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Showing posts with label Nigeria News Desk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria News Desk. Show all posts

President of Nigeria Receives Envoy To South Africa


The President of Nigeria, President M. Buhari


The President of Nigeria, President M. Buhari has received envoy to South Africa,  and has ordered the evacuation of 640 Nigerians. The special envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian government was ready and willing to collaborate with the South African government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities , and to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law - abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general , against all forms of attacks including xenophobia. President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria .

Two aircraft to bring 640 Nigerians from South Africa – Presidency. Also on Monday , the Presidency said the number of Nigerians in South Africa, who had shown interest in returning home had risen from 400 to 640. The Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Diaspora Commission , Abike Dabiri - Erewa, stated this when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Diaspora .

To monitor the measures the South African government would take to end the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by further engaging the “ appropriate authorities.” The President also gave clear instructions that Nigerians willing to return home should be evacuated from South Africa immediately .


The President took the decisions when he received the report of the special envoy he sent last week to his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa , to register Nigeria ’s concerns over the attacks. The Presidency, in a statement on Monday in Abuja , said the special envoy, who is the Director -General, National Intelligence Agency , Ahmed Rufai - Abubakar, returned to Nigeria after the assignment and had submitted his report to the President.

It said Rufai - Ababukar was in Pretoria from Thursday to Saturday. While in Pretoria , the envoy conveyed the following to Ramaphosa , “ The deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property /business interests in South Africa.

The statement , which was signed by the President’ s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity , Mr Femi Adesina , also gave details of Ramaphosa ’s responses.

It added , “ On his part , President Ramaphosa agrees that the violence is most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts , which undermine not only the country ’ s image, but also its relations with brotherly African countries.

“ President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and that he was committed to doing everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country .”

Upon receiving the report, Buhari said he had taken note of it and directed Onyeama “ to continue to engage with appropriate authorities on the concrete measure the South African government is expected to take . ”

He also gave “ instructions for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home. ”The Presidency added that the envoy also met with his South African counterpart “ where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular .”It said the two “ agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property . ”
Dabiri - Erewa, who addressed journalists in company with the Chairman of the Senate panel, Ajibola Basiru, said emergency travel documents were being issued to Nigerians whose papers had expired .

She added that two aircraft had landed on the South African soil to bring the first batch of Nigerians .She said eight South African policemen were already being prosecuted over various xenophobic cases against Nigerians .


She said the documentation process for those with expired papers had started to ensure their easy entry into Nigeria .She said, “ As I speak with you now, we have 640 Nigerians voluntarily registered to come home and they will be home in a couple of days.“ We believe that more will still be coming to register. Two planes will convey them . The envoy will be briefing the President . When we receive the first two batches , we will know how many more will come .She said eight policemen had been charged for their involvement in killing of Nigerians in South Africa and four more had been arrested.

Dabiri - Erewa said the Federal Government was still expecting the report of the investigation into the death of the Deputy Director - General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria , Mrs Elizabeth Chukwu, who was murdered in South Africa. She said , “ They promised us to get the result . Also, there must be consequences for actions. If policemen or your people go out killing people and nothing happens to them , it will continue to happen.”

Nigeria ’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, had told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja , that Air Peace had offered to airlift those willing to return home .Nigerians shouldn ’t be second -class citizens anywhere – Presidency

“ If we have the kind of country we want , why would we go and become second and third class citizens anywhere else ? We should get the kind of country we want . I would like to stress that for us to get that country , we must love our country .

The UNICEF Country Representative , Peter Hawkins, said Nigeria youths deserved an education system with “ good learning outcomes, where a child of nine years f basic education can read, write and have excellent numeracy skills. ”Also, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria in the 2019 election, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, and leaders of the Nigerian community in Cape Town, called on Ramaphosa to apologise to countries whose citizens were attacked .

