrated’ Fight Against Corruption

Years after leaving office as the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu has named some Nigerians he said tried their best to frustrate the nation’s fight against corruption.

Mr. Ribadu spoke on Thursday when he presented the lead paper at the 2016 Annual Lecture organised by the Law Chambers of Joe Kyari Gadzama in Abuja.

Speaking under the theme “Corruption and the Nigerian Economy: Lawyers as Change Agents”, Mr. Ribadu named foremost lawyer, Ben Nwabueze, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, and his successor at the EFCC, Farida Waziri, as people who undermined the country’s efforts to fight against the cancer of corruption.

“I still recall with amazement and shock how some very senior lawyers made it a duty upon themselves to bring down the EFCC and stop the work we were doing. Many of them, like Prof. Ben Nwabueze, SAN, teamed up with politicians to wage a very serious propaganda to discredit the work we were doing,” he said.

He also said Mr. Nwabueze personally went to court on many occasions to challenge the powers of the EFCC to fight corruption.

“One thing that also did a serious damage to the war against corruption was the active connivance of some senior lawyers who represented the governors we charged to courts after the 2007 election,” he said.

“It is on record that we charged the former governors of Jigawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Abia and Edo states as the first set of ex-governors to face prosecution. However, almost 10 years after most of the cases have not gone anywhere because of deliberate action by lawyers to frustrate the trials,” he said.

Mr. Ribadu, a lawyer and former police officer, also said he was shocked that some lawyers who found themselves in government also worked against the fight against corruption.

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#WorldAIDSDay: U.S. provides HIV testing, counselling to 12 million Nigerians

The United States Government has provided testing and counselling to over 12 million Nigerians over the last 12 months.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at an event to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day, said this was being done through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR.
According to the envoy, 726,200 adults and 34,695 children are receiving treatment for HIV under the programme.

He said a total of 1,367,000 adults and children have been helped to live better lives through the U.S programme.

Speaking under the 2016 theme of the commemoration: “Leadership. Sustained Commitment.

Impact”, Mr Symington emphasized the need for Nigerians to be involved in strengthening their country’s health system.

“We can spend billions of dollars literally, tens of billions of dollars around the world and billions of dollars in Nigeria, but if you don’t strengthen your own health system at home and in the office and around the country, if you don’t invest your lives and your love, who else will do it for you? No one can do it for you”, he said.

The Country Coordinator of the programme in Nigeria, Shirley Dady, also spoke about the need to encourage more Nigerians to get tested for HIV.
She likened the disease to other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, which can be managed.

Ms. Dady told PREMIUM TIMES she was hopeful that the HIV self-testing kits, which is a new technology, will be available in Nigeria “at some point”.

She, however, said many general hospitals and primary health care centres in the country were offering HIV tests and urged Nigerians to take advantage of them.

‘Forget it, Nigeria Will not Break Up’ – Buhari to Biafra Agitators

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday urged those contemplating Nigeria’s break-up to have a rethink, saying the country’s unity is not negotiable.

He said the question of having another country out of Nigeria was misplaced.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at a meeting he had with the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The question of having another country out of Nigeria is going to be very difficult. From 1914, we have more than 200 cultures living with one another. God had endowed this country with natural resources and talented people. We should concentrate on these and be very productive,” the President said.

Addressing specific issues raised in the address by the traditional rulers, the President gave the assurance that the South-East will also benefit from the new railway architecture being put in place by his administration.

On their request for more representation for the South-East in his government, the President said that he was “very conscious of the sensitivities of the South East”, on account of which, he gave the region’s four out of five states senior ranking Ministers in the Federal Cabinet.

Buhari used the occasion to appreciate the good work of the ministers from the region in the Federal Government, saying that they are doing very well for the country.

He appealed to the traditional rulers from the South East to persuade their people to give his government a chance and to continue to serve as beacons of culture and traditions of their people.

The President assured the delegation that kidnapping and cattle rustling, which he described as “unfortunate” will be the government’s next target, now that “we have managed to calm down the North-East.”

In taking note of the commendation for his administration’s war against corruption and insecurity by the traditional rulers, Buhari expressed frustration at the endless nature of some ongoing trials, citing some of the cases as going far back to the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

2018 Census to Cost N222 Billion

The Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Eze Duruiheoma, says the 2018 national population census is to cost N222 billion.

He said the figure was arrived at after a careful assessment of the imperatives and requirements for the conduct of a truly scientific exercise.

Duruiheoma spoke at the commission’s review workshop of phase 1 and 2 as well as equipping of trainers currently taking place at Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

According to him, “the fund will not be required at once but to be spread over a period of four years.

“We therefore appeal to state and local governments, traditional institution and communities to support the commission in carrying out the 2018 Census EAD by allowing unfettered access to facilities and places to demarcated’’.

Reps want fuel sold at N70 per litre

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to review the current price template for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with a view to reducing the price to N70.

This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Abubaker Fulata titled “Urgent Need to Review the Petroleum Price Template”.

Moving the motion, Fulata expressed dismay over the circulating rumour of a possible hike in the price of petrol in the country.

Although the rumour was denied by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Fulata said it was coming at a time when the nation is going through difficult times.

According to him, the hard times are occasioned by dwindling revenues, high inflation rate, unemployment and general fall in the standard of living of many Nigerians.

The lawmaker noted that the current template for the price of PMS could be reviewed downwards without affecting the profit margin of marketers and transporters. The review would also contribute to reducing the current inflationary trend in the economy.

“I am aware that the current cost of freighting PMS stands at N109.1, Lightering expenses N4.56, Nigeria Ports Authority charges N0.84, NIMASA charges N0.22, Financing N2.51 and Jetty put charges at N0.60.

“Storage charges N2.00, retailers margin N6.00, transport allowance N3.36, dealers margin N2.36, bridging fund N6.20 and marine transport average put at N0.15 bringing the total cost to N137.81,” he said.

He further informed the House that the landing cost of PMS remained at N119.74, while the distribution cost and margins of marketers stood at N18.37.

“Thus, the total of both the landing and distribution costs is N138.11, while marketers are allowed to sell the product within the range of N140 and N145 per litre.

Fulata further noted that over 90 per cent of the current price of PMS in the country is accounted for by transport related charges at N124.34 out of N138.11.

According to him, foreign vessels charge higher for lifting the PMS because Nigerian carriers which were supposed to lift 50 per cent of the products lack the capacity to do so.

He faulted the NPA’s inability to dredge the ports despite collecting N0.84 for every litre of petrol thereby costing Nigerian users the sum of N4.56 for every litre of petrol they buy.

“Bridging is supposed to be an annual event only when refineries are carrying out their turn around maintenance which should not exceed three months.

“However, due to the fact that pipelines linking the various depots have been vandalised or in a state of disrepair, bridging has remained a permanent feature of the oil industry in Nigeria,’’ he said. He said that if the pipelines linking the various depots and refineries could be fixed and secured, the bridging fund could be reduced to N2.00 per litre instead of the current N6.20.

“Also a realistic template would bring down the price of petrol to N70.04,” he added. The House therefore urged the NPA to dredge all harbours within a period of one year to enable ships dock in them.

House also set up an ad-hoc committee to interface with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the review of the price of PMS and such related matters and report back within weeks for further legislative action.


Expensive malaria drugs are not better, experts warn Nigerians

A lack of political commitment by the federal and state governments is slowing down progress in the national fight against malaria even as Nigeria has made steady progress in reducing incidents of malaria deaths, the implementation partners of the Global Fund for Malaria programme have said.

The partners also warned Nigerians against patronising expensive malaria drugs, thinking they work better.

The partners, the National Malaria Elimination Programme and the Society for Family Health, say that foreign donors, instead of the Nigerian government, are leading the national fight against malaria.

The Global Fund intervention is currently operational in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Experts say malaria deaths have reduced significantly across the world with Africa still accounting for 80 per cent of global burden and 90 per cent of all deaths due to malaria.

Malaria deaths decreased significantly from 935,000 in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015, according to World Health Organisation figures.

Speaking at an interactive forum for editors of online publications and bloggers, Godwin Ntadom of the National Malaria Elimination Programme said Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo share about 41 per cent of the global malaria burden.

According to Mr. Ntadom, socio-economic improvements such as houses with screened windows and air conditioning combined with vector reduction efforts were measures that led to the elimination of malaria in North America in the early 19 century.

“Use of DDT and efficient management of the environment resulted in the eradication of malaria in Europe and South America in the 1950s,” he said.

“Sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated the least commitment due to ignorance (causes and how to prevent malaria); inadequate resources; weak political commitment and poor communication.”

The partners plan increased communication to change attitudes and behaviours as well as to encourage increased environmental measures to eliminate the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Ernest Nwokolo, Malaria Programme Director at the Society for Family Health, advised citizens to look out for drugs with the green leaf indicator. He said donors had subsidised majority of malaria drugs with the green leaf sign for the benefit of citizens, urging people not to be misled into buying the higher priced drugs in the erroneous assumption that they are of superior quality.

“This is the biggest deception we are seeing in our country,” Mr. Nwokolo said.

“The Private Sector Procurement Mechanism means that the global fund pays money to the manufacturer. If the drug is supposed to cost one dollar, they pay 95 cents,” he said.

“The manufacturer sells the drug to people we call first-line users, who buy at five cents. When they come into the country we discuss with them so that they sell the drugs at nothing more than N100 and adult dose at N120. The drugs have a sign- a green leaf logo”.

Dr. Nwokolo said malaria drugs with the green logo are produced by the same company that produces expensive malaria drugs, and accused pharmacies of “maximising” the ignorance of the people..

“Because you do not know about that, when you go to these pharmacies, they will sell the costly ones because they make a gain.

“People prefer the expensive ones because when the pharmacist brings the cheaper one for N200, and the expensive one, the person will ask for the expensive one because ‘he wants to know what he is buying.”

Nigerians Petition FG to Stop Data Tariff Increase by NCC

Nigerians have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government over plans to increase data plan prices by December 1st, 2016.

The petition is available via against the federal government to halt the increase by NCC.

The petition reads: “NCC has instructed telecommunications companies within the country Nigeria to make certain changes is their data structure which might lead to possibly increased rates for less data. Which is supposed to be implemented by December 1st 2016. We want the price of data to remain the same and individual companies to sell data at the price at which they choose to.

This petition will be delivered to:
Nigeria Communication Commission

  • MTN Nigeria
  • Glo Nigeria
  • Others

Oil Prices Fall as OPEC Fails to Stop Excess Production

Oil prices dipped Tuesday as expectations dimmed of an OPEC agreement to reduce the cartel’s gushing of crude into the massively saturated global market by around a million barrels per day.

Prices were also hit as non-OPEC Russia confirmed it would not send a delegation to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.

In late morning European trading, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January was down 73 cents a barrel to $46.35, in what market analyst Jasper Lawler at CMC Markets called “heebie-jeebies” on the eve of the talks.

Brent North Sea crude was down 0.72 cents to $47.52.

Analysts expect further falls if OPEC fails to agree on Wednesday its first joint output cut in eight years in an effort to reduce the global glut and so lift prices.

The group’s big players — Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq — disagree on what size cuts each member will make, and the cartel wants non-OPEC countries like Russia to reduce production too.

Russia is currently pumping some 11 million barrels per day, a level not seen since Soviet days. Hit hard by the low price and Western sanctions, Moscow has said it is ready to freeze output but not to cut it.

While making life cheaper for consumers and businesses, two years of low prices have wreaked havoc with the public finances of OPEC member states, even in the wealthy Gulf states.

But Iraq and Iran, OPEC’s biggest producers after Saudi Arabia, on Monday continued to express objections to a proposal to cut up to 1.2 million barrels per day from October levels, Bloomberg News reported, citing an OPEC delegate.

In a 10-hour meeting, Iran said it might be ready to freeze production at about 200,000 barrels a day above its current output of around 3.975 million bpd, Bloomberg said.

Saudi Arabia hit back, saying Tehran should freeze its production at just over 3.7 million bpd — more or less its current level.

Iran has consistently said it won’t cut production until it has reached pre-sanctions levels. It is also a fierce regional rival of Saudi Arabia, engaged in a proxy war in Yemen and backing different sides in Syria.

Iraq meanwhile has said it will cut output but that it is short of money needed to fight Islamic State extremists. It also disputes with OPEC the level of its current output.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia added to the pessimism about prospects for a deal on Sunday by appearing to say it could live without an agreement.

Recovering demand, said Energy Minister Khaled al-Falih — due in Vienna later Tuesday — would “stabilise” prices in 2017 anyway.

Prices had made a slight recovery Monday after Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi sounded an upbeat note as he arrived in Vienna, saying he was “optimistic” that the 14-country group would strike an accord.

Algeria, which is trying to mediate a deal, on Monday proposed a compromise with Iran capping its production at 3.795 bpd, delegates said, according to Bloomberg.

However, there has been no indication that any such proposal will actually be accepted when the oil ministers meet on Wednesday.

Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at top Nordic corporate bank SEB, said that the chances of an output cut are now “very low”.

The best possible result, at this stage, was that the club would end up with a face-saving deal while “kicking the can to the next OPEC meeting in half a year’s time”, Schieldrop said.

239,834 Nigerian Refugees In Chad, Cameroon, Niger– NEMA

A total of 239,834 Nigerians who were displaced by the activities of insurgents in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states are still living as refugees in neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Republic of Chad and Niger Republic.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency, over 100,000 displaced Nigerians reside in Niger, while the second largest number of refugees were in Cameroon.

Quoting from a recently released humanitarian intervention report by NEMA, the agency’s Head for Media and Public Relations, Mr. Sani Datti, in a statement issued on Monday said, “There are presently 20,804 displaced Nigerians living in the Republic of Chad; 80,709 in the Republic of Cameroon; and 138,321 in the Republic of Niger.”

He noted that about 29,581 displaced Nigerians who fled their communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to Republic of Niger and Cameroon voluntarily returned last year.

Datti stated that 13,046 Nigerian returnees came from Niger Republic in May 2015 and were received in Geidam, Yobe State.

According to him, between April and December 2015, NEMA received about 16,595 Nigerians who voluntarily returned from Cameroon through the Sahuda border crossing area near Mubi, Adamawa State.

Datti said, “Some of the Nigerians that fled to neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon were provided with humanitarian relief support by the Federal Government of Nigeria through NEMA, to alleviate their suffering.

“The displaced Nigerians have also received humanitarian support from the host governments, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the host communities and Nigerian citizens living in the three host countries.”

Datti noted that the agency adopted a monthly Humanitarian Coordination Meeting, a forum which consists of relevant Federal Government agencies, UN systems and international non-governmental organisations.

The forum, he said, undertakes analysis on causes of humanitarian situations, conducts need assessments, identifies and provides humanitarian interventions based on its respective mandates.

“The report added that due to the successes recorded by the Nigerian military with the support of Multi-National Joint Military Task Force in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents, the humanitarian dashboard is fast changing,” Datti said in the statement.

He noted that focus was gradually shifting towards reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement, recovery and dignified return of IDPs back home, while the process for the return of Nigerian refugees from neighbouring countries were equally on-going.

Credit: punchng

Ondo Election: AD Warns INEC, Security Officers Against Manipulations

The Alliance for Democracy (AD) has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies against manipulating the results of the election in favour of any party, especially the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to the statement issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Director General Olusola Oke campaign organization, Bola Ilori, said any attempt to manipulate the result of the election will be resisted by the good people of Ondo State, adding that the people of the state should be allowed to choose who rules them.

The statement reads: “While we as a party are prepared for the election, we will support anything that will aid the peaceful conduct of election. However, we will not fold our ?arms and allow our destinies to be determined by people who are not only political invaders but people who have subjected our people to untold hardship.

“Also, the security agencies should make sure they don’t take side. They should deal with anybody who forment trouble. Just like we have told our people, they should not allow anybody to dictate what they will do to them but make sure they keep vigil and defend their votes.”

