‘Weaker Boko Haram, New Equipment’: Presidency Lists Security Achievements

A file photo of soldiers traveling in military trucks.

 

The Presidency on Thursday published a checklist of its security achievements to date, ahead of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day scheduled for Friday.

“January 15 every year is commemorated as Armed Forces Remembrance Day,” spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

“As the milestone is marked this year, it also provides ample opportunity to chronicle current landmark achievements by our military in tackling security challenges in the land, towards fulfilling the constitutional requirement of Government guaranteeing the protection of lives and property.

READ ALSO: Sixty-Four Insurgents Killed In Borno, Yobe States – Military

Listed among the achievements were the restoration of some sanity in Borno State post-2015, the weakening of Boko Haram, the decimation of thousands of insurgents, and the purchase of new equipment for the military.

The federal government has faced criticism for the spate of insecurity across the country amid calls for the President to replace security service chiefs whose tenures have officially expired.

In November, at least 43 farmers were massacred by Boko Haram terrorists in Zabarmari, Borno State, sparking outrage nationwide.

Over 300 schoolboys were also kidnapped at a secondary school in Katsina in December, although they regained their freedom within a week.

Citing reports of widespread insecurity across the country, the main opposition party, the PDP, has repeatedly called for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

BELOW ARE THE PRESIDENCY’S CHECKLIST

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

SECURITY CHECKLIST, AS NIGERIA MARKS ARMED FORCES REMEMBRANCE DAY, BY PRESIDENCY

January 15 every year is commemorated as Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
As the milestone is marked this year, it also provides ample opportunity to chronicle current landmark achievements by our military in tackling security challenges in the land, towards fulfilling the constitutional requirement of Government guaranteeing the protection of lives and property.
A checklist below:
INTERNAL SECURITY:

Boko Haram is much weaker today than in 2015, as attested to by the Governor of Borno State on December 6, 2020:

“From state-wide statistics on affairs in the 27 Local Government Areas since 2011, the fact is that despite the recent happenings in Borno State, the security situation in Borno State and, indeed, that of the entire North East sub-region is still far better under Buhari, and this is based on records.
“For instance, unlike the years before Buhari when a number of local governments were no-go-areas, we now have indigenes safely back to Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Dikwa, Ngala, Monguno, Kukawa, Damboa, Konduga, Mafa and led by our traditional leaders, which no one could have visited not to talk of living there. Our Emirs were all in exile. Today, Bama is coming back to life and so is Askira-Uba, Damboa, Gwoza and others. Life is even returning to Baga. This was impossible before Buhari.
“In fact, it was not possible to move few kilometres out of Maiduguri.  Insurgents were so bold to attack and take over military facilities, like the Army Barracks at Monguno, Bama, Giwa Barrack and Multinational Joint Task Force Headquarters at Baga, to mention just a few. There were daily bomb blast attacks in many parts of Maiduguri, the most populated part of the state but all these have stopped under President Buhari. These are the records and no one can dispute them.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS-COORDINATED OPERATIONS, 18 MARCH TO 30 DECEMBER, 2020:

• The Armed Forces of Nigeria from 18 March to 30 December, 2020 neutralized 2,403 criminal elements (terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, etc.) across the country.

• This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes.

• Troops also rescued a total of 864 kidnapped victims across the country.

• In addition, a total of 9,684,797 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,000 litres of DPK were recovered.

• Equally, 1,910 criminal elements were arrested and large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered during the period.

• Furthermore, a total of 46,581.8 barrels of stolen crude oil and 22,881,257 litres of stolen PMS were recovered by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

Sectoral Breakdown of March to December 2020 Military Successes:

North-West:

5,281 livestock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the Zone, 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 armed bandits killed. 461 arrests were made in the Zone including high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandits’ collaborators, while a total cash of N6,365,550 was recovered from armed bandits and their informants in the Zone.

North-East:

200 kidnapped victims rescued by troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. A total of 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from BHT/ISWAP fighters. In addition, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during air strikes. 1,805 insurgents/terrorists including commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks. Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made including high value targets.

North-Central:

Troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, WHIRL STROKE and THUNDER STRIKE rescued a total of 130 kidnapped victims, and 105 assorted rifles as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle were recovered from armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Zone. 1,250 criminals including family members of the Darul Salam sect were arrested within the period. Furthermore, troops neutralized a total of 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders.

