We Will Urgently Develop Agriculture, Buhari Tells Saudi Businessmen

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that his administration was fully committed to increasing the productivity of Nigeria’s agriculture and solid minerals sectors.

This, he said will save the nation from the harsh effects of the lower crude oil prices.

Speaking at a meeting with leading members of the Council of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh, President Buhari revealed that with declining revenues from crude oil exports, Nigeria’s hopes of economic resurgence now lie in the rapid development of its immense agricultural and solid mineral resources.

Inviting Saudi Arabian businessmen to invest in both sectors, the President said  his administration will welcome greater foreign investments in support of its efforts to rapidly diversify the Nigerian economy.

According to a statement from the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said that Nigeria had regrettably depended too much on crude oil exports to the neglect of other resources and was now paying a harsh price for failing to diversify its economy early enough.

“With the downturn in the global prices of oil, we now have to protect our solid minerals. We have to return to agriculture.

“Mining and agriculture are our hopes now. We will welcome investments in these areas. We will appreciate an in-flow of more resources and expertise to help us achieve our objective of economic diversification,” the President said.

The Chairman of the Council of the Saudi Arabian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dr Abdulrahman Al Zamil, said that agriculture was a very important area of investment for its members, adding that they were already in Brazil, the United States of America and Sudan, “where we have huge farms.”

Declaring that they were willing to invest in Nigeria, Dr Abdulrahman Al Zamil said that the Saudis were the leading investors in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Part of the President’s delegations are the governors of Osun, Ogun, Katsina, Borno, and Zamfara States who took turns to address the Saudi Arabian businessmen on investment possibilities in their states, with the assurance of good returns.

Nigerian Troops Make Progress In Counter-Insurgency Campaign

Army-TroopsThe military says Nigerian and Cameroonian forces have killed suspected Boko Haram terrorists and freed several hostages during a raid to combat the insurgency in several West African nations.

According to a statement issued by the acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, the troops killed 10 Boko Haram terrorists and also rescued 45 persons in an operation against the insurgents in villages.

The statement added that the troops safely diffused five improvised explosives in the border towns, while four soldiers in a separate operation were injured when they stepped on buried explosives.

According to L’Oeil du Sahel Newspaper, the leader of an elite unit of Cameroonian soldiers, Captain Yari Emmanuel of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, was killed on Thursday last week during a joint operation with Nigerian Forces that led to the killing of at least 27 militants.

Buhari Calls For Acceleration Of Economic Integration In Africa

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has called for an intensification of intra-African trade and acceleration of the pace of economic integration across Africa.

The President gave the call while speaking at a banquet in his honour at the conclusion of his state visit to Kenya.

According to a statement released by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said that the expansion of trade relations between Nigeria and Kenya in recent years should be replicated by all other African countries to speed up the pace of economic development on the continent.

Part of the statement reads; “We now have Nigerian industrialists establishing cement plants in Kenya while Nigerian telecommunications operators are learning and adopting the Kenyan mobile banking model as a tool for financial inclusion in rural Nigeria.

“We have Nigerian farmers coming to learn from successful Kenyan farms while at the same time, we have many up and coming Kenyan oil and gas businesses partnering with Nigerian oil companies.

“We have Nigerians drinking Kenyan coffee in their homes and offices, while we have many Kenyans listening to Nigerian music and watching Nollywood movies,” President Buhari said.

“These developments point to a real integration on the continent beyond formal diplomatic relationships. Greater intra-Africa trade will ultimately result in the creation of millions of jobs within Africa for Africans,” the President added.

The President also expressed hope that Nigeria and Kenya will continue to build on the mutually-beneficial trade and economic relations between them.

He called for the rapid implementation of all bilateral agreements already signed by the two countries and the convening of their Joint Commission for Cooperation.

“As our two governments move ever closer, our business communities will also take full advantage of this momentum to increase trade and economic activities,” he said.

“I feel confident that by the end of this visit, new and solid bridges for movement of persons, goods and services would have been constructed,” President Buhari added.

The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced that both leaders agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation on trade, investment and the fight against corruption and terrorism.

Defence Chief Vows To Flush Out Boko Haram By December

Boko HaramThe Nigerian Armed Forces say they are working hard to ensure that Boko Haram is flushed out of the nation’s territory within the three-month deadline given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

After a meeting with President Buhari on Monday, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, told reporters that the deadline of December was achievable.

