The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has faulted reports by Transparency International about corruption in the country and how such reports are perceived.
Adesina said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s special Independence Programme on Monday.
“We have spoken many times about that ranking and my position is that that ranking is not strictly about government, it is about Nigeria and her people,” said Adesina when asked about Nigeria’s fall from 136 to 148 on TI’s Corruption Perception Perception Index (CPI) for 2017, two years after the time the Federal Government started its anti-corruption war.
He added, “Some people want to make it seem as if it is a vote of no confidence in government or it is a lower mark for the government. I don’t agree, I think it is a lower mark for the people because the people constitute the country.
“And if things do not seem to have worked as they should work, the people also have part of the blame.”
The Presidency had rejected the Corruption Perception Index when it was released in February and Mr Adesina suggested it would not be taking such reports seriously.
“As much as I respect Transparency International, I don’t think we necessarily need them to authenticate what is going on in the country; because we, Nigerians, know that there is a war against corruption ongoing and that war is succeeding.
“There are strides being taken. It may not be there yet, and we are not there, but we are on the way there. So, let no agency from any part of the world come to think that whatever it says is the gospel to us.”
Mr Femi Adesina has criticised those who are saying President Muhammadu Buhari tolerating the attacks carried out by suspected herdsmen in the country.
Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, believes such comments are very unfair to President Buhari and his government.
“Something that is disturbing that I’ve heard about it is linking those developments (attacks) to the fact that a Fulani man is president and so, he’s (Buhari) brooking such kind of evil act. I think that is very unkind,” he said in a video on social media.
The presidential aide recalled that herdsmen attacks have been occurring before his principal took over government and wondered whether such critics were in Nigeria then.
According to him, more than 700 persons were allegedly killed by herdsmen before the All Progressives Congress (APC) came into power in 2015.
Giving a breakdown of the figures, he said: “In 2013 particularly, there were nine cases of herdsmen invading communities in Benue State alone and more than 190 people were killed.
“In 2014, there were about 16 of such tragic developments with more than 231 people killed and then there was a change of government in May 2015. But between January and May 2015, there were six attacks which left about 335 people dead.
“Now the question is during that period, do we have a Fulani president? This is showing us that the issue of herdsmen attacking settlements, attacking communities, attacking farmers is pure criminality and it is something that government must deal with.”
Adesina said it is the duty of government to preserve the lives of the citizen and assured Nigerians that President Buhari’s administration is committed to maintaining law and order.
“Therefore, let nobody say all this is happening because we have a Fulani president,” he added.
.@femadesina: It is unkind and incorrect to suggest or insinuate that President @MBuhari condones the attacks in Benue. The President is determined to bring an end to the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice. pic.twitter.com/7lOD6fTBqO
On the steps taken to prevent further attacks, the President’s spokesman said eight people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the Benue killings and are already before the courts.
He also said the killing of the mastermind of the Omoku killings has sent a strong warning to evil doers that the law would surely catch up with them.
“News came from the security forces that the man who masterminded the Omoku killings in Rivers State had been killed. He was killed along with some of his other confederates,” Adesina said.
“After the killings he had escaped to Enugu in Enugu state but the long hands of the law eventually caught up with him and what this tells us is that eventually, there will be a payday for evildoers.
“Whether they be kidnappers, whether they be armed robbers, whether they be herders; whoever they are, as long as you do evil, as long as you shed human blood, as long as you engage in wanton killing; the long arms of the law will catch up with you.”
Presidency in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina insisted that the documentary will be aired, describing the criticism about the timing as malicious.
The president’s spokesman, said fault-finding is the stock-in-trade of such people, and if the critics mistakenly find themselves in heaven, they would even complain against God.
”The reactions mainly dwell on the fact that a documentary showing the human side of the President (as against the well-known iron and steel) is coming at a time there is severe fuel scarcity in the country and I say, why not? Is life all about doom and gloom? Must we sit in ashes and wear sackcloth perpetually, and ignore the brighter side of life? God forbid!”
Adesina insists that the current fuel crisis is a deliberate mischief and sabotage by some marketers, who want to force the hands of government to increase the pump price. He assured Nigerians that the government is working to restore normalcy.