South-South:

A total of 8,890,300 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,00 litres of DPK were impounded by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE. Troops immobilized a total of 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits and 163 metal storage tanks within the period. Additionally, troops impounded a cumulative total of 31,236.8 barrels of stolen crude oil as well as 12,272,652 litres of stolen PMS from oil thieves in the Zone. Also, a total of 47 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 72 vandals and criminals were arrested. A total of 4,250 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice were impounded and 45 boats engaged in illegal activities were arrested. Troops also arrested a total of 53 pirates and 25 trucks as well as recovered 23 rifles, 65,330 rounds of ammunition and destroyed 23 sea pirate camps.

South-West:

Troops of Operation AWATSE in the South-West Zone between 18 March and 30 December 2020 impounded a total of 10,458,600 litres of PMS; 15,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 345,000 litres of stolen AGO. Additionally, troops recovered a total of 3,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles. Also, within the period, a total of 23 illegal refining sites were immobilized, while 15 boats and 23 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested. In the same vein, within the period 35 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 48 arrests were made.

NORTH-EAST SECURITY ACHIEVEMENTS, 2015-2020

Specifically, in the North East, the Armed Forces have since 2015 recorded significant achievements in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria. The first actions of the Buhari Administration in that regard were:

·      Revitalization of the Multi-National Joint Task Force comprising Nigeria and her neighbours;
·      Relocation of the Military Command and Control Center to Maiduguri    in June 2015;
·     Launch of Operation Lafiya Dole in July 2015.

Since then, several towns and villages have been reclaimed from Boko Haram, thousands of hostages have been freed from terrorist enclaves, and tens of thousands of displaced persons have been resettled. Several Boko Haram leaders have been killed or arrested, and the arrest of Khalid al-Barnawi of the Ansaru splinter cell brought an end to the terrorists’ tight grip on North Central Nigeria.

The Federal Government is investing heavily in military hardware, including 23 new aircraft that have already been delivered and inducted into service, while another 18 manned aircraft and 8 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) are being awaited, in 2021/2022. This is in addition to attack boats, patrol vessels, armoured tanks and so on.

The Army established ‘Special Mobile Strike Teams’ in the Northeast, while the Air Force has established or is establishing new bases in various parts of the Northwest and North Central (Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina).

Here is a selection of significant developments that show the progress in Borno State and the Northeast:

• El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club returned to their home base in Maiduguri in April 2016, two years after relocating to Katsina State because of the insurgency

• Public Secondary Schools resumed in Borno State on Monday September 26, 2016, after two years of closure

• Capture of Boko Haram’s operational and spiritual headquarters, “Camp Zero”, in Sambisa Forest, in December 2016. Following this, the Nigerian Army conducted its Small Arms Championship from 26th to 31st March 2017, a measure aimed at enabling the Armed forces to dominate the area, and avoid regrouping by the terrorists.

• Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno State Chapter declared the 2017 Easter Celebrations as the best and safest since 2009.

• Arik Air resumed flights to Maiduguri in May 2017, three years after suspending operations to the city.

• Nigerian Military reopened Maiduguri-Bama-Banki Road in March 2018, four years after it was seized by Boko Haram.

• Hundreds of thousands of displaced persons have returned to their homes and communities across the Northeast, since 2015.

• Tens of thousands of hostages have been freed from Boko Haram captivity, including 106 of the Chibok Girls abducted in April 2014, and 105 of the Dapchi Girls abducted in February 2018.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OPERATION SWIFT RESPONSE (PARTIAL BORDER CLOSURE) AUGUST 2019 TO DECEMBER 2020:

Operation SWIFT RESPONSE (OSR) which was launched in August 2019 and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has now transformed into Nigeria’s Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) as part of a Tripartite Operation, comprising Benin, Niger and Nigeria.

• 1,401 irregular migrants arrested

Total seizures:

• 159,506.7 (50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice;
• 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives;
• 1,974 Vehicles;
• 895 motorcycles;
• 18,690.3 Jerry cans of Vegetable Oil, among other seized items.

