2019: I Have Nothing To Do With Fake Campaign Poster, Political Speculation– Okonjo-Iweala

Former minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday debunked speculations she will be contesting for of office of the president in 2019.

The former minister, who stated this in a statement signed by her media consultant, Paul C Nwabuikwu, urged Nigerians and the media to ignore what she termed “mischievous exercise and it’s sponsors”.

The statement reads,  “Our attention has been drawn to speculative media stories linking former Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala with the next presidential election scheduled to hold in 2019.

“In an effort to invest their efforts with phony credibility, those behind the project have even gone to the extent of designing a fake campaign poster embossed with her image.

“This is to clarify that Dr Okonjo-Iweala who is busy with important international duties has absolutely nothing to do with these speculations and activities.

“She has neither discussed nor endorsed them with anybody.

“We urge the Nigerian media and public to ignore this mischievous exercise and its sponsors.”



Give women loans – Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance and co-chair, Women’s World Banking, Africa Advisory Council, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that giving the 70 per cent of women, who are financially excluded in sub-Saharan Africa, access to financial services could spur the next phase of economic growth within the continent and hasten recovery in most parts of Africa.

Speaking at a Banking for Women programme hosted by Diamond Bank in partnership with Women World Banking, Africa Advisory Council in Lagos, Okonjo-Iweala said it was important for governments, central banks and finance ministries to formulate policies that are geared towards empowering women financially.

She noted that globally, two billion people are excluded from financial services and including 1.6 billion of them can raise local GDP by six per cent by 2025. She stated that part of the number to be included, more than half (808 million) are women.

She said: “There is one common theme globally and that is the theme of uncertainty and I think that uncertainty is coming from an unprecedented area of low global growth, the fact that the recovery from the 2008/2009 financial and economic crisis has been slower than expected and that recovery is very fragile. So, you have a situation where global growth has been reversed downwards one more time by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to 3.1 per cent.

“Demand seems to be low, inflation in the northern countries is low and Africa is not doing as well as it should because of the commodities import and derailment of good policies. World trade is also very slow and you have the political bottlenecks; people don’t know.

“But, I believe that where there is difficulty, there is also opportunity and therefore you have to look at that side and determine where the opportunities are. And that is where the issue of financial inclusion of women and girls and is very important because everyone is searching for what will help spark growth in different economies and even for us here in sub-Saharan Africa. So, it is vitally important for us to look at this issue of financial exclusion of women on the continent.

Seventy per cent of African women are excluded, according to the numbers of access to financial services and if we bring them in, it will present another growth opportunity.

“So, they have done a study to show that including women and people financially can actually raise growth. The study also shows that countries with low women inclusion for example Ethopia, Nigeria etc can even add more to their GDP growth like10- 12 per cent higher than the global number.”

She added to drive the needed growth, government needs to get out the information that including women in businesses improves the bottom-line and that if you bring women into business and empower them, it increases growth of economy.

In his welcome address, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank Plc, Uzoma Dozie, stated that the bank is very passionate about growing and driving financial inclusion.

He said, “We are here today because Diamond Bank is hosting African Advisory Council set up by Women World Banking to promote the financial inclusion of women globally.

“The Women World Banking objective is to by partnership with organisations, donor agencies, banks like Diamond Bank to develop products and services that will enable women to be financially included and add to economic development of countries like Nigeria.”

Falana’s Petition Against Dasuki, Okonjo-Iweala Arrives International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has confirmed that it is considering petition submitted to it by human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN over alleged crimes against humanity committed in the context of the arms procurement scandal.

The ICC revealed this in a letter dated 1 February 2016 with reference: OTP-CR-32/16 and signed by Mark P. Dillon, Head of Information & Evidence Unit of the ICC.

The letter reads in part: “The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents/letter. This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

Mr. Falana had in a petition dated 19 January 2016 requested the ICC to “investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military as well public officials and private persons who engaged in the criminal diversion of $8 billion earmarked to procure equipment for the armed forces to fight insurgency”.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Named In N1.17b ‘Suspicious’ Transfer

A House of Representatives ad hoc committee is probing the “suspicious” transfer to another account of N1.17bilion approved for a Federal Government agency.

The committee is seeking answers to why the immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, reversed a presidential directive which approved the money for the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBA).

Besides, the committee is seeking to establish:

  • Who applied for the withdrawal since payment was initiated through an application by the SRRBDA?
  • How a ministerial directive can override a presidential approval;
  • Where the money was returned to after it was withdrawn from the account of the Authority; and
  • Whether the withdrawal was politically motivated given the time of the withdrawal

The committee has hinted of the likelihood of inviting the ex-minister.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is at the centre of a storm over her release of $330m Abacha loot to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), without appropriation. The money, which she said was meant as a loan for arms procurement, later turned out to be part of the cash being shred to politicians and friends of that government before the last general election.

President Goodluck Jonathan, in a letter, approved the release of the money to the River Basin Authority. The approval was conveyed to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) by the (then) minister of Finance, according to the office of the AGF.

The payment was made into the accounts of the SRRBDA on March 9 but withdrawn in two tranches within a week, two months later in May.

The first withdrawal of N784m was made on 6th May, 2015. The second, N90m, was effected on 12th May 2015 but executed on 16th May 2015 by the CBN.

Only N874.6million was withdrawn by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the account of SRRBDA because the agency had started spending the money.

The investigative hearing by the ad hoc committee was told how the CBN credited and reversed the payment on the directives of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).

The Committee, it was learnt, would request from the CBN records of tranfer and reversal of the money from the Natural Resources account and other accounts.

SRRBDA’s Managing Director (MD) Mukhtar Anka said the agency made an appeal to (then) President Jonathan, knowing that the agency had some outstanding funds with the Federal government, “Because all our previous budgets were never fully released since 2012.

Credit: Nation

Arms Deal: EFCC To Invite Okonjo-Iweala, Others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed that it will invite top officials in the Goodluck Jonathan administration that had a hand in the disbursement of funds related to the arms purchase.

According to Vanguard Newspapers, a top EFCC source said top on the list is the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of the Economy in the last Administration, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

This is coming on the heels of the anti-graft agency’s resolve to re-open the case of the former Rivers state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili.

Reports say Odili allegedly received N100m from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The former Governor has since debunked saying he collected N100m from the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Dr Adamu Muazu and not Dasuki.

Okonjo-Iweala. was accused of illegally disbursing funds to the former National Security Adviser.

Credit: Leadership

Okonjo-Iweala Opens Up On Funds To Dasuki

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been explaining the transfer of 300 million US dollars and 5.5 million pounds to the former National Security Adviser, Retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her media adviser, Mr Paul Nwachukwu, condemned what she described as a campaign of falsehood being carried out against her by the Edo State Governor and others who have called on the federal government to probe her in connection with the arms procurement scandal.

He added that the allegations are a distortion of the contents of a memo in which the former minister responded to a request by the former NSA.

In the memo to former President Goodluck Jonathan requesting his approval to transfer the funds to Mr. Dasuki, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated that as explained by the former NSA, the money was to be used to procure ammunition, security and other intelligence equipment for the security agencies to enable them fight the war against Boko Haram.

Part of the memo reads: “They have distorted the contents of the January 20 memo in which she responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser and quoted selectively from the document to make their false allegations of “illegal diversion” of funds.

“For your information and a fuller understanding of the issues, please see the attached January 20 memo by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as published by some online sites. It confirms that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a transparent person of integrity and patriotic professional who worked hard to protect the interest of the country and that her accusers are purveyors of falsehood on a political mission to tarnish an innocent patriot,” Paul Nwachukwu wrote.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Apologize For Illegally Transferring $322milion Abacha Loot To Dasuki, SERAP Tells Okonjo-Iweala

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked a former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to “apologize to Nigerians for claiming recently that recovered Abacha loot was transparently spent while she knew that $322m (about N63billion) recovered Abacha funds were inappropriately released to finance the fight against Boko Haram.”

SERAP’s statement Thursday followed Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s confession that she released about $322m to the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki for military operations.

In a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said, “The truth about the spending of Abacha loot is now coming out, and it is clear that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was wrong to accuse SERAP of bias while she knew that we are simply seeking truth, justice and accountability on the spending of recovered Abacha loot.”

“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s approach of ‘no answers, no apology’ on how Abacha loot was spent is doing her reputation more harm than good. We hope that she will take cue from the World Bank (her former employer) when it defined ‘accountability and probity’ as knowing what task has been set, accepting to do it, and going about it with a sense of probity.

“Probity implying the willingness to self-disclose such information to which a specific stakeholder group has a right as well as tolerance of the scrutiny of such a stakeholder group on information to which they have a right,” the organization said.

“We therefore urge her to now come out for the sake of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty but also of generations as yet unborn and tell Nigerians the whole story about what exactly happened to recovered Abacha loot, as well as publicly apologize for claiming that Abacha loot was transparently spent. She should be willing to be held to account,” the organization added.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Dismisses Allegations On Abacha Loot

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has dismissed allegations that she illegally authorized the diversion of recently recovered Abacha loot during the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala described the allegation as “part of a campaign of falsehood” to “tarnish her image” in a statement on Wednesday by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu.

The former minister noted that the contents of a memo dated January 20, 2015 in which she responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser, Col Ibrahim Dasuki (retired) for funds to prosecute the war against Boko Haram, was “distorted”.

To set the records straight, the statement maintained that “the central responsibility of the Minister of Finance is to find sources of funding for the financing of approved national priorities such as security, job creation and infrastructure”.

