FG Seeks Arrest Warrant On Former AGF, Mohammed Adoke.

The Federal Government is seeking an arrest warrant on a former Attorney
General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.

This request was presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) which today charged the former Attorney General, with illegal transfer of more than 800 million Dollars for the purchase of Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245 to a former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etete and Malabu Oil.

At the commencement of trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the EFCC informed Justice John Tsoho of an application for a warrant of arrest of the former AGF, seeking an advice on whether the application could be made orally or by way of a motion.

Justice Tsoho however refused to grant the arrest warrant, saying it would not be proper to do as the defendant was not before the court.

The counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane said he asked for a long judgment to enable him bring the defendants before the court, adding that he intends to also amend the charges.

The Federal Government is embroiled in a legal tussle over the ownership of OPL 245, which claims was transferred to international oil giants, Shell and ENI in questionable circumstance.


Source: Channels TV

FG halts disbursement of YouWin funds over alleged fraud

The Federal Government has stopped further disbursement of cash to beneficiaries under the YouWin programme following alleged massive fraud uncovered in its management.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Friday that the decision to stop further disbursement of funds was to allow government conclude its investigations to unravel alleged massive irregularities in the selection of the winners.

The Punch Newspaper had on Tuesday reported massive fraud uncovered in programme.

Mrs. Adeosun said another petition was received from an anonymous whistle-blower, which provided documentary evidence of irregularities in 10 cases out of the YouWin3 batch of beneficiaries to which about N611.8 million was disbursed.

The YouWin programme initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the minister said, had to be continued in view of some legally binding commitments of grants to 1,500 entrepreneurs selected in the first two batches of the programme designed to help young graduates gain employment.

The minister said it was the determination to honour the subsisting commitments with the beneficiaries that informed the present administration’s decision to organise the YouWin 3 batch of awardees.

However, Mrs. Adeosun said, following an internal investigation into the allegations, government confirmed some startling discoveries, including that one of the awardees was the child of a former director in the ministry. She did not disclose the identity of the former director.

She said the investigation also uncovered a number of cases where married couples each benefitted separately from the cash disbursements, raising concerns about the integrity of the original selection process since 2014 when it began.

“The position of the Ministry is that investigations are ongoing under the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) that will review each suspected case to determine whether any irregularity occurred.  In the interim, disbursements of this batch have been suspended,” the minister said.

Since its inception, the YouWin programme, one of the multiple intervention programmes by the government to create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youth, has midwifed about 3,900 enterprises within four years.

To ensure its sustainability, the Buhari administration, which acknowledged the success of the original programme, undertook a review.

The exercise found, among other limitations, that awardees were overly focused on the grant aspect of the programme, with a few able to secure other forms of funding to grow their businesses despite each receiving up to N10 million in grants.

Consequently, the ministry redesigned the programme and relaunched it as YouWinConnect to focus more on continuous enterprise education, to help build the capacity of young entrepreneurs across a range of disciplines.

The YouWinConnect was expected to develop entrepreneurs who can attract funding from wide range of sources currently available with the funding taking the form of a Venture Fund which will take equity stakes in new and growing businesses.


Source: Premium Times

FG approves N82bn for road projects in 12 states

The federal executive council (FEC) has approved the construction of roads in 12 states at the cost of N82.5bn.

Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the roads will cut across Adamawa, Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Plateau, Osun, Kwara, Kano, Oyo, Kaduna and Kano.

He said the council also approved the engineering and consultancy design for access road one and two to link Asaba in Delta state and Onitsha in Anambra state with the second Niger bridge.

“Subsequent to the award of further works on the second Niger bridge we have started work now by this approval on the design of the link road that will connect the two states to the bridge. The design is expected to be completed in six months, and we will start procurement and as the bridge advances, we can then connect the two states. The contract sum is N150, 840 million” he said.

The project was launched by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 at the sum of N117 billion.

It was awarded to Julius Berger, in a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, and when completed it would link the south-east with the rest of the south.

Fashola also said the council approved a power sector recovery programme which would monitor ?service delivery by distribution and transmission companies.

“The programme comprises of many pet policy actions, operational and financial interventions that need to be carried out by government to ?improve transparency service delivery, performance of DisCOS, ?transmission companies and the entire value chain in order to create a ?more viable power sector that is private sector run,” he said.?

He gave the highlights of the programme as “how to make the DisCOS viable, accountable and responsive to customers, ensure stability of the grid and expansion of the grid, transparency and communication within the sector and also processes for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) debts? and how to improve sector governance”.

“?It addresses access to renewable energy especially in rural areas using mini-grids and stand alone solutions and how we are going to carry out the solutions that have been developed for 37 federal universities and seven tertiary hospitals,” he said.

“It also addresses how to solve the Niger Delta problem and also how to ensure there is a stable and predictable foreign exchange policy for the sector so that it is somewhat protected from sudden head winds of the volatility of the foreign exchange market so that they can plan and deliver. It also highlights how to address the issue of vandalisation at consumer and production levels of pipelines and so on. This will help bring confidence to the market and stimulate the appetite that currently exists globally for Nigeria’s power sector.”


Source: The Cable

JUST IN: FG cuts fertilizer price by half

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of the outstanding N22bn that is meant for dealers of agricultural inputs, popularly known as agro-dealers, in order to ensure the seamless distribution of fertilisers at an approved rate of N5,500 for 50kg.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, announced that the Federal Government was working out measures that would lead to the crash in the price of fertiliser by 50 per cent.

Farmers across the country have often complained of the high cost of fertiliser, stating that a 50kg bag is currently being sold for N10,000 to N12,000, adding that accessing the commodity was also another serious challenge.

As part of measures to bring down the price of the commodity and enhance its distribution, the National Chairman, Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Kabiru Fara, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that Buhari had to approve the payment of the balance of N22bn out of the N66bn that was owed the agro-dealers by the previous government.

He said, “The presidential initiative on fertiliser distribution is too important. We are happy with it because it will help the farmers get inputs at affordable prices and we are the ones who serve as a link between the farmer and the supplier.

“However, our bankers and suppliers are not happy in dealing with us for now, because we have their money hanging, as well as some of our money that are still not paid. This liability was not incurred by the present administration, but we are happy that they have agreed to pay. We understand that Mr. President has approved expressly that the liability be paid.

“The total amount is about N62bn, a first payment of N20bn was made, another payment of N20bn followed, which was about a year ago, and the balance now is N22bn, which the President has approved that it be paid to agro-dealers expressly. We are grateful for that.”

He stated that agro-dealers would use part of the money to make purchases as well as distribute the commodity, and urged the Federal Government to ensure the speedy release of the funds.

Fara added, “We will use this payment to buy what fertiliser producers produce and distribute it across the market at N5,500. So, releasing our money will make the presidential initiative on fertiliser distribution easy. But without that payment, which we don’t know why, it will be difficult for some of our members to buy and distribute.

“You may have pockets of agro-dealers who have money to buy, but the product will not come as fast as needed in order to ensure availability and the prices may not be as affordable as expected.”

Fara also urged the government to ensure that fertilisers were sold at the approved rate of N5,500 across the country by addressing issues of logistics.

He said, “Our recommendation is that the presidential initiative team should look at the issues of logistics and factor how fertilisers are to be delivered to centres where they are needed at N5,000 per bag. For they say agro-dealers’ money should be N500, but when you check the distances to transport the commodity, N500 won’t be enough in many instances.

“So, we want the government to look at ways of getting the product to any location in Nigeria at a fixed price, whether at N5,000 or a little above that so that it can be sold at the approved price of N5,500 per bag.”


Source: Punch

FG plan to power 9 universities using solar energy

Ibrahim Jibril, minister of state for environment, says the federal government was set to power nine Universities in the country with solar energy.

This, he said is part of its efforts to ensure a clean and healthy environment through the issuance of sovereign green bonds.

The Minister gave this hint when he paid a working visit to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Solar Energy Ltd (NSEL) Plant located in Karshi, Abuja.

Jibril stated that the decision by the federal government to power the tertiary institutions with solar energy was a very laudable development which is in line with the Nigeria’s nationally intended contributions to the reduction of carbon emissions in line with global best practices.

According to the minister, his visit to the solar energy plant was to identify with as well as offer the ministry’s support to the local manufacturing company in the production of solar panel.

He emphasized that renewable energy is one of the critical focus of the soon to be launched Green Bond project by the ministry of environment.

He further maintained that the issue of solar energy will encourage the use of local content which will in turn help the country to save foreign exchange as well as create employment for our teeming youths.

Conducting the Minister on the facility tour of the plant, Mohammed Haruna, the executive vice chairman of NASENI Solar Energy Ltd, noted that the plant was the first Solar PV Module/ Solar Panel manufacturing company in Nigeria.

He also revealed that the plant has a 7.5MW capacity and it can produce all sizes and capacities of solar PV module.

Haruna explained that NASENI Solar Energy Ltd was established by the Federal Government to primarily reduce cost of quality solar panel by producing solar panels that are 100% made in Nigeria.

He further said company’s products can compete favourably with any imported solar panel in Nigeria.


Source: The Cable

FG Begins Implementation Of Agricultural Programmes In Three States.

The Federal government has begun the implementation of the agricultural programmes for value chain development and processing in Benue, Kogi and Kaduna states.

This is through the Bill and Melinda Gate assisted food sufficiency programme.

The Head of Delegation, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, Audu Yerima disclosed this in Makurdi at a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom, after a stock taking session of the Benue states agricultural programmes with relevant stakeholders.

Governor Ortom on his part, is willing to open up the state agricultural policy for impute and greater efficiency for the growth of the sector.

Ortom  asked the Foundation to deploy its expertise knowledge and marketing network, to make millionaires out of Benue farmers.

Besides this meeting, the State Executive Council also approved the cancellation of the ongoing auctioning of government vehicles and equipment due to some lapses.

The Commissioner of Information, Onoja Otokpa, said some government vehicles and generators, removed from the auction, have generated concerns about the entire exercise, prompting government to cancel the auction.


Source: Channels TV

FG frustrating plans to reconstruct Oshodi-Airport Road – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday said his administration’s plan to carry out a total reconstruction of the International Airport Road from Oshodi was being frustrated by the Federal Ministry of Works.

Governor Ambode, who spoke to Government House Correspondents at the Lagos House, shortly after carrying out an extensive inspection of some critical projects in the state, said Muritala Muhammed International Airport Road required immediate attention.

He said the State Government has a design for the reconstruction of the road as well as the funds to embark on the project but the Federal Government was yet to grant approval.

He said, “The road linking Oshodi to the International Airport, you would all agree with me is a national embarrassment. In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired and we took it upon ourselves to appropriate the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport.

“The State currently has a design of 10 lanes to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport. The contractor is already set to go and everything as I said has been completed and we already have the cash, but alas we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This is a Federal and not a State road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years past.”

He lamented that despite the fact that the FG was indebted to the State to the tune of N51bn, which was spent on repairing Federal roads over the years, the LASG’s effort to transform the Airport Road to world class standard was being frustrated.

Governor Ambode said if given the approval, his administration was ready to hit the ground running and begin construction of the Airport Road within two weeks and finish same within a period of six months.

Besides, the Governor also implored the Federal Government to avail the State of the N2bn appropriated for the Airport Road in the 2017 National Budget to carry out the project.

He said, “I just want to remind Lagosians that prior to my becoming Governor, the Federal Ministry of Works has been owing Lagos State a total of N51bn as reimbursement for reconstruction that was carried out by the State Government on federal roads in the State.

“So obviously, what we are asking for is that whatever it is that we are asking for, it can never be up to the N51bn that they are owing us.

“I just want to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works, to let go or reimburse us with whatever it is that they are owing us and even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50.”

FINALLY: FG releases much-awaited economic recovery plan

The federal government has finally released its economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP), which has been in the works since 2016.

The document seen by TheCable is a medium term plan aimed at revamping the economy between 2017 and 2020.

“The ERGP differs from previous plans in several ways. First, focused implementation is at the core of the delivery strategy of the plan over the next four years,” the document read.

“More than ever before, there is a strong political determination, commitment and will at the highest level. Whilst all the MDAs will have their different roles in implementing the plan, a delivery unit is being established in the presidency to drive the implementation of key ERGP priorities.

“The ministry of budget and national planning will coordinate plan-implementation and for this purpose will, amongst other things, build up its capability for robust monitoring and evaluation.”


Source: The Cable

FG creates central database to track, manage assets in MDAs.

The federal government has launched an asset tracking and management project which will make it possible to locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its moveable and immovable assets.

In a statement on Sunday, Na’inna Dambatta, director of information, ministry of finance, said to achieve an effective tracking of government assets, a central asset register has been created and domiciled in the finance ministry.

The central asset register and the ATMProject, the statement said, were designed to enhance accountability, promote transparency and deepen efficiency in line with the change agenda of the Buhari administration.

It said these initiatives would afford the government to know and monitor its assets in real time online.

“For the first time a central and Unified National Database of Assets (Asset Register) would be generated and maintained for the purpose of recording, tracking and managing the huge investments in capital assets owned by government,” the statement quoted Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, as saying.

“The Asset Tracking exercise and Register will make planning and control easier and improve accountability for assets. With the increased allocation to capital expenditure to 30%, it is important that all assets are recorded and accounted for.

“Where disposals occur, they must be in line with the laid down procedures and must be transparent.”

The statement also said that a circular has been dispatched to all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) requesting their accounting officers to prepare an inventory of all fixed assets held as at December 31, 2016.

“That any assets held by current and former staff are fully accounted for. In this regard, you may find it necessary to contact any former staff and /or political office holders to avail them the opportunity to return relevant assets in their possession.

“All inventory records submitted will be cross-checked to capital releases and project account purchases to ensure completeness. Where assets have been sold or otherwise disposed of, they must be recorded with supporting authorisation for sale and evidence of payment, where applicable.

“Any asset not accessible for physical inspection and not disposed of in accordance with financial requirements will be deemed to have been illegally withheld or converted. Please record such assets so as to enable the investigative agencies to be notified.”

Accounting officers of the MDAs were instructed to submit their reports not later than three weeks from the date of receipt of the circular.


Source: The Cable

Seek alternative means of funding, FG tells universities

The federal government has advised tertiary institutions to develop alternative means of generating funds to run their activities.

Adamu Adamu, minister of education, said this on Wednesday at the third conference of the committee of pro-chancellors of Nigerian universities, in Abuja.

Adamu, who was represented by Fatima Ahmad, director of tertiary education, said that poor deployment of information communications technology in the education sector was responsible for slow migration from traditional classrooms to smart classrooms.

“Resource constraint is a challenge we are facing. However, the reality for now is the effective and efficient management of all resources available –human, material or financial.

“I would also want to urge you to come up with a framework for funding tertiary education to augment the statutory sources which are not adequate. This is critical because education, as we all know, is a critical nexus in the development process.

“With the present drive for global comparability and harmonisation of tertiary education qualifications, ICT deployment is a must feature in our educational institutions. The current deployment is low and most education officials lack ICT skills.

“There is also a shortage of ICT personnel across the nation. Issues of broadband and power outages are constraining factors that government is trying to address. However, we must look out for alternative support because government cannot do it alone.”

In response, Kimse Okoko, chairman, committee of pro-chancellors of Nigerian universities, said that there were ongoing efforts by tertiary institutions to generate funds internally in order to bridge infrastructural development gap.

“We are encouraging our experts in our universities to get involved in publications so as to increase research collaborations leading to development and, thereby, increasing the internally generated revenue base of the universities,” he said.


Source: The Cable

FG Embarks On Infrastructure Development In Universities

The Federal Government has embarked on infrastructure development in Nigerian universities and has begun by handing over newly renovated hostels and other projects to the University of Port Harcourt.

This follows its ASUU agreement of 2009 with the objective of revitalising public universities to meet both national and international standards.

Flagging off the renovated hostels, faculty and laboratory buildings, staff offices and other infrastructure to the university, was the Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee on Needs Assessment Intervention Fund, Professor Kimse Okoko.

The renovation of infrastructure in the university according to him, was the first in thirty years.

The Vice Chancellor of UNIPORT, Proffessor Ndowa Lale, who was also present, said achieving better accommodation facilities was indeed vital.

Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education, Implementation Monitoring Committee, principal officers of the University were equally present.

On the other hand, some staff and students have commended the development, believing that it is a signal of the improvement of the fortunes of the nation’s tertiary institutions.


Source: Channels TV

Arms scam: Obanikoro’s wife loses Abuja mansion to FG

A Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, has ordered that Alhaja Moroophat Obanikoro, the wife of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, should forfeit her property pending the outcome of investigations into her husband and children.

The court also rejected a prayer asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to pay her the sum of N200m for violating her fundamental human rights.

Obanikoro’s wife has, however, headed for the Appeal Court to challenge the court judgment.

As part of investigations into the $2.1bn arms scam, involving the Office of the National Security Adviser, the EFCC had traced the transfer of about N4.7bn to the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro’s two sons – Gbolahan and Babajide.

Out of the N4.7bn, Obanikoro allegedly gave N3.880bn to Ayodele Fayose and Senator Iyiola Omisore in July 2014, when they were the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidates in Ekiti and Osun states respectively.

Part of the money allegedly given to Fayose was said to have been converted to $5.377m and handed to him at Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, in the presence of the then Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

Obanikoro allegedly kept over N600m to himself.

The EFCC subsequently seized a house in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State allegedly belonging to Obanikoro’s sons – Gbolahan and Babajide – and a property located at 44 Mamman Kotangora Crescent, Katampke Extension, Abuja, belonging to their mother.

However, Obanikoro’s wife argued that she bought the property over seven years before the alleged arms scam took place.

She said the EFCC had no right to punish her for any crime allegedly committed by her husband and urged the court to award her N200m.

Obanikoro’s wife demanded “an order setting aside the sealing of the property; an order directing the EFCC to tender an unreserved public apology for the unlawful and unconditional invasion of the aforesaid property and the sum of N200,000,000 as general damages for the unlawful and unconstitutional invasion of the property.”

In an affidavit, deposed to by one Jackson Edet, the EFCC claimed that Obanikoro’s wife could not claim to be ignorant of her husband’s alleged crime.

The commission said Moroophat’s husband and her sons collected over N600m from the ONSA for a non-existent contract.

The EFCC argued that investigation had shown that, “the property belongs to Musiliu Obanikoro and he paid for the statutory charges for the property.”

The commission added, “That a lawyer, Tejumola Adeboye, who volunteered a statement to the commission, stated that he managed the said property and remits the rent to MON Integrated Services (a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro, which is also under probe).”

In his ruling, the Justice Y. Halilu said he could not stop the EFCC from doing its work, adding that all Nigerians must unite in the fight against corruption.

He added, “I shall refuse the application because it is most unmeritorious and specially packaged to deceive this court. God forbid.”




Recent Attacks By Boko Haram Is A Failed Attempt To Stay Relevant – FG

The Federal Government has dismissed the pockets of attacks by members of Boko Haram.

The government says it is a feeble attempt by the terrorists to make themselves relevant, having lost the battle to destabilise Nigeria.

Speaking at the 7th National Security Summit in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, said the government remains committed to providing security for all persons resident within the country.

He, however, condemned the isolated attacks carried out by members of the Boko Haram sect.

“The isolated attacks we have been witnessing, particularly since the terrorists were dislodged from Sambisa forest is not unexpected, but will eventually be brought to an end,” said the Permanent Secretary.

For the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, it is time to match words with action.

“Truly, the problem is not lack of what to do or lack of papers, but the strength to implement what we have agreed to do,” the monarch said.

The Commandant of the National Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Samule Alade, who shared the same view with the Sultan, said “having technically defeated Boko Haram, there is the need to as a matter of urgency, build upon the gains recorded”.


Source: Channels TV

FG Task Force Not The Solution To High Prices Of Food Items – Shehu Usman

The Financial Secretary Mile 12 Market, Shehu Usman, says the task force set up by the Federal Government to bring down the prices of food items is not the solution.

He said, what the government should do is to assist the farmers tremendously, by subsiding fertilizer.

He said it will go a long way in reducing the high cost of food items.

Mr. Shehu made this known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He however, acknowledged the assistance of the former governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola for ensuring a lot of farming was ongoing in Lagos state during his term as a governor.

“The former governor of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, ensured that there was a lot of farming in Lagos state, which easily helped the people of Lagos state to get food items at a Lower price.

“The government could have provided more food when they came in, through importation of food items before closing down the border. For me that’s why food is very expensive”. He said


Source: Channels TV

Noncompliance with disbursement rules reason why FG blocked Ekiti’s fund – Minster

Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has confirmed that the Federal Government indeed withheld allocations due to Ekiti. She cited non-conformity on the part of the state government with regulations regarding disbursement of such funds by the ministry.

A statement by the Director of Information in the Ministry of finance, Alhaji Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta, said the action was taken because it had become the habit of Ekiti State not to obey rules set for disbursement. The statement further said the claims by the Ekiti State Government were spurious.

“The Ekiti State Government failed to comply with the necessary requirements for participating in the Budget Support Facility (BSF), which is a Conditional Loan Programme to state governments introduced with the view to enhancing fiscal prudence and designed to enhance transparency, efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries.

It further stated that failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the Chief of Staff to notify him of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr. President before payment to the Ekiti State Government was reinstated.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] has denied reports that its governor, Godwin Emefiele and some top management staff have been queried by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) over the sale of foreign exchange.

Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoarafor, said in a statement yesterday that the apex bank observed that while it was perfectly normal for any agency of government to seek clarifications on any matter from other agencies of government, it wishes to clarify that neither the governor of the CBN nor the Director, Legal Services Department, received any communication with regard to the issue.

The CBN said as a responsible government institution, the third currency transactions should be in line with the prevailing forex rate range in the interbank market, when properly examined.

We’ve not decided the amount to collect from World Bank, says FG.

The federal government says it is yet to decide the amount of loan it will obtain from the World Bank for the 2017 budget?.

Udoma Udoma, minister of budget and national? planning, said this at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.?

He explained that the amount approved by the national assembly would determine the actual deficit that the facility is needed for.

?”The figure we will borrow depends on the budget approved by the national assembly,” he said.

“We are waiting for the passage of the budget by the national assembly so that we will know the budget gap or the actual deficit before we can go to the World Bank for loan.”

President Muhammadu Buhari presented a budget proposal of N7.3 trillion to a joint session of the national assembly in December.

He told lawmakers that the budget would stimulate the economy and bring the country out of recession.

Udoma also spoke on the over subscription of Nigeria’s Eurobond. The $1bn Eurobond was oversubscribed by almost eight times.

He said the development showed the world’s strong appetite for Nigeria, adding that the government had the plans to launch another savings bond.?

“Because of the funding constraints, the budget has a deficit, I travelled with the minister of finance and CBN governor to market out Eurobond,” he said.

“As you can see, the Eurobond was oversubscribed by over 8 times, so the funds are coming in, there is more stability in the Niger-Delta, so more monies are coming in.”

On why the FEC meeting lasted over seven hours, Udoma said the council was fine-tuning the economy recovery growth plan.

“A lot of inputs were made by council members and it is virtually ready for the president to launch,” he said.

“However, we are doing some fine-tuning and during this period we also do some final consultation before the president launches the plan.

“The goal of the plan is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rate and a diversified inclusive and sustaining growth.

“The proposed initiatives outlined in the plan are designed to address the country’s poor competitiveness, improve business environment and attract investment and infrastructure, especially power, roads, rails and ports.

“Let me add that there will be additional consultations that we agreed in cabinet that we will be making and one of the people we will be consulting will be labour before the plan is finalised.”

Acting President Osinbajo Reiterates FG’s Commitment To Rebuilding The Niger Delta

The Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment in rebuilding the Niger Delta region and to also ensure that there’s lasting peace and stability in the region, through active development initiatives.

The Acting President stated this during his one-day working visit to Imo state, the first since elected as the Vice President and in acting capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The visit is part of his familiarisation tour and consultation with oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region of the country, in a bid to achieving lasting peace and stabilisation in the region.

The President was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, his counterparts in Power and Niger Delta Affairs as well as the Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty.

His first point of call was the palace of the Chairman of the Imo state council of traditional rulers Eze Agunwa Ohiri, afterwards, the Vice President entered into a stakeholders and town hall meeting with indigenes of the state after his visit to Ohaji Egbema and Oguta Local Government Area.

The stakeholders in the oil producing areas of the state, as well as ex-agitators from the region were given opportunities to express their minds to the Acting President, with lots of complaints revolving around marginalisation and neglect of the oil producing communities in Imo state by the Federal Government.