• The total monetary value of the apprehended items is about Twelve Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty Eight Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty Five Naira Fifty Kobo (₦12,538,333,545.50).

2021:

NEW NAF BASES COMING TO KATSINA AND GOMBE

•       Nigerian Air Force has acquired land to be used for an Operational Base in Gwauruwa Village, Funtua in Katsina State. The new base will translate into increased security coverage and reduced response times for effective air operations against bandits in the area.

•       Nigerian Air Force has commenced construction of a Base for its newly-established Unit, the 203 Combat Renaissance Group (203 CRG), in Gombe State. The Base will host some of the NAF’s newly-acquired armed drones (UCAVs).

LAUNCH OF OPERATION TURA TAKAIBANGO IN YOBE STATE IN JANUARY 2021:

·      Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO was launched by the Military as a subsidiary Operation of Operation LAFIYA DOLE on January 7, 2021. On January 9, 2021, Troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO identified and encircled a Boko Haram ambush site in Gujba LGA of Yobe State, killing 28 Boko Haram Terrorists, destroying one Boko Haram Gun Truck with its occupants while capturing another Gun Truck. Also captured were 2 Anti-Aircraft Guns, 13 AK 47 Rifles, 4 extra magazines and a Vulcanizing Machine.

LAUNCH OF EXERCISE “TAIMAKO YAZO”:

• The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on 2 January, 2021, conducted a Joint Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Special Forces (SF) and Air Police K-9 Simulation Exercise (JCSAEX) at Rijana Village along Kaduna-Abuja Highway.

• The Exercise, code named “TAIMAKO YAZO”, was aimed at simulating tactics, doctrine and synergy amongst first responders for effective CSAR operations of downed aircrew or other NAF personnel who have had to eject or abandon their aircraft in emergency situations.

• The ability to rescue crew from hostile environments is particularly important as it can be adapted for anti-kidnapping operations as was recently done by the NAF in concert with other security agencies in the rescue of all the 344 kidnapped boys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

• The Air Force will conduct a total of six of these Exercises between January and June 2021, mostly in the Northwest, particularly in Zamfara and Katsina States.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
January 14, 2021

Buhari’s Invitation: Reps Deny Apologising To Presidency

A combination of file photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and lawmakers at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has denied apologising to President Muhammadu Buhari for inviting him to brief the nation on the security challenges in the country.

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, made the position of the House known in a statement on Sunday.

“It has come to the knowledge of the House that few sections of the media reported that the House apologised to the Presidency over the resolution of the House which arose from the motion sponsored by members from Borno State, requesting for the invitation of the President to brief the nation on the state of insecurity in the country.

“The President or the Presidency as the case may be, never sought for an apology from the House of Representatives for carrying out her constitutional responsibility to the Nigerian electorate,” he said.

Kalu’s statement was in reaction to a purported report that the lawmakers had apologised to the President for inviting him.

This comes on the heels of an invitation extended to President Buhari by the House to brief them on the security situation in the country.

The lawmakers had invited him following the killing of over 40 farmers by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.

Two days before he was expected to appear before the lawmakers, President Buhari said he would honour the invitation but did not show up.

Thereafter, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called for the impeachment of the President but the House distanced itself from it.

Reacting to the claim that the House apologised to the President, Kalu insisted that nothing of such happened.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the House never apologised to anyone for exercising her constitutional mandate and the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, will not do anything to desecrate or destroy the critical institution of democracy – the Legislature.

“We strongly believe that President Muhammadu Buhari subscribes to these democratic ethos and ideals as well,” he said.

Nigeria Needs Security, Restructuring Not Necessarily Yoruba Presidency — Makinde

A file photo of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde.

 

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has said Nigeria needs adequate security and restructuring of the country much more than the ethnicity of the person who occupies the presidency.

The governor maintained that the need to restructure the country has become more imperative in the face of security challenges and only time will tell on which one is more desirable for Nigeria between a restructured Nigeria and a Yoruba presidency.

Makinde said this on Tuesday while handing over 33 operational vehicles and 396 motorcycles to the Oyo State Security Network, codenamed Amotekun Corps, for its take-off.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes Finance Bill, 2020

“I have heard some of our political leaders jostling around and saying they want to become the president of Nigeria in 2023. I think what we need at this stage is to secure our people and restructure Nigeria.

