Being the text of the keynote address by

H.E. Dr. Kayode Fayemi

Minister of Solid Minerals Development

Federal Republic of Nigeria

at the Business Breakfast Meeting organized by the


London, United Kingdom | Thursday, June 30, 2016

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to address this August audience that I

consider important partners in the progress of Anglo-Nigerian relations. It is a very

interesting time to be in London, with the recent historic referendum that affirmed the

majority of the citizens of the United Kingdom’s desire to see the country leave the

European Union. Having followed the debates and campaigns very closely, and

monitoring the reactions in the aftermath of the referendum, this is a unique

opportunity to feel the mood first hand in this beautiful city, which is known as a

bastion of liberal values, with one of the most diverse populations in the world.

The probability of an eventual UK exit from the EU is of particular interest to us in

Nigeria, considering our close ties with the United Kingdom. Asides our robust

historical, social and cultural relations within the context of the Commonwealth,

economically, Nigeria is the United Kingdom’s second largest trading partner in Africa

after South Africa. Bilateral trade between the two countries is currently worth USD8.3

billion and projected to reach USD25 billion by 2020. The UK is also Nigeria’s largest

source of foreign investment, with assets worth over USD1.4 billion. Moreover, UK-

Nigerian remittances account for USD21 billion a year. As the United Kingdom’s

Secretary of State for International Development Nick Hurd once pointed out, this is an

important relationship and the potential remains huge.

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According to a recent analysis by EXX Africa, the referendum result has caused market

turmoil across the world, as investors worry that the result of the UK vote could drive

fresh momentum to anti-establishment movements in other European countries.

Following the vote, global stocks lost USD2 trillion in value on 24 June and sterling fell

to a 31 year low. UK companies and banks were some of the worst affected, with USD55

billion wiped off banking stocks. The price of commodities also fell, with the price of oil

In Africa, currencies, stocks, and bonds tumbled as a result of the UK referendum vote.

In Nigeria, our recent policies aimed at an effective foreign exchange regime, and the

liberalisation of the PMS sector might face certain challenges. ‘Brexit’ might also impact

Nigeria’s economy adversely due to a potential further drop in global oil prices. There is

extensive trade and development cooperation between the UK and Nigeria that would

likely face several years of disruption should the UK follow through with plans to depart

Beyond trade and investment however, the UK is also a key partner in Nigerian

security. The UK has been crucial to drawing international attention to the Islamist

Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast. There is a risk that the UK would

become distracted from international security threats, such as those by Boko Haram, as

We are watching developments very keenly as Governments and the business

communities all over the world anticipate the outcomes of the emerging order.

Nigeria’s Missed Opportunities and the Challenge of Industrialisation

Interestingly, the formal birthing of Nigeria’s mining industry is a British colonial

legacy. Official mining activities commenced between 1903 and 1923 with the

commissioning of the minerals survey of the Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria

Protectorates by the Royal Niger Company, which commenced tin mining in the Jos

Plateau in 1905. In 1906, coal exploration and production began in Eastern Nigeria

Nigeria looked good to build on these foundations, on our way to rapid

industrialization. The discovery of Oil about 50 years ago sadly led to the halting of this

journey. The sector has since then underperformed, initially as a result of poor policy

choices which subsequently became compounded by deterioration in the fiscal regime,

infrastructure, and the shortage of investment quality geosciences data. Stretched over

decades, these challenges have since become a growth limiting constraint on the

sector’s full potential. Huge oil revenues also shifted our focus from developing our

minerals sector and industrializing, to such considerations as how to share the national

cake. Consequently, Nigeria has not been taken serious and has steadily declined in top-

of-mind- awareness as a mining destination. Our Oil and Gas industry has progressively

1 Exx Africa Business Risk Intelligence Special Report: The Impact of ‘Brexit’ on Africa’ http://www.exxafrica.com/special-

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covered more grounds in the Nigerian economic space, consistently contributing up to

90% of our revenue over the years, thus earning us the status of a mono-resource

economy – a strategic weakness which this administration is committed to addressing.

Other challenges that have stunted the growth of the solid minerals sector over the

years which we are currently addressing include: Lack of bankable Geosciences data;

Deficit of supporting infrastructure; dearth of specialized talents; and institutional

weaknesses of the ministry as an effective and efficient regulator.

