Obama Vows Action Against Russia Over Election Hacks

US President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Russia for its alleged interference in the US presidential election campaign.

“We need to take action and we will,” he told US radio station NPR.

Russia stands accused by the US of hacking the emails of the Democratic Party and a key Hillary Clinton aide, which the Kremlin strongly denies.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump has also dismissed the claim as “ridiculous” and politically motivated.

The intelligence agencies say they have overwhelming evidence that Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin were behind the hacks.

And on Thursday, a White House spokesman said President Vladimir Putin was involved in the cyber-attacks.

Hours later, Mr Obama said: “I think there’s no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact on the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and a place of our own choosing.

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised. Some of it may not be.

“Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

Read More: BBC

Trump Vows To ‘Remove’ Himself From His Business

Donald Trump promised Wednesday to ‘remove’ himself from his businesses and said he will announce details in two weeks about how he’ll avoid conflicts of interest when he is president.

Trump used his favorite method of communicating with the public — Twitter — to announce plans for a “major news conference” on Dec. 15 to discuss plans to leave the Trump Organization.

His adult children, whom he has said he will put in charge of the company, will be a part of the news conference.

Trump owns or has a position in more than 500 companies, according to a CNN analysis. That includes about 150 that have done business in at least 25 foreign countries, including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

There have been growing questions about the potential conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s continued business interests and his role as president. A poll by CNN found that 6 in 10 Americans believe Trump is not doing enough to address conflicts of interest.

His tweets said he is not mandated to leave his business by law, but that “I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

Trump also said he is doing so “in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again.” Legal documents are being crafted which take him completely out of business operations, he claimed. “The Presidency is a far more important task!”

Read More: CNN

Dogara Vows To Amend SSS Law, Condemns Raid On ‘Corrupt’ Judges Homes

Speaker Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday said the invasion of the homes of senior judicial officers by the State Security Service was a disorganised and worrisome act.

The Speaker said the clampdown was a duplication of the function of other anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and promised sweeping reforms to prevent its recurrence.

Mr. Dogara made the observations when he inaugurated a House committee charged with investigating the clampdown and its aftermath.

“It is untidy, it seems, to have multiple agencies exercising similar functions. The EFCC already handles issues of corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria,” Mr. Dogara said. “Should the State Security Service also be charged with the same functions?”

Scores of SSS operatives swooped on the homes of judges in a coordinated raid across the country on October 7. The raid dragged until the next morning on October 8 before the news of the raid filtered to Nigerians.

Two judges of the Supreme Court, an appellate court judge and five high court judges were arrested in the operation.

The SSS also said it recovered a huge amount of money denominated in different currencies from the judicial officers’ homes and said it was the climax of a sting operation launched months before.

Some of the arrested judges are already being prosecuted for corruption while all of them have been granted bail.

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No Going Back On Strike, ASUU Vows

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, says there is no going back on its one-week warning strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

Biodun Ogunyemi, the union’s National President, told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone on Tuesday in Lagos that the strike would be total.

The union leadership, after its emergency executive committee meeting, declared the warning strike at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.

Mr. Ogunyemi said chronic under-funding of the sector through low budgetary allocation, which went from 11 per cent in 2015 to eight per cent in 2016, did not go down well with the union.

He pointed out the failure of government to implement the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as some of the reasons for embarking on the warning strike.

The president said that its members were tired of what they described as “government’s empty promises’’ in setting up its negotiation team for the review of agreement as consistently requested by ASUU since 2012.

“There shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branches while the strike lasts.”

According to him, the union will put machinery in place to ensure that there is total compliance during the strike.

He explained that the essence of the warning strike was to draw attention of concerned stakeholders and the general public to the challenges that the unions, universities and other stakeholders in the sector were facing.

“Nobody will say before we exhaust the warning strike some issues cannot be addressed if government wants to be sincere with our cause.

“We are doing this because we want Nigerians to come into the matter and ensure that these issues are given adequate attention they deserve.

“Our lecturers are given 40 per cent of their salaries, which is just not encouraging, as this will lead to poor commitment in carrying out their jobs.

“I am sure nobody will like a 40 per cent university education or 40 per cent teaching of various courses including research development and output.

“That is why we have to take the matter before the National Assembly, which we believe, will come into the matter just like the Nigerian parents.’’

Reacting to the impending strike, the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), said that ASUU was right and that it must be supported.

Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the association’s 2nd Deputy National President, told NAN that it was time the government takes the country’s education seriously.