“The current fuel crisis is a combination of snafu (situation normal all fouled up) in the distribution process of petrol (which the NNPC admitted at the onset of the problem), and deliberate mischief and sabotage by some marketers, who want to force the hands of government to increase the pump price,” Adesina said.
He said further that the situation is compounded by hoarding of products and panic buying. He said despite the temporal pains, life must continue, and we must look at the cheery side, while the government works hard to bring succour.
The Presidency has once again rejected claims that President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments are lopsided and favour northerners.
“It is, indeed, false for anyone to say that President Buhari’s appointments are lopsided. From all records, majority of the President’s appointees across different portfolios are not from the North,” a statement on Saturday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, read in part.
The statement was issued in reaction to a report published by Business Day on October 29, in which 81 of 100 of the President’s appointees were identified as northerners.
According to Mr Adesina, the report contained inaccuracies which are either as a result of ignorance or a mischievous attempt to mislead the public and portray the Buhari administration in bad light.
“To claim, suggest or attempt to insinuate that the President’s appointments are tilted in favour of a section of the country is simply untrue and certainly uncharitable,” he said.
The inaccuracies in the report, he said, included the misidentification of the heads of some agencies and the exclusion from the article of “at least 50 names of the President’s appointees” who are not from the North.
Still on the said errors in the article, Mr Adesina said, “For instance, the publication didn’t mention Sharon Ikeazor, Director-General, PTAD, who is from Anambra, South East; Folorunsho Coker, DG, NTDC; who is from Lagos, South West; Ituah Ighodalo, of the National Council of Privatisation, who is from the South-South; Eze Duru Ihioma, Chairman, NPC, who is from Imo, South East, among many others.”
He added, “The article also wrongly named Tunde Irukera as Executive Secretary of CPP,-whatever that is- instead of Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Rather conveniently, the publication ignored mentioning that Mr Emeka Nwankpa is chairman of CPC. Not only that, the writer claimed that the Director-General of the Budget Office is Aliyu Gusau, whereas Mr. Ben Akabueze is the actual DG, Budget Office.”
Adesina who said “a simple enquiry from official sources in the Presidency” would have prevented the situation, insisted that the President would continue to serve all Nigerians.
“President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to serving all Nigerians, no matter the tribe, ethnicity or region, and he is also determined to ensure that Nigeria remains strong and united. He has, and will continue to keep faith with one Nigeria and has shown this with the administration’s diverse projects in different parts of the country’s geopolitical zones,” he said.
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to fighting corruption without prejudice as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will leave no stone unturned in ensuring its success.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who stated this on Wednesday, added that Nigerians would get a feedback from the President in the case involving the embattled former pension boss, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina.
“As far as the government is concerned, it (Maina’s case) is an unravelling matter,” Adesina said in a phone interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“The last you heard officially from the government was that he was ordered to be disengaged from service and a report was asked for, that report came in and the President has it.
“So, until the President gets back to Nigerians, you can’t say the matter is closed or it is swept under the carpet,” he added.
Miana, who was accused of mismanaging of about N2 billion pension fund, was reinstated into the Federal Civil Service after he was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His reinstatement had sparked criticism from Nigerians, a development which some claimed prompted President Buhari to order his immediate dismissal.
Reacting to anticipations that the government will order a probe into the incident, Adesina said President Buhari only demanded a report on the circumstances that led to Maina’s readmittance into the public service.
“Nigerians love probe, you can’t call that a probe; he’s just asking for a report that led to the circumstance, it’s not a probe,” he insisted.
On the next action from the Presidency, the presidential aide said: “A couple of days ago you gave a timeline on the former SGF and the former DG NIA issue.”
“And you gave it point after point, dateline after dateline – from the April 19 suspension to the submission of the report on August 23, and then on October 29 you had the feedback. So, that tells you that things are never swept under the carpet in this administration; you’ll get a feedback on it,” he added.
Adesina also spoke on the leaked memo in which the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, claimed she had warned of the implication of reinstating Maina into the service when she met with the President.
He said although he had not confirmed if the meeting truly held between President Buhari and Oyo-Ita, he would not make any comment until the HoS acknowledges that the memo came from her office.
“Let her authenticate what is in the public domain that it really came from her. When she owns that memo supposedly written by her, then we’ll take it from there,” he said.
In this interview with Channels Television, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, spoke on the sack of former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, and other related issues.