Today, I am pleased to inform you that the President Muhammadu Buhari

administration has as one of our strategic goals the repositioning of our mining

industry which has been identified as one of the frontiers of opportunity to achieve the

diversification of our country’s revenue profile. We have also rightly identified the

sector as being central to our industrialization aspirations.

Nigeria’s mining sector remains largely underdeveloped despite its glorious past and

abundance of mineral resources. Some of the minerals available in Nigeria can be

broadly categorized according to use, into five groups:

 Industrial minerals (such as barite, kaolin, gypsum, feldspar, limestone)

 Energy minerals (such as bitumen, lignite, uranium,coal)

 Metallic ore minerals (such as gold, cassiterite, columbite, iron ore, lead-zinc,

 Construction minerals (such as granite, gravel, laterite, sand)

 Precious stones (such as sapphire, tourmaline, emerald, topaz, amethyst, garnet,

These mineral assets are available across the federation in varying mixes and proven

reserves. No corner of Nigeria today is lacking in solid mineral assets. It is significant to

note that among the minerals which occur in significant commercial quantities in

different parts of the country are Limestone – for which annual national demand is 18

million metric tons and which has driven the growth of Nigeria’s cement industry; Talc

– Over 40 million metric tonnes of talc deposits have been identified; Gypsum – over a

billion metric tonnes of gypsum are spread across the country; Bitumen – Nigeria has

the second largest deposit of Bitumen in the world; Coal – there are over 1 trillion metric

tons of coal resources on our soil. There are also significant quantities of several other

minerals in Nigeria’s natural resource portfolio of at least 44 known mineral assets. The

vast availability of these resources presents unique opportunities which we are working

to optimally explore to full potential for the good of our people.

As things currently stand, in 2015, the sector contributed approximately 0.33% to the

gross domestic product of the country. This contribution is a reversal from historically

higher percentages (about 4-5% in the 1960s-70s). Our policy goal is to return to a

contribution level of 5% – 7% over the next 10 – 15 years, and the recently approved

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Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) of

the Government of Nigeria is very supportive of this aspiration.

Our mandate at the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development is to deterministically

scale-up the capacities of this sector by transforming it into a strategic catalyst for

domestic growth, in terms of the creation of jobs and increased revenue, and the

Consider Nigeria’s iron ore and steel sub-sector for example, steel is the world’s most

important engineering material and is indispensable to any country’s industrialization.

Nigeria is the 12 th richest country in the world in terms of iron-ore deposits – with over

2 billion metric tonnes – and yet we import an estimated $3.3 billion worth of

processed steel and associated derivatives. Despite the country’s relatively robust iron

ore reserves, only 18 of the paltry 30 steel rolling mills are actually operational,

producing 2.8 million metric tons per annum using 100 percent scrap metal. These

figures represent a gross under-utilization of our iron ore resources, and are vastly

inadequate to sustain our industrialisation ambitions. In addition, there is the

opportunity for import substitution as the $3.3 billion of much needed foreign

exchange spent on steel imports annually could be judiciously deployed to other

The steel sector is weak due to factors such as poor infrastructure for extracting,

processing, and transporting bulk material e.g. freight rail transport, access roads to

mines, electrical power. That said, we believe that the Nigerian steel industry can be

attractive to investors due to the large untapped demand potential similar to what

obtained for cement in the 1990s. The current market size of $3.3 billion per annum

has the potential to grow to $15 billion per annum with increased industrialization

driven by our domestic feedstock which as indicated earlier constitutes the second

According to a recent report by the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan,

Nigeria’s current “core infrastructure” stock (roads, rail, ports, airports, power, water,

ICT) gap based on international benchmarks is estimated to be USD80 billion. To fund

the infrastructure needs of its growing economy over the next 30 years, Nigeria would

need to spend about USD 3 trillion. This investment would allow Nigeria to close its

current infrastructure gap and sustain an ideal infrastructure stock level of 70% of GDP

as it builds and maintains infrastructure assets across all its seven key sectors. Iron Ore

and Steel would account for the bulk of the material inputs needed to industrialise

In shaping our strategy, we took cognisance of the worldwide slump in commodity

prices occasioned by the slowdown in demand from resource-hungry giants like China

and India, the two biggest markets for commodities over the past ten years. We were

also conscious of the economies of scale that shape the dynamics of the global

commodity markets, just as exemplified by Tata Steel’s recent experience in the UK. We

appreciate that this trend makes attracting the large houses in the current time frame

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quite challenging. We have therefore crafted a strategy to reflect a need to jumpstart

market growth using a blend of domestic mining houses, mining companies and junior

We project a steady increase in domestic demand for steel in Nigeria in the coming

decade, driven by increased industrialization that will ignite a surge in building

construction, power, automotive construction, agriculture, road and bridge building,

military technology and infrastructure development, refinery investments, and other

heavy duty machinery. This ever-widening vortex of hunger for steel and iron ore is an

opportunity for local and international investors to participate in the consolidation and

expansion of Africa’s largest economy. Our optimism is also informed by the fact that

current local producers are meeting less than 25 percent of demand.

