The group managing director of the NNPC, the Minister of Works and Housing, the Inspector General of Police, and others, after the meeting reeled out all the plans in place to ensure a yuletide with no scarcity of petroleum products.
“We are here today to take stock of our readiness for the festive period, particularly in terms of supplies and distribution of petroleum products across the country, so that this festive period will be enjoyed by Nigerians without any hitch, particularly during the Christmas and New Year.
“We are assuring Nigerians that the NNPC has made arrangement to make adequate supply of petroleum products. If there are any issue, we have come together with other agencies of government to ensure those issues are resolved to ensure Nigerians have a very merry Christmas this year,” NNPC GMD Mr Mele Kyari said.
Also during the meeting, security plans and palliatives by the Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure safe journeys were discussed.
Fashola revealing the palliatives for roads said, “The Ministry of Works and Housing has a supporting role to play here. While construction work is ongoing on some of the routes used for moving cargo, we have met with our contractors and directed them to provide some palliatives to ease the movement of trucks and tankers.
“Some of these routes include Benin-Auchi-Okene; Warri-Sapele-Benin; Ilorin-Jebba Road; and Calabar-Itu Road.
“This is essentially to say we are giving everybody the support we can to ease the problem of moving fuel during the period.”
On the security plans for the season, the IG said adequate personnel would be deployed to beef up security during and after the season.
“December is a festive period, a period when Nigerians in the diaspora will be coming to their homeland with their families. It is expected that every Nigerian is provided with adequate security for his life and property.
“We have increased the labour of security and dedicated some officers to make sure that products are moved freely without any attempt to divert products from where that are supposed to go.”
Other stakeholders present at the meeting were the National Association of Road Transport Owners and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.
Ministers on the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday stormed the courtroom as tribunal rules on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Atiku Abubakar.
They include Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige; Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Festus Keyamo; Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
Also present in court is President Buhari’s Chief Of Staff, Abba Kyari who was a witness for the president at the tribunal.
Some state governors were also in attendance. They include Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, among others.
The main opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is also represented as the Chairman, Uche Secondus is in attendance. Adam Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC was also in the courtroom filled with many other top individuals.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dismissed the speculations that Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, ordered the probe of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The anti-graft agency said in a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, that the investigation was based on evidence and not on political considerations.
EFCC added that the evidence was triggered by petitions and intelligence.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to reports by a section of the media, insinuating that the ongoing investigation of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita by the Commission was instigated by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari.
“The Commission wishes to state that there is no truth in these claims, and urges the general public to disregard the reports as the handiwork of mischief-makers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the investigation by the EFCC is evidence-based. Most often, they are triggered by petitions or intelligence. In the case of the HoS, Oyo- Ita’s investigation, it was prompted by intelligence received by the Commission.”
The EFCC according to the statement is an independent agency created by law to fight corruption without fear or favour. In the discharge of its mandate, the Commission does not take instructions from extraneous bodies neither will it lend itself to be used to settle scores by anyone.
The President has directed the incoming ministers to channel all requests for meetings with him through his Chief of Staff, Mr Abba Kyari.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive on Tuesday at the end of the Presidential Retreat for ministers-designate, presidential aides and other top government functionaries at the State House in Abuja.
“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),” he was quoted as saying in the speech published by his media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina.
The President reminded the appointees of the task ahead of them and urged the new ministers to engage and benefit from the experience of their colleagues who serve in his cabinet during his first tenure.
According to him, the service to the nation is not easy work and can be unappreciated at times.
President Buhari asked all the incoming members of his cabinet to see the opportunity to serve as an honour and give their best to deliver on the mandate.
He also stressed the need for working collaboratively and purposefully to achieve quicker results, adding that four years should not be seen as a very long time.
In a separate statement, Mr Adesina noted that the two-day retreat came to an end with a charge from the President to the ministers-designate to rise to the challenging responsibilities of the office.
The final day, according to him, kicked off with a presentation on Cabinet Processes and Procedures, by the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha.
This was followed by a presentation by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on aligning government policies with the ideology, manifesto and campaign promises of the ruling party.
Subsequent presentations touched on budgeting, civil service reforms, public procurement, the relationships between ministers and permanent secretaries, and effective partnerships between executive, legislature and state governments.
In his remarks, Mr Mustapha announced the introduction of a new Cabinet Memorandum Review and Approval Process.
According to him, this is aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of government decision-making and policy implementation, as well as increasing coordination and coherence within the government.
The ministers-designate will be sworn in on Wednesday, August 21 at the State House, after which they will be allocated portfolios by the President.
Read the closing speech by the President at the event below:
CLOSING CHARGE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RETREAT FOR MINISTERS – DESIGNATE, PRESIDENTIAL AIDES AND OTHER TOP GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONARIES, HELD AT THE STATE HOUSE, ABUJA, TUESDAY, 20TH AUGUST 2019
After two days, we have come to the end of a successful retreat. However, you will agree that our work is just beginning.
