President Buhari’s one year in government- Senator Babafemi Ojudu

President Buhari’s one year in government- Senator Babafemi Ojudu

IMG_9034
Today, May 29, 2016 marks President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office. It has indeed been an all-round exhilarating year, not only for the government but also for the generality of Nigerians. There is nobody in Nigeria today who does not agree that the current challenges that the government face stems from deep seated rot in the system which pervaded the entire nation prior to President Buhari’s assumption of power.
Precisely one year ago, President Buhari took over the mantle of office to wide acclaim from Nigerians. Before that fateful day, Nigerians had watched aghast and rather helplessly as the country continued a fast downward spiral, as if racing to join the ignoble category of failed nations. A year ago, though the sorry state of the economy was partly due to the falling prices of oil, Nigeria’s biggest foreign exchange earner, a bigger part of the problem, however, was unbridled corruption, mindless depletion of our foreign reserves and gross mismanagement of the country’s dwindling resources.
To compound our people’s woes, Nigerians lived in fear. In the Northern parts of the country, especially in the North East, it was the fear of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram. In the southern parts of the country, the fear of being kidnapped was rife, while armed robbery completed the pathetic picture of insecurity in the land. As if that was not enough misery in people’s lives, the perpetual darkness the country was plunged into due to the ever present power failure made living in Nigeria almost unbearable.
In the knowledge of the truth that Nigerians deserve better, President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned vigorously round the country using the slogan “Change”. Nigerians embraced that change by voting massively for President Buhari. One year after, the President is not unmindful of the fact that “change” which he is midwifing has come with some necessary pain. Changing a system that has decayed beyond the widest imagination of even the most fertile minds comes with some pain. It is this pain that Nigerians now face. However, this fleeting pain shall pass. President Buhari has stated repeatedly that he feels the pain that we feel. He is assiduously working to mitigate and calm our pains with the proverbial ‘balm of Gilead’.
It requires great courage for a leader to tell his people an inconvenient truth. The truth is that the reality of the times demands some measure of sacrifice from every citizen, if the country is to be returned to the glorious path to prosperity. President Buhari, characteristically, has shown his mettle as a courageous leader even as he tackles the numerous challenges that confront the country. When the history of Nigerian Presidency is written, President Buhari will be remembered as the most consequential President in Nigeria who stepped in at a critical time to change the unfortunate trajectory of a nation that was on a downward spiral.
Taking stock of the past 365 days; while it cannot be said that the country is out of the woods, there is no denying the fact that the hemorrhaging in the system has been stopped. On the day President Buhari mounted the saddle of office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he promised to deal decisively with the godless terrorist group, Boko Haram. That promise which he put into action immediately by relocating the military high command to Maiduguri is almost a “fait accompli”. There is no doubting the fact that the Nigerian military with the coalition of neighboring countries which President Buhari forged, have routed Boko Haram. What remains is to clean out the fleeing remnants of the group. President Buhari has been able to achieve this feat by restoring the dignity of the Nigerian Armed Forces and equipping them properly to combat this unprecedented and unconventional warfare. The rescue of one of the Chibok girls from the den of terrorists is a flicker of hope that the rest of the girls would be returned safely to their parents and loved ones.
Another battle which the President promised to wage on his inauguration day is the war against corruption that has permeated and eaten so deeply into the Nigerian socio-economic and political fabric. President Buhari has also kept faith on this. Since his assumption in power, he has relentlessly waged this “non-negotiable” war against corruption. It is the President’s belief that the battle against corruption holds the key to the reconstruction of Nigeria’s economic and social systems destroyed by past governments. The Billions of Naira of Nigeria’s stolen money that has so far been recorded bears eloquent testimony to the huge successes recorded in this area. Gone is the era of looting the country’s treasury with impunity.
In line with his promise to cleanse the system, President Buhari’s searchlight has beamed brightly on the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), cleaning in the process the national scam that was the fuel subsidy regime. In the fullness of time, Nigerians would start reaping the benefits of the deregulation of the Oil industry. Without a shadow of doubt, this is an area that past Nigerian governments refused to touch, even with a ten foot pole. President Buhari has shown tremendous courage by dealing with this issue once and for all.
Critiques of President Buhari’s administration harp on his foreign trips as costing the country money. What they fail to point out are the huge benefits that have continued to accrue to the nation as a result of these trips. Close watchers of President Buhari’s government will readily admit that Nigeria’s leadership position in the world stage and at the Sub-Saharan Africa level has been restored. The frosty relationship between Nigeria and many world powers no longer exist. In the recent past, the country’s near pariah position in the world stage made it impossible for a country of Nigeria’s stature to purchase even the most rudimentary armaments for its military that was prosecuting a war against terrorism.
One of the greatest achievements of President Buhari’s first year in office is that of reducing the size and cost of governance. No longer is Nigeria running an over bloated political system that bogs down the economy. The President has reduced the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, thereby saving the country billions of Naira now being channeled towards other developmental projects and infrastructure. In addition, the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has helped block many leakages in the system through which the country’s funds were siphoned into private pockets. Reportedly, about 2 Trillion Naira has been saved as a result.
As Presidents Buhari’s government enters its second year, Nigerians will begin to see the positive impact of various policies measures that the government has put in place to restore the country’s economy and strengthen our democracy. While his first year in office has been spent cleaning the Augean stable, the coming years will see Nigerians benefitting from the government’s programmes to create employment for the teeming youths; strengthen the institutions of government; revitalize the economy by encouraging indigenous and foreign investments and improve the energy situation in the country. With the current passage of the budget and other measures so far put in place by the government, Nigerians will have cause to smile again. The best is yet to come.

