African Development Bank Denies Cancelling Nigeria’s $400m Loan

AFDB, Abia

The African Development Bank has said that it is strongly in support of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Nigerian Government refuting earlier claims that it has called off $400m loans to Nigeria.

Director, Communication and External Relations of AfDB, Victor Oladokun, in a statement on Tuesday, said AfDB says it ”strongly supports the ERGP and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency.”

The AfDB in the statement added that AfDB is highly encouraged by the economic recovery of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Ogun Gets AFDB Support For Critical Sector Development

“The African Development Bank wishes to categorically refute the statement that it has “called off loans to Nigeria”, as reported in Reuters and credited to Vice President Amadou Hott.

“The African Development Bank is highly encouraged by the Economic Recovery of Nigeria from the recession and salutes the government’s efforts towards diversification of the economy.

“The Bank also strongly supports the Economic and Growth Recovery plan of the government and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency,” the statement read.

Oladokun explained further that apart from the $600 million loan approved by the Board of the AfDB, an additional $400 million support could be considered to support Nigeria’s economy.

“In November 2016, the Board of the African Development Bank approved a $600 million loan to support Nigeria’s efforts to cope with macroeconomic and fiscal shocks that arose from the massive decline in the price of crude oil.

“An additional $400 million support could be considered, if requested and approved by the Board, as part of a larger coordinated effort with other development partners, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”

The statement added that the African Development Bank is in consultations with the government on how best to continue its support for Nigeria’s laudable Economic and Growth Recovery Plan through investment projects that will help address existing structural challenges, including infrastructure, power, agriculture and support to boost the private sector and jobs creation.

The Bank assures the Nigerian government of its full support for its continued reforms to diversify the economy and boost economic growth and development.

OAU Professor Blames ASUU Strike On Broken Promises By FG

A Professor of Zoology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Tola Badejo, has blamed the current strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on some broken promises on the part of the Federal Government.

“It’s about not fulfilling agreements, ASUU went into an agreement with Federal Government in 2009 – in 2013 there was a strike, it was suspended and they just resumed the strike because nothing has been done in respect of the agreement.”

He made the comments when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise daily.

The university don noted that ASUU went into the agreement with the Federal Government in 2009 with a view to addressing issues bordering on the dilapidated structures of the nation’s universities, improvement in salary structures among several others.

Badejo advised ASUU not to shelve the strike until their demands are met and to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2013 when the union suspended its strike because of the pleas of students and their parents.

“I will not advise them to suspend any strike now because an agreement is an agreement and I am very happy that this government has not made the agreement with them, this government has not thought of starting another.

“They are looking for ways to honour the agreement. We can’t hold government to ransom by demanding that the agreement be reached,” he stated.

Read Also: Osinbajo Has Not Taken Over ASUU Negotiations, Says Laolu Akande

Reacting to earlier media reports of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo leading the FG’s negotiating team, the Professor of Zoology said: “I was happy when we (ASUU) heard he (the Vice President) would be in control because he was a lecturer in Unilag, so he is one of us, and you know you need somebody that has been there with you to understand your point and everything.

“When we heard later that he is not with the team, in fact, you don’t have to be one of us before you can solve this matter. All you need is a good head, and of course the right way of thinking.”

Osinbajo Reveals ‘One More Thing’ To Defeat Boko Haram Completely

Osinbajo Reveals 'One More Thing' To Defeat Boko Haram CompletelyThe Federal Government may have concluded that Boko Haram has been technically defeated, but there is “one thing” they say is left to properly deal a lasting blow to the menace.

To this end, the Nigerian Government and France have agreed to work together in achieving a terror free Nigeria.

Both countries indicated their interests on Friday at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and French Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, in Paris.

According to Professor Osinbajo who stressed the need to break the ideological underpinnings of terror, “one thing left for us to deal with is deradicalisation, defeating the ‘ideology’ behind the mindless killing and violence”.

On his part, Mr Cazeneuve praised what he described as the ‘tremendous progress’ made by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in degrading Boko Haram and suppressing the insurgency significantly.

He pledged that France will stand by Nigeria, saying the French Government is aware of the problem and they know “it cannot be solved by countries working alone”.

Professor Osinbajo has been in France where he attended and spoke at the just concluded Global Forum on Anti-Corruption and Integrity hosted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Oil And Gas: FG Pledges Support For Stakeholders

OGTAN, Oil And Gas: FG Pledges Support For Policy Makers, Ibe KachikwuThe Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the Ministry will do everything within its power to close the gap between policy makers in the oil and gas industry and the industry’s stakeholders.

Dr. Kachikwu made the pledge during a meeting with members of the National Executive Council of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association (OGTAN) at his office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Minister was represented at the meeting by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the Ministry, Mr Adekunle Adeyemi.

He said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources would support OGTAN to carry out their capacity building mandate for technical manpower in the oil and gas industry.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of OGTAN, Dr. Mayowa Afe, solicited support for the association from the Ministry.

Dr. Afe said OGTAN is an independent group established by one of the Ministry’s agencies, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in 2010 for training service providers in the sector.

