Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lai Mohammed defends Buhari’s govt

Pres. Buhari: Tackling insecurity, corruption and restoring Nigeria’s respect
Being the text of a media parley hosted by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Good afternoon gentlemen.
I have arranged this interaction to rub minds with you, as always, on the situation of things in our country, top of which are the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari to chart a new path for our dear country, Nigeria.
It’s been about one month now since President Buhari assumed office, and I can tell you that there has been motion, and there has been movement, contrary to what is being peddled in some quarters.
Let me say straight away that my party, the APC, understands and appreciates the concerns of Nigerians as far as the perceived pace of the administration is concerned. We understand that they repose so much confidence in the party and the government to act quickly to stamp out insecurity, tackle corruption, revive the moribund economy, provide jobs and generally restore hope.

Read Buhari’s speech to govs: Find money to pay your workers


I am delighted to be here with you at this occasion on the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) for this Administration. The National Economic Council was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, Third Schedule, Part I, Section 153: Sub section (18 & 19). The NEC, as one of the Federal Executive bodies, has the mandate to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning and programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.

Breaking news: Gunmen abduct former Bayelsa Gov’s wife

Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped Madam Martha Binabo, the wife of former Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the state former Acting Governor, Rt. Hon Nestor Binabo.
File: Commissioner of Health, Dr. Benson Dadigi (left) explaining a point to the Ag. Governor of Bayelsa State, Rt. Hon. Nestor Binabo(centre) during an unscheduled inspection visit to the Melford Okilo Memorial Hospital under construction in Yenagoa, while Hon. Walaman Igurubia of the State House of Assembly (right) looks on.
The incident, the latest in the series of high profile kidnaping in the state occurred at Agbura community in the outskirts of Yenagoa the state capital.

Discard PIB, cancel offshore crude processing contract, APC tells Buhari

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to discard the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, cancel ongoing offshore processing agreements and discontinue the fuel subsidy regime.
The APC in its recommendation to the President, also stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is indebted to its eight joint venture (JV) partners to the tune of $3.5 billion, about N7 billion, stating that the debts have ballooned over the years.
Details of the report obtained from Bloomberg, quoted the APC as saying that the NNPC paid $6.9 billion out of the $10.4 billion it owed, adding that the difference of $3.5 billion was covered by loans from international oil companies.

BVN: Customers besiege banks, CBN rules out deadline extension

BVN queue
Customers on Monday besieged various banking halls in Lagos, Abuja and other cities for their biometric registration in order to get their unique Bank Verification Numbers 48 hours to the deadline for them to do so.
When our correspondent visited banking halls in Lagos on Monday, hundreds of customers seeking to do their biometric registration were seen in very long queues.
Banks visited in Lagos Island, Isolo, Ikeja and Egbeda were full of customers seeking to obtain their BVNs.

Chibok girls forced to fight for B’Haram – Witnesses

Abducted Chibok girls
Some of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped on April 14, 2014 have been forced to join the fighters of the Boko Haram sect, the BBC has been told.
Witnesses told BBC Panorama Programme that some of them are now being used to terrorise other captives, and are even carrying out killings themselves.
The BBC cannot verify the testimony, but Amnesty International says other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been forced to fight.
The Chibok schoolgirls are still missing, more than a year after they were kidnapped from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

OOU students vandalise factory

Hundreds of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) students yesterday besieged a plastic factory on the Lagos – Ore Expressway, damaging products and 13 trucks.
The angry students  vandalised the reception area, threatening a repeat assault next week, if the government did not bring to book the truck driver, who reportedly caused the accident in which 12 of their colleagues died last Friday.
The factory, said to belong to some Indians, owns the truck carrying a 20 – feet container, which  fell atop a passenger bus conveying the students.

Buhari’s pace is calculated, says Shehu Sani

THE Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has alleged plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rush President Muhammadu Buhari into the traps and landmines left behind by the former administration.
Sani, who spoke yesterday following PDP’s criticism of Buhari on appointments, said the President’s pace was calculated.
The senator noted that the former ruling government had destroyed Nigeria and its economy as well as impoverished the citizens in the last 16 years.

Buhari promises improved power supply

Electricity poles, cables and transformer — Where is the power supply
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday promised that his administration would give the highest possible priority to the rapid improvement of power supply across the country.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while granting audience to officials of CGGC, the Chinese construction company working on the Mambilla Power Project.

Four-man panel to probe how NNPC blew N3.8tr

How did theNigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spend  N3.8 trillion in three years?
This is the puzzle a four-man committee has been asked to resolve.
The four “wise men” are: Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).
Oshiomhole yesterday broke the news to State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He was accompanied by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari, Kaduna State El-Rufai and Emmanuel.

Prepare for electricity tariff hike, EKEDC tells customers

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC,has urged consumers within its franchise network to prepare for adjustment in electricity tariffs. The Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Mr Oladele Amoda, stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting with electricity consumers from the 11 Business Units under its jurisdiction in Lagos.
The meeting followed a directive by the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, who mandated distribution companies, DISCOs, to consult with their consumers in establishing a new tariff regime. The NERC boss had noted that whatever tariff the companies proposed would still be subjected to the approval of the Commission.

Ex-militants demand SA on amnesty programme

Thousands of ex-militants in Phase One, Second Phase and Third Phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, yesterday, marched through major roads in Warri, Delta State, to request President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, fill the vacant position of Special Adviser on amnesty programme in the Presidency.
Some of the placards with inscriptions saying, “We want credible leaders like Mr. Famous Daunemugha to be appointed; We are like sheep without shepherd; Daunemugha is a unifying force; Buhari don’t leave us in disarray,” charged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, government to make their demand a priority.

Okonjo-Iweala spent $2.1bn without approval, says FG

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The National Economic Council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday accused a former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of spending $2.1bn from the Excess Crude Account without authorisation.

Oil barons didn’t sponsor us, Saraki, Dogara reply Akande

Senate President, Bukola Saraki
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Monday described as baseless a claim by the former All Progressives Congress Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, that their elections on June 9 were sponsored by oil barons. Saraki and Dogara stated this in separate statements by their aides in Abuja on Monday.
Akande, in a widely publicised statement on Sunday, had alleged that oil barons who never liked President Muhammadu Buhari`s anti-corruption stance, sponsored the elections of Saraki and Dogara in a bid to stifle the new government.

Why we’re repairing 90 roads in Lagos —LASG

Citing high vehicular movement on major roads in the metropolis, the Lagos State Government said it has commenced the maintenance and rehabilitation work on 90 roads across the state.
*Dopemu-Iyana-Ipaja road
*Dopemu-Iyana-Ipaja road
The Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, weekend said the need to fix the roads became necessary following their devastating state due to the heavy rains witnessed recently in the state.
The corporation’s chairman, Mr. Ayotunde Shodeinde, affirmed that the maintenance work has already begun.

Saraki stabbed APC –Osundare

Renowned poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare, has decried the process leading to the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate.
Osundare said in a poem titled “Blues for the New Senate King,” that Saraki not only betrayed his party, the All Progressives Congress, but also betrayed Nigerians who were eager for change.
The poem was published by an online medium, Sahara Reporters, on Monday.
The poet said Saraki only thinks of himself and that was why he was willing to give the Deputy Senate Presidency to the Peoples Democratic Party in order to achieve his aim.

Those plotting against Tinubu’ll fail – Group

The Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation says those plotting against the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, will fail.
The group, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Adeboye Adebayo, on Monday, said this while reacting to the crisis rocking the National Assembly over the election of its principal officers.

Presidency orders VC, registrar to refund salary overpayments

The Presidency, through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, has directed the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, to refund overpayments of salaries running into millions of naira.
The Registrar of the university, David Suowari, was also directed to refund cumulatively the sum of N130, 692.71 per month in excess of his due salary.
The overpayments were said to have been discovered during the commission’s visit to the institution on May 12, 2015 to carry out an inspection of FUO’s remuneration practices vis-a-vis the extant government’s pay policy.