These last two days have been very instructive for me personally, because I have had the opportunity to know many of you new ministers-designate better. I was also pleased to see that you have all equally enjoyed debating and deliberating on the various challenges before us over the next four years.
Ladies and gentlemen, majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare.
Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people. As I mentioned yesterday, this Administration inherited many challenges from our predecessors to mention a few:
A country in which 18 local governments in the Northeast were under the control of Boko Haram;
Decayed infrastructure in which our rail lines and roads had severely deteriorated;
A rent-seeking economy that depended largely on oil revenues and imports;
Significant unpaid pensions, subsidy debts, legacy contractor debts. I can go on and on.
In our first term, we laid the foundation to rebuild our country. We recaptured those 18 Local Governments previously held by Boko Haram, whose activities are now limited to sporadic attacks against soft targets.
Our investments in road and rail infrastructure are without precedent, and many of you can attest to this. We also focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialisation.
Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind.
Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days.
Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.
We have discussed solutions relating to addressing insecurity; macroeconomic stability; agriculture and food security; energy security for petroleum products and electricity; transportation and critical infrastructure; industrialisation and SME development; human capital development; social inclusion; anti-corruption; housing financing and consumer credit.
Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am, therefore, charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.
You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognising that four years is not a very long time.
For the new ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older ministers and former governors in the cabinet.
In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
I would like to thank the Office of the SGF for coordinating this successful Presidential Retreat. I would also like to thank the National Assembly leadership, the party chairman, chairman of the Governors’ Forum, and resource firms, for the active engagements and contributions.
Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr Abba Kyari has told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal that he collected the certificates of President Muhammadu Buhari from Cambridge.
He said this in his testimony as the third defence witness for the President who opened his case against the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Tribunal.
Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President, made the statement when he was cross-examined by the counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Lateef Fagbemi.
He said he has been the Chief of Staff to the President since August 27, 2015, adding that all his communication with President Buhari has been in English Language.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, on Tuesday appeared as a defence witness at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.
Mr Kyari mounted the witness stand as the third witness when President Muhammadu Buhari opened his defence against the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Tribunal.
He said he has been the Chief of Staff to the President since August 27, 2015 and since then, all President Buhari’s addresses to the nation has been in English Language.
The presidential aide also confirmed that all his communication with President Buhari has been in English Language.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman (SAN), asked Mr Kyari to read a Facebook congratulatory message which was written after the President emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-appointment of Mr Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and Malam Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff (COS) to the President.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
He added that both appointments take effect from May 29, 2019.
Mustapha and Kyari’s re-appointments is coming less than 24hrs after the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) initiated a suit seeking to stop President Buhari’s aides from retaining their offices without formal announcement reappointing them
CUPP on Thursday challenged the continued stay in office by some aides of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Spokesperson of the group, Imo Ugochinyere, said, “We, therefore, warn all the former Presidential aides of President Buhari, from the first term, to stay away from their former offices until and unless they are armed with fresh appointment letters or risk criminal prosecution, and trial for violation of the code of conduct bureau act.”.
Mr Garba Shehu has described the bribery allegation against the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, as the work of some opponents of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Shehu said this on Sunday in an interview with Channels Television, one day after a report emerged that Mr Kyari allegedly received a bribe of N29m to award a contract.
“From our own point of view, we think that the Presidency is coming under attack for the fact that we are approaching an election,” said the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity during the interview on Sunday Politics.
“And this is a government that has maintained a corruption-free image all through.”
He disclosed that Mr Kyari has decided to brief his lawyers and to sue the media outfit that published the story, noting that enough opportunity was given to weigh the facts and investigate the allegation.
The presidential aide wondered why such report was published at a time when the general elections were a few months away.
He argued that the present administration was being attacked because President Muhammadu Buhari has stopped several wrongdoings in the country through his anti-corruption campaign.
“This is an administration that has stopped so much wrongdoing. In this country,” Shehu said. “There is a huge number of citizens who have fed fat on the system without doing just anything to justify their drawing enormous benefit from the nation’s treasury.”
He added, “The President has stopped all of that and the thing that is happening is that people who are being deprived, who have this sense of entitlement that the treasury is their birthright, are just looking for people to hunt and to shoot down.”
Mr Shehu also spoke about the nomination and expression of interest forms bought for the President by a group of his supporters.
He assured Nigerians that although the forms have not been presented to President Buhari, the President would always be guided in doing the right thing.
The Presidency has condemned the report which alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mr Abba Kyari, received a bribe of N29m to award a contract.