Apart from the fact that these men have been sacked, what again do we know about the monies found in Ikoyi, and of course, is the Presidency handing over Mr Babachir Lawal to the agencies prosecuting?
From your word, you asked ‘is the Presidency handing over?’ it doesn’t take the Presidency to hand over, rather it takes the security agencies to do the proper thing; to follow up. The Presidency does not interfere in the works of the works of the security agencies, they know what they should do at any given time. So, the onus is on them to do the next thing.
What more can you tell us about the report submitted by the Vice President’s committee?
All I’ll just say is that the President, once again, has shown himself to be a painstaking and a thorough person; somebody who would ensure that the right thing is done at any given time, somebody who does not play to the gallery. He got that report on August 23, it came in six volumes – yes, there was an executive summary but apart from that executive summary, with a fine-tooth comb, he went through the main report and today we have got his conclusions about the report and the recommendations. It shows that the ‘mill of the gods’, like they say, may grind slowly but they grind finely.
You’ve still not told us what exactly is in that report, can you tell Nigerians what that report contains Mr Adesina?
If look at the statement that came today which incidentally I signed, it tells you what was in that report. The statement says, ‘the President has accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation’; and then it also says, ‘the President has also accepted the recommendation to terminate the appointment of the erstwhile DG of NIA,’ and some other things will be done about NIA, there would be a three-member panel to look into the operations of that agency. So, the answer to the question you asked is already in the public domain.
The APC says, “we believe the President could not have made a better choice of Mr Boss Mustapha who they say is a competent lawyer and dedicated leader.” But I’m very certain you must have heard what the PDP is saying on the other hand, the PDP said” “the sack of Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke is totally unacceptable; we demand the immediate impeachment of President Buhari.”
I wouldn’t bother myself with what the PDP says, you know the PDP is still reeling from the effect of that 2015 defeat and it will reel from it for a long time because the PDP is down and is going to remain down for a long time to come in this country. So, I don’t bother myself with whatever they say.
Some people are talking on the sideline that the President was pressured to take a decision on Babachir Lawal, some people said that the President wasn’t going to take a decision anyway.
Then they don’t know the President. Anybody that knows this President will know that he’s a man that takes his time but when he makes up his mind, he makes it up real good. Who can pressure the President? There’s nobody that can pressure him. But I tell you as a statement of fact and the party leaders that met, they met with the President in the afternoon. The President had made up his mind and the statement was available earlier today, about mid-day and the party leaders hadn’t met with him as at that time. I tell you, nobody pressures this President into doing anything.
SERAP said this government now has a real opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of the President’s anti-corruption agenda that there would be no ‘sacred cow’ as far as the fight against corruption is concerned. One major thing that some of these organisations are asking for is prosecution, is the President working on that?
I saw the SERAP statement and it’s within the rights of SERAP to ventilate its opinion. Yes, the onus is on the security agencies to take the next step as long as they have decided that there is something to base prosecution on, but the President does not and I repeat, does not teleguide the security agencies; he allows them to do whatever is fit and proper for them to do.
What about the NIA, who is replacing Mr Ayo Oke?
That has not been determined yet. You know that a three-member panel is to be constituted to look into the operations of that agency and that stands to reason if that volume of money could be found salted away, then maybe there is a lot wrong with the way the agency had been operating. So it’s better to reorganise and refurbish entirely the operations of the agency but then, definitely, leadership will come.
Senator Shehu Sani said, ‘within the President, he handles corruption with deodorant but outside of the Presidency, he does treat it with insecticide’. With all of these issues lied in Maina’s case, what is the President doing in a case like this because some people are saying it is taking the President too long to make his decision on some of these issues?
Senator Shehu Sani, you have quoted has a right to his opinion but his opinion does not constitute gospel; is not the law of the maidens and the Persians that can never change, is his opinion. So you don’t go in quoting him as if his opinion is cast in concrete, no! it’s just an opinion and then what is the President doing about the Maina case? You know what happened, he ordered his disengagement from service and then he asked for a report on circumstances that led to his surreptitious return into service. Now, that report has gotten to the President – we’ll wait until the President gets back to us. The thing about the President is that we trusted him, we voted him to be our leader and we must maintain that confidence. That confidence that made us give him our mandate.
