Jonathan Did Not Spend 2tn Naira On Elections – Abati

AbatiSpecial Adviser on Media and Publicity to Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has denied the allegations that the Presidency spent 2 trillion Naira on the 2015 general elections.

In an interview with reporters on Sunday, Dr Reuben Abati, described the alleged two trillion Naira spent on the just conclude elections and that a Committee of Five had been set up by the President to conduct an audit of how the funds were disbursed by party members and state officials as “mischievous, false and embarrassing”.

He said the President had not set up any committee, noting that it was also not true that the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) used state funds, or spent two trillion Naira during the campaigns.

‘Reckless Insinuation’

Revealing that the annual budget of the Federal Government is a little over four trillion Naira, the President’s spokesman said the rumor was practically suggesting that half of the federal budget was spent on elections.

He said: “This kind of reckless insinuation is meant to incite the public and instigate national crisis”.

“With FAAC having to do everything possible every month to ensure disbursements and with the Federal Government heavily committed to the war against terror in the North East, where is the alleged two trillion Naira from the Federal purse?

“President Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party conducted the 2015 elections in strict accordance with the rule of law. The suggestion of any unlawful conduct cannot be sustained under any circumstances,” Abati said.

The spokesman further stressed that the President had done his best to protect and strengthen democracy and promote peace, pointing that “he deserves all the accolades that he has received from both Nigerians and the international community for this”.

“Anyone who is engaged in imposing a crisis on the country by any means is not being fair to Nigeria. We can only appeal to the public to be wary of such reckless tactics now on display, which form the substance of an odd, malicious campaign after the elections.

“We are particularly worried that since the March 28 and April 11 elections, some persons have continued to work very hard to diminish the Jonathan Presidency.

“They need to be reminded that the time for politics is over; it is now time to focus on the in-coming government, with emphasis on national development and moving the country forward,” Abati noted.

Prior to the Nigerian President’s spokesman interview, there was a publication earlier on Sunday alleging that the Presidency had spent two trillion Naira on the 2015 General elections and that a Committee of Five had been set up by the President to conduct an audit of how the funds were disbursed by party members and state officials.

President Jonathan Leaves For Pilgrimage To Israel On Friday

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan will depart Lagos on Friday to undertake a brief pilgrimage to Israel.

The President, who will be accompanied by the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba, and his principal aides will, in addition to visiting Christian Holy sites, join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session for the well-being and progress of the country at an Inter-Denominational Service in Jerusalem on Sunday.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, he is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

Before leaving for Israel, President Jonathan would participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post on Friday morning.

The President would be joined at the event by President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic and officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post is being constructed under the ECOWAS Transport Facilitation Programme which has the objective of boosting trade and economic relations among member countries.

President Jonathan Does Not Have 100million Dollars – Abati

African leadersThe Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, has revealed that President Jonathan was indeed outraged and angry about the publication that listed him among 10 richest African leaders.

He said that the President has always been of the opinion that journalist have the rights to report situations but also have the responsibility to report the truth.

“He was embarrassed by the fact that a foreign internet channel would tell a blatant lie and Nigerian channels would pick it up and begin to repeat the lie,” he said, as that necessitated the move by the Presidency to put the records straight.

He noted that President Jonathan was aware that what the “copycat” Nigerian media organisations tried to do was to portray him as being corrupt along with the other listed African leaders.

He stated, “The President does not have 100million dollars either in terms of assets or in liquid cash,” adding that the President has always declared his assets every year as required by the law.

On the view that the President did not disclose his assets for Nigerians to know, Abati argued that there is no law that mandates a public official to publicly declare his assets except only to the Code of Conduct Bureau, and whoever is in doubts could verify this.

Asked whether he would consider the President to be rich or wealthy, Abati said, “I don’t know, that’s not part of my job.

“This President is not thinking in terms of wealth, in terms of riches, he is thinking in terms of what he can do for the Nigerian people.”

He said that the priority for President Jonathan has always been to make Nigeria better, as commitment to service and to the oath he has taken is what defines his person and his office as the Nigerian President.

Abati further insisted that the website that published the story knew that they were up to mischief, having pulled down the story and then claiming that they got the story from another website.

He said that this was an unfortunate development for journalism.

On the threatened lawsuit by the President, Abati said that indeed the President has briefed his lawyers and the decision to go further on the lawsuit would be left to the President’s lawyers.

Ebola Containment

Dr Reuben Abati also assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Government is determined not to rest on its oars to ensure that Ebola is prevented from reoccurring in Nigeria.

He recalled that President Jonathan has said that Nigeria was able to overcome Ebola because of unity and that he would like to see same level of unity demonstrated against Ebola in other areas.

He said that the Ebola story clearly shows that Nigeria is a country that can achieve anything it sets out to achieve if the people unite.

On the delayed resumption of Unity Schools owing to the strike by teachers, Abati said that issues surrounding this would be dealt with as Government was on top of the matter.

Jonathan Condoles With Emir And People Of Kano On Galadima’s Death

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has commiserated with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the people of Kano on the death of the Galadiman Kano, Alhaji Tijani Hashim.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President joins them in mourning Alhaji Tijani “who served his people admirably over many years as a regional minister in the first republic and very senior member of the Kano Emirate Council.