One of the stakeholders from the region Cletus Ohale, says “The problem of the Niger delta region is more spiritual than physical, I don’t understand how the goose that lays the golden egg will continue to suffer.

“ We have been marginalised and neglected for too long, most of the allocations meant for our people are being diverted to non-oil producing areas, appointments meant for our people are being diverted, even in the budgetary system of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Imo state, the 4th largest oil producer in the Niger Delta is being given the lowest allocation, its so unfair” he added.

Meanwhile, the Imo state Governor; Rochas Okorocha while addressing the gathering expressed sadness over the way, the oil producing region has been neglected in the past, he called for the support of the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region of the state, especially through the Imo Peace and Reconciliation Committee.

The Governor said “We want to feel the presence of Federal Government more in this state especially in Ohaji Egbema and Oguta oil producing areas of the state, the State government has set up the Peace and Reconciliation Committee to cater for the challenges facing the people of the region and we have budgeted 35 billion Naira at least to wipe away the tears of the people.

“And in this regard, we need the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we thank you for the approval made on the abandoned skills acquisition centre, which will soon be converted to a Federal College of Technology, and the immediate revisit of the Egbema Power Plant which will ensure that Imo state and the entire southeast get uninterrupted power supply”

In his speech, the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government in rebuilding the Niger Delta region and ensuring that there is a lasting peace and stability in the region through active development initiatives.

While assuring the people that the Federal Government will complete all abandoned and ongoing projects in the region, He promised that the Federal Government will sanction all contractors who have been mobilised to ensuring the projects are completed.

“The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that the Niger Delta region is given a face lift, we cannot continue with the old ways of doing things, bombing of pipelines is not the solution, the Buhari-led administration has mapped out several programmes that will touch directly the people in the grassroots, for example the N-power programme for youth employment, the micro credit scheme for market women and we are also collaborating with private sector, civil societies, state governments and other stakeholders to bring meaningful development to the people of the Niger Delta region”.

The One-day working visit of the Acting President also availed him the opportunity to commission some of the projects executed by the Imo State Government, one of which is the Imo State Government House Chapel.

FG to launch $300m loan project for young farmers

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), says it will establish a 300 million dollar agribusiness loan project for young farmers across the country.

NIRSAL is an arm of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) that provides agribusiness investments credit risk guarantees to help drive economic development through agriculture. The organisation also helps to reduce credit risk in agricultural lending.

Mr Babajide Arowosafe, the Executive Director of NISRAL, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday that the project would be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Arowosafe said that the project known as ‘Youth Enable’, would commence within the next few weeks to create a successive farmers generation to replace the ageing ones.He said that the project would be implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Arowosafe explained that the project would boost economic diversification and create business opportunities and employable skills for young men and women across priority agriculture value chains.

He listed some of the value chains to include aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing among others.

According to him, it will drive youths into looking for values, opportunities within the agricultural value chain and develop business models that will be sustainable over the years.

“NIRSAL is going to come up in full force on the initiative but what we look forward to is to have youths within some certain age bracket of 18 and 35 years.

“We need youths that are secondary and university graduates that are willing to go into green business, fresh food business, agri-commodities where Nigeria has comparative advantage.

“We can use those productions as fillers for the import substitution agenda of the Federal Government.

“This is purely a commercial venture; you must have a business model that can convince a financial institution.

“NIRSAL is bringing on board its risk sharing facility, its technical assistance, cutting edge technology to make sure that we monitor activities of those youths using technology,’’ he said.

The executive director disclosed that the organisation would support the farmers with its risk sharing facilities like guarantee, interest draw back and facilitate insurance for their businesses.

He assured youth farmers of low interest rates that would facilitate good business development.


Source: NAN

FG has no plans to increase taxes – Udoma Udoma

Udoma Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says the federal government has no intention of increasing taxes.

In a statement signed by Akpandem James, Udoma’s media adviser, the minister said the government is working towards broadening its tax revenue base.

According to the statement, Udoma made the clarification while responding to a comment by Ben Bruce, a senator, at a public hearing of the joint session of the national assembly on the 2017 budget.

“A view has been expressed that we should not increase taxes, that we should broaden tax collection instead, that is precisely what is in the budget,” he said.

“There is no increase in VAT, there is no increase in company’s income tax, there is no increase at all in taxes, but people who are not paying taxes must be made to pay.

“So the idea is to increase revenue by broadening the tax base, not by increasing taxes.’’

The statement said Bruce had given the impression that the federal government was about to increase taxes, a development that he said would further worsen the economic fortunes of individuals and businesses.

While speaking on the economic recovery and growth plan, Udoma said government consulted with the private sector extensively on the plan.

He said the government had a clear vision and is determined path to get the economy out of recession.

“We are determined, thereafter, to begin to go back to the path of growth, a more diversified growth, not depending just on crude oil,” he said.

“We want to stimulate our manufacturing sector, we want to stimulate agriculture; so we have a coherent, cohesive plan.”

FG seeks to generate over $16 billion through asset sales in the next four years.

Nigeria plans to generate as much as $16.4 billion through asset sales in the next four years to reduce the burden on the public budget, a Budget Ministry document showed.

The sales will help to tackle inefficiencies and stem “corruption in public enterprises,” according to the document obtained by Bloomberg, which outlines the West African nation’s plans for economic recovery from 2017 to 2020. President Muhammadu Buhari will introduce the proposal on an unspecified date this month. It didn’t name the assets it may sell.

Nigeria estimates its economy contracted 1.5 percent in 2016, partly because of a decline in the price and output of oil, the country’s biggest export and revenue generator. Buhari proposed a 20 percent increase in this year’s budget to stimulate the economy and help gross domestic product expand by an average of 4.7 percent annually over four years and reach 7 percent in 2020.

“They could look at reducing government stakes in oil joint ventures from around 55 percent to 40 percent or 45 percent — that alone can generate over $10 billion,” Pabina Yinkere, the Lagos-based head of research at Vetiva Capital Management Ltd., said by phone. “Non-oil assets like concession airports are a more difficult sale because they would involve a lot of transactions.”The government targets oil production of 2.5 million barrels a day by 2020 to boost export earnings, it said in the document. Output declined to an almost three-decade low of 1.4 million barrels a day in August after militants in the Niger River delta region bombed pipelines to demand more benefits from the resource.

FG Takes Over Distressed Arik Air

The Federal Government on Thursday announced a lifeline to financially distressed Arik Airlines to continue to keep it as a going concern in the aviation industry.

The management of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, said the decision to intervene clearly underscores the government’s commitment to instill sanity in the country’s aviation sector to prevent a major catastrophe in the country.

“The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier in the country, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector,” AMCON spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor, said.

Under the new arrangement, the airline would be managed by Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, under the receivership of Oluseye Opasanya, a senior advocate of Nigeria.

“I will not return a dime to the FG” – Femi Fani-Kayode

Former Aviation Minister Femi Fani-Kayode, has denied media reports that he was seeking an out of court settlement in his N26 million money laundering trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

In a statement on Monday, Fani-Kayode described the reports as “false, embarrassing, and mischievous.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting the ex-minister for collecting N26 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Ahmed Raji, Fani-Kayode’s counsel, had asked on Monday for the trial  judge to adjourn the proceedings to allow him explore other options of settlement aside from going to trial.

“My Lord, I am just coming into the case and so I crave your indulgence to enable me familiarise myself with the case,” Raji said.

“Secondly, looking at the facts of the case and money involved, I believe that there are other options we can explore.

“The case involves the sum of N26 million and the law allows you to explore the option of plea bargain and so many other options rather than go through trial.”

However, reacting to media reports,  Fani-Kayode, through his spokesperson, Jude Ndukwe, said the plea bargain option was out of the question.

“Reports that are coming that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has agreed to return 26 million naira to the EFCC in an attempt to settle his case at the Abuja Federal High Court out of court with them are false,” the statement read.

“The matter was adjourned in the Abuja Federal High Court today primarily because a new lawyer in the person of Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN was now handling the case and he needed time to be properly briefed on the matter and to go through the file.

“Under no circumstances will Chief Fani-Kayode pay any money back to EFCC or any other government agency because he never colllected any money from any government agency in the first place.

“The reports are false, embarrasing and mischevous.

“Under no circumstances will Chief Fani-Kayode pay any money back to EFCC or any other government agency because he never collected any money from any government agency in the first place.”


Source: The Scoop

US-based human rights lawyer sues FG over Chibok girls

A United States-based human rights activist and lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, has dragged the Federal Government to court over 10 Chibok girls schooling in the US.

Ogebe, through his lawyer, Barrister David Ogebe, is asking for $5 million for defamation.

The defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan; and her ministry.

In the suit, the plaintiff accused Hajia Alhassan of telling the whole world at a news conference that the 10 Chibok girls his organisation took to the US for studies are not in school.

Ogebe, in the suit, said around June 2014, he and some humanitarians who are indigenes of Borno State conceived the “study abroad project” specifically to assist the abducted/escaped Chibok schoolgirls after observing during a United States of America congressional fact-finding trip at the time that nothing was being done for them individually and as a group.

According to him, to actualize the project, the Education Must Continue Initiative was duly birthed as a non-governmental organization under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C20 LFN 2004 to serve as the charity to provide quality education for the escaped Chibok schoolgirls and other victims of the insurgency.

Ogebe said through the EMCI and his personal efforts, 10 of the escaped Chibok schoolgirls were granted admission with full scholarships in the United States of America and were subsequently taken to the US where they were enrolled in and began school within a week of their arrival with the plaintiff duly authorized as their guardian by their respective families.

But, according to the plaintiff, despite his effort to get the 10 Chibok girls to study abroad, the women affairs minister came out to say that the girls are not schooling in the US.

He is asking the court for the sum of $5 million as exemplary and aggravated damages.

The US based lawyer is also asking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves or through their privies from further defaming his character whether by print, electronic or online media.

Ogebe is also asking the court to write a letter of apology to him and publish same on all social media news platforms, in two national newspapers in Nigeria and one newspaper circulating in the United States of America.

In the affidavit in support of the suit, Ogebe said through his lawyer: The Plaintiff and the escaped Chibok Schoolgirls visited the United States Congress upon arrival of the Chibok girls to the US whereupon the girls were welcomed to the United States of America. On one of such occasions three of the schoolgirls along with the Plaintiff met with Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on 09 September 2014. The Plaintiff hereby pleads and shall rely on a copy of the official photograph issued by the United States Congress to mark the visit where he is duly recognized as the project leader.

“For dubious reasons, the Defendants spearheaded by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants began a malicious campaign to tarnish the image of the Claimant culminating in a press conference convened by the 3rd Defendant, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan on September 9th, 2016 and aired to the whole world through print, electronic and online media where the Defendants alleged that Claimant took the Chibok girls to US under the guise of taking them to school but did not in fact do so thus warranting the government’s intervention.

The Plaintiff hereby pleads and shall rely on three online media reports of the news conference of the 2nd and 3rd Defendants covered by (a) The Cable News online report of 09 September 2016; (b) Premium Times online News Story as published on allafrica.com website also of 09 September 2016; and (c) Anadolu Agency online publication of 09 September 2016 as published on the aa.com news website.”

Repentant Boko Haram terrorist recounts how colleagues cut off his limbs

A 31-year-old repentant Boko Haram fighter claims he was amputated by his colleagues to whom he revealed his intention to surrender to federal troops.

The man who simply identified himself as Mohammed Abubakar told journalists in Maiduguri that he joined the militant group late 2014.

The man also claimed that he was a member of the ISIS recognised Mamman Nur faction of the Boko Haram until his surrender.

He was brought before journalists for questioning during a live press conference convened by the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor.

Abubakar claimed that he was forcefully recruited alongside his childhood friend at the Gamboru Ngala axis of Borno state in the wake of insurgency operations in that area.

After realising the futility of the militancy, Abubakar claimed he confided in his childhood friend and persuaded him to join him in planning an escape to surrender.

According to him, “I was betrayed by my supposed friend who leaked my plans to other fighters and on the day we planned to take off together, they found us and amputated my right hand and left leg as punishment, and left me to die.”

He survived the brutality and continued with his mission until soldiers found him and turned him over to the “Safe Corridor” officials.

While advising others to take advantage of the initiative and surrender, he confessed that many of the fighters were misled into becoming militants and also described the hardship they were going through in the trenches.

During the conference, General Irabor also revealed that a total of 3,332 civilians were arrested as BHT suspects while five BHT members surrendered to troops during operations conducted between January 11 and February 1, 2017.

Also, a total of 26 foreigners were arrested comprising 17 Chadians and nine Nigeriens.


FG to increase VAT on champagne, other luxury items.

The federal government plans to raise the value-added tax (VAT) on luxury times — subject to the approval of the national assembly.

Briefing the media after the federal executive council meeting on Wednesday, finance minister Kemi Adeosun said the cabinet, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the revised national tax policy to address low taxation in the country.

Nigerians currently pay 5% VAT, one of the lowest in the world, introduced in 1994 by the military government.

According to Adeosun, “What the (review) committee report has shown is that we should look at actually increasing VAT on some luxury items. At 5% we have lowest VAT.

“And while we don’t think VAT should be increased on basic items, if you are going to drink champagne, for instance… in the UK you drink champagne the VAT is 20%, so why should it be 5% in Nigeria.

“So they have made recommendations that we should pull out some luxury items and increase VAT on those items immediately. And I think that is a very valid and sensible suggestion which we are going to take to the national assembly to see how we can implement it.

“But as far as basic goods are concerned, no there will be no tax increase. I believe it is only fair that when you consume luxury goods you should pay a little bit more.  The National Assembly will decide the percentage.”

The UK case is slightly different from Nigeria – its 20% VAT is imposed on all the affected goods and services and is completely different from luxury tax.

The new national tax policy, a revised version of the 2012 edition, will capture all existing taxes.?

The new policy, as proposed by the ministry of finance, seeks to entrench an efficient tax system and address the low tax-to-GDP ratio, which at 6% is one of the lowest in the world.

In November 2014,  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then finance minister, announced that private jets, yachts, champagne and a host of other the luxury goods would be specially taxed.

Adeosun, Amaechi, Ogbeh on FG’s committee to force down food prices

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has set up a task force to work out a way of reducing the prices of foodstuff.

On the task force are Kemi Adeosun, finance minister; Chibuike Amaechi, transport minister; Audu Ogbeh, agriculture minister; Chris Ngige, labour and employment minster; Okey Enelamah, trade and industry minister, and Suleiman Adamu, water resources minister.

The team was given seven days to present a plan of how to reduce the cost of food.

According to Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media to the vice-president, Osinbajo put together the team because he was moved by the need to make food affordable to Nigerians.

“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,” he said.

“Giving the directive today 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 today 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 foodstuff 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.”

Akande said one of the focus areas of the task force – as directed by Osinbajo – would be the review of the transportation and preservation processes.

“The task force, which would be meeting with the acting president in the discharge of its urgent assignment, will therefore draw out a practical plan and present same to the council next week,” he added.

“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.”

Adeosun, Kyari, Kachikwu on FG’s committee to ensure fuel remains at N145/litre.

The federal government has set up a committee to see to the coordination of Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), which is aimed at keeping the pump prices of petroleum products at its current prices.

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance; Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president; and Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, are members of the committee.

This was disclosed by Bashir Dan-Malam, the state chairman of IPMAN, in an interview with NAN in Kano on Friday.

Dan-Malam advised members in Kano state to continue with their normal business, promising that the association would sanction anyone caught hoarding or selling the product above the approved price of N145.

“As leaders of the association, we feel it is necessary to tell our members the truth as the government has no plan to increase fuel price for now,” he said.

“This is a rumour. Anything you did not hear from us, ignore it.”

Dan-Malam said during a meeting with members of the committee, it was resolved that the union should reconcile with the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) on the outstanding payment of transportation charges.

“During the meeting it was agreed that a committee to be chaired by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun consisting of all stakeholders be set up with a mandate to reconcile all outstanding balances,” he said.

“The administration has clearly demonstrated its willingness to create an enabling environment for a viable and sustainable downstream sector in Nigeria and IPMAN is 100 per cent committed to achieving this goal.”

FG appeals court order to release Zakzaky

The Federal Government has appealed the ruling of the Federal High Court Abuja, ordering it to release leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise known as Shi’ites, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.


The appellants are the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigeria Police force and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) while Zakzaky was named as the respondent.


The Federal Government challenged the award of N50 million in favour of Zakzaky’s wife Zeenat.


Justice Kolawole had ordered that Zakzaky and his wife be released and the government must provide an accommodation for them in 45 days.


The appellant’s have challenged the court’s jurisdiction stating that Zakzaky’s property was destroyed in Kaduna.


The appellant stated that the judge erred in law when he lumped two cases together in his judgment stating that the trial judge should have delivered two separate judgments.


Source: YNaija

FG ‘recovers’ N18bn looted funds

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, says the federal government has recovered N15 billion and $10.5 million so far in its asset recovery drive.

Malami disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja when the senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters visited the ministry to appraise the 2016 budget performance.

“Let me put it on record that the federal ministry of justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds,” he said.

“In that regard and direction, over N15 billion has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5 million was equally recovered in that direction.”

Malami said exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as of December 31, 2016, was N12.4 million.

He said this was generated from sale of journals, renting of part of the headquarters building to commercial entities, use of its conference hall, tender fees and sale of un-serviceable items.

He added that the total expenditure profile of the ministry within the same period was N3.7 billion, including personnel and non-regular allowances.

The chief law officer of the country said the ministry, by virtue of its mandate, was in a vantage position to articulate and implement the present administration’s broad policy objectives in four major priority areas.

“The anti-corruption campaign, the recovery of stolen national assets, the rule of law component of the anti-terrorism war and the institutionalisation of law and order in all aspects of national life,’’ he said.

On Nigeria’s non-membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Malami explained that it will take the collaboration of both the executive and the legislature to scale all the hurdles.

“Among some of the demands required to become a member are the passing of the money laundering Act, Proceeds of Crime Act and Autonomy of the Financial Task Force,” he said.

“All these bills are still pending before the legislature and have not been passed, so we need to work together to get Nigeria registered.”

David Umaru, chairman of the committee, said the 2016 budget was fraught with challenges but noted that the ministry and its parastatals was able to make judicious use of it.

He said the committee was not oblivious of the recent economic challenges in the country and was already preparing for the 2017 budget defence.

Umaru said the committee would work in consultation with the executive, particularly the justice ministry, to ensure that the budget was passed so as to address the economic situation.

He added that the committee was also working to ensure that all bills necessary to make the work of the ministry and its parastatals easier were being looked into with a view to passing them soon.

Chukwuka Utazi, a member of the committee, lamented Nigeria’s non-membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Utazi said if the country had real interest in the fight against corruption, membership of the organisation will facilitate the recovery of stolen assets.

“Nigeria is not a member of FATF, this is a very important membership which we have not yet got and this can help us recover stolen assets since it is one of its core mandates,” he said.

He lamented that office of the attorney-general always put in applications for membership every year but failed to follow it through.

The lawmaker said the shuttle diplomacy Nigeria was engaging in would not yield much without a membership of the FATF, as no other member would give Nigeria support unless it was registered.

A total of N3.9 billion was appropriated for the main ministry in the 2016 budget, with overhead cost taking over N1.7 billion.


Source: The Cable

Federal Government gives reasons for declining electricity supply

The Federal Government has blamed declining electricity supply in the country on liquidity problems, pipeline vandalism and sabotage of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who briefed newsmen after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) ?meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, however, disclosed that the government was working hard to address the challenge.
According to Fashola, “You heard that there was liquidity problems. Gas suppliers have not been fully paid; generating companies (GENCOs) have also not been fully paid. You heard this ‘back and forth’ between distribution companies (DISCOs) and GENCOs. So, those are some of the issues.”

He said: “We have been meeting with the gas suppliers, trying to see how we can pay off some of these debts, while we fix other problems. As I continue to say, it is not technical, but financial.”

The minister, however, maintained that vandalism of pipelines is not technical. People were destroying, they were angry.

“Also, until we resolve some behavioural issues: people collect money and have not been remitting in a manner that is fair,” Fashola stated.

The Federal Government also pledged to commit additional ?N3.5 billion for the completion of the Odogunyan transmission sub-station in Ikorodu, Lagos State, to improve power generation.

This, the government said would provide additional transformer capacity at the sub-station as well as 260mva transformers and transmission lines of 132 kva to complete the works in that area generally known within the power industry as Ayobo West.

Fashola, who was joined by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed during the briefing, disclosed that the contract for the project had been awarded since 2009 but abandoned because it was not paid for.

Federal Government distances itself from arrest of Premium Times’ journalists.

The Federal Government has assured that it will not do anything to stifle press freedom, knowing that a free press is vital to the success of any democracy.


Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this in a statement in Abuja, however, argued that the federal government has nothing to do with the recent arrest of Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of the online newspaper Premium Times, and a reporter working for the paper, Ms Evelyn Okakwu.


Mohammed said the arrests were purely a private affair involving a citizen and a privately-owned newspaper, and such should not be construed as an attempt by the government to intimidate the press.


He said, “We have said it before and we want to re-state it: The Federal Government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the Social Media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,”.

BBOG should stick to advocacy rather than pretending to be an opposition party – FG

The Federal Government has urged the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group to see government as a partner rather than adversary in the quest to secure the release of the Chibok girls.

In a statement in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the BBOG’s continued portrayal of the government as an adversary and the needless firing of darts at President Muhammadu Buhari, were ultimately counter-productive.

Mr. Mohammed said the president was doing his utmost best to bring the girls back home safely.

“The Federal Government has bent over backwards to carry the BBOG along and to show transparency in the conduct of the search for the girls,” he said.

“The recent invitation extended to the group to witness first-hand the search for the girls by the Nigerian Air Force is a clear indication of this.

“However, it came to us as a surprise that in spite of its initial positive report on the tour, the BBOG has too quickly reverted to its adversarial role.

“BBOG should stick to its role as an advocacy group rather than pretending to be an opposition party.

“The synonyms of the word ‘advocacy’ do not include ‘antagonism’, ‘opposition’ or ‘attack’, in fact those words are the antonyms of ‘advocacy,’’’ he said.

The minister said it amounted to needless grandstanding for the BBOG to say it would no longer tolerate “delays’’ and “excuses” from the president on the release of the girls, as reported by the media.

According to him, such “impudent’’ language should have been reserved for those who did nothing in the first 500 days of the girls’ abduction, and not for Mr. Buhari.

Mr. Mohammed said President Buhari as has presided over the liberation of all captured territory, the opening of shut schools and roads, the safe release of some of the abducted girls and the decimation of Boko Haram.

He assured Nigerians that the efforts to bring the girls back safely were continuing, but sought their understanding for not divulging any further details so as not to jeopardise the intricate process.

“Let me say unequivocally that the people involved in the negotiations are working 24/7.

“The negotiations are complicated, tortuous and delicate. Any wrong signal is capable of derailing things. That’s why the less we say, the better for all.

“We need a huge amount of confidence-building, the kind of which led to the release of 21 of the girls. This has been lacking for years, but right now we are confident that we are on the right track.

“We won’t do anything to jeopardise these talks, irrespective of the pressure or provocation from any quarter,” the minister said.


Source: NAN

FG to launch free healthcare programme in Niger Delta – Minister

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, says the Federal Government will soon embark on a free healthcare intervention scheme in the nine oil producing states as from next month.

The minister made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the programme would be executed by his ministry in collaboration with the National Association of Urologists.

Mr. Usani said the essence of the health programme was for the people to know their health status with a view to promoting healthy living.

“This intervention is expected to diagnose and offer first hand treatment to persons with terminal ailments and common health challenges,’’ the minister said.

He said that the programme was being organised for the people in acknowledgement of the region’s immense contributions to the nation’s economic development.

The minister said that the ministry and National Association of Urologists would bear the cost, and the programme would cover treatment of all kinds.

Although, he did not disclose the centres, he, however said that people in the remote areas would not be left out.

“It is the responsibility of the ministry to bring qualitative health services to the doorstep of the people in the mandated areas.

“It is therefore set to facilitate proper arrangement for the realisation of the programme.

“Our target covers those with minor and severe ailments because health is wealth,” Mr. Usani said.

The ministry had collaborated with the Association of Nigerian Neurosurgeons earlier for free test on Malaria, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, HIV and free drug administration programme for the people of the region.


Source: Premium Times

FG will NOT increase pump price of petrol, says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has advised Nigerians not to engage in any panic buying of petroleum products.