“We are also aware of plans to cause trouble in Akoko Land, Ondo South senatorial district and other areas considered to be strongholds of AD. If President Muhammodu Buhari cannot deliver the dividends of democracy he promised the people, he should not cause chaos in the state. He should warn INEC and security agencies against enacting a replica of 1983 political crisis in the state.”

Corruption Has Made Governance Difficult, Says Gowon

A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), said in Kaduna on  Thursday that corruption had made governance in the country difficult. He, therefore, argued that the war against the menace must be decisive.

Gowon spoke at the Northern Nigeria Stakeholders’ Town Hall Engagement organised by CITA- NGO at Arewa House, Kaduna.

The former Head of State noted that corruption was responsible for the deterioration of the quality of infrastructure, healthcare delivery among others in the country.

This, Gowon noted, had robbed the government of the respect and loyalty of the citizens and eroded the authority of the state.

Gowon stated, “Truth be told, the fight against corruption is a fight that we must overcome, we must win it and win it decisively.

“Corruption has also caused deterioration in the quality of infrastructure, healthcare delivery and education among others.”

The former Nigerian leader said the current economic situation facing the country was one of the most troubling economic crisis ever.

He added, “I believe that the troubles and problems we have gone through in the past few years have helped Nigerians to see more clearly the difference between a self-sustaining economy and one that relies totally on a wasting asset such as oil.”

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was the guest speaker at the event, said  the path  to growth and prosperity “is investing  in basic infrastructure like roads, airports railways and information technology as well as enhancing fiscal policy more than ever before.”

Emefile, who was represented by the zonal director of the CBN in Kaduna, Alhaji Ahmed Gusau, said the agricultural sector remained the backbone of the nation’s economy.

He said the apex bank had committed N23bn in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme with active participation across 14 states of the federation.

“We are gratified that the CBN’s borrower’s programme, together with other initiatives like Commercial Agricultural Scheme and NIRSAL are proving to be successful in several states,” he said.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki , noted that  the role of the CBN  in charting monetary policy direction and its economic management role were  difficult to understand.

The Senate President, who  was represented by a former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu  Wamako, said that the Senate was working to create appropriate legislative interventions to resolve the issues of obsolete regulatory and legal frameworks in the system, reduce cost of doing business, improve investor confidence and reduce obstacles associated with doing business in Nigeria.”

Only Two Nigerians Win 2016 National Merit Award

Only two Nigerians would be conferred with the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) this year, the Chairman Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) Prof. Etim Moses Essien has said.

He told reporters on Thursday in Abuja that the award which is a separate Order of Dignity is in four categories of science, medicine, engineering/technology; and humanities including arts and culture.

He said the two recipients Prof. Sadik A. Omowunmi and Prof. Tanure Ojaide won in science and humanities respectively bringing the total of awardees to 73.

While Omowunmi A. Sadik is a Professor of Bioanalytical and Environmental Chemistry and inventor working at the Binghamton University New York United States, Prof. Tanure Ojaide is a prolific poet and writer.  Both are multiple international award winners.

While 71 recipients were awarded since 1979 when it was instituted, there was no award in 2015 due to the non-constitution of the governing board of the NNMA by the federal government.

“One of the unacceptable activities of various Nigerian scholars had been the tendency to concentrate their researches on problems and issues that might not have been relevant to the needs and aspirations of the country, except mainly those of a political nature and whose essential criteria and consideration were politically driven.

“As prescribed in the law governing the NNMA, the investiture will be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari next Thursday 1st December 2016, as the first Thursday of every December is stipulated for the investiture, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa at Mr. President’s pleasure,” Essien said.

He said that each recipient would be given N10m each apart from other paraphernalia of the award and that recipients after their investiture can append NNOM after their names.

He said the names of the awardees were submitted to the President on September 1 as stipulated by law after the painstaking process of the assessment committee who recommended the recipients.

He said that this year’s NNOM Laurette forum themed “Mono-Economy, Diversification, Exchange Rate Stability and the Development of the Nigerian Nation” would hold next Tuesday and would be followed by the NNOM Laurette Award Winners’ Lecture instituted in 2007.

The lecture would be delivered by a 2013 Laurette Prof. Hilary Inyang Inyang titled “Configuration of Policy and Technical System for Improvement of Nigeria’s Environmental Security”

Credit: dailytrust

Army Denies Killing 150 Pro-Biafra Protesters

The Nigerian Army yesterday said it did not kill 150 pro-Biafran protesters, as alleged in a statement by the global human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI).

It said the global rights group appeared determined to wage a campaign of calumny against Nigeria’s military, especially the Army, with a planned release of a report on the alleged mass killing of members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Army.

A statement by Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said the allegation is an “outright attempt to tarnish the reputation of the security forces in general and the Nigerian Army in particular, for whatever inexplicable parochial reasons”.

The Army accused AI for its sustained dabbling into Nigeria’s national security matters in manners that “obliterate objectivity, fairness and simple logic”.

The statement said: “We wish to debunk the insinuation that our troops perpetrated the killing of defenceless agitators. This is an outright attempt to tarnish the reputation of the security forces in general and the Army in particular, for whatever inexplicable parochial reasons. For the umpteenth time, the Army has informed the public about the heinous intent of this non-governmental organisation (NGO), which is never relenting in dabbling into our national security in manners that obliterate objectivity, fairness and simple logic.

“The evidence of MASSOB/IPOB violent secessionist agitations is widely known across the national and international domains. Their modus operandi has continued to relish violence that threatens national security. Indeed, between August 2015 and August 2016, the groups’ violent protests have manifested unimaginable atrocities to unleash the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of the Southeast.

“A number of persons from the settler communities, who hailed from other parts of the country, were selected for attacks – killed and burnt. Such a reign of hate, terror and ethno-religious controversies that portend grave consequences for national security have been averted severally through the responsiveness of the Army and members of the security agencies.”

DSS raids: I Didn’t Move $2m From My House – Judge Tells Reps

Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court Port-Harcourt Division has debunked claims that he moved $2 million from his official residence during a sting operation by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Liman said this at a public hearing conducted by the Hon. Garba Datti-led House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating cases of invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS, yesterday.

Liman said he was not the target of the raid.

Between October 7 and 8, DSS raided the homes of some senior judges, in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto states.

Justice Liman said his reputation degenerated by false reports emanating from the raid. This was even as he blamed a section of online media for reporting that he was the unnamed judge which the DSS said in its statement quickly moved money out of his home during its operation.

Liman also told the committee that it was Justice Uche Agomoh’s home that was the target of the Saturday, October 8 raid, which he said lasted from 1:00am to 4:00am.

“I must state categorically that the DSS did not come to my house, which is No. 33 but it was Justice Agomoh’s house they targeted. It was shocking and frightening when, on Saturday afternoon, the DSS released an official statement claiming to have attempted to search the house of an unnamed judge, who, when approached, resisted and mobilised thugs and with the assistance of Governor Nyesom Wike and the tacit support of a sister security organisation, removed $2 million which was stashed in his house to an unknown place…”

Another judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja who was arrested during the raid in Abuja, Nnamdi Dimgba who appeared at the hearing, however, said it would be prejudicial to speak on the matter.

Meanwhile, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who declared the hearing open stressed that the House was investigating the propriety, or otherwise, of operations conducted by the DSS, at the homes of judges and other alleged DSS invasion of Akwa Ibom State governor’s lodge and Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Dogara who was represented by the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, said the peobe will be useful should the National Assembly find reasons to amend the National Securities Agencies Act.

“It is critical that any investigation of this nature must have a legislative purpose as required by section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It is in this regard that I enjoin this committee to make relevant findings of fact that will enable the National Assembly initiate the necessary amendments to the National Security Agencies Act and even the Constitution, where necessary”.

But, a mild drama played out when chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, reversed his position that the DSS has the power to arrest judges over allegations of corruption as corrupt acts are a threat to national security.

Earlier, Saba cited section 2 sub section 3 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act Cap N74 which states that the DSS has powers of prevention, detention within Nigeria against the internal security of the country.

He further cited Section 4 and the provisions of subsection (1) (2) and (3) of the NSA Act, saying it shall have effect not withstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary or any other natter therein mentioned.

He also told the committee that the DSS didn’t need to give the National Judicial Council (NJC) prior notice before arresting the judges. He equally stated that the CCB has powers to investigate criminal allegations against judges, especially with regards to under-declaring or false declaration of assets.

But Saba chose to withdraw his statement when asked by committee members, Kingsley Chinda and Edward Pwajok to state categorically, if false declaration of assets by public officers threatened internal security of the country.

Explaining his role during the failed arrest of Justice Agomoh, Governor Wike blasted the DSS and described the episode as a “national tragedy,” adding that the DSS failed to observe the rule of law in conducting the Port-Harcourt raid.

According to the governor, the DSS operatives, one of who assaulted him, didn’t know where exactly they were headed to even as they conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner. The governor was represented by his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma.

What has recession taught us? – Tijani Sheriffdeen

Every condition, incidence or contingency has a lesson to teach, even though many don’t understand this, it’s exactly so. A whole lot has happened in our country in the last 6 months, one would think this should have thought us lessons we wouldn’t ever forget, but unfortunately, we have learnt a whole lot of nothing out of the recent happenings. One reason Nigeria would continue to grow in leaps and bounds.


Hardly would you see a forth thinking Nigeria who wouldn’t accede and acquiesce to the fact that we are fast to forget our worries. When the sun refuses to shine, we would all find our hands around our cheek, expecting the light to our day; the sign of the sun finding its way out lightens us up forthwith. We wouldn’t ruminate on the reason why the sun refused to shine at first, and even when those who care talk, it is welcomed only in a dustbin.


What a country! Some months back, we were all complaining and expressing our dissatisfaction at the style our currency adopted in sinking. Things were not only hard; the situation we found ourselves was so disturbing that no morning would brighten up without complaints. But now that things are starting to take shape again, we have started consigning to oblivion the lessons this unwelcomed period has brought.


Analytic and critical thinking Nigerians feel buying “naija products” would help us grow our dying currency and help resuscitate our low and stygian looking economy. The government in town saw it the way to thread and showed support by being a part of a fair that exhibited Nigerian products.


Yes, our products were flaunted to the public, but what do we have today? What policy has been put in place to sustain this move? Or better still, how has the government ensured the economic safety of the companies producing goods and offering services in our dear country? All we are good at is making deafening and sonorous noise about things which would only get people’s attention for weeks. Oops! I said weeks?


Agriculture is the way out; it would help our country stand tall again. This among other numerous statements was seen flying around in voices and prints during the deepest part of the unwelcomed friend- recession. It then dawned on us to look that part after long years of abandonment for the oil sector.


Recession brought with herself a whole lot of lessons, but we haven’t learnt anything, or maybe those who have learnt something are the no body in Nigeria. The “let us return back to agriculture” made us understand agriculture of this time goes hand in hand with the industry sector. Africans are hardworking, energetic and industrious, but then our myopic thinking only helps us get a little of our endless toils and labours.


Taking Cote d’Ivoire has a case study; this country produces 33% of world’s cocoa and exports to manufacturers like Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars Inc. among other manufacturing firms. Unfortunately, this country earns $2.5 billion early, while the companies they sell out their products to make more than seven folds of the money they earn. Why? This is not unconnected to the fact that they are leveraging the sweats of Africans for their own unflinching success. Don’t you take beverages? And if you don’t, are you children incognizant of chocolates? Now you see!


We would only continue to deceive ourselves by wanting to improve the agricultural sector and neglecting the industrial sector, nobody is saying it wouldn’t work; it would, as we would all have to share a loaf of bread together, trust me, after deriving maximum satisfaction, we would still have more to keep.


The Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Media and publicity, Garba Sheu in an interview with Pyramid Radio in Kano said that aggressive exportation of grains may lead to famine in the country starting from January 2017. He said that no fewer than 500 trucks of grains depart the country every week, following a huge demand in the global market that is targeting the country’s surplus production. And now, we are talking of famine too!


Do you want to blame farmers who have no markets where their goods can be sold for churning out their harvests to countries where they would make money to sustain theirselves and family?  Or you want to wail at poor farmers who would have a huge part of their sweat waste on their own farms before they harvest the little they can and sell out to get something to put on their table?


The government is not taking responsibility for protecting these farmers by providing the required for them; all they can come out to do is force another set of bitter pills down our throats. When the right things are in place, the right things would be done.


Tijani Sheriffdeen is an undergraduate of the University of Ilorin.

Buhari’s Government Shameless for Talking About 2019 – Junaid Mohammed

Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has kicked against a recent comment from the Presidency that Nigerians will rally behind the President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, stressing that, “It is very unfortunate and shameless that a government that is yet to do anything is already talking of 2019.”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Monday, gave an indication that his principal may be seeking a second term in office when he vehemently dismissed comments by a former member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Alhaji Buba Galadima, that the people of Nigeria would abandon the President should he choose to seek re-election.
Shehu, who stated that the “suggestions that the masses will desert President Buhari in 2019 was unfounded and utterly ridiculous,” adding that: “President Muhammadu Buhari is far from isolation. He enjoys a very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians.”
Reacting, however, Mohammed was quoted by Vanguard, as saying: “It is very unfortunate that a party like APC that is fast becoming moribund is already talking of 2019 when they have nothing to show for the four years Nigerians gave them. This development shows they are power-hungry, hypocritical and corruption-ridden.
“This entire 2019 discussion is ridiculous. I believe a government that has performed will rely on its performance before being considered for another four years in office. We are not even in the middle of the four-year term given to them and they are already talking of 2019. This is an unfortunate development and it shows the ineptitude of the government. For a man that has led us into the worst recession ever and has got nothing to show Nigerians since he assumed office to be talking of 2019, shows how shameless the government can be.”

US-based Nigerians Write Donald Trump, Demand Equitable Treatment

Nigerians based in the United States of America, under the auspices of Nigerian Union Diaspora (NUD), have congratulated the country’s President-elect. Mr. Donald Trump, on his electoral victory and urged him to run an equitable government.


The NUD’s congratulatory message was contained in a letter to Mr. Trump. Dated 20 November and jointly signed by Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Secretary-General, and Mr. Bayo Oluwasanmi, Executive Director (Political Affairs), the letter called on Mr. Trump to remember his victory speech in which he said: “it is now time for America to bind wounds of division”.


“This statement is especially important considering the divisive tone that characterized the long presidential campaign.


“We strongly encourage you, henceforth, to capitalize on the post-election goodwill and extend an open hand to all Americans, including minority groups, most of who were frightened by certain aspects of your campaign that were widely viewed with apprehension.


“But with your pledge to ‘be president for all’, Nigerian-Americans are emboldened to stand willing, ready, and able to do all we can to the enormous work of healing the country and building a better America for all its citizens; an America that works well for all the people is a pillar of global peace and stability,” the letter said.


The NUD, the umbrella organization of people of Nigerian descent outside Nigeria, said it has over 2.4 million members in the United States. It further said that Nigerians contribute over $150 billion annually to the US economy. The group added that it would arrange a meeting with Mr. Trump’s to explore opportunities of working together.


NUD’s letter traced the history of Nigerians in the United States back to over four centuries, during which it said they have made immense contributions in all spheres of US national development. It explained that Nigerians remain the most credentialed immigrant bloc in the United States, as they have demonstrated in the fields of research, education, healthcare, military, engineering, economics and job creation among others.


The NUD added that it hopes that the Trump administration will recognize the significant pedigree of Nigerians and forge lasting relationships them as well as with the Nigerian nation.


“Aside from being the flagship country of the African continent, Nigeria has the abundant resources to advance strong bilateral relations with the United States on mutually beneficial terms. The well-being of Nigeria on the African continent is the well-being of the people of Nigerian descent in America,” the NUD added.


It equally called on Mr. Trump to consider his position, on assumption of office, as the leader of the world’s most influential country to run a government devoid of racial, gender, religious and ethnic prejudices, adding that he has a responsibility to treat everyone equally.


