Nigerians Yet To Benefit From N1trn Constituency Projects, Says Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots are yet to benefit from the constituency projects by members of the National Assembly.

He noted that despite spending huge sums of money running into hundreds of billions of naira on such projects, the people were yet to feel the impact.

The President made the remarks in his speech at the national summit on ‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’ which held on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

 

The Worst Fears

“It is on record that in the past 10 years, N1trillion has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.

The President added, “The first phase report of tracking these projects by ICPC confirms our worst fears that people at the grassroots have not benefited in terms commensurate with the huge sums appropriated for constituency projects since inception.

“I am, therefore, delighted that through the effort of ICPC, some contractors are returning to the site to execute projects hitherto abandoned and that project sponsors are being held to account.”

READ ALSOKaduna Poly Rector Seeks Joint Action Against Kidnappers

President Buhari commended the new Board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for major enforcement and preventive initiatives in this regard.

According to him, steps taken by the anti-graft agency include the System Study Review, tracking of zonal intervention projects (constituency projects), and collaboration with the National Social Investment Office.

“The ICPC has my full support and the support of this government to hold fully to account contractors, complicit public servants and project sponsors who divert funds meant for constituencies or other people-oriented welfare projects of our government or who by other means reduce the quality and value of such projects meant for our people,” the President assured.

On assets recovery, he reaffirmed that his administration would continue to support anti-corruption agencies to recover all ill-gotten wealth and prosecute offenders.

President Buhari insisted that all fully recovered physical assets would be sold and the proceeds remitted to the nation’s treasury.

Enforcement activities by anti-corruption agencies, according to him, have continued to reveal that some public officers possess properties and assets way beyond their legitimate sources of income.

He stated that asset recovery cases in court also revealed that some “criminally-minded” public officials were quick to disown such properties during investigations and in court.

“Recovered assets will continue to be deployed in the provision of needed infrastructure and social welfare programmes. The National Social Investment Programme is already utilising recovered funds to touch the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.

“I, therefore, commend the partnership between the ICPC and the National Social Investment Office to ensure that beneficiaries of government social intervention programmes are not short-changed along the line by unpatriotic officials,” the President said.

 

A Catalyst For Insecurity

He described corruption as the cause of many major problems facing Nigeria and reiterated his administration’s commitment to tackling it.

President Buhari believes corruption is a catalyst for poverty, insecurity, weak educational system, poor health facilities and services, among many other ills of the society.

He, however, gave assurance that his administration was working hard to overcome corruption which he said has inhibited the ability of the government to deliver infrastructure and basic services to the people.

“That is why I have reiterated on many occasions that corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria.

‘‘Corruption is furthermore, a major threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the socio-economic transformation we are all working hard to bring about in Nigeria,” the President told the gathering at the summit.

A highpoint of the event was the presentation of integrity award to an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Abubakar, and Mrs Josephine Ugwu of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), by the President.

Abubakar was awarded for rejecting $412,000 (N150 million) per container bribe offered to him by drug traffickers to import 40 containers laden with tramadol.

On the other hand, Ugwu is a former cleaner at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos who had on different occasions returned millions of naira found in the course of her duty, including the sum of $12 million forgotten in the toilet by an airport user.

Xenophobia: South Africans Attack Nigerians Again

FILE PHOTO: A protestor gestures and holds a placard during a demonstration in front of the South African Embassy in Lusaka on September 4, 2019 to protest against Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in the Rainbow Nation. SALIM DAWOOD / AFP

 

South Africans living in Mpumalamga province have attacked Nigerians in a fresh wave of xenophobic violence.

Channels Television correspondent in South Africa reports that further information concerning the attack is still sketchy as the crew is on its way to the province for details.

The leadership of Nigerian Citizens In South Africa (NICASA) and Nigeria’s Consular General to South Africa are also on their way to Witbank in Mpumalanga province to gather more information on the attack.

This fresh attack comes a few weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari visited South Africa and called for the protection of Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in the country.

Buhari during the visit also condemned the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital which led to the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

He demanded that measures should be put in place to prevent the re-occurrence of the attacks.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in response repeatedly apologised over the attacks and reiterated his government’s “deep regret at the incidents of public violence.”

About 600 Nigerians returned from South Africa early in September after xenophobic violence in Johannesburg. The second batch of 315 Nigerians later returned mid September and many more have continued to leave South Africa in the wave of the deadly attacks.

Why Most Nigerians Will Mind Their Businesses – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari with governors of the oil-producing states at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on October 17, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari believes a majority of Nigerians will be less bothered about governance if the needed infrastructure is in place.