They made the demand at a meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.Members of the delegation that met with Ezekwesili included the representative of Yoruba community in Cape Town, Chief T .A Odutayo; Chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo (Western Cape ), Chief Vincent Nzekwe and Secretary, Simon Odumegwu .

Ezekwesili and the Nigerian community in South Africa, according a communique issued after the meeting and obtained in Abuja on Monday, described the attacks as Afrophobia .While demanding an apology from Ramaphosa , they called on South African government to trigger series of actions necessary to de - escalate the brewing conflict to ensure that bilateral trade agreements between the countries would not be affected .

The Nigeria Labour Congress , Ekiti State chapter Chairman, Kolapo Olatunde , on Monday appealed to Nigerians not to destroy the property and businesses of South African nationals .Olatunde, who said failure of the government to provide employment for citizens forced Nigerians to seek greener pastures in other better countries, thereby subjecting them to attacks as being witnessed in South Africa.

The NLC boss said in a telephone chat with journalists in Ado Ekiti that “ the killing and the destruction of Nigerians and their property in South Africa confirmed failure of governance . The solution to xenophobia is for Nigerian government to provide reliable jobs for its citizens.”

Meanwhile, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has said it will take “ appropriate actions, ” in response to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Nigerian advocacy group , Socio- Economic Rights and Accountability Project , had on Sunday called upon the commission to sue South Africa and demand $ 10bn damages for Nigerian victims of xenophobia.SERAP ’s Deputy Director , Kolawole Oludare , said in a statement on Monday that justice might be on the way for xenophobia victims as the African Commission had promised to take up the issue .

Oludare ’s statement quoted the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ms Soyata Maiga, as acknowledging SERAP ’s letter and promising that necessary actions would be taken. “ Thank you for your open letter requesting our commission to take action to the court. I have just shared the letter with Ms Jamesina Essie King, the Chair of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights , for follow- up and appropriate action, ” Maiga was said to have written in a reply mail to SERAP .

Commending Maiga’ s quick response , Oludare said it signified the commitment of the African Commission “ to stand up for the human rights of Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa, and to become more responsive to rights holders and victims . ” “ This will put massive pressure on the South African authorities and political leaders to uphold the highest standards in the protection of human rights of Nigerians and end their political rhetoric and incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination, ” the SERAP Deputy Director said.


On his part , Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu said the Federal Government should change strategies to tackle the spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.He said the advice became necessary following the failure of previous efforts to engage the South African government on the killings .Uwajimogu, representing Imo North senatorial district on the platform of the All Progressives Congress , stated this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

He said, “ Enough is enough ! This is wicked and shameless. The Federal Government has my full support and that of the Senate is taking every measure necessary to tackle the rising xenophobic attacks in South Africa, “ Since previous efforts to engage the South African government on these unabated attacks have yielded no gain , the onus is now on the Federal Government of Nigeria to change tactics and strategies , and make a profound statement .”  He described South Africans as intolerant and spiteful of Nigeria which was “ a country that gave its all for their freedom from apartheid .”

Uwajimogu said, “ My heart bled when I heard the news of the unfortunate incident , where hundreds of Nigerians in South Africa have been mobbed, harrassed, some maimed and killed, and their property looted and vandalised . “ Some are subjected to all forms of indignities , all in the name of envy, hate and prejudice , while the security agencies in that country were either complicit or they watched helplessly .” President Buhari stressed the need for South African government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations. President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent , if nothing is done to stop it .

The statement , which was signed by the President’ s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity , Mr Femi Adesina , also gave details of Ramaphosa ’s responses. It added , “ On his part , President Ramaphosa agrees that the violence is most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts , which undermine not only the country ’ s image, but also its relations with brotherly African countries.

In a related development, the Presidency on Monday reiterated its condemnation of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, saying if Nigerians had the kind of country they wanted , they would not go and become second - class citizens elsewhere .
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity , Adesina stated this in Abuja on Monday, adding that although there might be many faults with Nigeria , citizens must strive to love the country and work for its progress .

