But, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Mr Bagudu said the President’s directive does not preclude the idea of ranching.
“The committee is to identify grazing routes and work with states and map them. It is not to recover grazing routes, it is to identify the scale of the problem,” Mr Bagudu said.
“Mr President is interested in an audit of grazing reserves. It is a voluntary and collaborative thing with the states.
“People say we have spoken about ranching. Yes, but what is a ranch? Ranching does not take place in the air, it takes place on a piece of land.
“Ranches are as big as grazing reserves. In some countries like Australia, some ranches are bigger than some Nigerian states.
“So how do you know what’s available, what can be supported to host those roving, herding communities who need help to modernise?”
Shared public interest
When asked why the President appeared to have taken a special interest in helping herders modernise since it is a private business, Mr Bagudu said the issue is a “shared public interest.”
“We have interest historically to make our farmers do better,” he said. “That’s why we have all kinds of programs and extension services, so our farmers can do better. And it is a desirable public goal.
“So, historically, we have invested more in the farming sector, to the disadvantage of both fishing and animal husbandry.
“We want to help them (herders) modernise so Nigeria can benefit and generate more value from this important sector.
“If we can support those in the banking sector with five trillion to save the banks from collapsing, I don’t think we are doing any disservice to support our farmers, support millions in the animal husbandry sector and support our fishing communities as well.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reduction of the cost of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000 naira per bag.
The reduction was announced by the Vice Chairman of the National Food Security Council and the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu.
He disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing State House reporters in Abuja after the council met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Bagudu explained that the Federal Government’s decision to reduce the price was to ensure food security in the country.
“You are a living witness to the trend in the country. Before the program, fertilizer was sold for between N8,000 to N12,000 in 2016 and when we started the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, it was brought down to N5,500 that is the NPK and this has been the trend for three years and now the president decided to reduce it by another N500.
“So, you can sell fertilizer at N5000 to the farmers and the factory price at N4,500. This has been going on, but we have a problem with one of our key raw materials, urea that is being supplied by Indorama out of Port Harcourt,” he said.
The Nigeria government has denied reports that it is planning to hand over about $100 million of the money looted by former Head of State, Sani Abacha, to the governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu.
In court papers filed before the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington DC, as reported by Bloomberg, the United States Department of Justice claimed that the payment was part of an agreement with the governor in 2018.
But the government clarified the controversy in a statement on Saturday from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Malami explained that the family assets of Governor Bagudu, in contention with the United States, was a separate cause.
He insisted that they have nothing to do with the assets recovered under the Abacha 2014 Non-Prosecution Agreement.
The minister highlighted the transparent management and utilisation of returned assets as core components of the government’s anti-corruption drive.
According to him, the present administration is committed to independent asset recovery efforts in a manner that is consistent with domestic laws, national interest and its obligations under international law.
Malami, however, stated that the US government and the Bagudu family have been in court since 2014 over assets already rescinded under the 2003 agreement.
He insisted that the government would continue to fight the menace of corruption and engage international partners in the recovery and return of stolen assets to the country.
The minister added that the 2020 agreement would be managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and monitored by the civil society organisations.
Read the full statement below:
WE ARE NOT COMMITTED TO PAYMENT OF $100M OUT ABACHA LOOT- MALAMI
The Federal Government of Nigeria is strongly committed, in principle and practice, to fighting the menace of corruption.
A core component of Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts includes the transparent management and utilisation of returned assets as well as independent asset recovery efforts in a manner consistent with its domestic law, national interest and its obligations under international law.
President Buhari remains the first President of Nigeria to make this commitment and has never and does not plan to deviate from these commitments contrary to statements in the media.
To achieve the President’s objectives, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has engaged and continues to engage with international partners, including the United States of America, in the recovery and return to Nigeria of stolen assets.
Nigeria and the United States of America are continually cooperating in the recovery and return of those assets.
This long-standing cooperation recently culminated in the successful signing of a memorandum of understanding for the repatriation of over $300 million looted assets associated with General Sani Abacha.