“ASUU has done well by giving warning, considering the patience its members have shown in these whole issues.

“At least it is good for them to feel the pulse of Nigerians and other key stakeholders on the matter.

“However, because Nigeria is struggling with recession presently, we, on behalf of Nigerian parents are begging them not to down tool totally.

“They have made their points and we thank them for creating the awareness but we are begging them to shelve the looming strike to sometimes next year, when the recession might have been abated.

“Government too should seize the opportunity to listen to the union and see what can be done concerning all the issues it has raised.

“It will be a total disaster if government should allow ASUU to down tool indefinitely, considering the hardship that is currently taking its toll on every sector of the nation’s economy.”

Mr. Ogunbanjo said that a full-fledged strike would not be welcomed by majority of Nigerians in the current situation.

He said the strike would only add more grief to the suffering masses.

Credit: NAN

Obama Vows To Ensure Smooth Transition For Trump

President Barrack Obama has said on Wednesday that he will ensure a smooth transition of power to President-elect, Donald Trump.

Earlier, Obama had called Trump to congratulate him on his victory and invited him to meet at the White House on Thursday.

During his speech at the White House, the United States President said the differences between Trump and him will not affect the transfer of power.

“It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember that eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences..

“The presidency and vice presidency are bigger than any of us.

“We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading this country. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.”

Obama also described Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as historic.

“I could not be prouder of her… I am proud of her. A lot of Americans look up to her… Her candidacy and nomination were historic..

“Everybody is sad when their side loses their election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on the same team…. we’re patriots first.

“That’s what I heard when I spoke to [Trump] directly, and I was heartened by that. That’s what our country needs. … I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition and I certainly hope that’s how his presidency has a chance to begin.”

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#PanamaPapers: EFCC Vows To Probe Named Nigerians

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has promised to investigate government officials and prominent Nigerians who are named as having secret foreign accounts or foreign firms that allow them to escape paying tax as contained in PanamaPapers.

The Director of Information at the EFCC, Mr. Osita Nwaja, gave the assurance while addressing protesters, who had stormed the Abuja head office of the anti-graft agency to demand the probe of all Nigerians accused of operating offshore accounts in notorious tax havens.

Nwaja said, “These papers (Panama Papers) did not emanate from Nigeria but they touch the lives of the people of Nigeria and corruption as well as money laundering has gone beyond national borders as we are seeing from these papers.

“The EFCC is not just a Nigerian organization. The work that we do goes beyond national borders. So, this request will be looked into along with other requests by other well-meaning Nigerians along the already charted course of Mr. President, which is zero tolerance for corruption, zero tolerance for impunity, zero tolerance for the abuse of public office and continued subjugation of the Nigerian people.”

The leak of the Panama Papers details how political leaders and the super rich conduct business behind a veil of secrecy.

Credit: Punch

ISIS Vows To Invade London In Chilling Threat

ISIS threatened unleashing a rampage of terror “everywhere” in Britain that will leave the streets of London “filled with blood”.

The sick jihadis said the attack will come “from where you don’t expect” in a sinister propaganda video comes just days after the Brussels terror attacks.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Belgian capital which struck an airport and metro station – leaving 31 dead at 300 injured.

The latest chilling video, narrated in English, claims ISIS are plotting to “invade” the capitals of Europe – including London and Berlin – “like we did in Paris before”.

The group also threatens to “rip the crosses” off every Christian church.

The sinister propaganda video concludes by showing the Eiffel Tower exploding and crashing to the ground.

However, the seemingly low-budget clip was actually ripped from a US action video game.

The video begins with a river of blood pooling and dripping off a wooden table filled with stacks of American money, guns, knives and bullets.

But, the clip features the name of video game designer with a US company carved into the wood of the animated table.

The video also includes footage of air strikes on ISIS targets and news reels of attacks they have carried out.

The narrator warned: “To you western Kafir, you that meant to fight Islam, vengeance is coming against the ‘new crusaders’.

“It will be welcomed by Allah’s permission.”

The video goes on to show ISIS members tearing down church crosses in Christian communities in the Middle East after being taken over by the terror group.

Credit: ExpressUK

Buratai Vows To Rescue Chibok Girls

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has vowed to ensure that all the Chibok girls are rescued along with all other hostages held by the Boko Haram terrorists, with the freedom of the school girls to be treated as top priority.

He also declared that the war against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) in the North-east has now entered into the mop-up phase of the operation.