Ndu Ughamadu, spokesman of the corporation, issued a statement late Wednesday to dismiss the report of a likely increase in the price of the products.

He said the corporation had a 1.3billion litres stock of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, which is sufficient to serve the nation for more than 38 days.

“This plea comes on the heels of reports that some motorists have begun panic buying of petrol, following rumours that the government is about to increase the pump price of the white product from N145 per litre,” the statement read.

“NNPC wishes to assure Nigerians that there is no iota of truth in the rumour that government is scheduled to adjust pump price of petrol.

“Indeed, with the resumption of production by the Corporation’s three refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri, complemented by imports, there is enough stock of PMS, automotive gas oil (AGO), diesel and kerosene.”

Ughamadu said Anibor Kragha, NNPC’s chief operating officer of the refineries, explained the state of refineries to lawmakers when he appeared before the senate on Wednesday.

“Mr. Anibor Kragha briefed the senate committee on petroleum downstream in a presentation on the current status of the refineries at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja,” he said.

“In the presentation, Kragha told the legislators that the nation’s three refineries produced additional volumes of 4.6 million litres of kerosene and 7.7 million litres of diesel, in addition to millions of litres of petrol being refined daily at the nation’s refineries.

“The assurances of availability of stock by the NNPC Chief Operation Officer of the Refineries yesterday still stand.”


Source: The Cable

Ogun State, Partners FG On Effective Drug Distribution

The Ogun state, in collaboration with the Federal Government, are set to improve supply, distribution, and management of drugs in order to guide against expiration, before they reach the end users.

This was disclosed by the State Commissioner for Health Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, while hosting members of the National Product Supply Chain Management, Programme (NPSCMP), Department of Food & Drugs Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, recently at his office in Abeokuta.

The Commissioner said the collaboration with relevant stakeholders, would further strengthen human capacity development for the Public Health sector, commodities management in Nigeria.

Ipaye said the state is always ready to partner with the Federal Government, particularly in areas that have to do with the health of the people.

He added that already, they had been efficient in the areas of distribution and management of drugs to all health care facilities.

Speaking earlier, the Team Leader for NPSCMP, Mrs Abdulhameed Wosilat, said the aim of the partnership was to coordinate all health commodities at the Federal level, through an effective integrated supply chain in Nigeria.

She added that it would also improve patients access to availability of drugs, as well as efficient last minute delivery of all other health commodities across the country.

Wosilat, then revealed that currently, the programme is running effectively in 14 states.

According to her, the initiative would also guide the end users, particularly those in the rural areas of the country, against the intake of expired drugs.

Also in his address, the Director, Pharmaceutical Department, Ogun State Ministry of Health, Olufemi Fafiolu, said the state would only need to key in to the programme.

Describing it is “laudable”, he says it would eradicate stock out, eradicate drugs being expired, ensure optimum storage and good condition of drugs, strengthen the logistic supply system of the state, as well as reduce the cost of destroying expired drugs across the Country.


Source: Channels TV

JUST IN: FG rejects BBOG’s conditions for joining Sambisa tour

The federal government has rejected the conditions given by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement for embarking on a trip to Sambisa forest and some parts of the north-east.

In a letter dated January 11, the ministry of information and culture invited the movement to the north-east to see first hand efforts being made to rescue the Chibok girls.

But in a reply, the BBOG movement proposed a pre-tour meeting with the chief of army staff, chief of air staff and chief of defence staff before it would embark on a trip to the north-east.

They also asked Tukur Buratai to apologise for “endorsing” a group which labelled the movement to be embarking in “advocacy terrorism.”

However, in a letter dated January 14, the government said the trip could not be postponed.

It said the request for a meeting with certain top officials of the army and demanding an apology were irrelevant to its request for the BBOG to join in the search mission.

“Thank you for your letter, dated Jan. 13, which is in response to ours of Jan. 11, requesting that we change the date of the proposed guided tour of the north-east to accommodate a pre-tour meeting between your organisation and some top officials of the federal government,” the letter signed by Lai Mohammed, the information minister, read.

“We have also noted the conditions you gave for embarking on the trip which include the said pre-tour meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. – Gen. Tukur Buratai, which the #BBOG finds to be slanderous.

“We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled.

“We hope that the BBOG will drop its conditions and join the trip which shows the commitment of the federal government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issues of the girls.”

The government said payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission had been made for the day and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot.

It said apart from BBOG members invited, local and international journalists had been invited for the trip, while some preparations had been made by the military.

“We paid $608m to federation account in 2016”, says NPDC

The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the upstream subsidiary company of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has provided clarification on the reported non-remittance of some crude oil revenue to the federation account.

Earlier, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in its 2014 audit report, said a total of $4.7 billion and N318.2 billion that should have gone to the federation account were not remitted by NPDC and its parent company, NNPC.

In a presentation to the senate ad hoc committee on the recovery of unremitted revenue, Yusuf Matashi, managing director of the NPDC, faulted some of the figures quoted as revenue derived by the company from crude sales.

Providing clarification on the alleged non-remittance of crude proceeds from some divested oil wells (OMLs 61, 62 and 63), Matashi explained that the value of crude oil lifted by NPDC between May 20013 and August 2016 was $3.294billion, as against the $3.487 claimed by the committee.

The NPDC MD drew the attention of the committee to the fact that on the basis of the ministerial assignment of the assets to NPDC, cash call funding of the assets by government had ceased and NPDC was funding the cost of production and lifting of crude oil by itself.

“According to our records total crude oil lifted from OMLs 60-63 by NPDC during the period May 2013 TO August 2016 is valued at $3.294 bn against the figure of $3.487billion,” he was quoted by Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC spokesperson, to have said.

On the allegation that NPDC had been lifting crude oil from divested oil well (OMLs 65, 111 and 119) to the tune of $1.847 billion out of which it paid $100m only, the NPDC MD explained that the OMLs 65, 111 and 119 referred to by the senate committee were not part of the divested assets.

He argued that the figures given refer to the Good Valuable Consideration obligation payments in respect of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) divested asset (OMLs 4, 38 &41 and OMLs 26, 30, 34, 40 &42.

“The $1.847 billion referred to by the committee is the total Good and Valuable Consideration (G&VC) determined by DPR for the divested assets. The $100m referred to as paid is part of the G&VC which has been paid by NPDC,” he said.

While recognising the balance of $1.747billion for the G&VC, the NPDC noted that the obligation to pay in the future had not been waived and that the balance as payable to the Federation was recognized in NPDC’s books.

On the report that a total of $344.34m worth of crude oil had been unremitted between January and August 2016, including non-payment of due royalties and taxes within the period, the NPDC faulted the claim.

“The committee is invited to note that the actual value of crude oil liftings from all assets divested to NPDC is a total of $584.1 million for the period January to August 2016. NPDC has paid a total of $608.4 million as royalty and PPT,’’ he said.

Matashi noted that a total of $608, 417, 937 was made by the NPDC as royalty and petroleum profit tax in 2016.

Also providing response to the issues raised by the senate committee on the legal and operational status of the NPDC, Matashi explained that like all other indigenous oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria, the NPDC is self-funded, which means that gross revenue are not remitted to the federation account.

He said that the company is however required to pay royalties to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and petroleum profit tax (PPT) to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Matashi however stated that the NPDC is ready to engage all stakeholders to resolve all outstanding payments, noting that the company is already in talks with statutory agencies to arrive at agreed payments of historical liabilities.

The debate on the ban on importation of cars has to be more rigorous – By Ebuka Nwankwo

The Senate has unanimously condemned the federal government’s ban on the importation of cars through land borders, which took effect on January 1, 2017. It argues that the ban is unpopular.

One would have thought that an APC-controlled Senate would take sides with an APC-led government at the centre. Instead, they are diametrically opposed to each other.

As trivial as this disagreement might look, this is another example where the APC government –at the executive and legislative level —has shown a lack of coherence in terms of economic policy.

The Senate claims it has taken sides with the ‘masses’. (The Senate has been accused, on many occasions, of not been on the side of the ‘masses, but this time it seems they have repented. One commentator mischievously suspects that lobbyists are at work here.)

But public policies would best serve public interest if conclusions are reached through rigorous debates.

With the level of porosity at the borders – which has defied every measure to check it – and the inefficiency at our seaports, every car dealer would prefer using land borders. Lower duties are paid at the borders.

And the public has been made to believe that with the ban on importation through land borders, cars would become more expensive. It could if the government doesn’t put on its thinking cap. It is not that simplistic.

The Chairman, National Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding, Hon Iju Tony Nwabunike, summarizes the whole scenario: ‘‘some of the customs officers are not sincere. Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong importing cars if appropriate duties are paid. For instance, in Prado Jeep, they will tell you to pay between N10 million and N15 million in Apapa and Tin Can Ports, but you find out the same Prado Jeep, if it is coming through the border, you can pay N1 million duty and give them N1million bribe and they will let you go’’.

With the scenario painted by Nwabunike, it is evident that the real import duties go to neighbouring countries where these cars are legally imported to, when they come through the borders to Nigeria. And no serious government would take this lightly.

But the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON), which imports over 15,000 used cars quarterly, argues otherwise. They argue this ban would result in increased hardship and job losses.

Used-cars, they say, are affordable when they come from the borders.

But they missed the point. If used-cars enter the country through seaports alone, government could have greater control over the number of vehicles entering into the country, enforce standards and track its revenue.

And when there is control over the number of vehicles entering the country, the nation can start thinking of implementing its Auto Policy.

But the efficiency at the seaports would have to be improve for these to be achievable. Also, corruption at seaports would have to be checked, as well.

The real question the Senate ought to ask is this: how can government make cars affordable and increase government revenues when cars are imported through seaports?

Since, Nigeria doesn’t not have a competitive advantage in car manufacturing, it makes sense to moderate the duties paid on cars at the seaports. (More concessions should be given to companies who assemble cars locally.)

The country would be better off if import duties that went to neighbouring countries and the bribes that went to corrupt custom officers at the borders started entering government coffers. That’s assuming government decides to keep the import duties at seaports to be equal to the amount corruptly paid to custom officers at the border.

The 70 percent tariff and levies on new cars, which took effect in 2015, is not working, the Shippers Council insist. Instead, government is losing revenue. These huge levies have increased importation to neighbouring countries and subsequent smuggling into Nigeria.

These are the kind of policies the Senate should look into. It is the duty of senate to educate the populace and advice the government on how to make policies better. Many good things can come from this ban.


Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, is expected to meet today with the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association Of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN).


The meeting is expected to trash out disagreement between the unionist and oil companies over staff welfare.


The federal government is mediating on the matter as it did in 2016.


After Wednesday’s meeting, it would then be determined whether to proceed on the strike action as a follow up to the three-day warning notice earlier issued by the union.

FG to sanction electricity companies that fail to provide meters to customers

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, says it will sanction DISCOs which failed to meter electricity customers in their networks before Feb. 28, 2017.

NERC in a statement on its website and obtained by News Agency Of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Wednesday said that sanctioning of the defaulting DISCOs would begin on March 1.

It stated that the envisaged sanction was sequel to the initial directives by NERC and the moratorium period given to DISCOs to meter consumers.

The company said this was in line with its mandate of protecting the rights of customers. It said it had in June 2016 after consultation with the operators, directed DISCOs to conclude metering of all customers before Nov. 30, 2016.

According to NERC, the commission at the expiration of that notice granted three months moratorium which will expire February 28, 2017 to enable the DISCOs effectively execute the metering deployment plan for customers.

It stated that any electricity customer yet to be metered as at February 28, 2017 should report to the commission through any of its Forum Offices in all the states of the federation.

NERC urged customers that had advanced money to the DISCOs through the now wound down Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiatives, CAPMI, to make use of the complaint redress mechanism.

“The Commission is by this notice advising electricity customers not to take laws into their hands by attacking staff of electricity distribution companies.

“They may wish to be guided not to resort to legal proceedings as the first option in seeking redress, but to explore the commission’s redress mechanism to save litigation cost and time.”

2017: FG to Award Oil Blocks, MarginalFfields, Pass PIB – Kachikwu

The Federal Government has unveiled a number of plans for the petroleum industry under the current fiscal year, which include conducting a new licensing round for the award of oil blocks and allocation of marginal fields in order to raise revenue for the country.

Besides, it promised that the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been renamed; Petroleum Industry Governance Bill will be passed this year, while also reducing petrol consumption in Nigeria from an estimated 50 million to 28 million litres daily, thereby saving about N3.2 billion daily from unaccounted volumes.

Given the reluctance by the international finance community to grant Nigeria the much-sought after loans amid dwindling oil proceeds, to enable the government execute its socio-economic programmes, the current administration need to rely on other ways and means to raise fund domestically.

Licensing rounds are a veritable avenue to raise quick funds for the government, which award a large expanse of land/oil block to exploration and production companies while also expanding the country’s production capacities, which is also.

The last administration had tried to execute a licensing round, but could not pull it off due to lack of confidence in the process, as it was feared that the oil block usually awarded to oil drilling and exploration companies would end up in the hands of political cronies, who will go hawking the licences.

If the plan works, the country will be on the way to meeting new production targets of 4 million barrels daily and 40 billion oil reserves, which it had consistently missed since 2010.

The PIB on its part is expected to form the nucleus of Nigeria’s aspiration to becoming one of the most industrialised nations in the world by the Year 2020, by boosting investment opportunities in the oil and gas industry, which had hitherto been stalled due to the non-passage of the Bill.

The Minister of States for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed of the plans in a podcast posted on his Facebook page titled: “Nigeria Petroleum Sector 2017 Outlook,” said the oil and gas sector is expected to run in ‘rocket pace’ this year.

He added that the areas of fiscal policy in the Petroleum Governance Bill is being finalised and would be looked at by the Executives and pushed out as the PIB.

He stated: “We have so much to do. We should be able to gazette our oil and gas policies and pass the PIB. We are going to accelerate Federal Government revenues by looking at more areas where the government can make more money.

“There is going to be improvement in royalty collection, improvement in early renewal of leases and every other area where we feel there is a gap.”

Kachikwu said government also hoped to finalise all the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) it entered into with China and India on crude oil export this year, adding that it is planning some road shows in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, to attract more investors into the oil industry.

He noted that the industry is expected to witness more activities in the year, while also reaffirming government’s commitment to providing long-term sustainable policies that would move the industry forward.

He said: “We have embarked on market liberalisation in the downstream sector. For the first time in over two decades, petrol is available all over the country and selling at the same price in all the states. We did not have the people in the Eastern parts of the country buying at a higher price while the people in the West buy at lower rate. It has been available all over the country at the same price per litre.

“We noticed that the consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) has shifted from over 50 million litres a day to about 28 million per day. This means we have been able to take away unaccounted fraud impacted volume of petrol, which is nearly 40 per cent of the country’s consumption.”

On the industry stability, he said Government will continue to look out for policies that would include a well-managed security apparatus that would bring lasting peace in the Niger Delta, adding that the engagement between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta militants has reduced the level of unrest in the region.

This, he said, led to an increase in the country’s crude oil production from 1.3 million barrels per day recorded during the unrest to 1.9 million barrels daily.

FG slashes import duties on 115 items

The Federal Government, in a bid to promote development in critical sectors of the economy, has approved a reduction in the import duties of 115 items in various sectors of the economy.

The approval was given by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of the fiscal policy measures of the Federal Government for the country.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, while communicating the approval through a circular obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, said the move was in line with the provisions of the Economic Community of West African States’ Common External Tariff.

The ECOWAS CET, which will cover the 2017 to 2019 fiscal periods, is composed of three categories made up of an Import Adjustment Tax list of 173 tariff lines, a national list consisting of 91 items and an import prohibition list, which is applicable to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS member states.

It read in part, “This is to confirm that His Excellency, Mr. President, has approved the 2016 fiscal policy measures made up of the supplementary protection measures for implementation together with the ECOWAS CET 2015-2019 with effect from 17th of October, 2016.

“Consequently, all transactions prior to the effective date of this circular shall be subjected to the tariff rates applicable before the coming into effect of this 2016 fiscal policy measures.”

An analysis of the  import adjustment tax list, which contains 173 items, shows that the Federal Government has given approval for the reduction of 26 of them, while it left the tariffs on 144 items unchanged.

However, the tariffs on three items contained in the import adjustment tax list were reviewed upwards.

For the national list consisting of 91 products, the circular stipulated that a downward review was approved for 89 items in order to encourage development in the real sector of the economy.

The items in the national list whose import duties were reduced from 10 per cent to five per cent are milk and cream; tea; fats of sheep or goat; malt extract; tomatoes prepared or preserved by vinegar; under natured ethyl alcohol for medical, pharmaceutical or scientific purpose; petroleum oils and oils obtained from bitumen minerals other than crude.

Others are hypochlorites; synthetic organic colouring matter; grease for treatment of textile materials; prepared glues and adhesives; activated carbon; picking preparations for metal surfaces; organic composite solvents and thinners; mixes alkylbenzenes; and industrial monocarboxylic fatty acids.

In the same vein, the government also approved a reduction from 10 per cent to five per cent for tubes, pipes, hoses, sheets, foil, tape, polyethylene, paper and paper board, yarn, synthetic staple fibres, semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel, stranded wire ropes, and completely knocked down or unassembled for the assembly industry.

For items such as automatic circuit breakers, switches, lamp-holders, electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, the Federal Government gave an approval for the reduction of their import duties from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.

For machineries and equipment used in sectors such as agriculture, cement, hospitality, power, iron and steel, solid minerals, textile and aviation, the government, according to the circular, approved a zero import duty.

Before the approval, the import duties for machineries and equipment used in these sector were put at five per cent.

The circular also reinforced the ban placed on the importation of some items.

Some of them are refined vegetable oil, cocoa butter, spaghetti/noodles, fruit juice in retail packs,  bagged cement, soaps and detergent, mosquito repellent coils, corrugated paper and paper boards,  telephone recharge cards and vouchers, carpets and rugs, all types of footwear, bags and suitcases, and used motor vehicles above 15 years from year of manufacture.

The government also banned the importation of live or dead birds, waters, liquid dietary supplements and medicament such as paracetamol tablets and syrup, chloroquine tablets and syrup, among others.

NUPENG lauds FG’s policy to stop petroleum products importation by 2018

The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s policy to end importation of petroleum products by 2018.

Mr Joseph Ogbebor, NUPENG’s General Secretary gave the union’s position in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

NAN reports that the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, had said on Wednesday in Ebonyi announced that by 2018, Nigeria would stop the importation of refined petroleum products.

Nigeria as an oil-producing state and member of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), he said, had no business importing refined products.

“Importation of petroleum products became unavoidable because there was no regular maintenance of the four government-owned refineries.

“This led to poor capacity utilisation and loss of jobs while promoting and sustaining jobs in countries where Nigeria imports petrol from.,” the NUPENG scribe said.

He said if new refineries were built and the existing ones given necessary turned-around maintenance with adequate crude supplied for refining for local consumption, importation of petroleum products would be unnecessary.

“This is what as a union we have been preaching for long. Turn the refineries around so that we can create jobs for Nigerians.

“Rather than depend on importation and by so doing create jobs outside the country while the people suffer.”

“If the government could implement it and put an end to petrol importation, it would be a welcome development and better for the economy,” Ogbebor added.

“Save Radio Nigeria from collapse”, Pastor cries out to FG.

Yohanna Buru, general overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Sabo Tasha, Kaduna on Tuesday urged the federal government to save Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, from collapse.

Buru made the appeal at a launcheon he organised for journalists in Kaduna.

He also appealed to the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and other elite in the region to help save the station, which was one of the legacies of Ahmadu Bello, late Premier of Northern Nigeria.

“We should not allow poor management to kill the spirit of Northern Nigeria’s pioneer broadcasting house, it is our duty to voice it out,” he said.

On Sourthern Kaduna crisis, Buru advised the government to stop bringing people from outside to dialogue over the issue and “not to see the problem from one direction.”

He commended journalists for their contributions towards bringing about peace and harmony in the state.

Dominic Uzo, a former secretary, Kaduna State Council of the NUJ, thanked Buru for organising the event.

He pledged that the union would continue to support any effort that would push for the restoration of peace in southern Kaduna and the country.

Why FG Is Yet To Arraign Supreme Court Justice, Okoro, others— AGF

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has said that the Federal Government has not dropped the corruption charge it prepared against Supreme Court Justice, John Inyang Okoro and others, but was rather working to consolidate the charges against them.

According to Malami, the charges against Okoro and others yet to be arraigned in court were being strengthened based on new evidence, which needed to be consolidated in order to have a water-tight case against the suspects.

It will be recalled that no fewer than seven judges of the Supreme, federal and state high courts were taken into custody on the night of October 7, 2016 and later granted bail by security agents over allegations of corruption.

Some of them were later separately charged to different courts.

The minister hinted that the Federal Government was busy assembling its witnesses against the accused persons to ensure the speedy conclusion of the matter once charged to the court.

Malami said: “So far, we have not dropped any corruption case against any of the suspects. What has happened however, is that having stumbled on new evidence, we are consolidating the charges so as to present a water-tight case against the suspects and prove to the world that these people are not being witch hunted as being alleged by some persons.

“We are taking that step mindful of the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which require that all our witnesses must be ready before the commencement of trial. We don’t want to give room for any delay once the cases commences.

“In fact, we want to ensure that our witnesses are ready so that once the judge has fixed a date we can proceed to prove our cases against the suspects,” the minister said.

FG Denies Budgeting N29bn To Fight Militancy in 2017

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, has denied report in a national daily to the effect that there is provision of N29 billion in the 2017 budget to fight militancy in the Niger Delta.

Mr. James Akpandem, Media Aide to the Minister said, the story, which quotes a statement reportedly issued Saturday night and signed by a member of the Central Working Committee of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Dr. Alfred Mulade, gave the impression that the Federal Government has earmarked the sum of N29 billion in the 2017 budget, specifically to fight militancy in the Niger Delta. The story is erroneous.

He said the relevant section of Dr Mulade’s purported statement did not even indicate that the speculated provision was contained in the 2017 Budget. Instead, it stated: “To make matters worse, the government is reported to have earmarked a whooping N29 billion of oil revenue to fight militancy in the Niger Delta region.”

“It must be clearly stated that there is no such provision in the 2017 Budget Proposals presented by the President, so we have absolutely no idea where this story is coming from.

“Indeed, the President has consistently and categorically stated that the focus of his Administration in 2017 will be to ‘continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta’ through dialogue and engagement.

” It is for this reason that, amongst other projects earmarked for the Niger Delta, the sum of N65 billion has been provided in the 2017 Budget proposals for the re-integration of transformed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme,” he stated.

FG Begins N5,000 Payment To First Batch Of One Million Poor, Vulnerable Nigerians.

As part of its  determined efforts to touch the lives of Nigerians positively the Buhari administration has now started the payment of N5, 000 monthly stipends to the poorest and the most vulnerable in the country through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of its Social Investment Programmes, SIP.

Under the CCT, one million Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly payments as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget. In the first batch that commenced last week, nine states would be covered, and many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments by Friday last week, December 30, 2016.

Funds for the commencement of the payments in four states were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s social intervention programmes. Funds for another set of five states to complete the first batch of nine states would follow soon.

Though the sequence for the payment of the money would be operationally managed by NIBSS, beneficiaries in Borno, Kwara and Bauchi States have started receiving the money. The other states in the first batch to commence the CCT payments are Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun & Ekiti States.

The nine pilot states were chosen because they have an existing Social Register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through a tried and tested community based targeting (CBT) method working with the World Bank. However other states have already begun developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases of the CCT implementation.

Beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer of the Federal Government would be mined from the Social Register, initially developed by 8 States through a direct engagement with the World Bank. Those states are featured in the first batch, with the added inclusion of Borno States where a validated list of IDPS were compiled in addition to the Social Register which is expected to go round the country.

Working with the World Bank, the CBT process has now been adopted for developing the Social Register in the other States around the country, for transparency, objectivity and credibility in the selection of the poorest and most vulnerable beneficiaries for the programme.

The Federal Government will actually commence community mobilization for the creation of the Register in more States soon, to expand the scope and reach of the CCT across the country.

Meanwhile, Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Katsina & Taraba  States have so far complied with the stipulated framework provided, and are set for the community based targeting method for the development of their Social Register within their jurisdictions.

These States are to be followed by Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Imo and Ogun States. Once the community mobilization, identification and selection processes are completed, the information garnered from the poorest households would be entered onto the Social Register in the states and the National Register at NIBSS, after which the cash transfers would be disbursed to the beneficiaries.