The President believes the eminent Kano prince and highly revered community leader will always be remembered and honoured for his laudable contributions to peace, stability and progress in his community and country.”

President Jonathan prayed that God Almighty would receive the late Galadima’s soul and grant him eternal rest.

He also prayed that the Almighty would bless the good people of Kano with a worthy successor to the late prince.

Jonathan Arrives In Washington, Gets Rousing Reception

Jonathan_Washington1President Goodluck Jonathan has arrived in Washington DC to participate in a three-day US-Africa Leaders Summit, with a rousing reception from some Nigerians in the US.

He was received by a group of Nigerians in Washington before checking in in his hotel.

The presidential jet touched the grounds at about 8.o’clock in the morning in Washington. There was no airport ceremony but at the President’s hotel, a group of Nigerians were already waiting to give him a rousing reception.

The President promised the Nigerians, who were singing and chanting the National Anthem to welcome him, that he would do his best to take the nation to the next level.

He told them that he was doing everything possible to make Nigeria a comfortable place to live in.

Speaking to Channels Television on the President’s itinerary, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, dispelled the rumours making the rounds that the President has been indisposed.

Jonathan_Washington

He said that the trip to Washington would further deepen the relationship with the United States.

He also debunked reports that Nigerians on the trip would be tested for Ebola virus, describing it as untrue.

President Jonathan is joined by about 50 other participating African leaders for discussions that are expected to lead to greater progress in key areas such as expanding trade and investment ties,  promoting inclusive sustainable development and expanding cooperation on peace and security.

President Jonathan Commiserates With El-Rufai On Loss Of Son

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has received with a deep sense of grief and shock, news of the sudden and untimely death of Hamza El-Rufai, son of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President, on behalf of himself, his family and the Federal Government, President Jonathan extends his heartfelt commiserations to Mallam el-Rufai and all members of the El-Rufai family.

The President said that although no amount of words could fill the deep gap created by the loss of Hamza, he hoped that the outpouring of support by friends and associates would comfort Mallam El-Rufai.

President Jonathan prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the departed and also for God’s blessing, comfort and protection for Mallam El-Rufai and the rest of his family.

Hamza El Rufai, one of the sons of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Chieftain of the APC, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, died on Tuesday morning in a car crash in Abuja.

Bring Back Our Girls: Campaigners Urge FG To Improve Military Welfare

Chibok-girls-BringBackOurGirlsThe ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners have again called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at rescuing the over 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Borno State.

Speaking at their daily sit out at the Unity Fountain Abuja, the campaigners asked the Federal Government to improve the welfare of the military to enable them confront Boko Haram effectively.

On the outcome of the meeting with President Jonathan, the Chairman of the Chibok community in Abuja, Mr Hosea Esanbido, said that the President assured them that the girls would soon be rescued.

He also said that President Jonathan assured the parents of the abducted girls that the education and welfare of the girls would be taken care of.

Fifty-one of the girls who escaped from their abductors were brought to the Presidential Villa earlier alongside the parents of those still in the camp of the Boko Haram.

The meeting was held under tight security and not even the State House correspondents were allowed to cover the closed-door meeting.

Also at the meeting were the governors of Borno and Bauchi States, Senate President, Ministers of Education, Finance, Information and other key officials in the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, including security personnel.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, addressed State House correspondents after the meeting, saying that the President used the opportunity of the meeting to empathize with the girls and their parents and reassured them that everything would be done to make things easier for them especially the ones that have already escaped and the ones yet to be rescued.

President Jonathan Vows To Free Abducted Chibok Girls

Goodluck Jonathan andabducted Chibok Girls parentsThe Federal Government has reassured Nigerians and the Chibok community of the Government’s determination to ensure that the abducted schoolgirls that are still in captivity are brought out alive.

This is the outcome of the special presidential meeting which was held with the parents of the Chibok girls in the Presidential Villa.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that the President used the opportunity of the meeting to empathize with the girls and their parents and reassured them that everything would be done to make things easier for them especially the ones that have already escaped and the ones yet to be rescued.

“Statement was made by all the category representatives and they spoke their mind, they conveyed their messages and the girls spoke on the account of what they went through in the hands of their captors,” he said.

President Goodluck Jonathan also assured them that their education would not be allowed to suffer and after everything, evil would never prevail over good.

Fifty-one of the girls who escaped from their abductors, a terrorist group, Boko Haram, were brought to the presidential villa earlier alongside the parents of those still in the camp of the Boko Haram.

Chibok-Girls-at-meeting-with-president-jonathan
Some of the girls that escaped from their abductors were present at the meeting

The meeting was held under tight security and not even the State House correspondents were allowed to cover the closed-door meeting.

Before the meeting started, four of the brand new buses for the Abuja Urban Mass Transit were used to convey the girls and their parents from their hotel to the venue of the long expected meeting.

Journalists and security personnel watched as the girls and their parents, one after the other, beginning with the school principal, alighted from the buses.