FG to borrow N240bn in third quarter

The Federal Government is planning to borrow between N180bn and N240bn through the sale of government bonds in the third quarter, the Debt Management Office has said.
According to the DMO, the amount will be borrowed through the issuance of five and 20-year bonds
The debt office had raised N210.22bn ($1.1bn) through government bond sales in the second quarter.
The debt management office is planning to sell the 15.54 per cent 2020 bond at auctions in July, August and September with N35bn to N45bn on offer each month.

Idris takes over as Accountant-General

The newly appointed Accountant-General of the Federation, Alh. Amed Idris, on Monday formally assumed office and vowed zero tolerance for corruption at the Treasury House.
Idris took over from the acting AGF, Mr. Mohammad Dikwa, at about 5:30pm on Monday evening.
He said cooperation among all members of staff and departments was essential achieving the strategic role entrusted on the treasury.
He pledged that under his leadership, corruption would not be allowed to thrive among members of staff of the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation.

PIB: House of Reps passed pseudo bill – Ex-c’ttee chair

PORT HARCOURT — The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, passed by the 7th House of Representatives  at the expiration of its tenure may have been a pseudo bill, as the one approved by the Federal Executive Council under former President Jonathan’s administration was not the one passed over to the National Assembly.
Indications to this effect emerged, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when then Chairman of the extant PIB Committee, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, denied authenticity of the bill.
The revelation came even as participants at the forum reiterated the need for urgent assage of a petroleum reform bill to cushion current challenges occasioned by falling oil prices, dwindling revenues, devaluation of the Naira, high interest rates, and worse still the nose-diving of Nigeria’s reserves for the first time in the history of the economy.

You can’t blackmail us, PDP tells Buhari

National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh
The Peoples Democratic Party has said that no amount of intimidation, blackmail or propaganda by the Presidency will stop it from standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians in demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari should start the implementation of his campaign promises.
The new opposition party, which was in the saddle of the government at the centre for 16 years, said the Presidency’s excuse of clearing the mess created by the past PDP administration was lame and diversionary.

INEC: As Jega bows out today

INEC Boss, Attahiru Jega
AFTER five years in the saddle as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega bows out today. Not a few would regard his tenure as remarkable; indeed it was, as the outcome of the 2015 general election was largely a true reflection of the will of the electorate. For the first time in our electoral annals, a ruling party – the Peoples Democratic Party – was ousted from power by the opposition All Progressives Congress. Truly, in the pantheon of public service heroes, Jega has an assured place.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kashamu Files Fresh Suit In US To Stop ‘Forceful Abduction’


Embattled Senator representing Ogun East in the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, on April 9 filed a fresh suit at the United States Northern District of Illinois court seeking an injunction ordering the U.S. to cease all efforts to abduct him from Nigeria or any other country.
In the suit, Kashamu said if his relief is not granted, he is likely to be abducted and possibly killed or injured.

Heads Roll In NIMC As FG Probes Commission NAN

The Federal Government has inaugurated an independent committee to address the labour crisis between the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCN).
Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Deputy Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Church shootings: Racism a blight on society – Obama

Racism remains a “blight on society, United States President Barack Obama has said, in the wake of the killing of nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church.
Police are treating the killings at the church in Charleston on Wednesday night as a hate crime, the BBC reports.
Earlier, the murder suspect, Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in court to face charges.
He showed no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed him directly. “I forgive you”, said one victim’s daughter, fighting back tears.

APC group decries ‘conspiracy’ against Tinubu

The Action Group caucus of the All Progressives Congress has warned members ganging up to fight the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, “after benefitting from his support,” that they would live to regret it.The AG said the June 9 National Assembly executive elections had pointed to the fact that there was a coup against Tinubu, President Muhammadu Buhari and all that the change was meant to herald for Nigeria by those who bled our economy to the present state.
In a release signed on Sunday by its spokesperson, Segun Dipe, the group observed that some elements believed that they could maintain their popularity only by denigrating Tinubu and telling lies against him.

PDP advises Aregbesola to stop creation of 39 councils

The Peoples Democratic Party has advised Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, to suspend his plans to create  additional 39 local council development areas in addition to the existing 30 local government areas in the state. 
The  Director of Media and Strategy of the PDP in Osun State, Mr.  Diran Odeyemi, gave this advice in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Sunday. 
According to the opposition party, the situation on the ground now does not call for creation of new councils when the existing ones have not got enough fund  to make them impact positively on the lives of the people at the grassroots. 

Wike’s probe of Amaechi laughable, fruitless – Rivers APC

Rotimi Amaechi
The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has described as a wild goose chase, the probe of the immediate past governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Wike had last week inaugurated a seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry with Justice George Emereji as chairman and given a month to investigate the immediate past administration.
But the state APC said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Davies Ikanya, and issued in Port Harcourt on Sunday, that such investigation was laughable and fruitless.

Finally, Buhari relocates to Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari
Three weeks after his May 29 inauguration, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday evening relocated to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He joined his wife, Aisha, who had moved in on Thursday.
Before he finally moved in, the President had, on Sunday afternoon, visited the Presidential Villa briefly.
Those who thought he had finally relocated to the seat of power were however shocked when Buhari left the premises after spending a few minutes.
He later returned finally in the evening. 

Buhari to provide free education, social welfare for unemployment with subsidy removal

…set to unbundle NNPC for energy sector efficiency, block leakages of funds
By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
As part of his new administration’s plan to enforce total fuel subsidy removal, president Mohammdu  Buhari is considering using the proceeds for the provision of free and compulsory primary secondary education across the country.

Local gin sellers decry police arrest of members in Aba

Aba — Sellers of locally brewed gin, popularly called ‘Ogogoro’ or ‘kai-kai’ , have decried what they described as incessant arrests of their members by the police in Aba, Abia State.
Spokesman of the traders, who gave his name as Joe Boniface Kalu, told Vanguard that the police in Aba had been arresting their members and customers who he alleged were released on bail after paying certain amount.
Kalu said it was true that some people died in Rivers State after they drank ‘Ogogoro’ but added that it was wrong for police in Aba to have embarked on the arrest of ‘Ogogoro’ sellers and their members when there was no such death or law prohibiting the sale of the product in the city.
“We have been into this business of selling ‘Ogogoro’ for years and we have not had any problem. If some people died in Rivers State after taking it, it was not here in Aba and that should not give police the powers to come and start arresting us,” he said.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Buhari to move into Aso Villa, announce some appointments next week

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to move into the Presidential Villa next week to continue his governance and may also name the first set of top government officials to start off the administration, a competent Presidency source confirmed.

Since being declared winner of the 2015 Presidential election, Buhari has been operating from the Defence House in Maitama and has been conducting official business of government from there, having taken over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2015 from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was leant that the President was ready to move from Defence House to the Villa possibly early next week following completion of renovation of the President’s residence.
“It is true that the construction company has completed the President’s wing and he is set to move in any moment from now. As at today, it is only the Vice President’s residence that is yet to be fully completed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

NASS N9bn Fallout: We’ll Reduce Our Salaries, Allowances – Saraki b

Senate President Bukola Saraki has denied that federal lawmakers get N9billion wardrobe allowance.

He also said there were plans by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to reduce salaries and allowances of federal lawmakers.

Saraki, who stated this on his Twitter handle yesterday after meeting with the RMAFC boss, said the annual wardrobe allowance for each senator is N506,600 per annum, about N2.25 million ‎for their four-year tenure.

Anxiety At NNPC Ahead Of Buhari’s Massive Shake-up

There seems to be some disquiet in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) ahead of the imminent shake-up by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Legal Services and Company Secretary Ikechukwu Oguine has resigned, The Nation learnt yesterday.