The statement also “recalled that throughout 2014, there were public complaints by the military hierarchy to President Goodluck Jonathan about the inadequacy of funds to fight the anti-terror war in the North East, resulting in Boko Haram making gains and even taking territories. A lot of the criticism was directed at the Federal Ministry of Finance under Dr Okonjo-Iweala which was accused of not doing enough to find funds for the operations.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Report Accuses Okonjo-Iweala For Illegally Approving Sum From Abacha Loot To Dasuki Few Weeks Before Presidential Election

The immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, illegally approved the transfer of at least N61.4 billion ($300 million and £5.5 million) from funds recovered from late dictator, Sani Abacha, to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, few weeks to the 2015 presidential election, Premium Times report.

The former Minister signed off on the transfer but then closed her eyes to how the funds were spent, requesting then President Goodluck Jonathan to directly demand accountability from Mr. Dasuki, according to documents seen by this newspaper.

The funds were never appropriated before they were transferred, a clear violation of Nigeria’s fiscal responsibility law.

Mr. Dasuki, alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and founder of DAAR communications, owners of Africa Independent Television and Raypower radio network, Raymond Dokpesi, are being investigated for their roles in the disbursement of $2.1 billion and N643 billion meant for the procurement of arms to fight the raging insurgency in Nigeria’s north east region.

The recovered Abacha loot are funds returned to the Nigerian government from monies stolen from the country’s treasury by Mr. Abacha.

It is not clear whether these funds in question were part of the arms procurement funds for which Mr Dasuki is being investigated.

But a letter signed by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, seen by Premium Times, showed that 50 per cent of the recently recovered Abacha loot was allotted for “urgent security need” such as the procurement of arms and ammunition while the other half was set aside to be used for development purposes.

The letter, dated January 20, 2015, which was addressed to Mr Jonathan revealed that the money was transferred following a January 12, 2015 request by the office of the NSA under Mr Dasuki for funds for the procurement of arms and ammunition as well as intelligence equipment.

“Please find a request by the National Security Adviser (NSA) for the transfer of $300 million and £5.5 million of the recovered Abacha funds to an ONSA [Office of the National Security Adviser] operations account,” the letter read.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Denies Role In Arms Deal

Former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has requested the Federal Government to call Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole to order over what she called efforts to link her name to the alleged $2.1 billion arms issue.

A statement from her media Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, said Mrs Okonjo-Iweala “has absolutely nothing to do with the issue”.

Okonjo-Iweala described as “an abuse of public office, the judicial process and her human rights for Governor Oshiomhole whom she stopped from taking a highly suspicious N15 billion loan to make false allegations against her while hiding behind the constitutional immunity granted state governors.”

Credit: Nation

What We Did With Recovered Abacha Loot- Okonjo-Iweala

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has “received several documents from the World Bank totalling over 700 pages on information on the spending of recovered assets stolen by the late General Abacha, with some of the documents suggesting that Abacha loot was spent on roads, electricity, education, health and water.”

This information was disclosed by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement dated November 29, 2015.

The organisation said that “In the meantime our preliminary review of some of the documents and the letter from Mr Rachid Benmessaoud have revealed certain facts which raise more questions about what exactly happened to Abacha loot: First, that Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Minister of Finance in a letter dated 9 January 2005 explained to the Bank that around $500m (N65bn) of Abacha loot received from Switzerland was programmed into and spent in the 2004 and 2005 budgets on roads, electricity, education, water and health across all 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria.”

“Second, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala explained to the Bank that N18.60bn was spent on roads; N10.83bn spent on health; N7bn spent on education; N6.20bn spent on water; and N21.70bn spent on electricity. She also said that part of the funds were spent on new and ongoing investment projects. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said that relevant federal ministries have the full details on the spending of repatriated Abacha loot. The Bank noted that there was no funds monitoring and tracking mechanism in place to trace the spending of Abacha loot,” the organisation also disclosed.

“Third, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud confirmed that the World Bank played a monitoring role in a return of assets by Switzerland but that the Bank is not currently involved in the monitoring of spending of Abacha loot that have been returned to Nigeria in recent years. He said that the Bank would be prepared to set up a mechanism to monitor the use of Abacha loot if the Nigerian government requests the Bank’s assistance in this respect.”

“Given Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s involvement in the spending of Abacha loot, SERAP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently probe the role of the Ministry of Finance and relevant federal ministries at the time in the spending of Abacha loot particularly given the strong allegations of mismanagement that characterised the use of the funds,” the organisation said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Supports Buhari On Corruption War

Former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has expressed support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort at tackling corruption, saying graft remains Nigeria’s biggest impediment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking on September 30 as a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, United States, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the president was confronting corruption “head on” and was setting the example that would directly help root out corruption in other sectors of the government.

“The new president of the country who is just taking office has made it the central plan of his administration to fight corruption to root it out, and he sets about restructuring some of the key agencies where things are happening, setting example,” the former minister said at the 2015 Holts Lecture of the Pennsylvania University Law School.

“I think with that when you see example in one place, it sends the message about what should happen in other places. I think this is being confronted head on. And I think and hope that with what is going on and what we tried to do in the previous administration, bringing more transparency to way of doing business.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said with “the example being set by the president” she was hopeful Nigeria will get rid of corruption.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

I Am Ready For Probe, Says Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Sunday, declared support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive, saying she was ready to subject herself to an unfettered government probe of her two terms in office.

The former Minister, who was reacting to media reports that she was planning to build a multi-million dollar Okonjo –Iweala family hospital in Abuja, denied nursing any such ambition.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke through her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, described the report as “totally baseless”, as “the alleged hospital is non-existent”.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala has a clean record of two terms in office,” the spokesperson said. “As we have consistently maintained, she is not afraid of a transparent investigation of her two terms in office. She supports the anti-corruption drive in Nigeria. No one who has had the privilege of serving his or her country should feel too big to be investigated.

“It is this very issue of fighting corruption that brought her back in the first place and she has a track record of blocking corruption. It is ironic that it is those same corrupt people who are trying to tarnish her image,” he said.

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Okonjo-Iweala denies diverting $600m Chinese loan

The immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Sunday described as untrue the allegation that a substantial part of the $1bn Chinese loan obtained for a railway project was diverted.

Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement issued by her media adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, also said that contrary to the allegation, the Kano-Lagos rail project was not part of the projects listed for funding for the Chinese loan.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last Monday queried the Ministry of Finance over alleged diversion of the foreign loan obtained for the rail project by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Specifically, the President was seeking clarification on the alleged diversion of $600m, which was part of a $1.005bn loan obtained from the China-Exim Bank for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos to Kano.

The funds were said to have been moved elsewhere.

But while reacting to the allegation, Okonjo-Iweala, who spearheaded the negotiation of the loan during her time as finance minister, said the China-EximBank kept and disbursed funds for approved projects to contractors based on milestones.

The funds, she added, were not domiciled with the Finance ministry.

Giving a breakdown of the loan and how it was utilised, the former minister said that $500m was used for the expansion of four international airport terminals in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt, $500m for the Abuja light rail project, $984m for the Zungeru hydro-electric power project and $100m for the Galaxy backbone project

Okonjo-Iweala, in the statement, noted that even if the alleged project was on the list of China-EximBank funded projects, diversion of any Chinese funds would have been extremely difficult because the terms of the contract and the processes would simply not have permitted such action.

The statement reads in part, “We have continued to receive media inquiries regarding an allegation reportedly made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar, that a substantial part of a $1bn loan obtained from the China-EximBank by the Jonathan administration for a Kano-Lagos rail project was diverted to other projects.

“I want to state categorically that there is no truth in the reported allegation. Anyone who is interested can cross-check with the China-EximBank or the Chinese Embassy.

“It is noteworthy that even though President Buhari, in his reported comments on the allegation, made no reference to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, rightly stressed the need for due process and transparency in the execution of public projects, a sponsored media campaign has once again been launched by political elements to make the former minister the culprit in a non-existent scandal.

“The alleged diversion has no substance for the simple reason that the Kano-Lagos project was not even among the projects presented for funding by the China EximBank for several strategic infrastructural projects across the country. In fact, it was the Lagos–Ibadan rail project, not Lagos-Kano rail project that was proposed in the original application to the China-EximBank. But in the end, no funds were assigned for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project by the China-EximBank.”

The funds, according to her, were released directly to the Chinese firm executing the contract only after the presentation of a duly certified proof of work by the Federal Ministry of Transport, based on the agreed milestones.

Source : Punch

“Okonjo Iweala Became A Different Person When She Worked For Goodluck Jonathan” – Obasanjo

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has revealed that immediate past coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, changed under the regime of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Mrs Okonjo- Iweala who served under president Obasanjo as minister of fiance was accused of encouraging corruption under the regime of Mr Jonathan. She was also accused of approving funds not budgeted for, and rather than strengthen the Nigerian economy, she worked against the growth of the economy.

“But take Ngozi (Okonjo-Iweala), who worked for me. And who worked competently for me. Because I know Ngozi’s weaknesses, but I know her strong points. Her strong point is technical competence. But Ngozi needs to be led and to be supervised. Now will you comment on Ngozi who worked for me as the same Ngozi who worked for Jonathan? Will you? But it’s the same person” he said when asked by Premium Times that it is believed that he destroyed everything that he put in place with the successors you enthroned.

The former President also discussed the popular Halliburton case and denied interfering with investigation and prosecution of some of his aides indicted in the case.