The overarching objective of our recently developed draft roadmap is a beneficiation

strategy that would see us encouraging value-addition to our minerals, particularly

industrial minerals, largely for local consumption. This is a strategy that has worked for

us in the past with the beneficiation of limestone. Deposits of Limestone abound in

Sokoto, Gombe, Benue, Kogi, Edo, Oyo, Ebonyi, Ogun and Cross River States. Domestic

annual demand is About 18 Million Tons with eight cement companies operating in

Nigeria. Even though Nigeria has had known endowments in limestone and gypsum for

decades, this did not result in self-sufficiency in cement production until local

producers like Dangote Group, BUA Group, Lafarge Plc e.t.c. were encouraged through

deliberate government policy to increase local production.

Today, with an aggressive import substitution strategy via the local manufacturing of

cement, the local cement manufacturers have moved Nigeria from being a net-importer

of cement to a net-exporter in less than a decade. Almost $10 bn was saved in foreign

exchange over the last ten years, with $2bn in savings in 2014 alone. The Dangote

Group alone is projected to earn over $600m in 2016 from cement exports. The cement

industry today has created jobs for thousands of Nigerians, and continues to contribute

to the economic prosperity of several host communities.

We are working with all stakeholders in the industry to encourage replication of the

limestone success story in the beneficiation of other industrial minerals, towards

powering the industrialization of the country.

The Proposed Growth Strategy to Unlock Our Full Potential

Before now, the sector has witnessed some positive developments since 1999.

Successive administrations have conducted reforms based on an important

philosophical principle: government as an administrator-regulator, and the

recognition of the private sector as owner-operator. Key elements of the reformist

platform include but are not limited to the following:

 Development of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007

 Development of the National Minerals and Metals Policy, 2008

 Development of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2011

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 Establishment of the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) for mineral rights

 Establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG)

 Enhanced geoscience data collection across Nigeria

 Establishment of control departments for Mines Environmental Compliance

(MEC) and Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM)

The Act and the supporting body of regulation have been designed to give Nigeria a

competitive legal and regulatory framework for the sector. For example, in the design

and set-up of the Mining Cadastre Office as the sole issuer of mineral titles today, a

great deal of effort went into understanding the best practices globally. The Cadastre’s

predecessor had overseen a cumbersome process fraught with unclear licenses, limited

control, inefficiency, opacity and long delays. For this reason, the reformed Mining

Cadastre office adopted a “first-come- first-served” and non-discretionary granting of

mineral titles rule. Today, the MCO issues 6 types of licenses and permits to cover all

activities from exploration to mineral production. Licenses can be granted in 30 – 45

days using transparent rules and regulations.

To build on the progress made so far and position the sector to unlock its full potential,

the Ministry is pursuing a focused strategic agenda. That agenda has been articulated in

a draft roadmap that will guide how we grow the industry over the next 2 decades. We

are currently finalizing the feedback process for the roadmap, with far reaching input

from key stakeholders – the final draft will soon be presented before cabinet for

ratification. Highlights of the roadmap are as follows:

 Aspiration: Our aspiration is to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem

designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for minerals and ores.

 Where to Play: We will achieve this by focusing on Nigeria’s minerals, mining and

related processing industry over a 3 phase period:

 Phase 1: Nigeria will seek to rebuild market confidence in its minerals and mining

sector and win over domestic users of industrial minerals that currently import.

During this Phase, Nigeria will also seek to expand use of its energy minerals.

This phase will likely last about 2 – 3 years.

 Phase 2: Nigeria will focus on expanding our domestic ore and mineral asset

processing industry. This phase will last about 5 to 10 years.

 Phase 3: Nigeria should seek to return to global ore and mineral markets at a

market competitive price point. We expect this to coincide with the next

 How to Win: We intend to win by building a minerals and mining sector initially

focused on using its industrial mineral endowment to support its industrialization.

