President Buhari To Launch ERGP 2017-2020

Buhari Extends Return To NigeriaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will formally launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, April 5.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, revealed that the ceremony will take place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The statement explained that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

“The Medium-Term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has amongst its broad strategic objectives: restoring sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people; and building a globally competitive economy”.

The ERGP, which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development, was made public on March 7, while President Buhari was on his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, had said the ceremonial presentation will take place when the President returns from his vacation.

Buhari Approves New Board For NTA, Others

Buhari at his office The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has a new board led by a former Newspaper Editor and former Presidential Spokesman, Mr Duro Onabule.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the new board which consists of six other Executive Directors.

They are: Dr. Steve Egbo, Administration and Training; Abdul Hamid Salihu Dembos, Marketing; Mohammed Labbo, News; Fatima M. Barda, Finance; Stephen Okoanachi, Engineering; and Wole Coker, Programmes.

Some other appointments were also announced in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“At the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Aliyu Hayatu is new chairman, while Buhari Auwalu and Yinka Amosun, are Zonal Directors, Kaduna and Lagos, respectively.

“Under the Ministry of Information and Culture, the following agencies have new appointees: Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Chika Maduekwe, General Manager; National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Comrade Tar Ukoh, Artistic Director; National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General; National Film and Video Censors Board, Folorunsho Coker, Director-General,” the statement read.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will also serve as the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), while Mr Mustapha Maihaja is to serve as the agency’s Director-General.

According to the statement, other members of the NEMA Board are: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal; Captain Talba Alkali, representing Ministry of Transport and Aviation; Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Ngozi Azadoh, Ministry of Health; Mr Muhammadu Maccido, Ministry of Interior; Mr Ajisegiri Benson Akinloye; Ministry of Water Resources, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Anebi, Nigerian Armed Forces; and AIG Salisu Fagge Abdullahi, Nigerian Police Force”.

The President’s spokesman said the appointments are to take immediate effect.

Zaki Biam Attack: Ortom Vows To Bring Perpetrators To Book

Ortom Sues For Calm Over Benue Market AttackThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked the people of Zaki Biam to remain calm, as everything will be done to bring the killers of some traders in the town to justice.

The Governor made the call on Tuesday when he visited the town, alongside the Commissioner of Police in the state, Bashir Makama, to assess the situation there.

The Police confirmed that 17 persons were killed in the attack, after gunmen riding on motorcycles invaded the area while shooting sporadically.

The attack on the traders took place on Monday evening at a yam market in Zaki Biam in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, north-central Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on ICT and Media, Tahav Agerzua, clarified that the killing was not linked to the activities of herdsmen.

Although witnesses claim that about 27 people were killed by the attackers, but one of the survivors alleges that many lives were lost.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Benue State on the attack.

“The President condemns the wicked attack and directs security agencies to begin immediate investigation with a view to bring the perpetrators of the act to book,” he said

President Buhari also sympathised with those who lost their loved ones and prayed that God comforts them.

Moroccan King Congratulates President Buhari On Safe Return

President Buhari Speaks With Moroccan KingKing Mohammed VI of Morocco has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his successful return from a medical vacation in London.

In a telephone call on Thursday, the Moroccan monarch expressed delight and happiness at the kind of reception Nigerians gave President Buhari when he returned home.

According to a statement issued by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, King Mohammed VI said the reception showed the evidence of a leader widely loved by his people.

“King Mohammed VI, who had been in Nigeria on a state visit last December, invited President Buhari to visit Morocco in the same fashion.

“Responding, the Nigerian President thanked the Moroccan monarch for his congratulatory call, and the growing partnership between the two countries.

“Earlier today, a Moroccan delegation made of top government officials had met with senior Nigerian government officials.

“Both President Buhari and King Mohammed VI expressed happiness at the success of the meeting,” the statement read.

Buhari Condoles With General Gowon On Sister’s Death

President Muhammadu Buhari is celebrating a Prince of Sokoto and former Nigeria's High Commissioner to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami, on his 79th birthday.Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has commiserated with the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), over the passing away of his younger sister, Kande Martha Audu.

The President, who called from London, extended his deepest condolences to General Gowon and his family, urging them to take solace in the fact that Mrs Audu lived a worthy and exemplary life.

“Death is an inevitable end that must come to all mortals, and we must keep praying and working to ensure that we live a life that pleases our Creator and benefits humanity,” Buhari said.

He also prayed that God would comfort the grieving family and grant rest to the soul of Mrs Audu.

General Gowon, who thanked President Buhari for the commiserations, assured him that he would not relent in praying for the unity and progress of the country, adding that Nigerians are also praying for the President’s quick recovery.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

Change Will Be Evident Before 2017 Ends – Femi Adesina

femi-adesina-politics-todayThe Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina has again assured Nigerians that the end of the country’s economic challenge is nearer than ever.

Speaking on Politics Today, Mr Adesina said that all efforts of the Buhari administration to get Nigeria and Nigerians back on their feet would begin to materialize before the end of 2017.

