FG Debunks Alleged Plan To Spend $800 Million On Image Laundering

The Federal Government of Nigeria says that it has no plan to spend $800 million on image laundering as its topmost priority now is National Security, not Public Relations.

The Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati,stated that reports in national and foreign media that the Federal Government was currently in the process of recruiting an international Public Relations firm to “counter mounting criticism both inside and outside the country” are completely false and baseless.

The statement read: “The suggestion that the Federal Government intends to spend a staggering sum of $800 Million on the phantom Public Relations effort to ease ‘increasing pressure over its response to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls’ is also wholly untrue.

“Coming as they do, at a particularly difficult and sensitive time for the entire nation, the Federal Government considers the reports of a drive to recruit consultants to launder its image highly insensitive, deplorable, absurd and very malicious.

“The Federal Government’s topmost priority for now is not Public Relations or image laundering but National Security and the ongoing effort to ensure the safe return of the abducted college girls.”

The statement condemned the rumours, referring to it as “an attempt by purveyors of the bogus reports to incite the Nigerian public against the Federal Government through the circulation of falsehoods.”

Jonathan To Confer With Other African Leaders On Joint Action Against Terrorism

GEJ2The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, will fly to Pretoria, South Africa on Friday for high-level discussions with other African Heads of State and Government on combating terrorism in Africa.

This is according to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

The continent’s five regions would each be represented by two heads of state and government at the talks which would focus on collective action to effectively roll-back the scourge of terrorism in Africa.

Others expected at the talks which would take place ahead of South African President, Jacob Zuma’s inauguration for a new term in office, include the leaders of Ghana, Republic of Congo, Chad, Angola, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritania, Algeria and Ethiopia.

President Jonathan, who would be accompanied by the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and some key aides, would return to Abuja after attending President Zuma inauguration on Saturday.

 

Chibok Girls: UN Offers To Provide Necessary Support

The United Nations has promised to provide the necessary support for the federal government to secure the release of over 200 school girls kidnapped in Chibok in Borno state by the Boko Haram sect.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Special Representative of the United Nation

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

s Secretary General for West Africa, Mr Said Djinnit emphasised the UN’s solidarity with the abducted schoolgirls, their families and Nigeria.

Mr Djinnit, who heads the UN office on West Africa, expressed the devotion of the United Nations towards restoring security and peace to the insurgent affected areas in the West African region.

He also called on ECOWAS member states to work with Nigeria to end terrorism.

President Goodluck Jonathan will travel to Paris, France, Friday to participate in a summit convened by President Francois Hollande to discuss fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in West and Central Africa.

A statement issued on Thursday by the President’s media aide, Dr. Reuben Abati, said President Jonathan will be joined at the summit by Heads of State and Government of Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Queen Elizabeth II Congratulates President Jonathan And Nigerians On Centenary

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has written to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and people of Nigeria on the occasion of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed this in a statement.

Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, delivered to President Jonathan late on Wednesday, a written message by Queen Elizabeth II, in which she conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.

“On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations.

“I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth.

“The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so.

“I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” the British monarch wrote.

Sanusi Says Suspension No Surprise, To Seek Legal Clarification

The suspended CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi has said that he may have to seek some form of legal advice over his suspension by the Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Sanusi spoke to CNBC on the telephone on Thursday morning and he said that his suspension did not come as a surprise, saying he was rather surprised that it had taken this long.

Reacting to the allegations of financial recklessness, the suspended Governor said that he was aware of the audit of the reporting council and that all the questions and concerns that were raised, he had provided answers to.

“We all know what this is about. This is about consequences for decisions I have taken. This is something that is long overdue. I am surprised it took them so long”, he said.

Mr Sanusi went further to say that he may have to cross check the powers of the President to suspend a CBN Governor.