All the funds approved for the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP, are domiciled with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. In addition, the payment information and processes for all beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s SIP are hosted at NIBSS, as the Consolidated Beneficiary Register, to ensure and fortify efforts at authentication and verification, as well as for effective and efficient programme management.

With the commencement of the CCT, the Buhari administration is now implementing four of the Federal Government’s SIP.

Besides the CCT, the N-Power Volunteer Corps designed to hire half a million unemployed graduates which has now engaged 200,000, and the National Homegrown School Feeding  Programme now running in three states, the Buhari administration has also kicked-off the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, (GEEP).

Under GEEP, soft loans ranging from N10,000 to 100,000 have been designed for artisans, traders, market women among others.

Already, thousands of cooperatives, market women associations, farmers and enterprising youths, have been identified and registered for the purpose, on an ongoing basis, and the disbursement of the soft loans through the Bank of Industry have started since Nov 25, 2016.

At the last count, for the first phase, beneficiaries have been drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Delta, Imo, Kwara, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Kogi States.

However, disbursements were halted and deferred until after the festive season. Vetting and approval of beneficiaries are now being continued through the month, with the expectation and plan that by month-end disbursements would have been made to 33,000 beneficiaries.

Regarding the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme, close to 50% of the graduates, have now been physically verified, and started receiving their monthly stipends of N30,000 last week. A second batch of 300,000 unemployed graduates are expected to be selected early this year to make up the half a million target set by the Buhari administration.

The verified graduates are now being deployed to work as assistant teachers in schools, as community health aides and as agricultural extension workers, in more than 20 States of the Federation. These States include; Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Anambra, Benue, Cross Rivers, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Jigawa, Katsina, Plateau, Kogi, Osun, Rivers, Zamfara, Niger, Sokoto, Ogun and Taraba.

Government has also started the implementation of the National Home-grown School Feeding programme designed to feed 5.5 million school children for 200 school days in the first phase of the programme. Although the initial design was to feed pupils in 18 States, funding challenges had affected an earlier take-off. But the programme has now commenced in Osun, Kaduna and Anambra States. More states are expected to join this new year.

In the new year, it is the plan of the Federal Government to scale up the implementation of the SIP to touch the lives of millions of Nigerians in fulfillment of it’s promises and in furtherance of its Change agenda.


Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

January 2, 2017

Airport Closure: We’ll rather lose billions of dollars than risk lives, says FG

The federal government says it prefers to lose billions of dollars in revenue than to risk lives.

Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, said this on Monday, disclosing that Thursday had been slated for engaging stakeholders in the industry on  issues arising from the proposed closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Sirika had earlier announced closure of the airport for repairs on its runway.

He explained that Thursday’s meeting was a follow-up to the decision to temporarily shut down operations at the airport for six weeks in February and March.

According to the minister, the stakeholders’ forum will afford him with the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.

“It is also to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna international airport as an alternative during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport is seamless and hitch-free,” read the statement signed by James Odaudu, deputy director, press and public affairs, ministry of transportation.

“The stakeholders will also be expected to make their contributions and key into the plans to make their operations during the period less problematic.”

Sirika said the forum was in line with government’s belief in hearing people’s opinions in formulating and executing policies.

He said government is aware of the likely high level of discomfort and inconvenience the proposed closure of the airport would cause air transport passengers, airline operators and other service providers.

Sirika explained that the decision was informed by safety and security concerns.

The minister also disclosed that the ministry would invite other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as security agencies and the Kaduna state government who were expected to play roles during the six-week period.

Nigeria Yanks 50,000 Ghost Workers From Federal Payroll In 2016

Nigeria’s Federal government payroll has been rid of 50,000 ghost workers, saving the country N200 billion in the last 11 months.

Speaking with State House correspondents at an interactive meeting to mark the end the year, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, announced that 11 persons championing the syndicate of ghost workers have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The flagship program of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course. Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments.

“When the the Committee was constituted in February 2016, Federal government monthly salary bill was N151 billion excluding pensions. Now the monthly salary warrant is N138 billion, excluding pensions. Which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about N13 billion. That is from February 2016 to date,” he said.

The Presidential spokesman added that the “the pension bill was 15.5bn monthly as at February. Now it is down to N14.4 billion, which means average monthly saving is made of about N1.1 billion.”

He explained that the total number of ghost workers so far removed from the payroll is about 50,000 and that 11 persons championing the syndicate of the ghost workers have been referred to EFCC with some of them already undergoing trial.

Speaking on the welfare of the recently-released 21 Chibok Girls, Malam Garba said they are being treated as adoptees of the Federal Government but revealed that there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls.

“A black American billionaire, Mr. Robert Smith who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set set of escapees from Boko Haram at the American University of Nigeria, Yola has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free. The Murtala Mohammed Foundation in the country is equally interested,” according to the the Presidential spokesman.

Responding to complaints by some of the parents of the 21 Chibok Girls that they did not have enough room for interaction with their daughters brought home for Christmas by the Department of State Services, DSS the Senior Special Assistant to the President admitted that there were some hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip on the part of some security operatives but that following the receipt of this complaint, a directive has been given from the headquarters for the access by the parents to be eased. “If the situation persists, pls let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he assured.

Addressing an issue of interest to a lot of the members of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC concerning appointments into boards, Malam Garba assured that the process will be be fully back on track at the beginning of the new year.

“You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector by sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the new year. The President has given directions on what to do,” according to him.

On the agricultural programs of the administration, Malam Garba said that the President’s persistent calls for a return to farming is yielding good results. “The talk about agriculture has driven people to the farm. This year, there is a huge boom in the rural economy. We have witnessed an excellent harvest. Farmers are getting value for their output. What has encouraged farmers the more is the increasing availability of extension services. New farming techniques are helping farmers to do their occupation better. The readiness of off takers to buy the produce is also a major boost.

“When you put all these together with the systematic move to curb importation as a boost local production through the restriction of the available foreign exchange to critically important sectors of the economy, you have favorable environment for the diversification of the economy.

“As we speak, several of the country’s major manufacturing industries are actively backward-integrating- Nestle, Unilever, the breweries are looking what we have as local materials, changing their formulations to maintain production levels and keep their share of the market. Manufacturers who are hooked on import of raw materials are advised to re-strategize and take full advantage of local raw materials. The future belongs to those who employ the use of local raw materials,” concluded the spokesman.

Ex-militants are suffering, IYC tells FG.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Wednesday called on the federal government to pay the backlog of stipends owed ex-militants.


Eric Omare, the council’s spokesman, made the call in a statement, saying the former agitators are suffering.


Omare said the IYC was not happy with the disposition of Paul Boroh, coordinator of the amnesty programme, towards facilitating  the release of the stipends.


He said Boroh had attributed the delay in the payment to the treasury single account (TSA) policy of the government.


“Niger Delta ex-militants under the amnesty programme are being owed five months arrears of stipends,” he said.


Omare said the non-payment had subjected the ex-militants to untold hardship and “miserable” Christmas celebration.


“We also call on the national security adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Munguno, under whose office the amnesty programme is domiciled, to take steps to immediately effect the payments to avoid unnecessary hostility,” he said.

MTN has paid N80bn of N330bn fine, says FG.

The federal government says MTN had paid N80 billion of the N330 billion fine imposed on it for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards.

Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, disclosed this at a forum organised by NAN in Abuja.

He said the company paid the sum for the first year.

MTN was initially fined 5.2 billion dollars (N1.04 trillion) but it was later reduced to N330 billion.

“For the first year, they paid N80 billion, after paying the initial N50 billion, and they will have to pay for three years until they will complete the N330 billion,” Shittu said.

“MTN does not have a choice, when the law was made, it said for every unregistered SIM card in use, the fine is N200,000, the law never anticipated that one company will be in violation to the tune of millions of lines.

“It was inconceivable, so when the thing was added 200,000 times 5.2 million lines, it came to a trillion plus.

“When it happened, MTN did four things; one they accepted that they were in default, two, they apologised for that and three they committed themselves never to allow such a thing to happen and number four, they asked for remission.

“Government had to look at a number of factors because if they have to pay this amount; they will pack up.

“We also knew that we invited the international community to come and invest and anything that will be done which will shake the confidence of international investors in Nigerian economy, we must avoid it.”

He said the federal government decided to be considerate, explaining there would have been mass job loss if MTN had folded up.

“Consequently, we must not throw away the baby with the bath water, if they had packed up and left, let us assume all their staff are not more than 5, 000, it means all of those 5,000 will lose their jobs,” he said.

“Also those who made investment, who bought shares will lose their shares and the Nigeria banking sector would go into crisis.”

Shittu said even in the court system, if one was fined and could not pay for one reason or the other, the person would ask for reconsideration either by way of appeal or bringing a motion.

“What concerns hungry Nigerians with tales of Sambisa?” – Fayose to FG

Although commendations have been pouring in for the federal  government over the military’s conquest of Sambisa forest, Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, is wondering the effect of the development on Nigerians who are hungry.

Describing statements made on dislodging of the sect from their stronghold as diversionary, Fayose asked the current administration to proffer solutions to the hardship in the land.

He alleged that the country had become “directionless”, and that Nigerians were more desirous of hearing about the defeat of hunger.

“It has become predictable that whenever Nigerians cry of the pains and sufferings they are going through, the federal government will come with stories like: ‘20 Chibok girls found’, ‘$1 billion found in Mr A, B or C bedroom’, ‘Boko Haram technically defeated’, ‘We have captured Sambisa forest’, etc just to divert attention,” Fayose said in a statement issued on his behalf by Lere Olayinka, his spokesman.

“What Nigerians are now desirous of hearing from the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government is the defeat of hunger and untold hardship ravaging the country and not recycled stories of defeat of Boko Haram insurgents, which is as usual, aimed at diverting the attention of Nigerians from the fact that there is ravaging hunger at this time of the year.

“It is painful that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has become directionless either due to the cluelessness of the president or his old age that has foisted a purposeless leadership on the country.

“This year’s Christmas is the worse in the history of Nigeria. People cannot afford to celebrate and enjoy themselves due to the hardship caused by the APC government. To make matters worse, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also created artificial scarcity of cash, such that people could not access their hard earned money in the banks as most banks in the country do not have cash to pay their customers.

“Like I have maintained, the main issue confronting Nigerians now is hunger and hunger does not speak the language of political propaganda that is being used by the APC led federal government. It is therefore no longer about diversionary news, it is about preventing Nigerians from dying of hunger.”

Fayose said for the country to move forward, Buhari “must change his attitude from a vindictive military dictator to a civilian president of all Nigerians”.

He said the “cabal in the presidency has hijacked the president and his government”, and is now running the country aground

“The only solution to the myriad of problems facing the country is for those holding power in Abuja to face the sad reality that it was the hard stance of the president, his statements against Nigeria and its people both at home and abroad coupled with his demonstration of hatred against some sections of the country and desperation to crush his perceived enemies that led us to where we are today,” he said.

“It was the president that went to foreign countries to de-market Nigeria by calling all Nigerians thieves and dishonest people. He was the one who created atmosphere of economic and political instability in the country by his acts of nepotism and vindictiveness?

“They are not running the economy of Nigeria by the open participation of Nigerians but by some cabal, who see themselves as superior to others. By their failure to involve those who know more than them, they have succeeded in creating unemployment instead of three million jobs that they promised Nigerians per year. They have taken Nigeria back to the Stone Age and it will take several years for the country to recover, if it will ever recover.”

FG’s whistleblowing policy and the death of financial corruption in Nigeria – By Simon Ncheta

At Independence, Nigeria was projected as the nation to lead Africa out of its third world status, into a continent of pride, worthy of competing with the developed world on every aspect of human development index.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, promised the rest of the continent and the world, that Nigeria “shall not fail for want of determination”.

56 years down the line, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress, and equally tremendous failure. Corruption has been seen as the bane of our democracy and development as a nation.

For many years, financial corruption has held the nation from attaining the realities of its potential. According to Waziri Adio, the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigeria made N70 trillion from oil alone in 15 years (1999-2014).

He goes on to question the way such monies were spent and the mis-management that trailed the country’s administrations through those years.

“I think if previous administrations had developed a culture for prudent management of resources, Nigeria ought to have over $100 billion saved in the excess crude account,” he said.

How such monies were spent no longer remain a mystery as President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war has revealed how government officials and their cronies channelled state funds into personal pockets.

Ben Akabueze, director-general of the office, said that the federal government is projecting an infusion of N258.6 billion from recovered loot into the 2017 budget, showing a fraction how much loot recovery, the government did in 2016.

On Wednesday, Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, announced the federal government’s whistleblowing policy for loot recovery.

“You can submit documentary evidence on the portal. You can also provide specific and fact-based information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates of the occurrence on the portal,” she had said.

“Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law. If you choose not to disclose your identity, there will be no record of who you are. If you choose to disclose your identity, it will be fully protected.
”If you whistleblow in public-spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint. If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.”

To cap it all Adeosun said the programme comes with an incentive and protection for whistle blowers. It ensures that whistle blowers can get as much five percent of loot, in case of losses recorded in the process.

“Whistle blowers will be protected against sanctions, and in the event that somebody who is a whistle blower loses their job or is financially disadvantaged as a result of the information they have provided, we have a reward scheme, which would pay not more than five percent,” she adds.

This goes on to show that the government is committed to catering for whistle blowers.

What this policy would do much more than recovering loot, is to prevent looting. With everyone free to blow a whistle on financial mismanagement, every public official planning one form or looting or the other will be deterred from doing so, because anyone who knows about it can blow a whistle and get the official in the government’s net.

Hence, much more than the recovery of loot, federal government’s whistleblowing programme may mean the death of financial theft in Nigeria.

Ncheta writes from Lagos, and can be reached via simonncheta@gmail.com

No New Chibok Girls Released– FG

The Nigerian government has denied reports claiming the release of another set of 21 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram.

Reports had claimed that the girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had been transported to Yola, Adamawa State, after their release on Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu denied that more girls had been released.

“No new girls have been released,” Mr. Shehu tweeted. “To my friends spreading the news of a further release of Chibok Girls, we are not there yet. But, by God’s grace, they will be. Happy Christmas, everyone.”

Mr. Shehu said the 21 girls reported Thursday were those released in October. He said they were being escorted by security to Yola on their way home to celebrate the Christmas with their families.

“Today, the DSS took the 21 Girls already secured to Yola, Adamawa State on their way home to celebrate the Christmas with their families.

“The negotiations are ongoing and the Department of State Service, DSS is full of optimism that they will be successful,” he wrote.



FG to ex-militants: We know you are in pains, you’ll soon be paid.

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has reassured beneficiaries of the programme of payment of their stipends, urging them not to be agitated over the delay.

Paul Boroh, coordinator of the programme, gave the assurance in an interview with NAN on Thursday.

Boroh said the federal government had affirmed efforts to effect prompt payment to beneficiaries.

“I am assuring all beneficiaries under the programme that arrangements are being made to fast-track the payment of their stipends as soon as the amnesty office receives its allocation,” he said.

He said the current administration is aware of the pains the ex-militants are going through and will ensure that they get their stipends soon.

Boroh said his office has been working assiduously to engage relevant agencies of government to explore areas of collaboration in engaging trained beneficiaries.

“The Amnesty office is collaboration with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to explore areas of cooperation in engaging trained beneficiaries,” he said.

He also called for patience and understanding, saying that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on achieving the ultimate goal of peace and stability in the Niger Delta.

He said the programme had continued to record successes, buttressing his point with the graduation of 97 ex-agitators in advanced farming courses at the Bio-resources Development Centre, Odi, Bayelsa.

Boroh said the programme was being supervised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

He lauded the beneficiaries of the programme for their continuous dedication to the cause of lifting Nigeria to enviable heights using agriculture.

Boroh described the training in advanced farming methods as vital to government’s current crusade to explore the business opportunities in agriculture.

“The beneficiaries were trained in advanced techniques in several farming areas, including fresh water fish production (aquaculture), macro propagation of elite plants, snail farming, grass-cutter farming and household production,” he said.

“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NABDA is to facilitate the training of 500 beneficiaries of the programme who are being trained in batches of 100 each for one month.”

Atiku: This economic hardship has exposed FG’s fundamental weaknesses

Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, says the current economic situation has exposed the weaknesses in having a central government.


An advocate of restructuring, Atiku said the responsibilities of the federal government needs to be reduced to avoid it collapsing “under the weight of too many responsibilities it burdens itself with”.


He questioned the rationale behind having a central government that can “no longer meet its obligation”.


The former number two citizen made this position known on Twitter as seen below:



FG To Reward Whistleblowers With 5% of Recovered Loot

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a whistleblowing policy to expose fraud and other related crimes in both the public and the private sectors.
Also yesterday, FEC approved the outline business case for discussions on the concession agreement that will facilitate private capital for the conclusion of work on the Second Niger bridge.

Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun disclosed this to State House reporters after the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In order to encourage Nigerians to key into the whistleblowers’ scheme, Adeosun said: “If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”

She said the policy devised by her ministry was aimed at encouraging anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on Nigerians and government to report it.

According to her, the policy’s objective is to increase exposure of financial or financial related crimes; support the fight against financial crimes and corruption; improve the level of public confidence in public entities; enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public funds; improve Nigeria’s Open Government Ranking and Ease of Doing Business Indicators; and recover public funds that can be deployed to finance Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit.

She listed information that could be submitted to include: mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets (e.g. properties and vehicles); financial malpractice or fraud; collecting/ soliciting bribes; corruption; diversion of revenue; fraudulent and unapproved payments; splitting of contracts; procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc.).

The ministry defines a whistleblower as any person who voluntarily discloses information in good faith about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur.

The minister, who noted that there was a secure online portal where information could be submitted, said: “If you have already submitted your information, you can also check the status of your report on the portal.”
She however said that the policy would not apply to personal matters concerning private contracts or agreements.
She said whistleblowers could submit their information through the online portal by e-mail or by phone.

On whether a whistleblower is entitled to a financial reward, she responded: “It depends, if there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.

Read More: thisdaylive

Expose corruption and make money as FG adopts new whistle blowing policy.

The Federal Government has approved a new policy on whistle blowing that aims to encourage Nigerians to report financial and other related crimes to relevant authorities.

The highlight of the policy is that whistleblowers whose revelations lead to recovery of money will be entitled to as much as 5 per cent of the recovered sum.

The new policy was approved Wednesday at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council , chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Council Chamber of the Aso Rock Villa.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who announced the new policy to State House correspondents, said it is being put in place “in conjunction with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice”.

She said the policy is a stop gap initiative until the National Assembly formally passes a law on whistle blowing.

She said the new programme encourages Nigerians with information on financial crimes to disclose it.

She said the aim is to strengthen the fight against corruption by the Buhari administration.

She said anyone who provides information leading to the recovery of fund will be entitled to not more than five per cent of the recovered sum.

Ms. Adeosun said the government will set up a website and provide a phone number and email for people to use.

She said anonymity and protection of whistleblowers will also be guaranteed.

JUST IN: FG Declares December 26, 27 And January 2 As Public Holidays.

The Federal Government has declared Monday and Tuesday, December 26 & 27, 2016 and Monday, January 2, 2017 as public holidays to mark the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year 2017 celebrations respectively.


The declaration was made on Wednesday on behalf of the government by the Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd).


General Dambazau enjoined all Christians and Nigerians in general to remain committed and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in his sustained efforts towards building a peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria.


He also urged the citizens to use the occasion to pray for peace, unity and peaceful co-existence across the country.


The minister wishes all Nigerians at home and abroad, a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.


The announcement was contained in a statement issued by the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior, Mr Muhammadu Maccido.

2017 Budget: FG Targets N565bn From Recovered Loot, MTN Fine

The Federal Government hopes to raise a total of N565bn from recovered loot and fines to be paid by MTN Nigeria to fund the 2017 budget.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, explained on Monday in Abuja during the public presentation of the 2017 budget breakdown that the disruptions to oil production and falling crude prices had made it impossible for the government to meet majority of its revenue projections.

The event was attended by the ministers of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole; Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, among others.

Providing useful insights into how the looted funds would be recovered and used, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said that N288.6bn out of the N565bn would come from recovered looted funds.

He said, “With respect to the looted funds for the revenue profile in the 2017 budget, it is a total of N288.6bn. This includes N97.6bn, which is the naira equivalent of $320m expected from the Swiss (government), which is part of what was recovered from the Abacha loot.

“It also includes N72bn that has already been received in cash from cases of recoveries and the balance of N90bn is from other expected recoveries, which are at an advanced stage and we feel comfortable and confident that they will come through in 2017 and have to be reflected in the budget.”

The Nigerian Communications Commission had in October 2015 fined MTN N1.04tn for selling over five million unregistered SIM cards.

The fine was later reduced to N330bn, out of which MTN has paid N50bn to the government. The balance of N280bn will be paid in six tranches over a period of three years.

The persistent attacks on oil installations by militants in the Niger Delta and the harsh operating climate resulting in low tax receipts from companies, according to Udoma, dealt a huge blow on the government’s revenue in the first nine months of this year.

Read More: punchng

2016 Revenue Projections Failed- FG

Over half of this year’s capital projections have failed due to shortfall in expected revenue, the Federal Government revealed yesterday.

The Federal Government budgeted about N1.8 trillion for capital projects in 2016 but only N753.6 billion was released as at October, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma said yesterday.

Government had expected that the N6.06 trillion budget would help reflate the economy but it suffered setback due to several factors.

Presenting the 2017 budget details yesterday, Udoma said pipeline vandalism and militancy in the Niger Delta as well as low global crude oil prices affected the implementation of the 2016 budget.

He said the 2016 budget, which was predicated on oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day with 38 dollars per barrel and exchange rate of N197 to a dollar, fell short of all revenue projections.

The minister said the budget did not benefit much from the slight excess revenue   from increase in global crude oil prices above government’s projection, as militant activities forced down daily outputs.

Udoma said: “The Federal Government’s 2016 revenues have been low because of the sharp decline in oil production. In particular, the revenue target for January to September 2016 was N2.8 trillion as against N2.2 trillion realised during the period.

“The projected independent revenue was N1.1 trillion as against N0.2 trillion realised during the period. The projected revenue for Custom was N0.3 trillion as against N0.2 trillion realised. The projected non-oil tax receipts for the first to third quarter of 2016 is N0.8 trillion and only N0.5 trillion was realised.”

To support funding of the 2017 budget, the minister said President Muhammadu Buhari had  set up a cabinet committee that would  devise innovative and creative ways to raise additional revenues from the oil and other sectors.

He said the report of the committee would be ready in time for the National Assembly to take into account in considering the budget in 2017.

“We must maximise the resources we can generate from the oil and gas sector. We cannot determine the price of crude oil, but we can engage more extensively with the communities and people of the Niger Delta to minimise disruptions to oil production,” he stated.

He said in order to get out of the current recession, the government must find the resources to spend on infrastructure and reflating the economy.

According to him, “This spending will help to stimulate and attract the private sector capital and spending. This is what the 2017 budget proposals seek to do.

“We should not allow ourselves to be discouraged by those who say we can’t find the money to fund the spending required to implement this budget.”
Read More: dailytrust

FG To Close Abuja Airport For Six Weeks For Rehabilitation Of Runway

The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, monday said the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja would be closed between February and March next year to allow Julius Berger carry out repairs on the damaged runway.

Briefing journalists after an on-the-spot assessment of the runway, he said while the runway would still be put to use during the six months of rehabilitation, the airport would however be shut for six weeks between February and March, when the mid section of the runway would be reconstructed.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reconstruction work through the emergency procurement procedure for work to commence because of the centrality and importance of Abuja to the general administration of the country.

He admitted that government cannot afford to close down Abuja airport for a long time, even though palliative repairs had been ongoing at the runway in the last three months.

The minister said: “From start to finish of the runway, it will take six months. However we will be using the runway almost throughout the period except for about six weeks when the runway will be closed. That is when we are going to do the mid-section of the runway.”

According to him, government had accepted the design done by the contractor, adding that the runway would last for more than 10 years on completion early next year.

On the six weeks closure of the airport to passenger traffic, he said Abuja bound passengers from any part of the world will use the Kaduna airport as alternative, explaining that robust arrangement had been finalised the with Kaduna State Government to convey the passengers to Abuja.

Sirika said: “It will cost government substantial amount of money but we thought in our wisdom that palliative approach is wrong because three years down, we will come back to do the same repairs therefore we decided to go for the bigger option which is to do structural repairs if the runway which will take about six months to complete.
The minister said the government was not unaware of the pains passengers are currently going through due to the non-availability of aviation fuel and the scarcity of foreign exchange which has also impacted on government finance.
While pleading for understanding, he said consultations were ongoing with oil marketers, the Ministry of Petroleum and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the crisis, adding: “Very soon, the country will be out of this, as we cannot be relying on Ghana for aviation fuel.”

