El-Rufai Faults Dogara’s Pay Disclosure

El-Rufai Faults Dogara's Pay DisclosureIt appears the war of words between the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, is not about to end any time soon.

Governor El-Rufai has fired back at Honourable Dogara over the National Assembly budget controversy, alleging that he does not share Kaduna State money as the National Assembly handles public funds.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday criticised the Governor for challenging them to make their budget public, saying that what Governor El-Rufai declared was not his security votes, but Kaduna State Security Budget.

The lawmakers similarly made public, Honourable Dogara’s payslips from October 2016 to March 2017.

Governor El-Rufai, however, in a statement on Thursday explained that he does not have security votes, outside the published security budget of the state.

He also faulted the payslips released by Dogara, saying “the figures in the pay slips presented for the Honourable Speaker are in stark contrast to the declaration by the economist, regarding the earnings of NASS members. One of the claims cannot be right”.

Advancing Democratic Discourse

“The House of Representatives has responded with predictable tetchiness to a simple and clear demand that details of the National Assembly budget be made public.

“It is inconceivable that an important institution, vested by the Constitution with representation, lawmaking and oversight powers, has for at least seven years ignored the imperative to set an example of transparency, despite being severally urged to do so.

“Despite the rush to personal attacks on a matter of public policy, we cannot allow the enthronement of the republic of distraction. It is important that everyone who is interested in protecting and advancing democratic discourse should stay focused on the issue.

“It is strange that persons entrusted with high office will justify their abdication of the responsibility to be transparent in such cavalier fashion. We don’t believe that most of our esteemed legislators will construe a demand for transparency as aimed at undermining the National Assembly,” he added.

Governor El-Rufai, Aviation Officials Inspect Kaduna Airport

Kaduna airport, Avaition, Nasir El-RufaiThe Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Kaduna Airport.

The governor stated this during an inspection visit to the airport, ahead of the planned closure of the Abuja Airport for repairs of its runway starting from March 8, 2017.

He was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, and that of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Mukhtar Usman.

Governor El-Rufai assured the passengers that would be using the Kaduna Airport during the period of adequate safety and security.

He also promised that all the roads and street lights to the airport would be rehabilitated before the end of February.

During the visit, the governor and some officials from the Ministry of Aviation inspected the ongoing work at the new terminal buildings and control tower.

He also urged the residents of the host community where the airport is located to cooperate with the government in its road expansion project, which he said would see to the relocation of their market.

Kaduna Is Safe and Secure

Governor El-Rufai disclosed to Channels Television at the end of the inspection that all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free operation during the period.

However, he criticised those opposing the choice of Kaduna Airport as an alternative to Abuja, insisting that the state is safe and secure to host visitors that would arrive the state in March.

The governor further revealed that the state government had begun to repair the Nnamdi Azikiwe by-pass and the road linking the Kaduna Airport to the railway station.

He stated that the project is expected to be completed in good time, in order to ease movement of Abuja bound passengers to and from the airport.

Governor El-Rufai noted that adequate arrangement had also been made by the state government to provide buses to convey passengers to Abuja or to railway station, depending on the choice of the passengers involved.

In their remarks, the FAAN and NCAA bosses said that the Kaduna Airport has the capacity to contain the number of aircraft and passengers that would be using the airport upon the closure of Abuja Airport.

Balarabe Musa Accuses Politicians Of Inciting Southern Kaduna Violence

Former Governor Accuses Politicians Of Inciting Southern Kaduna KillingsThe former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, has accused politicians and the elite both within and outside the state, of exploiting the crisis in the southern part of the state.

According to him, they have used it as an avenue to enrich themselves and advance their political interests, at the detriment of the people of the area.

Speaking with journalists, Mr Musa identified the causes of the Southern Kaduna violence to include the negative state of the nation, lack of respect for human life, among others.

He also noted that the calls by some politicians from the region, asking the people of the area to resort to self-defence would aggravate the crisis.

“The Southern Kaduna people must resist incitements from some people in the Southern part of Nigeria, who are mis-advising them to carry arms against each other”, Mr Musa said.

“Accusing the Hausa/Fulani of being behind the attacks in the area is very dangerous.

