Governor Ambode lauds Fashola’s achievements as Lagos Ex-Governor.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday lauded his predecessor in office and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola for his achievements during the eight years he spent as Governor of the State.

In a meeting at the governor’s office, Governor Ambode, who spoke when he received Fashola and some top officials of the Ministry on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Ikeja, described the visit as historic, adding that it was gratifying to receive the Minister for the first time at the Lagos House, Ikeja since he left office on May 29, 2015.

“We want to say that whatever it is that we have done in the last 22 months is just more or less a fall out of the great achievements the former governor had already put in place.

We have decided that we would carry on with a sense of continuity in all the things that have been done.

I had always said that what we wanted was this continuity of the last 18 years, but continuity with improvement and we are happy that all that has been done in the last 22 months is just a continuation of the template the former Governor left behind.”

“We are happy that the sense of collaboration that we have expressed here is what we believe can carry whatever it is that Lagos stands for, moving forward. As you may be aware, Lagos is celebrating its 50 years of existence this year.

“The last 18 years has been so dramatic and historic in terms of the growth and development that we have seen in Lagos, commencing from 1999 when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu came into office and the eight good years spent by you and the two years we have done. So, obviously, there is a remarkable change between 1999 and now,” Governor Ambode said.

Minister Fashola who described the visit as home-coming for him, said he had come with his team to Lagos as part of a nationwide project monitoring exercise to inspect the job done so far on Federal Government projects.

He assured that the Ministry had made representations to the Federal Executive Council on modalities to pay debts owed State Governments including Lagos State for rehabilitation of federal roads over the years, saying that the debts would be paid through bond instrument.

The Minister also expressed readiness to assist Lagos State power initiative, especially in the rural areas.

Former Nigerian Minister, Joel Ikenya dumps PDP for APC

Joel Ikenya, a former Minister of Labour and Productivity, has announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr. Ikenya hails from Taraba and served in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He told journalists on Monday in Jalingo that his defection was informed by the numerous achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration.

He urged Nigerians especially those from the North-East, to key into the policies and programmes of the president for the socio-economic development of the country.

“My reasons for decamping from the PDP to pitched tent with the ruling party are based on the many achievements the president have recorded within his first one year in office.

“The success he achieved in restoring peace to the troublesome North-East zone alone is something we cannot shy away from no matter our political party differences.

“Buhari’s fight against corrupt practices is also one of the major factors that motivated me to dump my former political party to the ruling APC,” Mr. Ikenya said.

The former minister pledged the “unflinching support” of his and his supporters to the president to enable him (Buhari) lead the nation to greater heights.

“My supporters and I will support Mr President because a close look at his appointments will show you that no region benefited from his appointments like the North-East.

“I want to use this platform to call on citizens from the northeast region to put aside sentiments and support the president in reciprocity for all the good things he has done for us,” he said.

JUST IN: Gambia’s Information Minister ‘Quits In Protest’ Amid Political Unrest.

The Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang has resigned to protest President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to accept defeat in December’s presidential election.

In a statement, he said that efforts to contest the results are “an attempt to subvert the express will” of the Gambian people.

The state television however reported that Mr Bojang had been sacked.

“The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision,” he said, quoting a popular poster slogan which has been effaced by soldiers in the capital Banjul in recent weeks.

Bojang confirmed the authenticity of the statement to Reuters via telephone from neighboring Senegal.

The minister made headlines in October by announcing that Gambia intended to leave the International Criminal Court, calling it the “International Caucasian Court”.

Jammeh’s opponents hope Bojang’s departure might signal further departures from among allies within the country who retain control of the army and other state institutions.

This comes after the UN Security Council has called on President Jammeh to step down.

He initially accepted that opposition leader Adama Barrow won the election, but then reversed his decision, citing electoral “abnormalities”.

Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall Gaye resigned in December, though her decision attracted little publicity.

Many officials and businessmen have fled the country, fearing a crackdown by the former lieutenant who seized power at aged 29 in a 1994 coup and is accused by rights groups of jailing and killing his critics.

No Plastic Rice In Nigeria- Minister

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has dismissed claims by the Nigria Customs Service (NCS) that there is plastic rice in Nigeria.

On December 21, 2016, Customs said it intercepted 102 bags of plastic rice branded “Beat Tomato Rice’’ with no manufacture date.

Yesterday, the minister laid to rest claims about the presence of plastic rice in Nigeria.

For some weeks, reports in social media claimed plastic rice had allegedly been imported massively into the country.

In two tweets, yesterday, through his twitter handle; @IsaacFAdewole, the Health minister said preliminary tests and results proved no rice in the country was plastic.

He noted that some of the impounded rice, when cooked, had “normal odour,” “normal colour” and was “off white.”

He added that the Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Oluremi Oni had also informed him that there is no such rice in Nigeria.

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Minister to break Buhari’s 2017 budget in details Monday

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, will on Monday give a breakdown of the highlights of the 2017 Budget estimates presented on Wednesday to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari.

Those expected at the briefing, which will be held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja, include media practitioners, Heads of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Representatives of States and Local Governments, Private Sector Operators and Associations, Captains of industry and Civil Society Organizations.
Presenting the broad estimates to the National Assembly on Wednesday, President Buhari said the implementation of the 2017 Budget will be based on government’s economic recovery and growth strategy. The Plan, which builds on the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 Budget, provides a clear road map of policy actions and steps designed to bring the economy out of recession and to a path of steady growth and prosperity.

The President said “we continue to face the most challenging economic situation in the history of our Nation. Nearly every home and nearly every business in Nigeria is affected one way or the other. Yet I remain convinced that this is also a time of great opportunity.”

The President said: “we have reached a stage when the creativity, talents and resilience of the Nigerian people is being rewarded. Those courageous and patriotic men and women who believed in Nigeria arenow seeing the benefits gradually come to fruition. I am talking about the farmers who today are experiencing bumper harvests, the manufacturers who substituted imported goods for local materials and the car assembly companies who today are expanding to meet higher demand.”

Vowing that his government will change the Nigerian economic focus from dependence on a single commodity and the habit of Nigerians depending on foreign goods, the President said government will increasingly grow and process local food, engage in local manufacturing and refining of petroleum products.

“We will buy ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods. We will encourage garment manufacturing and Nigerian designers, tailors and fashion retailers. We will patronize local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses in Aba, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nnewi, Onitsha, and Ota. From light manufacturing to cement production and petrochemicals, our objective is to make Nigeria a new manufacturing hub.”

President Buhari explained that the implementation of the 2016 Budget was hampered by the combination of relatively low oil prices in the first quarter of 2016, and disruptions in crude oil production which led to significant shortfalls in projected revenue. “This contributed to the economic slow-down that negatively affected revenue collections by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian Customs Service.”

Government’s priorities in 2017, according to him, will be a continuation of the 2016 plans but adjusted to reflect new additions made in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. “In order to restore growth, a key objective of the Federal Government will be to bring about stability and greater coherence between monetary, fiscal and trade policies while guaranteeing security for all.”

He said the 2017 Budget is based on a benchmark crude oil price of US$42.5 per barrel; an oil production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day; and an average exchange rate of N305 to the US dollar.

Based on these assumptions, aggregate revenue available to fund the federal budget is N4.94 trillion. This is 28% higher than 2016 full year projections. Oil is projected to contribute N1.985 trillion of this amount.

Non-oil revenues, largely comprising Companies Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies are estimated to contribute N1.373 trillion. We have set a more realistic projection of N807.57 billion for Independent Revenues, while we have projected receipts of N565.1 billion from various Recoveries. Other revenue sources, including mining, amount to N210.9billion.

With regard to expenditure, he said “we have proposed a budget size of N7.298trillion which is a nominal 20.4% increase over 2016 estimates. 30.7% of this expenditure will be capital in line with our determination to reflate and pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.”

This fiscal plan will result in a deficit of N2.36 trillion for 2017 which is about 2.18% of GDP.  The deficit will be financed mainly by borrowing which is projected to be about N2.32 trillion. “Our intention is to source N1.067 trillion or about 46% of this borrowing from external sources while, N1.254 trillion will be borrowed from the domestic market’, he said.


Akpandem James,
Media Adviser to the Hon. Minister

Minister releases investigation report on death of corps member, Oladepo Ifedalapo.

The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has released the summary of findings on the death of corps member, Oladepo Ifedayo.

Ifedolapo died at NYSC orientation camp in Kano State on November 29 and was laid to rest in her hometown in Osun State.

President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered an investigation into her death.

Dalung on Wednesday made public the findings by the Ministry and NYSC, absolving NYSC of any lapses in the cause of attending to the late corps member.

The report reads in part:

“The national dailies in recent days have been awash with stories on the assumed circumstances surrounding the death of Oladepo Ifedolapo Rachael, a corps member of the 2016 Batch ‘B’ in Kano on 29th November, 2016…


In all of the above, some conclusions could be highlighted without any fear of contradiction.

(i) From the evening of 27th November, 2016 up to the early hours of 29th, the corps member was promptly attended to. The allegation of negligence on the part of NYSC is therefore unfounded.

(ii) The Orientation Camp clinic where the corps member was first treated has a total of 31 qualified and registered Doctors, 20 Pharmacists and 11 Nurses. There are no student Doctors as all the Doctors are fully certified by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

(iii) The Camp clinic in Kano Orientation Camp, as in all the Camp clinics nationwide, runs 24-hour service, hence she received attention at 3:00 am on the 28th of November when her friends brought her in from the hostel.

(iiii) The Camp clinic in Kano was well stocked with essential drugs for a non-surgical hospital.

(v) There was no delay in referring the deceased to the secondary hospital when the Camp clinic Doctors found that her case was beyond what could be managed in the Camp clinic.

(vi) Apart from being the closest secondary hospital to the Camp, Gwarzo General Hospital is not a village hospital as insinuated in the Press. It is a standard General Hospital established in 1970 as a Zonal Referral Hospital with surgical theatres. It currently has eleven (11) Doctors and is reputed to be one of the busiest in the whole of Kano State.

(vii) We have also established that at no time was the deceased left unattended at the Gwarzo General Hospital as the Nurse who accompanied her to the hospital is a staff of the Hospital.