Senator Babafemi Ojudu is the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters
Today, May 29, 2016 marks President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office. It has indeed been an all-round exhilarating year, not only for the government but also for the generality of Nigerians. There is nobody in Nigeria today who does not agree that the current challenges that the government face stems from deep seated rot in the system which pervaded the entire nation prior to President Buhari’s assumption of power.
Precisely one year ago, President Buhari took over the mantle of office to wide acclaim from Nigerians. Before that fateful day, Nigerians had watched aghast and rather helplessly as the country continued a fast downward spiral, as if racing to join the ignoble category of failed nations. A year ago, though the sorry state of the economy was partly due to the falling prices of oil, Nigeria’s biggest foreign exchange earner, a bigger part of the problem, however, was unbridled corruption, mindless depletion of our foreign reserves and gross mismanagement of the country’s dwindling resources.
To compound our people’s woes, Nigerians lived in fear. In the Northern parts of the country, especially in the North East, it was the fear of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram. In the southern parts of the country, the fear of being kidnapped was rife, while armed robbery completed the pathetic picture of insecurity in the land. As if that was not enough misery in people’s lives, the perpetual darkness the country was plunged into due to the ever present power failure made living in Nigeria almost unbearable.
In the knowledge of the truth that Nigerians deserve better, President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned vigorously round the country using the slogan “Change”. Nigerians embraced that change by voting massively for President Buhari. One year after, the President is not unmindful of the fact that “change” which he is midwifing has come with some necessary pain. Changing a system that has decayed beyond the widest imagination of even the most fertile minds comes with some pain. It is this pain that Nigerians now face. However, this fleeting pain shall pass. President Buhari has stated repeatedly that he feels the pain that we feel. He is assiduously working to mitigate and calm our pains with the proverbial ‘balm of Gilead’.
It requires great courage for a leader to tell his people an inconvenient truth. The truth is that the reality of the times demands some measure of sacrifice from every citizen, if the country is to be returned to the glorious path to prosperity. President Buhari, characteristically, has shown his mettle as a courageous leader even as he tackles the numerous challenges that confront the country. When the history of Nigerian Presidency is written, President Buhari will be remembered as the most consequential President in Nigeria who stepped in at a critical time to change the unfortunate trajectory of a nation that was on a downward spiral.
Taking stock of the past 365 days; while it cannot be said that the country is out of the woods, there is no denying the fact that the hemorrhaging in the system has been stopped. On the day President Buhari mounted the saddle of office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he promised to deal decisively with the godless terrorist group, Boko Haram. That promise which he put into action immediately by relocating the military high command to Maiduguri is almost a “fait accompli”. There is no doubting the fact that the Nigerian military with the coalition of neighboring countries which President Buhari forged, have routed Boko Haram. What remains is to clean out the fleeing remnants of the group. President Buhari has been able to achieve this feat by restoring the dignity of the Nigerian Armed Forces and equipping them properly to combat this unprecedented and unconventional warfare. The rescue of one of the Chibok girls from the den of terrorists is a flicker of hope that the rest of the girls would be returned safely to their parents and loved ones.
Another battle which the President promised to wage on his inauguration day is the war against corruption that has permeated and eaten so deeply into the Nigerian socio-economic and political fabric. President Buhari has also kept faith on this. Since his assumption in power, he has relentlessly waged this “non-negotiable” war against corruption. It is the President’s belief that the battle against corruption holds the key to the reconstruction of Nigeria’s economic and social systems destroyed by past governments. The Billions of Naira of Nigeria’s stolen money that has so far been recorded bears eloquent testimony to the huge successes recorded in this area. Gone is the era of looting the country’s treasury with impunity.
In line with his promise to cleanse the system, President Buhari’s searchlight has beamed brightly on the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), cleaning in the process the national scam that was the fuel subsidy regime. In the fullness of time, Nigerians would start reaping the benefits of the deregulation of the Oil industry. Without a shadow of doubt, this is an area that past Nigerian governments refused to touch, even with a ten foot pole. President Buhari has shown tremendous courage by dealing with this issue once and for all.
Critiques of President Buhari’s administration harp on his foreign trips as costing the country money. What they fail to point out are the huge benefits that have continued to accrue to the nation as a result of these trips. Close watchers of President Buhari’s government will readily admit that Nigeria’s leadership position in the world stage and at the Sub-Saharan Africa level has been restored. The frosty relationship between Nigeria and many world powers no longer exist. In the recent past, the country’s near pariah position in the world stage made it impossible for a country of Nigeria’s stature to purchase even the most rudimentary armaments for its military that was prosecuting a war against terrorism.
One of the greatest achievements of President Buhari’s first year in office is that of reducing the size and cost of governance. No longer is Nigeria running an over bloated political system that bogs down the economy. The President has reduced the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, thereby saving the country billions of Naira now being channeled towards other developmental projects and infrastructure. In addition, the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has helped block many leakages in the system through which the country’s funds were siphoned into private pockets. Reportedly, about 2 Trillion Naira has been saved as a result.
As Presidents Buhari’s government enters its second year, Nigerians will begin to see the positive impact of various policies measures that the government has put in place to restore the country’s economy and strengthen our democracy. While his first year in office has been spent cleaning the Augean stable, the coming years will see Nigerians benefitting from the government’s programmes to create employment for the teeming youths; strengthen the institutions of government; revitalize the economy by encouraging indigenous and foreign investments and improve the energy situation in the country. With the current passage of the budget and other measures so far put in place by the government, Nigerians will have cause to smile again. The best is yet to come.

Senator Babafemi Ojudu is the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters

Ojudu
Today, May 29, 2016 marks President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office. It has indeed been an all-round exhilarating year, not only for the government but also for the generality of Nigerians. There is nobody in Nigeria today who does not agree that the current challenges that the government face stems from deep seated rot in the system which pervaded the entire nation prior to President Buhari’s assumption of power.
Precisely one year ago, President Buhari took over the mantle of office to wide acclaim from Nigerians. Before that fateful day, Nigerians had watched aghast and rather helplessly as the country continued a fast downward spiral, as if racing to join the ignoble category of failed nations. A year ago, though the sorry state of the economy was partly due to the falling prices of oil, Nigeria’s biggest foreign exchange earner, a bigger part of the problem, however, was unbridled corruption, mindless depletion of our foreign reserves and gross mismanagement of the country’s dwindling resources.
To compound our people’s woes, Nigerians lived in fear. In the Northern parts of the country, especially in the North East, it was the fear of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram. In the southern parts of the country, the fear of being kidnapped was rife, while armed robbery completed the pathetic picture of insecurity in the land. As if that was not enough misery in people’s lives, the perpetual darkness the country was plunged into due to the ever present power failure made living in Nigeria almost unbearable.
In the knowledge of the truth that Nigerians deserve better, President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned vigorously round the country using the slogan “Change”. Nigerians embraced that change by voting massively for President Buhari. One year after, the President is not unmindful of the fact that “change” which he is midwifing has come with some necessary pain. Changing a system that has decayed beyond the widest imagination of even the most fertile minds comes with some pain. It is this pain that Nigerians now face. However, this fleeting pain shall pass. President Buhari has stated repeatedly that he feels the pain that we feel. He is assiduously working to mitigate and calm our pains with the proverbial ‘balm of Gilead’.
It requires great courage for a leader to tell his people an inconvenient truth. The truth is that the reality of the times demands some measure of sacrifice from every citizen, if the country is to be returned to the glorious path to prosperity. President Buhari, characteristically, has shown his mettle as a courageous leader even as he tackles the numerous challenges that confront the country. When the history of Nigerian Presidency is written, President Buhari will be remembered as the most consequential President in Nigeria who stepped in at a critical time to change the unfortunate trajectory of a nation that was on a downward spiral.
Taking stock of the past 365 days; while it cannot be said that the country is out of the woods, there is no denying the fact that the hemorrhaging in the system has been stopped. On the day President Buhari mounted the saddle of office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he promised to deal decisively with the godless terrorist group, Boko Haram. That promise which he put into action immediately by relocating the military high command to Maiduguri is almost a “fait accompli”. There is no doubting the fact that the Nigerian military with the coalition of neighboring countries which President Buhari forged, have routed Boko Haram. What remains is to clean out the fleeing remnants of the group. President Buhari has been able to achieve this feat by restoring the dignity of the Nigerian Armed Forces and equipping them properly to combat this unprecedented and unconventional warfare. The rescue of one of the Chibok girls from the den of terrorists is a flicker of hope that the rest of the girls would be returned safely to their parents and loved ones.
Another battle which the President promised to wage on his inauguration day is the war against corruption that has permeated and eaten so deeply into the Nigerian socio-economic and political fabric. President Buhari has also kept faith on this. Since his assumption in power, he has relentlessly waged this “non-negotiable” war against corruption. It is the President’s belief that the battle against corruption holds the key to the reconstruction of Nigeria’s economic and social systems destroyed by past governments. The Billions of Naira of Nigeria’s stolen money that has so far been recorded bears eloquent testimony to the huge successes recorded in this area. Gone is the era of looting the country’s treasury with impunity.
In line with his promise to cleanse the system, President Buhari’s searchlight has beamed brightly on the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), cleaning in the process the national scam that was the fuel subsidy regime. In the fullness of time, Nigerians would start reaping the benefits of the deregulation of the Oil industry. Without a shadow of doubt, this is an area that past Nigerian governments refused to touch, even with a ten foot pole. President Buhari has shown tremendous courage by dealing with this issue once and for all.
Critiques of President Buhari’s administration harp on his foreign trips as costing the country money. What they fail to point out are the huge benefits that have continued to accrue to the nation as a result of these trips. Close watchers of President Buhari’s government will readily admit that Nigeria’s leadership position in the world stage and at the Sub-Saharan Africa level has been restored. The frosty relationship between Nigeria and many world powers no longer exist. In the recent past, the country’s near pariah position in the world stage made it impossible for a country of Nigeria’s stature to purchase even the most rudimentary armaments for its military that was prosecuting a war against terrorism.
One of the greatest achievements of President Buhari’s first year in office is that of reducing the size and cost of governance. No longer is Nigeria running an over bloated political system that bogs down the economy. The President has reduced the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, thereby saving the country billions of Naira now being channeled towards other developmental projects and infrastructure. In addition, the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has helped block many leakages in the system through which the country’s funds were siphoned into private pockets. Reportedly, about 2 Trillion Naira has been saved as a result.
As Presidents Buhari’s government enters its second year, Nigerians will begin to see the positive impact of various policies measures that the government has put in place to restore the country’s economy and strengthen our democracy. While his first year in office has been spent cleaning the Augean stable, the coming years will see Nigerians benefitting from the government’s programmes to create employment for the teeming youths; strengthen the institutions of government; revitalize the economy by encouraging indigenous and foreign investments and improve the energy situation in the country. With the current passage of the budget and other measures so far put in place by the government, Nigerians will have cause to smile again. The best is yet to come.

Senator Babafemi Ojudu is the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters

.@MBuhari is a witty President and I can testify to that – @FemAdesina

.@MBuhari is a witty President and I can testify to that – @FemAdesina
They were called the unsmiling duo. In his first incarnation as Nigerian leader, the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari was paired with another top brass military officer, Babatunde Idiagbon, who was the number two man. Smile was alien to their lips, laughter a total stranger. They had a job to do, which was to rid the country of corruption, crime and indiscipline, and anybody who didn’t fall in line was liable to being dealt with. And summarily too. Laughter was, therefore, a distraction.
Buhari was reticent, Idiagbon, taciturn. A fearful and fearsome combination. Do the crime, serve the time was their motto. Manifest indiscipline, even in something as pressing as answering the call of nature, urinate by the roadside, and you can’t tell anybody it was the work and of the Devil. They would tell you the Devil does not pee. Vandalize public utilities? Twenty years in jail. Traffic in cocaine? Goodbye to the world. Nigeria was being whipped into line, and no mistake. But that nirvana lasted only 20 months, and forces of reaction struck. The regime was toppled.
Along the line, Idiagbon went the way of all flesh. But 30 years later, Providence brought Buhari back to the number one position. Did Nigerians who were of age forget the reticent, ramrod straight man from Daura? No. The mental image they had (and still have) of him, is a man of iron and steel, a new sheriff in town, who whips all malefactors into line. A forbidding man who rarely smiles, and who never enjoys the music of the soul; laughter. Such frivolities are for the flippant and unserious. True? Not so. Yes, there is iron and steel in President Buhari, which makes him able to set his face as flint against the corrupt, no matter who such person is. The iron makes him abhor indiscipline, the steel compels him to crave order and decorum at all times. But is the man all iron and steel? Follow me, as I let you into another vista, another side of the essential Buhari. The human sde, flesh and blood.
By Wednesday, June 1, it would be exactly a year that I started working with the President as his adviser on media and publicity. And I have seen him in many moods: sober, pensive, business-like, and light, yes, easy, jocular mood. This President enjoys good laughter, and, indeed, has a rich sense of humour.
On resumption day, I met the President at Defence House, his temporary outpost, while the Aso Rock presidential villa was being renovated.
“Chief Adesina, welcome,” he said, as he exteded his hand to me. We both burst out laughing. Of course, I was no chief. Simply Mr. And the President knew it. He was only pulling my legs.
Having waved me to a seat, the President gave me what can be called the rule of engagement, which would guide my service to him, and to the country.
“Tell me the truth always,” he declared. ” That is what I want from you. The truth. I may argue with you, you know I am a General, but please argue with me. If your argument is superior, I will bow to it.”
And the President has lived up to his word, one year down the road.
On his very first day at Aso Villa, I had approached the President, saying it was necessary for him to visit journalists covering the seat of power at the Press Gallery. He agreed, and strolled from his office a few minutes later. In his first coming, the then General Buhari was not known to be enamoured of the Press. He enacted Decree 4, which was meant to protect public officers against false accusation, and two journalists were actually jailed under the decree.
For President Buhari to then visit journalists in their gallery on the first day at the presidential villa was, therefore, historic. The true democrat was here. After his remarks, soliciting the support of the press men, he shook their hands one after the other, making witty remarks. When Juliana Taiwo Obalonye introduced herself as representing The Sun, the President said:”Warn your cartoonist. Warn your cartoonist. My chin is not as long as he usually draws it.” Loud guffaws from everyone.
He had one thing or the other to say about almost all the media houses present. It was an evening of conviviality.
There were two instances when the President exhibited good humour at what could potentially rile someone else. Following his many overseas trips, which have been unjustifiably criticised in the media, there was a cartoon in a newspaper, which said when a country elects a nomadic Fulani as President, how would they expect him to sit in one place? The President laughed and laughed. He even told the story to some people who visited him later in the day.
On another occasion, somebody wrote an opinion piece with the headline: ‘When will President Buhari visit Nigeria?’ Rib cracking laughter was what it elicited in the President. The writer was insinuating that the President was more abroad than at home, and whenever he came back, it meant he was visiting Nigeria. But since the President knew the purpose behind his foreign trips, he rather laughed off the cheeky newspaper headline.
Have you heard the story of the German sentry? The President loves to tell it. The first occasion I heard him relate the story was when the Peace Committee headed by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar visited him. Also in the team were people like the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar 111, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, and many others. They had come to appeal that the anti- corruption war be waged within the ambit of the rule of law. The President listened patiently, and then responded:
“In the military, there used to be this joke about the German sentry. When a sentry is on duty, and he heard any movement, particularly if it was dark, he barks out. ‘Who goes there? Advance to be recognized.’ With his gun at the ready, he interrogates the person, and if he tells an acceptable story, he waves the person on. But when the German sentry hears movement in the dark, he lets out a volley of shots, and then shouts:’Who went there?’ Of course, he knows he has killed the person.”
The President explained that when he came as a military ruler, he was like the German sentry. ” I packed all the people who were suspected to be corrupt, and kept them in protective custody. And I told them they were corrupt, until they could prove themselves innocent.
“But now, under a democratic setting, I see corrupt people going around in Rolls Royce, but they remain innocent, until I can prove them guilty.”
Of course, the President and his guests laughed heartily.
From time to time, President Buhari grants interviews to television stations at home and abroad. And they have to fit their microphones on his dress. Whenever the interview is concluded, the President would fiddle with the microphone, which had been passed under his dress, and then exclaim:”Can somebody disarm me, please?” For a retired army officer, that is quite creative, and it causes people to laugh.
The President notices everything, even the seemingly insignificant. One day, I was in a Yoruba native dress, with a cap which was rather big for my head, product of a tailor who was too generous with his fabric. When the President saw me, he said:”Adesina, this cap is too big.” I was surprised at his attention to details. Or talk of Bayo Omoboriowo, the President’s personal photographer. Typical of his young age, Bayo loves multi-coloured socks, which may, or may not rhyme with the colour of his clothing. And he would wear trousers that are several inches above his shoes, thus displaying Joseph’s coat of many colours, which his socks are. That has become his trademark. And then comes in Bayo one day, donning sober socks like people of my generation would wear. To our amazement, President Buhari said:”Bayo, you are not wearing multi-coloured socks today. What happened?” General laughter.
In 1985, while he was military head of state, Nigeria won its first Under 17 World Cup title. Thirty years later, under President Buhari, Nigeria won the same laurel again. The day the trophy was handed over to him, the President admired it, turned it from side to side, and then submitted:”Soccer loves me.” Really true.
Those who think President Buhari is all iron and steel and nothing else have not experienced what I did in 2013. My mum had passed on, aged 75. We planned a commendation service for her in Lagos, and I had invited a number of people, Gen Buhari included. As I stayed with my siblings at the gate of the hall in Alausa, welcoming people, an SUV drove in. The door opened, and a man alighted. Who was he? “General, you are here!You came all the way from Kaduna!” I exclaimed. And he gave that smile that often makes him look like a child, without guile or trickery. Simple, trusting. He said it was his pleasure to come, and he sat through the Christian service. Didn’t some people say he was a religious bigot? Bigotry sure needs to be redefined.
The same thing the President has done this week. Peter Claver Oparah is a dyed-in- the-wool Buhari supporter. His mother died and was buried just yesterday in Imo State. When I told President Buhari that one of his most ardent supporters had lost the mother, he sympathized, did the family a condolence letter, which he personally signed.
How very human!
Last Decembr, I told the President that it would be good if he made personal calls to some of his faithful supporters, to wish them a merry Christmas. He agreed. We compiled the names. Rev Moses Iloh. Rev Chris Okotie. Barrister Monday Ubani. Chief Duro Onabule. Gen Sam Momah (retd), and many others. The President spoke with them one after the other, laughing and making them laugh at the other end. Then, he told me to include Dr Tunji Braithwaite in the list. I quickly called journalist and activist, Richard Akinnola, who gave me the man’s number. The President and Dr Braithwaite talked for a very long time, and it was mirth all the way. They kept laughing. Unknown to the President, it was a valedictory call. When Braithwaite passed on about two months later, the President told me he was glad he had spoken to him that December night. It was their last conversation.
My sister, Professor Foluke Ogunleye, died in an auto crash last December. The President read of the tragedy in the newspaper, and placed a call to me. He was quite sympathetic. It pacified me a great deal, and reduced my status as a wailing wailer.
Give me a stern President. We need such. But also give me a human and humane President. We equally need such. All these are embodied in Muhammadu Buhari, the man whose footprints would be indelible in the sands of time in Nigeria. He would bring change, and the change would be enduring.
.Adesina is Special Adviser, Media and Publicity

EFCC, BUHARI AND THE PROPAGANDA

EFCC, BUHARI AND THE PROPAGANDA

And he said to me Buhari’s regime is a pack of lies and propaganda.
And I asked what is propaganda? And his reply, lies. Hence I wonder why the repetition.