He added that projections by notable international agencies have also predicted that Nigeria would exit recession in 2017.

“World Bank has said it, IMF has said it and before those institutions, the government has said it,” he said.

Adesina refused to have the Buhari administration blamed for the recession that hit the country saying Nigeria had been ‘primed for recession’ at the time Buhari became President.

“That recession was inevitable (with) the way Nigeria had been run two to four years prior the time we went into recession. There was no way it would not have happened,” he said.

He explained that President Buhari remained committed to correcting the mistakes of the past.

“What he is doing is good governance which will translate to better life for the people. It’s not going to be by a sudden flight, it’s not a magic wand that he will wave – policies that will yield over time and lead to improvements in the life of the people,” he said.

President Not Sick

Mr Adesina also debunked the rumours that President Buhari has been ill and wondered why critics altered the sequence of the statement issued regarding the President’s trip to the UK in order to make the President appear ill.

“Don’t forget, the statement we issued said he was going on holiday and during that holiday he would do medical checkups. The sequence is very important – holiday first, medical checkups second.

“Nigerians want to turn the sequence to medical checkups instead of holiday first.”

Mr Adesina’s explanation also triggered questions regarding the President’s trust in the quality of medical services in Nigeria but he argued that it is usually important to consult doctors who have the patient’s medical history.

“Before he became President, he has been using those same set of people. So, it stands to reason that the same people continue to attend to him,” he explained.

Cabinet Rejig?

There have been questions regarding the current makeup of the President’s cabinet, with many wondering if there would be a rejig of ministerial appointments.

The death of the Kogi state-born former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi, and the impending exit of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed for her UN appointment have also fuelled the speculation that there could be a rejig.

However, Mr Adesina insisted that it remained the prerogative of the President to rejig his cabinet.

While admitting that citizens have the rights to criticize the cabinet in the face of economic challenges, he maintained that the President has the final say on who works with him.

He gave the assurance that President Buhari is in touch with the grassroots and understands the challenges Nigerians have been going through.

Buhari Celebrates Alfa Belgore On 80th Birthday

Muhammadu Buhari, Alfa BelgorePresident Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, on his 80th birthday.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, the President recalled the octogenarian’s versatility in issues of culture, language and history, as well as his penchant for research.

He believes that the former Chief Justice, who was also Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, had already booked an honourable place in the history of Nigeria.

President Buhari prayed that the almighty God would grant Justice Belgore longer life, good health and more prosperous years to continue in the service of his country.

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore
Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore

“The President joins all professional colleagues, family and friends of the legal luminary in commemorating the unique milestone, which by all standards, has been preceded with years of service to the fatherland and humanity, culminating in the prestigious national awards of the Commander Order of the Niger and Grand Commander Order of the Niger.

“As a public servant, who variously served as a judge, chief judge (and) justice of the Court of Appeal, before being elevated to the Supreme Court Bench in 1986 from where he reached the pinnacle of his career as Chief Justice of Nigeria, President Buhari believes Justice Belgore’s passion for jurisprudence should continue to inspire the younger generation of lawyers in making the right choices for nation building,” Adesina stated.

5,000 Naira Stipend: Adesina Asks Nigerians To Ignore Critics

Femi Adesina, 5,000 nairaThe spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, has asked Nigerians to ignore those who are criticising the 5,000 naira payment to indigent citizens.

Mr Adesina said the payment had commenced in nine states of the federation.

He made the call on Tuesday while briefing reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The President’s spokesman said the ruling All Progressives Congress was built on integrity and accountability, saying they would not deceive Nigerians.

He asked the populace to choose who to believe between critics and the Federal Government.

The Presidency had on Monday announced that it had commenced the payment of monthly stipends to the poorest and the most vulnerable in Nigeria.

A statement by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said that under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), one million Nigerians would receive 5,000 Naira monthly payments.

Professor Osinbajo explained that the remuneration would come in form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.

After the statement by the Vice President was released, reactions poured in from Twitter users, with most of them asking for substantial evidence that payment had started.

See these reactions by clicking the image in the tweet below.

2016 In Retrospect: APC Will Come Out Stronger – Adesina

2016 In Retrospect: APC Will Come Out Stronger – AdesinaPresidential spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, believes that between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there is a fundamental difference of one being ‘progressive’ while the other is ‘conservative’.

He was responding to criticisms of the government and the ruling party on Saturday, December 31 during Channels Television’s special year-end programme, ‘2016 In Retrospect’, where panelists questioned what they described as lack of ideology.

A former Lagos governorship aspirant, Sinatu Ojikutu described the Buhari administration as one with good intentions but without a proper idea of how to do it.

She agreed with another guest on the show, who said that the lack of a party ideology has made governance difficult for the APC.

She went on to say: “These two parties; PDP, APC, I don’t see that much difference between the two of them in terms of what they want to do for Nigeria”

A Communication expert, Dr. Nick Idoko, however put a different perspective to the issue.

