President Muhammadu Buhari has called for more collaboration among countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to effectively fight terrorism in the region.
President Buhari made this call on Saturday during the graduation ceremony of 181 Senior Course 42 officers at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji in Kaduna State.
The President noted that Nigeria, in partnership with its allies, will not relent until the Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad basin and other insurgency group terrorising the West African subregion and the entire continent are completely decimated.
Speaking through the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired), President Buhari commended the Armed Forces for their continued prompt responses to the numerous security challenges facing the country.
He was accompanied by Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and other top military officers.
A total of 181 officers drawn from the Nigerian Army, Airforce, Navy, Police, Paramilitary agencies, and 13 allied students from 10 African countries took part in the 49 weeks senior military course which commenced in August 2019.
The officers had passed through several aspects of training in leadership, public security, command, and staff functions to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, the revised budget of N10.8 trillion for the year 2020.
He assented to the budget at about 11:06am on Friday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
In his address, the President explained that the budget had to be revised because of the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the nation’s economy.
He disclosed that Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) of the government would be given at least 50 per cent of their capital allocation by the end of July.
According to President Buhari, the timing of the signing of the budget was to keep with the January to December budget cycle.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, and the SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Umar Yakub, presented the budget to him at about 11:03am.
President Buhari was joined at the signing ceremony by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Others in attendance included the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State (Finance), Clement Agba; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefile; and Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, were also at the Council Chamber to witness the signing of the revised budget.
Read the tell text of President Buhari’s speech at the event below:
Speech by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the signing into law of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020
Presidential Villa, Abuja. Friday, 10th July 2019
It is my pleasure and honour to sign the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 into law today. I thank the Distinguished Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all the Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members, of the National Assembly for the prompt review and passage of the amendments to the 2020 Appropriation Act.
You will recall that I signed the 2020 Appropriation Act into law on Tuesday, 17th December 2019. However, it became necessary to revise the Appropriation Act 2020 in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic. Crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.
Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this. In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.
It is, therefore, imperative to adjust our expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.
Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our Administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people. With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion Stimulus Programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.
Considering recent budget implementation challenges, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 in order to realise its laudable objectives.
All Ministers are to ensure that their Ministries, Departments and Agencies intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.
We have, nevertheless, made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020. As at 31st May 2020, the sum of N253.33 billion have been released for the implementation of capital projects.
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is in the process of effecting budgetary releases that will ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.
The Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, that I have just signed into law, provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details of the 2020 Amended Budget.
I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, particularly the Budget Office of the Federation, and everyone who collaborated and worked conscientiously to produce the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 that I have signed today.
I thank all Nigerians for their understanding and unflinching support, especially during these difficult times.
Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
He sympathised with President Alassane Ouattara, as well as the government and people of the West African country on Thursday in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
In his condolence message, President Buhari said the prime minister, who breathed his last in the line of duty at a cabinet meeting, left behind a void not only in his country but also in the West African sub-region which had looked up to him as an emerging leader for the new times.
”His leadership, political and business acumen, working in support of President Ouattara, epitomise the success story of the economy and the return of peace and stability after the crises Cote d’Ivoire passed through.
”May God bless his soul and further unify the country and its people,” the President was quoted as saying in the statement.
Coulibaly, a candidate in Ivory Coast’s presidential election scheduled for October, died on Wednesday at the age of 61.
He was reported to have died just a few days after he returned from France where he received medical treatment.
In his tribute to the late prime minister, the Ivorian President described Coulibaly as his closest collaborator for 30 decades.
Ouattara, who tweeted in French, said, “I pay tribute to my younger brother, my son, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was, for thirty years, my closest collaborator.
Je rends hommage à mon jeune frère, mon fils, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, qui a été, pendant trente ans, mon plus proche collaborateur. pic.twitter.com/M0gk0kPU0W
‘I salute the memory of a statesman, of great loyalty, devotion, and love for the Fatherland. He embodied this young generation of Ivorian executives of great skill and extreme loyalty to the nation.”
A father of five who earned an engineering degree in France, Coulibaly had a reputation for hard work and a temper that led to his nickname, “The Lion” of Korhogo, the country’s fourth-largest city, which was his native place.
He wielded great influence among traditional leaders of the Senoufo ethnic group, from which he came.