Read More: thisdaylive

Recession: FG Closes 9 Foreign Missions

The Federal Government has approved the closure of nine foreign missions and their conversion to non-residency representation or concurrent accreditation, as part of measures to reduce the cost of running Nigeria’s foreign representations in the face of economic realities.
It also reduced the number of officers at foreign missions, stopped posting staff of home ministries to foreign missions and approved the training of Foreign Service officers to carry out multiple tasks, including administration, immigration, trade, culture and education related functions.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said President Buhari stated this while declaring open an induction course organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Nigerian Career Ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.
According to President Buhari: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.
“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”
The president, who said the prevailing economic circumstances have led to a restructuring of Nigerian missions abroad, reminded the Ambassadors-designate that,  “as we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions. As Heads of missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times, and all of us are expected to do more with less.”
He specifically charged the Ambassadors-designate to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.
“For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasising our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.
“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent. Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them.”
The President further urged them to leverage on the achievements of Nigerians within the country and in diaspora.
“Think of people like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Chinedu Echeruo who founded Hotspot application which he sold to Apple for over a billion dollars; think of Bayo Ogunlesi, who runs over a billion dollar infrastructure fund and is now Adviser to US President-elect; and Jelani Aliyu, an accomplished car designer at General Motors. Indeed, these and other hardworking Nigerian professionals in the diaspora have never forgotten their roots and have been making significant contributions to their communities back home, and even to our economy through  their huge remittances.”
Buhari further urged them to sustain the work ethic characterized by the love of country, professionalism, excellence, integrity and honour associated with the “Nigerian diplomatic tradition established in 1957 by the pioneers of the Nigerian Foreign Service, sometimes referred to as the “12 Apostles” and also “bequeath same to succeeding generations. ”
President Buhari also charged the Ambassadors-designate to stress Nigeria’s commitment to international peace and security through contributions “to nearly every UN peacekeeping initiative since 1960 when we achieved our independence.
In addition, we are the stabilizers and shock absorbers of West Africa, having helped to contain potentially de-stabilising developments in the sub-region.”
Buhari further charged the Ambassadors–designate always to be mindful of the national priorities that “revolve around the economy, security, anti-corruption, good governance, agricultural transformation and infrastructure development, including rail, roads and power” and use their roles “as Principal Representatives to build meaningful partnerships to attract foreign investments, new skills and technologies.
“As Nigerian Ambassadors, you must show leadership, fairness and justice to all. Discipline, probity, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption must be your watchwords. You are expected to project the best image and traditions of our country in your conduct and all you do.”
The president, however, expressed optimism that the current economic recession will fade next year.

Credit: sunnewsonline

FG moves to end Niger Delta crisis, merge agencies

The Federal Government yesterday moved to end militancy in the Niger Delta region.

Addressing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai joined by the Deputy Governor of Anambra State Mkem Okeke, said governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have agreed to form a committee that would collaborate with the Federal Government to combat the menace of vandalism and destruction of oil and power installation among others.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who also spoke after the NEC meeting, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding, said the current administration was only on a rescue mission of an economy that was already battered.

“At the federal level, we are suggesting looking at the Orosanye report. We have discussed very important steps to be taken. We have suggested looking at Orosanye report that suggested merger and reduce publications of agencies,” El Rufai said.

According to him: “FG has 580 agencies. They are too many and they cost too much. There is a need to look at those that are duplicated and merge them. That is a report published since 2012. Even within MDAs, we need to consider merging departments. We may not need as many departments as we have. We have discussed implementing a public service renewal programme to get younger people, more IT-saving people into the public service.”

This government created 200,000 jobs in one fell swoop – Lai Mohammed.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says “corrupt elements” opposed to the change agenda are making government activities obscure to give the wrong impression that work hasn’t been going on.

According to Lai, the federal government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has done so much, including the “unprecedented” creation 200,000 jobs “in one fell swoop”.

Mohammed said this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the Federal Government of Nigeria Information App (FGN IAPP), designed to provide real time information from the government to Nigerians at home and abroad.

He said the corrupt had chosen to fight the government with their ill-gotten wealth, by “distorting our messages and obfuscating our activities”.

“A government that has achieved the unprecedented feat of creating 200,000 jobs in one fell swoop cannot be said to have done nothing,” he said.

“A government that has liberated every inch of our occupied territory from Boko Haram and sent the terrorists fleeing should not be portrayed as not doing anything.

“A government that is surely and steadily making our country self-sufficient in staples such as rice and embarking on a massive infrastructural renewal cannot be said to be doing nothing

“A government that is boldly tackling an economic recession that was foisted on it by years of profligacy, lack of savings and a sudden crash on oil prices deserves accolades, not vilification.”

He added that the FGN IAPP will help to keep Nigerians and non-Nigerians better informed of the activities of the federal government as well as getting the necessary feedback.

“Irrespective of where you are in the world, from today all you needed to do is to download the FGN IAPP, and you will have access to factual and real time information on the activities of the federal government of Nigeria,” he said.

Mohammed said the ‘Be Inspired’ section of the App will make it possible for any Nigerian, irrespective of status, to meet top political, business, religious and other leaders.

He added that the App also provides a feedback section that allows anyone make his or her feelings known about any government policy or programmes.

We are not responsible for this economic situation, says FG

The federal government says it is not responsible for the current economic situation of the country.


Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, said this on Thursday, describing the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as a rescue team.


Udoma spoke after the national economic council (NEC) meeting which Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo presided over at the presidential villa in Abuja.


“We are not responsible for the current economic situation we find ourselves. We are actually a rescue team; a team working on rescuing Nigeria from the position we find ourselves in,” he said.


“Under President Muhammadu Buhari, we are determined to take Nigeria out of the situation. The situation started long before we came.


He also explained that the economic team of the current administration consisted of persons with political responsibility for the ultimate policy decisions.


He added that the technical work was done by people in various organs of government, and that the administration had consulted with economists from Nigeria, while the political decision is taken by the elected officials who are politically accountable.

FG Confirms Discovery Of Crude Oil In Borno

The federal government yesterday confirmed the discovery of crude oil in Borno State, North East Nigeria, thus raising the hope of the region joining the league of oil producing areas in the not-too-distant time.

The disclosure was made by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shua’ra, when she presented her welcome address at the presentation of the 2016 petroleum sector scorecard held at the auditorium of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PDF) in Abuja yesterday.

She brandished the discovery of crude oil in Borno State as one of the achievements of the ministry during the year, saying, “Our doggedness culminated in the discovery of oil in new frontiers – Lagos and Borno.”

Shua’ra listed other achievements of the ministry.

“Today, as a team, we have recorded commendable achievements in our sector:  the introduction of the PMS Price Modulation Matrix; the availability of PMS in all outlets; eradication of payment on fuel subsidies; located foreign direct investment to finance midstream oil and gas infrastructure; adopted exit strategies on Joint Venture Cash Call; robust engagement of host communities to reduce agitations; creation of more stable industrial relations,” she said.

Collaborating her statement, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that the deregulation of the downstream sector, which led to the elimination of petroleum subsidy, saved the government a burden of N15.4 billion monthly.

The vice president, who was represented the attorney-general and minister of justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, stated that the oil and gas sector remain very critical to the stability and growth of the nation’s economy as it accounts for about 90 per cent of the country’s earnings, in addition to contributing substantially to the inflow of foreign exchange and growth of foreign reserves.

Prof. Osinbajo further disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently approved new measures and strategies aimed at eliminating the burden of Joint Venture Cash Call arrears and easing future payments in the up-stream sector, stressing that the strategies are fully supported by the National Economic Council (NEC).

He noted that the measures will boost additional investments and raise daily production levels to about 2.8 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the long-run.

On his part, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, revealed that one of the fallouts of the removal of petroleum subsidy was the decline of the nation’s daily consumption of the premium motor spirit (PMS), from the 50 million litre per day (mlpd) previously to the current figure 28mlpd.



#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.

Unremitted Revenue: FG Recovers N793m From MDAs

The federal government yesterday  announced that it has recovered additional sum of N793billion from three  agencies.

The funds were recovered by the Recovery Committee set up two weeks ago by the Minister of Finance, Mrs.  Kemi Adeosun.

According to a statement that was signed by director of information in the ministry of finance, Salisu Dambatta, the recoveries were made from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) N278 million; Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) N407 million and Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) N108 million.

The latest recovery brings the total money recovered under the operation to N1.44 billion. The sum of N650 million was earlier recovered from the Nigeria Shippers Council. Dambatta also disclosed that several other agencies were in the process of submitting repayment plan for approval.

The Minister of Finance had accused many of the federal government agencies of not remitting a huge part of their operating surpluses of about N450 billion for the period of 2010 to 2015 fiscal year to the federation account.

Adeosun who had threatened the defaulting agencies with prosecution said, “We expect greater compliance in the weeks ahead.”

The agencies are required to pay the operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each corporation’s account as provided in  Section 22 (2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission Act 2007.

Meanwhile, the federal government has announced the restructuring of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme into a multimedia-based programme and relaunched it as YouWinConnect,  with a focus on supporting young entrepreneurs with fresh business management ideas for sustainability.

Adeosun had hinted that the government, which was a brain child of the previous administration, would be restructured to improve its performance and sustainability of small and medium businesses start-ups.

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UPDATE: Super Falcons protest at the National Assembly

Super Falcons of Nigeria, champions of Africa for a record eighth time are currently protesting on the streets of Abuja, the federal capital territory, against the non-payment of their allowances and bonuses.


The aggrieved players, who have now laid siege on the national assembly, won the 8th edition of the African Women’s Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, and have vowed not to hand over the trophy to the Nigerian Football Federation NFF until they are paid.


The African champions have also refused to leave their Agura hotel?, Abuja.


Falcons Protest1

Speaking to TheCable at the protest ground at the national assembly entrance, one of the players said:”We are not protesting to embarrass the nation but to beg the government to help us to get what we worked and suffered for.


“We, as women, should not be treated differently from the men. If it were to be the? Super Eagles, I am sure that they would have found a solution to the issue of unpaid allowances owed.


“We went to Cameroon without any complaint. We did the nation proud. We are only appealing to the government to get our dues. We are their daughters; they should hear our cry and come to our aid. We have aged parents to take care of and other responsibilities too.”


The Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) is owing the Super Falcons team a cumulative sum of $819,000 from the qualification games tothe  gold medal win against hosts Cameroon in the final.


Falcons Protest 2

Breakdown of the total money owed ?is below:


Total money owed per player is $25,400


Total money owed the head coach is $50,800 (head coach gets twice what the players get)


Total money for each assistant coach is $33,600 ( 2 assistant coaches and one goalkeeper trainer)


Total money owed each back room staff? is $33,600 (the team medical doctor, physiotherapist, media officer, team secretary and coordinator)


The curator gets half of what the back room staffs get, which is $16,800.

FG Unveils N7.02trn Package To End Recession

As part of moves to get the country out of recession, the Federal Government has outlined new revenue sources to fund the 2017 budget.
This is even as the House of Representatives also yesterday passed for the Second Reading the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who unfolded the new revenue measures, stated this when he appeared before a joint committee of the Senate on Appropriation and Finance, to defend the MTEF/FSP. He said the Federal Government will issue new oil licences, review the current joint venture arrangements with oil companies, review marginal oil fields and mount pressure on revenue generating agencies to surpass expected targets.
Also, the government has stated that the 2017 budget oil benchmark will be pegged at $42.50. This is a departure from $38 per barrel which was used for 2016 budget.
Daily oil production volume for next year was retained at 2.2 million barrels. The exchange rate was put at N305 to the dollar. The new exchange rate is significantly higher than that of 2016. The 2016 budget exchange rate was pegged at $197.
Udoma said N10 trillion is being targeted by the government as revenue during the 2017 fiscal year. Out of this amount, about N5 trillion is expected to be generated from sales of crude oil.
Non-oil revenues will rake in about N5.06 trillion. These revenues are expected to come from corporate and company taxes, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Stamp Duties, capital gains tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs, Excise, fees, surcharges on luxury items, special levies and Federal Government independent revenue.
The 2017 budget which was initially pegged at N6.6866 trillion, has also been raised to N7.298 trillion. In 2016, the government submitted an ambitious N6.059 proposal to the National Assembly.
Out of this, the government is expected to expend N1.488 trillion in servicing domestic debts. In 2016 budget, the Federal Government earmarked N1.307 trillion.
On foreign debt, the Federal Government will spend N175.882 billion. It spent N54.480 on foreign debt servicing in the 2016 budget.
On capital expenditures, the Federal Government budgeted N2.058 trillion. In the 2016 budget, N1.587 was earmarked by the Federal Government for capital projects.
Recurrent expenditures will gulp N1.866 trillion. About N1.748 was budgeted for the same purpose in the 2016 Appropriation. The new figure is coming, despite claims by the Federal Government that thousands of ghost workers have been yanked off from government’s payroll.
The Federal Government also intends to borrow N2.321 trillion. Out of this, N1.253 will be sourced locally, while N1.067 will be gotten from foreign sources. In the 2016 budget, N1.182 was reportedly borrowed locally, while N635.8 billion was gotten through foreign borrowing.
On budget projections, Udoma said: “I know N7 trillion seems larger than N6 trillion. In actual dollar term, the 2017 budget is smaller. We have had challenges in revenue generation in funding the 2016 budget. We are trying to get to the bottom of revenue generating agencies in order to raise more money.
“We want to issue a presidential order to ensure that revenue generating agencies are unable to spend money unless payment of salaries until their budgets are passed.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2017 budget proposal today before a joint session of the National Assembly.
Unlike in the past, the budget submission will go ahead,  despite the non-passage of MTEF and FSP by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the House  of Representatives yesterday passed for Second Reading, the 2017-2019 MTEF/FSP submitted by Mr. President.
The document was referred to the joint Committees on Appropriations, Finance and Loans, Aids and Debt Management. It contains plans for capital expenditure for 2016 increased to N635.77 billion.
It also has a revenue target of N4.169 trillion (against N3.856 trillion in 2016) and total expenditure of N6.687 trillion.
A further breakdown of the MTEF showed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow at 3.02% in 2017, with crude oil benchmark pegged a $42.5 per barrel and 2.2mbpd oil production; foreign exchange pegged at N350/$ while fiscal deficit was pegged at 3 percent.

Read More: sunnewsonline

FG To Increase Salaries Next Year– Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has assured Nigerian workers of a pay rise next year.

Ngige stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, in an interactive session with journalists on Tuesday.

He said the various committees handling the minimum wage issue were working to arrive at something.

He said the minimum wage under Buhari would not be like any pay rise in the country.

The Minister said, “minimum wage is a constitutional issue and is in the exclusive list.

“The Nigerian workers are entitled to a review of their pay under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The various committees handling this matter are all working hard to realise the objective. Some are at the final stages of their work.”

He said the kind of minimum wage being worked out by the Buhari administration, would be enforceable by workers in both private and public sectors.

Ngige said that the new minimum wage would be couched in such a way that any employer of Labour in the country who would pay his workers below the minimum wage would be held liable.



FG in Secret Talks with Niger Delta Militants Despite Failure to Formally Name Negotiating Team- Report

Despite its reluctance to officially set up a negotiating committee to hold talks with militants in the Niger Delta, the federal government has continued discreet talks with the belligerent groups in the region.

It was gathered that at least three meetings had taken place in the last few months between the militants and federal government emissaries coordinated by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mohammed Moguno (rtd).

The backroom discussions, which have incorporated other smaller aggrieved groups, are continuing, it was learnt, just as there is growing anxiety among elders and leaders in the region over the inability of the government at the centre to formally name its team of negotiators about six weeks after their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

All the meetings between the agitators and the office of the NSA, took place in Abuja, after the Joint Task Force (JTF), a special security outfit fighting militancy in the area, cleared and certified the various groups which have attacked oil installations since the beginning of the year.

A source close to the goings-on between the government and the agitators, said government agents reached out directly to the groups instead of going through third parties to learn first hand the underlying reasons for the several attacks on the oil infrastructure aside the ones publicly voiced by the warlords.

To avoid the complaints of exclusion that has continued to trail the amnesty programme, the government was said to have gone beyond only the known violent groups like the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) two groups that have publicly claimed responsibility, to reach out to smaller groups.

But the source added that to avoid making the meetings an “all-comers-affair,” the security agents subjected the groups to serious scrutiny which ensured that ‘portfolio militants’ were screened out.

According to the source, most of the issues being discussed still bordered on the 16-point demand by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by Chief Edwin Clark.

However, it was gathered that the Iduwini Volunteer Force (IVF),  one of the groups operating along the coasts of South-western Delta State and North-western Bayelsa State, in the last meeting with the office of the NSA, insisted that one of the conditions for peace should be the direct payment of 13 per cent derivation to the source of the oil, the communities, rather than the state government.

The group reportedly told the government negotiators that it was an aberration to pay the derivation funds to the state governors who were hardly accountable to the oil producing communities in the Delta.

The IVF, led by one Commander Johnson Biboye, it informed, maintained during one of the meetings that the part of the constitution that set aside the 13 per cent derivation specifically said that the monies should be paid directly to the source of the natural resource and not the states where they are found.

Confirming the discreet discussions between the parties, the source  said: “We have been meeting and interfacing with the government through the office of the NSA. We have told them that the last amnesty programme did not carry many genuine groups along. So, after clearance, several groups have been meeting with them, though there is no definitive conclusion on the discussions.

“As far as you are cleared by the JTF, and they (security agencies) know you have antecedents, you are allowed to be part of those they are talking to. But we have also told government to be consistent.

“If they want peace, let them follow through with the withdrawal of soldiers from the creeks. They cannot be looking for peace and deploying soldiers to harass innocent people at the same time,” it added.

On how the talks were progressing, it said that though the federal government has not made any particular concession, it had agreed in principle to allow the Marine University in Okerenkoko, Tompolo’s town to continue as originally planned by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Read More: thisdaylive

FG yet to be officially notified of Amina Mohammed’s appointment by UN

The Nigerian government said on Sunday that it was yet to be formally notified of the appointment of a serving minister as deputy UN Secretary General.

The presidency said Amina Mohammed is comfortable in her current position as the minister of environment.

A tweet posted by Garba Shehu, a media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, described reports that Ms. Mohammed had been named as a deputy to Antonio Guterres, the recently-appointed Secretary General, as containing elements of “exuberance.”

PREMIUM TIMES broke news of the appointment on Sunday afternoon, prompting the statement from the Buhari administration.

Multiple sources including Nigerian government officials and persons close to Ms. Mohammed confirmed the appointment to PREMIUM TIMES. However, the appointment is yet to be formally announced by the UN or communicated to the Nigerian government.

“There is a lot of exuberance on the net concerning a UN job for Mrs Amina Mohammed. She remains our Minister of Environment,” Mr. Shehu said.

Nonetheless, “If there is anything on this that is released officially, we will let Nigerians know,” he added.

Ms. Mohammed, from Gombe State, was named as the Minister of Environment late last year. She is widely acknowledged for her competence and agility.

In May, she coordinated the launch of a major cleanup effort in Ogoniland, where residents have grappled with deadly environmental hazards for decades as a result of oil exploration there.

A profile of Ms. Mohammed on the UN Sustainable Development website said she served three Nigerian presidents as the Senior Special Assistant on the Millennium Development Goals over a period of six years.

In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria.

Her mandate included designing a Virtual Poverty Fund with innovative approaches to poverty reduction, budget coordination and monitoring, as well as providing advice on pertinent issues regarding poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development.

From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project. Prior to this, she served as Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of Engineers and Quantity Surveyors (1991-2001) and worked with the architectural engineering firm of Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn UK (1981-1991).

Ms. Mohammed is expected to assume her new position in the UN after the Antonio Guterres assumes office as the Secretary General of the world body by January 1, 2017.

Her departure will leave another seat vacant in Mr. Buhari’s cabinet, since the president has not replaced James Ocholi, a former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity who died on March 6, 2016.

Vehicle Importation Ban – Dealers plead for review.

Car dealers in Kano have appealed to the Federal Government to review the law banning the importation of used cars into the country through its land borders. Alhaji Sani Yaro, a prominent dealer of used cars at Olu Obasanjo Way in Kano, said that even before the ban, they were struggling to save the business.
He explained that it was indeed a government policy that brought about the ban, yet they urged the Federal Government to think of their plight and review the policy.
Another dealer, Alhaji Sadiq Idris of Zage Motors in Kano, said many of the dealers would be out of business when the ban takes effect in 2017. cars-queue He noted that not only the dealers would be affected, but rather multiple youths who earned a living through running the errands in the business.
For Alhaji Muttaka Aminu, another car dealer in the Kano metropolis, revealed that he may be compelled to do a total switch to another trade, saying it was a trade he knew while growing up, as his father was into the same business. A security official who pleaded anonymity, however, told NAN that the reason for the ban could either be economic or security-related.
Car dealers in Kano have been in a dilemma since the announcement of the ban on importation of vehicles through the Nigerian land borders by the Nigerian Customs Service on Tuesday. The ban is expected to come into effect next year.

Eid-el-Maulud: FG Declares Monday, Dec 12, Public Holiday

The federal government has declared Monday, Dec. 12 , as public holiday to mark the Eid-el-Maulud celebration.

The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. AbdulrahmanDambazau (rtd), made the declaration on behalf of the federal government yesterday in Abuja.

In a statement signed by the acting permanent secretary of the ministry, AlhajiMuhammaduMaccido, Dambazau enjoined all Muslim faithful and Nigerians in general to join hands with President MuhammaduBuhari to build a strong, united and peaceful nation.

He also urged all Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for peace across the nation.

The minister also called on all Nigerians to be patient and supportive of the present administration for the successful implementation of its laudable programmes.

He wished all Nigerians a happy and peaceful Eid-el-Maulud celebration.

Credit: NAN

Suspend Ban On Vehicle Imports Through Land Borders, Reps Tell FG

The House of Representatives, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to suspend the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders in Nigeria.

Consequently, the lawmakers, at plenary, mandated the Committees on Governmental Affairs and Customs and Excise to ensure implementation and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative input.

This development was based on a motion, entitled ‘’Need to suspend The Ban On Importation of Vehicles Through Land Borders, promoted by Abdulahi Salame, APC, Sokoto. Meantime, stakeholders in the maritime industry were divided on the issue, yesterday.

While some supported the ban, others kicked against it. Salame, in his presentation, argued that those making these policies have failed to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods, especially Nigerian assembled vehicles, which are, in any case unaffordable for 80 percent of Nigerians.

He said: “The percentage of Nigerians who can afford cars has declined drastically, following the decline in the value of the Naira, rising inflation, unemployment and high cost of living that have bedeviled Nigeria where over 80 per cent of Nigerians live below $2 a day. “The Federal Government has powers under Section 18 of the Customs and Excise Management Act to restrict the movement of goods into and out of Nigeria by land or inland waters and to appoint customs stations.

‘’However, similar exercise of such powers on rice importation through the land borders in April 2016, has occasioned untold hardship on Nigerians, as a bag of rice now sells for between N20,000 and N23,000, against N8,000 a few months ago.

“As it is now, the government has not put in place alternative measures to ensure that Nigerians will have access to cars since it is cheaper to buy cars from neighbouring countries and still generate revenue by ensuring that our borders are secured to prevent smuggling, and also that there will be no job losses.’’
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JUST IN: FG Declares Monday, Dec. 12 Public Holiday to celebrate Eid-El-Maulud

The Federal Government has declared Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 as public holiday to mark the Eid-El-Maulud celebration.


The Minister of Interior, Retired Lt.- Gen. Abdulrahman  Dambazau, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government on today, Thursday, December 8, 2016, in Abuja.


In a statement signed by the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, Dambazau enjoined all Muslim faithful and Nigerians in general to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari to build a strong, united and peaceful Nation.


He also urged all Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for peace across the nation.


The minister also called on all Nigerians to be patient and supportive of the present administration for the successful implementation of its laudable programmes.


He wished all Nigerians a happy and peaceful Eid-El-Maulud celebration.

FG appoints parties to borrow $1bn in January

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presented a memorandum seeking approval for the issuance of the $1 billion Eurobond in the International Capital Market (ICM).

Adeosun also sought approval for the appointment of transaction parties responsible for the execution of the programme.

