I’ll Sign ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill In A Few Days’ Time –Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will, in a few days’ time, sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill.

The President made this promise in a nationwide broadcast in commemoration of the Democracy Day on Tuesday.

He said, “In a few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill.”

The bill, which is part of the process to amend the 1999 Constitution, seeks to reduce the minimum age requirement for elective positions in the country.

It was first passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in July 2017. Many state houses of assembly in the country have also passed the bill.

 

President Buhari also advised all and sundry to be law-abiding as the country enters into another election season.

He said, “The upcoming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch-free elections but also a credible and violence-free process.”

The President, who reiterated that the fight against graft remained his administration’s primary objective, vowed not to relent in killing corruption before it did an irreparable damage to the nation.

He said, “The second primary objective of this administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I, therefore, appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.

“Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include: Treasury Single Account, which has realised billions of naira being saved from the maintenance fee payable to banks.  N200bn has also been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in public service.”

President Buhari noted that the whistle-blowing policy had helped the government to recover over N500bn.

He added, “The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs and ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms,  has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government’s MDAs Payroll.

“The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.”

He explained that the Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio had been expanded with an injection of $650m so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, reconstruction of the Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla hydro-electric power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.”

Speaking further on the anti-graft war, Buhari noted that the fight against corruption, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission,  had resulted in the recovery of billions of naira, as well as the forfeiture of various forms of assets.

He said, “We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing treaties, conventions as well as bilateral agreements with multilateral bodies and nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.”

Buhari added that through prudent spending and blocking of leakages, the nation’s foreign reserves had improved to $47.5bn as of May, 2018, as against $29.6bn in 2015.

The inflationary rate, he added, had consistently declined every month since January, 2017.

The President, who applauded  women for their contributions to national development and advancement of democracy, also urged Nigerians to avoid hatred and intolerance.

This, he said, would help the country to achieve its developmental objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

He listed his achievements in the last three years to include increase food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimisation of import dependency.

Specifically, he said rice importation had been cut down by 90 per cent, which he noted had a direct impact on foreign reserves.

Others, he said, included Social Investment Programmes, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, and Conditional Cash Transfer where underprivileged Nigerians were given N5, 000 per month.

The President described the commemoration of 2018 Democracy Day, which is the third anniversary of his administration, as a celebration of freedom for Nigerians.

He said the celebration was also a recommitment  by his government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.

Buhari admitted that his administration had faced challenges in the journey of three years while Nigerians stood by his government in achieving its three cardinal points.

He said, “Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far.

 

“This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed change, the change we promised and the change we continue to deliver.

“We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; security, corruption and the economy.

“The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.”

<< PUNCH.>>

Jega Says Danger Signals Ahead For 2019 Polls

Buhari says e’ve experienced rough times

 