“Posterity beckons on you, therefore, to break from the unfortunate past—to finally accord the Nigerian nation as well as the Nigerian-Americans similar attention as other leading countries of other continents and their immigrants in the United States, including but not limited to policies on trade, immigration, terrorism, global security, economic opportunities, social issues, and human rights. Just policies on Africa will go a long way in binding ‘the wounds of division’ that have existed between African-Americans in general and the larger American population,” the letter concluded.

Nigerians Mock Peter Okoye’s Sitting Posture Beside Dangote

It’s amazing how Nigerians manage to finger out a flaw in almost everything. So Peter Okoye shared a photo with Billionaire, Aliko Dangote during a private party with his twin, Paul, but all hell got loosed. See the memes and comments made, criticizing Peter’s sitting posture beside Dangote.

Twitter user's comment on #PeterOkoye's picture with #Dangote goes viral

No chill ? QoTD: Will you turn gay for $3m? ? | Please click ? @KraksTV and follow the new krakstv page ????

When Dangote wants to have a talk ??
#dangote #babe #sit #crossleg #money #billionaire #richestman #rich #nigerian #africa #africans #aliko #dollars #moneybag #talktome #anything #funny #? #ipublicizenaija #l4l #potd #instagood #insta


20 Parties Ask INEC to Shift Ondo Election

Twenty parties have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift Saturday’s election in Ondo State, citing insecurity.

This is coming days after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged INEC to postpone the election over the legal crisis rocking the party.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi, maintained that there was no going back on the election date. He stressed that the commission in its arrangement for the poll has gone very far.

He stated “Thank you. As I write this, INEC has no plan to and does not intend to postpone the election. Preparations for the Ondo governorship election started since March and 12 of the 14 activities planned for the poll have been carried out. Besides, the grounds for postponing any election are enshrined in the Electoral Law and certainly, such calls for postponement is not one of the grounds.

The 13th activity, the Stakeholders’ Forum, will hold today. The Commission, therefore, will not postpone the election.

Speaking at a joint briefing yesterday in Abuja, the National Chairman of Labour Party, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, said going ahead with the election without resolving the court cases gives room for caution.

The parties said they are aware that some people who benefit from the crises situation in Ondo will vehemently oppose any consideration for shifting the election date.

“ We only call on them to take notice of the fact that elections are considered free, fair and acceptable only when the rules are followed, as we cannot afford to govern an irate citizenry eager to explode at slightest provocation, stemming from the fact that they see the government as politically fraudulent.”

2000 Nigerians Are Being Tortured In Chinese Prison, Former Prisoner Says.

Some 2000 Nigerians are currently living in squalid conditions and being tortured in a Chinese prison, according to a prisoner who was recently released and returned to Nigeria.


The prisoner was held in Dong-guan Prison for more than three months and diligently took notes on the conditions of the prison and prisoners throughout his sentence. He took his prison notes back to Nigeria and handed them to The Guardian, which published a report on his notes on Monday.


According to the whistleblower, most of the 2000 Nigerian prisoners were charged with drug-related offenses, some of which are punishable by death in China, and are subjected to torture on a daily basis. Specifically, prison officers shock prisoners with an electric device for up to two hours at a time.  The former prisoner said that such treatment has caused mental health problems for some prisoners.


In his notes, the source also said that Nigerians and other Africans are treated “like animals,” worse than other prisoners.


“We are tortured daily with [an] electric device. The worst part is that it is our fellow prisoners officials use to carry out this torture,” he explained. “When we ask why they do this to us, they say it is because we are blacks, our government [doesn’t] care for us and our government can’t do anything to them.”


He revealed that prisoners are also subjected to forced labor.


“We are made to work long hours in [a] factory every day without any salary being paid to us. Yet, we are not well-fed. The only thing left for them to do is to exterminate us or put us in the gas chamber just as the Nazis did to the Jewish people,” he said.


He lamented that many foreign prisoners from countries such as Ethiopia, Senegal, Iran, Jordan, Colombia and Yemen have returned to their home countries due to the intervention of their respective home governments, but this has yet to be the case with Nigerian prisoners.


News of this Nigerian national’s poor treatment in Dong-guan Prison comes just three days after Chijioke Obioha, 38, was executed in Singapore for possession of cannabis.

APC Rally: No Big Deal About Tinubu’s Absence- Solomon Lalong

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Governorship Campaign in Odo State, Mr. Solomon Lalong, on Monday said the absence of the party leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and some South West governors at the party’s rally in Akure on Saturday did not make any difference.

He said since President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, were present at the rally, there was no cause for alarm.

Lalong who is the Plateau State Governor spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, met Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Tinubu and Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) were conspicuously absent at the rally held at the Democracy Park in Akure on Saturday.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State was the only APC state governor in the South West who attended the rally.

Tinubu and other governors who did not attended are believed not to be in support of the party’s candidate in the Saturday election, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu.

But Lalong said their absence was not a problem to the party.

He said, “That (their absence) was not a problem. We explained their absence. They sent in their apologies. You heard what happened there.

“As far as we are concerned, the President who is the leader of the party was at the rally. The national chairman was also there. As far as we are concerned, everybody was there.

“To the party, their absence did not make any difference. If a leader was not there and he has said he was not there because of ill-health, we have prayed that God will heal him.”

The governor expressed confidence that the APC would emerge victorious in the Saturday election.

He said he and Fayemi were at the Presidential Villa to thank Buhari for making time out to attend the rally personally.

“We have finished our campaign. You saw what happened at the grand finale. We are not in doubt that APC will win the election in Ondo.

“It is other parties that are scared of the APC and not APC being scared of other parties.

“We have come to thank the President for going to Ondo for the grand finale rally,” he said.

Saheed Animashaun: Six Shades of The Buhari Presidency

Different Nigerians view the performance of the Buhari-led administration with diverse lenses.

To some, Buhari is The Immaculate, The Perfect! while to others, he is the worst thing to have happened to Nigeria after the civil war!

After careful speculation, I present to you the top six categories of Nigerians you will find in the Buhari dispensation.

1. The Praise Singers – Just like a golden fish has no hiding place, this group is easily identifiable. They are the Buhari-can-never-be-wrong crew. In their eyes basically, Buhari is a demi-god who is infallible. In fact, it doesn’t matter to them that they have believed something to be wrong all their lives. The moment Buhari does it, it becomes right!

 They have employed all sorts of tactics to advance their bizarre standpoint. Anybody that dare criticizes the President is tagged “Corruption-fighting back”, “wailing wailer”, “enemy of progress” , or some other names. They have gone to incredible lengths to defend many seemingly indefensible actions and inactions of the President. This group are masters in the art of conspiracy theories. They preposterously posit that GEJ created Boko Haram to decimate the North.

They would have left no words unsaid if a GEJ had skipped the burial of fallen heroes (Late Lt. Col. Abu Ali amongst others) for a visit to Edo.

Another instance is when Buhari failed to fulfill his promise of releasing details of looted funds recovered (including the name of looter and amount returned). This group conjured up the flimsiest of excuses to defend this act. While the Shiites definitely have a huge portion of the blame, they have stoutly defended the massacre of Shiites in Kaduna and some other parts of the North.

Dodoism is the new epidemic in Nigeria.  The presidential cluelessness inherited from the previous administration is fast becoming airborne and this group of psychopathic sycophants are the most vulnerable

If the Buhari government ends up failing after four years (and I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen), this group would have contributed immensely to the failure. Many of his close aides belong to this group.

2. The Die-Hard Ranters  –

This is another group highly susceptible to dodoism.  This group is a ready made tool for any opposition politician.  Beg them,  sermonize them, bring  Jesus Christ to show them any good side of the PMB’s administration,  LAYE LAYEdem no go gree. They are die hard ranters!

This set of people, even after eighteen months, have not gotten over the loss of their hero (GEJ). In their warped thinking, they believe that the recession wouldn’t have occurred if Uncle “Clueless” was still in power. They still do not realize that with their hero still in power, Nigeria would have definitely been put up for auction.

This group of people are specialists in churning out conspiracy theories. The most of recent of their depravities are their spreading of the outrageous claim that Buhari sponsored Hilary’s campaign with $500M!

If you believe this, you are definitely an illiterate; it matters less if you have a Ph.D.

To this group, everything Buhari does is wrong. Anytime an official of the previous government is arrested on an allegation of corruption, they fill the air with chants of ‘witch-hunting’. Even when it’s clear that such individual has returned a portion of the loot, they still claim that it’s witch-hunting.

To this group, the activities of Boko Haram have dwindled because to them their sponsor “Buhari” is in power. Another common nonsense they spew out is to say that Buhari promised to make $1 = N1. Till date, none can provide an exact quote of Buhari where he supposedly made this promise! Even after some Chibok girls have been released, they still stick to their theory that they were never kidnapped!

They are happy that this government is failing and hope and pray hard that it remains so till 2019. The goal is that they want to be able to boastfully say “we told you, Jonathan is the best president Nigeria has ever had”. They hope to be able to add the annoying cliché “you do not know the value of what you have until it is lost”.

3. The Tinubuists – The average member of this group does not give a damn about the state of the country. All they are concerned with is whether Buhari is on good terms with Tinubu. Their only worry is that Tinubu remains influential and is not sidelined at the federal level. Even if Buhari performs well, they are ready to move with Tinubu to any party he forms.

 A significant chunk of this group were instrumental to the ludicrous #IStandWithTinubu walk that was held recently in Lagos. I find chronic members of this group pathetic! How on God’s earth is how you perceive the Buhari-led government tied to how close he remains to one man!

4. The covert wailers – This is a group fast gaining followers. They are “wailers” by heart but temper it with occasional lauding of some of Buhari’s feats so far. They would criticize 99% of what the President does and reserve a lame mention for any glaring feat achieved by the government in power. They hate being tagged “wailing-wailers”; this is why they have resorted to faintly highlighting some positive actions of this government.

This group always gladly anticipate blunders of the government and release their ever-ready vitriolic when it happens.

 5. The Humble Pie Eaters – This group of people campaigned vigorously for Buhari during the last elections. They did not necessarily view him as an ideal candidate; they only saw him as better than the clueless GEJ. So far, they have been roundly disappointed. Some have resorted to taking fort in silence, practically retreating into a shell in shame.  Some others have relentlessly launched tirades of criticisms at this hope-sapping administration. They staunchly support the anti-corruption war, even though they believe that it may be one-sided.

They are also quick to dismiss The Die-hard Ranters and Praise-singers.

6. The “No-be-my-business” crew – This is a group that houses perhaps the majority. Due to successive government failures, they have completely given up hope in any government. Governance to them is simply a tool for the powerful to exploit the weak. They believe nothing can be done about the status quo and have resigned the fate of Nigeria to prayers.

They hardly vote; however, they ensure they milk politicians as dry as possible, especially during campaigns. They see it as the only opportunity to get back a chunk of their national cake, however small.

A number of them would only vote when their ‘son’ is contesting. They would rather have their son loot the national treasury than any other person.

Ultimately, the change that Nigerians crave isn’t likely to emanate from any government house. It begins with getting it at right at the micro level.

Saheed Animashaun (@ani_gene) is an Accountant and Social commentator.

He can be reached via

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

Nigerian Army Begins Operation Crack Down in Sambisa forest

Counter-insurgency operations are ongoing in the notorious Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria, to clear remaining Boko Haram terrorists in the area, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, said on Sunday.

He says the army is not relenting in its counter-insurgency war.

General Olonisakin gave the assurance during an operational visit to the Theatre Command and headquarters of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Chief of Defence Staff told journalists in Maiduguri that even though the “Operation Safe Corridor” initiative was open for repentant insurgents to surrender, it would not in any way suspend operations.

“There’s always a room for them to surrender. We put up Operation Safe Corridor initiative to have them surrender. That is the corridor for them to surrender and that corridor is always open.

“However, we would not wait until they surrender. That is why the “Operation Crack Down” now leading to rescue finale is in place to ensure that we take over Sambisa, clear the Boko Haram terrorists in those places and make the place safe for development,” the Defence Chief stated.B

NUPENG Threatens Strike

THE Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action over the alleged anti-labour practices of International Oil Companies (IOCs).

Its President, Comrade Igwe Achese, said the spate of redundancy in the industry was worrisome, as workers were being booted out daily.

He pointed out that the actions of the IOCs were contrary to the government’s zero/tolerance for job losses, condemnable and unacceptable to the union.

He threatened strike if the government failed to call the multinational oil firms which have engaged in anti-labour and union activities to order.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to intervene in the unresolved labour issues with the following companies so that we do not witness a nationwide industrial action by next week when our 21-day ultimatum expires,” he said.

He condemned the anti-union posture of the IOCs, noting that the constitution stipulates freedom of association and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 and 98, which Nigeria is a signatory.

He said the anti-union posture of the IOCs was brewing tension in the industry.

He advised the Federal Government to prevail on the multinationals and service companies to stop the spate of retrenchment.

Achese said the union would not support the sale of NNPC’s assets without proper consultation with labour unions in the sector.

According to him, there is no way the unions would allow these assets to be sold without their input.

Achese said: “We are opposed to the sale of the nation’s assets, especially the refineries. We believe that the proposed sale is unnecessary and not in our national interest, as they will be sold to their cronies as scraps. The union will resist any attempt to sell these national assets and advise that government should look at other areas to revamp the economy.’’

“NUPENG says no to sale of NNPC assets, we are against any sale of the nation’s assets because there is no justification for it.

“They are planning to sell them to their cronies like they did in power sector. We cannot continue to watch until they sell the whole nation. Labour unions cannot wake up and discover that assets are being put up for sale without consulting. The state of our roads is still nothing to write home about as they are all dilapidated. We condemn the slow pace of work by the contractors recently mobilised to site.”

PDP: Nigerians want Jonathan back as president.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has claimed that Nigerians are yearning for the return of former President Goodluck Jonathan just two years after he left office.

The party stated this on Sunday in a message to the former president as he celebrates his 59th birthday.
In the message, signed by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, PDP said Nigerians want Mr. Jonathan back because his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, has failed.

“Your Excellency Sir, in less than two years of leaving office, Nigerians are yearning and crying for your return especially as your successor who won the 2015 Presidential Election on the altar of propaganda and lies against your administration has done no better since he took over from you on May 29, 2015”.

The PDP said all the legacies of Mr. Jonathan such as electoral reforms for free, fair and credible election “have been eroded and quickly replaced with inconclusive elections, electoral apathy, voter inducement, intimidation, harassment and unfair incarceration of judges and squeezing of opposition at all levels.

“This reversal of your achievements is also visible in all sectors of our economy as the vibrant and largest economy you left behind in May 2015 is today in great recession and near depression,” it said.

PDP said it is congratulating the former President on his legacies and achievements in “academia, politics, governance and social life”, which, it said, remains indelible and worthy of emulation by well-meaning people.

“You are a shining light during and after office as one of the Heads of State in Nigeria and Africa in general who willingly conceded power to the opposition in the interest of peace and democracy.

“Your Excellency Sir, this is your 59th Birthday Anniversary, and so let us allow you celebrate instead of bothering you with the sick and comatose state of our economy.

“We pray the Almighty God to bless you with good health and many more years of service to your home State, Bayelsa, Nigeria, Africa and the world in general. We wish you 59 hearty happy cheers,” the party said.

Over 4.5m Nigerians Jobless Since 2015 – KADCCIMA

Over 4.5 million Nigerians have become jobless since last year, adding 2.6 million to unemployment figures of 1.46 million recorded in the ?third quarter of 2015 and 518.102 in the fourth quarter of 2015, Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) has disclosed.

The immediate past president of the KADCCIMA, Dr Abdul-Alimi Bello?, stated this in his welcome address delivered at the weekend on the occasion of the combined 41st and 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) and presentation of award of excellence to organizations and individuals.

The ceremony which took place at the Hamdala Hotel Kaduna also saw to the emergence of new leadership? with Dr. Muheeba H. Dankaka as the new President.?