“When you are accusing Hausa/Fulani and their religion, it will end up being destructive. Let’s come together as one and deal with those criminals,” he said.

Mr Musa then went ahead to call on the state citizens, respective of their religion and ethnicity, to unite as brothers and sisters and end the killings, which according to him, which he said started since 1986.

Furthermore, the former Governor, advised the Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to revive companies in the region, which according to him, “would address the high rate of poverty and backwardness of the zone”.

He also said he did not share the view that President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr El-Rufai were behind the killings, stressing that he was also a victim of cattle rustlers in the northern part of the state.

Angry Youths Attack Emir’s Convoy in Southern Kaduna

Irate Youths Kill Shiites in KadunaThe Traditional ruler of Jema’a Chiefdom in Kaduna State, Alhaji Muhammad Isa Muhammad II, was on Wednesday attacked by rampaging youths in Samaru Kataf, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

An eyewitness and a member of the emir’s cabinet, said the emir was returning to Kafanchan after attending a security meeting with the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai in the state capital when he was attacked.

He told reporters that the meeting had centred on issues relating to the recent Southern Kaduna killings.

Although the traditional ruler was not injured during the attack, three of his cars which were in the convoy in which he was travelling were destroyed by the attackers.

“When we reach Samaru Kataf, some armed youths surrounded us with all kinds of weapons and started attacking our convoy. We immediately turned back to Kachia for our safety,” he narrated.

He asked the government to fully investigate the Southern Kaduna crises holistically, adding that the people behind the crises should be punished without fear or favour.

He also called on both Muslims and Christians in the state to embrace peace, as all religions teach peace, in order to move the state forward.

When contacted, the Kaduna State police command’s spokesman, Aliyu Usman, said security have been deployed to the area to forestall any further breakdown of law and order.

The youth may have been angered by renewed attack on the community that claimed the lives of three persons earlier in the day.

Some other persons were injured the attack on the southern Kaduna community.

The deaths occurred when gunmen suspected to be herdsmen launched an attack on the community.

The Kaduna Police spokesperson, Aliyu Usman, who confirmed the incident did not speak on the casualty.

But an indigene of the area told Channels Television that the attack occurred near a market on Tuesday night, shortly after the state government relaxed the 24-hour curfew that was imposed on the Local Government by the State Security Council in December 2016.

Another resident of Samaru Kataf described the latest incident as a reprisal attack by the Fulani Herdsmen to avenge the killing of some of their people by the locals in the same area in November 2016 .

The governor of the state, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, had in December said the attackers of locals were foreigners Fulani Militias who were avenging the deaths of their kins.

Governor El- Rufai also said that his administration had established contacts with some leaders of the Fulani communities in those countries with a view to bringing the attacks to an end.

Balarabe Musa Urges Buhari To Form Government of National Unity

Balarabe Musa, Immunity ClauseA former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa has urged President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to emulate Nelson Mandela by forming a government of national unity.

He also called on the President to initiate a national reconciliation mechanism that would address all the grievances that are being expressed from different ethnic nationalities.

He made this statement at the third annual memorial Nelson Mandela lecture in Kaduna.

Mr Musa expressed sadness over how Nigerian leaders corruptly enrich themselves at the detriment of socio-economic development of the nation.

He specifically maintained that Nelson Mandela’s selfless service to his people stands in sharp contrast to the leadership style of the Buhari-led administration, who he accused of making lopsided appointments and unequal distribution of resources and developments in the country.

He also urged the president to dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups in the Niger Delta region, and at the same time initiate a reconciliatory mechanism to unite all warring ethnic nationalities.

Meanwhile, former Vice-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, commended the federal government’s anti-corruption fight, which he said has led to the recovery of mind boggling amount of money from corrupt politicians.

He, however, noted that the fight should be all encompassing without bias for it to gain the confidence of the citizens, while at the same time asking President Buhari to be proactive in addressing emerging conflicts across the country.

Participants at the lecture opined that Nigeria could still have its place high in the comity of nations if political leaders would emulate the qualities of the former anti-apartheid leader.

Nelson Mandela led a team of other South Africans to earn the country its independence.