Government policy should seek to support private industry by building overall

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competitiveness (e.g. quality, price, loss ratios) and improving the ease of doing

business. Nigeria should seek to create domestic demand by competing to replace

ores and minerals currently imported.  Over time, with an expansion in domestic

processing, Nigeria should seek to build a cost led sector, as well as production

expertise in select non-industrial minerals.

 Key Enablers: Finally, strategy without the appropriate set of enablers will remain

just a plan. Working alongside the private sector, other MDAs and in partnership

with the legislative branch, we will facilitate investment in a range of enablers

including bulk handling terminals, railroad and rolling stock capacity, technical and

engineering capacity, regulatory reform, reorganization of the Ministry itself, and

expansion of access to financing to drive sector transformation.

Key Success Factors and Implementation Plan

Rebuilding Nigeria’s mining sectors is a function of success on 6 key dimensions. These

1. Clear Minerals & Steel Focus: We need to ensure that our industrial and energy

minerals strategy prioritizes domestic utilization of our assets, including getting our

steel sector to provide a solid backbone for the manufacturing and industrial

economy. The recent comments by the Vice President in Kwara State regarding the

revival of our steel sector are an example of this – he restated the administration’s

determination “to bring about a faster industrialization process in the country

through the active development of the steel sector.” We are working assiduously to

once and for all resolve the Ajaokuta situation and should have some good news to

2. Institutions and Governance: We are rebuilding the organizational and

functional capabilities of the supervising Ministry, and ensure the regulatory

framework is enforced. That means for example that we revive and use the Mining

Police to protect mine sites and our reserves.

3. Stakeholder Engagement: We are improving the engagement of states,

particularly around financial participation, revenue sharing, and recognizing the

oversight of the federal government. We will also work hard to ensure that all

parties recognize their social responsibilities so we avoid issues similar to the oil

4. Industry participants: We are working to attract a diverse portfolio of

participants from artisanal miners to junior explorers to mining majors, into the

industry. Our goal is to build a sector that is competitive and which supports the

investment objectives of a broad section of the investing community.

5. Geosciences data and information: Improving our collection and

dissemination of geosciences data is also a critical enabler of success. Nigeria needs

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to know what it has and in what grades and quantities in order to plan more

effectively. This is particularly important to investors.

6. Access to Finance: We have commenced a systematic effort to build knowledge

and confidence among Nigerian financial institutions to support mining projects. In

addition, we are repositioning the Nigerian Solid Minerals Investment Fund

towards fulfilling its mandate. The fund is structured as a private sector oriented

investment outfit to provide financing to private sector-led projects in the mining

7. Enabling environment: Finally, we must also create the appropriate

environment to support enterprise. That will require building technical and

managerial skills, and capabilities locally to ensure the steady supply of talent

required by the sector in the future, as well as investing in infrastructure, gender

equity, and improved access to finance.

We now have a Mining Investment Strategy Team (MIST) in the Ministry to oversee the

work required to deliver success. The team is drawn from a mix of the Ministry and

outside talent to ensure we stay focused on execution and results without distracting

from the core regulatory role of government. We will be providing quarterly updates on

our successes and challenges, with an initial focus on getting domestic industrial

Should Nigeria successfully follow through with the implementation of the

recommendations, growth is expected to return to the sector in the form of new

exploration activity, operations and production from active mining, functional (and

expanded) processing and refining capacity, and higher value-addition in exports. The

net outcome will be the creation of thousands of direct jobs and potentially hundreds of

thousands of indirect jobs. We anticipate contribution to mining GDP to exceed $25

billion by 2026 as industries are better able to use the output of the sector, substituting

for imports. Analysis conducted by major stakeholders in the solid minerals sector, the

Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, also indicates that we can generate at least

N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits.

Towards a New Paradigm in Natural Resource Management

We are open for business but it is no longer business as usual. More than half a century

of oil exploration activities in Nigeria has yielded painful and costly lessons on the

necessity of sustainable resource management and ecologically-friendly, socially-

responsible extractive endeavours. We are determined not to repeat the tragic errors of

This is why even as we have our eyes set on accelerated industrialisation, ecological

justice is one of the major planks of our approach to the repositioning of the solid

minerals sector. We will ensure investors comply with global best practices in resource

extraction by integrating all relevant protocols on environmental conservation in the

conduct of mining and all related business. This approach is informed by our belief that

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the environment itself is a resource and has to be safeguarded even as we unearth its

endowments. Our goal is to provide a better deal for the local communities where these

minerals are located, ensuring genuine communal buy-in and benefit.