FORMER Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday, raised an alarm that there are danger signals over the 2019 general elections. Ex Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega He also said it was through God’s intervention that the country was not thrown into constitutional crisis during the 2015 general elections. Jega, who raised the alarm while delivering the 2018 Democracy Day lecture in Abuja, also told the Federal Government to ensure that security operatives display high sense of professionalism and neutrality in the forthcoming elections.. He further said there was deficit of good governance in the country and that the government should not only be concentrating on theft and embezzlement in its fight against corruption, but should do something about bribe-taking at all strata of government. The former INEC chairman, who said INEC is currently confronted by electoral challenges, noted that the plethora of violence witnessed during the just concluded congresses of All Progressives Congress, APC, portended great danger and threat to democracy. He said if political parties could not observe internal democracy and conduct peaceful congresses, it is a dangerous sign over what would happen in the general elections. Danger signs Speaking on the danger signs as the 2019 elections draw nearer, Jega said: “The first thing to consider is electoral violence and there is no better way to address this than what happened in recent party congresses and its potential danger. “If political parties cannot organise their internal elections peacefully, how can they engage the other parties with civility in the general elections? It is very  important that this is addressed because if there is crisis in the elections, it is the electoral commission that gets blamed. “So, it is very important that we improve our systemic mechanisms of addressing violence and conflicts related to elections and in particular improving the score of internal democracy within political parties. We may be running out of time, we must try harder and do everything possible within the shortest time. God saved us from constitutional crisis in 2015 “I kept giving examples of some aspects of existing legal framework, which could have created constitutional crisis if not for God’s intervention in 2015. For example, a constitutional provision that requires the electoral commission to conduct a run-off election within seven days, is impossible in this country but that is what the constitution says. “Why is it impossible? By the time the electoral commission announces result, it would have been two days and then if you take out those two days, you will be left with five days to prepare for the next run-off election. INEC operating under serious pressure “So it is very very important to accelerate this process of having a new improved legal framework for INEC to be able to do its job because right now, it is operating under serious pressure. “Again, we should be mindful of the ECOWAS protocol that we have signed, which requires all signatories to ensure that any amendment to the electoral legal framework is concluded at least six months before a general election, ideally it should be at least one year before general elections. Security agencies should be neutral, impartial “The last point I want to make is that security agencies need to display professionalism, neutrality and impartiality. ‘’This is very important. In fact, in all fairness, the relative success that we had in the 2015 general elections was because of the active engagement of what we call the inter-agency consultative committee and the commitment of security agencies to do their best under very difficult circumstances. NASS members notorious reckless in demanding bribe Lamenting the level of corruption in the polity, especially in bribe taking in the ministries and National Assembly, he said it had got  to a notorious and reckless level. He said: “I wonder what is happening with intelligence and investigative responsibilities of security agencies in policing our National Assembly. Some chairmen of the committees in National Assembly have become notorious on this issue of demanding bribe with impunity. “I have passed through the university system, I have heard so many stories of so many vice-chancellors about the woes they  go through on question of budget and so called oversight assignments. “I am not saying that chief executives are saints but all we are saying is that we must point the search lights so that Nigerians and particularly public office holders should have basic common decency and integrity by which they discharge their responsibilities because virtually everybody seems to forget about what is going on.’’ We’ve experienced rough times—Buhari In his remarks, President Muhammadu Buhari said a government elected by the people must continually be in touch with the aspirations of the people, and work for their highest possible good. He said:  “The theme of this year’s celebration, “Peace Building and Good Governance for Sustainable Development,” has been carefully selected to reflect our current opportunities and challenges. He said: “We have experienced rough times, but through good governance, we have not allowed ourselves to be overawed by existing challenges.” The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his message, said the framers of the country’s cconstitution recognized checks and balances, adding that where such exists, there would be friction and conflict. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, noted that in democracy globally, there must be compromise among the three arms of government.

<<.vanguard>>

I Will Not Rest Until All Killer Herdsmen, Bandits, Their Sponsors Are Brought To Justice – Buhari

…Says FG’s Focus Lab yields $22.5bn investment, job creation …Saves N700bn from TSA, Whistle blowing policy

 

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the rampaging killer herdsmen and other criminal elements terrorising all parts of the country will be fished out and be made to face the full wrath of the law. President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the guests during the Democracy Day Lecture held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja The President also said his administration was on track and yielding positive results with the recent Federal Government conducted Focus Lab in three key sectors of the economy such as the Agriculture and Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as the Power and Gas yielding significant investments and job creation to the tune of $25.5 billion and a projection of$39.2 billion in 2025. President Buhari who disclosed this in his nationwide broadcast to commemorate the Democracy Day and his administration’s third anniversary on Tuesday, also enthused that the conscientious implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA and the Whistle Blowing policy of the government has have save the country about N700 billion. He said those behind the killings in the country and their sponsors would not be spared in federal government’s determination to punish the criminals. President Buhari further said that his administration was pained by the grievous destruction of lives by insurgents and other criminal groups in different parts of the country, insisting that his administration would not rest until they are brought to justice. According to him, the government was strengthening the capacity of the security forces to deal with the high level of insecurity in the country through training and purchase of equipment and commended multi-national joint task force as well as the international community which assists the country in the fight against terrorism. He assured that public safety remained the cardinal focus of his administration, stressing that efforts towards that had yielded results as evidenced in the government reclaimed territories occupied by Boko Haram before the advent of his government. Besides, he said that it was his administration’s commitment in ensuring the protection of the citizenry that led to the rescue of some of the Chibok and Dapchi girls as well as 16,000 other captives of Boko Haram. He said, “The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to higher number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians. “I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency. “This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.” The president said the war against corruption being fought by the government had secured the applause of both Nigerians and the international community, promising that the administration was determined to win the war. He also stated that the federal government had so far deployed strategies to fight the war against corruption and that it was reaping the benefits from the efforts such as the N200 billion saved through the elimination of ghost workers as well as N500 billion recovered through the whistle-blower initiative. He said, “Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include: The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service. “The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion. The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll; “The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations. “The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge. “The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation,” he added. said mechanism for the distribution of foods and other basic AIDS to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and efforts to resettle them in their various communities with necessary social amenities including schools and hospitals are being put in place.” He noted that the Niger Delta region had enjoyed relative peace through what he described as social inclusiveness and cooperation of elders as well as those he described as good people of the region, assuring that the government was committed to implementing thorough peace, security and development plans in the region. He added that the Ogoni clean-up launched in June 2016 was equally on course. The President said that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was launched to restore and sustain economic growth, saying the plan had started yielding fruits with the recent National Bureau of Statistics reports which showed that the economy grew by 1.95 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. Describing the growth as a good performance when compared to -0.91 growth recorded in the first quarter of 2017 and -0.67 per cent in first quarter of 2016, he said the country’s foreign reserve had improved significantly from $29.6 in 2015 to $47.5 billion as of May, 2018 while inflation has been declining every month since January, 2017. He also said the recently conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the economy including agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing and power and gas had yielded prospects of $22.5 billion investments and potential for creating over 500,000 jobs by 2020. “These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025,” he added. On the pursuit of food sufficiency by his administration he enthused that it resulted in the reduction of rice importation to 90 per cent and Social Investment Programmes (SIP) which he said aimed at restoring livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. He highlighted SIP programmes and projects executed so far to include: feeding of 8.2 million pupils in 24 states of the federation with over 75,000 catering staff engaged under the programme as well as Conditional Cash Transfer which he said culminated in over 297,000 caregivers being trained by 2,495 community facilitators in 21 states. He also spoke on N-Power job creation platform which he said had provided jobs for 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT.). On power generation, he said the country now distributes 5, 222.3 since December, 2017 while power generation capacity now exceeds over 7,500 megawatts. He also spoke on investment in railway and education. “Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with the disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT,” he said.