(viii) Like many corps members do upon arrival at the Camp, it is clear that the deceased had an ailment which she did not disclose. From the Doctors’ report, the corps member died of renal sepsis occasioned by infection. Even to the untrained, Kidney infections do not develop and degenerate to the level of mortality in three days (i.e 27th to 29th November, 2016).

(ix) The close friends of the deceased who were by her side all through at the Camp, have also attested to the fact of prompt attendance at the clinic by the Doctors at the Camp.

(x) The deceased was neither forced nor harassed to take part in any parade at the time of her ailment. There was no usual parade rehearsal since the Swearing-in Ceremony had not taken place at the time she fell sick.


The purpose of this investigation and report is not to justify the death of our corps member but to establish the facts surrounding her death, especially against the backdrop of the unfounded insinuations that have been peddled in the Press.

“All these facts could be verified right from the Orientation Camp Clinic entries, the medical personnel and the records at the Gwarzo General Hospital. Indeed, the death of a single corps member in the course of service is one death too many.

“Beyond the colossal loss to the family of the deceased, the loss of a corps member to the NYSC family and the nation at large is unquantifiable. At this prime of her life, Miss Oladepo was expected to make her greatest contribution to the development of Kano State and Nigeria in general. She has definitely left a vacuum that may never be filled.

“As we mourn her and other corps members who have departed this world, we shall continue to honour her memory by working harder with the rest of the corps members to achieve the time-honoured objectives of the NYSC.

“May the soul of Oladepo Ifedolapo Rachael and the souls of all other deceased corps members rest in peace Amen.”

Minister To Give Budget Breakdown On Monday

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, will on Monday give a breakdown of the highlights of the 2017 Budget estimates presented on Wednesday to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari.
Those expected at the briefing, which will be held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja, include media practitioners, heads of federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), representatives of states and local governments, private sector operators and associations, captains of industry and civil society organizations (CSOs).
Presenting the broad estimates to the National Assembly on Wednesday, President Buhari said the implementation of the 2017 Budget will be based on government’s economic recovery and growth strategy. The Plan, which builds on the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget, provides a clear road map of policy actions and steps designed to bring the economy out of recession and to a path of steady growth and prosperity.

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BREAKING: EFCC has arrested former FCT minister Bala Mohammed over N1Tr Fraud

Information reaching Omojuwa.Com has it that EFCC has arrested former FCT minister Bala Mohammed over controversial N1trillion land swap deal carried out between 2010-2015.


EFCC Sources say about 12 properties have been seized from Bala Mohammed and his son, who he allegedly used in buying many properties.


More details about the unfolding development will be published later.

Minister denies directing service chiefs to retire

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has denied that he directed two service chiefs to relinquish their offices and proceed on retirement on or before December 16.


A statement released by his Public Relations Officer, Tukur Gusau, a colonel, on Monday in Abuja said his attention was drawn to some online publications purporting that he directed the two service chiefs to hand over on that date.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two service chiefs in question are the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, a Lt. Gen., and the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, a Vice Admiral.


The statement said: “Please be informed that there was no such communication between the office of the Honourable Minister of Defence and the service chiefs directing any one of them to hand over his office and proceed on retirement.


“The appointment and replacement of service chiefs is a prerogative responsibility of the office of the President and Commander in Chief.”

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

Former Minister Kuforiji-Olubi is dead

A former Minister of Commerce, Bola Kuforiji-Olubi is dead.

The Ogun State government in a statement said she died on Saturday barely over two months after she clocked 80 years.

She was the first female president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN.

“Yes we will miss her, but we still have to thank God for the impactful and successful life she lived,” Governor Ibikunle Amosun was quoted as saying in the statement.

He added that the late Mrs. Kuforiji-Olubi was not only a successful technocrat, “she also impacted and motivated generations of Nigerians, especially women, through her industry and success as a technocrat and an administrator.”

While commiserating with the Kuforiji-Olubi family, the people of Ogun State and indeed all Nigerians over the loss, Mr. Amosun said “for us in Ogun State, she was an icon. She was one of those international icons that made us proud.”

He added that, “her enviable track record includes being the first woman in sub-Saharan Africa to serve as chairman of a leading financial institution, UBA; the first chairman of ?Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority and Vice Chairman, National Conference on Nigerian foreign policy among others.

“We will particularly miss her words of wisdom at this critical stage in the development of our dear state,” Mr. Amosun said.

In his condolence message, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos said “she wrote her name in gold in the banking industry and was a pace-setter and leader in banking, manufacturing and entrepreneurship not only in Nigeria but also in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Minister promises stricter control measures for tobacco.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has assured tobacco advocacy community groups that his office would do all in its power to ensure that stricter laws regulating the consumption of tobacco in the country and the degree of exposure for children.


Speaking when he was paid a courtesy visit by a group campaigning for tobacco-free children, Tobacco Control Community Advocacy on Tuesday, Folorunsho promised that his office would get the Legislature to do anything to make our people stop smoking.

“I want to thank the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for this meeting. This meeting is important, because I have personal and official reasons for fighting tobacco and will do anything to make our people stop smoking.


“Among measures we are considering, we have to look for a way to tax tobacco. When taxes make the prices of tobacco high, those who still want to smoke will have to work hard to be able to pay for it. We must be prepared for this battle, because it is a battle for the long haul.”

Minister stops FIRS from revenue collection for FCT

In line with the new act of the Federal Capital Territory, the Minister, Mohammed Bello, has stopped the Federal Inland? Revenue Service from further collecting revenue for the territory.

The amended FCT Act came into being in 2015 and one of its provisions make the FCT Internal Revenue Service the sole revenue collector for the territory.

The minister, it was gathered in Abuja, has written the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, that the services of the Federal Government’s agency were no longer required in the collection of revenue for FCT.

Reliable sources? in the FCT Administration confirmed that the minister has consequently directed the FCT Inland Revenue Services to solely be responsible for revenue collection in the territory.

Both the FCT and the FIRS had agreed based on the directive from the Presidency that the FIRS assist to jointly with FCT IRS collect revenue in the territory on behalf of the FCT Administration pending when the FCT IRS possesses the capacity.

But an informed source in the FCT Administration told InsideBusiness that the stoppage of revenue collection by FIRS was not unconnected with the 4 per cent cost of collection, which accrue to the FIRS from the revenue collected in the FCT.

Unlike the FIRS, the FCT IRS does not enjoy cost of collection.

The FCT IRS collects gross revenue of between N3 billion and N4 billion monthly, according to sources at the ministry.

“The minister has communicated with the FIRS that the FCT will be solely responsible for revenue collection from October 2016?,” the source said.

It was further learnt that a dissatisfied FIRS Chairman had put a call to the FCT Permanent Secretary, Tope Ajakaiye, on why he wasn’t informed ahead of the decision.

Fowler was told by Ajakaiye that he was just hearing the decision from him.

An official of the FCT IRS, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed that the FIRS was no longer collecting revenue for FCTA.

The official disclosed that by the FCT law, FIRS wasn’t supposed to collect revenue for the FCT Administration.

“The FCT IRS has the capacity to collect revenue for the FCT Administration. And we have been netting between N3 billion and N4 billion monthly,” the source stated.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the FCT Minister on Media, Sani Abubakar, said he wasn’t aware but would find out the true position and communicate.

Abubakar had not responded as at press time?.

Sources at the FIRS said the Service has not stopped completely, adding that the FCT will be collecting personal income tax and payee in the territory.

He said: “FCT IRS just started about one month ago.

“FIRS will still collect its basic collection, which include VAT, CIT, education tax and the Petroleum Products Tax.

“We got the directives to it during the current regime.

“It’s a distraction to FIRS.”

The FIRS official, who preferred anonymity, stated that the directive that the FIRS should assist FCT came from the Presidency because the territory does not have the spread and requisite expertise to handle it.

The official said: “So the arrangement is that we will assist them and stop when they have the capacity.

“It’s not a permanent arrangement, but stop gap measures.

“I think FCT is now in a position to do it now.”

Our Embassies National Embarrassment- Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyema, has  described Nigerian embassies as a national embarrassment.
The Minister painted a gloomy picture of the embassies while defending the N14.6 billion virement request his ministry made to the National Assembly.
He told the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation that the virement should be approved to bail out the embassies.
“Most of you should be aware because you have visited some of the embassies. The situation is a national embarrassment. The situation is bad, it is horrible and should be addressed. School fees are not paid. In some cases electric bills are not paid. It is actually a national embarrassment,” the minister stated.
A member of the committee added that he visited France recently to learn that the local staff were being owed salaries for eight months.
The committee wanted the minister to confirm that if approved, the virement would address the problems of the embassies.
Onyema said that the fund would go a long way in addressing the problems of the embassies.
He requested that the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be denominated in dollar to prevent the issue of fluctuation of the Naira.
The Budget and National Office objected to the request saying that such denomination of the budget in dollar would create problem for budgeting process.
Onyema was also asked what his ministry does with the money embassies make from visa application and others.
The minister said that the money is usually remitted to the consolidated revenue fund of the country.

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.

President Buhari Mourns Ex-Minister Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Government and people of Lagos State on the passing on of former Minister of National Planning, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President.

Buhari also extended his condolences to all family members, friends and professional colleagues of the late acclaimed economist, eminent industrialist, playwright and promoter of arts and culture.

He urged them to be consoled by the fact that Gbadamosi’s contributions in these diverse fields of life would be appreciated for a long time.

Buhari also stated that the nation would remain ever grateful for the meritorious and exemplary roles Gbadamosi played not only as a minister, but also as a former chairman of the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

“There is no doubting the fact that the economic development of Nigeria was always uppermost in his mind,’’ the President reminisced about the ex-development expert.

The President prayed that the almighty God would grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest, and comfort his family.