Adesina spoke at the Naija Youth Talk organised by the United Nations Children ’s Fund to mark the 2019 International Literacy Day. The President ’s spokesman said, “ Youths have a right to want a country because they are stakeholders . They have a right to ask for the country they want , a country where there will be no xenophobia and nobody will tell us; go back to your country .

President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and that he was committed to doing everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country .

Election Petitions Tribunal In Umuahia, Disqualifies The Election Of Senate Chief Whip

The National and State Assembly election petitions tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State , has disqualified the election of Senate Chief Whip Orji Kalu.

The National and State Assembly election petitions tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State , has disqualified the election of Senate Chief Whip Orji Kalu.

The Independent National Electoral Commission as hereby ordered the conduct of a supplementary election within 90 days in eight wards in Arochukwu Local Government Area and several polling units in Ohafia and Isukwuato LGAs where votes were cancelled during senatorial election in Abia North senatorial district .


The three- man tribunal led by Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered the supplementary election while giving judgment in a petition brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election, Mao Ohuabunwa , who had challenged the victory of the Senate Chief Whip , Orji Kalu, in the Senatorial election .


But the three- man tribunal led by Justice Cornelius Akintayo , in a unanimous judgment on Thursday, ruled that the petitioner had failed to prove his allegation of exclusion by INEC.The tribunal also held that Anaga did not have anything to prove that he was a candidate in the election and therefore had no locus standi to challenge the election .

Kalu was declared winner of the election by the returning officer, Doctor  Charles Anumudu , which Ohuabunwa described as “ excess electoral fraud and broad daylight robbery .”He , therefore, approached the tribunal to seek justice. Until the annulment , Kalu was the Senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly .


The tribunal also ordered a rerun election for the Abia North Senatorial District. Kalu was elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress and was inaugurated as federal lawmaker for the 9 th National Assembly.


The election tribunal therefore scolded the petitioner’ s lawyer for bringing the case to the court in the first place without ascertaining that his client was a candidate of AGA for the election .


Last Thursday, the tribunal had dismissed a petition brought before it by another individual — candidate of the All Grassroots Alliance, Anagha Anagha, challenging Kalu’s victory in the Abia North senatorial zone election. Anagha had challenged Kalu’s victory on the ground that he (Anagha) was excluded from contesting the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission .

Senator Dino Malaye Denies that He Never Dated TBoss

Senator Dino Malaye Pictures

The Senator representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Malaye has denied that he had never dated TBoss and was not the father of the baby. He has denied being the father of former Big Brother Naija housemate , TBoss’ baby. He made the denial on his official Twitter handle .


Senator Dino Malaye Tweet on twitter

Melaye said , “ I naturally should ignore lies making the rounds that I’ m the father of Tboss ’s child .

Every child is a blessing from heaven to every new mother and I congratulate TBoss on the new bundle of joy. As for the father, it ’s not me. I never dated TBOSS. Olodos take note accordingly.”


There have been speculations about the paternity of TBoss ’ baby and attention had shifted to Melaye , even though, she had denied having an affair with him in the past.

FIRS will Commence Online VAT Payments



Chairman of the FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, revealed that FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) will soon commence the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) through online portal. He stated this when he was interviewed from reliable source.

Mr Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services. Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence. We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”

He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.

Mr Fowler further said that the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.

According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.

“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually. So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.

Governor Akeredolu Urges Federal Government to Focus Into Medicinal Cannabis Industry -Sani Reactions

Governor Akeredolu had urged the Federal Government to beam focus into the medicinal cannabis industry as parts of measures to diversify the country’s economy. But in reaction, Sani pleaded with Akeredolu to invest the state’s resources in something more meaningful than the proposed Indian hemp farm.

Akeredolu said Ondo State, which is known for its fertile land for the cultivation of cannabis will make judicious use of the Thailand’s program, which he said is centred around exploiting the possibility of medicinal cannabis.

However, Sowore in a response to Sani’s tweet, asked the Sani if he was aware that he could benefit from hair products locally made from the cannabis.