The minister noted that the $1 billion Eurobond issuance was appropriated in the 2016 Budget and the funds will support the implementation of capital projects in the 2016 budget.

The appointed transaction parties responsible for execution of the transaction include Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, White & Case LLP, Banwo & Ighodalo and AfricaPractice.

She stated that the selection was based on an open and competitive bidding process in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and a certificate of “No Objection” was received from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to award contracts to the recommended parties.

“We have so far received strong commitment from the international community. Investors believe in the long-term economic outlook for Nigeria as we continue with our structural reforms and increased focus on infrastructure development to diversify the economy and grow the non-oil sector,” she said.

“Stable oil prices and steadying foreign reserves will support our plans and we expect high demand for this issue to further push down yields. We are confident that this will be a successful outing in January, 2017.”

FLASH: FG sends bill seeking establishment of special anti-corruption courts to NASS

The Federal Government have sent to the National Assembly, a bill seeking the establishment of a special anti-corruption court to try serious crimes, including corruption cases.


The Special Crimes Bill 2016 was drafted by the Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.


The proposed court will exclusively handle corruption cases and other cases including narcotic, human trafficking, kidnapping, cybercrime, money laundering and other related offences.


Details of this bill and more will be passed on as it unfolds…

FG Secures EU’s Commitment on Rebuilding of North East, Niger Delta

The European Union (EU) on Monday pledged its support for the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to rebuild some parts of the North East and Niger Delta regions by earmarking 20 million Euros for the reconstruction of markets and warehouses in Borno and Delta States.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Arrion, who gave the pledge during a visit to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in her office, said the funds would be offered to the two States in the form of budget support.
“Sometime ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the State level, using a special instrument meant for countries emerging from war, and we can look at States in the North East and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets,” he said.

However, Mrs. Adeosun said all the financial analysis needed to facilitate support to the States had been put in place, pointing out that the Fiscal Sustainability Plan required a 21-point fiscal reform programme that enhanced transparency, accountability and efficiency.
According to the Minister, the funding arrangement would help in healing the wounds caused by insurgent activities in the North East. She said it would also give hope to the Niger Delta people who have been impacted by pipeline bombings and the attendant environmental problems in the area.

The EU Ambassador said the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, pointing out that several thousands of Nigerian citizens have continued to migrate to Europe.

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FG Worried About Allegations Of Sexual Harassment In Institutions- Minister

Alhaji Abubakar Malami, the Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, says the Federal Government is worried and deeply concerned about allegations of sexual harassment of students in institutions of learning.

Malami made the statement at the 5th National Conference of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in Umaru Waziri Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi, on Tuesday.

“Government is worried and deeply concerned about allegations of sexual harassment of students, the monetisation of marks and degrees and absence of due process in the award of contracts by Polytechnic Governing Councils, provosts and other administrators ,among other allegations,”  he said.

Malami, who was represented by Dr Muhammad Isah of the Faculty of Law, Bayero University, Kano, urged ASUP to take a leading role in addressing the issues through positive actions and advocacy.

“Addressing these issues will in no doubt retain the relevance of ASUP within the educational sector,” he said.

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FG worried about allegations of sexual harassment in institutions — Minister

Federal Government opposes Senate’s bid to scrap FERMA.

The Federal Government has opposed the plan by the Senate to scrap the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and replace it with the Federal Roads Authority (FRA). The upper chamber of the National Assembly was wanting to repeal the Act establishing the agency having being sponsored by the chairman of its Committee on Works, Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South) in October this year.


In moving for its disbandment, the former Kano State governor had alleged lack of capacity, citing the deplorable state of the roads nationwide over the years.


Gaya in his lead debate said FRA would serve as a semi-autonomous road agency responsible for the professional management of federal roads in the country involving planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, thereby ending the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Ministry of Works.


But in puncturing the move yesterday at a public hearing in Abuja, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said FERMA was already a brand which should not be changed.

“We welcome the idea of creating roads fund, we also welcome the idea of creating a maintenance agency but we think this will be details of the substance of the presentation that I will make.


“We think that all of the recommendations that have been made for maintenance should be embodied in the agency that government has already created, FERMA.


“Repeal the existing FERMA law, re-enact it and put all of the new things we want to create inside it instead of creating a new agency because FERMA was set up for maintenance in the very first place.


“It has acquired the name, it has acquired the brand, we can build on that brand instead of creating a new one. People who managed brands like this change their drinks but they don’t change their names,” he remarked.


Also yesterday, the chamber expressed displeasure over the failure of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear before it over the move to repeal a 58-year old Act to allow for its efficiency.


The Hope Uzodinma-led Committee on Customs and Excise was yearning to get the service’s input for the piece of legislation titled, “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act Bill 2016.”

FG presses fresh charges against Justice Ademola

The Federal Government has preferred fresh charges against Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja and his wife, Olabowale, who is the Head of Service of Lagos State, before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja.

The prosecution amended the charges it filed on December 1, 2016 bringing the original 14 counts down to 11.

While some of the old counts have been dropped, fresh ones including receiving a car worth N8.5m as gratification from a senior lawyer, Mr. Joe Agi, and being in possession of two rifles without valid licences have been preferred against the judge.

The trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke, on Monday, fixed December 13, 2016 for the arraignment of the defendants.

Like the old set of charges, Justice Ademola and his wife were accused in the fresh counts of conspiracy and receiving gratification of N30m from Joe Agi and Associates between March 11 and March 26, 2015.

The prosecution also accused the judge of “dealing with property subject matter of an offence” by transferring N85m and N90m, totalling N175m to Franco Dan Parker on February 24, 2014.

Both offences were said to be contrary to section 24 of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same law.

The judge was also accused of attempting to receive gratification in the sum of N25m from one Sani Shaibu Teidi on February 21, 2014.

He was also said to have, on January 5, 2015, in his capacity as a public servant, “corruptly received from Joe Odey Agi, a BMW Saloon 320i valued at N8,500,000, through your son, Ademide Ademola, as gratification in the exercise of your official functions as the judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria”.

The offences relating to gratification were said to be contrary to section 8(1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000.

The judge was also said to have, on October 7, 2016, had in his possession “one Pump Action Rifle with serial number AVAR MAGNUM 6084 without a valid licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, 2004”.

He was said to have, on the same date of October 7, 2016, had in his possession another Pump Action Rifle with serial number AVAR MAGNUM 6284 without a valid licence.

In the last count, he was accused of having in his possession on the same date of October 7, 2014, “35 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a valid licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, 2004”.

The defendants were scheduled to be arraigned on Monday but they were absent because they had not been served with the charges.

Justice Okeke adjourned the matter till December 13, 2016, after the defendants’ lawyer, Mr. Jeph Njikonye, volunteered to accept service on behalf of his clients.

Lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Segun Jegede, had told the court that bailiffs attempted to serve the couple with the charges but they were said to have travelled to Lagos.

He said he was going to ask the court to give an order for service on the defendants through substituted means but that was no longer necessary as the defence counsel had approached him before the proceedings commenced and volunteered to accept service on behalf of the defendants.

Jegede urged the court to grant leave to serve the defendants through their lawyer on the strength of section 382(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Although Njikonye expressed readiness to accept service on behalf of his clients, he said was not aware of attempts to serve the couple personally and, as such, section 382(5) of the ACJA was not applicable in the matter.

The defence lawyer, however, submitted that the court under its inherent powers could grant the leave for service.

Justice Okeke, in his ruling, said record showed that a court bailiff attempted to serve the defendants in Abuja, on December 2, but were said to have travelled to Lagos.

He proceeded to grant leave enabling the defendants to be served through their lawyer as provided for under section 382(5) of ACJA.

Earlier, the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Umar, announced that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had authorised Jegede to lead the prosecution team.

The DPPF said, “The Attorney General of the Federation, in exercise of his power under section 174 of the constitution and section 104(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, has authorised Mr. Segun Jegede to lead the prosecution of this case.”

Jegede is a former prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

According to online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, Jegede worked at the UNICTR for over a decade.

His work at the UNICTR “mainly revolved around the investigation and prosecution of some of the known masterminds of the egregious crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide”.

The Rwandan genocide, which lasted about 100 days in 1994, was a mass slaughter of the Tutsi ethnic minority group in Rwanda by the Hutu ethnic majority group.

Jegede was also said to have had a stint at the Federal Ministry of Justice as a state counsel before going into private legal practice and subsequently establishing his own law firm in 1988.

Upon taking over the case from the DPPF on Monday, Jegede announced that he was going to withdraw the old charges filed on November 14, 2016, and replace them with the set filed on December 1, 2016.

Justice Okeke granted the prayer and struck out the old charges filed on December 1.

Nigerian govt fails to arraign senior judge accused of corruption.

The Federal Government on Monday failed to arraign a judge of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Adeniyi Ademola.


The office of the Attorney General had planned to arraign Mr. Ademola at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday, but failed to do so because the judge was yet to be served with the originating summons for his trial.


Mr. Ademola, alongside his wife, Olubowale, is facing a 15-count charge of alleged fraud and abuse of office.


He is among the seven judges whose homes were raided by operatives of the State Security Service on October 7.


Counsel to the Federal Government, Segun Jegede, told the trial judge, Jude Okeke, that the summons for the trial had not been served to the defendants.


He applied for leave of court to pass the originating summons to the defendants through their lawyer.


The application was granted and the case was adjourned till December 13.

FG seeks land for expansion of Queen’s College, Lagos

The Federal Government is working out modalities to acquire a piece of land for use as an annex of Queen’s College, Lagos, the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, has said.

Oyo-Ita made the disclosure at the unveiling of the vision of the Principal of Queen’s College, Dr. Lamu Amodu, on Friday in Lagos.

The theme of the vision is: “Rekindling the Torch of Excellence.”

According to Oyo-Ita, the purpose for establishing an annex for the college is to create more space for effective teaching and learning as well as skills acquisition.

Oyo-Ita said: “I am aware that the vision of the principal of this college is borne out of commitment, interest and desire to revamp the standard and quality of education given to our students to be in line with modern day labour demands.

“The development will also reposition the college to its enviable pitch in academic performance.

“In our time, we were fewer in number but at present, the large student population without corresponding increase in infrastructure implies extra cost and hard work for high standard to be sustained.

“It is therefore in this light that on my own as the Head of Service of the Federation will support the Federal Ministry of Education with the cooperation of the Ministries of Lands and Urban Development and others relevant to acquire an annex for the college.

“This is a step in actualising part of the noble vision and other identified projects of the college’s principal.”

Oyo-Ita lauded the Australian High Commission in Nigeria for keying into the vision by constructing and donating a solar powered water system to the college.

The head of service called for more partnerships from the public to encourage girl-child education in the country.

Amodu noted that her vision was to prepare and equip graduate versatile women who would succeed in the ever changing and competitive world in their chosen professions.

She said the purpose of the annex was not to over crowd the college, rather it was to provide enabling environment for effective teaching of the trade subjects which were key to the college’s vision.

She said: “The annex will house an entrepreneurship centre for hands-on training for girls as we also look at providing a befitting staff quarters for our teachers.”

She added that such was one of the visions of the founding fathers of the college.

Amodu said: “The demands of our society and the modern labour market have begun to challenge our definition of quality education given to our students.

“A lot more emphasis is placed today on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, consequently, our concept of quality education needs to change to align with the new reality of growing societal needs.

“To this end, for a more strategic planning, comprehensive approach and renewed direction which are the guiding principles of this vision becomes imperative.

“However, the implementation of this vision may not be easy for the government to fund, especially at this time of economic recession.

“Our strategy therefore, is to reach out to individuals and corporate organisations with similar culture of excellence, and have benefitted from the qualitative services of the products of our college to key in.”

She added that her vision had already received the backing of the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, a former Head of Service of the Federation, restated the need for the re-introduction of History as a subject in the education curriculum.

According to Afolabi, who chaired the occasion, a subject such as history will seek to bridge the gap between the old and new generations.

He added that on re-introducing history, experts must ensure that it was a balance of both ancient and contemporary, so that the children would know where they are coming from.

Afolabi said: “We must not focus all our attention on the physical but rather also reflect on those who had at one time or the other, made various sacrifices in an attempt to develop the college.

“However, it is regrettable that no sustainable funding arrangement is usually put in place to keep all these visions and dreams alive.”

The high point of the event was the award of excellence to deserving old girls of the college who had excelled in their respective areas of endeavour.

Some of them inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame are Oyo-Ita, Efunjoke Coker and Prof. Grace Alele Williams.

The former Minister of Education, Prof. Chinwe Obaji, and Prof. Folashade Ogunshola of the UNILAG College of Medicine were among the inductees.

The event witnessed the inauguration of the solar powered water system donated by the Australian High Commission.

Federal Government Arranging Foreigners To Testify Against Me, Kanu Says

Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, on Thursday, alleged plot by the Federal Government to import foreigners to testify against him. Kanu, who is facing trial alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, made the allegation on a day he was denied bail by trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

Justice Binta refused to grant bail to any of the defendants pending the determination of the 11-count criminal charge the Federal Government preferred against them.

Charges against the defendants border on reasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism. Their separate bail applications were predicated on sections 158, 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, as well as section 35 and 36 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

The defendants contended that charges against them were not only bailable offences, but also not felony punishable with death. Arguing that the presumption of innocence under the Nigerian constitution was in their favour, the defendants said their release from detention would enable them to properly defend the charge against them. Besides, they insisted that their right to self determination was guaranteed both by the Nigeria constitution and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on Peoples and Human Right.

They maintained that IPOB which they said has been registered in over 30 countries, has not been proscribed or declared as a dangerous organisation under any law. The defendants expressed their readiness to produce reasonable sureties before the court. However, FG vehemently opposed release of any of the defendants on bail.

Government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the defendants would constitute “a threat to national security”, once freed from prison custody. Labaran, who further applied to the court for protection of witnesses billed to testify against the defendants, drew attention of the court to the fact that the 1st defendant, Kanu, has dual citizenship.

He argued that Kanu who he said has both Nigerian and British passports, would escape out of the country if released on bail. While praying the court to allow the defendants to attend their trial from Kuje prison, FG, stressed that Onwudiwe was a major threat, saying he was the only one facing a particular count of “preparatory to commit an act of terrorism”.

Meanwhile, in her ruling, Justice Nyako, held that charge against the defendants “are very serious in nature”, and therefore not ordinarily bailable.

“Irrespective of what the charge is, the court has to exercise its discretion on way or the other”, the Judge held, adding that some of the charges against the defendants could attract life imprisonment if proved by FG.

Justice Nyako also dismissed contention by the defendants that President Muhammadu Buhari had openly directed that they should not be released on bail. The Judge held that President Buhari, being a citizen of Nigeria, was at liberty to exercise his freedom of speech.

She maintained that the President lacks the capacity to influence the decision of the court, saying the defendants did not place any new fact or law capable of persuading the court to reverse an earlier ruling of the court that denied them bail.

“The offences are serious in nature and carries very severe punishment if proven.

“I hereby therefore refuse bail of the applicants. But in the alternative, I hereby order accelerated trial of this matter to almost commence immediately, but not later than two months”, the Judge held.

Immediately after the ruling was delivered, FG, applied for all the witnesses to be allowed to testify behind screen. It also prayed the court for identities of the witnesses not to be revealed in any record of the proceeding.

The defendants however opposed the application, contending that granting such request would amount to a gross violation of their rights to fair hearing.

“We vehemently oppose secret trial of the defendants. They were accused in the open, we also request that they be tried in the open. The defendants need to see those testifying against them eye-ball-to-eye-ball. We are ready for this trial”, Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor submitted.

Similarly, one of the defence lawyers, Mr. Maxwell Okpara, told the court that most of the proposed witnesses were foreigners he said the government imported from neighbouring countries.

“My lord, we have uncovered their plan to bring Ghanaians and people from Cameroon to appear in this court to testify against the defendants.

“We as Nigerians will resist that plot. It cannot work. That is why they are insisting that they should testify behind screen. That plot has failed, it will not work”, Okpara stated.

After listening to all the parties Justice Nyako fixed December 13 to rule on FG’s application. Specifically, FG had in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, alleged that the quartet conspired to commit treasonable felony contrary to and punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.

FG alleged that they committed the offence along with others now at large, on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015, in Nigeria, London and United Kingdom. It told the court that the defendant conspired among themselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra which is monitored in Enugu and its environs, preparations they were making for states in the South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states, to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a view to constituting same into a Republic of Biafra.

Whereas FG identified Kanu as the arrow-head behind the “hate broadcasts”, it fingered Onwudiwe as the National Coordinator of the IPOB movement. The defendants had on November 8, pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, even as the court adjourned to hear their bail applications.

Kanu was previously facing a six-count treason charge with Madubugwu and Nwawuisi, before FG amended the charges to include Onwudiwe as one of the defendants. Justice Nyako is now the third judge to handle the trial. It will be recalled that the former judge handling the matter, Justice John Tsoho had on September 26, disqualified himself from presiding over trial of the defendants.

Justice Tsoho who earlier denied the defendants bail, premised his decision to hands-off the case on a petition pending against him before the National Judicial Council, NJC.

Kanu and his co-accused persons had in their joint petition, alleged that Justice Tsoho indulged in act of “judicial rascality”, by delivering conflicting rulings on the same subject matter. They alleged that the judge summarily reversed his previous ruling that barred the Federal Government from masking all the witnesses billed to testify against them.

The defendants maintained that the Judge denied them fair hearing on the day he gave FG the nod to produce “masquerades” to testify against them. Justice Ahmed Mohammed who was the first judge Kanu was taken to by FG, had in a bench ruling he delivered on December 23, 2015, also distanced himself from the matter.

Kanu, who was hitherto the Director of Radio Biafra and Television, ?has been in detention since October 14, 2015, when he was arrested by security operatives upon his arrival to Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom. The defendants were alleged to have committed treasonable felony, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

FG alleged that they were the ones managing the affairs of the IPOB which it described as “an unlawful society”. Kanu was alleged to have illegally smuggled radio transmitters into Nigeria, which he used to disseminate “hate broadcasts”, encouraging the “secession of the Republic of Biafra”, from Nigeria.

The IPOB leader earlier denied the charges, even as the court, on January 20, ordered remand of the defendants at Kuje prison ?in Abuja. Count one of the charge against the defendants read: “That you Nnamdi Kanu, ‘M’, Onwudiwe Chidiebere ‘M’, Benjamin Madubugwu ‘M’, David Nwawusi ‘M’ and others now at large, on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 in Nigeria and London, United Kingdom, did conspire amongst yourselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, preparations being made by you and others at large, or states in the South East and South South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue States to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a view to constituting same into a Republic of Biafra and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP.C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2000”.

FG Wants To Tax Us To Death– Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has urged Nigerians to resist any attempt to impose new tax on them by the Federal Government.

Fayose in a press release issued in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, lamented that the body language of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress is that of who “wants to tax Nigerians to death.”

Wondering why government was always looking for more avenues for taxes, he asked, “Do they want Nigerians to pay with their blood.”

“If the only way the federal government believes it can take Nigeria out of recession is to impose obnoxious taxes that will further impoverish the people, the federal government is not being fair to Nigerians.”

“Under 20 months of Buhari’s government, petrol price was increased from N87 to N145 per litre, kerosene; diesel and gas prices were increased, electricity tariff was increased, N50 stamp duty was introduced on bank customers, 9% tax for the use of communication services like calls, SMS, MMS and data usage from telecommunication service providers; internet service providers and Pay TV Stations.

“It is also under this APC government that N65 levy was imposed on every withdrawal on ATM, various bank charges introduced, custom duties increased, increment of VAT from five per cent to 10 per cent contemplated, cost of vehicle number plate and driver’s licence increased, and now cost of internet subscription is to be increased too.

“Is this government out to tax Nigerians to death?”

While condemning the proposed increment in the cost of data, Fayose said it was strange that the federal government came with the idea less than three weeks after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed complained about the damage being done to the image of the Buhari government by the social media.

Credit: punchng

Nigerian government, Unilever sign MOU on oral health programme

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with UNILEVER to re-introduce and ensure sustainability of the Schools Oral Health Programme.

The programme had been launched in 2013 in Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory.

A press statement by the ministry disclosed that the memorandum was signed at the commemoration of the 6th Edition of the National Oral Health Week in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said while oral health is paramount to achieving general health, oral diseases and disorders not only affect the victim’s quality of life, but also the well-being of the community at large.

He disclosed that the ministry was working with development partners to ensure sustainability of the schools oral health programme.

Mr. Adewole, a professor of medicine, said that Colgate-Palmolive Nigeria was planning one of such global oral health initiatives, “Bright Smiles, Bright Future”, targeted at school children across the country from the ages of 6 to 8 years.

The minister said the project has been successful in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and 25 other countries around the world where it has made an immense difference to the oral hygiene of children.
According to the minister, Unilever Nigeria Limited has accepted to undertake the initiative in collaboration with his Ministry by providing facilities to 10 million school children across the country through the Pepsodent School Oral Health Initiative.

Mr. Adewole said that these school health programmes were aimed at increasing the child’s responsibility for oral health, promote positive self-esteem as well as proper habits for oral hygiene, and encourage schools and families to play their roles in children’s oral health.
He pointed out that the ministry had been working on the National Oral Health Programme, towards integrating oral health into primary health care via a rapid oral health intervention programmes with focus on Noma (also known as Cancrum Oris).

In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Dental Association, Olabode Ijarogbe, praised the minister for his passion for oral health.
Mr. Ijarogbe said the minister had put measures in place that have helped to drive the implementation of the national oral health policy to enhance oral health care delivery to average Nigerians.

We Never Ordered Operators To Raise Data Prices – FG

Nigeria’s Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shittu, has disclosed that the Federal Government never gave any directive to telecommunications operators in the country to increase prices of data from Thursday, December 1, 2016 as claimed.

Since the beginning of this week, Nigerians have continued to kick against messages sent to them via text messages by telecoms operators, informing them that from tomorrow, prices of data would go up and in some cases, by 100 percent

Speaking on Wednesday on RayPower FM’s Fact File programme, which was monitored in Lagos by Business Post, the Minister said he was never consulted before the announcement was made. He stressed that the government did not authorise the operators to raise the tariffs.

However, he assured Nigerians that the government would look into the matter and continue to protect their interests.
“I can tell you that I was never a party to it (data tariff hike). Government never gave any such instruction. This government believes in democratic process and we would continue to protect the interest of Nigerians. I can assure you we would do that (protect interest of Nigerians),” he said on the radio programme.

Also on the issue of subscribers still getting unsolicited messages from operators, Mr Shittu promised to take steps to stop the menace.

He lamented that he also gets such messages from his operator. “I am also a victim of unsolicited messages from operators, but I promise government will take pragmatic steps to stop this,” the Minister said.

More Chibok Girls Will Be Released- FG

The Federal Government yesterday stated that dialogue was still ongoing to ensure the release of more Chibok girls and other persons held hostage by terrorists , even as it has threatened to deal with sponsors of Boko Haram as terrorists.

Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity , Dr Femi Adesina made the assertion in Lagos after presenting a paper titled ‘ The Challenges and Expectations of the Media in Military Operations’ at a workshop organised by the Directorate of Army Public Relations, DAPR for its officers, Commanding officers and Defence correspondents.

Reiterating federal government’s resolve at ensuring that those held hostage by members of the Boko Haram sect were released in good condition, Adesina said ” This government is doing all it can to tackle insurgency. If it knows the sponsors and is double sure they are the sponsors, it would be left with no choice than to treat them like Boko Haram ”

He stated that those so far released from terrorists’ den by the military, were being rehabilitated “physically, psychologically and in all aspects. Their education is being taken care of as well. Talks are ongoing on the release of the remaining girls. Many more would be released,” he assured.

During his presentation, Adesina called on the need for there to be synergy between the Military and the media , in the former’s bid to tackle insurgency. He said “There must be synergy between the military and the media for national development. The military must arrange controlled access for the media at all times. It must know that communication with the public is not optional but an obligation and in national interest.

“All the media wants is information. So, the military should ensure that the media is fed on the need to know basis. Meet the reporters midway by providing information that would not jeopardise operations. There should be opportunities for open and independent news coverage facilitated by the military.

“Both the media and the military run on ethics. But, they are not mutually exclusive of each other. A relationship of creative tension must be accepted as a democratic necessity,” he said

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Finally, FG set to launch campaign to end child marriage.

The Federal Government in Abuja on Monday announced plans to launch a campaign to end child marriage and other related harmful traditional practices in the country.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan said this during a media briefing.

Alhassan said the move was borne out of the resolution by African leaders to end child marriage during the 25th African Union Ordinary Session of Heads of State in June 2015.