Transparency is also a key consideration in how the mining industry is now being run.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently joined other world leaders to commit to Open

Governance and Transparency principles – transparency in the extractives industry is

crucial to that commitment. For me as the Chairperson of the Nigerian Extractives

Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), this is an additional mandate. We are

fostering a culture of openness which will, in turn, elicit the trust of all stakeholders.

We do invite and certainly expect British investors to come into the Nigerian mining

space, working with players in the Nigerian business community to take advantage of

this new frontier of opportunity. Opportunities abound and we look forward to further

engaging those interested in entering into, or deepening their participation in the

Our ambition goes beyond just extraction and exportation. We aim to create a globally

competitive sector capable of contributing to wealth creation, jobs creation and the

advancement of our social and human security. It is also to create a new culture of

sustainable natural resource management that results in a win-win situation for all of

us – communities, partners and investors at home and abroad.

London, United Kingdom | Thursday, June 30, 2016





Lord Avebury



As the United Kingdom grapples with the full implication of her recent decision to leave the European Union, it is most appropriate to celebrate the life of one of Britain’s most

distinguished international human rights campaigners, the longest serving Liberal Democrat peer in the British House of Lords – Eric Lubbock, Fourth Baron Avebury, whose thanksgiving memorial takes place today at the Royal Institution in London.

I first met Lord Avebury in 1992 in the company of my colleagues, the late Tajudeen Abdul-

Raheem and Olu Oguibe – of the New Nigeria Forum and our Ghanaian comrades in exile – at a time that the storm was feverishly gathering pace against the Babangida led military junta in Nigeria. That initial meeting in 1992 found us the most reliable supporter of our work in the hallowed halls of the British parliament. Lord Avebury was quite a phenomenon in British politics since he entered with a bang in 1962 when he pulled the most remarkable swing of 22 percent in British elections, taking over the Orpington seat in Kent from the Conservatives in that historic bye-election. His election signaled the revival of the Liberals in the British Parliament and became the bye-word for remarkable swings in bye-elections. He soon distinguished himself in parliament and barely one year into his membership of the House of Commons, he became the Chief Whip of the Liberals. In 1964, he became a member of the Speaker’s Commission on Electoral Law. He also served on the Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life (1974 – 76). He left the House of Commons in 1970 after eight meritorious years and gained hereditary peerage as the Fourth Baron Avebury in 1971, a position he held until death came calling this year. In the Lords, he was the Liberals’ Spokesman on Immigration and Race Relations (1971 – 83) and later one of Liberal Democrat’s spokespersons on Foreign Affairs, speaking on conflict and human rights.

Although a brilliant constituency MP and a passionate liberal peer, what set him apart from other parliamentarians was his unrelenting commitment to human rights, first as Chairman of the Parliamentary Civil Liberties Group which subsequently transformed to the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, which Lord Avebury chaired for 21 years (1976 – 1997), during which he chalked up a legendary reputation for self-sacrifice in the pursuit and protection of human rights across the world. Lord Avebury’s efforts in this regard opened up possibilities for many in distress through the opportunities for redress provided by him and a growing international coalition against tyranny. Lord Avebury raised the human rights thrust of his parliamentary advocacy above and beyond mere moralism, visiting no fewer than 35 countries (including Nigeria) for human rights and conflict resolution purposes. From Aceh in Indonesia to Kurdistan in Turkey, Ogoniland in Nigeria to the ethnic minorities seeking British nationality in Hong Kong, Lord Avebury’s Flodden Road’s home in Camberwell became a compulsory port of call for many human rights defenders, liberation fighters and political leaders from around the world.

In the period that I developed a close friendship with Lord Avebury, he met many of our own leaders – rights activists including Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, late Alao Aka Bashorun, Beko Ransome Kuti, Ken Saro Wiwa, Femi Falana, Ayo Obe, Olisa Agbakoba, Chidi Odinkalu and several others and politicians including the late Chief MKO Abiola, NADECO leaders in exile such as the late Chief Antony Enahoro, late Senator Abraham Adesanya, Air Cdre Dan Suleiman (rtd), General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief John Oyegun, Chief Raph Uwechue, Dr Akingba, Honourable Wale Oshun to name a few. Others like the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu also came calling and he offered his listening ear to all.Even Nigerian government, represented in the UK then by Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji and later Ambassador Uche Okeke equally had access to him.