Hours after the report emerged on Saturday, the Presidency faulted the allegation in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
“The Presidency takes strong offence to the improbable and outlandish publication,” the statement said, adding, “We wish to state with full authority that the allegation is wrong and the Chief of Staff did not have any private meetings with the person making those allegations.”
It stressed, “What is even more surprising is the decision by the newspaper to run the cooked up lies despite obvious loopholes in the story, such as the Bureau of Public Procurement’s denial that a major source for the story was a member of their staff.”
With five months to the general elections, the Presidency accused some politicians of working to build pressure on the Muhammadu Buhari administration by wielding scandals it said do not exist against it.
It said the supply of 15 Hilux vehicles for the Presidency as claimed was an unlikely contract to have been awarded, noting that the contract did not exist anywhere in the 2016 and 2017 budgets.
“Checking the appropriation for 2016 and 2017, that request is not even there. How could Abba Kyari have asked for money to award a contract that did not exist anywhere at all?” the Presidency questioned.
“In addition to that, the amount allegedly given in bribe was also suspicious, as the office of the presidential aide had been known in the past to receive imprest of 200 million naira and above every month, with no one expected to give account. It was only since Abba Kyari occupied that position that things changed,” it said.
The Presidency argued that it was difficult to make a case of N29m bribery against an official “who spurned a monthly payment of N200 million to his office, money for which he didn’t need to account to anyone.”
The statement also asked the media to ensure they do not rush to publish accusations against government officials without verifying them diligently as required by their profession.
It also decried that the allegations against Mr Kyari were weak accusations, saying the presidential aide has resolved to seek justice in court.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has constituted a board of senior officers to investigate the accidental air strike on January 17, 2017 at Rann village, Borno State.
Among its terms of reference, the Board is to determine the immediate and remote cause as well as the circumstances that led to the incident.
A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, reads: “This is with a view to forestall future occurrence. In addition to a list of 20 witnesses given to it, the Board is free to invite other persons to give evidence on oath.
“The Board is to submit its report not later than February, 2, 2017.
“The 6-man Board is headed by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (HQ NAF), Air Vice Marshal Salihu Balaribah.
“Other members are Air Vice Marshal Charles Oghomwen, Air Commodore Ayoola Jolasinmi, Group Captain Essien Efanga, Wing Commander Solomon Irmiya and Wing Commander Mohammed Muazu.
It was a solemn moment, as the sponsor of the motion, which came as a motion of urgent public importance, Representative Sani Zorro, appealed to the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to visit the scene and assess the situation on ground.
Lawmakers, who contributed to the lengthy debate that followed, described the incident as a sad development that must be investigated.
This resolution enjoyed the support of the House and was approved unanimously.
It was an incident that Nigerians are still coming to terms with, even though the military has said that the incident was a regrettable one.
Several of the injured persons are receiving treatment at different hospitals in the capital city, Maiduguri, with an official of the state government saying 54 of them are in stable condition.
After the debate on the issue, the House resolved to send a 10-man committee to visit the scene and assess the situation on ground.
A minute silence was also observed in honour of those who lost their lives in the incident.
The Presidency in Nigeria has cleared the air over the controversy trailing the treatment of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
Spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, explained that Mr Kyari did not use the funds of the Nigeria High Commission in the United Kingdom to pay his medical bills in the European Nation.
He noted in a statement he issued on Monday that the allegations contained in a report published by an online news medium, were totally incorrect, misleading and a total fabrication.
Mr Shehu’s statement read: “The Nigeria High Commission in London did not at any time ever settle the medical bills or any other bills for that matter as Abba Kyari personally took responsibility for paying his own bills. This is by the Chief of Staff’s choice. He pays for his medicals, his taxi and accommodation in the UK, in spite of the high office he occupies, even when there is no rule that says he cannot be catered for by government.
“For the records, Kyari was rushed out of Nigeria for an emergency medical treatment on the fateful December 1, 2016. To receive him on arrival, the Wellington Hospital needed to have cash deposited, or in the absence of this, a letter of guarantee.
“In order to meet this condition, the Nigeria High Commission in London wrote the Letter of Guarantee to the hospital for treatment to commence. The role of the High Commission didn’t involve financial commitments on behalf of Kyari.
“The Letter of Guarantee from the High Commission was meant to meet the routine requirements of the Wellington Hospital since the patient in question (Kyari) didn’t possess the UK National Health Insurance.
“Apart from senior government officials, other reputable Nigerians are issued with such guarantee letters to hospitals. A guarantor is not liable unless there is a default, but this wasn’t the case with Abba Kyari who paid all his medical bills by himself as he had done on previous occasions.
“Hospital records are available for verification to show that the Nigeria High Commission in London didn’t spend a penny on Kyari, as its involvement didn’t go beyond the issuance of the letter of guarantee to the Wellington Hospital”.