He noted that the organisation’s main mandate was to build local human capital capacity in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, as well as act as a business group that interfaces with operators, international organisations and the Nigerian Government.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

Police Kill Notorious Kidnap Kingpin, Robbery Suspect, Vampire

‘Vampire’ with other suspects

Police Special Forces, led by the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have killed notorious kidnap kingpin and armed robbery suspect, Henry Chibueze, also known as ‘Vampire’.

The wanted criminal met his waterloo early this morning at about 1AM on Thursday during a gunbattle with the IGP Intelligence Response Team in Omu Awa Forest,Ikwerre L.G.A. Rivers State.

Five other members of his gang were arrested alive and cache of arms and ammunition were recovered.

Recall that Vampire had escaped from Imo High Court premises following a shootout between gunmen and security operatives in Owerri, Imo State on January 27th.

In an attack that left several persons wounded,men suspected to be members of his gang attacked the operatives when Vampire and other inmates arrived at the premises of the Imo High Court in Owerri.

According to an eyewitness,the gunmen, over six of them, found their way into the court premises shortly after over 50 inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.

The gunmen opened fire on the security operatives and inmates at the court premises shooting sporadically into the air for over 10 minutes leaving several people wounded as Vampire and about eight other inmates escaped.

The Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha promised a reward of Five million Naira to anyone with valuable information that can lead to the arrest of the escapee criminal.

Xenophobia: Senate Demands Speedy Action From Foreign Affairs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar-Abba, says no Nigerian was killed in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The minister disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on what the Nigerian Government is doing to protect its citizens in South Africa from attacks.

She said the government would send a delegation to the country to ascertain what the issues were with the aim of finding solutions.

After the last xenophobic attack in April 2015 where 10 deaths were recorded and properties looted or destroyed, Nigerians in South Africa are still seeking compensation for destroyed properties.

However, Bukar-Abba told the committee that no compensation has been paid by the government.

The committee expressed displeasure at the manner with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so far handled the crisis.

A member of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, called for hard hitting actions from Nigeria to address what has become a regular occurrence in South Africa.

The senators strongly condemned the recent attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West in South Africa.

The Nigerian community, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

The Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

She advised Nigerians to be extra cautious, saying it appears the South African Government seems to have no control over the attacks.

How Climate Change May Increase World’s Poverty Index By 100 Million

PollutionDid you know that “about 100 million poor persons would be added to the world’s poor people’s index by the year 2030 unless, world leaders take urgent steps to implement policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change”?

This is according to the Practice Manager for Environmental and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Mr Benoit Bonquet.

Mr Bonquet made the remarks on Friday at a conference in Abuja on how to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

He warned about the dangers of not taking serious steps to address the issues of climate change by the year 2030.

The forum was organised by the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Environment, as part of efforts by the Nigerian Government to create awareness on climate change.

The Director, Department of Climate Change at the ministry, Mr Yerima Tarfa, stressed the need for the government to make necessary arrangements to deliver on its climate change pledges.

The National Project Coordinator of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Mr Salisu Dahiru, also advocated investing in renewable energy.

Data from the World Bank revealed that the world’s temperature has continued to get warmer at an alarming rate since 1981.

Some states in Nigeria, especially those situated along the coast of the River Niger experienced severe flooding which led to loss of lives.

Environmentalists attributed some of these experiences to climate change, hence governments are thinking about how to mitigate its effects.

Portugal To Partner With Nigeria On Technology

Technology, Nigeria, Portugal, Manuel Heitor, NSRDAPortugal’s Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mr Manuel Heitor, says his country is set to collaborate with Nigeria to expand their bilateral relation.

Mr Heitor stated that the Portuguese government sought to work closely with the Nigerian Government in the area of technology across the various sectors of the African nation’s economy.

He revealed that within the European Union Framework, Portugal has a keen interest to establish a multilateral research observatory for nations on the Atlantic Ocean coastlines, in which Nigeria was one of them.

The Portuguese Minister made the remarks on Thursday in Abuja during a courtesy visit on the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA), Dr. Seidu Mohammed.

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Ex-NSA Dasuki

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA Objects For the second time, the Nigerian government has applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for secret trial and protection of witnesses that will testify against the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki in the case of unlawful possession of fire-arms and money laundering brought against him.

The fresh application which was filed by the prosecutor, Mr Oladipo Okpeseyi, urged the court to try the former National Security Adviser in secret and also protect the witnesses by not allowing their names and addresses to be made public in the course of the trial.

But in a strong opposition to the fresh request, the former National Security Adviser asked the court to dismiss the government motion on the ground that it lacks merit and constituted a gross abuse of court process.

Counsel to the former NSA, Mr Ahmed Raji, argued that there was no justification for the federal government to have brought the motion for secret trial for the second time having lost in the first motion filed before the same court.

He reminded the court that government had on its own volition placed the charges against him on the internet where the names, addresses and positions of the witnesses were conspicuously put at the disposal of the general public.

He reminded the court that in a ruling it dismissed the request on the ground that the witnesses were already known by the public having given their names and addresses to the public through the internet.