Deputy Group Managing Director/ Group Executive Director (Finance and Account) Bernard Otti’s fate remained unclear last night, following his sudden trip abroad immediately after the inauguration of the President.

A source said he was away for medical reasons.

UK Writes IGP Arase Over Kashamu’s Extradition

Fresh facts have emerged in the case of extradition between Ogun State senator, Prince Buruji Kashamu and the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) as the United Kingdom
government has expressed its own findings through a letter it recently wrote to Nigeria’s inspector general of police, Mr. Solomon Arase.

The NDLEA had last month invaded the Lekki home of Senator Buruji Kashamu, wanting to extradite him to the United States of America in order to face drug offences in the US District Court in
Chicago, Illinois being presided over by Judge Richard Charles Norgle.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

FG Cancels Pipeline Contracts To Ethnic Militias, Armed Forces Ordered To Take Over

The Nigerian federal government has cancelled the pipeline contracts given to ethnic militias by the Goodluck Jonathan administration reports the National Mirror. This means an effective cancellation of all the pipeline contracts given to the OPC and Niger Delta militias. In the meantime, troops of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy have been ordered to take over security of the pipelines.
The decision is believed to be with immediate effect and OPC is already complaining that three of its men were missing after a joint task force made up of soldiers, naval officers and police officers stormed Sagamu, Ogun State to take over their duty of protecting the pipelines. It was learnt that the pipeline protection contracts, worth billions of naira, given to the militias by the Jonathan government was for three months only and expired yesterday, the 15th of June.
The OPC Publicity Secretary, Prince Sylvester Eweka, said in a statement that three of its operatives, Babatunde Adeyemi, Roland Ajayi and Orungbeja Dele-Osagie were missing after confrontation with the task force in Sagamu which attempted a forceful ejection of the ethnic militias.

He said: "At the weekend, NNPC abruptly sent an SMS message terminating the pipeline security contract with effect from June 15, 2015.

"The OPC security outfits involved in the contract are being owed three months by NNPC, and they have been unable to pay personnel on the project.

"On Sunday, a lorry-load of task force members invaded the Sagamu area, claiming it had orders to forcefully reclaim control of the pipeline area. "Irked by this unceremonious move, the private security operatives said they had no signal from their management to vacate the site.

"However, after the ensuing fracas, three men could not be accounted for by their team leaders. "Many of the private security operatives fled the scene, amidst shooting by the task force.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Omisore to Aregbesola: resign

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has called on Governor Rauf Aregbesola to resign.
“He should allow people with goodwill to run the government because under his watch, the state is on ‘life support’.”
Speaking with reporters at the PDP secretariat in Osogbo yesterday, Omisore said for Aregbesola to have admitted that the issue of Osun was beyond his capacity, “I expect him to have communicated to the House of Assembly and honourably vacate the seat of governor”.
He said: “Osun is now a failed state because of financial recklessness of the governor. I really appreciate the fact that he confessed that the present state of Osun affairs is beyond him and he should immediately throw in the towel.

Osun’ll return to golden era, says Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said the state will return to the golden era.
He said his administration was working to diversify the economy to make it self-suuficient.
A statement from the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, said: “From the outset, the Aregbesola administration had set out to ensure that it diversified the economy in such a way that proceeds from  economic activities and taxes would drive the economy and not reliance on federal allocations.

Stakeholders for talks on fuel subsidy

Stakeholders and various professionals will converge on Lagos on Friday to discuss the controversial issue of fuel subsidy.
The roundtable, tagged: “Fuel Subsidy: A Closer Look”, will be held at the Auditorium of the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS).
Speakers and panelist will include Mobolaji Aluko, Henry Boyo, Tosin Adeyanju and Anthony Kila.
Discussants at the event will analyse past and future of fuel subsidy, its effect on the country and its relation to fuel scarcity.

Fear of ‘scrapping’ grips aviation ministry

Indications emerged at the weekend that President  Muhammadu  Buhari may not appoint a minister for the Aviation Ministry.
Industry sources hinted that the President may merge the ministry with the Ministry of Transport.
The move, a source said yesterday, “is creating fear among top officials of the aviation agencies because the merger may scale down their current positions from managing directors to mere directors”.
The decision to scrap the ministry, it was learnt, followed recommendations by stakeholders in the transport industry, who have identified the ministry as one militating against the growth of the sector.
A source said Buhari decided to “collapse the two ministries as a way of cutting cost as well as for effective monitoring of the sector.”

African immigrants drowning in sea embarrassing – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has described as embarrassing to African leaders, images in the international media of African youths drowning in the Mediter­ranean Sea on their illegal at­tempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe. He said the situation also is dehumanizing to their persons, adding that they combined to paint a very unfavourable picture of the people and the continent. He has therefore, urged that African leaders to reverse the ugly trend.
Buhari stated this in his remarks at the opening session of the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

First Lady: don’t pay any money to see President

‘Tinubu insisted I should join Buhari’s campaign’
First Lady Aisha Buhari has warned influence peddlers never to collect money from people who want to see the President.
She spoke on Saturday night during “an appreciation dinner at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in honour of All Progressives Congress (APC) women and youths who played a major role in President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the April 11 election.
She said: “There is nothing people did not say about the past administration. It is not Jonathan that is not good but the people around him.
“So, the people that are going to be around General Buhari have to be very careful because this election ended peacefully.

Unemployed, Poor Nigerians To Get N5,000 Each – FG

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration at the weekend declared that there are ongoing plans to implement one of its striking campaign promises that it will pay N5,000 each to the poorest Nigerians across the country monthly.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who gave the hint noted that government is “currently evaluating the best ways to collapse existing cash transfer and social welfare schemes to ensure consistency and alignment.
“Once this is completed, we will implement the first phase of this programme, using recognised identification platforms and transparent payment solutions”, he added.

Nations Grow Over Time Not Overnight!

Nigerian youths largely voted for President Muhammadu Buhari in the March 28th, 2015 election. I expected that they would be patient with his administration as he settles down in office and makes efforts to come to grips with the challenges facing the nation but I must say that I was not prepared for the level of impatience and anger directed the way of the newly sworn in President by youths on Social Media.
I have gotten myself a little Twitter addiction and when I read the tweets of young Nigerians I sometimes wonder if they think they elected a magician!
One youth posted on one of Nigeria’s most popular sites thus: ‘there is no better way of telling someone the truth. Buhari has not gotten a single pass mark since HE Resume (sic) office’.
When I saw the comment above, I had to check my calendar to be sure that Buhari had only been in office for one week!

Boko Haram: President orders release of $21m to joint task force

President Muham­madu Buhari has ordered the imme­diate release of $21 million of the country’s $100 million pledge to the Multi- National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), within one week to tackle the menace of Boko Haram insurgents.
President Buhari dropped the hint when he chaired the Peace and Security Commit­tee (PSC) of the 25th African Union Summit in Johannes­burg at the weekend.
The Extra-Ordinary Sum­mit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin, had last week approved $30 million for the MNJTF.
The AU Summit was the president’s first continental assignment since taking of­fice and was accompanied by Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ab­dulrahman Dambazau.

Buhari’s wife’s bombshell

Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, has described ex- President Goodluck Jonathan as a good man who was surrounded by bad people, warn­ing that such people should steer clear of her husband.
She alleged that during the last administration, people were said to have paid as much as $30,000 to $50,000 to book appointments to see the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan while a higher sum was paid to see her husband.
Hajia Buhari warned extortionists who delight in fixing appointments for the President or First Lady, saying they will not halace under the Buhari administration.
She gave the warning on Saturday when she hosted All Progressives Congress’ (APC) women and youths to an elaborate reception at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event was tagged, “Apprecia­tion Dinner” to thank APC stakehold­ers for working for her husband’s victory in the March 28 presidential election.