Is the same Presidency that said Mr Babachir Lawal was not guilty of any offence at all but it looks like the same Presidency had been proven wrong this time around. How do you think Nigerians will have confidence in the Presidency on this same matter as this?
You didn’t get it right. The President had no time said anybody was not guilty. What the President said then was that he was not given the right to defend himself. He said the procedure adopted for the indictment that came from the National Assembly was not proper; the President did not give him a clean bill of health, he only faulted the procedure.
Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and rural development, Akinwumi Adesina had announced that his $250,000 World Food Laureate Cash prize will serve as funds to African youths that are into agriculture business.
Adesina was honoured due to his commitment to boosting agriculture and food supply and for inspiring youths both as Minister of Agriculture and President of African Development Bank.
He said the $250,000 cash prize will serve as funds to support youths that are into agriculture.
“There wouldn’t be any rest for me until Africa feeds itself and for that, we need the youth. Even though I don’t have the cash in my hand, I hereby commit my $250,000, that’s a quarter of a million dollars, as a cash prize for the World Food Prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing grants, fellowship financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture as a business,” he said.
While receiving his award in Iowa, the United States on Thursday, Adesina expressed gratitude to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for nominating him as the minister.
He also thanked former President Goodluck Jonathan for giving him the opportunity to serve as a minister and President Muhammadu Buhari for his strong support to achieve the feat.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigeria remains proud of its former Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, for winning the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.
Adesina, who is the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), will today (Thursday) be presented the $250,000 prize and Laureate sculpture at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol, United States.
“I received with delight the cheery news of your award as 2017 World Food Prize Laureate,” President Buhari said in a video message.
A statement from the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, also quoted: “Certainly, this did not come to me and many Nigerians as a surprise, given your antecedents and contributions to the development of agriculture across the African continent. We are very proud of you.
“According to the World Food Prize Foundation, you won the prize for driving change in African agriculture for over 25 years and improving food security for millions across the continent.
“Your choice as the winner of the World Food Prize is a clear recognition and appreciation of your long-standing contributions, reflected in your several roles and activities which promote social economic development.
“By dint of hard work, persistence, diligent efforts, and God’s sufficient grace, you have risen above many limitations to emerge as a notable figure and a true champion. Your life story mirrors the resilience of the African spirit and doggedness for which Nigerians are well known.
“On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, I congratulate you and rejoice with you, your family and the AfDB family on this well-deserved honour.
The President of African Development Bank, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has urged African leaders to develop the Agricultural sector, saying it would make industries strive and create more jobs.
He made this known during an interview on Channels Television’s Business Morning on Wednesday.
Adesina, who was also a Minister of Agriculture, during the Jonathan Presidency said, “Africa must industrialise its Agricultural sector. If you look at the cocoa today, Africa produces 75 per cent of all the cocoa beans in the world.
“But the size of the chocolate market is $100bn and Africa’s share of that market is only two per cent. It makes no sense and so, the price of cocoa you know will always decline whenever the price of chocolate and the price of cotton that we produce a lot of lot of it decline.
“But never will the price of textile or garments or the price of coffee but you are also a big producer of will find it decline. Have you ever been to Starbucks and they tell you that the price of brewed coffee has actually gone down?” he questioned.
Reiterating his call for the continent to revamp its Agricultural sector, he added, “What we got to do is to actually industrialise the Agricultural sector. I am a firm believer in the fact that the time to do that is now.
“If you look at Nigeria where I come from, you take a look at the North of the country where we have a lot of security challenges, you look at the Northern Kenya and Mali where they have a lot of problems, what do you have in common?
“What we have in common is what I call a triangle of disaster. And a triangle of disaster basically is, whenever you find it following three factors you have terrorists operating, first extreme rural poverty.
“Second, you also have high level of rural employment among young people. You also have areas where you have climate and environmental degradation. Anywhere you find these three factors I call disaster triangle, you also find terrorists operating.
Amid renewed claims that President Muhammadu Buhari is sectional, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, appeared on Friday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.
He spoke with Seun Okinbaloye about the accusations, the controversy in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the state of the probe report on the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agencies, and other issues.
One of the major issues on the table for this Presidency is the issue of corruption in the NNPC. We have heard so many sides to this story. What can the Presidency tell us? The Vice President has said he did not sign the contracts, he signed the loans. Did the President sign the contracts?