“Look, anybody can make any allegation. Go and read the EFCC report on me. I’m the only leader who has left office who has had, I said they should carry out clinical… did you see that in the book? And if you haven’t seen that in the book then you haven’t read the book. So what else do you want? (Ndudi) Elumelu carried out a report. Did you see the report of the House and the action of the House? What more do you want? So it doesn’t matter the allegation you make, that’s entirely up to you. Halliburton, Bodunde (one of his aides) has been taken to court twice and the court has dismissed the case. What more do you want? The latest was the one Jonathan did. Just before he left, he took Bodunde back to court. He was discharged and the case dismissed the first time. The second time Jonathan took him to court and he was discharged again. So what do you want?” he told Premium Times.

Mr Obasanjo also spoke about his book, “My Watch” in the course of the interview.

Read the full interview here via : Premium timesng

Okonjo-Iweala Responds To Oshiomhole’s Accusation That She Spent N1bn Of Govt Money On GEJ’s Re-Election

Oshiomhole accused the former minister of spending $1billion of government money for Jonathan’s re-election. She has responded.Read the press statement below…

Another false, baseless allegation against Okonjo-Iweala by governor Oshiomhole

The allegation by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State that former Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spent $1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account to fund the re-election bid of former President Jonathan is the kind of ludicrously false statement that has unfortunately become a trademark of the Governor in his public campaign of falsehood against Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

The statement is just another example of the numerical diarrhea that seems to have afflicted His Excellency in recent times in his effort to damage the reputation of the former Minister.
He has, within the last few months, asked Dr Okonjo-Iweala to explain all kinds of totally wild and unsubstantiated figures, ranging from $30 billion, $20 billion, $2.1 billion, N720 billion and now $1 billion.
To say the obvious, the accusations are totally lacking in credibility.
Governor Oshiomhole’s published comments also contain other falsehoods. For instance, he quoted Dr Okonjo-Iweala as saying that she and the Finance Commissioners of the 36 states approved the spending of $2.1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account, adding that the Commissioners had disowned the statement. This is also a complete distortion.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala never said the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) approved spending out of the ECA. Rather as the Commissioners themselves stated, the former Minister of State Finance informed them that former President Jonathan approved the expenditure to end the debilitating fuel queues across the country.
As Nigerians know, the Finance Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala regularly published details of revenue allocations from the ECA in national media. So Oshiomhole’s tortured “calculations” based on his “four figure tables” are mere political numbers conjured to achieve a political purpose. Nigerians can see through the elaborate antics.

Governor Oshiomhole’s latest statement, like earlier ones, labours to give the impression that the entire FAAC process which involves the Federal Government and the 36 states of the Federation is a personal monopoly of Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

This is, of course not true. FAAC is a long standing national platform for allocating revenues chaired by the Minister of State Finance. The governor’s insistence on pushing this clearly fictional narrative underscores his desperation.

It is instructive that Governor Oshiomhole is a key member of the committee set up by the National Economic Council to investigate the ECA spending. His continuing attacks against Dr Okonjo-Iweala seem to suggest that he has lost confidence in this platform which he deployed to make some of his initial false and baseless allegations. The Governor does not seem to appreciate that he is undermining the very credibility of the committee.

Once again, we ask: why are Oshiomhole and his cohorts so ready to sacrifice truth, precedent and decency in this political witch hunt against Dr Okonjo-Iweala?
We are confident that they will fail because truth will triumph.
Paul C Nwabuikwu

Media Adviser to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Another Accusing Finger Points At Okonjo-Iweala For Mismanaging ECA Funds

Raymond Omachi, the acting chairman of Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has stated that the past administration led by Goodluck Jonathan and its Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala mismanaged funds in the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Although Omachi did not mention names, he frowned at the practice of the federal government to pay subsidy from the ECA or to share to states from the ECA when available funds are not adequate to meet revenue projections.

He said that the ECA was established in 2004 to protect planned budget against shortfalls due to volatile crude oil prices, but that was not how the funds from the account were spent today.

“If the ECA had been properly managed, in accordance with the FRC act, the country will not have been embroiled in the liquidity crisis being presently experienced,” he said on Sunday in Abuja during an interactive session with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Omachi said that the FRC Act stated that savings from the ECA should not be accessed until oil price falls below the predetermined level for a period of three consecutive months.

He said that the sum accessed should be limited to the amount that would bring the revenue of government to the level contained in its budget estimates.

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Oshiomhole Blames Ministry Of Petroleum And Finance For Owed Salaries

The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has blamed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance for workers salaries owed by different states.

He said both Ministries “refused to transfer into the Federation Account.

Governor Oshiomhole said: “the NNLG had every year made payments of about $1.5 billion to 2 billion Naira which ought to go the Federation Account but was expended by the Federal Government”.

Governor Oshiomhole also stated that the office of the Ministry of Finance was aware of the payment and also some other companies that remit their revenue.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor Oshiomhole explained that for the past four months under the past government, the Federal Government has not been able to pay salaries from her legitimate income.

He added that the Federal Government has been borrowing using CBN through various instruments like bonds, securities, thereby drawing down the pension funds.

Governor Oshiomhole said most Governors were bowing down on owed salaries because of structural crisis that the various states were facing.

He also raised concerns about the crude oil funds and also spoke against crude oil theft, insisting that the development had triggered the formation of a committee which he is a member of.

The Governor commended President Buhari’s decision that all revenue generating body  for Federal Government should be remitted to the Federal Account.

I Am Not Afraid Of Buhari’s Probe- Okonjo-Iweala

Few hours to the expiration of her tenure, the outgoing Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has that she is not afraid of being probed by the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.

Following allegations of official corruption, there has been strident calls for the incoming Buhari administration to probe the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

But, the outgoing President has said that while he is not against such probe, it must extend to the administrations before his, stressing that anything such of that would be a witch-hunt.

Responding to what she described as attack on her by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, the minister, in a statement on Thursday May 28, 2015, Okonjo-Iweala said, “There is no substance in the wild allegations that money is missing from the account or that finances of the country under her watch have not been well managed.”

“I have no reason to fear Buhari. Those who cannot adequately explain what they did with the resources of their states and are begging for bailout are those who should to be scared,” she stated.

Okonjo-Iweala denied claims by Oshiomhole that she has been speaking out lately because of the fear of Buhari.

“If there is any minister whose voice has been strong on the right issues over the past four years, it is Okonjo-Iweala,” she added.

The minister said she has no apologies for insisting that a claim of N159 billion for forex differentials by the marketers out of a total bill of N200billion should go through an additional verification process, stressing that when over 80 per cent of a subsidy claim is made up of forex differentials and not the value of the amount of fuel supplied, the proper thing to do is to ensure that the country is not cheated.

Credit: sunnewsonline

Oshiomhole Accuses Okonjo-Iweala Of Destroying Nigerian Economy

The Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has lambasted outgoing finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over her claims that states received N2.92 trillion excess crude money between 2011 and 2014 with little to show, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat between governors and the minister over allegations of mismanagement of oil revenues.

Mr. Oshiomhole accused the minister of gross mismanagement of the Nigerian economy, saying she was merely feeding Nigerians with half-truths in the last four years.

Mr. Oshiomhole said the minister has herself to blame as she ran the Excess Crude Account as a “one-man show”.

The governor said Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s recent outcry against oil marketers over falsification of fuel subsidy claims may have been out of in fear about the incoming President, Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is quite intriguing that with barely few days left in office, she has suddenly woken up from her slumber to realize that oil marketers have all along been falsifying subsidy claims and defrauding the nation of billions of naira and dollars,” the governor said.

He said the person best placed to explain the state of the country’s economy at the moment was Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala.
As a member of the National Economic Council, Mr. Oshiomhole said he had spoken out publicly at different times about the way the economy was managed by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala.

He said the minister’s silence over the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation is “deafening”.

The audit revealed “massive abuse of public trust and stealing of our common patrimony in high places under her watch and the government she serves”, Mr. Oshiomhole said.

Criticising what he called “latter day policy activism” by the minister, Mr. Oshiomhole said apart from the subsidy regime, the minister must also come clean on some other critical issues that demand accountability from her.

“The question to ask is: how come that it is now, for the first time, that we are hearing from the Minister of Finance about fraudulent claims by the oil marketers amounting to billions of Naira? At what point did the Minister of Finance and CME realize that these fraudulent and similar claims are going on? When did it start? Is it just recently or it has been going on all along? These questions are pertinent because we know that if the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) were doing its work diligently, all claims by oil marketers would be vetted on a daily basis before their payments are processed by the Ministry of Finance. Hence, there should be no dispute about the amount due to oil marketers at any point in time.

“What the foregoing, therefore, suggests is that all along, PPPRA, the Ministry of Finance and the oil marketers have been involved in an unholy alliance, in the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy regime and in the process defrauding the nation of its revenues,” the governor said.

Mr. Oshiomhole said the Minister cannot stop at simply shedding “crocodile tears” about fraudulent claims by oil marketers, saying she should ensure full disclosure by giving the full details of subsidy payments to oil marketers in the last four years, including the parameters used to calculate the subsidies.

“The recent nationwide fuel and energy crisis, adjudged the worst in the economic history of Nigeria, is merely a reflection of the gross mismanagement of the economy which characterized Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure since 2011,” he said.

Mr. Oshiomhole said state governments, who are joint owners of the Excess Crude Account, were not properly briefed on the status of the account, and challenged the minister to shed more light on the spending from the account.