At AU Summit: PMB Lists Terrorism, Poverty As Africa’s Major Problems

President Muhammadu Buhari in South Africa listed terrorism, insecurity, poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment as the greatest challenges facing Africa as a continent.
Speaking at the opening session of the 25th assembly of the heads of states and governments of the African Union (AU) holding in that country, Buhari urged African leaders to redouble their effort in sustaining economic development of their countries by empowering the youths.
He said that Nigeria, on its part, will continue to play its part in supporting the African Union Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour.

Insecurity: BBOG Group Kicks Against Relocation Of IDPs To Home States

The #BringBackOurGirls group, yesterday called on the federal government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) not to relocate the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to their home states without proper security measures in place.
Speaking at the group’s sit-out, one of the members of the group, Fati Abba Kaka wondered why the government would mull the idea of relocating persons, who are seeking better life in the IDPs settlements in Abuja without putting in place adequate security for their safety.

APC To Buhari: Hold Wike Responsible For Breach Of Peace In Rivers

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hold Rivers State governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike responsible for any breach of the peace in the state that may result from his planned dissolution of elected chairmen and councillors of the 23 local government areas of the state.
This is as the party called on the National Assembly, civil society organisations and the general public to prevail on Wike to jettison the idea of dissolving the local government officials, who were elected on May 21, 2015.
APC in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, and signed by its chairman in Rivers State, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, vowed that any undemocratic dissolution of the councils will not only be resisted but may also be a call for a revolution that will consume the illegal government currently operating in the state.

N/Delta: ‘Why Buhari Should Extend Amnesty Programme To 2019’

A non-governmental organisation, Coalition of Nigerian Leaders for Stability (CNLS), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta region to the year 2019 to guarantee peace and stability in the country.
The group, which made the call during a world press conference addressed by its convener/national coordinator, Chief Mike Ekayama Loyibo, in Abuja at the weekend, said the extension became necessary as the Amnesty Programme under former President Goodluck Jonathan was not implemented to the letter, adding that there are currently over 13,000 jobless ex-agitators who could not be absorbed by the scheme.

Anti-rape Bill: Falana Threatens Legal Action Over President’s Assent

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN) has joined forces with nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, in urging President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold his assent to the Sexual Offences Bill, otherwise known as the anti-rape bill passed by the 7th National Assembly.
In a letter he co-wrote with his wife, Funmi, and addressed to Soyinka yesterday, Falana, who threatened to go to court if the controversial Sexual Offences Bill is passed into law, accused members of the last National Assembly of not paying attention to the provisions of the bill.
“Having passed the Bill, the Senate cannot plead non est factum in the circumstance. It has to bear full responsibility for the legislative negligence,” he stated.

NASS Leadership: Group Faults Attack On Lai Mohammed

A group, Kwara Concerned Citizens has stoutly defended the national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed over the statement he issued on behalf of his party shortly after the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively.
The group in a statement signed by Shaaba Lafiaji and Hezekiah Oyedepo also condemned a statement credited to a group in Kwara State threatening to deal with Mohammed for “for carrying out his duties diligently, as he has always done, by articulating the position of his party”.
It said the position of the anti- Mohammed group does not reflect that of the majority of the Kwara people who are proud of Mohammed for being a good ambassador of the state.

Osinbajo, Ambode, Kolade, Others Back War Against Cancer

Vice President Yemi Osibajo (SAN) Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and the former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade and other eminent Nigerians yesterday threw their weights behind the war against cancer in the country.
The prominent Nigerians who spoke at an awareness progrmame organised yesterday in Lagos to honour Ambode, said they will continue to support initiatives geared towards saving the lives of the people especially against cancer.
Osinbajo, who was represented by former Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye expressed appreciation to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) for the good works it is doing, stressing that cancer is a deadly affliction that could affect anyone.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Anxiety Mounts As Buhari Keeps Tinubu, Atiku In The Dark Over New Cabinet

Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are in the dark over President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet as he is yet to discuss potential ministerial nominees with them, TheCable can report. John Odigie-Oyegun, chairman of the party, and national leaders such as Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor, and Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, are all in the dark over nominations, presidential sources told TheCable. Buhari has also not discussed any potential appointment with Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos, who accompanied him to the G7 meeting in Germany, sources in the know confirmed to TheCable.

Garba Shehu: Why Buhari Has Yet To Choose Ministers

Amid public outcry over President Muhammadu Buhari's delay in announcing his choice of ministers, the Presidency has begged Nigerians to be patient.

Shortly before his May 29 inauguration, Buhari had reportedly rejected plans by governors of the All Progressives Congress the party leadership in the states to submit ministerial nominees to him.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media, Garba Shehu, in an interview with Sahara TV on Saturday, argued against comparing Buhari's government to such states as Kaduna and Rivers, which have appointed some commissioners.

According to Shehu, following the 2011 elections, many South-West governors took several months to form their governments.

He said, "The President did say he would hit the ground running, but he has not been given the chance to hit the ground running because the administration that he succeeded — the Jonathan administration — did not deliver the handover notes until two or three days to the inauguration, meaning that these handover notes were submitted at a time when everyone had been consumed by (inauguration) activities.

"Unfortunately, there was no time to look at them until after the President had been inaugurated. The President was left in the dark. He had to understand what the situation was and what was on the ground. That was why he set up a different transition committee. It was only this week that the committee, led by Dr. Ahmed Joga, scrutinised the handover notes and handed over the report to him (Buhari).

"To be fair to him, he would have hit the ground running if the previous government had handed over the notes early. However, the Jonathan government did not even permit any minister to interact in any way with the Buhari Transition Committee. Evidently, we had our hands tied behind our backs until we took over. Thus, there is nothing shady about it."

Shehu explained that the ministerial appointments had yet to be made because the committee needed to conclude its findings first, an 800-page report of which was presented to Buhari on Friday.

On Wednesday, there was speculation that the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was prevented from attending Buhari's meeting with the National Security Adviser on the orders of the President.

The Vice-President was reportedly denied security clearance to attend the meeting because of security reasons by the President.

In his response, the SSA said, "That is the creation of someone who just wanted to write something. It was on the same day he travelled to Sudan to represent the President, the government and the people of Nigeria at the inauguration of the president of that country.

"He couldn't have been present in two places at the same time. Osinbajo is the Vice-President of Nigeria. In the absence of the President, he is the President. So, there cannot be dark corners into which he will not be allowed. It is not true."

Speaking on the National Assembly crisis, the presidential spokesperson expressed conviction that the party with the majority, the All Progressives Congress, and the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, would coexist harmoniously.

On Tuesday, against the directive of the APC, Senator Bukola Saraki was elected unopposed as President of the 8th Senate. Fifty-one senators, include the party's preferred candidate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, were absent. Saraki and Lawan have been engaged in a fierce contest to clinch the Senate top job.

The other senators were at the International Conference Centre, on the invitation of Buhari, who had called the meeting to resolve the National Assembly leadership crisis, at the time Saraki was declared Senate President.

Speculation had trailed Buhari's absence at a peace meeting, with some arguing that Buhari favoured Saraki.

However, Shehu said, "It is a matter of courtesy that the office of the President would be given that respect. The PDP, which issued a statement saying the delay had embarrassed the country, should be asked: How many times have they suspended the plenary of the National Assembly, either the Senate or the House of Representatives, to go into the PDP caucus?

"A party needs to meet to organise itself and it can't be taken for granted. Buhari could not have failed in wanting to meet his party members in order to convey an important message to them. And he has not allowed that chance because at the time when he was setting out to go, the National Assembly they had begun voting, hence the mission was aborted.

"The fact that he said he would work with the National Assembly (leadership) is consistent with his position as a principled democrat. It is a body recognised by law that is independent of his control. He cannot control them. They carried out a constitutional process and he will work with them."


FG probes crude oil swap contracts

An investigation has commenced into how the federal government has been allegedly short-changed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in swapping crude for refined products.