She said the leaders also resolved to take practical steps in addressing the issues of child marriage and other harmful traditional practices.

“One of first practical steps is a vigorous campaign to end child marriage which will be launched tomorrow Nov. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel.

“Global communities and Nigeria in particular are increasingly recognising child marriage as a serious challenge, both as a violation of human rights and a hinderance to key developmental outcomes,’’ she said.

Alhassan said African countries were faced with the challenges of child marriage which robbed girls or children of their education, health and future.

She said according to UNICEF findings, 15 million children are married off every year globally with devastating consequences on their general wellbeing.

“This is very disturbing as it is further revealed that 15 out of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world are in Africa.

“Fifteen African countries have so far launched the campaign to end child marriage.

“The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Zambia, Chad, Burkina Faso , Mali and Madagascar,” Alhassan said.

She said a National Technical Working Group set up to end child marriage in the country was inaugurated on July 23, 2015 by the ministry.

Alhassan urged the media, development partners and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts in ensuring girl’s rights to freedom from child marriage and other forms of violence against children.

She also urged all stakeholders in the campaign, to be more proactive and come up with concrete actions to end child marriage in the country.

Dangote Promises To Assist FG Out Of Economic Recession

Dangote Group has pledged to support the Federal Government and Kano State in exploring key sectors of the economy to cushion the effect of the recession among Nigerians.

The Group said in a statement on Monday in Abuja, that it would explore opportunities opening up in agriculture, mining and infrastructure, through partnership with the levels of government.

An Executive Director of the Group, Hajiya Halima Dangote, made the pledge at Dangote Special Day ceremony at the Kano International Trade Fair in Kano.

The executive director, who was special guest at the event, represented the President of the group, Aliko Dangote. Dangote said challenges of the recession rather presented opportunities to explore areas of development and bring back the lost glory of Nigeria’s economy.

He said it was such determination that informed re-opening of Dangote Flour Mill in Kano as well as the Tomato factory processing project in Kadawa area of the state. Dangote said the project would have been fully operational but for the hitches caused by Tomato disease in the country and some technicalities.

He reiterated efforts by the group to ensure sustainability in rice production through extensive out-grower programme in Jigawa.

“It is our intention to establish a large scale rice mill of 250,000 tonnes per annum capacity in Kano, to process production in three states,’’ Dangote He re-emphasised that DANGOTE Fertilisers project, with capacity of 2.8 million tonnes per annum, the largest plant in sub-saharan Africa, would be inaugurated by the end of 2017.

Dangote commended the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, and the government for their commitment to the business community “as demonstrated by the fair which attracted wide range of businesses from far and near’’.

He assured the chamber of the Group’s willingness to continue partnership and scale up its presence in the years ahead.

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Federal government explains reasons for delay in Ogoni clean-up

The Federal Government has stated that the delay in the commencement of Ogoni clean-up exercise was to build a solid foundation for the project, and avert a situation where money is spent without the people feeling the impact of such spending.


It would be recalled that in June, President Muhammadu Buhari, had through his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo launched the “Clean-Up of Ogoniland” at Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State. But since the flag-off, the project has experienced hiccups.


Speaking on the delay yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, pointed out that every arrangement concerning the project, including the issue of funding, has now been perfected.


She spoke in Abuja at the 10th Anniversary of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, explaining that: “Talking about Ogoni spill, all resources have been made available and the money has been released. But if you do not have structure in place the money will go into the ground and people will not feel the impact.


“It is important for us to put together structure and make sure that we have a solid foundation. Who is in the office, who is the budget manager and how are they recruiting? All of these were not taken care of in the past. But this time, we believe that by the time we leave, people will see result. It will be a continuing process and in the next few months people will be seeing some of the issues that they had not seen.”


Mohammed maintained that it was important for militants to stop further oil spillage by putting a halt to bombing of oil facilities to assist the exercise.


According to her,“In Nigeria, there is a growing level of oil spill incidents caused majorly by illegal bunkering, artificial refining, oil theft and armed militancy. These activities occur mostly in facilities located on land and swamp areas. However, some incidents do occur offshore, and with the increased interest of operators to pursue exploration and production in the deep offshore, there is the need to step up the level of preparedness to effectively respond to challenges that may be presented by oil spills in the marine environment.


“The devastating impacts of oil spills on the environment, health and livelihoods of our rural and urban communities have led to land degradation, loss of lives, destruction of habitats, loss of biodiversity, incidence of diseases, poor sanitation as well as the depletion of national revenue base.


“The need to prevent and rapidly respond to oil spill incidents whenever they occur can therefore not be overemphasized. To this end, the Federal Government is committed to dialoguing with state governments, opinion and youth leaders in the Niger Delta region to find a lasting solution to these incessant attacks which deplete our national revenue base and degrade the environment.”

FG bars unqualified teachers from 500,000 jobs scheme.

The Federal Government has agreed to ban unqualified and unregistered teachers from classrooms nationwide, the Registrar/Chief Executive of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, has said.


According to him, the government will not consider teachers without registration certificates and TRCN licence for its 500,000 teachers’ recruitment scheme.


He stated that already, the decision had been jointly endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari; the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah.


Ajiboye said this on Wednesday in Abuja during the 10th Education Conference organised by the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, with the theme, “Improving Education standards and emulating the global perspective and practices.”


He said, “Presently, it has been accepted by the Federal Government; the President, and ministers of education have agreed that no one again that is not qualified and is not registered with the TRCN will stand and teach in our classrooms.


“I can assure you that no one will be employed as a teacher by the Federal Government without licence and registration certificate. We are calling on all teachers to register, if you know yourself and you refer to yourself as a professional teacher, you must be registered with the TRCN. You must carry our certificate and our licence.


“At the last induction ceremony that was conducted last week in OAU (Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, six professors registered with the TRCN and 14 other academics were also inducted into the teaching profession.”


While calling on teachers both in public and private schools to ensure they were duly registered and licensed by the TRCN, Ajiboye said the Kaduna State Government, had directed its teachers to obtain their licences and registration certificates before they could be promoted.


He said, “Teachers in private schools are also expected to be registered and licensed by the TRCN. According to the law establishing the council we are the ones who can talk about who is a teacher in this country.


“Currently, teachers in private schools are responding to TRCN’s call for them to register. Now we are in the level of persuasion when we move beyond this level we will go to the enforcement of the law.”


The President of NAPPS, Dr. Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, called on the Federal Government to invest 50 per cent of the budget in education every year for the next 20 years to revamp public schools.


He added, “From 2012 to date, all the budgets in education have just been about 11 per cent, whereas you know that UNESCO’s benchmark for developing country is 26 per cent. Countries like Senegal and Ivory Coast have started to give more than 26 per cent. With our large population, and the biggest economy in Africa, we have not reached half the mark of UNESCO.


“The state of our public schools is appalling. It is not a place where value is given. It is a place where the values children acquire from good homes get eroded. We are asking that as a matter of strategy, focus on education by funding it and having the political will to drive and to monitor our money till it delivers results.


“We are bothered that the Nigerian child’s education is poor, under the threes, dilapidated houses, sitting on bricks and on the floor. Every child should be captured in school. No longer should a Nigerian child be at home or hawking when others are in school.”

FG To Float Pension Scheme For Self-employed

The Federal Government has said it plans in 2017 to float a micro pension scheme for artisans, mechanics, tailors, traders, hair dressers and other self-employed persons in the informal sector of the economy. While the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) introduced under the Pension Reform Act 2014 is working fairly well, it does not capture millions of workers in the informal sector. The same Act established the legal framework for micro pension. Section 2(3) of the Act 2014 extends coverage of CPS to self-employed persons. Government says the pilot phase of the micro pension scheme is expected to kick off by the second quarter of next year through the National Pension Commission, PenCom.

Head of PenCom’s Micro Pensions Department Polycarp Anyanwu said in Calabar that micro pension is an initiative that exists for the provision of pension coverage to self-employed individuals. He said the scheme is an offshoot of the pension industry’s five-year strategic plan to expand CPS coverage to 20 million contributors by 2019. The scheme’s pilot phase would be targeting 250,000 enrolments within six months, he said.

According to PenCom, pension managers have 7.24 million contributors in their network as at September under the formal CPS. The figure represents about 7.7 per cent of labour force and four per cent of contributors in private and public sectors. National Bureau of Statistics [NBS] states that 37.6 million (representing 40.1 per cent) of Nigeria’s 93.5 million adult population operate within the informal sector of the economy.

The informal sector is therefore a critical part of the economy. The scheme engages and extends pension to the larger segment of the working population, to ensure that workers outside the formal sector have something to fall back on when they grow old and retire from active service.

All workers whether in formal or informal sectors must one day retire. Pension is a long-term savings plan that assists workers to plan towards retirement. The federal government’s move is therefore a welcome development. After working hard for a living, a worker deserves peace of mind after retirement. Planning for retirement is one of a worker’s most important decisions.

Possible challenges from the scheme have been identified to include socio-cultural inclinations, documentation challenges, low level of financial literacy, lack of confidence in government, irregular income inflow, low level of ICT literacy, associated transaction costs and low level of education. Other peculiarities of the informal sector include irregular flow of income, highly mobile and flexible jobs, lack of permanent work address, lack of official means of identification, exclusion from pension systems prior to PRA 2014 and high levels of illiteracy.

The envisaged pension scheme for the informal private sector is quite tricky but it will benefit from advancements made in Nigeria’s banking and telecoms sectors in the past decade. The banks have in recent years attracted a lot of informal sector workers into the banking system, which has improved the sector’s organisation and documentation. The banks too have benefitted immensely from advances in telecoms, without which many of their new products and systems would not have been possible. Together these two sectors have greatly assisted the Contributory Pension Scheme. It is the public sector’s transitional pension scheme that is still bedevilled by problems.

Informal sector workers and self-employed persons could as well use the balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) as equity contribution for residential mortgages and support their businesses just as they will benefit from other micro-credit schemes. Pension used to be seen as something for the privileged class but this should no longer be the case in Nigeria. With continued education on saving for retirement, good government, better administration and optimal investment returns on contributions, added to improving financial literacy, the planned introduction of micro pension in the country should provide a better deal for contributors.

Credit: dailytrust

FG To Privatise TCN

The Minister for Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said that the federal government is planning to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Fashola spoke through the acting Chairman and CEO, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Anthony Akah, on Wednesday, at the ongoing West Africa Power Industry Convention in Lagos.
According to Fashola, the government’s move to involve private sector the transmission phase of the sector, is being driven by non-availability of funds to drive development in the power sector.
“The government can no longer handle funding of the power sector alone. That is why we are now looking towards involving private sector in transmission. This will help in raising fund for the sector”, he said.
After privatisation of the sector, TCN was concessioned to Canadian company, Manitoba.
However, the company was accused of lacking expertise in handling the sector hence, it was again taken over by the government.
Fashola also said the government will explore other clean sources of energy in order to bridge the gap in electricity supply in the country.
He also said Nigeria’s current power mix is lopsided with 80 percent of power being generated from gas.
Earlier in the week, the FG called on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (AfDB), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and others, to invest in energy sector.
According to Fashola who made the call, government wanted investment in the generation, distribution and transmission sectors of the industry.
He said the funding gap in the sector was wide and required investments to improve electricity supply. 
Fashola said the sector has huge investible propositions, which only bigger corporations have the capacity to meet, adding that the sector has the capacity to provide returns on investment for any company that invests in it.
He said the government was striving to provide an enabling environment through its policies to guarantee adequate returns on investment.
“Without doubt, bad environment is a problem, which the government is trying to address. It is obvious that the power sector has huge potential, which can only be realised with the right environment.
“When one considers that the sector is broken into 11 power distribution companies (DisCos) and six power generation companies (GenCos), one would see that there is huge potential in the industry. This is the reason the Federal Government is asking investors, especially global financial institutions, to invest in the sector”, he said.



Finally FG Reaches Agreement With ASUU

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Wednesday acknowledged that the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities made progress during theirs talks.

He gave the assurance while addressing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the state House.

Ngige said that ASUU had eight demands of which seven had been trashed out, adding that the government conceded to them the right to exclude endowment funds accruing to universities from the Treasury Single Account.

The minister said the TSA was not for punishment but to enable every government institution to, at a first glance, know its financial disposition and for accountability.

He said, “The government agreed to ASUU demand but limited it to only endowment fund, and that is fund sourced by ASUU.

“But that does not also mean that at the end of the day the university council will not have rights to audit such an account.

“That is really the area that is a little bit contentious.

“The other aspect of it is the earned allowances; the earned allowance is the only one that is not sorted out now because everyone knows and agrees that we are in a recession.

“And if we are in a recession and you are asking us to pay you N284 billion, nobody will pay it because the money is not there.

“So they agreed and National Assembly also agreed and something was worked out.

“And government offered them some amount pending when we finish the auditing of the first tranche of money that has been given to them in the same area of earned allowances.

“That tranche of money they collected is being audited but the auditing process is very slow because some people for strange reasons are not allowing auditing to take place.

“A time frame of six months has been fixed within which the auditing will be done.”

According to Ngige, within the six months government has offered what it will pay monthly while ASUU has made a counter proposal.

He said that both parties had gone back to their principals to look at the proposals and return.

He said the Executive and the National Assembly would look at the finances of government and propose an appropriation for subsequent years.

He said, “For 2016, there is nothing in the budget for it; it will be done and appropriated and paid when due.

“I don’t think the matter is a helpless case, we are moving forward and next week they will come back with their counter proposal.”

According to the minister, his education counterpart gave an update on the ASUU demand to FEC.

Credit: NAN

FG launches Graduate Farmers’ Empowerment Scheme.

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has inaugurated the Graduate Youth Empowerment Scheme in Doma, Nasarawa State, to train young graduates in agricultural entrepreneurial skills.

Adamu, while inaugurating the scheme on Wednesday at the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority project site in Doma, Nasarawa State, said it was a pilot initiative aimed at revitalising the river basins.

He said that the scheme, already being inaugurated in seven out of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities in the country, was aimed at boosting agricultural production through all year round farming.

He explained that through the scheme, graduates would be trained in various agricultural activities including horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, vegetable and cereal cultivation, food processing, packaging and marketing and extension services.

The minister added that the training, which would be in batches of 50 each, would soon be extended to all the senatorial zones of the country with a view to empowering the youth, guarantee food security, create wealth and diversify the economy.

According to the minister, beneficiaries of the scheme will be subsequently empowered through other government intervention programmes to establish their own agricultural ventures.

He said “this will go a long way to create a multiplier effect to further sustain the objectives of the programme, with the attendant positive impact on the economy through improved food production and employment generation.”

He urged the beneficiaries to properly utilise the inherent potential in the programme for their socio-economic advancement.

He maintained that the scheme would provide an opportunity for the youth to make giant strides away from idleness and poverty and enable them to become leading agricultural entrepreneurs.

He appealed to the government within the locality of the scheme to provide maximum support to the scheme through active participation in operation, maintenance and management.

Earlier, Mr Ovey Angbazo, the Managing Director, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, said the training of the graduate farmers would be in collaboration with the Nasarawa State Ministry of Agriculture and other agricultural institutes.

He challenged the beneficiaries to devote their time and talents to the opportunity provided by the programme in order to better their lot.

He said each participant would be provided with one hectare of land and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals for the duration of their training.

FG Issues Statement on Ilorin Prison Riot

Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd) has ordered investigation into inmates riot at Oke Kura Prison, Ilorin, Kwara State last Thursday, which reportedly claimed six lives in the condemned prisoners’ cell, while many others sustained injuries.

He also directed an Intra-Ministerial Committee to work closely with Nigeria Prisons’ management team with a view to unraveling the remote circumstance surrounding the incident, avoiding a repeat of such in any of the nation’s penitentiary and to sanction officials found culpable.

A statement by Dambazzau’s Chief press secretary, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen, said the minister has consistently maintained his stance on the need to adhere to the United Nation Minimum Standards for the Treatments and Rehabilitation of Prison inmates including condemned Prisoners in line with the Mandela Rules.

“Findings overtime have shown that such riot involving condemned criminals has been as a result of frustration of being on death row for a period of 10yrs or more,” it reads.

“Moreover, a Prison that was built in 1914, with 121 inmates capacity now accommodating 417, is bound to create difficulties in management.

“Government has therefore embarked on reconstructing old Prisons, while also building new Prison facilities in some locations”.

Dambazzau reassured of his resolve to retool the Nigeria Prison Service, to effectively play its pivotal role of Reforming, Rehabilitating and Reintegrating transformed inmates back to the society, while ensuring that the rights of Prisoners are well protected.

Power: Gov Emmanuel urges FG to invest in infrastructure.

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has called on the Federal Government to speed up the development of infrastructure that would facilitate the distribution of electricity in the country.


Governor Emmanuel made the call when the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, called on him at Government House, Uyo.


He pointed out that the Ibom Independent Power Plant has generated enough power and is awaiting evacuation by the Distribution companies.


Governor Emmanuel expressed delight at the assurances by the Minister that the Federal Government was working out modalities for reimbursement of funds expended on federal assets, saying that his administration would use the funds judiciously in the development of infrastructures.


The Governor particularly lauded the Minister’s commitment to ensuring that the various electricity sub-stations are not only completed but energised.


Speaking earlier, Mr. Fashola, said his visit to the state was aimed at working out ways for the completion of the power distribution sub-station at Ikot Ekpene and Itu Local Government Areas.


Mr. Fashola assured that the power sector has been repositioned to enhance steady supply of electricity in the country.

He used the occasion to commend Akwa Ibom State Government for its investment in the power generation plant and intervention in the rehabilitation of federal roads assuring that efforts have been put in place for the reimbursement of the funds expended by the state on federal assets.

ASUU strike: Students beg FG for quick resolution.

Some students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka have appealed to the Federal Government to urgently look into grievances of striking lecturers to forestall incessant strikes in universities.

The students made the appeal in Nsukka on Tuesday while reacting to the ongoing warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The President of the Students Union Government in the university, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwu, pleaded with President Muhammad Buhari to urgently resolve the crisis between the Federal Government and ASUU.

Chukwu said that this had become necessary in order to prevent disruption in the academic calendar of universities in the country.

Miss Amarachi Okafor of the Department of Psychology urged the Federal Government to dialogue with ASUU not to allow the strike snowballed into an indefinite one.

Okafor also pleaded with ASUU to consider the plight of students who would be spending extra years in the university, especially in this period of recession.

She said, “The longer the strike lingers, the more the rate of crimes will increase and parents will be paying more for extra years spent in school.”

Another student, Mr Emmanuel Ochi of Mass Communication Department pleaded with ASUU to consider the interest of students in order not to constitute a setback to their academics.

She said, “I want the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve their misunderstanding amicably in the interest of students and tertiary education in this country.

“Students have suffered enough over incessant strikes and we do not want a repeat of what happened in the last administration by ASUU.”

Academic activities have continued to be paralysed at the UNN over the warning strike by ASUU.

The chairman of UNN-ASUU chapter, Dr. Ifeanyi Abada, said that academic activities were grounded in the university in compliance with the directive by the National Executive Committee of ASUU.

He said, “NEC made efforts to resolve this issue with government but it remained unyielding because of its insensitivity to issues concerning education.

“Since government failed to do the needful, ASUU is left with no option than to proceed on a one week warning strike and failure to meet with our demands we will go on an indefinite strike.”

Abada said that ASUU was not taking it lightly with government on issues raised, especially the demand that universities be exempted from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

He said, “The strike compliance in UNN is total, no lectures, no examinations no departmental and faculty meetings as members will not participate.

“UNN chapter will not renege on the directive of the national body till government addresses all the issues raised.

“Our monitoring team is moving round and any lecturer found teaching will be sanctioned accordingly.”

FG presents licences to eight private universities

The Federal Government yesterday presented provisional licences to the eight newly approved private universities with caution to dispense the highest standard of quality education to Nigerians.

The Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, presented the certificates, in Abuja yesterday, assisted by NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

Anwukah said even though the government was seeking to increase access to education, quality and relevance of the courses offered would not be compromised.

The minister noted that the eight licences issued brought the number of universities in Nigeria to 152 and the number of private universities to 68.

According to Anwukah, Nigeria’s population is 188 million and the 152 universities provide a ratio of one to 23 million Nigerians. This number, he said, was grossly inadequate compared to some other highly populated countries such as India where one university serves only a little above one million people.

To the new universities, the minister said: “You should adopt the best practices. Quality and relevance will not be compromised.”He reminded them of sanctions if the provisions of their licences were flouted.

Prof Rasheed stated that the newly licenced universities had satisfied the 14 processes leading to the offers. The processes spanned between two and 13 years.

The NUC Executive Secretary enjoined the universities to dare to introduce reviews and changes in the courses being taught for knowledge update for students.

He urged them not to replicate what the older universities may be doing wrong.The NUC boss said the new universities should not allow themselves to be forced to start on wrong footings by their mentor universities.

“You don’t have to follow everything the older universities say. Don’t allow them force you to start on wrong footings. Don’t replicate what they may be doing wrong. However, older universities can also learn from the new ones,” he said.

The eight new private universities which got their provisional licences were Anchor University in Ayobo, Lagos State, Arthur Javis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State, Clifford University in Owerrinta, Abia State, Coal City University in Enugu, Crown Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara State, Dominican University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Kola Daisi University, also in Ibadan and Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State.

The Federal Executive Council approved the universities on November 2, 2016 and they are to be mentored for the next three years by older universities, which include the University of Ibadan and the University of Nigeria.

Fashola Warns Nigeria’s Electricity Distribution Companies To Stop Blackmailing FG

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has warned Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to stop blackmailing the Federal Government over outstanding debts allegedly owed them by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA).

A statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser, Communications to the minister, stated that Mr. Fashola gave the warning at a meeting with power sector operators in the country.

Mr. Fashola was reacting to the advertorial placed by the Association of Electricity Distributing Companies (AEDC) on the debt owed DisCos by MDAs.

He said government would not succumb to blackmail and would only pay verified debts.

Mr. Fashola also advised the DisCos to pursue the debt issue in their capacities as Discos and not under the aegis of any association.

He said that although the constitution guaranteed freedom of association, the privatisation that resulted in the transfer of the distribution asset of power was not held between the Federal Government and any association.

According to the minster, the DisCos have so far failed to provide details of such debts for verification.

Fashola said “Let me say without any equivocation that government will not succumb to the blackmail, at least not the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

He said that government had provided an online platform where it requested all the DisCos to submit details of their debts to that platform for government to verify it.

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FG Saves N20bn On Salaries Monthly After Fishing Out Ghost Workers

The Federal Government says it has been saving about N20 billion on salaries monthly since it began to fish out ghost workers.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, said this while addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja on the sideline of a workshop on cost management.

The workshop was organised for Directors and top civil servants of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the Efficiency Unit of the Ministry of Finance.

Isa-Dutse said that the drastic reduction in the cost of monthly wages was from N165 billion to N145 billion monthly.

He said this was done with the assistance of the Presidential Committee on Audit of MDAs. He said the committee had the responsibility of continuous auditing of MDAs’ salaries and wages.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Isa-Dutse had declared the workshop open on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun when she said the present administration was interested in cutting costs and giving value for money spent.

She said that the main aim of the workshop was to sensitise public officials to cost and share with them some tools to manage the cost.

“It is basically to train on how, as a government, we can manage our cost better. It is not only imperative that we look at ways to generate more money for government, but at the same time we must also manage our cost more efficiently.

“As we have seen even though revenue has gone down in the last couple of years, expenditure, particularly overhead has not gone down correspondingly and that has created fiscal pressures for the government.

” What we are doing is to look at whatever ways we can to generate more savings for the government to be run more efficiently.

“We want the savings realised from the efficiencies to be channeled into higher priority areas like infrastructure and social welfare spending,’’ she said

Head of the Efficiency Unit, Mrs Patience Oniha, said that in the last one year that the unit was established, it had saved the government about N15 billion.

The savings, she said, were from overheads and reduction in excessive foreign travels and other allowances.

The Head of the Efficiency Unit added that more funds would be saved by consciously eliminating waste of government resources.

She also said that the unit was working on several other items to be added to the list of cost cutting items.



FG spends N1bn from N500bn intervention fund.

Less than a billion naira has so far been spent from the N500billion voted for the Social Intervention Fund in the 2016 budget from where N80billion is being proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari as virement to other critical areas of the budgetary provisions having shortfalls.