Buhari’s regime is a pack of lies and lies his sentence should read.
But as I watched two court cases unfold yesterday, I wonder who really is lying to oneself.

There was dead silence in the court as the EFCC detective filled the asset forfeiture papers before the Federal High Court judge.

These documents made for grim reading before the impartial judge.
Billions of dollars looted from the nation’s coffers via a shell company called Atlantic Energy. Payments in millions of dollars for jobs never executed.

The proceeds of corruption used to fund a lifestyle only movie stars and rock stars live.

A 2 Million dollar gold wrist watch with crystal clear diamonds embedded in it, an asset worth far more than sports cars, houses and kept women when added together.
A Prized million dollar yacht that even Beyonce and Jay-Z put together can’t even afford but had to borrow to look hip on a Carribean getaway.

Super Models in tow like Naomi Campbell, latched on to this front man known as Kola Aluko, as his stupedous sudden wealth appeared to be a celebrated rags to riches tale.

But low this was not so.

As the evidence before the judge showed the decadency and decay of a corrupt society where devilish greed surpasses compassion and honesty.

Kola Aluko’s assets had been judiciously traced by the EFCC whose swag had been revived by the body language of a President determined to recover billions of looted funds.

$1.8 Billion. A princely sum all held in trust for his benefactor and principal, The Czarina of the last regime who was an untouchable sacred cow that showed the world that a cute beautiful mein can hide a heart of stone.

Document after document before the judge stirred up more shock and anger.

“But why he muttered? Why steal what can sustain a small nation for a lifetime in a fit of greed?”
Indeed is this propaganda? Those who believed when they said Buhari had no certificate were quick to dance azonto on our intelligence but alas when the criminals who deliberately hid his certificate finally returned it on seeing the game was up and the election lost, this same gang unsurprisingly find it hard to come terms with the mammoth crimes committed under their exiled hero.
But the evidence before the judge cannot lie. The lifestyle of the said criminals speaks volumes in collaboration. The Czarina who led the charge and ruled over the cartel is now facing money laundering charges in the UK and I wonder if this is also propaganda stirred by the Joseph Goebbels in the Buhari Nazi Regime?

The judge had no choice but to grant the plea of the EFCC. The game is up for Kola Aluko. A worldwide Asset forfeiture ruling has been given against him. He is now a wanted man and his Swiss Mansion has suddenly become his prison for to venture out of this refuge will attract certain arrest. And kudos must go to the once castrated EFCC who has suddenly grown a new set of testicles that has enabled them prosecute cases diligently. Indeed once Kola Aluko is nabbed he too will spill the beans on how his benefactor used him as a corrupt conduit.

But more instructive is the ongoing trial of Air Marshal Alex Badeh. This man was rated as the Collin Powell of the Nigerian Military. Its highest ranking officer ever. The only Air Marshal to rule the skies, the land and the seas as he held sway in the highest position in the land as The Chief of Defence Staff.
Indeed his fall from grace as he stands in the docks must be the most outlandish propaganda ever sold by the Buhari regime in the eyes of those who choose blindness over insight.

How can Jonathan’s most trusted Officer be painted as a thief? The man from Vimtim whose might was so devastating that his attack helicopters successful evacuated his kennel of prized dogs before Boko Haram could commit cruelty to animals by using them to make 404 (dogmeat pepper-soup) when the terrorists over ran his home town and put scores of innocent civilians to the sword!

Indeed the propaganda of these Buhari supporters is nauseating.
The Propaganda machinery of President Buhari’s supporters have over looked the vast contributions to the Nigerian economy by Air Marshal Badeh who has single-handedly sustained the nation’s housing boom by building beautiful mansions and castles fit for a King which his princes are ever willing to reject hence the hunt for more property goes on ad infinitum.
Or is it the 1.8 Billion Naira shopping mall that has employed hundreds of people and ensured the rich and mighty don’t have to waste scarce foreign exchange to travel abroad to buy luxury items when Badeh’s shopping mall is an ever present edifice ready to meet their needs.

But alas the court was dead silence in the second case as the prosecution witness said he could not lie for Badeh who had cajoled him to lie on his behalf and say the shopping mall was his.

Mustapha Yerima, the witness and Badeh’s real estate developer said he was helpless as the mountain of evidence before him was too incriminating hence he could not lie.

Bank statements, cheques, bill of quantities, wire transfers, personal e-mails and property deeds proving communication between the developer and Badeh were incontrovertible.

Even pictures of Alex Junior Badeh directing affairs were also displayed.

Indeed Badeh is in shark-infested waters and is bleeding profusely. Extracting himself from his box of crimes will even surprise Harry Houdini, the great escape artist.
And low the EFCC under Magu deserve due praise for their diligent investigation of Financial crimes. Shows they were not asleep when all these Grand Theft Affairs (GTA) were going on. They were only in hibernation gathering evidence for they knew one day the regime of GTA will end and a new regime may ask for a postmortem of the affairs of yore.
Badeh will get his comeuppance. A man who sees the life of a dog as more precious than his kinsmen and soldiers deserves no pity.
A man who stole from his troops and left them hanging out to dry in the theatre of war deserves little sympathy.

A man whose gluttony cost countless lives is not worthy to be running around enjoying the proceeds of corruption.
If this is propaganda then count me guilty of spreading it. But alas this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Call it Nuremburg and victor’s justice of a Buhari Nazi Regime destined to soil the good name of the exiled Hero of Nigerian Democracy but the facts are indisputable and give a clear picture of how the country was run aground.

Call it propaganda, call it lies but the men who are feeling the heat for their crimes either in court or on exile all know the truth hence unbelief helps nought.

~Essien Attah.
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PRESIDENT BUHARI’S DEMOCRACY SPEECH.MAY 29,2016.