“I hate to stand between two Nigerian politicians engaging asinine argument but I am disappointed in you for this tweet.

“Have you ever thought of it that when this idea finally gains legal ground your Afro hair could benefit from a locally produced line of cannabis hair products?” Sowore tweeted.

Responding to Sowore, Sani on his Twitter page wrote: “My Friend @YeleSowore, my hair doesn’t need that marijuana to glow. “I wish you, Governor Akeredolu and Majek all the best ;if you succeed, then you are right. When we meet we shall debate it.”

Nigerian Military Dissociates Itself from A Documents For Dissolution Of Buharia's Administration

The Nigerian military recently dissociated itself from a document calling for dissolution of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. According to the report, the document is currently being circulated within the country, the document also advocated for the setting up of an interim government.

Reacting in a press statement, to the development, MURIC, through its founder and Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, described the document as illegal and provocative.

The group explained, “This is unacceptable. It is irritating, preposterous and ludicrous. How can any sane individual or group be calling for a military coup d’etat in 21 century Nigeria? It is anachronistic. We have no doubt that it is the handiwork of unpatriotic and unscrupulous elements. “They will fail. They will fail because the Nigerian people are solidly behind President Muhammadu Buhari. The people have spoken.

“They spoke loudly with their votes when they elected the incumbent again for the second term. It is desperation that is pushing some people to come up with this crazy idea. “We have no iota of doubt that this document came from the corruption camp. They are bitter. They are frustrated.

“They want it to be business as usual but they have seen that Buhari means business. Now they want to get by the bends what they failed to get by the straight. For them it has always been by hook or by crook.

“President Buhari has inspired Nigerians and the latter have taken the cue. Nigerians have seen transparency, probity and accountability under Buhari. Modern trains are all over the place."

Youngest Lawmaker in Benue State Emerged

Celphas Dyako-Ashwa will be the youngest member of the Benue State House of Assembly since the creation of the state in 1976

Celphas Dyako-Ashwa who is 27 years old, of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, has won the Konshisha State Assembly Constituency seat.

The young man polled the

Nnamdi Kanu, Has Called-off The Election Boycott In Biafraland

Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, in a statement, said the its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has called-off the election boycott in Biafraland, while he signed a document agreeing to IPOB terms and conditions were in its possession and would be made public in due course.

“We can therefore state with utmost sense of responsibility and pride that IPOB has accomplished what no other people or group has been able to do in the history of our people."

The group said that the suspension of the boycott order came after a brief emergency session of the Directorate of State (DOS) late last night, presided over by its leader, where it was determined that all the terms and conditions had been met by those wishing it to lift the ban on voting, noting that it was unanimously agreed that the boycott should be lifted.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has called-off the boycott of election declared by its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, calling on its members and people of South East and parts of South South zone go out to cast their votes.

Men Of The Police Dispersed The Protesters With Teargas,


Men of the police dispersed the protesters with teargas, after the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Obo Effangha, had addressed them and left the scene with party big wigs.



Speaking, former Ambassador to Netherlands, Mr. Orji Ngofa, who is the senatorial candidate of the APC for Rivers South-East, noted that it is painful that INEC horridly delisted them (APC candidates) for the election, but was finding it difficult to relist the same candidates following order of court.

The candidates made the disclosure in Port Harcourt, yesterday, when they took thousands of their supporters on protest to INEC’s office in Port Harcourt.

Candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2019 elections in Rivers State have said they will not allow elections to hold in the state if the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, does not relist them in the ballot for the general election.

2019 JAMB REGISTRATION DATE HAS BEEN DECLARED


The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the downward review of the examination registration fees from N5,000 to N3,500 effective from January 2019. The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, announced this after the meeting.











The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Thursday announced that registration for 2019/ 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) will commence in December.

The Head of Media of the Board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, announced this while addressing newsmen during the conduct of promotion exercise for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), at the board’s Computer Based Test (CBT) Centre in Abuja.

