President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transfer of sentenced persons between Nigeria and Macao, China’s special administrative region.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
He explained that the President’s approval followed his assent to the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between Nigeria and the Government of the Macao.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
“This is sequel to the Federal Executive Council Conclusion of August 1, 2018.”
Adesina explained that the Council had approved and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to prepare the Instrument of Ratification of the agreement for the President’s signature.
“President Buhari’s assent formally executes the Agreement,” the statement added.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not under compulsion by any law, to declare his asset since his re-election in February 2019.
Mr Adesina who was on Channels Television Politics Today on Monday confirmed that President Buhari has already declared his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
He questioned the Freedom of Information requests sent by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to the Presidency, asking that President Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and 36 state governors and their deputies should declare their assets within 7 days, stating that there is no law compelling the President to declare his assets publicly.
“I can say for a fact that he has done because I am privy to it, and SERAP asking the president to declare publicly, on the basis of what law? The president will do what the law requires of him and what the law requires is that he should declare his asset which he has done. Declaring publicly is not in our laws; it can only be a voluntary thing.”
The President’s spokesman pressed further to say that if the FoI is invoked in this case, it is left with the CCB to release the information, and it will also take the discretion of President Buhari to declare his assets where necessary.
“If the FoI act is invoked, it will be left with the Code of Conduct Bureau to release because the FoI act will not be for the president, the president has declared and it’s already deposited with the code of conduct, so it’s for them to respond if it is invoked.
“In 2015, they elected to make it public, if they want to make it public this time, they will do. Has the asset been declared? Yes, it has. If the president says they should release, it will be released, but there is no law that compels him to do it and we should obey the law,” he stated.
In SERAP’s request, dated 3 January 2020 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated that “The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the FoI Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is part of our laws, read together, impose transparency obligations on all public officials to publicly disclose information concerning their asset declarations submitted to the CCB, and to clarify any updated review of such assets.”
The organisation added that the non-public disclosure by public officials of their summary of assets seriously undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina on Sunday criticised the United States’ government for placing Nigeria on the Special Watchlist of countries violating religious freedom.
Adesina who was a guest on Sunday Politics, a political programme which aired on Channels Television, said nobody has appointed the US to be the policeman of the world.
The presidential spokesman advised the Donald Trump’s administration to focus on burning issues affecting the United States.
“The United States itself has a lot to chew solving its own problems not to talk of poke-nosing into another country. Nobody has appointed them the policeman of the world. Let them face their own issue,” he said.
Speaking further, Adesina called on the US and other foreign powers to respect the internal issues of Nigeria, stressing that the Federal Government doing business with them does not mean the nation’s sovereignty should not appreciated.
According to him, the US Secretary of States, Mike Pompeo does not have a clear understanding of things happening here in the country.
When asked if the accusation of the violation of religious freedom is not a reality, the presidential spokesman replied saying: “It is a discredited narrative as the Minister of Information (Lai Mohammed) has said.”
Adesina’s comment come hours after Mohammed faulted the report on religious freedom, accusing the US government of being misled by disgruntled elements.
The Information Minister noted that Nigerians enjoy unfettered freedom to practice their religion and it is unfortunate that the US fell for the antics of the discontented and the unpatriotic few.
The US in its Special Watch List placed Nigeria amongst countries that its government had engaged in or tolerated the severe violation of religious freedom.
As more criticisms continue to trail the incident that led to the rearrest of the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, the Presidency has insisted the Department of State Services (DSS) acted within the law.
Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, believes only a few people are unhappy with Sowore’s rearrest.
“You can’t just take the opinion of a vocal minority and then conclude that the country is in an uproar,” he said on Monday.
The presidential aide added, “When 100,000 (people) are making noise in the media – both social and traditional, you think the whole country is in an uproar.
“There are millions and millions and millions of people who are not bothered.”
“When you say a lot of Nigerians, you know that all these noise may be coming from less than 100,000 Nigerians and the noise will be so loud that you think it’s the whole country; it’s a country of 198 million people,” he stressed.
A Concocted Story?
On Friday last week, DSS operatives in at least three pickup trucks stormed the Federal High Court to rearrest Mr Omoyele Sowore who had just been released the previous day.
Claims that Osinbajo had been sidelined had intensified after President Muhammadu Buhari constituted and Economic Advisory Team (EAC) to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT), which was constituted during his first term.
While the EMT was headed by Osinbajo, the newly constituted EAC will report directly to President Buhari.
But the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today dismissed the claims.
According to him, all that the president has done particularly this week was just to “tweak governance and get the best for Nigerians”.