“As a nation, we have a crisis of philosophy. We don’t have a philosophy, so you can’t build parties based on philosophies or ideologies. That is why they are bankrupt,” he said.

But Mr Adesina insisted that in spite of both parties being made up of persons who had decamped at different times, “the ideologies are clear”.

“APC stands on the side of the people, PDP we can say is a little bit on the capitalist side” he added, but the guest unanimously disagreed with his submission.

Political analyst, Deola Soetan, argued that Mr Adesina had not made any correct statement as regards his description of socialism.

He maintained that being “on the side of the people” would demand modesty from politicians as displayed by the likes of Adekunle Ajasin in the past.

Commercializing social services, according to him is capitalism, “That is why during Fashola’s time you had university students paying over 300,000 naira against the philosophy of LASU (Lagos State University) when Jakande created it for poor people to come and become graduates.

“That was why you had tolls everywhere on the road. That was why you had farmers being expelled even from their lands, converting it to housing estates by land speculators.

“So I think Mr Adesina should consult books,” he said.

The panelists had also earlier described the internal crisis experienced by the APC in 2016 as a major distraction for the government.

In his comment, the President’s aide argued that a political party can have upheavals but what it does with it is what matters as such can either destroy the party or make it stronger.

However, with the series of meeting among the stakeholders in the party, there have been genuine efforts to ensure that the party sorts out its challenges.

He went on to say that the APC “will not be destroyed, rather it will come out stronger from what has happened to it”.

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – Army

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – ArmyThe Nigerian Army has dismissed a video clip released by Boko Haram terrorist group from an undisclosed location on Thursday, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.

In the video, the man usually identified as Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly claimed that reports of the group being crushed by the Nigerian Army during the capture of its Sambisa forest stronghold Camp Zero were untrue.

He also claimed that the group is safe and far away from any location where the Nigerian military can capture its members or defeat it.

“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said that effort is ongoing to subject the video for further forensic analysis to determine its authenticity.

He maintained that the Nigerian Army “has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest”.

“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.

“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.

“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the northeast have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.

“Consequently, the public are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious.

“They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.”

President Buhari, had in his Christmas message to Nigerians, announced Boko Haram’s “final crushing” in Sambisa forest.

President Buhari said the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, informed him that the last camp fell at about 1:35 p.m on Friday, December 23.

Buhari Never Said Boko Haram War Is Over – Adesina

Femi Adesina, Presidency, Boko HaramIn spite of the huge success recorded by the Nigerian Military in its onslaught against the Boko Haram insurgents, the Presidency believes the war is not yet over.

The spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, noted that Mr Muhammadu Buhari was misinterpreted by the press.

He said that President Buhari only commended the military when they took over the Sambia forest in Borno State, maintaining that he never pronounced the defeat of the Boko Haram insurgents.

“If you look at the President word-for-word, there is no place you will see him say that (the victory) signposts the defeat of the Boko Haram, no! It’s an interpretation by the press.

“What the President did was to congratulate the military for taking over the last camp of the Boko Haram which is called camp zero.

“What that effectively means is that Sambisa forest which was like the last stronghold of the Boko Haram has been effectively taken over by the military,” he noted.

Bitter Enders

Mr Adesina, told our Sunrise crew on Monday that the war against the insurgency was asymmetric and not conventional, stressing that such wars do not end for a very long time.

“There will always be bitter enders at any given time. Even as Sambisa forest has been taken over, you will still find some elements who will continue to fight and they will be taken out eventually.

“This kind of war is not one that at a point you will say because Sambisa has been taken over, its over for now, no! It is over when we stop having strikes and attacks,” he said with an assurance that the war would be over.

Nigeria Signs Gas Pipeline Agreement With Morocco

Nigeria Signs Gas Pipeline Agreement With MoroccoAn agreement to construct a regional gas pipeline connecting Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco has been signed by the two countries.

This was the high point of a two-day working visit of King Muhammad (VI) of Morocco to Nigeria.

For two days President Muhammadu Buhari and the visiting King of Morocco engaged in bilateral talks that centered on how to cement relations between Nigeria and Morocco.

With businessmen from Nigeria on one end and those from Morocco on the other, the discussions culminated to the signing of several agreements aimed at galvanizing development between them.

Government’s effort towards diversifying the economy away from oil led to the signing of the agreement on fertilizer production.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meetings, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, described the agreement on fertilizer as one that would boost agricultural production in the country.

For the gas pipeline agreement, the ministers of foreign affairs of the two countries, said that the agreement is aimed at accelerating electricity development in the region.

They also spoke on the multiple industrial opportunities for the two countries as part of the strategic vision of the two leaders.

Agreements were also signed on promotion and protection of investments, agriculture, banking, science and technology, and sustainable development.

Foreign observers have said that Nigeria and Morocco have a lot to benefit from the collaboration following the King’s visit.

King Mohammad arrived Nigeria on Thursday night and was received by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He arrived the Presidential Villa at about 1.30 pm Friday, and was received by the President and some top government officials.