<<vanguard>>

nPDP Leaders to Meet Buhari, Osinbajo Today

In continuation of the dialogue over the grievances of members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), another meeting between the group and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will hold today in Abuja.

Attendees at the meeting according to newsmen checks are expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari later in the day to intimate him about the outcome of their meeting.
The nPDP group led by a former acting chairman of the PDP and now a chieftain of the APC, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje had last week met with the national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun to discuss and possibly resolve their differences.

Baraje who spoke with journalists in Ilorin, Kwara State capital yesterday also confirmed the planned meetings with the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo and the President Buhari in Abuja today (Monday) barring any last minutes changes.
The APC chieftain commended members of his group and concerned Nigerians who share their views and concerns about the plight of the nPDP members in APC.
Baraje expressed optimism that at the end of today’s meeting with Osinbajo and Buhari, the ruling party will come out stronger and become more united in the general interest of the citizenry.
He said the next line of action of his group will be determined by the outcome of today’s meeting.
Last Saturday, the hierarchy of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) constituted task teams to help it navigate through the seeming political logjam it has found itself.
The group which played a very vital role in the victory of the APC at the 2015 presidential election is aggrieved and has complained of what it described as the lack of patronage and maltreatment of its members by the APC-led Federal Government.

The group’s complaints which were conveyed in a well-worded protest letter addressed to the APC leadership also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the ruling party for its response. Before the expiration of the ultimatum, the leadership of APC met with Baraje but could not reach an agreement on how to resolve the issues in contention. They however, agreed to continue the discussions on a future date.
In a statement issued by the chairman of the former nPDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje after the group’s deliberations, the group said it has constituted Committees to take charge of the various issues especially on how to rescue Nigeria from economic, social, political and especially security challenges.
The statement by nPDP said: ” Nigerians may recall that members of the former New PDP Block within the All Progressives Congress (APC) addressed a letter dated April 27, 2018 to the Chairman of APC where we informed the party of our grievances and expectations from both the party and government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Following this development, the party invited us and we honoured their invitation for a meeting. We met with the leadership of the party last week during which we resolved to report the outcome of our meeting to our members and stakeholders before arriving at any decision or proceeding with the next phase of discussions or actions with the APC and government.