He also maintained that the presidency remains one and that there’s been too much suspicion and different kinds of inferences which he believes are only aimed at driving a wedge between both the President and the Vice President.
“The Vice President is the number 2 man in the country… the new economic advisory body can also relate with the Vice President as necessary.
“It’s just some Nigerians who want to drive a wedge between the President and the VP, that read meanings into everything and insinuate but there’s no need for that,” he said.
100 days into the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, Special Assistant to the President, Femi Adesina, has said that more is set to come under the administration’s next level agenda.
He also assured Nigerians that the government continues to work hard in the various areas of priority it had set for itself.
“I think Nigerians can really expect good things to happen from this administration in the 2nd term,” Adesina said on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.
While analysing the progress made so far, he, however, explained that the concept of 100 days in office, ordinarily does not apply to returning governments.
He, therefore, maintained that the government continues to work towards fulfilling its promises to Nigerians in the three cardinal areas of security, economic development and the anti-corruption fight.
The Presidency has insisted that contrary to the claims of the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Monroe, foreigners, particularly Nigerians, were targeted in the recent attacks in South Africa.
Mr Munroe had stated on Tuesday during a media briefing with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, that the attacks in South Africa are not xenophobic neither are they targeted at Nigerians.
According to him, they were only ‘sporadic acts of violence’.
He also stated that businesses belonging to other South Africans were equally affected in the violence.
However, addressing the issue on Channels TV’s Politics Today, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disagreed with the comments, stating that the attacks were not sporadic.
“I disagree with the South African ambassador who says it is sporadic attacks…it’s not. If it was sporadic attacks, why were South Africans not attacked?
“It was targeted at foreigners, Nigerians particularly,” he said.
Adesina further stated that it was clear that the attacks did not involve only Nigerians against Nigerians as earlier claimed by the South African President.
“President Ramaphosa was here some months back and we clearly heard him when he said not all the violence was between South African against Nigerians that most of the times, it was Nigerians against Nigerians.
“But what has happened these past few days has shown that this is not Nigerians against Nigerians.
“This is clearly South African against Nigerians and this has shown us that there is xenophobia,” he said.
Mr Adesina, however, stated that the Federal Government would continue to demand the protection of Nigerians, a failure of which “stronger measures” will be taken.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-appointment of Mr. Femi Adesina as Special Adviser, Media and Publicity and Garba Shehu as Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity.
The President also re-appointed Mr Laolu Akande as Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity, Office of the Vice President.
In a statement by the Deputy Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye, President Buhari as well retained Tolu Ogunlesi, Bashir Ahmad, Lauretta Onochie and Nazir Bashiru as Special Assistant, Digital/New Media, Personal Assistant, New Media, Personal Assistant, Social Media and Personal Assistant, Visual Documentation, respectively.
Following the election of Hon. Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada, the former Personal Assistant, Broadcast Media, as the lawmaker representing Kano Municipal Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, the President has appointed Buhari Sallau as his replacement.
Mr. Oladunjoye noted that all appointments take effect from May 29, 2019, except that of the new entrant into the team, Buhari Sallau.
In the same vein, President Buhari approved the re-appointment of Mr. Ade Ipaye as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President. Mr. Ipaye who was former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State works from the Office of the Vice President.
He also approved the re-appointment of Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to President on Economic Matters; Mrs. Maryam Uwais who retains her position as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme as well as Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.
Also, re-appointed is Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who will now serve as the Special Adviser to the President on Ease Of Doing Business.
Equally, President Buhari has also appointed Mr. Ahmad Rufai Zakari as Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, as Senior Special Assistant on Education Interventions, Mr. Louis Odion as Senior Technical Assistant on Print Media, and Mr. Ajuri Ngelale as Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs in the Presidency.
All appointees are to serve in the Office of the Vice President.
Except for Zakari, Bank-Olemoh, Odion and Ngelale, all the other appointments take retrospective effect from May 29, 2019.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, says Nigeria needs to be repositioned rather than being unnecessarily criticised.
Adesina, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to repositioning the country.
“It’s not the time for cynicism in the country. It’s not the time for scepticism. If you want to be cynical or sceptical, you have a right for it but it wouldn’t do you good nor will it do the country well.
“Once there are explanations, the best thing is to accept them and together move forward to reposition Nigeria. That is what matters, not unnecessary criticism for the sake of criticising,” he said.
Adesina’s comment comes shortly after President Buhari held a retreat for minister’s designate, asking the incoming members of his cabinet to brace up for the tasks ahead of their inauguration on Tuesday.
Although the presidential aide admitted that the current administration is being criticised, he, however, said it isn’t disturbed by the level of criticisms.