He died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95, 23 years after his release from prison in 1990.

Nigerian Air Force To Increase Recruitment Of Personnel

Nigerian Air ForceThe Nigerian Air Force will increase its recruitment from 1,000 personnel annually to 2,500, to increase its support to the nation’s security.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, announced the planned increase on Friday during a visit by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the Air Force had acquired 10 helicopters and was awaiting 10 other training aircraft in a bid to enhance its operations to adequately support both the internal and external security challenges confronting the nation, in line with globally accepted standards.

Beyond the partnership, the Chief of Air Staff announced ongoing reforms in the Air Force aimed at further contributing to fighting Nigeria’s internal and external security challenges.

At the meeting, Governor El-Rufai expressed his gratitude to the Air Force for its contribution to tackling security challenges in the North-West especially in Kaduna State.

The agreement at the meeting was that Nigeria was better off when the civilian authority and the military worked together for the common good.

Kaduna State Inaugurates Government Agencies’ Boards

KadunaKaduna State government has inaugurated Boards of Government Agencies and Parastatals, with a mandate to improve the state’s revenue profile and plug all leakages.

Inaugurating the boards on Monday at the Government House in the State capital, Governor Nasir El-Rufai tasked the revenue generating agencies in the state on the need to strive to attain a monthly Internally Generated Revenue target of four billion Naira in order to put the state on a sound financial footing.

According to the Governor, with the wage bill of the state’s work force consuming about 90 per cent of the Federal Allocation every month, there is need for the government to look inwards for other sources of generating revenue to enable it perform its statutory responsibilities to the people of the state.

Some of the inaugurated boards were the Kaduna State Facilities Management Agency, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency, and Kaduna State Bureau of Pensions.

Governor El-Rufai said the five parastatals were key to the economic development of the state especially in the face of the dwindling oil price in the global market.

He explained that the appointment of people into boards and agencies would ensure effective implementation of policies and programmes of the All Progressives Congress-led government in the state which the party promised the citizens during electioneering campaigns.

Responding on behalf of the appointed board members, the State Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, and Secretary of the Internal Revenue Service, Francis Kozah, thanked the Governor for giving them the opportunity to serve the state in their respective parastatals and agencies.

They further pledged that they would carry out their functions diligently.

Presently, Kaduna State generates close to one billion Naira monthly.

As the board members go back to their respective establishments to resume work, it is hoped that all hands must be on deck to turn around the financial fortunes of the state.

NNPC Begins Retail Outlets Expansion Project

Abdullahi Ganduje and Babtunde AdeniranThe Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has commenced nationwide consultation with stakeholders aimed at drumming support for the planned expansion of its retail outlets.

A statement by the spokesperson of the NNPC on Sunday said the expansion plan would increase the market share of its retail business to an appreciable level from the current 12 per cent by building a mega station in every Senatorial district in Nigeria in the months ahead.

Speaking during the flag-off of consultation during the week with a visit to the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, the Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, who led the NNPC delegation, said the purpose of the visit was to solicit for the support of Kaduna State Government to provide lands for building new NNPC petrol stations in the state.

“Our mission is to build three mega stations, one each in the three senatorial districts of the state. We need about 5,000 square meters for each of the station. Each station will have six pumps including that of Liquefied Petroleum Gas which is cooking gas”, the GED said.

Supply Of Petroleum Products

Governor El-Rufai, who was visibly elated, expressed gratitude to the NNPC management for deciding to flag-off the outlets expansion programme in Kaduna State, adding: “Any time NNPC comes visiting, it comes with good news,” he said.

The Governor, who gave express approval for lands to be made available for the NNPC mega stations, said: “I want to assure you that we will give you all the support that you need. The State Director of Lands will take the NNPC project team round the state to look at alternative sites. I don’t know how many you are building, we can give you as many as ten sites if you want”.

He stated that the supply of petroleum products was a key requirement for the prosperity of the country.

The Governor expressed joy that he was happy that NNPC was ready to invest heavily in the retail business to ensure that Nigerians were not exploited by private sector marketers.

He pledged the support of the state government to the success of the NNPC in general and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) in particular.