 

He said the meeting had become necessary to review the operations of the military after 60 days into the new order.

General Olonisakin said the mandate would be delivered, in spite of the challenges of weather and logistics.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila, also said that President Buhari was not in doubt with the capabilities of the Nigerian Army to end the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east.

It was also revealed that the President would be meeting with the Service Chiefs in few days, in continuation of the review, as the deadline draws nearer.

President Buhari in August gave the Service Chiefs three months to terminate the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

 

U.S Declaration On Boko Haram Is Bad News For Nigerians

Following a move by United States blacklisting Boko Haram and Ansaru militant groups as foreign terrorist organisations, a Certified Protection Professional, Femi Adegbulu, has warned that this spells bad news for the citizens, especially international travellers.

During an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Adegbulu accused the Federal Government of not being pro-active in dealing with terrorism.

“Our people are not pro-active. I saw this coming a long time ago after the various attempts that Boko Haram had made towards franchising with the main stream Al Qaeda.”

“Outright stamping out of terrorist group is what is recommended, not condoning them or calling them to a parley or even dangling amnesty before them,” he said.

He also stressed that the demands of the terrorist group cannot be granted by any government and faulted the Federal Government’s attempts at inviting the insurgents to a round table for peace talks .

“They want to dismember Nigeria as well as impose an Islamic state,” he said.

Speaking about the implications of the two groups being designated as terrorist organisations by the United States of America, Adegulu said Nigerians should be worried because they would be subjected to “dehumanising treatment” when they embark on international trips, especially to the States.

“Once you appear as a Nigerian, they don’t know whether you are a sympathiser or belong to the Boko Haram or not.”

He also commented on the suspicion that Boko Haram sect may have successfully forged an alliance with other international terrorist groups, adding that, the US may have intelligence on that.

“As at the time I wrote a paper six months ago, there were serious moves by the Boko Haram echelon to get that franchise to be in the mainstream al Qaeda,” he said adding that, the U.S may have been privy to information as to “whether they (Boko Haram) have met certain conditions which were set for them by the al Qaeda.”

Such information may have prompted the US to declare them terrorist groups, he averred.

He decried the delay on the part of government in prosecuting individuals who have been indicted for their involvement in terrorist activities.

He called on the government to deal with all sympathisers of the groups as they encourage the proliferation of the group.

Power Sector Investors To Set Up Customer Care Centres

The National Coordinator, Professionals and Business Groups of the People’s Democratic Party, Aroma Salifu, has said that the new investors in Nigeria’s power sector are expected to set up customer centres to address existing or arising issues following the official handover of the sector to private companies.

While speaking from our Abuja studio, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Salifu congratulated Nigerians and the Federal Government on the hand-over of the power sector to private companies through a credible and transparent process. He thanked Nigerians for their support, optimism, and for being hopeful about stable electricity.

“The process has been credible, has been transparent, has been fair and has been very competitive as being demonstrated in the last one year.”

On the outstanding payment of some PHCN workers, he stated that “the federal government has worked assiduously to ensure that all those who are entitled to being settled in the entire process are being settled as such.”

The remaining workers who are unpaid will be paid after the verification exercise is completed, he said.

The privitisation of the sector which took effect on the 1st of November has been touted as the solution to Nigeria’s power problem and stakeholders have expressed hopes that the country is closer to a new era of uninterrupted power supply.

However, Mr Salifu has stressed that the system needs to be overhauled as “there’s no way you will suddenly get stable electricity overnight.”

He added that there is a need for significant investment in the sector as the challenge cuts across the three aspects of generation, transmission and distribution.

“There is need for significant improvement and overhauling of the capacity to meet up with demands,” he said.

He disclosed that the World Bank is currently supporting the sector with about 1 billion dollars and there is a projection of FDI’s to the tune of 40 billion dollars.

These developments and investments are expected to translate into constant supply of electricity.

Although the country currently generates about 3500 MW, with its highest record of 4500 MW in 2012, Mr Salifu assured that the NIPP will supply an additional 10,000 MW while the off grid sources including wind, solar energy, coal, are expected to supply another 10000 MW.

However, the current projections only cover those who are already connected to power and not communities which are not yet connected.

The aggregate demand of power in Nigeria stands at 12000 MW.

He assured that the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) would ensure that the key players in the sector deliver what is expected to power consumers and “equally guarantee that consumers are not unfairly treated.”

