President Muhammadu Buhari says crude oil theft must be addressed.
He made this statement during the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on National Economy which he inaugurated in his office on Friday.
Acknowledging the impact of the menace on the nation’s revenue exchange, the President reminded them that production of crude oil owing to economic sabotage has led to a production decline at half the nation’s OPEC quota.
Buhari, therefore, urged members to tackle the distinct challenge while promising that his administration will work assiduously to reverse the trend.
Members of the committee include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is also chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC), Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who represents the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and other members of the cabinet.
At the maiden meeting, President Buhari defended the nation’s borrowing rate, asserting that it is vital to achieving infrastructural development.
He identified as another source of concern the nation’s resource mobilization (when compared to other countries) which he notes impinges on the nation’s ability to perform.
The Presidential Committee is expected to review the national economic situation and propose measures to ensure the progress of the nation’s economy, receive regular updates on economic conditions in the country, identify issues that require urgent intervention to improve macroeconomic and fiscal conditions, review the impact of existing and new policies on the Nigerian economy and provide directions to relevant institutions responsible for fiscal, monetary and other relevant policies.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday extended its six-month-old strike indefinitely until the Federal Government meets its demands.
A member of the union, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development to Channels Television following a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the striking varsity teachers at the University of Abuja.
He said the union extended the industrial action after reviewing progress reports on ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government in the last four weeks when ASUU rolled over the strike.
Last week, the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities.
ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It had then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at its demands.
Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.
The university teachers are seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others. Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock. One such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja.
But a senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that the Briggs Renegotiation Committee did not come up with a new deal. The anonymous source said the committee had pleaded with the union to suspend the strike and promised that their concerns will be included in next year’s budget.
Since the industrial dispute, several groups and individuals have waded into the matter. The latest is human rights lawyer Femi Falana who asked the Federal Government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the striking workers.
“Instead of engaging in the diversionary tactics of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Government should ensure that the strike is called off by signing the Renegotiated Agreement with ASUU without any further delay,” Falana said in a statement he issued on Sunday.
“While calling on both sides to resume the negotiations in the interest of the country the Federal Government should be prevailed upon to end the prolonged industrial action.”
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has suspended its two-week warning strike and asked members of the union to resume duties next month.
This was contained in a statement issued on Saturday by the National Publicity Secretary of the union Abdullahi Yalwa.
“The two weeks definite strike of the Union will be rounding off on the 29th of May, 2022 as agreed by the emergency meeting of NEC.
“Consequently, the Union is requesting members to resume duties effective 30th of May, 2022 while hoping that government will take advantage of the window to address the 5 outstanding items,” he said in the statement.
“Further directives/ updates shall be released after the 103rd meeting of NEC which is scheduled to hold in the month of June 2022 during which the situation shall be reviewed.”
The union said the move followed “the significant inroads were made in four (4) of the items in our list of demands” which include payment of areas of the new minimum wage among others.
However, ASUP said there are four more outstanding issues yet to be addressed by the government. This includes the release of the approved N15Bn revitalization fund for the sector.
“This issue is still stuck in the Federal Ministry of Finance with a promise of follow-up action by the Education Ministry,” the statement added.
Others, the union’s statement noted, are the release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre; the release of the Scheme of Service and Conditions of Service; continued delay in the appointment of substantive Rectors for Federal Polytechnics in Mubi, Offa, and Kaduna, and the resolution of issues with members in Colleges of Agriculture.
Earlier in the day, the party’s National Publicity Secretary Felix Morka said the nomination and expression of interest forms for those vying for the presidential post have been pegged at N100m.
According to him, those interested in the governorship tickets of their states are to pay N50m for the forms.
Before Morka’s comment, President Muhammadu Buhari had presided over the extraordinary emergency meeting of the APC NEC.
Those who attended include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila; and Governor Fayemi of Ekiti, among other leaders of the party.
Already, several high-profile politicians in the country have indicated an interest in vying for the presidential ticket of the ruling party.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last week formally declared his intention to contest for the post. Hours ago, the Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige also joined the race.
The Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi; former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his Ebonyi counterpart Dave Umahi have also formally declared their intention for the presidential seat.
The President is presiding over the 11th meeting of the NEC.
Senator Lawan pledged total commitment and support to the party saying insecurity in Nigeria grew over the years and did not emerge from the present administration.
He however assured that given the enormous investment to tackle insecurity, the situation will abate before the end of the President’s tenure in office.
