Russia Considering IS Air Strikes

RussiaRussia’s President, Vladimir Putin, says his country is considering whether to follow the U.S and its allies in conducting air strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets.

Mr Putin spoke after meeting Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

But the meeting, and the leaders’ speeches at the UNGA, also highlighted splits about how to end the Syrian war.

Russia says it would be an “enormous mistake” not to work with Syria’s President, Bashar Al-Assad to tackle is.

On Monday, the U.S and France again insisted that President Assad must go.

But in response, Mr Putin said, “They aren’t citizens of Syria and so should not be involved in choosing the leadership of another country.”

According to him, Russia would conduct air strikes only if they were approved by the United Nations, while also ruling out Russian troops taking part in a ground operation in Syria.

Corruption Is Major Obstacle To Development – Buhari

CorruptionPresident Buhari has described corruption and cross border financial crimes as major obstacles to development and economic growth.

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Nigeria’s President called for the dismantling of safe havens for proceeds of corruption, and return of looted funds to their countries of origin.

While emphasising Nigeria’s willingness to partner with the international community to confront corruption, President Buhari also condemned the new and dangerous dimension which human trafficking has assumed in the world.

He said that Nigeria would support any measures aimed at apprehending human traffickers and bringing them to justice.

“We in Africa are grieved to see hundreds of our able bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.

“We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice,” the President said.

Noting that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons, President Buhari called on the international community to work towards  the effective  implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small arms and light weapons can only be legally transferred.

UN General Assembly: Buhari Restates Commitment To Rescuing Chibok Girls

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to rescuing the Chibok girls alive and unharmed.

The President gave this assurance on Monday in his address to the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

While acknowledging the threat posed by Boko Haram terrorists to sustainable development in the West African region, President Buhari condemned the sect’s murderous activities perpetrated under the cloak of religion.

“Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as those in the Middle-East but the suffering is just as great and the human cost is equally high.

“This is a war about values, between progress and chaos, between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably they hide behind their interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,” he said.

He also detailed the action taken so far by Nigeria and its allies in the Lake Chad Basin Commission to rout the insurgents, and called for a global strategy towards defeating the terrorists.

“Nigeria and her neighbours, Cameroon, Chad, Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“We have established a Multinational Joint Task Force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundred of hostages.

“One of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed,” he added, drawing an applause from the audience.

President Muhammadu Buhari To Address UN General Assembly

BuhariThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, will take the centre stage as he addresses the Heads of States from other countries at the ongoing UN General Assembly.

Fillers from the Presidency says that the President’s message will focus on insurgency and the battle against Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari arrived this afternoon, walking straight into the Assembly Chambers.

He is also expected to touch on happenings in Nigeria, particularly on his economic programmes and the focus on his administration.

Yesterday the President met with his counterpart in China, President Xi Jinping where he talked about oil theft and the reorganisation at the NNPC.

Presidency Denies Missing Out On UN Assembly

un- presidencyNigeria’s Presidency have denied reports that Nigeria missed out from a meeting where countries affected by Boko Haram insurgency, sought help from United Nations (UN) member states.

The Presidency claimed that Nigeria was not listed for that meeting called by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Stephen O’Brien.

The President’s Media Adviser, Femi Adesina said, “When we have meetings such as the UN General Assembly, there are also sideline meetings.

“This meeting that you referred to, called by Mr. O’Brien, was one of the sideline meetings, and Nigeria was not invited for it,” he said.

“We have a schedule of all meetings to be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, and that is not included in our schedule,” Mr Adesina added.

Nigeria’s Presidency To Restore U.S. Military Programme

US-Nigeria-ArmyNigeria’s Presidency seems set to reverse the decision by the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan on the cancellation of the military training of Nigerian Armed Forces in the United States.

Latest report indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari is now ready to restore the United States military program to train Nigerian troops.