I Have No Regrets Serving Nigeria Under Jonathan- Okonjo-Iweala

Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has declared that it has been very hard managing the Nigerian economy under the current administration.

She noted that though it might not be as smooth as expected, the outgoing government made frantic efforts to improve the lives of Nigerians.
The minister made these observations in Abuja, Sunday night, at a reception organised in her honour by Ndi-Igbo Youth Organisation in partnership with Voice of All Arewa Youth, in Abuja.

Okonjo-Iweala, said she will never regret serving the country under President Goodluck Jonathan despite the criticisms and attacks she had been receiving.

She insisted that the lives of Nigerians, especially youths and women improved significantly under the Jonathan administration. She said, “the youths have been at the centre of the work done by this administration and these are facts on the ground. You cannot change facts but you can try to twist them and at the end of the day, facts will come out. You cannot re-write history, and wake up and say these are things we have done or have not done. A lot of things have been accomplished to transform this economy.

“Is it 100 percent? No, and are we to do more? The answer is yes. Have we done everything perfectly? The answer is no, and no one is ever perfect. But have we made very good effort? And the answer is a resounding yes.

“Their should be support for the various sectors that created jobs that needs to continue and programmes like YouWin, they need to continue and those that are not good by all means you can do away with them or make them better…”

Read More: dailypost

Okonjo-Iweala Vows Not To Pay Marketers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NANS Condemns Call For Withdrawal Of Okonjo-Iweala’s Yale Doctorate Degree

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned the call for the withdrawal of the Doctorate Degree conferred on the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, by Yale University in the United States.

A statement from NANS President, Tijani Usman, in Abuja on Saturday urged Yale University authorities to ignore the petition by one Sunday Iwalaiye requesting it to withdraw the award.

The statement said the request was politically motivated and ill-conceived. It said Ms. Okonjo-Iweala was well-deserving of the award, adding that the basis cited for the award perfectly described its understanding of what she had done for Nigeria.

“From our investigations, we have come to the conclusion that this is a politically sponsored campaign against one of our most outstanding and distinguished Nigerians.

“NANS totally and unequivocally condemn the said act, the initiator of the act and the vested political interests that are behind the act.

“It calls on the authorities of the Yale University to totally disregard the said petition.

“The position of Sunday Iwalaiye and his sponsors that is being promoted by a section of the media does not reflect the opinions of majority of Nigerians.

“We are aware that Okonjo-Iweala, as the Coordinating Minister for the Nigerian Economy, has been able to build strong institutions like the Development Bank of Nigeria, among others.

“We, the students, are aware that Okonjo-Iweala implemented an electronic personnel management system which has stopped corruption in the payment system of civil service by weeding out more than 60,000 ghost workers.

“This singular initiative has saved the country more than N200 billion. We know that this is significant because it means that the country has lost trillions over five decades.

It said that some “smart initiatives’’ of the minister such as YouWin and Graduate Internship Programmes had helped in reducing unemployment in the country.

Credit :NAN

‘We Have No Money To Import Fuel’ — Marketers

There are indications that the current fuel scarcity may not abate unless the Federal Government pays the outstanding N200m reportedly being owed the oil marketers as subsidy claims.

The oil marketers, who confirmed to our correspondent that they had stopped importation, said they could not continue with fuel importation as result of inadequate funds.

They spoke through the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore.

Olawore, along with the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, also denied the report that they were on strike.

He said they were still waiting for the Federal Government to call them to another roundtable on how
to pay the N200bn fuel subsidy owed them.

Olawore said, “We are not on strike. People are just painting us the way they want. We are not importing because we don’t have the money to buy the products. The government has not invited us. The only thing we have heard is the resolution of the Senate on Thursday and I think that they are going to invite us soon.”

Out of N356.2bn subsidy the government reportedly owed oil marketers, the Ministry of Finance paid the sum of N156bn about two weeks ago.

With about five days to the handover of power to a new administration at the federal level, tanker drivers in the country have also stopped lifting fuel from the depots, leaving many filling stations without the product and others selling at exorbitant prices.

The General Secretary, NUPENG, Mr. Isaac Aberare, said tankers drivers would start lifting the product as soon as they received the directive to do so, insisting that they were not strike.

He said, “If there are products in the depots, we will go there and load. Remember that the Lagos State Government gave tankers drivers 48 hours to leave the road instead of clogging the whole road and making navigation difficult; we have complied with that instruction. Any time there are products, we will go and load.”

In its response to the lingering fuel scarcity in the country, the Senate on Thursday directed its Committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream and downstream) to commence a full investigation into the causes of the persistent fuel crisis.

The directive was made following a motion by the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi.

Ningi said, “We need to know whether fuel scarcity has come to stay. We need to know whether it has become part of our lives. We need to plan.

“By planning and talking about it, we are now sensitising Nigerians to brace for the impending issue of fuel scarcity whether it is going to be here permanently or it is temporary.”

Source: The Punch

The Men And Women Who Really Failed Goodluck Jonathan By Bello Imam

In the next few days, Goodluck Jonathan will hand over the nation’s mantle of leadership to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari. The five-year tenure of the President was topsy-turvy because of the motley crowd in his cabinet. In this piece, The Nation’s BELLO IMAM takes a look at cabinet members who actually failed to deliver, which later rubbed off on Jonathan as he lost the goodwill of Nigerians.

The reality of leaving the posh Aso Rock Presidential Villa has finally dawned on President Goodluck Jonathan…

Before stepping aside, the President has spent the past few days on retrospection climaxing in an emotional thanksgiving service last Sunday at the Presidential Villa chapel. A penitent Jonathan asked for forgiveness and specifically admitted that “we should not have done certain things we did.” In a rare spirit of sportsmanship, Jonathan decided to bear the liabilities of his administration, some of which he never knew; some he inadvertently ignored; and some he did not imagine could cost him a return ticket to office.

While the President recedes into a solitary retirement, having been abandoned by some friends and associates, the activities of some of his cabinet members remain in the realm of public discourse on how they failed Jonathan. Jonathan’s troubled mandate has led to a $60billion debt for his successor, Muhammadu Buhari. It is inconceivable in Nigeria’s history that the nation will run into another debt trap because his predecessors, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, left the economy in a stable condition. While Obasanjo secured debt relief for the nation, Yar’Adua left about $40billion in foreign reserve. Yet, some members of Jonathan’s team failed him. These powerful cabinet members wore a larger-than-life image and were actually untouchable. More importantly, their latitude placed the majority in servitude.

Namadi Sambo
Constitutionally, Vice President Namadi ought to be the coordinator of the nation’s economy but he was technically denied the opportunity by his boss. He was, however, in charge of the National Economic Council, the management of the power sector, the privatisation of government-owned companies, especially the power sector. Although seven new plants have been inaugurated under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs), only 4,700 megawatts will be added to the national grid. Two major challenges affecting the energy sector are poor gas supply and transmission of the megawatts.

Persistent outage nationwide in spite of the over $16billion invested was one of the campaign issues against Jonathan. In fact, Jonathan in 2011 assured the nation that before the end of his tenure, Nigerians would have sold their private and noisy power generators. Instead of fulfilling the promise, most homes, offices, Ministries, Departments and Agencies are in perpetual darkness. The crisis of confidence between the VP and ex-Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, also slowed down progress and almost eroded the little gains made in the sector. Sambo was seen as unfair to the North in the privatisation programme and it was one of the reasons most Northern elite conspired against PDP.

Anyim Pius Anyim
Though the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is an appointee of the President; he is the spirit of the cabinet because of his role as the political guardian angel. Apart from his primary duty of giving the presidency a direction, the SGF is expected to advise the President on the application of the principles of equality and Federal Character in appointments in order to preserve the unity of the country. The outgoing SGF, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, came into the cabinet with a cosmopolitan credential but he has ended as a tribal bigot and a local champion. Worried by the marginalisation of the South-East in the past, Anyim used every opportunity to favour the zone in flagrant violation of Section 14(3) of 1999 Constitution. The section says: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity…”

Out of 50 key appointments made by President Goodluck Jonathan, the South-West belatedly had three. It was evident that Anyim never forgave his clash with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo when he was the President of the Senate and he went all out to deal with the region. The same neglect of the North-East, North-West and even North-Central accounted for the loss of the presidential election by Jonathan in these four zones. As at the time Jonathan was seeking re-election, he was already wearing a tribal cloak. This reflected in the huge votes he got from the South-East and the South-South on March 28. The President realised the tribal colouration of his administration very late in the day. He sacrificed and attempted to salvage the situation but he could not survive the gang-up by these four zones. Anyim also veered off his mandate by engaging in partisanship with the coordination of the selection of 12 million signatures for the re-election of Jonathan by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN). Unsuspectingly, the President did not realise that TAN was a deft move by Anyim to escape being purged from the cabinet. He had his cake and ate it but Jonathan was the ultimate loser.

The apparent collapse of the economy under the watchful eyes of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, showed that she might have been over-priced or over-rated for the job. The indices have clearly indicated a sick economy but the minister kept on reassuring the nation that it is healthy. The liabilities are as follows: fuel subsidy scandal; outstanding N200billion fuel subsidy; $60billion debt for Buhari administration; the mismanagement of the controversial $20 billion or $1 billion oil cash; borrowing of N473billion to pay salaries; the depletion of Excess Crude Account to a paltry $2billion and arbitrary granting of waivers. Today, annual budget implementation is less than 50 per cent, capital projects are stalled and most states cannot pay salaries to workers. Even Oknokjo-Iweala’s colleagues knew that her economic pill was voodooist. It was in this hard-time circumstance that Jonathan sought the mandate of the electorate who rejected him at the poll. Nigerians voted for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to change the status quo. Notwithstanding her braggadocio, three major newspapers in the country have written editorials to write off Okonjo-Iweala’s so-called performance. In his verdict, a former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, said: “Our public finance is haemorrhaging to the point that estimated over N30 trillion is missing, or stolen or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged.