To this end, Buratai stated that their target of defeating Boko Haram has been achieved except for a few setbacks and assured that the military is determined to complete the clearance of the remnants of the terrorists.

He disclosed this on Wednesday at the maiden meeting with the Borno Elders Forum (BEF), at the Military Command and Control Centre (MCCC), Maiduguri, Borno State.

According to him, two out of the three targets set by the military in the quest for successful Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency (CT COIN) operations in the north-east have been achieved. He listed the targets achieved as military defeat of Boko Haram, and the ongoing rescue of all terrorists’ hostages with Chibok girls as the top priority.

He said: “The three things we promised you, two have been carried out. The first task is to defeat Boko Haram and I want to tell you that as at today Boko Haram has been defeated. When I said defeat it doesn’t mean that there won’t be hick ups here and there but we are doing the mop up operations. So we are at the mop up phase of the operation. We are also making efforts to rescue those who are being held hostage at some marked locations. We hope to rescue the Chibok girls but our target is not just limited to the Chibok girls but all the hostages

Credit: Thisday

NLC Vows To Resist Removal Of Fuel Subsidy ‘Through Back Door’

Nigerian workers have vowed to vehemently resist any move by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to deregulate operations of the downstream sector of the country’s petroleum industry and remove fuel subsidy through the back door.

The workers’ umbrella body, the Nigeria Labour Congress, said on Tuesday that any attempt by government to adjust the fuel price in the country without recourse to the institution legally authorized to do so would be considered unlawful.

The NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, said government officials and some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress have in the past few weeks made discordant tunes about the future of petroleum products prices and the management of the subsidy scheme in the country.

The NLC said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had initially announced that come next year the price of petrol would revert to ?97 per litre, while fuel subsidy would be phased out.

However, Mr. Ozo-Eson noted that two days later the Minister had denied the report, claiming that what he said was that fuel price would operate within a band of ?87 and ?97, which he said did not mean subsidy removal.

“The same minister now says that the price of petrol will now be ?85 in January, signifying the deregulation of the sector,” Mr. Ozo-Eson said.

“These vacillations and flip flops are, in our view, designed to confuse Nigerians and pave the way for deregulation of petrol prices through the back door.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

EFCC Vows To Recover All Stolen Public Funds

The Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) has vowed to recover all public funds siphoned under the guise of arms procurement by prominent Nigerians now in its custody.

The commission’s acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, who gave this hint at events to mark this year’s international anti-corruption day in Abuja, said his men were working hard to recover the stolen funds, even as he disclosed that substantial amount of money had been recovered from fraudsters.

“I can assure you that the commission is on top of that investigation. We will spare no effort to ensure that we recover every kobo of public funds that have been stolen in the guise of arms procurement and the culprits brought to justice,” he said.

Magu, who declared at a seminar organized by the Inter-Agency Task Team, a common platform for anticorruption and accountability in the country, disclosed that the commission had secured 78 convictions from 280 cases filed in court this year, while 1,881 cases were investigated.

Besides, he said several interim and final forfeiture orders were given by courts even as funds were being recovered.

Credit: DailyTimes

The Real Power Couple: 800-Pound Couple Vows To Lose Weight So They Can Have Sex For The First Time

Lin Yue and Deng Yang, both 30, haven’t had sex in the five years they’ve been married, Central European News reports. The couple says their weight (which combined is more than 800 pounds) has prevented them from doing so.

They recently made the decision to prepare themselves for gastric bypass surgeries, not so much for the sake of their sex lives, but because they want to start a family. A doctor in Changchun, China, told them they’d have to begin working on their fitness before the surgery in order to do so.

According to Central European News, Lin and Deng also made the gastric bypass decision because Qian Qian, who at 538 pounds is currently the heaviest person in China, announced earlier this month she was going to undergo the operation.

Best of luck to the couple!

Credit: Cosmopolitan

Nigeria Customs Boss Vows To Jail Corrupt Officers

The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, on Wednesday warned that he would either discipline, dismiss or jail any officer found guilty of corrupt practices.

Mr. Ali gave the warning while addressing officers and men of the NCS in Calabar, capital of Cross River.

He said there was need for them to be of good conduct and show professionalism while carrying out their duties.

The C-G said his administration would have zero tolerance for corruption, hence the need for officers and men of the service to shun all forms of corruption.

“I want to make it clear to all of you that I have zero tolerance for indiscipline and corruption. I will dismiss and jail any officer found guilty of such.