Indispensable Business Ally

Speaking in similar vein during the consultative visit to Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, described the NNPC as an indispensable business ally for socio-economic growth of Kano State and the country at large.

“Indeed, collaborating with the NNPC is indispensable if we are to achieve socio-economic development of the State. Kano State being the largest in terms of population and also the commercial nerve center of the North, there is no better organisation to have an alliance with than the NNPC”,  Governor Ganduje said.

He said he had already directed the Commissioner of Lands to work with the NNPC project team in selecting sites that meet the commercial requirement of the new filling stations in all the senatorial districts of the state.

“We know the philosophy behind establishing such retail stations. Considering that you are the custodians of crude oil and petroleum products in Nigeria, one may wonder why you are into retail business.

“But those of us in governance understand the situation because if you leave everything to the marketers, then the problem of control especially of the price and availability will become difficult”, he said.

Governor Ganduje stressed that NNPC mega stations had integrity and do not require any enforcement for compliance on approved prices of petroleum products.

In a related development, the Governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar, also pledged support for the NNPC retail outlet expansion project.

Goveror Abubakar, who spoke when he received the NNPC delegation for a consultative meeting on the retail expansion project, said that he had directed the Ministry of Lands to provide alternative sites that meet the stipulated requirements for NNPC to choose from.

Dr. Adeniran, however, expressed gratitude to the Governors for their unwavering support for the aspirations and success of the Corporation.

Nigerian Military Deserves More Recognition, Respect – Minister

MilitaryThe Minister of Information and Culture believes the Nigerian military should be given more recognition and respect.

“We need to be at the war-front especially the liberated areas to see the conditions under which they leave, to see the kind of threats they are exposed to everyday and despite all these, they have not only discharged their military duties but also carried out a very heavy humanitarian burden in terms of resettling the Internally Displaced Persons,” he said.

Mr Lai Mohammed was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Christmas Day where he spoke further about the sacrifices made by the military men to protect the country against insurgency.

“I know a couple of them spend their own money to provide clothing and medications for the IDPs. I think we should all give the respect due to them and also the encouragement and we should also stop second guessing the military especially when they say we are going to defeat Boko Haram by December 31.

“From what I saw, the entire 79 km between Maiduguri and Bama was secured every few metres likewise the way to other axis – Adamawa and Yobe. I think they are doing a fantastic job and we should commend them”, he said.

Rules Of Engagement

Answering a question on how the Federal Government wants to make families of the dead or missing soldiers get informed, the Minister said, “I think we must respect the rules of engagement of the military, its not everything we see or read on the news (that) are true. Even if soldiers all of a sudden disappear, the explanation I’ve gotten from the military is that at times, they do retreat technically which doesn’t mean they are lost.

“You don’t announce the death of a soldier without contacting their families or unit, but I believe that the military hierarchy is taking this matter seriously”, he said.

Mr Mohammed also spoke about how the Federal Government plans to review military issues. “We have set up a committee which is made up of the military, intelligence chiefs and also the media that would meet to review military issues.

“We have also suggested a workshop to train defence reporters and defend those who are at the war-front.

“I believe that when these two programmes get on, it would help better the understanding between the military, media and public.

Judicial Inquiry

While talking about the role the government played on the Army/ Shiite clash, Mr Mohammed said that “I think the government have said something about it. I remember the Governor of Kaduna State (Nasir El-Rufai) made a broadcast to the state and also issued a statement. He regretted the unfortunate incident on behalf of the government.

“The government has set up a judicial inquiry to look into the main causes of the incident. Arrest have been made and people have also been prosecuted.

“I think what was important to the Governor and the government is the issue of law and order and peaceful coexistence and cohabitation between the people of Nigeria. I think by the time the judicial inquiry comes up with its recommendations, we would have been able to address the root cause of the problem not just in Zaria but other sectoral conflicts.”

Nigerian Government Urged To Focus On Accurate Statistics

StatisticsNigeria’s current administration has been urged to give attention to the production and usage of accurate statistics in all sectors for the nation to be among the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.

While addressing a National Stakeholders Validation Workshop in Kaduna on Thursday, the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, stressed that accurate and credible data in strategic development plans, would enable the government make better decisions for enhanced policy making.