He said, “Even if I challenge it, I am not going back to the job, it will be in the interest of the institution to cross check once and for all if the President has the power to do this. The reason is if it’s not challenged, for now the next CBN Governors will not be independent for fear of being suspended by politicians. I do plan to have the courts confirm if indeed that authority exists and I will challenge it.”

When asked about the implications of his suspension on the market, Mr Sanusi said, “Basically, my concern is for the safety of the market, I have had a wonderful time in service to my country. I would not want to see all of my work unravelled. No individual is worth it.”

Mr Sanusi said that he was in Niamey along with other Governors of West African Central Banks to meet with the President of Niger and President of Ghana, when the information reached him. He left the meeting to hand over to his deputy, Dr. Sarah Alade, whom he had been asked to hand over to and who “fortunately” was with him in Niamey, capital city of the West African country, Niger.

Sanusi’s Suspension A Distraction From Finding Missing $20 Billion Oil Money – SERAP

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described the suspension of the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi as “a distraction and can only contribute to shifting the focus of the Government from the real issue, which is finding the missing $20 billion oil money.

SERAP, in a statement on Thursday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said that, “The Government should not politicise the fight against corruption. Our concern remains the urgent, thorough, transparent and effective investigation into allegations that $20 billion oil money is missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“If it is true that the suspension is linked with Sanusi’s public disclosure of the missing funds, SERAP believes that this will be clearly wrong and contrary to the Government’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption to target a whistle-blower simply for putting the information in the public domain. No one should be victimized for contributing to the fight against corruption, which is the moral and legal responsibility of any serious, open and people oriented government.

“Unless the Government comes clean about what exactly has happened to the $20 billion missing oil money, the NNPC will remain unaccountable to Nigerians for its action. This will not be consistent with the attitude of a government establishment funded with tax payers’ money.

“The Government’s action in finding the missing money and punishing suspected perpetrators is critical if it is to enjoy the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the fight against corruption.”

Jonathan Suspends CBN Governor, Sanusi

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has suspended Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from his position as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The suspension was announced in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

The statement read that, “Having taken special notice of reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, which indicate clearly that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct, which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline;

“Being also deeply concerned about far-reaching irregularities  under Mallam Sanusi’s watch which have distracted the Central Bank away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate; and being determined to urgently re-position the Central Bank of Nigeria for greater efficiency, respect for due process and accountability, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has ordered the immediate suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from the Office of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“President Jonathan has further ordered that Mallam Sanusi should hand over to the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr Sarah Alade, who will serve as Acting Governor until the conclusion of on-going investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN.

“The President expects that as Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Alade would focus on the core mandate of the Bank and conduct its affairs with greater professionalism, prudence and propriety to restore domestic and international confidence in the country’s apex bank.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria reassures all stakeholders in Nigeria’s financial and monetary system that this decision has been taken in absolute good faith, in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy and in accordance with our laws and due process.”

 

Sarah Alade To Serve As Acting CBN Governor

Dr Sarah Alade, will serve as Acting Governor of the Central Bank until the conclusion of on-going investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN.

This is following President Goodluck Jonathan’s suspension of Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from his position as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, on Thursday, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

Dr. Sarah Omotunde Alade was the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN and was appointed Deputy Governor (Economic Policy) Central Bank of Nigeria on March 26, 2007.

She attended the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where she obtained a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Economics in 1976. She also obtained an M.Comm degree at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia in 1983 and a Ph.D Management Science (Operations Research), from the University of Ilorin in 1991.

Dr. Sarah Alade commenced her working career in 1977 with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ilorin, Kwara State. In 1991, she joined the University of Ilorin as a Lecturer in the Department of Accounting and Finance. She joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1993 as an Assistant Director in the Research Department where she served as Head, State Government Finance Office (1993-1996), Head, Federal Government Finance Office (1996-2000) and Head, Fiscal Analysis Division (2000-2004).