“I am glad to inform you therefore that we have briefed our members at a meeting convened in Abuja on Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 where we reviewed the state of the nation and our party, APC and constituted Committees on various issues especially on how to rescue Nigeria from economic, social, political and especially security challenges,” it said.
According to the statement, the meeting was well attended by members of the nPDP including serving and former Governors, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and other aggrieved APC  stakeholders.
Among those listed to have attended the meeting included: Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal,  Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Rabiu M.  Kwankwaso, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Admiral Murtala Nyako (Rtd), Senator Mohammad Adamu Aliero, Senator Danjuma Goje, Senator John Owan Enoh, Senator Emmanuel Andy Uba, Senator Dr. Ibrahim Gobir, Sena Rufai Ibrahim, Senator Ibrahim A. Danbaba, Senator Suleman Nazif, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Senator Muhammed Ubali Shitu, Senator Shehu
Sani, Senator. Dino Melaye, Senator Suleiman O. Hunkuyi, Senator. Shaaba Lafiagi, Senator. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Senator. David Umaru, Senator Barnabas Gemade, Alhaji. Abubakar K. Baraje, Chairman Former nPDP, members of the House of Representatives, Aminu S. Shagari,  Kabiru Marafa Achida,  Hon. Isa M. Ashiru, Hon. Muh’d Musa Soba, Hon. Mark Gbillah,  Sani Mohd Rano,  Garba Umar Durbunde, Aliyu Madaki, Rep. Zakari Mohammed, Hon. Rufai Ahmed Chachangi, Hon. Razak Atunwa, Hon. Emmanuel M. Udende, Hon. Hassan Saleh, Hon. Nasiru Garo Sule, Hon. Orker Jev, Hon. Aliyu Ahman Pategi, Hon. Isah Halilu B., Hon. Rabiu Garba Kaugama, Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki, Hon. Ismaila A. Gadaka, Hon. Lado Suleja, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir, Hon. Babatunde Kolawole, Hon. Dr. Bode Ayorinde, Hon. U. Danjuma Shida, Hon. Danburam Nuhu, Hon. Sunday Adepoju, Hon. Sani Zorro, Hon. Ahmed Garba Bichi, Hon. Garba Ibrahim Mohammed and a host of others.

<<Thisday>>

Presidency begins vetting of Budget 2018 Bill

The Presidency has commenced the vetting of the details of the 2018 Budget bill passed as the National Assembly.

The lawmakers passed a budget of N9,120,334,988,225 for the current fiscal year, more than six months after it was presented to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President submitted a proposal of N8.6trillion to the National Assembly.

But it was learnt that there was one issue surrounding the budget which had not been resolved by the two arms of government.

Although the Presidency reluctantly accepted the National Assembly’s proposal to increase the budget benchmark from $45 per barrel to $51, there was no consensus on what to do with the excess cash.

While the National Assembly wanted the $6 increase to go into expenditure, the Presidency proposed that it should be used to reduce budget deficit.

A top source said: “Following more demands by MDAs, the National Assembly approached the Presidency on the need to increase the benchmark. The increase was discussed by the Presidency with the principal officers of the legislature.

“But the Presidency was more disposed to reducing the budget deficit or to narrow the gap in deficit. The National Assembly sought for more funds for expenditure.

“The two arms agreed on increase in benchmark but there was no consensus on what to use it for.”

Another source in government said: “The Presidency will spend the next few days to study the budget details before assent by the President. We want to be sure that the estimates passed were mostly in line with the projections submitted and adjustments mutually agreed upon.

“The decision on how to deal with the budget, especially the consideration of the details, will be taken on Monday.

“So, from Monday, we will know where we are going.”

When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, said: “The next step is that the bill will undergo standard presidential operational procedure.

“This is the procedure every bill undergoes before assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The National Assembly passed a budget of N9,120,334,988,225 for the 2018 fiscal year.

This is coming more than six months after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the budget at a joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.

The budget has the objective of delivering on three-year (2018-2020) Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

The Appropriation Bill contained the estimates of revenue and expenditure totaling N8,612,236,953,214 made up of; Statutory Transfers N456,458,654,074;Debt Service N2,233,835,365, 699; Recurrent (Non-Debt) N3,494,277,820,219 and Contribution to Development Fund for Capital Expenditure N2,427,665,113,222.

Highlights of the budget as passed by the Senate included Aggregate expenditure N 9,120,334,988,225; Statutory Transfers N530,427,363,624;Debt Service 2,203,835,365,699;  Recurrent Expenditure 3,512,677,902,077; Capital Expenditure 2,873,400,351,825 VI. Fiscal Deficit 1,954,464,993,775;  Deficit to GDP 1.73%.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje said the legislature considered special intervention as a result of increase in oil price to adjust the budget benchmark.