Dr Kale further stated that Nigeria needed a robust and reliable statistics in order to effectively implement the Sustainable Development Goals and effectively monitor its socio-economic programmes.

He further pointed out that most of the nation’s past economic policies failed due to lack of well-informed decisions that would catalyse social and economic development.

The statistician also debunked speculations that Nigeria’s unemployment rate was on the increase.

Aid Policy Formation 

The timing of the workshop organised by the National Bureau of Statistics is very important, as it coincided with a period of increasing focus and demand for accurate data and statistical information.

With no clear and accurate number of unemployed youths, health profile of citizens and poverty indices, the meeting, therefore, focused on sensitising relevant stakeholders on the enormous task of data generation, as entailed in the Sustainable Development Goals.

It will also review and update the National Strategic Development Plan for 2015- 2019.

The representatives of the European Union, Professor Peter Osanaiye and the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to strengthen the nation’s Bureau of Statistics in order to get an accurate data which will aid policy formulation.

Other stakeholders at the meeting, underscored the importance of statistics for national planning and effective policy making.

They stressed that labour statistics, which are the critical data that government needed to address the problem of unemployment, was a key social problem that human societies around the world have continued to struggle with.

Although, there are reporters that Nigeria is making impressive progress in terms of economic growth rate, the need to transform the nation’s statistical system for an effective data collection has been an issue of major concern to all successive governments.

It is hoped that at the end of the meeting, participants would come up with better suggestions on how to effectively promote the production and use of statistics.

NTI Seeks Government’s Partnership On Teachers Training

NTIThe National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) has identified inadequate financial support by states and local governments towards the continuous professional training of their teachers, as being responsible for the poor performance of teachers in public schools across Nigeria.     

The Director-General of the institute, Dr. Aminu Sharehu, expressed sadness over poor remuneration being received by Nigerian teachers, which he noted is totally unacceptable if Nigeria must make progress in the education sector.

Dr Sharehu made this disclosure during the 4th combined convocation ceremony of the institute.

He said the welfare of teachers in Nigeria, especially when compared to other professionals like nurses, doctors and lawyers, was discouraging and should be improved in order to get the best from them.

On his part, the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, affirmed his administration’s commitment and willingness to partner with the institute, to organise a continuous professional development programme for teachers in the state.

The governor, who was represented by a Senior Director in the state Ministry of Education, said his administration has recruited a total of 2,500 additional teachers at all levels of education, in order to breach the gap created by shortage of teachers, especially in science subjects in public primary and secondary schools.

Also, a former Minister of Education, Professor Rukayyatu Rufai, noted that many people run away from the teaching profession because of the poor incentives attached to it. She appealed to the government at all levels to accord education a top priority.

Some of the graduating students expressed excitement of having successfully completed their academic programme from the institute and the beginning of their journey into the teaching profession.

Osinbajo Expresses Hope In Africa’s Socio-Economic, Political Development

Yemi-OsinbajoNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says he has high hopes in Africa’s socioeconomic and political development despite the many challenges facing the continent.

Professor Osinbajo spoke at a boot-camp organized by the Tony Elumelu Foundation on entrepreneurship which was held at the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.

The Vice President stressed the need for African leaders to provide the much needed political will through flexible and coherent policy framework that would transform the continent.

Professor Osinbajo also asked beneficiaries of the programme to always maintain a high degree of integrity, discipline and respect for the rule of law‎.

The first batch of beneficiaries drawn from across 51 African countries including Nigeria by the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, were 1000 young, determined and budding entrepreneurs.

The initiative aims at discovering and supporting 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade with the mandate of creating one million jobs which would eventually remove the continent from the stereotype of a continent of famine, disease, unemployment and wars.

Also addressing the beneficiaries on what government at all levels must do to encourage budding entrepreneurs, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, challenged business and political leaders to be more responsible and responsive towards the development of the sociopolitical and economic needs of the continent.

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme launched last December. It is a $100million initiative aimed at discovering and supporting 10,000 indigenous entrepreneurs with a focus on agriculture, education, commerce, ICT and health-care.

The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Benin Republic, Lionel Zinsou, the Founder of the Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, among other dignitaries.