“Under you as Minister of Finance and Coordinator for the Economy, the basket of our national treasury is leaking profusely from all sides. Just a few illustrations! First you admit that oil theft has reduced oil output from the average 2.3-2.4million barrels per day (mpd) to 1.95mpd, meaning that at least 350,000 to 450,000 barrels per day are being stolen. On the average of 400,000 per day and the oil prices over the past four years, it comes to about $60billion stolen in just four years.”

Bala Mohammed
About emerging as the worst Minister of Federal Capital Territory since 1975, under Sen. Bala Mohammed’s watch, a less than three to five-kilometre road leading to his office from the NTA axis could not be completed for five years. He was more preoccupied with allocation of plots of land than building on the legacies of his predecessors. Once Bala Mohammed gets praises from the Presidential Villa, he is okay even if the residents are in pain.

He struggled to manage his predecessors’ projects haphazardly. Some of these projects are the Vice President’s residence, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua highway to the airport, Kubwa-Zuba expressway, and Senate President’s and Speaker’s official quarters. A few days ago, Mohammed wanted the President to inaugurate the Umaru Yar’Adua highway when it was obvious that the project (paid for upfront by the administration of the late President) has not been completed. A clever Jonathan said he was only around to inspect the project (not to commission it).

The ‘legacies’ of Bala Mohammed include non-functional street lights, decrepit six districts in the FCT, high rate of crimes, general insecurity, dysfunctional CCTV, dilapidated school structures, poor waste management system, importation of one-year life span buses for mass transportation.

The inability of Mohammed’s administration to live up to his promise to rehabilitate the UN Building destroyed by Boko Haram and insecurity in Abuja contributed to the erosion of confidence in Jonathan’s administration by some countries like the US, the UK and others.

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Arguably the most powerful minister Nigeria has ever produced, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke presided over the oil sector with such a tight grip as if she is on an everlasting assignment. In the last five years, she has incurred the wrath of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) which are divesting in Nigeria’s oil sector. Some of her defects in office are unending fuel scarcity nationwide; fuel subsidy scam; instability in NNPC having worked with five Group Managing Directors; alleged lavish spending of a whopping N10billion on chartered flights by NNPC for her use and other operations; $20b oil funds unaccounted for; fall in the sale of crude oil; non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB); award of N4billion pipeline contracts to ex-militants and militia leaders; increase in oil theft and lack of accountability.

The oil sectors stank to such extent that an external auditing firm, PWC was commissioned by the presidency to look into the account of the NNPC. Under Diezani, the nation does not know how much oil it is selling, the whereabouts of the proceeds and the accruals from the excess funds gained from crude oil benchmark. The minister by her actions and inactions became a liability to the presidency, to the extent that Jonathan’s government was judged by the rot in the oil sector. Unfortunately, the President could not muster courage to check the perceived excesses of the minister. Nigerians, however, voted out Jonathan on March 28 because they were tired of the story of corruption in the oil sector.

Musiliu Obanikoro
The lousy ex-Minister of Defence, Amb. Musiliu Obanikoro virtually abdicated his constitutional responsibilities and used the influence of his office to embark on ‘Operation Conquer South-West’ for Jonathan. Backed by the Armed Forces and other security agencies, he went about the conquest mission as if there will be no tomorrow. Along the line, he burnt his fingers in Ekiti State where he was accused along with others of engaging military intelligence to rig the governorship poll for Governor Ayo Fayose in 2014. The video of the plot went viral and Obanikoro’s gangster politics was a stigma for Jonathan.

But Jonathan tolerated him because he needed votes from the South-West electorate. Rather than support Jonathan, the sophisticated South-West voters proved a point that the region believes in Omoluabi (a perfect gentlemanly conduct) and not gangster politics. Obanikoro was one of the reasons Jonathan lost South-West and why Lagos State was impenetrable for PDP. When Jonathan realised this, it was too late. The President made Obanikoro a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to drum a message into his ears that he knew all along that he was not an asset. The ego of Obanikoro was deflated on the date of his swearing in when he was announced as a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. It took the intervention of some of his colleagues to cheer him up by saying “a minister is a minister.”

Jelili Adesiyan
Twice, the President was shocked that the Minister of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, is a political paper weight. As part of the dummy sold to the President, Adesiyan was touted as a politician who could tackle the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West having been part of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). Jonathan was oblivious of the fact that Adesiyan’s appointment was used by the lobbyists to shore up his image, which was battered as a result of his arrest over the assassination of the late Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige.

Since coming on board, Adesiyan attracted more controversy to Jonathan administration with the use of policemen to intimidate political opponents. His impunity reached its peak with an assault on a former Governor of Osun State, Chief Isiaka Adeleke, by his police/security aides. That singular thug-like assault cost the PDP a big loss in Osun State during the governorship, presidential and National Assembly elections. Since the humiliation of PDP, Adesiyan has withdrawn to his shell pretending to be concentrating on a job he has not made any impact since he was appointed.

Abba Moro
The tardiness of the Ministry of Interior, especially the Nigerian Immigration Service, under Abba Moro led to a disastrous recruitment exercise which caused the death of 15 graduates in March 2014. For a year, the administration of Jonathan suffered an image crisis and it could not recover during the poll. The rating of Jonathan fell when he succumbed to pressure from some National Assembly leaders and governors to retain Moro, a former local government chairman who adopted local benchmark in his attitude to issues, including such a recruitment tragedy.

While Jonathan treated Moro with kid gloves, a minister in the same shoes in South Korea resigned from the cabinet. By the time Jonathan came up with N75million compensation for the families of the recruitment scandal on March 15, 2015, it was obvious that it was because of his re-election bid rather than empathy for the deceased. Nigerians voted for change, not the re-election of Jonathan.

Mike Onolememen
In February, the Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen, wasted no time in scoring himself a little below 50 per cent in office. Speaking on a radio programme, he said the Federal Government had completed only 62 out of the 133 projects awarded.

He said: “What is important about all these projects embarked upon by this government is that out of 133 of them awarded by the Jonathan administration, 62 have already been completed and tremendous progress has been made on the rest. When we set out to reposition our roads, we noticed a gap in the funding of road infrastructure in Nigeria. If you merge our requirement, which was an average of about N500billion yearly, against the budgetary provision of about N120billion, it is clear that we needed to do something quick to bridge the gap.”

The reality is that most of the arterial roads in the country are bad; they include Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway; Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Ajebandele-Shagamu Road. Onolememen, in September 2014, assured the nation that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be completed 18 months earlier than

Chinedu Nebo
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, is a prayer warrior in the cabinet but the magic wand has not effected any change in the power sector. He does not have the capacity to manage the sector like his predecessor, Prof. Barth Nnaji. The installed capacity of the power sector is now 4,700 megawatts but generation is a little over 2,000megawatts in spite of the privatizsation policy. As at May 19, it was reported by a daily that eight distribution companies have declared force majeure in their operations. Besides the eight, the Bureau of Public Enterprises has engaged in a share buyback deal leading to the payment of N29.2billion to Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Company(IEDM), which is the investor in Yola Electricity Distribution Company.

The situation in the power sector is clumsy, unstable and scaring to investors. The epileptic power supply nationwide worked against Jonathan during the poll.

Aminu Wali
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Aminu Wali, has been running a lack lustre ministry, which has not earned the confidence of the diplomatic community unlike the case when the late charismatic ex-Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, was in charge. Jonathan’s administration is bowing out with its international reputation at its lowest ebb because there is no effective salesman in charge. This setback was obvious during the last elections when the US and the UK issued a joint statement warning against alleged plans to tamper with the results. The conspiracy was obvious because the foreign affairs policy has been on a wheelchair.

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates
This first appeared on Global news , Olufamous.com

Fashola Fires Back At Okonjo-Iweala Over Unpaid Salaries

The outgoing governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, has called minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to a public debate. The governor, who spoke during an interview with journalists from select media houses, added that the debate would enable the public to understand that the country made a budget on the basis of certain assumptions.

Fashola said this relativey to Okonjo-Iweala’s statement some weeks ago that Nigeria had no money to pay salaries to government workers, blaming the falling oil prices for the situation.

Fashola said: “I won’t want to have a public debate with the Finance Minister because if it was a matter she was willing to debate, let her call a meeting and we will have a public debate on it. I think the sense for the public to understand is that the country made a budget on the basis of certain assumptions. There was a national budget. Those assumptions have become unrealistic.

“It is possible for the uninformed members of the public to misunderstand that statement and think that they couldn’t pay salaries because they didn’t want to pay. But the admission you must first make is that their income has declined. Let us go forward and all of us must understand this: the money that goes to each state from the federation account is for the entire state, not for the public service.

Senate Summons Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke, NNPC Over Fuel Scarcity

The Joint Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) on Friday ordered the Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and her counterpart in the Petroleum Resources Ministry, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke, to appear before it on Monday next week over the lingering fuel crisis in the country.

Also summoned along with the two ministers are the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Managing Director, Petroleum Pricing and Regulatory Agency; and the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Representatives of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria; Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Road Transport Owners, are also expected to answer questions from the senators at the National Assembly Complex by 10:00am.