Je salue la mémoire d’un homme d’Etat, de grande loyauté, de dévouement et d’amour pour la Patrie. Il a incarné cette jeune génération de cadres ivoiriens de grande compétence et d’extrême loyauté à la Nation. pic.twitter.com/55QkrrZOr3
Critics, however, said he lacked charisma and his nomination for president did not go down well with several leaders of his ruling coalition, the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP).
His many positions since starting out in politics in 1994 at Ouattara’s side included technical advisor, senior civil servant, deputy and mayor of Korhogo, agriculture minister, cabinet minister, and finally prime minister.
Like Ouattara, he was at ease in international financial circles and was also the country’s budget minister, giving priority to solid macro-economic management over social programmes, according to critics.
The Senate on Wednesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the replacement and confirmation of two non-career Ambassadors-designate.
The request was contained in a letter read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The President sought to replace the earlier nomination of Mr Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State, respectively.
The letter reads: “In accordance to Section 171(1)(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of Mr. John J. Usanga and Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) from Akwa-Ibom and Niger State respectively, as non-career Ambassadors-designate.
“The Senate is kindly requested to recall my earlier submission of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State respectively, vide letter dated 17th June 2020, I substitute Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga (Akwa-Ibom State). I replace Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar (Borno State) with Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (Niger State).”
But coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, the lawmaker representing FCT in the upper chamber, Senator Philip Aduda, protested the exclusion of a non-career Ambassador from the FCT.
According to him, the only FCT indigene presently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Hafiz Obada, was not re-appointed.
“For the ambassadorial nomination for the non-career, nothing has been said about the one for FCT. It has been silent and we have an Ambassador who is already sitting in Sierra Leone, his name is Ambassador Hafiz Obada. We don’t know what becomes of his fate because other states have been told to remain in their stations or they have been re-appointed.
“My issue is that is it at this time FCT will now lose an Ambassador. It is worrisome to me and the people of the FCT. Sitting here, names have been called for all other states except FCT and we have one.
“Now that particular non-career Ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us and is being killed, otherwise we are also entitled to have, and that is what I have consistently said since this list came out.
“So, Mr. President, I hope something can be done to this to help the people of the FCT. We don’t get Ministerial nomination, we don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have is about to be taken away which should not be so,” Aduda said.
In his remarks, the Senate President described the lawmaker’s complaint as valid, saying it is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career Ambassador by the President.
“I sympathize with the FCT but I know there were twelve non-career Ambassadors who were retained. I don’t know if you have an FCT indigene among those twelve, probably you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid.
“What I’m going to advise is maybe we need to take more political action, so that it doesn’t always come like it is an after-thought. The FCT is to be treated like a state, that’s what the Constitution states, so you deserve one like any other state deserves”, Lawan said.
“As an ordained minister, Reverend Pam brings to the position more than 30 years of leadership experience in the Christian community, coupled with a deep understanding of promoting inter-religious harmony and conflict resolution in the northern parts of the country,” the statement said.
Shehu added that the cleric has held many leadership positions in the church, including Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of Northern Nigeria from 2016 to date, Vice President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria from 2013 to date, and the District Superintendent of Jos Mainland Assemblies of Nigeria form 2010 to date.
He also served as the Chairman of the Plateau State Inter-Religious Council and Chairman of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Committee in the state.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to world leaders and partners to appreciate their support towards helping Nigeria in attaining a Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free status.
He also promised that his administration would sustain the momentum and strengthen the Primary Health Care system.
This was disclosed in a statement signed on Friday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President also commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chairman Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication, and his team, for making Nigeria proud and saving the country from the scourge of poliomyelitis.
He asked the taskforce to sustain the coordination especially in mobilizing state governors to provide the needed oversight and resources to strengthen the Primary Health Care System.
“This is to express our profound appreciation for your leadership of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization.
“The declaration of Nigeria as a Wild Polio free country is the result of your effective coordination of the Nigerian Polio eradication program through the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization, Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
“Please extend my personal appreciation to all members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication for making Nigeria proud and saving her children from the scourge of Poliomyelitis.
“I urge the Taskforce under your leadership to sustain this coordination especially in mobilizing State Governors to provide the needed oversight and resources to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system by improving routine immunization, maternal, newborn and child health services.
“I urge you to sustain the momentum as I look forward to us leveraging on the polio infrastructure and experience to drive other health interventions,’’ the President wrote in the letter to Prof Osinbajo.