He further said that bringing the same motion to the same court constituted a gross abuse of court process and that what the prosecution ought to do if not satisfied with the decision of the court is to approach the Court of Appeal to ventilate its case.

The defense did not object to the request for the adjournment but clarified that the fresh motion for secret trial was served on the defendant last Thursday, hence their counter affidavit prepared over the weekend was served on Monday within the time allowed by law.

The federal government through the Department of State Services (DSS) had in 2015 slammed a 2-count charge of unlawful possession of fire-arms and money laundering against Colonel Dasuki.

Nigerian Government Plans Mass Evacuation From Libya 

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Nigerian Government Plans Mass Evacuation From Libya The Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa says the Nigerian government is executing mass evacuation abroad, particularly in Libya where many Nigerians still languish in deplorable conditions.

This is to check the worrisome consequence of illegal migration which is the subsequent mistreatment and abuse of Nigerians in various countries abroad once identified as undocumented.

Hardship and struggle is the experience of many in the cavity of Nigeria’s economic recession, but for some, it started a journey of unraveling.

Desperate for survival, many head for unknown destinations through unknown routes only to find conditions worse at the destination than conditions burdening at the origin, if the destination is ever seen at all.

The presidential adviser acknowledged this challenge but urged Nigerians to weather the storm at home where they are welcome.

She said that the current cash crunch does not shake the commitment of the federal government to prioritize the welfare of its people both home and abroad.

Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) say 669 Nigerians were evacuated from Libya on chartered aircraft in 2016 alone by the federal government in rescue missions.

The Head Of Search and Rescue at NEMA, Bandele Onimode, made this disclosure, adding also that more operations are expected in the coming weeks.

The increasing rate of illegal outflows of migrants from Nigeria into various countries in northern Africa and Europe has become an issue of concern to all countries involved as the global community aims to check illegal migration around the world.

Six Nigerian States Get 375m Naira For 10 Days Feeding Of School Pupils

School pupils feeding initiative
The government says 5.5 million pupils will benefit from the school pupils feeding initiative nationwide

The Nigerian government says it has released over 375 million Naira this year to feed almost 700,000 primary school pupils in five states, in the implementation of its Social Investment Programmes.

A statement by the Presidency said virtually all States of the federation, except two, are now being processed for the payment of 30,000 Naira monthly Stipends to 200,000 graduates, the N-Power Beneficiaries.

Giving a media update in Abuja on Sunday, the spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, said the current administration’s Social Investment Programmes, (SIP), were proceeding at different stages of implementation.

According to him, regarding the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the Federal Government last week released money for this year, to Anambra, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ebonyi sates to cover the feeding for 10 school days.

“The sum of about 375.434 million Naira has just been released and paid to 7,909 cooks in those States for the feeding of a total of 677,476 primary school pupils,” Mr Akande said, giving the breakdown.

Breakdown Of Distributed Funds

According to the breakdown, Ogun State got a total of 119.648 million Naira paid to 1,381 cooks to feed 170,927 pupils, Ebonyi State 115.218 million Naira paid to 1,466 cooks to feed 164,598 pupils while Anambra State got 67.5 million Naira paid to 937 cooks to feed 96,489 pupils.

Oyo State got 72.2 million Naira paid to 1,437 cooks to feed 103,269 pupils and Osun State got 867,370 Naira paid to 2,688 to feed 142,193 pupils.

He said all monies were paid directly to the cooks and cover 10 days of school.

Mr Akande further disclosed that those figures would go up later this week when Zamfara and Enugu States expected to be paid 188.7 million Naira and 67.2 million Naira respectively are added to the benefitting states.

In Zamfara, the sum would be paid to 2,738 cooks to feed 269,665 pupils and in Enugu, the sum would be paid to 1,128 cooks to feed 96,064 pupils.

By then, he noted, over 631 million Naira would have been released so far in 2017 for school feeding in seven States, paid to 11,775 cooks and meant to feed over One million primary school pupils-exact number of pupils by then would be 1,043,205.

On N-Power, Mr Akande stated that the process of payments of verified graduate  beneficiaries had advanced and at different stages of progress in all but two states, noting that more and more of such beneficiaries are posting their glad experiences of receiving alerts on the Social Media.

This means, according to him, that payment of the December Stipends which had gone across the country would be completed in all states except two that did not meet the extended deadline for the verification process for December stipends.

He further told reporters that the processing of January Stipends were also in advanced stages.

The Vice President’s spokesman also assured some beneficiaries who have issues to remain patient, while observing that quite a number of the beneficiaries had banking information irregularities. He said the payment of the unemployed graduates, which had created a huge buzz across the country especially on the Social Media, is being done in batches.

Regarding the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payments of 5,000 Naira per month, he told reporters that it would continue in the nine pilot states of Bauchi, Borno, Niger, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Osun, Oyo Ekiti, and Kwara States.

“While payment challenges are being experienced with the banks in some of the States, beneficiaries continue to receive their stipends which is being paid for two months.

“A total sum of 10,000 Naira is being paid for the CCT beneficiaries to cover the months of December and January. The CCT payments would be done six times in a year, with a payment of 10,000 to cover two months,” Mr Akande added.