A statement issued in Abuja by the Chairmen of the two committees, Senators Emmanuel Paulker (Upstream) and Magnus Abe (Downstream), explained that the invitation of the public officers and groups was as a result of the assignment given to them by the senate.

The statement explained that the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi, had on Thursday drew the attention of the Senate to the lingering fuel scarcity in the country and the untold hardship on the generality of Nigerians.

It added that Ningi had also urged the federal parliament to look into the matter with a view to finding the causes and lasting solution to the problem.

It stated that it was in view of the development that the Senate directed its committees on Downstream Petroleum sector and Petroleum Resources (Upstream), to investigate the matter and brief the Upper Chamber about their findings, next Tuesday.

The Joint Committee said the invitation extended to the affected individuals, agencies and groups was therefore necessary in order to obtain adequate information that would be needed to write their report for submission to the whole house.


EFCC Arrest Job Seeker For Forging Okonjo-Iweala Recommendation Letter

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a job seeker, Azuka Obiejogo for allegedly forging a recommendation letter purportedly from Nigeria’s Finance Minister and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

It was gathered that Obiejogo, a Higher National Diploma holder from a polytechnic in Anambra State, allegedly forged a reference letter purportedly from Okonjo-Iweala and presented it to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company for employment.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said, “Obiejogo is a Higher National Diploma holder. He forged a reference letter from the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and along with his curriculum vitae, requested employment in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company.”

The suspect was arraigned before Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja, on six counts bordering on forgery.

The charges read in part, “That you, Azuka Obiejogo, on or about August 11, 2014, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, intentionally induced the Tertiary Education Trust Fund to employ you as Account Officer II by presenting a forged reference letter titled, ‘Reference on Obiejogo Raymond Azuka’, purportedly made by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recommending you as a worthy officer fit for employment and which act caused harm to the reputation of TETFUND.”

The EFCC stated that the offence was contrary to Section 320(b) and punishable under Section 322 of the Penal Code, CAP 532, Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1990.”

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

In view of his plea, counsel for the EFCC, Halidu Mohammed, urged the court to fix a date to commence trial and to also remand the accused in custody. His application was opposed by Mohammed who asked the court for time to respond.

Justice Idris adjourned the case till June 2, 2015 for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial. He ordered the accused to be remanded in the Kuje Prison.


Okonjo-Iweala, Govs Trade Words Over Alleged $20bn Oil Money

There is probably no better way of summing up the eventual reconciliation of the factionalised Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) than to say all is well that ends well.

After almost two years of deep crisis, the 36 governors of the federation in the early hours of yesterday put their partisan differences aside and asked the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to account for the $20 billion oil revenue the nation earned.

This is the first joint meeting of all the governors since May 24, 2013, when the governors’ crisis broke out, following the election that produced the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, with 19 votes to beat Jonah Jang of Plateau State who polled 16 votes.

Reading the resolution of the meeting at about 1.08 am, the Chairman of the forum, Governor Amaechi, said: “In the light of the fact that funds in the Excess Crude Account were last disbursed in May 2013, there is need for the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to provide explanation for accruals to the account from June 2013 to April 2015, which is estimated at over $20 billion.”

The governors in the communiqué said: “We are hereby reconciled and united as a single united umbrella association of the 36 state governors of Nigeria regardless of party or region.”

In view of this, Amaechi said in the communiqué that Governor Abdullazeez Yari of Zamfara State has been elected as the Chairman of the NGF by consensus for one year period of May 2015 to May 2016.
The governors also congratulated the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, and commended the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat.

Amaechi announced that there would be a retreat in June for the incoming governors, adding that it is aimed at equipping the new and returning governors with knowledge of global best practices for running their offices.

The communiqué further said that the NGF would establish an academy to be known as the “NGF Leadership Academy”, which would be responsible for capacity building for governors and other officials holding public office. The academy will be overseen by the NGF secretariat.

In her response to the demand for an explanation on the $20 billion accruals to the Excess Crude Account, Okonjo-Iweala described as strange demands by the governors for an explanation on alleged missing $20 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

In a statement issued last night by her Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, the minister affirmed that the governors’ allegation was totally strange because the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meets every month “and the ECA is discussed at every session with all the state commissioners of finance present”.

“Nothing is hidden. At these meetings, the Honourable Minister of State, who is the Chair of FAAC announces the balance in the ECA, which is then discussed. So governors who want any information about the ECA should ask for details from their commissioners who should have the records of what was discussed and agreed upon,” Okonjo-Iweala stressed.

According to her, details of the ECA are also published every month along with the allocations to the three tiers of government. “The reference to June 2013 in the statement is probably because the National Economic Council last met in May 2013. But this is immaterial because the FAAC meetings during which the ECA and similar issues are discussed have generally held regularly every month.

“It is interesting that Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who was reported to have read the communique on behalf of the governors made a similar unsubstantiated allegation in November 2013 that $5 billion was missing from the ECA.

“We subsequently showed with facts that not only was the amount not missing, Rivers State received N257.6 billion from the Federation Account between January and October 2013, the second highest among the states, of which N56.2 billion from the Excess Crude Account was a part.

“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and to throw more light on this issue, the Federal Ministry of Finance will publish details of the ECA for the last four years within the next few days,” the statement concluded.


Yale Honours Okonjo-Iweala For Fighting Corruption

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has received an honorary Doctorate degree from Yale University one of the United State of America’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.

The Minister was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters at Yale’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony in New Haven, Connecticut Monday.

Giving out the award, the President of the University Professor Peter Salovey described Okonjo-Iweala as “a brilliant reformer and dedicated public servant.”

He said that Minister “has spearheaded efforts to stabilize and grow Nigeria’s economy, battling widespread government corruption and creating greater fiscal transparency and discipline.”

Yale’s honorary doctorate degree is seen globally as a very important honour.

According to the institution “those who have received honorary degree are scholars, public servants, Nobel Prize winners and heads of states.

“Collectively, they represent the aspirations of this institution. Yale honorary degree recipients serve as models of excellence and service to our students, to our graduates, to our community and to the world,” the institution says.

As Finance Minister in 2004, Okonjo-Iweala and the economic team that she led helped Nigeria obtain debt relief, wiping out $30 billion of Paris club debt, leading to a tripling of the growth rates.

The second time around as Finance Minister in 2011, Okonjo-Iweala has focused on building solid foundations and institutions critical for the survival and sustenance of the economy. She bravely fought corruption in governance with fierce dedication and unflagging energy.

Okonjo-Iweala was honored alongside the Chair of the Board of Governors of US Federal Reserve System Janet Yellen, world renowned Beninoise Singer and songwriter Angelique Kidjo, University Professor and founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University Gayatari Chakravorty Spivak, Professor and Director of the Starr Center for Human Genetics at Rockefeller University Jeffrey Michael Friedman, Inventors and Entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Dean Kamen, etc.


Forgive Me, We Did Things We Shouldn’t Have Done – Jonathan

Outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan, has called on Nigerians to forgive him for any offence that he might have committed while in office. He made the appeal at the Villa Chapel where he formally handed it to the in coming Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo.

According to the President, as a human being he may have unknowingly offended some persons in the course of his duty as the President. He said he is not perfect and thus want all to forgive and forget.

Okonjo-Iweala Terminates SURE-P Partnership With Forcecom Over Fraudulent Activities By Firm

Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, has directed the immediate termination of the partnership with FORCECOM Networks Ltd., on the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme (SURE).

This was contained in a statement issued to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja by Mr Suleiman Haruna, Communication Specialist to SURE- P.

The statement said the minister further directed that the firm should be investigated by the security agencies.

The minister said the firm should be investigated for deploying interns to work on mobile money business months after they were deployed to the company.

She also accused the firm for presenting `time sheets’ which showed that the interns had worked and requested payment of their monthly stipend when they did not work.

According to the statement, the GIS guideline stipulated that interns should be paid for the number of days they worked every month.

The statement said the Managing Director of the frim; Mr. Paul Okafor coerced interns to sign undertaking to pay N7, 500 of their monthly stipend for training with Lekki Business School.

It also alleged that the company fraudulently convinced graduates to register in Jan. 2015 and set their hire date as Nov. 2

Nigeria’s Economy Won’t Collapse, Says Okonjo-Iweala

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Sunday night said that despite the various challenges facing the country, the national economy will not collapse. The minister, in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu, said this during a chat with some journalists.

She dismissed allegations that the economy was in ruins, saying the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had put in place solid economic legacies for the incoming government.

The minister also advised politicians and opinion leaders not to denigrate the economy because negative and false comments on the economy could have negative impact the economy, the exchange rate, the stock market and reduce investor confidence.

Read more:  DailyPost

Blame Governors Over Unpaid Salaries– Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday cleared the FG of blame over the inability of some state governments to pay their workers’ salaries.

Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her Special Adviser on Communications, Paul Nwabuikwu said the governors of such states should be blamed for the development in their states because they were told through the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to make the issue of wage a priority.

She explained that despite the 50 per cent drop in gross federally collectible revenue, the Federal Government had made the issue of workers’ salaries a top priority in order to ensure that the “people do not feel the negative impact of the revenue drop on the economy.”

For instance, the minister said that contrary to the “misinformation being put forward by certain governors to the effect that federal workers are being owed, staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date.”

She said in the five paragraph statement that the states, being one of the three tiers of government that receive monthly allocations from the Federation Account, should be blamed for their predicament.