The training has become necessary because of what government calls ‘growing aggression in the north-east’. The military has been tackling a terrorist group, the Boko Haram, in the region for over five years now.

The terrorists are trying to establish an Islamic State and end western education in the region.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, insists that Nigeria and the U.S. have military training agreement.

Mr Entwistle said:”We had at Nigeria’s request agreed to train some battalion. Some of the trainers in the world have been provided by the United States”.

Former President Jonathan on December 14, 2014, ended the US government’s training programme for Nigerian soldiers.

The Nigerian government requested for the suspension of the programme less than a month after Washington said it refused to sell the country Cobra attack helicopters.

“At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion,” the US Embassy in the capital, Abuja, said in an e-mailed statement.

Don’t Distract Us With Frivolous Complaint, Presidency Tells PDP

shehu-presidencyNigeria’s Presidency has advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop distracting the President with frivolous and unfounded allegations of selectivity in the war against corruption.

Reacting to an allegation of the opposition party, published by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said that contrary to the PDP’s allegations, President Buhari did not shield any All Progressives Congress (APC) government official from facing prosecution for corruption.

The President’s spokesman explained that since President Buhari resumed office, he had never told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to probe any APC Governor because they were party members.

‘Malicious And Unfounded’ 

According to Mr Shehu, it was convenient for the PDP to remember the cases of Sule Lamido, but it pretended not to notice the fact that former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, who is an APC member, was also arrested and arraigned simultaneously.

The Presidency in the statement, asked Mr Metuh to produce any evidence or instance when President Buhari interfered in the activities of the EFCC by telling them who to prosecute and who to shield from prosecution.

President Buhari’s spokesman also described as ‘malicious and unfounded’ the allegation by Metuh that “funds from the Excess Crude Account are being depleted by the Buhari’s administration to allegedly pay back APC Governors that contributed to his presidential campaign”.

He advised Mr Metuh to either come forward with evidence, or apologise to Nigerians for willfully propagating falsehoods in order to gain cheap publicity or public sympathy.

The Media aide said it was the responsibility of the former PDP administration to prosecute APC and PDP Governors whose alleged cases of corruption were brought to its attention.

He said if the unseated PDP administration had facts against APC governors, it was within its powers to prosecute them.

Following the allegation that the Buhari administration was secretly planning to award oil refining licenses to its cronies, the Presidency described the accusation as absurd and ridiculous. It stressed that the adherence to transparency and due process would always be President Buhari’s philosophy on doing things.

The Presidential statement reiterated that the Buhari-led administration was passionately committed to fighting corruption in all its ramifications and that no amount of blackmail, distraction and false allegation would deflect the President from this course, in line with his campaign promises.

Nigeria Air Force Makes Full Deployment Of Aircraft To North-east

Air force-Sadique AbubakarThe Nigeria Air Force has announced the full deployment of its aircraft to combat the security crisis in Nigeria’s north-east.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Sadique Abubakar, who announced the deployment on Monday, said the current security challenges in Nigeria heavily relied on air power and that discussions were ongoing with the Presidency to ensure the Air Force was battle ready.

He urged Senior Officers of the force to ensure that integrity, excellence and service delivery were prioritised, to eliminate mediocrity and corruption in the Air Force.

Professional And Disciplined Force

Addressing a meeting of Senior Officers and Commanders of the Air Force on Monday, weeks after he took over as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar revealed his vision and mission for the Nigeria Air Force, with issues on policy directives topping talks.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the current spate of terrorism in the north-east had led to the ‘self-audit’ of the preparedness of the Air Force to defend the nation.

He said he had set up key drivers to help achieve his vision to reposition the Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force, with effective and timely implementation of air power in response to national security needs.

“The most important task at hand is to assess the assets on ground and make efficient use of them for the current challenges while the authorities make arrangements for additional air power.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to mobilse all resources and air  assets that we think will bring about the required change in the north-east and also in the south-south.

“In terms of capacity, I can tell you that we are doing everything to improve on what we have,” the Air Force Chief said.