Others are Dr. Aliyu Dikko, Alh. Suleiman Aliyu as first and second deputy President respectively while othe?r council members are Hon. Ishaya Idi?, Hajiya Rakiya Musa, Dr. Segun Falope, Alh. Tijjani Musa, Dr. David Obiora, Alh. Lawal Umar Mayere, Alh. Farouk Suleiman, Hajiya Fati Usman, Engr. Sunday G. Mshelia, Alh. Shehu M. Shitu, Mal. Gimba H. Ibrahim, Aliyu Mamman, KIFC Representative, BOA Representative, PAN Representative, Textiles Representative, Unity Bank Representative and NNDC Representative? who are to serve for two years term.

?Dr Bello further disclosed in his address that, “according to reports during the reference period, the unemployment in the labour market increased. By. 1,158,700. Persons resulting in an increase in the national unemployment rate to 13.3 percent in second quarter of 2016 from 12.1 percent in 2016, 10.4. Percent in 2015 from 9.9 percent in third quarter 2015 and from. 8.2 percent in 2015.

“The value of capital imported into Nigeria in the second quarter of 2016 was estimated. At. $647.1 million which represents a fall of 75.73 percent relative to the second quarter in 2015. This provisional figure would. Be the lowest level of capital imported into. Economy on record and. Would also represent the largest year on year decrease.

“During the period under review, there have been unprecedented job losses in most sectors of the economy. A challenging period from the oil sectors where companies have recorded inability to service debts and have embarked on mass retrenchment to the manufacturing sector where companies have embarked on. Job termination to reduce non business critical costs to banking where institutions have terminated the employment of over 5,000 workers this year alone in a. Bid to optimize operations.

“The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) reported that 58 members of the association had closed down due to the. Unavailability of raw materials, a fall out of forex restrictions from the federal government. The closures resulted in over 4.5 milliom workers being forced into redundancy.”

As a way forward, he suggested that the federal government must ensure that there is timely and transparent allocation of allocation of forex to manufacturers? to import spare parts and raw materials for production activities.

“Ensure effective patronage of locally manufactured goods as well as domestic service providers in all ramifications.

“Ensure prompt payment for goods. And services supplied to all MDAs? so as to speed up the deflation process in the economy and

“Ensure active promotion of PPP? for the. Envisaged infrastructure development by federal and state government.”

Jungle Justice: The Resultant Effect of Injustice and the Hypocrisy of Nigerians. – Adeeko Ademola

It is less painful if you’re a victim of a crime compared to being a victim of injustice. The latter is more dangerous!



I read in utter dismay as Nigerians on Social Media yet talked about the issue of jungle justice again. This is not the first time and will definitely not be the last time that Nigerians will take the laws into their own hands by meting out ‘justice’ defined by their emotions.



The reason I have been quite indifferent about the recent jungle justice incident making the rounds, which involved an alleged 7 year old boy who was set ablaze when caught trying to steal Garri is because; Nigerians are expected to make so much noise about a situation which has become a norm in the society, and then after a few days, we go back to sleep, waiting for the next time another of such incident to reoccur. Never has it been a responsibility for us to ensure the impossibility of a recurrence.



Jungle justice is basically the resultant outcome of a failed judicial system but trust Nigerians to only scratch the surface of a deep problem and then proffer temporary solutions to it. Jungle justice is a ripple resultant effect of an institutional failure which is deeply rooted in injustice spread over a period of time.



Jungle justice is not new in Nigeria, as a matter of fact, it has become a culture among a lot of Nigerians. It is seen as the best method of getting justice especially in a society where the downtrodden has never enjoyed what justice feels like.



I had a conversation with a friend some weeks ago about corruption in the judiciary and the unconventional way the Presidency has chosen to  fight it and I remember saying in these specific words; “Let us bask in mediocrity for a while, corruption in the Executive arm of the government is inexcusable but can still afford to be treated with levity, same goes for the Legislative arm. However, corruption in the Judicial arm of government is the most dangerous basically because the sanity of a society is dependent on that last line of defense – the Judiciary. When all else fails, the Judiciary cannot afford to fail because without justice, there can never be peace and without peace, a society is as good as gone.”



In every civilized society, the judiciary is expected to be the last hope of the common man and as such cannot afford to be corrupt. The power to declare a man innocent or guilty, the power to determine whether a man lives or dies is endowed unto the judiciary as the custodians of the constitution. The judicial arm of the government is the most sensitive because the balance and survival of a society depends on it.



Decades of injustice, perverted justice, delayed justice has brought about the situation where people resort to self-help. Humans are wired to always find a way to get what they want and that is a law of nature that cannot be over-emphasized. One of the tenets of creating a civilized and organized society is to curtail the excesses of man and that is why we have laws that govern us. The balance in the world today, despite how tilted it is today, is held together at the center because we still have law and order in place. Take out law and order and all you have left is anarchy and barbarism, and that, right there is where we what the Nigerian society is rooting for.



Without excusing jungle justice, I will say that we may need to look into the root causes of this problem before we can ever talk about solutions. I have read people totally condemn jungle justice without reference whatsoever to what might have been the cause, and that, for me is equal to ignoring Leprosy to treat Ringworm infection. Deeply tucked under, is a compilation of unsettled grudges and injustice. For jungle justice to thrive this much in societies that have moved faraway from the cave days, there must be something we’re not addressing – injustice.



Recent revelations clearly shows that justice is for sale in Nigeria and worst part is; it actually does not have a price as it’s sale is dependent on how much you’re willing to sacrifice to get it. In other words, justice goes to the highest bidder. Now, let us put the situation into proper perspective. If the majority of Nigerians are poor, that also means they will not be able to afford the price for justice. So technically, justice belong to the rich who happen to be the minority. Imagine how many millions of people are downtrodden by the system on a daily basis. Quite a lot, if you got the calculations well. There you have one viable reason for jungle justice.



Looking a bit further away from the technicalities, remember that in the second paragraph of this piece, there’s a mention of a 7 year old who was set ablaze by an angry mob for allegedly stealing Garri. This morning, a citizen shared his experience which shed more light and a new perspective to the “Garri Thief” story. The circulated story was actually not true. The suspect is an adult male and was not trying to steal Garri. However, he narrated a story about a robbery that led to the death of his younger brother. It was such a compelling and sad story. It is one story that makes any human feel that uncontrollable rush of anger and decide to take drastic measures to get justice. Apparently, the narrator’s brother was accosted in public by armed robbers and without warning, was stabbed in the neck and stripped of a mobile device. He was rushed to nearby hospitals where his condition was met with several rejections. He lost so much blood in the process and eventually died. Bringing untold pain and anguish to his family, yet months later, he never got justice. Now, imagine how the victim’s family will feel, especially knowing that killer of their son is still out there and the possibility of him being made to face the law is as thin as a thread. Just think about  the pain and heartache that may never have closure. Think about the irresistible urge to have vengeance on the one person who threw a whole family into mourning just because of a mobile device. Think about how much they want to see their son’s murderer suffer as much as they have suffered.



I have also had personal experiences and I’m sure a good number of Nigerians have in one time or a couple, had same experiences. I have seen situations where a criminal is caught and handed over to the Police, days later, same criminal is back on the streets, carrying out same nefarious activity he was initially apprehended for, without fear for the law and consequences.



Injustice is simply lack of fairness or justice and in situations where there is injustice, the room for grudges and tendencies for self-help grows bigger and it keeps growing in as much as there continues to be injustice until the down-trodden cannot stomach it anymore. And there you have jungle justice becoming the only way viable to get justice.



However, where jungle justice thrives, the possibilities of victimizing innocent people comes into play. As much as I have seen jungle justice meted out to criminals caught in the act, I have also read about innocent people being victims of jungle justice. However, paying lip service to the scourge has not and will never help put an end to it. Instead, the Nigerian people should rise up to the responsibilities of demanding for justice for all. Selective justice, justice on the shelf and total injustice are just about the perfect recipe for jungle justice and until we have achieved an upright judiciary which does not only treat people equally but also ensures justice is served appropriately and at the right time, jungle justice is here to stay. No amount of noise or human emotions will take a way a problem that just needs common sense to fix.



We cannot continue to ask people to shun jungle justice while the reality out there is a fertile ground for jungle justice to grow. We’ll just be running around in circles while innocent people are being victimized for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no point trying to melt the tip of an iceberg ignoring the massive chunk of ice underneath the water. It makes no sense applying cosmetic solutions to fundamental problems. The judiciary should rise up to the occasion and live up to it’s responsibility of creating a just society.



Until we are able to ensure immediate consequences for criminal activities and law-breaking, we may just be prancing around. We all should rise as Nigerians to not only pay lip service but also identify and fight the constraints militating against the attainment of a just society, a society where justice does not just belong to the rich but everybody, a society where everybody, irrespective of their social statuses can have a sense of belonging and ownership not leaving out the expectation of being protected by the law when the need arises.

27,500 Nigerians, Eritreans, others arrive Italy illegally in October.

About 27,500, mostly Nigerians and Eritreans, arrived Italy in October, the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, said.

The agency said nearly 27,500 migrants arrived in Italy in October, an all-time monthly record fuelled by favourable weather conditions.

It said on Wednesday in Rome that the figure was the highest monthly number ever recorded in the Central Mediterranean and more than twice as many as in the previous month.

The agency said that the arrivals surged because, after “relatively poor weather conditions in September, people smugglers loaded more people than usual on unseaworthy vessels before winter makes crossings impossible’’.

It said that it led to a very high number of deaths, reporting that 127 bodies were recovered on the sea stretch between Italy and North Africa and that it was likely that many more persons drowned.

“Tragedies were continuing in November as the Italian coastguard recovered one body and 580 migrants were rescued in Wednesday sea operations.

“This added to seven bodies recovered and almost 900 saved Monday and Tuesday,’’ it said.

Frontex said that most migrants who landed in Italy in October came from Nigeria and Eritrea.

It said that the year’s provisional tally of arrivals was nearly 159,500, up 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

The agency noted that Italy became the main entry point for EU-bound migrants in the first half of 2016, after the so-called Balkan route via Greece was closed by an EU-Turkey repatriation deal and tighter border controls.

“Greece recorded 1,700 landings last month, compared to more than 170,000 in October, 2015.

“Migrants mostly came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq,’’ it said.

The thousands of Nigerians who seek to enter Europe through Italy via the Mediterranean has been a source of concern to both the Nigerian and European governments.

The Nigerians often travel the rough and risky road route via Niger to arrive in war-torn Libya where they join others to try to cross the Mediterranean.

On Tuesday, the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency, NAPTIP, said it intercepted 50 Nigerians who had embarked on the route.

“There are males and females as well as three minors in the group and they all fall within the ages of three and 45 years,” a NAPTIP official said.

Comedian Seyi Law Declares Interest in Running for President Come 2019.

The comedian took to his Instagram and twitter page to declare his interest in running for president come 2019.


Why aim low when you can aim high? I believe that the status quo must change for Nigeria to regain its place as a force to reckon with. The energy and knowledge of the Nigerian Youth must be put to positive use.
It is time we acknowledged the ingenuity of our vibrant men and women to ensure proper representation at the different levels of governance and not mere reduction to PAs and SAs. 
We must ensure we retain our best brains in the country and adequately make provision to reform our educational institutions, healthcare system and industries. Our ways of learning must change to meet required standard.
I am ALETILE OLUWASEYITAN LAWRENCE aka SEYILAW and I am running for the highest office in the land in 2019.

Pius Adesanmi: Why Nigeria does not deserve good things

About 15 years ago or so, a very senior colleague was getting closer and closer to the retirement thingy. Rumours began to fly ahead of his retirement plans. It was said that he was looking to donate his priceless personal library to a University that would be willing to house it in a special collection. We are talking a collection that included hand-written poems, stories, and scraps by the founding generation of African writers in English.


In 2001, I bumped into the said elderly colleague in Professor Chris Dunton’s house in Lesotho. I had gone to Lesotho because Chris Dunton and I were collaborating on some publications. Chris told me that the big colleague was in town. We had lunch with him.


It was an opportunity for me to ask if he was indeed looking to donate his collection. When I got confirmation that he was thinking along those lines, I quickly contacted Professors Rem Raj and Harry Garuba.


We agreed we should begin subterranean moves to persuade the man to think of Nigeria. UI, UNILAG, OAU, UNN or ABU would be ideal locations. You didn’t want Ghana, South Africa, or Kenya to beat us to it.


We were still on the lobbying thing in 2002 or thereabouts when Victor Ehikhamenor phoned me to announce that Odia Ofeimun was visiting the US and was in his own lungu in Maryland. Back in the day, I drove from Pennsylvania to spend most weekends with Victor in Maryland.


I arrived in Maryland for the reunion with Odia. Victor had scattered ground as usual with poundo and orisirisi in the egusi. Odia couldn’t make it. He couldn’t disengage himself in good time from Delta and Edo hosts in other parts of town.


We settled for phone banter. Odia launched his attack as soon as Victor gave me the phone. Pius, the craze wey dey worry you don tay. I hear that you and Remi and Harry are dreaming that Professor Lagbaja’s collection should come to Nigeria. Una head no correct. You want to bring those priceless things to Nigeria’s infrastructural culture? And you are going to take care of them how? Do you realize how many materials in that collection need to be maintained at a special temperature? My friend, you better let those who value these things preserve them for us.


People who will build temperature-controlled structures for the collections should preserve them. Instead of bringing them here to be abandoned and destroyed, people like you should apply for funding to go and consult them wherever they are properly preserved.


I had to admit it was the first time I thought about that angle. Today, as libraries are left to rot, stagnate, and burn in Nigeria, as governments build mosques and buy coffins in lieu of books, as Christian millennials are all over the land destroying art and spiritualities in shrines, I look back and realize that Odia was right. I shudder at the thought of what could have happened… Just what were Raji, Garuba, and I thinking? In the collection that we were dreaming about were masks and other items of art and traditional spiritualities.


Assuming that government or a University did the unthinkable by even building a temperature-controlled bungalow to house the collection, what guarantee did we have that today’s crusading Christian and Muslim youths would not burn down such a “pagan” collection?


Truly, our heads were not correct to have thought of Nigeria. My son, Mitterand Okorie, when next you hear that young onward soldiers of ignorance are about to burn down another house of their history and heritage in Nigeria, see if there is anything you can save. I have space here at the Institute. Their lecturers will then look for money and apply for visa to come and study whatever we rescue from their Christian and Muslim ire.

Trump’s immigration stance, wake-up call on Nigerians – Udom Emmanuel

Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has described United States President-elect, Donald Trump’s stance on immigration as a challenge on Nigerians to make the best use of the abundant human and natural resources at their disposal to make Nigeria great.

The Governor made the remark while speaking to journalists on the implications of the outcome of the November 8 presidential election in the United States especially to Nigeria.

Governor Udom Emmanuel spoke to journalists at Akwa Ibom International Airport in Uyo on arrival from an official assignment outside the state.

He said that the outcome of the election was a confirmation of the fact that power comes from God and he chooses whoever he wants to lead at his own time in spite of what people think or feel.

“My prediction was not what the world predicted. What has happened in America is exactly what happened in Akwa Ibom state.

“The whole world is now saying that you don’t need to be a professional politician to be entrusted with political leadership. If you have been able to manage multinational businesses, then it means you’re capable of doing well as a political leader.

“So the talk of Donald Trump not having political experience did not affect the voting pattern.

“It also shows that God’s choice is the ultimate in spite of what people think or feel. God does not choose qualified people, rather, he chooses the unqualified and qualifies him for the task at hand.”

On the stance of Mr Trump on immigration issues, Governor Emmanuel said Nigerians should see it as a call to make the best use of what we have to make our country great.

“I’m not bothered about his policy, rather I see it as a wake-up call on Nigerians to begin to look inward and make the best use of the abundant human and natural resources at their disposal to make Nigeria great.