“It does not matter who is the president in Abuja. In a restructured Nigeria, every corner of the country will feel the impact of government. That is what we need.

“May God protect those running around for presidency till 2022. By that time, we will meet and, by then, we will get to know whether it is restructured Nigeria or Yoruba presidency that we really need,” Makinde said.

The governor stressed that the time has come for Nigeria to secure its people and restructure its system to checkmate the growing insecurity in the country.

He maintained that if restructured, every corner of Nigeria will be impacted positively, stating that no matter who is president in Abuja, the system would run effectively in a way that will be beneficial to all and sundry.

He also expressed satisfaction with the establishment of the Amotekun Corps, saying the corps will play a major role in ensuring security.

Restructuring: We Will Not Succumb To Threats, Presidency Insists

The Presidency has insisted that it will not respond to comments suggesting Nigeria is on the brink of disintegration if President Muhammadu Buhari does not “do one thing or another.”

The Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a series of tweets on Friday described as ‘unpatriotic outbursts’ comments suggesting that Nigeria will break up.

He said these comments are both “unhelpful and unwarranted” and the Federal Government will not succumb to threats.

“Repeat: this administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of a health crisis,” Shehu said.

 

See his full statement below…

The Presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”

This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the Covid-19 health crisis.

Repeat: this administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of a health crisis.

The President as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the Parliamentary processes to finding solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people.

 

Presidency Welcomes Bye-Election Results, Vows Not To Fail Nigerians

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, speaks on the security challenges in the country on August 25, 2020.

 

The Presidency has said that results coming from the states of the long list of the bye-elections show definitely that our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), remains the chosen party of Nigerians.

Speaking on behalf of the presidency, Mr. Garba Shehu, said We the confidence of the people will not be taken for granted.

The special media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Sunday, assured that the present administration will not fail Nigerians.

“Nigerians who appreciate the efforts of the administration in making life better for all citizens, especially under an economy facing the severest test from the global Coronavirus pandemic will not be disappointed.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Bye-Election: Six Police Officers Drown In Southern Ijaw River

“We thank them immensely for their trust in the party and government.

“We equally thank the Interim Management Committee of the party under the capable leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, the Governor of Yobe State, the Progressive Governors Forum under Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, all our governors, parliamentarians, state, local government and ward level APC chapters and the entire ranks of the membership for this brave and impressionable performance,” the spokesman stated in his communique.

While congratulating the successful candidates, Mr. Shehu noted that President Muhammadu Buhari in particular is very pleased with the election outcomes and has urged the party to uphold the spirit of hard work, unity, progress, cooperation that forms the bedrock of the victories.

Burkina Faso Awaits Presidential Election Results

 

Burkina Faso was braced Monday for the results of its presidential election after hundreds of thousands were unable to vote due to the country’s jihadist threat.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is widely expected to be re-elected for a second term, despite criticism from the 12 opposition candidates over his failure to stem a growing jihadist insurgency.

The National Electoral Commission had announced it would begin releasing results from Sunday’s ballot on Monday morning but postponed the deadline and by 2 pm (1400 GMT) it had given the results of only three communes.

Commission president Newton Ahmed Barry told reporters late Sunday that between 300,000 and 350,000 of about 6.5 million voters had not cast their ballots due to “security threats”.

“Individuals have banned people from taking part in the vote,” Barry said. They “told people that whoever dips his finger in indelible ink can say goodbye to his finger”.

READ ALSO: Ethiopia Army Accuses WHO Chief Of Backing Tigray Leaders

The Constitutional Court had said in early November that the election could not be held in nearly one-fifth of the West African nation, where large swathes of territory remain outside the state’s control and jihadists strike almost daily.

That would not prevent the validation of the results, however, as the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the electoral code in August to make the elections valid even if they could not be held throughout the country.

Jihadist-related violence has forced one million people — five percent of the 20 million population — from their homes in the last two years and at least 1,200 have been killed since 2015.

In some places in the north, “there is no election, and it is far from being the priority of the people who seek first to avoid being killed by one side or the other of the conflict,” an expert on security issues in the Dori region told AFP.

In the capital Ouagadougou and in the south, however, election officials said the vote went smoothly.