He stressed that the primary responsibility of the Nigerian Air Force was to defend the nation and protect vital economic interests by air.

Air Marshal Abubakar also said Nigeria’s economic interests were presently being hampered by the insurgents in the north-east, therefore requiring strategic response from the air force as soon as possible.

UN Advises African Countries To Lead Security Sector Reforms

Joy Ogwu at the UN
Professor Joy Ogwu, who presided over the UN Security Council meeting, read the resolutions

The United Nations Security Council has advised African nations facing security challenges to take the lead in the security sector reform while the UN provides needed support.  

This is part of the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting that had seen Nigeria’s presidency at the UN Security Council, bringing to the front burner issues related to maintaining peace and order in countries coming out of conflict.

Nigeria had led the council to adopt resolution 2151 in 2014 which allows the United Nations to support security sector reforms in these countries, including an overhaul of the police, army, justice and intelligence sectors in order to restore order in the system and build lasting peace.

“Strong Political Will”

United-Nations-Security-Council UN
United Nations Security Council presided over by Nigeria’s Representatives, Professor Joy Ogwu

At the just concluded session of the Security Council, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Joy Ogwu, among other speakers, however, called on states to take initiative and lead the reform process with a strong political will.

Reading out some of the resolutions at the meeting, Professor Ogwu said: “States must bear primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security within their borders.

“States must continue to take the lead in determining their security sector priorities”.

She further stressed that the demands from the African countries were the “essence and primacy of the idea of National ownership”.

Days ago, African envoys had expressed hopes that they would leverage on the Presidency of Nigeria and bring to the fore, issues of insecurity and other challenges that countries in the continent were facing for deliberation and possible solution.

Nigeria was also able to secure the Councils call for more support to IDPs in the oil-rich nation’s north-east, where the activities of the Boko Haram sect had displaced close to 1.5 million persons.

Presidency Responds To PDP Senate Caucus On Fight Against Corruption

nigeria's presidencyNigeria’s Presidency has refuted claims of selective prosecution of alleged corrupt public officials, following allegations credited to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Presidency maintained that Buhari does not interfere with the work of anti-corruption agencies.

“Whosoever is involved in corruption should face the law. Corruption has no political party, religion nor ethnic group,” a statement by a spokesman to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, read.

‘Plead Your Innocence’

The Presidency described allegations of selective fight against corruption as wild, and that such claims should not have come from respected, noble and distinguished members of the hallowed Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr Shehu stated that “the claim is false and belongs to the past, and not the present. Public officials and other leaders accused of corruption by relevant agencies should plead their innocence, not plead malice”.

The Presidency also condemned the allegations of alleged harassment by the officials of the Department of State Security (DSS), stressing that “any individual or group of individuals who consider their legitimate political and civil rights infringed upon by the DSS or the Independent National Electoral Commission or anyone or institution at all is advised to seek protection and redress under the constitution and laws of Nigeria.

Mr Shehu also assured that impunity would not be condoned under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, and that the Rule of Law will govern every facet of governance.

Presidency Denies Showing Anti-Igbo Sentiments In BBC Interview

BuhariNigeria’s Presidency has on Wednesday denied claims that President Muhammadu Buhari showed anti-igbo sentiments in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service.

According to a statement released on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President has not had any interview with the BBC Hausa Service.

The statement reads: “The claim by a pirate radio station that President Muhammadu Buhari expressed anti-Igbo sentiments in a recent interview with the BBC Hausa Service is completely false, malicious and slanderous.

“Hate Propaganda”

“The voice being ascribed to President Buhari in the recording repeatedly played back by the pirate radio station is definitely not the President’s and the claim that the station got the recording from a BBC interview is totally untrue.

“No one should be deceived by the pirate radio station’s hate propaganda against the President.

“President Buhari has not had any interview with the BBC Hausa Service since his assumption of office as alleged by the agents of disunity behind the pirate radio station’s inflammatory and divisive broadcasts.