The President also wrote a separate letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanking the European country for decades of financial support to Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) programme in Nigeria through KfW.
“Please be assured that my Government will remain committed and focused to ensuring the needed resources will be provided to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system of our great Country,” the President said in his letter to Chancellor Merkel.
President Buhari also thanked traditional and religious leaders, who through their leadership built community trust for the polio programme thereby increasing acceptance and ensuring all eligible children are reached with the polio vaccine.
Specifically, he wrote Alhaji Muhammad Saad III, Sultan of Sokoto, the leadership of Jama’atul-Nasirl Islam (JNI) and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The President also wrote separate letters of appreciation to Bill Gates, the European Union, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund, David Malpass, President, World Bank Group and John Barsa, Acting Administrator, United States Agency for International Development.
Others are, Global Affairs Canada, Professor Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the International President, Rotary International.
President Buhari also appreciated the support of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Aliko Dangote Foundation, Sir (Dr) Emeka Offor and Governor Kayode Fayemi, in his capacity as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate, compulsory, and indefinite suspension of Mr Adebayo Somefun, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
A statement on Thursday from the Head of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, revealed that the President also suspended 11 top officials of the agency.
They include Jasper Azuatalam (Executive Director, Finance and Investment), Olukemi Nelson (Executive Director, Operations), and Tijani Sulaiman (Executive Director, Administration).
Others are Olusegun Bashorun (General Manager, Administration/Human Resources/Maintenance), Lawan Tahir (General Manager, Finance), Chris Esedebe (General Manager, Claims and Compensation), Olodotun Adegbite (Deputy General Manager, Investment and Treasury Management), and Emmanuel Sike (Deputy General Manager, Finance and Accounts).
Also affected by the suspension are Olutoyin Arokoyo (Deputy General Manager/Acting Head, Legal), Dorathy Tukura (Deputy General Manager, Administration), and Victoria Ayantuga (Assistant General Manager, Internal Audit).
According to the statement, their suspension from office arose from the preliminarily established prima facie infractions on the extant Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct.
It said, “During the period of their suspension, the suspended officers are to face a Joint Board and Audit Investigative Panel that has been set up to look into the financial and procurement breaches, as well as gross misconduct in the NSITF for periods of 2016 to date, which have invariably put the Contributions of stakeholders in a perilous state.
“The affected officers have also been directed to hand over to the most senior officers in their respective departments.
“The Executive Directors are, therefore, to hand over to the most senior general managers, while the managing director will hand over to the most senior officer in the Fund.”
Thereafter, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, directed the Regional General Manager in charge of the Ibadan Region, Temitope Akinwale, to take charge as General Manager in charge of Finance and to concurrently oversee the Office of the Executive Director of Finance and Investment as the acting Executive Director.
He also asked the Regional General Manager in charge of Port Harcourt Region, Maureen Allagoa, to move to NSITF Headquarters as General Manager in charge of Administration, Human Resources and Maintenance, and to concurrently oversee the Office of the Executive Director of Administration as acting Executive Director.
Ngige also directed the General Manager of Administration and Maintenance, Baba Kabir, to move to the Enforcement Department while concurrently overseeing the office of the Executive Director of Operations in an acting capacity.
He asked the General Manager of the Health, Safety and Environment Department, Dr Kelly Nwagha, to assume the position of acting Managing Director/Chief Executive, as the most senior General Manager in the Fund.
“All the appointments are with effect from Monday, July 6, 2020, and will last until further notice.
“The Honourable Minister has also charged the Chairman of the Board, Mr Austin Isire, FCA; FCII; to take charge, in order to ensure that the Investigative Panel commences work as soon as possible and for the Board to facilitate the smooth running of the Fund by creating the enabling environment and all the necessary staff adjustments and movements, in order to guarantee that services by staff to the Contributors do not in any way suffer,” the statement added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the plan of his administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
The President was speaking on Tuesday, in a video message to a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, which featured the launch of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication (APE) an initiative aimed at supporting actions to eradicate poverty.
He expressed his administration’s determination to do more, including a massive investment in education, especially of the girl-child.
“Nigeria attaches great importance to poverty eradication. It is for this reason that in May 2019, on my inauguration for 2nd term in office, our government committed itself to starting a new programme of lifting a 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period.