FG Approves N30bn Intervention Fund For Solid Minerals- Minister

The Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the Federal Government had approved the release N30 billion intervention fund for solid minerals development.
Fayemi disclosed this at the fifth Extractive Industries (EITEI) Conference held by CSR-in-Action.
The theme of the event was: “Revisiting the Nigerian Economy beyond Oil: Prospects for a thriving Export-Driving Extractive Sector.’’
The Minister, represented by Prof. Okey Onyejekwu, his Senior Special Adviser, said the fund would be used for geosciences data generation, improve mines-field security and monitoring.
According to him, this is in line with the enforcement of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.
He explained that the ministry was partnering International Development Partners through AFDB, the World Bank, UNDP, UNIDO and donor agencies such as DFID, and Ford Foundation to ensure development of the sector.
He said that the ministry had formulated a new roadmap for the sector since his appointment one year ago.
According to him, there has been an improved funding for the sector through activation of the 0.5 per cent mining sector component of Natural Resources Development Fund (NRDF).
The Minister promised to ensure the nation’s development partners are engaged to implement MoUs, especially those on geosciences data generation, integration, storage and dissemination.
He said government would ensure there was improved revenue generation and collection through identification and plugging of leakages.
He said the ministry would target five per cent contribution to the GDP by the year 2020 as against the current 0.34 per cent.
He said the current works on the standard gauge rail line from Warri to Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, Itakpe, were key to Nigeria‘s industrialisation.
According to him, the resolution of litigation and conclusion of final stages of mediation meant that Ajaokuta Steel Plant would soon be freed of encumbrances and government would give it to a competent investor.
Earlier, Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI) said Nigeria’s problem was not its dependence on oil but the leaders refused to save for the rainy days.
According to him, Nigeria’s leadershp in the oil boom era failed to invest in other sectors like petrochemical which would have helped to diversify the economy.
The ministry had also revoked non-performing mineral titles in line with the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, to make the area financially and technically viable for investors.
“If the nation should explore the economic recession well, diversify to solid minerals and do not make the same mistakes it made in oil sector, our economy will grow’,’ he said.


Russian minister Alexei Ulyukayev detained over ‘bribe’.

Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been detained in connection with an alleged bribe.

Russia’s main anti-corruption body, the Investigative Committee, said Ulyukayev received a payment of $2m.

His ministry had given a positive assessment that led to the oil giant Rosneft acquiring a 50% stake in another oil company, Bashneft. He is the highest-ranking Russian official to be detained since the 1991 coup attempt in what was then the USSR.

“This is about extortion of a bribe from Rosneft representatives accompanied by threats,” Svetlana Petrenko, a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee, told RIA Novosti news agency.

“Ulyukayev was caught red-handed as he received a bribe,” she said.

The Investigative Committee said the minister would soon be charged and could face a prison sentence of between eight and 15 years, if found guilty.

Rosneft, which is controlled by the Russian government, bought 50% of Bashneft for 330bn roubles (($5bn) in October.

A Rosneft spokesperson told the Tass news agency it acquired the Bashneft stake “in accordance with Russian law on the basis of the best commercial offer made to the operating bank”.

Ulyukayev was appointed economy minister in 2013; prior to that, he had been deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank for a decade.

Lagos-Ibadan Express Road Ready Soon– Minister

Expansion and rehabilitation works on the Lagos-Ibadan highway would be completed this dry season, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the minister of power, works and housing said on Friday. Fashola, who briefed the media in Lagos on his first year in office, said that the long bridge at the Lagos-Ogun border on the road had to be shut because a lot of construction work was ongoing underneath it.

“Roads are depreciating assets that need constant maintenance and regulated usage,” he said, adding that the issue of overloaded trucks was being addressed.

According to him, the ECOWAS sub-region is already looking into the issue of double-axle articulated vehicles that transport more tonnage than most roads were built to accommodate.

Fashola also said that weighbridges would be reintroduced on Nigerian roads to arrest overloading. He said, however, that warehouses have to be built by the weighbridges to take in offloaded extra goods from arrested haulage vehicles.

The minister also said that the issue of reintroducing tollgates on roads would be decided by Nigerians, stressing that he had not forgotten his experience on this when he was the governor of Lagos State.

He said that privately built roads that were to repay investors through tolling drew the ire of some Lagos residents and led to court cases. Fashola said that the Federal Government was giving priority attention to roads that connected major cities as well as those that would ensure quick evacuation of farm products to the cities.

He said that with increased budgetary allocation to the sector, more would be done to ensure a smoother road network nationwide.

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Boko Haram: Defence Minister mourns gallant army commander

The Minister of Defence, retired Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, has described the death of Lt-Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali as tragic and unfortunate development in the theatre of operations in the North East.

Abu-Ali was killed by the Boko Haram terrorists in their failed attack to capture Malam Fatori in northern Borno on Friday.

The minister in a statement issued by his Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, on Sunday also described the late Abu-Ali as a major pillar in the war against terrorism and insurgency in the region.

Dan-Ali, who said he received the death of officer with sadness, prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the “war hero an eternal rest”.

The minister also commiserated with the father of the deceased officer, Etsu of Bassa-Nge Kingdom in Kogi, retired Brig-Gen Abu-Ali, his family and the Nigerian Army.

Until his death Abu-Ali was the Commanding Officer of 272 Task Force Battalion at Malam Fatori.

He was nicknamed “Sarkin Yaki” in Hausa language (literally war chief) and led the army unit that recaptured Gamboru-Ngala, Baga and several communities from the terrorists in 2014.

FG To Acquire Two More Satellites At $550m- Minister

The Federal Government said at the weekend that negotiations have reached an advanced stage to procure two additional satellites for the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) at the cost of $550 million.

Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu said the Federal Government’s team would secure funding for the satellites through a non-interest facility from a consortium of Chinese financial institutions.

He said the procurement of SAT2 and SAT3 was necessary, considering the fact that Nigeria was losing billions of dollars every year because it had only one satellite in the orbit.

He likened the situation to a car travelling from Abuja to Lagos without an extra tyre, describing the risk involved as enormous.

“Nigerian companies and government agencies are patronising foreign satellite firms as a result of this risk for the safety of their data and security of other services provided by them, thereby exporting jobs to other countries at the detriment of Nigerians,” the minister said.

The minister spoke while presenting a three-page communique issued at the end of a weeklong Fourth Regular Meeting of the National Council on Communications held at Arewa House, Kaduna.

He told reporters that the council recommended that “stakeholders, including state governments, should henceforth purchase satellite bandwidth requirements from NIGCOMSAT Ltd only”.

The minister said the council received a total of 76 memoranda, of which 65 were considered while it endorsed the Nigeria ICT Roadmap 2016-2019 as well as the National ICT Strategic Plan 2016-2024 for implementation.

Shittu added that the council recommended the adoption and implementation of the e-Governance Masterplan and the creation of states computer emergency response teams as measures to mitigate cyber security threats.

His words: “The council encouraged members from the states to adopt the implementation of the digital jobs initiative in their respective domains as a means of leveraging the opportunities for alternative income presented to Nigerian youths across the country.

“It recommends creation of innovative hubs and ICT centres to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

“It encouraged federal, states and local governments to set up digital centres as a means of promoting ICT capacity-building and recommended digital literacy as a minimum requirement for employment and promotion in the public service and for implantation to be done in phases.”

The minister noted that other issues considered by the councils were that it advised government at all levels to digitise their records and adopt only Nigeria software in the process.

It further recommended that federal and state governments henceforth comply with the provision of the guidelines for Nigerian content in ICT.

He said states should establish their State Information Technology Development Agency (SITDA).

The minister added that the implementation of CCTV projects on security on highways should also be used for traffic management.


Fed Govt to acquire two more satellites at $550m, says minister

FG to launch Information Portal for Nigerians at home and abroad – Minister   

The Federal Government will soon launch an Information Portal to keep Nigerians at home and in the diaspora abreast of government’s programmes and policies and also get their feedback.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday when he received the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diapora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on a courtesy visit to his office.

“I think what is lacking today is that most of our people in the Diaspora base their views and opinions, their actions and reactions about what is happening at home largely on second hand, third hand or fourth hand information and this is why this particular portal is very important.

”In particular, it will be provide our brothers and sisters in the diaspora with first hand information on what is happening at home. We will also ensure that this portal will enable us to get a feedback from them on what they are doing,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed also announced that town hall meetings would be organised for Nigerians in the diaspora, especially in cities with large Nigerian communities, as part of efforts to engage them on the efforts the government is making to develop the country.

He said there were also plans to launch the Change Begins With Me Campaign in some major cities across the world, with a view to reinforcing the faith and belief of the diaspora Nigerians in the Nigeria Project and also to carry them along in the rescue mission to revamp the economy and ensure the return of moral values that will re-position the country on the path to greatness.

The Minister lauded the contributions of Nigerians resident abroad to the development of their host countries, saying they remain Nigeria’s ambassadors, whose views are not tainted by sectional, ethnic or religious prejudices.

He said in times of recession as currently being witnessed in Nigeria, the contribution of the diaspora community is capable of reflating the economy, particularly if the funds they remit come through the official sources.

“Unfortunately for us in Nigeria, even though a lot of money comes from the diaspora, it does not come through official sources. I think that the Central Bank is also doing everything possible to ensure that the inflow from the diaspora comes through official sources,” the Minister said.

In her remarks, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa sought the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in building a formidable structure that will engage Nigerians in the diaspora.

While stressing the need for an accurate database of Nigerians in the diaspora, she said a diaspora policy would soon be put in place to define and facilitate the engagement with Nigerians residing abroad and harness the intellects of Nigerians in various fields in the diaspora to contribute positively to nation-building.

“We are coming up with a programme called PRIDE – The Presidential Initiative for Diaspora Excellence. We will bring it down to various fields; we are working on medicine and agriculture. So we are getting Nigerians in the diaspora in those fields that are going to come together and make sure they contribute positively to the progress and development of Nigeria,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President said.

Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa expressed the confidence that with about $21 billion remitted to the country annually, Nigerians in the diaspora are capable of pulling the country out of recession if they are adequate informed and engaged by the government, while also disclosing the plan to float a Diaspora Bond.

EFCC Arrests Ex-FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed.

BALA Mohammed, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

At Press time, details of Mr. Mohammed’s arrest remained sketchy, but sources confirmed he was arrested and was at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja on Monday night.

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comment late Monday.