Making the disclosure yesterday while appearing before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Appropriation, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Protection Plan, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, said though a total of N25 billion have been received by her office and additional N40billion approved last week, just about a billion naira out of the entire N500billion budgeted for the social intervention fund, has been spent.


According to her, poor releases accounted for the inability of her office to utilise the fund.


When the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central) asked her whether she has objection on the virement of funds from her office, she said no.


She, however, explained to the lawmakers that out of the N65billion her office would have in its coffers, N60billion would be spent on 200,000 unemployed Nigerians recently engaged across the 774 local governments on the basis of N30, 000 per head.


On her part, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the N500billion budgeted for the social intervention programme cannot be utilized before the end of this fiscal year.


She said the virement would be channeled to the Amnesty Programme, operations of the Armed forces, Operation Lafiya Dole, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Foreign Missions, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), among others.

FG, ASUU disagree on ‘earned allowance’ as warning strike ends today.

The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) could not agree on Earned Allowance due to lecturers despite the Senate’s intervention, a situation which forced the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund to adjourned the peace meeting it convened indefinitely.


The yesterday’s meeting chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau had in attendance the national leadership of ASUU led by I’d national president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi; the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; and the director general of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, among others.


The meeting ended at about 8.20pm last night without a definite resolution even as the one-week warning strike embarked upon by ASUU since last Wednesday will end today.


Briefing journalists after the meeting, Senator Barau, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund, said the peace meeting agreed on all issues at stake except the one on ‘earned allowance’, hence the meeting was called off for further engagements among all parties.


Recall that the Senate had on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 resolved to mandate Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to intervene in the looming industrial action with the aim of averting the strike.


After the first meeting held behind-closed-doors the next day after the Senate’s resolution at the Senate President’s Meeting Room 301 at the New Wing of the National Assembly Complex last week, all parties were upbeat on the quick resolution of the crisis in the tertiary education sector.


The National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU had earlier rose from its meeting on Saturday November 13, 2016 with a resolution to embark on the one-week warning strike starting from Wednesday, November 16, 2016 over the Federal Government’s failure to implement the 2009 Agreement and 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they both entered into, among other demands.


Meanwhile, ASUU president declined comment as the union’s delegation to the meeting quietly walked away without talking to journalists, who had laid siege on the meeting’s venue.

FG, ASUU Meeting Deadlock As Warning Strike Ends Tomorrow

The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) could not agree on Earned Allowance due to lecturers despite the Senate’s intervention, a situation which forced the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund to adjourned the peace meeting it convened indefinitely.

The meeting chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau had in attendance the national leadership of ASUU led by I’d national president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi; the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; and the director general of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Ahonu-Amazu, among others.

The meeting ended at about 8.20pm this night without a definite resolution even as the one-week warning strike embarked upon by ASUU since last Wednesday will end today.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Senator Barau, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETfund, said the peace meeting agreed on all issues at stake except the one on ‘earned allowance’, hence the meeting was called off for further engagements among all parties.

Recall that the Senate had on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 resolved to mandate Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to intervene in the looming industrial action with the aim of averting the strike.

After the first meeting held behind-closed-doors the next day after the Senate’s resolution at the Senate President’s Meeting Room 301 at the New Wing of the National Assembly Complex last week, all parties were upbeat on the quick resolution of the crisis in the tertiary education sector.

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N27m cash was ‘found in Justice Ngwuta’s bathroom’ – FG lawyer

Counsel to the Federal Government, Charles Adeogun Philips, on Monday told an Abuja Federal High Court that N27m in cash was found at the residence of a Supreme Court Justice, Sylvester Ngwuta, but it “completely disappeared.”

According to Philip, the large sum was allegedly found in Ngwuta’s bathroom but the judge later ordered that the money be removed.

Philips made the claim while arguing against the bail application by Ngwuta’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN.

Alleging that the apex court judge gave the order for the money to be removed on October 9, the Federal Government’s lawyer informed the court that Ngwuta attempted to conceal evidence.

Philips claimed that Ngwuta first instructed a witness to “go and get rid of those cars,” adding that the second instruction was “go to my bathroom you will find two bags.

“The bags contained 27m in cash”, and that “they were moved from the location.

”There are sufficient grounds that the defendant will interfere with potential prosecution witnesses and with evidence.

“We object to bail being granted because we are of the opinion that the defendant may conceal or destroy evidence.”

The Federal Government’s counsel urged the court not to grant the accused judge bail because he possessed multiple identities, and could jump bail because he once left the country with false identification.

Agabi, hwever, prayed the court to grant his client bail in liberal terms and self recognition, stressing that the offence Ngwuta was standing trial for was bailable.

Justice John Tsoho after listening to the argument of both lawyers adjourned the matter for an hour to deliver a ruling.

Earlier, the apex court justice had pleaded not guilty to the 16-count charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Recall that the Department of State Services, DSS, had on October 8, arrested Ngwuta alongside some judges over alleged corrupt practices.

FG proposes 2-year jail term for Nigerians hoarding dollar.

The Federal Government has proposed an amendment to the Foreign-Exchange Act to enable the imprisonment of anyone who holds foreign currencies, especially the dollar, for more than 30 days

This is the latest measure the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria are considering to stem the volatility in the exchange rate and bolster the ailing naira, according to a Bloomberg report.

In the new proposals, which were published on the website of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission last week, the CBN is seeking the power to control capital flows and stop people from taking forex out of the country.

According to the draft amendment of the Foreign Exchange Act, anybody holding dollars in cash for more than 30 days risk a jail term for as long as two years or a fine of 20 per cent of the amount.

Regulators should also be able to prevent money being repatriated “in accordance with the terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the central bank from time to time,” the draft states.

The existing law is “narrow in scope and prohibits the seizure, forfeiture or expropriation of imported money by the government without providing for exceptions,” it adds.

The amendments, according to the document, are necessary “for effective monitoring and control, and to ensure probity in foreign exchange transactions in Nigeria.”

The CBN has increased capital controls since the price of oil, Nigeria’s main foreign exchange earner, started crashing in the second half of 2014.

It had pegged the naira for 15 months until June this year, a move analysts blamed for causing investors to flee the country, the economy to contract in the first half of the year and the inflation rate to rise to an 11-year high.

The latest move will further worry foreign investors, according to a Lagos-based research and investment advisory firm, SBM Intelligence.

The Department of State Security officials had last week arrested some black market forex dealers for exchanging the naira at a rate weaker than 400 per dollar, compared with the existing street rate of around 460.

The naira-dollar official exchange rate, which analysts accused the CBN of still manipulating, is 315 against the greenback.

“The CBN wants to take its regulatory onus to frightening proportions,” analysts at SBM said in an e-mailed note in response to the new draft law.

“The move smacks of desperation and can only result in negative investor perception and capital flight,” they added.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the apex bank did not introduce the bill in a text message response to Bloomberg. He did not elaborate.

The Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, while reacting to the development said, “If it did not emanate from the CBN as claimed by its spokesman, it may have emanated from the Presidency or other sources. But the fact is that when you compel people not to hold dollars after stopping the use of naira debit cards abroad, you are discouraging people to bring in money into the country.

“You also push more people to the parallel market and create further gap between the official and black market exchange rates.”

FG to build three more VVF hospitals for poor, vulnerable – Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, says the Federal Government is planning to build three more Vesico Vaginal Fistula hospitals in the country to make treatment accessible to the poor and vulnerable.

Adewole told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that poverty and lack of accessible healthcare were major causes of VVF in the country.

He said VVF mostly affected the poor, younger women and many of them abandoned by their husbands.

Adewole said: “There are thousands of Nigerian women with VVF, and it is only poor people that will have it. The rich won’t have it because it is an indication of lack of care during delivery.

“About 85.7 per cent of the poor have no health coverage and no one to look after them.

“The rich ones are taken care of, no rich one will have it, even when they have it or there is a mistake, they will quickly repair it and they will be okay because they have the money.”

Adewole said Federal Government, through its Rapid Results Initiative launched in October, would be performing 10,150 free VVF surgeries in partnership with International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons.

He said it was already taking place concurrently in Abuja, Ibadan, Katsina, Minna and Abakaliki.

He said: “We are picking these women. The Federal Government has set up three VVF hospitals in the country, but we are planning on building two or three more to clear off the backlogs.

“This will enable the poor and the vulnerable who could not afford the fistula treatment to beam with smiles.”

The Minister described VVF as an abnormal opening created between the urinary system and the vagina usually after a prolonged labour not attended by skilled personnel.

He said: “These are women who for one reason or the other could not really deliver their babies through the normal birth canal.

“And because there is a misfit between the baby and the passage, the head of the baby or the other parts of the baby would compress the bladder against the bone and thereafter, the woman starts leaking urine.”

NAN reports that recent records by a health awareness group, Community Partners for Development revealed that Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of women suffering from VVF in the world.

About 800,000 Nigerian women are living with the condition.

Niger Delta Leaders Split Over Federal Government’s Demands

Leaders of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, a coalition of monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the coastal states of the Niger Delta region, led by former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, were dumbfounded, Tuesday, by the action of the co-chairman of the forum’s Central Working Committee, CWC, His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, who led a separate group to make fresh demands on the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja.

Chief Clark nominated HRM Diete-Spiff, the Amanayabo of Twon-Brass in Bayelsa State to read PANDEF’s 16-point demand when the leaders met President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1 in Abuja and due to his position as co-chairman, questions are being asked on his new group, Niger Delta People’s Congress, NDPC. Head of Media, NDPC and PANDEF member, Mr. Hendrik Opukeme, however, told Vanguard that there was no cause for alarm, as there was no rift between PANDEF and the new group.

According to him: “Not necessarily a split, but key issues from the agitators were not adequately presented. Secondly, most of their representatives were shut out by PANDEF. Rather, expired persons and government apologists took over PANDEF.”

Many PANDEF leaders approached by Vanguard yesterday, kept sealed lips on the matter with some describing it as disgusting, pointing out that leaders of the forum were not in the know of the new group.

One of them said: “PANDEF is going to meet over it and a general decision will be taken. It is not a case of asking me my personal opinion of what HRM Diete-Spiff did. We have to meet and find out why something like this happened and issue a formal statement.”

Another said: “The truth is that after the PANDEF meeting, some part of Niger Delta and some civil society groups felt not properly carried along in the scheme of things, hence this meeting with the Vice President.”

A source, who attended the Tuesday meeting of NDPC with Prof Osinbajo said: “The conveners of NPDC, I must confess, are not comfortable with PANDEF leadership, hence they went through King Diete Spiff. Though I am not too comfortable with the conveners, I had to attend because my people insisted. That is why I do not want to make comment openly for now, but at the appropriate time, I will speak my mind.”

No need for a counter group

Reacting to the confusion, the Niger Delta Security Watch Organization of Nigeria, NDSWON, in a statement by its president, Dickson Bekederimo, said: “The fresh demands made by NDPC, led by the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, appear to have modified the16-point demand of PANDEF. The new group that presented a modified version of the 16-point demand paraded persons from PANDEF. While l commend the submission of the modified version of the 16-point demand, which specifically touched the core issues that always trigger agitation in the region, l am, however, disturbed by the attempt to pluralize the region by the constitution of another group. Where it becomes necessary to modify the 16-point demand, it is my belief that such modification and submission of modified list ought to be routed through PANDEF.

PANDEF is umbrella body 

PANDEF member, Mr. Tony Uranta, asserted: “In our efforts to address the myriad of challenges besetting the Niger Delta, there had been numerous bodies and groupings in existence well before the wise creation of PANDEF as an umbrella entity representing the entire region as a whole. PANDEF is the supreme body of the Niger Delta, but, aware that PANDEF is in infancy and respectful of the rights of people to associate and speak freely, PANDEF’s recent general assembly agreed that special-interest bodies like Traditional Rulers of Oil Producing Communities, TROMPCON and Host Oil Producing Communities of Nigeria, HOSTCOM could continue actions and advocacy they had long been committed to.

NPDC fresh demands in order

The Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, nevertheless, endorsed the presentation by NDPC, saying: “It is in tandem with the yearnings of Niger Delta region.” In a statement by the national president, Austin Ozobo, the group said: “We wish to say that the demands presented to the Vice President were the core demands of Niger Delta, which were omitted by PANDEF.”

A divided house can’t stand

Commenting on the development, Director of Centre for Environmental Human Rights and Development, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Dr. Nenibarini Zabbey, said: “There is need for the leaders of Niger Delta to put their house in order. There is total disunity among them and it is bad. They should form a united front and properly articulate their points. From the way they are going, it shows that the points are not well articulated.”

Bille leader carpets FG

“Chief Igbamibo Kemuel, a leader of the Community Development Committee, CDC, Bille Kingdom, said: “For the Vice President to accept the visit of Diete-Spiff when the President himself had received PANDEF shows that the federal government is not interested in the development of Niger Delta.”

Youth unhappy with elders

Meanwhile, leader of Nigerian Youth Organization, NYO, in Rivers State, Comrade Goodnews Amadi, said:    “Youths of the region are not happy with what is happening between the presidency and the leaders of Niger Delta. The leaders of this region are the people destroying this Niger Delta.   They are using these different factions to cause more problems. The two parties are not considering the place of youths in this quest.   They cannot get call for a meeting of the region and the youths are not represented. This shows total disunity. Alagoa Morris, Niger Delta activist, said:  “I am not surprised for two reasons. Firstly, a lot of criticism trailed the first set of demands and, youths were also expressing displeasure for not being carried along. Secondly, I am not surprised because this is confirming that the people of the Niger Delta have spent more time in complaining and shouting than articulating issues in unison.”

Mr. Eric Omare, spokesman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, told Vanguard:  “Firstly, it is unfortunate that a group of people that went to the vice president were also present at the meeting of the Niger Delta leaders with the President to present the 16 -point demands.”

Strike: Release our N800bn – ASUU chair tells FG

The chairman of the Nasarawa state University, Keffi, (NSUK) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Nghargbu K’tso, has asked the federal government to release the outstanding N880 billion meant for critical intervention projects of university education as a way to avert strike action by the union.


K’tso urged government to show more commitment to the funding of universities and welfare of lecturers in order to save the country’s university system from collapsing.


He regretted that the union has been battling with the federal government since 2009 for the release of the fund to no avail stressing that the funds, if released, would address the problems of infrastructural decay, research development and other key components of the nation’s university education.

Speaking after the union’s emergency meeting in Keffi, K’tso said, the nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the union was to get government back to the renegotiation table in respect of the 2009 agreement between the union and the federal government.


He insisted that federal government’s refusal to negotiate with ASUU to address the pending issues which border on funding for revitalization of public universities based on the 2013 MoU was detrimental to progress of the education sector.

FG Hires Top International Criminal Court Prosecutor Against Indicted Supreme Court Chiefs- Report

Some of the indicted officials of the Supreme Court fingered to have collected money through fraudulent means are in serious trouble as the Federal Government hires a top international criminal prosecutor. The Federal Government has hired a former International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Charles Adeogun-Philips, to lead its team of lawyers to prosecute the Supreme Court Registrar and others for alleged N2.2b fraud.
 The arraignment of the three senior officials of the apex court was stalled by Justice Abba Mohammed of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Jabi, Abuja because one of the Supreme Court officials, Muhammed Sharif, was absent.
The Federal Government on November 3 filed a nine-count charge against Chief Registrar Ahmed Saleh, Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal (who are both officials of the court’s Account Department).
The officials were charged with conspiracy and criminal breach of trust for allegedly diverting N2.2billion belonging to the apex court and receiving gratification as public officers. The three officials are also accused of receiving N74.4m gratification from Willysdave Ltd., Welcon Nig. Ltd., Dean Musa Nig. Ltd., Ababia Ventures Ltd. and MBR Computers Ltd. between 2009 and 2016.
On November 8, Justice Mohammed granted a request by prosecution lawyer Hajara Yusuf for time to produce the three defendants in court for arraignment, following which the court adjourned till November 17 for arraignment.
Saleh and Lawal were in court. Sharif was absent. Garba Tetengi (SAN), who announced appearance for Sharif, said he was ill and was on admission at the hospital. He sought an adjournment, which other defence lawyers – Abdulhakeem Mustapha – SAN – (for Saleh) and I.K Sanusi – SAN (for Lawal) did not object.
The Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation (DPPF), Mohammed Umar, who led the prosecution team, later yielded proceedings to Adeogun-Philips, who spoke for the prosecution.
Umar said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had in exercising his powers under Section 174(1) of the Constitution, elected to engage an international lawyer to conduct prosecution in the case.
Adeogun-Philips said he was unhappy that Tetengi could not provide any document to show that Sharif was on admission in the hospital. Justice Mohammed rescheduled the arraignment for December 15.

FG to begin Lafia abattoir renovation Nov 21 – Commissioner

The Federal Government would commence renovation work on the Lafia Central Abattoir on Monday, Nov 21, according to Alhaji Lawee Aiyu-Yusuf, the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources.

The Commissioner, who disclosed this in Lafia on Friday, said that the gesture was part of the Federal Government’s efforts toward improving the standard of living of Nigerians.

The commissioner, while receiving the House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, who were on an oversight visit to the ministry, said that government made the renovation a priority in view of the relevance of abattoirs to human health.

He commended efforts by both the federal and state governments toward improved agricultural yields and called for more interventions by the federal government to complement efforts by the state government.

The official lauded Gov. Tanko Al-Makura’s prompt response to the demand for fertilizer and other farming inputs, saying that the gesture had boosted food production this season.

He said, however, that his ministry was unable to achieve 100 percent budget performance, and blamed that on inadequate funds and current economic challenges.

The commissioner identified a shortage of manpower, vehicles, high overhead cost and decayed infrastructure as major challenges confronting the ministry, and solicited for the lawmakers’ support in that direction.

Earlier, Alhaji Abubakar Kana, (APC-Kokona West), Chairman of the committee, had said that the visit was not a witch hunt but to assess the 2016 budget performance index with a view to addressing challenges.

“The committee needs to know the budget details and performance of the ministry in the 2016 fiscal year; this will serve as a guide while considering demands submitted in the 2017 fiscal year,” he said.

He expressed the assembly’s readiness to collaborate with the executive arm and other stakeholders toward addressing challenges faced by stakeholders involved in the food production chain.

Expert urges FG to pay more attention to ICT in 2017 Budget.

Mr Femi Efunsanya, Chief Executive Officer, MDOT Solution on Friday urged the Federal Government to give more priority to Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector in 2017 budget.

Efunsanya made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He also called for the formulation of good policy that would create an enabling environment for ICT entrepreneurs and attract foreign investors in the country.

“Nigeria is currently planning to diversify from oil to another sector.

“I think the ICT sector is capable of improving the economy if government can make it viable for investment.

“As Nigeria is facing recession, ICT can bring different kinds of innovation that can be useful to reviving the economy,” Efunsanya said.

According to him, a country like India has also experienced the same economic hardship and it made their ICT sector viable through policies that would encourage their start-ups to be more innovative.

Efunsanya said that a lot of e-commerce had been established and. most of them were yielding positive results in terms of efficiency.

“E-commerce has become a patronised system of acquiring goods in the country now and it has generated a lot of jobs.

“Government needs to give more priority to that sector because Nigeria has brilliant people who can be innovative.

“If the ICT is given the necessary attention, it is capable of generating internal revenue like oil for the country,” he said

Efunsanya said that the challenge faced by start-up and Small and Medium enterprises (SME’s) were numerous, both internally and externally such as infrastructures, power, and lack of finance, among others.

He appealed to the government to create more technology hub for start-ups for technologists to bring more innovations just like the advanced countries.

Abacha Loot: FG Wins Case As Malami Heads To U.S. Next Week For Repatriation

The Federal Government has won the case to have the country’s money looted by ex-head of state, Sani Abacha repatriated from the United State of America where the fund has been stashed.

This is equally as the Attorney-General, Malami is billed to visit US next week for the fund’s repatriation. This was disclosed, Friday, by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Shehu was reacting to some claims making the rounds that President Buhari had donated USD 500 million to Democratic Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the recently held Presidential elections in U.S which saw the Republican Donald Trump emerge the President-elect.

According to Shehu, Nigeria has no such money to throw around and even if it does have, President Buhari who has zero tolerance for waste cannot do such unjustifiable act. “What is the craziest accusation made against President Buhari?”

“That he donated USD 500 million to Hillary’s campaign and that Donald Trump is angry. This has gone viral, sadly Nigerians are believing it!”

“President Buhari’s Nigeria doesn’t have this kind of money to throw around. Even if the money is there, this President is the least likely person to give it as donation, and for what?”

“As we speak, President Buhari is concluding agreements with the U.S. to return our stolen money in their banks. A FGN account has already been given for the return of one million Dollars from Alamisiegha.”

“Judgement on the USD 480 million Abacha loot has been won and our Attorney-General, Malami (SAN) will be in the US next week to speak to the Department of Justice, USDOJ on the next steps for the return of that as well.”



FG to probe N2bn ecological fund disbursed by Jonathan to state governors

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has promised that the Federal Government will probe the alleged unequal disbursement of N2bn ecological funds to states by the immediate past government.

Osinbajo gave the promise during the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting he presided over, yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja .

In a statement by his Media aide, Laolu Akande, the Vice President said the matter will be “broadly reviewed, and forthright counsel would be made to the President.”

According to the statement, Osinbajo took the decision following complaints by some governors saying, “N2 billion was paid to some States by the last Administration under unclear circumstances and criteria.

“There were complaints that state governments did not have equal access to the Fund amid allegations of political preferences.”

Approving an alternative funding for the oil and gas sector, NEC, the council said the new funding regime will, “eliminate the often arduous and onerous cash call regime which has dragged the industry in about a decade, stalling growth.”

The statement disclosed that the alternative funding stream had been approved earlier this week at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting and then presented to NEC, to come up with “measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.”

Fraud: FG to arraign Justice Ngwuta November 21

The Federal Government will on November 21 arraign a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, before the Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of money laundering and others relating to violation of provisions of Immigration Act relating to obtaining of passports.

Our correspondent learnt on Thursday that the case had been assigned to Justice John Tsoho.

It was gathered that the court’s registrars, had on the instruction of the judge, issued and served notices for the arraignment scheduled to hold on Monday on parties to the suit.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution on Wednesday confirmed to our correspondent that it had received the court’s hearing notice.

The amended charges with suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/232/2016, raised the number of counts from original 10 to 14.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had on Wednesday amended the charges raising fresh allegations of money laundering involving N505m against him.

It was alleged that the sum of N505m was part of proceeds of Ngwuta’s “unlawful” activities.

The defendant allegedly transferred the total sum of N505m “denominated in naira and US dollars” to a building contractor between January and May 2016.

The prosecution alleged that the Justice of the Supreme Court transferred the total sum of N130m to Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka, a building contractor, on January 4, 2016.

Ngwuta was also accused of transferring the sum of N165m to Chukwuebuka “on or about April 2016” and another sum of N100m to the building contractor “on or about” the same period.

He was also charged with transferring the sum of N110m to the same person “on or about May, 2016.”

The sum of money allegedly transferred to the building contractor by the judge within the five-month period totalled N505m.

The alleged offences contained in the first four counts of the amended charges were said to be contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

As alleged in the old set of charges, Ngwuta was accused in the amended charges of retaining N35,358,000; $319,596 and £25,915 during the raid on his house by the operatives of the Department of State Services between October 7 and 8.

The various sums of money were also described by the prosecution as proceeds of “unlawful” activities of the justice of the apex court.

The offences were said to be contrary to section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Apart from the money laundering charges, Ngwuta was accused of passport offences in counts eight to 14 of the amended charges.

He was accused of being in possession of two valid diplomatic passports and another two valid standard Nigerian passports, when his house was raided by DSS operatives on October 8, 2016.

He also allegedly submitted multiple applications, made false information of loss of the passports and of his age with intention to obtain multiple of the passports in violation of various provisions of the Immigration Act 2015.

According to the proof of evidence accompanying the charges, the prosecution has lined up five witnesses against the Justice of the Supreme Court.

They are Aminu N. Ibrahim, Ngo Awoikiega, Mr. Tanko Nuhu Kutana, Ogudu Nwadire and Nwamba Chukwuebuka.

FG disburses N220bn as loan facility to 35 states

The Federal Government has given a total of N220 billion to 35 states as budget support facility.

This was disclosed by Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Abubakar who said Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun dropped the hint during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on Thursday.


Abubakar quoted Adeosun to have said the Federal Government disbursed N1.1 billion to 35 states last month as support loan facility.


According to her, this made it a total of N6.3 billion disbursed to each of the 35 benefiting states.


The loan facility was designed to provide financial relief to state governments.