According to Benjamin, no specific date has been fixed for the commencement of the registration yet.

He, however, said that plans were underway to do so as soon as possible as the board was initially waiting for the pronouncement of the presidency on the reduction of the examinations fee, which was formally announced on Wednesday.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the downward review of the examination registration fees from N5,000 to N3,500 effective from January 2019.

NIGERIA NEWS TODAY

APC FIRES BACK AT PDP OVER BUHARI’S COMMENT ON NIGERIANS MIGRATING TO EUROPE
                                     

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to mitigating the migration crisis Nigerians are facing, particularly in Libya and in the Mediterranean Sea.


The party stated this in a statement issued by Yekini Nabena, its National Publicity Secretary, in reaction to comments made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the issue.

He condemned attempts by the PDP to politicise Buhari’s statement on illegal migration and trafficking of Nigerians during the recent visit of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to Nigeria.

Nabena said: “The PDP in its typical insensitive and unguarded stance on matters affecting the country is exploiting an issue that borders to on the lives of Nigerians, mostly youths.

“It is a known fact that many Nigerian families have suffered grief as a result of deaths and other inhuman treatment that have befell relatives attempting migration to Europe and other parts of the world.

“Through support of international agreements and efforts towards curbing illegal migration, repatriation of stranded Nigerian migrants and addressing root causes encouraging illegal migration of Nigerians, the President Buhari administration has demonstrated the political will to check the scourge”.

He recalled the presidential directive for Nigerians to be evacuated from Libya and other locations and be returned home safely.

Nabena said the administration had already put in place several interventionist programmes to enable such persons start new and productive lives in the country.

He noted that with unemployment and poverty identified as one of the root causes of illegal migration, the Buhari administration was using initiatives to check the ugly trend.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL LAUDS FG OVER TRIAL OF BOKO HARAM SUSPECTS
Amnesty International, a London based non-governmental organisation focused on human rights has commended the federal government over trial of suspected Boko Haram terrorists. Amnesty International described the ongoing litigation as good progress for the justice sector.

Country director of the human rights organisation, Osai Ojigho, in a letter addressed to the attorney general of the Federation, minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), expressed satisfaction with the legal process. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement said a copy of the letter was made available to his office. According to the statement signed by his special adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi, the minister noted that delegates of Amnesty International were invited to observe the proceedings.

He explained that Amnesty International confirmed that its delegates, who were invited to observe the proceedings at the third phase of the trial at Wawa Military Cantonment, Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State, between 8th and 11th July, 2018, certified that the suspects were treated with respect and decorum. The letter reads in part: “Amnesty International has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the attacks by members of Boko Haram.

We have repeatedly urged the Nigerian government to conduct thorough and independent investigations into the alleged human rights violations and abuses, with a view to bringing suspected perpetrators to justice in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty and this indeed is a good progress for the justice sector.” The organisation, however, expressed the hope that it will also be invited to observe future trials.

WORLD LEADERS WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH NIGERIA - LAI MOHAMMED

The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed says Nigeria is getting global attention because of the incorruptible leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister stated this on Sunday when he appeared as guest on a Nigeria Television Authority programme, "Stepping Up".

"What we have witnessed recently have shown beyond doubt that Nigeria is today an investors' destination.

"Last week we received British Prime Minister, Theresa May. During the visit, several bilateral agreements were signed.

"Friday of the same week, we received German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Several bilateral agreements were also signed

"The global leaders are coming to Nigeria because this government is providing good leadership in the areas of security and infrastructure.

"The perception globally about the government is that it is providing an incorruptible leadership, a government that you can do business with, without fear."

"In one year alone, we climbed 24 steps in the ladder of ease of doing business.

"These are all the things they have seen that are attracting them to cone to partner and invest".