Born on 29 th September 1928, Eric Lubbock was educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Canada, Harrow School in London before studying Engineering at Balliol College, Oxford University. He served as a Lieutenant in the Welsh Guards upon leaving Oxford andsubsequently worked at Rolls Royce as Production Engineer and Manager between 1951 and 1960. Clearly a product of privilege, his father was the First Baron Avebury and his mother was the daughter of the Fifth Baron Sheffield, he downplayed this illustrious background to advocate the cause of the oppressed and marginalized around the world. His remarkable public profile as a moral force shone more glaringly once governments anywhere in the world repressed the desire of their citizens to live in a society governed by constitutional rule of law and devoid of fear or coercion. With a life premised on the tenet of justice as the first condition of humanity, it is no exaggeration to describe him as one of the most dogged fighters for rights in the globe. Working as his Africa adviser in the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, one could not but notice his quiet but steely resolve, his admirable work ethic, punctuality, frugal life and conduct, personal discipline and diligence with records, all of which make him a model worthy His human rights activism was clearly values driven yet devoid of ideological grand standing. His methods were self-effacing, information technology savvy, clinically detailed and informed by comprehensive research perhaps due to his engineering background and extremely efficient.

He spoke truth to power, no matter the cost but I found his ability to relate across spectra

without compromising his principles truly remarkable. He was very much at home with the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the intellectual and the common man. A humanist to the core, he abhorred religiousity but was committed to secular Buddhism. To those who were familiar with Lord Avebury, we all know he must be turning in his grave as current events unfoldin the United Kingdom. As a renowned promoter of multi-culturalism and positive racerelations, he would have been unequivocal in his criticism of the dastardly race baiting that has accompanied the Leave campaign of the Brexit movement. Little wonder then that he was the first recipient of the Ahmaddiya International Moslems Peace Prize in 2009 even though he was.

Although Eric Avebury lived till the ripe old age of 87, one cannot but feel a deep sense of

personal loss at his demise. As a beneficiary of his work and as his mentee, I cannot thank him enough on behalf of myself and my family, the democracy movement in Nigeria in particular and the global human rights movement. It was a delight that Lord Avebury took time out to visit Nigeria after democracy returned. In the year 2005, he delivered an inspiring lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos on the occasion of my fortieth birthday and also took the opportunity to reconnect with his old friends in the Nigerian human rights and democracy movement, particularly the late Dr Beko Ransome Kuti and the then Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Even when his health started to fail, he still managed to keep in touch by email monitoring my own political journey, asking about the state of the Nigerian nation and the human rights situation in Nigeria.

Lord Avebury is gone but he cannot be forgotten – which is what inspires our present gathering today. He lived in a manner that was unique and transparently self-less. It is our duty to continue to celebrate his life and times while advancing the cause of justice and global human rights. Our hearts go to Lindsay – his widow and the entire Lubbock family.

Good bye my Lord. We shall miss you greatly.

Tribute given at the Memorial Thanksgiving of Lord Eric Avebury at the Royal Institution in London, United Kingdom on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Dr Fayemi is Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development.

Ex-NAF chief returns N2.6b to FG Via [THE NATION] | June 30th 2016




Ex-NAF chief returns N2.6b to FG

Via [THE NATION]  | June 30th 2016

The Federal High Court in Lagos heard on Wednesday that a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), charged with laundering N21 billion, has returned N2.6 billion to the Federal Government.

His lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while arguing Amosu’s bail application after his arraignment before Justice Mohammed Idris, said his client had returned “colossal sums” to the federal government.

The Nation gathered from a reliable source that Amosu returned N2.6 billion to the government.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Amosu alongside a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting at NAF, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget at NAF, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

Companies arraigned with them are – Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil And Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Limited, Deegee Oil and Gas Limited, Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care Limited.
EFCC accused them of converting N21 billion from the NAF on March 5, 2014 in Lagos.

They were also accused of concealing “proceeds of crime” and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 17(a).

Arguing the bail application, Ayorinde said his client, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, has always cooperated with the prosecution since his arrest in January and would not jump bail.

“He has remitted colossal sums of money to the federal government, although not in admittance of guilt, but out of cooperation with security agencies.