Counting by candlelight 

Counting the vote of the presidential and parliamentary polls began in Ouagadougou on Sunday shortly after 6:00 pm (1800 GMT).

Much of it was done by candlelight or flashlight in schools which do not have electricity, a common practice in one of the poorest countries in the world.

At one polling station, monitors oversaw counting as helicopters arrived to a nearby airport carrying ballot boxes and staff from offices in remote areas.

“It’s important to be there, so no one can say later that there was fraud,” said Adama, a student who added that he was paid by a small opposition party to watch the ballots be counted.

Before the vote, the opposition had accused the ruling party of having organised “massive fraud” in Sunday’s first round, allegations that Kabore rejected.

 Opposition to unite? 

The president’s two main challengers are 2015 runner-up Zephirin Diabre and Eddie Komboigo, standing for the party of former president Blaise Compaore.

Kabore would avoid a run-off election by winning more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round — as he did five years ago.

However, his opponents say that will not be possible if the election is carried out fairly in the country which has experienced multiple coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.

The opposition has said it would unite behind the leading candidate in the second round, which has never happened in Burkina Faso before.

Almost all of Kabore’s challengers have called for dialogue with the jihadists to be explored, a suggestion Kabore has emphatically rejected.

“We’re really looking forward to security,” said Abdoulaye Koula, a voter in Ouagadougou.

“We know that it is not easy but we would like there to be peace, that there is forgiveness among the Burkinabe and that we can live together in harmony.”

AFP

FG Delegation’s Absence At South-South Governors Meeting Not Out Of Disrespect – Presidency

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

 

The Presidency on Wednesday explained that the absence of its representatives from a meeting of South-South stakeholders fixed for Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was not out of disrespect.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu. The statement was titled “South-South Assembly disrupted by emergency security meeting -Presidency.”

Shehu explained that the Federal Government delegation was absent at the meeting because of an emergency meeting of the National Security Council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on the same day.

He said a new date for the meeting would be fixed after dues consultations.

 

Find the full statement below…

SOUTH-SOUTH ASSEMBLY DISRUPTED BY EMERGENCY SECURITY MEETING – PRESIDENCY

The Presidency wishes to explain that the absence of the Federal Government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect.

The delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.

This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.

As may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity.

The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders, and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.

Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

November 18, 2020

Beware Of People Smarting From Suspended Labour Strike For Selfish Reasons

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Since Organized Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as a smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.

For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.

READ ALSO: Shelved Strike: It’s Normal For People To Say ‘You Sold Out’ – NLC

For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was an opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.

The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as an opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections. For them, it was all about hankering for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about the love of country. They have since then been calling Organized Labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.

The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for the government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend Organized Labour for putting the country first.

Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.

The Prices Of Food Items Are Coming Down – Garba Shehu

 

 

Contrary to complaints from many Nigerians, the Presidency has said that the prices of food items across the nation are dropping.

Speaking on behalf of the presidency, Mr Garba Shehu says the significant drop in prices of food items stems from President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms in the agricultural sector.

Mr Shehu who on Friday was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said though prices may differ depending on the state and area, however, on the general, there is a drop in prices of food items.

READ ALSO: Forex Ban: Buhari’s Directive To CBN Borne Out Of Patriotism – Garba Shehu

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

While reacting to the President’s directive Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria should with immediate effect stop the release of money for food and fertiliser importation, the presidential spokesman said his principal’s intentions are in the best interest of the country.

He said, “Nigerians must give consideration for the fact that the President’s directive to the CBN is driven by nothing other than a patriotic motive”.

According to Mr Shehu, this directive falls in line with the President’s quest to boost agriculture in the country, a position to which some persons disagree, arguing that the CBN’s policies should not be imposed by a political authority.

Addressing those who hold the view that Buhari’s directive is overreaching, Mr Shehu said, “I am not sure there is anywhere in the world that the Central Bank is So independent that it will operate as foreign ownership”.

P&ID Deal: UK Court Ruling, A Source Of Huge Satisfaction – Presidency

Garba Shehu
A file photo of Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency has lauded the judgement of a court in the United Kingdom on the case involving the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

In a statement on Friday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the ruling as right and just.