MY COMPATRIOTS,

IT IS ONE YEAR TODAY SINCE OUR ADMINISTRATION CAME INTO OFFICE. IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF TRIUMPH, CONSOLIDATION, PAINS AND ACHIEVEMENTS. BY AGE, INSTINCT AND EXPERIENCE, MY PREFERENCE IS TO LOOK FORWARD, TO PREPARE FOR THE CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD AND REDEDICATE THE ADMINISTRATION TO THE TASK OF FIXING NIGERIA. BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN ALSO LEARN FROM THE OBSTACLES WE HAVE OVERCOME AND THE PROGRESS WE MADE THUS FAR, TO HELP STRENGTHEN THE PLANS THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE TO PUT NIGERIA BACK ON THE PATH OF PROGRESS.
WE AFFIRM OUR BELIEF IN DEMOCRACY AS THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT THAT BEST ASSURES THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AND ACTUAL BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE. DESPITE THE MANY YEARS OF HARDSHIP AND DISAPPOINTMENT THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION HAVE PROVED INHERENTLY GOOD, INDUSTRIOUS TOLERANT, PATIENT AND GENEROUS.

THE PAST YEARS HAVE WITNESSED HUGE FLOWS OF OIL REVENUES. FROM 2010 AVERAGE OIL PRICES WERE $100 PER BARREL. BUT ECONOMIC AND SECURITY CONDITIONS WERE DETERIORATING. WE CAMPAIGNED AND WON THE ELECTION ON THE PLATFORM OF RESTORING SECURITY, TACKLING CORRUPTION AND RESTRUCTURING THE ECONOMY. ON OUR ARRIVAL, THE OIL PRICE HAD COLLAPSED TO AS LOW AS $30 PER BARREL AND WE FOUND NOTHING HAD BEEN KEPT FOR THE RAINY DAY. OIL PRICES HAVE BEEN DECLINING SINCE 2014 BUT DUE TO THE NEGLECT OF THE PAST, THE COUNTRY WAS NOT EQUIPPED TO HALT THE ECONOMY FROM DECLINING.

THE INFRASTRUCTURE, NOTABLY RAIL, POWER, ROADS WERE IN A DECREPIT STATE. ALL THE FOUR REFINERIES WERE IN A STATE OF DISREPAIR, THE PIPELINES AND DEPOTS NEGLECTED.

HUGE DEBTS OWED TO CONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS HAD ACCUMULATED. TWENTY-SEVEN STATES COULD NOT PAY SALARIES FOR MONTHS. IN THE NORTH-EAST, BOKO HARAM HAD CAPTURED 14 LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, DRIVEN THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES OUT, HOISTED THEIR FLAGS. ELSEWHERE, INSECURITY WAS PALPABLE; CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY WERE THE ORDER OF THE DAY. IN SHORT, WE INHERITED A STATE NEAR COLLAPSE.

ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT, ALL OIL DEPENDENT COUNTRIES, NIGERIA INCLUDED, HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING SINCE THE DROP IN PRICES. MANY OIL RICH STATES HAVE HAD TO TAKE TOUGH DECISIONS SIMILAR TO WHAT WE ARE DOING. THE WORLD, NIGERIA INCLUDED HAS BEEN DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF THREE SIGNIFICANT AND SIMULTANEOUS GLOBAL SHOCKS STARTING IN 2014:
A 70% DROP IN OIL PRICES.
GLOBAL GROWTH SLOWDOWN.
NORMALIZATION OF MONETARY POLICY BY THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL RESERVE.

OUR PROBLEMS AS A GOVERNMENT ARE LIKE THAT OF A FARMER WHO IN A GOOD SEASON HARVESTS TEN BAGS OF PRODUCE. THE PROCEEDS ENABLE HIM TO GET BY FOR REST OF THE YEAR. HOWEVER, THIS YEAR HE COULD ONLY MANAGE 3 BAGS FROM HIS FARM. HE MUST NOW THINK OF OTHER WAYS TO MAKE ENDS MEET.

FROM DAY ONE, WE PURPOSELY SET OUT TO CORRECT OUR CONDITION, TO CHANGE NIGERIA. WE REINFORCED AND GALVANIZED OUR ARMED FORCES WITH NEW LEADERSHIP AND RESOURCES. WE MARSHALED OUR NEIGHBOURS IN A JOINT TASK FORCE TO TACKLE AND DEFEAT BOKO HARAM. BY THE END OF DECEMBER 2015, ALL BUT POCKETS AND REMNANTS HAD BEEN ROUTED BY OUR GALLANT ARMED FORCES. OUR IMMEDIATE FOCUS IS FOR A GRADUAL AND SAFE RETURN OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN SAFETY AND DIGNITY AND FOR THE RESUMPTION OF NORMALCY IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE LIVING IN THESE AREAS.

EFCC WAS GIVEN THE FREEDOM TO PURSUE CORRUPT OFFICIALS AND THE JUDICIARY WAS ALERTED ON WHAT NIGERIANS EXPECT OF THEM IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION. ON THE ECONOMY, IN PARTICULAR FOREIGN EXCHANGE AND FUEL SHORTAGES, OUR PLAN IS TO SAVE FOREIGN EXCHANGE BY FAST TRACKING REPAIR OF THE REFINERIES AND PRODUCING MOST OF OUR FUEL REQUIREMENTS AT HOME. AND BY GROWING MORE FOOD IN NIGERIA, MAINLY RICE, WHEAT AND SUGAR WE WILL SAVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE AND DRASTICALLY REDUCE OUR FOOD IMPORT BILL.