“Indiscipline will no longer have a place in the NCS. We must have officers and men with impeccable character to promote the image of the service.

“Anyone caught falsifying any documents or compromising with fake imported goods will also be dismissed and jailed.

“The NCS has resolved that anyone caught in an unprofessional conduct, no matter the circumstances, will be dismissed and jailed for the offence,’’ the comptroller-general said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Zuckerberg Vows To Give Away Facebook Fortune For His Baby’s Sake

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday he is a dad and pledged to give away his fortune to make the world a “better place” for baby daughter Maxima and others.

In a letter to Maxima posted on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan said they were going to give away 99 percent of their company shares — estimated value $45 billion — during their lives in an effort to make a happy and healthy world.

“Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world,” the letter said.

Credit: AP

Buhari Reacts To Kano Attacks, Vows To Wipe Out Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari, following the latest terror attacks in Kano and Yobe states, has vowed to wipe out Boko Haram, the group behind the attacks and bring all perpetrators of these heinous crime against humanity to justice.

Buhari has also called for increased vigilance among the civilian population to help ward off suicide terror attacks on soft targets around the country.

The President, while condemning the attacks in strongest terms, described them as barbaric, acts that have caused numerous deaths and injuries among innocent civilians.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu?, President Buhari extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the Government and people of Adamawa and Kano States, respectively.

The President urged all Nigerians not to despair in the face of cowardly terrorist attacks but to have confidence in the ability of Nigeria’s reinvigorated, well-equipped and well-motivated armed forces and security agencies to overcome Boko Haram very soon.

Credit: Sun

Aisha Buhari Vows Advocacy Against Child Marriage

Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday pledged to lead public advocacy for the legislation against child marriage in the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Geoffery Njoku, the UNICEF Media and External Relations Officer, made available to newsmen in Abuja.

According to the statement, Buhari made the promise when 50 adolescent girls drawn from different schools in Bauchi, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Sokoto states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, paid her a courtesy visit.

It said: “No single girl will be left behind in my movement to get every girl into school.’’

The statement quoted Aisha as urging that “parents should endeavour to keep their daughters in school for at least 12 years’’.

It said: “UNICEF and other partners are focusing their activities on the transformation power of education to equip adolescent girls to overcome all challenges that affect their lives and inhibit their prospects of advancement.”

Read More: NAN

Davido Eager To Meet Abubakar, Vows To Sponsor His University Education

 Ace Nigerian artist, Davido, has struck people’s heart by showing compassion towards a little boy named Abubakar.

Davido recently launched a social media hunt to find the boy and put him through school and now it seems like he has found the young child and expressed eagerness to meet him.

He also vowed to see him through school till he graduates from the University… and that isvery heart warming.

See IG post below:


Kentucky Clerk Released From Jail, Vows To ‘Keep On Pressing’

Kentucky clerk who defied orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was released from jail Tuesday, but her lawyer says she will continue to resist until officials find a way to accommodate her religious opposition to gay unions.

Kim Davis emerged from the Carter County Detention Center to a swell of cheers from Christian supporters who’d been rallying outside the gates since she was ordered behind bars on Thursday.

She later was introduced to the crowd to the song “Eye of the Tiger,” raising her hands above her head and weeping on stage with her husband, lawyer and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Out before her flew a variety of signs and banners, including an American and a Confederate flag. Davis thanked the supporters and encouraged them to act as they believe God wanted.

“Just keep on pressing,” Davis said. “Don’t let down. Because He is here.”

Read Morenbcnews

El-Rufai Vows To Continue Demolition Until All Illegal Plots Are Recovered

The Kaduna State governor, Ahmed El-Rufai has vowed to continue the demolition of structures that ille­gally encroach on pub­lic places like schools, hospitals among others until the plots are recov­ered.

He said this to State House correspondents in an interview on Thurs­day night after meeting with Vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

He said that besides working to restore aes­thetics in the state, his administration intends to develop a new layout for Kaduna residents.

Explaining his reason for demolition, El-Rufai said, “We found on taking over that large portions of land meant for schools, hospitals, libraries and other public buildings have been encroached upon, carved out and sold to very important people thus, depriving the organ­isations the opportunity for future expansion.

“Our population is growing and we need to build more classrooms and hostels”.

Read Moresunnewsonline

Nigerian Army Vows To Punish Soldiers Caught On Camera Maltreating Civilian

The Nigerian Army has vowed to punish its personnel who were caught on camera Saturday mistreating civilians they said are suspected armed robbers.