Dr. Alade has served on the teams on major economic policy studies, and has been involved in the preparation of Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary and Credit Policy Proposals over the years. She was actively involved in the drafting of the Medium Term Economic Programme (MTP) for Nigeria and the IMF staff Monitored Programme/Standby Arrangement.

Dr. Alade was appointed Director, Banking Operations Department in May 2004. In that capacity, she served as Chairman Board of Directors, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) as well as Secretary, National Payments System Committee (NPSC).

Dr. Alade was a member of the Technical committee of the Vision 2010 and currently a member of the Technical Committee of Vision 2020 and member of the National Economic Management Team (EMT).

As Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Mrs. Alade superintends over the Economic Policy Directorate, comprising the Research, Monetary Policy, Trade and Exchange, Statistics Departments and Financial Markets Department. As Chair of the Monetary Policy Implementation Committee (MPIC), she interfaces with operational departments and coordinates technical inputs for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Dr. Alade, who is a member of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), has several publications to her credit and is currently carrying out research into Interest Rate Policy and Monetary Policy Implementation in Nigeria. Dr. Mrs. Alade is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Operational Research. She is married with children.

“The President expects that as Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Alade would focus on the core mandate of the Bank and conduct its affairs with greater professionalism, prudence and propriety to restore domestic and international confidence in the country’s apex bank.

Post Privatization: Jonathan Predicts Annual Investment of $10 Billion In Power By Private Sector

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that following the complete privatization of power generation and distribution in Nigeria, an annual investment of about $10billion is expected from the country’s power sector over the next decade.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa which opened on Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, a statement by Dr Reuben Abati quoted the President to have stated that “having realized government alone cannot build the infrastructure that the country needs; the Federal Government has completed the biggest transfer of power assets in Africa to private investors.”

The President advised African countries to find innovative ways of addressing the continent’s massive infrastructure deficit, stating that to speedily overcome the infrastructural deficit that currently limits the pace of their economic development, Nigeria and other African countries must find innovative ways of funding essential infrastructure in areas such as power supply, energy and communications.

Observing that it is estimated that Africa requires about $100 billion annually for infrastructure development in the next decade, whereas only a quarter is being spent today, President Jonathan said that it was clear that Africa could not “thread this path alone”.

 Continent wide infrastructure

Noting that without a common framework as a basis for collaboration little progress will be made in the development of infrastructure across Africa, President Jonathan commended the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) for establishing the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The President said that he was delighted that PIDA will build on plans established under previous initiatives such as the NEPAD Medium to Long Term Strategic Framework and the African Union Infrastructure master plans.

He said that Nigeria will continue to support the development of continent wide infrastructure such as the Nigeria-Algeria Gas Pipeline Project and the Lagos-Abidjan Highway Project.

President Jonathan however disclosed that in the light of recent developments in the global gas industry and the collapse of gas prices, the Nigeria-Algeria Gas Pipeline Project concept is being reviewed to determine its continued viability.

“My expectation is that PIDA will hasten Africa’s integration through trade and migration which has been a priority and central element of the continent’s development strategy. On our part, we are committed to the integration of Africa’s infrastructure and its development,” the President said at the session which was dedicated to the development of Infrastructure in Africa.

He welcomed PIDA’s alignment with the vision of the Economic Community of West African States vision of the free movement of the free movement of people, goods and services.

He thanked the World Economic Forum and other critical stakeholders for supporting Africa’s progress towards the development of “21st Century infrastructure”.

“I urge you all not to relent in your efforts,” he concluded.

Nigeria Seeks N62Billion World Bank Fund To Tackle Erosion In South-East

President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that the federal government is negotiating for a N62billion ($400million) special fund from the World Bank to tackle the menace of erosion in the South East.

President Jonathan made this known while speaking to a delegation of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, who paid him a visit on Monday.