The statement read, “This is to clarify the misinformation put forward by certain governors to the effect that Federal workers are being owed salaries.

“This is incorrect. Staff salaries at the Federal level are up-to-date; workers have received their April salaries.

“Regarding difficulties in salary payments, certain governors are trying to blame the Federal Government for their predicament. This is wrong. They had been told through the FAAC to prioritise salaries but they chose not to do so, hence the backlog that some states are experiencing.

“The 50 per cent drop in revenues simply means that salaries should be prioritised.   The Federal Government should not be blamed for avoidable mistakes made at the state level.”

The APC governors   had during a meeting with the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Tuesday, expressed frustrations about their inability to pay workers’ salaries.

They therefore appealed to Buhari to consider a bailout plan for all the 36 state governments after his inauguration on May 29.

They said, “One of the issues that became of concern to all of us is the state of the Nigerian economy which is really in a bad shape.

“We have come to notify the incoming president of the challenges ahead of him. As it stands today, most states of the federation have not been able to pay salaries and even the Federal Government has not paid April salaries and that is very worrisome, by May and June, that (salaries) will be in cumulative of three months.

“We wonder with the huge expectation of Nigerians and people who have voted us into power, we are hoping that the president-elect will do everything humanly possible to bring about a bailout not only for the states but the Federal Government, at least for people to get their salaries and turn around the economy.”


We Are Borrowing Billions To Pay Salaries- Okonjo-Iweala

In the face of dwindling oil revenues, Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the Federal Government has borrowed about N473billion to pay salaries and fund the 2015 budget.

The Minister, who was speaking in Abuja on the details of the N4.493trillion appropriation already passed by the National Assembly, said the federal government had to raise its borrowing level from N570 billion to N882 billion to enable it meet its financial obligations to workers and contractors.

The minister blamed it on the decline in oil revenue in late 2014, which accounted for 50 per cent cut in the total federally collectible revenue as well as the low revenue receipts from non-oil sources.

Despite past efforts to reduce government borrowing level, she said the acute cash flow problems forced government to take the decision to curb the negative impact of revenue crunch.

The Minister said about N380billion came from external sources, while the balance is for domestic borrowing.

“We have tried to work within the budget,” she said. “Last year, the borrowing came down to about N570 billion. But, this year, because of the very difficult cash flow situation, we have provided N882billion in borrowing.

“About N380billion of that is external borrowing and the balance of N502 billion is for domestic borrowing. All we have borrowed so far is N473billion, which is within the budget.”

Read Morepremiumtimesng

”The 2 Finance Ministers, Perm. Secretary And 70% Of Finance Ministry Staff Are Hypertensive” – Okonjo Iweala

The bad state of the Nigerian economy is negatively affecting the health of those charged with managing it. That was the submission of minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a recent event.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the thorough search for funds for the ailing economy has started affecting her health and that of some other government workers.

The minister explained that most workers in the finance ministry are currently suffering from high blood pressure due to excessive stress at work.

Okonjo-Iweala spoke alongside the Permanent Secretary of the finance ministry, Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, at the commissioning of the Federal Ministry of Finance Welfare Facilities, including crèche and clinic on Monday.

She said that many of the workers in the Finance Ministry – including the minister of state, Bashir Yuguda, and the permanent secretary, Daniel-Nwaobia, had hypertension as confirmed after a recent medical test conducted in the ministry.

According to Daniel-Nwaobia, the medical tests became necessary after one of the workers in the ministry who had an emergency medical situation was rushed to the hospital and was later diagnosed with high blood pressure.

“It sounds unbelievable. But, it’s true. The three of us are on medication.  At times, we have to be in the office as late as 1 a.m. looking for how the country will get money to finance her activities,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

She said now that the clinic has been established and certified by the Federal Ministry of Health, the staff can take full advantage of the facility to take care of themselves.

After weeks of intensive medical examination by the team, Daniel-Nwaobia said the result showed that more than 70 per cent of the workers were hypertensive as a result of stress at work.

She said the decision to establish the clinic and the crèche within the premises of the headquarters of the Ministry became necessary to ensure that the medical needs of the workers were met, while a place would be available for their wards to stay during official hours.

Source – ww.thescoopng.com

Search For Funding For Nigeria Is Giving Us Hypertension- Okonjo-Iweala

Over 70 per cent of the workers in the Federal Ministry of Finance, including top officials, have high blood pressure as a result of excessive stress at work.

?T?he Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Permanent Secretary, Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, who spoke in Abuja at the commissioning of the Federal Ministry of Finance Welfare Facilities, including crèche and clinic, said many of the workers in the Finance Ministry were affected.

The Minister ?said ?even the Minister of State, Bashir Yuguda, and Permanent Secretary had hypertension as ?confirmed after a recent medical test conducted in the ministry.

Although the Minister later apologized to the Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary for disclosing their health status publicly, she attributed the development to the stress the top managers and staff in the ministry go through in the course of discharging their duties.

“It sounds unbelievable. But, it’s true. The three of us are on medication.  At times, we have to be in the office as late as 1 a.m. looking for how the country will get money to finance her activities,” she said.

She said now that the clinic has been established and certified by the Federal Ministry of Health, the staff can take full advantage of the facility to take care of themselves.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Missing $20bn: I Did Not Hire PWC For The Audit, Says Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has distanced herself from the audit firm, PriceWatersHouseCoopers, saying she should not be held responsible for its hiring to probe Nigeria’s alleged missing oil money, days after a widely-discredited report by PwC was released.

As finance minister and coordinator of the economy, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala played a leading role in 2014 when PwC as hired, as the government tried to counter an allegation that $20 billion oil money had been stolen. Former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, who made the claim, accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC of diverting the money.

After efforts by the government and the Senate to reconcile the sum yielded no tangible results, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala recommended an independent forensic audit. She later announced the hiring of PriceWaterHouseCoopers.

The report containing the outcome of PwC’s investigation, was released Monday several months after the firm completed its assignment. PriceWaterHouseCoopers however said the work should not be relied upon, as it failed to meet international standards. In an unusual statement Thursday, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala sought to steer clear of the audit firm, although she said her response followed a lawsuit blaming her for the hiring.

A statement released by Paul Nwabuikwu, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s spoksperson, said the minister was responding to a lawsuit filed by a group of three accounting firms before a Lagos High Court, accusing Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala of violating federal local content law by appointing PwC.

The statement was issued before the minister received a formal notification of a suit, a rather unusual and prompt response seen as an attempt by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to comment on the PwC case. “The CME is astonished by the news of the said court action which is spurious in the extreme,” spokesperson Mr. Nwabuikwu said. “It is shocking that professionals of the calibre of the SIAO Partners can embark on this kind of legal action without taking the trouble to do the minimum amount of homework to confirm basic facts.” The statement said “Okonjo-Iweala did not appoint the PWC to carry out the audit”. The minister called on those behind the suit to immediately drop it or face her in court.


How I Survived Cancer- Okonjo-Iweala

A rare insight into the past physical challenge of the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emerged yesterday when she disclosed that she survived cancer 15 years ago affirming the scare is not the end of life.

She spoke at the service of songs for the late Oronto Douglas, special adviser to the president on research and documentation that held in Abuja last night.

The service was attended by a cross section of the society from civil society, government, the media, the clergy among others.

President Goodluck Jonathan was represented by Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, at the service which remarkably brought together his associates from both sides of the political divide including former Governor Kayode Fayemi, Pastor Tunde Bakare who brought greetings from General Muhammadu Buhari, ministers, former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Senator-Elect Ben Murray Bruce, deputy managing director of Thisday, Mr. Kayode Komolafe among several others.

In her remarks at the occasion, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said: “Oronto and I had two similarities in life, we both had cancer. I had my last surgery, 15 years ago and I shared my experience with him,” she said, narrating how she repeatedly sought to encourage him using her triumph over the disease.

Tributes from several speakers centered on how Oronto built bridges across political divides. Dr. Fayemi, Hon Uche Onyeogocha leading members of the All Progressives Congress, APC spoke in that direction and they were buttressed by Pastor Bakare.

Tributes also came from former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Dr. Sam Amadi, chairman National Electricity Regulatory Commission, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Yinka Odumakin, Ken Saro Wiwa among others.


Court Rules On Contempt Charge Against Okonjo-Iweala June3

?Justice Abdul Kafarati? of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has fixed June 3 to deliver ruling on contempt charge against the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Minister was accused of disobeying a court order that had on February 25, 2014, directed her to release to a civil society group, Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, details of statutory transfers in the 2013 budget to six Federal Government’s agencies.

The group told the court that despite that she was served with a copy of the substantive judgment and the enrolled orders, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala declined to obey the judgment, forcing the applicant to serve her the initial Form-48 (notice of consequence of disobedience of court orders) before subsequently filling a Form-49 (motion for order of committal) against her.

CSJ had sued the minister upon her refusal to honour its request, made under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

In his judgment in the suit on February 25, 2014, Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati upheld CSJ’s claim and ordered the minister to, among others, supply the information requested by the applicant.
However, adducing reasons why the Form-49 should be granted, the applicant’s lawyeR, Nnajika, argued that the orders of the court were unambiguous in relation to the directive for the minister to supply it with its requested information.

He said it was disobedience to the court’s directive when the minister argued, in her affidavit of compliance, that she had written to the named agencies and supplied acknowledgment copies of such letters. “The order did not say the respondent (the minister) should give us acknowledgment copies of letters written to the agencies. The case lasted about one and half years.

