President Jonathan Swears In New Ministers

President-Goodluck-Jonathan-1The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has sworn in 11 new ministers recently screened by the Senate, urging them to bring in positive changes in the administration and work closely with others in the service of their fatherland.

In the list of the new ministers are, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who is the Minister of State for Defence, Mohammed Wakil, Minister of State for Power, Abduljelili Adesiyan, Minister of Police Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Akon Eyakenyi, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Lawrencia Laraba Mala, Minister of Environment.

Others are, Dr Tamuno Danagogo, Minister of Sports, Asabe Ahmed, Minister of State for Agriculture, General Aliyu  Gusau, Minister of Defence, Mr Boni Haruna, Minister of Youth Development and Dr Khaliru Alhassan Minister of State for Health.

The new ministers filed out in batches of four to take the oath, while the president observed. One after the other they also signed the dotted lines.

Dr Danagogo replaced the former Minister of Sports, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, who has travelled to Poland to attend the International Weightlifting Federation Championship.

Bring In Positive Changes

President Jonathan said that another set of ministers would be sworn in before he would have a full discussion with the ministers.

He said: “Join us to see how we can serve our people. Public office is for service. See yourselves as servants and bring value to what you have been asked to do.

“I always tell my people to find out and detect errors and do adjustments that will bring positive changes. Work closely with others and relate with each other for the success of the administration”.

The President also advised the new ministers to ensure that they do not create problems, saying that the administration will review the schedule of duties to avoid friction among the ministers and minister of state.

He stressed that their responsibilities were mainly administrative and expressed hopes that they would bring their experiences to bear.

Jonathan gives Ministers two weeks to vet Ribadu’s report

In a bid to fulfill his pledge that recommendations made by the controversial Ribadu Report would be looked into, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up white paper committees to prepare Draft White Papers on the reports of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and two other reports on the nation’s oil sector.

The others are reports presented by the National Refineries Special Task Force and the Governance and Controls Special Task Force.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati on Thursday announced the appointment of the latest committee to probe the nation’s oil sector.

According to Dr Abati, “the committees are to study the reports, review the issues raised and prepare Draft White Papers for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council within two weeks.”

The white paper committee on the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report-now known as Ribadu report-will be chaired by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, with the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Minister of State for FCT, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed as members.

It will be recalled that President Jonathan, after the rancour between members of the committee during their submission of the report, gave the assurance that despite the rancour , his administration will look into the report and prosecute any one alleged of misappropriation in the nation’s oil sector.

The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and a member of his team, Steve Oronsaye traded words at the presentation of the committee’s report to the President with the latter alleging that the report was flawed with unconfirmed figures.

The white paper committee on the report of the Governance and Controls Special Task Force will be chaired by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama  Pepple.

Other members of the committee are Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Bukar Tijani.

The white paper committee on the report of the National Refineries Special Task Force has Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Mohammed Sada as chairman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate and Minister of State for Education, Mr. Ezenwo Nyeson Wike as members.

According to the statement, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide a secretariat for the committees.

The statement further adds that the President has made the move “in furtherance of his declared commitment to doing all within his powers to ensure greater accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”

Jonathan pledges to address Nigeria’s housing deficit

President Goodluck Jonathan has reaffirmed the determination of his administration to address over 17 million housing deficit in the country through equitable access to land and housing revolution.

The president made the pledge at a one day retreat on the nation’s housing sector at the Presidential villa.

He commended efforts made by the Minister of Housing in the formulation of the new housing policy and called on the ministry to translate the policies into a road map that will revolutionise housing in the country.

The president noted that the National Housing Policy and National Urban Development Policy that were launched in June are appropriate for a coordinated and reinvigorated response to the nation’s housing sector.

These policies, he stated “will be translated into a road map to achieve a housing revolution.”

The new housing policy seeks to construct one million houses every year across the country

This is coming just as the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), last week urged the federal government to build on the new housing policy by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to develop housing units that will help bridge the housing deficit.

Executives of the NIESV, also advocated easy access to land and mortgage finance for mass housing in Nigeria.

Despite the dictates of the Nigerian constitution that demands suitable and adequate shelter for all citizens, over the years the delivery of adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria has not met the expectations and this President Jonathan noted is a major concern for his administration.

63 million not properly housed

According to the Minister of Finance Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the county is experiencing huge urbanisation that is not matched with adequate housing.

She expressed her astonishment asking the question “why the deficit in housing in a country of over 167 million people.”

She further lamented the state of the nation’s mortgage system, revealing that “the country has issued just about 20,000 mortgages as at today,” adding that “and we do not have a sustainable mortgage system that can reach a wide number of Nigerians.”

The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Moghalu, recently claimed that about 63 million Nigerians are not living in proper houses due to under-development in the housing sector.

“Paradoxically, with a huge population of 150 million people, 63 million of which are not properly housed and a rising demand for housing finance, the Nigerian housing mortgage sector remains grossly underdeveloped,” the CBN executive said at a stakeholders’ roundtable on Housing and Mortgage Finance in Abuja.

“Housing demand is estimated at 14 million housing units resulting in a funding deficit of N49 trillion” he added.

Some of the challenges the retreat will tackle include poor incentives for the provision of affordable housing, inadequate budgetary allocation, prevalence of unskilled local personnel and artisans in the building industry, poor land administration, non-availability and high cost of building materials.

These issues, according to the Minister of Lands, Housing and urban development, Mrs Amal Pepple, are of great concern, hence the need for a housing policy recently launched.

The retreat also featured talks and papers from experts in housing and urban development in the private sector.