Some other parents of the missing girls further alighted from another bus, with some of them looking devastated by the situation they found themselves in.

Into the hall proper, the escaped girls were meant to seat together about 51 of them. Parents of the girls still in captivity sat at one end, parents of the escaped girls were together, while the community and opinion leaders, who are not direct parents of the girls, also sat together.

President Jonathan joined them at about 11:15am local time to kick-start the special meeting.

Also at the meeting were the governors of Borno and Bauchi States, Senate President, Ministers of Education, Finance, Information and other key officials in the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, including security personnel.

 

 

President Jonathan Saddened By Demise Of Rilwanu Lukman

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentPresident Goodluck Jonathan has received with much sadness and a feeling of great national loss, news of the passing away of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman.

President Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, commiserates with the former minister’s family, the Government and people of his home state, Kaduna, as well as his friends, associates and all those he mentored over the years in the domestic and global oil industry.

The statement reads: “The President shares their sorrow as they mourn the brilliant engineer, technocrat and administrator who spent almost all of his working life serving his country and the global community in various capacities including Minister, Special Adviser, Secretary-General and President of the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC).

“As Alhaji Lukman’s soul returns to its Maker, President Jonathan joins all who knew him in giving thanks to God Almighty for bestowing him on the nation and for the great intelligence, integrity, competence and humility with which he distinguished himself in all his national and international assignments.

“Nigeria, the President firmly believes, will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to the late Petroleum Minister for his very significant contributions to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, and for serving with acclaimed distinction as the nation’s representative at the helm of OPEC affairs over many years.”

President Jonathan prays that the Almighty God would receive Alhaji Lukman’s gentle soul and grant him eternal rest in Paradise.

Jonathan Meets With Former Heads Of State Over Chibok

Jonathan and ex leadersFormer Heads of State have committed themselves to doing everything they can to support President Goodluck Jonathan and the Borno State Government to find a solution to the issue of the missing Chibok girls.

In a meeting with the President on Thursday, they also offered help in finding an end to the general challenge of insurgency in the country.

Details of the meeting were made known to State House Correspondents by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.

The former Heads of State present were Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Mohammadu Buhari, General Yakubu Gowon and Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

Also present was the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima.

General Ibrahim Babangida was absent following the death of the Senator representing his constituency, Senator Kuta, who passed away on Thursday. He sent his apologies.

The meeting which lasted for about an hour was over dinner.

Jonathan Condemns Killing Of Emir Of Gwoza, Urges Nigerians To Unite

Goodluck-JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has extended condolences to the Government and people of Borno State, as well as Northern Traditional Rulers on the death on Friday of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan utterly condemned “the heinous murder of the Emir by brigands and terrorists” who waylaid the convoy in which he was travelling with two other Emirs.

The President believes that the brazen attack and the wanton slaying of the respected traditional ruler reinforces the vital need, which he emphasized in his Democracy Day Broadcast, for all patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of where they come from, their religions or political loyalties, to come together and work with urgency and complete unity of purpose to quickly end the murderous attacks by terrorists and insurgents that continue to threaten the security, cohesion and well-being of the nation.

The President reassured the nation that Nigeria’s Armed Forces and security agencies would continue to receive all the empowerment and support they require from the Federal Government to speedily give maximum effect to his orders that they take all necessary action to stop the brigands, terrorists and insurgents “who descended to new depths of infamy yesterday with the dastardly killing of a First Class Traditional Ruler.”

The President prays that Almighty Allah would receive the soul of the slain Emir and grant his family and subjects the equanimity to bear his loss.

Insurgency: FG Reveals ECOWAS Summit Resolution, Reacts To Emir’s Killing

Dr Reuben AbatiHeads of states and governments of West African states have resolved to share intelligence and cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against boko haram in Nigeria.

The resolution was following the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS which held in Accra, Ghana over the weekend.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that assisting Nigeria would not only ensure stability in the region, but engender sustainable development with the West African sub region.

ECOWAS member nations were said to have condemned the terrorist activities in Nigeria and resolved that whatever happened in Nigeria or Mali or any other West African country was a concern of everyone because they all share a common destiny.

The President was in Ghana when news came in that the terrorists had attacked and killed the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

The President expressed sadness over the death of the Emir in the hands of the Boko Haram, saying that the incident showed the desperation of the terrorists to destabilise the country, pledging that at the end of the day Nigeria would prevail; no matter how desperate the Boko Haram terrorists might be.

He said that the Government was determined to rid the country of terrorism.

Just back from the ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Ghana, President Goodluck Jonathan met with the Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, in the Presidential Villa to further discuss matters concerning the fight against terror.

He also played host to Sheik Tijani Nyass from Senegal.  The sheik, who came with some Islamic scholars, was said to have made innumerable contributions towards the establishment of an enduring peace and love in Nigeria since 1963 and has prayed that the issue of terror would soon be a thing of the past in the country.

The Presidency also had to clear the air on whether it was giving amnesty for the Boko Haram or not, and Dr Abati explained that the President might not have used the word amnesty but that opportunities have been created for the Boko Haram terrorists who are willing to renounce terrorism and embrace peace.