“The respondent never said she had no access to the information we requested. Having failed to comply with the order, the court is left with no option than to make an order, based on our Form 49 already filed, committing the respondent (Finance Minister) to prison until she comply with the order of the court,” Nnajika said.

Nevertheless, th?e Minister, through her lawyer, Mr. A. Ibrahim, urged the court not to commit her to prison as it was prayed to do by the group, even as she denied the allegation that she deliberately ignored the judgment of the court.

?The Minister maintained that the information requested by the applicant were not within her reach, stressing that she even went as far as writing letters to all the affected agencies.

Ibrahim, in the affidavit of compliance, urged the court to give mandatory orders, mandating three of the recalcitrant agencies to comply with the request.

“Three bodies, namely NNDC, NJC and the National Assembly, have refused to accept and acknowledge the request. Only a court order mandating the other three cooperative bodies will compel them to furnish the applicant with the necessary information,” the Minister’s lawyer added.


Buhari Doesn’t Need Your Advice, David-West To Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Petroleum, Prof. Tam David-West, has rubbished the counsel by Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on how president-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari can increase Nigeria’s revenue.

David-West on Friday told The Nation in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, that Buhari is a highly experienced manager of the economy and thus, doesn’t need the advise of the former World Bank chief.

He said: “I read Okonjo-Iweala’s advice to Gen. Buhari on how to raise revenue with interest and amusement. I don’t think that Buhari needs any advice from her on the subject. He is not new on the terrain. He is a very knowledgeable person on how to move the economy forward. I don’t believe he needs advice from Okonjo-Iweala.

Read More: dailypost

Why Okonjo-Iweala Was Listed 33rd Among 50 Greatest World Leaders

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world by globally-acclaimed Fortune Magazine.

Occupying the 33rd spot on the list, the minister was recognised alongside the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; Catholic Pontiac, Pope Francis; Chinese President Xi Jinping; Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi; Bill and Melinda Gates as well as Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerburg and Apple Chief Executive Officer, Tom Cook.

In the latest edition of the magazine, the minister was described as “a fearless promoter of sound economic policies”, and was also singled out for working hard to usher in a decade in which Nigeria’s GDP trippled. Fortune Magazine’s annual list celebrates men and women who are transforming lives in all spheres, including government, business and philanthropy.

In compiling the 2015 list, the magazine explained that it gathered advice from more than 24 of the world’s best minds. The leaders were judged by their actions within their professional domain, industries or governance. “To make this roster, it was not enough to be brilliant, admirable or even supremely powerful. We set out to find singular leaders with vision who moved others to act as well, and who brought their followers with them on a shared quest.

“We looked for effectiveness and commitment and for the courage to pioneer,” the magazine said.

Okonjo-Iweala graduated from Harvard in 1976 and holds a Ph.D in Development Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – 1981. As two-time Finance Minister of Nigeria, she has helped to lay a solid foundation for the Nigerian economy, which is currently the biggest in Africa at $510 billion.

Read More: vanguardngr

Fuel Scarcity: Okonjo-Iweala Contradicts Petroleum Agency & PDP

Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has blamed the ongoing fuel crisis on “disruption of pipelines and logistical issues”, apparently invalidating earlier reasons given by the government agency responsible for pricing and regulation of petroleum products.

The minister also contradicted the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, which accused the opposition All Progressives Congress of compelling marketers to either divert or refuse to sell petrol to embarrass the government.

At a news briefing Tuesday, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala strongly denied any link between the scarcity that has left long queues at filling stations across the country, and a failure by the government to pay fuel marketers — a reason given by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA. “I want to emphasize that contrary to some unfounded speculations, the queues are not caused by payment issues,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said.

Read MorePremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Reveals Cause of Fuel Scarcity

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied that the fuel scarcity witnessed in some parts of the country was caused by non-payment of oil marketers.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said this while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja. “I want to emphasise that contrary to some unfounded speculations, the queues are not caused by payment issues.

“As you know, we paid the marketers a total of N320.8 billion from the Excess Crude Account in two instalment in December last year.This underscores the fact that we are taking payment of marketers very seriously indeed.

“We’ve been in constant touch and talking with the marketers and a week ago we reached an agreement with them on their core concerns which we have addressed,’’ she said.

Read More: PremiumTimes

Senate Accuses Okonjo Iweala Of Destroying Nigeria’s Economy

Senators have accused the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, of perpetrating wickedness by refusing to release funds meant for capital projects in the country.

According to The Nation, the senators who met at various committees with ministers, heads of Federal Government departments and agencies in Abuja on February 24, were unhappy that last year’s budget was poorly implemented.

The lawmakers expressed shock when ministers and some heads of agencies told them that they got between 40 to 45 % of their capital votes last year.

Read Morenaij.com

The Most Important Job in Nigeria Right Now

In most countries, the position of central bank governor is one of a conservative low-key economist who only makes public utterances a few times a year around monetary policy. Nigeria is not most countries.

 While current Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele, appointed last June, fits the more traditional image, the last two Central Bank governors of Africa’s largest economy have been conservative in economic strategy—but larger than life when it comes to expressing their opinions about the way the country is run.
In the run-up to presidential elections on Feb. 14, there is an almighty war of words in local media between Nigeria’s finance minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Charles Soludo, the central bank governor between 2004 and 2009. Soludo fired the first salvo with release of a local newspaper article on Jan.25 on the economy’s mismanagement under president Goodluck Jonathan. It’s a timely reminder of one of the main issues of this election cycle which has descended into name calling and smear campaigns.

My advice to President Jonathan and his handlers is to stop wasting their time trying to campaign on his job record. Those who have decided to vote for him will not do so because he has taken Nigeria to the moon. His record on the economy is a clear ‘F’ grade. As one reviews the laundry list of micro interventions the government calls its achievements, one wonders whether such list is all that the government could deliver with an unprecedented oil boom and an unprecedented public debt accumulation.

It is not often that one intervention has the effect of resetting the tone of a national conversation, especially coming from an individual that has been away from public commentary for a few years, but Soludo comes with considerable credibility, as part of an economic team that delivered strong growth at a time of lower oil prices.

 Okonjo-Iweala hit back with an 11-point attack on Facebook slamming Soludo as the worst central bank governor in Nigeria’s history.
“Soludo’s single-handed mismanagement of the banking sector led to an incredible accumulation of liabilities that will cost tax payers about N5.67 trillion (being the total face value of AMCON-issued bonds) to clean up. It is only in Nigeria where someone who perpetrated such a colossal economic atrocity would have the temerity to make assertions on public debt and the management of the economy”
Read More: qz.com

Soludo Fires Again!!! AU’s N8.6trillion Missing Under Okonjo-Iweala’s Watch

                                                     I STAND BY MY STATEMENTS

                                                       Chukwuma Charles SOLUDO, CFR

1. My attention has been drawn to statements credited to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in response to my latest article and call for a structured debate on the issues. According to the report, she no longer wants to join issues with me. In the circumstance of the moment, I therefore withhold parts two and three of my promised three-part response.

2. Let me also state for the avoidance of doubt that I stand by every statement I made in the two articles viz: (1) “Buhari Vs Jonathan: Beyond the Elections”; and (2) “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Missing Trillions”. In particular, I insist that over N30 trillion has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years. This figure does not include the estimated $40.9 billion (N8.6 trillion at parallel market exchange rate or nearly two years’ Federal Government budget) which the African Union’s (AU) recent report claims to be “stolen” from Nigeria each year.

3. I wish to thank Nigerians all over the world who have been contributing to this timely debate. This is election time and it is expected that some vested interests will either choose to live in denial or attempt to politicise the issues. But from the debate so far, I am convinced that our economic management won’t be the same again. Once our managers know that the citizens will rigorously and vigorously challenge them to account, the welfare of the citizens will be better for it. Whoever wins has his job cut out for him, and to the extent that this debate has challenged the respective teams to seriously re-examine their blueprints to guarantee the security and prosperity of every Nigerian, my objective is accomplished. I love my country Nigeria, and as I said before, I won’t keep quiet again.

Once more, Nigeria must survive and prosper beyond Buhari or Jonathan!

Credit: premiumtimesng.com

Too Much Boom Time Oil Savings Spent on State Governors- Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria’s finance minister said on Thursday that a significant portion of the billions of dollars drained from the oil savings account over the past two years was distributed to powerful governors instead of being saved for a rainy day.The central bank devalued the naira by 8 percent on Tuesday because it was running out of forex reserves with which to defend the currency.

The Excess Crude Account (ECA) had around $9 billion in December 2012, but it has since fallen to around $4 billion, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted in a speech to capital market authorities. Most of the falls occurred during a period of record high oil prices, when oil savings are supposed to accrue.

Okonjo-Iweala said some of the money had been needed to cover revenue lost due to outages caused by oil theft and pipeline vandalism, thought to drain hundreds of thousands of barrels a day.

“Some of it (the ECA) was then legitimately used to offset revenue shortfalls arising from quantity shocks and to narrow the fiscal deficit,” she said. “But against our advice, significant portions were also used to augment monthly allocations,” to local and state authorities.

“States argued that rainy days were already at hand and in fact (the rain) was already pouring, so the money needed to be used right away,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

Money from oil sold over and above the finance ministry’s benchmark price is in theory deposited into the ECA, which can later be used to protect against oil price shocks or to plug the deficit.

However, there are disputes about who should control this money, and state governors often argue the central government is hoarding the money and should distribute more to them.

 Credit: Yahoo News