“Since the private sector has taken over, it is a matter of time that generation is going to be improved upon significantly.”

Suspects Linked To Borno Mosque Attack Arrested

The Nigeria military says 17 militants behind last Sunday’s attack in Konduga village, Borno state where dozens of Muslim worshippers were killed have been arrested.

At least 44 people have been shot dead at a mosque in north-eastern Nigeria, officials in Borno state say.

According to residents,men dressed in military camouflage arrived in Konduga town on Sunday morning, shooting and hacking to death dozens of people returning from morning prayers.

Spokesman for the military, Brigadier Chris Olukolade told Channels Television in Abuja that the militants were nabbed on the day of the attack.

He said efforts are being made to track down more perpetrators of the attack.

Brigadier olukolade also said patrols have been stepped up on land and air , that the number of troops on patrols in rural areas have also been increased to prevent a reoccurrence.

Expect 250,000 FG Houses By End Of 2013- Etok

The Chairman, Social Advocacy Group, Vice Chairman National Housing and Urban Development policies Review Committee, Ezekiel Nya-Etok has said that 25% (250,000) of the anual 1 million houses promised by the Federal Government of Nigeria will be ready by the end of the year 2013.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise; he said that the federal government is committed to its promise, which is to deliver 1 million houses annually.

“All government needs to do is unlock one policy, and instead of government spending money; government starts making money.’ He said.

He mentioned that a lot of investors are coming in, even as people are beginning to have more confidence as a result of new policies being put in place by the government.

Gunmen Kill 19 In Easter Attack

Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Sunday stormed Afaka village in Kaura local government area of Kaduna state killing 19 people.

The unknown gunmen took the community by surprise as they attacked in the early hours of Easter Sunday leaving 19 people dead and many others injured.

The village shares borders with kaduna and plateau.

An eye witness said the gunmen numbering about 30 invaded the village in the early hours of Sunday shooting sporadically  at people’s houses  before the villagers with support of a neighbouring community were able to repel the attack.

Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the Kaduna State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Aminu Lawan said the gunmen took the villagers by surprise and started shooting people.

He added that the identities of the gunmen are yet to be known while the police has commenced investigation   into the attack.

He however disclosed that more armed policemen and soldiers have been deployed to the area to maintain law and order.

Petrol Tankers Explode In Kano

Two petrol tankers exploded in Kano, North West Nigeria, on Monday resulting in the death of at least 4 occupants of the vehicles.

The explosion according to eyewitnesses, occurred at about 6am after two petrol tankers collided, resulting in panic on BUK Road in the ancient city.

The eyewitnesses told Channels Television that people in the environ erroneously attributed the explosion to a bomb planted by the Boko Haram insurgents  which caused a stampede. Several people sustained injuries from the stampede.

Motorists were also seen re-routing to alternative roads to avoid being caught in the presumed violence.

However, state fire service officials debunked the eyewitnesses’ claim on the casualty figure, stating that only one person died in the incident. The officials also stated that the blaze had been brought under control and the road reopened for normal activities.

Court Clears Jonathan For 2015 Presidential Elections

President Goodluck Jonathan has been cleared by a Federal High Court in Abuja to run in the 2015 Presidential election.

The presiding Judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi on Friday, ruled that President Jonathan is eligible to contest the forthcoming 2015 presidential election if he so desires.

Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi held that Jonathan’s assumption of the office of president after the demise of late former President Umar Yar’Adua was in line with what the National Assembly aptly described as Doctrine of Necessity and not as a result of emerging winner in any by-election conducted after the death of the late former president.

However, Justice Oniyangi stated that his judgment does not in any way make President Jonathan an automatic candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

He warned that his decision should not be misconstrued to mean that Jonathan has become an automatic candidate of the party for the 2015 presidential election.

The court further held that the president’s tenure of office begins to count from 29th May, 2011 when he was sworn into office as the elected president of Nigeria and not 6th May, 2010 when he assumed office following Yar’Adua’s death.

The court held that the suit as presently constituted does not disclose any cause of action and that the plaintiff, Mr. Cyriakus Njoku, lacks the locus standi in instituting the case.

Cyriakus Njoku had approached the court seeking for an order to restrain President Jonathan from running for office in 2015 stating that it will amount to breaching a constitutional provision which prescribed a period of not more than eight years for occupants of the office of the president.