According to the presidential aide, the Presidency welcomes the judgment granting Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions in the $10 billion arbitration case with the company.

He added that the judgment provided a strong prima facie case that the fraudulent gas deal with P&ID and the subsequent judgement debt of $10 billion against Nigeria was a clear attempt to cheat the country of billions of dollars by a company that had not invested one naira in it.

“On the arbitration award, it is a source of huge satisfaction that the UK Court, among others, had ruled that: ‘Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the Gas Supply and Processing (GSPA) was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria.

“There is also a strong prima facie case that that (P&ID) main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave a perjured evidence to the Tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract,” the statement said.

Shehu noted that the Presidency was delighted with the processes that led to the ruling of the English court, stressing that it has given relief to the Nigerian Government to further protect its national assets from criminally minded organisations and individuals.

The views of the UK court, he stated, provided sufficient grounds for the Federal Government to go ahead and challenge the frauds perpetrated by the company and overturn the arbitration award.

In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the team of lawyers who represented Nigeria in the matter with P&ID.

He also reassured Nigerians and the international community of his unwavering commitment to fighting corruption in all its forms and manifestation.

Presidency Denies Claim Buhari’s Aide Tested Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Presidency has denied the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Sarki Abba has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, advised Nigerians to ‘ignore determined agents of fake news bent on spreading false stories to the public’.

“We react to the utter falsehood and disgraceful lies, a report by a so-called digital newspaper which, Tuesday, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Sarki Abba is COVID-19 positive,” he said.

“This report is a sheer fabrication and a brazen effort by the online news medium to mislead the public.

“Upon the directive of doctors and scientists and supervision of Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff, all staff working for and around the President, are routinely and rigorously checked for the virus. The Senior Special Assistant, Social Affairs and Domestic Matters, Sarki Abba, always tested negative.”

Mr Shehu urged Nigerians to ignore such stories that intend to mislead people to create unnecessary anxiety about the safety of the President.

“Don’t let yourself be manipulated by any medium that thrives on yellow journalism and specialises in peddling fake news in the desperate quest for the market and donor money,” he added.

Presidency Reacts To –6.10% GDP Decline, Says Nigeria Not Doing Bad

NBS
File photo of the NBS.

 

 

The Presidency has hailed the second quarter (Q2) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the NBS report, Nigeria’s GDP fell by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020 while for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina,  and captioned ‘Our response to Quarter 2, 2020 NBS figures, by Presidency,’ it said the decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the NBS forecast of -7.24%.

“The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter,” the statement noted, adding that, “despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts.”

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“It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%),”  the statement added.

“The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.”

Below is the full statement:

OUR RESPONSE TO QUARTER 2, 2020 NBS FIGURES, BY PRESIDENCY

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published on Monday, August 24, 2020, the 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, which measures economic growth.

Nigeria’s (GDP) declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the 3-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.

The overall decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the projected forecast of -7.24% as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter.

Furthermore, despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts. It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%).

The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.

On the fiscal side, a robust financing mechanism was designed to raise revenue to support humanitarian assistance, in addition to special intervention funds for the health sector.

Adjustments to the national budget as well as emergency financing from concessional lending windows of development finance institutions were critical in supporting governments’ capacity to meet its obligations.

On the monetary side, a moratorium on loans, credit support to households and industries, regulatory forbearance and targeted lending and guarantee programs through NIRSAL were some of the measures implemented in response to the pandemic during the second quarter.

It is equally worth noting that since the start of the third quarter, the phased approach to easing the restrictions being implemented centrally and across States have resulted in a gradual return of economic activity, including the possibility of international travel.

More importantly, the anticipated health impacts of the pandemic have been managed without overwhelming the health infrastructure, which would have further compromised the ability to re-open the country to travel, commerce and international trade. Indeed, this has provided greater confidence and ability for authorities to initiate the conduct of nationwide terminal examinations and resumption of the next academic year.

Finally, it is anticipated that while the third and fourth quarters will reflect continued effects of the slowdown, the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by the government in a phased process will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, as the country begins the gradual loosening up of restrictions, and levels of commercial activity increase by people returning to their various livelihoods and payrolls expand, it still remains imperative that all the necessary public health safeguards are adhered to so the country avoids an emergence of a second wave.