“My application is that bail be granted to the first defendant on self-recognisance. Let those terms be liberal. He has been reporting to the EFCC, sometimes twice a week. The first defendant will make himself available for trial,” the Senior Advocate said.

Adigun’s lawyer, Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN), also, urged the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms.

Why Buhari ordered arrest of close ally and arms panel member, Umar!!!

Why Buhari ordered arrest of close ally and arms panel member, Umar

PremiumTimes Reports…

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the arrest of a key member of the panel investigating the mismanagement of public funds meant for the war against Boko Haram after receiving damning reports that he was involved in alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms, reliable security and presidency sources have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Despite being his close ally and loyalist, Mr. Buhari okayed the arrest of Mohammed Umar, after perusing reports alleging that the retired Air Force officer ran a blackmailing and extortion cartel, officials said.

Mr. Umar was arrested last week as operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) raided his Abuja home.

Those familiar with the matter said before moving against the retired officer, the Director General of the SSS, Lawal Daura, met with Mr. Buhari where he tabled reports suggesting that the panel member had been busy using the name of the president and other top officials of the administration to intimidate, extort and blackmail individuals and businesses.

“The president became worried and jittery when he was confronted with the way a man he trusted had been behaving,” a presidency source said. “So he ordered that he should be picked up while the allegations against him are thoroughly investigated.”

Security sources told this newspaper that documents seized from Mr. Umar’s residence during a raid on June 19 included classified documents from the president’s office, details of government transactions from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and details of bank transactions belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser.

A document containing details of disbursements made to the Nigerian armed forces and security agencies was also recovered during the raid.

Mr. Umar retired as an air commodore in the Nigerian Air Force in January 2014. While in service, he headed the Air Force’s Holding Company as well as the Air Force Properties Limited.

He retired into enormous wealth, officials involved in the investigations said.

Currently, he has six companies, including a private jet company with a fleet size of 10 aircraft, officials said.

Security sources also said he is also one of Abuja’s biggest property owners.

“Many top government functionaries live in his houses in Abuja,” a security source said. “He also has properties in Dubai and London.”

Ally or double agent?

Mr. Umar became a close ally of President Buhari shortly after the 2015 elections.

Armed with a cache of information on Nigeria’s security contracts during the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan, he soon became a key figure in the president’s investigative committee on arms procurement.

“He suggested most members of the panel,” another presidential source told PREMIUM TIMES.

However, investigators said Mr. Umar’s swift rise to relevance in President Buhari’s administration was beginning to raise concerns regarding whether the new administration failed to conduct a thorough background check on him, or simply ignored the man’s past.

Officials said Mr. Umar was one of the first military officers to be arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission just years after the anti-graft agency was established.

He was detained for salary and procurement fraud in the Air Force, but the matter was later handed over to the military for trial, those familiar with the matter said.

Our sources said Mr. Umar was compelled to make refunds, and the matter was brushed aside allowing the man to return to the force.

Multiple officials told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Umar’s stupendous wealth has always confounded several of his colleagues.

“As far back as 20 years ago, when his annual salary couldn’t afford a car, Mr. Umar had a private jet,” one source said.

Married to the daughter of a former Nigerian petroleum minister, Rilwan Lukman, Mr. Umar ran local and international businesses while he served in the Nigerian Air Force, one source said.

Cash Only

According to court documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Umar carried out his recent deals in cash only.

Despite owning a private jet company and multiple real estates across the world, the total amount traced to his bank accounts was only N165 million.

The total value of currencies evacuated from his residence during the raid was at least N300 million.

Security officials believe he received the cash payments – in breach of the money laundering law.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether the cash were proceeds of illicit deals and influence peddling.

Those close to him told PREMIUM TIMES that part of the cash taken from Mr. Umar’s home were payments for services rendered by his private jet company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited – from two cargo flights from Nairobi to Houston and Nairobi to Hong Kong.

Investigators said they are working to verify the claims.

Other properties seized from the retired officer’s home during the raid include 13 luxury cars – One Range Rover, two Rolls Royce, two Bentleys, one BMW 7-series, one Mercedes 5550, one Lexus Sports, one Audi R8 and one Porsche Panamera GTs.

As of Monday, Mr. Umar was still held at the State Security Service detention centre in Abuja as security officials continued with investigations into the matter.

The presidency refused to comment for this story saying it was within the scope of the National Security Adviser (NSA).