WE RESOLVED TO KEEP THE NAIRA STEADY, AS IN THE PAST, DEVALUATION HAD DONE DREADFUL HARM TO THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY. FURTHERMORE, I SUPPORT THE MONETARY AUTHORITY’S DECISION TO ENSURE ALIGNMENT BETWEEN MONETARY POLICY AND FISCAL POLICY. WE SHALL KEEP A CLOSE LOOK ON HOW THE RECENT MEASURES AFFECT THE NAIRA AND THE ECONOMY. BUT WE CANNOT GET AWAY FROM THE FACT THAT A STRONG CURRENCY IS PREDICATED ON A STRONG ECONOMY. AND A STRONG ECONOMY PRE-SUPPOSES AN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTIVE BASE AND A STEADY EXPORT MARKET. THE MEASURES WE MUST TAKE, MAY LEAD TO HARDSHIPS. THE PROBLEMS NIGERIANS HAVE FACED OVER THE LAST YEAR HAVE BEEN MANY AND VARIED. BUT THE REAL CHALLENGE FOR THIS GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN RECONSTRUCTING THE SPINE OF THE NIGERIAN STATE. THE LAST TWELVE MONTHS HAVE BEEN SPENT COLLABORATING WITH ALL ARMS OF GOVERNMENT TOREVIVE OUR INSTITUTIONS SO THAT THEY ARE MORE EFFICIENT AND FIT FOR PURPOSE:
THAT MEANS A BUREAUCRACY BETTER ABLE TO DEVELOP AND DELIVER POLICY
THAT MEANS AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY, ABOVE SUSPICION AND ABLE TO DEFEND CITIZEN’S RIGHTS AND DISPENSE JUSTICE EQUITABLY.
THAT MEANS A LEGISLATURE THAT ACTUALLY LEGISLATES EFFECTIVELY AND
ABOVE ALL; THAT MEANS POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLITICIANS COMMITTED TO SERVING THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE RATHER THAN THEMSELVES.

THESE ARE THE PILLARS OF THE STATE ON WHICH DEMOCRACY CAN TAKE ROOT AND THRIVE. BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE STRONG AND INCORRUPTIBLE. ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE WORKING VERY HARD TO INTRODUCE SOME VITAL STRUCTURAL REFORMS IN THE WAY WE CONDUCT GOVERNMENT BUSINESS AND LAY A SOLID FOUNDATION ON WHICH WE CAN BUILD ENDURING CHANGE.

AN IMPORTANT FIRST STEP HAS BEEN TO GET OUR HOUSEKEEPING RIGHT. SO WE HAVE REDUCED THE EXTRAVAGANT SPENDING OF THE PAST. WE STARTED BOLDLY WITH THE TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT, STOPPING THE LEAKAGES IN PUBLIC EXPENDITURE.

WE THEN IDENTIFIED FORTY-THREE THOUSAND GHOST WORKERS THROUGH THE INTEGRATED PAYROLL AND PERSONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM. THAT REPRESENTS PAY PACKETS TOTALING N4.2 BILLION STOLEN EVERY MONTH. IN ADDITION, WE WILL SAVE TWENTY-THREE BILLION PER ANNUM FROM OFFICIAL TRAVELLING AND SITTING ALLOWANCES ALONE.

FURTHERMORE, THE EFFICIENCY UNIT WILL CUT COSTS AND ELIMINATE DUPLICATIONS IN MINISTRIES AND DEPARTMENTS. EVERY LITTLE SAVING HELPS. THE REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF MINISTRIES AND WORK ON RESTRUCTURING AND RATIONALIZATION OF THE MDAS IS WELL UNDERWAY. WHEN THIS WORK IS COMPLETE WE WILL HAVE A LEANER, MORE EFFICIENT PUBLIC SERVICE THAT IS FIT FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHANGING NIGERIA FOR THE GOOD AND FOR GOOD.

AS WELL AS MAKING SAVINGS, WE HAVE CHANGED THE WAY PUBLIC MONEY IS SPENT. IN ALL MY YEARS AS A PUBLIC SERVANT, I HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS THE PRACTICE OF PADDING BUDGETS. I AM GLAD TO TELL YOU NOW WE NOT ONLY HAVE A BUDGET, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE HAVE A BUDGET PROCESS THAT IS MORE TRANSPARENT, MORE INCLUSIVE AND MORE CLOSELY TIED TO OUR DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES THAN IN THE RECENT PAST. 30% OF THE EXPENDITURE IN THIS BUDGET IS DEVOTED TO CAPITAL ITEMS. FURTHERMORE, WE ARE PROJECTING NON-OIL REVENUES TO SURPASS PROCEEDS FROM OIL. SOME CRITICS HAVE DESCRIBED THE BUDGET EXERCISE AS CLUMSY. PERHAPS. BUT IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF CONSENSUS BUILDING, WHICH IS INTEGRAL TO DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. IN THE END WE RESOLVED OUR DIFFERENCES.

WE HAVE, THEREFORE, DELIVERED SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES ON SECURITY, CORRUPTION AND THE ECONOMY. IN RESPECT OF THE ECONOMY, I WOULD LIKE TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS YOU ON THE VERY PAINFUL BUT INEVITABLE DECISIONS WE HAD TO MAKE IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS SPECIFICALLY ON THE PUMP PRICE OF FUEL AND THE MORE FLEXIBLE EXCHANGE RATE POLICY ANNOUNCED BY THE CENTRAL BANK. IT IS EVEN MORE PAINFUL FOR ME THAT A MAJOR PRODUCER OF CRUDE OIL WITH FOUR REFINERIES THAT ONCE EXPORTED REFINED PRODUCTS IS TODAY HAVING TO IMPORT ALL OF ITS DOMESTIC NEEDS. THIS IS WHAT CORRUPTION AND MISMANAGEMENT HAS DONE TO US AND THAT IS WHY WE MUST FIGHT THESE ILLS.

AS PART OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE NEW ECONOMY WE HAVE HAD TO REFORM HOW FUEL PRICES HAD TRADITIONALLY BEEN FIXED. THIS STEP WAS TAKEN ONLY AFTER PROTRACTED CONSIDERATION OF ITS PROS AND CONS. AFTER COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION MY ADVISERS AND I CONCLUDED THAT THE MECHANISM WAS UNSUSTAINABLE.

WE ARE ALSO ENGAGED IN MAKING RECOVERIES OF STOLEN ASSETS SOME OF WHICH ARE IN DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS. THE PROCESSES OF RECOVERY CAN BE TEDIOUS AND TIME CONSUMING, BUT TODAY I CAN CONFIRM THAT THUS FAR: SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF ASSETS HAVE BEEN RECOVERED. A CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF THESE ARE AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF RECOVERY. FULL DETAILS OF THE STATUS AND CATEGORIES OF THE ASSETS WILL NOW BE PUBLISHED BY THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND UPDATED PERIODICALLY. WHEN FORFEITURE FORMALITIES ARE COMPLETED THESE MONIES WILL BE CREDITED TO THE TREASURY AND BE OPENLY AND TRANSPARENTLY USED IN FUNDING DEVELOPMENTAL PROJECTS AND THE PUBLIC WILL BE INFORMED.