He said: “After close consultation with the Executive, the increase in oil price benchmark was applied in the following critical sectors of the economy: (I)Reduction of deficit N50.88b; (ii)Security N46.72b; (iii)Health N57.15b; (iv)Power, Works and Housing N106.50b; (v) Education: particularly for the infrastructure for the 12 newly established Universities and meal subsidy in Unity schools N15.70b; (vi)Judiciary N10.00b; and (vii) NDDC N44.20b.”

<<The Nation>>

’Tinubu’s panel saves APC from implosion’

The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have been worse but for President Muhammadu Buhari’s Reconciliation Committee headed by the party’s National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Coordinator of Buhari Support Organisation in Ondo State, Mike Adeyanju, has said.

Adeyanju said setting up of the Committee was recognition of the problems confronting the party and the resolve of Mr President to ensure that all shades of opinions and interests were accommodated in the larger interest of the party and the country.

He noted that Tinubu’s Committee could best be described as “work in progress” for the party. He, however, noted that going by the look of things, the party’s national convention might not be rancour-free.

Adeyanju, who is a member of the Security Sub Committee of the Convention, appealed to members of the party to follow due process during the convention.

Adeyanju, a House of Representatives aspirant for Akoko North and East in Ondo State, said: “For now the party has put the mechanism in place and all the party structures are working to ensure that a successful national convention takes place. In politics all interests cannot be accommodated. And we can only appeal to members to show the spirit of give and take.

“The security sub-committee will do its best to ensure that the convention is free and fair. And it is our hope that it will be quite different from some of the experiences recorded during the congresses at the states.

“But I can assure you that with the level of commitment and reconciliation that is on-going in the party, we would not witness what happened in 2014 in PDP where some people staged a walk out at the National Convention of the party”.

<<The Nation>>

Buhari has delivered, says Lai Mohammed

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed compiled the administration’s scorecard in the last three years and gave it a pass mark. It has fulfilled its campaign promises, the minister said in a long reflection  on the government’s infrastructure battle, security, economy and the anti-corruption war.

He said the administration kept its social contract with Nigerians and put the country on the path of sustainable growth.

Mohammed, who spoke with reporters in Lagos, pointed out that concerted efforts had been made to halt the over-reliance on oil through the diversification of the economy.

 

Noting that the Buhari administration inherited many intractable challenges which could inhibit performance, Mohammed stressed that these challenges were converted into opportunities to turn around the country.

He said Nigerians, who have been impacted positively by the good work of President Muhammadu Buhari, were appreciative of the giant strides, based on the feedback to the government.

Mohammed added: “They know that no government in the history of our country has ever done so much with so little. They know and acknowledge the sincerity, transparency and accountability of the Buhari administration. They know and support the administration’s diversification effort, which is paying off.”

Describing President Buhari’s achievements as unprecedented, the minister said the administration has taken power generation to 7,000 megawatts from the 2690 it inherited, moved the country closer to self-sufficiency in rice production and reduced the leakages in government spending through the diligent implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Whistle Blowing Policy.

Mohammed said in three years, 2.7 trillion Naira ($9 billion) had been spent on power, road and rail infrastructure, adding that the capital expenditure in the yearly budget had been raised to an unprecedented 30 per cent on the average.

Tendering vital statistics, the minister pointed out that the economy has recorded a 1.95 growth in the first quarter, external reserves have hit $48 billion while inflation has fallen for the 15th consecutive month from 18.7 per cent to 12. 5 per cent.

 

Hailing the government’s revenue drive, Mohammed said tax revenue increased to N1.17 trillion this year, following the rise of tax payers to 19 million.

He also praised the “Ease of Doing Business Reforms”, which made Nigeria to move up 24 places on the World Bank’s ranking and earn a place on the “List of 10 Most Improved Economies’’.

On infrastructural development, Mohammed said: “Road projects are on-going across every state of the country; many of these projects have been abandoned in recent years because of mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors.

“The Buhari administration issued a 100 billion naira Sukuk Bond in 2017, Nigeria’s first Sovereign Sukuk Bond. Proceeds from that Bond are funding 25 major road projects equally distributed across the six geo-political zones.”

Mohammed added: “The administration is upgrading 3,500 km network narrow-gauge railway, with the signing, in April, of the interim phase of a concession agreement between the Government of Nigeria and an International Consortium, led by General Electric (GE). The target of this Interim Phase is that, within the next 12 months, passengers will experience reduced travel time by rail between Lagos and Kano, and for the first time in over a decade, contracted and scheduled freight rail services will be available.