He made the remark on Thursday when he received a delegation of governors and leaders of the South-East on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President noted that when a government struggles to put in place measures that would make life easy for the people, they won’t have an alternative than to speak out.

“We’re trying our best to make sure that infrastructure rehabilitation is carried out very quickly,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina.

President Buhari added, “I personally firmly believe that if we get infrastructure correct – the roads, rail, power, most Nigerians will mind their businesses.

“They would not even care who is in government. But when you deny them infrastructure, it will be difficult for them to compete and move across the country and regions.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Approves N10bn Intervention Fund For Enugu Airport

During the meeting, President Buhari approved the release of N10 billion Special Intervention Fund for immediate repair and upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.

He said he was aware of the central nature of the airport to the socio-economic development of the South-East following its closure for repairs since August 24.

The President who noted that he was aware of the infrastructure deficits all over the country declared that his administration was working on remedying the situation.

He appealed to the governors to explain the government’s position to their people, stressing that his administration would not ignore the problems.

“Please, have the courage to continue to explain to your constituencies whenever they feel that there is laxity in government’s effort to rehabilitate infrastructure,” President Buhari pleaded.

He said, “We are doing our best within the resources available to the government. The Federal Government is working to fix the infrastructure deficit in the country.

“The challenges are there. It is our responsibility to fix things, we are doing it and we will continue to do our best in this regard.”

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State commended the President’s effort towards infrastructural development in the region.

He noted the quality of work at the second Niger Bridge and other ongoing Federal projects in the South-East, including the Enyimba Industrial City in Aba.

Governor Umahi, however, described the condition of inter-state Federal roads in the region as deplorable and urged the President to “kindly declare a state-of-emergency” on them with appropriate directives issued.

Second Batch Of Nigerians From South Africa Arrive In Lagos

 

The second batch of Nigerians being evacuated from South Africa have arrived in Lagos.

The 314 returnees and the Head of Immigration and Consular Matters at Nigeria’s Consulate General in Johannesburg, Mr. Anthony Ogbe, had boarded the Air Peace flight and left South Africa around 3:00 pm on Wednesday.

They arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport around 7:20 pm and are currently waiting to be profiled by the immigration.


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Air Peace Boss Receives Standing Ovation At House Of Reps

Air Peace Flight Evacuating Nigerians From S.Africa Granted Landing Permit After Delay

About 319 Nigerians were initially billed to return on Tuesday in the wake of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

But their flight was delayed as a result of the airline not obtaining a landing permit on time.

Of the expected passengers, four were later dropped over documentation issues.

 

‘Won’t Go To Heaven With A Dime’

 

Prior to their return, a first batch of 187 Nigerians had been voluntarily evacuated and profiled according to their states.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airline, Allen Onyema has been recognised for the gesture of using his aircraft to evacuate Nigerians for free.

The lawmakers invited Onyema to the Green Chamber where he was given a rousing welcome, as well as a standing ovation.

He was also recommended for a national award.

In his remarks, the Air Peace Chairman thanked the lawmakers for the honour, adding that his actions were spontaneous and he would do anything to evacuate even a single Nigerian.

“I did not do it spontaneously, nor did I do it for publicity, I had to mortgage my landing right in South Africa because I just got the landing right before the crisis.

“I did not give a damn, I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime.

“I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes. I would not have been able to do this if the Federal Government did not allow me or assemble those people for me to evacuate,” he said.

I Never Expected Commendation Or Award, Onyema Tells Reps

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema on Wednesday told the House of Representatives that he never expected to receive a recommendation for a national award.

Onyema was invited to the green chambers and recommended for a national award, after he used his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa, following the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the country.

In his remarks, the Air Peace boss thanked the lawmakers for the honour, adding that his actions were spontaneous and he would do anything to evacuate even a single Nigerian.

“I did not do it spontaneously, nor did I do it for publicity, I had to mortgage my landing right in South Africa because I just got the landing right before the crisis.

“I did not give a damn, I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime.

“I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes. I would not have been able to do this if the federal government did not allow me or assemble those people for me to evacuate,” he said.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Why Air Peace Is Evacuating Nigerians For Free – CEO

Onyema had earlier told Channels Television in an interview that he is using his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa because he wants the world to see Nigeria respected as a nation

Speaking further in the interview, he noted that evacuation of foreigners from another country isn’t a good sign for the affected nation involved.