The minister said the three cardinal goals driving the administration's success were, "focus, discipline and integrity"

CHOLERA OUTBREAK - DEATH TOLL RISES TO 47 IN KATSINA
About 18 people are feared dead in Charanchi Local Government Area of Katsina State, while 24 others are currently hospitalised following the outbreak of cholera in the council. The current casualty brings the figure of the dead to 47.

The outbreak, which had recently claimed 29 lives and about 181 cases, were recorded in Funtua, Kusada, Kaita, Ingawa, Katsina and Kankia Local Government Areas of the state.

The recent outbreak, which occurred on Saturday, had caused panic among residents in the affected communities.

Other villages affected by the deadly outbreak in Charanchi Local Government included Malole and Manye where eight persons tested positive and are responding to treatment at the Comprehensive Healthcare Clinic, Charanchi.

The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Charanchi Local Government, Yusuf Abubakar Radda, who confirmed the outbreak to newsmen in a statement in Katsina, Saturday night, however, said the council had procured medication to support the patients.

Radda reaffirmed that the officials of the state Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) were still making efforts to curtail the spread of the disease in the 34 local government areas of the state.

His said: "We have provided drugs to the victims. Those that are in the hospital are responding to treatment. Arrangements are on the pipeline to ensure that those receiving treatment survive. Therefore, I am calling on the state government to come to our rescue."

He called on the state government under the leadership of Governor Aminu Bello Masari and other relevant authorities to come to the aid of the local government by providing additional vaccines, considering the devastating effect of the disease.

The caretaker committee chairman further admonished residents to embrace personal hygiene in order to avert future occurrence of the incident.

FG OKAYS $1.3BN FOR LAGOS-IBADAN EXPRESSWAY, 4 OTHER PROJECTS

The Federal Government has set aside $1.3bn (about N468bn) from the National Sovereign Investment Fund to finance five critical infrastructure projects.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Sunday when he appeared as guest on a Nigerian Television Authority programme, “Stepping Up”.

The minister said the five ongoing projects to benefit from the funds included the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway construction, the second Niger bridge and the East-West road construction.

The other two are the Abuja-Kano Expressway construction and the Mambilla power project.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was committed to infrastructure development across Nigeria and would continue to revive and complete all abandoned projects inherited from previous administration.

The minister said, “We believed that rather than starting new projects, it will benefit Nigerians to complete all inherited abandoned projects.

“To appreciate the commitment of the administration to infrastructure, in 2014, Nigeria spent N14bn on transportation, N34bn on water resources and agriculture and N106bn on power, works and housing.

“In 2017, this administration spent N107bn on transportation, N130bn on agriculture and water resources and N325bn on power, works and housing.

“The administration, in a manner unprecedented in the history of the country, spent a total of N2.7tn on capital projects in 2016 and 2017 alone.”

NIGERIA NEWS TODAY


1.FAYEMI HIRES 35 LAWYERS FOR DEFENCE
Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Kayode Fayemi, has filed his defence to the petition by the candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and outgoing Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Professor Kolapo Olusola Eleka.

Fayemi in a 2,558-page defence with over 3,000 documents as exhibits, averred that he won the gubernatorial election of July 14, 2018 and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition of Professor Eleka.

The statement added that the team of lawyers with 3,500 exhibits and 1,009 witnesses were on Tuesday led to the tribunal by three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Hakeem AfoIabi, Yomi Aliyu and Kayode Olatoke.

Olatoke after filing the petition on Tuesday told journalists that Eleka's petition was a waste of time claiming that it lacked substance and was sure that the case would be dismissed by the tribunal.

"The third ground is on deliberate voiding of votes as alleged by Eleka but in actual fact, majority of the voided ballots were votes meant for Fayemi, while the fourth ground is on vote buying which is baseless as it was, Eleka's sponsor, Fayose that was guilty of this.

2.THERESA MAY VISITS NIGERIA AS BREXIT TRADE MISSION CONTINUES
Theresa May is visiting Nigeria on the second day of her trade mission to boost ties with Africa after Brexit.

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said Mrs May's "warm words" rang hollow as her government had cut Border Force staff and police officers, who were "the frontline in the fight against modern slavery".