”More than 70 Ecological Fund projects were awarded and completed by the Buhari administration across the six geo-political zones for flood control, erosion control, bridges and dams, channelisation and desilting.”

Mohammed said before the end of the year, there will be more than 2,000 MW of additional power generation capacity, in addition to the 7,000 MW currently being generated.

The minister noted that the Whistle Blowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance in December 2016 had led to the recovery of N13.8 billion from tax evaders, and N7.8 billion, $378 million and 27,800 million pounds from public officials.

He said N8.1 trillion was discovered to have been under-paid to the Federation Account between 2010 and 2015 by revenue-generating agencies.

Mohammed stressed: “MDAs are remitting more money to the Federation Account. From remitting only N51 million between 2010 and 2015, JAMB went on to remit N7.8 billion in 2017, and it is on course to remit a similar amount in 2018. As at March, the TSA had recorded inflow of N8.9 trillion from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

Mohammed applauded the administration’s commitment to security, saying that “to a large extent, security and normalcy have been restored to the Northeast”.

He said the multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) aimed at combating trans-border crime and the Boko Haram insurgency had been rejuvenated.

Mohammed added: “El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club has returned to its home base in Maiduguri in April 2016, two years after relocating to Katsina State because of insurgency. Emirs of Askira and Uba returned home in May 2016, two years after fleeing their palaces on the account of the Boko Haram insurgency. Public primary schools resumed in Borno State on Monday September 26, 2016, after two years of closure. The Maiduguri-Gubio and Maiduguri-Monguno roads reopened in December 2016, after being closed for three years.”

The minister also said that more than a million displaced persons had returned to their homes and communities in the Northeast since 2015, adding that more than 13,000 Boko Haram hostages were freed from captivity, including 106 of the abducted Chibok girls and 105 Dapchi girls.

Mohammed, who lamented the incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes in the Northcentral, said the Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF) was working to restore peace.

He applauded the successful military operations against insecurity, including the Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Hold Last, Operation Whirl Stroke, Exercise Crocodile Smile 1 and 11, Exercise Obangame, Operation Awatse, and Exercise Python Dance 1 and 11.

The minister added: “There have also been major arrests of criminals across the country, including Usman Mohammed, aka Khalid Al-Barnawi, leader of the Ansaru Terrorist group and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, with a US$6m United States bounty on his head. He’s being prosecuted alongside his suspected accomplices.

“Amodu Omale Salifu, leader of an ISIS affiliate group active in North Central Nigeria, plotting to bomb foreign embassies; Ansaru leaders, Ahmed Momoh and Al-amin Mohammed Jamin, both confirmed associates of a prominent Ansaru kingpin terrorising residents in Kogi and Edo states.”

<<The Nation>>

APC Clears Nasarawa LG Polls

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has cleared all the 13 local government areas and 147 electoral wards of Nasarawa State in the just concluded council polls conducted by the state Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) at the weekend.

Chairman of NASIEC, Henry Omaku, announced results of the election to journalists yesterday at the headquarters of the state electoral body in Lafia, stating further that only two registered political parties, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), participated in the state’s council polls.
However, the two major opposition political parties in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had earlier on announced their boycott of the council polls at the appointment of officials of the state’s electoral umpire by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura on the ground that the appointees were card carrying members of the APC, hence, according to the opposition political parties, “the proposed election would not be free, fair and credible to them.”

When announcing the council polls result, the NASIEC chairman observed that the electoral materials meant for the election had arrived at the designated polling units late due to logistics problem.
He equally lamented at the non-compliance by citizens of the state to the order restricting movement during the election period, even as he complained that the turn out of voters during the exercise was grossly low.
However, the chairman of the state’s electoral umpire was satisfied that there were no reports of violence during the election as the exercise went on and concluded peacefuly in all parts of the state.
Meanwhile, Governor Al-Makura has commended the people of Nasarawa State for their orderly conduct during the state’s council polls.

The governor gave the commendation when addressing journalists shortly after casting his vote at his Lugun Wambai polling unit of Gayam Ward in Lafia Local Government Area of the state at about 1:56p.m. last Saturday.
He also commended the security operatives, election observers and sister electorate authorities from various states who had come to observe what had gone on in the state.
He said: “I have no doubt in my mind of what I have seen in my ward. With the reports I have received across the state is anything to go by, the election will be remembered as one of the elections that added value to democracy not only in Nasarawa State, but Nigeria as a whole.”