On Wednesday last week, the Air Peace airline evacuated no fewer than 185 Nigerians who indicate interest to return home as a result of the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

Another set of about 319 people are expected to return to the country today but the trip earlier suffered a setback as a result of landing permit.

Having resolved the issue and secured the permit for the plane to land in Johannesburg, Onyema said the South African authorities gave the airline an arrival time.

He insisted that it was not the first time he was making a contribution to the nation’s development and highlighted his role in restoring peace to the Niger Delta in the heat of militancy in the region.

Air Peace Flight Evacuating Nigerians From S.Africa Granted Landing Permit After Delay

Air Peace Aircraft Collide At Lagos Airport

 

South African authorities have granted the Air Peace Flight B777, a landing permit after an initial delay.

Over 300 Nigerians were expected to return home today as part of the government’s efforts to evacuate Nigerians, in the wake of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

But according to the airline, they would be taking off later this evening as a result of the delay in obtaining a landing permit.

So far, 187 Nigerians have been successfully evacuated and profiled according to their states.

The Federal Government has also confirmed that none of the returnees are criminals and that issues of compensation for victims will be handled by the ministry of foreign affairs.

Read Also: Why Xenophobic Attacks Will Not Be Discussed At UNGA – Onyeama

Meanwhile, the Minister, Geoffery Onyeama says the xenophobic attacks will not be on the nation’s agenda at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

This according to him, is because he believes both Nigeria and South Africa should be able to sort out their differences privately.

Onyeama disclosed this on Tuesday at a media briefing on Nigeria’s participation at the 74th UNGA holding in New York.

The Minister further stated that the issues of non-renewal of work permits of Nigerians in South Africa and the reports around the cancellation of the residency of the returnees will be discussed by both President Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa during their meeting on October 3.

Xenophobia: Next Batch Of Nigerians To Return On Tuesday

 

The next batch of Nigerians returning from South Africa is set for Tuesday.

The Air peace flight is expected to land at the OR Tambo in the morning for the evacuation.

The Federal Government had on Wednesday evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa following xenophobic attacks by its citizens on foreigners.

The first batch experienced delay in their flight because the South African officials insisted that some of the evacuated Nigerians did not have travel documents.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Ramaphosa Sends Special Delegation To Nigeria, Seven Other Countries

The 187 returnees were the first batch of the 640 Nigerians, who registered for evacuation following the xenophobic attacks.

Meanwhile over the weekend, hundred of people, including South Africans, marched against xenophobia, this comes after  President Cyril Ramaphosa sent Special Envoys to Nigeria and seven other countries to reassure them South Africa remains committed to peace on the continent and the rule of law.

Channels Television also visited one of the guest houses where the voluntary evacuees are being accommodated ahead of their flight home.

We Didn’t Know CIIN Boss Was In South Africa Until She Died, Says Ambassador Bala

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala.

 

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, has reacted to the death of the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mrs Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu in the country.

Bala, in an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight regretted that the top insurance professional did not inform Nigeria’s Consulate of her presence in South Africa.

He noted that the move is necessary to ensure that the rights and citizens of Nigerians are well protected in the event of any danger.

READ ALSO: Xenophobic Attacks: Buhari Orders Immediate Voluntary Evacuation Of Nigerians From South Africa

“The lady who died in that hotel in Johannesburg, the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, sadly she came but we weren’t told that she was in town.

“We only got to know after the event that yes she came and died. Not only in South Africa, wherever you go, have we have an embassy.

“Where we do have embassies, try to locate them so that in case you have issues with authorities there, you have an embassy and it’s our duty to attend to you,” he said.

When asked on the crime rates of Nigerians in South Africa, the ambassador explained that the authorities were investigating some of the cases especially the report that about 10,000 Nigerians were languishing in prisons abroad.

Speaking further, he noted that based on the meeting he had with the South African Minister of International Relations Cooperation, the Nigerians arrested were majorly for drug-related offences.

“We had a meeting in April 1 and 5 and they made a presentation that really made me scared that all the major crimes – murder, drugs, sexual assault, trafficking, robbery, fraud and what have you.

“They gave the figures in a graph. And when I looked at the one relating to drugs, I saw very high figures. So I made an intervention that for us in Nigeria, we don’t condone crimes whether drug-related or any other offences. But they made it very clear that the one that worries them the most were that of drugs,” he said.