Nigerian minister, accused of colluding with MTN, denies allegations.

The Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has denied any involvement in the alleged illegal repatriation of over $13 billion by telecom giant, MTN.

Mr. Enelamah was accused of collaborating with MTN to take the money out of Nigeria.

In his letter to the Senate committee investigating the allegations, Mr. Enelamah denied any involvement in the alleged repatriation.

In the letter HMITI/GEN.CORR./VOL.1/, dated October 7, Mr. Enelamah said that he was never involved with MTN as he had never been a director of the company.

He said he had neither had any engagement with the company nor earned dividends.

“I was never owner of Celtelecom Investment Limited or a shareholder in Celtelecom as recorded on pages 402 and 403 of the Votes and Proceedings of the Senate of Tuesday, September 27.

“Between 1998 and 2015, I served as the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Alliance, a wholly owned subsidiary of African Capital Alliance (ACA), an investment company.

“Two funds managed by ACA together with some individuals and entities invested in MTN with Celtelecom as the investment vehicle; I served as a director in Celtelecom representing the ACA management fund.

“I have never claimed that I invested in MTN neither did I obtain a Certificate of Capital Importation on 7th February 2008; the investment by Celtelecom in MTN was made in 2001.

“The Form A dated 7th February 2008 that I signed in my capacity as a director of Celtelecom was to enable the processing of payments due from the sale of part of its shares in MTN.

“This is evidenced by the letter to IBTC Chartered Bank Plc dated 7 February 2008,” he said.

He urged the Senate to note that investors do not have responsibility for the remittance of proceeds from the company they invested in.

“So at no time was I ever in the position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN and at no time did I transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN,” he said.

An investigation by the Senate into the allegations continues on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rufai Ibrahim, said his committee had hired international and local forensic experts to assist in the investigation

Mr. Ibrahim said that the experts had arrived Nigeria and were already working with other local forensic experts to uncover any hidden details from the documents that had been submitted.

“The Senate sees this as very important, it is a weighty allegation and we are going to deal with a lot of documents spanning 16 years,” he said.

Prime Minister Caught on Camera Playing Game During Debate in Parliament

The craze for games is taking a new dimension as world leaders have also caught the bug.
A Dailymail report has revealed that Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was spotted playing Pokemon Go game during a debate in her country’s Parliament.
The report further revealed that it is not the first time Ms Solberg, 55, has been spotted trying to ‘catch them all’, after telling reporters she was trying to ‘hatch eggs’ during an official trip to Slovakia.
Hatching eggs is one of the side features of the game, where players can obtain eggs at ‘Pokestops’ dotted around maps and then ‘hatch’ them by walking a certain distance – 2km, 5km or 10km.
A picture of the leader on Pokemon Go appeared in a Norwegian newspaper and she reacted with good grace, writing on Twitter that ‘women can do two things at once’.
Pokemon Go is an online game many have become addicted to in recent times
It comes weeks after another Norwegian politician was spotted playing the game on her mobile phone during a hearing on the country’s military situation.
Trine Skei Grande, 46, leader of the Liberals (Venstre), in Norway, and was spotted by viewers playing the game when the meeting of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee was broadcast live.
Ms Grande was accused of caring more about the game than issues of national security, but during a break from the meeting, Ms Grande defended her actions saying she has a head that ‘listens better when she is doing brain dead’ activities.
And ironically, it was Ms Grande who was addressing Parliament when the Prime Minister was spotted making the same faux pas as she did in August.

Niger Delta group defends minister over fraud allegations

A socio-political group, Niger Delta Reawakening Network, has risen in defence of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani U. Usani, over revelations that he was indicted by a government white paper for alleged fraudulent contract when he served as commissioner of water resources in Cross River State.

The group, in a press statement yesterday, described the allegations against the minister as ridiculous saying the basis of the story circulated by some online platforms was “outdated.”

According to the group, the matter has since been resolved as the

Cross River State government had since 2001 written to the Code of Conduct Bureau to withdraw the matter which, according to the group, was initiated on wrong premise.

The statement signed by Barrister Henry Martins alleged that those circulating the documents indicating the minister’s indictment were members of a cabal that are not happy with Usani’s “uncompromising stance” in handling the affairs of the Niger Delta region.

To support its claim, the group made available to newsmen a letter titled: “Withdrawal of matters referred to the Code of Conduct Tribunal Arising from Cross River State Government white paper on the report of the financial impropriety verification standing committee (official document No. 5 of 2000).”

Nigeria Already Getting Out Of Recession– Minister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nigeria is already getting out of recession – Minister

Brazil Police Arrest Ex-minister Palocci For Graft

Brazilian police on Monday arrested Antonio Palocci, a powerful former finance minister and presidential chief of staff in recent Workers Party (PT) governments, as a sweeping anti-corruption probe hit even harder at the left-leaning party.

Prosecutors said at a news conference that Palocci acted as a liaison between the PT and Brazil’s largest engineering and construction conglomerate, Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], from 2006 to 2013 in a kickback scheme centered on contracts at state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

“Evidence has surfaced … that he was responsible for coordinating his political party’s receipt of surreptitious payments from the Odebrecht Group,” read Monday’s search and arrest warrant signed by anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro.

Investigators allege Palocci improperly approved loans from state development bank BNDES to Odebrecht in Africa and for oil platforms. They also allege that he pushed legislation through Congress to help the company win tax advantages.

Prosecutors said they had found evidence that Odebrecht paid 128 million reais ($39.5 million) to the Workers Party and its representatives between 2008 and 2013, including Palocci.

Construction magnate Marcelo Odebrecht, whose family owns the namesake company, received a 19-year sentence in March for bribery, money laundering and organized crime in relation to the scandal at Petrobras.

Two former aides of Palocci were arrested in Monday’s police sweep.

A medical doctor by training, Palocci was former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s finance minister and a key player in the 2002 election campaign that put the union and PT leader in the presidential seat.

He also served as chief of staff to Lula’s hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, ousted last month in an impeachment trial that ended 13 years of PT rule.

She was succeeded by her former vice-president Michel Temer, whose political and economic policies have veered sharply to the right.

Palocci’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Monday’s accusations.

Odebrecht’s press office said the company would not comment. BNDES officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Palocci’s arrest brings the investigation of Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal further into the core leadership of the PT.

Last week, police detained Guido Mantega, who succeeded Palocci as Lula’s finance minister and stayed in the post for almost nine years.

Mantega, who was accused of corruption, was released after a few hours. Palocci was picked up on the same warrant, which could mean his detention will also be brief.

“This is another nail in the Workers Party coffin,” said Andre Cesar, a political analyst at Brasilia-based public policy consultancy Hold Legislative Advisors. “The circle is closing.”

Lula was indicted last week on corruption charges in a case involving a luxury seaside apartment that prosecutors say was a disguised bribe from a construction company implicated in the Petrobras scheme. Still one of Brazil’s most popular politicians, his arrest is unlikely before he goes on trial.

Palocci helped Lula change his image from leftist radical into a business friendly and socially progressive leader who finally secured election on his fourth bid.

Gambia Leader Replaces Minister With Coup Plotter

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has fired his interior minister and replaced him with a military officer previously convicted of plotting a coup against him, in the latest unpredictable move from the west African strongman.

A press release read over state television on Sunday night said longtime minister Ousman Sonko would be replaced “with immediate effect” by Momodou Alieu Bah, who helped mount a 2006 coup against Jammeh.

Jammeh has fended off several attempted coups since coming to power in 1994 via the same method.

Bah had previously served as finance director for the Gambia’s armed forces, and hails from Lamin, a village close to the capital, Banjul.

He was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2006 following the attempted overthrow but granted amnesty in 2010 after he testified during the trial of the chief of defence staff of the Gambia Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Lang Tombong Tamba.

Bah’s sacked predecessor Sonko was previously a member of the presidential guard and protected Jammeh when he was threatened with a separate coup attempt in 2000, rather than joining other guards mounting an insurrection.

Sonko had served as interior minister since 2006 except for his brief 2012 appointment as ambassador to Spain — a decision that Jammeh reversed one week later.

Sonko’s profile was still available to view on the Gambian government’s website on Monday, but had disappeared by the evening.

Last week the United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was “alarmed” by reports of violence against protesters, and the torture and unexplained deaths of detainees in the Gambia, warning of “serious repercussions of any further decline in the situation”.

Jammeh is expected to win a fifth term in a December election, and his regime is regularly accused by rights groups of arranging the forcible disappearance of opponents.

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Nigeria will get out of recession soon – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has assured Nigerians that the current economic recession the nation was experiencing will not be prolonged.

She gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja while addressing a news conference.

She said that there was a strategic plan by the administration to see that the recession ended soon and also ensure that the economy recovered fully.

She said, “We have a strategic plan that will take us out of the recession we have found ourselves in; we want to make sure the recession is as short as possible because we do not want a prolonged recession.

“From what we are looking at we do not think that it will be a prolonged recession; we think that some of the initiatives that we are working on will now begin to bear fruits.

“We are on course and are confident that the plan we have put together will work and put the economy back on track.

“It is a long term plan that would reposition the economy so that we do not go into this boom and burst circles that are driven by the oil price.

“The economy has to be more resilient than that so that we do not find ourselves back where we are.’’

She said that measures put in place by the FG showed was that the end of the recession had begun and Nigeria would come out stronger.

Listing some of the measures the administration had taken to address the situation, she said that since the budget was released in May, over N420 billion had been released and cash backed for capital projects.

She said that the largest sector that the money was spent on was Power, Works and Housing.

She also said that a lot had been done in the defence sector to rebuild the capability of the army, especially on efforts in the North East.

She said, “Agriculture has received significant funding because of the time sensitivity of agriculture and because of the fact that food prices were rising, we needed to intervene so that we could get food prices down.

“There is activity resuming on roads, power projects and health projects and we have released money to water resources and solid minerals.’’

Adeosun also said that there was a cash plan to release another N350 billion which would go into the various MDAs.

“The focus is going to be similar, however, there would also be funding of about N60 billion for the Special Intervention Programme and that is very important in putting money into people’s pockets.