Nigeria is feared to be  losing money through opaque contracts in which crude oil worth billions of dollars is given to traders in exchange for refined imports, mainly gasoline, international and domestic watchdogs have said.

The anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) launched the investigation last month.

A security source with knowledge of the matter said the DSS wanted to find out how the value of the crude and products was computed.

"It appears that the value of the crude was more than the value of the refined imported," the security source said.

The contracts, known as offshore processing agreements (OPAs) are between Pipelines and Product Marketing Co (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC and three oil trading companies: Sahara Group, Aiteo and Duke Oil, the trading subsidiary of NNPC.

Expired contracts with Swiss trader Trafigura, Taleveras, Ontario Oil and Gas are also being examined, the sources said.

The PPMC head was among the NNPC and company officials called in the investigating agencies in the past two weeks to answer questions about the agreements, the NNPC sources said.

"It started about two weeks ago…he was called in to the DSS every day since Thursday and before that by the EFCC," one senior official at the company said.

A statement from the NNPC said some of its officials were invited by the agencies "to shed light" on the contracts and that none had been detained or arrested as part of this investigation.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has said there was a revenue loss of at least $600 million due to a discrepancy between the value of the crude and the products delivered. The figure was taken from its 2009-2011 and 2012 audits of the oil and gas industry, the latest was released this year.

Some contract-holders have said that the discrepancies in value were reconciled.

Sahara, which receives 90,000 barrels per day for processing through an agreement with the Societe Ivorienne de Raffinage (SIR), said it was invited to the EFCC and submitted information to show that its contract was justified.

Aiteo, which also has a 90,000 bpd contract, could not be reached for comment. There was no response to a Reuters email and no telephone details were given on its website.

Duke Oil, an NNPC subsidiary, which has a 30,000 bpd contract, could also not be reached for comment. The listed phone number led to NNPC and it did not respond to an email.

A spokesman for Taleveras, that held a crude swaps contract between 2011 and December 2014 via Duke Oil, said that the company did not owe any money and it would deliver gasoline until June this year to balance out what it received in crude.

A spokesman for Trafigura said that the EFCC had requested information about their swap contract and it was provided by the company in the past month. Trafigura held a Refined Products Exchange Agreement, or swap contract, between Oct. 2010 and Dec. 2014. "Despite Trafigura facing extensive logistical challenges in delivering refined product into Nigeria…delivery would typically precede the corresponding swap of crude oil by an order of weeks – sometimes months," the spokesman said.

"This reality led to ongoing supply imbalances…and ultimately reconciled, every two months over the duration of the term."

The EFCC has investigated various oil scandals in the recent past, namely a fuel subsidy fraud costing the government $6.8 billion between 2009-2011. But due to a lack of political will from the top, only a handful were prosecuted with little result

Ekiti lawmaker berates Fayose over comment

Reactions have continued to trail the com­ment by Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose that those lawmakers that im­peached him in 2006 had died politically.

A statement by a former member of the state assem­bly, Mr. Omoniyi Ajaja, said it would be better for the governor to see the impeachment saga as an experience in his political life rather than castigating the lawmakers which im­peached him.

He insisted that the 2006 impeachment was done by the lawmakers to save the state from anarchy which it was heading towards.

According to him, ma­jority of the lawmakers that participated in the exercise had at one time or the other held several other political positions within and out­side the state, stressing that some of them were still rel­evant in the politics of the state.

The Governor had at the inauguration of the new state House of Assembly declared: "impeach me, risk political death, those that impeached me in 2006 had died politically today."

Ajaja, who was the Chief Whip of the State Assembly in 2006, de­scribed the statement as too mean for a governor, saying it was an attempt by the governor to intimi­date the current lawmak­ers who he described as "stooges."

"I remain one of the pillars of Ekiti State poli­tics today, still very ac­tive and alive to political issues not only in Ekiti but in Nigeria as a whole. Likewise, majority of the assembly men that served at that time are equally still relevant in the poli­tics of the state. Gov­ernor Fayose should be reminded that the House of Assembly remains an arm of government which enjoys its independence like the Judiciary and the Executive arms. If any governor is found want­ing in the discharge of his constitutional duties, it is the duty of the legislature to checkmate him," Ajala said

Floods: Lagos begins dredging of major canals, drains

Disturbed by the frequent cases of flooding expe­rienced in some parts of the state, the Lagos State Government has commenced dredging of major canals across the 57 local govern­ments and local council development areas.

The government, which also frowned at the rate some residents dump refuse in the ca­nals and major drainage channels in the state, said it would prosecute any one caught in the act of improper waste dis­posal.

Speaking with jour­nalists while inspect­ing the dredging of the canals and de-silting of some major drains across the state, the Per­manent Secretary, Office of Drainage in the state Ministry of the Envi­ronment, Engr Ayodeji Adenekan said stringent measures would be taken against residents found dumping refuse in the canals and other drain channels.

Adenekan blamed the flash floods recorded in some parts of the state on blockage of the drains by refuse, saying that refuse dumped in the drains hinders free flow of water.

He explained that what is usually expe­rienced whenever it rained is flash flood that later subsided.

He appealed to the residents and motorists to be patient as govern­ment was doing every­thing possible to address the problem.

Speaking on the peren­nial flooding on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Is­land, Adenekan said the drains on the road are adequate, saying the in­tensity of rainfall expe­rienced was responsible for flooding.

He, however, noted that such flood was a flash one as it subsided few minutes after the rain.

Some of the drainage dredging projects in­spected include, System 1 Ikeja, Kobiti-Mushin, Itire, Oduselu-Mushin water collector among others.

He added that govern­ment might be forced to deploy Kick Against In­discipline officers to the major canals and drain­age channels across the state to monitor and en­sure that nobody dumps refuse in the drainage channels.

His words: "When there is need to draft KAI to the area, we will draft them there. We are going to construct fence around them. Normally for any drainage chan­nel, there is a right of way, which serves as distance from the canal that one can develop. So, we are going to put up barricade along some of those canals. But as you know all these things will cost money. As we have fund, we will barri­cade them as necessary."

Adenekan reiterated the need for residents of low-line areas to tempo­rarily relocate to avert flood related disaster

Election Victory: Aisha Buhari Hosts APC Women To Dinner In Aso Rock

Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, yesterday hosted Nigerian women and youths of the All Progressives Party (APC) to an appreciation dinner for her husband's victory in the March 28 presidential election.

The dinner, held at the Conference Center of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, attracted a large number of women across the country, including wives of APC governors.

The women, in their hundreds, were taken to Aso Rock in large capacity buses owned by the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company (AUMTCO), an agency under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

While most of the guests who attended the event came with special invitations, some of them could not get seats because of the massive turn out at the occasion.
Prominent persons who attended the dinner included the APC women leader, Hajia Ramatu Tijani; former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Ameachi who was chairman of the occasion and wife of chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, Hajia Asmau Yari.

Others were wife of the Imo State governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha; Dr. Hajon Sani; Wife of the APC national chairman, Victoria John Oyegun; wife of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gimbia Dogara; wife of the Senate President; Toyin Saraki and Bola Tinubu who was represented by Femi Ojudu.

Boko Haram: Nigerians Should Expect Positive Results Soon – Army Chief

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, yesterday said that with the relocation of the military command and control centre to Maiduguri and Yola, Nigerians should expect the best and positive results soon in the anti-terror war in the North-east.

Minimah stated this while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned a reconstructed road and the renovated Buffalo Mess at Depot NA, Zaria, Kaduna State.

"With the pronouncements of President Muhammadu Buhari and the relocation of Command and Control Centre to the North-east in Maiduguri and Yola, we expect the very best result soon.

"The pressure on the insurgents will become increased and we foresee a greater prospect for the war, favourable to the federal government and Nigeria", he said.
Minimah said that the Nigerian Army would continue  to fight in order to rid Nigeria of insurgents.