“We are getting $400million, a special fund from the World Bank, to tackle the erosion in the South East. This is apart from the line votes in the budget for checking erosion” he stated.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity; Dr Reuben Abati, stated that “President Jonathan expressed personal pain and sadness at the loss of lives and property due to the activities of Boko Haram, but assured the delegation that Government was working hard to bring the security challenges to an end, pointing to the police helicopters and equipment he commissioned earlier in the day as part of the Administration’s efforts to enhance the security agencies.”

Constitutional role for traditional rulers

The President said federal roads in the country were receiving necessary attention, while the Enugu Airport would handle international flights after its transformation.

Responding to a request for a constitutional role for traditional rulers in the country, President Jonathan said, “I believe in an advisory role for traditional rulers. This was one of my campaign promises, and I am consulting with the National Assembly on this.”

The President thanked the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and people of the zone for supporting him.

Earlier, the Obi of Obinugwu and Chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Dr. Cletus Ilomuanya, said the people of the South East were worried about the slow pace of rehabilitation work on roads in the zone, threats to lives by erosion, and the activities of Boko Haram, and were pleading for the President’s intervention.

He also expressed concern at the killing of Igbos in parts of the country, and the need for a constitutional role for traditional rulers in the country.

Presidency Denies Existence Of 2015 Presidential Advisory C’tte

The Presidency has denied allegations about the existence of a 21 man committee, allegedly set up to advise President Goodluck Jonathan on a purported 2015 presidential ambition.

In a press statement emailed to Channels Television on Tuesday, the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Dr Reuben Abati stated that “the Presidency has noted with concern that some individuals, groups, organisations and sections of the media have continued to foster the myth of a President and Administration solely concerned with jostling and self-positioning for the 2015 elections.”

Referring to a ThisDay Newspaper front page story published On Monday, April 15, 2013 titled “21-member c’ttee Empanelled for Jonathan’s Second Term Bid” Dr Abati stated the story is “totally untrue.”

According to Dr Abati’s statement, the story claimed that “the President’s aides and associates have set up a 21-member committee to advise (President) Jonathan on the viability of his entry into the presidential contest in 2015.”

Dr Abati further explained that these claims are “without any basis in reality. President Jonathan has not yet taken a decision on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2015 and has therefore not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections.”

No Endorsement

He also denied the authenticity of an advertorial which appeared at page 14 of the Saturday Vanguard of April 13, 2013 signed by one OBITEX Industrial and Investment Company Limited.

The advert shows President Jonathan purportedly raising the hand of Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the suggestion that the President has endorsed Nze Nwankpo as the PDP Gubernatorial candidate for Anambra state.

The advertiser claims as follows: “As Mr. President, His Excellency Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has symbolically raise (sic) up your hands, so you have been chosen by the God Almighty to be the Governor of Anambra State come 2014.”

In Abati’s response, “ the Presidency emphatically states that President Jonathan has not endorsed any candidate for any position whatsoever ahead of the 2015 general elections neither has he commissioned persons to start campaigns for his own candidature.”

He credited the false insinuations to political office seekers, their sponsors and friends or collaborators and warned such people to desist from exploiting the President’s name.

Jonathan Heads To Equatorial Guinea For Economic Diplomacy

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Thursday embark on a two-day state visit to Equatorial Guinea to in continuation of the federal government’s efforts in boosting the economic and trade relations between Nigeria and neighbouring countries.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on media, Reuben Abati stated that President Jonathan will in the course of the visit hold talks in Malabo with President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on various issues of mutual interest to Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.

The talks are expected to include the enhancement of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, exploitation of oil and gas resources,  and the enhancement of developmental cooperation between both countries.

President Jonathan will lead a delegation including  Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, Cyril Egwuatu, the Minister of  Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of  Trade and Investment,  Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, the Minister of State (Defence), Olusola Obada and the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Nurudeen Mohammed to formal bilateral talks with the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

It is expected that new agreements on the strengthening of economic relations and developmental cooperation between both countries will be concluded and signed before the end of the visit on Friday.

The President will also meet with Nigerians resident in Equatorial Guinea before returning to Abuja.