“The school feeding programme and the N-Power teachers corps we will cash back today as part of the N350 billion additional release which would take our total capital spending to about N700 billion.”

She also said that N50 billion was set monthly as budget support plan for some state governments from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to support them with additional money to enable them to pay salaries.

She said that the loan had been on for three months for the interested states because some states which were buoyant decided not to participate.

On recovery of assets, Adeosun said that the committee was in the process of collating with the non-cash assets like farmlands, vehicles and houses and that a fixed asset register would soon be opened to determine their value.

She said that the jewelries were from different locations and were being brought together to determine the market value and that the next line of action would be decided by the committee.

Adeosun explained that the present recruitment by the police and some other government agencies were made possible by the reduction of ghost workers.

She added that the savings that were made from the exercise would enable funding for the new recruitment.

“Sometime in January, personnel cost was N165 billion along with pension cost, but so far so good; we have reduced, through the removal of about 40,000 ghost workers, the personnel cost by around N10 billion per month.

“Now we have saved about N100 billion this year.’’

She said that though the times were tough, there was hope for Nigerians, adding that issues around infrastructure were the biggest problems of Nigeria which resulted in high cost of living.

“The biggest problem we have is not wages but the cost of living which is too high so it is not how much money you have but it is what it costs you to live.

“The problem we have is that many of the things that people are spending money on are the things government should be doing like roads, power and so on.

“So we have to address these things because that is what will really make impact for the average working Nigerian and so when you address the infrastructure you address the cost of living and that is what this government is working on.’’

Spain Nominates #PanamaPapers Leak Minister For World Bank Job

The Spanish government brushed aside global concerns to name its former Industry Minister, Jose Manuel Soria, as the country’s proposed representative at the World Bank.

Mr. Soria’s nomination is coming despite being linked with an offshore company listed in the Panama papers leaks earlier this year.

Although he denied any wrongdoing, Mr. Soria was compelled to resign his appointment last April, apparently to forestall any negative backlash on Spain’s caretaker government, the conservative Popular Party (PP).

But, few months after, the Spanish government has sent his name as its nominee to be voted one of the 25 executive directors by the189 governors at the Washington-based Bretton Woods institution, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday.

Mr. Soria was named in the Panama Papers leaks scandal with details about his relationship with U.K. Lines, an offshore firm owned by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

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Why FG Wants Taxes On Phone Calls, Text Messages, Data– Minister

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communication, says a proposal by the Nigerian government to impose a 10 per cent tax on phone calls, text messages, data and more, would help enhance telecommunication services in the country.

The plan has been widely criticised.

But Mr. Shittu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Osogbo, Osun State, that the proposed tax would also help to improve telecommunication infrastructure.

“We have a lot of deficiency in the provision of infrastructure in the telecommunication sector.

“And I believe that those who proposed the bill must have thought that government centrally relies on tax because without tax, government cannot operate,” he said.

The minister said the ministry was proposing a workshop to sensitise the public on the new bill.

“We are proposing a workshop on the bill for all stakeholders in telecommunication services, operators and even ordinary man.

“I hope that at the appropriate time, when the figures are out, everybody will appreciate the need for such a tax in which at the end of the day will improve services and make everybody happy.

“Everybody is complaining every day over lack of quality and good services, drop calls and all of that.

“All these are caused by deficiency in infrastructure and Nigerians, I believe that we cannot shy away from what will provide government with resources to improve facilities,” Shittu said.

The minister promised that the government would continue to provide enabling environment for telecommunication operators in the country.

Credit: NAN

Recovered Loot Inadequate To Revive Economy– Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has explained that the looted fund recovered so far by government is far cry from what the country needs to revive the economy.

The minister said this on Friday when he appeared on a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

According to him, the amount of money recovered is always being made public. “What we have recovered and if my record is right is about N78 billion, and 3 million dollars.

“We have been able to block various accounts in which about 9 billion dollar is found but those are not money available to us because we are still in court over them.

“The government spends N165 billion every month to pay federal civil servants, even what has been so far recovered will not even pay 50 per cent of the salaries in a month.’’

Mohammed assured Nigerians that every penny recovered will be judiciously spent and nobody could re-loot what had been recovered under the administration.

The minister further explained that Nigerians should understand that what had been recovered was so little compared to what the people needed on a continuous basis.

On budget release, he recalled that the Federal Ministry of Finance released N400 billion for capital projects, mostly on roads, railway, and power.

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North Korean President Executes Minister For Bad Sitting Posture In Parliament

North Korea has executed its education minister, Kim Yong-Jin, 63, because of his ‘bad sitting posture’ in parliament, according to reports.

Before his execution in July, a south Korean official said top official  was interrogated and found to be an ‘anti-revolutionary agitator’ .

South Korea ’s unification ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said: “Vice premier for education Kim Yong-Jin was executed.”

He added: “Kim Yong-Jin was denounced for his bad sitting posture when he was sitting below the rostrum.”

Credit: AFP

No New Land Allocations For Now – FCT minister

The Federal Capital Territory Administration has resolved not to allocate new plots of land until infrastructure was provided in new areas, The Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, has said.

Bello said this when he received a delegation of the Catholic Community, led by the Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said: “The present administration will not give new allocations either now or in the near future until such areas or districts are clearly provided with the best complements of infrastructure.”

The minister said the policy was not aimed at stifling development, but to ensure that development goes the way it should be.

He said: “That is by providing for the best possible infrastructure before allocations are made so that issues like land speculation or double allocation are discouraged.”

Bello, however, said lands earmarked for compensation for wrongs done or as part of amicable resolution of disputes were exempted from the arrangement, adding that the administration would give priority to these exceptions.

The minister further said the administration would be fair in the allocation of plots earmarked for religious worship centres in the Abuja Master Plan.

The Abuja Master Plan, he noted, made provision for the need of every sector in the society, stressing that plots meant for worship centres would be equitably allocated among all religions.

He said: “Despite the huge demand for land, this administration will try to ensure that plots meant for religious organisations are left for that purpose so that everybody is given a sense of belonging in the territory.

“The planners of Abuja have made plots available for religious bodies in all of the districts in the capital city and this administration intends to implement its land allocation policy based on this plan.

“I think this is standard practice.

“For every district, there are religious plots that cater for all the faiths.”

Bello urged religious bodies and other residents of the FCT to embrace out-of-court settlement of land-related disputes, to reduce the time expended in seeking resolutions at the courts, which retards development of the FCT.

Earlier, Onaiyekan had thanked the minister for encouraging the inter-religious seminar that afforded religious leaders in the FCT to rub minds.

Minister Beaten To Death By Miners

Bolivian miners on Thursday during a clash with the police in the town of Panduro hacked the Deputy Interior Minister to death. Interior Minister, Carlos Romero, confirmed on Friday that reports by witnesses indicated that the 55-year-old was beaten to death following clashes between police and miners in the town of Panduro, 165 kilometres south-east of La Paz.

Romero said Illanes had been kidnapped by miners after attempting to initiate talks with them at a roadblock. The minister, who spoke of a “cowardly and brutal” murder, added that his aide was also injured and was taken to hospital.

He said that one miner was reportedly also killed in the Thursday’s clashes, bringing the death toll in several days of protests against controversial trade union legislation to three.

“Two miners were killed on Wednesday. “Around 100 miners were detained after Thursday’s protests,’’ he said.

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Minister Threatens To Shutdown Fertiliser Plant Over Products Diversion

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has threatened to shut down any fertiliser plant that denies local farmers access to the product while exporting the same commodities.
The Minister made this known following allegations that one of the two big urea plants in Nigeria is producing for export while selling to Nigerian farmers at inflated prices, making affordability and accessibility difficult.
“Two urea plants are big enough to meet Nigeria’s demands. We know their capacities. But where there are allegations that some people are exporting instead of putting in the Nigerian market, and prices shot to N10,000 per bag of urea, we became extremely angry with them. Thank God now, many of them have started producing and putting into the market. The price is already dropping,” Ogbeh observed.
“But we are warning against the future. There can’t be any priority but the Nigerian market. If there is a surplus, they are free to export. But unless and until there is a surplus, we can’t sit by and watch people selling fertiliser beyond the shores of Nigeria when the local farmers have nothing to buy. And we are saying the same to others. The priority is the Nigerian market.”

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Nigeria Loses 127 Billion Yearly To Cybercrime- Minister

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu said Tuesday that Nigeria is losing about 127 billion naira annually to cybercrime and urged stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, industry to rise up to the challenge.

He also the Ministry in collaboration with the military is poised to use modern technology to fight insurgency, corruption and other crimes that pose a threat to Nigeria’s unity.

He spoke while declaring open the 26th edition of the National Conference of the Computer Society of Nigeria holding at NAF Centre, Abuja.

He told the gathering that all hands must be on the deck to face the challenges confronting the nation with the deployment of ICT, stressing that the theme of this year’s conference was more apt as “no nation can develop without safety and security.”

He said: “national safety and security further encompasses securing the nation’s cyber space. Our growing dependence on digital infrastructure introduces and poses grave threats to national security. It is quite shocking that Nigeria loses about N127 billion which is 0.08 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), yearly to cybercrime”.

He said further “Without safety and security, growth is impossible. “Information Technology for National Safety and Security”, the Conference theme, is highly relevant as it aligns with the National safety and security priority of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Securing lives and properties is both an enabler and an imperative for growth and development. Threats emanate from local and global terrorism which strikes fear and shatters the much needed national peace and security.

“Nobody, no organization can perform optimally under a cloud of fear. Uncertainties and raised anxieties strain our economy and society. We must however acknowledge successes recorded so far in the fight to keep Nigeria secure.

“It is appropriate that the efforts of the armed forces and the significant achievements in the fight against Boko Haram are recognized. Though the Nigerian Army is already using some technology platforms, there may be some requiring close attention by the conference.  The Ministry is also engaging with the Nigerian Army on possible technology collaboration to tackle the activities of insurgents and other security challenges in the country.

“Beyond military might, financial crimes and corruption are added burden to the national security challenges that threaten the very existence and development of the nation. In Public finance, the electronic platforms used by the Nigerian government such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) have resulted in significant savings and elimination of waste in governance.