When the Vice President of the country has spoken, there is hardly anything I will add to it. I will just say let’s work with what the Vice President has told the country.
On the issue of trying to sanitise the NNPC, what are the details of the investigation into the NNPC and the activities surrounding some of the allegations linked to it?
It’s not just the NNPC that is being sanitised or is going to be sanitised. It’s a countrywide exercise. You know that the Buhari administration came with a resolve to clean up so many areas of the country. So, it would be wrong to isolate just the NNPC. The NNPC would be part of the larger cleanup of the country.
How did the President resolve the issues between Dr Maikanti Baru and Dr Ibe Kachikwu?
The issues are still unravelling. Just yesterday we had a new perspective on the issue from the Vice President. The issue is still unravelling but I can assure you that at the end of the day it is going to be permanently and amicably sorted.
Some of the unresolved issues as regarding allegations of corruption remain big issues. Don’t forget, this is a government that says it wants to fight corruption. How is the Presidency hoping to rid itself of all of those allegations?
You have seen a rapprochement between the Minister of State for Petroleum and the GMD of NNPC. It’s just one step, many others will be taken because it is very important that as long as they continue to serve the country, serve the President in these capacities, then they must learn to work together. The issues are going to be resolved; you can rest assured of that.
You didn’t answer my question about how the Presidency resolved the issue between these two men. Was there any moment when the two men were called into the Presidency to sheath their swords?
It’s in the public domain. There have been engagements and it’s all part of a process. That process will be completed and everything will be normal.
Let me take you on one of the statements you released today about what you called deliberate twisting of President Buhari’s commendable interface with the World Bank President. Clarify this issue for us. At the meeting between the World Bank chief and the President, did the President ask the World Bank chief to focus on the northern region of the country in terms of development?
Well, it has been explained; right from the very first week that the President got into office. His first trip was to the G7 in Germany and what did he put on the table? ‘Help us to rebuild the North East. The North East has been devastated, it has been degraded by insurgency which had been there since 2009′. In 2015 when he went to the G7 meeting he said, ‘Help us, the place needs to be rebuilt’. They asked him, ‘Is it funds?’ He said he didn’t want funds so that the funds will not end up being misappropriated. He would rather that those countries send in technical expertise, send materials and help in the rebuilding of infrastructure. And then (during) the first trip to Washington, there was a meeting with World Bank and he said the same thing; ‘Help us to rebuild the North East’. And (during) all the engagements the President has had both in the country and outside it with multilateral agencies, with other governments, he has always said, ‘Help us to rebuild the North East’. Now, if you look at the transcript of the encounter between the World Bank President and the media, which now has been released and is online, the question specifically was ‘What is the World Bank doing to help Nigeria rebuild the North East? And it was the answer of the World Bank President that some sections of the media and particularly online media twisted and they used it to try to brand the President as sectional, which was uncharitable, which was unconscionable, which was downright mischievous and wicked. So, we had to issue that statement clarifying the position.
A lot of people have this perception that the President is sectional in his treatment of some issues. What is the Presidency doing to rectify this issue?
The fact that you called it perception does not mean it is 100 percent reality. It’s a perception. But then we know that perception matters. One thing we must realise is that the President has a pan-Nigerian mandate. The way the country is structured, the way our Constitution is structured, no President can emerge without winning a pan-Nigerian mandate. That was what the President won. So, it’s not easy for you to then accuse the President and sustain it that he is sectional. No, it’s not possible. If he was sectional, he would not be elected in the first place.
Is the President aware of some of the statements made by Nigerians, some of those who voted him into office, that he is sectional in some of his dealings?
If they say those things, it does not necessarily make them right. That could be allegations, that could be conjecture but it does not necessarily make them right.
But is the Presidency making efforts to correct those notions? If you have four children and one or two of them believe that you love one above the other, wouldn’t you, as a father for example, make efforts to show that you love your four children in the same manner?
Making an effort to show (that you love them equally) will not be the right thing. I think it is better to just continue to do what is proper and that is what the President is doing. He will continue to do what is fair and what is just and what is equitable.
Do you think that Mr President has been fair to all the regions in terms of appointments so far?