“Trump’s message to the rest of the world is for everyone to make the best of what they have. Didn’t you hear him? He said let’s make America great again. And I call on everyone, let’s make Akwa Ibom great, let’s make Nigeria great.”

Governor Emmanuel, however, appealed to Mr Trump to do all in his power to encourage international trade and cooperation to make the world a better place.

“All we need are good policies that encourage international trade and cooperation. That is all that matters now and I hope Mr Trump will make that possible.”

Nigerian Lawmakers Call for the Arrest of ‘MMM’ Promoters in the Country

The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately go after the promoters Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, otherwise known as ‘MMM’ in Nigeria.

Lawmakers strongly opposed the investment scheme, which lately gained popularity among Nigerians in the wake of the current economic recession in the country.

MMM promises 30 per cent return on investment for any money put into the scheme within 30 days.

The investment scheme has a Russian origin and “involves directing clients to make money available for an anonymous person with a promise of 30 per cent return within one month.”

But, members described the scheme as a “scam” and warned Nigerians not to be carried away by the “mouth-watering” returns on investments.

Lawmakers warned that the “trick” used by the operators was to attract as many Nigerians as possible to invest substantial amounts of money before the bubble would burst.

The House directed the EFCC, security agencies and the CBN to take urgent steps to halt the scheme before many Nigerians would become victims of the scam.

It also asked its Committees on Banking/Currency and Financial Crimes to investigate the activities of MMM Nigeria Scheme, “with a view to saving Nigerians participating in the scheme from you financial ruin.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Mr. Saheed Fijabi, had in a motion, drawn the attention of the House to the growing popularity of the scheme among Nigerians.

Fijabi, an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Oyo State, represents Ibadan-South/West Federal Constituency.

“The scheme entered the Nigerian circle in 2016, capitalising on the high level of unemployment and poverty to deceive unwary Nigerians into falling prey to their antics”, Fijabi stated.

He said the fact that MMM was not regulated by law or approved by the CBN as a secure business venture, made Nigerians more vulnerable.

NDIC launches plan to shut down MMM in Nigeria, insists it is fraudulent.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, has revealed plans to shut down Mavrodi Mondial Movement, MMM, scheme in Nigeria.

The Managing Director, MD of NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, disclosed that the regulators had set up a Committee to stem the nefarious activities of the fraudsters across the country.

Speaking on Monday during the NDIC Special Day at the 2016 Lagos International Trade Fair, Umaru advised members of the public to patronize only banking institutions that display the NDIC sticker: ‘Insured By NDIC’ in their banking halls or entrances.

He lamented that despite repeated warnings, Nigerians were still trooping out to patronize the illegal fund managers.

The MD said, “I wish to sound a word of caution to members of the public on the activities of illegal fund managers, otherwise known as Wonder Banks.

“It is worrisome to note that despite repeated advice, many unsuspecting members of the public are still falling victims to the mouth-watering interest being offered by these illegal fund managers.

“However, the regulatory authorities have set up an inter-agency committee under the Financial Services Regulatory Co-ordinating Committee (FRSCC) to stem the nefarious activities of those fraudsters across the nation,” he added

This is coming at a time when there were growing apprehension that the MMM scheme was fraudulent.

Recall that the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had dissociated himself from the MMM, saying he had nothing to do with it or any other online financial aid community, projects or contracts.

Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had warned Nigerians to be wary of it, referring to the scheme as a “wonder bank”.

The head of the consumer protection department of the CBN, Kadija Kassim, had said, “But I want to warn you against it because they are wonder banks that are not regulated.

“Desist from their activities because they are fraudulent.”

Prophet T. B. Joshua Deletes Clinton’s Win Prophecy As Nigerians Slam Him On Twitter

Following the prediction of Prophet  T. B Joshua on Sunday regarding a “narrow” win for Hilary Clinton in the just concluded U.S. presidential election;  Mrs. Clinton lost to Donald Trump of the Republican Party on Tuesday. Mr. Trump won over 270 electoral college votes to secure victory.

Nigerians are already swarming twitter, making fun of  T. B. Joshua for the failure of his prophesy.

A few hours later, Mr. Joshua deleted the prophesy posted on the church’s official Facebook account.

See tweets below:

Our Main Objective is Economic Diversification – SON

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said that it will double its efforts to help Nigeria achieve her quest for a diversified economy.

The Director General (SON), Mr. Osita Aboloma, during an inspection visit to the agency’s offices in Enugu and Anambra States recently, said SON has a vital role to play in turning around the nations’ fortune, noting that the Nigeria’s quest for a robust agricultural economy and a strong Industrial development will be realised if the machines and equipment in the SON engineering laboratory, Enugu are fully utilised.

Aboloma noted that the diversification of the economy will bring to bear, doubled efforts in terms of quality and standards, streesing that Nigerians should expect more from the organisation, and therefore, charged staff of the agency to be upright in all aspects of their duties in order to win the confidence of Nigerians.

He emphasised the need to achieve zero tolerance to substandard products in Nigeria, and enjoined the staff to make the best use of the equipment in a way that manufacturers in the country would have no cause to look outside the shores of the country in standardisation and quality assurance of their products.

The Director General noted that the equipment in the laboratory, if well and fully utilised, could cater for Nigeria’s industrialisation demands, which is a component of the National Quality Infrastructure that includes testing and conformity assessment.

Aboloma said though he is in SON to pilot the affairs of the organisation, but stated that his direction will be the same with that of the staff which is to take SON to the next level and also promised to improve on all laudable projects that are ongoing in the organisation including human capital development and staff welfare scheme.

He implored the staff to be good ambassadors of the organisation and change their attitude to work so that SON will be a pace setter for others to follow.

The Director General was also conducted round the construction work at the National Metrology Institute (NMI), and expressed delight over the progress of work done so far and called for accelerated efforts for the project to be completed as scheduled.

He noted that the project when completed will boost Industry and enhance trade and investment both in Nigeria and the ECOWAS, maintaining that it would also improve the diversification drive of the federal government, while also enhancing export of agro- allied and other manufactured goods in the country

Army Releases 1,271 Boko Haram Detainees

The Nigerian Army said on Monday that it had so far released about 1,271 detainees after clearing them of any link with the Boko Haram terrorists group.

The General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Brig.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu, disclosed this while speaking at a forum for the reintegration of children associated with armed forces or armed groups in Maiduguri.

Ezugwu, who was represented by Col. Yusuf Ali, said that most of those released were women and children.

He said, “The Nigerian Army gives utmost priority to the rights of detainees especially women and children.

“We always try to fast track investigation to determine their fate, while those found innocent were released with out delay.

“Consequently, between February and October this year we have had five releases.

“In February 135 persons comprising mainly women and children were released, 204 were released in May, while the remaining three releases were carried out in September and October”.

He said that the army had also improved on the provision of welfare for the detainees.

“As part of the military high command care for the vulnerable persons under our protective custody.

“We have identified areas needing attention including feeding, health care, decongestion of cells, respect for detainees rights, sanitation and personal hygiene.”

He said children and vulnerable persons were fed three times daily with balanced diet.

He said, “We always provide meat or fish in every meal and drinks every Sunday for them.

“If fact, some of those released would have preferred to remain with us if they had the choice rather than move to IDPs camps.”

Ezugwu commended the organisers of the forum, saying the event was timely.

CAN Demands Justice for Woman Killed on Alleged Blasphemy

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged the Kano State government and the inspector general of Police to bring to book those responsible for the alleged killing of a Christian woman in the city.

CAN said it was deeply sad by the news of the “release without trial of the five suspects accused of killing a 74-year-old Christian woman in Kano, Mrs. Bridget Agbahime”.

She was murdered sometime in June.

A statement in Abuja by CAN’s Director Legal and Public Affairs Kwamkur Samuel said: “This is a highly provocative and insulting act on our collective sensitivities as a democratic nation, if newspaper reports are correct.

“The association condemns the continuous act of killing of innocent Nigerians under the pretence of blasphemy and considers the wilful absence of justice for victims of these mindless killings in Nigeria by relevant authorities as a serious constitutional breach and security threat to our unity and collective survival as a nation.

“The now-familiar tradition of avoidance to arrest or properly investigate and prosecute cases involving the deliberate killing of innocent Nigerians is evidence of a scripted plan to operate another nation within the Nigerian state and to deny justice to those who truly deserve justice.

“The cardinal responsibility of government to protect life and property of citizens is sacrosanct and must not be sacrificed on the altar of religious convenience. As it stands today, there is no single prosecution record of any criminal who killed under the pretence of blasphemy in Nigeria despite the number of victims and incontrovertible facts showing that those killings were done in daylight and mostly by persons who live within the communities, where these heinous crimes were committed.”

The association called on the state government and the IGP to execute justice on behalf of the victim

“The act of condoning crass criminality in the name of blasphemy deserves greater attention and broader treatment in this era of transforming the mindset of the citizens to work toward progressive change.

“CAN deeply sympathises with the family of the Kano victim over the rather very sad outcome of the case and assures that the pursuit of justice is a noble task of all well-meaning citizens working together toward a more decent and better society.

“As the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, we will not relent in our effort to ensure that justice is served on the religiously intolerant and to ensure that all Nigerians are treated equally irrespective of their faith, social status and where they come from.”

Nigerians borrow more as domestic debt of banks hit N13.8trn

Borrowings by individuals and corporate entities from banking institutions have increased due to the economic recession, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Many now find it difficult to purchase their usual consumables, leading to increased demand for personal loans.

Topping the list of the increased borrowing are housing and personal loans to support basic necessities like feeding, school fees, repairs and other household miscellaneous.

“Households’ demand for house purchase lending, unsecured credit card lending and unsecured overdraft/personal loans increased in Q3. Corporate lending also increased across all firms’ sizes. These are expected to increase further in the Q4,” the report said.

Secured loan performance, as measured by default rates worsened in Q3, with attendant losses to banks and expectations of improvement in Q4.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas sector’s indebtedness to the banks increased from a N3.2 billion level during the first quarter of 2015 to N4.9 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

This is just a part of private sector indebtedness to the banking sector in the period under review.

The NBS, in its third quarter 2016 Private Sector Banking Credit, showed that banking debt portfolio at the end of the third quarter (Q3) of 2016 is N13.8 trillion. Power and energy industry and services, which are currently struggling to fund their projects, are also increasing their respective obligations.

Private sector credit flow represents the net amount of liabilities (for the instruments debt securities and loans) that have been incurred in various sectors.

Specifically, the oil and gas industry indebtedness rose by N3.6 billion, while the service segment increase was put at N1.2 billion in the period under review. Other high-profile debt increases include the manufacturing, N2.2 billion; mining and quarrying, N27.3 million; construction, N631.5 million; trade/general commerce, N973 million; and real estate, N760.2 million.

Finance, insurance and capital market debt recorded N933.4 million; education N89.3 million; information and communication, N957 million; and transport and storage, N459.2 million.

For example, about 15 energy companies in the country collectively owed bank a total of N380.76 billion, which has translated to a non-performing loan.

Speaking on his company’s indebtedness to banks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Dallas Peavey Jr., said the company owes banks $325 million (N99.13 billion).

He noted that the scarcity of dollars had continued to take a toll on the company’s operations.

Speaking on the implication of such bank exposure to the oil and gas companies, an economic expert and Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf yesterday said that the credit risk outlook for these two sectors were not positive due to attacks on oil installations.

The LCCI chief noted that the recovery of the oil and gas sector would depend largely on the progress made in the curbing of the attacks on oil installations as well as the outlook for oil price.

Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, Adeola Adenikinju, blamed the power sector’s indebtedness to banks on the technical and economic losses that remained unacceptably high in the sector.

The don maintained that many government agencies, powerful individuals and organisations were also indebted to the power companies, thereby, worsening the plight of the industry and limiting their ability to meet their obligations to the banks.

Nigerian Airlines Delayed 7,722 Flights in 3 Months

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said domestic airlines operating in the country recorded 7,722 cases of delayed flights in the third quarter of 2016.

This is contained in a document issued by the NCAA’s Consumer Protection Department which was obtained on Monday by NAN in Lagos.

The document indicated that 13,097 flights were operated by eight domestic airlines during the period under review, while 253 flights were cancelled.

It said the airlines in operation were Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View and Overland.

Arik, which operated 4,882 flights, topped the chart of delayed and cancelled flights with 2,824 and 128 respectively.

This was closely followed by Air Peace, which recorded 1,383 delayed flights and 16 cancellations out of its 2,754 flight operations.

Dana Air operated 1,665 flights with 1,160 incidences of delayed flights and one cancellation.

The airlines had attributed the delays and cancellations to the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel in the country.

However, in a recent meeting with airline operators, Hadi Sirika, the minister of state, aviation, assured them that the government was working assiduously to end the scarcity of the product.

As part of the move, Sirika also held a meeting with oil marketers who informed him of their challenges regarding the importation, supply and distribution of aviation fuel to the airlines.

NLC Warns Against Another Fuel Price Increase

The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the Federal Government against any further increase in the pump price of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol.

The warning is coming as the retail stations of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporations in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs have increased the pump price of the PMS to N145 from the initial N141.

Similarly, some private marketers of petroleum products are now selling petrol in their outlets at N150 per litre.

One of our correspondents reported that some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states had refrained from selling the product.

For instance, the Oando filling stations at Alapere and Berger as well as the Mobil filling station opposite the Magodo Estate gate did not dispense the product to members of the public since Friday.

Similarly, the Ascon and NNPC stations between Arepo and Magboro, off the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State, did not sell the product on Sunday, raising fears of another round of fuel scarcity.

The General Secretary, NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Sunday that it would be insensitive on the part of the government to increase fuel price in view of the current hardship in the land.

Ozo-Eson added, “Well, we have been clear on this matter from the beginning that once you submit the determination of the prices of the products to the market, the way they are doing it in an import regime, that will devalue the naira. Therefore, they will come back and tell you the prices are not realistic. We knew that from the beginning and we said so.

“The fact of the matter is that any attempt to increase the price of fuel now, given the level of hardship and the level of suffering Nigerians are going through, will be regarded as extremely insensitive.”

The NLC secretary pointed out that while the NLC was opposed to any further adjustment in the price of fuel, it was up to Nigerians to also decide how to live with such an adjustment.

He stated, “We do hope that Nigerians will realise that this has no end, and what the government is doing will continue to impose extreme hardship on them, and they need to tell the government that enough is enough.

“Other than that, we oppose any adjustment in the pump price. If the government goes ahead to do it, it will indicate what we hinted right from the beginning that the policy adopted was wrong, and it remains wrong.

“It is up to Nigerians to oppose it. We provided the necessary leadership based on our understanding of the issues and the reality is coming home to roost and it is never too late. Nigerians will have to take the decision as to how they have to live with it.”

While the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency refused to confirm or deny any plan to adjust the price of petrol, one of our correspondents quoted officials of marketing firms as blaming the increase in the pump price on the high cost of the commodity at depots.

The pricing template of the PPPRA for PMS was last updated on May 24, 2016 and it had the pump price at a band of N135 to N145 per litre.

When asked to comment on whether the PPPRA was on the verge of hiking petrol price, the agency’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Sotonye Iyoyo, stated that forex had remained a challenge and noted that the agency works with the prevalent market fundamentals when determining or fixing petrol price.

Iyoyo said “Today as we know there is scarcity of foreign exchange and when we want to fix prices we look at the market fundamentals. We don’t just fix prices without looking critically at the fundamentals of the market.

“There is a price band that is between N135 and N145. The maximum is N145, and so anyone selling at that price is still within the price band.”

A source told one of our correspondents that marketers had stopped importing petrol into the country because the landing cost had gone beyond what the PPPRA stated in the template for the product and the government, through the NNPC, had failed to meet its promise of supplying the importers’ forex needs.

The source explained that due to the crisis in the Niger Delta, the NNPC was finding it difficult to generate enough forex from crude sale as the nation was losing an average of one million barrels per day to the bombing of crude pipelines and vandalism of critical infrastructure.