“Though great strides have been made in these areas, there is still a lot to do to secure our dear nation. We all know that ICT is the globally recognized enabler in all spheres of development and it is most appropriate for NCS to step in by offering the nation an authentic platform to explore the role of ICT in national safety and security. Using ICT and Geographical Information System (GIS) to tackle Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy and other security challenges with enhanced efficiency and professionalism has become a matter of paramount importance. ”

“As at today, ICT is currently contributing up to 10 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and had created over 10 million jobs in the past 10 years. Developments in the ICT sector have provided well over $32 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the last 15 years. It is indeed one of the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy which is the second largest ICT market in Africa.  The number of Internet subscribers in Nigeria also rose from less than one million in 2003 to over 80 million in November 2015,” the Minister added.

Credit: TheNation

Ambassadorial List: Senate Summons SGF, Foreign Affairs Minister

The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama, over the lopsided list of 47 career diplomats sent to the red chamber about two weeks ago.

They alleged that some states were excluded from the list whereas some states had up to three nominees.

Apart from this, the senators also explained that there were specific petitions against some nominees, who were said to have been picked ahead of their senior colleagues from their states of origin.

The Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, cited the case of two directors on level 17, from the same state who were dropped for a junior officer.

He said, “The two of them are in fact, already on level 17 and in making the recommendations many who are junior to them in experience and in status have been elevated above them. They therefore want some intervention from the chamber to be sure that correct process is followed.

“They also said that there are those who have served the republic meritoriously who did not get passed because of whatever might be the internal politics of the ministry.

“So, I plead that relevant committee and this chamber would take a second look at this prayer.

“We should direct that the minister for foreign affairs, and the SGF to appear before the committee on foreign affairs to explain the omissions and irregularities and the processes by which some of these names came about.”

Credit: Punch

Panama Papers: $2.6m Penthouses Traced To Ex-Minister


A former Minister for National Planning, Rasheed Gbadamosi, bought two luxury penthouses worth $2.6m in Panama in 2008 while serving as the Chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, according to leaked data from Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

According to a documents sighted by Nigerian online newspaper, Premium Times, Gbadamosi who was recently appointed co-chairman of the Lagos at 50 planning committee, bought the two houses in the most opulent areas of Panama.

Under Nigerian law, acquiring assets abroad is not illegal, but according to the Fifth Schedule of the constitution, chairmen and members of government boards or other governing bodies and staff of statutory corporations and of companies owned by the federal, state or local governments must declare their assets on assumption of duty and on leaving office.

Apart from declaring their assets, appointees are also expected to justify their sources of income for whatever additional assets are acquired in-between the commencement of duties and departure from office.

It could not be verified as of press time if Gbadamosi declared his interest in the two penthouses to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

According to documents sighted by Premium Times, sometime in early 2008, the former minister approached Gilberto Aleman, a Panamanian real estate broker, to help him secure two posh penthouses owned by Nicolas Corcione, owner of Ciclones Corporation Inc and Cosmopolitan Corp, the companies under which the properties were registered.

Valued at $1,365,000, the first penthouse Gbadamosi bought, is located in Ocean Park Tower 2, and consists of a surface area of 537.33 square meters, on floors 35 and 36 of the tower.

The property is registered under the ownership of Ciclones Corporation Inc.

The second penthouse is located in the same building as the first, Ocean Park Tower 2. It consists of a surface area of 479.88 square meters, on the 39th floor of the building. It was registered under the ownership of Cosmopolitan Corp.

All attempts to speak with the ex-minister prove abortive as his telephone line did not connect while a text message was not responded to by of 7pm on Sunday.

Credit : Punch


I Will Only Drive Nigerian Made Cars– Minister

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday declared that as soon as the Federal Government starts implementing the budget, he will only ride in cars manufactured in Nigeria.

He also stated that all 17 agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will be directed to patronise Nigerian made cars, adding that the move was to promote the use of locally produced goods.

Onu, who disclosed this while hosting a delegation from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja, further noted that vehicles manufactured in Nigeria had 60 per cent local content.

He said, “Through Innoson we can now see vehicles that are manufactured in Nigeria with 60 per cent local input. This is a great feat and we will corporate and collaborate with you and will lead the very urgent need in Nigeria to patronise Nigerian made goods. The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will do it by example.

“We are just waiting for the budget to be out. But I will like to make this known to our country that as soon as the budget is out, the minister of science and technology will only drive in cars made in Nigeria and this include vehicles in the Ministry of Science and Technology. Also, all our 17 agencies will be directed to patronise made in Nigeria vehicles.

“We believe that leadership by example is the best form of leadership and this ministry will carry this beyond here. This will ensure that we find value in the things that we produce. There is no other way that Nigeria can become a great nation except when we as Nigerians patronise goods made in Nigeria.”

He assured the delegation that the government would support local manufacturers by clearing the challenges faced by operators in the manufacturing sector, adding that this would create wealth for Nigeria.

Credit: Punch

Demands By Centenary Promoters Unrealistic- Minister

The FCT Administration has declared that the request by the promoters of the Centenary city project for the revocation of the development agreement between the Centenary City Plc and the FCT Administration is untenable and unrealistic.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello made this declaration yesterday at the National Assembly during the public hearing on the Centenary project by the Senate Committee on the FCT.

Bello revealed that the Centenary City Plc wrote the FCT Administration requesting for the revocation of a valid development agreement which was duly executed by the two parties as a pre condition to access the over 1, 200 hectares of land for the development of the city.

“Frankly speaking the Centenary City Plc is seeking to operate a parallel authority within the FCT. If not, how do you explain a situation where by the company is asking for the cancelation of the agreement between us and them only to enforce a third party agreement signed between them and another government agency”.

He reiterated that the project was a unique and well conceived idea which the administration is proud to be part of, insisting however, that the agreement clearly spelt out the obligations of each party in the project.

The minister said the arrangement which the company is trying to implement was reached between it and the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) which was signed after the company had earlier entered into a pact with the FCT Administration which qualified it to embark on the project.

He said the free trade zone status which the company is seeking to enforce did form part of the agreement between it and the FCT Administration.

Malam Bello therefore insisted that the administration cannot allow another set of laws to regulate any part of the territory, stressing that the matter has been forwarded to the office the Attorney General of the Federation for legal advise on whether it is proper to have an entity within the Federal Capital Territory operating outside the the FCTA laws.

Credit: Leadership

$24bn contracts: Diezani Shuns Reps Panel

The immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Wednesday failed to appear before the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the crude oil swap contracts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The former minister neither appeared in person nor sent a representative to the hearing of the committee, which is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kwara State, Mr. Zakari Mohammed.

The committee had summoned Alison-Madueke and a former Managing Director of the Pipelines Product Marketing Company, Mr. Haruna Momoh, in connection with the lifting of crude oil worth $24bn in exchange for refined petroleum products.

Two crude oil trading firms, Duke Oil and Tranfigura reportedly lifted the crude oil between 2011 and 2014 without valid contracts.

The summons were issued after three former GMDs of the NNPC – Mr. Austin Oniwon, Mr. Andrew Yakubu and Mr. Joseph Dawha – had informed the committee that Alison-Madueke “approved” the contracts without signing any valid agreements with the firms.

On Wednesday, however, the former minister failed to show up at the committee’s sitting.

Momoh too did not come.

Instead, he sent his younger brother, Mr. Suleiman Momoh, to inform the committee that he was ill and would not be able to appear before the panel on Wednesday.

Mohammed was left bewildered when he called for appearances and realised that Alison-Madueke was absent.

He said the committee would take the “appropriate steps” to address the absence of the former minister, but he did not elaborate on the nature of the steps.

Mohammed stated, “Anybody who knows the former minister and Momoh should tell them that they are daring the parliament and we will take the appropriate measures against them.”

However, Momoh’s younger brother, Suleiman, rose to register an excuse that his elder brother was ill.

“He is ill and he will not be able to attend this session of the committee,” Suleiman added.

The committee rejected Suleiman’s excuse and directed him to tell Momoh that he must appear before the panel.

Meanwhile, the Federal Inland Revenue Service told the session that Transfigura defaulted in tax payments to the Federal Government to the tune of $642.5m.

The agency disclosed that in 2010, the tax value of the firm’s trading was $613.7m; in 2011, it was $2.7m; and $2.5m in 2012.

It added that the tax value in 2013 was $2.4m; and $2.2m in 2014.

The agency explained that after applying the relevant tax laws to the operations of the firm for the period covered, the total tax liability stood at $642.5m.

In the case of Duke Oil, the FIRS informed the panel that it calculated $4.7m as its total tax liability.

“The computation was based on the commissions Duke Oil charged on its services,” the agency said.

The committee also asked the Nigeria Customs Service to ignore a 2008 directive by the Ministry of Finance that the NCS should not inspect petroleum product cargo declared by importers.

The NCS had told the committee that the directive was given to forestall any possible delay in the offloading of products for distribution downstream.

Mohammed noted, “The Customs and Excise Act is more important than any letter from any ministry in 2008.

“We will invite the Permanent Secretary, who issued that directive, to appear before us and explain why it was necessary.”

“The NCS should ignore that letter forthwith.”

JAMB Releases 200,000 Results As Minister Expresses Concern

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Tuesday released results of 200,000 candidates who had written the examination even as the test continued.

The Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of JAMB, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, disclosed this during the monitoring of the exercise in Abuja and its environs.

He explained that over 200,000 candidates’ results had been released since the examination commenced on Saturday.

Ojerinde spoke just as the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, expressed concern over the plight and difficulties faced by non-computer literate students sitting for the examination.

The minister expressed his reservation when he visited some centres in the FCT to monitor the on-going Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) being conducted by JAMB.

Adamu, however, said though he was satisfied with the conduct of the CBT mode of the examination, he was glad the board had addressed most of his concerns and other Nigerians.

He said: “I seem to be very comfortable and happy with what they are doing. But my question has not been answered; that there may be people who are not computer literate, so, what do you do with them. I do not have reservation about CBT but I have sympathy for those who are not computer literate and there are many of them.”