Mrs May's three-day trip to Africa is aimed at deepen economic and trade ties with growing African economies ahead of Britain leaving the EU in 2019.

Arriving in South Africa on Tuesday, Mrs May - who is accompanied by a team of business delegates - said she wanted the UK to overtake the US to become the G7's biggest investor in Africa by 2022.

On Thursday, she will finish her tour in Kenya, where she will hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and attend a state dinner, visit a business school and meet British troops.

3.NIGERIA MUST ACCOUNT FOR VICTIMS OF ‘ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE’, SAYS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
In a statement issued on Thursday to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the human rights group accused the government of holding several persons in secret detention facilities without charge or trial across the country.

She added, "It's time the government did the right thing - and either release these detainees or charge them with a recognisable criminal offence in a fair trial without recourse to death penalty."

Using the case of a journalist, Abiri Jones, who was detained for more than two years without trial, the director said, "At the beginning, the government denied detaining him, only to later release him following pressure from civil society organizations."

Ojigho said according to figures provided by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the fate of at least 600 of their members has been unknown since the Shiites clashed with the military in December 2015 in Zaria.

She alleged that several people suspected of being associated with Boko Haram, Niger Delta agitators, and pro-Biafra activists in the country were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) in recent years.

4.THE UK’S POSITION IS THAT NIGERIA CANNOT ️BE TRUSTED WITH MONEY, SAYS QUEEN’S COUNSEL
Philip Hackett, a Queen’s Counsel, has expressed the reservations of the United Kingdom, when it comes to returning looted funds to Nigeria.

Speaking on the theme: ‘Institutionalising the War against Corruption – New Approaches to Assets Tracing and Recovery’, at the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja on Wednesday, Hackett said the issues with accounting for the funds also contributed to the UK’s hesitation on returning looted funds.

He said: “How much money has been recovered? Practically nothing. Nigeria has recovered so little.

“The UK’s position is that Nigeria cannot be trusted with its money. That’s what underpins it (poor asset return rate), and it has to be addressed.”

The session was chaired by Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), and featured the presence of Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who was represented by Chile Okoroma, EFCC’s Director of Legal and Prosecution Department.

In his address, Magu lamented “poor record keeping system”, noting that it is difficult to estimate how much has been looted from the country.

He said: “It is difficult to estimate what Nigeria has lost because we have poor record keeping system.

“Lawyers have been involved in money laundering; laundering of proceeds of crime. When they were asked to register with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SVUML) for regulation, they went to court. NBA said it could regulate itself. But how far has NBA gone in regulating itself? That is the issue.

“I think the NBA Disciplinary Committee should be up and doing. I get embarrassed when NBA descends heavily on lawyers who are not considered to be significant, but they turn a blind eye to what big-time counsels are doing.

“I think they have to do their work without looking at faces, no matter whose ox is gored. That is the only way that we can have confidence and respect for the disciplinary committee."

5. POVERTY, NOT CORRUPTION IS NIGERIA’S GREATEST PROBLEM
The report entitled, “A new taxonomy for corruption in Nigeria,” was quoted to have offered as follows: “Kleptocratic capture of political party structures is a sine qua non of gaining power and thereby unlocking corruption opportunities across a range of other sectors.

Little distinguishes Nigeria’s two main political parties in this regard. Both are constellations of fluid national, state, local elite networks. Both are almost identically structured non-ideological organisations. Both rely on misappropriated public funds to finance elections campaigns. Neither values internal party democracy, allowing money and high-level interference to corrupt candidate selection processes.”

It diagnosed further that: “… Corruption in Nigeria runs the gamut from the jaw-dropping, to the creative, to the mundane. It encompasses the oil minister who diverted billions of petro-dollars in just a few years.

It includes the local official who claimed a snake slithered into her office and gobbled up $100,000 in cash. And it involves the cop shaking down motorists for 25 cents apiece at makeshift checkpoints.”