 <<Thisday>>

Children’s Day: Full Text Of Buhari’s Message

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday called for an end to abuse of children.

In his Children’s Day message, Buhari urged security agencies to redouble their efforts in protecting children from danger and violence in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Child Rights Acts, 2003.

Full text of his speech:

“Today affords me another opportunity to re-affirm our Administration’s commitment to the protection of children, a day to reflect on our roles and responsibilities as Parents and Leaders towards our children, and also assessing how far we have fared in this regard.

As you may recall, one of the cardinal objectives of this Administration is the provision of quality education to our children as a fundamental foundation of economic and social development. In this regard, I am pleased to inform you that this Administration has recorded measurable success in the home grown school feeding programme as it has continued to expand.

Our children are our future, and the initiatives that come from them give confidence that our country has a bright future.

I am always inspired and encouraged when I remember encounters I had with three of our young ones. When I was on medical vacation in 2017, three year old Maya Jammal recorded a prayer for my recovery, which went viral online.

Also, 10 year old Aisha Aliyu Gebbi wrote a personal letter to me, describing herself as my “biggest fan”.

Nicole Benson, then 12 years old, had contributed the sum of Five Thousand, Seven Hundred Naira and Eighty-Five kobo (N5,700.85) to my campaign in 2015. The money was all saved up from her lunch and pocket allowance. There are millions of such children nationwide.

I am very impressed by what our children have been able to do, and what the future holds for them. That is one reason why we are committed to the school feeding programme, to prepare a future generation of physically and intellectually robust children. At the last count, over 8.2 million children in 24 states of the Federation are being given free meals daily. This happens in 45,000 schools round the country.

I therefore call on all stakeholders to support this programme to ensure that all the 36 States of the Federation and FCT are covered. This will promote substantially higher enrolment levels in our schools.

Since its inception in May, 2015, this Administration has also focused attention on addressing issues of child protection, participation and survival. In 2015, the campaign to end violence against children was launched which was commemorated in 2016. In November 2016, the Campaign to End Child Marriage was also launched to ensure that as many children as possible are able to fully enjoy their childhood and be protected from all the challenges associated with this phenomenon. These campaigns have been reinforced with sensitization campaigns in some States of the Federation.

The theme for this year’s celebration “Creating Safe Spaces for Children: Our Collective Responsibility” is an opportunity to promote the safety and security of our children. As a responsible Government, we are committed to ensuring that children are protected from violence and exploitation against them, and, that their environments are safe enough for them to pursue their educational attainments, discover their full potentials to grow into responsible citizens.

This Administration has made giant strides in the protection of the Rights of the Nigerian Child and as a result of such efforts, Nigeria has been declared a Pathfinding Country on Ending Violence Against Children. This I believe is a collective achievement and I urge us to continue to build on the present momentum to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In our efforts to protect our children from abuse, exploitation and trafficking as well as provide safe, non-violent inclusive and effective learning environment in our schools, this Administration has directed the management of all Federal Government Colleges and advised all state owned schools across the Country to provide adequate measures of safety and security of their students. I again call on all schools management committees at all levels of public and private institutions to take adequate security measures and put in place mechanisms for safety of children.

May I therefore call on the Families, Security Agencies, Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Human Rights Activists, and the Society at large to rise up and take urgent and decisive actions to stem the unacceptable rising cases of violence against our children. We must ensure safety of our children in homes, schools, markets, worship centres, on the streets and everywhere at all times.

 

Furthermore let me use this medium to appeal to parents not to relent in their efforts to send their wards to school, especially the girl child as her education reduces infant and maternal mortality and prevents early and child marriages. It also increases literacy and reduces poverty. The saying that to educate a woman is to educate the nation is very apt in this regard.”

 

<<DAILYPOST>>

 

Saraki, Tambuwal, Other nPDP Leaders Meet, Divided On Defection, New Party

The former Chairman of the now defunct New Peoples Democratic Party bloc within the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, on Saturday, unveiled a list of prominent aggrieved members of the APC, who attended a meeting of the nPDP, where the group considered three options that they might take soon.

Baraje, in a statement he signed in Abuja on Saturday, revealed that he met with prominent members of the nPDP after the meeting he held with the leadership of the APC in Abuja last week.

He said, “Nigerians may recall that members of the former New PDP Bloc within the All Progressives Congress addressed a letter dated April 27, 2018 to the Chairman of the APC where we informed the party of our grievances and expectations from both the party and government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Following this development, the party invited us and we honoured its invitation to a meeting. We met with the leadership of the party last week during which we resolved to report the outcome of our meeting to our members and stakeholders before arriving at any decision or proceeding with the next phase of discussions or actions with the APC and government.