Notwithstanding the minister’s reservation, Ojerinde urged candidates who had sat for the examination to visit the JAMB’s website and check their respective results.

According to him, “More than one million, eight hundred and fifty thousand candidates applied to take the examination nationwide in 2016.

“The figures however recorded a slight increase of 113,673 candidates who applied for the examination in 2015.”

JAMB kick-started full Computer Based Testing (CBT) in 2014 after eliminating the Paper Pencil Testing (PPT) system within that same period.

Credit: ThisDay

Removal Of 23,846 Ghost Workers Saves FG N2.29bn Monthly- Minister

The Federal Government said on Sunday that the removal of 23,846 non-existing workers from its payroll had led to a monthly reduction of N2.29bn in its salary bill.

It stated that through the ongoing Bank Verification Number-based staff audit and enrolment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the amount spent on payment of salaries to government workers reduced by N2.29bn in February when compared to what it was in December 2015.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, confirmed the development in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media, Mr Festus Akanbi.

The minister in the statement said the ministry was working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to recover the outstanding balance in banks and pensions contributed in respect of the deleted workers.

The statement reads in part, “Through the ongoing BVN-based staff audit and enrolment to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the Federal Government has removed 23,846 non-existent workers from its payroll.

“Consequently, the salary bill for February 2016 has reduced by N2.293bn when compared to December 2015 at which time the BVN audit process commenced.”

The ministry said the figure represented a percentage of the number of non-existent workers, who had hitherto been receiving salaries from various ministries, departments and agencies.

It added that it was investigating other suspected cases in conjunction with the EFCC.

“The Federal Government is also taking actions to pursue recovery of salary balances in bank accounts as well as any pension contributions in respect of the deleted workers.

“This involves active collaboration with the concerned banks and the National Pension Commission,” the statement added.

The minister stated that the Military Pension Board had revised the amount payable as its pension contributions on a monthly basis by N575m, following its annual verification for military retirees.

Credit: Punch

Stranded Nigerian Students Abroad Write Minister, Demand Payment Of Allowances

Over 300 Nigerians on Federal Government Bilateral Agreement Education Scholarship Scheme abroad have petitioned the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, demanding the full payment of their 2015 stipends, including their allowances and return tickets for graduating students.

The students, under the aegis of “Ph.D and Senior Postgraduate Students on BEA Scholarship,” said they did not receive their entitlements between January and December 2015 thereby causing them hardship.

The scheme is a bilateral agreement between the Nigerian government, through the ministry of education and the federal scholarship board, and other countries to train students in various fields while the home government takes care of their upkeep during their stay in the host countries.

It is the largest federal government scholarship scheme with students in Russia, China, Ukraine, Cuba, Hungary, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

In the letter dated January 3, 2016 and signed by their president, O.G Ezinkwo, the students, numbering 375, told the minister that they and 600 other beneficiaries around the world had been abandoned for 11 months with no source of livelihood due to the inability of the government to promptly release their stipends.

They said the development had exposing them to very dangerous and pernicious situation in foreign lands.

They claimed that every year Nigerian scholarship students always had to be evicted from their accommodation due to inability to pay, visas and passports get expired with no funds to renew them.

They also stated that in the process some of the students became sick and could not be treated due to the lack of the mandatory health insurance and were always being threatened with expulsion on an annual basis.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Minister Advocates Special Funding For Public Media

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has advocated a special funding arrangement for public media organizations to enable them scale up their sensitization campaign against insurgency in the North-East.

He made the call on Wednesday at the National Assembly, during an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, preparatory to the defence of the 2016 budget.

While responding to the sentiment expressed by a member of the Committee, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, on the effective utilization of the public media in the fight against insurgency in the North- East, Mohammed said his ministry had already mounted a robust public sensitization campaign on the insurgency, with the active participation of the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, but noted that the public media needed to be retooled to enhance its ability to drive the campaign.

“I must say that FRCN, NTA and VON have given me their schedules, at times we get as many as 16 slots within an hour to propagate these things. But I must admit that we have constraints. The FRCN in particular does not have the reach it used to have and this is not surprising because for years, we have neglected the maintenance of the FRCN,” Mohammed said.

Credit: DailyTimes

Nigeria’s 2015 GDP, Lowest In 15 Years – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on Friday said the growth recorded by the country in the 2015 fiscal period was the lowest in the last 15 years.



Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 2.84 per cent year on year in real terms in the third quarter of last year.



The growth of 2.84 per cent represents an increase of 0.49 percentage points when compared to the 2.35 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2015.



Adeosun said in a statement issued by her Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Festus Akanbi that to stimulate growth and avoid recession, there is need for a spending stimulus by the government.



According to the minister, this was what informed the decision to send a budget of N6.07tn with a capital expenditure of N1.8tn to stimulate economic development.



The minister said the planned N1.8tn capital investment in 2016 by the Federal Government was key to driving economic growth.



The assured that the economic outlook in the medium term was strong and that if the planned investments in capital were undertaken then based on the GDP growth projections, Nigeria would become a leading global economy.



The statement reads in part, “She said that government would work to ensure that consumption from our huge population would drive internal growth across a number of key sectors.



“She assured that if the disciplined implementation of the plans could be attained then Nigeria would finally be able to diversify and the situation where the entire nation is focused on the oil price would end.



“She explained that that public investment would attract further investment from the private sector and that investments in power and transport would increase the competitive position of Nigerian businesses.”



On the planned borrowing, the minister explained that government was seeking the lowest cost of funds and was therefore consulting with the multilateral agencies, which offered concessional rates of interest as low as 1.5 per cent before looking at the commercial Eurobond Market.



“She said that the financing strategy was to restructure much of the existing debts, which has short maturity and align it with the investment plans of the government in line with its Medium Term Expenditure Framework.



“She assured that government was ensuring that projects to be undertaken would create direct and indirect revenues, which would be used to repay the obligations,” the statement added.



Credit : Punch

Minister Suspends IT Agency Boss Over Misconduct

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has suspended the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Peter Jack, for “misconduct unbecoming of a public officer of his cadre”.

Mr. Jack’s suspension, which takes effect from January 20, 2016, was contained in a statement by the Special Assistant on Media to Mr. Shittu, Victor Oluwadamilare, on Wednesday.

“The indefinite suspension became imperative on the strength of deluge of petitions regarding several alleged wrong-doings in NITDA and subsequent preliminary findings of an investigative committee set up by the Ministry,” the statement said.

According to the statement, some of the infractions identified by the investigative committee made up of three senior officials of the ministry, included illegal recruitment of additional staff totalling 245 within a spate of seven months.

“As at 29th May, 2015, NITDA only had a staff complement of 74.”

“But from May, 2015 to 31st December, 2015, additional 245 staff were employed in questionable circumstances, despite clear instruction from the ministry directing suspension of employment in the agency,” quoting from the committee’s report, the statement said.

The committee also said allegations of financial misdemeanour against Mr. Jack would require a more detailed professional auditing of NITDA’s finances.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Switzerland To Transfer Another $300 Million Abacha Loot To Nigeria– Minister

The government of Switzerland is prepared to transfer to the Nigerian government, another $300 million recovered from the family of former military ruler, Sani Abacha, foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, announced Monday.

The money is part of an estimated $5 billion stolen and stashed in foreign accounts by the late dictator.

Nigeria has in the last 10 years received over $1 billion from the Swiss and American governments, but there are growing concerns past administrations misused the huge sum.

Credit: PremiumTimes

NYSC Scheme Will Be Sustained – Minister

Mr Solomon Dalong, Minister of Youths, Sports and Social Development, said on Tuesday in Lagos that the Federal Government would sustain the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.

Dalong stated this when he paid an official visit to the NYSC Orientation Camp at Iyana-Ipaja, in Lagos State.


“I will stand for the sustenance of the scheme and that it should continue to grow. What we need to do now is introduce skills acquisition, empowerment; we need to now repackage the scheme.

At the level of the Federal Government, we are thinking of after the mandatory one year service, those who want to learn a trade, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship can be retained and be given more training.


Our graduates are enlightening minds, whatever you teach them, they will survive with it.


So a grant will be given to them at the end to start off and train other people,’’ he said.

Dalong charged the NYSC to install a high tension illuminating light at the camp, to ensure adequate security.


“You should have high tension Illumination at the camp, as soon as possible. If you have over 2,000 Nigerians in a place like this, you should have a perfect illumination due to the present security challenges in the country.


I am impressed with what I have seen on ground at the camp; the facilities are good, I am satisfied,’’ he said.

Dalong also charged the NYSC to renovate all existing orientation camps in the country.


He said it had become very important for the camps to be upgraded to accommodate the increasing number of graduates that would be expected for the scheme.


“So as you embark on renovation, put it in mind that more people will be using the facilities. I am saying this because I do not know when we will get a new orientation camp, but we are sure that we will have more students passing out of the tertiary institutions.


When we started this scheme, we never planned for what we have now.


Nigeria did not plan to have the number of graduate we have today, so the whole concept of NYSC would have started with permanent structures.


The visionaries of the scheme did not anticipate that the scheme would live this long, after the civil war,’’ the Minister said.

Brig. Gen. Johnson Olawunmi, Director-General, NYSC, while conducting the minister round the camp, said it had five boreholes which served over 200 rooms.


Olawunmi said the budget of the corps was reduced from N1.7 billion to N227 million between 2013 and 2015.
He said the corps was facing serious challenges following the reduction by the past administration.

“We pay Security about N180 million yearly to secure all the orientation camps in the country out of the budget and we are left with little or nothing to run our programmes.


We have even reduced the camp to two batches, because of lack funds,’’ he added.




Dalong Inaugurates 3rd Nigerian Youth Parliament

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalong, on Wednesday inaugurated the third session of the Nigeria Youth Parliament in Abuja.


Dalung, while inaugurating the session at the National Assembly complex Abuja, blamed past leaders of the parliament and other youth leaders for the many crises in the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).


“Our responsibility in the ministry is to make good these policies that are contained in the youth policies and policies of the federal government.


“But the Nigeria youth must be ready to create environment conductive for us to discharge these responsibilities’’, he said.