According to him, the marketers have resorted to getting the product from the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company at around N132 per litre, whereas the actual landing cost of the product is between N136 and N137 per litre, adding that the NNPC was currently subsidising the cost of petrol.

However, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has faulted the increase in the pump price of petrol by the NNPC mega stations and other private filling stations.

The minister, who said the price increase was done without his knowledge, said he would investigate the development, adding that he would also meet with oil marketers to discuss issues concerning fuel price.

Speaking on the sidelines of an award ceremony and dinner organised by the PPPRA branch of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria on Saturday night, Kachikwu said the instability in the foreign exchange market had been a challenge to the oil importation business.

When asked if the N4 increase in the pump price of petrol by the NNPC stations was a sign of an imminent hike in the rate, the minister said, “First, I am not aware that the NNPC has increased the price. I need to look into that; it is a bit of surprise for me because there are processes in doing this. If they have done that, it means they are doing it wrongly. Let me find out what the facts are.

“Having said that, the reality is that what we did at the point when we did some liberalisation was to enable the free market to float the price. Obviously, as you look at foreign exchange differentiation and all that, it will impact (on the pump price). The worst thing you can do is to go back to an era where we basically will be fixing prices.

“What we ought to be doing is to watch the prices, making sure that they are not taking advantage of the common man, making sure that the template is respected. One of the things I think we had hoped to do, which we should still do before we embark on any price increase, is to work on that template.”

Kachikwu stated that despite the harsh reality with respect to forex availability, the government was ready to tweak some of the components making up the price of petrol in order to forestall any increase in price.

He said, “There are still areas that are within the government’s control like payments to the Ministry of Transportation and the rest, and payments to the Nigerian Ports Authority that are foreign-currency denominated. We are working on the possibility of being able to shift that out so that you still can modulate the prices within where it is right now. But I will hold a conversation with the industry and see how it is going.

“However, what is key is that I never want to see fuel queues back. Those who are investing must be able to predict the pricing methodologies, the pricing consequences and the actions to be able to justify their investments. At the end of the day, I think the PPPRA is the one that has the authority to say it is time the template does justify some level of movement, otherwise you have a crisis of individual decisions on pricing.”

NNPC to Refine Crude in Niger Republic

A technical team to see the possibility of refining crude oil in Niger Republic by the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) may be underway by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), it was learnt yesterday.

NNPC’s Group Managing Director Dr. Maikanti Baru stated this after a bilateral discussion with Republic of Niger’s Minister of Energy and Oil Foumakoye Gado in Abuja.

A statement by the corporation quoted the NNPC helmsman as saying: “We plan to set up the technical team to review the possibilities of how crude oil will be supplied to the Kaduna Refinery. Being bilateral, there are going to be two teams as discussed by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and the Minister of Energy and Oil of Niger.

“There will be steering committee comprising some Ministers and a technical committee which will involve the NNPC and the Nigerien Ministry of Energy and Oil and their operators.”

According to the statement, Nigeria is to collaborate with its Republic of Niger neighbour in the area of sharing of geological data to further boost the ongoing exploratory activities in the Chad Basin and Benue Trough.

He noted that there is an understanding between the NNPC and the Republic of Niger to share data on the exploratory activities in the Chad Basin and the Benue Trough and to tap into that country’s experience.

The NNPC chief has described the Amnesty Programme as critical towards a lasting peace in the Niger Delta region.

Baru made this known while hosting the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh in his office at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, yesterday.

The GMD told Boroh: “The Amnesty Programme is key in restoring peace to the Niger Delta.”

He restated the Corporation’s commitment to collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards developing the Niger Delta region.

Baru, who observed that insecurity has affected NNPC’s operations especially in the region, stressed further that with relative peace now coming back to the region, the NNPC will ramp up its oil and gas production to be able to deliver on its mandate to the nation.

Responding, the Nigerien Energy Minister said his mission in Nigeria was to discuss issues of interest especially in the area of the oil sector with the NNPC, adding that the procurement of crude oil for Kaduna refinery and its practicability is being worked out.

Gado said: “One of the aims of this visit is to share geological information for us to draw the best profit out of the exploratory efforts.

Speaking earlier, Boroh said they were in NNPC to share some of the success stories of the programme especially in terms of human capital development of the various beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme.

According to Boroh, the Programme has trained over fifteen thousand ex-agitators in various skills and trades, adding that about 14 of them graduated with First Class from various universities both in Nigeria and abroad.

Halliburton: I Don’t Know How $32.5m Escrow Account Was Opened – Adoke

A former Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), yesterday said he knew nothing about how an Escrow Account was opened and $32.5 million fines from Halliburton Energy Services paid into it.

He said he was not briefed about the existent of any Escrow Account at any time by a member of the legal team of the Federal Government, Mr. Roland Ewubare, who was National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) former Executive Secretary.

He explained that the team was constituted to initiate criminal proceedings against the five companies involved in the Halliburton bribe scandal.

The five firms, which later settled for the plea bargain, were: Julius Berger ($35m); Siemens (Euros 30m); Snamprogetti ($30m); Halliburton Energy Services ($32,500,000) and Japan Gasoline Corporation ($26, 500,000).

Adoke, who spoke exclusively with The Nation on the telephone, said he did his best for the nation

He said: “On the assumption of office in 2010, I was approached by the then chairperson of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, that she has a request from some American lawyers to sue, on behalf of Nigeria, Halliburton and associated companies involved in the $180 million bribe scandal.

“She came with the lawyers to see me and when I read the terms of their demand. I declined to engage them and rather opted to set up a team of lawyers to initiate criminal proceedings against the companies against the backdrop of our previous experience in the Pfizer case.

“The lawyers introduced by the EFCC wanted to be entitled to 33 1\3 of whatever was recovered, which I felt was outrageous and also wanted us to cede the control of the case to them.

“I asked the EFCC to nominate a lawyer into the team and Godwin Obla (SAN) was nominated while Emmanuel Akomoye, the then secretary of the commission was co-opted to assist the team.

“In the course of the prosecution, there was a need to enter into plea bargain due to National Security concerns and Kayode Are, the Deputy NSA, was directed by the then NSA, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, to lead the negotiations.

“After the negotiations and agreement were signed, the OAGF was requested to furnish the federal accounts in which the fines were to be paid. And that was the sequence all the other negotiations followed.

“I was not aware of the opening of the Escrow Account in the USA nor was I informed and I didn’t know of the existence of any such account before now. I, therefore, have no explanation to offer than I had previously offered on record.

“The EFCC should, therefore, spare me the ordeal of trying at all cost to bring me down for I am beyond blemish in this or any other transaction while in office.”

He challenged any lawyer that had ever given him a bribe to come out and say so, adding that as AGF, he was very careful.

The reaction of the ex-Minister followed indications that EFCC was looking into the roles played by two former National Security Advisers, Gen. Aliyu Gusau and the late Owoye Azazi, and two former Attorneys-General of the Federation on the facilitation of $200million Settlement Agreement with Halliburton and four others.

The past AGFs are Mr. Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) and Adoke (SAN), who have claimed that they never benefitted from the agreement in any manner whatsoever.

The anti-graft agency has however retrieved a copy of the agreement signed with a U.S. law firm, Madison Avenue Legal Resources LLP from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Aondoakaa, who initiated the pact.

It was also learned that the EFCC has traced the Escrow Account to Madison Escrow Services LLC (the “Escrow Agent”) at the instance of Ewubare, who went to the United States to get the document.

About $32.5million (N13, 585,000, 000) out of about $200million fines from Halliburton Energy Services was allegedly paid into the Escrow Account.

Ewubare was said to have submitted a document to the anti-graft agency, showing how the Escrow agent was engaged by the FGN, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, to save the nation about $540million from garnishee judgments.

The document showed that the total compensation received by the Escrow Agent for its services was $2.5million.

But the EFCC is probing why the N13.5 billion was not remitted into the Federation Account in accordance with extant laws.

Those interrogated by the EFCC on the matter are a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, J.B Daudu (SAN), Mr. E.C Ukala (SAN), Obla (SAN), D.D. Dodo (SAN) and Ewubare.

FG Rules Out Online Application for Poor, Most Vulnerable Nigerians

The Federal Government on Thursday ruled out the need for the poorest and vulnerable Nigerians to apply online before they can benefit from the monthly N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s media office.

The statement was responding to some misleading reports in the media regarding the implementation of the N500 billion Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari administration.

It reads: “While we understand the need for an ongoing public discussion of this unprecedented budgetary allocation in favor of the Nigerian people especially the poorest and the most vulnerable, it is not correct to claim any form of mismanagement or marginalization whatsoever.”

“There has not been any disbursement from the allocated fund not to talk of any kind of mismanagement at all. While it is true that funds are being released for the social investment programmes, it is rather preposterous for now to say there is no evidence where the funds have gone to.

“As an administration noted for its transparency, we intend to fully keep Nigerians posted on all financial expenditure in line with extant laws of the country.

“Of the series of social investment programmes we have outlined, only the job creation scheme-N-Power requires an online registration from unemployed graduates and non-graduate youths.”

But the statement justified the requirement for online registration for the hiring of 500,000 unemployed graduates.

“It is important to explain, again, for the benefit of clarity, that the requirement for online application for the N-Power job scheme makes absolute sense considering that all together the Federal Government is planning to hire half a million unemployed Nigerian graduates.”

“We are all witnesses to the calamity that occurred in the past when a manual effort was made to hire large number of Nigerian youths. It led to needless deaths and outright chaos.” It added

On the allegation that Borno State is not online and the people of the state will be discriminated against in the N-Power process, the statement, said such a claim simply flies in the face of the fact.

It added: “Almost 15,000 Nigerians from Borno State applied in the first application series of N-Power schemes online.

“It is also not tenable to argue that people in Maiduguri for instance which today plays hosts to tonnes of international NGOs cannot apply online or are denied internet access.”

The statement disclosed that the selection process for the first batch of 200,000 Nigerians to be engaged in the N-Power process has now been completed, and that their official engagement is now awaiting the completion of BVN verification so that they would be paid directly.

On how the selection was done, the statement said “Presidency officials collaborated actively with the Ministries of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Health and other government agencies all through the process. There were no foreign consultants involved, nor is one needed.”

It added that selection of the first 200,000, were based on three criteria including 40% selected based on the number of applications per state, a special mark-up for the 6 states of the Northeast and a discretionary addition for states with low numbers of applicants.

Desperate Forces are Trying to Bring Me Down – EFCC chairman

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has raised the alarm over a plot by desperate forces to tarnish his image.

He further denied allegations that he was blackmailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointees or traditional rulers.

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, that unscrupulous elements operating on social media were painting an uncanny picture of desperation by Magu over his purported non-confirmation by the Senate as the substantive chair of the EFCC.

The commission said the mission to bring down Magu is being sponsored by forces that are not comfortable with his campaign to rescue the nation from the grip of corruption.

The statement added, “In the last week or so, the social media has been awash with fictitious reports, all painting an uncanny picture of desperation by Magu over his purported non-confirmation as substantive chair of the EFCC, and of stricture within the rank and file of the EFCC workforce leading to resignations.

“One of such reports is the one making the rounds in several gossip blogs with the title, ‘How EFCC’s Magu and Sahara Reporters Peddle Lies to the Media’. The report which is a parody of disingenuous invention of falsehood is the handiwork of mischievous people hell-bent on causing disaffection between the Magu-led EFCC and the executive on the one hand, and the members of staff of the EFCC on the other.”

The anti-graft agency maintained that the EFCC boss does not bully anyone, and has not embarked on any mission aimed at blackmailing some highly placed personalities in the country such as emirs, President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointees or any other individual, lowly or highly placed in the society.

The statement added, “The allusion to bullying and victimization of EFCC staff is clearly designed to instigate the staff of the commission against its leadership as there is no truth in it. For the records, no ‘senior EFCC core official’ has resigned from the commission and insinuation of mass resignation at the commission is mere scaremongering.

“The same applies to the claim that a sensitive unit has been set up in the commission to ‘bug the phone line’ of some persons. This is mischief taken too far!.”

‘Nigerians often search for pornography, rape videos on Google’. – Chude

Chude Jideonwo, co-founder of Red Media, says the most searched topics by Nigerians on Google are pornography, suicide and rape videos.

Jideonwo said this on Thursday at the Excellence in Leadership conference holding at Daystar Christian Centre, Ikeja, Lagos.

He noted that the main cause of instability in the world is depression, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

Jideonwo said people are frustrated, angry and hopeless and only an effective transformation can change the present situation.

The media entrepreneur said society’s values are shifting and more attention is now paid to feminist struggle, fight against patriarchy, disillusionment about pastors and challenge of authority.

“These are all signs that values are beginning to shift, you see it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; there is a battle between the stable and the violent”, he said.

He added that the government is somewhat useless and it is one of the major problems affecting the country.

“Ultimately, what they do is useless, one functioning government is more important than 2000 NGOs, if you have a government performing their functions, there would be no need for people contributing money to build schools, save the raped and the abused because the government would be doing its job.

He said transformation can only be effective only when the individual trying to effect the change is transformed already and upright.

We Welcome Buhari’s Declaration That any Nigerian Can Leave the Country – IPOB

The Indigenous People of Biafra, on Wednesday, reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration that any Nigerian who has another country to relocate to should do so.

Buhari made the statement at a meeting with Niger Delta leaders in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

“We are determined to make life comfortable and affordable to all Nigerians. If anybody has a country to go to, let him go, we will stay here and salvage our country,” the President said.

However, reacting to the development, IPOB said it welcomed Buhari’s statement.

The secessionist group said the statement shows that Buhari was already considering what it described as the ‘inevitable disintegration of Nigeria’.

IPOB spoke in a statement entitled, “IPOB welcomes Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration on the impending disintegration of Nigeria, but says no to conditions”, which was jointly signed by Barrister Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya.

The pro-Biafra group said, “We the IPOB are delighted with the comments attributed to retired Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, who seems to have bowed to international pressure to consider the inevitable disintegration of Nigeria, though with conditions we find inconsistent with common sense and logic.”

However, the group accused Buhari of attempting to exclude the Niger Delta from Biafra.

The statement added, “We observed that hidden in the statements of Buhari are two evil agendas: First evil agenda is that Buhari made this statement in a meeting he had with Biafrans from the riverine or southern part of Biafra which the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy nicknamed South-South or Niger-Delta.

“The underlying objective in Buhari’s statement is to create the impression that the South-South is not part of Biafraland, hence the upland areas of Biafra, Igbo, can leave Nigeria while the riverine areas Ibibio, Efik, Izon, Itshekiri, Urhobo, Isoko will remain part of Nigeria.”

IPOB stressed that the struggle for Biafra has nothing to do with the oil in the Niger Delta area.

The group stressed there is oil extraction activities in parts of Imo, Anambra and Abia states.

“Successive governments of Nigeria have continued to deceive the gullible public that the reason we, IPOB, are agitating for Biafra is because of oil in the Niger Delta region, without making obvious the fact that oil was first found in commercial quantity in Imo State before Oloibiri in Bayelsa State.

“Sadly many people are still ignorant of the fact that active oil and gas extraction is happening today in Anambra, Imo, Abia and Igbo parts of Rivers State,” the statement added.

IPOB further accused the Federal Government of giving a ‘false’ impression that the people of the Niger Delta believed in the concept of ‘one Nigeria’.

Recession Ordained by God, Repentance is the Only Solution – Sultan

Nigerians should seek repentance from God to get out of economic recession, says Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto.

The monarch, who marked 10 years of his reign on Wednesday, said the recession being experienced in several countries of the world is ordained by God.

“The only solution to this is for us to show piety and repent. It is ordained by God. So, Nigerians should seek for repentance from God,” he said, during the distribution of items to 270 widows, orphans and other less-privileged persons.

The Sultan urged Christians and Muslims to use their respective Holy Scriptures as guide for living their lives.

He urged governments at all levels to take effective measures to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.