"As members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, we will continue to fight in defence of the sovereignty of this country", he said.
The army boss lauded the commandant, Depot Nigerian Army, for a job well done.

He also urged other office holders to emulate the commandant's good example of how to add value to whatever command they find themselves.
Earlier, the Depot commandant, Brig-Gen Bright Fibionumama, commended the COAS for accomplishing all the promises made to the Depot.
He identified some of the promises to include renovation of recruit line and lecture hall, construction of obstacle cords, renovation and furnishing of the training companies, provision of food carrying vehicles, and provision of water tanker

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mohammed Dikwa Appointed Accountant-General Of The Federation By Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday made his first senior cadre appointment, naming Mohammed Dikwa as Nigeria's new acting Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF).

The appointment, which takes immediate effect from June 12, 2015, followed the retirement from service of Jonas Otunla.

Until his appointment, Mr. Dikwa was the Director, Funds Department in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Mr. Dikwa would hold the office until a substantive Accountant-General is appointed by the president.
Mr. Dikwa, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy and a Masters in Business Administration and Finance, attended the Senior Executive Course 34, 2014 at the National Institute of for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.
He was awarded Certificates in Public Finance Management Reforms, Leadership and Governance, High Performance Leadership Programme and Treasury Management at the Harvard University, USA; University of Cambridge, Oxford University in the UK, and Thames Valley University UK respectively.
A professional Accountant and Member of many Professional Bodies, Mr. Dikwa is a Fellow Certified National Accountant; Fellow Charted Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, among others.

Apart from serving as a facilitator in many courses, workshops, seminars and conferences he attended both within and outside Nigeria, Mr. Dikwa served as Borno State Accountant-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance between1999 and 2004 and Chairman, Technical Board Bank of Industries (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
He also served on the Board of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Defence Industry Corporation; Distribution Company of Nigeria (DISCO), Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Royal Swaziland Sugar Company, etc.

He was also the Director in-charge of Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) and later Revenue and Investment. He is happily married with children.


Atiku, Tinubu Fight To Control Apc-punch

There are strong indications that two power blocs within the All Progressives Congress are now engaged in a fierce battle for the soul of the party.

Saturday PUNCH's investigations on Friday revealed that the battle between the two power blocs to control the party: one led by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and the other led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, played out during Tuesday's National Assembly leadership elections.

The ruling party's preferred candidates in both the Senate and the House of Representatives were defeated by party members who contested the elections against the wishes of the party.

The battle for supremacy between the two power blocs led to the emergence of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party's candidate, Ike Ekweremadu, as the Deputy Senate President.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that both Atiku and Tinubu were desperate to have maximum control over the party structure so that party decisions could favour them at all times.

It was learnt that the two blocs wanted their candidates to emerge principal officers of the National Assembly since that would automatically qualify their candidates to become members of the party's National Executive Committee, which is the highest decision arm of the party.

Senator Bukola Saraki emerged the President of the Senate at a time when leading figures of the party including Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and APC Senators as well as members of the House of Representatives were waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari at the International Conference Centre for a crucial meeting.

The party's NWC earlier held a shadow election in which Senators Ahmad Lawan and George Akume emerged as the party's candidates for Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively.

But, Atiku, Saturday PUNCH learnt that Atiku was never in support of the mock election believed to be spearheaded by the APC national leader as the former Vice President was bent on breaking Tinubu's influence on the party's NWC.

As things stand, most of the current members of the APC's National Working Committee are Tinubu's loyalists.

With the outcome of the National Assembly leadership elections, there are strong indications that the Tinubu camp, which many agree, boasts of the likes of Lawan and Akume are not prepared to let the matter rest.

Sources said the Tinubu camp, though still jolted by its initial 'defeat' would likely spring a surprise in the days ahead.

It was gathered that members of the Senators Unity Forum, who supported the party's candidates are queuing behind Tinubu and are likely to continue to do so in the days to come.

It was learnt that in supporting the aspirations of Saraki and Dogara, Atiku had argued that democracy could better be served when the principle of internal democracy is respected.

It was further learnt that Saraki's publicised visit to Atiku's residence a few hours after his emergence, was part of the power play.

By virtue of their new positions as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Saraki and Dogara, have become automatic members of the National Executive Committee, the highest decision making body of the party.

Their positions also confer on them automatic membership of the party's Board of Trustees and National Executive Committee.

A leading member of the party's NWC, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, explained that the unfolding scenario is likely to open up new frontiers in the power struggle within the party.

According to him, decisions at NEC from now on will be keenly contested by the two power blocs.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that the outcome of the National Assembly elections would likely affect decisions to be taken on ministerial nominees as some of the candidates in Tinubu's camp may be rejected during screening by the Saraki/Atiku group.

He said, "It is obvious that with what happened on Tuesday at the National Assembly, two (dominant) power blocks have emerged in the party.

"We hope to heal the wounds created by the contests, but there is mutual suspicion between the two groups."

When contacted, the Director-General of the Atiku Media Office, Mazi Paul Ibe, said, "Atiku did not orchestrate the emergence of the new leadership in the National Assembly and insinuating that amounts to nothing but political mischief, as he had refused to leave the party or work for the PDP even when the then President Jonathan was desperate for Atiku's support.

"The visits of politicians and APC leaders including that of the Senate President are common political rituals in Atiku's Asokoro residence. For the purposes of emphasis, the President has confidence in him and that explains why he had drafted him as an envoy of sorts in the race leading up to the emergence of a Nigerian President of African Development Bank.

"It is baseless and unfounded to suggest that Atiku conspired with the PDP or Saraki to 'sabotage' the APC. He would have congratulated Senator Ahmed Lawan (or any other leader) if he had won. It is simplistic to attribute conspiratorial agenda to an innocuous congratulatory visit.

"Atiku's loyalty to his party is indisputable. He remains a loyal party member. He, in fact, threw his political assets behind the Buhari presidential campaign. Any suggestion that he conspired with Saraki or anybody is the figment of someone's imagination."

Attempts to get a reaction from Tinubu's Spokesperson, Mr. Sunday Dare, were unsuccessful.

Calls to his mobile phone at 5:21pm and at 7:14pm were neither picked nor returned. A response to a text message was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report at 7:24pm.

But, a member of Saraki's Like Minds group of Senators, Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), said Saraki's emergence, has no negative implication for party cohesion.

He said, "We are already reaching out to everyone. At the leadership level, we are reaching out to individuals.

"The Senate President is a very generous Nigerian with a very large heart. He has already extended his hands of fellowship to every senator and he has assured us all that he would carry everybody along. It is not going to be a case of winner-takes-all."

Also, a member of the Senate Unity Forum, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central), said the party leadership is currently working tirelessly to ensure that the party remains a formidable and united entity.

The South East Zonal Spokesperson for the APC, Osita Okechukwu, said the party was seeking ways of moving forward.

According to him, it will be futile to begin to apportion blame and look for scapegoats because doing so will provide an avenue for those who do not wish the APC well to cash in.

He said party leaders deserve the respect of all party members, adding that if the wise counsel of President Muhammadu Buhari for non-interference in National Assembly issues was adhered to, the party would not have found itself in this situation. He, however, said it was time to move on.

Okechukwu said, "It is the desire of our opponents for there to be a rift but there is no rift. As a party, the only thing we need now, more than ever before, is unity.

"We need to unite especially in the National Assembly to be able to deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people. I dare say, we also need bi-partisan support if we are to get things done because we need each other."


Buhari Plans Military Shake-up, Angry With DSS

It was learnt that service chiefs and other senior officers across the various arms of the military might be relieved of their posts to pave way for new hands.

Findings showed that Buhari would replace the service chiefs with equally experienced officers.

It was gathered that all but one of the military chiefs would be disengaged by the President, while appointing new officers who would be expected to implement the new phase of the war against the Boko Haram sect in the North-East.