A photograph of the incident was published in the Monday edition of Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper.

The shocking photograph was made public at a time the Nigerian military is battling to extricate itself from allegations of gross human rights abuses.

The spokesperson for the Army, Sani Usman, a colonel, said the action of the soldiers caught maltreating civilians on Saturday has done incalculable damage to the image of the service, and is at variance with military ethics and professionalism.

Mr. Usman said the perpetrators had been identified and would be punished accordingly.

The Army spokesperson however criticised Daily Trust over what it called “poor and worrisome editorial judgement by giving this misdemeanour prominence in their paper”.

“Alerting appropriate Nigerian Army authorities would have been a better option that will be met with prompt response,” Mr. Sani said.

Read More: premiumtimesng

President Buhari Vows To Crush Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest attacks carried out by suspected members of terror group Boko Haram.

More than 50 people died last week after three separate attacks in the country. At least 42 people died in two attacks in Borno state which followed the deaths of at least 10 people at a market in Yobe state killed by a child suicide bomber, believed to be aged 12.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast in Yobe, but suspicion has already fallen on Boko Haram, which is renowned for kidnapping civilians — mainly women and children — and forcing them to participate in attacks throughout the north-east, where the terrorists aim to establish an Islamic caliphate.

“They [Boko Haram] will not find Nigeria a safe haven, because they would be hunted down without mercy and compromise,” Buhari said in a statement issued by the President’s spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu.

“No sane people who believe in any God would be destroying the lives of innocent people in cold blood, terrorists don’t represent any religion.

“Make no mistake about it: this government is ever determined to discharge its fundamental duty of protecting the lives of its citizens from physical threats from any groups bent on creating chaos, confusion, and on destroying social and economic life of the people,” the statement said.

Read More: sunnewsonline

Buhari Vows To Expose Jonathan

President Muhammadu Buhari  on Sunday vowed to expose the gross fraud perpetrated under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to the whole world to see.

Buhari, who was responding to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appraisal of his administration, said Jonathan and his aides will be exposed when the loots they stole are recovered, and returned to the national treasury soon.

The President made this known in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. Buhari noted that a month after he assumed office, he was still clearing the rots created by the PDP, especially during Jonathan’s government.

He lambasted the PDP and Jonathan for running the country the way they did.

Read More: DailyTrust

Buhari Vows To Recover Billions Of Stolen Money In The Next Three Months

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja assured State Governors that the days of impunity, lack of accountability, and fiscal recklessness in the management of national resources are  over in Nigeria.

Speaking at a meeting with the Governors in the Presidential Villa, President Buhari  also vowed that funds stolen  by government officials who abused their offices in the recent past will  be recovered and systemic leakages stopped.

“There are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency. But all these were thrown to the dogs in the past. Honestly, our problems are great, but we will do our best to surmount them.

“The next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered, and we will do our best, ” the President told the governors.

Read Moresaharareporters

I Won’t Resign For Gbajabiamila, Lasun Vows

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, said on Tuesday that he would not resign for Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila having been duly elected by members to occupy the position.

He spoke in Abuja amid speculation that he had come under pressure from some forces in the All Progressives Congress in the South-West, asking him to step down for a former Minority Leader of the House, Gbajabiamila.

But Lasun, who was accosted by journalists at the National Assembly as he stepped out of a committee room, reacted, “That is a speculation; why will I resign?

“I went through an election on the mandate of the Speaker (Mr. Yakubu Dogara).”


President Buhari Vows Commitment To Niger-Delta Amnesty Programme

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged commitment to prosecuting the amnesty programme in the Niger-Delta with vigour, to bringing about lasting peace and stability in the area.

This is contained in a statement on Thursday in Abuja by Mr Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The statement explained that Dr Jamila Shu’ara, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, stated this while delivering Buhari’s message at the ongoing 167th Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) International Seminar in Vienna, Austria.

She said the president was also committed to ensuring stability in other parts of Nigeria, thus making the operational environment safe and attractive once again.

“Nigeria is committed to tackling corruption, especially in the extractive industry.

“The country will strive to bring back transparency and accountability in public life, especially in the petroleum industry which is the mainstay of national economy,’’ she said.

Read MoreVanguard

Okonjo-Iweala Vows Not To Pay Marketers

The federal government is spoiling for a fresh showdown with oil importers over subsidy payment.

This is coming as there is no end in sight yet for the current face off between the two sides that has grounded the nation for several days now.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday accused them of submitting to government suspicious payment claims to the tune of N159billion in exchange rate differentials.