Buhari Reacts to Senate’s Decision to Reject $30 Billion Loan

The Presidency has said it will not dispute the decision of the Senate to reject the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $29.9 billion.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Senate on Tuesday rejected the request of Mr. Buhari to borrow $29.9 billion as part of its external borrowing plan for 2016 to 2018.

The leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, told journalists after plenary that the request was rejected due to the absence of certain documents that should have accompanied the letter.

Ita Enang, therefore, said that the Presidency would not be disputing with the senate but would rather engage with them on the issue that had been raised.

“We are not disputing with the distinguished Senate.

“There are certain information and details which will enable them to consider in detail, and appropriately the request of Mr President.
“So we are collating that information.

The Budget Office of the Federation, the Debt Management Office, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Minister of Finance and the economic team are collating the information so that it can be submitted to the Senate to enable them take the appropriate decision.

“We would be engaging the Senate. We will not be disputing with them but we will be engaging with them.

“When we present a matter before the legislature it is for them to consider and as they have considered, more information is needed and that information they are entitled to it and we would provide,” he said.

You Can leave Nigeria if You Think you Have Another Country – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said any Nigerian who has another country to relocate to are free to do so.

On his part, he said he would stay back to solve the nation’s position.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while addressing Niger Delta stakeholders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are determined to make life comfortable and affordable to all Nigerians. If anybody has a country to go to, let him go, we will stay here and salvage our country,” Shehu quoted the President as saying.

Buhari was said to have told the leaders of the Niger Delta that they had more to do than anyone else to bring peace to the region, given the influence they have on militant groups.

He expressed the determination of his administration to stay focused on its key campaign promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and creating jobs through the improvement of the economy.

He said peace, security, investment and prosperity are linked together, adding that “if we give peace a chance, investors will come here to invest. Nobody will invest in an insecure environment.”

Buhari said the problems his administration found on the ground were many, as illustrated in the collapse of oil prices, the inability of 27 of the 36 states to pay salaries, the absence of savings to fall back and having to deal with an elite who didn’t seem to care.

All these, he said, made his government conclude that “life, as usual, is no longer affordable.”

In welcoming the 16-point request presented for negotiation by the Niger Delta leaders, Buhari said he was still expecting reports from officials he had instructed to review the implementation of the Amnesty program to determine where government fell short so that amends can be made.

The President said the service chiefs were putting together their own assessment of the militancy situation, saying “when I have these reports, including this one (just presented), we will revisit the situation (in the region) to ensure that we succeed this time.”

The President who delivered his report card on the war against corruption and the efforts to secure the co

Ohanaeze Youths Demand Apology from Kalu Over Igbo Comments

Some pan-Igbo groups on Tuesday reacted to former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu’s assertion that Igbos are better traders than politicians.

The groups, which spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Enugu, differed on the matter.

The Ohanaeze Youth Council, the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, asked the former governor to immediately apologise to the Igbos, and also retract his statements.

But the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra said Kalu said the truth.

Another group, the Igbo Awareness Movement, said Igbos are ‘learning’ from previous political mistakes, but must learn fast.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Interview magazine, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, in a statement of Monday, quoted Kalu as saying in a recent interview with the magazine, that Igbos are not as good in politics as they are in trading.

The former governor reportedly said the lack of understanding of politics and the indiscipline of Igbo politicians were responsible for what he called the political backwardness of the South-East.

READ ALSO: If Fashola were Igbo, he would have left Tinubu – Kalu

He was also quoted as saying that the political fortune of the Igbo would have been better had their politicians approached politics like the Yorubas.

Describing most of the Igbo elite as selfish, Kalu said Igbos should blame themselves and not the Federal Government for their woes.

“The Igbo have no discipline in terms of politics. They are very good traders; they’re good in anything they do, but they don’t understand politics,” Kalu was quoted to have said.

Reacting to the development, President, Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, described Kalu’s statements as unbecoming of a two-term governor who was seen as an Igbo leader.

Isiguzoro said Kalu should immediately tender an apology for ridiculing the Igbo before other ethnic nationalities in the country.

He accused Kalu of being one of those that deviated from the political ideology of pioneer Igbo national politicians like the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Okpara by bringing what he described as ‘traders’ mentality’ into Igbo politics.

Speaking with our correspondent, Isiguzoro said, “Orji Kalu should immediately apologise to Ndigbo for insulting the great Igbo nation.

“During the First Republic, Igbos like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara and others were at the forefront of the independence movement.

“In the Second Republic, Igbos like Dr Alex Ekwueme were also at the forefront of national politics.

“It was when people like Kalu came to power that Igbos began to lose grounds, because he (Kalu) and his likes introduced traders’ mentality into the politics played by Igbos at the national level.

“The statement, which is ridiculing Ndigbo, was not expected from somebody who was a two-term governor.

“Was Nnamdi Azikiwe a trader? Was Michael Okpara a trader? What of Odumegwu Ojukwu, Mbonu Ojike, Jaja Nwachukwu? Were they traders?”

Isiguzoro noted that Kalu had an opportunity to become a national political leader, like All Progressives Congress national leader, Chief Bola Tinubu, but wasted it.

“When Tinubu was controlling only one state Kalu was controlling two states.

“How did he (Kalu) lose the two states? Because of his poor management skills.

“Ohanaeze youths don’t want to insult him because he is an elder, but he should apologise to Ndigbo.

“If he refuses to apologise, if he fails to retract that statement, we will put him in the dustbin of history and he will have no more relevance in Igboland,” Isiguzoro said.

Kalu said the truth, according to pro-Biafra group, MASSOB, which also reacted to the development.

MASSOB spokesman, Comrade Samuel Edeson, who spoke with our correspondent, said Igbos are not good in politics.

Edeson noted that, unlike the Yoruba and the Hausa/Fulani, Igbos are not united when it comes to national politics.

He said, “What Kalu said is the simple truth – there is no doubt about it. In politics Igbos are bad, there is no unity of purpose.

“For example, Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party but at the same time he always comes out to defend Tinubu, who is of the APC.

“Fayose defends Tinubu because he knows that, as a fellow Yoruba, they are brothers.

“In politics, you should always be on the side of your brother, unlike what happened when Alex Ekwueme and  Jim Nwobodo contested the PDP presidential ticket with Olusegun Obasanjo at the convention in Jos.

“Nwobodo went there and began to speak Hausa.

“The Hausa/Fulani man cannot do that to his brother, a Yoruba cannot do that to his brother.

“What the former governor (Kalu) said is the truth.”

MMM Is A Fraud, Don’t Invest In It, CBN Warns Nigerians

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cautioned Nigerians against getting involved in MMM, a scheme that is currently making the rounds among Nigerians.

This is coming shortly after the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, dissociated himself from the MMM, saying he has nothing to do with it or any other online financial aid community, projects or contracts.

This was made known by the head of the consumer protection department of the CBN, Kadija Kassim, on Monday. She made it known that activities associated with the scheme are not regulated by any institution.

Speaking during a mentoring program for students of Government Secondary School, Suleja, Kassim warned against the use of MMM Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Ponzi scheme company, referring to the scheme as a “wonder bank”.

In Kassim’s words, “We have heard about the activities of MMM.

“But I want to warn you against it because they are wonder banks that are not regulated.

“Desist from their activities because they are fraudulent.

“Don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

The scheme claims to allow a 30 per cent monthly return on investment for every investor and a lot of Nigerians have been lured into it.

Credit: dailytrust

Reverse Privatisation of Power – Dangote Advises FG

Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote group, has advised the federal government to take back the assets it sold earlier and give it to people who “really have money” to manage them.

According to reports, Dangote said this in Plateau state during the senior executive session of course 38 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.

The billionaire businessman reportedly said majority of the people who bought these power assets do not have an understanding of it.

He advised the government to negotiate with them and find solutions to the problems confronting the sector.

“We should be as open as we can if government doesn’t  intervene by taking back these assets and giving them to people who really have money that they can really inject, we will not be able to deliver on power,” he said.

“We should ask, how many people, who and who are these guys that have actually gone into the power sector then you will know when you see the quality of people, are they really serious, because they went in to just make money, power business is not just about money, it is a huge business when you invest heavily you will reap at the end of the day.

“What government did was to privatise but the privatisation was done wrongly. People who wanted to buy all these plants, both the generating and distribution companies, thought that this was another opportunity like mobile phones, where we have moved from 500,000 lines in 2000 and in ten years we now have 120million lines.

“Yes it would have been so but these guys, what they did when they bought these power plants was that they borrowed 90% of the money in foreign currency. You cannot go and borrow dollars when your base income is in naira, you will have an issue because your earnings are in naira you are taking a huge exchange risk and that is what happened today.

“These are guys, with respect to them, when I say guys I don’t mean 100% of them but the majority of them went in without even understanding what they are doing and the worst thing for any entrepreneur is to go into a business without understanding it.

“If you don’t understand a business no matter how much money they show you that you are going to make, how much profit, don’t go into where somebody has to come and sit you down and start explaining because if he is doing something wrong, you don’t have any way of challenging him.

“If you wake me up in the middle of the night on any of the businesses we are doing today, even the new ones I will be able to explain it to you, I know my entry and I know my exit but unfortunately that is what these guys did and today they are holding the entire nation to ransom, it is very embarrassing for us.

“Today, how can we say that we don’t have 300,000 prepaid meters? things have changed you cannot go and charge a rate and then you have to follow people one by one to be scheming for them to pay but with a prepaid meter, once you buy for N10,000 after the N10,000 you have to remain in darkness so it is not an issue to start chasing people to pay. And it is also estimated that 30% of the overhead costs of businesses in the country go into the provision of alternative source of power. This affects their revenue and profitability.

“My own advice is that government should sit down with them and negotiate the best way out because we need power, we are desperate for power and if there is no power no growth because if you look at the medium and small industries, most of their income goes into buying diesel or petrol to generate power and that shouldn’t be the case. I believe with enough power we will have tremendous growth.”

Nigerians responsible for $9.3bn in global loss to cybercrime – CSEAN boss

Nigeria is responsible for at least $9.3 billion out of the total global loss to the rising cybercrime, according to the President, Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Remi Afon.

Afon disclosed this at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month organised by the American Embassy in Lagos yesterday. While making reference to a report, he said that somebody’s identity is stolen every three seconds as a result of the menace.

Cybercrime was said to have surpassed illegal drug trafficking as a criminal means of making money around the world.

The CSEAN president, who also made references to Forbes and Cybersecurity Ventures, disclosed that cybercrime cost has been projected to reach $2 trillion by 2019, while damages that would emanate from the menace would hit $6 trillion by 2021.

Already, he said, it had been established that between 2012 and 2014, Nigeria lost N64 billion to cybercrimes, while on a yearly basis, the figure has risen by N127 million.

Afon, who said 89 per cent of breaches have a financial or espionage motive, noted that cyber crime prosecutions are picking up in the country. He explained that the menace comes in different forms, “including 419, phishing, social engineering, malware, cyber bullying and identity theft.”

He disclosed that phishing accounts for 83 per cent; compromised accounts, 63 per cent; web-based attacks 54 per cent; and client side attacks, 43 per cent.

According to him, it usually takes 146 days before a successful breach is detected, while 84 per cent of breaches are against the application layer. “Average cost of cybercrime is $7.7 million. About 95 per cent of enterprise attacks are through emails.”

The U.S. Consul-General, John Bray, said all around the globe, individuals, companies and governments have become victims of cyber attacks.

He said that it was for this reason that in 2009, President Barrack Obama urged an increase in education and dialogue about cybersecurity in the cyberspace security review.

“As part of this policy review, the Department of Homeland Security created an ongoing cybersecurity awareness campaign – Stop.Think.Connect.

“Stop.Think.Connect. is a national public campaign designed to raise awareness of cybersecurity and to be more vigilant about practising safe online habits.

“By joining the Stop.Think.Connect campaign, you will have connections to partners and subject matter experts who are committed to increasing online safety; cybersecurity tips, messaging, articles, and presentations; monthly discussions highlighting current cyber issues and trends,” he stated.

Bray stressed that the growing dependence on technology, coupled with the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and risks to privacy, demands greater security in online world. And by adopting and joining the campaign, he said people would better understand the risks that come with using the Internet and the importance of practising safe online behavior.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said cybersecurity has become an essential component of human activity. He stressed that its high level of complexity requires action at different levels (both virtual and physical) and by different actors (governments, private sector, civil society, intergovernmental organisations, among others.)

Danbatta, represented by the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, said as the world approaches the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the challenges of a secure cyberspace are more daunting as threat actors are becoming more resourceful (both in terms of skillsets, competencies and available technologies), more brazen and determined to inflict maximal damage to their victims (who may be individuals, corporate organisations, enterprises, or even nations), and more pervasive in terms of their profiles.

NLC Faction Accuses Wabba of Instigating EFCC’s Probe of Unions

The crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has taken a new twist, as the Joe Ajaero’s faction has accused that led by Ayuba Wabba of instigating illegal probe of the finances of some industrial unions by anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

But Wabba, who denied receipt of the petition, said there was no truth in the petition, saying even EFCC knew it was not true.

He, however, said a former response would be issued once he received the petition and promised to get back as soon he read through the petition.

But in the four-page petition to Mr. Wabba, titled Insidious attempts at destabilizing the Labour Movement: An urgent call to stop, dated October 20, 2016, by Ajaero, the faction claimed Wabba’ was sponsoring illegal groups in unions to undermine their leadership, negating the spirit of the movement.

The petition read: “Inviting the EFCC or other security agencies through proxies as a leverage to hunt labour leaders in Nigeria will not work.

‘’Pursuing the appropriation of state powers for purposes of resolving purely industrial relations issues is at best self-defeating and we can say very destructive.

‘’If what you have to offer the Nigerian state at this time is this distraction of negative deployment of its institutions and apparatuses, then it is unfortunate.”

‘’What some of us occupy ourselves with sometimes raises an ugly spectre about our innate capacities and capabilities which questions our claim to any form of leadership.

“We want to state that the aws of Nigeria individually and collectively have stated how union accounts are controlled. Trying to use any unconventional instrument of governance with the boast that their leadership have primordial affinity with yourself is rather un-comradely and a testament of deep frustration and cowardice.

‘’Introducing ethnic sentiment into the affairs of trade unions and the movement in general is the height of sabotage. A man that invites outsiders into a clearly internal disputes is like a man who gathers maggot infested firewood, you know exactly what will happen; Lizards will come for a feast.”

Poverty Contributes to Ill Health – Lagos NMA Chair

The Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association has said that there was the need to address the issue of poverty to reduce the burden of ill health in the country.

The association said that poverty contributed to ill health which in turn aggravated and extended the poverty, thereby having adverse effects on the country’s health indices.

Dr Olubunmi Omojowolo, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the NMA, made the assertion at a news conference to mark the 2016 Annual Physicians Week at the state NMA Secretariat, Lagos.

The theme for this year’s programme is: “Healthcare in a Frail Economy: Challenges and Way Forward.”

Omojowolo said: “This topic is very important, given the present economic downturn being experienced by our dear nation.

“The World Bank recognises the relationship between economic development and health.

“It also recognises that the poor health indices in most developing countries are as a result of entrapment in a vicious circle of unrelieved poverty.

“As we all know, the health of a nation is her wealth.

“Therefore, for our economy to recover and become more vibrant, we need to pay more attention to the health of the population and of course the health sector.”

On the goals and challenges of effective healthcare delivery, Omojowolo said: “The goals of effective healthcare delivery are to prevent human diseases, injury and disability.

“As well as protect people from environmental health hazards.

“Effective healthcare delivery should also be able to promote behaviours that lead to good physical and mental health, educate the public about health and assure the availability of high-quality health services.

“Unfortunately, achieving such lofty objectives has been extremely difficult in Nigeria as a result of a lot of challenges facing our health sector.”

According to Omojowolo, some of the challenges include poor facilities, dwindling human resource capacity, intra-professional rivalry, inequalities in healthcare access and cultural barriers.