“The last interview he had with the BBC Hausa Service, lasting not more than five minutes, was on the day he was declared winner and given his certificate of return as President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission”.

According to the presidency, the BBC Hausa Service Editor, Mr Mansor Liman, has distanced the BBC from the false interview clip being ascribed by the pirate radio station to President Buhari.

Mr Shehu further reassured Nigerians that ‘President Buhari is the President of all Nigerians and will continue to treat all citizens on the basis of fairness, equality and equity’.

“Nigerians should therefore ignore all propaganda designed to sow seeds of discord among them and promote a separatist agenda against national unity, solidarity and progress,” the statement further read.

Buhari Is Not An Islamic Fundamentalist – Spokesman

Jasper Azuatalam.The chairman of the Buhari Vanguard and a member of the Advisory Board, Mr Jasper Azuatalam, has described the former Nigerian Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, as a devoted Muslim and not a fundamentalist.

He said that describing Buhari as a fundamentalist was a wrong perception about the former leader, whom he said had good intentions for Nigerians.

While answering questions on Monday about the race for the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate that is at the moment between Bhuari, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of kano State, Kwkwanso, Mr Azuatalam further described General Buhari as a man with the qualities of a good leader.

“I have never seen the image of Buhari with any top Islamic or in Mecca.”

General Buhari had, in 2011 said it was his last time in the race for the Presidency, when he contested under the CPC in that years election. But he has not only declared his interest to contest in the 2015 election, he has bought the nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Asked why he is contesting again, his spokesman said he was part of the persons that convinced Buhari to contest again.

“I told him that if it was for the interest of Nigerians that he was contesting, he should come back and contest again. Buhari is not a materialistic person and the only reason he is contesting is because of Nigerians.

“There is use for it now. He has ran for the presidency for three times. He has almost ran as an independent candidate in all the three appearances,” he said.

An Opposition With National Spread

Mr Azuatalam explained why he thought General Buhari would win the Presidential election if given an opportunity, but emphasised that paramount in the APC’s agenda was not any particular candidate but one that will bring change to Nigerians.

“There are two reasons why the APC will win now.

“Now we have an opposition for the first time in Nigeria with a national spread even more than the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

“If Buhari will contest under the APC there is no doubt that he will overwhelmingly win.

“Whether it is a consensus candidate of a primary, there is nobody among these presidential candidates that will leave the party. They will all remain. All of them have one goal and the goal is to rescue Nigeria.

“All the candidates are prepared for the position. I have no doubt that they can all perform as presidents.

“What we need most that has made General Buhari unique is that he intends to tackle indiscipline that has bred corruption in Nigeria. We need a president who has enough influence and respect.

“One of the problems that President Jonathan has been having is that he gives orders and some of his subordinates flaunt his orders including his ministers. But there is high respect for Buhari when he gives an order,” he stressed.

There have been mixed reactions over the age of the aspirants and the need for the younger persons to be given a chance to rule the nation with fresh ideas, but Mr Azuatalam said that a younger person would not do well as a leader , considering the existence of different cabals that would stand against him

“If we bring someone that is young and good, the cabal in the country will not let him succeed. Buhari has high respect and leadership quality.”

He also said he had observed a rise in popularity of Buhari in the south-east and south-south region of Nigeria, citing cheers that Buhari received from the crowd at a rally organised by Governor Chibuike Amaechi in Rivers state to mark his seventh year in office.

However, in Nigeria, the crowd at a rally does not translated to the number of votes that a candidate gets, due to lack of trust for the people in government.

The APC National Executive Council has suggested an indirect primary for the selection of the presidential candidate, but the constitution did not make provision for such indirect primaries in line with the Electoral Act.

At a convention that will hold on 29 October, the APC will be looking to address the discrepancies between the APC constitution and the Act as it concerns selection of the presidential candidate through an indirect means.