Killings: Nigerian Government Has Failed Citizens In South Africa – Mgbo

The Head, Secretariat of Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA), Collins Mgbo, has accused the Federal Government of failing to address the continued xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

 

The Head, Secretariat of Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA), Collins Mgbo, has accused the Federal Government of failing to address the continued xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

Mgbo, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of not protecting the citizens in the diaspora.

“I want to say this without mincing words that the Nigerian government has failed its citizens in the diaspora, especially in South Africa.

“The Nigerian Policy statement is that the responsibility of the missions abroad is to make sure that the interests of her citizens are protected. Unfortunately, that is not achieved,” he said.

According to Mgbo, he expected the Federal Government through the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa to engage the authorities urgently with a view to tackling the incessant killings of the citizens abroad.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: South Africans Invade Nigerians, Other Foreigners’ Businesses

He regretted that the Nigerian envoys when interviewed by journalists do not condemn the unfortunate attacks.

Speaking further, Mgbo said: “Whenever we see them on the television or in radio granting interviews, they are not coming forward. And I don’t believe that if their children are involved in this inhumane treatment, I don’t think this is how they are going to treat it. So they have failed us.”

He therefore called on President Buhari to “sit up,” calling for a stakeholders meeting with the Nigerian groups in South Africa on the way forward.

When asked if the crisis will end anytime soon, he replied saying: “no,” stressing that both the South African and Nigerian government can fight the scourge of killings but “We haven’t seen any kind of political will.”

His remarks come two days after South African looters attacked foreign-owned businesses in central Johannesburg, a situation which affected many Nigerians.

This attack comes barely one week after a group of Nigerians staged a protest at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital.

The protesters, mostly victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa said they are angered by the recent massive looting of foreign-owned shops in the city by some South Africans.

 

FG Confirms Attack On Nigerian Businesses In South Africa, Vows To Take Decisive Measures

FILE PHOTO: A screenshot from the video during a visit by Nigeria High Commission officers to the scene of an attack on business owned by Nigerians in South Africa.  PHOTO: Channels TV

 

The Federal Government on Monday confirmed the attack on Nigerian businesses in South Africa.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama confirmed the incident in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: South Africans Invade Nigerians, Other Foreigners’ Businesses

Onyeama vowed that the Nigerian Government will take decisive measures in dealing with the matter.

He also described the news of the attack as ‘sickening and depressing.’

See his tweets below…

 

South African looters on Sunday night attacked foreign-owned businesses in central Johannesburg, a situation which affected many Nigerians.

The attack began to heat up in the early hours of Sunday, September 1, but it all turned violent in the later hours of Monday.

This attack comes barely one week after a group of Nigerians staged a protest at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital.

The protesters, mostly victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa said they are angered by the recent massive looting of foreign-owned shops in the city by some South Africans.

VIDEO: US Officials Arrest Nigerians Indicted For Internet Scam

 

A video has emerged online, showing some Nigerians indicted for internet scam being rounded up by officials of the United States government.

In the clip shared on Twitter by ABCNews on Friday, officials were seen arresting about a dozen people in Los Angeles.

This comes a day after US authorities announced charges against 80 people, most of them Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Jailed, Fined $1m For $8.3m Healthcare Fraud In US

Federal prosecutors had unsealed dozens of indictments after 17 people were arrested and taken into custody in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the United States.

Most of the remainder of those indicted were believed to be in Nigeria, the US Justice Department said.

Watch the video posted by ABCNews below:

Over 6,000 Nigerians Under Crime Investigation In South Africa, Says High Commissioner

Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabir Bala

 

Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabir Bala, says over 6,000 Nigerians are being investigated for various crimes in the country.

Kabir revealed this on Wednesday while speaking to Channels Television at his office.

The envoy who explained that the crimes range from drug-related offences to murder, fraud and armed robbery noted that the statistics were from the South African Police Service.

“We have to look at it from a proper perspective so that we don’t tilt the balance. And then we overlook the fact that some of our nationals engage in things that are not legal here.

“We have 6, 089 of them having cases that are being concluded or investigated and some of them in prison, we have them,” he said.

READ ALSO: EFCC Arraigns Atiku’s Lawyer, One Other

The diplomat, however, explained that the accused persons whether Nigerians or other nationals have the right to a fair trial, before being convicted if guilty in line with the laws.

His remark follows a meeting of the heads of Nigeria’s two missions in South Africa in Pretoria today, on the country’s crime statistics as it is related to Nigerian citizens.

Present were the Police Minister Bheki Cele and top police officials.

Bala who was accompanied by the Consul General Mister Godwin Adama to that meeting said the figures were quite shocking but they got to raise their issues of concern as well.