“I am glad to inform you, therefore, that we have briefed our members at a meeting convened in Abuja on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, where we reviewed the state of the nation and our party, APC, and constituted committees on various issues, especially on how to rescue Nigeria from economic, social, political and especially security challenges.”

Baraje listed the names of those in the defunct nPDP and others top APC chieftains, especially members of the National Assembly, who attended the Abuja meeting.

He added, “The meeting was well attended by members of the nPDP, including serving and former governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, and other aggrieved APC stakeholders.

“Those who attended the meeting included President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal; Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Admiral Murtala Nyako (retd.); Sen. Mohammad Aliero, Senator Danjuma Goje, Sen. John Enoh, Senator Andy Uba, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, Sen. Rufai Ibrahim and Sen. Ibrahim Danbaba.

“Others are Sen. Suleman Nazif, Sen. Isa Misau, Sen. Muhammed Shitu, Sen. Shehu Sani, Sen. Dino Melaye, Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi, Sen. Shaaba Lafiagi, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Sen. David Umaru, Sen. Barnabas Gemade; Chairman, former nPDP, Alh. Abubakar K. Baraje; Mr. Aminu Shagari, Mr. Kabiru Marafa, Mr. Isa Ashiru, Mr. Muh’d Soba, Mr. Mark Gbillah, Mr. Sani Rano, Mr. Garba Durbunde, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, Mr. Rufai Chachangi, Mr. Razak Atunwa, Mr. Emmanuel Udende, Mr. Hassan Saleh, Mr. Nasiru Sule, Mr. Orker Jev, Mr. Aliyu Pategi, Mr. Isah Halilu, Mr. Rabiu Kaugama, Mr. Abdussamad Dasuki, Mr. Ismaila Gadaka, Mr. Lado Suleja, Mr. Dickson Tarkighir, Mr. Babatunde Kolawole, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, Mr. Danjuma Shida, Mr. Danburam Nuhu, Mr. Sunday Adepoju, Mr. Sani Zorro, Mr. Ahmed Bichi, Mr. Garba Mohammed and a host of others.”

It also learnt that eight serving members of the House of Representatives from Oyo State had also joined the group, but their names were not given.

A member of the National Assembly, who is one of those listed by Baraje as having attended the meeting, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, confirmed the meeting to SUNDAY PUNCH.

The source said, “We met like our chairman said in the statement.

“After he briefed us about the discussions he held on our behalf with the leadership of the APC, the floor was thrown open for discussions and suggestions. We all agreed that we were not being fairly treated within the APC.

“Opinions were however divided on how best to proceed. There were those who felt we should pull out and join a party yet to be determined.

“There was the second group which felt it was better to remain within and fight it out through further discussions and negotiations.

“The third group consisted of those who felt we should pull out, adopt a new platform and ensure we have a written agreement so as to avoid a repeat of what we are seeing (experiencing) in the APC.

“At the end, it was agreed that we set up a committee to look at the most viable option. However, the committee has yet to be formed and we are leaving our doors open for further discussions with the APC for now.”

Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he was not aware of the meeting.

“I don’t know anything about that meeting. We learnt that Baraje issued a statement in which he made the claim. Ask him to speak more on his claims,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said, without prejudice to what is happening within the All Progressives Congress, it is still forging ahead with plans to woo members of the defunct new PDP bloc in the ruling party.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, told SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview on Saturday that the task of rescuing Nigeria was too critical to be abandoned.

The PDP spokesman noted that the PDP was still in talks with “all Nigerians of goodwill, genuine democrats and those who love the country and want to rescue her from the situation in which we have found ourselves as a country today.”

In response to a specific question as to whether the PDP was still holding talks with its former stalwarts in the APC and how far the talks had progressed, he said, “Talks are proceeding very well. The committee we set up is making progress.

“We are talking to everybody, not just members of the nPDP. We are talking to people in the APC; we are talking to all genuine democrats who have seen through the deceit the ruling party represents.

“This is not about parties; it has gone beyond parties. We are talking about our dear nation which we all know can be better with proper management of our resources. We are talking and very soon, the results will be glaring for all Nigerians to see.”

Ologbondiyan maintained that consultations had reached a very “advanced stage” and that more Nigerians across party lines had come to appreciate the enormity of the task at hand.

<< PUNCH.>>