Also addressing the committee, the National Chairman of the party said the meeting is the first the National Working Committee will be having with the NEC and will begin the process by uniting aggrieved members as well as discussing upcoming elections.
Adamu also encouraged members to uphold exemplary behaviours, according to him, the party’s intrinsic problem is the crisis fueled by ego.
The National Chairman called for a discontinuation of the present rancour within the party because according to him there is no reason for the competition.
President Muhammadu Buhari believes the developmental drives of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are enough reasons for Nigerians to support the party in next year’s general elections.
He said this on Thursday when he received the new APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, at the State House in Abuja.
“Today, we should all be happy that the party has nursed its wounds and healed itself sufficiently to march forward to face the challenges of the coming state and General elections,” the President said, according to a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
“When I reflect on policies of the administration on the economy and specifically in the development of agriculture, infrastructure, ICT and innovation and the welfare measures we have put in place for women, the youth and the less privileged members of the society, I get fresh confidence that our citizens will continue supporting the APC in our electoral battles.”
Buhari also reiterated his government’s resolve to make the nation a better place.
“Our policies and programmes aim at nothing but the betterment of the country and its people,” he said.
“Essentially, the party should take the programmes of the government to the people to infuse confidence into them.”
He also lauded Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning committee for the conduct of the congresses and convention which led to the emergence of the Adamu-led National Executive Committee (NEC).
President Buhari tasked the new chairman to be fair to members of the party.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced that it will be holding an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) on Thursday, March 17.
The meeting which will be held at 11:00 am virtually is expected to discuss the convention scheduled for March 26 and other party-related issues.
The party noted this in a joint statement by some of its members in Pursuant to Article 25B (i and ii) of the Party Constitution, and by the power vested on the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) via the NEC resolution of 8th December 2020.
“The CECPC of the party at its 23rd meeting of 8th March 2022, hereby calls for the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider matters pertaining to the national convention, governance of the party and any other relevant business of the party,” the communique read.
The National Economic Council (NEC) has asked Nigerians to wait till June for a decision to be reached on the removal of fuel subsidy.
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, said this while briefing the press at the end of the first NEC meeting for 2022 held in Abuja on Thursday.
“We did not make any presentation on this because there has not been a decision. But in reality, all of us, Nigerians, know that there is now the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and NNPC has now become a limited liability company,” the governor said after the 122nd NEC meeting.
“So, NNPC will run differently. So, if the Ministry of Finance provides for six months, you probably can understand part of the reasons for the provision of six months is before NNPC fully takes off and at that moment, that’s when decisions would be made.”
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who also spoke after the meeting, noted that N2.1 trillion was spent last year on fuel subsidy payments. The payments, he said, could have been used to fund other development efforts.
“Because of payment of subsidy, NNPC was unable to put that money into FAAC for distribution, which means less money going to the states and less money going to the federal government,” Obaseki added.
The NEC meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and attended physically by state governors, government officials as well as officials of the World Bank.
Also on the agenda was the launch of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus programme (NGCARES).
Abdulsalami made the comment during the 19th Daily Trust Summit held in Abuja and noted that Nigerians are already facing hardship on multiple fronts.
“All of these have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country, and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process, and distribute food,” he said, months after the Federal Government disclosed it will remove subsidy.
“The result is a continued rise in the prices of food items, beyond the reach of many Nigerian families.
“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC. We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.”
The plan to remove subsidy has also gotten pushbacks from the organised labour who argue that it is ill-advised with the minimum wage pegged at N30,000.
Late last year, the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), had also warned that it will shut down the country if the Federal Government removes subsidy which will see fuel go for about N320 per litre.
“Nigeria will be shut down should the Federal Government attempt to remove the fuel subsidy as allegedly being proposed,” NANS President, Adedayo Asefon said.
“It is merely an attempt to add a new dimension of economic woes upon Nigerians through this removal of fuel subsidy.”
“Today, we have 60 per cent less revenues; we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration,” Buhari stated at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held in September.
In lieu of the subsidy, the government also plans to give a N5, 000 transport grant to about 40 million poor Nigerians to cushion the impact.
“He didn’t tell anybody that we should go remove petroleum subsidy. And those of us who represent the people know how people are already stressed over and again . . . it is going to be too much for them,” Lawan said after a meeting with the Nigerian leader.