The payment claims, according to her, reeked of fraud.

She told reporters at a farewell meeting in Abuja that she would not approve payment of the claims unless verified by the relevant authorities.

“Marketers were asking for N159 billion for exchange rate differentials from the outstanding N200 billion. There has been so much fraud and scam so I have refused to sign for that money but have agreed that a committee be set up involving the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to verify marketers’ claims,” she said.

”Marketers just want to make Nigerians suffer,” she added.

The minister also slammed the marketers for allegedly blackmailing Nigerians and asked the people to resist.

Insisting that the current fuel scarcity has nothing to do with paying the marketers, she said: “They are making a lot of money from black market activities, people should rise up against the blackmail of oil marketers.

“I will not pay the N159 billion without verification, Nigerians should not allow themselves to be blackmailed.”

The minister said there was something curious about the supply of and payment for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

Her words: “I cannot say that the problem is due to not paying marketers, the process of paying marketers is always a rolling process and there has never been a time government reduced its financial obligation to marketers to zero.

“In a year where so much effort has been made to pay marketers including prioritizing their payment as subsidy claims in favour of other financial obligation like paying contractors, yet fuel scarcity still persists at this  particular point in time suggests that something suspicious is happening.”

She responded to the claim by Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that the Jonathan administration will be leaving a $60 billion debt burden for   the in-coming government.

She said that Nigeria’s total debt indeed stands at $63.7 billion but it is the totality  of all the debts incurred by successive  governments since 1960.

“No $60 billion was accumulated under the Jonathan administration,” she said.

She added: “Current debt stock includes both federal and state governments debts made up of $9.7 billion external debt or 15 per cent of total debt stock and $54 billion or 85 per cent domestic debt stock.

“Nigeria is still repaying the multilateral loans it collected on concessionary terms with as long as 40 years maturity periods.”

The breakdown of the accumulated domestic stock is  $18.575 billion outstanding by 2007, $17.3 billion accumulated between 2008 and 2011 and $18 billion accumulated between 2012 and 2015.

“This is so because of something that happened in 2010 because of the salary increment under Yar’Adua administration which increased civil servants salaries by 53 per cent.

“Those bonds have been rolled over and government had to weather the difficulties because resources to fund such increase were not there,” she said.

She described Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio as one of the lowest in the world.

On the domestic debt stock, she said 20 per cent is owed by state governments with Lagos state having an external debt burden of N1.169 trillion while the balance of 80 per cent belongs to the federal government.

Reviewing her tenure, Okonjo-Iweala said she has no regrets in serving the country and declared that anyone called upon to serve Nigeria should consider it a privilege.

“Some people criticise from afar but some came home in spite of challenges to serve,” she said.

She faulted suggestions that the economy was mismanaged, saying: “The economy is reacting to the forces of demand and supply but there is hope for the country. Only that people will have to make sacrifices.

“The out-going government, she said, achieved a lot but she lamented that “there are very serious attempts to rewrite history.”

Meanwhile, there is still no respite for motorists and commuters across the country as the fuel scarcity persisted yesterday.

Most filling stations remained shut and only a few managed to sell but at exorbitant prices.

On the other hand black markets continue to thrive with operators charging as much as N350 per litre in parts of Lagos.


We Are Ready For This Round, PDP Vows To Win More States Come Saturday

The Peoples Democratic Party has said it is poised to win more states on Saturday despite losing the presidential election, as its governorship and House of Assembly candidates are very popular and widely accepted in their respective states and constituencies.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Thursday said the party had fully mobilized its members and supporters across Nigeria and would not allow a repeat of the irregularities that shaped the outcome of the March 28 elections. “We restate that we are ready for this round of elections and we will do everything humanly possible within the tenets of democracy to protect our votes and resist any form of irregularity including underage voting and selective malfunctioning of card readers,” Mr. Metuh said.

Read More: premiumtimesng

BREAKING: Shekau in New Video, Vows to Crush Regional Forces

Shekau vowed in a new video released on Monday that the group would defeat a regional force fighting the extremists in Nigeria’s far northeast, Niger and Cameroon.

 “Your alliance will not achieve anything. Amass all your weapons and face us. We welcome you,” he said in a 28-minute speech, one of three videos posted by the Islamists on YouTube.

Troops from Nigeria have been backed by soldiers from Chad, Cameroon and Niger in recent weeks because of increased concerns about Boko Haram’s threat to regional security.

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