“In Nigeria, as in many other countries, the domestic supply chain and trading corridors have come under enormous strain. This has brought to fore, the health versus economic debate, a subject which has captured the attention of “global leaders and shaped the debate on how best to respond to the global pandemic, while allowing citizens to earn their livelihoods,” he said.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to improving electoral reform in the country.
Mr. Malami, who is also the Minister of Justice, made the comment during an appearance at an electoral town hall event broadcast on Channels Television.
Mr. Malami said the present administration has, more than its predecessors, allowed for the independence of INEC as an institution and also respected the decisions of the judiciary.
“We are all living witnesses to what happened in Zamfara for example,” he said. “We are all living witnesses to the fact that INEC as an umpire reserves exclusive rights to determine constitutional compliance of a political party in terms of fielding a candidate.
“For the first time, the judiciary has been granted its right to determine the validity of the electoral process.
“It is not correct to conclude that this administration has not supported the evolution of the electoral process.”
The National Assembly has said it is committed to passing an amendment to the electoral act by the end of the year and Mr. Malami said the President will surely assent, provided the submitted amendments do not contravene the nation’s constitution.
“Within the context of the legality of the electoral act amendment, I give you my commitment that the President will certainly assent, provided that there are no constitutional infractions,” Malami said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has formally flagged off the construction of the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project, said to be the largest of its kind in the nation.
The President who performed the ceremony virtually from the State House on Tuesday, called on governors of states on the path of the pipeline route to create an enabling environment for the success of the project.
The AKK project is a section of the trans-Nigeria gas pipeline with a capacity to transport 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day and will be fed from the existing domestic gas infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai also flagged off the Kaduna end of the pipeline with a proclamation that the project will bring about rapid economic development in the northwest zone and the entire country.
El-Rufai was accompanied at the flag-off ceremony by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Speaking during the ceremony at Rigachikun in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the governor said the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project, will add 3,600MW of electricity to the grid when completed and also supply industrial clusters with constant power.
President Muhammadu Buhari will today inaugurate the construction of the 614km-long Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Pipeline Project – the single largest gas pipeline project in Nigeria’s history.
The $2.8 billion natural gas project is a joint venture project between Oilserv Limited, an indigenous oil and gas pipelines and facilities company, and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
It forms the first phase of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP) project which is part of the 4,401km-long Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) to export natural gas to countries in Europe.
The AKK pipeline is slated to originate from Ajaokuta and pass through Abuja and Kaduna, before ending at a terminal gas station in Kano.
Its flag-off will mark the beginning of the implementation of the plan to create a steady and guaranteed gas supply network between the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria, by utilising the country’s widely available gas resources.
It is also expected to reduce the large volume of gas flared annually in Nigeria, as well as the subsequent environmental impact it causes.
The gas pipeline project is also expected to promote and increase the local usage of domestic gas while increasing the nation’s revenue generation through the export of natural gas.
It is to be executed in three phases, with phase one covering the construction of a 200km-long segment between Ajaokuta and Abuja Terminal Gas Station at a cost of $855 million.
On the other hand, phase two will comprise a 193km-long section to be built between Abuja and Kaduna at a cost of approximately $835 million, while the third phase will involve the construction of a 221km-long section between the Kaduna Terminal Gas Station (TGS) and Kano TGS at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
Other infrastructure planned for the development includes various associated valve stations, as well as intermediate and terminal facilities.
Ahead of the flag-off by President Buhari at the project site in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, Oilserv officials noted that the company was 100 percent ready to execute the contract which would also boost gas distribution by establishing a connecting pipeline network between the Eastern, Western, and Northern regions of the country.
They added that the company has pooled the expertise of highly qualified and experienced engineers, technicians, and other support personnel to provide Total Quality Services (TQS) that would ensure the timely and successful completion of the project.
According to them, Oilserv Limited was chosen for the project because of its performance on various key projects relating to platforms, production facilities, and installation of Bulklines, all of which involve engineering, project management, and construction services.
They added that the company was the first and only Nigerian indigenous company to fabricate, install, and commission the largest oil manifold station for Shell Petroleum Development Co. Ltd. (S.P.D.C.).
It has also successfully designed and constructed the largest Gas Transmission Pipeline System in Nigeria and Africa – the Obiafu/Obrikom to Oben Node Gas Transmission Pipeline System, which forms a part of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan.
Among other challenging projects, Oilserv is also a major company executing pipeline repairs and rehabilitation work for S.P.D.C and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) in the Niger Delta region of the country.