The National Economic Council has recommended psychiatric evaluation and drug tests for those seeking to be enlisted into various security agencies, especially the arms-bearing outfits.
This formed part of the resolutions at the council’s meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday. The meeting received reports from judicial panels regarding the #EndSARS protests in parts of the country.
“Persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies (should) undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment, and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions,” it said.
“Personnel of the agencies (should) dutifully observe Rules of Engagement in the discharge of their functions/duties around and within the civilian populace.”
The council, at the meeting, discussed how to improve the efficiency of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies’ architecture, among other issues.
It stated that the Federal Government was already making effort to strengthen police accountability through the Police Service Commission and sustain improved funding and budgetary allocation to the police and other securities agencies.
NEC asked the Federal Government to give priority to the general welfare of police officers and personnel of other security agencies.
In particular, it advocated the review of pension and gratuity of retired police officers and attainment of parity of remuneration by police officers with sister security agencies.
The council asked the government to undertake a comprehensive assessment of all police stations across the country with a view to ensuring that they were fit for purpose.
It called on the security agencies to deploy cutting-edge technology in the fight against crimes and specifically asked the police to prioritise the training of personnel on procedures for the entrenchment of human rights provisions and on the professional handling of weapons.
Similarly, states authorities were asked to properly utilise and support the community policing programme of the Federal Government, with active collaborative efforts and participation of traditional rulers, elders, youths, and vigilante groups.
NEC advised them to establish standing committees under their ministries of justice to address human rights violations on a continuous basis, as well as take measures aimed at flushing out miscreants squatting in uncompleted buildings and other blackout spots that serve as hideouts for criminals.
Organisers of the #EndSARS protests have been advised to reconsider their plan to stage any protest in commemoration of the one-year anniversary since the demonstrations were held in various parts of the country.
The National Economic Council (NEC) made the call on Friday in an advisory on public protests, saying such a plan should be shelved considering the nation’s security situation.
“While appreciating the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, the National Economic Council (NEC) strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS, to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement,” the council headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said in the advisory.
“This is because of the current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues. Council, therefore, urges the organisers to reconsider their plan.”
Thousands of young Nigerians occupied strategic places in parts of the country in October 2020, demanding the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) over alleged human rights violations.
While the protests held for several days, there was a shooting by a team of security operatives who stormed the venue of the demonstration in the Lekki area of Lagos.
In a bid to address the concerns raised by the protesting youths, NEC stated that the government – at the federal and state levels – has already taken actions to address the grievances that led to the protests.
It listed them to include the disbandment of SARS, broad police reforms, the establishment of judicial panels of inquiries to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, and prosecution of police personnel indicted by the panels.
The council explained that recommendations of the panels were already at various stages of implementation, including the setting up of Victims Compensation Funds from which “several victims have received payments of sums awarded to them” by the panels.
“These are commendable actions that ought to be taken to a logical conclusion in a peaceful atmosphere,” it said.
“Organisers of the planned protests should explore the various channels of communication with governments at various levels to advance their positions and avert the breakdown of law and order that may result from such public protests.”
In his opening remarks, the acting National Chairman, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi underscored the importance of the meeting to the survival of the party.
Akinwonmi said the All Progressives Congress and other onlookers who think that the meeting will further deepen the crisis in the party will be disappointed with the outcome.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was also present, said the party has the right to determine who represents them or not, just as citizens reserve the right to decide who to vote for.
He said where a President comes from has neither been the problem nor the solution to Nigeria’s problems.
“Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria, and I can cite examples; neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president from Southern Nigeria or a president from Northern Nigeria.
“There is only one president from Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians,” Atiku said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will hold its 93rd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday.
In a statement on Tuesday by its National Secretary, Senator Umaru Tsauri, the party invited all NEC members to the meeting.
According to the memo, the meeting will hold at the NEC Hall of the PDP’s Headquarters, Wadata Plaza, Abuja FCT.
At the event which is scheduled for 11 am, the party will inaugurate the Anambra Governorship Campaign Council.
PDP’s NEC forum will hold a day after governors elected on the party’s platform would have held their meeting in Abuja.
A statement issued by the Director-General, PDP Governors Forum, C.I.D. Maduabum on Tuesday said the governors would meet to discuss issues affecting the party.
Maduabum added that the extraordinary meeting of the Forum will be chaired by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
According to him, the governors would discuss some “strategies” ahead of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday, even as the party continues to fashion out a plot to dislodge the APC administration come 2023.