He explained that the Federal Government rather work on those seen as genuine and constructive in order to take Nigerians to improve on the nation’s economy, security and in fighting corruption.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, Mr Dan Nwanyanwu, said President Buhari needs the right ministers that will tell him the truth.
Nwanyanwu who was also a guest on Politics Today advised the incoming ministers against presenting fake issues to the President at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
“Government must put the right people that must tell the President the truth. These ministers should not go to Council to garnish issues that are not real.
“You can only look at the President and say: “Mr President, I have problems here. I suggest this is the way we can do it.
“Nigeria needs people that are very serious to get people out of poverty which is the cardinal programme of the President this time around,” he said.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that the Presidency is saddened by the spate of killings in the country.
He said this on Tuesday while reacting to the Shiite/police clash in the nation’s capital, Abuja, which resulted in the killing of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, a corp member who was serving with Channels TV and some Shiite members.
When asked “how does the presidency feel?” during an interview on the station’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily, he said: “very very sad”, noting that that primary responsibility of government should be to secure lives of citizens.
“This is our country, we are all citizens, lives should not be taken just anyhow. The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property. The Constitution vests the protection of lives and property in the government so when it fails, as we have seen it fail in recent times and particularly yesterday, government will feel it, because it’s not good for anybody”.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has said protests by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), over the continued detention of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, have become anything but civil.
Mr Adesina, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said this while reacting to the killing of several persons following the Shiite protest on Monday.
According to him, there is a case coming up on July 29 where El-Zakzaky would be seeking bail to go abroad for medical attention and the Shiites could have been patient for the decision of the court, rather than resorting to violence.
He further stated that the police only responded with live ammunition because the protesters were not being civil.
“The protests had become anything but civil. You saw what happened at the National Assembly on July 9… they stormed that place, set so many cars ablaze, a policeman was killed, so it was anything but civil,” he said.
“The police said all protests in Abuja had been restricted to the Unity Fountain so if they wanted a civil, peaceful protest, they would do it at the prescribed place, granted that under democracy, you have the right to protest.
“Democracy recognises civil protest and one thing you would agree to is that till now, the police had used minimum force because they could have started using those live rounds from day one because this has persisted for months”.
Speaking further, he denied reports that the government is considering proscribing the group.
“No no no… If government is considering it, who told them, who confirmed it to them. Someone may have sat in the comfort of his living room and concocted that story,” he said when asked to confirm.
When asked why the IMN leader has remained in detention despite a court order for his release in 2016, Mr Adesina said it is a legal matter.
“I know that the immediate past AGF in whose purview it was to make pronouncements on that, addressed the issue.
“If bail is granted and another case subsists or there is an immediate filing of appeal, you have to wait till it is dispensed with. So, that is a legal matter which is outside my purview but as a layman, (an unlearned man as lawyers would call us), we know that until all cases are dispensed with, you don’t say that it has been concluded,” Mr Adesina explained.
A Chibok Parent, John Bassa, has stated that at least 49 towns in the north east, are still being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.
He said this on Tuesday during a town hall organized by Channels to assess the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last four years.
Bassa who stated that 44 of his relations who were Boko Haram commanders had been killed, and at least 50, were still “active and high-ranking officers of Boko Haram” controlling some territories, maintained that many towns are currently empty as a result of the insurgence.
When asked: “Are you saying that Boko Haram is still in control of some territories in the northeast, from where they plan and execute these attacks – he responded by saying “of course”.
He went further to explain that “out of 52 towns in Gwoza, its only three right now that you can freely live within. (that is, Limankara, Gwoza town and Pulka).
“Gwoza town was liberated by our former President Goodluck, one week before election then in 2015 and the new administration liberated Limankara and Pulka so, 49 towns are still empty with nobody apart from the Boko Haram.
“They are the ones enjoying those areas and you dare not go there”.
In response, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the idea of “infestation and actually controlling a place” are two different things.
Although he sympathised with Mr Bassa for the loss of his relatives who were Boko Haram commanders, Mr Adesina noted that – “that in itself shows that the government is not taking the situation lying low. It is taking the battle to Boko Haram and it is eliminating those who are behind it”.
He insisted that under the previous administration, insecurity was at an all-time-high and cannot be compared to the current times.
“What we saw as at 2015, was that Boko Haram was sitting on the traditional stools of some emirs.
“The emirs had fled and the Boko Haram members were the ones using the palace and controlling the places, Local Govt Chairmen had fled, they were sitting in the offices, they were collecting taxes and tolls and that is not the situation as at today.
“They are prevalent in certain areas does not mean they are the law,” he said.