It is pertinent to recall at this juncture that prior to the 2020 agreement with the United States and the Island of Jersey, the Federal Government has signed an agreement for the return of over 300 million US dollars in 2017 which was effectively deployed for the purpose for which it was agreed to be applied without any issue of reputation
The FGN is also negotiating the recovery of assets from several countries and the agreements for the recoveries and the procedure for recoveries are always presented to Federal Executive Council for approval and duly made public once the processes have been concluded.
No third-party interest was captured in the Council memo that was approved by the Council.
The 2017 repatriated funds were deployed to the implementation of the Social Investment programme and are being monitored by civil society organisations across the country.
The 2020 Agreement which will be managed by Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority, will also be monitored by civil society organisations and will be used to support the completion of critical road infrastructures, namely Abuja to Kano Road, Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos to Ibadan expressways.
These projects will support socio-economic development across the country.
Nigeria is also cooperating with the United States in the recovery of several other assets, including corruption proceeds linked to former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and her associates, and former State Governor James Ibori, as well as several others.
The government of President Buhari remained committed to the recovery of whatever funds are owed Nigeria and the government in that regard, has gone to court in different countries to assert its rights as a victim of corruption in order to have those assets returned to Nigeria.
In the same manner that Nigeria is asserting its rights to the assets, there are others, including individuals, entities, and countries who have rights and who have gone to court to contest the legality or otherwise of Nigeria’s claims against their assets.
It is well known that the USA and the Bagudu family have been in court since 2014 over assets already rescinded under the 2003 Agreement.
The matters are to be determined in the United Kingdom and the United States Courts.
The Bagudu family assets in contention, which constitutes a distinct and separate cause of action, does not have anything to do with the assets already recovered and being recovered under the Abacha 2014 non-prosecution agreement.
It is therefore mischievous and pedestrian for anyone to seek to turn the law and the facts on its head on the matter of repatriation whose terms are clearly spelt out and agreed among the parties.
The government of Nigeria remains fully committed to continued cooperation with the United States of America and other countries in a reciprocal manner.
We urge the media and the general public to wait for the outcome of the court decisions and ongoing settlement efforts in this matter.
Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu
(Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations
Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)
Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, says his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, respects the All Progressives Congress (APC) and as such has not left the party.
While appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Bagudu stated that though Okorocha may have been aggrieved with his travails in the party, still he remains a member of APC.
“Chief Rochas Okorocha has enormous regards to President Muhammadu Buhari. He respects his party to the extent that he has not left his party and he still believes in his party.
“He was not happy maybe about some things that have happened to him or he perceived has happened to him and I think he has been very careful to draw the distinction,” he stated.
Bagudu’s comments followed Okorocha’s claim that accused the party’s leadership of witch-hunting him, stressing that the evil he feared in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has befallen him ten times in the APC.
The Governor of Kebbi State, Mr Atiku Bagudu, says the country is in safe hands under President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to him, this is because both men have succeeded in handling the affairs of the nation.
Governor Bagudu said this on Tuesday during the Ekiti State Governorship campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
“Nigeria in the last three years has been in very safe hands of President Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo,” he said.
Bagudu, who stormed Ekiti State along with Professor Osinbajo and other APC governors as well as leaders to rally support for Mr Kayode Fayemi, is confident his party will emerge victorious in the July 14 governorship polls in the state.
According to him, victory in Ekiti is important as the APC already controls the other South-West states.
He, therefore, appealed to the people of Ekiti State to come out in large numbers and vote for Mr Fayemi, a former governor of the state.
The governor said, “I join all my brothers when they say ‘Kogi State, APC; Ondo State, APC; Oyo State, APC; Kwara State, APC; Ogun State, APC; Lagos State, APC; Kebbi State, APC; Edo State, APC; Osun State, APC; Ekiti State, APC.
“By God’s grace, Ekiti State will join the APC States by July 14.”
Bagudu’s comments come after his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, assured the youths that the APC believes in them.
Bello, who became governor at the age of 40 and at 43 remains the youngest governor in the country, said it was because of the APC’s confidence in youths that he was given the chance to serve.
He urged youths in the state to support the APC to enable the party to fully implement its vision for them.
The Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi state counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, have launched the locally made rice known as ‘Lake Rice’.