Sources said that there was anxiety in the military over the looming change of guard which is expected to affect all the services, including the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.

It was gathered that the military chiefs were acutely aware of the fate that might befall them, having reached the pinnacle of their career.

A source said that the President may be considering one of the service chiefs to ensure smooth transition between the present military chiefs and their successors.

But another source said this was not likely, noting that the only service chief that might be retained is the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, who was appointed a few months ago by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

One of our correspondents gathered that Buhari would likely appoint his "loyalists" and those he had worked with into top positions.

It was also gathered that Buhari might have made up his mind to use policemen and soldiers as presidential security, while whittling down the influence and presence of the Department of State Services at the Presidential Villa.

It was also learnt that Buhari indicated his preference for policemen and soldiers trained in body guard protection instead of the usual teams of DSS personnel used by his predecessor.

A source said that the President is unhappy with the agency over the "various negative security reports it wrote against him during his struggle to become the President, including the report on the recent certificate saga."

Security sources said the rejection of 253 DSS operatives by Villa authorities last week was informed by the President's directive that he did not want the agency's personnel around him.

One of the sources said, "The President has yet to forgive the DSS for what he sees as its antagonism against him before the last general elections. So, the President has decided to keep the agency at arm's length and for his security, he will be using policemen and soldiers."

The source added that though a DSS operative would still occupy the post of the Chief Security Officer of the villa, "the CSO will be a mere figure-head because he would have no control over the security at the villa."

Further findings showed that since Buhari was sworn in, information about his itinerary and schedules were no longer passed to the DSS as is the tradition under the former President.

Our correspondents learnt that under the last administration, the CSO would always be informed about the President's movement and daily itinerary, but this was said to have changed since Buhari assumed office. Presently, it was gathered, it is only the President's Aide-de-Camp that knows Buhari's daily schedule and the CSO had to rely on his contacts within the villa to know the President's movement.

When contacted, the DSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, had told one of our correspondents earlier in the week that she could not comment on the issue of posting of the service officers at the villa.

"I don't have such information and I cannot comment on it," she said.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Sheu, declined to comment on the issues of appointment.

He said Buhari could not make any pronouncement on appointments or any other issue until he received the report of his transition committee.

Shehu recalled that Jonathan submitted its handover note to Buhari on the eve of his (Jonathan) exit from office.

He said the President thereafter handed over the note to a committee led by Ahmed Joda to study and make recommendations.

He added, "The Joda committee was given two weeks to study Jonathan's handover note and make recommendations.

"This committee just finished its assignment on Wednesday evening and may present its recommendations to the President on Friday."


U.S military data ‘hacked’

Hackers with suspected links to China appear to have accessed sensitive data on United States intelligence and military personnel, American officials say.

Details of a major hack emerged last week, but officials have now given details of a potential second breach.

It is feared that the attack could leave U.S security personnel or their families open to blackmail, the BBC says.

The agency involved, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is yet to comment on the reports.

Officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press (AP) news agency, believed the attackers have targeted the forms submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances.

The document includes personal information – everything from eye colour, to financial history, to past substance abuse, as well as contact details for the individual's friends and relatives

Buhari to earn N14.4m annual salary + See what others will earn

According to a report by Vanguard, this is what President Buhari, VP Osinbajo and other top govt officials will earn. Isn't it too small though? Read full report from Vanguard below...

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, has reviewed the salaries of the President, Vice President, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers in the 36 states of the federation, as well as well other legislators in both the National and State Assemblies among other public officers in the country. Based on the total package prepared by the RMAFC, President Muhammadu Buhari 's annual salary and allowances stand at N14, 4 million.

The break down shows that his Basic Salary is N 3,514,705 and Hardship allowance, N1,757,350:50. Constituency N 8,786,762:50 and Leave Allowance – N351, 470.
Buhari will receive a 400 per cent increase in his salary amounting N14. 058 million, as gratuity upon a successful completion of his tenure.

The Federal Government is to provide him with all his needs including vehicles, Special Assistants, Personal Assistants, entertainment, security, utility bills,newspapers, medical bills and clothings.
The president's estacode and Duty Tour allowance were not specified.

However, the Vice President Osinbajo is to receive an annual Basic Salary of N2,064, 400; Hardship allowance- N1, 515, 786.25 and a Constituency Allowance of N7, 578, 931.25, bringing his total annual earning to N12.1million.

About 75 per cent of his annual basic salary would be paid for vehicles and their maintenance if he chooses to buy his vehicles and maintain them.

He is to receive another 25 per cent to hire his Personal Assistants; 75 per cent for domestic staff; 45 per cent for entertainment and 30 per cent for utility.

The VP is to receive a separate 20 per cent of his salary for monitoring; 200 per cent for accommodation and 300 per cent for furniture.

His duty Tour Allowance stands at N 35, 000 per night and an estacode of $900 per night.
He is to receive 10 per cent of his salary as Leave Allowance and 300 per cent as gratuity upon a successful completion of his tenure.

National Assembly
Also, following a downward review of salaries and allowances of both the National and State Assembly legislators, the Senate President will receive a basic annual salary of N2, 484, 242.50 and allowance of N6. 2 million, bringing the total to N8. 69Million. His monthly salary is about N724, 570. In addition, he collects 250 per cent of his Annual Salary as Constituency Allowance.

However, his vehicles and their maintenance are provided by the federal government. Similarly, his domestic staff, entertainment, utilities, security responsibility, Legislative Aids, House Maintenance an, as well as a Special Adviser and a Personal Assistant are provided by the federal government.
Similarly Robe (clothing) and newspapers are provided for the Senate President.

The Deputy Senate President enjoys the same benefits except that his Annual Basic Salary stands at N 2,309,166.75, total allowance N 5,772,916.8, bringing total annual salary to 8,082,083.63 and a monthly pay of N 673,506.97

The Senate Majority Leader receives a salary of N12, 968, 960.

The Minority leader receives a total annual salary of N12, 908, 168. The Whip receives N12, 867 . The same applies to Committee Chairmen. Incidentally in the last administration almost all senators were chairmen of various committees.

The allowances received by the members of the upper legislative chamber is far more than their salaries indicate.
For instance, each senator receives 75 per cent of the annual salary as allowance for a vehicle and its maintenance.
They collect another 75 per cent of their salaries for domestic staff; 30 per cent for entertainment; 30 per cent for utilities; 25 per cent for robe (clothing); and 250 per cent as constituency allowance.

Others include, another allowance unspecified which stands at 53 per cent; newspapers 15 per cent; Personal Assistance, 24 per cent; and House maintenance 5 per cent.

House of Reps
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker receives a total annual salary of N 4,334,942.50.
Just like the Senate President, the federal government provides his vehicles and their maintenance .
His domestic staff, entertainment, utilities, security responsibility, Legislative Aids, House Maintenance an, as well as a Special Adviser and a Personal Assistant are provided by the federal government.
Similarly Robe (clothing) and newspapers are provided for the Speaker by the Federal Government.
He receives 75 per cent of his salary as constituency allowance.

The Deputy speaker whose annual salary stands at 4,002,309.94 enjoys similar benefits as the speaker.
The Majority Leader of the House, the Minority Leader, the Chief Whip and Chairmen of Committees receive annual salaries of N 6, 352,680.00.
In addition, they receive 50 per cent of their salaries as Vehicle and Maintenance allowance; another 50 per cent for domestic staff; 10 per cent for utilities and another 10 per cent for House maintenance.

House of Assembly
Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly enjoy all the benefits as their federal counterpart where virtually all they need are provided with public funds. However, their annual salaries stand at N 2,049,843.75 and a Constituency Allowance of N25 per cent of their Annual Salaries.

Deputy Speaker receives N 1,807,478.13 and 25 per cent of same as constituency allowance.
Members at the House of Assemblies receive annual salaries of N 2,473,866.25.
In addition, they receive 20 per cent for vehicles; 25 per cent for domestic staff, 10 per cent for utilities; 25 per cent each for robe, constituency , Personal Assistant and 5 per cent for newspapers.