As much as possible and he defended that in his meeting with the South-East stakeholders today. Let me give you an example he (Buhari) cited. When the stakeholders raised the issue of appointments, they first talked about the security agencies and he told them that was an area to be careful with because, there, competence, (and) seniority are very important. If you undermine those, you could be undermining the whole security architecture itself. Then when they talked about other positions, he pointed out to them that of the five South-Eastern states four of the ministers are full ministers but in the North, core northern states – Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, he mentioned all the seven states, they had ministers of state. Even his own state, Katsina, has a minister of state. Kaduna has a minister of state, Sokoto has a minister of state. These are states that you will think will have full ministers. But from the South East, four of the five ministers are full ministers.
One other area where some Nigerians are of the opinion that the Presidency may have a bias in handling is the fight against corruption. For example, the SGF probe report has been with the President for several weeks – submitted by the Vice President. The question is when will that report be made public and the decision of the President made public?
As soon as possible, as soon as practicable, as soon as the President is done with that report. Like I have said a number of times, the President is a very meticulous person. He would not punish anybody unjustly. The report came in six volumes. Of course, there is an executive summary, but knowing this President, he would read that report page after page and when he is done with studying it, he will come out with his pronouncement.
A majority of the projects the Muhammadu Buhari administration is working on was inherited from previous administrations, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity has said.
Mr Femi Adesina said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s special Independence anniversary programme on Sunday.
“Most of the things this administration is doing – 60 to 70 percent of them – were initiated by previous governments,” he said.
“That shows you that in the past a government will come and say ‘this is not our project’ And it will discard what was being done and start fresh ones.”
As a result, Mr Adesina said there are many half and quarter-completed abandoned projects. But rather than abandon the project, he explained that the current administration will complete it.
An example is the Abuja-Kaduna rail project which the Presidential aide said was up to maybe 60 to 70 percent complete when the last administration left.
“This administration came, completed it and inaugurated it. Then you will still find some people shouting, ‘they are claiming credit for what the past administration started,” he said.
“It shows there is a mentality in Nigeria that makes governments not want to complete what previous governments have started. But this administration is not going that way at all, it is just doing what needs to be done for the good of the country.”
Another example is the Mambilla power project, which has been in the works since 1972, but has now started taking shape under this administration.
In going about its activities, Mr Adesina said the Federal Government follows due process in the awarding of contracts, stressing that projects worth above N50m will require the permission of the Federal Executive Council before such a contract can be awarded.
“One thing this government does scrupulously is to follow due process in the award of all these contracts and projects.
“Anything that is above N50m must come to the Federal Executive Council. Before the FEC will endorse any project or contract, the Bureau of Public Procurement must have signed off on that project that it is worthy to be done and the projections are good, that this government does not joke about.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, says he is unaware of whether President Muhammadu Buhari okayed the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist organisation.
Mr Adesina said this in response to questions he was asked during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday.
Secessionist group IPOB had been declared a terrorist group by the Nigerian military on Friday. Hours later, governors of the South-East proscribed the activities of the group.
The development which came amid increased tension in the South East and in some parts of the North has generated a debate. While some have defended the decision of the governors and the declaration by the military some others have criticised.
Among the critics are Senate President Bukola Saraki who declared the declaration and ban unconstitutional in a statement on Monday.
As the debate raged questions emerged about the role of President Buhari in the decision by the military with some reports suggesting he endorsed it. Asked whether the President endorsed the proscription, Mr Adesina said he had read reports online but could not confirm it.
“I read the report also online today, but it is not something I have discussed with him. So, I can’t confirm or deny whether that actually came up before he left the country,” Adesina who appeared on the programme via Skype said.
The Presidential aide is, however, certain that Nigeria would continue its push for the repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria and a seat at the UN Security Council at the ongoing UN General Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari did not focus on both issues in his speech to the General Assembly, but Adesina believes that doesn’t mean there won’t be talk about them.
On Nigeria’s push for a permanent seat on the Security Council, he said, “There is a bilateral meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) where that will also come up. Last year, it was in the speech of the President. He does not need to repeat himself year after year. That can be done at a smaller forum and it’s going to come up.”
He expects the same thing to happen with the country’s quest for the repatriation of stolen funds.
“It (talk about repatriation of funds) had come up in one meeting yesterday and it will still come up. Tomorrow, he (President Buhari) is going to hold a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, you can be sure that is going to be part of what will be discussed,” Adesina said.