Omojowolo said: “In a dwindling economy like ours, these challenges are bound to become more compounded and as such, a major concern due to pre-existing poor social and health indices in Nigeria.”

He said that to improve on the poor health indices, healthcare policies must be inclusive of all socio-economic strata.

He said: “There must be universal basic healthcare coverage and provision of health insurance to Nigerians, especially rural community dwellers.

“We must pay close attention to individuals with disabilities by having a comprehensive reform, while mental health issue must be on the front burner of our priorities.”

Omojowolo urged the Federal Government to increase the country’s health budget to approach the 15 per cent as recommended by the World health Organisation.

He also said that the issue of inter-and intra- professional rivalry and incessant industrial action in the health sector should be addressed and resolved in a holistic manner.

On the leadership crisis within the Lagos NMA, he said it was under control.

He said: “Justice Candide-Johnson granted an order restraining any other person or group other than the Omojowolo-led executives of Lagos NMA from parading themselves as officers of the association.

“This is in an originating summons with Suit No. ID/1322GCMW/2016, at the Lagos High court on September 29.”

No Plan To Increase Petrol Price, NNPC Tells Nigerians Not To Panic

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Muhammad Garba-Deen, has said there was absolutely no plan by the Federal Government to increase pump price of petrol above N145 maximum level.

He said a statement people were referring to was made within the context of technical explanation, not within the context of downstream operations.

According to him, if there is going to be anything like a price hike, the agency responsible for fixing the price of petrol, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), will definitely sensitise Nigerians on it and give reasons for the hike.

He added that at present, there was no subsidy on petrol, and that the long-term contracts entered into by the NNPC with buyers and suppliers had addressed the issue of foreign exchange volatility.

“As per this moment, there is absolutely no plan to do that and no need to do that, because we have more than enough supply; we have very robust stock of product in our custody.

“ In addition to that, we also have long term procurement contract with our suppliers.

“The usual reason that would necessitate a review of price at the moment had been taken care of. We have long term procurement contract with our suppliers.

“We have more than enough supply to last us throughout the ember months and beyond,” he said.

Also, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, on Wednesday began investigation into some depot owners in Apapa who sold fuel to marketers above the official ex-depot price of N133.28.

Dorothy Bassey, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, DPR, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the agency would sanction depot owners found guilty.

According to Ms. Bassey, there is no reason for any depot to sell petrol above the official ex-depot price.

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VFS: US, UK Are Most Travelled Destinations By Nigerians

Mr Jiten Vyas, the Chief Operating Officer of VFS Global in Africa, a visa processing company, has said that the United States of America and the United Kingdom are the most travelled destinations by Nigerians.

Vyas said in Lagos yesterday that data from his organisation had also revealed a rise in the number of Nigerians travelling to Europe, South Africa, Dubia and India, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“There has been a significant rise in travel by Nigerians, be it student travel, leisure or business, largely due to the improvement in income levels in the last few years.

“Several multinational companies have also set up base here and more Nigerian residents are becoming increasingly keen to travel or study abroad.

“The U.S. and UK remain popular travel destinations amongst Nigerians today; they also travel to Europe, Dubai, India and South Africa,” he said.

Vyas said that more countries had in the last decade taken advantage of outsourcing their visa application services to his organisation.

The VFS boss said that Nigeria had always been one of the top priorities of his organisation in the sub-Saharan region.

Vyas explained that his organisation was currently providing visa application services to 13 client governments in Nigeria, adding that the company was currently working on a project for the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Services to provide Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) for Nigerian account holders abroad.

“This initiative by the Central bank of Nigeria is aimed at providing a more secure banking platform for boosting Nigeria’s conventional security.

“Over the last decade more governments are seeing the advantages of having an outsourced visa services model,” he said.

Vyas also disclosed that VFS Global was currently in touch with Nigerian government departments to introduce technology, citizen services, immigration, foreigners and national identity registrations to them.

Credit: thisdaylive

Nigerian Governors Fault Buhari’s Ambassadorial List

Progressives Governors Forum on Monday faulted the ambassadorial list forwarded to the Senate for screening and approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.

They had complained that it was lop-sided in favor of some senatorial zones in the states at the detriment of other zones.

Plateau State Governor, Solomon Lalong, who spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting with the President, shed light on Pauline Tallen’s rejection of the ambassadorial appointment.

He said: “Pauline is an astute politician from my state, and part of the issue we also raised was on some of the appointments that were made. So all the states that had to complain are going to put it in writing and the president promised he is going to look into it.

“Well, it is not only about her husband I think it is the dimension of plateau politics because I had already made complaints to Mr. President that appointments should not be concentrated in one zone. And so all these appointments came again from one zone, in that particular zone.

“So the complaints that are coming from our state is not about her own personal interest, it is the fact that two ambassadorial appointments are coming from the same zone that we had complained. That is my zone.

“We had complained that the next appointment should go to the other zone the central and the northern zone. And so when that appointment came the kind of uproar that followed that appointment also necessitated an intervention.

“And I think as a matured politician she stepped down and sacrifice that for the people of plateau,” he added.

He said that the state is still working on Tallen’s replacement.

According to him, a little consultation before the appointments were announced would have resolved the problems.

“It is not a big issue but at times a little consultation would have solved that problem because these are issues in the interest of the state. So you can’t have two appointments, very key appointments like that coming from a particular zone that is already overloaded with appointments. All the federal appointments is from the southern zone, so it would not be fair.

“So it is the issue of fairness now we are approaching Mr. President to consider fairness and appoint people from those areas that do not have representation.” he stated.

Nigeria’s Power Generation Slides To 3,531mw

The National Electricity Grid, yesterday experienced the further drop in its generation to about 3, 531.7 megawatts (MW). This will translate to a drop in supply sent out to the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

Statistics obtained from the Nigeria System Operator (NSO), a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), indicated that about 78242.67mw hour (MWh) was sent out on Saturday for supply across the DISCOs. Also, while electricity generation peaked at 3,808.5mw, there was a significant drop the same day to 2,931.9mw.

Meanwhile, the Generation Companies (GENCOs) had earlier attributed the recent drops in the country’s generation to inadequate gas-to-power for the mostly gas-based power plants.

The report further reads that the highest system frequency recorded on the day under review was 51.62 Hz, while the lowest frequency was 48.87 Hz.

However, there are strong indications that the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, might be forced to increase electricity tariff by 20 per cent, as distribution companies across the country, have threatened a total shut down of operations if their request is not granted. The proposal from the distribution companies seeks to increase the current rate of N22.8 kilowatts per hour, to N105 kilowatts per hour.

The planned increment is coming, not less than 8 months after the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, had increased electricity tariff by 45 percent. Despite the nationwide condemnation and disobedience of court orders on the 45 percent increment, the Distribution Companies have been reported to have sent a copy of the new proposal to electricity regulatory body, for ratification and enforcement.

Two Nigerians Killed In South Africa.

The Nigeria Union in Pretoria has confirmed that two Nigerians residing in South Africa have been killed this month. The Secretary of the union, Mr Adetola Olubajo, told newsmen in Pretoria on Tuesday that the first victim, one Adeniyi Olumoko, a petty trader, was stabbed to death on Oct.7. Olubajo said that Olumoko, 37, an indigene of Ogun, was killed at Marabastard in Pretoria by a South African, who forcefully took the victim’s goods without paying.

He cited witnesses as saying that Olumoko was left bleeding for up to five hours because para-medics could not show up to attend to him. The secretary said that the killing had been reported to the Central Police Station in Pretoria and Nigerian Mission in South Africa. Olubajo said that another Nigerian, Christian Onwukaike, was also shot dead by assailants at Empangeni in the North Coast area of Kwazulu Natal on Oct.16.

He said that reports from the union`s chapter in the province, indicated that the assailants shot the victim from a moving car. The scribe explained that Onwukaike, a native of Awgbu in the Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra, drove himself to the hospital after the shooting and eventually collapsed and died. “Nigeria Union is calling on the Nigerian Mission to demand results of investigations of all murder cases involving Nigerian victims from the South African authority, he pleaded.

Olubajo said that the union was not happy that all murder cases involving Nigerians in South Africa were never resolved. “ We recommend that the consulate officials visit the area immediately in company of some members of the national and provincial executives of the Nigeria Union to speak with the police and the Nigerian community,” he said. A source close to the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa said correspondent that the report of the incidents had been received at the consulate.

Before Buhari’s Administration, Nigeria’s Economy Had been Diagnosed HIV Positive- Ohakim

Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the immediate former Governor of Imo State, has said that the nation’s economy was HIV positive before the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. He said this at the 2016 Diocesan Synod of Ikeduru Anglican Diocese, while delivering a 52-page lecture, “Leadership in times of adversity: Navigating Nigeria’s turbulent economy” He said:


“There is no doubt that before the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Nigeria’s economy had been diagnosed HIV positive, but it was being professionally managed with anti-retroviral drugs”.


FG, States to Review World Bank Projects In Nigeria

The Federal Government and states would meet soon to review the performance of World Bank-assisted projects in the country.

The Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, revealed the plan while speaking on a television program on the outcome of the just-concluded International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in the United States.

Adeosun said in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Festus Akanbi: “There are a number of other stalled projects. Some of them are health-related. Some of these projects incidentally are at state government level. So, one of the things we have to do is that I will be reporting to the National Executive Council meeting where state governors will be in attendance and the Federal Executive Council quarterly.

“If a project is really failing, I think other governors have the right to tell the affected state governors that look, let them cancel this project and bring it to my state. So there has to be a greater sense of responsibility because the interest rate to these monies is as low as 1.5 percent and you have about 20 years to pay. So if a state or department is fortunate enough to get a World Bank loan, I think it should have some urgency around how it is used. There are some projects in agriculture and some on irrigation that is stalled.

“There is $500 million for irrigation projects which are held up because the counterpart funding, which is Nigeria’s contribution, just $4 million has not been paid. We called the Minister of Water Resources and he said he had just released the money and the World Bank is excited because it means that project will now be on course.

“There is no doubt that the $500 million irrigation project is going to improve agriculture and create jobs. So there are quite a few takeaways that are positive.”

On the outcome of the meeting, the minister said Nigerians should look forward to tapping the immense opportunity created by the glut in the global capital market.

She, however, pointed out that this development does not translate to a change in government’s priorities.

She also spoke on the $500 million World Bank social facility for rebuilding the North East devastated by insurgents.

She said the executive is working with the legislature so that the fund can be accessed without delay.

The minister said the legislature is being carried along on the commitments secured at the IMF/World Bank meetings, adding that representatives of the National Assembly were part of the Nigerian delegation.

How $3bn Nigeria-Bound Rice Rots Away In Benin Republic

An estimated $3 billion bags of rice destined for the Nigerian markets are stuck in various warehouses in the Benin Republic due to the Federal Government’s refusal to allow importation through land borders and fierce customs anti-smuggling drive.

The annual routine of importing rice into the neighbouring country from July to December to make massive sales in Nigeria during Yuletide period has hit a brick wall this year as Controller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali has insisted that his men have tightened the frontiers.

Nigeria shares major border frontiers with the Benin Republic at Seme Border (Lagos), Idiroko (Ogun), Shaki (Oyo),Chikanda (Kwara) and other smaller openings. Prominent among them is Seme where the highest volume of trade and largest smuggling opportunity exist because of its easy access to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital city.

Seme Border which hitherto was a major transit point for foreign rice importation suddenly became impenetrable for smugglers as almost daily seizures of 50kg bags have taken a good portion of the customs warehouse in the area.

A recent visit to Benin revealed that most of the warehouses where the bagged rice is kept before shipment into Nigeria are now battling for space.

Some consignments of imported rice no longer have storage space at the popular stores and so are exposed to rains, weevils and other unhygienic forms of storage.

Popular warehouses no longer receive rice shipments as thousands of bags earlier delivered to them since July could not be evacuated into Nigeria as planned as was the case in previous years.

Popular Cherika Warehouse in Akpakpa near Cotonou with a capacity to store 25,000 bags is fully loaded with Thailand rice with no hope of evacuating them into Nigeria except government relaxes its policy of rice importation through the border.

Defezi Warehouse close to the Cotonou Port is filled with over 40,000 units of 50kg bags of Indian and Thailand rice. Defezi got occupied earlier due to its proximity to the port but was not evacuated as the owners could not risk entering Nigeria with it.

Cica Warehouse in Missebo area of the Cotonou outskirts that suffered a lack of patronage in the past due to the distance from Seme Border and bad road presently has over 15,000 bags.

Some grains are getting moulded, caked with their bags torn and quantity reduced while endlessly awaiting shipment into Nigeria.

As hope of smuggling them into Nigeria gets slimmer by the day, there is a conscious effort to bring in the commodity without using bags.

The unwholesome method requires pouring grains of rice into various compartments of vehicles like the boots, bonnets, inner parts of the doors, under the seats and other spaces meant for spare tyres and tools.

Sources disclosed that the more the attempt to smuggle hundreds of bags into the country, the more customs in Seme and Idiroko make more seizures.

Unfortunately, some of these grains are no more safe for human consumption and so cannot be donated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) as was done in the past.

Over 37,000 bags of rice have so far been seized in Seme and Idiroko between January and September 2016 including the 13 vehicles laden with smuggled rice.

From the owners of the rice to the transporters, loaders, landlords and operators of warehouses, there is a general lull as it has been a season of stockpiling without transiting.

They expressed frustration at the government policy but more on what they described as Seme Customs lack of cooperation.

Nigerian Customs had in an October 2016 press statement reiterated government’s ban on rice importation through the borders. The statement signed by Wale Adeniyi, customs spokesman reinforced its resolve to protect government’s attempt to improve local rice capacity.

Part of it reads: ‘’We like to reiterate the position that importation of rice remains banned through our land borders, and we have the commitment to partner government agencies and stakeholders to enforce this restriction. While this restriction is in force, rice imports through the ports are still allowed subject to payment of extant charges.

‘’It is equally important to restate the confidence of the Nigerian Customs Service in the ability of Nigerian rice producers to fill the existing sufficiency gaps in the supply of the product. The service has noted with satisfaction the ongoing rice revolution undertaken by many state governments, and strategic interventions by the Federal Government agencies.’

‘’The service is convinced that the bumper harvests expected from these efforts will address the supply gap in 2017. It is our belief that continuous waste of scarce forex on a commodity that can be produced locally makes no economic sense, most especially during a period of recession. The service will, therefore, advocate a total ban on rice importation into Nigeria with effect from 2017’’

There are loud cries in Benin over what is going on at Seme and other borders. A respondent simply identified as Mr Sewanu said things have taken a turn for the worse as every attempt to bring rice into Nigeria has failed.

‘’You can see we are idle here because rice is not entering Nigeria through Seme Border. We can’t work. Each day we come here , it is in prayer that the customs should cooperate with our bosses so we can have jobs to do to survive.

‘’By this time in previous years, thousands of bags of rice had entered Nigeria from here and more ships had been discharging at the Cotonou Port. But this year is different, nothing is working.

‘’Seme customs have spoiled the business for us.We don’t want to take the risk of transporting rice through any other border because Lagos is the largest market. Once you enter through Seme,you are already in the market.

‘’If this continues, we may die of hunger. Benin customs in Krake cooperates with us but the customs in Nigeria are our only headache. We want the Controller removed. He is making things difficult,’’ Sewanu lamented.

A visit to the border shows smooth running and processing of imports into Nigeria and there are so many activities in the banks. People were seen paying customs duties for items not on Nigeria’s import prohibition list.

While the stockpiling of imported rice continues to increase in Cotonou and neighbouring towns, there may never be a market for them as they face the risk of either being expired or going bad due to poor storage condition.

The Benin Republic with an estimated population of 11 million persons and closest to Togo with a little above 8 million, there appears to be no market for the stocked rice as these countries lack the population and luxury to consume them.

Prices of rice which presently sells for between N11,000 and N13,000 in Cotonou is expected to crash ahead of the Yuletide period as they continually face difficulties in getting them into Nigeria.

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