Dalung frowned at the leadership crisis currently rocking the NYCN, adding that the youth might not be able to contribute to nation-building with the crisis.


The minister charged the incoming members of the parliament to take up the responsibility of achieving peace in NYCN, adding that there was need to restore sanity into the council.


He said that the fragmentation of NYCN which has lasted for some time has resulted in six people laying claims to the leadership of the council.


Dalung expressed concern at the way and manner the ideals and virtues which used to endear the organisation to the public had been eroded.


This, he said has give way to blatant pursuit of personal interest and unabashed materialism by the present day self-acclaimed leaders of the council, at the expense of Nigerian youths.


Dalung said that the parliament was a major stakeholder in the change agenda of the present administration and called on the members to do everything possible to restore sanity.


Earlier, the outgoing President of the parliament, Mr Hussaini MaiBasira, urged members of the parliament to see their selection as an honour and service to the nation.


He urged the incoming leaders to uphold the sanity of the parliament while calling for the support of the National Assembly in achieving its goals and objectives.


Mr Abba Waziri, the outgoing Speaker of Parliament, said the essence of leadership was to groom good leaders that would replace the ageing ones.


He said that the parliament was breeding quality leaders for a better Nigeria.


The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, Ahmed Adamu, urged the parliament to deliberate on issues of youth development targeted at improving the lives of the Nigerian youths.


He said youth development targets and indicators must be the aim of the parliament if success must be achieved.





Two Nigeria’s Refineries To Restart Production Before End Of Dec. 2015– Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu on Wednesday assures that two out of Nigeria’s four refineries will restart production in the next two weeks.

This is contained in a statement signed by Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) equity production was 99,000 barrels per day.

He added that the declining Joint Venture reserves were due to inadequate and low investment in the oil assets.

The minister noted that issue of funding which had been identified as a major challenge to the sector would be addressed with adequate collaboration with the private and international investors.

Kacikwu said the average gas to power generation was about 3,000 megawatts and domestic gas supply of one billion standard cubic feet (scf) with the contribution of 600 million standard cubic feet from NPDC.

On the current state of the refineries, he said that two of the refineries might be re-streamed before the end of December.

“Efforts are on to engage private investors to build new refineries within the old ones to enable the refineries share power, pipelines and other resources,” he said.

He added that the new agenda for the Oil and Gas Industry would be centered on having the right people, doing the right things, at the right time.

This, he said, would be for the right purpose to yield the right results.

Kachikwu said the petroleum sector, under his watch, would ensure that the Nigeria Content policy would transform the Oil and Gas industry into the economic engine for job creation and national growth.

He said he was obliged to cancel the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs), crude-for-products-exchange arrangement (popularly known swap) and other unprofitable product and crude arrangements, all in a bid to avoid rent seekers.

He said the cancellation would help to add value to the Nigerian hydrocarbon resources.

On the downstream sector, the minister advocated for the introduction of a private sector model that would reinvigorate the efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products, especially in the area of pipeline assets.

“The menace of pipeline vandalism has led to huge losses of crude and petroleum products; 27,967 incidents of pipeline vandalism were recorded in the last few years.” he said .

Credit: Vanguard

FG Will Leverage On Youths’ Talent To Promote Attitudinal Change– Minister

The Federal Govern­ment will leverage on the creative abil­ity and talent of Nigerian youths to promote the campaign for attitudinal change and national re-orientation, the Minister of Information and Cul­ture, Alhaji Lai Moham­med has said.

A statement issued from his office in Abuja on Sun­day said the Minister an­nounced the plan on Saturday in Kaduna, where he attended the state’s first An­nual Music Festival.

He said because of the large followership being enjoyed by the nation’s ar­tistes, they have the capaci­ty to mobilize and influence attitudinal change among Nigerians.

He assured that the Fed­eral Government would provide the enabling envi­ronment for the creative industry to thrive in order to harness the potentials of culture for national re-orientation and economic growth.

Mohammed underscored the role of the creative sector in the economic growth and development of the nation, while noting that Nigeria be­came the biggest economy in Africa following the re-basing of its Gross Domestic Prod­uct, GDP mainly due to the boom in the creative industry.

Credit: NationalMirror

Fuel Scarcity Will Be Over In Days– Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians that the current fuel scarcity would be over in a matter of days.

The minister gave the hint on Wednesday in a statement signed by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi, following the approval of a supplementary budget that made provision for the subsidy payment by the National Assembly (NASS).

He said: “We can confidently announce here today that the scarcity will end in a few days. Subsidy payment till the end of the year has been approved by the National Assembly, and as you know, we cannot spend money without approval,” the Minister said in Abuja.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Minister Of Youth & Sports Confirms Payment Of N5,000 To Unemployed Nigerians Begins 2016

The federal government has assured that it would commence payment of N5,000 promised unemployed Nigerian youth during the electioneering campaign, from 2016 .

The minister of youth and sports, Solomon Dalong, made the commitment on Wednesday when he paid a condolence visit on the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, over the death of the party’s governorship candidate in the recently held inconclusive election in Kogi state, Abubakar Audu.

Mr. Dalong, who spoke to journalists during the visit , said the APC government was fully committed to fulfilling all campaign promises made before the last elections.

He said the payment of the promised N5 , 000 can only begin after it had been included in the budget.

“I would want the youth to understand that every promise must be backed up by budgetary provision and our promise to pay N5000 is not contained in the 2015 budget. So, definitely, it is going to begin in 2016 as we have made budgetary allocations for that,” he said.

“We are committed to the campaign promises of creating jobs, providing wealth and combat poverty. We have embedded in our manifesto things that we are translating to reality .”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Buhari Got $13bn Investment Promise From US Trip- Minister

Defence minister, retired Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali has said immediate benefits of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to the United States include $13 billion investment funds to Nigeria.

Dan-Ali spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the annual defence attaches conference held at the head office of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Abuja.

Commenting on the commitment of the Buhari administration to end the menace of Boko Haram Terrorism in Nigeria, he said Buhari’s US trip obtained promises and deepen cooperation from the international community.

He listed the proposed $2.1 billion fund from the World Bank for the redevelopment of Boko Haram battered northeast; $5 billion from US investors in agriculture sector, $1.5 billion in health sector and $5 billion in the power sector.

He said the government was  determined to make substantial investments in armed forces, training personnel in communication equipment and developing an active cyber defence capability which is key to its operations.

In his address, the Chief of Defence Intelligence Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan said the Nigeria Defence attaché system must begin to function as a true network, with collection priorities, diplomatic and liaison priorities and defence procurement needs must be fully integrated to achieve this.

Credit: DailyTrust

Indian Minister Kicks Boy Who Begged Her For One Rupee In The Head

Kusum Mahdele, a minister in India has been caught on camera kicking a young boy in the head when he threw himself at her feet and begged for one rupee- the equivalent of one pence.

 The MP then calmly walks to her car as the boy who was begging at her feet is moved away by her security staff.  She late denied kicking him until footage of the event emerged.

Zeenews quoted her to have said; “I have not done anything wrong. I’m unaware of any such incident.” Indians are now calling for her sack shortly after the video emerged online.

It is not the first time the minister for animal husbandry has sparked indignation. She was recently ridiculed for suggesting wild lions and tigers could be kept as pets.

And caused outrage when she said during a dispute with farmers over their failed crops she didn’t understand why farmers did not kill themselves when a young son dies, but they did commit suicide when they lost their crops. Watch the video below…

Staff: Her security team move the boy on


Controversial: MP Kusum Singh Mahdele



I Earned No Salary As Minister, Says Falae

A former Secretary to the Government of the federation, Olu Falae, on Wednesday, recalled some of his experiences in the hands of his captors, who demanded N100million as ransom after kidnapping him from his farm in Akure in September.

Mr. Falae, who spoke when he received a former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, in his residence in Obaile, said when he told the hoodlums he had no money, they were angry, pointing out that he was finance minister.

“When I told them I had no money they said how can I say that when I was once the country’s Minister of Finance,” he said.

“When I was Minister of Finance I did not earn salary. It was by choice, but they would not believe me.”

Mr. Falae was Minister of Finance between January and August 1990 under the military government of Ibrahim Babangida.

Mr. Falae told Mr. Shekarau that he had to call his wife and asked that his family raise the money demanded by the kidnappers in order to save his life.

“They actually wanted to kill me. As soon as they arrived they shot at my car, but the bullet was deflected by the glass and narrowly missed killing my driver before they came to me and began to slash me with machete,” he said.

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Wike Welcomes Appointment Of Amaechi As Minister

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State said he is not opposed to the appointment of his predecessor in office, Rotimi Amaechi as minister.

Wike was reacting to claims that he was attacking Amaechi in order to deprive the former governor of a ministerial appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Wike noted that he is not worried about the possible appointment of Amaechi into President Buhari’s cabinet.

He noted that  has never discussed the issue of whether Amaechi should be appointed by the President or not with anybody.

Wike, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Taria, said he was angry with Amaechi with the way the former governor managed the state’s treasury.

He said it was annoying that when he took over, he met an empty treasury.

Read More: Punch

Cleric Prophesies That Boko Haram Members Will Vote & Serving Minister May Die

A Nigerian cleric based in the United Kingdom, Bishop Bassey Effiong Orok, has urged Nigerians to pray hard to avoid the death of a prominent Nigerian in the President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet. Orok also advised Jonathan to prevail on his cabinet members to go spiritual for God’s intervention.

The cleric told Daily Independent that “Soon, a prominent Nigerian citizen who works within the Presidency will pass away. This means Nigeria as a nation will soon observe a minute’s silent for a departed soul.

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Find Out Which Ministerial Nominee PDP Rejected

Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba have rejected Senator Joel Ikenya as a ministerial nominee from the state. The members under the aegis of Coalition of Organized Forums within the PDP, said Ikenya’s nomination would rob the party of victory in the general elections.

The aggrieved party members, in a protest letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, said its unfair and ill-timed for the PDP to nominate Ikenya from same Southern Taraba that produced the PDP governorship candidate, Darius Dickson Ishiaku .

The group wondered if the PDP does not want the support of the Taraba North and Central zones which fortunately have the highest numbers of eligible voters and PVC collection.

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