The decision to review the current salaries and allowances of the nations' public office holders received approval of many members of the public who had complained that the Nigerian law makers were about the highest paid in the world. These are the official earnings of these political office holders. But their spoils of office amount to several millions and even billions of naira in recent past

Friday, June 12, 2015

BREAKING NEWS! FG bans paramilitary agencies from use of camouflage

The Federal Government said it has outlawed the use of camouflage uniforms by various security agencies other than the Armed Forces namely; Army, Navy and the Air Force.

A statement from the Defence Headquarters said the Nigerian Police personnel will however use the uniform when in Joint Operation with the military or on special operation such as specific anti-riot missions.

The statement signed by Defence Spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said the ban followed the directive of the National Security Council, as it approved the recommendations of a committee on measures to streamline the use of camouflage uniforms, in view of the security implications and concerns raised on the clamour, duplicity and proliferation of camouflage uniforms in the country.

The statement reads in part; "The use of camouflage/fatigue is therefore restricted to the military and for occasional use by the police henceforth. The directive also stipulates that the military is to adopt only 2 types of camouflage for the 3 arms of the Armed Forces.

"All para-military agencies using various camouflage/fatigues uniforms have up to January 2016 to withdraw such materials currently in their inventory.

"With this development, the Ministry of Justice along with law enforcement agencies have been tasked to ensure that extant laws guiding the use of uniforms in Nigeria are strictly enforced. In the same vein, the Office of the National Security Adviser has been vested with the authority to vet and clear any production and supply of camouflage uniforms in Nigeria.

"The proliferation and imitation by criminals and impostors using uniforms especially the camouflage have been generating some concern in national security circles. The development has been communicated to all the agencies by the Office of the National Security Adviser."

Buhari To Announce Ministerial List Monday

There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari will announce his ministerial list on Monday, June 15, 2015.

It is also revealed that the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, will be announced Secretary to the Federal Government same day.

Sources said,

"The president is just waiting to receive the reports from the transition committee today (Friday) and thereafter review over the weekend.

"Barring any major contrary information in the transition committee's report, Buhari should make this list public as early as Monday; that will shock everyone".

All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed BolaTinubu is expected to make inputs into the list but his choices might see him clash with Buhari, sources said. The APC chieftain said recently that he was aware that Buhari wants a good mix of politicians and private sector players as members of his cabinet.

It would be recalled that President Buhari turned down the governors' list, when he retorted that "I don't appoint commissioners for the governors and so they cannot appoint my ministers."

It is now very evident from President  Buhari's inaugural speech and his commentary on Senator Bukola Saraki's recent emergence as Senate President, that all is not well between him and his 'godfather'.  President Buhari's recent invitation to Fashola to accompany him to the G7 Summit in Germany continues to buttress watchers' postulation that  Fashola is indeed an anointed one.


Ex-cbn Governor, Sanusi, Joins Blackstone

The Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Blackstone’s portfolio company, Black Rhino.

Blackstone, a global investment and advisory firm founded in 1985 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in a statement on Thursday confirmed the development.

Black Rhino was formed in January 2012 to develop and invest in transformational infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa’s power generation and fuel transportation sectors.

Gov. Ambode To Provide 20 New Rural Roads In Each LGA Every Year

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode,
yesterday, expressed his administration’s
commitment to provision of 20 new rural roads
annually in each of the Local Governments as well as
the development of communities across the state.
Ambode, who made the remarks during a meeting
with members of the Neighbourhood Watch and
Community Development Committees, CDCs, in the
state at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, said the policy
thrust of his administration would be community

Oil Price Drops As World Bank Cuts Growth Forecast

Crude oil futures fell yesterday as the World Bank cut its global economic growth forecast, ending a two-day rally triggered by a sharp U.S. inventory drawdown.
The global bank offset a bullish report from the International Energy Agency(IEA), which coordinates energy policy for industrial nations.
IEA had raised its projection for global oil demand growth in 2015 by 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.40 million bpd, bringing demand this year to almost 94 million bpd.
The agency had noted that, “unexpectedly strong global oil demand growth” had been supporting oil prices and raised its estimate for world demand for crude from OPEC this year.

‘P/H Refinery Begins Production Of 5m Litres Of Petrol July’

As part of efforts aimed at bringing the persistent fuel scarcity in the country to an end, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that the Port Harcourt refinery is expected to begin production of five million litres of petrol by July after rehabilitating its functionality to 80 per cent capacity.
Group managing director of the corporation, Engr. Joseph Dawha, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday after a routine inspection of the NNPC’s mega filling stations in Abuja, said the development follows the completion of the Turn Around Maintenance(TAM) of the refinery which would help boost fuel availability.

I will work with Speaker – Gbajabiamila

Defeated aspirant for the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday ruled out challenging his loss in court, pledging to work with Hon. Yakubu Dogara’s leadership.
Speaking after a meeting with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , Gbajabiamila clarified that he had no problem with the election . He was accompanied to the meeting by lawmakers who supported him.

CBN Currency Fraud More Than N8bn – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday informed a Federal High Court in Ibadan that the alleged currency fraud involving some bankers from the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks was more than the N8billion being reported in the media.
The EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) stated this while proving the enormity of the offences committed and reason why the court should not grant the bail applications of the accused persons before the court.

We’re committed to workers’ welfare, says Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said his administration remains committed to workers’ welfare.
He spoke when the Area Comptroller, Oyo and Osun Command of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Muhammed Bawa, visited him.
Aregbesola said the government has not been able to pay salaries because of its dire finances.
He, however, said no one can suggest or establish that the administration is reckless.
The governor said an efficient and effective Customs Services is a veritable tool for improving the economy.

Senator Tinubu urges unity, prayer on June 12

Senator Oluremi Tinubu has urged Nigerians to remain united and prayerful as they mark the anniversary today of the June 12 1993 presidential election presumably won by Bashorun Moshood Abiola.
In a statement she personally signed yesterday, titled: Goodwill message, Senator Tinubu said the election “marked the date Nigerians spoke with one voice through the ballot in what was widely acclaimed as a free and fair election by voting for the late Chief MKO Abiola.”

‘Saraki, Dogara‘s Experience Will Galvanise Legislative Process’

As controversy continue to trail emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as leaders of the Eighth National Assembly, the lawmaker representing Dutsinma-Kurfi federal constituency of Katsina State, Hon. Danlami Kurfi has said that they would use their experience from the emergence of Saraki and Dogara, to galvanize legislative process in the country.

Troops for Multi-National Force July 30

President Muhammadu Buhari and other Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) yesterday approved the deployment of the national contingents to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) by July 30.
The Task Force is to root out Boko Haram from the North East of Nigeria and the entire region.
Deployment of the troops to the MNJTF is part of the resolutions of the over six hours Extraordinary summit of Heads of State and Government and Republic of Benin at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Buhari intervenes in Senate dispute to save APC’s unity

The crisis sparked by the election of National Assembly officials was still smouldering yesterday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has invited Senator Ahmed Lawan’s Unity Forum, which is contesting the election of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President , for a meeting today.
“It is all to save the party from being factionalised,” an All Progressives Congress (APC) source said.
The meeting is expected to resolve the crisis, which deepened yesterday as:
•the APC National Working Committee called off a proposed visit by Senator Saraki; and
•some members of the Senate discovered that the chamber breached its rules in electing Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Saraki Did Not Snub Buhari, APC Leaders – Forum

senate president bukola saraki
The Abubakar Bukola Saraki Leadership Forum yesterday clarified that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki did not snubbed President Muhammadu Buhari or the party leadership as being insinuated in some quarters.
The group while addressing newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara State described the emergence of Saraki as the President of the eighth Senate as a landmark event.