This move according to the governors is to encourage the local production of rice, as well as other staple foods.
Lake rice is a product of the partnership entered earlier this year, Lagos and Kebbi states involving the cultivation of rice and other staple foods.
It was presented to the public at the state house in Lagos.
This is coming in the face of the economic recession, and at a time when the federal government has insisted that Nigeria can no longer sustain the importation of rice, which the nation’s farmers can produce, though not in sufficient quantity.
Several talks have been ongoing as to how to create alternatives also as there has been an upsurge in the cost of the staple food from about 12,000 Naira per bag, to over double that amount.
The increase in prices has pushed many to resort to smuggling of rice to be able to sell cheaper to Nigerians, thereby increasing the risk of consuming poor quality foods, which may pose serious health risks to innocent citizens.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme however, is one of the initiatives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that has immensely supported farmers in the local production of rice.
The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.
He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.
President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed worry that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world in spite of campaigns against such acts.
The President made the remark at the flag-off ceremony of the Keep Kaduna Green Project, designed to plant one million trees annually in the state.
Represented by the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, President Buhari pointed out that over 576 million trees are lost in the country annually due to deforestation.
He said that this situation has led the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of the country.
President Buhari feared that with the growing deforestation in the country, the effort of the federal government to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
He commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for the initiative which he said would go a long way in combating illegal felling of trees and restoring the green environment in the state.
On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that the project, apart from restoring the environment, will also create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu were among the dignitaries who planted trees to flag off the Keep Kaduna Clean Project, with a determination to replicate same in their states.
According to environmental experts, Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rate of deforestation of primary forests, where more than 50% of such forests have been lost in the past decades through unsustainable logging.
These practices contribute to the environmental challenges such as erosion, flooding, desertification among others.
An estimated 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20% of the world’s population, rely on forests and forest products for their daily activities.
Stakeholders say the plan by the Kaduna State government to plant one million trees should be a project that should be keyed into by states and local government if the country must tackle erosion, flooding and other environmental challenges.
Meanwhile, the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Lawrence Anukam says the agency will deal with companies, organizations or individuals that degrade the environment through their operations.
This measures according to him is to mitigate all forms of environmental challenges in the country.
A Supreme Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a petition filed by the PDP governorship candidate during the April governorship elections Bello Sarkin Yaki against Atiku Bagudu of the APC.
During a judgment on Tuesday in Abuja, the Supreme Court declared Atiku Bagudu as the validly elected Governor of Kebbi State after the counsel to the petitioner failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the election in Kebbi State was rigged.
According to the presiding judge, Justice Walter Samuel, detailed reasons for the dismissal would be given by the Supreme Court on November 13, 2015.
Meanwhile, Governor Atiku Bagudu, in a reaction to the judgement, has commended the nation’s judiciary for standing firm on the delivery of justice without fear or favour as he promised to execute developmental projects for the people of Kebbi State in the next four years.
The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has donated relief materials to flood victims in Kebbi State, North-west Nigeria.
The development is coming after an estimated 21, 450 people were displaced by the recent torrent disaster, as the state is said to be the worst hit so far this year.
According to NEMA’s latest report on Kebbi’s flood, two communities in Makera Local Government Area (LGA) were completely dislodged from the flood in addition to 150 hectares of farmland, 480 houses destroyed and 4500 persons displaced.
The Director General of NEMA, Sani Sidi, disclosed that a total of 37, 460 hectares of farmland covering about 10 LGAs of the state, along with over 5,000 houses were washed away by the flood.
However, NEMA believed that more analysis may reveal further discovery of affected victims which prompted the agency to deploy a large amount of relief materials involving food items, medical facilities, as well as emergency sheltering equipment.
Receiving the materials, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, revealed that the State government had so far spent over 200 million Naira in managing the crisis across the affected areas.
Governor Bagudu noted that the government is looking for a way to manage the lost incurred mostly by the farmers.
He added that the State government had entered into partnership with the Sokoto State government, to see the possibility of improving water management within the two states.
As Kebbi State is set to experience food shortage, the government has prepared to embark on massive food supply for people in the state.