ON THE NIGER DELTA, WE ARE COMMITTED TO IMPLEMENTING THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME REPORT AND ARE ADVANCING CLEAN-UP OPERATIONS. I BELIEVE THE WAY FORWARD IS TO TAKE A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE DELTA COMMUNITIES. RE-ENGINEERING THE AMNESTY PROGRAMMES IS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS. THE RECENT SPATE OF ATTACKS BY MILITANTS DISRUPTING OIL AND POWER INSTALLATIONS WILL NOT DISTRACT US FROM ENGAGING LEADERS IN THE REGION IN ADDRESSING NIGER DELTA PROBLEMS. IF THE MILITANTS AND VANDALS ARE TESTING OUR RESOLVE, THEY ARE MUCH MISTAKEN. WE SHALL APPREHEND THE PERPETRATORS AND THEIR SPONSORS AND BRING THEM TO JUSTICE.

THE POLICY MEASURES AND ACTIONS TAKEN SO FAR ARE NOT TO BE SEEN AS SOME EXPERIMENT IN GOVERNANCE. WE ARE FULLY AWARE THAT THOSE VESTED INTERESTS WHO HAVE HELD NIGERIA BACK FOR SO LONG WILL NOT GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT. THEY WILL SOW DIVISIONS, SPONSOR VILE PRESS CRITICISMS AT HOME AND ABROAD, INCITE THE PUBLIC IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE CHAOS RATHER THAN RELINQUISH THE VICE-LIKE GRIP THEY HAVE HELD ON NIGERIA.

THE ECONOMIC MISFORTUNE WE ARE EXPERIENCING IN THE SHAPE OF VERY LOW OIL PRICES HAS PROVIDED US WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESTRUCTURE OUR ECONOMY AND DIVERSIFY. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF PROMOTING AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCKS, EXPLOITING OUR SOLID MINERAL RESOURCES AND EXPANDING OUR INDUSTRIAL AND MANUFACTURING BASE. THAT WAY, WE WILL IMPORT LESS AND MAKE THE SOCIAL INVESTMENTS NECESSARY TO ALLOW US TO PRODUCE A LARGE AND SKILLED WORKFORCE.

CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA WILL OFFER MORE FISCAL INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESS THAT PROVE CAPABLE OF MANUFACTURING PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTERNATIONALLY COMPETITIVE. WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO REFORMING THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK, FOR INVESTORS BY IMPROVING THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA.

MEANWHILE, THE FIRST STEPS ALONG THE PATH OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN RICE, WHEAT AND SUGAR – BIG USERS OF OUR SCARCE FOREIGN EXCHANGE – HAVE BEEN TAKEN. THE LABOUR INTENSIVE FARMING ENTERPRISE (LIFE), WILL BOOST THE ECONOMY AND ENSURE INCLUSIVE GROWTH IN LONG NEGLECTED COMMUNITIES. SPECIAL INTERVENTION FUNDS THROUGH THE BANK OF AGRICULTURE WILL PROVIDE TARGETED SUPPORT. CONCERNS REMAIN ABOUT RISING COST OF FOODS SUCH AS MAIZE, RICE, MILLET, BEANS AND GARI. FARMERS TELL ME THAT THEY ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE COST OF FERTILIZERS, PESTICIDES AND THE ABSENCE OF EXTENSION SERVICES. THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS ARE ON THE SAME PAGE IN TACKLING THESE HURDLES IN OUR EFFORTS AT INCREASED FOOD PRODUCTION AND ULTIMATELY FOOD SECURITY.

I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION FOR THE INCREASING ROLE THAT OUR WOMEN ARE PLAYING IN REVITALIZING THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR. MODERN FARMING IS STILL HARD AND HEAVY WORK AND I SALUTE OUR NIGERIAN WOMEN IN SHARING THIS BURDEN. IN THIS RESPECT I AM VERY PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL SHORTLY BE LAUNCHING THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT FUND, WHICH I HAVE APPROVED TO PROVIDE N1.6 BILLION IN MICRO-FINANCE LOANS TO WOMEN ACROSS THE NATION TO ASSIST IN REHABILITATING THE ECONOMIES OF RURAL COMMUNITIES, PARTICULARLY THOSE IMPACTED BY THE INSURGENCY AND CONFLICT.

WITH RESPECT TO SOLID MINERALS, THE MINISTER HAS PRODUCED A ROADMAP WHERE WE WILL WORK CLOSELY WITH THE WORLD BANK AND MAJOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS TO ENSURE THROUGH BEST PRACTICES AND DUE DILIGENCE THAT WE CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNERS. ILLEGAL MINING REMAINS A PROBLEM AND WE

2 govs on security watch-list — 29th May 2016 …To obtain permission before travelling abroad!

2 govs on security watch-list
— 29th May 2016
…To obtain permission before travelling abroad

By Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

THERE are strong indications that the Federal Government may have placed two gover­nors from the Southern part of the country on a watch-list. A source from the Presidency said the governors are from the South-west and South-south.

The decision to place them under watch, the source said stemmed from their activities which, he said, were “clearly anti-Nigeria.

Their activities have negative security implications.”

Sunday Sun learnt that the governors would no longer be allowed to travel overseas un­less they are given permission by key security outfits and of­ficials. The order to this effect, the source said, had been hand­ed to all security organisations and relevant offices. The direc­tive was said to have been is­sued three weeks ago.

The source said the memo was explicit that any of the affected governors must, as a matter of compulsion, “see the Director General in Abuja” before being allowed to embark on foreign trips.

Asked if the move would not be a negation of constitutional rights of the governors as offi­cials who enjoy immunity and who operate in a federal system, the source disagreed.

He argued that the immunity was not being tampered with, stressing that a number of secu­rity questions were involved.

According to him, “the gov­ernment is moving to stop any form of infractions and the pro­cess does not infringe upon the immunity of any of the actors. I believe that none of the officials would be stopped from embark­ing on trips unnecessarily.”

On what would happen if the affected governors refuse to comply with the new order, the source disclosed that they would be prevented by the secu­rity from boarding their flights.

“The security knows what to do in the case of any of them failing to get the required clear­ance before embarking on trips abroad.

He will be prevented from boarding his flight,” he said.
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